Conference bowl game trends continue to produce

If there’s any bowl game data I look forward to studying each year, it’s trends by conference. It’s the most thought-provoking piece of handicapping material I put together for the VSiN Bowl Guide. Most of the bowl games have pre-designated conference tie-ins, and this should be a key factor for bettors, as certain conferences generally match up well with others in certain types of games and line scenarios. For instance, lower-level leagues may get more motivation from playing a power conference opponent. Or they may simply be overmatched. I believe that however a team perceives its respect level, not only for itself but for the conference it represents in a bowl, plays a big role in the outcome. 

I’ve separated all of the conferences and determined their performance records in all kinds of situations in bowl games. Among these situations are line and total ranges, level of bowl game, site of the bowl game, and perhaps most importantly, how they fare against the other conferences.

Unfortunately, because of the late release of this year’s matchups, I was unable to dive as deeply as usual into the games, but the important point, the trends, are still spelled out along with the qualifying plays for 2020-21. 

 

If you love the SEC, you’ll really appreciate this year’s bowl lineup, as 12 of the 28 games feature SEC teams. No other conference comes close. In fact, Conference USA is next, with seven teams. The Pacific-12 offers just two teams and the Mountain West just three. Of course, much of that was by their own doing, as several teams out of bowl games.

Unfortunately, the opt-outs not only cost some programs and their players a chance at a postseason game, they also meant the cancellation of an additional four games Sunday, even after the initial lineup was trimmed to 32 games. The result is 28 games, plus the CFP championship game, which we will cover in Point Spread Weekly.

Of course, the showcase games are the CFP semifinals scheduled for Jan. 1, and featuring a quartet of teams very familiar to college football fans. Alabama will meet Notre Dame in the Rose Bowl, albeit in Arlington, Texas, and Clemson and Ohio State will meet for a second straight season in the playoffs in the Sugar Bowl. Pay special attention to the conference trends for each of those teams as they pertain to the New Year’s Six bowl games, as there are some truly definitive angles to consider. The lone Group of Five team in the New Year’s Six Bowl Games is Cincinnati, which went unbeaten out of the American Athletic Conference. The Bearcats will take on Georgia in the Peach Bowl.

I was asked this question by a reader of the VSiN Bowl Guide: Do oddsmakers even consider how conferences fare in their bowl games when setting lines, or are the numbers purely reflective of strength ratings? I don’t believe anything other than current-year factors go into setting these bowl game numbers. It is 100% a numbers game, with perhaps injuries and regional or home-field advantage warranting adjustments. This is our advantage. Looking at the recent history of matchups by conference is just one of many edges we can uncover.

Of course, one of the major differences this year is teams won’t have nearly as much preparation time as usual. How this affects these conference-by-conference trends remains to be seen, but the increased unfamiliarity likely will increase their effectiveness.

I’ve put forth almost any type of angle that I could conceive and calculate. Pick out what you feel strongest about. Or simply take the best records. Recent bowl history has shown that either method works.

So let’s take a look at the 2020-21 bowl game outlook for each conference. 

ATLANTIC COAST CONFERENCE

CLEMSON vs. OHIO STATE (BIG TEN), SUGAR

MIAMI vs. OKLAHOMA STATE (BIG 12), CHEEZE-IT

NC STATE vs. KENTUCKY (SEC), GATOR

NORTH CAROLINA vs. TEXAS A&M (SEC), ORANGE

WAKE FOREST vs. WISCONSIN (BIG TEN), DUKE’S MAYO

Key ACC bowl game trends

* After going 2-1 ATS last year, ACC teams are 14-6 ATS in their last 20 New Year’s Six bowl games.

Qualifying plays for 2020-21: Clemson, North Carolina

* Although just 1-3 ATS a year ago, ACC teams have consistently been solid performing small underdogs in bowl games, 38-23-2 ATS in their last 63 bowl games when underdogs in the + 1 to + 6.5 range.

Qualifying plays for 2020-21: Miami, NC State, North Carolina

* ACC teams are 9-1-1 Over the total in their last 11 bowl games vs. American Athletic teams, with the games averaging 68.9 points per game.

Qualifying plays for 2020-21: None

* ACC teams are 11-5 UNDER the total in their last 16 bowl games vs. Big 12 teams.

Qualifying play for 2020-21: Under in Miami-Oklahoma State

* Historically, in bowl games between the ACC and Big Ten, underdogs have been a very strong wager, going 17-8 SU and 19-5-1 ATS since ’99. However, they are just 2-4 SU and ATS in the last six.

Qualifying plays for 2020-21: Against Clemson, On Wake Forest

* ACC and Big Ten bowl games have been fairly decisive lately, too, with outright winners on an 18-0-1 ATS streak.

Qualifying plays for 2020-21: Winners in Clemson-Ohio State, Wisconsin-Wake Forest

* ACC teams have struggled vs. Pac-12 opponents in bowl games going 2-13 SU and 6-9 ATS in the last 15.

Qualifying plays for 2020-21: None

* ACC teams are just 13-14 SU and 10-17 ATS in their last 27 bowl games when favored over the SEC. Also against the SEC, the last nine teams that were underdogs of 7 points or more in bowl games lost outright while going 2-6-1 ATS.

Qualifying plays for 2020-21: None

* ACC teams are just 14-14 SU and 10-18 ATS in their last 28 bowl games when favored over the SEC. These games have trended significantly Under as well, 20-8 on that side of the total.

Qualifying plays for 2020-21: None

* Six straight ACC-SEC bowl games have gone Over their posted total, all having produced at least 60 points.

Qualifying plays for 2020-21: Over in NC State-Kentucky, North Carolina-Texas A&M

* Conference strength seems to show itself in tightly lined bowl games featuring the ACC and Group of 5 opponents, as ACC teams are 10-4 SU and ATS in the + 3 to -3 line range.

Qualifying plays for 2020-21: None

* In the last 22 ACC bowl games with totals of 62.5 or higher, Over is 16-7-1. Underdogs are also on a 12-3 ATS run in those games.

Qualifying plays for 2020-21: Over in Clemson-Ohio State and North Carolina-Texas A&M. Against Clemson, On North Carolina

  

AMERICAN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE

CINCINNATI vs. GEORGIA (SEC), PEACH

HOUSTON vs. HAWAII (MOUNTAIN WEST), NEW MEXICO

MEMPHIS vs. FLORIDA ATLANTIC (CONFERENCE USA), MONTGOMERY

TULANE vs. NEVADA (MOUNTAIN WEST), POTATO

TULSA vs. MISSISSIPPI STATE (SEC), ARMED FORCES

UCF vs. BYU (INDEPENDENT), BOCA RATON

Key AAC bowl game trends

* Over the last two seasons, AAC teams are just 6-8 SU and 5-9 ATS in bowl games, and the only team to win both ATS in that span was Tulane. As a group they are also 10-3-1 Over the total in those games, allowing 36.9 points per game.

Qualifying plays for 2020-21: Against AAC, Over All

* In the last 20 bowl games featuring a team from the AAC, FAVORITES are 14-6 ATS.

Qualifying plays for 2020-21: Against Cincinnati, UCF; On Houston, Memphis, Tulane, Tulsa

* In the last 14 bowl games that American Athletic Conference teams have played as underdogs of + 7 or less, they are just 1-13 SU and ATS.

Qualifying plays for 2020-21: Against Cincinnati, UCF

* As underdogs of more than 7 points, AAC teams have produced a respectable 3-3 SU and 6-0 ATS record.

Qualifying plays for 2020-21: None

* AAC teams are 9-14 ATS in 23 bowl games vs. Power 5 schools.

Qualifying plays for 2020-21: Against Cincinnati, Tulsa

* In AAC bowl games against the Group of 5 or independent opponents, favorites are on a 13-6 ATS surge.

Qualifying plays for 2020-21: Against UCF; On Memphis, Tulane, Tulsa

* In the last 22 bowl games featuring an AAC team and a total in the “average range” (52-60), FAVORITES are on a 19-3 SU and 18-4 ATS run.

Qualifying plays for 2020-21: On Memphis, Tulane

 

BIG TEN CONFERENCE

INDIANA vs. OLE MISS (SEC), OUTBACK

IOWA vs. MISSOURI (SEC), MUSIC CITY

NORTHWESTERN vs. AUBURN (SEC), CITRUS

OHIO STATE vs. CLEMSON (ACC), SUGAR

WISCONSIN vs. WAKE FOREST (ACC), DUKE’S MAYO

Key Big Ten bowl game trends

* After years of being maligned for their bowl game performances, Big Ten teams have put together six straight seasons of at least .500 ATS, going 33-24 ATS in all.

Qualifying plays for 2020-21: All Big Ten

* In New Year’s Six bowl games, Big Ten teams have been successful, going 14-10-1 ATS in the last 25.

Qualifying plays for 2020-21: Ohio State

* In non-New Year’s Six January bowl games, Big Ten teams are 21-10 Over the total in their last 31. 

Qualifying plays for 2020-21: None

* After losing 11 straight bowl games as favorites of 5.5 points or more from 2000-07, Big Ten teams have rebounded with a 6-2 SU and 5-3 ATS mark as favorites since ’15.

Qualifying plays for 2020-21: Indiana, Iowa, Wisconsin

* Big Ten teams have not been the good large underdogs they are perceived to be in recent bowl games, going 1-12 SU and 3-10 ATS when catching 9.5 points or more since ’08.

Qualifying plays for 2020-21: None

* Underdogs are 19-5-1 ATS in the last 25 bowl games between the Big Ten and ACC.

Qualifying plays for 2020-21: Against Wisconsin, On Ohio State

* In 27 bowl games against the Big 12 since 2000, some interesting trends have emerged for Big Ten teams, who have been underdogs in 23 of the 27 matchups. Big Ten teams are on a 13-4 ATS run in bowl games when the spread is in the + 7 to -7 range. Twelve of the 17 games also went Under the total as Big Ten defenses have allowed just 19.8 points per game while holding 10 of the opponents to 17 points or fewer. However, the leagues haven’t met in a bowl game since January ’15.

Qualifying plays for 2020-21: None

* Big Ten teams are on a 12-8 SU and 15-5 ATS run vs. Pac-12 teams in bowl games. This is a huge turnaround considering they were 5-19-1 ATS before that.

Qualifying plays for 2020-21: None

* Big Ten teams are also on a 13-5 Under run when favored over Pac-12 teams in bowl games.

Qualifying plays for 2020-21: None

* Since Ohio State was crushed by Florida 41-14 in the 2007 BCS championship game, Big Ten teams have consistently struggled against SEC schools in bowl games, going 13-27 SU and 16-24 ATS.

Qualifying plays for 2020-21: Against Indiana, Iowa, Northwestern

* The Big Ten has really struggled against the SEC in bowl games as small underdogs, going 4-17 SU and 5-16 ATS in their last 21 when catching 3.5 points or fewer.

Qualifying plays for 2020-21: None

* Big Ten teams have taken care of business lately against Group of 5 or independent opponents in bowl games, going 10-4 SU and 11-3 ATS in their last 14. Favorites also have won 16 straight games outright in that matchup while going 12-4 ATS.

Qualifying plays for 2020-21: None

* Oddsmakers have set the table for totals bettors in Big Ten games. On totals of 58.5 or higher, Big Ten teams are on a 27-12 Over run.

Qualifying plays for 2020-21: Over the total in Indiana-Ole Miss, Ohio State-Clemson

 

BIG 12 CONFERENCE

IOWA STATE vs. OREGON (PAC-12), FIESTA

OKLAHOMA vs. FLORIDA (SEC), COTTON 

OKLAHOMA STATE vs. MIAMI (ACC), CHEEZE-IT

TCU vs. ARKANSAS (SEC), TEXAS

TEXAS vs. COLORADO (Pac-12), ALAMO

WEST VIRGINIA vs. ARMY (INDEPENDENT), LIBERTY

 Key Big 12 bowl game trends

* Fans and bettors typically identify the Big 12 as a high-scoring league. Their bowl games have not gone that way at all lately as they are 20-7 Under the total since 2016.

Qualifying plays for 2020-21: Under the total in all Big 12

* New Year’s Six bowl games have not been good to Big 12 teams over the last 18 years, as they are 14-27 SU and 11-29-1 ATS since ’02.

Qualifying plays for 2020-21: Against Oklahoma, Iowa State

* In bowl games between Christmas and New Year’s, those featuring Big 12 teams have been surprisingly low scoring, going Under the total at a 40-16 clip, good for 71.4%.

Qualifying plays for 2020-21: Under in Oklahoma-Florida, Oklahoma State-Miami, TCU-Arkansas, Texas-Colorado, West Virginia-Army

* Big 12 teams have been horrible in January bowl games, going 21-26 SU and 13-33-1 ATS since ’02.

Qualifying play for 2020-21: Against Iowa State

* There is a long-running trend of fading Big 12 teams in games with + 3.5 to -3.5 line ranges. They are just 25-46-1 ATS in these games since ’96, including 8-18 ATS in the last 26.

Qualifying plays for 2020-21: Against Oklahoma, Oklahoma State

* Since the end of the 2005 bowl season, Big 12 teams are a brutal 14-29 SU and 16-27 ATS as an underdog of 9 points or fewer. Alternatively, Big 12 dogs getting more than 9 points in bowl games are on a 12-5 ATS run.

Qualifying plays for 2020-21: Against Oklahoma

* Underdogs have gone 28-16 ATS in 44 bowl matchups between the Big 12 and Pac-12 since ’95, and the Big 12 is on a 15-6 ATS run when getting points against the Pac-12.

Qualifying plays for 2020-21: Against Texas

* As proof of how much stronger the SEC has been than the Big 12 recently, in bowl games with single-digit point spreads either way since ’02, Big 12 teams are just 8-25 SU and 8-24-1 ATS in the matchup.

Qualifying plays for 2020-21: Against Oklahoma, TCU

* In bowl games matching the Big 12 vs. Group of 5 programs or independents, Big 12 schools are just 1-7 SU and ATS in their last eight.

Qualifying plays for 2020-21: Against West Virginia

* Beware of backing Big 12 teams in games with lower totals, as they are just 8-16 SU and 6-17-1 ATS since ’97 in bowl games with totals of less than 48, scoring a paltry 18.4 points per game.

Qualifying play for 2020-21: Against West Virginia

CONFERENCE USA

FLORIDA ATLANTIC vs. MEMPHIS (AMERICAN ATHLETIC), MONTGOMERY

LOUISIANA TECH vs. GEORGIA SOUTHERN (SUN BELT), NEW ORLEANS

MARSHALL vs. BUFFALO (MAC), CAMELLIA 

NORTH TEXAS vs. APPALACHIAN STATE (SUN BELT), MYRTLE BEACH

TEXAS-SAN ANTONIO vs. LOUISIANA (SUN BELT), FIRST RESPONDER

WESTERN KENTUCKY vs. GEORGIA STATE (SUN BELT), LENDINGTREE

Key Conference USA bowl game trends:

* Conference USA is 34-23 SU and 32-23-2 ATS in its last 57 bowl games.

Qualifying plays for 2020-21: All Conference USA

* Favorites are on a strong run of 40-11 SU and 32-18-1 ATS in the last 51 C-USA bowl games.

Qualifying plays for 2020-21: Against Florida Atlantic, Louisiana Tech, Marshall, North Texas, Texas-San Antonio, Western Kentucky; On UAB

* As small favorites of a touchdown or less, C-USA teams are 26-12-2 ATS since 2001.

Qualifying play for 2020-21: UAB

* C-USA teams have struggled in the small underdog role (getting fewer than 7 points), going 9-22 SU and 10-21 ATS since ’01.

Qualifying plays for 2020-21: Against Louisiana Tech, Marshall, Western Kentucky

* Posted totals have been defining in recent Conference USA bowl games, as teams are 20-7 Over in games with totals higher than 65.5 since ’98. On totals of 64 or less, 33 of the last 51 have gone Under.

Qualifying plays for 2020-21: Under the total in all C-USA

* In bowl games featuring C-USA teams against Power 5 conference schools, the favorites are on a 20-7 SU and 17-9-1 ATS surge. When favored in these matchups, C-USA teams have gone 7-2 SU and ATS.

Qualifying play for 2020-21: UAB

* Favorites are on an amazing 22-2 SU and 19-4-1 ATS run in bowl games between C-USA and MAC opponents.

Qualifying play for 2020-21: Against Marshall

* Bowl games between the Mountain West and Conference USA teams have failed to live up to offensive expectations, with 16 Unders and four Overs since ’99.

Qualifying plays for 2020-21: None

* C-USA-Sun Belt bowl games have trended Over lately, with 12 of the last 16 being scored on that side of the total.

Qualifying plays for 2020-21: Over the total in Louisiana Tech-Georgia Southern, North Texas-Appalachian State, Texas-San Antonio-Louisiana, Western Kentucky-Georgia State

 

FBS INDEPENDENTS

BYU vs. UCF (AMERICAN ATHLETIC), BOCA RATON

LIBERTY vs. COASTAL CAROLINA (SUN BELT), CURE

NOTRE DAME vs. ALABAMA (SEC), ROSE

ARMY vs. WEST VIRGINIA (BIG 12), LIBERTY

Key Independent bowl game trends:

* Notre Dame is the only independent to play in a lined New Year’s Six bowl game, but the Irish are 0-8 SU and 1-7 ATS in their last eight such games.

