NCAAF line watch: Three bowl bets you should wait on


USA Today Sports

With the matchups set and the odds on the board for college football bowl season, Covers Experts Steve Merril tells you which bowls you should wait on in order to get the best value. Here are two bowl spreads and a total to put off for the time being:


Texas Longhorns (+6) vs. Arkansas Razorbacks

Arkansas opened as a 5-point favorite over Texas, and money quickly came in on the Razorbacks, pushing the line up to 6. I expect more Arkansas money to come in as this game gets closer to kick off, especially since the SEC is considered the superior conference to the Big 12, and that will influence the betting on this game.

Both teams are just 6-6 SU on the season, but bettors are going to remember Arkansas beating LSU and Mississippi by a combined 47-0.  The lasting memory of Texas is a 48-10 blowout loss at home versus TCU on Thanksgiving night. Arkansas also possesses the better offense, and bettors are more inclined to lay points with those types of teams. Getting +7 with Texas might not appear, but it is still best to hold out for a possibly better line on the Longhorns.


Iowa Hawkeyes (+3.5) vs. Tennessee Volunteers

Tennessee was initially posted as a 3-point favorite versus Iowa, and the line has since gone up to -3.5 on the Vols. I anticipate this line going even higher, especially since the SEC has historically dominated the Big 10 in bowl games over the years.

Iowa and Tennessee also come into this game from opposite directions. The Hawkeyes have lost three of their past four games, while the Vols have won three of their past four games. Recent results have a direct impact on how the public bets bowls games, and this game will illustrate that to a tee. Wait this game out, and take Iowa plus more points closer to kick off.


Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets vs. Mississippi State Bulldogs (61.5)

Georgia Tech and Mississippi State are both similar teams in that they are heavily reliant on running the football.  Despite that, both teams have extremely efficient offenses that produce a lot of points. The Yellow Jackets rank No. 1 in offensive efficiency while averaging 37.0 points per game. The Bulldogs rank No. 14 in offensive efficiency while averaging 37.2 points per game.

Mississippi State has a good defense that is allowing just 19.4 points per game on 5.5 yards per play. Overall, the Bulldogs rank No. 9 in defensive efficiency.  Georgia Tech’s defense is not so good as they allow 25.1 points per game on 6.2 yards per play. The Yellow Jackets rank No. 58 in overall defensive efficiency.  Something has to give in this game, and the leaning here is that the two offenses may prove to be too much for the two defenses as the total has already risen higher from the opening number of 60.5.


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