2022-23 College Football Bowl Guide, Part 1: Schedule, TV and picks through Dec. 29

Oregon quarterback Bo Nix (10) in the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 5, 2022, in Boulder, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

The bowl season officially begins Friday (Dec. 16) with the Bahamas Bowl. We here at Home Field Sports decided to have a little fun with our second annual Bowl Pick ’Em, which offers no prizes whatsoever, but plenty of bragging rights.

Sports Betting Director Zach Ewing and staff writers Jim Derry, Spencer Urquhart and Gabe Henderson are having a little competition for fun, and we thought we’d let our readers in on the action.

Each of us has started with a fake $1,000. We will make a play on each of the 42 bowl games, including the two college football semifinal games. When it’s over, with whatever money we have left, we will each have a “Final Jeopardy” type pick. Here, we can bet all, some or none of our remaining money on the National Championship Game in Inglewood, Calif., on Jan. 9, 2023.

The winner will get to brag, while if you pay attention to who is hot, we can help you make a little REAL money.

The first part of our list – through games being played on Dec. 29 – is here, and we will remind you of our picks each day in a separate post throughout the bowl season and update you with our totals. Then, on Dec. 29, we will give you Part 2 with updated lines and our picks for the remaining games.

We hope you enjoy it as much as we enjoyed putting it together.

NOTE: These predictions are based on lines and spreads as of early afternoon on Tuesday, Dec. 13, at Caesars Sportsbook.



Miami (Ohio) (6-6, +328) vs. UAB (6-6, -430)

Where: Nassau, Bahamas

When/TV: Dec. 16, 10:30 a.m. ESPN

Line/Total: UAB -11, O/U 44.5

Zach Ewing: This is a big line for a relatively low total, but the Blazers are the right type of team to cover it — they’re second in the nation at 5.96 yards per carry. Miami gave up 219.7 yards per game on the ground in its final three at 5.94 per carry. The bet: UAB -11 for $33

Jim Derry: There has been all sorts of talk about the Blazers hiring Trent Dilfer as their coach, and word is the locker room isn’t happy they didn’t keep interim coach Bryant Vincent. I wanted to take the Blazers, but I have no idea how they will react. I do know the Redhawks’ offense stinks and went under in six of the last eight games they played. The bet: Under 44.5 for $11.

Spencer Urquhart: UAB has taken a step back this season, but they still appear to be much better than a middling MAC team in Miami. While 11 is a lot of points, I like the Blazers to win this one handily. The bet: UAB -11 for $11.

Gabe Henderson: The Bahamas Bowl has a rich history of being one of the craziest bowl games each season. There have been more than 45 points scored in five of the seven games played in Nassau; this game will hopefully make it six of eight. Miami and UAB will kick bowl season off the right way with a high-scoring affair. The bet: Over 44.5 for $22.


Troy (11-2, -125) vs. UT-San Antonio (11-2, +105)

Where: Orlando

When/TV: Dec. 16, 2 p.m. ESPN

Line/Total: Troy -1.5, O/U 55.5

Zach Ewing: This is going to be strength on strength (UTSA offense vs. Troy defense) and weakness on weakness. I lean toward the Trojans, especially after a tougher conference schedule. The bet: Troy -1.5 for $44.

Jim Derry: Looking at trends for both of these teams, the over comes up again and again. Also, both Troy and UTSA have offenses that rank better nationally than the opposing defenses. In a bowl season where the totals are as low as I have seen in some time, I will go over in this one. P.S. This could be a highly entertaining game for those who don’t give a rat’s patoot. The bet: Over 55.5 for $11.

Spencer Urquhart: UTSA has put up points in bunches this season, and while Troy’s defense is solid, I’m still expecting this one to end up in a shootout. The UTSA money line was tempting, but the over feels like the smartest play here. The bet: Over 55.5 for $22.

Gabe Henderson: UTSA scored 30+ points in every game this season except for one — a 20-point performance at Texas. Meanwhile, Troy exclusively plays one-score games it seems. I’m not touching a spread of 1.5 in either direction, but I’ll bet the over every day of the week and twice on, um, Friday! The bet: Over 55.5 for $22.


Cincinnati (9-3, +100) vs. Louisville (7-5, -120)

Where: Boston

When/TV: Dec. 17, 10 a.m. ESPN

Line/Total: Louisville -1, O/U 41.5

Zach Ewing: The Scott Satterfield Bowl should be a defensive struggle. The line has been moving toward the Cardinals, but it feels like the Bearcats are more reliable. The bet: Cincinnati +1 for $11.

Jim Derry: All sorts of weird things happened between these two since the end of the regular season, including Louisville coach Scott Satterfield taking the Cincy job. Um, what the heck? Love the under and thought about taking that, but the thought of taking three totals – and two unders – in my first three picks was unacceptable. Wink. The bet: Louisville ML -120 for $12 to win $10.

