College Football Betting News and Notes Saturday, December 21

College Football Betting News and Notes Saturday, December 21

COLORADO ST (7 - 6) vs. WASHINGTON ST (6 - 6) - 12/21/2013, 2:00 PM

Top Trends for this game.
COLORADO ST is 12-25 ATS (-15.5 Units) in road games in games played on turf since 1992.
WASHINGTON ST is 8-2 ATS (+5.8 Units) when playing on a Saturday this season.
COLORADO ST is 52-32 ATS (+16.8 Units) off a win against a conference rival since 1992.

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


USC (9 - 4) vs. FRESNO ST (11 - 1) - 12/21/2013, 3:30 PM

Top Trends for this game.
USC is 1-8 ATS (-7.8 Units) in road games when playing on a Saturday over the last 2 seasons.
FRESNO ST is 16-5 ATS (+10.5 Units) when playing on a Saturday over the last 2 seasons.

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


BUFFALO (8 - 4) vs. SAN DIEGO ST (7 - 5) - 12/21/2013, 5:30 PM

There are no Top Trends with records of significance that apply to this game.

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


LA LAFAYETTE (8 - 4) at TULANE (7 - 5) - 12/21/2013, 9:00 PM


There are no Top Trends with records of significance that apply to this game.

Head-to-Head Series History
TULANE is 1-0 against the spread versus LA LAFAYETTE over the last 3 seasons
LA LAFAYETTE is 1-0 straight up against TULANE over the last 3 seasons
0 of 0 games in this series have gone OVER THE TOTAL over the last 3 seasons

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Re: College Football Betting News and Notes Saturday, December 21

New Mexico Bowl

Mike Leach was 6-4 in bowls at Texas Tech, but lost his first two bowls there; this is Washington State's first bowl in 10 years in Leach's second year in Pullman. Wazzu lost 31-24 at Auburn to open season, then beat USC 10-7 in Coliseum the next week; in middle of year, they gave up 56.3 ppg in 3-game skid, before 2-1 finish got them to 6-6, 9-3 vs spread. Coogs are 9-3 vs spread this year, 2-1 in games with pointspread that is less than a TD. Colorado State is playing first bowl since '08; they're 4-3 this year in games with single digit spread, 3-2 as underdogs. Mountain West non-conference oad underdogs are 10-12 vs spread; Pac-12 away favorites are 1-4; all Pac-12 favorites are 9-8 out of conference. Lot of experience on both OLs. Coog QB Halliday has more experience than Rams' QB Grayson, but he also threw 21 INT this season. MW teams covered five of last six appearances in this bowl.

Las Vegas Bowl

USC fired Lane Kiffin during season, now they're playing his alma mater with their second interim coach, after Orgeron quit in wake of Sarkisian's hiring as new HC. Fresno was unbeaten until losing 62-52 at San Jose St (was 42-41 at half); they bounced back to win MW title game, but they lost last four bowl games, allowing 39.5 ppg- they lost this game in '08, '09, and got smoked 43-10 as 13-point favorite by SMU in Hawai'i Bowl LY. Pac-12 teams are 2-6 SU last eight times they played in this bowl. Trojans, likely to be flat after departure of popular (emotional) interim coach Orgeron, lost 21-7 (-7.5) in Sun Bowl LY after not playing in bowl previous two years- they've got soph QB but more experienced OL than Fresno, which has outstanding senior QB in Carr. Bulldogs are 2-2-1 in games with single digit spread; USC is 4-3. Trojans are 4-5 as a favorite.

Idaho Potato Bowl

Buffalo is in its second bowl, losing 38-20 (+7) to UConn five years ago in Toronto; Bulls lost first two games, two of last three this season but won seven in row in between- they allowed 23 or less points in the eight wins, 46.3 ppg in four losses. Buffalo is 3-2 in games with single digit spread. San Diego State is in fourth straight bowl, two at home, one in New Orleans; how excited are they to go freeze in Boise? Aztecs started season 0-3, with loss to I-AA E. Illinois, then won seven of last eight games before losing finale at UNLV. San Diego State allowed 30+ points in five of last six games- they're 6-2 in games decided by 7 or less points. Bulls are 6-0 vs spread as favorites vs I-A teams. Underdogs are 5-3 vs spread in last eight Potato Bowls. MAC teams are 2-2 in this bowl last four years. Aztecs lost bowls last two years, after beating Navy in '10.

New Orleans Bowl

UL-Lafayette won this bowl 32-30/43-34 last two years, their first two bowl appearances, now they're here for third year in row, against Tulane team that plays home games here in Superdome, before smallish crowds. Green Wave went 7-5 despite being underdog in nine of 11 lined games; they're in first bowl since 2002, are 5-1 at home, losing 41-39 to South Alabama. Tulane lost three of last four games, is 2-3 in games decided by less than a TD. C-USA teams won four of five bowl games LY. ULL is 0-5 vs spread in last five games, losing its last two games, allowing 31-30 points; Cajuns are 3-1 in games with single digit spread- they were the favorite in seven of last nine games. Underdogs are 5-3 vs spread in this bowl last eight years, with an average total of 64.8. Despite this being Tulane's home field, crowd should be evenly split. Green Wave's QB is Nick Montana, Joe's son.

Armadillosports.com

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Gildan New Mexico Bowl: Colorado State vs Washington State
By Chuck Edel
Chuckedel.com

The first bowl game of the bowl season features a pair of programs that are in the middle of rebuilding their programs.  Colorado State is in their first post season game since 2008, when they won the New Mexico Bowl and finished 7-6 on the season.  They'll beat that record by a game of they're able to beat Mike Leach's Washington State team.  The Cougars' program has even had a longer bowl drought, stretching back to 2003.  Leach has already guided the Cougars to 9 wins in his first two seasons, and with one more will have won more games than Paul Wulff did during his whole tenure.

