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NCAAF • "College Bowl Games" • Wednesday 12/23/15

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    Wednesday’s College Football Bowl Games Betting Preview

    ‘San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl’

    Game played at Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, California

    Boise State Broncos vs. Northern Illinois Huskies (+8, 56)


    1. Two teams that had loftier expectations will share the gridiron when Boise State squares off with Northern Illinois in the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl on Dec. 23 at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego. Boise State was looking to repeat as the Group of Five’s representative in a New Year’s Six bowl but the Broncos underachieved with three losses in Mountain West play and stand at 8-4. The Huskies had similar aspirations after five consecutive seasons of 11 or more victories but are now attempting to avoid their first six-loss season since 2009.

    2. Boise State is averaging 37.8 points behind freshman quarterback Brett Rypien, who was in line to redshirt in his first season on campus until sophomore Ryan Finley suffered a season-ending ankle injury. The nephew of former Washington Redskins quarterback Mark Rypien was ready for the challenge and passed for 2,973 yards and 17 touchdowns while winning Mountain West Freshman of the Year honors. Northern Illinois has done some quarterback shuffling of its own as junior starter Drew Hare (Achilles’ tendon) and redshirt freshman backup Ryan Graham (leg) both were injured and freshman Tommy Fiedler is currently slated to make his second career start.

    3. Huskies sophomore cornerback Shawun Lurry stands just 5-8 but he is a player quarterbacks are learning to avoid as he leads the nation with nine interceptions and is averaging 30.3 yards per return. “It just comes from practicing hard every day and taking practice seriously and the (defensive) line putting pressure on the quarterback,” Lurry recently told reporters. “When they do that, the quarterback just throws the ball up in the air and I’ll be in the right area sometimes and I get it.” The Broncos (22) have even more interceptions than Northern Illinois (21) and feature senior safety Darian Thompson, who had five picks this season and is the Mountain West’s all-time leader with 19.

    TV: 4:30 p.m. ET, ESPN.

    Books opened NIU as 8.5-point dogs but that has moved to +8. The total opened at 56.


    Boise State – WR Shane Williams-Rhodes (Probable, ankle), CB Donte Deayon (Probable, knee), WR Austin Cottrell (Questionable, leg), S Darian Thompson (Questionable, concussion), QB Ryan Finley (Out indefinitely, ankle), TE David Lucero (Out indefinitely, suspension), WR Akilian Butler (Out indefinitely, undisclosed), S Dylan Sumner-Gardner (Out indefinitely, ankle), OL Rees Odhiambo (Out for season, ankle), Gabe Perez (Out for season, shoulder).

    Northern Illinois – QB Ryan Graham (Probable, leg), WR Tommylee Lewis (Questionable, ankle), DT Corey Thomas (Out for season, knee), QB Drew Hare (Out for season, lower body).

    Temperatures in the low-60s under partly cloudy skies.

    ABOUT BOISE STATE (8-4 SU, 6-6 ATS, 6-6 O/U):
    Sophomore running back Jeremy McNichols is tied for the national lead with 23 touchdowns (18 rushing, five receiving) and has rushed for 1,244 yards while posting seven 100-yard performances. Junior receiver Thomas Sperbeck leads the Mountain West in receptions (82) and receiving yards (1,334) – with the latter total breaking the school single-season mark set by Titus Young (1,210 in 2010). Thompson and senior cornerback Donte Deayon (17 career interceptions, four this season) head the secondary while junior defensive end Kamalei Correa has a team-leading five sacks for a unit with 28 takeaways.

