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College Football Bowl Season Betting News and Notes

College Football Bowl Season Betting News and Notes

Insider Betting Tips

“It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year”

Yes it certainly is, especially for football bettors, with the bowl season nearly upon us. We have 35 wonderful opportunities  to partake in betting sides, totals, money lines, first half’s, second half’s, parlays, teasers and whatever else the sportsbooks will offer, starting Dec. 15 and for the next 23 days. As joyous as this is, the wagering landscape is filled with ways to put coal in your stocking or worse yet, empty out your wagering account like Scrooge. Nevertheless, there are ways to beat these oddsmakers and many of the handicappers at Sports-Watch utilize these tricks of the trade to gain an edge.

One of the most important elements to understand this year is what the bowl committee’s did. In 2011, only six of 35 bowl matchups have a point spread of more than a touchdown, this postseason there are 14 such contests. That is why you need a solid foundation to beat the oddsmakers.

Know the fundamentals

It is best to start with fundamental handicapping to establish a base. Here is where you break down what a team has done running and passing the ball, plus stopping the run and the pass. When doing this it is best to use the overall statistics as a snap shot and not have it become the whole picture. The reason is every team is essentially different in some aspects from what they were in September. Thus, it is important to understand how any team has played from November until the end of the season.

Teams that have a strong rushing attack are frequently a good wager. Being able to run the ball or stop the run is about desire and goes to the very core of the game. To execute the passing game, timing and repetitiveness are the most important factors.

With long layoffs, it is easy to get stale no matter how hard you practice, as game speed is far different than practice. The running game is about getting off the ball and knocking somebody down and a runner willing to hit the hole with abandon.

One dimensional teams like the Air Force, Navy and Georgia Tech are worth consideration against opponents that have issues stopping the run and or are weaker offensively, but they can be bad bets against foes that can score quickly, since they are less capable of scoring swiftly.

Instead, look for squads which are run the ball effectively like Oregon, Nebraska, Tulsa, Texas A&M and San Diego State to name a few, yet still can throw the pigskin down the field.

The same holds true on run defense. Take away the other teams ability to rush the ball and they are behind in down and distance, making them easier to defend. These statistics are readily available and should be included in your bowling betting arsenal.

Know the team’s situation

While throwing out words like ‘desire’ and ‘attitude’, this is another large component in looking at bowl matchups. What teams are excited to go to a bowl game and what teams are “settling” for the bowl experience?

Last year, the most obvious example was the Poinsettia Bowl. TCU was 10-2 and coming off of BCS appearances in the Fiesta and Rose Bowl. While a trip to San Diego is never a bad experience, it can be for a team used to bigger games and playing Louisiana Tech did not figure to get the juices flowing. The Horned Frogs were 9.5-point favorites and needed a 14-0 fourth quarter to win 31-24 for the non-cover.

How excited might Boise State be about going to the Las Vegas Bowl for a third straight time? What about Virginia Tech playing in the Russell Athletic (formerly Champs) Bowl with their history or USC having national championship dreams, sent to El Paso for the Sun Bowl.

Also, consider teams that haven’t played in bowls for awhile. Kent State might have lost the MAC championship in overtime; nevertheless, they are in the postseason for the first time in four decades. Ball State has not played in a bowl in four years and this will be just their third appearance beyond the regular season in 16 years. San Jose State has been bowling once since 1991 and Duke goes back to 1994 since the last time they made a postseason excursion. Western Kentucky was a FCS club prior to 2007, thus their Little Caesar’s Bowl will have tremendous meaning to them.

An excellent source of information is team websites. You can learn about how teams are practicing, if the coach is serious about winning the game or if it’s just a “reward”, making it an uncertainty if the specific team will come to play or not. Use this as a guide to chart motivation.

Handicap conferences and team tendencies

Every year, one or two conferences start off doing well in bowl encounters and for whatever reason, the same holds true that some leagues struggle mightily. It is good common sense to Play On the right conferences and avoid or Play Against those that find a way to falter.

Sometimes we just cannot explain occurrences. How does Notre Dame’s Manti Te’o start basically for four seasons, doesn’t have an interception his first three years and has seven picks as linebacker in his final season?

The same is also true of bowl trends. Texas is 9-18 ATS as a bowler; can you confidently bet on the Longhorns in the Alamo Bowl? Or what about Cincinnati who is 3-7 ATS? The Pinstripe Bowl will not draw national attention, but we will have West Virginia who is 7-15-1 ATS, including 1-7 ATS as a bowl favorite, facing Syracuse who is a profitable 11-5 ATS.

Quality senior quarterbacks swan song

Senior Day in front of the adoring family and friends was a great feeling, but for a quarterback with NFL aspirations and a winning track record, this bowl game is your last collegiate contest and the start of being more closely scrutinized by scouts at the next level.

The general feeling is probably melancholy, but for a Collin Klein, Geno Smith and possibly Matt Barkley, the competitor wants to go out on top with a victory and relishes the next challenge.

Hidden Gem

One statistic few people look at during the bowl season Yards Per Point. This is a great measuring stick of the team. It tells you how efficient they are in scoring points based on the yards they move the ball and defensively how well they protect the end zone based on the number of yards and points they permit.

Michigan State is 120th in the country offensively in this statistic, are they going to turn into Oregon and start scoring frequently in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl against a solid defensive club like TCU? It would seem unlikely.

Notre Dame and Alabama are not only 1 and 2 in the BCS standings, but have the same defensive numbers in YPPT. A closer look at the offense has the Crimson Tide at No. 7, while the Fighting Irish are way down at 92nd. When you think about calculating these numbers into points, this suggests touchdowns for Bama and field goals for the Irish and you begin to understand the current spread is not just about the SEC’s status.

Do not be anxious

With 35 bowl games, it can be very tempting to go overboard, especially when you consider there are 17 individual days when these contests will be played. Nonetheless, on a typical college football Saturday, you would never consider betting bet half the card, thus, be as choosy during the bowl season. The bowl betting police are not going to arrest you for not wagering every game, play only games you are certain you have an edge and remember….“It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year”

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Coaching Changes For Bowl-Bound Squads

Some updates and links to all of the college football coaching changes to bowl-bound teams.

Arkansas State - Gus Malzahn will not coach in the Bowl after accepting the head gig at Auburn. ASU named defensive coordinator John Thompson interim head coach. The Red Wolves will have plenty of time to get over their loss with game day not until January 6.

Cincinnati - Butch Jones will make an announcement later today about his future. Plenty of rumors circulating that he is headed to Colorado.

Kent State - Darrell Hazell accepted the head job at Purdue but will stick around for Kent's bowl game against Arkansas State.

Purdue - Wide receiver coach Patrick Higgins will coach the Boilermakers in the Heart of Dallas Bowl.

Northern Illinois - Offensive coordinator Rod Carey was promoted to head coach. Dave Dorean, who left for NC State, will not be involved.

NC State - Dorean won't coach the team in the Music City Bowl. Offensive coordinator Dana Bible has been placed in charge.

Wisconsin - Rumors are out there that Wisconsin AD Barry Alvarez may coach the Badgers in the Rose Bowl. An announcement will be made later today.

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Early Line Moves on College Football Games
By: The Linemakers

How does prominent Las Vegas oddsmaker Ed Salmons, a college football specialist, quantify the emotional factors that often play a role in bowl games?

He doesn’t.

“These kids are so young, they don’t understand everything themselves,” said Salmons, a veteran oddsmaker for the LVH Super Book. “And you’re going to try to figure out what they’re thinking? Good luck and God bless you. It’s impossible.”

Salmons points to the Cotton Bowl between Oklahoma and Texas A&M as an example. Most pundits had the Sooners, after their win over TCU, headed to a BCS bowl. But Northern Illinois snuck into the mix, knocking out Oklahoma. Will the Sooners be looking to prove something or will they be deflated by not getting the BCS berth?

“I would think Oklahoma would come to play,” said Salmons, “but they had to have been thinking they were going to a BCS bowl, so you’re not sure how that’s going to play out.”

