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Thread: NCAAF Trends and Indexes - Bowl Season (Sat., Dec. 15 - Mon., Jan. 7)

  1. #16
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    Bowl Tech Trends - Week 3
    December 11, 2018
    By Bruce Marshall


    WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 26

    Matchup Skinny Edge


    BOSTON COLLEGE vs. BOISE STATE (First Responder Dallas Bowl)...BC on 16-6 uptick vs. spread. Addazio 8-3 as dog since last season, Eagles 11-2-1 last 14 as dog away from Chestnut Hill. Boise 3-1 last four bowls but 3-3 last six. Broncos 13-6-1 last 19 vs. points away from home.
    Slight to Boston College, based on team trends.

    MINNESOTA vs. GEORGIA TECH (Quick Lane Bowl)...Gophers 2-6-1 vs. spread away from home (2-5-1 last eight as road dog) under P.J. Fleck. Paul Johnson 3-1 SU and vs. line in last four bowls.
    Slight to Georgia Tech, based on team trends.

    TCU vs. CALIFORNIA (Cheez-it Phoenix Bowl)...TCU endured a 7-game spread losing streak this season before recovering to win and cover last two. Frogs 2-7 vs. points last nine bowls. Cal was on a 5-game spread win streak before losing finale vs. Stanford, and is 6-1 vs. points last 7 away from Berkeley. Bears “under” 11-3 last 14 dating to late 2017.
    Cal and “under,” based on team and “totals” trends.


    THURSDAY, DECEMBER 27

    Matchup Skinny Edge


    DUKE vs. TEMPLE (Independence Bowl)...Duke 3-6 vs. spread last nine this season in rare spread slump under Cutcliffe. Blue Devils, however, have covered last four bowls, and Cutcliffe 4-0 as dog this season. Duke 24-11-1 as dog since 2013. Owls 8-4 vs. number this season but 1-2 SU and vs, line last three years in bowls.
    Duke, based on extended trends.

    MIAMI-FLA. at WISCONSIN (Yankee Pinstripe Bowl)...Rematch of LY’s Orange Bowl won by Wiscy 34-24! Miami rallied at end of season with pair of wins and covers but had dropped five previous vs. spread. Richt on 5-11 spread skid. Canes 1-4 SU and vs. line last five years in bowls (1-1 with Richt). Badgers however a miserable 3-9 vs. spread this season and just 1-2 as dog after Chryst was 6-2 as dog previous three years. Badgers have won and covered last four bowls.
    Slight to Wisconsin, based on extended trends.

    VANDERBILT vs. BAYLOR (Texas Bowl)...Derek Mason 8-4 vs. spread this season, and enters on 5-game spread win streak. Vandy 5-1 last six vs. line away from home. Dores have also covered last six vs. BCS-level non-SEC foes. Matt Rhule 4-3 as dog this season but just 8-8 in role since arriving at Baylor LY.
    Vanderbilt, based on team trends.


    FRIDAY, DECEMBER 28

    Matchup Skinny Edge


    AUBURN vs. PURDUE (Music City Bowl)...Malzahn 1-3 SU and vs. line in bowls last four seasons, also 10-19-2 overall vs. spread since mid 2016. Brohm has won bowls the past three tries and covered his last two bowls at WKU and Purdue. Boilermakers 3-0 as dog TY, 8-2 in role for Brohm since last season.
    Purdue, based on team trends.

    SYRACUSE vs. WEST VIRGINIA (Camping World Bowl)...Holgorsen 0-5 SU and vs. line last five bowls. Cuse 8-3-1 vs. spread this season, also 9-3 vs. spread last 12 away from Carrier Dome. Orange also 9-3 as dog sine last season, though not sure where this number goes post-Grier.
    Syracuse, based on team trends.

    IOWA STATE vs. WASHINGTON STATE (Alamo Bowl)...ISU slumped late in season with four straight spread Ls to close campaign though Cyclones were 3-1 SU in those games. ISU was 22-8-1 vs. line in 31 previous games dating to early 2016. Matt Campbell 15-8-1 as dog since taking over at Ames in 2016. Leach was 3-0 vs. spread laying points away from home this season, but Cougs just 1-3 SU and vs. line in bowls for Leach. Wazzu 8-11 vs. spread last 19 against non-Pac 12 foes. Note Pac-12 1-8 SU in bowls LY.
    Iowa State, based on team trends.


    SATURDAY, DECEMBER 29

    Matchup Skinny Edge


    ARKANSAS STATE vs. NEVADA (Arizona Bowl)...Red Wolves 1-3 SU and vs. line last four bowls, though they did cover last four this season. Still, only 4-5 vs. spread last nine away from Jonesboro. Wolf Pack dropped last two vs. line this season after 4-game cover streak. Nevada no covers last five vs. non-MW BCS foes.
    Slight to Arkansas State, based on team trends.

    FLORIDA vs. MICHIGAN (Peach Bowl)...Rematch of opener last season won by Harbaugh, 33-17. That was pre-Dan Mullen at Florida; Gators were 8-4 vs. spread in Mullen debut, Michigan 1-4 vs. spread away from Ann Arbor this season, and 2-8 against spread last 10 away from home. Also just 2-6 last 8 as chalk away from Ann Arbor.
    Florida, based on team trends.

    SOUTH CAROLINA vs. VIRGINIA (Belk Bowl)...Cavs only 1-3 vs. spread last four in 2018 but overall were 8-4 vs. number this season. Wahoos also 4-1 as dog in 2018. Mendenhall, however, 0-4 SU and vs. line last four bowls. SC 4-1 vs. line away from Williams-Brice this season. Muschamp has won and covered bowls the past two seasons and Gamecocks 6-0 SU, 5-0-1 vs. spread in bowls since 2011.
    South Carolina, based on team trends.

