College Football Picks: Effectual Bets on Power 5 Conference Championship Games

Swinging Johnson

Tuesday, December 1, 2015 6:39 PM GMT

Championship week is upon us and the college football odds makers have their hands full with conference title games in store. Let’s analyze the schools involved and find the sharp sides.

AAC – Temple (10-2 SU, 9-3 ATS) vs. Houston (11-1 SU, 7-5 ATS)
The Cougars will enjoy home field advantage when they take on the Owls of Temple in this American Athletic Conference showdown. Houston has had only one miscue on an otherwise perfect season with a 20-17 loss to Connecticut. They wrapped their season up with a dominating performance over Navy while the Owls sealed their successful 2015 campaign with a win over the only team to beat Houston – Connecticut. The Cougars may be playing in their own sandbox but these teams are too close to call so why not grab the points?

College Football Pick: Temple +7 (-130) at 5Dimes

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ACC – Clemson (12-0 SU, 5-6-1 ATS) vs. North Carolina (11-1 SU, 8-4 ATS)
The Clemson Tigers are currently owners of one of the four hallowed spots to enter the College Football Playoff , at least according to the most recent CFP poll, but do they deserve all this adulation? Forgive me if I'm not blown away by their perfect season because I know that if strength of schedule and how you finish the season matters then the Tigers don't belong. If you have bet them in your college football picks recently you are reading and saying "Amen" because this No. 1 team in the nation has failed to cover the college football odds over the course of their last four opportunities.

Conversely, UNC has one lone loss on their record and that came in their season opener against South Carolina by the score of 17-13. Think they'd like that one back? However, the Heels have covered four of their last five games and they look like a stronger squad going into this one and am quite certain they will unmask the paper Tigers of Clemson and open up a playoff spot for a more deserving school...maybe even them!

College Football Pick: North Carolina +5 at Pinnacle

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Big Ten - Michigan State (11-1 SU, 5-7 ATS) vs. Iowa (12-0, 7-5 ATS)
This is the conference championship game that everyone wants to watch. The Spartans are on the bubble, the precipice and to quote Lady Gaga, on the edge of glory. They are the No. 5 ranked team according to the College Football Playoff Committee and a win here will bounce their Big Ten rivals Iowa from the Fantastic Four and onto the outside looking in. This is an enormous game for both schools but if you have watched these teams then I must say I am not at all surprised that the 11-1 Spartans are 3 ½ point faves on a neutral field (Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis) against the Hawkeyes. MSU effortlessly defanged the Nittany Lions 55-16 in their last outing while Iowa looked workmanlike, though not spectacular, in their 28-20 road win over the Cornhuskers.

College Football Pick: Michigan State -3½ at Heritage

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Pac-12 - USC (8-4 SU, 6-6 ATS) vs. Stanford (10-2 SU, 8-4 ATS)
These Pac-12 powers will meet at Levi's Stadium, home of the San Francisco 49'ers, and only the Cardinal has a chance, as remote as it may be, of entering the College Football Playoff with a convincing enough win. That is enough for me to back them against a game, gutsy but not nearly as talented USC squad. Over the past six games Stanford has alternated ATS wins and losses. In their last outing they defeated Notre Dame 38-36 but failed to cover the four-point impost. We see the pattern continuing here.

College Football Pick: Stanford -4 at Bovada

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SEC - Florida (10-2 SU, 6-5-1 ATS) vs. Alabama (11-1 SU, 7-5 ATS)
If you make the analogy that Alabama's run defense is comprised of stone cold killers then I guess you could say their passing offense is made up of traffic violators who routinely go 75 in a 65. I mean I am a Bama fan but I am no Jake Coker fan and the team's inability to run up the score is because their aerial assault more closely resembles a mild affront. Derrick Henry is the beast of this offense and he is putting up spectacular numbers due in large part to offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin's unimaginative play calling.

The long and short is that the Tide will be playing this one in the Georgia Dome against a 10-2 Florida Gator's squad whose offense has been steadily declining since their starting quarterback was suspended after testing positive for an NCAA banned substance back in October. So the question becomes how will they possibly score against one of the best defenses in modern memory when they couldn't manage an offensive point against the Seminoles last week? The 17 point spread looks ridiculous at first blush but when you get down to it, it looks more than reasonable to lay it and like it with the favorite.

College Football Pick: Alabama -17 at BetOnline

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