    ABOUT NORTHERN ILLINOIS (8-5 SU, 7-4-2 ATS, 6-7 O/U):
    The Huskies figure to give junior running back Joel Bouagnon (1,269 yards, 18 touchdowns) a heavy workload to help take pressure off Fiedler, who was 12-of-28 for 152 yards with one touchdown and three interceptions in a 34-14 loss to Bowling Green in the MAC title game. Junior receiver Kenny Golladay (71 receptions for 1,122 yards and 10 touchdowns) is a big-play threat on offense while MAC Special Teams Player of the Year Aregeros Turner – a junior – averages 25.2 yards with one touchdown on kickoff returns. Senior middle linebacker Boomer Mays (108 tackles) and senior defensive end Perez Ford (five sacks) join Lurry as the headliners on a defense that forced 27 turnovers.


    * Broncos are 1-4 ATS in their last five games in December.

    * Huskies are 2-6 ATS in their last eight bowl games.

    * Under is 5-2 in Broncos last seven vs. MAC.

    * Under is 12-5 in Huskies last 17 neutral site games.

    Fifty-three percent of Covers users are backing the Broncos.

    ‘Godaddy Bowl’

    Game played at Ladd-Peebles Stadium, Mobile, Alabama

    Georgia Southern Eagles vs. Bowling Green Falcons (-7.5, 64)


    1. With one of the most dynamic quarterback-wide receiver tandems in the game, MAC champion Bowling Green will be looking to match a school record for wins set in 2003 when it faces Georgia Southern on Dec. 23 in the GoDaddy Bowl in Mobile, Alabama. Dino Babers posted an 8-6 record in his first season at the helm in 2014, and now has the Falcons on the verge of consecutive bowl wins for the second time in school history (2003-04). Bowling Green ranks in the top five in FBS in scoring (43.4 points per game), passing offense (376 yards per game) and total offense (561 yards per game).

    2. Led by second-year coach Willie Fritz, Georgia Southern is making its first bowl appearance in its first year of bowl eligibility. A power in the Division I-AA ranks, the Eagles won national championships in 1985, 1986, 1989, 1990, 1999 and 2000. Georgia Southern won the Sun Belt Conference with a perfect 8-0 record last season and finished third this season, and the Eagles took Georgia to overtime before falling 23-17 on Nov. 21.

    3. Bowling Green and Georgia Southern enter with drastically different offensive approaches. The Falcons boast one of the most potent passing games in the country with MAC Offensive Player of the Year Matt Johnson throwing to Paul Warfield Award-winning wide receiver Roger Lewis. The Eagles, on the other hand, rely on a triple-option run attack that averages 355 yards per game and 6.5 yards per carry and received a combined 2,320 yards from Matt Breida and L.A. Ramsby.

    TV: 8 p.m. ET, ESPN.

    Books opened Bowling Green as a 7.5-point favorite. The total is down to 64 from the opening 66.


    Georgia Southern – OL Roscoe Byrd (Questionable, undisclosed).

    Bowling Green
    – RB Donovan Wilson (Questionable, undisclosed), DL Mike Minns (Out, suspension), OL Christian Piazza (Out for season, undisclosed), K Anthony Farinella (Out indefinitely, back), DL Gus Schwieterman (Out for season, foot).

    Temperatures in the low-70s with an 87 percent chance of thunderstorms. Wind is expected to blow toward the north endzone at around 10 miles per hour.

    ABOUT GEORGIA SOUTHERN (8-4 SU, 8-4 ATS, 5-7 O/U): A potent running attack has allowed the Eagles to top 40 points seven times this season and is led by the 5-11, 190-pound junior Breida, who has rushed for 1,540 yards, 16 touchdowns and an 8.2 yards-per-carry average. Georgia Southern threw just 129 passes all season and sophomore Kevin Ellison enters having completed only 44 percent of his 84 passes for 532 yards and three touchdowns against five interceptions. The Eagles yield 23 points per contest and 204 passing yards per game but have recorded just 21 sacks.

