The college football bowl season is upon us. With 39 games spread out over the next two and a half weeks there is plenty of opportunity to add a little bonus to your holiday gift pile. Our bowl picks series will let you know who we think will come out on top against the spread. All lines and totals courtesy of Sportsline. Find all our picks here. All lines are as of the date of publication.
AutoNation Cure Bowl
Georgia State (6-5) vs. WKU (6-6)
Spread: WKU -6.5
Spread: This isn’t your prototypical Western Kentucky offensive juggernaut. The Hilltoppers come into the bowl season averaging just 26.2 points per game, which is their lowest total in the last five seasons. It’s a far cry from the 45 points per outing they averaged last season. The main culprit is a running game that went from averaging 186.4 yards per game (5.4 YPC) last season to just 66.9 per game (2.2 YPC). The good news for the Hilltoppers is that Georgia State is no great shakes at running the ball either, averaging just 3.1 yards per carry and 114.9 per game on nearly 36 attempts.
Both teams do have veteran QBs leading them however, as a pair of seniors man the controls in Mike White for WKU and Conner Manning for Georgia State. These teams do sling it around the yard quite a bit, with WKU averaging 44 attempts per game and GSU checking in at 35.
In terms of ATS trends, WKU was 3-9 versus the spread this season and Georgia State was 4-7. The Panthers have failed to cover in four straight while WKU has covered in two of its last three games. The Hilltoppers offense has been better than GSU’s this year and I think they get the win, but the Panthers cover. Georgia State +6.5
Total: This is a relatively low total for a bowl game, but it’s understandable given the struggles of these two offenses during the course of this season. Western has hit the over in five of their last seven games, and one of the games they didn’t they missed by just 1.5 points. All but two of those games had higher totals than this match-up is getting from the oddsmakers in Vegas. On the other hand, Georgia State has hit the over just three times in 11 tries this year and one of those came when the Panthers were blown out 56-0 at Penn State. It’s a bit of a struggle to see how the Panthers would be able to keep up their end of the bargain necessary to hitting that total. Under 52.