Bowl season has slowed down a bit with the holiday weekend approaching, with only five games between Wednesday and Saturday. However, just because fewer games are being played doesn't mean you don't want to bet on them, and I couldn't send you into the holidays without some picks.
So welcome to a very special four-pick edition of The Six Pack, featuring just enough knowledge to get you through to next week.
Army vs. Missouri
Armed Forces Bowl -- Wednesday, Dec. 22: This line has moved a lot as Missouri announced it would be without starting quarterback Connor Bazelak as well as running back Tyler Badie, the latter of which led Tigers with 1,939 all-purpose yards and 18 total touchdowns. The Tigers will also be without key players on defense, including leading tackler Martez Manuel and run-stuffing defensive tackle Akial Byers. Missouri's run defense has been awful enough already, but to lose your starting DT and your leading tackler is a terrible thing before having to play Army.
So I'm not expecting the Knights to have much difficulty moving the ball. The problem is, those absences affected the spread -- now Army (-4) -- too much for me to trust Army to cover. While Mizzou's defense is bad, it's not as if Army has a lockdown defense of its own. The Knights have struggled defending the pass, and the Tigers should find success on offense against them. All of that tells me that the over is the play we want to make here. Army 30, Missouri 27 | Over (53.5)
Florida vs. UCF
Gasparilla Bowl -- Thursday, Dec. 23: You always have to question whether or not a team wants to be there when it comes to bowl games. Yes, SEC fanbases are a bit too quick to use it as an excuse for any postseason loss, but there is some truth in it in a situation like this one. The Gators have a new coach coming into the program, Billy Napier, and a lot of players who aren't sure what the future holds for them. This bowl game, which is a quick two-hour drive down the road against an in-state program, might not seem like much of a reward. There's a strong chance the Gators just want to get the season over with and move on with their lives.
Then there's UCF. The Knights are without quarterback Dillon Gabriel, who suffered an injury earlier this season and has since transferred to UCLA, but this offense performed well without him. The Knights rank 44th nationally in points per possession and 41st in offensive success rate. While Florida is more talented, UCF has a clear motivational edge. If Florida beats UCF, it just did what it's supposed to. But if UCF beats Florida? That's promotional material the program can use as it prepares to join the Big 12. Plus, if Gus Malzahn's history at Auburn taught us anything, it's that his teams are always prepared and motivated in rivalry games like this one. Florida 28, UCF 24 | UCF (+7)
Hawaii vs. Memphis
Hawaii Bowl -- Dec. 24: While bowl games are always more difficult to handicap than regular-season games, one thing typically holds true: bad defenses in the regular season are still bad defenses in bowl games, and these are two bad defenses. Hawaii ranks a respectable 67th in defensive success rate, but the 2.17 points it allowed per possession ranks 83rd. Meanwhile, Memphis ranks 78th in defensive success rate and 93rd in points allowed per possession.
So, let's bet on both defenses continuing to be bad! Now, if I have any concern with this play, it's that I don't know if we can rely on Hawaii. The Rainbow Warriors are playing in their stadium, but there have been rumblings of some locker room troubles between the players and coach Todd Graham. Maybe they're just whispers of disgruntled players, or maybe there's more to it. If it's the latter, it could have a significant impact on this play. At the same time, Memphis might get us home on its own if Hawaii no-shows. Memphis 37, Hawaii 28 | Over (55.5)
Ball State vs. Georgia State
Camellia Bowl -- Dec. 25: Simply put, I do not trust the MAC right now, nor do I trust Ball State's rush defense in this matchup. Maybe it isn't fair to paint an entire conference with a broad brush, but as of publication, the MAC is 0-4 in bowl games, losing by an average of 15.75 points per game. All four losses have come against other Group of Five programs.
Ball State's rush defense ranks 77th nationally in success rate against the run and 89th in defensive EPA against the run. Georgia State runs the ball 62.3% of the time on offense (8th). The Panthers rank 38th nationally in yards per carry at 4.89, 34th in success rate rushing the ball and 20th in rushing EPA. In a game that will come down to which defense gets more stops, I trust Georgia State a lot more than I do Ball State. Georgia State 27, Ball State 20 | Georgia State (-6)
Games of the Week
Lock of the Week
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