-- It's easy to get overwhelmed amid the 40 bowl games that will be played between Dec. 19 and Jan. 2. But fear not, Insider is here to help.
We've asked our experienced group of gambling experts -- Phil Steele, Will Harris, "Stanford Steve" Coughlin, Chris Fallica, Warren Sharp and David Solar of Sports Insights -- to provide a bet on every bowl game .
If you're going to bet on a bowl game this season, this is the file you need to read. It will be continuously updated throughout bowl season with fresh information.
All game times listed are Eastern.
Note: College Football Playoff semifinals will be addressed in a separate file.
Harris: Offensive coordinator Doug Ruse, not departed head coach Willie Fritz, is the primary man behind the success of the Eagles' unique pistol triple-option. Bowling Green is similarly missing head coach Dino Babers and working under an interim staff, but decorated veteran quarterback Matt Johnson is like a coach on the field and the offense should still be "Falcon Fast". Despite a league title, Bowling Green must travel to Alabama to play a Sun Belt team for the second straight year while MAC also-rans Toledo, Northern Illinois and Western Michigan get the plum assignments. Georgia Southern is only holding six total practices for this game. Tough game to call, with plenty of reasons to avoid backing either side, but the offenses should have the edge.
ATS pick: Over 64.5
Score: Bowling Green 38, Georgia Southern 31
PickCenter consensus: 61 percent pick Western Michigan
Sharp: Middle Tennessee's offense has been rolling in recent weeks, winning four straight while averaging 34 points per game. While the defense appears strong, holding its last two opponents to only seven points each, these results are misleading. The last three opponents the Blue Raiders faced have average offensive ratings of: 91st in avoiding third downs, 97th on third downs and 115th on explosive plays. Those teams were frequently finding themselves punting on third down, and they couldn't score points due to lack of explosiveness. Western Michigan is not that offense.
Western Michigan is top 15 in the country at avoiding third downs, top 15 at converting them when the team gets there and ranks 21st in explosive plays. It's not surprising, then, to see that the Broncos rank 28th in the country in red zone trips per game, averaging 4.5 trips. Defensively, however, Western Michigan is quite similar to prior Middle Tennessee opponents, ranking 97th in forcing teams to third down, 87th on third down and 102nd in explosive plays allowed.
In the Bahamas, Western Michigan won't have to worry about the bad weather that plagued many teams from the MAC in weeknight games in November. This Western Michigan squad ended its season with a 35-30 win over Toledo, the same Rockets team that completely shut down Temple on Tuesday night. In Middle Tennessee, the Broncos face a defense significantly weaker than their last three opponents. The last time the Broncos faced a defense ranking close to Middle Tennessee's 83rd run defense and 121st pass defense was Ball State, which ranked 88th vs. the run and 127th vs. the pass. Western Michigan hung 54 points that day. I don't expect that level of performance, but when both run offenses rank top 15 in the country and go up against run defenses that rank 80th or worse, both pass defenses similarly rank 80th or worse, and both offenses rank 25th or better in explosive plays (and face defenses whose average rank is 79th), there could be value in this total.
ATS pick: Over 64
Harris: We love the mentality of both of these teams entering what should be a hotly contested, fast-moving and potentially chippy game. Both quarterbacks know their offenses thoroughly, and there might be too much wide receiver skill on the field for two defenses prone to allowing big plays in the passing game.
ATS pick: Over 64
Score: Western Michigan 37, Middle Tennessee 31
PickCenter consensus: 72 percent pick Cincinnati
Fallica: There is always a danger when a bowl game in Hawaii is involved. Will one of the teams treat it as a vacation? While I am asking myself that question with Cincinnati, I still like the Bearcats here. Even if Gunner Kiel can't go, backup Hayden Moore has certainly proved capable of operating the Bearcats' offense. The Aztecs ripped through the Mountain West on the backs of their defense, but I don't know how good the conference and some of those offenses were this year. Cincinnati has proved it can match up athletically and score on Miami and Memphis, so if focused, it should be able to score here. Keep in mind the last two years Tommy Tuberville's Bearcats have laid an egg in their bowl game. I think they'll be ready to play this year.
