College Football Championship Week Lookahead

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It’s Conference Championship weekend in College Football. Playoff tickets will be punched and dreams will be ended. It’s crunch time. Let’s breakdown the big games from a betting perspective.

Pac-12 Championship

17 Utah (-3) vs 10 Oregon

Just a few weeks after a 38-7 beatdown to Utah, the Ducks will face the Utes once again. It brings back 2019 vibes when these teams met in the Pac-12 Championship, with Utah only needing to win to make the playoff, but ended up getting rolled by a score of 37-15. History tells us that usually when teams meet twice in one season the loser of the first game wins the second one. The Ducks have covered three of their last four games, and I feel like the public will be quick to jump on Utah after their performance a few weeks ago. I’ll probably stay away from betting this game, but if I had to, I would lean towards the Ducks.

Best bet: Oregon +3

SEC Championship

1 Georgia (-6.5) vs 3 Alabama

The game of the weekend takes place in Atlanta. Georgia is playing for pride, wanting to keep their undefeated season alive and finally defeat the team that has been in their way for years now. Alabama knows they need to win to get in. This is the first time Alabama has been an underdog since 2015! Georgia has had plenty of time to prepare for this game, with their last two games coming against Charleston Southern and Georgia Tech. The Tide, meanwhile, have been pushed to the brink and are coming off an improbable win at Jordan-Hare. It’s hard for me to see how this Alabama offense can move consistently against Georgia’s top ranked defense. It took four overtimes for Alabama to get to 24 points against Auburn. With all of the public backing Georgia here, I’m going stay away from any spread betting and instead make a play related to the game total.

Best bet: Alabama team total under 22

Big 12 Championship

5 Oklahoma St (-5) vs 9 Baylor

These teams have met before. In early October, Oklahoma State went on the road and beat Baylor, 24-14. Since then, the Bears are 6-1 and if it wasn’t for a bad spot loss against TCU, then who knows how the stakes in this matchup would change. Oklahoma State knows if they win they’re most likely in. Early in the week, the public is betting both sides evenly, with some sharp money coming in on Baylor. That explains this line opening at -6 and dropping down to -4.5 in some places. I pride myself on smart bets and following the sharps because they aren’t wrong often. But I feel much more comfortable backing the Cowboys here. Laying the points is one way to go, or you could take Baylor under 20.5 points against this tough, psychical Oklahoma State defense. Both bets look nice, but I’m going to lay the points. I’ll also be throwing Oklahoma State moneyline in some parlays.

Best bet: Oklahoma State -5

AAC Championship

4 Cincinnati (-10.5) vs 21 Houston

It’s been all fun and games this year with people talking about how weak Cincinnati’s schedule is and things like that, but if they win, they are in. This is the chance for them to come out and put their money where their mouth is. The thing that jumps out to me is the weakness of Houston’s schedule. Their only ranked win is against SMU, a home game that was back and forth before Houston returned a kickoff for a touchdown at the very end. Other than that, it’s a lot of beating up bad teams. Cincinnati’s resume isn’t much better but is at least bolstered by a win at Notre Dame. I get a feeling Cincinnati comes out and wins comfortably, and I was thinking about laying the points. But there’s always the chance Houston can get some stops and scores late and keep it close. Instead, I’ll look at the first half where I get some good value with the Bearcats.

Best bet: Cincinnati -6.5 1H

Big Ten Championship

2 Michigan (-10.5) vs 13 Iowa

Somehow, Iowa has ended up in Indianapolis with a chance to win the Big Ten. As you can expect, this game has a low total of 43.5 with two good defenses. I can’t figure out what to do with that spread. I could see Michigan coming in up hyped up, scoring early and never looking back. But what if the Wolverines come in a little flat off of that huge win? Too much uncertainty for me there, although I love the idea of putting Iowa in a teaser. Let’s look towards the under because of the matchups. The better offense (Michigan) will go against the better defense (Iowa), and the worse offense (Iowa) will go against the worse defense (Michigan). Basically, they cancel each other out. It makes me think there will be a lot of feeling each other out early in the game. The first half total is 22.5 and that looks intriguing. Now, how about the fact that Michigan games have gone under the first half total in five of the last six games, including all four Michigan games in November. Sign me up.

Best bet: 1H under 22.5

ACC Championship

15 Pitt (-3) vs 16 Wake Forest

Ahhh yes, exactly the matchup we predicted for the ACC crown. You can guarantee one thing, there will be lots of points. The total currently sits at 72.5. But I’m staying away from the total and taking the Demon Deacons. It’s mainly just a feel bet for me; I just have a feeling about Wake. It’s a lot like 2006 when they surprised everybody in a Cinderella run to winning the conference. Most of the public bets are coming in on Pitt early in the week, and there’s a chance Wake has the better offense in this game. Wake Forest moneyline is my bet, but just to be safe, we will take the points too.

Best bet: Wake Forest +3

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