- Bowl season kicks off on Saturday
- There are 40 bowl games for FBS teams including the playoff contests this year
- Sometimes the most value is present in less marquee matchups
A lot of people are understandably excited to see how many points Alabama and Oklahoma can generate on December 29 (the over/under is 81). There also is plenty of interest in the other semifinal game, Notre Dame and Clemson. While the big games are a couple weeks away, four FBS bowl games get rolling on Saturday, and for handicappers there is little reason to wait around for the big boys to start playing.
For those looking to bet on bowls and come away with a positive ROI, we are highlighting four games where value is present. All odds are thanks to Bovada.
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl
|Western Michigan||+12.0 (-110)||+350|
This feels like the biggest stretch of a spread this year. Analytics experts think the number should be in the neighborhood of eight. The bottom line is we can’t live in the past.
BYU picked up what appeared to be good wins in September beating Arizona and Wisconsin. The Cats failed to qualify for a bowl game and the Badgers went 7-5 in a mediocre Big 10 and an even more questionable West Division. Since the season’s first full month, the Cougars are 3-5. They didn’t even have to play Mountain West champion Fresno State.
Western Michigan lost to Syracuse in a competitive game, and got blasted by Michigan early on, but then rolled off six straight wins. They finished the year 1-3, but impressively beat MAC champion Northern Illinois in the final game of the regular season. Freshman quarterback Kaleb Eleby was thrust into the starting role because of injury midway though the year, and it took some time to get comfortable. However, he is a big time recruit for the Broncos, and another couple weeks of practice should be a big help.
Our Pick: Western Michigan +12
|LA Tech||+1.0 (-115)||N/A|
You would think playing at home would be a big plus for Hawaii. It isn’t. The Rainbow Warriors have played in this game seven times and are 4-3 having lost two of their last three appearances. Hawaii has also played in the Aloha Bowl and Oahu Bowl once each, both at their home stadium in Honolulu, winning once and falling once. The Rainbow Warriors are a dead-even 3-3-0 ATS at home this year.
This year’s Rainbow Warriors have one win against a team with a winning record. They have lost four of six and been outscored by 43 points on the season. Opponents are scoring more than 35 points a game against Hawaii.
Aside from lopsided losses to LSU and Mississippi State, La Tech has had a solid season. They’ve scored more than they have given up, four times have won on the road, and coach Skip Holtz has a positive track record. He is 6-3 against the spread in bowl games. All four of his bowl games at La Tech have resulted in straight up victories.
Our Pick: Louisiana Tech -1
Music City Bowl
Don’t get us wrong, we love the fight and enormous support that Tyler Trent has received. When Purdue beat Ohio State it kind of felt like everything was right for a few minutes. That said, the Boilermakers finished 6-6 playing in the weak half of the mediocre Big 10. They got blown out by Minnesota, and barely beat Indiana to end the year.
On the flip side, playing in the toughest division in college football, Auburn somehow won seven games. They were 3-5 in the SEC with three of the losses to Alabama, Georgia, and LSU. They beat Pac-12 champ Washington, and got by a pretty good Texas A&M squad. The Tigers defense gives up less than 20 points a game.
Our Pick: Auburn -3.5
|Cincinnati (#24)||-5.0 (-110)||-210|
|Virginia Tech||+5.0 (-110)||+175|
An American Athletic Conference team is a favorite against an ACC squad in a venue that is almost sure to be mostly Hokie fans.Sure, UC went 10-2 and losses to Temple and UCF are perfectly acceptable. The problem is wins, do they have any good ones? UCLA, Ohio, and South Florida are the best of bunch, and none inspire a lot of confidence. The Bearcats held opponents to 16.1 points a game during the regular season, can they limit Virginia Tech?
Everyone remembers the brutal Hokies loss at Old Dominion. At 6-6 this was a disappointing season, but it did keep a pretty impressive record intact. Wins over Duke and Virginia are alright, and we’ve seen this movie before. Virginia Tech beat Cincinnati in the Military Bowl four years ago. This feels like a game that is decided in the final few minutes.
Our Pick: Virginia Tech +5.