Saturday Slate: Best Bets for December 31

And we’ve reached the end of the year, and what a ride it’s been. There’s been plenty to keep us busy through 2022, and we end the year with the College Football Playoff. These are the only bowl games where we’re dealing with known quantities, so hopefully, we know enough to know with these teams.

For the rest of today, just have some fun with the slate. There’s a lot of action, so find the game you like best and ride with it. Here are my plays for December 31.

KANSAS STATE +7.5, -110

The Big 12 champions have gotten no respect, and yet I feel like they can win this game outright. For starters, I’m not even certain Alabama’s all that good. The Crimson Tide managed no impressive wins in 2022; their best victory came over either Texas or Mississippi State. Kansas State’s hit another gear in November and has plenty of motivation to prove itself on the big stage.

Plus, Nick Saban really doesn’t do well in New Orleans. Alabama has appeared in the Sugar Bowl four times under Saban and owns a 1-3 record in the game, including 0-2 when it’s not a playoff semifinal. With Deuce Vaughn running well, K-State can absolutely win this one.


I’ve jabbed my friend Liz all year that Iowa’s phrase should be “Until A Point Is Scored” instead of “Until The Game Is Won”. This game might really live up to that. Kentucky and Iowa are both defense-heavy teams and missing several offensive starters. They could have made this line 9.5 and the under still would have looked good to me. I think Kentucky wins a defensive slugfest that reminds us of last year’s Gator Bowl. Note to the bowl committees: Please don’t have these teams meet in another bowl in 2023.

MICHIGAN -7.5, -110

Losing someone like Blake Corum would have devastated most teams. Not Michigan, as Donovan Edwards ran all over Purdue in Indianapolis. Granted, it’s Purdue, so we’re not talking about a great run defense. But TCU doesn’t have a great ground defense either, and Edwards should get rolling here. The Frogs likely will have to press late, and that will play into Michigan’s hands.

GEORGIA -6, -110

Ohio State already flunked its first big test of the season against Michigan. It’s difficult to see the exam with Georgia going any better. Unless the Bulldogs play another languid half — which they usually don’t on the biggest stages — Georgia is too powerful for this Buckeye squad. Ohio State’s not at 100% with its running backs missing and Georgia’s defense remains incredible. If JJ McCarthy can carve up the Buckeyes, Stetson Bennett certainly can do the same. If the motivation is there from kickoff, Georgia rolls.


The Seminoles have improved and I don’t love the idea of giving this many points with Duke. The Blue Devils disappointed last time out against Wake Forest, and I’m not sold that they’ve got everything fixed just yet. I think this stays reasonable.


Wagner loves to walk it up and Merrimack can’t shoot worth anything. The Warriors own the least efficient offense in Division I, and they’ve only gotten above 60 points twice all season against DI competition. Wagner’s held four opponents in the 50s this season, so if you need a midday nap before the festivities, check out Staten Island.

ROBERT MORRIS -1.5, -110

Cleveland State’s not playing well away from home. Yet the Vikings remain an upper-echelon Horizon League team, making this a critical game for Robert Morris. The Colonials look like they might be able to make a run in this league this year, and getting a win here would go a long way toward that. Robert Morris shoots it well from deep, and that should make the difference.

MONTANA -8.5, -110

The Grizzlies usually don’t lose two straight in Missoula. Montana couldn’t keep up with Eastern Washington, but now they can make up for it against Idaho. The Vandals have dropped three straight in Dahlberg Arena and six of seven overall to Montana. With the Grizzlies likely coming in angry about giving up 87 points to Eastern, this shouldn’t go well for Idaho.



Click to comment

Leave a Reply

To Top
%d bloggers like this: