Bowl Breakdown - Part I
December 9, 2013
By Mike Rose
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It's the most wonderful time of the year for college football betting fans, as there are 35 bowl games on tap to break down and find winners in.
Today, we're taking a look at the first eight bowl games of the year, starting with the New Mexico Bowl on Dec. 21 through the Poinsettia Bowl on Nov. 26.
New Mexico Bowl – Washington State Cougars vs. Colorado State Rams
Saturday, Dec. 21, 2:00 p.m. ET
Opening Line: Washington State -10
The Rams are back in a bowl game for the first time since 2008. The Cougs are here in the second season for the first time since 2003. Wazzu had one of the best ATS records this year in the land at 9-3, including covering its last three. A 31-24 loss to Auburn at Jordan-Hare to start the season certainly looks a lot better now than it did then.
Las Vegas Bowl – Fresno State Bulldogs vs. USC Trojans
Saturday, Dec. 21, 3:30 p.m. ET
Opening Line: USC -7
It'll be interesting to see how USC reacts to being on its third head coach of the season. Fresno State was looked upon as a team which gave up on the season after losing to San Jose State, but QB Derek Carr and the gang rallied for an easy win over Utah State. The concern we have? Fresno State only played one BCS conference team this year, and that was a 52-51 OT escape against Rutgers way back in Week 1.
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl – San Diego State Aztecs vs. Buffalo Bulls
Saturday, Dec. 21, 5:30 p.m. ET
Opening Line: Buffalo -3.5
This is probably the least sexy of the 35 bowl games. San Diego State did beat Boise State this year, but that doesn't say nearly as much now as it would have in the past. Buffalo was the runner up in the MAC East, and it is only playing in its second bowl game in school history. The Bulls were smacked in their one effort back in the '08 International Bowl by UConn.
New Orleans Bowl – Tulane Green Wave vs. Louisiana Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns
Saturday, Dec. 21, 9:00 p.m. ET
Opening Line: Tulane -3
It has been 11 years since Tulane has been to a bowl game, so there isn't much here to analyze. ULL meanwhile, is playing in the New Orleans Bowl for the third straight season, and it has won and covered both games. This is the first time they have played a team anywhere close to the Bayou though, taking away the the home field advantage they relied upon these last two seasons.
St. Petersburg Bowl – East Carolina Pirates vs. Ohio Bobcats
Monday, Dec. 23, 2:00 p.m. ET
Opening Line: East Carolina -14
Ohio more or less slunk to the end of the season this year, just like it did last year. It was a dog in the Independence Bowl last season to ULM, a very comparable team to this East Carolina bunch though, and it slammed the Warhawks 45-14. The Pirates are 0-4 SU and just 1-4 ATS in their last four trips to bowl games, including last year when they were trucked by ULL in the New Orleans Bowl.
Hawaii Bowl – Boise State Broncos vs. Oregon State Beavers
Tuesday, Dec. 24, 8:00 p.m. ET
Opening Line: Washington State -10
An interesting game for sure. The Beavers could be running Head Coach Mike Riley out of town if this game is lost. The Broncos have already seen head coach Chris Petersen bolt to Seattle to take the Washington job. These two teams are familiar with each other, having played against one another in 2010, as well as in 2003-2006. The Broncos are 3-2 SU and 3-1-1 ATS in those five games, but this is clearly the worst edition of a Boise State team in the last decade.
Little Caesars Bowl – Pittsburgh Panthers vs. Bowling Green Falcons
Thursday, Dec. 26, 6:00 p.m. ET
Opening Line: Bowling Green -5
The Panthers have been dealing with the BBVA Compass Bowl for the last three seasons, and not surprisingly, they have been incredibly disinterested, getting slaughtered by Ole Miss and SMU each of the last two seasons. Bowling Green won the MAC this year to get to Motown for this bowl game, and it is rightfully favored and perhaps playing to finish the year in the Top 25.
Poinsettia Bowl – Utah State Aggies vs. Northern Illinois Huskies
Thursday, Dec. 26, 9:30 p.m. ET
Opening Line: Northern Illinois -1.5
These are two of the best mid-majors in the country, but there is a real question as to whether either of these teams are going to be that interested in playing in this game. The Aggies lost the MWC Championship Game and probably got invited to a better bowl game to play in than they deserved. Northern Illinois lost out on the BCS by losing the MAC Championship Game. However, this is the last game for QB Jordan Lynch, who is probably on his way to New York for the Heisman Trophy presentation, though he won't come anywhere near winning the award.