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College Football Betting News and Notes Monday, Dec. 24

College Football Betting News and Notes Monday, Dec. 24

SMU (6 - 6) vs. FRESNO ST (9 - 3)

Top Trends for this game.
FRESNO ST is 11-1 ATS (+9.9 Units) in all games this season.
FRESNO ST is 11-1 ATS (+9.9 Units) in all lined games this season.
FRESNO ST is 9-0 ATS (+9.0 Units) as a favorite this season.
FRESNO ST is 10-1 ATS (+8.9 Units) in games played on turf this season.

Head-to-Head Series History
There were no past matchups in this series during this time period.

The total has gone OVER in 5 of Southern Methodist's last 7 games
Southern Methodist is 0-5 SU in its last 5 games when playing Fresno State
Fresno State is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games
Fresno State is 2-4 ATS in its last 6 games when playing Southern Methodist

SMU vs. Fresno State
SMU: 0-6 ATS away after committing 1 or 0 turnovers
Fresno State: 9-0 ATS as a favorite

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Re: College Football Betting News and Notes Monday, Dec. 24

Hawaii Bowl Preview
By Matt Fargo

SMU Mustangs vs. Fresno St. Bulldogs (-12.5/59)

How SMU got here

SMU snuck into the postseason at 6-6 thanks to a win in its final game of the season at home against Tulsa as 5.5-point underdogs. The Mustangs started the season 1-3 and 2-4 but rallied to take four of their final six games to become bowl eligible. When SMU won, it won big and when it lost, it lost big as well as five of its six wins were by 17 points or more while four of its six losses were by 22 or more points. Which teams actually shows up in Hawaii? Chances are SMU will be pretty motivated as the seniors can hold their hat on being the only class in the history of the program to go to four straight bowl games and they could become the only teams to win a bowl game in consecutive years.

How Fresno St. got here

After finishing 4-9 in its final year in the WAC, Fresno St. made a statement in its first year in the MWC, going 9-3 overall including 7-1 in the conference to grab a share of the title. The Bulldogs started slow with a 2-2 record through four games but went on a 7-1 to end the season with the lone loss coming against Boise St. by 10 points on the road. The other losses were at Oregon, which was no surprise, and at Tulsa which came by just a single point. While they are back in the postseason after a year off, the Bulldogs should be pretty motivated to win as they have lost three straight bowl games so the seniors will want to go out winners. Fresno St. won its last five games by an average of 25.8 ppg.

Interesting Stat

Going back to their last 28 games, the Mustangs are 14-0 when scoring first and 0-14 when they do not.


The Bulldogs bring in one of the top offenses in the country as they are ranked 14th overall and 12th in scoring and they really lit it up during their closing five-game winning streak, averaging 47.2 ppg. They will be licking their chops facing the SMU stop unit which has not stopped many teams this year. The Mustangs have a middle of the road defense but while having success against mediocre teams, holding four teams to 13 points or less, they allowed an average of 38.1 ppg in the other eight games. The SMU offense made up for the defense in some cases but it still ranked 93rd in the country and scoring was only better because it is 12th in the nation in turnover margin. The Mustangs will face a Bulldogs defense ranked 19th overall and 27th in scoring.


SMU is 3-12 ATS in its last 15 games away from home following a win as an underdog.

Fresno St. is a perfect 9-0 ATS as a favorite and 7-0 ATS after scoring 37 or more points this season.

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Re: College Football Betting News and Notes Monday, Dec. 24

Hawaii Bowl Preview

SMU coach Jones is a legend in Paradise, having coached Rainbow Warriors for nine years (’99-’07), some of best years in program history; his SMU team won this game 45-10 as a 12-point dog over Nevada (and Colin Kaepernick) three years ago, so can’t dismiss them here, even though they’re 6-6, with four losses by 22+ points. Jones is 6-3 overall in bowls; Mustangs are 4-3 vs spread as underdogs this year- they run ball lot more than Jones’ usual run-and-shoot team, mainly because his QBs aren’t good enough to throw on every down. Fresno State is 8-0 vs spread as a favorite this year, 6-0 when laying double digits; Bulldogs won last five games, scoring 47.2 ppg. Pat Hill lost his last three bowls with Fresno, allowing 40-35-40 points; they’ve lost six of last eight bowls, overall. Average total in Bulldogs’ last five bowls is 63.6. C-USA non-conference underdogs are 12-20 vs spread this year; MWC favorites are 6-8 against the spread.

