When you bet on NCAA Football, you should know all about the numbers. Numbers for stats, numbers for trends, numbers for betting lines, numbers for ‘totals’ – You should know it all. Here at Bang the Book, we are set to talk about the NCAA football betting lines for the second batch of bowl games for the bowl season. Here are the most important numbers that you need to remember, starting with the three bowl games on December 27th and continuing through the four on December 28th!
0 – The number of wins against bowl teams that the Rutgers Scarlet Knights had this season. They went 0-5 in those games, and about the only one that was really all that close was the first game of the season that went to overtime against the Fresno State Bulldogs. Now, Rutgers has to face the dubious task of taking on the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, who managed to go to the National Championship Game last season. The Golden Domers aren’t nearly as good as they were last year, but they’re better than a lot of the bowl teams to come out of the AAC this season.
0 – The number of teams from the current non-BCS conferences which the Maryland Terrapins have ever lost to in a bowl game. That’s a lot of history there for the Terps, and their record against teams which are clearly inferior has been stunning. However, they are +2.5 against the Marshall Thundering Herd, marking one of the very few bowl games this season in which mid-major teams are favored over the major conference schools. Worse for Maryland? This is a de facto home game being played in Annapolis at the Military Bowl.
2 – The number of games in which the Louisville Cardinals allowed more than 17 points this season. They conceded 24 to the Cincinnati Bearcats, something in which there is no shame whatsoever, and they allowed 38 to the UCF Knights. In other words, this defense played a grand total of one bad half of football all season long. We hear all about QB Teddy Bridgewater and how he and Head Coach Charlie Strong are doing a great job with this team, but in the end, it very well could be the defense which makes all the difference in the world as to whether or not the Cards beat the Miami Hurricanes in the Russell Athletic Bowl.
2 – The number of teams in the entire country who had two men rush for at least 1,200 yards. One is the Wisconsin Badgers, whom we will be talking about in our New Year’s Day version of “By the Numbers,” but the other is the BYU Cougars. The Cougs are the only team to do it with a quarterback and a running back, as both RB Jamaal Williams and QB Taysom Hill had just over 1,200 rushing yards on the campaign. The Washington Huskies have been known to give up some yards on the ground in Pac-12 games, and it wouldn’t be all that surprising to see them do it again in this one, as that is really the only way which the Cougs can consistently keep the ball moving.
3 – The number of consecutive bowl games which the Cincinnati Bearcats have essentially played on the road against foes. It’s tough to imagine, but after playing the Music City Bowl in Memphis against the Vanderbilt Commodores and the Belk Bowl in Charlotte against the Duke Blue Devils, UC has to do it again this year, playing once again in the Belk Bowl against the North Carolina Tar Heels. The good news for Bearcats fans? Cincy has gone 2-0 SU and ATS in the two bowl games we just spoke about, and it is an underdog to pull off a third straight “road win” in a bowl game against UNC.
5 – The number of consecutive bowl losses both from an SU and an ATS standpoint which the Kansas State Wildcats have suffered. We know that Head Coach Bill Snyder has done a yeoman’s job with this program, but this hasn’t exactly been his forte. The Wildcats were crushed in the BCS last year by the Oregon Ducks, and though they have a chance to get back on track as the favorites in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl against the Michigan Wolverines, we know that Big Blue has the talent to pull off the upset.
6 – The number of consecutive games which the Minnesota Golden Gophers have covered. This was quietly one of the best ATS teams in America this season, and there wasn’t a team down the stretch better to back than Minnesota. Head Coach Jerry Kill has turned this team into one of the best five programs in the Big Ten as we see it, and it has happened without any flashy numbers on either side of the ball. The downside to all of this is that QB Philip Nelson has an undisclosed injury which has left him as questionable for the Texas Bowl against the Syracuse Orange, and that could lead to some problems in one of the rare games which the Golden Gophers are truly expected to win.
