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Spooky Express College Football Bowl season Bowling for Dollars selection and analysis thread


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IT'S THAT TIME!!!!!!

BOWLING FOR DOLLARS FOR 2014/2015!

 

:money

 

SPOOKY EXPRESS AND BOWL SEASON

 

 

Many of you know I started posting my bowl game selections almost 17 years ago and that is how it all began at the forums. Never have had a losing bowl season since 1977 and not about to start now. Record speaks for itself.

 

Have had some unbelievable outstanding seasons and a few average years but always have showed a profit. This is the only time I truly crunch numbers and play more with the numbers than my head.

 

Bobalou and I will start posting some opinions in the next couple weeks but wanted to get started on all the threads since there is so much work involved. I am just going to make 1 thread for the analysis, write ups, thoughts for each of the games that go along with the rankings and another thread for my game time updates, selections and wagers.

 

These will once again be MY PLAYS and my opinion. I really don't care if you follow or not. Not looking to debate my selections.

 

The totals (Over/Unders) will be posted much closer to game time since weather and other developments effect the game and they are only an opinion. I will post my power ratings, my dog plays and some money line plays if you care.

 

We had almost 100,000 views going back to 2012 so I'm hoping we can continue that trend this year.

 

 

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I will post the early recap for some of you that have not followed in years past

or like their annual reminder.

 

As the odds change so can the selection. Obviously the Best bets will not change dramatically.

 

There will be in the coming weeks analysis and capping for each game along with some totals (Over/Unders) which will be posted much closer to game time since weather and other developments effect the game. The totals are only Opinions so we focus on the side plays. At the beginning is where I jump on some early lines which stand out and get the best value for the wager. I may completely reverse my thinking as time goes by, but for now I let the numbers do the talking and everyone that has seen or followed Spooky this millennium can corroborate how solid they usually are.

 

ANYTIME A TEAM IS PICKED TO WIN OUTRIGHT AND ALSO COVER WITH THE POINTS MAKES THEM A PLAY.

NO LOOKING BACK, NO THINKING ABOUT IT.

 

There will also be some live underdogs. So be ready. These teams are picked to win and they are getting points. Money Line Dogs. Get them while they are hot. Don’t be afraid when the pointspread moves. It is done so emotionally. QB gets hurt, RB gets suspended, who cares. The points will be adjusted. These selections are not based on 1 or 2 games but an entire season. Remember since 1977 this has not lost.

 

Just use some judgement and as we get closer the plays will become clearer and Spooky will let you know.

 

If you like a Pro game, start making small parlays with them on the best bets. By the time game time comes around you should have tons of action on the later games and that creates tons of profit!!!!

 

Since many ask about the way I mess with the strengths of each play, this is a synopsis of what I do.

 

I will usually rank them 1 thru 5 smileys with the 4 and 5 smileys very infrequently. If there is no smiley listed than you can consider that anywhere from an opinion to 1 smiley. When playing on the totals I will almost always consider it an opinion. For the simple reason that I crunch numbers during bowl season and the side has a value outside of what is my opinion. The total is basically my opinion (which is what I do the remaining months of the year). The total is totally subjective. I usually will make the total play anywhere from 1/4 to 1/2 of the listed play. So if I am playing 300 on a game then the total would be anywhere from 75 to 150 if we were to put a numerical dollar value on it.

 

Please remember this is what I do, I am not getting paid to determine your money management or what you should be doing. Certainly you can play everything equal or you can follow the smileys. This is just my Bowl Express and sharing with everyone what I am doing for the most part.

 

 

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This is where I get started early on.

 

Here will be all the team strengths indicating what teams are the strongest plays based solely on the system and based on the current pointspread.

 

 

As the odds change so can the selection. There will be more in the coming weeks more analysis and capping for each game along with some totals (Over/Unders) which will be posted much closer to game time since weather and other developments effect the game.

 

 

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love the Aztecs play I don't really care about the spread........ they will destroy NAVY

For those interested in POWER RATINGS

 

 

 

The lower the number the stronger the ranking. These numbers will change slightly after the Army/Navy game. Please remember all the power ratings are a guide to what I do during bowl season. My picks are still going to be my picks and I may move away from certain plays when the time comes. Again I don't do this for a living, just sharing what I do as I have for the past couple decades.

 

 

TEAM / RANK

 

Michigan State 110

 

Marshall 125

 

Alabama 135

 

Ohio State 136

 

TCU 157

 

Baylor 179

 

Ole Miss 189

 

Clemson 193

 

Memphis 205

 

Georgia 211

 

Oregon 211

 

Boise State 224

 

Mississippi State 224

 

Louisville 225

 

Stanford 236

 

Miami Florida 242

 

East Carolina 245

 

Houston 246

 

LSU 259

 

Florida 259

 

Arkansas 260

 

Kansas State 260

 

Western Michigan 261

 

UCF 263

 

BYU 268

 

Colorado State 270

 

Oklahoma 270

 

Missouri 271

 

Nebraska 272

 

West Virginia 277

 

USC 279

 

Florida State 279

 

Auburn 283

 

Louisiana Tech 284

 

Boston College 286

 

Pittsburg 289

 

San Diego State 291

 

Iowa 296

 

Northern Illinois 308

 

Arkansas State 312

 

Duke 316

 

Central Michigan 317

 

Penn State 320

 

UCLA 321

 

Toledo 324

 

Georgia Tech 325

 

Arizona State 328

 

Virginia Tech 329

 

Utah State 333

 

Minnesota 335

 

Air Force 348

 

Arizona 358

 

Cincinnati 359

 

NC State 360

 

South Carolina 363

 

Notre Dame 363

 

Tennessee 369

 

Washington 373

 

Texas 376

 

Texas A&M 378

 

UTEP 396

 

Utah 400

 

Navy 403

 

LA-Lafayette 412

 

Rice 416

 

Western Kentucky 421

 

South Alabama 424

 

Nevada 439

 

Fresno State 463

 

North Carolina 480

 

Bowling Green 489

 

Maryland 495

 

Rutgers 496

 

Oklahoma State 505

 

Illinois 510

 

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BOWL SELECTIONS

In order of team to win by the most points based on power ratings

(Pointspreads are not involved)

 

This is used to determine money line plays, contest picks and plays not involving pointspreads

 

Remember these ratings will be adjusted after the Army/Navy game to a small degree

 

 

Team / Power Difference / Team They are Playing

 

 

Stanford 25.9 Maryland

 

Louisiana Tech 22.6 Illinois

 

Marshall 18.3 Northern Illinois

 

Boise State 13.4 Arizona

 

Washington 13.2 Oklahoma State

 

Colorado State 13.0 Utah

 

Miami Florida 12.1 South Carolina

 

Arkansas 11.6 Texas

 

San Diego 11.2 Navy

 

LSU 10.4 Notre Dame

 

Western Kentucky 10.4 Central Michigan

 

West Virginia 10.1 Texas A&M

 

Mississippi State 10.1 Georgia Tech

 

Wisconsin 9.9 Auburn

 

UCF 9.7 NC State

 

Western Michigan 8.7 Air Force

 

Clemson 7.7 Oklahoma

 

