MCB’s 12 BETS OF CHRISTMAS

We love Christmas. In fact, we’ve even thought about wearing a Christmas jumper, as well as backing one (have you seen Kempton’s Boxing Day card?). The Festive season is invariably an expensive one, but those bookies insist on giving us more Christmas markets than you’d find in your average German town. Given their generosity, it would be churlish not to take advantage of their Christmas spirit, so herewith are our dozen cracking Christmas bets…

CINCINNATI v SAN DIEGO STATE

CHRISTMAS DAY – 01:00 (BT SPORT)

Presents wrapped and under the tree? Carrot for Rudolph and a mince pie for Santa on the hearth? Good. Don’t forget the sherry.

Then it is time to put your feet up and watch some College Football, namely the Hawaii Bowl from Aloha Stadium, Honolulu.

Donnel Pumphrey1
Game-breaker: Donnel Pumphrey

Hawaii are not involved, having failed to gain the pre-requisite six wins to qualify for a bowl berth.

The Cincinnati Bearcats (7-5) will take on the San Diego State Aztecs (10-3) in what could be a decent game. Rest assured, it won’t be played in front of too many people – Hawaiians rarely turn out in force at the antiquated venue, which has regularly played host to the annual NFL Pro Bowl.

The Aztecs placed first in the West division of the Mountain West Conference and after a 1-3 start, they are on a nine-game winning streak.

Running back Donnel Pumphrey is a game-breaker, who has accumulated over 1,500 yards this season, but the Bearcats could be missing quarterback Maxwell Smith, who tore his ACL towards the end of the year against Nevada.

It is likely that redshirt freshman Christian Chapman will try and keep pace with an explosive Cincinnati offense, led by QB Gunner Kiel, which ranks No.4 in passing yardage in the nation and No.5 in total offense.

Their third-down conversion rate, at 51.6 per cent is only bettered by Texas Tech.

We fully expect Cincinnati (1.83) to win and cover the 1.5-point handicap. [SM]

BEST BET: CINCINNATI -1.5 @ 1.91 

CHRISTMAS DAY TV RATINGS

It is always a favourite punt of ours. Who wins the TV ratings war on Christmas Day has little to do with taste.

That’s why most firms have the BBC’s Mrs Brown’s Boys Christmas Special as odds-on favourite. You know it and we know it: It is truly dreadful and plunges the depths of ‘comedy’ that we never thought existed. And you, dear licence-fee payer, are forking out for the Crayola that the ‘writers’ use to pen up this guff.

Lady Mary
Our crush: Lady Mary

The final episode of Downton Abbey will knock spots off the rancid BBC output (which also includes the truly dreadful soap Eastenders at 6.00).

At odds of 4.50, Lady Mary – upon whom we have a complete crush, daahling – and company look phenomenal value to win the ratings battle.

Want a fair value outsider? Try Dr Who at around 26.00. It will certainly beat Coronation Street.

But we’ll take safe, genteel and well-written drama over sad, crass desperately unfunny ‘comedy’ any day of the week. And we haven’t even mentioned the desperate ‘Miranda’!

The bookies may have got this very wrong. Take advantage. [SM]

BEST BET: DOWNTON ABBEY TO WIN CHRISTMAS DAY TV RATINGS @ 4.50 

STOKE v MAN UNITED

BOXING DAY – 12:45 (SKY SPORTS 1)

Mark Hughes had a wonderful playing career, and his most successful periods were undoubtedly with Manchester United (2.20) with whom he spent two spells and made over 300 appearances.

Mark Hughes3
Hughes: Top manager

The Welshman is now an established Premier League manager and has done a fine job since taking over as Stoke (3.30) boss back in 2013, transforming the Potters from a ‘route one’ team into a side that enjoys operating with a possession-based style.

This change in style has attracted some of the most exciting young talents in Europe to The Britannia, with the likes of Bojan, Ibrahim Afellay, Xherdan Shaqiri and Marko Arnautovic all arriving at the club since Hughes was appointed.

Manchester United fans are crying out for a change in style. While Louis Van Gaal’s patient tactics have stopped the side conceding goals, it has also caused United to look like an overly defensive outfit, with the Red Devils failing to score in a staggering amount of games so far this season.

That said, meetings between these two clubs do usually produce goals. Of the last seven games between Stoke and United, only two have ended without both teams getting on the scoresheet.