The LVH opened its bowl lines at approximately 1:30 p.m. Vegas time on Monday. Texas A&M opened as a 3-point favorite over Oklahoma. But early action drove the line up, and the Aggies were 4.5-point favorites as of Tuesday afternoon.

The Capital One Bowl between Nebraska and Georgia is another example of a game that was difficult to handicap for Salmons because of the emotional factors surrounding the Bulldogs.

Georgia opened as a 9.5-point favorite and quickly was bet up to minus-10 at the LVH.

“The true power rating on that game is probably Georgia minus-12.5,” said Salmons, “but you just don’t know which Georgia team is coming to play.”

The Sun Bowl between Southern Cal and Georgia Tech originally opened off the board, with Trojans quarterback Matt Barkley’s status questionable because of a shoulder injury. USC coach Lane Kiffin said Monday he expects Barkley to play.

The Trojans have opened as 10.5-point favorites against Georgia Tech.

Early Bowl Line Movement (Opening lines courtesy of the Las Vegas Wynn)

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl: Toledo vs. Utah State

Open: Utah State -7.5

Wednesday a.m.: Utah State -10

Orange Bowl: Northern Illinois vs. Florida State

Open: FSU -13

Wednesday a.m.: FSU -14

Compass Bowl: Ole Miss vs. Pittsburgh

Open: Mississippi -1.5

Wednesday a.m.: Mississippi -4.5

Fiesta Bowl: Oregon vs. Kansas State

Open: Oregon -7.5

Wednesday a.m.: Oregon -8.5 Bowl: Kent State vs. Arkansas State

Open: Kent State -1

Wednesday a.m.: Arkansas State -4.5

Rose Bowl: Wisconsin vs. Stanford

Open: Stanford -6

Wednesday a.m.: Stanford -7

Heart of Dallas Bowl: Purdue vs. Oklahoma State

Open: OSU -18

Wednesday a.m.: OSU -17

Chick-fil-A Bowl: Clemson vs. LSU

Open: LSU -3

Wednesday a.m.: LSU -4

Liberty Bowl: Iowa State vs. Tulsa

Open: Tulsa -3

Wednesday a.m.: Tulsa -1

Music City Bowl: North Carolina State vs. Vanderbilt

Open: Vanderbilt -5

Wednesday a.m.: Vanderbilt -6.5.

Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl: TCU vs. Michigan State

Open: TCU -1.

Wednesday a.m.: TCU -2.5

Alamo Bowl: Oregon State vs. Texas

Open: Oregon State -1

Wednesday a.m.: Oregon State -2.

Armed Forces Bowl: Air Force vs. Rice

Open: Rice -1

Wednesday a.m.: Air Force -1

Independence Bowl: Ohio vs. Louisiana-Monroe

Open: ULM -6

Wednesday a.m.: ULM -7

Holiday Bowl: Baylor vs. UCLA

Open: Baylor -1

Wednesday a.m.: UCLA -1.

Belk Bowl: Cincinnati vs. Duke

Open: Cincinnati -11

Wednesday a.m.: Cincinnati -8.

Las Vegas Bowl: Washington vs. Boise State

Open: Boise State -7.5

Wednesday a.m. Boise State -5.5

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Five NCAAF Teams Bowling For The First Time In a Long time

Five teams blow the dust off their bowling shoes this month after an extended absence from the postseason. Two of those programs have actually never taken those shoes out of the box.

Here’s a look at the teams bowling for the first time in a long time:

Western Kentucky (7-5 SU, 8-4 ATS)

The Hilltoppers, who have only been a member of the FBS since 2008, play in their first big-boy bowl game when they take on Central Michigan in the Little Caesar’s Pizza Bowl on Dec. 26. Oddsmakers have tabbed WKU as a 5-point favorite at Ford Field. Western Kentucky was a golden goose for bettors early in the season, going 6-0 ATS, but finished with a 2-4 ATS mark in the final six games.

UL Monroe Warhawks (8-4 SU, 8-4 ATS)

The Warhawks are another program making its bowl debut this year. UL Monroe is a 7-point favorite versus Ohio in the Independence Bowl on Dec. 28, snapping an 18-year bowl drought after jumping to Div-IA in 1994. The Warhawks don’t have to travel far with the game scheduled in Shreveport, Louisiana – just an hour and a half drive down the 20.

Kent State Golden Flashes (11-2 SU, 10-2-1 ATS)

The last time the Golden Flashes were featured in a bowl game, The Godfather was cleaning up at the Oscars, Roberta Flack topped the music charts, and former head coach Darrell Hazell was eight years old. Kent State makes its first bowl appearance since the 1972 Tangerine Bowl, in which it lost 21-18 to Tampa, when it faces Arkansas State in the Bowl on Jan. 6. Books have KSU as a 3.5-point underdog following Hazell’s departure to Purdue.

Duke Blue Devils (6-6 SU, 6-6 ATS)

The Blue Devils may be staples of the college hoops postseason but the football version of the Dukies hasn’t been bowling since the 1995 Hall of Fame Bowl, when Duke lost to Wisconsin 34-20 as an 8-point underdog. This year’s team just made the bowl cut with six wins and draws Cincinnati for the Dec. 27 Belk Bowl in Charlotte. Books are dealing Duke +7 after the team stumbled into the postseason with four straight losses SU and ATS.

San Jose State Spartans (10-2 SU, 10-2 ATS)

The Spartans are one of the best bets in college football and are 7-point favorites versus Bowling Green in the Military Bowl on Dec. 27. This is San Jose State’s first bowl game since 2006 when it beat New Mexico in the New Mexico Bowl, 20-12, as a 3-point underdog. Before that, SJSU hadn’t been bowling since 1990. The Spartans have fared well in bowl season, posting a 5-3 SU mark going back to the 1946 Raisin Bowl.

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Bowl Season Primer
By Brian Edwards

With coaching changes galore going down across the country, the bowl season can be a tricky proposition for gamblers. I like to put an emphasis on two things, motivation and location.

One game that favors a side in terms of both location and motivation is the Music City Bowl, where Vanderbilt will take on North Carolina St. As of Dec. 8, most books had the Commodores installed as 6 ½-point favorites.

Obviously, Vandy is located in Nashville so the location favors it. In terms of motivation, the Commodores will have plenty.

For starters, head coach James Franklin turned down overtures from multiple schools and signed a contract extension that will keep him at the school for at least a third season. In short, there’s never been this type of buzz for Vandy football.

Vandy hasn’t won nine games in the modern era so motivation is certainly not a question mark. As for North Carolina State, there are motivational concerns.

Tom O’Brien has been fired and many of the assistants on the staff are (understandably) more concerned about finding their next jobs than prepping the Wolfpack for the Commodores.

When this scenario played out for Florida following Ron Zook’s dismissal, the results weren’t good. While the rest of Zook’s staff coached the Gators in the Chick-Fil-A Bowl vs. Miami, Charlie Strong was the only assistant being considered by Urban Meyer for UF’s new staff.
This led to bitterness that was best portrayed by Larry Fedora, who spent most of December blasting Jeremy Foley and the UF administration. It was easy to sympathize with Fedora, who had directed the SEC’s No. 1 offense is in his first year as a coordinator.

With coaches on their way out the door, players don’t feel as if they are going to be held accountable. We don’t know how N.C. St. will respond to this situation, but the Gators got trounced by Miami in Atlanta in a similar scenario.

Purdue is another team that has seen its head coach shoved out the door. The Boilermakers are 17-point underdogs against Oklahoma St. in the Heart of Dallas Bowl. On the flip side, the Cowboys saw their head coach turn down other schools to stay in Stillwater.

One team that won’t be going through a coaching change – finally! – is Pitt. Paul Chryst just completed his first year with the Panthers, but his old team (Wisconsin) just saw its coach bolt for Arkansas. Early speculation was that Chryst, the former offensive coordinator for the Badgers, would be a leading candidate.

However, Wisconsin AD Barry Alvarez, who went to great lengths to recommend Chryst to the Pitt brass, isn’t going that route. Unlike many others in the cut-throat business of college football, Alvarez still puts class before anything.

