College Football Picks: CFB Championship Week Picks, Predictions and Best Bets

College Football Picks: CFB Championship Week Picks, Predictions and Best Bets

This article is part of our College Football Picks series.

College Capper: CFB Conference Championship Weekend Picks and Best Bets

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Chris' Picks

Another subpar week for me last week. Grayson McCall apparently means more to Coastal than their coaching staff, Marshall's defense finally showed vulnerability, and UCF, c'mon, allowing 32 points in the second half to USF? 

We're on to Championship Week, which while fun as a view, it's not easy as a bettor as we've just got far fewer games to sort through, forcing picks rather than finding an edge. Fingers crossed!

USC (-2.5) vs. Utah (Friday)

I've gone back and forth on this one, which probably means it shouldn't be a play. I don't trust the Trojans' defense here, but I also don't trust Utah QB Cameron Rising, who has just a 6:6 TD:INT ratio away from home, with three of those scores coming against lowly Colorado. Yes, he absolutely decimated the Trojans in USC's only regular-season loss. And the Utes still won by only one point. If there's any regression at all, which there will be, USC will win. And the number is low enough that I think they'll cover as well. Caleb Williams cements his Heisman while staving off upset and earning a playoff spot.

TCU (-2.5) vs. Kansas State

The Horned Frogs have answered every test they've been given, yet seem to be doubted in this spot yet again. Simply, USC and TCU have to win to make the playoff, Michigan and Georgia don't, and I'll fall back on that to keep order and not chaos as we head into the postseason. The Wildcats' pass defense has a 15:15 TD:INT ratio, but TCU QB Max Duggan got them for 280 yards, three TDs and no mistakes during the regular season. Both will make adjustments, and TCU again answers the call.

Georgia vs. LSU under 51.5

Georgia hasn't looked inspired over the past few weeks, and I have no idea what to make of LSU's embarrassing loss to Texas A&M last week. I don't think the Bulldogs will be challenged here, but I'll stay away from the spread. We know LSU wants to run, and you simply can't against Georgia. And I don't believe they'll find sustained success passing either. Last week, LSU showed yet again that they can be run on, allowing 200+ yards for the fourth time. I expect UGA to find similar success and keep the clock moving, not scoring in bunches as a result. 31-20 gets this done, and I don't see LSU getting to 20, giving us some leeway on either side.

Toledo (-1.5) vs. Ohio

Sometimes, when a line makes no sense, it conversely makes perfect sense as the oddsmakers are always smarter than I am. Ohio has scored more points and given up fewer in conference than Toledo, and the Rockets have lost two straight coming in, yet opened as five-point favorites. The line has moved pretty dramatically since, and I agree with that as it appears the wrong team is favored. But Ohio also has the nation's worst pass defense, allowing 305.8 ypc and 8.0 ypa. Rockets QB Dequan Finn is more dual-threat than gunslinger, but this is still a plus spot for him. Give me Toledo to outscore the Bobcats.

Michigan (-17.5) vs. Purdue

Purdue is pretty spry against the rush, allowing just 3.8 ypc and 12 touchdowns to date. They also aren't far from campus with this game in Indianapolis, so could have some crowd advantage. None of this matters. Michigan values this game, and won't overlook their opponent despite seemingly having a playoff spot assured. They blitzed Iowa 42-3 in this spot last year, and I see a similar fate in store for the Boilermakers. Perhaps they get a few scores early, but the Wolverines will limit scoring, and stretch it out over four quarters. Only three of their games have been inside this number, and this won't be the fourth.

Last week: 2-3; Season: 36-34

CFB Betting Tools

GREG'S PICKS 

Throughout every season there are going to be ebbs and flows and if I'm interpreting that saying correctly, I believe I'm ebbing currently. Some weeks you are locked in and others, well, others you can't get out of your own way. With any luck, we'll close the regular season with a winning week and find some momentum heading into bowl season.

