We have survived the dead week of the college football season and we are on to Bowl SZN. Yeah, yeah, Army/Navy was cool last week but I feel like I’m missing part of my soul when there is only one football game on for an entire Saturday in December. Now we turn the page to one of the greatest three week stretches in sports for the entire calendar year…football is now on seemingly every day of the week and there is no better team to tag along with for the ride than the MJQ lads. We will provide a plethora of bowl game picks each week with our usual best of the best, personal best bets, risky business and other action. Buckle up, we are going to the moon.
Q’s Best Bets (13-17 Overall)
Northern Illinois vs Coastal Carolina/Utah State vs Oregon State
Pick: 7 Point Teaser: Coastal Carolina -2.5, Utah State +14.5 (-130 odds)
Back on the Chanticleers train… Despite some ups and downs this season, Coastal Carolina has a powerhouse offense that should be able to blow the doors off of this Northern Illinois defense. If it wasn’t for two nail biter losses to App State and Georgia State late in the season then this Coastal team would be bowling for a much larger prize than the Cure Bowl (possibly even a bowl game of the New Years variety). Taking advantage of my last opportunity to back McCall and this electric Chanticleers offense against this improving (but still inferior) Huskies squad.
Utah State is coming off of a heroic regular season which they capped off with a Mountain West title after upsetting San Diego State. This Aggies offense has relied on Logan Bonner and a productive air raid offense all year that should be more than capable of keeping this game within two TDs against an arguably comparable Oregon State team that finished 7-5 during the regular season. Banking on Utah State’s first year head coach Blake Anderson to keep the train rolling for the Aggies in this one or at the very least provide us an exciting matchup.
Appalachian State vs Western Kentucky – Saturday, 12/18 (11:00 AM EST)
Pick: Total Points Over 65.5
I REALLY contemplated taking a Bailey Zappe passing yards prop in this one but held off (395+ yards is simply too high for me to stomach). Zappe has both an NCAA single season passing yards record and passing TDs record in his sights coming into this matchup. Just to add more context, Zappe has thrown for 5,545 yards this season and 56 TDs… that’s absolutely absurd. The passing yards record (that he’s only 289 yards from breaking) has stood since 2003 and the passing TDs record is owned by Joe Burrow (you might’ve heard of him). App State’s defense has been solid this year but it’s hard to think they’ll be able to completely shut down the Aggies air attack from start to finish. I think it’s more likely that these two fairly even teams share blows throughout the game and this one turns into a shootout. What’s synonymous with shootout, you ask? Points.
DPJ’s Best Bets (13-13-1 Overall)
Utah State vs Oregon State – Saturday, 12/18 (7:30 PM EST)
Pick: Utah State +7.5
Oregon State had quite a season winning every game at home and losing five times on the road. I will quickly check my notes to see…huh, the Jimmy Kimmel LA Bowl is not being played in Corvallis, OR. Not a good sign for the Beavers! Utah State has been a fun team to watch this year with one of the most electric QBs in Logan Bonner and a legit top 25 passing attack. The Aggies should have a lot more to play for as we know these bowl games are like a Superbowl for the non-power 5 team. Utah getting 7.5 feels almost too easy…I don’t mind the moneyline in this one at all either but squating on them to keep this game inside a TD feels more than reasonable.
UAB vs BYU/Fresno State vs UTEP
Pick: 7 Point Teaser: UAB +14, Fresno State -4 (-130 odds)
UAB finished their year strong with wins over two other bowl teams and a narrow three point loss on a last second TD to UTSA in the month of October. Now the Blazers head east to Shreveport, LA to take on the Mormons from BYU. The thought of a bunch of Mormon BYU fans heading into southern Louisiana and eating Cajun food should be quite the site to behold but I think UAB will have enough in the tank to keep this one inside of two scores. Their defense is rock solid and defenses can typically travel pretty well in bowl season (I have no actual numbers to back that up). Fresno on the other side of the teaser just finished up a huge 9 win season and should have no problem pummeling UTEP. The New Mexico bowl is one of the more trash bowls in my opinion but maybe we will get some weird weather to make it fun. Fresno by a TD+ seems like easy money.
Best of the Best Bets – DPJ & Q approved (11-11 Overall)
Appalachian State vs Western Kentucky/Louisiana-Lafayette vs Marshall
Pick: 2 Team Parlay: App State +7.5, Louisiana Money Line (-130 odds)
This App State/Western Kentucky game should be a solid matchup, hence why I’m buying the points here. Both teams lost their conference championships to teams that ended up beating them twice throughout the year and both teams averaged over 34 points per game (Western Kentucky actually averaged over 43). I’m going with the Mountaineers plus the points in this one considering they’re 6-0 in bowl games since joining the FBS in 2014 and they feel like the more well rounded team. Chase Brice has been an excellent game manager all season and App State should have an easier time controlling the tempo of the game once they get Noel/their run game going.
This Louisiana/Marshall pairing wreaks of conference bias to me. Louisiana is coming off a one loss regular season resulting in a Sun Belt conference championship and that only loss came at the hands of Texas in week 1. The Ragin Cagins broke into the AP Top 25 rankings this season for only the second time in school history (two years in a row now) and Marshall has lost to pretty much every good team they’ve played. Louisiana is dealing with some head coach turnover currently but they also returned most of their starters from last year, a season that resulted in 13 wins and a First Responder Bowl victory over UTSA. Going with the team that has more veterans to come out victorious in this one. – Q
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