College Football Major Bowls betting preview
The College Football Playoff semifinals this season are a bit earlier than usual, on December 28, and will be held at the Peach Bowl in Atlanta and the Fiesta Bowl outside Phoenix. How does the committee decide which semifinal is where? Depends on the top-ranked team as one reward is that it will not be placed in a bowl that is geographically disadvantageous.
Odds courtesy of OddsShark.com
LSU is the No. 1 team and plays No. 4 Oklahoma in the Peach Bowl, and the Tigers know Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta well having beaten Georgia there for the SEC title. It’s a matchup of Heisman Trophy finalists in LSU quarterback Joe Burrow, the runaway winner, and Oklahoma’s Jalen Hurts, who finished second in the voting. Both were transfers from other powerhouse schools. LSU is 14-point chalk and has won and covered its past five against Big 12 schools.
The Pac-12 got shut out of the playoff yet again, so its conference champion, No. 6 Oregon, has to settle for a trip to the most storied bowl of them all, the January 1 Rose Bowl, to face Big Ten runner-up and No. 8 Wisconsin. The Ducks’ upset of then-No. 5 Utah in the conference title game kept the Pac-12 out of the playoff, while the Badgers gave Ohio State all it could handle for a half in the Big Ten title game. Wisconsin is a 2.5-point favorite and has won 10 of its past 11 as one.
Also on New Year’s Day, No. 5 Georgia, the SEC runner-up, faces Big-12 runner-up and No. 7 Baylor in the Sugar Bowl from Atlanta. The Dawgs are -6.5 in a de facto home game, but the Bears have covered nine straight as underdogs.
A warm-up on December 28 to the national semifinals features No. 17 Memphis, the American Athletic Conference champion, against No. 10 Penn State in the Cotton Bowl from outside Dallas. The Tigers will not be coached by Mike Norvell, as he left for Florida State. PSU is -7 and 10-1 in its past seven as a favorite.
Finally, the December 30 Orange Bowl from Miami features No. 9 Florida vs. No. 24 Virginia. The Gators are 14.5-point favorites. UVA is 1-23 SU in its past 24 as a double-digit underdog.