College Football Best Bets 12/31/22 Bowl Games: Kentucky vs. Iowa, Kansas State vs. Alabama, Georgia vs. Ohio State

Get College Football best bets 12/31/22 for Kentucky vs. Iowa, Kansas State vs. Alabama, Georgia vs. Ohio State

College Football Bowl Game Best Bets 12/31/22

Saturday brings some epic college football action, including the two semi-final games. Michigan faces TCU and Georgia faces Ohio State for opportunities at glory in the championship game. You can find coverage for these games and every bowl game on the Lineups YouTube channel. In this article, I’ll break down my best bets from the Saturday slate.

The Friday slate wasn’t too kind to us. I expected M.J. Morris to get the start for NC State, and instead it was Ben Finley, who is significantly worse. I expected Zach Charbonnet to suit up for UCLA, and he didn’t. I thought Clemson could finish their drives with points, but they outgained Tennessee by over 100 yards and lost by 17 points. I’m not bitter.

You won’t find the Michigan game in this article as I’m an alum and I don’t bet on our games. I can tell you that I lean towards Michigan ATS and the under. Kody wrote a great preview of that game for our site, and I’ll link it here. Anyways, let’s get to work.

College Football 2022 Record: 16.5-13.5 (+2.79 units)

Music City Bowl – Kentucky Wildcats vs. Iowa Hawkeyes

Kentucky was hit hard by opt outs in this bowl game, most notably on offense. Quarterback Will Levis, who many believe is a first-round NFL prospect, as well as running back Chris Rodriguez have declared for the draft. Meanwhile, backup RB Kavosiey Smoke is transferring and third-string RB Ramon Jefferson is injured.

The Wildcats will be down to a backup quarterback and fourth-string running back with multiple receivers out. They will also be without offensive coordinator Rich Scangarello and running backs coach John Settle, both of whom were fired after the season. That lack of continuity is troubling.

Either Destin Wade or Kaiya Sheron will get the start for the Wildcats against a stout Iowa defense that didn’t lose as many pieces as expected. Linebackers Jack Campbell and Seth Benson and cornerback Riley Moss are all playing despite declaring for the draft, leaving this defense with its best players intact.

Iowa will be without quarterbacks Alex Padilla (transfer) and Spencer Petra (injured), but neither one was good this season, and it’s conceivable that third-string quarterback Joey Labas could be an upgrade. Regardless, it’s huge that tight end Sam LaPorta will play despite declaring for the draft.

Iowa’s biggest edge in this defense-dominated game is its special teams. The Hawkeyes rank 15th in FEI compared to the Wildcats’ ranking of 36th, and their punting efficiency is 9th compared to Kentucky’s 94th ranking. Tory Taylor was one of the best punters in the country.

The punting game is crucial in a game with an absurdly low over-under of 31 points as Iowa will consistently be winning the field position battle. That will be enough to get them the win here in my opinion, and I like them to exact some revenge on Kentucky after losing to them in a bowl game last season.

I’m taking the moneyline here rather than laying the points as every point will matter in this game. A final score of 10-9 or 12-10 is very conceivable. You can also pair the ML with a big favorite like Michigan or LSU on Monday. Personally, I paired Iowa with LSU as I have a high degree of confidence in the Tigers.

Best Bet: Iowa ML (-135 or better)

Sugar Bowl – Kansas State Wildcats vs. Alabama Crimson Tide

When the bowl game lines first opened, I played Kansas State +6.5 fully expecting there to be significant opt outs on the Alabama side. It only made sense for players like Bryce Young, Jahmyr Gibbs, and Will Anderson, among others, to opt out to prepare for the NFL draft after a disappointing season kept them out of the College Football Playoff.

While Alabama head coach Nick Saban announced that there are no opt outs for this game, I still believe there is value on Kansas State here. The Crimson Tide struggled against the spread all season, losing outright as a favorite to Tennessee and LSU and nearly losing to Texas. It was the worst version of Alabama since 2008 per Sports Reference’s Simple Ratings System.

Meanwhile, Kansas State had an excellent season with very few blemishes. There was a loss to Tulane, who is playing in the Cotton Bowl as the best team in the Group of Five this season. The Wildcats also lost to TCU after holding a 28-point halftime lead and seeing both their first and second-string quarterbacks get hurt. Those injuries followed them into their ensuing seven-point loss to Texas.

However, they beat TCU, a CFP team, in the Big 12 Championship as they were finally back at full strength. Had a few things gone differently in this season, it could have been Kansas State instead of TCU representing the B12 in the CFP, and to suggest that the Wildcats are a plucky team just excited to be here is missing the boat.

Jahmyr Gibbs should have plenty of success in this game, if he’s actually given a full workload, as the Wildcats ranked 105th in average line yards and 87th in stuff rate. When Gibbs gets into the open field, you can forget about it, as he’s one of the most difficult players to tackle in the sport.

Bryce Young will be at full strength after a shoulder injury limited him during the season, but how much does he actually want to put it on the line? It would be unfortunate if Young suffered an injury in this game right before he’s about to become likely the #1 overall pick in the NFL. He’s a dynamic passer, of course, but this won’t be a cake walk for him without reliable pass-catchers against a standout Kansas State secondary.

Even if Young and Gibbs are at full strength, this is a Kansas State defense that ranked ninth in FEI this season. They also ranked top 30 in success rate, EPA, and finishing drives allowed. They aren’t a pushover, and I have a ton of respect for defensive coordinator Joe Klanderman. He’ll have his defense ready to rock in this game.

It will be huge that cornerback Ekow Boye-Doe is expected to be a full go for this game after getting banged up in the Big 12 Championship. Pass-rusher Felix Anudike-Uzomah is the big name to watch here as he has an excellent opportunity to put together great film against an Alabama offensive line that lost starting guard Javion Cohen.

The Crimson Tide are also vulnerable on the ground as they ranked outside the top 50 in average line yards and rush play success rate allowed. That means Deuce Vaughn will be able to match Gibbs with big plays on the ground and through the air before he also heads off to the NFL.

Joining him could be dual-threat quarterback Adrian Martinez, and while Will Howard will get the start here, Martinez could add a rushing dynamic to the offense that would be huge as Alabama struggled against mobile quarterbacks throughout the season.

While Alabama might be more motivated for this game than originally anticipated, this is a well-coached Kansas State team that has plenty of star talent and will be highly motivated, as well. You can get a full seven points on the Wildcats now, and that’s well worth taking in a game that I expect to be close throughout.

Best Bet: Kansas State +7

Peach Bowl – Georgia Bulldogs vs. Ohio State Buckeyes

I’m linking my full preview for this game here as I went in depth as to why I like the Buckeyes to cover and potentially win outright. I had originally assumed Georgia was the side, but after extensive research into the game, I realized that my Maize and Blue colored glasses were clouding my judgement and keeping me from a great value on OSU.

The crux of the argument is that Ohio State’s elite wide receivers can win against a Georgia secondary that has proven leaky at times and the Bulldogs won’t get consistent pressure on C.J. Stroud without blitzing after losing star pass-rusher Nolan Smith. Georgia will get points on the board, but I expect this to be a field goal game either way that comes down to the final few minutes.

There’s still a +6.5 at -120 odds on FanDuel, and I’d grab that while it’s still there. I’m also playing the first half spread at +3.5 for Ohio State and the over 62 points. Am I over invested in this game? Possibly, but it’s a semi-final game, and it’s the one my team isn’t playing in. I’d love to see a Michigan vs. Ohio State championship game.

Best Bets: Ohio State +3.5 First Half, Ohio State +6.5, Over 62.5 points

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.

Hot Betting News Stories