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.
New Era Pinstripe Bowl
Iowa (7-5) vs. Boston College (7-5)
Spread: Iowa -2.5
Spread: The total here gives you a clue at the kind of football game we’re likely looking at. The Hawkeyes and Eagles are defense-first teams that like to run the ball on offense. We’ll start with the Hawkeyes, who run their offense through back Akrum Wadley, who’s 1,300+ scrimmage yards and 12 total touchdowns was lost in what guys like Saquon Barkley, Bryce Love and Rashaad Penny were doing this year. But, Wadley has game-breaking ability and he gets the ball plenty. The pleasant surprise this year was the play of QB Nathan Stanley who turned in a 25 touchdown six interception season and did so without a receiver going over 500 yards on the season. The backbone of this team though, is the defense, and linebacker Josey Jewell. Jewell had 121 tackles, 13.5 for loss, and 4.5 sacks this season. They could be without DB Armani Hooker in this game, but outside of that, they’re largely healthy.
BC enters the game fairly healthy as well, but the biggest question is whether star defensive end Harold Landry will return to the lineup after missing the final four games of the year. The Eagles were okay without him though, winning three of those four games with the lone loss coming against NC State, 17-14. The offense was actually pretty prolific in the second half of the season, averaging 36 points per game in that stretch. The biggest difference has been the larger role given to freshman RB A.J. Dillon. In those six games, Dillon 29 carries and 183 yards per game. 11 of his 13 touchdowns have come in that span. It will be fascinating to watch Dillon and the Eagles try to grind out yards against the Hawkeyes defense that has allowed 143 yards per game on the ground.
BC was one of the best teams in the country ATS this season, with an 8-3-1 record. The Hawkeyes were just below .500 at 5-6-1. BC was also 5-1-1 as an underdog this year. The problem is, the Eagles have given up 5 yards per carry and 198 yards per game on the ground to opponents this year. Iowa should have no trouble getting Wadley going. Iowa -3
Total: Despite how good these defenses have been this season, this number is really low. Boston College has been higher than this total in four of its last six and the Hawkeyes would have hit the total in three of their last four games. If the teams just hit their averages on offense, they’ll be over. Over 46