College Football Betting Picks: Our Staff’s 3 Favorite Bets for Wednesday (Jan. 1, 2020)

College Football Betting Picks: Our Staff’s 3 Favorite Bets for Wednesday (Jan. 1, 2020) article feature image

Wesley Hitt/Getty Images. Pictured: Jerry Jeudy

We’ve covered every game a little more in depth over here, but if you’re just looking for what we hope are winners on New Year’s Day, you’ve come to the right place.

Sometimes, to cut through the hangover, you just need some winners.

Here are our favorite bets for New Year’s Day.

College Football Betting Picks

Odds as of Monday at 5:20 p.m. ET and via PointsBet, where Action Network users can access an exclusive promotion to get a 200% deposit match (deposit $50, bet with $150). No strings attached. No rollover required.

Collin Wilson: Michigan +7.5

A handicapper can rely on stats and information to make a clear judgement on which side to make an investment. In the case of the Citrus Bowl, the biggest handicap comes in the motivation for the Alabama Crimson Tide.

Nick Saban will not coach a College Football Playoff semifinal for the first time in the history of the format. A loss to LSU and Auburn removed the Crimson Tide from a yearly goal of winning the national title. Since 2009, Saban has coached in three bowls without national champion impact as two of those were losses in the Sugar Bowl.

Michigan has motivation of its own, winning just one bowl game since the 2012 Sugar Bowl. Quarterback Shea Patterson and offensive coordinator Josh Gattis are supremely familiar with Alabama, as the quarterback played at Ole Miss and the coach was apart of the 2018 staff.

Defensive coordinator Don Brown will also look to rebound from another loss in the Ohio State series. LaVert Hill ranks in the top 50 in defensive backs in the category of passes defensed, and will have his hands full with a stable of Crimson Tide receivers set to play the game.

Alabama will have defensive players missing in the secondary due to sitting out for the NFL Draft, a boost for Wolverine wide receivers Nico Collins and Ronnie Bell. On the offensive side of the ball, the sample size of Mac Jones career may not be large enough to grasp the value in the point spread from Tua Tagovailoa.

Jones under pressure against Auburn turned into two costly turnovers that made the difference in the game. Michigan is 12th in sack rate as Jones should be under pressure once again.

Our Action Network projection made this Alabama -5 on a neutral. I will happily back a motivated Jim Harbaugh, an Alabama experienced Josh Gattis and the remainder of the roster that is looking to close out the season beating an SEC blue blood.

Steve Petrella: Michigan-Alabama Over 58.5

The Michigan offense found its stride late in the season and finally began playing with the pace that we expected earlier in the season. The defense was good too, until it was tested by some of the best athletes in the country and blown out by Ohio State.

Enter Alabama.

The Tide still posted wildly efficient numbers with Mac Jones at quarterback:

  • Arkansas: 48 points. 6.75 yards per play
  • Miss. State: 38 points. 8.5 ypp
  • WCU: 66 points, 9.49 ypp
  • Auburn: 45 points, 6.69 ypp

This is arguably the best group of skill position players in the country still and I don’t think Michigan will be able to keep up on defense.

On the other side, the Wolverines will still try to push the pace when possible and Alabama has been prone to big plays.

Our projected total is closer to 61.

Stuckey: Baylor +4.5, Moneyline

I covered it in our game preview and in my favorite moneyline underdogs for bowl season.

I have serious motivational questions about a Georgia team that had dreams of making it to the College Football Playoff while avenging its collapse in last year’s SEC Championship Game.

Georgia will be without three of its top offensive lineman, its two best receivers, and could also be down its starting running back.

To me, all of this news adds up to Georgia as a whole not really caring about this game.

This is also a spot where Baylor coach Matt Rhule thrives against the spread. Just take a look at these two nuggets:

  • 29-15-1 ATS on the road or neutral site
  • 33-15 ATS as an underdog

In fact, Rhule is the second-most profitable coach as an underdog since 2005 among 527 coaches in our Bet Labs database. He will have his troops ready for this one.

The Georgia defense will still make life difficult for Baylor, but I trust Charlie Brewer to make enough plays to give Baylor a really good shot to pull this one out in what should be a low-scoring affair.

Stuckey’s Pick: I would play Baylor at anything 4 or above. I’ll also be sprinkling some on the moneyline.

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