Records:

Pizzola (7-4)

Webster (6-5)

Papa (5-6)

Bottero (4-7)

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Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl – Air Force vs. Rice

  • Consensus Line: Air Force -3, total 61
  • Public Action: 62% on Air Force, 79% on the over

Pizzola: Air Force’s offensive struggles towards the end of the season allow us to grab a low total here. The Falcons were without their starting quarterback and running back down the stretch, and with the returns of Connor Dietz and Cody Getz, Air Force should have no problems moving the ball. Rice has been unable to defend the run all season long and will now have to deal with the triple-option that Air Force employs. The Falcons will be picking up first downs constantly and that means that time won’t be ticking after every running play. On the other side of things, you can make the exact same case for Rice. The Owls are a run-first offense and it would be shocking if they weren’t able to pick up a couple-hundred yards on the ground against a weak Air Force run defense. Don’t let this high total fool you–there will be a lot of big gainers on the ground. Over 61

Webster: This one’s a pretty even matchup on paper. Both teams run the ball well, score a bunch of points and both have a tough time stopping anybody…and oh yeah, they’re both 6-6. But the big difference between the Falcons and the Owls is momentum. Rice won their last four games coming into the Armed Forces Bowl while Air Force lost three of their last four. To make matters worse for Air Force, they have covered just once in their last seven games away from home. With Rice playing this game in their home state, I’ll side with them getting points. Rice +3

Bottero: Air Force was the better team in the first half of the season, while Rice was the better team in the second half. As Pizzola mentioned, the time off should serve to recharge Air Force quarterback Connor Dietz and running back Cody Getz  after they faded in November, while Rice’s late-season momentum must have gone out the window weeks ago. There are a lot of factors at play here in deciding a victor, but both teams will be able to move the ball and get their points. Over 61

Papa: If you’re looking for a wagering edge in this game then look no further than Air Force running back Cody Getz. The 5’7 162 lb. running back is the main man in the Falcons’ running attack which is ranked second in the nation. Similarly, the Rice Owls also have a reputable ground game, led by senior tailback Charles Ross. Ross is a big reason why Rice led all Conference-USA teams in time of possession. It doesn’t look like these two teams will shy away from their game plans very much and if they feature the running game as predicted, then my lean here is the under, simply because there might not be enough clock for this game to go over. Under 61

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New Era Pinstripe Bowl – Syracuse vs. West Virginia

  • Consensus Line: West Virginia -3.5, total 73
  • Public Action: 79% on West Virginia, 70% on the over

Pizzola: Even though there’s likely to be bad weather in this contest, this total is too low. West Virginia ended the season with back-to-back strong defensive efforts, but that was against the likes of Kansas and Iowa State, both of whom are inept offensively. Syracuse will provide a much more difficult challenge. The Orange were involved in a couple of shootouts against Northwestern and South Florida this season and they’re capable of moving the ball on the ground and through the air. Meanwhile, the Syracuse defense has no conceivable hope of slowing down Geno Smith. Smith didn’t play as well in the second half of the season, but the Orange rank 82nd in the NCAA in pass yards allowed per attempt, so you’d figure the Mountaineers will score into the 40s here. I think this one’s a shootout. Over 73

Webster: They say that the best players get it done on the biggest stage. Well, what could be bigger than Yankee Stadium? Geno Smith is expected to be the top quarterback drafted in a couple of months and although his stock dipped a bit after the Mountaineers 5-game losing streak, Geno can gain some new fans with a good performance in the Bronx. The Orange also feature a pretty good signal caller in Ryan Nassib. We know that the Mountaineers can score points and we also know that they can’t stop anybody. Use a little bit of logic and this one is pretty easy to figure out. Over 73

Bottero: In keeping with my trend of picking overs at an alarming rate, I will take the over in this game as well. Geno Smith threw for 407 yards and six touchdowns a year ago when West Virginia hung 70 on Clemson in the Orange Bowl. He should have another big day. I know what you’re thinking, and yes, whether spelt with an ‘i’ or an ‘e’, we Ginos stick together. Over 73