We expect much of the same on Boxing Day, and fancy a scoring draw at The Britannia. [CC]

BEST BET: BOTH TEAMS TO SCORE @ 2.05 

KING GEORGE VI CHASE

BOXING DAY – 15:10 (CHANNEL 4)

Kempton Park’s Christmas feature is shaping up to be an open and competitive renewal.

The Irish appear to hold a strong hand in the chasing department this season, with the Gordon Elliott-trained Don Cossack (3.50), winner of his last four and eight of his last nine, appearing to be the one to beat.

Don Cossack
Solid gold: Don Cossack

The eight-year-old won a sub-par renewal of the JNWine.com Champions Chase at Down Royal in October and has been ticking over at home since then. He looks like a Gold Cup winner in the making, but his jumping is faultless and, if fully fit, will take all the beating.

Last season’s top-notch novice Vautour (3.75) jumped left when winning the Grade 2 Stella Artois 1965 Chase at Ascot and will have to up his game, but there is no reason to think he will not improve for that first run of the season. Willie Mullins’ inmate rates the biggest danger to the selection.

And you cannot dismiss Cue Card (5.00), who looked back to his best when taking the Grade 1 Lancashire Chase at Haydock last month, getting the better of Silviniaco Conti. We see Paul Nicholls’ runner turning the tables this time and he looks a solid each-way bet at around 9.00.

Still, we side with Don Cossack, who looks the class act. [SM]

BEST BET: DON CASSACK TO WIN THE KING GEORGE VI CHASE @ 3.50 

NEWCASTLE v EVERTON

BOXING DAY – 17:30 (BT SPORT 1)

Newcastle (3.20) have endured a tough season so far and all seems far from well at the Tyneside club. The fans are once again unhappy with the board and management team, which is without doubt, having a negative effect on the playing staff.

Romelu Lukaku
Quick and powerful: Romelu Lukaku

That said, The Magpies have managed a few impressive results, with their 2-0 win over Liverpool being the highlight of the season so far.

Everton (2.25) are really starting to look like a settled outfit, after a transitional campaign last season. Roberto Martinez has assembled a talented, young squad since his appointment in 2013 and is now starting to reap the rewards.

Youngsters Romelu Lukaku, Ross Barkley, John Stones and Gerard Deulofeu have all been outstanding for the Toffees this season, and keeping all four men fit will be vital if Everton are going to challenge for a European spot come May.

Newcastle have a wretched record against their Boxing Day opponents, with Everton losing just one of the last eight meetings between the two sides.

Everything points to an away win here. [CC]

BEST BET: EVERTON TO WIN @ 2.25 

SOUTHAMPTON v ARSENAL

BOXING DAY – 19:45 (BT SPORT 1)

Southampton (3.25) are a side struggling for consistency. Ronald Koeman’s men are not living up to the high standards they set last season, and have looked particularly lacklustre in recent home games against Aston Villa and Stoke.

Ronald Koeman2
Ronald Koeman: Saints struggling for form

However, they have also looked impressive on occasions, most notably during their convincing win away at Chelsea back in October.

Arsene Wenger finally seems to be prioritising Premier League football. Arsenal (2.30) have had a below-par Champions League campaign so far, eventually qualifying by the skin of their teeth after a win at Olympiacos in the final group stage game. The Gunners also suffered an embarrassing 3-0 defeat against Sheffield Wednesday to crash out of the League Cup.

That said, it has been a completely different story in the league for Wenger’s men. On their day, Arsenal look arguably the best side in the league, and this was particularly evident in their 3-0 demolition of Manchester United in early October.

These two sides may both possess a similar attacking style, but when they meet each other, goals aren’t usually on the agenda.

Four of the last six clashes between Southampton and Arsenal have ended with less than two goals being scored and we expect their game on Boxing Day to follow suit. [CC]

BEST BET: UNDER 2.5 GOALS @ 1.91

CHRISTMAS NO.1 BOOK

We are not exactly a nation of cooks. We like to think we are, with TV shows such as The Great British Bake Off, Masterchef and anything containing the wonderful Jamie Oliver always among the top-rated TV shows. But we simply don’t have the time (we’re too busy watching cookery shows).

Nigella Lawson
She cooks, too: Nigella Lawson

And blokes being what they are (clueless) over what to buy their women for Christmas (or at any other time of the year for that matter), grabbing a cookery book on December 24 is a safe bet for those who have little imagination.

(And really, what are those blokes supposed to do when the reply to the question of: “What do you want for Christmas, honey?’” is met with the response, “Oh, nothing really. I’m fine”).

