College Football Betting News and Notes Thursday, December 26

College Football Betting News and Notes Thursday, December 26

PITTSBURGH (6 - 6) vs. BOWLING GREEN (10 - 3) - 12/26/2013, 6:00 PM

Top Trends for this game.
BOWLING GREEN is 10-3 ATS (+6.7 Units) in all games this season.
BOWLING GREEN is 10-3 ATS (+6.7 Units) in all lined games this season.
BOWLING GREEN is 8-2 ATS (+5.8 Units) as a favorite this season.
BOWLING GREEN is 15-6 ATS (+8.4 Units) in games played on turf over the last 2 seasons.

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


UTAH ST (8 - 5) vs. N ILLINOIS (12 - 1) - 12/26/2013, 9:30 PM

Top Trends for this game.
UTAH ST is 19-6 ATS (+12.4 Units) in all games over the last 2 seasons.
UTAH ST is 19-6 ATS (+12.4 Units) in all lined games over the last 2 seasons.

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


PITTSBURGH vs. BOWLING GREEN
The total has gone UNDER in 7 of Pittsburgh's last 9 games
Pittsburgh is 2-4 SU in its last 6 games
The total has gone UNDER in 8 of Bowling Green's last 11 games
Bowling Green is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games


UTAH STATE vs. NORTHERN ILLINOIS
Utah State is 5-1 SU in its last 6 games
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Utah State's last 5 games
The total has gone OVER in 4 of Northern Illinois's last 6 games
Northern Illinois is 12-1 SU in its last 13 games


Pittsburgh at Bowling Green
Pittsburgh: 19-34 ATS off a home loss
Bowling Green: 11-2 ATS after a win by 17 or more points

Utah State at N Illinois
Utah St: 8-1 ATS in road games off 1 or more consecutive unders
N Illinois: 2-7 ATS after having won 8 or more out of their last 10 games

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Re: College Football Betting News and Notes Thursday, December 26

College Bowl Betting Preview
Sportspic.com

Little Caesars Pizza Bowl


Pittsburgh (6-6, 4-8 ATS) vs. Bowling Green (10-3, 10-3 ATS)


Location: Ford Field, Detroit Michigan

Opening Line: Bowling Green -5.5
Current Line: Bowling Green -6
Percentage of Action: 75% Bowling Green

Key Betting Trends:
Pittsburgh: 19-34 ATS off a home loss
Bowling Green: 8-2 ATS as a favorite this season

Analysis: Last year, the Panthers lost their bowl game by double digits, entering the contest as a 4.5 dog. Falcons head coach Dave Clawson won’t be with the team, having accepted the Wake Forest position. Last season, Bowling Green failed to cover as a seven-point underdog in their bowl effort. Despite the Falcons’ shakeup, the early money is headed their way, causing the line to move up a half-point. However, with uncertainty on the sidelines also a factor, getting points is tempting.

Lean: Pittsburgh

Poinsettia Bowl


Utah State (8-5, 8-5 ATS) vs. Northern Illinois (12-1, 8-5 ATS)


Location: Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, California

Opening Line: Northern Illinois -2
Current Line: Northern Illinois -1.5
Percentage of Action: 65% Northern Illinois

Key Betting Trends:
Utah State: 19-6 ATS over the past two seasons
Northern Illinois: Under is 5-0-1 in NIU’s last six bowl games

Analysis: Utah State covered last year’s bowl effort as a 10-point favorite, and has been one of the more consistent winners for handicappers the last few years. Northern Illinois might be in a letdown mood after losing the MAC title game, and having played in the Orange Bowl last year. In that game last year, the Huskies were in position to cover as two-touchdown underdogs, before a fourth quarter slump. Early money is moving the Huskies’ way, but Utah State’s handicapping success shouldn’t be ignored.

Lean: Utah State

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Little Caesars Pizza Bowl betting: What Bettors Need to Know
By Covers.com

Pittsburgh Panthers at Bowling Green Falcons (-4, 50)


LITTLE CAESARS BOWL STORYLINES:


1. Bowling Green returns to Ford Field for the second time in 20 days on Dec. 26 when it faces Pittsburgh in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl. The Falcons claimed their first MAC Championship in 21 years with a 47-27 victory over previously undefeated Northern Illinois, but they will make this trip to Detroit without Dave Clawson, who filled the coaching vacancy at Wake Forest after turning Bowling Green around in five seasons. Special teams coordinator Adam Scheier will serve as the interim coach.

