Midweek Bowl Tips

With Riley Nelson questionable, the BYU Cougars will look to the defensive to hold off San Diego State in Thursday's Poinsettia Bowl.

After last Saturday’s teaser, College Bowl Season gets into full swing this week, starting with the Poinsettia Bowl on Thursday night.

As usual, Casino Review has got you covered. Read on to learn our tips for Thursday night’s game as well as the St. Petersburg Bowl on Friday.


San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl

San Diego State vs. BYU

Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, CA

Thursday, 8:00 PM ET

San Diego State (9-3, 7-1 MWC) will have home field advantage against the Cougars, a team the Aztecs haven’t beaten in the last five tries.

Brigham Young (7-5) scored a 26-6-1 record in 33 games against San Diego State between 1970 and 2010 when the two sides hooked up regularly. BYU certainly has the historic bragging rights.

BYU also has an exceptional defense. The Cougars gave up just 14.7 points per game (fifth in the nation) and were a lock against the run, giving up just 84.3 yards on the ground per outing, good enough for second in Division I. That’s bad news for an Aztecs side that relied on the run during the season, to the sum of 229.2 yards per game (15th).

San Diego State will be appearing in the Poinsettia Bowl for the second time. The team’s 2010 visit saw the Aztecs secure a rare bowl win, defeating Navy 35-14.

BYU has not appeared in the Poinsettia Bowl before, but has won its last three bowl games and five of the last six.

Odds: BYU opened as three-point favorites. The spread has been bumped up one half-point since. The over/under has fallen from 52 to 48½.

Take: BYU – Home field advantage should be exactly that, an advantage. However, BYU has stuffed the run this season and San Diego State cannot win this game through the air. This game will be as close as the spread suggests, but take BYU to cover, just. Take the total to go under.


Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl St. Petersburg

Ball State vs. UCF

Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, FL

Friday, 7:30 PM ET

Central Florida (9-4, 7-1 CUSA) will make the short trip from Orlando to St. Pete to take on Ball State (9-3, 6-2 MAC) at the Trop on Friday.

The Knights fizzled out somewhat towards the end of the season, losing two of three, including the CUSA Championship Game. The Cardinals meanwhile arrive in Florida as winners of their last six.

Both sides will be looking to improve on pretty miserable Bowl records. Ball State is 0-5 all told, while UCF is 1-3. Ball State will be making its St. Petersburg Bowl bow, while UCF appeared in the 2009 edition of the game, losing 45-24 to Rutgers.

Both sides proved capable of putting points on the board in the regular season. Ball State averaged 35.0 points per game (32nd) while UCF averaged 35.2PPG (27th).

The Knights have the superior defense, conceding 91 yards less per game. Ball State has the ability to run the football, which could pay dividends as the Knights’ weakness was against the run. Still, Ball State is a very susceptible defense and may be ripe for the pickings.

The two sides have met three times previously, with Ball State winning two of those, including the last meeting in 2004.

Odds: Central Florida opened as seven-point favorites, and currently sits at 7½. The over/under is 61½ after opening at 60.

Take: UCF – With a superior defense, the CUSA side has enough to get past the Cardinals but this will be a close one. Take the Knights to win outright but take Ball State (9-3 ATS) to cover the spread. Take the total to go over; this won’t be a defensive masterclass.


Be sure to come back later this week and check out the latest news on this weekend’s bowl games.