The 2013 bowl season kicks off on Saturday, December 21st and runs through the National Championship Game on Monday, January 6th. We’ve got your quick rundown on all 35 of the bowl games this year and which ones present you with the best betting opportunities! Odds change so keep up with the live lines page.
Saturday, December 21st
New Mexico Bowl
Washington State (-4) vs. Colorado State (65): Fireworks could fly in this game. QB Garrett Grayson and QB Connor Halliday combined for almost 8,000 passing yards this year, and the Rams come to the table with RB Kapri Bibbs, who scored 28 TDs on the ground this season, the second best mark in the land.
Las Vegas Bowl
USC (-6.5) vs. Fresno State (62): Motivation might be an issue here for both sides. The Trojans only have 62 healthy scholarship players, and they’re on their third head coach of the season. Fresno State was hoping for a trip to the BCS, and it was visibly lacking in the motivation department in the MWC title game against Utah State.
Buffalo (-1) vs. San Diego State (53): The toughest bowl game to handicap for our money. These two teams were both more lucky than good this year, as they combined to go 5-0 in OT. The difference? Buffalo had a +16 turnover margin in the regular season. San Diego State was at -12.
New Orleans Bowl
Tulane vs. Louisiana Lafayette (Off): Until we know whether QB Terrance Broadway is going to play or not, this game is going to stay off the board. The Cajuns averaged over 450 yards per game with him in the fold, but he missed the last game of the season with a wrist injury, and South Alabama held them to eight points and 212 yards. These teams met last year, and the Green Wave were +30.5. My, how times have changed!
Monday, December 23rd
St. Petersburg Bowl
East Carolina (-14) vs. Ohio (61.5): The Bobcats lost their last three games last season and looked dead in the water before stomping ULM in the Independence Bowl. It’s tough to say that the script doesn’t look exactly the same this year, especially considering the fact that ECU really didn’t play all that many truly impressive games this season.
Tuesday, December 24th
Oregon State (-2.5) vs. Boise State (65): The Broncos aren’t used to be demoted to lousy bowl games like this one, and now that Chris Petersen is off to Washington, they might fall apart here in this game. Oregon State can really throw the ball around the field, and WR Brandin Cooks could be in for a huge game. He led the nation in receiving this season, and he had at least 88 yards in all 12 games this year.
Thursday, December 26th
Little Caesars Pizza Bowl
Bowling Green (-5) vs. Pittsburgh (50): The Panthers have to be happy to not be going to the BBVA Compass Bowl after going there for three straight seasons. This is a tough game played in MAC country though, and the Falcons are eager to win their second straight game at Ford Field after taking down the MAC title game against a really good Northern Illinois outfit. The Falcons held seven teams to seven points or fewer this year.
Northern Illinois (-1.5) vs. Utah State (58): We have to imagine that the Aggies would be favored in this game if QB Chuckie Keeton was healthy. It’s the swan song for Heisman Trophy finalist QB Jordan Lynch, who has become one of the few players in college football history to both throw for and pass for 20+ TDs in the same season. The Aggies have a nasty defense though, and they were one of the better five-loss teams in the land.
Friday, December 27th
Marshall (-2.5) vs. Maryland (61): It’s not all that often that you see a Conference USA team favored over an ACC team, especially when the game is a de facto road game. The Terps are playing right in their backyard, and they should have a good contingent in this one. QB Rakeem Cato can throw for 400 yards on anyone in America though, making this a particularly dangerous game.
Minnesota (-4) vs. Syracuse (47.5): Head Coach Jerry Kill has his team believing that it can beat anyone in the nation right now, and at 8-4 in a better-than-you-thought conference, the Gophers have the right to be smiling. They’ve got an average Syracuse team in this one who is carrying the banner for the ACC for the first time in a bowl game. These two played last season in Minneapolis, and the Gophers came away with a 17-10 victory at +3.
Fight Hunger Bowl
Washington (-3) vs. BYU (58.5): The Cougars probably underachieved just a bit this year, but they had some signature wins against teams like Texas as well. Washington is one of the oddball teams looking to figure out how to play without its head coach, as Steve Sarkisian is headed to USC. QB Keith Price was one of the most bipolar quarterbacks in the nation, and he doesn’t have a history of playing well in big time games.
Saturday, December 28th
Notre Dame (-15.5) vs. Rutgers (52.5): Notre Dame is one of the biggest favorites of the bowl season, and for good reason. The Scarlet Knights largely stink, as a 6-6 team from the AAC probably doesn’t deserve to be on the same field as a team which challenged for the National Championship last season. The Scarlet Knights lost to Cincinnati by 35 and UCF by 24 in a span of five days, and they followed that up by losing to Connecticut(!!!) on the road. This could get ugly.