    OKLAHOMA vs. ALABAMA (CFP Orange Bowl)...OU just 2-4 SU and vs. spread last six bowls but did beat Saban in 2013 Sugar Bowl. Lincoln Riley 2-0 as dog (0-0 this season). Saban just 3-5 vs. spread in bowl/playoff games since 2013. Tide just 5-6 vs. line last 11 away from Tuscaloosa.
    Slight to Oklahoma, based on team trends.

    NOTRE DAME vs. CLEMSON (CFP Cotton Bowl)...Dabo 7-1 vs. line last eight bowl/playoff games. Clemson on 10-3 spread uptick since late last season. Tigers also 7-2 vs. points last nine away from Death Valley. Brian Kelly just 2-2 as dog since 2016 (0-0 TY) and Irish 2-4 vs. line last six bowls (both covers vs. LSU).
    Clemson, based on team trends.


    MONDAY, DECEMBER 31

    Matchup Skinny Edge


    VIRGINIA TECH vs. CINCINNATI (Military Bowl)...Hokies were on a 6-game spread skid this season before winning and covering last two to salvage bowl streak (now 26 straight). VPI only 3-6 as dog since last season. Bearcats only covered 2 of last 6 this campaign after starting 5-1 vs. line. Cincy no wins or covers last three in bowls (though not since 2015).
    Slight to Virginia Tech, based on extended trends.

    PITTSBURGH vs. STANFORD (Sun Bowl)...Pitt had a 6-game cover streak prior to last two games of season. Panthers 5-3 as dog this season, and Narduzzi 11-6 last 17 getting points. Pitt however 0-3 SU and vs. line last three bowls. Stanford 3-1 SU, 3-0-1 vs. spread last four bowls, closed season on 4-1-1 spread uptick. Tree 6-1-1 vs. number last 8 away from Farm, and one of only two Pac-12 teams to cover spread in bowls last year.
    Stanford, based on team trends.

    MICHIGAN STATE vs. OREGON (Redbox Santa Clara Bowl)...MSU only 4-8 vs. line this season and Dantonio 2-3 as dog after 7-4 mark as short entering 2018. Spartans just 6-9 vs. number last 15 away from East Lansing, though Dantonio 5-1 SU and vs. spread last six bowls. Ducks only 4-7-1 vs. spread this season and are 0-3 SU and vs. line last three bowls. Webfoots 2-8-2 last 12 vs. line against non-Pac 12 foes.
    Michigan State, based on team trends.

    MISSOURI vs. OKLAHOMA STATE (Liberty Bowl)...Mizzou just 2-5 vs. spread last seven away from Columbia (though did cover last two away TY). Tigers 3-5 vs. line against non-SEC BS-level foes since last season. Gundy was 4-0 as dog this season, 10-3 in role since 2015, and has won and covered 3 of last 4 bowls.
    Oklahoma State, based on team trends.

    NORTHWESTERN vs. UTAH (Holiday Bowl)...Underdog side was 11-1-1 in NU games this season with Cats 5-1-1 as short. Pat Fitz has won SU last two bowls but just 1-2 last 3. Kyle Whittingham 10-1 SU in bowls, 8-3 vs. line in those, and 11-6 vs. spread last 17 away from Salt Lake City.
    Slight to Utah, based on bowl trends.

    NC STATE vs. TEXAS A&M (Gator Bowl)...Pack has won and covered last two and 3 of last 4 bowl games. Pack 4-1 vs. spread last five vs. non-ACC. Jimbo 8-4 vs. line TY but just 2-3 vs. points away from home, and only 1-3 last 4 bowls while at FSU.
    Slight to NC State, based on team trends.


    TUESDAY, JANUARY 1

    Matchup Skinny Edge


    IOWA vs. MISSISSIPPI STATE (Outback Bowl)...Iowa 9-5 vs. line since late 2017, but Hawks 0-3 as dog in 2018. Ferentz 2-3 vs. spread last five bowls but has covered last four against non-Big Ten foes. Note Hawkeyes on 12-5 “over” run. MSU 16-9 vs. line since last season, 8-4 TY for Moorhead.
    Slight to Miss State, based on team trends.

    KENTUCKY vs. PENN STATE (Citrus Bowl)...UK winless SU last four bowls but did cover in Music City vs. NU last year. Cats 4-1 as dog TY, Stoops 13-7 getting points since 2016. Penn State no covers last three away TY but James Franklin 3-1 vs. line in bowls for Nittany Lions, 5-2 vs. spread in bowls with Vandy years.
    Slight to Kentucky, based on recent trends.

    LSU vs. UCF (Fiesta Bowl)...Orgeron 2-5 as chalk this season, and LSU just 2-5 vs. spread last seven bowls (1-1 with Orgeron). UCF 4-2 vs. spread last six bowls, 10–3 vs. line since late last season, 5-1 last six vs. points away from home.
    UCF, based on team trends.

    WASHINGTON vs. OHIO STATE (Rose Bowl)...Huskies only 4-9 vs. line this season, 5-11 last 16 on board. Petersen 1-3 as dog since 2016. U-Dub 2-7 vs. line last 9 against non-Pac 12. Huskies 1-3 SU and vs. line in bowls for Petersen. Urban 4-2 SU and vs. line in bowls with Buckeyes, 10-3 SU and vs. line in bowls back to Utah days in 2003.
    Ohio State, based on team trends.

    TEXAS vs. GEORGIA (Sugar Bowl)...Tom Herman teams 12-2 as dog since 2015 with Houston. Herman 2-0 SU and vs. line in bowls. Georgia has covered last five playoff/bowl games, Kirby Smart 2-0 vs. line in those. Bulldogs on 13-5 spread uptick since late 2017.
    Slight to Texas, based on Tom Herman dog trends.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

  2. #17
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    Saturday's Early Bowl Tips
    Joe Williams

    **Tulane vs. Louisiana-Lafayette**

    -- The Tulane Green Wave (6-6 straight up, 5-7 against the spread) of American Athletic Conference meet the Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns (7-6 straight up, 9-4 against the spread) of the Sun Belt Conference at the Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Florida for the AutoNation Cure Bowl.

