It’s bowl season, which means our chances to wager on college football are winding down. That stinks. But it also means we get to try to predict the results of a bunch of random college football matchups. That’s always fun. So here are some things to think about before you make your picks.
One caveat: These are just trends, and any gambler who relies solely upon trends when making his or her picks is going to go broke. So don’t use them as the sole basis for your selections, because that would be silly. Instead, merely keep them in mind when filling out your bowl confidence pools or placing wagers with your legally sanctioned bookmaker in the state of Nevada (wink, wink).
All spreads taken Dec. 15 from the consensus lines at VegasInsider.com. The source of each trend is in parentheses at the end of each section. The team listed first in each matchup is the team that matches that trend.
FAVORITES AGAINST TEAMS THAT JUST GOT BLOWN OUT
Bowl favorites playing against teams coming off a loss of at least 20 points have gone 45-32 ATS, a 58.4 percent success rate. (Jack Jones)
Matches: Troy -7 North Texas (New Orleans Bowl, Dec. 16); Utah -7 West Virginia (Heart of Dallas Bowl, Dec. 26); Northwestern -7.5 Kentucky (Music City Bowl, Dec. 29); Wake Forest -3 Texas A&M (Belk Bowl, Dec. 29); Wisconsin -6.5 Miami (Orange Bowl, Dec. 30); Michigan -7.5 South Carolina (Outback Bowl, Jan. 1).
There isn’t much to see here, but I’m including it because people always are curious. Teams with interim coaches have gone 24-29-1 ATS in bowl games since 2005. Favorites with interim coaches are 14-14-1 ATS while underdogs are 10-15 ATS. (John Ewing)
Matches: UCLA +2 Kansas State (Cactus Bowl, Dec. 26); Florida State -15.5 Southern Miss (Independence Bowl, Dec. 27); Texas A&M +3 Wake Forest (Belk Bowl, Dec. 29); Mississippi State +6.5 Louisville (TaxSlayer Bowl, Dec. 30). NOTE: New permanent SMU Coach Sonny Dykes will guide the Mustangs in the Frisco Bowl against Louisiana Tech on Dec. 20. The Mustangs are five-point favorites.
UNRANKED VS. RANKED?
Since 2005, unranked teams (AP poll) are 47-36-1 ATS vs. ranked teams, a 56.6 percent success rate. (John Ewing)
Matches: Oregon -7 vs. No. 25 Boise State (Las Vegas Bowl, Dec. 16); Texas Tech +2.5 No. 23 South Florida (Birmingham Bowl, Dec. 23); Kentucky +7.5 No. 20 Northwestern (Music City Bowl, Dec. 29), Louisville -6.5 No. 24 Mississippi State (TaxSlayer Bowl, Dec. 30); Iowa State +3.5 No. 19 Memphis (Liberty Bowl, Dec. 30).
TEAMS WITH BAD REGULAR SEASON ATS RECORDS
Teams that covered at a rate of 33.3 percent or worse during the regular season are 33-19-1 ATS in bowl games, a 63.5 percent success rate. (John Ewing)
Matches: Western Kentucky -6.5 Georgia State (Cure Bowl, Dec. 16); Colorado State -5.5 Marshall (New Mexico Bowl, Dec. 16); UCLA +2 Kansas State (Cactus Bowl, Dec. 26); Florida State -15.5 Southern Miss (Independence Bowl, Dec. 27); USC +7.5 Ohio State (Cotton Bowl, Dec. 29); Kentucky +7.5 Northwestern (Music City Bowl, Dec. 29).
FADE THE PUBLIC ON SMALLISH UNDERDOGS
Underdogs getting between 3.5 and 10 points who also are getting less than 40 percent of the spread bets have gone 77-43 ATS since 2005, covering 64.1 percent of the time. (Josh Applebaum)
Matches (as of Dec. 15, per Pregame.com; checking back closer to kickoff is advisable): North Texas +7 Troy (New Orleans Bowl, Dec. 16); Georgia State +6.5 Western Kentucky (Cure Bowl, Dec. 16); Boise State +7 Oregon (Las Vegas Bowl, Dec. 16); Marshall +5.5 Colorado State (New Mexico Bowl, Dec. 16); Louisiana Tech +5 SMU (Frisco Bowl, Dec. 20); Texas Tech +2.5 South Florida (Birmingham Bowl, Dec. 23); Appalachian State +8 Toledo (Dollar General Bowl, Dec. 23); Army +6.5 San Diego State (Armed Forces Bowl, Dec. 23); Northern Illinois +5.5 Duke (Quick Lane Bowl, Dec. 26); Virginia Tech +4.5 Oklahoma State (Camping World Bowl, Dec. 28); Arizona State +6.5 N.C. State (Sun Bowl, Dec. 29); New Mexico State +4 Utah State (Arizona Bowl, Dec. 29); Mississippi State +6.5 Louisville (TaxSlayer Bowl, Dec. 30); Washington +2 Penn State (Fiesta Bowl, Dec. 30); Miami +6.6 Wisconsin (Orange Bowl, Dec. 30); Central Florida +9.5 Auburn (Peach Bowl, Jan. 1).
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