NCAA Football Bowl Game Wagering Advice and Betting Help: Tough Matchups
Whenever you look at the lineup of bowl games in a given year there are a variety of types of games from a betting perspective. At the most basic level, there are games that you look at and almost immediately know what side you are on. They seem straightforward. And then there are the games that are just really, really tough. One team is tough to put a finger on, or both have flaws that make things really challenging.
Of the 39 bowl games on tap this year, here are the three that stand out to me as the most perplexing and toughest to get a good sense of ( Odds are from BetOnline )
Cactus Bowl, Kansas State (-2.5) vs. UCLA, Dec. 26: It's just tough to get a sense of whether either of these teams are going to care about this game. Kansas State was just 7-5, and the end of the regular season was marred by some controversy around coach Bill Snyder, his future, and whether or not Jim Leavitt was denied a job with Kansas State last year. Snyder has done a good job over the years at Kansas State, but everyone knows his time is nearing an end, and it doesn't feel like it is going to be a smooth transition. His players may or may not be ready to go to war for him at this point - especially in a game like this which is very tough to care about. These players are missing Christmas with their families to play in a baseball stadium in Phoenix. That's hardly what guys dreamed about when they were kids.
And then there is UCLA. Josh Rosen has at least one foot out the door already as he looks toward his NFL future. The rest of the team is focused entirely on their future as the team made the home run Chip Kelly hire. Before the Kelly era can start, though, they have to get through this game. The Bruins have six losses already in this disaster of a year, and this is not exactly a major rival that they line up against.
I don't trust either team to show up, and even when they do show up I have very little respect for the effort and consistency that they have played with this year. Ugly game.
Independence Bowl, Florida State (-15) vs. Southern Miss, December 27: The storyline here is similar to the last game. Florida State needed their last game just to get to bowl eligibility after entering the season ranked third in the country. Jimbo Fisher quit on the team in October, quit recruiting in November, and then strung them along before bolting for a payday at Texas A&M. Injuries have been a problem. Everything has been horrible for this team, and before they can focus on turning a new leaf with Willie Taggart next year they have to get through this game under an interim coach and against an opponent that is just impossible to care about.
Southern Miss is 8-4, but they don't have an impressive win, and on paper their talent level is far below what Florida State has to offer. If the teams played to their potential then Florida State would cover this spread easily. It's tough to know what to expect from them, though, and Southern Miss could have a bit more of a spring in their step as they have a chance to knock off a high-profile team - even if that high-profile team is a mess.
Sun Bowl, N.C. State (-6) vs. Arizona State, Dec. 29: I was crossing a road on a sidewalk overpass once years ago. Below me I saw a car turn onto the wrong side of the divided road. I couldn't do anything but watch as this car headed towards the oncoming traffic and caused an inevitable accident. It's something I'll never forget. And it's like I am living it again as I watch Arizona State and their coaching mess.
Making a coaching change at all was bizarre. Making a change when you didn't seem to have a good replacement plan was irresponsible. Hiring Herm Edwards was just insane, and Edwards has been just a mess since taking over - he didn't even know the nickname of the school. This is going to end very, very badly, but not before a whole lot of chaos ensues.
The players know it, and they head into this game carrying that burden. In normal circumstances I would be looking at the Sun Devils as a good upset pick here because they are quietly better than people think. These are far from normal circumstances, though.
On top of that, N.C. State has their own issues to deal with as coach Dave Doeren openly flirted with Tennessee before taking more money to stick around. That kind of situation often has a negative impact on teams, and could be the distraction that makes the difference in this game - or not.
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