With a little more than half of the college football bowl season in the books, the Arizona games finally kick off Tuesday.
In the past few weeks, college and professional sports teams have been dealing with missing players and postponements because of precautions related to COVID-19. On Monday, those issues finally caught up with the Arizona bowl schedule.
The Barstool Arizona Bowl announced its cancelation Monday after Boise State, with a rising number of COVID cases, pulled out of the game. Instead of playing in Tucson, Central Michigan opted to travel four hours to play Washington State in the Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl in El Paso on Friday. The Sun Bowl had an opening when Miami withdrew from the game Sunday.
Despite all the turmoil from COVID, coaching changes and transfer portal defections, the odds for the remaining two bowl games in Arizona and the one game involving Arizona State have remained fairly steady at Arizona sports betting apps.
Here’s our updated Arizona-centric bowl guide.
Guaranteed Rate Bowl
West Virginia vs. Minnesota, Dec. 28, 8:15 p.m. Chase Field, ESPN
The first bowl game to kick off in the Grand Canyon State pits the Mountaineers against the Golden Gophers in a Big 12-Big Ten showdown.
The current lines are basically unchanged in the three weeks since the matchup was announced. BetMGM Arizona lists Minnesota at -5 (-110), while DraftKings Sportsbook Arizona also has the Golden Gophers at -5 (-110).
For those looking to put down a moneyline wager, BetMGM Arizona and DraftKings Sportsbook Arizona both have Minnesota at -200.
The over/under has dropped between a half-point and a full point, with both BetMGM Arizona and DraftKings listing the game at 44.5 (-110).
The biggest change in the last few weeks for the 8-4 Golden Gophers is the announcement of a new offensive coordinator. Kirk Ciarrocca was hired as Minnesota’s offensive coordinator a day after the bowl announcement was made. He was the Gophers OC from 2017 to 2019 before moving to Penn State, where he only lasted one season. He spent the 2021 season at West Virginia as an offensive analyst. He won’t coach with Minnesota in the Guarantee Rate Bowl.
The 6-6 Mountaineers averaged 256.9 yards per game through the air and may be even more pass happy Tuesday night without leading rusher Leddie Brown. The senior, who rushed for more than 1,000 yards in 2021, opted out of the game in mid-December to focus on the NFL Draft.
SRS Distribution Las Vegas Bowl
Arizona State vs. Wisconsin, Dec. 30, Allegiant Stadium, Las Vegas, 8:30 p.m., ESPN
The Sun Devils return to a bowl game for the fourth time in five seasons (missing out during 2020’s COVID-19 shortened campaign), facing off against the Badgers in Las Vegas.
BetMGM Arizona has the line at -6.5 (-110) in favor of the Badgers. Wisconsin is a 6-point favorite at DraftKings Sportsbook Arizona.
Arizona sportsbooks have moved the moneyline in recent days, with Wisconsin falling from a high of -300 to -250 at BetMGM, while ASU is down from +230 to +200. At DraftKings, Wisconsin is now -220, while the Sun Devils are +180. The over/under remains 42 total points (-110) on both sites.
The Sun Devils (8-4) won three of their last four games, including a 38-15 blowout of rival Arizona in the season finale, but will be significantly shorthanded in Las Vegas.
ASU senior running back Rachaad White, who rushed for 1,006 yards, is one of six key players who will not play in the bowl game. White has opted out to prepare for the draft, while second-leading RB DeaMonte Trayanum (402 yards, 6 TDs) is transferring from the program.
The Sun Devils will also be without cornerbacks Chase Lucas and Jack Jones, who tied for the team lead in passes defensed. Jones also had three interceptions and a sack this season. Both players are preparing for the NFL Draft. Linebacker Darien Butler, the team’s second-leading tackler, also opted out.
The Badgers (8-4), who had their seven-game winning streak and a chance to play for a Big Ten title erased in a 23-13 loss at Minnesota to end the regular season, are only expected to be without one starter in the game — fullback John Chenal. Wisconsin, however, will be without various key contributors due to injury.
Barstool Arizona Bowl
Central Michigan vs. Boise State, canceled
Before Monday’s cancelation, the biggest story surrounding Tucson’s lone bowl game was its title sponsor. The bowl teamed up with Barstool Sports for its sponsorship, in addition to having Barstool stream the game live on its website and mobile app.
The Chippewas (8-4) will now travel from Arizona to West Texas to face a Pac-12 opponent.
For Central Michigan fans already in Arizona who want to wager on their team, they will find slightly better odds against Washington State than against Boise.
DraftKings Sportsbook Arizona has the Chippewas as a 7.5-point underdog (Boise State was an 8-point favorite (-110) last week after opening at -10).
The moneylines are +220 for Central Michigan and -280 for Washington State, while the over/under is 56.5 total points.
The Chippewas and coach Jim McElwain are looking for their first bowl win since 2012.
PlayStation Fiesta Bowl
Oklahoma State vs. Notre Dame, Jan. 1, 11 a.m., State Farm Stadium, ESPN
This year’s Fiesta Bowl is outside the College Football Playoff lineup, but hasn’t dealt with some of the transfer issues of other non-playoff bowl games.
For 11-1 Notre Dame, it might be the Marcus Freeman effect. Freeman will be coaching his first game for the Fighting Irish after replacing Brian Kelly, who left for LSU.
Freeman, who was promoted to the job after one year as Notre Dame’s defensive coordinator, has brought a jolt of enthusiasm to the program.
Notre Dame remains a favorite in the game, back to -2.5 after slipping to -1.5 (-110) last week at BetMGM Arizona. The Irish are up half a point to -2.5 (-110) at DraftKings Sportsbook Arizona.
On the moneyline, Notre Dame is steady at -135 on BetMGM Arizona and DraftKings Sportsbook Arizona.
The 11-2 Cowboys, coming off a Big 12 title game loss to Baylor, won with defense this season, allowing 20 points or less eight times. But OSU will be without defensive coordinator Jim Knowles, who left for the same job at Ohio State shortly after the bowl selections were made.