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College Football Betting News and Notes Tuesday, December 31

College Football Betting News and Notes Tuesday, December 31

BOSTON COLLEGE (7 - 5) vs. ARIZONA (7 - 5) - 12/31/2013, 12:30 PM
Top Trends for this game.
BOSTON COLLEGE is 1-8 ATS (-7.8 Units) in road games after playing a conference game over the last 2 seasons.
ARIZONA is 15-31 ATS (-19.1 Units) as a favorite of 3.5 to 10 points since 1992.
ARIZONA is 45-75 ATS (-37.5 Units) as a favorite since 1992.

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

VIRGINIA TECH (8 - 4) vs. UCLA (9 - 3) - 12/31/2013, 2:00 PM

Top Trends for this game.
VIRGINIA TECH is 12-24 ATS (-14.4 Units) in all games over the last 3 seasons.
VIRGINIA TECH is 12-24 ATS (-14.4 Units) in all lined games over the last 3 seasons.
UCLA is 52-33 ATS (+15.7 Units) in non-conference games since 1992.
UCLA is 6-17 ATS (-12.7 Units) in road games after a bye week since 1992.
UCLA is 18-34 ATS (-19.4 Units) in road games 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.

MISSISSIPPI ST (6 - 6) vs. RICE (10 - 3) - 12/31/2013, 4:00 PM

Top Trends for this game.
RICE is 99-70 ATS (+22.0 Units) in games played on turf since 1992.
RICE is 50-30 ATS (+17.0 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.

DUKE (10 - 3) vs. TEXAS A&M (8 - 4) - 12/31/2013, 8:00 PM

Top Trends for this game.
DUKE is 10-3 ATS (+6.7 Units) in all games this season.
DUKE is 10-3 ATS (+6.7 Units) in all lined games this season.
TEXAS A&M is 6-21 ATS (-17.1 Units) in road games after a bye week since 1992.

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 Boston College's last 5 games
Boston College is 4-1 SU in its last 5 games
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Arizona's last 5 games
Arizona is 1-4 ATS in its last 5 games

Virginia Tech is 1-4 ATS in its last 5 games
Virginia Tech is 11-4 SU in its last 15 games
The total has gone UNDER in 6 of UCLA's last 9 games
UCLA is 4-1 SU in its last 5 games

The total has gone UNDER in 6 of Mississippi State's last 7 games
Rice is 9-1 SU in its last 10 games

The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Duke's last 6 games
Duke is 8-1 SU in its last 9 games
Texas A&M is 2-6 ATS in its last 8 games
The total has gone OVER in 8 of Texas A&M's last 12 games

Boston College at Arizona
Boston College: 9-2 ATS after a game where they forced 1 or less turnovers
Arizona: 15-31 ATS as a favorite of 3.5 to 10 points

Virginia Tech at UCLA
Virginia Tech: 44-26 ATS off a road win
UCLA: 3-12 ATS road games off an upset win over a conf rival as an underdog

Mississippi St at Rice
Mississippi St: 1-5 ATS after 4 or more consecutive wins against the spread
Rice: 6-1 ATS off 2 straight wins against conference rivals

Duke at Texas AM
Duke: 10-3 ATS in all lined games
Texas AM: 6-21 ATS in road games after a bye week

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NCAAF Bowl Previews

AdvoCare V100 Bowl – Arizona (-7½) vs. Boston College - Both of these clubs finished at 7-5, but again, Arizona out of the Pac-12 faced the much tougher schedule and the Wildcats easily had the most impressive performance by either of the teams with a 42-16 shellacking of the Oregon Ducks in the second to last game of the season. Boston College is a program heading in the right direction and the Eagles have the leading rusher in the country in Andre Williams, who ran for 2102 yards on 6.4 yards per carry. However, Arizona has its own beast of a running back in Ka’Deem Carey and the Wildcats’ versatile spread offense coached by Rich Rodriquez should give the Eagles fits. Boston College is 0-6 ATS in its last six December games.

Sun Bowl – Virginia Tech vs. UCLA (-7) - This is another bowl that pits a Pac-12 Conference  team against an ACC team, except in this one, the ACC club has a fighting chance. That is because the Hokies of Virginia Tech can play defense, ranked fourth in the nation in total defense, third in passing defense and eighth in rushing defense while allowing a mere 17.4 points per game. UCLA has the much more potent offense overall, but a couple of injuries and the suspension of tackle Torian White following sexual assault charges currently have the Bruins’ offensive line down three starters with freshmen filling in at all three spots. ACC Bowl underdogs (Virginia Tech) are 39-23-2, 62.9 percent ATS since 2000.

Liberty Bowl – Rice vs. Mississippi State (-7) - Rice got here by upsetting favored Marshall 41-24 in the Conference USA Championship Game to finish the season at 10-3. The Owls were 16th in the country in rushing offense with 240.2 yards per game on the ground, but quarterback Taylor McHargue hit some long passes vs. the Thundering Herd to seal the deal, and a few more of those in this game should keep the Mississippi State defense honest. The Aggies are another mid-level SEC team delegated to a minor bowl following a 3-5 conference mark, and their best win was probably vs. arch rival Mississippi in the regular season finale, which may not be saying much. Bowl favorites coming off of 3 ATS wins (Mississippi State) are only 29-50-3 ATS since 2000 for a 63.3 percent fade.

