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  1. #26  
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    No. 25 Boise State beats Oregon 38-28 in Las Vegas Bowl
    December 16, 2017



    LAS VEGAS (AP) Bryan Harsin didn't have to say anything.


    Boise State had committed two turnovers that were returned for touchdowns in the final minute of the first half, turning a 24-0 rout in the making into a competitive 24-14 contest and allowing Oregon back into the game.


    Without any special speech from their head coach, the Broncos regrouped and responded.


    Cedrick Wilson caught 10 passes for 221 yards and a touchdown, Kekaula Kaniho returned an interception 53 yards for a score and No. 25 Boise State beat Oregon 38-28 in the Las Vegas Bowl on Saturday.


    ''New slate. It's a whole different half. As far as we were concerned, it was 0-0,'' Broncos linebacker Leighton Vander Esch said.


    Brett Rypien threw for 362 yards and two touchdown passes - with two interceptions - to help the Broncos (11-3) break a three-game losing streak against Power 5 opposition. Ryan Wolpin rushed for two touchdowns.


    Troy Dye and Tyree Robinson each scored a defensive touchdown, and Justin Herbert was 26 of 36 passing for 233 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions for the Ducks (7-6) in new head coach Mario Cristobal's debut.


    Boise State forced four turnovers in the first half, taking a 14-0 lead in the first quarter on Wolpin's 1-yard touchdown run and Rypien's 26-yard scoring pass to Wilson. Haden Hoggarth added a 39-yard field goal before an off-balance Herbert heaved a pass toward the sideline that was easily picked off and run back by Kaniho, who also had a strip-sack.


    Oregon clawed back after Dye recovered a fumble on a botched Statue of Liberty handoff and returned it 86 yards for a touchdown with 37 seconds remaining.


    A 65-yard reception by Wilson to set the Boise State single-season record for yards receiving got the Broncos right back in the red zone, but Robinson picked off Rypien's pass in the end zone and took it back 100 yards on the longest interception return in school history with 7 seconds remaining to make it 24-14.


    If not for those defensive scores, the full extent of Boise State's dominance would have been evident. The Broncos outgained the Ducks 294-77 in the first half and reached Ducks' territory on 10 of 15 meaningful possessions in the game. They held Oregon to 47 yards rushing and 1.7 yards per carry, recording nine tackles for loss with four sacks while outclassing their Pac-12 foe on both sides of the line of scrimmage.


    ''They are a great team, and we came out and we played some awesome football,'' said Vander Esch, who had 12 tackles, including three tackles for loss with one sack. ''We didn't take any days off from the moment we won that Mountain West championship. We knew as soon as we won that we still had part of our goal left to go finish.''


    After Alec Dhaenens caught a 13-yard touchdown pass from Rypien in the third quarter, the Ducks pulled back within 31-21 on a 24-yard scoring throw from Herbert to Brendan Schooler with 10:07 remaining.


    Oregon had a chance to cut it to a one-possession game but Herbert was sacked near midfield, and Boise State drove 86 yards in 11 plays capped by Wolpin's second 1-yard touchdown run.


    ''I think a lot of teams would fold their tent when they're down 24-0 or things don't go their way,'' Cristobal said. ''You look at the way they just kept fighting, scratching and clawing to make this thing a competitive game, to me, that's the positive.''

    THE TAKEAWAY



    Boise State: The Broncos are still the class of the Mountain West. After being written off in September after losses to Washington State and Virginia, Boise State closed the season by winning nine of their last 10 games, including the conference title game and the conference's marquee bowl tie-in.


    Oregon: The Ducks didn't exactly do much to back up their push for Cristobal's promotion to head coach. Oregon got pushed around on both lines of scrimmage and make plenty of ill-advised decisions, best exemplified by running back Tony Brooks-James throwing a ball at a defender in the third quarter to scuttle a promising drive.

    POLL IMPLICATIONS



    It wasn't a vintage season for Boise State, but the Broncos will finish ranked for the third time in the last six seasons. Oregon has plenty of work to do before making itself a regular in the top 25 again.

    UP NEXT



    Boise State: With 18 players that started the Las Vegas Bowl eligible to return next season, including all 11 defenders, the Broncos should be back in the mix to reach a New Year's 6 bowl game. An early road game at Oklahoma State will give a good indication of just how high Boise State's ceiling might be in Harsin's fifth season.


    Oregon: A soft non-conference slate and favorable home schedule bodes well for Oregon's record in Cristobal's first season in change, but the Ducks need significant personnel upgrades over the long haul to compete in the loaded Pac-12 North.
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    Marshall holds Colorado State in NM Bowl
    December 16, 2017



    ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) Leading up to the New Mexico Bowl, Marshall wide receiver Tyre Brady kept hearing about Colorado State's explosive offense. Doubters were overlooking the Thundering Herd's own weapons, he thought.


    So when Brady's chance came in the second quarter, the junior separated himself from Rams coverages and sprinted to a 76-yard touchdown reception for the first of three big scoring plays that allowed Thundering Herd hold off the Rams 31-28 on Saturday in the New Mexico Bowl.


    ''Every time when you play for yourself, you force things, you press things,'' said Brady, who had 165 yards receiving. ''But when you play for your teammates, things just fall into place the right way.''


    He was joined by Keion Davis, who rushed for 141 yards, including a 68-yard touchdown run . Tyler King added a 90-yard rushing touchdown for the Herd (8-5).


    Chase Litton threw for 262 yards and two touchdowns, overshadowing the much-hyped Colorado State quarterback Nick Stevens, who was sacked five times.


    ''I think it's the entire defense played tremendous,'' Marshall coach Doc Holliday said. ''That's an excellent offensive football team''.


    The Thundering Herd are 11-2 in bowl games - 5-0 under Holliday.


    For Colorado State (7-6), it was another disappointing postseason. The Rams have lost four straight bowl games, and lost four of their last five this season after a 6-2 start.


    ''Yeah, it's pretty much a microcosm of our season,'' Colorado State head coach Mike Bobo said. ''Played pretty good at times, then giving up big plays, explosive plays for touchdowns. Those kill you defensively.''


    Stevens threw for 320 yards and ran for two touchdowns for the Rams, but was sacked five times. Olabisi Johnson had 119 yards receiving, but Stevens was unable to connect consistently with standout Michael Gallup.


    ''I got to hit Gallup in those shots. I think it's a different ballgame,'' Stevens said. ''There were a number of them that he was open, and protection was solid.''


    Colorado State's offense began to surge in the fourth quarter with 14 points, but Marshall's defense was able to hold the Rams.


    Colorado State is 6-11 in bowl games.


    THE TAKEAWAY


    Colorado State: The Rams continued to struggle despite having being ranked 10th in the FBS in yards per game with 501.1. Stevens and Gallup failed to challenge Marshall's stingy defense and couldn't respond to Marshall's big plays despite a late game scoring surge.


    ''This hurts but we'll regroup and get ready for next year,'' Bobo said.


    Marshall: Marshall's defense also kept constant pressure on Colorado State's high-octane offense preventing the Rams from threatening with an air attack most of the game.


    UP NEXT


    Colorado State: Bobo has led the Rams to three bowl games in each of his first three seasons. He recently signed a contract extension where he will earn $2 million by 2020. But at the same time, he's only won seven games each season and lost all his bowl games so 2018 may be key season for him.


    Marshall The Herd are losing 13 seniors, including key tight end Ryan Yurachek. The four-year players in that group won 34 games and a conference championship and went to three bowl games. But many key players are set to return.


    **********************


    Middle Tennessee tops Arkansas State 35-30 in Camellia Bowl
    December 16, 2017



    MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) Brent Stockstill and Middle Tennessee produced a triumphant finish to an injury-riddled season.


    Stockstill passed for 232 yards and two touchdowns and the Blue Raiders came up with some key stops to hold off Arkansas State 35-30 in the Camellia Bowl on Saturday night.


    A team that had players miss a combined 125 games with injuries earned its first bowl win since 2009.


    ''We never made excuses this whole year,'' said Rick Stockstill, the quarterback's coach and father. ''A lot of people wanted to give up on us but this team never gave up.''


    There were some chances to fold in this one, too.


    The Blue Raiders (7-6) ran out most of the final 5 minutes with a series of short passes from Stockstill after losing much of an 18-point lead over the Red Wolves (7-5).


    Punter Matt Bonadies pinned Arkansas State's prolific offense 91 yards from the end zone with 1:27 left and no timeouts. Middle Tennessee defenders then sacked Justice Hansen three times, including one by Darrius Liggins on the final play.


    That capped a wild game that included DJ Sanders' 54-yard fumble return for a touchdown, six turnovers and 17 penalties.


    ''Stockstill, as we expected, played really, really well,'' Arkansas State coach Blake Anderson said. ''They made plays they had to make and we made too many mistakes to win a game against a good football team. I thought all along they were better than their record and they proved that tonight.''


    The Blue Raiders won four of their final five games after Brent Stockstill's return from a shoulder injury that sidelined him for half the season. He was intercepted three times.


    ''Not very often as a quarterback can you throw three picks and (have) your defense bail you out like that'' the quarterback said.


    The Red Wolves had cut a 28-10 deficit down to 35-30 on Hansen's 41-yard touchdown pass to Christian Booker with 5:03 left.


    Middle Tennessee linebacker Darius Harris was MVP after collecting 12 tackles, a sack and two pass breakups. He forced the fumble that allowed Sanders to scoop and score.


    Hansen completed 31 of 57 passes for 337 yards with three touchdowns and one interception. He had a 2-yard touchdown pass to Warren Wand after Arkansas State converted a fake punt with Cody Grace's 21-yard pass to Chris Murray on fourth-and-14. The 2-point attempt failed.


    Stockstill then swiftly gave the Blue Raiders a bigger cushion with a pair of big plays. He hit CJ Windham on a 34-yard catch and then threw a 30-yard touchdown to Shane Tucker.


    Arkansas State then marched down to Middle Tennessee's 1 with help from a couple of pass interference calls but the Blue Raiders held with Darryl Randolph's tackle for loss and an incompletion.


    THE TAKEAWAY


    Arkansas State: Is 3-4 in bowls over the last seven seasons. Outgained Middle Tennessee 462-352 and ran 33 more plays (97-64). Justin McInnis had seven catches for 107 yards.


    Middle Tennessee: Finished strong after only clinching bowl eligibility with a win over Old Dominion in the regular season finale. Had 10 penalties for 87 yards. Terelle West scored on a 45-yard run.