Alvarez announced Thursday that Wisconsin would not pursue Chryst “because it wouldn’t be the right thing to do.” The Panthers players have to be thrilled after losing a slew of coaches over the last several seasons.

While Wisconsin might feel betrayed by Brett Bielema’s exit to The Ozarks, its players have to be excited to play for Alvarez, who Bielema replaced seven years ago. With the Badgers going to the Rose Bowl (as 6½-point underdogs vs. Stanford) despite an 8-5 straight-up record, I don’t think there’s cause for including them among team who could be lacking motivation.

Louisville is another team that won’t be lacking motivation. In fact, you would think the Cardinals will be inspired after their head coach, Strong, turned down Tennessee to stay at the school that’s headed to the ACC. U of L will be playing in its second BCS bowl in school history when it takes on Florida at the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans.

The Gators are favored by 14 at most books. UF will be fired up as well, returning to a BCS bowl after two years of mediocrity. With a victory, Will Muschamp’s second team will most likely finish the year ranked second in the nation.

No. Illinois will be making its BCS debut when it collides with Florida St. at the Orange Bowl in Miami. Most spots have the Seminoles tabbed as 13 ½-point ‘chalk.’ Even though the Huskies lost their head coach to N.C. St., motivation shouldn’t be a problem with the opportunity to play on the big stage.

If anything, FSU might be the squad gamblers should worry about in terms of motivation. The ‘Noles had national-title hopes but finished 10-2 against a soft schedule. And don’t think of the location as being a huge advantage for FSU because the drive from Tallahassee to Miami is at least 7½ hours.

Keep an eye on this Texas Tech-Minnesota matchup at the Meineke Car Care Bowl in Houston. Yes, the location favors the Red Raiders, but how will the shocking departure of Tommy Tuberville to Cincinnati impact this squad?

I’m not fond of this Minnesota team, but it is thrilled to be bowling for the first time in three years. The Gophers are double-digit underdogs (+13) at most betting shops.

B.E.’s Bonus Nuggets

Bovada has released a plethora of proposition wagers for the bowl season. One that I found very interesting is the total for wins by SEC schools. Bovada has this number at 8½ with ‘under’ wagers at a minus-120 price while the ‘over’ has regular juice (-110). Nine SEC teams are bowling and all are favored, including Florida and Georgia as double-digit ‘chalk.’ Alabama is favored by 9½ or 10 vs. Notre Dame in the national-title game. The shortest SEC spreads belong to Ole Miss (-3.5 vs. Pitt) and Mississippi St. (-2 vs. Northwestern).

There are eight schools favored by double-digit margins and that’s not including Alabama and Arizona, both of whom are currently at 9 ½ or 10.

Bovada’s total for Big 12 bowl victories is 5½ ‘under’ (-130). Nine of the league’s 10 teams are in the postseason, but Texas, Kansas St. and Oklahoma are underdogs. Also, Baylor and Iowa St. are involved in pick ‘em affairs.

Best under-the-radar matchup: BYU vs. UCLA. I love this game that promises to feature a lot of offense.

Kansas St. owns an 11-1 spread record in its last 12 underdog situations.

LSU has great history in the Chick-Fil-A Bowl with blowout wins over Ga. Tech and Miami to its credit. The Bayou Bengals are favored by four over Clemson at the Ga. Dome on New Year’s Eve. They also dealt out woodshed treatment to Georgia at this venue in last year’s SEC Championship Game.

Highest total: 79-80 range for UCLA-Baylor at the Holiday Bowl.

Lowest total: 41 for TCU vs. Michigan St. at the Buffalo Wings Bowl.

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Where The Action Is: Bowl Season's Biggest Line Moves

College football bowl odds have been out for just over a week now and action has steadily come in, forcing oddsmakers to tinker with the spreads heading into the first slate of games.

We talk to Aaron Kessler, sportsbooks supervisor at the Golden Nugget in Las Vegas, about the biggest line moves on the bowl board so far:

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl:  – Toledo Rockets vs. Utah State Aggies - Open: -8, Move: -10

This game is one of two matchups ringing in the bowl season Saturday. Utah State, which lost just two games and went 10-1-1 ATS this season, has jumped from -8 to -10 versus the Rockets, who finished 9-3 SU.

“Right now, we have a little more on Utah State,” says Kessler, who opened the Aggies as 10-point favorites. “I think the move you saw (at online books) was early money hitting a rouge number.”

Las Vegas Bowl: Washington Huskies vs. Boise State Broncos – Open: -7.5, Move: -5

This game will see a ton of action in Las Vegas on Dec. 22, with fans from both sides hitting the sportsbook before making the trip to Sam Boyd Stadium. Boise State, known for its bowl game antics, has been bet down by early action after opening as high as -7.5.

“Boise State has had a silent year. People kind of forgot about them,” says Kessler. “This one could come down to which teams fans bring the most money with them (to Las Vegas).”

Belk Bowl: Cincinnati Bearcats vs. Duke Blue Devils – Open: +10.5, Move: +7

Money has faded the Bearcats since the announcement that head coach Butch Jones would be leaving for Tennessee. Cincinnati has since hired Tommy Tuberville as his replacement but will hand the keys over to the remaining coaching staff for the Belk Bowl.

“Duke’s going to be really hungry in this one because it’s been so long between bowl games,” says Kessler, referring to the Blue Devils’ 17-year bowl absence since playing in the 1995 Hall of Fame Bowl. “Duke is going to be jacked up.”

Russell Athletic Bowl: Rutgers Scarlet Knights vs. Virginia Tech Hokies – Open: Pick, Move: -2.5

Early money has leaned towards the Hokies in this ACC/Big East battle on Dec. 28. Kessler, who opened Virginia Tech -1.5, took some big wagers on the Hokies this past week.

“We got hit on Virginia Tech and moved to -2.5,” he says. “It’s been really hard to bet on Virginia Tech this season, but they are clearly the better of the two teams.”

Armed Forces Bowl: Rice Owls vs. Air Force Falcons – Open: +1, Move: -1

This spread jumped the fence after opening with the Falcons as 1-point underdogs at some online shops. The Golden Nugget opened Air Force -1 and has taken a little bit of action on this Dec. 29 contest, with a slight lean towards Rice.

“They’re pretty much at home. It’s just a short drive across the state,” Kessler says of the Owls’ proximity to Fort Worth.

Liberty Bowl: Iowa State Cyclones vs. Tulsa Golden Hurricane – Open: -3, Move: Pick

The Golden Hurricane opened as high as field-goal favorites for this New Year’s Eve bowl but money has jumped on the Cyclones and current has most shops dealing a pick’em.

“This looks like a conference power play, with the Big 12 going against the C-USA,” says Kessler. “Tulsa can be pretty exciting though. If they solve that defense this game could be over in a hurry.”

Sugar Bowl: Louisville Cardinals vs. Florida Gators – Open: -15.5, Move: -13

Some books opened Florida as a monster favorite but drew early UL money and have since come down to -13. Kessler opened at -13 and has taken nothing but Gators bets but could see the line shrink even more.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if it doesn’t go higher,” he says. “I think the wise guys will take back on Louisville.” Bowl: Kent State Golden Flashes vs. Arkansas State Redwolves – Open: Pick, Move: -4

Both teams have watched their head coaches run to bigger schools this postseason, leaving Kent State and Arkansas State in the hands of assistants for this Jan. 6 bowl game.

The early money flooded in on ASU when rumors started about KSU’s Darrell Hazell departure to Purdue. Now, bets are coming back on the Golden Flashes with Gus Malzahn taking the open job at Auburn.

“I think it hurts Arkansas State more,” Kessler says of the two coaching changes. “Malzahn is a genius and I don’t know how much of his system his assistants were able to absorb.”

