College Bowl Picks 2019-20: Latest Odds and Predictions Against the Spread

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistDecember 12, 2019

Auburn quarterback Bo Nix against Arkansas during an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Oct. 19, 2019 in Fayetteville, Ark. (AP Photo/Michael Woods)
Michael Woods/Associated Press

The Auburn Tigers and Tennessee Volunteers combined to go 7-1 in November to earn spots in January bowl games.

The two SEC programs are part of a large collection of bowl favorites from the conference, a list that includes the top-ranked LSU Tigers. 

Auburn and Tennessee were matched up with two of the most surprising Big Ten teams. Gus Malzahn's side takes on the Minnesota Golden Gophers in the Outback Bowl on New Year's Day, while Jeremy Pruitt's program landed a matchup with the Indiana Hoosiers in the Gator Bowl the next night.

Of the seven SEC favorites, five of them, including Auburn, possess spreads of a touchdown or more, while Tennessee is the smallest of the group at 1.5.

                    

Bowl Games

College Football Playoff

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Peach Bowl (December 28)No. 1 LSU  (-13) vs. No. 4 Oklahoma (4 p.m.) 

Fiesta Bowl (December 28)No. 2 Ohio State vs. No. 3 Clemson (-2) (8 p.m. ET) 

             

New Year's Six

Cotton Bowl (December 28): Memphis vs. Penn State (-7) (noon, ESPN)

Orange Bowl (December 30): Florida (-14) vs. Virginia (8 p.m., ESPN)

Rose Bowl (January 1): Wisconsin (-3) vs. Oregon (5 p.m., ESPN) 

Sugar Bowl (January 1): Georgia (-7) vs. Baylor (8:45 p.m., ESPN)

               

Other Bowls

Bahamas Bowl (December 20): Charlotte vs. Buffalo (-6.5) (2 p.m., ESPN) 

Frisco Bowl (December 20): Kent State vs. Utah State (-7) (7:30 p.m., ESPN2)

New Mexico Bowl (December 21): San Diego State (-3.5) vs. Central Michigan (2 p.m., ESPN)

Cure Bowl (December 21): Georgia Southern (-6) vs. Liberty (2:30 p.m., CBS Sports Network)

Boca Raton Bowl (December 21): SMU (-3) vs. Florida Atlantic (3:30 p.m., ABC)

Camellia Bowl (December 21): Arkansas State (-3) vs. Florida International (5:30 p.m., ESPN)

Las Vegas Bowl (December 21): Washington (-3.5) vs. Boise State (7:30 p.m., ABC)

New Orleans Bowl (December 21): Appalachian State (-16) vs. UAB (9 p.m., ESPN)

Gasparilla Bowl (December 23): UCF (-17) vs. Marshall (2:30 p.m., ESPN)

Hawaii Bowl (December 24): BYU (-1.5) vs. Hawaii (8 p.m., ESPN) 

Independence Bowl (December 26): Miami (-6.5) vs. Louisiana Tech (4 p.m., ESPN)

Quick Lane Bowl (December 26): Pittsburgh (-11) vs. Eastern Michigan (8 p.m., ESPN)

Military Bowl (December 27): North Carolina (-5.5) vs. Temple (noon, ESPN)

Pinstripe Bowl (December 27): Wake Forest vs. Michigan State (-5) (3:20 p.m., ESPN)

Texas Bowl (December 27): Texas A&M (-7) vs. Oklahoma State (6:45 p.m., ESPN)

Holiday Bowl (December 27): USC vs. Iowa (-1.5) (8 p.m., FS1)

Cheez-It Bowl (December 27): Washington State vs. Air Force (-2.5) (10:15 p.m., ESPN)

Camping World Bowl (December 28): Notre Dame (-4) vs. Iowa State (noon, ABC)

First Responder Bowl (December 30): Western Kentucky (-3.5) vs. Western Michigan (12:30 p.m., ESPN)

Music City Bowl (December 30): Mississippi State (-3) vs. Louisville (4 p.m., ESPN)

Redbox Bowl (December 30): California (-7) vs. Illinois (4 p.m., Fox)

Belk Bowl (December 31): Kentucky vs. Virginia Tech (-2.5) (noon, ESPN)

Sun Bowl (December 31): Florida State vs. Arizona State (-4) (2 p.m., CBS)

Liberty Bowl (December 31): Navy (-2) vs. Kansas State (3:45 p.m.. ESPN)

Arizona Bowl (December 31): Wyoming (-7.5) vs. Georgia State (4:30 p.m., CBS Sports Network)