    -- The Green Wave are bowling for the first time since 2013 when they lost to these same Ragin' Cajuns in the New Orleans Bowl by a 24-21 count. Tulane hasn't won in the postseason since 2002 out in the Hawai'i Bowl, pushing past the hometown team on Christmas Day by a 36-28 count. All time the Green Wave have posted a 4-8 record in 12 bowl appearances. This will be their first appearance in the Cure Bowl.

    -- The Ragin' Cajuns will be making their sixth-ever bowl appearance, and their first-ever outside of the city of New Orleans. They posted a 4-1 record in five showings in the New Orleans Bowl, winning their first four in the Big Easy before suffering a 28-21 setback against Southern Mississippi in 2016, their most recent appearance in the postseason.

    -- Tulane stumbled out of the chute with a 1-3 SU/2-2 ATS record, including losses to Power 5 teams at home against Wake Forest on Aug. 30, 23-17, and on the road against Ohio State on Sept. 22, 49-6. However, in perhaps their most impressive victory of the season, the Green Wave took it to fellow bowl team Memphis, 40-24, winning outright as 14 1/2-point underdogs at home. Unfortunately they were unable to carry over the momentum, losing two in a row to slide to 2-5 SU/3-4 ATS. That's when Tulane kicked it into high gear, winning a pair of road games at Tulsa and South Florida before taking down East Carolina at home to get back to .500. Bowl eligibility wasn't a certainty after getting throttled at Houston 48-17 on Nov. 15, and they held off a poor Navy team 29-28 to just inch over the finish line and end up 6-6. The Green Wave enter bowl season on an 0-3 ATS slide.

    -- Tulane posted very marginal numbers on offense this season except for in the run game. They were 30th in the country with 208.7 yards per game, as Darius Bradwell (165-982-9) and Corey Dauphine (116-754-7) are an impressive one-two punch. They were just 103rd in passing, posting a dismal 186.2 yards per game, and 25.7 points per game (PPG) to rank 93rd. Defensively the Green Wave had trouble stopping the pass, ranking just 115th with 265.2 yards per contest. They were halfway decent agaisnt the run, giving up just 153.9 yards per game to check in 50th in the country.

    -- ULL checked in 39th in the country with 437.2 yards per game, and they were potent in the run game with 229.2 yards per game to finish 19th in the land. Trey Ragas managed 1,141 rushing yards (5.8 yards per carry) with eight scores, and Elijah Mitchell scored 12 times on the ground, too. WR Ja'Marcus Bradley (38-557-10) is the threat in the pass game. They also posted 32.5 PPG to rank 39th in the nation. The Cajuns were defensively challenged, ranking 96th in the nation with 432.3 yards per game, and they were hammered for 210.0 per game to rank 107th in rush defense. They also gave up 33.7 PPG to finish 105th overall.

    -- The Green Wave are slight favorites in this one. As a favorite of 9 1/2 or less, they went 2-2 SU/1-3 ATS this season. ULL was a single-digit 'dog on three occasions, going 2-1 SU/ATS.

    -- The Green Wave enter 2-5 ATS over the past seven games, and they're 1-4 ATS in the past five following a straight-up victory. They're also 1-4 ATS in their past five games on a fieldturf surface.

    -- The Ragin' Cajuns are 8-2 ATS in their past 10 games overall, and they're 4-1 ATS in the past five neutral-site games and 4-1 ATS in their five bowl games all-time. They're also 4-0 ATS in the past four games after a straight-up loss while going 4-1 ATS in the past five on fieldturf.

    -- The under has cashed in five of the past six games overall for Tulane, while going 5-1 in their past six outside of the conference. The under is also 4-1 in the past five against teams with a winning overall mark.

    -- The over is 11-1 in the past 12 non-conference tilts for ULL. However, the under is 4-1 in their past five overall, and 7-1 in the past eight appearances in the month of December.

    -- In this series, the underdog has connected in five straight meetings, and ULL is 4-1 ATS in the past five in this series.

    -- Kickoff is slated for 1:30 p.m. Eastern on CBS Sports Network.


    **Utah State vs. North Texas**

    -- In the Gildan New Mexico Bowl at Dreamstyle Stadium in Albuquerque, N.M. it will be the Utah State Aggies (10-2 straight up, 9-3 against the spread) of the Mountain West Conference facing off against the Conference USA representative North Texas Mean Green (9-3 straight up, 4-8 against the spread).

    -- The Mean Green fired out to a 4-0 SU/3-1 ATS record, including a 27-point thumping of Power 5 conference member Arkansas back in Sept. 15 on the road. QB Mason Fine and the offense rolled up 44 or more points in each of the first four games and they were sailing along until Sept. 29 when Louisiana Tech upset them at home by a 29-27 score. They rebounded with a pair of conference wins at UTEP and against Southern Miss, but they lost a coin-flip game at UAB by a 29-21 margin to take a second conference loss. A second straight trip to the C-USA title game was still in reach, but a 24-21 loss as 14 1/2-point favorites at Old Dominion put the final nail in their coffin. They were able to finish up strong with a revenge-game win over FAU, 41-38 on Nov. 15, and 24-21 at UTSA to close out the season. They didn't exactly finish up strong, going 0-5 ATS in their final five outings, and 1-7 ATS in the last eight.

    -- As far as Utah State, they were looking like a legit Group of 5 representative. They opened the season with a 38-31 loss at Michigan State, easily covering a 23 1/2-point spread. In fact, they covered their first six games until a non-cover at Wyoming on Oct. 20. They Aggies didn't lose again until Nov. 24 in Boise State, failing in their bid for a chance to go to the Mountain West Conference championship game and a more prestigious bowl. They also ended up 3-3 ATS in the final six outings after their perfect 6-0 ATS start.

