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College Football Computer Picks for 5 Underrated Bowl Games: Syracuse Ready to Paint Boca Raton Orange

Dan Villari Syracuse Orange Clemson Tigers
Dan Villari #89 of the Syracuse Orange celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the Clemson Tigers on September 30, 2023. Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images/AFP.

The top U.S. sports betting sites have released their odds for college football bowl season and we’ve put together some best bets for 5 underrated matchups that will be taking place during the first week.

The five bowls we’ll be covering in this article are:

  1. Myrtle Beach Bowl (Georgia Southern vs. Ohio)
  2. New Mexico Bowl (New Mexico State vs. Fresno State)
  3. Famous Toastery Bowl a.k.a. Bahamas Bowl (Western Kentucky vs. Old Dominion)
  4. Frisco Bowl (UTSA vs. Marshall)
  5. Boca Raton Bowl (South Florida vs. Syracuse)

Picks Summary

  • Georgia Southern-Ohio Under 49 (-110)
  • New Mexico State-Fresno State Under 51 (-110)
  • Old Dominion -2.5 (-110)
  • Marshall +13 (-110)
  • Syracuse -3 (-110)

*All odds from at Bet365 (check our Bet365 Review)

Georgia Southern Eagles vs. Ohio Bobcats

Saturday, December 16, 2023 – 11:00 AM ET at Brooks Stadium

Computer Pick

Our computers indicate that this will be a low-scoring contest, and I agree. The AI has this game as a pick’em with the total adding up to 48 which is why you should play the Under.

Key Absences

This game is unique for the number of offensive players that Ohio will miss.

It’s crazy but true: the Bobcats will miss their starting quarterback, their backup quarterback, their top wide receiver, as well as their top two running backs.

That’s a lot of skill and production that won’t be on the field for an Ohio team that already wasn’t good offensively. In the regular season, the Bobcats ranked 94th in scoring offense.

They are a defense-first team and will show it in this game.

Parker Navarro

With Ohio missing its top two quarterbacks and running backs, its most important player on offense will be third-string Parker Navarro.

Navarro leads active Bobcats in both passing and rushing, with 65 passing yards on ten attempts and 107 rushing yards on ten attempts. His lack of experience will contribute to Ohio’s low offensive ceiling in this game.

Ohio’s Defense

Ranking sixth in scoring defense, the Bobcats are one of the top defensive units in the nation. They’ll ably limit a Georgia Southern offense that relies more heavily on the pass than almost every other team.

The Eagles live and die with quarterback Davis Brin, despite his interception tendencies — he has 16 interceptions on the season, compared to 22 passing touchdowns.

He’ll commonly throw 45 or more passes in a game.

Relying so heavily on him will be trouble against an Ohio team that ranks sixth nationally against the pass.

NCAAF Pick: Under 49.5 (-110) at Bet365

New Mexico State Aggies vs. Fresno State Bulldogs

Saturday, December 16, 2023 – 05:45 PM ET at University Stadium

Computer Pick

Our computers project a low-scoring game, with the Aggies beating the Bulldogs, 26-22. Accordingly, you should play the “under.”

Key Absence

New Mexico State will miss a key offensive player whose absence will negatively impact the total number of points scored in this game. Wide receiver Trent Hudson, the second-leading pass-catcher on the team, has entered the transfer portal.

While he was second in receptions and yards, he easily led pass-catchers with ten touchdowns. His overall productivity and his nose for the end zone will make it hard for the Aggies to score as many points.

This is not just speculation, because it is already evident from different regular season games that his low productivity often leads to less scoring.

Consider the two games in which the Aggies failed to exceed 17 points. In those two games, Hudson mustered a combined total of 26 receiving yards.

Time of Possession Battle

Especially without Hudson, the Aggies will want to run the ball.

This game will resemble their 20-17 game against Jacksonville State in which they dominated time of possession.

Fresno State ranks 98th nationally in run defense, so the Aggies can sustain drives in a way that keeps the clock ticking.

Good offense will function as good defense because, in running the ball a lot to sustain drives, they’ll keep Fresno State’s quarterback on the sidelines where it’s tougher to develop a rhythm.

NCAAF Pick: Under 51 (-110) at Bet365

Western Kentucky Hilltoppers vs. Old Dominion Monarchs

Monday, December 18, 2023 – 02:30 PM ET at Jerry Richardson Stadium

Computer Pick

Our computers project a significant Old Dominion victory, and I agree. Accordingly, you should bet on the Monarchs.

