70 betting notes for 70 college football bowl teams

Dec 19, 2013 |
70 betting notes for 70 college football bowl teams
There are 35 college football bowls to handicap this holiday season.
Photo By - USA Today Sports
There are 35 college football bowls to handicap this holiday season.
Photo By - USA Today Sports
Bowl season is here, with 35 games in 17 days to highlight your holiday. But with shopping, shoveling and family eating up your time, you may not have a moment to cap the college football board.

Don’t worry. Covers.com has you covered, with 70 need-to-know betting notes for all 70 bowl teams in action this postseason.

Gildan New Mexico Bowl - Saturday Dec. 21, 2 p.m. ET

Washington State Cougars vs. Colorado State Rams (+4.5, 65)

Washington State, despite an impressive 9-3 ATS mark this season, has never won a bowl game by more than eight points in its history (5-3 SU since 1981). The Cougars are making their first bowl appearance since 2003.

Can history repeat itself for Colorado State? The last time the Rams made a bowl appearance, they defeated Fresno State 40-35 in the 2008 New Mexico Bowl.

Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl - Saturday Dec. 21, 3:30 p.m. ET

Fresno State Bulldogs vs. USC Trojans
(-6.5, 62)

Southern Cal can only hope good things come in threes, as offensive coordinator Clay Helton takes over on the sidelines to become the third coach this season for the Trojans. USC finished the year 0-2 ATS, including a blowout 35-14 loss at home to UCLA as a 4.5-point favorite.

Fresno State’s 11-1 record might look impressive upon first glance, but the Mountain West champion finished the season 5-7 ATS and only faced one BCS conference opponent all season, defeating Rutgers 52-51 way back in Week 1.

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl - Saturday Dec. 21, 5:30 p.m. ET

Buffalo Bulls vs. San Diego State Aztecs (-1, 53)

Making only its second-ever bowl appearance in school history, MAC runner-up Buffalo finished tied for fifth in the nation in turnovers allowed, committing only 12 all season.

San Diego State recovered from a 0-3 start to win seven of its last nine (6-6 ATS record this season), including a 34-31 victory over Boise State on Nov. 23.

R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl - Saturday Dec. 21, 9 p.m. ET

Tulane Green Wave vs. UL Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns (+2.5, 49)

Tulane, playing at its home stadium – the Superdome – for the final time before moving to a new stadium next year, is 21-5 SU all-time vs. the Ragin’ Cajuns.

UL Lafayette, which finished the regular season 0-5 ATS, makes its third consecutive appearance in the New Orleans Bowl, where it is 2-0 SU/ATS.

Beef O’Brady’s Bowl - Monday Dec. 23, 2 p.m. ET

East Carolina Pirates vs. Ohio Bobcats
(+14, 61.5)

East Carolina opened as a 13.5-point favorite over Ohio, despite its 0-4 SU/1-3 ATS over its past four bowl games.

The Bobcats, making their fifth consecutive bowl appearance, are 2-2 SU/ATS under head coach Frank Solich. Last season, Ohio finished 1-4 SU/ATS down the stretch, before defeating UL Monroe handily 45-14 in the Independence Bowl as a 6-point dog. This year, the Bobcats finished the regular season 2-3 SU/1-4 ATS.

Sheraton Hawaii Bowl - Tuesday Dec. 24, 8 p.m. ET

Oregon State Beavers vs. Boise State Broncos (+3, 63.5)

Boise State will have linebackers coach Bob Gregory serve as interim head coach for this game after Chris Peterson jumped ship to take the Washington job. The Broncos are 3-2 SU and 3-1-1 ATS in their last five vs. the Beavers, including a 37-24 win in their last meeting in 2010.

Head coach Mike Riley’s job may be on the line in Honolulu. After starting the season 6-1, Oregon State dropped each of its final five games of the regular season (2-3 ATS) to finish at .500.

Little Caesar’s Bowl - Thursday Dec. 26, 6 p.m. ET

Bowling Green Falcons vs. Pittsburgh Panthers (+5, 50)

At 10-3, Bowling Green owns one of the best ATS records in the entire country. The Falcons recorded a perfect 5-0 SU/ATS mark to end the regular season, highlighted by their 47-27 upset win over previously unbeaten Northern Illinois in the MAC championship game.  A win could secure BGSU its first-ever Top 25 finish, but it’ll have to do it without head coach Dave Clawson, who recently left to take over the job at Wake Forest.

