The college football bowl season is upon us. With 39 games spread out over the next two and a half weeks there is plenty of opportunity to add a little bonus to your holiday gift pile. Our bowl picks series will let you know who we think will come out on top against the spread. All lines and totals courtesy of Sportsline. Find all our picks here. All lines are as of the date of publication.
Foster Farms Bowl
Purdue (6-6) vs. Arizona (7-5)
Spread: Arizona -4
Spread: Rich Rodriguez found his perfect QB this year when he handed the reins over to sophomore Khalil Tate full-time in Week 5 against Colorado. Immediately, the offense took off and Tate exploded onto the national scene. Tate’s ability as a runner is crazy, as he racked up over 1,300 yards on just 133 carries with a 10 yards per carry average. Combine his running ability with backs J.J. Taylor and Nick Wilson and you’ve got a potent, multi-faceted run game that poses problems for opposing defenses. Tate was held under wraps in the final two games of the year against Oregon and Arizona State as he carried just 22 times for 60 combined yards in those games. He’s also dealing with a shoulder injury, and while he should play, he’s not going to be 100 percent. As good as Arizona’s offense has been, the defense has struggled, allowing 34 points and 467 yards per game.
Jeff Brohm’s first season at the helm at Purdue was a success as he went 6-6 with a team that was just 3-9 last season. The offense didn’t improve much, but the defense showed significant improvement allowing 19.3 points and 372 yards per game. They were stingy against the run (133.7 YPG 3.6 YPC) which makes this battle against Tate and company particularly interesting. The only team they faced that had a similar run-threat at the QB spot was Louisville and Lamar Jackson to open the year and Jackson rolled up 485 total yards on them. They’ve toggled QBs this season, between David Blough and Elijah Sindelar but Sindelar started the final three games and appears to be the guy. The running backs have largely been by committee with four guys getting 40 or more carries this season. The good news is, they’re facing an Arizona defense that couldn’t really stop opponents this season so the offense could get going a bit in this one.
In terms of records ATS this season, Purdue went 8-4 while Arizona was an even 6-6. The Boilermakers were 4-2 as an underdog while Arizona was 3-2 as a favorite. Arizona has failed to cover in three of their last four while Purdue has covered in three of four. Purdue +4
Total: As you would probably assume, Arizona was good at hitting the over this season, going 8-4 against the total on the year. Purdue, because of their defense and light-scoring offense, was just 3-9. This number is high because of the explosiveness of Arizona’s offense combined with their below average scoring defense, but I’m not sure that Khalil Tate and company are going to put enough points on the board to go over 65. Under 65