College Football Betting Picks: Wilson’s 4 Favorite Bets for Conference Championship Weekend
Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: J.K. Dobbins
- Collin Wilson gives out his favorite college football betting picks for conference championship weekend, including Baylor vs. Oklahoma and Georgia vs. LSU.
- The betting market has made pretty big adjustments from a few weeks ago on the Big 12, SEC and Big Ten title games in particular.
In the history of college football conference championship games, 43 have been rematches from earlier that season. More than half, 24 to be precise, ended with the initial loser capturing the conference title.
Will we see any revenge in the Mountain West, Big Ten, Sun Belt, AAC or Big 12 on Saturday?
This article will focus on my favorite bets for the conference championship weekend on lines still available as of Friday morning.
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College Football Betting Picks, Championship Weekend
Odds as of Saturday morning and 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.
Our Projected Odds
Baylor vs. Oklahoma
- Spread: Oklahoma -9
- Over/Under: 65.5
- Time: 12 p.m. ET
- TV: ABC
The Week 12 meeting between these two had a bit of everything in Waco, as Baylor raced to a 28-3 lead before losing 34-31.
Supporters backing Baylor will reference the first half havoc from fumble recoveries to interceptions of Jalen Hurts. Sooners bettors will point to the turnover margin and domination of the Bears’ defense in the second half as reasons to back Oklahoma this time around.
But I really want to focus on Oklahoma’s first four offensive possessions.
After an 8-play drive resulting in a field goal, the Sooners went on to punt, fumble and throw an interception in their next three drives leading to a 25-point deficit. In that time frame, Baylor ran just 8 offensive plays and scored three touchdowns. The Bears starting field position on offense was the Baylor 46, Oklahoma 27 and 9 yard line.
Turnovers are somewhat unpredictable, so other than that quick spurt by Baylor that didn’t require much sustained offensive efficiency, the Sooners dominated this game.
And despite the turnovers and Oklahoma’s 525 to 307 total yard edge from the first meeting, this point spread moved in Baylor’s favor by almost four points.
Plus, Oklahoma is top 20 in defensive havoc with a Baylor rank of 90th in havoc allowed. It should be the Sooners defense causing chaos this time around.
Oklahoma had eight drives go over eight plays, with six possessions ending in points. The Sooners had a ridiculous success rate of 71% in the third quarter compared to an equally astounding low of 25% from Baylor.
The formula is simple — when Oklahoma is not forfeiting possessions to turnovers they are a College Football Playoff-worthy team.
The Sooners will also have wide receiver CeeDee Lamb, one of the most dangerous offensive targets in college football, after he missed the first meeting.
Look for Oklahoma to show improved ball protection as displayed in the Oklahoma State game. Baylor will need a similar turnover sequence and better efficiency in the second half to beat the Sooners.
Both are highly unlikely as Oklahoma uses this game to springboard into the playoff.
Pick: Oklahoma -9 [In New Jersey? Bet now at PointsBet]
Georgia vs. LSU
- Spread: LSU -7
- Over/Under: 56
- Time: 3:30 p.m. ET
- TV: CBS
This game will feature a head-to-head of maybe the two of the best units in college football — the LSU offense vs. the Georgia defense.
Georgia will limit the Tigers in rushing success and pass explosiveness with multiple looks to confuse Heisman favorite Joe Burrow. The Bulldogs are 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. LSU may not even see a better defense in the College Football Playoff.
The other side of the ball is where the game will be decided. 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.
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.
George Pickens just got ejected and will miss the first half of the SEC Championship as a result.
Here’s why: pic.twitter.com/SCi0fO8gtT
— Connor O'Gara (@cjogara) November 30, 2019
To compound those issues, Fromm’s favorite target out of the backfield has an ailing shoulder injury. D’Andre Swift was described by Kirby Smart as “banged up” heading into the SEC Championship Game.
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.
Kirby Smart has been money in second halves since his arrival in Athens and the 2019 season has been no different. The only team to score more points than Georgia in the third quarter this season is Murray State.
Georgia’s lack of targets combined with LSU’s recent form on defense have led me to betting the first half under.
This will be a chess match between LSU passing game coordinator Joe Brady and 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.
Picks: Under 27.5 First Half, Georgia +7 [In New Jersey? Bet now at PointsBet]
Wisconsin vs. Ohio State
- Spread: Ohio State -16.5
- Over/Under: 56.5
- Time: 8 p.m. ET
- TV: FOX
Like the Mountain West, the Big Ten will feature a rematch of a blowout. The two biggest questions:
What went wrong for Wisconsin?
What can Paul Chryst do differently?
The Badgers found themselves in the Buckeyes territory on three separate occasions. The first resulted in a punt block and recovery that led to a Buckeyes touchdown. The remaining two trips Wisconsin crossed into Ohio State territory, Chase Young strip-sacked Jack Coan.
Wisconsin’s offensive line ranks 53rd in sack rate, as Young and his peers should have success getting pressure on Coan once again. The rush and passing success rate metrics have not changed, which should limit Wisconsin’s trips to the red zone.
Wisconsin is second in defensive havoc, which resulted in 5 sacks and 6 tackles for loss in the first meeting. That kind of pressure is expected once again on Justin Fields who is experiencing a different lower body injury each week.
Justin Fields said his knee hurts right now, but he'll be in the training room all week to get ready. "In my mind, I'm playing on Saturday, I don't care about how bad it hurts."
— Ari Wasserman (@AriWasserman) December 3, 2019
Fields’ injury may lead to more explosive runs by JK Dobbins who tagged the Badgers for 163 yards on just 20 carries. Those explosive runs should keep the points steady for Ohio State.
Another element of possible change in game plan for both teams is the run-pass ratio.
The initial meeting between the two teams had twice as many rushing attempts than pass. Wisconsin accounted for just 17 passing attempts, but since then the Badgers have eclipsed at least 20 passing attempts in three games. In the highlights above, quarterback Jack Coan is throwing explosive passes on first and 10.
Wisconsin does not generally throw on standard downs, but Coan’s explosiveness may be the game plan against Ohio State.
Our projection for the total sits at 65 in a game where Wisconsin must hit a few deep shots in standard downs to keep a great front seven off Jack Coan. Ohio State recently gave up 65 points to Rutgers, Michigan and Penn State.
It would not be a surprise me to see Chryst opt for an aerial attack on the fast track of Lucas Oil Stadium.
Pick: Over 56.5 [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.