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College Football Betting News and Notes Friday, December 27

College Football Betting News and Notes Friday, December 27

MARSHALL (9 - 4) vs. MARYLAND (7 - 5) - 12/27/2013, 2:30 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.

SYRACUSE (6 - 6) vs. MINNESOTA (8 - 4) - 12/27/2013, 6:00 PM

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

Head-to-Head Series History
MINNESOTA is 1-0 against the spread versus SYRACUSE over the last 3 seasons
MINNESOTA is 1-0 straight up against SYRACUSE over the last 3 seasons
1 of 1 games in this series have gone UNDER THE TOTAL over the last 3 seasons

WASHINGTON (8 - 4) vs. BYU (8 - 4) - 12/27/2013, 9:30 PM

Top Trends for this game.
WASHINGTON is 71-101 ATS (-40.1 Units) after playing a conference game since 1992.
BYU is 9-1 ATS (+7.9 Units) as an underdog over the last 3 seasons.

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 Marshall's last 5 games
Marshall is 5-1 SU in its last 6 games
The total has gone OVER in 4 of Maryland's last 5 games
Maryland is 2-4 SU in its last 6 games

No trends available
Minnesota is 4-2 SU in its last 6 games
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Minnesota's last 6 games


Washington is 2-5 ATS in its last 7 games
The total has gone OVER in 4 of Washington's last 6 games
BYU is 2-4 ATS in its last 6 games when playing Washington
BYU is 7-2 SU in its last 9 games

Marshall at Maryland
Marshall: 16-9 ATS after a game where they forced no turnovers
Maryland: 2-10 ATS after a game where they forced 1 or less turnovers

Syracuse at Minnesota
Syracuse: 2-13 ATS off an upset win over a conference rival as an underdog
Minnesota: 13-3 ATS after playing 3 straight conference games

Washington at BYU
Washington: 16-32 ATS after allowing 125 or less rushing yards in 2 games
BYU: 9-2 ATS after playing their last game on the road

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College Bowl Betting Preview

Military Bowl

Marshall (9-4, 7-5 ATS) vs. Maryland (7-5, 7-5 ATS)

Location: Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, Annapolis, MD

Opening Line: Marshall -2.5
Current Line: Marshall -2.5
Percentage of Action: 56% Marshall

Key Betting Trends:
Marshall: Over is 7-0 in the last seven games
Maryland: 2-10 ATS after a game where they forced one or less turnovers

Analysis: The Thundering Herd won their last bowl game outright two years ago as a four-point underdog, but are coming off an upset loss in the Conference USA title game. The Terrapins played in this bowl game, winning in a blowout. The team started out strong with four straight victories, but getting destroyed by Florida State sent them into a tailspin where they covered just three of their last eight games. Early action leans to Marshall, but the line remains stable since this contest is a virtual home game for Maryland. Still, the Terrapins’ shaky handicapping performance might be a reason to shy away from them.

Lean: Marshall

Texas Bowl

Syracuse (6-6, 8-4 ATS) vs. Minnesota (8-4, 9-3 ATS)

Location: Reliant Stadium, Houston, Texas

Opening Line: Minnesota -4.5
Current Line: Minnesota -4.5
Percentage of Action: 73% Minnesota

Key Betting Trends:
Syracuse: 2-13 ATS coming off an upset conference win
Minnesota: 13-3 ATS after playing three straight conference games

Analysis: The Orangemen split their 12 games under new head coach Scott Shafer, but made money for their backers. Last year, Syracuse won big as a slight underdog in their bowl game. The Golden Gophers were a strong team for handicappers this season, and covered last year as a 13-point dog, dropping a close matchup. Early money in on Minnesota, though the line has yet to move, but the Golden Gophers’ competitiveness might be worth looking at.

Lean: Minnesota

Fight Hunger Bowl

Washington (8-4, 6-6 ATS) vs. BYU (8-4, 6-6 ATS)

Location: AT&T Stadium, San Francisco, California

Opening Line: Washington -3
Current Line: Washington -3
Percentage of Action: 58% Washington

Key Betting Trends:
Washington: 16-32 ATS after allowing 125 rushing yards or less in two straight games
BYU: 9-1 ATS as an underdog the last three seasons

Analysis: Huskies head coach Steve Sarkisian will not be coaching, having taken over at Southern Cal. Last season, Washington covered as a four-point dog in their bowl contest, but came up two points short. Cougars won comfortably in last year’s bowl meeting as three-point favorites, but they have played well when getting points the past few years. Early action gives minimal advantage to the Huskies, with no line change. Underdog is an intriguing option here.

