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Thread: NCAAF Trends and Indexes - Bowl Season (Sat., Dec. 16 - Mon., Jan. 8)

  1. #31
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    NCAAF

    Wednesday, December 27


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    Walk On's Independence Bowl betting preview and odds: Southern Miss vs. FSU
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    Florida State true freshman quarterback James Blackman showed some signs of improvement in the Seminoles' winning streak to end the season. Will he be the difference for FSU in the Independence Bowl?

    Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles at Florida State Seminoles (-17, 49)

    Game to be played at the Independence Stadium in Shreveport, Louisiana

    Odell Haggins will continue to serve as interim head coach, keeping the seat warm for the newly hired Willie Taggart, when Florida State meets Southern Mississippi in the Independence Bowl at Shreveport, La., on Dec. 27. Haggins and Taggart are the first two African-American coaches in Seminoles football history, and Taggart - a Bradenton, Fla., native and lifelong Florida State fan - aspires to be the first African-American coach to win a national championship.

    “When we looked at a number of candidates, we knew Willie would rise to the top because of his passion about Florida State, and (having) the same vision that I have about the athletics department that he runs within his football program,” Seminoles athletic director Stan Wilcox, also an African-American, told the Orlando Sentinel. "The fact he happens to be an African-American is just icing on the cake. … It really is heartwarming to know over my career in fighting to open the doors for more minority head coaches in football and basketball, I finally got an opportunity to do that.”

    Florida State needed to win its last three games, including a 38-22 victory at Florida on Nov. 25, to become bowl-eligible for the 36th straight season. The Seminoles erupted for 157 points during that span with wins over Delaware State 77-6 on Nov. 18 and Louisiana Monroe 42-10 on Dec. 2 after scoring 163 in their first nine games. Haggins ran the team against ULM after Jimbo Fisher resigned Dec. 1 to take the job at Texas A&M and the $75 million for 10 years that came with it, while Taggart will continue to evaluate the coaching staff since leaving his post as Oregon coach.

    Southern Miss, which defeated ULM 28-17 on Sept. 16, is riding a three-game winning streak after a 28-27 victory over Marshall on Nov. 25. The Golden Eagles are led by senior running back Ito Smith, who has rushed for 453 of his 1,321 yards and six of his 13 touchdowns this season during the winning streak. Southern Miss will play in a bowl game for the third straight season, defeating Louisiana 28-21 in the 2016 New Orleans Bowl and losing to Washington 44-31 in the 2015 Heart of Dallas Bowl.

    TV:
    1:30 p.m. ET, ESPN.

    LINE HISTORY:
    FSU opened as low as a 14-point fave and the spread has grown a full field goal since. Some shops opened the total at 50 but just about all locations are dealing 49 as we inch closer to kickoff.

    INJURY REPORT:


    Southern Miss - LB Sherrod Ruff (Undisclosed, Questionable)

    Florida State - LB Matthew Thomas (Undisclosed, Questionable), DB Ermon Lane (Undisclosed, Questionable), DE Josh Sweat (Left team, Out), DB Tarvarus McFadden (Left team, Out), DB Derwin James (Left team, Out), TE Alex Marshall (Hand, Questionable), OL Brady Scott (Foot, Questionable), DB Calvin Brewton (Knee, Questionable), DT Darvin Taylor II (Shoulder, Questionable), OL David Robbins (Undisclosed, Questionable), WR Malique Jackson (Hamstring, Questionable), LB DeCalon Brooks (Knee, Questionable), LB Delvin Purifoy (Ankle, Questionable).

    WEATHER REPORT:
    Game-time temperature is expected to be around 41 degrees with overcast skies. The wind will be blowing 10 mph from the Northeast.

    ABOUT SOUTHERN MISS (8-4 SU, 8-4 ATS, 6-6 O/U):
    Junior quarterback Kwadra Griggs (15 touchdowns, two interceptions) matched a career high with three TD passes versus Marshall. Griggs' favorite target is junior wide receiver Korey Robertson, whose 1,070 yards and 11 touchdowns lead C-USA. Smith accounted for 58.2 percent of the Golden Eagles rushing yards and 72.2 percent of their ground TDs.

    ABOUT FLORIDA STATE (6-6 SU, 3-7-1 ATS, 3-8 O/U):
    The Seminoles' winning streak coincides with the improved play of freshman quarterback James Blackman (57.2 percent completion rate, 15 touchdowns, 11 interceptions), who has thrown six TDs and three INTs while completing 60.3 percent of his passes during that span. Running back Cam Akers (930 yards, seven TDs) needs 79 yards to break the school record for rushing yards by a true freshman set by Dalvin Cook in 2014. Junior running back Jacques Patrick (687 yards, six TDs), who rushed for a season-high 155 yards and two touchdowns versus ULM, is another strong threat out of the backfield.

    TRENDS:


    *FSU is 9-2-1 ATS in its last 12 bowl games.
    *Southern Miss is 1-3-1 ATS in its last five postseason appearances.
    *The under is 5-0-1 in the Golden Eagles' last six non-conference games.
    *FSU is 0-4-2 ATS in its last six games against teams with winning records.

    CONSENSUS:
    Players are split on this matchup with a slight 51 percent backing the Golden Eagles. Bettors seemed to like the Seminoles when the spread was at 14 and now like Southern Miss with the spread up to 17. There isn't the same type of division on the total. Close to 65 percent of players like the game to go over the 49-point total.


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    Last edited by StarDust Bum; 12-27-2017 at 12:16 PM.

  2. #32
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    NCAAF

    Wednesday, December 27


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    New Era Pinstripe Bowl betting preview and odds: Iowa vs. Boston College
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    Freshman running back AJ Dillon is the engine behind Boston College's offense. He piled up 1432 yards and 13 touchdowns on the ground during the regular season for the Eagles.

    Iowa Hawkeyes at Boston College Eagles (+2.5, 45.5)

    Game to be played at the Yankee Stadium in New York, New York.

    Boston College enters its second straight bowl game and fourth in five years under coach Steve Addazio with loads of momentum as it takes on Iowa in the Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium on Dec. 27. The Eagles finished the regular season with five wins in their last six games, scoring at least 35 points in each victory, and freshman running back AJ Dillon was the catalyst with 1,432 yards and 13 touchdowns on the ground. Addazio, whose 1-2 bowl record includes a loss in the Pinstripe Bowl in 2014, is aiming for his first eight-win campaign after finishing with seven victories in three of his first four seasons at the helm.

    Addazio has a long way to go to match Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz, whose 142 victories leaves him one shy of matching Hayden Fry on the all-time list at the school. Ferentz's current unit scored a mammoth victory over then-No. 3 Ohio State with a 55-24 triumph at home Nov. 4, but the Hawkeyes followed that up with back-to-back losses to sink to the middle of the pack in the Big Ten West. Ferentz is 6-8 in bowl games and has dropped five in a row.

    Iowa has a 1,000-yard rusher of its own in senior Akrum Wadley, a New Jersey native who has reached that plateau in consecutive seasons and owns 34 career touchdowns - 27 on the ground.

    "Akrum is our marquee player from this area, and he is really excited, and he's had about 120 ticket requests," Ferentz told the media.

    Sophomore quarterback Nathan Stanley has 25 touchdowns against just six interceptions for the Hawkeyes, while the Eagles will be relying on senior Darius Wade, who took over under center after starter Anthony Brown suffered a season-ending injury Nov. 11 against North Carolina State and had his best game (16-of-20, 248 yards) in a 42-14 victory at Syracuse to end the regular season.

    TV:
    5:15 p.m. ET, ESPN.

    LINE HISTORY:
    Iowa opened as a 3-point favorite but the line has come down to 2.5 as the game date approaches. There hasn't been much movement on the total. It's gone as high as 46 and as low as 45. Most shops are dealing 45.5.

    INJURY REPORT:


    Iowa - DB Miles Taylor (Leg, Probable), OL Alaric Jackson (Undisclosed, Out), OL Cole Banwart (Undisclosed, Questionable), DB Michael Ojemudia (Undisclosed, Questionable), WR Nick Easley (Undisclosed, Questionable), DB Nick Easley (Knee, Probable).

    Boston College - DE Harold Landry (Out, Ankle), RB Doroland Dorceus (Undisclosed, Questionable), DB Jonathan Cook (Undisclosed, Questionable), DB Josh Perry (Undisclosed, Questionable), DL Ernest Suttles (Suspension, Out).