Spencer Urquhart: This matchup is tough to evaluate since Cincinnati will be without their starting quarterback, but they were able to hang with Tulane despite having to roll with sophomore Evan Prater. While they should be competitive in this one, I’m siding with Louisville since they’ve been solid on defense as of late. The bet: Louisville -1 for $11.

Gabe Henderson: Cincinnati recently replaced a fantastic coach with one that Louisville fans were happy to lose to their rival. Meanwhile, the Cardinals are buzzing to get Jeff Brohm back in the building. There isn’t much to separate these two sides — a quick glance at the spread tells that tale — so I’ll take the program that is in a better place right now. The bet: Louisville -1 for $22.


Jackson State (12-0, -800) vs. NC Central (9-2, +550)

Where: Atlanta

When/TV: Dec. 17, 11 a.m. ABC

Line/Total: Jackson State -15.5, O/U 56

Zach Ewing: Even with Deion Sanders coaching, this line seems too high. Will he be focused on the game? Will his players? They only won seven of 12 this year by more than 14 — and this is a tough opponent. The bet: NC Central +15.5 for $33.

Jim Derry: See, I just told you I am taking too many totals and especially too many unders. So what am I gonna do here? Even though Deion Sanders will be there, with his heart in Colorado, I can’t take Jackson State and I think this game might be a dud. The bet: Under 56 for $11.

Spencer Urquhart: While Deion Sanders will be coaching Jackson State in this one, it’s hard to foresee them being as locked in knowing that he’s leaving for Colorado. That’s why I’m going with NC Central to cover. The bet: NC Central +15.5 for $11.

Gabe Henderson: Deion Sanders departed for Colorado, but not before putting together an insanely talented roster from top to bottom. The Tigers are going to be playing for the chance to go 13-0 on the season; they won’t let Prime Time’s imminent departure bring them down. I’m not confident in taking a team that recently lost its coach — even though he’ll be there — to cover a spread that big, Jackson State is going to light up the scoreboard though. The bet: Over 56 for $22.


Oregon State (9-3, -385) vs. Florida (6-6, +300)

Where: Las Vegas

When/TV: Dec. 17, 1:15 p.m. ESPN

Line/Total: Oregon State -10, O/U 52.5

Zach Ewing: I don’t find this line to be as shockingly high as some — the Beavers are a legitimate top-25 team. I’m a little gun shy given Billy Napier’s track record in bowl games and a double-digit spread, but I’m still eating the chalk. The bet: Oregon State -10 for $11.

Jim Derry: Well, the Beavers have been a bettor’s dream since the middle of October, winning their final six games against the spread. What has happened because of this? Vegas has gone ga-ga over them and overinflated their line. Even with all the Florida players out, I still think they fight hard for Billy Napier and cover. The bet: Florida +10 for $11.

Spencer Urquhart: While Oregon State has played much better than Florida lately and will have the upper hand at quarterback with Anthony Richardson opting out after declaring for the draft, 10 still seems like too many points. I’ll take a chance on Florida to cover and hope their SEC talent wins out. The bet: Florida +10 for $11.

Gabe Henderson: Oregon State has an underrated defense that will help keep a Florida team led by a third-string quarterback in check. The Beavers aren’t much of an offensive juggernaut themselves either, although they’ll probably manage to win. Regardless, this is going to be an ugly game of football between two middle-of-the-road teams. The bet: Under 52.5 for $22.


Washington State (7-5, +140) vs. Fresno State (9-4, -165)

Where: Inglewood, Calif.

When/TV: Dec. 17, 2:30 p.m. ABC

Line/Total: Fresno -3, O/U 54.5

Zach Ewing: Fans of an NFL team that needs a quarterback who doesn’t have a high draft pick (ahem, Saints) should keep an eye on Fresno State’s Jake Haener. He’s the goods. The bet: Fresno State -3 for $33.

Jim Derry: Google Jake Haener and the words that continue to come up are “must watch.” Does that mean I want to bet on him and the Bulldogs? I mean, not really, but I have nothing else to do on a Saturday afternoon, and I am a degenerate. How’s that for analysis? The bet: Fresno State ML for $16.50 to win $10.

Spencer Urquhart: Both Fresno State and Washington State have been explosive on offense this season, making over 54.5 seem like a lock. While it was tempting to go with Fresno State to cover since they’re on an eight-game winning streak, I’ll go with what appears to be a sure thing. The bet: Over 54.5 for $33.

Gabe Henderson: Fresno State has enjoyed a fantastic season that peaked with a Mountain West title. Don’t get it twisted though: Washington State is the better of the two teams. Take the plus juice and run with it. The bet: Washington State ML for $30 to win $42.


Rice (5-7, +205) vs. Southern Miss (6-6, -250)

Where: Mobile, Ala.

When/TV: Dec. 17, 4:45 p.m. ESPN

Line/Total: USM -6, O/U 45.5

Zach Ewing: The annual “there are too many bowl games” bowl game. Ah, hell, I’ll probably still watch. The bet: USM -6 for $11.