Lean: BYU

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Bowl Previews

Military Bowl – Marshall (-2½) vs. Maryland - Maryland is a team beset by injuries, and that is a key reason why the Terrapins went just 2-4 over the second half of the season. Marshall had a disappointing 41-24 loss in the Conference USA Championship Game in a true road game at Rice, but the Thundering Herd still have a great quarterback in Rakeem Cato and a fine rusher in Essray Taliaferro to give balance to an offense that ranked 13th in the country in total offense with 502.3 yards per game and seventh in scoring at 43.0 points. The Terps may have trouble keeping pace with so many injuries at the offensive skill positions. Marshall is 12-7, 63.7 percent when coming off of a road loss since 2008.

Texas Bowl – Syracuse vs. Minnesota (-4½) - Both of these teams have very one dimensional rushing offenses, with underdog Syracuse ranking 39th in the country with 194,2 rushing yards per game but 104th in passing offense, and Minnesota ranking 34th in rushing and 118th in passing. Perhaps the two biggest keys to this game though both lie on the Syracuse defensive side of the ball, as the Orange rank 27th in rushing defense yielding only 138.4 yards per game on the ground on just 3.8 yards per carry, and if they can contain the Gophers’ running attack on first and second down, then Syracuse is also 10th in the nation in third down defense allowing just a 32.1 percent success rate. Bowl favorites coming off of 3 ATS wins (Minnesota) are only 29-50-3 ATS since 2000 for a 63.3 percent fade.

Fight Hunger Bowl – BYU vs. Washington (-3) - The Washington Huskies went 8-4 this season while finishing eighth in the country in total offense with a whopping 514.3 yards per game. However, there are a couple of red flags here as the Huskies just lost their head coach Steve Sarkisian to USC and they will be facing a BYU defense that is probably better than any defense Washington faced inside the Pac-12 except for Stanford. The Cougars have had a fine defense for several years, but their offense was a very big surprise this season as BYU finished 14th in the country in total offense and 10th in rushing offense thanks to having a better runner than passer at quarterback in Taysom Hill, who actually led the team with his 1211 rushing yards. His passing did improve as the year went on however as he finished with 2645 passing yards. BYU is 20-10-1, 66.7 percent ATS as an underdog since 2005.

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Military Bowl Betting: What Bettors Need to Know

Marshall Thundering Herd vs. Maryland Terrapins (+2.5, 62.5)


1. Marshall narrowly missed out on a Conference USA crown with a loss in its last game but can still count the season a success with a bowl win. The Thundering Herd will attempt to post a 10-win campaign when they face Maryland in the Military Bowl presented by Northrop Grumman in Annapolis, Maryland on Dec. 27. The Terrapins struggled to 3-5 in the ACC and dropped four of their last six games but ended the regular season on a high note with a win at North Carolina State.

2. Marshall plays wide open on offense and was one of the top scoring teams in the nation at 43 points per game. The Thundering Herd averaged 53.8 points during a five-game win streak that put them in line for the C-USA title before losing 41-24 at Rice in the conference championship game.

3. Maryland is playing close to home but proximity to its own fans did not help much this season, as the team lost its last three home games. The Terrapins utilize dual-threat quarterback C.J. Brown in a balanced offensive attack.

LINE: Maryland have held steady as 2.5-point dogs. The total has jumped from 61 to 62.5.

WEATHER: It will be clear with temperatures in the mid 30s.

ABOUT MARSHALL (9-4, 8-5 ATS): The Thundering Herd are returning to bowl play after missing out last season and are thriving offensively behind quarterback Rakeem Cato, who has passed for 36 touchdowns and nine interceptions this season. Cato was at his best during Marshall’s five-game win streak, tossing 19 touchdowns and two picks. Cato’s only multiple-interception game came at ACC foe Virginia Tech on Sept. 21, when he threw for two scores and two picks in a 29-21 triple-overtime loss.

ABOUT MARYLAND (7-5, 7-5 ATS): The Terrapins played their own tight game at Virginia Tech, getting 122 rushing yards, 135 passing yards and three total TDs from Brown in a 27-24 overtime win Nov. 16. Brown went over 100 yards rushing in two of the last three contests and had one of his best passing days with 259 yards and a pair of scores in the regular-season finale at NC State. Maryland was left out of bowl season in each of coach Randy Edsall’s first two seasons at the helm, last appearing in the 2010 Military Bowl and earning a 51-20 win over East Carolina.


* Marshall is 5-1 ATS in its last six non-conference games.
* Maryland is 5-0 ATS in its last five non-conference games.
* Over is 7-0 in Marshall's last seven games overall.
* Over is 4-1 in Maryland's last five games overall.

