B/R College Football 2022 Betting Locks with Adam Kramer: Semifinals and NY6

Adam KramerDecember 29, 2022

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - DECEMBER 03: Head coach Jim Harbaugh of the Michigan Wolverines holds the Big Ten trophy following the Big Ten Championship against the Purdue Boilermakers at Lucas Oil Stadium on December 3, 2022 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
Michael Hickey/Getty Images

The end is near. Bowl games are winding down, and the college football schedule will soon be a blank slate.

That's a tough pill to swallow. There's no questioning that. But we have an enormous slate of games to watch (and wager on) before we get there, and that's precisely what we will do.

Locks of the Week isn't done just yet. After we're done here, picking games from December 30th and onward, we will also zero in on the national championship game once the matchup is determined.

Translation: We will be back.

In the meantime, however, we have money to make. Here is the latest batch of picks, with a focus on the College Football Playoff semifinals and New Year's Six games.

Odds courtesy of DraftKings and accurate as of Wednesday.

Orange Bowl: Clemson (-5) vs. Tennessee

CHARLOTTE, NC - DECEMBER 03: Clemson Tigers quarterback Cade Klubnik (2) during the ACC college football championship game between the North Carolina Tar Heels and the Clemson Tigers on December 3, 2022, at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C. (Photo by John Byrum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
John Byrum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

We begin with the quarterbacks, because we have to begin with the quarterbacks.

The players that began as the starters for these playoff hopefuls are no longer with their respective teams. Former Clemson QB DJ Uiagalelei is transferring to Oregon State, while Tennessee QB Hendon Hooker declared for the NFL draft after suffering a torn ACL in mid-November.

Instead, it will be Cade Klubnik vs. Joe Milton, and Klubnik could have an enormous advantage. While Milton has a stronger arm than perhaps any player in the sport, Klubnik, a true freshman, dazzled in the ACC Championship Game.

The fact that Tennessee wideouts Cedric Tillman and Jalin Hyatt decided to opt out of the bowl to focus on the draft is also a very big deal. That could hinder the Vols' offense.

And on defense, let's not forget that Tennessee gave up 63 points to South Carolina in mid-November. Clemson won't score that many, but the Tigers will score enough.

Sugar Bowl: Kansas State (+6.5) vs. Alabama

ARLINGTON, TX - DECEMBER 3: Will Howard #18 of the Kansas State Wildcats celebrates with teammates after throwing a touchdown pass against the TCU Horned Frogs in the first half of the Big 12 Football Championship at AT&T Stadium on December 3, 2022 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)
Ron Jenkins/Getty Images

Betting against Bryce Young is never fun.

The Alabama quarterback is one of the best players in college football. Soon, he will be one of the top picks in the NFL draft. The same can be said about Will Anderson Jr., the team's star linebacker.

Both players will play against Kansas State. Given the flood of opt-outs, this feels like a significant outlier. The fact that Nick Saban will have these two players for one more game is a big deal. I refuse to shape it any differently.

Will they play the whole game? We shall see. Regardless, I still like Kansas State to cover the spread in this one.

For starters, K-State covered the spread in nine of 13 games this year. This run culminated with an outright win over TCU in the Big 12 Championship Game, and I believe there is still a little magic remaining.

While it's impossible to handicap motivation, it will be curious to see how Alabama handles a non-playoff postseason. It's not normal, and the program doesn't want it to become normal.

The Wildcats will be ready, and I believe they'll find a way to keep this outcome tight.

Peach Bowl: Georgia vs. Ohio State (Over 62.5)

COLUMBUS, OH - NOVEMBER 26: Ohio State Buckeyes wide receiver Emeka Egbuka (2) and quarterback C.J. Stroud (7) celebrate after connecting on a 4-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter of a college football game against the Michigan Wolverines on November 26, 2022 at Ohio Stadium in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

With Ohio State futures still in play, I'm staying away from a side in the Peach Bowl. (Although I do believe the Buckeyes are live.) Instead, let's side with the over.