The Rams offense was fairly serviceable this season.  QB Garrett Grayson was able to convert 62.1% of his passes for 7.8 yards per attempt with 21 touchdowns.  There was a big difference though between the first half signal calling and the second half.  Grayson completed only 55.8% of his passes in the second half, with just five touchdowns to four interceptions.  His yards per attempt dropped form a stellar 8.4 to just 6.9.  This is in the exact opposite for the running game, where Kapri Bibbs saw his yards per carry grow to over seven yards per attempt.  The run game overall was extremely effective at converting first downs, with Bibbs and Chris Nwoke combing to convert 23 of their 31 third and short carries. 

The Cougars offense has been hampered all season by turnovers.  They posted a -5 turnover margin for the season, a lot being attributed to Connor Halliday's 21 picks.  Halliday though has not been awful, especially in the first half of games where he has a 17:9 touchdown to interception ratio.  He just has not been able to get the ball down the field enough though, just 11% of his pass attempts gaining more than 15 yards.  His best receiving threat has been Dom Williams, who is averaging 16.5 yards per catch with three touchdowns the last three weeks.  Over one third of his catches have been big plays, and has 10 of his 12 third down receptions getting converted. 

Neither defense has been overwhelmingly dominant, with Colorado State allowing 29 points per game and Washington State 31.  The Rams do have an outstanding defender in Shaqil Barrett, a 250 pound linebacker that has deliver 20.5 tackles for loss amongst his 74 stops.  He is an intense pass rusher, tallying 12 sacks and five QB hurries.  The Cougars on the other hand have a battle tested secondary that allowed just 12 yards per catch.  CB Damante Horton was tied for the team lead with five interceptions and three more passes defended. Deone Bucanon picked off five more form his safety position.

WSU is a three and a half point favorite early on, and we should expect that number to stay just about there.  The teams are closely ranked in just about every category, and while CSU only played three games against teams with a winning record, they were able to score 16 touchdowns in November and only went three and out on 19% of their drives this season.

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Las Vegas Bowl: USC vs. Fresno State
By Rich Douglas
Chuckedel.com

Matchup: USC vs. Fresno State
Line: USC -6.5. Total 62
Location: Las Vegas, NV ~ Sam Boyd Stadium

The Las Vegas Bowl features a matchup between two top 25 teams heading in different directions. USC will be without former Interim Coach Ed Orgeron after they opted to go with Steve Sarkisian to run the program. The Trojans still seem to have a ton of momentum now that the team is healthy and the defense is performing to their potential. Fresno State came one win away from earning a BCS at-large bid, but their defense let them down against a middling San Jose State team. Even so, Derek Carr is one of the most talented Quarterbacks in the country and will look to cap his college career with a win.

Keys to Victory for USC

-Their solid secondary needs to have continued success. They're only giving up 214 yards through the air per game in a conference that loves to air out the ball.
-Silas Redd is out. Davorious Allen will have to shoulder the load for a running game that needs to support Cody Kessler.
-Marquise Lee will be looking to make a statement in this game. He'll certainly have a good shot at doing so against a terrible Bulldog secondary.
-Nelson Agholor is an excellent return man and will likely exploit a struggling special teams squad.

Keys to Victory for Fresno State

-The Bulldogs lead the nation with 73 passing plays of over 20 yards. Derek Carr and Davante Adams are the obvious stars on this offense and will have to have a big game against the best secondary they'll see all year.
-They're giving up 278 yards per game through the air. This can't happen against USC if they expect to win.The secondary is terrible, we know that. So Kyrie Wilson and Derron Smith to pressure the QB. For as disappointing as the defense has been, they recorded an impressive 8 sacks last week against Utah State to win the Mountain West Championship.

Prediction: I don't think this will be a shootout that Fresno State will be accustomed to. It's hard to determine whether or not USC will be amped up for this game after losing their beloved Coach O, but they should be able to pull out a victory if they remain focused.

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Famous Idaho Potato Bowl: Buffalo vs San Diego State
By Chuck Edel
Chuckedel.com

The Buffalo Bulls will turn in their first winning season since 2008, winning eight games this season and looking for at least nine wins, their highest total since 1986.  The Bulls are a defensive minded team, lead by Khalil Mack and a unit that will disrupt opposing passing games.  The San Diego State Aztecs are bowling for the fourth straight year, and trying to stop a two bowl losing streak.

The Aztecs averaged 5.7 yards per play in November, a period in which they won four of their five games.  This was largely because of the running game established by Adam Muema and Donnel Pumphrey.  Muema was the bell cow this season, playing in all twelve games and toting the ball 228 times.  He had a thousand yard season, averaging 4.5 yards per carry and finding the end zone twelve times.  He did struggle the last two games of the season, totaling just 57 yards after gaining over 500 in the previous three games.  Pumphrey was able to turn in excellent performances in the second half of games against worn out defenses.  He had better than one in five carries go for more than ten yards, and was exceptionally good inside his own territory, averaging better than eight yards per carry.  Quinn Kaehler though has struggled down the stretch in the passing game, posting just a 58% completion rate for 7.3 yards per attempt.  His third down performance though has been superb all season, completing 63% of his attempts and converting 40% of them.  The Bulls have their own bell cow back in Branden Oliver, a 208 pound back out of Miami.  Oliver has carried the ball 282 times, 47 of them for more than 10 yards.  Inside the maroon zone he's been excellent as well, averaging 4.8 yards per carry and has scored 14 times.  While the passing game has struggled Alex Neutz has been a standout pass catcher.  He's averaged 16 yards per catch and has caught a pass in every game this season.