Iowa 7.3 Tennessee

 

Michigan State 6.9 Baylor

 

Oregon 6.8 Florida State

 

South Alabama 6.5 Bowling Green

 

Missouri 6.4 Minnesota

 

Utah State 6.3 UTEP

 

Memphis 6.3 BYU

 

Kansas State 6.1 UCLA

 

Rice 4.7 Fresno State

 

Houston 4.3 Pittsburg

 

Boston College 3.4 Penn State

 

TCU 3.2 Ole Miss

 

Virginia Tech 3.0 Cincinnati

 

La-Lafayette 2.7 Nevada

 

North Carolina 1.6 Rutgers

 

Georgia 1.4 Louisville

 

East Carolina 1.4 Florida

 

Duke 1.2 Arizona State

 

Arkansas State 1.2 Toledo

 

Nebraska 0.7 USC

 

Alabama 0.1 Ohio State

 

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R+L NEW ORLEANS BOWL

 

NEVADA vs LOUISIANA LAFAYETTE

Saturday, Dec. 20, 11:00 a.m.ET

ESPN

 

 

 

To kick off the 2014 college football bowl season, we get an interesting matchup between the 7-5 Nevada Wolfpack and the 8-4 Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns. both of these teams have been impressive at points this year, while other teams we've seen both falter. The Wolfpack come in with a 4-4 record in the Mountain West, while the Ragin' Cajuns finished 7-1 in the Sun Belt. This game will kickoff on Saturday, December 20th at 11:00am EST, and it will be aired on ESPN.

 

Wolfpack Have Solid Ground Attack

 

For the Wolfpack, it's going to be about their ability to run the ball. They rank 32nd overall in rushing yards per game at 215.2, and are actually led in rushing by their quarterback, Cody Fajardo. Fajardo not only has thrown for 2,374 yards and 18 touchdowns, but he's also rushed for 997 yards with 13 touchdowns. Don Jackson has also been a key part of the run game for the Wolfpack, as he's rushed for 932 yards and seven touchdowns, averaging 4.5 yards per carry on the year. Nevada has had some impressive games, including a close 35-28 loss to Arizona and a win over BYU. Nevada has not won a bowl game since back in 2010, and are looking to right the ship this year.

 

Ragin' Cajuns Look To Build on Bowl Success

 

Louisiana-Lafayette had an uphill climb to get to this point, as they started the year out 1-3, losing to both Ole Miss and Boise State. They went on to win seven of their last eight games, and leave them as an interesting pick for this matchup. The Ragin' Cajuns are led by Elijah McGuire, who has been an absolute force at times this season. He's rushed for 1,165 yards and 14 touchdowns, while averaging an incredible 7.8 yards per carry. He even posted 265 yards and four touchdowns in a single game. Louisiana-Lafayette has been incredibly successful in the past in bowl games, winning their previous three.

 

This is a tough one to call, but I'm rolling with the hot hand. The Ragin' Cajuns finished the year on a high note, while the Wolfpack actually lost two of their final three games. It's going to be a close one, and these two are actually incredibly evenly matched across the board. The Wolfpack average 197.8 passing yards and 215.2 rushing yards per game, while the Ragin' Cajuns average 188.9 passing and 228.4 rushing. Defensively, both allow over 30 points per game, so we could be in for a shootout. In the end, at this point I'm taking the Ragin' Cajuns and riding the hot hand as I have them winning the game by almost a field goal. Again check back closer to the game for any thoughts on the total and opinion on this game.

LOUISIANA-LAFAYETTE

Check back closer to game day for any changes to the spread and/or total prediction here and at the Spooky Express

 

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GILDAN NEW MEXICO BOWL

 

UTAH STATE vs UTEP

Saturday, Dec. 20, 2:20 p.m. ET

ESPN

 

 

 

 

It's that time of the year again. Christmas is near and the college football regular season has officially come to a close. This means one thing: it's time for some bowl game action. This year features a whopping 39 bowl games to choose from, and we're covering them all. One of the opening day bowls will include a matchup between the Utah State Aggies and the UTEP Miners. Both teams had some solid wins this year, and earned a bid into the Gildan New Mexico Bowl. This game kicks off on Saturday, December 20th at 2:20pm EST, and will be aired on ESPN. Let's take a more in-depth look at the matchup and give our prediction and pick.

 

Before we get to the picks, let's give a bit of background on the two teams. The Aggies enter this game with a 9-4 record, and finished with a 6-2 conference record in the Mountain West. The Miners on the other side finished at 7-5, with a 5-3 record in Conference USA, and open this game up as a big underdog to the talented Aggies.

 

Utah State Bounce Back Game

 

Utah State didn't exactly finish the year on a high note, losing to Boise State by a score of 50-19, but they were as hot as you can get before that, winning five games in a row, and allowing an average of just 13 points per game. Their defense was simply firing on all cylinders, and they are actually the 21st best in the entire country in points allowed per game at 20.8. If you want to look at some motivation for the Aggies, just look at the fact that they gave up that 50-point effort to the Broncos in the final game, and you should fully expect that they could be looking for a major bounce back effort.

 

First UTEP Bowl Game Since 2010

 

For the Miners, they had an up and down season, but were strong enough on the year to earn their first bowl bid since 2010. This is actually just their fifth bowl since 2000, and their impressive turnaround from a 2-10 record last year to a 7-5 record this year is a hot topic around town currently. This is a UTEP team riding emotion and excitement heading into this bowl game, and a win would be their first time reaching eight victories since 2005. UTEP is led by their talented sophomore running back Aaron Jones, who actually ranks 23rd in the nation in terms of rushing yards per game at 112.1. In total, he ran for 1,233 yards with 11 touchdowns. He also caught three touchdowns, and will be a focal point of this offense.

 

Now, it's time to get to the pick for this one, and while Utah State has a ridiculously talented defense, I don't believe UTEP will give away too much here. Senior quarterback Jameill Showers has only five interceptions on the year, and three of them came in one tough game. Add in the fact that the Miners are likely to focus in on giving Jones the ball as much as possible, and I think we see UTEP keep this one close right down to the finish. We have Utah State winning by about a touchdown. Not a strong play at this time but I'll take the big points and assess my selection closer to kickoff.

UTEP

Check back closer to game day for any changes to the spread and/or total prediction here and at the Spooky Express

 

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ROYAL PURPLE LAS VEGAS BOWL

 

UTAH vs COLORADO STATE

Saturday, Dec. 20, 3:30 p.m. ET

ABC

 

 

 

The college football bowl action starts off the opening day from Las Vegas, with the Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl. In terms of interesting matchups for the opening day, this one may take the cake. Utah comes in as the 22nd ranked team in the countr, but the Rams have been incredibly strong this year, already earning 10 wins on the year. This game gets underway at 3:30pm EST, and will be aired on ABC. Let's get to the breakdown of the matchup, and also give the prediction and pick here.

 

Utah Bowl Ready

 

For the Utes, they were likely expecting a different finish to their year, after starting off 6-1, but they ended the year on a bit of a sour note, losing three of their last five games. While they played some tough competition in Arizona State, Oregon and Arizona (all losses) over that span, it left them with an 8-4 record, and a 5-4 Pac-12 conference record. While Utah may have finished 8-4, they got some impressive wins as well, taking down UCLA and USC. These wins obviously can't be overlooked, and add on the fact that Utah missed a bowl game in each of the last two seasons, and they have plenty to play for.

