Famous Idaho Potato Bowl Odds
Posted by Ryan James
The Buffalo Bulls earned a bid to the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl by finishing the season with an 8-4 overall record. They played a very tough non-conference schedule, getting crushed on the road in back-to-back weeks against Ohio State and Baylor. They finished the regular season losing two out of their last three games, both losses coming by a double-digit margin. The Potato Bowl is an opportunity to end the year on a positive note, so they should be playing with plenty of motivation.
San Diego State opened the season with three consecutive losses. They also had four games go to overtime this season. They won three of those four overtime games, including an impressive win over Boise State. The final regular season game of the year was not pretty. The Aztecs were blown out on the road against UNLV. They still managed to win four of their last five games, and they have to be optimistic drawing a MAC team like Buffalo for their bowl game.
Kick-off off for the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl has been set for 5:30 PM ET on Saturday, December 21st. The oddsmakers have listed Buffalo as a slim 2.5-point favorite over San Diego State. The total for this game is set at 51.5-points.
Why Buffalo Covers
The Bulls have had no problems finding the endzone this year. They are averaging 30.8 points per game, and they are one of the few teams in college football that has scored more points on the road than they do at home. In road games they average 32 points per game. I have to think the Aztecs will have a little bigger fan base at this game, and the oddsmakers have certainly accounted for it. That puts a lot of value on the Bulls since they have performed so well in traditional road games this season. Buffalo has a slight run bias this year, but as far as total yardage is concerned they are a very balanced team. Buffalo averages 172 rushing yards per game on 4.1 yards per carry. They will probably lean a little more on the pass attack than normal since the Aztec’s secondary is their biggest weakness. San Diego State is allowing a 61.7 percent pass completion rate for 259 yards per game.
San Diego State may be getting a little too much credit from the oddsmakers based on their strong finish to the season. The Aztecs are 10-22 ATS after covering the spread in three of their last four games.
The Bulls defense has been solid this season, holding opponents to a mere 22.3 points per game. That may not stand out as being overly impressive, but when you considered their non-conference schedule and the fact that their opponents have averaged over 26 points per game it indicates just how undervalued this defense is. Buffalo’s run defense has been inconsistent, but they boast a phenomenal secondary unit. They have held opposing quarterbacks to a 52 percent pass completion rate on 217 passing yards per game.
Why San Diego State Covers
San Diego State is averaging 422 total yards of offense per game. They are not far behind the Bulls in terms of points scored, averaging 28.2 points per game. The Aztecs have done a great job managing time of possession, and if they win that battle in this game then the Aztecs will pick up their eighth win of the year. I expect Quin Kaehler to have a big game against the Buffalo secondary. Kaehler has thrown for just shy of 2,800 yards this year, completing 60.1 percent of his pass attempts for 17 touchdowns and just nine interceptions. Kaehler will easily be one of the best passing quarterbacks the Bulls have faced.
San Diego State responds well to a loss. They are 19-8 ATS in road games when coming off a road loss.
The Aztec’s defense has struggled at times, but I blame that on a conference schedule that boasts some of the highest scoring teams in the country. Fresno State and Boise State are two teams known for their offensive production, and both of those teams are much better than the Buffalo team San Diego State will face in this game. They also played tough non-conference opponents that drove up their points allowed average.
San Diego State is an easy call in this game. I think going against MAC teams in a bowl game is a good call because the talent gap between them and most of the other conferences is a big one. Buffalo has done very little to impress me this year, especially coming down the stretch. Take the points, but don’t be surprised if San Diego State takes this game in a blowout.