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2013 College Football Bowl Games Betting Preview

The BCS bowl games may yield some extra money for the schools involved, but value for bettors is more likely to be found in the lesser bowl games that can sometimes be overlooked by the casual bettor and oddsmakers alike.

Here’s a look at four underdogs with odds by

poised for an upset, and four other games that could lead to one-sided affairs.

Fresno State Bulldogs +5.5 vs. USC Trojans

The Trojans deserve a ton of credit for a great turnaround after head coach Lane Kiffin was replaced by Ed Orgeron, as the team really rallied around Orgeron and closed out their season strong. However, the players got a punch in the gut with Orgeron’s messy departure, and now have to go to battle without their head coach and take on an underrated Bulldogs squad that brings with it the nation’s top passer in Derek Carr.

The play: Fresno State +5.5

Cincinnati Bearcats +3 vs. North Carolina Tar Heels

Cincinnati has been an underrated football program for years, and the oddsmakers aren’t giving them any respect in their bowl game. North Carolina has had a nice season, and qualifying for a bowl game is a good boon to the program, but Cincinnati’s football program is simply functioning at a higher level right now.

The play: Cincinnati +3

Colorado State Rams +4 vs. Washington State Cougars

While similar teams were playing cupcake matchups to build up their record, Colorado State was cutting their teeth against tough opponents like Alabama, which surely has them ready for a matchup with Washington State. Mike Leach has done a good job of turning things around in a hurry at WSU, but they were able to build up their roster on the back of a vulnerable Pac-12 conference.

The play: Colorado State +4

Michigan Wolverines +3 vs. Kansas State Wildcats

The Wolverines surely had their eyes set on no less than a BCS appearance in the early part of the season, but things fell apart for them. While they did struggle against lesser opponents, they still have a ton of talent on the roster, particularly at the quarterback position. Kansas State had a strong season in what was expected to be a rebuilding year, but expect Michigan to show up with their heads on straight in this one.

The play: Michigan +3

Navy Midshipmen -6.5 vs. Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders

The Midshipmen have been a whole different animal for opponents since quarterback Keenan Reynolds took over at quarterback last season. He rushed for nearly 30 touchdowns this season, and has the Navy offense functioning at a higher level than we’re used to seeing. As for Middle Tennessee State, they should be proud of the season they’ve had, but they simply don’t have the defense to slow the Navy ground attack.
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The play: Navy -6.5

Ball State Cardinals -9 vs. Arkansas State Red Wolves

Ball State has made a habit of blowing out opponents this season, and have been one of the best bets in college football throughout the year as one of the more underrated programs in the country. They’ll look to run up the score once against an Arkansas State team that will once again go to its bowl game without a head coach. For the seniors on the team, it’s an issue they’ve dealt with four times now and are surely sick of.

The play: Ball State -9

Northern Illinois -1.5 vs. Utah State Aggies

Utah State made a lot of noise at this time a year ago, but their offense simply has not been up to snuff this season, while their defense has taken a slight step back. Meanwhile, Northern Illinois stared a perfect season in the face but came up just short. Expect Jordan Lynch to have the Huskie offense functioning at a high level in his final game with the program.

The play: Northern Illinois -1.5

Louisville Cardinals -3 vs. Miami Hurricanes

Miami entered the season with national title aspirations, but injuries caused their year to come apart at the seams. Now they get a Louisville Cardinals team that had title aspirations of their own entering the season and will be looking to take out some of their frustrations on Miami. Remember that Louisville took care of business against another team from the state of Florida in their bowl game last season. The game could also mark Teddy Bridgewater’s final game at Louisville.

The play: Louisville -3

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