If the Super Bowl is considered sports betting’s national holiday, then mid-December to early January could likely be labeled sports betting’s Mardi Gras — a multi-week celebration with no shortage of revelry.
College bowl season has something for every bettor on a near-daily basis beginning Dec. 20 and culminating Jan. 13 in the College Football Playoff National Championship in New Orleans. TheLines has collected all of the pertinent information necessary for you to place your moneyline, point spread, and parlays and totals bets on all of this season’s bowl matchups.
Read below for betting breakdowns of all 41 games, including the New Year’s Six matchups.
College Bowl odds 2019-20
College Bowl breakdowns and predictions
Makers Wanted Bowl: Charlotte vs Buffalo (-6.5)
Friday, December 20, 2:00 PM, ESPN
Buffalo (7-5, 5-3) sits as 6.5-point favorites over Charlotte (7-5, 5-3) in the Bahamas. Star running back Jaret Patterson eclipsed 1,600 yards rushing (5th) and 17 touchdowns (T-8th) this season – including a record-breaking 298-yard, six TD performance against BGSU. Charlotte is bowl-eligible for the first time and is looking to make a statement. However, the 49ers defense (105th) will be fighting an uphill battle in this one.
Frisco Bowl: Utah State (-8) vs Kent State
Friday, December 20, 7:30 PM, ESPN2
Kent State (+8) has conjured quite a turnaround from its 2018 campaign, jumping from 2-10 to 6-6 under second-year head coach Sean Lewis. Utah State put together another nice season behind star quarterback Jordan Love (3,085 yards, 17 TD) after losing head coach Matt Wells to the Big 12 last season. The Golden Flashes are looking for their first bowl win in program history (0-3), as the Aggies search for their 6th (5-8).
New Mexico Bowl: San Diego State (-4) vs Central Michigan
Saturday, December 21, 2:00 PM, ESPN
Central Michigan (8-5, 6-2) was less than a touchdown away from securing the MAC, despite a winless conference record (0-8) in 2018. San Diego State (-4) boasts the 4th best scoring defense in the nation (12.8 points per game), but just the 119th-ranked scoring offense (19 ppg). The Chippewas have a much more potent offense and capable defense (62nd) under MAC Coach of the Year Jim McElwain.
Cure Bowl: Liberty vs Georgia Southern (-5.5)
Saturday, December 21, 2:30 PM, CBSSN
Georgia Southern head coach Chad Lunsford has led the Eagles to two straight bowl games, winning last year’s Camellia Bowl. Liberty (7-5) ranks just 100th in rushing defense (192.7 ypg) this season. The Flames will have to tighten up that stat up if they hope to hang with a triple-option team that’s produced three 650+ yard rushers.
Boca Raton Bowl: SMU (-3.5) vs FAU
Saturday, December 21, 3:30 PM, ABC
SMU got off to its best start (8-0) since the Death Penalty before being upended by AAC-champion Memphis. Lane Kiffin led FAU to its second-ever 10-win season but has since accepted the head job at Ole Miss. Even without their head coach, the Owls should give the Mustangs a run for their money in a great shootout. FAU (35.2 ppg) ranks 16th in the nation in scoring, while SMU (43 ppg) ranks 6th.
Camellia Bowl: Arkansas State (-3) vs FIU
Saturday, December 21, 5:30 PM, ESPN
The formula for FIU is simple: score 30 points. The Panthers are 5-1 when scoring 30 or more, while Arkansas State is giving up 35 points per game (117th). FIU will have to hold Arkansas State to under their season average (33.7 ppg, 31st) and they should come up with a win. Panthers quarterback James Morgan will look to capitalize on the Red Wolves’ 104th-ranked pass defense, which gives up over 250 yards per game.
Las Vegas Bowl: Washington (-3.5) vs #19 Boise State
Saturday, December 21, 7:30 PM, ABC
It’s safe to say Washington’s season was underwhelming; the Huskies, who were projected to win the PAC-12, went 7-5 and coach Chris Petersen is resigning to “recharge.” Since 2012, Boise State (12-1) has a winning record against Washington (3-2), but face a tough test against Georgia transfer Jacob Eason (2900 yards, 22 TD). Petersen is facing his former team and is looking to go out on a high note, hence the Huskies being favored.
New Orleans Bowl: #20 Appalachian State (-17) vs UAB
Saturday, December 21, 9:00 PM, ESPN
Appalachian State (12-1) has one of the most balanced teams in the nation — ranking 42nd in total defense and 21st in total offense. It’s not a surprise that the Mountaineers have remained a steadfast 17-point favorite in this one. For what the Blazers (9-4) lack in offense (23 ppg, 100th), they make up for in having the 3rd ranked defense among Group of 5 schools (294 ypg). This will be a great game for fans of great football.
