College Football Bowl Picks 2020-21: Odds and Predictions for Every Game

Jake RillFeatured Columnist IDecember 26, 2020

College Football Bowl Picks 2020-21: Odds and Predictions for Every Game

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    Vasha Hunt/Associated Press

    Bowl season is well underway, with seven games having taken place this week. That included one Friday, which saw Buffalo beat Marshall 17-10 in the Camellia Bowl.

    Even though the bowl slate isn't as large this season (because of cancellations amid the coronavirus pandemic), there's still a lot of exciting action on the way. And it should only continue to get better, as more top teams take the field for a final time in the 2020 campaign.

    On Saturday, there are three more bowl games being held. Among that group is a matchup between Coastal Carolina (11-0) and Liberty (9-1) in the Cure Bowl, which has the potential to be the most exciting and competitive game of the day.

    Here's a look at the full schedule for the remainder of bowl season (along with odds and predictions for each game), followed by a breakdown of Saturday's three contests.  

Bowl Schedule, Odds, Predictions

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    David J. Phillip/Associated Press

    Saturday, Dec. 26

    First Responder Bowl: Louisiana (-14) vs. UTSA, 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC

    LendingTree Bowl: Western Kentucky vs. Georgia State (-4), 3:30 p.m. ET, ESPN

    Cure Bowl: Liberty vs. Coastal Carolina (-6.5), 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN


    Tuesday, Dec. 29

    Cheez-It Bowl: Oklahoma State (-3) vs. Miami, 5:30 p.m. ET, ESPN

    Alamo Bowl: Texas (-9.5) vs. Colorado, 9 p.m. ET, ESPN


    Wednesday, Dec. 30

    Duke's Mayo Bowl: Wake Forest vs. Wisconsin (-6.5), noon ET, ESPN

    Music City Bowl: Iowa (-15) vs. Missouri, 4 p.m. ET, ESPN

    Cotton Bowl: Oklahoma vs. Florida (-2.5), 8 p.m. ET, ESPN


    Thursday, Dec. 31

    Armed Forces Bowl: Tulsa (-2.5) vs. Mississippi State, noon ET, ESPN

    Arizona Bowl: Ball State vs. San Jose State (-9), 2 p.m. ET, CBS Sports Network

    Liberty Bowl: West Virginia (-7.5) vs. Army, 4 p.m. ET, ESPN

    Texas Bowl: Arkansas vs. TCU (-5.5), 8 p.m. ET, ESPN


    Friday, Jan. 1

    Peach Bowl: Cincinnati vs. Georgia (-6.5), noon ET, ESPN

    Citrus Bowl: Auburn vs. Northwestern (-3.5), 1 p.m. ET, ABC

    Rose Bowl (CFP semifinal): Alabama (-19.5) vs. Notre Dame, 4 p.m. ET, ESPN

    Sugar Bowl (CFP semifinal): Clemson (-7.5) vs. Ohio State, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN


    Saturday, Jan. 2

    Gator Bowl: N.C. State vs. Kentucky (-2.5), noon ET, ESPN

    Outback Bowl: Ole Miss vs. Indiana (-6.5), 12:30 p.m. ET, ABC

    Fiesta Bowl: Oregon vs. Iowa State (-5), 4 p.m. ET, ESPN

    Orange Bowl: Texas A&M (-6.5) vs. North Carolina, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN


    Monday, Jan. 11

    CFP National Championship Game, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN

    Odds obtained via DraftKings. Picks in bold against the spread.

Can Louisiana Finish Off Impressive 2020 with Win?

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    Matthew Hinton/Associated Press

    It's been a great 2020 season for Louisiana, which enters its First Responder Bowl matchup against UTSA with a 9-1 record. The Ragin' Cajuns' only loss came against Coastal Carolina on Oct. 14, and they ended the regular season with six straight victories. They also ended up as the co-champions of the Sun Belt Conference after the conference title game was canceled.

    Louisiana has a chance to notch the second 10-win season in program history Saturday (it went 11-3 last season). In order to do so, it will have to beat UTSA, which is 7-4 and ended the regular season with three straight wins. The Roadrunners are playing in the second bowl game in school history and are looking for their first win (they lost in the New Mexico Bowl in 2016).

    UTSA will have a tough task going up against Louisiana, though. The Ragin' Cajuns have a strong rushing attack, led by running backs Elijah Mitchell (751 yards and seven touchdowns on the ground) and Trey Ragas (662 yards and nine touchdowns).

    Throughout the season, UTSA has played close games, even in defeat, so it's possible it will keep things competitive against Louisiana. However, the Ragin' Cajuns are the better team, and they should pull away late to cap their impressive campaign with a victory.

Georgia State, Western Kentucky Set to Go Head-to-Head

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    Bryan Woolston/Associated Press

    Although Georgia State and Western Kentucky both struggled at times during the 2020 season, each team was surging at the end of the regular season. And with both teams entering the LendingTree Bowl with momentum, it could be a competitive matchup.

    Georgia State went 5-4 during the regular season, but it won three of its past four games. The Panthers notched back-to-back victories over South Alabama and Georgia Southern to end their campaign, as they overcame their slow start to finish with a winning record.

    Western Kentucky enters the matchup at 5-6, but it ended the regular season with three straight wins over Southern Mississippi, Florida International and Charlotte. The Hilltoppers also put up their two largest point totals of the season in their final two games, 38 and 37, respectively.

    The LendingTree Bowl could easily go either way, but give the edge to Georgia State, which is averaging 417.7 total yards of offense per game. Expect the Panthers to use their potent rushing attack to take down the Hilltoppers.

Coastal Carolina Aims to Complete Undefeated Season

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    Vasha Hunt/Associated Press

    Coastal Carolina and Liberty were supposed to face off Dec. 5, but that game got canceled because of positive COVID-19 tests and contact-tracing rules. However, the Cure Bowl means these programs will get to go head-to-head in 2020.

    The Chanticleers are having the best season in the program's brief history, as they have won all 11 of their games this year. This will be the first time they will appear in a bowl game since becoming a full FBS program with bowl eligibility in 2018.

    The Flames opened the season with eight straight wins before losing at NC State on Nov. 21. They bounced back and beat UMass in their regular-season finale, and they have an opportunity to earn the second 10-win season in program history. They went 10-2 in 2008 as an FCS program.

    This should be an exciting game between two teams that impressed throughout the season. However, it's been a special year for Coastal Carolina, and after it didn't get an opportunity to play in a New Year's Six bowl, it should be motivated to solidify its position as a top team.

    Expect the Chanticleers to edge the Flames late for a close victory.


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