I spent a bit of time, as usual, in a few sports books this past week. Each book I entered seemed to have the same situation occurring, many of the bettors having bad days.
I personally went 1-3 in last week’s column, which is a big difference from last year’s Bowl start of 11-0.
We all have tough days and tough runs. The most important thing to do is continue to practice what made us successful in the past. Look at it this way, the best hitters in baseball make out six and a half times out of every 10 at bats. Be diligent, be selective, and you will be successful.
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One more thing when it comes to Bowl games. I can’t stress enough to check injury/status reports daily. This is the time of year when suspensions in college football seem to happen quite often.
Here are this week’s Best Bets (Lines are as of Monday morning and can change. If a line is around a Hot Number or moves against us, be smart):
Independence Bowl — Miami Florida vs. Louisiana Tech +6: Louisiana Tech has won the last nine games started by J’Mar Smith. The quarterback leads a very potent offense (34.0 PPG) that will move the chains on the solid Miami defense.
The Hurricanes can pass the ball, especially against the Bulldogs’ secondary. But without any running attack whatsoever, the ‘Canes won’t be able to eat away any clock to keep Smith and the ‘Dogs “O” off the field.
On a side note, Skip Holtz has won all of his Bowl games the last five years and playing in front of a friendly Shreveport crowd will help to extend his streak. La. Tech is 6-1 ATS the last seven Bowls, 6-2 ATS the last eight in December, and 7-3 ATS the last 10 as an underdog. LOUISIANA TECH
Camping World Bowl — Iowa State vs. Notre Dame -3.5: This is a very short number to lay with a talented Notre Dame team that is on a five-game SU streak, covering the last four. The Iowa State defense had major problems this season when facing well-balanced offenses. It doesn’t get too much more complete than the Irish “O”, which ranks 13th, averaging over 37.1 PPG.
The Cyclones own a one-dimensional offense, revolving around quarterback Brock Purdy and the passing game. Well, he must face the ferocious, third ranked pass “D” in the nation here.
ISU is 2-5 ATS the last seven nonconference games, 0-4 ATS the last four neutral site games, and 1-5 ATS the last six December games. NOTRE DAME
Peach Bowl — Oklahoma vs. LSU, Total 76: When two of the best offenses in the country square off, logic tells you to play the over. That’s what the odds makers are hoping you’d do. Don’t fall into the trap here.
As good as the offenses are, the defenses are just as talented. We have two savvy quarterbacks and two very smart head coaches. Look for both offensive units to establish the run and then pass off of it. You won’t see too many mistakes in this matchup, either on the field or on the sidelines.
I do see scoring here, but not enough to justify the high total. The under is 8-2 in the Sooners last 10 vs. the SEC, 18-3-2 in the Sooners last 22 in December, 5-3 in the Tigers last seven on neutral sites, and 5-1-1 in the Tigers last seven nonconference games. UNDER
Fiesta Bowl — Clemson -2.5 vs. Ohio State: Disregard the baloney about the Tigers’ strength of schedule. Clemson is the most well-rounded team in the nation. They have won the last two meetings against the Buckeyes (2014, 2016), both in the postseason.
This is a team possessing an enormous amount of speed on both sides of the ball and a very stout offensive line. But I am betting not just on the players, but on the coaches here. Dabo Swinney’s (9-1 ATS the last 10 in the postseason) substantial big game bowl experience,and success will play a big part over the first-year head coach, Ryan Day.
Ohio State is 1-4 ATS the last five vs. the ACC. CLEMSON
First Responder Bowl — Western Michigan vs. Western Kentucky -3.5: Western Michigan had only one very strong performance in 2019, a 37-34 OT win against Ohio. Other than that, the Broncos have fallen short when facing strong adversaries.
Western Kentucky owns the best scoring defense in Conference USA (20.1 PPG allowed). WMU won’t have the same success here that they had in MAC play.
The Broncos are 1-6 ATS the last seven in December and 2-8 ATS the last 10 as an underdog. The Hilltoppers are 4-1 ATS the last five in December and 7-2 ATS the last none overall. WESTERN KENTUCKY
Last week: 1-3