College Football Bowl Picks Against the Spread (ATS): Belk, Sun, Citrus, Rose, and Sugar

Here are picks for the final wave of bowl games as college football helps ring in the new year

As has become custom, college football will help welcome in the new year (and decade, in this case) with a healthy dose of bowl games over the final days of December and on into January. The final wave begins with a quintet of games on Dec. 31, cranks it up a notch on New Year's Day with the Rose Bowl and Sugar Bowl taking place as well as a marquee matchup between Alabama and Michigan in the Citrus Bowl, and then spreads out the remainder of the lineup over the next several days.

 

There are 14 games remaining in the bowl lineup with all 10 FBS conferences represented this collection of matchups. The conclusion of the bowl season on Jan. 6 sets the stage for the College Football Playoff National Championship between No. 1 LSU and No. 3 Clemson the following Monday. Here are picks against the spread for each bowl game from Dec. 31-Jan. 6.

 

College Football Bowl Picks Against the Spread (ATS): Games from Dec. 31-Jan. 6

 

Belk Bowl: Kentucky (+3) over Virginia Tech

Kentucky’s Lynn Bowden recently announced that he is leaving early for the NFL. Good for him. He also announced that he will play for the Wildcats in the Belk Bowl. Good for us. Kentucky 34, Virginia Tech 24

 

Sun Bowl: Arizona State (-4) over Florida State

Arizona State enters bowl season riding high after a huge win over Oregon and a second-straight victory over rival Arizona. Florida State is excited about the future of its program with new coach Mike Norvell taking control. It’s debatable how excited the Seminoles — minus star running back Cam Akers — are to play in this game. Arizona State 27, Florida State 17

 

Liberty Bowl: Kansas State (+2.5) over Navy

Chris Klieman checked all the boxes in Year 1 in Manhattan: He won eight games, posted a big upset (over Oklahoma) and dominated in-state rival Kansas (38–10). It looked like a good hire at the time. It looks even better now. Kansas State 31, Navy 30

 

Arizona Bowl: Wyoming (-7) over Georgia State

Georgia State made national headlines with its stunning win at Tennessee at Week 1. The Panthers used that win to jumpstart a seven-win season that has them in a bowl game for the third time in five years. Wyoming also opened the season with a win over an SEC East team, outlasting Missouri 37–31 in Laramie. Wyoming 30, Georgia State 17

 

Alamo Bowl: Texas (+7.5) over Utah

This game is all about motivation. How will the Utes bounce back after the crushing loss in the Pac-12 title game that likely kept them out of the College Football Playoff? Will Texas put up a fight and avoid closing the season with a third loss in its last four games? Utah 37, Texas 27

 

Citrus Bowl: Alabama (-7) over Michigan

If you purchased an Athlon Sports preseason magazine — which surely you did — you would have noticed that we picked both of these teams to make the College Football Playoff. We were wrong. Alabama 34, Michigan 24

 

Outback Bowl: Auburn (-7.5) over Minnesota

This is the first-ever meeting between these two schools. Auburn is coming off a win over its archrival Alabama. Minnesota, in its last time out, lost at home to Wisconsin in a game that would have put the Golden Gophers in the Big Ten title game. Advantage Auburn. Auburn 27, Minnesota 17

 

Rose Bowl: Oregon (+2.5) over Wisconsin

It’s a rematch of the Rose Bowl at the end of the 2011 season, when the Ducks, ranked No. 6, beat the ninth-ranked Badgers 45–38. Don’t expect as many points this time around — but you can expect another Oregon win. Oregon 24, Wisconsin 21

 

Sugar Bowl: Baylor (+7.5) over Georgia

Baylor is 11–0 against teams not named Oklahoma in 2019. It has been a remarkable turnaround for Matt Rhule in his short time in Waco. Georgia must regroup after its poor showing in the SEC Championship Game. The Bulldogs, who had not given up more than 20 points in any game, were torched for 37 by the mighty LSU Tigers. Georgia 27, Baylor 24

 

Birmingham Bowl: Cincinnati (-7) over Boston College

Cincinnati lost three times in 2019, once to No. 2 Ohio State and twice to Memphis, the Group of 5’s representative in the Cotton Bowl. This is a good team that came a few plays away from winning the AAC title. Cincinnati 31, Boston College 21

 

Gator Bowl: Tennessee (-1.5) over Indiana

These two teams combined to win 15 games — only one of which came against a Power 5 team with a winning record (Tennessee’s win at Kentucky). Indiana went 5–4 in the Big Ten, with wins over Rutgers, Maryland, Nebraska, Northwestern and Purdue. Give the Hoosiers credit for a breakthrough season, but the resume isn’t exactly loaded with quality wins. Tennessee 34, Indiana 26

 

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl: Nevada (+7.5) over Ohio

Ohio scored a total of 118 points on the road in its last two games to secure bowl eligibility. Those wins were against Bowling Green and Akron, but that’s still a lot of points. Nevada did a lot of things well this season, but the Wolf Pack closed the campaign with a fight-marred loss at home to rival UNLV. Ohio 38, Nevada 33

 

Armed Forces Bowl: Southern Miss (+7) over Tulane

These two relative neighbors — Hattiesburg is 110 miles from New Orleans — have not played since 2010, four years before when Tulane bolted Conference USA for the AAC. Southern Miss won the final six and nine of the last 10 in the series. Tulane, however, wasn’t very good most of those seasons. Tulane 27, Southern Miss 24

 

LendingTree Bowl: Louisiana (-14) over Miami (Ohio)

Barring any crazy late developments, Louisiana will hold on to coach Billy Napier for at least one more season. That’s a good thing; Napier has guided the Ragin’ Cajuns to a 17–10 record in two seasons, including a 10–3 mark in 2019. Miami captured the MAC title for the first time since 2003. Louisiana 38, Miami 21

 

Bowls from Dec. 26-30: 10-5

Season: 100-86-2*

 

*Through games as of Jan. 4

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