2. For the first time since 2009, the Panthers will spend the postseason somewhere else besides Birmingham, Ala. Pittsburgh concluded each of its last three years in the BBVA Compass Bowl, defeating Kentucky at the end of the its 2010 season before ending the last two campaigns with losses to Southern Methodist and Mississippi.

3. The Falcons rank fifth in the country in scoring defense (14.8 points) and eighth in total defense (308.7 yards), but the most dominant defensive player on the field figures to be Panthers defensive tackle Aaron Donald. The Bronko Nagurski Trophy winner and ACC Defensive Player of the Year leads the nation in tackles for loss (26.5), is tied for eighth in forced fumbles (four) and tied for 13th in sacks (10).

LINE: The Falcons opened as 6-point faves, but have been bet down to -4. The total has stayed put at 50.

ABOUT PITTSBURGH (6-6, 5-7 ATS): Donald, who is also a finalist for the Lombardi, Bednarik and Outland Trophies, is the first Pitt defensive player to win a national award since Hugh Green claimed the Lombardi, Maxwell and Walter Camp awards in 1980. With 77 catches for 1,001 yards, Tyler Boyd broke Larry Fitzgerald’s school record of 69 receptions by a freshman and needs only five more yards to surpass him in that category. Devin Street is the school’s all-time leading receiver and the first Panther with more than 200 career catches.

ABOUT BOWLING GREEN (10-3, 10-3 ATS): While the defense receives more credit, the offense has done its fair share during the Falcons’ five-game winning streak in which they have outscored opponents 223-44. Matt Johnson, who threw for a career-high 393 yards and broke a MAC championship record with five touchdown passes, has thrown for at least three scores four times during the winning streak. Travis Greene has rushed for over 100 yards nine times and ran for 1,575 yards this season, both of which are school records.

TRENDS:

* Pittsburgh is 5-0 ATS in its last five games in December.
* Bowling Green is 5-0 ATS in its last five games following a SU win.
* Under is 6-1 in Pittsburgh's last seven bowl games.
* Under is 4-0 in Bowling Green's last four non-conference games.

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Re: College Football Betting News and Notes Thursday, December 26

Poinsettia Bowl betting: What Bettors Need to Know
By Covers.com

Utah State Aggies vs. Northern Illinois Huskies (-1.5, 58)


SAN DIEGO COUNTY CREDIT UNION POINSETTIA BOWL STORYLINES:


1. Heisman Trophy finalist Jordan Lynch plays the final game of his stellar college career when No. 23 Northern Illinois faces Utah State in the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl on Dec. 26. Lynch has passed for 2,676 yards and 23 touchdowns, but it is his running abilities that allowed him to crash the Heisman festivities. Lynch rushed for 1,881 yards and 22 scores and twice ran for more than 300 yards in a game.

2. The Huskies were hoping to play in a BCS bowl for the second straight year but were relegated to the Poinsettia Bowl after losing to Bowling Green in the Mid-American Conference title game. A victory would give Northern Illinois the first 13-win season in school history while Utah State is playing in back-to-back-to-back bowls for the first time ever and is looking for the third bowl victory in school history.

3. The Aggies lost star quarterback Chuckie Keeton at midseason and it was thought their fortunes would spiral downward. But Utah State rebounded to win its final five regular-season games and is brimming with confidence after giving Fresno State a hard battle in the Mountain West title game before succumbing.

LINE: The line hasn't moved off -1.5 and the total has stayed put at 58.

WEATHER: It will be clear with temperatures in the mid 60s.

ABOUT NORTHERN ILLINOIS (12-1, 8-5 ATS): The Huskies average 41.6 points and 535.5 total yards with nearly 60 percent of the production (312.5) coming on the ground. Lynch is complemented by running back Cameron Stingily (1,081, nine touchdowns) and his favorite targets are possession receiver Tommylee Lewis (80 catches, 660 yards) and big-play wideout Da’Ron Brown (42 for 689, nine TDs). Northern Illinois allows 25.4 points per game and the defense is led by safety Jimmie Ward (team leader with 89 tackles and six interceptions), outside linebacker Jamaal Bass (81 stops) and middle linebacker Boomer Mayes (77 tackles).

ABOUT UTAH STATE (8-5, 8-5 ATS): The Aggies are stout on defense, ranking seventh in scoring defense (17.3), 10th in rushing defense (107.3) and 12th in total defense (332.1) while featuring several standouts. Inside linebackers Jake Doughty (140 tackles, 10.5 for loss) and Zach Vigil (115 tackles, 12.5 for loss) are always around the ball while cornerback Nevin Lawson and safety Brian Suite each have four interceptions. Freshman Darell Garretson (1,325 yards, nine touchdowns) replaced Keeton at quarterback for an offense that also features running back Joey DeMartino (1,078 yards, 12 scores) and three wideouts who caught 50 or more passes in Bruce Natson (56), Travis Reynolds (51) and Travis Van Leeuwen (50).