Gasparilla Bowl: Marshall vs UCF (-18)
Monday, December 23, 2:30 PM, ESPN
UCF might not have had the record of late (9-3), but they tread familiar waters, sitting sixth in the nation in scoring (43 ppg). Stand-in quarterback Dillion Gabriel has done his part and then some, posting almost 3,400 yards and 30 total touchdowns. The two teams sit back-to-back in scoring defense (UCF 39th, Marshall 40th), but Marshall (8-4) sits just 88th in scoring (25.8 ppg). The Knights should be able to keep Marshall at bay in this one.
Hawai’i Bowl: Hawaii (-2) vs BYU
Tuesday, December 24, 8:00 PM, ESPN
Hawaii (9-5) and BYU (7-5) have both had memorable seasons with plenty of drama and big wins. Hawaii began the year by knocking off two PAC-12 teams (Arizona, Oregon State) and finished with its first Mountain West Championship game berth. BYU had back-to-back upsets against Power 5 teams (Tennessee, USC), but at times struggled to score the ball. Hawaii’s receiving corps posted three players over 975 yards, including two players to hit 10 touchdowns (Cedric Byrd III, JoJo Ward). BYU, though, allows just 203 passing yards per game (36th).
Independence Bowl: Miami (-7) vs Louisiana Tech
Thursday, December 26, 4:00 PM, ESPN
Miami’s season summed up: Just one week after the Hurricanes upset #24 Virginia, they fall to 3-9 Georgia Tech at home. Miami just squeaked by CMU early in the season and famously fell to FIU late in the year. Louisiana Tech (9-3) had one of the easiest schedules in the country, ranking 122nd in the country and facing Grambling State, BGSU, Rice, UMass, UTEP, and UTSA. The key to this game will be the Bulldogs’ ability to score at least 30 points (they are 7-0 when reaching that mark). Miami allowed just two opponents to score 30 or more this season.
Quick Lane Bowl: Pittsburgh (-10.5) vs Eastern Michigan
Thursday, December 26, 8:00 PM, ESPN
Since 2003, MAC teams are 0-12 against Power 5 teams in bowl games (last win: BGSU over Northwestern). In typical Pitt fashion, only two games were separated by more than 10 points, including just a 7-point loss to #10 Penn State. Eastern Michigan upset Illinois in dramatic fashion earlier in the season, but brings just a 3-5 conference record to the table. However, EMU (+10.5) could be an interesting bet with Pitt’s tendency to keep games close.
Military Bowl: North Carolina (-6.5) vs Temple
Friday, December 27, 12:00 PM, ESPN
Temple played spoiler three times in 2019, putting holds on #24 Maryland, #17 Memphis, Tulane, and nearly #21 Cincinnati. Head Coach Rod Carey became just the second Temple head coach to reach 8 wins in their first season (Steve Addazio, 2011). Though finishing 6-6, UNC lost games by an average of 4.3 points, including their famous 1-point nailbiter to #3 Clemson. True freshman Sam Howell posted nearly 3,500 yards and 35 touchdowns, records for a UNC freshman.
Pinstripe Bowl: Michigan State (-3.5) vs Wake Forest
Friday, December 27, 3:20 PM, ESPN
Wake Forest jumped out to its best start in program history before losing a bonkers game to Louisville and then finishing the year 1-3. The Demon Deacons (8-4) lost superstar receiver Sage Surratt to injury and could lose him to the NFL Draft. Michigan State is in the conversation for the most disappointing team this season, losing at least six games for the third time in the last four seasons. The Spartans are unsurprising favorites, taking into account that Wake made their riches early in the season against non-Power 5 opponents.
Texas Bowl: #25 Oklahoma State vs Texas A&M (-6)
Friday, December 27, 6:45 PM, ESPN
Texas A&M (7-5) is allowing just 129 rushing yards per game (29th) while facing seven 1,000-yard rushers in 2019. The eighth rusher the Aggies face happens to be the nation’s leading rusher, Chuba Hubbard (1,936 yards, 21 TD), who accounted for over 38% of the Cowboys’ total offense. Texas A&M scored 21 or more just once against ranked opponents and Oklahoma State ranks 63rd in scoring defense.
Holiday Bowl: #22 USC vs #16 Iowa (-1.5)
Friday, December 27, 8:00 PM, FS1
Since 1976, these two teams have played just once (2003) despite the PAC-12 having three autobids against the Big Ten, and Iowa has not won since 1950. USC has been without promising young quarterback JT Daniels since the season began, but have found success in freshman Keldon Solvis (3,242 yards, 28 TD). To no surprise, Iowa (9-3) has built another great season behind a stout defense. The Hawkeyes never allowed 25 or more points, and gave up 20 points just three times in 2019 despite having played five top-40 offenses.
