Oklahoma quarterback Caleb Williams
Oklahoma quarterback Caleb Williams (13) runs ahead of Iowa State linebacker Gerry Vaughn (32) for a touchdown during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 20, 2021, in Norman, Okla. (AP Photo/Alonzo Adams)


Patrick Werkmeister

With the college football bowl season in full swing, each day the tension builds as we get closer to the granddaddy of them all. From the Pinstripe Bowl to the Cheez-It Bowl, today’s action is filled to the brim with some great matchups. As we chug along these minor bowl games, these contests are great preparation for the NY6 and CFP. Although certain players either opt-out for the NFL draft or enter the college transfer portal, careful analysis of each matchup will avoid any team that is missing their star players. With this in mind, here is what I love for this Wednesday bowl slate.   

Maryland (-3.5) vs. Virginia Tech ~ Pinstripe
From the iconic Yankee Stadium, the Maryland Terrapins face off against the Virginia Tech Hokies in the Pinstripe Bowl. The opening line for this contest favored Maryland by two and a half-points, but they are now listed as three and a half-point favorites. While these programs met the requirements to be bowl eligible, they have not been reliable from a betting perspective at all. Although the Terps are a shoddy 1-7 ATS in their last eight games, the Hokies are just 3-7 ATS in their past ten matches. Last time out, Virginia Tech narrowly defeated their rivals Virginia, 27-24, whereas the Terps absolutely blew out Rutgers 40-16. Led by quarterback and soon to be NFL draft prospect Taulia Tagovailoa, Maryland’s offense has been elite against unranked opponents where they average nearly 40 points per game on offense. Although the Terps defense has shown some weaknesses over the season versus top ranked opponents, they have been very consistent against the pass where they rank in the top 20 of most pass defense categories, so they can provide some assistance. With no one transferring or opting-out of this bowl game for Maryland, they are in a great position to continue the dominance they’ve shown. As long as they take care of the ball with just minor success on defense, they should have no problem covering this margin against a depleted Virginia Tech. Take the Terps minus the points in this unique matchup.

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Iowa State vs. Clemson (-1.5) ~ Cheez-It
For this edition of the Cheez-It Bowl from Orlando, the Iowa State Cyclones face off against the Clemson Tigers. The Tigers opened as two and a half-point favorites and they are currently favored by one and a half points. Both teams were heading in opposite directions at the conclusion of the regular season. While Iowa State is a shoddy 2-4 ATS in their last six games, Clemson is an impressive 4-1 ATS in their past five matches. Last game out, the Tigers shutout their rivals South Carolina, 30-0. Similarly, the Cyclones blew out the TCU Horned Frogs 48-14. Although both of these programs have had disappointing seasons, Clemson is a bigger favorite than the spread might suggest. Iowa State will be missing several star players on offense and defense, like starting running back Breece Hall and Big 12 Freshman Defensive Player of the Year Isheem Young. The Cyclones are not terrible, this is just a poor matchup for them on both sides of the ball with so many guys missing. Take Clemson minus the points to get it done and cover this margin.

Oregon vs. Oklahoma (-7) ~ Alamo
From San Antonio in the Alamo Bowl, interim coach Bob Stoops and the Oklahoma Sooners take on the Oregon Ducks and their interim coach Bryan McClendon. The Sooners opened this game as four-point favorites but they are currently favored by a whopping seven points. While Oklahoma comes into this one with a terrific overall record of 10-2, they were an average 5-6-1 ATS on the year. Last time out for these programs, the Sooners lost to their rivals Oklahoma State whereas Oregon got absolutely destroyed by Utah in the Pac-12 Championship game. Led by star QB Caleb Williams, the potential transfer is 6-1 as the starter and has thrown 18 touchdowns with just four interceptions. Oregon is going to be without some star players in this one, like projected top 10 draft pick Kayvon Thibodeaux, whereas mostly all Sooners will be playing and are hungry to get this win for legend Bob Stoops. Take Oklahoma minus the points to cover this spread with so many guys out for Oregon.

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