The first week of 2019 will feature the most competitive football of the season with New Year’s Day Bowl games and NFL Wild Card tilts. To that end, I have chosen SEVEN games that need to be on your calendar as must bets. All odds are accurate at the time of writing. Click here for live football odds.
7 Must Bet Football Games New Year’s Week
Tuesday, January 1
#11 LSU -7½ vs. #8 UCF
1 PM ET
UCF is back in the New Year’s Six with another undefeated season. This is also the Knights’ second straight Fiesta Bowl. Will LSU end UCF’s 25-game winning streak?
#9 Washington vs. #8 Ohio State -6½
5 PM ET
Will Washington spoil Urban Meyer’s swan song or will Ohio State send its coach out as a winner in his last game? A Buckeye loss will also spoil Meyer’s recent 4-0 ATS bowl game record. Moreover, this is OSU quarterback Dwayne Haskins’ last pitch to NFL scouts before deciding if he will declare for the 2019 NFL draft.
#15 Texas vs. #5 Georgia -12½
8:45 PM ET
Georgia opened as a 10.5-point favorite after losing to the Tide in the SEC championship game. Texas almost beat the Sooners twice and could be getting two full touchdowns in this one by kickoff. This is going to be one hell of a football game.
Saturday, January 5
Indianapolis vs. Houston -2½
4:35 PM ET
In football, a team gets a 3-point advantage just for playing at home. The Texans are -2.5 at homes. That indicates oddsmakers believe the early money will be bet on Luck and the Colts O-Line over the banged-up Texans. If oddsmakers leaned on Houston, the spread would be 3-points. That’s just how the math works. Don’t forget that Indy went into Houston and beat the Texans 24-21 less than a month ago.
Seattle vs. Dallas -2½
8:15 PM ET
Another 2.5-point home favorite. This time oddsmakers believe the early money will be on Seattle. Both teams ended their 2018 regular season campaigns with Week 17 wins and momentum. The Seahawks beat the Cowboys 24-13 in Week 3 in Seattle. Both sides are very different now. Seattle leans heavier on the run game and less on Russell Wilson’s arm and escapability. Dallas has balanced their power run game with a deep ball threat after the acquisition of Amari Cooper.
Sunday, January 6
Los Angeles Chargers vs. Baltimore -3
1:05 PM ET
Baltimore went to LA and beat the Chargers by a 22-10 score in Week 16. The Ravens are 3-point favorites meaning oddsmakers believe the early money will be on Baltimore. Can the Ravens win with a rookie QB with less than a season’s worth of experience? Or will the battle-tested and proven Phillip Rivers reign supreme?
Philadelphia vs. Chicago -5½
4:40 PM ET
I believe in Nick Foles! However, this is as far as the defending Super Bowl champions go. Foles was pulled from the Eagles Week 17 win due to a chest/rib injury. The 5.5-point opening spread is based on Foles starting again this week. With Carson Wentz shutdown for until next season, next up after Foles is Nate Sudfeld. If Philly has to start Sudfeld, expect the Bears to be favored by double digits. Foles or Sudfeld, early season acquisition Kahlil Mack is why the Bears will win.