Wilson: My Picks for Our $1,000 College Football Prop Contest
USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Nick Saban, Kirby Smart and Dabo Swinney
In case you’ve missed the news, we’re giving away $1,000 in cash to the winner of our Conference Championship props contest.
What’s the event? A Saturday chalked full of conference title games where we’ll happily hand over a grand to the savviest bettor. It’s free to enter — you just need to download The Action Network app.
We’ve come up with 10 questions centered around the games on Saturday. Submit your entry into our free app by noon ET on Saturday, and then follow along as we grade your predictions in real-time.
Answer the most prop questions correctly and you’ll take home the cash. That’s it: 100% free to enter and has loads of prop-filled fun.
Along with the rest of The Action Network Colleges team, I was happy to come up with some of the props. Here are the picks I would submit for the contest, though I’m not eligible to take home the cash.
Good luck with your entry!
1. Total first quarter points score in the Big 12 Championship: Over/Under 21.5
I logged a Big 12 Championship Under 78 total in The Action Network App. Texas has gone over the current total just twice this season (West Virginia, Oklahoma). Granted the Longhorns won the first game, Texas left that game with an 8% postgame win expectancy, meaning if they get into another shootout their chances of victory are slim. Sam Ehlingers’s health is key as Texas tries to keep the offense on the field as long as possible to limit Kyler Murray possessions.
It will be under 21.5 in the first quarter for me!
2. Who will cover the spread in the SEC Championship? (Georgia +13.5/Alabama -13.5)
This game will come down to the red zone, where Alabama can punch in six every trip while Georgia is coming away with a touchdown just 50% of trips in the past the 20. Give me the Bulldogs, but we need explosive runs from Elijah Holyfield and D’Andre Swift to go to the house.
3. Will UCF QB Darriel Mack have more total TDs than Boise State RB Alexander Mattison?
Darriel Mack is the new starting quarterback for Central Florida in wake of the McKenzie Milton injury. At 6-foot-3 and 230 pounds, he will be tough to tackle for the Memphis defense.
Expect the Knights to have a gameplan that features Mack and his 8.3 yards per carry.
But I am going with Alexander Mattison in this prop. This is the fourth time Fresno State and Boise State have met in the past 53 weeks. The running back has scored in every head-to-head, recently going for 144 yards and two touchdowns in Week 11.
4. Will Pitt score a TD in the first half vs. Clemson?
A quick check of the Pitt box score against Miami last week should help with the answer. Miami sports a tough defensive line, but nothing like Clemson in the advanced stats.
This will be a long night for the Panthers, and the answer is No.
5. Will Oklahoma score more TDs vs. Texas than Clemson’s total number of sacks vs. Pittsburgh?
In short, no. Oklahoma and Texas are projected to have 11 touchdowns in the game and we can predict about six of those will belong to the Sooners.
In blowout wins to Louisville and Florida State, Clemson logged at least five sacks. Pitt’s offensive line is supporting a sack rate of 115th in the country.
This will be close, but I am siding with Clemson’s total number of sacks.
6. Which will be the lowest scoring quarter in the SEC Championship?
Since I’m interested in taking the over in this game, the answer to this question will dictate when a perfect opportunity awaits to live wager over the total.
Alabama had covered every first half number until the Citadel and Auburn games over the past couple of weeks, but one thing that remains consistent is Kirby Smart halftime adjustments. The Bulldogs have not allowed more than seven points in the third quarter since Week 4 at Missouri.
I’ll side with Saban and Smart making halftime adjustments to slow the other down by taking the third quarter in this prop.
7. Will Northwestern score a non-offensive TD?
Anything is possible with Northwestern, but in this instance we go with no to scoring a non-offensive touchdown.
The Wildcats have not had a non-offensive score since Week 7 against Nebraska.
8. Will Clemson score more points vs. Pittsburgh than Fresno State and Boise State have combined?
While I do think Clemson is going to hammer Pitt, as I detailed in our ACC Championship preview, I also have money on the Mountain West Conference Championship going over the total.
The Bulldogs and Broncos had plenty of missed opportunities to score earlier this year against each other, including three missed field goals, a 15-play drive ending in a turnover on downs on the Fresno 12-yard line, and a late Fresno drive to send the game to overtime that ended on the Boise 29-yard line.
Take the Fresno-Boise side in this prop.
9. Will Oklahoma QB Kyler Murray have more total TDs than Ohio State QB Dwayne Haskins?
Count me on the Kyler Murray side of this prop. He has an outside chance at the Heisman Trophy, and this game should feature plenty of highlights for him to take to New York.
As mentioned in the Big Ten Championship preview, the Ohio State offense is one of the worst in the country in the red zone.
10. Total pass attempts for Alabama’s QB Jalen Hurts in SEC Championship: Over/Under 2.5
This is the toughest prop on the board in my opinion. History says if Jalen Hurts plays, he is going to throw more than three times. But there should not be any garbage time in the SEC Championship Game.
Even in a covering effort for Alabama in the Iron Bowl, Hurts only attempted one pass. Based on Tua Tagovailoa needing all the stats he can get for the Heisman combined with no garbage time, I’m taking the Jalen Hurts under 2.5 pass attempts in the game.