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NCAAF Betting Mismatches: Pre-New Year's Day Bowls
By Jason Logan

During bowl season we’ll break down some of the underlying mismatches, hoping to give you an inside edge when handicapping the schedule. Here are five of the biggest NCAAF betting mismatches for the pre-New Year’s Day bowl games:

Poinsettia Bowl: BYU Cougars vs. San Diego State Aztecs (+2.5, 49)

Cougars’ coach Bronco Mendenhall vs. Aztecs’ 3-3-5 blitzing schemes

One of San Diego State’s biggest strengths is its whacky 3-3-5 setup on defense. The alternative package causes chaos and confusion for most opponents, but won’t baffle BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall, who's familiar with the blitzes and SDSU head coach Rocky Long.

The two worked together at Oregon and New Mexico, where Long taught Mendenhall the defense. Mendenhall brought the 3-3-5 to BYU as the defensive coordinator but later switched to a more standard 3-4 set. There’s no doubt he’s been showing his offense the inner workings of the Aztecs’ schemes in preparation for this teacher-versus-student showdown.

Military Bowl: San Jose State Spartans vs. Bowling Green Falcons (+7, 47)

Spartans’ accurate kicking vs. Falcons’ erratic kicking

Chances are if you’re betting on this bowl game, each team's kicker will have a say in how your wager plays out. San Jose State freshman kicker Austin Lopez had a solid first year, going 15-for-15 on field goal attempts, 51 of 54 on extra points, and earned a first-team Freshman All-American nod.

Bowling Green doesn’t have that stability in the kicking game. The Falcons have juggled two kickers, Stephen Stein and Tyler Tate, with the pair combining to go 7-for-15 on FG attempts - 46.67 percent – and ranks fifth worst in the nation. In fact, Bowling Green is just 3-for-6 on FG attempts in its last four games.

Belk Bowl: Cincinnati Bearcats vs. Duke Blue Devils (+7, 58.5)

Bearcats’ coaching change vs. Blue Devils’ position shuffle

The Bearcats bid farewell to head coach Butch Jones this month, watching him leave the program for Tennessee before the Dec. 27 Belk Bowl. Cincinnati will lean on its remaining coaching staff to make the calls versus Duke instead of allowing new head coach Tommy Tubberville to kick the tires. Most of those assistants will be more worried about their job security than the Blue Devils.

Duke head coach David Cutcliffe won’t make it easy on them. He’s planning to shuffle his roster and make major position changes before the Belk Bowl in order to evaluate for next year. The Blue Devils have been known to move guys around, and those matchups could slip through the cracks when it comes to Cincinnati’s preparation.

Armed Forces Bowl: Rice Owls vs. Air Force Falcons (-1, 61)

Owls’ run defense vs. Falcons’ triple-option

No matter how good your defense is, Air Force’s triple option will test you. The Falcons’ relentless ground-and-pound style carried the ball for more than 329 yards per game – second in the land behind Army’s triple-option – and throws a wrench in opponents’ defensive schemes. Not only that, but the constant rush can wear down defenses without the depth up front.

Rice trots out an undersized defense that has been bullied on the ground this season. The Owls, who allowed 192.8 rushing yards per game (92nd overall), watched pass-heavy offenses flip their game plans and exploit them with the run. Marshall, Houston, UCLA and Louisiana Tech all top their season averages on the ground versus Rice – all of which were losses on the Owls’ resume.

Sun Bowl: USC Trojans vs. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (+10, 64)

Trojans’ lack of motivation vs. Yellow Jackets’ bowl begging

You’d think after two years of banishment that Southern Cal would be jacked up for a bowl game. However, the Trojans failed to live up to their national title expectations and were relegated to a New Year’s Eve bowl. Since being penciled in to the Sun Bowl, USC head coach Lane Kiffin has been on damage control – a rare role for him – with coaches voicing their disappointment with the game, stars ripping on one and other, and his stud QB thinking about his NFL stock instead of Georgia Tech.

The Ramblin’ Wreck, on the other hand, are more than happy to be playing this postseason. After finishing at 6-7, Georgia Tech got down on its hands and knees and begged to be part of bowl season, filing a waiver to the NCAA in order to become eligible. The Yellow Jackets got in and now unleash their tricky spread offense, which ranked fourth in rushing, on a disinterested USC program.

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18 Teams Playing Close to Home This Bowl Season

We counted no fewer than 18 schools that are within close proximity to their bowl games this season - but that doesn’t always mean it’s an advantage.

We highlight those teams and give you a quick note on each one to help you sort through it. (Listed in chronological order of the bowl game. Odds and ticket sales are as of Dec. 11).

Utah State – Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, Boise Idaho
Approx. distance to Boise: 294 miles
Line: Utah State -10/58

Utah State has just a 4.5-hour drive up the I-84 to Boise, where it returns to the Famous Potato Bowl for the second straight season. The Aggies are hungry to get back to Boise to avenge a heartbreaking 24-23 loss to Ohio there last year, while Toledo center Zac Kerin admitted his team was hoping for a warmer bowl game.

San Diego State – San Diego State County Credit Union Pointsettia Bowl
Approx. distance: Home stadium
Line: SDSU +2.5/48.5

The Aztecs play on their home turf of Qualcomm Stadium and get a game against an opponent they’re not too fond of, BYU. SDSU won its only appearance in the Poinsettia Bowl, a 35-14 win over Navy in 2010 as a 3-point fave.

Central Florida – Beef O’Brady’s St. Petersburg Bowl
Approx. distance: 100 miles
Line: UCF -7, 61.5

Florida teams are 1-2 in this bowl game's short four-year history, including a 45-24 loss by UCF to Rutgers in 2009. You have to worry a little about UCF’s motivation for this one after losing the C-USA championship in OT to Tulsa in its last game and missing out on the Liberty Bowl.

Louisiana-Lafayette – New Orleans Mercedes-Benz Bowl
Aprox. distance to New Orleans: 135 miles
Line: La-Lafayette -6/64

For the second straight year, the Ragin’ Cajuns will drive just a couple of hours down the I-10 for the New Orleans Bowl. Last year, the bowl had by far its biggest turnout its history of over 42,000 and they watched a ULL team upset San Diego State 32-30 as a 6-point underdog.

Central Michigan – Little Caesar’s Pizza Bowl
Approx. distance to Detroit: 155 miles
Line: CMU +5, 55.5

The Chippewas are in familiar territory after playing in this bowl when it was called the GMAC Bowl from 2006-08. CMU went 2-1 ATS (against the spread) in those games and attendance averaged over 50,000. Western Kentucky is playing in its first bowl game ever – and with a new coach.

Duke – Belk Bowl
Approx. distance to Charlotte: 145 miles
Line: Duke +7/53.5

This may be Duke’s first bowl game in 18 years, but head coach David Cutcliffe may use it more as a building block for next year. He’s said he’ll be using some practice time to evaluate for next season.  An anonymous donor bought 500 tickets to distribute to Duke students for free so they’re trying to boost attendance.

UCLA – Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl
Approx. distance to San Diego: 120 miles
Line: Pick/79.5

The Bruins missed out on a Rose Bowl spot in the loss to Stanford in the Pac-12 Championship game. But coach Jim Mora has this team refocused from years past and reports sound like UCLA  is all business heading into the Holiday Bowl against Baylor. Players have even eliminated the "over the wall" tradition, where they bolt on a practice this time of year.

Louisiana Monroe – AdvoCare V100 Independence Bowl
Approx. distance to Shreveport: 100 miles
Line: ULM -7/60

This is the Warhawks’ first bowl game ever, so you can bet there will be some fans making the mere 1.5-hour drive west on the I-20 to cheer on their team.

Rice - Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl
Approx. distance to Fort Worth: 260 miles
Line: Rice +1/61

This may be only a relatively short trip for Rice students and alumni, but Air Force could be the team feeling more at home here. The Falcons have appeared in three of the previous five Armed Forces Bowls, though they only won one of those.

Syracuse - New Era Pinstripe Bowl
Approx. distance: to NYC: 245 miles
Line: Syracuse +4/73.5

The first two Pinstripe Bowls at Yankee Stadium were won by Syracuse and Rutgers, so proximity teams are 2-0 SU and ATS in this one. Cuse also plays a familiar former Big East foe, West Virginia.