    WEATHER REPORT:
    25 degrees and partly cloudy at kickoff - 10 mph winds throughout the game

    ABOUT IOWA (7-5 SU, 5-6-1 ATS, 5-7 O/U):
    The Hawkeyes feature a dynamic duo on defense in senior linebacker Josey Jewell and junior cornerback Josh Jackson, who are piling up the postseason accolades. Jewell, a three-time captain, led the Big Ten in tackles with 123 while Jackson is tied with Boston College's Lukas Denis and one other for the national lead with seven interceptions. Iowa has been outscored 75-19 in its last two bowl games.

    ABOUT BOSTON COLLEGE (7-5 SU, 8-3-1 ATS, 4-7-1 O/U):
    Although most of the roster has turned over since the Eagles lost 31-30 in overtime to Penn State in the 2014 Pinstripe Bowl, Addazio thinks that result can provide some motivation this time around. "They'll get a chance to enjoy the atmosphere of the city during the holiday season and we come back to the Pinstripe Bowl with a little added motivation," he told reporters. "We were part of one of the most exciting bowl games that season, but it didn't end the way we wanted. We have some unfinished business." Boston College piled up 581 yards of total offense in the win over the Orange and enters bowl season ranked 24th in the nation in rushing with 224.2 yards per game.

    TRENDS:


    *Boston College is 8-0-1 ATS in their last nine games overall.
    *The under is 24-10-1 in BC's last 35 games.
    *The under is 5-1 in Iowa's last six non-conference games.
    *Iowa is 1-4 ATS in its last five bowl games.

    CONSENSUS:
    About 63 percent of players are betting the Hawkeyes to cover as 2.5-point chalk while 54 percent are on the under.


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    Last edited by StarDust Bum; 12-27-2017 at 12:25 PM.

  3. #33
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    NCAAF

    Wednesday, December 27


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    Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl Betting Preview and Odds: Texas vs Missouri
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    Missouri quarterback Drew Lock has thrown an SEC-record 43 touchdown passes this season – the most in the country – and has helped the Tigers put up at least 45 points in six straight games.

    Texas Longhorns vs. Missouri Tigers (-2.5, 60.5)

    Game to be played at NRG Stadium, Houston, Texas

    Former Big 12 rivals reconnect when Missouri faces Texas in the Texas Bowl on Dec. 27 in Houston. The Longhorns own a 17-6 record against the Tigers and have captured 15 of the last 17 meetings, but Missouri won the most recent clash 17-5 at home in 2011 – its last season in the Big 12. Both teams are back in bowl games for the first time in three years.

    Missouri possessed one of the nation’s most prolific offenses this season, particularly during its current six-game winning streak. Quarterback Drew Lock has thrown an SEC-record 43 touchdown passes this season – the most in the country – and has helped the Tigers put up at least 45 points in six straight games. The big question is whether or not Missouri can sustain that success with someone else calling the plays after offensive coordinator Josh Heupel was named the new head coach at Central Florida.

    Texas already knows it will be without one key player on each side of the ball, as safety DeShon Elliott and offensive tackle Connor Williams have announced they will skip the game to prepare for the NFL draft, and linebacker Malik Jefferson has yet to make a decision. Elliott ranked second on the team in tackles (63) and tackles for loss (8.5) and led the Longhorns with six interceptions and three forced fumbles while Williams is the team’s top offensive lineman. It would be an even bigger loss if Jefferson, the Big 12 Co-Defensive Player of the Year, elects to declare for the draft and skip the game.

    TV:
    9 p.m. ET, ESPN.

    LINE HISTORY:
    Missouri opened as one-point favorites and heading into game day that number is up to 2.5. The total hit betting boards at 60 and is up slightly to 60.5.

    INJURY REPORT:


    Texas - OL E. Rodriguez (Probable, Ankle), DB P. Locke III (Probable, Ankle), OL P. Vahe (Probable, Knee), DB B. Jones (Questionable, Head), LB J. McCulloch (Questionable, Undisclosed), LB M. Jefferson (Questionable, Toe), TE G. Gray (Out, Suspension), RB T. Carter (Out, Suspension), WR L. Humphrey (Out, Suspension), DL C. Nelson (Out, Elbow), OL C. Williams (Out, Draft Prep), DB D. Elliott (Out, Draft Prep), TE C. Brewer (Out For Season, Knee), WR D. Leonard (Out Indefinitely, Foot), DB H. Hill (Out For Season, Suspension), RB K. Johnson (Out Indefinitely, Hamstring), OL P. Hudson (Out For Season, Knee), TE A. Beck (Out For Season, Foot).

    Missouri - RB D. Crockett (Probable, Shoulder), TE J. Reese (Questionable, Back), DB C. Holmes (Out Indefinitely, Shoulder), DL N. Howard (Out Indefinitely, Suspension), WR O. Clark (Out Indefinitely, Suspension).

    WEATHER REPORT:
    Dome.

    ABOUT TEXAS (6-6 SU, 7-4-1 ATS, 3-9 O/U):
    The Longhorns lean on an excellent defense that ranks 31st in the nation in scoring (21.7 points) and 42nd in total defense (363.6 yards) despite playing in the offense-dominated Big 12. The team's weakness is its secondary, particularly with Elliott leaving and cornerback Holton Hill suspended, so the Longhorns might have trouble with Lock and the Tigers’ potent passing game. The offense has been inconsistent, resulting in Shane Buechele and Sam Ehlinger splitting time at quarterback, and coach Tom Herman hasn’t committed to a starter for the bowl game.

    ABOUT MISSOURI (7-5 SU, 7-5 ATS, 7-5 O/U):
    The Tigers are trying to join the 2008 Rutgers squad as the only teams in college football history to win eight games after starting 1-5. They emerged from their early-season struggles thanks to an offense that can hurt opponents in myriad ways – Missouri ranks 14th nationally in passing (311.9 yards) and 35th in rushing (199.6). The Tigers had their share of trouble on defense, especially against the pass, but they rank 13th in the country with 92 tackles for loss.

    TRENDS:


    * Longhorns are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 neutral site games.
    * Tigers are 7-1 ATS in their last 8 games overall.
    * Under is 4-0 in Longhorns' last 4 games in December.
    * Over is 4-0 in Tigers' last 4 bowl games.
    * Favorite is 4-0 ATS in the last 4 meetings.

    CONSENSUS:
    The public is siding with the underdog Texas Longhorns at a rate of 54 percent and the Over is getting 66 percent of the totals action.


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    Last edited by StarDust Bum; 12-27-2017 at 12:26 PM.

  4. #34
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    NCAAF

    Wednesday, December 27


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    Foster Farms Bowl Betting Preview and Odds: Arizona vs. Purdue
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    Arizona Wildcats vs. Purdue Boilermakers (+3, 66)

    Game to be played at Levi's Stadium, Santa Clara, California

    Purdue and Arizona didn't figure to be in contention for a bowl game at the start of the season, but they'll go head-to-head in the Foster Farms Bowl on Dec. 27 at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif. Arizona was picked to finish last in the Pac-12 South, but ended up third after winning five of six conference games from Oct. 7 to Nov. 11. Purdue lost its final seven games last year for its fifth consecutive losing season, and then lost starting quarterback David Blough to a knee injury Nov. 4 against Illinois, but the Boilermakers rallied to win their final two games and qualified for a bowl game for the first time since 2012.

    Arizona has one of the most exciting players in the nation in sophomore quarterback Khalil Tate, who finished the regular season with 1,353 rushing yards at a nation-leading 10.17 yards per carry. Tate didn't take over full time until the fifth game against Colorado, when starter Brandon Dawkins was injured on a late hit on the opening drive of the game, and the California native proceeded to rush for 327 rushing yards in the 45-42 victory - an FBS rushing record by a quarterback. Tate would total 1,207 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns over a six-game span before Oregon and Arizona State found ways to contain him during the final two games, resulting in losses by the Wildcats.

    Injuries in the Purdue offensive backfield have opened the door for junior Markell Jones to emerge as the primary ball carrier, and he was exceptional in the final regular-season game, rushing for a career-high 217 yards on 31 carries in the 31-24 victory against Indiana. Jones surpassed D.J. Knox as the leading rusher on the season, and Knox is expected to be limited against Arizona after undergoing thumb surgery shortly after the Indiana game. Tario Fuller and Richie Worship have also played big roles in the running game at various times during the season, but Fuller (ankle) and Worship (knee) are both out for the season, further solidifying Jones as the clear-cut No. 1 ball carrier.

    TV:
    8:30 p.m. ET, FOX.

    LINE HISTORY:
    Arizona opened as 4.5-point favorites and that number has been pushed down to 3. The total hit betting boards at 59.5 and has been bet way up to the current number of 66.