 

Colorado State Can Do It All

 

Colorado State had a whopping two losses all season. The first one came to a strong Boise State team 37-24 in the second week of the season, while the other one was a tough 27-24 loss against Air Force. Both of those teams ended the year with strong records, as Boise is 11-2 and Air Force is 9-3. In between those two losses, Colorado State racked up nine straight wins, and are led by a combination of a great passing game and great rushing game. Basically, this team can do it all. They are 8th in the entire country in passing yards at 326.3 per game, and average 171.6 yards per game on the ground. The Rams were so good this year, that they just lost head coach Jim McElwain to Florida!

 

Well, it says Utes on paper as the favorite, but I think the wrong team may be getting the love here. The Rams are led by three ridiculously talented offensive playres in Garrett Grayson, who has thrown 32 touchdowns to just six interceptions, running back Dee Hart (16 touchdowns with a 6.7 YPC average) and wide out Rashard Higgins, who has hauled in 89 passes for 1,640 yards and 17 touchdowns. Want more? The Rams allow just 23.4 points per game, which is 34th best in the country. I'll take the Rams to win it outright in one of our bigger plays of the bowl season at this point. Can you say money line dog!

 

COLORADO STATE

 

 

 

Check back closer to game day for any changes to the spread and/or total prediction here and at the Spooky Express

 

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FAMOUS IDAHO POTATO BOWL

 

WESTERN MICHIGAN vs AIR FORCE

Saturday, Dec. 20, 5:45 p.m. ET

ESPN

 

 

 

Some great bowl games are filling up the opening day of bowl action, and this is just one of the many. The Famous Idaho Potato Bowl features two intriguing teams in the Western Michigan Broncos, against the Air Force Falcons. This will be an early-evening kickoff, as it's set for Saturday, December 20th at 5:45pm EST, and will be aired on ESPN. Interestingly, both the Broncos and the Falcons had similar runs to finish out the year, and that'll likely be the talking point heading into this game. Let's take a look at the breakdown of these two teams and give a prediction and pick.

 

Western Michigan Led By Freshman Franklin

 

Western Michigan finished the year up with an 8-4 record, while going 6-2 in the MAC. They had an up and down start to the year, going 2-3 over their first five, but finished the year up on a hot note, winning six in a row at one point, and six of their final seven. Their lone loss came against a Northern Illinois team who finished 11-2 in the final game of the year, 31-21. What many are saying about this Broncos team is obvious, as they made an amazing turnaround from last year, when they were 1-11. The key to the turnaround? Well, many things factored in, but freshman running back Jarvion Franklin has to be considered as a large reason for it. He was the MAC Offensive Player of the Year, rushing fomr 1,525 yards, and scoring 24 touchdowns.

 

Air Force Attacks on the Ground

 

Now for that talented Air Force team. They had a hot finish to their year as well, winning four in a row and five of their last six games. Not only that, but this team defeated both Nevada and Colorado State down the home stretch, making their finish even more impressive. The Broncos weren't the only team to turn things around from a tough 2013, as the Falcons finished 2-10 last year, making a complete 180 themselves. Air Force has gotten it done in many ways offensively, but running back Jacobi Owens has rushed for 1,054 yards, and quarterback Kale Pearson has also tacked on 646 yards on the ground as well. Pearson has passed for 14 touchdowns as well, showing that he's a truly talented dual-threat option.

 

The Broncos are getting some love in this game, and it's for good reason. Both teams have strong running games and have done well on the defensive side of the ball. I think the difference comes down to Western Michigan's ability to air it out consistently, as quarterback Zach Terrell has thrown for 3,146 yards and 23 touchdowns on the year. Western Michigan gets it done and wins this game by more than a touchdown!

WESTERN MICHIGAN BRONCOS

 

 

 

Check back closer to game day for any changes to the spread and/or total prediction here and at the Spooky Express

 

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RAYCOM MEDIA CAMELLIA BOWL

 

SOUTH ALABAMA vs BOWLING GREEN

Saturday, Dec. 20, 9:15 p.m. ET

ESPN

 

 

 

 

 

 

To wrap up on the opening day of college football bowl games, the South Alabama Jaguars are taking on the Bowling Green Falcons. These two teams both had tough finishes to the 2014 season (more below), but they are looking to finish up their year on a high note. This game will kick off on Saturday, December 20th at 9:15pm EST, and will be aired on ESPN. Let's take an in-depth look at the game, as well as give a pick. Currently, the Jaguars have opened up as small favorites.

 

Run First for South Alabama

 

Speaking of those Jaguars, they finished the year at 6-6, and went 5-3 in the Sun Belt Conference. South Alabama had a nice start to the year, but finished it up by losing four of their final five games, including a two-point loss to the Navy Midshipmen. Not many know the story behind South Alabama, who didn't even have a football program until five years ago. They moved to the FBS in 2012, and are led by an NFL prospect at the quarterback position in Brandon Bridge. The Jaguars are a run-first team, rushing 124 more times than they did pass, but Bridge has still managed 1,648 yards and 14 passing touchdowns, as well as three rushing touchdowns.

 

Bowling Green Loaded With Young Talent

 

As for the Falcons, they have quite a bit of talent, and some young talent as well. Freshman wide out Roger Lewis is going to be the man to watch in this game, as he's hauled in 69 catches for 956 yards and five touchdowns this year. For Bowling Green, their story is similar to South Alabama's, as they actually lost their last three games of the 2014 season. Sophomore quarterback James Knapke has been asked to air it out quite a bit this year, and finished with 2,805 yards with 13 touchdowns, but 12 interceptions as well. He'll likely be asked to lead the charge in this one.

 

It's tough to not imagine the emotion that this South Alabama team will be playing with. They have so much emotion and reason to be hyped up about this game, as it's their first ever bowl game. While Bowling Green has been solid this year, I think South Alabama's defense is simply going to get it done against the Falcons. This year, the Jaugars allowed just 25.8 points per game, while the Falcons allowed 33.9, a stat which will come into play. South Alabama to win by a touchdown.

 

South Alabama Jaguars

 

 

 

Check back closer to game day for any changes to the spread and/or total prediction here and at the Spooky Express

 

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MIAMI BEACH BOWL

 

BYU vs MEMPHIS

Monday, Dec. 22, 2:00 p.m.ET

ESPN

 

 

 

 

 

We’re taking our talents to Miami Beach. Or, at least the BYU Cougars and Memphis Tigers are. These two strong programs are set to square off in the Miami Beach Bowl to kick off the second day of the bowl action, on Monday, December 22nd. If you have to work, here’s to hoping you can stream it through your phone, because this game kicks off at 2:00pm EST, and will be aired on ESPN. The Cougars and Tigers both had similar roads to get to this point, but it was mostly about how these two teams finished the year that leaves us the most impressed. Let’s take a look at both teams, and also give a prediction and pick on what should be a great early bowl-season matchup.

