College Football Betting Odds & Against the Spread Picks: Full Previews for 9 Conference Championship Games

College Football Betting Odds & Against the Spread Picks: Full Previews for 9 Conference Championship Games article feature image
  • Our experts break down nine college football conference championship games, complete with against the spread picks and updated odds.
  • Action kicks off on Saturday with Oklahoma vs. Baylor and several Group of Five games, and concludes at night with Ohio State vs. Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship Game.

Almost 12 hours of wall-to-wall football will grace your television on Saturday. And yes, we’ve got every betting angle covered.

Our experts dug deep into the nine remaining conference championship games on Saturday and hit on everything from personnel matchups to injuries and weather.

Use the links below to jump to a specific game if you’re reading in The Action Network app or on desktop as an EDGE member.

JUMP TO: Big 12 | MAC | Sun Belt | CUSA | AAC | SEC | MWC | ACC | Big Ten

Big 12 Championship Odds: Oklahoma vs. Baylor

  • Spread: Oklahoma -9
  • Over/Under: 64.5
  • Time: Saturday, 12 p.m. ET
  • TV: ABC
  • Location: AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas

Will Oklahoma get in?

That question won’t necessarily be answered at the Big 12 Championship, but the result of Oklahoma vs. Baylor will go a long way in deciding which team gets the fourth spot in the College Football Playoff.

The Sooners, who erased a 25-point deficit to beat Baylor in November, must win on Saturday to have a hope of getting into the dance.

The odds suggest that Oklahoma will at least get that far, as the Sooners are 9-point favorites in the Big 12 finale.

Oklahoma vs. Baylor Line Movement

The No. 6 and No. 7 teams being separated by more than a touchdown sounds like it’s a bit much, which is probably why most bettors have been happy to take the points with Baylor in this game. Sixty-one percent of the both bets and 69% dollars have hit the Bears, who’ve bounced between +9 and +8.5.

The total has unsurprisingly drawn most bettors to the over, and as it turns out, they’ve been the bigger bettors too. Seventy-three percent of tickets generating 93% of money have hit the over, and the total has risen from 61 to 64/64.5 — Danny Donahue


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Collin Wilson: The Market Has Overreacted

The first matchup between these two schools had a little bit of everything.  Baylor stomped to a 28-3 lead before losing 34-31 to Oklahoma.

Instead of focusing on all of the chaos, the key takeaway from that game is what Oklahoma did on its first four drives. After an eight-play drive that led to a field goal, the Sooners went on to punt, fumble and throw an interception to fall behind by 25 points.

Baylor ran just eight offensive plays in that span and started two of those three scoring drives from inside the Oklahoma 30-yard line. Turnovers are unpredictable, but take out Baylor’s eight plays and 21 points and the first matchup reads like a blowout by the Sooners.

Oklahoma had eight drives that lasted at least nine plays and scored on six separate possessions.  The Sooners had a ridiculous 71% success rate in the third quarter, while Baylor was operating at 25%.

The formula is simple, when Oklahoma is not forfeiting possessions through turnovers they are a College Football Playoff team.

Despite the turnovers and a 525-to-307 total yard edge in the first game — which was in Waco, by the way — this spread has tightened by two points from the original showdown.

As long as Oklahoma takes care of the ball, Baylor will need to be flawless to hang in this game. That is unlikely to happen and I’ll be backing the Sooners at -8.5.

The Bet: Oklahoma -9

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Collin Wilson is 482-404-23 (54.4%) overall betting on college football. You can follow him in our free app.

Stuckey: Can Oklahoma Overcome Matt Rhule’s Dominance as an Underdog?

This is a very interesting line considering that Oklahoma closed as a 10-point favorite in Waco just a few weeks back and that was without CeeDee Lamb.

Now, the Sooners are only -8.5 on a neutral field.

After falling behind in the first half, Lincoln Reilly changed his whole offense for the second half against Baylor in Week 12. The switch to a run-heavy attack kept the Bears’ offense on the sideline for what seemed like the entire second half.

Baylor’s defense excels at limiting big plays but isn’t very efficient. Can the Bears slow down Oklahoma’s uber-efficient offense? If Baylor tries something different and plays more aggressively, Lamb’s explosiveness could loom large.

Baylor’s offense should hit some big plays against the Sooners, who struggle to contain explosiveness. But Oklahoma’s defense is great at creating havoc and Baylor’s offensive line isn’t great, so I expect the Sooners to get to the quarterback in passing downs.

Matt Rhule is 31-15 ATS (67.4%) as an underdog in his career for an ROI of 31.3% and covering by over 5 points per game. Out of 511 coaches in our Bet Labs database, he’s the fourth-most profitable coach as a ‘dog and second-most among active coaches behind only Brian Kelly.

Even with Rhule’s success against better teams, I still think Oklahoma is slightly undervalued in the market thanks to a few close calls and a bad loss. I make this line over 10, but in a game that should see a lot of points, I’d rather trade this live based on what I see from the Baylor defense early on.

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Stuckey is 519-478-29 (52.1%) overall betting on college football. You can follow him in our free app.

App State vs. UL-Lafayette

  • Spread: Appalachian State -6
  • Over/Under: 56
  • Moneylines: App State -233, ULL +185
  • Time: Saturday, 12 p.m. ET
  • TV: ESPN
  • Location: Boone, N.C. (at App State)

JUMP TO: Big 12 | MAC | Sun Belt | CUSA | AAC | SEC | MWC | ACC | Big Ten

Earlier this season, UL-Lafayette and Appalachian State played an unexpected slugfest — a 17-7 Mountaineers win that went under the total by 45 points.

Will things be different this time around?

App State hosts the Sun Belt Championship Game on Saturday, looking to win its second straight conference title game after defeating ULL in this same spot last season.

The Ragin’ Cajuns have lost all seven meetings between the two teams since App State joined the Sun Belt in 2014, all by double digits.

ULL does have some other history on its side, as underdogs in true road conference championship games are 14-5 ATS, including last year’s cover against the Mountaineers.


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Appalachian State vs. Louisiana Line Movement

The story of this point spread has been a slightly confusing one, as the number has drifted in both directions, and not all books have moved in unison throughout the week.

