College Football Picks Today | Bets for NCAAF Conference Championships on Friday, Dec. 1

College Football Picks Today | Bets for NCAAF Conference Championships on Friday, Dec. 1 article feature image

Design by Cyriel Klitsie/Action Network.

  • The Friday of Conference Championship Weekend is here.
  • Tonight's college football slate features two games: Oregon vs. Washington in the Pac-12 Championship and New Mexico State vs. Liberty in the CUSA Championship.
  • Check out our college football picks for Friday's NCAAF conference championship games below.

College Football Conference Championship Picks

GameTime (ET)Pick
7 p.m.
8 p.m.
Specific betting recommendations come from the sportsbook offering preferred odds as of writing. Always shop for the best price using our NCAAF Odds page, which automatically surfaces the best lines for every game.

One of the best weekends of the year is finally here. It's time for Conference Championship Weekend.

Before we get to Saturday's eight-game championship slate, we have two matchups to kick off the action on Friday: Liberty vs. New Mexico State in the Conference USA Championship and Oregon vs. Washington in the Pac-12 Championship.

Action Network's Collin Wilson and Brett Pund broke down both Friday night conference championship games and came through with three picks for the two games.

So, let's dive into their analysis and picks for Friday night's college football conference championship matchups below.

Liberty vs. New Mexico State

Friday, Dec. 1
7 p.m. ET
CBS Sports Network
Quinton Cooley Over 90.5 Rushing Yards

By Brett Pund

Two Conference USA newcomers meet Friday night in Lynchburg, Virginia, as Liberty and New Mexico State battle for the CUSA Championship.

The Flames wrapped up a perfect regular season last week and enter this matchup after cracking the College Football Playoff rankings for the first time in school history.

Meanwhile, the Aggies overcame a rocky start by rattling off eight straight victories to book their spot in a conference title game for the first time since 1960.

This contest has plenty of storylines and star power, so let’s dive into the game to find the best betting value.

Let's dive into the New Mexico State vs. Liberty odds and find a prediction for Friday night's Conference USA Championship.

New Mexico State Aggies

After losses to Hawaii and UMass in the opening five games, nobody expected New Mexico State to play in this game.

However, veteran coach Jerry Kill has his team surging and playing for a conference title.

The ending of this run has been most impressive.

The Aggies went on the road to defeat preseason Conference USA favorite Western Kentucky. They followed that up with a dominant 21-point victory at Auburn in a game that was never close. They capped it off by beating now two-loss Jacksonville State on a walk-off field goal.

With a top-20 scoring defense nationally and a veteran playmaker at quarterback in Diego Pavia, Kill’s squad is one of the best in the Group of Five.

Phone With the Action App Open
The must-have app for college football bettors
The best NCAAF betting scoreboard
Free picks from proven pros
Live win probabilities for your bets

Liberty Flames

Jamey Chadwell's first season in Lynchburg has been a memorable one.

The Flames have already set the school record for wins (12) and home wins (seven) in a season. A triumph on Friday night would make them only the third Conference USA team ever to win 13 in a year.

One of the keys to the strong season has been the play of quarterback Kaidon Salter. He's one of just five FBS signal-callers responsible for 40-plus touchdowns this season.

The other part of this potent offense is the rushing attack, which leads the nation in yards per game (295.4).

Running back Quinton Cooley leads the way with 1,251 yards, while Salter is just 101 yards away from joining him as Liberty’s first pair of 1,000-yard rushers in the same season.

Stay up to date on the latest Hard Rock Bet promo code!

New Mexico State vs Liberty

Betting Pick & Prediction

The key to this game will be which team can win in the trenches.

I expect both to succeed, which keeps me away from a side, and I'd rather avoid betting a high total between two teams with slow tempos.

This leads me to the player props market, where I like Cooley to fly over his rushing total of 90.5 rushing yards at Caesars.

On the season, New Mexico State ranks 78th nationally in Defensive Line Yards and 90th in Rush Success Rate allowed. That bodes poorly against a Liberty offense that ranks in the top five in both metrics.

Looking over the last four weeks, the Aggies’ defense is in the bottom 10 among Group of 5 programs in Defensive Stuff Rate and Defensive Line Yards.

Cooley has gone over this total in seven of 12 games this season, which includes the first matchup, where he eclipsed the century mark with 106 yards.

It's clear that NMSU is much better at defending the pass, so I trust Chadwell to attack its weakness on the ground with plenty of Cooley.

Plus, there should be plenty of opportunities for the running back to chew up yards and time late to seal the victory for a big favorite at home.

Pick: Quinton Cooley Over 90.5 Rushing Yards (Play to 97.5)

Sign up using our Caesars Sportsbook promo code to make a New Mexico State vs. Liberty wager.

Oregon vs. Washington

Friday, Dec. 1
8 p.m. ET
Under 66 · Nix Rushing TD

By Collin Wilson

The final game in the current iteration of the Pac-12 will take place in Las Vegas, as Oregon and Washington hit the field with a spot in the College Football Playoff on the line.

A loss from Ohio State last week and a subsequent loss by a top-10 team in the SEC Championship all but guarantees that the winner of this game will move on to play in the national semifinals.

These two teams met in Week 7, when the Huskies won by a field goal in Husky Stadium.

The game was defined by one critical statistic: Oregon did not convert a single fourth down in three attempts. Head coach Dan Lanning did not regret any of the attempts, insisting the Ducks offense was built for an aggressive style of football.

A deeper dive into the box score presents better evidence for Oregon, which recorded more methodical drives and available yards.

Since Week 7, Oregon has gone on to beat every Pac-12 opponent by double digits. The opposite can be said for head coach Kalen DeBoer, winner of five straight games by 10 points or less.

