College Football Betting: Friday and Saturday Bowl and CFB Playoff Picks

LSU’s Joe Burrow and Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence (photo credit: USA TODAY Sports)

Welcome back to another college football betting article from SharpSide. We hope you all had a great Christmas. It was another 2-1 weekend recently, which brings the overall record to 34-37. That means there’s still time to salvage the season and turn a profit, however small it may be. This article will cover the games through December 28, 2019, and there will be more articles to come for the rest of bowl season. Let’s get to it.

Michigan State (-4) vs. Wake Forest

Friday, December 27, 2019, at 3:20 p.m. ET
New Era Pinstripe Bowl
Yankee Stadium
New York, NY

Over/under: 50

Jamie Newman should be fully healthy for this game and Wake Forest gets Scotty Washington back, so they’ll be as healthy as they’ve been in a while. The Michigan State season has been a huge disappointment, but I’m not really that surprised since it’s nearly impossible to win when you don’t have an offense.

The Spartans rank 90th in SP+ offense and their defensive rating has “fallen” to 12th. This game is going to be incredibly low scoring and it will come down to explosive plays, which Michigan St. is completely unable to create. Michigan State has scored 21 or more points in two of their last seven games, once against Illinois and once against Rutgers. Sure, the extra time for preparation should help the Spartans prepare an offense that will score points, but Wake Forest will also be prepared for whatever hapless assault Michigan St. brings.

Newman and his stable of talented skill position players (and Cade Carney, who is objectively terrible and is seeing his role diminished, finally) will be able to do enough to keep this game close and Wake Forest should be able to pull off the upset. My prediction is Wake Forest 21 and Michigan State 17.

Free College Football Betting Pick: Wake Forest (+4)

No. 25 Oklahoma State vs. Texas A&M (-5.5)

Friday, December 27, 2019, at 6:45 p.m. ET
Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl
NRG Stadium
Houston, TX

Over/under: 54

Picture this: You’re on the Texas A&M football team, you’ve played a brutal schedule against some of the best defenses in the country and still have a top 40 offense, and your last two games were against Georgia and LSU. Then, you find out your bowl assignment is to stay in Texas and play against a completely one-dimensional Oklahoma State team and you can end your season on a high note. Oh yeah, and your defensive strength matches up perfectly with the one thing Oklahoma St. does well. Are you excited yet?

Spencer Sanders, quarterback for Oklahoma State, should play in this one, which is actually good for the Texas A&M defense, as he’s not the most competent passer, especially without Tylan Wallace. Jimbo Fisher excels in bowl season and will absolutely find a way to mitigate the damage done by Chuba Hubbard, while Kellen Mond and the Texas A&M Aggies offense will pick apart this pathetic Big 12 defense.

Texas A&M has lost five games this year: Clemson, Auburn (in a game they just couldn’t get the offense clicking, which is acceptable because Auburn has an elite defense), Alabama with Tua Tagovailoa, Georgia, and LSU. In other words, it takes being a nearly elite team to beat this very talented Texas A&M team, and Oklahoma State is nothing close to that. This one might get ugly. My prediction is Texas A&M 31 and Oklahoma State 17.

Free College Football Betting Pick: Texas A&M (-5.5)

OK, enough with the trash games. We all know what you really came here for, and that’s this weekend’s College Football Playoff games. If you need a refresher for what’s on offer in this season’s race for the National Championship, check out SharpSide’s preview to the College Football Playoff that covers everything you need to know.

Now, let’s get to the games people want to bet! First up is No. 1 LSU against No. 4 Oklahoma, and then it’s No. 2 Ohio State against No. 3 Clemson. I actually have a pretty strong opinion on both of these CFB Playoff games, so let’s dig in.

No. 1 LSU (-13.5) vs. No. 4 Oklahoma

Saturday, December 28, 2019, at 4 p.m. ET
Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl
Mercedes-Benz Stadium
Atlanta, GA

Over/under: 76

The most underrated part of this whole season may be LSU’s defense. People have been making them out to be average at best, which is just not true. They’re ranked 19th in SP+ and are allowing just 3.6 yards per carry, which is critical against this version of Oklahoma.

We all know about quarterback Joe Burrow and his incredible talent and the lack of defense on the other side for Oklahoma. Now, the Sooners are without their sack-leading edge stopper Ronnie Perkins, and second leading tackler in safety Delarrin Turner-Yell. The loss of Perkins is especially harmful, as sack rate is the only part of the game that the LSU offensive line is even remotely susceptible.

This one is going to end up with Burrow sitting back in the pocket with days of time to throw to any one of his wildly talented receivers, and Oklahoma isn’t going to have any sort of defensive answer. I also think that this game is much lower scoring than people expect it, but I’m not getting involved on the total at the current number. My prediction is LSU 45 and Oklahoma 21.

Free College Football Betting Pick: LSU (-13.5)

For another betting take on this game, check out my colleague J.J. Apricena’s video below.

No. 2 Ohio State vs. No. 3 Clemson (-2)

Saturday, December 28, 2019, at 8 p.m. ET
PlayStation Fiesta Bowl
State Farm Stadium
Glendale, AZ

Over/under: 63

This one feels weird because SP+ completely disagrees with me. People don’t seem to want to give Clemson the respect they deserve. They haven’t lost a game in approximately seven years and have shown no signs of weakness. They’re scoring 46.5 points per game and allowing just 10.6. Oh, they haven’t played anyone? Well, it’s a good thing they’re winning games by 30 points every time out. Yes, Ohio State has been dominant as well, but there are two things that I think greatly benefit Clemson.

The first is the elephant in the room that is Justin Fields’ health. Reports have come out this week that he is not 100% due to a leg issue, which could pose a much bigger problem with the second factor that will be in Clemson’s favor: the trenches. Clemson has arguably the best offensive and defensive lines in the country. Their offensive line leads the country in opportunity rate, they’re second in stuff rate, and they’re fourth in sack rate. Chase Young is a monster, but the Tigers have had three weeks to prepare for him and I think this is a game that we don’t hear his name all that much.

On the other side, we have Clemson’s defensive line, which ranks in the top 30 of every single Football Outsiders metric, most of which are inside the top 12, including line yards (7th) and sack rate (3rd). This is going to be an issue for the Ohio St. offensive line trying to protect a hobbled Fields. The Buckeyes come in to this one allowing a sack on 7.9% of snaps, which puts them at 100th in sack rate allowed and 113th in passing down sack rate. The beasts on the Clemson defensive line are going to have their way every single possession. If Fields isn’t his mobile self, he’s going to spend a lot of time on his back.

We all know how good Trevor Lawrence is and how explosive the Clemson offense is, I don’t need to harp on that. Bet on Clemson and make back the money you spent on Christmas presents. My prediction is Clemson 38 and Ohio State 27.

Free College Football Betting Pick: Clemson (-2)

For another betting take on this game, check out my colleague J.J. Apricena’s video below.

Up Next