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Jonny Knows Picks: Early Bowl Season Plays

Nothing says Christmas like bowl season. Other than family, food, presents and Jesus. 

But we pray to a different deity when it comes to wagering and thy name is Gamblor. May he bring us good fortune over the holidays with our bowl wagers.

Here's who I like in the early ones:  

Las Vegas Bowl presented by Geico: Houston vs San Diego State +3.5, 52

  • Major Applewhite hire is a good one for Houston and may dispel any lingering motivational issues after the exit of Tom Herman. 
  • This is the first time San Diego State has been an underdog in 18 games going back to last October. 
  • No. 7 rushing offense in the nation up against the No. 3 rushing defense in the nation. 

Pick: San Diego State, UNDER 

Raycom Media Camellia Bowl: Appalachian State vs Toledo -1, 59.5  

  • I think Toledo will win the battle at the line of scrimmage on both sides here vs App State.
  • Toledo can score in bunches and not sure App State will be able to keep up the pace. 

Pick: Toledo -1 

R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl: Southern Mississippi vs Louisiana-Lafayette +4, 58

  • La. Lafayette fired its DC early in the season and finished the year by covering five of its last six spreads because they started playing much better defense.
  • Southern Miss has the worst record against the spread of any bowl team (3-9 ATS) and failed to cover in seven of their last eight games. 
  • Southern Miss defense gave up 30 points per game this season.  
  • I think Cajuns are worth a look on the moneyline here. 

Pick: Lafayette +4 and a little on the moneyline

Boca Raton Bowl: Memphis vs Western Kentucky -5, 79

  • Two really fun offenses that combine for over 80 ppg. WKU second in the nation in scoring and they’re averaging over 52 ppg over their last nine. 
  • I think Memphis has a bit of an edge in size at the lines and WKU has the speed advantage. 
  • One thing to watch is the motivational factor. Think it was a bigger deal for Western Kentucky to win the C-USA title than this bowl game. 
  • Boca Raton can also be a fun area with the beach, sun and night life. Watch out for a sluggish start to this one. 

Pick: Memphis 

San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl: BYU vs Wyoming +8.5, 56.5

  • Tanner Mangum is making his first start this season at QB for BYU, replacing Taysom Hill after he suffered an elbow injury in the last game of the season. Too many points for an inexperienced QB against a tough Wyoming squad that nearly won the Mountain West.

Pick: Wyoming +8.5 

Other picks I sorta like: 

New Mexico -7.5 – playing at home. Top rushing offense for most of the season against a defense that gives up about 160 yds rushing per game. 

UCF-Ark State UNDER 49.5 – two defenses that ranked in the top 50 in the nation that both have great pass rushes. Both big UNDER teams this year – 4-8 and 2-9-1 ATS.

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