UCLA quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson
UCLA quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson (1) jumps next to Colorado linebacker Robert Barnes during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 13, 2021, in Pasadena, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

NCAAF: Bowl Week Best Bets

Patrick Werkmeister

With the college football bowl season now officially underway, and the college football playoff just three days away, today’s slate features improbable matchups that should be exciting, nonetheless. From the Birmingham Bowl to the Holiday Bowl, today’s action is filled to the brim with money making matchups. After over two weeks without a full college football slate, these games are great preparation for the NY6 and CFP. Although these teams come from all different conferences and backgrounds, careful analysis of each team will allow for a profitable bowl season. With this in mind, here is what I love for this Tuesday bowl slate.

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Houston (+2) vs. Auburn
For the Birmingham Bowl in Alabama, newly minted head coach Bryan Harsin and the Auburn Tigers look to take advantage of the favorable field advantage against coach Dana Holgorsen and the Houston Cougars. The Tigers opened this game as three point favorites and they are currently favored by a slim two point margin. While Houston comes into this one with a terrific overall record of 11-2, they were an average 6-6 ATS on the year. Last time out for these programs, Houston lost to CFP team Cincinnati and Auburn was defeated in four overtimes by the Alabama Crimson Tide. Even though they had absolute control of the line of scrimmage vs Bama, the Cougar offense ranks among the best in the country, and they will have nearly all of their weapons armed and ready to play. Auburn is going to be without some key players in this game. Quarterback Bo Nix, running back Shaun Shivers and wide receiver Elijah Canion are all not playing. Take the Cougars plus the points to cover this spread with so many guys out for Auburn.

Mississippi State (-9.5) vs. Texas Tech
For this edition of the Liberty Bowl from Memphis, the Texas Tech Red Raiders face off against the Mississippi State Bulldogs. The Bulldogs opened as eight and a half-point favorites and are currently favored by nine and a half-points. While Mississippi State is an impressive 5-1 ATS in their last six games, Texas Tech limped into this game where they are 1-4 SU in their past five contests. Last game out, the Bulldogs were narrowly defeated by their archrivals, Ole Miss, 31-21. Similarly, the Red Raiders lost to their nemesis, the Baylor Bears, by a slim margin of three points. Although both of these programs have had average seasons, Mississippi State is the overwhelmingly better team as reflected by the spread. When you factor in Bulldogs head coach Mike Leach wanting revenge against his former team, Texas Tech could be in for a long day. The Raiders are not terrible, this is just a terrible matchup for them on both sides of the ball. Take Mississippi State minus the points to cover this margin.

NC State vs. UCLA (+2)
From Petco Park in San Diego, the NC State Wolfpack face off against the UCLA Bruins in the Holiday Bowl. The opening line for this matchup favored the Wolfpack by three points, but they are now listed as three and a half-point favorites. While the Bruins are an impressive 5-2 ATS over their last seven games, NC State is a solid 4-2 ATS in their past six matches. Additionally, UCLA has got it going especially as of late where they are 3-0 ATS and SU in their past three games. Although NC State pulled off an impressive victory against North Carolina last time out, the Bruins blew out their rival, Cal Berkley, 42-14. Led by quarterback and NFL draft prospect Dorian Thompson-Robinson, UCLA’s offense has been elite where over the last three games they’ve averaged 49.3 points per game. Although the Bruins defense has shown some weaknesses over the season, they have been one of the top teams in the country in turnovers, so they can provide some assistance. With no one transferring or opting-out of this bowl game for UCLA, they are in a great position to continue the dominance they’ve shown. As long as they take care of the ball with just minor success on defense, they should have no problem covering this margin. Take the Bruins plus the points in this exciting matchup.  

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