Conference Championship week signals the start of a wonderful time of year – Bowl Szn. I’ll have a much more comprehensive Bowl Game Megapreview next week but for now we’re coming off a 7-3-1 week with both 2 unit plays hitting and all picks documented here and on the twitter machine @Harry__Mac. Let’s Roll.
MAC Championship Friday – Buffalo -3.5 v. NIU @ Ford Field ou51
For all the jokes and shit people give the MAC, this is quietly one of the better games on the slate this weekend. Everybody knows how high I am on Buffalo (cashed my ticket for over 6.5 wins on the season weeks ago) and they’ve been great to their backers this year with a 9-3 ATS record. Look for Buffalo QB Tyree Jackson to rip apart a pretty good NIU defense (25th in the nation in pts allowed) and cement Buffalo as the class of the MAC this year hopefully snag themselves a nice bowl game. Buffalo -3.5 is the pick. Lean o51
PAC 12 Championship Friday – Utah v. Washington (-5) @ Levi’s Stadium ou45
I’ll be honest here, this one disappoints me and as far as I’m concerned the real PAC 12 Championship was last week with WSU/Washington. However, when I take my Mike Leach goggles off this is actually a decently appealing matchup and it would simply be wrong of me to stay away with so little football left this season. Both of these teams have gotten to 9-3 on the year in very different ways. Washington can’t help but feel a little disappointed with bad losses against Oregon and Cal ending their playoff hopes early, but they’ve rallied nicely with a huge win over the Cougs last week to get here. Utah has played above expectations for most of the season with their only losses coming against WSU, Washington when they met earlier in the season, and ASU in Herms house. Every comment I’ve seen about this game is talking Washington’s defense and secondary, but Utah comes in with the 6th ranked rushing defense in the country and are only allowing 19.2 ppg, good for 17th in the nation. I think Washington will find themselves struggling to score points in a bit of a defensive battle and I think the Utes will cover 5 points comfortably. Utah +5 is the pick, I wouldn’t touch the total here but if I must I lean u45.
Fun Belt Championship – LA-Lafayette v. App State – 16.5 @Kidd Brewer Stadium Boone NC ou58.5
Now we’re speaking my language. App State has certainly proven to be the best team in the Sun Belt by a mile year in and year out now, but when these 2 played earlier this season App State was unable to cover a 25 pt spread and the game went final at 27-17 with a last second LA touchdown. When doing my research, the stats that popped off the screen at me was the total has gone under in 4 of the last 5 meetings between these 2 and App State is 5-0 straight up and 3-2 ATS. I think I’ve seen all I need to lock in App State -16.5 (keep it inside the football number) and u58.5.
BIG 12 Championship – Texas v. Oklahoma -8 @Jerry World ou77
This should be a ballgame folks. We’ve seen Oklahoma get bet from a -4.5 opening favorite all the way down to -8, a wild line swing if I’ve ever seen one. The craziest part is that the public is actually 54% on Texas, and that means a few things to me. There is clearly a fuckton of sharp money on Oklahoma as nothing else can move lines like that without a heavy public backing. Stranger still – The total opened at 79 and despite 81% of the public backing the over, the line still dropped to 77. Same deal, lots of sharp money on the under here. I don’t think I can personally bring myself to bet the under in the Big 12 chip but the information and value are there, do with it what you will. In reality, Oklahoma has shown to be the superior, more consistent football team this year and they have way more to play for with a W essentially ensuring a playoff berth for the Sooners. I think Oklahoma lays the wood on the Longhorns in a statement game that cements Texas as second fiddle in the conference (if not 3rd, Mountaineers are still legit). Take Oklahoma -8. Lean u77 but I will flat-out not bet this game before I bet the under, just gonna let my brain out dumb itself on this one.
