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Wager this: Odds for the opening Saturday of the 2018-19 college football bowl season

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Fresno State has been covering as a favorite of late, while bowl opponent Arizona State has troubling trends both against the Mountain West and at this time of the year.

The Fresno State Bulldogs, with Marcus McMaryion behind center and a stout defense, are 4.5-point favorites against the Arizona State Sun Devils with a 53.5-point total on the Mitsubishi Motors Las Vegas Bowl odds on Saturday at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

The Bulldogs go into the game at Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas with a record of 4-4 against the spread over their last 18 games, That sample includes an 8-3 against the spread (ATS) record as a favorite this season. The Sun Devils are 2-10 ATS in their last 12 games in December and are also 1-6 ATS in their last seven games against the Mountain West.

Fresno State has had the total go under in five consecutive games with an average total of 41.6. Arizona State will not have star wide receiver N'Keal Harry, who is sitting out to avoid injury before the NFL draft, so the Sun Devils might have issues finishing drives against the nation’s No. 2 scoring defense.

Elsewhere on the opening weekend of the college football bowl season:

TULANE (6-6) vs. LOUISIANA (7-6)
The Tulane Green Wave are 3.5-point favorites at sports betting sites against the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns with a 59-point total in the AutoNation Cure Bowl at Camping World Stadium in Orlando. In a matchup of run-first offenses, it’s notable that the Green Wave allows a full yard less per carry than their Cajun counterparts. Tulane has not covered in its last three games, but is 8-2 ATS after consecutive ATS losses. The total has gone UNDER in five of Tulane’s last six games, with an average combined score of 51.83 points.

UTAH STATE (10-2) vs. NORTH TEXAS (9-3)
The Utah State Aggies are 7.5-point favorites against the North Texas Mean Green with a 68-point total on the New Mexico Bowl odds at Dreamstyle Stadium in Albuquerque. Utah State will be operating without coach Matt Wells, who has left for Texas Tech, and could be thrown off. On paper, Aggies quarterback Jordan Love leads a potent offense and Utah State is also 8-2 ATS in its last 10 games as a favorite of 7 to 10 points. North Texas, which can also score in bunches with Mason Fine at quarterback, is 0-5 ATS in its last five games.

GEORGIA SOUTHERN (9-3) vs. EASTERN MICHIGAN (7-5)
The Georgia Southern Eagles are 2.5-point favorites against the Eastern Michigan Eagles with a 47.5-point total in the Raycom Media Camellia Bowl at the Cramton Bowl in Montgomery, Alabama. Georgia Southern and quarterback Shai Werts use the triple-option, which could negate the influence of Eastern Michigan’s fifth-ranked pass defense and leave it vulnerable in the ground game. The total has gone OVER in five of Georgia Southern’s last six games.

MIDDLE TENNESSEE STATE (8-5) vs. APPALACHIAN STATE (10-2)
The Appalachian State Mountaineers are 6.5-point favorites against the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders with a 50-point total on the R&L Carriers New Orleans Bowl odds at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Appalachian State is also under interim leadership, with Mark Ivey filling in, and the Mountaineers’ offense relies heavily on running back Darrynton Evans. Middle Tennessee, thanks to senior quarterback Brent Stockstill, has a decided edge in the passing game and is 6-1 SU and 5-1-1 ATS in its last seven games against Sun Belt teams. The total has gone UNDER in four of Appalachian State’s last five games.

For more odds information, betting picks and a breakdown of this week’s top sports betting news check out the OddsShark podcast with Jon Campbell and Andrew Avery. Subscribe on iTunes or Spotify or listen to it at OddsShark.libsyn.com

Blake Cashman becomes second Minnesota player to skip bowl game

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A second Minnesota football player has decided to end the collegiate portion of his playing career prematurely.

On Instagram Tuesday, Blake Cashman announced that, “after a lot of thought and discussions with people close to me,” he has decided he will not play in Minnesota’s Quick Lane Bowl matchup with Georgia Tech Dec. 26. “This was a very a hard decision for me, but I feel in my heart that getting a jump start on training will give me the best opportunity at the next level,” the linebacker wrote.

This season serves as the senior’s final year of eligibility.

Cashman currently leads the Gophers in tackles with 104 and is tied for the team lead in tackles for loss with 15.  His 2½ sacks are second on the team, while his five pass breakups are good for third.

Earlier this month, teammate and starting offensive tackle Donnell Greene also used Instagram to announce that he has signed with an agent and will not play in the Gophers’ bowl game.  Greene and Cashman are two of at least a baker’s dozen players who have sidelined themselves for their respective team’s bowl game.

