College Bowl Betting Over Christmas

FairwayJay chips in 2023 College Football Bowl game betting picks and information you can bet on for 7 games on Sat., Dec. 23.

Following the college football championship games and early college bowls that have seen favorites go 5-4 ATS, it's time to chip-in and get on the tee to take a swing with some posted college bowl picks. Ahead of the 2023 biggest bowl games and College Football Playoff, there are 8 more bowl games before Christmas including the Las Vegas Bowl.

NCAA bowl games Saturday predictions picksThen I'm off to Arizona with media credential access to see a pair of Mountain West teams. The Guaranteed Rate Bowl is one of three games on Tuesday, Dec. 26 and I'll be at Chase Field to see UNLV tackle Kansas. I'll also be at the Arizona Bowl in Tucson for Wyoming vs. Toledo as one of four games on Saturday, Dec. 30. Between those bowl games there are four bowl games each day on Dec. 27, 28 and 29 for college football fans to watch and wager on at leading online sportsbooks.

Fairway's Forecast has had some great success in past seasons picking and betting early college bowls, and I'll chip-in more next week for the big game betting New Year's Six Bowls and College Football Playoff, which went 5-2 ATS on Picks and Opinions in 2021 posting here at OSGA

I posted the 2023 College Football Bowl schedule with matchups, odds and information you can bet on in Forbes ahead of the bowl season. The landscape of the college bowl season has changed greatly in recent years, and there is much to consider before you watch and wager on the bowl games beyond the motivation and stat profiles. Betting lines and odds change more often, and dramatically as you'll see below. Teams deal with more travel logistics, coaching changes, injuries, suspensions, transfers and players opting out. All of that impacts the games and betting market with live betting a consideration for more bettors.  

Ahead of Saturday, I bet the stronger team Central Florida (-6) in the Gasparilla Bowl on Friday, Dec. 22 with the total rising sharply from 61.5 to 66.5. 

Saturday, December 23

Camellia Bowl | 12 p.m. | ABC | Cramton Bowl, Montgomery, AL

Camellia Bowl free pick- Northern Illinois vs. Arkansas State (-2.5), total 55.5 (line up from -1.5, total up from 51.5)

Opinion: Arkansas State

Arkansas State has the stronger offense led by QB Raynor, and the hidden edge of superior special teams. Northern Illinois is missing their 2 best wide receivers. While Northern Illinois is 12-2 ATS off a double-digit ATS loss, including 10-0 ATS as a 'Dog, the Huskies are also 0-7 SU and 1-6 ATS in their last seven bowl games. We side with the line move and back the Red Wolves.


Birmingham Bowl | 12 p.m. | ABC | Protective Stadium, Birmingham, AL 

- Duke vs. Troy (-7), total 44.5 (line up from -5.5)

Lean: Troy

Duke has taken a big hit in the transfer portal, and both teams lost their coaches with many of Duke's interim staff also on their way out.


Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl | 3:30 p.m. | ABC | Amon G. Carter Stadium, Fort Worth, TX 

- Air Force vs. James Madison (-1.5), total 40.5 (line down from -2.5 and total down from 42.5) 

Lean: Air Force 

James Madison is 19-4 SU and 17-7 ATS since joining the FBS, and coach Curt Cignetti will not coach JMU in the bowl game after accepting the offer to be the new head coach at Indiana. Air Force is 9-0 SU in their last nine games as a non-conference underdog, and 8-2 ATS last ten bowl games. The Falcons faded badly after starting 8-0, but confidence in top coach Troy Calhoun to get the best out of his team with senior QB  Zac Larrier returning from injury after missing the past 2+ games. 


Famous Idaho Potato Bowl | 3:30 p.m. | ESPN | Albertson’s Stadium, Boise, ID

- Utah State (-1.5) vs. Georgia State, total 59.5 (flipped favorite with Georgia State opening -3.5 and total down from 63.5)

Idaho Potato BowlOpinion: Utah State

Georgia State lost its last five games and the Panthers defense allowed 42 points in four of those contests. Now many starters on both offense and defense have entered the transfer portal. Utah State won three of its last four games with the offense getting better, and the Aggies are far more familiar playing in higher elevation at this unique venue. 


Ventures Bowl | 7 p.m. | ESPN | Hancock Whitney Stadium, Mobile, AL

- Eastern Michigan vs. South Alabama (-17), total 45 (line up from -14 and total down from 48.5)

Opinion: Under 

South Alabama is missing 2 key skill players and Eastern Michigan has a backup QB facing a solid Jaguars defense. Thus the total move downward and still likely goes under the game total. 


SRS Distribution Las Vegas Bowl | 7:30 p.m. | ABC | Allegiant Stadium, Las Vegas, NV

- Northwestern vs. Utah (-6), total 41.5 (line down from -9.5 and total down from 42.5)

Pick: Utah

Utah (8-4) is 0-4 SU in its last four bowl games, and this would seem to be a downer with the Utes winning the Pac-12 Championship the last two years and playing in the Rose Bowl. The Utes also have no less than 15 players than entered the transfer portal to just four on Northwestern (7-5). Law Vegas Bowl free pickThe Utes are also down some defensive players including two safeties. Still, Utah gets the edge in experience, coaching and preparation. We'll see if the motivation is a factor. The Wildcats overachieved under interim and now nearly-signed head coach David Brawn, who led the Wildcats to the biggest turnaround in college football this season having been projected for just 3 wins. Much of that was due to a +10 turnover margin as the Wildcats' offense averaged just 305 yards (No. 121 in FBS), with the offensive line contributing to 48 sacks allowed. We chipped-in an opening week winner playing against Northwestern, and we'll close the season with another winner with the Utes over the Wildcats despite the money showing on Northwestern. 


Easy Post Hawaii Bowl | 10:30 p.m. | ESPN | Clarence T.C. Ching Athletics Complex, Honolulu, HI

- Coastal Carolina vs. San Jose State (-10), total 48.5 (line up from -7.5 and total down from 55.5)

Lean: Coastal Carolina

Hawaii Bowl  free pickCoastal Carolina star QB Grayson McCall hasn't played since taking a cheap hit during a game in late October. Former Kansas QB Ethan Vaskos starts for CC, while San Jose State QB and Honolulu-native Chevan Cordeiro returns to the islands having led the Spartans to six-straight wins while scoring 38 points per game during the winning streak. This line is inflated noting too that CC has lost more players to the transfer portal. 

Follow FairwayJay here at and on X (Twitter) @FairwayJay for more sports betting news and insights.    

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