The calendar has flipped to November, and it’s time to call our shots on the relative betting value featuring conference championships.
We have our top choices for three conference title-game winners, including what we believe is a Big Ten no-brainer.
CONFERENCE FUTURE BET NO. 1: The American Athletic Conference
Two schools, Tulane (ranked 24th in the first College Football Playoff rankings) and SMU, have led the AAC this season and are ranked among the top 50 college teams on the Action Network’s betting power rankings.
The seemingly inseparable pair are on a collision course to meet in the conference championship game, to be held Dec. 2 at the site of the regular-season champ.
SMU (6-2, 4-0 AAC) looks to exit the conference in style. The Mustangs will join the Atlantic Coast Conference next season.
Tulane (7-1, 4-0) won last season’s championship game over UCF and defeated Southern California 46-45 in the Cotton Bowl.
Can anyone stop the Green Wave? We believe SMU has the capability to do so.
The Mustangs have scored 189 points and surrendered only 36 through four AAC games. And they’re not the favorites to win the conference.
Tulane (+150 BetMGM) is the current betting choice. And there wasn’t a better story down the stretch of last season.
These teams are not scheduled to meet during the regular season, but the likely matchup in the title game could well be worth the wait.
The value, however, lies with SMU at +170.
The bet: SMU +170 to win the AAC title game.
CONFERENCE FUTURES BET NO. 2: The Pac-12 Conference
Oregon lost 36-33 to Washington in Seattle, but the Ducks are playing like the conference’s best team right now.
The Huskies struggled to beat Arizona State and Stanford, while the Ducks crushed Utah last week.
Oregon finishes its regular-season schedule with three of four games at home, beginning with Cal on Saturday in Eugene, Ore.
Oregon, the College Football Playoff committee’s No. 6 team, sits behind No. 5 Washington because of that Oct. 14 loss. But momentum is running rampant after the Ducks (7-1, 4-1 Pac-12) trounced the Utes 35-6 last weekend in Salt Lake City. Utah had won 18 straight home games.
Although Oregon, ranked No. 3 on the Action Network power rankings behind only Georgia and Michigan, is the betting favorite to take the conference title game, the number (+110 at FanDuel and BetMGM) is a value.
The Ducks should be the betting favorite in the championship game in Las Vegas, so the current plus-money would be a nice price to be carrying on Dec. 2.
The bet: Oregon +110 to win the Pac-12 title game.
CONFERENCE FUTURES BET NO. 3: The Big Ten Conference
This will be short and sweet.
There are two schools that can win the Big Ten title, but only one will play in the conference championship game.
Barring an upset Nov. 11 in Happy Valley against Penn State, Michigan needs only to defeat Ohio State in Ann Arbor, Mich., Nov. 25 to clinch a spot in the title game.
And that championship matchup would likely come against one of Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin or Nebraska, teams currently sharing the West Division lead with 3-2 records in the conference.
Expect a line such as Michigan by 28 or so.
Despite distractions from the sign-stealing controversy at Michigan, coach Jim Harbaugh has succeeded in convincing his team to focus its attention to the on-field product.
“I think our depth and the health of the team is pretty high right now,” he said. “Couldn’t ask for much better going into this stretch in November.”
The Wolverines, who have a matchup with Purdue on Saturday, boast plenty of offensive talent to go with a shut-down defense.
Quarterback J.J. McCarthy and running back Blake Corum are elite. McCarthy, No. 2 in current Heisman Trophy betting (Washington’s Michael Penix is first), passed for a season-high 287 yards and four touchdowns in Michigan’s 49-0 pummeling of in-state rival Michigan State on Oct. 21.
The defense has allowed 47 points through eight games — pure dominance.
The Buckeyes are terrific, but aren’t likely to be favored in Ann Arbor.
Michigan’s number (-105 at FanDuel) will not be so attractive after Nov. 11, assuming a Wolverines victory over Penn State. Grab this virtual even-money bet.
The bet: Michigan -105 to win the Big Ten title game.
–Field Level Media