Archive for the ‘Bowl Previews’ Category

Bowl Records

Webster (16-13-2)

Pizzola (16-14-1)

Papa (15-14-2)

Bottero (11-19-1)

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Well, the end of Bowl season is finally upon us, and that means that the BCS National Championship game is here. Three of the four of us finished in the green with our picks (two of four if you’re counting units instead of record), but even the lowest of the low (Gino Bottero) have a chance to redeem themselves with a winning selection in the most important game of the college football season. Here we go.

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Bowl Records:

Pizzola (14-11-1)

Webster (14-11-1)

Papa (13-12-1)

Bottero (9-16-1)… #AmateurHour

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Allstate Sugar Bowl – Florida vs. Louisville

  • Consensus Line: Florida -14, total 46.5
  • Public Action: 68% on Florida, 78% on the over

Pizzola: I have to grab the points with Louisville here. Florida boasts a solid defense but their offense leaves much to be desired, so I have a tough time seeing them pull away from the Cardinals in this one. The Gators struggled to score in most of their non-conference games this season, including games against Jacksonville State, UL-Lafayette, and Bowling Green. Louisville’s rush defense is pretty average and they won’t completely shut down Florida’s rushing attack, but they’ll stack the box and hope to force some third-and-longs. The Cardinals pass defense is strong and they won’t fear Gators’ quarterback Jeff Driskel who was extremely inconsistent this season. Driskel was sacked 33 times in 216 dropbacks this year (13% sack rate), which means the Louisville pass rush may be capable of making a game-changing play. This game stays within single digits. Louisville +14

Webster: Louisville is clearly outmatched in this one as they look to snap the Gators streak of four straight bowl game wins. Early in the season it looked like the Cardinals might crash the BCS party but eventually tough losses to Syracuse and UConn derailed their hopes. Teddy Bridgewater, Louisville’s quarterback and the Big East Player of the Year is really something to watch. His success or failure against this Florida defense; the defense that Louisville head coach Charlie Strong helped build, will determine how this one goes. With that being said, I’ll be taking the points in this one based on a shaky Gator offense that ranked 103rd in the nation in total yards. Louisville +14

Bottero: Spreads this big are normally reserved for teams with better offenses than the Gators. Teddy Bridgewater has the seventh-best passer rating in the nation. Florida’s fifth-ranked defense will give him some trouble, but the Cardinals will put up enough points to make a 14-point margin unreachable for the Gators. Louisville has played close games all year, with seven of their last 10 contests decided by a touchdown or less, and this one should be no different. Charlie Strong will have his boys motivated as he faces off with his former employer. Louisville +14

Papa: Florida scored only 33 touchdowns on offense this year so it might be difficult to lay two touchdowns with them in this game; but then again, this is the Big East we’re talking about. Florida is a team that likes to run the ball, and they should find success against a Louisville defense that is weak against the run. Louisville has a great wide receiver corps and a decent quarterback in Teddy Bridgewater but this offense hasn’t produced enough in the running game to be a threat to the Gators defense. The Cardinals defense likely won’t be able to stop Mike Gillislee and the Gators running attack in this contest, so I’m going to lay the two touchdowns. Florida -14

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Bowl Records:

T1. Pizzola (9-7)

T1. Papa (9-7)

3. Webster (8-8)

4. Bottero (6-10), fade him away boys

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Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl – NC State vs. Vanderbilt

  • Consensus Line: Vanderbilt -7, total 51.5
  • Public Action: 56% on Vanderbilt, 56% on the over

Pizzola: Maybe I’m missing something here, but how are the Commodores only favored by a touchdown? They’re playing this game in their home city and they match up extremely well both offensively and defensively with N.C. State. The Wolfpack are unable to run the football whatsoever which means they’ll have to rely on their aerial attack to move the football. The only problem? Vanderbilt has one of the best pass defenses in the nation. N.C. State quarterback Mike Glennon has been sacked 33 times this season and he’s not going to like facing a stout SEC defense. The Commodores cruise to victory. Vanderbilt -7

Webster: I’d really like to go with the Wolfpack here… I really would… But there are some classic red flags popping up when I look at this one. N.C. State struggled so much in the last few seasons that they fired Tom O’Brien. Dana Bible steps into this one as the interim head coach and I always hate that when that happens. I also hate that this game is being played in Nashville which as Pizzola mentioned, is basically a home game for the Commodores. That’s more bad news for the Wolfpack. Finally, Vandy closed the season on a 6-game winning streak, covering the spread in five of those games. This one seems like a no-brainer, lay the points. Vanderbilt -7

Bottero: The Commodores have won six games in a row by an average margin of 24 points. The team’s offense is unspectacular but effective, and should benefit from good field position throughout the game. North Carolina State’s passing offense is one of the better units in the college football but they will face a Vanderbilt passing defense that ranks fifth in the nation. Mike Glennon will receive no help from the team’s running game, and that could spell trouble. Vanderbilt -7

