College Football Best Bets 12/29/22 Bowl Games: Syracuse vs. Minnesota, Florida State vs. Oklahoma, Washington vs. Texas

Get College Football best bets 12/29/22 for Syracuse Vs. Minnesota, Florida State Vs. Oklahoma, Washington Vs. Texas

College Football Bowl Game Best Bets 12/29/22

After an exhilarating slate of bowl games on Wednesday, we’re back with a three-pack of action on Thursday. There are two hefty favorites in the first two games before we get into the much anticipated nightcap between Washington and Texas. In this article, I’ll break down my favorite way to play each game. Let’s get to work.

College Football 2022 Bowl Game Record: 13-8.5 (60.4%)

Pinstripe Bowl: Syracuse Orange vs. Minnesota Golden Gophers

On Thursday, Yankee Stadium will host two Power Five teams that didn’t quite live up to their expectations. The Orange started the year 6-0 before hitting a tougher stretch of their schedule that saw them fall back down to earth. Meanwhile, the Gophers squandered chances to win a weak Big Ten West.

We would have seen a great battle between running backs here, but Syracuse’s Sean Tucker opted out to prepare for the draft. However, Minnesota’s Mohamed Ibrahim will play, and he finished with 304 carries for 1,594 yards and 19 touchdowns, in an incredibly impressive season off Achilles surgery.

His offensive line is intact for this game, and they were PFF’s top-graded run-blocking O-line. The Gophers ranked top five in power success rate and stuff rate. Center John Michael Schmitz was PFF’s highest-graded interior offensive lineman in the country this year, and he’ll be playing in this game.

Syracuse’s undersized defensive line is in trouble. The Orange were 117th in average line yards and 125th in stuff rate, and they were 112th in rush play success rate allowed overall. Minnesota runs at the fourth-highest rate in the FBS, and they should get whatever they want on the ground.

Quarterback Tanner Morgan’s status had been a question mark, but he has been cleared to play. It’s unclear if he’ll actually play, but Athan Kaliakmanis was decent enough in relief for the super senior. Either passer should have success off play-action against a secondary missing its two standout starting corners, Garrett Williams and Darian Chestnut.

Jason Beck, the team’s former quarterbacks coach, has replaced Robert Anae as the offensive coordinator, and Shrader alluded to a more pass-heavy offense, especially without Tucker. Minnesota was 11th in overall defensive success rate and 18th in pass play success rate, so it will be somewhat of a tough matchup.

However, the Gophers don’t generate any pressure – they ranked 112th in sack rate. As such, the absence of tackle Matthew Bergeron will be less of an issue. Shrader was inconsistent this season, but he averaged 9.4 yards per attempt and completed 71.5% of his passes from a clean pocket with 14 touchdowns to six interceptions.

The total for this game opened on the low end at 41.5 points, mostly due to both teams playing at a slow pace. However, a bowl game opens the opportunity for more trick plays and less careful play-calling. The over has taken significant steam in this game, especially on Wednesday. The weather forecast calls for clear skies and minimal wind, giving me further confidence that we could see more points than initially expected.

I debated whether to get in at a worse number than was previously available. However, I believe all of the factors above are enough to get in even at the slightly increased number. At the time I’m writing this, there are 43.5s still in the market, and I’ll track it there. However, I’d play it up to the key number of 45.

Best Bet: Over 43.5 points (play to 45)

Cheez-It Bowl: Florida State Seminoles vs. Oklahoma Sooners

In the first of two Cheez-It Bowls this bowl season, we have two teams headed in distinctly opposite directions. Oklahoma had a turbulent season in Brent Venables’s first year as head coach, particularly on defense. Meanwhile, Mike Norvell has the opportunity to lead Florida State to its first ten-win season since 2016.

The Seminoles experienced an excellent season on both sides of the ball, and they won their final five games of the season. It’s a great sign that all of the big-name draft eligible talent will be available for this game, namely defensive end Jared Verse and safety Jammie Robinson.