Chick-fil-A Bowl – Duke vs. Texas A&M (-11½) - Is this the swan song for Johnny Manziel after only two years in college? Whether it is or is not, the Texas A&M defense is the bigger concern when thinking about giving double-digits with this team. The Aggies are ranked 106th in the country in total defense, 111th in rushing defense and 80th in passing defense while allowing 30.9 points per game. Duke was shut down by top ranked Florida State in the ACC Championship Game, but there is obviously no shame in that and the offense of the 10-3 Blue Devils has a much better chance to get on track here. ACC Bowl underdogs (Duke) are 39-23-2, 62.9 percent ATS since 2000.

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Bowl Season Preview

Adocare V100 Bowl

Matchup: Boston College (8-4, 5-6 ATS) vs. Arizona (10-2, 7-5 ATS)
Location: Independence Stadium, Shreveport, Louisiana

Opening Line: Arizona -7
Current Line: Arizona -7
Percentage of Action: 59% Boston College

Key Betting Trends:
Boston College: 17-4 ATS after three straight games forcing one turnover or less
Arizona: 15-31 ATS as a favorite of between 3.5 to 10 points

Analysis: Boston College makes its first trip to a bowl game in three years, coming off a regular season in which they improved by six games. Their last trip to a bowl saw them barely cover as a +7.5 underdog. Arizona outlasted Nevada in a bowl game last year, but failed to cover the -8.5 spread. Early action gives a moderate nod to the Eagles, with the Wildcats having failed to cover in four of their last five contests. BC has the motivation to close out their comeback year, so going with the dog doesn’t sound bad.

Lean: Boston College

Sun Bowl

Matchup: Virginia Tech (8-4, 4-6 ATS) vs. UCLA (9-3, 8-4 ATS)
Location: Sun Bowl Stadium, El Paso, Texas

Opening Line: UCLA -7
Current Line: UCLA -7
Percentage of Action: 84% UCLA

Key Betting Trends:
Virginia Tech: 12-24 ATS over the past three seasons
UCLA: 5-1 ATS as a favorite this season

Analysis: Virginia Tech enters this bowl game having failed to cover in four of the last five games. Last year, it took some extra time before the Hokies won (and covered as one-point chalk) their bowl matchup with an overtime field goal. Since the arrival of Jim Mora last year, UCLA has done well in non-conference tilts, beating the Las Vegas line in six of seven games. However, last year, the Bruins came in to their bowl games as a three-point favorite, but ended up losing by 23. Early money in this contest gives a decided advantage to the Bruins, though no shift in the line has taken place. Virginia Tech’s slumping is not a great sign, so going with the chalk might be the plan.

Lean: UCLA

Liberty Bowl

Matchup: Mississippi State (6-6, 7-5 ATS) vs. Rice (10-3, 8-5 ATS)
Location: Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium, Memphis, Tennessee

Opening Line: Mississippi State -7.5
Current Line: Mississippi State -7
Percentage of Action: 62% Rice

Key Betting Trends:
Mississippi State: The Under is 6-1 in the Bulldogs’ last seven games
Rice: 24-10 ATS after an upset win as a conference underdog

Analysis: Mississippi State has been streaky this year: covers in their last four games followed four consecutive pointspread losses. The Bulldogs will be making their fourth consecutive bowl appearance, but look to change last year’s result, when they were a slim +1.5 dog before losing by 13. Rice captured the Conference USA title, and looks to build on that momentum. Last season, the Owls made their first bowl trip in four years, and won handily as a one-point favorite. Early money gives the edge to Rice, which has resulted in the line dropping a half-point, so taking the points might be necessary.

Lean: Rice

Chick Fil-A Bowl

Matchup: Duke (10-3, 10-3 ATS) vs. Texas A&M (8-4, 5-7 ATS)
Location: Georgia Dome, Atlanta, Georgia

Opening Line: Texas A&M -11.5
Current Line: Texas A&M -11.5
Percentage of Action: 72% Texas A&M

Key Betting Trends:
Duke: 5-1 ATS in road games this season
Texas A&M: 13-30 ATS in road games versus teams with win pct. of .750 or higher

Analysis: The Blue Devils make their second straight bowl appearance after a 17-year absence prior to that. Last season, Duke lost their bowl matchup by two touchdowns, and failed to cover as a +9.5 underdog in wrenching fashion: allowing a pick-six with 14 seconds to play. A second half explosion in last year’s bowl game allowed the Aggies to easily cover as three-point favorites. The early surge is for Texas A&M, though the pointspread remains the same. Given the Blue Devils’ success away from home this year, the underdog offers a nice cushion.

Lean: Duke

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Bowl Breakdown
By Mike Rose

AdvoCare v100 Bowl - Arizona Wildcats vs. Boston College Eagles

Opening Line:
Arizona -7.5

We hope you like running the ball, because this game is going to feature a heck of a lot of it. The Wildcats' RB Ka'Deem Carey is one of the best pro prospects in the NFL Draft this year at the tailback position, and he is going against RB Andre Williams, who was one of the Heisman Trophy finalists. This is the second straight season in which Arizona has taken on a team with the nation's leading rusher, as it beat the Nevada Wolf Pack in a stunning come from behind victory in last year's New Mexico Bowl.

Sun Bowl - Virginia Tech Hokies vs. UCLA Bruins

Opening Line:

Here's another case where the Pac-12 is favored over the ACC in a big time way, as QB Brett Hundley, who struggled mightily in the second half of the season this year, goes against one of the best defenses in America from Virginia Tech. The Hokies have maxed out at 24 points in five of their last six bowl games, and they might have a tough time getting past the three and a half TD mark again in this one.

