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2010/11 Bowl Breakdowns – Bowl Game Previews

2010/2011 Bowl Game Handicapping Preview – College Football Picks

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New Mexico Bowl – BYU (6-6) vs. UTEP (6-6)

The Cougars have won four of their last five to sneak into a bowl while the Miners have won just one of their last six including a close loss to Tulsa last week. BYU nearly beat No. 20 Utah in their last outing and I look for them to carry that momentum into this one.

Humanitarian Bowl – Northern Illinois (10-3) vs. Fresno State (8-4)

The Huskies were ranked in the top 25 and held a perfect 8-0 conference record until its loss in last week’s MAC Championship game. Meanwhile, Fresno’s only losses have come by away of currently ranked WAC teams. The Bulldogs defeated Illinois last week and should edge out a victory over the collapsing NIU.

New Orleans Bowl – Troy (7-5) vs. Ohio (8-4)

Troy Trojans snatched a share of the Sun Belt Championship for the fifth time in a row last week, while the Bobcats’ six-game winning streak came to an end last time out. This is set to be a tight, high-scoring affair with Ohio coming out on top.

Beef O’Brady’s Bowl – Louisville (6-6) vs. Southern Miss (8-4)

The Cardinals have lost three of their last five and will face a Southern Miss team that may be on the rise, winning eight games this year to continue their gradual return to their glory days. They will have to wait tough for a bowl victory celebration as Louisville claims this one.

MAACO Las Vegas Bowl – Boise State (11-1) vs. Utah (10-2)

Both of these teams were at one time ranked in the nation’s top five. Boise State’s fall from grace came by way of an OT loss to Nevada, while the Utes two losses to TCU and Notre Dame did them in. The Broncos are a far better team, so look for a big win by BSU here.

Poinsettia Bowl – San Diego State (8-4) vs. Navy (8-3)

The Aztecs will play at home against one of the most attention-grabbing teams in the country. With the extra week of rest, I expect San Diego to get the better of Navy in a close one here.

Hawaii Bowl: Hawaii (10-3) vs. Tulsa (9-3)

After going 1-2 to start the season, the Warriors posted a very solid record beating Fresno State and, one-loss Nevada. The Hurricanes lost only one game by more than a field goal, and are on a six-game undefeated run heading into this one. I like Hawaii at home in here.

Little Caesars Pizza Bowl – Toledo (8-4) vs. Florida International (6-6)

Toledo had a fine season with two of its losses coming to major contenders Arizona and Boise State and just one in-conference defeat. Florida International overcame a 0-4 record to squeak in. Rockets blast by the Golden Panthers here.

Independence Bowl – Air Force (8-4) vs. Georgia Tech (6-6)

Air Force has played well with three of its four total losses coming by way of top 10 teams. The Yellow Jackets wedged in with a mediocre record with their most notable win being a slim victory over North Carolina. Watch for Air Force to pull away early for the win.

Champs Sports Bowl – West Virginia (9-3) vs. North Carolina State (8-4)

West Virginia finished with the best overall record in the Big East, while the Wolf Pack finished off a good season with a loss to Maryland last Saturday. The two offenses should be evenly matched, and a last-second field goal could be what it takes to win this one for the Mountaineers.

Insight Bowl – Missouri (10-2) vs. Iowa (7-5)

Back-to-back road losses at Nebraska and Texas Tech were the only blemishes on the Tigers’ record, while the Hawkeyes ended a 7-2 start with three consecutive losses. Missouri is the better team here and should blow by Iowa.

Military Bowl – Maryland (8-4) vs. East Carolina (6-6)

Maryland has yet to be tested, playing just two top-25 teams this year, but did get huge win over NC State to end its season. The Pirates have given up a ton of points, giving up 76 and 62 points in two different games. Big blowout for the Terps.

Texas Bowl – Baylor (7-5) vs. Illinois (6-6)

The Bears dropped their last three games against Oklahoma State, Texas A&M, and Oklahoma. The Illini lost three of their last four. Look for Baylor to edge out a slim win.

Alamo Bowl – Oklahoma State (10-2) vs. Arizona (7-5)

The Wildcats finished the season with four losses in a row and it won’t get any easier as the face an Oklahoma State team that put up more than 30 points a game and should get the better of a struggling Wildcats defense in this match up.

Armed Forces Bowl – SMU (7-6) vs. Army (6-5)

Army’s loss to Navy still stings, and with its wins coming against teams under .500 it’s tough to believe they have what it takes to win this one. The Mustangs is average, so this should be an even match up, but with SMU’s home-field advantage, they should come out with a win.

Pinstripe Bowl – Kansas State (7-5) vs. Syracuse (7-5)

Kansas State rose quietly to a seven-win season while the Orange had the edge in the Big East title race with four games to go, but three losses during that span knocked them out of contention. Look for Syracuse get back on the rails grabbing a close one here.

Music City Bowl – North Carolina (7-5) vs. Tennessee (6-6)

The Tar Heels have shown a tendency to win close games, but Tennessee is coming in with a four game win streak and should pull a victory out of the this one.

