5 Best College Football Bowl Predictions Against The Spread: CFP Semifinals, December 30, 31 Games

5 best predictions for College Football Playoff Semifinals and other December 30th and 31st games. 

5 Best College Football Bowl Predictions College Football Playoff, December 30th, 31st Games

Expert Picks Dec 28-Jan 2, NY6, CFP
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Results So Far: 82-70-1
Bowl Season: 8-7

I was about to be more insufferable than I already am.

After a rough start to the bowl season, I was right there. My picks for the last round of games were about to be 4-1 against the spread, all I needed was one Minnesota stop in the Pinstripe against Syracuse, I got it, and … 12 men on the field flag, an Orange score on 4th and goal, just like that, I’m back to being just okay.

But in this wacky bowl season I’ll take 60% for that last run. Now it’s time to do better with five to end 2022 on a high note, starting with …

Click on each game for the game preview

5. Capital One Orange Bowl: Tennessee vs Clemson

Friday, December 30, 2022, 8:00 ET, ESPN
ATS Line 
Clemson -6
Pick Tennessee

I’m still not sold on the Clemson secondary.

Tennessee is missing a ton. Combine that with the public having little faith in Joe Milton at quarterback, and Clemson is almost a touchdown favorite. The Tiger defensive line might have something to do with that, and overall, the losses for a team of this caliber were relatively minimal.

I’m still not sold.

Not to dog Jalin Hyatt or Cedric Tillman in any way, but I do believe Tennessee’s system has as much to do with the success – if not more – than the receivers and the parts in the roles.

I’m going with the idea that Milton can do enough with the returning receivers to hit the Tiger secondary sort of like Sam Hartman and Wake Forest did, sort of like North Carolina’s Drake Maye did – at least in terms of total yards – and sort of  like Florida State’s Jordan Travis did.

I do believe that the atmosphere in the Orange Bowl will be great, both teams will trade big offensive punches, and I’m even buying in that Clemson will probably win this.

I’ll take my chances walking into the stadium up 6-0 with the team that’s been through the SEC wars this season.

NEXT: College Football Pick Against the Spread No. 4: TaxSlayer Gator Bowl

4. TaxSlayer Gator Bowl: Notre Dame vs South Carolina

Friday, December 30, 2022, 3:30 ET, ESPN
ATS Line 
Notre Dame -3.5
Pick Notre Dame

Can Tyler Buchner rise up and get the Notre Dame offense going? Can it hang shot for shot with a South Carolina offense that closed the year on a roll, and now gets to go against a defense that’s missing its top threat up front in end Isaiah Foskey.

The Irish are missing some of their main guys. South Carolina is missing almost everyone.

It’s been dangerous going with the belief that the teams missing the most starters are going to lose. Check that, they’re losing, but they’re covering a bit too often.

I certainly don’t think this will be easy, and having Spencer Rattler around at quarterback is a huge deal. But again, there are WAY too many pieces from the Gamecock puzzle out.

Notre Dame won’t do anything fancy, it’ll run, count on at least two takeaways, and get the win … I think.

I’m not putting anything past South Carolina head coach Shane Beamer with time to prepare. He just won’t have the guys to get it done.

NEXT: College Football Pick Against The Spread No. 3: Allstate Sugar Bowl

3. Allstate Sugar Bowl: Alabama vs Kansas State

Saturday, December 31, 2022, 12:00 ET, ESPN
ATS Line
 Alabama -6.5
Pick Alabama

Three warnings before the riff.

1) As several Kansas State fans keep pointing out, I don’t exactly have the best of track records when it comes to the Wildcats this year. I’m a talent snob who too often underestimated just how rock-solid this team is.

2) Yes, again, I am a talent snob. I’ll never argue too much against anyone who wants to pick Georgia, or Ohio State, or Alabama for anything. With that said, I’m well aware that …

3) This isn’t one of Nick Saban’s dominant teams – at least at an all-time level – and I do have concerns that the NFL guys who are all supposed to play get yanked out as soon and humanly possible.

But again, no one’s going to blame you for picking Bama.

