Yes, it's not the most efficient way to bet, but picking parlays is the most fun. Risk a little, to win a lot. Sure, they can be hard to hit, but we're trying to go perfect with our free college football bowl picks anyway, right? Here's our shot at a four-pick bowl parlay for Saturday.
Pinstripe Bowl - Boston College -3/40 vs. Penn State
Strength battles strength when the 7-5 Eagles and their potent running game go against the 6-6 Lions and their pesky defense at Yankee Stadium.
Penn State is playing in its first bowl in three seasons, and of course its first bowl under Coach Franklin, who went 2-1 both SU and ATS in three bowls at Vanderbilt. And that says something.
Penn State's best victory this season was probably its season opener against Central Florida. The Lions then proceeded to go just 2-6 SU and 1-6-1 ATS in Big Ten play. Also, while the Penn State defense ranks second in the nation, holding foes to just 270 yards per game, we'll chalk a lot of that up to a mediocre schedule.
Boston College upset the hell out of USC earlier this season, and took Florida State – an NCAA playoff qualifier – to the wire before falling on a late field goal. The Eagles also won three ACC road games. On the season BC has outrushed opponents by a 252-95 yards-per-game margin, and that's an excellent way to cover pointspreads. In fact, the Eagles are 8-4 ATS on the season.
BC played a slightly tougher schedule this season than Penn State, according to Sagarin at USAToday.com.
Boston College ended its season with two good efforts; Penn State did not. Also, the most common side/total combination on Eagles games this season is BC and the UNDER, which has happened five times so far, while the Lions' most common combo is the opponents and the UNDER, which has also happened five times.
Holiday Bowl – USC -7/62 over Nebraska
The 8-4 Trojans make their first bowl appearance under their new head coach against the 9-3 Huskers, playing under an interim coach, out in San Diego.
Nebraska went 9-3 this season but lost key games to Michigan State, Wisconsin and Minnesota. Then, despite closing with a victory over Iowa, fired Coach Pelini. So the Huskers play this game for an interim head coach, before Coach Riley officially takes over.
Nebraska is averaging 248 yards rushing this season, but giving up 177 per game. That might be a good sign for an OVER on our college football odds.
USC is 8-4, with wins over Stanford and Arizona, and losses to Boston College (in which the Trojans gave up 452 yards on the ground), Arizona State (on a Hail Mary at the buzzer), Utah and UCLA.
USC is only averaging 158 YPG rushing this season, preferring to move the ball mainly through quarterback Cody Kessler, who's thrown for 3,500 yards and 36 touchdowns this season, with just four picks.
Many signs point toward a Trojans victory here, but the Huskers should have enough, mainly in the form of their running game, to keep things interesting. Also, the most common spread/total combination on Nebraska games this season has been the Huskers with the OVER, which has happened six times, while the most common combo for USC is the opponent and the OVER, which has cashed in five times.
College Football Pick: We'll take the points with Nebraska, paired with the OVER, on the Holiday Bowl.
This may be a four-play parlay, but we really only need two things to happen; we need Boston College to win a low-scoring game, and the Nebraska to stay close in a high-scoring affair. A quick surf of books gave us the best odds we could find, at 5Dimes, where our four-teamer would pay 13/1. And wouldn't that be a nice little windfall to take out on New Year's Eve?