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Bowl Game Pick’em Guide

Year Record: 30-22-2 (+4.8 Units) 57%

It’s the most wonderful time of the year again, and I have you covered like I have all season. Each game comes with a brief synopsis. Currently riding with a 57% win rate and up 4.8 units. Lets end the year strong!

Friday, Dec. 16

Bahamas Bowl: Miami (Ohio) +11 vs. UAB 

Both teams come into this game with 6-6 records thanks to a win in week 13. However, the Blazers are favored by double digits. On paper, UAB looks to have an edge on offense with their star running back Dewayne Mcbribe. Miami’s offense hasn’t been lighting up the scoreboard this season, only averaging 22 points per game. The key is the Redhawk defense. If they can limit the Blazers rushing attack they can stay in this game long enough to cover. UAB wins but Miami makes it interesting.

Miami (Ohio) +11

Cure Bowl: No. 24 Troy -1.5 vs. No. 25 UTSA

Why this game isn’t in primetime is beyond me. The champions of Conference USA vs the Sunbelt square off in Orlando for the Cure Bowl. Both teams have different styles. Troy plays a physical style game that is going to try to control the trenches, and play more conservative football. UTSA is a high tempo offense that struggles at times on defense. This is going to be a fun one to watch. Trojans will need to put pressure on the Conference USA MVP Frank Harris. This one is going to be tight, but a late Trojan score by Kimi Vidal gives the win to Troy

Troy -1.5

Saturday, Dec. 17

Fenway Bowl: Cincinnati vs. Louisville -1

This bowl has everything (in Stefon voice from SNL). The game will be played in a baseball park, with both teams sharing the same sideline. Two rivals playing each other for the first time in almost a decade, their rivalry trophy on the line, and the head coach of Louisville left for the Cincinnati opening. The Cardinals had a massive turnaround to their year after starting 2-3 with a disastrous loss to Boston College. Since they have won 5 of their last 7 games. The big difference in the recent success is their defense. Look for Yasir Abdullah and Yaya Diaby to create a pass rush. The Cardinals losing their OC to Western Michigan and some players transferring out does worry me a bit, but I think this is a “our coach just left” game and Louisville keeps the Keg of Nails.

Louisville -1

Las Vegas Bowl

No. 14 Oregon State -10 vs. Florida

The University of Florida is going through a major rough patch right now in Billy Napier’s first year. After the season there has been an exodus of Gators in the transfer portal, and quarterback Anthony Richardson has announced that he will go pro. Oregon State is coming off of a 9-3 year. The Beavers could come out a bit flat after a massive win in the Civil War against Oregon, but the ground game led by freshman standout Damien Martinez will lead to the Beavers and pull away by a double-digit win.

Oregon State -10

LA Bowl: Washington State vs. Fresno State -3

Fresno State has only lost 1 game where Jake Haener played a game in it’s entirety (Oregon State 35-32). Since Haener returned from injury, the Bulldogs have won 6 games in a row and claimed the Mountain West Championship. Wazzu has a solid defense in a conference that isn’t really known for it. Haener vs the Cougar defense is the matchup to watch. To be honest, I’m not confident in this pick, but I’d take Fresno.

Fresno State -3

LendingTree Bowl: Rice vs. Southern Mississippi -6.5

Both teams are limping into bowl season. The Owls have lost 4 out of their last 5 games, while Southern Miss has lost 3 out of their last 5. Usually the 5-win team wins the bowl game, but the Golden Eagle’s defense should be the difference maker in this game. As Southern Miss is closing out the game look for a late score by Frank Gore Jr. to complete the cover.

Southern Miss -6.5 w/ Under 46 

New Mexico Bowl: SMU vs. BYU +5.5

It was a down year for BYU. Having high hopes for a possible New Year’s Six appearance but inconsistent play on defense dropped them to a 7-5 campaign. Luckily for the Cougars they are playing a defense that is worse than theirs. This will be a high scoring affair, with Jaren Hall and Tanner Mordecai slinging it out through the air. Not sure how this one will shake out, but the safe bet is the over.

Over 64

Frisco Bowl: Boise State -10.5 vs. North Texas

Two runners-up in their respective championship games face off in the Frisco Bowl. North Texas has a fun offense with 29-year-old Austin Aune, but Boise State should be able to control this one from start to finish. The Broncos have a stout defense, and most likely would’ve won the Mountain West if their Punt Return team didn’t have two breakdowns. Even though their offense isn’t exactly lighting the world on fire, the Broncos will be able to cover against the Mean Green 

Boise -10.5 w/ Under 57

Monday, Dec. 19

Myrtle Beach Bowl: Marshall -10 vs. UConn

The Thundering Herd win their last 4 games to become bowl eligible as they take on UConn who hasn’t been to a bowl game since 2015, where they coincidently played Marshall. I really love that UConn is bowl-eligible again, but Charles Huff’s squad will outmatch them. With Gammage through the air and Khalan Laborn on the ground. The Herd should handle the Huskies soundly.

