Bettors may be chomping at the bit with the big bowl games right around the corner, but there are still plenty of great games to wager on in the meantime as bowl season soldiers on. Friday boasts another three-game slate, which features the Russell Athletic Bowl, the Independence Bowl and the Meineke Car Care Bowl. Here’s the lowdown on each bowl and some point spread picks. Don’t miss out on the action!
Independence Bowl-Ohio Bobcats 8-4 vs. LA-Monroe Warhawks 8-4
The first bowl of the day features two teams that impressed this season, the Ohio Bobcats and the LA-Monroe Warhawks. Although the Bobcats finished the season with three consecutive losses, they started the season with a bang by upsetting Penn State and then rattled off seven straight wins. Likewise, the Warhawks started the season with a big win over then eighth ranked Arkansas and nearly knocked off Baylor and Auburn, proving they can hang with big conference foes.
The difference between the teams is that Ohio struggled a bit in its conference, going 4-4, whereas ULM did not, going 6-2. The Warhawks took care of teams with comparable talent and should do the same to the Bobcats today. The Warhawks outscored the Bobcats on the season and rank better in every offensive category, giving them the significant edge. Take ULM to cover -7 points today in the win.
Russell Athletic Bowl-Rutgers Scarlet Knights 9-3 vs. Virginia Tech Hokies 6-6
Although Virginia Tech experienced a down year in 2012, it ended the season with two wins while the Knights ended the season with two losses, including a very disappointing finish in the Big East finale against Louisville. The Knights have had plenty of success in bowl games in recent years, winning six straight since 2005, but this year’s formidable foe in V Tech will likely present them with a stiffer challenge. Virginia Tech has its own winning history in bowl games and with they way they are playing at the moment, I would be surprised if they couldn’t keep it up against the Knights. Take the Hokies to cover -1 in this one and win it outright.
Meineke Car Care Bowl-Minnesota Golden Gophers vs. Texas Tech Red Raiders 7-5
This will likely be the premier match-up of the day as two BCS conference teams with very different styles do battle. Minnesota had a rough go in the Big Ten (2-6), but has managed to scrape together a .500 season with a stout defense that allowed fewer than 24 points per game. However, most of the offenses the Gophers faced this year didn’t boast the kind of air raid attack that T Tech brings to the table. Texas Tech ended the season with the nation’s 12th ranked offense, which averages more than 500 total yards and nearly 40 points per game.
Unfortunately, Minnesota doesn’t have enough offensive moxie to contend with such a team, as it failed to produce 200 yards per game rushing or passing this season. If the Gophers were stronger in one aspect or the other, they may be able to hold the ball and keep it away from Seth Dodge and the 2nd ranked pass offense in the country, but that will likely not be the case today. Look for the Raiders to cover -13 points today and get the win.