Texas – Valero Alamo Bowl
Approx. distance to San Antonio: 75 miles
Line: Texas +2/56.5

This is one of the shortest bowl trips of anyone, but you have to wonder how excited the Texas alumni are about going to a middle-of-the-road bowl game. Texas lost its last two games and coach Mack Brown won’t commit to a starting QB for the game.

Vanderbilt – Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl
Approx. distance to Nashville: Home city
Line: Vandy -6.5/52

Vandy has already sold its allotment of 12,000 tickets and has requested more. They’ll play an N.C. State team that just fired its coach at season’s end.

Clemson – Chick-fil-A Bowl
Approx distance to Atlanta: 124 miles
Line: Clemson +3.5/58.5

This game appears headed for its 16th straight sellout and you can bet Clemson will have its fair share of supporters with such a short drive to Atlanta. Clemson needs all the support it can get after losing five of its past six bowl games, including a Chick-fil-A defeat in 2007 to Auburn.

Oklahoma State – Heart of Dallas Bowl
Approx. distance to Dallas: 267 miles
Line: Oklahoma State -16.5/70

This is the highest spread on the bowl game board and Oklahoma State should have plenty more support at this game than 6-6 Purdue, which just hired a new coach, Darrell Hazell from Kent State. The Cowboys just lost OC Todd Monken to Southern Miss though, and this team wins with offense.

Stanford - Rose Bowl Game Presented by Vizio
Approx. distance to Los Angeles: 360 miles
Line: Stanford -6.5/47

Stanford sold out of its 31,000 ticket allotment quickly for this one and the team has the added familiarity of playing in the Rose Bowl against UCLA just two games ago.

Florida State – Discover Orange Bowl
Approx. distance to Miami: 480 miles
Line: FSU -12.5/58

The Noles aren’t going out of state, but it’s still a long hike to Miami from Tallahassee. Their fans have shown they aren’t interested, buying just 4,000 tickets of the 17,000 allotment . Northern Illinois students, meanwhile, gobbled up the 5,500 their school dished out for free.

Texas A&M and Oklahoma – AT&T Cotton Bowl   
Approx. distance to Dallas: 180 miles
Line: A&M -4.5/71.5

Both schools have about the same travel distance for this one so pick your pleasure. The Sooners quickly sold out of their 12,500 tickets but A&M’s Heisman winner, Johnny Football, will probably garner the most attention.

Ole Miss – BBVA Compass Bowl
Approx. distance to Birmingham: 180 miles
Line: Miss -3.5/52

The Clarion Ledger wrote that Ole Miss athletic director Ross Bjork hopes to break the attendance record for this game of 42,610, set in 2010. The Rebels went 2-10 last year so any bowl game is big for them. Pittsburgh, meanwhile, had players openly rooting not to go back to the BBVA Compass Bowl, where they’ll play their third straight bowl game.

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Re: College Football Bowl Season Betting News and Notes

Early Bowl Moves
By Steve Makinen

I am convinced that players and coaches know the point-spreads in their bowl games. I am NOT convinced however that they follow line moves like professional bettors too. As they say, things like this are best left for the pro's. I also inferred earlier that it is impossible to quantify the distractions a team faces in its bowl preparations. Perhaps line movements are the best and only way to even think about doing it. Therefore, while I wouldn't actually consider a line moving a lot in a bowl game a motivating factor for a team, the move itself should stand as a red flag for you when wondering if some unusual situation might be "distracting" a team.

In general, oddsmakers are sharp enough at this point in the season to set lines that stay steady over the month-long period of bowl games. In fact, only 19 of about 525 bowl games over the last 20 years have seen line moves of greater than 4-points from their opening number. That is just one of every 33 games on average, so if we're lucky, we will see one or two this year.

I use the word "lucky" because the experts are basically paving the road to bowl winnings by telling you which team to bet on. As I just mentioned, 19 games over the last 20 bowl seasons have seen line movements of more than 4-points. Here is the trend:

In bowl games between 1992-2012 that had closing lines more than four points off of their opening line, the team that the line moved towards is 12-6-1 ATS.

In most cases, line moves of this big are typically caused by some distracting factor, such as a coaching change, suspension, or injury, and rarely due to a "miss" by oddsmakers. In short, with a 66.7% ATS success rate, let the experts interpret the impact that the distraction.

It is generally accepted, most early betting action during the regular season is done by sharps, either finding a number they believe is soft or working to influence situations they can later take advantage of. With essentially five weeks from the initial numbers are released until a BCS champion is crowned, the majority of the most knowledgeable sports bettors lets the market settle before making determinations. Here is our first look at how the sports betting marketplace has evolved.


Despite both teams sporting an 8-4 record and having fairly similar statistics, Louisiana- Lafayette has been elevated from a 4.5 to 6-point favorite. The first aspect you thing about in the initial line is the oddsmakers perception of the Sun Belt versus Conference USA. This was arguably the strongest SBC season top to bottom with excellent quarterback play. Another factor is the strong showing of Cajuns fans in New Orleans which gave Lafayette an edge. ULL is 11-3 ATS in road turf games.

First-year coach Tim DeRuyter promised a new attitude in raisin country and Fresno State played with renewed enthusiasm in securing nine victories and a distinguished 11-1 spread record. The Bulldogs are the superior team, while SMU's .500 record befits a club which was inconsistent all season, making them unreliable to follow. Fresno State was released at -10.5 and jumped to -12.5 as favorites. Besides the statistical edges, football bettors also understand the Mustangs are 1-4 SU and ATS away from home.


UCLA opened as a two-point favorite at many wagering outlets and have come back to a Pick versus Baylor. Why the switch? It has to be the Bears uncovered a potent running game in the last part of the season, which averaged 298 YPG in Baylor's last five contests (4-1 and 5-0 ATS). This helped keep one the worst defensive units in the country off the field by chewing up more clock and kept them fresher.


The college football bettors have spoken and they are thinking "DEE-FENCE" for the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl. Both these squads have gone through their offensive issues in various forms and relied on their defenses to at least keep them competitive, if not as successful as they would have preferred. The total of 43 has fallen like the temperature on an Arizona winter evening to 41 or lower. Michigan State is 9-2-1 UNDER in 2012.


This bowl battle has two disappointed participants who thought they would be at warmer locales. Both Georgia Tech's and USC's defense did not play close to expectations and the offenses either fumbled too frequently or threw the pigskin to the wrong colored jersey. Those betting on football seem to believe the turnovers will deter, not enhance the scoring and sent the total form 66 to 64. These squads are a combined 15-0 OVER when both score and allow 28 or more points since last year.


Whether it's the power of the SEC or the weakness of the Big Ten, South Carolina bolted from -3.5 to -5 over Michigan. The Gamecocks are equipped defensively to hold the Wolverines in check. Statistically speaking, the two teams are similar if their leagues were not. Each squad really fell off offensively on the road and Michigan has to find ways to complete passes, since they are 0-7 ATS away when they gain 150 to 200 passing yards.


In the conflict of conference championship losers, points are presumed to reign. The total in this Big Ten/SEC confrontation has seen the total spike like a credit card bill this time of year from 57-60.5. Both offenses score in the mid- 30's and have every reason to dig into the bag of gadgets from the coaching perspective, to help their teams overcome their previous setbacks and enjoy the bowl experience. If the weather is good, it should be a shootout in Orlando.

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Re: College Football Bowl Season Betting News and Notes

Playing The Odds                     
By Robbie Gainous

Inside The Stats

With the College Bowl matchups set, we have isolated several powerful key systems that will be active this bowl season we are going to share one with you now and several in the coming weeks.

Over the years, we have talked about revenge and legitimate revenge many times on these pages and this week's system highlights that situation once again. This time as we have many times in the past we are playing into the revenge factor as our system says this particular situation is the wrong time and place for our play against team to attempt gaining a measure of revenge.

