Ball State at San Jose State: 12/31/20 College Football Picks and Prediction

Ball State at San Jose State: 12/31/20 College Football Picks and Prediction Photo by Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

San Jose State Spartans (7-0) vs Ball State Cardinals (6-1)

Game Info: Thursday, December 31, 2020 at 2:00 pm (Arizona Stadium)

Betting Odds: San Jose State Spartans -8 -- Over/Under: 55.5 Click Here for the Latest Odds

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The Ball State Cardinals and 22nd ranked San Jose State Spartans will square off at Arizona Stadium on December 31st in the Arizona Bowl.

The Ball State Cardinals finished their regular season with an overall record of 6-1 while finishing MAC-West play with a 5-1 conference record. Ball State started off the season with a 38-31 loss to the Miami-OH RedHawks, however, the Cardinals were able to reel off 5 straight wins including fighting back from a 27-13 deficit in the regular season finale against Western Michigan to earn a spot in the MAC Championship. Ball State came into the MAC Championship as heavy underdogs, however, has one of their best defensive performances of the season and was able to win the championship after defeating Buffalo by a 38-28 margin. Ball State will be looking for their first Bowl victory in their history as their 0-7 with their last Bowl appearance being in the 2013 GoDaddy Bowl in which they lost to the Arkansas State Red Wolves, 23-20.

On the season, Ball State is averaging 34.3 ppg on 453.7 total yards per game (276.7 passing yds/g; 177.0 rushing yds/g). Offensively, Ball State has been led by QB Drew Plitt who has completed 65.8% of his passes for 1,937 yards, 16 TD, & 6 INT. The top receiving threats for the Cardinals have been Justin Hall (49 rec, 665 yards, 4 TD), Yo’Heinz Tyler (38 rec, 504 yards, 7 TD), Antwan Davis (36 rec, 403 yards, TD), and Jalen McGaughy (4 rec, 156 yards, 3 TD). Leading the way for the Ball State backfield has been the duo of Caleb Huntley (80 att, 437 yards, 6 TD) and Tye Evans (74 att, 344 yards, TD).

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Defensively, Ball State is allowing their opponents to average 27.6 ppg on 441.7 total yards per game (295.9 passing yds/g; 145.9 rushing yds/g).

The 22nd ranked San Jose State Spartans finished their regular season with a perfect 7-0 record which including going 6-0 in Mountain West play. San Jose State picked up a nice 30-20 win in their regular season finale against Nevada and although being underdogs in the Mountain West Championship against Boise State, the Spartans dominated the Broncos and a 34-20 victory. San Jose State has a 7-3 overall record in their 10 Bowl appearances and will be appearing in their first Bowl game since 2015 when they defeated Georgia State by a 27-16 margin in the Cure Bowl.

On the season, San Jose State is averaging 30.9 ppg on 442.9 total yards per game (301.3 passing yds/g; 141.6 rushing yds/g). Offensively, San Jose State has been led by QB Nick Starkel who has completed 65.1% of his passes for 1,906 yards, 16 TD, & 4 INT. The top receiving threats for the Spartans have been Bailey Gaither (41 rec, 725 yards, 4 TD), Tre Walker (38 rec, 546 yards, 4 TD), Derrick Deese Jr. (19 rec, 239 yards, 5 TD), and Isaiah Hamilton (10 rec, 167 yards, 2 TD). Leading the way for the San Jose State backfield has been Tyler Nevens (59 att, 478 yards, 5 TD) and Kairee Robinson (73 att, 285 yards, 2 TD).

Defensively, San Jose State is holding their opponents to an average of 17.9 ppg on 336.9 total yards per game (227.1 passing yds/g; 109.7 rushing yds/g).

The Cardinals are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games overall and 10-1 ATS in their last 11 games vs. a team with a winning record. The Spartans are 6-0 ATS in their last 6 games in December and 12-3-2 ATS in their last 17 games overall.

Ball State was able to pull off a great victory against a very good Buffalo team, however, the Cardinals are not going to have an easy time generating offense against a San Jose State team that comes into this game ranked 13th in scoring defense, 16th in rushing defense, & 60th in passing defense. San Jose State has some solid offensive weapons led by QB Nick Starkel and as I think the Spartans will be able to win the battle on both sides of the ball, I expect a double-digit victory from the Spartans and that they cover this spread. Good Luck!

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Brett’s Pick San Jose State Spartans -8

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The pick in this article is the opinion of the writer, not a PickDawgz site consensus.

Mitch's Take...

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