Marshall -10

Tuesday, Dec. 20

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl: Eastern Michigan vs. San Jose State -3.5

San Jose State hasn’t looked great the last 5 weeks, despite holding a 3-2 record. Eastern Michigan seems to be playing better on both sides of the ball but the break could be huge for the Spartans. Chevan Cordeiro will be the difference maker. I’d put this one low in your confidence pool, but when in doubt go with the better QB. 

SJSU -3.5

Boca Raton Bowl: Liberty vs. Toledo -5

It’s been a rough 4 weeks for Liberty. Lost their last 3 games of the year. Lost the coach that helped put them on the map, Hugh Freeze, and now they have to play the MAC Champs Toledo. The Flames last 3 losses are to Virginia Tech, UConn, and NMSU. Not exactly a murderer’s row to end the year. That’s not to say that the Rockets have looked all that great the last few weeks of MAC play, but they did win the conference. Toledo’s defense is the difference-maker.

Toledo -5 

Wednesday, Dec. 21

New Orleans Bowl: South Alabama -4 vs. Western Kentucky 

South Alabama has two losses on the year with a margin of 5 points. Both losses came at the hands of quality opponents Troy and UCLA. Western Kentucky played a 13 game schedule (thanks to traveling to Hawaii) and completed their season 8-5. The Jags are going to have to slow down Austin Reed’s air attack if they want to cover. Watch for Yam Banks to have a big interception that can close this game out. 

South Alabama -4 w/ Over 53.5

Thursday, Dec. 22

Armed Forces Bowl: Baylor vs. Air Force +6.5

Baylor had high hopes going into 2022 but Dave Aranda’s Bears couldn’t close out over a handful of games this year. They have dropped 3 straight games going into bowl season. Air Force also had high expectations but even though 9-3 looks good on paper, the Falcons were looking for a shot at the Mountain West crown. The AFA has looked sharp the last four weeks (Yes, I know the competition wasn’t great), and Baylor’s defense has struggled at times down the stretch. I expect the Bears to be worn down by the flexbone triple-option attack. Air Force keeps it within a touchdown.

Air Force +6.5

Friday, Dec. 23

Independence Bowl: Houston -6.5 vs. Louisiana

What Houston team is going to show up against Louisiana? The team that defeated the Roadrunners, and boat-raced ECU, or the team that lost to Tulsa? Cougars QB Clayton Tune has been the leader in this offense the last two seasons. Not only is he closing in on 4,000 yards this season, but he is also the teams leading rusher. The Ragin Cajuns have had a quiet year. Only going 6-6 in the Sun Belt. Louisiana has done well on defense, only allowing 22 points per game, but this will be the best passing attack they have seen all year by far. Even though I don’t particularly trust a Dana Holgorsen defense, they will be able to outscore this group of Cajuns. 

Houston -6.5

Gasparilla Bowl: Wake Forest -1 vs. Missouri

Keep your eye on Sam Hartman. There are rumors circulating that he may transfer. If he enters the transfer portal before the game starts, you may want to jump on Missouri. If Hartman is guaranteed to play, I’d stick with the Demon Deacons. The Tigers are going to provide some resistance, but their offense isn’t something Wake hasn’t seen before. I like Wake Forest by a field goal.

Wake Forest -1

Saturday, Dec. 24

Hawai’i Bowl: Middle Tennessee State +7 vs. San Diego State

There is no better Christmas Eve tradition than watching the Hawaii Bowl. Both teams are coming off a 7-5 campaign. There are a few factors that make me lean with the Blue Raiders. First, their quarterback play has been more consistent with  Chase Cunningham and their ability to pass-rush the quarterback. Watch for Jordan Fergusen and Marley Cook to get after the Aztecs in the backfield.

Middle Tennessee State +7

Monday, Dec. 26

Quick Lane Bowl: Bowling Green -3 vs. New Mexico State

Jerry Kill and New Mexico State is a great story. The Aggies are going bowling again and will meet Bowling Green. The Falcons look to be more battle-tested in the MAC. NMSU does have an impressive win over Liberty, but that was during some turmoil for the Flames. Watch for Matt Mcdonald to link up with Odieu Hilaire. The Aggies lose their first bowl game ever (currently 3-0-1).

