Last Updated Dec 29, 2021, 7:00 PM

Las Vegas Bowl Picks, Predictions and Odds: Wisconsin vs. Arizona State

Dec. 30, 2021
Jonathan Willis
VI Betting Expert

Sin City hosts the Las Vegas Bowl as the Wisconsin Badgers take on the Arizona State Sun Devils. Opening kick is slated for 10:30 p.m. ET and will air on ESPN from Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Score Prediction

Wisconsin 27, Arizona State 17

Best Bets

Wisconsin -5.5 (-110) at WynnBet

Las Vegas Bowl Predictions

A city known for glitz and glamour won’t have much of that in its bowl game as the Las Vegas Bowl has the lowest total of any bowl game this season. Neither the Wisconsin Badgers nor the Arizona State Sun Devils have a prolific offense, but both these defenses are very good. That means we are unlikely to see many touchdowns on Thursday night in Sin City.

We won’t see too many points in this game. However, the total is a bit too low. Arizona State has three defensive starters opting out to prepare for the NFL Draft, so Graham Mertz should have more success than you might expect from watching him throughout the year. Wisconsin will be able to control the clock and win by more than one score.

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Las Vegas Bowl Betting Resources

  • Matchup: Big 10 vs. Pac-12
  • Date: Thursday, December 30, 2021
  • Venue: Allegiant Stadium
  • Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
  • TV-Time: ESPN, 10:30 p.m. ET

Wisconsin Badgers Betting Analysis

Straight Up - SU, Against the Spread - ATS, Over-Under (O/U)

  • SU: 8-4
  • ATS: 6-6
  • O/U: 6-6

Braelon Allen is pretty underrated for a running back that surpassed 1,100 yards and found the end zone 12 times this season. The Big Ten had several sensational running backs, so Allen went under the radar despite averaging 7.1 YPC. The freshman is a big bruiser with a strong center of gravity at 6’2 and 238 pounds, and Wisconsin has three all-conference offensive linemen blocking for Allen.

If Mertz had lived up to the hype, Wisconsin would have been a Big Ten contender this season. However, Mertz continues to struggle mightily under center. He was sensational in his first two starts for the Badgers in 2020, but he has thrown just 11 touchdown passes with 15 interceptions since that point. His only two games with multiple touchdown passes this season came against Rutgers and Northwestern.

Mertz’s favorite target is First Team All-Big Ten tight end Jake Ferguson. He had 43 receptions for 417 yards and two touchdowns this season, and he was one of just four players with more than seven receptions on Wisconsin this season.

The Badgers have the best or second-best defense in the country by most measures. Wisconsin ranks first in run defense, allowing 2.2 YPC and 65.8 YPG on the ground. Linebackers Leo Chenal and Jack Sanborn were First Team All-Big Ten picks, but safety Collin Wilder suffered a season-ending injury in practice earlier this month.

Arizona State Sun Devils Betting Analysis

Straight Up - SU, Against the Spread - ATS, Over-Under (O/U)

  • SU: 8-4
  • ATS: 5-7
  • O/U: 5-6-1

Jayden Daniels has not developed like Herm Edwards was hoping he would during his time at Arizona State. Daniels had a fantastic freshman season in 2019, but he has regressed as a passer in each of the last two years. He is completing more passes than he did earlier in his career, but his YPA is down, and he threw four touchdown passes against six interceptions in his last five games.

Arizona State won’t have its top two running backs for this game. Rachaad White is leaving early to enter the NFL Draft, and DeaMonte Trayanum announced he was transferring to Ohio State earlier this week. Daniels is the leading active rusher, and Daniyel Ngata will get the bulk of the carries with White and Trayanum unavailable.

The only receiver to keep an eye on in the passing game is Ricky Pearsall. He led the Sun Devils with 44 receptions for 515 yards and four touchdowns this season. Senior tight end Curtis Hodges is a red zone target though at 6’8.

This Arizona State defense ranked 24th in total defense and 19th in scoring defense during the regular season. The Sun Devils have two all-conference defensive linemen in Tyler Johnson and D.J. Davidson, but linebacker Darien Butler and starting cornerbacks Jack Jones and Chase Lucas have decided not to play in this game.

Inside the Stats - Wisconsin Badgers

  • Record: 8-4
  • VI Ranking: 29
  • Points Scored: 310
  • Points Allowed: 197
  • PS/G: 25.8 (84th)
  • PA/G: 16.4 (6th)

Inside the Stats - Arizona State Sun Devils

  • Record: 8-4
  • VI Ranking: 57
  • Points Scored: 356
  • Points Allowed: 251
  • PS/G: 29.7 (54th)
  • PA/G: 20.9 (24th)

Key Players to Watch

  • WIS: Graham Mertz - QB (158/269, 1,821 yards, 9 TD, 10 INT)
  • WIS: Braelon Allen - RB (157 carries, 1,109 yards, 12 TD)
  • AZST: Jayden Daniels - QB (186/280, 2,221 yards, 10 TD, 9 INT)
  • AZST: Rachaad White - RB (182 carries, 1,000 yards, 15 TD)

Las Vegas Bowl Betting Conclusion

It’s going to be hard for Arizona State to score points on this Wisconsin defense. The Badgers won’t have a ton of success on offense, but they will be able to move the chains with some success and get the cover.

Las Vegas Bowl Betting Trends

  • Wisconsin has covered the spread in three of its last four games away from Madison.
  • Arizona State has failed to cover the spread in four of its last five games away from Tempe.
  • Arizona State has failed to cover the spread in six straight games when facing a non-AP-ranked school on a Thursday.
  • Arizona State has gone UNDER the point total in four straight games when facing a non-AP-ranked school on a Thursday.

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