 

BYU Been Slumping a Bit

 

The Cougars come into this game with an 8-4 record, but it wasn’t easy getting there. While they started the year off 4-0, they dropped their next four games, and all of the sudden their bowl hopes were a bit up in the air. The Cougars turned it on when it mattered most, though, as they reeled off four straight wins to end the year on an incredibly high note. This team does quite a bit well, and they even rallied back after losing star quarterback Taysom Hill to a broken leg. When Hill went down, it was Mitch Mathews who stepped up, as the receiver has 840 yards and eight touchdowns on the year. Christian Stewart has stepped in for Hill, and he’s done a beautiful job for this Cougars’ offense, posting 22 touchdowns to just six interceptions, which includes a brutal first game, where he threw three interceptions in a loss.

 

Defense is Key for Memphis

 

As for the Tigers, this team is simply a defensive juggernaut. They have stepped up huge on the defensive side of the ball, and rank 5th nationally in points per game allowed at just 17.1. While Memphis started the year out 3-3, they reeled off six straight wins to finish out the year with an impressive 9-3 record, and a 7-1 conference record, which was good enough to claim their first conference title since 1971. Memphis will look to sophomore quarterback Paxton Lynch in this game to continue his incredibly impressive year, as he’s thrown for 2,725 yards with 18 touchdowns, while also rushing for 283 yards and 10 touchdowns. His touchdown total actually set the school record for most touchdowns by a player in a season. Lynch is simply on fire right now, and he could be a matchup nightmare, even for a talented BYU defense.

 

Interesting spot here, as these two teams are a pickem, and on paper that’s probably the right line to put out. With that said, when you pair the Tigers’ ridiculous defense with the fact that they are led by a quarterback who is rolling along the way that Lynch is, it’s a dangerous combination. I think that Memphis gets the job done and makes a statement in a big way with this win. After four straight losing seasons where the team won just 10 total games, expect the Tigers to end this season on a very high note and win this game by a touchdown.

Memphis Tigers

 

 

Check back closer to game day for any changes to the spread and/or total prediction here and at the Spooky Express

 

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BOCA RATON BOWL

 

MARSHALL vs NORTHERN ILLINOIS

Tuesday, Dec. 23, 6:00 p.m.ET

ESPN

 

 

 

 

I mean it in the most honest of ways when I say that this game between the Marshall Thundering Herd and the Northern Illinois Huskies in the Boca Raton Bowl, could very well end up being one of the best games of the bowl season. These two teams are both incredibly talented, have some serious playmakers, and are going to make for an exciting game to watch. Heck, just look at Marshall’s lone loss this season, a 67-66 overtime loss to Western Kentucky, and even that one was an amazing game to watch. This game will kick off on Tuesday, December 23rd at 6:00pm EST, and will be aired on ESPN. Let’s look at each team and give a prediction and pick on the matchup.

 

Dominating Season for Marshall

 

The Thundering Herd have literally been dominant this season. They rank 18th in passing yards per game (287.8), 7th in rushing yards per game (275.6), 5th in points per game (45.1) and their defense has allowed just 20.8 points per game, which is good for 22nd in the entire country. They do a little bit of everything, which explains why they were 12-1, with a 7-1 Conference USA record. Rakeem Cato is the man to watch in this game, as he’s been absolutely dominant for his second straight season. He’s thrown for 3,622 yards with 37 touchdowns this season, and has now thrown for 30 or more touchdowns in three straight seasons.

 

Northern Solid on Both Sides of the Ball

 

Let’s not forget about how good Northern Illinois has been this year, as the Huskies’ 11-2 record, and 7-1 conference record in the MAC is no joke. They not only are 14th best in the nation in rushing, averaging 252.9 yards per game, but they average 32.2 points per game, and only give up 23.6 per game defensively. They finished the year by rolling off seven straight, and are now set up for a great matchup against a talented opponent. The Huskies are led by the talented wide out Da’Ron Brown, who has hauled in 64 catches for 1,002 yards and seven total touchdowns. He’ll be the player to watch for this offense, without question.

 

With all due respect to the Huskies, I truly believe that the Thundering Herd are going to come out and make a statement. I figured Marshall could be favored by even more than this, and I strongly believe the the senior QB, Cato, goes out on the highest of notes, while putting up a big bowl victory and drawing even more attention to himself heading into his NFL push. Marshall has so much talent on both sides of the ball and we're taking them to win by 3+ touchdowns in this one!

Marshall Thundering Herd

Check back closer to game day for any changes to the spread and/or total prediction here and at the Spooky Express

 

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SAN DIEGO COUNTY CREDIT UNION POINSETTIA BOWL

 

NAVY vs SAN DIEGO STATE

Tuesday, Dec. 23, 9:30 p.m. ET

ESPN

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the second, and final game of the Tuesday, December 23rd bowl action, the Navy Midshipmen are going to be taking on an intriguing San Diego State Aztec team. Both of these teams made solid cases to be bowl-bound this year, but it took some strong late season play from both sides to find themselves playing in the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl. Kickoff for this one is set for 9:30pm EST, and will be played at Qualcomm Stadium. Let’s take an in-depth look at the matchup, and of course give a prediction and pick on the game.

 

Navy Sneaks Into Bowl Game

 

For the Midshipmen, it was back-to-back wins over Georgia Southern (9-3) and South Alabama (6-6 and bowl bound) in two of their end of the season games that sealed their bowl fate. They were 4-5 before that point, and after dominating Georgia Southern 52-19, they pulled off a close one 42-40 against South Alabama. The Midshipmen are one of the best rushing teams in the entire country, as they run that always-frustrating triple-option offense, which has led to them posting a ridiculous 357.8 yards per game on the ground, ranking them second in the entire nation. They’ve also averaged 34.5 points per game as well. The man to watch for the Midshipmen? It has to be quarterback Keenan Reynolds, he’s leading the nation at the QB position in terms of rushing yards and touchdowns, with 1,082 yards and 20 touchdowns, even though he’s missed two games.

 

San Diego State Used to Coming From Behind

 

Now, how about the Aztecs, who finished the year up 7-5, with a 5-3 record in the Mountain West. They also won two straight at the end of the year, both in dominant fashion. They beat Air Force 30-14 to become bowl eligible, and then San Jose State 38-7 to grab their seventh win of the year. This team is also strong running the ball, as they average 218.6 yards per game, ranking them 30th in college football. Possibly the most impressive stat when looking at the Aztecs is that they are ranked 14th nationally in points allowed per game at just 20.1. Interesting stat? This San Diego State team saw all seven of their wins come by double digits.

 

The man to watch in this game is Aztec’s running back Donnel Pumphrey. He’s rushed for 1,761 yards and 19 touchdowns, and is third in the entire nation in rushing yards. He’s also just 82 yards away from breaking George Jones’ single-season school rushing mark. Expect Pumphrey to come out look to make a statement, and I do believe that this Aztecs team ends up being too much when all is said and done. San Diego State's strong defense will prepare the right way for the triple-option, and will put up a major fight. San Diego State should win by double digits around 11 points. Will have to return and make a final determination once the pointspread is determined.

