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 fourth batch of bowl games for the bowl season. Here are the most important numbers that you need to remember, starting with the non-BCS bowl games on January 1st and continuing through the GoDaddy Bowl on January 5th!
0 – The number of bowl games which the Ball State Cardinals have won or covered in their history. They are 0-5 SU and ATS in their bowl games, and only once did they come closer than nine points. QB Keith Wenning and the gang have their best shot at claiming a bowl victory at the GoDaddy Bowl against the Arkansas State Red Wolves on January 5th, as they are one of the biggest favorites of the entire bowl season.
0 – The number of times which the Vanderbilt Commodores have ever won bowl games in back to back seasons. They are favored to do so over the Houston Cougars in the BBVA Compass Bowl, but they are going to have to do so without QB Austyn Carta-Samuels. However, Vandy, having won the Music City Bowl last year, can really make some history here in Birmingham. The team had never even been to consecutive bowl games before the 2011-2012 bowl seasons, making this the first time the team has been to bowl games in three consecutive campaigns as well. And you wonder why Head Coach James Franklin is on the radar for a number of other big time jobs?
0 – The number of times that the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels have been beaten in a bowl game in their history. Sure, they’ve only been to three bowl games, and sure, the most recent one of those games was back at the 2000 Las Vegas Bowl against the Arkansas Razorbacks, but they’re back in a bowl again this year, and their history certainly cannot be denied. Not only did they win all three of their bowls, but they did so each time by at least 17 points, though technically in 1984, that bowl game was vacated because of the use of ineligible players.
1 – The number of interceptions which QB Connor Shaw threw all season long. That’s as impressive of a stat as we have seen in quite some time, knowing that a quarterback in an offense which asks its quarterback to take shots down the field all the time can make just one blunder. Shaw has gone five straight games without a pick, and that came on the heels of going five straight games to start the season without an INT. If the South Carolina Gamecocks can take care of the football against the Wisconsin Badgers, they’ll have an awfully good chance to take down the crown at the Capital One Bowl.
3 – The number of quarterbacks which the Nebraska Cornhuskers have had to use this year to get to 8-4 on the season. Of course, it’s not nearly the amount of quarterbacks that are healthy for the Gator Bowl against the Georgia Bulldogs. In fact, only one of the three is truly healthy, as QB Taylor Martinez is certainly out of the fold, while QB Tommy Armstrong Jr. is likely out as well. QB Ron Kellogg III is the man who is going to most likely be doing the quarterbacking duties on January 1st in Jacksonville, and that could be bad news for a team which could have its head coach’s job hanging in the balance.
3 – The number of consecutive seasons the Arkansas State Red Wolves have played in the GoDaddy Bowl. It’s also the number of consecutive seasons which they have had to replace their head coach for the bowl game. First it was Hugh Freeze who left to take the job at Ole Miss. Then it was Gus Malzahn who went to Auburn. Now, it’s Bryan Harsin who has left Jonesboro to take the job with Boise State. It has to be tough to be playing for this team, coming to a bowl game for a third straight season and playing for a lame duck coach for a third straight season, especially with so much time to stew about the situation.
5 – The number of touchdown passes which QB Aaron Murray had last year for the Georgia Bulldogs against the Nebraska Cornhuskers in the Capital One Bowl. Of course, these two teams will meet again, and Murray won’t be a part of it after he tore his ACL at the end of the season. Georgia’s touchdowns last season all came from at least 24 yards away, and the hope for the Black Shirts is that they have figured out how to defend the deep ball, or they could be in a lot of trouble against what can still be an explosive Georgia offense.
6 – The number of combined wins which the North Texas Mean Green and the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels had last season. North Texas was a four-win team expected to go nowhere this year after its move out of the Sun Belt and into what was perceived to be a much more difficult Conference USA. UNLV was expected to once again stink in the Mountain West, which was becoming a more difficult conference with the addition of the Utah State Aggies and the San Jose State Spartans. Instead, both teams excelled, and now, both are playing in a New Year’s Day bowl game at the Heart of Dallas Bowl.
7 – The number of touchdowns which WR Dorial Green-Beckham has scored in his last four games combined for the Missouri Tigers. Green-Beckham, who made waves when he chose to join Missouri out of high school as one of the top receivers in the nation, ended up ripping apart the Auburn Tigers in the SEC Championship Game, though it wasn’t enough to ultimately get his team to the BCS and perhaps to the BCS National Championship Game. However, Green-Beckham could end up having a fantastic game against the Oklahoma State Cowboys in the Cotton Bowl, knowing that the Pokes had all sorts of trouble defending big time passing games this year.
10 – The number of collegiate passes which QB Anthony Jennings has thrown for the LSU Tigers in his career. This could be a good thing or a bad thing depending upon your perspective. The good news is that the frosh has never really been seen on tape before, and he might end up causing some big time problems for the defense of the Iowa Hawkeyes in the Outback Bowl. The bad news is that the Hawkeyes have a good enough defense to really confuse the freshman with various blitz and pressure packages. Jennings though, is clearly the next in line to the throne of LSU quarterbacks, and he may as well be thrust right into the mix with QB Zach Mettenberger suffering a season ending injury in the final game of the regular season against the Arkansas Razorbacks.
11 – The number of catches which WR Jordan Matthews has had at minimum in each of his last three games. With QB Austyn Carta-Samuels out of the fold with a knee injury, Matthews is really the only hope for some offense for the Vanderbilt Commodores in the BBVA Compass Bowl against the Houston Cougars. Matthews is one of the best statistical receivers the SEC has ever known, and there is a great chance for him to stand out above the rest in this game in spite of the fact that QB Patton Robinette is going to be making his first career start on a huge stage for the ‘Dores.
17 – The number of combined ‘over’ games this year for the LSU Tigers and the Iowa Hawkeyes. Immediately, you have to think ‘under’ when you think of the Outback Bowl, knowing that all too often, the Hawkeyes are going to play stinker games, LSU is known for its defense, and QB Zach Mettenberger is out for the rest of the year with an injury he sustained in the regular season finale against the Arkansas Razorbacks. However, when you look back at it this year, 17 combined ‘overs’ is amongst the best in any bowl game this year, and the fact that this number is one of the few hanging in the 40s on the bowl game betting lines, we think the recipe is there for the Outback Bowl to get past the number.
20 – The number of interceptions which the Oklahoma State Cowboys logged this season. That’s good enough to rank fourth in the nation, and it was part of the reason why the Cowboys beat up team after team this season to go to 10-2. However, the Pokes also ranked just 87th against the pass this year in totality, part of which was because of the fact that the Big XII had so many good passing games this year, and part of which because they were gamblers in the secondary. Remember that stat we pointed out about WR Dorial Green-Beckham and the Missouri Tigers’ passing game? QB James Franklin might have a day where he throws for 350 yards… and three picks…
68.75 – The number representing the percentage of games which the SEC has won against the Big Ten over the course of the last four seasons. So far this year, only the Missouri Tigers have won a game against the Big Ten, doing so against the Indiana Hoosiers, but we see this time and time again when we talk about the New Year’s Day bowl games. The best in the SEC are always better than the best in the Big Ten, and that’s why the Gator Bowl, the Outback Bowl, and the Capital One Bowl seemingly all go to the SEC over the Big Ten squads.
276.5 – The number of rushing yards per game which the top two running backs for the Wisconsin Badgers are averaging this year. This isn’t quite like the offense which had three backs all manage over 1,000 yards, but RB James White and RB Melvin Gordon were both studs this season. These two both eclipsed the 1,300-yard mark this year, and there was only one other team in the land which had two men rush for at least 1,200 yards. Wisky was the only team in the land with two actual running backs with over 1,100 yards, a real testament to the offensive line and the job of the coaching staff. This is why the South Carolina Gamecocks are actually the short underdogs in their game against the Badgers in the Capital One Bowl on January 1st, a rare sight for sure for a Big Ten team to be favored over an SEC squad.
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.