    ABOUT BOWLING GREEN (10-3 SU, 10-3 ATS, 6-7 O/U): Johnson, who has completed 368-of-535 passes for 43 touchdowns against eight interceptions, leads FBS with 4,700 yards passing and ranks eighth in passer efficiency rating (166.1). Lewis caught 82 passes for an FBS-high 1,476 yards and joins Ryan Burbrink (56 catches, 627 yards) and Ronnie Moore (67 catches, 871 yards) as receivers who have recorded 2,000 yards receiving in their careers. Running backs Travis Greene (1,219 yards) and Fred Coppet (797) have combined for 19 TDs and 5.8 yards per carry.


    * Eagles are 10-2 ATS in their last 12 non-conference games.

    * Falcons are 7-1 ATS in their last eight games overall.

    * Under is 5-1 in Eagles last six games overall.

    * Over is 4-0 in Falcons last four bowl games.

    Seventy percent of Covers users are backing the Falcons.


    College Football Betting Trends – Wed – Dec, 23

    Boise State at Northern Illinois, 4:30 ET
    Boise St: 81-49 ATS after playing a conference game
    N Illinois: 2-9 ATS as a neutral field underdog

    Georgia Southern at Bowling Green, 8:00 ET
    Georgia S: 2-3 ATS when playing with 2 weeks or more of rest
    Bowling Green: 9-2 ATS in games played on turf


    ‘Poinsettia Bowl’, San Diego, Dec 23
    Boise State lost its last two home games, allowed 29.5 ppg in last four overall;
    Broncos won four of last five bowls, with average total in last four 63.8- they covered two of last three as bowl favorite. Northern Illinois lost its last three bowls by average score of 35-16. Huskies are 1-3 vs bowl teams this season; they’re 8-0 when scoring 27+ points, 0-5 when they score less. NIU lost last two games, to Ohio/bowling Green. MAC non-conference underdogs are 19-9 vs spread this season; MW favorites are 1-7.

    ‘GoDaddy Bowl, Mobile’
    Georgia Southern-Bowling Green both lost their head coaches already; not a lot of similarity after that. GSU is playing in its first bowl, in its second year of I-A ball- they’re 8-0 when running ball for 325+ yards- they were held to 233 or less YR in all four losses, are 2-2 as underdogs this year. BG won nine of last ten games, with last seven wins all by 14+ points. Falcons beat USA 33-28 LY to snap 4-game bowl losing streak. MAC non-conference favorites are 5-5 vs spread; Sun Belt underdogs are 12-11 against the spread.


    Bowl Tech Trends – Week 2
    By Bruce Marshall

    Boise 5-2 vs. spread last seven bowls though only 1-2 last three. Broncos only 6-5 SU last 11 bowls. Harsin just 6-6 vs. spread this season and 9-9 last 18 on board since mid 2014. NIU 0-3 SU and vs. line last three bowls but was 9-4 vs. spread this season and is 12-6 as dog since 2010.

    ♦Slight to NIU, based on recent trends.

    No more Dino Babers for BGSU after big 2015 in which Falcs were 9-3-1 vs. line, and enter bowl with 10-3-1 spread mark last 14. Though Falcs 1-2 SU and vs. line last three years in bowls, 1-5 SU and vs. line last six bowls dating to 2007. Over” 9-4 last 13 since late 2014. Ga Southern making first bowl appearance after covering 8 of 12 this season and 3-1 vs. line against non-Belt foes. Eagles 5-3 as dog the past two seasons.

    ♦Slight to Bowling Green, based on recent trends.



    2 Unit Play. #217 Take Over 55.5
    Boise St vs Northern Illinois
    (4:30p.m., Wednesday, Dec 23 ESPN)
    ‘Poinsettia Bowl’



    GA Southern +7.5


    Boise St. favored big over No. Illinois Wednesday
    By Brian Graham


    ‘Poinsettia Bowl’
    Qualcomm Stadium – San Diego, CA
    Kickoff: Wednesday, 4:30 p.m. ET

    Line: Boise State -8.5, Total: 56

    Two eight-win teams missing No. 1 quarterbacks will meet in San Diego on Wednesday afternoon when Boise State takes on Northern Illinois.

