Welcome to Sunday Morning Coffee, a short look at college football projected lines before release in Las Vegas or offshore. This weekly column examines where the point spread should open or trend. Hangover, overlook and general box score notes from the week’s previous action will be captured to help any college football investor get action on a number.
If you plan to hit openers, take a look at the projected point spreads for Week 14:
|Dec 2||Georgia Southern||Coastal Carolina||CC -2.5|
|Dec 2||Idaho||Georgia St.||GST -4|
|Dec 2||South Alabama||New Mexico St.||NMSU -6|
|Dec 2||UMass||FIU||FIU +2|
|Dec 2||Troy||Arkansas St.||ARST -2.5|
|Dec 2||ULL||Appalachian St.||APP -14.5|
|Dec 2||ULM||Florida St.||FSU -25|
|Dec 2||Miami||Clemson||CLEM -7|
|Dec 2||Auburn||Georgia||UGA -1.5|
|Dec 2||TCU||Oklahoma||OKLA -6.5|
|Dec 2||Stanford||USC||USC -5|
|Dec 2||Wisconsin||Ohio St.||OSU -4|
|Dec 2||Memphis||UCF||UCF -6.5|
|Dec 2||Boise State||Fresno St.||FRES +7|
|Dec 2||North Texas||Florida Atlantic||FAU -7|
|Dec 2||Akron||Toledo||TOL -16|
|Legend: Coming off bye / Overlook/Hangover watch / Back to Back road travel / Neutral site|
- The Sun Belt Conference has the possibility of crowning co-champions next weekend. Arkansas State and Troy are closely power rated, leaving just the Red Wolves’ home-field advantage as the difference in the point spread. ULL travels to Boone, North Carolina, with the chance to spoil the hopes of Appalachian State as co-champs. The Mountaineers avoided Arkansas State and Troy in the round-robin schedule. This year will see a Sun Belt East and West Division for its first-ever conference championship game.
- The ACC Championship game takes place in Charlotte. Fresh off a loss to Pitt, Miami comes into its game against Clemson with a shot at the College Football Playoff. The projected point spread favors the Tigers by a touchdown, and for good reason. Miami ranks first in the nation in “turnover luck,” a stat that looks at points per game off turnovers. The Hurricanes have lived off havoc, but there is a stark contrast in third-down conversion percentage. Clemson ranks eighth in the country while Miami is just 114th in converting third downs. The Tigers’ defense ranks fourth overall in opponent yards per play and will need to steal the headlines in this matchup for Clemson to win.
- The SEC Championship game opened Auburn -2.5 offshore (BetOnline) and -3 in Las Vegas (Stations). The money quickly came in on Georgia, creating the current line of Auburn -1.5 as of this writing. The Bulldogs’ visit to Jordan-Hare a few weeks ago should be fresh in the mind of the betting public. There are still questions about Jake Fromm’s ability to convert on second/third-and-long situations, but there may have been no motivation in Georgia’s visit to Auburn. Sony Michel and Nick Chubb had 20 total rushing attempts, which is not a typical game plan by the Bulldogs. Auburn does have a few areas in which they can be exposed that Alabama was never able to exploit. War Eagle has an adjusted sack rate of 93rd, a passing down success rate of 88th and a standard down sack rate of 123rd. Expect a more motivated Georgia team in a non-hostile neutral environment with plenty of money backing the Auburn side.
- TCU and Oklahoma meet in the Big 12 Championship game at a neutral site (Arlington). Not much has changed in the advanced stats since their last meeting. The Horned Frogs are 111th in explosive plays allowed. Baker Mayfield is on a path to the winning the Heisman and has Oklahoma ranked No. 1 in passing S&P+ and passing success rate, and he’s sixth in passing explosiveness.
- USC will take on Stanford in the Pac 12 Championship Game, a rematch of the Sept. 9 matchup that saw the Trojans win by 18 points. USC comes into this game off a bye week and the Cardinal comes off a victory over Notre Dame thanks to a flurry of points in the second half. USC will have its hands full containing Stanford’s explosiveness (ranked No. 1 in rush IsoPPP). The Trojans rank 74th in defending explosive rushing gains.
- Early release of the Big Ten Championship Game has the Buckeyes favored by 6.5. I have Wisconsin +4 on a neutral field. Ohio State has the most efficient offense in the nation, and whether J.T. Barrett starts or not, the Buckeyes will be dynamic. Wisconsin has the No. 1-ranked S&P+ defense. One area of concern is the power success rate on the ground, with the Badgers defense ranking 75th, while Ohio State’s offense ranks eighth. Expect plenty of Buckeye conversions on the ground in short-yardage situations.
- UCF will host the AAC Championship Game in Orlando. Memphis should help contribute to a total score that could get into the 100s. Time of possession is not a virtue for either team, as the Golden Knights rank 99th and the Tigers rank 123rd. An area of concern for UCF is their 104th ranking in defending explosive passing.
- In other conference championship games, the Mountain West Conference will determine the host site by four computer rankings: Anderson & Hester, Billingsley, Colley Matrix and Wolfe. The point spread above represents Boise State -7 on a neutral site against Fresno State. Boca Raton is the site for the Conference USA championship between Florida Atlantic and North Texas. These teams combined for 100 points just a few weeks ago. The MAC Championship game will be held in Detroit, with Toledo taking on Akron. This will be the largest championship game spread of the weekend. Logan Woodside should have time to pass all day for the Rockets, as the Zips rank 124th in adjusted sack rate.
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