ATS pick: Cincinnati
Score: Cincinnati 37, San Diego State 28
Coughlin: I wasn't sure who won the bowl season draw when the bowl games were announced -- I couldn't decide between Cincinnati and Western Michigan, two schools from the Midwest that were set to play in the best climates a bowl game could offer. Then I saw this quote from Tuberville: "The Hawai'i Bowl is one of the best bowls going, I've coached in a lot of them, and unless you're playing for the national championship, what better place to spend the holidays than Hawaii?" Give me the Bearcats.
ATS pick: Cincinnati
Score: Cincinnati 41, San Diego State 30
PickCenter consensus: 52 percent pick Connecticut
Coughlin: I am going to go out on a limb and say this will be the best defense the Thundering Herd will line up against all season. I will also add that no one in America will have their hair looking better at 11 a.m. Eastern on the morning after Christmas than Huskies coach Bob Diaco. He'll look good and so will his defense, which comes in allowing an average of 19.8 points per game (17th in the country). Give me the Huskies and their stud running back, Arkeel Newsome, who comes in ranked 18th in the country in all-purpose yards (1,621).
ATS pick: Connecticut
Score: Connecticut 17, Marshall 16
PickCenter consensus: 78 percent pick Washington State
Harris: The Cougars boasted another good quarterback and the deepest receiver group Mike Leach has ever had, but defensive improvements really keyed this squad's breakout season. That unit was headlined by first-year coordinator Alex Grinch and the deepest defensive line seen at Wazzu in decades.
Quarterback Luke Falk will be back under center for this one, and we doubt a Miami team finishing the season in a border-town bowl under an interim coach will play a better game than the Hurricanes did when the Randy Shannon era ended in the exact same scenario.
ATS pick: Washington State
Score: Washington State 37, Miami 30
PickCenter consensus: 6 7 percent pick Southern Miss
Harris: We've written often that Washington is the rising power in the Pac-12 and the best bet to win the league's next national championship. The Huskies didn't land the best possible bowl invitation, and laying heavy weight in Power 5 versus Group of 5 matchups in third-tier bowls is often a bad plan. However, the team closed the season playing its best ball of the year, and a postseason coach as accomplished as Chris Petersen isn't likely to tolerate less than full focus on winning this game after his team was embarrassed in last year's Cactus Bowl.
Southern Miss has had a tremendous season, and much of the credit goes to the growth of third-year coach Todd Monken. But now the Eagles have lost offensive coordinator Chip Lindsey to Arizona State, and the offense that ran roughshod over Conference USA will meet its match in the Pac-12's top defense. The Huskies' running game got cranked up late in the year, and will be a big challenge even for a vastly improved Southern Miss defense that held Louisiana Tech star Kenneth Dixon to negative yardage two weeks ago.
ATS pick: Washington
Score: Washington 34, Southern Miss 17
PickCenter consensus: 81 percent pick Indiana
PickCenter consensus: 53 percent pick Tulsa
PickCenter consensus: 70 percent pick Nebraska
Harris: This matchup pits one of the very best active bowl coaches against one who is not to be feared this time of year. Don't let Jim Mora Jr.'s 2-1 bowl record fool you; he's no postseason ace, and this is the worst bowl spot for the Bruins in his tenure. Nebraska is of course thrilled to be anywhere after a 5-7 season filled with narrow defeats. The Huskers look like a team about to break out their best game of the year, while UCLA has less to play for after closing a second-straight season by losing a must-win game that would have clinched the Pac-12 South. Mike Riley beat Mora as a touchdown underdog in Mora's first ever Pac-12 game and is more than capable of the same here.
ATS pick: Nebraska
Score: Nebraska 31, UCLA 27
Fallica: How many times between now and kickoff will we hear that Nebraska went 5-7 this year and shouldn't be in a bowl game? Well, the snake-bitten Huskers clearly have the talent to play with the nation's elite, as evidenced by a win over Michigan State and a four-quarter game with Iowa. This will be a big deal for Mike Riley and the Huskers, who can end the year on a high note with a win in the state of California, where Riley would like to grab recruits from. Nebraska has thrown an amazing 13 interceptions in the last four games, so the Huskers need to eliminate those. But is UCLA really going to be excited about playing in a half-full (maybe) stadium in Northern California after it was blown out by its rival with a chance to play for the Pac-12 title in that stadium and a Rose Bowl berth?