C-USA Championship – UAB v. Middle Tennessee pick ’em @Murpheesboro Tennessee ou44
This ones interesting. If you took my picks last week, you’ll know one of my winners was Middle Tennessee upsetting UAB to clinch their spot in this game. However, it’s incredibly difficult to beat a team twice in a season, much less back to back. UAB is still a half decent progrum and I think they’re the pick this week. I may be lacking some of the traditional analysis but I’m confident with this one as my gut check pick of the week (For the record I got Crohns disease and my gut is terrible for actual gut things but still great for gambling). UAB pick and o44
AAC Championship – Memphis v. UCF -3 @Orlando FL ou65
We got more wacky ass line movement here with UCF dropping from 8 pt favorites at the open to 3 points as it currently stands. The total is also down from a 70 even open. Now, my brain tells me this is mostly an after effect of the McKenzie Milton injury as the public isn’t heavy one way or the other but I can’t rule out sharp money coming in on Memphis and the Under. This will be these teams 4th meeting in the last 2 years and seeing as UCF hasn’t lost in 2 years we know how those ones have gone. They also haven’t been without their star QB in any of those meetings and after the tremendous disrespect the CFP Committee showed UCF this week (Michigan was ranked ahead of them coming off that stinker of an Ohio St. game. If the committee feels Mich as they currently stand is better than UCF there is no way a win gets them into the playoff) I can see UCF laying down a little bit and the Kings of the American Conference will be dethroned despite having a home field advantage in this one. Take Memphis +3 and the ml +145.
SEC Championship Alabama -13.5 v Georgia @Mercedes Benz Dome ATL ou63.5
Woof. This is one of those plays where my brain and my heart are at odds. I have Georgia +750 to win the title in a future, but my brain looks at this line and thinks “Wait, you’re telling me I can get ALABAMA at inside 14 points? TAKE IT YOU FUCKING IDIOT”. As much as I want the Dawgs to pull this one out, I just don’t see Kirby Smart out coaching Saban, Fromm out playing Tua, or UGA’s defense outplaying the Tides and I think all of those things would need to happen for Georgia to pull this one out. We know Saban loves to put his foot on your throat and watch the life drain from your eyes as he eats your soul to gain its power while looking younger at 60 than at 40. We know all those things, and they all point to Bama covering comfortably despite a hostile crowd in Atlanta. Take Bama -13.5. Yes this is a bit of a hedge pick for me but in reality they’re just head and shoulders better than every other team in the FBS.
Mountain West Championship Memphis @ Boise St -2.5 ou53
Listen, last time these 2 teams met I learned a valuable lesson that I had already known but clearly needed a refresher on. DO. NOT. BET. AGAINST. BOISE. ON. THE. BLUE. TURF. DON’T DO IT! JUST DON’T! now that the lesson has resonated with the readers, I don’t believe much analysis is necessary. Boise St goes back to back in the Mountain West, put -2.5 in the books.
ACC Championship Clemson -27.5 v Pittsburgh @Charlotte NC
PU. Man, the ACC really stinks this year huh? I would’ve been here for a Cuse rematch personally but the division gods couldn’t let us have that so here’s what we get instead. Clemson is a HEAVY public favorite right now, bet from a 23.5 open to 27.5 with 2 days to game day. 70% of the public is backing Clemson which isn’t enough to drive that much movement, meaning there is also some sharp money on Clemson. However as good as Clemson has been this year, they are only 6-6 ATS and have shown issues covering massive spreads in ACC games. I don’t love this game or this pick but I think the value is in Pitt +27.5.
BIG 10 Championship Ohio State -14 v. Northwestern @Lucas Oil Stadium ou61
I’m not sure if last week’s OSU Michigan game was more a Reuben Foster sized indictment of Harbaugh and Michigan or if OSU is actually good, but from everything I’ve seen this season I’m leaning more towards Michigan just stinks than OSU is actually good. A bad Purdue loss, an almost equally bad 1 point win against Maryland, and one of the worst defenses in the country has me out on OSU and Urban Meyer. Take Northwestern +14 and the ml +465. This team will get exposed and Urban might go straight from Lucas Oil to the hospital as he announces his retirement due to a made up illness.
Alright boys, that’s the slate. TL:DR for all you degenerates that don’t have the time to read 1500 words of the best gambling advice you’ve ever received:
App State -16.5, u58.5
Oklahoma -8 (smart money on the under but I refuse to put it on the record)
UAB Pick, o44
Memphis +3, Memphis +145
Boise State -2.5
Northwestern +14, Northwestern ml +465
We’re coming off a 7-3-1 week after posting 4-4-1 the week prior. These are all 1 unit plays but I reserve the right to change any of them to 2 on the twitter machine as well as add picks, you’ll just have to follow @Harry__Mac for the rest of the goods.