With the bowl season underway, thought I would take the time to look over the betting odds from remaining bowl games and share my opinions on what teams are not getting enough credit.
Though I am one to respect the sportsbooks number, that does not mean I always think they are right for College Football Picks for the bowl games and have five different games stand out to me as football handicapper.
Listed is the bowl, the team and the their College Football Odds, which are found at Heritagesports.eu.
Boca Raton Bowl - Temple -1.5
The Owls are just a few years removed from playing teams like Toledo in the MAC, like they are in this game, but this line is baffling to me. While the MAC was a much improved league, I wrote back in August this conference had some teams that would pull surprises because it was loaded with veteran quarterbacks. But the biggest surprise of all among all conference was the AAC, with four teams that were 9-3 or better and maybe the second best team in the conference was South Florida at the close of the season. Temple has a better defense than Toledo (18 vs. 52) and is more efficient, ranked higher is yards per point (11 vs.44) and for sports picks I have them winning by at least 6.
Foster Farms Bowl - UCLA -6.5
Nebraska got a special exemption and is one three losing teams in a bowl contest. While some might think this will help the Cornhuskers with extra practices, do you really think the seniors care? Even if Nebraska wins the best they can do is 6-7, which is what will matter the most to those from Lincoln. UCLA thought they had the talent to win the Pac-12 South but their defense had a calamity of injuries which exposed less talented players and not enough depth. As opposed to the Huskers, coach Jim Mora's can use this bowl as a way to build towards next season. With Nebraska lacking motivation and turning the ball over at a high rate all season and having among the worst secondary's in college football, Bruins quarterback Josh Rosen can light them up.
Military Bowl - Navy -3
Watched Navy play several times and this is the best Midshipmen team I can remember going back a long time. The Navy's only losses were to Super Six Bowl bowl squads Notre Dame and Houston. This will be the climax of a great career for QB Keenan Reynolds and he ends up being fortunate enough to play before the home fans one more time. Pittsburgh had a very good season in spite of losing RB James Conner. But when I view this contest, Navy is not at disadvantage talent-wise, having more speed on both sides of the ball than I can ever remember and defense will not be overmatched by the Panthers. With pride and desire on the line, the Navy players will is the difference for a truly outstanding college football player in Reynolds and they pull away in the second.
Birmingham Bowl - Memphis +2.5
With this contest in Birmingham, Auburn will have more fans in the stand, but I like what Memphis brings to this encounter. The Tigers from Tennessee are not going to in awe of SEC foe, having already defeated a team from that conference in Mississippi who oh by the way is playing in on Sugar Bowl. Memphis also enjoys a decisive edge at quarterback with Paxton Lynch and they have speedy receivers who can create big plays down the field. If you are wondering about excitement level, it's all Memphis in that department. They have a chance to knock of a pair of SEC squads, Auburn in two years is going from national championship game to Outback Bowl to this. Not that the team from the "Heart of Dixie" should not be favored given the conference they play in, but are you comfortable backing a favorite that was 2-9-1 ATS this season? Memphis can win this outright.
Cotton Bowl - Michigan State +10
When we get closer to this contest, the word on the street is Alabama can reach -12 points before kickoff against Michigan State. Seeing this is supposed to be marquee matchup, having it compared to Independence Bowl for competitiveness based on spread (Virginia Tech -13.5 over Tulsa), this is hardly good news. My thoughts are keep adding points to the Spartans. Michigan State flounder past the halfway point of the season, not wearing the 'favorite' hat well. When they finally got to play underdog, they knocked off Ohio State in Columbus with backup quarterbacks. Coach Mark Dantonio knows how to play this dog role well and while there is no disputing the Crimson Tide's supreme talent, a healthy Conner Cook at quarterback really makes Michigan State worth looking at. With coach Dantonio and Sparty 6-1 ATS on neutral field against ranked opposition, look for much close contest than expected.