There are 40 bowl games in college football‘s 2018 postseason, and it kicks off with six matchups on Saturday. The first one is actually the only bowl game to feature FCS programs: the Celebration Bowl. That’s the de facto national championship game for historically black colleges and universities and features the champions of the MEAC and SWAC.
Odds courtesy of OddsShark.com
North Carolina A&T, the MEAC champion, won the first Celebration Bowl in 2015 and also in 2017 and is a 7.5-point favorite over SWAC champion Alcorn State, which lost its only trip to this bowl in 2015. Alcorn State has covered its past six this season.
The “real” bowl games begin with the Cure Bowl from Orlando as Tulane of the American Athletic Conference is a 3.5-point favorite over Louisiana of the Sun Belt. The Green Wave only got bowl eligible with a 29-28 last-minute win over Navy to close the regular season, while the Ragin’ Cajuns lost in the Sun Belt title game to Appalachian State. These state rivals have played plenty previously and Louisiana has covered four of the past five in the series.
The only team ranked in the final College Football Playoff Top 25 in action on the first bowl Saturday is No. 21 Fresno State as a 5-point favorite over Arizona State in the Las Vegas Bowl. The Bulldogs were Mountain West champions whose two losses were by a touchdown each, and they are looking for the first 12-win season in school history.
The Sun Devils, who finished second in the Pac-12 South Division, will be without one of the nation’s top receivers for the game as N’Keal Harry has decided to end his NCAA career and focus on the NFL Draft. Harry had 73 catches for 1,088 yards and nine touchdowns this season. ASU is 1-5 ATS in its past six against Mountain West schools.
The biggest favorite on Saturday is Utah State at -8 against North Texas in the New Mexico Bowl. The Aggies tied with Boise State atop the Mountain Division in the Mountain West but lost the tiebreaker for the conference championship game. They also will be without head coach Matt Wells as he already has left for Texas Tech. He was the architect of an offense that ranked third nationally in scoring at 47.2 points per game. That’s largely why USU was a terrific 9-3 ATS this season.
North Texas is from Conference USA and has a very good defense, surrendering just 21.8 points per game. The Mean Green enter the matchup having failed to cover their past five games.