Quick Lane Bowl Preview: Western Michigan vs. Nevadaby Kole Emplit December 26, 2021 0 comments
The Western Michigan Broncos (-6.5) will meet the Nevada Wolfpack (+6.5) in the 2021 Quick Lane Bowl which kicks off at 11:00 am EST on Monday. The Nevada Wolfpack finished with a record of 8-4 in the Mountain West Conference. The Western Michigan Broncos of the Mid-American Conference finished at 7-5. Both teams come into the matchup after dominating their final games against Colorado State and Northern Illinois respectively.
The Wolfpack lost star junior quarterback and two-time Mountain West Offensive Player of the Year, Carson Strong, when he declared for the NFL draft. He threw for 4,186 yards en route to a 36 touchdown season; both numbers are top 10 in the FBS this season. Senior Nate Cox will be under center for the Wolfpack. He attempted only 24 passes throughout the season. He’s appeared three times, all in late games during garbage time.
They have also lost four of their top five receivers, with senior Romeo Doubs, All-Mountain West first team, and Biletnikoff Award watch list, yet to make it official if he’s playing. Senior tight end Cole Turner, the second-leading receiver for the Wolfpack this season, has also opted out. In addition, Nevada has close to 20 players in the transfer portal. The team we see Monday will be pretty different than what we’ve seen throughout the year.
Nevada has lost plenty of their coaching staff, along with their quarterback declaring for the draft. Along with head coach Jay Norvell, the Wolfpack has also lost offensive and defensive coordinators, offensive line, tight ends, wide receivers, and special teams coach. Norvell joined Colorado State following his departure from Nevada. The only offensive coach remaining, running backs coach Vai Taua, has been named interim head coach. He played his college ball at Nevada and has been on their coaching staff since 2017.
Western Michigan Broncos
Western Michigan will be playing with almost their entire team, unlike Nevada. The Broncos will look to sophomore quarterback Kaleb Eleby to lead their squad as he’s done so all year long. Eleby threw over 3,000 yards on his way to 21 touchdowns. He’ll be looking to star sophomore receivers Skyy Moore and Corey Crooms to lead the way. Unfortunately for the Broncos, the two players sitting in the transfer portal are junior wide receiver Jaylen Hall and sophomore tight end Anthony Torres. Both players were critical pieces for the Broncos’ offense. Hall was second in the team with receptions and yards, while Torres had 12 catches for 107 yards when he was on the field this season.
Quick Betting Stats
- Western Michigan has combined with its opponents to score more than 56 points in seven of 12 games this season.
- Nevada’s games have gone over 56 points in seven of 12 chances this season.
- Monday’s over/under is 11.5 points lower than the two teams combined 67.5 points per game average.
- The 53 combined points per game that these two squads have allowed this season are 3.0 fewer than the 56 over/under in this contest.
- The average total in Broncos games this season is 61.3, 5.3 points more than Monday’s total of 56.
- The 56-point total for this game is 0.8 points below the 56.8 points per average game total in Wolfpack games this season.
What’s the Bet?
Western Michigan is a 6.5 point favorite, -250 ML, while the over/under is set at 56. Nevada was a solid team throughout the season and was a firm favorite when first announced for the bowl game. Unfortunately, with Strong declaring for the draft, multiple players in the transfer portal, and various coaching changes, this won’t be the same Wolfpack team. They opened as 5.5 point favorites but were quickly changed with how everything played out. The total, which was initially set at 66, is now down to 56. Look for Western Michigan to take advantage of this weaker Nevada team. The Broncos Eleby will surge along with his talented offense and cover.
Pick: Western Michigan -6.5
Follow Kole Emplit on Twitter @KoleEmplit
Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images