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NCAAF • "College Bowl Game" • Monday 12/21/15

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    College Football Betting Trends – Mon – Dec, 21

    Western Kentucky at South Florida, 2:30 ET
    W Kentucky: 1-3 ATS after 3 or more consecutive wins against the spread
    S Florida: 9-2 ATS after 1 or more consecutive straight up wins


    ‘Miami Beach Bowl’ Betting Preview

    Western Kentucky Hilltoppers vs. South Florida Bulls (+2.5, 66.5)

    Game to be played at Marlins Park, Miami, Florida

    Coach Willie Taggart takes USF to a bowl game for the first time in his third season at the helm and meets the school that retired his jersey. Taggart’s Bulls go after their eighth win in nine games when they meet Conference-USA champion Western Kentucky in the Miami Beach Bowl at Marlins Park on Dec. 21. Taggart was a four-year starter at quarterback, highlighted by an All-American senior season, for the Hilltoppers and went 14-10 the final two of his three years as coach at Western Kentucky before moving on to USF in 2013.

    Two high-powered offenses will face off: The Bulls come in having scored 153 points combined in the last three games, while Western Kentucky is averaging 49.4 points in winning five straight. USF was second in the American Athletic Conference in rushing yards per game (242.9), led by Marlon Mack’s 1,273 yards and eight touchdowns. The Hilltoppers do most of their damage through the air as senior quarterback Brandon Doughty boasts a nation-leading 45 touchdown passes to go along with 4,594 passing yards – second in the country.

    The Bulls will play past their final regular-season game for first time since beating Clemson 31-26 at the 2010 Meineke Car Care Bowl in Charlotte. USF managed 14 victories combined the next four seasons and started 2015 at 1-3 before knocking off Syracuse 45-24 on Oct. 10 to start their rise. USF can match the school record with a ninth win; senior guard Thor Jozwiak told the Tampa Tribune, “That’s a huge motivation. We’re going to have fun with the bowl game and it’s a great reward for us. But we’re going there to win, no question.”

    TV: 2:30 p.m. ET, ESPN.

    Western Kentucky opened as 3.5-point favorites and have been bet down one-point to sit at -2.5. The total has been bet up one-point moving up from 65.5 to 66.5.


    Western Kentucky – TE T. Higbee (questionable Monday, knee).

    South Florida – N/A.

    If the roof is open at Marlins Park there is a chance it could get a little wet, with a 31 precent chance of rain in the forecast. There will also be a 12-15 mile per hour wind gusting from east to west.

    “These were two of the most profitable teams against the pointspread this season, going a combined 17-5 ATS. Western Kentucky put up more explosive offensive numbers, but did so against a weaker schedule of opponents. The Hilltoppers were a double-digit favorite of at least -12.5 points or more in four of their final five games this year, going 5-0 SU / 4-1 ATS. Meanwhile, South Florida faced a much tougher group of opponents down the stretch as the Bulls were actually an underdog in four of their five final games (4-1 SU/ATS).” Steve Merril.

    ABOUT WESTERN KENTUCKY (11-2, 7-5-1 ATS, 9-4 O/U): The Hilltoppers play in their third bowl in four years after edging Central Michigan 49-48 at the Bahamas Bowl in 2014. Doughty, who threw for 410 yards in the 45-28 win over Southern Miss at the C-USA title game, has completed 71.8 percent of his passes and boasts several dangerous weapons at his disposal. Taywan Taylor owns the single-season school records in receptions (79) and receiving yards (1,363), Jared Dangerfield (76 catches) and Nicholas Norris (58) have also excelled and running back Anthony Wales is 14 rushing yards short of 1,000.

    ABOUT USF (8-4, 9-2-1 ATS, 5-6-1 O/U): While Mack stands 102 yards from breaking the school’s single-season rushing record set by Andre Hall in 2005, sophomore quarterback Quinton Flowers’ progress has been a major key. Flowers has completed 61.1 percent of his passes for 2,023 yards with 21 touchdowns and top target Rodney Adams boasts 39 catches for 692 yards to go along with a school-record eight receiving scores. The Bulls, who are averaging 21.1 points against, will test Western Kentucky’s offense with linebacker Auggie Sanchez (106 tackles), safety Jamie Byrd (80 tackles, five sacks) and first-team All-AAC corner Deatrick Nichols (four interceptions) leading the way.


    * Western Kentucky is 1-4 ATS in their last five non-conference games.

