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Another round of Bowl games will follow the College Football Playoff Semifinals on New Year’s Eve, with several of the country’s best-ranked teams suiting up for the last time this season on January 2nd. There are six ranked teams spread across the four-game slate, beginning with #22 ranked Mississippi State facing Illinois in the ReliaQuest Bowl at noon ET.

Then at 1pm ET, the Citrus Bowl will feature #17 LSU against Purdue, while the Cotton Classic will host #10 USC and Heisman-winner Caleb Williams against #16 Tulane.

The final game of the day sees #8 Utah, who had a very impressive season, face #11 Penn State in the Rose Bowl. The Pasadena classic will be one to watch once again this season, as two strong teams go head-to-head.

Mississippi State vs Illinois – ReliaQuest Bowl Prediction - Game Preview

Mississippi State vs Illinois Odds, Spread, Moneyline, Over/Under

Moneyline: Mississippi State Bulldogs -115, Illinois Fighting Illini -105
Spread: Mississippi State Bulldogs -1, Illinois Fighting Illini +1
Total: Over/Under 46

Odds are subject to change*

The Mississippi State Bulldogs decided they would go ahead with the Bowl game on January 2nd despite the devastating loss of head coach Mike Leach earlier this month. The legendary coach passed away suddenly after complications with a heart condition, leaving the entire Bulldog family stunned.

The decision to go ahead and play the game came from a commitment from the players to do what Mike Leach would have expected them to do. If that isn’t enough fuel for the fire, then I don’t know what is. This MSU team will be playing to honor their coach against the Fighting Illini, who will have a tough job stopping an emotional performance.

The Bulldogs' air raid offense could prove significant against an Illini defense that will be without two of their most experienced defensive backs. Both All-American standout Devon Witherspoon and Sydney Brown have opted out of the game, and while the defense is still a strong unit, the absence of that experience in the secondary might give MSU an edge. Brown's twin brother Chase, who led the team in rushing with 1,643 rushing yards has also opted out, leaving quite a void in the Illini's rushing attack.

Without Brown in the backfield, I'm not sure this Illinois team has enough firepower to overcome Will Rogers and the MSU air raid offense. Rogers has thrown 34 touchdowns this season to Tommy DeVito's 15. I'll take the Bulldogs to win and would enjoy seeing them honor Mike Leach with a victory here.

The Pick: Mississippi State Moneyline (-115)

LSU vs Purdue - Citrus Bowl 2022-2023 Prediction - Game Preview

LSU vs Purdue Odds, Spread, Moneyline, Over/Under

Moneyline: LSU Tigers -600, Purdue Boilermakers +425
Spread: LSU Tigers -15, Purdue Boilermakers +15
Total: Over/Under 56.5

Odds are subject to change*

The LSU Tigers hit a run of form towards the end of the season, winning five games in a row. This included the overtime thriller that saw them knock off Alabama for pole position in the SEC West. However, LSU whimpered in their final regular season game, losing against an underwhelming Texas A&M team they'd been placed as a ten-point favorite against.

LSU will face Purdue for the first time in the two teams' history, with the Boilermakers heavily depleted by opt-outs ahead of the NFL Draft. Quarterback Aidan O'Connell and star wideout Charlie Jones both chose to focus on the draft, as well as a couple of key defensive players in corner Cory Trice and linebacker Jalen Graham, who finished the season second in tackles for the Boilermaker's defense.

This Purdue team will be inexperienced and the losses are significant. Charlie Jones went for over 1,300 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns this year, and the team's second-leading receiver, tight end Payne Durham, has also opted out.

Drew Brees is back in town to help prepare the quarterback group for the game, with senior Austin Burton the likely starter.

LSU has had players opt out on their side too, mainly across the defensive line, which has been a key unit for the Tigers this season.

However, offensively the Tigers should overwhelm the Boilermakers. Purdue will bring everything they’ve got and a lot of their players will be out to prove themselves to incoming head coach Ryan Walters, but the Tigers will likely prove too much of a force in this one.