    The Broncos (6-6 ATS) have been without QB Ryan Finley (ankle) for most of the year, while the Huskies (8-4-1 ATS) saw top QB Drew Hare rupture his Achilles tendon in November. Boise State has still piled up 37.7 PPG this year, including 40.3 PPG away from home, but NIU has a mere 35 points and six turnovers during a current two-game losing skid. The Huskies have lost all three bowls under head coach Rod Carey, while the Broncos are 5-1 in their past six bowls, including head coach Bryan Harsin’s Fiesta Bowl win last season. Although Boise State has dropped two of its past three games by allowing more than 30 points each to New Mexico and Air Force, the team is 33-12 ATS (73%) after two ATS losses in its previous three games since 1992, including a perfect 7-0 ATS under Harsin. But Northern Illinois has thrived in the underdog role since 1992, going 49-31 ATS (61%), and benefits from its Wednesday opponent falling in the category of favorites of 3.5 to 10 points with a good rushing defense (125 or less rush YPG), after 5.5+ YPC in its previous game going 19-46 ATS (29%) in the past five seasons. On the injury front, both teams have a pair of questionable players to deal with, as the Broncos might be without WR Austin Cottrell (leg) and DB Darian Thompson (concussion), while the Huskies could be missing QB Ryan Graham (leg) and WR Tommylee Lewis (knee).

    Boise State averages 489 total YPG this season, and has topped 30 points in 11 straight contests, including seven games of 40+ points. The team is very balanced with season averages of 40 passes and 41 rushes per game, but is more efficient through the air (304 YPG, 7.5 YPA) than on the ground (184 YPG, 4.4 YPC). Freshman QB Brett Rypien has done a great job all season with 2,976 passing yards (7.6 YPA), 17 TD and 7 INT. He has zero picks in seven of 10 games, and has thrown for at least two scores in four of the past five contests. His favorite target is junior WR Thomas Sperbeck (82 rec, 1,334 yds, 8 TD), who has more than 150 receiving yards in four of his past seven outings, including 281 yards on 20 catches versus New Mexico three games ago. The Broncos also have a star ball carrier in sophomore RB Jeremy McNichols (1,244 rush yds, 5.6 YPC, 18 TD), who has a streak of seven straight 100-yard efforts, including 120+ yards in each of the past five contests. The elusive 5-foot-9, 205-pounder also has 46 catches for 364 yards and 5 TD to give him eight multi-touchdown games this season. Although the Broncos have struggled to stop their past three opponents (30.3 PPG, 498 total YPG), they are still allowing only 21.3 PPG on 342 total YPG for the season. The run-stop unit has been outstanding in limiting teams to 118 YPG on 3.4 YPC, including 105 YPG and 3.0 YPC away from home. The secondary has given up a respectable 224 passing YPG on 6.9 YPA this season, and the whole defense has benefitted greatly from 28 forced turnovers, including 10 over the past four games. This could be problematic for a Huskies offense that had five miscues in the last game.

    Northern Illinois has turned the ball over at least twice in eight games during the 2015 campaign, but is still averaging a strong 33.0 PPG and 427 total YPG this season. Although the Huskies choose to run the football 62% of the time, resulting in 205 rushing YPG on 4.3 YPC, they have a mere 27:09 average time of possession. The strong passing game tallies 222 YPG on 7.5 YPA this season, but NIU could be forced to start third-string QB Tommy Fiedler in this bowl game with No. 2 QB Ryan Graham (8.1 YPA, 6 TD, 3 INT) injured. The freshman Fiedler has played each of the past two games, where he has completed only 21-of-45 throws (47%) for 265 yards (5.9 YPA), 2 TD and 3 INT. Whoever is under center will look often to top WR Kenny Golladay, who has caught 71 passes for 1,122 yards and 10 TD this year. Although the junior has more than 125 yards on four different occasions, he was held to one catch for 15 yards in the MAC Championship Game loss to Bowling Green. The bulk of the ball carrying belongs to RB Joel Bouagnon, who has rushed 275 times for 1,269 yards (4.6 YPC) and 18 touchdowns. But in the past three weeks, the junior has been held to 164 yards on 51 carries (3.2 YPC). Considering how long the Huskies are on the field (32:51 per game), they have done a solid job in holding teams to 25.5 PPG and 400 total YPG. They allow 167 YPG on the ground, but only 3.9 YPC, and of the 233 passing YPG they give up, opposing quarterbacks average a pedestrian 6.3 yards per attempt. Turnovers have also been huge for NIU, which has recorded multiple takeaways in five straight contests.


