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2018 Bowl Betting Guide: Picks and Insights for Every Game

David Caraviello for Bookies.com

David Caraviello  | 8 mins

2018 Bowl Betting Guide: Picks and Insights for Every Game

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Belly-up and prepare for the college football betting smorgasbord that is bowl season, and the 40 games that span from mid-December to New Year’s Day.

To help make it an even happier holiday, here are insights, spreads and picks for each matchup, from the Frisco Bowl to the Fiesta Bowl, and everything in between. Dig in!

Ultimate Bowl Betting Guide for 2018-19

New Mexico Bowl, Dec. 15: North Texas vs. Utah State

The Aggies deserved a better bowl fate after a 10-win season, and will pour it on North Texas behind an offense averaging 47 ppg.

Pick: Utah State -9, over 67.5

Cure Bowl, Dec. 15: Tulane vs. Louisiana-Lafayette

The Green Wave tied Memphis and Houston for first in its division of the American, and have one of the nation’s sack leaders in end Patrick Johnson.

Pick: Tulane -3, under 67.5

Las Vegas Bowl, Dec. 15: Arizona State vs. Fresno State

The Sun Devils fared better than expected in Herm Edwards’ debut, but Fresno State is the better team behind one of the nation’s best defenses.

Pick: Fresno State -4.5, under 52

2018 Bowl Betting Guide: Picks and Insights for Every Game 1
Fresno State is one of the most underrated programs in the country, and we think their defense will give ASU problems.

Camellia Bowl, Dec. 15: Eastern Michigan vs. Georgia Southern

Despite injuries at quarterback, Eastern Michigan has thrived behind a defense that’s allowed an average of 11 points over its last three games.

Pick: Eastern Michigan +1, under 48

New Orleans Bowl, Dec. 15: Appalachian State vs. Middle Tennessee State

With Scott Satterfield off to Louisville, the Mountaineers are under an interim coach — and up against a Blue Raiders offense that can give anyone fits.

Pick: Middle Tennessee State +7, over 50.5

Boca Raton Bowl, Dec. 18: UAB vs. Northern Illinois

The Blazers returned to form in their Conference USA title game victory, and at their best present a balanced offense that’s tough to stop.

Pick: UAB -2, over 43.5

Frisco Bowl, Dec. 19: Ohio vs. San Diego State

Tailback A.J. Ouellette powers a potent Bobcats offense that averages nearly 7 yards per play and more than 470 yards per game.

Pick: Ohio -3.5, over 55

2018 Bowl Betting Guide: Picks and Insights for Every Game 2
The Bobcats have a shot to knock off a talented West Coast foe and keep building their program.

Gasparilla Bowl, Dec. 20: Marshall vs. South Florida

South Florida presents one of the American’s worst defenses, and a team that enters the bowl having lost five straight after a 7-0 start.

Pick: Marshall -2.5, over 54.5

Bahamas Bowl, Dec. 21: Toledo vs. Florida International

The Panthers have a 2,700-yard passer in James Morgan that can keep them in the game against Toledo’s high-scoring offense.

Pick: Florida International +6, over 68

Famous Potato Bowl, Dec. 21: Western Michigan vs. BYU

Giving BYU 12 points is just too much for a game pitting a pair of mediocre teams that both slumped toward the finish.

Pick: Western Michigan +12, over 48.5

Birmingham Bowl, Dec. 22: Wake Forest vs. Memphis

After blowing a huge lead to lose the American championship game, Memphis looks to rebound against one of the ACC’s worst defenses.

Pick: Memphis -4.5, under 73.5

Armed Forces Bowl, Dec. 22: Army vs. Houston

The Black Knights present the nation’s 11th-best defense, and face a Houston team that lost starting quarterback D’Eriq King to injury.

Pick: Army -3, under 67.5

2018 Bowl Betting Guide: Picks and Insights for Every Game 3
After another successful season and a win over Navy, Army is rolling and ready to knock off the Cougars.

Dollar General Bowl, Dec. 22: Buffalo vs. Troy

Troy 1,000-yard tailback B.J. Smith is capable of controlling the game against the Bulls, who have lost two of three.

Pick: Troy +2.5, under 53.5

Hawaii Bowl, Dec. 22: Hawaii vs. Louisiana Tech

Aloha means goodbye for the Bulldogs, facing a Hawaii team that’s 5-2 on its home field — which also hosts the bowl game.

Pick: Hawaii -1.5, over 58.5

First Responder Bowl, Dec. 26: Boston College vs. Boise State

Boise saw its seven-game win streak end in the Mountain West title game, but will have the best player on the field in tailback Alex Mattison.

Pick: Boise State -3, over 55

Quick Lane Bowl, Dec. 26: Minnesota vs. Georgia Tech

It’s the final game at Tech for retiring coach Paul Johnson, whose option offense has one last chance to befuddle an opponent.

Pick: Georgia Tech -4, under 61

2018 Bowl Betting Guide: Picks and Insights for Every Game 4
The Yellow Jackets have been inconsistent all season, but we believe they will get it together against the Gophers.

Cheez-It Bowl, Dec. 26: TCU vs. California

In the worst matchup of bowl season, between two mediocre, low-scoring teams, go with a TCU squad that’s won its last two.

Pick: TCU +1, under 40.5

Independence Bowl, Dec. 27: Temple vs. Duke

Temple’s solid rushing game and defense face a fading Duke squad that’s lost its last two games by a combined score of 94-13.