TRENDS:

* Utah State is 12-3 ATS in its last 15 non-conference games.
* Norther Illinois is 1-6 ATS in its last seven games in December.
* Under is 4-0 in Utah State's last four games overall.
* Over is 4-0 in Northern Illinois last four non-conference games.

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Re: College Football Betting News and Notes Thursday, December 26

Thursday's Bowl Action
By Joe Nelson
VegasInsider.com

Little Caesars Pizza Bowl

Matchup: Bowling Green (10-3 SU, 10-3 ATS) vs. Pittsburgh (6-6 SU, 4-7-1 ATS)
Venue: Ford Field
Location: Detroit, MI

The reward for Bowling Green for winning the MAC championship and saving the BCS from having to include Northern Illinois for a second straight season is a trip back to Detroit where the MAC title game was played nearly three weeks ago. With the successful season for Bowling Green, excellent head coach Dave Clawson was hired away to take over at Wake Forest. For this bowl game special teams coordinator and tight ends coach Adam Scheier will lead the Falcons. Eastern Illinois head coach Dino Babers has been hired to take over the Bowling Green program moving forward as there will likely be a complete turnover of the staff with many of Clawson’s assistants following him to Winston-Salem.

After an embarrassing bowl showing last season, losing by 21 against Mississippi in the Compass Bowl, Pittsburgh should be motivated for a better showing this season. In now nearly two seasons led by former Wisconsin assistant Paul Chryst the Panthers have had great inconsistency, delivering a few big wins but also losing several games the program should be expected to win. The Panthers are just 6-6 on the season but the schedule did include nine games against teams that are in bowl games. Pittsburgh won on the road against ACC finalist Duke and also beat Notre Dame and outside of the opening loss to Florida State the Panthers were mostly competitive in every game with several close defeats.

Comparing the statistics between these teams reveals massive edges for Bowling Green on both sides of the ball with the Falcons averaging 6.7 yards per play on offense and surrendering just 4.8 yards per play on defense. Pittsburgh finished with negative net yards per play for the season and the Falcons closed the season by out-gaining each of the last five opponents by at least 120 yards and that included three MAC bowl teams. Bowling Green figures to hold a substantial rushing edge in this matchup but a Falcons team that is 10-3 ATS on the season may be facing an inflated spread, especially given the challenges of the coaching transition and the poor recent bowl track record for teams from the MAC.

While few of the players or coaches were involved, Bowling Green upset Pittsburgh the last time these teams met. That game opened up the 2008 season with Bowling Green winning by 10 as a two-touchdown underdog. Since 2007 Bowling Green is on a 34-15-1 ATS run in non-home games including going 14-3 ATS in the last 17 instances as a favorite away from home. Bowling Green also went 8-2 ATS as a favorite in any venue this season. Pittsburgh is 20-12-1 ATS as an underdog since 2007 though the Panthers are just 2-3 ATS in that role this season with just one S/U win as an underdog.

Poinsettia Bowl

Matchup: Utah State (8-5 SU, 8-5 ATS) vs. Northern Illinois (12-1 SU, 8-5 ATS)
Venue: Qualcomm Stadium
Location: San Diego, CA

While there is certainly disappointment for Northern Illinois after coming so close to an undefeated season and a second straight BCS spot, a trip to San Diego is not a bad consolation especially given the recent temperatures in the Midwest. The Huskies won’t have the coaching change distraction they had in last season’s blowout bowl loss in the Orange Bowl. Given the dominant success that Florida State has had this season that 21-point loss for the Huskies does not look quite so damaging. Current head coach Rod Carey led the Huskies in that game so he has bowl experience and should have his team ready to play to close out a still very successful season for the MAC powerhouse. Heisman finalist Jordan Lynch will also be playing in his final collegiate game, finishing with remarkable career numbers.

Utah State is another program that had to deal with the loss of a head coach after last season and while this season’s results fell short of last season’s success, it was a solid season given the transition for first year head coach Matt Wells to a new conference and the mid-season injury of do-everything quarterback Chuckie Keeton. Utah State won its division in its first season in the Mountain West and lost narrowly to Fresno State in the conference championship game to sit at 8-5 overall on the season. Utah State only defeated three teams that are in bowl games but respect is warranted for narrow losses on the road against two Pac-12 teams, Utah and USC. Replacing Keeton was the huge challenge of the season and after some early struggles Darell Garretson led the team to wins in five of the final six games though with some inconsistency. He injured his hand in the MWC championship but he is expected to start this game.

