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Bowl season is finally upon us! After an action-packed regular season of college football we only have 42 games remaining. The good news is, starting this Friday, there will be a college football game nearly everyday through the end of the year. The bad news is that we are officially done with full slates of college football on Saturdays until September 2023. Last week, I highlighted the tips and strategies to look for this bowl season, including some incredible stats related to betting underdogs this time of year.
Below are a few plays that I'm on for Week 1 of the bowl season (12/16/22 - 12/22/22). I will continue to drop weekly articles throughout the bowl season highlighting my best bets for that week, so stay tuned!
My first play of bowl season comes on Friday afternoon between UTSA and Troy as they will battle in the Cure Bowl in Orlando, FL. This is a sneaky good matchup between two teams that do not get much national attention. You have got a UTSA team where their biggest strengths are on the offensive side of the ball and on the other side Troy, with their biggest strengths coming on the defensive side of the ball. Troy has been impressive all year on defense ranking 8th in the FBS in opponents yards per play and 7th in opponents points per game. They also rank 18th in opponents yards per rush and 10th in opponents yards per pass. While UTSA does have the better offense in this game, they will face their toughest defense of the season in Troy. This game is expected to be close and in tight games it usually comes down to who can make the big stop and I trust Troy’s defense to be able to slow down the UTSA attack. On the other side of the ball, Troy does not have the best offense. They rank in the middle of the pack in most categories, but they’ll also be facing a UTSA defense that does not show much resistance on defense. Troy is also 10-3 ATS on the season and have been playing their best ball recently to finish the year. I file this under a Troy team trying to build something and there’s nothing they would like to do more than to keep that momentum going into the offseason with a big bowl win. I see this being a close game but Troy prevailing. Official Play Troy -1. (Would take up to -2.5)
WASHINGTON STATE/FRESNO STATE UNDER 54.5
My next play pairs Washington State vs Fresno State in the Los Angeles Bowl. We’ll start on the Washington State offensive side of the ball. Washington State does like to throw the ball around on offense as they throw on 59% of their snaps. The problem is they just aren’t very good at it and don’t stretch the field. Washington State on offense ranks 118th in passing explosiveness, 69th in offensive success rate, 106th in EPA/Pass and 91st in finishing drives. So while they do find themselves throwing at almost 60%, they don’t stretch the field too often and they struggle when they do find themselves in scoring range. To go along with that Fresno State has a pretty good secondary themselves as they rank 30th in passing success rate and 17th in coverage. On Fresno State’s side, they are going against a good rush stopping defense as Washington State ranks in the top 35 in defensive line yards, stuff rate and rushing explosiveness. Washington State unders this season have come in at 9-3 despite their fast pace so their lack of offense success rate has hindered them. Fresno State ranks 92nd in the nation in pace so they are usually methodical but efficient on offense. Give me Under 54.5 in this one.
By Brandon Kenyon
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