Weekend Bowl Action
January 4, 2013
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The NFL playoffs have got everyone’s attention this week but football bettors can’t forget that there are still two more Bowl games before Monday’s National Championship. The BBVA Compass Bowl and GoDaddy.com Bowl don’t exactly have the crème of the crème in terms of teams, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t money making opportunities in these games.
Saturday: BBVA Compass Bowl
Pittsburgh (+3.5) vs. Mississippi (-3.5); Total set at 54
Two 6-6 teams meet in this one as the Big East battles the SEC once again. The Big East/SEC matchup that got all the hype was Louisville/Florida in the Sugar Bowl as Louisville shocked the Gators with the 33-23 win. This game doesn’t have the same type of NFL-caliber talent involved, but both programs would still like to finish the season with a win.
Pittsburgh had a trying season this year but did turn a lot of heads in their triple-OT loss to Notre Dame. The Panthers should have won that game a few times with questionable pass interference calls being made against them late to keep Notre Dame’s drive alive, and their kicker ultimately missed a GW-FG in double OT. But that is exactly what you will get from this team; inconsistency. Will Pitt be the team that played Notre Dame so tough and won their final two games by a combined score of 54-9, or the team that lost 31-17 to Youngstown State in the opener? That’s a tough question to answer and with such a low spread it may not be worth the time to contemplate it.
Ole Miss is just as unreliable even having played in the best conference in football. They finished the year with a 41-24 win over rival Mississippi State just to get bowl-eligible after losing three straight before that. All of the Rebels losses came against very good competition though as all but their loss to Vanderbilt came against teams that finished the year ranked in the top 25. They finished the year 9-3 ATS and with this game being played close to home in Alabama, the Rebels should get one back for the SEC.
Sunday: GoDaddy.com Bowl
Arkansas State (-3.5) vs. Kent State (+3.5); Total set at 61
This game has two teams that will have new coaches in the New Year and while Gus Malzahn has already left and put his DC in charge, Darrell Hazell will stay to coach this Bowl game before leaving for Purdue. We have already seen this Bowl season that teams who have their head coach bolt for greener pastures tend to struggle, but the Arkansas State Red Wolves have a bit more motivation than that for this one.
Last year the Red Wolves were in this Bowl game against another MAC team (Northern Illinois) and ended up losing 38-20 after leading 13-0 early on. They are a team hungry to redeem themselves after that loss and with an offense that averages 36.4 points per game they have the talent to do it.
Kent State comes into this one after losing a heartbreaking MAC championship game to Northern Illinois. If they had won that game it would have been them in the Orange Bowl on the big stage and missing out on that chance had to sting. However, this is their first Bowl game since 1972 and there is no doubt that “happy to be here” feeling will be hard to overcome. They were a great team ATS this year (10-2-1) but against a team that is determined to right the wrongs from a season ago, this will be a tough task for the Golden Flashes.
Take Arkansas State.