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Re: College Football Betting News and Notes Monday, Dec. 24

Hawaii Bowl Preview
By Joe Nelson

While Monday Night Football in the NFL is done for the season, there is bowl action this Monday night as the annual Christmas Eve Hawaii Bowl features an intriguing match-up to wrap up the football weekend. SMU finished the season just 6-6, needing to beat Conference USA champion Tulsa to gain bowl eligibility in the finale, while Fresno State is riding a five-game winning streak for a successful first season in the Mountain West. Here is a look at this game and the history between these teams.

Match-up: Southern Methodist Mustangs vs. Fresno State Bulldogs
Venue: Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, Hawaii (FieldTurf)
Date: Monday, December 23, 2012
Time/TV: 8:00 PM ET – ESPN
Line: Fresno State -12½, Over/Under 59
Last Meeting: 2004, Fresno State (-27), 42-0

This is a fourth straight bowl game in the five years since June Jones took over at SMU, an impressive feat considering SMU was 1-11 in his first season. That ugly season was coming off a 1-11 record in 2007 and the Mustangs had not been to a bowl game since getting hit with major NCAA sanctions, with the last bowl appearance being a 27-20 win over Notre Dame in the 1984 Aloha Bowl. SMU was in this bowl game in 2009, winning 45-10 as a double-digit underdog over Nevada. Jones coached at Hawaii from 1999 to 2007, leading Hawaii to the Sugar Bowl after the 2007 season when he led a 12-0 regular season in his final season with the Warriors. Jones is well received on the islands for his success at the university even though he left with some resentment.
Fresno State also has some experience playing in Hawaii as they meet the Warriors as WAC and now Mountain West foes annually. Fresno State made this trip last season, which could help the players with familiarity with the travel and stadium. The Bulldogs won a share of the Mountain West this season going 9-3 overall and 7-1 in conference play. The only losses for Fresno State came on the road against quality teams, Oregon, Tulsa, and Boise State. The Bulldogs also put together an incredible ATS season going 11-1. Fresno State went 3-3 against bowl teams this season, but most would agree that the Bulldogs lost to the best three teams on the schedule and really lack any high quality wins.

Statistically, Fresno State has far better numbers on both sides of the ball, impressively with 6.3 yards per play on offense against just 4.7 yards per play allowed on defense. SMU is also positive in that differential, but much less impressive on both sides of the ball at 5.5 yards per play on offense and 5.2 yards per play allowed on defense. Fresno State posted nearly 490 yards per game, including over 322 passing yards per game for one of the more productive offenses in the nation. On defense, Fresno State did allow significant rushing yards this season, surrendering 172 yards per game on the ground, but having to play Oregon made a big impact on those statistics.

Junior quarterback Derek Carr had a huge season for the Bulldogs and could certainly be growing as a NFL prospect. His brother, David was the #1 pick in the 2002 draft after playing for the Bulldogs and while he never became the star many expected, he has had a job in the league for a decade, currently the back-up for the New York Giants. Derek’s numbers this season are impressive with 36 touchdown passes against five interceptions, while completing almost 68 percent of his passes for over 3,700 yards. David threw for over 4,800 yards in his senior season but Derek’s numbers best what David did as a junior in just about every possible way.

Fresno State is certainly a pass-first team, averaging over 40 passing attempts per game and the ratio of passes to runs would likely be greater if the Bulldogs had fewer blowout wins. Diminutive senior running back Robbie Rouse needs just 32 yards to eclipse 1,500 yards for the second straight season, while also catching 58 passes and scoring 14 times combined. Freshman wide receiver Davante Adams has been the key weapon in the passing game with 89 catches this season for over 1,100 yards. Many of his catches are of the short-yardage variety with only five 100-yard games, but he has the ability to create yardage after the catch. This offense averaged over 40 points per game this season, the 12th best mark in college football.