    -- When UNT has the ball they're be very up-tempo and fun to watch. They were 15th in the country in total yards (472.8 yards per game), 11th in passing yardage per game (316.2 YPG) and 21st in scoring (36.4 PPG). Defensively they were strong against the run, allowing just 113.4 YPG to finish 15th, and they gave up just 21.8 PPG to finish 31st. If Utah State is going to exploit them, it will be on the pass. UNT was 92nd in the nation against the pass, allowing 246.1 yards per game.

    -- Fine threw for 3,734 yards, 27 TDs and five INTs, and his favorite target is WR Rico Bussey Jr. (68-1,017-12). WR Jalen Guyton (50-702-5) is also a threat in the pass game, while it's all about RBs Deandre Torrey (161-942-14) and Loren Easly (74-386-4) in the run game.

    -- For USU, they're 11th in the land in total yards (493.8 YPG), 18th in passing yards (288.8 YPC) and third overall in the nation with 47.2 PPG. Defensively, the Aggies were gashed for 240.1 yards per game, just 84th in the nation. QB Jordan Love completed 65.8 percent of his attempts, throwing for 3,208 yards, 28 TDs and five INTs. Mason vs. Love will be one of the better bowl game matchups we'll see all season. RB Darwin Thompson (132-951-14) is the stud, with Gerold Bright (125-785-8) as the strong change-of-pace guy.

    -- For the Aggies, they'll be playing for interim coach Frank Maile, as Matt Wells took the job at Texas Tech. They have lost their past two bowl appearances, and they're 4-8 overall in 12 all-time bowl games. They won their only previous appearance in the New Mexico Bowl, pushing aside UTEP 21-6 in Wells' second season in Logan.

    -- The Mean Green will be making their third straight bowl appearance in three years under the tutelage of Seth Littrell, and they're hoping the third time is a charm. They lost in the New Orleans Bowl to Troy last season, and to Army in the Heart of Dallas Bowl in 2016. Overall they're just 2-7 in nine previous trips, and this will be their first-ever appearance in the New Mexico Bowl.

    -- Utah State is 4-0 ATS in the past four non-conference games, and 9-3 ATS in the past 12 games overall. However, they're 4-15 ATS in the past 19 against winning teams.

    -- North Texas is 10-3 ATS in their past 13 non-conference battles, but they're 0-4 ATS in the past four against winning teams, 2-5 ATS in the past seven games in December and 0-5 ATS in the past five overall.

    -- The 'under' has cashed in six straight bowl games for Utah State, but the over is 23-9 in their past 32 overall. The over is 4-0 in the past four non-conference games and 4-1 in their past five against winning sides.

    -- The 'under' is 4-0 in UNT's past four outside of the conference, 12-3-1 in the past 16 overall and 5-2 in their past seven on a grass surface.

    -- Kickoff is slated for 2:00 p.m. Eastern on ESPN.


    **Arizona State vs. Fresno State**

    -- In the Mitsubishi Motors Las Vegas Bowl at Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas it will be the Arizona State Sun Devils (7-5 straight up, 7-5 against the spread) taking on the Mountain West Conference champion Fresno State Bulldogs (11-2 straight up, 9-4 against the spread).

    -- The season started with a lot of promise for AZ State and first-year coach Herm Edwards, as they spanked UTSA and upset a then-ranked Michigan State team 16-13 on Sept. 8 to open 2-0 SU/ATS. However, a two-game losing skid at San Diego State and Washington splashed cold water on the start, and the Sun Devils found themselves 3-4 SU/4-3 ATS through seven games heading into a late-October battle at USC. They won that one 38-35 in exciting fashion behind stud WR N'Keal Harry, who will be skipping this one to get ready for his pro career and the NFL Draft. Sparky also edged rival Arizona 41-40 on Nov. 24 in Tucson for a seventh win.

    -- Fresno State fell 21-14 at Minnesota on Sept. 8, and it appeared maybe it might be a so-so season. However, a 38-14 thumping of UCLA on the road renewed hope, and they punished Toledo 49-27 to wrap up September at 3-1 SU/ATS. They wouldn't lose again until Nov. 9 on a Friday night in Boise State, 24-17. However, they would avenge that loss on the Smurf Turf on Dec. 1 in the MWC Championship Game to punch their ticket to Vegas.

    -- Arizona State ranked 44th in total yards (427.2 yards per game), and they ranked 56th in passing yards (241.3 YPG). However, those stats are out with the window with Harry in street clothes. Defensively, AZ State ranked 71st in total yards (402.8 YPG), 82nd in passing yards allowed (238.7 YPG) and 65th against the run (164.2 YPG). QB Manny Wilkins is still playing, though, and he passed for 2,896 yards, 19 TD and four INT while running for 416 yards and eight more scores. RB Eno Benjamin (277-1,524-15) will also be leaned upon, adding to his impressive stat line.

    -- Fresno State finished 50th in total yards (421.0 YPG), while posting 274.2 YPG to rank 25th in the country. They were also 26th in the land (34.9 PPG). Defensively, the Bulldogs allowed just 323.8 yards per game to rank 17th in the land, and they were third in points allowed with just 13.7 PPG.

    -- QB Marcus McMaryion was a dual-threat option who didn't make many miscues. He passed for 3,453 yards, 25 TD and three INT while rushing for seven touchdowns. RBs Ronnie Rivers (108-531-8) and Jordan Mims (113-436-6) are solid on the ground, while WR KeeSean Johnson (93-1,307-8) and TE Jared Rice (51-624-3) are the top options in the pass game.

