College Bowl Game Betting Advice: Biggest Mismatches
A lot of bowl games are tight, hard-fought battles. When you have to put together this many games, though, you are inevitably going to find some that are less competitive than we might dream of. There were six games on the slate this year that opened with a double-digit favorite . Our job here is simple - to look at the biggest bowl mismatches on the board and to see where the value might be. Interestingly, it's not all with the favorites despite their clear advantages.
New Orleans Bowl, December 22 - Appalachian State (-17) vs. UAB: This is the second biggest spread on the board in early action, and it's not too much of a surprise. App State spent most of the season ranked. And they thought they deserved a New Year's Six bowl bid. They didn't get that, and they have lost their second head coach in two years as Eli Drinkwitz has taken the Missouri job. They have that adversity to deal with, but QB Zac Thomas and running back Darrynton Evans combined to score 55 touchdowns, so this is a terrifying offense. UAB is solid, but just don't have the fire power here. If App State shows up and decides they want this one, they will take it with ease.
Gasparilla Bowl, December 23 - UCF (-17.5) vs. Marshall: It will be important to keep an eye on UCF wide receiver Gabriel Davis here. He's such a massive weapon having set records for offense at the school. He has already declared his intentions to head for the draft, but he says he is planning to play in the game. These things could change, though, and UCF would certainly miss him if he altered his plans. This isn't the UCF team we have been used to the last couple of years, but they are still very solid and dangerous. Marshall won six of their last seven, and played a fairly tough schedule, so they are seasoned. They probably aren't quite good enough, but they have won two straight bowl games, so we can trust them to be ready. Some people will look at them as a live underdog.
Quick Lane Bowl, December 26 - Pitt (-10) vs Eastern Michigan: Pitt is a favorite due to their conference and their relative strength of roster, but there are certainly easier double-digit favorites to like. This team lost games to Virginia Tech and Boston College down the stretch to blow their shot at winning their division, so they are not in top form by any means. And they haven't won a bowl game since 2013. Eastern Michigan feels dangerous because they are playing with house money. They have absolutely nothing to lose. They lost their final game to drop to 6-6 and were widely expected to be left out of the bowl picture. They are thrilled to be playing, and a win in this game would mean a whole lot more to their program than it would for Pitt.
Peach Bowl, December 28 - LSU (-12.5) vs. Oklahoma: It's probably not kind, but it sure feels like Oklahoma is the fourth team in a three-team playoff. And it isn't the first time that the Sooners have been invited to the big show without really feeling like they belong. The defense is a little better than it was, but the offense probably isn't as sharp. And LSU's offense is just incredibly good right now. This is a battle between Heisman finalist quarterbacks, so anything can happen. And this is a lot of points to give up to a playoff team. But it would strike most people as a true shock if Oklahoma could win this one - or even keep it close, really.
Orange Bowl, December 30 - Florida (-13) vs. Virginia: Virginia won their division, but then they looked comically outclassed against Clemson in the ACC Championship Game. It was as if they were wearing banana peels as shoes. They just didn't belong on the same field. Florida would get crushed by Clemson, too, but it wouldn't be such a glaring gap. Florida was very fired up for their bowl game last year against Michigan. While they are playing a lesser opponent here, they should still be ready. And against this Virginia defense - if you can even call it a defense - they will be just fine.
LendingTree Bowl, January 6 - UL-Lafayette (-14) vs. Miami (Ohio): One storyline to watch here is Lafayette head coach Billy Napier. He has been mentioned in coaching speculation and might be targeted by a bigger school. That would change the dynamic of this game a bit. This team won six straight to close the season before losing to App State in the conference title game. The Sun Belt is no joke right now, so this team is for real. Miami, meanwhile, pulled off a bizarre feat - they won their conference despite being outscored by 46 points on the year. That shouldn't be possible. Their QB is Brett Gabbert, Blaine's much younger brother. But he's in tough here. Lafayette is worthy of respect.
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