Betting Turf - Bowl Season Football I

USC College Football

Betting Turf - Bowl Season Football I

Gambling sharps (the best gamblers around) are right roughly 57% of the time. That figure sounds low to most. But, in fact, it is a high enough figure to make a living off of. The key to being a sharp is not only picking more winners than losers, but also finding the best lines and odds for your bets. An extra half point here, an extra point there makes a huge difference over the course of a season. Unfortunately, shopping for lines is a lengthy process that takes time all week right up until kickoffs in some cases. And probably more unfortunate is the fact that I'm no sharp.

With that in mind, here on The Betting Turf, I will be aiming for 53%. If I am right more than I am wrong, I should stay in the black. This should hopefully factor in the vig as well. Oddsmakers take a percentage of all bets, meaning nailing exactly half your bets (assuming equal money is laid down) will not result in the gambler breaking even. They must also cover the juice taken away from each wager. Without further ado...


Just like last year:

When predicting bowl games, there are a few important factors to consider that make the matchup itself a little bit different than if the same two teams faced off against each other during the regular season. Also, there are no (for the most part) home teams in bowl games; everyone is playing in a neutral location.

  • *Although the game is at a neutral site, does the location favor one team?
  • *Is one team more likely to scoop up the majority of tickets available, and thus turn it into a home game for their boys?
  • *Is a team "just happy to be there" because they are satisfied with how their regular season turned out?
  • *Is a team disgusted by their bowl draw and may not play up to their abilities?
  • *Does a team feel the need to prove something based on the bowl/matchup they were given?

All of these things factor into bowl results and why some teams show better or worse than you would ordinarily expect.

This crop of ATS selections will be games from the first half of bowl season, through the weekend of December 27. Next week there will be a few more picks ATS, for some of the major bowl matchups.


December 20, Las Vegas Bowl

Utah -3

Colorado State +3

Quarterback Garrett Grayson had a stellar season for Colorado State, as did a couple of his skill players, Dee Hart and Rashard Higgins (the nation’s leading receiver). However, the Rams face off against an underrated Pac-12 squad in Utah. The Utes aren’t overly flashy in any department but excel on special teams and were in the hunt for the Pac-12 South title until late November. To skew the results in Utah’s favor is the fact that CSU just lost its head coach. Jim McElwain left the Rams to take the job at Florida, and interim man Dave Baldwin will be attempting to rally the troops.


December 22, Miami Beach Bowl

BYU +1

Memphis -1

BYU has obviously not been the same team since quarterback Taysom Hill went down for the season. Backup Christian Stewart has been good recently after scuffling when he first was tabbed as replacement, but he offers nothing close to the rushing threat that Hill was. In Memphis, the Cougars will be facing a very good defensive team who excels in the redzone on both sides of the ball and controls turnovers. It will be hard for BYU to let loose against this opponent.


December 27, Pinstripe Bowl

Boston College -2.5

Penn State +2.5

Boston College comes to New York with a very good rushing attack, led by quarterback Tyler Murphy, and a solid defense to boot. The Eagles held a number of potent offenses relatively in check this year. While Penn State can’t compete with BC’s rushing strength, it does have an even better defense. The Nittany Lions finished the year as the nation’s top run defense and second overall defense. In a struggle to score, take the points.


December 27, Holiday Bowl

Nebraska +6.5

USC -6.5

USC has had a weirdly impressive season to date. The early season loss to Boston College dropped it out of the national conversation. Three more losses sprinkled in meant the Trojans never got back. However, this team was stout. Cody Kessler had a fantastic season behind center with the help of Nelson Agholor on the outside. Junior Javorius Allen was special in his first full season running the ball, and USC held down opponents especially on the ground. If not for the BC result, this unit probably would have finished among the top 25 in the nation. Nebraska’s only chance is to replicate what BC did to beat the Trojans (452 yards on the ground). Ameer Abdullah is capable of generating a performance in that realm. The few weeks rest will certainly help. But it doesn’t appear as though Nebraska has enough outside of the senior tailback to win.


2014 Record Against the Spread: 29-22