College Football Opening Lines, Bowl Game Betting Odds and Spreads

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Andrew Ortenberg


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I'm an NFL handicapper here at Pickswise who was raised in a household full of sports fanatics. Since I unfortunately never had LeBron James' jumping ability I wasn't able to make it to the NBA, and chose writing about sports as the next best thing. An avid sports bettor myself, I'm excited to get to write about the industry as it gets set to take off across the country. Buckle up. For Andrew Ortenberg media enquiries, please email

Well the college football regular season is officially in the books. It was a year truly unlike any other, and while we’re all sad it’s over, there’s still a lot of action left to go before we’re truly done. That’s because bowl season is upon us, gifting us with several more weeks of college football.

You can often get the most value early in the week by exploiting opening lines before they get adjusted too much by sharp action, and today we’ll be looking at the lines for all the biggest games. As always you can check out our ‘NCAAF picks‘ tab for free breakdowns and picks on both the side and total for all the biggest games.

College Football bowl game opening lines

Liberty @ Coastal Carolina (-7) – FBC Mortgage Cure Bowl – 12/26

#21 Oklahoma State Cowboys (-2.5.) @ #18 Miami Hurricanes – Cheez-It Bowl – 12/29

#20 Texas (-11.5) @ Colorado – Alamo Bowl -12/29

#7 Florida (-3) @ #6 Oklahoma – Cotton Bowl – 12/30

#9 Georgia (-7) @ #8 Cincinnati – Peach Bowl – 1/1

Auburn @ #14 Northwestern (-3.5) – Citrus Bowl – 1/1

#4 Notre Dame @ #1 Alabama (-19.5) – CFP Semifinal – 1/1

#3 Ohio State @ #2 Clemson (-7.5) – CFP Semifinal – 1/1

Ole Miss @ #11 Indiana (-6.5) Outback Bowl – 1/2

#25 Oregon @ #10 Iowa State (-4.5) – Fiesta Bowl – 1/2

#5 Texas A&M (-7) @ #13 North Carolina – Orange Bowl – 1/2

There are some interesting lines among these bowl games. The 14th-ranked Northwestern only being a 3.5-point favorite over a 6-4 Auburn team tells you all you need to know about how legit oddsmakers think the Wildcats’ improbable season was.

It certainly won’t get the most national attention but of the lower profile games I can’t wait to see Ole Miss/Indiana, since those two teams play very different styles. We should find out if Indiana was legit or a fluke there as well. Of the non-playoff games, I think Florida/Oklahoma will be the most interesting to watch, and oddsmakers have the Gators as a very short favorite.

The lines for the playoff games are about what you would expect, although it’s still staggering to see a team be a 19.5-point favorite in a matchup that is supposed to feature two of the best four teams in all of college football.

Do I like any of the opening lines?

I lean toward Oklahoma initially with how they caught fire down the stretch. A couple weeks ago Florida thought they had a good shot at the playoff, while Oklahoma knew that was never on the table for them after their two early losses. As such I think they’ll have an easier time getting up and motivated for this game, which is often the most important factor in bowl games.

I also lean toward North Carolina catching a touchdown against a Texas A&M team that I think is very overrated. UNC has the offense to hang with anybody, and I’m not sold on Kellen Mond at all. Remember, this is an Aggies team that only beat Vanderbilt by five. Mond struggled a few times down the stretch, and I don’t think he’ll outclass Sam Howell.

When do the lines open?

Most legal online sportsbooks post their lines on Saturday night after the week’s games or on Sunday morning, with limits increasing throughout the week as it gets closer to kick off.

Who sets the college football opening lines?

Oddsmakers launch their opening lines as an educated guess at where they think the line will attract action on both sides. Early line movements usually indicate sharp action. Even though limits are small, sharps are the first ones thinking about opening lines. The lines will continue to move as the week goes on, limits increase, and more information becomes available such as injury reports and weather forecasts.

At Pickswise we offer free expert College Football Picks and Predictions for all games in the Power Five conferences and the top 25 teams outside of Power five, including our College Football Parlay picks each week.

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