College Football Picks: Tuesday's Best Bets From Across the Country

College football picks and predictions for Tuesday's packed Bowl Season slate. Handicapper Brett Ciancia breaks down the games he has his eyes on and how he's betting them ahead of opening kick.
Brett Ciancia |
Tue, December 28, 10:00 AM EST | 5 min read
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College Football Picks: Tuesday's Best Bets From Across the Country

NC State vs. UCLA Prediction

NC State vs. UCLA odds

NC State was just four combined points from posting a perfect ACC record and 11-1 season.  The one-point loss to Miami and three-point loss to Wake Forest may have placed NC State out of the national spotlight, but this is a strong, complete team.

Pick Six Previews’ Game Grader formula loves NC State and has them ranked all the way up at #13 nationally. 

Defensive coordinator Tony Gibson’s 3-3-5 base scheme has been masterful, as NC State ranks in the ACC’s Top 3 of all major defensive categories.  The offense is just as stout, featuring a 1400-yard running back duo (Ricky Person & Bam Knight) and an efficient passing attack. Quarterback Devin Leary has posted the 5th best TD-INT ratio in all of Power 5 football with 35 touchdowns to just 5 picks.

That’s bad news for the UCLA defense which is ranked dead last in the Pac-12 in pass defense.

It will be strength vs. strength when UCLA’s offense has the ball.  Dorian Thompson-Robinson has cleaned up his game here in 2021.  The past few seasons, DTR has flashed brilliance at times, but continued to turn the ball over and take too many drive-killing sacks.  But this year he has improved his ball control (21 TD, 6 INT), and has added 600 yards and 9 TD’s on the ground.

That side of the ball may prove even, but when NC State has the ball the mismatch is notable and will make the difference in a tight game.

  • Prediction: NC State 34, UCLA 30
  • Pick: NC State -1.5  @ -110

Louisville vs. Air Force Prediction

Louisville vs. Air Force odds

When fans see an Armed Forces school in the matchup, they immediately select the under play, given their slow-tempo, run-heavy option attacks.

Yes, Air Force fits the stereotype – in their season finale, they won 48-14, rushed for 511 yards, and did not attempt a single pass.  They lead all of FBS in rush yards per game.

However, in 2 of their 3 toughest games, they quickly became offensive shootouts (94 total points against Utah State, 80 total points against Nevada).

That nation-leading rushing attack faces off against a bottom 5 ACC rush defense (94th nationally per-carry).  They will have success on the ground, and light up the scoreboard.

Meanwhile, Louisville brings one of the most dynamic quarterbacks in the country, the dual-threat Malik Cunningham.  The term “dual-threat” is overused nowadays, but Cunningham has the stats and records to show for it.  In the November matchup with Duke, Cunningham became just the 2nd quarterback in FBS history to rush for 200+ yards and throw for 300+ yards.  Additionally, Cunningham has rushed for 19 touchdowns which is 6th nationally (all positions) and by far the most among quarterbacks.

Louisville does have a few receivers out, but I expect them to break off enough explosive plays and for Cunningham to get his usual production.

  • Prediction:  Louisville 35,  Air Force 34
  • Pick:  OVER 55 Total Points  @ -110

Brett Ciancia
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