The college football season enters Championship Week with some huge matchups for NCAA football bettors to tackle. These conference title games will go a long way in deciding the College Football Playoff Final Four.
Here’s some quick sports betting articles of the marquee Championship Week matchups and what bettors should keep an eye on when handicapping the football betting odds this week:
SEC Championship: Georgia Bulldogs vs. Auburn Tigers
It’s weird to see the SEC Championship without Alabama on the bill. But the Tigers defense stumped Jalen Hurts and the Crimson Tide to earn a spot in the conference title game – and possibly the CFP Final Four. This is a rematch of a Week 11 battle in which Auburn smashed then-No. 1 UGA 40-7 as a 2.5-point home underdog.
Since that loss, the Bulldogs have walked over Kentucky and Georgia Tech. Georgia’s rushing game – which ranks ninth in the country – picked up only 42 yards on the ground in the loss to Auburn and the Tiger just slowed down Alabama’s running backs for 168 yards Saturday. The Bulldogs need to establish the ground game to keep the Auburn pass rush at bay. The Tigers are peaking at the right time and may be too hot for UGA to handle.
ACC Championship: Clemson Tigers vs. Miami Hurricanes
The Hurricanes looked like this year’s CFP Cinderella heading into this week’s game against Pittsburgh. Then, The U turned into a pumpkin with a 24-14 loss to the Panthers that put the Hurricanes’ championship hopes on life support. Miami’s resume isn’t overly impressive, save for a win over Notre Dame, puffing up their record against the bottom of the ACC.
Clemson has been in good favor with the CFP selection committee all season despite a bad loss to Syracuse back in October. Since that stumble, the Tigers have won five in a row by a collective score of 188-68. Clemson’s defense is ranked sixth in total yards and gives up only 13.6 points per game. The Tigers will, however, need to be careful with the football and not give Miami extra cracks at the football. Miami ranks first in the country in turnover margin, forcing 29 total turnovers on the season.
Big Ten: Wisconsin Badgers vs. Ohio State Buckeyes
Everyone is keeping a close eye on the knee of Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett, who suffered a freak injury before Saturday’s win over rival Michigan that eventually forced him out of the game. Barrett is confident he can play in the Big Ten title game, but the Buckeyes may have a suitable replacement in backup Dwayne Haskins should Barrett miss time. Haskins replaced him versus the Wolverines, passing for 94 yards, completing six of his seven throws, and adding 24 rushing yards on three carries Saturday.
The Badgers are probably the least respected CFP title contender in the country, taking a perfect 12-0 record into the title game. Wisconsin boasts an efficient offense and hard-nosed defense, giving up only 12 points per game and limiting opponents to only 237 yards per outing – No. 1 in the land. The biggest knock against the Badgers is their strength of schedule, having avoided the best in the Big Ten and lacking some notable non-conference competition.
Big 12 Championship: TCU Horned Frogs vs. Oklahoma Sooners
The inaugural Big 12 Championship Game should be a formality for the Sooners, who are favorites to win the conference and squeak into the CFP Final Four. Oklahoma – and the Big 12 overall – has been downgraded by the selection committee in the past due to a lack of title game, so there’s no excuse in 2017. Quarterback Baker Mayfield is the engine behind OU, leading an offense that puts up 45.2 points per game and sets the pace for the country with 593.5 yards per outing.
Texas Christian contrasts the Sooners quite well in this game, leaning more on defense to get the job done. The Horned Frogs allow only 15.7 points per game – an impressive accomplishment considering the makeup of this conference. They fell to Oklahoma 38-20 in Week 10 as 6-point road underdogs, but it was OU running back Rodney Anderson – not Mayfield – that did the damage with 151 yards rushing and two touchdowns. That kept the TCU pass rush at bay, which is not an easy task considering the Horned Frogs record 40 sacks on the season – third most in the country.