College Football Bowls: Best bets for every game
It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and there are 43 college football bowls to wager on. VSiN is here to help bettors sort through them all and find the value. Be sure to check out our College Football Bowl Betting Guide, all VSiN Bowl picks, sortable by game and this best bets file
We’ll update the file throughout bowl season as games approach.
Monday, Dec. 19
Adam Burke: You probably aren’t going to see a ton of people laying the large number with Marshall, but I’ll be one of them. The UConn Huskies are one of college football’s best stories of the season, but I do not like this matchup on the Surf Turf in Conway, SC. Marshall wrapped up the regular season sixth in yards per play allowed and second in yards per carry allowed. The Herd allowed just 89 rushing yards per game.
UConn averaged fewer than five yards per play and a big reason why was because this is a team wholly dependent on running the football. Marshall threw for almost double the yardage (2,403 to 1,283) and also still outgained UConn on the ground (2,467 to 2,339). The Huskies defense ranked around average, but this is a group that played a bunch of bad offenses after the calendar hit October and also ran into Fresno State without Jake Haener.
Marshall is a better, more balanced version of UConn with a far superior defense and a stronger offense. The Huskies are an outstanding story and Jim Mora Jr. deserved Coach of the Year consideration, but they’re outclassed here against a Marshall team that was embarrassed in the bowl season last year with a lopsided loss to Louisiana.
Pick: Marshall -10
Wednesday, Dec. 21
Dave Tuley: Regular readers of mine will remember I was high on Bailey Zappe last year at WKU and in the preseason with the New England Patriots. He, of course, shined in the regular season. His WKU successor, Austin Reed, was second in the nation this year with 4,247 passing yards and fourth with 36 TDs. He entered the transfer portal and appeared to be headed to Louisville, but he decided to return to the Hilltoppers.
Western Kentucky has lost two offensive linemen to the transfer portal, and this line has been all over the place. We’re still not sure why South Alabama is favored. Granted, South Alabama went 10-2 with only losses to bowl-bound UCLA and Troy, which edged out the Jaguars in the Sun Belt West. But we’ll take the bonus points.
South Alabama is led by junior RB La’Damian Webb (1,014 rushing yards, 13 TDs), a transfer from Florida State, and has a defense that ranks No. 4 in the nation against the run (90.2 yards per game). But that isn’t a concern against the pass-happy Hilltoppers who averaged 45.3 points in their last three wins.
Pick: Western Kentucky +4.5
Thursday, Dec. 29
Youmans: Michael Penix Jr., the nation’s leading passer with 4,354 yards, announced he’s returning to the Huskies as a sixth-year senior. Washington won its last six games to finish the regular season 10-2 for first-year coach Kalen DeBoer, who took an offense that averaged 21.5 points per game in 2021 and elevated it to 40.8 PPG this season. DeBoer is an outstanding coach, and the jury is out on Texas’ Steve Sarkisian.
The Longhorns have a location advantage in San Antonio, where they won the Alamo Bowl in 2020, and the MVP of the game was running back Bijan Robinson. After rushing for 1,580 yards this season and solidifying his status as an elite NFL prospect, it’s unlikely Robinson wants to play in this bowl again. Recent reports indicate that Robinson, senior running back Roschon Johnson and senior linebacker DeMarvion Overshown are all opting out to prepare for the draft. With Penix returning on one side and Robinson sitting out on the other, the Huskies should be live dogs.
Pick: Washington +6
Monday, Jan. 2
Youmans: After DraftKings opened this as a pick’em game, money showed on the Pac-12 champions. The Utes displayed their toughness in Las Vegas, falling behind 17-3 and outscoring USC 44-7 the rest of the way as Cameron Rising passed for 310 yards and coach Kyle Whittingham’s defense dominated. Whittingham’s team is making back-to-back bowl trips to Pasadena after blowing a 14-point lead in a 48-45 loss to Ohio State, and he has talked about how much it would mean to him to win the Rose Bowl.
The Nittany Lions are not as talented as last year’s Buckeyes, and Penn State’s top defensive player – cornerback Joey Porter Jr. – is skipping the bowl for the draft. I’ll go with Whittingham over Lions coach James Franklin any day. Penn State will probably put up a good fight in sixth-year quarterback Sean Clifford’s final game, so I expect to sweat this one out.
Pick: Utah -2