Wisconsin will play Arizona State in the first Las Vegas Bowl held at its new home, Allegiant Stadium. The game will take place on Thursday, December 30, at 7:30 p.m. PT (10:30 p.m. ET) and airs on ESPN. Tickets to see the game in person start at $50.
2021 is a year of many changes for the Las Vegas Bowl. In addition to the new venue, the game will be played later in Bowl Season and feature a different matchup than previous years.
College football’s bowl season used to kick off in early December with the Las Vegas Bowl. Previous iterations of the game featured teams from the Mountain West and Pac 12. This year the game features a Big 10 team for the first time.
The Las Vegas Bowl now features an alignment of three college football conferences. The Pac-12 will face a team from the Big 10 in 2021, ’23, and ’25. The opponent will change to a team from the Southeastern Conference in 2022 and ’24.
The game also has a new sponsor. SRS Distribution Las Vegas Bowl executive director John Saccenti said:
“We are breaking ground by hosting a world-renowned Big Ten team for the first time and are equally excited to welcome back the great ASU fans to the Entertainment and Sports Capital of the World. Las Vegas looks forward to being the home of the first postseason meeting between these two storied programs.”
Even though Wisconsin has never played in the Las Vegas Bowl, the Badgers have played in Las Vegas. Wisconsin played UNLV five times at Sam Boyd Stadium between 1986 and 2010. Badgers fans travel well. Three of Wisconsin’s games against UNLV are in the top five most attended games.
The Las Vegas Bowl 2021 matchup
The 8-4 Wisconsin Badgers will play the 8-4 Arizona State Sun Devils in the 30th year of the Las Vegas Bowl. This matchup will be the first time these teams play each other in a bowl game. The Sun Devils are in 3-1 in regular-season games against the Badgers.
Arizona State finished second in the Pac-12 South this season with a 6-3 record. The Sun Devils finished the season behind eventual Pac-12 champion Utah. Wisconsin also finished with a 6-3 conference record. That was good for the Badgers to finish in second place behind Iowa in the Big 10 West.
The teams started the season going in different directions. Wisconsin got off to a slow 1-3 record in the first month of the season. Arizona State started the season 5-1.
Wisconsin closed the season strong but lost to Minnesota in the final regular-season game and missed out on the Big 10 conference title game. Arizona State limped to the end of the season, going 3-3 in its last six games.
The BetMGM Nevada odds for the game are:
Point spread: Wisconsin -7 over Arizona State
Moneyline: Wisconsin -285, Arizona State + 230
Over/Under Total: 43
Prop bets could be available closer to game day.
College Football Playoffs
At this time, the Las Vegas Bowl isn’t part of the College Football Playoff (CFP) rotation. The final rankings for the college football season put Alabama, Michigan, Georgia, and Cincinnati into the CFP.
The semifinal round of the CFP will take place on New Year’s Eve.
The Cotton Bowl will feature (1) Alabama vs. (4) Cincinnati. The top-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide are a -13.5 favorite against the Cincinnati Bearcats at BetMGM Nevada. Over/under for this game is 58.5.
The Orange Bowl will feature (2) Michigan vs. (3) Georgia. The third-ranked Georgia Bulldogs are -7.5 against the Michigan Wolverines on the BetMGM Nevada app. This game’s over/under is 43.5, significantly lower than the other CFP matchup.
Winners of each game will play one another in the CFP Championship game in Indianapolis on January 10.
Alabama is +115 to win the CFP. The Crimson Tide are favored slightly ahead of southeastern conference-mates Georgia, who are +135 to take home the title as the best college football team this season.
Michigan is +750 to win it all. Cincinnati is a distant fourth to win the CFP title game at +1400.
Future college football games in Las Vegas
Las Vegas will be home to more college football games than ever, thanks to the opening of Allegiant Stadium. The home of the UNLV Rebels football team will also host multiple neutral site games in the next few years.
The first-ever Pac 12 Conference title game held in Las Vegas was a major success last week. Attendance for Utah versus Oregon was 56,511, 92% of capacity, the highest game’s game’s neutral-site history.
Earlier this year, BYU played Arizona in a neutral site game at Allegiant Stadium. BYU fans packed Allegiant Stadium for the game. The 54,541 attendance was a record until the Pac 12 Conference title game.
Las Vegas may become a regional powerhouse for neutral site games in the future. Next year Notre Dame will play BYU in the Shamrock Series on October 8.
Allegiant Stadium recently announced the 2024 Vegas Kickoff Classic with USC facing LSU. This is LSU’s first game played in Nevada.
Las Vegas is one of the most popular vacation destinations in the country. Likewise, neutral site football games create a good excuse for fans to visit Las Vegas. Allegiant Stadium looks to continue hosting more college football matchups in the future.