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Fiesta Bowl Betting: Stanford Cardinal vs. Oklahoma State Cowboys
The busy Jan. 2 day of bowls concludes in Glendale, Ariz., with perhaps the best bowl matchup of the year: No. 4 Stanford (11-1) vs. No. 3 Oklahoma State (11-1), with the Cowboys as 4-point favorites on Bovada’s NCAA football betting odds.
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Of course these are the two highest-rated BCS teams after No. 1 LSU and No. 2 Alabama. Oklahoma State nearly passed the Crimson Tide in the final BCS standings after OSU was very impressive in routing Oklahoma 44-10 in the regular-season finale. That ended an eight-game losing streak to OU and gave Okie State the Big 12 title, its first outright conference title since 1948 in the three-team Missouri Valley.
Only a missed 37-yard field goal late in regulation of what would become a double-overtime loss to Iowa State on Nov. 18 kept the Pokes from their first BCS title game appearance – but this is their first BCS bowl of any kind. OSU has the No. 2 passing offense and scoring offense in the nation behind QB Brandon Weeden and WR Justin Blackmon, who both will be playing their final college game (Blackmon is leaving early for the NFL).
The only thing that kept Stanford from the BCS title game was a 53-30 loss to Oregon on Nov. 12 (that also kept the Cardinal out of the Pac-12 title game). Stanford also has a potent offense, ranked sixth in the nation in scoring, led by two-time Heisman finalist Andrew Luck, who will be the top overall pick in the 2012 NFL draft. The Cardinal play a hard-nosed type of offense, having rushed for 2,495 yards on 468 carries, averaging 5.33 yards per carry behind one of the nation’s best offensive lines. And Luck has the best group of tight ends in the nation.
The Cardinal's 15 turnovers in 12 games are fewer than all but eight teams in college football. Oklahoma State's defense has forced an FBS-high 42 turnovers, six more than any team in college football. Stanford would appear to have a much better defense than OSU overall, especially against the rush, ranking fifth nationally in by allowing just 90.3 yards per game. The Cowboys have a very underrated weapon at running back, however, in first-year starter Joseph Randle, who has racked up 1,193 rushing yards with 23 rushing touchdowns. Only three players in college football have more TDs.
These teams did have a common opponent this year: Arizona. OSU beat the Wildcats 37-14 on Sept. 8 in Stillwater. Nine days later, Arizona hosted Stanford and lost 37-10. The Cardinal are 7-0 ATS in their past seven non-conference games. OSU is 5-1 ATS in its past six.
THE STAGE IS SET: Bet the bowls now at Bovada!