5 College Football Mismatches Bettors Can Exploit During Bowl Season


Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Brontae Harris

Dec 18, 2018, 10:39 AM EST
  • It's important for bettors to examine the biggest mismatches during bowl season.
  • I'll focus on five of the most glaring mismatches, starting with one on Tuesday.
  • I focus on a few areas, including the run, QB pressure and even red zone production.

Bowl season has arrived, which we means we have a very robust, 12-game data set to analyze the relative strengths and weaknesses of all 78 teams competing during bowl season.

Whether you want to look in the trenches, at the skill positions or even on special teams, bettors must identify and be cognizant of glaring mismatches each week.

Power ratings should serve as your handicapping starting point, but situational angles (especially motivation during bowl season) and matchup analyses should help refine your final wagers.

As I have done each week this season, I have again pinpointed five of the most glaring mismatches during bowl season. These will hopefully help you make more informed betting decisions. For those not familiar, I will point out a major discrepancy in a standard statistic and then provide supporting evidence that the underlying metrics back up.

Let’s start by looking at a glaring mismatch on Tuesday night.

UAB Pass Rush vs. Northern Illinois

  • Spread: UAB -2.5
  • Over/Under: 43
  • Location: Boca Raton, Fla.
  • Date:  Tuesday, Dec. 18
  • Time: 7 p.m. ET
  • Channel: ESPN

The Boca Raton Bowl will feature two of the most prolific pass rushing units in college football. Northern Illinois leads the nation with 50 sacks, ranking fifth in Adjusted Sack Rate. Meanwhile, UAB comes in at fourth overall with 43 sacks and ranks third in Adjusted Sack Rate. Both defensive fronts are more than capable of absolutely dominating a game.

However, the UAB offensive line is much more equipped to battle in the trenches. Northern Illinois allowed 38 sacks this season at a rate of 2.92 per game, which ranks 113th in the country. In contrast, the Blazers only allowed 25 all season in the same number of games.

The advanced metrics confirm these raw numbers, as UAB’s offensive line ranks 60th in Adjusted Sack Rate. That’s just slightly above average, but significantly better than the Huskies’ rank of 117th.

In a game that features two stout run defenses, each team should face countless third-and-long situations. And it is the UAB defensive line that is more likely to get to the QB as a result of the more favorable matchup up front. I think that’s ultimately the difference in this game where points should come at a premium.

Troy Special Teams vs. Buffalo

  • Spread: Buffalo -2
  • Over/Under: 51.5
  • Location: Mobile, Ala.
  • Date:  Saturday, Dec. 22
  • Time: 7 p.m. ET
  • Channel: ESPN