First-year bowl coaches playing into losing ATS trend

Arizona Wildcats first-year head coach Rich Rodriguez may have led his team to a victory in his first bowl game but he adds to a first-year coaching trend that bettors should be aware of this bowl season.

Rodriguez’s Wildcats - 8.5-point favorites versus the Nevada Wolf Pack in the New Mexico Bowl - squeaked out a 49-48 win Saturday, falling short of oddsmakers’ expectations. According to Covers Expert Marc Lawrence, first-year college football coaches are just 39-67-2 ATS in bowl games since 1990.

That includes Arizona's ATS loss and another by Toldeo in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl Saturday. Rockets head coach Matt Campbell and Toledo lost 41-15 to the Utah State Aggies as 10-point underdogs.

Rodriguez and Campbell aren’t the only first-year head coaches taking their teams to a bowl game this season. Arizona State, Fresno State, Mississippi and Pittsburgh (who play each other), and UCLA all have new head coaches prowling the sidelines this postseason.

Here’s a look at the bowl schedule and odds for those remaining teams:

Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl: Navy Midshipmen vs. Arizona State Sun Devils (-14.5, 56)
Hawaii Bowl: SMU Mustangs vs. Fresno State Bulldogs (-12, 59.5)
Compass Bowl: Pittsburgh Panthers vs. Mississippi Rebels (-3.5, 52)
Holiday Bowl: Baylor Bears vs. UCLA Bruins (Pick, 79.5)

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