    INJURY REPORT:


    Arizona - DL J. Belknap (Probable, Knee), DL L. Bruno (Probable, Concussion), QB K. Tate (Probable, Shoulder), LB J. Brown (Questionable, Ankle), LS N. Reinhardt (Out For Season, Knee), DE J. Harris (Out Indefinitely, Shoulder), S I. Hayes (Out For Season, Shoulder), LB C. Vaughn (Out For Season, Knee), WR C. Denson (Out Indefinitely, Foot), T B. Cain (Out For Season, Ankle).

    Purdue - LB J. Bentley (Probable, Undisclosed), TE B. Hopkins (Questionable, Back), QB J. Sparks (Questionable, Ankle), RB D. Knox (Questionable, Knee), RB R. Worship (Out For Season, Knee), RB T. Fuller (Out For Season, Ankle), QB D. Blough (Out For Season, Ankle), OL G. Hermanns (Out Indefinitely, Knee), DT K. Jones (Out For Season, Knee), S C. Parker (Out For Season, Knee).

    WEATHER REPORT:
    53 dropping to 46 and clear during the game - winds 2 to 4 mph

    ABOUT ARIZONA (7-5 SU, 6-6 ATS, 8-4 O/U):
    Colin Schooler wasn't a big-time recruit out of Mission Viejo High School in Southern California last year, and didn't receive a Pac-12 scholarship offer until the Wildcats came forward on Dec. 14, 2016. Schooler has rewarded the Wildcats with a fantastic season that resulted in him earning Pac-12 Defensive Freshman of the Year honors. Schooler finished 13th in the conference tackles and second among freshmen at 7.3 a game, and his 13.5 tackles for loss also tied for fourth in the Pac-12.

    ABOUT PURDUE (6-6 SU, 8-4 ATS, 3-9 O/U):
    The Boilermakers will count on senior linebackers Ja'Whaun Bentley and Danny Ezechukwu to help contain Tate, and they should be especially motivated in their first bowl-game experience. Bentley, who was fifth in the Big Ten and tops on Purdue at 8.1 tackles a game, sat out the final regular-season game against Indiana with a bad ankle, but is expected to be 100 percent against Arizona. Ezechukwu was second on the team with five sacks and tied for the Big Ten lead with three fumble recoveries.

    TRENDS:


    * Wildcats are 1-7 ATS in their last 8 games in December.
    * Boilermakers are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 Bowl games.
    * Over is 4-0 in Wildcats' last 4 bowl games.
    * Under is 6-1 in Boilermakers' last 7 games overall.

    CONSENSUS:
    The public is siding with the favorite Arizona Wildcats at a rate of 52 percent and the Over is getting 59 percent of the totals action.


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    Last edited by StarDust Bum; 12-27-2017 at 12:28 PM.

  5. #35
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    NCAAF

    Thursday, December 28


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    Military Bowl Betting Preview and Odds: Virginia vs. Navy
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    Virginia Cavaliers vs. Navy Midshipmen (-1.5, 54)

    Game to be played at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, Annapolis, Maryland

    It may be difficult for Navy to bounce back from an emotional loss to Army when it meets Virginia on Dec. 28 in the Military Bowl at Annapolis, Md. The Midshipmen, though, will at least be playing in the friendly confines of what could be a sold-out Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, but the Cavaliers should be well-represented in the stands with their campus some 150 miles away and the Virginia border less than 50 miles from the venue. Navy started the season 5-0, but limps into the contest with three straight losses and six in its last seven games after its 14-13 setback to Army on Dec. 9 when Bennett Moehring missed a 48-yard field goal on the final play amid snowy conditions.

    The Cavaliers are also moving in the wrong direction with three straight losses and five in their last six games, including a 10-0 setback to Virginia Tech on Nov. 24, but coach Bronco Mendenhall won't let that dampen the enthusiasm of their first bowl appearance in six years. “This is a defining moment for those players who have worked tirelessly to accomplish this goal of returning Virginia to a bowl game,” Mendenhall said in a prepared statement. "Seeing the joy on the faces of these players when they became bowl-eligible after the Georgia Tech win was an incredible moment. The only members of our team who have been to a bowl game are three graduate transfers.” Virginia makes its first bowl appearance since a 43-24 loss to Auburn in the 2011 Chick-fil-A Bowl while Navy plays in its sixth straight bowl and 14th in the last 15 seasons after losing to Louisiana Tech 48-45 in the 2016 Armed Forces Bowl.

    The teams haven't met since 1994, but there is plenty of admiration as Mendenhall coached Va'A Niumatalolo -- the son of Midshipmen coach Ken -- while the two were at BYU. “I’ve known Kenny (Niumatalolo) and his family and what they stand for … for a long time and he’s all that’s right with college football in my opinion and runs a class program,” Mendenhall told reporters. “I couldn’t think of a more fitting and worthy opponent.” At the top of Mendenhall's to-do list is to figure out a way to stop Navy's No. 2 rushing offense (343 yards per game) with his 80th-ranked run defense that allows an average 178.3 yards.

    TV:
    1:30 p.m. ET, ESPN.

    LINE HISTORY:
    Most sportsbooks opened Navy between -1 and the current number of -1.5. Some oddsmakers opened Navy as a 1-point underdogs early on, but most shops now have the Midshipmen as slight faves.

    INJURY REPORT:


    Virginia - LB M. Kiser (Probable Thursday, thumb).

    Navy -LB J. Thompson (Questionable Thursday, arm), FB A. Gargiulo (Questionable Thursday, ankle).

    WEATHER REPORT:
    It should be a beautiful, but chilly day in Annapolis. Clear skies are in the forecast with temperatures in the mid 20's and a cross field wind blowing at 8-10 miles per hour.

    ABOUT VIRGINIA (6-6, 6-6 ATS, 5-7 O/U):
    Senior quarterback Kurt Benkert (25 touchdowns, eight interceptions) passed for 186 yards against Virginia Tech and has 3,062 this season, breaking Matt Schaub's school record of 2,976 set in 2002. Junior running back Jordan Ellis (team-high 799 yards, six TDs) could be the key in the Cavaliers' offense using ball control to keep Navy's strong ground attack off the field while junior H-Back Olamide Zaccheaus (club-most 80 catches, 833 yards, five TDs) is Benkert's favorite target. Senior linebacker Micah Kiser leads the ACC and is tied for fifth nationally with 134 tackles and his 385 since the start of the 2015 season are the most in the country, while senior safety Quin Blanding's school-record 474 career tackles are the most among active FBS players.

    ABOUT NAVY (6-6, 5-5-2 ATS, 4-8 O/U):
    Sophomore Malcolm Perry rushed for 250 yards and a touchdown against Army while playing quarterback for the second time this season after running for 282 and four scores in a 43-40 victory over SMU on Nov. 11 in his first contest as the signal-caller. Perry replaced junior Zach Abey, who has been slowed by a shoulder injury and rushed for 123 yards in his last three games after totaling 126 or more in each of his first seven games this season. The Midshipmen have attempted only 101 passes this season but the element of surprise has yielded an average reception of 23.2 yards.

    TRENDS:


    * Midshipmen are 16-6-1 ATS in their last 23 home games.
    * Under is 13-6-1 in Cavaliers last 20 road games.
    * Over is 11-4 in Midshipmen last 15 home games.

    CONSENSUS:
    Bettors are backing the defacto home team in this bowl game, with 63 percent of wagers on Navy. When it comes to the total, 54 percent of wagers are favoring teh Under.


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    Last edited by StarDust Bum; 12-28-2017 at 12:54 PM.

  6. #36
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    NCAAF

    Thursday, December 28


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    Camping World Bowl Betting Preview and Odds: Virginia Tech vs Oklahoma State
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    Virginia Tech Hokies vs Oklahoma State Cowboys (-4.5, 63)

    Game to be played at Camping World Stadium, Orlando, Florida

    Mason Rudolph, who was once recruited by Virginia Tech, will take the nation’s top passing attack in No. 17 Oklahoma State to Orlando on Dec. 28 to challenge the 22nd-ranked Hokies in the Camping World Bowl. Rudolph completed 65 percent of his 457 attempts with 35 touchdowns against nine interceptions and led FBS in passing yards (4,553) and points responsible for per game (22.5). “We tried to recruit him,” longtime Virginia Tech defensive coordinator Bud Foster told reporters. “He’s big, got a live arm. Very accurate. Strong. … I think the NFL guys will like him a lot because he’s in that 6-4, 6-5 range, and he’s a drop-back guy. … Just a lot of game experience, and it shows by his completion percentage, where he throws the ball, how quickly he gets rid of it, all those things.”