Jim Derry: Rice is awful and is only in a bowl game because there weren’t enough six-win teams who were eligible. I know the Golden Eagles have sputtered at times, but on a potentially rainy cold day in Mobile, I am going to go with Aunt Mabel and Drunk Joe. The bet: USM -6 for $22.

Spencer Urquhart: This is a no-play for me. Southern Miss appears to be the better team on paper, but they haven’t been consistent enough for me to feel confident betting on them here. The bet: None.

Gabe Henderson: Rice has found itself in a lot of close games this season. When the Owls are in these situations, they tend to win. Oddsmakers see this game being close, so I like Rice to keep it within one score. The bet: Rice +6 for $20.


SMU (7-5, -210) vs. BYU (7-5, +175)

Where: Albuquerque, N.M.

When/TV: Dec. 17, 6:30 p.m. ABC

Line/Total: SMU -5.5, O/U 64

Zach Ewing: I take it back. I’ll only watch Rice-Southern Miss until this one starts. Fireworks over the Sandias. SMU has been underwhelming but not as much as BYU. The bet: SMU -5.5 for $22.

Jim Derry: BYU is remaining tight-lipped on whether starting quarterback Jaren Hall will play, as he is recovering from an ankle injury. Sounds to me that even if he plays, he either won’t be as effective or won’t make it through four quarters. The bet: SMU -5.5 for $11.

Spencer Urquhart: This is another matchup that has the feel of an over, as both the SMU and BYU defenses have been among the worst in the country. Expect this total to go into the 70s or 80s, making over 64 one of my best bets this bowl season. The bet: Over 64 for $33.

Gabe Henderson: This is not your dad’s — or Zach Wilson’s — BYU. The Cougars have been bad this season, so let’s play this one safe and take SMU ML because I don’t know what to expect out of these two teams. There isn’t much value here, it’s just a pick to win a bit of money to spend elsewhere during bowl season. The bet: SMU ML for $21 to win $10.


Boise State (9-4, -420) vs. North Texas (7-6, +320)

Where: Frisco, Texas

When/TV: Dec. 17, 8:15 p.m. ESPN

Line/Total: Boise State -10.5, O/U 57

Zach Ewing: Boise State’s defense is No. 8 in the country in yards per play allowed; North Texas is No. 112. Sometimes it’s really that simple. The bet: Boise State -10.5 for $11.

Jim Derry: Except for one game this season, when North Texas loses, they lose in style – by 21 the second time they played UTSA, by 20 to UAB, by 10 to Memphis, by 31 to UNLV and by 38 to SMU. Here, they are playing a team unquestionably better, so I’ll stick to the script and pick the blowout. The bet: Boise State -10.5 for $22.

Spencer Urquhart: This matchup appears to be very much in favor of Boise State, which is why I’m rolling with them to cover, and 10.5 is a ton of points considering North Texas has had a respectable season. But Boise State is more talented and has the better résumé. The bet: Boise State -10.5 for $11.

Gabe Henderson: North Texas just fired its now-former coach, Seth Littrell, so nobody really knows what to expect out of the Mean Green, especially in their own backyard. The problem is that the Broncos have been that way all season I’m steering clear of this one. The bet: None.


Marshall (8-4, -385) vs. UConn (6-6, +300)

Where: Conway, S.C.

When/TV: Dec. 19, 1:30 p.m. ESPN

Line/Total: Marshall -10, O/U 41

Zach Ewing: UConn making a bowl game is a fantastic story, and their motivation level could be very high, but the talent difference here is pretty drastic. Most power ratings have the Thundering Herd winning easily. The bet: Marshall -10 for $33.

Jim Derry: These are two under teams, and I am trying to figure out how UConn will score in general. I don’t want to give up 10 points to Jim Mora, so I will go under. The bet: Under 41 for $33.

Spencer Urquhart: Both Marshall and UConn have had solid second halves, and the main catalyst for that improvement was strong play on defense. We’re going with the trend of the defenses stepping up and are taking the under because of it. The bet: Under 41 for $22.

Gabe Henderson: UConn had won just 10 games since their last bowl game (2015) coming into this season … and then Jim Mora took over. Mora turned the program on its head for the better and this feels like the beginning of a real foundation for the Huskies. There’s no way Marshall wins by 10 points, right? The bet: UConn +10 for $33.


Eastern Michigan (8-4, +150) vs. San Jose State (7-4, -178)

Where: Boise, Idaho

When/TV: Dec. 20, 2:30 p.m. ESPN

Line/Total: San Jose State -3.5, O/U 54.5

Zach Ewing: This game feels like a tossup all the way around, even when you dive into stats, power rankings and strength of schedule. You know what that means? Take the points. The bet: EMU +3.5 for $11.

Jim Derry: San Jose’s defense is pretty darned good, and they have played a much tougher schedule. And even though they lost to Fresno State, the fact it was a 17-10 game shows me a whole lot. The bet: San Jose State -3.5 for $22 and Under 54.5 for $11.

Spencer Urquhart: Eastern Michigan has had a solid second half, which is why I’m liking them to cover in this spot. San Jose State hasn’t been very consistent, so to me there’s more value with the underdog that’s been trending up having won three straight. The bet: EMU +3.5 for $11.

Gabe Henderson: Eastern Michigan has won four of its last five and five in a row on the road. Meanwhile, San Jose State won just one of its five road games this season. The Famous Idaho Potato Bowl is being played on a Tuesday, a day owned by the MAC, the signs are all there for the Eagles. The bet: EMU +3.5 for $22.


Liberty (8-4, +170) vs. Toledo (8-5, -205)

Where: Boca Raton, Fla.

When/TV: Dec. 20, 5:30 p.m. ESPN

Line/Total: Toledo -4.5, O/U 54

Zach Ewing: Liberty stumbled badly to the finish line, but in retrospect, how much of that was because Hugh Freeze’s eyes were wandering (and not for the first time, rimshot) to Auburn? Freeze is gone, and there seems like value here. The bet: Liberty +4.5 for $11.

Jim Derry: How in the heck did Liberty lose by five touchdowns to New Mexico State – a team that lost 66-7 to Wisconsin in September? Also, Coach Hugh Freeze is off to Auburn, and they likely could be elsewhere in their minds. The Rockets have a good enough offense to blow this thing open. The bet: Toledo -4.5 for $11.

Spencer Urquhart: Liberty is in a transition state right now as they look for Hugh Freeze’s replacement, which is never an ideal spot to be in during a bowl game. Toledo should take advantage of that as the more stable program and be able to cover as favorites. The bet: Toledo -4.5 for $11.

Gabe Henderson: If you have made it this far, firstly, thank you. Secondly, you’ve figured out that I don’t love to put my money on teams who recently lost their head coaches (Louisville being the exception). I can’t put my money into Liberty with Hugh Freeze gone and the Flames on a three-game losing streak. The bet: Toledo -4.5 for $22.


South Alabama (10-2, -205) vs. Western Kentucky (8-5, +170)

Where: New Orleans

When/TV: Dec. 21, 8 p.m. ESPN

Line/Total: South Alabama -4, O/U 56

Zach Ewing: I’ve been high on the Hilltoppers all year long. They can put up some serious points (35.8 per game), so the Rockets are really gonna have to score to cover this spread. The bet: WKU +4 for $22.

Jim Derry: Both teams lost their final two games against the spread, but the difference for the season seems to be that the Jaguars won games against better opponents. To go with that, they only lost by one to UCLA and by four to Troy. The Hilltoppers have offensive weapons, but South Alabama has seen this kind of talent before. The bet: South Alabama -4 for $22.

Spencer Urquhart: It’s been a while since South Alabama has been bowling, but I feel like they’ve got the edge in this matchup. I see lots of points being put up as well with Western Kentucky having an explosive offense, which is why I’ve decided to play this one as a parlay. The bet: South Alabama -4 and over 56 for $20 to win $52.

Gabe Henderson: This one is too close to call in my eyes. Life’s too short to bet the under. Let’s party, New Orleans. The bet: Over 56 for $22.


Baylor (6-6, -235) vs. Air Force (9-3, +192)

Where: Fort Worth, Texas

When/TV: Dec. 22, 6:30 p.m. ESPN

Line/Total: Baylor -6, O/U 49.5

Zach Ewing: Air Force has been difficult to handicap in an up-and-down season, but consider this: Falcons games have only gone above 50 points four times, and in three of those it was because AFA scored 40+ itself. That won’t happen here. The bet: Under 49.5 for $22.

Jim Derry: It wasn’t long ago that Dave Aranda’s defense was one of the most feared in the nation. They’re still good, but they aren’t as good as Air Force, which is No. 1 overall and No. 1 in pass defense in college football. I’m not sure how that translates to big-boy football, but it’s enough to have me on the under, as I am betting the Bears are willing to play that kind of game and still win. P.S. It’s 8 days out when I write this, but it could be super cold, which also would slow down the scoring. The bet: Under 49.5 for $22.

Spencer Urquhart: Air Force peaked at the right time having won four in a row, and while Baylor has been trending in the opposite direction, the fact is that they’re still a respectable Power Five program. The Falcons could cover, but I like the under as the play here since their strong defense should be able to prevent this game from turning into a shootout. The bet: Under 49.5 for $11.

Gabe Henderson: Air Force has failed to score 20 points five times this season. Baylor’s had a down year, but Dave Aranda is a defensive guru. This game screams the under — I guess life’s not too short after all, eh? The bet: Under 49.5 for $22.


Houston (7-5, -240) vs. UL (6-6, +196)

Where: Shreveport

When/TV: Dec. 23, 2 p.m. ESPN

Line/Total: Houston -6.5, O/U 58

Zach Ewing: Boy, what a better bowl matchup this would have been last year. Instead, which team can shake off the disappointment of an underwhelming year? Ehh, take the points. The bet: UL +6.5 for $11.

