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College Football Bowl Games Best Bets: Alabama vs Michigan, Tennessee vs Iowa, Missouri vs Ohio State, More!

Rose Bowl is getting 'monster' matchup with UM-UA
Todd and Noah look ahead to the Rose Bowl matchup between Michigan and Alabama.

Vaughn Dalzell breaks down his favorite College Football Bowl Bets and keeps a running list of all his best bets here.

December 27, 2023: Texas Bowl

Oklahoma State (-3.5) vs Texas A&M: O/U 54.0

Texas A&M is down a ton, multiple OL, QB, WR, LB, and more, at least 12 players with 200+ snaps are missing for the Aggies, so the edge goes to OK State in a lot of ways.

Ollie Gordon returns for Oklahoma State at running back which made them a favorite and enough for me. Most of the coaching staff has left or is leaving for Texas A&M, so Oklahoma State has a lot of motivation in this spot. Give me OK State on the ML at -130 odds out to -150.

Pick: Oklahoma State ML (1u)

Bowl Record: 9-3 (75%) +4.79u
Season Record: 73-44-1 (62.3%) +25.61u

December 28, 2023: Fenway Bowl

SMU (-10) vs Boston College: O/U 48.0

The weather is supposed to be semi-ugly in this game. Wednesday night there is supposed to be rain and there was a 90% chance throughout most of the night per, Accuweather, and into the morning. We should have showers of rain, cloudy and wind gusts around 10-15 MPH, and rain of 60% or higher throughout the game.

The field should be wet, and let’s remind ourselves this is at Fenway Park where the Boston Red Sox of the MLB play. BC hit the Over five straight and SMU to the Under in three straight. I think we see a low-scoring game due to weather and field conditions. Give me the Under 48 (-110) down to 47.

Pick: Under 48 (1u)

December 28th, 2023: Pop-Tarts Bowl

NC State vs. Kansas State (-2.5): O/U 47.0

Kansas State OC Collin Klein left for Texas A&M, the QB is out, the leading receiver, second-leading rusher, a lineman, tight end, and basically half the offense it seems like hit the portal.

A win for NC State gets them to 10 wins for the first time since 2002 and avoids a four-game losing streak in bowl season. Kansas State’s defense has allowed 127 points over the past four games, so all the boxes are checked for the Wolfpack. Give me NC State +2.5 (-110) and ML (+120).

Pick: NC State +2.5 (1u), NC State ML (0.5u)

Join in the college football conversation on Friday, December 29th at 11AM ET. From sides to totals to props, get ready for the weekend of college football with the NBC Sports College Football Betting Q&A.

December 28th, 2023: Pinstripe Bowl

Rutgers vs Miami (-1.5): O/U 41.5

The Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium will feature Greg Schiano’s Rutgers Scarlett Knights and Mario Cristobal’s Miami Hurricanes in what should be a slugfest.

QB Tyler Van Dyke hit the transfer portal for Miami and Rutgers’ has one of the worst passing five pass attacks behind Gavin Wimsatt, so I expect a defensive grind from Greg Schiano and Mario Cristobal’s squads.

Rutgers scored a total of 46 points in that four-game stretch and I don’t expect 20-plus from the Knights here. I played the Under 41.5 at -110 odds and would go down to 38.0. I played the Knights +1 at -110 odds after it moved from +2.5.

Pick: Under 41.5 (1u), Rutgers +1.5 (1.5u)
*odds courtesy of BetMGM

December 29th, 2023: Cotton Bowl

Missouri vs Ohio State (-1): O/U 49.0

Missouri and Ohio State meet in the Cotton Bowl and this is the Super Bowl for the Tigers.

Missouri finished the regular season 6-6 in each of the past two years, losing to Wake Forest and Army in Bowl Games to drop to 6-7. This year, Missouri is 10-2 and lost to Georgia and LSU, but beat the likes of Kansas State, Kentucky, and Tennessee.

The Buckeyes haven’t looked like the Ohio State of old all year, and with Ryan Day on the hot seat, it’s time to fade the Buckeyes. This went from Ohio State -3.5 to Missouri -2.5 back to Ohio State -1, so I am only risking 1 unit on Missouri +1 at -110 odds down to the ML, which I also played.

