5 best predictions for college football bowl games – Monday, December 20 through Friday, December 24. What games appear to be the best bets and the best picks?
Bowl Game Predictions, Previews
Bowl Schedule, Game Previews
Results So Far ATS: 85-67-2
One massive miscalculation later …
I blame missing EVERYTHING against the spread during an epically bad Saturday on the stress and strain of having to scramble to find ESPN after the YouTube TV/Disney kerfuffle, and …
I can’t blame this multi-billion conglomerates. It was all my fault for totally whiffing on my belief that Conference USA was going to get rim-rocked this bowl season – except, of course, for my pick of Marshall to cover against Louisiana. (It didn’t.)
Picking bowl games takes a different skill set from the regular season. Logic, reason, and normal rules don’t always apply – hello, Jackson State and BYU.
So I’m done with you, Conference USA. You win.
I’m staying away from the against the spread calls of Old Dominion vs Tulsa in the Myrtle Beach Bowl (I like Tulsa -9, of course), UTSA vs San Diego State in Tropical Smoothie Cafe Frisco Bowl (I like SDSU -2.5, of course), and Miami University vs North Texas in the Frisco Football Classic (I like MU, of course).
I always stick with my picks, I take my beating, and then I move on. But there were things that have gone the right was so far.
The point totals went just fine over the first several games, so I’m mostly going with those for these bowls during the week before Christmas.
Pray for me.
Click on each game for the preview
5. Missouri vs Army: Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl
LINE Army -4
ATS PICK Missouri
Oh, I am well aware that you pick against Army at your own risk.
I’m an adult, I take responsibility for my own actions, and I will almost always take my chances with SEC team over a Group of Five-level team.
Especially if that SEC team is getting points.
Yeah, I’m still smarting from going hard on San Diego State and its amazing defense in the 2017 Armed Forces Bowl – and then Army won.
Yeah, I’m still smarting from going hard on Houston in what should’ve been an easy in in the 2018 Armed Forces Bowl – and then Army won 70-14.
Yeah, I’m still smarting from going hard on West Virginia against the spread in the 2020 Liberty Bowl – and Army lost, but only by three.
Army is 4-1 in its last five bowl games from 2010 on, but there’s a strange part to that. None of the four bowl wins were against Power Five programs, and Army didn’t actually beat West Virginia last year.
In fact, Army hasn’t beaten a Power Five program since the win over Duke in 2017. Before that you have to go back to a 2012 win over Boston College.
I’m fully aware – and love – what Army does, and I know bowls go against what we all believe in our core to be true, but you’re getting points here. You’re not even asking the Power Five team to win big.
NEXT: College Football Pick Against The Spread No. 4 Hawaii vs Memphis
4. Hawaii vs Memphis: Hawaii Bowl
LINE Memphis -8.5
ATS PICK Hawaii
As I’ve already said ad nauseam, I believe that you pick the bowl games to go like they would’ve if the two teams played in the regular season, but adjust for the opted-out players, lost coaches, and heartbreak factor.
But sometimes belief systems suck.
Hawaii lost QB Chevan Cordeiro to San Jose State and RB Dae Tae Hunter to Liberty.
It doesn’t have the defense to hold up if and when Memphis gets going, and it doesn’t have the offensive firepower to keep up if this gets into any sort of a shootout.
It’s Hawaii in a bowl game, and it’s Memphis in a bowl game.
Memphis might have pushed past Florida Atlantic in last year’s Montgomery Bowl, but this has been an awful bowl program since the 2003 New Orleans Bowl win over North Texas.
Hawaii has won three of its last four bowl games – including a stunning New Mexico Bowl win over Houston last year – and it played over its head at home this year, even when Cordeiro was out.
The line going up after the departures helps the cause even more.
NEXT: College Football Bowl Pick No. 3: Miami University vs North Texas
3. Miami University vs North Texas: Frisco Football Classic
POINT TOTAL 54.5
We’re not going to be fooled by the potential of North Texas showing up in a bowl game with a defense.
We’re just supposed to forget about the 56 given up in the blowout loss to Appalachian State in the Myrtle Beach Bowl?
We’re just supposed to blow off the 52 Utah State up in the 2018 New Mexico, and the 50 hung up on the board by Troy in the 2017 New Orleans?
Mean Green head coach Seth Littrell is 0-4 in bowl games allowing an average of 49 points in those four.
This year’s team is a bit different. It really does play a little bit of defense, it’s allowing just under 28 points per game, and …
Whatever. Miami University has a good offense – it scored 33 or more in five of its last six games – North Texas has a good offense, and it’s quite possible that one side takes care of most of the 54.5 all by itself.
So far, the bowl games have been more about the offenses. However …
NEXT: College Football Bowl Pick No. 2: San Diego State vs UTSA
2. San Diego State vs UTSA: Tropical Smoothie Cafe Frisco Bowl
POINT TOTAL 49
San Diego State has the defense back, and it should be closer to its normal form after a disastrous end of the regular season.
The Aztecs were crushed by covid in the Mountain West Championship loss to Utah State – the 46 points allowed didn’t represent their best work.
Before that, just one of the previous eight San Diego State games got to 50, and even the loss to Fresno State got right to 50.
UTSA will have no problems playing this in the 20s.
It might have the type of offense that can open it up a bit, but the Aztecs don’t let teams play that way.
Combine the two great defenses, a San Diego State offense that will want to grind this down to a dead stop, and throw in a team that wants to make amends for its conference championship problems.
You’ll worry late, but the under is how this should go.
NEXT: College Football Bowl Pick No. 1: Kent State vs Wyoming
1. Kent State vs Wyoming: Famous Idaho Potato Bowl
POINT TOTAL 59
Wyoming has the ability to slow games down to a crawl and put up big defensive performances.
That’s not happening here, and even if it does, its offense will go off.
The Cowboys put up 44 on the Utah State team that won the Mountain West Championship and beat Oregon State in the Jimmy Kimmel LA Bowl.
They put up 50 on Northern Illinois and Ball State early in the season, and they cranked up 31 against Colorado State.
But this isn’t here because of Wyoming. It’s here because of Kent State.
Here’s the beauty of the Golden Flashes in this. They can score 45, or they can give up 45, or both.
Even when things didn’t work and Northern Illinois held the ball for almost the entire game in the MAC Championship, the final score was still 41-23 – well over the 59 total in this.
There’s a good shot the total is about ten points too low. At least if the first several bowl games are any indication, the offenses should rule here.