Home-field advantage during bowl season is a wishy-washy fact, since the games are all played at “neutral sites”. However, there are more than a few programs that enjoyed a short trip to their bowl game and those teams proved profitable for football bettors.
Back in December, we highlighted 18 teams playing their bowl games close to home. As of prior to the Cotton Bowl, 16 of those schools have played and 12 of them have won SU (straight up) and ATS (against the spread) in their postseason matchup.
Utah State, Central Florida, UL Lafayette, Central Michigan, Rice, Syracuse, Texas, Vanderbilt, Clemson, Oklahoma State, Stanford, and Florida State all cashed in close to home. After Thursday’s Fiesta Bowl, teams tabbed as the “home team” are 20-11 SU and 19-12 ATS.
The only four teams playing close to home that failed to cover were San
Diego State in the Poinsettia Bowl, Duke in the Belk Bowl, UCLA in the
Holiday Bowl, and UL Monroe in the Independence Bowl.
There are two more teams remaining from our original list of 18 that have yet to take the field this postseason.
Texas A&M hosts Oklahoma in the Cotton Bowl at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas - just 184 miles from College Station. Oddsmakers have the Aggies set as 3-point favorites. The Sooners, however, are tabbed as the “home” side and traveled only 196 miles from Norman for the Cotton Bowl.
Mississippi also has a home-field edge over Pittsburgh in the Compass Bowl, having to only make a 180-mile trek to Legion Field in Birmingham, Alabama. Ole Miss is set as a 3.5-point favorite for Saturday’s bowl game.