    The Hokies, however, have seen numerous up-tempo, spread offenses this season and haven’t allowed 400 yards passing in any game this season and only two 300-yard games. Opposing quarterbacks completed 46.9 percent of their passes for an average of 187.2 yards per game with 14 touchdowns against 13 interceptions. “I have a ton of respect for (Bud Foster). He's been around there forever and he's one of the most well-thought of guys in the country,” Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy told reporters. “Obviously they're only giving up 13 points a game, so we'll have our hands full on offense. I've watched them play a lot through the years. I know that he's got them in the top-20 in total defense and pass defense, and the top five in scoring and third-down defense, so he's doing well like always.”

    Virginia Tech coach Justin Fuente, once a highly recruited quarterback in the state of Oklahoma, was recruited by Gundy, who was then a graduate assistant with the Cowboys. Hokies offensive line coach Vance Vice played with Gundy in Stillwater from 1986-88 where the two won the 1987 Holiday Bowl and 1988 Liberty Bowl alongside Thurman Thomas and Barry Sanders. "Vance and I were pretty good buddies in college and lived across the hall from each other in the dorms during the time that we were playing,” Gundy recalled. “We've been friends for a long time. He was kind of a tough guy back in the day as one of those very physical tight ends in our offense.”

    TV:
    5:15 p.m. ET, ESPN.

    LINE HISTORY:
    Oklahoma State opened as 6.5-point favorites however that number has been bet down to 4.5. The total hit betting boards at 62.5 and has been bet up slightly to 63.

    INJURY REPORT:


    Virginia Tech - WR S. Savoy (Probable, Undisclosed), TE D. Deiuiis (Questionable, Hamstring), K J. Slye (Questionable, Hamstring), OL Y. Nijman (Questionable, Leg), DB M. Reynolds (Questionable, Lower Body), WR C. Phillips (Out, Hernia), DE V. Mihota (Out For Season, Knee), S T. Edmunds (Out For Season, Shoulder), DB D. Deablo (Out For Season, Foot), WR C. Farley (Out For Season, Knee).

    Oklahoma State - OL L. Williams (Out For Season, Ankle), LB K. Henry (Out For Season, Knee).

    WEATHER REPORT:
    67 and cloudy at game time - 11 mph winds throughout the game

    ABOUT VIRGINIA TECH (9-3 SU, 6-6 ATS, 3-8-1 O/U):
    Freshman quarterback Josh Jackson, who completed 60.3 percent of his passes for 2,743 yards with 19 TDs against eight interceptions, will attack a Cowboys' defense that yielded nearly 30 points per game and 400 total yards. Running back Travon McMillian, who led the Hokies in rushing (439 yards), decided to transfer and will not play. The Hokies have a decided edge in the kicking game, as they rank in the top 30 nationally in all four major special teams categories – punts, punt returns, kickoffs and kickoff returns - with Greg Stroman returning two punts for a touchdown and Virginia Tech yielding only 42 total yards on punt returns this season.

    ABOUT OKLAHOMA STATE (9-3 SU, 6-6 ATS, 9-3 O/U):
    Rudolph will certainly be targeting wide receiver James Washington, the ninth unanimous All-American in school history and recipient of the 2017 Biletnikoff Award presented to the nation's top receiver. He finished the regular season with 69 catches for an FBS-high 1,423 yards and 12 touchdowns, and the senior led all FBS players with 17 catches of 30 yards or longer, 10 catches of 40 yards or longer and seven catches of 50 yards or longer. Sophomore running back Justice Hill ran for 1,347 yards – the most by a Cowboy in five years – and 14 TDs.

    CONSENSUS:
    The public is siding with the favorite Oklahoma State Cowboys at a rate of 71 percent and the Over is getting 68 percent of the totals action.


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    Last edited by StarDust Bum; 12-28-2017 at 12:54 PM.

  7. #37
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    NCAAF

    Thursday, December 28


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    Valero Alamo Bowl Betting Preview and Odds: Stanford vs Texas Christian
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    Stanford Cardinal vs Texas Christian Horned Frogs (-3, 49)

    Game to be played at Alamodome, San Antonio, Texas

    TCU’s elite run defense faces its toughest test of the season when the team faces Stanford and running back Bryce Love in the Alamo Bowl on Dec. 28 in San Antonio. Love finished second in the Heisman Trophy voting after leading Power 5 running backs in rushing yards (1,973), rushing yards per game (164.4), yards per carry (8.3) and runs of 20, 30, 40 and 50 yards. “I don’t know if you could ask anything more of a football player,” Cardinal coach David Shaw told reporters.

    Stanford bounced back from a loss at Washington State to win the Pac-12 North Division but fell 31-28 in the conference title game despite strong efforts from Love and sophomore quarterback K.J. Costello, who passed for 192 yards and two touchdowns. TCU closed with back-to-back wins over Texas Tech and Baylor to secure a spot in the Big 12 championship game, where it was outscored 17-0 in the second half of a 41-17 loss to Oklahoma. TCU is 5-0 against Pac-12 opponents under coach Gary Patterson, including two wins over Stanford.

    TCU has limited opponents to 3.2 yards per carry (eighth in the nation) behind defensive ends Mat Boesen and Ben Banogu, who led the Big 12 in sacks with 11.5 and 8.5, respectively. Making their second appearance in the Alamo Bowl over the last three seasons, the Horned Frogs rallied from a 31-0 halftime deficit to defeat Oregon 47-41 in triple overtime in their last visit on Jan. 2, 2016. This year’s trip could be just as dramatic, considering that eight of TCU’s last nine bowl games have been decided by seven points or fewer.

    TV:
    9 p.m. ET, ESPN.

    LINE HISTORY:
    TCU opened as two-point favorites and have been bet up slightly to -3. The total hit betting boards at 46.5 and has been bumped up to 49.

    INJURY REPORT:


    Stanford - T W. Little (Questionable, Undisclosed), DE E. Cotton (Questionable, Foot), CB T. Alexander (Out Indefinitely, Forearm), CB A. Holder (Out For Season, Knee), LB S. Barton (Out For Season, Knee).

    Texas Christian - RB D. Anderson (Questionable, Foot), LB M. Wilson (Questionable, Undisclosed), PK J. Song (Questionable, Groin), QB S. Robinson (Questionable, Undisclosed), CB J. Lewis (Out For Season, Undisclosed0.

    WEATHER REPORT:
    46 and cloudy at kickoff - 5 mph wind throughout the game

    ABOUT STANFORD (9-4 SU, 6-6-1 ATS, 5-8 O/U):
    The Cardinal's offense was fairly one-dimensional before Costello took over as the starter late in the season and finished with a total of 11 touchdowns against three interceptions. Costello’s favorite targets are wide receiver JJ Arcega-Whiteside (six touchdowns) and tight end Dalton Schultz, an All-Pac-12 First-Team selection. Senior defensive lineman Harrison Phillips had 17 tackles for loss, 7.5 sacks and two fumble recoveries to lead a unit that has allowed 21.5 points per game and owns a plus-15 turnover margin, which tied for second in the nation.

    ABOUT TCU (10-3 SU, 6-7 ATS, 3-10 O/U):
    Senior quarterback Kenny Hill accounted for 25 touchdowns while completing 67.2 percent of his passes to lead a balanced offense that averaged 33.2 points per contest but struggled in the Big 12 title game. TCU had five All-Big 12 First-Team selections on defense, including the duo of Boesen and Banogu, linebacker Travin Howard, safety Nick Orr and cornerback Ranthony Texada. Howard’s 83 tackles, including seven for loss, have him on pace to become the first player to lead the team in stops in three consecutive seasons.

    CONSENSUS:
    The public is siding with the favorite TCU Horned Frogs at a rate of 61 percent and the Over is getting 54 percent of the totals action.


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    Last edited by StarDust Bum; 12-28-2017 at 12:56 PM.

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    NCAAF

    Thursday, December 28


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    Holiday Bowl Betting preview and Odds: Washington State vs. Michigan State
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    Washington State vs. Michigan State (-1.5, 47)

    Game to be played at SDCCU Stadium, San Diego, California

    No. 19 Michigan State takes on No. 21 Washington State in the Holiday Bowl in San Diego on Dec. 28 in a game that matches one of the nation's top defenses against one of its top offenses. The Spartans are ninth in the country in total offensive yards allowed per game with 298 - including just 101.3 on the ground, which ranks fifth in the nation. Meanwhile, Washington State is second in the country in passing yards per contest with 392.3 behind quarterback Luke Falk's 3,593 yards and 30 touchdowns.

    Despite going to a bowl game in 10 of the last 11 campaigns and making an appearance in the national semifinals just two seasons ago, Michigan State and coach Mark Dantonio still feel a bit slighted nationally, so when unranked Michigan - the school's biggest rival which lost to the Spartans this year - was selected for a New Year's Day bowl rather than MSU, it didn't sit well. Dantonio got into a bit of a Twitter war with Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh about the perceived snub, and many of the Michigan State players made their unhappiness known as well. But the best way for the team to prove it belonged in a different game than the Holiday Bowl is to play great against the Cougars - which will be some extra motivation for the young Spartans, who are looking to build on a four-game winning streak in bowl games.