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Texas Bowl Betting: What Bettors Need to Know

Syracuse Orange vs. Minnesota Golden Gophers (-4, 47.5)


1. Minnesota heads to the Texas Bowl for the second straight season, even though the team won two more games than it did in 2012 and some pundits expected the Golden Gophers to play in a more prominent bowl game. "You can’t control any of that. Our control is getting nine wins and winning a bowl game," said coach Jerry Kill, whose team will play Syracuse on Dec. 27 at Reliant Stadium in Houston. Minnesota suffered a devastating loss to Texas Tech in last year's Texas Bowl: it led 31-24 before the Red Raiders scored the tying touchdown with 1:10 left, then picked off Philip Nelson to set up the game-winning field goal at the buzzer.

2. Syracuse will be playing a Big Ten opponent for the third time this year, after losing to Penn State and Northwestern by a combined 27 points. The Orange also faced a pair of Big Ten teams last year, including a 17-10 road loss to the Golden Gophers in which Syracuse did not score a touchdown until 46 seconds remained in the game.

3. Kill personally has endured a tough season that included his latest seizure, which caused him to miss the Michigan game Oct. 5 and the Gophers' ensuing four-game win streak as he continued his ongoing battle with epilepsy. He returned to coach from the booth for Minnesota's final two games, losses to nationally-ranked Wisconsin and Michigan State.

LINE: Minnesota opened as 4.5-point faves and now sit at -4. The total has moved up slightly from 47 to 47.5

ABOUT SYRACUSE (6-6, 7-5 ATS): Following a two-game skid, the Orange secured bowl eligibility in dramatic fashion as Terrel Hunt found Josh Parris for the game-winning touchdown with six seconds left in a 34-31 win over Boston College. Hunt has thrown three touchdowns over the last two games after not throwing for any scores - while throwing seven interceptions - over the previous six contests. Hunt is known more for his legs, joining Jerome Smith (840 yards, 11 touchdowns) and Prince-Tyson Gulley (440 yards, four TDs) to give Syracuse a solid three-headed rushing attack.

ABOUT MINNESOTA (8-4, 9-3 ATS): Minnesota uses two quarterbacks, Nelson and Mitch Leidner, and the duo has combined for more rushing touchdowns (13) than passing scores (10). David Cobb is the workhorse back for the Gophers, rushing for 1,111 yards and seven TDs, although he rushed for only two scores in Minnesota's last eight games. The Gophers' defense showed significant improvement late in the season, allowing 44 points over the last three games.


* Home team is 4-0 ATS in their last four meetings.
* Syracuse is 7-1 ATS in its last eight non-conference games.
* Minnesota is 6-0 ATS in its last six games overall.
* Over is 8-2-1 in Syracuse's last 11 non-conference games.

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Fight Hunger Bowl Betting: What Bettors Need to Know

Brigham Young Cougars vs. Washington Huskies (-3, 60)


1. Washington made a big splash by hiring Chris Petersen away from Boise State earlier this month, but its new coach will be a casual observer when the Huskies face BYU in the Fight Hunger Bowl in San Francisco on Dec. 27. With Steve Sarkisian headed to USC, quarterbacks coach Marques Tuiasosopo will lead the Huskies against BYU, which has won a school-record four consecutive bowl games. Washington is looking to win nine games for the first time since 2000, when Tuiasosopo was the Huskies’ starting quarterback.

2. BYU boasts a top-25-scoring defense, but the Cougars figure to be tested by an explosive Huskies' offense led by Bishop Sankey, who has rushed for 1,775 yards and 18 touchdowns. The Cougars also have to worry about Washington’s Austin Seferian-Jenkins, who caught seven touchdown passes and received the John Mackey Award as the nation’s top tight end.

3. The teams have split eight meetings in a series that began in 1985. BYU has won its past three games against the Huskies, including a 23-17 victory in 2010. The Fight Hunger Bowl marks the teams’ first meeting in a bowl game.

LINE: The line has moved from Washington -3. The total has jumped up from 58.5 to 60.

WEATHER: It will be partly cloudy with temperatures in the high 50s.

ABOUT BYU (8-4, 5-6-1 ATS): The Cougars recorded six wins against teams going to bowl games, including an impressive 40-21 victory over Texas on Sept. 7. BYU averages 274.6 yards rushing with dual-threat quarterback Taysom Hill (28 total touchdowns) and running back Jamaal Williams leading the way. Linebacker Kyle Van Noy looks to follow-up last season’s star turn in the Poinsettia Bowl with another strong effort, but the Cougars’ defense could struggle if linebacker Spencer Hadley (knee), nose tackle Eathyn Manumaleuna (shoulder) and cornerback Robertson Daniel (neck) aren’t able to return from late-season injuries.

