BCS Bowl odds and betting are going to fluctuate between now and the Jan. 2013 showdowns. After the New Year, though, all bets are off and the teams will go out and try to win the biggest games of the college football season.
But who should you put your money on to win these yearly marquee matchups?
Here’s a guide to help you when making your early BCS bets this holiday season.
BCS National Championship Game: Alabama vs. Notre Dame
Spread: Alabama (-10.5)
Let’s start with the mother of them all, the national title game. This game pits the first and sixth-ranked scoring defenses in college football. Both teams' offensives live and die by their ability to run the football.
Unfortunately, both have been lights out in stopping the run this season. The Irish are the fourth-best rush defense in the FBS and the Crimson Tide are the absolute best, allowing just 79 yards per game on the ground.
Something has to give in Miami. Either way, the game is going to be a low-scoring and close matchup that will come down to who makes the least amount of mistakes defensively.
Alabama is just 6-7 in covering the spread this season while the Irish are 7-5.
Go with the Irish to keep this closer than the odds are pointing out given their ability to play tough defense and eat clock on offense. These teams will play tough defense and should stay under 41 points.
Tostitos Fiesta Bowl: Oregon vs. Kansas State
Spread: Oregon (-9.5)
The Oregon Ducks are 7-5 against the spread this season while Kansas State is an impressive 9-2-1. But can the Wildcats tame the high-flying Ducks’ spread offense?
That offense has accounted for over 50 points per game this season. Had Baylor not decimated the Kansas State front, they might have more faith from odds makers coming into this one.
Collin Klein has proven to be an excellent commander of his team’s offense, but has struggled throwing the ball accurately down the field. If he continues those struggles in his final college game, the Wildcats will get blown out by the Ducks.
Go with the Ducks to cover the spread unless it reaches higher than 14 points.
As for the over/under, this game is going to be a slugfest. Don’t expect much defense, if any, to be played under the big lights of this BCS showdown. In what could be Chip Kelly’s last hurrah as a college football coach, his team will explode. Kansas State will score repeatedly as well, pushing this game’s final score well over 75 points.
Discover Orange Bowl: Florida State vs. Northern Illinois
Spread: Florida State (-13)
The Seminoles have not done a good job covering the spread this season. They are just 4-9 overall against the odds. The surprise MAC Huskies of Northern Illinois, though, is 9-3-1 against the spread overall this season.
One thing—and one thing only—is certain in this game: Both teams play completely opposite styles of football. The Huskies will rely primarily on their mobile quarterback while the Seminoles will count on a strong defensive front and its running game to move the ball and capitalize Northern Illinois’s mistakes.
The Noles aren’t particularly known for scoring a lot of points in big games, but do have the ability as showcased this season. Northern Illinois should be able to keep it close and possibly even come away with a surprise victory. Go with the Huskies to stay closer than two touchdowns and make this game a lot more interesting than people think.
These two teams scoring over 58 points isn’t just likelihood, you can take that to the bank.
Rose Bowl Game: Stanford vs. Wisconsin
Spread: Stanford (-7)
Both the Stanford Cardinal and the Wisconsin Badgers play a very similar style of hard-nosed football. Each team pounds the ball on offense and controls the line of scrimmage on defense. It’s a style that has gotten both of them in trouble this season, but it has also gotten each of them to this point.
Stanford stifled an explosive Oregon Ducks offense and punched its own ticket to the Rose Bowl. The Badgers opportunistically seized the Big Ten’s automatic bid to the game after shocking the Nebraska Cornhuskers in the Big Ten Championship Game. Undefeated Ohio State is ineligible to compete in the postseason due to an NCAA-enforced bowl ban.
The 7-5 Badgers might not look like much on the surface, but it’s still the same tough team that Russell Wilson led to the Rose Bowl last season.
Wisconsin is 6-7 against the spread while the Cardinal is 8-5 this season.
This game should be a conservatively called, defensive battle. Don’t expect a highlight reel full of exciting plays, but rather a low-scoring affair that’s decided by a field goal. Go with the Badgers to cover and the game to stay below the over/under.
AllState Sugar Bowl: Florida vs. Louisville
Spread: Florida (-13.5)
The Florida Gators will take on the Big East champion Cardinals in what should be a display of dominance by the SEC’s second-best finishing team. Florida lost its BCS title hopes when it dropped its lone loss of the season to Georgia several weeks ago.
Louisville, on the other hand, snuck into this game after losing to both Syracuse and Connecticut. It edged Rutgers 20-17 in order to punch its ticket to a BCS Bowl game.
Florida is 7-5 against the spread this season while the Cardinals fall slightly behind at 5-7.
The Gators defense will create plenty of scoring opportunities for their offense. That unit has struggled at times, but the Cardinals are certainly not known for their defense.
Go with the Gators to cover a game in which they will dominate on both sides of the ball. This one should go over the over/under as well due to the amount of points Florida will put up.
*All odds are according to SportBet and are current as of Dec. 7 at 6 p.m. ET