The Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas pits Northwestern against the Texas A&M Aggies at 12:00pm ET on New Year’s Eve. The College football odds makers have the Aggies favored by 10 with the total sitting at 66.

5* graded play on Texas A&M as they take on Northwestern in the Menace Car Care Bowl of Texas set to start at 12:00 PM ET, December 31, 2011. This bowl features two 6-6 record teams, but Texas A&M had much higher expectations for their season. Northwestern had a solid season, but was 3-5 in Big Ten conference play. Texas A&M played a more difficult schedule and went 4-5 in the Big-12

College football betting line 


The college football odds for this bowl game opened with Texas A&M installed as an 11 point favorite with normal 10% juice. Bets are steadily building in support of Northwestern and have brought the line down to its current price of Texas A&M favored by 10 -110 at the majority of shops. I liked Texas A&M at -11 so clearly anything south of ten points is a great number to bet. 

Ryan TannehillThe Total opened at 65 points -110 and has drifted to 65 ½ points. There are a few shops showing a 66 point total line. Better than 75% of all bets are being made on the ‘over’ and this is the extreme level of public betting frenzy that triggers a contrarian play. As we know, you want to be, in most games, on the side of the book and away from the public when these extremes are hit. If these betting levels are sustained or increase I will more than likely have the potential for a 10* or greater play on the ‘under’ For now, there is no play on the total, but check back at the College Football thread for any updates on this and all bowl games. 

Simulator projections 

My proprietary sports betting database and simulator show a high probability that Texas A&M will win this game by 11 or more points. The simulator further shows that Texas A&M will gain better than 500 total offensive yards and will average 6.5 or more yards per play. In past games where Northwestern allowed these levels of offensive prowess they have posted an 0-1 ATS mark this season, 1-4 ATS the past three seasons, and 15-33 ATS since 1992 when they have allowed 6.5 yards per play; 2-4 ATS this season, 3-10 ATS the past three seasons, and 19-38 ATS since 1992 when they have allowed 6.5 or more yards per play. 

Texas A&M has posted a 3-1 ATS mark this season, 10-2 ATS the past three seasons, and 40-12 ATS since 1992 when they have gained 6.5 yards per play in past games; 

Strength of schedule

These two teams may be equal with 6-6 records, but that is the only thing equal in this football game. The strength of schedule was significantly more difficult for the Aggies than the Wildcats. The Wildcats lost five straight games between September 17 and October 22 and covered just one of them ATS. They went on to win four of the last five just to become bowl eligible. 

Northwestern had an ugly 21-14 loss at Army installed as 5 ½ point favorites September 17. Their best win was at Nebraska where they shocked the Cornhuskers 28-25 installed as 17 ½ point dogs. Two of the four final wins were against arguably two of the worst teams in the FBS. The Wildcats defeated Rice 28-6 and covered ATS as 16 ½ point favorites. They also defeated Minnesota 28-13, but failed to cover the 16 ½ point spread. More alarming is that they were out played in the stats by the Gophers and yielded 269 rushing yards on 51 carries. 

Texas A&M covered only three games this season, attributed to big preseason expectations. They had two 4-game ATS losing streaks and one 3-game winning streak and one 3-game losing streak. They capped the disappointing season losing to Texas 27-25 installed as 7 ½ point favorites. The Aggies biggest win came with a 55-28 blowout of Baylor and easily covered the eight point spread October 15. 

They enter this bowl losers of four of the last five games, but were in some unmanageable situations. They lost in OT 38-31 at home to Missouri, installed as 10 point favorites. Not surprisingly they fell flat to Oklahoma 41-25 and failed to cover as 14 point dogs November 5. Piling on the troubles was the following week where they lost in four overtimes at Kansas State 53-50 and failed to cover as 5 ½ point favorites. That was enough misery for the Aggies as they came out and smoked Kansas 61-7 November 19.

So, although they ended on such a low note, I believe the time off to get healthy and knowing full well they are the superior team in this matchup will have the team motivated to play a very strong game. 

Injury update 

Texas A&M is getting some great news with their leading running back Cyrus Gray upgraded to probable for this bowl game. He is 5-10 and 200 pounds and has that rare combination of elite quickness and dominating power. He is playing his last game as an Aggie, being a senior, and I believe will be a strong player on Sundays.

The Aggie offensive line has a significant advantage against the undersized Northwestern defensive front. Texas A&M runs one of the best balanced offenses in the country and this will be nearly impossible for the Wildcats to defend. If Northwestern has to bring a safety to help stop the running game, then the play action pass will lead to big gain plays and scores. 

Take Texas A&M