    Washington State's passing game has been prolific this season, but the team will be without two of its top three receivers after Tavares Martin Jr., who led the club in catches, was dismissed from the team and Isaiah Johnson-Mack left the program. Martin had 70 receptions for 831 yards and nine touchdowns this season, while Johnson-Mack recorded 60 for 555 yards and five scores. That doesn’t mean the team won’t continue to go to the air, especially with seven players remaining that have caught 24 or more passes this season - including running back Jamal Morrow (56 catches, 479 yards, five TDs) and wide receiver Kyle Sweet (50, 481, two).

    TV:
    9 p.m. ET, FS1.

    LINE HISTORY:
    The Cougars opened this bowl matchup favored by a field goal, but since then it's been a Sparty money, with the line jumping the fence to the current number of MIchigan State -1.5. The total meanwhile, opened at 45.5 and is up to the current number of 47.

    INJURY REPORT:


    Washington State - LB D. Moore (Questionable Thursday, undisclosed), RB G. Wicks (Questionable Thursday, leg), LB N. DeRider (Out indefinitely, knee).

    Michigan State - S A. Andrews (Out Thursday, suspension), DE L. Paulino-Bell (Out Thursday, suspension), DL M. Hunt (Out for season, knee).

    WEATHER REPORT:
    61 and clear at kickoff - 4 to 5 mph winds throughout

    ABOUT WASHINGTON STATE (9-3, 7-5 ATS, 5-7 O/U):
    While the Cougars are known for their offense – and any team coached by Mike Leach likely is going to be – the team’s success also is based on its defense as it ranked second in the Pac-12 in total defense, allowing 313.6 yards per game. Junior defensive end Hercules Mata’afa has been named a consensus All-American after leading the conference in tackles for loss (21.5) and sacks (9.5) this season, and the Cougars were No. 1 in the Pac-12 in pass defense, allowing an average of 167.4 yards and just eight scores this season. The Cougars also topped the conference in first downs allowed per game (15.7) and opponents’ third-down conversions (24.8 percent), proof that the team is more than just a high-powered passing machine.

    ABOUT MICHIGAN STATE (9-3, 7-5 ATS, 5-7 O/U):
    The Spartans have been up and down offensively this season in that they go from being a run-heavy squad to a pass-happy bunch and back again seemingly from game to game, which is hard on the team’s consistency but tougher for defenses to read. Quarterback Brian Lewerke has registered 2,580 passing yards and 17 touchdowns this season, though he had 845 of those yards and six of the scoring passes over a two-game span bridging October and November. Likewise, leading rusher LJ Scott has a season total of 788 yards with six scores, but 341 and three were in two contests, and the junior finished with fewer than 40 yards rushing in four games this season.

    TRENDS:


    * Washington State is 1-5 ATS in their last six games vs. Big Ten opponents.
    * Michigan State is 6-1-1 ATS in their last eight neutral site games.
    * Under is 5-1 Washington State's last six non-conference games.
    * Over is 4-1 in Michigan State's last five vs. Pac-12 opponents.

    CONSENSUS:
    The majority of bettors like Sparty in this matchup, with 58 percent of public wagers on Michigan State. When it comes to the total bettors are on the Over, with 62 percent of wagers expecting the game to eclipse the number.


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    Last edited by StarDust Bum; 12-28-2017 at 12:57 PM.

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    NCAAF

    Friday, December 29


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    Belk Bowl Betting Preview and Odds: Wake Forest vs Texas A&M
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    Wake Forest Demon Deacons vs Texas A&M Aggies (+3, 65.5)

    Game to be played at Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, North Carolina

    Jimbo Fisher won't be on the sidelines when Texas A&M faces Wake Forest in the Belk Bowl in Charlotte, N.C. on Dec. 29, but the former Florida State coach should have some insight on an opponent his teams beat seven of eight times. Jeff Banks will take over on an interim basis for Kevin Sumlin, who was fired on Nov. 26 after going 51-26 in six years at the helm. Fisher went 83-23 in eight seasons with the Seminoles before accepting a 10-year, $75 million deal from the Aggies on Dec. 4.

    The Demon Deacons qualified for a bowl game in consecutive seasons for the first time since a three-year run from 2006-08. Wake Forest posted seven regular-season victories for the first time in nine years, defeating five bowl-eligible teams along the way to tie the school record set in 2008. The Demon Deacons are 7-4 all-time in bowl games but 0-2 against SEC opponents in the postseason.

    Wide receiver Christian Kirk (58 catches for 730 yards and seven touchdowns) could be playing his final game for Texas A&M. The 5-11 junior is considered an early-round pick if he declares for the NFL Draft and has recorded at least two catches in 38 straight games - the longest active such streak in the country. Kirk is also the only player in the SEC with a TD via punt return and kickoff return in 2017.

    TV:
    1 p.m. ET, ESPN.

    LINE HISTORY:
    Wake Forest opened as 2.5-point favorites and have been bet up slightly to 3. The total hit betting boards at 64.5 and has been bumped slightly to 65.5.

    INJURY REPORT:


    Wake Forest - RB C. Carney (Probable, Knee), WR G. Dortch (Out For Season, Abdominal), DB T. Redd (Out Indefinitely, Elbow).

    Texas A&M - QB J. Hubenak (Out For Season, Shoulder), DL Z. Henderson (Out, Disciplinary), DB D. Wilson (Out Indefinitely, Foot), DB N. Harvey (Out For Season, Knee).

    WEATHER REPORT:
    43 to 45 degrees and clear to partly cloudy during the game - 3 mph wind

    ABOUT WAKE FOREST (7-5 SU, 8-3-1 ATS, 6-6 O/U):
    John Wolford was named to the All-ACC second-team after leading the conference in passing efficiency (157.5) while setting school season records for total offense (3,407 yards) and total touchdowns (35). Once freshman phenom receiver Greg Dortch (team-high totals of 53 catches for 722 yards and nine receiving TDs) was lost for the season on Oct. 28, junior Tabari Hines stepped up with 27 receptions for 375 yards and four scores over the team's final four games. Senior defensive end Duke Ejiofor, who ranks third in school history with 23.5 career sacks, finished tied for fifth in the ACC in tackles for loss (14.5) - part of the school-record 98 TFLs that Wake Forest recorded this season.

    ABOUT TEXAS A&M (7-5 SU, 7-4-1 ATS, 6-6 O/U):
    Kirk (23 career receiving touchdowns and 2,667 receiving yards), who is the active FBS career leader in punt return average at 22.8 yards, needs two more TDs and 122 more receiving yards to move into sole possession of third place in both categories in school history. Free safety Armani Watts joined Kirk on the coaches' All-SEC first team and is the only player in FBS with at least 9.5 tackles for loss, four interceptions, two blocked kicks, one forced fumble and one recovered fumble. The Aggies announced the indefinite suspension of defensive tackle Zaycoven Henderson, who started 11 of 12 games this season, after he was arrested on three felony charges following an incident involving a firearm in an apartment complex on Dec. 10.

    CONSENSUS:
    The public is siding with the underdog Texas A&M Aggies at a rate of 61 percent and the Over is getting 51 percent of the totals action.


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    Last edited by StarDust Bum; 12-29-2017 at 12:06 PM.

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    NCAAF

    Friday, December 29


    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Sun Bowl Betting Preview and Odds: North Carolina State vs. Arizona State
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    North Carolina State Wolfpack vs. Arizona State Sun Devils (+7, 59.5)

    Game to be played at Sun Bowl, El Paso, Texas

    North Carolina State surprised some by challenging Clemson for the ACC Atlantic Division crown and has a shot at its first nine-win season since 2010. The Wolfpack finished No. 24 in the final College Football Playoff rankings and will cap their campaign by facing Arizona State in the Hyundai Sun Bowl in El Paso, Texas, on Dec. 29. The Sun Devils averaged 40 points while winning three of their last four games to reach bowl eligibility and will wave goodbye to coach Todd Graham, who was fired at the end of the regular season but is staying on with his staff to coach the bowl game.

    Herm Edwards is a big personality and a famous name in football coaching circles after his stints as head coach with the Kansas City Chiefs and New York Jets, and he accepted an offer to succeed Graham with the Arizona State. "Athletes from all over the country, or whether it's here locally, should be coming back here," Edwards told reporters. "Guys in California and Los Angeles should be coming here. Why is this not the destination? Why can't it be? That's my job. That's my job to go into those homes, tell those parents this is the place you want to send your son." Edwards, who spent the last nine years as an analyst at ESPN, will not be on the sideline during the Sun Bowl but certainly will be a presence.

