The early betting lines have installed Nevada as a 9 1/2-point favorite over Boston College, according to OddsShark. Two sites already have the Wolf Pack as a double-digit favorite. If the line holds at game time it will be just the third time this season BC will be as significant an underdog this season -- N.C. State -9.5 and Florida State -21.5 being the others.
The line is a bit surprising considering it's currently the highest point spread for a BC bowl game since 1986 (and probably ever). Up until this year, BC's largest bowl point spread as an underdog was 7 points -- for last year's Emerald Bowl against USC as well as for the 1999 Insight Bowl against Colorado. On the opposite end of the spectrum, BC was favored by 8 points heading into the Meineke Car Care Bowl against Navy in 2006.
Then again, BC hasn't covered a spread in their bowl game since the last time they faced a WAC opponent out west, a span of four straight bowl games. BC was a 3 point favorite headed into the Humanitarian Bowl against Boise State. The Eagles won 27-21.
Sure, BC is a near double-digit underdog heading into the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl. But an article in today's Wall Street Journal gives us hope. Over the past 10 years, 41 teams have been double-digit underdogs in bowls. Underdogs are 26-14-1 against the spread, while 12 of 41 double-digit dogs won outright.
As the WSJ explains further, Nevada was actually in a similar position just a year ago.
"Bowl matchups can be tricky, even in cases where one team appears to be clearly superior. Because the teams play in different conferences and have few (if any) common opponents, the basis for comparing them is shaky. Last year, Fresno State was a solid 10½-point favorite over Wyoming in the New Mexico Bowl, but the Cowboys won in double overtime. Nevada was one of the biggest favorites of the bowl season last year-11 points over Southern Methodist. SMU won, 45-10."
Motivation will clearly be a factor for both teams as they'll be playing in a game 6+ weeks after the end of the regular season that has basically no meaning. Load up on double-digit dogs (except UConn) this holiday season and make bank?