New Year’s Eve means midnight toasts and boozy renditions of “Auld Lang Syne,” but there’s plenty of college football betting before the big ball drops.
The final day of the 2018 portion of this year's overloaded college bowl season offers six games — one more than even on New Year’s Day's compelling lineup — providing ample opportunity for bettors to close their 2018 on a successful note.
2018 New Year’s Eve Bowls Betting Tips
- The best teams against the spread playing on New Year’s Eve? Texas A&M is 8-4, even though the Aggies have covered just two of their last five. Stanford is right behind at 7-4-1, with three ATS victories and a push in its last four games.
- The two worst New Year’s Eve teams against the spread are Virginia Tech and Oregon, both 5-7. The Ducks have covered in just two of their last nine games, while the Hokies lost six straight ATS before winning their last two.
- Michigan State’s offensive struggles have translated into the Spartans falling under the total in each of their last seven games. Missouri has gone under in four of its last five, though that span included routs against bad teams like Arkansas and Tennessee.
- As for overs, Oklahoma State, Missouri’s Liberty Bowl opponent, has gone over in three straight and four of five. Texas A&M has also gone over in three of its last four, though one of those was a seven-overtime game.
- Missouri vs. Oklahoma State, over 72.5 points: The Cowboys rank 10th nationally in total offense, the Tigers 18th. Both teams have excellent quarterbacks, both teams have suspect defenses, and both teams are going to sling it and score.
- Stanford vs. Pittsburgh, under 52 points: The Panthers have scored 13 points in their last two games combined. Love has battled injuries all season. This one feels like a wide margin, but a low total.
- Texas A&M vs. North Carolina State, over 58 points: The Aggies average over 34 ppg, the Wolfpack over 35. This has the potential to be one of the more entertaining games of bowl season.
- North Carolina State, +180 vs. Texas A&M: The ACC outside of Clemson has been a disappointment, and State was stunned late in the year by Wake Forest. But it’s hard to overlook Finley, that rush defense, and a month of preparation.• • •
2018 New Year’s Eve Bowls Picks
The line: Cincinnati -5.5 vs. Virginia Tech
Other than leading the ACC in red zone offense, the Hokies have been the definition of mediocre. Cincinnati has an 1,100-yard rusher in Michael Warren, and the nation’s seventh-best scoring defense. Remove Clemson, and the American might be a better league than the ACC.
Take Cincinnati -5.5.
The line: Stanford -6.5 vs. Pittsburgh
The offensively-challenged Panthers attempted just four passes in the second half of the ACC title game against Clemson. Stanford’s K.J. Costello is the Pac-12’s second-leading passer, Bryce Love remains a dangerous rusher, and the Cardinal’s solid run defense is ready-made to stifle ground-oriented Pitt.
Take Stanford -6.5.
The line: Oregon -3 vs. Michigan State
Michigan State has put up more than 21 points just once since September, and is tied for 121st nationally in scoring offense. The Spartans are much better on defense, where their one weak link is against the pass — the area Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert and the pass-happy Ducks plan to exploit.
Take Oregon -3.
The line: Missouri -8 vs. Oklahoma State
Quarterback Drew Lock and Missouri can pile up points behind the SEC’s fourth-best pass offense, but the Tigers have struggled to beat teams with winning records. The Cowboys sport an offense statistically superior to Missouri’s, and unlike most of the Tigers’ opponents, have the weapons to contend in a shootout.
Take Oklahoma State +8.
The line: Utah -6.5 vs. Northwestern
The strain of playing with a backup quarterback and tailback — both starters were lost to injuries — is showing on the Utes, who were punchless against Washington in the Pac-12 title game. The Wildcats are beat up, too, but they also been competitive with the better teams on their schedule.
Take Northwestern +6.5.
The line: Texas A&M -5 vs. North Carolina State
North Carolina State boasts a very good run defense that will be tested by the SEC’s top rusher, Aggies tailback Trayveon Williams. The Aggies are hot and cold offensively, while quarterback Ryan Finley and the Wolfpack have the tools to keep it close.
Take North Carolina State +5