Fellow ‘Cats fans, bored Northwestern students on winter break and degenerate gamblers alike: welcome to bowl season. Most people regard mid-late December as holiday season, but to Matt and I, this is the finest part of the season from the greatest sport, college football. Follow along as we continue our quest to help you make money and take down the big bad wolf that is Las Vegas.
Avery Zimmerman: 4-2-0
Matt Albert: 3-3-0
Overall, we got off to a winning start in week one. If it weren’t for a tough backdoor cover in the heralded Georgia Southern-Eastern Michigan battle, the week would have been even better. In other news, Herm Edwards’ assessment of his team’s performance against Fresno State raised some eyebrows.
Has Herm Edwards turned soft? “You play to win the game” to “We didn’t lose, we just ran out of time” pic.twitter.com/uL9SjINhOD— Comeback SZN (@ComebackSZNshow) December 17, 2018
On that note, let’s get into the second part of early-bowl season.
UAB (-2.5) vs. NIU: Boca Raton Bowl
Avery: UAB — This is a fairly even matchup. Both teams come into the game with strong defenses that compensate for weak offenses, but NIU’s offense is particularly poor. Ranked 115th in the nation in S&P+ offense, expect the unit to struggle against UAB’s effective defensive line. Further, NIU hasn’t won a bowl game since 2011, and only came within seven once. UAB rolls in this contest.
Matt: NIU — I came into bowl season very high on UAB, yet consistent under performances by the Conference USA teams who have played so far. It is also incredible that two years ago UAB did not have a football team, and now they have 10 wins. While NIU coach Rod Carey is 0-5 both against the spread and straight up in bowl games, he gets the monkey off his back as his Huskies scorch the blazers. Take NIU ATS and the moneyline.
Ohio (-2.5) vs. San Diego State: Frisco Bowl
Avery: Ohio — Ohio has the ninth ranked scoring offense in the country, SDSU has the 109th. SDSU’s defense compensates for that to an extent, but there is no reason to believe that Ohio’s diverse rushing attack won’t excel. Ohio carries its momentum from the end of the regular season and covers the spread in a high-scoring affair.
Matt: Ohio — The Hydra of Ohio’s three-headed rushing attack will prove too much for the Aztecs to handle. The Bobcats will keep Juwan “George” Washington from chopping down his cherry tree. Ohio’s dangerous Rourke to Papi combo will show San Diego State who their real daddy is.
Marshall (-3) vs. USF: Gasparilla Bowl
Avery: Marshall — The fact that this game is in USF’s home stadium gives me concern, but not enough to put my faith in a team on a five game losing streak that included some ugly losses. Marshall’s excellent defensive front will be able to contain USF’s attack, and the team will have no issue moving the football on USF’s porous defense. All signs point to a Marshall cover.
Matt: Marshall — First off, I have to say that the Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl is an ELECTRIC bowl name. With that said, the slide that USF has been on is more than just concerning. Marshall’s cupcake schedule provides reason for doubt. (Spoiler Alert: Lion King) However, Marshall will be as dominant as the herd that killed Mufasa in the Lion KIng.
Toledo (-6) vs. FIU: Bahamas Bowl
Avery: FIU — Toledo beat up on the weaker teams in the MAC to reach a bowl game, but they fell to both decent non-MAC teams that it faced. A team that entered the season with high expectations, it hasn’t been able to fulfill the hype, and that will continue on Friday. FIU will ride its high-powered offense to an outright victory.
Matt: FIU — While Conference USA has underperformed to this point in bowl season, FIU gets C-USA back on track. Quarterback James Morgan leads an explosive Panther offense. Toledo is also very penalty susceptible. With that said, the Rockets end up looking like...
Take FIU money line and ATS.
BYU (-12.5) vs. Western Michigan: Famous Idaho Potato Bowl
Avery: Western Michigan — This BYU team has been erratic all year. It has pulled out some impressive wins, but it has also had some serious let down performances. To an extent, the same can be said for Western Michigan, but the Broncos have performed well as underdogs this year, despite a blowout loss to Michigan early in the year. This game could go in so many directions, but I just can’t trust BYU to cover.
Matt: BYU — The Broncos have looked worse for much of this season than Denver did against the 49ers. They have given up ridiculous amounts of points on multiple occasions, giving up 59 to Ohio. BYU’s defense has looked good this year, especially their run defense. At the end of the day, the Cougars will lift the glass bowl of potatoes and cover the spread.