Lingerie is not cool – and most guys are embarrassed to buy it anyway. Be honest, have you a clue what bra size your missus wears?

So a cookery book is a safe bet. And while we may have heard of Mary Berry (an old lady who bakes, apparently), most blokes have heard of Nigella. Her real name is Nigella Lawson. I think we can all agree: she is the epitome of everything a chef should be.

And, Lo and Behold, she has a new cookery book out in time for Christmas. It is called Simply Nigella and it is 3.00 joint favourite (along with Guinness Book of World Records 2016) to be the Christmas Number One Book.

The Road to Little Dribbling (Bill Bryson) and Over The Top And Back (Tom Jones) are next in the betting, but we put out faith in a couple of things… ahem… to bring home the bacon: The nation’s penchant for cookery shows and the male’s psyche. [SM]

BEST BET: SIMPLY NIGELLA (NIGELLA LAWSON) TO BE CHRISTMAS NUMBER ONE BOOK @ 3.00

CHRISTMAS NO.1 VIDEO GAME

We are fans of Madden. That’s about the only game we know well. FIFA isn’t bad, either. But our knowledge of video games is limited, as we are all about sport – not about killing people or aliens, racing cars or generally wasting our time (see what we did there, teenagers?). We have lives.

Call Of Duty
Top game (apparently): Call of Duty – Black Ops III

So we got down ‘wiv da yoof, innit’ to find out what the best-selling vids are most likely to be this Christmas.

Our (little) man tells us that Call of Duty – Black Ops III will out-sell anything, including Star Wars Battlefront and FIFA 16. He says the graphics are excellent. We’ll take him at his word.

If it doesn’t out-sell the rest, there will be sure to be some Fallout 4 (see what we did there?).

You can get on at 2.75. That’s good enough for us, although you will probably need to have at least £50 on to make enough money to afford to buy the damn thing! [SM]

BEST BET: CALL OF DUTY – BLACK OPS III TO BE CRISTMAS NUMBER ONE VIDEO GAME @ 2.75

MAN UNITED v CHELSEA

28 DECEMBER – 17:30 (BT SPORT 1)

In truth, both of these sides have underachieved so far this season.

Manchester United (2.25) have suffered from a lack of goals during the current campaign.  Wayne Rooney has failed to impress and it looks as though Old Father Time is starting to catch up with him, particularly when running with the ball.

Wayne Rooney1
Not the force he once was: Wayne Rooney looks jaded

Anthony Martial was bought in at the start of the season, and seems to have suffered a real loss in confidence, despite a wonderful start to his Premier League career.

Nobody could have forecast the dreadful defence of the Premier League title that Chelsea (3.00) have made. Chelsea are miles off the pace after a wretched start to the season and, in truth, a top-four spot is now their realistic aim for the rest of the season.

The Blues’ recent loss against Bournemouth highlighted their lack of confidence in possession and defensive frailty. Both issues will need to be addressed if Chelsea are going to turn things round this season.

Chelsea are unbeaten in the last eight meetings between these two sides, with the last United victory coming back in 2012.

We see the Champions getting a point here – at the very least. [CC]

BEST BET: CHELSEA/DRAW (DC) @ 1.65

NFL REGULAR-SEASON MVP

With just two weeks of the regular season remaining, we have a 1.57 shot that, in our opinion, should be 1.01 at best.

Back Cam Newton to be the NFL Regular Season MVP. The Carolina Panthers quarterback has led his team to the NFC South title and may well lead them onto the Super Bowl.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Carolina Panthers
Cam Newton: Odds-on value

His nearest pursuers in the market are Tom Brady (3.00) and Carson Palmer (11.00), respective passers for New England and Cincinnati. But both those players have at least one elite receiver to pass to, whereas the former Auburn man leads a no-name attack. Take him away from that team and the Panthers would do well to win half of the games they have.

Have no fear in betting odds-on. If is walks like a duck, quacks like a duck and balks at the words “a l’orange”, it probably isn’t a giraffe. Remember: It can be odds-on and still be value. [SM]

BEST BET: CAM NEWTON TO BE REGULAR SEASON MVP @ 1.57

LEICESTER v MAN CITY

KICK OFF: 29 DECEMBER – 19:45 (BT SPORT 1)

There is no doubt that Claudio Ranieri is leading the way when it comes to the Premier League Manager of the Season award.

Leicester (3.75) have dramatically overachieved so far this season and many would have forecast them to be in a relegation scrap, rather than battling for a European place.

