This is where the rubber meets the road folks. We’re in the full swing of the most exciting college football action of the year and both DPJ and myself are determined to finish this season on a high note. Get your superstitions in order, set up four TVs in your living room to watch your team go bowling and always remember to bet smarter, not harder.
Q’s Best Bets (16-18 Overall)
Oregon vs Oklahoma – Wednesday, 12/29 (9:15 PM EST)
Pick: Oklahoma -3 (-130 odds)
This is a Bob Stoops pick. The guy loves offense (and is Oklahoma’s interim head coach for their bowl game), Caleb Williams is the Sooner future and Oregon is a transit school into the NFL/they’ll be missing a significant number of defensive players for this game. Expect Stoops to fire from the hip and Caleb Williams to preview what he has in store for next year.
Pittsburgh vs Michigan State – Thursday, 12/30 (7:00 PM EST)
Pick: Michigan State -2.5
The big news for this matchup recently has been the opt out announcements from the offensive stars on both sides. Kenneth Walker (RB, Michigan State) ran all over the country this year and Kenny Pickett (QB, Pittsburgh) grabbed the attention of NFL scouts everywhere after putting together a Heisman level season for the Panthers and winning the ACC Championship for the first time in school history. This Michigan State pick isn’t a dig on Pittsburgh, if anything it’s a compliment for Kenny Pickett. I just don’t see Pittsburgh being capable of coming anywhere close to replacing Pickett under center and Michigan State’s offense is actually pretty well rounded even without Walker. I’m expecting Thorne to spread the ball out nicely and he has several solid WRs and a great TE to help him pick apart this Pittsburgh secondary. The Spartans might have to follow the old “next man up” approach as far as their run game but I see that task being much easier than replacing a Heisman candidate QB like Kenny Pickett. Mel Tucker gets his first bowl game W for Sparty.
Cincinnati vs Alabama/Mississippi State vs Texas Tech
Pick: 7 Point Teaser: Alabama -6.5, Mississippi State -2.5 (-130 odds)
Cincinnati has had a magical season but it will unfortunately end this week against an Alabama unit that rarely loses upset matchups in the first round of the playoffs. Saban lives for games like these and Cincinnati really hasn’t played too many elite teams this year outside of Notre Dame and Houston (neither of which matches up with Alabama whatsoever). It’s great that Cincinnati has finally broken through the “non Power 5 ceiling” that the CFP has implemented since its inception, but I think we see why that’s been the case this weekend.
Mike Leach is coming to town and he’s bringing his famous air raid offense with him. Texas Tech has one of the worst secondaries in the entire country and they’ll be faced with the task of containing a Mississippi State QB with the second most passing yards in the country… far from an ideal matchup. Leach also had some words for his former school, recently stating that Texas Tech still owes him quite a bit of money from his old contract upon his firing and that he’s determined to make a statement this week because of it. Maybe he’s just trying to fire up the boys before their bowl game but you have to think there’s some validity to his statements given how much he built up Texas Tech’s program in the past, how awful they’ve been since firing him “for cause” in 2009 and this being his first opportunity for revenge against his former team since his unpleasant departure. Expect Leach and the Bulldogs air raid to rain terror on this subpar Texas Tech defense all day.
Mississippi State vs Texas Tech – Tuesday, 12/28 (6:45 PM EST)
Pick: Will Rogers Total Passing Yards Over 350.5 (-115 odds) & Will Rogers Total Passing TDs Over 2.5 (-140 odds)
This Bulldogs passing attack/Texas Tech secondary mismatch is just too juicy not to take advantage of. Texas Tech has one of the worst pass defenses in the entire country, Mississippi State throws the ball more than any other team in the country and Mike Leach is absolutely out for blood in this long awaited reunion. Mississippi State’s run game isn’t great and the Texas Tech defense does actually match up pretty well in that category so I’m fully expecting the Bulldogs to move the ball almost entirely through the air. Mississippi State also enters this game without any offensive players opting out for the NFL Draft so they should be at full strength and ready to expose. Oh, and Will Rogers (Mississippi State) has the highest completion percentage and the 3rd most passing yards in the country… not too shabby.
