NCAA Football Bowl Game Picks - Take These Underdogs

NCAA Football Bowl Game Picks - Take These Underdogs
Image © Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
✍️ Written by
Ty Bronicel
🗓 Updated
Aug 8th 2023

Take these 5 college bowl-game underdogs to the bank

With the omicron variant of the coronavirus already wreaking havoc on the bowl season (see ya later, Gator Bowl-bound Texas A&M; Rutgers is now the replacement), some bets, due to cancellations, may be off.

However, that’s the only bowl game that’s been affected – so far.

For now, it appears the rest of the bowl shows must go on and most likely they will. is the place to go to be in the know as you navigate all the news and updated odds. See all NCAA F Odds.

Bowl games have always been highly unpredictable, especially in the last few years, but here are six underdogs to back between now and New Year’s Day. Before you bet, check out the best sportsbook promo code for every legal betting state.

Hawai'i Bowl: Hawaii vs. Memphis (-3.5)

Dec. 24, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN

Do you think the Tigers might be distracted by the beauty of Hawaii (basically a home game for the Rainbow Warriors) for a Christmas Eve game? I do.

Plus, Memphis is without its two best offensive players, leading rusher Brandon Thomas and receiver Calvin Austin III (NFL draft declaree).

Hawaii plus 8.5 points looks like an early Christmas gift.

Birmingham Bowl: No. 20 Houston vs. Auburn (-3)

Dec. 28, 12 p.m. ET, ESPN

Bryan Harsin’s first season at the helm ended with four straight losses (6-6 overall) and now he the Tigers will be without four starters (including QB Bo Nix, who’s transferring to Oregon).

Houston will score on Auburn, be sure of that, but the Tigers will also likely force some turnovers.

Should be close, as the spread indicates, but the call here is to take the Cougars with the points and the over (51.5).

Duke's Mayo Bowl: North Carolina (-7.5) vs. South Carolina

Dec. 30, 11:30 a.m. ET, ESPN

Both teams finished 6-6, but the Tar Heels have much more talent, including future NFL first-round pick QB Sam Howell.

But the plucky Gamecocks won’t back down from this one without a fight.

Nine points is too much … maybe even just by a point. Call it NC by eight.

Arizona Bowl: Boise State (-9.5) vs. Central Michigan

Dec. 31, 2 p.m. ET, Barstool Sports

Boise State’s 24th straight bowl game (third-longest streak in the nation) won’t be televised live.


The Broncos got their saddles handed to them by San Diego State in their regular-season finale, the Mountain West Championship game. Not a bad loss, but Central Michigan is one of those sneaky good teams, which has a powerful offense and has won four straight, so again, 9.5 points is a tad too high.

Rose Bowl: No. 6 Ohio State (-6.5) vs. No. 11 Utah

Jan. 1, 5 p.m. ET, ESPN

Full disclosure: I’m a University of Utah grad, but I’d take the Utes with points regardless.

The team is playing too well (serious beatdowns of a good Oregon squad two times in three weeks), they’ve rallied after a tragic, terrible start to their season and it’s the first time in school history (130 years) they’ll be playing in the Granddaddy of Them All.

This smells like the 2009 Sugar Bowl, when Utah capped an undefeated season by upsetting heavily-favored Alabama (-10.5). OSU’s offense will give the Utes’ stout defense fits, but in the end it’s Utah with the win. Destiny.

Finally, if you’re wondering: Wait, what? No CFP picks. Nope. Both Georgia (-7.5) and Alabama will roll (-13.5).

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