College Bowl Picks 2021-22: Latest Odds and Predictions Against the Spread

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistDecember 9, 2021

College Bowl Picks 2021-22: Latest Odds and Predictions Against the Spread

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    Carlos Osorio/Associated Press

    The first few days of the college football bowl season feature a handful of terrific stories.

    The Northern Illinois Huskies went from 0-6 to the MAC champion and play on the opening day of bowl season. They are a 10.5-point underdog in their Cure Bowl showdown with the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers, who were the Group of Five darling last season.

    The Utah State Aggies also produced a surprising season out of the Mountain West, winning their conference championship in Blake Anderson's first year as head coach.

    Utah State was rewarded for that title with a matchup against a Power Five foe in the Oregon State Beavers, who also surprised people with their play this season. The Aggies are a seven-point underdog to the Pac-12 side in the LA Bowl.

    Even though Northern Illinois and Utah State are underdogs, the two Group of Five conference champions are expected to put up strong fights and should at least cover the point spread.

    The odds for all 42 FBS bowl games can be found on DraftKings Sportsbook.

Cure Bowl: Northern Illinois (+10.5) vs. Coastal Carolina

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    Carlos Osorio/Associated Press

    Northern Illinois is no stranger to being an underdog in a meaningful game.

    The Huskies were the underdog in the MAC Championship Game, yet they beat the Kent State Golden Flashes.

    NIU is powered by quarterback Rocky Lombardi, a transfer from the Michigan State Spartans who has taken well to the Group of Five level.

    Lombardi threw for 2,416 yards and he was one of five players to run for more than 400 yards on the Huskies roster. Jay Ducker led the squad with 1,038 rushing yards.

    The 9-4 Huskies average 234.3 rushing yards per game, which is three yards better than the Chanticleers out of the Sun Belt.

    Coastal quarterback Grayson McCall has 27 total touchdowns. He might be more effective on the ground than Lombardi because he carries the ball more often. McCall had more than 10 carries in each of his past three Sun Belt games.

    Northern Illinois might have a hard time containing McCall since it gives up 215.7 rushing yards per game, but its offense should keep it in the game against an average Coastal defense.

    The Chanticleers give up 325 total yards per game and were involved in four one-score games in their final six contests.

    Lombardi and Co. should keep the Huskies close, and they may even be in striking distance to win outright if the defense gets a stop or two against McCall.

LA Bowl: Utah State (+7) vs. Oregon State

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    Icon Sportswire/Getty Images

    Utah State has a better record and some superior offensive numbers compared to Oregon State.

    The Mountain West champion went 10-3, and it averages just under a point more per game and 22 more yards per contest.

    Utah State made a statement in its conference title game by putting up 46 points on the San Diego State Aztecs, who had a top-20 scoring defense.

    The passing attack, led by quarterback Logan Bonner and wide receiver Deven Thompkins, can threaten any defense when it works as well as it did on December 4.

    Oregon State gives up 387.8 yards per game, and it allowed 506 total yards to the Oregon Ducks in its most recent trip to the gridiron.

    Of course, there is a talent gap between Oregon and Utah State, but the Aggies can use some of the offensive concepts employed by the Pac-12 North winner to defeat the Beavers inside SoFi Stadium.

    Brandon Bowling, Derek Wright and Thompkins all have more than 700 receiving yards. Thompkins leads the team with 1,589 receiving yards. Utah State also has two running backs with more than 130 carries and 550 rushing yards.

    Utah State can hit Oregon State from all angles on offense, and it might be more motivated to win the LA Bowl because it has a chance to cap off a great season in a rare neutral-site game against a Power Five team.

Myrtle Beach Bowl: Old Dominion (+9.5) vs Tulsa

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    Ben McKeown/Associated Press

    The Old Dominion Monarchs are one of the best Group of Five stories that you likely have not heard about. 

    Old Dominion did not play in the 2020 season and it started the 2021 campaign with a 1-6 record. The Monarchs won five straight Conference USA games to become bowl eligible for the second time as a FBS program.

    The 6-6 program has plenty of confidence going into the Myrtle Beach Bowl and it likely has more motivation than the Tulsa Golden Hurricane to win on December 23. 

    Tulsa needed a win over the SMU Mustangs on November 27 to become bowl eligible itself. It might be the better team in this matchup, but it has not blown away many opponents. 

    Five of the Golden Hurricane's six victories were by seven points or less. The only double-digit victory came against the three-win Temple Owls.

    Old Dominion has comparable statistics to Tulsa. The Monarchs average 2.1 more points per game and the two sides are separated by 0.2 in points conceded per contest. They are better offensively through the air and average just under seven total yards per game. 

    Tulsa's inability to break open its victorious games and Old Dominion's motivation to win a rare bowl appearance is the perfect combination for the Monarchs to cover, and potentially win outright. 

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