Well folks, we’re back. After going 23-22 last year and proving that betting on football is most certainly not a crapshoot, Matt and I are here to give you the content that you definitely do not need. It’s the Inside NU bowl betting special, year TWO. We’ll give your our picks for each bowl game, and if you’re smart, you will choose to fade us. Let’s do it.
- Bahamas Bowl: Buffalo vs. Charlotte
Avery: These are the games that are just impossible to have a read on. I didn’t watch Buffalo during the year, I didn’t watch Charlotte during the year, and my pick is solely based on numbers that look appealing to me. Funnily enough, I did much better on these types of games last year, and that should tell you something about my ability to handicap games, but I digress. I’ll go with Buffalo and a strong running attack to dominate against a weak Charlotte run defense.
Matt: I LOVE Charlotte. First year head coach Will Healy has led the 49ers to their first ever bowl game. After a slow start to the season, Charlotte won their last five games to get bowl eligible. 49ers Quarterback Chris Reynolds leads the team with 21 touchdowns and passed for over 2000 yards this season. Defensive star Alex Highsmith had the second most sacks in FBS and led Conference USA with 15 sacks this season, 4.5 of which came on their most recent game against Old Dominion. Ride the hot hand. Ride the 49ers. ATS and Moneyline.
- Tropical Smoothie Cafe Frisco Bowl: Utah State vs. Kent State
Avery: There’s been a bunch of controversy surrounding Utah State and some players dealing with legal troubles, but that won’t deter me from going with the better team. The Aggies should be able to limit Kent State’s offense, and its dynamic offense should have no problem putting up points against a defense that has conceded less than 20 points one time all year, against a lowly Akron team. The Aggies cover and win convincingly.
Matt: I’m on Kent State in this one. Utah State’s offense is powered by NFL draft prospect Quarterback Jordan Love, who will match up with Kent State’s 55th ranked passing defense. I expect the Golden Flashes to use the dynamic dual-threat running of Quarterback Jordan Crum and their two-headed running back duo to power them to keep them in the game. Bet the Golden Flashes.
- Celebration Bowl: Alcorn State vs. North Carolina A&T
NC A&T -2
Avery: Alright, I know absolutely nothing about these two teams, but what I do know is that the Aggies enter this game on fire. Having put up 101 points in its last two contests, I’ll put my faith in NC A&T to force a repeat of last year’s Celebration Bowl, where it came out victorious.
Matt: Alcorn State has SWAGGER. My favorite of all HBCUs, the Braves are fun to watch. But I’m going to have to pick North Carolina A&T. This Celebration Bowl might seem like dejà vu, because these two teams matched up in the same bowl last season with North Carolina A&T coming out victorious. NC A&T finished second in the MEAC, but made the bowl because of Florida A&M’s postseason ineligibility. Alcorn State won the SWAC, had the SWAC offensive player of the year in Quarterback Felix Harper, and led the FCS in forced turnovers. The Aggies ultimately win a close one.
- New Mexico Bowl: Central Michigan vs San Diego State
Avery: This could actually be a really interesting game. In a matchup of a great offense with the Chippewas against a stellar defense with the Aztecs, something has to give. I tend to side with better defenses rather than better offenses, especially when you look at the competition CMU has faced. It didn’t have a quality win this year, and that’s enough for me to ride with the Aztecs.
Matt: This year’s equivalent of the Cheez-it Bowl! This is expected to be the lowest scoring bowl game (over/under set at 41.5). While San Diego State has the 4th ranked defense in the country, take Central Michigan in this one. The Chippewas average nearly 32 points per game, and while they’re facing a defense that gives up an average of 12. First year head coach Jim McElwain has gotten the team rolling, and before a close loss to Miami OH in the MAC championships, the team won three straight.