Liberty Bowl - Rice Owls vs. Mississippi State Bulldogs

Opening Line:
Mississippi State -7

This is where we are going to find out whether the Owls were really capable of playing against SEC teams this year or not. They might have won 10 games, but they are getting no respect here against an MSU team which only barely squeaked into a bowl. Head Coach Dan Mullen has a good history in these bowl games, but this is the first time we have seen the Bulldogs play against a team of this caliber in quite some time.

Chick-Fil-A Bowl - Duke Blue Devils vs. Texas A&M Aggies

Opening Line:
Texas A&M -11.5

The Dookies have had no troubles going against the big boys in the nation this year, and though they have mostly failed in those situations, they are going to come at this game full of gusto for sure. It's tremendous exposure for a program which is playing in consecutive bowl games for the first time in school history and for a team which hasn't won a bowl game in over a half century. The Aggies are seeing QB Johnny Manziel go to the NFL after this one is over in all likelihood, and they're hoping for one last great performance to lead the way like he did when they destroyed the Oklahoma Sooners in the Cotton Bowl last year.

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Advocare V100 Bowl: What Bettors Need to Know

Arizona Wildcats vs. Boston College Eagles (+7.5, 57)


1. All eyes will be on star running backs Andre Williams and Ka'Deem Carey as this New Year's Eve game in Shreveport, La., features two of the nation's top rushing attacks. Williams, who rushed for a Boston College-record 2,102 yards and 17 touchdowns, edged out Carey for the Doak Walker Award before finishing fourth in Heisman Trophy voting. Carey, a two-time All-American, also had 17 touchdowns while ranking fifth behind Williams in FBS play with 1,716 yards.

2. The Wildcats had a somewhat awkward finish to the regular season, losing three of their last four but making the one win memorable, pounding then-No. 5 Oregon 42-16 on Nov. 23. The luster of that victory was wiped away in a 58-21 loss to rival Arizona State the following week, which clinched the program's 15th straight season with at least five losses.

3. The Eagles used to make a living in bowl games, reaching 12 straight from 1999-2010 before two down years without an entry. The Wildcats are in a bowl game for the fifth time in the last six seasons.

LINE: Open Arizona -7 and jumped to -7.5. The total climbed from 57 to 58 points

WEATHER: Partly cloudy skies and temperatures in the high 40s with winds blowing east at 4 mph.


* Wildcats are 1-4 ATS in their last five games overall.
* Eagles are 1-4 ATS in their last five bowl games.
* Under is 4-1 in Wildcats' last five games overall.
* Under is 4-0 in Eagles' last four bowl games.

ABOUT ARIZONA (7-5, 4-5 Pac-12, 5-7 ATS): While Carey is the star, quarterback B.J. Denker is a dual threat who can make the Wildcats' backfield nearly impossible to defend. Denker ranked seventh among FBS quarterbacks with 898 rushing yards and tied for third with 12 rushing touchdowns. However, it was Denker's ability to manage the passing game that often made the difference, as he had seven touchdown passes against one interception in Arizona's seven wins and seven touchdowns against six picks in its five losses.

ABOUT BOSTON COLLEGE (7-5, 4-4 ACC, 7-5 ATS): The Eagles won four straight down the stretch for first-year head coach Steve Addazio before dropping the season finale at Syracuse on a late touchdown. The winning season and Williams' emergence as a national star turned the tide for a program that was mired in losing prior to Addazio's arrival. It also put a nice cap on the careers of a quality group of seniors, including Williams, quarterback Chase Rettig, B.C.'s all-time receiving yards leader Alex Amidon and record-setting kicker Nate Freese.

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Hyundai Sun Bowl: What Bettors Need to Know

Virginia Tech Hokies vs. UCLA Bruins (-7, 47)


1. The Bruins, who play Virginia Tech in the Hyundai Sun Bowl on Dec. 31 in El Paso, Tex., have one of the top defensive ends in the nation in Anthony Barr and a talented sophomore quarterback in Brett Hundley, who must soon decide whether to enter the NFL Draft. But no player has generated more buzz than Myles Jack. The freshman linebacker added running back to his duties last month and totaled 267 yards and seven touchdowns in the final four games.

2. The Hokies weren’t a strong ground team before losing leading rusher Trey Edmunds to a fractured right tibia Nov. 30 in the regular-season finale against Virginia. Now they’ll have to lean on J.C. Coleman, who has carried the ball just 75 times for 262 yards this season, and possibly gamble with freshman Jerome Wright, who's yet to touch the ball.

3. Virginia Tech is dealing with a handful of other injuries that could impact the game, most notably to cornerback Kyle Fuller, who underwent surgery Nov. 19 to repair core muscle damage in his lower abdomen. Fuller, a first-team all-ACC pick last season, is hoping to play his final collegiate game alongside his younger brother, Kendall, a freshman defensive back for the Hokies.

LINE: UCLA opened -7 and has been bet up to as high as -7.5. The total moved from 47 to 47.5.

WEATHER: Clear skies and temperatures in the high 40s with winds blowing SW at 3 mph.


