Are you ready to go Bowling?
Travel lightly, as this is no time to carry baggage from the regular season. This is the time of year when much of the logic that goes into regular season and conference championship handicapping gets thrown out the window.
Most teams don’t know each other. I do put stock into bowl records, as well as trends and streaks. Travel and weather play a big part. But most of all, I look at big game coaches and experienced players that thrive under pressure.
Use these guidelines and the bowl campaign will be a profitable one.
Here are this week’s Best Bets (Lines are as of Tuesday and can change. If a line is around a Hot Number or moves against us, be smart):
New Mexico Bowl — Central Michigan +3.5 vs. San Diego State: Under head coach Jim McElwain (MAC Coach of the Year), CMU had the biggest turnaround in college football from a season ago (1-11 to 8-5). The Chippewas possess a very well-balanced offense (40th pass, 40th rush) that accounts for over 31.9 PPG. Quarterback, Quenten Dormady (2,148 yards passing, 14/6) and running back, Jonathan Ward (1,404 all purpose yards, 16 TD’s) are a potent, 1-2 punch.
San Diego State is known to have one of the stingiest defenses in the country (12.8 PPG allowed). However, the statistics are skewed as the team has only faced one offense ranked among the top 61 nationally. It won’t be so easy as they line up against a stout offensive line that allowed Dormady to be sacked just 11 times this season.
Central Michigan is 5-1 ATS the last six nonconference games. San Diego State is 3-8 ATS the last 11 in the month of December. CMU
Boca Raton Bowl — SMU vs. Florida Atlantic +3: Without a doubt, the wrong team is favored, as I feel the Owls should be -3. Maybe the oddsmakers are putting too much stock in the fact that defensive coordinator, Glenn Spence is the interim head coach in the wake of Lane Kiffin’s departure for ‘Ole Miss.
This is the home stadium for FAU which lost their opening two games in 2019 to Ohio State and UCF, before rattling off 10 wins in their final 11 outings, all by double-digits.
Both offenses can light up the scoreboard, but the FAU defense (led nation in takeaways and interceptions) is much tighter than the leaky SMU “D” (31.8 PPG allowed).
The Owls are 4-0 ATS the last four vs. winners, 7-3 ATS the last 10 in December, and 5-1 ATS the last six overall. FLORIDA ATLANTIC
Las Vegas Bowl — Washington vs. Boise State +3.5: Chris Peterson, who left Boise State after eight seasons for Washington, is coaching his final game for the Huskies. U-Dub is a good team, but at 7-5, fell way short of preseason expectations.
Boise State, which won its final six games of the season en route to a 12-1 mark, is in a bowl route to a 12-1 mark, is in a bowl for the 18th consecutive year. As of deadline, it looks like Jaylon Henderson will continue to quarterback the Broncos, although Hank Bachmeier has been cleared to play.
Both teams match up well, but playing in Sam Boyd Stadium gives a big edge to Boise State, which has won this event four times since 2011 and is also 3-0 vs. UNLV on this field over that span. On a side note, this team was getting points just once in 2019, when they bested Florida State, 36-31 as a 6.5-point ‘dog.
The Broncos are 7-0 ATS the last seven as an underdog and 7-3 ATS the last 10 bowl games. BOISE STATE
New Orleans Bowl — UAB vs. Appalachian State -16.5: UAB certainly benefitted from a soft schedule, beating only one FBS team with a winning record (Louisiana Tech without their two best offensive starters). The rest of their victories were against teams with a combined 15-69 record.
Appalachian State is in their fifth straight bowl (4-0 SU, 3-1 ATS) since becoming an FBS team in 2014. Not only do they score points (39.4 PPG), but they don’t make too many mistakes either (8 giveaways). The Blazers “D” is solid, but offensively, they fall flatter than your morning pancakes and are in for a very long day against the ferocious Mountaineers defense.
Appalachian State is 8-1 ATS the last nine nonconference games, 5-1 ATS the last six December games, and 22-8 ATS the last 30 overall games. APPALACHIAN STATE
Last week: 0-1