College Football Championship Week Gambling Preview: Do we really think Utah is good?

I’ve been feeling nostalgic lately; Granted, I don’t feel it quite as much as I did watching Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, and Al Pacino give it one last go in the Irishmen* this past weekend. But I’m still very sad and I may or may not have Fleetwood Mac’s “Landslide” playing through my speakers to help me get through this blog without crying. I know, I know, we still have a few more weeks of college football to look forward too, but this is the last full Saturday slate of college football until next September… Think about that, next September.

*The Irishmen was good (not great) and I know I’m not the first one to have this take, but it was way too long. However, if the film was shortened, I’m not sure if they would have kept this laughable scene of 80-year-old De Niro fighting and that would have been a shame, because this is comedy gold.

Sure, we have a few fun things to watch that can hold us over until then like March Madness, the NFL Playoffs, and the Masters (coming in April), but nothing compares to a Saturday* filled with college football.

*I’m workshopping a take that if the NFL and college football switched the days their games were played (Saturday & Sunday), college football would become significantly less popular and the NFL would grow.

But this blog isn’t intended to be a “woah is me” cry-fest for CFB fans, it’s just important to remember the long winter that awaits us, so we can truly appreciate this upcoming Saturday. Cherish every moment: Ohio State blowing out another team in the Big Ten Championship game, Georgia finding a way to blow another big game against an SEC opponent, and Jalen Hurts putting on a clinic for the Sooners. Because Winter is coming…

But don’t let the end of the college football season get-you-down. What’s that famous quote that girls post on their Instagram all the time? Something like “don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened”? Remind yourself of Lauren from Zeta-Kappa’s Instagram caption around 11:30 PM on Saturday night, after the Big-10 Championship game, when you are staring down the barrel of a long work week without a full college football to look forward to next Saturday.

Truer words have never been captioned, Lauren of Zeta-Kappa, “Don’t cry because it’s over, smiled because it happened.” Remember those wise words on Saturday.

How we all feel knowing the only game we have to watch next week is Army vs. Navy (I do love watching that game though, you just can’t beat the pagentry and the mutual respect).

Alright, let’s stop acting like Dr. Seuss* quotes are going to make us feel any better, but I do know one thing that will — Money — And I do know one guy who knows how to make you some on Saturday… Well actually, full disclosure; I’m only up four units this season, but this is the week I finally get hot, I can feel it (kinda).

*Am I the only one who thinks Dr. Seuss is a creep? I don’t know what he looks like and I can’t explain it, but something about his books and his characters, makes me think that children should not be around him.

This is the worst movie I have seen in my life. Also, while I’m on the topic of Dr Seuss, I HATE THE GRINCH (that might be because it used to scare the sh*t out of me when I was a kid, but still).

The Main Course:

Normally, the “appetizers” would come before the main course, but do you really want to hear about how Memphis or Miami (OH) are going to do in their bowl games?*

*Now that I think about it, I could have just titled “appetizers” as “deserts” and it would have made more sense…

PAC-12 Championship: #5 Utah (-7) vs. #13 Oregon // 47 O/UPAC-12 Championship (Friday, 8:00 PM on ABC)

No one, not even the Mormons in Utah want to see the Utes in the CFP. I don’t care if it’s not fair, or if the committee cares more about “brands” than “who is the best”, so what? They will get blown out by whoever they see and honestly, they haven’t beaten anyone up this point. Their wins are all against 7-5 teams and the best team they have faced this year, was USC and they lost… And they aren’t even that good! Listen, I don’t think Justin Herbert is going to a good NFL QB, but he is a good college one and a Pac-12 team in the CFP just doesn’t make sense. I love the Oregon Moneyline (+215) in this game and the under. I feel bad saying that as a big fan of Utah Head Coach Kyle Whittingham, but when your team is made up of players who take a year off to “go on mission trips”, I wonder whether or not they have what it takes to win a PAC-12 Title.

