The College Bowl Season is an exciting finale to the year for college football enthusiast. Let’s keep that part in mind: “for the enthusiast.” Motivation becomes a factor for some teams that fell short of the playoff or had higher expectations at the start of the year. Some teams take their opponents too lightly while other programs look at the bowl game as an opportunity to make a name for themselves. The tricky part about Bowl Season is to not go and place a bet on every line. You still need to be picky about how you side with – and throughout this bowl season, Beating Vegas will continue to provide you insight on how to get the edge.
(These are locks from games played between Dec. 16th to the 20th)
Camellia Bowl (played in Montgomery, Alabama) on December 16th
Arkansas State (-3.5) vs. Middle Tennessee, total 57
Arkansas State was mentioned in an early Beating Vegas article this season and it was mostly due to expectations set for quarterback Justice Hansen. The senior took a big step forward in his final season completing 63.7% of his passes and throwing for 3600 yards and 34 touchdowns. Hansen is a quarterback that has learned how to go through his progressions and it shows as he has three wideouts with over 600 yards receiving, and all through the depth chart, you can see receptions by just about everyone. The Arkansas State Red Wolves don’t run the ball much but when they do, it’s a modest 4.1 yards a carry. That doesn’t bode well for Middle Tennessee State who actually stops the run decently but have struggled against the pass all year. The Blue Raiders secondary has only put together four interceptions on the season. The line is pretty dangerous, but expect it to climb to about five by kickoff. Middle Tennessee will be a better team than Arkansas State next season, but for all that matters, Arkansas State wins this by double digits.
The Pick: Arkansas State -3.5
Boca Raton Bowl (played in Boca Raton, Florida) on Dec. 19th
Akron +17 vs Florida Atlantic, total 61.5
This is a true-home-game for the Florida Atlantic Owls, but that is not the only reason they are a huge favorite in this game. The Owls are riding a nine-game winning streak and they’ve done it by riding the shoulders of running back Devin Singletary, who is a top-five back in the nation, but you’ve never heard of him. Singletary has run for 29 touchdowns and 1859 yards this season and he must be thinking “lunch-time” when he sees an Akron defense that is allowing five yards a carry. Singletary and the Owls have a “smash average advantage” five and a half yards a rush. Akron is just a “nice story” this year. They fought hard and got some close victories but were pretty much handled by better competition. Florida Atlantic and head coach Lane Kiffin will be looking to bring a huge victory to the home crowd and breeze through this Akron team by maybe four touchdowns.
The Pick: Florida Atlantic -17
Las Vegas Bowl (played in. . .come on man) On Dec. 16th
Oregon -5 vs Boise State, total 63
Oregon lost coach Willie Taggart to Florida State (I still don’t get why Jimbo Fisher left the Florida State job for Texas A&M, but that’s neither here nor there at the moment) which leaves Mario Cristobal in as head coach. Cristobal will have no issue on the sidelines because he was the offensive coordinator under Taggart. The players wanted Cristobal so there should be no feelings of abandonment by the team. Cristobal’s one run as a head coach was at Florida International where he posted an 8-14 record in his final 22 games (Wikipedia). He hasn’t been a head-coach since 2012 and now he has to be mindful of a bunch of young men who may be in Las Vegas for the first time in their lives. The biggest question mark for Oregon comes in the form of running back Royce Freeman. Freeman is their stud-senior back who has racked up over 1400 yards on the ground at a clip of 6 yards a carry. Freeman practiced this week, but there is already talk of him maybe sitting out to prepare for the NFL draft. Knowing that this is even a thought might have Freeman not trying to over-extend himself in this game. . . Starting quarterback Justin Herbert is back under center and although the pundits will say it’s a “different offense under Herbert” – they aren’t lying – but at the same time aren’t telling the whole story: Freeman is the main cog to this offense. Boise State, on the other hand, has their key players ready to roll and no coaching change on their sidelines. Boise has a tough run defense, and in the Western Atlantic Conference, that says a lot. Boise State is holding the opposition to 3.5 yards a rush and holding offenses under a 60% completion percentage. The Boise staff and players won’t be overcome by the Las Vegas mystique because they come here just about every other season to play UNLV. Expect Oregon to jump out in front early, but Boise makes things happen in the second half.
The Pick: Boise State +5
I’ll see you guys next week with more LOCKS for this Bowl Season!
Good Luck and Wager Wisely