Cheez-It Bowl: Air Force (-2) vs Washington State
Friday, December 27, 10:15 PM, ESPN
This might be the ultimate bowl season matchup: The top passing offense in the nation against a team that attempted just 114 passes all season long (129th). Anthony Gordon led the nation with over 5,200 passing yards and added on 45 passing touchdowns. Air Force is allowing just 208 passing yards per game (40th) and 19.8 points per game (19th). The Falcons are capable of scoring– eclipsing 30 points eight times this season.
Camping World Bowl: #15 Notre Dame (-3.5) vs Iowa State
Saturday, December 28, 12:00 PM, ABC
Since joining Notre Dame, head coach Brian Kelly is 4-4 in postseason play (3-1 in non-New Year’s Six games). Iowa State coach Matt Campbell has led the Cyclones to three-straight bowl games after inheriting a program that won eight games in the past three seasons. For fans of great coaching, this is the bowl game for you. Beyond coaching, buckle in for Ian Book vs Brock Purdy. It might not be a barn-burner, but it’ll be great for football.
Cotton Bowl Classic: #10 Penn State (-7) vs #17 Memphis
Saturday, December 28, 12:00 PM, ESPN
Memphis (12-1) has been the silent killer this season, finishing 5-0 against ranked teams and Power 5 teams, including two-straight wins to close the season over #21 Cincinnati. Coach Mike Norvell is out for Florida State, but the Tigers still have top-level talent. Penn State (10-2) seldom blew teams out this season, but got the job done — even keeping a game on the road against #2 Ohio State within reach. A reason for Memphis (+7): Penn State is 5-6-1 against the spread this season (Memphis is 7-5-1).
College Football Playoff Semifinal (Peach Bowl): #1 LSU (-13.5) vs #4 Oklahoma
Saturday, December 28, 4:00 PM, ESPN
Coach Ed Orgeron was awarded the National Coach of the Year award, star quarterback Joe Burrow easily won the Heisman, assistant Joe Brady won the Frank Broyles Award, and, well, you get the idea. LSU is the real deal, having upended four teams ranked in the top 10 (at the time of the game). Oklahoma is back, looking to secure their first Playoff win under Heisman finalist quarterback Jalen Hurts. This game is bound to be high-scoring, and the team with the ball last will be in a great position to win the game. The question is which defense can make the first stop, and I’ll put my faith in the much-tested LSU Tigers. This game will be much closer than many expect, as Oklahoma should be able to keep up with LSU’s offense.
College Football Playoff Semifinal (Fiesta Bowl): #2 Ohio State vs #3 Clemson (-2)
Saturday, December 28, 8:00 PM, ESPN
Ohio State (13-0) is ready to put all the 31-0 reminders to bed. The Buckeyes have fielded one of the most complete teams in the country and maybe the most talented in program history under historic efforts from transfer Justin Fields, Chase Young, and JK Dobbins. Clemson, however, has one of the most talented draft prospects in recent memory, Trevor Lawrence. The Tigers (13-0) are beyond battle tested and head coach Dabo Swinney has established himself as one of the elites. This might be the championship before the championship game, as the winner of this one has a strong likelihood of winning it all. Can Ohio State out-talent Clemson, or will Swinney teach first-year coach Ryan Day a lesson? The team that makes the first, and likely only mistake will lose this game.
First Responder Bowl: Western Kentucky (-3) vs Western Michigan
Monday, December 30, 12:30 PM, ESPN
The Hilltoppers (8-4) had one of the most disastrous starts to a season imaginable — they dropped their season opener to FCS Central Arkansas. WKU was able to best UAB (9-4) and completely dominate Arkansas on the road. Western Michigan was able to upend both MAC divisional champions at home and post the 25th-ranked scoring offense in the nation (34.2 ppg). WKU boasts the 21st-ranked scoring defense in the country (20.1 ppg).
Music City Bowl: Louisville vs Mississippi State (-3.5)
Monday, December 30, 4:00 PM, ESPN
Scott Satterfield has turned Louisville from the laughing stock of the ACC into the Atlantic runners-up in just one season. For this, Satterfield was named ACC Coach of the Year and was a strong candidate for the national award. On the other side of the field, Joe Moorhead is under fire for Mississippi State winning six or fewer games for just the second time since 2009. Though Louisville remains one of the worst teams in scoring defense (111th), it boasts a more powerful offense (40th) than the Bulldogs (75th).