Pitt DT Aaron Donald, awarded the 2013 Nagurski Trophy as the best defensive player in college football, will try to lock down BGSU’s offense, which has averaged 44.6 ppg during its five-game win streak.

Poinsettia Bowl - Thursday Dec. 26, 9:30 p.m. ET

Northern Illinois Huskies vs. Utah State Aggies (+1.5, 58)

Arguably the best mid-major in the country, Northern Illinois and the nation’s fifth-ranked offense will have to find a way to regroup after losing the MAC championship and a shot at a BCS bowl game. QB Jordan Lynch, a Heisman finalist, is just the man to lead the turnaround in his final college game.

Utah State ranks seventh in the FBS in points allowed, averaging only 17.3 points per game against. The Aggies haven’t allowed more than 24 points in any game since Week 1.

Military Bowl - Friday Dec. 27, 2013, 2:30 p.m. ET

Marshall Thundering Herd vs. Maryland Terrapins
(+2.5, 62.5)

After a 4-0 start to the season, Maryland suffered a rash of injuries on both sides of the football, causing the Terps to limp to the finish line in the ACC Atlantic with a 3-5 SU/ATS record.

Marshall showed earlier this year they can hang with the ACC. The Thundering Herd lost a 29-21 heartbreaker on the road at Virginia Tech (8-4) in triple-overtime back in September.

Texas Bowl - Friday Dec. 27, 6 p.m. ET

Minnesota Golden Gophers vs. Syracuse Orange (+4, 47.5)

Following a leave of absence due to epileptic seizures, head coach Jerry Kill leads Minnesota to the Texas Bowl for a second straight year (lost to Texas Tech 34-31), ending the season on a 6-0 ATS run.

Prior to its offense breaking out in a 34-31 win vs. Boston College to end the regular season, Syracuse averaged just 12.8 ppg in its previous seven contests (3-4 SU/ATS). The Orange are ranked 100th nationally in points scored (22.8).

Fight Hunger Bowl – Friday Dec. 27, 9:30 p.m. ET

Washington Huskies vs. BYU Cougars
(+3, 60)

BYU is 3-0 SU/2-1 ATS in its last three games vs. Washington, including a 23-17 win most recently in 2010.

The Huskies will be without head coach Steve Sarkisian, who left to take the vacant USC job. Incoming head coach Chris Peterson (from Boise State) will watch from the stands, leaving the team in the hands of unproven interim coach Marques Tuiasosopo.

New Era Pinstripe Bowl - Saturday Dec. 28, 12:00 p.m. ET

Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs. Rutgers Scarlet Knights (+14.5, 52.5)

New Jersey-based Rutgers earned its pinstripes based far more on geography than football success. The Bronx-bound Scarlet Knights were a woeful 2-5 SU/ATS down the stretch, leading to the firing of their defensive coordinator, quarterbacks coach and offensive line coach this week.

With Rutgers reeling, Notre Dame opened as high as a 17-point favorite before being bet down. The Irish are an impressive 15-0 SU dating back to Oct. 2011 when favored by 10 or more points, but are just 6-9 ATS over that span.

Belk Bowl - Saturday Dec. 28, 3:20 p.m. ET

North Carolina Tar Heels vs. Cincinnati Bearcats (+3, 56.5)

North Carolina may have overcome a 1-5 start to earn a bowl bid, but beware UNC playing on state soil in the postseason. The favored Tar Heels are 0-3 lifetime in bowl games played in Carolina.

Cincinnati returns to the Belk Bowl for the second straight year, defeating Duke 48-34 in last season’s game. The Bearcats only have one victory versus a team with a winning record this season.

Russell Athletic Bowl - Saturday Dec. 28, 6:45 p.m. ET

Louisville Cardinals vs. Miami Hurricanes (+3, 57)

Louisville QB Teddy Bridgewater wasn’t picked as a Heisman finalist after managing only five TD passes over his last four games. He threw for 24 touchdowns in the Cardinals’ first eight games.

