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Saturday, 16 December 2017

College Football Bowl Games Picks 2017 (December 16-27)

The Bowl Games are played over a few weeks in December through to the first few days of January, but I am planning to split them in half and put the Picks in two separate threads.

One I think that makes for much easier reading than producing 41 Bowl Picks in one thread and two it is just easier to manage for myself.

The split might not be in terms of dates, but it is in terms of number of games to be played in the two periods I have selected which are December 16-27 for the first thread and December 28-January 9 which culminates in the National Championship Game.

There are going to be a lot of games in the weeks ahead, but you have to try and factor in as much about motivation of teams as possible. That isn't always easy, but hopefully Bowl season won't just be fun for the fans with plenty of decent looking games to come, but it will also be a good time for the College Football Picks which have some momentum after the performance in the Championship Games.

Saturday 16th December
North Texas Mean Green vs Troy Trojans Pick: This has been a strong season for both the Troy Trojans and the North Texas Mean Green and they have been rewarded with a place in the New Orleans Bowl. The Trojans have matched the 10 wins they had in 2016 and have a chance to win another Bowl Game which will see them surpass that number, while the Mean Green are back in a Bowl for a second season in a row themselves.

They were beaten last season by the Army Black Knights, but this has been a year of improvement for North Texas who got into a Bowl Game last season despite winning less than 6 games. 2017 is the first winning season since 2013 for the Mean Green and I am anticipating there is plenty of motivation for both squads to end 2017 in the correct manner.

It hasn't been that long since both Troy and North Texas were playing in the Sun Belt Conference against one another which may mean a little more on the line. Players from 2012 may not be here any more, but you can imagine there has been some encouragement offered by meeting a team the other would have played on a regular basis up until the 2012 season.

The game is being played a little closer to the Trojans home so I expect they may have the edge in the stands, while I also think Troy are the better team on the field too.

There is work for Troy to do if they are going to secure the win, but momentum is behind them having won a share of the Sun Belt Conference Championship while North Texas were losing in the Conference-USA Conference Championship Game. That momentum can be key for a team who I feel are going to be superior at the line of scrimmage and I expect that is going to be a big reason as to why they are able to win this game.

In recent weeks Troy have not run the ball as well as they have for much of the season, but I expect they can get that turned around against the Mean Green Defensive Line which has given up some huge plays on the ground. Troy definitely will at least attempt to keep running the ball to open things up for Brandon Silvers who is playing against a Secondary that hasn't been tested because of the problems North Texas have had up front.

That has been the case in recent weeks with teams being able to not only establish the run, but rip off big gains against the Mean Green. Silvers should be good enough to have some big moments in this one too and I do think Troy can move the chains and score their points in this one.

Mason Fine will be looking to match Silvers at Quarter Back for North Texas after what has been a special season for him. However the problem for Fine is that Troy's Defensive Line have been stout up front and the Mean Green have not been able to establish the run with any consistency which is going to mean there is a lot of pressure on Fine to make the plays himself.

I do think Fine can have some success, but he will be faced with plenty of pressure up front from the Trojans and Interceptions could be an issue for him. While making some big time throws for the Mean Green, I think Fine will ultimately be forced into a mistake or two which can swing this game in favour of Troy.

One other issue for North Texas could be that Jalen Guyton could be forced to miss out and he has been a huge weapon for Fine in the passing game. It will make Troy's job a little easier if they are not being forced to look at a couple of big weapons in the passing game and I think that will help in trying to anticipate where Fine is going to be throwing the ball in big moments.

The Trojans have not been the best favourite to back this season, but they look to be in the better shape all around going into this one. Winning back to back Bowl Games in consecutive years would be a huge achievement for Troy who are going for a third straight Bowl win overall and I can see them creating a couple of turnovers to help them cover in this one.

This time of the year can be a little busier in the run up to Christmas so the remaining Saturday Bowl Game Picks are below in the 'My Picks' section.

I will have my breakdowns for the other Bowl Games in the days ahead.

Tuesday 19th December
Akron Zips @ Florida Atlantic Owls Pick: Home field advantage goes to the Florida Atlantic Owls for this Bowl Game and the news that Lane Kiffin has signed a new contract with the school has to have given the players a real boost.

This has been a strong season for the Owls and I think they can wrap it up with a big win over the Akron Zips.

Much of my belief comes down to the fact that Florida Atlantic are stronger at the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball compared with the Zips. That should mean the Owls are able to run the ball effectively and also stop the run which in turns put a lot of pressure on Akron to get their throws right.

That won't be easy when you think of the pressure the Owls have gotten up front and I think they are going to be the team making all of the big plays in this one. With the home field advantage, I do like Florida Atlantic to win this game and cover a big number.

MY PICKS: Troy Trojans - 6.5 Points @ 1.86 Ladbrokes (1 Unit)
Georgia State Panthers + 7 Points @ 1.86 Bet Fred (1 Unit)
Arkansas State Red Wolves - 3 Points @ 1.95 Boyle Sports (1 Unit)
Florida Atlantic Owls - 22 Points @ 1.91 Ladbrokes (1 Unit)

Bowl Games Update: 2-1, + 0.72 Units (3 Units Staked, + 24% Yield)

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