Championship game week is on the way and all of college football odds have had a little time to percolate. But are the numbers correct and if not, what should they be for the big games?
That is our mission to uncover for college football picks this week, to see if we, the public and oddsmakers are all on the same page or not.
Bowling Green -9.5 point vs. Northern Illinois
In a way, Northern Illinois backed into its sixth consecutive MAC championship game, however, they did beat the two teams they were tied with, thus, hard to say they at least did not earn it. The Huskies are underdogs in what is the third straight matchup between them and Bowling Green. The Falcons are worthy of being this large a favorite because their offense is so explosive in scoring 44.2 points a game and NIU is playing backup quarterback because of injury. If Bowling Green's run defense holds up, they should cover the number for sport picks.
Western Kentucky -8.5 point Home Favorite vs. Southern Miss
Southern Miss is returning to prominence since being C-USA champions in 2011 and unimaginable fall thereafter. While Western Kentucky was one of the top offenses in the country, Southern Miss figures are relatively close, albeit against a weaker nonconference schedule. As a football handicapper, not saying line is wrong, but for my taste a touchdown might well be a more accurate assessment.
Houston -6.5 point Home Favorite vs. Temple
The first-ever AAC championship opened with Houston at -5 and the way it zoomed to -6.5, you would have thought it was a passenger in Sixers rookie Jahlil Okafor car Sunday morning. (Google it) While totally on board that Temple has a very good defense, when QB Greg Ward Jr. is healthy, the Cougars are almost impossible contain, especially at home. The Houston defense is also underrated and this line at 7.5 would be no surprise to this handicapper.
Stanford -3.5 point Favorite vs. USC
Initial reaction was "Wow", looking at this point spread. USC was a 9.5-point favorite in first meeting this season and lost 41-31. In looking at the two teams now compared to previous perception, the Trojans are about the same as we probably thought back when met on Sept. 19th and Stanford is unquestionably better. Based on neutral site, would have thought the Cardinal at -5 would be about right, but USC does have the wide-outs to exploit Stanford's secondary like Notre Dame did.
Alabama -16 point Favorite vs. Florida
Really seems like a big number, nonetheless, Alabama is winning by 21 PPG on the road. Completely understand why sportsbooks would have this number because while -14 would probably be the right number, they would be taking a ton of Crimson Tide money early on that figure. Smart way to help balance the books and see where the public sets it.
San Diego State -6.5 point Home Favorite vs. Air Force
With Aztecs losing their starting quarterback Maxwell Smith, they turn to backup Christian Chapman. San Diego State is run-first offense, thus, unless they fall behind or in third and long a lot, it should not hurt them as badly as it might against other opponents. The Aztecs have very good defense and speed are 5-0 SU and 6-0 ATS against the Air Force in recent games. Line looks accurate given circumstances.
Clemson -5.5 point Favorite vs. North Carolina
After Clemson beat Florida State, I would have thought the Tigers would have -8 over North Carolina. But with Tigers coasting and on 0-4 ATS run, the Tar Heels can definitely play with Clemson over four quarters. Can or will the Tigers raise level of play to earn No.1 seed or does North Carolina stun Clemson early and have them on the heels (no play on words intended)? Both teams have been recently been turnover prone which could swing game in either direction.
Michigan State -3 point Favorite vs. Iowa
This appears a bit high at a field goal, but if I'm Kirk Ferentz the Iowa coach I love it. The Hawkeyes do not pass anybody's eye test for overwhelming talent, anyone whose played them or watched them on tape will tell you they are Top 5 material because they make so few mistakes over four quarters with amazing consistency. Are we finally seeing the Michigan State team we expected all season? Find out Saturday night.