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  • Writer's pictureRob Bowron @Beta_Rank_FB

Bowl Season Week I Picks

Season to date (64-24) Straight Up (50-35)* Against the Spread

The Beta_Rank Matchup Tool

Friday December, 20th

The Bahamas Bowl

#70 Buffalo (7-5) vs. #13 Charlotte (7-5)

11:00am PT, ESPN

Line: Buffalo -6.5

Beta_Rank Win Prob: Buffalo 63%

Beta_Rank Line: Buffalo -3.78 (DO NOT GAMBLE)

Beta_Rank Breakdown

Rob: It is going to be windy in the Bahamas and that should not be a huge problem for either of these teams who are a lean and mean rushing offenses. The Bulls come in with an offense grading out at #63 in Beta_Rank and with a #15/#119 run/pass split. They get an Charlotte defense that isn't great grading out at #112 and with a #94/#117 run/pass split. The 49ers grade out at #39 on offense and have a #25/#66 run/pass split. That is going to go against the strength of this Buffalo defense which is good for a G5 unit at #54 and has a #22/#89 split. The 49ers do have a special teams advantage in this game at #99 vs. #121 for the Bulls. I like the Bulls, but closer than Vegas.

Buffalo 27 Charlotte 21


The Frisco Bowl

#108 Utah State (7-5) vs. #98 Kent State (6-6)

5:30am PT, ESPN

Line: Utah State -6.5

Beta_Rank Win Prob: Kent State 56%

Beta_Rank Line: Kent State -3.0 (DO NOT GAMBLE)

Beta_Rank Breakdown

Rob: So here is the first game where the model being more down on the Mountain West comes into play. Niether of these teams is particualarly good so it should be a pretty good matchup. On offense the Golden Flashes are OK at #70 with a #33/#89 run/pass split. They get a bad Utah State defense at #94 with a #76/#109 split. You flip sides of the ball and things get interesting though. The Aggies are a bad offense at #104 and with a #118/#64 run/pass split. They get an awful Kent State defense at #121 with a #124/#112 split. The Aggies are going to be able to move the ball. The key here might turn out to be special teams where the Golden Flashes have a big advantage at #55 vs. #97. Keep an eye out for hidden yards because if the Aggies have to go further in the game it is going to add up.

Kent State 31 Utah State 27


Saturday December, 21st

The New Mexico Bowl

#76 Central Michigan (8-5) vs. #90 San Diego State (9-3)

11:00am PT, ESPN

Line: SDSU -3.5

Beta_Rank Win Prob: CMU 63%

Beta_Rank Line: CMU -3.78 (DO NOT GAMBLE)

Beta_Rank Breakdown

Rob: Hey look another Mountain West vs. MAC tilt! This might end up not being a very fun game to watch. The Chippewas come in at #58 on offense, respectable for a G5 team, and with a balanced #63/#53 run/pass split, but they get a very good Aztec defense coached by Rocky Long at #36 with #28/#51 split. The other side of the ball could be absolutely brutal. CMU has a decent G5 defense at #69 with a #52/#98 run/pass split, but they should be able to contain a horrendous SDSU offense at #126 with a #116/#107 split. The Aztecs do have a sizable special teams advantage in the game with at #58 vs. #111. If the Aztecs can flip the field and get their anemic offense in good position with defense and special teams then you like their chances, but if it turns out that CMU is able to get enough yards on offense and avoid 3 and outs then SDSU could be behind the score early.

CMU 20 SDSU 16


The Cure Bowl

#77 Georgia Southern (7-5) vs. #106 Liberty (7-5)

11:30am PT, CBS Sports

Line: GSU -4.0

Beta_Rank Win Prob: GSU 74%

Beta_Rank Line: GSU -6.72 (DO NOT GAMBLE)

Beta_Rank Breakdown

Rob: I really like this matchup for Georgia Southern. The Eagles are not some offensive juggernaut at #88, but they run hard with a #13/#130 run pass split. They get a bad Liberty defense at #114 that struggles with the run with a #118/#87 split. Liberty might have to bring 9 into the box. The other side of the ball should be pretty competitive. The Flames have a decent G5 offense at #65 and they are better airing it out with a #91/#30 run/pass split. The Eagles are no slouch on defense coming in at #66, but they are better against the run with a #48/#83 split. I like the Flames to be able to move the ball. You guessed it though (maybe); Liberty is terrible at special teams at #123. Georgia Southern comes in at #79 so I like them to have some short field in the game that will make a difference.

