OddsUSA Top Five Prop Bets For The SEC Championship Game

There was going to be a lot on the line this weekend in the SEC Championship game. Not regarding Alabama, of course. Win or lose, they are more than likely going to make the College Football Playoffs. It is just a matter of being the No. 1 seed or the No. 4 seed.

It was Florida that had a lot on the line. With a win and a loss by Clemson/Notre Dame and a win over Alabama, they had an excellent chance of jumping into the playoff picture—but then they lost to LSU last weekend.

Consequently, the stakes will not be as high as they would have been. The odds were really against Florida winning, anyway. Bovada has them listed as 17.5-point underdogs. But with the explosive potential in the Gators’ offense, there is a chance Florida could keep it close.

So, betting on the winner may not be as cut and dry as it might seem—which makes putting money down on one of the many prop bets being offered at Bovada appealing:

If there is one thing fans can count on happening in the SEC title game this year, these two teams will score lots of points. Alabama has been averaging almost 50 points a game this season. Florida has averaged a little over 41.

Alabama’s defense is good, but it is unlikely the Crimson Tide shut down Kyle Trask. At the same time, the Florida defense is not bad, but it is certainly not good enough to shut down or maybe even slow down Mac Jones.

The official total for the game is 74.5, and it would be surprising if the over did not get covered. So, a better question may be just how high a total these teams could cover. It all depends on how well you think both offenses will perform.

Alabama is likely going to be good for their season average, if not more. Florida could exploit Alabama’s secondary and do the same. So, take anything the over on anything over 75 points; anything from 75-80 is probably safe. Anything over 80 is possible, but with an element of risk.

Best Prop Bet: OVER 75 (-105)

#1 Alabama Total Points (O/U)

Over 45.5 (-110)
Under 45.5 (-120)

Alabama has been averaging over 49 points a game this season, and there is little reason to think they can’t hit that mark against Florida this weekend. The Gators’ defense has not been bad this season, but it has not been good enough to slow down the Alabama offense.

If Texas A&M can gain over 500 yards of offense and score 41 points, Alabama can score more than 45.5. Take the over.

Best Prop Bet: OVER 45.5 points (-110)

#7 Florida Total Points (O/U)

Over 28.5 (EVEN)
Under 28.5 (-135)

Florida’s season average of 41.2 points/game makes the over seem like a no-brainer. But when you consider Alabama’s defense has allowed an average of just 16.8, the decision becomes a little more challenging. However, the Alabama defense is not great against the pass (57th), and Kyle Trask is the best quarterback in the nation not named Mac Jones.

Take the over.

Best Prop Bet: OVER 28.5 (EVEN)

‘Bama-Florida Winning Margin

Alabama By 1-6 Points (+600)
Florida By 1-6 Points (+900)

Alabama By 7-12 Points (+550)
Florida By 7-12 Points (+1800)

Alabama By 13-18 Points (+475)
Florida By 13-18 Points (+3000)

Alabama By 19-24 Points (+550)
Florida By 19-24 Points (+5000)

Alabama By 25-30 Points (+650)
Florida By 25-30 Points (+8000)

Alabama By 31-36 Points (+800)
Florida By 31-36 Points (+10000)

Alabama By 37-42 Points (+1400)
Florida By 37-42 Points (+10000)

Alabama By 43 Or More Points (+1000)
Florida By 43 Or More Points (+12500)

The only thing that could be more shocking than Florida’s loss to LSU last weekend would be the blowing out Alabama this weekend. More than likely, the game is going to be a high scoring but close affair with either Alabama or Florida winning by 1-6 points.

But is there a chance Alabama blows out Florida? Eh—yes, but not a great chance. Take Alabama to win by 1-6 points but put a little down on them to win by 13-18 points as well.  

Best Prop Bet: Alabama by 1-6 points (+600); Alabama by 13-18 points (+475)

Race To 40 Points

Florida (+1800)
Alabama (-220)
Neither (+205)

Alabama is the obvious choice for this one, but what if the game ends up being a back and forth affair. If that is the case, then there is an excellent chance Florida is the first to crack 40 points. Now, this wager is not one you want to bet the house on. But with those odds, it could very well be worth it to put a little down on Florida.

Best Prop Bet: Gators +1800

No. 5 Texas A&M Aggies at Tennessee Volunteers Betting Preview

Saturday, December 19, 2020, Neyland Stadium, Knoxville, Tennessee, noon ET

Aggies at Volunteers Betting Preview: Aggies  (-13.5), Volunteers (+13.5)

Aggies

No. 5 Texas A&M is in prime position to maintain pressure on the top four contenders in the hopes of securing a bid to the College Football Plaoff.

That adds a little extra to the regular-season finale at Tennessee.

“The goal for the end of the season is to finish, to keep doing what we have been doing, to keep pushing, to keep climbing and going over those stepping stones,” Aggies defensive lineman DeMarvin Leal said. “We have to figure out who we want to be and how great we want to be.”

With each of the top four teams also in action Saturday — including a head-to-head meeting between Nos. 2 and 3 Notre Dame and Clemson in the ACC championship — there’s certainly potential for the Aggies to reach CFP paydirt.

Still, A&M coach Jimbo Fisher has been diligent in keeping the Aggies (7-1, 7-1 Southeastern Conference), winners of six straight, focused solely on Tennessee. Save the speculation for later or scrap it altogether should the Aggies lose to the Volunteers, who snapped a six-game skid with last week’s 42-17 victory at in-state foe Vanderbilt.

“You control where you are going to go based on what you do,”  Fisher said. “Guys are either going to believe it or not. Our guys have done a great job doing that, eliminating the clutter and blocking it out.

“Those things are all poison since they don’t help you. What helps you is how you practice, play and prepare. It’s what it has to get down to, and I think we have done that all year, and, hopefully, we can do that one more time before the postseason.”

Aggies quarterback Kellen Mond enters the game needing four touchdown rushing or passing to set a school record for touchdowns responsible for. He has 90in his career — 70 passing and 20 passing. Johnny Manziel had a total of 93 rushing and passing.

Volunteers

Volunteers offensive lineman Trey Smith sees the game against Texas A&M as “an extremely big deal” with what is at stake for the Aggies.

“They’ll be coming in and playing with their best ‘A’’game to put on a great performance,” Smith said. “In the same breath, we have to come prepared because they’re one of the top five teams in the country. They’re a very talented group.”

Tennessee (3-6, 3-6 SEC) snapped its losing streak at six games with last week’s 42-17 victory over Vanderbilt. True freshman quarterback Harrison Bailey steered the win, finishing 14-for-18 passing for a career-best 207 yards and two touchdowns.

If Tennessee has hopes of prevailing in its fourth game against a top-five foe in 2020, containing Aggies running back Isaiah Spiller will be key.

Spiller has rushed for over 100 yards six times this season, going for 120 in the Aggies’ most recent contest, a 31-20 win at Auburn on Dec. 5.

“I feel like when we get the run game going, we are pretty hard to stop because then we can hit you with a pass,” Spiller said. “We are all-around a good team, but when our run game is going, we are pretty hard to stop.”

The Vols have surrendered an average of only 133.3 yards a game to opposing rushers. The Aggies have averaged just over 201 yards a game on the ground.

Aggies at Volunteers  Betting Pick for December 19, 2020

Both teams lost to Alabama (A&M 52-24 and Tennessee 48-17), but the Aggies have a 41-38 win over Florida while the Vols lost to the Gators 31-19. This will be just the fourth meeting between the two with the Vols holding a 2-1 series edge though the Aggies won the last meeting 45-38 in College Station in 2016. Tennessee’s wins came in the Cotton Bowl (38-7 on Jan. 1, 2006) and Gator Bowl (3-0 on Dec. 27, 1957).

Aggies at Volunteers Betting Pick:

Aggies 42, Volunteers 17

Aggies at Volunteers Best Bet for December 19, 2020

The Vols scored a season-high in their 42-17 win over winless Vanderbilt in their last outing.The Aggies beat the Commodores 17-12 to start the season. The Aggies have been over the 30-mark four times, the Vols three times but only once in their last seven games.

Aggies at Volunteers Best Bet:  OVER 51.5

Oregon Ducks vs. No. 13 USC Trojans Betting Preview

Friday, December 18, 2020, United Airlines Field at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Clemson, South Carolina, 8 p.m. ET

Ducks at Trojans Betting Preview: Ducks  (+3.5), Trojans (-3.5)

Ducks

Oregon and Southern California were the favorites to reach the title game when the Pac-12 got off to its delayed start, but the Ducks went through some twists and one final unexpected turn to get there.

The Ducks (3-2, 3-2 Pac-12) finished second in the Pac-12’s North Division behind Washington, but a COVID-19 spike in the Huskies’ program knocked them out of the title game early this week after Oregon’s game with Washington last weekend was canceled.

The Ducks were on pace to win the division title until dropping their last two games on the road, 41-38 to Oregon State and 21-17 to previously winless California.

“A lot of excitement about the opportunity, at the same time thoughts and prayers to everyone in Seattle,” said Ducks coach Mario Cristobal said, referring to the Huskies’ coronavirus outbreak. 

“You want to settle everything on the field … (this is) the solution (the Pac-12) could come up with.”

Oregon’s Tyler Shough is the conference’s top-rated passer, having completed 91 of 143 attempts (63.6 percent) for 1,389 yards and 11 touchdowns against four interceptions.

His favorite target is Jaylon Redd with 20 catches for 235 yards, but Johnny Johnson III is not far behind with 203 yards on 14 receptions.

The leading rusher is Travis Dye with 336 yards in the five games. 

Trojans

The Trojans (5-0, 5-0 Pac-12) assured themselves of the South Division title with their comeback win over UCLA last week, but it wasn’t until two days later they were able to start tweaking their game plan for Oregon.

“We control what we control, and that’s us,” USC coach Clay Helton said. “We’re just happy to be in this opportunity, and we’re going to make the most of it. We’re going to have a great plan, and we’re going to execute that plan because we’re going to do the things that we do well.”

The Trojans, who rallied from an 18-point deficit to defeat rival UCLA 43-38 last week, knew there was a possibility that Washington, which had the best record in the North, might not be able to play. Helton had his coaching staff prepare for the Huskies during the day and the Ducks at night.

USC’s first three opponents of the season — Arizona State, Arizona and Utah — were playing their 2020 openers when the Trojans lined up against them, so the staff is used to having limited game film to study.

“Not knowing who we’re going to play, I think our coaches make it easy on us,” said USC’s Amon-Ra St. Brown, who has a conference-leading 36 receptions. “I think it’s harder on them than it is on us. They’re making the game plan, doing all the hard work. If we listen to our coaches and go out there and do what they say, I think we’ll be fine.”

St. Brown’s 8-yard touchdown reception with 16 seconds remaining capped the comeback against UCLA, the third time this season the Trojans have rallied to win in the final seconds.

The Trojans might be without their leading rusher, Vavae Malepeai, who sprained his knee late against UCLA. Malepeai rushed for 110 yards and a touchdown in the rivalry game.

USC’s Kedon Slovis has thrown for a league-best 1,601 yards and 15 touchdowns, including five against the Bruins. He is 149-of-212 passing (70.3 percent) on the season.

Ducks at Trojans  Betting Pick for December 18, 2020

Despite the abbreviated Pac-12 schedule, the Ducks and Trojans have had two common opponents this season, The Ducks beat Washington State 43-29 and UCLA 38-35 and the Trojans beat the Cougars 38-13 and Bruins 43-38 their last two outings.

Ducks at Trojans Betting Pick:

 Trojans 35, Ducks 31

Ducks at Trojans Best Bet for December 18, 2020

The Ducks won the most recent meeting 66-24 but Justin Herbert, who threw three touchdown passes in that game, won’t be around for the Ducks for this one. The Ducks are coming off a season scoring low in a 21-17 loss to California their last game while the Trojans notched a season high in a 43-38 comeback win over UCLA their last outing.

Ducks at Trojans Best Bet: OVER 62

OddsUSA Top Five Prop Bets For The Big-12 Championship Game

For much of the season, it looked like Big 12 fans were not going to see Oklahoma reign supreme once again. After the early loss to Kansas State, there was still hope. But when they followed that up with a loss to Iowa State, it looked like they did not have a chance.

But losses by Oklahoma State to Texas and the Sooners opened the door back up. Oklahoma was more than happy to walk right through it.

However, while the Sooners are playing in the game, they are far from a lock to win it. After all, they are facing a team that beat them this season. So, then how come Oklahoma is favored by 5.5? Probably because of the maturation of Sooners quarterback Spencer Rattler.

Rattler is a much better quarterback now than he was then, which means this game will be a tough one to call and making the prop bets more appealing (odds via Bovada.lv):

Total Points O/U – Iowa State (#16)

Over 26.5 -115

Under 26.5 -115

The Cyclones averaged 34 points a game this season and scored over 30 in every conference win but one this season (they scored just 23 against Texas). If Brock Purdy can throw as he has been for the last five games (which will help open up running lanes for Breece Hall), it is not hard to see them covering the over.

Oklahoma’s defense is good overall, but it is weakest against the pass. Brock Purdy struggled against the Sooner defense last time, but he struggled against everyone early in the year. He will lead the Cyclones to more than 26.5 points—take the over.

Total Points O/U – Oklahoma (#10)

Over 30.5 -135

Under 30.5 Even

The only thing that seemed to hold Spencer Rattler and the Oklahoma offense back early on was their turnover problem. But even then, they still managed to score some points. Iowa State has a good defense, but not so good that they will stop the Sooners altogether.

Iowa State may slow them down, but Oklahoma will still score 30+ points in this game. Take the over.

Points Range

Between 0 And 20 +6600

Between 21 And 30 +2800

Between 31 And 40 +825

Between 41 And 50 +425

Between 51 And 60 +275

Between 61 And 70 +365

71 And Over +315

Big 12 games are known for lots of points and little to no defense being played. Both Oklahoma and Iowa State do have decent defenses, but neither is great against the pass. While the stats say they are strong against the run, that ranking could be influenced by their struggles against the pass.

What does that mean? It means there is a case to be made for this game not to be a high scoring contest—but it is not a strong case. This game will not be a shootout, but there will be some points on the board.

The official total at Bovada.lv is 58.0. But it would not be shocking to see both teams score in the 30s again in this game. Going with between 51 and 60 would be the safest bet but take between 61 and 70 instead.

If you feel like hedging your bet a little, consider putting something down on 71 and over, too.

Race To 25

Iowa State (#16) +230

Oklahoma (#10) -145

Neither +475

This is a Big 12 game, so fans can likely count on at least 25 points being scored by one of the two teams. With the explosive potential in the Oklahoma offense, it is more likely the Sooners reach 25 points before the Cyclones do.

First Team To Score

Oklahoma (#10) -135

Iowa State (#16) +105

There is a chance that Iowa State could be the first to score, but they will probably lean on Breece Hall early on. While the Sooners defense will not stop him altogether, they will slow him down early and keep Iowa State off the board for a couple of drives (at least).

But with Oklahoma’s ability to score quickly via the passing game, the Sooners will probably be the first team to score.

Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns at No. 12 Coastal Carolina Chanticleers Betting Preview

Saturday, December 19, 2020, Brooks Stadium, Conway, South Carolina, 3:30 p.m. ET

Ragin’ Cajuns at Chanticleers Betting Preview: Ragin’ Cajuns  (+3.5), Chanticleers (–3.5)

Ragin’ Cajuns

No. 19 Louisiana (9-1, 7-1 Sun Belt) has demonstrated a knack for winning close games on its way to a third-consecutive Sun Best West Division title, winning four of five games decided by five points or fewer.

“Each week that’s kind of what’s consumed us, is coming up with plans for improvement,” Ragin’ Cajuns coach Billy Napier said. “We played that game, we learned from that game and we moved forward after that game. I think we’ve been focused on improvement since then.”