    -- Fresno State won last season in the Hawai'i Bowl, snapping a six-game bowl skid. That includes their only other trip to the Las Vegas Bowl, a 45-20 pounding inflicted by USC. The Bulldogs are 2-1 all-time against Pac-12 members at the time. They also played Colorado in the Aloha Bowl in 1993, but they were in the Big 12 then.

    -- Arizona State has a long bowl history, going 14-15-1, including two trips to the Salad Bowl. They appeared in the Las Vegas Bowl once before, getting smacked around by Boise State 56-24 back on Dec. 22, 2011. Arizona State is 2-6 across their past eight postseason appearances.

    -- The Sun Devils are 2-7 ATS in their past nine bowl games and just 1-6 ATS in their past seven battles against Mountain West foes. They are an impressive 10-4 ATS in the past 14 against teams with a winning overall record.

    -- The Bulldogs are an amazing 26-7-1 ATS in the past 34 overall and 16-5 ATS in the past 21 against teams with a winning record. They're also 8-2 ATS in the past 10 non-conference battles. However, Fresno is 1-6 ATS in the past seven bowl games and 4-9 ATS in the past 13 against Pac-12 foes.

    -- The 'over' has cashed in eight of the past 10 neutral-site games for Arizona State, and 4-1 in the past five non-conference games. They over is also 6-1 in their past seven bowl appearances.

    -- The 'under' is 22-8 in the past 30 overall for Fresno State, but the over is 5-2-1 in their past eight bowl appearances. The over is also 16-4-1 in their past 21 against the Pac-12 and 4-1 in the past five outside of the conference.

    -- Kickoff is slated for 3:30 p.m. Eastern on ABC.

  3. #18
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    Saturday's Late Bowl Tips
    Brian Edwards

    **Eastern Michigan vs. Georgia Southern**

    -- The Raycom Media Camelia Bowl will take place Saturday in Montgomery, Alabama, at the Crampton Bowl. Kickoff for Georgia Southern vs. Eastern Michigan is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Eastern on ESPN.

    -- As of Tuesday afternoon, most betting shops had Georgia Southern (9-3 straight up, 9-3 against the spread) installed as a one-point favorite with a total of 47.5 or 48. However, by Friday afternoon, most spots had GSU favored by three points with the total at 45. The Eagles were +140 on the money line (risk $100 to win $140).

    -- Eastern Michigan (7-5 SU, 7-5 ATS) is bowling for only the third time in school history and hasn’t won a bowl game since 1987. Chris Creighton’s squad won each of its last three regular-season contests and five of its past six. The Eagles could’ve easily folded their tents after starting 2-0 before losing four consecutive one-possession games, including a pair of overtime losses at San Diego State (23-20) and vs. No. Illinois (26-23). Remember, EMU lost three OT games in 2017 during a six-game losing streak in which the Eagles went 4-1-1 ATS and lost by only 23 combined points.

    -- EMU forced three turnovers and had three stops on fourth-down attempts in its 28-20 non-covering win at Kent State in the club’s regular-season finale. Senior RB Ian Eriksen led the way with 118 rushing yards and three touchdowns on 17 carries.

    -- EMU has faced six foes who are going bowling, posting a 2-4 SU record and a 3-3 ATS mark. The Eagles won 20-19 at Purdue as 15-point underdogs when Chad Ryland buried a 24-yard field goal in walk-off fashion. Senior QB Tyler Wiegers, a grad transfer from Iowa, completed 20-of-28 passes for 312 yards and one TD with an interception against the Boilermakers. EMU also beat Toledo by a 28-26 count as a two-point home underdog. The Eagles led 28-3 at halftime and 28-6 with less than 12 minutes remaining. But the Rockets outscored them 20-0 in the final stanza and sliced the deficit to two with 20 ticks remaining. EMU got the stop on the two-point conversion, though, to preserve the victory.

    -- Wiegers has connected on 64.8 percent of his passes for 1,887 yards with an 11/3 touchdown-to-interception ratio. Blake Banham is his favorite target, hauling in 54 receptions for 714 yards and five TDs. Arthur Jackson III has 43 catches for 506 yards and three TDs, while Mathew Sexton has 36 grabs for 506 yards and three TDs.

    -- EMU’s leading rusher is Shaq Vann, who has 590 yards, five TDs and a 4.4 yards-per-carry average.

    -- EMU has been an underdog six times this year, compiling a 4-2 spread record with a pair of outright victories at Purdue and vs. Toledo. The Eagles are 14-3 ATS in their last 17 non-conference games and 24-11 in their past 35 contests (regardless of the venue or ‘chalk’-‘dog role).

    -- EMU is ranked fifth in the nation in pass defense, 35th in total defense and 32nd in scoring ‘D’ (22.0 points per game). This unit, which gave up only one TD in the last three games of the regular season, is led by junior DE Maxx Crosby, who has produced 62 tackles, 10.5 tackles for loss, 7.5 sacks, seven QB hurries, four forced fumbles, three passes broken up and one pick-six. Crosby now has 20 career sacks to rank him in a tie for second-most in program history. There are numerous other defensive standouts for the Eagles, including junior DB Brody Hoying, junior safety Vince Calhoun, senior LB Kyle Rachwal and senior DE Jeremiah Harris.

    -- We should point out that EMU has already faced a triple-option attack this season when it lost to Army. Couple that with its extra prep time for the postseason, and you have a stop unit that should be better prepared for GSU’s unique attack (at least when comparing to other regular-season foes who have such short prep time).

    -- In his first full season as head coach, Georgia Southern’s Chad Lunsford has done a sensational job. He took over (a 0-6 team!) for Tyson Summers on an interim basis for last year’s final four regular-season games and went 3-2-1 ATS with a pair of outright victories. Now he has the storied program, one that made the jump to FBS into the Sun Belt conference in 2014 after winning a slew of national titles at the lower level over the last several decades, playing in its second bowl game. The Eagles went 9-3 in 2014 but weren’t eligible for the postseason during their first year at the FBS level. They smashed Bowling Green 58-27 as seven-point underdogs in the 2015 GoDaddy Bowl, only to go 5-7 in Summers’s first year on the job in 2016.