Redbox Bowl: Illinois vs Cal (-7)
Monday, December 30, 4:00 PM, FOX
Illinois had one of the most exciting 0.500 seasons in college football history– their first under head coach Lovie Smith; the Fighting Illini took #14 Michigan down to the wire and upset then-unbeaten Wisconsin and Michigan State. Cal started the season a hot 4-0, complete with an upset win over ranked Washington on the road. Cal’s defense was the star of the show this year, even holding Oregon to just 17 points. Whatever the under comes out to be for this game, bet on it.
Capital One Orange Bowl: #9 Florida (-13.5) vs #24 Virginia
Monday, December 30, 8:00 PM, ESPN
It might not have been pretty, but Florida (10-2) has gotten the job done when they were supposed to. Despite the final score, the Gators hung in there with #1 LSU and very nearly took out #5 Georgia. They’ve earned their 13.5-point spread. Virginia had high hopes dashed by unranked Miami and Louisville, and a 45-point beatdown by Clemson in the ACC Championship. In Bryce Perkins’ final game with the Cavaliers, expect them to go out swinging.
Belk Bowl: Virginia Tech (-3) vs Kentucky
Tuesday, December 31, 12:00 PM, ESPN
Wide receiver-converted quarterback Lynn Bowden Jr. was the leading rusher and receiver for Kentucky (7-5), lighting a spark and dominating the 4-5 Wildcat’s final three opponents. Virginia Tech (8-4) has bottled up all opposing rushers, allowing just 2 players to rush for over 100 yards this season. However, Virginia’s Bryce Perkins exposed the possibility of a rushing quarterback to gash the defense. If Bowden can get it going, Kentucky will finish their season with another win.
Sun Bowl: Florida State vs Arizona State (-4.5)
Tuesday, December 31, 2:00 PM, CBS
Usually, a coach being fired would pose a major distraction for teams going into their bowl game. However, with fans’ wishes being fulfilled and Willie Taggart being canned, Florida State finished the year 2-1 to preserve bowl eligibility. Arizona State hasn’t won a bowl game since the Sun Bowl in 2014 but have graced the Top 25 both years of Herm Edwards’ tenure. Inconsistency has been the Sun Devils’ biggest issue– they knocked off #6 Oregon and then-ranked Michigan State, but dropped games to Oregon State and Colorado.
Liberty Bowl: #23 Navy (-1) vs Kansas State
Tuesday, December 31, 3:45 PM, ESPN
Navy (-1) is a surprise favorite in this one, having played an opponent like Kansas State all year. The Midshipmen (9-2) were blown out by #15 Notre Dame, but also managed to upend SMU and Air Force. Meanwhile, the Wildcats (8-4) pulled off the upset against #4 Oklahoma, but were beaten by a 5-7 West Virginia team at home. Navy boasts the nation’s 10th-best scoring offense (39.2 ppg) despite having attempted less than 100 passes (the only FBS team to do so).
Arizona Bowl: Wyoming (-7) vs Georgia State
Tuesday, December 31, 4:30 PM, CBSSN
After upsetting a much-hyped Missouri team at home, Wyoming dragged to the finish line, finishing the year on a 1-3 stretch. The Cowboys allowed just one team to score 30 (Missouri, which they won). Georgia State (7-5) relies on shootouts to win, and were held under 25 just twice, where they lost by an average of 37.5 points. If their offense is stuffed, Wyoming (7-5) should run away with this one.
Alamo Bowl: Texas vs #11 Utah (-7)
Tuesday, December 31, 7:30 PM, ESPN
Texas (7-5) likely tops the list of major disappointments this season, especially after keeping #1 LSU within a touchdown all game long. Against Power 5 opponents, the Longhorns are giving up 32 points per game; they are also 1-4 when scoring under 30 points (6-1 when they go over). The Utes (11-2) specialize in holding their opponents under 30, having given up the point total twice (they are 0-2 in those games). In this one, the first team to 30 wins. With Utah’s tough defense, it’s a safe bet to say they likely will win that race.
Vrbo Citrus Bowl: #13 Alabama (-7) vs #14 Michigan
Wednesday, January 1, 1:00 PM, ABC
The biggest question in this game is, what players will we actually see on the field? In the past few years, both Alabama and Michigan are famous for losing players to the Draft who forego the bowl game. Alabama, per usual, has six projected first-rounders and Michigan is projected to add at least three in the next three rounds. This game might be a big preview of next year’s teams. Even without Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama seems like a much better team in this one.
Outback Bowl: #18 Minnesota vs #12 Auburn (-7.5)
Wednesday, January 1, 1:00 PM, ESPN
Minnesota was the Cinderella story of the year, extending its unbeaten streak all the way into Week 10. They also boast one of the best receiving corps in the nation in Tyler Johnson and Rashod Bateman. The Gophers just extended head coach PJ Fleck and are looking to close out their best year since 2003 with a statement win. However, Auburn (9-3) might be their most difficult test. SEC Freshman of the Year Bo Nix and one of the best defensive fronts in the nation sit has heavy 7.5-point favorites in this one, and it’s not due to SEC bias. The Tigers are the real deal here.
Rose Bowl: #6 Oregon vs #8 Wisconsin (-2.5)
Wednesday, January 1, 5:00 PM, ESPN
PAC-12 Champion Oregon fielded possibly its best defense in school history this year, holding opponents to under 16 points and 110 rushing yards per game. Wisconsin’s star running back Jonathan Taylor is suiting up as a Badger for the last time in his career before becoming a potential first-round draft pick. Ducks quarterback Justin Herbert is also playing his last collegiate game before joining Taylor in the draft. This is shaping up to be one heck of a ballgame and might just be the bowl of the year.
Allstate Sugar Bowl: #5 Georgia (-7.5) vs #7 Baylor
Wednesday, January 1, 8:45 PM, ESPN
Another two teams with incredible defenses, Georgia (11-2) and Baylor (11-2) are facing off in the “almost” bowl; had either team won their championship game, they would be in the Playoff. Baylor sits as an underdog in this one, as Charlie Brewer, though likely to play, is questionable with a concussion. Georgia put together one of the team’s more embarrassing offenses, but was bailed out by their defense in nearly every game. Baylor might be able to orchestrate just enough to cover. Either way, take the under in this one.
Birmingham Bowl: Boston College vs #21 Cincinnati (-7)
Thursday, January 2, 3:00 PM, ESPN
Cincinnati won every game this season against teams not named Ohio State and Memphis. The Bearcats (10-3) played an impressive season, but were bested twice by #17 Memphis to close out the year. Boston College (6-6) was smothered by Kansas and relied on wins over mediocre ACC teams to find themselves in a bowl game, despite firing head coach Steve Addazio. Cincinnati sits as touchdown-favorites in this one, but this could get ugly– Boston College has the 96th-ranked defense in the nation and lost workhorse running back AJ Dillion to the draft (he will not be active for this game).
Gator Bowl: Indiana (-1.5) vs Tennessee
Thursday, January 2, 7:00 PM, ESPN
After starting the year 1-4 with losses to two non-Power 5 schools, Tennessee looked like it was putting together another dumpster fire of a season. Head coach Jeremy Pruitt somehow survived the storm and led Tennessee to five straight wins and bowl eligibility to close out the season. Indiana is one of the biggest surprises in the nation this season, putting together its first 8-win season since 1993. The Hoosiers held opponents under a touchdown four times this season while putting together a top-50 scoring offense (32.6 ppg). In what might have seemed like a hilarious matchup a season ago, this is shaping up to be a good ballgame.
Idaho Potato Bowl: Nevada vs Ohio (-7)
Friday, January 3, 3:30 PM, ESPN
Ohio star quarterback Nathan Rourke is headed to the NFL after throwing for over 7,000 yards for the Bobcats. He’s expected to play in this one to give scouts one last look before he is likely chosen in the later rounds. Rourke will have a great opportunity to light up the stat sheet, as Nevada is short three defensive backs after a wild brawl with UNLV. The Wolf Pack are also missing another DB for the first half of the game. Nevada’s rode an emotional season complete with a walk-off 62-yard field goal to beat Purdue in the opening week.
Armed Forces Bowl: Tulane (-7) vs Southern Miss
Saturday, January 4, 11:30 AM, ESPN
Tulane was shaping out to be one of the risers in the AAC, starting the year 5-1 with their only loss being Auburn. However, the Green Wave dropped games to the four conference heavyweights (Memphis, Navy, Temple, and SMU) and finished the year a forgettable 6-6. Southern Miss followed a similar path, winning six of their first seven games against non-SEC opponents before dropping their last two to WKU and FAU. The Golden Eagles are 7-0 when holding opponents to 21 or less points, which Tulane was only held to three times (0-3 in such games). Flip a coin for this one and enjoy a “weaning” bowl to help us cope with the ending college football season.
Mobile Alabama Bowl: Miami (OH) vs ULL (-14)
Monday, January 6, 7:30 PM, ESPN
Louisiana-Lafayette (10-3) put together one of the best seasons nobody is talking about. They suffered a 10-point loss to Mississippi State to open the season, were bested by #21 Appalachian State twice, and rolled right over everyone else (one game decided by 10 or less). The Ragin’ Cajuns put together the country’s 12th-best scoring offense (38.8) and the 7th-best rushing offense (265.3 ypg) and yet was never ranked in the AP Poll. Miami (OH) was able to put together a nice turnaround year, winning the MAC for the first time since 2010. The Redhawks are giving up 174 rushing yards per game (81st) and I think we know where this game is headed.