Bowling Green -3

Tuesday, Dec. 27

Camellia Bowl: Buffalo vs. Georgia Southern -3.5

Clay Helton has brought a high-powered explosive offense to Georgia Southern, and in his first year, they are heading to a bowl game. Buffalo, snuck into bowl season last week, after almost losing to conference foe Akron. The Eagle’s defense will be an issue, but Kyle Vantrease is going to air out the football and outscore Buffalo in a mini-shootout.

Georgia Southern -3.5

First Responder Bowl: Memphis -7 vs. Utah State

These two offenses are almost polar opposites. The Memphis Tigers pass first with Seth Henigan at the helm, where Utah State is going to be more run first with Calvin Tyler Jr at runningback. Even though Utah State’s philosophy travels better, Memphis is a more complete team. They have an edge on both sides of the ball, and should be able to pull away at the end.

Memphis -7

Birmingham Bowl: Coastal Carolina vs. East Carolina -9

Coastal had another solid year at 9-3 but they have looked AWFUL the last two weeks against Troy and James Madison. If the Chants had a their hands full with those two offenses they are going to have a rough time against East Carolina. The 3 headed monster of Ahlers, Mitchell, and Winstead should have a field day against this defense. If you add that Grayson McCall is not playing than it is game over for the Chanticleers.

East Carolina -9

Guaranteed Rate Bowl: Oklahoma State vs. Wisconsin -3

Let’s be honest, both teams really didn’t want to end up in this bowl. Wisconsin underperformed again this year, thanks to a less-than-stellar offense, but Oklahoma State has looked disjointed the last 5 games. The Pokes will be without Spencer Sanders. Graham Mertz may be in the portal, so the Badgers will lean on Chez Mellusi. I like the Badgers to control this game on the ground in this “rock fight”.

Wisconsin -3 w/Under 43

Wednesday, Dec. 28

Military Bowl: Duke -1.5 vs. UCF

When you compare these two teams by the eye test, you may come to the conclusion that Duke is the better team on defense and UCF is more of an offensive-minded squad. However, if you look closer at their statistics these teams are more similar than you might think. The Blue Devils are averaging one less point a game, and the knights are only giving up one more yard a game on average. Like a few other games on this list, when the matchup looks tight I look at the quarterback situation. Riley Leonhard has thrown fewer interceptions despite playing more snaps than UCF quarterback John Rhys Plumlee. Duke will play a disciplined style of defense and an offense that will not turn the ball over. Blue Devils win a close one

Duke -1.5

Liberty Bowl: Arkansas -3 vs. Kansas

Kansas was the darling of College Football, until a few injuries derailed all of their momentum. Not sure if Jalen Daniels is 100%, but even if he isn’t, Jason Bean is one of the best back ups in the nation. Kansas has lost 6 out of their last seven games. I believe they might be missing some of that swagger that they once had at the start of the year. Of course, Lance Leipold being rumored that he was in talks with other schools before his contract extension isn’t the best for a locker room. I think Arkansas comes in, and gets a win with KJ Jefferson leading the way (as always). 

Arkansas -3

Holiday Bowl: No. 15 Oregon -13.5 vs. North Carolina 

I understand that 14 is a lot of points but I don’t see how North Carolina keeps this close. After some players entered the transfer portal and rumors that Drake Maye might also be leaving, North Carolina isn’t in the best shape right now under Mack Brown. Oregon is going to control this game upfront. Look for Bucky Irving to have a massive game on the ground, and Bo Nix to connect with a plethora of different Duck receivers when the time calls for it. North Carolina didn’t have a great defense to start, and they will be missing key contributors in the secondary. Their offense will keep them in the game but the Tar Heels will be worn down by the end. 

Oregon -13.5

Texas Bowl: Texas Tech +3.5  vs. Ole Miss

Ole Miss is entering the Texas Bowl losing 4 out of their last 5 games. Their offense is struggling to get into the 30s and their defense continues to have issues. Texas Tech is a bit of a “mixed bag”, you are not sure what type of team you are going to see. They seem to be having some momentum going into this game after a big win against Oklahoma, but they will have to slow down Jaxson Dart and Quinshon Judkins. Not sure if the Red Raiders win, but I like them to cover with a big game from linebacker Tyree Wilson.