San Diego State Aztecs

 

 

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POPEYES BAHAMAS BOWL

 

CENTRAL MICHIGAN vs WESTERN KENTUCKY

Wednesday, Dec. 24, 12:00 p.m. ET

ESPN

 

 

Welcome to the bowl action on Wednesday, December 24th, and the action will kick off on Christmas Eve at Noon with the Central Michigan Chippewas against the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers. These two teams should be set for quite an interesting matchup, and while Western Kentucky comes in as the early favorite, the Chippewas have a talented defense that could slow down this Hilltoppers team. Let’s take a look at this matchup and give a prediction and pick on our first of two Christmas Eve bowl games.

 

Chippewas Excited for Bowl Opportunity

 

The Chippewas come into this one with a 7-5 record, while posting a 5-3 MAC record. They won three of their final four games to end up bowl bound, and a large key to their success has been the fact that they’ve allowed just 23.2 points per game on average through 2014. Central Michigan has given a warm welcome to the Michigan transfer, Thomas Rawls, who has run for 1,103 yards, and he even missed two games this year as well. He’s averaged 23.3 carries per game, so we should expect to see a whole lot of Rawls on Christmas Eve. Central Michigan has plenty to be excited about, as this is just their second bowl game in the past five years, but they did finish 6-6 last year. Look for the Chippewas to be hungry in this game.

 

Western Kentucky Loaded with Talent

 

For Western Kentucky, they finished the year up at 7-5 with a 4-4 Conference USA record, but no win was more impressive than their very last one. They knocked off then-ranked Marshall 67-66 in an overtime thriller, and this team reeled off four straight to finish the year. They have some serious talent on this roster, including quarterback Brandon Doughty, who has been absolutely ridiculous. The senior quarterback has thrown for 4,344 yards and 44 touchdowns, including an eight-touchdown performance against the Thundering Herd. We also can’t overlook Leon Allen, who has rushed for 1,490 yards and 12 touchdowns on the year, giving plenty of talent in the run game to work well with this passing game.

 

Pick for Popeyes Bahamas Bowl

 

This Hilltoppers team is seriously dangerous. They average 44 points per game on the year, which is sixth best in the country, while also averaging 365 passing yard per game, which is third best in the nation. The defense is the problem, as they give up 39.3 points per game, but I think the offense will be able to do more than enough to walk away with a win here, and I see it coming by around double-digits.

 

Western Kentucky Hilltoppers

 

 

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SHERATON HAWAII BOWL

 

FRESNO STATE vs RICE

Wednesday, Dec. 24, 8:00 p.m. ET

ESPN

 

 

In the 2014 Hawaii Bowl, which will cap off our Christmas Eve college football bowl action, the Fresno State Bulldogs will square off against a team who has similar team stats to them, in the Rice Owls. It should make for quite the interesting matchup, and this game will kickoff on the day before Christmas at 8:00pm EST, and will be nationally aired on ESPN. Let’s take a look at the breakdown between these two teams, and also give a prediction and pick on the matchup, which on paper should be quite a close one. Just because it looks close on paper though, will it end up being close? Let’s do it.

 

Waller Leads the Charge for Fresno State

 

The Fresno State Bulldogs come in, interestingly with a 6-7 record, due to the fact that they lost the Mountain West Conference championship game, after winning the Mountain West Conference’s Western Division. How they did it though, that’s the impressive part. This team started out 3-6, but they put together three impressive wins in a row to become bowl eligible and make the conference championship. One of those three wins came against a strong Nevada team, who is also bowl-bound, and they took them down 40-20. Marteze Waller, the junior running back, has been a huge part of this team in 2014, rushing for 1,292 yards and 11 touchdowns, and he’ll be a man to watch in this matchup.

 

Rice Comes In Hot

 

As for Rice, this is a team who started out 0-3 with some tough losses, but reeled off six straight wins, and also won seven of their last eight games, with the two losses coming against bowl teams in Marshall and Louisiana Tech. Offensively, the Owls are led by junior quarterback Driphus Jackson, who has thrown for 2,524 yards and 21 touchdowns, while also rushing for 360 yards and a touchdown. He’s also only thrown eight interceptions on the year. The Owls finished the year 7-5, with a 5-3 Conference USA record. Obviously this team will be focused in on trying to get to eight wins, and it’s worth noting that hitting the eight win mark for the Owls has only happened 10 times in school history. They’re heading in the right direction though, as they won the C-USA title in 2013, and finished a game away from winning the West this year.

 

Hawaii Bowl Pick

 

 

I think that Rice simply wins this one by more than field goal, and if they’re getting points than this can make for a great money line underdog. These teams are so close in terms of numbers across the board, including passing yards per game, rushing yards per game, and points for/against. I think that it should be a great game, but Rice is the better team on this one. I’m going with the Owls to get the job done and as always check back prior to the game for any update or thoughts on the total.

 

RICE OWLS

 

 

 

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ZAXBY’S HEART OF DALLAS BOWL

 

ILLINOIS vs LOUISIANA TECH

Friday, Dec. 26, 1:00 p.m. ET

ESPN

 

 

It’s go-time for the post-Christmas bowls, and there are plenty that jump out on paper. One game that should be interesting is the first of the many, which is the Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl. This game will be played on December 26th, and will kickoff at 1:00pm EST. It is set to be nationally aired on ESPN, and features two teams in the Illinois Fighting Illini and Louisiana Tech Bulldogs, who took two completely different roads to get to this point. Let’s look at the matchup and breakdown the prediction and pick here.

 

Illini Sneak In But Have Momentum

 

The Fighting Illini were forced to win their final two games of the season just to become bowl eligible, but they got the job done, knocking off the Penn State Nittany Lions and Northwestern Wildcats. Illinois definitely has the momentum to make this game a great one to watch, and possibly pull off the upset, but they’ll have their work cut out for them, as they rank 108th in points against per game at 33.9. They’ll look to freshman wide out Mike Dudek to continue his impressive year, as he caught 69 passes for 965 yards and six touchdowns on the year.

 

Dixon Looks to Lead Team to Bowl Victory

 

Now for the Bulldogs, who have had an incredibly impressive season, finishing 8-5, while going 7-1 in Conference USA play. They knocked of five teams who were bowl eligible out of their eight games as well, and while they simply shouldn’t have lost to FCS Northwestern State early on, they bounced back nicely. This team ended up losing to a very talented Marshall team in the C-USA championship game, but they’ll look to bounce back and end their year with a bowl win. Kenneth Dixon is the man to watch for the Bulldogs, as he’s scored a touchdown in every game except for the season opener, and has 21 touchdowns on the year.

Pick

 

 

The Bulldogs come into this game as close to a touchdown favorite, and I think this is the team who gets the job done in the Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl. Why, you ask? Well, this is a Bulldogs’ team who leads the nation with 40 takeaways on the year, so their defense has done a great job of getting the ball back into the offenses hands. Tack on the fact that this is just the fourth time that the Bulldogs have made a bowl in 20 years, and I fully expect them to end their year on a high note. We actually expect this team to win by more than three touchdowns, and while that may sound crazy, this is one of the best bets of the entire bowl season.

