Our employees’ top 4 bets for the bowl games on Wednesday (December 29th)
The days of a sporadic bowl or two are over for the foreseeable future. Yesterday started a five-day course with at least three bowls a day and today is day 2 of that incredible time.
With some action in the early afternoon, our crew starts early with a prop selection for Maryland vs. Virginia Tech at the Pinstripe Bowl.
Then the action heats up as our experts take on opposing sides at the Cheez-It Bowl between Clemson and Iowa State. At the end of the evening we have a spread for the Oregon-Oklahoma Alamo Bowl.
So, join the ride and check back tomorrow – because we’ll be back on Thursday with even more top bets for the four-game list.
Wednesday College Football Best Bets
The team logos in the table below represent each of the matchups our college football staff are targeting from today’s playlist. Click on the team logos for any of the following matches to navigate to a specific bet described in this article.
Virginia Tech vs. Maryland
Taulia Tagovailoa over 271.5 yards
Through Alex Kolodziej
Tagovailoa flopped remarkably back in Iowa in Week 5, throwing five picks, and hitting the season low of 157 yards in the Terps’ 37-point beatdown. It also snapped the red hot 4-0 start of the team.
Maryland may have gone off the rails with a 2-6 mark, but Tagovailoa has had big numbers practically all year round: 3,595 yards (good for 12th national) and nearly 38 tries per contest.
He’d thrown more than 272 yards in the four games prior to the Iowa debacle, then five of the next seven, including three with 350 or more in the final span.
The Virginia Tech defense, meanwhile, ranks 102nd nationally in tackle, 96th in cover, and 92nd in mid-eight. The secondary team averaged 300 yards per game for the last three.
Choose: Taulia Tagovailoa over 271.5 yards
Clemson vs. Iowa State
Through Mike Ianniello
Reports of Clemson’s great death may have been a bit of an exaggeration.
Sure, a 9-3 record is a huge disappointment for the Tigers and their most losses since 2014. But nine wins are still more than the majority in the country and good for 15th place on our Action Network Betting Power Ratings.
Clemson will be without defense coordinator Brent Venables, who is returning to Oklahoma, but the Tigers defense is still by far the best unit of the game.
Clemson is dominant against the run, ranking fourth in success rate and sixth in line yards. This strong unit gets the added bonus of not having to deal with the all-American runin ‘Breece Hall, who pulled out of this game.
That leaves all the pressure on Iowa state quarterback Brock Purdy. The veteran is a very good college QB, but he’s been a little careless with football this season. He made 11 profitable games on just 10 big throws.
Forcing Purdy into passing situations means anger against a Tigers Defense that ranks 14th on Passing Success and excels at creating mayhem.
I know Clemson’s offensive has been miserable this season, but it has taken at least 30 points in each of the last five games. It really got going with Will Shipley and Kobe Pace continuing to succeed against an Iowa state defense that has taken a huge step backwards and only ranks 71st in rushing success rate.
While that season was a huge disappointment for Clemson, it was also for an Iowa state team that only went 7-5 despite expectations of being the best team in program history.
Clemson are the much more talented team here and I like to do it against the Cyclones.
Choose: Clemson -1.5
Through Mike McNamara
The Cheez-It Bowl is consistently one of the most underrated games we see during bowl season. This year we get another solid duel with Iowa State and Clemson competing in Orlando.
There are a couple of interesting storylines that have developed into this game.
For Clemson, it will forego both its offensive and defensive coordinators in this competition. Brent Venables is the new head coach in Oklahoma, and Tony Elliott travels to Charlottesville to take on the Virginia program.
Both coaches have been key components of Clemson’s success over the past 5 plus seasons so it will be interesting to see how the Tigers develop on either side of the ball.
As for the Cyclones, big news for this game is that star running back Breece Hall has decided to start preparing for the 2022 NFL Draft. The clones will also do without the defensive starters Kym-Mani King and Isheem Young, who have both entered the transfer portal.
Despite the lack of hall and some defensive figures, I still love Iowa State’s chances of winning this bowl game. Brock Purdy, Charlie Kolar and Mike Rose lead a senior class determined to end their careers with another Bowl victory.
The Clemson Offensive has struggled for most of the season and with Elliott’s departure it doesn’t get any easier against a still formidable Cyclone defense.
On the other side of the ball, Clemson has been fantastic on the defensive all year round. Even so, I expect Purdy to be able to make some games through the air, probably among his two most reliable targets in Kolar and Xavier Hutchinson.
Finally, from a motivation standpoint, I expect the Cyclones to want this a bit more. Clemson isn’t used to playing bowl games before the New Year, and Matt Campbell is really going to want to send that senior class out with a win.
I’m backing the Cyclones to do it at the Cheez-It Bowl on Wednesday night.
Choose: State of Iowa +1.5
Oregon vs. Oklahoma
Through Patrick Walker
The Oklahoma Sooners (10-2) face the Oregon Ducks (10-3) at the Valero Alamo Bowl in San Antonio, Texas, with the Sooners designated as the home team. Oklahoma went through the spread at 5-6-1 that season while Oregon went through the regular season at 5-8.
To say that both teams faced some turmoil at the end of the offseason would be an understatement. Both programs lost their standout head coaches, with former Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley joining USC and former Oregon head coach Mario Cristobal reuniting with his alma mater in Miami.
Interim head coaches Bob Stoops and Bryan McClendon will lead Oklahoma and Oregon, respectively. A number of key assistants have left for USC with Riley while Oregon’s coaching staff have promised to stay intact for the bowl game without Cristobal.
Both teams have NFL hopefuls who were reasonably eliminated from the bowl game, but Oregon is at a disadvantage with over 30 scholarship players missing from the line-up due to injuries, transfers, or NFL prep.
After replacing quarterback Spencer Rattler in the game against Texas, Caleb Williams did nothing but impress for Oklahoma. A true freshman, Williams threw 1,572 yards and 18 touchdowns to just four interceptions after taking Rattler as QB1.
Running back Kennedy Brooks excelled in the second half of the season averaging 113.3 yards per game and six touchdowns in the last seven games of the year for the Sooners.
Williams and Brooks anchor a Sooner Offensive that ranks 10th nationwide on the scoring offensive and averages 38.4 yards per game. The Ducks will have their hands full as they have a defense that takes a mid 59th place on the scoring defense and allows for 25.5 points per game.
Oklahoma will have an advantage due to its explosiveness that ranks 28th nationwide.
The Oklahoma Defense should have no problem preventing an Oregon misdemeanor that ranks 54th in the nation on the overall offensive. Oregon is one of the least explosive offenses in any FBS game, so look to Oklahoma to get enough stops against the Ducks to enable their offensive to succeed.
My model has Oklahoma as a 10.5 point favorite in that game. Look for big games at Williams early and often.
Place the seven points in San Antonio as Oklahoma makes its case for next season as a contender for the national championship.
Choose: Oklahoma -6.5