College Football Betting Picks: Our Staff’s 4 Favorite Bets for Saturday Bowl Games

College Football Betting Picks: Our Staff’s 4 Favorite Bets for Saturday Bowl Games article feature image

Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Tyler Bird

  • Need college football betting picks for Saturday's bowl games? Our staff compiled their favorite bets.
  • We're banking on UAB's offense to struggle vs. Appalachian State, Liberty to put up points through the air and more.

The first full day of college bowl season is here, giving us wall-to-wall action from 2 p.m. ET through midnight.

Six games grace the slate, and while they’re not all beautiful matchups on paper, bettors should see past the funky bowl names and below average teams to find betting value and interest.

Our staff has been hard at work breaking down every game and came up with their favorite play each for Saturday.

Kyle Miller: Central Michigan +3.5

  • Odds: San Diego State -3.5 vs. Central Michigan
  • Total: 40.5
  • Time: 2 p.m. ET
  • TV: ESPN

I was able to grab one of the only Central Michigan +7’s that were out there when lines were released for bowl games. With the line currently sitting at San Diego State -3.5, I’m feeling pretty good about that bet. My job in this space is to cap the football game with the numbers we have though, so let’s dig in.

I’ve been much lower than the market on San Diego State all season and I’ve resisted my urge to follow convention wisdom and boost them in my power ratings week after week. That’s led to me making this game Aztecs -2.5.

There’s only one unit in this game that can qualify as pathetic and that’s the Aztecs’ offense. Quarterback Ryan Agnew is set to suit up for this one but running back Juwan Washington is still questionable.

That’s a big concern for me as San Diego State runs the ball far more than it throws. At the end of the day it likely doesn’t matter; San Diego State hasn’t moved the ball all year and I don’t expect that to change against a solid Central Michigan defense.

The Aztecs do have the matchup advantage when Central Michigan has the ball, particularly in the category of explosive plays. Central has as very good offensive line but will face a nasty San Diego State unit that ranks in the top-two in power success rate, stuff rate, and line yards.

If I were forced to pick the game at the current number, I’d still take Central Michigan and the points because I don’t think San Diego State will score much at all. The total is a little bit too low for me to look at an under.

Pick: Central Michigan +3.5

Collin Wilson: Liberty +4.5

  • Odds: Ga. Southern -4.5 vs. Liberty
  • Total: 58.5
  • Time: 2:30 p.m. ET
  • TV: CBS Sports Network

For all the reasons mentioned in my initial writeup of the Cure Bowl, Liberty players, coaches and administration will treat this game as their Super Bowl.

Both teams have victories and losses over common opponents, as each team beat New Mexico State and Maine while taking a loss to UL Lafayette.

The handicap on the game comes in which each team wants to do with two different offensive styles. Liberty had a pace of play in the top 35, looking to utilize an offense that ranks top 45 in passing success rate and explosiveness. Georgia Southern has been running the triple option since the FCS Championship days in the Reagan administration with a pace of 129th in the country.

Georgia Southern will look to grind clock and take advantage of a weak Liberty front seven on the ground. The Eagles should have not had much rushing success rate in comparison to previous seasons, but Liberty is 115th in defensive line yards so the Flames don’t pose much of a threat there.

Liberty will have success getting the ball down the field in Stephen “Buckshot” Calvert’s final game under head coach Hugh Freeze. The Eagles are outside the top 75 in defensive passing success rate and explosiveness, which should get the Flames in scoring territory.

Liberty not only has a top 25 rank in finishing drives, the measurement of points per attempt past the opponent 40, but Georgia Southern is 127th in opponent red zone scoring percentage.

The Action Network projections make the side Georgia Southern -3.5 and a total of 50.5. While the battle for pace will be key in this game, any Liberty side down to a field goal is suggested at the Cure Bowl.

Pick: Liberty +4.5

Stuckey: App State-UAB Under

  • Odds: App State -16.5 vs. UAB
  • Total: 48
  • Time: 9 p.m. ET
  • TV: ESPN

This UAB offense is ugly no matter how you slice it. Spencer Brown had a disappointing year at running back in large part due to an atrocious offensive line.

The Blazers also lack playmakers on the outside and quarterback Tyler Johnston has dealt with injuries all season with an inept backup taking over when he can’t go.

Despite one of the easiest schedules in FBS, UAB only averaged 5.5 yards per play (88th in country) and averaged fewer than 24 points per game (100th). When they actually can move the ball, the Blazers do it very slowly (122nd in seconds per play) and then struggle to finish off drives with touchdowns.

Even if Johnston is fully healthy and can go, don’t expect this inefficient UAB offense to do much against a very solid App State defense that ranks in the top 25 in both passing and rushing success rate. The Mountaineers are a little vulnerable in regards to giving up a few explosive plays but that is not the UAB offense at all.

On the other side of the ball, the App State offense is a competent unit but it doesn’t work too fast. It will also be going up against a legit UAB defense, led by a very aggressive and productive defensive line. The Mountaineers should get theirs but UAB will make them work.

Bottom line, I don’t see how UAB will move the ball on a consistent basis and how they will finish drives when they do. And the UAB defense can compete with the App State offense to make sure this doesn’t get too out of hand.

Pick: Under 48

Steve Petrella: App State-UAB 1H Under

  • Odds: App State -16.5 vs. UAB
  • Total: 48
  • Time: 9 p.m. ET
  • TV: ESPN

I’m with Stuckey here on the under, both first half and full game, for a lot of the reasons he outlined.

UAB’s offense is a mess, but the defense lives in opposing backfields both on standard and passing downs and should slow up Appalachian State just enough to keep the Mountaineers from stringing together long touchdown drives.

The UAB defense is balanced, but ranks No. 1 nationally in rushing success rate, which will be especially helpful against a run-first App State attack.

I’ll play the first half under at 24 or better.

Pick: 1H Under 24

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