College football expert picks, odds: Cure, New Mexico, Camellia, New Orleans, Las Vegas Bowl best bets

The 2018 college football bowl season gets kicked off on Saturday with five games. Tulane (-3.5) takes on Louisiana in the Cure Bowl at 1:30 p.m. ET; Utah State (-7.5) clashes with North Texas in the New Mexico Bowl; No. 21 Fresno State (-4.5) matches up with Arizona State at 3:30 p.m. ET for the Las Vegas Bowl; Georgia Southern (-2.5) goes against Eastern Michigan in the Camellia Bowl at 5:30 p.m.; and Appalachian State (-6.5) faces Middle Tennessee State at 9 p.m. ET in the New Orleans Bowl. Before you make any bets for Saturday, you need to see who Mike Tierney is picking. 

No one knows football like Tierney. The veteran sportswriter and handicapper has covered college football of all levels up close for decades. And that expertise really shines through since joining SportsLine as a college football handicapper in 2017. He's putting a cap on another year in the black with his best bets for the busiest days of the college bowl season. 

He enters the 2018-19 bowl schedule on a strong 30-21 run on his college football picks. Now, for Saturday's five-game slate, Tierney is again sharing his three top college football picks over at SportsLine. 

We can tell you that he loves Middle Tennessee State to cover as an underdog against Appalachian State at the 2018 New Orleans Bowl. Last bowl season, he took the Mountaineers (+7) in a 34-0 rout of Toledo in the Dollar General Bowl. 

Tierney knows MTSU came up one win short of a conference title. After pounding UAB 27-3 to end the regular season, the Blue Raiders were upended by the Blazers, 27-25, the following week in a rematch to for the Conference USA championship. 

Five losses might sound like a lot for a mid-major, but consider that three of those defeats came at the hands of SEC competition. "The underdog Blue Raiders lost five times straight-up, but three were to SEC foes," Tierney told SportsLine. "They have covered in five of the past six outings." 

Senior quarterback Brent Stockstill, under the tutelage of head coach and father Rick Stockstill, has completed better than 70 percent of his passes for 3,214 yards and 28 touchdowns.

Appalachian State (10-2) mostly dominated the competition from Week 2 on en route to the Sun Belt championship, led by its sixth-ranked defense and an offense that averaged 33.5 points per game. But Tierney is eyeing the battle-tested Raiders, with their father-son connection and strong non-conference tests, to ride off into the sunset as victors. Confidently lock in the Blue Raiders to cover as 6.5-point underdogs for a chance at a strong payout on Saturday. 

Tierney has also found two other games with huge flaws in the line, and is backing an underdog to get a program-defining victory on Saturday. He's only sharing who to back at SportsLine.

What are the three best bets for the opening Saturday of the college football bowl season? And which underdog is about to make a huge statement? Visit SportsLine now to see Mike Tierney's best bets for Dec. 15, all from one of the top college football experts in the nation who is running yet another profitable season at SportsLine.

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