Wager Alarm Bowl Game Best Bets: January 1
Dan Servodidio gives you his best bets for the college football bowl game action for Wednesday, January 1
Happy New Year! It’s a yearly tradition to have a bunch of good college football bowls on New Year’s Day and today we have a ton of Top 25 teams in action. It all gets started with some intriguing SEC-Big Ten matchups in the Citrus and Outback Bowls, then concludes with the Rose and Sugar Bowl in the evening. All spreads referenced below are taken from Westgate Superbook as of last night. Let’s take a closer look at how we should be betting against the spread and the totals for today’s bowls!
#13 Alabama (-7.5) vs. #14 Michigan -- 1 pm ET
Citrus Bowl -- Orlando, FL
The public perception may be that Alabama won’t be motivated enough to play this bowl game competitively after the Tide missed out on the Playoffs and lost their star QB Tua Tagovailoa for the season. And while a couple of defensive starters are sitting out ahead of the NFL Draft, the Bama offense should be at full strength (besides Tagovailoa) with Jerry Jeudy and the other NFL prospects choosing to play today. It’s very possible that Nick Saban will have his team fully ready to end the year on a high note and head into next season with a bowl win already under their belt - as the players that will be playing today will be playing major roles for them next year. Even Alabama’s backups are better than Michigan at full strength and this one could easily be a blowout win for the Tide.
#12 Auburn (-7) vs. #18 Minnesota -- 1 pm ET
Outback Bowl -- Tampa, FL
Many wondered how legit Minnesota was after they took an undefeated record deep into the regular season and looked like an outside contender for a Playoff berth. However, we quickly got our answer as to whether the Golden Gophers could hang with the top-tier programs in the country (let alone their own conference) as they lost to Iowa and Wisconsin in two of their final three games to end the year. To put it frankly, Auburn is in a totally different class than Minnesota after the Tigers competed strongly in the SEC and ended the season on a high note with an Iron Bowl win over Alabama. Plus, Auburn has two NFL-bound studs on defense that are both choosing to play in this bowl game instead of skipping out. If Auburn can just contain Minnesota’s star wideout duo of Tyler Johnson and Rashod Bateman, this should be an easy win for them.
#8 Wisconsin (-3) vs. #6 Oregon -- 5 pm ET
Rose Bowl -- Pasadena, CA
We couldn’t have asked for a better Rose Bowl matchup. We get two teams that easily could have been in the Playoffs if either won just one more game this season. Plus, both sides boast a couple top NFL prospects on offense with Oregon QB Justin Herbert being a top passer in the college ranks and Wisconsin RB Jonathan Taylor likely being the first RB off the board in the Draft. Ultimately, this matchup will come down to how Oregon’s defense defends Taylor and limit the big runs he’s capable of breaking off any time he touches the ball. The unit did well against Utah and their stud RB Zack Moss in the Pac-12 title game, but Wisconsin’s physical offensive line is on another level. The Badgers nearly upset Ohio State in the Big Ten title game and they’ve been battle-tested all year in the tougher conference. This game should be a pick’em with how evenly matchup these teams are - but back Wisconsin, who will set the tone on offense and want to send out Taylor with another big game to cap off his impressive collegiate career.
#7 Baylor (+4) vs. #5 Georgia -- 8:45 pm ET
Sugar Bowl -- New Orleans, LA
This matchup opened up with Georgia being 8.5-point favorites but it’s since been bet down to the current spread of Baylor as just 4-point dogs now. There’s a big reason why this has happened, too. Georgia will be without 13 of their main role players on both sides of the ball - six of which were regular starters and one of them (RB D’Andre Swift) was their best player on offense. Meanwhile, Baylor will be playing at near full strength and the Bears’ tough defense could easily make this an outright win for them - let alone cover a spread that’s already gotten much smaller. Georgia simply will have a tough time on offense with four of their five offensive linemen out and a backfield made up of players who barely got carries this season. It’s all on Jake Fromm’s shoulders and expect the Baylor defense to take advantage.