With a quartet of huge New Year’s Day bowl games set for Friday, Jan. 1, it’s time to find out where the best college football betting value lies on the first day of 2021!
The 2021 Peach Bowl gets things started at noon, followed by a Citrus Bowl pairing that gets underway an hour later.
Your New Year’s Day bowl game online betting opportunities will reach even greater heights later when No. 1 Alabama battles No. 4 Notre Dame in the Rose Bowl and No. 2 Clemson takes on No. 3 Ohio State in the AllState Sugar Bowl.
Now, let’s find the best betting value in all four affairs of what should be a bankroll-boosting sportsbook betting four-game parlay.
4-Team New Year’s Day Parlay Picks
- Cincinnati +7
- Northwestern -3.5
- Notre Dame +20
- Clemson -7.5
Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl
No. 9 Georgia (7-2) vs No. 8 Cincinnati (9-0)
When: Friday,12 p.m. ET
Where: Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, GA
NCAAF Odds: Georgia -7
Georgia has won three straight, including a 49-14 blowout of Missouri in its regular-season finale. Cincinnati ran the table but didn’t get a berth into the four-team CFP despite its unblemished record. The Bearcats come into the Peach Bowl fresh off a hard-fought 27-24 win over Tulsa in its American Athletic Conference championship showdown.
— Cincinnati Football (@GoBearcatsFB) December 22, 2020
“It’s huge for our program,” Cincinnati coach Luke Fickell said. “If you want to claim you deserve an opportunity or a shot, this is an opportunity, this is a shot.
While Georgia makes its fifth straight New Year’s Day bowl game under head coach Kirby Smart, the Bulldogs had their three-year run of reaching the SEC championship snapped by suffering two losses. Georgia’s 44-28 blowout loss at the hands of then-No. 8 Florida effectively ended Georgia’s national championship hopes.
Georgia had all sorts of problems under center until turning to USC transfer JT Daniels after starting the season with D’Wan Mathis before switching to Stetson Bennett. Daniels has started the last three games and Georgia has looked infinitely better.
Daniels has thrown for 839 yards with nine touchdowns and one interception in wins over Mississippi State, South Carolina, and Missouri. The Bulldogs put up a whopping 41.6 points per game during the stretch, but they’ll have their hands full getting past a Cincinnati defense that finished seventh in points allowed nationally this season (16.0 ppg).
The Bearcats also have a dual-threat star in quarterback Desmond Ridder, the AAC Offensive Player of the Year. Ridder passed for 2,090 yards with 17 touchdowns and six interceptions while rushing for an additional 609 yards and a dozen scores. Cincinnati is a well-rounded team that has seen seven players score receiving touchdowns.
After watching non-Power 5 teams like Houston and Central Florida win Peach Bowl affairs against Florida State (2015) and Auburn (2018), I see no reason why Cincinnati won’t cover the spread as a touchdown underdog on Friday.
Georgia is 6-1 ATS in its last seven bowl games and 9-3 ATS in its last 12 neutral site games. Cincinnati has gone 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games as an underdog, 4-1 ATS in their last 5 non-conference games, and 5-2 ATS in its last seven games against a team with a winning record.I like Cincinnati to make a real statement that they belong by beating the Bulldogs outright in a relatively low-scoring affair!
Pick: Cincinnati 27 Georgia 24
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Vrbo Citrus Bowl
Auburn (6-4) vs No. 14 Northwestern (6-2)
When: Friday at 1 p.m. ET
Where: Camping World Stadium, Orlando, FL
NCAAF Odds: Northwestern -3.5
Unranked Auburn snapped a two-game skid by getting past Mississippi State 24-10 in its regular-season finale. Still, the Tigers will try to get the Citrus Bowl win under an interim head coach. Defensive coordinator Kevin Steele takes over for the fired Gus Malzhan who was let go following their regular-season finale.
“These guys have been resilient,” Steele said. “They’ve shown a lot of character, leadership, and just the ability to adapt. We’ve actually had an additional bump in the road that we had a change at the top for us, which is something that’s hard on a football program. And so we’re going through that.”
Starting next season, Auburn will be led by former Boise State head coach Bryan Harsin, who the school quickly identified as their next coach after firing Malzhan.
The 14th-ranked Wildcats had a chance to ruin fourth-ranked Ohio State’s championship hopes but lost to the Buckeyes 22-10 in the Big Ten title game. Northwestern had its own CFP hopes ruined in their 29-20 road loss against an unranked Michigan State team on Nov. 28.
