College Football Betting: More Bowl Picks, Including Alabama vs. Michigan

Alabama’s Jaylen Waddle (photo credit: USA TODAY Sports)

Thanks for stopping by to view another college football betting article from SharpSide. It’s hard to believe we’re just about at the end of the season and won’t have anymore college football games to bet on, but here we are. In this article, we’ll look at the SERVPRO First Responder Bowl, AutoZone Liberty Bowl, Valero Alamo Bowl, and Vrbo Citrus Bowl.

The strong opinions I had on the opening College Football Playoff games paid off. However, the other two games, the New Era Pinstripe Bowl and the Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl, did not play out as planned and the garbage touchdown by Oklahoma State with 67 seconds left really stung. But that’s sports betting. The updated record is 36-39 and this week is the week we finally get back in the black!, so let’s get to it.

Western Kentucky (-3.5) vs. Western Michigan

Monday, December 30, 2019, at 12:30 p.m. ET
SERVPRO First Responder Bowl
Gerald J. Ford Stadium
University Park, TX

Over/under: 54

Here we have another chance to fade a hapless MAC team. Western Michigan has arguably played the easiest schedule in all of college football, playing in the weakest conference possible and getting absolutely destroyed by the only relatively decent non-conference opponent in Michigan State.

Western Kentucky isn’t a supremely talented team, but their strengths match up well with Western Michigan. The Western Kentucky Hilltoppers are currently allowing just just 3.7 yards per carry, which doesn’t bode well for the Western Michigan Broncos, as they sit at 70th in the country in stuff rate, getting stuffed on 19.4% of attempts.

If the Broncos aren’t able to move the ball on the ground, they’ll be forced to throw the ball with the incredibly mediocre Jon Wassink. In his last six games, against terrible MAC competition, Wassink has surpassed 200 yards just one time. Conversely, Western Kentucky is allowing just 200 yards through the air on the season, good for 33rd nationally. Ty Storey has been a competent QB for Western Michigan this season, completing 70% of his passes and throwing just 5 interceptions. I have these two offenses rated pretty similarly, with WMU getting a slight edge, while WKU has a huge edge (over a full touchdown difference in expected points allowed) and I think that will be the difference in this game.

It’s not a high-profile game, but money is money, so let’s go get it. My prediction is Western Kentucky 28 and Western Michigan 17.

Free College Football Betting Pick: Western Kentucky (-3.5)

No. 23 Navy (-3) vs. Kansas State

Tuesday, December 31, 2019, at 3:45 p.m. ET
AutoZone Liberty Bowl
Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium
Memphis, TN

Over/under: 52.5

I generally jump at the chance to fade an option team when the opponent has an extended amount of time to prepare, except in the Air Force case last week against an incompetent defense. Kansas State is not an incompetent defense and is the perfect balance of discipline and athleticism to shut down the option offense, especially with a mind like Chris Kleiman at the helm. We know that Kleiman understands how to game plan for postseason games, given his plethora of national championships at the FCS level, and that is key in this situation.

No. 23 Navy has been a solid team all year, but they’ve really only beaten lesser competition. Kansas St. is ranked 46th in defensive SP+. The only teams rated better that Navy has played are Memphis and Notre Dame. Both of those teams held the Midshipmen to 23 or fewer points and both teams beat Navy.

Kansas State has spent the year playing better competition and still have the same mold of discipline that we’ve come to expect from the Wildcats. I think this is a close game, but the wrong team is favored. My prediction is Kansas State 27 and Navy 24.

Free College Football Betting Pick: Kansas State (+3)

No. 11 Utah (-7) vs. Texas

Tuesday, December 31, 2019, at 3:45 p.m. ET
AutoZone Liberty Bowl
Alamodome
San Antonio, TX

Over/under: 55

Here’s one last chance to fade Texas this season. This is a nightmare of a matchup against the No. 11 Utah defense that can’t be replicated by anything in the Big 12 this season. The closest thing to the Utah defense would be Baylor or Iowa State, both of which beat Texas and held the Longhorns to 10 and 21 points, respectively, the two lowest offensive marks on the season for Texas.

Utah has allowed over 400 total yards of offense just one time this year, in their weirdest game of the season in the Pac 12 championship against Oregon. It is also unknown what offensive weapons Texas will have, as Devin Duvernay, Brennan Eagles, and Keontay Ingram are all questionable, with Collin Johnson looking probable. Defensive back Caden Sterns is also questionable. Regardless of who plays, Texas is outmatched in this one and Kyle Whittingham is absolutely outstanding in bowl games.

I don’t think Utah has the offensive prowess to blow out the Longhorns, but I do think they have enough firepower to score on this lackluster Texas defense, while mitigating the damage done by the Texas offense. My prediction is Utah 31 and Texas 20.

Free College Football Betting Pick: Utah (-7)

No. 13 Alabama (-7) vs. No. 14 Michigan

Wednesday, January 1, 2020, at 1 p.m. ET
Vrbo Citrus Bowl
Camping World Stadium
Orlando, FL

Over/under: 58

Ohio State just gave a blueprint on how to absolutely destroy No. 14 Michigan and No. 13 Alabama has the same caliber athletes all over the field to execute in a similar fashion. Mac Jones isn’t on the same level as Tua Tagovailoa, obviously, but he’s been a very solid backup in the time he has played. Jones is completing 69.8% of his passes and has a TD-to-INT ratio of 11-3. Alabama is coming off of a loss to Auburn in a game that they out-gained the Tigers by 150 yards, and we’ve already seen what happens to teams playing Alabama after a loss.

Michigan looked great the two weeks prior to the shellacking given by the Ohio State Buckeyes, but that was against a defeated Michigan State team and a wildly overrated Indiana squad.

In the end, the skill position talent for Alabama is just going to be too much for Michigan to handle. Oh, and SP+ has this as Alabama -11.2, which is a pretty good sign for the Crimson Tide. My prediction is Alabama 35 and Michigan 24.

Free College Football Betting Pick: Alabama (-7)

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