College Betting Recaps Bowl Week #1

The One(s) that got Away

College Football came back with a vengeance last week as Bowl Season kicked off. Let’s take a look at the problems with bowl betting season. We might have a few issues.

Case #1: Louisville (7-5) vs. Cincinnati (9-3) Betting Line: Louisville -2

Remember the old expression: You can’t tell the players without a scorecard? Well, college bowl season in this new era of transfer portals and draft preparation has taken that to a new level. And this matchup could be used as a case study going forward. Cincinnati came into the matchup with a better record while the Cardinals came from a stronger conference. Here’s the rub: both teams were without their head coaches, each having moved on, and each team was missing their starting quarterback.

Want more? Cincinnati would be without their top two tight ends and top two receivers, all preparing for the NFL Draft. Oh, and another receiver entered the transfer portal along with the team’s starting center. Suddenly the nine-win Bearcats look like a shadow of their former selves.

Still more? Louisville lost their head coach Scott Satterfield to…Cincinnati. Yes, the Cardinals head coach was now with the enemy, along with a few of his assistants. Now, they weren’t coaching in this game but, could they be giving away important intel?! Top cornerback Kei-Trel Clark entered the NFL Draft and wasn’t available as well as leading running back Tiyon Evans and starting quarterback Malik Cunningham. So nearly all the key offensive pieces were gone and chunks of their coaching staff were with their opponent now. Good luck with this one.

What to do now when betting during bowl season? Yes, get a scorecard! Find out who is playing and who isn’t playing. Check the coaching staff and look for stability and veterans on the staff. On the surface, one might think the Bearcats had the better team as they were coming off a trip to the College Playoffs last season and had nine wins again this season. Louisville had the 27th-ranked ground attack this season but was without their lead back and their more dynamic player in Cunningham. Are we throwing darts here? Who to take?

As it turns out, Louisville was the better play. They had a backup quarterback that had played in several games, a freshman running back just waiting to show his stuff and enough continuity on the staff to put up a better game plan. The Cardinals scored first, ran the ball down Cincinnati’s throats and rolled to an easy, 24-7 win. The two teams combined for eight turnovers.

Final Score: Louisville 24 Cincinnati 7 Spread -2

Case #2: SMU (7-5) @ BYU (7-5) Betting Line: SMU -4.5

Isn’t there any sentiment left in college football? SMU closes its season with a matchup against BYU with the game marking the final game of the outstanding college football career of Mustangs quarterback Tanner Mordecai. BYU’s starting quarterback is out with injury for this matchup and the 3rd-ranked SMU passing attack was set up to face the 102nd-ranked BYU pass defense. What could possibly go wrong? Four points? Oh please.

An opening drive resulting in a Mustangs’ field goal has hopes high. Without their starting quarterback, the Cougars don’t appear flustered as they run their way down the field for a touchdown. Before the first quarter closes, SMU and Mordecai get the go-ahead touchdown. That didn’t appear too challenging, perhaps sentiment has its place.

A 10-10 halftime score gives us some concern but it’s just four points. SMU has the ball to start the half. A quick touchdown and this thing will shift in the Mustangs' favor. Let’s sit back and…INTERCEPTED!!...76-yards later this thing has been turned on its ears. A pick-six turns this one into a 17-10 deficit. Ok, not a problem. The Mustangs will go right back down the field and…punt. BYU gets it back and grounds and pounds it down the field for a touchdown, 24-10. Uh oh. A quick Mustangs’ score to start the fourth quarter gives hope. Someone forgot to tell the Cougars who killed a significant amount of clock with their ground game. SMU gets it back eventually and we are down to the final two minutes. The calculator in our head starts working. We need OT. Then we need the Mustangs to get it first and score a TD and then make a stop and…why do I smell smoke? Oh, that’s from my head. Mordecai drives his team down the field, with seconds remaining. I almost can’t see the tv through my tear-soaked eyes..the sentiment is dripping off the tv. TOUCHDOWN!! Beautiful! Coach kick the extra point…tie this game up and go to overtime. Coach? Oh God no, coach. Two-point conversion?! Don’t do it. We need OT and…they missed it. I wipe the rotting sentiment off of my tv screen. There’s no crying in football.

Final Score: BYU 24 SMU 23 Spread SMU -4.5: Loss

The lessons we learned this week: Check your scorecard and don’t bet with your heart, even when it seems so, so obvious. Check in next week for another sampling of ‘The One(s) that got Away’. Also, be sure to check out my premium bets and packages here for all the inside knowledge in baseball, the NBA, the NHL, the NFL and college football.

*College football lines courtesy of

By Mark Ruelle

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Mark Ruelle

Mark has been a sports fanatic since childhood. He is also an avid follower of sports analytics and has used it in his own betting analysis for over two decades. Now we have Mark on our team here at Stat Salt. He holds degrees in marketing, broadcasting, and English and uses this vast array of assets to dissect and analyze game matchups. Mark will provide you with a wide variety of statistics to consider and a strong opinion in each matchup that he covers. Please follow him daily for an up-to-the-minute analysis of all the important games.