Pick: Missouri +1 (Risk 1u)
*odds courtesy of BetMGM

January 1st, 2024: Citrus Bowl

Iowa vs Tennessee (-8.5): O/U 36.5

Deacon Hill and Iowa versus Joe Milton and Tennessee will be one to remember as they meet in the Citrus Bowl on New Year’s Day.

If the Hawkeyes win, it’s because Tennessee can’t score more than two touchdowns, and if Tennessee wins, Iowa shouldn’t score more than two touchdowns. Both these defenses should make noise in this matchup and both QBs will likely struggle.

Give me the Under on Iowa once again. I played it at Under 36.5 (-110) and would go down to 34.0, or the closing number. Joe Milton taking on Iowa to close out his college career should be interesting.

Pick: Under 36.5 (1.5u)
*odds courtesy of BetMGM

January 1st, 2024: Rose Bowl

Alabama vs Michigan (-1.5): O/U 45.5

Jim Harbaugh and Nick Saban go head-to-head for what’s anticipated to be the best game of the four-team College Football Playoff. Alabama opened +3 and was bet down, which I can’t argue with, but sharps will hit this back to -3 after Christmas.

The Michigan defense is top 15 in third-down defense (30.8%), interceptions (16), passing yards allowed per game (152.6), rushing yards allowed per game (86.6), and red-zone defense (71.4%).

Milroe has very different efficiency when throwing 15 yards or less compared to 15 or more, so I expect Michigan to respect the deep ball ability and QB spy Milroe to limit his damage on the ground. I played Michigan’s ML at -111 odds and would go to -130.

Pick: Michigan ML (2u)
*odds courtesy of BetMGM

January 1st, 2024: Sugar Bowl

Washington vs Texas (-4): O/U 64.5

Both Washington and Texas rank top 20 in passing efficiency with Michael Penix and Quinn Ewers under center, so I expect fireworks similar to last year’s College Football Playoffs (179 combined points in two semifinals).

Washington owns the 80th-ranked third-down defense (40.3%) and is 120th with 263.2 passing yards allowed per game. Both offenses are explosive, but those are the two areas that give Ewers and Texas the favorite tag.

I grabbed the Over 63.5 at -115 odds and would go up to 64. I think this closes between 64.5 and 66.5 with two explosive offenses and two squads that rank 66th and 128th in penalty yards per game.

Pick: Over 63.5 (1.5u)
*odds courtesy of BetMGM

Completed Games/Bets: (9-3 +4.79u)

12/26: Quick Lane Bowl: Minnesota -3.5 / ML vs Bowling Green (risk 1.5u), Under 39.5 (1u) — won, loss

12/23: Armed Forces Bowl: Air Force +1.5 (1.5u) vs James Madison — win

12/23: Las Vegas Bowl: Northwestern + 7 (1u), ML (0.25u) and Under 41.5 (1u) vs Utah — win, win, win

12/22: Gasparilla Bowl: UCF vs Georgia Tech 1Q Over 13.5 (1.5u) — win

12/21: Boca Raton Bowl: USF +3 (-110) and ML (+130) vs Syracuse (1u, 0.25u) — win

12/18: Famous Toastery Bowl: Old Dominion -4.5 (1u) — loss

12/16: New Mexico Bowl: New Mexico State -3.5 (1.5u) — loss

12/16: Cure Bowl: App State vs Miami (OH) Under 43.0 (1u) — won

Bowling Green vs Minnesota (-3.5): O/U 39.5

Minnesota is 5-7 on the year and got invited to this game despite losing four straight games to Illinois, Purdue, Ohio State, and Wisconsin, but ended up drawing Bowling Green with some academic help.

Minnesota is without starting QB, Athan Kalikamnis, and the offense scored 14 or fewer points in six out of 12 games with him. However, this is a big motivation spot for Minnesota and P.J. Fleck having lost to Bowling Green last year in non-conference play.

Give me the Under 38.5 (-110) in this matchup down to 35.0 and Minnesota -3.5 (-110) as the best bet.

