New Year's Eve is going to be extra sweaty for some risky revelers who are heavily invested in the College Football Playoff.
On Aug. 25, a bettor at William Hill's Nevada sportsbook took a $7,500 stab on Oklahoma to win the national championship at 40-1. The Sooners are two wins away from turning that bet into a $300,000 windfall.
Standing in Oklahoma's way first are the Clemson Tigers, who have their own supporter with deep pockets. Earlier this month, on Dec. 6, a bettor at William Hill put dropped a $25,000 futures wager on the Tigers at 6-1 odds. That bet would pay $150,000, if Clemson wins the national championship.
Oklahoma and Clemson meet in the Capital One Orange Bowl in the first semifinal on Dec. 31, followed by Michigan State and Alabama in the New Year's Eve nightcap at the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic. The Sooners, who are 3.5-point favorites over Clemson, have attracted 78 percent of the early money at William Hill. In the Cotton Bowl, three times more bets have been placed on the Spartans, but 51 percent of the money is on the Crimson Tide. The Cotton Bowl between Alabama and Michigan State has attracted more bets at William Hill than any other bowl game.
But there's plenty of bowl action before we get to the main course.
Hopefully, these bowl betting nuggets will help tide you over.
Early limit bets
(Teams that had attracted an early limit bet at Vegas book CG Technology as of Dec. 15, per vice president Jason Simbal)
Louisiana Tech -1.5 (vs. Arkansas State)
New Mexico +12 (vs. Arizona)
South Florida +4 (vs. Western Kentucky)
Ohio +9 (vs. Appalachian State)
Penn State +7 (vs. Georgia)
5 coaching nuggets
-- Ohio State coach Urban Meyer is 9-2 against the spread in bowl games. His Fiesta Bowl opponent, Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly, is 2-6 ATS in bowls.
-- Seven of Alabama's eight bowl games under coach Nick Saban have gone over the total.
-- Eight of Rich Rodriguez's nine bowl games have gone over the total. Rodriguez is 2-7 ATS in bowl games.
-- Baylor coach Art Briles is 2-8 straight up and 3-7 ATS in bowls.
-- Kansas State coach Bill Snyder is 5-11 ATS in bowls.
Note: Complete list of every coach's record vs. spread in bowls at bottom of page.
12 biggest strength-of-schedule mismatches
(According to Sagarin Ratings)
Washington (No. 21 SOS) vs. Southern Miss (No. 135 SOS)
California (7) vs. Air Force (95)
Connecticut (69) vs. Marshall (138)
USC (3) vs. Wisconsin (70)
Minnesota (25) vs. Central Michigan (88)
Arizona (50) vs. New Mexico (107)
Auburn (10) vs. Memphis (65)
Pittsburgh (24) vs. Navy (75)
Stanford (14) vs. Iowa (57)
Alabama (4) vs. Michigan State (44)
Notre Dame (20) vs. Ohio State (61)
Florida State (58) vs. Houston (98)
10 NFL talent mismatches
(Number of players considered to be NFL draft prospects by ESPN's Todd McShay. Note: Some players included in rankings may not be eligible or healthy to play in a bowl game.)
Arizona (10) vs. New Mexico (1)
Pittsburgh (8) vs. Navy (2)
Minnesota (8) vs. Central Michigan (2)
Ole Miss (15) vs. Oklahoma State (7)
Utah (13) vs. BYU (7)
Baylor (11) vs. North Carolina (5)
Texas A&M (10) vs. Louisville (5)
Miami, Fla. (10) vs. Washington State (4)
LSU (10) vs. Texas Tech (4)
Florida State (7) vs. Houston (2)
Lopsided betting action
(Bowls with the most early lopsided action at William Hill as of Dec. 15, courtesy of director of marketing Michael Grodsky)
--Gildan New Mexico Bowl, Dec. 19: New Mexico vs. Arizona (-8.5) -- 90 percent of the money is on the Wildcats.
--GoDaddy Bowl, Dec. 23: Georgia Southern vs. Bowling Green (-7) -- 92 percent of money is on the Falcons.
--Hawai'i Bowl, Dec. 24: Cincinnati (-1) vs. San Diego State -- 98 percent of money is on the Aztecs.
--St. Petersburg Bowl, Dec. 26: UConn vs. Marshall (-4) -- 96 percent of the money is on the Thundering Herd.
--Holiday Bowl, Dec. 30: Wisconsin vs. USC (-3) -- 93 percent of the money is on the Trojans.
--BattleFrog Fiesta Bowl, Jan. 1 -- Notre Dame vs. Ohio State (-6.5) -- 91 percent of the money is on the Buckeyes.
--Outback Bowl, Jan. 1: Northwestern vs. Tennessee (-8.5) -- 92 percent of the money is on the Volunteers.
Seven statistical mismatches
-- Washington State's No. 1 red zone offense vs. Miami's No. 108 red zone defense
-- Navy's No. 3 red zone offense vs. Pittsburgh's No. 127 red zone defense
-- LSU's No. 10 rushing offense vs. Texas Tech's No. 125 rushing defense
-- Texas A&M's pass rush (2.75 sacks per game, 20th in nation) vs. Louisville's pass protection (3.67 sacks allowed per game, 126th in nation)
-- Michigan's pass rush (2.50 sacks per game, 30th in nation) vs. Florida's pass protection (3.31 sacks allowed per game, 121st in nation)
-- Memphis' No. 10 third-down offense vs. Auburn's No. 109 third-down defense
-- San Diego State's opportunistic defense (31 turnovers gained, No. 2 in the nation) vs. Cincinnati's ball security (30 turnovers lost, No. 122 in the nation)
(vs. FBS competition only)
AAC -- 21-17
ACC -- 21-19
Big 12 -- 16-6
Big Ten -- 36-13
Conference USA -- 11-31
Independent -- 19-14
MAC -- 12-30
Mountain West -- 8-29
Pac-12 -- 22-7
SEC -- 34-9
Sun Belt -- 5-30
12 odds and ends
-- MAC teams were the most penalized in the nation, averaging 6.92 penalties and 62.13 in lost yards per game. SEC teams were penalized the least, averaging 5.59 penalties and 53.29 yards lost per game.
-- Underdogs went 25-14 ATS in bowls last season and are 174-159 ATS in the past 10 bowl seasons.
-- There have been 166 overs and 172 unders in the past 10 bowl seasons.
-- There have been as many bets placed on the Las Vegas Bowl between Utah and BYU as there have been on the Orange Bowl between Oklahoma and Clemson.
-- "As far as Clemson is concerned, they are getting no respect, no respect at all. So much for being undefeated and No. 1." -- Art Manteris, vice president of race and sports at Station's Casinos.
-- Since 1984, teams entering bowls on at least a three-game losing streak are 27-15 ATS, 16-8 if their opponent is off a SU win (h/t Joe Duffy of OffshoreInsiders.com). Penn State, a 7-point underdog to Georgia, qualifies this year.
Toughest nonconference schedules:
2. Notre Dame
Easiest nonconference schedules:
127. NC State
114. Georgia State
-- Nine of Utah State's 11 games went over the total, by an average margin of 10.3 points.
-- Ten of Connecticut's 12 games stayed under the total, by an average margin of 8.9 points.
-- South Florida owns the best ATS record of any bowl team at 9-2-1.
-- Auburn owns the worst ATS record of any bowl team at 3-9.