The most important thing anyone betting on college football should realize is that they don't know what will happen. All you can do is arm yourself with as much knowledge as possible to make an educated guess of what's likely to happen. After that, you hope for the best.

Then there's Bowl Season, where not even that's enough. There's genuinely no way to know how a bowl game will play out because there are too many factors you need to consider that don't come into play during the regular season. There are opt-outs, transfers and interim coaching staffs in play that make it nearly impossible to accurately handicap how a game will unfold. On top of all that, you also have to figure out which team is motivated to be there.

Betting on bowl games is far more art than science, but we're not painting between any lines here. It's more like a painting where you dip the brush in paint and whip it at the canvas, letting the color splatter where it may. Jackson Pollack would've loved betting on bowl games.

Here's what I'm trying to say: Just have fun when betting on bowls. Don't overextend yourself, thinking you have an edge. Risk as much as you need in order to give yourself something to root for while watching the game, and take all the advice in my picks with a grain of salt. Now, let's get to some featured picks for a loaded bowl slate this week. 

Odds via SportsLine consensus

Bowls of the Week

Cotton Bowl -- No. 7 Ohio State vs. No. 9 Missouri (Friday): Like any postseason game featuring top-10 teams that isn't a College Football Playoff game, many key players will be absent. Ohio State lost its starting quarterback to Syracuse and one of its top receivers to Penn State. Mizzou will be without a couple of key players on defense. Then there are the players who could choose to sit out on the Ohio State side but haven't made an announcement yet.

My gut tells me that while players like Marvin Harrison Jr., TreVeyon Henderson and J.T. Tuimoloau could choose to play, their agents probably feel differently. So I will operate under the assumption they'll be sitting out. Even if they do play, how good will the Ohio State offense be? Kyle McCord might not have been a world-beater for the Buckeyes, but he still won the starting job. Based on what we know, there's more reason to trust the Missouri offense. Pick: Missouri +1 (-110)

Sun Bowl -- No. 16 Notre Dame vs. No. 19 Oregon State (Friday): If you haven't been keeping track, Oregon State lost coach Jonathan Smith to Michigan State. Then its starting QB and backup QB entered the transfer portal, as did a few other players. The Fighting Irish have plenty of players in the portal themselves, including most of their top receivers, while QB Sam Hartman is getting ready for the NFL. So are all-world left tackle Joe Alt and leading rusher Audric Estime.

It's somewhat difficult to imagine either one of these offenses having a great day knowing that, isn't it? Yes, the total for this one is low, and we're a mistake or two from inexperienced QBs away from some defensive touchdowns, but common sense should win out more often than not. Pick: Under 41.5 (-108)

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Regular Season



Bowl Season






Which college football picks can you make with confidence during bowl season? Visit SportsLine to see which teams will win and cover the spread -- all from a proven computer model that has returned well over $2,000 in profit over the past seven-plus seasons -- and find out.