College Football Betting Guide: Wednesday 12/29/21

Wednesday’s slate provides fans with the first bowl matchup between ranked teams this season. Oregon and Oklahoma face off in the Alamo Bowl in the primetime slot. Both teams will be led by interim head coaches as Lincoln Riley left Oklahoma for USC and Mario Cristobal left Oregon for Miami. Additionally, the Ducks will be without Kayvon Thibodeaux and the Sooners will be without Nik Bonitto; both star defenders opted out to prepare for the NFL Draft.

We’ll determine where our model sees value on that game as well as the Pinstripe Bowl, which will be played at Yankee Stadium between Maryland and Virginia Tech. The Hokies are the underdogs, likely due to the number of players who have opted out, but our model likes Virginia Tech anyway in a potential upset.

numberFire has built comprehensive algorithms to pinpoint the bets with the highest probability of returning money, whether you are betting on the total, the spread, or the moneyline. For those new to numberFire, we use a five-star system to show which bets you should be targeting for any given game. Stars represent how much you should risk on a wager relative to what you would normally bet.

For example, if you would normally bet $110 to win $100 on a -110-spread wager, if we give a 3-star ranking, we suggest risking three times that amount: $330 to win $300. Here are the best bets for this weekend with guidance from our model.

Please note that lines are subject to change after this article is published. Please check here to make sure you are seeing the most updated information.

Alamo Bowl: Oregon Ducks vs. Oklahoma Sooners

Oregon +7 (-110): 2-Star Rating out of 5

Oregon and Oklahoma each lost their last games of the year; the Ducks fell in the Pac-12 Championship to Utah, while Oklahoma lost to in-state rival Oklahoma State. Each team lost their head coach to another school shortly thereafter. Even though this is a matchup between ranked teams, both squads have trended downward quickly over the last few weeks.

The Sooners fit the typical profile that they’ve had under Lincoln Riley even with a quarterback change in the middle of the season. They have one of the best offenses in the country (6th in SP+ per ESPN) but have a mediocre defense (62nd in SP+). Meanwhile, Oregon has a good offense that isn’t quite on the same as the Sooners’, and they have an average defense, which could take a hit without Thibodeaux.

Oregon’s strength has been its rushing attack, which averages more than 200 yards per game. According to Football Outsiders, the Ducks’ offensive line is ranked second in average line yards and fourth in opportunity rate. Running back Travis Dye has taken advantages of his opportunities as he’s rushed for 1,118 yards and 15 touchdowns this year.

Oklahoma has a fairly stout defensive line to counter Oregon’s proficient running game, but they’ll be without their best defender in linebacker Nik Bonitto, their leading tackler in linebacker Brian Asamoah, and both Isaiah Thomas and Perrion Winfrey on the defensive line.

Our model projects Oregon to keep the game within a touchdown despite losses of their own to the NFL Draft and transfer portal. We have Oregon covering 60.2% of the time.

Pinstripe Bowl: Maryland Terrapins vs. Virginia Tech Hokies

Virginia Tech +3.5 (-124): 5-Star Rating out of 5

Fans might watch this game just to see Yankee Stadium converted into a football field, but our model shows that there is an additional incentive for bettors. Virginia Tech to cover earns a five-star rating due to a defense that has the tools to keep Maryland’s offense in check. The Hokies will be without three defensive starters, but they have enough depth to limit the Terps’ attack.

Maryland has had issues with drives stalling as evident by Football Outsiders’ busted drive rate, in which they rank 90th in the country. If Virginia Tech manages to slow down Taulia Tagovailoa, the Terrapins will have a difficult time consistently moving the chains. The Hokies have been good at pressuring their opposing quarterbacks on early downs as they rank 10th in standard down sack rate. They’ll need to force Tagovailoa into obvious passing situations to limit chunk yardage and stall drives.

Virginia Tech has also excelled at protecting the ball this season. They’ll be playing a backup quarterback (Connor Blumrick), but if they can limit turnovers, they should be able to score against a poor Maryland defense, one that ranks 86th in SP+ per ESPN.

Our model is high on the Hokies, projecting that they cover the spread with a probability of 72.7%. Casual fans might not have this game on their radar, but betting interests should be piqued due to the model’s strong prediction on Virginia Tech.