5 Betworthy Trends for the 2017 College Bowl Season

Kevin Stott

Sunday, December 10, 2017 5:35 PM UTC

Sunday, Dec. 10, 2017 5:35 PM UTC

Kelly Bryant and the defending FBS National Champions Clemson have not only won seven straight Postseason (Bowl) games, but the Tigers have also won all seven of those games as Underdogs ATS at the sportsbook and all but one of them SU, proving this has been a very good team on which to bet in Bowl season.

1—Northwestern 6-3 ATS in L9 Bowl Appearances Despite Wildcats 3-10 SU Mark L13 Bowl Games Overall

Big Ten school Northwestern (9-3 SU) was a profitable team on which to bet in the 2017 College Football Regular Season with the Wildcats going 9-3 ATS and earning a spot on our Top 5 College Football Cats and Rats ATS rankings after 12th-year Head Coach Pat Fitzgerald (74-67 ATS) and the #20 Wildcats went 9-1 ATS after losing their first two games of the season ATS. But in Bowl games the last couple of decades, Northwestern (17-8 ATS record over the L25 overall) has been somewhat enigmatic, losing games but winning its backers money usually as too-big Underdogs. Since 2002, Northwestern is 9-3 ATS in Bowl games but the Wildcats are a woeful 3-10 SU in their L13, winning last year—(NU 31 PITT 24, PITT -2½) and in 2012 (NU 34 MISS ST 20, MISS ST -2) in 2 of the L3 Postseason appearances.

This year QB Clayton Thorson and the Wildcats will be face SEC side Kentucky (7-5 SU, 3-9 ATS) in the Music City Bowl in Nashville on December 29 (ESPN, 4:30 pm ET/1:30 pm PT) and sportsbooks currently have RB Justin Jackson, (1,154 rushing yards) and Northwestern priced as 7- to 7½-point (5Dimes) Favorites after opening up at (Northwestern minus) 6 last Sunday (51) with the Big Ten’s Wildcats at -290 on the Moneyline and the SEC’s Wildcats at +245 on the takeback (5Dimes). Although winning outright just twice, Northwestern has covered ATS in 5 of its L7 Bowl appearances and laying the 7 points with Northwestern here seems worth the trouble in what will probably be a low-scoring affair at Nissan Stadium in Opryland.


2—Utah a Profitable 9-3 ATS in its L12 Bowl Games, King Utes an Impressive 16-4 SU in L20 Bowl Appearances

Pac-12 member Utah (6-6 SU) also had a nice money-making Regular Season for its backers (8-3-1 ATS) and the Utes have been an elite team on which to bet in the Postseason and Bowls with Utah an impressive 9-3 ATS the L12 Bowl appearances and 16-4 SU in 20 Bowls. This year, 13th-year Head Coach Kyle Whittingham (85-76-3 ATS) and his Utah squad will be playing West Virginia in the Heart of Dallas Bowl on Tuesday, Dec. 26 (ESPN, 1:30 pm ET/10:30 am PT) in a game which currently sees the Utes—exactly like Northwestern—as 7- to 7½-point chalks after heavy Purple Wildcats money driving the opening line up 3 from 4½. The Total ranges from 56-57.

Utah (9-1 ATS in the L10 Road Underdogs) and WR N’Keal Harry could have starting QB Tyler Huntley (Arm) back, who returned from an Injury but is listed as “Questionable” for this Bowl (expect him to go), and with West Virginia (7-5 SU, 5-7 ATS)—without its starting QB Will Grier (Finger)—an anemic 3-10 ATS its L13 Bowl games, one can see why both the Sharps and the General Public have both been fading the Mountaineers (1-5 ATS L6 Bowls) in this Postseason spot (53.6% Consensus). The Utes beat Indiana in their Bowl game last year, 26-24, but failed to cover ATS, as 3-point Favorites over the Hoosiers in the Foster Farms Bowl. Whittingham is 10-1 SU in Bowl games as Utes HC and Utah will head in on a 4-game Bowl Winning Streak. Remember when the #6 Utes upset #4 Alabama as 9½-point Underdogs, 31-17 in the Sugar Bowl in 2008?


3—Mid-American Conference Members Have Done Poorly in Bowls ATS Since 2003

Since 2003, only three members of the Mid-American Conference have winning ATS Records with Eastern Michigan (1-0 ATS in Bowls), Miami Ohio (2-1 ATS) and Central Michigan (4-3-1 ATS) combining to be 2 games above .500 in those schools infrequent Postseason endeavors the L14 years. The Chippewas did make a Bowl this year, the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl from Boise on December 22 and are 1-point Underdogs after opening Even (PICK) against Wyoming (3-1 ATS L4 Bowls) after early Cowboys money moved the line up a tick and made the MWC side the tiny chalks. Reliable old Ohio University (4-4 ATS) and Head Coach Frank Solich check in at .500 in Bowl Point Spread Record since 2003 as does Western Michigan (3-3 ATS) and Akron (1-1 ATS), which faces Florida Atlantic in the Boca Raton Bowl on Dec. 19 in a game which has seen the line shoot up from its opening 17 to 23 on Owls and anti-MAC money.