Qualifying plays for 2020-21: Against Notre Dame

* In December bowl games, independent teams are 21-11 SU and 19-13 ATS since ’04.

Qualifying plays for 2020-21: BYU, Liberty, Army

* Against Group of 5 conference opponents, independents are on a 15-6 SU and 13-8 ATS run in bowl games.

Qualifying plays for 2020-21: BYU, Liberty

* Alternatively, against Power 5 conference schools, independent teams are just 5-16 SU and 6-15 ATS in bowl games since ’97.

Qualifying play for 2020-21: Against Notre Dame, Army

* Independent teams are a near-perfect 12-1 SU and 8-5 ATS as bowl-game favorites since ’94.

Qualifying play for 2020-21: BYU

 

MID-AMERICAN CONFERENCE

BALL STATE vs. SAN JOSE STATE (MOUNTAIN WEST), ARIZONA

BUFFALO vs. MARSHALL (CONFERENCE USA), CAMELLIA 

Key MAC bowl game trends:

* MAC teams are on a bowl skid of 12-36 SU and 19-28-1 ATS overall in the last eight seasons.

Qualifying plays for 2020-21: Against Ball State, Buffalo

* January bowl games have been a struggle for MAC teams, as they are 5-12 SU and ATS in that month since ’07.

Qualifying plays for 2020-21: None

* As favorites, teams from this league have gone Over the total in 12 of their last 18 bowl games.

Qualifying plays for 2020-21: Over the total in Buffalo-Marshall

* As bowl game underdogs, MAC teams are just 8-47 SU in their last 55 tries while going 18-35-2 ATS.

Qualifying plays for 2020-21: Against Ball State

* Dating back to ’04, MAC teams are on a 16-game SU bowl skid (4-12 ATS) against power conference teams.

Qualifying plays for 2020-21: None

* MAC bowl teams have lost all 14 times outright while going 3-11 against the spread when playing as underdogs of 10 points or more, beaten by an average of 23.7 points per game.

Qualifying plays for 2020-21: None

* Favorites are on a run of 19-4-1 ATS in bowl games between the MAC and Conference USA.

Qualifying play for 2020-21: Buffalo

* Probably the only legitimate strength matchup, MAC teams have done well in bowl games versus Sun Belt schools, going 10-6-1 ATS in the last 17. Additionally, underdogs are on a 15-4-1 ATS run in bowl games between those leagues.

Qualifying plays for 2020-21: None

* Beware of MAC teams in bowl games with lower totals, as they are just 3-18 SU and 6-15 ATS when totals are 50 or less.

Qualifying plays for 2020-21: None

 

MOUNTAIN WEST CONFERENCE

HAWAII vs. HOUSTON (AMERICAN ATHLETIC), NEW MEXICO

NEVADA vs. TULANE (AMERICAN ATHLETIC), POTATO

SAN JOSE STATE vs. BALL STATE (MAC), ARIZONA

 

Key Mountain West bowl game trends

* Mountain West teams were 5-2 SU & ATS in bowl games in 2019, their best point spread season since 4-1 ATS in 2010.

Qualifying plays for 2020-21: All Mountain West

* Nevada’s ATS win in a 30-21 loss to Ohio last January snapped a streak of 21 straight point spread covers by outright winners in MWC bowl games.

Qualifying plays for 2020-21: All SU winners ATS

* Mountain West teams have thrived in bowl games with the double-digit point spreads, 17-6 ATS since ’05.

Qualifying plays for 2020-21: Hawaii

* As bowl game favorites of 7 points or fewer, Mountain West teams are on a 26-10 Under the total run.

Qualifying plays for 2020-21: Over the total in San Jose State-Ball State

* As midrange favorites of -3.5 to -9.5 points, Mountain West teams are 6-15 ATS in the last 21, although they are 4-1 ATS in the last five.

Qualifying plays for 2020-21: Against San Jose State

* Mountain West teams have proved to be very competitive in the large underdog role, 12-2 ATS in their last 14 when getting 7 points or more.

Qualifying play for 2020-21: Hawaii

* Mountain West teams have gone Under the total in 16 of 20 bowl games versus Conference USA since ’99.