    ROLLAND-JONES: Arkansas State defensive end Ja'Von Rolland-Jones finished his career with 43.5 sacks, just shy of Terrell Suggs' record of 44. He had one sack negated by a penalty but didn't get one that counted, though he did have a tackle for loss and a quarterback hurry.


    WILD PLAYS: Sanders' fumble return wasn't even the wildest defensive sequence of the first half. Arkansas State's Justin Clifton grabbed an interception and fell on his back late in the first quarter. He got up and ran most of the way down the field before fumbling. Darreon Jackson tried to pick it up but the ball bounced to Kyle Wilson in the end zone. Officials ruled Clifton down at the Red Wolves' 1 so none of that counted.


    UP NEXT


    Arkansas State's Hansen and leading rusher Warren Wand both return on the offense, but tight end Blake Mack and left tackle Jaypee Philbert are seniors, and so is Holland-Jones and star defensive back Blaise Taylor.


    Middle Tennessee returns virtually every key player on offense, including Stockstill, and loses four seniors on defense.
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    BOWL WEEK 2

    TUESDAY DECEMBER 19, 2017

    Time (ET) Bowl Away Home
    7:00 PM Boca Raton Bowl Akron Zips Florida Atlantic Owls

    WEDNESDAY DECEMBER 20, 2017

    Time (ET) Bowl Away Home
    8:00 PM Frisco Bowl Louisiana Tech Bulldogs Southern Methodist Mustangs

    THURSDAY DECEMBER 21, 2017

    Time (ET) Bowl Away Home
    8:00 PM Gasparilla Bowl Temple Owls Florida International Golden Panthers


    FRIDAY DECEMBER 22, 2017
    Time (ET) Bowl Away Home
    12:30 PM Bahamas Bowl Alabama-Birmingham Blazers Ohio Bobcats
    4:00 PM Idaho Potato Bowl Central Michigan Chippewas Wyoming Cowboys


    SATURDAY DECEMBER 23, 2017
    Time (ET) Bowl Away Home
    12:00 PM Birmingham Bowl Texas Tech Red Raiders South Florida Bulls
    3:30 PM Armed Forces Bowl Army Black Knights San Diego State Aztecs
    7:00 PM Dollar General Bowl Appalachian State Mountaineers Toledo Rockets


    SUNDAY DECEMBER 24, 2017
    Time (ET) Bowl Away Home
    8:30 PM Hawaii Bowl Houston Cougars Fresno State Bulldogs




    ******************************


    2017 CFB Bowls Record:..............( BASED ON 5 UNITS )


    DATE W-L-T % UNITS RECORD


    12/16/2017 5-5-0 50.00% -2.50




    Best Bets:..............ATS...............Units..................O/U..................Units


    12/16/2017....................3 - 2................+11.00,,,,,,,,,,,,,,2 - 3.................-6.50
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    Tuesday, December 19

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------


    AKRON (7 - 6) at FLA ATLANTIC (10 - 3) - 12/19/2017, 7:00 PM
    Top Trends for this game.
    FLA ATLANTIC is 8-2 ATS (+5.8 Units) as a favorite this season.
    FLA ATLANTIC is 25-42 ATS (-21.2 Units) in home games since 1992.
    FLA ATLANTIC is 25-42 ATS (-21.2 Units) in home lined games since 1992.
    FLA ATLANTIC is 13-26 ATS (-15.6 Units) in home games after playing a conference game since 1992.


    Head-to-Head Series History
    There were no past matchups in this series during this time period.


    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------


    Tuesday, December 19


    AKRON @ FLORIDA ATLANTIC
    Akron is 5-1 ATS in its last 6 games on the road
    Akron is 4-1 ATS in its last 5 games
    Florida Atlantic is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games at home
    Florida Atlantic is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games


    -----------------------------


    December 19


    Akron @ Florida Atlantic (-22.5), Boca Raton Bowl



    7-6 Akron is 4-3 vs spread as a double digit underdog this year; you don’t see many bowl games with a 22-point spread. Over last five years, double digit favorites are 18-12 vs spread in bowls, with biggest spread Oklahoma St (-17) over Purdue in a 2012 bowl they won 58-14. Zips are 1-1 in bowl games, winning 23-21 (+7) in Potato Bowl two years ago. Florida Atlantic is in its first bowl since 2008, but they’re at home here; Owls won last nine games (7-2 vs spread) after a 1-3 start; they’re 3-1 as a double digit favorite this year. FAU won both its bowl games; Kiffin was 0-2 in bowls at Tennessee/USC, scoring total of 21 points and he was favored in both games. Under is 9-3 in Akron games, 3-5 in last eight FAU games. Last three years, MAC teams are 13-6-1 vs spread when facing a C-USA opponent.


    ----------------------------


    Tuesday, December 19


    Akron @ Florida Atlantic



    Game 211-212
    December 19, 2017 @ 7:00 pm


    Dunkel Rating:
    Akron
    77.302
    Florida Atlantic
    94.779
    Dunkel Team:
    Dunkel Line:
    Dunkel Total:
    Florida Atlantic
    by 17 1/2
    66
    Vegas Team:
    Vegas Line:
    Vegas Total:
    Florida Atlantic
    by 23
    61 1/2
    Dunkel Pick:
    Akron
    (+23); Over



    ---------------------------------
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    Boca Raton Bowl
    December 18, 2017



    The Lane Train doesn’t even have to leave the station for the postseason. Florida Atlantic (10-3 straight up, 9-4 against the spread) will play host to Akron in Tuesday’s Boca Raton Bowl at FAU Stadium.


    As of Monday night, most betting shops had FAU installed as a 22.5-point favorite with a total of 64. 5Dimes.eu and SBG Global had Akron at +1250 on the money line (risk $100 to win $1,250).


    This is the richest spread on a side in the history of college football bowl games. For bettors that don’t want to lay the enormous number, there is the opportunity to back FAU in the first half as a 13-point favorite.


    In his first season at the South Florida school after spending three years as Nick Saban’s offensive coordinator at Alabama, Kiffin led FAU to 10 wins and its first Conference USA Championship. FAU has won nine consecutive games while going 7-2 ATS. The Owls haven’t tasted defeat since losing a 34-31 decision at Buffalo as 1.5-point road underdogs.


    Since getting drilled 42-19 by Navy in its season opener, FAU has won six in a row at home while going 5-1 ATS. The Owls hosted the C-USA Championship game, blasting North Texas 41-17 as 11-point home favorites. Sophomore RB Devin Singletary stole the show with 164 rushing yards and three TDs on 26 attempts. QB Jason Driskel completed 15-of-27 passes for 269 yards and one TD without an interception. John Franklin III completed his only pass attempt for 49 yards, in addition to making a 22-yard TD catch and rushing for 75 yards on only two carries.


    During FAU’s nine-game winning streak, it has won by at least 14 points eight times. The Owls are 3-1 ATS in four games as double-digit favorites.


    Singletary led the nation in scoring with 29 rushing TDs and one TD catch. He is already the school’s third-leading all-time rusher after producing 1,794 rushing yards while averaging 6.5 yards per carry. Singletary also has 185 receiving yards on 18 receptions. After rushing for only 94 combined yards in losses vs. Navy and at Wisconsin (31-14), Singletary has ripped off 11 straight games with at least 104 rushing yards.


    Driskel has connected on 65.6 percent of his passes for 1,977 yards with a 13/4 touchdown-to-interception ratio. He has run for 360 yards and six TDs, averaging 5.1 YPC. Driskel does an excellent job of spreading the wealth around. Five players have at least 20 catches and minimum of 317 receiving yards led by Willie Wright, who has 49 receptions for 586 yards and four TDs. Kalib Woods has 20 catches for 540 yards and four TDs, while Harrison Bryant has 32 grabs for 408 yards and a team-best five TDs.


    FAU is ranked 14th in the nation in total offense, ninth in scoring with a 39.8 points-per-game average and sixth in rushing yards. The Owls have won their last four games by margins of 24, 19, 28 and 25 points.


    The FAU defense is led by junior LB Azeez Al-Shaair, who has recorded 134 tackles, 1.5 sacks, 6.5 tackles for loss, four passes broken up, four QB hurries and one forced fumble.


    FAU is bowling for only the third time in the program’s history and the first time since 2008. The Owls defeated Central Michigan 24-21 as a seven-point underdog at the ’08 Motor City Bowl. They also beat Memphis 44-27 as three-point ‘chalk’ at the 2007 New Orleans Bowl.


    Akron (7-6 SU, 9-4) won the MAC’s Eastern Division, only to take a 45-28 loss at Toledo in the MAC Championship Game. Nevertheless, the Zips covered the spread as 20-point underdogs thanks to a 28-7 run in the last 15:30 of the game. They trailed 38-0 until Manny Morgan’s seven-yard TD scamper with 30 seconds left in the third quarter.


    Terry Bowden’s club secured the spread cover thanks to Kobie Booker’s five-yard TD catch from Robbie Kelley with 20 seconds remaining. Akron used three different QBs with redshirt freshman Kato Nelson throwing for 177 yards and two TDs without an interception. Morgan rushed for 51 yards and one TDs on 11 attempts, while Kwadarrius Smith had three receptions for 114 yards and one TD.


    Senior QB Thomas Woodson has been Akron’s starting QB for most of the last three seasons, but he was suspended for three games late in the regular season. Nelson took over and went 2-2 in four starts. The RS freshman out of Flanagan HS in Hollywood, Florida, about 20 miles south of Boca, threw for 909 yards with an 8/2 TD-INT ratio. Nelson completed only 48.8 percent of his passes, though. He is a dangerous runner who had 177 rushing yards and one TD.


    Nelson is expected to get his fifth career start, but Woodson is likely to see playing time as well. Woodson has completed 57.2 percent of his passes for 1,777 yards with a 14/9 TD-INT ratio.


    Smith leads Akron in receiving yards (719) and TD catches (seven) and has 33 receptions. A.J. Coney has 41 catches for 523 yards and three TDs, while Tra’Von Chapman has 51 grabs for 463 yards and two TDs. Senior WR Austin Wolf has 30 receptions for 450 yards and five TDs.


    Akron has seen RBs Warren Ball and Deltron Sands go down to season-ending injuries. Morgan has rushed for a team-high 393 yards and four TDs, while Van Edwards has 348 rushing yards and two TDs.