Although our system has a small sample size it has been, perfect each time it was active for more than a decade. We have identified a situation where playing into revenge is the profitable play and not hanging our hopes on a team that has already proven they cannot defeat today's opponent. We will play on a winner in this situation.

Our system was last active back in 2010 when Southern Mississippi was installed as a 2.5-point underdog versus Louisville and lost straight up and against the spread with a final of 31 to 28 in favor of Louisville. That was one of the closer games for this particular system in fact the play against team has a record of 0-10 SU losing by an average of 13.9 points per game and a record of 0-10 ATSfailing to cover by an average of 11.3 points per game.

Even though this system has been inactive for almost two years, we are fortunate this season because it has given us two active plays in the upcoming bowl season. The system tells us to PlayAGAINST any Bowl Team as long as they are not an underdog of six or more points seeking revenge for 3 SU losses in their last three matchups within the last twelve seasons versus an opponent not coming off a SU loss of twenty-five or more points.

With all the system parameters met, this week's system recommends a play against the San Diego State Aztecs in the Poinsettia Bowl versus the BYU Cougars and a play against Rutgers Scarlet Knights in the Russell Athletic Bowl versus the Virginia Tech Hokies.

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Re: College Football Bowl Season Betting News and Notes

The Ultimate Bowl Game Betting Guide
By: David Purdum

You just washed down grandma’s famous tuna-cranberry casserole with a frothy Jack Daniels and eggnog.

You now have to go to the bathroom.

Here’s something to take with you — DP’s Ultimate Bowl Game Betting Guide.

Enjoy, and remember to wash your hands.

Touchdowns everywhere

Points, lots of them, are in the forecast this bowl season. Per usual, Las Vegas is ahead of the curve.

Bowl games have seen increased scoring over the last three seasons, averaging 54.11 points last season, the most since at least 2008-09. But the over/under totals on 2011-12 bowls was even higher (55.45).

This season, the average total is a whopping 57.54 points.

Since 1998-99, there have been 372 OVERS, 395 UNDERS and six pushes in bowl games.

Average total points scored in bowl games

2011-12: 54.11

2010-11: 52.48

2009-10: 51.00

Average bowl totals

2012-13: 57.54

2011-12: 55.45

2010-11: 55.61

2009-10: 53.55

Conference notes

Big 12 teams averaged the most points (35.8) and plays (74.2) per game this season.

Big East teams averaged the fewest points per game (25.5) this season.

SEC teams averaged the fewest offensive plays per game (68.1) this season.

Best fourth-quarter team – Florida

The Gators outscored opponents, 115-29, in the fourth quarter this season.

Best first-quarter team – Oregon

The Ducks outscored opponents, 196-43, in the first quarter and 373-105 in the first half this season.

Best second-half team – LSU

The Tigers outscored opponents 292-96 in the second half this season.

Bowl betting nuggets

(Includes 2012 New Mexico Bowl and Famous Idaho Potato Bowl. Info from Statfox was used in this section)

Teams playing bowl games in their home states are 37-26-2 ATS the past five years.

Favorites are 86-80 ATS in the last five bowl seasons.

BCS teams are 21-14 ATS vs. non-BCS teams since 2006.

Since 1992, double-digit bowl underdogs are 40-32-2 ATS.

Underdogs in BCS bowls are 24-16-1 ATS since 2004.

They said what?

"There’s a lot of people thinking that this is Boise’s third straight trip to the Vegas Bowl. As much as they’ve been talked about the last few years, at the height of their program, that has to be some sort of disappointment to go back to the same bowl season. There could be a little bit of lack of motivation on their part."

Jeff Sherman, assistant manager at the Las Vegas Hotel & Casino SuperBook.

"Any bowl, except Birmingham. 3 times in a row. I think they may not even allow us in there."

Pittsburgh RB Ray Graham via Sports Illustrated’s Stewart Mandel.

"It used to be a big deal when the coaches would leave. I’ve noticed that in recent years, as it’s become more common place, that it simply doesn’t have that much impact on the lines. The lines didn’t move much this year at all with the changes. We don’t look at it as it’s the big deal it was 10 years ago."

Micah Roberts, former Vegas sports book manager and current managing editor for The Linemakers on Sporting News.

"Bet every game with reckless abandonment. You won't have college football for at least another eight months, and that’s plenty of time to replenish your (bank) roll."

A sarcastic Todd Fuhrman, former sportsbook analyst at Caesars Palace and current analyst for

"I don’t look so much to bet on teams who may be motivated, but more so to bet against teams that may have a lack of motivation. Bet against a team that thought they should have been playing in a bigger bowl game and got relegated to a lower-profile game. "

Richie Baccellieri, former sports book manager at the MGM and current analyst and handicapper for the Linemakers on Sporting News.

Strength-of-schedule mismatches

Iowa State (9) vs. Tulsa (111)

Northern Illinois (127) vs. Florida State (69)

Washington (17) vs. Boise State (102)

Louisville (89) vs. Florida (16)

Statistical mismatches

Stanford’s red zone offense (33) vs. Wisconsin’s red zone defense (119)

San Jose State’s red zone defense (25) vs. Bowling Green’s red zone offense (119)

Boise State’s red zone defense (7) vs. Washington’s red zone offense (101)

Boise State’s pass rush (14th in sacks) vs. Washington’s pass protection (101st in sacks allowed)

Ole Miss’ pass rush (14th in sacks) vs. Pittsburgh pass protection (101st in sacks allowed)

Georgia’s opportunistic defense (27 turnovers gained, 21st in nation) vs. Nebraska’s giving offense (32 turnovers lost, 115th)

Syracuse’s third-down offense (11th, 49.23 percent) vs. West Virginia’s third-down defense (99th, 45.20 percent)

Michigan State’s third-down defense (13th, 30.86 percent) vs. TCU’s third-down offense (34.09 percent, 104th)

Kansas State’s discipline (4th fewest penalties per game) vs. Oregon’s lack of discipline (115th in penalties per game)

Air Force’s rushing offense (2nd) vs. Rice’s run defense (91st)

Best/Worst Bowl ATS Coaches

Chris Petersen, Boise State: 5-1 ATS

Bronco Mendenhall, BYU: 5-2 ATS

Art Briles, Baylor: 1-4 ATS

Bill Snyder, Kansas State: 4-9 ATS

Frank Solich, Ohio: 3-6 ATS

Rocky Long, San Diego State: 1-5 ATS

Banged-up QBs

Ball State starting quarterback Keith Wenning missed the team’s final game after fracturing his ankle, but was practicing in full pads this week. Wenning is considered questionable Friday vs. UCF in the Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl.

Texas quarterback David Ash will start for the Longhorns vs. Oregon State in the Alamo Bowl. Ash was injured against TCU and benched for the season finale against Kansas State.

BYU will reportedly start senior James Lark against San Diego State in the Poinsettia Bowl. Lark started the season finale in place of Riley Nelson and threw for 384 yards and six touchdowns.

2012 non-conference straight-up records vs. FBS teams

ACC: 13-21

Big 12: 16-4

Big East: 16-13

Big Ten: 24-14

Conference USA: 6-34

MAC: 16-22

Mountain West: 9-22

Pac-12: 18-10

SEC: 31-8

Sun Belt: 11-19

WAC: 13-14

Teams ATS records vs. bowl teams

Best: Northwestern 6-0, Kansas State 6-1-1, Fresno State 5-1, Kent State 4-0-1.

Worst: Duke 0-5, USC 1-7, Mississippi State 0-4, Michigan 2-6.

Conference bowl ATS records since 2004

SEC: 37-28

MWC: 25-14

Pac-12: 27-29

Big Ten: 24-25

Big East: 21-16

Big 12: 29-31

WAC: 14-15-1

Independents: 7-7

ACC: 29-29

CUSA: 20-25

Sun Belt: 8-7-1

MAC: 11-19-2

Aggressive/Conservative Coaching

Air Force went for it on fourth down more than any other bowl team, converting on 24-of-41 attempts.

Florida State went for it on fourth down only four times all season, the fewest among all FBS teams.

Notre Dame only went for it on fourth down five times.