JamieVardy
Top of the league: Jamie Vardy and Leicester

The link-up play between Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez has been the main contributing factor for the club’s success, with both men currently at the top end of the goal-scoring standings in the Premier League.

Manchester City (1.90) are performing as many expected and find themselves at the right end of the table, unlike pre-season title rivals Chelsea.

However, while they have been typically impressive when attacking, they have come unstuck in defence on numerous occasions so far this season.

Defensive issues were particularly apparent in City’s home losses to West Ham and Liverpool earlier in the campaign, with Eliaquim Mangala and Martin Demichelis looking unconvincing and off the pace.

Leicester have an awful record against Manchester City. The Foxes have not won any of the last eight games between the sides and have lost all of the last four meetings.

We fancy an away win here. [CC]

BEST BET: MAN CITY TO WIN @ 1.90

SUNDERLAND v LIVERPOOL

30 DECEMBER – 19:45 (SKY SPORTS 1)

Sam Allardyce has certainly steadied the ship at The Stadium of Light since taking over from Dick Advocaat earlier in the season.

Sunderland (5.25) have recovered from a disastrous start to the season, which saw them rooted to the foot of the table and have turned out some solid performances under their new manager.

Jurgen Klopp
Liverpool are a work in progress: Jurgen Klopp

One result that particularly comes to mind is Sunderland’s 1-0 win away at Crystal Palace in November, which perfectly highlighted their new found structure and organisation under the man affectionately known as Big Sam.

It has been much the same for Liverpool (1.55) who have also seen an upturn in fortune after changing their manager earlier in the season. Jürgen Klopp took over from Brendan Rodgers back in October and has overseen impressive away wins against the likes of Manchester City and Chelsea.

The most notable meeting between these two sides came back in October 2009, when a Darren Bent effort deflected off a beach ball to give the Black Cats a famous victory over the Mersysiders.

However, Sunderland have a poor record against Liverpool and haven’t won any of the last six meetings between the two sides.

We are going for an away win at The Stadium of Light. [CC]

BEST BET: LIVERPOOL TO WIN @ 1.55

Stay tuned to our WordPress site for Previews and Betting Guides on a variety of Sports… And have a very Merry Christmas!

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MCB’s COLLEGE FOOTBALL BOWL-SEASON BETS

After another winning season, My Club Betting handicapper and Lindy’s Sports UK Editor Simon Milham takes a look at the betting trends for every NCAA College Football Bowl before Christmas in a bid to predict the winners on the handicap…

ARIZONA v NEW MEXICO

New Mexico Bowl – Sat, Dec 19 (19:00)

Despite reportedly being offered the South Carolina job, head coach Rich Rodriguez is staying in Arizona.

Rich Rodriguez
Staying in Arizona: Rich Rodriguez

That’s good news for the Wildcats, who lost their fourth game in the last five when falling to in-state rival Arizona State in the regular-season finale.

Injuries and instability at the QB position saw the Wildcats finish fifth in the six-team Pac-12 South division, but if they can slow down New Mexico running back Jhurell Pressley – who will likely get a heavy workload against a team that has had its issues against the run – the Wildcats should win and cover the handicap. It could be a close-run thing, however.

BEST BET: Arizona -10 @1.91  

BYU v UTAH

Las Vegas Bowl – Sat, Dec 19 (20:30)

The latest edition of the Holy War should be another fascinating clash – ironically in Sin City – and the game is a sell-out.

Brigham Young v Colorado State
Bronco Mendenhall: Seeking win 100

BYU lost nine of the last 12 meetings, including the last four, but six of the last eight meetings saw less than one score separating them. BYU and Utah have never faced off in the postseason or at a neutral site. The two rivals are meeting for the 90th time in history.

Since 1970, BYU is 26-16 against the Utes but under Bronco Mendenhall – who is seeking an historic 100th coaching win in his last game before leaving for Virginia – the Cougars are 3-6. Utah is a 2.5-point favourite, but the Cougars’ passing game will be a major test for the Utes and they are worth taking with the points.

BEST BET: BYU +2.5 @ 1.91 

OHIO v APPALACHIAN STATE

Camellia Bowl – Sat, Dec 19 (22:30)

Appalachian State’s redzone efficiency is among the best in the nation and their running game, with Marcus Cox and Jalin Moore, should prove too much for the Ohio Bobcats. We take the Mountaineers to win in Montgomery, although the handicap is too large for us to have much of a punt on.

BEST BET: OHIO +8.5 @ 1.83 

SAN JOSE STATE v GEORGIA STATE

Cure Bowl – Sun, Dec 20 (00:00)

Yes, there really is a thing called the Cure Bowl. And in the true spirit of Robert Smith et al, may we just say: Let’s Go To Bed.

Tyler Ervin.jpg
Game-breaking back: Tyler Ervin

While the amount of College Football to watch is Never Enough, this is a game that is not up our Fascination Street.

San Jose State have not won back-to-back games all season and lost three of their last four.

The Georgia State Panthers won their last four to go 6-6 on the year in the Sun Belt conference, which is not as strong as the Mountain West, in which SJSU play.

The biggest question is whether the Panthers can stop running back Tyler Ervin. The guess is they won’t and it will be Just Like Heaven for the Spartans.

BEST BET: SAN JOSE STATE -3.5 @ 2.00

ARKANSAS STATE v LOUISINANA TECH

New Orleans Bowl – Sun, Dec 20 (02:00)

Arkansas State has lost 13 of the last 15 meetings with Louisiana Tech and the last four encounters have all been rip-roaring affairs with plenty of points.

Kenneth Dixon
Kenneth Dixon: Ground control

Arkansas State started the season 1-3 but the Red Wolves then ripped off eight consecutive wins on the back of a stellar running game that yielded 24 TDs in 11 games.

Michael Gordon and Johnston White may be able to pile up the yards and keep the chains moving, but their defense is ordinary and their good run has much to do with an easier schedule in the second half of the season.

Louisiana Tech QB Jeff Driskel leads a Bulldogs attack that ranks in the top 30 in the nation and while they faced only one ranked opponent – Mississippi State – the Bulldogs should be able to find plenty of success.

Keep an eye on running back Kenneth Dixon, who has 17 TDs this season. He’s a good one. Expect plenty of points and we would be confident of a Bulldogs win.

BEST BET: LOUISIANA TECH -2.5 @ 2.00 

SOUTH FLORIDA v WESTERN KENTUCKY

Miami Beach Bowl – Mon, Dec 21 (19:30)

The South Florida Bulls have won each of the three previous meetings with Western Kentucky and in effect, this will be a home game for them.

Marlon Mack
Mack the knife: Bulls’ Marlon Mack

Yet there is a reason while the Hilltoppers are 3.5-point favourites: their attack just keeps piling up points.

They average 44.2 points per game and are well balanced, with QB Brandon Dougherty (4,184 yards passing) handing off to Anthony Wales and D’Andre Ferby (combined 1,480 rushing yards).

Their defense will certainly concede plenty of touchdowns to Bulls’ QB Quinton Flowers and RB Marlon Mack, but the Bulls’ defense has improved markedly since October.

Many think the Hilltoppers will win a shootout and it could be last team with the ball wins. The Bulls are a value bet with the points.

BEST BET: SOUTH FLORIDA +3.5 @ 2.00 

AKRON v UTAH STATE

Potato Bowl – Tue, Dec 22 (20:30)

Akron Zips seek their first ever Bowl win in the school’s history, while the Utah State Aggies look for a school record fourth straight bowl win.

The Aggies have a major injury concern at QB as Kent Myers is questionable with a shoulder injury, but their ground game, averaging 167.9 yards per game, will bear the brunt.

Akron does not match up well against such a powerful attack and we take them to go down in a double-digit loss.

BEST BET: UTAH STATE -6.5 @ 1.91

TOLEDO v TEMPLE

Boca Raton Bowl – Wed, Dec 23 (00:00)

The 24th-ranked Temple Owls have lost five of the last six meetings with the Toldeo Rockets and how they have been affected after failing to lift the AAC championship is a big question. Their defeat by Houston may have knocked the stuffing out of them.

phillip Ely
Diverse attack: Phillip Ely

Toledo started 7-1 but ended 9-2 and did not make it to the MAC championship game, following a 35-30 loss to Western Michigan.

The Rockets beat Arkansas, Arkansas State and Bowling Green, while the Owls downed Penn State and Memphis. They also lost a close game against Notre Dame, so their body of work is arguably better.

We know the Owls are a better team, but Toledo has a diverse spread attack led by QB Phillip Ely and a strong running game with Kareem Hunt. We are taking a chance with the Rockets, but it is a game to watch rather than have a definite view about.