* Hokies are 1-4 ATS in their last five games overall.
* Bruins are 6-1 ATS in their last seven non-conference games.
* Under is 9-4-1 in Hokies' last 14 games overall.
* Under is 6-2 in Bruins' last eight games in Decemb

ABOUT VIRGINIA TECH (8-4, 4-7-1 ATS): Logan Thomas hasn’t improved on his 2011 season when he was a second-team All-ACC selection, but the Hokies quarterback impressed enough this fall to earn an invitation to the Senior Bowl next month. Thomas continues to get dinged by interceptions, compiling 13 more this season to give him 39 over the last three years. He cleaned things up a bit during the last two months of the regular season, going without an interception in five of the final eight games.

ABOUT UCLA (9-3, 8-4 ATS): The Bruins are aiming for their first 10-win season since 2005, a year that also culminated with a victory in El Paso, Tex. Hundley has played a major role in UCLA’s outcomes this season, not only leading the Bruins in every passing category but also leading the team in rushing. He has been careful not to get too attached to a particular receiver, as both Shaquelle Evans (43 catches, 617 yards) and Devin Fuller (42-464) have taken turns leading the team in receiving.

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Autozone Liberty Bowl: What Bettors Need to Know

Rice Owls vs. Mississippi State Bulldogs (-7, 50.5)


1. Rice picked up its first outright conference title since 1957 with a victory in the Conference-USA championship game and is headed to a bowl game in consecutive seasons for the second time in school history. The Owls’ reward for a strong season is a date with Mississippi State in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl in Memphis, Tenn., on Dec. 31. The Bulldogs needed to pull out overtime victories in their final two games to gain bowl eligibility.

2. Rice coach David Bailiff was named C-USA Coach of the year by his peers after guiding the Owls to the second 10-win season in school history and can set a record with an 11th triumph. Rice ended the season with four straight wins, including a 41-24 triumph over Marshall in the C-USA championship game, and will go after the Bulldogs defense with a strong running attack.

3. Mississippi State endured a particularly brutal regular-season schedule and counts its six losses against ranked teams Oklahoma State, Auburn, LSU, South Carolina, Texas A&M and Alabama. Quarterback Dak Prescott returned late in the season-ending win over rival Mississippi after a two-game absence due to a nerve injury in his non-throwing shoulder and should be healthy for the bowl game.

LINE: Mississippi State opened -7.5 and has been bet down to -7. The total has come down from 51.5 to 50.5 points.

WEATHER: Clear skies and temperatures in the mid 40s with winds blowing south at 1 mph.


* Owls are 14-6 ATS in their last 20 games overall.
* Bulldogs are 1-4 ATS in their last five neutral site games.
* Under is 5-0 in Owls last five neutral site games.
* Under is 6-1 in Bulldogs last seven games overall.

ABOUT RICE (10-3, 7-1 C-USA, 8-5 ATS): The Owls average 240.2 yards on the ground and Charles Ross ended up with 1,252 rushing yards despite missing a pair of games in the middle of the season. Quarterback Taylor McHargue finished second on the team in rushing and guided a passing attack that tied for the fewest interceptions in C-USA with nine. “We know we are in for a tremendous challenge, but that’s what is exciting about the season we have had,” Bailiff told the school’s website. “I know our players are excited to play a team from the SEC.”

ABOUT MISSISSIPPI STATE (6-6, 3-5 SEC, 7-5 ATS): Prescott led the team in passing (1,657 yards) and rushing (751) and came off the bench in the fourth quarter to lead the tying field-goal drive in regulation before diving into the end zone for the winning touchdown in overtime against Ole Miss. That score made the Bulldogs bowl eligible for the fourth straight season and eliminated questions about coach Dan Mullen’s job security. “We know how good we can be and we’re not going to take anything for granted,” Prescott told the Mississippi Press of the upcoming bowl game. “We’re just going to go out there, make each other better and push each other.”

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Chick Fil-A-Bowl: What Bettors Need to Know

Duke Blue Devils vs. Texas A&M Aggies (-11.5, 75)


1. Johnny Manziel could play his final collegiate game when Texas A&M meets Duke in the Chick-fil-A Bowl on New Year's Eve in Atlanta. Manziel, who burst onto the scene to become the first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy in 2012, finished fifth in the voting this season and said he will seek feedback from the NFL before declaring for the draft prior to the Jan. 15 deadline. If Manziel learns he may not be selected in the first round, he said he would probably return to Texas A&M.

2. Duke coach Dave Cutcliffe continues to turn around the program, which is making its second straight bowl appearance for the first time in school history. Most of the current Blue Devils got their feet wet in the postseason with a 48-34 loss to Cincinnati in the 2012 Belk Bowl, but sharing the stage with the Aggies is a far bigger step.

3. It is expected to be a high-scoring affair with the total betting line set at 73.5. Texas A&M is sixth in the nation in scoring at 43.6 points but 88th among the 123 FBS teams at 30.9 points allowed. Duke averages 31.6 points scored and 24.7 against, but struggled to stop the No. 2 scoring offense in its 45-7 loss to top-ranked Florida State in the ACC championship game on Dec. 7.

LINE: Texas A&M opened -13 and has been bet down to -11.5. The total has climbed from 72 to 75 points.


* Blue Devils are 7-1 ATS in their last eight games overall.
* Aggies are 2-5 ATS in their last seven Bowl games.
* Over is 18-8-1 in Blue Devils' last 27 non-conference games.
* Under is 4-1 in Aggies' last five bowl games.

