If you bet on college football bowl games, you know that a double-digit number sticks out like a sore thumb, and in the Fiesta Bowl game the Oklahoma Sooners are laying a very big number to the Big East champion Connecticut Huskies.
The game is set to kick off at 8:30 PM ET on Saturday at the University of Phoenix Stadium (natural turf) in Glendale, AZ. The Sooners are a 17-point favorite, with the total at 54.5 points. Those are the numbers we will use as we bet on college football bowl games.
#25 Connecticut Huskies (8-4 SU, 7-4 ATS) vs. #9 Oklahoma Sooners (11-2 SU, 7-6 ATS)
Live at University of Phoenix Stadium
Saturday, January 1 -- 8:30 PM ET
College Football Betting Odds:
UConn is a team that was 3-4 at one point in the season, with fans clamoring for Randy Edsall's job. Now, they are in a BCS bowl for the first time and Edsall is suddenly a hot property on the coaching market. How did that happen?
Well, a five-game winning streak happened. And they included wins over the best the Big East had to offer, including West Virginia, Pittsburgh, Syracuse and South Florida. They did what they had to do to get to the post-season, and they are in Arizona with a defense that has held opponents to 3.9 yards a rush and one point for every 17.8 yards a game in the "yards per point" statistic.
As we bet on college football bowl games we are very mindful of what Oklahoma can do on the offensive end. The Sooners have averaged 36 points per game. They operate very quickly, on the order of what Oregon does with its up-tempo, no-huddle offense.
Landry Jones had 65% completions and threw for 35 TD's in his sophomore season. His main target, Ryan Broyles, was a main contender for the Biletnikoff Award, catching 118 passes. The running backs catch passes too, including Demarco Murray (69 receptions).
Here are some of the trends as they might impact our decision as we bet on college football bowl games:
· Connecticut has won and covered its last five games
· Connecticut has played five of its last six games UNDER the total
· Oklahoma has won 13 of its last 15 games SU
· Oklahoma has covered four of its last six games
· Oklahoma has played four of its last six games UNDER the total
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When all is said and done, what should folks who bet on college football bowl games do here? The difference between the potency of these offense, at least on paper, is kind of scary. Oklahoma scored 58 touchdowns, compared to just 28 for UConn.
They averaged two more yards per pass, and 190 more passing yards per game. Next to Jones' accomplishments, the exploits of Notre Dame transfer Zach Fraser (53%, 5 TD's, 4 INT's) were less than pedestrian by comparison.
So then why would we recommend UConn (not to get ahead of ourselves)?
Because the Huskies know how to win. They play defense equally well against the pass and the run. They have one of the better running backs in the country in Jordan Todman, who rushed for 1516 yards and 14 touchdowns.
They protect the passer very well. They are tough as nails from a mental standpoint. And frankly, we are not that crazy about Oklahoma in these kinds of situations. For one thing, if you bet on college football bowl games you know that when there isn't a national title on the line, Bob Stoops' preparation leaves something to be desired.
He is 3-8 ATS in bowl games, and has covered just one of the seven games in which he has laid points in post-season play. The pathetic moments have included the loss to Boise State four years ago, when they were ready for almost nothing, and the 20-point loss to a vastly inferior West Virginia team the next year.
Speaking of inferior teams, the Sooners did not leave a lot of margin of error against the likes of Utah State, Air Force and Cincinnati, winning those games by a total of 12 points. UConn is a great underdog, covering 18 of their last 27 in that situation.
This seems to be one of those occasions that will bring out the best in them. The resourceful Edsall has had enough time to find a few ways to cut into Oklahoma's weaknesses. When bet on college football bowl games here, we're going with the underdog.
JAY'S PLAY: CONNECTICUT +17 ***
(Graded on a scale of 1-4 stars)
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