    North Carolina State avoided the coaching carousel at the end of the regular season, fending off an effort by Tennessee to hire head coach Dave Doeren and signing him to a five-year extension. "Dave has made significant strides in developing a complete program at NC State, and this new contract continues our commitment to his leadership," athletic director Debbie Yow said in a statement. Doeren is guiding the Wolfpack to their fourth consecutive bowl appearance after reaching eight wins by beating rival North Carolina in the regular-season finale.

    TV:
    3 p.m. ET, CBS.

    LINE HISTORY:
    North Carolina State opened as a 6-point favorite in this matchup and have been bet as high as -7, before settling down at the current number of NC State -6.5. The total hit the board at 59.5 and has yet to move off that number.

    INJURY REPORT:


    NC State - G T. Adams (Probable Friday, leg) WR S. Louis (Questionable Friday, ankle), DE B. Chubb (Questionable Friday, upper body).

    Arizona State - DL G. Lea (Questionable Friday, upper body).

    WEATHER REPORT:
    66 to 68 degrees and clear - 3 to 4 mph winds throughout

    ABOUT NORTH CAROLINA STATE (8-4, 4-7-1 ATS, 4-8 O/U):
    Wolfpack senior defensive end Bradley Chubb took home the Bronko Nagurski Award as the nation's top defensive player after recording 10 sacks in 2017 and 25 in his career. Chubb anchors the defense while the offense is led by junior quarterback Ryan Finley, who threw for 3200 yards and 16 touchdowns and was at his best in the biggest games - averaging 373.3 yards and totaling six TD passes against Louisville, Clemson and South Carolina this season. Finley's biggest target is tight end Jaylen Samuels, who was named third-team All-American after hauling in a team-best 69 receptions and four TDs.

    ABOUT ARIZONA STATE (7-5, 7-5 ATS, 5-7 O/U):
    Edwards is keeping most of the coaching staff, but defensive coordinator Phil Bennett elected to leave the program and will be coaching his last game after guiding a unit that allowed opposing offenses to score an average of 31.3 points in the regular season. The Sun Devils made up for some of the defensive struggles on the other side of the ball as dual-threat quarterback Manny Wilkins passed for 2,918 yards and 17 scores while rushing for 269 yards and six TDs. Arizona State averaged 180.3 yards on the ground and totaled 26 rushing TDs, led by senior Demario Richard (977 yards, 12 TDs).

    TRENDS:


    * North Carolina State is 0-4 ATS in its last four non-conference games.
    * Arizona State is 0-4 ATS in their last four non-conference games.
    * Over is 7-0 in North Carolina's last seven neutral site games.
    * Over is 4-1 in Sun Devils last five games overall.

    CONSENSUS:
    Bettors are giving a slight edge to the favorite in this matchup, with 53 percent of wagers backing the Wolfpack. When it comes to the total bettors like the game to eclipse the total, with 61 percent of wagers on the Over.


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    Last edited by StarDust Bum; 12-29-2017 at 12:07 PM.

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    NCAAF

    Friday, December 29


    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Music City Bowl betting preview and odds: Kentucky vs. Northwestern
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    Kentucky Wildcats vs. Northwestern Wildcats (-7.5, 51)

    Game to be played at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tennessee.

    No. 20 Northwestern looks to win 10 games for the second time in three seasons when it takes on Kentucky in the Music City Bowl Dec. 29 in Nashville, Tenn. Northwestern has won seven consecutive games - its longest winning streak since the memorable Rose Bowl run in 1996 - and has a chance to cap off a successful campaign by posting back-to-back postseason victories for the first time in program history. Kentucky backed into a bowl game after dropping three of its last four contests, but has a chance to win eight games for the first time since 2007 and hand coach Mark Stoops some momentum on the recruiting trail.

    Justin Jackson will be appearing in his final game after setting a slew of Northwestern rushing records during his stay in Evanston. Jackson became the first Big Ten player since Ron Dayne to rush for over 1,000 yards in four straight seasons after gaining 1,154 on the ground in 2017. Jackson ran for 144 yards and a touchdown in the 42-7 win against Illinois in the regular season finale to move past Montee Ball (5,140) for fourth place on the Big Ten's all-time rushing list and hopes to feast on a Kentucky defense, which surrendered an average of 363.5 yards on the ground over its final two games.

    Kentucky has a dynamic running back of its own in sophomore sensation Benny Snell Jr. Snell has built upon a historic freshman campaign, which saw him break the school record for most rushing yards by a first-year player (1,091) by registering 18 touchdowns in 2017, including 12 over his final five games of the regular season. Snell racked up 1,318 rushing yards to become the first running back in Kentucky history to notch back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons and hopes to lead the Wildcats to their first postseason win since a 25-19 victory against East Carolina in the 2008 Liberty Bowl.

    TV:
    4:30 p.m. ET, ESPN.

    LINE HISTORY:
    Northwestern opened as a touchdown favorite and has nudged up a half point to 7.5. The total hasn't budged since opening at 51.

    INJURY REPORT:


    Kentucky - DE Denzil Ware (Disciplinary, Out), TE C.J. Conrad (Undisclosed, Out)

    Northwestern - No new injuries.

    WEATHER REPORT:
    37 dropping to 30 degrees and partly cloudy during the game - negligible winds

    ABOUT KENTUCKY (7-5 SU, 3-9 ATS, 6-6 O/U):
    Snell, who was named to the All-SEC second team, rushed for 211 yards and two touchdowns in the disappointing 44-17 loss to Louisville on Nov. 25 to bring his career total to a school-record 31. "I'm going to keep giving it my all and I don't really care about that," Snell told reporters. "I like competition and I like it when another running back has good stats coming into the game against me." Wide receiver Lynn Bowden Jr. was named to the freshman All-SEC Team as a kick returner after averaging 23.1 yards per return.

    ABOUT NORTHWESTERN (9-3 SU, 9-3 ATS, 5-5-2 O/U):
    Clayton Thorson threw for 140 yards and a score in the win over Illinois in the regular-season finale to equal the program record for most touchdown passes (44) held by Len Williams and Brett Basanez. Jackson posted his 26th career 100-yard rushing game in the victory against the Fighting Illini to move past the legendary LaDainian Tomlinson (5,263) into 11th place on the NCAA's all-time rushing list. Garrett Dickerson earned all-Big Ten honorable mention honors after catching a career-high 37 passes for 401 yards and four touchdowns in 2017.

    CONSENSUS:
    Just over 60 percent of players are backing Northwestern to cover as a 7-point fave.


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    Last edited by StarDust Bum; 12-29-2017 at 12:09 PM.

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    NCAAF

    Friday, December 29


    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Arizona Bowl betting preview and odds: New Mexico State vs. Utah State
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    New Mexico State Aggies vs. Utah State Aggies (-4, 63)

    Game to be played at Arizona Stadium in Tucson, Arizona.

    New Mexico State ended the nation's longest bowl drought when it accepted the bid to play Utah State in the Arizona Bowl on Dec. 29 at Arizona Stadium in Tucson, Ariz. The Aggies will be making their first bowl appearance since the 1960 Sun Bowl where they played, ironically, Utah State. New Mexico State, which is 2-0-1 all-time in bowl games, defeated Utah State 20-13 that year.

    Last one out of Las Cruces turns out the lights. As one might imagine after such a long bowl drought, New Mexico State fans are fired up for the contest and quickly sold out their original required Sun Belt Conference allotment of 5,000 tickets. Las Cruces is just a four-hour drive down I-10 from Tucson and school officials expect around 10,000 fans to make the 275-mile trip which should give New Mexico State a pretty fair home field advantage.

    Besides the 1960 Sun Bowl, New Mexico State and Utah State have a history, having played in the same conference for 26 years, the Big West (1985-2000) and the Western Athletic Conference (2001-2012). Utah State, which sweated out selection day because the Mountain West had just five contracted bowls for six bowl eligible spots, leads the all-time series 30-7 and will be making its sixth bowl appearance in seven years after missing out last season following a 3-9 finish.

    "When you get the call you're in, it's an extreme amount of joy and relief," Utah State coach Matt Wells said. "I'm excited for our players to go play another game, because they deserve it."

    TV:
    5:30 ET, CBS Sports Network.

    LINE HISTORY:
    New Mexico State opened as a 3.5-point favorite but the line flipped a couple days after opening to Utah State -4. The total opened at 61 and has moved up to 63.

