College Football Betting: Bowl Berths On The Line This Week
The college football regular season is winding down and that means a sizable chunk of teams are still in search of becoming bowl eligible. Bettors will hear the phrases like “must win” or “do or die” and must decided whether or not it’s a worthy angle to consider in their handicap. It’s imperative however to treat each situation individually. For one, teams sitting 5-6 this late in the year generally aren’t very good. There’s also a big difference between a 5-6 MAC team that would be ecstatic to make the postseason and a 5-6 power conference team that would rather be home for the holidays than play in a lower-tier bowl.
Miami-Ohio (5-6) -17 vs. Ball State (Tuesday) – The Redhawks have been to one bowl since 2010 (2016 St. Petersburg Bowl). And after an 0-3 start are playing their best football of the year with back-to-back upset wins over Ohio and Northern Illinois. They’ve also covered seven of their last eight. Tuesday marks the highest point spread of the season for the Redhawks.
Virginia Tech (4-6) +4 vs. Virginia (Friday) – Unique situation for the Hokies having been to the postseason 25 straight years. Due to having a previous game canceled, Tech must beat rival Virginia as well as Marshall (12/1) who it just added to the schedule in order to keep the streak alive. That’s quite the level of ego though in theory, the Thundering Herd are hardly a “gimme.”
Wake Forest (5-6) +12.5 at Duke (Saturday) – The Demon Deacons had a crack at their sixth win last week but were manhandled by Pitt, 34-13. Backup quarterback Jamie Newman had a solid game in a win over NC State (297 yards, 3 TDs) but regressed in a big way against the Eagles (50% completions, 2 INTs).
Minnesota (5-6) +10 at Wisconsin (Saturday) – For all of PJ Fleck’s talk about “rowing boats” and “trusting the process” a postseason berth would no doubt mean a lot to the program. But this team has been a nightmare to figure out. Over their last three games, the Golden Gophers lost to Illinois by 24, beat Purdue by 31, and lost at home to 10 against a banged up Northwestern squad that had already clinched the Big Ten West.
Southern Miss (5-5) -13 at UTEP (Saturday) – The Golden Eagles have played fourth straight games decided by a field goal or less including last week’s 21-20 win over Louisiana Tech. All that’s left is beating a 1-win UTEP team on the road by two touchdowns.
Wyoming (5-6) -7.5 at New Mexico (Saturday) – If you’re a believer in momentum then you’ll probably be betting on the Cowboys this weekend. After a 2-6 start — and a soft spot in the schedule — Wyoming has ripped off three straight wins. The Lobos meanwhile haven’t won a game since early October.
Colorado (5-6) +13 at California (Saturday) – Yikes. Well documented meltdown in Boulder with six straight losses. Mike McIntyre was subsequently fired leaving assistant Kurt Roper in charge. Not so sure this isn’t a “let’s just get the season over win” type of situation.
Tennessee (5-6) +3.5 at Vanderbilt (5-6) (Saturday) – For all the marbles! A postseason berth would mean a lot to both teams. That’s Vanderbilt’s goal every year and for Tennessee a step in the right direction under its new coaching regime. The Commodores have won two straight in the series. Keep an eye on UT quarterback Jarrett Guarantano who is listed as questionable with a head injury.
TCU (5-6) +4.5 vs. Oklahoma State (Saturday) – The Horned Frogs were the first team I thought about in terms of potentially NOT wanting to go to the postseason. After an 11-win campaign, expectations were there and obviously not met. Bettors should be leery about this “must win” spot.
Florida State (5-6) +5 vs. Florida (Saturday) – The Seminoles have been to a bowl every year since 1988 so yes, there’s likely a sense a pride in play this weekend. Plus it’s an in-state rival. In a surprising twist, after losing three straight games by a combined 97 points, FSU managed to beat Boston College last week, 22-21. Impressive when you consider just how big of a mess this team has been for much of the campaign.
Purdue (5-6) -4 at Indiana (5-6) (Saturday) – The Old Oaken Bucket! Purdue is arguably the best 5-6 team in the country but they’ve botched back-to-back prime opportunities to grab that elusive sixth win. And the Jeff Brohm to Louisville talks are currently boiling on the stove. Game effort by the Hoosiers in last week’s 31-20 loss at Michigan. The Boilermakers won last year’s meeting in West Lafayette, 31-24.
USC (5-6) +10.5 vs. Notre Dame (Saturday) – As of now, Clay Helton still has a job which isn’t necessarily a good thing for bettors. The Trojans put up 7.36 yards per play and STILL lost to UCLA last week. Notre Dame is obviously undefeated and off what was in theory its biggest obstacle (36-3 win vs. Syracuse). Would love to know how the USC players really feel about Helton; like him and this sets up well for a monster effort.
Florida Atlantic (5-6) -17.5 vs. Charlotte (Saturday) – Kiffin has the Owls playing their best football and they shouldn’t have much trouble with Charlotte. Unless of course the 49ers’ “four corners” offense frustrates Kiffin into a fit of rage which is very possible.
SMU (5-6) -2 at Tulsa (Saturday) – If anything, a bowl berth for Sonny Dykes will give him an opportunity to atone for last year’s embarrassing 51-10 Frisco Bowl loss to Louisiana Tech.