Big Week Of College Football Bowls Heading Into Christmas
Smart Bettors Have Plenty Of Opportunities Ahead
The college football games that take place during this stretch of the year every season don't feature the best teams out there but they are often highly entertaining. Motivation for teams is a big factor in these games as some are thrilled they had a winning year and got to a Bowl, while others who had a solid year and were expecting to find themselves in a "bigger" Bowl game aren't thrilled about playing during this part of December. Trying to figure out which (if any) teams fit those particular scenarios will definitely help with your handicapping over the next week.
CFB Bowls Free Betting Picks
With nine different Bowl games in a six-game span there is plenty of number crunching and trend-searching to do, but just because there are a plethora of games out there to be wagered on, it doesn't mean that you should force things.
Bettors can often fall into the trap of forcing action during Bowl season when on a good run (to increase profits) or on a bad run (to get back units lost) simply because there are college football games on. Most of these Bowl games involve teams that many haven't paid one iota of attention to all year, and the less informed you are, chances are the less success you'll have with your selections.
Thankfully there are solid, informative places like that has content contributors like myself that have wagered and followed CFB all year long and know what to expect from particular teams in every conference. So with that out of the way, let's get right to some free picks and try to boost that bankroll.
Boca Raton Bowl - Tuesday, Dec. 19 (7 pm)
Akron Zips vs Florida Atlantic Owls (-22.5); Total: 64.5
Right off the bat we've got a Bowl game that might not be that competitive as the FAU Owls are laying more than 20 points against an Akron team from the MAC Conference. There is no denying the fact that FAU had a great first season under HC Lane Kiffin as they won the Conference USA Championship and finished the year with a 10-3 SU record. FAU won their final nine games of the year to get to that mark and went 7-2 ATS in that span.
Yet, while it is actually a home game for FAU (who are based out of Boca Raton, Florida), Conference Champions are never thrilled about playing a Bowl game before Christmas, no matter the matchup or the location. Add in the idea that FAU's players know that they should probably win this game fairly easily and this situation is primed for FAU to have a bit of a letdown. That's not to say that FAU won't win this game SU - as 22-point favorites they likely will win this game outright - but it's simply too many points to lay in this spot.
Akron is a team that surprised some with their run to the MAC Conference Title game, only to get run out of the building by Toledo in that contest. That defeat left a bad taste in the mouths of Akron players and they would love to try and finish 2017 on a high note.
They'll be highly motivated to be here as a Bowl bid was something that was far from certain for them all year long, and with Zips on a 8-2 ATS run overall, including 6-0 ATS after a SU loss, I've got no problems grabbing the points here. Add in the fact that CFB Bowl favorites of 17 or more (FAU) are just 5-11 ATS since 1980 and this game should be a lot closer than this line suggests.Bet Akron Zips +22.5 Play
Gasparilla Bowl - Thursday, Dec. 21 (8 pm)
Temple Owls (-7.5) vs Florida International Golden Panthers; Total: 56
One of FAU's biggest rivals in Conference USA are the Florida International Golden Panthers who end up getting a later Bowl game then the conference champions do. FIU has most of the benefits FAU does in their game discussed above, as this Bowl game is close to home in Florida and the crowd will be largely in favor of the Panthers. But not being as good of a squad as FAU, and going up against a Temple team that comes from the AAC Conference, means that perception works against FIU in this case as touchdown underdogs.
But while the AAC is perceived as the better conference overall, at 6-6 SU and marred by inconsistent play all year, Temple does not deserve to be laying a touchdown here. The Owls finished the year needing to win three of their final four games just to become Bowl eligible, and while that will lead to some suggesting they are in good form and excited to be here, this is still too many points on the spread. Temple is just 1-5 ATS when coming off a SU win, 1-4 ATS in their last five non-conference games, and 1-4 ATS on a neutral field.