    INJURY REPORT:


    New Mexico State - WR OJ Clark (Shoulder, Questionable)

    Utah State - No new injuries

    WEATHER REPORT:
    77 dropping to 66 and clear for the game - 2 to 4 mph winds

    ABOUT NEW MEXICO STATE (6-6 SU, 6-5-1 ATS 5-7 O/U):
    Led by senior quarterback Tyler Rogers, who passed for 3,825 yards, 26 touchdowns and 16 interceptions, New Mexico ranks fourth among all FBS programs in passing offense (352.6 yards) with Rogers also ranking sixth nationally in total offense (348.1 yards). Jaleel Scott, a 6-6 wide receiver, was a first team all-conference pick after finishing with 73 receptions for 1,042 yards and eight touchdowns, while running back Larry Rose III was a second-team pick after rushing for 807 yards and nine TDs. The defense, which is tied for sixth with Texas A&M with 40 sacks, is led by a pair of first team All-Sun Belt performers in defensive end Cedric Wilcots II (8.5 sacks, three forced fumbles) and linebacker Dalton Herrington, who led the Sun Belt with 124 tackles, including 15 for loss, to go with 5.5 sacks.

    ABOUT UTAH STATE (6-6 SU, 6-6 ATS, 9-3 O/U):
    The Aggies won three of their final five games to become bowl-eligible but come in off a 38-35 loss at Air Force to finish tied for fourth with the Falcons in the Mountain Division behind league champion Boise State, Wyoming and Colorado State. Freshman quarterback Jordan Love leads the offense and passed for 1,377 yards, eight touchdowns and six interceptions, while senior running back LaJuan Hunt rushed for a team-high 695 yards on 149 carries and scored 10 TDs. Senior cornerback Jalen Davis was a first-team all-conference selection after tying for the Mountain West lead with five interceptions, three of which he returned for touchdowns, while sophomore placekicker Dominik Eberle also earned first team all-league honors after connecting on 16-of-18 field goals, including a 52-yarder, and going 45-of-45 on extra-point tries.

    CONSENSUS:
    About 52 percent of players are backing New Mexico State to cover as a 4-point underdog.


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    Last edited by StarDust Bum; 12-29-2017 at 12:10 PM.

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    NCAAF

    Friday, December 29


    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic Betting Preview and Odds: USC vs Ohio State
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    Southern California Trojans vs. Ohio State Buckeyes (-7.5, 65)

    Game to be played at AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas

    Two of the most successful quarterbacks in the nation will be on display when fifth-ranked Ohio State meets No. 7 USC in the Cotton Bowl at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, on Dec. 29. Senior J.T. Barrett has thrown for career highs of 2,939 yards and 35 touchdowns to lead Ohio State while sophomore Sam Darnold boasts 57 scoring strikes in two seasons with the Trojans and is close to going over 7,000 yards passing in his career. The Buckeyes are averaging 42.5 points and USC is at 34.5 - 38.8 during its current five-game win streak.

    While both teams can beat you through the air, the game may be decided in the trenches by both giving the star quarterbacks time to operate and opening up holes for talented running backs. USC junior running back Ronald Jones II has rushed for 1,486 yards - averaging 162.8 per game during the current win streak - and 18 touchdowns overall to give Darnold support. J.K. Dobbins (10 TDs) set a freshman rushing record for Ohio State with 1,364 yards while Barrett (732) and sophomore Mike Weber (608 yards, 10 TDs) have also had big years on the ground.

    It will be the 24th matchup between the schools with rich football histories and seven of the previous games were in the Rose Bowl with USC winning four of those. The Trojans have won seven straight meetings, including the last showdown in 2009 when they defeated the Buckeyes 18-15 in Columbus, Ohio. Ohio State won the Big Ten title by knocking off Wisconsin 27-21 and USC defeated Stanford 31-28 in the Pac-12 championship game, which in the past would have led to a trip to the Rose Bowl, but the College Football Playoff is using the fabled site in Pasadena, Calif., for one of the two semifinal games this season.

    TV:
    8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN.

    LINE HISTORY:
    Ohio State opened as 6-point favorites and heading into game day that number is up to 7.5. The total hit betting boards at 64.5 and has been bumped slightly to 65.

    INJURY REPORT:


    USC - T A. Vorhees (Probable, Concussion), T C. Edoga (Questionable, Back), WR V. Jones Jr. (Questionable, Foot), CB J. Jones (Questionable, Ankle), WR J. Greene (Questionable, Shoulder), LB O. Betiku Jr. (Questionable, Groin), S B. Bolden (Questionable, Hip), QB M. Fink (Questionable, Knee), LB P. Gustin (Doubtful, Toe), RB J. Toland IV (Out Indefinitely, Shoulder), DT M. Tuipulotu (Out For Season, Back), CB G. Johnson (Out For Season, Shoulder), WR K. Young (Out For Season, Hamstring), PK M. Brown (Out For Season, Knee).

    Ohio State - CB S. Wade (Questionable, Abdonimal), LB D. Booker (Questionable, Concussion), WR J. Harris (Out Indefinitely, Lower Body), OL B. Bowen (Out For Season, Leg), DT M. Barrow (Out For Season, Knee), TE A. Alexander (Out For Season, Knee).

    WEATHER REPORT:
    Dome.

    ABOUT USC (11-2 SU, 3-9-1 ATS, 8-5 O/U):
    Darnold struggled with interceptions early on (six in first three games), but was picked off only twice in the last five contests and threw for 3,787 yards overall. Junior Deontay Burnett has hauled in 74 passes for 975 yards and nine touchdowns, despite catching one pass last time out, while freshman Tyler Vaughns (51 catches, 690 yards, five TDs) and senior Steven Mitchell Jr. (41, 644, four) have also been productive. Linebacker Cameron Smith leads the Trojans defense with 102 tackles and junior lineman Rasheem Green posted five of his nine sacks in his last four games.

    ABOUT OHIO STATE (11-2 SU, 6-7 ATS, 9-4 O/U):
    Barrett threw for two touchdowns with a pair of interceptions in the Big Ten title game and completed 64.7 percent of his passes this year while the Buckeyes boast 11 different receivers with a TD catch. Junior Parris Campbell (three TDs) led a balanced receiving corps with 587 yards, sophomore K.J. Hill tops (three TDs) the team with 55 receptions and junior Johnnie Dixon registered a team-best eight touchdown catches. Junior linebacker Jerome Baker leads the team with 67 tackles and sophomore lineman Nick Bosa has made an impact with seven sacks and 14.5 tackles for loss.

    CONSENSUS:
    The public is siding with the underdog USC Trojans at a rate of 53 percent and the Over is getting 64 percent of the totals action.


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    Last edited by StarDust Bum; 12-29-2017 at 12:14 PM.

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    Bettors target teams with no head coaches in Friday's college bowl betting action
    Patrick Everson

    Heading into New Year’s Weekend, the menu begins to expand for the college football bowl buffet, with five games on the Friday docket – including the first of the big New Year’s Six showdowns. Patrick Everson checks in on the action for all five games, with insights from Nick Bogdanovich, director of trading for William Hill US in Las Vegas; Will Bernanke, lead analyst for CG Analytics, also in Las Vegas; and Scott Kaminsky, director of offshore sportsbook TheGreek.com.

    Cotton Bowl


    No. 7 Southern California Trojans vs. No. 5 Ohio State Buckeyes – Open: -6.5; Move: -7; Move: -7.5


    Ohio State won the Big Ten championship game, but that wasn’t quite enough to oust Alabama from the fourth and final spot in the College Football Playoff. So the Buckeyes (11-2 SU, 6-7 ATS) will settle for a New Year’s Six consolation prize in this 8:30 p.m. ET kickoff at AT&T Stadium. Urban Meyer’s troops held off Wisconsin 27-21 as a 3-point chalk to nab that Big Ten title on Dec. 2.

    Southern Cal (11-2 SU) had a bumpier ride than expected this year, as evidenced by its 3-9-1 ATS mark, one of the worst in the nation. But the Trojans rebounded from a blowout loss at Notre Dame to win their last five outings, including a 31-28 victory over Stanford as a 3.5-point favorite in the Pac-12 title tilt.

    “The sharps are definitely on Ohio State, but we’re pretty even to the game,” Bogdanovich said of pointspread action at William Hill’s dozens of books around Vegas, among more than 100 across Nevada. “I’m not shocked. USC is definitely a live ‘dog.”

    CG books opened the Buckeyes at -6.5 and saw the number reach 8 by Tuesday afternoon.

    “Eight times more money is on Ohio State on account, two times more money on Ohio State over the counter,” Bernanke said of pointspread betting. “So sharps and public are both backing the Buckeyes. But an interesting side note on this game: 90 percent of moneyline bets are coming in on USC. Those bettors want the big payout. There’s not as big a handle on that, but it’s interesting to see where the moneyline goes.”