A quick recap from this past week. The under in the Cincy-Tulane game had a chance, but there was just too much scoring late in the game. North Carolina was a no-show against NC State, which was odd considering it was a rivalry game, but perhaps I should have expected that given North Carolina had already clinched a spot in the ACC Championship game. There was a time when college kids wouldn't pack it in like the pros once something was clinched, lesson learned. Ohio State, what can I say? The Buckeyes started the game on fire and then…I'm not exactly sure what happened. Honestly, I think the Wolverines are in the head of the Buckeyes, it might be a while before they turn this around. The final loss was Wisconsin. The Badgers weren't the Badgers we know this year and credit to the Gophers, they regrouped after a tough loss to Iowa the week prior.

Okay, as for this week, the slate is limited, so I'm not forcing five picks, if I find five that I like, I'll go with five; otherwise I'll just play the games I like. It's a bit of a strange championship weekend as there aren't many games that look to be competitive, but you never know.

All lines courtesy of draftkings.com. The DraftKings Maryland Promo Code gets new customers $200 in bonus bets. 

USC (-2.5) vs Utah

Over (67.5) USC vs. Utah 

After this game ends, we'll all say that either Utah just has USC's number, or that USC made the adjustments needed after its loss earlier in the season. I'm of the belief that it will be the latter. I've doubted USC on a few occasions this season, largely because of its defense, but time after time, the Trojans have just found a way. I could get into the stats here, but really, this game is not about the numbers, it's about the two QBs, both of which know how to perform on the big stage. Both QBs will come up big and neither team will get much separation, but USC will come out on top in the end thanks to Caleb Williams.  

Regarding the over, USC knows no other way than to play in shootouts. The defense isn't good enough to shut down Utah, but it will make enough plays to win the game. With that said, there are going to be plenty of scores before USC makes that final stop.            

TCU (-2.5) vs Kansas State

I'm not sure if the Horned Frogs need more motivation, but they have to be asking themselves what they need to do to get some respect from the oddsmakers and even the betting public. TCU has been doubted most of the season, at least when it comes to getting through the season undefeated, but time after time, the Horned Frogs have come through. It hasn't always been pretty and on many occasions, they've gotten through by the skin of their teeth, but again, a win is a win. That's all they need to do this week and I believe they'll find a way again this week. Adrian Martinez might be back for this game, but even if he is, I doubt he'll be back at full strength.                       
 

Tulane (-3.5) vs UCF

These teams met up a few weeks ago in New Orleans and UCF came out on top 38-31, so why am I backing the team that lost at home? Two reasons; the first is I generally side with the team that lost the previous game if the game was close. The reason is adjustments, something went wrong in the first game, so make the adjustment and put the ball back in the other team's court. The second reason is how Tulane lost the first game. Tulane lost the turnover battle 0-2 and that was the difference. Both teams moved the ball well, but UCF picked up two fumbles and won by seven. I'm expecting Tulane to make the adjustments, clean up the turnovers and win this game by four or more.   

Michigan (-16.5) vs Purdue 

Perhaps if Michigan was in an unfamiliar position, I might hesitate to take the Wolverines this week, but they were in the same exact spot last year and the result was a 42-3 thrashing of Iowa. Yes, Purdue is the opposite of Iowa in that it has an offense, but the defense is suspect and unless you have a solid team on both sides of the ball, you aren't going to compete with Michigan in this spot. Michigan knows how to finish this off and that's exactly what it will do here. Purdue's offense, while solid is not the machine it's been in recent years and the Boilermakers will struggle to score in this game.    


Last Week: 0-4-0, Season: 32-35-0

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ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Chris Bennett
Bennett covers baseball, college football and college basketball for RotoWire. Before turning to fantasy writing, he worked in scouting/player development for the Atlanta Braves and Montreal Expos. He's also a fan of the ACC.
Greg Vara
Vara is the lead golf writer at RotoWire. He was named the FSWA Golf Writer of the Year in 2005 and 2013. He also picks college football games against the spread in his "College Capper" article.
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