Free College Football Picks and Predictions – Championship Week Best Bets, Saturday December 4, 2021Dec 2, 2021 at 2:47AM
Prospector Sam has arrived with your free NCAAF betting picks for the Championship Weekend action!
Finally, after months of talking heads rambling on ESPN and every other sports news network about why this team or that team is deserving of making the playoffs only to be proven wrong days later when they lose, we get a chance at certainty. And I say “a chance” because, despite the fact that there’s a fairly clear path forward, there are still a lot of ways the CFB could cause complete chaos with their decision making. Unfortunately, it’s also almost certain to happen. As a country we like to think of ourselves as a meritocracy, at least in most aspects. I agree with that statement as well, but no merit based system is perfect and there are a number of ways that outside influences can throw a wrench in things.
Here, we have a bit of a conundrum because the CFP Committee has to choose between two very important factors in their job: picking the four best teams, and making money. While you may think their objective is just to create the playoff between the four best teams (a reasonable but silly expectation), it damn sure isn’t the only thing they care about. And, with Alabama and Notre Dame sitting right on the edge of things (although the point will be moot for the Tide if they beat UGA), the CFP Committee is going to prove just how committed they are to each of those competing interests. Call me the eternal pessimist, but I have a sinking feeling that, even if a team like Oklahoma State makes a claim for that fourth spot, the dollar signs involved from leaving out a blue chip program may just ruin any chance of that happening. But hey, we should let the teams settle everything on the field first then worry about this nonsense later (when I will inevitably start ranting about my opinions and all of the ways I am right and everyone else is wrong, the only way to exist on twitter).
But first, we have some gambling to do right? So let’s go ahead and make some money then worry about those selections, and our future bets, when they become certain.
Here are your Championship Weekend Picks! ⤵️
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Free College Football Championship Weekend Picks, 2021
Pac 12 Championship Pick
Oregon vs. Utah, Fri Dec 3, 8:00pm (EST)
This week I decided I’d give out bets for all of the relevant championship games…. Plus the Pac 12 Championship. Was that joke mean? Maybe, but it was also correct. Because, despite the “Conference of [no] Champions” giving it a good effort to make the CFP Playoff this year with Oregon, they managed to cannibalize themselves and no longer have any hope. Alas, some things never change, and the Pac 12 failing at football is as inevitable as the sun rising. The game still features two big schools and is the only worthwhile Friday matchup though (if you want to watch UTSA and Western Kentucky play something that resembles football, be my guest), so we might as well make some money on it. Take the Utes. We saw this matchup just 2 weeks ago and Utah won by all of 31 points, which makes this 2.5 point line a bit confusing. Sure, the Utes have a great home field advantage that won’t be as present in Las Vegas and Oregon is better than they showed in the first matchup, but Cameron Rising has turned Utah into a completely different team since winning the starting job and their defence is collectively better than the Ducks (acknowledging Thibodeaux is the probably the best player on the field). Anthony Brown still isn’t good enough to lead this team to victory in big games, and I think the Utes win this one again comfortably to earn the Rose Bowl berth. Give up the 2.5 points.
⛏️ PICK: Utah -2.5
Big 12 Championship Pick
Oklahoma State vs. Baylor, Sat Dec 4, 12:00pm (EST)
Unfortunately, Baylor is staying pretty tight-lipped about the injury status of Gerry Bohanon which could play a defining role in this game, so be a bit cautious with your gambling on this one. But, keeping the uncertainty in mind, I think that fact actually helps us here. This line is at 4.5 right now with the Cowboys favored, and I like OSU a lot at that number. These two faced off earlier in the season and the Cowboys won 24-14, despite losing the turnover battle 3-0, because Baylor was terribly inefficient on offense and got held to 3-15 on 3rd down conversions. Those struggles have a lot to do with the fact that the Cowboys set up well against a Baylor team that loves to run the football and converts a high clip 3rd downs on short yardage by pounding it down their opponents throat. The problem with that approach here is that Oklahoma State gives up under 100 YPG on the ground and is designed defensively to take away what the Bears do best. So, while Baylor has played well this season, I think this matchup is bad for them, and Bohanon being in the game or not doesn’t change that much. As I alluded to, it may be a great opportunity to get a bet in early, because the line will jump if he’s ruled out. Even if he isn’t, he’ll be dealing with mobility issues from that injury and won’t be the player he is at 100%. The Cowboys still aren’t going to score at an outrageous clip and they can’t afford to have three picks from Sanders like last time, but this team is still tough to crack defensively and I think they can do enough offensively to get them over the line. Take OK State and give up the points.