The one setback, however, was a three-point loss to East champ Coastal Carolina.

“They’ve got a very consistent team,” Napier said of the Chanticleers. “They haven’t had a lot of injuries. They’ve had a lot of continuity in terms of the players that play in the game.”

Napier’s Cajuns have developed numerous reliable players in terms of production. Levi Mitchell has averaged 212.8 yards a game passing with eight different players reaching double figures in receptions.

Elijah Mitchell (751 yards) and Trey Ragas (660) have been the primary runners, but Chris Smith (332 yards) has provided a change of place option in the running game.

“I think each week’s been a little bit different, different personnel available, different variables, different matchups,” Napier said. “The big thing is we’ve found ways to win, and certainly we’ve been consumed with improving.”

The Cajuns will have a key defensive player ready this week.

Linebacker Ferrod Gardner, the team’s second-leading tackler behind linebacker Lorenzo McCaskill, didn’t play in the first matchup with Coastal Carolina. Gardner has 66 tackles that include 3.5 sacks.

Chanticleers

No. 12 Coastal Carolina also has been involved in a couple of thrilling finishes the past two weeks, stopping BYU a yard short of a game-turning touchdown on the final play to hold on for a 22-17 win, then scoring a last-minute touchdown to win at Troy 42-38.

The win over the Trojans gave the Chanticleers (11-0, 8-0 Sun Belt) their first undefeated regular season going into their first title game appearance and also made them the only team in the country with more than 10 wins.

“Our team has played well all year long and earned an opportunity to obviously host it, and one that our team is looking forward to,” Coastal Carolina coach Jamey Chadwell said of the Sun Belt title game. “We know that we have our work cut out for us.”

Grayson McCall has thrown for two or more touchdowns in eight of the 10 games he has played this season for the Chanticleers, and CJ. Marable has scored at least one touchdown in each of the last 10 games.

The Chanticleers won the regular-season meeting between the two, but Chadwell thinks the Ragin’ Cajuns have kept on developing as the season has gone on behind Lewis at quarterback.

“The thing that’s happened is they’ve gotten better and better, the receivers have gotten better and better since we played them in early October,” Chadwell said. “We’re going to have to do some different things to try to not allow him to beat us with his feet, and that’s where he really gave us issues that time.”

The title game is sold out, though the current capacity at Coastal Carolina’s Brooks Stadium is less than usual due to the pandemic.

“We’ve had great electricity here, so we’re thankful we don’t have to travel and thankful for having it here,” Chadwell said. “I think that is a benefit, especially with us playing this past weekend and them sitting at home. I don’t know how much of an advantage it is …it’s about the team that’s most rested and ready to go preparation wise.”

Ragin’ Cajuns at Chanticleers  Betting Pick for December 19, 2020

These two teams met in October in Lafayette with the Chanticleers emerging with a 30-27 win on Massimo Biscardi’s 40-yard field goal with four seconds remaining. McCall was 17 of 24 passing for 204 yards and two touchdowns and Marable and Reese White combined to rush for 146 yards for the Chanticleers while Lewis completed 15 of 25 passes for only 177 yards with a touchdown and interception and rushed for a team-best 84 and another touchdown for the Cajuns.

Ragin’ Cajuns at Chanticleers Betting Pick:

Chanticleers 24, Ragin’ Cajuns 21

Ragin’ Cajuns at Chanticleers Best Bet for December 19, 2020

The Chanticleers have averaged nearly 38 points a game for the season but have been over the 40-point mark twice in their last three games (49-14 over Texas State and 42-38 over Troy) with t a 22-17  win over BYU in between. The Cajuns also have averaged in the 30s (33.9 per game) and hit a season-high in a 70-20 romp past instate rival Louisiana-Monroe to end November.

Ragin’ Cajuns at Chanticleers Best Bet: UNDER 55

No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide vs. No. 7 Florida Gators Betting Preview

Saturday, December 19, 2020, Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, Georgia. 8:10 p.m. ET

Crimson Tide vs. Gators Betting Preview: Crimson Tide (-17), Gators (+17)

Crimson Tide

Alabama’s Mac Jones enters the Southeastern Conference Championship Game as a strong Heisman Trophy contender despite a low-key performance (208 yards passing, no scores) in a 52-3 rout at Arkansas last week,

Jones’ numbers this season are video-game quality: 3,321 yards passing, 76.4 completion percentage, 27 touchdowns, three interceptions. They are a major reason for the overwhelming success of the No. 1 Crimson Tide (10-0, 10-0 SEC), whose closest game has been a 63-48 win at Ole Miss.

They have averaged nearly 50 points a game (49.5) while holding their opponents to under 17 (16.8).

While a cynic might say that throwing to the likes of DeVonta Smith and John Metchie — and handing off to Najee Harris — could make any quarterback productive, the fact is that the Tua Tagovailoa-led offense from last year has skipped zero beats with Jones running it.

The moniker “game manager” has been used to describe Jones, and he doesn’t disagree with it.

“Nothing is really offensive about it,” he told al.com. “I mean, I try to manage the game. It’s kind of my job to do that. Honestly, I have a lot of great players around me, so that’s my job – to get them the ball.”

Smith (83 catches, 1,327 yards, 15 touchdowns) and Metchie (40-720-6) have more than made up for the absence of big-play threat Jaylen Waddle, who was averaging 140 yards per game before suffering a season-ending injury while returning the opening kickoff Oct. 24 at Tennessee.

The Tide enters the title game averaging 49.5 points and 537.8 yards per game, No. 3 and No. 5 in the nation, respectively.

Harris has averaged 108.4 yards a game rushing with 22 touchdowns. He also has 27 receptions for 249 yards.

Gators

Marco Wilson’s thrown shoe was as much metaphor as cause.

Florida’s hopes of qualifying for the College Football Playoff were in peril before the defensive back heaved opposing tight end Kole Taylor’s footwear 20 yards downfield to celebrate a third-down stop late last week against heavy underdog LSU.

The ensuing 15-yard penalty kept alive a drive that ended in a 57-yard field goal with 23 seconds left and snapped a 34-34 tie. When the Gators’ Evan McPherson’s 51-yard field-goal attempt sailed wide as time expired, so had the Gators’ chances of playing for a national title with the 37-34 loss.

Without the national title in sight, the No. 7 Gators (8-2, 8-2 SEC) have to match up with top-ranked Alabama (10-0, 10-0 SEC) for the conference crown.

While keyboard jockeys and social media warriors heaped blame on Wilson, his teammates saw turnovers and shaky defense as the deciding factors in the loss. Florida offset 609 yards of offense with three crucial turnovers, including a pick-six, and gave up 418 yards to a team using its backup quarterback.

“Turning the ball over that many times, it’s hard to win games,” Florida quarterback Kyle Trask said. “I take full responsibility. I just got to play cleaner. It’s not the way you want to go out as your last home game in the Swamp.”

For the Gators to have a chance at beating the Crimson Tide, Trask will have to eliminate the turnovers and play perhaps his best game. He threw his 40th touchdown pass of the season in his 10th game last week to surpass Danny Wuerffel’s single-season school record for touchdown passes.

Trask, who passed for an average of 377..7 yards a game, will have Kyle Pitts, perhaps the nation’s top tight end, back as a target this week. Pitts sat out the LSU game with an undisclosed injury. He has 36 catches for 641 yards and a team-high 11 touchdowns in his seven appearances.

Crimson Tide vs. Gators  Betting Pick for December 19, 2020

Two recent scores against a common opponent bear heavily in the Tide’s favor. The Tide romped past LSU 55-17 in Tiger Stadium just a week before LSU beat Florida 37-34 in Gainesville.

Crimson Tide vs. Gators Betting Pick:

 Crimson Tide 48, Gators 31

Crimson Tide vs. Gators Best Bet for December 19, 2020

The Tide is coming off a pair of 50-point performances in wins over LSU (55-17) and Arkansas (52-3) the last two weeks, giving them five games with at least 52 points. The Gators have shown they can score as well with 42.2 per game scoring average, but they also have given up some big numbers, like 41 in a loss at Texas A&M  and 35 in a win over Arkansas in addition to the 37 surrendered last week to a freshman LSU quarterback.

Crimson Tide vs. Gators Best Bet: OVER 74.5

No. 2 Notre Dame Fighting Irish at No. 3 Clemson Tigers Betting Preview

Saturday, December 19, 2020, Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, North Carolina, 4 p.m. ET

Fighting Irish at Tigers Betting Preview: Fighting Irish  (+10.5), Tigers (-10.5)

Fighting Irish

The possibility exists that both No. 2 Notre Dame and No. 3 Clemson could both make the College Football Playoff regardless of the outcome of Saturday’s Atlantic Coast Conference Championship Game, but neither wants to take that chance.

“We’ve got our hands full focusing on this ACC Championship,” Fighting Irish coach  Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said. “The playoffs take care of themselves. We can’t control that.

“Do our players understand that if they win they’re going to be in the Playoffs? Sure, they get that. But we’re wired to think we’re going to win the football game.”

The Fighting Irish (10-0, 9-0 ACC) found considerable success with the run against Clemson the first time around, amassing 208 yards, including 140 yards and three touchdowns from Kyren Williams.

For the season, the Irish have averaged 235 yards a game rushing with Williams accounting for 101.1 of that total.

Quarterback Ian Book is next on the list with 46.5 a game rushing to go with his 238.2 passing. Book is an adept scrambler — the Irish have given up only 17 sacks –and has completed 63.3 percent of his passes with 15 going for touchdowns against only two interceptions.

“This kid is a great player,” Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said. “He’s got a bit of magic to him, can do it all. He’s the heart and soul — he makes them go. He’s a problem. We didn’t do a very good job against him. For us to win the game, we’ve got to affect him and not let him get comfortable. He’s tough. He’s as good a runner as you’re going to see.”

Book’s top two targets are Javon McKinley (37 catches, 660 yards) and Michael Mayer (30-337). Williams is a factor in the passing game as well. His 24 receptions are third on the team.

Tigers

Clemson is bidding for not only its sixth consecutive ACC title, but its sixth consecutive trip to the playoff as well. The Tigers (9-1, 8-1 ACC) have claimed two national titles in that span.

Their hopes in the rematch with the Irish are buoyed by the return of several key players, including quarterback Trevor Lawrence. Lawrence missed the first Notre Dame game while continuing his recovery protocol from COVID-19.

Freshman D.J. Uiagalelei performed admirably in Lawrence’s stead, but Lawrence’s absence was noticeable at times.

“There are a lot of great players out there, but none like this guy,” Swinney said of Lawrence. “He’s the total package. The guy’s a winner.”

In Lawrence and Notre Dame’s Book, fans will be treated to the winningest quarterbacks in the histories of their storied programs. Lawrence is 33-1 in his career as a starter at Clemson. Book is 30-3 at Notre Dame.

Still, the ability to run the ball effectively looms large and may hold the key for both teams in the rematch.

Notre Dame throttled Clemson on Nov. 7, holding the Tigers to a season-low 34 yards rushing and standout running Travis Etienne to a career-low 28 yards.

“Bottom line, we’ve got to play better up front,” Swinney said.

Etienne, the ACC’s all-time career rushing leader, presents multiple challenges. He already has caught 41 passes for 512 yards this season.

“You have to know where he is,” Notre Dame’s Kelly said. “It’s a team defensive effort and we’re going to have to have a similar one. He’s an explosive player that we have such great respect for. When you put your game plan together, the first thing you think of is how you’re going to slow him down.”

Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables is hopeful that top linebacker James Skalski, who missed the first game against the Fighting Irish, will be back in the lineup as well as top defensive tackle Tyler Davis.

Skalski has been dealing with a groin injury that has limited him to seven games. His primary backup, Jake Venables (son of the defensive coordinator) is out with a broken arm. Davis has been limited to just five games after injuring his knee in the opener and later injuring his ankle.

Fighting Irish at Tigers  Betting Pick for December 19, 2020

The Irish won the regular-season meeting 47-40 in two overtimes, but the Tigers were without Lawrence. Still, Lawrence’s backup, Uiagaleilei, passed for 439 yards and two touchdowns in that game, but the Tigers gave up 310 passing yards to Book and 140 on the ground to Williams as the Irish outgained the Tigers 518-473 in total offense.

Fighting Irish at Tigers Betting Pick:

 Tigrers 38, Fighting Irish 28

Fighting Irish at Tigers Best Bet for December 19, 2020

The two teams ended up with 87 combined points in double-overtime in the first meeting after playing to a 33-33 tie at the end of regulation. The Irish have scored at least 45 points in three of their last four games and four of their last six while the Tigers have had at least 40 points in eight games.

Fighting Irish at Tigers Best Bet: OVER 60.5

No. 4 Ohio State Buckeyes vs. No. 14 Northwestern Wildcats Betting Preview

Saturday, December 19, 2020, Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, Indiana, noon  ET

Buckeyes vs. Wildcats Betting Preview: Buckeyes  (-20.5), Wildcats (+20.5)

Buckeyes

No. 9 Ohio State is playing for more than just its fourth straight Big Ten title.

The Buckeyes (5-0, 5-0 Big Ten) are looking to cement their spot in the College Football Playoff despite critics contending they haven’t played enough games and weren’t impressive when they did play.

“Like I’ve been telling a lot of my teammates, we have to blow them out,” Ohio State cornerback Shaun Wade said. “We have to come to play. … We have to show the world what we can do.”

The Buckeyes have had three of their last five games postponed due to COVID-19 issues, including last week’s game against Michigan. Day said he expects most of the 23 players who missed the Dec. 5 game at Michigan State because of COVID-19, injuries or other illnesses to be cleared to play against Northwestern.

The cancellation of the game against Michigan left Ohio State one game short of the minimum six the conference declared would be needed to play in the championship game, but the league then relented and gave the Buckeyes a waiver.

They were the only undefeated team in the conference and notched a 42-35 win over second-place Indiana in the East Division. The Buckeyes have played only once since the win over the Hoosiers on Nov. 21, routing Michigan State on Dec. 5.

Justin Fields has been the leader for the Buckeyes. Fields is 107-for-137 (78.1 percent) passing for 1,407 yards and 15 touchdowns this season, with three interceptions. All the picks came in the win over Indiana.

“The way that he carries himself, the way he leads that offense and the team, he makes such great decisions with the ball,” Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald said.

A win over Northwestern should earn the Buckeyes a shot at their first national championship since 2014.

“This team can play with anybody in the country,” Day said. “To go undefeated and win the Big Ten championship, that speaks for itself.”

Wildcats

No. 14 Northwestern (6-1, 6-1) knows the odds are against it, just as they were in the 2018 conference title game, which the Buckeyes won 45-24. But this is a different group of Wildcats.

“I think last time we had the approach of we were happy to win the West,” Wildcats receiver Riley Lees said. “But I think our goals have superseded that, and our expectation now is to win the Big Ten championship, and that’s going to be our mindset going into this game.”

Ohio State is fourth nationally in scoring average at 46.6 points per game. The Wildcats want to keep that offense off the field by using drives like the 17-play, 64-yard march guided by quarterback Peyton Ramsey in the team’s 28-10 victory over Illinois last week. Cam Porter capped that long drive with a 2-yard touchdown run.

“Peyton Ramsey’s given them a shot in the arm,” Ohio State coach Ryan Day said. “They’ve controlled the football, they’re smart and they really don’t turn the ball over. So, when you do that, you’ve got to really be on your game. They’re not going to give you anything.”

Northwestern averages 25.3 points per game to rank 90th of 127 schools. Ramsey has passed for an average of just 174 yards a game passing but the Wildcats have used crew of running backs — Drake Anderson, Isaiah Bowser, and Evan Hulls all have over 200 yards — to rush for just over 170 yards a game.

Defense is what really gets it done for the Wildcats. They have held opponents to just 14.6 points and 313.9 yards a game in total offense. They have allowed just  121.9 yards a game rushing.

