Burns 2008 Holiday Bowl Picks

For those of you who missed out on the bowl picks offered by Ben Burns last night, this is how he broke down the bowl game odds and came up with his play on Oregon:

I’m taking the points with OREGON. I won with the Big 12 team (Texas) in last year’s Holiday Bowl but this year, I’m backing the Pac-10. These teams both bring 9-3 records to the table and both can score plenty of points. The overall offensive numbers are almost identical with both teams scoring 41+ points per game. Note that a closer look shows that the Ducks also averaged 40 points on the road though while the Cowboys averaged just 28 in their road games.

The Ducks have plenty of momentum as they closed the season with three straight victories, including a 65-38 destruction of a good Oregon State team in their finale. On the other hand, the Cowboys lost two of their final three games. Granted, those losses came against two of the best teams in the country. However, they still don’t do much for a team’s momentum.

With both offenses expected to produce, the team with the better defense is more than likely the one which will prevail. Oregon coach Mike Belotti concurred, stating: “Historically, these two teams have scored a lot of points. It’s interesting that the two teams have run the ball very, very well. But probably the team that plays the best defense will be the one that wins the game. So we’ll probably be talking about the offenses going in (into the game) but probably be talking about the defenses going out.” While both defenses have similar numbers on the season, the Cowboys’ defense may be affected by the fact that last week defensive coordinator Tim Beckman accepted the head coaching position at Toledo and immediately left Stillwater to get involved with the Rockets’ recruiting.

The Cowboys are 2-5 ATS the last seven times that they played with a line of -3 to +3. During the same span, the Ducks are 6-4 ATS when playing a game with a line in the same range. Looking back further and we find Oregon at a profitable 34-15 ATS the last 49 times it played a game with a line in that range. The Ducks also come in at 5-1 SU/ATS the last six times that they played with two or more week’s rest between games. Look for them to improve on those stats, carrying their positive momentum from the season into tonight’s big game. *Main Event