  • West Virginia offensive tackle Yodny Cajuste (HERE)
  • Iowa tight end Noah Fant (HERE)
  • Michigan defensive lineman Rashan Gary
  • West Virginia quarterback Will Grier (HERE)
  • NC State wide receiver Kelvin Harmon (HERE)
  • Arizona State wide receiver N'Keal Harry (HERE)
  • Oklahoma State running back Justice Hill (HERE)
  • Houston defensive lineman Ed Oliver (HERE)
  • NC State linebacker Germaine Pratt (HERE)
  • South Carolina wide receiver Deebo Samuel (HERE)
  • LSU cornerback Greedy Williams (HERE)

True freshman Rondale Moore of Purdue wins Hornung Award

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In his very first game at the collegiate level, Rondale Moore broke Purdue’s single-game record for all-purpose yards.  So, it’s none too surprising — outside of his young age, of course — that the wide receiver has claimed an honor that goes to the nation’s most versatile player.

Tuesday, the Louisville Sports Commission announced that Moore has been named as the 2018 recipient of the Paul Hornung Award.  Moore, who played his high school football in the city of Louisville, is the first-ever true freshman to receive the award.

Moore is also the first Boilermaker football player to be on the receiving end of a major national honor since punter Travis Dorsch won the 2001 Ray Guy Award.

Moore beat out the other four finalists for the award: Marcus Green (Louisiana-Monroe), KJ Hamler (Penn State), N'Keal Harry (Arizona State) and Connor Heyward (Michigan State).

After the 313 all-purpose yards he put up in his collegiate debut, Moore also added 252 against Big Ten champion Ohio State.  He currently leads the Big Ten in receiving yards (1,164), receiving touchdowns (12) and kickoff return yards (599).

Arizona State WR N’Keal Harry going pro

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Following Rashan Gary‘s lead, Arizona State wide receiver N'Keal Harry has used the first weekday after the regular season to declare for the NFL draft.

Harry made the announcement through an Arizona State press release.

“I would like to express my gratitude to everyone who has supported me throughout this journey. These past three years have been filled with unforgettable memories that I will cherish for the rest of my life. It has truly been an honor to represent Arizona State University,” Harry said in a statement.

“This is something that I’ve dreamed about as long as I can remember and I’m extremely excited to see what the future holds.”

Harry ranked second in the Pac-12 in receiving yards, hauling in 73 passes for 1,088 yards and nine touchdowns. Checking in at 6-foot-4, Harry has a chance to be the first wide receiver off the board in the 2019 NFL draft.

Harry is unsure on whether he’ll participate in Arizona State’s to-be-determined bowl game.

Arizona State caps off thrilling fourth quarter rally to keep Territorial Cup over Arizona

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To say it’s been a disappointing season in Tucson is a bit of an understatement. Quarterback Khalil Tate entered 2018 on a Heisman Trophy push and new head coach Kevin Sumlin had many believing that a Pac-12 South title could be had in a wide-open division.

Well, just when you thought the team couldn’t go lower, they sunk even further in a stunning 41-40 loss to Arizona State on Saturday afternoon that will keep the Territorial Cup in Tempe as a result.

The Wildcats had led from the beginning of the game and entered the fourth quarter with a healthy 16 point lead and plenty of momentum. Tate, who has looked much healthier in the back end of the season than the beginning, was electric running around at times — throwing for three touchdowns and 282 yards while adding 46 more on the ground all told.

What he gave, however, Tate also took away. The signal-caller threw an interception in the fourth quarter and added a fumble on a handoff that was just the kind of match needed to spark a 19-point ASU rally down the stretch. Both of the turnovers came near his goal line that the Sun Devils then converted each into points the other way. By the time Eno Benjamin crossed the goal line with 3:08 left to put Herm Edwards’ crew in front, the meltdown in the desert was fully complete.

It’s not like the visitors from Tempe were doing all that much to take control of things before then either. QB Manny Wilkins threw for only 265 yards and a touchdown while nearly becoming the team’s leading rusher as well with 57 yards and another score. Benjamin finished the game with 80 hard-fought yards and three scores while it was a fairly quiet effort in potentially N'Keal Harry‘s final game after the top wideout caught four passes for 55 yards.

That’s not to say it will be Arizona State’s final game of the season as they moved to 7-5 in Edwards’ first season with a bowl game still to play. While the overall record for the Sun Devils was nearly identical to their mark last year, they did check off a few boxes with a big non-conference win over Michigan State earlier on and, more importantly, retain the Territorial Cup for another year.

As for Arizona, they will find themselves wondering what happened to their season as they let another victory slip through their hands to fall to 5-7. Not only will that keep the Wildcats out of a bowl game but it should prompt plenty of second-guessing in Tucson after a disastrous up-and-down campaign that was once filled with such promise.