College Bowl Picks 2018-19: Latest Odds and Predictions Against the Spread

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistDecember 6, 2018

Arizona State running back Eno Benjamin (3) in the second half during an NCAA college football game against Arizona, Saturday, Nov. 24, 2018, in Tucson, Ariz. Arizona State defeated Arizona 41-40 to claim the Territorial Cup. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
Rick Scuteri/Associated Press

Betting your way through bowl season is one of the most difficult tasks of the sporting calendar given the variables surrounding each of the 39 college football games. 

The FBS bowl schedule begins December 15 with a five-game spread that is one of the largest of bowl season. 

Beginning with the December 15 slate, some of the contests will be affected by the growing amount of star players skipping bowl games to focus on the NFL. 

There are also conferences, like the Pac-12, looking to make a statement after a rough regular season, but as there is every bowl season, a few programs will experience unexpected letdowns or come out of nowhere to surprise us to throw your betting momentum off. 


2018-19 Bowl Schedule and Odds

All Times ET. Picks against the spread in bold.

Saturday, December 15

Cure Bowl: Tulane (-3) vs. Louisiana (1:30 p.m., CBS Sports Network) 

New Mexico Bowl: North Texas vs. Utah State (-9) (2 p.m., ESPN) 

Las Vegas Bowl: No. 21 Fresno State (-4.5) vs. Arizona State (3:30 p.m., ABC) 

Camellia Bowl: Georgia Southern (-1) vs. Eastern Michigan (5:30 p.m., ESPN) 

New Orleans Bowl: Middle Tennessee vs. Appalachian State (-7) (9 p.m., ESPN) 


Tuesday, December 18

Boca Raton Bowl: UAB (-2.5) vs. Northern Illinois (7 p.m., ESPN) 


Wednesday, December 19

Frisco Bowl: San Diego State vs. Ohio (-3) (8 p.m., ESPN) 


Thursday, December 20

Gasparilla Bowl: Marshall (-2.5) vs. South Florida (8 p.m., ESPN) 


Friday, December 21

Bahamas Bowl: Florida International vs. Toledo (-6) (12:30 p.m., ESPN) 

Idaho Potato Bowl: Western Michigan vs. BYU (-12.5) (4 p.m., ESPN) 


Saturday, December 22

Birmingham Bowl: Memphis (-5) vs. Wake Forest (noon, ESPN) 

Armed Forces Bowl: Houston vs. Army (-3)(3:30 p.m., ESPN) 

Dollar General Bowl: Buffalo (-2.5) vs. Troy (7 p.m., ESPN) 

Hawaii Bowl: Hawaii (-1.5) vs. Louisiana Tech (10:30 p.m., ESPN) 


Wednesday, December 26

First Responder Bowl: Boston College vs. No. 25 Boise State (-3) (1:30 p.m., ESPN) 

Quick Lane Bowl: Minnesota vs. Georgia Tech (-4) (5:15 p.m., ESPN) 

Cheez-It Bowl: California vs. TCU (Even) (9 p.m., ESPN) 


Thursday, December 27

Independence Bowl: Duke vs. Temple (-3) (1:30 p.m., ESPN) 

Pinstripe Bowl: Miami (-4) vs. Wisconsin (5:15 p.m., ESPN) 

Texas Bowl: Baylor vs. Vanderbilt (-3.5) (9 p.m., ESPN) 


Friday, December 28

Music City Bowl: Purdue vs. Auburn (-4) (1:30 p.m., ESPN) 

Camping World Bowl: No. 16 West Virginia (-7) vs. No. 20 Syracuse (5:15 p.m., ESPN) 

Alamo Bowl: No. 24 Iowa State vs. No. 13 Washington State (-3.5) (9 p.m., ESPN) 


Saturday, December 29

Peach Bowl: No. 10 Florida vs. No. 7 Michigan (-7.5) (noon, ESPN) 

Belk Bowl: South Carolina (-4) vs. Virginia (noon, ABC) 

Arizona Bowl: Arkansas State (-1) vs. Nevada (1:15 p.m., CBS Sports Network) 

Cotton Bowl (Playoff Semifinal): No. 3 Notre Dame vs. No. 2 Clemson (-11.5) (4 p.m., ESPN) 