    Georgia Southern tries to run past Bowling Green Wed.
    By Brian Graham


    ‘ Bowl’
    Ladd-Peebles Stadium – Mobile, AL
    Kickoff: Wednesday, 8:00 p.m. ET

    Line: Bowling Green -7, Total: 64

    Georgia Southern will make its first-ever bowl appearance on Wednesday night when it faces high-powered Bowling Green in the Bowl in Mobile, AL.

    The Eagles (8-4 ATS) hope to fix their suddenly sagging defense before it faces the Falcons (10-3 ATS) and star QB Matt Johnson. GSU allowed 346 passing yards in a stunning 34-7 loss to 20.5-point underdog Georgia State on Dec. 5 and is now tasked with stopping Johnson, who leads the nation with 4,700 passing yards and ranks second in FBS with 43 passing touchdowns. But the Eagles lead the nation with 356 rushing YPG and their 33:26 average time of possession ranks ninth in FBS. Bowling Green will not have head coach Dino Babers on the sidelines, as he left to take the head job at Syracuse. Both schools have huge betting trends in their favor for this matchup, as Georgia Southern is 6-0 ATS this year after playing Under the total, while the Falcons are 11-1 ATS since 2013 after outgaining their opponent by 175+ total yards in their previous game. The only notable injury for either team is Falcons short-yardage RB Donovan Wilson (7 rush TD) who is listed as questionable with an undisclosed injury.

    Georgia Southern is scoring 34.7 PPG on 417 total YPG (6.3 yards per play) this season, but those numbers have dropped to 26.3 PPG on 341 total YPG over the past three weeks. The Eagles choose to run the football 83% of the time, which equates to 356 rushing YPG on 6.5 YPC. The one-dimensional offense throws for only 62 YPG (5.8 YPA) on 43% completions. Junior RB Matt Breida leads the team with 1,540 rushing yards on a whopping 8.2 YPC with 16 touchdowns, but has just one 100-yard effort over the past four games. Sophomore RB LA Ramsby has 772 rushing yards (5.0 YPC) and 12 TD this season, with at least one score in eight straight games. The other big gainer for this team is QB Kevin Ellison, who has rushed for 642 yards on 6.4 YPC with eight touchdowns. The junior Ellison isn’t much of a passer though, completing only 44% of his throws for 532 yards (6.3 YPA), 3 TD and 5 INT. He was horrendous versus Georgia State, completing just 4-of-13 passes for 53 yards, 0 TD and 2 INT. The Georgia Southern defense is stout, holding teams to 23.2 PPG and 334 total YPG for the season. Opposing rushers are gaining just 133 YPG on 3.9 YPC while competing quarterbacks have had more success with 202 passing YPG on 7.3 YPA. The Eagles have forced 10 turnovers during the past five games, but the Falcons have 10 games with less than two giveaways this year.