ABOUT DUKE (10-3, 6-2 ACC, 10-3 ATS): The Blue Devils won the Coastal Division crown - their first championship of any kind since sharing the ACC title with Virginia in 1989 - by winning their final six regular-season conference contests before having their eight-game win streak halted by the Seminoles. Cutcliffe has enjoyed the luxury of a two-quarterback system featuring juniors Brandon Connette (62.1 completion percentage, 13 touchdowns, six interceptions), who has a team-leading 13 rushing touchdowns, and Anthony Boone (63.9, 10, 11, with four rushing TDs). Wide receiver Jamison Crowder (96 catches, 1,197 yards, seven touchdowns) was joined by linebacker Kelby Brown (second in the conference at 9.2 tackles per game), safety Jeremy Cash and cornerback Ross Cockrell on the All-ACC first team.

ABOUT TEXAS A&M (8-4, 4-4 SEC, 5-7 ATS): Manziel recorded another strong season statistically by completing 69.1 percent of his passes with 33 touchdowns against 13 interceptions, but wasn't able to lead the Aggies to a victory over their four toughest opponents - Auburn, Alabama, Missouri or LSU. Manziel also rushed for a team-leading 686 yards and eight touchdowns, but did most of his damage throwing the ball to Mike Evans (65 catches, 1,322 yards, 12 touchdowns). The Aggies are 15-19 in bowl games after their 41-19 victory over Oklahoma in last season's Cotton Bowl and are making their fifth consecutive bowl appearance.

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Advocare Bowl

Two teams with great RBs; this is Boston College’s first bowl in three years, in Addazio’s first season. At one point, BC won eight bowl games in row, but they’ve now lost last three, scoring 14-13-13 points- Addazio won his only bowl 37-15 over Wyoming in New Mexico two years ago. Arizona is in its 5th bowl in last six years; they won 49-48 in LY’s New Mexico Bowl, their first under Rodriguez, who is 3-4 in bowl games. BC's Williams ran for 2,102 yards, became darkhouse Heisman candidate; Arizona’s Carey ran for 1,716 yards, so this will be old fashioned football, teams trying to run/stop run. Eagles won four of last five games to get here; they’re 3-1 as underdogs, allowed 34+ points in five of 12 games. Arizona lost three of last four games, got crushed in its rivalry game, and failed to cover last three tries as a favorite, after covering first four. Wildcats scored 33+ points in all seven wins; they’re 0-5 when scoring less than 33. Favorites covered six of last seven in this bowl game.

Sun Bowl

UCLA lost four of last five bowls, getting waxed 49-26 by Baylor LY in Mora’s first bowl game- would expect much better effort here. Bruins have decisive edge in terms of experience on OL. UCLA is young talented team with no senior starters on OL/QB; they won four of last five games, routing USC in rivalry game for second year in row, are 5-1 vs spread when favored this year, 5-2 vs spread in any game with single digit spread. Hokies have senior QB playing behind inexperienced OL; Tech went 2-3 in last five games, covered two of three as an underdog- they scored less than 20 points in four of last eight games. Both teams won four of their six road games this year. Underdogs won last three Sun Bowls, covered six of last seven; Pac-12 teams won six of last eight bowls here, with disinterested USC getting spanked by Ga Tech LY. Virginia Tech is 3-2 in its last five bowls, splitting pair of OT decisions last two years; Beamer is 9-11 overall in bowls.

Liberty Bowl

Interesting contrast between (first-time) C-USA champ and lower-level SEC team. Rice is 3-2 as an underdog this year, but Manziel didn’t play in first half of A&M game-they won last four games, are 5-1 in games decided by 6 or less points. Mississippi State will have crowd edge in Memphis (SEC country), even though Rice plays Memphis in this stadium every other year; Bulldogs had to beat Arkansas (in OT) and upset Ole Miss just to be bowl eligible at 6-6. Owls are in back/back bowls for first time in over 50 years- they’re 2-1 in bowls since 1962, but played Sun Belt/MAC/service academy in those games, so lower level SEC squad is big step up in class. Bulldogs won four of last five bowls, are 2-1 in bowls under Mullen, beating Wake Forest 23-17 (-6.5) in Nashville two years ago. Both teams have very experienced OLs, Rice has experience edge at QB, though both QBs are better runners than passers. Underdogs covered five of previous seven bowls here. Eight of last nine Liberty Bowls were decided by 8 or less points.

Chick-fil-A Bowl

Favorites covered Texas A&M’s last five bowl games; Aggies won 33-22/41-13 in bowls last two years, routing Oklahoma LY, now in what could be Manziel’s last college game, Aggies will try to outscore Duke team that hasn’t won bowl game since 1960. Blue Devils were 34-all  and had ball on Cincinnati 5-yard line with 1:20 left LY, fumbled, gave up 83-yard TD and pick-6, didn’t even cover as 9-point underdog, one of worst beats EVER, and it was Duke’s first bowl since ‘94. Blue Devils bounced back to go 10-3 this year, making bowls in consecutive seasons for first time ever- they’ve covered five of last six times they were underdog, winning seven of last eight games SU, after losing 58-55 at home to Pitt in September. Aggies hung 42 on Alabama and lost; their defense slipped this year- they lost two games this year when they scored 40+ points. Game is in a dome, so weather is no factor. Dogs covered six of last eight Chick-fil-A bowls, with ACC team winning three of last four against the SEC.