Texas Tech +3.5

Thursday, Dec. 29

Pinstripe Bowl: Minnesota -7 vs. Syracuse

Before the season started I think Syracuse fans would have taken a 7-5 year, but after looking back at the season and seeing how they dropped 5 straight games after starting 6-0 they may be slightly disappointed. Minnesota has similar feelings. 8-4 is par for the course in “Gopher Land”, but this year was supposed to better with Mo Ibrahim and Tanner Morgan returning. The Orange have a slight advantage in the passing game, but with Mo Ibrahim in the backfield and a solid defense to support the offense, the Gophers are an easy favorite. Syracuse could keep is close if Garret Shrader plays, but right now its looking like he will be out. If that stays the case, hammer Gophers -7.

Minnesota -7

Cheez-It Bowl: No. 13 Florida State vs. Oklahoma +7.5

This break is going to be great for Oklahoma. When Dillon Gabriel was injured earlier in the year it stopped this team in its tracks to where they could not get this momentum back. The big hole for the Sooners is its defense, allowing 450 yards of total offense a game. Florida State has improved every week. For Oklahoma, to this game close, they are going to have to turn it into a shootout, and I believe they can do that. With Dillon Gabriel fully healthy and getting some rhythm back with Mims Jr, and Brayden Willis it could provide a spark to this team which is desperately needed. Take Oklahoma +7.5 but if it drops below 7 you might want to stay away from this game all together.

Oklahoma +7.5

Alamo Bowl: No. 12 Washington vs. No. 20 Texas -5.5

The Huskies surprised a lot of people this year. They are ranked 12th in the country after a disastrous two years under Jimmy Lake. Texas is still not fully back but is competitive again sitting at 8-4 and ranked 20th. My question is how are the Longhorns favored in this game? I understand the game is being played in San Antonio but you’d think Washington would be favored, especially with Penix’s announcement that he is returning. On top of that, sources are saying Texas will be without its 3 best players Bijan Robinson, Roschon Johnson, and Demarvion Overshown. The line absolutely smells to me, and for that reason, I am taking Longhorns. 

Texas -5.5

Friday, Dec. 30

Duke’s Mayo Bowl: No. 23 NC State vs. Maryland -1.5

Maryland football is an enigma, wrapped in a riddle. You never know what team is going to come out of that locker room. NC State is coming off a big win over rival North Carolina. Their defense has been consistently solid, but their offense has been banged up all year. Maryland is usually thin in the trenches and this break between games should help them recharge. Look for Taulia Tagovailoa to have a big game against the Wolfpack. 

Maryland -1.5

Sun Bowl: No. 18 UCLA -6.5 vs. Pitt

Get this line now before it goes over 7. After winning the ACC Pitt is finding itself in another rebuild. Kedon Slovis is in the transfer portal with defensive tackle Calijah Kancey. A report from late last week suggests that UCLA had offensive leaders Dorian Thompson-Robinson and Zach Charbonnet will be playing in the bowl. The Panthers won’t have Slovis, and UCLA looks poised to add a ribbon on another solid year under Chip Kelly.

UCLA -6.5

Gator Bowl: No. 19 South Carolina +2.5 vs. No. 21 Notre Dame 

Notre Dame will be without Quarterback Drew Pyne, stud defensive end Isiah Foskey, and Tight End Michael Mayer. The Fighting Irish finished relatively well after two horrendous losses at the beginning of the year to Marshall and Stanford. South Carolina is going to come into this game with a chip on their shoulder, and Notre Dame might just be looking to get to the offseason. Beamer gets another bowl win.

South Carolina +2.5

Arizona Bowl: Ohio +1 vs. Wyoming

The Ohio Bobcats would’ve won the MAC championship if Kurtis Rourke didn’t have a season-ending injury. Their defense has picked up a little bit of the slack, but is still not up to Tim Albin’s standard. If CJ Harris can complete 60% (his current percentage) of his passes on the Cowboys the Bobcats have a good shot to win. I like Ohio but put this low on your confidence pools.

Ohio +1

Orange Bowl: No. 6 Tennessee vs. No. 7 Clemson -6

Due to them not being in the College Football playoff the Clemson Tigers are an under-the-radar top 10 team again. They are taking on Tennessee who finally was able to break into the top 10 after almost a decade of turmoil. Clemson’s defensive line is one of the best in the country, and without Hendon Hooker the Vols are going to have to rely on Joe Milton III (Yes, he is still playing) to lead their offense. Clemon’s offense has struggled all year, but Dabo Swinney made a call to freshmen Cade Klubnik to give the offense a boost in the passing game in the ACC Championship. The Vol defense may be better than the Heals but they aren’t good. I like Clemson to give Tennessee major resistance on offense, and Klubnik to show what this offense can be capable of going into next year. The Tigers have a shot to win BIG.