“It’s very hard to run the ball on them, and they keep it all in front of them,” Day said. “They force you to work down the field.”

Buckeyes vs. Wildcats  Betting Pick for December 19, 2020

The two teams are meeting for the third time in the last two years with the Buckeyes winning the 2018 Big Ten title game 45-24 and romping 52-3 in the regular season in 2019. They have two common opponents this season with the Buckeyes routing Nebraska 52-17 and Michigan State 52-19. The Wildcats beat the Cornhuskers 21-13 but lost to the Spartans 29-20.

Buckeyes vs. Wildcats  Betting Pick:

Buckeyes 45, Wildcats 17

Buckeyes vs. Wildcats Best Bet for December 19, 2020

Both teams are solid defensively with the Wildcats holding their seven opponents to just 14.6 points a game and the Buckeyes giving up only 23.2 in their five outings. The big difference is on offense where the Wildcats have averaged 25.3 points a game to Ohio State’s 46.6.

Buckeyes vs. Wildcats  Best Bet: OVER 57.5

No. 6 Iowa State Cyclones vs. No. 10 Oklahoma Sooners Betting Preview

Saturday, December 19, 2020, AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas, noon ET

Cyclones vs. Sooners Betting Preview: Cyclones  (+5.5), Sooners (-5.5)

Cyclones

Iowa State (8-2, 8-1 Big 12) is riding a five-game winning streak with quarterback Brock Purdy playing his best of late. Since throwing three first-half interceptions against Baylor in early November, Purdy has been spectacular, throwing for 903 yards and 10 touchdowns without an interception the last three-plus games.

For the season he has passed for an average of just over 227 yards a game. His high was 312 yards in a 23-20 win over Texas on Nov. 27.

The Cyclones haven’t won a football conference title since 1912 and have never won one outright. They tied Nebraska that year.

But Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley wants to be sure this game isn’t painted as David vs. Goliath.

“This isn’t some Rudy story,” Riley said. “This is not they’re just finding a way with bad players. They have good players, and they have had good players.

“They combine good players, good scheme and good coaches, and you’re gonna, a lot of times, have a good result.”

When coach Matt Campbell arrived at Iowa State in 2016, the Cyclones hadn’t had a winning season in six years and hadn’t won at least eight games since they won nine in 2000.

But Campbell said he doesn’t see this game as an endpoint or pinnacle even though it will be the biggest game in Cyclones’ history.

“From my end, I never put a number on it or a finality to it,” Campbell said. “I think the reality was that where we were when we got here … is trying to hammer away at the things that we could control (and) hopefully allowing those things that we could control manifest into developing a consistent, competitive football program.”

Sooners

Oklahoma has been the unquestioned top dog in the Big 12 since Riley’s arrival as offensive coordinator in 2015.

During Riley’s tenure with the Sooners, which includes a move up to head coach starting with the 2017 season, Oklahoma has won five consecutive Big 12 championships, and has a chance to win a sixth when the No. 10 Sooners (7-2, 6-2 Big 12) face Iowa State.

The Sooners have won six consecutive games since losing 37-30 at Iowa State on Oct. 3.

Quarterback Spencer Rattler has been a force for the Sooners’ improvement since an 0-2 start in Big 12 play threatened to end Oklahoma’s run of conference titles. He has completed 68.5 percent of his passes for an average of 279.1 yards a game.

“He’s still being the aggressive player that we want him to be but certainly has done a good job here the last several games of not making very many mistakes or putting our team or our offense in bad situations,” Riley said.

While Rattler’s growth has been a boost for the Sooners, another has been the additions of running back Rhamondre Stevenson and defensive end Ronnie Perkins. Each served six-game suspensions because of a failed drug test last year. The suspensions ended in late October.

Iowa State’s Campbell said the Sooners are a much different team elsewhere than they were more than two months ago.

“A very young team that was extremely talented that has grown into what you’ve seen from Oklahoma year after year,” Campbell said. “And that’s a dynamic football team.”

Stevenson has rushed for 382 yards in his four games and Perkins has eight tackles for loss with four sacks in his limited time.

Cyclones vs. Sooners  Betting Pick for December 19, 2020

Iowa State won the regular-season meeting 29-20, which also happens to be the last time the Sooners have lost. Purdy passed for 254 yards and a touchdown and Breece Hall rushed for 139 yards and two scores for the Cyclones in their win while Rattler passed for 300 yards and two touchdowns for the Sooners.

Cyclones vs. Sooners Betting Pick:

Sooners 38, Cyclones 28

Cyclones vs. Sooners Best Bet for December 19, 2020

The Sooners have averaged 46.7 points an outing in their six-game winning streak despite a season-low in their 27-14 win over Baylor in their last game on Dec. 5. The Cyclones beat Baylor 38-31 on Nov. 7 and pinned a 42-6 loss on West Virginia in their last outing.

Cyclones vs. Sooners Best Bet: OVER 58

No. 23 Tulsa Golden Hurricane at No. 9 Cincinnati Bearcats Betting Preview

Saturday, December 19, 2020, Nipper Stadium, Cincinnati, Ohio, 8 p.m. ET

Golden Hurricane at Bearcats Betting Preview: Golden Hurricane  (+14.5), Bearcats (-14.5)

Golden Hurricane

No. 23 Tulsa enters the American Athletic Conference with some momentum after winning six consecutive game following its opening loss at Oklahoma State.

The Golden Hurricane (6-1, 6-0 AAC) clinched their berth with a 19-6 win over Navy on Dec. 5. That victory will allow them the opportunity to compete for a championship for the first time since 2012.

The Golden Hurricane lost an opportunity to host the league title game when their regularly scheduled game against the Bearcats was canceled last week. The conference awarded the Bearcats home field because of their higher spot in the College Football Playoff rankings. The two teams also had been scheduled to meet in October.

“I know our guys were excited to play them early in the year,” Golden Hurricane coach Philip Montgomery told the Tulsa World. “They were excited to play them this past weekend. We’re finally going to get that opportunity to do that.”

League coaches picked Tulsa to finish ninth in the conference in a preseason poll, but the Hurricane got rolling with a 34-26 win at UCF after their opening 16-7 loss to Oklahoma State and have kept on since.

The win over the Knights was the first of four comeback wins for the Hurricane this season. They were down 23-5 late n the first half at UCF and trailed 17-3 at the half of their eventual 34-30 win over East Carolina. They were down 21-0 early against SMU and 24-7 at the half before rallying for a 28-24 win over the Mustangs, and they were down 14 points late in the third quarter against Tulane before pulling out the 30-24 win in overtime.

Zach Smith has been the leader on offense. In 19 career games he has passed for 4,713 yards and 30 touchdowns with 1,414 yards and 11 touchdowns coming in the seven games of this season.

Zaven Collins leads the defense. He was a unanimous pick of the conference coaches for AAC Defensive Player of the Year after recording 51 tackles with 11.5 for losses with four sacks and four interceptions.

Bearcats

No. 9 Cincinnati’s drop in the latest CFP rankings from what was a No. 7 place just a couple of weeks ago pretty much puts the Bearcats (8-0, 6-0  AAC) out of contention for a spot in the four-team playoff field, but they do remain the leader for a berth in one of the prestigious New Year’s Six bowl games.

The Bearcats are three spots ahead of undefeated Coastal Carolina in the rankings among teams from Group of Five conferences as they prepare to play their first game since a 36-33 victory at UCF on Nov. 21.

“I think we’re in pretty good shape, in a good place right now,” Cincinnati coach Luke Fickell said. “We’re getting through some minor things that come along with being off for 14, 15, 16 days or so. Other than that I think we should hopefully by Saturday be in good shape with just about everybody.”

Fickell (Coach of the Year) and Cincinnati quarterback Desmond Ridder (Offensive Player of the Year) were among those selected for 2020 AAC Awards this week. 

Ridder became the first Bearcat to earn the honor since running back Isaiah Pead in 2011. He has passed for 1,821 yards and 16 touchdowns this season and also has rushed for 526 yards and 11 scores.

But he threw for just 172 yards and added 23 on the ground in Cincinnati’s 24-13 win over Tulsa last season.

Gerrid Doaks had three touchdowns (two rushing, one receiving) in that game for the Bearcats. He has nine scores (seven rushing, two receiving) this season and leads the team in rushing with 660 yards.

Golden Hurricane at Bearcats  Betting Pick for December 19, 2020

Among common opponents, Cincinnati posted a 38-33 win at UCF in its last game and Tulsa rallied to be the Knights 34-26) back on Oct. 3. Cincinnati whipped South Florida 28-7 and East Carolina 55-17, and Tulsa handled South Florida 42-13 and East Carolina 34-30. The Bearcats also cruised past SMU 42-13 and the Hurricane had to overcome a 21-point deficit to win 28-24.

Golden Hurricane at Bearcats Betting Pick:

Bearcats 28, Golden Hurricane 24

Golden Hurricane at Bearcats Best Bet for December 19, 2020

Cincinnati has won six of the last seven meetings with Tulsa, a stretch that includes a 24-13 win in Nippert Stadium last year. The two previous meetings were much higher scoring affairs with the Hurricane winning 40-47 in overtime in 2016 and the Bearcats winning 49-38 in 2015.

Golden Hurricane at Bearcats Best Bet: OVER 45.5

No. 24 San Jose State Spartans vs. Boise State Broncos Betting Preview

Saturday, December 19, 2020, Sam Boyd Stadium, Las Vegas, Nevada, 4:15 p.m., ET

Spartans vs. Broncos Betting Preview: Spartans  (+6.5), Broncos (-6.5)

Spartans

No. 25 San Jose State will be making the program’s first appearance in a conference championship game when it takes on Boise State for the Mountain West title.

The Spartans (6-0, 6-0 Mountain West) earned their way in with a 30-20 victory over Nevada last week.

“It’s just been this incredible journey of ups and downs and finding ways to overcome,” coach Brett Brennan said. “It’s been fun. It’s been really special.”

A meeting scheduled for Nov. 28 at Boise State was canceled. The Spartans have never beaten the Broncos in 14 meetings.

“Boise State is such a unique program,” Brennan said. “If you look back, way back, this team has won and had success forever.”

Not so for the Spartans, who haven’t had a winning record since an 11-2 mark in 2012. They were 6-6 in 2013. A win over the Broncos this week would make the Spartans 7-0 for the first time since 1939 and be their first over the Broncos after 14 losses.

Graduate transfer Nick Starkel has found success with the Spartans after stints at first Texas A&M and then Arkansas. He has passed for an average of 242.2 yards a game in completing 66.2 percent of his attempts.

Bailey Gaither (36 catches, 627 yards) and Tre Walker (31-405) have combined for 67 receptions with seven touchdowns, and Tyler Nevens had rushed for 454 yards and five scores.

The Spartans have averaged 30.3 points a game and held opponents to just 17.5 with Kyle Harmon leading the way with a team-high 67 tackles, 3.0 for losses. 

Broncos

Boise State (5-1, 5-0 Mountain West) is in the unusual position of being the unranked team in this matchup. The Broncos will be making its fifth appearance in the eight MWC title games and their fourth in a row. They will be going for their fifth MWC crown.

It looks to be a classic example of offense versus defense with the Broncos scoring at a 36.2 points a game pace against a San Jose defense that has limited its six opponents to less than half that a game.

Hank Bachmeier has averaged 232.2 yards a game passing with six touchdowns against two interceptions, and Khalil Shakir has a team-best 46 receptions for 634 yards and six touchdowns. Andrew Van Buren leads the Mountain West with eight rushing touchdowns.

The Broncos also have had success on defense as well. 

In last week’s 17-9 win  over Wyoming, they gave up only 146 yards, their fewest allowed since keeping Northern Illinois to 33 in the 2015 Poinsettia Bowl.

For the season, Boise State has given up only 169.0 passing yards per game, the sixth-best mark nationally and best in the Mountain West, and they have stopped opponents on third down 73.6 percent of the time, which ranks fourth nationally.

Spartans vs. Broncos  Betting Pick for December 19, 2020

The Spartans and Broncos were scheduled to meet on Nov. 28 but the game was canceled They had two common opponents with Boise State beating Air Force 49-30 and Hawai’i 40-32 and San Jose winning 17-6 over Air Force and 35-24 over Hawai’i.

Spartans vs. Broncos Betting Pick:

Broncos 42, Spartans 20

Spartans vs. Broncos Best Bet for December 19, 2020

The Spartans have topped the 30-point mark their last three games and four times overall this season and came up just short in a 28-17 win over San Diego State in early November. The Broncos are coming off a 17-9 win over Wyoming that matched their season low in a 51-17 loss to BYU. They have scored at least 40 points in their other four games.

Spartans vs. Broncos Best Bet: OVER 55

OddsUSA Top Five Prop Bets For The ACC Championship Game

When the college football season began, it looked like it would be just another year for the Clemson Tigers. They were one of the national championship favorites, and everyone expected them to win the ACC yet again.

Sure, having Notre Dame in the conference this season might throw a wrench in the plan— but they did. The Fighting Irish took down the Tigers earlier this season. If they can do so again this weekend in the ACC Championship game, they will stop Clemson’s ACC title streak at five.

More importantly, they will likely knock the Tigers out of the college football playoffs.

It is not going to be any easier to do the second time around, though. Last time, the Tigers were without their superstar quarterback, Trevor Lawrence, due to COVID-19 protocols. D.J. Uiagalelei did a great job in his place, which has led many to believe Lawrence will do even better this time.

But he might not.

The game is likely going to be a close one once again. That makes the ten-point spread in favor of Clemson appear to be a bit generous. Then again, oddsmakers set the spread how they do for a reason. So, do you take the points or not?

Do you take Notre Dame and the points or roll with Clemson? Maybe what you need to do instead is check out the following prop bets at Bovada for the game. It may be a little easier to decide on some of them.

Clemson Team Total Prop

Over 35.5 (-110)
Under 35.5 (-125)

Clemson has been averaging over 46 points a game this season, making it seem like taking the over is a no-brainer. But the Notre Dame defense is strong. Maybe they can slow the Tigers down this time? Eh—do not bank on it.

This game will be a lot like the one earlier this season—high scoring and a ton of fun to watch. With Trevor Lawrence behind center for Clemson, it would be shocking if the Tigers scored less than 35.5 points in this game.

Take the over.

Best Bet: Clemson OVER 35.5 points (-110)

Notre Dame Team Total Prop

Over 24.5 (EVEN)
Under 24.5 (-130)

The last time these two teams played, Notre Dame rolled up over 500 yards of total offense and 47 points. Their season average has been 37.7 points/game. With people healthy and rested, it is almost hard to see them only scoring 24 points in this game.

But last time, Clemson was missing a few defenders. Was their absence why Notre Dame’s offense played so well? Maybe—but the Notre Dame offense is pretty good as well.

Clemson’s defense being at full strength may slow Notre Dame down some, but the Tigers will not hold them to 24 points. Take the over.

Best Bet: Notre Dame OVER 24.5 points (EVEN)

Clemson – Notre Dame Margin of Victory

Clemson By 1-6 Points (+425)
Notre Dame By 1-6 Points (+650)

Clemson By 7-12 Points (+425)
Notre Dame By 7-12 Points (+1200)

Clemson By 13-18 Points (+425)
Notre Dame By 13-18 Points (+2200)

Clemson By 19-24 Points (+600)
Notre Dame By 19-24 Points (+4000)

Clemson By 25-30 Points (+900)
Notre Dame By 25-30 Points (+6600)

Clemson By 31-36 Points (+1200)
Notre Dame By 31-36 Points (+10000)

Clemson By 37-42 Points (+2000)
Notre Dame By 37-42 Points (+10000)

Clemson By 43 Or More Points (+2000)
Notre Dame By 43 Or More Points (+12500)

No one is getting blown out in this game, so cross all those winning margins off the list. More than likely, the score is going to be high like it was last time and close.  But the question is whether the final margin will be more or less than a touchdown.

It is not hard to imagine it going either way.

Now, the Clemson faithful will disagree and say the winning margin will be ‘Clemson by 13-18 points.’ It will either be that or take either team to win by 1-6 points.

Best Bet: Clemson by 1-6 points (+425)

Clemson – Notre Dame Points Range

Between 0 And 20 (+8000)
Between 21 And 30 (+3500)
Between 31 And 40 (+1200)
Between 41 And 50 (+500)
Between 51 And 60 (+260)
Between 61 And 70 (+285)
71 And Over (+295)

The first game between the two saw the final score fall under the 71 and over option. If both teams score their season averages, that is where it would fall this time, too. With Trevor Lawrence playing this time, there is little doubt Clemson will struggle to put up points.

With how Notre Dame carved up the Clemson defense the first time, there is no reason to think they will no do well this time. The score for this game will easily get into the 60s, but it would not be shocking to see it get into the 70s or higher this time, too.

Take either ’between 61-70’ or 71 and over.

Best Bet: Between 61-70 points (+285)

Clemson – Notre Dame Race To 35 Points

Notre Dame (+1200)
Clemson (-140)
Neither (+135)

Both teams have excellent offenses, but they also have good defenses. That makes it seem like neither team may reach 35 points.  Trevor Lawrence does give Clemson an understandable edge for this bet. But Ian Book and the Notre Dame offense is no joke, either.

Someone, if not both teams, will score 35 points in this game. If you want to play it safe, take Clemson. But if you are willing to take on the risk for a nice reward, take Notre Dame.

Best Bet: Clemson (-140)

OddsUSA Top Five Prop Bets For The Pac-12 Championship Game

When the Pac-12 season finally got underway, the championship game was expected to be between the USC Trojans and Oregon Ducks. Why? Well —because the Ducks won it last year, and the Trojans had a great offense coming back. That, and the competition was not expected to be too challenging.

It was not, but it was challenging enough to knock the Ducks out of the title game. But with COVID-19 issues hitting the Washington program hard, Oregon made the big game anyway. They didn’t earn it, but someone has to play since Washington is unable to.

But can they win?

That is a tough question to answer. Early on, the Ducks looked like a good team. But then they flopped against Oregon State and then lost to Cal. While USC is undefeated, the Trojans have needed dramatic fourth-quarter comebacks in three games.

It is hard to tell which team is legit (if either) which means it may be smarter to consider betting on some of the game’s prop bets than just bet on the winner. Bovada has a few good ones:

USC-Oregon Alternate Lines

USC -3.5 (EVEN)
USC -4.0 (+105)
USC -4.5 (+110)
USC -5.0 (+115)
USC -5.5 (+120)
USC -6.0 (+125)
USC -6.5 (+140)
USC -7.0 (+165)
USC -7.5 (+170)
USC -8.0 (+175)
USC -8.5 (+175)
USC -9.0 (+180)
USC -9.5 (+185)
USC -10.0 (+210)
USC -10.5 (+220)
USC -11.0 (+225)
USC -11.5 (+230)
USC -12.0 (+235)
USC -12.5 (+240)
USC -13.0 (+250)
USC -13.5 (+250)

The official Bovada betting line says the Trojans are favored to win the game by 3 points (-110). While the Trojans have needed to make comebacks in most of their games this season, that should not be the case in this one.

Oregon’s pass defense has been struggling, and it is quite likely that USC will look to take advantage of it early and often. Most of the time, they will probably prevail and score. But while the Ducks offense is good enough to keep up for a while, they will not do it for the whole game.

So, why take the official spread and a low payout if you do not have to? Why not give the Ducks a touchdown (+165)? For those who are really confident in the Trojans, why not give the Ducks 13.5 points so you can get an even bigger payout?

The smart play here is to go with USC by seven. USC is going to put up some points on the Ducks. But if the Oregon offense can get on track early, the Ducks may be able to keep this one within a touchdown….but they might not.  

Best USC-Oregon Alt Spread: USC -7 (+165)

USC-Oregon Margin of Victory Prop

Oregon By 1-6 Points (+450)
USC By 1-6 Points (+375)

Oregon By 7-12 Points (+650)
USC By 7-12 Points (+600)

Oregon By 13-18 Points (+1000)
USC By 13-18 Points (+750)

Oregon By 19-24 Points (+1600)
USC By 19-24 Points (+1000)

Oregon By 25-30 Points (+2200)
USC By 25-30 Points (+1800)

Oregon By 31-36 Points (+3300)
USC By 31-36 Points (+2000)

Oregon By 37-42 Points (+5000)
USC By 37-42 Points (+3300)

Oregon By 43 Or More Points (+5000)
USC By 43 Or More Points (+3500)

Both teams have good offenses, but USC’s is better. Neither team has a strong defense, but the Trojans do have a better one. So, this game will likely be a modest win for the Trojans. USC will probably win by at least a touchdown, but they could win by more.

The safe bet would be to go with USC by 1-6 points, but the better bet is USC by 7-12. If you are up for taking on some risk for more of a reward, consider taking USC by 13-18. But only bet money on that one that you are okay with never seeing again.

Best Margin of Victory Bet: USC by 7-12 points (+600)

USC-Oregon Total Points Scored

Between 0 And 20 (+8000)
Between 21 And 30 (+3500)
Between 31 And 40 (+1100)
Between 41 And 50 (+550)
Between 51 And 60 (+340)
Between 61 And 70 (+340)
71 And Over (+195)

There is potential for a lot of points to be scored in this game. Both teams have scored right around 35 points a game this season while holding opponents to 28 (Oregon) and 25 (USC). It will all depend on whether both teams can get their offenses on track early in the day.

Kedon Slovis has thrown five touchdowns in each of his last two games. If Tyler Shough can break out of his current funk, he may be able to do the same. Since he will probably be playing catch-up most of the game, he will be throwing a lot against a lackluster secondary.

The Pac-12 Championship game will either be a high scoring contest with both teams putting up 35+ (so, take 71 and over), or it will be something like 35-26, USC. So, take 71 and over to be safe, but consider putting a little on between 51 and 60 and between 61 and 70.

Best Totals Prop Bet: 71 and over (+195)
Also Consider: Between 51 and 60 (+340), Between 61 and 70 (+340)

USC-Oregon Race to 35 Points

USC (+175)
Oregon (+245)
Neither (+140)

If the Trojans offense disappears for part of the game, like it has a few times this year, then the right answer might be neither. But if one of the two were to reach 35, the Trojans will do it first. Slovis is a better quarterback than Shough, though, so take USC to reach 35 points first.

Best Bet: USC (+175)

No. 13 Coastal Carolina Chanticleers at Troy Trojans Betting Preview

Saturday, December 12, 2020, Veterans Memorial Stadium, Troy Alabama, 3 p.m. ET

Chanticleers at Trojans Betting Preview: Chanticleers  (-13.5), Trojans (-13.5)

Chanticleers

The big stage has been good for Coastal Carolina.

The No. 13 Chanticleers (10-0, 7-0 Sun Belt) are looking to back up the program’s most significant victory as they return to Sun Belt Conference competition at Troy.

“Everybody in the country knows who Coastal Carolina University is now,” Coastal Carolina offensive lineman Trey Carter said, referring to last week’s 22-17 win at BYU. “We knew we had an opportunity to show what we had, and we did that.”

Coastal Carolina will be the highest ranked team ever to visit Troy’s Veterans Memorial Stadium.

It will complete the regular season for the Chanticleers before they return home for next week’s Sun Belt championship game against No. 19 Louisiana.

“It’s crazy, but we worked hard to get there,” Carter said. “It has been a long, hard process. A lot of trials and tribulations, but we’re blessed to be in this position.”

Coastal Carolina burst onto the national scene in a big way with the thrilling victory against then-No. 13 BYU in a matchup of undefeated teams.

“We feel we can play with anybody in the country, and we proved that,” Coastal Carolina defensive end Jeffrey Gunter said.

The Chanticleers have won 11 consecutive games overall and are the only team in Sun Belt Conference history to hold a 10-0 record. 

Quarterback Grayson McCall, who has thrown for 1,832 yards and 20 touchdowns this season, has been among the Chanticleers’ breakthrough players. 

Running back CJ Marable has posted more than 100 rushing yards the past two games along with a team-high 16 touchdowns. He has scored in the past nine games.for the Chanticleers.

Trojans

While there are numerous Sun Belt results to compare the teams, there’s also another common opponent for the Trojans and Chanticleers. Troy faced Brigham Young in September, losing 48-7 in Utah. Coastal Carolina beat BYU 22-17 on the same field last week, making a late stop at the goal line to preserve the win.

Troy hasn’t had the kind of season expected, but the Trojans (5-5,3-3 Sun Belt) did end a losing streak at three games with last week’s 29-0 blanking of South Alabama.

Quarterback Gunnar Watson went 35 of 41 passing for 297 yards and three touchdowns against the Jaguars. The Trojans had 414 yards in total offense, the sixth time they have topped the 400 mark this season. They have led at halftime in seven games.

For the season, Watson has passed for an average of 235.1 yards a game in completing 70.5 percent of his attempts with 15 touchdowns against five interceptions.

Vidal Kimani leads a struggling rushing attack with 469 yards in eight games. The Trojans have averaged only 104 yards a game on the ground. Kimani had 76 of Troy’s 117 rushing yards against South Alabama.

Kaylon Geiger leads the Trojans receivers with 55 catches for 649 yards, but Khalli McClain leads in touchdown receptions with six among his 32 catches.

Chanticleers at Trojans  Betting Pick for December 12, 2020

The Trojans have won two of the three games with the Chanticleers, and the two teams have split the two meetings in Troy. The Coastal Carolina victory came last year in Conway when CJ Marable rushed for a 2-point conversion following his 3-yard touchdown run with 30 seconds left in the game.  

Chanticleers at Trojans Betting Pick:

Chanticleers 35, Trojans 20

Chanticleers at Trojans Best Bet for December 12, 2020

Coastal Carolina is coming off a season scoring low with its 22-17 victory at BYU while Troy snapped a three-game skid with a 29-0 blanking of South Alabama last week. The Chanticleers have averaged 37 points a game and the Trojans have averaged only 26.1 a game.

Chanticleers at Trojans Best Bet: OVER 51.5

No. 9 Georgia Bulldogs at No. 25 Missouri Tigers Betting Preview

Saturday, December 12, 2020, Memorial Stadium, Columbia, Missouri, noon ET

Bulldogs at Tigers Betting Preview: Bulldogs  (-13.5), Tigers (+13.5)

Bulldogs

No. 9 Georgia continues its quest for a New Year’s Day bowl game with its visit to Missouri. The Bulldogs (6-2, 6-2 Southeastern Conference) have made a key change at quarterback with USC transfer JT Daniels getting the last two starts. .

Daniels has thrown for 540 yards and six touchdowns in victories over Mississippi State 31-14 and South Carolina 45-16.

“He’s added a really good element in the throw game,” Missouri coach Eliah Drinkwitz said. “Their offensive line is really big and physical. George Pickens was one of the better wide receivers in the country last year as a true freshman, and he’s playing well as a sophomore right now.”

Pickens and fellow receivers Kearis Jackson and Jermaine Burton have combined to catch 77 passes for 1,067 yards and nine touchdowns. There is also the Georgia ground game, which pounded out 333 rushing yards against South Carolina.

Zamir White leads the way there with 614 yards and nine rushing touchdowns.

Georgia hopes to get nose tackle Jordan Davis, running back Kendall Milton, and safety Richard LeCounte back from multi-game injuries.

Tigers

No. 25 Missouri is coming off a wild, 50-48 victory over Arkansas that marked the fifth win for the Tigers (5-3, 5-3 SEC ) in their last six games. To keep rolling the Tigers will have to tighten their defense.

Razorbacks quarterback KJ Jefferson attacked the Tigers’ secondary for 274 yards and three touchdowns in his first start of the season.

“We’ve got our hands full against a really good offense and, obviously, we didn’t play the way we wanted defensively, so that’s going to be a tremendous challenge,” Drinkwitz said.

Georgia coach Kirby Smart has respect for Mizzou’s defense.

“Their defensive personnel is one of the best we have probably played against,” Smart said. “They do a lot of different things than people in our conference, defensively, and create a lot of problems.”

Missouri piled up 653 yards of offense while outlasting the Razorbacks. Connor Bazelak passed for 380 yards, giving him 2,002 yards for the season.

“Their quarterback is playing at a high level,” Smart said. “He understands coverages and looks. Eliah does a great job of having passing-game situations where based on the look he gets he can get really easy soft-zone throws.

“He does a good job completing those and they get yards after the catch. He does a good job of shots down the field, which they have been able to hit off their play-actions.”

The Tigers have set up their passing game with a ground attack featuring powerful Larry Rountree III (835 yards, 11 touchdowns rushing) and speedy Tyler Badie (553 yards, six TDs rushing and receiving).

“Any time you’ve got the backs they’ve got, they’ve got the run game built in to where they can take shots downfield,” Smart said. “They do a great job. I just have a lot of respect for the quarterback because he’s got great composure and accuracy. He just does a really good job in the pocket. He throws a very catchable ball.”

Missouri will play without linebacker Tre Williams, who left the team this week, and injured defensive back Jarvis Ware. Wide receiver Tauskie Dove and defensive lineman Kobie Whiteside are questionable with injuries.

Bulldogs at Tigers Betting Pick for December 12, 2020

Georgia has won eight of nine meetings with Missouri overall and seven of eight since the Tigers joined the SEC in 2012. The Bulldogs blanked the Tigers 27-0 in Athens last year. Mizzou’s only win in the series was 41-26 in Athens in 2013.

Bulldogs at Tigers Betting Pick:

Bulldogs 35, Tigers 21

Bulldogs at Tigers Best Bet for December 12, 2020

The Bulldogs’ offense has gotten new life since Daniels moved into the starting role at quarterback. He has completed 70.4 percent of his passes for 540 yards and the Bulldogs have scored 76 points in wins over Mississippi State and South Carolina in his two starts.

Bulldogs at Tigers Best Bet: OVER 53.

Illinois Fighting Illini at No. 14 Northwestern Wildcats Betting Preview

Saturday, December 12, 2020, Ryan Field, Evanston, Illinois, noon ET

Fighting Illini at Wildcats Betting Preview: Fighting Illini  (+14.5), Wildcats (-14.5)

Fighting Illini

Illinois is hoping to win back the Land of Lincoln Trophy for the first time since 2014 after losing a fifth consecutive game to Northwestern 29-10 last year in Champaign.

“It’s been up north for too long,” Illini coach Lovie Smith said. “Our guys will be pumped up and ready to go. We plan on playing our best game we’ve played all year.”

The Illini (2-4, 2-4 Big 10) are coming off a 35-21 loss to Iowa. Illinois jumped to a 14-point lead behind two touchdown passes from Brandon Peters, but Iowa responded by scoring 35 straight points.

At the end of the game, backup quarterback Isaiah Williams led the Illini to their final touchdown.

Smith said “there’s a place” for Williams in the offense, although he also expressed his belief in Peters. Peters has completed 58.1 percent of his passes but for an average of only 136 yards a game in three outings.

Williams has played four games and completed only 14 of 37 passes or 187 yards 

The loss to Iowa ended the Illini’s winning streak at two games.

“If you look at our play, we have a legitimate chance to win each week,” said Smith, who is in his fifth season with the Illini. “That hasn’t always been the case.”

Wildcats

One year ago, Northwestern entered the Illinois game winless in Big Ten play and at the bottom of the West Division standings. Now, the No. 14 Wildcats (5-1, 5-1 Big 10) already have clinched the West Division and a spot in the Big Ten title game against an opponent to be determined.

The Wildcats clinched last week despite having their game against Minnesota being canceled due to a COVID-19 outbreak within the Golden Gophers’ program.

The division title is the second in three years for Northwestern. The Wildcats will become one of four teams in the conference to make the championship game multiple times since its creation in 2011.

“Sometimes Northwestern is portrayed this way or that way, having these type of athletes or those type of athletes,” wide receiver Ramaud Chiaokhiao-Bowman said. “But at the end of the day we’re coming to play, we’re coming to win the West, we’re coming to win a Big Ten championship.”

The hallmark of the Wildcats this season has been their defense. They are sixth in the country in points allowed per game at an average of 15.3. They also have held opponents to 322.5 total yards per game, 15th-best in the country.

Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald said he believes turnover margin also has been a huge determiner of his team’s success. The Wildcats have forced 18 turnovers this season.

“I’ll go back to a lot of our games,” he said. “I think it has a lot to do with turnovers and then points off of turnovers. I think that has been key in most, if not all, of these games.”

The Wildcats have averaged only 327.8 yards a game in total offense with Peyton Ramsey, a graduate transfer from Indiana, passing for 189.3 of that.

Fighting Illini at Wildcats Betting Pick for December 12, 2020

The Illini lead the series 55-53-5 but the Wildcats have won the last five meetings and seven of the last eight. The last meeting in Evanston, however, was a one-score game with the Wildcats escaping with a 24-16 win after the Illini scored 10 unanswered points in the fourth quarter.

Fighting Illini at Wildcats Betting Pick:

Wildcats 21, Fighting Illini 10

Fighting Illini at Wildcats Best Bet for December 12, 2020

Neither team has lit up the scoreboard. The Wildcats haven’t scored more than 21 points in a game since opening with a 43-3 rout of Maryland on Oct. 24 and the Illini have scored more than three touchdown only once, a 41-23 win at Nebraska.

Fighting Illini at Wildcats Best Bet: UNDER 43.5

No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide at Arkansas Razorbacks Betting Preview

Saturday, December 12, 2020, Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium, Fayetteville, Arkansas, noon. ET

Crimson Tide at Razorbacks Betting Preview: Crimson Tide (-31), Razorbacks (+31)

Crimson Tide

No. 1 Alabama will be going for its seventh Southeastern Conference title under coach Nick Saban when it meets Florida in the league’s championship game on Dec. 19, but first the Crimson Tide (9-0, 9-0 SEC) has business to tend to at Arkansas.

The Tide will arrive in Fayetteville with the SEC’s highest-scoring offense (49.2 points per game), toughest defense (18.3 ppg) and a plethora of major college football award candidates on both sides of the ball.

Quarterback Mac Jones (75.7 completion percentage, 27 touchdown passes, 345.9 average passing per game), running back Najee Harris (20 touchdowns, 115.3 rushing yards per game), and wide receiver DeVonta Smith (80 receptions, 1,305 yards, 15 touchdowns) highlight the offense.

But the backbone of the group has been one of the most consistent offensive lines in college football this season anchored by Outland Trophy semifinalists Landon Dickerson at center and Alex Leatherwood at left tackle. The group has only allowed seven sacks while Jones is playing.

On defense, cornerback Patrick Surtain is a Thorpe Award semifinalist and freshman Malachi Moore leads the team with three interceptions.

“Their offense is incredible,” Arkansas coach Sam Pittman said. “They can do it all. They can run. They can pass protect. They get out on toss sweeps. And their defense is the same as it always has been. Teams are running up-tempo things and getting a few more yards than they have in the past, but they’re outstanding.”

Despite the seemingly lopsided advantage, Saban warned against looking past the Razorbacks, who lead the conference in turnover margin (plus-8) and are tied for the most interceptions (13).

“They present some unique challenges with the fastball offense they run,” Saban said. “We need to respect their team. They’re capable of beating anybody and they’ve demonstrated them all year long.”

Razorbacks

Arkansas (3-6, 3-6 SEC) is coming off a heartbreaking, 50-48 loss to Missouri that ended with Harrison Mevis’ fifth field goal of the game for the Tigers — a 32-yarder as time expired. The Razorbacks let a 14-point fourth quarter lead slip away and gave up 633 total yards, losing the game despite gaining 566 yards on offense and scoring seven touchdowns.

Against Missouri, Razorbacks’ freshman quarterback KJ Jefferson made his first career start with Feleipe Franks out with a rib injury. Jefferson went 18-of-33 passing for 274 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. He also ran for 32 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries.

Jefferson’s top target was wide receiver Treylon Burks, who caught 10 passes for 206 yards and a touchdown against Missouri. He is one of four receivers in the SEC averaging 100 or more yards per game.

Jefferson might get another chance with Franks still questionable.

The Hogs’ hopes of slowing Alabama’s seemingly unstoppable offense will take a hit if Montaric Brown (six passes defended, one interception) and linebacker Grant Morgan are not able to play because of injuries. Brown (undisclosed) is credited with six passes defended and one interception. Morgan (knee) is the Hogs’ leading tackler with 111 stops.

Cornerback Hudson Clark and safety Jalen Catalon each have three interceptions for the Razorbacks,

Crimson Tide at Razorbacks Betting Pick for December 12, 2020

The Tide has dominated the series by a 23-7 margin that includes an 8-4 advantage in games played at Fayetteville. The Tide’s 48-7 rout last year in Tuscaloosa was their 13th consecutive win in the series, and they won the last meeting in Fayetteville 65-31 in 2018.

Crimson Tide at Razorbacks Betting Pick:

Crimson Tide 52, Razorbacks 14

Crimson Tide at Razorbacks Best Bet for December 12, 2020

The Tide enjoys a big edge in the numbers with a 48.5-28.2 advantage in scoring and 18.5-33 cushion in scoring defense. The Tide has averaged 535.6 yards a game in total offense to 414.1 for the Razorbacks, who gave up 50 points and 653 yards in a 2-point loss to Missouri last week.

Crimson Tide at Razorbacks Best Bet: UNDER 68.5

No. 11 Oklahoma Sooners at West Virginia Mountaineers Betting Preview

Saturday, December 12, 2020, Milan Puskar Stadium, Morgantown, West Virginia, noon ET

Sooners at Mountaineers Betting Preview: Sooners  (-12.5), Mountaineers (+12.5)

Sooners

No. 11 Oklahoma was supposed to have a bye this week, but two weeks ago, COVID-19 issues with the Sooners (7-2, 6-2 Big 12) forced their game against the Mountaineers to be postponed. The teams will give it another try Saturday.

Coming off a 27-14 win over Baylor that clinched a spot in the Big 12 title game, Sooners coach Lincoln Riley said the focus is getting his team back in a rhythm following their shutdown two weeks ago.

Against Baylor, the Sooners’ defense played well but the offense was uncharacteristically sluggish.

“We’ve had so many bye weeks,” Riley said. “Having the facilities shut down that long in the middle of the season was a different deal. Just for us to play the quality of ball and to make the improvements that we need to make, we need to play.”

There has been plenty of offense in this series. With the exception of a 16-7 win in 2013, the Sooners have scored at least 44 points in each of those meetings and the Mountaineers have averaged better than 30 points.

The Sooners have averaged over 46 points a game during their six-game winning streak with two games in the 60s and another in the 50s.

Spender Rattler has done most of the damage for the Sooners. He has averaged passing for 279.1 yards a game with 24 touchdowns against only five interceptions. The Sooners have rushed for an average of 158.0 yards a game.

Mountaineers

West Virginia is coming off a 42-6 loss to Iowa State, the first blowout defeat of the season for the Mountaineers (5-4, 4-4 Big 12).

“Really this week it’s about us getting back on track and playing football like we have in the previous eight games,” Mountaineers coach Neal Brown said.

West Virginia has yet to lose a home game this year, winning all five outings at Milan Puskar Stadium.

Both teams figure to be well-prepared for each other. The Sooners had a half week of preparation in late November before the originally scheduled game was wiped out on the Wednesday before the game.

The Mountaineers had even more time, with a bye week scheduled a week before the Nov. 28 game with the Sooners.

“They’re probably tired of working on Oklahoma,” Riley said.

Even coming off last week’s blowout, Mountaineers linebacker Josh Chandler-Semedo said his team was more confident this season.

“This year, I feel that we have established an identity,” Chandler-Semedo said. “We know exactly what we are capable of doing. We have seen the film. They have seen us. Best on best, at the end of the day that’s what it is.”

Sooners at Mountaineers Betting Pick for December 12, 2020

The Sooners lead the series with the Mountaineers 10-0 and with four wins in Morgantown. Last year the Sooners beat the Mountaineers 52-14 but Jalen Hurts, who passed for 316 yards and rushed for 75 in that game, is no longer around. Austin Kendall, who served as OU’s backup quarterback in 2017 and ’18, passed for two touchdowns for the Mountaineers against the Sooners last year. 

Sooners at Mountaineers Betting Pick:

Sooners 31, Mountaineers 17

Sooners at Mountaineers Best Bet for December 12, 2020

The Sooners’ 27-14 win over Baylor last week marked the first time they had failed to get into at least the 30s in nine games this season. They posted a pair of 62-point games in their current six-game winning streak. With West Virginia leading the Big 12 in total defense and scoring defense and Oklahoma second in total defense and third in scoring, this game could be a low scoring affair..

Sooners at Mountaineers Best Bet: UNDER 58.5

Wisconsin Badgers at No. 16 Iowa Hawkeyes Betting Preview

Saturday, December 12, 2020, Kinnick Stadium, Iowa City, Iowa, 3:30 p.m. ET

Badgers at Hawkeyes Betting Preview: Badgers  (+1.5), Hawkeyes (-1.5)

Badgers

The Badgers (2-2, 2-2 Big Ten) have struggled while totaling 13 points in consecutive losses to Northwestern and Indiana after scoring 94 in wins over Illinois and Michigan to start the season.

Wisconsin, which has been banged up and hindered by COVID-19 issues inside and outside the program, managed only a pair of field goals by Collin Larsh in last weekend’s 14-6 loss to then-No. 12 Indiana.

“You’ve got to play good football to give yourself a chance to be a good football team,” Badgers coach Paul Chryst said. “If you’re not doing that, you make it harder.

“We’ve had two games now where we didn’t score a lot of points. Two games before we scored a lot of points. I don’t know that I’ve got the answer for you right now on that.”

Wisconsin quarterback Graham Mertz, who had a bout with COVID-19 earlier this season, threw seven touchdowns without an interception in those first two games, but has just one score with four picks in the last two.

The Badgers have also totaled 276 rushing yards and averaged 3.7 per carry in their two losses.

Still, Wisconsin boasts one of the nation’s top defenses, giving up 49 points on the season and an average of 52.7 rushing yards in the last three games.

Hawkeyes

Considering how well No. 16 Iowa is playing, there’s a good chance it can end some extended struggles against the rival Badgers.

The host Hawkeyes (5-2, 5-2 Big 10) look to conclude this condensed and unique regular season with a sixth consecutive victory, which would also halt a four-game slide against the struggling Badgers.

Iowa is certainly kicking itself by thinking back to the first two weeks of this season when it lost to Purdue and Northwestern by a combined five points. That 21-20 loss to the Wildcats on Halloween is essentially what will keep the Hawkeyes out of the Big Ten title game.

Iowa is looking to head into the bowl season on a roll after outscoring the last five opponents 186-76 during its longest winning streak since starting 12-0 in 2015. The Hawkeyes fell behind 14-0 early in the second quarter at Illinois last week before scoring 35 straight points en route to a 35-21 win.

“Our slow start was a team effort,” Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said. “Sometimes defensively it takes time to get a feel for the game and how things are going. The best thing that happened was our players kept playing. The coaches kept coaching and things started getting better.”

The Hawkeyes’ offense, paced by running back Tyler Goodson (107.2 average rushing yards and five touchdowns in the last five games) and quarterback Spencer Petras (six touchdown passes, two interceptions in last five games), has averaged 37.2 points during the five-game run.

The Iowa defense has not allowed more than 24 points in any game this season, and that could be the X-factor in this rivalry contest..

“We’re playing a team that is a border rival, and we have had great games with them,” Ferentz said. “We haven’t come out on the right end enough — that’s for sure.”

Badgers at Hawkeyes  Betting Pick for December 12, 2020

The Badgers lead the series 48-43-2 and have won the last four meetings and eight of the last nine. They won last year’s meeting 24-22 by stopping Iowa’s 2-point conversion try with 3:12 left in the game. They won the last meeting in Iowa 28-17 in 2018, outscoring the Hawkeyes 14-0 in the fourth quarter.

Badgers at Hawkeyes Betting Pick:

Hawkeyes 28, Badgers 10

Badgers at Hawkeyes Best Bet for December 12, 2020

Iowa has averaged 37.2 points a game during its five-game winning streak while the Badgers have scored only two touchdowns total in losses to Northwestern and Indiana their last two outings. Wisconsin’s defense, however, has surrendered only 31 points total those two games.

Badgers at Hawkeyes Best Bet: UNDER 43.5

San Diego State Aztecs at No. 18 BYU Cougars Betting Preview

Saturday, December 12, 2020, LaVell Edwards Stadium, Provo, Utah, 10 p.m. ET

Aztecs at Cougars Betting Preview: Aztecs  (+16.5), Cougars (-16.5)

Aztecs

Last season, San Diego State shut down BYU’s offense in posting a 13-3 home win under then-head coach Rocky Long.

The Aztecs (4-3) will look to mirror last year’s effort and seek to make it a low-scoring affair in the rematch in Provo. The Aztecs rank third in the country in total defense (269.1 ypg) and eighth in scoring defense (16.3 ppg).

But they are is just 104th in total offense (343.9 ypg) and will be going against a BYU defense that rates fourth in scoring defense (14.7 ppg) and seventh in total defense (299.9 ypg).

San Diego coach Brady Hoke said quarterback Jordon Brookshire will make his second straight start. Brookshire completed 14 of 24 passes for 130 yards and one touchdown, with one interception, in last Saturday’s 29-17 win over Colorado State.

In two games Brookshire is 21 of 43 passing for 180 yards and one touchdown with one interception.

Running back Greg Bell (team-high 569 rushing yards) is getting closer to full health after suffering an ankle injury Nov. 21. He has averaged 5.9 yards a carry.

Special teams had big plays in the win over the Rams. Jordan Byrd had a 93-yard kickoff return for a touchdown and BJ Busbee ran a punt back 90 yards for a score.

San Diego State and BYU were in the same conference for 33 consecutive seasons — the Western Athletic Conference from 1978-1998 and the Mountain West from 1999-2010 — but are playing for just the third time since BYU became an independent in 2011. One of those meetings — won by the Cougars — came in the 2012 Poinsettia Bowl.

“When they left the league, that was obviously tough on everybody,” Hoke said. “I think our guys are competitive and this program is based on competition. So they’re excited about it. They know the history. We try to remind them of the history the two schools have.”

Cougars

BYU’s bid for an undefeated season has ended, but the No. 18 Cougars (9-1) look to rebound from that disappointment when they host San Diego State.

With the loss to Coastal Carolina last Saturday, the Cougars are turning their focus to secure their first 10-win season since 2011.

Putting aside the setback isn’t easy for Cougars receiver Dax Milne. He was tackled a yard short of the end zone on the game’s final play.

“It hurts,” Milne said. “I think that happening honestly just put a chip on our shoulder, that we’re not done yet. We’ve got a lot more to say, and we’d like any opportunity we can to just go prove ourselves.”

The loss dropped BYU five spots in the College Football Playoff rankings.

“We just want to play football. I let everyone else do the talking on rankings and that stuff,” Cougars coach Kalani Sitake said before the latest rankings were announced Tuesday night. “I love coaching these guys, and they love to play football.”

Cougars star Zach Wilson passed for 316 yards in BYU’s loss to San Diego State in 2019 but was intercepted twice and failed to throw a touchdown pass.