    Southern Cal was running +250 on the moneyline late Thursday night at CG books, including shops at The Cosmopolitan and Venetian on the Vegas Strip

    Belk Bowl


    Texas A&M Aggies vs. Wake Forest Demon Deacons – Open: -3; Move: None


    Texas A&M won four of its first five games and would’ve been 5-0 if it hadn’t blown a 44-10 third-quarter lead at UCLA in a 45-44 Week 1 loss as a 7-point pup. The Aggies (7-5 SU, 7-4-1 ATS) had an up-and-down second half of the season, and coach Kevin Sumlin got fired following the finale, a 45-21 loss at Louisiana State as an 11-point underdog.

    Wake Forest (7-5 SU, 8-3-1 ATS) got out of the gate with four consecutive wins, but also couldn’t keep up the pace. The Demon Deacons were 10.5-point home favorites against Duke in the regular-season capper, but lost outright 31-23.

    “We’ve been at 3 all the way,” Bogdanovich said of a line that hasn’t even seen a price adjustment off the flat -110 for this 1 p.m. ET start. “The money’s for Wake Forest. It’s not a lot of money, but it’s not small either. It’s weird. A&M is a football school, and Wake’s not. But bettors are going against these teams without coaches.”

    Sun Bowl


    North Carolina State Wolfpack vs. Arizona State Sun Devils – Open: +6; Move: +6.5; Move: +6; Move: +6.5


    Arizona State is another program that fired its coach upon the end of the regular season. The Sun Devils (7-5 SU and ATS) won their last two games and three of their final four (3-1 ATS), but that couldn’t save Todd Graham’s job. ASU topped archrival Arizona 42-30 catching 2 points at home on Nov. 25.

    North Carolina State was 6-1 SU (3-4 ATS) through seven games, but cooled off the rest of the way in finishing 8-4 SU (4-7-1 ATS). The Wolfpack wrapped up the regular season with a 33-21 victory over North Carolina as a 15-point home favorite.

    “We’re a little high on the favorite,” Bogdanovich said of action leaning toward N.C. State in a 3 p.m. ET meeting. “ASU is another team with no coach. They’re betting against teams with no coaches. I can’t blame them.”

    Kaminsky said the Wolfpack was also seeing the bulk of the action at TheGreek.com, taking the line up a point over the past two days, from the opener of N.C. State -6 to -7.

    Music City Bowl

    
Kentucky Wildcats vs. No. 20 Northwestern Wildcats – Open: -7.5; Move: None


    Northwestern hit bowl season among the hottest teams in college football, on the field and at the betting window, winning seven in a row SU and ATS. The purple-clad Wildcats (9-3 SU and ATS) capped the run with a 42-7 rout at Illinois as a 16.5-point fave.

    Kentucky (7-5 SU) stumbled into its bowl appearance, losing three of the last four SU and ATS, and was a bad bet all season long at 3-9 ATS. In the Nov. 25 regular-season finale, the blue-clad Wildcats got run out of their own stadium by Louisville, 44-17 as a 10-point pup.

    “We haven’t moved off 7.5,” Bogdanovich said. “We’re high on Northwestern, but not a lot of money in the pot.”

    TheGreek.com opened Northwestern -7.5 back on Dec. 4 and stayed there until Thursday, before ticking up to 7.5 for the 4:30 p.m. ET matchup.

    “North Carolina State and Northwestern have drawn the most money as of now,” Kaminsky said of action on today’s four bowl games prior to the USC-Ohio State clash. “And the public will most likely be riding those two (today). As far as the smart money, we’ll have to wait and see how that plays out.”

    Arizona Bowl

    
Utah State Aggies vs. New Mexico State Aggies – Open: +3; Move: +3.5; Move: +4


    It’s a mediocre bowl game between two mediocre teams that share the same mascot name. Utah State (6-6 SU and ATS) won two of its final three games to become bowl-eligible, but lost its season finale at Air Force 38-35 catching 2.5 points.

    New Mexico State (6-6 SU, 6-5-1 ATS) had to win its last two games to reach the postseason and did so as double-digit home underdogs both times. NMSU topped Idaho 17-10 getting 10 points, then bested South Alabama 22-17 as a 12-point ‘dog.

    “This might be the least-bet game of what’s left. It’s even, but there’s hardly anything on that game,” Bogdanovich said, while noting he thinks even this lackluster 5:30 p.m. ET contest will eventually draw some dollars. “That’ll change. We’ll have a decision. People can’t help themselves.”
    Last edited by StarDust Bum; 12-30-2017 at 11:55 AM.

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    NCAAF

    Saturday, December 30


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    Taxslayer Bowl betting preview and odds: Louisville vs. Mississippi State
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    Louisville Cardinals vs. Mississippi State Bulldogs (+6.5, 63)

    Game to be played at EverBank Field in Jacksonville, Florida.

    Mississippi State will begin the post-Dan Mullen era in earnest on Dec. 30 when it meets Louisville in the TaxSlayer Bowl in Jacksonville, Fla. The 23rd-ranked Bulldogs went 69-46 under Mullen before he accepted a six-year deal worth $36 million to fill the head coaching vacancy at Florida on Nov. 26. Running backs and special teams coach Greg Knox will serve as the interim coach before former Penn State offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead takes over the program in 2018.

    Lamar Jackson finished third in the Heisman Trophy voting in 2017 after winning it as a sophomore, and his Cardinals will face a SEC opponent in a bowl game for a second straight year after getting routed 29-9 by LSU in the Citrus Bowl at the end of last season. The record-breaking junior quarterback is the only player in school history to rush for over 1,300 yards in consecutive seasons and has topped the century mark in six straight games. Jackson's 411 yards of total offense per game is more than the average of 76 FBS teams.

    In addition to being without Mullen, the Bulldogs lost starting quarterback Nick Fitzgerald with a dislocated ankle early in their regular-season finale 31-28 loss to Ole Miss on Thanksgiving. The 6-5, 230-pound junior was within striking distance of becoming the first player in SEC history with multiple seasons of 2,000 passing yards and 1,000 rushing yards. Freshman Keytaon Thompson amassed 316 total yards and two touchdowns in relief, although much of that production came after the Bulldogs fell into an 18-point hole after three quarters.

    TV:
    Noon ET, ESPN.

    LINE HISTORY:
    The Cards opened as 5-point favorites and are now either 6.5 or 7-point faves depending on the sportsbook. The total opened as 62 but just about all shops are dealing 63 as we enter the weekend.

    INJURY REPORT:


    Louisville - LB James Hearns (Personal, Out), CB Jaire Alexander (Personal, Out)

    Mississippi State - RB Dontavian Lee (Foot, Questionable), DL Cory Thomas (Foot, Probable), Jamal Peters (Personal, Out), WR Keith Mixon (Ankle, Probable), Dezmond Harris (Thigh, Probable), QB Nick Fitzgerald (Knee, Out), WR Donald Gray (Groin, Out)

    ABOUT LOUISVILLE (8-4 SU, 5-7 ATS, 6-6 O/U):
    While Jackson played the same critical role he usually does, the return of cornerback Jaire Alexander from injury sparked the Cardinals' strong November, as the defense allowed an average of 233.3 yards and 16 points during the three-game winning streak (410.1 and 30.8 prior). Malik Williams (518 yards rushing, four touchdowns) and Reggie Bonnafon (446, seven) have combined for three 100-yard rushing performances, and Williams' 180 yards on nine carries against Syracuse on Nov. 18 were the most by a Louisville running back since Bilal Powell had 209 against Cincinnati in 2010. Dez Fitzpatrick (45 catches for 699 yards) needs four more receptions and 99 receiving yards to set the school's freshman records; he already holds the freshman mark with nine receiving scores.

    ABOUT MISSISSIPPI STATE (8-4 SU, 7-5 ATS, 4-8 O/U):
    Aeris Williams became the Bulldogs' first 1,000-yard rusher at running back since Josh Robinson in 2014; although the 217-pound junior is averaging a career-low 4.5 yards per carry, he has at least 19 rushing attempts in each of the last seven contests. Defensive end Montez Sweat was named to the all-conference team after posting a SEC-best 10 sacks and ranks fourth in the league with 12.5 tackles for loss. Sophomore defensive tackle Jeffery Simmons also landed on the All-SEC first team after posting 57 tackles and 11 tackles for loss, and the 6-4, 301-pound became the first Bulldog defender since 2009 to score two touchdowns in the same game, recovering a block punt in the end zone and returning a fumble 90 yards for a score on Sept. 9.

    CONSENSUS:
    About 57 percent of players are backing the Cardinals to cover as 7-point favorites against the Mississippi State Bulldogs while 60 percent like the game to go over the 63.5-point game total.


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