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College Football Odds, Picks: Our 5 Best Bets for Wednesday’s Bowls, Featuring North Carolina vs. Oregon, Kansas vs Arkansas

College Football Odds, Picks: Our 5 Best Bets for Wednesday’s Bowls, Featuring North Carolina vs. Oregon, Kansas vs Arkansas article feature image
Credit:

Christian Petersen/Getty Images. Pictured: An Oregon Ducks football player.

  • Wednesday's college football slate is a big one with four bowl games scheduled.
  • Our college football staff came through with five best bets for Wednesday, including picks for North Carolina vs Oregon, Kansas vs Arkansas and Duke vs. UCF.
  • Check out all five college football best bets for Wednesday's bowl games below.

It’s a beautiful week in the world of college football.

After four bowl games graced our television screens and bet slips on Tuesday, we have 16 more between now and Saturday. That includes four games Wednesday, and three of those matchups have a spread of four points or less.

With plenty of tight matchups expected, our staff came through with five bets for Wednesday’s college football bowl games. Of those five bets, we have two experts aligned on an underdog in the Liberty Bowl and two final Bo Nix bets for 2022.

Read on for all five of our best bets for Wednesday, and be sure to check back tomorrow for even more college football betting coverage.


Wednesday College Football Bowl Best Bets

The team logos in the table below represent each of the bowl games that our college football staff is targeting from Wednesday’s slate of games. Click the team logos for one of the matchups below to navigate to a specific bet discussed in this article.

Game
Time
Pick
2 p.m. ET
Duke -3
5:30 p.m. ET
Kansas +3
5:30 p.m. ET
Kansas +3
8 p.m. ET
Over 74.5
8 p.m. ET
Bo Nix Player Prop
Specific bet recommendations come from the sportsbook offering preferred odds as of writing. Always shop for the best price using our NCAAF Odds page, which automatically surfaces the best lines for every game.

Duke vs. UCF

Wednesday, Dec. 28
2 p.m. ET
ESPN
Duke -3

By Mike Ianniello

The Duke Blue Devils turned a 3-9 record into an 8-4 bowl season in the first year under head coach Mike Elko.

Quarterback Riley Leonard had an awesome season for the Blue Devils, tossing 20 touchdowns and rushed for 11 more, the third-most among quarterbacks.

Leonard led the team with over 600 yards rushing but was joined in the backfield by a trio of running backs who all averaged over 45 yards per game. Overall, Duke ranks in the top 35 in Rushing Success Rate and explosiveness and has averaged five yards per carry.

UCF is also a run-first team, and that is clearly its strength. A large part of that production came from quarterback John Rhys Plumlee, who was hobbled down the stretch with a nagging hamstring issue.

Who knows where his health is at entering this game? If he’s not 100% healthy, Mikey Keene — who served as the backup — is already in the transfer portal, as is leading receiver Ryan O’Keefe and starting linebacker Jeremiah Jean-Baptiste.

Even if Plumlee is fully healthy, the strength of Duke’s defense was preventing big plays on the ground. It’s sixth in the country at defending rushing explosiveness. The Blue Devils have held opponents to less than 120 yards in five straight games.

Duke should be highly motivated in this one with a young corps and a first year head coach that reached the programs first bowl game since 2018.

The Blue Devils appear to be full strength for the game, while the Knights have multiple key opt outs after losing the AAC Championship. Gus Malzahn is just 3-5 in bowl games in his career, and his team is much more likely to roll over in this one, especially if Plumlee isn’t at full strength.

Back the Blue Devils to keep their momentum rolling and pull away in this one.




Kansas vs. Arkansas

Wednesday, Dec. 28
5:30 p.m. ET
ESPN
Kansas +3

By Stuckey

Kansas was a team I had circled before the bowl matchups were even set as a motivation monster since the Jayhawks will appear in their first bowl since 2008.

I’m sure they will have plenty of motivation, especially against an SEC team in a pretty high-profile bowl game.

Meanwhile, I’m not sure I can say the same for Arkansas. The Razorback opt-outs signal a lack of enthusiasm for this matchup, as the following starters opted out:
LB Drew Sanders, LB Bumper Pool, WR Jadon Haselwood, C Ricky Stromberg.

They also lost a few other key contributors to the portal, including tight end Trey Knox, defensive back Myles Slusher, wide receiver Ketron Jackson and defensive tackle Isaiah Nichols.

In a matchup where both offenses will have major advantages against each respective porous defense, those personnel losses loom large for Sam Pittman’s bunch on both sides of the ball.

The defensive absences should sting, in particular, since Arkansas will have to rely on a number of completely inexperienced players to defend a very complex Kansas offense that absolutely cooked against almost every defense it faced this season.

And with so much time to prepare, I expect plenty of wrinkles and confusing pre-snap looks from an offensive staff that I hold in very high regard.

