This week marks the kickoff of this year's bowl games. It's a magnificent time of the year for bettors, so strap it up and let's go bowling. Things get started on Tuesday, December 19, with the Poinsettia Bowl, which features Northern Illinois vs. No. 24 Texas Christian.
TCU was a sound 8-3 ATS this year and owns the 5th best defense in the nation, while Northern Illinois ranks 73rd. As well, TCU is 18th offensively, putting up 28.6 ppg and 402.2 ypg. But don't be fooled!
Northern Illinois isn't far behind offensively; they post 27 ppg and 388.5 ypg. The Huskies have profited when playing role as puppy where they are 13-3 ATS in their last 16 games as an underdog. As well, the Huskies are 6-1 ATS in their last 7 games as an underdog of 10.5 or greater. TCU is favored by 12 points as of this writing.
There's a personal twist to this game since Oregon offensive coordinator Gary Crowton will face the team that fired him as its head coach a couple of years ago. Crowton knows BYU's personnel very well and will have a big impact on this game, giving Oregon a distinct advantage.
Friday, December 22, the Troy Trojans (+5) and Rice Owls (-5) will both be gunning for a victory in Louisiana when they meet at the Superdome in the New Orleans Bowl. Rice was the more profitable team this year at 9-3 ATS, while Troy was 6-5 ATS.
The Trojans finished the regular season with SU wins in six of its last seven to take the Sun Belt crown. However, it won't be easy to win this one and even harder to take the cash. The Trojans are just 2-6 ATS in their last eight non-conference games and they are 3-9 ATS in their last 12 night games.
Saturday, December 23, the East Carolina Pirates (+4.5) and the South Florida Bulls (-4.5) will be trying to pocket a victory when they meet in the Papajohns.com Bowl at Legion Field in Birmingham, AL. East Carolina finished the season 7-5 SU & 10-2 ATS and South Florida went 8-4 SU & 7-4 ATS.
The Pirates are playing in their first bowl game since 2001. They beat two ACC teams this season, 31-21 over Virginia and 21-16 at North Carolina State. The Bulls are 4-0 ATS in their last four games as a favorite and they are 4-1 ATS in their last five games as a favorite of 3.5-10.0 points. Overall, they are 6-2 ATS in their last eight games.
Also Saturday, bettors will be treated to the New Mexico Bowl, as the San Jose State Spartans (+4) and New Mexico Lobos (-4) do battle at Albuquerque's University Stadium. Both clubs were money-makers this season at 8-3 ATS.
Capping off this great day of football, it's the Armed Forces Bowl, when the Utah Utes (-4) and Tulsa Golden Hurricanes (+2) meet at Amon Carter Stadium. The Utes finished the year at 7-4 ATS and Tulsa ended up 6-5 ATS.
Despite the fact that the Golden Hurricanes are 1-4 ATS in their last five games overall, expect them to come out ready to play a very competitive game. Tulsa enters this game the slight dog and are 6-1 ATS in their last seven games as an underdog. Tulsa takes the cash in this one.
Sunday, December 24, the Hawaii Bowl takes center stage when the Arizona State Sun Devils (+9) and Hawaii Warriors (-9) shoot it out at Honolulu's Aloha Stadium. The Sun Devils finished the year at 7-4 ATS and the Warriors ended the season 8-4 ATS. It's no secret that both clubs have explosive offenses as the mega total of 74.5 points would indicate. The scoreboard operator will have his work cut out for him in this contest.