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Re: College Football Bowl Season Betting News and Notes

Inside The Stats
By Marc Lawrence

With Christmas Day just around the corner there are plenty of presents waiting to go around this week with the college bowl games underway and the NFL entering its final two games of the season.

Courtesy of the 2012 PLAYBOOK College Bowl Stat Report and the PLAYBOOK Midweek Alert, here’s a sample look at what’s ahead.

No Skirting The Issue

When June Jones takes his troops to Honolulu for Monday’s Hawaii Bowl showdown with Fresno State on Christmas Eve he will return to the land of macadamia nuts grass skirts where he coached the Warriors from 1999-2007.

This will be SMU’s 15th postseason game and third in Honolulu.  Jones took the Mustangs to this bowl game in 2009 when his troops upset Nevada, 45-10, as 11-point underdogs.

When asked about the reward of going to Hawaii for the postseason, Jones is insistent this will not be a vacation for his team.

His time as Hawaii's head coach has made him well aware of the state's hidden dangers, and that means no getting in the water, no mopeds and lots of sunscreen for the Mustangs. Not exactly spring break conditions.
"No. 1, you don't go in the water because you will cut your feet on the corral," Jones said. "The sun, even though you think it's not as hot, it's different over there. I can't tell you how many kids that we used to play that couldn't even put on their shoulder pads because their shoulders were blistered. And no mopeds."

The Bulldogs and Mustangs faced one common opponent this season, Tulsa.  SMU beat the Golden Hurricane, 35-27. The Bulldogs lost to Tulsa, 27-26.

Coaches Call

Coaches’ personalities have an overriding effect on their teams.  So it is, as the coach goes so too do the teams.

Here a quick look at how come of the coaches have fared in preparation for upcoming bowl games…ß

• Ball State - Pete Lembo is 6-1 SUATS as a dog of less than 9 points.

• UCF - George O’Leary is 0-7-1 ATS as a favorite versus an non-conference opponent off a win.

• Washington - Steve Sarkisian is 6-2 SU and 7-1 ATS with rest.

• Duke - David Cutcliffe is 5-1 SUATS in bowl games, including 3-0 SUATS as a dog.

• Baylor - Art Briles is 18-4 ATS in games off a double-digit ATS win.

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Re: College Football Bowl Season Betting News and Notes

College FB Bowl Tech Notes!
By Bruce Marshall

BOWLING GREEN vs. SAN JOSE STATE (Military Bowl, Thursday, December 27)...San Jose has been on quite a pointspread run since last season, covering last four and ten of twelve in 2012, 13 of last 15 since late 2011, and 18 of last 22 on board since early 2011.  Spartans have also covered their last eight away from home.  Bowling Green also closed fast in 2012 with covers in seven of its last eight games this season.  Falcs have lost and failed to cover their last two bowls and haven’t won and covered in a bowl game since 2004 against Memphis in GMAC Bowl.  Tech edge-San Jose State, based on team trends.

CINCINNATI vs. DUKE (Belk Charlotte Bowl, Thursday, December 27)...First Duke bowl game since Fred Goldsmith’s 1994 Blue Devils faced Wisconsin and lost to Badgers 34-20 in Hall of Fame (now Outback) Bowl in Tampa; prior to that, Duke hadn’t “bowled” since 1989 under Steve Spurrier and hasn’t won a bowl since beating Arkansas 7-6 in the 1961 Cotton Bowl!   Blue Devils closed slowly this season by losing and failing to cover their last four games, but HC David Cutcliffe is 2-0 SU in bowls dating to his Ole Miss days.  Cutcliffe is 5-1 vs. line last six against non-ACC opposition.  Tech edge-Duke, based on team trends.

BAYLOR vs. UCLA (Holiday Bowl, Thursday, December 27)...Baylor closed season on an uptick with covers in its last five games, and Bears 16-8 overall vs. number the last two season.   Art Briles only 1-3 SU in bowl games, however.  Bruins 8-5 vs. line in Jim Mora debut season.   Tech edge-slight to Baylor, based on team trends.

OHIO vs. UL-MONROE (Independence Bowl, Friday, December 28)... Solich hit the skids vs. number as 2012 progressed, only 1-7 vs. spread last eight TY.  Solich also no covers last four on road TY. Solich won and covered his bowl games last year (vs. Utah State) but previously was 0-3 SU and vs. line as bowl coach with the Bobcats.   Meanwhile, ULM 6-1 vs. line away from home this season and 8-1 against spread last nine away from Malone Stadium since late 2011.  Tech edge-UL-Monroe, based on team trends.

RUTGERS vs. VIRGINIA TECH (Russell Athletic Bowl, Friday, December 28)...Rutgers cooled off down the stretch this season, losing and failing to cover four of is last five games, but Beamer had more problems, only 3-9 against the line this season.   Hokies only 7-20 last 27 games on board since late in 2010 campaign, and Beamer only 4-7 vs. spread last his last 11 bowl games.  Scarlet Knights 16-9 vs. number overall since 2011.  Tech edge-Rutgers, based on recent Beamer spread woes.

MINNESOTA vs. TEXAS TECH (Meineke Texas Bowl, Friday, December 28)...
Rematch of 2006 Insight Bowl when Minnesota blew a huge lead to lose in OT and  Glen Mason was dismissed after the game.  Gophers last bowled in 2009 but have lost four straight in postseason (1-3 vs. line in those) since 20-16 win over Alabama in 2004 Liberty Bowl.  Texas Tech again faded down stretch, no covers last five this season, and Red Raiders1-9 vs. spread last five games of the past two campaigns.  Tech edge-Minnesota, based on Texas Tech late-season fade numbers.

AIR FORCE vs. RICE (Armed Forces Bowl, Saturday, December 29)...  Air Force has covered its last three bowl games after Troy Calhoun lost and failed to cover his first two in postseason.  Four of the Calhoun bowl games have been in this Armed Forces Bowl.  But Falcs really backed up down the stretch in 2012 with no covers in last four games and just 3-9 overall vs. spread this season.  Falcs just 12-23 overall last 35 vs. number since early in 2010 season.  Rice won four of last five SU this season and covered five of its last six for David Bailiff.  Tech edge-Rice, based on team trends.

NAVY vs. ARIZONA STATE (Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl, Saturday, December 29)...Navy dropped its last four vs. the number in 2012 but has covered in five of its last seven bowl.  Mids also 20-12 vs. spread as dog since 2007, and Navy 26-13 vs. spread its last 39 as a dog dating to the middle of the 2004 season.   ASU cooled off after a quick start this season and dropped 4 of its last six vs. the number, and Sun Devils have not covered in their last four bowls (last bowl cover in 2004 Sun Bowl vs. Purdue).   Tech edge-Navy, based on extended team and bowl trends.

WEST VIRGINIA vs. SYRACUSE (Yankee Pinstripe Bowl, Saturday, December 29)...Former Big East rivals!  Cuse won meetings the past two seasons as DD underdog on both occasions.  Orange also closed this season hot, winning and covering five of last six.  WVU earned covers in its last three but had dropped 6 of previous 7 vs. number this season.  Tech edge-Syracuse, based on recent trends.

OREGON STATE vs. TEXAS (Alamo Bowl, Saturday, December 29)... Mack Brown only 4-7 vs. number last 11 bowls, while Mike Riley 5-1 SU and 4-2 vs. line in bowls with OSU since 2003.  Texas 15-24 last 38 vs. spread since late 2009.  Beavers 9-2 vs. line this season and 4-1 vs. line on road in 2012.  Tech edge-Oregon State, based on team and extended bowl trends.

TCU vs. MICHIGAN STATE (Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, Saturday, December 29)...Mark Dantonio 1-4 SU, 2-3 vs. spread in bowl games with MSU since 2007.  Spartans only 4-8 vs. line this season but did cover 4 of 5 away from East Lansing (MSU was terrible 0-7 vs. spread as host this season) and are 9-3 against spread last 12 away from Spartan Stadium.  Note Gary Patterson is 3-1 SU but 0-4 vs. line in last four bowls, and Frogs have won 6 of last 7 bowl games SU.  Tech edge-slight to TCU, based on recent bowl SU record.

