By Tim Birkmeyer
Happy New Year! Good news for 2021: the bar is set very low to be better than 2020. Bad news for 2021: we are going to win every single bet and our bookies are going to be broke this time next year. As is tradition, we got some great college football games on New Year’s Day to fuel our hangovers. These are important games, so I’m writing this with a clear mind the day before because we need to start off on the right foot.
There are four games on New Year’s Day, including the two playoff semifinals featuring (shocker) the SEC champion, that upstate school, Ohio State, and the overrated Notre Dame. Before those games, we got the team that should be in the playoff, Cincinnati, taking on Georgia and Auburn vs. Northwesters (yay?). I will provide with one pick from each game, and a bonus pick from the last game on New Year’s Eve. Here are the picks:
*Note/Disclaimer: I am not a gambling genius. Please take my picks with a side of caution, and please bet responsibly. Also, these are lines from the day before, so they might be a bit different.*
NEW YEAR’S EVE BONUS PICK: Army (+10) vs. West Virginia (-107)
This could be a trap line, but I have no idea what Vegas is thinking with this game. Army was practically begging bowl’s to accept them and give them an invite for a chance for a 10-win season. And they got their wish in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl against West Virginia, who had a better season than expected. Army’s defense is legit, holding opponents to 14 points per game, and their offense can move the ball and eat some clock. This is going to be a close, low-scoring game, and Army might even pull out the win (+315 ML). But, let’s go with a safer pick and the cover. Now, time for the real games.
Cincinnati ML (+215) vs. Georgia
Cincinnati should be in the playoff, and there’s no debate about that. If you go undefeated, you should be able to play for a national championship. And this was the perfect year for the committee to be like “okay, G5 schools, here’s your chance to prove you belong in a regular season.” But, all the committee cares about is money, so they only put in the money-makers. Cincinnati will be playing for a lot more than Georgia, and we have seen what happens when a top SEC school just misses the playoff. Players opt-out, and no one cares. Take a look at Florida the other night. That’s what I think Georgia will do and Cincinnati rolls.
Auburn and Northwestern UNDER 43.5 Points (-107)
Yeah, I won’t be watching this game either. This should be renamed The “Commercial Break in Cincinnati-Georgia” Bowl. But, in regards to the game, Northwestern had arguably the best defense in the B1G and the country this season, holding opponents to 15.5 points per game and held Ohio St. to 22 points in the conference championship game. Auburn fired their coach and have nothing to play for and struggle offensively against a solid defense. This game is going to be ugly. I don’t bet unders often, but, it’s a New Year! (I still won’t be betting unders often, fyi).
Alabama (-20) vs. Notre Dame (-107)
TK, you might want to look away from this little paragraph. Since 2000, Notre Dame is 0-6 in BCS bowls or the Playoff Semifinals, and they are not pretty results. On average, Notre Dame is losing these games by 24 points. I could write multiple posts on why Notre Dame is the most overrated college football program in the last X years, but no way TK would let me post them. Notre Dame should not be in this game, and they know it. Alabama is going to score 50+ points and their defense will hold Notre Dame from coming close. Giving Coach Saban 2 weeks to prepare, he’ll beat anyone. Alabama wins with ease.
Ohio State and That School in Upstate South Carolina OVER 66.5 Points (-107)
Should Ohio State be playing in this game? No. Did the B1G change their rules and guidelines only for Ohio State to play in the conference championship and therefore making the playoff? Yes. (Seriously, ask yourself if the B1G would have done that for a 5-0 [insert random B1G team here]. The answer would be no.) I hate Ohio State, but I loathe that school in Upstate South Carolina. So, I’m not going to pick either team to win (although, go Ohio State). I’m going with the over in this one, because that’s really the only thing to root for in a game like this. This game feels like an under, but I cannot write a gambling post for you without picking an over. Both teams are averaging over 40 points per game and the defenses are not as good as previous seasons. I expect this to be like the first matchup one of these schools had with Notre Dame earlier this season.
And that will do it for the gambling picks in the big college football games on New Year’s Day! Are you going to ride with me or fade me and my picks? What is your LOCK of the day? Comment below and tune in to more picks from college football, college basketball, and the NFL coming to you this weekend!