North Carolina (-3) vs. Cincinnati (56.5): The Tar Heels started the season at 1-5 before rallying to get into a bowl game. They were one of the few who challenged Duke this year in the ACC, and they have to be confident playing a de facto home game in Charlotte against a Cincinnati team which got fat off of playing against bad teams in the AAC.
Russell Athletic Bowl
Louisville (-3) vs. Miami (55.5): This is one of the better bowl games this early in the season. QB Teddy Bridgewater could be playing in his final game for the Cardinals, and Charlie Strong might be headed elsewhere as well. The Canes are hoping to get back into the thick of the nation picture after two years without going to a bowl game. These two will be conference rivals next year, and this is a big one for recruiting in Orlando.
Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl
Kansas State (-3.5) vs. Michigan (55.5): Michigan’s defense was a sieve at the end of the season, and its offense was nowhere to be found down the stretch until the game against Ohio State which nearly provided one of the biggest upsets of the season. The Wildcats started with a bad loss to North Dakota State, but they rallied around one of the best trios of skill players in the land in RB John Hubert, RB Daniel Sams, and WR Tyler Lockett.
Monday, December 30th
Armed Forces Bowl
Navy (-6) vs. Middle Tennessee State (55): You won’t find an 8-4 team which played a worse schedule this year than MTSU, which is really saying something about this club, knowing that it ranked 55th or worse in just about every category this year both offensively and defensively. QB Keenan Reynolds led the nation with 29 rushing touchdowns, and the Middies have the second ranked rushing attack in the nation.
Music City Bowl
Ole Miss Rebels (-3) vs. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (56.5): The Jackets are 1-7 in their last eight bowl games, and Head Coach Paul Johnson isn’t a winner in bowls often historically. Now, after years of getting romped by Georgia and all of the other good teams on their schedule, the Ramblin’ Wreck have to take on a 7-5 Ole Miss team who lost to four teams this year that were once ranked in the Top 5 in the land.
Oregon (-14) vs. Texas (67): Certainly one of the more intriguing pre-New Year’s Day bowl games. It’s the last stand for Mack Brown, as he will retire when this one is over with. The Longhorns are overmatched on the field, but they are playing against an Oregon team which probably isn’t all that motivated to play in this one after slipping out of the BCS picture with two losses (and a narrow win) in the last month of the season.
Arizona State (-14) vs. Texas Tech (69.5): Remember when Texas Tech was a Top 10 team in the country? And remember when QB Baker Mayfield was turning into one of the better passers that the spread run and shoot had to offer? Mayfield is transferring and the Red Raiders have lost five straight games. Arizona State was a shocking 10-win team this year, and it was unlucky not to do better in the Pac-12 Championship Game against Stanford.
Tuesday, December 31st
Advocare v100 Bowl
Arizona (-7.5) vs. Boston College (57): RB Andre Williams was the only man in the nation to come anywhere near 2,000 rushing yards, and he literally rammed his way into being a Heisman Trophy finalist with his end of season burst. The Wildcats don’t have a good history of playing in bowl games, especially after last year’s ugly scene when Rich Rodriguez had to send several players off to the locker room for fighting each other in the team’s bowl game.
UCLA (-7) vs. Virginia Tech (47): One hopes that this game isn’t nearly as bad as the Russell Athletic Bowl was last season when the Hokies and Rutgers combined to score 23 points… in an overtime game… UCLA did win nine games, but it almost feels like it underachieved because it never really stood much of a chance of beating either Oregon or Stanford, and it was toppled at home by Arizona State. The rest of the schedule was awfully suspect by Pac-12 standards.
Mississippi State (-7) vs. Rice (50.5): The Owls made a huge turnaround this season and shockingly won Conference USA. They’re going to prove to be formidable foes for an MSU team we don’t know a lot about. Going 6-6 in the SEC isn’t bad because of all of the seemingly guaranteed losses. However, the Bulldogs did beat Ole Miss in the Egg Bowl to get here, so they can’t be all that bad.
Texas A&M (-11.5) vs. Duke (73.5): David Cutcliffe has the Dookies believing they can play with the big boys, and this would be a game where they could make a statement. They never really stood a chance against FSU in the ACC Championship Game, but staying in this one would be a big statement to make. QB Johnny Manziel is sure to be playing in his final game with the Aggies in this one.
Wednesday, January 1st
Heart of Dallas Bowl
North Texas (-6.5) vs. UNLV (54.5): Admit it. You won’t give one lick about this game unless you bet on it or are an alum of one of these two schools. It’s a tough sell for sure for two teams which have historically been awful but have made a good turnaround of late. Maybe this will pique your interest: Both teams are 8-2 ATS in their last 10 coming into this one.
