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QC’s bets: Conference championship weekend’s best bets

A handful of heavy favorites (including a historical outlier) headline conference championship weekend

NCAA Football: UNLV at Air Force Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Every week, Rock M Nation will post the SEC betting lines for that week’s slate of games. DISCLAIMER: Rock M Nation is not an online gambling operator, nor a gambling site of any kind. We are simply here to provide information about sports betting for entertainment purposes only. None of the staff will be using this information for gambling purposes and are not liable for any losses incurred due to the analysis contained within.

With BK now departed from Rock M (sad piano plays), the task of figuring out the week’s best college football bets has been bestowed upon myself, Quentin Corpuel. I feel like I’ve been passed down an ancient scroll from a mythical authority figure, which is exactly what BK is to Rock M.

Now that I hold this sacred power, let’s cook up some bets. This conference championship weekend features a bunch of intriguing teams with major implications on the line that range from CFP seeding to program history for the mid-major schools competing.

BK’s final bets went 1-2 last week, including his best bet (Georgia -24.5 against Georgia Tech), which he’d hit it three weeks in a row. Spoiler alert: this week’s best bet has to do with a three-plus touchdown line as well.

Let’s have a bounce-back week, shall we?

Worth a look

Syndication: Austin American-Statesman Jay Janner/American-Statesman / USA TODAY NETWORK

Oklahoma State @ Texas (-15) — Saturday at 11 a.m. on ABC

If I’m every other Big 12 team who had a shot at the title game late in the season (Oklahoma, West Virginia, Iowa State, Kansas State), seeing Oklahoma State in Dallas wouldn't make me feel so great. They’re the same team that lost to South Alabama and UCF by a combined 68 points, lost to Iowa State and faced double-digit deficits against Houston and BYU.

Luckily for those other teams, Saturday afternoon should likely see a convincing victory from Texas. Yes, Oklahoma State has little to lose and a lot to gain. Plus, OSU has taken six of the last eight in the series.

History, however, won’t conceal the fact that this is a poor matchup for the Pokes. Ollie Gordon has been a wonderful story, but that book might get torn up at the hands of a Longhorns run defense that’s allowed just 85 rushing yards per game (fourth-fewest in the nation). Should OSU become one-dimensional on offense, I can see this game getting away from the Cowboys. Gordon is their offensive engine; OSU’s three lowest yards per carry performances have all been losses. Alan Bowman’s erraticism (11 picks to 10 touchdowns) is another reason to not feel great about the underdogs even keeping this game close.

On the other side of the ball, Oklahoma State’s defense isn’t what it was when they were here in 2021. They fall in the 100’s in most defensive categories, and Quinn Ewers & Co. possess a balanced and dangerous offensive attack. As long as Texas can exorcise their red zone demons and finish drives — they rank dead last in touchdown percentage — it should be a smooth ride for the Longhorns.

Boise State @ UNLV (+2.5) — Saturday at 2 p.m. on FOX

The Mizzou Assistant Coach Relations Bowl! It’s current Mizzou OC Kirby Moore’s alumni versus former Mizzou linebacker/DC/head coach Barry Odom’s current team for the Mountain West crown.

In theory, there should be a lot of fireworks in this one. Both offenses are near the top in most offensive categories, but there’s one matchup that might really hurt Boise State: UNLV’s aerial attack versus their pass defense, which ranks near the bottom in most passing statistics. Washington’s aerial Death Star did literally whatever they wanted against BSU, and the Broncos gave up lots of explosives against Colorado State and San Jose State. UNLV QB Jayden Maiava has led an offense that’s given several teams fits, especially over the air. The Rebels don't rank too far behind Mizzou in passing numbers, which is a very good thing!

Maybe this is me wanting Cinderella to prevail. After all, BSU has been the class of the Mountain West for awhile; UNLV, meanwhile, has a chance to win 10 games for just the second time in their 45-year tenure at the Division I level. Regardless, UNLV looks like a lollipop-sweet bet in this one.

QC’s best bet

NCAA Football: Ohio State at Michigan Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Iowa @ Michigan (-22.5) — Saturday at 7:05 p.m. on FOX

On the surface, a 22.5-point line in a conference championship game seems ludicrous.

That’s because it is.

The team that’s set betting records all season has set more ahead of Saturday’s Big Ten championship. The over/under currently sits at 35, the lowest of any conference championship game dating back to 2000. Iowa’s first half over/under point total is 0.5. That is not a typo.

Although the Big Ten is getting rid of divisions next season, the 2023 Hawkeyes have been Exhibit A as to why divisions needed to go in college football. CFB conference championships, in theory, should be between the two legitimately best teams in a given conference. There’s no conference tournament like in most other sports that allow for underdogs to go on Cinderella runs. Yet, here Iowa is with a chance to ruin their conference’s CFP hopes in the final iteration of the four team playoff.

However, I don’t think that’s going to happen. Yes, Iowa’s defense is stupendous...but Michigan’s is better. The Wolverines lead the nation in points per game allowed (10.3), red zone chances (21) and are second in yards per game allowed. They’re also disciplined, as they average the fewest penalties per game in the nation.

Iowa’s strategy of dragging their opponents into the mud and playing like its 1923 instead of 2023 has worked throughout most of this season; it’s how they got to Indianapolis in the first place. But I simply can’t forsee Iowa scoring more than two touchdowns. They already played a similar caliber defense in Penn State and couldn’t even get to 80 total yards on offense. Unless Cooper DeJean can clone himself, Michigan likely romps their way back to the CFP.

No Strong Lean

New Mexico State @ Liberty (-10.5), Friday at 6 p.m. on CBS

Oregon (-9.5) @ Washington, Friday at 7 p.m. on ABC

Miami (OH) @ Toledo (-8), Saturday at 2 p.m. on ESPN

Alabama @ Georgia (-5.5), Saturday at 3 p.m. on CBS

SMU @ Tulane (-3.5), Saturday at 3 p.m. on ABC

Appalachian State @ Troy (-6), Saturday at 3 p.m on ESPN

Louisville @ Florida State (-2.5), Saturday at 7 p.m. on ABC