Khalil Mack should be the first defensive player off the board this April.  He will hold the record for most tackles for loss when this bowl game is over. Mack is the heart of the defense that has allowed just  22 points a game, with six of those gmes holding opponents to under 20 points.   He has a team high 94 tackles, 19 of them for loss.  He's intercepted three passes and has 10.5 sacks to go with six more QB hurries and six passes defended.  The defense though has struggled against the run the last month.  Theyve allowed 4.7 yards per carry and seven rushing touchdowns.   Through the air though, the Bulls have been bullet proof, allowing just 6.6 yards per pass and only 42.3% of the passes to be completed.  Theyve also only given up three passing touchdowns the last month.   The Aztecs on the other hand have been a seeve on defense.  Teams have completed 62% of their passes for nearly seven yards per attempt with just seven picks.  The last month theyve also given up 4.3 yards per carry and eleven touchdowns.

Buffalo is a much better team than a lot of people will give them credit for playing in the MAC.  San Diego State can play offense, but its unlikely to be enough to always get past the solid Buffalo defense and outscore Joe Licata, who has been on fire the last month.  Buffalo should handle the Aztecs.

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New Orleans Bowl: UL Lafayette vs. Tulane
By Rich Douglas
Chuckedel.com

Matchup: UL Lafayette vs. Tulane
Line: Tulane -2.5. Total 49.5
Location: New Orleans, LA ~ Superdome

Louisiana State pride is on the line between two teams that should give their best efforts in New Orleans.

Keys to Victory for UL Lafayette

-At first glance, I thought that making UL Lafayette underdogs of any kind in this matchup was ridiculous. I then found out that star QB Terrance Broadway is listed as doubtful with a wrist injury. Sophomore QB Brooks Haack may be looked at to take over for the Rajun Cajuns. The difference in winning and losing will likely come down to the way Haack responds to starting duties.
-Justin Anderson is an absolute beast of a linebacker. He has 124 tackles on the season which is good for 12th in the nation, and leads an underrated aggressive Defense.
-Broadway is a big part of the running game that averages 206 yards per game, but Alonso Harris and Elijah McGuire will have to carry the load as Haack is more of a pro style QB. Harris and McGuire both eclipsed 800 yards and combined for 20 TDs. McGuire is the more explosive back and is averaging nearly 9 yards per carry on 92 rushes.

Keys to Victory for Tulane

-Nick Montana will have to be more accurate. Montana's biggest knock is that while he has a big arm, he just hasn't shown the accuracy necessary to become a big time QB. He's only completing 53% of his passes while gaining 5.7 Yards/Attempt due to the low completion rate.
-Lorenzo Doss is tied for second in the nation in interceptions with 7, and is the leader of a defense that has put together some nice performances. Doss was named a second team All-American last week.
-Speaking of defense, they'll likely have to do what they've been doing all season. Limit rushing yards allowed. They're 16th in the nation allowing just 120 yards per game, and are 22nd in scoring defense with 21 points allowed per game. Remove an outlying loss to Syracuse where they allowed 52 points early in the season and you're looking at a team allowing under 20 points per game.
-Senior DE Julius Warmsley and LB Nico Marley made the All-Conference USA first team and have disrupted backfields all season.

Outcome: Tulane is 8-1 ATS in their last 9 games, and 9-3 overall on the season. They've largely exceeded expectations due to their defense. If Broadway were starting, UL Lafayette would have the clear advantage, but because he's out, there is a lot of uncertainty as to the outcome of this game.

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Bowl Season Preview
Sportspic.com

Las Vegas Bowl

Matchup: Southern Cal (9-4, 6-7 ATS) vs. Fresno State (11-1, 5-7 ATS)
Location: Sam Boyd Stadium, Las Vegas, Nevada

Opening Line: Southern Cal -5
Current Line: Southern Cal -5.5
Percentage of Action: 55% Southern Cal

Analysis: Last year as a touchdown favorite in the Sun Bowl, the Trojans lost outright to Georgia Tech. The Bulldogs were also jolted in their bowl matchup, getting blown out as -13 favorites. While both teams come in with solid overall records, their ATS numbers were mediocre this year. Early money gives a minor edge to the Trojans, with the line moving up by a half-point.

Lean: Fresno State


Famous Idaho Potato Bowl

Matchup: Buffalo (8-4, 8-4 ATS) vs. San Diego State (7-5, 6-6 ATS)
Location: Bronco Stadium, Boise, ID

Opening Line: Buffalo -3
Current Line: Buffalo -3
Percentage of Action: 59% San Diego State

Analysis: The Bulls play in only the second bowl game in their history, the other coming in 2008, where they lost and failed to cover as seven-point dogs. For the Aztecs, their previous bowl game saw them fail to cover as a three-point home dog in last year’s Poinsettia Bowl. Early money leans to the Aztecs

Lean: Buffalo


New Orleans Bowl

Matchup: Louisiana Lafayette (8-4, 4-8 ATS) vs. Tulane (7-5, 9-3 ATS)
Location: Superdome, New Orleans, Louisiana

Opening Line: Tulane -1
Current Line: Tulane -1
Percentage of Action: 69% Tulane

Analysis: Lafayette returns to the same bowl in which they covered as a -6.5 favorite last season, a game that saw plenty of scoring. The Ragin Cajuns’ success on the field this year didn’t translate for handicappers. In contrast, the Green Wave go bowling for the first time in 11 years, but are coming off a strong season as it pertains to handicapping. Given the surroundings, both teams should have plenty of fans. The early money is on Tulane, but there has been limited action on the game thus far.

