Five bowl coaches you don't want to bet against

Dec 18, 2009 |
Five bowl coaches you don't want to bet against

Patrick Garbin is a Georgia football fanatic and has written three books on the Bulldogs.


One of the golden rules of wagering bowl games is to consider the bowl histories of the head coaches. Some coaches regard a bowl and its preceding practices as a way to prepare for the following season while others put more emphasis into bowl preparation and have their teams more motivated than any other time during the year.


Here are five you should keep an eye on this postseason:


Urban Meyer (5-1 SU, 5-1 ATS in bowls)


Meyer is a remarkable 13-1 ATS (against the spread) at Florida versus AP top-10 opposition. His only loss came in the recent SEC championship when Bama knocked the Gators out of the BCS title game.


There is a tendency to bet against a disappointed or disinterested favorite in bowls, but don’t count on that with Florida.


The Gators should be able to cover the 11 points against Cincy.


Pete Carroll (6-2 SU, 6-2 ATS in bowls)


In his six postseason victories Carroll has covered the spread by an average of more than 16 points per game.


USC went only 8-4 SU (straight up) and 3-9 ATS this year after losing just nine games and winning 61 percent ATS from 2002-2008.


The Emerald Bowl, where USC is a 9-point favorite over Boston College, is the only game being played the night of Dec. 26. 


Smart bowl players will usually take advantage of a coach like Carroll, a master recruiter who realizes his bowl will be the center of attention the day after Christmas.


Les Miles (5-2 SU, 4-2-1 ATS in bowls)


After going 0-2-1 ATS in bowls at Oklahoma State, Miles is 4-0 SU and ATS at LSU, covering by an average of a whopping 28 points per game.


It helps that LSU plays in the toughest conference in football. The Tigers upset ACC schools in 2005 and 2008 in blowout victories as underdogs.


LSU is a bowl underdog once again - 2½ points to Penn State in the Capital One - though it faces Joe Paterno, another bowl coach I wouldn’t bet against.


This game has “no play” written all over it.


Bobby Bowden (21-10-1 SU, 20-10-1* ATS in bowls)


It is the perfect send off: “Saint Bobby” ends an illustrious, 44-season coaching career in the state of Florida at Jacksonville’s Gator Bowl against West Virginia, where he coached from 1970-1975.


Although Florida State has a winning percentage of only .605 since the start of the 2004 season, it is 5-0 ATS in bowl games during that time.


In 1982, Florida State began its current streak of 28 consecutive bowl games with a 19-point win over West Virginia in the Gator Bowl. The Noles are 3-point dogs this time around and you know they’re going to want to send Bobby out a winner.


Butch Davis (4-1 SU, 5-0 ATS in bowls)


Remember the bowl betting rule that did not apply to Florida: consider wagering against a disappointed or disinterested favorite in bowls?  It does apply to Pittsburgh, who was defeated by Cincinnati in the final minute and lost its chance to play in a BCS game as the end result.


The Panthers will now play in the Meineke Car Care Bowl against a much-lesser opponent, North Carolina, as 2½-point favorites.


The Tar Heels and Coach Davis played at the same site a year ago, losing by only a single point to West Virginia but earning Davis’ fifth bowl win ATS against zero losses.


Never go against a team in the postseason with the better defense in every phase, like North Carolina compared to Pittsburgh, especially if its coach is undefeated ATS in bowls.  


Honorable Mention: Joe Paterno (23-11-1, 20-10*), Mike Riley (5-0, 4-1), Mark Richt (6-2, 5-3)


Besides the aforementioned eight, I’m sure I left off at least one or two others you would not want to face in a bowl game.  Can you think of any other coaches, present or past?


*Pointspreads not available prior to the 1973 season; both Bowden (one bowl) and Paterno (five) coached in bowls games prior to 1973.

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