2016 Holiday Bowl Prediction
Is Minnesota worth a play as the underdog tonight against Washington State in the National Funding Holiday Bowl at 7:00PM ET?
According to oddsmakers from online sports book BetDSI, the Cougars are 8.5-point favorites versus the Golden Gophers after opening as a 5.5-point favorite when the bowl odds were first released. As for the total, the number hit the board at 60 but was bet up a full point to 61.
MINNESOTA KEY TRENDS: The Golden Gophers have covered the spread in all four of their last four games after scoring less than 20 points in their previous game. They're also 4-1 at the betting window in their last five games after allowing more than 200 yards rushing in their previous game and are 20-8 against the number in their last 28 games coming off a loss.
WASHINGTON STATE KEY TRENDS: The Cougars have covered in six of their last seven games following a loss and are 4-1 against the number in their last five games after allowing more than 40 points in their previous game. They've covered in nine of their last 12 games against opponents with a winning record as well, although they're just 2-5 at the betting window in their last seven games overall and are 1-4 ATS in their last five contests versus Big Ten opponents.
OUR PREDICTION: I question Washington State's motivation for this one tonight. The Cougars had an opportunity to play in the Pac-12 title game and the Rose Bowl but they were routed by Washington in the Apple Cup. Now they face Minnesota in the Holiday Bowl in the middle of the week following Christmas - how pumped are they to play tonight? Meanwhile, Minnesota had a successful season at 8-4 but lacked that marquee win under first-year coach Tracy Claeys (who was the interim coach last year for the Gophers). Motivated or not, Washington State would qualify as that marquee victory for Claeys and Co. Without injured starting wide receiver River Cracraft, I don't like Washington State to cover tonight as a favorite of over a touchdown.
NATIONAL FUNDING HOLIDAY BOWL: MINNESOTA GOLDEN GOPHERS +8.5