College Bowl Picks 2017-18: Latest Odds and Predictions Against the Spread

We’re days away from the betting frenzy that is college football bowl season. 

Matchups that would have been looked at as meaningless during the regular season will become all the rage, especially if a bowl game is the only sporting event on television on a Tuesday afternoon.

It all starts with a quintet of contests on December 16 and ends with the National Championship Game on January 8. 

There are only four days off from the start of bowl season to New Year’s Day, with a one-week break occurring between the national semifinals and the National Championship. During that stretch, money will be lost, won back and lost again. 

         

December 16

R&L Carriers New Orleans Bowl (1 p.m. ET)

Troy (-5.5) vs. North Texas

TV: ESPN

Prediction: Troy 24, North Texas 17

          

AutoNation Cure Bowl (2:30 p.m. ET )

Western Kentucky (-4.5) vs. Georgia State

TV: CBS Sports Network

Prediction: Western Kentucky 24, Georgia State 19

      

Las Vegas Bowl (3:30 p.m. ET)

No. 25 Boise State (+5) vs. Oregon

TV: ABC

Prediction: Boise State 49, Oregon 27

       

Gildan New Mexico Bowl (4:30 p.m. ET)

Marshall vs. Colorado State (-5.5)

TV: ESPN

Prediction: Colorado State 37, Marshall 21 

          

Raycom Media Camellia Bowl (8 p.m. ET)

Middle Tennessee (+3.5)  vs. Arkansas State 

TV: ESPN

Prediction: Middle Tennessee 31, Arkansas State 24

        

December 19

Cheribundi Tart Cherry Boca Raton Bowl (7 p.m. ET)

Akron vs. Florida Atlantic (-17)

TV: ESPN

Prediction: Florida Atlantic 45, Akron 10

       

December 20

DXL Frisco Bowl (8 p.m. ET)

Louisiana Tech vs. SMU (-5) 

TV: ESPN

Prediction: SMU 31, Louisiana Tech 21

         

December 21

Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl (8 p.m. ET)

Temple vs. Florida International (+8)

TV: ESPN

Prediction: Temple 24, Florida International 20

       

December 22

Bahamas Bowl (12:30 p.m. ET)

UAB (+7) vs. Ohio

TV: ESPN

Prediction: UAB 34, Ohio 31

         

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl (4 p.m. ET)

Central Michigan (Even)  vs. Wyoming

TV: ESPN

Prediction: Wyoming 37, Central Michigan 23

           

December 23

Birmingham Bowl (12 p.m. ET)

Texas Tech vs. South Florida (-2.5)

TV: ESPN

Prediction: South Florida 55, Texas Tech 49

        

Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl (3:30 p.m. ET)

San Diego State vs. Army*

TV: ESPN

Prediction: San Diego State 30, Army 23

         

Dollar General Bowl (7 p.m. ET)

Appalachian State vs. Toledo (-7)

TV: ESPN

Prediction: Toledo 27, Appalachian State 17

         

December 24

Hawaii Bowl (8:30 p.m. ET)

Fresno State vs. Houston (-1.5)

TV: ESPN

Prediction: Houston 34, Fresno State 31

      

December 26

Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl (1:30 p.m. ET)

West Virginia vs. Utah (-4.5)

TV: ESPN

Prediction: Utah 38, West Virginia 24

       

Quick Lane Bowl (5:15 p.m. ET)

Duke vs. Northern Illinois (+2.5)

TV: ESPN

Prediction: Northern Illinois 31, Duke 20

       

Cactus Bowl (9 p.m. ET)

Kansas State vs. UCLA (+3)

TV: ESPN

Prediction: UCLA 37, Kansas State 34

       

December 27

Walk On’s Independence Bowl (1:30 p.m. ET)

Southern Miss (+14) vs. Florida State 

TV: ESPN

Prediction: Florida State 31, Southern Miss 24

       

New Era Pinstripe Bowl (5:15 p.m. ET)

Boston College vs. Iowa (-3)

TV: ESPN

Prediction: Iowa 17, Boston College 13

        

Foster Farms Bowl (8:30 p.m. ET)

Arizona vs. Purdue (+4.5)

TV: Fox

Prediction: Purdue 37, Arizona 34

       

Academy Sports & Outdoors Texas Bowl (9 p.m. ET)

Texas vs. Missouri (-1)

TV: ESPN          

Prediction: Missouri 37, Texas 31       

       

December 28

Military Bowl presented by Northrop Grumman (1:30 p.m. ET)

Virginia vs. Navy*

TV: ESPN

Prediction: Navy 24, Virginia 21

       

Camping World Bowl (5:15 p.m. ET)

No. 22 Virginia Tech vs. No. 19 Oklahoma State (-6.5)

TV: ESPN

Prediction: Oklahoma State 31, Virginia Tech 21

       

Valero Alamo Bowl (9 p.m. ET)

No. 13 Stanford (+2) vs. No. 15 TCU 

TV: ESPN

Prediction: Stanford 24, TCU 21

       

San Diego County Credit Union Holiday Bowl (9 p.m. ET)

No. 18 Washington State vs. No. 16 Michigan State (+4.5)

TV: Fox                  

Prediction: Michigan State 26, Washington State 23

          

December 29

Belk Bowl (1 p.m. ET)

Wake Forest (-2.5) vs. Texas A&M

TV: ESPN

Prediction: Wake Forest 35, Texas A&M 21

          