Papa: The SEC finally makes it’s Bowl debut with Vandy as a seven-point favorite and I can’t help but fear a back door cover in this game. Both of these teams were extremely inconsistent this year and it’s hard for me to pick a side in this matchup. The only edge I can give is to Vanderbilt’s stout defense that played well against their SEC foes. I don’t think N.C. State’s offense will be able to manufacture too many points in this one. Under 51.5
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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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Bowl Records:

1. Pizzola (5-2)

2. Webster (4-3)

3. Bottero (3-4)

4. Papa (2-5)

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Records:

1. Webster (2-0)

T2. Pizzola (1-1)

T2. Bottero (1-1)

4. Papa (0-2), early fade material!

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San Diego County CU Poinsettia Bowl – BYU Cougars vs. San Diego State Aztecs

  • Consensus line: BYU -3.5, total 48
  • Public action: 56% on BYU, 62% on the under

Pizzola: I see this being a low-scoring game. The Aztecs love to run the football but their #2 tailback Walter Kazee is injured, which will leave them shorthanded against one of the best run defenses in the nation. They’ll struggle to move the ball with any sort of consistency. On the other side of things, BYU’s offense isn’t very consistent either and they don’t get much production from the quarterback position. The Cougars don’t score a lot of touchdowns and their kicking game is terrible, so I don’t see them getting into the 20s here. Essentially, I’m banking on BYU’s stout defense and horrible offense to make this a slow game filled with a lot of punting. Under 48

Webster: All over the Aztecs in this one. They’re playing in what is basically a home game, they’re getting points, they’re on a 7-game winning streak and BYU has serious question marks at the quarterback position. SDSU also features one of the best players in college football you’ve never heard about, running back Adam Muema, who is averaging over 6 yards per carry. Watching Muema cook will be worth the price of admission. Take the points. San Diego State +3.5

Bottero: BYU quarterback Riley Nelson is dealing with a rib injury, but the injuries that I think will have the greatest impact on this game occurred in October. Adam Dingwell has been fine in relief of Ryan Katz, but the Aztec offense hasn’t been what it was, and Taysom Hill’s running ability added a dimension to the Cougar offense that isn’t there when Nelson is under center. This game will be played at Qualcomm Stadium where the Aztecs allow only 19.4 points per game, while BYU ranks fifth in the nation in points allowed. Under 48

Papa: BYU has played a couple of stinkers this year which included a 7-6 loss at Boise State and a 6-3 win against Utah State at home. They also held Notre Dame to 17 points at South Bend in a game they could have easily won. BYU has a great defense and have proven that they can keep opposing offenses in check on the road. Technically, this is a home game for SDSU but BYU fans travel well and if they represent like they did at Notre Dame, SDSU’s advantage might not be as significant. BYU is capable of playing at a slow tempo, and I think there’s a good chance they slow things down against SDSU in this rivalry game. Under 48
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Bowl season is upon us. Translation: It’s time to start betting on games that you ordinarily would never bet on unless you were in a substantial hole with your bookie. There’s nothing better than relaxing like a sloth on your living room couch while watching a bunch of 20-year old kids decide your economic fate. Good times.

I don’t live and breathe college football like I do the NFL. I spend most of my Saturday watching college games and getting berated by my wife for being glued to the TV, but I definitely have more of a soft spot in my heart for the pro game. With that being said, I still love to bet on college football and I feel as though I’m pretty good at it.

However, rather than providing only my opinion for this season’s Bowl games, I’ve rounded up a group of guys that love the game just as much as I do, if not more.

Andrew Webster is a football liveblogger for @theScoreApp and used to work as a Wheel Reporter for theScore Television Network in Canada. He is admittedly biased to everything Philadelphia (Phillies, Eagles, Villanova, steak sandwiches, and general douchebaggery), but he knows the college game inside and out. Webster used to be assigned to be our in-house handicapper for ScoreMobile’s college football picks before he decided to take his talents to the Bahamas.

Gino Bottero is also a football liveblogger for @theScoreApp and a personal friend of mine. Gino and I attended university together, and rather than focusing on getting an education, we spent the majority of our days trying to handicap the board. He’s the sharpest betting mind that I’ve ever come across. In his spare time, he enjoys eating penne alla vodka and calling fouls in friendly games of pickup basketball.

Ron Papa is an Information Technology (IT) extraordinaire. When Papa isn’t fixing broken computers and printers, he’s focused on identifying value on the board. We discuss our picks together on a week-to-week basis and I can personally attest to the fact that Papa wins more than he loses. If only he could say the same about his FIFA ’13 skills.

Together, we’ll provide you with our opinions for all of the Bowl games this season. We’ll pick all of the games, no matter if we like the game or not, but our explanations will provide you with our confidence in each selection. Hopefully we can all make some cash together.

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