Betting NCAAF teams on the bowl game bubble

Nov 25, 2013 |
Betting NCAAF teams on the bowl game bubble
Rutgers has stumbled after a strong start and could miss out on bowl season.
Photo By - USA Today Sports
Rutgers has stumbled after a strong start and could miss out on bowl season.
Photo By - USA Today Sports
Better late than never, right?

With the majority of FBS teams wrapping up their regular seasons this week, a handful of schools still have a shot at becoming bowl-eligible. Yet, with 70 teams having already gained bowl eligibility - matching the exact number of bowl slots available - there will be plenty of jockeying between teams with tenuous grips on a spot and those looking to join the fray.

Here are four teams facing must-win games this week:

Syracuse Orange (5-6, 3-4 ACC)

This week: vs. Boston College Eagles (7-4, 4-3)

The Orange had a golden opportunity to secure their bowl eligibility against Pitt, but the Panthers pulled out a 17-16 victory to lock up their own bowl bid last week. Syracuse has dropped back-to-back games - scoring just 19 points over that stretch - and won't be given any favors in their season finale facing an Eagles team looking to improve its own bowl standing. Even if Syracuse wins, there's no guarantee the Orange will land in a bowl game. The ACC already has 10 bowl-eligible teams, meaning that somebody will likely be left out if the Orange prevail.

Syracuse is a 2.5-point underdog against Boston College.

Rutgers Scarlet Knights (5-5, 2-4 AAC)

This week: at Connecticut Huskies (1-9, 1-5)

The Scarlet Knights looked to be cruising to certain bowl eligibility after opening the season 4-1, but have since dropped four of their last five to leave their postseason status in doubt. Fortunately for Rutgers, the remaining schedule is a giant cupcake, beginning with Saturday's game in Connecticut. The Huskies are coming off their first victory of the season, but will be in tough against a Scarlet Knights offense racking up nearly 380 yards of total offense per game. And should Rutgers lose, it still has one more shot in its season finale against 2-8 South Florida.

Rutgers is a 3-point favorite versus Connecticut Saturday.

Florida Atlantic Owls (5-6, 3-4 C-USA)

This week: vs. Florida International Golden Panthers (1-10, 1-6)

The Owls' transformation from Conference USA also-ran to bowl eligibility contender has been nothing short of astounding. And the team is being rewarded for its hard work with the easiest game of any bubble team. Florida Atlantic enters as a heavy favorite against the Golden Panthers, who have lost six straight games, with their last three defeats coming by a combined 109 points. The Owls have reeled off three straight victories since interim coach Brian Wright took over for Carl Pellini, who stepped down after confessing to taking drugs.

Florida Atlantic is a 28.5-point favorite versus visiting FIU.

San Jose State Spartans (5-6, 4-3)

This week: vs. Fresno State Bulldogs (10-0, 7-0)

Having failed to lock up a bowl berth in each of the past three weeks, the Spartans have left themselves a truly unenviable task - defeating the 15th-ranked Bulldogs. Fresno State quarterback Derek Carr has been one of the most prolific players in the nation this season, throwing for nearly 4,000 yards and 39 touchdowns while leading the NCAA's second-ranked pass attack. San Jose State missed its best chance to enter the bowl conversation last week, dropping a 58-52 triple-overtime stunner to Navy behind seven rushing touchdowns from QB Keenan Reynolds.

San Jose State is an 8.5-point underdog against visiting Fresno State.

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