    -- Georgia Southern sprinted out to a 7-1 start both SU and ATS with its lone defeat coming by a 38-7 score at Clemson as a 31.5-point road underdog. The Eagles appeared to take control of the Sun Belt East division when they rocked eventual SBC champ, Appalachian State, by a 34-14 count as 11-point home underdogs on Oct. 25. However, they dropped their next two games in blowout fashion at ULM (44-25) and vs. Troy (35-21).

    -- Georgia Southern bounced back to win its final two regular-season games both SU and ATS at Coastal Carolina (41-17) and at Georgia State (35-14). In the win over the Panthers in Atlanta, GSU raced out to a 28-0 lead and didn’t give up any points until there was 9:45 remaining in the final stanza. Sophomore QB Shai Werts completed 8-of-11 passes for 105 yards and two TDs without an interception. He also rushed for 75 yards and one TD on 13 attempts. RB Wesley Fields ran 16 times for 151 yards and one TD. Werts threw a 58-yard TD pass to Colby Ransom and had a 38-yard scoring strike to Darion Anderson.

    -- GSU posted a 3-1 record both SU and ATS in four games as a single-digit favorite during the 2018 regular season.

    -- Werts completed 65-of-109 passes (59.6%) for 954 yards and 10 TD passes without an interception. He also ran for 822 yards and a team-high 13 TDs while averaging 5.0 YPC. Fields rushed for a team-best 959 yards and nine TDs, averaging 5.4 YPC. Fields also had 10 receptions for 237 yards and one TD. Sophomore RB Wesley Kennedy had 15 catches for 182 yards, in addition to 395 rushing yards and three TDs with a 7.2 YPC average.

    -- GSU is ranked ninth in the nation in rushing yards and scores at a 31.1 PPG clip. The Eagles are ranked 27th in the country in scoring ‘D’ (21.6 PPG).

    -- Totals were an overall was for the Eagles (6-6), but they saw a 5-0 run of ‘overs’ snapped when the 49 combined points dropped ‘under’ 60 in the regular-season finale at Georgia State. GSU’s games averaged combined scores of 52.7 PPG.

    -- The ‘under’ has been a steady money maker for the Eagles this season, going 8-4 overall. They’ve seen the ‘under’ cash in three straight games and seven of their past nine. Eastern Michigan’s games have averaged combined scores of 49.5 PPG.


    **Middle Tennessee vs. Appalachian State**

    -- Conference USA and the Sun Belt Conference will have their representative collide Saturday night in the Big Easy at the New Orleans Bowl. Kickoff from the Mercedes-Benz Superdome is scheduled for 9:00 p.m. Eastern on ESPN.

    -- As of late Friday afternoon, most books had Appalachian State (10-2 SU, 8-4 ATS) favored by 6.5 points with a total of 47. The Blue Raiders were +200 to win outright (risk $100 to win $200).

    -- App State shook off the loss of four-year starting QB Taylor Lamb, who is the school’s third all-time leader in career passing yards with 9,786 after graduating following the 2017 campaign that was capped by a 34-0 win over Toledo as a seven-point underdog in the Dollar General Bowl, to have another terrific season. The Mountaineers, who joined the FBS and SBC in 2014, won the league’s first championship game, remained perfect in terms of winning records at the FBS level (5-for-5) and are going bowling for the fourth straight season.

    -- Unfortunately for the program, the enormous success led head coach Scott Satterfield to get a job offer from Louisville, and it was absolutely one he couldn’t turn down. Therefore, Appalachian State is without its head coach. Defensive Line coach Mark Ivey is serving as the team’s interim head coach.

    -- Another hurdle App State overcame this season was the loss of star RB Jalin Moore, a two-time All-SBC first-teamer who went down with a season-ending injury in early October. Moore had rushed for 400 yards and six TDs with a 6.3 YPC average, but Darrynton Evans stepped up nicely to fill those shoes. Evans has run for 1,079 yards and seven TDs while averaging 6.5 YPC. Marcus Williams Jr. has run for 536 yards and four TDs with a 4.6 YPC average.

    -- Sophomore QB Zac Thomas replaced Lamb and had an outstanding debut season as the starter. Thomas has connected on 62.6 percent of his throws for 1,862 yards with an 18/4 TD-INT ratio. He’s run for 476 yards and 10 TDs while averaging 5.7 YPC. There were no jitters for Thomas whatsoever in his debut at Penn State. in front of more than 105,000 hostile fans. In a 45-38 overtime loss to PSU, Thomas hit on 25-of-38 passes for 270 yards and two TDs with one interception. He ran for 43 yards and one TD. He has seven TD passes without a pick in the Mountaineers’ past five outings.

    -- Thomas’s favorite wideout is Corey Sutton, who has 36 receptions for 695 yards and eight TDs. Dominique Heath has caught 22 balls for 299 yards and five TDs, while Evans has 12 catches for 87 yards and one TD.

    -- All 10 of App State’s wins have come by double-digit margins. The Mountaineers were double-digit favorites in 11 of their 12 games, as they covered the spread easily as 24-point ‘dogs in Happy Valley. Since 2015, they’re 7-2 SU and 6-3 ATS in nine games as single-digit ‘chalk,’ but we should note that they were 1-2 both SU and ATS in three such spots in 2017.

    -- App State is 3-0 and 2-1 ATS in the program’s first three bowl games that have come in the past three campaigns. We noted last year’s win over Toledo and in ’16, the Mountaineers nipped Toledo (yes, they played in bowls twice in a row) 31-28 as one-point favorites. In the 2015 Camelia Bowl, they edged Ohio 31-29 as 7.5-point ‘chalk.’

