New Year’s Six Bowls Preview and Betting Trends

New Year’s Six Bowls Preview and Betting Trends

The College Football Playoff are the only important games during bowl season. The New Year’s Six bowl games carry some importance but still just glorified exhibitions like the rest of them.

Having said that, the intensity gets turned up during the New Year’s Six. The smaller and mid-tier bowls are all about who cares about being there. The intensity isn’t present even for teams that care.

When it comes to New Year’s Six, the Peach Bowl, Fiesta Bowl, Rose Bowl, and Sugar Bowl, players want to win these games. Probably the Rose Bowl more than the other three, but players are going harder in these matchups.

An exception is if you have a confident team that believed they were going to the seminfinal. Ohio State wasn’t snubbed, though they intended on playing for a National Championship.

I can’t see motivation being too much of a problem for the other teams. These games are the only ones I might lay a unit on for betting purposes. I don’t get excited about putting anything more on exhibition contests.

The first New Year’s Six bowl kicks off at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome at 7:00 p.m. EST. The Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl features the Michigan State Spartans and Pittsburgh Panthers. Head below for our preview and betting trends for the rest of the New Year’s Six bowls.

Pittsburgh Panthers vs. Michigan State Spartans – Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl

Date and Time: December 30, 7:00 p.m. EST

Odds Courtesy of BetOnline

Teams Spread Moneyline Total
Pittsburgh Panthers +2.5 (-103) +115 Over 55 (-112)
Michigan State Spartans -2.5 (-117) -135 Under 55 (-108)

Motivation should be a problem for Pittsburgh and Michigan State. These are two well-coached teams that come to play every week.

A New Year’s Six berth at the start of the season would have been viewed as a successful season. That said, it doesn’t mean there aren’t opt-outs in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl.

The biggest name of them all is quarterback Kenny Pickett. Pickett dropped out of the Peach Bowl with his sights on being the first quarterback off the board.

Pittsburgh is coming off a win in the ACC Championship, with a 45-31 score over the Wake Forest Demon Deacons. Pickett goes out a conference champion at Pitt.

The starting job opens up to Nick Patti, who looks to build on the Panthers’ 10-2 campaign. With Clemson out of the way in the ACC, Pitt could take advantage.

Michigan State defeated the Michigan Wolverines and finished at 10-2. After that win over Michigan, they had a big letdown versus Purdue, 40-29. That damaged their resume beyond repair.

Two games back, a trip to Columbus pushed the Spartans right off the rails; Ohio State drilled them for a 56-7 loss. They ended the regular season nicely over Purdue, 30-27.

The No. 11 Spartans will have their starting quarterback in Payton Thorne. Thorne is looking to continue his progress right into 2022, where he’s expected to break out in East Lansing.

Pittsburgh Panthers vs. Michigan State Spartans Betting Trends:

Pittsburgh

  • 8-2 ATS in their previous ten games
  • 6-1 ATS in their previous seven games versus a team with a winning record
  • 1-4 ATS in thier previous five games as an underdog
  • 1-7 overall in their previous eight games versus the Big Ten
  • 1-4 ATS in their previous five bowl games

Michigan State

  • 8-2-2 ATS in their previous 12 games
  • 4-1-2 ATS in their previous seven games as the betting favorite
  • 8-2-1 ATS in their previous 11 games at a neutral field
  • 6-1 ATS in their previous seven bowl games
  • 2-4 ATS in their previous six games in December

Cincinnati Bearcats (No. 4) vs. Alabama Crimson Tide (No. 1) – Cotton Bowl Classic

Date and Time: December 31, 3:30 p.m. EST

Odds Courtesy of BetOnline

Teams Spread Moneyline Total
Cincinnati Bearcats +13.5 (-110) +395 Over 58 (-105)
Alabama Crimson Tide -13.5 (-110) -500 Under 58 (-115)

The Cincinnati Bearcats will look to pull off the improbable in the Cotton Bowl at AT&T Stadium. The 13.5-point underdogs are a perfect 13-0 going into the College Football Playoff.

The only problem for Cincinnati is their strength of schedule. There are plenty of people who don’t feel confident in Cincinnati due to the teams they have played.

The Bearcats beat the Notre Dame Fighting Irish on October 2, 24-13, but don’t have another marquee win on their schedule. They can only play the games that have been scheduled, though, and they did what was asked of them.

Cincinnati depends on quarterback Desmond Ridder and their defense. Ridder benefits from a defense that sets him up with good field possession often. The Bearcats’ secondary is second-best in the FBS, with 167.5 yards allowed per game.

Is that going to be enough to slow down the Crimson Tide, though? Alabama was rare underdogs in the SEC Championship and won straight up, 41-24.

They needed the win to make the College Football Playoff and stay a one-loss team. Alabama had close calls this season and a 41-38 loss versus Texas A&M. The Crimson Tide looked like Alabama in the SEC Championship.

Bryce Young won the Heisman Trophy by default, as he clinched the award over Georgia in the win. He and his teammates might have taken the talk of them falling off to heart against the Bulldogs. The Bearcats will have to look out if the hunger is still there.

