Don’t Worry, There Are More Exciting Bowl Finishes To Come: Expect About 9 More Bowls To Be Decided By A Field Goal Or Less
After Saturday’s exciting bowl season opening act, we’ve had a couple days of rest before things kick back into gear Tuesday in the Beef ‘O’ Brady’s St. Petersburg Bowl.
Over/under on the number of times you or any of your friends actually say “Beef ‘O’ Brady’s St. Petersburg Bowl” tomorrow night: 1.5 (figure on one time minimum, in order to make fun of how long the name is).
You’re forgiven if you think that the closeness of the first few games won’t be topped. We’ve already had a 50-yard game-winning field goal as time expired in the New Orleans Bowl, plus a two minute drive to score a go-ahead touchdown with 13 seconds left in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl.
But don’t fret. In recent years, nearly a quarter of all bowl games have been decided by 3 points or less:
Note that nearly twice that many had spreads of -1 to -3. This year, 18 bowls (including last Saturday’s Famous Idaho Potato Bowl) have or had spreads of -3 or closer. That’s 51%, which is slightly more than normal. As a result, you’d think that slightly more games will end with that one-field goal margin.
Of the 32 bowls left, 17 feature one team favored by 3 or less. Extrapolating from the chart, our best guess is that 9 more games will finish with final scores that close.
Will tomorrow’s St. Petersburg bowl be one of them? The bowl odds page shows that game with a current line of Florida International -4, so it definitely has a good shot to be one of the nail biters.