Georgia (-9) vs. Nebraska (60.5): Puzzling. The Bulldogs are going to be without QB Aaron Murray, who tore his ACL in the second to last game of the season. UGA did fight back against Georgia Tech to win the instate rivalry game, but we aren’t impressed otherwise with the Bulldogs. Nebraska dealt without QB Taylor Martinez for most of the season, and he is surely up in the air in this one as well. This is a rematch of last year’s Outback Bowl in which the Dawgs were favored by – you guessed it – nine points.
Capital One Bowl
South Carolina (-1) vs. Wisconsin (51): This is traditionally the best non-BCS bowl game of the year, and we have a tough time arguing that. The Badgers were legit this year, and had the refs gotten it right against Arizona State on the road, they would be 10-2 with their only losses being to Ohio State by a TD and Penn State. South Carolina had another South Carolina type of season where it won 10 games but just wasn’t good enough to win the SEC.
Stanford (-4.5) vs. Michigan State (42.5): This is the lowest total of the bowl season, and it deserves to be that way. These are two of the best defenses in the nation. Michigan State shocked the world by winning the Big Ten, and it has a shot to slay another giant here in the Rose Bowl. Stanford had some mind-boggling losses this year (USC and Utah), but it also had some awesome wins as well (Oregon and Arizona State twice).
Baylor (-15.5) vs. UCF (68): The Knights are enjoying their best season in school history, and they are a second half collapse against South Carolina away from being ranked likely #4 in the nation with at least a gripe to play for the BCS National Championship. Baylor is still the far superior of these two teams though, and the Bears can only wonder what would have been had they not fallen to Okie State.
Thursday, January 2nd
Alabama (-15) vs. Oklahoma (51.5): Here’s the big question. Are we going to see the unmotivated Alabama team which came to the Sugar Bowl several years ago and got its doors blown off by Utah? Or are we going to see the motivated Alabama team which came to the Capital One Bowl a few years ago and beat the snot out of Michigan State? The Tide have the best team in the country for our money still, and they should win this game with ease. Oklahoma earned its place here by going on the road and winning a game against Oklahoma State that many figured it had no chance of winning, so this might turn out to be a better game than you think.
Friday, January 3rd
Missouri (-1) vs. Oklahoma State (60.5): Missouri has to be saddened to miss out on the BCS this year, but the bottom line is that the team allowed over 500 rushing yards to Auburn in the SEC Championship Game, and it couldn’t hold onto a big lead against South Carolina. The Cowboys faced a lot of adversity at the beginning of the year by losing to West Virginia and getting some pretty damning NCAA rule-breaking stories told about them, but they rallied to be one of the best teams in the Big XII. They should have won the conference if not for choking away Bedlam.
Ohio State (-2.5) vs. Clemson (68): The Tigers wanted their shot against one of the big boys again, and they’ve got it. Perhaps Clemson just can’t beat South Carolina. This is the bugaboo that the Tigers haven’t been able to get past. Last year though, they beat LSU in the Chick-Fil-A Bowl in a great game, and this could be the game which proves QB Tajh Boyd to be an NFL-ready quarterback. The Buckeyes have to be bummed to have lost out on their chance to get to the National Championship Game, but Head Coach Urban Meyer’s history suggests that OSU will be ready for this one.
Saturday, January 4th
BBVA Compass Bowl
Vanderbilt (-3) vs. Houston (54): This is one of the under-the-radar games which could be worth watching. Vandy has made huge strides under James Franklin’s direction, though we have to think that he is going to be coaching somewhere else by the time this one kicks off. Houston went 8-4 this year, and it was one of the best ATS teams in America at 10-2 ATS.
Sunday, January 5th
Ball State (-9) vs. Arkansas State (63.5): This is the third straight year in which Arkansas State has gone to the GoDaddy.com Bowl. It scored its first bowl win last year against Kent State, and this is the third straight season it is going to have to go into its bowl without its head coach. The Cardinals quietly were one of the better teams in the MAC this year, but they couldn’t figure out how to get past Northern Illinois when it mattered most.
Monday, January 6th
BCS National Championship Game
Florida State (-8.5) vs. Auburn (67): It’s tough to say that these are the two best teams in the land. FSU’s schedule is much criticized, though we still believe that beating Clemson on the road by 37 is as good as any win anyone has in the country. Auburn has a pair of Top 10 wins in its last two games over Alabama and Missouri. This is where we will see if the SEC’s dominance can continue. The argument could be made that Auburn is the third, or maybe even the fourth or fifth best team in the SEC in terms of talent. The team won games that it had no business winning for sure. If the Tigers win this one and bring an eighth straight National Championship back to the SEC, there will be no complaints as to which conference is the most excellent in the nation during the BCS era. FSU has scored at least 37 points in every game this season, and it is led by the youngest man to ever win the Heisman Trophy, QB Jameis Winston. One final tidbit for the road: These were the only two teams in America with 11 covers on the season.