5 Betting Takeaways From College Football Selection Day: Navigating Bowl Odds

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Michael Penix Jr. #9 of the Washington Huskies runs the ball during the fourth quarter against the Oregon Ducks during the Pac-12 Championship at Allegiant Stadium on December 01, 2023. Ian Maule/Getty Images/AFP

If there’s one thing we’ve all come to expect about the College Football Playoff selection process, it’s not to expect any consistency from one year to the next.

And if there’s one thing we’ve known for years about college football in general, it’s that money talks and bulldroppings walk. Which works out fine, since that’s pretty much the same rule for anyone playing the NCAAF odds.

Dawgs & ‘Noles Left Outside Looking In

To be fair, the CFP Selection Committee had a tough job, a job that could’ve been made easier had Georgia taken care of business in the SEC Championship. A Bulldogs win and the committee could’ve just gone with four unbeaten Power 5 conference champions and called it a day.

The Bulldogs did not, however, take care of business, and a winning streak that started in the 2021 CFP came to an end to quash Georgia’s three-peat hopes.

Not taking a 13-0 Florida State team is one of the all-time snubs. If I was a betting man –and I am–, there would be a willingness to lay some mighty thick chalk that committee chairman, Boo Corrigan, and his 12 pals, won’t be receiving too many Christmas cards from the 32306.

Florida State got jobbed, regardless of what some metric or stat says. If Texas wins the Big 12 with its 3rd-string quarterback, it would boost Arch Manning at our offshore sportsbooks to win the next Heisman Trophy. For the Seminoles, it’s as if they’re being punished for a brilliant effort.

Picking up the pieces and regrouping will be the toughest jobs for the Florida State and Georgia coaching staffs. They’ll also have to game plan for their matchup in the Orange Bowl, where the Bulldogs will be 2-TD favorites.

An Epic Rose Bowl Matchup

While the exclusion of Florida State and Georgia is being debated, what can’t be argued is the committee giving fans and bettors two pretty good matchups in the CFP semifinals.

After meeting in four Florida bowl games before, Michigan and Alabama will be on the other side of the Lower 48 for this year’s Rose Bowl. The storylines are numerous, beginning with the two coaches, Jim Harbaugh and Nick Saban.

Another storyline is the betting line for the matchup; the Wolverines opened as point-&-a-half chalk, marking the first time in 15 years that Alabama is an underdog to a team outside the SEC. For those scoring at home, the Crimson Tide won that game in August 2008, beating Clemson 34-10 to begin Saban’s second season at Alabama.

Alabama owns a slim 3-2 edge in the previous meetings with Michigan, the most recent at the 2020 Citrus Bowl, where the Crimson Tide covered the -7½ with a 35-16 decision.

QB Collision in Big Easy

Storylines also abound in the Sugar Bowl, where Washington and Texas battle in a Pac-12/Big 12 contest for the other CFP semifinal. BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review) has the Longhorns priced -4 in a rematch from last year’s Alamo Bowl.

Once again, there’s a coaching storyline, as Steve Sarkisian leads Texas up against a Huskies team he used to manage.

This contest also has one of the highest early totals at 64, and that’s because of the marquee quarterbacks, Michael Penix Jr. and Quinn Ewers. Their performances will affect their future NFL Draft stock.

Washington beat Texas last December down in San Antonio, and this is their fourth matchup in a bowl game. Next time the Huskies and Longhorns do that, it will be as Big Ten and SEC foes.

Will LSU’s Daniels Play in the Bowl Game?

Penix is currently second on the Heisman Trophy odds following a fine senior season at Washington. But it’s a distant second to LSU’s Jayden Daniels, who is huge chalk to walk away with the hardware on December 09.

The Tigers opened as double-digit favorites in their ReliaQuest Bowl meeting with Wisconsin, but that could change if Daniels opts out of playing in advance of declaring for the 2024 NFL Draft. Sure is tempting to grab the Badgers and those 10-11 points right now.

Irish, Beavers Kick Off New Year’s Weekend

With New Year’s Day being a Monday, it’s going to make for a weekend full of New Year’s Eves starting on Friday. And that means a little day drinking at my favorite local that afternoon to see an interesting Sun Bowl skirmish between Oregon State and Notre Dame.

It’s a mismatch according to the early betting lines, but then we know Notre Dame’s price is always inflated. The Beavers will be without top rusher Damien Martinez (1,185 yds) following his drunk-driving arrest, on top of QB DJ Uiagalelei, who entered the transfer portal…again.

Oh, and Oregon State also lost head coach Jonathan Smith, now residing in East Lansing, so it’s a huge mess in Corvallis right now. And yet, I’m still drawn to the Beavers and the points for one of my free picks.

*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.