College Football Bowl Upset Predictions & Picks | Biggest Upsets for Bowl Season

Last Updated: Dec 17, 2021

Ah, bowl season. There is nothing quite like it.

As we brace for college football’s loaded conclusion, and more specifically the College Football Playoff, we are also greeted by dozens of exhibitions that, of course, come equipped with point spreads.

During the season, I was able to deliver plenty of meaningful upsets. This assignment will now be working overtime with a focus on bowl games.

Find underdog. Bet underdog. Win.

There is no shortage of options with plenty of fascinating matchups to pick from.

Let’s go upset hunting once and for all to close out the CFB season.

All NCAAF gameday odds are current as of 1:00 p.m. ET on Thursday, December 16.

CFB Famous Idaho Potato Bowl Upset: Kent State (+3) vs. Wyoming

Look, the mascot for this bowl game is terrifying. Of course, that has nothing to do with the pick, but we must start there.

With that out of the way, I expect Kent State to bounce back after a disappointing showing in the MAC Championship Game. I also expect this offense to give Wyoming fits, which has struggled to score points throughout the year.

It just feels like a difficult matchup for the Cowboys, who are the No. 99 ranked scoring offense in the country. Kent State prevails with just enough points.

Prediction: Kent State 28, Wyoming 24

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Under 59 Points (-110) at Caesars

Wager: 1 Unit

While Kent State can score, Wyoming’s defense is also solid. This just feels a tad too inflated for me.

Kent State Moneyline (+130) at Caesars

Wager: 1 Unit

Bounce back. That’s what’s coming. Kent State responds with a nice bowl win over a decent team. The MAC gets off to a decent start.

CFB Military Bowl Upset: East Carolina (+3) vs. Boston College

Not long ago, East Carolina was one of the worst teams in the sport. In 2021, however, the Pirates showed life.

While a seven-win season won’t dazzle many crowds, the development of ECU is noteworthy. And the matchup against Boston College, a team that scored just 33 combined points in the final two games of the year, feels like an ideal opponent at an ideal time.

Sure, the ACC team will naturally get some love. But I’m backing the underdog in a unique spot.

East Carolina caps off a nice season on an incredibly high note.

Prediction: East Carolina 34, Boston College 30

Over 51.5 Points (-110) at Caesars

Wager: 1 Unit

While BC’s offense struggled down the stretch, both teams will still find the end zone. This Total just feels off to me. In points we trust.

East Carolina Moneyline (+140) at Caesars

Wager: 1 Unit

I have a soft spot for ECU, and I’m not afraid to admit it. And in terms of motivation—who wants to be there more—there is no debating the answer. Pirates prevail.

CFB Cheez-It Bowl Upset: No. 19 Clemson (+1.5) vs. Iowa State

Call it the Underachieving Bowl. Okay, maybe that’s a bit harsh.

Clemson and Iowa State, however, both fell short of immense preseason expectations this year. Still, the Tigers rallied after some early losses to win nine games.

There are two things to watch with this game. First, how will Clemson respond after losing both coordinators this offseason? Dabo Swinney did replace from within, which should help.

For Iowa State, it’s pretty simple: will running back Breece Hall play? And will any other opt-outs impact this matchup?

Regardless, I still expect the Tigers to win ugly.

Prediction: Clemson 20, Iowa State 14

Under 45.5 Points (-110) at Caesars

Wager: 1 Unit

Clemson finished with the No. 2 scoring defense in the country. Iowa State finished in the top 25 in this category. That is a nice way of saying it might be a slog on offense.

Clemson Moneyline (+100) at Caesars

Wager: 1 Unit

Although the game is hovering around pick ‘em, I’ll gladly take a little value with Clemson as a small underdog. At this point, the Tigers are just better. Simple as that.

CFB Fiesta Bowl Upset: No. 9 Oklahoma State (+2) vs. No. 5 Notre Dame

The theme of this game? Defensive coordinators.

One, Marcus Freeman, is now a head coach. When Brian Kelly left for LSU, Freeman, who served as Notre Dame’s DC, was given the top job. The former defensive coordinator at Oklahoma State, Jim Knowles, accepted the same job (and a massive raise) at Ohio State shortly after the season ended.

The impact is hard to figure, although defense still feels like the theme. While I don’t expect either offense to thrive, I do think we’ll get more points than expected.

And Oklahoma State will score more of them.

Prediction: Oklahoma State 27, Notre Dame 20

Over 45.5 Points (-110) at Caesars

Wager: 1 Unit

Yes, the defenses are good. But I expect the staff changes coupled with offenses that can still score will produce enough points to hit the over.

Oklahoma State Moneyline (+115) at Caesars

Wager: 1 Unit

It’s not tremendous value, although it’s enough for me. While turnovers plagued the Pokes in the bowl game, they should be much better with a cleaner effort here.

CFB Rose Bowl Upset: No. 11 Utah (+6.5) vs. No. 6 Ohio State

Oh, Utah is live. Between the possibility of opt-outs with the Buckeyes at key positions, specifically wideouts Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson, coupled with the disappointing finish against Michigan, I expect the Utes to put up a fight.

Utah will be up for this game, and I expect that potent rushing attack to deliver on a huge stage. We need to start talking about running back Tavion Thomas more.

After this game, we will.

Prediction: Utah 34, Ohio State 31

Utah Moneyline (+205) at Caesars

Wager: 1 Unit

Motivation won’t be an issue for Utah. That much I know. And with roster questions still abound at Ohio State, I’m loving getting better than 2/1 here.

Over 32.5 First Half Points (-105) at Caesars

Wager: 1 Unit

Don’t get it twisted. Ohio State will score. The offense, even with questions, should find success. Utah will as well, and it will do so early on.


Adam Kramer

Adam Kramer is an NFL, college football, and gambling analyst for The Game Day. While college football has long been his calling, he’s also covered sports such as boxing, horse racing, and baseball at The Game Day and in other places. He’s also written for Bleacher Report, VSiN, and various other outlets over the past decade-plus.

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