College Bowl opening lines
Where a line opens and closes is important when you’re trying to get value against the sportsbook. Here’s a look at where each of the FBS college football bowl game odds opened at DraftKings Sportsbook. Compare these to the live odds above to see where they have moved since they first opened in early December.
|Fri., Dec. 20||Bahamas Bowl||Charlotte vs. Buffalo||Buffalo -5|
|Fri., Dec. 20||Frisco Bowl||Utah St. vs. Kent St.||Utah St. -8.5|
|Sat., Dec. 21||New Mexico Bowl||Central Michigan vs. San Diego St.||San Diego St. -4.5|
|Sat., Dec. 21||Cure Bowl||Georgia Southern vs. Liberty||Ga. Southern -6|
|Sat., Dec. 21||Boca Raton Bowl||FAU vs. SMU||SMU -3.5|
|Sat., Dec. 21||Camellia Bowl||FIU vs. Arkansas St.||Arkansas St. -3|
|Sat., Dec. 21||Las Vegas Bowl||Washington vs. Boise St.||Washington -3|
|Sat., Dec. 21||New Orleans Bowl||UAB vs. Appalachian St.||App State -17|
|Mon., Dec. 23||Gasparilla Bowl||Marshall vs. UCF||UCF -17|
|Tues., Dec. 24||Hawaii Bowl||BYU vs. Hawaii||BYU -2|
|Thurs., Dec. 26||Independence Bowl||Miami (FL) vs. Louisiana Tech||Miami (FL) -7.5|
|Thurs., Dec. 26||Quick Lane Bowl||Pitt vs. Eastern Michigan||Pitt -10.5|
|Fri., Dec. 27||Military Bowl||North Carolina vs. Temple||UNC -6|
|Fri., Dec. 27||Pinstripe Bowl||Michigan St. vs. Wake Forest||MSU -3.5|
|Fri., Dec. 27||Texas Bowl||Texas A&M vs. Oklahoma St.||Texas A&M -6|
|Fri., Dec. 27||Holiday Bowl||USC vs. Iowa||Iowa -2.5|
|Fri., Dec. 27||Cheez-It Bowl||Washington St. vs. Air Force||Air Force -3|
|Sat., Dec. 28||Camping World Bowl||Notre Dame vs. Iowa St.||ND -3.5|
|Sat., Dec. 28||Cotton Bowl Classic||Memphis vs. Penn State||Penn St. -7|
|Sat., Dec. 28||Fiesta Bowl (CFP Semi)||Ohio State vs. Clemson||Clemson -2|
|Sat., Dec. 28||Peach Bowl (CFP Semi)||LSU vs. Oklahoma||LSU -13|
|Mon., Dec. 30||First Responder Bowl||W. Michigan vs. W. Kentucky||WKU -2|
|Mon., Dec. 30||Music City Bowl||Louisville vs. Mississippi St.||MSU -3|
|Mon., Dec. 30||Redbox Bowl||Illinois vs. Cal||Cal -7|
|Mon., Dec. 30||Orange Bowl||Virginia vs. Florida||Florida -13|
|Tues., Dec. 31||Belk Bowl||Virginia Tech vs. Kentucky||VT -3|
|Tues., Dec. 31||Sun Bowl||Arizona St. vs. Florida St.||ASU -5.5|
|Tues., Dec. 31||Liberty Bowl||Kansas St. vs. Navy||KSU -1|
|Tues., Dec. 31||Arizona Bowl||Wyoming vs. Georgia St.||Wyoming -7|
|Tues., Dec. 31||Alamo Bowl||Utah vs. Texas||Utah -6.5|
|Wed., Jan. 1||Citrus Bowl||Michigan vs. Alabama||Alabama -7|
|Wed., Jan. 1||Outback Bowl||Minnesota vs. Auburn||Auburn -8|
|Wed., Jan. 1||Rose Bowl||Wisconsin vs. Oregon||Wisconsin -2.5|
|Wed., Jan. 1||Sugar Bowl||Georgia vs. Baylor||Georgia -7.5|
|Thurs., Jan. 2||Birmingham Bowl||Boston College vs. Cincinnati||Cincinnati -7|
|Thurs., Jan. 2||Gator Bowl||Tennessee vs. Indiana||Tennessee -1.5|
|Fri., Jan. 3||Idaho Potato Bowl||Nevada vs. Ohio||Ohio -6.5|
|Sat., Jan. 4||Armed Forces Bowl||Tulane vs. Southern Miss||Tulane -6.5|
|Mon., Jan. 6||Lending Tree Bowl||Louisiana vs. Miami (OH)||Louisiana -13.5|
|Mon., Jan. 13||CFP National Championship||TBD|
Best Bowl Games to watch in 2019-20
Bowl season can be erratic, filled with upsets and excitement that not even the regular season can match. But with 40 bowl games to choose from, which ones are the must-watches and must-bets?