App State has been the slightly more popular pick, drawing 56% of bettors, and has seen lines ranging from -3 to -7 over the past few days. The Mountaineers have now settled inside the full-touchdown number at -6/-6.5 as some heavy money hit the underdog soon after the +7 was reached. As it stands now, the 44% of bets landing on Louisiana have accounted for 61% of money.

The total has been much more straightforward, as it’s split the public and barely moved from its opener. Fifty-two percent of bets and 51% of money have landed on the under, and the number has inched up from 55.5 to 56 in most spots. — Danny Donahue

What Can the Last Meeting Between App State and ULL Tell Us?

The gambling wounds from the Oct. 9 meeting between these teams are still fresh.

A fantastic set of Sun Belt officials spotted App State countless fourth downs and pass interference flags from 30 yards away.

App State ran 19 plays on a 10-minute drive that ended with a game-sealing touchdown with 1:55 to play.

For two high flying offenses, the final score of 17-7 in Lafayette was rather anti-climatic. Neither Zac Thomas nor Levi Lewis threw for 150 yards, while neither rush attack produced a running back with a carry over 25 yards.

The closing points spread in October was ULL -2.5, essentially a pick game considering home field advantage.

The Action Network power ratings make this game Appalachian State -1.7 in this spot, but dead even on a neutral field. As I mentioned earlier this week, I will still be backing the Cajuns at +6 as the line is overinflated.

The pregame total in the last meeting was 69 and it fell well short, as the defenses took center stage.

This total deserves a similar look. Both teams are top 25 in defensive passing success rate, illustrated by Thomas and Lewis’s results in the first meeting.

ULL has a rank of 13th in defensive finishing drives and No. 9 in opponent red zone scoring. Appalachian State is no slouch on the defensive side of the ball with a rank of 35th in finishing drives and an opponent third down conversion rank of 10th.

This game should be as lackluster as the initial head-to-head meeting in scoring, especially if there is a 19-play drive to close it out.Collin Wilson

Picks: Under 56, ULL +6

Collin Wilson is 482-404-23 (54.4%) overall betting on college football. You can follow him in our free app.

Stuckey: Little Between These Two Teams

I thought the line of ULL -1.5 at home was about right last time. I have these two teams rated pretty close, with a slight edge to App State. With this game in Boone, I think this line should be closer to -3 or -4 than -6, based on my numbers.

And, yes App State did win that game by 10 but ULL was right there the entire way. The Ragin’ Cajuns were stopped on a fourth-and-goal, dealt with a few questionable calls and made a few questionable coaching decisions late in the game.

georgia-southern-vs-appalachian-state-weather-forecast-rain-wind-boone-kidd-brewer-stadium
Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports.

App State did a tremendous job slowing down the machine-like ULL rushing attack that lead the nation with 6.6 yards per carry, but ULL should get its yardage on the ground behind a tremendous offensive line and break a few more explosive runs against a defense that has struggled in that department all year.

I’ve been higher on ULL than the market the past two seasons (and even during the preseason when I took a shot on the Cajuns to win the Belt at 13-1) and the market seemingly hasn’t caught up to head coach Billy Napier, who’s a cool 18-7 ATS (72%) in his young career, covering by almost a touchdown per game.

Also, don’t forget that App State will be without one of its most dynamic receivers in Connor Sutton (who had two catches for 58 yards in the first meeting). The Mountaineers are still deep at receiver but his presence will hurt in a matchup of two defenses that rank in the top 20 in pass efficiency.

I also think quarterback Levi Lewis can take a lot from last week against UL-Monroe, which was his best passing game of his career. He’s clearly improved as the season has progressed, and a few deep balls to keep the defense honest and a few third down conversions through the air could be the difference this time around.

This is impossible to predict, but don’t be surprised if you see some turnover regression from App State, which has only lost two fumbles all year (fewest in nation).

App State has owned this series, but this is too many points to give to a rock solid ULL team that continues to be a covering machine. And don’t forget about special teams, where the Ragin’ Cajuns should hold the edge. — Stuckey

Stuckey’s Pick: I played some ULL +6.5 and bought some to +7 and would still play it down to 6.

Stuckey is 519-478-29 (52.1%) overall betting on college football. You can follow him in our free app.

Kyle Miller: More Points This Time Around

It’s been no secret that my favorite team in the nation is Louisiana. I’ve loved the Ragin’ Cajuns since the preseason for two reasons: their offensive line and run game.

Those preseason feelings have been proven correct thanks to top 5 rankings in rushing success rate, rushing explosiveness, and offensive line score. These guys aren’t just good for a Group of Five, they’re good for almost any Power 5 team.

These two teams met up in the middle of the season on a Wednesday night and Louisiana’s run game was shut down by Appalachian State. I don’t expect this rematch to go quite the same way. The Ragin’ Cajuns have been on an absolute roll since taking that loss, scoring no less that 31 points in their next six games.

I think this one will be very high scoring because while neither team uses tempo, they allow a ton of long running plays. Obviously that’s a huge strength of Louisiana’s offense but App State nearly equals them in that category. The offensive lines should have a great day and both teams will likely play a sound, clean game.

I make App State just a 3-point favorite in this game so I’m happy to take Louisiana at anything better than +6. In addition, the over has some nice value at 56 or better because both head coaches have offensive backgrounds and will look to atone for the 17-7 output that we saw in the first game. — Kyle Miller

Pick: Over 56

Kyle Miller is 231-198-12 (53.8%) overall betting on college football. You can follow him in our free app.

Miami of Ohio vs. Central Michigan

  • Spread: Central Michigan -6.5
  • Over/Under: 54
  • Time: Saturday, 12 p.m. ET
  • TV: ESPN2
  • Location: Ford Field, Detroit, Mich.

JUMP TO: Big 12 | MAC | Sun Belt | CUSA | AAC | SEC | MWC | ACC | Big Ten

The MAC was unpredictable as ever in 2019.

A year after going 1-11, the Central Michigan Chippewas turned to former Florida head coach Jim McElwain to resurrect the program. He did that and then some.

Central Michigan finished with the best record against the spread in 2019, going 9-2-1 versus the number. The Chippewas punched their ticket to Detroit by winning five of their last six games, culminating with a convincing 49-7 win over Toledo in Week 14.

Despite a run to the title game, Miami of Ohio has looked anything but convincing over the last month of the season. The Redhawks finished the season with a 3-point victory over winless Akron and a 41-27 loss to Ball State.