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Tuesday's Early Action

AdvoCare V100 Bowl

Matchup: Boston College Eagles (7-5) vs. Arizona Wildcats (7-5)
Venue: Independence Stadium
Location: Shreveport, LA
Time/TV: 12:30 p.m. ET, ESPN Opening Line: Arizona -7 ½, Total: 57

Red-hot Boston College enters Tuesday's AdvoCare V100 Bowl having won four of its past five games and faces a slumping Arizona squad that lost three of its final four.

Both teams finished the season 7-5 SU while the Eagles were 7-5 ATS and the Wildcats were 5-6-1 ATS. Boston College covered in three of its final five contests, though both of those ATS defeats came away from home, where they were 2-4 ATS. Arizona lost six of its nine conference games ATS, and was also 2-4 ATS away from home. This matchup will pit two of the nation’s most aggressive rushing offenses against one another. The Eagles feature Heisman Trophy finalist RB Andre Williams, who led an attack that averaged 218.1 rushing yards per game (20th in nation). Williams suffered a shoulder injury in the regular season finale, but he will play on Tuesday.

The Wildcats, led by RB Ka'Deem Carey, were even better with 265.8 rushing yards per game (11th in FBS), and finished with a whopping 33 rushing touchdowns. Although Boston College is 17-4 ATS (81%) after three straight games of forcing one or less turnovers since 1992, the club is 0-6 ATS in non-home games over the past two seasons after being outgained by its opponent by 125+ total yards in its previous game.

Boston College senior Andre Williams (2,102 rush yards, 6.4 YPC, 17 TD) ultimately finished fourth in the Heisman standings, putting up ridiculous numbers despite the Eagles’ mediocre season. He ran for more than 200 yards five times, all Boston College wins, including a 339-yard performance against NC State on Nov. 16. Before he was injured in a loss at Syracuse to end the season, Williams had rushed for 1,063 yards (266 YPG) and 8 TD during his team's four-game win streak. He makes life easier for senior QB Chase Rettig (1,804 pass yards, 7.6 YPA, 17 TD, 6 INT), who completed 61.6% of his passes, but topped 200 passing yards just three times all season.

Only one receiver had more than 200 yards for the Eagles, senior WR Alex Amidon (67 catches, 903 yards, 5 TD). The Boston College defense gave up 27.8 PPG (73rd in FBS), but only 154 rushing YPG on 3.9 YPC, which is important going up against this Arizona squad. The passing defense is a real weakness though, giving up 268 YPG (8.1 YPA) on a 67% completion rate. The unit has generated multiple turnovers just twice in the past 10 games.

Junior RB Ka’Deem Carey (1,716 rush yards, 5.3 YPC, 17 TD) leads the Arizona rushing attack, having run for at least 119 yards in every game he played, rushing for at least one touchdown in nine of his 11 contests. Unlike with Boston College though, Carey is not a one-man show, as senior QB B.J. Denker (898 rush yards, 5.4 YPC, 12 TD is a serious threat with his legs. As a thrower, Denker (2,241 pass yards, 6.3 YPA, 14 TD, 7 INT) isn’t too shabby either, though he had his worst performance of the season in the finale, throwing a season-high three interceptions in a 58-21 blowout loss at rival Arizona State.

He has four receivers with at least 200 receiving yards, led by freshman WR Nate Phillips (42 catches, 503 yards, 7 TD). Although he scored all seven touchdowns in his final eight games, Phillips did not gain 100 yards in any game this season. The Wildcats rush defense yields 170 YPG on 4.2 YPC, but is far stingier against the pass than the Eagles, allowing opponents to complete only 58% of their throws for 235 YPG and 6.5 YPA. Arizona also does a better job of forcing turnovers with 2+ takeaways in six of its 12 games.

Sun Bowl

Matchup: Virginia Tech Hokies (8-4) vs. UCLA Bruins (9-3)
Venue: Sun Bowl Stadium
Location: El Paso, TX
Time/TV: 2:00 p.m. ET, CBS Opening Line: UCLA -7, Total: 47

With a chance at winning 10 games for the first time since 2005, No. 17 UCLA will take on a Virginia Tech team that struggled with its consistency this season when the schools meet in Tuesday's Sun Bowl.

While the Hokies have one of the stingiest defenses in the nation, giving up only 17.4 PPG (8th in FBS), they lost three of their past five games (1-4 ATS) to Duke, Boston College and Maryland, ending the year with a victory against Virginia. They finished 4-6-2 ATS overall, including 2-4 ATS away from home. The Bruins played a much tougher schedule and own solid road wins at then-No. 23 Nebraska and at then-No. 23 USC. All of their losses were respectable too, falling to Stanford, Oregon and Arizona State, who all currently rank among the top-16 teams in the nation. UCLA finished 8-4 ATS, including 4-2 (SU and ATS) away from home. And over the past five seasons, favorites of 3.5 to 10 points off a double-digit road win against opponent coming off a road win are 28-6 ATS (82%).

But Virginia Tech also has a favorable trend: Any poor rushing team (100-140 YPG) versus an average rushing defense (140-190 YPG) after 7+ games, in a non-conference game between two BCS conference teams, are 44-16 ATS (73%) since 1992. Both teams have a slew of injuries, with the most notable being Hokies CBs Antone Exum (ankle, doubtful) and Kyle Fuller (groin, questionable). But UCLA might not be able to expose this depleted secondary as WRs Darren Andrews (leg) and Damien Thigpen (ankle) are both questionable to play.