⛏️ PICK: Oklahoma State -4.5
SEC Championship Pick
Alabama vs. UGA, Sat Dec 4, 4:00pm (EST)
This game is all about trusting the tape. The range of possible scores for this matchup is pretty fucking wide, both because of the wild inconsistency we’ve seen from the Tide this year and because it’s hard to predict what happens when a defense this good faces an offense this good. That said, so much of that uncertainty is based in expectations about these two teams that go back further than the current season, and, if I’m trusting what I see, then the under is the right play. Alabama’s offense is extremely talented and they’ve performed well even with the massive talent turnover, but Georgia’s defense is simply that good and is going to cause massive problems for an Alabama unit who have a major injury concern following Brian Robinson’s leg scare. Bryce Young will have to take over the game if the Tide want to put up points, and that feels a bit too much to ask from him right now (he ended the game well against Auburn, but was useless for 3+ quarters). On the other side of the ball, I think UGA will also have some issues. Stetson has played well but he’s still not a world beater (unless that world is filled with oompa loompas) and the speed and size of Alabama’s defense will cause issues for him and this run game. Georgia will still score points because Alabama’s secondary is a leaky faucet, but it won’t be the 40 PPG that the Dawgs average on the year. Overall, these offenses project for some downtick in performance, and the importance of this game also suggests it may be a bit more cagey with the Dawgs trying to overcome the hurdle they never seem to get past. I see this one ending in the lower 40s, and I’ll take the under at 49.5.
⛏️ PICK: Total point UNDER 49.5
AAC Championship Pick
Houston vs. Cincinnati, Sat Dec 4, 4:00pm (EST)
Figure out how many points we get out of Houston, and I think you’ve figured out this game. It may sound simple, but the line, total, and final score are going to be dictated by whether Houston can keep up their offensive performances of late against a Cincinnati defense that’s been playing a bit of Jekyll and Hyde all year. The Bearcats have home field advantage and their offense, which averages about 40 PPG, is looking even better as of late with Desmond Ridder stepping up his play to a higher level. Against a good but not great Houston defense, I think 35 is a pretty safe number to expect out of them. And, while Cincinnati’s defense has looked stronger in recent weeks, I just don’t think they hold down the Cougars. Cincy has given up 20+ to programs like Navy and South Florida, and Houston’s offense, which hasn’t scored less than 30 since September, is too good to be giving a half assed performance and expect to hold up. I think the Cougars cover that 20 point number, which gets us past the 52.5 point total, and I’m more comfortable there than touching the 10.5 points on the line. Both these teams have a balanced offensive approach which will minimize any weather issues that could play a factor in an outdoor December game in Ohio, and I like these teams to make it past the total mark.
⛏️ PICK: Total points OVER 52.5
Big 10 Championship Pick
Iowa vs. Michigan, Sat Dec 4, 8:00pm (EST)
Iowa is not a good football team. I recognize the difficulty of making a conference championship game and ending with a 10-2 record, but there isn’t a thing I’ve seen from them that makes me believe they can hold up against Michigan. Iowa’s biggest wins on the year are a victory over Iowa State that turned out to be more average sized and a comeback win over Penn State who was destroying the Hawkeyes until Sean Clifford got hurt. Other than that, a whole lot of wins over average programs with losses to Wisconsin and Purdue thrown in the mix. Iowa’s offense has trouble scoring, and their only hope of winning games comes from disciplined defense and winning the turnover battle. Unfortunately, I don’t think they have much hope of that here. Despite a heavy reliance on the run game, the Wolverines still put up over 450 yards and 37 points per game, and Iowa has conceded 20 plus against 3 weaker opponents (Nebraska, Illinois, Minnesota) in their last 3 matchups. Michigan should get to near 30 here, and it’ll be up to Iowa to keep pace, which isn’t a high percentage risk considering they only average 299 YPG total. In fact, this team conceded more yards than it gained on the year, which is ASTOUNDING for a team that’s made it this far. Iowa is a solid program and extremely hard to beat at home, but in a neutral location against a Michigan team filled with way more talent than them, I just can’t see them keeping pace. Michigan wins by 2+ touchdowns.
⛏️ PICK: Michigan -10.5
ACC Championship Pick
Pittsburgh vs. Wake, Sat Dec 4, 4:00pm (EST)
Yes, this game may also be meaningless, but it’s going to be well worth the price of admission (which is small I have to imagine, considering these two nonsense teams). Wake and Pitt both average almost 43 points per game, with each conceding 23+ as well, and I have very high hopes (and expectations) that this game is going to be a shootout. And by shootout I don’t mean old school Western pistol fight, I mean two tanks pointing at each other shooting mortars. Because this game very well could get close to 100 if each plays up to its potential. Let’s start with Pitt’s offense, led by one of the best QBs in the country in Kyle Pickett who will likely be playing his last meaningful CFB game. Wake gives up 29 points on AVERAGE, and against this high power offense the Panthers should expect, at a minimum, to hit their season average. As for Wake, they’re a bit less talented but put up 27 on Clemson (one of the best defenses in the country) and have scored 40+ in 8 of their 12 games this season. In a matchup that’s important to both programs, but without major implications for the overall football landscape, I think both programs air the ball out and we see a lot of scoring from both ends of the field. 72.5 is a big number, but for teams who regularly play above that watermark it shouldn’t be too big of an ask. Take the over and get your popcorn ready.
⛏️ PICK: Total points OVER 72.5
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