Miami started the season 7-0 SU and finished it 1-6 ATS.

Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl - Saturday Dec. 28, 10:15 p.m. ET

Kansas State Wildcats vs. Michigan Wolverines (+3.5, 55)

Slow start, solid finish. K-State opened the season 2-4, before winning five of its last six and ending the year on a 6-2 ATS run.

Solid start, bad finish. Michigan started 6-1, before losing four of its last five to close out the regular season. The Wolverines did finish, however, on a 3-0 ATS run, including their highly-publicized one-point loss to Ohio State at the Big House.

Armed Forces Bowl - Monday Dec. 30, 11:45 a.m. ET

Navy Midshipmen vs. Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders (+6, 55)

Middle Tennessee won its final five games (3-2 ATS), averaging 523.4 yards and 42.6 points.

Navy boasts the third-ranked rushing attack in the nation (320.1 yards per game), led by option QB Keenan Reynolds, who scored seven touchdowns in the Midshipmen’s 58-52 win over San Jose State to close out the regular season.

Music City Bowl - Monday Dec. 30, 3:15 p.m. ET

Mississippi Rebels vs. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (+3, 56.5)

Georgia Tech is sixth in the nation running the ball, averaging 312.1 yards per game, while ranking ninth in the country in rushing yards allowed, surrendering just 107 yards an outing.

Ole Miss is 8-1 SU and 7-1-1 ATS in its past nine bowl games, dating back to 1997. The Rebels only SU/ATS loss came the last time they played in the Music City Bowl, a 49-38 loss to West Virginia in Eli Manning’s freshman season.

Valero Alamo Bowl - Monday Dec. 30, 6:45 p.m. ET

Oregon Ducks vs. Texas Longhorns (+13.5, 67)

Texas struggled to keep pace with Baylor’s high-octane offense in a 30-10 loss and it certainly won’t have an easier time against QB Marcus Mariota and the potent Ducks offense, which averages 46.8 points per game.

Oregon is 4-4 SU/ATS over its last eight bowl games, alternating between winning/covering two games, then losing two, then winning two, then losing two over that span. Should the trend continue, it’s worth noting the Ducks have won/covered their past two bowl games.

Holiday Bowl - Monday Dec. 30, 10:15 p.m. ET

Arizona State Sun Devils vs. Texas Tech Red Raiders (+14, 70)

It’s been a tale of two seasons for Texas Tech, which opened the season 7-0 before dropping its final five games to fall to sixth in the Big 12. The Red Raiders defense allowed a whopping 48.6 points per game during their losing streak.

Arizona State, meanwhile, is ranked ninth in the nation in scoring, averaging 41 points per game. It’s no surprise the Sun Devils opened as 13-point favorites.

AdvoCare V100 Bowl - Tuesday Dec. 31, 12:30 p.m. ET

Arizona Wildcats vs. Boston College Eagles (+7.5, 57)

Boston College RB Andre Williams led the FBS with 2,102 yards rushing, en route to becoming a Heisman finalist. The Eagles are 6-1 SU and 5-2 ATS when Williams runs for 150 yards or more. Arizona ranks 71st against the run, allowing 169.8 yards on the ground per game.

Arizona RB Ka’Deem Carey finished fifth in the FBS with 1,716 yards. The Wildcats are 4-1 SU and 3-2 ATS when Carey runs for 150 yards or more. Boston College ranks 53rd against the run, allowing an average of 155 yards per game.

Hyundai Sun Bowl - Tuesday Dec. 31, 2 p.m. ET

UCLA Bruins vs. Virginia Tech Hokies (+7, 47)

Despite a strong 8-4 ATS record this season, UCLA is just 5-8 ATS (4-9 SU) over its past 13 bowl games dating back to 1995. The Bruins opened as touchdown favorites over the Hokies.

Despite a weak 4-7-1 ATS record this year, Virginia Tech is 4-1-1 ATS (4-2 SU) over its past six bowl appearances since 2008. 

