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 first batch of bowl games for the bowl season. Here are the most important numbers that you need to remember, starting with the four bowl games on December 21st and continuing through the two on December 26th!
2 – The number of wins which the Buffalo Bulls and the San Diego State Aztecs have had in their histories in bowl games. This is an odd spot for them to be meeting in at the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, but regardless of the fact that this game is played in Boise, one of these schools is going to be coming away with a huge prize for its trophy room on the first day of the bowl season. The Bulls, who have never won a bowl game, are only making their second bowl appearance ever, as they were beaten in the 2008 Independence Bowl by the Connecticut Huskies.
3 – The number of different head coaches the USC Trojans have had this season. It’s not all that weird to see a team have a pair of coaches in a season in which they go to a bowl game, usually because the initial head coach is going to a better job. In this case though, the Trojans fired Lane Kiffin a month and a half into the season and used Ed Orgeron as the interim coach. When he wasn’t picked for the head coaching gig on a full-time basis, he decided to quit and leave the university immediately. That leaves USC with a bunch of assistants trying to run the show in the Las Vegas Bowl, a game which it probably has no motivation to play in, especially knowing that all of these assistants are probably getting fired at the end of this game anyway when Steve Sarkisian takes over.
4 – The number of consecutive bowl games which the East Carolina Pirates have been beaten in. The Pirates are one of the biggest favorites on the board at -13.5, and they are the biggest favorites in the first few days of action in the bowl season, but they have a dangerous game in the Beef O’Brady’s St. Petersburg Bowl against the Ohio Bobcats. These Bobcats look like they’ve packed it in for the season, but they looked like they had given up before last year’s bowl game, too. More on that a little ways further down in this article…
5 – The number of overtimes games which the Buffalo Bulls and the San Diego State Aztecs combined to play in this year. That’s what makes the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl one of the toughest games to handicap. The Aztecs won all four overtime games which they played, while Buffalo needed overtime to beat the Stony Brook Seawolves at the start of the campaign. It’s tough to say whether these two teams are gritty, thus are good, or whether they are just getting fortunate bounces of the football at the right times in games.
7 – The number of opponents which the Bowling Green Falcons held to seven points or fewer this year. Granted, there are some teams that were in the MAC this year which really weren’t any good at all, and the Falcons beat the heck out of those clubs. However, with the eighth ranked overall defense in the land, there is no doubt that this unit has been awesome. The question? Can BGSU do the same without Head Coach Dave Clawson, who was hired by the Wake Forest Demon Deacons? The Little Caesars Pizza Bowl definitely gives the Falcons the opportunity to be great defensively, as the Pitt Panthers aren’t exactly the cream of the crop offensively from the ACC, but there are a lot of question marks to address prior to the game.
7 – The number of games which RB Branden Oliver rushed for at least 100 yards in consecutive prior to the final game of the regular season against the Bowling Green Falcons. As we just established, the Falcons have a great defense, so it shouldn’t be all that much of a shock that the Buffalo Bulls didn’t get anything going on the ground with their best offensive weapon in that game. However, there should be more running room against the San Diego State Aztecs in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, and for a man who rumbled for nearly 1,500 yards and 15 TDs this year should be an MVP candidate for this game for sure.
7 – The number of games which Colorado State Rams RB Kapri Bibbs scored at least three touchdowns on the ground this year. You don’t think of a man from Colorado State being second in the nation in touchdowns, but that’s what happened with Bibbs this year. Only the Navy Midshipmen and QB Keenan Reynolds managed more TDs. This is going to be a real test to stop Bibbs for the Washington State Cougars in the first bowl game of the year, the New Mexico Bowl, and we expect plenty of scores on both sides because of it.
16 – The number representing the turnover differential for the Buffalo Bulls this year. That +16 is a huge number, but it might not even be the most notable number in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl in regards to turnovers. The San Diego State Aztecs were -12 this season, one of the worst marks amongst teams in bowl games this year. If turnovers turn out to be the deciding factor on the first Saturday of the bowl season, the Bulls will be winning their first bowl game in school history.
37.5 – The number of points which the Ohio Bobcats covered the Independence Bowl against the Louisiana Monroe Warhawks last season. They were 6.5-point underdogs and won by 31, which made them the biggest coverers of the bowl season. This is a very similar looking scenario this year. Ohio lost its last three games of last season before going onto greatness in its bowl game. This year, the team dropped three in a row and was outscored by over 100 points in those games before winning what felt like a de facto bye week in the last game of the year against the Massachusetts Minutemen. Now, the Bobcats are two-TD underdogs in the Beef O’Brady’s St. Petersburg Bowl, but they are going to have a real chance at pulling the upset if they can regroup this year the same way they did last season prior to their bowl game.
62 – The number of scholarship players the USC Trojans are going to have healthy and available for the Las Vegas Bowl against the Fresno State Bulldogs. That might not seem like a big deal, but with 12 scholarship players injured and only 74 scholarships available when the norm is 85, the Men of Troy are incredibly shorthanded. Remember, they’re short two coaches from the average staff as well, and that isn’t going to help matters either.
88 – The fewest number of yards which WR Brandin Cooks put up for the Oregon State Beavers this year. The Beavers are going to be going up against the Boise State Broncos in the Hawaii Bowl on Christmas Eve, and Cooks is sure to be a hero in this one. He is a man who can take over a game all by himself, and if QB Keith Price, QB Garrett Grayson, and QB Derek Carr can throw for over 1,200 yards in three games against this Boise State defense, QB Sean Mannion can get to four bills in a bowl game as well. Expect to see Cooks, who led the nation with 1,670 receiving yards this year, to have a massive game.
89 – The number of touchdowns which QB Jordan Lynch has accounted for in his last two seasons. This year, he is in the 20/20 club in terms of rushing and passing touchdowns, and there aren’t many who have ever done that. Lynch is also the best rusher in the nation outside of RB Andre Williams for the Boston College Eagles. The Northern Illinois Huskies take on the Utah State Aggies in a weird matchup in the Poinsettia Bowl.
212 – The number of total yards which the Louisiana Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns had against the South Alabama Jaguars in the final game of the regular season. Why is that and the fact that the Cajuns scored just eight points in that game so notable? Because QB Terrance Broadway didn’t play in that game. With Broadway out of the fold, ULL just couldn’t get anything going whatsoever offensively. In games in which Broadway played this year, the team averaged nearly 450 yards and almost 40 points per game. With Broadway’s status up in the air because of the wrist injury which kept him out of that game against South Alabama, the oddsmakers have had no choice but to leave the R&L Carriers New Orleans Bowl against the Tulane Green Wave off the board for the time being.
294 – The number of rushing yards that the Tulane Green Wave gave up last season to the Louisiana Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns. Of course, there are a few big differences between last year’s game and the R&L Carriers New Orleans Bowl on Saturday. The New Orleans Bowl features a relatively close betting line, one which is anywhere from a pick ‘em to Tulane -1.5 depending upon where you look. Last season, the game was on the road at Cajun Field, and Tulane was a 30.5-point underdog back when it was one of the worst teams in the nation.
360 – The minimum number of passing yards which QB Derek Carr has thrown for in his last five games. Many give Carr and his Fresno State Bulldogs a lot of heck going into the Las Vegas Bowl against the USC Trojans, knowing that the Dogs were beaten by the San Jose State Spartans and challenged by the Utah State Aggies, but those are two good teams they played against, and Carr did his job on both accounts. Fresno State still has one of the most devastating offenses in the nation, and the Men of Troy are certainly going to have their hands full in Sin City as a result.
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.