College Bowl Season officially kicks off Friday, while the NFL enters the penultimate week of the 2019 season. This is your Weekend Primer.
FIVE HOT TOPICS
1. Pat practicing: Patrick Mahomes has been dealing with a lingering hand injury, throwing fantasy owners and bettors across the nation into a frenzy. But he’s fully participated in practice all week, which should quell any concerns heading into Sunday night’s game vs. the Bears.
2. Grier next up in Carolina: Will Grier, a third-round draft pick out of West Virginia, will make his NFL debut when the Panthers head to Indianapolis to play the Colts. Rookie quarterbacks making their first start on the road are 10-18 since 2009.
3. Curtin call over: Eli Manning’s cameo with the Giants appears over after two starts, as rookie Daniel Jones is back practicing with the starters. Manning will finish his career as the most successful quarterback in franchise history.
4. Broncos add to bowl streak: Boise State currently possesses the fifth-longest active bowl streak in college football and the 11th-longest all-time. The Broncos are 12-5-1 all-time in bowl games, with just two losses in their last 10. They’re 3-point underdogs to Washington in the Las Vegas Bowl.
5. Home sweet for Hawaii: Hawaii is remarkably playing its 11th bowl game at Aloha Stadium. The Rainbow Warriors, who have lost three of their last four Hawaii Bowls, are 2-point dogs to BYU in this year’s installment.
With high winds expected in the Bahamas Bowl between Buffalo and Charlotte, sharp money has pounded the under at multiple price points, resulting in a plunge down to 51 from an opener of 58. The Frisco Bowl between Kent State and Utah State has also seen professional action, with over money fueling an adjustment from 65 to 68. The Boca Raton Bowl between SMU and Florida Atlantic has seen two-way sharp action on either side of 3. Meanwhile, the NFL card has seen a few sharp positions, including Eagles +3 vs. the Cowboys (number down to 2), Titans +3 vs. the Saints (currently 2.5) and Vikings -4 vs. the Packers (number up to 5.5).
Central Michigan (+150) vs. San Diego State: Underdogs are always live vs. the Aztecs, who haven’t scored more than 20 points in a game since mid-October. The underdog has won three of those games. Central Michigan has won six of its last eight have a 2-3 start.
Panthers (+235) at Colts: Having Grier under center should help Carolina’s chances, as there’s not much film on him for the Colts to use in their preparation. Indianapolis has dropped six of its last seven games and is also banged up on defense, having conceded 31-plus in each of the last three.
Saturday — SMU (-3.5) vs. Florida Atlantic: Two of the premier teams outside of the major conferences meet in the Boca Raton Bowl. This is essentially a home game for the Owls, who go in as dogs and will be without head coach Lane Kiffin. The total for this one is set at 68.5, so some fireworks are expected.
Sunday — Cowboys (-2) at Eagles: The NFC East is up for grabs and despite both the Cowboys and Eagles underachieving this year, they’re nonetheless in control of their own destinies for a home playoff game. Dallas, which has won and covered the last four meetings between the two teams, is coming off a demolition job of the Rams.