- After a wild season, we’ve finally reached the heart of college football bowl season.
- We had a wildly successful time betting the regular season, finishing the year up nearly 13 units after going 59-43-3 on our weekly best bets – hitting at a 57.8% rate.
- As we dig deeper into bowl season, we’re looking to keep the wins coming.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories .
After an eventful season of college football, we’ve reached the heart of bowl season.
For some teams, a bowl game is a fantastic opportunity to cap off an encouraging season of progress. For others, a lower bowl game is representative of a disappointing year that should have turned out better. With this in mind, it’s important to consider the motivations of each team when betting on bowl games.
After a wildly successful year betting on college football, we’re going to do our best to keep the wins coming through the bowl season.
We’re went a solid 6-5 against the spread in our last stretch of bowl picks to keep us with a healthy profit on the year, with another 13 picks below getting us through the New Year’s Six slate to take us into 2020.
BOWL SEASON: 6-5 OVERALL: 70-53-3
First Responder Bowl: Western Kentucky (-3.5) over Western Michigan
Western Kentucky has had some success in recent bowl games, winning three of their four bowl appearances since 2014. This will be head coach Tyson Helton’s first time coaching postseason football, so there’s a good chance the team will be motivated to get him his first win.
Western Michigan is just 1-8 in nine bowl appearances all-time, with their only win coming over Middle Tennessee in 2015. In a game that I know little about the teams playing, I like the idea of backing the program that’s had more postseason success.
Music City Bowl: Louisville (+4.5) over Mississippi State
Louisville’s last bowl appearance came in 2017 – a 31-27 loss to Mississippi State in the TaxSlayer Bowl.
This year, they get their shot at revenge. I think the Cardinals win this one outright, but if they don’t, just keeping the margin as close as it was two years ago will be enough to cover the spread.
Redbox Bowl: Illinois (+6.5) over California
Illinois is a tough team to get a read on, but this season had a highlight win over No. 6 Wisconsin that was a huge boon for the team’s future in terms of recruiting and confidence that they can compete with the best of the Big Ten.
After four years at the helm, head coach Lovie Smith has the Illini playing postseason football, and I think his players show up for him.
Orange Bowl: Florida (-14.5) over Virginia
Virginia already played and won its biggest game of the year – a Thanksgiving weekend win over arch-rival Virginia Tech that was their first win in the series in 14 years. Meanwhile, this will essentially be a home game for Florida, who is 3-0 all-time in the Orange Bowl.
The Gators only two losses this year came against two of the top teams in the country – LSU and Georgia. Florida should be able to take care of business in this spot.
Belk Bowl: Virginia Tech (-2.5) over Kentucky
Virginia Tech has had a solid season. Aside from a frustrating loss to Boston College in the first week of the season and an unexpected blowout at the hands of Duke, the Hokies were nearly perfect, winning eight games and coming within a point of upsetting Notre Dame on the road.
Having lost their rivalry matchup against Virginia to close out the year, I think Virginia Tech will be looking to end the season on a high note rather than letting that disappointment linger through the offseason.
Sun Bowl: Arizona State (-4) over Florida State
Herm Edwards led the Sun Devils through another successful season, with impressive wins over Oregon, California, and Michigan State. Despite a horrendous four-game skid in the middle of the year, Arizona State rallied to win their final two games of the season and become bowl eligible for the second year in a row.
The Sun Devils fell short in their game last year, but this year I think Edwards gets his first bowl victory as head coach.
Liberty Bowl: Navy (-2.5) over Kansas State
When it comes to getting motivated for bowl games, it’s easy to trust the military academies will have their players prepared and ready to play – preparation strikes me as an important part of being in the military.
Further, the Navy’s triple-option offence is simply tiring for teams to defend, play after play. While players might be focused on never missing a read during a regular-season battle that will affect their final standing, you could forgive a Kansas State defensive end for a lapse or two of the mind in the Liberty Bowl.
I’ll back the Midshipmen and have faith that they will be ready to go from the opening kickoff.
Arizona Bowl: Georgia State (+7) over Wyoming
Wyoming is likely the stronger side in this game, and initially was my pick in this matchup, but seven points is a lot to cover as a favourite for a team that has only scored more than 23 points three times this season.
Georgia State is playing in just their third bowl game in school history, so there should still be enough excitement there to get them ready for kickoff.
Alamo Bowl: Texas (+7) over Utah
I firmly believe that Utah is the better team in this matchup, but I can’t bring myself to bet against Texas in the Alamo Bowl.
You wouldn’t bet against Utah in the Utah Bowl, would you? Same logic.
Outback Bowl: Auburn (-7) over Minnesota
My SEC bias might be showing, but I expect Auburn to roll over Minnesota in this game.
The Golden Gophers had a great run this season, with an upset win over Penn State serving as the high point to an impressive 10-2 campaign.
But Auburn is a different beast, who held LSU to just 23 points – 13 points less than their next worst offensive performance – to give the Tigers their biggest scare of the season en route to the title game.
Auburn has the goods.
Citrus Bowl: Alabama (-7) over Michigan
Alabama head coach Nick Saban is in it to win national championships, not the Citrus Bowl. Some might think the Crimson Tide won’t be ready with all they have in this game, possibly giving some young players the chance to get reps in against a high-level opponent in a big game.
Unfortunately for Michigan, Alabama’s roster is three players deep at every position with five-star talent, so no matter who is on the field, they will be likely to cause trouble.
Also, fair or not, I don’t trust Jim Harbaugh to get his team up in big games.
Rose Bowl: Wisconsin (-3) over Oregon
Wisconsin hasn’t been in the Rose Bowl since 2013 and hasn’t won the Rose Bowl since 2000.
While the College Football Playoff has sapped the importance of some lower-tier bowl games, the Rose Bowl still matters to Big Ten and Pac 12 schools, and Wisconsin is no doubt eager to get back in the win column after losing their past three trips to Pasadena.
Sugar Bowl: Georgia (-5.5) over Baylor
Just two years after his dismal 1-8 debut season, Baylor head coach Matt Rhule got his team within a play or two of making the College Football Playoff.
He’s a great coach, and usually I like to back great coaches with extra time to prepare, but with so many NFL coaching vacancies set to be filled in the coming days, I have a feeling Rhule might be a bit distracted by his potential interviews for the big leagues.
Rhule’s NFL future is by no means guaranteed, and there’s a chance that his Baylor Bears play up for him regardless of what his future holds. But if Rhule has it going in the back of his head that the Carolina job is ready and waiting for him, the sting of a 33-7 Georgia lead in the first half just isn’t going to hurt that bad.
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