CFB Bowl Picks: Take Pitt, Arizona State Against the Spread

There's a little bit of everything on Thursday's bowl slate.

It starts with the most anticipated game outside of the College Football Playoff and it is not because of the matchup, but due to the dumping of Duke's Mayo on the victorious head coach.

North Carolina and South Carolina finished with level records, but that is where the similarities end between the regional foes. The Tar Heels have the much better offense and more available players and the ginormous spread reflects that.

Tennessee and Purdue should have no trouble moving the ball in the Music City Bowl. Both offenses love the pass as much as bachelorette parties love going to Nashville.

The Peach Bowl is third on the slate and it lacks the juice it had a month ago since Kenny Pickett and Kenneth Walker III both opted out of the contest to focus on the NFL Draft. Pittsburgh does not have Pickett, but it has still a dynamic wide receiver in Jordan Addison that can torch a poor Michigan State defense.

The late matchup between Wisconsin and Arizona State in the Las Vegas Bowl will probably put you to sleep around the third quarter. Neither offense is fantastic and the Sun Devils are missing a handful of players, but Wisconsin might not take full advantage of that.

Thursday Bowl Picks

Overall Record: 121-100 (16-11 Bowl Record)

Duke's Mayo Bowl

North Carolina (-12) vs. South Carolina (Over 57.5)

The 12-point spread that has inflated in UNC's favor is high, but it is worth the bet given the gap in offenses.

Sam Howell came into the season as one of the most hyped quarterbacks and Zeb Noland was a graduate assistant on the South Carolina staff. Howell should easily outduel Noland with a high point total going in UNC's favor.

Howell has plenty of motivation to finish off a disappointing season with a bang. South Carolina also carries motivation to beat a regional rival and create momentum for next season, when Oklahoma transfer Spencer Rattler takes over.

The Gamecocks struggled to move the ball at points this season, but they are going up against a UNC defense that conceded 31.6 points and 408.1 total yards per game. The SEC squad should a touchdown or two to boost the total in the right direction.

Music City Bowl

Tennessee vs. Purdue (Over 65)

Tennessee and Purdue both average over 420 total yards per contest.

The Vols went through a resurgent season under Josh Heupel and they should have plenty of motivation to win inside their home state.

Hendon Hooker will have plenty of time to work in the pocket with Purdue's George Karlaftis opting out of the game to focus on the NFL draft.

Purdue's top wide receiver David Bell also opted out, but that will not stop the Boilermakers from throwing. Aidan O'Connell attempted 393 passes and the team averaged 340.5 passing yards per game.

The Vols allowed 404.6 total yards per contest and had the over hit in their last five regular-season games.

Peach Bowl

Pittsburgh (+3.5 & +140) vs. Michigan State

Pittsburgh does not have Kenny Pickett, but it still has Jordan Addison.

The Biletnikoff Award winner should help Nick Patti ease into the Pittsburgh offense in the Peach Bowl.

Michigan State still has one of the worst passing defenses in the country. The Spartans give up 337.7 passing yards per game and we all have to do is point to their loss to Ohio State as to how poor that unit can play.

Mel Tucker's team was always going to have trouble running the ball against Pitt, even with Walker in the fold. Pitt is one of a handful of squads that allow fewer than 100 rushing yards per contest.

Las Vegas Bowl

Wisconsin vs. Arizona State (+7)

I can't honestly lay seven points with Wisconsin.

Arizona State is missing its top two running backs and two best corners due to opt-outs, but I still can't trust Graham Mertz to consistently move the ball down the field.

Arizona State has the better quarterback in Jayden Daniels and all it may take is one or two big plays to win a likely low-scoring game.

Daniels is the better player than Mertz and I'm willing to bet the Sun Devils as a touchdown underdog.

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