College football bowl action heats up on Saturday with a handful of New Year's Six bowl games, and of course we are looking for bets.
Georgia's pursuit of a third straight National Championship came to an end in the SEC Championship, but will the Bulldogs stay motivated to beat a Florida State team that has been ravaged by opt outs and injuries? We'll break down three of our favorite bets on the Saturday bowl slate, including the Citrus Bowl between Ole Miss and Penn State.
Best Bets for Saturday, December 30th Bowl Action
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Ole Miss vs. Penn State Prediction and Pick
There are some opt-outs on both sides of the ball. For Penn State, the team likely won't have the services of future NFL Draft picks in offensive lineman Olu Fashanu and cornerback Kalen King in addition to the already opted-out pass rusher Chop Robinson. Further, the team won't have its defensive coordinator Manny Diaz (head coach of Duke) and won't have the full services of new offensive coordinator Andy Kotelnicki, who is coming from Kansas.
Meanwhile, for Ole Miss, will be down the likes of starting offensive linemen Micah Pettus and a few depth pieces at safety, but Dart will start alongside running back Quinshon Judkins. As of now, the Rebels will have the opt-out edge, but will it matter?
The Ole Miss defense has been overrated by most metrics for much of the season, below the national average in success rate allowed and 86th in EPA/Rush allowed, a big issue against a Penn State offense that is 20th in success rate with a pair of stud running backs in Kaytron Allen and Nicholas Singleton.
However, given the loss of Robinson on the team's pass rush, I believe the Penn State defense which is tops in EPA/Play this season, may struggle to get margin on the Ole Miss offense that is 26th in EPA/Play against difficult SEC schedule.
Further, after battling injuries down the stretch of the season, Dart will have more than a month to get healthy and ready for this bowl game with a host of weapons at his disposal.
Penn State's defense grades out as elite, but will be down a few key contributors and Allar hasn't proven he can outduel elite offenses just yet. I'll take the underdog to keep this game close.
PICK: Ole Miss +4.5
Wyoming vs. Toledo Prediction and Pick
Toledo opened as a two-and-a-half point favorite, but since Finn hit the portal and Bohl announced his retirement, the number has steamed in the other direction as Wyoming is now more than a field goal favorite, three-and-a-half point chalk.
I agree with the line move and believe that the Pokes are a strong moneyline parlay piece, but if forced to choose I'd lay the points against Toledo.
Bohl, in his last game as head coach, has been a cash cow in bowl games, as noted above. The Pokes' head coach is 12-3 ATS in bowl games and the team is equipped to slow down Toledo's big play-needy offense that will be without its starting quarterback.
The Rockets are 54th in explosive rush rate and 26th in explosive pass rate, averaging nearly eight yards per pass attempt. However, with Gleason under center, we need to downgrade this Toledo offense, which drew a brutal matchup against Wyoming, who is 20th in both explosive run and pass defense and 17th in turnovers gained.
I think Wyoming gets it done in Bohl's last game.
PICK: Wyoming -3.5
Georgia vs. Florida State Prediction and Pick
There are opt outs galore in this game, let me list them:
Georgia: Star pass rusher Jamon Dumas-Johnson (3.5 sacks), special teams ace Mekhi Mews with several others undeclared about their intentions of playing. Some that are up in the air: tight end Brock Bowers, wide receiver Ladd McConkey, offensive lineman Amarius Mims, guard Tate Ratledge, center Sedrick Van Pran and safety Javon Bullard.
Florida State: Converted backup quarterback Tate Rodemaker and running back Trey Benson has opted out as well as top two pass catchers Keon Coleman and Johnny Wilson. Future first round pass rusher Jared Verse is also an opt out candidate. Linebacker DJ Lundy has opted out.
There will be plenty of more news in the lead up to this game, so make sure to stay plugged in, but it's tough to trust Florida State against even the backups of Georgia's defense.
The Bulldogs defense allowed less than two points per drive and less than five yards per play, top 16 in both metrics. In two games without Travis, Florida State averaged less than four yards per play and I struggle to see the team showing up in this game with the slew of opt outs on offense already.
Meanwhile, with Beck expected to suit up, I believe this will be a clean game from the Bulldogs offense. It's unclear if his top pass catchers will be on the field but I'm going to trust the talent on hand from the Bulldogs to show up and execute a sound game plan.
The Georgia offensive line was top 10 in both run and pass blocking grade, per Pro Football Focus. The team dealt with injuries all season at that position and still managed to churn out an elite grade, so I'm confident the team can hold off the Florida State pass rush.
Even if Georgia has little motivation, the talent on the roster will win out and hand FSU a likely blowout loss. I have to lay the points in this situation.
The spread has ballooned as more and more opt outs have piled in for the Seminoles, so I'll pivot and take the Georgia team total over with Beck set to cook a patchwork FSU defense.
PICK: Georgia Team Total OVER 31.5
Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.
Track Reed's bets here!