College Football Betting: The “Other” Factors to Consider When Handicapping Bowl Games
College football bowl season can be a unique handicap. With the exception of the playoffs, motivation or lack thereof can have a big impact on the outcome. Then there is the issue of head coaches taking new jobs — some leaving prior to the bowl, some sticking around. You also have head coaches who will use the bowl game as an audition to see how next year’s roster will look and what holes need to be filled. Strength of schedule is also an angle bettors like to focus on. Either way, there’s a lot more to each matchup than just who can run, pass, and play defense. Below we’ll take a look the bowl games that feature some of the “other” factors bettors should consider.
New Mexico – Central Michigan vs. San Diego State
SDSU head coach Rocky Long has a long history of seemingly not caring much about the postseason with a 4-9 SU record. Last season, the Aztecs were blanked by a Ohio squad that didn’t even reach the MAC Championship, 27-0. Prior to that, SDSU lost to Army, 42-35, as -6.5 chalk. Plus you have a Central Michigan squad that is no doubt excited about a bowl berth after last year’s disastrous 1-11 campaign.
Boca Raton – SMU vs. Florida Atlantic
It was all a matter of time before Lane Kiffin decided to bail. To his credit, he led the Owls to 10 wins. And it’s impossible that any FAU player was surprised about Kiffin’s decision. Glenn Spencer, the team’s defensive coordinator, earned the interim tag as well as a vote of confidence from the players to be named Kiffin’s replacement.
Las Vegas – Washington vs. Boise State
Lots going on here with Washington head coach Chris Peterson deciding to step down. Peterson will however coach the Huskies — against this former team. Boise State meanwhile was in the hunt for a New Year’s Day bowl which instead went to AAC champ Memphis. And while the Tigers are deserving, Boise’s resume was pretty impressive with a lone loss coming on the road against BYU by a mere three points. Head coach Bryan Harsin voiced his frustration about the situation. Also note that last year, Boise’s bowl game vs. Boston College was canceled after the first quarter due to weather.
New Orleans – UAB vs. Appalachian State
First-year head coach Eli Drinkwitz parlayed a 12-1 season into the Missouri gig. Losing a head coach didn’t seem to bother the Mountaineers last season. After Scott Satterfield left for Louisville, APSU went on to hammer MTSU, 45-13, in the New Orleans Bowl. Though one could argue playing in the same second-tier bowl could be somewhat of a letdown for the players. UAB’s Bill Clark would be a nice score for some middling power conference program but as of now, his name is not linked to any openings.
Independence – Miami (FL) vs. Louisiana Tech
There’s a ton of heat on first-year head coach Manny Diaz, especially after closing out the year with losses to FIU and Duke. This was a team expected to contend in the ACC and yet here they are playing a quasi road game against a non-power 5 opponent. No surprise to see the Hurricanes fall from -7.5 to -6.5.
Pinstripe – Michigan State vs. Wake Forest
Another down season for Sparty has Mark Dantonio on the hot seat. Reports claim that his staff will be evaluated after the season. At least they drew a power 5 opponent in the unique setting of Yankee Stadium.
Cheez-It – Washington State vs. Air Force
Nothing went right for the Cougars this season and Mike Leach wasn’t shy about voicing his frustration. And as far as we can tell, Wazzu hasn’t faced an option team under Leach. Bettors really need to ask the question will Leach have his team prepared?
Cotton – Memphis vs. Penn State
With Mike Norvell headed to Florida State, assistant Ryan Silverfield steps in as the interim head coach. There’s still a chance Norvell will coach the game but his attention is obviously focused on cleaning up the mess in Tallahassee. Note that Silverfield has stated that he wants the head job though recently fired Barry Odom is reportedly a “top candidate.”
Birmingham – Boston College vs. Cincinnati
Steve Addazio was let go despite bowl berths in five of six seasons. Perhaps the top brass wanted more, especially with how down the ACC has been of late. Wide receiver coach Rich Gunnell is now in charge.