The 2023-24 college football bowl schedule officially kicks off this weekend with eight games on Saturday. It all gets started with Georgia Southern vs Ohio in the Myrtle Beach Bowl before the first CFB bowl slate wraps up with California vs Texas Tech in the Independence Bowl on Saturday night. Let's dive right in and make some college football bowl picks and CFB bets for this weekend's action. We'll break down that Myrtle Beach Bowl matchup but also give out college football betting picks for New Mexico State vs Fresno State in the New Mexico Bowl. Plus, we'll hand out some CFB picks and college football bowl bets for Miami (OH) vs Appalachian State in the Cure Bowl and UCLA vs Boise State in the LA Bowl. Without further ado, here are your college football bowl predictions and CFB picks for Saturday, December 16th. 


College Football Bowl Bets & Picks for Saturday, December 16

Georgia Southern vs Ohio

Myrtle Beach Bowl – Saturday, 11 am ET

The college football bowl schedule gets going with this 11 am ET kickoff from Myrtle Beach on Saturday. When the matchup was first announced, Ohio opened as the favorite but the line has since flipped over to Georgia Southern mainly due to some key transfer news. Ohio has seen some of its best offensive skill players hit the portal, headlined by starting QB Kurtis Rourke – who should garner power conference interest. The Bobcats will also be without starting wide receiver Miles Cross and their top two running backs Sieh Bangura and O’Shaan Allison, who have all entered the portal too. The Ohio offense could really struggle this weekend without four top offensive playmakers and now down to its third-string quarterback since the backup QB is also out due to injury. 

In addition to the offensive worries, we really have to wonder about Ohio’s motivation for this bowl after losing some of its best players. That can really hinder a team’s interest in fully competing in a lower-level bowl like this one. Plus, one of the Bobcats’ top tacklers and best linebackers (Keye Thompson) is transferring away. Ohio did have an impressive 9-3 regular season and 6-2 record in the MAC. Still, the current roster isn’t the same – especially on offense. 

Meanwhile, Georgia Southern should be at full strength with only one guy in the transfer portal (a backup cornerback). That’s notable because the Eagles do have multiple players who could’ve transferred away but chose to stay. Plus, leading rusher Jalen White is also expected to play after sitting out the regular-season finale. Georgia Southern’s 6-6 record isn’t great, but this team should come out motivated to finish the year above .500. GSU started out 6-2 through the first eight games before losing four straight to end the season. Despite that late losing streak, the Eagles did at least lose to four bowl-bound Sun Belt teams. 

Georgia Southern head coach Clay Helton should have his team ready to finish the season strong with a bowl victory here. In Helton’s first season with GSU last year, the Eagles lost in a bowl to finish below .500. This time around, there should be added incentive to end the season on a high note as Helton has openly talked about using a bowl win for momentum heading into next year. It’s also worth mentioning that Georgia Southern went 5-3 ATS as a favorite this season and 4-2 ATS as a single-digit favorite.

PICK: Georgia Southern -3 (-135 Caesars)

New Mexico State vs Fresno State

New Mexico Bowl – Saturday, 5:45 pm ET

Sometimes we get college football teams that snag a very favorable draw in their bowl game. That’s exactly the case for New Mexico State here. The Aggies will essentially be playing a home game in Albuquerque this weekend in the New Mexico Bowl. Their campus is only about three hours away and the attendance should be dominated by New Mexico State’s own fans. Plus, the team played in this exact stadium against New Mexico earlier this season and won. 
All of this familiarity and comfortability cannot be overlooked. 

On the flip side, Fresno State’s motivation for this bowl has to be questioned. First off, Bulldogs head coach Jeff Tedford won’t be on the sidelines due to health reasons. Plus, this Fresno State team had much bigger aspirations for this season but now has to compete in a lower-tier bowl as a consolation prize. Fresno started out 8-1 and had a real shot at winning the Mountain West. Then, the Bulldogs lost three straight to end the regular season and missed out on a conference title opportunity. 

As for the X’s and O’s of this game, New Mexico State’s offense should be the difference-maker. Led by dual-threat QB Diego Pavia, the Aggies boast a strong rushing attack that ranked 12th nationally in rush yards per game this season and 4th in yards per carry. Pavia will reportedly be good to go this weekend after getting banged up in the Conference-USA title game two weeks ago. The New Mexico State ground game should take advantage of a Fresno State defense that ranked 98th in rushing yards allowed per game this year. 

Finally, from the motivation standpoint, New Mexico State head coach Jerry Kill has his team trending in the right direction over the past two seasons. Following a 2-10 campaign in 2021, Kill came in and led the Aggies to a 6-6 record with a bowl win last year. In 2023, New Mexico State went 10-3 in their first season as new members of the Conference-USA and then lost a hard-fought conference title game vs Liberty. Look for Kill to have his team end this year on a high with another bowl win while benefiting from the “home game” environment. 

PICK: New Mexico State -3.5 

Other Weekend CFB Bowl Picks 

  • Miami OH/Appalachian State Under 44.5
  • UCLA/Boise State Under 48.5
  • California +3