Jim Derry: All I read about this game, every single pick I have read has Houston covering. Anyone who knows me knows I don’t like to eat Aunt Mabel’s leftovers. Therefore, I won’t pick anything, because I certainly don’t like the Cajuns in this spot. The bet: None.

Spencer Urquhart: This is one of my top plays of this bowl season, and I hate to say it as a UL alum, but the Cajuns are outmatched here. Houston has a much better offense, and while their defense has struggled, they should be able to contain a Cajuns offense that is without promising quarterback Ben Wooldridge. The bet: Houston -6.5 for $44.

Gabe Henderson: Both of these teams can score points at an alarming rate, especially Houston. There is nothing sexy about a 2 p.m. game on the Friday before Christmas though. Hopefully, the Cougars and Ragin’ Cajuns can make the Independence Bowl fun for viewers. The bet: Over 58 for $22.


Wake Forest (7-5, -115) vs. Missouri (6-6, -105)

Where: Tampa

When/TV: Dec. 23, 5:30 p.m. ESPN

Line/Total: Wake -1, O/U 60.5

Zach Ewing: Evenly matched teams, so this is one where bowl-season motivation might come in. Wake Forest was preseason top 25 and rose as high as No. 10 only to taper off. Mizzou hasn’t won a bowl game since the 2014 season. The bet: Missouri ML for $21 to win $20.

Jim Derry: There was a question on whether Sam Hartman would play for Wake, as it is widely expected he will enter the transfer portal. However, as I type this, he remains a Demon Deacon, and that seems to have everyone betting Wake here. And while betting against the public doesn’t always work as well with college football as it does in the NFL, I am going to go small with Mizzou, which has played tougher this season (except against Tennessee) than most expected. The bet: Missouri ML for $21 to win $20.

Spencer Urquhart: I like Missouri in this spot, as they’ve held their own for the most part against SEC competition this season and should be able to light up a vulnerable Wake Forest defense. The bet: Missouri ML for $21 to win $20.

Gabe Henderson: Missouri was quietly one of the scrappiest teams in the nation this season. The Tigers held Georgia to 26 points in a four-point loss and rattled off four wins in their last six. Wake Forest fell off toward the end of the year. The spread is so thin and there’s little value in picking an outright winner, so let’s turn to our trusty friend, the under. The bet: Under 60.5 for $22.


Middle Tennessee State (7-5, +222) vs. San Diego State (7-5, -278)

Where: Honolulu

When/TV: Dec. 24, 7 p.m. ESPN

Line/Total: SD State -7, O/U 49.5

Zach Ewing: Nothing gets you to turn on the TV on Christmas Eve like a defensive battle, right? But that’s what we might have here. The Aztecs played only three games above 50, all against better offenses than MTSU. The bet: Under 49.5 for $11.

Jim Derry: Neither one of these teams has been great away from home, and neither has won more than five games against the spread. And I certainly won’t be watching this game on Christmas Eve. I pass. The bet: None.

Spencer Urquhart: This matchup seems like a tossup, as both teams have similar resumes in similar conferences, which is why I feel there could be value with the underdog. Middle Tennessee has won three straight, so I’ll take a chance on them. The bet: MTSU +7 for $11.

Gabe Henderson: San Diego State hasn’t won convincingly all season. I’m not sure they can beat a formidable FBS opponent by a touchdown. There’s some really good value in Middle Tennessee State ML (+222) — I’m backing the Blue Raiders. The bet: MTSU ML for $20 to win $44.40.


Bowling Green (6-6, -165) vs. New Mexico State (6-6, +140)

Where: Detroit

When/TV: Dec. 26, 1:30 p.m. ESPN

Line/Total: Bowling Green -3, O/U 48

Zach Ewing: I’m not sure Bowling Green is good enough to be favored over anyone. They’re 0-3 ATS as a favorite this year. Plus, as a late bowl entry, NMSU may have a motivational edge. The bet: New Mexico State +3 for $11.

Jim Derry: Another game in which it seems the public loves Bowling Green here, but when I look at the stats matchup, it’s New Mexico State that seems to have it better. Especially with them having the 33rd-ranked defense against the 106th-ranked offense. I’ll take a flyer on the Lobos, even if Bowling Green is playing close to home. The bet: New Mexico State ML for $10 to win $14.

Spencer Urquhart: New Mexico State got off to a horrendous start, but they’ve picked up the pace having won five of their last six games. We’ll take the points with them against an unpredictable Bowling Green squad. The bet: New Mexico State +3 for $11.

Gabe Henderson: New Mexico State’s losses on the season include Nevada, UTEP and FIU, need I say more? The MAC rules the weekday slates; Bowling Green should win and cover in this game. The bet: Bowling Green -3 for $22.


Buffalo (6-6, +143) vs. Georgia Southern (6-6, -170)

Where: Montgomery, Ala.