NC STATE vs. VANDERBILT (Music City Bowl, Monday, December 31)...  NCS has covered its last seven bowls which extends to the Amato and O’Brien regimes.  Pack only 1-5 vs. line away from Raleigh this season but extended dog mark is good (11-6-1 since 2010, 28-16-1 since 2007 receiving points).  Vandy 9-4 vs. points in 2012 and 18-8 vs. line under James Franklin since 2011, although Dores failed to cover bowl last year vs. Cincy.  Tech edge-NC State, based on extended bowl numbers.

GEORGIA TECH vs. SOUTHERN CAL (Sun Bowl, Monday, December 31)... 
SC subpar 3-9 vs. number this season and 0-6 against number away from Coliseum.  Lane Kiffin 0-1 in bowls (2009 with Tennessee against Virginia Tech in Chick fil-A Bowl).  Trojans just 19-30 last 49 on board since early 2009.  Paul Johnson 0-4 vs. line in bowls at GT but covered 3 of 4 in bowls with GT.  Jackets 8-5 vs. line in 2012.  Tech edge-Georgia Tech, based on SC road woes.

IOWA STATE vs. TULSA (Liberty Bowl, Monday, December 31)...Rematch from ISU’s 38-23 in opener of 2012 season at Ames.  Tulsa 4-2 SU and vs. line last six bowl games, and Blankenship 13-7 vs. spread last 20 on board since mid 2011.  Tech edge-slight to Tulsa, based on extended trends.

CLEMSON vs. LSU (Chick fil-A Bowl, Monday, December 31)...
Les Miles 5-2 SU and vs. spread in bowls with LSU, although he did lose last year’s BCS title game vs. Alabama.   LSU only 1-3 vs. line as road favorite this season, but he was 10-4 vs. line away from Baton Rouge in 2010-11.   Dabo only 5-5 as dog since 2010 (1-1 TY) and is just 1-3 SU and vs. line in bowls the past four seasons.  Tech edge-LSU, based on team trends.

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Re: College Football Bowl Season Betting News and Notes

College Bowl Super System                     
By Robbie Gainous

From all of us at Cajun Sports Wire we hope each of you had a very happy holiday and look forward to a great New Year! We hope you enjoyed our first bowl system as the BYU Cougars came through for us winning 23 to 6 over San Diego State.

In keeping with the re-gifting spirit, we are using a system that has won for us in the past and sets up perfectly in two big bowl games this year. We know it is not proper gift etiquette to re-gift but when it is a powerful system we feel, there is nothing wrong giving it away twice.

This system isolates teams that have managed to pitch a late season shutout victory and now find themselves installed as decent bowl favorites. During our research of bowl favorites, the shutout situation provided a solid foundation that warranted further investigation.

We found that our bowl favorites of four or more points having pitched a shutout in their next to last game have been money in the bank under the prescribed circumstances. They are especially effective when their bowl opponent is not coming off two straight up wins to close out the regular season scoring thirty-eight or more points in each game.

SYSTEM: Play ON a Bowl favorite of more than 4 points off a shutout SU win in its game before last vs. an opponent not off 2 SU wins scoring 38+ points in each game. This system has a record of 13-0 ATS since 1980 covering by an average of 11.8 points per game.

A look back we see that this system has not been active since 2007. In that bowl season the Penn State Nittany Lions qualified in our system as they were favored over Texas A&M by 5.5 points and went on to win 24 to 17. Prior to that we have to go all the way back to the 2000 bowl season and we find that the Miami Hurricanes were active in our system and favored over the Florida Gators by 7 points and proceeded to defeat the Gators 37 to 20 and give our system another easy winner.

This season our bowl system is active again and it is actually active in two bowl games the first it tells us to Play ON the Florida Gators minus the points over the Louisville Cardinals and it is also active in the BCS National Championship Game and favors Alabama minus the points over Notre Dame. With all the system parameters met, our two Play ON teams for this week's NCAA Football System of the Week are the Florida Gators and the Alabama Crimson Tide.

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Re: College Football Bowl Season Betting News and Notes

End Of The Bowls                     
By Jim Feist

Happy New Year! After recovering from the weekend's New Year festivities, we glide through the end of the bowl season. A few more bowls are appetizers for the tune-up that is the January 9 Alabama/LSU rematch for all the marbles. 

Sugar Bowl (Wed., Jan 2): Louisville head coach Charlie Strong faces the Florida team he used to be defensive coordinator at. Several of the Florida seniors were recruited by Strong, especially the defensive players.  Louisville (10-2) gets it done with defense (23.8 ppg allowed) and a passing offense behind sophomore QB Teddy Bridgewater (25 TDs, 7 INTs) ranked 24th in the nation with 298.6 yards passing per contest. They are100th in rushing and won't be able to run on this Florida D-line.  After a 9-0 start Louisville has lost 2 of 3 to Syracuse (45-26) and UConn (23-20 in triple OT). The Cardinals are 35-17 ATS in non-conference games.

No.3 Florida (11-1) got here with defense for Coach Will Muschamp, allowing 12.9 ppg (third in the nation) and lost only to Georgia, 17-9. They are predictable on offense averaging 194 yards rushing behind senior RB Mike Gillislee (1,104 yds) and running QB Jeff Driskel, ranked 118th in the nation in passing. The Gators are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 bowl games, 22-9 ATS in non-conference games. They are also on a 9-4 run under the total.

Fiesta Bowl (Thurs., Jan., 3): The all-running teams as No. 4 Oregon battles No. 5 Kansas State. Oregon (11-1) is no ordinary offense under Chip Kelly, spreading the field, running the no-huddle and burning up defenses. Oregon is No. 2 in the nation in points (50.8 ppg), with 226.8 yards passing and 323 yards rushing per contest (No. 3 in the nation). Freshman  QB Marcus Mariota (30 TDs, 6 INTs) was as good as advertised along with senior RB Kenjon Barner (1,624 yards, 6.5 ypc) as they wear down defenses. The Ducks are on a 37-18 run over the total!

Kansas State (11-1 SU, 9-2 ATS) is not flashy, with a ground game carrying the offense (40.7 points, 199 yards rushing), as the poor passing game is 86th in the nation behind 6-foot-5 senior QB Collin Klein (15 TDs, 7 INTs, 890 yards rushing) along with 5-7 junior RB John Hubert (892 yards, 5.2 ypc). The defense was outstanding, holding Oklahoma to 19 points and West Virginia to 14, before a 52-24 last season loss to Baylor. The Wildcats are on an 18-7-1 ATS run, though 10-21 ATS in non-conference games.

BCS Championship Game (Mon., Jan., 7):  A rematch of the epic 1974 thriller won by underdog Notre Dame, 24-23, for the national title. The SEC has won the last 6 national titles and looks for another in Sun Life Stadium in Miami.  Defense is the story, with Bama No. 2 in points allowed (10.7) and Notre Dame No. 1 (10.3). A year ago Alabama ranked No. 1 in points allowed and shut down the No. 2 defense in the nation, LSU, 21-0.

Notre Dame has a stocked defense, but an erratic offense for Coach Brian Kelly, who prefers the no-huddle but had to scale back with sophomore quarterback Everett Golson (11 TDs, 5 INTs). RBs Theo Riddick (880) and Cierre Wood (740) anchor a ground attack that is 28th with 202.5 yards per game. Notre Dame is 10-2 under the total and on a 36-17-2 run under the total.

Alabama (11-1) is similar with the ground game carrying the offense behind junior RB Eddie Lacy (1,182 yds, 6.4 ypc) and freshman T.J. Yeldon (1,000, 6.5 ypc) with junior QB A.J. McCarron (26 TDs, 3 INTs). They lost only to Texas A&M (29-24) allowing 418 yards, though LSU put up 435 yards (296 passing) and had them on the ropes. The Crimson Tide is 4-9 ATS in their last 13 games on grass and the over is 5-1 in their last six bowl games.

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