Qualifying plays for 2020-21: None

* Mountain West teams are on an 8-3 ATS bowl surge against MAC opponents.

Qualifying plays for 2020-21: San Jose State

* Mountain West teams are on a 10-6 ATS bowl-game run versus its bigger rivals to the west, the Pac-12.

Qualifying plays for 2020-21: None

* MWC teams have fared well as an underdog of 7 points or more against Power 5 opponents in bowl games, 8-1 ATS in their last nine.

Qualifying plays for 2020-21: None

 

PAC-12 CONFERENCE

COLORADO vs. TEXAS (BIG 12), ALAMO

OREGON vs. IOWA STATE (BIG 12), FIESTA

Key Pac-12 bowl game trends

* Before the 2015 bowl season, Pac-12 teams playing as underdogs in bowl games was very rare. Lately, and for good reason, it has been more common. That hasn’t been good news for the league, as Pac-12 teams are on a slide of 2-12 SU and 4-10 ATS as dogs.

Qualifying plays for 2020-21: Against Colorado, Oregon

* Since 2000, Pac-12 teams have fared well on the big stage, going 16-14 SU and 18-12 ATS in New Year’s Six bowl games. The record is a tick better for January bowl games, 20-10 ATS in the last 30.

Qualifying plays for 2020-21: Oregon

* When favored by a touchdown or more, Pac-12 teams have gone Over the total in 12 of their last 15 bowl games, scoring 36.8 points per game.

Qualifying plays for 2020-21: None

Riding Pac-12 teams as big underdogs has been a sound strategy to employ. As underdogs of 5 points or more, Pac-12 teams are on a run of 16-7 ATS in bowl games since ’96.

Qualifying plays for 2020-21: Colorado

* Pac-12 teams are on a run of 13-2 SU and 9-6 ATS against the ACC in bowl games.

Qualifying plays for 2020-21: None

* Against the Big 12, lines are defining. Pac-12 bowl favorites of 2.5 points or more are on a brutal 17-17 SU and 10-24 ATS skid. As underdogs of 7 points or more, Pac-12 teams are 7-1 ATS.

Qualifying plays for 2020-21: Colorado

* After a long run of domination in head-to-head bowl play versus the Big Ten from 1996-2009, tables have turned recently, with Big Ten teams owning a 12-8 SU and 15-5 ATS edge.

Qualifying plays for 2020-21: None

* In bowl games between Pac-12 teams and Group of 5 conferences, Over the total is on a 15-6 surge, but both of last year’s games went Under.

Qualifying plays for 2020-21: None

* Pac-12 teams are 17-22 SU and 12-27 ATS in their last 39 bowl games versus Power 5 conference opponents.

Qualifying plays for 2020-21: None

* High-totaled Pac-12 bowl games have produced several definitive angles over the years. In bowl games with totals of 59 or more, 14 of the last 19 involving Pac-12 teams went Over the total. Pac-12 teams are also just 5-14 ATS in those games.

Qualifying plays for 2020-21: Over the total in Colorado-Texas; Against Colorado

* Low-totaled Pac-12 bowl games (less than 50) have seen favorites go 17-4 SU and 15-6 ATS in the last 20.

Qualifying plays for 2020-21: None

 

SOUTHEASTERN CONFERENCE

ALABAMA vs. NOTRE DAME (INDEPENDENT), ROSE

ARKANSAS vs. TCU (BIG 12), TEXAS

AUBURN vs. NORTHWESTERN (BIG TEN), CITRUS

FLORIDA vs. OKLAHOMA (BIG 12), COTTON

GEORGIA vs. CINCINNATI (AMERICAN ATHLETIC) PEACH

KENTUCKY vs. NC STATE (ACC), GATOR

MISSISSIPPI STATE vs. TULSA (AMERICAN ATHLETIC), ARMED FORCES

MISSOURI vs. IOWA (BIG TEN), MUSIC CITY

OLE MISS vs. INDIANA (BIG TEN), OUTBACK

TEXAS A&M vs. NORTH CAROLINA (ACC), ORANGE

 

Key SEC bowl game trends:

* The SEC really struts its stuff in non-New Year’s Six bowl games, boasting a record of 33-20 SU and ATS since ’13. Underdogs are on a 15-3 ATS run in such games.

