If you’re looking to cash in on some pre New Year’s Day bowl games that are offering a bunch of value, then I’ve got a trio of expert picks that you just won’t be able to pass on.
Now, let’s get started in the Lone Star State where the Stanford Cardinal and North Carolina Tar Heels will meet in the Sun Bowl.
Pre New Year’s Bowl Football Bettors Can’t Pass On
2016 Hyundai Sun Bowl
Who: North Carolina Tar Heels (8-4) at Stanford Cardinal (9-3)
When: Friday, Dec. 30, 2016 at 2:00 PM ET
Where: Sun Bowl Stadium, El Paso, TX
NCAAF Odds: Stanford -3 / Total: 54
Analysis: North Carolina (8-4 SU, 7-5 ATS) lost two of their final three games including their 28-21 loss to in-state rival NC State in their regular season finale. Stanford (9-3 SU, 7-6 ATS) won their final five games of the season and rolled all over Rice in their regular season finale 41-17.
The North Carolina Tar Heels offense is averaging 33.0 points per game to rank a solid 40th in scoring nationally behind gifted quarterback Mitch Trubisky. Defensively, North Carolina gave up 24.9 points per game to rank a respectable 46th nationally in points allowed. The Cardinal are averaging 26.4 points per game to rank a mediocre 82nd nationally in scoring behind quarterback Keller Chryst. Stanford’s defense has been rock-solid in limiting the opposition to just 20.1 points per game to rank a stellar 17th in points allowed nationally.
I know Stanford superstar running back Christian McCaffery has decided not to play in this affair, but I still love the value the Cardinal are offering because of their phenomenal defense. While North Carolina has an elite quarterback that may believe could be the top pick in next year’s NFL Draft, the Tar Heels are often inconsistent on both sides of the ball and don’t have enough depth to keep pace with the loaded Cardinal.
Stanford has gone 7-0 ATS in their last seven games in the month of December and 6-1 ATS in their last seven bowl games. While North Carolina has gone 4-1 ATS in their last five games against a team with a winning record, the Tar Heels are also 0-5 ATS in their last five neutral site games.
Stanford is offering plenty of value as a manageable 3-point favorite and I like the Cardinal to get the win by keeping Mitch Trubisky on the sideline as much as possible with their ball control offense.
Pick: Stanford 28 North Carolina 24
2016 Capital One Orange Bowl
Who: Michigan Wolverines (10-2) at Florida State Seminoles (9-3)
When: Friday, Dec. 30, 2016 at 8:00 PM ET
Where: Hard Rock Stadium, Miami Gardens, FL
NCAAF Odds: Michigan -7 / Total: 52
Analysis: Michigan (10-2 SU, 6-6 ATS) will be look to cap off their season with a feel-good win after losing a heartbreaker against No. 3 Ohio State that kept them out of the four-team playoff. Florida State (9-3 SU, 7-5 ATS) closed out the regular season by winning four straight, including their 31-13 rout of in-state rival Florida in their finale.
The Wolverines average a whopping 41.0 points per game this season to rank 12th nationally in scoring while limiting the opposition to just 12.5 points per game to rank a stupendous second in points allowed behind only top-ranked Alabama. This season, Florida State put up a solid 35.2 points per game to rank 32nd in scoring nationally while limiting their opponents to a respectable 24.4 points per contest to rank 43rd in points allowed.
I’m going to get right to the point with my pick on this intriguing matchup by saying that I like the Florida State Seminoles to get the ATS cover as touchdown underdogs. I like Florida State’s more explosive offense and the dual-threat gifts of quarterback Deondre Francois, not to mention the powerful rushing of running back Dalvin Cook.
Michigan’s offense could use more playmakers at the skill positions and Florida State has plenty of motivation to cp off their season with a huge win over the higher ranked Wolverines. Michigan has gone 2-4 ATS in its last six games and 0-4 ATS in their last four non-conference games. Conversely, Florida State has gone 4-1 ATS in its last five games and 4-0 ATS in their last four games following a straight up win.
Pick: Michigan 30 Florida State 28
2016 TaxSlayer Bowl
Who: Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (8-4) at Kentucky Wildcats (7-5)
When: Saturday, Dec. 31 at 11:00 AM
Where: EverBank Field, Jacksonville, FL
Spread: Georgia Tech -5 / Game Total: 62
Analysis: Georgia Tech (8-4 SU, 6-5 ATS) won their final three games of the season including their hard-fought 28-27 win over Georgia in their regular season finale. The Yellow Jackets have put up 28.7 points per game to rank 69th in scoring nationally behind quarterback Justin Thomas. Defensively, Georgia Tech allows 25.0 points per contest to rank 47th nationally in points allowed.
Kentucky (7-5 SU, 7-5 ATS) won their final two games and come into this game off a thrilling 41-38 win over Louisville and Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Lamar Jackson in the irregular season finale. The Wildcats average 31.0 points per game to rank 53rd nationally in scoring behind quarterback Stephen Johnson. Defensively, Kentucky gave up a generous 31.1 points per game to rank an uninspiring 87th in points allowed nationally.
Look, I’ve been as disappointed with Georgia as any college football fan in the country, but the fact of the matter is that Georgia simply has too much roster talent to lose this contest, not to mention the Yellow Jackets are playing their best football of the season in winning four of their last five. Kentucky is 9-20 ATS in their last 29 games following an ATS win and 1-4 ATS in their last five non-conference games.
Georgia Tech is 10-4 ATS in their last 14 games following an ATS win and 4-1 ATS in their last five games against a team with a winning record. I’m going with Georgia Tech’s stupendous rushing attack to get the ob done against a Kentucky team that has its issues and simply isn’t as good on both sides of the ball as the Yellow Jackets.
Pick: Georgia Tech 31 Kentucky 24