The college football season flew by, and here we are with a very enticing card for the Conference Championship games.
Follow along on Twitter — @julianedlow — for betting analysis throughout both NFL and CFB season. One quick note if you aren’t following on Twitter, you really need to be. In Week 6 we had Penn State (+110) on the moneyline for 1-unit, which looked good up 17-3 early. But it was obvious when the QB got injured that PSU was not going to be able to hang on and win that game. I tweeted out that we’d be switching sides at halftime, locking up some nice profit on Iowa (+165) for 2-units. While the article will give my favorite plays, we need to keep our heads in the game on Saturday.
Let’s make some money on DraftKings Sportsbook.
Pittsburgh -2.5 (-115) — 2.5-units
Last game to kickoff was the first one I bet for Championship Weekend. We’ve been on Pitt in plenty of spots this season, and the Panthers proved to be the best team in the ACC. I think we’ll see that come to fruition on Saturday night.
Wake’s offense is for real, but Pittsburgh has by far the better defense in this matchup. I trust Pitt to get a couple of key stops, whereas on the other side of the field, the Demon Deacons are going to have a very tough time stopping Kenny Pickett and crew. The Panthers also have a very strong backfield combo, and Wake’s dreadful stopping the run. Panthers get this done by more than a field goal.
Utah -2.5 (-110) — 2-units
We saw this matchup in Utah just a couple of weeks ago, and the Ducks took a 38-7 pounding to end their College Football Playoff hopes. After the 1-2 start with Charlie Brewer starting for the Utes, they’ve lost just one game with Cam Rising at QB. I’m convinced if they never let Brewer start the season, we’d be looking at a one-loss Utah team that would be in contention for a CFP spot. This is the best team in the PAC-12, and they showed us convincingly a couple of weeks ago.
Sure, Oregon will be looking for some revenge and can play a little more carefree in this game than the first matchup, but Utah still has all the same advantages. This won’t be another 31-point beatdown, but I do expect Utah to be able to use a similar game plan to get another win.
Houston vs. Cincinnati
Houston +10.5 (-110) — 2-units
Cincy has done everything its been asked of so far, sitting at 12-0 through the regular season. Get to 13-0 and it’s pretty much impossible not to let this team compete in the CFP, especially with down years for so many teams. I think they’ll win the game, but it wouldn’t shock me if Houston was able to pull the upset. There’s a ton of pressure on the Bearcats in this spot.
Meanwhile, the Cougars dropped their Week 1 game, and haven’t lost since. You could argue Houston is just as hot as Cincy. You could also argue Houston is just as good as anyone Cincy has played this season. Double digits is just too much. This should be a ballgame that goes down to the wire.
Smaller Bets and Leans
Western Kentucky vs. UTSA
WKU -3 (-110) — Lean
So I was fortunate enough to bet WKU in a pick’em for one unit earlier in the week. I didn’t think we’d see this one move all the way out to 3/3.5 on the spread. Obviously I like the Hilltoppers and their electric offense to avenge their early season loss to UTSA, so I don’t hate laying the three points if you do want action. I also think over 72.5 is in play after we saw 98 points in the first meeting. No reason this one should be much different when it comes to pace. My only question is if the Roadrunners can keep up with WKU.
Baylor vs. Oklahoma State
Baylor +5.5 — 1-unit
This is the least confident of the plays that I’ve but in so far, but I do like it as a numbers play. This spread should be more like a field goal. The spread was +4 the first time around for Baylor, which did lose the game 24-14. But it’s a lot of points in a game with two defensive teams. The under at the opening number was a strong play, but after ticking down a couple of points the value is gone. I think the Bears should compete in this game. The Cowboys also have some pressure on them with their CFP hopes hanging on by a thread. This could also be a spot for a rare same-game teaser — tease Baylor up to double digits while getting the under into the 50s.
Georgia -6.5 (-110) — Lean
Ugh. If you read my CFB content, you know I’m a ‘Bama guy. I hold tickets on them to win the SEC and National Championship, both of which are in awful shape. I’d love them to win this game, but you can just feel this isn’t their year. They’ve squeaked by their last few SEC games by a single score, all favored by about 20 points. This team just doesn’t have it like past years. Not to mention that Georgia is clearly the best team in the country. The defense will give ‘Bama a really tough time, and I expect the Bulldogs to take pride in piling on in this game as payback for all that ‘Bama has done to them in the past. Either the Tide shock the world and win this game, or get absolutely pounded. I don’t see much in-between here.
ULL ML or Spread at +3 — Lean
App State’s had an awesome year, but I’m kind of surprised to see ULL as a dog here. ULL has been just as good, if not better all season, and demolished in the head-to-head — 41-13. The number sits at 2.5, and I’d like to play +3. Otherwise I might just make a small play on the moneyline. Stay tuned, I’ll probably have a play on this one.
Michigan ML (-450) — Parlay Piece
I can’t lay 10.5 with Michigan in a game this big, but I’m also not trusting Iowa’s non-existent offense. Not a hot take here, but Michigan is going to win this game and make the CFP. The moneyline is steep, but it’s at least a piece that can help you can another moneyline down. If you like OK State, Georgia or even want to get Utah or Pitt to plus money on the moneyline, using Michigan to get there makes sense to me.
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