Lean: Tulane

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New Mexico Bowl: What Bettors Need to Know
Covers.com

Washington State Cougars vs. Colorado State Rams (+4.5, 65.5)


GILDAN NEW MEXICO BOWL STORYLINES:


1. Washington State plays its first bowl game since 2003 when it meets Colorado State in the Gildan New Mexico Bowl in Albuquerque on Dec. 21 - the first of 35 postseason contests culminating with the national championship game Jan. 6. While the Cougars will go bowling for the first time in 10 years, it has been five since the Rams defeated Fresno State 40-35 in the 2008 New Mexico Bowl. Washington State and Colorado State will meet for the first time in what could be a high-scoring contest.

2. Colorado State sophomore Kapri Bibbs rushed for 1,572 yards and 28 touchdowns this season, including back-to-back games of 312 and 291 yards. Bibbs gained only 54 and 79 yards, respectively, in the last two contests, but scored three touchdowns in a 58-13 victory over Air Force on Nov. 30 which made the Rams bowl eligible. The first-year player could add another big-yardage game to his resume, though, as Washington State yields 184 rushing yards per game - 84th in the nation.

3. The Cougars' one-dimensional offense, led by junior quarterback Connor Halliday, is fourth in the nation in passing at 364.5 yards per game, but last in rushing at 58.7. The Rams yield an average of 265.4 passing yards - 109th among the 123 FBS schools in the nation - but apply decent pressure with 27 sacks this season.

LINE: Colorado State as 3.5-point dogs and currently sit at +4.5. The total opened at 65 and has moved up slightly to 65.5.

WEATHER: There is a 22 percent chance of rain with a 12 mph wind blowing across the field.

ABOUT WASHINGTON STATE (6-6, 9-3 ATS): The Cougars were 4-5 with three games left on their schedule, but consecutive victories over Arizona and Utah made them bowl eligible before they finished the regular season with a 27-17 loss to Washington. Halliday (62.8 completion rate, 28 touchdowns, 21 interceptions) attempts 54 passes per game with sophomore Gabe Marks (team highs of 69 catches and 770 yards) his favorite target. “Every bowl I’ve been to is a great experience,” said second-year Cougars coach Mike Leach, whose team finished fifth in the six-team North Division of the Pac-12. “I couldn’t be more excited to go.”

ABOUT COLORADO STATE (7-6, 9-4 ATS): "This is an exciting day not only for our team and our program, but for fans of Colorado State who have waited five years for the chance to go back to a bowl game," said coach Jim McElwain, who also turned a program around in his second year. Junior quarterback Garrett Grayson (62.2 completion rate, 21 touchdowns, 10 interceptions) has managed the offense well with freshman Rashard Higgins (64 catches, 795 yards, six touchdowns) the leading receiver. The Rams, who lost four of their first six games, finished third in the six-team Mountain Division of the MWC.

TRENDS:


* Washington State is 4-1 ATS in its last five games overall.
* Colorado State is 4-0 ATS in its last four non-conference games.
* Over is 4-0 in Washington State's last four games versus the MWC.
* Under is 5-1-1 in Colorado State's last seven games versus the Pac-12.

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Las Vegas Bowl: What Bettors Need to Know
Covers.com

Fresno State Bulldogs vs. Southern California Trojans (-6, 63)


ROYAL PURPLE LAS VEGAS BOWL STORYLINES:


1. Fresno State had its BCS hopes dashed with a loss in its final regular-season game, but motivation shouldn’t be an issue when the Bulldogs face USC in the Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl on Dec. 21. "Any time Fresno State gets a chance to play against BCS teams like USC we get up for it and our fan base gets up for it," coach Tim DeRuyter said. The Bulldogs are led by quarterback Derek Carr, who has passed for a nation-leading 4,866 yards with 48 touchdowns and seven interceptions.

2. USC looks to finish on a high note while playing for its third coach this season. Offensive coordinator Clay Helton will lead the Trojans in Las Vegas before new coach Steve Sarkisian takes over next season.

3. Fresno State defeated the Trojans 24-7 in the 1992 Freedom Bowl in Anaheim, Calif., and USC escaped with a thrilling 50-42 victory on Nov. 19, 2005 in Los Angeles. The teams are scheduled to open the 2014 season against each other in Los Angeles on Aug. 30.

LINE: USC has been bouncing back-and-fourth between -6 and -6.5. They currently sit at -6. The total opened at 62 an has been bet up to 63.

WEATHER: It will be a partly cloudy day with temperatures in the mid 50s.

ABOUT FRESNO STATE (11-1, 5-7 ATS): The Bulldogs boast the top-ranked passing and fifth-ranked scoring offense in the country, but allowed 736 total yards in a 62-52 loss at San Jose State and have struggled mightily against the pass. USC receivers Marqise Lee and Nelson Agholor should thrive against the Bulldogs’ much-maligned secondary, which could receive a boost if cornerback L.J. Jones returns after missing the last five games with a knee injury. Carr’s favorite target is star wideout Davante Adams, who has 122 catches for 1,645 yards and 23 touchdowns.

ABOUT USC (9-4, 6-7 ATS): The Trojans went 6-2 with impressive wins against Arizona and Stanford under interim coach Ed Orgeron, who was replaced after a 35-14 loss to rival UCLA in the regular-season finale. The Pac-12’s second-ranked scoring defense figures to be tested by the explosive Bulldogs, and cornerback Josh Shaw’s matchup against the dynamic Adams should be worth the price of admission. The Trojans can’t match the Bulldogs’ offensive firepower, but quarterback Cody Kessler has improved after a shaky start.

TRENDS:

* Fresno State is 0-4 ATS in its last four bowl games.
* USC is 4-1 ATS in its last five bowl games.
* Over is 8-2 in Fresno's States last 10 games versus the Pac-12.
* Under is 7-0 in USC's last seven games in December.