SMU still looks like the run-and-shoot teams of past years under June Jones, but the offense has not been nearly as prolific. The Mustangs averaged just 366 yards per game this season and passed about 57 percent of the time. Despite over 40 pass attempts per game, SMU only averaged 237 passing yards per game as quarterback Garrett Gilbert (famous for filling in admirably for Colt McCoy at Texas in the 2009 BCS championship game) completed just over 53 percent of his passes. Most of his throws have gone for short yardage and he had just one more touchdown pass than interception. SMU was less reliant on the pass late in the year as Gilbert threw almost 46 passes per game in the first half of the season but just 33 attempts per game in the final six games.

Senior running back Zach Line led the Mustangs with over 1,200 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns while also catching 32 passes. He rushed for at least 81 yards in 10 of 12 games this season and had at least 15 attempts in every game. Darius Johnson and Jeremy Johnson led the receiving corps with very similar numbers but both are on the small end as far as receivers go. The Mustangs do spread the ball around but the offense was very inconsistent this season, scoring an average of 42 points in wins but less than 17 points per game in losses.

While Fresno State did play Oregon and Tulsa in non-conference play, SMU played a brutal non-conference schedule, losing to Baylor, TCU, and Texas A&M. Conference USA certainly had a down year, but the Mustangs did have to play the top team from the East division for one of the tougher slates in the conference. SMU went 5-3 in league play, including beating the eventual champion Tulsa. The schedules for these teams rated similarly with the Mountain West producing a handful of respectable teams and the Bulldogs getting a boost for playing Oregon.

Defensively, Fresno State has far better numbers and while there are some holes in the SMU secondary the Mustangs are not as bad as the overall numbers suggest with a 103rd- ranked pass defense. Facing Baylor and Texas A&M put a big hit on those numbers and the pace of play for SMU allowed for more plays to be ran against them. What both defenses did extremely well was create turnovers this season. As SMU and Fresno State both picked up 33 turnovers on the season and both teams had turnover margins ranked in the top 12 of the nation. That could be a key for the outcome of this game.

While June Jones and his return to Hawaii will be a lead storyline, a great first year for Tim DeRuyter in Fresno should also be worth mentioning. Well-respected longtime Coach Pat Hill was released after last season’s disappointing 4-9 season and while Hill had a number a very good teams and big upset wins he never won a WAC title. In the first year in the Mountain West, DeRuyter has a conference title for Fresno State, albeit with mainly players Hill brought in. DeRuyter did coach Texas A&M to a bowl victory last season as an interim head coach, beating Northwestern 33-22 last season and while with the Aggies he was the offensive coordinator that helped hand SMU a 46-14 defeat last season as well.

Line Movement: Fresno State opened as a -10½-point favorite, but the line quickly climbed to -12 and later to -12½ where it has been steady much of the week before some recent buy-back to -12 at some outlets. The total opened at 59½ and has bounced down to 59. Fresno State is around -450 on the moneyline with SMU +350.

Last Meeting: In 2004, Fresno State was a huge favorite of -27 hosting a one-win SMU team in the latter part of the season. Fresno State won in a blowout with a 42-0 win, but the yardage was actually relatively close as Fresno State had a 465-356 edge as SMU had four turnovers. That was an SMU team that had won once in the previous 18 games however and a good Fresno State team was focused coming off three consecutive tight losses.

Series History: These teams played six straight seasons from 1999 to 2004 with Fresno State winning all but the first meeting S/U though going just 2-3-1 ATS. Fresno State was favored by more than 14 points in each of those contests.

SMU Historical Trends: Since June Jones took over this program in 2008, SMU is 18-16-1 ATS as an underdog and the Mustangs were 4-3 ATS in that role this season including three S/U wins. This is a fourth bowl game in a row for the Mustangs with SMU winning big twice as an underdog and losing as a favorite two years ago in a ‘home’ bowl game. Since 2009, SMU is 8-4 ATS as an underdog of 10 or more points but SMU is also just 4-8 ATS the last two seasons in non-home games.

