Northwestern vs. Tennessee Bowl Pick
Northwestern will take on Tennessee in the first of five New Year's Day bowl games at 12:00PM ET. What's the best value for bettors in this matchup?
According to oddsmakers from online sports book RealBet.eu, the Volunteers are 9.5-point favorites over the Wildcats for today's Noon ET kickoff. As for the total, it opened as low as 45.5 points but has been bet up to 48.
Northwestern finished its regular season with an impressive 10-2 record and also was profitable at the betting window, covering in eight of its 12 games. Tennessee, meanwhile, went 8-4 straight up and 7-5 against the spread. Fifty-five percent of college football public bettors are currently taking the points with the Wildcats today.
SEC teams have been killing it at the betting window this bowl season. LSU covered as a 7-point favorite over Texas Tech, Auburn covered as a 3-point favorite versus Memphis, Mississippi State covered as a 6-point favorite versus N.C. State, and Alabama crushed Michigan State 38-0 as a 10-point favorite in last night's Cotton Bowl. The only SEC team not to cover was Texas A&M, which lost 27-21 as a 3-point underdog versus Louisville in the Music City Bowl, although the Aggies had an opportunity to win the game outright late in the fourth quarter.
So if you want to blindly follow Tennessee in this matchup, who can blame you? But I think there's more value in the total. Both of these teams rely on their running games and both have quarterbacks that can pick up yards with their legs. Northwestern also has an excellent defense, one that ranked sixth in the nation this season in points allowed (16.4) and 11th in total yards per game (310.5). Tennessee was nearly as good on that side of the ball, limiting opponents to 21.2 points per contest (23rd) and 371.5 yards per game (371.5).
Motivation shouldn't be an issue on either side and with the clock constantly moving, the scoring should stay relatively low throughout.
OUTBACK BOWL FREE PICK: NORTHWESTERN/TENNESSEE UNDER 48