Arkansas will score its fair share of points, but motivation and personnel losses will be the difference for Kansas, which I think pulls off this small upset.

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Kansas +3

By Mike McNamara

Lance Leipold and Company will have their full attention on bringing a bowl victory back to Lawrence for the first time in well over a decade.

Meanwhile, Arkansas has lost a litany of players to the transfer portal and opt-outs, and you have to wonder how badly the Hogs will want to be in Memphis.

Kansas’ offense will be the best unit on the field in this matchup and should be able to make up for the struggles the Jayhawks have on the other side of the ball.

With over three weeks to prepare for this matchup, expect the KU staff to have a great plan for an Arkansas defense that will be without several key pieces. Jalon Daniels should be able to use both his arm and his legs to create some big plays down the field, and Jason Bean is more than capable in relief if he’s needed.

Arkansas will score its fair share of points, but I have got more confidence in the Jayhawks being able to consistently put the ball in the end zone.

I expect KU to win this game outright, but I’ll take the two or three points in a game that could come down to the wire and produce a dramatic ending.



North Carolina vs. Oregon

Wednesday, Dec. 28
8 p.m. ET
FOX
Over 74.5

By Cooper Van Tatenhove

North Carolina and Oregon face off in what will be an offensive showcase.

Both offenses have been lethal all season behind their Heisman Trophy-contending quarterbacks.

Oregon is led by Bo Nix, who will be looking to start his 2023 Heisman campaign early on Wednesday night. Nix put himself in the Heisman conversation this season by throwing for 3,389 yards and 27 touchdowns.

Coming into Wednesday, there was some concern about a lagging ankle injury that Nix suffered against Washington in mid-November that greatly affected his mobility down the stretch. Oregon head coach Dan Lanning has been quoted this week as saying, “I expect him to play some of his best football.”

Nix is a full go, and so is the Oregon offense that ranked third nationally in net points per drive, first in Overall Success Rate and fifth in EPA margin.

Nix and the Oregon offense will continue this success against a North Carolina defense that will be without four contributors on the defensive end who accounted for 145 total tackles this season.

This isn’t a good sign for a North Carolina defense that was abysmal all season and ranked 117th in Overall Success Rate and 108th in net points per drive.

On the other side, North Carolina quarterback Drake Maye will have a favorable matchup as well. Maye threw for 4,115 yards and 35 touchdowns, resulting in an offense that ranked 12th nationally in Success Rate.

Maye will be looking to make a statement to NFL teams against an Oregon defense that ranked 123rd in Defensive Success Rate this season. The Ducks were especially poor against the pass, giving up a 46.4% Success Rate.

The Ducks defense will also be without two key contributors in cornerback Christian Gonzalez and linebacker Justin Flowe who both entered the transfer portal.

Meanwhile, the Tar Heels will be without Tony Grimes, Cam’Ron Kelly and Storm Duck in the secondary.

This is a matchup of two elite quarterbacks looking to make a statement against defenses that have been suspect all season.

Even though this total is one of the highest of the season, I still don’t see either offense having any trouble reaching 40 points Wednesday night.



North Carolina vs. Oregon

Wednesday, Dec. 28
8 p.m. ET
FOX
Bo Nix Over 24.5 Rushing Yards

By Thomas Schlarp

It’d be a borderline tragedy to not place one more Bo Nix bet before the year comes to an end, and why not do so in what could be one of the highest-scoring bowl games of the season?

The biggest question mark with this relates to Nix’s health. He injured his leg late in Oregon’s game against Washington and was never the same as a rushing threat.

In the 10 games up to and including the Ducks’ loss to the Huskies, Nix averaged 51.3 yards rushing. In the two after, he had a total of -8 yards.

When Wednesday’s Holiday Bowl rolls around, Nix will have had more than a month off to heal his ankle, and Oregon head coach Dan Lanning said on Tuesday that, “[Nix] feels a lot better than he did at the end of the season. I expect him to play some of his best football.”

The Tar Heels were awful in pretty much every defensive metric this season, but they were the worst against the pass (116th in Pass Success) and generating Havoc (128th).

North Carolina will be without three of its top defensive backs against the Ducks. So, not only will Nix not face much pressure, but the Tar Heels could opt to drop even more players back in coverage to help aid the inexperienced secondary. That leaves Nix with a lot of open room around the line of scrimmage to tuck it and run.

And with former offensive coordinator Kenny Dillingham off to coach at Arizona State, offensive play-calling duties have officially been transferred to tight ends coach Drew Mehringer and wide receivers coach Junior Adams.

Nix will likely have more liberty to call plays in the huddle, and who wouldn’t love to call their own number more than the fourth-year starter? The Ducks are going to flirt with 50 points, and Nix is going to be a big part of that both through the air and on the ground.

Pick: Bo Nix Over 24.5 Rushing Yards (Play to 25.5)

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