Josh Rosen has a huge future, but with all the injuries the Bruins have suffered this year along with dreams of a Pac-12 title gone, I don't know how much is left in the tank. Remember that last year Nebraska went to California and played USC tough in a bowl game. Sneaky-good upset chance here.
ATS pick: Nebraska
Score: Nebraska 38, UCLA 31
PickCenter consensus: 60 percent pick Navy
PickCenter consensus: 52 percent pick Minnesota
PickCenter consensus: 57 percent pick Air Force
PickCenter consensus: 74 percent pick Baylor
PickCenter consensus: 78 percent pick Colorado State
PickCenter consensus: 72 percent pick Texas Tech
Harris: Players and coaches say all kind of ridiculous things in response to questions from the media, but Texas Tech fans have to be concerned that members of an already seemingly overmatched defense are comparing LSU's Leonard Fournette to Oklahoma's Joe Mixon. The price on this game suggests a 40-33 final, and we'll be among the majority expressing surprise if the Tigers can't hold up their end of the deal. The Tech rushing defense has shown absolutely no sign that it can deliver in this bout, and while the Red Raiders do own an early-season road win at a physical, downhill SEC West team (Arkansas), LSU in December presents a different challenge.
The liability that is LSU defensive coordinator Kevin Steele will keep us from really sending it in heavy on this or any other LSU game until a change is made, but the Tigers probably project enough offense in this matchup to make investment worthwhile.
ATS pick: LSU
Score: LSU 52, Texas Tech 38
Solar: The Tigers opened as 5-point favorites and have received 74 percent of spread bets. This high level of public support has moved the line from -5 to -7.
Since there have been no steam moves triggered on this game, we can assert that public money is solely responsible for this 2-point line move. That's fantastic news for opportunistic contrarian bettors.
LSU is still dealing with the fallout from Les Miles' awkward return, and it will be interesting to see whether the team comes out looking sluggish after dealing with this mini-drama. Playing in Houston you can safely expect a strong showing from the Red Raider faithful, which should give Texas Tech an effective home field advantage. Kliff Kingsbury may remind fans of Ryan Gosling but, as we found out in a recent episode of Saturday Night Live, the Texas Tech coach is much cooler under pressure than his actor doppelganger.
Oddsmakers are expecting a high-scoring affair, but we like the Red Raiders to keep it close and cover the seven-point spread.
ATS pick: Texas Tech
Fallica: Oh, if only we knew how LSU was going to approach this game offensively. Will the Tigers simply run Leonard Fournette against one of the worst Power 5 defenses out there? Or will Les Miles begin 2016 preparations here and start to throw the ball a bit more and evolve the offensive game plan some? Will the players be happy with "saving" Miles' job versus Texas A&M, which really marked the end of the season for them?
One thing I do know is that Texas Tech is going to score (second nationally in offensive efficiency). The Red Raiders also did a good job defensively against Arkansas earlier this year, and Arkansas is probably a better team than LSU right now. Texas Tech is used to pulling off bowl upsets and LSU has been a poor bowl team lately (the Tigers haven't covered a bowl game as a favorite since 2010). With that track record, I would certainty lean towards taking the points and an offense that will be hard to keep out of the end zone.
ATS pick: Texas Tech
Score: Texas Tech 35, LSU 34
PickCenter consensus: 57 percent pick Auburn
Steele: This game is all about the talent differential. Memphis has had the better season statistically, but aside from the quarterback, Auburn has the talent edge at every other position. Auburn has coach Gus Malzahn, who nearly won a national title as a head coach (and did win one as its offensive coordinator), while Memphis has first-year coach Mike Norvell, the former Arizona State offensive coordinator who was hired Dec. 3 to replace Justin Fuente (now the coach at Virginia Tech).
Memphis QB Paxton Lynch has had a fine season and should be able to have success against my No. 45-ranked pass-efficiency defense, but Auburn is battle-tested after having gone through the SEC. Auburn has played my 13th-toughest schedule, while Memphis has played just my No. 72-ranked slate. Auburn can't afford to have a losing season, and I'll call for them to outlast Memphis. Jeremy Johnson could have his best game of the season versus a middle-of-the-road Memphis defense.
ATS pick: Auburn
Score: Auburn 37, Memphis 27
PickCenter consensus: 80 percent pick Mississippi State
Fallica: It's ironic that Dak Prescott's final college game is against NC State. I can see the Bulldogs treating this game like the Wolfpack did Philip Rivers' final college game -- allowing him to put up the biggest numbers possible. I know the game is in Charlotte, but NC State hasn't beaten anyone this season. Here are NC State's wins: Troy (4-8), Eastern Kentucky (FCS), Old Dominion (5-7), South Alabama (5-7), Wake Forest (3-9), Boston College (3-9) and Syracuse (4-8).
None of those are close to the quality of Mississippi State (18th in offensive efficiency, 35th in defensive efficiency). The Bulldogs are better offensively and infinitely better defensively than the Wolfpack. And State is familiar with a dual threat QB, as it faces Prescott in practice each day. That will help against Jacoby Brissett. I'll go with the team looking to end the season on a better note than last year and send its record-setting QB out a winner.
ATS pick: Mississippi State
Score: Mississippi State 41, NC State 27
PickCenter consensus: 54 percent pick Texas A&M
PickCenter consensus: 83 percent pick Wisconsin
Steele: When I first started breaking down this game I was leaning with Wisconsin, which has the better defense. The Badgers lost only three games, while USC has lost five. However, the Trojans do have a large edge at the skill positions with quarterback Cody Kessler and running backs Ronald Jones II, Justin Davis and Tre Madden. For the season, those three backs combined to rush for 2,271 yards, averaging 5.9 YPC.
For Wisconsin, this was not a typical year for the offense. Last season, the Badgers averaged 320 rushing yards per game on 6.9 YPC; in 2015, they averaged just 148 rushing yards on 3.8 YPC. USC is more battle-tested, as the Trojans have taken on my third-toughest schedule this season, while Wisconsin has played my 73rd-toughest slate. Clay Helton is officially USC's coach after the school removed the interim tag on Nov. 30. I'll side with USC and its talent edge.
ATS pick: USC
Score: USC 28, Wisconsin 20
PickCenter consensus: 53 percent pick Houston
Steele: It's normally tough for a Power 5 conference team to get up for a Group of 5 conference team in a major bowl. Boise State upset Arizona and Oklahoma, while UCF upset Baylor in recent scenarios; Florida State was in a similar spot and beat Northern Illinois in the 2013 Orange Bowl.
Houston has lost just one game and quarterback Greg Ward Jr. didn't start it. It was the Cougars' least important game of the month and Connecticut's most important. The Cougars rebounded from that 20-17 loss to blast Navy and Temple by 16 points per game. Houston coach Tom Herman has implemented an offense that averages 240 rushing yards per game and 247 passing yards per game.
While the offensive coordinator at Ohio State last year, he implemented a great game plan in the CFB playoff against Alabama. Florida State has been to the CFB playoff each of the past two years and could be disappointed to be here, but the Seminoles have the edge at every position except quarterback and have played a much tougher schedule. Dalvin Cook should be as healthy as he has been all year and coach Jimbo Fisher is 4-1 SU in bowl games.
ATS pick: Florida State
Score: Florida State 34, Houston 21
Fallica: Florida State found itself in a similar spot a few years ago when the Noles blasted "Group of 5/Non-AQ" Northern Illinois in the Orange Bowl. If Temple was able to contain the Houston passing attack (Greg Ward Jr. was 11-of-21 with 88 yards), I would think Derwin James, Jalen Ramsey and the rest of the FSU defense would be able to do the same, so long as the Noles are motivated -- and I think they will be. The Cougars haven't seen anything close to a RB like Dalvin Cook this season and after not getting to New York for the Heisman, along with a month to rest up, Cook could eclipse the 183 yards he ran for versus Florida, the 194 versus Clemson or the 222 vs. Miami. An 11-2 season would be some "down year" for FSU.
