Corrigan's Gambling Corner: LendingTree, L.A. Bowl Best Bets - Dec. 18, 2021
It does not matter if these early bowl games are not great matchups, football is football, and there are some bets to be made.
Today, we are back with the best bets for the LendingTree and LA Bowl. These games will feature explosive offenses and even a top NFL quarterback prospect.
Let's get straight into the picks. If you decide to tail our picks, we just ask that you do so responsibly. Good luck to everyone, and I hope everyone enjoys the bowl games this weekend.
*Odds via FanDuel Sportsbook
LendingTree Bowl: Eastern Michigan Eagles vs. Liberty Flames
Spread: Liberty -8.5 | Total: 58 | ML: Liberty (-375), EMU (+285) |
Liberty Is on a bad run ATS, as they have only covered once in their last six games. However, they have one advantage that Eastern Michigan can only dream of having. I am of course talking about having Malik Willis playing quarterback.
Willis could be a first-round selection this year, and although his numbers took a dip this season, he is far and away the best player in this game. He only completed 62% of his passes and had 12 interceptions on the season, but his 820 rushing yards and 11 rushing touchdowns led the team. We can talk about his NFL draft prospect status at a different time because we still have one more game with Willis in college ball to talk about.
The offense is the reason the Flames are favored by more than a touchdown, but the defense is only allowing 23 points per game, 319 yards per game, and 4.6 yards per play. Against the pass, Liberty is third in passing yards allowed per game, 32nd in yards per pass, and 20th in completion percentage. Liberty is also fourth in sack percentage, and leading tackler Storey Jackson is also their sack leader with 6.5 sacks on the season.
On the other side, Eastern Michigan also benefits from great quarterback play. Senior Ben Bryant only threw for 14 touchdowns on the season, but Eastern Michigan is completing 69% of their passes, and they gain 7.6 yards per play. The offense is not explosive, but it is efficient, and they are averaging just a tick over 30 points per game.
What I am trying to say is that Liberty is not going to just walk all over a MAC team because of their first-rounder at quarterback. Now, that does not change the average defense for the Eagles, but Eastern Michigan is a lot better than what the books are saying.
Liberty is not a great team to bet on this season, but Eastern Michigan is 2-5 ATS in their last seven on the road, and Alabama is a long way from Michigan.
Pick: Liberty -8.5
Jimmy Kimmel L.A. Bowl: Utah State Aggies vs. Oregon State Beavers
Spread: Oregon State -7 | Total: 67 | ML: Oregon St. (-290), Utah State (+225)
Who else is pumped for the "Jimmy Kimmel Bowl?" I have long said that the only thing missing from college football is Jimmy Kimmel.
Anyway, this is a pretty great game. Oregon State was silently a very quality team throughout the entire season. Going 7-5 is not great, but the Beavers are a well-balanced team that can score in bunches.
Oregon State is scoring 31.9 points per game, and they are 16th in yards per play (6.4). Quarterback Chance Nolan does just enough to supplement the breakout season for junior running back B.J. Baylor. Before this season, Baylor's career-high in rushing yards came in 2019 when he only gained 177 rushing yards. In 2021, Baylor rushed for 1,259 yards and scored 13 times on the ground.
Defensively, the Beavers are strong against the run, but the secondary has some problems. They are 99th in passing yards per game, 74th in yards per pass, and 88th in opponents' completion percentage. Utah State runs the ball well with Calvin Tyler Jr. and Elelyon Noa, but the Aggies earn their money through the air.
The Aggies are 18th in passing yards per game, 32nd in yards per pass, and quarterback Logan Bonner threw 36 touchdowns this season. Wide Receiver Deven Thompkins finished second in receiving yards (1,589) and fourth in receptions for all of Division I. If Oregon State can't stop him, this game will get ugly.
Although Oregon State has made me a lot of money this season, Utah State has the same strengths as Oregon State, but they also pass the ball much better. Oregon State could still win this game just with how fundamentally sound they are, but seven points are way too much, especially considering that Utah State is 6-1 ATS in their last seven.
Pick: Utah State +7 (-105)
Photo: Getty Images