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Bowl underdogs bite hard

Oklahoma and Boise State are the biggest college football bowl game favorites on the 2010 season (-17), but bettors know better than to blindly show their financial faith in the Sooners and Broncos.

Big dogs have packed a big bite in recent years, with even huge favorites losing outright or struggling to win. The result has been a steady stream of underdog successes and in some situations, betting double-digit bowl underdogs has produced an 18-4-1 ATS run over 23 games!

Overall, in the past 10 bowl seasons, the biggest favorite was the 2002 edition of the Kansas State Wildcats against Arizona State in the Holiday Bowl. The Wildcats were favored by 17.5 points and trailed 20-7 early. They scored two late TDs to win 34-27 but never threatened to cover the spread.

[ See all the current bowl game odds and watch for line moves, check matchup stats and wagering trends in the NCAAF handicapping stats sections here at OddsShark.com ]

Those with really good memories may recall Terrell Suggs winning defensive MVP honors for ASU or the Darren Sproles 41-yard TD scamper in the first half for KSU.

That game was one of only six with spreads bigger than two TDs at shops like Bovada – the most recent was the 2005 New Orleans Bowl where Southern Miss just missed covered 15 points against Arkansas State (31-19).

During this 10-year stretch, 41 games saw double-digit spreads with the underdogs prevailing at a 26-14-1 ATS clip, according to the college football database here at OddsShark.com. In half of those underdog ATS wins however, they also won outright!

“That’s an intriguing situation for money line bettors who might find terrific value on double-digit dogs this bowl season,” said Mike Pickett of OddsShark.com. “Not only are dogs a threat to cover, they are a threat to win straight up which makes the money line more appealing because the payout is better.”

The numbers break down differently according to the size of the spread. In games where the favorite faced a bowl point spread of 12 or more, they were 10-8 ATS. However, as soon as the number dropped to between -11.5 and -10, the dogs packed a nasty bite.

In those games, the underdogs went a jaw-dropping and money-making 18-4-1 ATS and winning outright 10 times!

ADVERTISEMENT: The best bowl game underdog odds are usually found at shops such as Bovada which caters to fans who like to play longshots. Check out the latest NCAAF odds and immediate bonus offer for new players.

Two national title games are included in that list of outright dog wins. In the 2001 Orange Bowl, Florida State was favored by 11.5 points against Oklahoma. FSU’s Heisman-winning QB Chris Weinke led the nation is passing that year, but couldn’t manage anything against the Sooners.

And in the 2003 Fiesta Bowl, Miami looked to extend a 34-game winning streak and was favored by 12 against Ohio State. Maurice Clarett scored in the second OT as the Buckeyes upset the Canes 31-24.

The biggest double-digit favorite to fail was hometown Hawaii in the 2002 Hawaii Bowl. J.P. Losman and Mewelde Moore led Tulane to a 36-28 upset as 14.5-point underdogs at Bovada, scoring 20 unanswered points in the third quarter to swing the game.

Wyoming also turned the ATS tables on UCLA in the 2004 Las Vegas Bowl, winning 24-21 as 12.5-point dogs. Last bowl season, dogs were 3-2 ATS in five games where the spread was 10 or higher.

College Football Bowl Underdogs (10 points or more) since 2000:

Year    Bowl               Date            away                score   home                score     Spread  Fave/Dog
2002    Holiday Bowl       12/27/2002        Kansas State        34        Arizona State        27        17.5    dog
2004    Fiesta Bowl        1/1/2005        Arkansas State       19      Southern Miss        31        -15        dog
2002    Hawaii Bowl        12/25/2002        Tulane                 36        Hawaii               28       -14.5      dog
2000    Alamo Bowl      12/30/2000       Nebraska              66        Northwestern        17       14.5       fave
2001    Orange Bowl        1/2/2002         Florida              56        Maryland              23        14.5    fave
2008    Alamo Bowl         12/29/2008       Northwestern        23       Missouri             30       -14        dog
2007    Rose Bowl          1/1/2008         Illinois             17       Southern Cal          49        -13.5   fave
2001    Holiday Bowl       12/28/2001       Washington          43        Texas                 47        -13.5   dog
2003    GMAC Bowl          12/18/2003       Miami (Ohio)        49        Louisville            28        13      fave
2004    Las Vegas     12/23/2004       Wyoming              24       UCLA                  21        -12.5      dog
2006    Poinsettia        12/19/2006       Northern Ill        7        TCU                  37        -12.5   fave
2009    Sugar Bowl      1/1/2010         Cincinnati            24        Florida               51        -12.5   fave
2007    International     1/5/2008         Ball State            30        Rutgers               52       -12     fave
2001    Cotton Bowl     1/1/2002         Oklahoma               10        Arkansas               3        12      dog
2002    Humanitarian    12/31/2002      Iowa State            16        Boise State           34       -12     fave
2002    Fiesta Bowl     1/3/2003         Ohio State             31        Miami                24       -12     dog
2003    Tangerine Bowl  12/22/2003       NC State              56        Kansas                26        12      fave
2000    Orange Bowl     1/3/2001        Florida State       2        Oklahoma              13        11.5    dog
2007    Hawaii Bowl     12/23/2007       East Carolina        41      Boise State           38        -11.5   dog
2003    Hawaii Bowl     12/25/2003       Houston               48        Hawaii               54        -11     dog
2002    Emerald Bowl    12/31/2002      Air Force              13        Virginia Tech         20       -11     dog
2007    Papajohns        12/22/2007       South Miss           21        Cincinnati            31       -11     dog
2006    Music City        12/29/2006       Kentucky            28        Clemson               20        -11     dog
2009    Hawaii Bowl     12/24/2009       SMU                    45        Nevada               10        -11     dog
2008    St. Petersburg    12/20/2008       Memphis               14        South Florida         41       -10.5   fave
2007    Capital One      1/1/2008        Michigan               41        Florida               35        -10.5   dog
2004    Holiday Bowl    12/30/2004      Texas Tech           45        California            31       -10.5   dog
2003    Houston Bowl     12/30/2003       Navy                   14        Texas Tech            38        -10.5   fave
2002    Cotton Bowl     1/1/2003         LSU                    20        Texas                 35        -10.5   fave
2009    Sun Bowl        12/31/2009       Stanford              27       Oklahoma              31       -10.5   dog
2001    New Orleans        12/18/2001       Colorado St          45       North Texas           20        -10.5   dog
2009    New Mexico         12/19/2009       Wyoming         35        Fresno State          28        -10.5   dog
2005    Capital One        1/2/2006         Wisconsin              24        Auburn                10        -10     dog
2008    Rose Bowl        1/1/2009         Penn State             24        Southern Cal          38        -10     fave
2002    Houston         12/27/2002       Southern Miss     23        Oklahoma State        33        -10     push
2006    Orange Bowl     1/2/2007         Wake Forest           13        Louisville            24        -10     dog
2003    Fort Worth        12/23/2003       TCU                    31        Boise State           34       -10     dog
2008    Emerald Bowl    12/27/2008       Miami                 17        California            24        -10     dog
2005    Champs Sports    12/27/2005       Colorado              10        Clemson              19        -10     dog
2005    Alamo Bowl      12/28/2005       Nebraska            32        Michigan              28        -10     dog