Championship Weekend Early Value Picks: Clemson & Michigan to Secure Blowout Wins

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Alan Bowman #15 of the Michigan Wolverines celebrates a 19-17 win over the Illinois Fighting Illini with R.J. Moten #6. Gregory Shamus/Getty Images/AFP.

The best sportsbooks have released their NCAAF odds for this week’s college football action.

Two games, in particular, interest me as worth investing in; the ACC Championship between Clemson and North Carolina and the Big Ten Championship between Purdue and Michigan.

For reasons that I will explain, you should play the spread for both games at the best sportsbooks.

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Clemson Tigers vs. North Carolina Tar Heels

Saturday, December 3, 2022 – 08:00 PM EST at Bank of America Stadium

Superficial Reason to Like North Carolina

Optimistic Tar Heel supporters will point to the fact that Clemson's secondary has been, by far, the shakiest component of its defense this season.

In tandem with the hype surrounding quarterback Drake Maye, who ranks 4th nationally in both passing yards and passing touchdowns, they may seem to have a good case in favor of betting on the Tar Heels to cover the spread. However, it would be mistaken for a bettor to pin his hopes on Maye.

This is not simply a mistake because of Maye's most recent games; in terms of passer rating, he has suffered, by far, his worst performances of the season in his last 2 games.

This regression in statistical output is not merely a reflection of Maye's individual performance level. Maye cannot help it when his wide receivers drop passes and otherwise play worse than they have all season.

Clemson's Well-Prepared Defense

An investment in Maye cannot be justified, because of Clemson's well-prepared defense. Its issues in the secondary notwithstanding, Clemson is excellent at focusing on the opposing offense's strength.

When the Tigers faced Wake Forest, for example, they forced Wake Forest to be a run-first team. This was awkward for the Demon Deacons who had to win in a way that they are not used to winning.

It is true that the Demon Deacons still made a game of it; they lost by 6 in double overtime.

Never mind the fact that their quarterback was playing much better than Maye has been. When they had to, later in the game, they were able to run the ball. They thus had a counter with which they could punish Clemson's zealous attempt to make Wake Forest run first.

Conversely, Clemson handled NC State by 10 points because the Wolfpack lacked such a counter. NC State's rush offense is grossly anemic, and the Tigers were able to focus on limiting Wolfpack quarterback Devin Leary. Supported by all of 34 rushing yards on 21 carries, the Wolfpack failed to score enough points to cover the spread against Clemson.

North Carolina's Rush Attack

So, North Carolina will need to run the ball well while Clemson focuses on taking Maye away, which will be especially easy to do if North Carolina's pass attack continues to regress qualitatively.

The Tar Heel rush attack, though, misses the talent of previous seasons. North Carolina lacks a 1,000-yard rusher like Ty Chandler and this team certainly misses a prolific duo like speedster Michael Carter and Javonte Williams. Instead, Maye is, by a significant margin, their leading rusher.

Expect the usual, tiresome, quarterback draws to form a pitiful attempt at compensating for North Carolina's newfound lack of quality at the running back position with which the Tar Heels will pitifully attempt to make their offense multi-dimensional.

In its most recent games, North Carolina has lost to Georgia Tech and offensively anemic NC State largely because the Tar Heels struggled too heavily to score.

North Carolina's Defense

Grievously, the Tar Heels will need to score a lot in order to stay competitive.

Their atrocious defense makes it uniquely easy for opposing teams to cover the spread. Because I like the Tiger defense and because one cannot possibly like the Tar Heel defense, I think Clemson will win by double digits.

To be exact, UNC ranks 100th nationally in allowing just over 30 points per game.


The Pick

The Tar Heels mount minimal pressure on opposing quarterbacks. Their cornerbacks yield a tremendous cushion and still backpedal after the snap. They are soft and easily out-physical by the likes of NC State.

Clemson, with its well-sized offensive line from left tackle to right tackle, and led by running back Will Shipley who grows stronger and more efficient as a given game goes on, is plenty physical.

Its quarterback has received criticism. While he's struggled under pressure, UNC ranks near-bottom 127th nationally in sack rate.

He'll exploit North Carolina's soft zone to advance his team's two-dimensional offensive attack.

Remember that BMR offers betting guides in North Carolina, where you can find the best betting sites for all your needs.

NCAAF Pick: Clemson -7.5 (-110) at Bookmaker (visit our Bookmaker Review)

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Purdue Boilermakers vs. Michigan Wolverines

Saturday, December 3, 2022 - 08:00 PM EST at Lucas Oil Stadium

The Odds

According to the NCAAF odds, Michigan is favored by just over 2 touchdowns. Is this spread too disrespectful toward Purdue, especially given the fact that Purdue won the Big Ten West?

The Wolverines are actually not getting respected enough. They've won 6 of their last 7 games by 3 touchdowns or more. Most recently, they beat Ohio State by 22 points.

Purdue's Run Defense

Purdue's defense is not in good shape right now. Since upsetting Minnesota and edging Maryland, the run defense in particular has fallen off.

Most recently, the Boilermakers faced an Indiana team that ranks 120th nationally in rushing yards. Despite their awful ranking, the Hoosiers amassed 215 rushing yards against Purdue.

Performances like that of Indiana's rush attack are repeatedly common in recent Boilermaker outings.

Michigan's Rush Attack

Led by an electric duo at running back and one of the nation's best offensive lines as the reigning Joe Moore Award winner, Michigan ranks 6th nationally in rushing yards per game.

As they did in blowout wins over Penn State and Ohio State, the Wolverines will utilize their superior physicality to dominate a recently grossly problematic Boilermaker run defense.


The Pick

On offense, the Boilermakers will try to keep pace primarily through the air. Nationally, they rank 11th in pass-play percentage. But Michigan ranks second-best nationally at limiting the opponent's pass rating.

Even though he has future NFL studs featuring size, excellent athleticism, and a polished skill set at wide receiver, Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud struggled against Michigan. In that game, he suffered his second-to-worst passer rating of the season.

Michigan is well-stocked at cornerback with future NFL talents like D.J. Turner and plenty of quality depth to secure the team's prospects against the spread, pass-heavy offenses.

For your NCAAF picks, invest in a strong Michigan win.

For residents of the Great Lakes State looking to bet on this game, you can check out our top Michigan betting sites.

NCAAF Pick: Michigan -16.5 (-108) at Heritage Sports (visit our Heritage Sports Review)

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Michigan -16.5 (-108)
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*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.