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Cade Klubnik #2 of the Clemson Tigers runs for a second quarter touchdown against the North Carolina Tar Heels during the ACC Championship game at Bank of America Stadium on December 03, 2022 in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Cade Klubnik #2 of the Clemson Tigers runs for a second quarter touchdown against the North Carolina Tar Heels during the ACC Championship game at Bank of America Stadium on December 03, 2022 in Charlotte, North Carolina. Photo by Eakin Howard/Getty Images/AFP

This year’s college football bowl schedule was just set, but it is never too early to place your bets. Here are three college football picks to make before the lines move prior to the start of bowl season.

It is the most wonderful time of the year, but I’m not talking about the holidays that take place in December. The college football bowl schedule was finalized on Sunday, meaning we will be treated to 43 different bowl contests over the next month.

While the first bowl game won’t take place until Dec. 16, we don’t need to wait to make our bets on these postseason matchups. In fact, it can be more advantageous to place wagers before select players decide to opt out or transfer entirely.

Here are three college football bowl bets to make right now (odds via FanDuel Sportsbook and DraftKings Sportsbook; pick confidence based on a 1-to-5-star scale) before all the fun begins.

Check out college football bowl schedule and odds!

College Football Bowl Picks

  • San Jose State (-4.5) vs. Eastern Michigan (-110 via FanDuel) ★★★★★
  • Clemson (-4.5) vs. Tennessee (-110 via FanDuel) ★★★★★
  • Kansas State (+5.5) vs. Alabama (-110 via DraftKings) ★★★★

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl Pick

San Jose State -4.5 (-110) ★★★★★

We start with the 2022 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, of course, because nothing screams bowl season like a matchup between San Jose State and Eastern Michigan. The two teams will meet on the blue turf in Boise, Idaho on Tuesday, Dec. 20 at 3:30 p.m. ET in a game televised on ESPN.

The Spartans (7-4) are favored by 4.5 points at FanDuel Sportsbook, but the spread might honestly be a bit low. They were favored in eight of their 11 game, including a 27-14 victory over Hawaii as a 16-point favorite in the regular-season finale. San Jose State only played 11 games, canceling its Oct. 22 matchup against New Mexico State following the death of freshman running back Camdan McWright.

In 11 games, the Spartans led the Mountain West with 36 sacks and ranked sixth in the country in red-zone defense. Defensive end Viliami Fehoko led the way as the Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year. That unit should propel San Jose State past Eastern Michigan (8-4) in the second all-time meeting between these two schools. The Eagles earned a 30-27 win over the Spartans in the 1987 California Bowl.

Orange Bowl Pick

Clemson -4.5 (-110) ★★★★★

From a battle on the blue turf to an all-orange affair in the Orange Bowl. Clemson (11-2) will face Tennessee (10-2) at 8 p.m. ET at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami on Dec. 30. Which orange team will ultimately prevail?

These marquee matchups can be tough to handicap due to the unknown of who will be playing. But we do know for certain that Tennessee will be without quarterback Hendon Hooker, who was playing at a Heisman level before suffering a season-ending ACL injury in a loss to South Carolina. Joe Milton, a fifth-year graduate transfer from Michigan, is a capable backup, but the offense will take a step back without Hooker.

Clemson, meanwhile, might be better with its backup quarterback. Freshman Cade Klubnik came off the bench in the ACC championship game, lifting the Tigers to a 39-10 victory over North Carolina. He became the first true freshman to earn the ACC championship’s MVP award, and just might be the spark this Clemson team needs to move to 12-7 in bowl games under Dabo Swinney.

This spread has already jumped up to 5.5 at DraftKings, while PointsBet is offering a juiced 3.5 (-121) at the time of writing. But we recommend taking FanDuel’s current offering for the best price on the market.

Sugar Bowl Pick

Kansas State +5.5 (-110) ★★★★

This bet seems a bit shocking at first, but you have to wonder what version of Alabama we are going to get in a non-playoff Sugar Bowl matchup on Dec. 31. The Crimson Tide could be without multiple key players, including the likes of quarterback Bryce Young and Will Anderson, with the 2023 NFL Draft process looming.

The fact this line opened up at 6.5 at FanDuel and immediately moved down to 4.5 is honestly pretty telling. Even a complete Alabama squad has failed to live up to expectation within the betting market this year. The Crimson Tide are 6-6 against the spread, while the Kansas State Wildcats are 9-3-1 ATS.

In a game against the SEC’s Death Star, we like the idea of taking the plucky Big 12 champs from Manhattan as a near-touchdown underdog. Chris Klieman’s squad has won four in a row by controlling all three phases of the game. The Wildcats will lean on a strong run game, led by running back Deuce Vaughn, to pull off the upset in the Sugar Bowl. With the spread still listed at 4.5 at FanDuel, bettors should take advantage of the 5.5 being offered at DraftKings.

Where to Make College Football Bowl Bets

Here are our top-rated sportsbooks:

College football bowl bets made 12/5/2022 at 11:35 a.m. ET