NCAAF Championship Weekend Last Chance Value Picks: Looking at the Pac-12, MAC and AAC Battles

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Head coach Lincoln Riley of the USC Trojans reacts against the UCLA Bruins during the second quarter in the game at Rose Bowl on November 19, 2022 in Pasadena, California. Harry How/Getty Images/AFP

It is a great time of year for college football with it being Championship Week. Ten conferences will crown a champ and that legacy will live forever. (Or at least as the conference remains in business in this crazy landscape.)

We have studied the college football odds and landed on these three title tilts as having the greatest value for our NCAAF picks.

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Utah Utes vs. USC Trojans

Friday, December 2, 2022 – 08:00 PM EST at Allegiant Stadium

Preview

Though USC will be leaving the Pac-12, the powers that be have a rooting interest in this matchup. Since the College Football Playoffs started in 2014, only one Pac-12 team has made the Final Four and that was Washington in 2016.

The Trojans at 11-1 are on the cusp of doing so with a victory and they could not have asked for what seems like a tougher opponent.

USC knew their end-of-season schedule was a gauntlet and they have beaten UCLA and Notre Dame to get here. They expected to face Oregon, but the Ducks waddled with a three-touchdown lead against Oregon State to lose and Utah moved into the No. 2 spot. 

The Utes have given the Trojans their lone blemish, a 43-42 setback at Salt Lake City. Utah put together a 75-yard, 15-play drive for the touchdown with 18 seconds remaining. Coach Kyle Whittingham rolled the proverbial dice and went for two points and that won the game.

USC Speed Will Be the Difference

If USC reminds you of Oklahoma when Lincoln Riley was in Norman, you are correct. Riley assembled a cast of offensive players and a first-rate quarterback in Caleb Williams that is averaging 42.5 points a game.

The Utah defense has only allowed 20.1 PPG, but against teams that had speed, they only held Oregon to that number while permitting 42 to USC and UCLA and 29 to Florida.

The Men of Troy are far from stout defensively, yet they did contain opponents to 2.3 PPG lower than what they scored all season. The Utes have a great offense also at 39.4 PPG and they will put up points on the USC defense.

In the end, USC’s desire to win and advance will matter and they’ll make a couple of key stops on defense which will be the difference in them covering the NCAAF odds of three points and earning their revenge.

NCAAF Pick: USC -3 (+100) at Bovada (visit our Bovada Review)

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USC -3 (+100)
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Toledo Rockets vs. Ohio Bobcats

Saturday, December 3, 2022 – 01:00 PM EST at Ford Field

Preview

Despite an inferior overall record, Toledo at 7-5 is a 2-point favorite over 9-3 Ohio. Do the Rockets have a more complete roster than the Bobcats? A reasonable argument can be made that might be true, especially on defense.

Nonetheless, the most talented club doesn’t always win and current form certainly comes into play.

Toledo quickly wrapped up the MAC West with two games left and key rested players and lost to both Bowling Green and Western Michigan. They will enter this MAC showdown on a two-game losing streak and even worse versus betting expectations at 0-5 ATS since Oct. 22.

Ohio U. is on fire, they have won seven in a row with a boiling-hot offense and they finished MAC action 8-0 against the spread.

The Bobcats Have Important Edges

In common opponents this season, Toledo was 3-3 and 2-4 ATS, outscoring them by 4.7 PPG. Ohio was 5-1 and 6-0 ATS and outpointed those same foes by 12.8 PPG. The Rockets did outgain those foes by 65 YPG vs. just 21 YPG for the Bobcats, but games are decided on the scoreboard, not by yards.

One possibly lost element, though it seems obvious, is turnovers. Toledo has only had two clean games without a miscue and four with at least three. Seven times this season Ohio has generated two or more turnovers.

On the other side of the ball, the Bobcats have seven contests without a TO and only once had more than one. The Rockets had just two occasions of turning the opposition over more than once.

The wrong team is favored, Ohio will win its first MAC title since 1968!

Buckeyes interested in betting on this game should check out this Ohio betting sites guide.

NCAAF Pick: Ohio +2 (-110) at Bovada

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Ohio +2 (-110)
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UCF Knights vs. Tulane Green Wave

Saturday, November 26, 2022 – 04:00 PM ET at Yulman Stadium

Preview

We have another prior battle for a championship in the American Conference. Tulane’s magical season of 10-2 included posting a 7-1 mark in the AAC, with the lone setback to Central Florida, three short weeks ago.

UCF got the invite after Tulane knocked off Cincinnati in Ohio and almost blew their skirmish with South Florida, surviving after having a 31-7 lead, only to trail 39-38 with seven minutes in the game to come back to win. The Knights' two conference losses were stunners, routed by 21 points at East Carolina and taking the Navy for granted at home in a 17-14 shocker.

UFC should have confidence coming in having won the prior matchup 38-31 as a 1.5-point road underdog. The Knights’ No. 7 rush offense hung 343 yards on the ground against a Green Wave defense that had conceded just 127 YPG to that point.

Revenge, Emotion, and Home Crown Carry Tulane

Tulane’s running game is not as explosive as their counterparts, nonetheless, that appears where the AAC title will be determined. The team that has the most rushing yards and can keep the other offense off the field or force them to always play catch-up should win.

The adage "it’s hard to beat a college football team twice in a season" is true. It’s not that the previous winning squad doesn’t want to win again, it's just that the loser brings something extra.

Similar to TCU, this is a season for the ages at Tulane. They can win their first conference crown since 1998 and just their second since 1950. Tulane is also the only available club from the Group of 5 with a shot at a Super Six Bowl.

Motivation can only carry a team so far unless they play well, yet you know the Tulane players know UCF is headed to the Big 12, and what a way it would be to send them off.

Finally, keep this in mind; favorites of 3.5 to 10 points like the Green Wave revenging an upset loss as a home favorite, off a close win by seven points or less over a conference rival, are 40-14 ATS since 1992.

NCAAF Pick: Tulane -4 (-105) at Bovada

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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.