Pittsburgh over Stanford by 6

' After 4 straight wins got the Panthers in position to rack up their first ACC Coastal Division crown, they closed out the regular seasonby getting thumped by Miami, then got pounded by Clemson in the ACC title game. Meanwhile, Stanford had a rather bizarre season that opened with four straight victories and ended with three consecutive wins – it was the 1-4 stretch in the middle that had HC David Shaw scratching his head. In the past, heading into a bowl game with consecutive losses hasn’t sounded the death knell for Pitt. In fact, it has happened twice before and both times the Panthers won and covered the bowl game. Also, head Panther Pat Narduzzi has posted a 7-1 SU and 6-2 ATS record coming off a double-downer. Looking at the recent bowl history for these two conferences, ACC bowlers coming off a loss are 8-2 ATS versus a Pac-12 opponent. Shaw is 5-2 ATS in bowl games, but favorites in this particular bowl game are just 5-15 against the number. As for Stanford, the Tree was outstatted in 5 of eight games versus bowl teams this season, and allowed more yards than they gained overall (-21 net YPG). Finally, consider THE CLINCHER: Pac-12 bowl favorites are 3-12 ATS against foes coming off consecutive losses, including 0-8 ATS when they own a win percentage of .600 or greater.

Iowa over Mississippi St by 1

Points are not expected to come easy in the fi rst bowl game of 2019. Our most recent look at the total has a 44, which is among the lowest of the entire bowl season and for good reason. This SEC/Big Ten battle features a Mississippi State defense that was No. 1 in fewest points allowed at 12 PPG and was 3rd in total defense at 268.4 YPG. Iowa is not that far behind in either category, ranked 11th in points allowed at 17.4 PPG and 7th in total defense at 289.6 YPG. Little wonder the Bulldogs held five opponents to a season-low in yards gained and Iowa limited four foes to a season-low or second-lowest yards gained in 2018. That places the onus on the offense to make plays and that should give the Hawkeyes an edge. Iowa is not a prolific offense, rushing for 162 YPG and passing got 228, but coach Kirk Ferentz’ team is efficient, ranked 27th in points per play under QB Nick Stanley, which leads to 31.5 PPG on the scoreboard. Mississippi State is a run first team as our College Bowl Stat Report shows, averaging 226 YPG on the ground (22nd). QB Nick Fitzgerald is the Bulldogs’ leading rusher at 1,061 yards and he’s an adequate passer with 15 TDs and 7 Picks. Look for turnovers to play a key role and with the Hawkeyes leading the nation in interceptions (18), that could turn the tide. In
addition, Big Ten bowl dogs off a win are 18-8 ATS versus foes with .666 or poorer record, and Ferentz is 6-2 ATS as an underdog receiving 5 or more points off consecutive wins. We like fading 1st-year coaches that are favored in bowl games, especially with support from THE CLINCHER: Bowl favorites of 6 or more points (like Miss. State), who won a bowl game SU as a dog of more than 6 points last season, are 1-9 ATS against sub .700 opponents.


Houston over Jacksonville by 17

Lots of playoff upgrading possibilities exist for the Texans today. The one constant, though, is they have clinched a spot in this year’s postseason. With that, our well-oiled machine comes to Houston’s aid as it notes that NFL playoff teams are 45-11 SU and 38-17-1 ATS at home against division foes in season finales when coming off a loss before heading off to the postseason... including 32-3 SU and 26-9 ATS against losing foes. That sets the table for today’s game as Jacksonville enters with backup QB Cody Kessler cooking following his second career win last week at Miami. Yes, we’re being facetious, especially given the fact that Kessler passed for 107 yards in the win as he improved his NFL career record to 2-10 SU and 4-8 ATS. And with last week’s outburst Kessler’s teams have now scored a total of 88 points in his last eight starts. That’s simply not going to cut it today against a team that is averaging 27 PPG at home this season. We seal the deal with THE CLINCHER: Jacksonville is 0-11 SU and 1-10 ATS as a dog in Last Games of the Season when coming off a non-division game.