College Football Best Bets 12/28/22 Bowl Games: UFC Vs. Duke, Kansas Vs. Arkansas, North Carolina Vs. Oregon, Ole Miss Vs. Texas Tech

Get College Football best bets 12/28/22 for UFC Vs. Duke, Kansas Vs. Arkansas, North Carolina Vs. Oregon, and Ole Miss Vs. Texas Tech.

College Football Best Bets 12/28/22

There are four college football bowl games on Wednesday this week, and they are four of the best games yet in this year’s bowl slate. This time of year is always exciting, and we get to watch some of the best teams of the season play here. In this article, I’ll cover my best bets for each of the four games. You can check out the Lineups YouTube channel for further coverage of these and every bowl game.

Military Bowl: Central Florida Knights vs. Duke Blue Devils

Mike Elko arrived as Duke’s new head coach with lofty promises and he’s certainly delivered. The Blue Devils went 8-4 straight up and ATS this season, and they’re back in a bowl game for the first time since 2018. In that game, the Blue Devils beat an American Conference team in Temple 56-27. Now, they face another AAC team, and I’m predicting another one-sided result.

Quarterback Riley Leonard was massive for Duke’s turnaround this season, and he was the team’s leading rusher with 636 yards and 11 touchdowns. He was joined by a trio of backs in Jordan Waters, Jaquez Moore, and Jaylen Coleman, all of whom ran for over 400 yards in the regular season.

The Duke offensive line ranked top 20 in average line yards and stuff rate, and the offense as a whole ranked 23rd in rush play EPA. UCF ranked 73rd in run defense EPA, and they ranked outside the top 50 in line yards and stuff rate. As a result, the Duke run game should take advantage.

On the other side, UCF runs at the 12th-highest rate in the country, but they’ll be doing so against a stout run defense. Duke ranks top 15 in EPA and success rate against the run. Darius Joiner, an all-conference safety, leads the way with an elite 88.9 PFF run defense grade.

UCF’s rushing offense is heavily reliant on the legs of quarterback John Rhys Plumlee, but he wasn’t at 100% health to close the year. He dealt with a concussion as well as shoulder and hamstring issues throughout the year. While the time off will help him get healthier, it’s fair to wonder how close he will be to full strength here.

I like betting against teams that lost in their conference championships come bowl season as they had to play an extra game and will be deflated after not reaching their goals. UCF had the opportunity to make a New Year’s Six bowl, for example. Meanwhile, this is the first bowl experience for most of Duke’s roster, as well as Elko.

I played Duke against the spread when it was set under a field goal, and we’ve seen all Duke money since. If these teams played in the regular season at full strength, you likely would have seen UCF as a neutral site favorite, but the motivational and health edges are significant in favor of the Blue Devils. I’d still play them at the current number up to -4.

Best Bet: Duke -3.5 (play to -4)

Liberty Bowl: Kansas Jayhawks vs. Arkansas Razorbacks

When I made Kansas over 3.5 wins one of my favorite college football futures wagers, I thought they were headed in the right direction, but even I didn’t believe bowl eligibility was in the cards. However, the Jayhawks are in a bowl game for the first time since 2008, and that’s cause for celebration. Lance Leipold has put this program back on the map.

Arkansas, meanwhile, is on the heels of a disappointing SEC season and dealing with tons of noteworthy opt-outs and transfer portal entrants. Let’s start with the offensive side of the ball. While KJ Jefferson is returning for another season, he’s set to play in this game without some key contributors.

Leading wideout Jadon Haselwood opted out to declare for the draft after a 700-yard, 7-touchdown season. WRs Ketron Jackson and Warren Thompson and TE Trey Knox will also miss this game. First-Team All-SEC center Ricky Stromberg is also opting out to prepare for the draft.

On defense, there’s even more. Linebackers Drew Sanders, another First-Team All-SEC player, and Bumper Pool opted out, while DT Isaiah Nichols and S Myles Slusher are transferring. Slusher is a particularly tough loss after Jalen Catalon suffered a season-ending injury earlier in the season.

Needless to say, this isn’t the same Arkansas team we watched all year. Meanwhile, Kansas has almost all of its top contributors in place, including quarterback Jalon Daniels who missed time during the regular season but will play in this bowl. In eight games, he generated 1,868 combined passing and rushing yards and 19 total touchdowns.

Kansas’s offense would have already had significant advantages in this game, before considering all of the absences. The Jayhawks ranked sixth in offensive EPA, and the Hogs ranked 110th. The Jayhawks ranked 3rd in offensive explosiveness, and the Hogs ranked 119th.

Devin Neal, who had over 1,000 rushing yards and nine touchdowns, will explode against this Arkansas run defense. Arkansas ranked outside the top 100 in rushing EPA, success rate, and explosiveness allowed during the regular season.

With defensive coordinator Barry Odom leaving to become the new head coach at UNLV, there are simply too many obstacles for this Arkansas defense to overcome in time for this bowl game, and Kansas should take advantage.