    Akron is ranked 118th in the country in both total offense and rushing yards. The Zips are 103rd in scoring with a 23.6 PPG average. As for the other side of the ball, Akron is ranked 98th in total defense, 99th at defending the run and 82nd in pass defense. This unit is opportunistic, though, forcing 27 turnovers that have helped it rank 60th in scoring ‘D’ (26.3 PPG).


    There are two keys players for the Akron defense, junior LB Uslysees Gilbert and sophomore safety Alvin Davis. Gilbert has produced three interceptions, one pick-six, one fumble recovery for a 40-yard TD return, a team-best 127 tackles, five sacks, 3.5 TFL’s, four PBU and five QB hurries. Davis has 72 tackles, one interception, one fumble recovery, one TFL, one forced fumble and two PBU.


    Akon owns a 5-3 spread record with a pair of outright wins in eight games as a double-digit underdog this year. The Zips are 2-4 SU and 4-2 ATS in six road games. As a road underdog during Terry Bowden’s tenure, Akron has compiled a 17-9 spread record in 26 such spots.


    Akron is in the postseason for the third time in school history and the second time during Bowden’s six-year tenure. The Zips went out to the smurf turf in Boise two seasons ago and won 23-21 decision over Utah State as 7.5-point underdogs at the 2015 Idaho Potato Bowl.


    The ‘under’ is 7-6 overall for the Owls, 5-2 in their home games. They’ve seen their games average combined scores of 64.1 points per game.


    The ‘under’ is 10-3 overall for Akron, 5-2 in its road assignments. However, the ‘over’ has hit in two of the Zips’ last three outings. They’ve seen their games average combined scores of 49.9 PPG.


    According to our weather reports, the forecast is for partly cloudy skies and a temperature of 74 degrees at kickoff, which will be at 7:00 p.m. Eastern on ESPN.
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    Tuesday's Bowl Notes
    December 18, 2017



    Boca Raton Betting Preview (ESPN, 7:00 p.m. ET)
    Akron vs. Florida Atlantic (-22.5, 63.5)



    The Florida Atlantic Owls have been in the national spotlight all season long thanks to Lane Kiffin joining the school. It's almost remarkable that so many high-profile jobs have been filled without Kiffin getting signed in a year that he guided FAU to the Conference USA title. The Owls will wrap up their season at home in the Boca Raton Bowl against the Akron Zips on the second day of the bowl season on Tuesday, December 19.


    Big Spread in Boca Raton


    Florida Atlantic is being asked to lay a stunning 22.5-points against Akron in the Boca Raton Bowl at BookMaker.eu. Not only is that the biggest spread in a bowl game this season, but it's the biggest spread in any bowl game in the last decade. The highest spread on record in a bowl game since 2010 was at the Cotton Bowl in the 2012-13 bowl season. Oklahoma State was laying 17.5-points and beat Purdue 58-14.


    Don't think that it's an absolute slam dunk that FAU wins this game outright either. Last year's biggest favorite, Colorado State against Idaho in the Potato Bowl, lost by 11 points as a 16-point favorite.


    Teams that are favored by at least 14 points in the bowl season are 0-3 ATS over the course of the last two seasons. The last time a favorite of 14-points or more covered a spread was in the Foster Farms Bowl of 2014 when Stanford crushed Maryland 45-21.


    Wiley Old Owls


    Kiffin is a professional troll, and he knows exactly what the point spread is in every single game that he's coaching in.


    The Owls delivered two of the most devastating beats of the entire season to bettors.


    On November 3, Florida Atlantic hosted Marshall in a huge C-USA East tussle. The Owls were up 30-23 with just seconds remaining, and rather than punt the ball to Marshall, Kiffin instructed his punt unit to give up a safety.


    Florida Atlantic was -6.5.


    Three weeks later, the Owls were laying 24.5-points against Charlotte. Florida Atlantic was in front of the spread, leading 31-6 late in the third quarter. Charlotte punched in a touchdown, and the Owls proceeded to march the length of the field to get down to the 1-yard line in the late stages of the fourth quarter. The nation's No. 6 rushing offense couldn't get a single yard in four tries against the nation's No. 106-ranked rush defense.


    Take out those two ATS defeats, and Florida Atlantic has covered every game it has played since September.


    Having Zip for Fear


    Terry Bowden's Zips have absolutely overcome challenges like you wouldn't believe all season long. Akron was picked to finish fourth in the MAC East amongst the coaches in the conference at the start of the season, and it looked for anything like that would be optimistic after the team started 1-3 with the one win coming against Arkansas-Pine Bluff.


    But perhaps we should have gotten a hint of things to come when the Zips only lost at Troy by five points as 17-point underdogs.


    After a couple victories against bad MAC schools, Akron went on the road and played in a monsoon against Western Michigan. The Zips were 12.5-point dogs and won the game outright.


    From there, Akron covered in an upset win over Buffalo and as 11-point dogs in a 24-14 loss to Miami-Ohio.


    But the coup de grace came against Ohio in the de facto MAC East title game on November 14. The Zips were 14.5-point underdogs and won the game 37-34.


    This Akron team finished with two double-digit upsets this year and went 5-0 ATS against double-digit spreads after starting with blowout losses to Penn State and Iowa State. Clearly, there isn't going to be an intimidation factor going on the road for the Boca Raton Bowl.
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    TUESDAY, DECEMBER 19
    GAME TIME(ET) PICK UNITS



    AKR at FAU 07:00 PM


    AKR +22.0


    O 65.5
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    FAU shuts down Akron, 50-3
    December 19, 2017



    BOCA RATON, Fla. (AP) Lane Kiffin's first bowl game at Florida Atlantic was the perfect microcosm of his first season with the Owls.


    Slow start. Super finish.


    And the future could be even better.


    Devin Singletary ran for 124 yards and three touchdowns, Jason Driskel accounted for four scores and FAU rolled past Akron 50-3 in the Boca Raton Bowl on Tuesday night - finishing the season on a 10-game winning streak, and with Kiffin having agreed to terms on an extension that, in theory, would keep him at FAU for another 10 years.


    That seems unlikely, of course. Then again, so did a program with nine wins in the last three years combined rolling through 2017 this way.


    ''Just an unbelievable day,'' Kiffin said. ''Can't imagine it being better, 50-3. This is a special story. These are unique stories. They don't happen. You don't come to FAU after winning nine games in three years combined and win 11 games - and not even play close games. ... These guys just dominate everybody they play.''


    The Owls were 1-3 in late September. They never lost again, the 10 wins coming by an average of 24.8 points and capped by a win in FAU's first bowl appearance since 2008.


    ''A long time coming,'' said FAU linebacker Azeez Al-Shaair, who announced he is returning for his senior season - amid some NFL speculation.


    Singletary finished with 32 touchdowns this season for the Owls (11-3), who matched the school record for wins in a season - set during the team's run to the Division I-AA semifinals in 2003.


    Driskel threw for 270 yards and two touchdowns, plus ran for two more scores for FAU.


    The Owls had a massive turnaround in Kiffin's first year and may have an even brighter future. Earlier Tuesday, a person with knowledge of the negotiations told The Associated Press that FAU and Kiffin have agreed to extend his contract six more years through 2027.


    The days of being called out with an overhead projector as he was by Al Davis in Oakland, or fired on a tarmac like he was at USC, or facing weekly questions about his job security like he was at Alabama, are over.


    He's at FAU for as long as he wants to be. The new deal isn't signed, but the sides will get there.


    ''It was a neat day,'' Kiffin said. ''It's the university saying, `We're excited about what's going on, we believe in what you're doing, we don't mind that you make jokes on Twitter like other people do.' It was just neat to see.''


    Kato Nelson threw for 80 yards for Akron (7-7).


    ''We just got whipped,'' Akron coach Terry Bowden said. ''They didn't punt until the very end. ... They just were better than us tonight, it was clear to see.''


    And Kiffin held nothing back.


    FAU got three touchdowns on fourth-down tries, unsuccessfully tried an onside kick in the first quarter, went for a 2-point conversion in the third quarter to make it 36-3 and even tried a halfback pass in the fourth quarter with a 47-point lead. The Owls didn't punt on their first nine possessions, getting seven touchdowns and two missed field goals out of those.


    Even on the last play of the game, FAU threw a pass - a 10-yard gain, one that gave the Owls a 582-146 edge in total yards. The Owls left no doubt: Only two bowl games since 2000 had a bigger margin of victory than FAU's 47-point romp in this one.


    ''Lane was just playing football,'' Bowden said. ''I have no problem with it.''


    BIG PICTURE


    Akron: The Zips finished the season 7-0 in games where they led at halftime and 0-7 when they trailed at the break. ... Akron is now 1-2 in bowl games since moving up to the FBS level, winning the 2015 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl and falling in the 2005 Motor City Bowl. ... Bowden made sure to laud his seniors in the locker room postgame. ''We have made incredible strides,'' he said.


    FAU: The only players with more rushing touchdowns than Singletary in the last 50 years of major college football were Barry Sanders (37 in 1988) and Montee Ball (33 in 2011). He has 43 TDs in his first two seasons, and had only two in his first three games this year - before getting 30 more in the final 11 games.


    THE DADS


    Kiffin and Bowden are, of course, the sons of football coaching legends. Monte Kiffin and Bobby Bowden were both at the game and took part in the pregame coin toss.


    UP NEXT


    Akron: Nebraska's first game under Scott Frost will be at home against the Zips on Sept. 1.


    FAU: The Owls take their 10-game winning streak into 2018, which starts Sept. 1 at Oklahoma.
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    CFB notebook: Kiffin, FAU agree to 10-year extension
    December 19, 2017



    Lane Kiffin and Florida Atlantic agreed to a new 10-year contract, the school announced on Tuesday.


    Kiffin, who has resurrected the school's football program in just one season, has guided the Owls (10-3) to nine straight victories and a win in the Conference USA championship. Florida Atlantic will face Akron on Tuesday night in the Cheribundi Tart Cherry Boca Raton Bowl.


    "This is further proof of FAU's unbridled ambition," Florida Atlantic president Dr. John Kelly told ESPN on Tuesday.


    Kiffin's initial deal was for five years and paid him $950,000 annually. The 42-year-old's new deal will stretch through December 2027.


    --Washington State coach Mike Leach, who has led the Cougars to 26 victories in the past three seasons, received a raise and a contract extension, the school announced.


    The school added a year to Leach's contract, which now runs through the 2022 season. His compensation will increase to $3.5 million in 2018, $3.75 million in 2019 and $4 million in 2020. After the 2020 season, Leach would receive a retention bonus of $750,000. His previous compensation was $3 million per year.


    Leach, whose 9-3 team will play Michigan State in the Holiday Bowl in San Diego on Dec. 28, was rumored to be in the running for other jobs this offseason, most notably Tennessee before Vols athletic director John Currie was fired.


    --Alabama freshman linebacker Dylan Moses sustained a foot injury in practice and is out indefinitely, putting his availability in jeopardy for the team's College Football Playoff semifinal game against Clemson.


    Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban announced on Tuesday that Moses was injured in the previous day's practice. AL.com reported that Moses would undergo surgery.


    Moses recorded 30 tackles and 5.5 tackles for loss (including 1.5 sacks) and one interception this season for Alabama (11-1).


    --Virginia Tech wide receiver Cam Phillips underwent sports hernia surgery and will miss the Camping World Bowl against Oklahoma State.


    Phillips is the school's all-time leader in receptions (236) and receiving yards (3,027). The senior also had 17 touchdowns in his career for the Hokies (9-3), who will face the Cowboys (9-3) on Dec. 28.


    "While we're disappointed that Cam won't be able to compete in the bowl game, hopefully he enjoys a speedy recovery as he prepares for the next step of his football journey," Virginia Tech coach Justin Fuente said.

    --Maryland receiver
    D.J. Moore announced that he is bypassing his senior season to enter the NFL draft. Moore was named the Big Ten's top receiver after catching 80 passes for 1,033 yards and eight touchdowns.


    "After the season, I had numerous thoughts running through my head," Moore said in his statement. "What weighed on my mind was that nothing is ever guaranteed in life and that you should always take advantage of every opportunity that you come across. ... With that thought in mind, I've decided to forego my senior season and enter the 2018 NFL Draft."


    Moore is expected to be selected within the top two rounds of the draft.


    --Veteran football coach Jerry Kill announced his retirement, citing health reasons for his resignation as Rutgers' offensive coordinator.


    The 56-year-old Kill has been plagued with epileptic seizures that led to his end as Minnesota's head coach following the 2015 season.


    "I don't have any regrets, and I've had a blessed career," Kill said in a statement. "I love this game and all the coaches that I've worked with. They have all made Jerry Kill a better man. I know that I did it the right way and I did it my way. I gave everything I had to the game; I just ran out of juice."
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    Wednesday's Bowl Tips
    December 19, 2017



    Frisco Bowl Betting Notes


    The first-annual Frisco Bowl has its fair share of drama for sure. On paper, the matchup between the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs and the SMU Mustangs doesn't seem like it should be a dynamite duel, but the storylines that are coming out of this game before it even kicks off is making it one of the tougher games to handicap early in the bowl season.


    A Frenetic Pace in Frisco


    BookMaker.eu opened the total for the Frisco Bowl at 70, the only game of the 2017 bowl season to have such a high total. Bettors have leaned slightly towards the over, but the spread hasn't fluctuated more than a half-point either way since lines opened two weeks ago.


    With SMU playing, anything could happen. The Bulldogs rank No. 8 in the nation in scoring offense and No. 113 in scoring defense. Their average game this season has reached 75.7 points per game, and they've already had one game played this year in the 90s (56-36 loss to TCU) and one get into the 110s (66-45 loss to Memphis).


    LA-Tech only played in two games this season with totals beyond 65.5, a 52-24 over game against Northwestern State and a 57-21 loss to Mississippi State that easily exceeded the total of 66.5.


    The Sonny Dykes Bowl


    Louisiana Tech has been a transition job for a number of coaches over the years. Derek Dooley stayed for four seasons before taking the Tennessee job, and Sonny Dykes stayed for three before heading to Cal.


    Now, Dykes is back in Louisiana Tech's life, but it isn't as a Bulldog. Dykes is taking over as SMU's head coach for Chad Morris, who took the head coaching job at Arkansas a few weeks ago.


    Dykes flamed out at Cal over four seasons, posting just one winning record and virtually no major wins against Pac-12 teams. This year, he was an offensive assistant at TCU and was completely off the radar. The fact that he's going to step up from a role in which he was basically a nobody into a head coaching role with just two weeks of preparation to get ready for the Frisco Bowl is insane.


    What makes the whole thing worse is the Morris gutted this coaching staff. Jeff Traylor was set to be the interim coach for the Frisco Bowl, but he bolted with Morris to Fayetteville.


    After Dykes' hire, he assigned graduate assistant G.J. Kinne to calling plays for the Mustangs for the Frisco Bowl. Kinne was a successful quarterback in a spread offense during his day, but he's never had this responsibility. Toss in a sophomore quarterback in Ben Hicks, and the makings are there for some ugly offensive moments for SMU.


    Bowling Bulldogs


    When Holtz landed in Ruston and took the Louisiana Tech job, he took over a program that had just two bowl wins in its history. The team won the Independence Bowl in 2008 and way back in 1977. Dykes only brought the team to one bowl game in his time with the Techsters. Holtz has now reached his fourth.


    The Bulldogs have won each of their three appearances with Holtz in bowl games over the course of the last three seasons, and it's officially the best run in the history of the program.


    Frisco Bowl Game Odds for Wednesday, December 20
    Louisiana Tech vs. SMU (-5, 70)
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    Wednesday, December 20


    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------


    LOUISIANA TECH (6 - 6) vs. SMU (7 - 5) - 12/20/2017, 8:00 PM
    There are no Top Trends with records of significance that apply to this game.


    Head-to-Head Series History
    There were no past matchups in this series during this time period.


    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------


    Wednesday, December 20


    LOUISIANA TECH @ SOUTHERN METHODIST

    The total has gone OVER in 17 of Louisiana Tech's last 25 games
    Southern Methodist is 1-6 ATS in its last 7 games


    ------------------------------------------


    December 20


    Louisiana Tech vs SMU (-5), Frisco Bowl, Frisco, TX



    SMU is playing 25 miles from home, in its first bowl since 2012; this game is in the Dallas Cowboys’ practice facility, which seats 12,000 people. Mustangs are 2-3 vs spread as a favorite this year, 1-3-1 in games with single digit spread. Skip Holtz is 8-3 in bowls, 3-0 at Tech, scoring 35-47-48 points. Bulldogs are 3-2 as an underdog this year, 3-3 in games with single digit spread. Mustangs won four of their last five bowls- underdog won all five of those games SU. SMU scored 40+ points in their last three games overall, but lost two of the three- they allowed 31+ points in last five games, an average of 279 rushing yards in last seven games. Last four years, Tech is 12-5 vs spread as an underdog. Last five years, AAC teams are 12-7 vs spread when playing a C-USA team.


    ------------------------------------


    Wednesday, December 20


    Louisiana Tech @ SMU



    Game 213-214
    December 20, 2017 @ 8:00 pm


    Dunkel Rating:
    Louisiana Tech
    79.822
    SMU
    81.732
    Dunkel Team:
    Dunkel Line:
    Dunkel Total:
    SMU
    by 2
    65
    Vegas Team:
    Vegas Line:
    Vegas Total:
    SMU
    by 5
    70
    Dunkel Pick:
    Louisiana Tech
    (+5); Under
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    2017 CFB Bowls Record:..............( BASED ON 5 UNITS )


    DATE W-L-T % UNITS RECORD


    12/19/2017 0-2-0 0.00% -11.00
    12/16/2017 5-5-0 50.00% - 2.50


    Totals...............5 - 7.........41.66%.....-13.50




    Best Bets:..............ATS...............Units............. .....O/U..................Units


    12/19/2017....................0 - 1.................- 5.50................0 - 1.................-5.50
    12/16/2017....................3 - 2................+11.00...............2 - 3.................-6.50


    Totals.............................3 - 3................+ 5.50...............2 - 4.................-12.00
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    Frisco Bowl
    December 19, 2017



    Louisiana Tech and Southern Methodist are poised to collide Wednesday night in the DXL Frisco Bowl at 8:00 p.m. Eastern on ESPN. This game will be played at Toyota Stadium, the home to FC Dallas of Major League Soccer in Frisco, TX.


    As of Tuesday morning, most betting shops had SMU (7-5 straight up, 6-6 against the spread) installed as a 4.5-point favorite with a total of 70. The Bulldogs were +160 on the money line (risk $100 to win $160).


    Many postseason games feature teams who have lost their head coach. Usually in this scenario, you’ll see a team go with an interim coach from the departed head coach’s staff of assistants. In those cases, you often have a staff with individuals coaching a team in its bowl while simultaneously looking for their next job.


    That’s actually not the case here for SMU, which saw its third-year head coach Chad Morris leave to take the Arkansas job. The Mustangs moved quickly and made an excellent hire in Sonny Dykes, who is actually the former head coach at Louisiana Tech. He left Louisiana. Tech to become the head coach at California, but he was fired by the Golden Bears after the 2016 season and spent ’17 as a consultant for Gary Patterson’s TCU program.


    In what is quite rare, Dykes moves immediately into his role of head coach for this bowl game. Jeff Traylor, Morris’s associate head coach who was initially named the interim head coach, had accepted a job on Morris’s staff at Arkansas. Therefore, he went ahead and took off for Fayetteville when Dykes was hired.


    According to remarks made by SMU Athletics Director Rick Hart at Dykes’s intro presser, the new coach will “bring in a few staff members to supplement the remaining staff” in what Dykes admitted will be a “crazy” week prepping for the Bulldogs.


    Dykes said, “I’ve got to hire a football staff and try to get three or four coaches here with some current staff members and go figure out a way to win a football game.”


    SMU is in the postseason for only the fifth time since the school was infamously issued the death penalty in the mid-1980s. In those four consecutive bowl games under former HC June Jones from 2009-2012, the Mustangs went 3-1 both SU and ATS with all three victories coming in blowout fashion from the role as underdogs. In fact, they beat Nevada (45-10 at the ’09 Hawaii Bowl, +12.5) and Fresno St. (43-10, ’12 Hawaii Bowl, +13) as double-digit ‘dogs.


    Dykes indicated that he’ll lean on starting QB Ben Hicks to teach him the offense that’s been utilized all season. Hicks enjoyed an excellent third-year sophomore campaign, completing 58.7 percent of his passes for 3,442 yards with a 32/9 touchdown-to-interception ratio.


    Hicks has a pair of 1,000-yard receivers at his disposal in junior Trey Quinn and junior Courtland Sutton. Quinn has snared 106 receptions for 1,191 yards and 12 TDs, while Sutton has 62 catches for 1,017 yards and 12 TDs. Sophomore WR James Proche is also a reliable target, hauling in 40 receptions for 816 yards and six TDs.


    SMU is ranked 12th in the country in total offense, 16th in passing yards and eighth in scoring (40.2 points per game). This unit is balanced, though, with a trio of RBs who eclipsed the 500-yard rushing mark.


    Junior Xavier Jones ran for a team-best 1,019 yards and nine TDs while averaging 6.0 yards per carry. KeMon Freeman, a true sophomore rushed for 527 yards and 11 TDs with a 4.2 YPC average, while Braeden West rushed for 512 yards and two TDs with a 7.9 YPC average.


    Proche is listed as ‘questionable’ with a hamstring injury. Starting junior CB Jordan Wyatt is ‘out’ with a knee injury. This is a huge loss for the SMU secondary. Wyatt recorded 49 tackles, one sack, 3.5 tackles for loss, four interceptions for 165 return yards and two TDs, eight passes broken up and three forced fumbles.


    The SMU defense will also with without starting senior DE Dimarya Mixon, who went down with a season-ending injury in late October. Mixon had 15 tackles, 1.5 sacks, one TFL and one QB hurry in the Mustangs’ first six games. The team’s leading tackler, safety Mikial Onu, is ‘questionable’ due to a concussion. Onu produced 93 tackles, two interceptions, one TFL, six PBU and one forced fumble.


    Even if SMU’s defense was healthy, it’s a unit that has plenty of issues anyway. The Mustangs are ranked No. 122 in the nation in total defense, 121st in pass defense, 113th in run ‘D’ and 113th in scoring ‘D’ (35.5 PPG).


    SMU was a single-digit favorite three times during the regular season, going 3-0 SU and 1-2 ATS.


    Louisiana Tech (6-6 SU, 6-6 ATS) is bowling for a fourth straight year in the fifth season of Skip Holtz’s tenure. The Bulldogs started 4-6 but won back-to-back games both SU and ATS to garner postseason eligibility, including a 20-6 win over UTSA in a pick ‘em affair in the regular-season finale in Ruston.


    Boston Scott was the catalyst against the Roadrunners, rushing for 138 yards and one TD on 20 carries. His 35-yard dash to paydirt with 2:23 remaining put the game on ice. The LT defense limited UTSA to just 201 yards of total offense and forced a pair of turnovers.


    Louisiana. Tech is 3-0 SU and 2-1 ATS in three postseason appearances on Holtz’s watch, including a 48-45 non-covering win over Navy as a seven-point ‘chalk.’


    Louisiana. Tech lost three games by three combined points, including a 17-16 loss at South Carolina when the Gamecocks rallied from a 16-0 deficit in the fourth quarter. The Bulldogs also dropped a 23-22 decision at UAB and lost 24-23 to North Texas at home. They defeated only one opponent that made the postseason, winning 23-22 at Western Kentucky.


    Holtz’s team has been an underdog five times, compiling a 2-3 spread record with one outright victory. One of those non-covers was a fourth heartbreaker for SU purposes, a 34-27 loss to Southern Miss in overtime as a one-point home underdog. We’ll also note that five of LT’s six wins came by margins of at least 14 points.


    QB J’mar Smith, a third-year sophomore just like Hicks, has completed 55.4 percent of his passes for 2,758 yards with a 13/5 TD-INT ratio. Smith has also rushed for 356 yards and a pair of TDs.


    Junior WR Teddy Veal has a team-high 69 receptions for 832 yards and five TDs. Rhashid Bonnette has 32 catches for 574 yards and two TDs. Scott has rushed for a team-best 937 yards and eight TDs while averaging 5.7 YPC, and Jarred Craft has run for 516 yards and three TDs with a 4.6 YPC average. Scott also has 20 catches for 181 yards and one TD, while Craft has 13 receptions for 74 yards and a pair of TDs.


    Louisiana. Tech’s defense has an elite pass rusher in junior DE Jaylon Ferguson, who had six sacks, 2.5 TFL’s, 38 tackles, five QB hurries and a pair of blocked kicks this season. Ferguson had 14.5 sacks in 2016.


    Junior LB Dae’Von Washington recorded a team-high 66 tackles, two interceptions, 0.5 sacks, 4.5 TFL’s, one PBU, one forced fumble and two QB hurries. Junior LB Brandon Durman has missed four games in a row and is listed as ‘questionable’ vs. SMU due to an undisclosed injury. In the team’s first seven games, he had 36 tackles, one sack and two TFL’s.


    The ‘over’ is 7-5 overall for the Mustangs after cashing in their last three regular-season games. They’ve seen their games average combined scores of 75.7 PPG.


    The ‘over’ is on a 4-2 run for the Bulldogs, but totals have been an overall wash (6-6) for them on the season. They’ve watched their games average combined scores of 55.4 PPG.

    **B.E.’s Bonus Nuggets**



    -- West Virginia WR David Sills V has announced that he’ll return to school for the 2018 campaign. QB Will Grier announced the same thing last week. Sills had 60 receptions for 980 yards and 18 TDs during the regular season.


    -- Oregon ponied up big money to keep DC Jim Leavitt around on Mario Cristobal’s new staff.


    -- South Carolina flipped Tennessee commit Jaycee Horn on Monday and he’ll sign with the Gamecocks on Wednesday. Horn is the son of Saints’ legendary WR Joe and is a 4-star CB out of Alpharetta, just outside of Atlanta.


    -- According to an AL.com report on Tuesday, 5-star recruit and true freshman MLB Dylan Moses sustained a foot injury at Alabama’s practice on Monday. The injury has put Moses’s status for the New Year’s Day CFP semifinal game vs. Clemson in doubt. With MLB Shaun Dion Hamilton out for the season, Moses had 21 tackles and one interception as the starter in the Crimson Tide’s last two games.


    -- Florida pulled a major coup on Tuesday when Ole Miss WR Van Jefferson announced he will be transferring to play for the Gators. Jefferson, a rising fourth-year junior, will have to seek a waiver from the NCAA to be eligible to play right away. However, this waiver is expected to be granted to Jefferson and QB Shea Patterson, who is transferring to Michigan. All Ole Miss rising seniors are eligible right away at their new schools, while others have to get a waiver. In two seasons with the Rebels, Jefferson started 15 games and had 87 receptions for 967 yards and four TDs.
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    NCAAF

    Wednesday, December 20


    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    DXL Frisco Bowl Betting Preview and Odds: Louisiana Tech vs Southern Methodist
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


    Louisiana Tech Bulldogs vs Southern Methodist Mustangs (-4.5, 70)


    Game to be played at Toyota Stadium, Frisco, Texas


    SMU will face Louisiana Tech in the inaugural Frisco Bowl on Dec. 20 with a new coach. Sonny Dykes, whose first head coaching job was at Louisiana Tech in 2010, will coach the Mustangs at the bowl game formerly known as the Miami Beach Bowl before being moved to Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas, in the offseason. Chad Morris, who led SMU to its first bowl game since 2012, was hired at Arkansas on Dec. 6 after building a 14-22 record in three seasons with the Mustangs.


    The Bulldogs won their final two games to become bowl eligible and earn their fourth straight postseason bid under coach Skip Holtz. Louisiana Tech is one of nine programs in the country that enters the postseason with three straight bowl wins. The Bulldogs are playing their third bowl in the past four years in North Texas after winning the Heat of Dallas Bowl in 2014 and the Armed Forces Bowl in Forth Worth last year.


    SMU and Oklahoma State are the only FBS teams with a 3,000-yard passer, 1,000-yard rusher and two 1,000-yard receivers, so it should come as no surprise that the Mustangs averaged 40.2 points per game. Sophomore quarterback Ben Hicks threw for 3,442 yards and 32 touchdowns while Trey Quinn and Courtland Sutton each caught 12 touchdowns. It will be a big test for a Bulldogs defense that ranked near the middle of Conference USA in opponents' points (26.7) and passing yards (215.1).

    TV:
    8 p.m. ET, ESPN.

    LINE HISTORY:
    Oddsmakers opened SMU as five-point favorites and the number was bet down slightly to 4.5. The total hit betting boards at 68 and was bumped up to 70 as of Tuesday afternoon.

    WHERE THE ACTION IS:
    As of Monday night, SMU was drawing 68 percent of the tickets written and 81 percent of the money wagered according to William Hill US.

    INJURY REPORT:



    Louisiana Tech - LB B. Durman (Questionable, Undisclosed), WR M. Gaines (Questionable, Undisclosed), WR A. Smith (Out For Season, Undisclosed), LB R. Cleveland (Out For Season, Undisclosed), CB E. Kitchen (Out For Season, Undisclosed), OL D. Melancon (Out For Season, Undisclosed), CB M. Sam (Out For Season, Undisclosed).


    Southern Methodist - OL N. Natour (Questionable, Leg), WR J. Proche (Questionable, Hamstring), DB J. Wyatt (Out, Knee), DL D. Mixon (Out For Season, Knee).

    ABOUT LOUISIANA TECH (6-6 SU, 6-6 ATS, 6-6 O/U):
    Sophomore quarterback J'Mar Smith threw for 2,758 yards and 13 touchdowns, including five scores to Conference USA co-newcomer of the year Teddy Veal (69 catches, 832 yards). Junior defensive end Jaylon Ferguson (26.5 career sacks) had a team-high six sacks while senior safety Secdrick Cooper had 63 stops and two interceptions. Freshman cornerback Amik Robertson led the team with four interceptions to go with 58 tackles and two sacks.

    ABOUT SMU (7-5 SU, 6-6 ATS, 7-5 O/U):
    Quinn (106 catches, 1,191 yards) leads the country with 8.8 receptions per game, needs six catches to tie the single-season school record and is tied with Sutton (62 catches, 1,017 yards) for second place in single-season touchdown catches. Senior defensive end Justin Lawler joined Quinn and Sutton as first-team All-AAC picks after blocking three kicks and leading the Mustangs with 9.5 sacks and 15.5 tackles for loss. The Mustangs' defense allowed at least 31 points in its final five games, which included three straight losses before a last-second goal-line stand in the finale snapped the skid.

    TRENDS:



    * Bulldogs are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 bowl games.
    * Mustangs are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 non-conference games.
    * Over is 17-8 in Bulldogs' last 25 games overall.
    * Under is 5-1 in Mustangs' last 6 games in December.

    CONSENSUS:
    The public is siding with the favorite SMU Mustangs at a rate of 61 percent and the Over is getting 51 percent of the totals action.
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    La. Tech routs SMU in Frisco Bowl
    December 20, 2017



    FRISCO, Texas (AP) J'mar Smith threw three touchdown passes and ran for a score, Louisiana Tech's defense scored twice and the Bulldogs rolled to a 51-10 victory over sloppy SMU on Wednesday night in the Frisco Bowl.


