No bowl spread has changed more since Selection Sunday than the Quick Lane Bowl on December 27 from Detroit featuring Western Michigan against Nevada. Which way to lean at BMR’s top-rated sportsbooks?
Western Michigan Broncos vs. Nevada Wolf Pack
Monday, December 27, 2021 – 11:00 AM EST at Ford Field
Two bowl games on Monday, December 27, and the first is a unique 11 a.m. EST kickoff from Ford Field, home of the NFL’s Detroit Lions, as Western Michigan of the Mid-American Conference faces Nevada of the Mountain West. That could be a tough kickoff time for the Wolf Pack as they are from the Mountain Time Zone.
Not that there will be many fans in attendance, but surely it will be mostly those backing the Broncos, whose campus in Kalamazoo is about 140 miles from Detroit.
This bowl has only been in existence since 2014 and neither team has played in it. Mid-American Conference schools are 0-3 all-time at BMR’s top-rated books in the Quick Lane Bowl. Nevada is the first Mountain West school in it.
The 2020 Quick Lane Bowl was canceled. Western Michigan and Nevada meet for the first time.
Eleby Leads High-Powered WMU Offense
Western Michigan (7-5) did play another Mountain West school this season, beating visiting San José State 23-3 on September, 25. SJSU lost at Nevada 27-24 on Nov. 6. The Broncos also had one of the more unlikely wins of this entire regular season, knocking off eventual ACC champion Pittsburgh 44-41 on September, 18.
There’s no question that the Broncos can score behind second-team All-MAC quarterback Kaleb Eleby and star receiver Skyy Moore, who was named first-team all-conference. Eleby has passed for 3,115 yards, 21 touchdowns and just five picks this season while also rushing for five scores. Moore has 91 receptions, 1,256 receiving yards, and 10 touchdowns.
All rank in the Top 10 of the Western Michigan single-season receiving records. He has eight 100-yard games in 2021 and five with at least 10 catches. The Broncos average 30.8 ppg.
The defense is not great, allowing 28.6 ppg despite having the MAC Defensive Player of the Year in lineman Ali Fayad. He has 35 tackles, 11.5 sacks, eight QB hurries, and two forced fumbles. WMU has been decent against the run, ranking second in the MAC.
Western Michigan makes its 11th all-time bowl appearance and is just 1-9 SU on the NCAAF picks. That win came under current Minnesota coach P.J. Fleck in the 2015 Bahamas Bowl.
Will the Wolf Pack Play Strong?
Nevada (8-4) didn’t play a Mid-American Conference opponent during the regular season. The Wolf Pack have lost their head coach, Jay Norvell, to Colorado State. Assistant coach Vai Taua will serve as the interim coach for the bowl game, but the new full-time coach will be former Oregon co-defensive coordinator Ken Wilson. He previously spent 19 seasons coaching at Nevada, including five seasons as assistant head coach and four as defensive coordinator.
The reason this NCAAF betting spread has gone bonkers, opening at Nevada -6.5 and now Western Michigan -3.5 is because it’s thought that star Wolf Pack quarterback Carson Strong will not play and we know for sure his star tight end Cole Turner, several receivers, starting right guard Gray Davis and second-team All-Mountain West linebacker Daiyan Henley will not.
Strong is going to be a first-round NFL draft pick and was named Mountain West Offensive Player of the Year for the second straight year. Strong led the MW’s top offense (36.7 ppg) and set a school record in passing touchdowns with 36 and is second in Nevada history with 4,1786 passing yards.
He finished the regular season thirds nationally in completions per game (30.4), fifth in passing yards per game (347.9), sixth in passing touchdowns (36), and eighth in completion percentage (70.9) and total offense (330.6).
Turner was one of the nation’s top tight ends, catching 62 passes for 677 yards and 10 scores. While a few receivers already have entered the transfer portal, we still don’t know if No. 1 wideout Romeo Doubs (80 catches, 1,109 yards, 11 TDs) will play in the bowl or not.
This marks Nevada’s 19th bowl appearance and the school is 7-11 on the college football odds in the previous 18. The Wolf Pack have won three of their past four bowl games, including 38-27 over Tulane last year in the Potato Bowl when Strong threw for 271 yards and five scores to earn game MVP honors.
We are going to pick this game as if Strong and Doubs are not playing. If they do play, grab the points on Nevada immediately.
*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.