These two teams are trending in opposite directions, but this is the MAC so anything can happen.

Miami of Ohio vs. Central Michigan Line Movement

The title of most popular championship game pick — at least by spread percentage — belongs to Central Michigan. The Chippewas are drawing 86% of bettors and 90% of money, and have become touchdown favorites at most books after opening at -6.5.

And just as CMU has been especially popular, so too has the over. It’s currently receiving 89% of bets and nearly all the money, but oddsmakers have stood pat at the common opening number of 54. Of course, with this being among the lesser bet games in terms of overall ticket count, those relatively extreme percentages could regress a bit as kickoff approaches and more wagers are placed. — Danny Donahue


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Collin Wilson: Does the Central Michigan Steam Make Sense?

Times were tough for Central Michigan in 2018. The Chippewas went 1-11 last season and their only win came against an FCS school, the Maine Black Bears.

Central Michigan tasked McElwain to turn the program around and he responded by turning the Chipps into the most successful passing attack in the MAC.

Early markets opened this game at Central Michigan -2.5 and it was quickly steamed to -7 for good reason.

Miami of Ohio struggled down the stretch and the Redhawks were out-gained in victories against Kent State, Ohio and lowly Bowling Green. Akron, a historically bad team, earned its only cover of the season against Miami on Nov. 20. Miami also dropped its season finale against Ball State, though there was nothing really at stake for the Redhawks in that game.

Things almost took a disastrous turn in that game as quarterback Brett Gabbert — who was just named as the conference’s top freshman — got hurt. Head coach Chuck Martin said his quarterback is “more than probable” for Saturday’s trip to MoTown.

A healthy Gabbert may not even matter, as Central Michigan has the defensive rankings to shut down the Redhawks.

The Chipps are third in the country in stuff rate, eighth in line yards, 15th in power success rate and 21st in rushing success rate. They should have their way with a Miami offense that ranks outside the top 100 in those same categories.

Our projected spread for this game is Central Michigan -3.5 but it’s impossible to ignore the fact that these two teams are trending in opposite directions. Sometimes it takes too long for power ratings to catch up in these scenarios.

The Bet: Central Michigan -7

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Kyle Miller: Central Michigan Will Be Too Much To Handle

Only one of these football teams looks like a conference championship contender. Miami benefited greatly from playing in the weaker MAC East, so while the Redhawks finished 6-2 in conference play, I’m not a believer.

I was high on Central Michigan in the preseason because I thought Jim McElwain was a big improvement over the previous coaching staff and former Tennessee quarterback Quinten Dormady would steady the position. That’s all come to fruition but this team is much better than even I thought it would be.

The Chippewas’ resurgence has been lead by the big boys in the trenches. Central Michigan ranks 23rd in defensive line score and 19th in offensive line score. Miami has serious problems in the trenches, particularly on their offensive line. That’s significant because the only way the Redhawks have been able to move the ball with long passes. They aren’t going to have time to drop back and take shots.

While Miami’s defense is very solid, Central’s offense outranks them in nearly every category. It should be a good matchup when the Chipps have the ball but I believe they’ll get the better of Miami. I make Central Michigan a 6-point favorite in this game so I hit -3 hard on the opener. I have no hesitation in making a smaller investment on Central Michigan at anything -7 or better.

The Bet: Central Michigan -7

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Kyle Miller is 231-198-12 (53.8%) overall betting on college football. You can follow him in our free app.

Stuckey: Has the Line Moved Too Much?

What a turnaround for the Chippewas, who were picked to finish last in the division. Miami’s run to the title game isn’t as surprising, but not many people thought the Redhawks would be in Detroit for this one.

I actually disagree with both of my fine colleagues above and think the market is a little too high on Central Michigan and a little too low on Miami Ohio based on recent results. The Redhawks haven’t been good down the stretch but don’t forget that they had everything locked up weeks ago and had very little to play for down the stretch.

Miami has made its money on special teams this season. It’s one of the reasons why the Redhawks have pulled out a few wins they probably didn’t deserve.

Senior kicker Sam Sloman has been awesome all year, connecting on all 30 extra points and going 21-for-25 on field goal attempts, including 4-for-5 from 50-plus. Maurice Thomas is also a dynamic return man and Kyle Kramer has been rock solid punting the ball (31st nationally in net punting average).

Conversely, the Chipps special teams have been abhorrent. Kicker Ryan Tice is just 12-for-20 on the season

The kicking advantage could be the difference for Miami but I also do expect an aggressive Redhawk defense, which ranks inside the top-5 in tackles for loss, to create some havoc.

Bottom line, this is simply a play on the key number of +7.

The Bet: Miami +7

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Stuckey is 519-478-29 (52.1%) overall betting on college football. You can follow him in our free app.

FAU vs. UAB

  • Spread: FAU -8
  • Over/Under: 49.5
  • Time: Saturday, 1:30 p.m. ET
  • TV: CBS Sports Network
  • Location: FAU Stadium, Boca Raton, Fla.

JUMP TO: Big 12 | MAC | Sun Belt | CUSA | AAC | SEC | MWC | ACC | Big Ten

The Conference USA Title game will feature two head coaches on their way to bigger jobs. Lane Kiffin’s Florida Atlantic University Owls are an 8-point home favorite over Bill Clark’s UAB Blazers, the defending champions.

Both of these teams finished with 9-3 records, though FAU was slightly better against the spread at 8-4. UAB finished 7-5 ATS but played a much weaker schedule compared to its rival.

Will UAB go back-to-back? Or will Kiffin ride off into the sunset with a C-USA ring on his finger.

FAU vs. UAB Line Movement

The earliest release of this line had Florida Atlantic listed as a 6.5-point favorite … and that lasted all of about five minutes. By the time most books hit the market with a line for this game, the number was up to -7.5, and even still the Owls have been the overwhelmingly more popular bet. Seventy-fivepercent of bets and 78% of money have landed on FAU, moving this number to -8 across the market.

