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Capital One Bowl Preview and Pick

Capital One Bowl 2012We are posting this one a bit early because one of our staffers wrote such an in depth and detailed article it needs to be out there right away.

Capital One Bowl Preview and Pick
16 Nebraska (10-3) vs. 7 Georgia (11-2)
January 1, 2013 at 1:00PM ET

Nebraska and Georgia meet up in Orlando on New Year’s Day in the Capital One Bowl Game.  This is a back-to-back appearance for Nebraska in this bowl.  They were defeated by South Carolina 30-13 in last year’s Big Ten/SEC Capital One bowl game matchup.  This game ranks up there as one of the best non-BCS bowl games for the 2012 college football season.  Georgia is favored by 9 points.  The total is listed at 58.

The Capital One Bowl game is a consolation prize for two teams that both experienced devastating regular-season finales with a loss in their conference title games.  After 6 straight wins – which included several comeback victories – Nebraska fell apart and suffered an unexplainable 70-31 loss to Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship game.  The Huskers rallied to beat the Badgers 30-27 just two months earlier.  A win would have given the Cornhuskers their first conference title since 1999 and a spot in the Rose Bowl against Stanford.  Georgia came within a few yards of beating Alabama and securing what would have probably been a spot in the BCS National Championship game against Notre Dame.  They lost 32-28 after an impressive last minute drive down that field that ended with a batted down ball and interception that would drain the clock and give Alabama the SEC title and another chance to play for the National Championship.

Despite the disappointment, both teams have plenty to play for.  For Nebraska, this game would be several things. It would be 11 wins – a first for Bo Pelini in his fifth year as Head Coach.  It would be their first bowl game victory since they beat Arizona 33-0 in the Holiday Bowl in 2009.  A win – against a 7th ranked SEC team – wouldn’t erase the Big Ten Title breakdown, but would go far with the Husker faithful.

For Georgia, a win would mean finishing 2012 strong; ending the season on a high note.  A dominant performance might prove to the Nation that the team who fell just short of a National Title game berth, was as good as they looked against the team that is currently favored to win it all. A win – against a quality Big Ten opponent – would give the Bulldogs their first bowl game trophy since they beat Texas A&M 44-20 in the Independence Bowl in 2009.  They were defeated by Michigan State in last year’s Outback Bowl, 33-30.

Both Head Coaches, have reputations for falling short in BIG games.  They’ll each have a shot to win one that counts on January 1st.

The Georgia Bulldogs are heavily favored (as much as 10 points in some places) and the public is all over Georgia against-the-spread.  At a glance, Georgia is the obviously dominant team.  After all, Nebraska just got stomped by an unranked conference opponent.  Georgia on the other hand, had only one loss before losing to Alabama in a game that could have gone either way.

Free Betting PicksLet’s take a look at both teams’ 2012 schedules.  Nebraska’s three losses came to the following 3 teams: UCLA, Ohio State, and Wisconsin.  UCLA won 9 games in the PAC 12 and came within 3-points of beating Stanford for a BCS bowl berth in the Conference Championship game. Ohio State went 12-0 and would probably be playing Notre Dame had they not been hit with post-season sanctions. And Wisconsin – despite their dominant Big Ten title performance – lost to Nebraska earlier in the season.  The Huskers are led by Junior Quarterback, Taylor Martinez.  He led the Huskers to 10 regular-season wins, which included 5 comebacks.  Martinez’ ability to forget the score when they’re behind, combined with his quick Heisman-worthy break-free-potential, help keep Nebraska in every game; offensively at least.  Nebraska will have to count on their Blackshirt defense to step-up and help keep the Huskers in the game.  The embarrassment the defense suffered in Indianapolis should provide plenty of motivation.  Nebraska’s defense allowed 14 points or less in 5 of their games.

While plenty of credit is due, Georgia has at-times been vulnerable.    Their wins include close calls against bottom-of-the SEC Tennessee and Kentucky teams where they gave up 44 and 24 points, respectively.  Despite this, the Bulldogs rank 17th in scoring defense allowing only 18.8 points per game.  Georgia is led by QB Aaron Murray who has the second highest quarterback rating in the country.  He has plenty of weapons to work with and put up some impressive numbers this year. He completed 65% of his passes for 3466 yards, 31 touchdowns.  Georgia ranks 20th in the nation in scoring with 37.2 points per game.

Attendance should be decent with Georgia fans outnumbering Nebraska fans 3-1.  Husker fans are expected to travel well as usual, but will be competing with a fan base that is only a 7 hour drive away from Orlando.  Total attendance should exceed 50,000.

Overall, the Georgia Bulldogs are better on both sides of the ball, but this one might surprise a few people.  While Georgia might take the edge when it’s all said and done, there’s some value in Nebraska against-the spread.  Expect to see a Nebraska defense that looks closer to the defense that helped win 10 games, than the one that contributed to three losses. They won’t be perfect, but don’t have to be with the scoring potential of the Nebraska Offense. In all three of their losses, the Huskers scored an average of 33 points per game.  If Taylor Martinez can hang onto the ball and make a big play or two, the Cornhuskers will be in this one until the end.

Pick: Nebraska +9
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Monday, December 31st, 2012 Bowl Games, College Football 2012

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