ABOUT WASHINGTON (8-4, 6-6 ATS): The Huskies won four of their last five games and finished third in the Pac-12 North Division, behind Stanford and Oregon. Senior quarterback Keith Price missed a game after suffering a shoulder injury against UCLA on Nov. 15, but he accounted for two touchdowns in a 27-17 win over Washington State in the regular-season finale. Defensive end Hau’oli Kikaha had 10 sacks and 12.5 tackles for loss to lead the Huskies, who converted 16 of 22 takeaways into scores.


* BYU is 4-0 ATS in its last four bowl games.
* Washington is 1-4 ATS versus a team with a winning record.
* Home team is 3-0-1 ATS in their last four meetings.
* Under is 4-1 in BYU's last five games overall.

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Friday's Bowl Tips
By Brian Edwards

Military Bowl

Matchup: Marshall vs. Maryland
Venue: Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium
Location: Annapolis, MD
Time/TV: 2:30 p.m. ET, ESPN

These schools will meet in the Military Bowl in Annapolis, Maryland. Therefore, the location advantage goes to Randy Edsall’s squad, but Marshall’s fans travel and will be well represented.

As of Thursday night, most books had Marshall (9-4 straight up, 8-5 against the spread) installed as a 2.5-point favorite with a total of 62.5 or 63. Gamblers can back the Terrapins on the money line for a +120 return (risk $100 to win $120). For first-half wagers, the Thundering Herd is favored by one-half point with a total of 31.

Marshall enjoyed its best season in more than a decade and the best since Doc Holliday took over four years ago. The Thundering Herd won its last five regular-season games, but it lost 41-24 at Rice in the Conference USA Championship Game. Rakeem Cato threw for 265 yards and two touchdowns in the losing effort.

Maryland (7-5 SU, 7-5 ATS) raced out to a 4-0 start both SU and ATS to enter the Top 25 rankings. The Terrapins also got an open date ahead of a trip to Tallahassee to face Florida St. The season went South at that point, however, as the Seminoles clubbed the Terps by a 63-0 count and injured QB C.J. Brown, who had been off to a remarkable start in the first four games.

Following the loss to FSU, Maryland lost three of its next four games. Even worse, the Terrapins lost their two best playmakers – WRs Deon Long and Stefon Diggs – to season-ending knee injuries. But they salvaged the season with two wins in their last three games, starting with a 27-24 overtime win at Va. Tech as 14-point underdogs.

Maryland owns a 2-1 spread record in three games as an underdog this year. Meanwhile, Marshall was favored in 12 of its 13 games, going 8-4 ATS from the favorite role. In three games as a single-digit ‘chalk,’ the Thundering Herd went 1-2 versus the number.

Cato threw for 3,579 yards with a stellar 36/9 touchdown-to-interception ratio. He also rushed for 279 yards and six scores. Cato’s favorite target is Tommy Shuler, who has 97 catches for 1,097 yards and nine TDs. Gator Hoskins had a team-high 13 TD receptions. RB Essray Taliaferro produced a team-high 1,059 rushing yards and nine TDs.

Brown had a 7/1 TD-INT ratio in Maryland’s first five games. He struggled with injuries in much of October and his numbers reflected his poor health. But Brown is healthy now and threw three TD passes without an interception in the last two games. He also has 538 rushing yards and 12 scores.

The ‘over’ has cashed in seven consecutive games for Marshall, improving to 8-5 overall for the season.

The ‘over’ is 8-4 overall for the Terps, 6-2 in their last eight games.

Kickoff is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. Eastern on ESPN. The forecast is good with mostly sunny skies expected and temperatures in the 40s.

Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl

Matchup: Washington vs. Brigham Young
Venue: AT&T Park
Location: San Francisco, California
Time/TV: 9:30 p.m. ET, ESPN

Washington will represent the Pac-12 against Independent BYU in the Fight Hunger Bowl at AT&T Park in San Francisco on Friday. ESPN will have the telecast at 9:30 p.m. Eastern.

As of Thursday night, most books had Washington (8-4 SU, 6-6 ATS) installed as a three-point favorite with a total of 61. Some offshore shops were forcing UW backers to pay a price ranging from -115 to -125. Bettors can take the Cougars to win outright for a +140 payout (risk $100 to win $140). For first-half plays, the Huskies are favored by 1.5 with a total of 30.5.

Washington will be playing without head coach Steve Sarkisian, who left after five seasons to take the USC job. The interim head coach is Marques Tuiasosopo, who was the QBs coach under Sarkisian. The new head coach is Chris Petersen. If I’m a UW fan, I’m more than happy with the trade of Sarkisian for Petersen. I like Sarkisian but I don’t consider him one of the top-10 coaches in the country, maybe not even in the top 15. For several years now, Petersen has been one of the country’s top-five coaches in my mind.

Washington is gunning for its first nine-win season since 2000. The Huskies won four of their last five games to finish third in the Pac-12 North behind Stanford and Oregon.

