Five for Friday: Best Bets for December 16

Unless you were paying close attention, you got an unwelcome surprise if you tried to bet the Bahamas Bowl today, as Dewayne McBride announced Thursday that he wouldn’t play. Without him, UAB became a much less attractive bet, especially at the -11 that the Blazers went off at before kickoff.

And that’s the danger of bowl season: injuries and opt-outs can make it very difficult to choose which way to bet a game. If you’re going to make a wager, you need to know for sure who’s playing and who isn’t.

There’s one more bowl game as well as some FCS playoff action coming later, so hopefully, we can find some winners out there. Here are my best bets for December 16.

UTSA -2.5, -110

The line has moved quite a bit in the Roadrunners’ favor, and that’s because the money has come in on UTSA. And I think that’s the right move here, because Troy’s defense has played inconsistent football. The Trojans look good against some opponents, but none have been at Frank Harris’ level. The Roadrunners’ quarterback plays well against Group of 5 opponents, and I don’t think Troy can keep up.


North Dakota State remains a force, but I think the Bison are giving too many points here. Incarnate Word puts up video game numbers and gets the chance to play indoors, which should help its attack. North Dakota State should come out ahead, but I think the Cardinals score enough points to stay within one score.


The Phoenix might have cashed a TTU 64 a couple nights ago for me, but I’ve spotted a trend here. The over has cashed in seven of eight for Green Bay, because the totals are getting set too low. The Phoenix can’t score, but they also can’t play any defense. Basically, they serve as a tonic for struggling offenses, and Stanford should use them well tonight.

XAVIER -10.5, -110

I’ve got a touch of PTSD with the Musketeers, because they never should have lost a double-digit lead to Cincinnati. But that said, Georgetown remains horrible. The Hoyas have covered in the Musketeers’ past three visits to Washington, but they’re still a terrible team that shouldn’t pose much of a problem. As long as Xavier’s mid-range defense doesn’t fall apart, the Muskies should do the job.

SOUTH FLORIDA -10.5, -110

The Bulls started the year poorly but have now won four of five. They face a weak Dartmouth squad that hasn’t exactly played much of a schedule this season. That should help South Florida pull away and eventually record a double-digit win. As long as the Bulls’ shooting touch is on, they should handle this game.

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