Betting Turf Bowl Season Football: December Edition

Northern Illinois College Football

Betting Turf, By Ts - Bowl Season: December Edition

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, we will not be shopping around for our lines here. And, probably more unfortunate is the fact that I'm no sharp.

With that in mind, and since we will be using SportsInteraction lines all year long on The Betting Turf, let's aim 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.


Bowl Season: December Edition

2013 Regular Season Record ATS: 41-39


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.


Saturday, December 21


Famous Idaho Potato Bowl

Buffalo  (Pick 'em)

San Diego State

The San Diego State Aztecs had themselves a fine season. After starting off 0-3, they finished strong, wrapping up a 7-5 season to date. SDSU is looked at as a second tier Mountain West team, after Fresno State, Utah State and Boise State. Buffalo had a similar season, albeit in the MAC. The Bulls started off 0-2, but finished 8-4. They too are looked at as a second class MAC citizen, after NIU, Bowling Green and Ball State. If there was any spread on this game, it might be worth staying away from. As a pick 'em though, I'll take the second tier team from the better conference, and that is Buffalo out of the MAC.


R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl

Tulane  (Pick 'em)


One team is a conference champion here and the other finished a distant seventh in Conference USA. And although that is a true statement, it doesn't say much about either team since LA-Lafayette, the Sun Belt Conference champion, played in a decimated league this season. Tulane, on the other hand, had a tough going in C-USA with the likes of Rice, Marshall and ECU ahead of them. But the Lafayette Cajuns did some things very well this season, especially on offense. Their resume would look even better if not for two early road games against AQ conference opponents in Arkansas and Kansas State.


Thursday, December 26


San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl

Utah State +1.5

Northern Illinois -1.5

Call this a prove-it game. Northern Illinois will be out for blood after its debilitating MAC championship game loss to Bowling Green that kicked them out of the BCS conversation. NIU's opponent here, Utah State, managed to fly under the radar all year, finishing 8-5 overall and first in its MW division. But the Aggies' season was pretty standard. They seemed to beat everyone they should have but lose to everyone who was better than them. Their five toughest games all resulted in losses. Make this game number six.


Friday, December 27


Texas Bowl

Syracuse +4

Minnesota -4

In the grand scheme of things, Minnesota was a pretty good football team this season, just not in that upper echelon of the Big Ten conference. They managed wins over Nebraska and Penn State but lost to the elites of the conference. However, when compared to Syracuse, Minnesota seems elite. The Orange, in its first season in the ACC, managed to be both bad in its own conference and bad in the Big Ten. Syracuse's first two games of the year were against Penn State and Northwestern. They lost both, the latter in a blowout. And in the ACC slate, things didn't turn out much better. Syracuse's best win all season may have been its final game against Boston College, when BC's star running back Andre Williams got hurt mid-game.