Big-12 Championship: #7 Baylor vs. #6 Oklahoma (-9) // 66 O/U (Saturday, 12:00 PM on ABC)

Do you want to be the guy who takes Matt Rhule and the “Jail”or Bears over Jalen Hurts, Lincoln Riley, and the Oklahoma Sooners? It’s difficult to beat a team twice in one season, but it’s also hard to win the Big-12 Championship game against a team that wins it every year in Oklahoma. Jerry World (location of the game) is Oklahoma’s second home and similar to how I’m not going to bet against the Patriots until after Tom Brady and Bill Belichick retire, I’m not going to count on Oklahoma to the Big-12. The line does make me a bit nervous, but if Baylor couldn’t beat Oklahoma at home with a 25 point lead, then I don’t think they are as good as their record shows (11-1). If you want to take Baylor and the points, by all means go for it… But tell me you can’t envision yourself tomorrow afternoon around 1:45 PM, depressed as sh*t and feeling like an idiot, watching Jalen Hurts and Oklahoma roll Baylor by 3-4 scores. I know I can.

This is Lincoln Riley’s office… Notice all those limited edition Jordans on the coffee table? Do you really want to bet against this guy?

SEC Championship: #4 Georgia vs. #2 LSU (-7) // 54 O/U (Saturday, 4:00 PM on CBS)

My love for Jake Fromm has been tested this year. For the past 3 years he has been my favorite college QB (if you haven’t seen him in “QB #1” on Netflix, you need to binge that before his career is over), but in comes this hot new girl (guy), Joe Burrow and with each passing week, I feel myself more and more tempted to cheat on Fromm with Burrow.*

I mean, this video looks like it came straight out of Martin Scorcese’s (Irishmen director) brain and you have to love the “Burreaux” last name.

Sadly, I’ve officially decided to cheat on Jake tomorrow night, sure we’ve hade some good times together and he has treated me well… But I’ve always had a soft spot for “bad boys” and Burrow is that. I think LSU wins this game by at least 7 points and I know I’m with the majority of the public on this one (70%), but I just don’t have the heart to bet against Coach O. Plus, I don’t think Georgia is going to be able to score with LSU and they for damn sure won’t be able to stop Ja’Marr Chase and the rest of the stud LSU skill players.

If you weren’t hyped for this game, now you are. You’re welcome.

ACC Championship: #3 Clemson (-28.5) vs. #23 Virginia  // 55.5 O/U (Saturday, 7:30 on ABC)

Don’t think, don’t even blink, take Clemson. This spread could be 40 and I would still take Clemson. The ACC is atrocious and Virginia doesn’t have a shot in hell of staying within four scores, Clemson is punishing teams and Rocko Mendenhall’s Virginia team is just another stepping stone for them. Don’t try to be a “sharp” here. This game will be over in the first five minutes and if you are holding out hope on a “Virginia back-door cover”, you aren’t a “sharp”, you are insane and need to see a psychiatrist. Clemson wins 42-7 (take the under as well).*

*As for Dabo Swinney saying “no-one expected them to go undefeated” and they “now have a chip on their shoulder because of it”… What are you smoking, Dabo? As Tom Fornelli (great follow on twitter) said, your O/U win total was set at 11.5…

Big Ten Championship: #1 Ohio State (-16) vs. #8 Wisconsin // 57 O/U (Saturday, 8:00 PM on FOX)

How many times do you remember watching OSU blow out Wisconsin and Nebraska in this game the past five years? I can’t bring myself to bet on the Badgers with their history in this game… Sadly, as a Michigan fan, this game is going to show us just how much better OSU is than the rest of the B1G Ten. I’m not much of an analytics guy, but Ohio State is 9-3 against the spread this year, which is absurd. I do see the appeal of taking Wisconsin in this one, but are we going to hitch our wagons to Jack Coan? I don’t care who Wisconsin has in the backfield* or on defense. JK Dobbins, (an injured) Justin Fields and Chase Young are going to show you they are the three best players in the conference on Saturday night… And Ryan Day is going to show us that in his first year, he’s already the best coach in the Big Ten (and it would be a shame if he left for the NFL, what? We can dream).