Alamo Bowl (December 31): Utah (-7.5) vs. Texas (7:30 p.m., ESPN)

Citrus Bowl (January 1): Alabama (-7) vs. Michigan (1 p.m., ABC)

Outback Bowl (January 1): Auburn (-7.5) vs. Minnesota (1 p.m., ESPN)

Birmingham Bowl (January 2): Boston College vs. Cincinnati (-7) (3 p.m., ESPN)

Gator Bowl (January 2): Tennessee (-1.5) vs. Indiana (7 p.m., ESPN)

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl (January 3): Ohio (-7.5) vs. Nevada (3:30 p.m., ESPN)

Armed Forces Bowl (January 4): Tulane (-7) vs. Southern Miss (11:30 a.m., ESPN)

LendingTree Bowl (January 6): Louisiana (-14) vs. Miami (Ohio) (7:30 p.m., ESPN)

All Times ET. Odds via Caesars; predictions against the spread in bold.

                 

Predictions

Auburn (-7.5) vs. Minnesota

Butch Dill/Associated Press

How Auburn and Minnesota respond to their November results could be crucial in deciding the Outback Bowl.

The Tigers pulled off an Iron Bowl upset of Alabama two weeks after they almost completed a comeback versus Georgia. Conversely, the Golden Gophers blew their College Football Playoff and Big Ten Championship Game opportunities by losing to Iowa and Wisconsin.

In those defeats, P.J. Fleck's side failed to get its ground game going, with 63 rushing yards versus Iowa and 76 in the snow against Wisconsin.

Auburn's defensive strength is its front seven, led by defensive tackle Derrick Brown. The SEC West side allows 115.5 rushing yards per game and is one of 12 FBS programs to allow fewer than 10 ground scores. It also ranks 11th in forced fumbles with 16.

If the Tigers make Minnesota's offensive one-dimensional, it has a chance to put Tanner Morgan under pressure in the pocket. The sophomore quarterback threw an interception in each of his past two games, and he was sacked 13 times in the previous three contests.

That could set up Bo Nix with better field position and more potential scoring opportunities. Although the freshman has not done anything spectacular, he completed at least half of his passes while throwing for 568 yards and three scores in his past three contests.

As long as he does not turn over the ball versus a Minnesota passing defense that allows 184.9 yards per game, Nix could be poised for success.

Auburn's X-factor could be JaTarvious Whitlow, who had 114 rushing yards versus Alabama and two touchdowns against Samford. All of three of the sophomore's 100-yard performances have come in Auburn victories, and if he records a fourth, the Tigers could win by two scores.

                            

Tennessee (-1.5) vs. Indiana 

KNOXVILLE, TENNESSEE - NOVEMBER 30: Eric Gray #3 of the Tennessee Volunteers runs with the ball against the Vanderbilt Commodores during the second quarter at Neyland Stadium on November 30, 2019 in Knoxville, Tennessee. (Photo by Silas Walker/Getty Image
Silas Walker/Getty Images

Tennessee transformed from college football's laughingstock into a respectable seven-win SEC team.

Since October 12, the Vols' only defeat came to Alabama, and they put up at least 24 points in four of their past five victories.

The criticism against pumping up Tennessee's late-season success is that three of its past six wins occurred against teams participating in bowl games.

But Jarrett Guarantano and Co. deserve credit for turning around the season and beating weaker opposition, instead of letting the campaign go to waste. The junior quarterback, who has eight touchdown passes in his past five games, may find success in the Gator Bowl versus an Indiana defense that allows 211.7 passing yards per game.

That total is 20 yards more than Tennessee, which ranks 16th in passing yards conceded, picked off 14 passes and allowed 14 aerial touchdowns.

Indiana boats a better rushing defense, but the disparity is much smaller between it and its Vols counterpart at seven yards.

Tennessee freshman Eric Gray may render those stats useless if he plays as well as he did versus Vanderbilt on Nov. 30, when he had 246 yards and three end zone trips on 25 carries.

The Hoosiers are level competition for the Vols, as they had a good season and have some impressive players but did not beat many teams of significance.

Quarterback Peyton Ramsey is coming off a five-touchdown outing in a double-overtime win over Purdue, but he produced a single passing score versus Ohio State, Penn State and Michigan. If the junior can't connect with Whop Philyor and others against Tennessee's secondary, Tom Allen's team could face some difficulties.

If the Vols contain Indiana's passing game, they could hold their fourth foe in five games to under 20 points.

Do not expect the Tennessee offense to blow out the Big Ten East side, but it has enough weapons to win and cover the small spread.

                      

Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90Statistics obtained from ESPN.com.