College football bowl game odds: Close games mark bowl season's start
The 2014 college football bowl season will kick off on Saturday with five games, four of which are expected to be close matchups, according to the oddsmakers.
The New Orleans Bowl is the first game of the day and pits the Nevada Wolf Pack against the Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns at the Superdome. The Ragin’ Cajuns finished the regular season 8-4 overall with a 7-1 mark in the Sun Belt Conference, winning seven of eight games down the stretch following a 1-3 start and going 5-2-1 against the spread during that stretch.
The Wolf Pack opened as one-point favorites at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. Nevada, 7-5 overall and 4-4 in the Mountain West, has dropped two of its past three games both SU and ATS.
The New Mexico Bowl is the biggest mismatch on the betting board Saturday, with the latest college football odds showing the Utah State Aggies sitting as 10-point favorites against the UTEP Miners. The Aggies have won five of their last six, with the lone loss coming at Boise State in the season finale. Utah State is 9-4 overall and went 6-2 in the Mountain West Conference while UTEP is 7-5 and was 5-3 in Conference USA. The Miners have covered six of their past seven games.
The other three Saturday bowl games have point spreads of three points or less and figure to be competitive games. In the Las Vegas Bowl, the Utah Utes face the Colorado State Rams as three-point favorites after finishing the regular season with an 8-4 record and 5-4 mark in the Pac-12. The Utes have lost three of their last five games after starting the year 6-1 and have failed to cover three of their past four.
Meanwhile, the Rams saw their nine-game winning streak end with a 27-24 loss to the Air Force Falcons as 7.5-point favorites in their regular-season finale. Colorado State went 10-2 overall and 6-2 in the Mountain West while covering seven of their last 10.
The Famous Idaho Potato Bowl has Air Force taking on the Western Michigan Broncos in a pick’em game. The Falcons are 9-3 overall and went 5-3 in the Mountain West while the Broncos are 8-4 and were 6-2 in the Mid-American Conference. Western Michigan is one of the best teams in the country ATS this season with a 10-2 record, but Air Force has won five of its last six and covered four of its last five.
The Camellia Bowl wraps up Saturday’s college football action with the South Alabama Jaguars meeting the Bowling Green Falcons as 2.5-point favorites. The Jaguars will be playing in their home state and finished the regular season 6-6 overall and 5-3 in the Sun Belt. The Falcons lost the MAC Championship Game to the Northern Illinois Huskies 51-17 as 5.5-point underdogs and have dropped three in a row overall, going 0-3-1 ATS in their past four according to the OddsShark College Football Database.