As for the total, while bets are relatively split (55% on the under), almost all the money (94%) being wagered thus far have landed on the under. That’s led a few books to drop the line a bit from 50 to 49.5, perhaps a result of the lacking overall ticket count to this point. — Danny Donahue


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Collin Wilson: UAB Steps Up in Weight Class

Bill Clark and the UAB Blazers won the Conference-USA title as 25-1 longshots in 2018. Clark has been nothing short of amazing since bringing UAB back from the dead in 2017. The Blazers are 25-13-1 against the spread since the program started back in 2017, making Clark the most profitable coach to back in FBS.

On the other sideline is Lane Kiffin, who will likely leave FAU after this game to take on a high-profile job in 2020.

While the Owls get a lot of credit for their explosive offense, the story here is FAU’s much-improved defense under new defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer.

Florida Atlantic ranks eighth in rushing success rate, 15 in line yards, 18th in stuff rate and 27th in finishing drives. Those are impressive numbers considering the Owls played Ohio State and Central Florida.

UAB also boasts a fantastic defense. The Blazers rank first in rushing success rate and fifth in passing success rate. UAB’s numbers sparkle, but it must be noted that it played one of the softest schedules in the country.

UAB’s offense has struggled at times, but the numbers are skewed by injury problems. Quarterback Tyler Johnson, plus plenty of other skill-position players have missed time. Still, the Blazers average just 25 points per game and if you throw out a safety against Southern Miss and a pick-6 against North Texas, UAB has scored 11.8 points per game against top-100 opposition this season.

FAU can be exposed by big rushing plays, but that is not a strong suit for this UAB offense.

Our Action Network projected spread is in line with the market, but the total seems to offer some value. These are two good defenses and UAB’s sputtering offense is stepping up in competition.

The Bet: Under 49.5

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Collin Wilson is 482-404-23 (54.4%) overall betting on college football. You can follow him in our free app.

Stuckey: Can You Trust Either Offense?

UAB’s offense is ugly across the board. However, the Blazers make up for their offensive deficiencies with a stellar defense, led by a ferocious defensive front that can stop the run and get after the quarterback. The Blazers only allow 2.8 yards per carry, which ranks seventh in the country.

I expect FAU to be behind the sticks for most of the game, which means UAB can unleash its relentless pass rush against an Owls line that has struggled to protect the quarterback at times this year.

I think this total is a little inflated because of FAU’s reputation but the Owls have been sneaky good on defense this season. The Owls do play fast but UAB balances that out with their snail-like pace. Give me the Under 50 in a game that should be dominated by both defensive fronts.

The Bet: Under 49.5

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Stuckey is 519-478-29 (52.1%) overall betting on college football. You can follow him in our free app.

Kyle Miller: Defense Should Be the Story

In what will likely be his last game on the sidelines in Boca Raton, Kiffin is looking for his second CUSA Championship. He’ll face the defending champion UAB Blazers on his home field. Everything sets up nicely for a particular bet in this one.

UAB’s defense was excellent last season and they’ve taken a step forward again in 2019.

Kiffin typically has a high-scoring team, but this year’s version of the Owls’ offense hasn’t produced the kind of results you’d expect. While they’re 42nd in points per play, they’re just 68th in yards per play so they’ve been fortunate.

FAU is about average in terms of passing success rate, but they rank 102nd in rushing success rate so it’ll be very difficult to efficiently move the ball against UAB. The Owls are highly explosive, but UAB does a great job of limiting chunk plays for opposing offenses.

UAB runs the ball almost exclusively yet the Blazers rank 122nd in rushing success rate. That’s not a recipe for success and their futility has come to fruition with 117th ranked offense overall by SP+. FAU is 8th in defending rushing success rate so UAB will have to get long running plays to score. I don’t see that happening it all.

To top it all off, both defensive lines rank in the top-15 in DL score and they’re going up against two of the worst offensive lines in the nation. I’m expecting the defensive lines to be in the backfield all day.

The Bet: Under 49.5 or better

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Kyle Miller is 231-198-12 (53.8%) overall betting on college football. You can follow him in our free app.

Cincinnati vs. Memphis

  • Spread: Memphis -9
  • Over/Under: 57.5
  • Time: Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET
  • TV: ABC
  • Location: Memphis, Tenn.

JUMP TO: Big 12 | MAC | Sun Belt | CUSA | AAC | SEC | MWC | ACC | Big Ten

Memphis closed at -14 against Cincinnati in this same stadium last Friday.

Just eight days later, Memphis is only -9 in the AAC Championship Game.

So why has the market shifted so drastically in just a week? Let’s try to diagnose it.


Odds as of Friday afternoon via PointsBet, where Action Network users can access an exclusive promotion to get a 200% deposit match (deposit $50, bet with $150). No strings attached. No rollover required.


Cincinnati vs. Memphis Line Movement

Despite a significantly lower opening number than last week’s edition of this game, most bettors have taken Cincinnati plus the points this go-round. Fifty-nine percent of bets and 55% of money have landed on the Bearcats, who opened +10.5 at the earliest books to market, but are now just +9.5.

As for the total, the 54% of bettors on the over have accounted for 72% of money thus far, but that hasn’t been enough to convince oddsmakers to shift this total from the consensus opener of 57.5. — Danny Donahue

Is Ridder Really an Upgrade?

You could argue that Cincy didn’t really need to win last week as it had already clinched a spot in the AAC title game, but the Bearcats had plenty of motivation to get home-field advantage the AAC Championship and keep their New Year’s Six bowl hopes alive. They played to win.

One possible reason for the drastic line move from last week? Cincinnati benched starting quarterback Desmond Ridder, and coach Luke Fickell has already named Ridder the starter for this week’s rematch. He’d been dealing with a shoulder injury for weeks, and that has to at least be a slight concern despite reports from Cincy.

I actually think the Cincy offense looked more dynamic with Ben Bryant in his first ever start. He can make some throws that Ridder can’t and it showed on a number of third-down completions that helped Cincy keep drives alive.

Assuming Ridder is 100%, I’m not sure it’s much of an upgrade. In his last start against Temple, Ridder turned out one of the worst QB performances of the season, going 9-25 for 62 yards with 0 TD, 3 INT and 3 sacks.

In November against four defenses not as good as Memphis (Temple, Uconn, ECU and USF) — Ridder went 43-90 (47.8%) with 3 TD and 3 INT while averaging less than 110 passing yards per game. — Stuckey

Last Week’s Boxscore Results Favor Memphis

Memphis didn’t cover the closing line last week (the Tigers won by 10) but still gained 6.9 yards per play while holding Cincy to just 5.3.