    -- App State junior OT Victor Johnson, a first-team All-SBC selection in 2017 who started all 26 games as a freshman and sophomore, missed the regular-season finale with a leg injury. Johnson is ‘questionable’ vs. the Blue Raiders.

    -- App State is ranked fifth in the nation in total defense, third at defending the pass, 30th in run defense and sixth in scoring ‘D’ (15.7 PPG). This unit is led by junior LB Akeem Davis-Gaither, who had a team-high 95 tackles, 7.5 TFL’s, seven passes broken up, three QB hurries, two forced fumbles and one sack. Junior LB Jordan Fehr recorded 84 tackles, 5.5 sacks, two TFL’s, two PBU and two QB hurries, while LB Noel Cook had 69 stops, 3.5 sacks, 6.5 TFL’s, one interception, one PBU and three QB hurries.

    -- Middle Tennessee (8-5 SU, 8-5 ATS) is led by senior QB Brent Stockstill, who will face a stout secondary led by junior CB Clifton Duck (first-team All-SBC last year) and senior CB Tae Hayes, a second-team All-SBC choice in 2017 who had six PBU, three interceptions (for 75 return yards), three TFL’s and two blocked punts/kicks this season.

    -- Rick Stockstill’s squad won seven of its last nine regular-season games to win C-USA’s East Division. MTSU locked up the division by blasting UAB 27-3 as a 3-point home underdog in the regular-season finale. Stockstill connected on 22-of-29 passes for 261 yards and two TDs without an interception to pace the winners.

    -- The win over UAB set up a rematch with the Blazers at Johnny ‘Red’ Floyd Stadium in Murfreesboro just seven days later. This time around, however, it was UAB that captured a 27-25 triumph as a 1.5-point road underdog. UAB’s Nick Vogel buried a 28-yard field goal with 3:23 remaining to lift his team to victory. Stockstill completed 29-of-45 attempts for 362 yards and two TDs, but he was intercepted twice.

    -- Stockstill was already his school’s leader in career passing yards coming into his senior campaign. After throwing for 3,214 yards this year, he has 12,126 passing yards and a career 105/33 TD-INT ratio. Stockstill also ran for 178 yards and a pair of TDs this season.

    -- Junior WR Ty Lee, a first-team All-C-USA selection in 2017, had another stellar season by making 67 catches for 828 yards and seven TDs. Patrick Smith had 54 receptions for 526 yards and six TDs.

    -- MTSU’s ground attack is led by RB Chaton Mobley, who has a team-best 579 rushing yards, four TDs and a 5.0 YPC average. RB Tavares Thomas had a team-high five rushing TDs and caught 34 balls for 232 yards and four TDs.

    -- MTSU is bowling for a fourth straight year and for the eighth time in Rick Stockstill’s 13-year tenure. The Blue Raiders had lost four bowl games in a row and five of six under Stockstill until beating Arkansas State 35-30 as 3.5-point underdogs in last year’s Camelia Bowl. They are 4-7 in 11 all-time postseason appearances.

    -- MTSU was an underdog seven times this season, going 4-3 ATS with three outright wins vs. FAU (25-24), at Marshall (34-24) and vs. UABG (27-3).

    -- Totals have been an overall wash for ASU (6-6), but the ‘under’ finished the regular season on a 6-2 run. The Mountaineers have seen their games average combined scores of 52.3 PPG.

    -- The ‘under’ is 7-6 overall for the Blue Raiders, but they saw the ‘over’ go 3-1 in their last four contests. Their games are averaging combined scores of 54.5 PPG.

    **B.E.’s Bonus Nuggets**

    -- Arizona State was already going be without likely first-round pick WR N’Keal Harry for Saturday’s Las Vegas Bowl showdown vs. Fresno State. Then on Thursday, reports leaked out that ASU won’t have leading tackler Merlin Robertson. The LB, who garnered Pac-12 Defensive Freshman of the Year honors, is dealing with a personal matter and didn’t make the trip to Vegas in order to be with his family. Robertson had 77 tackles, 8.5 TFL’s and five sacks for the Sun Devils, who were six-point underdogs as of Friday afternoon. Side Note: Herm Edwards’s ASU squad hasn’t lost by more than seven points all season.

    -- Kentucky junior RB Benny Snell has announced his intentions to turn pro a year early. However, on a bright note for UK fans, Snell says he will play in the team’s bowl game vs. Penn State. PSU was favored by 6.5 points as of Friday. Josh Allen, who some draftniks have as a top-10 pick in the first round, will also play for the ‘Cats vs. the Nittany Lions.

    -- Players skipping bowls to stay healthy for the Draft include West Virginia QB Will Grier, WVU’s best o-lineman Yodney Cajuste, Baylor TE Jalen Hurd, Houston DT Ed Oliver, Iowa TE Noah Fant, LSU CB Greedy Williams, South Carolina WR/special-teams All-American Deebo Samuel, N.C. State’s first-team All-ACC LB Germain Pratt, N.C. State’s best WR Kelvin Harmon, Oklahoma State RB Justice Hill and Michigan DL Rashan Gary. Florida WR Tyrie Cleveland (broken collarbone) is ‘out’ vs. Michigan and LSU will also be sans DB Kristian Fulton vs. UCF.

    -- According to sources, Stanford star TE Kaden Smith’s lower-body injury that prevented him from playing in the Cardinal’s last two regular-season games (and might’ve cost him The Mackey Award, as he was one of three finalists) “continues to linger” and he’s unlikely to play in the team’s bowl game. Smith, who is listed as 'questionable,' is projected to be a second or third-rounder if he skips his last two years of college to turn pro. We’re told he won’t announce his decision until after the bowl game.

