Top Betting Picks for First Round of College Football Bowls

Written by Eric Williams on Tuesday,December 5, 2017 10:40, EDT

With the start of the 2017 NCAAF Bowl Season just over 10 days away from getting started, now is the perfect time for some top picks on the first round of College Football Bowls that will get underway on Saturday, December 16. Thanks to the pair of picks that you’re about to get, you’re going to have a great chance to get your 2017 bowl betting campaign off to a fast and furious start! Okay, let’s get down to business, but don’t forget to check the latest College Football betting odds!

Top Betting Picks for First Round of College Football Bowls

R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl

  • Game: North Texas (9-4) vs. Troy (10-2)
  • When: Saturday, December 16, 2017, 1:00 PM ET
  • Where: Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, Louisiana
  • TV: ESPN
  • NCAAF Odds: Troy -5.5
  • Total: 60

North Texas is pretty damned hot, having won eight of their last 10 games as they get set to take on Troy in the 2017 New Orleans Bowl. Unfortunately, the Mean Green are coming into this postseason matchup off an uninspiring 41-17 blowout loss against Florida Atlantic on Dec. 2 in which they never came close to covering the chalk as an 11-point underdog.

Still, this is a team with something to play for as they seek to reach the 10-win mark for the first time in program history. Unfortunately, the Mean Green are just 2-5 all-time in bowl appearances, so history isn’t on their side. Quarterback Mason Fine had a really solid season by completing 64.3 percent of his passes for 3,749 yards with 28 touchdowns and 13 interceptions.

Running back Jeffery Wilson racked up fantastic 1,215 yards and 16 touchdowns and the Mean Green put an impressive 35.9 points per game on the board (20th). Unfortunately, North Texas also allowed a whopping 33.8 points per contest defensively (106th).

The Troy Trojans hit the R+L Carriers Bowl on a red-hot roll, having won six straight games including their thrilling 32-25 win over Arkansas State on Dec. 3. Quarterback Brandon Silvers threw two touchdown passes, including the game-winner with 17 seconds remaining to lift troy to the win in a fantastic finish on Saturday night to help the Trojans nab a share of the Sun Belt Conference title.

Silvers completed 62.9 percent of his passes this season for 2,985 yards with 13 touchdowns and six interceptions. The Trojans averaged 30.0 points per game (52nd) while limiting the opposition to just 17.5.


North Texas may be looking to record the first 10-win season in school history, but it’s not going to happen against a Troy team that is just too good defensively to lose in their lone appearance at the College Football Bowls season.

I know the Mean Green are 7-1 ATS in their last 8 non-conference games and 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games overall, but the Trojans have covered the chalk in three straight, including twice as a favorite of at least 17.5 points while also going 9-3 ATS in their last dozen games against a team with a winning record.

In the end, Troy can score the ball as well as North Texas, but they’re also the far better defensive team which is why they’ll win this first header of College Football Bowls!

Pick: Troy -5

AutoNation Cure Bowl

  • Game: Georgia State (6-5) vs. Western Kentucky (6-6)
  • When: Saturday, December 16, 2017, 2:30 PM ET
  • Where: Camping World Stadium, Orlando, Florida
  • TV: ESPN
  • NCAAF Odds: Western Kentucky -5
  • Total: 51

Georgia State will look to close out their 2017 campaign on a positive note after dropping their final two regular-season games including their 24-10 loss to Idaho on Dec. 2 in which the Panthers failed to cover the chalk as a 7.5-point underdog.

Georgia State struggled to score the ball this season as they averaged a modest 19.7 points per game (118th) this season. Quarterback Conner Manning completed 63.7 percent of his passes this season for 2,870 yards with 13 TD passes and seven interceptions but has failed to throw a touchdown in each of Georgia State’s last two games as the Panthers scored an identical 10 points each time out. Manning does have a big-time target in wide receiver Penny Hart (1,094 yards), but the Panthers averaged just 114.9 rushing yards per game to rank 117th.

The Panthers come in as one of the underdogs for the for the First Round of 2017 College Football Bowls.

Western Kentucky struggled over the second half of the season and come into the AutoNation Cure Bowl having lost four of their final five games including a 41-17 loss against Florida International in their while never coming close to covering the chalk as a 3-point underdog.

Western Kentucky averaged 26.2 points per game this season (83rd) as quarterback Mike White had a fine campaign by completing 65.6 percent of his passes while throwing for 3,826 yards with 24 TD passes and just six interceptions. Over his final two games, White has thrown seven touchdown passes and no picks while throwing 10 TD strikes and just one pick over Western Kentucky’s final three games. Defensively, the Hilltoppers gave up just a few percentage points more per contest than they averaged offensively.


Western Kentucky hasn’t been able to stop anyone lately as they’ve given up at least 30 points in each of their last four games, but the good news for the Hilltoppers is that Georgia State is so offensively-challenged that they’re the pick to win and cash in as 5-point favorites.

Georgia State is just 2-5 ATS in their last 7 games after scoring less than 20 points in their previous game and a winless 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games overall while Western Kentucky has gone 4-0 ATS in their last four in the month of December. The fact that the Panthers can’t score consistently – and give up nearly a touchdown per game more than the average, will be the deciding factor in this second header of College Football Bowls!

Pick: Western Kentucky -5