ATS pick: Florida State
Score: Florida State 38, Houston 21
Coughlin: I feel like I owe it to the Cougars to pick them in this game. Before the season I predicted they would win the American Athletic Conference, but I'm still mad at myself for pulling back on my prediction that I thought they might go undefeated. Houston was my favorite team to go over its win total too. On the other hand, the Cougars are facing the most explosive and dangerous player in the country, in my opinion, in Cook. But there aren't too many coaches in the country that love being the underdog more than Tom Herman. I think the Cougs keep it close.
ATS pick: Houston
Score: Florida State 31, Houston 27
PickCenter consensus: 60 percent pick Tennessee
Fallica: Usually I hate adages like "x plays away from ..." a certain record, but in Tennessee's case it completely rings true. The Vols had CFP teams Alabama and Oklahoma on the ropes and had SEC East winner Florida beaten in Gainesville. The Vols were fourth in ESPN's Game Control metric; they just couldn't finish against the nation's elite. Now the Vols finish with Northwestern, which is 100th nationally in offensive efficiency and 54th in FPI. On paper, everything points to Tennessee. I think the Vols end the season for the second year in a row with a big win over the Big Ten, and win nine games for the first time since 2007.
ATS pick: Tennessee
Score: Tennessee 31, Northwestern 14
PickCenter consensus: 74 percent pick Florida
Harris: Florida limped down the stretch of Jim McElwain's fantastic debut season, with poor depth at quarterback and offensive line catching up with the Gators as the season wore on. Michigan also ended on a down note with a blowout loss to Ohio State, but if quarterback Jake Rudock returns healthy, the Wolverines are a much more complete team in Year 1 under Jim Harbaugh than Florida is in Mac's first season. Greg Mattison is an able replacement for departed defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin, now the head man at Maryland.
Michigan is further along right now, but the question will be whether a suddenly leaky rush defense that was run over by Jordan Howard and Ezekiel Elliott in November can get on track during bowl practices. If the Wolverines can contain RB Kelvin Taylor, then Florida will have a tough time doing much offensively against a defense that won't allow the Gators anything downfield through the air.
ATS pick: Michigan
Score: Michigan 24, Florida 7
Solar: With two of the nation's top defenses facing off, the over/under for the Citrus Bowl opened at 40.5 -- easily the lowest of any bowl game. That's highly beneficial for the Gators, since underdogs have offered tremendous value in low-scoring games.
The Wolverines opened as 4-point favorites, and they have received 71 percent of spread bets. This has caused the line to move from Michigan minus-4 to minus-4.5, but once again there have been no steam moves triggered, which means that public money has caused this half-point move.
Although it may not seem significant, "4" is actually the fifth-most common margin of victory, which makes it an unexpected key number.
Florida fits numerous betting systems including the aforementioned system from last season's betting guide. It's also interesting to note that while Jim Harbaugh gets all the attention, Jim McElwain actually has the superior record against the spread.
In this matchup between marquee programs, we are more than happy to grab the points and take Florida +4.5.
ATS pick: Florida
Glendale, Arizona | University of Phoenix Stadium
Jan. 1, 1 p.m. on ESPN
PickCenter consensus: 59 percent pick Ohio State
Steele: These college football blue bloods are meeting for just the sixth time in history. In bowl games, coach Brian Kelly is 4-4; Urban Meyer is 9-2. Notre Dame is two plays away from being undefeated and in the CFB playoff, while Ohio State lost to Michigan State despite never trailing a single second in the game (Spartans hit a field goal with no time remaining). The Irish have had a remarkable season, considering they're had to overcome major injuries on both sides of the ball. The Buckeyes failed to play up to their talent level until their final game of the season in their rout over Michigan.
This will probably be the most-watched non-playoff game of the season, as many people like to root against both teams and each has an extremely passionate fan base. The big question is: Will Ohio State be motivated?
