College Football Bowl Betting Guide: Sugar Bowl and Music City Bowl Best Bets
As terrific as this bowl season has been, it’s only looking better with two exciting matchups preceding the College Football Playoff and the New Year’s Six bowls on Monday. Before we get into the big-time matchups, let’s hold myself accountable by recapping Friday’s results.
Yesterday’s College Football Results
✓ Maryland Moneyline (W 16-12)
✓ UNDER 45.5 MD/NCST (MD 16, NCST 12)
✕ South Carolina Moneyline (L 45-38)
✓ OVER 50.5 (ND 45, USC 38)
✕ Wyoming Moneyline (L 30-27 OT)
✕ Clemson -6.0 (L 31-14)
What started as a great day with Maryland holding off the Wolfpack for a double win on the Moneyline and under ended with more bitter disappointment. The Gamecocks choked the Gator Bowl away against Notre Dame, and I don’t want to begin talking about the Wyoming collapse with two minutes left.
In two consecutive days, I have lost four games that should have gone my way, including the quadruple overtime Kansas loss, which I am still not emotionally over. Friday’s 3-3 record (which just caused me physical pain to type out) brings me to 8-11 this week, but I promise to finish this bowl season above the .500 mark with more plus units to win. As The Liberty Line’s fearless leader Drew Smith told me, “The only path is forward.”
Make sure you’re signing up and taking advantage of all the free bets and risk-free offers this week as we continue to roll with some (responsible) degenerate bowl action.
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Allstate Sugar Bowl (New Orleans, LA)
Alabama (-7.5) vs. Kansas State | O/U 56.0
Finally, we have an “opt-in” bowl as a ton of NFL talent on both sides are suiting up for the Sugar Bowl. This line has moved in every direction, opening at Alabama -5.5 and then down to -3.0. Currently, the spread has shifted slightly from -6.5 all week to Bama by a touchdown after QB Bryce Young, and EDGE Will Anderson decided to opt-in for this game. All of that movement and 67% of tickets, with 64% of the money all coming in on the Crimson Tide as of this morning.
After Alabama’s devastating 52-49 loss to Tennessee off a missed field goal, their offense continued to roll while their defense looked anything but a typical Nick Saban-led unit. They’ve scored 30 or more points in their last six games but have allowed teams to score 23.5 during that span.
The Crimson Tide once again brings one of the best defenses in the nation to New Orleans, allowing only 18.0 points per game (9th in college football) and giving up 311.3 total yards per game with 25 touchdowns allowed in 12 games.
QB Bryce Young (PFF’s #1 draft prospect) and EDGE Will Anderson JR (PFF’s #2 draft prospect) will suit up, to the dismay of Kansas State fans. Young is an elite talent and became the only Alabama quarterback to throw for 3,000 or more yards in back-to-back seasons. Will Anderson is one of the most complete edge prospects in the NFL Draft and recorded ten sacks on the year, along with a pick-six.
In Alabama’s two losses, they struggle with teams that create havoc on defense. That’s not the Kansas State Wildcats, who rank 86th in college football with a 5.57% sack rate. Since Week 8, the Crimson Tide ranked 24th in explosive passing plays against the Wildcats’ defense, who’s 78th in college. In that same span, the Tide also are 69th in explosive rushing plays to Kansas State’s 93rd rated run defense against explosive plays.
The nation saw QB Will Howard and RB Deuce Vaughn win a thrilling 31-28 overtime game over TCU. Deuce “Mighty Mouse” Vaughn totaled 160 scrimmage yards against the Horned Frogs, and despite every defense knowing the offense flows through him, he’s still racked up over 100 yards from scrimmage in 11 of 13 games this season.
Some good news for Kansas State fans: they carry a +14 turnover margin into New Orleans compared to Alabama’s -4, which was a huge reason why they lost those close contests to LSU and Tennessee. Also, never count out Wildcats’ head coach Chris Klieman in big games. The former North Dakota head coach is 12-6-1 in postseason contests, including four FCS National Championships and a 42-40 thumping of LSU in last year’s Texas Bowl. Surprisingly, Nick Saban is 11-10 against the spread in his previous 21 bowl games, which includes seven College Football Playoff semifinals and six National Championship games.
Lastly, Alabama averages 70.7 penalty yards per game to Kansas State’s 43.5. The Wildcats are certainly the more fundamentally sound and disciplined team that is saying something when their opponent is the vaunted Alabama Crimson Tide program. However, there is a massive talent discrepancy with Nick Saban’s ability to retool his squad with five-star recruits every year.
Alabama Team Total OVER 32.5 (-115)
OVER 56.0 (-110)
TransPerfect Music City Bowl (Nashville, TN)
Iowa (-3.0) vs. Kentucky | O/U 31.0
Weirdly enough, this will be the second straight season that Iowa and Kentucky meet in a bowl game, with the Wildcats and Will Levis topping the Hawkeyes 20-17 in the 2021 Citrus Bowl. This year looks totally different for both teams. I’m going to keep this one very short and sweet due to my pure disdain for the Iowa Hawkeyes program. I know you should never bet with your heart, so maybe fade my reasoning and picks here.
This game is the complete opposite of the one discussed above, with opt-outs and transfer galore. Let’s start with Iowa and get their ugliness out of the way. QB1 Spencer Petras is out for the season with a shoulder injury, while QB2 Alex Padilla hit the transfer portal. The Hawkeyes will start redshirt freshman Joey Labas, who has never attempted a collegiate pass before. Head coach Kirk Ferentz joked about getting the young lad ready for the big game, saying,
“Maybe we’ll have (linebacker Jack) Campbell hit him in the locker room a couple times, loosen him up a little bit there. In the head a little bit, too, so he’s not thinking too much.”
Good luck with that, coach. In better news, both running backs Kaleb Johnson and Leshon Williams should alleviate some of the pressure from Labas. Also, TE Sam LaPorta, a finalist for the John Mackey Award (most outstanding tight end in college football), will return from November knee surgery as Iowa’s #1 receiving option and serving as the emergency quarterback.
Kentucky will be missing several key pieces that made their offense tick, including the top quarterback prospect (in some people’s opinion, not mine) in this year’s draft. Will Levis leave the offense in the hands of either Kaiya Sheron, Destin Wade, or Iowa transfer Deuce Hogan? Sheron is the only one with game action as the Wildcats’ QB1, going 15-of-27 for 187 yards and two touchdowns to one interception in a relief stint against South Carolina. Will Levis might be the player everyone will mention as the most significant piece missing for the Wildcats, but RB Chris Rodriguez Jr is possibly the most vital component to this offense.
CRod played in just eight games this season after recovering from an injury to start the year but finished with 904 rushing yards and went for over 100 in five contests. His backup, Kaviosey Smoke, entered the transfer portal, so now junior RB Jutahn McClain will be the catalyst for Kentucky’s methodical offense.
This game will be straight-up gross to watch and bet on, so I suggest you turn your attention to the Sugar Bowl instead. 31 points are such a low total and the team totals are laughable. Iowa’s total points are set at 16.5, while Kentucky’s is at 13.5. This pick makes me want to barf, but my hatred for Iowa burns too deep, and there is no way an SEC can’t score two times in a bowl game.
Kentucky Team Total OVER 13.5 (-110)
Kentucky +3.0 (-110) – heart pick, bet at your own risk
Lucky Lucciano Lottery Ticket = +161
- Alabama -2.5
- Alabama OVER 29.5 total points
- UNDER 36.5 in Iowa/Kentucky