Statistically Utah State has been vastly superior on defense with an impressive run defense that allowed just 2.8 yards per rush. While it has been a very good defense, facing a lot of pass heavy teams in the Mountain West may skew the numbers a bit against the run. Northern Illinois is incredibly posting 7.0 yards per play this season as one of the top offenses in the nation. Led by Lunch the Huskies have gained 6.6 yards per rush this season while averaging over 312 yards per game on the ground. The Northern Illinois defense has been shaky at times this season however, surrendering 424 yards per game on 5.6 yards per play, a full yard worse than Utah State averaged with the Aggies facing a slightly stronger schedule.

These teams have not met since 1995, a game Utah State won easily at home. Northern Illinois is actually just 3-10-1 ATS in neutral site games since 2005 with limited success in bowl opportunities despite the great overall run for the program. The Huskies are 20-12-3 ATS as a favorite of seven or fewer points since 1999 though by kickoff the Huskies may end up as a slight underdog. The Huskies are just 6-6 ATS the last 12 games when getting points. Utah State is 11-3 ATS the last 14 non-home games and the Aggies have been on a great run as an underdog going 19-8 ATS since 2009. Utah State is just 6-11 ATS since 2006 in closely lined games with a spread of three or less in either direction however.

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Re: College Football Betting News and Notes Thursday, December 26

College Football Betting: Poinsettia Bowl
Sportspic.com

Northern Illinois vs Utah State

Northern Illinois Huskies square off with the Utah State Aggies in the Poinsettia Bowl at Qualcomm Stadium. Huskies lead by Heisman Trophy finalist Jordan Lynch finished 12-1 (8-5 ATS) averaging 41.6 points/game on 535.5 total yards split between 223.1 passing, 312.5 rushing yards/game. Northern Illinois allows 25.4 points/game on 423.9 total yards.

The Aggies ended the campaign 8-5 SU/ATS behind a stout defense surrendering just 17.3 per/contest on 224.8 passing, 107.4 rushing yards. Despite losing star QB Chuckie Keeton midseason Aggies still managed a solid 32.6 points/game on 420.9 total yards.

USU's defensive unit capable of slowing down Huskies shouldn't be ignored as Aggies have had success against teams with a winning record (12-4 ATS) and hit the field on a 12-3 ATS stretch vs non-conference opponents. On the other side, Huskies dismantled 47-27 by Falcons in the MAC Championship have a slew of betting trends to overcome. Huskies are on a 1-4-1 ATS skid following a double-digit home loss, 1-6 ATS slide in December games, 3-10-1 ATS slump in neutral site games.

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Re: College Football Betting News and Notes Thursday, December 26

Bowl Notes
Covers.com

Little Caesar’s Bowl


Bowling Green Falcons vs. Pittsburgh Panthers (+5, 50)


At 10-3, Bowling Green owns one of the best ATS records in the entire country. The Falcons recorded a perfect 5-0 SU/ATS mark to end the regular season, highlighted by their 47-27 upset win over previously unbeaten Northern Illinois in the MAC championship game.  A win could secure BGSU its first-ever Top 25 finish, but it’ll have to do it without head coach Dave Clawson, who recently left to take over the job at Wake Forest.

Pitt DT Aaron Donald, awarded the 2013 Nagurski Trophy as the best defensive player in college football, will try to lock down BGSU’s offense, which has averaged 44.6 ppg during its five-game win streak.

Poinsettia Bowl


Northern Illinois Huskies vs. Utah State Aggies (+1.5, 58)


Arguably the best mid-major in the country, Northern Illinois and the nation’s fifth-ranked offense will have to find a way to regroup after losing the MAC championship and a shot at a BCS bowl game. QB Jordan Lynch, a Heisman finalist, is just the man to lead the turnaround in his final college game.

Utah State ranks seventh in the FBS in points allowed, averaging only 17.3 points per game against. The Aggies haven’t allowed more than 24 points in any game since Week 1.