If the Buckeyes are, they will win this game; they have the talent edge. Ezekiel Elliott should have a big day against a Notre Dame defense that is allowing 4.5 YPC, J.T. Barrett is now in full command of the offense, and watch for a big day out of Braxton Miller. The safest pick is to go with the over, which appears cheap at 53.5.
Pick: Over 53.5
Score: Ohio State 35, Notre Dame 27
Harris: Notre Dame had a good team on a playoff mission this season, but couldn't overcome a schedule that produced two very narrow losses in tough road environments. Put the Clemson and Stanford games on neutral fields and the Irish might be the undefeated and unanimous No. 1 team in the nation right now, but schedule disparity is not something solvable in a sport with 128 differently resourced teams. The Fighting Irish knew the drill as well as anyone: You have to play the hand you're dealt in a particular year.
Despite the disappointment of missing the final four, Notre Dame has a championship-like opportunity in facing the defending national champ. The last time the Irish were on a big national stage, the team was embarrassed by Alabama in the 2012 title game. The program hasn't won a major bowl game since 1993, and the potential to validate the progress under Brian Kelly with the first significant postseason victory in more than two decades won't be lost on the players or coaches.
We're not much on fading Urban Meyer, especially late in the season, but the Buckeyes are a more selfish team with far less to be gained in this spot. There is no way we'd lay points here, and the Irish have a good shot to make our final list of plays.
ATS pick: Notre Dame
Score: Notre Dame 28, Ohio State 24
Fallica: Barring a brief spell against Virginia Tech and in the season finale at Michigan, Ohio State never really found itself this year offensively, and struggled as a whole in an effort to repeat as national champions. So my question is this: if the Buckeyes had trouble getting up during the year when it still controlled its chance at a national title, how will it get up for a game which has zero title implications? Will the numerous NFL draft prospects be more concerned about the combine and such, opposed to being fully invested in a bowl game? There is no doubt Notre Dame will be ready to play.
The Irish were as impressive as anyone in the country this season, overcoming numerous injuries and coming within a couple plays of being in the playoff. If Ohio State had trouble with the Michigan State defense, it will be interesting to see how it handles Jaylon Smith, Sheldon Day, Joe Schmidt and Co. The Buckeyes are going to have to throw to win and they really haven't demonstrated this year that they can. Maybe they will get Braxton Miller more involved on offense? But I expect to see an top-notch effort from the Irish who will hear about being blown out in BCS games and living more off their losses than anyone they have beaten. That changes here.
ATS pick: Ohio State
Score: Notre Dame 27, Ohio State 23
PickCenter consensus: 53 percent pick Iowa
Steele: Iowa is expecting to have 60,000 fans in attendance, as this is its first Rose Bowl in 25 years. The Hawkeyes were nearly in the CFP, but allowed a 22-play drive that ended with a touchdown with 27 seconds left in their Big Ten championship game loss to Michigan State. Stanford's two losses came at Northwestern (a 9 a.m. ET start on the West Coast) and versus Oregon.
Stanford has the Heisman Trophy runner-up in RB Christian McCaffrey, along with a veteran quarterback in Kevin Hogan and the edges on offense and special teams. I'll give Iowa the edge on defense here, with Thorpe Award winner Desmond King. I believe Stanford is the stronger team overall, but Iowa at 12-1 will be playing the "no respect" card as a TD underdog. The Hawkeyes should be able to run on a Cardinal defense that is allowing 4.6 YPC. I'll call for a potential upset here and take the Hawkeyes.
ATS pick: Iowa
Score: Stanford 27, Iowa 26
PickCenter consensus: 64 percent pick Oklahoma State
Steele: Oklahoma State was 10-0 at one point, and many folks mentioned the Cowboys as being one of the top four teams in the country. The Rebels lost three games, including a 13-point loss to Memphis and a 28-point loss to Florida, but were still just a fourth-and-25 lateral play away from being in the SEC championship game.