Northwestern led Ohio State 10-6 at the half, but three second-half turnovers killed their conference championship dreams.
“We just didn’t make the plays we needed to make down the stretch in the fourth quarter to be Big Ten champions,” Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald said. “But to have the opportunity to represent the Big Ten in Orlando, we are ecstatic.”
Still, I like the value that Northwestern is offering as a slight, 3.5-point favorite in the Citrus Bowl. Auburn is 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games as an underdog, an identical 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games against teams from the Big Ten, and a winless 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games in the month of January.
With Northwestern going 4-0 ATS in its last four games against a team with a winning record and 7-1-1 ATS in their last 9 games overall, I like the Wildcats to win and cover the chalk against an Auburn team that was limited to 22 points or less in all four of their losses this season.
Pick: Northwestern 28 Auburn 23
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Rose Bowl Game Presented By Capital One
No. 4 Notre Dame (10-1) at No. 1 Alabama (11-0)
When: Friday, 4 p.m. ET
Where: ATT Stadium, Arlington, TX
NCAAF Odds: Alabama -20
Fourth-ranked Notre Dame was a controversial pick to reach the four-team College Football Playoffs – and rightfully so I say! The Fighting Irish were on the wrong end of an embarrassing 34-10 blowout at the hands of No. 2 Clemson in the AC Championship game that ruined their hopes for a perfect season.
Alabama won all 11 of its regular season games. The Crimson Tide are fresh off a hard-fought 52-46 win over seventh-ranked Florida in the SEC Championship game.
While Notre Dame has a star in quarterback Ian Book and another in running back Kyren Williams, I just don’t expect the Irish to pose much of a challenge seeing how Clemson dominated Notre Dame from start to finish two weeks ago.
While both teams have elite defenses, Alabama averages 14.5 points per game more than Notre Dame. The Crimson Tide have elite talent all over the place on both sides of the ball.
Notre Dame has gone 4-0 ATS in their last 4 non-conference games and an encouraging 6-1 ATS in its last seven games against a team with a winning record. The bad news is that the Irish are also just 3-7 ATS in their last 10 bowl games as an underdog and 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games in January.
Crimson Tide are 7-1 ATS in their last 8 games overall and 4-1 ATS in their last 5 non-conference games. Alabama has scored 52 points or more in three straight games and their prolific offense will be too much for the Fighting Irish to handle.
Pick: Alabama 42 Notre Dame 21
AllState Sugar Bowl
No.3 Ohio State (6-0) vs No.2 Clemson (10-1)
When: Friday, 8 p.m. ET
Where: Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, LA
NCAAF Odds: Clemson -7.5
Third-ranked Ohio State reached the CFP despite playing six games. The Buckeyes beat Northwestern 22-10 in the Big Ten championship, but never came close to covering the spread after going into the half, down 10-6 against the Wildcats.
While Ohio State has an elite offense that puts up a whopping 42.5 points per game and a solid defense that limits the opposition to 21.0 points per contest, Clemson is statistically better on both sides of the ball.
The Tigers avenged their only loss by beating Notre Dame 34-10 in the ACC Championship after falling to the Irish 47-40 in a double-overtime thriller on Nov. 7.
Now, Clemson will look to dismiss the Buckeyes in their second straight CFP meeting after getting past the Buckeyes 29-23 in last season’s CFP semifinals. Ohio State was up 16-0 in last season’s meeting but couldn’t contain Tigers quarterback Trevor Lawrence. Still, the Buckeyes had a chance to get the win before Justin Fields was intercepted in the end zone with 37 seconds remaining.
“Fresh off of that game, it was right on our minds, and something that when we got back to work and winter workouts, January, February, it was right there for us,” Ohio State coach Ryan Day said Sunday. “Coming off that game, we just didn’t get over it in one day. It took time.
Check out the history of the Clemson-Ohio State series.
Clemson took out Ohio State 31-0 in the CFP semifinals in 2016 en route to the national championship that season and I like the Tigers to get it done again this time around. I know Ohio State is 4-0 ATS in its last four games in the month of January, but the Buckeyes are also 0-4 ATS in their last four games against a team with a winning record.
Clemson is 6-0 ATS in their last 6 neutral site games as a favorite, 10-2 ATS in their last 12 bowl games, and 17-4 ATS in their last 21 neutral site games. The Tigers are playing their best defense of the season right now and I don’t like Ohio State’s paltry six-game season.