College Football Betting: Saturday Bowl Game Analysis & Predictions

Saturday’s bowl action features a number of entertaining contests highlighted by the Top 25 meeting between Texas and Oregon State. Both teams would like to finish off 2012 on a positive note and build on it for next year.

Here’s a look at all of Saturday’s action (lines can be found in your sportsbook):

Rice Owls vs. Air Force Falcons

Saturday, 11:45 PM ET

Odds: Air Force -2.5

The Falcons are making their fourth appearance in the Armed Forces Bowl – the most of any program – and their #2-ranked rushing attack has been handed a ground defense that is tied for 91st in the country. However, Rice is 30th on the ground, while Air Force is 97th.

This college football betting is all about both ground games pounding away. Two similar stories, so taking the points makes sense here.

Pick: Rice +2.5

West Virginia Mountaineers vs. Syracuse Orangemen

Saturday, 3:15 PM ET

Odds: West Virginia -3.5

Syracuse may have the “home field” advantage at the Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium, and they actually beat West Virginia twice in a row before the Mountaineers left the Big East for the Big 12. West Virginia’s defense is god-awful, and Syracuse actually has a good offense this season, so this should be fun, but Geno Smith and the Mountaineers’ offense will have enough to keep ‘Cuse at bay.

Pick: West Virginia -3.5

Navy Midshipmen vs. Arizona State Sun Devils

Saturday, 4:00 PM ET

Odds: Arizona State -14.5

The Sun Devils are a huge favorite in the Fight Hunger Bowl, but their 74th-ranked rushing defense will be tested by Navy’s sixth-ranked ground attack. Navy is also quite good at keeping foes off the board (31st in points allowed) despite giving up more than enough yards (55th in total defense). Navy will at least keep the Sun Devils from covering a spread that is more than two touchdowns.

Pick: Navy +14.5

Texas Longhorns vs. Oregon State Beavers

Saturday, 6:45 PM ET

Odds: Oregon State -3

With this appearance in the Alamo Bowl, the Longhorns are making their 51st trip to the postseason, while this will be bowl game #16 for Oregon State, who need a spark in their 99th-ranked ground game because Texas is 100th defending against the run. The Longhorns are also good at getting into the backfield and causing pressure, and that could throw Sean Mannion and company off. It’s upset time in San Antonio at the Alamodome.

Pick: Texas +3

TCU Horned Frogs vs. Michigan State Spartans

Saturday, 10:15 PM ET

Odds: TCU -2.5

The day wraps up with the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl in Arizona with a meeting of two teams that took a step back this season, although TCU had to deal with moving from the Mountain West to the Big 12. Both teams are ranked in the top 20 in total defense, but Michigan State has the edge there as they’re fourth, while TCU is 18th. Both teams are also average offensively, so don’t expect a lot of points to be scored in this late game. The difference in this game could be turnovers, and that goes to the Horned Frogs.

Pick: TCU -2.5

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