I do this every year right after the bowl lines come out. It's as ritualistic as Scipio's use of bukkake tags in his team previews. Well, almost.
I consider it the first step in my handicapping process and it serves the purpose of identifying my own gut feeling about line value. Call it the eyeball test for bowl capping.
My next step is to go back and look at stats, matchups, X's and O's, and motivational angles and situations to refine what my gut is telling me. To be clear, these are just shooting from the hip going off of what I've seen throughout the year. In other words, I put on my Guido cap and line all the bowls. So, here they are. The first number is the actual current line and the second number is my line. I'd love to read your thoughts.
New Mexico Bowl
Fresno State vs. Wyoming +10.5, I made it +8 for a diff of 2.5
FSU can run it, but Wyoming stops the run. Gun to my head I take Wyoming.
UCF vs. Rutgers -2.5, I made the game -4 for a diff of 1.5
The fighting Schiano's against the Resume Embellishment guy. I dunno, I initially like Rutgers ability to stop the run, but it's prolly a no play.
R+L Carriers New Orleans
Southern Miss vs. MTSU +3.5, and I made it a +7 for 3.5
I'll look at USM very closely. I'm pretty sure their injuries are driving the number down.
MAACO Las Vegas
Oregon State vs. BYU +2.5, I made it +7.5 for a diff of 5.
At first blush, the Beavers are a play. To clarify, Beavers are always a play but I really like OSU's front 7 against BYU's pass happy attack. On offense, the Beavers will score and score and score some more on the Mormons. It'll remind of the FSU game. I'll be on the game.
S.D. County Credit Union Poinsettia
Utah vs. Cal -3, I made it a 3.
More than likely a no play.
Nevada vs. SMU +14, I made it a 13.
I'll look closely at the over in a game that likely features 40 passing attempts per team.
Marshall vs. Ohio -2.5 and I made it a +2 for a diff 4.5
Marshall plays better competition and they should be able to run it on Ohio. I'll look closely at this game.
Meineke Car Care
Pitt vs. North Carolina +3 and I made it a +3
May seem low on its face, but UNC shuts down the Pitt running game leaving Stull and Wannstache to figure out how to score. Game is also in Charlotte, and I can't see Pitt wanting to be here. Unless you trust Wannstache to rally the troops I'd stay away from the Panther side.
Boston College vs. USC -9, I made it -11, for a diff of 2
I like BC's ability to stop the run against a Trojan club that loves to run it. My problem with the BC side is the cross country travel and lack of talent. If you promise me that USC wants to play I may look at the Trojans. Otherwise, my focus is on the under or nothing.
Gaylord Hotels Music City
Kentucky vs. Clemson -7, I made it -2.5 for a diff of 4.5
I made the game less than a field goal because Kentucky has seen better rushing attacks in the SEC and they'll find ways to move it on Clemson's surprisingly porous defense. I think it's a field goal game and the motivation angle has to favor UK. I'm really going to look closely at this one.
AdvoCare V100 Independence
Texas A&M vs. Georgia -7, I made it a -8 for a diff of 1
If anyone else is playing QB for Georgia I'd lay the points. But Cox doesn't do it for me. I may look at the under here as well.
Miami vs. Wisconsin +3, I made it a +6.5 for a diff of 3.5
Home game for Miami playing against a Wisky secondary that gives up points in bunches. Also, Miami's front 7 should be healthier than they've been all year. Statement game for Shannon. Looking hard at this one.
Bowling Green vs. Idaho-1, I mad it -2 for a diff of 1
Reason number 857 there are too many bowls. The over/under on this one has to be in the 80's. Pass.
Pacific Life Holiday
Arizona vs. Nebraska +1, I made it a +2
At first blush I kind of like the Arizona side. But the Longhorn in me can't seem to forget the Big 12 'Ship game. I'll look at the total here as well.
Bell Helicopter Armed Forces
Houston vs. Air Force +4.5 I made it a +3
Air Force stops the run but Houston throws it. Houston can't stop anyone. I'll look at the AF side here if the numbers look good. I'll really like it if I hear that Sumlin is looking around.
Oklahoma vs. Stanford +9, I made it a 7.
