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over the next three days. This is the "meat and potatoes" of the college bowl season and it all gets started early with a noon eastern kickoff from Forth Worth, as Houston and Air Force meet in the Armed Forces Bowl for the second straight year. The Couga



2009-12-31

over the next three days. This is the "meat and potatoes" of the college bowl season and it all gets started early with a noon eastern kickoff from Forth Worth, as Houston and Air Force meet in the Armed Forces Bowl for the second straight year. The Cougars are 5-point favorites at last check, and getting support from 72% of bettors according to the Sportsbook.com BETTING TRENDS page.

It's déjà vu all over again for Air Force and Houston, opponents for a second straight year in this bowl. The Cougars won last year, 34-28, covering the number on a late field goal. At 10-3 SU and 8-4 ATS, the Cougars are looking to culminate its best season since winning 11 games in 1979. Houston is averaging 43.9 points per game and a nation's-best 581.1 yards per game on offense. Air Force was 7-5 and 6-4-1 ATS with just a 1-5 record vs. bowl teams. The Falcons rushed for 273.6 YPG this season, fourth nationally, and will look to take advantage of a Cougars defense that allowed 5.0 yards per rush.

Why watch and wager- Houston's a good play if one believes they can dictate tempo. The Cougars will want to play fast with Case Keenum hitting receivers all over the field, which presumably leads to touchdowns. Houston has covered their last five games off a loss and the defense will have to be disciplined (unlikely) to stop Air Force attack. The Cougs are only 1-8 ATS in road games after outgaining opponent by 125 or more total yards in their previous game. Air Force is a good play if you believe they impose their will on Houston. The Falcons like the other military schools play hard for 60 minutes, which is not always the case for Houston. If Air Force establishes running game, the undisciplined Houston defense can be gashed over and over and if they can keep continual pressure on Keenum to frustrate the Cougars, those points look inviting, considering they are 19-9 ATS after rushing for 200 or more yards.

The StatFox Power Line shows Houston by 5, providing evidence as to why Sportsbook oddsmakers have been reluctant to come off the 5 number despite heavy action on the Cougars.

CFB: Sun Bowl - Stanford vs. Oklahoma (2:00E CBS) The Sun Bowl has become a New Year's eve tradition and for 2009, the opponents in the game are Oklahoma & Stanford. The Cardinal are minus their starting quarterback for the contest, and hence come in as double-digit underdogs to a Sooners team that has become more accustomed to playing in BCS bowl games. Will they be motivated by lesser stakes in this one? Bettors don't seem to think so, as the Sportsbook.com Betting Trends page shows 71% of players on the side of Stanford.

El Paso natives are looking for a better showing than the 3-0 snore-fest a year ago. This bowl has typically been an exciting one, dominated by underdogs, 11-1-1 ATS prior to last year. The Pac-10 has won five straight games (3-2 ATS). All of this could bode well for Stanford, which comes in as a heavy underdog to Sooners without starting quarterback Andrew Luck. The Cardinal were 8-4 (7-5 ATS) this season to earn their first bowl bid since 2001. Oklahoma was 7-5 (4-7-1 ATS) and mostly inconsistent team. The Sooners have lost five of their last six bowl games both SU and ATS, with the one win coming in non-BCS '05 Holiday Bowl.

Why watch and wager- This matchup could be called the "Backup Bowl" as neither will have their original signal caller, which will dramatically impact the outcome. Tavita Pritchard is in charge of completing passes for Stanford so running back Toby Gerhart doesn't have face what would look like two dozen red helmets in the box. Under coach Jim Harbaugh the Cardinal is 7-0 ATS vs. teams outscoring opponents by 10 or more points per game over the last two seasons. Though the Sooners defense wasn't as strong as expected, they had their moments especially against teams that like to run the ball. In November encounters, they stuffed both Texas A&M (59 yards) and Oklahoma State (62 yards) and are wholly capable of doing the same against Stanford, without the threat of the pass. Boomer Sooner's bowl record under Bob Stoops has been lousy of late, however Oklahoma is 11-4 ATS after allowing 175 or less yards in previous game.

The StatFox Power Line shows Oklahoma by 13, perhaps indicating a bit of value on the Sooners against the actual line.


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