    Smith completed 15 of 23 passes for 216 yards, and Teddy Veal caught four passes for 84 yards for Louisiana Tech (7-6). The Bulldogs led 42-10 at the half.


    SMU (7-6) fumbled on its first offensive snap and turned it over on its first three drives and six times overall.


    It was a disappointing debut for SMU coach Sonny Dykes against his former school. Dykes was 22-15 at Louisiana Tech from 2010 to 2012 before leaving for California in 2013. Dykes was fired by Cal a year ago, and spent this season as an offensive analyst at TCU before SMU hired him to replace Chad Morris on Dec. 11.


    With most of the staff joining Morris at Arkansas, Dykes elected to coach the bowl game and installed graduate assistant G.J. Kinne as offensive coordinator for the bowl game.


    It didn't have the desired effect.


    Smith gave the Bulldogs a 7-0 lead on a 1-yard sneak with 7:43 remaining in the first quarter. Louisiana Tech had a short field to work with after Secdrick Cooper returned an interception 31 yards to the SMU 30.


    Amik Robertson returned an interception 55 yards for a touchdown less than a minute later, pushing the lead to 14-0.


    SMU held onto the ball on it's fourth drive, but couldn't reach the end zone and settled for a field goal after stalling at 8.


    On the ensuing kickoff, Jaqwis Dancy had a 65-yard return, setting up a 6-yard touchdown pass from Smith to Veal for a 21-3 lead.


    Louisiana Tech added returned another interception for a touchdown early in the second quarter. This time, Darryl Lewis had a 23-yard return down the sideline for a 28-3 lead.


    Smith added touchdown passes to Veal and Kam McKnight, helping Louisiana set a school record for first-half points in a bowl game.


    Trey Quinn scored SMU's touchdown on a on a nine-yard pass late in the second quarter. SMU quarterback Ben Hicks completed 19 of 33 passes for 127 yards.


    THE TAKEAWAY


    Louisiana Tech: The Bulldogs have won four straight bowl games and scored at least 47 points in their past. Three of those four bowl victories have come in the state of Texas.


    SMU: SMU fell to 7-8-2 in bowl games and had its worst bowl loss since it lost the the 1983 Sun Bowl to Alabama 28-7.
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    Temple, FIU reach Gasparilla Bowl under new coaches
    December 20, 2017



    Gasparailla Bowl: Temple: (6-6) vs. FIU (8-4), Dec. 21, 8 p.m. Eastern (ESPN)


    Line: Temple by 7.


    Series Record: First meeting.



    WHAT'S AT STAKE


    Temple in appearing in a bowl game for the third straight season, seventh time overall. The Owls, seeking their first bowl victory since the 2011 New Mexico Bowl, lost to Wake Forest in last season's Military Bowl and Toledo in the Boca Raton Bowl two years ago. FIU has already tied a school record for wins in a season and is making its third bowl appearance, second in St. Petersburg, where the Golden Panthers played in the Beef `O Brady's Bowl in 2011.


    KEY MATCHUP


    FIU QB Alex McGough against a Temple defense anchored by ends Jacob Martin and Sharif Finch. The Owls ranked among the best in the American Athletic Conference in sacks per game and tackles for losses. McGough has been sacked 21 times.


    PLAYERS TO WATCH


    Temple: QB Frank Nutile completed 60.8 percent of his passes for 1,346 yards, 11 touchdowns and seven interceptions. David Hood and Ryquell Armstead pace the Owls in rushing with 562 yards and four TDs and 553 yards and four TDs rushing, respectively. WR Isaiah Wright leads Temple in receiving with 41 for 595 yards and three TDs. Adonis Jennings (39 catches, 691 yards) and Keith Kirkwood (39, 575) have seven TD receptions apiece.


    FIU: McGough completed 231 of 354 passes (65.3 percent) for 2,791 yards, 17 TDs and 8 interceptions. Alex Gardner leads the Golden Panthers with 765 yards rushing and six TDs. Injured WR Thomas Owens led team with 59 receptions for 887 yards and six TDs, despite missing the final three games of the regular season.

    FACTS & FIGURES



    Temple coach Butch Davis and FIU's Geoff Collins are completing their first seasons in their current jobs. ... The Owls have won three of four games to even their record. ... Temple has started 42 different players this season, tied with Western Kentucky for the most among bowl eligible teams.
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    Thursday's Best Bet
    December 19, 2017



    Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl Betting Preview
    Temple Owls vs Florida International Golden Panthers



    The 2017 Gasparilla Bowl will feature some unique circumstances as it's the first-ever meeting between these two programs, and FIU and Temple will do battle at Tropicana Field which is where the MLB's Tampa Bay Rays play.


    Having Bowl games at baseball stadiums is nothing new for the NCAA, as this is the 10th consecutive year this Bowl game formerly known as the St Petersburg Bowl will be played at Tropicana. FIU as a program is 0-1 SU in this game with a 20-10 loss to Marshall back in 2011, and this will be Temple's first ever appearance here.


    Temple (-7); Total set at 57


    It's the Owls who come in as the favorites despite being in FIU's backyard and having the worse overall record at 6-6 SU (compared to FIU's 8-4 SU mark), and that's mostly because the AAC conference as a whole is more widely respected than Conference USA in terms of overall depth and talent. But early action suggests that bettors believe records do actually matter and “home field” advantage might help the Panthers get the job done as underdogs.


    VegasInsider.com is currently showing about 70% of bettors are grabbing the points with FIU and a little over half are taking a shot with the ML as well. Teams from the state of Florida are 2-3 SU all time in this Bowl game with the last win coming in 2012, and “public” underdogs are not ones I prefer to jump on board with, especially when the line has basically held true since opening weeks ago. But this is a bit of a hornets nest that Temple is walking into given the game's being played in Tampa and laying a touchdown in that type of environment is tough to do.


    Although these programs have zero history with one another, they did square off against two common opponents this year in Massachusetts and Central Florida. Temple and FIU both got smoked by UCF with the Owls loss looking a little better (45-19 compared to 61-17 for FIU), but Temple was at home for that contest compared to FIU playing the Knights on the road. It's the results against UMass that are more interesting though as both of them were able to beat the Minutemen in home games, as FIU capped off their regular season with a 63-45 win over U Mass, while Temple beat them 29-21 back in Week 3.


    On the surface that appears to be advantage FIU, but FIU actually closed as a home underdog of +2.5 in that game while Temple was a -14.5 home favorite in their meeting with the Minutemen. By those spreads you can see that oddsmakers definitely view the Owls in a much better light and will probably be rooting for the Owls to get the SU and ATS win if the action continues to hold on the pace it's shown. As tempting as it is to go against the grain and lay the chalk with Temple here, it's actually the total that I believe presents more value.


    Outside of the first three years this Bowl game was played at Tropicana Field, the most recent six contests have shown that points can be hard to come by. Obviously “styles make fights” and you can't compare this year's combatants to the way teams before them played, but since that 2011 St Petersburg Bowl that FIU lost (20-10), only once have we seen more than 57 points scored in this game.


    Part of that probably has to do with the fact that it is played on a baseball field (and a crappy baseball field at that) and it takes some adjustment for the players to get footing, sight lines etc. The past two years alone we've not had more than 33 points scored as crowds were sparse and teams really had a tough time “getting up” for a game like this. The crowd issue should be much better this year with FIU involved, but the whole adjustment to being on a baseball field could still be a factor.


    While ATS bettors have hit FIU at a 70% clip, the 'over' in this game is seeing more than 90% support as of this writing. Given FIU finished the year with four straight 'overs' and is coming off a game that saw 108 points, and Temple went 5-0 O/U in their last five, you can see why the 'over' is getting a lot of love. But the multiple weeks off likely had a cooling effect on these offenses, and Temple is a team that prefers to play a defensive brand of football in general. Yes, they finished the year with five straight 'overs', but prior to that they began the season on a 1-6 O/U run with all six of those 'unders' coming in Games 2-7. The Owls are also 5-11 O/U in their last 16 games against a winning team, and 3-8 O/U when coming off a SU win.


    As touchdown favorites I expect that Temple is the team that dictates and controls the pace for most of this game, and if that's the case, 57 or more points is going to be hard to reach. History is on the side of an 'under play here at Tropicana Field, and with sportsbooks likely needing this game to stay low with a vast majority expecting a shootout, I've got no problem fading the masses with this play.

    Best Bet: Under 57 points
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    Thursday, December 21


    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------


    TEMPLE (6 - 6) vs. FLA INTERNATIONAL (8 - 4) - 12/21/2017, 8:00 PM
    Top Trends for this game.
    TEMPLE is 18-8 ATS (+9.2 Units) in all games over the last 2 seasons.
    TEMPLE is 18-8 ATS (+9.2 Units) in all lined games over the last 2 seasons.
    TEMPLE is 13-3 ATS (+9.7 Units) after playing a conference game over the last 2 seasons.


    Head-to-Head Series History
    There were no past matchups in this series during this time period.


    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------


    Thursday, December 21


    TEMPLE @ FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL

    The total has gone OVER in 5 of Temple's last 5 games
    Temple is 4-1 ATS in its last 5 games
    The total has gone OVER in 5 of Florida International's last 6 games
    Florida International is 8-3 SU in its last 11 games


    --------------------------------------------


    December 21


    Temple (-7) vs Florida International. Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl, St Petersburg



    Temple won three of last four games; they’re 3-3 vs spread as a favorite, 5-0 in games with a single digit pointspread this year. Owls scored 34+ points in their last four wins. FIU allowed 37+ points in all four of its losses this year; they’re 7-0 when allowing less than 37 points. Panthers are 7-3 vs spread as an underdog this season, 4-1 in games with single digit spread. Temple lost bowls the last two years, giving up 32-34 points; they were favored in those games. FIU split its two bowls; this is their first once since 2011. Favorites are 3-2 vs spread in this bowl the last five years, with an average total of 46.4. AAC non-conference favorites are 9-5 vs spread this season; C-USA underdogs are 8-23. Last two years, AAC teams are 7-2 vs spread when playing a C-USA opponent.