Western Kentucky’s Absences

Western Kentucky will be disadvantaged by several important absences. These absences are important because they affect the Hilltoppers’ offensive ceiling.

Yet without scoring a lot of points, the Hilltoppers don’t have a chance, because their defense is so bad.

On offense, they’ll miss almost their entire starting offensive line. Their best offensive lineman, left guard Quantavious Leslie, is a two-time Conference-USA first-teamer and will be missed the most.

But they’ll also miss their starting center and starting right tackle. They could also miss their starting quarterback, Austin Reed.

Not only is he a big part of their offense, but their backup quarterback is also in the transfer portal, so they would have to rely on their third-string quarterback.

Western Kentucky’s “Defense”

The Hilltoppers need to win by outscoring their opponent, but they’ll have to rely on their defense for this game.

However, they rank 114th nationally in total defense. They repeatedly allow decent offenses to look great.

New Mexico State, for example, put up 38 on them, which is almost as many points as it’s scored all year.

Old Dominion’s Offense

The Monarchs will rely especially on their highly efficient running backs against what is one of the worst run defenses in the nation.

Kadarius Calloway leads Old Dominion with 7.6 YPC, and Keshawn Wicks has five YPC. Their ability to lean on their running game will make them extra comfortable on offense.

NCAAF Pick: Old Dominion -2.5 (-110) at Bet365

UTSA Roadrunners vs. Marshall Thundering Herd

Tuesday, December 19, 2023 – 09:00 PM ET at Toyota Stadium

Computer Pick

Our computers project a close game, and I agree as it has the Roadrunners failing to cover the spread. This makes Marshall an excellent double-digit underdog to invest in.

UTSA’s Defensive Limitation

The Roadrunners will miss their star defender, who is in the transfer portal. This defender is Edge, Trey Moore, the AAC Defensive Player of the Year. Moore is a top-caliber pass-rusher.

So, while Marshall is missing a couple of key offensive players, Moore’s absence will allow Thundering Herd backup players to perform better than they normally would.

Rasheen Ali

Marshall’s pass attack will have an easier time, even without its starting quarterback, thanks to UTSA’s limited pass rush.

But the key component of Marshall’s offense will be Rasheen Ali, who, it has been announced, will play in this game. Ali is a 1,000-yard rusher who wants to end on a high note before heading to the NFL.

In its final regular season game, UTSA allowed over 200 rushing yards to Tulane, showing its vulnerability to higher-quality rush attacks.

Marshall’s Defense

The Thundering Herd’s last game, against Arkansas State, is telling.

They suffocated Jaylen Raynor for -9 rushing yards, even though the Arkansas State quarterback has in multiple games exceeded 50 yards rushing and has run for as many as 97 yards.

UTSA relies on quarterback Frank Harris and his mobility, so this last game against Arkansas State is a great sign for Marshall, whose improved run defense will make the Roadrunners uncomfortable on offense.

NCAAF Pick: Marshall +13 (-110) at Bet365

South Florida Bulls vs. Syracuse Orange

Thursday, December 21, 2023 – 08:00 PM ET at FAU Stadium

Computer Pick

Our computers project a strong Syracuse win, and I agree. Accordingly, you should invest in the Orange.

Garrett Shrader

It is looking like Syracuse’s starting quarterback, Garrett Shrader, will be completely healthy for this game. He helped the Orange end the regular season on a strong note, with a 35-31 win over Wake Forest.

Shrader has improved tremendously as a passer, bettering his mechanics to become a more efficient thrower. But he has always been known for the threat that he poses as a runner.

He’ll thrive also on the ground against a USF defense that has struggled against mobile quarterbacks. UTSA’s Frank Harris, for example, ran for a season-high 112 yards against these Bulls.

Strength of Schedule

South Florida put up some big numbers against low-profile teams like Charlotte.

But its track record in conference play is worrisome. The Bulls, for example, lost by 17 to Western Kentucky. They are not up to the task against an ACC team, one that handled Purdue, for example.

Syracuse, who just ran over Wake Forest, will have a strong offensive edge in this game, also with Shrader, while its defense will have an easier test against this particular non-ACC opponent.

NCAAF Pick: Syracuse -3 (-110) at Bet365

*The line and/or odds referenced in this article might have changed since the content was published. For the latest information on line movements, visit OddsTrader’s free betting odds tool.

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