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Re: College Football Betting News and Notes Thursday, December 26

Little Caeser's Bowl

Bowling Green already lost coach Clawson to Wake Forest after special 10-3 season; they won last five games by average score of 45-9, ending No Illinois' shot at unbeaten season. Pitt is in 6th straight bowl, losing last two, 28-6/38-17; Panthers played in last three Compass Bowls, so they'll be excited about being anywhere other than Birmingham. Edge to Pitt for having its coach/staff in place, while BG has interim coach after their coach bolted for $$$$ less than 72 hours after their MAC title win. Pitt scored jusr 13.8 ppg in last five bowls (2-3). Falcons lost last three bowls, losing 29-20 to San Jose State LY; their last bowl win was in '04- they allowed 34.3 ppg in last four bowls. Underdogs covered five of last six in this bowl game, with all six decided by 5 or less points. Game is in MAC country, but MAC teams are 2-7 in this bowl last nine years.

Poinsettia Bowl

Northern Illinois was headed to BCS bowl before getting upset in MAC title game; we saw with Fresno State in Vegas Bowl how disappointed teams do in bowls. Huskies allowed 27+ points in five of 13 games TY; teams from MAC are 2-6 in last eight bowls. NIU was over its head in Orange Bowl LY, but won 38-20/40-17 in previous two bowls- favorites covered four of their last five bowls. Utah State lost star QB Keeton but still went 8-5, winning five of last six games, but they're 1-3 as underdog this year. Favorites are 7-1 SU in this bowl, but 2-4 vs spread in last six; Mountain West teams are 6-2 here, on San Diego State's home field, 2-2 in bowls this month, despite being underdog in all four. Huskies want to run ball, but Utah State held USC to 118 rushing yards and didn't allow more than 162 rushing yards to any team all season.

Armadillosports.com

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Bowl Previews
Insiderangles.com

Little Caesars Pizza Bowl – Pittsburgh vs. Bowling Green (-6) - Bowling Green may have already played its bowl game by knocking off then undefeated Northern Illinois in the MAC Championship Game, thus preventing the Huskies from being BCS Busters for the second straight year. As strange as it sounds, playing a middle-tier ACC team like Pittsburgh in an actual bowl game now seems like a bit of a letdown. Pittsburgh became bowl eligible with late season upset wins over Notre Dame and Syracuse, and that may be all the momentum the Panthers need to keep this game close or pull an upset. Bowl favorites coming off of 3 ATS wins (Bowling Green) are only 29-50-3 ATS since 2000 for a 63.3 percent fade.

Poinsettia Bowl – Utah State vs. Northern Illinois (-1½) - By losing the MAC Championship Game in surprising blowout fashion 47-27 to Bowling Green following a 12-0 regular season, the Huskies went from becoming BCS Busters for the second straight season to facing the runners-up of the Mountain West Conference in Utah State in this much lower profile bowl. Yes, Jordan Lynch may want to show off his exploits, but remember that the Aggies ranked 12th in the country in total defense and seventh in points allowed at 17.3 per game, and they did a good job vs. Derek Carr and the potent Fresno State offense in a 24-17 loss in the Mountain West Championship Game. Northern Illinois is 2-8-1 ATS in all post-season games since 2005 for an 80.0 percent fade.

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Re: College Football Betting News and Notes Thursday, December 26

Little Caesars Bowl: Pittsburgh vs. Bowling Green
Chuckedel.com

Matchup: Pittsburgh vs. Bowling Green
Location: Detroit, Michigan ~ Ford Field
Line: Bowling Green -4. Total 49.5

Keys to Victory for Pittsburgh

-To no one's surprise, Aaron Donald has been the best player on Pitt's defense all year. I'm not sure anyone would have predicted Donald to be one of the most decorated players in College Football history though. Donald took home 4 regular season player awards and will be sure to clog up any sort of interior running the Falcons try to pull.
-The two receivers. Devin Street is the top WR on the team, but Freshman Tyler Boyd has looked great this season as he will carry the torch after Street graduates this year.
-The Offensive Line will certainly be tested as they haven't looked good all season. QB Tom Savage has been sacked a total of 41 times this.
-Speaking of Savage, he actually hasn't had too bad of a season considering the inconsistent line play in front of him. He still passed for nearly 3,000 yards with 21 TDs and 9 INTs. The Rutgers transfer can lead his team to victory, provided he keeps turnovers down.

Keys to Victory for Bowling Green

-Matt Johnson is a vastly underrated QB because of the fact that he plays in the same conference as Jordan Lynch. His 162.4 passer rating is good for 10th in the nation (don't ask me how the NCAA figures out passer rating). He passed for 3,195 yards along with 23 TDs and 5 INTs.
-The defense has been elite this season and should provide problems for an inconsistent Panther offense. They rank 5th in the nation in scoring D (14.8 ppg) and 2nd in redzone efficiency.
-RB Travis Greene will face his toughest task of the season and should be considered the most important player on the field for Bowling Green. Greene had a stellar season with 1,555 yards rushing and 15 TDs. Johnson also can move the ball on the ground as he carried the ball 100 times and found the endzone 5 times rushing.