*Jonathon Taylor’s average yards per carry in his career against Ohio State: 2.7 yards. Do with that information what you will. While we are in Big Ten Country, here’s my favorite Big Ten Championship game moment of all time:

I love Gus Johnson and how didn’t people think Russell would be good in the NFL… He’s winning the Big Ten title throwing to guys with the last name “Duckworth”.

The Appetizers:

Sun (FUN!) Belt Championship: Lousiana vs. #21 Appalachian State (-6.5) // 56 O/U (Saturday, 12:00 PM on ESPN)

I liked Appalachian State at -7 earlier this week, but now that it has moved inside the football of 7, I love Mountaineers. This isn’t your ordinary group of five team, they are legit, having beat two bowl-eligble Power-5 teams earlier this year in North Carolina and South Carolina. This game will also be a home game for App. State and their crowds aren’t your typical small school crowds either, they fill up Kidd Brewer Stadium and it gets rowdy. One thing that makes me nervous about this game is the that the line has gone down .5 points, despite 56% of the public betting on State, meaning the “sharp” money is coming in on Louisiana and that’s something you never want to be on the opposite side of, but f*ck it.

So beautiful, if only they would get rid of that damn track.

MAC(tion) Championship: Miami (OH) vs. Central Michigan 🔥  (-6.5) // 54 O/U (Saturday, 12:00 PM on ESPN2)

Hand up. I was way off on Jim McElwain. I thought CMU had hired the wrong guy, but as it turns out, there appears to a reason that he was once an SEC head coach. As a Michigan native, I love what the Chips are doing; They are proving everyone wrong that picked them to finish last in the MAC this year, but I do worry about them resting on their laurels. Last Friday night, my twitter feed was flooded with CMU players dancing on the hater’s graves. Now, did they have the right to do so? Yes. But is it a little early to be celebrating your success ess? I think so. For that reason, I am leaning toward Miami (OH)* in this one. I don’t love this pick and Miami is horrible, but weird things happen in MAC games and anytime 74% of the bets are one specific MAC team (Central), that’s a red flag and if you know anything about Vegas… You just have to plug your nose and take Miami (OH) in this one, and maybe the over as well.

*Is there anything more disrespectful than having to put (OH) after Miami when you are talking about Miami? I mean, talk about being an afterthought.

Conference USA Championship: UAB vs. Florida Atlantic (-7.5) // 50 O/U (Saturday, 1:30 PM on CBSSN)

Honestly, I don’t know anything about these teams, but I do know that Lane Kiffin is the coach of FAU and I love him, so I’m taking the #faU in this one… Which might be the squarest pick* in history, but I’m okay with that.

*76% of the money is on #faU 😅.

American Athletic Conference (AAC) Championship #20 Cincinnati vs. #17 Memphis (-10) //  57.5 O/U (Saturday, 3:30 PM on ABC)

Is it just me or does it seem like these teams have played 3-or-4 times this year (this will be only the second time they play this year, I am confusing this game for the Memphis vs. SMU game earlier this season)? This is another game that very little people will be watching once the SEC Championship game starts at 4:00, which is why I’m renaming this game the “in-between commercials of the SEC Championship-Championship Game“. The last time these two faced about a month ago, Memphis won by 10 at home. Saturday’s game, on the other hand, will be played on a neutral field in Orlando, which has me leaning toward Cincinnati in this one (and the over). It’s hard to beat anyone twice in one year and if Cincy Head Coach, Luke Fickell wants to be the Michigan State head coach in a couple of years, this is a must-win game.

Mountain West Championship: Hawaii vs. #19 Boise state (-14) // 64.5 O/U (Saturday, 4:00 PM on ESPN)

I don’t care who they are playing or what the spread is, when Boise State is playing on the “smurf turf”, you don’t think about it, you just place your bet and wait for the winnings to hit your bank account.*

*After some research, with a 4-2 record ATS this season, Boise isn’t as good at home as I thought… But that’s still a pretty damn good record (If you ever wanted to see an oddly satisfying video about Boise State’s turf, watch this:)

Cherish Saturday and remember, at the end of the day it’s only money… Unless you win, of course…* Then that means Christmas has come early.

*To be honest, I’m really debating fading my own picks this week… Take them at your own risk.

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