Ohio State (No. 2 scoring offense) and Georgia (No. 11) are both capable of scoring points in droves. If you watched both of these teams play this year, this should not be news.

Both teams can also give up points and yardage. While the Buckeyes and Bulldogs both finished the year with top-15 defenses, there were plenty of moments along the way that suggest touchdowns could flow here.

For Ohio State, just look at the game against Michigan. The Buckeyes allowed 45 points at home to the Wolverines, one week after allowing Maryland to score 30 points.

Georgia, which was much better on that side of the ball, still isn't perfect. The Bulldogs allowed 30 points and 502 passing yards to LSU in the SEC Championship Game.

This game should be both exciting and eventful, and I expect both offenses to do their part. It wouldn't shock me to see this game go well over its 62.5-point total.

Fiesta Bowl: Michigan (-8) vs. TCU

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - DECEMBER 03: Michigan Wolverines quarterback J.J. McCarthy (9) rolls out to throw a pass while chased by Purdue Boilermakers defensive end Khordae Sydney (96) on December 3, 2022, during the Big 10 Football Championship at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Brian Spurlock/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Brian Spurlock/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

TCU is a tremendous team and so much more than a wonderful story.

The Horned Frogs' success in 2022 was no fluke. This is a deserving playoff team powered by a gifted quarterback. And given their size, TCU's wide receivers are a matchup nightmare.

With that said, Michigan is still going to cover this spread. As good as quarterback Max Duggan and wideout Quentin Johnston are, I don't expect TCU to make up the difference in size and speed across the other positions.

This is not a knock on TCU in any shape or form. It's simply a reality.

Between 2019 and 2022, Michigan delivered recruiting classes ranked eighth, 10th, 13th and ninth, respectively, according to 247Sports. During that same period, TCU's classes ranked 32nd, 23rd, 54th and 45th, respectively.

That is not to say recruiting always decides the outcomes of football games. Instead, it's merely pointing out the obvious: Michigan has been landing and developing better players over the past four years by a significant margin.

In a game like this, I believe it will show.

Rose Bowl: Penn State (+2) vs. Utah

STATE COLLEGE, PA - NOVEMBER 26: Head coach James Franklin of the Penn State Nittany Lions reacts to a play against the Michigan State Spartans during the first half at Beaver Stadium on November 26, 2022 in State College, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)
Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

We spent very little time talking about Penn State this year.

The Nittany Lions went 0-2 against Ohio State and Michigan. They went 10-0 against every other opponent. Their season was effectively defined by two games.

But when it came to covering spreads, few teams were better than Penn State, especially in the second half of the season. The Nittany Lions did not lose a game against the spread after Week 7. That includes their home loss to Ohio State, which Penn State led for a considerable amount of time.

For Utah, a supremely fun and talented group, opt-outs are certainly worth mentioning. Running back Tavion Thomas and tight end Dalton Kincaid won't play, which is significant. Kincaid, in particular, is a massive loss.

Utah certainly made things look easy at times against USC in the Pac-12 Championship Game. But Penn State, which finished with the nation's No. 9 scoring defense, is likely to push back a lot more than the Trojans did.

The visuals will be magnificent, and the game could be as well. The Nittany Lions win a tight one.

Other Games on the Card

BERKELEY, CALIFORNIA - NOVEMBER 25: Head coach Chip Kelly of the UCLA Bruins looks on from the sidelines against the California Golden Bears during the second quarter of an NCAA football game at California Memorial Stadium on November 25, 2022 in Berkeley, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Citrus Bowl: LSU vs. Purdue (Over 56)

Both teams are in a bit of disarray when it comes to coaching changes and roster movement. That's not a bad thing. In this instance, it will lead to more points.

Sun Bowl: UCLA (-6) vs. Pittsburgh

This one isn't rocket science. The departure of quarterback Kedon Slovis will really hurt what Pittsburgh does offensively. Expect UCLA to take advantage in a big way.

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