Memphis stalled out in the red zone a few times which isn’t surprising against a Bearcat defense that ranks in the top 10 in Finishing Drives and top 20 in red zone scoring percentage.

However, I think the Memphis red zone production will benefit from seeing Cincy just one week prior.

This is an extremely efficient Memphis defense that I think can contain Ridder, who has looked lost at times this year, especially on the road in front of a vulnerable offensive line.

college-football-bye-week-betting-notes-trends-coaches-2019
Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Mike Norvell

The Cincy defense is no doubt a very solid unit but I see no reason why Memphis can’t once again move the ball with ease again this week at home.

I think Ridder may end up being a slight downgrade overall for the offense, especially if he’s not 100% healthy. And whenever Ridder has faced top-tier defenses throughout his career, the results have been bleak. As long as Memphis can have a little more success in the red zone, the Tigers should win this game by double digits.

Don’t forget that Cincy is one of the most penalized teams in the nation, which hurts even more on the road — and the Tigers have one of the best special teams units in college football.

I like the Tigers on the cheap here at anything under 10 in a game I make Memphis -12.5. I’ll wait to see where this line goes before investing as it’s currently sitting in a dead zone of 8-9. — Stuckey

Stuckey is 519-478-29 (52.1%) overall betting on college football. You can follow him in our free app.

Cincinnati, Very Lucky

I detailed it more in our favorite bets piece but Cincinnati leads the country in pretty much every “luck” metric you can think of. Yet the public is backing Cincy anyway.

The Bearcats have:

  • Four wins in games they were outgained (most in FBS)
  • Three wins with a worse success rate than their opponent (most in FBS)
  • 1.7 second order wins (fifth most in FBS)

If Cincy had dropped one or two of the games it should have earlier this season, we’d be treating this game a little differently. I’ll lay anyway under 10. — Steve Petrella

Pick: Memphis -9.5 or better

Collin Wilson: Why I Like the Under

Last week’s matchup was defensive minded despite the teams combining for 58 points. Memphis and Cincinnati had for four total turnovers and 12 drives of five plays or fewer than scored no points.

A 94-yard kickoff return by Memphis to start the game would be the deciding factor in the total that went over by half a point, while the Tigers never covered the closing number the entire game.

The Memphis defense made adjustments at halftime, pressuring Cincinnati quarterback Ben Bryant into multiple turnovers.

Memphis dominated the Cincinnati offense in the second half, and a Memphis defensive passing success rank of 25th will keep any Cincinnati scoring drives lengthy.

Cincy’s bread and butter has been its defense all year.

The Bearcats rank top 10 in opponent’s finishing drives on defense and have been among the best defenses in the Group of Five. That red zone defense is why they kept Memphis to only 27 offensive points, and only 20 points on six trips inside the Cincinnati 40-yard line.

The point spread is spot on according to the Action Network projections along with our total of 57.

But there are many factors pointing to taking an under in this spot. Both defenses should be better prepared after seeing each other in Week 14, while Ridder’s return at quarterback would keep Cincinnati from any explosive passing plays. He hasn’t topped 200 yards passing since September. — Collin Wilson

Pick: Under 57.5 or better [In New Jersey? Bet now at PointsBet]

Collin Wilson is 482-404-23 (54.4%) overall betting on college football. You can follow him in our free app.

LSU vs. Georgia

  • Odds: LSU -7
  • Over/Under: 55.5
  • Time: Saturday, 4 p.m. ET
  • TV: CBS
  • Location: Atlanta, Ga.

JUMP TO: Big 12 | MAC | Sun Belt | CUSA | AAC | SEC | MWC | ACC | Big Ten

Could there be too more opposite teams from a matchup perspective in this year’s SEC Championship Game?

Nope. And that’s what could make it so fun.

The high-flying LSU offense led by Heisman favorite Joe Burrow takes on Georgia and its stingy defense at Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta on Saturday afternoon.

LSU seems like a lock for the College Football Playoff no matter the result Saturday, while Georgia will likely clinch a spot with a victory.


Odds as of Friday afternoon and via DraftKings, where Action Network users get a risk-free bet up to $200 and a deposit bonus of up to $500.


LSU vs. Georgia Line Movement

There hasn’t been a whole lot of movement on this spread since it opened, at least for books that waited out the earliest release.

By Sunday evening, the consensus spread was up to -7, and while it’s seen both sides of that number since, they lasted only briefly. Even giving a full touchdown, LSU has been the overwhelmingly more popular bet, drawing 72% of bets and 73% of money. — Danny Donahue

Collin Wilson: The Two Best Units in College Football?

The focus of this game should be on two of the best units in college football — LSU’s offense and Georgia’s defense.

The Bulldogs will pose the stiffest test to LSU’s offense this entire season. Georgia will limit the Tigers in rushing success and pass explosiveness with multiple looks to confuse Burrow.

The Bulldogs are also first in the nation in defensive finishing drives, allowing just 3.55 points to opponents visiting the red zone. Georgia is top 10 in opponent third-down conversions, passing touchdowns and yards per play. — Collin Wilson

The Other Side of the Ball Is Where LSU-Georgia Will Be Decided

While one side of the ball is strength on strength, the other is weakness on weakness, at least relatively.

But LSU has regrouped on defense, holding Arkansas, Texas A&M and Ole Miss to just 13 total points in the first half.

The Tigers are top 20 in success rate defensively, complimented by a rank of 14th in defensive havoc and 19th in opponent red zone scoring.

The renewed interest in defense could be an issue for a Georgia offense that may be without its top skill position players. — Collin Wilson

Can Georgia Do Anything on Offense? 

Wide receiver Lawrence Cager, Georgia’s leader in receptions and yards, is doubtful for the remainder of the season after surgery. George Pickens, the Bulldogs second leading receiver, is suspended for the first half after an unsportsmanlike penalty for fighting with Georgia Tech.

To compound those issues, Fromm’s favorite target out of the backfield has an ailing shoulder injury. D’Andre Swift suffered injury and was described by Kirby Smart as ‘banged up’ heading into the SEC Championship Game.

georgia vs. auburn odds-betting pick-college football-november 16-2019
Matt Stamey-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Jake Fromm and D’Andre Swift

Georgia has been methodically slow in its offensive game plans this season. Conservative play calling and lack of explosiveness are the primary reasons the Bulldogs consistently find themselves in passing downs.

