The second week of the bowl season is here as we approach Christmas and the New Year’s Six Bowls. Until then, we have some exciting matchups between Power Five opponents in some contests that promise to be lively!
We went 0-3 on our bets last week, moving the best bets total to 23-21-2 on the season. Let’s stay above .500 with our plays this week and get back in the winning column. Here are the three best contests in the next seven days with odds courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook.
Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.
Utah Utes vs. Northwestern Wildcats
- Time: 7:30 p.m.
- Date: Saturday, Dec. 23
- TV: ABC
- Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
- Weather: Covered - Allegiant Stadium
- DraftKings Odds: UTAH -6.5, O/U: 40.5, ML: UTAH -245, NW +200
- Best Bet (23-21-2): NW +6.5
These are two of the best defenses in college football going head to head in a bowl game that neither expected to be in.
Utah is coming off back-to-back Rose Bowl appearances. But after star quarterback Cam Rising essentially opted out of playing this season coming off of an injury last year, the Utes had a disappointing season. They dropped three of their last five games an escaped with a 23-17 win over a bad Colorado squad to finish a year that many expected to finish as the PAC-12 champions once again.
Northwestern was the complete opposite. Many anticipated them being the worst team in the Big 10 and among all Power 5 teams after a scandal saw the dismissal of Pat Fitzgerald. The team went 1-11 games in 2022, and weeks before the start of the regular season, David Braun slapped on the interim tag to coach the team. Astoundingly, they won seven games and pulled off upsets over Minnesota, Maryland, and Wisconsin. The school removed the interim tag, and Braun has the chance to continue building on his success from this year.
Utah certainly looked like the better team and has a coach in Kyle Wittingham who has gone 10-5 ATS in bowl games, but they’ll be missing key contributors. Two of their top wide receivers have opted out of this contest. Quarterback Bryson Barnes is in the transfer portal, but will start this game for the Utes; he completed only 58.5% of his passes and scored just 12 touchdowns. The Utes will also be without both starting safeties and several defensive linemen.
This doesn’t feel like a spot where Utah will win this game by a full touchdown. I’ll be taking the points and riding with the Wildcats a little closer to kickoff in hopes that the public pushes this over that crucial 7-point mark.
Kansas Jayhawks vs. UNLV Rebels
- Time: 9:00 p.m.
- Date: Tuesday, Dec. 26
- TV: ESPN
- Location: Phoenix, Arizona
- Weather: Covered - Chase Field
- DraftKings Odds: KU -12.5, O/U: 64.5, ML: KU -485, UNLV +370
- Best Bet (23-21-2): KU -12.5
The Rebels had a great start to the season outside of their blowout loss to Michigan. They scored 40 or more points in four of their first five games, going 5-1. But went 3-3 in their last six, giving up 108 points in their final three contests.
In comes a Kansas squad that has an incredibly explosive offense. SP+ ranks them as the No. 24 offense in college football heading into this game, UNLV is not far behind at No. 30. The difference is the explosiveness of quarterback Jason Bean, the head coaching experience of Lance Leipold, and a defense that improved drastically down the stretch for the Jayhawks.
Leipold is 5-1 ATS in his career as a head coach in bowl games and he has a really good Jayhawks team that was ranked for stretches of this season. They allowed three touchdowns or less in three of their final four games, and UNLV quarterback Jayden Maiava has thrown four interceptions in his last three starts.
I think Kansas’ defense is able to hold off the Rebels’ attack, force a couple of turnovers, and run this UNLV team out of Chase Field in a blowout win. I’ll lay the points with the Jayhawks.
No. 15 Louisville Cardinals vs. USC Trojans
- Time: 8:00 p.m.
- Date: Wednesday, Dec. 27
- TV: FOX
- Location: San Diego, California
- Weather: 61 degrees, rainy
- DraftKings Odds: UL -7.5, O/U: 57.5, ML: UL -298, USC +240
- Best Bet (23-21-2): U57.5
Louisville has dropped consecutive games to Kentucky and Florida State. The latter was in the ACC Championship Game, a place that not many thought they would be in the first year under Jeff Brohm. The Cardinals’ offense could not move the ball consistently against a really strong Florida State defense, and they lost 16-6.
USC is in shambles. Lincoln Riley and Caleb Williams were expected to compete for the College Football Playoffs and a National Championship. But their defense once again held them far below that pinnacle. Williams could only do so much to cover up the monstrous deficiencies on the other side of the ball, and the Trojans were maybe the most disappointing team in college football this season, finishing 7-5.
I don’t like the line here at seven and a hook, although I fully anticipate that the Cardinals win this football game against a USC team that has a slew of transfers and will be without Williams, who is likely the No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft. Louisville will also be missing star running back Jawhar Jordan and top receiver Jahari Trash who will be following Williams to the NFL.
I think both teams struggle to move the ball in the early portions of this contest, and anything under 57 points seems safe enough for me to throw a few dollars on.