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Saturday's Bowl Action
By Brian Edwards
VegasInsider.com

Las Vegas Bowl

Matchup: Fresno State vs. Southern California
Venue: Sam Boyd Stadium
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
Time/TV: 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC

As of Friday afternoon, most books had USC (9-4 straight up, 6-7 against the spread) installed as a six-point favorite with a total of 62. Gamblers can back the Bulldogs on the money line for a +210 return (risk $100 to win $210). For first-half bets, USC is favored by 3 ½ with a total of 31 ½.

Fresno St. (11-1 SU, 5-7 ATS) is in its first underdog situation of the season. Any disappointment of not getting to a BCS bowl was most likely forgotten by the Bulldogs when they saw their name next to that of USC’s. I would expect FSU to play with a chip on its shoulder due to the fact that most of its players were bypassed by the Trojans in the recruiting process.

Fresno St. went unbeaten until suffering a 62-52 loss at San Jose St. on Nov. 29. The Bulldogs recovered the following week to win the Mountain West Conference title game by a 24-17 count over Utah St. They hooked up their betting supporters as 2.5-point home ‘chalk.’ Derek Carr threw for 404 yards and three touchdowns against the Aggies.

Carr has enjoyed a sensational senior campaign and will have NFL scouts galore on hand to watch him in Vegas. He has completed 70.1 percent of his throws for 4,866 yards with a 48/7 touchdown-to-interception ratio. Carr’s favorite target is Davante Adams, who has hauled in 122 receptions for 1,654 yards and 23 TDs. Josh Harper, who missed the MWC title game with a groin injury, has 79 catches for 1,011 yards and 13 TDs.

USC has hired a new coach in former assistant Steve Sarkisian, but it will be without Ed Orgeron after he led the team to six wins in its last eight games. Oregeron bolted town after not getting the head job. Therefore, you have to wonder what the mindset is for this team going into the postseason. Remember, USC completely no-showed the Sun Bowl last year by losing 21-7 to a seven-loss Ga. Tech squad.

USC had won five consecutive games before getting thumped 35-14 by UCLA in its regular-season finale. Brett Hundley paced the Bruins with 80 rushing yards and a pair of TD scampers. Javorious Allen ran for 123 yards and one TD. Allen, a product of Tallahassee Lincoln High School that has produced the likes of former Florida OT Zach Pillar, former UF defensive end Kevin Carter and former FSU cornerback Antonio Cromartie, has 10 rushing scores in USC’s last five games.

Southern Cal has been a single-digit favorite four times this year, going 2-2 ATS.

USC will be without two starting offensive linemen. OT Aundrey Walker and center Marcus Martin are both out after sustaining knee injuries.

The ‘under’ is 9-4 overall for the Trojans. Meanwhile, totals have been an overall wash for the Bulldogs (6-6).

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl

Matchup: Buffalo vs. San Diego State
Venue: Bronco Stadium
Location: Boise, Idaho
Time/TV: 5:30 p.m. ET, ESPN

These teams will meet in the Idaho Potato Bowl on the smurf turf in Boise. Buffalo will have to venture across country, but it will be familiar with the cold conditions in Idaho. San Diego St. won’t have to travel as far, but the weather won’t be to its liking.

As of Friday afternoon, most spots had San Diego St. (7-5 SU, 6-6 ATS) listed as a 1 ½-point favorite with a total of 51.

Before laying an egg in a 45-19 loss at UNLV in its regular-season finale, Rocky Long’s squad had won seven of its eight previous games. The lone defeat during that span came to Fresno State in overtime.

San Diego St. is by RB Adam Muema, who rushed for 1,015 yards and 12 TDs during the regular season. QB Quinn Kaehler threw for 2,796 yards with a 17/9 TD-INT ratio.

Buffalo (8-4 SU, 8-4 ATS) has one of the nation’s premier players in LB Khalil Mack, who won the Lambert Award for the country’s top linebacker. Mack has 94 tackles, 19 tackles for loss, 10.5 sacks and three interceptions this season. He returned two of those picks for TDs and he has 15 career forced fumbles.

Buffalo produced a seven-game winning streak before dropping two of its last three games. The Bulls lost a 24-7 decision at home to eventual MAC champ Bowling Green in their regular-season finale.

Buffalo QB Joe Licata had a solid season, throwing 2,628 yards with a 21/7 TD-INT ratio. Brandon Oliver ran for a team-high 1,421 yards and 15 TDs.

San Diego St. compiled a 3-1 spread record in four games as a single-digit favorite.

Buffalo went 2-3 ATS in five games as an underdog.

ESPN will have the telecast at 5:30 p.m. Eastern.

B.E.’s Bonus Nuggets

Three SEC quarterbacks won’t play in the postseason – Georgia’s Aaron Murray, LSU’s Zach Mettenberger and Vandy’s Austyn Carta-Samuels.

In Saturday’s New Mexico Bowl at 2:00 p.m. Eastern on ESPN, Washington St. is favored by 5 ½ vs. Colorado St. The ‘over’ is 8-3 for the Rams, who have gone 3-2 ATS in five games as underdogs.

Tulane is favored by 1 ½ or two vs. UL-Lafayette in Saturday night’s New Orleans Bowl at the Superdome. The Ragin’ Cajuns will most likely be without starting QB Terrance Broadway, who has an injured wrist. Without Broadway, UL-Lafayette got smashed 30-8 at South Alabama in its regular-season finale.

Tulane has covered the number at a 7-1 clip in its last eight games. On the flip side, the Ragin’ Cajuns are in the midst of a 0-5 ATS slide.