Since the 2013 seasons, Nick Saban has lost four bowl games. Three were College Football Playoff National Championships, and one was a College Football Playoff semifinal.

From the 2009 season on, Saban has won 14 bowl games. That’s 14 in 13 years, and remember, he lost a few in that span, too. How many of those 14 wins in 13 years were won by more than a touchdown?

13. The one that wasn’t was a 26-23 victory, but Saban can be forgiven for that one. It was just the overtime win over Georgia for the 2017 national title.

Out of those 13 wins, no one else came closer the 11, and even then it was Kyler Murray and a high-powered Oklahoma team that put on some points late in the 2018 CFP Orange Bowl.

Until proven otherwise, I’m fine with giving away less than a touchdown.

NEXT: College Football Pick Against The Spread No. 2 TransPerfect Music City Bowl

2. TransPerfect Music City Bowl: Iowa vs Kentucky

Saturday, December 31, 2022, 12:00 ET, ABC
Point Total 
Pick Over

For those of you who regularly read this, I’m sorry for being repetitive. For those here for the first time, I live off two college football point total rules.

ALWAYS GO UNDER on a point total of 70 or more. Those of you who enjoyed Oregon’s 28-27 win over North Carolina in your San Diego County Credit Union Holiday Bowl, you’re most welcome.

And ALWAYS go over on a point total of 35 or more, unless it’s Army vs Air Force – long story.

31 is just too obnoxious.

Yeah, okay, Iowa and Kentucky had bad offenses to begin with, and now these bad offenses that can’t afford to miss any key parts are missing their quarterbacks and a few other key parts.

No, I won’t be the slightest bit surprised if this is a 2-1 final in the worst sporting event ever played. But you’re giving me a total of 31. It’s not impossible that one team wins 31-3. It’s not asking for the world for 17-14 and at worst push.

Put it this way. With a college point total of 31, you’ll be more mad if this goes under and you lose than if you stay away and it’s 20-13.

And finally …

NEXT: College Football Pick Against The Spread No. 1 College Football Playoff Semifinal: Vrbo Fiesta Bowl

1. College Football Playoff Semifinal: Vrbo Fiesta Bowl, Michigan vs TCU

Saturday, December 31, 2022, 4:00 ET, ESPN
ATS Line 
Michigan -7.5
PICK Michigan

I would totally love it if TCU won.

It’s not that I hate Michigan, and all of its Maize and Blue fans, and all the dear friends and family who believe that they beat Ohio State – instead of giving 110% of the credit to the kids and coaches on the field who did all the work. It would be a good thing for the future of the College Football Playoff if the outlier team finally pulled one off, even if it meant a 155-3 national championship final score was coming up next.

Unfortunately, so far in the eight years of the College Football Playoff, bad things happen when the kid tries to engage in the conversation at the adult table.

Washington … no. 24-7 Alabama.

Michigan State … dear heavens, no. 38-0 Alabama, and it wasn’t even that interesting.

Notre Dame … some segment of the Irish fandom thinks being competitive for a half is enough to overcome the final score, but … no. Really, no. 30-3 Clemson, 31-14 Alabama.

Cincinnati … (heavy sigh because we all knew this was coming) … no. 27-6 Alabama, and that’s because Bama was being kind.

It’s not like Michigan has proven itself in the College Football Playoff – it got roasted by Georgia 34-11 last year – but it’s far more established and proven over the last two years than TCU.

All that, and the 24-7 Bama win over Washington in the 2016 Peach – I still have fat cells that will never, ever go away from all the Chick-fil-A and Krispy Kremes I ate in Atlanta that week – was the closest CFP undercard semifinal outside of the Georgia-Oklahoma double-OT Rose Bowl in 2017.

When the matchups were first announced my first thought was Michigan -17.5. I’m being handed an extra ten points to enjoy.

Football-wise, the Michigan lines and defense should take over in the second half. It’s been my call from the start, and I’m not sliding now.

(BTW, word is that the early line if it’s Georgia – Michigan will be Dawgs -17ish or so.)

Expert Picks Dec 28-Jan 2, NY6, CFP

Story originally appeared on College Football News