We’re finally at Championship Week with all the conference titles games, so no more counting the week (For the math geeks, it’s Week 14, Week 15 if counting Week 0.), though there’s still the Army-Navy game to be played next Saturday.
We pretty much traded money over the holiday weekend as we went 2-2 ATS with a win Friday on Iowa +2.5 in a 13-10 minor upset at Nebraska, then another win in the Big Ten (guess my Midwestern roots paying off) with Northwestern +5.5 in a 45-43 upset of Illinois. We lost on Texas A&M +11 in a 42-30 loss vs. LSU and Arkansas State +2 in a 35-21 loss vs. Marshall.
For the season, we still stand at a respectable 26-22-2 (54.2%) for a net profit of 1.8/ units based on laying the standard -110.
Let’s get to the title games!
Conference USA Championship Game in Lynchburg, Va.
Friday, 7:00 p.m. ET
Friday’s schedule starts with this Conference USA matchup as undefeated Liberty (12-0) takes on New Mexico State (10-3). While Liberty certainly deserves to be favored, we think it’s important that while the Flames are 8-4 ATS, NMSU has been a better bet this season at 11-2 ATS and while the Aggies have won eight games in a row, they actually covered 10 straight.
Regular readers will recall that we’ve been on New Mexico State a couple of times this year and have been high on QB Diego Pavia (61.2%, 2,727 yards passing, 23 TDs, 8 INTs). The last game New Mexico State didn’t cover was as a 9.5-point road underdog at Liberty in a 33-17 loss way back on Sept. 9. This spread is higher, but we maintain the NMSU is certainly a better team now than the one Liberty faced in that first matchup and the line should be lower. We’ll take the inflated points.
MAC Championship Game in Detroit, Mich.
Saturday, 12:00 p.m. ET
Toledo is trying to defend its MAC title from last season (and also in Detroit’s Ford Field). The Rockets narrowly lost their season opener 30-28 at Illinois and then won their last 11 games. Just like the Conference USA title game, these teams met in the regular season with Toledo winning 21-17 and covering as a 2-point road favorite. But the dog still looks like value, especially considering that this line is now more than a touchdown. Like New Mexico State, Miami (OH) is also playing better since its head-to-head loss with four straight victories, including upsetting Ohio 30-16 as a 7.5-point road dog. All we’re asking is for Miami (OH) to stay within one score as it did in the first meeting.
Big Ten Championship Game in Indianapolis, Ind.
Saturday, 8:00 p.m. ET
Michigan is undefeated at 12-0, ranked No. 2 and trying to clinch a spot in the CFB Playoffs. These teams didn’t face off during the regular season (happens more often now with the Big “Ten” having 14 teams). The Wolverines are just 6-5-1 ATS and failed to cover in two of their November games vs. Purdue and Maryland, so they’re not always able to cover these inflated numbers. We all know Michigan’s offense is much better than Iowa’s, but the Hawkeyes rely on their defense to stay in all games, and we can’t pass up the three-TD head-start. Our only trepidation is that Michigan routed Iowa 42-3 in the Big Ten title game, but we still maintain that the Hawkeyes are the right side and just need a couple of stops to stay within the number.