The best college bowl game bets

We have officially arrived at bowling season.

When the Bahamas Bowl kicks off Friday morning, it will be the first of 42 postseason games played in college football leading up to the national championship on Jan. 9.

Handicaping these games is a difficult task. You have to sort through transfers, waivers, and NFL draft entrants, while also doing your best to gauge which teams are motivated and which teams are ready for the offseason.

Since the bet lines first dropped, many have moved significantly as the news broke. So, if you’re going to place some holiday bowl bets, make sure you have as much information as possible. This may require some patience and waiting until match day.

That said, we’ll be focusing on the first eight-game run on Friday and Saturday to make these bowl picks work.

(All times ET, odds from BetMGM)

Cure Bowl: no. 25 UTSA vs. no. 24 Troys

Hours: 3pm (Friday) | Line: Troy -1.5 | Total: 55.5

Nick Bromberg: Troy has averaged just 26 points per game this season but has scored at least 34 in each of his last three games. A pair of defensive scoring helped those numbers, though this is also a UTSA team that’s allowed 26 points per game. Throw a Roadrunner offense who is 12th in the country in scoring and hasn’t hit under 34 in any of his last five games and I think this could be a fun shootout.

Choose: over 55.5

Sam Cooper: I know the Sun Belt is a better conference than Conference USA, but I still think the wrong team is favored here. Troy has tremendous defense, but lacks the offensive firepower to keep up with the Roadrunners for 60 minutes. I ignore what Troy displayed offensively in the Sun Belt title game. It was a complete outlier compared to what the Trojans have been doing all year. That Coastal Carolina team was already overrated, and then it was distracted by the imminent departure of Jamey Chadwell and Grayson McCall was nowhere near 100% healthy. With the return of Frank Harris and UTSA heading to the AAC, there is plenty of motivation for the Roadrunners to win a bowl game for the first time in program history.

Choose: UTSA +1.5

UTSA quarterback Frank Harris (0) looks to pass against North Texas during the Conference USA championship in San Antonio on Friday, Dec. 2, 2022. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

UTSA quarterback Frank Harris (0) looks to pass against North Texas during the Conference USA championship in San Antonio on Friday, Dec. 2, 2022. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

Las Vegas Bowl: Florida versus #14 Oregon State

Hours: 2.30pm (Saturday) | Line: Oregon State -10.5 | Total: 52.5

Sam Cooper: With Anthony Richardson moving to the NFL and not playing, the money poured into Oregon State. But now that the number is in double digits, I’m going to try Florida here. I trust Billy Napier to put together a plan to keep this game competitive even with the level of attrition on the UF roster. Oregon State is one dimensional on offense and I think UF is good enough along the lines of scrimmage to physically match the Beavers. Jack Miller is starting at quarterback for Florida. Miller was supposed to be Richardson’s backup, but he underwent thumb surgery early in the season and slipped down the depth chart. This is a great opportunity for relocating Ohio State, as well as a bunch of other young talent on Florida’s roster.

Choose: Florida +10.5

LA Bowl: Washington State versus Fresno State

Hours: 3.30pm (Saturday) | Line: Fresno State -3.5 | Total: 52.5

Nick Bromberg: It’s impossible to overstate the heat Fresno State has turned on since the return of quarterback Jake Haener. The Bulldogs are 9-4 after a 1-4 start and handily beat Boise State in the Mountain West title game. Washington State is a solid and capable team to win this game, but Fresno’s recent run has me leaning towards the Bulldogs.

Choose: State of Fresno -3.5

Sam Cooper: While I obviously preferred it when Fresno State was favored by less than a field goal, it’s hard not to support the Bulldogs here. It’s Haener’s last college game, and Fresno State is still motivated to face a Pac-12 opponent. I like the work Jake Dickert has done at Washington State, but the Cougs will be without their top three receivers, three linebackers and both coordinators. WSU has faced much better competition than Fresno this season, but being so limited at wide receiver is really going to hurt this one.

Choose: State of Fresno -3.5

Frisco Bowl: North Texas vs. Boise State

Times: 21:15 (Saturday) | Line: Boise State -10.5 | Total: 59.5

Nick Bromberg: It’s hard to get excited about taking such a huge favorite in a bowl game, but there are a few reasons I like Boise State. The Bronco offense has been very good since the early season offensive coordinator changed to Dirk Koetter and the defense has allowed under 20 points per game. North Texas enters this game with an interim head coach following the firing of Seth Littrell and the Mean Green has won just one game against a team with a winning record all season.

Pick: Boise State -10.5

Boise State quarterback Taylen Green (10) will lead a team looking to beat North Texas in the Frisco Bowl.  (AP Photo/Steve Conner)

Boise State quarterback Taylen Green (10) will lead a team looking to beat North Texas in the Frisco Bowl. (AP Photo/Steve Conner)

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