Bowl Betting Tips (Jan. 4 Edition)

Landry Jones and the Oklahoma Sooners will be looking for an upset victory over Texas A&M in Friday's AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic.

The BCS portion of College Bowl Season wrapped up last night with Oregon winning straight up and against the spread in a 35-17 win over Kansas State. In terms of the BCS, all that’s left is Monday’s National Championship Game between #1 Notre Dame and #2 Alabama.

Before we get to that game though, we have three more non-BCS games to make some money from, starting with tonight’s AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic. #9 Texas A&M will square off against #11 Oklahoma in one of the standout games of bowl season, a game that most believe is far more intriguing than the BCS fare we’ve seen over the past three days.

To get you bang up to date, Casino Review presents its betting tips for the Cotton Bowl as well as the remaining bowl games; the BBVA Compass Bowl (Saturday) and the Bowl (Sunday).


AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic

#9 Texas A&M vs. #11 Oklahoma

Cowboys Stadium, Arlington, TX

Friday, 8:00 PM ET

A better matchup than the Orange Bowl, the Sugar Bowl, and the Rose Bowl, and maybe even better than the Fiesta Bowl, this year’s Cotton Bowl is arguably one of the top three games of the postseason, at least on paper.

After a successful start to its SEC career, #9 Texas A&M (10-2, 6-2 SEC) will meet former Big 12 rivals #11 Oklahoma (10-2, 7-1 Big 12) in the Cotton Bowl on Friday, a matchup that will have seats filled at home and in Cowboys Stadium.

Since defeating Alabama on Nov. 10, it’s been impossible to avoid the Aggies and their Heisman-winning quarterback, Johnny Manziel. Oklahoma will look to hush the hyperbole machine with a win over the Texas side.

Both teams were offensively impressive this season, each averaging more than 40 points per game. The Aggies were the third-highest scoring team in the nation with a particularly balanced offense, whilst Landry Jones and the Sooners offense ranked fifth in the country in passing yards. Just one look at the total line on this one tells you all you need to know about expectations that this will be a shootout.

Odds: Texas A&M opened as favorites (-4½) but the spread has slipped to 3½. The total stands at 73, having risen from 72 at opening.

Take: Oklahoma – Undeniably the fairy tale ending to this season would be for Johnny Manziel – the only freshman ever to be awarded the Heisman – to lead his Aggies side to a Cotton Bowl win over the Sooners. However, Oklahoma has had A&M’s number for years, winning eight of the last nine and 11 of the last 13 meetings between the schools. A&M’s bowl record is a mess also, with 12 losses from the last 14 bowl games, including six straight Cotton Bowl defeats. These two teams are so close on the field that experience and historical success could make all the difference. Take the total to go under; whilst these teams can put points on the board without batting an eyelid, both schools have underrated defenses.


BBVA Compass Bowl

Pittsburgh vs. Ole Miss

Legion Field, Birmingham, AL

Saturday, 1:00 PM ET

After the spectacle and razzmatazz of the Cotton Bowl, things will calm down a lot as Pittsburgh (6-6, 3-4 Big East) and Ole Miss (6-6, 3-5 SEC) meet in the Compass Bowl.

For casual football fans this one will be missed in the furor of the NFL playoffs but for bettors there’s money to be made here.

Pittsburgh will play in its third straight Compass Bowl, looking to improve on a 1-1 record. Ole Miss will be making its Compass Bowl bow, but excellent bowl pedigree will have the side more than confident.

The Rebels have won four straight bowl games, as well as eight of nine, and 10 of 12. In fact, Ole Miss is 21-12 (.636) all-time in bowl games. Of those teams that have played 20 or more bowl games, only one other side has a superior record: USC (.667).

Pittsburgh faces a tough challenge, but with a defense that ranked 26th or better in rushing yards, passing yards, and points allowed, the Panthers may be up for the challenge.

Odds: Ole Miss opened as a two-point favorite but the spread has subsequently risen to 3½. The over/under on the total is 54 (up from 51½).

Take: Ole Miss – With little to choose between the two sides, it boils down to which side fares well in big games. The Rebels might not have had a great season in the SEC this year, but there’s no denying this team knows how to win come bowl season. Take the Rebels (9-3-0 ATS) to cover the spread also. Take the total to go over. Bowl

#25 Kent State vs. Arkansas State

Ladd Peebles Stadium, Mobile, AL

Sunday, 9:00 PM ET

Scheduled following the final NFL Wild Card game of the weekend, the Bowl sees a potentially forgettable matchup between #25 Kent State (11-2, 8-0 MAC) and Arkansas State (9-3, 7-1 Sun Belt). We say potentially because this is exactly the sort of game that can turn into a TV viewing delight.

Both sides take to the field with scoring on their mind. Arkansas State averaged 36.4 points per game (22nd) while Kent State averaged 34.6 (31st). Defensively the schools marry-up well also, with  the Red Wolves allowing 25.4 points per game (51st) and the Golden Flashes conceding 25.1 (49th).

Both sides will be looking for their first major bowl victory. Kent State has made just one bowl appearance in school history (1972 Tangerine Bowl) while Arkansas State lost in the 2005 New Orleans Bowl as well as last year’s edition of this game.

Odds: Arkansas State has seen a two-point advantage on the spread rise to four ahead of kickoff. The total stands at 61½, down from 62 at opening.

Take: Kent State – The Golden Flashes went unbeaten in the MAC this year, and whilst most will dismiss that record on the grounds that it’s the MAC, that is still an impressive feat. An upset win over the Red Wolves would be the perfect close to the season. Take the total to go over, as has been the trend with both these sides this year.