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    Sharp bettors hit Fresno State odds for Las Vegas Bowl matchup vs. Arizona State
    Patrick Everson

    KeeSean Johnson and Fresno State have been good on the field and at the betting window, at 10-2 SU and 9-4 ATS. Bettors pushed the Bulldogs from -4.5 to -6 against Arizona State in the Las Vegas Bowl.

    College football’s bowl season kicks off today with a handful of games, including one right here in Las Vegas. We check in on the action and line movement for all those contests, with insights from Derek Wilkinson, supervisor at The SuperBook at Westgate.

    Las Vegas Bowl
    Arizona State Sun Devils vs. No. 21 Fresno State Bulldogs – Open: -4.5; Move: -4; Move: -4.5; Move: -5; Move: -6


    Fresno State went 10-1 SU and 8-3 ATS over its last 11 games to earn a spot in this 3:30 p.m. ET kickoff. The Bulldogs (11-2 SU, 9-4 ATS) capped their run with a 19-16 overtime victory at Boise State as 1.5-point underdogs in the Mountain West Conference championship game.

    Arizona State, in its first year under coach Herm Edwards, won four of its last five games to become bowl-eligible. The Sun Devils (7-5 SU and ATS) edged Arizona 41-40 as 1.5-point road favorites in the regular-season finale.

    “We have quite a bit of action on that game, and we are heavy on Freson State,” Wilkinson said. “There was sharp money on Fresno, and we’ve got pretty big five-figure liability on the Bulldogs. We’ll definitely be rooting for Arizona State.”


    Cure Bowl
    Tulane Green Wave vs. Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns – Open: +3.5; Move: +3; Move: +3.5; Move: +3


    Tulane squeaked out a victory in its regular-season finale to become bowl-eligible at 6-6 SU (5-7 ATS). The Green Wave let all of a 21-3 lead slip away against Navy, falling behind 28-21, but got a late touchdown and went for the 2-point conversion, winning 29-28 as 5-point home faves.

    Louisiana-Lafayette finished just above .500 at 7-6 SU (9-4 ATS) and reached the Sun Belt Conference final. In that contest, the Ragin’ Cajuns lost to Appalachian State 30-19, but cashed as 17.5-point road pups.

    “We took one sharp bet at ULL +3.5, which brought the line down a little bit,” Wilkinson said of the day’s first game, a 1:30 p.m. ET start. “I don’t expect we’ll move off of 3. Our liability is on ULL. We need Tulane, but not for much.”


    New Mexico Bowl
    North Texas Mean Green vs. No. 21 Utah State Aggies – Open: -9.5; Move: -10; Move: -9.5; Move: -9; Move: -8; Move: -7.5; Move: -7


    Utah State lost its season opener, then won 10 in a row (8-2 ATS) and had a shot to reach the Mountain West title game. However, the Aggies (10-2 SU, 9-3 ATS) came up short at Boise State in the regular-season finale, 33-24 as 2.5-point pups.

    North Texas won six of its first seven games (4-3 ATS), then went 3-2 in its last five, failing to cover in all five contests. In the regular-season closer, the Mean Green (9-3 SU, 4-8 ATS) were laying 25 points at Texas-San Antonio and escaped with a 24-21 victory.

    Despite the line tightening, The SuperBook expects to be a Mean Green fan in this 2 p.m. ET matchup.

    “We’ve got a decent amount of action on this game, but it’s split both ways,” Wilkinson said. “Most of the wiseguy action, all the limit bets, are on North Texas. We took two significant bets from guys we really respect, at +9.5 and +8. All the public money is on Utah State. We need North Texas for a small amount, and we always like to be on the same side as the sharps.”


    Camellia Bowl
    Eastern Michigan Eagles vs. Georgia Southern Eagles – Open: +1; Move: Pick; Move: -1; Move; -1.5; Move: -2.5; Move: -2; Move: -2.5; Move: -3; Move: -3.5; Move: -3; Move: -3.5; Move: -3


    Georgia Southern put together a solid 9-3 SU and ATS season to earn a bowl bid. In the regular-season closer, Georgia Southern rolled over Georgia State 35-14 laying 10 points on the road.

    Eastern Michigan won its last three games to claim a postseason berth. EMU (7-5 SU and ATS) wrapped up the regular season with a 28-20 win at Kent State giving 12.5 points.

    “We actually have a lot of action on this game, a lot of money on Georgia Southern,” Wilkinson said of the 5:30 p.m. ET start. “We have slightly more action on that game right now than on the Las Vegas Bowl.”

    Georgia Southern drew money at several points -- +1, -1.5, -2, -2.5 – including some sharp play and some larger four-figure wagers.

    “The only significant bet on Eastern Michigan was from a house player at +3,” Wilkinson said. “We’re definitely gonna be rooting for Eastern Michigan.”
    New Orleans Bowl
    Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders vs. Appalachian State – Open: -7.5; Move: -7; Move: -6.5; Move: -7; Move: -6.5; Move: -7; Move: -6.5; Move: -7

    Sun Belt champion Appalachian State won 10 of its final 11 games, after taking Penn State to overtime in its season opener. The Mountaineers (10-2 SU, 8-4 ATS) beat Louisiana-Lafayette 30-19 as 17.5-point favorites in the conference title game.

    Middle Tennessee went on a 5-1 SU and ATS run to cap the regular season, then stubbed its toe in the Conference USA title tilt. The Blue Raiders (8-5 SU and ATS) lost to Alabama-Birmingham 27-25 as 1.5-point home faves.

    “Most of our liability is on Middle Tennessee State,” Wilkinson said of this 9 p.m. ET clash. “We got three $5,000 bets on Appalachian State -6.5 from house players, but we took $22,000 on Middle Tennessee from a house player, too.”
    Last edited by StarDust Bum; 12-15-2018 at 12:15 PM.

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