    * South Florida is 4-0 ATS in its last four games overall.

    * Over is 6-1 in Western Kentucky’s last 7 vs. a team with a winning record.

    * Under is 4-1 in South Florida’s last 5 games in December.

    Bettors are siding with Western Kentucky in Monday’s lone bowl game, with 61 percent of wagers on the Hilltoppers. As for the total, 61 percent of wagers are on the over.

    PREDICTION: USF 38, Western Kentucky 31


    Western Kentucky, USF meet Monday in Miami
    By Brian Graham

    Miami Beach Bowl
    Marlins Park – Miami, FL
    Kickoff: Monday, 2:30 p.m. ET

    Line: Western Kentucky -3, Total: 66

    Two red-hot schools try to remain red-hot on Monday when Western Kentucky and South Florida collide in the Miami Beach Bowl.

    The Hilltoppers have won five straight games SU (4-1 ATS) while the Bulls have ripped of four straight victories, both SU and ATS. Both of these high-powered offenses are averaging more than 50 PPG over the past three contests with Western Kentucky at 52.3 PPG and South Florida close behind at 51.0 PPG. These schools haven’t met since 2010, but Bulls head coach Willie Taggart was the Hilltoppers head coach from 2010 to 2012 before being hired in Tampa before the 2013 season. After Western Kentucky rolled to a 31-3 victory at home in this series in 1997 — when Taggart was the winning quarterback — South Florida has won each of the past five meetings. Both teams have plenty of reasons for bettor optimism, as the Hilltoppers are 15-3 ATS on the road since 1992 following a game going Under the Total and the Bulls are a perfect 9-0 ATS on a grass field this surface. Western Kentucky star TE Tyler Higbee (knee) is doubtful and DB Wonderful Terry (ankle) is out, but South Florida has no significant injuries to contend with.

    Western Kentucky QB Brandon Doughty (4,594 pass yds, 9.3 YPA, 45 TD, 7 INT) has been better than his former head coach Willie Taggart could have imagined, as he’s thrown for a hefty 9,424 yards, 94 TD and 17 INT over the past two seasons. He has led the nation in touchdown passes in both of these years and won the Conference USA MVP in both seasons as well. Despite his 496 pass attempts this year, Doughty has taken only 13 sacks. The senior has not been the only playmaker on this explosive offense that ranks third in the nation in passing yards (365 YPG) and fourth in scoring (44.2 PPG), while totaling a hefty 520 total YPG. WR Taywan Taylor (1,363 rec yds, 17 TD) has been a huge part of the offense, with at least one touchdown in 11 of the past 12 games, and 90+ receiving yards on nine different occasions. The Hilltoppers are also a quality running team with 155 rushing YPG on 4.7 YPC this season. The one-two punch of RBs Anthony Wales (986 rush yds, 7.0 YPC, 7 TD) and D’Andre Ferby (604 rush yds, 4.0 YPC, 11 TD) has been productive all season. The shifty 5-foot-10, 195-pound Wales has averaged 122 rushing YPG over the past eight games and the powerful 240-pound Ferby has scored five touchdowns in the past three contests. Defensively, Western Kentucky gives up only 25.2 PPG and 389 total YPG, and those numbers are a meager 21.0 PPG and 260 total YPG in the past three contests. The run-stop unit allows 155 YPG on 4.2 YPC while the secondary gives up 234 YPG on 7.0 YPA. This defense has also been making plays on the football with 11 forced turnovers in the past three games, but the run-heavy Bulls have only 15 giveaways all season.

    South Florida’s offense loves to pound the football with a hefty 244 rushing YPG on 5.3 YPC for the season, which includes 1,210 rushing yards (303 YPG) over the past four games. Sophomore RB Marlon Mack has 555 of these yards to give him 1,273 yards (6.6 YPC) and 8 TD this season. The 200-pound sophomore has rushed for more than 100 yards in eight of 11 games this year and will likely carry the ball 20+ times on Monday. Sophomore QB Quinton Flowers can also run the football with 883 yards (5.0 YPC) and 10 touchdowns for the season. Flowers has also been an above-average passer, as he’s thrown for 2,023 yards (8.3 YPA), 21 TD and 8 INT this season. His top target is junior WR Rodney Adams who has averaged more than 20 yards per catch in seven of his past eight games. The Bulls defense has been stingy all season with 21.1 PPG and 361 total YPG allowed, and those numbers have dipped to 17.7 PPG and 338 total YPG over the past three contests. A big reason for this is the unit’s nine forced turnovers during this three-game time frame. While the run-stop unit holds opponents to 141 YPG on 3.6 YPC, USF has allowed 221 YPG on 6.6 YPA through the air, and will face a dynamic quarterback on Monday.