Hyundai Sun Bowl (3:30 p.m. ET)

No. 24 NC State (-5) vs. Arizona State

TV: CBS

Prediction: NC State 28, Arizona State 21

         

Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl (4:30 p.m. ET)

No. 21 Northwestern (-6.5) vs. Kentucky

TV: ESPN

Prediction: Northwestern 37, Kentucky 24

        

Nova Home Loans Arizona Bowl (5:30 p.m. ET)

Utah State (-3) vs. New Mexico State

TV: CBS Sports Network

Prediction: Utah State 20, New Mexico State 17

          

Goodyear Cotton Bowl (8:30 p.m. ET)

No. 5 Ohio State (-6) vs. No. 8 USC

TV: ESPN                

Prediction: Ohio State 27, USC 21

         

December 30

TaxSlayer Bowl (Noon ET)

No. 23 Mississippi State vs. Louisville (-5.5)

TV: ESPN

Prediction: Louisville 41, Mississippi State 16

          

AutoZone Liberty Bowl (12:30 p.m. ET)

No. 20 Memphis (-3) vs. Iowa State

TV: ABC

Prediction: Memphis 21, Iowa State 17

          

PlayStation Fiesta Bowl (4 p.m. ET)

No. 9 Penn State (-4.5) vs. No. 11 Washington

TV: ESPN

Prediction: Penn State 31, Washington 21

          

Capital One Orange Bowl (8 p.m. ET)

No. 6 Wisconsin (-5.5) vs. No. 10 Miami (FL)

TV: ESPN          

Prediction: Wisconsin 21, Miami (FL) 14   

         

January 1, 2018

Outback Bowl (Noon ET)

Michigan (-7.5) vs. South Carolina

TV: ESPN2

Prediction: Michigan 27, South Carolina 19

         

Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl (12:30 p.m. ET)

No. 7 Auburn vs. No. 12 UCF (+8)

TV: ESPN

Prediction: Auburn 34, UCF 31

         

Citrus Bowl presented by Overton’s (1 p.m. ET)

No. 14 Notre Dame vs. No. 17 LSU (-1)

TV: ABC

Prediction: LSU 31, Notre Dame 27

          

Rose Bowl (National Semifinal, 5 p.m. ET)

No. 2 Oklahoma (-1.5) vs. No. 3 Georgia

TV: ESPN

Prediction: Oklahoma 17, Georgia 14

          

Sugar Bowl (National Semifinal, 8:45 p.m. ET)

No. 1 Clemson (Even) vs. No. 4 Alabama

TV: ESPN               

Prediction: Clemson 31, Alabama 20

        

January 8, 2018

National Championship Game (8 p.m. ET)

TV: ESPN

                  

Expect High-Powered Offenses to Steal Early Headlines

Entertainment won’t come at a premium during the middle of bowl season as some of the nation’s best offenses take the fieldagainst each other in some cases

The Birmingham Bowl between Texas Tech and South Florida features a pair of top-20 offenses, but that’s only the start for enticing showdowns. 

The Foster Farms Bowl showdown between Arizona and Purdue could be an early look at two up-and-coming teams experts will have their eyes on in 2018.

Arizona quarterback Khalil Tate could end up being a favorite for next season’s Heisman Trophy depending on which talented upperclassmen depart for the NFL. 

Missouri may not seem like one of the most exciting teams in the nation if you haven’t paid a ton of attention to the Tigers, but they will give Texas every bit of a challenge with Drew Lock, who threw for 43 touchdowns, leading the charge. 

Also keep an eye on the nation’s leading passer, Mason Rudolph, and Oklahoma State in the Camping World Bowl as they take on Justin Fuente’s Virginia Tech team. 

         

Liberty Bowl Will Not be a High-Scoring Game

Speaking of teams with a tremendous offensive output, the Memphis Tigers are playing at home in the Liberty Bowl on December 30 against Iowa State. 

It may be one of the boldest predictions of bowl season to claim Memphis won’t score a ton of points, but that could be the case against an Iowa State defense that held six teams to 20 points or less, including TCU and West Virginia. 

We’re not saying Matt Campbell‘s team has the most impenetrable defensive unit in the nation, but it’s risen to the occasion a few times and will be more than motivated to ruin Memphis’ bowl homecoming as the underdog. 

Campbell, who will be going up against another hot upcoming name in coaching circles, Mike Norvell, will have a month to prepare for the high-flying offense of the Tigers led by Riley Ferguson.

        

New Year’s Six Games Should Be Mostly One-Score Contests 

After the chaos of the early part of the bowl schedule fades away, the top programs in the nation will take center stage in the New Year’s Six games. 

Most of the games should be one-score contests, and they could be decided by fewer than three points in some instances. 

Ohio State, Penn State, Wisconsin and Auburn are all listed as comfortable favorites, but don’t expect each member of the quartet to cover. There’s a chance none of them cover and the underdogs prevail throughout the New Year’s Six. 

When you take a glance at the pair of national semifinals, the margins will be even slimmer, but the lines are representative of that with Oklahoma being a slight 1.5-point favorite and the line in the Sugar Bowl being even. 

Taking the underdogs isn’t a bad strategy if the lines stay as high as they are. If they creep down to three or four points, then the favorites in each game seem like more reasonable selections. 

            

Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90.

All odds via Oddsshark.com

All statistics obtained from ESPN.com.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com


Source: Bleacher Report-CFB News

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