The Purdue Boilermakers travel to Reno next Friday to battle the Nevada Wolfpack in Week 1 of the 2019-20 college football season. Kickoff is set for 9:30 PM EST on August 30th at Mackay Stadium and the game will be televised on the CBS Sports Network.
Taking a look at the Week 1 college football odds, Nevada opened as a 8.5-point home underdog earlier this week. That line has moved by over a full point after early betting, as the Wolfpack are currently listed at +10. The total for the game is sitting at 58.5 points.
Vegas Betting Preview & Game Odds: Nevada vs Purdue
Purdue had a pretty solid season last year, going 6-7 overall to finish tied for second in the Big Ten West Division. The Boilermakers also appeared in their third straight bowl game, although it certainly wasn’t their best showing as they got destroyed 64-14 by Auburn. Perhaps the most memorable moment of the season for Purdue came in mid-October, as their shocking 49-20 beat down of #2 overall Ohio State received a ton of attention nationwide. There are a few question marks surrounding the Boilermakers on offense this year, as former starting QB David Blough has moved on to the NFL leaving Elijah Sindelar as the next man up on the depth chart. Sindelar’s experience splitting reps with Blough a few years ago should help him transition seamlessly into the full-time starters job, as he passed for over 2,000 yards and 18 touchdowns while also impressing many with his arm strength. Rondale Moore will also have a chance to shine again after he posted 2,215 total yards as a freshman in 2018. Moore is definitely an all purpose threat, as he can hurt opposing teams through the air, on the ground, and even in the return game.
The Boilermakers had their share of struggles defensively last year, as opponents averaged a healthy 30.0 points per game (82nd overall) on 452.6 total yards (113th overall). They were especially bad against the pass, giving up 284.7 yards per game through the air – the third highest average in the entire nation.
Nevada also played quite well last season, going 8-5 overall to finish second in the Mountain West Conference behind Fresno State. The Wolf Pack even managed to beat Arkansas State in the Arizona Bowl, delighting the partisan crowd with a 16-13 victory. Redshirt freshman QB Carson Strong impressed the coaching staff enough in camp to beat out Last Chance U hopeful Malik Henry for the starting job. Strong should get a ton of help on offense from electrifying RB Toa Taua, who rushed for 872 yards and six touchdowns last season. While Taua will likely carry the bulk of the load offensively, Strong could have a big year if he can find chemistry with receivers Kaleb Fossum and Romeo Doubs.
Like Purdue, Nevada also struggled at times on defense during the 2018 season, allowing their opponents to score an average of 26.9 points per game (63rd overall). The Wolfpack defense was repeatedly exposed through the air, as they gave up a very troubling 245.5 passing yards per game (89th overall).
NCAA Football Betting Predictions & Free Pick: Purdue -10
I thought that the Boilermakers offered a ton of value when they opened up at -8.5, but the line quickly grew to double digits after early bettors were clearly all over Purdue in this matchup. Even still, I think that a line of -10 is certainly quite reasonable, especially considering the situation at the quarterback position for both teams. While Blough will be missed, Sindelar has shown in the past that he has what it takes to be a starter at this level. On the other side, nobody knows quite what to expect from a true redshirt freshman that has yet to play a down. While getting to play at home in front of a raucous crowd is usually an adavantage, Carson Strong might have some extra nerves in this one and could even have some slight growing pains while adjusting to FBS play.
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Purdue also has performed quite well against the spread on the road as of late, going a very impressive 14-6 over their last 20 games. Mountain West teams often have a tough time playing outside of their conference, and Nevada is certainly no exception, as they are only 2-6 in their last eight non-conference games. Throw in the fact that Rondale Moore is arguably one of the top offensive threats in the country, and I really like the Boilermakers to figure out a way to win the first game of their season by at least double digits. Give me Purdue!