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Less than one week into the bowl season and we have had a mixed bag of results as fans. We've had a few blowouts but we’ve also seen some close competitive games. This is what you’ll normally see in bowl season as motivation and other situations become big factors as we’ve discussed in previous articles.
Following the incredible stats related to betting underdogs, we have had four out of the seven underdogs that covered the spread, also winning the game straight up (57%). Troy +3, BYU +4.5, EMU +3.5, and WKU +3.5 get the outright victories while North Texas, Miami (OH), and Liberty cover the spread but fall just short, losing by four, three and two points. We will continue to track that underdog/moneyline trend as the bowl season goes on. As far as our week as bettors, we continue to roll as, we go 3-0 in plays during the first week of the bowl season. For this week's article, I will cover games through 1/3/2023. For the remainder of the college football season, I will focus on the College Football Playoffs and the big title game so we can get you ready for the highly anticipated sides, totals and props.
Below are the plays that I'm on for Week 2 of the bowl season (12/23/22 - 1/3/22). I will continue to drop weekly articles throughout the bowl season highlighting my best bets for that week, so stay tuned!
MEMPHIS (-7) VS. UTAH STATE - TUESDAY, DECEMBER 27TH (3:15PM ET)
My first play comes on Tuesday afternoon in Dallas, Texas for the First Responder Bowl. Memphis has been up and down all year while Utah State has just been bad all season. Memphis has the better team here on both sides of the football. Memphis has had their struggles this year, but they are stepping down in class in this one. Utah State was on path for a dreadful season until the schedule turned in their favor. They won three of their last four to secure six wins and sneak into bowl season. Two of those wins coming against New Mexico and Hawaii who rank in the bottom 15 in the FBS. Memphis should make Utah State one dimensional in this game as Memphis ranks 22nd in opponents yard per rush while Utah State already struggles to run the football ranking 81st in yards per rush and 109th in rushing success. I have this line around -12 in favor of Memphis. So when this line was pushed down from 10.5 to 7.5, even with motivation maybe being with the smaller school in Utah State, there was some value to be had. Utah State when playing teams at or above Memphis’ caliber this season have failed. With the line sitting at -7.5 (-105), I bought the half-point for 10 cents to secure my line at -7 (-115). Official Play -7 (-115).
OKLAHOMA VS. FLORIDA STATE OVER 65.5 - THURSDAY, DECEMBER 29TH (4:30PM ET)
For my next play, we will head to the Cheez It Bowl in Orlando, Florida where the Oklahoma Sooners will be taking on the Florida State Seminoles. Florida State on offense ranks 11th (PFF) overall while Oklahoma ranks not far behind at 19th. Both teams rank in the top 15 in rushing offense as well. These two offenses should be able to get their rushing attacks going, which will be able to open some opportunities in the play action and passing games. Florida State has a coverage grade of 38th while Oklahoma comes in at 77th so FSU is a little stingier in coverage, but with the running attacks opening that up a little more there will be ample opportunity for both teams through the air with their top 35 passing attacks. I have this over slated in the high 60’s so I see some value in over 65.5. Official play total OVER 65.5.
TEXAS (-4) VS. WASHINGTON - THURSDAY, DECEMBER 29TH (4:30PM ET)
The Texas Longhorns will take on the Washington Huskies in the Alamo Bowl in San Antonio, Texas. This for me is one of the more intriguing matchups of bowl season and should give us a nice thrill before the big New Years weekend. When a game is predicted to be within a score, I do like to look to the defenses. Breaking down these matchups, I would give a major edge to the Texas defense in this one, but Washington has a very explosive offense on the other side. Though the Texas offense doesn’t matchup close to the Washington offense, I see the Texas defense being able to at least slow down the Washington offense; they rank 15th in opponent yards per rush, 11th in opponents points per play and 20th in opponents yards per pass. While Washington will still get their share of points, I feel more confident in this Texas defense to be able to limit big time plays and their offense to be able to find success against a lower tier Washington defense that’s had trouble stopping offenses all year. I don’t see a motivational edge in this one and I like the Longhorns to finish off strong here. Official play Texas -4.
MARYLAND VS. NC STATE UNDER 47.5 - FRIDAY, DECEMBER 30TH (4:30PM ET)
The Maryland Terrapins face off against the North Carolina State Wolf Pack in the Duke’s Mayo Bowl in Charlotte, North Carolina. Both of these offenses in this game have been too inconsistent to me. Maryland has the better offense ranking 52nd in points per game and 50th in yards per play, but NC State also has the defense to slow them down ranking 19th in opponents points per game and 27th in opponents yards per play. When NC State lost their QB1 earlier in the season, they really needed to clamp down on defense and they have done a great job doing so. They have been able to slow down much better offenses than the Maryland Terrapins, limiting offenses such as North Carolina, Wake Forest and Florida State. I see both offenses struggling to sustain drives as both teams strengths are coming more on the defensive side of the ball. When the offenses do get inside the 40, both defenses are also good at limiting the damage as they rank 36th and 32nd respectively in opponents points per scoring opportunity. This is a line I grabbed early at 48.5 as an official play but like this line down to 47.5. Line is currently available at 47.5 for most books.
IOWA (-2.5) VS. KENTUCKY - SATURDAY, DECEMBER 31ST (12PM ET)
The Iowa Hawkeyes will meet the Kentucky Wildcats in the Music City Bowl in Nashville, Tennessee. This game is a good example of getting ahead of the opt out news in bowl games. I had this game as Iowa -1 to -1.5, even when Kentucky’s QB Will Levis was playing. Both of these teams are predicated on defense to win ball games. Levis has underperformed for most of this season and even when he is in the game, the Kentucky offense struggled. However, his talent alone did make the Kentucky offense better. Kentucky ranks 101st in points per game and 95th in yards per play on offense with Will Levis. The Kentucky offense, without him, will take a hit and will struggle in this game. The Iowa defense is the only reason they are in a bowl game this season, as they rank 6th in opponents points per game and 1st in opponents yards per play. I see both teams struggling on offense in this game and it coming down to who makes a critical play late. My official play, I jumped on early at Iowa +3 but I am still comfortable at Iowa -2.5 as I believe their defense will be too much for Kentucky’s struggling offense with a new QB. Take the best line you can get but I sign off on up to Iowa -2.5.
TCU VS. MICHIGAN (-7) - SATURDAY, DECEMBER 31ST (4PM ET)
I gave this out last week as one of my early plays. Check out that article for an official write-up.
By Brandon Kenyon
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