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We almost had a clean sweep, but UNLV couldn’t convert their two-point conversions. But getting a 2-1 record and making money on the day is ultimately what we’re about. Today brings another crowded slate of college football bowl games for our betting pleasure. We have four games with the first kicking off at 2:00 PM EST. This is where we start our turn to the best bowl games as seven of the eight playing today are from the Power 5 conferences. And the one that’s not in the Power 5, is ranked in the top 25.
We talked yesterday about three factors we look at during college football bowl season: Motivation, Roster Continuity, and Coaching. The Tulane Green Wave have none of those coming into today.
Once Tulane lost their conference championship to SMU, they were left out of a New Year’s Six Bowl Game. Their consolation prize is playing a 6-6 Virginia Tech team in the Military Bowl today. So, their motivation is definitely in question. But the bigger factor is that Tulane is without their Head Coach who left for the same job at the University of Houston. And they already hired their next HC so Slade Nagle, the interim coach, is likely auditioning for his next job. Then there’s the roster, which has been decimated with transfers and injuries. The Green Wave will be without their starting QB, top two WR’s, starting TE, and several offensive lineman and key defensive players. They will likely be using 10 new starters between defense and offense.
On the other side of the field, Virginia Tech comes into this game motivated, healthy and with their entire coaching staff intact. The Hokies won five of their last eight games including a blowout of their rivals, UVA, in the last game to become bowl eligible. They are 6-6 but fully motivated to ensure that turns into a winning season. They also have QB Kyron Drones who developed into a very good signal caller by season’s end. He is a dual threat at the position as he comes into today’s game with over 600 yards rushing. Va Tech also has a star at RB in Byashul Tuten who is also a threat in the kick return game.
I’m a big fan of Tulane and what they’ve done in recent years. But their only key player on offense left to play is RB Makhai Hughes and Tulane’s running game was ranked 114th in the country. Va Tech will focus on stopping the run and force QB Kai Horton to throw the ball. That will be at the Hokies advantage as Horton finished the season with a measly 50% completion rate. On offense, Va Tech will move the ball due to Tulane’s opt outs and injuries on all three levels. This feels like too many points, but I just think the motivation is there with Va Tech and I’ll take them to cover this big number.
The big story in the Duke’s Mayo Bowl is that UNC QB Drake Maye opted out for the NFL Draft. But also following the star QB are WR Tez Walker and several other key players on UNC. They are now forced to start freshman QB Conner Harrell without their top WR’s and TE. And we all know UNC’s defense is a sieve. So the cards are stacked against the Tar Heels today.
The Mountaineers, on the other hand, are coming into this game with key pieces missing on defense and without their top RB. But they have their QB, Garrett Greene, who is a dual threat, playing and ready to go. He led a team that surpassed expectations finishing 8-4 and 4th place finish in the Big 12.
While two major points, motivation and roster continuity, favor WVU heavily, I am going to back UNC today. You can look at every publication or writing and not find one person picking North Carolina. However, UNC has star RB Omarion Hampton who was 3rd in the nation in rushing yards per game. And freshman QB Conner Harrell is a dual threat as well and can create issues for a WVU defense that was 88th in rush yards success and 71st in line yards. I believe UNC can hang in this game with their running attack and cover the posted number.
The USC Trojans are playing without three key players in QB Caleb Williams, WR Brenden Rice and RB MarShawn Lloyd. And that’s significant as those players could often cover up a historically bad defense. The Trojans allowed 34.9 points per game. In their last 9 games, they allowed 40 points or more five times. And they didn’t allow less than 28 points in any of those contests.
As for Louisville, they lost talent on offense as RB Jawhar Jordan and WR Jamari Thrash opted out to prepare for the NFL Draft. But they are almost fully stocked on defense which is a key as that unit allowed just 19.7 points per game. And the Cardinals should still be effective at moving the ball against the Trojans as they have a good backup in RB Isaac Guerendo who averaged 6.0 ypc.
While the Trojans still have talent on offense, the defense is the issue. Louisville can throw up some questionable performances, as shown versus Pitt and Indiana. But this USC defense is too bad for Louisville to not find positive plays in both the passing and running game. Which will allow the Cards defense to play aggressively and help them bring home the W.
The Aggies are without their coach as they pulled the plug on the Jimbo Fisher era in College Station. But I actually think that works in their advantage as Texas A&M carried a gray cloud over them all season. They brought in former defensive coordinator Mike Elko to take the reigns and bring the program back to the top of the SEC. As for the motivation, they have DC Elijah Robinson coaching this game. Robinson has accepted the head coaching position at Syracuse and if you saw that interview, you’d be ready to strap on the pads and play for him. Losing OC Bobby Petrino will be a factor but I believe A&M has the resources, and talent, to move the ball on this porous Oklahoma State defense.
And that’s where my betting angle lies as the Cowboys defense is poor. They rank 120th in pass success rate and 94th in havoc. Their run defense looks good on paper, only because it’s so easy to pass on this team. In their last game, the Big 12 Championship, they allowed 664 yards to Texas. Just three weeks before that, they allowed 592 yards to UCF and lost 45-3.
HC Mike Gundy has done a good job with what he has. RB Ollie Gordon is an amazing talent and will be a big factor today. But even with the question marks on the Aggies offense, they will be able to move the ball efficiently against a bad defense. And A&M has a top 10 defense that will have a script to bottle up Gordon and the Cowboys O. Take the points but I also like A&M moneyline (+130).
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Dave is a lifelong enthusiast of fantasy sports, actively engaging in football, baseball, basketball, and golf. Hailing from the Philadelphia area, he holds a deep devotion to the Philadelphia Eagles, owning season tickets to support his beloved team. Embracing DFS in 2012, Dave has achieved notable success with several significant takedowns on DraftKings. He has developed a newfound passion for CFB DFS, going by the username @dgloeck.
In 2022, Dave became a valued member of the WinDaily team, contributing video and written content across the platform. Additionally, he shares his betting picks through WinDaily and Tallysite, boasting an impressive record of 42-19 for the MLB 2023 season. Recognized as the Bell Ringer, Dave also lends his voice to the WinDaily Show on Sirius radio, airing on Sundays. On Twitter (@dgloeck), he actively shares his content and passionate insights on a daily basis.
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