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HOLIDAY BOWL

12/27/07

TEXAS VS ARIZONA STATE

 

Now we're getting into the Bowl games that actually mean something. Games between teams that had good years with lots of wins and looking to put the cherry on top with one more......and, oh, hey, they even get to play these games in warm weather locations!

Both of these teams had similar years in that both of them beat the teams they were supposed to beat and then stumbled on the big stage. Sure, Texas blew out teams like Rice, as well they should have. While Arizona State ripped through the likes of San Jose State and Stanford. But when both of these teams had the opportunity to put a stamp on their season in a big way, they fell flat. Texas couldn't get it done against Oklahoma, Kansas State, or even Texas A&M for that matter, while Arizona State fell flat in their big showdown with USC and came up short against Oregon.

The strength of schedule battle has to go to Arizona State. They played the tougher schedule and performed better against a higher level of competition in general. If you take away their two losses against Oregon and USC, they beat everyone else in the manner that would be expected of a good team. They won comfortably against the likes of Colorado, San Diego State, Cal. They beat good UCLA and Oregon State teams. The same can't be said for Texas. Texas struggled against Arkansas State. They struggled against Central Florida. They were lucky to beat a bad Nebraska team and lost to Texas A&M. The game that stands out the most though is the Oklahoma State game. Oklahoma State led that game by three touchdowns at two different points in that game and was able to move the ball like they were playing a pee wee football team. Oklahoma State was ahead 35-14 heading into the 4th quarter. But the fact that the Oklahoma State defense wasn't much better than a pee wee team themselves, allowed Texas to climb back into the game and pull it out with a last second field goal. If they fell behind 35-14 against a team with a defense they'd be in trouble and that's where we're going with this write up.

If you take away 3 games from the Arizona State schedule, USC, Oregon and Oregon State, you're left with 9 games in which Arizona State went 9-0 and with an average margin of 32-14. If you did the same with Texas, and peeled away 3 games where things didn't go there way, you're still left with a bunch of games where teams scored 30+ points on these guys.

In simple terms, you have a team in Texas that can put points on the board but comes up questionable on defense. While in Arizona State, we have a team that can also put points on the board but has also shown the ability to come up big defensively.

If you take a look at the yards per point numbers for both, rounding off you come up with Texas at 13 on offense and 15 on defense for a +2 and for State you have 13 and 17 for a +4. You can break it down for how they did on the road only, and it still comes up Arizona State. Not only does Arizona State get the edge using yards per point, but you'd have to increase that edge if you agreed that Arizona State played the tougher schedule.

There are various ways of coming up with a number on a game. We can use our power ratings. We can use yards per point. We can use various formulas that give you a predicted score using yardage and blending in strength of schedule. The bottom line here is, each method we use comes up Arizona State. So perhaps the wrong team is favored here.

We prefer to have +3 on this one and will buy the hook if we can't get the +3 at -110 before kick off.

5* ARIZONA STATE +3

 

 

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