The Nevada Wolf Pack athletic department could not have imagined, back when they offered Toledo 6-digits for an ordinary out-of-conference visit in 2017, that the joke might be on them.
MAC teams are usually good choices for early-season tune-ups. But not Toledo. The Rockets have not only been an annual conference contender and thorn in Western Michigan’s side for several seasons, but look potentially just as strong in ’17 despite losing Kareem Hunt to the NFL.
Nevada, meanwhile, opened its season with a ho-hum 31-20 loss to Northwestern.
Who: Toledo Rockets at Nevada Wolf Pack
When: Saturday, September 9th, 7 PM EST
Where: Mackay Stadium, Reno, NV
Lines: Toledo (-9.5) at Nevada (+9.5) / O/U Total: (70)
The spread opened at (10.5) and has come down a full point on most sports books. Do bettors think the Wolf Pack will at least hang around?
Nevada QB Ty Gangi will need to play better if it’s going to happen. Gangi completed only 43 percent of his passes in the opener. His counterpart, Logan Woodside, is an ace. Woodside might have been in the top 5 mid-major QBs in 2016, recording 4,129 yards passing and and 45 touchdowns.
There is more to the game than quarterbacking. But Nevada may not be able to pressure Woodside. The Wolf Pack did not generate much in the way of pocket-hurries or sacks in the opener, and Toledo’s OL starts 3 seniors.
Nevada coach Jay Norvell may try to implement a ball-control game plan. But if the Rockets, who have a strong LB corps led by all-MAC stud Ja’Wuan Woodley, will probably not allow more than 150-175 rushing yards.
At (70) points the O/U indicates that bookies and bettors think this game will be a shoot-out. Perhaps it will be, but that puts the advantage squarely in Toledo’s favor with Woodside throwing to a talented WR group.
There could be value in the over. But we’re calling this one ATS for Toledo. Look for Norvell’s squad to keep the score tight in the 1st half, before being out-executed by a swift and superior attack in the 2nd.