CFB Bowl Picks: Take Old Dominion, Kent State as underdogs against spread

Underdogs have been barking loud to start bowl season.

Underdogs were 6-2 against the spread in the first eight postseason games and a handful of them won outright, including UAB, Utah State and Western Kentucky.

That trend could extend into the midweek bowl games. Old Dominion and Kent State are hungry underdogs that may have more motivation than their counterparts.

Old Dominion has not been bowling much during its short FBS history and it used a second-half surge to get into a bowl game. Kent State is coming off an awful loss in the MAC Championship Game to Northern Illinois, but it may have an advantage in its Idaho Potato Bowl matchup.

Below are picks for Monday and Tuesday's bowl games. More picks will be added throughout the week.

CFB Bowl Picks

Overall Record: 105-89 (6-3 Bowls)

Myrtle Beach Bowl

Old Dominion (+9) vs. Tulsa

My reasoning for picking Old Dominion is simple.

The Monarchs have more motivation than Tulsa to win the Myrtle Beach Bowl.

Old Dominion did not play in 2020 and it reeled off five straight wins to become bowl eligible.

Tulsa did not live up to expectations this season and it struggled to become bowl eligible on its own at 6-6.

Old Dominion has more motivation to bring back a bowl victory to add to its young FBS history. And oh by the way, the Monarchs are 9-3 against the spread this season.

Idaho Potato Bowl

Kent State (+3.5 and +135) vs. Wyoming

Kent State and Wyoming will be locked in one of the more drastic stylistic clashes of bowl season.

Kent State loves to go at a fast pace through quarterback Dustin Crum. Wyoming loves to run the ball at a slow pace behind Xazavian Valladay.

The Golden Flashes average over 10 points and 120 total yards per game compared to the Cowboys. Their quick-strike offense could pull them ahead early in Boise.

Wyoming will try to drag Kent State down to its level, but I'm not sure if the Flashes can be contained for four quarters.

Kent State scored at least 23 points in 11 of its 14 games. The three occasions in which it did not reach that mark came against Texas A&M, Iowa and Maryland.

Wyoming is nowhere close to any of those three Power Five schools and it only has two wins in its last eight games.

Give me the team that got hot down the stretch and reached its conference championship game over a team that barely won after September.

Frisco Bowl

UTSA vs. San Diego State (-3)

The Frisco Bowl had the makings of one of the best bowl matchups until UTSA running back Sincere McCormick opted out of the game to focus on the NFL draft.

McCormick's decision swung my opinion of the matchup well in favor of San Diego State and its tremendous defense. UTSA now has to rely on quarterback Frank Harris and backup running backs to break through the Aztecs' rushing defense that allows 77.6 yards per game.

San Diego State can control the pace of the contest by cramming the box and forcing the Roadrunners to beat it through the air on long third and fourth downs.

The Aztecs do not have the best passing defense, but the job of the secondary becomes easier when you do not have to worry about a star running back hurting you on long downs.

San Diego State also carries plenty of motivation to beat UTSA in its home state. The Aztecs were embarrassed in the Mountain West Championship Game by Utah State and they would love to finish on a strong note behind their tremendous defense.

Armed Forces Bowl

Missouri vs. Army (-6.5) and Under 55.5

I was able to grab Army under a touchdown on Tuesday morning.

The Black Knights have a significant advantage in the ground game with its triple-option offense going up against the worst rushing defense of any bowl participant.

Missouri had a chance to counter Army's ground game, but leading rusher Tyler Badie was ruled out by the coaching staff on Tuesday morning.

Mizzou is going to have a tough time finding consistent yardage on offense. Quarterback Connor Bazelak failed to throw for 200 yards in each of his last three games and he threw 11 interceptions this season.

The news of Badie's absence also leads me to the under. Army should control the pace with a few extended drives and Mizzou will struggle, especially in the first half, while trying to deal without Badie.

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