Virginia Tech’s offense often failed to get things going this year, scoring only 23.4 PPG (97th in nation). QB Logan Thomas was often unreliable, completing just 57% of his passes for 2,861 yards, 16 TD and 13 INT. He added four rushing TD, though he averaged only 1.9 YPC on 159 carries. Freshman RB Trey Edmunds (675 rush yards, 4.1 YPC, 10 TD) is the leading ball carrier for Frank Beamer’s team. Through the air, Thomas has three top targets: WRs Willie Byrn, Demitri Knowles and Joshua Stanford. All three had just over 600 receiving yards, though combined for only six touchdowns. Senior WR D.J. Coles, who had only 365 receiving yards, paced the team with six receiving TD.

Where the Hokies excelled was on the defensive side of the ball, allowing a mere 270 total YPG on 4.3 yards per play. They were impressive in both facets, giving up 104 rushing YPG on 3.0 YPC. And through the air, opponents completed only 47% of their passes for 166 YPG on 6.0 YPA. Virginia Tech helped itself out by forcing a ton of turnovers, totaling 25 for the season, which included eight games with at least two takeaways.

The stingy Virginia Tech defense may make life difficult, but the Bruins averaged a hefty 36.5 PPG (24th in FBS). Sophomore QB Brett Hundley has his work cut out for him, though he showed why he’s a pro prospect this year, as he has completed 68% of his passes for 2,845 yards (8.3 YPA) with 22 TD and 9 INT. He also led the team in rushing with 150 carries for 587 yards (3.9 YPC), scoring with his legs nine times. He has a strong connection with senior WR Shaquelle Evans, who led the team in all receiving categories with 43 catches, 617 yards and eight touchdown grabs. Helping Hundley on the ground are RBs Paul Perkins and Jordon James, who have combined for 1,095 yards on 4.9 YPC and 10 touchdowns.

UCLA’s defense wasn’t bad, giving up 24.1 PPG (37th in FBS), but its stats are not nearly as intimidating as Virginia Tech’s. They give up 170 rushing YPG on 4.0 YPC, and 221 passing YPG on 6.6 YPA, with opposing quarterbacks completing 63% of their attempts. It should be noted, however, that the Bruins faced many more top offenses this year, such as Alabama, Oregon and Stanford, than the Hokies did. UCLA also helped itself out with 2+ takeaways in seven of 12 games.

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Re: College Football Betting News and Notes Tuesday, December 31

Tuesday's Late Action

Liberty Bowl

Matchup: Mississippi State (6-6) vs. Rice Owls (10-3 )
Venue: Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium
Location: Memphis, TN
Time/TV: 4:00 p.m. ET, ESPN Opening Line: Mississippi State -7, Total: 50 ½

Rice looks to add a bowl win to its C-USA championship when it takes on the Mississippi State Bulldogs on New Year’s Eve in the Liberty Bowl.

Mississippi State was a team that could beat the schools it was supposed to, but could not contend with the big dogs of college football. Of its six losses, all came against programs that were ranked at some point during the season. Of the six wins, only one could really be considered impressive (17-10 over 4-point favorite Ole Miss). The Bulldogs have been to a bowl in each of the past three seasons, going 2-1 SU and 1-2 ATS while losing in the Gator Bowl against Northwestern last season by a score of 34-20 as two-point underdogs.

The Owls, on the other hand, put together a spectacular season and won their first conference championship since being the Southwest champions in 1994. They enter Tuesday having won nine of their past 10 games SU (6-4 ATS), and have been successful in their previous two bowl games, one last year and one in 2008, winning both SU and ATS. Last season they took down Air Force in the Armed Forces Bowl, 33-14, and easily covered the one-point spread.

This game will mark the first time that these two programs are meeting. Rice has gone 3-12 ATS (20%) in road games after having won five or six out of their last seven games since 1992, but is 24-10 ATS (71%) off an upset win over a conference rival as an underdog in the same timeframe. There are no significant injuries for this matchup.

The Bulldogs put together a solid offensive season with their balanced offense; compiling 185.8 YPG on the ground (45th in nation) and 240.3 YPG through the air (56th in FBS). QB Dak Prescott was responsible for helping in both categories as he threw for 1,657 yards (6.9 YPA) with seven touchdowns, but struggled with accuracy (7 INT, 58% completions). But the sophomore has run for 751 yards (6.3 YPC) with 11 touchdowns in 10 games. He put together four rushing performances of 100+ yards and also ran for multiple touchdowns in four different games.

Senior HB LaDarius Perkins also helped out the backfield with 495 rushing yards (4.0 YPC) and two touchdowns, but managed only 62 yards on 28 carries (2.2 YPC) with zero touchdowns in the last three regular-season games.

Junior WR Jameon Lewis was by far the team’s top receiver, leading the team in receptions (55), receiving yards (703) and touchdowns catches (five). While he was consistent on the year, he had only one game where he broke 100 yards (111 versus LSU on Oct. 5).

Senior DB Nickoe Whitley (55 tackles, 5 interceptions) and the Bulldogs’ defense held opponents to 24.3 PPG on the season (40th in FBS), including only 15.7 PPG over their past three contests despite the past two going to overtime. This unit has a tendency to give up chunks of yardage though, allowing 151 rushing YPG on 4.4 YPC, and giving up 215 passing YPG on 6.9 YPA and 62.4% completions. A big reason MSU was able to keep scores low was its ability to force turnovers, racking up 24 takeaways this season, including at least three in each of the past four games.

