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NCAAF Betting: Early Look at New Year’s Six Bowl Games

Four SEC Teams Earn New Year’s Six Bowl Invitations

Most of the focus was on who landed in the Rose Bowl and Sugar Bowl since the semifinals in the College Football Playoffs will be held on Jan. 1 in Pasadena and New Orleans. However, the matchups in the other four New Year Six bowl games were also announced with the SEC leading the way with four teams selected.

The college football odds have Michigan as the favorite to win the national title.

NCAAF Betting: Early Look at New Year’s Six Bowl Games
Kevin C. Cox / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP

Things will get started on Dec. 29 when Missouri and Ohio State meet in the Cotton Bowl.

On Dec. 30, it will be Ole Miss and Penn State in the Peach Bowl followed by an Orange Bowl matchup featuring Georgia and Florida State.

Along with Michigan-Alabama in the Rose Bowl and Washington-Texas in the Sugar Bowl on Jan. 1, the Fiesta Bowl will also be played on that day between Oregon and Liberty.

Michigan received 51 of the 62 first-place votes to take over the top spot in the Associated Press poll followed by Washington, Texas, Florida State, Alabama, Georgia, Ohio State and Oregon. The only team that remained the same in the top eight was No. 4 Florida State.

Michigan (+160) and Alabama (+180) lead the way in the odds of winning the national title. Texas is priced at +300 and Washington comes in at +750 according to the college football championship odds.


Ranking Top Bowl Games

When looking at the six premier bowl games, let’s look at the ones with the best entertainment value as the matchups have been set and the College Football Playoff rankings have been released.

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— College Football Playoff (@CFBPlayoff) December 3, 2023

Michigan-Alabama will draw plenty of attention with Michigan the No. 1 seed and Alabama coming off a win over two-time defending national champion Georgia.

The time between games could help Alabama get healthier than it was against the ‘Dawgs.

If you love strong quarterback play, the Washington-Texas matchup could be fun to watch with Michael Penix Jr. and Quinn Ewers trying to lead their teams into the national title game.

More than a few eyes will be on Florida State in its matchup with Georgia. As with each of the four games that aren’t part of the College Football Playoff, keep watch out for the draft prospects who choose not to play in the game.

The Seminoles figure to have a rather large chip on their shoulders.

Missouri and Ohio State is intriguing due to its clash of styles and it will give Missouri a chance to be seen on the national stage.

Hopefully, quarterbacks Drew Allar of Penn State and Jaxson Dart of Ole Miss will get the chance to air it out when the Nittany Lions and Rebels square off.

Finally, keep an eye on Liberty as non Power-5 conference teams tend to have more to play for at this time of the season when going against teams that had their sights set on the College Football Playoff.


Who’s Missing?

When looking at The Associated Press poll, the highest-ranked teams not taking part in New Year’s Six bowl games are No. 12 Oklahoma, No. 13 LSU and No. 14 Arizona.

In the conference championship games among the Power-5 conference, 3 of the 10 teams to reach the title games will not be playing in the New Year’s Six bowl games with Big Ten runner-up Iowa, ACC finalist Louisville and Big 12 finalist Oklahoma State not selected.

None of those teams helped themselves with their performances in the conference title clashes.


Liberty Gets To Ring the Bell

The feeling was that Liberty and Tulane were the top contenders to earn the Group of Five slot in the New Year’s Six bowl games with Toledo there if either of the front-runners stumbled.

SMU made things interesting by beating Tulane in the American Athletic Conference championship game while Toledo fell in the Mid-American title game.

No. 16 SMU is one spot ahead of Liberty in the Associated Press poll but the Flames will be playing Oregon in the Fiesta Bowl.


What About the Heisman Candidates?

It is not often that the Heisman Trophy front-runner is on a team that is not picked to play in a New Year’s Six bowl game. That is the case with LSU’s Jayden Daniels as he is priced at -1400 by our sportsbook to win the Heisman.

Washington’s Penix Jr. (+900) and Alabama’s Jalen Milroe (+10000) are the only top five players in the Heisman Trophy odds on teams playing in the College Football Playoff field according to the college football odds.

Bo Nix’s Oregon team will play in the Fiesta Bowl and Marvin Harrison Jr. and Ohio State were selected to take part in the Cotton Bowl.


Checking Out the Opening Lines

The lines for the national semifinals are up with Texas favored by four points against Washington in the Sugar Bowl and Michigan currently listed by the college football spread as the 1½-point favorite against Michigan.

The Texas-Washington game has a total of 64 compared to a 46-point total for the Michigan-Alabama contest.


A Different Kind of a Playoff Field

This is a betting side so why not look at how the field might look if the teams were assigned by their records against the spread.

Going with the top team from the Power-5 conferences and rolling with bowl-eligible teams, Arizona (10-2 against the college football betting lines), Penn State (9-3), Alabama (9-4) and Oklahoma (8-4) would be the front-runners with Oregon (9-3-1), LSU (8-4) and Missouri (8-4) would also be in contention.


Questions of the Day

Which Conference Has the Most Teams in the New Year's Six bowl games?

The SEC leads the way with four teams (Alabama, Georgia, Ole Miss and Missouri) followed by Michigan, Ohio State and Penn State representing the Big Ten.

Which Teams Are Favored in the National Semifinals?

Michigan is a 1½-point favorite against Alabama with Texas favored by four points against Washington according to the Vegas odds.

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