Pick: Temple -3.5, under 56.5

Pinstripe Bowl, Dec. 27: Miami vs. Wisconsin

Multiple concussions sustained by Badgers quarterback Alex Hornibrook have left the Wisconsin offense sputtering.

Pick: Miami -3.5, under 47

Texas Bowl, Dec. 27: Baylor vs. Vanderbilt

Both teams can put up points, but Baylor’s pass defense could make it tough for a Vandy team that struggles to run the ball.

Pick: Baylor +4.5, over 55M

Music City Bowl, Dec. 28: Auburn vs. Purdue

The Boilermakers roll up 32 points and 459 yards per game, a bad matchup for an anemic Auburn team whose coach is again under fire.

Pick: Purdue +4.5, under 54.5

Camping World Bowl, Dec. 28: West Virginia vs. Syracuse

Syracuse can put up points, but West Virginia can put up more, especially against an Orange pass defense ranked 11th in the ACC.

Pick: West Virginia -7, over 74

2018 Bowl Betting Guide: Picks and Insights for Every Game 5
The West Virginia high-powered assault will likely carry it past the Orange in a shootout.

Alamo Bowl, Dec. 28: Iowa State vs. Washington State

In a matchup of two of the season’s more reliable ATS teams, Iowa State’s standout pass defense matches wits with Wazzu’s Air Raid.

Pick: Iowa State +4, over 54.5

Belk Bowl, Dec. 29: South Carolina vs. Virginia

Even without NFL-bound wideout Deebo Samuel and against a good Virginia pass defense, Jake Bentley and the Gamecocks have too many weapons.

Pick: South Carolina -4.5, under 54.5

Arizona Bowl, Dec. 29: Nevada vs. Arkansas State

Arkansas State has won four straight, but give the edge to quarterback Ty Gangi and that high-scoring Wolf Pack offense.

Pick: Nevada +1, over 59.5

Peach Bowl, Dec. 29: Michigan vs. Florida

Wolverines have the nation’s best defense, a decided edge at quarterback, and enough to win a close, low-scoring game.

Pick: Florida +7.5, under 51

Cotton Bowl, Dec. 29: Clemson vs. Notre Dame

Fighting Irish are solid in all areas — but Clemson is elite, with the nation’s fourth-best offense and fifth-best defense.

Pick: Clemson -11, over 55

2018 Bowl Betting Guide: Picks and Insights for Every Game 6
Clemson deserves all the credit and the points it has been given against the Fighting Irish.

Orange Bowl, Dec. 29: Alabama vs. Oklahoma

Good defenses have slowed Kyler Murray and that Sooners passing attack, and Alabama’s is the best they’ve faced yet.

Pick: Alabama -14.5, under 79

Military Bowl, Dec. 31: Cincinnati vs. Virginia Tech

Cincy’s solid defense and 1,100-yard rusher Michael Warren should be enough to subdue the mediocre Hokies.

Pick: Cincinnati -5.5, under 53.5

Redbox Bowl, Dec. 31: Oregon vs. Michigan State

The plodding Spartans are among the lowest-scoring teams in America, putting too much pressure on their defense to stop the Ducks.

Pick: Oregon -3, under 48

Liberty Bowl, Dec. 31: Missouri vs. Oklahoma State

The Cowboys have the offensive weapons to contend in a shootout between two teams that can’t stop anybody.

Pick: Oklahoma State +8, over 72.5

Holiday Bowl, Dec. 31: Northwestern vs. Utah

The Wildcats kept it close against Michigan and Notre Dame, and can do the same against a Utah team missing key starters.

Pick: Northwestern +6.5, over 45

Taxslayer Bowl, Dec. 31: Texas A&M vs. North Carolina State

A&M has the SEC’s top rusher, but State can keep it close behind a good quarterback and even better rush defense.

Pick: North Carolina State +5, over 58

2018 Bowl Betting Guide: Picks and Insights for Every Game 7
NC State should see a good year get even better in the Taxslayer Bowl.

Sun Bowl, Dec. 31: Pittsburgh vs. Stanford

The offensively limited Panthers simply don’t have enough to keep up with Stanford’s passing game and tailback Bryce Love.

Pick: Stanford -6.5, under 52

Outback Bowl, Jan. 1: Mississippi State vs. Iowa

In a battle of two of the nation’s best scoring defenses, Nick Fitzgerald and the Bulldogs’ running game is the difference.

Pick: Mississippi State -6, under 44.5

Citrus Bowl, Jan. 1: Penn State vs. Kentucky

The Wildcats’ excellent defense isn’t enough to make up for their one-dimensional offense and lack of a passing game.

Pick: Penn State -6, under 48

Rose Bowl, Jan. 1: Ohio State vs. Washington

Dwayne Haskins and that explosive Buckeyes offense prove too much for even the Pac-12’s best defense.

Pick: Ohio State -5.5, over 58

Fiesta Bowl, Jan. 1: Central Florida vs. LSU

Even with a backup quarterback, the Knights have the weapons to stun an SEC power for the second year in a row.

Pick: Central Florida +7.5, over 54.5

2018 Bowl Betting Guide: Picks and Insights for Every Game 8
The UCF Knights have been touting their win streak and ability to compete with anyone all season. LSU is big test No. 2.

Sugar Bowl, Jan. 1: Georgia vs. Texas

The Bulldogs are loaded, but Texas is too good on defense and at the offensive skill positions to get blown out.

Pick: Texas +11, over 58

About the Author

David Caraviello for Bookies.com
David Caraviello
Veteran sports journalist David Caraviello has covered college football, college basketball, motorsports and golf, covering all three US golf majors, the Daytona 500 and SEC football.