AutoZone Liberty Bowl - Tuesday Dec. 31, 4 p.m. ET

Mississippi State Bulldogs vs. Rice Owls
(+7, 50.5)

Rice defeated Marshall 41-24 in the C-USA Championship - its first outright title since 1957. A win would give the Owls a school-record 11 wins and consecutive bowl victories for the first time in school history.

Mississippi State won its last two games in overtime, including a dramatic 17-10 win over Ole Miss in the Egg Bowl, to get to the necessary six-win plateau to qualify for a bowl game. How tough is the SEC? All six of the Bulldogs’ losses came against teams ranked in the Top 20.

Chick-fil-A Bowl - Tuesday Dec. 31, 8 p.m. ET

Texas A&M Aggies vs. Duke Blue Devils (+11.5, 74.5)

Duke, playing in back-to-back bowl games for the first time in school history, had its seven-game ATS win streak snapped by Florida State in the ACC championship game.

Texas A&M, which enters as a 11.5-point favorite, finished the season 0-4 SU/1-3 ATS versus ranked teams.

TaxSlayer.com Gator Bowl - Wednesday Jan. 1, 12:00 p.m. ET

Georgia Bulldogs vs. Nebraska Cornhuskers (+9, 60.5)

Nebraska looks for revenge in the rematch of last year’s Capital One Bowl, which Georgia won 45-31. The Cornhuskers are 0-3 SU/ATS in their past three bowl appearances.

Georgia will be without the services of starting QB Aaron Murray, who is out with a knee injury. Murray lit up Nebraska for five TDs and 427 yards passing in last year’s bowl win. Junior Hutson Mason, who has made one career start for the Bulldogs, is Murray’s replacement.

Heart of Dallas Bowl - Wednesday Jan. 1, 12:00 p.m. ET

North Texas Mean Green vs. UNLV Runnin’ Rebels (+6.5, 54.5)

UNLV, which opened as a 7-point underdog to North Texas, went 5-1 ATS as a dog in its last six games – winning three of them outright – to qualify for its first bowl game since 2000.

North Texas finished its season 6-1 SU/ATS, including a convincing 28-16 win over Rice.

Capital One Bowl - Wednesday Jan. 1, 1 p.m. ET

Wisconsin Badgers vs. South Carolina Gamecocks (Pick, 51)

Wisconsin’s defense proved itself to be BCS-worthy, ranking sixth nationally in yards allowed (294.4), rushing yards allowed (101.8) and points allowed (14.8). Unfortunately for the Badgers, an upset loss to Penn State as 25-point home favorites in their final regular season game sealed their bowl fate. Wisconsin went 9-0-1 ATS in its first 10 games before finishing 0-2 ATS.

Over the past five years, the Gamecocks are 1-4 ATS in bowl games. Over its past five games, South Carolina is 4-1 ATS (5-0 SU).

Outback Bowl - Wednesday Jan. 1, 1 p.m. ET

LSU Tigers vs. Iowa Hawkeyes (+7, 49)

Louisiana State opened as a heavy favorite (-8.5) vs. Iowa, despite losing senior QB Zach Mettenberger to a season-ending knee injury in its season finale. Freshman backup Anthony Jennings, who manufactured the game-winning 99-yard touchdown drive to defeat the Razorbacks 31-27, will get the start.

The last – and only – time these two teams faced off was back in 2005 in the Capital One Bowl, won 30-25 by Iowa as a 6-point dog on a 56-yard touchdown by Warren Holloway on the last play of the game. Iowa’s four losses this season came against teams that finished with a combined record of 45-6.

Rose Bowl - Wednesday Jan. 1, 5 p.m. ET

Stanford Cardinal vs. Michigan State Spartans (+4.5, 42.5)

Michigan State makes its first trip to Pasadena in 25 years on the strength of a defense that ranks No. 1 in the nation in total yards allowed (247.8) and rushing yards allowed (80.5). The Spartans, fresh off their big 34-24 win over Ohio State in the Big Ten championship game, are 14-1 SU and 9-1-1 ATS in their past 11 as underdogs.

Stanford, making its second straight Rose Bowl appearance, also boasts a stingy defense that ranked third nationally in rushing yards allowed (91.7) and 10th in scoring defense (18.6). The Cardinal finished the season 1-7 O/U, while MSU went 2-5 O/U in its last seven games. The total opened at 41.