When/TV: Dec. 27, 11 a.m. ESPN

Line/Total: Ga. Southern -3.5, O/U 67.5

Zach Ewing: Georgia Southern had long been an option team, but ex-USC coach Clay Helton has turned that notion on its head. The Eagles are No. 4 in the nation in passing! The bet: Georgia Southern -3.5 for $22.

Jim Derry: This seems like an awful lot of points on a weekday morning in Montgomery where the weather could be – who knows what? Georgia Southern has scored 51 and 45 in games, but they have also scored 10, 17 and 21. Meanwhile, Buffalo hasn’t scored in the 30s since before Halloween. The bet: Under 67.5 for $11.

Spencer Urquhart: Buffalo and Georgia Southern have both had wild seasons as far as going on winning streaks and losing streaks, but the Eagles showed what they’re capable of after an overtime win against App State in the season finale. I’m going to bank on them carrying that over. The bet: Georgia Southern -3.5 for $22.

Gabe Henderson: Both of these teams have been incredibly hit or miss throughout the course of the season. Georgia Southern has the better résumé and that counts for something in close matchups like this. It’ll virtually be a home game for the Eagles too. The bet: Georgia Southern -3.5 for $22.


Memphis (6-6, -305) vs. Utah State (6-6, +240)

Where: Dallas

When/TV: Dec. 27, 2:15 p.m. ESPN

Line/Total: Memphis -7, O/U 61.5

Zach Ewing: It sure seems like Memphis should be favored by more than this — double digits, probably — but the line keeps moving toward Utah State even with no significant opt-out news. I’ll tread cautiously. The bet: Memphis -7 for $11.

Jim Derry: This line has trended downward since it opened at 9.5, which means the big money has been plopped down on the Aggies. The reason why is because the Tigers have stunk down the stretch, losing five of their last six games. Could it be six of seven? Maybe, but I will play it safe here. The bet: Utah State +7 for $11.

Spencer Urquhart: This has the feel of a high-scoring affair with both Memphis and Utah State having suspect defenses, and I feel like the Tigers will be able to pull away having faced a tougher schedule. I’ll go ahead and roll with a parlay. The bet: Memphis -7 and over 61.5 for $15 to win $39.

Gabe Henderson: Utah State might just be one of the worst bowl-eligible football teams in the country. The bet: Memphis -7 for $22.


Coastal Carolina (9-3, +260) vs. East Carolina (7-5, -335)

Where: Birmingham, Ala.

When/TV: Dec. 27, 5:45 p.m. ESPN

Line/Total: ECU -9, O/U 61

Zach Ewing: Heralded Coastal Carolina QB Grayson McCall announced he’ll enter the transfer portal but will still play in the bowl game. That’s a new one for me, but no doubt he can help the Chanticleers in his final performance. The bet: Coastal +9 for $22.

Jim Derry: Initially, I wanted to jump on ECU here, especially when Coastal coach Jamey Chadwell announced he was leaving to take the Liberty job. However, this line seems super inflated. I am not willing to bet much, but I am going to go with the Chanticleers to cover – just barely. The bet: Coastal +9 for $11.

Spencer Urquhart: Both Coastal and East Carolina have floundered down the stretch, with Coastal especially down after losing their starting quarterback Grayson McCall to the transfer portal. The bet: ECU -9 for $33.

Gabe Henderson: Coastal Carolina lost its coach and its starting quarterback in a matter of weeks. The Chanticleers aren’t as good as their record says without those two. East Carolina is genuinely a good football team when playing to its potential, the Pirates have all the tools to cover even a spread as large as this. The bet: ECU -9 for $22.


Oklahoma State (7-5, +130) vs. Wisconsin (6-6, -155)

Where: Phoenix

When/TV: Dec. 27, 9:15 p.m. ESPN

Line/Total: Wisconsin -3, O/U 43

Zach Ewing: Remember when Oklahoma State was in the top 10? And Wisconsin is operating under an interim coach. But there’s a reason the Badgers are favored – not in the least because OSU QB Spencer Sanders is transferring. The bet: Wisconsin -3 for $22.

Jim Derry: Now we’re getting to the teams who already have players either sitting out or heading to the portal. As well as Oklahoma State played to start the season, they lost four of their last five and will play this one without their quarterback Spencer Sanders, who has announced his intent to transfer. That seems too much to overcome – even against a Badgers team that had its worst season in quite some time. The bet: Wisconsin -3 for $22.

Spencer Urquhart: This could come to whether or not Wisconsin star running back Braelon Allen plays, but he appears to be committed to the program after forgoing the transfer portal. That should give the Badgers enough of an edge to cover against a once-promising Oklahoma State team that fell off at the end of the season. The bet: Wisconsin -3 for $22.

Gabe Henderson: This is a very fun bowl game on paper; this is a very ugly bowl game in reality. Wisconsin’s got an interim coach and Oklahoma State got a backup quarterback. The under seems like a lock unless neither defense shows up. The bet: Under 43 for $22.