Rice came out and ran the ball down their opponents' throats this season, to the tune of 240.2 YPG (15h in nation). The team capped off the season with 248 rushing yards in the C-USA championship game against Marshall, which it won 41-24. Senior HB Charles Ross is responsible for the bulk of the offense as he ran for 1,252 yards on 201 attempts (6.2 YPC) and 14 touchdowns despite missing two games on the year. He had seven 100-yard rushing performances, with his best one coming against Louisiana Tech on Nov. 16 when he ran for 215 yards (8.0 YPC) and five touchdowns in a 52-14 blowout win.

Senior QB Taylor McHargue quietly had a great season with 2,261 passing yards (7.3 YPA), 17 TD and 8 INT. McHargue was careful with the ball over the final four games of the season, throwing five touchdowns and zero interceptions, but averaging only 170.5 passing YPG in this span. McHargue likes to spread the ball around with four different receivers catching at least 20 passes on the year, but WR Jordan Taylor was clearly his favorite target. Taylor had 846 receiving yards (15.7 avg.) and caught eight touchdown passes on the season while putting together a terrific game against Marshall in the conference championship with six catches for 131 yards and a touchdown.

Senior CB Phillip Gaines (34 tackles, 4 interceptions) led the Owls defense that allowed only 22.9 PPG to their opponents (33rd in nation) on the season. Although the run defense struggled at times, allowing 155 YPG on 4.0 YPC, the pass defense didn't give up much with 196 YPG on 6.7 YPA and a paltry 51% completion rate. Although the team recorded a respectable 25 takeaways on the season, it has forced just two turnovers in the past three games combined.

Chick-fil-A Bowl

Matchup: Duke (10-3) vs. Texas A&M (8-4)
Venue: Georgia Dome
Location: Atlanta, GA
Time/TV: 8:00 p.m. ET, ESPN Opening Line: Texas A&M -12, Total: 75 ½

In what will likely be Johnny Manziel’s last collegiate game, No. 20 Texas A&M will play No. 22 Duke in the Chick-fil-A Bowl in Atlanta.

Playing a tough SEC schedule, the Aggies went 8-4 SU this year and lost their final two games of the season to LSU and Missouri. They also lost ATS in their final three games of the season, going just 4-8 ATS all year.

Duke was blown out 45-7 by No. 1 Florida State in the ACC Championship Game, but earned the first 10-win season in program history while also going 10-3 ATS. The Blue Devils’ marquee wins included ones over Virginia Tech and Miami, both of whom were ranked at the time. Before falling to FSU, they had won eight in a row.

Their tough task will be containing an Aggies offense that averages 43.6 PPG (5th in FBS), led by Manziel and the offense’s 350.9 passing yards per game (7th in nation). The Aggies defense has struggled though, giving up 30.9 PPG (89th in FBS). The Blue Devils, by contrast, averaged only 31.6 PPG (50th in nation), but gave up 24.7 PPG (47th in FBS).

Duke head coach David Cutcliffe is 0-8 ATS in non-home games against teams that average at least 6.25 yards per play as the head coach of Duke, but he is also 43-26 ATS (62%) when facing a team with a winning record as a collegiate head coach.

Duke’s first two losses came while starting QB Anthony Boone (1,833 pass yards, 10 TD, 11 INT) was injured, with the junior completing 64% of his passes. Without him, the more mobile Brandon Connette (1,212 pass yards, 13 TD, 6 INT) performed admirably and still sometimes gets snaps to give defenses another look. Averaging 3.4 YPC, he led the team with 13 rushing touchdowns.

The team’s leading rusher, RB Jela Duncan, was just suspended for the bowl game and next season for academic reasons, but the offense has a deep crew of backs with Josh Snead (547 rush yards, 6.1 YPC) and Shaquille Powell (337 rush yards, 5.6 YPC) splitting the snaps with Duncan all year. The team’s No. 1 receiving threat is Jamison Crowder (96 catches, 1,197 yards, 7 TD), and he’s also very dangerous returning punts.

Opposing rushers carried the ball for 4.2 YPC against the Duke defense while passers completed only 55.5% of their passes, but produced a solid 7.2 yards per attempt against the secondary.

Texas A&M QB Johnny Manziel had another elite season for the Aggies, completing 69.1% of his passes for 3,732 yards, 33 TD and 13 INT. He struggled in the team’s final two games, throwing for only 2 TD and 2 INT. He’s also a threat with his legs, rushing for a team-high 686 yards on 5.2 YPC and eight touchdowns. RB Ben Malena (506 rush yards, 4.7 YPC) led the backfield with 10 touchdowns. Manziel’s top throwing target is WR Mike Evans (1,322 receiving yards, 12 TD), who averaged a ridiculous 20.3 yards per catch. Although he has five games of at least 115 receiving yards this year, Evans had just 59 receiving yards in the team's past two games, both losses.

The Aggies defense gives up 239 passing YPG (7.3 YPA) on 57% completions, but struggled even more against the run, where they gave up 221 rushing YPG on 5.3 YPC this season. To be fair, the unit that allowed 460 total YPG on 6.2 yards per play was on the field for a whopping 32:52. A&M also needs to force some Duke turnovers, having tallied just two takeaways in its four defeats this season, compared to 18 forced turnovers in the eight victories.

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