Georgia’s lack of targets combined with LSU’s recent form on defense will have my dollar on a first half under.

This will be a chess match between LSU passing game coordinator Joe Brady and Kirby Smart. It may take several drives before Joe Burrow and Clyde Edwards-Helaire find an offensive rhythm. In marquee games against Alabama, Auburn, Florida and Texas, the Bengal Tigers scored a combined 20 points in the first quarter.

Kirby Smart has also been money in second halves since his arrival in Athens and the 2019 season has been no different. The only Division I team to score more points than Georgia in the third quarter this season is Murray State. — Collin Wilson

Collin’s Pick: First Half Under 27.5 [In NJ, Pennsylvania, Indiana or West Virginia? Bet now at DraftKings]

Collin Wilson is 482-404-23 (54.4%) overall betting on college football. You can follow him in our free app.

Stuckey: Why I Like the Under

I agree with Collin here with the under, which I split between the game and first half.

This Georgia defense is just so solid in every facet and arguably the most efficient in all of college football. The Dawgs make you earn every yard and don’t allow any explosive plays.

They also lock down in the red zone. One of the criticisms of the defense is they don’t create enough takeaways or havoc, which is fair, but could also work in favor of the under. The Bulldogs have one of the best secondaries in college football and are capable of matching up with LSU’s electric passing attack.

Speaking of lack of big plays, the Georgia offense has been unspectacular all season long, as the Dawgs are completely lacking explosiveness on that side of the ball. And while this LSU defense has shown some holes this season, it’s mainly come against explosive offenses.

I think the Tigers also can take a lot from their dominant defensive effort last week against Texas A&M and carry that momentum into Atlanta.

The Georgia offense has struggled even more when Cager isn’t on the field and the star wideout will not play this week. With him out of the mix and George Pickens suspended for the first half, Georgia will be without its top two receivers on the season.

That leaves Dominick Blaylock as the receiver with the most receiving yards on the season and he hasn’t even reached 300 yet. LSU can focus on taking away the run here without having to worry too much about Georgia hitting anything big downfield.

I think you see Georgia go to an even heavier ball control offense and play even slower than normal in order to keep the LSU offense off of the field.

In regards to the side, I think there is a tad bit of value on Georgia at +7 or more in a game they’ve been waiting for since last season’s SEC championship loss.

I will likely only play it pregame small as I will be looking to add to Georgia on the second half line when Pickens returns and Kirby can make some halftime adjustments.

Regardless, I think the best play is the under here. This Georgia defense is real and can provide a test for LSU’s offense while the LSU defense is more than capable of slowing down a very pedestrian and undermanned Georgia offense that has struggled to get to 24 points against any defense with a pulse this season. Stuckey

 Stuckey’s Picks: 1H Under 27.5, Full Game Under 55.5 [In NJ, Pennsylvania, Indiana or West Virginia? Bet now at DraftKings]

Stuckey is 519-478-29 (52.1%) overall betting on college football. You can follow him in our free app.

Boise State vs. Hawaii

  • Spread: Boise State -13.5
  • Over/Under: 64.5
  • Time: Saturday, 4 p.m. ET
  • TV: ESPN
  • Location: Albertsons Stadium, Boise, Idaho

JUMP TO: Big 12 | MAC | Sun Belt | CUSA | AAC | SEC | MWC | ACC | Big Ten

The Rainbow Warriors on the Blue Turf. What more can you ask for from a conference title game?

Hawaii and Boise both can score in bunches, so its no surprise that the Mountain West Championship is tied with the Big 12 Title Game for the weekend’s highest total at 64.5 points.

The first time these two teams met, they combined for 96 points in a 59-37 win for the Broncos. Will we see a similar script with everything at stake on Saturday?

Boise State vs. Hawaii Line Movement

Opening spreads for this game varied a bit with timing, as the earliest books were up around Boise -17. Later ones joined the market when the line had already dropped to -14.5, and that movement has continued to drop below two touchdowns. All of that has come with only 23% of bettors taking Hawaii, though their bets have generated 37% of actual money.

Tied with the Pac-12 Championship as the highest total on the slate, this one has had no trouble drawing bets to the over. But even 78% of bettors accounting for 76% of money making that bet, most books have yet to make a significant move, going from 64 to 64.5. — Danny Donahue

Collin Wilson: Can Hawaii Avoid Turning the Ball Over?

Hawaii will need to travel to Boise for a second time this season. The Rainbow Warriors fell, 59-37, in the first game. That game was all Boise from the start, as the Broncos took a 31-14 lead into the locker room. The Broncos benefited from explosive touchdown passes from Hank Backmeier, Chase Cord and Jaylon Henderson. All three quarterbacks are expected to be available on Saturday.

While that box score looks ugly, Hawaii did lose three fumbles in its own territory and all three drops turned into touchdowns for the Broncos. If Nick Rolovich can get a clean box score from his roster, Hawaii can keep up in a shootout. The Rainbow Warriors have the 124th-worst turnover margin in the country, so they make life miserable for a defense that ranks 96th in finishing drive.

Our projected Over/Under for this game is 59, so there could be some value on the Under, but that’s a tough recommendation to make after these two squads combined for 96 points.

Hawaii’s offense sputtered for 35 total points in efforts against UNLV and San Diego State, but a 52-point output against Army removes any questions about this offense’s ability to light up the scoreboard.

If the Rainbow Warriors can avoid turnovers, I think they can keep this game within the number and will look to back them at +14 or better.

[In New Jersey? Bet now at PointsBet]

Collin Wilson is 482-404-23 (54.4%) overall betting on college football. You can follow him in our free app.

Stuckey: A Game for Live Betting

I am not interested in any pre-game bets on this game at the current numbers, but there are some live opportunities I am looking for.

I don’t see how a very poor Hawaii defense can slow down this Boise State offense for 60 minutes, but the Rainbow Warriors can move the ball, so if Hawaii gets off to an early lead or is ahead at the half, I may try to get in on Boise.

The Broncos have excelled at coming back in games all season and I don’t see any reason why they couldn’t do it against a poor defense at home.

