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Army, Hawaii highlight betting favorites on Saturday’s bowl game odds

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Army (10-2), with quarterback Kelvin Hopkins at the controls of its run-based triple-option, are 4.5-point betting favorites against the Houston Cougars (8-4) with a 60.5-point total in the Armed Forces Bowl at Amon G. Carter Stadium in Fort Worth on Saturday at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

Army is only 8-20 against the spread in its last 28 games against teams from the American, as well as 1-5 against the spread (ATS) in its last six games as a favorite of 3.5 to 6.5 points at kickoff. However, the Black Knights lead the country in time of possession and the linchpin of Houston’s resistance to the run, nose tackle Ed Oliver, is sitting out to get ready for the NFL draft.

Houston, which is 1-4 ATS in its last five games according to the OddsShark College Football Database, appears to be counting on a freshman quarterback, Clayton Tune, in a game where a handful of empty possessions will be magnified. The total has gone UNDER in seven of Army’s last nine games against American Athletic Conference teams.

Elsewhere on the second weekend of the college football bowl season:

MEMPHIS (8-5) vs. WAKE FOREST (6-6)
The Memphis Tigers are 3.5-point favorites against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons with a 73-point total in the Birmingham Bowl at Legion Field in Birmingham. Memphis, which has the No. 3 offense in the country built around a run-pass threat of Brady White and Patrick Taylor, will be trying to continue a streak of being 5-0 ATS in its last five games as a favorite.

Wake Forest’s season-long defensive issues are a concern, but it is 10-2 SU in its last 12 games against teams from the American, as well as 7-1 ATS at online betting sites in its last eight games in December. The total has gone OVER in five of Memphis’ last six games.

BUFFALO (10-3) vs. TROY (9-3)
The Buffalo Bulls are 1.5-point favorites against the Troy Trojans with a 49.5-point total in the Dollar General Bowl at Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile, Alabama. Buffalo, 5-1 ATS in its last six games as a favorite, will need to negate a strong Troy pass rush to boost quarterback Tyree Jackson.

The Sun Belt Conference representative is 5-1 in the last six editions of this game and the Trojans are close to home, as well as 8-0 SU in their last eight games after a loss, so how bettors feel about underdog Troy comes down to gauging the capabilities of an offense that’s counting on sophomore quarterback Sawyer Smith having his receiving corps healthy again.

The total has gone UNDER in three of Troy’s last four games, with an average combined score of 37.0 points.

LOUISIANA TECH (7-5) vs. HAWAII (8-5)
In Saturday’s final bowl matchup, the Hawaii Rainbow are one-point favorites on the Hawaii Bowl odds against the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs with a 61-point total at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu. There is a decided disparity in experience that augurs poorly for Hawaii, which is not only playing in its first bowl in eight seasons, but is also 0-15-1 ATS in its last 16 games as a favorite

Louisiana Tech has won its last four bowls and is 6-1 ATS in its last seven games as a road underdog, which both seem promising signs as quarterback J’Mar Smith faces a Hawaii defense that is among the bottom 30 in the country playing the run and the pass. The total has gone UNDER in four of Hawaii’s last five home games, with an average combined score of 58.2 points.

For more odds information, betting picks and a breakdown of this week’s top sports betting news check out the OddsShark podcast with Jon Campbell and Andrew Avery. Subscribe on iTunes or Spotify or listen to it at OddsShark.libsyn.com

Toledo announces future three-game series with Kentucky

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How about a little Power Five-Group of Five scheduling news to start off your Wednesday morning?

This week, Toledo announced that it has reached an agreement on a future three-game series with Kentucky, which is essentially a home-and-home plus a one-off.  The two schools will play in Lexington during the 2025 and 2028 seasons, with the Wildcats traveling to the Glass Bowl in 2027.

Specific dates for those matchups, which will be the first-ever between the school, weren’t divulged.

“We are very pleased to enter in this three-game series with the University of Kentucky,” said UT athletic director Mike O’Brien in a statement. “Bringing an SEC opponent into the Glass Bowl is huge for our football program and for our fans. We look forward to an exciting series with the Wildcats, beginning with the game in Lexington this fall.”

That 2027 game will mark just the second time an SEC school has ever traveled to Toledo for a football game, with the first being Missouri in 2014.  All told, the Rockets have played four games against members of that conference and have gone 1-3 in those contests, with the lone win coming against Arkansas in 2015.

Love lost as Memphis LB enters transfer portal

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For the third time this offseason, Memphis has seen a member of its football program sucked into the infamous portal.

Citing a source familiar with the decision, the Memphis Commercial Appeal is reporting that Nyle Love has entered his name into the transfer database.  No specific reason was given for the departure, although positioning on the depth chart would be a likely place to start.

Other FBS schools will be able to contact Love without receiving U-M’s permission, with the linebacker also retaining the ability to return to the Tigers if he so desires.  As we have noted multiple times in the past, the school now also has the option to strip Love of his scholarship at the end of the semester in which he entered the portal.

If Love moves on to another FBS school, it’s very likely he’ll have to sit out the 2019 season to satisfy NCAA transfer rules.

Love didn’t play a down for Tigers after coming to the AAC school as a three-star 2018 signee.

USC confirms JT Daniels is still Trojans’ starting QB

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The drama in the Land of Troy, such as it was, is officially over.

For most, there was a three-man battle for USC’s starting quarterback job throughout this offseason — incumbent JT Daniels, Matt Fink and Jack Sears.  Tuesday, the Trojans ended the competition charade by confirming that Daniels will indeed be the team’s starter when they open the 2019 season later this month.

Most intriguing, though, is the fact that true freshman Kedon Slovis, who has been mostly an afterthought in the competition, has been chosen as the true sophomore Daniels’ backup over Fink, a redshirt junior, and Sears, a redshirt sophomore.

Daniels started 11 games as a true freshman for the Trojans this past season, with Sears starting the other.  Fink seriously contemplated a transfer this offseason before opting to remain at USC.  Slovis, meanwhile, was a three-star 2019 signee who was rated as the No. 26 pro-style quarterback in the country.

In his first season as a starter, Daniels completed almost 60 percent of his 363 passes for 2,672 yards, 14 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.

Michigan transfer Brandon Peters wins starting QB job at Illinois

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Michigan transfer Brandon Peters has won the quarterback derby at Illinois, Lovie Smith announced Tuesday.

“We loved Brandon when we got a chance to know him during the recruiting process,” Smith said. “Now that we’ve seen him on the field, he has been everything we though he would be. He has really thrown the ball well and is a better runner than he’s given credit for. Most importantly, he has moved into a leadership role for us. We’re pumped up about Brandon leading us heading into the season.”

A former 4-star recruit, the Avon, Ind., native is a graduate transfer who still has two years of eligibility remaining.

At Michigan he appeared in 10 games with four starts, completing 53 percent of his 110 throws for 680 yards and four touchdowns.

Illinois opens its season Aug. 31 at home versus Akron.