The Rebels beat Alabama this season and are plus-36 yards per game against bowl teams, while Oklahoma State is minus-54 yards per game. The Pokes' defense allowed 588 yards per game in its last five, while Ole Miss' offense is averaging 129 yards per game above what its opponents allow on average on the season. Oklahoma State has just one win over a ranked team (TCU) but was outgained by 207 yards, while Ole Miss not only beat Alabama, but also LSU, Mississippi State and Texas A&M. The return of left tackle Laremy Tunsil late in the year gave the Rebels' O-line a nice boost. I like Ole Miss to take this one outright.
ATS pick: Ole Miss
Score: Ole Miss 40, Oklahoma State 28
PickCenter consensus: 52 percent pick Penn State
Fallica: So Georgia has lost its coach, its offensive coordinator and its defensive coordinator? Other than that, all is well in Athens. Kidding aside, even before the last couple of weeks, Georgia was struggling mightily on offense and nearly lost at home to Georgia Southern. Sure, the defense should shut down Penn State, but how many points are the Bulldogs going to score? And you know that after getting blasted in East Lansing, James Franklin will be selling his team hard on ending the season with a bowl win over an SEC team in SEC Country.
Again, as in so many cases in bowl games, I'll go with the motivated team -- especially in an underdog role. Last year, four of the seven SEC teams favored by more than a field goal in their bowl game lost. Don't be afraid of going against the SEC this time of year.
ATS pick: Penn State
Score: Penn State 20, Georgia 17
PickCenter consensus: 57 percent pick Arkansas
Steele: If this game was all about talent, then Arkansas would win it going away. The Razorbacks have the talent edge across the board, with the exception of maybe the defensive line (Kansas State defensive linemen accounted for 25 of the team's 36 sacks). The most important factor, however, could be coaching, and there isn't a better underdog coach in the nation than Bill Snyder. The Wildcats had their backs against the wall, needing to win their final three games just to become bowl eligible, and they did just that. Arkansas has the edge on offense and defense, while Kansas State has a large special teams edge.
Snyder is 23-8 ATS as a 'dog, and for three weeks the Kansas State players will be hearing that they have no chance to win this game. I'll side with the underdog and will call for Kansas State to keep this one closer than the folks in the desert expect.
ATS pick: Kansas State
Score: Arkansas 31, Kansas State 28
PickCenter consensus: 66 percent pick TCU
Steele: This game will be played in a dome, so the weather will be perfect, unlike the last time, when TCU took the field against Baylor in a downpour. Oregon's offense has been tremendous since Vernon Adams Jr. returned to full health. In the Ducks' past five games, they averaged 48.6 points and beat Stanford, USC and Arizona State in that span. TCU will be without its best wide receiver in Josh Doctson (left wrist), so Trevone Boykin will have to find a new favorite target.
One of TCU's losses was to Oklahoma on the road by one-point on a failed two-point conversion (missing Doctson and Boykin), while the other was on the road at Oklahoma State, a game in which the Frogs had a 207-yard edge.
Both teams are fairly even on offense and special teams, and despite TCU having a banged-up defense, the Horned Frogs still held their opponents to 32 yards per game below their season average. Oregon allowed 50 yards per game more than its opponents averaged this season. I'll side with the better defense and call for TCU to win.
ATS pick: TCU
Score: TCU 43, Oregon 36
Harris: Oregon played inspired ball after a miraculous overtime win at Arizona State, and turned a 3-3 start into a 9-3 campaign. But after beating USC in Week 12, the Ducks had made their point, and there's not that much to play for after that. The cracks showed in a 10-point win over heavily outmanned Oregon State, and now offensive coordinator Scott Frost has bolted for Central Florida.
At first blush this looks like two unstoppable offenses versus struggling defenses, but the Frogs' defense is the one that improved in November as it tried to prop up a wounded offense. The Ducks have an All-American in pass-rusher DeForest Buckner, but this unit is flat-lining under Don Pellum. TCU also enjoys a special teams advantage, as well as the 2015 bowl season's biggest coaching mismatch. TCU backers should expect to lay a field goal or more at kickoff.
ATS pick: TCU
Score: TCU 59, Oregon 34
PickCenter consensus: 55 percent pick Arizona State