College Football Bowl Picks – December 29, 2016
Today is a bit of a slow day regarding bowl action. All our odds are quoted from BetOnline.ag (Full Review) and are accurate at the time of publishing. We encourage bettors to line shop for the best price before placing a wager.
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USF has been impressive this season, which made their coach, Willie Taggart, a coveted option for larger schools. He went to Oregon while South Florida bounced back with an excellent hire in former Texas Longhorns coach, Charlie Strong.
The Bulls finished the season with a 10-2 record with the Birmingham Bowl giving them a chance to reach 11 wins. They finish the regular season with a 25th-place ranking in the AP polls. Their only two losses this year came against Florida State and a 46-30 loss to Temple.
Quarterback Quinton Flowers and the Bulls’ offense averaged a whopping 43.6 points per game, good enough for 7th best in the country. They’ve had plenty of shootouts this year, as they are still a leaky team defensively and give up more than 30 points per game.
The Gamecocks didn’t look like a bowl contender this year after a rough past few seasons. But, first-year head coach, Will Muschamp did enough with this team to reach .500 his first year with a 6-6 record. This season did not start well for South Carolina. They began the season 2-4 before righting the ship. However, they did lose in badly in their final game of the season 56-7 to rival Clemson.
South Florida opened as -11 favorites, but that has moved to -10 at most sportsbooks. Betting action has been split 50/50 between the two sides. The total opened at 63 points but is now at 62.5 at most spots. About 60 percent of wagers have come in on the under.
This one is a tough one to call. I would love South Florida a lot more if we could get this spread under double-digits, which is a possibility before game time. USF’s schedule also hasn’t been that tough either.
With that said, it’s tough to back off them in this contest, particularly when their offense has been so potent, and South Carolina’s defensive numbers haven’t been good. Couple that with the Gamecocks’ poor offensive numbers and this one could get out of hand quickly.
Pick: South Florida Bulls -10
Belk Bowl – Arkansas Razorbacks vs. Virginia Tech Hokies -6.5 (22) Total: 61
Arkansas was perhaps the most inconsistent team in the country this past year. The Razorbacks finished the season with a 7-5 record, with plenty of blowouts and imposing wins mixed into that mark.
They have big wins over Ole Miss and SEC East Champion Florida, but they also were pummeled 56-3 at Auburn. Arkansas finished their season with a defeat, losing 28-24 to 4-8 Missouri.
Virginia Tech gave ACC Champion Clemson a scare in the title game, keeping the game close before losing 42-35. The Hokies finished with a strong mark at 9-4 on the season and have played well down the stretch.
Similar to Arkansas, VT has a couple of bad losses on their final product, which includes losses against Georgia Tech and Syracuse. They demolished Virginia in their regular season finale 52-10 and are looking to get first-year head coach Justin Fuente his first bowl win.
The Hokies are the firm chalk in this one, but I don’t mind. They nearly knocked off Clemson and should have no issues taking down an inconsistent Arkansas team with a far superior roster.
Pick: Virginia Tech Hokies -6.5
Alamo Bowl – Oklahoma State Cowboys (12) vs. Colorado Buffaloes -3 (10) – Total: 63
OSU and Colorado have a long history. They have played each other a total of 44 times in their time in the Big 8 and Big 12 conferences. This is the first time they will face each other since the Buffaloes left for the Pac-12 back in 2011.
The Cowboys finished the season in brutal fashion, losing to rival Oklahoma 38-20. However, they still put together an excellent body of work on the year to finish 12th in the AP polls. It’s been quite the turnaround for OSU, as they started the season 2-2 after defeats to Central Michigan and Baylor, but ended the with a 9-3 mark.
Colorado came close to taking down Washington to win the Pac-12 but ultimately couldn’t take home the championship. However, their turnaround this season has been fantastic. They went from a 4-9 record last year to finishing 9-3 this season and 10th in the AP polls.
The Buffaloes opened shortly at -2.5, but that soon moved to -3 across the board. The total opened at 64 points but has moved to 63 at most bookmakers.
I might have taken the Buffaloes at -2.5, but these teams are so closely matched that the points seem a lot more attractive. Colorado’s defense is a much stronger unit overall and it may be tough for the Cowboys to move the ball, but I still like their chances to take this one down to the wire. I’ll take the points.
Pick: Oklahoma State Cowboys +3