BYU (8-4 SU, 5-6-1 ATS) has won a school-record four straight bowl games. The Cougars were underdogs three times this year, going 2-1 both SU and ATS in those spots. They beat Texas and Utah St. as ‘dogs.

BYU is led by sophomore QB Taysom Hill, who rushed for a team-high 1,211 yards and nine TDs. Hill’s passing accuracy steadily improved throughout the season, as he threw for 2,645 yards with a 19/13 TD-INT ratio. However, we should point out that Hill’s TD-INT ratio was 18/9 in the last eight games.

Hill gets plenty of help on the ground from RB Jamaal Williams, who ran for 1,202 yards and seven TDs despite missing 1.5 games with a concussion. He ran for a season-high 219 yards in a 28-23 win at Nevada in the regular-season finale.

Cody Hoffman is BYU’s best WR. He wasn’t able to duplicate his 2012 numbers due to injuries and a suspension. Nevertheless, Hoffman is a big-time player who made a team-high 45 catches for 727 yards and five TDs.

Washington QB Keith Price had a helluva senior campaign despite missing 1.5 games with a shoulder injury and playing through the pain of a thumb injury on his throwing hand for several games. Price completed 65.5 percent of his throws for 2,843 passing yards with a 20/5 TD-INT ratio.

Washington RB Bishop Sankey finished third in the nation in rushing yards with 1,775. The junior ran for 18 TDs while averaging 5.8 YPC.

Washington went 2-0 ATS in a pair of single-digit favorite roles.

The ‘under’ is 8-4 overall for BYU, 4-1 in its last five games.

Totals were an overall wash for Washington, but the ‘over’ hit in three of its last four games.

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Military Bowl: Marshall vs Maryland

Maryland began the season as one of the hottest teams in the country, rattling off four straight wins and scoring at least 32 points in each contest.  They then ran into the FSU buzzsaw, and the injuries mounted, leaving them to go 3-5 the rest of the season, scoring more than 30 just once.  Marshall was more mixed early in the season, but ended with five straight wins in the regular season before falling to Rice in the C-USA championship game.

The Terrapins offense has been a bit uneven this season, going three and out on 26.3% of their drives.  CJ Brown missed the majority of four games this year, and only was able to complete 58.9% of his passes this season, for a solid 7.9 yards per attempt.  His touchdown total was just eleven, and he also threw six interceptions.  The passing game struggles really can be traced to the loss of Stefon Diggs and Deon Long, the two outstanding who had been averaging 17.3 and 15.3 yards per catch respectively.  This left Levern Jacobs as the top pass catching option, where he hauled in 40 passes for 540 yards.  Freshman Amba Etta did have a breakout game against NC State at season's end, going over the hundred yard mark on just four catches.  The lack of a solid passing game affected the run game a bit, but Brandon Ross followed up his freshman campaign with a comparable sophomore campaign.  Ross didnt break the century mark this season, but did manage to average 4.52 yards per carry.  The trouble for Ross was into the maroon zone, where he averaged just 2.4 yards per carry.

The Thundering Herd have been able to move the ball fairly effectively, averaging 6.4 yards per play and picking up 37.8 yards per drive.  The run game has been the impetus, where Essray Taliaferro  and Steward Butler have formed a nice one two punch.  Taliaferro was stymied against Rice in the C-USA title game, picking up just 3.1 yards per carry.  But in four of the previous five games he had run for more than 6.2 yards per carry in every game.  Butler has been more explosive, with better than one in four carries going for more than ten yards.  In the passing game, Gator Hoskins has proven to be a devastating target from his TE position, averaging 16.3 yards per catch, turning 31 of his 44 catches into first downs.  His ability has been a boon to Rakeem Cato, who has struggled to always complete passes, posting just a 59.3% completion rate.  Cato though has a 4:1 touchdown to interception ratio, with 88 passes of more than fifteen yards.

Defensively, the Terps were hamstrung by the injuries to starting corners Jeremiah Johnson and Dexter McDougle, leaving freshmen Will Likely and Jarrett Ross to defend the air space.  Likely was able to defend five passes to lead the team, which only had 27 passes defended on the season.  Despite these losses though, receivers only averaged 10.7 yards per catch against Maryland, and picked of eleven interceptions.  Maryland also was able to hold ground games to minimal gains, posting a tackles for loss rate of 10.8%.  Senior Marcus Whitfield lead the team with 14.5 stops behind the line of scrimmage, nine of them as sacks. Andre Monroe added another 14 stops, 8.5 of them sacks.   It doesnt bode well for a Marshall offensive lien that has allowed pressures on 15% of Cato's dropbacks.