Verse is in for a massive game. In his first year at Florida State after transferring from Albany, Verse finished with 32 total pressures and put his name on the map as a top NFL draft prospect. He’ll be licking his chops against a pair of inexperienced backup offensive tackles for Oklahoma as both Anton Harrison and Wayne Morris have opted out.

Jammie Robinson headlined a stout secondary that allowed just 5.9 yards per attempt, which ranked ninth in the country. Florida State also ranked 16th in EPA per pass allowed this season, so it will be a long afternoon for Dillon Gabriel, especially with the pressure he’s likely to face.

Oklahoma will also be without standout running back Eric Gray. He took 213 carries for 1,364 yards and 11 touchdowns this season, and he was one of the best running backs in the country with an elite 90.6 PFF grade. The downgrade to Oklahoma’s backup running backs is significant.

Florida State’s offense is intact, meanwhile, especially with dual-threat quarterback Jordan Travis returning for another season. Travis is averaging 8.9 yards per attempt and had 22 big-time throws to just seven turnover-worthy plays, per PFF. The FSU offense ranks top 15 in success rate and EPA per play as a result.

Travis also ran for seven touchdowns as part of an elite ground game that ranked top ten in rushing success rate, EPA, and explosiveness. Oklahoma got gashed on the ground all season, allowing 5.4 yards per carry and ranking outside the top 80 in the FBS in rushing success rate, EPA, and explosiveness. Look for Trey Benson and Treshaun Ward to feast on the ground here.

Florida State is a much higher caliber team here, and I’m comfortable laying the points when you consider motivational edges and the direction of these programs. The Seminoles also have a distinct location advantage here as this game is being played in Orlando, Florida at Camping World Stadium. This one screams blowout.

Best Bet: Florida State -9.5 (play to -10)

Alamo Bowl: Washington Huskies vs. Texas Longhorns

Washington had a turbulent season in Kalen DaBoer’s first year at the helm, but the one constant was Michael Penix Jr., who was a constant positive for this team. Penix Jr. ranked second in the country with 4,354 passing yards and had 29 touchdowns. He also had 25 big-time throws and just seven turnover-worthy plays, per PFF.

Penix Jr. was particularly adept against zone coverage, which Texas runs at a very high rate. You can expect him to find the gaps between the defenders in the secondary at a high rate, particularly with guys like Rome Odunze (70-1,088-7) and Jalen McMillan (71-1,040-8) excelling against zone defense.

The Huskies led the country with a whopping 56.3% third down conversion rate. It’s very difficult to get them off the field, and they ranked first in pass down EPA and success rate. Texas was outside the top 50 in both metrics defensively, and their pass rush struggled as they ranked just 97th in sack rate.

Texas will be without standout linebacker DeMarvion Overshown, who is opting out for the NFL draft, and he had 95 tackles this season. He was also a crucial part of Texas’s special teams play. However, Overshown wouldn’t have helped a Texas secondary that ranked 85th in explosive passing allowed this season.

Speaking of pass rush, Washington has it in spades. Bralen Trice, Jeremiah Martin, and Zion Tupuola-Fetui are monsters on the edge, all of whom are returning for another season. Quinn Ewers completed just 42.6% of his passes under pressure this year with six turnover-worthy plays and three big-time throws per PFF.

Of course, Texas will be without superstar running back Bijan Robinson and his backup Roschon Johnson who were arguably the best running back tandem in the country. Robinson, in particular, is destined to be a first-round pick, and the drop-off to the backup running backs is absolutely massive.

Washington’s pass defense isn’t great – they ranked outside the top 100 in pass play EPA and explosiveness allowed, and they got killed on passing downs. Quinn Ewers will likely have some success, but I frankly just am not a fan of his game, and he was a letdown on numerous occasions throughout the season.

This game may be in Texas, but the Huskies are the clear play here, and I expect the dogs to be barking on Thursday night. Penix Jr. was adamant that he would not be opting out as he’s excited for his first bowl game opportunity. I grabbed them +6 at open, but I like them to win this game, and I’ll happily take anything resembling plus money in this matchup.

Best Bet: Washington +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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