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Bowl game betting primer

Here’s hoping the underdogs get off to a fast start on January 1. Joe Fortenbaugh

December 26, 2012
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Before we get down to brass tacks, here’s a piece of advice from our good friend Vegas Runner of Pregame.com: If you’re going to bet the dogs, you might as well sprinkle a little something on the money line.

As you’ll soon find out, we’re taking this advice to heart once the calendar flips to 2013.

Last edition: 4-2

Season: 45-37-1 (.548)

CLICK HERE to check out all of the current lines.

Purdue Boilermakers (6-6) vs. Oklahoma State Cowboys (7-5)

Heart of Dallas Bowl
When:
Tuesday, January 1 at 12:00pm ET
Open: Oklahoma State -18
Current: Oklahoma State -16.5

Analysis: Purdue concluded the regular season on a three-game winning streak to get bowl eligible, but those victories came against Big Ten doormats Iowa, Illinois and Indiana. Oklahoma State is a much different beast, ranking seventh in the nation in passing offense (333.4 yds/gm) and fourth in scoring (44.7 pts/gm). Take note that head coach Danny Hope is no longer running the show for the Boilermakers thanks to a disappointing 6-6 campaign. Purdue lacks the firepower on offense to keep pace and the playmakers on defense to get stops. The Cowboys should roll in this one.

Take note: Purdue is 1-4 ATS over their last five bowl games while Oklahoma State is 9-1 ATS over their last ten games following an ATS loss.

Pick: Oklahoma State (-16.5)

Mississippi State Bulldogs (8-4) vs. Northwestern Wildcats (9-3)

Taxslayer.com Gator Bowl
When:
Tuesday, January 1 at 12:00pm ET
Open: Mississippi State -2
Current: Mississippi State -2.5

Pat FitzgeraldThis is the year for Pat Fitzgerald and the Wildcats.

Analysis: Pat Fitzgerald’s crew has been money in the bank this season, going 11-1 against the number. As for motivation, the Wildcats haven’t won a bowl game since the 1949 Rose Bowl, so you know this team is going to show up prepared. Mississippi State dropped four of their final five contests and didn’t beat a quality opponent at any point during the regular season. This is the year that Northwestern finally breaks through.

Take note: Mississippi State is 1-4 ATS over their last five games overall while Northwestern is 4-0 ATS over their last four games against teams with a winning record.

Pick: Northwestern (+2.5)

Wisconsin Badgers (8-5) vs. Stanford Cardinal (11-2)

Rose Bowl
When:
Tuesday, January 1 at 5:00pm ET
Open: Stanford -6
Current: Stanford -6.5

Analysis: Bret Bielema—loser of three straight Rose Bowls—left for Arkansas and has been temporarily replaced by Barry Alvarez, who is looking to capture his fourth Rose Bowl crown. Stanford is an excellent football team that is more than capable of coming up roses in the big spot, but the Cardinal isn’t a squad that blows anybody out. In a tight matchup like this, we love the idea of getting six and the hook.

Take note: Wisconsin is 13-5 ATS over their last 18 games following an ATS win while Stanford is 38-17-1 over their last 56 games overall.

Pick: Wisconsin (+6.5)

Northern Illinois Huskies (12-1) vs. Florida State Seminoles (11-2)

Discover Orange Bowl
When:
Tuesday, January 1 at 8:30pm ET
Open: Florida State -13.5
Current: Florida State -13.5

Analysis: The United States vs. the USSR, Tyson vs. Douglas, Villanova vs. Georgetown. What did all three have in common? Nobody gave the dog a shot in hell. We’re seeing the same thing here except for the fact that Florida State is no Mike Tyson. The Seminoles covered the number in just three of 12 posted games this season and beat the spread only once over their final six contests. Preparation and motivation both side with the Huskies for their first major bowl appearance, but do they have the talent to knock off the ‘Noles? We think they do, which is why a play on the money line is also worth your while.

Take note: Northern Illinois is 7-1-2 ATS in their last ten games overall while Florida State is 0-4 ATS in their last four games overall.

Pick: Northern Illinois (+13.5)

Oregon Ducks (11-1) vs. Kansas State Wildcats (11-1)

Tostitos Fiesta Bowl
When:
Thursday, January 3 at 8:30pm ET
Open: Oregon -8
Current: Oregon -9

Bill SnyderBill Snyder has a month to figure out the Ducks.

Analysis: The Ducks have been very good to us over the last few years and the early opinion in Vegas is that Chip Kelly’s squad once again delivers for their backers. But as much as it breaks our heart, we’re going the other way in this one. Bill Snyder’s got a month to prepare for Oregon’s high-flying attack and the Ducks roster has to be concerned about whether or not Kelly will bolt for the NFL after this matchup. Those two factors, plus the nine points, are the reasons why we’ll take the Wildcats in addition to making another money line play.

Take note: Oregon is 1-4 ATS over their last four neutral site games while Kansas State is 18-7-1 ATS over their last 26 games overall.

Pick: Kansas State (+9)

Texas A&M Aggies (10-2) vs. Oklahoma Sooners (10-2)

AT&T Cotton Bowl
When:
Friday, January 4 at 8:00pm ET
Open: Texas A&M -3
Current: Texas A&M -4.5

Analysis: When was the last time a Bob Stoops football team showed up and won a big game? Yeah, that’s what I thought. This play has nothing to do with Johnny Football and his Heisman Trophy. It’s simply a play against Stoops and his not-made-for-TV football team.

Take note: Texas A&M is 4-1 ATS over their last four games overall while Oklahoma is 1-5 ATS over their last six games played in the month of January.

Pick: Texas A&M (-4.5)

JUST FOR FUN…

Alabama Crimson Tide (12-1) vs. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (12-0)

Discover BCS National Championship
When:
Monday, January 7 at 8:30pm ET
Open: Alabama -9
Current: Alabama -9.5

Analysis: It wouldn’t be much of a bowl game betting primer if we failed to mention the biggest matchup on the board. Our hope here is that the public pushes this line through ten so we can pounce on the money line with Notre Dame. Nick Saban’s crew is the better football team and Notre Dame is getting very little respect. We think that could be a mistake.

Take note: Alabama is 1-5 ATS over their last six games against teams with a winning record while Notre Dame is 4-1 ATS over their last five neutral site games.

Pick: Notre Dame (money line)

Hit me up on Twitter: @JoeFortenbaugh

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