Going over colllege football bowl season
December 12, 2017 3:12 AM
by Bill Krackomberger
For the most part, I try to stay away from betting any serious money on the games involving big name teams in bowls. However, the gaming public wants to hear about them so we’ll examine them.
I hate when a handicapper uses a trend over a long period of time for his selection. What does it matter what a team has done over the last eight seasons vs. another team? It’s a totally different squad of players. So please take my advice and ignore these, for they are so misleading.
There are some key factors you need to take into consideration that you don’t normally in many regular season games. These include:
Team motivation: Did a team make a huge rebound this season to make a bowl for the first time in some years? Did a solid team with high hopes suffer a down season and would just as soon stay at home rather than play in a lesser bowl? Your ability to incorporate it into your handicapping is critical.
Player motivation: Some players have turned the page to their own NFL careers. Will they be sitting out the game, or playing cautiously? Since most of these projected first round draft picks are big parts of why their college team did as well as it did, not having a player fully committed to the bowl victory is a big issue and a definite factor.
Coaching changes: Often, teams lose head coaches once others are fired. This leaves some teams promoting from within, and in many cases, it’s an offensive or defensive coordinator. Sometimes these coordinators-turned-coaches transfer their side of the ball’s philosophy to the overall team’s strategy, so definitely factor in coaching changes.
Injuries: Some players were injured late in the year who will miss this game, while others who suffered less severe injuries may be able to return. Accounting for these players and understanding their health is a big consideration.
Travel: Some teams may have to travel well out of town and face an opponent who is playing much closer to home with a strong fan base purchasing tickets. This factors into motivation for some teams, so don’t overlook this angle.
Before I do a quick run around the bowl landscape and offer a few opinions, let’s dive into this Saturday’s Las Vegas Bowl, featuring Oregon and Boise State.
Las Vegas Bowl
Oregon vs. Boise State: The Oregon Ducks head coach this season, Willie Taggart, accepted the head coaching position at Florida State. The Ducks promoted from within, giving head coaching duties to offensive coordinator Mario Cristobal.
Effort and desire should be strong from the Ducks, as they look to produce a good start to Cristobal’s tenure. Boise State may be without RB Alexander Mattison, who injured his ankle in the Broncos title game victory. The Oregon offense, if it is running with full efficiency under Cristobal and Herbert, should be a shock to Boise State’s system. Oregon -7.5
New Orleans Bowl 12/16
Troy vs. North Texas: Both QBs can light up the scoreboards and have a combined 6700 yards passing. They are both on a big-time stage here and I look for this game to set the tone for the next month of many bowl games going over. OVER 62
Strongest play: Troy -6.5
Gasparilla Bowl 12/21
Temple vs. Florida International: Here are two teams that I find myself playing either a side or total in many of their games through the regular season. This will be the first meeting between these two. OVER 57
Hawaii Bowl 12/24
Houston vs. Fresno State: Houston has played three QBs this season and each has passed for more than 300 yards in a game. I don’t think Fresno will be ready for them. Houston -2.5
Pinstripe Bowl 12/27
Boston College vs. Iowa: We head to the Bronx and Yankee Stadium for a battle between Boston College and Iowa. The Hawkeyes had 14 planes full of fans when they went to the Rose Bowl two seasons ago and this year they are having trouble filling one. The cold weather doesn’t sit well with the fans or the team. BC +3
Alamo Bowl 12/28
Stanford vs. TCU: Here we get to see a Heisman trophy finalist (Bryce Love) top 2000 rushing yards. However, I look for TCU to cover. TCU -2.5.
Cotton Bowl 12/29
USC vs. Ohio State: When Ohio State didn’t make the college playoffs I am sure many gamblers were looking to bet against them because not going to play for a national championship was going to be so devastating they just couldn’t get up for whoever the bowl opponent was going to be. When they found out it was USC, I am told they sparked right back up. They will take their frustrations out on USC. Ohio St. -7
Fiesta Bowl 12/30
Penn State vs. Washington: All I hear is how good Penn State is and the 42 points their offense has put up per game this season. Well, Washington has one of the best defenses in the country and a great offense that’s averaged 37 points a game this season themselves. Huskies +2
Peach Bowl 1/1
Auburn vs. Central Florida: Unbeaten UCF comes in to this contest with the highest scoring offense in the nation of 50 points per game. Auburn averaged 36 points per game. I see no reason this marquee matchup won’t be any different. OVER 67
Citrus Bowl 1/1
LSU vs. Notre Dame: The LSU Athletic director Joe Alleva said it best in a statement: “These are two historic programs with loyal fans from all over the world.” There will be more LSU fans down in Florida for the Saints play at noon on New Year’s Eve just down the road in Tampa. LSU -3
Rose Bowl 1/1
Georgia vs. Oklahoma: I love this Georgia team and in my first article here at GT, I said go over the 8.5 season win total because I knew this squad was going to be great this year. This is a very tough game for them against Heisman winner Baker Mayfield, however, I think they get it done. Georgia -1.5
Sugar Bowl 1/1
Alabama vs. Clemson: Wow!! What more can you ask for in this matchup? This game may come down to the battle of the trenches. Clemson has the edge on defense but it’s hard to bet against a well-rested and prepared Alabama squad. Bama -2.5
Season record: 15-10-1