Technically this game will be on a neutral field, but all the support will be coming FIU's way and rightfully so. With a 8-4 SU record on the year the Panthers knew they'd be playing in a Bowl game for awhile and once a Conference title was out of the picture, this program shifted its focus to winning in whatever Bowl game they got to. I'm not sure if FIU will win this outright, but with an 11-2 ATS run after scoring 40+ points and an offense that explode at any moment, the Panthers are a very live underdog in this game.Bet FIU Golden Panthers +7.5 Play
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl - Friday, Dec. 22 (4 pm)
Central Michigan Chippewas vs Wyoming Cowboys (pick'em); Total: 44.5
Sportsbooks are expecting this year's version of the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl played on the "smurf turf" at Boise State to be a defensive minded, hard fought game. 44.5 is a rather low total for a college football game that doesn't involve two Big 10 teams, and with the pick'em line, oddsmakers believe this game could go either way. I've got no opinion on the total, but there is one side I do believe will end up winning this game.
Wyoming is led by QB Josh Allen who is a consensus Top 5 selection at the QB position in the upcoming NFL draft. Allen missed Wyoming's final two games of the season with a shoulder injury and is still listed as questionable to play, but the extra rest should have helped him and I expect him to suit up. After all, this is his last chance to put out a strong game film for NFL scouts and he's probably chomping at the bit to take full advantage.
Allen had his ups and downs for Wyoming this year, but his return to the lineup should give this Cowboys team a huge spark. This was a team that lost their season finale outright as 18+ point favorites and they'll want to do everything they can to erase that memory with a victory in the Bowl game. Wyoming is also quite familiar with the "smurf turf" at Boise as they played their this year (24-14 loss to Boise State), and comfortable and familiar surroundings in a Bowl game are always a huge positive for CFB teams.
Central Michigan's hot finish to the year (5-0 SU and ATS) is part of the reason this line is where it is, but they don't have a defense that can really be relied on - something that definitely plays a huge factor with a total in the 40's - and offensively they aren't going to have the success they did late in the year against a Wyoming defense that hasn't allowed more than 24 points in their last nine games. With Central Michigan on a 1-5 ATS run outside of conference play, I'm expecting Josh Allen and the Wyoming Cowboys to put their best foot forward here in an attempt to impress NFL scouts and end the season with a victory.Bet Wyoming ML Play
Armed Forces Bowl - Saturday, Dec. 23 (3:30 pm)
Army Black Knights vs San Diego State Aztecs (-6.5); Total: 46.5
For the 2nd straight year the Army Black Knights get to play in a Bowl game after beating Navy in that historic rivalry and they are hoping this year's Bowl game brings the same result as last year's. Last year Army was able to beat North Texas 38-31 in OT, and to finish this year's campaign with 11 wins would be a huge accomplishment for this military academy that's been hit by a lot of losing seasons in recent memory.
The Black Knights aren't favored to win their Bowl game like they were a year ago, but I do believe one result will be the same and that's the total. This total of 46.5 is much too low for a game like this, even with all the running expected from both sides. Army showed last year that after an intense win over Navy they loosened things up tremendously in the Bowl game and I expect the same thing this year. The lead up is definitely the same as Army is coming off an intense win (14-13) over Navy a few weeks ago.
For their part, San Diego State is known as a team with a strong defense, and facing the triple-option attack Army uses will be nothing new. The Aztecs deal with the triple-option on a yearly basis when they play Air Force, but even with that familiarity, Air Force managed to score the 3rd most points any San Diego State opponent scored against them this year (24). This Army team is more than capable of following suit.
Finally, the Aztecs can put up some points themselves as they averaged 30.4 points per game this year. They finished the year with games of 52, 42, and 35 points scored and I do expect them to hit at least 28 in this contest. As long as Army can break off a few big runs of their own - which they will - this game could end up cashing an 'over' ticket before the 4th quarter arrives, and that's what I'm betting will happen.Bet Over 46.5 points Play
*All times are EST.
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