Tennessee vs Purdue – Thursday, 12/30 (3:00 PM EST)
Pick: Tennessee -3
This is virtually a home game for Tennessee, only 2.5 hours away from their actual campus. Tennessee has had a rocky season this year but a lot of that is due to the brutal conference they play in. Purdue has played spoiler a few different times this season but have proven to be inconsistent overall. The Vols fan base tends to travel well and that obviously won’t be an issue in this one (the game is being played in Nashville). This one should be quite the battle in the trenches between Tennessee’s solid run offense vs Purdue’s stingy run defense. That said, Tennessee has played better defenses throughout the year and that stadium should be almost entirely orange. Taking the home team in this one with the passionate fan base.
DPJ’s Best Bets (15-15-1 Overall)
Houston vs Auburn/Mississippi State vs Texas Tech
Pick: 7 Point Teaser: Houston +10, Mississippi State -2 (-130 odds)
Houston marches into Birmingham, AL with an SEC level defense, allowing the 32nd fewest yards in the FBS per game at 319. They are great against both the run and the pass, and Auburn has a balanced attack, so I like that matchup. Bo Nix transferred and will not be at the helm for the Tigers. We know these non-power five schools take these crappy bowl games much more seriously than the dominant programs, so Houston getting 10 is easy money.
Mississippi State is headed north to Memphis to take on Tex Tech in the Liberty Bowl. I don’t have any stats to back it up but Mike Leach seems like a big pointless-bowl game type of guy. We also know there is some serious bad blood with Leach and Texas Tech from his departure there years ago, so he’ll be looking for revenge. Plus Tech’s pass defense is hot garbage so the Bulldogs should light them up.
West Virginia vs Minnesota – Tuesday, 12/28 (10:15 PM EST)
Pick: Minnesota -4.5
I loved Minnesota coming into the season, and then they lost Mo Ibrahim. But after a 2-2 stat they went 6-2 to finish with an 8-4 record and one of the best run defenses in CFB. And even with Mo out, they still average 194 yards on the ground, good for 56th best in the country. They will now head to Phoenix for the Guaranteed Rate Bowl with a matchup against West Virginia. This should be a low scoring game (total is 45) and I expect the Gophers to control both lines of scrimmage. They should ground and pound the rock all night long and cruise to a TD+ victory. Love me some Gopher football.
Tennessee vs Purdue/Wisconsin vs Arizona State
Pick: 2 Team Parlay: Wisconsin Money Line, Tennessee Money Line (EVEN odds)
If you are sensing a theme here I am picking several Big 10 and SEC teams. Not only were those the best two conferences this year but I love a lot of these matchups for each conference.
An over/under of 41.5 in a bowl game feels criminal, but that is the exact type of game the Badgers would like to play. They come in with the best run defense and a top 25 pass defense in yards per game. Couple that with their great rushing game on offense and it’s pretty easy to see the recipe for a victory. Control the line of scrimmage, limit turnovers, force ASU to beat them through the air. Why will that be hard for ASU to deal with? They average less than 200 yards per game through the air in the awful PAC 12…169th in the country.
This Tennessee offense has been a treat to watch all year. Hendon Hooker is arguably the best dual threat QB in the country and just committed to come back to UT next year which should have the Vols fired up. Purdue cleaned up against all the bad teams in the Big 10 aside from their signature upset over MSU. They struggled mightily against the good teams, getting torched by Ohio State and Wisconsin. The threat here is definitely the Purdue pass attack vs. a soft Volunteer secondary but with the Nissan bowl being played in Nashville, TN I can picture a very orange crowd willing their team to victory.
Cincinnati vs Alabama/Georgia vs Michigan
Pick: 7 Point Teaser: Alabama -6.5, Michigan +14.5 (-130 odds)
Two TD+ spreads in the CFP semis feels a bit criminal…I know it has happened before but it would be boring as hell if these games were both blowouts. I’ve tweaked these lines via a 7 point tease to predict what I think will happen…Bama should absolutely win, but getting them down inside of a TD feels like stealing candy. Michigan will probably lose…but their defense and preparedness should help them keep this inside of two scores. I may sprinkle the Michigan ML to get a taste of that potential upset but more than anything I think a teaser is the right call here. If you want to split hairs and simply take Bama -13.5 and Mich +7.5 I wouldn’t hate it either.