- Cure Bowl: Liberty vs Georgia Southern
Avery: Liberty has an explosive offense that will exploit a GSU defense that has struggled limiting big plays all year. On the other hand, the Flames will struggle with an option offense that is tough to read. I expect a high scoring game that will come down to the wire, and I don’t see enough separation between the two teams to eat six points. Based on that, I’ll take Liberty.
Matt: Georgia Southern is one of the most unpredictable teams in college football. They beat Appalachian State by three points, but then got blown out by Troy the next week. Georgia Southern, much like Army, likes to dominate possession in slow drives that tick down significant time on every drive. Liberty has had many issues stopping the run, and while they have the highest paid football coach outside of the Power Five schools in Hugh Freeze, Georgia Southern is the way to go in this one.
- Boca Raton Bowl: SMU vs FAU
Spread: SMU -3
Avery: Points, points, points. This is going to be another high scoring affair that will come down to who can take the ball away and who can execute in the red zone. There isn’t much to separate the two squads, but FAU will be without its head coach in Lane Kiffin. Honestly, that might not be a loss when you think about it, but that leads me to go with SMU.
Matt: This game should be one of the most fun games in all of bowl season. Both offenses are ranked in the top 20, FAU ranked 16th and SMU ranked seventh in points per game. While FAU is missing Coach Lane Kiffin, who has already agreed to coach Ole Miss and is no longer coaching the team, the game is in their own stadium. SMU may be missing their second best Wide Receiver in junior Reggie Roberson Jr. who is questionable to play. The over/under is set in the low 70s, which should make this game fun to watch. I’m taking FAU despite the missing coach. FAU against the spread and straight up. Also Pat McAfee on the sidelines as a field analyst makes this game almost a must watch #forthebrand.
- Camellia Bowl: FIU vs Arkansas State
Ark St -3
Avery: Sometimes you have to ride a great story, and the Red Wolves have that. As Matt talks about below, I really just want to make this pick because I want to root for Arkansas State. It would provide a nice bow on a difficult and tragic season for his team. Go Red Wolves.
Matt: For those who aren’t aware, this season has taken on a greater significance for Arkansas State after head coach Blake Anderson lost his wife to breast cancer in August. He returned for week 2, in their triumphant win over UNLV 43-17. Arkansas State Quarterback Layne Hatcher has thrown for at least two touchdowns per game, and the team won four out of their final five games to reach the Camellia Bowl. I’m on the Red Wolves prolific offense to get them to cover.
- Las Vegas Bowl: Boise State vs Washington
Avery: This is a really tough game to predict, as Washington has much more talent, but I get the feeling that after such a disappointing year, the Huskies just won’t care that much. Boise State on the other hand should have a point to prove in this game, and it’s a bowl that carries meaning for a group of five team. I’ll go with Boise State to get the cover on the back of its hunger.
Matt: Don’t let the Huskies 7-5 record deceive you. Washington has dominant quarterback Jacob Eason and an explosive defense. The Huskies have two players sitting out in hopes of potentially getting drafted, but still have seven others who opted to play who also carry draft hopes, most notably Eason. Boise State’s offense will also be weakened without Offensive Coordinator Zak Hill who has accepted the same position at Arizona State. I expect the Broncos to have issues breaking down the tough Husky defense, take Washington in this one.
- New Orleans Bowl: Appalachian State vs UAB
App St -17
Avery: This one should be a breeze. The Mountaineers have far too much firepower to be contained by the Blazers, and UAB can’t say the same when the roles are flipped. The question for App State is by what margin will they win, and it’s tough to see UAB keeping it close. The Blazers are unable to contain the Mountaineers’ electric running game and App State covers.
Matt: I’m on Appalachian State in this game. The UAB Blazers cough up the football far too frequently to win this game. App State is an offensive force with an explosive running game. While head coach Elijah Drinkwitz has left to take the Missouri head coaching job, he brought the UAB tight ends coach along with him. The Mountaineers are used to adapting to new coaches, they have had a new head coach in each of the past three seasons, and coach Shawn Clark is very highly regarded among players.