Okay college football fans and betting enthusiasts, with the start of the bowl season getting underway with several games this coming weekend, it’s time to highlight a pair of favorites that both look like they have a great chance of cashing against their underdog opponents.
Let’s get started.
Analyzing The College Football Betting Odds: Favorites You Must Bet On This Weekend
Texas-San Antonio (6-6) at New Mexico (8-4)
When: 2:00 PM ET, Saturday, December 17, 2016
Where: University Stadium, Albuquerque, New Mexico
NCAAF Odds: New Mexico -7
Analysis: UTSA is on the road against New Mexico in the 2016 Gildan New Mexico Bowl. The Roadrunners beat Charlotte 33-14 in their regular-season finale to earn a bowl invitation in their sixth season. UTSA is led by their 1-2 running back combination of senior Jarveon Williams and sophomore Jalen Rhodes. The pair have combined for 1,903 yards from scrimmage and 18 touchdowns this season.
UTSA has been mediocre at best offensively under junior quarterback Dalton Strum (22 TDs) as the Roadrunners averaged just 192.9 yards of total offense per game this season for first-year coach Frank Wilson. UTSA went 3-4 in seven games against bowl qualified teams during the regular season while facing two Power Five opponents.
Defensively, the Roadrunners gave up a generous 28.3 points per game. Freshman linebacker Josiah Tauaefa became the first UTSA player to earn first-team all-Conference-USA honors. Led by fifth-year coach Bob Davie, New Mexico went 8-4 and is seeking the fifth nine-win campaign in the program’s 85-year history. Unfortunately, the Lobos are just 3-8-1 in bowl games, including 1-2 in the New Mexico Bowl.
The good news is that the Lobos went 5-1 at home this season and come into this matchup having won six of its last seven games. Running backs Teriyon Gibson and Tyrone Owens lead the Lobos’ offensive attack which led the FBS in all the major rushing categories, including total yards (4,331), yards per game (360.9) and yards per carry (6.81).
Quarterbacks Lamar Jordan and Austin Apodaca have shared time, but Jordan is more of a running threat with 658 yards and three rushing scores. New Mexico, averaged a Mountain West-best 37.8 points per game this season. Unfortunately, New Mexico also gave up a whopping 32.4 points and 397.3 yards per game. 62 percent of public bettors likes New Mexico and I urge you to roll along with the majority in this contest, mostly because the Lobos are the better team and are playing at home.
While UTSA has gone 5-1 ATS in their last six games against a team with a winning record, the Roadrunners are also just 2-5 ATS in their last seven games following an ATS win and 1-5 ATS in their last six games following a straight up win. New Mexico has gone 5-2 ATS in their last seven games and are simply the better team in this bowl game showdown.
Pick: New Mexico 35 UTSA 24
Houston (9-3) at San Diego State (10-3)
When: 3:30 PM ET, Saturday, December 17, 2016
Where: Sam Boyd Stadium, Las Vegas, Nevada
NCAAF Odds: Houston -3
Analysis: The Houston Cougars will be led by interim coach Todd Orlando in this affair after head coach Tom Herman bolted to take the job at Texas. Houston will look to win its third straight bowl game while San Diego State looks to record a program best 11 victories.
The Cougars are led by underrated dual-threat quarterback Greg Ward Jr. who is playing the final game of his career and ranks fifth in school history in both passing touchdowns (52) and passing yardage (8,476). Ward threw 22 TD passes this season while adding nine rushing touchdowns. The Cougars averaged a stellar 38.0 points per game this season. Defensively, the Cougars are led by gifted freshman defensive tackle Ed Oliver, who recorded a whopping 19 1/2 tackles for losses this season (including five sacks).
San Diego State is led by senior running back Donnel Pumphrey (6,290 yards) who needs 108 rushing yards to surpass Wisconsin’s Ron Dayne (6,397) as the all-time leading career rusher in FBS history. Pumphrey rushed for 2,018 yards in the regular season but Houston ranks third nationally in rushing defense (97.9 yards per game) and allowed just 2.9 yards per carry.
Pumphrey rushed for 16 touchdowns this season while shattering numerous records held by the legendary Marshall Faulk. Sophomore quarterback Christian Chapman has thrown 19 touchdown passes and just six interceptions. 56 percent of bettors like Houston and so do I, seeing as how I actually had the Cougars reaching the College Football Playoff this season after their phenomenal 13-1 run in 2015.
Houston has gone 8-2 ATS in their last 10 neutral site games and 16-5 ATS in their last 21 non-conference games. The bad news is that the Cougars are also just 1-4 ATS in their last five games against a team with a winning record and 1-6 ATS in their last seven games overall.
While San Diego State has gone 4-1 ATS in their last five games following an SU win and 5-2 ATS in their last seven games following an ATS loss, the Aztecs are also just 2-6 ATS in their last eight games in the month of December, 2-9-1 ATS in their last 12 non-conference games and an uninspiring 0-4 ATS in their last four games against a team with a winning record.
Pick: Houston 35 San Diego State 31