Penn State vs Arkansas – Saturday, 1/1 (12:00 PM EST)
Pick: Arkansas +1
This game is currently on the short list of possible covid cancellations as I write this, unfortunately. It would be a real shame if it gets canceled and I sure hope we get to see the Razorbacks run it down the Nittany Lions throats. I am going to keep this relatively short so as to not waste my time when it gets canceled but the big hogs are gonna be running train on a struggling PSU team. Woo Pig Sooie.
Oklahoma State vs Notre Dame – Saturday, 1/1 (1:00 PM EST)
Pick: Oklahoma State +3
I would have liked the Cowboys in this one regardless of the Brian Kelly departure, but I like it even more now. OK State blew a huge game against Baylor…where they were simply outplayed…and now they get a shot at redemption. As much as I like the aesthetic of a Fiesta Bowl that features a certain blue and orange team from Boise, this is a pretty nice looking jersey matchup as well. Any chance I can get to bet against ND is an easy bet for me, and the Cowboys should run all day on the Irish and shut them down with their dominant defense. Good luck doing much of anything against this OK State defense who held opponents to just 307 yards of offense, good for 26th best in the country, in the high-octane Big 12.
Best of the Best Bets – DPJ & Q approved (11-13 Overall)
Clemson vs Iowa State – Wednesday, 12/29 (5:45 PM EST)
Pick: Clemson Money Line (+102 odds)
Yep, rolling with the Tigers again despite the pain they’ve caused me this season. That said, this isn’t the same Tigers squad from the beginning of the year. The offense looks better (losing Offensive Coordinator Tony Elliott might actually be a blessing in disguise) and this Tigers defense has remained stingy despite nightmarish injuries throughout the season. Losing arguably the greatest Defensive Coordinator in college football history definitely stings a bit (wish you the best Venables), but Iowa State will be without their star RB Breece Hall and the Tigers secondary should be able to contain the Cyclones WRs with relative ease. Not expecting a high scoring affair in this one but fully expecting Clemson’s defense to provide enough opportunities for the offense to come out on top. Yes, I will be eating solely Cheez-its throughout the game. Go Tigers. – Q
Other Action (10-11 Overall)
UCLA vs NC State: UCLA +2
Baylor vs Ole Miss: Ole Miss -1
Risky Business (4-17 Overall)
Air Force vs Louisville: Air Force Money Line (+120 odds)
Utah vs Ohio State: Utah Money Line (+150 odds)
Georgia vs Michigan: Michigan Money Line (+225 odds; 0.5 units)
Georgia vs Michigan: Michigan +3.5 (+160 odds; 0.5 units)
CFB Bowl Season Pick’em – Results after Bowl Week #2 (8-8 Overall)
|Friday, 12/17 (12:00 PM EST)||Bahamas Bowl||MTSU vs Toledo|
|Friday, 12/17 (6:00 PM EST)||Tailgreeter Cure Bowl||N Illinois vs Coastal Carolina||Coastal Carolina|
|Saturday, 12/18 (11:00 AM EST)||RoofClaim.com Boca Raton Bowl||W Kentucky vs App State|
|Saturday, 12/18 (2:15 PM EST)||PUBG Mobile New Mexico Bowl||UTEP vs Fresno State||Fresno State|
|Saturday, 12/18 (3:30 PM EST)||Radiance Technologies Independence Bowl||UAB vs BYU|
|Saturday, 12/18 (5:45 PM EST)||LendingTree Bowl||E Michigan vs Liberty||Liberty|