    -----------------------------------------------

    Florida International (+7) vs. Temple



    This line for the Gasparilla Bowl opened +8 and was quickly bet down to +7 before it even opened at some other major sportsbooks. Play it now before it dips below this key number. Florida International will be excited for this game after a 4-8 SU season last year. It is the Panthers' first bowl game in six years. They were a solid 8-4 SU this year and finished the regular season with back-to-back wins in which they scored 104 points combined on offense.


    Temple will be less excited for this game after a mediocre 6-6 SU regular season. The Owls were 10-3 SU last year before losing their bowl game as a 12-point favorite. Temple was also 10-3 SU in the 2015 regular season when they lost by 15 points as a 2.5-point bowl favorite. The Owls were a weak offensive team this season, averaging just 24.8 points per game on 5.5 yards per play (versus opponents that allow 28.6 ppg and 6.1 yppl)


    ---------------------------------

    .Thursday, December 21


    Temple @ FIU



    Game 215-216
    December 21, 2017 @ 8:00 pm


    Dunkel Rating:
    Temple
    81.975
    FIU
    76.899
    Dunkel Team:
    Dunkel Line:
    Dunkel Total:
    Temple
    by 5
    62
    Vegas Team:
    Vegas Line:
    Vegas Total:
    Temple
    by 7 1/2
    56
    Dunkel Pick:
    FIU
    (+7 1/2); Over
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    2017 CFB Bowls Record:..............( BASED ON 5 UNITS )


    DATE W-L-T % UNITS RECORD


    12/20/2017 2-0-0 100.00% +10.00
    12/19/2017 0-2-0 0.00% -11.00
    12/16/2017 5-5-0 50.00% - 2.50


    Totals...............7 - 7.........50.00%.....-3.50




    Best Bets:..............ATS...............Units........ ..... .....O/U..................Units


    12/20/2017....................1 - 0.................+5.00................1 - 0................+5.00
    12/19/2017....................0 - 1.................- 5.50................0 - 1.................-5.50
    12/16/2017....................3 - 2................+11.00...............2 - 3.................-6.50


    Totals.............................4 - 3................+ 10.50..............3 - 4.................-7.00
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    Bowls to Bet - Week 2
    December 21, 2017


    Three Bowl Games To Supercharge Your Week



    There’s no doubt that this coming weekend is when bettors are going to get a little more risky with their NCAAF bowl bets, and we’ll get to those games on Friday. For now, we’ll have to settle for a trio of lesser bowl games that are grading well for gamblers. Temple, UAB and Central Michigan are all top notch plays to help build your bankroll heading in to the weekend.


    Find out way below.


    BAD BOY MOWERS GASPARILLA BOWL (Thursday, 8:00 p.m. ET)
    Temple Owls -7.0 over FIU Golden Panthers



    Instead of the usual Thursday Night Football garbage that the NFL usually dumps in our living rooms, we’re getting a gritty matchup between two schools trying to end their seasons on a high note.


    The Temple Owls didn’t insert quarterback Frank Nutile in to the offence until it was too late, but the junior did himself a world of favors by getting on track quickly. He ended the season with 253.6 yards per game in his last five outings with 11 touchdowns against 6 picks. It’s fair to point out that four of those interceptions came in a blowout loss to UCF which was just an outright bad game by Nutile.


    Florida International cobbled together an average season overall using a balanced attack built on the shoulders of a defence led by defensive end Fermin Silva, who racked up 7 sacks, but there’s just not enough juice on this team to really excite bettors. The Panthers went an uneasy 4-2 SU and ATS in the doldrums of the CUSA and are rightfully pegged down here by the oddsmakers against a seven-point spread.


    The big reason to bet against Temple is the fact that they’re just 1-3 SU in their last 4 post season appearances, but the new regime under Geoff Collins has finally found its quarterback and is ready to ring in the 2018 campaign by announcing their presence with a big win over an opponent that simply doesn’t have anything remarkable to bank on.


    BAHAMAS BOWL (Friday, 12:30 p.m. ET)
    UAB Blazers +6.5 over Ohio Bobcats



    The UAB Blazers have had an awfully tough, uphill climb as a program that has somehow clawed its way back from extinction to earn a bowl berth. I mean that in literal terms as the program was shutdown in 2014 before receiving a sudden injection of cash and support that helped it get back on its feet.


    That storyline in itself is enough to cause you to root for the Blazers, who put together an impressive 8-4 SU and 8-3 ATS season in their first year back. Credit goes to Bill Clark for having the presence and leadership to keep a sinking ship from hitting rock bottom. It’s certainly helped that he hit paydirt with freshman running back Spencer Brown, who has 1,292 rushing yards and 10 total touchdowns on the season.


    Ohio’s season started off really well, but was blown to smithereens when they lost as heavy favorites to Akron and then followed that up with a 24-31 defeat against Buffalo as road favorites. That downward momentum is enough to jilt bettors at the altar and have them turn their interest in stead to the Blazers. While they boast the 11th best rush defence in the country, and one of the better defensive sides overall, they’ve been brutal at year’s end and remain untrustworthy.


    There are a lot of great stories coming out of college football this year, but UAB is most certainly one of them. Their exciting brand of football will meet one of its biggest challenges of the season, but this is a program that has made it a new trend to overcome obstacles whenever – and wherever – they come from.


    FAMOUS IDAHO POTATO BOWL (Friday, 4:00 p.m. ET)
    Central Michigan Chippewas +3.5 over Wyoming Cowboys



    The big question mark about this game comes in the form of Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen, who sustained an injury against Air Force in mid-November but remains on track to compete in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl (one of my favorite bowl game names for those of you that care).


    Allen has routinely boasted first-round potential in the NFL Draft due to his 6-foot-5 and 233 pound frame, but he’s looked pedestrian on big stages. He posted just 64 passing yards against Oregon and a measly 92 yards against Hawaii’s notoriously leaky defence. This is his big chance to show scouts that he could be the next Carson Wentz, but I’d say that the hype train has left the station with hi standing on the platform.


    As for Central Michigan, I am just all in on their relentless passing offence. If Allen wants a real challenge, he’s going to get one in the form of Shane Morris slinging it to wide-receiver Corey Willis. How good is Willis? His 23 touchdowns on the season surpassed current video-game-come-to-life and Steeler Antonio Brown.


    Both teams are 7-5 ATS and anyone banking on Wyoming’s odds here are hoping that Allen is both healthy and ready for the spotlight. Problem is that he won’t be able to keep up with Morris, who is sitting on 2,908 passing yards this year already.
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    Thursday's Best Bet
    December 19, 2017



    Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl Betting Preview
    Temple Owls vs Florida International Golden Panthers



    The 2017 Gasparilla Bowl will feature some unique circumstances as it's the first-ever meeting between these two programs, and FIU and Temple will do battle at Tropicana Field which is where the MLB's Tampa Bay Rays play.


    Having Bowl games at baseball stadiums is nothing new for the NCAA, as this is the 10th consecutive year this Bowl game formerly known as the St Petersburg Bowl will be played at Tropicana. FIU as a program is 0-1 SU in this game with a 20-10 loss to Marshall back in 2011, and this will be Temple's first ever appearance here.


    Temple (-7); Total set at 57


    It's the Owls who come in as the favorites despite being in FIU's backyard and having the worse overall record at 6-6 SU (compared to FIU's 8-4 SU mark), and that's mostly because the AAC conference as a whole is more widely respected than Conference USA in terms of overall depth and talent. But early action suggests that bettors believe records do actually matter and “home field” advantage might help the Panthers get the job done as underdogs.


    VegasInsider.com is currently showing about 70% of bettors are grabbing the points with FIU and a little over half are taking a shot with the ML as well. Teams from the state of Florida are 2-3 SU all time in this Bowl game with the last win coming in 2012, and “public” underdogs are not ones I prefer to jump on board with, especially when the line has basically held true since opening weeks ago. But this is a bit of a hornets nest that Temple is walking into given the game's being played in Tampa and laying a touchdown in that type of environment is tough to do.


    Although these programs have zero history with one another, they did square off against two common opponents this year in Massachusetts and Central Florida. Temple and FIU both got smoked by UCF with the Owls loss looking a little better (45-19 compared to 61-17 for FIU), but Temple was at home for that contest compared to FIU playing the Knights on the road. It's the results against UMass that are more interesting though as both of them were able to beat the Minutemen in home games, as FIU capped off their regular season with a 63-45 win over U Mass, while Temple beat them 29-21 back in Week 3.


    On the surface that appears to be advantage FIU, but FIU actually closed as a home underdog of +2.5 in that game while Temple was a -14.5 home favorite in their meeting with the Minutemen. By those spreads you can see that oddsmakers definitely view the Owls in a much better light and will probably be rooting for the Owls to get the SU and ATS win if the action continues to hold on the pace it's shown. As tempting as it is to go against the grain and lay the chalk with Temple here, it's actually the total that I believe presents more value.


    Outside of the first three years this Bowl game was played at Tropicana Field, the most recent six contests have shown that points can be hard to come by. Obviously “styles make fights” and you can't compare this year's combatants to the way teams before them played, but since that 2011 St Petersburg Bowl that FIU lost (20-10), only once have we seen more than 57 points scored in this game.


    Part of that probably has to do with the fact that it is played on a baseball field (and a crappy baseball field at that) and it takes some adjustment for the players to get footing, sight lines etc. The past two years alone we've not had more than 33 points scored as crowds were sparse and teams really had a tough time “getting up” for a game like this. The crowd issue should be much better this year with FIU involved, but the whole adjustment to being on a baseball field could still be a factor.


    While ATS bettors have hit FIU at a 70% clip, the 'over' in this game is seeing more than 90% support as of this writing. Given FIU finished the year with four straight 'overs' and is coming off a game that saw 108 points, and Temple went 5-0 O/U in their last five, you can see why the 'over' is getting a lot of love. But the multiple weeks off likely had a cooling effect on these offenses, and Temple is a team that prefers to play a defensive brand of football in general. Yes, they finished the year with five straight 'overs', but prior to that they began the season on a 1-6 O/U run with all six of those 'unders' coming in Games 2-7. The Owls are also 5-11 O/U in their last 16 games against a winning team, and 3-8 O/U when coming off a SU win.


    As touchdown favorites I expect that Temple is the team that dictates and controls the pace for most of this game, and if that's the case, 57 or more points is going to be hard to reach. History is on the side of an 'under play here at Tropicana Field, and with sportsbooks likely needing this game to stay low with a vast majority expecting a shootout, I've got no problem fading the masses with this play.