Louisiana Tech

 

 

 

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QUICK LANE BOWL

 

RUTGERS vs NORTH CAROLINA

Friday, Dec. 26, 4:30 p.m. ET

ESPN

 

 

In the second game of the day after Christmas, the Rutgers Scarlet Knights and North Carolina Tar Heels will be squaring off in the Quick Lane Bowl. This game will be played at 4:30pm EST, and will be aired on ESPN. Both of these teams had some solid wins on their resume, but had interesting routes to get to where they are. The Scarlet Knights ended the year with a 7-5 record, but went just 3-5 in the Big Ten. The Tar Heels finished the year up at 6-6, and went 4-4 in ACC play. Rutgers had quite a few shootouts, but both of these teams are capable of passing the ball. Let’s look more at each team and give the prediction and pick here.

 

Carolina Coming Into Bowl Game Hot

 

The Tar Heels lost four straight games at one point, and over that span they gave up 70, 50, 34 and 50 points. The turned it around when it mattered most, though, and won four of their final six games in order to lock up bowl eligibility. One of those wins came against a strong Duke Blue Devils team, and they also knocked off a top 15 team in the country in the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets as well. This team has the upside when they are on their game, and we should keep an eye out for quarterback Marquise Williams, who has made a major splash throwing for 2,870 yards, rushing for 737 yards and racking up 32 total touchdowns.

 

Rutgers Surprising Outsiders

 

In all honesty, not many expected Rutgers to make it to a bowl game this year, but they got it done when it mattered most, even though that sixth win came right after a three-game losing streak and a 37-0 loss to Wisconsin. They also ended the year on a high note by knocking off Maryland, another bowl-bound team in the final game of the year. Gary Nova has done a solid job through the air for this team, throwing for 2,667 yards and 20 touchdowns, while also taking full advantage of a talented wide out in Leonte Carroo, who averages close to 20 yards per catch, finished the year with 1,043 yards and caught 10 touchdowns.

PICK

 

 

This is a very, very tough game to call, and with the Tar Heels only laying a field goal, it’s not the best bet either way currently. While we expect Rutgers to be right there with the Heels, they could obviously pull the upset. We’ll come back closer to game time with a pick, but for now I’d be looking at the Scarlet Knights as the bet if I can get more than a field goal but will sit tight for the time being.

Rutgers / North Carolina TBD

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BITCOIN ST. PETERSBURG BOWL

 

NC STATE vs UCF

Friday, Dec. 26, 8:00 p.m. ET

ESPN

 

 

 

The 2014 BITCOIN St. Petersburg Bowl features two teams who both finished their year on a very high note. The NC State Wolfpack rounded out their season by dominating their biggest rival, the UNC Tar Heels 35-7, while the Central Florida Knights knocked off a very talented ECU Pirates team on a miracle hail mary as time expired. Quite a way to end the season for both sides, and now they meet the day after Christmas, on Friday the 26th at 8:00pm EST. This game will be aired on ESPN, and it’s time to breakdown the matchup and give a prediction and pick.

 

Brissett Leading the Way Through the Air

 

The Wolfpack have to be loving their transfer quarterback Jacoby Brissett, who came over from Florida and finds himself in elite company. He is now one of only three quarterbacks in the nation to throw 20+ touchdowns, rush for 300+ yards and have no more than five interceptions on the year. He’s done great at protecting the ball, and the Wolfpack have taken quite a bit of pressure off of his arm at the end of the year, as they’ve ran the ball great with Shadrach Thornton and company. The Wolfpack average 206 yards per game on the ground, and that’ll be their focus in this matchup.

 

Central Florida Boasts Top 10 Defense In Country

 

For the Knights, sophomore quarterback Justin Holman has had a nice year, tossing for 2,661 yards and 20 touchdowns. While the offense hasn’t blown us away, they haven’t had to. Why you ask? Well, this defense is one of the best in the entire country. They allow just 17.9 points per game, which is the ninth fewest in the entire country. They are led by linebacker Terrance Plummer, who has had some huge games, and currently leads the team with 92 tackles not he year. Central Florida lost just one game after starting 0-2 by losing to Penn State (by two) and Missouri, and they’ll look to continue their hot run.

PICK

 

 

The Knights are small favorites here, but I think their defense will just be too much for the Wolfpack. The Pack don’t have the type of pass game that can truly make life very tough on their opponent, and that’s what they’d need here. Central Florida wins this game by more than a touchdown, and I think this could end up being a very solid bet in the upcoming bowl season. One of the better bets of bowl season, take them on the moneyline regardless.

Central Florida Knights

 

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MILITARY BOWL

 

CINCINNATI vs VIRGINIA TECH

Saturday, Dec. 27, 1:00 p.m. ET

ESPN

 

 

The Cincinnati Bearcats and Virginia Tech Hokies took very different routes to make it to a bowl game in 2014. The Bearcats, who finished the year up at 9-3, with a 7-1 conference record, rallied off an impressive finish to the year, and their bowl eligibility was locked in as of the middle of November. For the Hokies, they finished the year up 6-6 with a 3-5 ACC record, and locked up their bowl eligibility in the final game of the season, a 24-20 win over the Virginia Cavaliers. This game will get underway on Saturday, December 27th at 1:00pm EST, and will be aired on ESPN.

 

Bearcats Offense Ready for Bowl Action

 

The Bearcats started the year out 2-0, but then dropped three straight against current bowl teams, and the concern was on. Fortunately for the Bearcats, Gunner Kiel and company turned it around quickly, reeling off seven straight wins, including an impressive win over the East Carolina Pirates. Speaking of Kiel, he’s been a huge part of the team’s success, throwing for 3,010 yards and 30 touchdowns, and this team ranks 13th in the nation with 300.2 passing yards per game. They also have very little problem scoring, averaging 35.4 points per game, which ranks 26th in the country.

 

Crazy Year for Virginia Tech

 

For the Hokies, it’s been a wild ride. They lost to the same ECU team that Cincinnati beat, 28-21, while showing major signs of turning the corner at times. They actually defeated current CFB Playoff team Ohio State, showing exactly the upside that this team has. The Hokies also knocked off North Carolina and Duke, but lost to Wake Forest along the way. Their defense will be the talking point, as they allowed just 20.4 points per game this season, good for 17th best in the nation. Offensively, it’s going to be a team living or dying by quarterback Michael Brewer. When he’s good, he’s very good, but when he struggles, it’s bad. He’s thrown for 2,598 yards and 17 touchdowns, but also has 14 interceptions on the year.

PICK

 

It’s interesting, because sometimes the records don’t tell the full story. The Hokies had the one bad loss to Wake Forest, but aside from that, they lost to Georgia Tech, ECU, Pittsburgh, Miami and Boston College. All of which are not bad losses. They’ve also showed how good they can be with that 35-21 win over Ohio State. Do we see good or bad Hokie football? I think we see the good, and they get the job done, making them an interesting money line underdog bet here. I see them winning this game by a field goal. Lets take the points and check back closer to the game.

