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Inside NU’s bowl betting special, Part 5: Power Five battles

Football doesn’t stop.

NCAA Football: Northwestern at Illinois Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

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.

After Ohio State and Clemson put on a battle for the ages, you may think college football is slowing down. Not so fast my friend!

Records

Avery: 13-9-0

Matt: 13-9-0

Football keeps chugging along, and so do we. There is a thorough slate that will try (but likely fail) to replicate the drama of the Ohio State-Clemson CFP semifinal. But hey, you never know. Let’s get right into it.

  • First Responder Bowl: Western Kentucky vs Western Michigan

WKU -3.5

Avery: Western Kentucky takes care of the ball, plays solid defense and will be properly motivated to get a win. That’s enough for me. Trust the better team and go with the Hilltoppers to get the cover.

Matt: For the First Responder Bowl, we need to first acknowledge first responders. To any/all that may somehow be reading this, thank you for your service. Admittedly, I’d be cautious to go too hard on this game, but that’s not what we’re here for. Take Western Kentucky. Western Michigan starting running back LeVante Bellamy is questionable for the matchup which will swing it in the favor of the Hilltoppers.

How could you not root for this??
  • Music City Bowl: Mississippi State vs Louisville

Spread: MSU -5

Avery: This is an interesting one. Louisville will be able to put up points against the MSU defense, but the question is whether its run defense will hold up enough so that the Cardinals can eke out a cover. I’m going to trust the dual threat offense of Micale Cunningham and Javian Hawkins to get a cover and a win for Louisville.

Matt: Ahh, the Music City Bowl, one Wildcat fans will remember fondly. Miss State will need to continue to be reliant on three players who have missed two thirds of the season: safety Marcus Murphy, linebacker Willie Gay, and defensive tackle Lee Autry. The trio played a significant role in their Egg Bowl victory. Bulldog fans should hope the team can expose the 115th ranked rushing defense of Louisville, and I expect them to succeed in doing so. Take MSU.

  • RedBox Bowl: Cal vs Illinois

Cal -5.5

Avery: Cal is one of my favorite picks of the entire bowl season. It would be impossible for me to trust a team that gave absolutely zero fight in a rivalry game, and on the other side of the field is a team that would only have a couple losses if not for a collarbone injury to quarterback Chase Garbers. Cal has the advantage on both sides of the ball, with a defense that swarms to the ball at an impressive pace, and it will have no problem dismantling the Illini. Hammer the Bears.

Matt: Illinois, while a HAT loser, is the best bet in this “prestigious” Redbox Bowl. Assuming Brandon Peters is in at quarterback for the Illini, as much as it pains me to say, they should cover the spread. However, if they fail to, it will make for even more comedy at the expense of Illinois, something any Wildcat fan can root for: a true win-win.

  • Orange Bowl: Florida vs Virginia

Florida -14

Avery: I really want to go with a good story and take the Hoos, but I have to go with a team that has the capability of dominating this game. Florida has a shutdown defense that will limit the run game of UVA, and I’ve been impressed all year with Kyle Trask. Florida covers.

Matt: Florida, while they have a big number to cover, is the bet here. Florida allows 14.4 points per game and should have no issue limiting this Cavalier offense. Quarterback Kyle Trask has impressed after stepping in due to Felipe Franks’ early season injury. The Gators should have no issue hitting.

  • Belk Bowl: Virginia Tech vs Kentucky

Va Tech -2.5

Avery: You never know which version of either of these teams is going to show up on any given day. Both are capable of putting in brutal efforts, and both are capable of putting forth a great effort. Ultimately, I have more faith in the Hokies considering they’ll want to send defensive coordinator Bud Foster out with a win. 2.5 isn’t enough to convince me to go with the Wildcats, so I’ll ride with Va Tech.

Matt: The home of the best bowl Twitter account, the Belk Bowl will be a fun one. I’m on the Hokies in this one. The utter disregard by Kentucky to throw the football makes me want to put my head through a wall. They have averaged only 10 pass attempts per game over their last seven games and I can’t help but believe that no team should deserve a bowl win playing like that.

  • Sun Bowl: Florida State vs Arizona State

ASU -4.5

Avery: Florida State comes into this game without its best running back and a plethora of standouts. ASU on the other hand, is fairly healthy and eager to avenge a bowl loss last year to Fresno State. I believe that Herm will have his team fired up for this one, so I’m going to go with Arizona State.

Matt: Take Arizona State here. Florida State has been decimated by injuries, losing 13 players from their opening day roster for either injury or other reasons. Starting running back Cam Akers is skipping Florida State’s bowl game to prepare for the NFL draft. The team is just down too many players. Take the Sun Devils.

  • Liberty Bowl: Navy vs Kansas State

Navy -2.5

Avery: Picks don’t get any easier than this. What am I going to do, pick against Navy? The Midshipmen are the better team, took the Patriots plane to the game, and are the Navy. There is no chance you can take the Wildcats here. Go Navy.

Matt: I LOVE the Midshipmen in this one. After a great win in the Army-Navy game, Navy should run away with this one. Quarterback Malcolm Perry showed his dominance against Army and I am expecting a repeat performance. Nobody could keep up with him and K-State should have similar issues.

  • Wyoming vs Georgia State

Spread: Wyoming -8

Avery: While I do think Wyoming comes out of this game with a victory, I don’t think the Panthers are getting enough credit. A quick resume check shows me that GSU has just as many quality wins as Wyoming, and the Cowboys certainly don’t have a knack for running away with games. Take the Panthers and the points.

Matt: Do I know particularly much about either of these teams? No. But with that being said, I’m on Wyoming in this one. While Georgia State may have put up more impressive numbers this season, the Cowboys dual-threat quarterback Sean Chambers should combine with running back Xazavian Valladay (side note: he is on my mount rushmore of college athlete names for the year along with Boo Buie) to power Wyoming to victory.

  • Alamo Bowl: Utah vs Texas

Spread: Utah -7

Avery: I am a big fan of judging motivation in games like this, and there is a big risk that Utah will be dejected and unmotivated after suffering a brutal loss in the PAC-12 championship that kept it out of a much more prestigious bowl. With that being said, there is no evidence to believe that Texas will be able to stop the Utes. Utah rebounds from its Holiday bowl loss to Northwestern and covers.

Matt: Are the eyes of Texas upon me? Is Texas Football back? These are questions that many fans are still asking. However, much like Nebraska (or insert other college football team stuck in the past), they are NOT back. The team that was second place at the Holiday Bowl last year covers this one.