Orange Bowl (Playoff Semifinal): No. 4 Oklahoma vs. No. 1 Alabama (-14) (8 p.m., ESPN) 


Monday, December 31

Military Bowl: Cincinnati (-5.5) vs. Virginia Tech (noon, ESPN) 

Sun Bowl: Stanford (-6.5) vs. Pittsburgh (2 p.m., CBS) 

Redbox Bowl: Michigan State vs. Oregon (-2.5) (3 p.m., Fox) 

Liberty Bowl: No. 23 Missouri (-7.5) vs. Oklahoma State (3:45 p.m., ESPN) 

Holiday Bowl: No. 22 Northwestern vs. No. 17 Utah (-6.5) (7 p.m., FS1) 

Gator Bowl: NC State vs. No. 19 Texas A&M (-4.5) (7:30 p.m., ESPN) 


Tuesday, January 1

Outback Bowl: No. 18 Mississippi State (-6) vs. Iowa (noon, ESPN2) 

Fiesta Bowl: No. 11 LSU (-7.5) vs. No. 8 UCF (1 p.m., ESPN) 

Citrus Bowl: No. 14 Kentucky vs. No. 12 Penn State (-6) (1 p.m., ABC) 

Rose Bowl: No. 9 Washington vs. No. 6 Ohio State (-6.5) (5 p.m., ESPN) 

Sugar Bowl: No. 15 Texas vs. No. 5 Georgia (-11) (8:45 p.m., ESPN) 

Odds via OddsShark  


Handful Of Games Affected By Player Absences 

Bowl games are unique for betting because of the numerous factors involved in the buildup to the contests, including time off and how both teams react to their results at the end of the regular season.

But the newest factor to worry about has the most effect on bowl games, as players declaring for the NFL draft are opting to skip bowl games.

Iowa tight end Noah Fant, NC State wide receiver Kelvin Harmon, South Carolina wide receiver Deebo Samuel and Michigan defensive lineman Rashan Gary among others are on a growing list which is available in full from

Holly Hart/Associated Press

The number of high-profile players missing out on bowls could grow more in the coming weeks, which means you'll have to be mindful of them before making your picks. 

NC State, South Carolina and Arizona State will all be without their leading receivers, while Michigan and Houston won't have dominant playmakers on their defensive lines. 

The Las Vegas Bowl will be the first postseason game to feel the effects of a career decision, but even with N'Keal Harry sitting out, Arizona State has a few dynamic players in Manny Wilkins and Eno Benjamin who will threaten the Fresno State defense. 

On the other end of the bowl schedule, the Gator Bowl and Fiesta Bowl could see shifts in lines with key players out, but don't be tricked just by the odds adjustments. 

NC State has another 1,000-yard receiver to step into Harmon's role in Jakobi Meyers and LSU's secondary still features game-altering stars like Grant Delpit even with Andraez "Greedy" Williams preparing for the NFL draft. 


Pac-12 Teams Should Be Motivated To Reverse Bowl Fortunes

The Pac-12 is clearly the weakest of the five power conferences based off recent performances from the league's programs.

Following a 1-8 bowl record a year ago, the Pac-12 only had two programs with less than four losses in the regular season.

With the reputation of the conference once again in the national spotlight, Pac-12 teams hope to make a statement during bowl season. 

It starts with Arizona State in the Las Vegas Bowl against 21st-ranked Mountain West champion Fresno State and ends with Washington's Rose Bowl clash with Ohio State. 

In between the bookends of the Pac-12 bowl schedule lie a handful of intriguing matchups, including Washington State's collision with Iowa State in the Alamo Bowl. 

David Zalubowski/Associated Press

Of the seven Pac-12 bowl teams, four of them are favorites, including Utah and Stanford as 6.5-point favorites over Northwestern and Pittsburgh in the Holiday Bowl and Sun Bowl, respectively.

One of the few good omens entering bowl season for the Pac-12 is its recent record in the Rose Bowl, as a Pac-12 team has won "The Granddaddy of Them All" in four of the last five times the conference participated in the contest. 

Outside of the Rose Bowl on New Year's Day, the most important day of bowl season for the Pac-12 is New Year's Eve, as Stanford, Oregon and Utah enter their respective games as favorites. 


Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90


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