Cincinnati Bearcats vs. Alabama Crimson Tide Betting Trends:

Cincinnati

  • 5-0 ATS in their previous five games as an underdog
  • 5-1 ATS in their previous six games versus a non-conference team
  • 6-0 ATS in their previous six games versus a team with a winning record
  • 7-1 ATS in their previous eight games on a Friday
  • UNDER is 5-0 in their previous five games as an underdog

Alabama

  • 4-1 ATS in their previous five games versus non-conference teams
  • 5-2 ATS in their previous seven games at a neutral field
  • 7-0 overall in their previous seven games
  • 2-5 ATS in their previous seven games after covering the spread
  • UNDER is 5-0 in their previous five College Football Playoff games

Georgia Bulldogs (No. 3) vs. Michigan Wolverines (No. 2) – Orange Bowl

Date and Time: December 31, 7:30 p.m. EST

Odds Courtesy of BetOnline

Teams Spread Moneyline Total
Georgia Bulldogs -7.5 (-110) -290 Over 45.5 (-110)
Michigan Wolverines -7.5 (-110) +245 Under 45.5 (-110)

The National Championship will be scheduled and set after this contest. The winner of the Orange Bowl will move on to play the winner of the Cotton Bowl.

Georgia had a big season and was perfect going into the SEC Championship. Despite a 12-0 regular season, Georgia couldn’t finish in the conference championship versus an Alabama team that exploited their holes for a 41-24 final.

The Bulldogs never played a really good team before they met Alabama. The season opener was supposed to be a game with College Football Playoff implications, but the 10-3 win over Clemson didn’t look so good after what we know now about the Tigers.

Georgia went with Stetson Bennett at quarterback following an injury to JT Daniels. Bennett picked on weaker opponents this year, but failing to look good versus Alabama has sparked a debate that we see Daniels in the Orange Bowl.

On their defense, Michigan has the potential No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft. In this one, Aidan Hutchinson will look to give the Georgia offensive line and Bennett nightmares. He and the Michigan defense frustrated Ohio State en route to a big win over the Buckeyes.

The Wolverines have a steady, well-balanced attack like Georgia. They mix up their ground and air attack with Cade McNamara. It’s going to be the better defense that wins this one, though.

Georgia Bulldogs vs. Michigan Wolverines Betting Trends:

Georgia

  • 6-2 ATS in their previous eight bowl games
  • 5-2 ATS in their previous seven games versus non-conference teams
  • 7-2 overall in their previous nine games versus the Big Ten
  • 16-1 overall in their previous 17 games
  • 0-4 ATS in their previous four bowl games

Michigan

  • 5-0 ATS in their previous five games
  • 4-1 ATS in their previous five games versus non-conference teams
  • 7-3 ATS in their previous ten games after scoring more than 40 points
  • 5-1 ATS in their previous six games after allowing less than 20 points
  • 0-4 ATS in their previous four bowl games

Oklahoma State Cowboys vs. Notre Dame Fighting Irish – Fiesta Bowl

Date and Time: January 1, 1:00 p.m. EST

Odds Courtesy of BetOnline

Teams Spread Moneyline Total
Oklahoma State Cowboys +2 (-105) +112 Over 45 (-110)
Notre Dame Fighting Irish -2 (-115) -132 Under 45 (-110)

The Oklahoma State Cowboys and Notre Dame Fighting Irish don’t have a playoff game ahead of them, but it’s an intriguing matchup nonetheless in the Fiesta Bowl.

Oklahoma State and Notre Dame were close to going to the College Football Playoff. On their resume, Notre Dame has a loss against Cincinnati, though that’s all for the Fighting Irish.

Meanwhile, Oklahoma State lost only their second game in the season’s final week. Baylor dropped them in the Big 12 Championship to lose out on the conference championship and a possible ticket to the College Football Playoff.

This might be seen as the disappointment bowl, though it will be a good matchup. Oklahoma State and Notre Dame have been well-prepared this season.

How the Fighting Irish react in their first game with Marcus Freeman as head coach will be interesting. After Brian Kelly dipped for LSU, Notre Dame wasted little time naming Freeman their next head coach.

Oklahoma State and Notre Dame is as well-balanced of a matchup as you’re going to get. Like Georgia and Michigan, these two programs do a lot of the same. They can run and move the ball through the air and play defense.

I wouldn’t characterize either offense as explosive, but setting up long drives and keeping the defense off-balance is what they’re best at doing. Expect this to be a close fight.