This season, he has thrown at least one touchdown pass in every game and has been picked off just three times. Wilson has thrown for 2,964 yards and 27 touchdowns and has eight rushing scores.

“He is unbelievable,” Hoke said of Wilson. “His ability to get the ball off and his ability to extend plays, he does a great job. He will be a real test for our defense.”

BYU topped 40 points in five straight games and eight of nine before scoring only 17 in the loss to the Chanticleers. The Cougars rank seventh in the nation in scoring offense (44.5 points per game) and total offense (522.7 yards per game).

Milne has caught 55 passes for 1,012 yards and seven touchdowns, and Tyler Allgeier has rushed for 957 yards and 12 scores.

Aztecs at Cougars Betting Pick for December 12, 2020

The Cougars lead the series 38-8-1 but the Aztecs won last year’s meeting in San Diego 13-3, snapping a six-game losing streak in the process. Zach Wilson was 31 of 53 passing for 316 yards but had two interceptions and no touchdowns. The Cougars have won the last five meetings in Provo since the Aztecs posted a 16-15 at BYU back in 2000.

Aztecs at Cougars Betting Pick:

Cougars 45, Aztecs 20

Aztecs at Cougars Best Bet for December 12, 2020

Last week’s 22-loss to Coastal Carolina marked the fewest points the Cougars have scored since that 13-3 loss to San Diego State on Nov. 30, 2019. The Cougars have averaged 44.5 points a game for the season, however, far outmatching the 26.1 average for the Aztecs.

Aztecs at Cougars Best Bet: OVER 49.5

Purdue Boilermakers at No. 12 Indiana Hoosiers Betting Preview

Saturday, December 12, 2020, Memorial Stadium, Bloomington, Indiana, 3:30 p.m. ET

Boilermakers at Hoosiers Betting Preview: Boilermakers  (+10.5), Nickname (-Hoosiers +10.5)

Boilermakers

Purdue (2-4, 2-4 Big Ten) has lost four straight games and is coming off a 37-27 home loss to Nebraska after falling into an early 14-point hole.

Question marks concerning various players’ availability entered the equation early in the week. Purdue canceled Tuesday’s scheduled practice “to evaluate the results of recent COVID-19 testing,” according to a university press release.

The Boilermakers already were missing starting defensive lineman George Karlaftis, who tested positive for COVID-19 in late November, as well as linebacker Jalen Graham.

“As you know, there’s things going on in the world with sickness, so I can’t reveal what’s going on, but he’s going to be out with some issues because of that,” coach Jeff Brohm said of Graham.

The Boilermakers were penalized 11 times for 126 yards against Nebraska.

“It’s playing hard,” Boilermakers linebacker Derrick Barnes said. “It’s football. It happens sometimes. It’s just competing. We can eliminate some of the dumb penalties. But we’re going to compete and play hard to the whistle.”

Receiver David Bell enters play ranked sixth in the nation and first in the Big Ten with an average of 8.8 receptions a game. His eight receiving touchdowns and 104.2 receiving yard average ranked first and third in the Big Ten, respectively.

Hoosiers

Indiana quarterback Jack Tuttle proved a quick study in his first career start last week, throwing for two touchdowns to lead the No. 12 Hoosiers (6-1, 6-1 Big Ten) to a 14-6 win at Wisconsin.

As Indiana prepares to host unranked Purdue, Tuttle figures to draw upon information he gleaned long before this season as well.

“My dad is not a big fan of Purdue, and neither am I,” Tuttle said. “It is a great rivalry game, and we are looking forward to this week.”

To be sure, Tuttle’s father, Jay, a former Indiana placekicker, taught his son about the Old Oaken Bucket rivalry between the in-state Hoosiers and Boilermakers.

While series bragging rights certainly factor on the Hoosiers’ radar, a win against Purdue also would give Indiana its most Big Ten victories in program history as the schools close the conference-only regular season.

Starting for Davey O’Brien National Quarterback Award semifinalist Michael Penix Jr., who suffered a season-ending torn ACL in a Nov. 28 win against Maryland, Tuttle went 13-of-22 passing for 130 yards while connecting for touchdowns with Peyton Hendershot and Whop Philyor.

Indiana ended a 10-game skid in the series against Wisconsin.

“I think most people wrote us off because we lost Michael Penix, who is a special player,” Hoosiers coach Tom Allen said. “But we are a football team.”

The Hoosiers’ defense forced two turnovers, running its season total to 20, and Indiana overcame the Badgers’ 342-217 edge in total offense.

Boilermakers at Hoosiers Betting Pick for December 12, 2020

The Boilermakers lead the overall series 74-42-6 and are 60-32-3 since the start of the Old Oaken Bucket portion of the rivalry. Indiana won last year’s meeting 44-41 in double-overtime in West Lafayette as receiver Whop Philyor had eight catches for 138 yards and two touchdowns. 

Boilermakers at Hoosiers Betting Pick:

Hoosiers 28, Boilermakers 14

Boilermakers at Hoosiers Best Bet for December 12, 2020

The Hoosiers scored a season-low in last week’s 14-6 win at Wisconsin, only the third time this season they have failed to go over the 30-point mark. The Boilermakers have struggled since opening the season withs over Iowa and Illinois and have failed to get to 30 points twice in their four-game losing streak.

Boilermakers at Hoosiers Best Bet: UNDER 52.5

No. 17 North Carolina Tar Heels at No. 10 Miami Hurricanes Betting Preview

Saturday, December 12, 2020, Hard Rock Stadium, Miami Gardens, Florida, 3:30 p.m. ET

Tar Heels at Hurricanes Betting Preview: Tar Heels  (+3.5), Hurricanes (-3.5)

Tar Heels

No. 17 North Carolina will be a much tough test for a Miami defense coming off a shutdownout win over Duke.  Quarterback Sam Howell, who beat Miami as a freshman last year, ranks ninth nationally and first in the ACC in passing yards per game (312.9) for the Tar Heels (7-3, 6-3 Atlantic Coast Conference)..

North Carolina’s offense is second in the ACC in points (41.1), which is in stark contrast to the team Miami just played (Duke, 23.8 points, 13th place in the league).

The Tar Heels have three players who could go over 1,000 yards for the season Saturday: running back Michael Carter (937), wide receiver Dyami Brown (932) and running back Javonte Williams (904).

Williams, a junior who leads the league and is tied for second nationally with 19 touchdowns, could bolt early for the NFL in April.

“We would never tell a junior, ‘We really want you to come back,’ ” North Carolina coach Mack Brown said.”Come on, man. That’s not fair to them.”

Carter ranks fourth in the ACC in rushing yards per game, third in total rushing yards and second in yards per carry (7.1). Williams is fifth, fourth and third in those carries, getting 6.7 yards per carry. Brown is second in reception yards per game.

Hurricanes

No. 10 Miami is going for its sixth straight win since losing at Clemson in early October. The Hurricanes (8-1, 7-1 ACC) also try to avenge last year’s 28-25 loss at North Carolina.

Miami is 4-0 at home and beat Duke 48-0 last week despite having 15 players out due to injuries, coronavirus and other issues.

“There were five or six other players that we found out could play just one day before the game,” Hurricanes coach Manny Diaz said. “We’re hoping the list of players out will be much shorter (than 15) this week.”

Despite missing five key defensive players against Duke — including full-time starters in cornerback Al Blades, linebacker Zach McCloud and defensive tackle Jonathan Ford — Miami forced five turnovers and missed just one tackle, according to Pro Football Focus.

Credit goes to numerous players, including Quincy Roche, who was named ACC Defensive Player of the Week after netting three tackles for loss, forcing fumble and making a fumble recovery. Defensive tackle Jordan Miller and linebacker Waynmon Steed made their first career collegiate starts.

For the season, Roche and fellow Miami defensive end Jaelan Phillips are tied for third in the league in tackles for loss per game (1.56).

Miami will test a North Carolina defense that has given up 28.6 points a game — seventh in the conference –with quarterback D’Eriq King. King ranks third in the ACC behind only Howell and Clemson star Trevor Lawrence in total offense with 311.2 yards per game. King has passed for 2,334 yards and run for 467, fulfilling his reputation as a dual threat.

Hurricanes receiver Mike Harley is ninth in the league in reception yards per game (72.6).

Miami’s other playmakers include stellar tight ends Brevin Jordan and Will Mallory, who have combined to catch 40 passes for 590 yards and eight touchdowns this season.

On the ground, the Hurricanes have three running backs who have combined for 1,031 yards: junior Cam’Ron Harris and freshmen Donald Chaney and Jaylan Knighton. Those three backs have combined to score 14 total touchdowns, including 12 rushing.

Tar Heels at Hurricanes Betting Pick for December 12, 2020

Officially, Miami leads the series 11-10 with the Tar Heels forced to vacate 2008 and 2009 wins because of NCAA penalties, but on the field, the Tar Heels have a 12-11 advantage after their 28-25 victory at Chapel Hill last year. The Hurricanes romped 47-10 in 2018 in their last meeting on their turf. 

Tar Heels at Hurricanes Betting Pick:

Hurricanes 45,Tar Heels 38

Tar Heels at Hurricanes Best Bet for December 12, 2020

The two teams are among the highest scoring in the conference with North Carolina averaging 41.1 points a game and Miami 34.9 to rank second and fifth, respectively. But the Hurricanes have held their opponents to 11.0 points a game after last week’s shutout of Duke, and the Heels have given up 28.6 per game despite a 49-9 win over FCS foe Western Caroline to last week.

Tar Heels at Hurricanes Best Bet: OVER 67.5

No. 20 Texas Longhorns at Kansas Jayhawks Betting Preview

Saturday, December 12, 2020, David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium, Lawrence, Kansas, 3:30 p.m. ET

Longhorns at Jayhawks Betting Preview: Longhorns  (-29.5), Jayhawks (+29.5)

Longhorns

Texas paused football activities early in the week but still planned to play a game already pushed back by COVID-19 concerns.

The 20th-ranked Longhorns (6-3, 5-3 Big 12) shut down their operations after three players and two staff members who previously tested negative and traveled to Kansas State for a victory last week tested positive on Sunday. Still, travel plans for a game this Saturday at Kansas remained on schedule.

“Everything we are doing right now is merely precautionary,” Texas coach Tom Herman said, “and we are wanting to make sure with a couple of extra cases, extra positives, that we haven’t had, quite frankly, all year, that this is not a trend throughout the team but a couple of isolated incidents.”

The matchup against Kansas originally was scheduled for Nov. 21 but was rescheduled after issues surfaced when Kansas could not field enough defensive linemen to meet Big 12 protocols based on injuries and COVID-19 concerns.

Each team is coming off encouraging performances.

Texas blasted Kansas State 69-31 last week after being eliminated from the Big 12 title chase in a home defeat against Iowa State on Nov. 27. Bijan Robinson rushed nine times for 172 yards and three touchdowns to pace a Texas offense directed by quarterback Sam Ehlinger.

Nevertheless, last week’s performance did little to reduce the heat on Herman. Potential replacements have surfaced for the fourth-year coach, who stands 31-18, though multiple reports say prime target Urban Meyer is not interested because of health concerns. 

That could prompt Texas to retain Herman if donors aren’t eager to contribute to a $25 million buyout.

Herman has three years left on his contract and reportedly has been told his performance will be evaluated at the end of the season. Among Texas’ possible bowl destinations are the Alamo and Liberty.

Jayhawks

Kansas has lost all but eight of its past 100 conference games and is facing its third winless season in history. The Wildcats (0-9, 0-9 Big 12) already are assured of a sixth consecutive last-place finish in the Big 12.

Still, the Jayhawks are coming off their tightest outcome, a 16-13 loss at Texas Tech.

Gaining any effectiveness at quarterback, either from Miles Kendrick or Jalon Daniels, remains a dilemma for the Jayhawks.

Kendrick played the entire game at Texas Tech but passed for just 102 yards and could not capitalize on four takeaways provided by the defense. The Kansas offense managed just 214 total yards.

“We’ll look at this week of practice and competition and see how it goes,” coach Les Miles said. “(Kendrick) was very good last week (at practices). We’ll have to see if he continues that pace.”

For the season, Kendrick has completed 73 of 120 passes (60.8 percent) for 647 yards and six touchdowns with five interceptions. Daniels has completed only half of his 152 pass attempts for 718 yards and one touchdown against four interceptions.

The Jayhawks have averaged only 104.9 yards a game rushing with Velton Gardner accounting for just over half (54.2) of that total.

Longhorns at Jayhawks Betting Pick for December 12, 2020

Texas leads the series with Kansas 16-3 and has won the last three meetings. The Longhorns squeaked by the Jayhawks 50-48 last  year in Austin on Cameron Dicker’s 33-yard field goal as time expired. Sam Ehlinger was 31 of 44 passing for 399 yards and four touchdowns with one interception.

Longhorns at Jayhawks Betting Pick:

Longhorns 52, Jayhawks 14

Longhorns at Jayhawks Best Bet for December 12, 2020

The Longhorns are coming of a 69-31 spanking of Kansas State, the second time this season they have topped the 60-point mark. They just missed that i a 59-3 rout of UTEP to open the season. Kansas’ season scoring high is 23 points, twice, in losses to Coastal Carolina and TCU.

Longhorns at Jayhawks Best Bet: OVER 61.5

LSU Tigers at No. 6 Florida Gators Betting Preview

Saturday, December 12, 2020, Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, Gainesville, Florida, 7 p.m. ET

Tigers at Gators Betting Preview: Tigers  (+22), Gators (-22)

Tigers

No repeat championship is possible for LSU (3-5, 3-5 Southeastern Conference), but a win or two in the next couple of games could land the Tigers a bowl bid and give coach Ed Orgeron’s young Tigers valuable playing time. 

“Another chance to compete, another chance for young players to get better, more practice time,” he said.’

A week ago against No. 1 Alabama, 33 of the 55 players that LSU put on the field were underclassmen, and 19 true freshmen have seen playing time for the Tigers. The Tigers lost 55-17 to the Tide but Orgeron put a positive spin on the beatdown.

“I was pleased the offense scored 17 points,” he said. “We missed that fourth-and-short going in to tie the game 7-7. Could have been a difference in the ballgame very early. We didn’t get that done. We have to improve on that stuff. I thought overall offensively we made some improvements in some areas.”

LSU has used a number of quarterbacks this year. Its current depth chart contains the word “or” a lot, as in it will be either TJ Finley “or” Max Johnson to start.

Finley has completed 57.1 percent of his passes for 188.2 yards a game in five appearances. Johnson has played in four games, completing 60.3 percent of his attempts for 98.8 yards a game.

More “or” words appear up and down the two-deep.

A wave of players opting out — including top receiver Terrace Marshall Jr. and, possibly, tight end Arik Gilbert — have introduced “nor” into the conversation.

Gators

No. 6 Florida’s hopes for a national championship ride on some team near the top of the College Football Playoff rankings slipping up over the final two weeks of the season.

Coach Dan Mullen knows that unless his Gators (8-1, 8-1 SEC) play up to their capabilities, the team slipping up just could be his own — especially this weekend against LSU.

Never mind LSU’s record this season, Mullen warned. The Tigers are loaded with young talent and can explode against any team that overlooks them.

“They’ve got a lot of talent,” Mullen said. “They put up a lot of points. They’ve lost a lot of guys, so they’re a young team.”

LSU has some playmakers and mismatches on offense from the running backs, Mullen said.

“Different wideouts that can cause you issues,” he said. “Defensively, they got DBs that can cover on the back end and a big physical group up front.”

Mullen is aware that his team has been far from perfect, especially after last week’s game when unranked Tennessee threw a bit of a scare at the Gators during Florida’s 31-19 victory.

“We’ve just got to execute better,” Mullen said. “It’s not to say we weren’t very good. I think we missed a lot of opportunities last week. I think we had three possessions start on the plus side of the field with zero points. We should be 100 percent on that. I think we left 21 points on the field.”

Florida quarterback Kyle Trask has established himself as a legitimate Heisman candidate in passing for 3,243 yards for 38 touchdowns with just three interceptions. LSU coach Ed Orgeron credits Mullen for “finding” Trask.

“He’s a diamond in the rough,” Orgeron said of Trask. “I think you look at 38 touchdowns to three interceptions. The way he operates, the way he finds the guys. Dan is a great gameday caller. He knows exactly what to do with his quarterback. I think it’s a combination of a great quarterback and a great caller.”

Tigers at Gators Betting Pick for December 12, 2020

The Gators lead the series 33-30-3 but the Tigers have won seven of the last 10 meetings, including last year by a 42-28 score in Baton Rouge. The Tigers also have won three of the last five meetings in Gainesville.

Tigers at Gators Betting Pick:

Gators 31, Tigers 17

Tigers at Gators Best Bet for December 12, 2020

Despite the two-touchdown defeat in last year’s loss to LSU, Trask passed for 310 yards and three touchdowns for the Gators against the Tigers last year with Kyle Pitts catching five passes for 108 yards. Trask is coming off a 433-yard passing performance in the Gators’ win over Tennessee last week while the Tigers managed only 352 yards of total offense in a 55-17 loss to Alabama.

Tigers at Gators Best Bet: UNDER 67

Utah Utes at No. 21 Colorado Buffaloes Betting Preview

Friday, December 11, 2020, Folsom Field, Boulder, Colorado, 9:35 p.m. ET

Utes at Buffaloes Betting Preview: Utes  (+1.5), Buffaloes (-1.5)

Utes

The Utes (1-2, 1-2 Pac-12) got a big lift from true freshman tailback Ty Jordan in their 30-24 win over Oregon State last Saturday. A week after a costly fumble in Utah’s loss at Washington, Jordan ran for 167 yards and a touchdown against the Beavers..

“It felt amazing. I can’t explain it with words, it was so exhilarating,” Jordan said. “I grew up my whole life wanting and dreaming to be a college athlete. Now I’m here. I’m experiencing my first couple of games and my first touchdown. I feel like I made my mom proud.”

Jordan worked on holding onto the ball during practice leading up to the win over the Beavers.

“He made an absolute, concerted effort all week long to work on his ball security and he did just that,” Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said.

Jordan has appeared in all three games for Utah and started the last two. For the season, he leads the teams in carries (44) and rushing yards (296) and also has seven receptions for 74 yards.

Quarterback Jake Bentley, a graduate transfer from South Carolina, also has started the last two games in the backfield for the Utes after sophomore Cameron Rising, a transfer from Texas, was injured in the opening 33-17 loss to USC. Rising has completed 64.1 percent of his passes for 489 yards and three touchdowns against four interceptions in his three appearances.

Buffaloes

No. 21 Colorado has been the surprise team of the conference. The Buffaloes (4-0, 3-0 Pac-12) remained undefeated after a win over Arizona last week after entering the season with low expectations; Coach Mel Tucker was hired away by Michigan State and his replacement, Karl Dorrell, had no spring practice to work in a new quarterback.

The Buffaloes now have a chance to win the South Division and earn a spot in the Pac-12 title game.

USC is 4-0 as well, with all the wins coming in conference play. The Trojans would win a tiebreaker with the Buffaloes if both teams win this weekend because the Trojans will finish with one more conference win. The Trojans play UCLA Saturday night.

Colorado’s scheduled game against USC o Nov. 29 was canceled due to COVID-19 issues within USC’s program. One week earlier, Colorado’s game at Arizona State was canceled because of COVID-19 issues within the Sun Devils.

Dorrell isn’t thinking of title possibilities, however.

“We have to control what we have in front of us. We have done that so far,” he said. “The magnitude of the weeks, we are now in week five of the season for us, are vitally important for us to be in that picture.

“We are in pretty good shape. We need to take advantage of this opportunity that we are in. That is the goal of this week and the preparation in getting ready to play.”

The Buffaloes moved into this week’s College Football Playoff thanks to quarterback Sam Noyer’s steady play and the running of Jarek Broussard. Broussard has rushed for 733 yards in four games, with 301 coming in last week’s 24-13 win at Arizona. He was named the Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week for the second time this season.

Broussard is ahead of Rashaan Salaam’s four-game total when the late Colorado tailback won the 1994 Heisman Trophy.

Utes at Buffaloes Betting Pick for December 12, 2020

The Utes have won the last three meetings, leaving the Buffaloes clinging to a 32-31-3 series lead. The Utes have outscored the Buffs 109-35 in that stretch and held the Buffs to just 217 yards in total offense in clinching a spot in the Pac-12 title game with last year’s win.

Utes at Buffaloes Betting Pick:

Buffaloes 28, Utes 20

Utes at Buffaloes Best Bet for December 12, 2020

Colorado scored 83 points combined in wins over UCLA and Stanford to start the season but have scored only 44 in their last two games against San Diego State and Arizona. The Utes have given up 81 points in three games and have scored only 68 with a season high in last week’s 30-24 win over Oregon State. 

Utes at Buffaloes Best Bet: UNDER 51.5

No. 22 Oklahoma State Cowboys at Baylor Bears Betting Preview

Saturday, December 12, 2020, McLane Stadium, Waco, Texas, 7 p.m. ET

Cowboys at Bears Betting Preview: Cowboys  (-4.5), Bears (+4.5)

Cowboys

After a 4-0 start that included wins over Iowa State and West Virginia, Oklahoma State rose to No. 6 in the national rankings and looked like the Big 12’s best bet to make the College Football Playoff.

The No. 22 Cowboys (6-3, 5-3 Big 12) have dropped three of their last five games, however, and can finish no higher than third in the conference after last week’s 29-22 loss at TCU.

A frustrated Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy made it clear during the league’s coaches teleconference this week that a third-place finish wasn’t high on his list of priorities.

“I’m not disappointed with anybody in this organization,” Gundy said. “I’m disappointed that — every year our goal is to win a Big 12 Championship. If you win a Big 12 Championship, you win first place. If you get second or 10th, you get the last place. There are no second-place medals.”

Oklahoma State lost at TCU despite jumping out to a 13-0 lead and forcing a season-high five turnovers by the Horned Frogs.

Playing without injured All-America running back Chuba Hubbard, the Cowboys managed to score off only one of the turnovers, a 40-yard fumble return by defensive end Brock Martin, and the Horned Frogs and quarterback Max Duggan took advantage of an injury-plagued OSU secondary to rally and pull out the victory.

“It’s a pretty rare game when you score on defense and you get that many turnovers to not be able to find a way to win, but we just couldn’t muster up much offensively,” Gundy said. “We couldn’t get much stability. We did hit on a couple of big plays, but we just couldn’t muster up enough with where we’re at right now to keep rolling.”

Bears

Baylor (2-6, 2-6 Big 12) is coming off a 27-14 loss at Oklahoma, holding the Sooners to just 269 total yards including 76 yards on 31rushes.

Quarterback Charlie Brewer completed 30 of 56 passes for 263 yards and a touchdown and also rushed for another touchdown in the loss to the Sooners. He ranks second in rushing for the season for the Bears with 170 yards.

Since COVID-19 prevented Baylor from playing a nonconference game with Houston, the Bears could still schedule another contest for Dec. 19. But coach Dave Aranda told the Waco Tribune his team is zeroed in on Baylor’s final Big 12 contest of the season.

“We’re not looking that way right now,” Aranda said. “All eyes are on this Saturday and the game versus Oklahoma State. All of our focus is really on that.”

The Bears also are looking at the possibility of a fifth different starter at running back as injuries begin to mount up at the position. Redshirt freshman Jonah White could get the nod against the Cowboys. Had three carries for 18 yards and had nine receptions for another 63 yards against Oklahoma.

“I’m a big fan of his,” Aranda said of White. “In practice, there was a pass out of the backfield where he stuck his foot in the ground, made a guy miss and lowered his shoulder. Really, from the foot in the ground to the acceleration, it was like, ‘Who is that?’ . But, it’s cool when you have your moment and you take advantage of it.”

The Bears have rushed for an average of just 92.9 yards a game this season, but did rush for 207 yards against Kansas in the opener and 203 yards against Texas Tech.

Cowboys at Bears Betting Pick for December 12, 2020

The Cowboys hold a slim 20-18 series lead overall but the Bears are 10-6 in games played in Waco. Baylor won last year’s meeting 45-27 despite Hubbard’s 171-yard rushing performance. Charlie Brewer was 13 of 17 passing for 312 yards and a touchdown for Baylor in that game.

Cowboys at Bears Betting Pick:

Cowboys 24, Bears 14

Cowboys at Bears Best Bet for December 12, 2020

Baylor is coming off a pretty solid defensive effort in a 27-14 loss to Oklahoma, holding the Sooners to a season-low 269 yards of total offense. The Bears’ season scoring high came in a 47-14 win over Kansas in their season opener. After scoring 50 in a win over Texas Tech on Nov. 28, the Cowboys lost to TCU 29-22 last week.

Cowboys at Bears Best Bet: UNDER 49.5

No. 15 USC Trojans at UCLA Bruins Betting Preview

Saturday, December 12, 2020, Spieker Field at the Rose Bowl, Pasadena, California, 7:30 p.m. ET

Trojans at Bruins Betting Preview: Trojans  (-3.5), Bruins (+3.5)

Trojans

USC will try to secure a spot in the Pac-12 Conference championship game when the No. 15 Trojans (4-0, 4-0 Pac-12) take on UCLA.

A win will give the Trojans a 5-0 record for the first time since 2006, when they started 6-0.

USC put itself in position to play for the conference championship in Santa Clara, Calif., by beating visiting Washington State 38-13 last Sunday night.

The game was pushed back two days following a small COVID-19 outbreak on the USC team, a situation that initially forced the Trojans to cancel their game against No. 21 Colorado on Nov. 28.

The schedule adjustment shrank USC’s window to prepare for UCLA, and it hasn’t dimmed the excitement surrounding the crosstown rivalry.

“We’ve got a short week coming up against a really good team that’s hot right now,” USC coach Clay Helton said. “We’ve got a lot to play for, and that’s what you want in December.”

Kedon Slovis was sharp against Washington State, completing 25 of 32 passes for 287 yards and five touchdowns.

Amon-Ra St. Brown, held out of the end zone over the first three games, caught seven passes for 65 yards and four touchdowns against the Cougars, which tied a school and Pac-12 single-game record.

Bruins

The Bruins (3-2, 3-2 Pac-12) are coming off a 25-18 win at Arizona State last week, their first win in the month of December since the 2013 Sun Bowl. The victory lifted UCLA’s record above .500 for the first time since a win on Oct. 21, 2017, had them at 4-3.

UCLA has been particularly strong on defense, holding three of its past four opponents to two touchdowns or fewer.

“I’ve been really proud of how our defense has played all season long,” UCLA coach Chip Kelly said. “We have a bunch of kids over there that play football extremely hard.

“They do a really good job of rallying to the ball and gang tackling, and we talked about playing hard and playing hard for 60 minutes. You can’t play hard for 58. You have to play hard for 60.”

UCLA benefited last weekend with the return of quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson, who was among nine Bruins to miss two games because of COVID-19 concerns.

Thompson-Robinson completed 18 of 24 passes for 192 yards and a touchdown against Arizona State. He also rushed for 49 yards and a score.

“We’re taking it day by day and working very hard,” Thompson-Robinson said. “I’m very proud of this team and where we’re headed.”

Trojans at Bruins Betting Pick for December 12, 2020

The Trojans are 16-5 over the last 21 meetings with the Bruins and lead the series 48-32-7, though they are only 7-11 in games played at the Rose Bowl. Last year Slovis passed for a school single-game record 515 yards and four Trojans had 100-yard receiving games as the Trojans dominated in a 52-35 win. Thompson-Robinson passed for 367 yards and three touchdowns and also rushed for 64 yards and a touchdown for the Bruins.

Trojans at Bruins Betting Pick:

Trojans 28, Bruins 24

Trojans at Bruins Best Bet for December 12, 2020

The Trojans have scored at least 33 points in each of their last four games and just missed the 30-point mark with a 28-27 win over Arizona State to open the season. The Bruins are coming off a season low with their 25-18 win over Arizona State last week and have scored only 52 points their last two outings.

Trojans at Bruins Best Bet: UNDER 62

OddsUSA College Football Best Bet of the Week: North Carolina Tar Heels at Miami Hurricanes

Spread: Miami -2.5

Moneyline: Miami -154; North Carolina +126

Over/Under: 67.5

*Odds via FanDuel.com

There is nothing on the line for either North Carolina or Miami in their game this weekend. The ACC title game is already set. Neither is in the national championship picture. Both quarterbacks have long since fallen out of contention for the Heisman Trophy.

So, how are the respective coaches going to motivate their teams to play their hardest?

Therein lies the beauty of college football. It is not always about what you can gain or lose, depending on the game’s outcome. It is about winning for the sake of winning, having a better record, and pride. Coaches don’t have to dangle the prospect of winning a championship to get the most out of their team.

But these guys do have something to gain from winning this weekend—a higher ranking and a better bowl bid.  However, both teams have talented rosters that will not go down without a fight. So—who’s going to win?

North Carolina Tar Heels

For the Tar Heels, it is all about how much damage they can do on offense. Sam Howell is one of the better quarterbacks in the country. He has an excellent tandem of running backs to work with in Michael Carter and Javonte Williams. Both are also good receiving threats out of the backfield.

The offensive line has played well for most of the season, and wide receivers Dyami Brown and Dazz Newsome are one of the more dynamic wide receiver duos in the country.

North Carolina can put up some points (41.1 per game; 12th in the country). They generate offense (534.5 total yards per game; fifth in the country). But where they struggle is stopping their opponents from doing the same.

They have been giving up over 400 yards (61st) and 28.6 points a game this season (63rd). But they have been able to come through on occasion for the Tar Heels. With Miami giving up more tackles for a loss than anyone else in the ACC, they might get a chance to do so this weekend.

Miami Hurricanes

The Hurricanes were expected to be a good team last season, but they were missing one essential thing—a good quarterback. That is certainly not the case this year. The addition of a dynamic playmaker like D’Eriq King made them an instant threat to Clemson for conference supremacy.

Something which a 42-17 early-season loss quickly brought that dream to an end.

But the Hurricanes have bounced back well from the loss with five consecutive wins—and King’s play has had a lot to do with it. His numbers are not gaudy, but he has been efficient and makes few (if any) mistakes. So far this season, he has thrown 20 touchdowns and four picks.

Defensively, Miami is not a good team, but they are not a bad one either. They are averaging right around 366 total yards allowed per game (44th), 139.1 on the ground (42nd), and 227.1 through the air (56th). 

But while they may give up a decent number of yards, they are stingy when it comes to points (22.0 per game; 30th).

Game Prediction

Look for both Howell and King to have a big day here as both teams generate a ton of offense and score a lot of points. The lead will go back and forth throughout the game; the winner could very well be the team that has the ball last (and scores, of course).

While the Tar Heels have more overall talent on their offense, Miami has the most dynamic player in the game in King. In the end, he is going to make the difference and lead the Hurricanes to the end.

Take Miami to win, straight up and ATS. As for the over/under—these two teams will cover the over.

Prop Bets

If you are not sure about who will win the game, you may be more interested in some of the production-based prop bets FanDuel is offering. For instance, the total passing yards mark has been set at over 300 for both quarterbacks (Sam Howell o/u 309.5; D’Eriq King o/u 304.5).

Assuming this game turns into the wild shoot out it is expected to be, both could easily cover the over. But both only have three 300+ yard games this season. It is more likely that both come close but finish with less. Take the under for both.

But the more fun question is figuring out who will score in the game (rushing and receiving touchdowns only). Howell and King have scored four rushing touchdowns this season; King may do so here but don’t bank on Howell running into the endzone.