    Best Bet: Under 57 points
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    THURSDAY, DECEMBER 21
    GAME TIME(ET) PICK UNITS



    TEM at FIU 08:00 PM


    FIU +7.0


    U 57.5
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    Temple crushes FIU in Gasparilla Bowl
    December 21, 2017



    ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) Frank Nutile threw for 254 yards and a touchdown to lead Temple to a 28-3 victory over Florida International in the Gasparilla Bowl on Thursday night.


    Nutile teamed with Isaiah Wright on 45-yard TD play in the fourth quarter and also scored on a 4-yard run to give the Owls (7-6) an early lead. He completed passes of 13 and 17 yards to escape a first-and-30 hole before throwing 39 yards to Adonis Jennings to set up another TD.


    The victory was the fourth in five games for Temple, which rebounded from a 3-5 start to finish with a winning record in its first season under coach Geoff Collins.


    FIU (8-5) matched a school record for victories in its first year under Butch Davis, the former Miami, North Carolina and Cleveland Browns coach.


    The Panthers played most of the night without quarterback Alex McGough, who left in the opening quarter with a shoulder injury. Maurice Alexander replaced him, but had limited success throwing the ball and was intercepted twice.


    Nutile finished 17 of 27 passing with no interceptions and was named game MVP. He threw 13 yards to Keith Kirkwood and 17 yards to Isaiah Wright on consecutive plays before Jennings' long reception moved the Owls into position to go up 14-3 on David Hood's 1-yard TD run.


    Wright's TD reception made it 21-3 midway through the fourth quarter. Ryquell Armstead also scored on a 5-yard run for Temple.


    WHAT A RUSH


    Temple's defense set a Gasparilla Bowl record with seven sacks. LB William Kwenkeu led the way with two. The Owls also forced three turnovers.


    THE TAKEAWAY


    Temple: Collins inherited a program that won the American Athletic Conference in 2016, the Owls' first league crown since 1967. After a slow start that saw them lose five of eight, the Owls returned from a bye week to win three of four to become bowl eligible. This year's senior class won 33 games over four seasons, an Owls record.


    FIU: The Panthers hope to raise their profile under Davis, and matching the school record for wins and appearing in a bowl for the time is a start. The Panthers finished second in Conference USA's East Division and placed 12 players on the league's all-conference team.


    UP NEXT


    Temple: The Owls made significant strides in first-year offensive coordinator David Patenaude's system after Nutile, a redshirt junior moved into the starting lineup in October. Starting receivers Keith Kirkwood and Adonis Jennings are seniors, however sophomore Isaiah Wright led the Owls with 46 receptions for 668 yards with four TDs and will provide some continuity at the position.


    FIU: Key changes on offense. McGough, the Panthers' career leader in TD passes and No. 2 in career completions and passing yards, is a senior. Alexander appeared in seven games during the regular season, however the sophomore only attempted six passes. Leading receiver Thomas Owens (59 receptions, 887 yards, 6 TDs in nine games) is also a senior.
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    Friday's Bowl Notebook
    December 21, 2017



    We're officially in the full swing of the bowl season at this point, and with eight games down, there are 32 more left to be played. Two of those duels will take place on Friday at the Bahamas Bowl and the Potato Bowl, games that feature two of the most intriguing quarterback options and one of the best storylines in America.


    Welcome Back, Blazers


    This 2017 UAB team is remarkable. The Blazers went without football for three years, and when they put their team back together, they were made up of nothing but reject transfers from other schools, JUCO kids and relatively unheralded freshmen. There are only five senior starters on this roster.


    However, almost miraculously, this UAB team is the best in school history. Eight wins is already a school record, and now, the Blazers are hoping to win their first-ever bowl game.


    UAB was only accepted to a bowl game once before, the 2004 Hawaii Bowl that was lost to Hawaii. Now comes a trip to a totally different paradise at the Bahamas Bowl, and a huge fan base is expected to travel to Nassau for the game.


    The Blazers are getting some serious looks from the sharpest bettors as well. Bookmaker.eu is reporting 68 percent of the bets on the Bahamas Bowl on UAB as a sizeable 6.5-point underdog.


    Allen In Before He's Out


    Heading into the offseason between the 2016 and 2017 college football seasons, you probably had no idea who Josh Allen was. He quarterbacked Wyoming and had numbers that weren't all that impressive as a sophomore.


    However, even after completing just 56 percent of his passes and throwing 15 picks in his second year, Allen started to catch the eyes of NFL scouts. He's a big kid at 6-foot-5, and he runs really well for a quarterback. All of a sudden, there was talk that he might be the No. 1 pick in the 2017 NFL Draft.


    Allen was remarkably disappointing in an injury-riddled season for the Cowboys. He threw for just 1,658 yards and 13 touchdowns in effectively just nine full games.


    There was talk that he might skip the Potato Bowl entirely in part to rehab an ankle injury and in part to get ready for the NFL Draft. Instead, Allen has committed to play in the game, and that's largely why this game has gone from a pick 'em to Wyoming -3 at Bookmaker.eu.

    CMU Meltdown



    Central Michigan has wholly looked unprepared for its bowl games over the course of the last three seasons.


    Most will remember the 2014 Bahamas Bowl for being a strange affair. The Chippewas were getting waxed by five touchdowns by Western Kentucky going into the fourth quarter, but they rallied to score 34 points in the fourth quarter. Yet when push came to shove, the Chippies went for two after scoring what could have been the game-tying touchdown. They failed, and that cost them the game.


    John Bonamego took over as the head coach for CMU in 2015. Though he brought the Chippewas to bowl games both in 2015 and 2016, they haven't had a really great shot in either game. Though they were beaten 21-14 by Minnesota in the 2015 Quick Lane Bowl, they didn't come anywhere near 300 yards of total offense. Meanwhile in last year's Miami Beach Bowl, Tulsa whipped up on Central Michigan 55-10.


    The Chippewas covered that bizarre game against Western Kentucky, but if you take away that fourth quarter, they have been outgained by over 800 yards in three bowl games and have been outscored by 87 points.


    It's almost a wonder when the Chippewas are only very short dogs at BookMaker.eu in the Potato Bowl.


    College Football Bowl Game Odds for Friday, December 22
    Bahamas Bowl: UAB vs. Ohio (-6.5, 59)
    Potato Bowl: Central Michigan vs. Wyoming (-3, 45.5)
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    Friday's Best Bet
    December 20, 2017



    Famous Idaho Potato Bowl Betting Preview
    Central Michigan Chippewas vs Wyoming Cowboys
    Friday, Dec. 22, 2017 - ESPN, 4:00 p.m. ET



    Bettors are treated to an afternoon double-header of Bowl games on Friday with the Bahamas Bowl and Famous Idaho Potato Bowl going off back to back.


    Both are quite attractive from a betting standpoint, but it's the latter half of that double-header that is the better game to get down on when push comes to shove.


    This year's Famous Idaho Potato Bowl on the “smurf turf” at Boise State pits a Central Michigan team from the MAC up against a Wyoming team that will be very comfortable in these unique surroundings and has one guy that is very eager to prove his level of skill on the national stage.


    Bookmaker.eu Odds: Wyoming (-3); Total set at 46


    Wyoming enters this game on a two-game losing streak as their NFL-bound QB Josh Allen missed those final two games with a shoulder injury. Allen entered the year as one of the top NFL prospects at the position because of all the physical attributes he's got, but he's not a household name playing in Wyoming, and he hasn't exactly lit the world on fire this year.


    Allen hasn't really done anything to drastically reduce his draft stock this year, but he also hasn't done anything to drastically improve it either, and this Bowl game on the national stage is his final opportunity to gain some significant recognition in that regard. Allen should return under center for this game as he's had more than a month off since he last played, and chances are he will be looking to have his best game of the season.


    Allen and his Wyoming teammates also have the added advantage of not having to travel far for this game in Boise, and given the notion that playing on blue turf can be a bit of an adjustment for some players, the fact that Wyoming has already played on this field this year has to help. Wyoming lost 24-14 to Boise State in mid-October and Allen didn't exactly have his best game with just 131 passing yards with 1 TD and 2 INT's.


    He did run in the other TD the Cowboys scored that day, but Central Michigan's defense is not Boise State's and Allen and this Wyoming offense should have much more success on that side of the ball here. The Chippewas allowed 26.8 points per game on average and with Allen treating this like a personal showcase to improve his draft stock (and potentially make millions more the higher he goes), this may be the perfect opportunity for him to put all his highly touted attributes on full display.


    Central Michigan isn't just here to be enhancement talent like they are in WWE, and they come into this game on a 5-0 SU and ATS run. Central Michigan scored 30+ in all five of those wins, but the MAC isn't a conference that's known for top defensive play, whereas Wyoming is a team that has its most success playing stout defense and riding Allen's coattails on offense.


    The Cowboys have held five straight opponents to 20 points or less, and only once this year did a Wyoming opponent score more than 24 points against them. That was the high-flying Oregon Ducks back in Week 3, and if Wyoming's defense shows up too – which they should – that poses a significant problem for the Chippewas.


    Central Michigan's four losses this year, both SU and ATS, came when they were up against talented defensive units as they scored 17 points or less in each one of those defeats. Wyoming's defense averaged 17.8 points allowed per game, so if those numbers do hold true, the Chippewas just might end up being that enhancement talent Allen and his Wyoming teammates are looking for. After all, the month off between games for Central Michigan probably killed most of the momentum they built during that winning streak, and if they can't score in bunches, losses tend to follow.


    This line has already seen significant movement as it opened up in the pick'em range when Bowl games were announced and has moved to it's current number since then. I' ve started to see some push back on Central Michigan since starting this piece, but VegasInsider.com shows a 60/40 split in favor of the Chippewas and that's held consistent throughout the entire move. That signals to me that the initial move in favor of Wyoming is the one big bettors got down on early and the one that holds more respect in the oddsmakers eyes and I fully agree with it 100%.


    Allen's return under center has a bit to do with that move as well, but with the guy essentially playing for his future in football, I do expect a great game from him and the rest of his offensive teammates looking to showcase his talent to the nation. Wyoming's defense will do what they do and hold the Chippewas offense at bay, and with Wyoming 6-2 ATS when coming off a loss and 8-3 ATS in their last 11 against a winning team, it's the Cowboys that should get the job done in a big way here.


    Yet given the significant move on the spread, I'd suggest splitting up your wager in one of two ways. Either you buy a half-point or so to get this number under the critical -3, or you lay the -3 and also take a piece of Wyoming on the ML as well.


    Odds per - Bookmaker.eu


    Best Bets:
    Wyoming -3 (-115)
    Wyoming ML -160
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