8 – The number of wins which interim coaches have managed over the course of their last 19 bowl games. It’s always tough being the interim coach, especially when that coach is outgoing. We will see this quite a bit during the bowl season this year, but the game we are focusing in on right now is the one between the Washington Huskies and the BYU Cougars. U-Dub has already lost Head Coach Steve Sarkisian to the USC Trojans (who became the eighth team to win a bowl game with an interim coach on the first Saturday of the bowl season), and we already know that the staff is essentially going to be dismantled at the end of this game when Chris Petersen takes over.
9.0 – The number of yards per pass attempt which QB Stephen Morris is averaging this year for the Miami Hurricanes. Morris hasn’t had the best career in the world, but he has made the most of his limited number of passes this year. He’s the only man in the land to complete less than 60 percent of his passes, yet still average more than 8.3 yards per pass attempt, and he is one of the three which has averaged more than eight yards per pass attempt to throw for at least 3,000 yards and start all of his team’s games in 2013 to boot.
11 – The number of bowl games which the Notre Dame Fighting Irish have lost since 1994. They are just 2-11 in their 13 bowl games in that stretch, and that, believe it or not, gives Notre Dame one of the worst records in the country in that stretch. Last season, there was never a doubt that the Golden Domers were overmatched by the Alabama Crimson Tide in the National Championship Game, but in the end, the same sort of domination should flip this year in the Pinstripe Bowl, where Notre Dame is favored by two touchdowns over the Rutgers Scarlet Knights. Notre Dame is the only team favored by at least two full scores prior to January 1st.
12 – The number of bowl games which the Syracuse Orange have covered since 1988. That leaves them at a whopping 12-2 ATS in their last 14 bowl games, and to make matters even better, they are one of the sharpest teams on the board in the bowl season against the Minnesota Golden Gophers in the Texas Bowl. The Orange haven’t had much success outside of the Pinstripe Bowl of late, so this game in the Texas Bowl might feel a bit out of sorts for the team, but we have a lot of confidence that there is a reason they were only installed as four-point pups in this game against one of the best teams in the Big Ten.
36.6 – The number of points per game which the Marshall Thundering Herd have allowed this season against bowl teams. It hasn’t been all peaches and cream for a Marshall defense which averaged allowing less than 24 points per game for most of this campaign. Remember that Conference USA has a lot of pork in it, and a lot of these great stats which this team amassed came because of those games against the teams like FIU, UAB, and Southern Miss in this world. The Thundering Herd continued with their strong offense regardless of the foe, but we remain awfully concerned over this defense going into the Military Bowl against the Maryland Terrapins.
40.8 – The number of points per game which the North Carolina Tar Heels have averaged since QB Bryn Renner got hurt and QB Marquise Williams took over as the starting quarterback. The team was 2-5 at the time when Williams had to come into the game for the injured Renner, and since then, UNC hasn’t looked back. Head Coach Larry Fedora switched the team’s philosophy and made it more of a spread attack, and Williams has been awesome since that point. The team averaged just 23.5 points per game with Renner under center, and though Renner had to face an awfully tough schedule along the way, we know that Williams had to lead the team to wins in five of its last six games just to get it to a bowl game this year.
42.4 – The number of points per game which the Michigan Wolverines scored in the five games in which WR Jeremy Gallon went off for at least 95 yards. In the rest of their games this year, they averaged just 27.6 points per game, and Gallon averaged less than 45 yards a game. It is clear that Head Coach Brady Hoke has to figure out how to get the ball in Gallon’s hands more often, and QB Devin Gardner has to make the smart throws to get the rock to his most talented players on the outside. If not, the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl against the Kansas State Wildcats will end up being a complete dud of a contest.
335.8 – The number of passing yards per game which QB Brendon Kay has averaged in his last six games for the Cincinnati Bearcats. Kay has thrown for at least 299 yards in all of those games, and he has really done a great job taking over for QB Munchie Legaux, who was hurt for the season back in September. There aren’t many backup quarterbacks who threw for at least 3,000 yards this year, but Kay continues to save the Bearcats time and time again from Legaux and his injuries and inconsistencies.
is a staff writer living in the Orlando area. He has covered NFL, MLB, college football, CFL, AFL, NBA, college basketball, NASCAR, golf, tennis, and the NHL for a number of various outlets in his career, and he has been published by a number of different media outlets, including the Orlando Sentinel and the Wall Street Journal.