Top NCAA Football Bowl Picks of the Week – December 17th

Top NCAA Football Bowl Picks of the Week – December 17th

Written by on December 17, 2018

Bad look for Florida International’s football team over the weekend as it was learned that running back Shawndarrius Phillips played all season for the Golden Panthers despite a domestic battery arrest back in June. Now that it became public, the school announced that Phillips will not play in the Bahamas Bowl this week. Phillips appeared in 11 games for the Panthers, rushing for 393 yards and four touchdowns. Here’s a look at two early-week bowl games alongside the latest NCAAF Odds.

Top NCAA Football Bowl Picks of the Week – December 17th

Boca Raton Bowl: UAB vs. Northern Illinois (-2.5)

  • When: Tuesday, 7 PM ET (ESPN)

The first-ever meeting between these programs. UAB has never won a bowl game.

Really underrated matchup here as both teams were conference champions. UAB used a late penalty against Middle Tennessee to hold on for a 27-25 victory in Conference USA’s Championship Game, while the Huskies rallied in the fourth quarter against Buffalo to a claim a 30-29 win in the MAC title game. After trailing 29-10 in the third quarter, the Huskies scored 20 unanswered points.

UAB’s story is amazing as the program was disbanded following the 2014 season but was later reinstated in ’15, with the team returning to the field and Conference USA play in ’17. This year, UAB won 10 games for the first time in its program history, helping Bill Clark earn Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year honors. Spencer Brown has rushed for 1,152 yards and 16 touchdowns this season. He’s broken the 100-yard mark on six occasions. He’s scored in 11 of UAB’s 13 games. Brown ranks third all-time in UAB history in career rushing yards with 2,478, passing Darrin Reaves and Jordan Howard.

Defensively, UAB is among the best in the country in getting to the quarterback with 43 sacks. The Blazers also have held opponents to 24-for-104 on third downs in the last eight games. For the season the Blazers’ are holding opponents to 25 percent and 41-of-164.

NIU is led by QB Marcus Childers. He has thrown for 1,996 yards and rushed for 496 yards. Childers also threw 15 touchdowns and leads the team with six rushing touchdowns despite being the third-leading rusher. NIU is making its 10th bowl appearance in the last 11 seasons, a record of consistency matched by just one other current “Group of Five” team (Boise State).

The Huskie defense has held an opponent to less than 100 yards rushing in seven games this season and NIU opponents are averaging just 2.7 yards per rush and 109.7 rushing yards per game in 2018. Junior defensive end Sutton Smith leads the nation in sacks with 15 and ranks second in the FBS in tackles for loss with 24.5. Smith became the first NIU player to be named a first team All-American in back-to-back seasons. NIU looks for its first bowl win since the 2011 season when the Huskies defeated Arkansas State in the 2012 GoDaddy.com Bowl. 

Latest NCAA Football Betting Picks

  • Northern Illinois is 4-2 ATS in its last 6 games
  • Northern Illinois is 7-2 SU in its last 9 games
  • The total has gone UNDER in 9 of Northern Illinois’s last 13 games
  • Alabama-Birmingham is 8-3 ATS in its last 11 games
  • Alabama-Birmingham is 9-2 SU in its last 11 games
  • The total has gone OVER in 4 of Alabama-Birmingham’s last 5 games

Frisco Bowl: San Diego State vs. Ohio (-2.5)

  • When: Wednesday, 8 PM ET (ESPN)

The Frisco Bowl is from Toyota Stadium outside Dallas. The Bobcats look to win back-to-back bowl games for the second time in school history. They won the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl and Independence Bowl in 2011-12. The Aztecs will try to end a three-game losing streak and keep their unbeaten record against MAC opponents intact. They’re 13-0-1 all time against MAC opponents.

SDSU’s active consecutive streak of nine straight bowl games is tied for the 12th-longest streak nationally. San Diego State joins Stanford as the only football teams in the state of California – college or pro – to play in the postseason each of the last nine years. Since the start of the 2015 campaign, San Diego State’s 39-14 record and 73.6 percent winning percentage is tied for the 10th best in the nation and the Aztecs are tied for the sixth-highest winning percentage in the nation since Oct. 3, 2015.

San Diego State has played 10 consecutive games decided by single digits. That is the longest consecutive streak by any FBS team since at least 1980 (last 39 seasons). The Aztecs own the fourth-best rushing defense in the country, limiting the position to just 94.5 rushing yards per game. San Diego State is ranked second among Mountain West Conference teams in points allowed per game (21.8) and third in total yards allowed per game (327.4).

Ohio’s Nathan Rourke was one of the more productive dual-threat quarterbacks in the FBS, passing for 2,228 yards and 22 touchdowns and rushing for 816 yards and 13 scores. The Bobcats lead the MAC in scoring offense (41.2 points per game; second-most in program history), total offense (470.7 yards per game; 5,647 total yards gained, third-most in program history), rushing offense (261.9 yards per game, sixth-most in program history; 3,143 rushing yards gained, sixth-most in program history) and pass efficiency (156.1 efficiency rating).

The 494 points scored by Ohio this season are already good for the second-most in a single season in program history. The 2017 squad set the program record with 508 points. Ohio’s 38 rushing touchdowns this season lead the MAC and rank as the third-most in a single season in program history.

Latest NCAA Football Betting Picks

  • San Diego State is 1-6 ATS in its last 7 games
  • San Diego State is 1-4 SU in its last 5 games
  • The total has gone UNDER in 6 of San Diego State’s last 9 games
  • Ohio is 5-2 ATS in its last 7 games
  • Ohio is 5-1 SU in its last 6 games
  • The total has gone OVER in 4 of Ohio’s last 5 games

Expert NCAA Football Bowl Picks

Go SDSU and UAB.
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