At one point a few years ago, the Boston College Eagles were the best bowl team around, winning eight straight postseason games. But that profit streak has turned on BC and its backers as the Eagles have lost three straight bowls and are just 1-6 against the spread in their last seven bowl appearances.
East meets West when Boston College hooks up with the Arizona Wildcats in the Independence Bowl, New Year's Eve day in Shreveport, La.
Point spread: The Wildcats opened as seven-point favorites; the total was 57.5. (Line updates and matchup report)
Odds Shark computer prediction: 33.8-26.8 Wildcats
Why the Eagles can cover the Independence Bowl spread
Boston College returned 17 starters for its first season under new head coach Steve Addazio and had hopes of returning to a bowl after a two-year absence. The Eagles delivered, winning four of their last five games to finish 7-5 overall, .500 in the ACC.
BC only beat two teams that are playing in bowls, but they gave BCS Championship-bound Florida State and Clemson good fights, easily covering in both games. And it took a Syracuse touchdown with 10 seconds left to snap that winning streak in the season finale.
The Eagles will try to use Heisman candidate Andre Williams, who ran for 2,100 yards this season and 17 touchdowns, to control the tempo against Arizona, because BC's defense is a bit vulnerable.
Why the Wildcats can cover the Independence Bowl spread
Arizona had 16 starters back for its second season under coach Rich Rodriguez, and while the 'Cats came up short in contending for the Pac-12 title, they are in a bowl for the second straight year.
Arizona started 6-2, but then lost back-to-back close games to UCLA and Washington State. The Wildcats then pulled a shocker, upsetting the heck out of Oregon, but fell back to Earth in a rivalry loss to Arizona State in the regular-season finale.
Offensively the 'Cats, led by 1,700-yard rusher Ka'Deem Carey, rank 35th overall and 11th in the country in rushing, at 266 yards per game. Defensively Arizona isn't great, but they did hold the high-flying Ducks to two offensive touchdowns a few weeks ago.
The Independence Bowl betting history over the past decade has favored the chalk to the tune of 8-2 ATS.
These two teams are fairly similar. They both like to run the ball and both defenses can be a bit too generous. Both teams are also coming off bad losses in their regular-season finales.
But quarterback B.J. Denker, who threw for 2,200 yards this year and ran for 900 more, gives Arizona more explosiveness on offense. And defensively, the Wildcats posted slightly better numbers than the Eagles while playing a tougher schedule.
BC is probably just glad to be back in a bowl. Arizona will try to use this bowl to build for the future. Give the points and go with the Wildcats to follow a pair of trends (favorites to cover and BC to fail).
- Boston College is just 1-6 ATS past seven bowl games
- UNDER is 5-1 in six Arizona bowl games since 1997
- Favorites are 8-2 ATS past 10 games