Pick: Under 38.5 (1u), Minnesota -3.5 / ML (1.5u) — 1-1 split

Air Force vs James Madison (-1.5): O/U 40.5

James Madison head coach Curt Cignetti and a large portion of the Dukes’ staff left for the Indiana Hoosiers, so JMU is down a ton of coaching entering this game.

When I was in college, Curt Cignetti was the head coach of my alma mater (IUP) and he did wonders there, then at Elon, before doing the same at James Madison.

This Dukes’ team went 11-1 this year and barely suffered any lows of lows, but Air Force already has experienced that in the last five games (2-3), so this is a course correction spot in the Armed Forces Bowl for the Falcons.

I grabbed Air Force +1.5 at -110 odds and would go down to the ML (+100). Air Force covered four straight Bowl Games.

Pick: Air Force +1.5 (1.5u) - won

Utah (-7) vs Northwestern O/U 41.5

Utah’s on its fourth-string QB as Bryson Barnes, Nate Johnson, and Mack Howard all hit the transfer portal leaving the Utes with only the staff knows, so I expect a sloppy offensive game from the Utes.

Utah’s Devaugh Dele hit the portal and he was the team’s leading receiver (43 rec, 593 yards, 3 TDs), so the incoming QB will not have it simple.

I am going Under 41.5 (-110) in this matchup down to 38.0. I played Northwestern +7 (-115) with a sprinkle on the ML (+225) too.

Pick: Under 41.5 (1u), Northwestern +7 (1u), Northwestern ML (0.25u) — won all three

UCF (-5.5) vs Georgia Tech: O/U 68.0

These are two of the worst rushing defenses in the country with Georgia Tech ranking 128th with 225.7 yards per game allowed and UCF comes in at 118th with 186.8 rushing yards permitted.

With that in mind, it’s no surprise that the game total of 68.0 is the highest of bowl season. Both of these squads have gotten off to a quick start over the past three games with UCF averaging 11.3 first-quarter points per game to Georgia Tech’s 8.0.

I isolated the first quarter and played the Over 13.5 points at -135 odds rather than the full game total.

Pick: 1Q Over 13.5 (Risk 1.5u) — won

South Florida vs Syracuse (-3): O/U 56.5

I think the Bulls can win this game outright. USF finished 1-11 last year and 2-10 in 2021. A 6-6 season this year for USF is impressive, but you’d have to imagine the Bulls are far more motivated than Syracuse here given all of the losing this program has endured.

Give me USF +3 (-110) and sprinkle the ML (+130).

Pick: South Florida +3 (1u), South Florida ML (0.25u) — won both

Old Dominion (-4.5) vs Western Kentucky: O/U 51.5

WKU will be without its starting QB Austin Reed and backup due to the transfer portal, plus three starting offensive linemen, so the offense should be limited.

WKU will turn to the head coach’s nephew at QB, Turner Helton, a true freshman with eight fourth-quarter pass attempts and completions versus FIU and HCU.

WKU also hasn’t beaten a team with a winning record, while ODU beat App State, Georgia Southern, and Louisiana, three Bowl teams. I will take ODU -4.5 out to -6

Pick: Old Dominion -4.5 (1u) — loss

New Mexico State (-3.5) vs Fresno State: O/U 51.5

Fresno State’s HC Jeff Tedford stepped away from this bowl game because of health reasons after his team lost three straight to end the regular season.

This game is being played at elevation, which bodes well for New Mexico State, they will have a home crowd edge as the game is in New Mexico with QB Diego Pavia back.

Pick: New Mexico State -3.5 (1.5u) — loss

Miami (OH) vs Appalachian State (-6.5): O/U 43.0

Both of these squads have had defensive identities all year and with rain and wind gusts up to 35 MPH, I cannot expect anything different now.

Give me the Under 43 at -110 odds down to 40 as I expect this line to drop even lower with the weather. This was 47.5 at the opening line.

Pick: Under 43 (1u) — won

Bowl Record: 9-3 (75%) +4.79u
Season Record: 73-44-1 (62.3%) +25.61u

Join in the college football conversation on Friday, December 29th at 11AM ET. From sides to totals to props, get ready for the weekend of college football with the NBC Sports College Football Betting Q&A.