How to Bet the 2022 Championship Weekend Games

Blake Corum Michigan Wolverines v Ilinois Fighting Illini
Blake Corum #2 of the Michigan Wolverines tries to get around the tackle of Kendall Smith #7 of the Illinois Fighting Illini during the first half at Michigan Stadium. Gregory Shamus/Getty Images/AFP

The final College Football Playoff rankings will come out Sunday after conference championship weekend. Here are some betting tips for the various title games with odds from OddsTrader’s top online sportsbooks

Tough To Beat Teams Twice In One Season 

There’s an old cliché that NFL teams rarely beat another three times in one season. That’s very true but they obviously can only play three times if they are in the same division and then meet in the playoffs. We won’t get that in college football, but there are several regular-season rematches on tap in the conference title games. 

On Friday in the Pac-12 title game, No. 12 Utah takes on No. 4 USC with the Trojans as 3-point favorites. They will be in the playoff for the first time with a victory, and quarterback Caleb Williams has essentially already locked down the Heisman Trophy

Southern Cal’s lone loss was on Oct. 15 at Utah, a 43-42 thriller. Utes QB Cameron Rising threw for 415 yards, ran for three touchdowns and scampered up the middle for a go-ahead two-point conversion with 48 seconds left. Rising became the first Utah QB to throw for 400 yards since Brian Johnson had 417 against San Diego State in 2005.

Dalton Kincaid had 16 catches for 234 yards, the most for a Ute since Carl Harry had 255 yards in 1988 and the most catches and yards receiving for a Utah tight end. Williams threw for 381 yards and five touchdowns for Southern California.

All else equal, I generally favor the team that lost the first matchup when they play again.  

Be Clear On Location 

Home-field advantage is huge in college football, arguably bigger than in the NFL. Thus, it’s vital to understand which conference title games are at neutral sites and which are on a campus. The five Power 5 title games are all at neutral sites. So is the Mid-American title game featuring Toledo and Ohio (in Detroit).

But the Conference USA matchup between Fresno State and UTSA is in San Antonio – where the Roadrunners beat the Bulldogs earlier this year. The Sun Belt matchup between Coastal Carolina (which lost star QB Grayson McCall for the season a few weeks ago) and Troy is at Troy.

The AAC Championship is on Tulane’s home field as the Green Wave host Central Florida. Speaking of Tulane, be careful there as there are reports Coach Willie Fritz is close to leaving for Georgia Tech so that could be a huge distraction. 

Finally, the Mountain West title game between Fresno State and Boise State is on the blue turf of Boise, where the Broncos are incredibly tough to beat. 

What’s The Motivation?

Sure, all teams would like to win a conference championship. But how focused will Clemson be in the ACC title game vs. North Carolina in Charlotte? The Tigers expected to return to the College Football Playoff this season, but that dream ended in last week’s huge upset against South Carolina

Both Michigan and Georgia are heavy favorites against Purdue and LSU in the Big Ten and SEC title game, respectively, but both played in the same game last year and know they are in the playoff regardless of the result. Might the coaches rest any injured players with that knowledge? 

The Wolverines especially are worrisome at -16.5, as they come off their massive win at Ohio State in one of the biggest Big Ten games ever. Star running back Blake Corum barely played vs. the Buckeyes and I’d be willing to bet he doesn’t Saturday so he can get fully healthy for the national semifinals. 

Another note on Michigan: Backup quarterback Cade McNamara has entered the transfer portal as a graduate transfer – thus if starter JJ McCarthy is injured against the Boilers, that could pose a problem for Jim Harbaugh (although McNamara may not have been healthy enough to play regardless).  

Last year, McNamara led the Wolverines to their first Big Ten title Harbaugh and a berth in the College Football Playoff. In 14 games, he threw for 2,576 yards and 15 touchdowns with six interceptions. But he lost this year’s job early on to McCarthy. 

In the MAC title game, Ohio would seem to have the motivation edge against Toledo because the Bobcats haven’t won a league crown since 1968. Toledo is in this game often. The Rockets are 2-point favorites.

Expect Plenty of Blowouts

Don’t be surprised if there are plenty of blowouts this weekend.

Last year, just one conference title game saw a result by seven points or less: Baylor beating Oklahoma State 21-16 in the Big 12.

Championship Weekend Schedule

Conference USA Championship

North Texas (7-5) vs. UTSA (10-2)

Friday, December 2 – 07:30 PM EST

Alamodome – San Antonio

Pac-12 Championship 

Utah (9-3) vs. USC (11-1)

Friday, December 2 – 08:00 PM EST

Allegiant Stadium – Las Vegas

Big 12 Championship 

Kansas State (9-3) vs. TCU (12-0)

Saturday, December 3 – 12:00 PM EST

AT&T Stadium – Arlington, Texas

MAC Championship 

Toledo (7-5) vs. Ohio (9-3)

Saturday, December 3 – 12:00 PM EST

Ford Field – Detroit

Sun Belt Championship 

Coastal Carolina (9-2) vs. Troy (10-2)

Saturday, December 3 – 03:30 PM EST

Veterans Memorial Stadium – Troy, Alabama

SEC Championship 

LSU (9-3) vs. Georgia (12-0)

Saturday, December 3 – 04:00 PM EST

Mercedes-Benz Stadium – Atlanta

American Athletic Championship 

UCF (9-3) vs. Tulane (10-2)

Saturday, December 3 – 04:00 PM EST

Yulman Stadium – New Orleans

Mountain West Championship 

Fresno State (8-4) vs. Boise State (9-3)

Saturday, December 3 – 04:00 PM EST

Albertsons Stadium – Boise, Idaho

Big Ten Championship 

Purdue (8-4) vs. Michigan (12-0)

Saturday, December 3 – 08:00 PM EST

Lucas Oil Stadium – Indianapolis

ACC Championship 

Clemson (10-2) vs. North Carolina (9-3)

Saturday, December 3 – 08:00 PM EST

Bank of America Stadium – Charlotte is your sports betting command center. Read featured betting strategy compiled from a panel of leading sports betting experts.

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