Holiday Bowl – Nebraska (10-3) vs. Washington (6-6)

Nebraska blew a big lead in the Big 12 Championship that cost them a Fiesta Bowl berth, and the Huskies may have won three in a row to get here, but it’s hard to see them snatching the victory.

Meineke Car Care BowlClemson (6-6) vs. South Florida (7-5)

The Tigers have been inconsistent while South Florida have only lost twice since mid-October and almost played spoiler in a heartbreaking loss to Connecticut last week. I like the Bulls to do the same here.

Sun BowlMiami, FL (7-5) vs. Notre Dame (7-5)

Following a sub-par season and the loss of their coach, the Hurricanes will play a Notre Dame team that will take a three-game winning streak with victories over Utah, Army, and USC into this one. Expect the Irish to come out on top.

Liberty BowlGeorgia (6-6) vs. Central Florida (10-3)

Georgia rebounded from a 1-4 start and beat rival Georgia Tech to earn a bowl bid. Meanwhile, Conference USA Champion Central Florida has won eight of nine. This will be a hard fought contest with the Knights notching a last-second win.

Chick-Fil-A Bowl South Carolina (9-4) vs. Florida State (9-4)

The two championship game losers will meet in this one. The Gamecocks upset Alabama while the Seminoles, were lucky to be in the ACC championship. South Carolina played the tougher schedule and should be prepared to handle this one.

Ticketcity BowlTexas Tech (7-5) vs. Northwestern (7-5)

After losing its quarterback, Northwestern has been tumbling and lost its last two by giving up a combined 118 points. Texas Tech will bring its vaunted passing attack, which averaged 314 yards per game that should shred the Wildcats defense.

Outback BowlFlorida (7-5) vs. Penn State (7-5)

Florida started 4-0 but then but fell apart down the stretch. Four of Penn State’s five losses came to teams in the top 25 including two losses in its last three. I am confident the Gators can edge out a close one here.

Capital One BowlAlabama (9-3) vs. Michigan State (11-1)

The Spartans only loss came against division rival Iowa, while Alabama capped off a disappointing season with a loss to Auburn. This one is very hard to call, but I expect Michigan State to pull out the surprise here.

Gator BowlMississippi State (8-4) vs. Michigan (7-5)

Mississippi Stare had a six-game winning streak sandwiched between back-to-back losses to Auburn and LSU while the Wolverines started the year 5-0, but posted four losses to ranked opponents leaving me to question if they can beat this year’s Cinderella Bulldogs.

Rose BowlTCU (12-0) vs. Wisconsin (11-1)

The Horned Frogs had a six-game streak of scoring 30-plus points and limiting opponents to seven points or less while the Badgers has won seven in a row including topping 70 points twice during that stretch. TCU has gone undefeated for two consecutive regular seasons, but still no national title game. I think anger fuels a win here.

Fiesta BowlOklahoma (11-2) vs. Connecticut (8-4)

The Sooners beat rival Oklahoma State to earn a berth in the Big 12 Championship where they beat Nebraska. The Huskies started 3-4 but have since won five straight. Expect the Sooners to edge out a close one here.

Orange BowlStanford (11-1) vs. Virginia Tech (11-2)

Virginia Tech claimed eleven straight victories after back-to-back opening losses to Boise State and James Madison. Meanwhile, Stanford’s only defeat was to Oregon, but since then has won seven straight. Good contest with Stanford winning an offensive duel.

Sugar BowlOhio State (11-1) vs. Arkansas (10-2)

Arkansas has had two weeks to rest since a win over LSU while the Buckeyes are entering on a five game win streak. This should be a shootout with Ohio getting a last second field goal to win it.

GoDaddy.com BowlMiami, OH (9-4) vs. Middle Tennessee State (6-6)

The Red Hawks were another one of the Cinderella teams of the season, recovering from a 1-11 2009 season to win the MAC championship over No. 24 Northern Illinois. The Blue Raiders began the year 3-6 but won their last three I expect the Red Hawks to cruise to an easy victory.

Cotton BowlLSU (10-2) vs. Texas A&M (9-3)

LSU won their first seven games and Texas A&M has now won their last six. I like the Aggies in this one after wins over Oklahoma, Nebraska, and Texas.

BBVA Compass BowlPittsburgh (7-5) vs. Kentucky (6-6)

Pitt head coach Dave Wannstedt was forced to resign after the regular season finale –a win over Cincinnati. Now the Panthers will face Kentucky, who snuck their way into a bowl game. This one is hard to call, but I think the Panthers edge one out for the heck of it.

Kraft Fight Hunger BowlNevada (12-1) vs. Boston College (7-5)

After opening wins over Weber State and Kent State, the Eagles dropped five in a row, but recorded five consecutive wins to end the year. For Nevada, one loss sandwiched between six opening wins and six closing wins, should be enough to etch a victory here.

BCS National Championship Game – Auburn (13-0) vs. Oregon (12-0)

Two offensive juggernauts will face off in this one. The Tigers 497.7 offensive yards per game against Oregon’s 537.5. I’m putting my money on the “Eugene Machine”, with its better defense and triple threat offense.

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Matt Martz is a sports writer for the Bakersfield Californian located in Central California. Blessed is the gambler who expects nothing, for ye shall not be disappointed.

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