Tempe is about 300 miles from Las Vegas, but the Arizona State Sun Devils might be thinking of the late December Las Vegas Bowl as a home game. ASU is making its third appearance in the game and its second in three seasons.
The Sun Devils (8-4) will meet Wisconsin (8-4) on Dec. 30 in a game that will air on ESPN, and, according to the opening betting odds, they likely will be underdogs when the game kicks off. For the first time, the Las Vegas Bowl will be played at Allegiant Stadium — a beautiful domed facility located west of Mandalay Bay. Allegiant Stadium seats 65,000 fans and is home to the Las Vegas Raiders of the NFL.
It’s worth noting that in 2013, these two schools met in the regular season and produced a bizarre ending. Thanks to a “non-kneel” by the Wisconsin QB in the final seconds of that 2013 game, the Sun Devils escaped with a win.
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Las Vegas Bowl Preview
This game will be a clash of styles. The Badgers have the top-ranked defense in college football, having allowed fewer than 250 yards of offense per game. The Sun Devils averaged just under 400 yards per game on offense, fueled by RB Rachaad White and QB Jayden Daniels, who can be dangerous with his arm and his feet.
But, White won’t be in uniform for the Las Vegas Bowl, having opted out of playing his final collegiate game to prepare for the NFL Draft. That means Wisconsin will see a lot of redshirt freshman RB Daniyel Ngata, who has shown flashes of promise this season when his number has been called.
Expect Daniels to shoulder much of the workload with his top runner out of the game. That can be a good thing as Daniels has 34 runs of at least 10 yards in 2021.
ASU also has a solid defensive unit under head coach Herm Edwards and defensive coordinator Antonio Pierce, who lifted the Devils to 25th in the nation in total defense. The improvement on the defensive side was clear last week when ASU allowed 15 points in a victory over rival Arizona.
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Las Vegas Bowl Betting Odds And Selection
- BetMGM Arizona has Wisconsin as an early 7-point favorite.
- ASU is listed at +230 on the moneyline at BetMGM and at +220 at FanDuel Arizona.
- Daniels struggles to take care of the football. He has thrown nine interceptions and has lost two fumbles.
The Sun Devils won their last time out in a bowl game under Edwards, who has now qualified ASU for a bowl game in each of his four seasons, but their offense will face their toughest test of the season against Wisconsin. The Badgers stuff the middle of the field on the defensive side and feature a quick defensive back unit. Once a Badger gets his hands on the ball carrier, the ball carrier usually doesn’t get loose.
Edwards may be famous for his “you play to win the game” comment, but for you as a sports bettor, there are opportunities to win even if the Sun Devils lose.
Take the points and bet on ASU on the point spread. This game will be low-scoring and a tight contest that ASU could win outright. Even if the Devils fail, it will be close.