College football’s postseason kicks off on Saturday and there will be 40 bowl games this year — thus 80 teams playing in games around the United States and one internationally (Bahamas). Three schools definitely didn’t deserve bowl bids as Nebraska, Minnesota and San Jose State are all in bowls despite a 5-7 record. They had to get a special NCAA waiver as there weren’t enough six-win teams in the country to fill every bowl game.
I will preview the College Football Playoff featuring No. 1 Clemson, No. 2 Alabama, No. 3 Michigan State and No. 4 Oklahoma soon enough, but let’s look at some bowl betting specials offered by sportsbooks.
Will there be overtime in a bowl game: Yes is -1.2857 and no 3.2500. With so many games, it’s highly unlikely there won’t be. Last year there were three: Memphis over BYU 55-48 in double overtime in the Miami Beach Bowl; Penn State beating Boston College 31-30 in overtime in the Pinstripe Bowl; and Wisconsin over Auburn 34-31 in overtime in the Outback Bowl.
Will there be a shutout in a bowl game: Somewhat surprisingly, no is the 1.2500 favorite with yes at 3.5000. Certainly teams are scoring more than ever this season but there are several great defensive teams out there. Wisconsin led the nation in scoring defense in allowing 13.1 points per game. It faces Southern Cal in the Dec. 29 Holiday Bowl. The Trojans are too good offensively to be blanked. How about a shutout in the Michigan-Florida Citrus Bowl? The Gators allowed only 16.5 points per game this season and Wolverines 17.2. That has the lowest point total of any game at over/under 41. There were no shutouts in last year’s bowl games. The fewest points scored was 3 by Nevada and Ole Miss in obvious losses.
Will there be at least a 37-point winning margin in a bowl: Yes is 1.6250 and no 2.2000. Not sure where this number came from. The two biggest bowl wins last year were by 39 points, one of which was Oregon over Florida State in the national semifinals. The biggest betting favorite this year is Virginia Tech at -13.5 over Tulsa in the Dec. 26 Independence Bowl.
Will there be a total of 100 or more points in a bowl: Yes is 1.6452 and no 2.1500. The highest pre-set total is 78.5 in the Jan. 2 Alamo Bowl between Oregon and TCU, two of the highest-powered offenses in the nation. Two bowls last year went over 100 points, led by Toledo’s 63-44 win over Arkansas State in the GoDaddy.com Bowl.
Total bowl wins for SEC: The over/under is 6.5, with the over at 1.7692. The College Football Playoff national championship game isn’t a bowl game so that wouldn’t count toward the SEC’s total if Alabama makes it. The SEC was 7-5 in bowl games last year and was shut out of the national title game. The conference has 10 of its 14 teams in bowls this year. That total seems low considering that just one SEC team is a betting underdog: Florida at +4.5 against Michigan. Texas A&M is only -1 against Louisville in the Music City Bowl and could also be an underdog by kickoff on Dec. 30.
Could Red-Hot Kansas City Chiefs Actually Win AFC Championship?
The National Football League enters Week 15 and the hottest team in the league by far, outside of those unbeaten Carolina Panthers, is the Kansas City Chiefs. This team was left for dead when star running back Jamaal Charles — easily the best player on the offensive side of the ball — suffered a season-ending injury early in the year.
At one point, Kansas City was 1-5, following a season-opening win with five straight losses. But the Chiefs haven’t lost since and now they are a legitimate Super Bowl threat. One sportsbook asks if the Chiefs will end the year on a 10-game winning streak. Yes is 2.000 and no 1.143. That the Chiefs finish the regular-season with 10 straight wins and also take the Super Bowl is a yes-only prop at 21.000.
The Chiefs are the second team in NFL history to win at least seven consecutive games immediately following a losing streak of at least five games (joining the 1970 Cincinnati Bengals, who only finished 8-6).
Why is Kansas City winning? Largely due to its defense and the fact that quarterback Alex Smith is taking care of the ball. During the seven-game win streak, the Chiefs have allowed only 20 points once and that was just 22. They have faced a good San Diego offense twice and limited the Chargers to six total points in two wins. That ties the lowest number of points allowed in a single season against the San Diego franchise in the club’s history. Kansas City has 18 interceptions from its defense, second only to Carolina. The Chiefs now have seven players with multiple interceptions this season after having just six total interceptions last year.
As for Smith, he went 10 games without throwing an interception before doing so in Week 14. Smith’s streak of 312 pass attempts without a pick was the second-longest streak in NFL history. This is a conservative, ball-control team.
REMAINING SCHEDULE EASY
This week, Kansas City visits a Baltimore team that is playing out the string at 4-9 and already has lost its starting quarterback, top running back, No. 1 receiver, top tight end and best defensive player for the season. In fact, the Ravens might have to start third-string quarterback Jimmy Clausen again this week. Kansas City is a touchdown favorite and shouldn’t have trouble with the Ravens, who already are making offseason golf plans.
The Chiefs host the Cleveland Browns, perhaps the worst team in the NFL, in Week 16 and then host the improved Oakland Raiders in Week 17. The Raiders almost surely will be eliminated from playoff contention then, however. Kansas City will certainly be a solid favorite in both games.
Kansas City can’t afford to let up as one loss could be enough to keep it out of the playoffs. Currently it holds the No. 5 seed in the AFC. The Jets are also 8-5 and hold the No. 6 seed, while the surging Pittsburgh Steelers have the same record and are No. 7 as things stand now. The Chiefs would hold a head-to-head tiebreaker over the Steelers thanks to a Week 7 23-13 win over Pittsburgh. That started this seven-game winning streak.
Coach Andy Reid’s team is 11.0000 to win the AFC title and 23.0000 to win Super Bowl 50.