|Saturday, 12/18 (7:30 PM EST)||Jimmy Kimmel LA Bowl||Utah State vs Oregon State|
|Saturday, 12/18 (9:15 PM EST)||R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl||Louisiana vs Marshall||Louisiana|
|Monday, 12/20 (2:30 PM EST)||Myrtle Beach Bowl||Old Dominion vs Tulsa||Tulsa|
|Tuesday, 12/21 (3:30 PM EST)||Famous Idaho Potato Bowl||Kent State vs Wyoming|
|Tuesday, 12/21 (7:30 PM EST)||Tropical Smoothie Cafe Frisco Bowl||UTSA vs San Diego State|
|Wednesday, 12/22 (8:00 PM EST)||Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl||Missouri vs Army||Army|
|Thursday, 12/23 (3:30 PM EST)||Frisco Football Classic||N Texas vs Miami (OH)|
|Thursday, 12/23 (7:00 PM EST)||Union Home Mortgage Gasparilla Bowl||UCF vs Florida|
|Saturday, 12/25 (2:30 PM EST)||TaxAct Camellia Bowl||Georgia State vs Ball State||Georgia State|
|Monday, 12/27 (11:00 AM EST)||Quick Lane Bowl||W Michigan vs Nevada||W Michigan|
|Tuesday, 12/28 (12:00 PM EST)||TicketSmarter Birmingham Bowl||Houston vs Auburn||Auburn|
|Tuesday, 12/28 (3:15 PM EST)||SERVPRO First Responder Bowl||Air Force vs Louisville||Air Force|
|Tuesday, 12/28 (6:45 PM EST)||AutoZone Liberty Bowl||Mississippi State vs Texas Tech||Mississippi State|
|Tuesday, 12/28 (8:00 PM EST)||San Diego Country Credit Union Holiday Bowl||UCLA vs NC State||UCLA|
|Tuesday, 12/28 (10:15 PM EST)||Guaranteed Rate Bowl||W Virginia vs Minnesota||Minnesota|
|Wednesday, 12/29 (2:15 PM EST)||New Era Pinstripe Bowl||Maryland vs Virginia Tech||Virginia Tech|
|Wednesday, 12/29 (5:45 PM EST)||Cheez-It Bowl||Clemson vs Iowa State||Clemson|
|Wednesday, 12/29 (9:15 PM EST)||Valero Alamo Bowl||Oregon vs Oklahoma||Oklahoma|
|Thursday, 12/30 (11:30 AM EST)||Duke’s Mayo Bowl||UNC vs S Carolina||UNC|
|Thursday, 12/30 (3:00 PM EST)||TransPerfect Music City Bowl||Tennessee vs Purdue||Tennessee|
|Thursday, 12/30 (7:00 PM EST)||Chick-fila Peach Bowl||Pittsburgh vs Michigan State||Michigan State|
|Thursday, 12/30 (10:30 PM EST)||SRS Distribution Las Vegas Bowl||Wisconsin vs Arizona State||Wisconsin|
|Friday, 12/31 (11:00 AM EST)||TaxSlayer Gator Bowl||Wake Forest vs Texas A&M||Texas A&M|
|Friday, 12/31 (12:00 PM EST)||Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl||Washington State vs Miami||Washington State|
|Friday, 12/31 (2:00 PM EST)||Barstool Sports Arizona Bowl||C Michigan vs Boise State||Boise State|
|Friday, 12/31 (3:30 PM EST)||Goodyear Cotton Bowl||Cincinnati vs Alabama||Alabama|
|Friday, 12/31 (7:30 PM EST)||Capital One Orange Bowl||Georgia vs Michigan||Georgia|
|Saturday, 1/1 (12:00 PM EST)||Outback Bowl||Penn State vs Arkansas||Penn State|
|Saturday, 1/1 (1:00 PM EST)||PlayStation Fiesta Bowl||Oklahoma State vs Notre Dame||Oklahoma State|
|Saturday, 1/1 (1:00 PM EST)||Vrbo Citrus Bowl||Iowa vs Kentucky||Kentucky|
|Saturday, 1/1 (5:00 PM EST)||Rose Bowl||Utah vs Ohio State||Ohio State|
|Saturday, 1/1 (8:45 PM EST)||Allstate Sugar Bowl||Baylor vs Ole Miss||Ole Miss|
|Tuesday, 1/4 (9:00 PM EST)||TaxAct Texas Bowl||LSU vs Kansas State||Kansas State|
Disclaimer: SidehustlebetsMJQ.com is not an online gambling operator or a gambling site of any kind. Our insights about sports/sports betting are purely for entertainment purposes only.