Cotton Bowl: #17 Memphis vs #10 Penn State
Penn State opened as touchdown-favorites against the AAC-champion Memphis Tigers. Memphis averages nearly 200 yards rushing behind star back Kenny Gainwell (1425 yards, 12 touchdowns). Penn State, on the flip side, allows less than 100 yards rushing per game (5th). For the past few years, UCF has been the Group of 5 representative in the New Year’s 6 bowl games. Memphis is looking to flip the script on this one.
Citrus Bowl: #14 Michigan vs #13 Alabama
Since the inception of the College Football Playoff, we haven’t seen a Nick Saban team ranked outside the top 10 or not playing in the playoff. Many experts thought this would be the year we saw Jim Harbaugh vs. Saban, just not likely in this instance. Alabama should take care of business, but crazier things have happened in bowl games.
Sugar Bowl: #7 Baylor vs #5 Georgia
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before – Georgia, falling just short of the CFP, is favored to walk all over their inferior Big 12 Sugar Bowl opponent. For the second year in a row, Georgia takes on the Big 12 runner-up, this time Cinderella story Baylor. This matchup pits two of college football’s finest defenses against each other in what’s sure to be a great matchup.
Peach Bowl: #4 Oklahoma vs #1 LSU
This list wouldn’t be complete without the Playoff semifinals. In what’s sure to be a shootout between the nation’s two top offenses, Heisman finalists Joe Burrow and Jalen Hurts are primed to put on a show. Though LSU is favored heavily, don’t be surprised if this game comes down to the wire. Likely the team with the football last will secure their spot in the National Championship.
Fiesta Bowl: #3 Clemson vs #2 Ohio State
In the other semifinal game, Ohio State looks to finally put to bed all of the 31-0 jokes that have been haunting them since 2016. Each team boasts a top-5 offense and defense in what could be the National Championship before the championship game. Justin Fields and Chase Young take on Trevor Lawrence and Isaiah Simmons; seriously, what more can you ask for? This has the makings of the game of the year.
How to watch bowl games in 2019-20
With 41 bowl games and games being played daily, it’s easy to be overwhelmed with trying to keep up with them all. Fortunately, you’ll only need a couple of clicks of the remote to take in all 100+ hours of bowl season madness.
ESPN carries a majority of bowl games, airing 30 of the 41 games, including the entire College Football Playoff. ESPN2 airs just the Frisco Bowl (Utah State vs Kent State, 12/20). CBS carries Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl (Florida State vs Arizona State, 12/31) and CBSSN is home to both the Cure Bowl (Liberty vs Georgia Southern, 12/21) and the Arizona Bowl (Wyoming vs Georgia State, 12/31).
Fox only airs the Redbox Bowl (Illinois vs California, 12/30). ABC holds the 5 remaining bowl games (Celebration, Boca Raton, Las Vegas, Camping World, and Citrus Bowls).
All bowl games can be streamed on the network’s respective Apps, with many available on ESPN+. A full list of the game dates, times, and networks can be found here.
How to bet on college football
Before jumping into betting, one has to understand what kind of bets exist. The first is the moneyline. Moneyline is the most simple, where one bets outright winners. Take the following moneyline for example:
- Georgia +215
- LSU -265
In this instance, LSU is the favorite (-265), meaning you’d have to bet $265 to win $100 (plus your original bet amount back). Georgia (+215) is the underdog in this game, meaning if you bet $100, you’d win $215 (plus your original amount bet back).
Along with every moneyline, you have a point spread. The purpose of point spreads is to bring the teams to even in the sportsbook or, for bettors, how much a team is expected to win or lose by each game. Take the following point spread for example:
- Oregon +6.5 (-105)
- Utah -6.5 (-110)
Utah is the favorite in this game, favored by 6.5 points. Bettors would consider if they think Utah will win by a touchdown or more. If a bettor thinks Utah would win by less than a touchdown or lose outright, they would take Oregon (+6.5).
The numbers in parentheses indicate how much money one would win on a bet. In the instance of taking Oregon (+6.5), a bettor would have to bet $105 to win $100 (plus the original amount bet back).
