This article is part of our College Football Picks series.
We have five games on tap for our first weekend of bowl season and we have all the bases covered with DraftKings and FanDuel picks.
LAS VEGAS BOWL: Oregon State (-9.5) vs. Florida O/U: 53
LA BOWL: Fresno State (-4) vs. Washington State O/U: 53
LENDINGTREE BOWL: Southern Mississippi (-6.5) vs. Rice O/U: 45.5
NEW MEXICO BOWL: SMU (-4) vs. BYU O/U: 64
FRISCO BOWL: Boise State (-10.5) vs. North Texas O/U: 59.5
No weather situations.
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Cameron Ward, Washington State (DK $7,400, FD $10,000) vs. Fresno State
I don't want to leave out Jake Haener (DK $8,000, FD $10,100) on the other side of this matchup, but Ward and the Cougars have had a more impressive season and will be motivated as a slight underdog in this game. Ward passed for 3,094 yards while notching a 23:8 TD/INT ratio. Although his rushing numbers don't look great on paper, he plays well outside the picket and will be involved in some designed tun plays, especially in the red zone.
Taylen Green, Boise State (DK $7,200, FD $10,300) vs. North Texas
Some of the salary points on this slate are a bit confusing. FanDuel's salary for Tanner Mordecai is a good example of an over-inflated number especially compared to DraftKings. Since our goal is to find targets for both sites, I think Green is salaried appropriately on both sites and is a more worthwhile endorsement. Green is the best dual-thrrat on the slate, and he brings an added dimensipm to the Broncos as an adept runner, with eight touchdowns to his credit on the ground. North Texas is no slouch against the run, so we may see a bit more passing from Green, and although the passing game isn't his strongest metric, his ability to improvise and make plays should leave the Mean Green on its heels.
If you're looking for a true dark horse, consider Florida's Jack Miller (DK $4,900, FD $8,000), who will start for the Gators. Anthony Richardson chose to get ready for the NFL Draft and Jalen Kitna was booted off the team, so it's an untested Miller who will draw the start. He's recorded zero stats on the season and is completely untested, but coach Billy Napier seems confident in his abilities. It's a high-variance pick that could make or break a tournament contest.
Nakia Watson, Washington State (DK $6,500, FD $9,500) vs. Fresno State
Watson is at a great salary on DraftKings. FanDuel has him at the top of the pool but is still somewhat reasonable there. Aside from Cal's Jaydn Ott, Watson is one of the most enjoyable running backs to watch in the Pac-12. The Cougars tend to line him up anywhere to just get the ball in his hands, and he usually delivers. He's going to get lower exposure because not enough managers have had eyes on him due to all the late games, but he could be a big surprise on this slate.
Tyler Lavine, SMU (DK $5,400, FD $9,100) vs. BYU
Don't let Lavine's stats fool you. While he's been involved in every game, he's only been the lead back for a few games. He cemented the role in the last game of the season, where he carried the ball a whopping 25 times. It's too bad he's a senior, as SMU will have to hunt for a new running back next year, but they'll have him against a BYU team that will struggle without Jaren Hall directing the offense. He'll also have less competition with Tre Siggers out.
I'm not especially high on BYU in this game, but with Lopini Katoa sidelined, the depth chart shifts. Brooks is the apparent top guy, but Ropati gets a mention due to his last game, an 85-yard, one-touchdown showing that followed the Katoa-less game script. Brooks also had a huge game with 164 yards. Teams have put up a lot of points against SMU this season, and with Jaren Hall sidelined, Jacob Conover will depend on this duo in the backfield.
Also consider: Damien Martinez, Oregon State (DK $5,800, FD $8,500) vs. Florida
Jalen Cropper, Fresno State (DK $7,000, FD $8,500) vs. Washington State
With 79 receptions on the season, one immediately has to start thinking of the PPR implications, and as we know, receptions score a bit higher on DraftKings. Still, with 1,044 yards and five touchdowns to his credit, he's fine on both sites, The Bulldogs are a pass-first squad, so it's a safe bet that Cropper will produce.
Luke McCaffrey, Rice (DK $6,700, FD $8,000) vs. Southern Mississippi
The low projected total makes me a little uneasy, but Christian McCaffrey's little brother does a little bit of everything for the Owls. Like his big bro, the team will line him up outside, in the backfield, and even the wildcat, and if Rice has a shot at winning, they'll be giving McCaffrey a lot of volume.
Jordan Kerley, SMU (DK $5,900, FD $8,200) vs. BYU
Rashee Rice is out and his output has to flow somewhere. Kerley is the obvious candidate, and I expect the Mustangs to have a relatively easy time moving the ball through the air. As I said I wasn't a fan of Mordecai's salary on FanDuel, but if you use Kerley on DraftKings, I'm not opposed to stacking hi, with Mrodcai there, where he's less expensive.
Also consider: Washington State's wideout situation. De'zhaun Stribling and Donovan Ollie are transferring and won't play. It's wait-and-see about Renard Bell and his injury. This leaves Robert Ferrel (DK $5,100, FD $8,800) as the top guy.