Oklahoma State Cowboys vs. Notre Dame Fighting Irish Betting Trends:

Oklahoma State

  • 5-0 ATS in their previous five bowl games
  • 9-1-1 ATS in their previous 11 games
  • 5-1 ATS in their previous six games as an underdog
  • 5-1 ATS in their previous six games at a neutral field
  • 9-3 ATS in their previous 12 games after a loss

Notre Dame

  • 7-0 ATS in their previous seven games
  • 7-0 ATS in their previous seven games as the betting favorite
  • 7-0 ATS in their previous seven games versus non-conference teams
  • 7-2 ATS in their previous nine games at a neutral field
  • 4-0 ATS in their previous for games after conceding less than 20 points

Utah Utes vs. Ohio State Buckeyes – Rose Bowl

Date and Time: January 1, 5:00 p.m. EST

Odds Courtesy of BetOnline

Teams Spread Moneyline Total
Utah Utes +6.5 (-115) +200 Over 65 (-112)
Ohio State Buckeyes -6.5 (-105) -240 Under 65 (-108)

The Utah Utes and Ohio State Buckeyes meet in the most prestigious bowl of them all. This isn’t a playoff game but is a game that any player in the country would like to win.

The Buckeyes had the door closed on them in the Big Ten after losing to the Michigan Wolverines in the regular season finale. Ohio State was upset at Michigan in a 42-27 game at the Big House.

Ohio State has been sitting around looking forward to bowl season with no conference championship to play in. The Rose Bowl is the next best-case scenario for Ohio State. Will they be motivated to play Utah?

CJ Stroud has to be looking for a bounce-back performance after struggling versus Michigan. However, he will not have a three-headed monster at wide receiver for the Rose Bowl.

Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave could both be OUT as they prepare for the next level in the NFL. Understandable, but that puts more pressure on Stroud without star receivers.

It’s accepted that Utah will be excited to be in the Rose Bowl. After winning the Pac-12 Championship over the Oregon Ducks, this is a big win for them.

For the second game in three weeks, the Utes beat Oregon and find themselves in California after a 10-3 season. The Utes are riding a six-game winning streak and will get up for Ohio State.

Utah Utes vs. Ohio State Buckeyes Betting Trends:

Utah

  • 6-2 ATS in their previous eight games versus the Big Ten
  • 14-5 ATS in their previous 19 games after a win
  • 5-1 ATS in their previous six games versus a team with a winning record
  • 4-1 ATS in their previous five games as an underdog in a bowl game
  • 0-6 ATS in their previous six games versus a non-conference team

Ohio State

  • 12-3-2 ATS in their previous 17 games versus the Pac-12
  • 6-2 ATS in their previous eight bowl games
  • 5-1 ATS in their previous six games in January
  • 1-4 ATS in their previous five games after a loss
  • 1-4 ATS in their previous five games at a neutral field

Baylor Bears vs. Ole Miss Rebels – Sugar Bowl

Date and Time: January 1, 8:45 p.m. EST

Odds Courtesy of BetOnline

Teams Spread Moneyline Total
Baylor Bears +1 (-110) -105 Over 55 (-110)
Ole Miss Rebels -1 (-110) -115 Under 55 (-110)

The Baylor Bears and Mississippi Rebels concluded New Year’s Six season with the Sugar Bowl at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on New Year’s Day in the evening hours.

Baylor and Ole Miss are probably happy to be in the Sugar Bowl. Both had a puncher’s chance at going to the College Football Playoff in the final month, but a lot was going to have to go their way.

Baylor finishes at 11-2 with a Big 12 Championship, while Ole Miss was a respectable 10-2 under Lane Kiffin in the SEC. The Bears were underestimated all season, including in the Pac-12 Championship as underdogs.

The Bears are riding high on a four-game winning streak and won seven of their last eight attempts. Matt Corral is not skipping the Sugar Bowl to focus on the NFL ahead of time.

Corral playing will give Baylor a tough look against a potential top-10 NFL Draft pick. Many believed Corrall would bypass the Sugar Bowl, but he’s going and excited.

The Rebels are much more than just a flash in the pan. Kiffin has changed the defense for the better. This Ole Miss team will hit with Baylor.

Baylor Bears vs. Ole Miss Rebels Betting Trends:

Baylor

  • 4-1 ATS in their previous five games at a neutral field
  • 9-3 ATS in their previous 12 games
  • 6-2 ATS in their previous eight games after conceding less than 20 points
  • 5-12-1 ATS in their previous 18 games versus a non-conference team
  • UNDER is 5-0 in their previous five games versus a team with a winning record

Ole Miss

  • 6-1-1 ATS in their previous eight bowl games
  • 10-2-1 ATS in their previous 13 games at a neutral field
  • 5-2 ATS in their previous seven games
  • 5-1 ATS in their previous six games versus a team with a winning record
  • UNDER is 7-0 in their previous seven games
  • UNDER is 4-0 in their previous four bowl games
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Kyle E / Author

Kyle is a veteran of TheSportsGeek and has spent nearly a decade providing accurate sports picks and writeups here. He has been a sports handicapper for 10+ years and started sharing his picks and thoughts in 2011 at TheSportsGeek. His expertise spans across multiple sports, including the NFL, NCAAF, MLB, NHL, and horse racing. Prior to writing for TheSportsGeek, Kyle was a fantasy football expert, who ultimately parlayed it into a successful sports betting career. You can find his picks daily only at TheSportsGeek.

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