Trends and Injuries to Keep In Mind Before Betting On Championship Weekend

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Beaux Collins #80 of the Clemson Tigers reacts following his touchdown reception during the second half of their game against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons. Lance King/Getty Images/AFP

It’s Champ Week, and the college football odds are even softer than before. These nuggets of information will help you take advantage. 

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This might have been the greatest college football regular season ever – from a betting standpoint. Our NCAAF picks here at the ranch have performed very well indeed, partly because of our own incremental improvements, but mostly because there’s just so much dead money floating around out there. 

There will be even more money to scoop up now that the postseason is here. Champ Week should provide us with some extra-soft college football lines to attack; before we do, here are four important factors to consider, focusing on betting trends and recent injuries that can help us make some informed decisions. 

Pac-12: Under Is 6-3 in the Last Nine Title Games 

The Utah Utes and USC Trojans are going at it this Friday (8:00 PM ET, FOX) in the Pac-12 Championship Game, and that Under looks very tasty indeed on the 68.5-point total at BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review). Even if they’ll be playing indoors in Las Vegas, the added defensive intensity that comes with the title game should help keep a lid on scoring. 

The sharps agree – or at least 64% of them do, according to the consensus reports at Bookmakers Review as we go to press. As a rule, casual bettors can be expected to bet the Over in general, and even more so when a public team like USC (Over 9-3) is out there slinging the ball around. 

We should also point out that the total was “only” 66 points when these same two teams met back in Week 7. Granted, that was outdoors in Salt Lake City, on a somewhat chilly mid-October evening, and the Over cashed in easily when Utah won 43-42. But we can blame some of that on the higher elevation making it easier to throw the football.

Sun Belt: No News on McCall 

Perhaps you’ve already checked out our Sun Belt Championship Game Preview for Saturday’s matchup between the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers and the Troy Trojans. Here’s an update of sorts: Chanticleers QB Grayson McCall is still iffy to play at press time after hurting his foot in Week 10. 

Unsurprisingly, the college football odds continue to march in Troy’s direction; they are now 8.5-point home faves at Heritage Sports (visit our Heritage Sports Review), with the consensus reports showing 78% support for the “real” Trojans. The vig on that 49-point total at BetOnline has also climbed from -105 to -115 if you want to pick the Under (100% consensus) as we did. 

Quarterbacks are obviously the most important players on the field, but this is the Sun Belt we’re dealing with here, so casual fans may not appreciate just how good McCall (176.1 passer rating) is, and how much of a downgrade there is from the two-time conference Player of the Year to his back-up, Jarrett Guest (92.2 passer rating). 

SEC: The Tigers Are 16-4-1 ATS Versus Top-10 Teams Since 2017 

Although we didn’t dig too deeply into the betting trends for our SEC Championship Game Preview, those trends do support putting LSU in your college football picks. 

You may already be aware that LSU is on a five-game ATS streak versus Georgia, but we wouldn’t put too much stock in that trend; those five games happened between 2009 and 2019, and besides, their 2013 matchup ended in a push at many sportsbooks. 

This trend is much more relevant to Saturday’s title game. In 2022 alone, the Tigers are 2-1 SU and ATS against Top-10 teams on the Associated Press poll, with victories over No. 7 Ole Miss (–1 away) in Week 8 and No. 6 Alabama (–13.5 away) in Week 10. 

ACC: No Beaux for Clemson 

This season is threatening to get away from Clemson (10-2 SU, 6-6 ATS). They’re just 3-2 SU and ATS since Week 8, taking the Tigers out of the College Football Playoff picture, and now they’ll be without WR Beaux Collins for the rest of the year. 

Wideouts are a somewhat fungible commodity in football, and Collins is one of six Tigers with at least 20 receptions this year, but he also leads the team with five TD catches. That’s despite missing two games with a separated shoulder that he re-aggravated in last week’s loss to South Carolina. 

The Under for Saturday’s game was already on our radar screens here at the ranch; there’s still a 63.5-point total on the board at Bovada (visit our Bovada Review) as I write this, but with Collins out of commission, and 97% consensus on the Under, that total could fall a bit between now and kick-off – unless those casual fans just keep pounding the Over anyway. Time your bets accordingly, and may the prolate spheroid be with you. 

*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.