Wilson: The College Football Conference Championship Game I Bet Right Away
Brian Westerholt-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Appalachian State celebration
Initial betting action on the college football conference championship games was furious in the aftermath of Week 14. The Pac-12 opened with Utah -3.5 at Levi’s Stadium against Oregon before one-sided action pounded the Utes to -6.5. Central Michigan briefly opened at -2.5 before a slew of wagers drove the MAC Championship all the way to -6.5 against Miami of Ohio.
The Big 12, Big Ten and AAC will have rematches for their conference title games. While those two Power Five conferences will be at a neutral site, Memphis will host the Bearcats in a rematch seven days after the initial meeting as a 10-point favorite. The Tigers closed as a two touchdown favorites on Friday and won by 10 despite three turnovers by the Bearcats.
Baylor covered as a 10.5-point underdog at home against Oklahoma in Week 12. Just a short three weeks later, the Bears are a 9.5-point underdog at a neutral site in Arlington.
There may have been an over-adjustment in the Big Ten.
Ohio State closed a 14.5-point underdog against Wisconsin at home on October 26th. The Action Network home field advantage for the Buckeyes is 2.7, but oddsmakers have been known to adjust 5 points for games at the Horseshoe.
The neutral site point spread for the Big Ten rematch is Ohio State -17, indicating a swing of almost a full touchdown since the Badgers traveled to Columbus five weeks ago.
As I always do on Sunday, I used our power ratings to bet a few conference championship openers. One game particularly drew my interest and received multiple wagers.
Let’s take a look at one of my favorite early bets of the week. Stay tuned for much more betting coverage in the run-up to Friday night, and follow me in The Action Network app for all my early bets and bets closer to kickoff.
College Football Early Bet and Projected Spreads
UL Lafayette at Appalachian State
12 p.m. ET | ESPN
The two best teams in the Sun Belt clash for the conference title in Boone, N.C. on App State’s home field.
The forecast calls for a clear sunny day which will lead the way to plenty of explosiveness. Both the Ragin’ Cajuns and Mountaineers are top 30 in rush explosiveness, but defensively Appalachian State has been one of the worst in limiting opponents chunk gains on the ground.
The Mountaineers are outside the top 100 in allowing rush plays over 40-plus yards.
The @SUBWAY Fresh Drive of the Game from 𝗟𝗢𝗨𝗜𝗦𝗜𝗔𝗡𝗔's big win over Troy was simply the freshest, one-play, 80-yard drive of the game.
— Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns® Football (@RaginCajunsFB) November 24, 2019
The good news for Appalachian State is a rank of No. 7 in rushing success rate on defense, which will have quarterback Levi Lewis looking to go to the air in passing downs. The Cajuns are No. 6 in FBS in passing downs success rate, illustrated by a third down conversion rank of 16th.
Appalachian State will have plenty of success against a soft front seven of Louisiana, but the focus should be once the Mountaineers get past the ULL 40-yard line.
The Cajuns have a defensive finishing drives rank of 13th, ranking No. 9 in opponent red zone points per attempt. Conversely, the Mountaineers have an opponent red zone scoring percentage rank of 86th.
With my line closer to a pick’em, we will back UL Lafayette with the points down to a field goal. The Cajuns bring a better success rate on offense, the best rank in the nation in havoc allowed, a stout red zone defense and a wide advantage on special teams.
As of Monday morning, there are still some +7’s out there.
The Pick: UL Lafayette +7 [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.