If Luck is playing, I may try the Tree here. There are some important guys on OU's club with one foot in the NFL combine. But no Luck, then no play.
Navy vs. Missouri Houston
I made Mizzou a 6 point favorite but I couldn't find an official line. We'll get to see a healthy Gabbert.
Minnesota vs. Iowa State +2.5, I made it a +3 for a diff of .5
El Paso on this one. Gun to the head I take ISU.
Virginia Tech vs. Tennessee +4.5, I made it a +2.5 for a diff of 2
I think Kiffin can totally confound Beamer's group, especially Taylor. If the younger Kiffin is embroiled in some sort of hostess for scholly drama, I want no part of this game. If not, I'll look at the Tenny side.
Northwestern vs. Auburn -7.5, I made it -6 for a diff of 1.5
I'd really like the SEC side if it was anyone but Chizik going up against a spread offense. This is a Richard Simmons game. Backdoor is wide open as the Wildcats can score.
Penn State vs. LSU +3, I made LSU the favorite at -4 for a diff of 7
This may be my favorite game on the board. I'm trying to figure out how Penn State is going to score. Give me the Hat to win and win big.
Konica Minolta Gator
West Virginia vs. Florida State +3, I made FSU a 1 point fave for diff of 4
I'll look at this one closely as well. Home game for FSU, Bobby Bowden's last stand, etc. and so forth.
Rose Bowl Game
Ohio State vs. Oregon -3.5, I made tOSU a 2 point favorite
My second favorite game on the board. The Bucks will make Masoli one dimensional and just out athlete them on the other side of the ball. And the Ducks thought Boise State's front 7 was dominant. Look out. Bucks win.
Florida vs. Cincinnati +10, I made it +14 for a diff of 4
I like Florida's front 4 to get pressure and hit Pike all night long. On defense, Cincy gave up nearly 40 points to Juice Williams. Tim Tebow says hi. Brian Kelly may have one foot out the door. Give me Jesus and his disciples. I'll probably bet this game.
International played in Canada
South Florida vs. Northern Illinois +6.5, I made it 6.
I have zero interest in this game other than to see the kind of health care the players receive.
South Carolina vs. UConn +4.5, I made it 7 for a diff of 2.5.
If it gets under 4 it's probably going to be a play, because, like a New York night club hostess, everyone scores on UCONN.
Oklahoma State vs. Ole Miss -3, I made it a 1.
Classic battle of nature with The Nuttsack vs. The Man. I think Ole Miss gets kicked in the balls if Zac Robinson and Kendall Hunter are right. If not, just like Greg Davis, I'll pass.
Arkansas vs. East Carolina +7.5, I made it a 7.
If Skip Holtz spittles on Petrino pregame I might call in an entertainment bet on Arkie. Otherwise, I'll root for Mallet to have a big game and go pro.
Michigan State vs. Texas Tech -7, I made it a 10 for a diff of 3.
I like the matchup for Tech and will play the game if it looks like D'Antonio has indeed lost his team.
Boise State vs. TCU -6.5, I made it a 10 for a diff of 3.5.
Go rewatch the BSU vs. San Jose State game. The Spartans were the best front 4 Boise has faced all year. If SJSU had an offense that could have stayed on the field for any length of time, they likely play within a score or two. TCU is a horrible matchup for Broncs for this reason. I like TCU to roll here and it's a likely play for me.
Iowa vs. Georgia Tech -4, I made the game a 5.
I hate Georgia Tech's defense. I may look at the over here.
GMACCentral Michigan vs. Troy +4, I made the game a +6 for a diff 2.
I can't bet this game unless I get drunk. Okay, so I may bet this game because I'll be drunk and it's the only game on January 6. Give me the fighting Lefevre's.
Citi BCS National Championship Game
Texas vs. Alabama -6, I made the game a pick.
I think there's a lot of bias going on here. My own bias to make it a pick and recency bias on the part of the public that has made this game nearly a TD. But keep in mind that Texas was a field goal favorite just two weeks ago. I think Bama wins by a field goal so give me the points. This is the same Bama club that eeked out wins vs. Auburn, LSU, and Tennessee.
Who do you like in this most wonderful time of the year?