Army-Navy wrapped up the 2022 college football regular season last Saturday, and the bowl season starts Friday.
Let’s break down how to bet some of the eight games this weekend with spreads from OddsTrader’s top-rated sportsbooks – which has a new-look college football odds section.
Bahamas Bowl: UAB Players May Rally Around Departing Coach
No question when handicapping any bowl game, it’s imperative to first check if any players opted out to prepare for the NFL Draft or have entered the transfer portal.
Generally speaking, the early bowl games feature teams that don’t have a lot of pro prospects, so draft opt-outs aren’t a huge thing, but it’s not always the case. The transfer portal is an entirely different matter. And then we have coaching changes.
Friday, December 16, 2022 – 11:30 AM EST at Thomas Robinson Stadium
The first bowl game of the postseason is Friday at 11:30 AM from the Bahamas, when Miami of Ohio from the Mid-American Conference faces UAB of Conference USA. Wind is often a factor in this game, but the winning team has scored at least 31 points in all but one of the seven Bahamas Bowls. Conference USA leads the MAC 4-3 in the matchup. Both Miami and UAB won their final regular-season game to achieve bowl eligibility.
Oftentimes, players will rally around an interim coach when they know it will be his last game in charge and that will be the case for UAB’s Bryant Vincent. This was his only season in charge after Bill Clark retired this summer. Former NFL quarterback and Super Bowl champion Trent Dilfer will take over after the bowl, and the move to hire Dilfer was met with resistance by the UAB players, so they likely will rally around Vincent here.
You can see the best lines and spread leans at OddsTrader. The lowest number on the Blazers is -10.5 at FanDuel and a few other sites and they are taking a 73% lean on the spread.
Las Vegas Bowl: Gators Very Short-Handed Vs. No. 14 Oregon State
This is a case of one team overachieving in No. 14 Oregon State and surely thrilled to be in Las Vegas, and a Florida squad that disappointed at 6-6 and likely is going through the motions.
Saturday, December 17, 2022 – 02:30 PM EST at Allegiant Stadium
OSU upset Oregon in the Civil War to close the regular season, has won nine games for the first time since 2012, and recently gave Coach Jonathan Smith a new six-year, $30.6 million contract.
Smith has compiled a 25-31 overall record since taking over the program in 2018, but is 16-9 the past two seasons and was named Pac-12 Co-Head Coach of the Year this season. He’s a former Oregon State quarterback. Running back Damien Martinez (970 yards) was injured in the regular-season finale against Oregon but is expected to play.
Florida comes off a rivalry loss to Florida State in the finale, while star dual-threat quarterback Anthony Richardson opted out to prepare for the NFL draft.
Jack Miller III will make his first college start under center for the Gators. A transfer from Ohio State, Miller opened preseason camp as the projected backup but suffered a broken thumb prior to the opener. Redshirt freshman Jalen Kitna became the No. 2, but he was recently dismissed from the team for an off-field issue, so now Miller takes over. He did not take a snap this season. That’s a really tough ask against a very good Oregon State defense.
Florida will also be without first-team All-SEC offensive lineman O’Cyrus Torrence, receiver Justin Shorter (29 catches, 577 yards, 2 TDs) and linebacker Ventrell Miller.
The lowest number available on the NCAAF odds at OddsTrader on the Beavers is -10, and they are taking a 63% lean.
New Mexico Bowl: BYU Has Major QB Question Vs. SMU
It’s the Acronym Bowl between Southern Methodist University (SMU) and Brigham Young University (BYU). It’s also the final game as an independent for BYU, as it will head to the Big 12 starting next season. The Cougars, Cincinnati, UCF, and Houston will officially join the Big 12 on July 1, 2023.
Saturday, December 17, 2022 – 07:30 PM EST at University Stadium
I’d like to tell you who will be under center on Saturday for the Cougars, but Coach Kalani Sitake has no idea himself. Junior Jaren Hall, who completed 66% of his passes this season for 3,171 yards, 31 touchdowns and just six picks while also rushing for three scores, is dealing with an ankle injury and is very much in question. Hall has played in 782 of BYU’s 809 offensive snaps in 12 games.
“Jaren has not been eliminated from contention to play. So there’s that,” said BYU coach Kalani Sitake on Monday. “He hasn’t participated as much as we’d like him to be in practices, but this week will tell.”
If Hall can’t go, backup Jacob Conover entered the transfer portal and has since landed at Arizona State. Thus, it might be Cade Fennegan, a former Boise State transfer who hasn’t appeared in a game for BYU during his two seasons with the program. He has 28 career passing attempts.
SMU won’t be at full strength, either, as star receiver Rashee Rice (96 catches for 1,355 yards and 10 TDs) won’t play after declaring for the draft. Offensive lineman Jaylon Thomas is also out.
The lowest number at OddsTrader on SMU is -5.5, but BYU is taking a 63% lean – clearly, bettors think Hall will play.