Submitted by Richie Baccellieri on Monday, December 21, 2015 at 11:00 AM
Seven college football bowl games to look at between now and Christmas. Nobody from the Power Five conferences will be in action. This will be a great showcase for the mid-majors, and hopefully some very entertaining football for fans and bettors.
Let’s take the games in Nevada rotation order. Note that all seven are on ESPN.
MONDAY’S BOWL GAME
MIAMI BEACH BOWL: WESTERN KENTUCKY VS. SOUTH FLORIDA
Moves so far on the dog and Over in this game that will played in Marlin’s Park down in Miami. They’ll turn the baseball configuration into a football configuration. That could be awkward with the sidelines, but turf conditions hopefully won’t be an issue. Western Kentucky opened at -4. That line is down to just -2.5 even though Louisiana Tech from the same conference looked so good Saturday night in the New Orleans Bowl. The total shot up from 65 to 67.5 or 68 because of interest from the quants. Note that this is an afternoon kick on Monday.
TUESDAY’S BOWL GAMES
IDAHO POTATO BOWL: AKRON VS. UTAH STATE (in Boise, Idaho)
The big news here is on the total, where the Over/Under has dropped from 50 down to 47 thanks partly to a forecast for temperatures in the mid 30’s. The quants were also getting a math grade to the Under at the opener and just below. On the team side, Utah State opened at -6, and has been taken up to -6.5. There hasn’t been enough interest yet to reach the key number of seven. It’s assumed sharps will hit Akron hard if the public takes it there. Note that Ohio of the MAC covered the first bowl appearance for the league this past Saturday, but needed two non-offensive touchdowns to get there. Utah State’s Mountain West Conference is 2-0 ATS after San Jose State and New Mexico cashed against the closing lines.
BOCA RATON BOWL: TOLEDO VS. TEMPLE
This one’s being played on Florida Atlantic’s home field. Could turn out to be an early sleeper because both teams have played some good football this year. Toledo upset Arkansas on the road. Temple almost took out Notre Dame. You’d watch Arkansas vs. Notre Dame wouldn’t you?! Temple opened at -1, and has been bet up to -2.5. You regulars know by now that sharps would likely come in very hard on the underdog if the key number of three comes into play. The total is down from 52.5 to 49.5. As we’ve mentioned earlier this year with Temple…if you like the Owls, you generally like the Under too because of their run-based ball control approach.
WEDNESDAY’S BOWL GAMES
POINSETTIA BOWL: BOISE STATE VS. NORTHERN ILLINOIS (in San Diego)
Boise State opened at -8. Some stores have lifted that to -8.5 or -9. Though, neither sharps nor the public are as fond of Boise State as they used to be. I’m hearing that early sentiment was more about fading Northern Illinois. Nothing happening yet on the Over/Under of 56.
GO DADDY BOWL: GEORGIA SOUTHERN VS. BOWLING GREEN (in Mobile, Alabama)
Interesting handicapping challenge because both teams lost their head coaches. Bowling Green’s head coach has moved to Syracuse, while Georgia Southern’s is heading to Tulane. The opener of Bowling Green -7 is up a tick to -7.5. The Sun Belt didn’t exactly sparkle on opening day, so let’s see if that rises more by kickoff. The Over/Under is up from 65 to 66. When opening totals are that high, small moves in either direction don’t necessarily reflect much passion. When sharps like an Over or Under at a high total, it may move a field goal or more. Right now there’s a chance for rain. If conditions clear, stronger support for the combo of high powered BG and Over would be more likely.
THURSDAY’S BOWL GAMES
BAHAMAS BOWL: MIDDLE TENNESSEE VS. WESTERN MICHIGAN
Western Michigan is up from -2.5 to -4.5, on the field where Central Michigan and Western Kentucky played that wild thriller last year. Obviously a move that blows through the key number of three that hard is very meaningful. A few stores are starting to test the five. Bad opener. The Over/Under is up from 62.5 to 63.5.
HAWAII BOWL: SAN DIEGO STATE VS. CINCINNATI
If you’ve only been casually following the mid-majors this season, don’t be concerned about the news that QB Gunner Kiel didn’t make the trip for Cincinnati. Backup quarterback Hayden Moore has had some big games in his stead. We’ve seen a small flip of favorites as the opener of Cincinnati -1 is now SDSU -1. Historically some very wild games in this one. The Over/Under is up from 56 to 57 in this clash of styles.
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Back tomorrow for the weekly NFL Futures report. Then, more on the way the day before Christmas…
Tuesday December 22: My weekly NFL “Futures” report looking at Super Bowl prices. All the main threats won their games Sunday except for Denver, who ran into read hot Pittsburgh.
Thursday December 24: A look at Thursday nights’ NFL rivalry showdown featuring San Diego and Oakland…Saturday’s HUGE Washington/Philadelphia showdown in the NFC East…plus SIX more bowl games (St. Petersburg, Sun, Heart of Dallas, Pinstripe, Independence, and Foster Farms all on Saturday).
Saturday December 26: I’m moving the weekly NFL report back a day because Christmas falls on a Friday this year. We’ll cover all the Sunday and Monday action. Note that NY Giants/Minnesota has been time changed from an early kick to the Sunday night game on NBC.
Thanks for reading! See you Tuesday.
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