The Thundering Herd have been very good at shutting down passing games, allowing just a 51.2% completion rate and just 6.4 yards per attempt.  Theyve picked off 17 passes, with 12 players picking off a pass.  They might be without safety AJ LEggett, who has battled injuries down the stretch and missed the conference title game.  The Herd have defended 13.5% of the passes against them.  Opposing run games have struggled through November, averaging just 3.8 yards per carry despite trying to run the ball 41 times a game.  James Rouse leads the team with 12 tackles for loss, with four sacks and another five QB hurries.  Alez Bazzie and Ra'Shawde Myers have combined for another 15 QB hurries, two more than the Terps allowed all season.

Marshall has been the better offense all season, but theyve been vulnerable on defense at different times.  This shouldn't make a big difference against Maryland though, who have had troubles stretching the field in the passing game thanks to injuries to the receiving corps and CJ Brown.  The Terps defense though could stymie Marshall early on, which makes the Under 62.5 the attractive play in this meeting.

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Texas Bowl: Syracuse vs. Minnesota

Matchup: Syracuse vs. Minnesota
Location: Houston, TX ~ Reliant Stadium
Line: Minnesota -4. Total 48.5

This will be a pretty brutal bowl game to watch. I'm going to leave it at that.

Keys to Victory for Syracuse

-For all their shortcomings throwing the ball, Syracuse actually runs the ball very well. They averaged 194 yards rushing per game behind Jerome Smith who had 840 yards rushing and 11 TDs along with dual threat QB Terrel Hunt.
-Hunt will have to move the ball effectively on the ground and pick his spots wisely when he throws the ball. It's no secret that he's struggled moving the ball through the air after throwing for just 1,450 yards with 10 TDs and 8 INTs this season. He did complete a respectable 61% of his passes and will need to keep it simple when asked to throw.
-The Orange front 7 face a tough task against David Cobb. However the Orange actually have a formidable run defense. The defense is led by Jay Bromley who recorded 11.5 TFL, 8 sacks, and 3 forced fumbles.

Keys to Victory for Minnesota

-The Gophers will need RB David Cobb to have a big game. This is actually a fairly meaningful game for Minnesota as they look to continue their progression from Big Ten cellar dwellar to a middle of the pack team. With the conference at arguably an all-time low point, they could certainly use the Texas Bowl as a springboard. Cobb, is undoubtedly there best player. The passing game is anemic, while Cobb ran for over 1,200 yards on just 235 touches.
-Defensive Tackle Ra'Shede Hageman is an absolute terror on the line for the Gophers. He recorded 10 tackles for loss and swatted down 9 passes this season. The big tackle projects as a 1st round overall pick and is highly motivated to have a big game.

Prediction: This is going to come down to which team can run the ball with better efficiency. My guess is as good as yours, but that under is looking intriguing.

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Fight Hunger Bowl: Washington vs. BYU

Matchup: Washington vs. BYU
Location: San Francisco, CA ~ AT&T Park
Line: Washington -3. Total 60

Keys to Victory for Washington

-Keith Price has battled injuries throughout his senior season, but will be good to go for his college finale. The 3rd year starter had high expectations on the year, but it didn't all go as planned due to inconsistent play and the aforementioned injuries. Price is still a dynamic player and can single-handedly take a game over.
-Bishop Sankey has been overlooked in the Pac 12 due to the incredible seasons the two feature backs in the state of Arizona are having. Carey and Price, not to be mistaken with the Montreal Canadiens goalie, are respectively blowing out their competition, but Sankey is as explosive as both backs. Sankey has found the endzone 17 times while rushing for 1,775 yards.
-Austin Seferian-Jenkins will be used when the Huskies find themselves in the redzone. The big TE still has time to develop into a complete TE, but should find success against this defense.

Keys to Victory for BYU

-Aside from QB Taysom Hill, the most important player on the field for the Cougars will be future NFLer Kyle Van Noy. The impressive Linebacker will be the catalyst for a defense that will need to step up against a difficult rushing attack. Washington averages an astounding 241 yards rushing per game and Van Noy will probably need to have his best game of the season in order to slow them down.
-Taysom Hill is having an excellent season as BYU's QB. He is only second to Northern Illinois Jordan Lynch in QB rushing with 1,211 yards on the ground. Hill isn't just a one trick pony as he's also thrown for 2,500 yards passing, but has been inconsistent at times during his first full season as a starting QB.
-Supporting cast must show up. Cody Hoffman is BYU's top receiver of all time and like Van Noy, should be seeing time in the NFL. Jamaal Williams as just a sophomore is averaging 109 yards rushing per game.

Prediction: It's clear that both of these teams have excellent rushing games. The Huskies have played stiffer competition and have looked good in many of there losses against top tier teams. I would have to lean towards the Huskies, but I'm uncertain as to how they will react to Marques Tuiasosopo becoming their interim coach. They should still be fired up, and are certainly more talented to get the job done.

