This week’s slate of games is shorter than usual, but the outcomes are even more important. Conference Championship Week showcases a handful of meetings between the best of college football’s 10 conferences. Some teams enter the contests undefeated with likely odds to make the CFP, while others ruthlessly play to lessen those chances and shake up the postseason with an upset. The incentive of a national championship run usually shines on the field, the favorites win a notable 72.1 percent of the time during these matchups with a 549-212 SU record. With contests typically held in NFL stadiums, there is no home-field advantage to work with.
Let's pull back the curtain and look back at the trends and outcomes of previous conference championship matchups to find any patterns that could lead you to the best Conference Championship Week bets.
Conference Championship Week Betting Tips: ATS
Keep in mind, the best is going up against the best in these inner-conference battles. So, shockingly the favorites don’t have the upper hand with a 361-391-9 ATS record, covering an even 48 percent of the time. Of course, that means it’s the underdogs that like to keep the scoreboard interesting, going 391-361-9 ATS to cover 52 percent of the time.
In last season’s Big 12 Championship, the No. 5 Oklahoma State Cowboys were handed a 21-16 upset from the No. 9 Baylor Bears. The Bears entered as +2.5 underdogs and covered by winning outright in Arlington, Texas. Similarly, the Utah State Aggies pushed past their +6.5 spread by defeating the San Diego State Aztecs 43-16 in the Mountain West Final. The Conference USA Championship saw the favorite fall too as the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers fell in a high-scoring 49-41 finish against the UTSA Roadrunners. There were six spreads set at 3.5 points or under in 2021. This weekend there are five spreads set at 3.5 points or under,
Conference Championship Week Betting Tips: Game Totals
With a conference title on the line, most fans and experts would predict the scoreboard would be busy tallying up points with results hitting the OVER. But, with a 320-332-14 record, the OVER hits just under 50 percent of the time. Out of the 10 matchups last year, six hit the UNDER. The totals can be set to be steep, with six last December being set at 55.5 points or more including three set at a whopping 74.5 points. This season, no matchup hits that high mark. according to online sportsbook Sportsbook, the top total is awarded to Utah Utes and USC Trojans at 67 points in the upcoming Pac-12 Championship game
What Games To Watch for During Conference Championship Week?
There are another 10 title games approaching, which should take up about 30 hours, give or take, of screen time over your weekend. But some meetings have bigger stakes than others, where remaining spots in the college football playoff can be taken or stolen. We’ve handpicked some of this season’s most anticipated conference meetings during Week 14’s Conference Championship Week.
Pac-12 Championship: Utah Utes vs USC Trojans
When: Friday, December 2, 8 p.m. ET
Where: Allegiant Stadium – Las Vegas, Nevada
The No. 4 USC Trojans (11-1) want a last-minute ticket to the CFP, they will have to defeat the No. 12 Utah Utes (9-3), the team which accounts for their one and only loss. In mid-October, on a 1-yard touchdown and successful 2-point conversion with 48 seconds on the clock, the Utes took the nail-biting 43-42 win. After that meeting, USC is 5-5 SU and 5-5 ATS in its last 10 meetings with Utah, though the Utes are on a two-game hot streak when kicking off against the Trojans.
Cam Rising and Utah upset USC last night, This 2 point conversion to win pic.twitter.com/8qqjew8f2U— CFBTalkDaily (@CFBTalkDaily) October 16, 2022
Both squads are undefeated at home but that won’t matter as they storm the field of the Las Vegas Raiders, which is expected to have a roaring sold-out 65,000 crowd. An invested spectator will be watching this contest closely – the Ohio State Buckeyes. After losing to Michigan Wolverines during Rivalry Week, the Bucks were pushed to No. 5 and literally need USC to lose if they want to be playoff bound. Sportsbook has the Trojans entering as slight 3-point favorites with the total at 67 points. The OVER has hit in six of the last eight matchups between these two programs, with 2019’s 30-23 finish resulting in a PUSH.
Big 12 Conference Championship: Kansas State Wildcats vs TCU Horned Frogs
When: Saturday, December 3, 12 noon ET
Where: AT&T Stadium – Arlington, Texas.
Unexpectedly, the No. 3 TCU Horned Frogs (12-0), one of three remaining undefeated teams, have a real shot of earning its first-ever spot in the College Football Playoff. The only thing standing in the way? The No. 13 Kansas State Wildcats (9-3) as the two prepare to go head-to-head for the second time this season. Last time, the Horned Frogs pocketed the 38-28 victory, covering the favored 3.5 spread and hitting the OVER. That seems to be the trend for TCU, as seven of its last eight performances have ended in a score within 10 points or less.
The Horned Frogs enter as gentle 2.5-point favorites ahead of Saturday. TCU is 9-2-1 ATS this year, covering lines 81.8 percent of the time, the third-best mark in the nation. In their last 10, the Horned Frogs and Wildcats share a 5-5 record, though I’m sure we all can agree that TCU has drastically improved this year. Expect a gritty matchup, though as the Horned Frogs, averaging 10.2 points in the fourth quarter, ranking fourth in Division 1, like to fight to the finish. Neither bench has won a conference title since 2012. Instead, both have had to share the championship status, the Wildcats with the Oklahoma Sooners in 2012 and the Horned Frogs with the Baylor Bears in 2014.
SEC Conference Championship: LSU Tigers vs Georgia Bulldogs
When: Saturday, December 3, 4 p.m. ET
Where: Mercedez-Benz Stadium – Atlanta, Georgia
For the second straight season, the No. 1 Georgia Bulldogs (12-0) have an undefeated regular season record. It’ll be the fifth time in six years that the Dawgs will appear in the SEC Championship match, losing last season 41-24 to the Alabama Crimson Tide. But that’s in the past as Georgia is striving for something way more impressive – a back-to-back national championship, a feat which hasn’t been done in a decade.
Though head coach Kirby Smart’s group has basically punched its ticket to the CFP, the team will want to keep momentum in the right direction. Since 1992, it’ll be the fourth time Georgia meets the No. 11 LSU Tigers (9-3) in the conference title game. It’s been a minute since these two last met, with 2019’s 37-10 scoreboard working in the Tigers' favor.
But LSU hasn’t seen Georgia like this. The Dawgs' offensive line has been announced as a semi-finalist for the Joe Moore Award, a recognition for the nation’s toughest, most physical offensive line. They have allowed the third-fewest 7 sacks. Nine other athletes are up for individual awards too, including TE Brock Bowers being a finalist for the Mackey Award. Bowers has earned three touchdowns in his last five performances. Georgia enters the meeting as 17.5 point favorites, it has covered every spread below 20 points so far this season.
How To Bet Conference Championship Games
Head into the weekend expecting the favorites to win – especially if it’s a squad whose CFP contention depends on it. But, if you’re wanting to stray from the favored moneyline that payout lacklustre profit, then the most reliable bet is to bet the underdog against the spread. The underdogs in Conference Championship Week won’t get a glimpse of the national championship, so settling for a conference title will suffice and they’ll look to cap off the year on a high note. Are they usually successful? No, but damn do they try.