Qualifying plays for 2020-21: Arkansas, Auburn, Mississippi State, Missouri, Ole Miss; Cancel out Kentucky

* The SEC’s New Year’s Six bowl game resume is less than impressive in recent years, as they have gone just 17-13 SU and 14-16 ATS in their last 30 such games.

Qualifying plays for 2020-21: Against Alabama, Florida, Texas A&M

* SEC teams have been remarkably proficient when playing as small favorites in bowl games. As chalk of 3.5 points or fewer, SEC teams are 31-10 SU and 28-12-1 ATS since ’02.

Qualifying plays for 2020-21: Florida, Kentucky

* Although somewhat rare, SEC teams have been solid wagers as large dogs of 7 points or more in bowl games, 13-5 ATS in the last 18.

Qualifying plays for 2020-21: Missouri, Ole Miss

* Totals typically trend Under in SEC bowl games, but there is a wild trend indicating to play Over in SEC bowl games on totals of 46-51.5. The record of that trend is 29-10 Over since ’05.

Qualifying plays for 2020-21: Over the total in Auburn-Northwestern, Georgia-Cincinnati, Kentucky-NC State, Mississippi State-Tulsa

* There is an interesting trend on totals in ACC-SEC bowl matchups that finds Under the total on a 20-8 run when the ACC team is favored.

Qualifying plays for 2020-21: None

* SEC teams make for good wagers in high-totaled games, as they boast a record of 15-6 SU and ATS in their last 21 bowl games with totals of 64 or higher.

Qualifying plays for 2020-21: Alabama, Florida, Ole Miss, Texas A&M

* Dating to ’06, SEC teams are on a 12-7 ATS run vs. Group of 5 teams in bowl games, including 9-3 ATS when playing as underdogs or favorites of 7 points or fewer.

Qualifying plays for 2020-21: Georgia, Mississippi State

 

SUN BELT CONFERENCE

APPALACHIAN STATE vs. NORTH TEXAS (CONFERENCE USA), MYRTLE BEACH

COASTAL CAROLINA vs. LIBERTY (INDEPENDENT), CURE

GEORGIA SOUTHERN vs. LOUISIANA TECH (CONFERENCE USA), NEW ORLEANS

GEORGIA STATE vs. W KENTUCKY (CONFERENCE USA), LENDINGTREE

LOUISIANA vs. TEXAS-SAN ANTONIO (CONFERENCE USA), FIRST RESPONDER

 

Key Sun Belt bowl game trends

* Underdogs are 24-20 SU and 29-14-1 ATS in the last 44 bowl games involving Sun Belt teams.

Qualifying plays for 2020-21: Against all Sun Belt 

* In Sun Belt bowl games with point spreads of minus-4 or higher either way, underdogs are on a 20-9 ATS run.

Qualifying plays for 2020-21: Against all Sun Belt

* Sun Belt teams are on a 21-11 run Over the total in pre-Christmas Day bowl games.

Qualifying plays for 2020-21: Over the total in Appalachian State-North Texas, Georgia Southern-Louisiana Tech

* Sun Belt teams are on a 9-9 SU and 5-13 ATS bowl-game skid when favored but boast a 15-11 SU and 17-9 ATS record in the last 26 games as underdogs.

Qualifying plays for 2020-21: Against All Sun Belt

* Sun Belt underdogs of 5 points or more are on a 10-4 ATS bowl run.

Qualifying plays for 2020-21: None

* Sun Belt bowl matchups against the Mountain West and Conference USA have been high-scoring with Over the total 15-8 in those games, including 3-0 last season.

Qualifying plays for 2020-21: Over the total in Appalachian State-North Texas, Georgia Southern-Louisiana Tech, Georgia State-Western Kentucky, Louisiana-Texas-San Antonio

* Sun Belt teams have struggled a bit against the MAC in bowl games and are just 6-10-1 ATS in the last 17. Underdogs are 15-4-1 ATS in the last 20 of that series as well.

Qualifying plays for 2020-21: None

* Totals have been indicative of Sun Belt bowl success. In bowl games with totals below the average college game this season (56.5 or less) SBC teams are just 12-14 SU and 8-18 ATS in their last 26.

Qualifying plays for 2020-21: Against Georgia Southern, Georgia State

* In bowl games with totals above the average college game this season (57 or higher), Sun Belt teams are 17-9 SU and 17-8-1 ATS in their last 26.

Qualifying plays for 2020-21: Appalachian State, Coastal Carolina, Louisiana

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Tim Murray: Florida -10 vs Mizzou

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