Papa: I’m in disagreement with everyone else. Pizzola touched on it a bit–the forecast for this game is 60% chance of snow with a wind chill around 26 degrees Fahrenheit. I’m a big believer that the edge goes to the offense when it comes to poor field conditions only because the defense will be one step slower trying to figure out wide receiver routes. However, it’s one thing to be open and it’s another to have to catch a freezing cold pigskin through heavy winds. Both of these teams love to throw the ball, and both Nassib and Smith are capable of monstrous air attacks, but if the weather forecast holds true and field conditions are poor, I’m going to lean with the under. 70+ points might be hard to come by in a snowy, cold Yankee Stadium. Under 73

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Kraft Fight Hunter Bowl – Arizona State vs. Navy

  • Consensus Line: Arizona State -14, total 54.5
  • Public Action: 58% on Navy, 58% on the over

Pizzola: Sadly, I’ve bet on a lot of Navy games this season and subsequently, I feel like I know this team pretty well. I can’t envision them moving the ball with much consistency in this matchup. Navy runs a triple-option and Arizona State’s run defense isn’t particularly stout, but the Midshipmen have been running all over lesser competition this season. The Sun Devils will be a big step up in class. On the other side of things, Navy’s defense will have some trouble with ASU’s offense between the 20s, but the Midshipmen are great at holding opponents to field goals. Navy ranked sixth in the nation in red zone defense while the Sun Devils struggled in the red zone all season. I’d bet on a low scoring game. Under 54.5

Webster: Arizona State is much better than their record shows. Sure they lost four games in a row, but those losses came against very good teams including USC, Oregon, UCLA and Oregon State. Quarterback Taylor Kelly seemed to figure things out down the stretch and eventually led the Sun Devils to a win against their arch-rivals Arizona. Navy also had a good season earning a bowl bid after missing out last year. The line may be hovering around the two-touchdown mark but I just think that Taylor and the 3rd-ranked offense in the Pac 12 will be able to find enough holes in the Midshipmen’s defense. Arizona State -14

Bottero: Looking back to the early part of their schedule, Navy had some ugly losses at the hands of their toughest opponents, but this has been a different team since true freshman Keenan Reynolds took over at quarterback. Since then the team has won seven of eight, beating three bowl teams along the way. Arizona State’s defense was a strength early in the season, but faded down the stretch. Excluding a game against lowly Washington State, the unit allowed an average of 39.2 points over five of their final six games. They will have trouble with Navy’s run-heavy offense. Navy +14

Papa: Here’s another game where weather could be a factor. There is a 60% chance of rain in San Francisco and like the New Era Pinstripe Bowl; this game will be held on a makeshift field in a baseball stadium. Navy comes into this game riding an emotional win in the traditional Army/Navy game back in early December, but I think that those emotions won’t be good enough against an Arizona State team that is bigger, stronger, and faster.  It’s hard to pass up two touchdowns in a Bowl game, especially against a squad with a lot of pride like the Midshipmen; however, man for man, the Sun Devils are a much more athletic squad that should put Navy in their place. Arizona State -14

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Valero Alamo Bowl – Oregon State vs. Texas

  • Consensus Line: Oregon State -3, total 57.5
  • Public Action: 64% on Oregon State, 74% on the over

Pizzola: I think both teams are going to move the ball rather easily in this contest. On paper, Texas’ pass defense looks great, ranking 11th in the nation, but those numbers don’t tell the whole story. The Longhorns are actually 62nd in the nation in passing yards per attempt, which shows that Texas isn’t giving up yardage through the air because other teams have been so successful in the running game. Regardless of who’s under center for the Beavers, they’re going to be able to score. Oregon State’s defense has relied on interceptions to end drives this season but neither of the Longhorns’ quarterbacks are prone to turning the ball over, so I don’t see too many Texas drives stalling either. Both teams score into the 30s here. Over 57.5