Fresno State Historical Trends: From late 2005 until the end of last season, Fresno State was mired in an ugly 9-32-2 ATS run in the favorite role. It all changed this season as Fresno State went 9-0 S/U and ATS as a favorite this season including going 7-0 as a double-digit favorite. The only game in which Fresno State failed to cover this season was at Boise State, losing by 10 as a seven-point underdog. Fresno State is 4-7 ATS in the last 11 games as a double-digit favorite away from home and 9-14 ATS in the last 23 games overall as a favorite away from home.

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Re: College Football Betting News and Notes Monday, Dec. 24

Sheraton Hawaii Bowl: What Bettors Need to Know

Fresno State Bulldogs vs. SMU Mustangs (+12, 59.5)


1. The lone Christmas Eve bowl game figures to be gift-wrapped with plenty of offense. Southern Methodist will try to keep pace with Fresno State, which is ranked 14th nationally in total offense at 488.5 yards per game while averaging 40.2 points. The Mustangs average 29.5 points and scored a school-record 72 against Houston in October.

2. SMU coach June Jones is familiar with the islands after coaching Hawaii for nine seasons. The Mustangs, who are making their school-record fourth consecutive bowl appearance, won the 2009 Hawaii Bowl 45-10 against Nevada. The Bulldogs are making their 12th bowl appearance in the last 14 seasons, and are coming off their first conference championship since 1999.

3. Both teams enter the contest riding a wave of momentum after finishing the regular season on a high note. Fresno State has won five straight games, including a 48-15 victory over Air Force on Nov. 24. SMU went 2-2 down the stretch, but the Mustangs beat Tulsa 35-27 in their season finale to hand the Golden Hurricane their first conference loss. Fresno State lost to Tulsa 27-26 on Sept. 22.

LINE: Fresno State opened at -11.5 and has since climbed to -12. The total opened at 59.5 and has remained steady.

WEATHER: The forecast is calling for a 51 percent chance of rain later in the game with temperatures in the high 60s. Winds are expected to blow ENE at 7 mph.


* Bulldogs are 1-4 ATS in their last five Bowl games.
* Mustangs are 5-1 ATS in their last six vs. MWC.
* Over is 4-0 in Bulldogs' last four Bowl games.
* Over is 5-2 in Mustangs' last seven games overall.

ABOUT FRESNO STATE (9-3, 7-1 Mountain West, 11-1 ATS): Led by first-year coach Tim DeRuyter, the Bulldogs shared the conference championship with Boise State and San Diego State. Junior quarterback Derek Carr was named Mountain West Offensive Player of the Year after throwing for a career-high 3,742 yards with 36 touchdowns and only five interceptions. Freshman wide receiver Davante Adams led the conference in receptions (89), receiving yards (1,168) and touchdown catches (13), while senior Robbie Rouse rushed for 1,468 yards and 12 touchdowns. Senior defensive back Philip Thomas leads the Bulldogs’ defense, which ranked 19th in the nation while allowing an average of 335.3 yards. Thomas was named the Mountain West’s top defensive player after recording a career-high 82 tackles and eight interceptions. After recording only nine takeaways last year, Fresno State tied for third nationally with SMU and Boise State with 33 turnovers gained this season.

ABOUT SMU (6-6, 5-3 Conference USA, 7-5 ATS): The Mustangs needed their victory over Tulsa to become bowl eligible after losing 36-14 at Rice on Nov. 17. The offense is led by senior Zach Line, who was named C-USA Offensive Player of the Year after rushing for 1,207 yards and 12 touchdowns. Quarterback Garrett Gilbert is a dual threat who had 14 passing touchdowns and seven rushing. Gilbert has a 14-to-13 touchdown-to-interception ratio, but has thrown 126 passes without an interception. The defense is led by defensive end Margus Hunt and linebacker Ja'Gared Davis, who forced three turnovers against Tulsa. The Mustangs are vulnerable in the secondary, where they've lost two starters to injuries. Over the past two-plus seasons, SMU is 14-0 when scoring first, but 0-14 when the opponent scores first.

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