Breaking down the opening odds and early betting action for some of the biggest conference championship game matchups on the Week 14 college football schedule.
With the regular season in the books, college football’s championship weekend marks the final hurdle remaining before the start of bowl season. All 10 FBS conferences will play their respective championship games this Friday and Saturday.
The slate of games to bet on may be much smaller than normal this week, but the stakes remain as high as ever. Twenty schools will have the opportunity to raise a championship banner. In addition, the four teams that will participate in the College Football Playoff will be solidified.
Here are previews and analyses for our top seven games to watch in Week 14 of the college football season (odds via DraftKings Sportsbook; team rankings reflect those found in the updated AP Poll).
Top College Football Games to Watch in Week 14
Conference USA Championship: North Texas vs. (23) UTSA
Date: Friday, Dec. 2, 7:30 p.m. ET
Location: Alamodome, San Antonio, TX
Odds: UTSA -8 | O/U 67.5
The Conference USA Championship Game may not register as high on the national Richter scale as some. However, this year’s matchup will be well worth tuning in for. UTSA has not lost a C-USA game all season and will look to win back-to-back league titles on Friday night when it hosts North Texas. This is the same UNT outfit that came within four points of upsetting the Roadrunners earlier this year.
The game total of 67.5 serves as a clear indicator that plenty of points are expected in this matchup. Fans of high-scoring, back-and-forth games are sure to get their money’s worth with this one given what both teams are capable of offensively. Note, too, that UTSA does still have a chance at earning a New Year’s Six bowl bid if it can pull off a convincing victory.
Pac-12 Championship: (12) Utah vs. (4) USC
Date: Friday, Dec. 2, 8 p.m. ET
Location: Allegiant Stadium, Las Vegas, NV
Odds: USC -3 | O/U 67
Friday night’s Pac-12 Championship Game will arguably be the most impactful matchup of the weekend with regard to the College Football Playoff. Earlier this season, Utah handed USC its only loss in a 43-42 thriller. If the Trojans can exact some revenge on a neutral field in Las Vegas, they will become the first Pac-12 team to make the CFP since Washington in 2016-17.
Of course, Utah still has plenty to play for in its own right. Although a trip to the Playoff may be out of reach, the Utes would earn the right to return to the Rose Bowl if they can capture their second straight Pac-12 title. Opening betting odds have installed USC as a three-point favorite. The Trojans will undoubtedly be the public side, but bettors should anticipate the spread dipping down below the key number.
Big 12 Championship: (13) Kansas State vs. (3) TCU
Date: Saturday, Dec. 3, Noon ET
Location: AT&T Stadium, Arlington, TX
Odds: TCU -2.5 | O/U 62
After being one of only three teams to navigate an unbeaten regular season, TCU is sitting pretty with regard to qualifying for the College Football Playoff. In fact, it’s fair to question whether the Horned Frogs even need to win the Big 12 Championship Game at all to get in. Beating a team two times in a single season is never easy. TCU will undoubtedly get all it can handle for a second time from Kansas State on Saturday.
After opening as a 1.5-point favorite in Las Vegas, the market consensus has moved one full point in TCU’s favor. It’s difficult to envision the spread moving any higher than an even three before buy-back would ensue on the Wildcats. Since the Big 12 instituted its conference championship game, no team has ever run the table in league play. The Horned Frogs could become the first to do so on Saturday.
SEC Championship: (11) LSU vs. (1) Georgia
Date: Saturday, Dec. 3, 4 p.m. ET
Location: Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, GA
Odds: UGA -17 | O/U 50.5
With a loss to Texas A&M this past weekend, LSU’s College Football Playoff hopes are now officially dead. The Tigers still have an SEC Championship to play for though. Georgia's last loss came one year ago in this very game. Even if LSU manages to spring the upset on Saturday, there’s no doubt that the Bulldogs are safely locked into the four-team playoff.
Despite the uber-impressive first season that Brian Kelly has had in Baton Rouge, oddsmakers still didn’t hesitate to show massive favor to Georgia ahead of this week’s matchup. The Dawgs opened as a 15-point favorite, and the consensus line has already ballooned to UGA -17. Bettors will want to keep in mind that the term “neutral site” only goes so far for the SEC Championship Game as Atlanta is practically Georgia’s home away from home.
American Championship: (22) UCF vs. (18) Tulane
Date: Saturday, Dec. 3, 4 p.m. ET
Location: Yulman Stadium, New Orleans, LA
Odds: TUL -3.5 | O/U 57
Based on the updated AP Top 25, one has to believe that the winner of Saturday’s American Atheltic Conference Championship Game will be a shoo-in for a New Year’s Six bowl invite. UCF already beat Tulane in New Orleans three weeks ago. However, an upset loss to Navy the following weekend cost the Knights the opportunity to host the conference title game. The Green Wave earned the right by toppling Cincinnati on the road in their regular-season finale.
As previously noted, beating a team twice in a single season is never easy. Doing so on the road is a whole different challenge altogether. The betting market clearly believes that Tulane will clean up some of the mistakes from the first encounter as the line has moved a full point in the home team’s favor. If the Green Wave can score the victory, they will be in line to play in their first major bowl game since the 1940 Sugar Bowl.
Mountain West Championship: Fresno State vs. Boise State
Date: Saturday, Dec. 3, 4 p.m. ET
Location: Albertsons Stadium, Boise, ID
Odds: BSU -3 | O/U 54
Although neither participant in the Mountain West Championship Game is ranked, neither Fresno State nor Boise State is any slouch. The Bulldogs can only wonder what may have been this season if not for star quarterback Jake Haener having to miss multiple games with an injury. Since his return, FSU has largely dominated its opposition.
Boise State also endured turmoil at the quarterback position. The Broncos rallied around a nasty defense and a potent rushing attack. Taylen Green took over at QB and navigated BSU to a perfect MWC record. The Broncos did beat Fresno earlier in the year, but Haener was not active in that game. As such, it’s not a huge surprise to see the betting market move in the Bulldogs’ favor as a short road underdog ahead of Saturday’s championship game rematch.
Big Ten Championship: Purdue vs. (2) Michigan
Date: Saturday, Dec. 3, 8 p.m. ET
Location: Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, IN
Odds: MICH -16.5 | O/U 51.5
Based on the lopsided nature of last week’s rivalry game win over Ohio State, one has to believe that Michigan is already locked into the College Football Playoff regardless of the outcome in Saturday night’s Big Ten Championship. That said, the opportunity to repeat as conference champs certainly won’t be lost on Jim Harbaugh and Co. Meanwhile, for Jeff Brohm and Purdue, this game can only be described as the opportunity of a lifetime.
The prevailing narrative all season long is that either Michigan or Ohio State would demolish whoever emerged out of the Big Ten West Division to play in the title game. The betting spread of Wolverines -16.5 certainly reflects that sentiment. However, the Boilermakers are a veteran group that picked up several impressive wins just to get to Indianapolis. There is also a level of unfamiliarity at play as the two schools have not faced one another since the 2017 season.
Where to Bet on Week 14 College Football
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