    Bowling Green turned the football over just six times in its first 10 games, but has committed seven miscues during the past three contests. Turnovers are about all that can stop this Falcons offense that averages 43.4 PPG and 561 total YPG. The team drops back 43 times per game and keeps the ball on the ground 39 times every contest, leading to 185 rushing YPG on 4.7 YPC. Senior RB Travis Greene (1,220 rush yds, 5.7 YPC, 14 TD) is coming off a season-high 183 yards (6.3 YPC) and 2 TD, giving him 10 scores over the past five games. Greene benefits greatly from the heroics of senior QB Matt Johnson (4,700 pass yds, 8.8 YPA, 43 TD, 8 INT) who has thrown at least two touchdown passes in eight straight games. Sophomore WR Roger Lewis (82 rec, 1,476 yds, 15 TD) has seven instances of 100+ receiving yards this season, including three games of at least 200 yards. However, Lewis has been held to 75 yards or less in three straight contests. Defensively, the Falcons are mediocre at best. They allow 26.7 PPG on 410 total YPG for the season, broken down between 247 passing YPG (6.6 YPA) and 162 rushing YPG (4.0 YPC). But the defense has held four of the past seven opponents to 14 points or less, and has forced a hefty 21 turnovers in the past eight games.



    *10 ‘Bowl’ BLUE CHIP Super Total!
    OVER – Georgia Southern vs Bowling Green



    Football Crusher
    Northen Illinois + Boise State – OVER 56

    (System Record: 42-3, won last game)
    Overall Record: 42-42-2



    The Georgia Southern Eagles Vs. The Bowling Green Falcons
    ‘GoDaddy Bowl’
    8:00 P.M. EST

    Both teams head coaches were offered new jobs by other programs. Both accepted.

    Georgia Southern has been one of the more inconsistent teams
    this season. In their last 3 games, they lost to Georgia in overtime, easily beat S. Alabama by 35 and then as 20.5 favorites, lost by 27 (47.5 swing).

    Although coach Fritz was on the sidelines for Southern’s last game, there were rumors days earlier that he was taking another job, probably affecting The Eagles play.

    I’m guessing there must have been some internal
    tension, because there were some seemingly better offers and he
    ended accepting the relatively low profile Tulane program.
    Which means he was probably interviewing often.

    His successor will not be running the show in this game, but
    the coordinators remain the same, The interim head coach
    is the fairly young Dell McGee (who doesn’t even have his
    own Wikipedia page), who will go down in history as Georgia Southern’s first coach in a bowl game. I think he’s capable.

    Bowling Green may not have played the toughest strength of
    schedule, but their offense was ranked the 4th best in country.
    Their prior head coach (Dino Babers) was on the sidelines at
    Baylor before taking over The Falcon program and had run a similar type offense.

    Defensive coordinator Brian Ward will have the head job for The GoDaddy Bowl, but it looks like he’ll be moving on as well with Babers to Syracuse.

    What does all this mean?
    Both defenses may have issues.
    The offenses know what they’ve done, while the defenses will need to make adjustments.

    The individual offensive style and matchups may also promote scoring.
    Georgia Southern likes to run an option.
    Bowling Green likes to run a spread offense.

    An argument can be made that Bowling Green will have time to prepare for The Eagles offense, but one mistake against an option can often result in a big broken play. We saw this with Navy all season.
    Georgia Southern hasn’t faced an offense like Bowling Green’s.

    It doesn’t look like they’ll be any new significant injuries on offense for either team. The Eagles may have a few on defense.

    Either team may play poorly with interim coaches.
    I’m pretty sure the offenses won’t.

    A chance of scattered thunderstorms have kept the total lower
    than I would expect, but the latest forecast looks more favorable.
    The total has now risen a bit.

    It’s a big number, but I like…

    The Over at 64.5
    (6:15 AM EST)



    100* Georgia Southern +7


    MARC LAWRENCE – Pref Picks

    Georgia Southern


    Scott Delany

    50 DIME – bowling green / georgia southern – Under 65


    Huddle Up Sports

    ‘Guaranteed Bowl Total of the Year’
    OVER 57 – Boise State / N. Illinois

    ‘Best Bets’
    Boise State -9′
    Bowling Green -7
    Georgia St. / Bowling Green – Over 64

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