“Why do I have to bet $110 to win $100 back so often?” The $10 discrepancy is referred to as the “vig,” or the fee a sportsbook charges for the bet.
The above example is a half-point number, but many times bets will include whole numbers. For example,
- Wisconsin +17 (-110)
- Ohio State -17 (110)
If Ohio State were to win by exactly 17 points, that would be referred to as a push, where all bettors would be returned their betting amount.
Those who want to bet on the over/under would consider all of the points scored in each game. Take the following over/under for example:
- Baylor/Oklahoma Over 64.5 (-110)
- Baylor/Oklahoma Under 64.5 (-110)
If one thinks the two teams will combine for 65 or more points, they would bet the over. If not, they would bet the under. Over/unders can take the risk of upsets out of the game, and the bettor would end up rooting for both teams to score, or neither team to score.
Parlays refer to a string of bets that must all win in order for the bettor to cash out. Though high-risk, there are much higher payouts on parlays.
For example, if one bets $100 total on Ohio State (-17), Baylor vs Oklahoma (O64.5), Oregon (+6.5), and LSU (-265) individually, the payout would be a total of $78.70. However, turn this bet into a parlay, and the payout would be $958.79. One lost bet in the string, though, and you lose the entire bet.
Basic NCAAF betting strategies & tips
It’s one thing to play weekly pick ‘em based on intuition or to pick a March Madness bracket based on mascots. But when it comes to betting games, you’ll need to make careful and calculated picks or it could cost you.
First, you should always check for unusual or inclimate weather if the game is played outdoors. Rain, snow, and wind negatively impacts scoring and passing offenses (although elite offenses and NFL-ready players are less affected). You might notice games that would normally see a high over/under (i.e. USC vs UCLA) fall if heavy rain and wind is expected.
This should be a no-brainer. When Alabama’s star quarterback Tua Tagovailoa went down for the rest of the season with a hip injury, the Crimson Tide were not considered as heavy favorites. However, don’t just check for star quarterbacks– injuries defensive backs, left tackles, and offensive centers can change the tide of a game.
Statistics and metrics
There’s so many advanced stats these days, it’s hard to know which ones to really take into consideration. Scoring offense and defense statistics are important, but should be taken with context. For example, Cincinnati ranked 52nd in total defense, but faced four top-10 offenses in the season. Therefore, it shouldn’t be assumed that the Bearcats will give up a bunch of points (against all other opponents, they gave up more than 20 points just twice).
Look for statistical “matchups” when considering games, as well. For example, Wisconsin boasts a top-8 rushing defense in the country, so rushing-reliant teams are likely in danger of being held to a low scoring rate and low rushing yards.
Building on the previous example, those who watched Wisconsin vs Ohio State would know Buckeyes running back JK Dobbins averaged 167 rushing yards in 2 games. So why was Ohio State able to run all over this supposedly-stout defense? Ohio State boasts a PFF All-American guard in Wyatt Davis. They also rank 5th in power run success rate and 3rd in average line yards gained, according to stats gathered by Football Outsiders.
On the flip side, Wisconsin did not have any All-Americans according to PFF or All-Conference selections by the Big 10 on the defensive line. Therefore, Ohio State was primed to win the battle of the line of scrimmage that opened up opportunities for their back.
In nearly every game, individual mismatches can be found (tall receivers vs short defensive backs, athletic tight ends vs pass-vulnerable linebackers, or speedy edge rushers vs slower offensive tackles).
The venue a game is played in should be taken into account. When a team travels to LSU on a Saturday night, they are fighting an uphill battle before a snap is played; Tiger Stadium under the bright lights imposes one of the most daunting atmospheres in all of sports. Time the game is played is also a factor, since “Cinderella” teams (ex. Minnesota in 2019) can succumb to the pressure of primetime.
Coaching is a major factor and might affect games the most in games played between elite college football teams. In the event of a game like Oklahoma vs Baylor, where both teams are even statistically and with record, the Sooners should been favored because they have Lincoln Riley coaching them. Though the Bears have Matt Rhule (an excellent coach), Riley has “been there” and is experienced in tough situations and big games.
Playing the market
When betting, don’t just take the first line you come across. Betting is buying, and you should carefully consider all of your options; spreads can differ slightly from book to book. If you’re hesitant to take Michigan -7, another sportsbook might offer Michigan -6.5.
Timing is also key. Books often release initial lines to get people to bet a certain way (example, LSU -12.5 vs Oklahoma). This huge spread will get initial bettors to take Oklahoma (+12.5) and the line might move in favor of LSU (to -10 or so). You’ll want to monitor lines multiple times a day until it, a) stays consistent or, b) gives you the best odds. This is the case with both spreads and over/under totals.