01/06/2012 03:30 PM
Cotton Bowl Preview
January 5, 2012
After taking a one-day break, the college football bowl season picks up the pace Friday with the Cotton Bowl from Arlington, Texas. This year’s matchup could have gamblers scratching their heads when you look at the two teams squaring off.
Arkansas (10-2 straight up, 6-5 against the spread) opened up as an eight-point favorite over Kansas State (10-2 SU, 9-2 ATS) and the line has held steady over a month of wagers until this week. As of Thursday evening, most books pushed the number to 9 and one offshore outfit (5Dimes) had 10 on the board.
It’s hard to believe the number will close at eight, considering the betting public likes backing SEC schools, plus the Razorbacks put points up on the board as well. Quarterback Tyler Wilson led an offense that averaged 37.4 points per game, but that attack was held in check in the two losses.
To the Razorbacks’ defense, the setbacks came against Alabama (14-38) and LSU (17-41). With all due respect to Kansas State, its defense (27.8 PPG) isn’t even close to the two teams squaring off in the BCS Championship on Monday.
On a side note, Arkansas has already played at this venue (Cowboys Stadium) this season and against a Big 12 school too. The Razorbacks rallied past Texas A&M for a 42-38 victory on Oct. 1 as 2 ½-point underdogs.
While all these facts would make the amateur lean to the favorite in this spot, Arkansas doesn’t have all the makings of a lock. Outside of the neutral win against the Aggies, did you know the Razorbacks were 2-2 SU and more importantly 0-4 ATS outside of Fayetteville this season? Defensively, the team gave up an average of 33.8 PPG in their five games away from home.
Can Kansas State outscore Arkansas?
While the Razorbacks like to toss the football with Wilson, the Wildcats love to run the ball and surprisingly with their quarterback.
Signal caller Collin Klein racked up 1,099 rushing yards and 26 rushing touchdowns, plus he threw for 1,745 yards and 12 TDs. As mentioned above, K-State won’t be facing a great defense, plus the SEC doesn’t have many great attacks outside of Arkansas, which makes their defensive numbers look even worse.
From a bettor’s perspective, the value is with the underdog.
Kansas State went 9-3 ATS this season, which includes a 7-1 mark as an underdog. Looking at their schedule, the Wildcats had two bad games. They struggled in a Week 1 win against a decent FSC school in Eastern Kentucky (10-7) and they got blasted in Norman by Oklahoma (17-58).
Most believed the ‘Cats would pack it in after the loss to the Sooners, their first of the season, but head coach Bill Snyder rallied his troops for a great effort against Oklahoma State. The Cowboys earned the 52-45 victory, but K-State easily covered as a 21-point road underdog.
Taking KSU on the generous money-line of plus-270 (Bet $100 to win $270) is risky considering you’re getting more than a touchdown with the spread, but it’s not improbable. On the road, Snyder’s squad was 4-1 SU and 5-0 ATS.
A solid handicapping system for college football sort of backs Kansas State here as well. It normally applies to underdogs catching 10 or more points, which could be the case Friday, and it’s as simplistic as it gets.
Play on any underdog that owns the better rushing offense and better rushing defense
Kansas State’s offense is averaging 194 YPG on the ground, compared to 169 YPG for Arkansas. On defense, the ‘Cats are giving up 132 YPG and the Razorbacks are allowing 174 YPG.
How do you beat a great offense? Keep them off the field, right?
From a total perspective, both Arkansas and K-State have seen the ‘over’ go 8-3 this season. Most shops have the total hovering between 63 and 64 points.
The Big 12 has gone 6-1 SU and 5-2 ATS in bowl games so far, while the SEC has produced a 4-2 SU and 3-3 ATS in this year’s postseason.
Kickoff is slated for 8:00 p.m. ET, with FOX providing national coverage.
Kansas State Bowl History (Last 5 Bowls)
Dec. 30, 2010 Pinstripe Bowl - Syracuse 36, Kansas State 34
Dec. 28, 2006 Texas Bowl - Rutgers 37, Kansas State 10
Jan. 2, 2004 Fiesta Bowl - Ohio State 35, Kansas State 28
Dec. 27, 2002 Holiday Bowl - Kansas State 34, Arizona State 27
Dec. 29, 2001 Insight.com Bowl - Syracuse 26, Kansas State 3
Betting Notes: Head coach Bill Snyder returned to Manhattan last season after being the coach from 1989 to 2005. He owns an all-time bowl record of 6-6.
Arkansas Bowl History (Last 5 Bowls)
Jan. 4, 2011 Sugar Bowl - Ohio State 31, Arkansas 26
Jan. 2, 2010 Liberty Bowl - Arkansas 20, East Carolina 17, OT
Jan. 1, 2008 Capital One Bowl - Missouri 38, Arkansas 7
Jan. 1, 2007 Capital One Bowl - Wisconsin 17, Arkansas 14
Dec. 31, 2003 Independence Bowl - Arkansas 27, Missouri 14
Betting Notes: Bobby Petrino has gone 3-3 in bowl games, which included a 1-1 record at Arkansas. The Razorbacks are 1-4 ATS in their last five bowls.
Cotton Bowl History (2007-2011)
Jan. 7, 2011 - LSU 41, Texas A&M 24
Jan. 2, 2010 - Mississippi 21, Oklahoma State 7
Jan. 2, 2009 - Mississippi 47, Texas Tech 34
Jan. 1, 2008 - Missouri 38, Arkansas 7
Jan. 1, 2007 - Auburn 17, Nebraska 14
Betting Notes: The SEC has won four of the last five Cotton Bowls. Four of the last five have been decided by double digits. The 'under' has cashed in four of the last five Cotton Bowls.
Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs: