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.
Academy Sports & Outdoors Texas Bowl
Texas (6-6) vs. Missouri (7-5)
Spread: Missouri -2.5
Spread: The first year for Tom Herman at Texas has been a mixed bag. The offense scored a couple points less per game than last year (31.9 to 29.2), but the defense was much improved cutting nearly a full ten points off their points allowed number (31.5 to 21.9). Offensively, it took a little bit for the QB position to sort itself out with Sam Ehlinger eventually taking the reins and starting seven of the final eight games of the season. Ehlinger’s accuracy leaves something to be desired (56.5%), but he threw for over 1,800 yards with 10 touchdowns and seven picks while adding 364 yards and two touchdowns on the ground. He was actually the team’s leading back in terms of carries and rushing yards. That’s not ideal. He was helped out by stud receiver Collin Johnson (51 receptions 725 yards 2 TD) and the offense averaged over 400 yards per game. But, as mentioned above, the strength here was a defense that allowed just 363 yards per game and was very stout against the run giving up just 105 per game on the ground.
Missouri’s offense has been prolific, averaging over 39 points and 511 yards per game, but the defense has had problems stopping opponents. Let’s focus on the positive first. QB Drew Lock leads the way completing 58.5 percent of his passes for 3,695 yards with 43 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. Combine that with a running back duo of Ish Witter and Larry Rountree III (283 carries 1,621 yards 11 TD combined) and it’s a tough group to stop. They’ve needed to be because the defense allowed over 31 points and 425 yards per game this season. The big thing to consider here though is the roll they’ve been on to end the season. After starting 1-5, Mizzou ripped off six straight wins including a five game stretch in which the defense gave up just 16.6 points per game prior to a shootout against Arkansas in the final game of the season.
One other note to consider here outside of ATS records for each team. Texas has a bunch of guys either not playing or questionable to play in this game. Deshon Elliott and Connor Williams have declared for the draft and will not play. Holton Hill is suspended for violation of team rules. Star LB Malik Jefferson is doubtful to play and Jeffrey McCulloch, P.J Locke III, and Patrick Vahe are all questionable. That makes it hard to see the Longhorns winning this game against a healthy and red-hot Missouri. Missouri -2.5
Total: Texas, because of how good their defense was and combined with the offensive struggles, hit the over just three times this season. Missouri on the other hand was 7-5. In this game, with Missouri’s defensive struggles and a couple of key pieces missing from Texas’ defense, the over feels like the better play. Over 60.5