Georgia Southern 34 Liberty 27


The Boca Raton Bowl

#41 SMU (10-2) at #33 Florida Atlantic (10-3)

12:30pm PT, ABC

Line: SMU -3.0

Beta_Rank Win Prob: FAU 66%

Beta_Rank Line: FAU -7.02 (DO NOT GAMBLE)

Beta_Rank Breakdown

Rob: It's a bummer the Lane Train going to Oxford happened because this game should be the main menu event for the weekend. SMU is rolling on offense under Sonny Dykes coming in at #23 and they are more balanced than you might think given Dyke's Air Raid roots. The Ponies clock in at #64/#20 with their run/pass split; pretty far from the Washington State or USC type splits we see. FAU's defense has been pretty good under first year DC Glenn Spencer. The Owls come in at #34 and with a #38/#37 split. The other side of the ball is interesting because Kiffin won't be there. The Owls rank at #47 with a #66/#35 split and they get an OK SMU defense that comes in at #72, but struggling with the pass with a #53/#101 run pass split. No big advantage on special teams here so it's likely coming down to which FAU shows up at home.

FAU 37 SMU 34


The Camellia Bowl

#101 Florida International (6-6) vs. #92 Arkansas State (7-5)

2:30pm PT, ESPN

Line: ASU -2.5

Beta_Rank Win Prob: ASU 56%

Beta_Rank Line: ASU -3.0 (DO NOT GAMBLE)

Beta_Rank Breakdown

Rob: Two bad teams walk into a bowl. The Red Wolves are not great on offense, #87, and they mostly get it done through the air; #113/#42 run/pass split. The Panthers are not great on defense, #82, and they are better at defending the pass; #99/#65 split. The Panthers were supposed to be good on offense this year and they were not; finishing at #96 with a #77/#76 split. The Red Wolves stink on defense at #98 with a #116/#62 split so the Panthers might be versatile enough to shift their offense to get yards on the ground that will be available. The Red Wolves have a good size special teams advantage that should tell in this game; #74 to #108.

ASU 24 FIU 20


The Las Vegas Bowl

#44 Boise State (12-1) vs. #23 Washington (7-5)

4:30pm PT, ABC

Line: Washington -3.5

Beta_Rank Win Prob: Washington 76%

Beta_Rank Line: Washington -7.22 (DO NOT GAMBLE)

Beta_Rank Breakdown

Rob: The game that Disney endings are made of. Petersen gets the send off vs. his old team, but I would much rather see the Broncos play App State than a much more talented, but hideously coached offensive team like the Huskies. The Huskies come in at #62 on offense with a #74#44 run/pass split and they get an OK Boise defense at #52 with a #51/#59 split. The Huskies should be able to move the ball, but you could say that about their games against horrible defenses like WSU and OSU down the stretch and the Huskies were adequate in those games. Hunter Bryant and Trey Adams are sitting out and that could really hurt, but this could also be Bush Hamdan's last hurrah. Hard to tell with this offense. The other side of the ball in interesting with the OC off to ASU. Hill didn't crush it on offense this season at #44, but they were balanced and efficient at #54/#37 on their split. They get a Washington defense that rounded into form down the stretch and looks nasty for next season. The Huskies are #9 with a #17/#11 split. The Huskies do have a special teams advantage at #28 vs. #61. I like the Huskies to strangle the Broncos with field position and defense and Eason to make enough big plays to win it.

Washington 24 Boise State 17


The New Orleans Bowl

#32 Appalachian State (12-1) vs. #96 UAB (9-4)

6:00pm PT, ESPN

Line: App State -16.5

Beta_Rank Win Prob: App State 93%

Beta_Rank Line: App State -19.89 (DO NOT GAMBLE)

Beta_Rank Breakdown

Rob: Nobody thinks this will be close. It's too bad App State didn't get a shot versus a better opponent because they are a legitimately good football team. If they don't go over it is likely because their coach is off to Mizzou.

App State 41 UAB 20

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