Nevada Vs. WMU Odds: Coaching Changes, Opt-Outs Prompt Wild Betting Line Move For Quick Lane Bowl

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Kaleb Eleby and Western Michigan have become TD favorites over Nevada in the Quick Lane Bowl (Photo by Steven King/Icon Sportswire)

After opening as 6.5-point underdogs, the Western Michigan Broncos have become 7-point favorites on oddsboards against the Nevada Wolfpack in Monday’s Quick Lane Bowl (11 a.m. ET, ESPN). Line movement for bowl games is not unusual, but a point spread move like this is remarkable.

Coaching changes, opt-outs, and transfers have prompted the dramatic adjustments to the betting line.

NEVA Nevada vs WMIC Western Michigan Odds NCAAF Odds

NCAAF · Mon (12/27) @ 11:00am ET

NEVA Nevada at WMIC Western Michigan
Ford Field, Detroit , MI

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Nevada Wolfpack (8-4 SU, 8-3-1 ATS)

When Nevada takes the field Monday in Detroit, the Wolfpack will be a shell of the team that played during the regular season. Coaching changes, opt-outs, and transfers have gutted the roster and staff.

It is not unusual for teams to lose their head coach before a bowl game, but Nevada lost more than just coach Jay Norvell. Both coordinators have moved on to other schools, as have several position coaches (offensive line, tight ends, wide receivers, and special teams).

The only offensive coach remaining, running backs coach Vai Taua, has been named interim head coach for the game. He played his college ball at Nevada and has been on the Nevada coaching staff since 2017.

The coaching departures are just part of the problem.

Two-time Mountain West Offensive Player of the Year Carson Strong opted out to prepare for the NFL Draft (he’s projected to be a potential first-round pick). An elite group of receivers has lost four of its top five. The No. 1 receiver, Romeo Doubs, has yet to make it official, but it will be surprising if he plays. Tight end Cole Turner, the second-leading receiver this season, has opted out.

Around 15-20 players have entered the transfer portal, including several linemen (offensive and defensive), a few linebackers, a couple of defensive backs, a running back, and a tight end. Without much depth to replace the lost starters, it is hard to say what the team will look like come game time.

Quick Lane Bowl Full Sportsbook Odds

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Western Michigan Broncos (7-5 SU, 5-6-1 ATS)

Western Michigan’s issues pale in comparison to its Quick Lane Bowl opponents. The Broncos have lost just two players to the transfer portal.

Both players did play a role in the offense’s success this season. Jaylen Hall ranked second on the team in receptions (46) and yards (752). Tight end Anthony Torres chipped in 12 catches for 107 yards in the six games he played.

QB Kaleb Eleby threw for over 3,000 yards and 21 TDs this season, and the team still has its No. 1 wide receiver, Skyy Moore, and No. 3 guy Corey Crooms. Moore had as many receptions as Hall and Crooms (43 receptions for 694 yards) combined; Crooms had five touchdowns on the season to three for Hall.

Losing a talented player is never a good thing, no matter the reason, but the Broncos appear to have enough depth to make up for the absence of both.

Betting Analysis

Nate Cox is making his first start at quarterback for Nevada; he went 14-20 for 158 yards and a touchdown in limited time this season. He’ll have a solid tandem of running backs but a patchwork offensive line and a ton of inexperienced receivers to throw to.

With the coaching staff severely depleted, it is hard to imagine the offense getting up to speed in time for the game. Look for Nevada to run early and often. However, Western Michigan is a good team and will control the game by halftime.

Still, with this massive line move, value is difficult to find, as the exodus from Nevada has been priced into the number. Lay the points at your own peril.

About the Author
Travis Pulver

Travis Pulver

Writer and Contributor
Travis Pulver is a Senior Writer for Gaming Today and a lifelong football fan, something he says comes naturally having been born in the football-crazy state of Texas. Through the years, his love of sports has extended into baseball, basketball, golf, and rugby. Life currently finds him in Indiana with his wife and two kids.

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