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Bowl Betting Notes

Marshall Thundering Herd vs. Maryland Terrapins (+2.5, 62.5)

After a 4-0 start to the season, Maryland suffered a rash of injuries on both sides of the football, causing the Terps to limp to the finish line in the ACC Atlantic with a 3-5 SU/ATS record.

Marshall showed earlier this year they can hang with the ACC. The Thundering Herd lost a 29-21 heartbreaker on the road at Virginia Tech (8-4) in triple-overtime back in September.

Minnesota Golden Gophers vs. Syracuse Orange (+4, 47.5)

Following a leave of absence due to epileptic seizures, head coach Jerry Kill leads Minnesota to the Texas Bowl for a second straight year (lost to Texas Tech 34-31), ending the season on a 6-0 ATS run.

Prior to its offense breaking out in a 34-31 win vs. Boston College to end the regular season, Syracuse averaged just 12.8 ppg in its previous seven contests (3-4 SU/ATS). The Orange are ranked 100th nationally in points scored (22.8).

Washington Huskies vs. BYU Cougars (+3, 60)

BYU is 3-0 SU/2-1 ATS in its last three games vs. Washington, including a 23-17 win most recently in 2010.

The Huskies will be without head coach Steve Sarkisian, who left to take the vacant USC job. Incoming head coach Chris Peterson (from Boise State) will watch from the stands, leaving the team in the hands of unproven interim coach Marques Tuiasosopo.

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Re: College Football Betting News and Notes Friday, December 27

College Football: Streaks, Tips, Notes 

Syracuse vs Minnesota

Syracuse Orange (6-6, 7-5 ATS) take on the Minnesota Golden Gophers (8-4, 9-3 ATS) in the Texas Bowl at Reliant Stadium in Houston. Golden Gophers have been pegged 4 point favorites in a contest that features two offenses that depend on the ground game. Gophers have the 33rd-ranked rushing attack averaging an impressive 200.9 RYG and have hit pay-dirt 23 times on the ground with David Cobb, Mitch Leidner leading the attack each with 7 majors. Like Gophers, the Orange rely on the ground game averaging 193.8 RYG with the work falling squarely on the shoulders of Jerome Smith picking up 11 of the teams 22 rushing touchdowns. Syracuse stronger defending the run (138.4) than Gophers (154.0) the Orange have an excellent chance at an upset. If not an outright win will give Gophers a run for the money as they're 4-0 ATS last 4 neutral site games, 7-1 ATS in their last 8 non-conference games, 6-1 ATS as underdogs of 6 or less.

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Re: College Football Betting News and Notes Friday, December 27

Texas Bowl Betting Preview: Syracuse vs. Minnesota
By Erin Rynning

Syracuse vs. Minnesota
Texas Bowl - Houston, Texas
Friday, 3 pm PT - ESPN
CRIS Opener: Minnesota -4.5 O/U 47.5
CRIS Current: Minnesota -4.5 O/U 47.5
Rob Veno's Power Rating: Minnesota -7.5

Motivation is always a key in handicapping bowl games, and that force will be pretty equal in tonight’s Texas bowl matchup between Minnesota and Syracuse.  The Gophers dropped their final two games and are looking for their first nine win season since 2003.  In addition, the Gophers arrive in Houston failing to score an offensive touchdown in their last 10 quarters of play.  Meanwhile, the Orange was fortunate to even go bowling with a season finale victory over Boston College.  However, at 6-6, Syracuse will look to make it back-to-back winning seasons for the first time since 2001 when the program was just tailing off as a force in the college football world.

The Gophers have a long history of being left for dead once the season hits the halfway point but instead they rattled off four straight Big Ten wins (Northwestern, Penn State, Indiana and Nebraska). They failed to live up to heightened expectations losing their final two games to Wisconsin and Michigan State.  However, both of those teams will be playing January 1st, and Minny did cover the pointspread in both instances.  In fact, the Gophers will hit the field in Houston having ripped off six straight spread covers.  The question entering tonight is can the offense produce with much weight on sophomore signal caller Philip Nelson.  The Gophers have the 116th ranked passing unit with Nelson completing just over 50% of his passes.  These teams mirror each other in many ways and the quarterback position is certainly one of them.  The Orange struggled to move the football through the air as well with sophomore Terrel Hunt.  Against top tier defensive units one would wonder how the Orange would ever score.  Their offense ranked 98th in scoring to go with the 103rd passing offense.

These two teams did meet last year in September as the Gophers took care of business on their home turf 17-10.  Calling this time around a revenge situation would be a stretch as both teams will be well prepared.  Overall, this once again sets up to be a low scoring game with both teams preferring to keep the game on the ground. I expect a close, hard fought, low scoring contest.