Duke (8-4, -130) vs. Central Florida (9-4, +110)

Where: Annapolis, Md.

When/TV: Dec. 28, 1 p.m. ESPN

Line/Total: Duke -1.5, O/U 62.5

Zach Ewing: Both teams can run the ball effectively, but only one can stop the run and force John Rhys Plumlee to pass. The bet: Duke -1.5 for $33.

Jim Derry: Yeah, the Knights were blown out by Tulane in the AAC championship game, but quarterback John Rhys Plumlee was not healthy, and they are a different team with him in there. Oh, and I am not sure I gave the credit to the AAC it deserved this season. They very well could prove something this bowl season. The bet: UCF ML for $10 to win $11.

Spencer Urquhart: Duke and UCF make for an interesting matchup to where I don’t really have a lean as far as the spread, but I do like the total to go over. That’s because both teams can put up points in bunches and have leaky defenses. The bet: Over 62.5 for $22.

Gabe Henderson: UCF is a very underrated 9-4 team. The ACC cannibalized itself throughout the year and Duke found itself being humbled after a fast start. Oddsmakers don’t seem to have received these messages, though, as the Knights are a much better football team than this line suggests and they have what it takes to beat the Blue Devils. The bet: UCF ML for $20 to win $22.


Arkansas (6-6, -160) vs. Kansas (6-6, +135)

Where: Memphis

When/TV: Dec. 28, 4:30 p.m. ESPN

Line/Total: Arkansas -3, O/U 69

Zach Ewing: The motivation factor screams Kansas, but the Jayhawks have struggled to cover spreads throughout the second half of the year. You know what I’m more sure of? Points, and lots of ’em. The bet: Over 69 for $22.

Jim Derry: Talk about two teams limping into bowl season – and two teams that had so much promise through the early part of the year. However, one team is used to being in bowl games and the other is not. The Jayhawks are playing this time late in the year for the first time in 14 seasons, and I can’t see them actually hanging with a team from the SEC, even if it is the Hogs. The bet: Arkansas -3 for $11.

Spencer Urquhart: Arkansas quarterback KJ Jefferson announced that he’ll return to the Hogs, meaning he should be under center in this one. I’m going to roll with Arkansas as one of my top plays of the bowl season since Kansas has flamed out after a hot start. The bet: Arkansas -3 for $33.

Gabe Henderson: These are two teams who came out of the gate firing. They earned high rankings early on behind stellar quarterback play before injuries derailed both of their seasons. Neither squad has recovered just yet, which means they’re about as evenly matched as you’ll find anywhere else in bowl season. This is going to be an ugly and low-scoring — but fun — football game. The bet: Under 69 for $33.


Oregon (9-3, -600) vs. North Carolina (9-4, +430)

Where: San Diego

When/TV: Dec. 28, 7 p.m. FOX

Line/Total: Oregon -14, O/U 70.5

Zach Ewing: Drake Maye against Bo Nix is going to be fun and should provide a high-scoring Holiday Bowl (seems like they all are). But only one of these teams has a defense. The bet: Oregon -14 for $11.

Jim Derry: Haven’t we all seen Bo Nix beat up on teams he should beat while struggling mightily against really good ones? Well, here’s a late Christmas present for you, Bo. The Ducks are a little peeved about how their season finished, while the Tar Heels haven’t defeated a decent team since, well, 2021. The bet: Oregon -14 for $22.

Spencer Urquhart: It was rumored that North Carolina star quarterback Drake Maye would be entering the transfer portal, but he’s decided to remain a Tar Heel and will be duking it out against Bo Nix and Oregon’s high-powered offense. The total was set too high to take the over, but I do like UNC’s chances of keeping things competitive. The bet: North Carolina +14 for $22.

Gabe Henderson: Speaking of fun football games. The Holiday Bowl will feature two of the nation’s best quarterbacks this year (how criminal does that statement sound?) in Bo Nix and Drake Maye. It’ll be a high-scoring affair between two teams who don’t seem to know most of the time what defense is. I know North Carolina has struggled on offense recently, but Oregon -14? Really? Give me the Tar Heels to keep it relatively close. The bet: North Carolina +14 for $33.


Texas Tech (7-5, +143) vs. Ole Miss (8-4, -170)

Where: Houston

When/TV: Dec. 28, 8 p.m. ESPN

Line/Total: Ole Miss -3.5, O/U 69.5

Zach Ewing: Feels like the Rebels have something to prove after stumbling to the finish line. Also, as much as I try to resist narratives, the SEC just seems like it wins bowl games like this, year after year. The bet: Ole Miss -3.5 for $11.

Jim Derry: All Rebels haters rejoice: Lane Kiffin is coming back to Oxford for who knows how long. That is good news because that dude couldn’t win a big game had he coached the 2019 LSU Tigers. After getting into the top 10 in October, Ole Miss lost four out of five games, including a two-touchdown defeat to Arkansas. Do they even care to be here? The Red Raiders, who won their last three, certainly do. I think they win straight up, but I’ll play it safer with the points. The bet: Texas Tech +3.5 for $22.