Tostitos Fiesta Bowl - Wednesday Jan. 1, 8:30 p.m. ET

Baylor Bears vs. Central Florida Knights
(+16.5, 68.5)

Baylor is making its first-ever BCS bowl appearance after winning the Big 12 title for the first time since 1980. The Bears finished 8-0 ATS at home this season, but just 1-3 ATS away from Floyd Casey Stadium.

Central Florida also makes its first BCS appearance after winning the American Athletic Conference. The Knights are 3-0 ATS as underdogs this season, which includes a 3-point loss at home to SEC-power South Carolina and an outright win at Louisville.

Allstate Sugar Bowl - Thursday Jan. 2, 8:30 p.m. ET

Alabama Crimson Tide vs. Oklahoma Sooner (+15, 51.5)

Alabama lost out on its chance for a third consecutive national championship after losing a heartbreaker to Auburn in the Iron Bowl. Could this be a letdown spot for Bama? This season is starting to feel eerily similar to 2008, when then-undefeated Alabama lost to Florida 31-20 in the SEC Championship before getting blasted by Utah 31-17 in – you guessed it – the Sugar Bowl.

Surprisingly, this year’s Sugar Bowl marks only the fifth time in college football history that these two storied programs have met on the gridiron. Oklahoma leads the series 2-1-1 SU, winning most recently 20-13 at Tuscaloosa in 2003.

AT&T Cotton Bowl - Friday Jan. 3, 8 p.m. ET

Missouri Tigers vs. Oklahoma State Cowboys (+1, 60.5)

Missouri finished with an impressive 10-2-1 ATS record this season, but is 0-3 SU/ATS in its past three matchups vs. Oklahoma State, dating back to its days in the Big 12.

Prior to last week’s 33-24 loss to Oklahoma, Oklahoma State was 6-0 SU/ATS down the stretch, including notable wins vs. bowl-bound Baylor, Texas and Texas Tech. The Cowboys are 3-0 SU in their past three bowl games.

Discover Orange Bowl - Thursday Jan. 2, 8:30 p.m. ET

Ohio State Buckeyes vs. Clemson Tigers (+2.5, 68)

Ohio State and Clemson have only met once before in the 1978 Gator Bowl - best remembered for Buckeyes coach Woody Hayes punching out a Clemson linebacker for intercepting a pass in the Tigers’ 17-15 win.

Is the Under the play here? The Under is 6-1 over the past seven Orange Bowls, 6-2 in OSU’s last eight bowl games and 8-3 in the past 11 when the Tigers are a dog. The total opened at 68.

BBVA Compass Bowl - Saturday Jan. 4, 1 p.m. ET

Vanderbilt Commodores vs. Houston Cougars (+2.5, 53)

Vanderbilt is in search of its second consecutive nine-win season under head coach James Franklin. Since last year, when Franklin took over, the Commodores are 13-1 SU and 11-2 ATS in the second half of the season, including a 38-24 win over North Carolina State in the 2012 Music City Bowl.

Despite losing three of its last four games, the Cougars finished the year with an impressive 10-2 ATS record, making Houston one of only five FBS schools with a 10 ATS-win season.

GoDaddy Bowl - Sunday Jan. 5, 9 p.m. ET

Ball State Cardinals vs. Arkansas State Red Wolves (+9, 64.5)

Ball State is 0-6 SU/ATS lifetime in bowl competition dating back to 1989.

Arkansas State makes its third consecutive appearance in Mobile, defeating Kent State 17-13 last year after losing to Northern Illinois 38-20 in 2011 (1-1 ATS).

BCS National Championship - Monday Jan. 6, 8:30 p.m. ET

Florida State Seminoles vs. Auburn Tigers (+8.5, 67)

The SEC has won seven consecutive BCS national championships, including Cam Newton and Auburn’s title captured in 2010 with a 22-19 win over Oregon. Auburn has five wins over ranked teams this season.

Florida State – the nation’s only unbeaten team – finished the season 11-2 ATS, one of only two FBS teams to boast 11 ATS wins. The other? Auburn.

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