Free Holiday Bowl Prediction: Golden Gophers vs Cougars Odds
Looking for Minnesota Golden Gophers vs. Washington State Cougars free picks? Holiday Bowl betting sees the Golden Gophers taking on the Cougars Tuesday, December 27th at the Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California. Cappers Picks provides complimentary handicapping picks all NCAA football season long so stay tuned for more FREE college football predictions.
2016 National Funding Holiday Bowl
(8-4) Minnesota Golden Gophers vs. Washington State Cougars (8-4)
Date: Tuesday, December 27th
Time: 7:00 pm EST
Venue: Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California
NCAA Football Spread: WSU -7
NCAA Betting Total: 60
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Two surprising 8-4 teams navigated their respective conferences by winning in two entirely different fashions.
The Cougars enjoyed an eight game winning streak in the middle of the season with a pair of two loss streaks on each end of the season.
The Golden Gophers capitalized on a favorable Big 10 schedule that didn’t include Ohio State, Michigan, or Michigan State. But, they fell on the road to Nebraska, Wisconsin, and Penn State – the other strong teams in the conference.
Minnesota Golden Gophers
Based off of who they beat and who they lost to, Minnesota is a bit of a phony 8-4 team. Their best win of the season is likely their 31-10 win at Maryland.
Other than that, their other wins included Purdue, Northwestern, Illinois, Rutgers, Oregon State, Indiana State, and Utah State.
Only Northwestern, Utah State, and Maryland will be playing in bowl games.
Nevertheless, Minnesota finished 8-4 and got themselves a nice bowl bid. But, now they could be exploited as a phony team against a Washington State team that had themselves in a solid position to take a shot at the Pac 12 title before losing their final two games.
Minnesota averaged 30 points per game while only averaging 364 yards of total offense per game. Their defense on the other hand was very solid – allowing only 89 rushing yards per game.
However, that may not play that big of a factor in this game as Washington State relies heavily on the passing attack; they averaged 371 passing yards per game this season.
Minnesota will need to ride sophomore running back Rodney Smith – who rushed for 1084 yards and 15 touchdowns this season.
He will be relied upon to carry their offensive load and slow down the game to avoid allowing Washington State’s high powered offense from getting rolling.
Washington State Cougars
The Cougars started off with an embarrassing home loss to FCS Eastern Washington. They then nearly won at Boise State before rattling off 8 straight wins including blowouts of Oregon, Stanford, Arizona, and Cal.
However, the Cougars were slowed down in their last two losing at Colorado before getting dominated at home by Washington in the regular season finale.
That game was ultimately to decide who would go to the Pac 12 championship game. So, the Cougars could still be feeling sour from that missed opportunity.
However, this matchup should have them feeling better as they present all sorts of matchup issues for Minnesota.
Luke Falk will be a quarterback unlike any other that Minnesota has faced this season as his ability to sit in the pocket and pick apart secondaries is one of the best in the FBS.
Falk uses a multitude of receivers but his main target has been Gabe Marks. Marks finished the regular season with 85 receptions and 13 touchdowns.
The Cougars have a multitude of weapons though with 11 other players recording offensive touchdowns.
A night game on the West Coast should be a nice setup for Washington State – while it will be abnormal for the Golden Gophers.
NCAA Football Handicapping Trends
• Washington State has won SU and ATS 2 of their 3 bowl appearances since 2003.
• Minnesota is 3-7 SU in their last 10 bowl games.
• Minnesota is 4-6 ATS in their last 10 bowl games.
• Minnesota is 5-8 ATS in their last 13 non-conference games.
Free National Funding Holiday Bowl NCAA Football Prediction
The Cougars should roll in this game. Minnesota’s 8-4 record has a lot of holes in it if you look closer at it while Washington State dominated a majority of their Pac 12 schedule.
4* Free NCAA Betting Pick: Washington State ATS
Falk should have a strong game in possibly his final collegiate game if he chooses to forgo his final year of eligibility for the NFL.
He has the makeup to compete in the NFL and this could be his last tryout that convinces himself and scouts that he will be a good pro prospect.
Holiday Bowl Free Score Prediction: Washington State 44 – Minnesota 20
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