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Re: College Football Betting News and Notes Saturday, December 21

New Mexico Bowl
By Sportsbook.ag

Colorado State Rams (7-6 SU, 9-4 ATS) vs. Washington State Cougars (6-6 SU, 9-3 ATS)

Sportsbook.ag Line & Total: Washington State -5.5 & 66
Opening Line & Total: Cougars -3.5 & 65

The first step in the resurgence of the Washington State program under Mike Leach is in full tilt as his team is back in a bowl game, taking on Colorado State in the New Mexico Bowl on Saturday in Albuquerque.

Last season, the Cougars were able to win only three games, but have doubled that this season behind an air attack that averages 364.5 passing yards per game, which ranks fourth in the nation. In the season opener, WSU lost to the Auburn 31-24, and while it didn’t appear to be an important game at the time, Auburn is now in the national championship, showing the Cougars have the ability to play with anybody in the country. Washington State (9-3 ATS) has done a good job of beating all the teams it is supposed to beat (4-0 SU and ATS when favored), but its past five losses have all come by double figures, losing by an average of 26.8 PPG over these five defeats. The Cougars have faced many balanced offenses this season in Pac-12 play, and they are going up against another such offense in this bowl game.

Colorado State (9-4 ATS) has scored at least 27 points in all but two of its games, and one of those exceptions was against Alabama. The Rams have averaged more than 200 yards both rushing and passing this season, but Leach is 20-5 ATS (80%) versus good rushing teams (200+ YPG) as a collegiate head coach. However, excellent rushing teams (4.8+ YPC) such as Colorado State facing a poor rushing team (3.0 to 3.5 YPC) are 108-66 ATS (62%) over the past five seasons. Both of these teams have a tendency to struggle on defense, which should make for an entertaining, high-scoring game.

In a battle of two high-powered offenses, Washington State junior QB Connor Halliday (4,187 pass yards, 28 TD, 21 INT) has the ability to put up monster numbers, but he must limit the turnovers. In his team's six losses, he threw 14 interceptions, compared to just 10 touchdowns. When he remains composed and does not always try to make the big play, the Cougars can be a great on offense. What makes the passing game dangerous is their ability to spread the ball around to many different receivers. With so many passing yards, it is surprising to see that the leading receiver for Washington State is Gabe Marks, who has 69 catches for 770 yards and 6 TD on the season. The Cougars have nine different receivers with at least 200 yards this year, with eight of those receivers catching at least two touchdowns. However, the offense is too one-dimensional at times, ranking 123rd in the country with 58.7 rushing YPG on a paltry 3.1 YPC.

On defense, Washington State allows 31.3 PPG, which ranks 92nd in the country. The unit was playing well at the beginning of the year, holding USC to seven points in Week 2, but has been brutal in its losses, allowing 47.0 PPG in the six defeats. In a loss to Oregon State on Oct. 12, Beavers QB Sean Mannion threw for 493 yards and four touchdowns against the Cougars. The Rams have the ability to throw the ball, but can be equally as dangerous with their potent ground game.

Colorado State junior QB Garrett Grayson (3,327 pass yards, 21 TD and 10 INT) was very good this season, but he has not had to do it all on his own. Sophomore RB Kapri Bibbs (1,572 rush yards, 6.2 YPC and 28 TD) has been a star in his first season getting the carries, as his 28 scores rank second in the nation behind only Navy QB Keenan Reynolds. While his numbers are sensational, he has been somewhat inconsistent on the ground. Bibbs has rushed for over 200 yards in three of his past seven games, (including back-to-back games of 312 and 291) but has also been under 80 yards eight times this season, including three of his past five contests. However, Bibbs has shown enough ability to make the Cougars defense have to respect him, which will open up the passing attack for Grayson.

While the offense (35.3 PPG, 29th in FBS) has been very good, the defense has been subpar, allowing 28.6 PPG (79th in nation). The Rams have really struggled defending the pass, surrendering 265 YPG on 63% completions. Against San Jose State on Oct. 12, David Fales threw for 431 yards and three touchdowns. The bowl season offers many styles of games, and this matchup is for the fans that love high-scoring matchups. Expect lots of touchdowns to be scored in this contest that could go down to the wire.


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Re: College Football Betting News and Notes Saturday, December 21

Las Vegas Bowl Betting Preview: USC vs. Fresno State
By Rob Veno
Sportsmemo.com

USC vs. Fresno State
Las Vegas Bowl
December 21, 12:30 pm PT - ABC
CRIS Opener: USC -4.5 O/U 62
CRIS Current: USC -6 O/U 63
Rob Veno's Power Rating: USC -5.5
Rob Veno's Recommendation: USC -3.5 1st half

When the bowl pairings were announced a couple of Sundays ago, this matchup was one where the motivational angle of each team was questioned. Fresno State went from BCS buster three weeks ago to this late December, mid-afternoon appearance while the Trojans received this bid on the heels of the resignation of beloved interim head coach Ed Orgeron. To have the early handicapping concern that this game may be anti-climactic for both of these teams was legitimate but all signs currently point to Fresno State and USC having regrouped and now focused on this game.

For the Bulldogs, record setting senior quarterback Derek Carr quoted the team mantra heading into this contest “We’re a great football team, and we want to show it against a great opponent.” Where Carr fits in the May NFL Draft could hinge on his performance against this very formidable USC defense. On the Trojans side, incoming head coach Steve Sarkisian reportedly talked the USC players off the ledge and they have seemingly had an attitude adjustment toward this contest. Starting quarterback Cody Kessler and star receiver Marquise Lee have expressed motivational desire to play well in this Bowl game. Lee’s injury filled season produced much lower statistical numbers than expected and he stated this week that he’s put all potential draft entry talk off in favor of focusing on Fresno State. Kessler on the other hand is completely overshadowed by his counterpart and childhood friend Carr. There’s a bit of a friendly, competitive chip on Kessler’s shoulder to show that he can play at this level too. Look for these teams to show up ready on Saturday.

