NCAA Football Betting Predictions: Big Bowl Game Opening Line Report and Picks
We’re approaching New Year’s, which means we’re finally going to be able to watch some of the biggest bowl games of the season along with the College Football Playoff.
Not only did we see an enormous amount of opt outs this season, but we’ve also seen teams with terrible records trying to play in bowl games this season, while teams who wanted a shot at the CFP decided to opt out of a bowl game when they didn’t make it.
It’s been rough this season.
Last week, Coastal Carolina lost their final game of the season in a bowl game against Liberty, ending their undefeated season. Some, like myself, believed that Coastal Carolina deserved some kind of shot to win it all, along with San Jose State and Cincinnati.
Yes, they’d be huge longshots, but it would be fun to see if it’s possible for an upset that big in college football, like we see in college basketball all the time.
This season we’ve found some head coaching gems. These coaches were strapped and had their backs up against the wall but made no excuses and helped develop their football team.
Let’s take San Jose State, for example. Head coach Brent Brennan took over head coaching duties not too long ago. He was hired on December 7, 2016, and finished the first two seasons 3-22.
Most coaches would be let go and fired. San Jose State had faith that they found their guy.
In 2019, San Jose State defeated teams like Arkansas and Army, but fell one game short of being bowl eligible. In 2020, Brennan took San Jose State into the Offerpad Arizona Bowl as the 22nd-ranked team in the nation, going 7-0 with a Mountain West Championship over Boise State.
Instead of moving on to bigger and better things, Brennan, who started his coaching career with San Jose state as a wide receivers coach in 2005, wouldn’t let this opportunity pass by. This was the job he wanted and was passionate for. So, San Jose State locked him up for years to come.
When the season began, many believed Boise State could be in for an undefeated season. Some believed they would fight for a New Year’s Six bowl until their brutal loss to BYU ended those talks.
On Thursday, December 31, we’ll see if San Jose State deserved a chance at one of those bowls. We’ll see if they can finish off the season going undefeated in Brennan’s 4th year as coach with a current head coaching record of 15-29.
Offerpad Arizona Bowl - Ball State vs San Jose State- (-9.5, 64): San Jose State has allowed 17.9 points per game this season. When a MAC opponent like Ball State takes on high quality defenses, things don’t normally go as planned. San Jose State had a true veteran leader in Nick Starkel, who has thrown for 16 touchdowns and four interceptions on the season. Meanwhile, Ball State won the MAC behind fantastic quarterback play from Drew Plitt, who threw 16 touchdowns and six interceptions. In this spot, I’d trust San Jose State more. They’ll get stops on defense and be aggressive as always, stopping the run. Pick: San Jose State
Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl - Georgia vs Cincinnati (-7, 50): Cincinnati is 9-0 and ranked one game ahead of Georgia, who plays in the SEC and hs more talent than most teams in America. This isn’t a CFP game, but Cincinnati can prove a whole lot by beating this Georgia team. Both defenses have been extremely stellar, but Georgia's offense could be the difference. Behind JT Daniels, the offense has picked up some steam and has had much more consistently recently. Most fans are rooting for an undefeated season, but I just don’t see it happening. Pick: Georgia
Rose Bowl - Notre Dame vs Alabama (-19.5, 65.5): This is everyone’s problem with college football and their playoffs. The top four teams are in, but the one against the four has a spread of nearly 20 points. Alabama should be able to cover rather easily with the best offense in the nation and a defense that has played a lot better as of late. Notre Dame’s offense struggled against Clemson last time out. If those struggles continue, it’ll be a long day. Alabama will look to keep their undefeated streak alive. Pick: Alabama
Allstate Sugar Bowl - Ohio State vs Clemson (-7.5, 66.5): Ohio State is undefeated but are still over a touchdown underdog against Clemson. With Trevor Lawrence back in the mix, things seem to have picked up steam for the Clemson Tigers. They’ve got one loss to Notre Dame without plenty of key players due to COVID but proved just how dominant they are in their last game. However, Ohio State is getting disrespected. They’ve got Justin Fields and an offense that can do a whole lot too along with a defense that has looked really good most of the time. Sure, they’ve been a little bit inconsistent, but that’s how this season has gone for everyone. Pick: Ohio State
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