Webster: Ah, the old cliché, two teams heading in different directions! Oregon State made a HUGE turnaround this season winning nine games in a tough conference after winning just three last season. How did the Beavers do it? With a stout defense that allows under 20 points per game and a great passing attack that averaged over 316 yards through the air. On the other side, Mack Brown had another nightmare season in Austin, once again failing to reach a BCS bowl game. To make matters even worse the Longhorns have a big question mark at quarterback heading into the Alamo Bowl. Will they go with Chase McCoy or David Ash? Both options seem kinda shitty. Oregon State -3

Bottero: If the Longhorn offense is not already enough of a mess, the team will be without offensive coordinator and play-caller Bryan Harsin for this game, as he has moved on to take the head coaching job at Arkansas State. The absence of guard Trey Hopkins will not help either. Whether David Ash or Case McCoy sees the majority of snaps at quarterback for the Longhorns, the offense should have a tough time against a stout Beaver defense. Oregon State -3

Papa: Oregon State matches up well against Texas. Despite the Beavers lack of a powerful running game, their offense should be balanced enough to exploit the Longhorns’ secondary down field. Texas was able to hold teams to 29 points per game this season; however, they went only 1-3 against four top-25 ranked schools this year, giving up an average of 43 points. Texas comes into this game with a major quarterback controversy that will bleed into 2013 between David Ash and Case McCoy. It looks as though Ash will be named the starter in this game but don’t be surprised to see McCoy get his fair share of snaps as the game goes on. The Longhorns are a far cry from that 13-0 team we saw three years ago playing for the National Championship and I think laying a few points with the Beavers in this spot is a bargain. Oregon State -3

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Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl – Michigan State vs. TCU

  • Consensus Line: TCU -2.5, total 40
  • Public Action: 67% on TCU, 61% on the under

Pizzola: How the hell are either of these teams going to score points? Both offenses suck and both defenses are solid. TCU gave up some points this season but they played some explosive offenses, and believe me when I tell you that Michigan State’s offense is far from explosive. I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if the Spartans didn’t score here. Then again, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Horned Frogs didn’t score either. The Spartans have the best rush defense in college football and they rank 26th in pass defense despite the fact that opposing teams constantly throw against them. First team to 14 points wins. Under 40

Webster: Both the Spartans and Horned Frogs had great season in 2011, but in 2012? Not so much. Michigan State just couldn’t really string together a few good weeks of football all season while TCU finished their season with just two wins in their final six games. In a tough one like this I like to look at the stats as a tie-breaker. The Horned Frogs scored more points per game, have a higher point differential, gain more yards through the air and on the ground. Add in the fact that they’re called the Horned Frogs, and what’s not to like? TCU -2.5

Bottero: Assuming a series of sprinkler “malfunctions” don’t send this game to overtime, this one should stay under the total. If I were to pick a side it would be TCU, but I just do not see them winning by much more than the three points. Michigan State has a lousy track record in bowl games, but Le’Veon Bell and a strong defensive effort should keep them in this game. The Horned Frogs would like a statement win in their first bowl game as members of the Big 12, but I do not see them building up much of a margin here. Under 40

Papa: If you enjoyed watching the Poinsettia Bowl last week between BYU and SDSU then you’ll enjoy watching this matchup. The Spartans rank just under the century mark in points for, with an average of 20.3 points per game. On the defensive side they finished 10th overall in points against, allowing only 16.3 points per game.  It’s also worth noting that this Spartans defense held Denard Robinson’s Wolverines to only 12 points in Ann Arbour back in October. TCU might have a few game-breakers on offense but I don’t think it’s enough to put this game total in the 40s. I can easily see this being a defensive stalemate where field position becomes the biggest factor in the second half. Under 40

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The fifth edition of our Bowl previews will be posted on Sunday, December 30.

It will include all Bowl games on Monday, December 31st and Tuesday, January 1st.

Until then, good luck!