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Re: College Football Betting News and Notes Friday, December 27

BYU, Washington clash

BRIGHAM YOUNG COUGARS (8-4) vs. WASHINGTON HUSKIES (8-4) Line & Total: Washington -3.5 & 62
Opening Line & Total: Huskies -3 & 58
Brigham Young attempts to win its fifth bowl game in as many years when it takes on a Washington team looking to end a two-game bowl losing skid.

BYU has done well since becoming an Independent in 2011 and went 8-4 SU (6-6 ATS) this season while getting solid wins against fellow bowl participants Texas (40-21), Georgia Tech (38-20), Utah State (31-14) and Boise State (37-20). The Cougars did not finish strong though, going 1-3 ATS (2-2 SU) in their final four games. BYU's strength is its defense, which allowed only 21.3 PPG (22nd in nation) this season. The Cougars were the favorite in the Poinsettia Bowl last season when they played San Diego State and came away with a 23-6 victory while covering the 3-point spread.

The Huskies had a strong season, but could not make much noise in the tough Pac-12, finishing with a 5-4 conference record. They closed the season strong though, winning four of their final five games (2-3 ATS) and averaged 45.4 PPG in the process. Unlike their opponent, Washington has not fared well in bowl games of late, losing its past two postseason games. Last year they met Boise State in the Las Vegas Bowl, losing 28-26 but covering the 4-point spread as underdogs.

The last time that these two schools met was in 2010 when BYU won 23-17 at home as 1.5-point underdogs in a turnover-free game by both teams.

BYU is 7-25 ATS (22%) after a two-game road trip since 1992, but it has gone 9-1 ATS as an underdog over the past three seasons, holding these favored opponents to a mere 20.7 PPG.

The Cougars are a well-balanced offense (495 total YPG, 14th in nation) and did enough to help their defense stay off the field and win games. Dual-threat QB Taysom Hill threw for 2,645 yards (6.8 YPA) and 19 touchdowns, but struggling with turnovers, throwing 13 interceptions. He had only three games on the year that he did not throw an interception, but did finish the year with six multi-touchdown games in his final eight contests. On the ground, Hill was the team’s leading rusher with 1,211 yards (5.6 YPC) and added nine rushing touchdowns. He ran for more than 100 yards five different times this season, including each of the past two games.

Helping Hill out in the ground game is sophomore HB Jamaal Williams who has nearly equaled the speedy quarterback with 1,202 rushing yards (5.9 YPC) and seven touchdowns. He is coming off his best game of the season as he tallied 219 yards rushing on just 15 carries (14.6 YPC) and scored a touchdown in the team’s 28-23 win at Nevada. Senior WR Cody Hoffman (45 rec., 727 yards, 5 TD) has been mentioned as a future NFL player, but his production is way down from 2012 when he caught 100 passes for 1,248 yards and 11 TD. He has also struggled recently though, averaging just 30 receiving YPG over his past three games.

Senior LB Kyle Van Noy (55 tackles, 4 sacks, 2 INT) is regarded as one of the top linebackers in the country and helped the Cougars hold opponents to just 21.3 PPG on the season. This is in spite of allowing 384 total YPG (158 rush YPG, 226 pass YPG). BYU has kept the points down by forcing 20 turnovers in the past nine games.

Washington wasn’t really a huge threat offensively for most of the season, but QB Keith Price and HB Bishop Sankey turned on the afterburners late and put up some gaudy offensive numbers to finish up the year. Price totaled 2,843 passing yards (8.6 YPA) and threw 20 touchdowns to only five interceptions. He threw only one pick over his final five games, and averaged 253.4 passing YPG in that time.

Sankey is expected to be a high pick in the upcoming NFL Draft and beefed up his stock with the third highest rushing total in the country (1,775 yards) on 5.8 YPC while adding 19 total touchdowns (18 rushing). He scored a rushing touchdown in every game this season and ran for multiple scores on five different occasions. Sankey also added 298 receiving yards (11.9 avg.) to the offense as well. WR Kevin Smith led the team with 722 receiving yards on 45 catches (16.0 avg.) and added four touchdowns. While Smith was the main target, TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins led the team with seven touchdown catches and expects to be playing on Sundays next season.

The Pac-12 has many teams who can put up absolutely ridiculous offensive numbers, so the fact that senior DB Sean Parker (60 tackles, 4 INT) and the rest of the Huskies defense allowed only 23.4 PPG to their opponents on the season is a success. They have also surrendered 382 total YPG (160 rushing YPG, 222 passing YPG), but on a strong 5.0 yards per play. Washington has produced at least two takeaways in each of the past four contests, totaling 11 forced turnovers during this stretch.

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