The Rose Bowl and the Sugar Bowl might have been the marquee games of the 39-game bowl season but there were several others that were much more profitable to bettors. Odds makers set some lines that gamblers found very enticing and they took advantage of them.

UCF football
UCF made both departing coach Scott Frost and bettors happy when they defeated the heavily favored Auburn Tigers in the Peach Bowl on Jan. 1. (Image: Orlando Sentinel)

A little research into teams that played in contests that didn’t receive as much attention as Clemson vs. Alabama or Oklahoma against Georgia gave people a little bit of an advantage when making selections. Below are some of the highlights from the past two weeks.

Moneyline Winners

Central Florida vs. Auburn

Not many sports books gave the Knights a chance against Auburn despite the fact that UCF was 12-0. The Tigers play in the SEC and that sometimes clouds the minds of those setting the line.

They made Auburn a 10-point favorite and those who thought the smaller conference team would finish undefeated were rewarded, especially if bettors took the squad straight up. They were anywhere from a plus-275 to a plus-445 and won the game 34-27.

South Carolina vs. Michigan

The Gamecocks were another team many thought wouldn’t win against Big 10 powerhouse Michigan. But a look at the Wolverines against the spread should have provided a big red flag. They were 5-6-1 ATS and lost three of four games against ranked opponents.

While South Carolina wasn’t in the Top 25, they did play in a tougher SEC and were ready to upset Michigan. They were a plus-290 pick and were the second best paying wager during the bowl season when they won, 26-19.

Mississippi State vs. Louisville

The Bulldogs had two indicators they could beat the Cardinals. The first was their 7-5 record ATS and the other was the past success they had in recent bowl games.

MSU was 5-2 straight up in its last seven postseason appearances and were 6 1/2-point underdogs against Louisville. They opened as a plus-165 and were all the way up to a plus-240 before kickoff, winning 31-27.

Other Successful Bets

USC vs. Ohio State

Watching trends in earlier bowl games can definitely pay off and that is exactly what happened in this match up. The Pac 12 had been getting beaten soundly in previous contests with the conference 1-6 before the Trojans faced OSU.

Factor that in with USC’s dismal 4-7 record ATS and giving away 7 points with the Buckeyes seemed like a no brainer. OSU scored all its points in the first half and cruised to a 24-7 victory.

Kansas State vs. UCLA

This game had two factors that worked in bettor’s favor. The first was the dismal record of the Pac 12 and the second was the announcement four days before the game that Bruins starting quarterback Josh Rosen would not play due to a concussion.

UCLA was getting six points, which seemed low for a team without its star player, and it proved to be correct. The team lost 35-17.

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