There are some stark contrasts between these squads. USC’s defensive edge is substantial having allowed 84.5 total yards less per game against a strength of schedule that according to my power ratings was vastly superior (+11.2 difference). The only games where the Trojans struggled versus the pass were against Arizona and Arizona State (only 300+ yard passing games USC permitted) and those offenses operate at warp speed while featuring “spread option” rushing style quarterbacks. Carr is mobile but this offense is not designed for him to be a runner. The Trojans secondary and pass rush (4 or more sacks in four games this year) present a tough matchup for Fresno’s high powered offense. Tempo will be extremely important here since USC is not a deep defensive team and the Bulldogs rapid moving offense could grind them down. USC is the total opposite of a hurry up offense and the difference in total yardage per game between them and Fresno State is an enormous 177.3 ypg. That being said, the strength of schedule should again be noted along with the injury situation of WR Lee and starting running back Silas Redd this season. Redd will miss this contest but Javorius Allen went from third string to team MVP has filled in very well this season. USC has plenty of weaponry and capability to put up 40+ points against this sieve like Fresno State defense but season ending injuries to starting center Marcus Martin and starting right guard Aundrey Walker in the season finale against UCLA are significant. The key to this game could end up being whether or not the USC backup linemen can handle the Bulldogs relentless pressure applying defensive front. They are the defense’s one asset.

The windy weather will not be an issue in Las Vegas this time around like it has in so many of the previous games in this Bowl’s history. That sets up just fine for Fresno State which wants the fast track and all the elements to be right for 50+ pass attempts. Each of these teams will be looking to erase very sour bowl defeats from last season and the pains of this season. In the end, it comes down to a pair of issues: Can USC’s defensive depth and conditioning withstand Fresno’s high paced onslaught and can their offensive line reserves hold up against the Bulldogs aggressive front. The latter is of larger importance because if the Trojans o-line performs well here, then this offense is going to go wild behind the punishing running of Allen and the receiving trio of Lee, receiver Nelson Agholor and tight end Xavier Grimble. Not sure that Fresno will be able to crack USC’s rugged defense early on so the free recommendation here is going to be USC first half -3.5.

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Re: College Football Betting News and Notes Saturday, December 21

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl Betting Preview: Buffalo vs. San Diego State
By Ian Cameron
Sportsmemo.com

Buffalo vs. San Diego State
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl - Boise, Idaho
Saturday, December 21, 2:30 pm PT - ESPN
CRIS Opener: Buffalo -1.5 O/U 54
CRIS Current: San Diego State pk O/U 53
Rob Veno's Power Rating: San Diego State -0.5

An interesting MAC vs. Mountain West matchup will take place on the blue turf in Boise when the Buffalo Bulls (8-4) face the San Diego State Aztecs (7-5). Buffalo was a surprise this season jumping from a dismal 4-8 in 2012 to 8-4. This will mark the program’s second-ever bowl appearance – they lost to UConn by 18 in 2009. Buffalo head coach Jeff Quinn’s quote indicates that his team is very excited for this opportunity:

“It's been four years in the making. We talked about setting our goals towards being a football program that has a November and December tradition. And to be invited to a bowl game when we knew there were more bowl eligible teams, represents the kind of hard work we have invested in ourselves.”

Buffalo AD Danny White: "We are excited to be going to the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl. They do a great job with their bowl experience. The community really rallies behind it. For us, it’s a big moment. It’s a testament to the work of Coach Quinn and his staff and these student ¬athletes. They have worked hard to build the program to this point. The key is that we don’t look back. We want to be enjoying this moment every year."

The Bulls put together a seven-game winning streak after opening the season with road losses by a combined score of 110-33 to Ohio State and Baylor. However, the only team they beat during that streak that qualified for a bowl game was Ohio and many people (myself included) are wondering how the Bobcats reached the postseason after floundering badly down the stretch. Aside from Ohio State, Baylor and Ohio, Buffalo’s only other game against a bowl squad was a 24-7 loss against MAC champion Bowling Green.

San Diego State got off to a slow start but turned things around with a 7-2 mark in their last nine games but their record against bowl bound opponents was less than stellar. The Aztecs played Ohio State, Oregon State, Fresno State, Boise State and UNLV and only managed to win one of those games – a 34-31 home win against Boise State who had backup quarterback Grant Hedrick under center.

Buffalo has a very methodical offensive attack led by quarterback Joe Licata who completed 59.1% of his passes with a very solid 21-7 TD-INT ratio. The Bulls like to run the football with terrific running back Branden Oliver behind a very physical offensive line. San Diego State managed to handle the run fairly well this season allowing 134.7 ypg (23rd nationally). Buffalo wideout Alex Neutz (11 touchdowns) is the team’s big play weapon and is capable of making plays against an Aztecs secondary that surendered 259.7 ypg through the air.

San Diego State is a team that likes to balance the run and pass. Quarterback Quinn Kaehler has stepped in and done a decent job since becoming the starter with a 60.1% completion rate and a 17-9 TD-INT ratio. Running back Adam Muema leads the team with 1,015 total yards at 4.5 ypc. Buffalo’s defense has been terrific all season albeit against some weak competition. The unit is led by linebacker Khalil Mack who was named MAC Defensive Player of the Year. He led the team with 94 tackles, 19 of those coming behind the line of scrimmage, 10.5 sacks, 3 interceptions, and 5 forced fumbles.