If that situation never presents itself, this is a pure pass for me as the side and total are spot one.

Stuckey is 519-478-29 (52.1%) overall betting on college football. You can follow him in our free app.

Clemson vs. Virginia 

  • Spread: Clemson -28.5
  • Over/Under: 57.5
  • Time: Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET
  • TV: ABC
  • Location: Charlotte, N.C.

JUMP TO: Big 12 | MAC | Sun Belt | CUSA | AAC | SEC | MWC | ACC | Big Ten

Had North Carolina converted on a potential game-winning 2-point conversion against Clemson on Sept, 28, the complexion of this college football season would be drastically different. The Tar Heels came up short on that attempt and it served as a wake-up call for the Tigers.

Since its 21-20 win over UNC, Clemson has blown through its opposition. The Tigers have won seven games in a row by at least 31 points. All that stands in between Clemson and another trip to the College Football Playoff is a game against Virginia.

The Cavaliers got to this point thanks to some heroic play from their dual-threat quarterback, Bryce Perkins. The Cavs will go as far as Perkins can take them, but the odds suggest that won’t be much further than an impressive trip to the ACC Finale.

The Tigers are no strangers to being huge favorites, but is this line too high? Let’s discuss:

Clemson vs. Virginia Line Movement

Even with a four-touchdown spread, most bettors have been happy to lay the points with Clemson. As of Friday afternoon, 64% of the tickets have come in on the favorites and that has pushed the line to -28.5.

The over has been the most popular bet in this game, drawing 86% of bettors. And with those bets making up nearly the same percentage of money (81%), this number has risen from 53. To 57.5. — Danny Donahue


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Collin Wilson: Clemson Can Name the Score

Clemson will be playing with a chip on its shoulder. Head coach Dabo Swinney criticized the “moonwalking media” for the way it treated the Tigers. Paul Finebaum, the famous radio host called Swinney “the most annoying winner in all of sports.”

Virginia got to the ACC Championship by breaking a 15-year drought against rival Virginia Tech. The prize for winning that game, outside of getting the proverbial monkey of its back, is a date with the reigning national champions.

There’s no secret to how the Cavaliers operate when they have the ball. They rely on quarterback Bryce Perkins for every designed pass and rush. Virginia will go as far as Perkins can take them. Unfortunately, Clemson’s defense grades out as one of the best units in the nation. The Tigers rank first in opponent passing success, second in sack rate, sixth in havoc, 11th in passing explosiveness and 12th in rushing explosiveness.

Although the Tigers have not seen Perkins this season, Clemson did shut down dual-threat quarterbacks Kellen Mond and Michael Cunningham this season. I expect Clemson to get to Perkins all night, as Virginia’s offensive line that is 105th in sack rate.

Trevor Lawrence and his cast of wide receivers should hammer Virginia’s injury-depleted secondary. Cornerback Bryce Hall was lost for the season in mid-October and that set off a scramble of players rotating in the secondary.

Virginia is 74th in opponent pass explosiveness, which should lead to a lot of big plays from Lawrence. Look for Clemson to leave no room on the table for the media to question the 2019 version of the Tigers.

The Bet: Clemson -28 or better

[In New Jersey? Bet now at PointsBet]

Collin Wilson is 482-404-23 (54.4%) overall betting on college football. You can follow him in our free app.

Stuckey: Do We Know How Good Clemson Is?

Since 2005, only two conference championships have closed with a line above -28. In 2011, Oregon didn’t cover against UCLA, but Florida State did beat the number against Duke in 2013.

It’s hard to gauge the true level of the 2019 Clemson Tigers. They have played an extremely soft schedule and were favored by at least 24 points in all but one game. The outlier was a home game against Texas A&M and the Tigers were still 16.5-point favorites. The average spread in Clemson’s 12 games this season was just under 32 points. That is close to what we’re dealing with here in the ACC finale.

Even with its soft schedule, its hard to argue that Clemson isn’t one of the best two or three teams in the country. The coaching and talent are there and the Tigers have been blowing out their competition all season long. Clemson did survive a scare against UNC in September, but since then have won seven games by an average of 40-plus points. The closest game Clemson has played since that one-point win over the Tar Heels was a 31-point win over Florida State.

As for this specific matchup, I think the number is a tad high. I make the line Clemson -24, but I’m in no rush to back the Cavs here. It’s hard to see how they will stop Lawrence. The Tigers should own the line of scrimmage, which will lead to success for running back Travis Etienne.

Clemson defensive coordinator Will Venables has done a terrific job re-loading his defense and I expect him to be able to come up with a plan to take away Perkins’ running ability. Without the threat of Perkins gaining chunks on the ground, it’ll be hard for Virginia to consistently move the ball.

The only on-paper edge the Wahoos do have is on special teams. Clemson has struggled with the third phase all season, while Virginia leads the nation in kick return average.

Without some fluke turnovers and/or some magic from Perkins, I’m not sure how Virginia keeps this close. That said, I don’t see much value backing Clemson at this number.

At 55.5, I am looking to the Under. Virginia plays at a slow pace, even though I’m not sure how the Cavaliers will be able to put together long drives to keep Lawrence and the Clemson offense off the field. And if Clemson races out to a big lead, I expect Dabo to keep things vanilla as he has bigger fish to fry in the college football playoff.

The Pick: Under 55.5 or better

[In New Jersey? Bet now at PointsBet]

Stuckey is 519-478-29 (52.1%) overall betting on college football. You can follow him in our free app.

Ohio State vs. Wisconsin

  • Spread: Ohio State -15.5
  • Over/Under: 57
  • Time: Saturday, 8 p.m. ET
  • TV: FOX
  • Location: Indianapolis, Ind.

JUMP TO: Big 12 | MAC | Sun Belt | CUSA | AAC | SEC | MWC | ACC | Big Ten

Ohio State has been historically good this season by almost any measure.

But have the Buckeyes shown some cracks in the last few weeks against Penn State and Michigan?

Saturday, Ohio State will look to prove that’s not the case when it takes on Wisconsin as a big favorite in the Big Ten Championship Game.

These two teams met in the wind and rain in October, but will now take to the fast track of Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. Ohio State won the first meeting 38-7 and outgained Wisconsin 431-191.


