Santa Clay is coming to town!
Here we go with the final college football gambling pick column of 2019.
Right now we are sitting at 89-83 on the season for a 51.7% winning percentage.
But I’ve gotten killed in the past two years on bowl games, primarily because it’s virtually impossible to figure out two things: 1. which teams care about a glorified exhibition? & 2. who’s playing?
So this year I’m dialing back my bowl game exposure by focusing more on totals and the games that we know actually matter, the playoff games.
During the college football season I post my Outkick picks every Monday afternoon on the VIP message board so you can get the earliest numbers possible. Then I’ll post the picks for free here on Wednesday afternoons. This year’s new VIP’s will receive an autographed copy of my new book, Republicans Buy Sneakers Too, access to our VIP events across the nation, a VIP message board, a VIP phone line for my radio show, and other cool experiences, potentially involving the TV show(s), which will be announced on the VIP message board. So make sure you sign up for Outkick VIP today.
So here we go with the bowl game picks.
It’s Santa Clay season, so buckle up for 11-0.
Michigan State-Wake Forest, over 50
The last five Wake Forest games have all totaled at least 54 points. Meanwhile the Michigan State defense has been sporadic at best down the stretch run of the season.
So what happens when the two teams meet tomorrow in a game with virtually no significance?
I think points rain down because I see Wake Forest’s pace dominating the game and the Demon Deacon defense allowing the Spartans to score alongside them.
It’s a virtual track meet in the Pinstripe Bowl!
Hop on the over.
Oklahoma State vs. Texas A&M -6.5
You know how I talked about the importance of figuring out whether a team cares or not when it comes to a bowl game? I think Texas A&M is going to care in a big way here. The Aggies were embarrassed by LSU in the final game of their regular season, losing 50-7.
Jimbo Fisher knows the honeymoon in College Station can end in a hurry if he doesn’t get the narrative flipped quickly.
Sure, the recruiting class success helped, but you know what would help much more?
A big win against an old conference foe headed into the offseason.
Meanwhile Oklahoma State is dealing with injuries on offense and this Aggie defense, for most of the year at least, was solid.
I see A&M by ten or more.
Memphis-Penn State, the over 60.5
This is the biggest football game in Memphis history.
So how do you handle a game this big? You don’t tiptoe up to it, you go balls to the wall. I see Memphis, under their new head coach Ryan Silverfield, wanting to make a statement in this game about the type of head coach he’ll be. What kind of statement will that include? That the offense isn’t slowing down.
On the other side of the ball Penn State is replacing their offensive coordinator and their defense, which was very stout early in the season, backslid as the season continued.
So what do we expect here?
Points aplenty on both sides.
Buckle up and enjoy the ride, the over hits by late in the third quarter.
Oklahoma-LSU -13.5 and the under 76
The most underrated aspect of LSU’s team down the stretch has been their defense. The Tigers were wobbly at times during this season on the defensive side of the ball, but look at what they’ve done in the final three games of the season.
They held Arkansas to 20 points, which included two late fourth quarter touchdowns after the game had been decided, Texas A&M to seven and Georgia to ten. Those latter two games represented season lows for both A&M and Georgia.
Put simply, the LSU defense has shown up in a big way down the stretch.
Meanwhile the Oklahoma offense hasn’t been that good, honestly, down the stretch for the Sooners. That’s especially the case when you consider the offensive success Oklahoma had earlier in the season.
The Sooners have been to the playoff three times and they’ve lost their three playoff games by an average of over 13 points. And this is the worst Sooner team to make the playoff yet, a team that could easily have lost to Baylor twice, Iowa State, and TCU.
Sure, the Sooners are 12-1, but they could easily be 9-3 and have missed the Big 12 title game.
I just think LSU is playing at an entirely different level than the Sooners. Even with the injury at running back for the Tigers, I don’t see this game being close.
LSU by twenty or more and I love the under here too because I think the LSU defense handles this Oklahoma offense pretty well.
In fact, I don’t think Oklahoma scores more than 24.
Call it LSU 45 Oklahoma 24
Clemson-2 vs. Ohio State and the over 63.5
This bet is all about Justin Fields’s health and Ohio State’s decline over the past three games.
The Buckeyes have played three good halves and three bad halves in their past six games. That inconsistency didn’t cost them games against Penn State, Michigan or Wisconsin.
But it will cost them the game against Clemson.
Especially since I believe Clemson is the better, more balanced team.
After early season issues Trevor Lawrence has been outstanding over the back half of the season and the Tigers haven’t just been winning, they haven’t been challenged, winning every game since October by 31 or more.
One team is accelerating into the curve, while another team is decelerating.
I like Clemson by double digits and the over here.
Call it 38-28 Tigers.
Virginia-Florida, the over 54.5
The Gator offense is going to put on a show against a Virginia defense that has been suspect all season long.
Check out these point totals: 31, 28, 27, 30 and 62.
That’s the amount of points Virginia has given up in its past five games.
Meanwhile Florida has come into its own offensively under quarterback Kyle Trask.
Dan Mullen wants to send a message to the SEC and the rest of college football that his team is legit for 2020.
Give me the Gators 42-24.
Wisconsin-Oregon, the under 52
Okay, I’m buying into both teams being motivated to play in the Rose Bowl.
And if that happens then the defenses show up to play and we get an old-fashioned bruiser on New Year’s Day in Pasadena.
I know the Wisconsin offense outperformed the defense late in the season, but I think that flips in the bowl game.
Both of these teams, when healthy, are elite on defense.
And I think both teams will be pretty healthy for this match-up.
So have a Rose Bowl under to help cure your New Year’s Eve hangover.
Tennessee -1.5 vs. Indiana, the over 51.5
You know how I said you have no idea what kind of motivation teams will have in bowl games? I don’t think that will be an issue for Tennessee and Indiana.
Both teams want to cement a decent year with a big win in a Florida bowl game.
While Tennessee has been to a ton of Florida bowl games over the years, this is Indiana’s first trip to a Florida bowl game.
Seriously, how incredible is that stat?
Jeremy Pruitt’s Vols are 6-1 in their past seven, with a road loss to Alabama as the only blemish, and Indiana posted eight wins, with a narrow loss to Michigan State keeping the Hoosiers from posting nine wins.
This Vol defense has been stout during the winning streak, but it’s Jarrett Guarantano who makes the Vol offense go. If he’s playing well the Vols have a trio of receivers that give them game breaking potential.
I think the erratic Guarantano, with ample time to recover from his injured hand, will have a big day passing.
The Vols post 35 points and win going away by double digits.
Call it Vols 35 Hoosiers 24.
There you have it, boys and girls, Santa Clay is coming to town and he’s going 11-0.
Hope y’all have had a great holiday and thanks for supporting Outkick for another great year in 2019.