Inside the stats: Where the boxscores lied
The college bowl season officially kicks off this week and, coupled with the NFL regular season drawing to a conclusion, a likely overdose of pigskin is on tap for the holidays.
However, for real football fans the word “overdose” is nowhere to be found in the vernacular.
Where the Sun doesn’t shine
For the first time ever, Sun Belt Conference teams landed four bowl bids this season.
Interestingly, all four entrants find themselves favored by five or more points.
Sun Belters are 9-13 SU in postseason games since their inception.
Two teams from the conference have been installed as high as 4-point bowl favorites.
Both lost the game in straight up fashion.
Tale of the tape
An interesting handicapping slant is weighing teams and their performance in games against other fellow bowl teams this season.
The best spread beaters were: Northwestern (6-0), Kent State (4-0-1) and Utah State (3-0)
The biggest money losers are: Central Michigan (0-5), Duke (0-5) and Mississippi State (0-4), with USC (1-7) knocking on the door.
In games “In The Stats” (net overall yards versus opponent’s net overall yards), the biggest Yards Per Game stat winners were: Northern Illinois (+143), Texas A&M (+134) and Oregon (+110).
Teams that got pushed all around the field, or the biggest Yards Per Game stat losers, were: Duke (-212), Mississippi State (-194) and Purdue (-189).
Teams with new coaches are often elated to grab a bowl bid. When they do the results are not pretty.
That’s confirmed by the fact that these excited, hormonal teams are just 39-65-2 ATS as bowlers since 1990.
Teams hoping to carry out the daunting task of improving on those numbers this year include: Arizona, Arizona State, Fresno State, Mississippi, Pittsburgh, Toledo and UCLA.
Red rover, red over
Week 14 in the NFL has been fan friendly for over players.
• 9-1 over/under in non-division games when both teams are off a pair of overs and the total in the game is 45 or fewer points.
• 9-1 over/under when a road underdog is playing off a pair of overs and the total in the game is more than 45 points
• 8-1 over/under for favorites playing off a pair of unders versus an opponent off an under.
Three favorites on the NFL card this week find themselves “leaking oil” (teams who have been out-gained in each of their last three games).
They include: Houston, Oakland and San Diego.
Proceed with caution.
Stat Of The Week
NFC underdogs hosting an AFC opponent during Week 14 of the season are 21-3 over/under the last three years.