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Spread Options: College football bowl game best bets, part 3

The college football bowl action really picks up this week.

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Spread Options: College football bowl game best bets, part 3

The bowl action really picks up this week.

While the Quick Lane Bowl has the spotlight on Monday, there are at least three games per day from Dec. 27 through New Year’s Eve, including the two College Football Playoff semifinal showdowns.

But before we dive into those New Year’s Six bowl matchups, we’re going to focus in on the next three days — Dec. 27 through Dec. 30 — with these picks. That’s 11 games in all to sort through.

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Let’s see if we can give out some winners.

(All times ET, odds from BetMGM)

Camellia Bowl: Georgia Southern vs. Buffalo

Date: Dec. 27 (Noon) | Line: Georgia Southern -4 | Total: 67

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Sam Cooper: Buffalo did not play well down the stretch. As somebody sick enough to have Akron over 2.5 wins, I was locked in on the championship weekend weather make-up game between the Bulls and the Zips. Akron let that game slip away, allowing Buffalo to win 23-22 to get to six wins. Georgia Southern is much better. The Eagles played superior competition in the Sun Belt and have an explosive passing offense. I’ll take Clay Helton’s team.

Pick: Georgia Southern -4

Birmingham Bowl: Coastal Carolina vs. East Carolina

Date: Dec. 27 (6:45 p.m.) | Line: ECU -7 | Total: 65

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Sam Cooper: Though Grayson McCall is playing for Coastal Carolina while in the transfer portal, several of CCU’s top defensive players won’t suit up after coach Jamey Chadwell left for Liberty. That includes the Chanticleers’ top two cornerbacks and star defensive end Josaiah Stewart, who is headed to Michigan. For ECU, this marks the final college game for QB Holton Ahlers. He’s been ECU’s starter since 2018, but this is his first bowl game (ECU’s bowl was canceled last year). ECU hasn’t won a bowl game since 2013, and I think the Pirates will be very motivated against a CCU program transitioning to a new coach.

Pick: East Carolina -7

Guaranteed Rate Bowl: Wisconsin vs. Oklahoma State

Date: Dec. 27 (10:15 p.m.) | Line: Wisconsin -3.5 | Total: 45

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Nick Bromberg: This game is the battle of backup quarterbacks after OSU’s Spencer Sanders and Wisconsin’s Graham Mertz both announced their intentions to transfer. Chase Wolf and Myles Burkett are the choices for the Badgers at QB while both Garret Rangel and Gunnar Gundy could both play for Oklahoma State. The OSU defense took a massive step back from 2021 but the quarterback situation makes me lean low here.

Pick: Under 45

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Military Bowl: UCF vs. Duke

Date: Dec. 28 (2 p.m.) | Line: Duke -3 | Total: 62.5

Sam Cooper: UCF lost the AAC title game and now will go play a bowl game in Navy’s stadium. If UCF won that game, it’d be in the Cotton Bowl. There has to be a level of disappointment for the Knights. Duke, meanwhile, is looking to cap off its first season under Mike Elko with a bowl win. Duke hasn’t had any opt outs or portal entries. UCF has had a bunch. And with UCF QB John Rhys Plumlee coming off a hamstring injury, I think Duke is the side.

Pick: Duke -3

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Duke quarterback Riley Leonard is hoping to help his team cap off a surprisingly successful season on a high note. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

Duke quarterback Riley Leonard is hoping to help his team cap off a surprisingly successful season on a high note. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

Liberty Bowl: Kansas vs. Arkansas

Date: Dec. 28 (5:30 p.m.) | Line: Arkansas -3 | Total: 68.5

Nick Bromberg: This could have one of the best atmospheres of any bowl game with an excited Kansas fan base and a group of Arkansas fans just a short drive away from Memphis. The Jayhawks faded down the stretch after a hot start and ended the season losing six of their last seven games. Arkansas lost three of its last four games. One of those defeats was a home loss to Liberty. But with QB KJ Jefferson back, Arkansas should have enough to cover against Kansas and prevent the Jayhawks from their first winning season since 2008.

Pick: Arkansas -3

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Sam Cooper: Arkansas had much bigger hopes when the season began. Kansas is in its first bowl game since 2008, so it’s pretty clear which side will be more motivated. Arkansas has had a lot of roster attrition and defensive coordinator Barry Odom left to become the head coach at UNLV. So on the Arkansas side you’ve got an interim defensive coordinator and multiple key players out going up against a Kansas offense that is tricky to prepare for. I’ll take the field goal with the Jayhawks in what could be a pretty high-scoring game.

Pick: Kansas +3

Holiday Bowl: No. 15 Oregon vs. North Carolina

Date: Dec. 28 (8 p.m.) | Line: Oregon -14 | Total: 75

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Nick Bromberg: This game has the highest total of bowl season for obvious reasons. Both offenses average at least 35 and both defenses give up more than 27 per game. But I’m skeptical this game will be a massive shootout. Oregon offensive coordinator Kenny Dillingham is now the head coach at Arizona State and North Carolina wide receiver Josh Downs opted out of the game to prep for the NFL draft. The matchup of returning QBs Bo Nix and Drake Maye is tantalizing and this could be a fun game. But I’ll go under.

Pick: Under 75

Texas Bowl: Texas Tech vs. Ole Miss

Date: Dec. 28 (9 p.m.) | Line: Ole Miss -3.5 | Total: 71.5

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Sam Cooper: With the Lane Kiffin-Auburn flirtation now in the past, this is a good spot for Ole Miss. I just think the Rebels are a better team overall and want to end the season on a much better note after losing three straight to close out the regular season. The Kiffin-Auburn talks and the close loss to Alabama seemed to really deflate Ole Miss, but I think Kiffin’s team will be refreshed and come out ready to play.

Pick: Ole Miss -3.5

Pinstripe Bowl: Syracuse vs. Minnesota

Date: Dec. 29 (2 p.m.) | Line: Minnesota -10 | Total: 42

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Sam Cooper: With both coordinators leaving for other jobs and star running back Sean Tucker opting out for the NFL, I don’t envision Syracuse scoring many points. At the same time, I can’t trust Minnesota to cover double digits. It’ll be a cold day in New York City, and the Gophers will play their game. They’ll control the ball with Mo Ibrahim and win a low-scoring game. I envision a pretty similar game to last year’s 18-6 bowl win over West Virginia. I’ll go with the under and also have an eye on Syracuse’s team total when that is available to bet.

Pick: Under 42

Alamo Bowl: No. 20 Texas vs. No. 12 Washington

Date: Dec. 29 (9 p.m.) | Line: Texas -3.5 | Total: 67.5

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Sam Cooper: This was one of the first bowl games I bet. I took Washington +5.5 when it was announced that Michael Penix was returning next season. I was pretty sure Bijan Robinson would opt out for Texas, so I was quick to hop on the Huskies. Robinson indeed opted out. And so did Roschon Johnson, UT’s other NFL-bound running back. With those two not playing, I still like Washington even though the number is down to 3.5. I don’t think Quinn Ewers is equipped to keep up with Penix in a shootout.

Pick: Washington +3.5

Washington quarterback Michael Penix Jr. will duel with the Texas Longhorns in the Alamo Bowl on Dec. 29. (AP Photo/Young Kwak)

Washington quarterback Michael Penix Jr. will duel with the Texas Longhorns in the Alamo Bowl on Dec. 29. (AP Photo/Young Kwak)
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