Sun Bowl Preview and Prediction: Arizona State Will Keep it Close

sun bowl NCAAF

Doug Upstone

Saturday, December 16, 2017 12:38 PM UTC

Saturday, Dec. 16, 2017 12:38 PM UTC

On Friday Dec. 29th, there are five big bowl games lined up and the second in the batch is the Sun Bowl, which will be televised on CBS at 3:00 EST and there are questions bettors have to answer.

Free College Football Picks - Arizona State +6.5
Best Lines Available at Heritage

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For example, N.C. State started 6-1 and was moving up the rankings and felt they were ready to make a splash and possibly play for ACC championship and head to a big bowl game. Instead, the Wolfpack lost to Notre Dame, Clemson and Wake Forest and land in El Paso. This is not what they were thinking.

Arizona State had low expectations coming into 2017 and was picked 5th in the Pac-12 South, but finished 7-5, beating Washington and rival Arizona. That was not good enough to save coach Todd Graham's job and he was fired, yet, he will coach this bowl contest.

The most recent college football odds have N.C. State as a 6.5-point favorite with a total of 59.5 and here is a look at what to look for from each team.

N.C. State Preview

Quarterback Ryan Finley was in charge of an offense which ranked 30th in total offense at 449.2 yards a contest. Finley's club averaged 30.6 points a game and he did an excellent job moving the ball around to a variety of good pass catchers in averaging 271 YPG passing. Having a healthy Nyheim Hines at running back will definitely matter, since he went over 1,000 yards on just 181 carries and averaged 5.7 YPC. Defensively, based on talent, the Wolfpack should have been better. There defensive line has NFL talent, led by Bronko Nagurski Trophy winner Bradley Chubb. Later in the season, sometimes N.C. State was vulnerable to the pass and other times to the run.

Arizona State Preview

The Sun Devils offense was about what you expect, they thrived against weaker defensive teams and were stymied by those they played more soundly. Overall, Arizona State was good enough to average 31.9 PPG. After being primarily a passing team for the first two-thirds of the season, the Sun Devils got the running game cranked up and averaged 297 YPG over their last four contests. On defense, no way to sugarcoat it, this was a porous defense, listed 109th nationally in yards allowed (447.7 per game) and conceding 31.2 PPG. All ASU fans wonder how their team ever held Washington to seven points in upset at midseason.

Sun Bowl Outcome

For college football picks, seeing a disinterested N.C. State squad would not be a surprise. Seeing an Arizona State club want to send their coach out a winner would not be shocking. With this in mind, I have no problem grabbing the points in what should a three-point thriller either way.

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