With the market steaming in Oregon's direction, the time has come for the Pac-12 to return to the College Football Playoff.

Oregon Ducks

The Oregon offense has blazed a trail through conference play, ranking as the top overall team in terms of Success Rate.

Oregon ranks third in offensive momentum killer, a statistic that integrates fumbles, interceptions, sacks, 10-yard penalties and fourth-down turnovers. Only Georgia and Michigan have had better offensive momentum numbers in more than 800 snaps on the season.

The offense is led by Heisman favorite Bo Nix, who has thrown for 37 touchdowns on the season with just two interceptions.

Nix has an immaculate sheet when looking at mistakes, posting three turnover-worthy plays in 425 dropbacks on the season.

The electricity of the offense comes from running back Bucky Irving, wideout Troy Franklin and slot Tez Johnson.

Irving averages a whopping four yards after contact, generating 61 missed tackles on the season. Meanwhile, Franklin and Johnson might be the most electric duo in the country, as each averages at least 3.3 yards per route run.

The Ducks defense was expected to improve during the transition from Mario Cristobal to Lanning, the former Georgia defensive coordinator.

The nickel unit has been stellar stopping inside and outsize zone run concepts from opponents while maintaining a rank in the top 20 in coverage grading, per PFF.

Brandon Dorlus has been a terror at the edge position, generating 42 pressures. The secondary has been above the national average in Success Rate and explosives allowed in Cover 1 and quarters coverage.

Washington Huskies

The point spread in the Pac-12 Championship game is baffling considering Washington is undefeated and beat the Ducks earlier this season. The truth lies in the post-game win expectancy, as the Huskies will enter the offseason with the third-highest second-order win total — one that indicates a true record of 10-2.

Games against Arizona, Arizona State and Oregon all show that Washington came out on the lucky end of the scoreboard.

Despite the analytics, this is still an offense that can cook with quarterback Michael Penix Jr. at the helm.

The Huskies are a heavy pass team, ranking sixth in Success Rate and top-20 in Quality Drives. Penix ended the regular season with 32 touchdowns and eight interceptions.

However, mistakes continued to pile up in the games following the matchup against the Ducks, concluding the season with three turnover-worthy plays against Washington State. There are rumors that Penix has suffered an injury, as the Cougars telegraphed every offensive play run by the Huskies.

On the other side, problems continue to persist for defensive coordinator Chuck Morrell.

The 2-4-5 defense is one of the nation's worst against the run, ranking 129th in Success Rate. Washington has not controlled the line of scrimmage against any competition, ranking near dead last in both Line Yards and Stuff Rate.

The Huskies' most extreme struggles come against inside zone and man run concepts from opponents.

Oregon vs Washington

Betting Pick & Prediction

The market has seen nothing but wagers on Oregon, as early investors have had no issues with the large point spread.

Our Action Network betting power ratings indicate the game should be closer to a touchdown, begging the question if the line shows value on the Washington side.

In fact, the Huskies did average more overall yards per play in their initial meeting.

Fourth downs and Finishing Drives killed the Ducks, who are expected to implement an aggressive offensive attack.

If there's a coverage look that can keep Penix at a more normal Success Rate, it's the Ducks' usage of Cover 1. The Oregon defense recorded just a single sack and no quarterback hurries in the initial meeting, allowing Washington to record three explosive drives.

Lanning may send more blitz in Las Vegas after the defense recorded nine quarterback hurries against Oregon State in Week 13.

There may be a heavier snap count for cornerback Trikweze Bridges, who limited star Washington receiver Rome Odunze to just a single catch on four targets during Week 7.

With these two explosive offenses, the advantage comes for Oregon against a poor rush defense in Washington. The Ducks called more pass than rush in the initial meeting, averaging 5.4 yards per play and creating an average third-down distance of 5.2 yards.

The law of averages suggests Washington will not be as lucky to create hard stops, as the Huskies are 90th in third-down defense. Irving should stuff the box score with yards after contact, as Washington ranks 130th nationally in broken tackles allowed.

The bigger question is whether or not Bo Nix utilizes designed rushing attempts this time around. After Nix's 2022 season ended with a high-ankle sprain, keeping the signal-caller in the pocket has been a major point of emphasis for Oregon.

Nix posted his highest number of rushing attempts on the season against Oregon State — two scrambles and three designed runs that resulted in a touchdown. The quarterback also ran for two touchdowns on three designed attempts against Cal in Week 10.

With a season average of 15 yards per game, the over on Nix's rushing yards prop along with a rushing touchdown are certainly candidates for investment.

Considering Washington has no answer for rushing attempts from Nix and Irving, Oregon is the team to win the conference and go to the College Football Playoff.

Washington totals have stayed in the 40s in the past two weeks against Washington State and Oregon State. The Huskies have hit the ground with Dillon Johnson, as they've called nearly as many runs as pass attempts.

Washington uses a heavy amount of inside zone rush attempts, a run concept the Ducks have had a high 55% Success Rate against.

The point spread is inflated, floating in the dead zone of backdoor cover territory while oddsmakers protect the ledger from teasers.

Any number at +9 or better puts value on the Huskies, but the better bet comes on the total. Oregon and Washington lit up the Seattle sky with 84 passing attempts in Week 7 with little regard for the ground game.

Look for Washington to use Johnson in an attempt to keep Nix and Irving off the field after possessing the ball for only 25 minutes in the initial meeting.

Pick: Under 66 or Better · Bo Nix Rushing TD

Bet Oregon vs. Washington with the latest BetMGM bonus code.

How would you rate this article?

This site contains commercial content. We may be compensated for the links provided on this page. The content on this page is for informational purposes only. Action Network makes no representation or warranty as to the accuracy of the information given or the outcome of any game or event.