The Pick: LSU -15 (-110)

USC vs Tulane - Cotton Bowl Classic 2022-2023 - Game Preview

USC vs Tulane Odds, Spread, Moneyline, Over/Under

Moneyline: USC Trojans -135, Tulane Green Wave +115
Spread: USC Trojans -2.5, Tulane Green Wave +2.5
Total: Over/Under 62.5

Odds are subject to change*

The word is that Heisman-winning quarterback Caleb Williams will play in the Cotton Bowl on January 2nd, with no indication so far that he will opt out of the game and head for the NFL Draft early despite a nagging hamstring injury. The Trojans quarterback threw for over 4,000 yards this season and 37 touchdowns to just four interceptions.

Jordan Addison is expected to be one of the first receivers off the board in the 2023 NFL Draft. He is likely a Day 1 selection and will not play in the Cotton Bowl as he prepares for that next phase in his career.

The Trojans were the number-one team in the country this season for offensive yards per game, averaging just over 41 points per game. Tulane will get a shot at taking them down after matching their 11-2 record that led them to their first-ever AAC Championship.

A thrilling season featured a storybook ending for the Green Wave as they took down #22 ranked UCF in the championship game with a 45-28 victory.

The Green Wave had had a historic year, and the reward for their performance is a chance to put a stamp on a great year with a Cotton Bowl victory over college football giant USC. Their defense will be a tough test for the Trojans, allowing just 20.5 points per game, and ranking in college football's top 20 in pass defense.

Tulane can score plenty of points of their own. Quarterback Michael Pratt has thrown 25 touchdowns this year and running back Tyjae Spears is a genuine problem that could cause the Trojans' defense plenty of headaches throughout the night. Spears ran for over 1,300 rushing yards this season and 15 rushing TDs, and if he gets going USC might be in for a long afternoon.

USC have had to make some adjustments offensively including its offensive line. This Tulane defense will be licking its lips at the thought of frustrating this year's Heisman winner. Coming away with a win would etch the 2022 Green Wave into the school's history books as one of the best teams the school has ever fielded.

The Pick: Tulane Moneyline (+115)

Utah vs Penn State - Rose Bowl Game 2022-2023 Prediction - Game Preview

Utah vs Penn State Odds, Spread, Moneyline, Over/Under

Moneyline: Utah Utes -130, Penn State Nittany Lions +110
Spread: Utah Utes -2.5, Penn State Nittany Lions +2.5
Total: Over/Under 52

Odds are subject to change*

The Utah Utes were the achilles heel for a very good USC team this season under first-year head coach Lincoln Riley. The Trojans finished the season 11-2, with their only losses coming against Utah. If it wasn't for the Utes, Heisman winner Caleb Williams and co would be playing in the college football playoff. For that alone, the Utes deserve their props for a superb season of football.

Utah themselves ended the year 11-2, with their only losses coming in Week 1 against the Florida Gators and late in the year on the road against the Oregon Ducks. The Gators beat Utah on a last-second goal-line interception, and Utah's 20-17 loss to the Ducks wasn't exactly a blowout either.

This is a very good Utah football team. Their defense is incredibly strong and capable of restricting even the best of offenses. This was one of the major reasons why the Utes ended up winning the PAC 12 Championship, which was their second victory of the season over USC. The Utes held Caleb Williams’ offense to just 24 points in that game, far lower than the Trojans’ 40+ point average.

Cam Rising and the Utes offense are every bit as good as the defense, putting up top-ten numbers this year. However, they will be without their top target as they go up against Penn State. Tight end Dalton Kincaid caught 70 passes for 890 yards and eight touchdowns this season and is expected to be a hot ticket in the NFL Draft as a result. He will sit out the Bowl game to focus on the next phase of his career, having given everything he had to the Utes this season.

Meanwhile, Penn State's top corner Joey Porter Jr. will be sitting out this matchup having opted out. James Franklin, however, is expected to have a squad close to full strength going into the Rose Bowl.

Franklin's culture leans into having no reason to opt-out, and so far only Porter Jr. and Parker Washington have confirmed they will step out of their uniforms one game early. Outside of that, this team led by Sean Clifford will be fired up for the game having finished their season on a high note. It will be Clifford's last game, and I have no doubt he’ll leave it all on the field for his team one last time.

The Nittany Lions won four straight after their loss against the Ohio State Buckeyes and refused to allow any more than 16 points in any of those games. While Utah will pose more of an offensive threat than its opponent here, I'm backing the Nittany Lions to disrupt the Utes methodical offense and come away with a win.

The Pick: Penn State Moneyline (+110)