Prediction: Bowling Green is rightfully favored in this game even though they're conference top to bottom is weaker. They should eke out a victory over Pitt, but will have to establish that running game early if they want to do so.

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Poinsettia Bowl: Northern Illinois vs Utah State
Chuckedel.com

The Poinsettia Bowl features a pair of teams that had certainly been hoping for a more prestigious game early in the season.  Northern Illinois was poised to bust the BCS again in the systems final season, needing only to win their conference championship game.  Instead Bowling Green dashed those dreams and took the MAC title, sweeping away the Huskies BCS dreams and Jordan Lynch's Heisman chances.  Utah State had their own Heisman darkhorse QB in Chuckie Keeton, an electrifying passer (69% completion rate, 18:2 touchdown to interceptions) before he went down in the first week of October with a knee injury.

When Keeton went down, the Aggies eventually turned to a freshman signal caller Darell Garretson.  Garretson was able to complete 60% of his passes for 7.3 yards per attempt with nine touchdowns and just five interceptions.  The freshman did stretch the field a bit, completing 16.7% of his passes for more than fifteen yards, and was able to convert 42.5% of his third down attempts.  He had a big time receiver in Travis Reynolds, a 180 pound player that was well on his way to over 1000 yards before sustaining a knee injury against Colorado State.  That injury will likely sideline him for the bowl game.  Amongst the rest of the group there isnt a big name, as the team produced just 409 yards the last two games of the year, averaging just 11.3 yards per catch.  The run game though is solid, as senior back Joey DeMartino has been able to pick up 5.4 yards per carry and find the endzone twelve times. He broke the century mark in half of the games this season, but has had a down last month averaging better than  four yards per carry just once, against Wyoming.

For Northern Illinois, the big question has been can they generate enough through the passing game to make defenses play Jordan Lynch honestly.  With Da'Ron Brown missing the conference championship game, the group averaged just 10.4 yards per catch, and just 7.8 and 11.9 the two previous weeks with Brown being hobbled.  Tommylee LEwis has been held to three yards fewer per catch this year than in his sophomore campaign, despite already having more catches of 15 yards or more than he did last season.  If Brown does not play in the bowl game, Juwan Brescacin is the best deep threat, with his 12 catches of fifteen yards or more.  It will likely fall to Jordan Lynch on the ground, a place where he's averaged 6.9 yards per carry and has pounded in 22 touchdowns.  Even against a tough Bowling Green defense he was able to find some space to run, picking up 4.9 yards per carry and scoring twice.  Through November and December though, the running game has gone through Cameron Stingily The back has been all world as well, rushing for 5.6 yards per carry and breaking the 1000 yard mark.  He's converted over half of his third down carries, and averages a healthy 3.6 yards per carry in the redzone.

The Aggies defense will provide a strong foil against the ground attack though for the Huskies.  Theyve allowed just 2. 8 yards per carry this season, with no back rushing for over 3.7 yards per carry.  Utah State hasnt allowed one hundred yards on the ground since the start of November, as Jake Doughty has recorded a whopping 140 tackles.  He has 11.5 tackles for loss, and has also defended three passes.  He and LB Zach Vigil have combined for more than 20 stops behind the line of scrimmage against the run; Vigil has also added 116 tackles overall.  The pass defense though has been susceptible, allowing a 62% completion rate and defending just 12% of opponents passes.  Northern Illinois on the other hand has been adept at stopping the pass, allowing just 53% completion rate and picking off 17 passes.  Safety Jimmie Ward has six picks this season, and corner back Marlon Moore has defended 10 passes.  They also have been able to recover 11 fumbles this year, leading to a +13 turnover margin

This should be one of the better games of this bowl season, if just to watch whether or not the Huskies can break through the Aggies run defense.  If Brown can play, his deep threat should open up some running lanes or Jordan Lynch will make Utah State pay.  NIU has been able to keep three and outs down, with just 17.7% of all their drives ending that way, opposed to Utah State's 26.4%.  The Huskies should be able to hit enough big plays to keep things interesting, and the defense should be able to get the Freshman to make a few mistakes.  Take NIU -1.5.