Spencer Urquhart: This was almost a no-play for me, but I feel like this is a prime opportunity for Ole Miss to get some positive momentum heading into next season under Lane Kiffin. I’ll take my chances with the SEC team here against a Big 12 opponent. The bet: Ole Miss -3.5 for $11.

Gabe Henderson: Texas Tech epitomizes the Big 12, doesn’t it? The Red Raiders are as unpredictable as they come. One week they’ll get beaten by Baylor by four touchdowns and the next they’ll play a close game against a College Football Playoff team in TCU. The Rebels are an electric and versatile offense, which means these two will light up the scoreboard at NRG Stadium in Houston all night long. The bet: Over 69.5 for $22.


Minnesota (8-4, -305) vs. Syracuse (7-5, +240)

Where: New York

When/TV: Dec. 29, 1 p.m. ESPN

Line/Total: Minnesota -7.5, O/U 42

Zach Ewing: One of the strangest developments of the season was Syracuse’s 6-0 start followed by a 1-5 finish. Minnesota running back Mo Ibrahim is terrific. The bet: Minnesota -7.5 for $22.

Jim Derry: Both these teams rely on the run and have a top-notch running game. The only question is whether Syracuse can keep it close enough to cover. I’m not sure of the answer, but in the cold weather of The Bronx – and who knows what precipitation – I would rather go with a fast clock and very few points scored. The bet: Under 42 for $11.

Spencer Urquhart: Minnesota appears to have the upper hand in this matchup as evidenced by the spread, but they don’t have any signature wins to speak of. That’s why I like the Orange to cover in this spot since they were able to beat a ranked NC State team earlier in the season. The bet: Syracuse +7.5 for $11.

Gabe Henderson: How could Syracuse find a way to disappoint its fans if the game wasn’t close up until the end? The Orange haven’t given their fans much to cheer for over the last two months. This would be the perfect opportunity to close out the year on a high note against an inconsistent and streaky Minnesota team. The bet: Syracuse +7.5 for $22.


Florida State (9-3, -305) vs. Oklahoma (6-6, +240)

Where: Orlando

When/TV: Dec. 29, 4:30 p.m. ESPN

Line/Total: FSU -7.5, O/U 66

Zach Ewing: Florida State has been trending up all year long, but the Seminoles (outside of that opener against LSU) have struggled just a bit against top competition. I smell a close game. The bet: Oklahoma +7.5 for $22.

Jim Derry: At first glance, my first thought was that the Seminoles would blast Oklahoma, but as I dug deeper, the play of the Sooners after getting blown out by Texas in early October was more impressive than I thought, despite the 3-3 record in their final six. I actually think this might be one of the more fun bowl games to watch with plenty of points in it – just the opposite of the game played before it. The bet: Over 66 for $11.

Spencer Urquhart: This line should be more in favor of Florida State since they’ve had a significantly better season than one of the nation’s biggest disappointments in Oklahoma. I’ll take the favorite here since they appear to be a nice value. The bet: FSU -7.5 for $22.

Gabe Henderson: Jordan Travis and Florida State are legitimate ACC contenders next season. They enjoyed lots of success as they made positive strides toward continued success this season. All of that being said, sometimes betting is about going with your gut. My gut tells me to take Oklahoma, who is getting more than a touchdown here. The bet: Oklahoma +7.5 for $22.


Washington (10-2, +152) vs. Texas (8-4, -180)

Where: San Antonio

When/TV: Dec. 29, 8 p.m. ESPN

Line/Total: Texas -4.5, O/U 68.5

Zach Ewing: With Michael Penix back at quarterback for Washington next year, the Huskies could use this one as a launching pad for 2023. Texas’ motivation seems harder to find. The bet: Washington +4.5 for $44.

Jim Derry: It looks like Texas running back Bijan Robinson will play, but I don’t think the Longhorns’ defense can hang with the Huskies’ No. 1 passing attack behind quarterback Michael Penix. Even though this is basically a home game for Texas, I think they’ll find a way to screw this one up against a team that finished the regular season on a six-game winning streak and has something to prove. The bet: Washington +4.5 for $33.

Spencer Urquhart: This should be a fun battle between stud quarterbacks Quinn Ewers and Michael Penix, so I’m going to side with the team that’s been better on defense. That would be Texas, and I see them being able to get enough stops to cover the spread. The bet: Texas -4.5 for $22.

Gabe Henderson: I was one of Texas’ biggest backers early in the year after what we saw from Quinn Ewers. But he wasn’t anywhere near the same player after his injury, and the Longhorns seemed to always stumble under the spotlight. On the other hand, Washington stepped up to the plate as the season came to a close. The Huskies have all of the momentum right now, I’m honestly quite surprised they’re viewed as the underdogs in this matchup. The bet: Washington +4.5 for $33.



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