Conference championship week is here! It was an awesome final week of the regular season where we racked up the units. Now it is time to close out our final “normal” CFB Saturday before Bowl SZN arrives. With playoff implications and the fact that everyone obviously wants to win their conference, there are no overlooks, there are no motivational edges and that makes for amazing football games.
Here is one important trend to remember. I will reference it later on but 5 of these 10 matchups are rematches from regular season games. Since 2005, teams that win the regular season game are 23-23 ATS in the conference championship so you shouldn’t play too much into that angle. However, in certain instances, I think it will play a bit of a factor due to how things have changed since some of these teams played last time.
CFB YTD: 153-123-2 +18.49u
Every P5 game is on a neutral field.
Utah (+2.5) vs. USC o/u 67.5
This is a rematch of USC’s only loss this season. We saw this game come down to a 2-point conversion to win last time and I think it will be that close again. USC has had every bounce go their way to be in playoff position this season and I think they finally lose it here. Utah’s defense had more success than any other team when it came to getting to Caleb Williams.
Dalton Kincaid, the Utah TE, went OFF in this matchup last time. USC really struggles against the TE as we saw with Michael Mayer last week. I think Utah has the game plan to go back to against USC and it will work again. I would try to get a 3 here if you can and would buy up to -120 to make sure you are protected if this comes down to a GW field goal or even OT.
Pick: 1.5u Utah +3
LSU (+17.5) vs. Georgia o/u 51
Give me the over! 3 of the last 4 SEC Championship Games have gone over and 3 of the last 4 underdogs have covered. The only time the favorite has covered and the game has gone under was the anomaly that was the 2019 LSU Tigers. On this NFL field, the SEC speed just hits different. I think both teams will find ways to score and although Georgia could win somewhat comfortably, LSU will stay inside this number. Brian Kelly is maybe the best game-planner of any coach in America and they will be ready for this game. This game is their season whereas Georgia is in the CFP no matter what. Geaux Tigers.
Picks: 1.5u o50.5, LSU +18.5
Purdue (+17) vs. Michigan o/u 52
I think Purdue is going to be competitive in this game. Aidan O’Connell is a stud and has shown up in big games his whole career. Obviously, Michigan will be motivated because this is the B1G Championship Game, BUT they are coming off of that massive beatdown of their archrivals and are now in the CFP no matter what happens. I do think they will find a way to win late because they just have more talent but I wouldn’t be surprised if they came out a bit slow and sluggish. AOC for the win.
Pick: 2u Purdue +17, 1u o51.5, 0.5u Purdue 1H ML (+410)
Clemson (-7.5) vs. UNC o/u 63.5
BLEHHHHHH! This game stinks. Clemson is a washed-up fraud who is still starting DJU in this game despite the fact that he can’t throw a football. UNC looked like a sneaky late-playoff contender and then lost two in a row as favorites to end the regular season. This game just sucks. So I am hoping both defenses don’t show and both offenses go off. Then if Clemson is down and they bring in Klubnik I will take them live. If UNC is down at halftime, I will take them 2H with Drake Maye. That’s the plan.
Pick: 1.5u o62.5
Kansas State (+2.5) vs. TCU o/u 62
Both of these teams are red hot entering this game. Will Howard should be starting for this game for K State. Martinez could be available but probably won’t start. Kansas State led this game by a lot in the first matchup then Adrian Martinez got hurt. Will Howard saw his first action of the year, TCU came back. Will Howard got hurt, then the third string came in and threw a key INT.
This is one where I think the revenge factor is real. K State feels they lost because of their injuries and now Will Howard is firing on all cylinders running this offense. TCU is a team of destiny so it’s terrifying to fade them but I think they are in the CFP no matter what so this isn’t fading their destiny. Go Deuce Go.
I would be betting K State regardless in this game but if you have a TCU future such as me I definitely recommend a hedge here with a bit more on K State. I am personally waiting for a 3 but if it never comes, I will settle for the current number.
2u Kansas State +(hopefully 3 if not 2.5, watch the app)
Group of Five
North Texas (+8.5) @ UTSA o/u 69
These two teams met earlier in the season and UTSA won in the final seconds, also at home. UTSA’s defense stinks. There will be points in this game. UTSA also plays every game close. This game will be close. It’s a simple recipe when it comes to betting UTSA games. This game exploded with points and came down to the final minutes and I think it will again.
Picks: 1u North Texas +8.5, 1u o67.5 (play to 71.5)
Toledo (-1.5) vs. Ohio o/u 55 (natural)
This is my favorite game of the weekend. Why? Because I make money no matter what. I bet two MAC futures, Toledo who I thought was the best team and Ohio who I thought was a great longshot. Well, they both made it here. I think there is a bit of value on Toledo in this game so I will be playing them for 1.5u. That also evens out my payouts a bit more if Toledo wins since Ohio is a much longer shot. I would only play them for 1u if you don’t have an Ohio future.
This is a weird game where we could see two backup QBs which leaves a lot of mystery. That is why I am backing the team with the higher ceiling and trusting the Rockets to take it home. However, I will be secretly rooting for the Bobs because that does mean a bigger payout for me and anyone that bet the future with me.
Pick: 1.5u Toledo -1.5 (1u if you don’t have Ohio future)
Coastal Carolina (+8.5) @ Troy o/u 48.5
This game really comes down to Grayson McCall. I have roped Troy into an MLP hoping that McCall will not play. However, if McCall goes it will be a buyout spot for me. He is just insane. This Coastal team just lost by 100 to JMU without him. The backup QB is awful at Coastal and McCall has single-handedly carried his team to this game. If he doesn’t play, Troy should roll because their defense is legit. If he doesn’t play, I will be just letting the MLP ride. If he does play, I will buy out and have no action on this game.
Pick: 2.5u Troy, Tulane MLP (+100)
Fresno State (+3.5) @ Boise State o/u 54
These two teams played earlier in the season but without Jake Haener who is maybe one of the top-5 most valuable players in the country to their team. I think this Boise team has been a bit overrated. I love Haener and I think he will want to avenge his team’s loss here. Make sure to get it over 3 but I’m going with the best player in this game.
Pick: 1.5u Fresno State +3.5
UCF (+4) @ Tulane o/u 57
These two teams played earlier in the year and Tulane lost their only conference game of the year in that spot. That can mostly be attributed to their inability to stop John Rhys Plumlee and the UCF run game. Plumlee is going to play in this game after splitting snaps in the last two games. It is unclear if he is going to be 100% but he is definitely going to play. Unfortunately, that doesn’t change the fact that UCF is horrific defensively. Spears and Pratt should ball (again) and I think the Tulane defense will adjust to how they got torched last time.
Pick: 2.5u Troy, Tulane MLP (+100)
That’s it, folks! Let’s have a monster weekend and then an even better Bowl SZN. And as always…