    Betting college football bowl games this month but don’t have time to cap during the hectic holiday season? Joe Fortenbaugh plays “Santa’s Little Helper” when it comes to betting bowls, giving you 80 must-know notes for all 80 bowl teams:

    ‘Miami Beach Bowl’
    Monday, December 21

    Western Kentucky Hilltoppers: It should come as no surprise to learn that approximately 88 percent of the bets already placed on this total support the Over (66.5), especially when you consider the fact that Western Kentucky has hung 45 or more points on the scoreboard in eight of their last 10 games.

    South Florida Bulls: After starting the season 1-3, Willie Taggart’s Bulls went on to win seven of their final eight outings by an average of 22.5 points per game, which includes four consecutive ATS wins to conclude the season.


    2015-16 College Bowls

    ‘Miami Beach Bowl’
    South Florida coach Taggart played QB at Western Kentucky in late 90’s, was an assistant coach there for nine years, then inherited an 0-12 WKU team in ’10 and had them in a bowl in his third year, before leaving for USF, who are in their first bowl since 2010- this is Taggart’s 3rd year at USF. Bulls beat WKU 24-12 in ’10 in last meeting- they’ve won seven of last eight games since a 1-3 start, with only loss to 10-2 Navy. USF ran ball for 304.5 ypg last four games. Hilltoppers won last five games, scoring 49.4 ppg; they’ve split two bowls, with games decided by total of four points.



    3 Unit Play. #212 Take South Florida +3
    over Western Kentucky
    (2:30p.m., Monday, Dec 21 ESPN – Miami Beach Bowl)
    Can’t believe its been a year since Western Kentucky killed our hearts and wallets when they blew a 49-14 lead in the 4th quarter to CMU and won 49-48 but didn’t cover the spread. Of course I had the Hilltoppers and that still stings! Both schools come to Marlins Park on hot streaks but I really like the way USF has been playing as of late beating teams like Cincinnati and Temple. South Florida offense has been rolling scoring 153 points in their last 3 games and I see USF not only scoring in this game but their defense controls the Hilltoppers offense. South Florida wins this game and I really thought this number would be close to a ‘Pick’.



    100* Western Kentucky -2.5



    #212 south florida – OVER 65

    #212 SOUTH FLORIDA +3



    ‘Miami Beach Bowl’
    Huge Monday Bowl Triple Star Bomb!
    South Florida



    *10 Miami Beach Bowl BLUE CHIP Super Total!
    UNDER – Western Kentucky vs South Florida



    211 W. Kentucky -2.5 (-110) vs 212 South Florida
    Simon Best Bet #2
    2* Western Kentucky



    15* South Florida +2.5


    H&H Sports

    2* South Florida +3


    Moore Winners

    ‘5% Bankroll’
    Western Kentucky -2.5




    Marlins Park, Miami, FL

    W. Kentucky (-2-/65-) v. S. Florida 2:30 ET ESPN

    A pair of red hot teams faceoff in the Miami Beach Bowl. Western Kentucky is led by 2nd year HC Brohm and his 6th year senior, QB Doughty. Doughty completed 72% of his passes this year with 45 TDP. No surprise then that the offense averaged 44/520 with a passing attack that averaged 365/9.3. Equally impressive is that their defense improved from allowing 40 to 25 PPG this season and that much of their success can be attributed to a (+16) net TO margin. The only losses were to Power 5 teams, LSU and Indiana. The Tops enter on a 5-0 SU, 4-1 ATS streak. Having appeared in Bowls in 2 of the last 3 seasons, they hold a meaningful post-season experience edge against the USF program, where no current member has appeared in post-season play for USF (last Bowl 2010). But, the Bulls are every bit as hot as the Tops with a 7-1 SU ATS season closing run. Emerging QB Flowers had a 21/8 ratio and saw the offense balanced by RB Mack, who led a ground game that averaged 244/5.3. That means with the defense that allowed just 21/361, we have a USF team as underdog with the better running game and better defense. We also have the leadership of HC Taggart, who would like nothing better than to defeat his former employer. And, we simply cannot ignore that this is Taggart’s best role, including a subset that finds him to be an 84% pointspread winner, as underdog, following a win and cover.

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