VIRGINIA TECH HOKIES

 

 

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HYUNDAI SUN BOWL

 

ARIZONA STATE vs DUKE

Saturday, Dec. 27, 2:00 p.m. ET

CBS

 

As one of the early games for the action on December 27th, this game should pick up quite a bit of attention. While the Duke Blue Devils fell off a bit at the end of the year, they still ended with an impressive 9-3 record, going 5-3 in the ACC. The Arizona State Sun Devils on the other side went 9-3 on the year, finishing with a 6-3 Pac-12 record. Both teams had strong years, and I can’t imagine much of a more interesting match-up in this year’s Sun Bowl. Let’s get into the matchup and give a prediction and pick between these two talented teams.

 

 

Questions at QB for Arizona State

 

 

The Sun Devils have a whole lot of talent, but the question is, who is their quarterback? Both Taylor Kelly and Mike Bercovici have received their moment in the sun, but neither has apparently taken over the job completely, as both players are getting in on the action. Bercovici has thrown for 1,445 yards, 12 touchdowns and four picks, while Kelly has had a strong year with 1,874 yards, 20 touchdowns and five picks. Well, the good news is that whoever is throwing the ball, gets to throw it to wide out Jaelen Strong, who is an absolutely incredibly talented receiver. Strong hauled in 75 receptions for 1,062 yards and 10 touchdowns this year, helping to fuel an offense which ranks 18th in the nation with 37 points per game.

 

 

Crowder Leads a Talented Duke Group

 

 

For Duke, they were the favorites to take on Florida State in the ACC Championship game, but after slip-ups against Virginia Tech and North Carolina, they found themselves on the outside looking in. This team still has a ton of talent, and they do many things well, but their defense is incredibly good. They allow just 20.6 points per game, and gave up more than 25 points just twice all season. The man to watch on this offense is Jamison Crowder, who could actually break both school and ACC records with this game. He’s just incredibly talented, and caught 78 passes for 942 yards and six touchdowns on the year.

PICK

 

 

There’s something strange about this game. Arizona State is getting a whole lot of love, but I think Duke isn’t getting the respect they deserve. Dave Cutcliffe is one of the best coaches in the country, and he’s going to have his team ready for this matchup. I think the Sun Devils’ offense gets slowed down quite a bit, and Duke either keeps it very close, or possibly pulls off the upset. I like this bet quite a bit, lets roll with the underdog here, take the points in a battle to the end.

DUKE BLUE DEVILS

 

 

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DUCK COMMANDER INDEPENDENCE BOWL

 

MIAMI vs SOUTH CAROLINA

Saturday, Dec. 27, 3:30 p.m. ET

ABC

 

 

If you want a pre-New Years bowl that has two big-time programs squaring off, then look no further than the Miami Hurricanes against the South Carolina Gamecocks on Saturday, December 27th at 3:30pm EST. The game will be aired on ABC, and it features two teams who, in all honesty, really underperformed in their 2014 campaigns. Both schools had high hopes entering the year, but both ended with 6-6 records and went 3-5 in conference play as well. Let’s look at this matchup and give a prediction and pick on what should still be a great game to watch.

 

 

Miami Struggling Down the Stretch

 

 

The Hurricanes come in as a team who badly, badly needs to right the ship. After picking up a few wins against bowl eligible teams in Arkansas State, Duke, Cincinnati, Virginia Tech and North Carolina, they lost their final three games of the season to end the year on a very sour note. The good news for the Hurricanes is that they have a very talented freshman quarterback in Brad Kaaya, who should be fun to watch for years to come. He threw for 2,962 yards and 25 touchdowns in his firs tear, while getting picked off 11 times. The man to watch in this game though has to be Duke Johnson. Johnson is a complete stud, and he’s averaged 7 YPC on the year, while rushing for 1,520 yards and 10 touchdowns.

 

 

South Carolina Looking Forward to Bowl Game

 

 

After a midseason stretch in which the Gamecocks lost four of five games, and their only win came against Furman, they beat two bowl teams in Florida and South Alabama to lock up bowl eligibility. Their final game? Well, that was the toughest for fans to swallow, as they lost to their biggest rival, the Clemson Tigers, 35-17. While the Gamecocks have struggled defensively this year, allowing 31.2 points per game, they’ve scored 33.3 per game, which is 37th best in the country. Their passing game has been the focus, as they’ve thrown for 281.4 yards per game on average, and are led by Dylan Thompson who tossed for 3,280 yards and 24 touchdowns, as well as the incredibly talented wide out, Pharoh Cooper, racked up 966 yards and eight touchdowns on the year.

 

PICK

 

 

The Hurricanes may be listed as small favorites in this one, but I love this game. I think Miami rolls right through and makes a statement against the Gamecocks. Look for Johnson to run all over South Carolina, and have a huge game in what could potentially end up being his final college game. Miami wins this game by double digits.

 

MIAMI HURRICANES

 

 

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NEW ERA PINSTRIPE BOWL

 

BOSTON COLLEGE vs PENN STATE

Saturday, Dec. 27, 4:30 p.m. ET

ESPN

 

 

Welcome back to bowl eligibility, Penn State. The Nittany Lions have to be fired up that they get to head back to a bowl this season, and it’s a very interesting one, as they take on a talented Boston College Eagles’ team, who was just barely beaten on a last second field goal by FSU, and also defeated the USC Trojans this year. While the Nittany Lions ended up at 6-6 overall and just 2-6 in Big Ten play, they were bowl eligible with two games left in the season. For Boston College, they finished 7-5 and went 4-4 in an interesting ACC. This game will be played on Saturday, December 27th at 4:30pm EST on ESPN. Let’s check out the matchup and give a pick!

 

Defense Key for Boston College

 

The Eagles are led by the talented dual-threat quarterback Tyler Murphy, who transferred in from Florida. He’s had one incredibly impressive year, as he topped 1,000 yards rushing (1,079), with 10 touchdowns, and also tossed 11 touchdowns as well. Murphy is incredibly talented, and this is a team that relies heavily on their run game. They rank 15th in the nation with 251.8 yards per game, but they’ve also had an incredible defense on the year. They’ve given up an average of 20.5 points, which is the 18th best in the country.

 

Penn State Dangerous In Bowl Game

 

For Penn State, they started out 4-0 and were feeling good, but then dropped four straight games, including a double-overtime loss to Ohio State and a one point loss to Maryland. They won back-to-back after that to earn bowl eligibility, but after losing two straight to end they year, they are looking to get that sour taste out of their mouth. There are some serious question about this offense, but they average 221.9 passing yards per game. The truly impressive aspect of this Nittany Lion’s team is their defense. They allow 17.7 points per game, which is the eighth best in the country, making them a dangerous opponent for anyone.

 

PICK

 

 

It’s a tough call, but while I do believe Boston College wins the game here, I think it’s safer just to take them on the money line and not lay any points. The combination of their incredible run game, mixed with a defense who should completely shut down the Penn State offense makes for an interesting bet, and I’m rolling with the Eagles in a very close game.

 

BOSTON COLLEGE

 

 

 

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NATIONAL UNIVERSITY HOLIDAY BOWL

 

NEBRASKA vs USC

Saturday, Dec. 27, 8:00 p.m. ET

ESPN

 

 

 

The Nebraska Cornhuskers are simply surrounded by drama currently, as head coach Bo Pelini has been fired, and he’s also been firing shots at the Cornhuskers’ AD as well. That’s all just side noise at this point though, as the Cornhuskers have to prepare for an interesting bowl game against the USC Trojans on Saturday, December 27th. This one is the National University Holiday Bowl, and is set to kick off at 8:00pm EST, while airing on ESPN. both teams are looking to end the year on a high note after solid (but below average) seasons, so let’s look at who gets the job done in this one.