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Re: College Football Betting News and Notes Thursday, December 26

The MAC is back
By Sportsbook.ag

PITTSBURGH PANTHERS (6-6) vs. BOWLING GREEN FALCONS (10-3)

Sportsbook.ag Line & Total: Bowling Green -5.5 & 50.5
Opening Line & Total: Falcons -6 & 50

Bowling Green is on a high after winning the Mid-American Conference title and looks to continue its success Thursday against Pittsburgh in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl at Ford Field, the same venue in which the Falcons captured the MAC crown.

The Panthers barely secured a bowl bid, losing four of their final six games and finishing sixth in the seven-team ACC Coastal division. They had some big wins this year when they defeated Duke on the road and then Notre Dame in early November. Pittsburgh has been in a bowl game in each of the past three seasons and has lost the past two both SU and ATS. Last season, the Panthers faced Ole Miss in their third straight BBVA Compass Bowl appearance and lost 38-17 as 4-point underdogs.

The Falcons put together a fantastic season and destroyed Northern Illinois' chance at an undefeated season and a potential BCS bowl when they beat the Huskies by a score of 47-27 to win the MAC championship. That was Bowling Green's fifth straight win (SU and ATS) in which it outscored opponents by a hefty 223 to 44 margin. The Falcons participated in the Military Bowl last season, losing 29-20 against 7-point favorite San Jose State. These two programs have met just three times since 1999 with Pittsburgh going 2-1 (SU and ATS), but Bowling Green winning the most recent meeting in 2008 by a score of 27-17. The Falcons did great for bettors this season, going 10-3 ATS on the year and they are also 11-2 ATS after a win by 17 or more points over the past two seasons. The Panthers are a woeful 4-8 ATS this year, including 1-4 ATS on the road, but are 12-4 ATS after having lost to out of their past three games.

The Panthers were a one-dimensional offense with their passing attack averaging 237 YPG (61st in FBS) and their running game going for only 115YPG (112th in the nation) but surprisingly running for more than 200 yards in three different games, including 220 in the most recent contest, a 41-31 home loss to Miami. QB Tom Savage was solid all season, completing 61.1% of his passes for 2,834 yards passing (7.5 YPA), 21 TD and 9 INT. Over the past eight games, Savage has tossed only three interceptions, and he has thrown for more 200 yards (with 10 TD) in eight straight games. One reason that Savage had such a strong season was his stud freshman WR Tyler Boyd (1,001 rec. yards, 7 TD) and NFL hopeful senior WR Devin Street (854 rec. yards, 7 TD). Boyd has had 8+ receptions in four of his past five games, but broke 100 yards in only one of them, while Street missed two games on the year and surpassed six receptions only once.

While the Panthers post underwhelming numbers in the running game (3.3 yards per carry), the duo of HBs Isaac Bennett (795 rush yards, 4.8 YPC, 7 TD) and James Conner (570 rush yards, 4.8 YPC, 7 TD) are both decent. DT Aaron Donald (10 sacks, 54 tackles) took home a lot of hardware this year (Chuck Bednarik Award, Bronko Nagurski Award and Outland Trophy), but he could only do so much, as the Pittsburgh defense allowed 27.2 PPG to their opponents on the season (71st in FBS). The Panthers allowed 374 total YPG, including 161 rushing YPG on 5.3 YPC.

The Bowling Green offense has tallied 473 total YPG on the season including 574 yards in the MAC championship game against NIU. The Falcons were led by QB Matt Johnson who threw for 3,195 yards (9.5 YPA) with 23 TD and 7 INT. He put up his best game of the season against NIU in the championship game when he threw for 393 yards and five touchdowns while keeping the ball away from the opposing defense with zero interceptions. During the team's five-game win streak, Johnson has thrown for 274 YPG, 14 TD and just 4 INT. The Falcons' leading receiver, senior WR Shaun Joplin (822 rec. yards, 3 TD), had only one catch for 15 yards in the last game, but all three of his 100-yard receiving efforts this year all came on the road.

Freshman WR Ronnie Moore (535 rec. yards, 7 TD) had only 229 yards over the team's first 10 games, but in his past two contests, he has exploded for 306 receiving yards and four touchdowns. HB Travis Greene led the running attack with 1,555 yards on 6.0 YPC and 13 total touchdowns (11 rushing). He has a 10-game streak of rushing for at least 95 yards, and has scored a touchdown in each of the past four contests. The real strength of this team is the defense that is allowing only 14.8 PPG to their opponents (5th in the nation), while being led by senior DT Ted Ouellet who has 4.5 sacks over the past five games. The Falcons are on the field for just 25:44, which has helped them limit opposing passers to 166 YPG and 5.4 YPA on 54.7% completions.