Odds as of Friday night and via DraftKings, where Action Network users get a risk-free bet up to $200 and a deposit bonus of up to $500.


Ohio State vs. Wisconsin Line Movement

This is one of the biggest spreads on the conference championship slate, but that hasn’t stopped bettors from laying the points with the Buckeyes.

In fact, getting 81% of bets in the second-most heavily bet game of the weekend, Ohio State could draw more bet tickets than any other team Saturday. The line hasn’t budged a whole lot since opening, though, still sitting in the 16/16.5-point range.

Ohio State games are also generally common landing spots for “over” bets, too, and this one is no different. Of the 181 Ohio State games in our database, 169 have drawn at least 51% of total bets to the over, and this game will bring that number up to 170.

Seventy-three percent of bets accounting for 80% of money have hit the over, sending the total up from 52.5 to 56.

Collin Wilson: Will Wisconsin Try to Throw More?

ohio state vs. wisconsin-stats-betting

Like a few other conference title games on Saturday, Wisconsin-Ohio State will be a rematch of a blowout from earlier in the season — Buckeyes 38, Badgers 7.

So the big questions for Wisconsin: What went wrong, and how do we fix it?

The Badgers reached Buckeyes territory just three times, and once came from a blocked punt. Those other two times Wisconsin crossed midfield, Chase Young strip-sacked Jack Coan.

That’s because the usual ground prowess of Wisconsin just wasn’t there against a loaded Ohio State front seven. The Badgers got just 83 yards on 34 carries, and Jonathan Taylor has just 93 rushing yards in two career games vs. the Buckeyes.

So in the Big Ten Championship, something has to change. And I think Wisconsin will have to throw the ball more.

In the first meeting, Ohio State and Wisconsin combined for 84 rushing and 39 passing attempts, as the Badgers threw just 17 times. Since then, the Badgers have eclipsed at least 20 passing attempts in three games.

Last week, Coan went 15 of 22 for 280 yards against Minnesota, his best performance in a Big Ten game this year.

Our projection makes this total 65. Wisconsin must hit a few deep shots to keep a great front seven of the Buckeyes honest, and Ohio State recently gave up 27 to Michigan and 21 to Rutgers, so it’s not unreasonable that Wisconsin can get its share of points on the board. — Collin Wilson

Pick: Over 56 [In NJ, Pennsylvania, Indiana or West Virginia? Bet now at DraftKings]

Collin Wilson is 482-404-23 (54.4%) overall betting on college football. You can follow him in our free app.

Kyle Miller: Happy to Lay Points with Ohio State

I was on the Buckeyes laying two touchdowns earlier this season in a 38-7 win over Wisconsin, and I don’t see much of anything that’s changed since then.

Wisconsin rebounded nicely from their midseason swoon to beat Minnesota convincingly last week and clinch the Big Ten West. While the Badgers are very efficient on defense against the pass and the run, they allow an ungodly amount of explosive runs plays because they’re so aggressive. That hurt them in the first matchup when Ohio State averaged six yards per carry and broke off several long runs.

With Fields banged up a bit, I’m expected Ohio State to lean more on JK Dobbins. That could be an issue for Wisconsin because he’s in a serious groove right now. While the threat of Fields running might not be there, Dobbins will still be able to hit a few big runs.

Wisconsin’s offense has been solid all season and I think a lot of the credit goes to Coan. With their first quarterback since Russell Wilson who can at least throw a football 20 yards, the Badgers are facing defenses that are at least a little concerned about the play-action pass.

Wisconsin still isn’t explosive, though, so it relies on slowly moving the ball down the field, hoping the opposition overcommits once so Taylor can break off a big run. Ohio State has the best defense in the nation and won’t make any mistakes against the Badgers. Wisconsin will have to earn in on Saturday night.

I make this spread Ohio State -17 so I pounced on the Buckeyes at -15.5 on Sunday when lines came out. I would still suggest backing Ohio State up to -17 because I don’t think anything has changed since their last matchup with Wisconsin.

Sure, they aren’t one their home field, but their speed will prevail with no weather to slow them down on the fast Lucas Oil turf.

Pick: Ohio State -15.5 [In NJ, Pennsylvania, Indiana or West Virginia? Bet now at DraftKings]

Kyle Miller is 231-198-12 (53.8%) overall betting on college football. You can follow him in our free app.

Stuckey: Looking for a Specific Number

This is an interesting line considering that Ohio State closed a smaller favorite at home when these two teams met earlier this season in Columbus. I thought that line was about right and after subsequent adjustments, I still think this line should only be about a tad under 14 on a neutral field.

That means I don’t see any value in the Buckeyes and some slight value in the Badgers.

Now, am I in a rush to fade this Ohio State team indoors on a track that should highlight their speed advantage even more than the first meeting? Not really but the story changes slightly at +17 or +17.5. If the line never reaches that, this is an easy pass for me.

The two potential areas of weakness for Ohio State are allowing explosive runs and giving up pressure, which as you can see from the chart above are really the only red blocks for the Buckeyes.

You’d think the first would be a concern against Jonathan Taylor, but the Wisconsin actually hasn’t had that explosive of a rushing game this year and star back only rushed for 52 yards on 20 carries in the first meeting. Without much worry about the Badger aerial attack, the Ohio State defense can key on Taylor and take him out of the game.

ohio state vs. penn state-odds-spread-line-over under-week 13-college football
Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Justin Fields

The pressure concern could actually be a factor on Saturday in Indianapolis as the blitz heavy Jim Leonard defense can get pressure with its solid linebacking corps leading a defense that ranks third nationally in sack rate.

We even saw the Badgers get some real pressure a little bit in the first meeting. That could become even more of a concern for Ohio State if Justin Fields isn’t fully healthy because of a knee injury he suffered last week.

If he’s at all limited mobility wise, the Wisconsin defense could create some real havoc on passing downs against the Ohio State signal caller who tends to hold the ball too long at times.

It’s just hard to imagine things going much differently for Wisconsin this time around with its speed disadvantage on offense and in the secondary, in addition to its lack of explosiveness on offense. Ohio State even has a substantial edge in special teams. I hope this number doesn’t creep out to 17.5 so I don’t even have to wrestle with the thought of playing the Badgers. — Stuckey

Stuckey is 519-478-29 (52.1%) overall betting on college football. You can follow him in our free app.