Hello all and welcome to this edition of Tyler’s Bowl Bonanza. Last time, I ranked each bowl game from worst to first to let you know which ones you should be watching. I love watching college football, but the one thing I love more is betting on college football which brings me to part two of the Bowl Bonanza where I've decided to take on a challenge and make a bet on ALL FORTY GAMES.
Over the course of the last three season I've made a total of 297 bets on college football for a record of 168-120-9. That hits at 58.3% for a grand total of +38.58 units which hopefully shows i’m a decent sharp at least in the college football realm. If that sentence was overwhelming to try and understand, read up on my how to bet on college football column before diving further.
If you read that column you saw my third piece of advice was to be responsible, so let me preface by saying what I am about to do is, well, not that. Even if you know what you’re doing, you shouldn’t bet every single game as you probably won’t turn a long term profit. BUT for Bowl Season, I am doing it as a way to give you guys a pick in case you want to bet that game specifically.
Please be smart about the bets you are placing and only put down money you’re ok with losing. This is FOR FUNNNN. Sports betting is finally getting the attention it deserves, but the last thing any sports bettor wants to see is someone lose money they can’t afford to. So have fun, be smart and follow along as I attempt the crazy idea of betting each and every bowl game. I will break each week into segments, so here we start with part one which has all games up to Christmas Day.
(All times CST)
Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl
Buffalo vs. Charlotte Friday, Dec. 20, 1:00 P.M.
My bet: Under 57.5
If you’ve ever read any of my betting coverage (firstly thank you) you’ll know that, unlike a lot of people, I prefer to bet unders, especially when weather is prevalent. That will be the case down in the Bahamas with wind gusts up to 30 MPH. With wind greater than 17 MPH, unders have hit at 60% of the time, making it one of the more profitable long term trends in college football. Any game over that 17 MPH threshold is usually an automatic play for me, and will certainly be in this one.
Tropical Smoothie Café Frisco Bowl
Utah State vs. Kent State Friday, Dec. 20, 6:30 P.M.
My bet: Over 67.5
At first glance, I tend to prefer to stay away from MAC teams in general during bowl season. Since 2002, the MAC has won just 25% of their bowl appearances and covered in just 30% which is the lowest of any conference.
However, the team on the other side gives me pause as well. Quarterback Jordan Love has declared for the NFL Draft and has not spoken about whether he will skip the bowl or not. To me, I think that both spreads have reasons for concern so I would play the over in a game that should put up plenty of points with two less-than-stellar defenses.
New Mexico Bowl
San Diego State vs. Central Michigan Saturday, Dec. 21, 1:00 P.M.
My bet: Central Michigan (+3.5)
Ignore what I just said about MAC teams because I think Central Michigan is a good play here. The Chips have put together a tremendous bounce back season after going 1-11 last season. That success has been because of a balanced offensive attack, but they’ll face a top-five defense in SDSU.
The trouble for the Aztecs is that they rank No. 115 in total offense and have been completely inept on that side of the football. In addition, QB Ryan Agnew was out their last game against BYU. With his status uncertain for the bowl game I am going to take CMU with a key number of +3.5.
Georgia Southern vs. Liberty Saturday, Dec. 21, 1:30 P.M.
My bet: Liberty (+5)
This is the first bowl game ever for Liberty University which should give them plenty of motivation to finish the season strong. Additionally, the run defense for the Flames has been pretty stout all season long. Georgia Southern runs a spread option system, but it has really taken a step back this season in terms of explosiveness. I’ll take the Flames in one of the biggest games of their brief history at the FBS level.
Cheribundi Boca Raton Bowl
SMU vs. FAU, Saturday December 21st, 2:30 P.M.
My bet: SMU (-3.5)
SMU has been explosive on the offensive side of the football all season and will be fired up to be in this game. FAU lost Lane Kiffin and might be ready to pack it in. I think the American conference was a lot stronger than C-USA this season, so I don’t expect this one to be close if SMU can muster up a few stops.
FIU vs. Arkansas State Saturday, Dec. 21, 4:30 P.M.
My bet: FIU (+2.5)
Florida International has had an up and down season but really turned things around with its win over Miami in the second-to-last week of the season. FIU doesn’t really do anything overly well, but it does everything a little better than Arkansas State, especially on defense.
The Red Wolves rank No. 127 in total defense, which is the worst of all bowl eligible teams. In addition, Head Coach Blake Anderson is 1-4 ATS in bowl games which is one of the worst in the FBS. I’ll take a proven Butch Davis in that spot any day.
Mitsubishi Motors Las Vegas Bowl
Washington vs. Boise State Saturday, Dec. 21, 6:30 P.M.
My bet: Washington (-3.5)
Boise State has beef by not making a New Year Six Bowl and later getting demoted to the headliner of the first weekend of Bowl season. Normally I would take them in that spot, but Washington appears to have a little more added motivation.
Head Coach Chris Petersen is stepping down at the end of the season, and you have to imagine the Huskies will want to send him out on a high note against his former team. Additionally, quarterback Jacob Eason needs to play well to improve his draft stock. Lastly, 4 of 5 Huskie losses have come by six points or less. A few bounces their way and the record might look different. I’ll take them in the Chris Petersen Bowl.
R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl
Appalachian State vs. UAB Saturday, Dec. 21, 8:00 P.M.
My bet: App State (-16.5)
At first glance, this looks like a lot of points, but there is one glaring trend that shows a gap between these teams that should help make that number look a little smaller. UAB has been a fun story all season, but the biggest heel they have is their ability to hang onto the football.
UAB has lost 25 turnovers on the season which ranks No. 127 in the country. App State has lost just 9 which ranks third. In addition, App State forces the issue as they rank No. 24 in turnovers gained. APP State has played well all season, with their only loss being to Georgia Southern in a game where the wind and weather were putrid. Outside of that they’ve been a well oiled machine. I’ll lay the big number in hopes the Blazers continue to make mistakes.
Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl
UCF vs. Marshall Monday, Dec. 23, 1:30 P.M.
My bet: Under 61.5
From a matchup standpoint this game is fascinating. The fast pace of UCF vs. the slow, methodical pace of Marshall. It really is a tortoise and the hare type match up. Due to that, I don’t really have a good grasp on this game. I lean laying the points with UCF, but I blacklisted this Knights team after losing me a lot of money early in the season. Additionally, Marshall Head Coach Doc Holliday is 6-0 ATS in Bowl games. That to me means stay away and play the under. Both teams have top 40 defenses and I think Marshall’s offense moves slow enough to balance the tempo in this game.
SoFi Hawaii Bowl Hawaii vs. BYU Tuesday, Dec. 24, 7:00 P.M.
My bet: Hawaii ML (+105)
Ahh, the Hawaii Bowl—one of my personal favorites. Nothing like getting home on Christmas Eve and watching this game battle out especially this year given it’s a bit of a rivalry game. BYU has a satellite campus in Hawaii, and these two programs know each other very well.
As for the bet, I see these teams as dead even. If betting a team that is turnover prone concerns you, don’t follow me in this spot as Hawaii has turned it over more than any team in the country and has a -14 turnover margin. STILL, I like a home dog playing in their home stadium against a rival. It may make you pull your hair out at some point, but I think Hawaii finds a way to win this and cap off a great season.
That concludes part one of the Bowl Betting Bonanaza! Be sure to look out for part two which will have another section of games including... the playoff!