Monday Night Preview and Wednesday Bowl Action
NFL WEEK 16
Tonight, it's ...DETROIT (9-5) at DALLAS (12-2) - 8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
Okay, so all the TV folks were busy spelling out the facts here: Detroit's home game versus rival Green Bay this Sunday night actually will determine the NFC North champ but keep in mind the Lions could win here and then again in Week 17 and possibly land the NFC's #2 seed should Atlanta lose its game. Got it? Reality is the Cowboys - sitting there with the conference's #1 seed - probably will play their starters for just a half here and so that means only 30 minutes for rookie RB Ezekiel Elliott to score and jump back into that Salvation Army kettle!
Spread Notes - Dallas is a solid 9-5 ATS (against the spread) this year but that includes a current four-game spread losing streak). Detroit is 5-3 ATS as underdogs this year and 5-3-1 spreadwise in non-NFC North affairs.
THE COLLEGE BOWL REPORT
Here's a look at the Four (4) Bowl Games on tap for Wednesday, December 28th and remember we'll have complete/detailed previews of the College Football Playoff games later this week:
On Wednesday, it's ...
PINSTRIPE BOWL - Yankee Stadium - The Bronx, NY
PITTSBURGH (8-4) vs. NORTHWESTERN (6-6) - 2 p.m. ET, ESPN
There's been plenty of high-wire act games for the Pittsburgh Panthers this season - five games were decided by 3 points or less and don't be shocked if this one at The House that Jeter Built gets you a spine-tingling finish. All eyes on Pittsburgh RB James Conner (1,060 yards rushing and 16 TDs this year) who shook off cancer and knee surgery to be one of the real gridiron stars of the season but what'll give when he goes up against a N'western defense that allows only 136 ground yards per game (a decent 31st in the nation)?
Spread Note - Pittsburgh is a money-blowing 8-17-1 against the odds as betting favorites the past four years.
RUSSELL ATHLETIC BOWL - Camping World Stadium - Orlando, Fla
MIAMI (10-2) vs. WEST VIRGINIA (8-4) - 5:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
Believe it or not, "The U" has not won a bowl game in 10 years and the know-it-all Las Vegas oddsmakers have the Hurricanes favored by just 2.5 points here - will prodigal son head coach Mark Richt have the answers against a West Virginia team that spreads the aerial wealth behind QB Skyler Howard (26 TD passes)? If Miami's soph RB Mark Walton cracks the century mark here, advantage 'Canes!
Spread Note - Miami has covered eight of its 12 games this year including a current four-game ATS winning streak.
FOSTER FARMS BOWL - Levi's Stadium - Santa Clara, CA
INDIANA (6-6) vs. UTAH (8-4) - 8:30 p.m. ET, Fox
Wacky matchup got a little wackier when Indiana dismissed hard-driving head coach Kevin Wilson back on Dec. 1st and defensive coordinator Tom Allen steps into the interim head coaching role here - but the Big 10 Hoosiers (a full TD underdog) ain't getting anything accomplished unless QB Richard Lagow (18 TD strikes) has time to chuck it against a Utes defense that stars pass-rushing fiend DE Hunter Dimick who had 14.5 of Utah's eye-popping 40 sacks this year.
Spread Note - Utah's covered five of its last six bowls since 2008.
TEXAS BOWL - NRG Stadium - Houston, TX
TEXAS A&M (8-4) vs. KANSAS STATE (7-5) - 9 p.m. ET, ESPN
One-time Big 12 rivals square off in the Lone Star State where Kansas State won twice in the final three regular-season weeks (see triumphs at Baylor and at TCU) and gotta say the number seems a big "short" here - doesn't it look like Vegas wants you to wager on the A&M Aggies? The key for Texas A&M is getting wide-outs Christian Kirk (77 receptions) and Josh Reynolds (49 catches) "out in space" where K-State's lack of secondary speed could hurt 'em, but if ole professor Bill Snyder gets to make this an alley fight, then the current Big 12 team will win.
Spread Note - Texas A&M's just 3-6 spreadwise in bowls the past 10 years while K-State is 1-6 versus the vig in bowl since 2006.