The current weather forecast in Boise calls for cold temperatures and a possible rain/snow mix of precipitation. Those kind of conditions may benefit Buffalo simply because the Bulls come from a colder, northeast climate and have played in those kind of conditions routinely late in their season compared to San Diego State who have often played in much warmer, drier conditions. The Aztecs ended the season playing Boise State, New Mexico, and Fresno State at home, while traveling to San Jose State, Hawaii, and UNLV. The common denominator is weather wasn’t an issue in any of those games but certainly could be on Saturday.

I don’t expect there to be a major difference in motivation – Buffalo is seeking its first-ever bowl win while San Diego State tries to snap a two-game bowl losing streak and bounce back from a late season no-show at UNLV. San Diego State senior defensive end Jordan Thomas:

“I believe it was a bunch of imposters on the field that night (against UNLV). That’s the main thing that bugs me – possibly ending my season with a game like that. I really want to play the bowl game. I want to end this with a win just so everyone knows how the true Aztecs play.”

Note that SDSU head coach Rocky Long has not fared well in the postseason: 1-6 SU (0-2 as SDSU) run as a head coach which includes his previous tenure at New Mexico. The Aztecs lost to BYU 23-6 in the Poinsettia Bowl last year and to UL Lafayette 32-30 in the New Orleans Bowl in 2011.

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Re: College Football Betting News and Notes Saturday, December 21

New Orleans Bowl
By Sportsbook.ag

ULL Ragin Cajuns (8-4 SU, 4-8 ATS) vs. Tulane Green Wave (7-5 SU, 9-3 ATS)

Sportsbook.ag Line & Total: Tulane -1.5 & 49.5
Opening Line & Total: Green Wave -2.5 & 49.5

UL-Lafayette tries to win the New Orleans Bowl for the third straight season as they take on in-state rival Tulane on Saturday night.

The Ragin' Cajuns have had plenty of success in the Superdome in the past two postseasons. Two years ago they won a close 32-30 battle against San Diego State, and then won 43-34 against East Carolina in front of a New Orleans Bowl record-setting crowd last season. UL-Lafayette won eight straight games between Sept. 14 and Nov. 16, including starting 5-0 in conference play, before losing their its final two games of the season to Sun Belt foes UL-Monroe and South Alabama.

The Green Wave also started conference play in strong fashion, winning their first four games against C-USA opponents. They looked as if they would be competing to play in the conference championship until they lost three of their final four games and finished fourth in the West division. Tulane put up a strong effort against eventual conference champion Rice in its final game, losing only 17-13 as 9.5-point underdogs and held the Owls to zero points in the second half. This will be Tulane’s 11th bowl game and first since 2002, going 4-6 SU in its previous 10, but winning its past two bowls.

The Ragin' Cajuns are currently on a five-game ATS losing streak and are only 4-8 ATS this season while the Green Wave have been an impressive 9-3 ATS, including 7-1 ATS over their past eight games. These two programs squared off last season with UL-Lafayette pounding Tulane by a score of 41-13, but failing to cover the large 31-point spread. They outrushed the Green Wave 294-53 in that game and forced three turnovers. Both teams are relatively healthy for this game, but the big question is whether or not UL-Lafayette QB Terrance Broadway can play after breaking his arm on Nov. 30. He's considered questionable right now, as the doctors have not yet cleared him to play.

After scoring 23+ points in 10 straight games, the Ragin’ Cajuns really missed junior QB Terrance Broadway (2,276 pass yards, 19 TD, 10 INT) in the regular season finale, scoring just eight points at South Alabama with three UL-Lafayette quarterbacks combining to complete just 9-of-26 passes for 143 yards (5.5 YPA), 1 TD and 2 INT. If Broadway is not able to go, freshman QB Brooks Haack (224 pass yards, 6.4 YPA, 1 TD, 1 INT) will be taking the snaps. Broadway also adds a lot to the running game with 421 rushing yards (3.6 YPC) and eight touchdowns on the ground.

The uncertainty at quarterback makes HBs Alonzo Harris (868 rush yards, 4.7 YPC, 13 TD) and Elijah McGuire (818 rush yards, 8.9 YPC, 7 TD) that much more important. McGuire has been lightning in a bottle this season with four games of at least 11 yards per carry, but he rushed the ball only three times for 13 yards in the loss to South Alabama. Junior WR Jamal Robinson has been the main target in the passing game with 812 receiving yards (16.2 avg.) and eight touchdowns, but he is coming off a game where he had only one catch for 11 yards.

LB Justin Anderson (124 tackles) leads this defense that has allowed 26.9 PPG to their opponents this season (68th in nation), including giving up 30+ points in four of the past five games. The Cajuns have done a decent job stopping the run (4.2 YPC), but have allowed opposing quarterbacks to complete 61.2% of their passes for 239 YPG.

Tulane surprisingly won seven games this season despite having an offense that ranks 104th in FBS passing yards (176 YPG) and 102nd in rushing yards (128 YPG). QB Nick Montana has a subpar 1,654 passing yards (5.7 YPA) with 14 TD and 9 INT this season, but he has thrown four touchdowns and zero picks over his past contests. That's quite an improvement from his 0 TD and 5 INT in two games to start the month of November.

Senior HB Orleans Darkwa has 780 rushing yards on 172 attempts (4.5 YPC) while adding nine touchdowns, but has been wildly inconsistent. He has three 100+ yard games this year, but has also been held to 50 yards or less in six different contests. The true star on the offense has been senior WR Ryan Grant, who has compiled 926 receiving yards on 70 receptions (13.2 avg.) and nine touchdowns. He has 7+ catches in six games this year, and hopes to be playing on Sundays next season.

The defense has played pretty well all season, allowing only 21.2 PPG (19th in nation), including holding four of the past five opponents to 17 points or less. The defense has been especially tough versus the run, giving up only 119 YPG on 3.1 YPC, and has forced multiple turnovers in all but one game this season, totaling 33 takeaways in the 12 games.   


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