January 2, 2016 (10:35 AM ET)
NFL picks will be posted here between 9:00 AM - 11:00 AM ET on Sunday.
There are two bowl picks today.
1) Take Kansas State at +13 spread against Arkansas for 3% of the bankroll.
After a 3-0 start, injures piled up for Kansas State in a six-game skid to begin Big 12 play that included some close losses to top teams. The Wildcats were able to rally and win their final three contests of the season to reach a 6-6 record and ensure their bowl eligibility. It would be easy for a majority of the betting public to completely write off the Wildcats in this contest, but we feel that would be a mistake. They ended the season on a high note, winning their last 3 games, including an upset win over the West Virginia Mountaineers. They have showed flashes of brilliance at time this season and are a team that seems to "get up" for these type of big-time matchups. They nearly upset TCU earlier in the season and would be surprised if they came out and took it right to the Razorbacks. With a month to prepare for Arkansas, we expect the veteran coach in Bill Snyder to come up with a game plan to keep his team competitive.
Let's not forget, while Arkansas heated up towards the end of the season, winning 5 of their last 6 contests, this is still a team that struggled out of the gate with some tough losses to teams like Toledo, Texas Tech and Texas A&M. The Razorbacks rely on strong play in the trenches, and were dominating the line of scrimmage to end the season. Alex Collins was one of the more productive running backs in the nation, racking up nearly 1,500 total yards and 17 touchdowns. For K-State to be competitive in this game, they need to find a way to not get pushed around in the trenches on both offense and defense. The Wildcats may be able to do that defensively at least, as they racked up three sacks per game in the regular season, one of the best marks in the country. The Wildcats need a huge game out of defensive linemen Jordan Willis and Marquel Bryant and we believe these two will step up to the task.
Kansas State likes to use a two quarterback system as each player provides a different spark for the team. Joe Huebner is a much better runner than he is a passer. If the Wildcats ground game gets going, we'll look for Huebner to take a bulk of the snaps. We will also likely see Kody Cook take snaps under center as well. Cook is the much better passer and will likely be used to keep the Arkansas defense off balance and add another dimension with a passing game. If Cook is able to recapture the magic of his performances against Oklahoma State and West Virginia, Kansas State should be able to keep up with the Arkansas offense and stay within this generous spread.
Even if we are mistaken and Arkansas jumps out to a hefty lead early on, there is always a chance that the Wildcats get a backdoor cover when getting this many points. The Razorbacks are not a team that is built to blow out other teams. Bret Bielema is a firm believer in running the football and playing solid defense. He is not the type of coach that prefers a high flying, quick scoring offense. He wants to dirty up this game, play physical in the trenches and run the football. That type of game plan often shortens the game by keeping the clock moving. He also has nothing to provide in this contest beating up on the Wildcats and running up the score. Many view Kansas State as an inferior opponent and their sure to be Hall of Fame coach Bill Snyder is a legend and well respected in the college football world. We wouldn't be surprised if Arkansas does get a lead, that out of respect for Snyder, Bielema calls off the dogs early to keep things within a respectable margin.
We do feel that laying nearly two touchdowns is simply too many points for Arkansas to handle. They find themselves in quite the unfamiliar role in this contest as they have only been this big a favorite once this season. There is a big difference between being expected to win and then expecting to win by a significant margin. At the end of the day, we believe with the proper amount of preparation behind them, the Wildcats find a way to stay within this generous number as the points will come into play.
2) Take Oregon at -7 spread against TCU for 3% of the bankroll.
This bowl was one of the most anticipated matchups of the postseason but lost some of its appeal on Thursday morning. TCU starting quarterback Trevone Boykin was arrested after an incident at a bar in San Antonio and is suspended for this contest. That is a huge blow for the Horned Frogs as Boykin was no doubt the engine that powered the TCU offense. Boykin is a playmaker and more of a true dual-threat quarterback, as he passed for 3,575 yards and 31 touchdowns and added 612 yards and nine scores on the ground this season. To not have that type of production on the field for this contest is a huge setback for this team. The loss of Boykin will only magnify the fact that the Horned Frogs will also be without standout receiver Josh Doctson in this contest! The senior caught 79 passes for 1,327 yards and 14 scores before suffering a season-ending wrist injury against Kansas. It's certainly worth noting that TCU’s lowest passing performances all took place with Doctson out of the lineup.
The Oregon Ducks ended the regular season as one of the hottest teams in the country and a big reason for that was the play of Vernon Adams. Adams finished the season, throwing for 2,446 yards and 25 scores. He comes into this contest having completed at least 73 percent of his throws in each of his last three games. The senior is adept at using his mobility to slide around the pocket and keep plays alive and generated 10 passing plays of 40 yards or more this season. Adams was injured in the early portion of the season, but finally returned to full strength, he guided the Ducks to six consecutive wins to close out the season. With Adams back at 100 percent, Oregon’s up-tempo attack was firing on all cylinders, as the Ducks scored at least 38 points in five out of their last six games. Coach Mark Helfrich’s team will have a full and healthy arsenal of weapons available for this game.
Before Boykin's suspension, all signs pointed to an offensive shootout and one of the highest-scoring games of the postseason. However, with Boykin sidelined, those expectations should be tempered as this is not the same TCU style offense without him under center. With only two days to prepare Kohlhausen or Sawyer, TCU has a tough assignment in tonight's matchup. The Horned Frogs need a huge effort from their defense and running back Aaron Green to knock off the Ducks. Even if TCU finds a way to slow Oregon's offense, it's asking a lot of Kohlhausen and Sawyer to replicate Boykin's production and overall impact on a defense. The Oregon Ducks no doubt have a somewhat suspect defense and that will allow TCU to keep this game close in the early going, however the Ducks offense is simply too potent to contain for a full 4 quarters. Adams and Royce Freeman will eventually break this game wide open in the second half and come away with the win and cover.
Please refer to the important SPS Bankroll System instructions received via email upon joining.