Happy New Christmas Year, my dear degenerates. By now, you have suffered, endured, enjoyed, ignored the first two versions of the bowl betting bonanza. And, the truth is, if you followed the advice of my first two participants, Brian Edwards and Sal Selvaggio, you'd have won, well, not much heading into Wednesday's games. But that doesn't mean we won't keep trying. There are still lots of bowl games to be played.
For BBB III, I asked Paul Stone, Bryan Leonard, VegasRunner and Teddy Covers to give me their breakdowns for the bowls taking place between Thursday and Saturday. Plus, in addition to the four factors Kenny White laid out in BBB I and the next two factors I listed in BBB II, I am adding one more, which is at No. 7 below.
1. How a team ended the regular season: "Were they on a run to make the bowl, or did they lose a lot?" White asks.
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," White says.
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," White says.
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," White says.
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," White says. "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 nonbowl 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.
7. Consider how the conference is doing in bowls.