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Pittsburgh vs Bowling Green (-5) and Utah State (+1) vs N. Illinois

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LITTLE CAESARS BOWL @ Ford Field – Detroit, MI
5:00p
213
Pittsburgh
214
Bowling Green
POINSETTIA BOWL @ Qualcomm Stadium – San Diego, CA
8:30p
215
Utah State
216
Northern Illinois

After Santa has returned to the North Pole and the snow has settled on Christmas Day, college football will kick into high gear on Thursday. Those looking to capitalize on some betting will have a great chance to do so starting on December 26th.

The first game of the day will be the Little Caesars Bowl featuring Pittsburgh and Bowling Green. At 10-3, including 7-1 in the MAC, Bowling Green is the 4 ½ point favorite in this one. Bowling Green has a huge win on its résumé from when it upset then-No. 16 Northern Illinois in the MAC Championship game. Ironically that game was played at Ford Field in Detroit, which is also where the Little Caesars Bowl will be played as well.

Bowling Green is led by Matt Johnson, who has passed for 3,195 yards and 23 touchdowns this season. And in the backfield is Travis Greene, the sophomore who has rushed for 1,555 yards.

The Pitt Panthers had big wins over Notre Dame and Duke, but ended the season losing four of their final six. They are led by Tom Savage, who threw for 2,834 and 21 touchdowns over the course of the seasons. Savage’s favorite target was Tyler Boyd, who had 1,001 yards receiving on 77 receptions. That total was good enough to beat Larry Fitzgerald’s freshman record from 2002.

Bowling Green certainly deserves the 4 ½ point advantage that it has. However, keep in mind that Pitt’s schedule may be a bit tougher than that of Bowling Green, which may have prepared them better for a big bowl game.

The second game of the day will be a really interesting match-up between Northern Illinois and Utah State in the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl. Neither team has the advantage in terms of betting for this game. However, keep in mind that Northern Illinois has one of the top quarterbacks in the nation with Jordan Lynch.

Lynch, who was a Heisman finalist, has thrown for 2,676 yards on the season, including 23 touchdowns. On top of that, he has also rushed for 1,881 yards and scored 22 touchdowns with his feet. This kid is an insanely talented athlete who can score with anything the defense gives him. He also led the Huskies to a 12-0 record, before being upset by Bowling Green in the MAC Championship game.

Utah State may be the lesser known team heading into this game, but don’t tell freshman Darell Garretson that his efforts have gone unrecognized. Since taking place for Chuckie Keeton, Garretson only lost two of the seven games that he started to finish the season. That streak got the Aggies into the bowl conversation and he’ll look to finish it with an improbable win over a team like Northern Illinois.

Neither of these teams are huge names from the SEC, PAC 12 or Big 10. However, they match up well against one another and should provide for an entertaining game. Both teams are coming off losses, but a bowl win could erase any bad taste that the last game left.

For betters, keep an eye on Jordan Lynch. It’s quite possible that as he goes, so will the Huskies in this one. If he does well, Northern Illinois will likely walk away with the win. But if he doesn’t, that could be enough for Garretson to get the victory as a true freshman for his Utah State squad.