Ohio will face UAB in the Bahamas Bowl on Dec. 22 in matchup which presently sees the Bobcats as 7½ Favorites over the Blazers and the only MAC Bowl chalk besides Toledo (13-7 SU L20 Bowls) who face Appalachian State in the Dollar General Bowl on Saturday, Dec.23 from Land-Pebbles Stadium in Mobile, Alabama in a game which sees the Rockets (3-4-1 ATS L8 Bowl games, +1.1 vs ATS) as 8 point Favorites (63), on The Night Before The Night Before Christmas. The rest of the MAC Conference has been Bowl-weary whack and the worst money-burner since 2003? Surprisingly, it’s Northern Illinois (3-7 ATS L10 Bowls), who are current 4½- to 5-point (Bovada) Underdogs to the ACC’s upstart Duke in the Quick Lane Bowl on Dec.r 26 in a game bet up from its opening 2½ on heavy Blue Devils action vs. the Huskies (-6.1 ppg vs ATS in Bowl Games since 2003).

And the Three B’s—Bowling Green (2-5 ATS in Bowls), Ball State (0-4 ATS) and Buffalo (0-2 ATS)—have gone a combined 2-11 ATS their L13, but the Cardinals, Falcons and Bulls didn’t make the Bowl cut this time and will be watching at home like us.


4—Wake Forest Has W4 Straight Bowls Against The Spread, ACC's Darling Demon Deacons 5-1 ATS in L6 Bowls

Since 2007, one of our favorite ATS cats, Wake Forest (7-5 SU, 9-3 ATS in 2016), has gone a spotless 4-0 ATS in its four Bowl game appearances, and QB John Wolford (25 TD passes/7 INTs), WR Greg Dortch (53 Receptions, 722 yards, 13.6 ypc, 9 TDs) and the Demon Deacons (+9.2 vs. ATS) will be playing in the Postseason again this year, locking horns with the SEC’s Texas A&M in the Belk Bowl on Friday, Dec. 28 from Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, NC where oddsmakers have the Demon Deacons as mild 3-point Favorites over the Aggies (7-5 SU, 6-4-2 ATS) in a game where the Total ranges from 64½ to 65. In their Bowl game last year (2016), 4th-year Head Coach Dave Clawson (27-18-1 ATS) and Wake Forest (22-14 -1 ATS L39) won outright over Temple as big 10½-point Underdogs, 34-26 in the Military Bowl, jumping out to a 31-7 lead over Owls in the Demon Deacons first Bowl game victory SU since 2008.

In 2011, Wake Forest lost to Mississippi State in the Music City Bowl at LP Field in Nashville, 23-17, but covered by the hair on their chinny-chin-chins, getting 6½ points while in 2008 when Jim Grobe was still Head Coach and Bitcoin wasn’t even a Cryptocurrency yet, Wake Forest docked Navy, 29-19, covering ATS as 3-point Favorites in the EagleBank Bowl from RFK Stadium in Washington, DC. And back in 2007, Wake Forest played Connecticut in the Meineke Car Care Bowl from Bank of America Stadium—where it will be playing again this month—in Charlotte with the Demon Deacons winning 24-10, and easily covering ATS as small 1½-point Favorites. Wake Forest (7-4 SU, 9-2 ATS) is a festive 15-5 ATS in its L20 games overall (80%).


5—Clemson Has W7 Straight ATS in Postseason-Bowls, All As Underdogs, Tigers Money-Making 7-2 ATS L9 Bowls

Few teams in FBS have been impressive as Clemson this last decade, and besides winning National Championships and generating Heisman Trophy winners and great NFL prospects, 9th-year Head Coach Dabo Swinney (67-52-2 ATS) and the Tigers (12-1 SU, 8-4-1 ATS) have also been doing a bang-up job covering the Point Spread in their Bowl appearances, W7 straight ATS since 2012 and going a profitable 7-2 ATS the L9. And you wonder how is that mathematically possible? With the four-year-old CFP Playoff system in FBS, teams that make the final four cut can play in two Bowl games in a season, and that’s exactly what happened to Clemson in 2015 and 2016. Last year, Deshaun Watson, Mike Williams (below) and the Tigers eliminated JT Barrett and Ohio State in the CFP Semifinals, shutting out the Buckeyes 31-0 and covering ATS as 1-point Underdogs in the Fiesta Bowl, then Clemson upset Jalen Hurts and #1 Alabama, 35-31 in the 2017 CFP National Championship Game, again winning outright as Underdogs, this time 6½-point ones to the Crimson Tide who Clemson faces again, this time in the second CFP Semifinals showdown on New Year’s Day in the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans (ALA -2½, 47½, BetOnline).

In 2015, Clemson lost to now familiar foes Alabama in the 2015 CFP National Championship Game, 45-40, but covered ATS, again as 6½-point Underdogs after the Tigers had ousted Oklahoma in the 2015 CFP Semifinals, 37-17, winning outright again, that time as 4-point Underdogs in the Orange Bowl. In 2014, Clemson again went in as a 6½-point Underdogs against Oklahoma in the Russell Athletic Bowl, and the Tigers pasted the Sooners, 40-6, while in 2013 Clemson defeated Ohio State in the BCS Orange Bowl, 40-35, winning outright as 2-point Underdogs while way back in 2012, the Tigers were 5½-point Underdogs to LSU in the Chick-fil-A Bowl and the ACC’s Tigers edged opn of the SEC’s Tigers, 25-24. So, counting this season, Clemson has been an Underdog in its Bowl appearances 7 straight times and the Tigers have won outright five times and covered ATS every time. That’s really impressive. And bet-worthy. Hey Blitzen, perhaps a bowl of chicken noodle soup before your long flight?

NCAAF 2017 COLLEGE FOOTBALL BOWL TRENDS BETWORTHY PICKS: Utah -7 -106 over West Virginia, Duke -4½ over Northern Illinois, Wake Forest -3 -106 over Texas A&M, Northwestern -7 -112 over Kentucky (Pinnacle)

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