Javonte Williams has scored 16 touchdowns this season, with at least one coming in every game but one. You can count on him scoring in this one; take the over on his rushing total as well (72.5). Michael Carter did not score in six of UNC’s ten games this season. Do not take him to score, but do take him to cover the over for his rushing total (77.5).

Dazz Newsome and Dyami Brown are hit or miss when it comes to getting in the endzone, but if you want to take one of them, take Brown.

As for Miami, the ball has been spread around a lot this year. So, there is no go-to touchdown. Cam’ron Harris has scored half of the team’s rushing touchdowns, so he looks like a good bet to score. Mike Harley has scored in four of his last five games (take him). But leave the rest alone.   

OddsUSA College Football Best Bet of the Week: Navy Midshipmen at Army Black Knights

Spread: Army -6.5

Moneyline: Army -325; Navy +250

Over/Under: 37.5

*Odds via FanDuel.com

Normally, the annual Army-Navy game is the last regular-season college football game of the year. But with the coronavirus wreaking havoc on schedules and getting everyone off to slow starts, that is not going to be the case this year.

That is not the only change the virus caused—someone is going to have home-field advantage this year. Traditionally, the game is played at a neutral site (usually Philadelphia). But because of attendance limitations at outdoor events in Philadelphia, the two schools decided to play elsewhere.

So, for the first time in 77 years and for only the fourth time in the rivalry’s history, the game will be played on the West Point campus at Michie Stadium. Fans will not be in attendance, but Navy’s Brigade of Midshipmen will be, as will Army’s Corp of Cadets.

Last season saw Navy (who leads the series, 61-52-7) win in convincing fashion, 31-7, breaking Army’s win streak at three games. However, with how Navy has struggled this year, they may have a hard time starting a streak of their own and winning again.

Army, of course, would love nothing more than to win their fourth in five years. But when it comes to rivalries such as this, records mean nothing.

Navy Midshipmen

With the triple-option offense Navy runs, the Midshipmen typically have one of the nation’s best rushing attacks. But that is not the case this season. While they finished first in the country last year with 300+ yards a game, they are not even cracking 200 yards a game this season (185.3; 46th).

That is probably why they are throwing the ball a little more than usual. But they are only averaging about 107 yards a game—so they are not throwing that much.

Part of the problem could be the inconsistency at quarterback. Navy has used five this season. Last week, freshman Xavier Arline got his first start in a loss to Tulsa. 

He will get his second this week against Army’s seventh-ranked pass defense.

A strong defense is the other hallmark of the typically Navy team, but the Midshipmen have been struggling on that end of the ball as well. They are allowing over 400 yards and 32.0 points a game. As for their run defense—it is ranked a dismal 109th this year and giving up 200+ yards a game.

Army Black Knights

Like Navy, Army likes to run the triple option and is often one of the most productive rushing attacks in the nation. With 296.7 yards a game on the ground this season, Army has the third-best run game in the country.

When you run the ball that well, you do not even think about throwing it, which the Black Knights rarely do. On the season, the team’s quarterbacks (due to injuries, there have been six) have attempted just 67 passes, completing 29.

While the Navy is going to have their hands full against Army’s run game, the defense will cause even more problems. The Army defense is one of the best in the country this year (fourth in total yards; 23rd against the run and seventh against the pass).

So, not only will Army be tough to get off the field, but it will also be challenging for Navy’s offense to stay on the field.

Game Prediction

Navy has played better in recent weeks, but this one looks like an easy win for Army. Navy struggles to run the ball and stop other teams from running it. Army excels at preventing opponents from moving the ball on the ground and running it themselves.

Look for Army to pound the ball down Navy’s throat all day long. It would not be surprising if the Black Knights did not throw a pass. Take Army to win, straight up and ATS. As for the over/under, the under is 15-2 in the last 17 games between these two teams. Take the under.

Travis’ Best Bet: Army -6.5, UNDER 37.5

Prop Bets

For now, we do not know who Army is going to start at quarterback. That and the chance Army does not pass against Navy make the under for Christian Anderson’s passing yards total (24.5) the better bet. When he has thrown the ball, he has covered the over (three of five games). But he did not play against Georgia Southern, and there is no telling if or how much he will play against Navy.

Army running back Tyrell Robinson has not been a significant factor in the run game for the last five games. It is hard to trust he’ll get enough carries to cover the over for his rushing total (29.5). Take the under.

But Jakobi Buchanan is going to be used to pound on the Navy defense and wear them down. He’ll get the carries he needs to cover his rushing yard total (58.5). Take the over.

As for Navy, Tyger Goslin has appeared in four games and does not seem to factor into Navy’s plans much (if at all). It is doubtful he covers the over on his passing yards total (79.5). Jamale Carothers has not gained more than 13 yards in his last four games. He will not cover the over on his rushing yard total (32.5).

While Nelson Smith only gained 33 yards against Tulsa, he gained 100+ in three of the previous five. Take him to cover the over on his rushing total (58.5).

No. 10 Miami at Duke Betting Preview

Saturday, December 5, 2020, Brooks Field at Wallace Wade Stadium, Durham, North Carolina, 8 p.m. ET

Hurricanes at Blue Devils Betting Preview: Hurricanes (-15.5), Blue Devils (+15.5)

Miami Hurricanes Betting Preview

Miami will travel to face Duke for its first game in three weeks, ending a hiatus caused by a COVID-19 outbreak within the program.

The No. 10 Hurricanes (7-1, 6-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) will be playing for the first time since a 25-24 win over Virginia Tech on Nov. 14 when they visit Duke in a game that was set up after a scheduled trip to Wake Forest was canceled because of COVID-19 issues among the Demon Deacons.

It’s unclear who will be available for the Hurricanes against Duke, but coach Manny Diaz said his team would have enough players.

“There will be some unique challenges to this week just to get to Saturday with the way we can practice and the way we meet throughout the week,” Diaz said. “But we’re happy for the league to be able to arrange it to go get us a game.”

The Hurricanes still have a chance to reach the ACC championship game if they win their remaining games and if Clemson loses to Virginia Tech this week. If the Hurricanes win out, they could earn a New Year’s Six bowl bid.

“We do have a special team, and this team wants to finish what they started,” Diaz said. “We’re in December, we have one loss, and are in the top 10. Who knows what’s going to happen here the next few weeks?”

The Hurricanes have the third-best scoring defense in the ACC (24.8 points per game), led by senior Quincy Roche (11 tackles for loss) and junior Jaelan Phillips (five sacks).

Quarterback D’Eriq King has led the offense. He ranks fourth in the ACC in passing yards per game (260.8) and touchdown passes (17) and fifth in completion percentage (.637) and pass efficiency (149.0). King is also Miami’s second-leading rusher with 421 yards behind junior Cam’Ron Harris’ 471.

Duke Blue Devils Betting Preview

Duke (2-7, 1-7 ACC) was supposed to host Florida State this week before positive COVID-19 cases increased among the Seminoles.

The Blue Devils have won the last two meetings with Miami but have not had a lot of success in the win department this season with ball security a major issue.

They lead the nation with 30 turnovers and rank126th out of 127 FBS teams in turnover margin at minus-13. The issues continued last week with five giveaways in a 56-33 lost at Georgia Tech.

Junior quarterback Chase Brice has thrown an ACC-leading 13 interceptions and has the third-worst completion percentage (.535) and the second-worst quarterback rating (108.79) in the conference.

“A big part of turning the ball over was just getting out of sync,” Duke coach David Cutcliffe said. “It’s hard to explain. It’s a unique time we’re going through and we tried like crazy to learn from it.”

Duke’s defense has surrendered an average of 427.4 yards a game with 200.1 coming on the ground. Containing Miami’s King will be a major priority.

“He looks like he has a great knowledge of what they’re trying to do,” Cutcliffe said. “He’s … a multi-threat player. And he takes advantage of everything a defense gives him.”

Hurricanes at Blue Devils Betting Pick for December 5, 2020

The series has been surprisingly competitive in recent years, partly because of Miami’s decline but also because of the rise of Duke. 

The Hurricanes still lead the series 13-4 and Miami has won 12 of the 15 meetings since the two teams were  placed in the ACC Coastal Division, but the Blue Devils have won the last two meetings, 27-17 last year in Durham and 20-12 in 2018 in Miami’s Hard Rock Stadium.  

Hurricanes at Blue Devils Betting Pick:

 Hurricanes 41, Blue Devils 24

Hurricanes at Blue Devils Best Bet for December 5, 2020

Miami’s King gives the Hurricanes a big edge. The Blue Devils have averaged 26.4 points a game to Miami’s 33.2 average and give up 35 a game to Miami’s 24.8 average.

Hurricanes at Blue Devils Best Bet: OVER 60.5

No. 19 Iowa at Illinois Betting Preview

Saturday, December 5, 2020, Memorial Stadium, Champaign, Illinois, 3:30 p.m. ET

Hawkeyes at Fighting Illini Betting Preview: Hawkeyes (-13.5), Fighting Illini (+13.5)

Iowa Hawkeyes Betting Preview

No. 19 Iowa is seeking its first five-game winning streak since opening 2015 with 12 straight wins, and coach Kirk Ferentz sees the Fighting Illini as a different team with Brandon Peters back at quarterback in a 41-23 win at Nebraska.

“The last time out when they had their quarterback back in and were able to do the things they wanted to do, they did them extremely well against a team that we struggled to beat the other day,” Ferentz said. “It was an impressive outing when they were with Nebraska, and that’s the Illinois team we’re trying to get ready for right now.”

Peters, who played for the first time since the opener after being sidelines by COVID-19 issues, threw for 205 yards and a touchdown to improve to 7-5 in his career in games he’s able to complete. Four others took a crack at the position, with minimal success, while Peters was out.

The Hawkeyes (4-2, 4-2 Big Ten) have gotten their offense going in their current four-game winning streak, outscoring their last four opponents by a combined 151-55 and averaging 37.8 points per game.

“Our goal at the start of the season wasn’t to be 4-2, but four weeks ago that was the best we could do,” Ferentz said. “I’m proud of what they’ve done the last four weeks.”

In the 26-20 win over Nebraska last week, Tyler Goodson rushed for 111 yards on a career-high 30 carries and Spencer Petras completed 18-of-30 passes for 193 yards and a touchdown. He was intercepted once. The Hawkeyes scored the final 13 points of the game for their sixth straight win in the series.

Fighting Illini

Last week’s game for the Illini (2-3) against No. 3 Ohio State was canceled due to COVID concerns and thus the Illini are still seeking a third straight win after knocking off Rutgers 23-20 and Nebraska 41-23 for the first time in Lincoln since 1924 their last two outings.

“As we went into the football season, we knew we were going to need to be flexible, that things could change quickly, and that’s exactly what happened for us this past week,” Illinois coach Lovie Smith said. “We were really excited about playing one of the best teams in the country here at home, but once the decision was made by the league, we moved on quickly to Iowa.

“It doesn’t take much for us to get fired up about playing the Hawkeyes.”

Illinois has had five 100-yard rushing efforts in its last three games, including two each from Mike Epstein and Chase Brown. Against Nebraska, Epstein picked up 113 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries, and Brown carried 26 times for 110 yards and two scores.

The Illini average 222.4 yards per game on the ground, second only to Ohio State’s 233.3 in the Big Ten.

For the second straight game, the Illini defense picked off three passes. Linebacker Jake Hansen has made one in each game.

Hawkeyes at Fighting Illini Betting Pick for December 5, 2020

The Illini lead the series 38-35-2, but the Hawkeyes have been closing fast with 14 wins in the last 17 meetings and 11 in the last 12. Their current winning streak over the Illini is six games and includes two shutouts, 63-0 in 2018 and 28-0 in 2016. The most recent wins for each team came against Nebraska with the Illini winning 41-23 two weeks ago and the Hawkeyes winning 26-20 last week.

Hawkeyes at Fighting Illini Betting Pick:

Hawkeyes 28, Fighting Illini 24

Hawkeyes at Fighting Illini Best Bet for December 5, 2020

The Hawkeyes have won the last two meetings in Champaign by a combined 91-0 score. They are coming off a 26-20 win over Nebraska, however, that marked their lowest scoring output since 24-20 and 21-20 losses to Purdue and Northwestern, respectively, to start the season. Their 41 points against Nebraska were a season high for the Illini.

Hawkeyes at Fighting Illini Best Bet: OVER 50.5

Liberty at No. 18 Coastal Carolina Betting Preview

Saturday, December 5, 2020, Brooks Stadium, Conway, South Carolina, 2 p.m. ET

Flames at Chanticleers Betting Preview: Flames (+10.5), Chanticleers (-10.5)

Liberty Flames Betting Preview

The Flames (9-1), an independent program ranked No. 25 in the Associated Press Top 25, are off to their most successful 10-game start to a season, breaking the previous best of 8-1-1 to start the 1979 season.

But they could easily be on the outside looking in when it comes to bowl season because as an independent they have no conference access to a post-season game. Without any win requirement for teams to qualify for bowls this season because of COVID-19, bowls are expected to fill their games with their designated conference affiliations.

“No idea if we will beat Coastal or not, but if we do, I think we have … the most impressive wins in the nation compared to the other Group of Five schedules,” Flames coach Hugh Freeze said about his team’s bowl prospects.

Liberty has a balanced offense. Quarterback Malik Willis, is the first in program history with 20 touchdown passes and 10 rushing touchdowns in the same season.

Willis has completed 151 out of 236 pass attempts for 2,040 yards with 20 touchdowns and four interceptions. He also leads the Flames with 807 rushing yards on 120 carries with 10 TDs.

The Flames have averaged 252.1 yards a game rushing, 231.4 passing.

Coastal Carolina Chanticleers Betting Preview

Coastal Carolina continues to make history, moving up two spots to No. 18 this week in the College Football Playoff ratings, its highest standing in the rankings.

The CFP rating comes two days after the Chanticleers posted the highest AP Top 25 ranking in program history at No. 14, which is also the loftiest rating ever for a Sun Belt Conference team.

“I’m sure we’ll see those media mentions skyrocket this weekend,” Coastal Carolina athletic director Matt Hogue said. “Already, the buzz you have during this week is going to bring enormous attention to our university. What a great time.”

The No. 18 Chanticleers (9-0) clinched the Sun Belt East Division title last week with a 49-14 win at Texas State, their 10th straight win dating to last season. The Chanticleers were picked to finish last in the conference’s preseason poll.

“That’s so special,” Coastal Carolina running back CJ Marable said. “We’re all excited because we know last few years since I’ve been here, we’ve been 5-7 back to back. Everything falls into line like we thought it was going to be. It’s a blessing. It’s a blessing to be there.”

Marable ran for 157 yards and a career-high three touchdowns in a driving rainstorm at Texas State.

“It wasn’t an easy game to play with the weather up here,” Coastal Carolina coach Jamey Chadwell said. “Everybody was talking about how this could potentially be a trap game with the big win we had last week, but our team came out focused from the opening kickoff.”

The win followed a 34-23 victory against visiting Appalachian State that put the Chanticleers in prime position in the division race.

Flames at Chanticleers Betting Pick for December 5, 2020

The series between the two teams is knotted up at 7-7 with each team holding a 5-2 advantage on its home field. The last meeting was back in 2016 with the Chanticleers romping to a 42-7 victory.

Flames at Chanticleers Betting Pick:

Chanticleers 34, Flames 27

Flames at Chanticleers Best Bet for December 5, 2020

Both teams have electrifying quarterbacks with Coastal Carolina’s Grayson McCall throwing for 218 yards a game and rushing for 366 for the season and Malik Willis passing for 226.7 and rushing for a team-high 89.7 average. 

The Flames are scoring at a 38.3 points a game clip and the Chanticleers have averaged 38.7 per game. They both have held their opponents to under 20 points a game.

Flames at Chanticleers Best Bet: OVER 57.5