Clemson -6

Saturday, Dec. 31

Music City Bowl: Iowa -2 vs. Kentucky

Iowa will be on their third-string quarterback, but if you have seen this offense I’m not sure how it can get any worse. Kentucky will be out their starting quarterback Will Levis. Both offenses are going to be stagnant, but the Hawkeyes have an edge on the defensive side of the ball. This is one of the best defenses in the country, but the team is hampered by the offense. I like Iowa and the under of 31.5 (Yes, 31.5).

Iowa -2 w/ Under 31.5

Sugar Bowl: No. 5 Alabama vs. No. 9 Kansas State +3.5

Mighty Alabama is only a 3.5 favorite over Kansas State. The Crimson Tide have a bunch of players in the transfer portal or opting out, and the Wildcats don’t have any. The Crimson Tide are disappointed they aren’t in the playoff, and Kansas State is ecstatic to be in the Sugar Bowl. The vibes point to Kansas State keeping it close. This Alabama team has shown weakness this year. The defense is not as disciplined as before, and sometimes the offense gets out of a rhythm at random times throughout the game, something fans haven’t really seen. I really like Deuce Vaughn and Will Howard to have a great game, in front of all of those SEC fans in the Superdome.

Kansas State +3.5

Fiesta Bowl: No. 2 Michigan vs. No. 3 TCU

Michigan remained undefeated after handling Big Ten West Division Champ Purdue, while TCU was on the other side of their conference championship game, losing an overtime thriller to Kansas State. Look for the Horned Frogs to come out swinging with Max Duggan under center. Michigan might even be down at halftime, but like the Wolverines have done all year look for them to wear down the TCU defense with Donovan Edwards. Once TCU starts loading the box JJ McCarthy will take a shot to put the game away. 

Michigan -8

Peach Bowl: No. 1 Georgia vs. No. 4 Ohio State +6.5

The Georgia Bulldogs are without a doubt the best team in the country. Unfortunately, they have to play the Ohio State Buckeyes who have been given a second chance after losing to #2 Michigan. The Buckeyes defense might be one of the best offenses the Bulldogs have played all year. Ohio State’s defense hasn’t been world beating, but it might be good enough to keep this a game. Buckeyes keep it close on the big stage.

Ohio State +6.5

Monday, Jan. 2

ReliaQuest Bowl: No. 22 Mississippi State vs. Illinois -2

This one is tough to read. On paper Illinois is the more complete team. However, the Illini just lost there defensive coordinator, Ryan Walters, as he becomes the next head coach of Purdue. Unfortunately another factor is the the untimely death of Coach Mike Leach. There is no doubt in my mind that Mississippi State is going to play some of the most inspired football we have seen all year. The only other question is Will Rogers. If he plays take the Bulldogs. If he doesnt, stay away from this game.

Miss State +2 (Only if Rogers plays)

Citrus Bowl: No. 17 LSU vs. Purdue +10.5

This is a game that I won’t be “officially” betting on until it gets closer to the date. If both teams are 100% Purdue can cover the 10.5-point spread as an underdog. However, it looks like the Boilermakers will be without their head coach, best secondary player, wide receiver, and maybe quarterback. This is one that you may want to wait on. If it is a lock that Charlie Jones and Aidan O’Connell are playing take Purdue +10.5 as soon as you can, it could be an LSU blowout without them. 

Purdue +10.5 (Only if O’Connell and Jones play)

Cotton Bowl Classic: No. 10 USC -1.5 vs. No. 16 Tulane +1.5

So this is another spread that “smells”. An almost lock at the playoff is only a 1.5-point favorite against a group of 5 team? Tulane has a good offense, and since that is USC’s kryptonite I believe they will be able to put up points against the Trojans. This is a bit of a gamble, but I like the Green Wave. Also, lay down over 61. This is going to be a high-scoring game.

Tulane +1.5 Over 61

Rose Bowl Game: No. 8 Utah vs. No. 11 Penn State +2.5

This will be the last “traditional” Rose Bowl where there is a conference tie-in. Both teams will be without their top corner and their top receiving target for the game. I think the difference in this game will be Penn State’s pass rush. This will be the best defense Utah has seen all year. “Chop” Robinson and PJ Mustipher should have big games along with linebacker Abdul Carter. If Penn State’s offense can get the ground game going with their phenom running back duo, they can win their first Rose Bowl since 1994.

Penn State +2.5

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