NORTHERN ILLINOIS HUSKIES (12-1) vs. UTAH STATE AGGIES (8-5)

Sportsbook.ag Line & Total: Pick 'em & 58
Opening Line & Total: NIU -2.5 & 58

Jordan Lynch closes out his excellent career Thursday when he leads No. 24 Northern Illinois against a very stingy Utah State defense at the Poinsettia Bowl in San Diego. The Huskies (12-1 SU, 8-5 ATS) appeared to be on their way to another BCS bowl appearance before falling to underdog Bowling Green 47-27 in the MAC championship. Senior QB Jordan Lynch was a Heisman Trophy finalist, finishing the regular season with 2,676 passing yards, 23 TD and 7 INT, while also rushing for 1,881 yards (6.9 YPC) and 22 touchdowns. Northern Illinois is on quite an impressive run, going 33-3 SU in its past 36 games, and its offense has been terrific all season (41.6 PPG, 9th in FBS), but will face a very difficult defense in the Aggies.

When star QB Chuckie Keeton went down with a knee injury, Utah State appeared to be in jeopardy of missing a bowl game. However, the defense continued to play terrific, as they rank seventh in the country in scoring defense with just 17.3 PPG allowed. Freshman QB Darell Garretson (1,325 pass yards, 7.4 YPA, 9 TD, 5 INT) has stepped into the quarterback position admirably, but he struggled in the team's 24-17 loss in the Mountain West championship, completing just 12-of-26 passes for 198 yards, 0 TD and 1 INT. The Aggies have been resilient though, going 7-0 ATS in road games after an SU loss in the past three seasons, but the Huskies are 8-1 ATS after allowing 325+ passing yards in their last game in this same timeframe.

Northern Illinois is playing in a bowl game for the sixth straight season and before losing big in last season's Orange Bowl (31-10 to Florida State), the Huskies won two straight bowls by a combined score of 78 to 37. They have been able to score at least 27 points in all 13 games this season, thanks to the nation's fourth-ranked rushing attack (312.5 YPG). While QB Jordan Lynch gets all of the hype for his 351 total YPG of offense (4th in nation), and 89 total touchdowns in the past two seasons, he is not the only Huskies player that is able to run the ball well. Junior RB Cameron Stingily (1,081 rush yards, 5.6 YPC, 9 TD) is able to take over the game on the ground as well, rushing for 266 yards and two touchdowns in a win against Kent State early in the season. With so many defenses focusing on Lynch, Stingily is a great complement with his power rushing ability.

When Lynch looks to pass, junior WR Tommylee Lewis (80 catches, 660 yards, 3 TD) is his main target to move the chains, while junior WR Da'Ron Brown (689 rec. yards, 9 TD) is the big-play threat with 16.4 yards per reception. While the offense has been terrific, the defense has had its struggles, ranking 55th FBS in scoring defense (25.4 PPG) and giving up 424 total YPG. Northern Illinois allows 150 rushing YPG on 3.9 YPC, while giving up 274 passing YPG on 7.3 YPA. Senior S Jimmie Ward is the leader of the defense, tallying 89 tackles and six interceptions. This defensive unit may be a key, as the Huskies may struggle to score against the Aggies.

Utah State's defense has been great all season, especially on the ground where it allows a mere 107 rushing YPG on 2.8 YPC. In the past three games, opponents have scored just 10.3 PPG on 278 total YPG (3.8 yards per play), a stretch that includes high-powered Fresno State and a Colorado State team that just scored 48 points in the New Mexico Bowl. Sophomore LB Kyler Fackrell has been the leader, compiling 77 tackles, five sacks and a 99-yard interception return for a touchdown. While the defense has been the calling card for Utah State, the offense does have some very talented players. The Aggies rank 45th in the nation in scoring (32.6 PPG) and 53rd in passing (242 YPG). Those are not the most impressive numbers, but they could have been much worse if freshman QB Darell Garretson hadn't filled in so nicely for star QB Chuckie Keeton who got hurt in the sixth game of the season.

Utah State could be without top WR Travis Reynolds (team-high 832 receiving yards), who has missed the past two games with a knee injury and is questionable for Thursday. But the Aggies have great depth in the receiving corps as 11 of Reynolds' teammates have scored a receiving touchdown this season. Senior RB Joey DeMartino (1,078 rush yards, 5.4 YPC, 12 TD) leads the ground attack with six 100-yard rushing games, but he struggled against Fresno State with only 54 yards on 18 carries.


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