I locked in Kansas +3.5 before some movement through the key number, and you can still take it at the current +2.5 if you want. However, I love the plus money value on the Moneyline, and I’ll bet going that direction here.

Best Bet: Kansas ML

Holiday Bowl: North Carolina Tar Heels vs. Oregon Ducks

Earlier this month, the news cycle exploded when rumors of Drake Maye transferring started circulating. Maye had an incredible freshman season with 4,115 passing yards (third-most in the FBS) and 35 touchdowns (sixth-most). Despite the rumors, he’s returning for another year at UNC, and he’ll play in this game.

Maye will be without his leading wide receiver Josh Downs, who has declared for the draft after his second straight 1,000-yard season. The UNC offense will still be plenty productive, even with a different play-caller after former offensive coordinator Phil Longo accepted an offer for the same position at Wisconsin.

However, can North Carolina get stops? The Tar Heels had one of the worst defenses in the FBS this season as they ranked bottom five in success rate, EPA, finishing drives, and havoc. To make matters worse, three starters from the secondary defected from the program amidst a slew of defensive transfers and opt-outs.

Oregon’s offense hit a snag towards the end of the season as Bo Nix suffered a lower body injury that limited his mobility, but he should be fully healthy entering this game. Even with that injury, the Ducks finished the season top ten in EPA and success rate while scoring 39.7 points per game, the ninth-most in the FBS.

The Ducks will also have a new play-caller for this game after former offensive coordinator Kenny Dillingham left to become the new offensive coordinator for Arizona State, but the most important part of their offense is intact – their offensive line.

Oregon allowed the fewest sacks in the country and ranked top three in line yards. Against a UNC defense with virtually no pass rush – they ranked 128th in havoc – I don’t see any viable path towards the Tar Heels getting consistent stops in this game regardless of whether the Ducks look to throw or pass.

You can lay the points here if you want, but my preferred approach at the current number is to take the over on Oregon’s team total. I know it seems like a high number, but Oregon had 40+ points in every game after the loss to Georgia and before Bo Nix was injured against Washington. Now facing one of the worst defenses in the FBS with a seemingly healthy Nix, Oregon can name its number here.

Best Bet: Oregon Over 44 Points (play to 45)

Texas Bowl: Ole Miss Rebels vs. Texas Tech Red Raiders

It was quite the turbulent season for Ole Miss as they started 7-0 straight up before losing four of their final five games and looking incredibly unimpressive in the process. Rumors of Lane Kiffin taking the Auburn job likely presented some distractions, but he’ll return for another season. Texas Tech, meanwhile, finished strong with three straight wins, including an overtime thriller over rival Oklahoma.

In Texas Tech’s first season with offensive coordinator Zach Kittley, they used three different quarterbacks and experienced some inconsistency to that end. Donovan Smith is transferring and standout freshman Behren Morton is still recovering from an injury, so Tyler Shough should get the start here.

Regardless of whether it’s Morton or Shough taking snaps, they’ll have success. Ole Miss is outside the top 90 in passing success rate and EPA per play allowed, and they will be without one of their starting cornerbacks, Miles Battle. Kittley should have a blast scheming up deep passing plays against this vulnerable secondary.

Ole Miss’s offense has a different look, but it’s also a high-scoring outfit. The Rebels ran the ball at the 11th-highest rate in the FBS, and they leaned on Zach Evans and Quishon Judkins, perhaps the best running back tandem in college football. Along with Jaxson Dart, the Rebels combined for 3,139 rushing yards, the fourth-most in the country.

However, it wasn’t due to an overly elite offensive line – they ranked just 100th in stuff rate and 88th in PFF’s run-blocking metrics. The Rebels ranked 18th in tackles for loss and 41st in line yards. Keep an eye out for Tyree Wilson and Jaylon Hutchings as Texas Tech’s top two playmakers on the line.

Overall, Texas Tech ranked top 50 in rushing EPA and success rate allowed, and they were inside the top ten in red zone touchdown rate allowed. Their weakness came against the pass, as they ranked 114th in passing explosiveness allowed, but Jaxon Dart wasn’t a great downfield passer this year, and Kiffin didn’t seem to fully trust him to unleash the downfield passing attack.

The over has taken significant steam in this game, and for good reason. These teams rank inside the top eight in pace of play this season, and a high volume of plays introduces more variance of outcomes. If this game starts a half step slower, don’t be afraid to fire on a live over. I’d try to get it under 65 if possible, as that’s a relatively key number.

If you’re looking for a pre-flop position, I’m on Texas Tech here. Like I mentioned above, in a very offensive game, they’re the team that will have defensive answers in the form of their run defense. For that reason, I’d make the Red Raiders a slight favorite, so I like the value here. Besides, it’s the Texas Bowl. How can we not back the in-state underdog?

Best Bet: Texas Tech +3.5 and ML

I've been a huge sports fan for as long as I can remember and I've always loved writing. In 2020, I joined the Lineups team, and I've been producing written and video content on football and basketball ever since. In May 2021, I graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in sport management. My goal is to tell enthralling stories and provide meaningful insight on the sports I write about while helping you cash some bets along the way.

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