Play Q & A with handicapper Kelly Stewart, who will answer selected questions from Las Vegas Review-Journal readers. Email her at Askkelly
Q: What's your opinion on the Las Vegas Bowl? Boise State is a 5½-point favorite over Washington.
- Ryan, Las Vegas
A: The Broncos didn't show me a whole lot this year. I know they are 10-2 and Chris Petersen is a great coach, but they lost to two mediocre teams, Michigan State and San Diego State. Boise State has been to Vegas three years in a row, so it's a been-there done-that kind of thing. I think Washington is a lot better than its 7-5 record, and quarterback Keith Price is due for a good game after a disappointing season. I'm going to wait until Saturday to bet the underdog Huskies because the line might move up to 6½.
Q: Can you recommend a few bowl underdogs that you think can win outright?
- Brett, Las Vegas
A: Two 'dogs I like to win outright are Northern Illinois and Wisconsin.
Northern Illinois is getting 13½ points against Florida State in the Orange Bowl on New Year's Day, and that's one of my favorite games on the board. Florida State is like the USC of the East, at least to me. I had high hopes for the Seminoles this year. OK, they didn't go 7-5 like the Trojans, but it seemed Florida State always failed to cover. I love taking the points in this game and will definitely put a little on the money line.
Wisconsin has been all over the board this season, and I was criticized for picking them to upset Nebraska in the Big Ten title game, but I think the Badgers are finally clicking. They hung 70 points on the Cornhuskers, after losing close games to Penn State and Ohio State. Stanford is a 6½-point favorite in the Rose Bowl and is the better team on paper.
I know Bret Bielema is gone to Arkansas and Barry Alvarez is returning to coach the bowl, but that could help motivate the Badgers and I like them to pull off the upset.
Q: How is your NFL season going as a handicapper?
- Mark, Laughlin
A: This season has been all over the board for me. I've had perfect Sundays and absolutely gotten killed on some others. Once upon a time, I bet every home 'dog in prime-time situations. It used to be, and sometimes still is, a theory for me, but teams like the Jaguars, Eagles and Raiders have made it almost impossible.
So midseason I adjusted my PTHD (Play The Home 'Dog) theory to exclude garbage teams. Betting double-digit road favorites, like the Patriots this week, isn't exactly my idea of smart betting, but if they cover that's all that matters.
Kelly Stewart of Hottiehandicappers.com can be reached at Askkelly@reviewjournal.com. Follow her on Twitter: @kellyinvegas.