Welcome to the second season of The Old College Try. I’ll be here each week, trying to beat the book by betting on college football. All lines accurate as of Monday, December 28th. Picks appear in bold.
We’ve made it to Bowl Season, and we did it with a nice profit. The Old College Try went 39-25-2 (60.94%!) on the season for a total profit of $1,160. Given all the uncertainty that has been thrown at college football, that is a heck of a year.
As I said in the first week and have tried to remind you all throughout the season, I wouldn’t advise betting any of these games until right before game time. That’s good advice for any bowl season with injuries and opt-outs up in the air until the last minute, but it’s doubly important with the risk of COVID.
This article will work a bit differently than most. I wanted to get the picks out before the games on the 29th, but due to time constraints wasn’t able to finish the rest of my picks. So with that being said, I’m posting this with two picks to start out (part one), and then will update this article with the remainder of our bowl season picks at a later time (read: probably before the evening of the 30th).
So, for the last time (or second to last, depending on when you’re reading this), let’s get to the picks. And, just like I promised in Week 1, now that we’ve made it to +10 units I’ll finally have a parlay for you (as well as our weekly Dawg talk), in the second edition of these column.
The Cheez-it Bowl ‘Canes Comeback of the Week
Oklahoma State vs Miami +1 (-110)
D’Eriq King is coming back for one more season and he might be looking to make a statement in this bowl game (man, I really hope he plays in this game). The quarterback and the rest of the Hurricanes should certainly have a bad taste in their mouth after a drubbing at the hands of the Tar Heels a few weeks ago. Miami has a history of underperformance in bowl games, but I’m hoping that their star and leader returning, along with a desire to redeem themselves after that loss to UNC, will give the Canes enough motivation to show up for this one.
Oklahoma State has the better defense in this game even without Miami missing its two best players on that side of the ball due to opt-outs. They also have the best receiver in the game. However, they aren’t without their own opt-out isssues.
Chuba Hubbard, their star running back (who, yes, took a step back this season), has opted out to focus on the draft. That weakens an already pretty shoddy run game. The Oklahoma State offensive line is weak enough that even a depleted Miami defensive line should be able to get some push here. If the Cowboys have to do it all through the air, I’m just not sure they can keep up with D’Eriq King. I’m rolling with the Canes.
The Bygone Big 12 Rival Bovine Battle of the Week
Colorado vs Texas -7 (-120)
Bet: $120 to win $100
Maybe there’s a theme to this bowl season, because two picks in, I’m rolling with two superstar quarterbacks. Sam Ehlinger is making what is likely his last stand a Longhorn, quite fittingly, at the Alamo Bowl. This one is less about Ehlinger, though, and more about Colorado. I just am not sure what’s supposed to be so impressive about this team.
Colorado is 4-1, but they’ve beaten UCLA (in a crazy weird game) and Stanford by one score, San Diego State and a horrendous Arizona team by 10 and 11, respectively, and lost by 17 to Utah. Texas has played more games and thus has the more visible warts, but I think they’re also the much better team.
The Longhorns won three out of their last four, and had solid performances in each of those games. I don’t think Colorado will be able to stop Ehlinger and company, especially the way that Bijan Robinson has been running the ball, and I think the Longhorn defense will be able to slow down this Buffalo herd. I’ve got Texas winning by double digits.
More Picks! (Added 1/1)
Alright, this section’s going to be a bit more succinct than the normal picks due to time constraints (massive procratination by me). You don’t have to look so happy about it.
The One Where We See Alabama vs. Clemson Yet Again
Clemson -7 vs Ohio State (-110)
Bet: $220 to win $200
Alabama -19.5 vs Notre Dame (-110)
Bet: $110 to win $100
Yep, we’re taking both of the favorites in the playoff. Nineteen points does scare me a bit, but I think Alabama is the best team in the country, and they should be able to use the tape from the Clemson-Notre Dame match up last week to at least slow down the Irish. Does Notre Dame get to 30? 27? I think they’ll need to if they’re going to cover here.
Ohio State’s got an advantage in their game as Clemson has had to put a lot more on tape than the Buckeyes have. Plus, it looks like Clemson will be missing their offensive coordinator due to COVID. I’m still rolling with the Tigers. Northwestern exposed some serious issues with the Buckeye passing game in the B1G championship game, and now Ohio State will be facing the best defensive coordinator in the country. Trey Sermon won’t be able to save them this time.
The Opt Out Onslaught of the Week
Texas A&M -7 vs UNC (-110)
Bet: $220 to win $200
Another favorite, another SEC team? Yeah, and this one is all about the opt outs. North Carolina is missing their three best offensive skill players, and A&M really hasn’t had anybody opt out. I just don’t see any way UNC can replace that much production against a very solid Aggie defense. I’m expecting a 14+ point win.
The Ugly Football Under of the Week
Kentucky at NC State Under 48.5 (-110)
Bet: $110 to win $100
Unders in bowl season are terrifying, because weird stuff tends to happen in these games. That being said, though, Kentucky fired their offensive coordinator (don’t feel great about that move, by the way) and can’t throw the ball. Their offense doesn’t have any big play guys, and I think they can at least slow NC State down. To get over this total, I think we’ll need a couple defensive scores. Let’s cross our fingers and hope they don’t come.
Can We Bet on the Dawgs?
Georgia -7 vs Cincinatti
Yes we can! It’s not a knock on Cincinatti to say that Georgia is just a much more talented team. The Bearcats had a fantastic season and their defense is very solid. Their offense found its footing too after some lackluster performances early in the season.
Georgia will certainly have some opt out issues, especially on defense, but it’s not enough to change my pick here. There are plenty of talented guys that can step up, and the next man up for the Dawgs should be able to Georgia controls the trenches in this game, and I don’t think Desmond Ridder can carry the Bearcats all by himself. Dawgs by double digits.
And, as promised…
The Big Bowl Parlay
Auburn ML vs Northwestern (+170)
Auburn vs Northwestern Under 44 (-110)
Cincinatti vs Georgia Over 53 (-110)
Oregon ML vs Iowa State (+170)
Total: 4 legs (+2,557)
Bet: $50 to win $1,278.47
Ok, so actual gambling advice: don’t take this, and in fact, don’t take parlays in general. They’re a negative EV proposition, and it’s much better to bet the games individually.
But it’s the end of the year, and we’re sitting on a big profit, so why not have a little fun? I think Auburn (especially if Bigsby plays) and Oregon are live dogs here with the more talented teams. Auburn lacking a coach will be an issue here, but Northwestern hasn’t run the ball well this year and that might cause problems against the Tigers. I do think Northwestern’s defense will show up (although they’re missing probably their best defensive player in Greg Newsome II), so I’m jumping on the under too.
And that’s all, folks. Thank you for sticking around for another season of The Old College Try! I hope you had fun, and I hope you won some money this year. Here’s to a 2021 filled with less stress, fewer political ads, and even more gambling profits.