LA Bowl Washington State Vs. Fresno State Odds, Picks, Predictions (12/17/22)
While Bowl season is great and all for our viewing pleasure, it sure can be a pain to keep up with. Opt outs, transfers, and injuries have become more popular than ever and can severely shift a line from its open. This game is no different, vastly seeing a difference since this game first hit the board. Even with all the opt outs and transfers, can the Cougars pull off the upset?
Washington State Vs. Fresno State Odds
Before the opt outs and transfers, oddsmakers were heavily in favor of Washington State winning this bowl game. Initially opening at -4.5, the Cougars have now seen their odds flip once bettors got a hold of the news. Now sitting as a +3 underdog, it will be interesting to see how high this number climbs as more players opt out of this game.
The spread wasn’t the only number heavily affected by the player news as oddsmakers initially had this as a high scoring affair by setting the opening number at 57.5. With key playmakers sitting out, bettors have been quick to hammer the under by taking this as low as 52.5. This comes at the expectation of WSU being unable to contribute much to the total while losing key weapons at the receiver position.
Washington State Vs. Fresno State Prediction & Pick
The Pick: Fresno State -3
After the opt outs and turnover news for Washington State, this line has moved drastically towards Fresno State but still has some value left in the number for a small wager. Sitting at the key number of -3, I will put a half unit on Fresno State at no higher than the current number. The Cougars go into this one without three starting linebackers and two productive receivers.
The loss of the three linebackers bodes especially well for Fresno State who runs as one of the most efficient offenses in the nation. Of those three missing linebackers, two of them led the team in tackles. That is a massive blow for a defense who will need to make open field tackles to limit the Fresno offensive production as much as possible.
While not explosive whatsoever with near the bottom of the barrel ranks in Off Explosiveness, the Fresno State offense is as efficient as it gets with standard down success. They are top-25 in both Rush and Pass Success Rate and base their success with downfield drives that result in points on the board once they pass the forty-yard line.
As well as losing key tackling abilities at the most important position, the Cougars secondary coverage also takes a hit as that now leaves the middle wide open for Jake Haener to pick apart. They already struggled to contain Def Pass Explosiveness before the opt outs, now being even more vulnerable for large gains across the middle should they fail to shut down the cross routes.
Jake Haener was robbed of a full season when he went down with an injury to USC, a game they could have kept scoring pace with if he was in. Now he gets an opportunity to end on a high note with his rocket arm leading the way. Haener finished the season with 2,616 yards, 18 touchdowns, and three interceptions.
Washington State Vs. Fresno State Key Matchups
Can the Fresno State ground game give them a much-needed versatile attack to help their scoring production?
Fresno State ground game vs Washington State rush defense
While Jake Haener has garnered much of the praise for the elite Fresno offensive play, their ground game has put together a sneaky successful season by ending the season ranked 24th in Off Rush Success Rate.
Running back Jordan Mims has run wild all season, finishing with 1,161 yards and an unreal 16 touchdowns on the ground. He’s used primarily in the ground game as he failed to crack 100 receiving yards on 19 receptions.
He’s poised for another big game should he find success in getting to the secondary level with a depleted linebacker unit to bring him down. Washington State already struggled to defend the run, finishing the season ranked 104th in Def Rush Success Rate.
Whether the offensive success comes from Jake Haener or Jordan Mims, the Fresno State offense should have zero issue moving the ball down the field and putting up points on the board. Grab them at no higher than -3 in what will be an intriguing bowl matchup.