It was a dicey year in college football, but we've finally made it to bowl game season. While some tilts have been canceled in the face of the coronavirus pandemic, the vast majority of competitions remain. This includes the Rose Bowl and the Sugar Bowl, which make up this year's college football playoff and will determine which two teams appear in the National Championship.
Our 2021 college bowl betting picks will cover both matchups. Additionally, we will also be taking a look at the other four major bowl games: Cotton Bowl, Peach Bowl, Fiesta Bowl, and Orange Bowl. But before we dive into our selections, here are the latest college football betting odds for every bowl game scheduled to take place, courtesy of Bovada:
|Boca Raton Bowl||BYU||-235||+195||Central Florida|
|New Orleans Bowl||Georgia Southern||-220||+180||Louisiana Tech|
|Montgomery Bowl||Memphis||-330||+265||Florida Atlantic|
|New Mexico Bowl||Houston||-550||+375||Hawaii|
|Cure Bowl||Coastal Carolina||-270||+220||Liberty|
|Gasparilla Bowl||UAB||-260||+215||South Carolina|
|First Responder Bowl||UL Lafayette||-600||+400||Texas-San Antonio|
|Lendingtree Bowl||Georgia State||-175||+155||Western Kentucky|
|Cheez-It Bowl||Oklahoma State||-130||+110||Miami Florida|
|Mayo Bowl||Wisconsin||-245||+205||Wake Forest|
|Armed Forces Bowl||Tulsa||-140||+120||Mississippi|
|Arizona Bowl||San Jose State||-300||+250||Ball State|
|Rose Bowl||Alabama||-1400||+750||Notre Dame|
|Sugar Bowl||Clemson||-310||+255||Ohio State|
|Gator Bowl||Kentucky||-135||+115||NC State|
|Outback Bowl||Indiana U||-250||+210||Mississippi|
|Fiesta Bowl||Iowa State||-200||+170||Oregon|
|Orange Bowl||Texas A&M||-260||+215||North Carolina|
Because there is some time to go until many of these bowl games kick-off, you'll want to double-check lines before deciding on a wager. Without further delay, though, here are our 2021 NCAAF Bowl Game picks!
2021 Bowl Game Betting Breakdown
Rose Bowl: Alabama (-1400) vs. Notre Dame (+750)
There usually isn't this much of an odds discrepancy between college football playoff participants. It speaks to just how dominant Alabama remains.
Head coach Nick Saban's crew has been a monster on offense this year. They are second in points scored and racking up more than 350 yards through the air while averaging three passing touchdowns per game. That is ridiculous.
This is not an offense that can be stopped by the best defense, let alone Notre Dame's talent on that side of the ball. They're fine; they ranked 25th in points allowed. But their secondary is going to get carved up.
OSB Pick: Alabama (-1400)
Sugar Bowl: Clemson (-310) vs. Ohio State (+255)
Reigning National Champions tend to get the benefit of the doubt if they return to the college football playoff the following year. That is what's happening for Clemson here.
And yet, that's not the only thing happening. This is also a reflection of how vulnerable Ohio State seems. They are lucky, in the eyes of many, to even be in this position. Their strength of schedule ranked 62nd in the nation and didn't warrant no-brainer top-four placement.
Indeed, this could turn into a shootout, and Ohio State has plenty of firepower. Here's the thing: Clemson has more.
OSB Pick: Clemson (-310)
Cotton Bowl: Florida (-155) vs. Oklahoma (+135)
Let's be honest: It is tempting to roll with Florida right off the bat here. They're averaging nearly 400 passing yards per game to go along with the 11th ranked offense.
Still, there's a certain pull to Oklahoma. They rank in the top 30 of both offensive and defensive production. What's more, their underdog status is based heavily on two losses they suffered earlier this year...at the beginning of the season. They're not that same team anymore.
They're better, more consistent, and in our opinion, ready to pull off the upset.
OSB Pick: Oklahoma (+135)
Peach Bowl: Georgia (-275) vs. Cincinnati (+225)
It is a little tough to understand why Georgia is such a heavy favorite. Cincinnati ranks better in both points scored and points allowed, and the Bulldogs are expected to get hit heavy with opt-outs at the defensive end.
But these results are more so about Georgia's offense hitting its peak under quarterback JT McDaniels.
They're averaging nearly 42 points over their past three games, and they have seldom sported more big-play potential. If this turns into a matter of which team can air it out more efficiently, then Cincinnati, which is built on the back of their defense, doesn't stand a chance.
OSB Pick: Georgia (-275)
Fiesta Bowl: Iowa State (-200) vs. Oregon (+180)
Forget the numbers. Forget that Oregon ranks outside the top 50 in points allowed per game. Forget that they have experienced up and downs galore on offense. Forget everything.
Oregon just upset USC and is finally working with some serious momentum. Plus, their offense under quarterback Tyler Shough has failed to clear 30 points just once this season, despite bouts of inconsistency.
Truth be told, we're surprised Iowa is this heavy of a favorite. Have faith in the upset.
OSB Pick: Oregon (+180)
Orange Bowl: Texas A&M (-260) vs. North Carolina (+215)
North Carolina has put together a seriously terrifying offensive season. They are seventh in the country in points scored per game while sporting one of the most balanced attacks around. They're generating roughly 550 yards in total offense with a split of 300 through the air and 250 on the ground.
If there's cause for concern, it's their passing game. It can get a bit stagnant. Texas A&M, meanwhile, has shown they can really break up plays downfield. Couple that with a defense that absolutely stymies the run game, and this pick isn't that hard to make.
OSB Pick: Texas A&M (-260)
Parlay Bet Recommendation
Who doesn't love to drive up their potential return? Though we were tempted to build a six-team parlay with all of our major bowl picks, we've settled on the three games in which we're most confident:
- Alabama (-1400)
- Clemson (-310)
- Oklahoma (+135)
Some might be reticent to go with the underdog in Oklahoma. That's fine. But their inclusion increases your prospective payout.
This exact parlay is laying roughly 3.1-to-1 odds. For every $100 you risk, you stand to win slightly over $310—for $210-plus in pure profit.
Check out the below list of the best online sportsbooks so you can decide which to use for all your college football bowl game betting: