College Football's Top Underdogs: Change Up, Let's Go Bowling
by Doug Upstone Scores & Statson
Championship Week yielded a 2-2 record, leaving us with 34-33-2 ATS record picking just underdogs. Not as good as hoped, but we look to the bowls with the hope of still putting together a winning college football season.
Over the next four weeks, we will still do Top Underdogs and break them down two ways, before Christmas and after. In addition, we will look at bowl totals. Here we will try to identify the Top 5 OVER bets before Dec.25th and the best five UNDER plays afterward.
Before there were so many bowl games, the old handicapping theory was underdogs and OVER's early and favorites and UNDER's later. We will try to carry most of that going forward.
All odds courtesy of Intertops (as of 12/5) and you should know the lines could change by game time for a variety of reasons.
This matchup almost could have happened in the New Orleans Bowl which would be fitting given the proximity for both teams. Instead, they are Tampa and Louisiana proved they could score and give up points. On the season the Ragin' Cajuns averaged 32.5 PPG and allowed 33.7 PPG. Tulane lacked dynamic playmakers in their offense and was the 103rd ranked passing offense, leading to just 25.7 PPG. Nonetheless, Louisiana is 41-24 OVER after one or more Under's and is on a 7-0 OVER run out of conference.
With Fresno State 10-2 Under this season and Arizona State's top pass catcher N'Keal Harry prepping for the NFL, this selection will be viewed with skepticism. But hold on before going on the Twitter and making fun of us. Yes, the Bulldogs have a really good defense, but the Sun Devils have more speed and quickness than any team Fresno State has played this season. The average total score of ASU's last three contests was 66 total points. Coach Jeff Tedford's club is a passing team and they did not score 34.9 PPG by accident. Our numbers average out at 55 to 56 points and we will back the OVER.
With a 9:30 am start out West, you can have breakfast and lunch in what will likely be a 4+ hour bowl game. Toledo scored over 40 points which is what they are accustomed to doing, but their 7-5 record came about because they permitted 30.2 PPG. Florida International tallied a 34.6 PPG and averaged a solid 8.4 yards per pass. These two squads fit this college football system; Play Over on neutral field teams when the total is between 63.5 and 70, in a nonconference game involving two average teams (within +/- 50 YPG of their opponents). (26-4 OVER)
BYU is 17-8 Under the past two years, but at least half the reason for this was awful quarterback play. The Cougars offense has picked up since freshman Zack Wilson has taken over and he got a feel for how to play at this level. Some might say scoring big points against Hawai'i, UMass and New Mexico State do count for much, but BYU hung 27 on Utah and Western Michigan concedes 33.3 PPG. This bowl will land in the '50s.
Saw the Rainbow Warriors score 102 points in their first two games of the season and you could see this offense had juice. Injuries robbed them of their full potential in the middle of the season, but Hawai'i picked it up late with 66 points in their last two MWC clashes. Louisiana Tech had a disappointing close to the year, finishing 1-3 SU and ATS and its offense dried up like a puddle of water under the Honolulu sun. With the Warriors passing game and crummy defense (35.4PPG), this total is headed north of oddsmakers post.