Vegas experts look at Cal-Texas
Here's Chad Millman and Sal Selvaggio's thoughts on the betting around California and Texas in the Bridgepoint Holiday Bowl.
First, the duo's criteria for picking bowl teams:
1. How a team ended the regular season:
"Were they on a run to make the bowl, or did they lose a lot?"
2. How much excitement a team will have headed into the bowl:
"You're looking for a team that is thrilled to be there and looking forward to the game."
A subset of No. 2 is bowl experience, but not for the reason you think: "I'm more likely to give a team a higher ranking if it hasn't been to a bowl for a while, because that will generate excitement amongst the program and fans."
3. How much time off a team has had before the bowl:
"When you are not playing, it's hard to simulate game speed. It's like driving on the highway at 30 miles per hour."
4. The weather on schools' respective campuses:
"The SEC, Pac-12, even the ACC tend to do better in the bowls than the Big Ten, Big 12 and Big East. I think the warm weather has a lot to do with that. Thirty days of practice in warm weather before a bowl game helps you get a lot more done than practicing in a bubble or outside in a cold climate."
5. Throw away any games against non-bowl competition.
"What you want to do is see how a team stepped up in class," Vegas vet Bryan Leonard says.
6. Emphasize a team's road performance over its home performance.
For the BBBII breakdown I asked Selvaggio to give me his breakdown for the bowls taking place between Thursday and next Wednesday. He added one more thought that isn't listed above: "Just like the regular season, I also like to play dogs getting a field goal or more that have good rushing attacks."
Now for the pick:
Bridgeport Education Holiday Bowl
California Golden Bears vs. Texas Longhorns
When: Dec. 28, 8 p.m.
Line: Texas minus-3
Watch | Pick Center analysis
Sal says: "Unless this is Mack Brown's last game and we don't know about it, this line makes no sense at all. I have these teams rated as even and although Texas travels well, this game is being played at Qualcomm Stadium in California, so it's not like UT is going to have some big home-field advantage. I have a couple bowl situations that favor the Golden Bears. Couple that with the line value and we have a pretty good wager. I bet California plus-3.5 and would be betting them at plus-3 as well."