Friday Bowl Previews
Did you happen to notice something about last week's NFL action?
Sure, NFL Week 15 featured 10 different "one-score" games including three one-point final scores in Kansas City, Denver and Buffalo and an overtime tilt tossed into the mix in San Francisco, but how about the fact that playoff non-contenders such as Tampa Bay (+ 9), San Francisco (+ 4) and Carolina (+ 6) all nabbed the cash in games played against playoff-bound / playoff-hopeful squads?
What it goes to show is you can't eliminate any games on the NFL weekly docket just because folks deem 'em "meaningless" to the non-contender sides.
If you listened to some of the post-game sound bites following the NFL Week 15 games, you heard many coaches/players comment about how there are only 16 game opportunities in the regular season to show your stuff and just how important all these opportunities are - many times an "out-of-it" team will offer major value here in the final couple of weeks of play providing they're gonna try hard.
Among the non-contenders out there grabbing points this NFL Week 16 are Tampa Bay (+ 7) at Dallas, Buffalo (+ 13) at New England, the New York Giants (+ 9.5) at Indianapolis, Detroit (+ 5.5) versus Minnesota, Arizona (+ 13.5) against the Los Angeles Rams and San Fran (+ 4) against Chicago - and don't be surprised if Jim Hurley's Network winds up backing one or two or even three of these "non-contenders" come Sunday.
4-2 In the Bowls So Far and +80 Units!
On Friday, it's ... BAHAMAS BOWL - at Nassau Bahamas
FIU (8-4) vs. TOLEDO (7-5) - 12:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
Gotta hand it to Florida International's second-year boss Butch Davis who orchestrated a dandy 8-3-1 ATS (against the spread) regular season in 2018 as the Golden Panthers snagged a 2-0-1 spread mark when placed in the underdog role (with pup covers against Indiana and Miami). What's a major key to success here? FIU needs Conference USA Newcomer of the Year QB James Morgan (2,727 yards passing with 26 TDs / 7 INTs) to stay upright as Toledo's Tuzar Skipper registered 8.5 sacks this year. Note that Toledo was shut out in its latest bowl appearance - a 34-0 loss at the hands of Appalachian State in last year's Dollar General Bowl - and often times that's a major form of motivation for a team getting a bowl crack some 12 months later. The Rockets scored 45-or-more points in four of their final five regular-season games.
POTATO BOWL - at Boise. ID
BYU (6-6) vs. WESTERN MICHIGAN (7-5) - 4 p.m. ET, ESPN
Note that BYU bangs its way into this bowl tilt riding a four-game ATS winning streak that includes a pair of pointspread "W's" as twin-figure favorites (versus 14-point home dog UMass and 25.5-point road pup New Mexico State) and overall these BYU Coogs played nine different bowl-bound teams while going a respectable 5-4 vig-wise in these games. However, BYU - which didn't make it to the bowl party last year -- has failed to cover its last four bowl games and third-year boss Kalani Sitake is banking on a rock-solid defense (held seven foes to 21 points or less this season) against freshman QB Kaleb Eleby who did lead Western Michigan to a regular-season-ending TD win against 6-point fav Northern Illinois. Note that Western Michigan's hardly got the pointspread credentials that many 2018 bowl teams have: The Broncos are just 4-8 versus the number this year and they were clubbed in their only double-digit dog appearance (see 49-3 loss at four-TD fav Michigan on Sept.8th).