BEST BET: TOLEDO TO WIN @ 2.00 

BOISE STATE v NORTHERN ILLINOIS

Poinsettia Bowl – Wed, Dec 23 (21:30)

Northern Illinois lost in the MAC title game, largely in part because they were playing with a third-string quarterback.

Ryan Graham
Could return: Ryan Graham

However, they might get back-up passer Ryan Graham back for the clash with the Broncos, who are 5-1 in their last six bowl games.

Should he not be able to start, walk-on freshman Tommy Fielder, who had his first start against Bowling Green (lost 34-14), will lead an attack that ranks 20th in the nation in total offense.

But with their 75th-ranked defense, which gives up an average of 413 yards per game), will they be able to keep pace with the Broncos, who ranked 21st in the country in total offense, racking up 489 yards per game and almost 38 points a contest?

In theory, they shouldn’t, but plenty depends on just how much Boise State’s players want this.

BEST BET: BOISE STATE -7.5 @ 1.91 

GEORGIA SOUTHERN v BOWLING GREEN

GoDaddy Bowl – Thur, Dec 24 (01:00)

We are not going to Mobile, Alabama, in an overloaded poultry truck, but we wish we were. For the GoDaddy Bowl looks like being a cracking game between two teams of differing styles.

Roger_Lewis_1
Roger Lewis: Safe hands

Bowling Green, the MAC champion, boast the offensive player of the year in QB Matt Johnson and the Paul Warfield Award-winning receiver Roger Lewis.

The Eagles, on the other hand, rely on a triple-option run attack that averages 355 yards per game and 6.5 yards per carry. You can colour Matt Breida and L.A. Ramsby as pretty darn good running backs.

Still, the offensive power of the Falcons should prove too much and we fully expect Bowling Green to come out on top by a double-digit margin.

BEST BET: BOWLING GREEN -7 @ 1.91 

MIDDLE TENNESSEE STATE v WESTERN MICHIGAN

Bahamas Bowl – Thur, Dec 24 (17:00)

A trip to play in the John Robinson Stadium, Nassau, is not a bad gig if you can get it.

The Blue Raiders deserve it, too. The C-USA side finished strongly, winning their last four games, which included an upset of Marshall, to gain third place in the East division.

Brent Stockstill
Efficient: Brent Stockstill

Their passing attack, led by QB Brent Stockstill (son of head coach Rick Stockstill) has thrown for 27 TDs and run for two more. He is also efficient, having completed 66.7 percent of his passes at 7.6 yards per attempt.

Western Michigan Broncos are playing in their second straight bowl after bouncing back from a difficult non-MAC schedule, which included losses to Michigan State and Ohio State. They downed a tough Toledo team in their regular-season finale.

Given that the Broncos have score 40 points or more five times, this could be a high-scoring encounter, and the outcome might be a first bowl win for Western Michigan after five successive defeats in such games. Our enthusiasm is tempered somewhat by that stat. Perhaps better to snaffle a mince pie and some sherry.

BEST BET: WESTERN MICHIGAN -3 @ 1.95 

CINCINNATI v SAN DIEGO STATE

Hawaii Bowl – 25 Dec (01:00)

Presents wrapped and under the tree? Carrot for Rudolph and a mince pie for Santa on the hearth? Good. Don’t forget the sherry.

aloha Stadium
Aloha Stadium: Minus the swap meet

Then it is time to put your feet up and the Hawaii Bowl from Aloha Stadium, Honolulu.

Hawaii are not involved, having failed to gain the pre-requisite six wins to qualify for a bowl berth. The Cincinnati Bearcats (7-5) will take on the San Diego State Aztecs (10-3) in what could be a decent game.

Rest assured, it won’t be played in front of too many people – Hawaiians rarely turn out in force at the antiquated venue, which also plays host to the annual NFL Pro Bowl.

The Aztecs placed first in the West division of the Mountain West Conference and after a 1-3 start, they are on a nine-game winning streak.

Running back Donnel Pumphrey is a game-breaker, who has accumulated over 1,500 yards this season, but the Bearcats could be missing quarterback Maxwell Smith, who tore his ACL towards the end of the year against Nevada.

It is likely that redshirt freshman Christian Chapman will try and keep pace with an explosive Cincinnati offense, led by QB Gunner Kiel, which ranks No.4 in passing yardage in the nation and No.5 in total offense.

Their third-down conversion rate, at 51.6 per cent is only bettered by Texas Tech.

We fully expect Cincinnati (1.83) to win and cover the 1.5-point handicap.

BEST BET: CINCINNATI -1.5 @ 1.91

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