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This Week in College Football Betting by the Numbers
by Aaron Smith - 12/20/2012

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Johnny Manziel of Texas A&M

If you like college football, there’s a good chance you love bowl season. Not all bowls are created equal, but bowl season is now underway. The biggest matchups will come as we near the end of this year and the start of 2013. Still, there are some early games that should be more exciting than many believe. Bettors should keep an eye out for games that aren’t getting attention from the public, because those might be the best betting opportunities of the entire bowl season.

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It was a great regular season in college football, and I have little doubt that there are some terrific bowl games on the horizon. Johnny Manziel just became the first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy. Alabama went from left for dead after losing to Manziel and the Aggies to being a big favorite in the BCS Championship Game. Can Alabama make it three out of four years with a title or will Notre Dame stun them?

Kansas State and Oregon were in line to meet in the BCS title game until both lost on Nov. 17. The good news for fans of the sport is we will still get to them square off in the Fiesta Bowl on Jan. 3.

There aren’t as many games on the schedule now, but the stakes are higher than ever. Here’s a look at some important numbers to keep an eye on when betting on college football this weekend.

0- Just a few days after their big win in the Idaho Potato Bowl, there can’t be many happy Utah State Aggies fans today. Reports are that Gary Andersen has accepted the head coaching position at Wisconsin. Andersen was reported to be a top candidate for many jobs, but as recently as late last week he said he was committed to staying at Utah State. Still, you can hardly blame the guy for taking the big jump and going to Wisconsin. As for the Badgers, they just made a very good hire!

1- The Cal Bears aren’t a part of any bowl game this year, but they did make a good hire when they picked up Sonny Dykes this offseason. Dykes has already made a big splash in Berkeley by saying that all of Cal’s practices will be open to the public starting with spring practice in late February. Dykes said, “We don’t have any secrets.”

1- Notre Dame Coach Brian Kelly was named the AP Coach of the Year this week. Kelly’s ability to adapt to the team’s strengths this year really helped the Fighting Irish get to where they are right now. Notre Dame got rid of the up-tempo offense and won games with their strong defensive front. Bill O’Brien finished second in the voting for this award.

3- Hopefully Boise State’s players and fans like the city of Las Vegas. For the third straight year, Boise State will be playing in the Las Vegas Bowl. The Broncos have won in blowouts each of the last two years, but the oddsmakers are expecting a close game this time around. Boise State is listed as a 5.5-point favorite at most books.

17- Looking for the biggest pointspread on the board this bowl season? According to odds from Bovada, Oklahoma State is a 17-point favorite over Purdue in the Heart of Dallas Bowl. Purdue didn’t do much to make anyone feel very confident about their chances, but you could probably say that about just about any team in the Big Ten.

80- The posted total in the Holiday Bowl between the Baylor Bears and the UCLA Bruins. Last year, Baylor was a part of the record-setting Alamo Bowl where the final score was 67-56. The Bears high-powered offense and terrible defense has a way of turning games into shootouts. This might be a case of the team that gets the ball last wins it. The number might make it too high to play the “over,” but I know I wouldn’t want any part of an “under” bet with these two teams on the field.

133- Forbes Magazine has weighed in again this week, and they still believe that the Texas Longhorns football program is the most valuable program in the country. The magazine said that Texas’ program is worth $133 million. Michigan was listed as the second most valuable program at $120 million.

837- The Florida Gators got a big boost this week when quarterback Will Grier announced he will play for Florida starting in 2014. Grier is one of the highest-touted recruits in the nation, and he threw for 837 yards in a single game earlier this year. Such a ridiculous number begs the question: was anyone playing defense on the other end?

1,771- Jordan Lynch led the entire nation in rushing with 1,771 yards this year. It’s not very often that you see a quarterback lead the nation in rushing yards, but Lynch accomplished the feat this season. He and his Northern Illinois teammates will have a chance on the big stage against the Florida State Seminoles in the Orange Bowl.

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