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Jack Plummer #13 of the Louisville Cardinals celebrates a touchdown as we give our college football upset picks for conference championship week.
Jack Plummer #13 of the Louisville Cardinals celebrates a touchdown against the Kentucky Wildcats in the second half at L&N Stadium on November 25, 2023 in Louisville, Kentucky. Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images via AFP.

The results of the Power Five Conference championships could send the College Football Playoffs into chaos, and we are back with three more college football upset picks for conference championship week based on the best NCAAF odds at our best college football betting sites.

NC State pulled off the upset against rival North Carolina last week, easily securing our +112 moneyline bet. Despite that win, our hopes for another profitable day were dashed when Nebraska - aiming for bowl eligibility - fell to Iowa due to a game-ending field goal, leaving us just short of another potential win.  

If the four remaining undefeated Power Five conference teams - Georgia, Michigan, Washington, and Florida State - all win this weekend, the College Football Playoff committee seems to have a straightforward top four teams. However, the ease of this scenario remains uncertain, as potential upsets might give them something to mull over.  

To accompany our college football expert picks and our player props and best bets for Conference Championship weekend, here are our best college football upset picks for conference championship week (odds via our best college football betting sites; pick confidence based on a 1-to-5-star scale).

College football upset picks: Conference Championship Week

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College football upset predictions

UNLV vs. Boise State (+135 via Caesars) ⭐⭐⭐⭐

In perhaps the most bizarre way to determine two conference championship participants, UNLV and Boise State were selected by an average of four computer rankings to appear in the Mountain West championship game after the two teams finished in a three-way tie with San Jose State and did not play each other in the regular season for head-to-head tie-breaking purposes.

UNLV is looking to continue a dream season that saw it win nine games for the first time since 1984 and is its third winning season in Mountain West play since joining the conference in 1999. Boise State has the experience factor, with this being its seventh conference championship appearance since 2013. Still, the Broncos have had their share of turmoil after firing previous head coach Andy Avalos earlier this month. 

We expect UNLV’s balanced offense, which averaged 41 rushing attempts per game before last week, to continue to buoy a passing attack that ranked 18th in Pass Success entering the week. In addition, its strength defensively is against the run (the Rebels entered last week ranked 56th in Rush Success and 121st in Pass Success) and is built to slow down a Boise State rushing attack that entered last week ranked in the top 14 in Rushing Success Rate and Rushing PPA. 

UNLV should be able to take advantage of a Boise State defense coming off a physical game against Air Force’s triple-option attack. The Rebels are 10-2 ATS this season, but we are backing them to win this game outright. Caesars is the only sportsbook where one can back UNLV at better than +130 odds, so use our Caesars promo code: SBRBONUS1000.

For more on this matchup, see my Boise State vs. UNLV prediction.

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SMU vs. Tulane (+165 via BetMGM, bet365) ⭐⭐⭐

Picking against Tulane did not work well for us last week, as it took care of business 29-16 against UTSA. However, like the Green Wave, SMU is 8-0 in AAC play, and six of its eight consecutive wins have come by 18-plus points.

SMU is known for a high-powered offense that ranks tied for fourth nationally in scoring (41.8 points per game). However, the Mustangs defense does not get enough credit, ranking in the top five nationally in Success Rate, Passing Success Rate, and EPA/Pass Allowed. 

Tulane quarterback Michael Pratt does not come into this game with the best momentum, as his two worst QBR outputs of the season have come in the last three weeks. Pratt completed a season-low 40.9% of his passes against UTSA, and while he has not been sacked more than twice in a game this season, he now faces a Mustangs pass rush ranked in the top 20 in sack percentage and pressure rate.

This will be a no-play if SMU quarterback Preston Stone is ruled out after suffering a leg injury against Navy last week. Stone threw for 275 yards in the first quarter of last week’s win, which was the most passing yards by any FBS quarterback in any quarter this season. Keep an eye on his availability, as three other Mustangs combined to throw 10 passes last week, but none averaged more than 6.5 yards per attempt.

BetMGM and bet365 are currently the only two of our best sports betting apps offering higher than +158 moneyline odds, but that number will soar if Stone is ruled out. 

Our Philip Wood dives deeper into this AAC Championship game with his SMU vs. Tulane predictions.

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Louisville vs. Florida State (+135 via bet365) ⭐⭐⭐

Even though Florida State is without starting quarterback Jordan Travis for the rest of the season, it would be difficult to imagine the CFP committee leaving an undefeated Power Five team out of its top four. Since we expect some drama to ensue this weekend, it will start with Louisville knocking off its ACC rival.

The Florida State Seminoles dominated the Gators and their backup quarterback, Max Brown, holding them to 48 total yards in the second half. That defensive dominance allowed Florida State to get away with a modest 12-of-25 for 134 yards passing day from backup quarterback Tate Rodemaker. However, we expect Louisville to make Florida State one-dimensional and have Rodemaker beat the Cardinals with his arm, as the Louisville defense entered last week ranked 18th in Rushing Success Rate and seventh in Stuff Rate. And although the Cardinals allowed 38 points in a loss to Kentucky last week, they still held the SEC’s third-leading rusher, Ray Davis, under his projected rushing total (his 76 rushing yards stayed under his projected 77.5-yard total), and the Wildcats ran for just 3.3 yards per carry as a team.

Even in last week’s loss, Louisville still outgained Kentucky 403-289, converted nine of 17 third downs (and 3-of-4 fourth downs), and won the time-of-possession battle by over 13 minutes. Thus, there are positives it can take away from last week, and we are still getting great value with bet365’s moneyline odds despite the line moving in Louisville’s favor (the most significant change is from +165 to +120 at BetMGM).

See my Louisville vs. Florida State prediction and C Jackson Cowart's Louisville-Florida State college football player props for more.

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College football upset picks made 11/27/2023 at 4:14 p.m. ET.

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