 

Nebraska Representing Big 10

 

The Cornhuskers finished the year up at 9-3 overall with a 5-3 Big Ten record, but that wasn’t enough to keep Pelini his job. This team put up some major points, averaging 37.4 per game, while running the ball insanely well all season. They are 17th in rushing yards per game at 248.3, and will have Ameer Abdullah looking to make a statement in his final game. Nebraska isn’t great through the air, which could turn out to be their achilles heal in this game. Interestingly, Nebraska started the year out 8-1, but then dropped two of their final three, while nearly dropping a third to Iowa in the final game.

 

Kessler Leads the Way for USC

 

For the Trojans, they are 8-4 on the year, with a 6-3 Pac-12 record this season. There are some things to absolutely love about this team, which starts with their ability to throw the ball with quarterback Cody Kessler and wide out Nelson Agholor. The Trojans have averaged 294.6 yards per game through the air (15th best in the nation) and have scored 35.1 points per game, so shouldn’t have much of an issue keeping up with Nebraska if it turns into a shootout. Their losses this year all came against bowl-bound teams, and they have serious upside when they’re clicking.

 

PICK

 

 

The Trojans. I’m really big on taking advantage of the mass drama that’s going on over at Nebraska, and to top it off, I believe that USC’s defense is underrated. They give up just 23.8 points per game, which is 38th best in the country. They’ve faced some tough opponents as well, and they’ll be able to slow down this Nebraska attack. I’m taking USC to get the win, but also to cover the spread. Expect something like 34-21.

 

USC TROJANS

 

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Happy Holidays to everyone here at The Gambling Forum.

Copying this from early in this thread one more time since I have edited it with some early plays and moneyline dogs that some may have missed! BE SURE and Check our site for all current Updates

======================

I will post the early recap for some of you that have not followed in years past

or like their annual reminder.

As the odds change so can the selection. Obviously the Best bets will not change dramatically.

 

There will be in the coming weeks analysis and capping for each game along with some totals (Over/Unders) which will be posted much closer to game time since weather and other developments effect the game. The totals are only Opinions so we focus on the side plays. At the beginning is where I jump on some early lines which stand out and get the best value for the wager. I may completely reverse my thinking as time goes by, but for now I let the numbers do the talking and everyone that has seen or followed Spooky this millennium can corroborate how solid they usually are.

 

ANYTIME A TEAM IS PICKED TO WIN OUTRIGHT AND ALSO COVER WITH THE POINTS MAKES THEM A PLAY. NO LOOKING BACK, NO THINKING ABOUT IT.

 

There will also be some live underdogs. So be ready. These teams are picked to win and they are getting points. Money Line Dogs. Get them while they are hot. Don’t be afraid when the pointspread moves. It is done so emotionally. QB gets hurt, RB gets suspended, who cares. The points will be adjusted. These selections are not based on 1 or 2 games but an entire season. Remember since 1977 this has not lost.

 

Just use some judgement and as we get closer the plays will become clearer and Spooky will let you know.

 

If you like a Pro game, start making small parlays with them on the best bets. By the time game time comes around you should have tons of action on the later games and that creates tons of profit!!!!

 

Since many ask about the way I mess with the strengths of each play, this is a synopsis of what I do.

 

I will usually rank them 1 thru 5 smileys with the 4 and 5 smileys very infrequently. If there is no smiley listed than you can consider that anywhere from an opinion to 1 smiley. When playing on the totals I will almost always consider it an opinion. For the simple reason that I crunch numbers during bowl season and the side has a value outside of what is my opinion. The total is basically my opinion (which is what I do the remaining months of the year). The total is totally subjective. I usually will make the total play anywhere from 1/4 to 1/2 of the listed play. So if I am playing 300 on a game then the total would be anywhere from 75 to 150 if we were to put a numerical dollar value on it.

 

Please remember this is what I do, I am not getting paid to determine your money management or what you should be doing. Certainly you can play everything equal or you can follow the smileys. This is just my Bowl Express and sharing with everyone what I am doing for the most part.

 

 

=====================================================

 

This is where I get started early on.

 

Here will be all the team strengths indicating what teams are the strongest plays based solely on the system and based on the current pointspread.

 

Without question we will be rolling with Colorado State, Louisiana Tech, Boise State, Wisconsin, Stanford, Iowa and Miami as our solid plays and games we will not be looking back. Lots more big plays as we go along but if you want to get started early on.

 

As far as Money Line Dogs here is where you can make a lot of money with very little risk. Parlays, round robins and some straight plays. Jumping on La. Lafayette early as a small underdog, but also lets roll with Colorado State, Rice, Boise State, Michigan State, Wisconsin, Houston and Iowa. We may reserve some judgement on these Big Ten teams but right now they look like great value. There are a few other plays that may show great value on the money line but again will have to decide closer to gametime.

 

As the odds change so can the selection. There will be more in the coming weeks more analysis and capping for each game along with some totals (Over/Unders) which will be posted much closer to game time since weather and other developments effect the game.

For the most current updates continue to check at the Spooky Express

 

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GILDAN NEW MEXICO BOWL

 

UTAH STATE vs UTEP

Saturday, Dec. 20, 2:20 p.m. ET

ESPN

UPDATE

 

 

Now, it's time to get to the pick for this one, and while Utah State has a ridiculously talented defense, I don't believe UTEP will give away too much here. Senior quarterback Jameill Showers has only five interceptions on the year, and three of them came in one tough game. Add in the fact that the Miners are likely to focus in on giving Jones the ball as much as possible, and I think we see UTEP keep this one close right down to the finish. We have Utah State winning by about a touchdown. Not a strong play at this time but I'll take the big points and assess my selection closer to kickoff. Taking the underdog and the big points and also playing small on a low scoring game and hope it works out for us.

 

 

 

UTEP +11

 

 

 

Check back closer to game day for any changes to the spread and/or prediction here and at Spooky Express

 

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ROYAL PURPLE LAS VEGAS BOWL

 

UTAH vs COLORADO STATE

Saturday, Dec. 20, 3:30 p.m. ET

ABC

UPDATE

 

 

Well, it says Utes on paper as the favorite, but I think the wrong team may be getting the love here. The Rams are led by three ridiculously talented offensive playres in Garrett Grayson, who has thrown 32 touchdowns to just six interceptions, running back Dee Hart (16 touchdowns with a 6.7 YPC average) and wide out Rashard Higgins, who has hauled in 89 passes for 1,640 yards and 17 touchdowns. Want more? The Rams allow just 23.4 points per game, which is 34th best in the country. I'll take the Rams to win it outright in one of our bigger plays of the bowl season at this point. Can you say money line dog! Sticking with the underdog but not going all in until I get a better feel of how these games are going.

 

 

 

COLORADO STATE +4

 

 

 

Check back closer to game day for any changes to the spread and/or prediction here and at Spooky Express

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