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College Football Betting: Conference Championship Game Trends
by Nicholas Tolomeo - 11/30/2012

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Kent State Golden Flashes running back Dri Archer

The first weekend in December has traditionally been known as Championship Saturday. The action now starts tonight with the MAC Championship Game and the Pac-12 Championship. With the rash of conference realignment over the past few years, there are now six conference championship games. Four games are played at neutral sites: Big Ten in Indianapolis, ACC in Charlotte, SEC in Atlanta and MAC in Detroit and two at campus sites, Pac-12 and Conference USA.

While the weekend is known as Championship Weekend, it is more like a place where champions go to die.

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Since 2008 favorites are an underwhelming 6-14 ATS in conference championship games, including eight outright losses. Four of the underdogs to win outright since 2008 have done so as double-digit underdogs, and five have been underdogs of at least seven points.

Last season Southern Miss went to Houston as a 12-point underdog and rocked the Cougars, 49-28. Clemson also won last season as a seven-point underdog, 38-10 over Virginia Tech at Charlotte in the ACC Championship Game.

In 2010 Miami of Ohio shocked Northern Illinois 26-21 as an 18.5-point underdog in the MAC Championship Game. The MAC Championship Game, played annually at Detroit’s Ford Field since 2004, was home to another major upset in 2008: Buffalo upset Ball State, 42-24. Ball State was undefeated and a 15-point favorite at the time. That same season East Carolina, as a 12-point underdog, went to Tulsa and knocked off the Golden Hurricane 27-24 in the Conference USA Championship Game.

There have been other close calls over the years like in 2009 when Nebraska, as a 14-point favorite, fell to Texas 13-13 in the Big 12 Championship Game. Last season Michigan State lost to Wisconsin 42-39 but easily covered as a 10-point underdog.

Considering the recent history of conference championship games, favorites should be on alert this week, especially on Friday night: Northern Illinois (-7.5) in the MAC Championship Game against Kent State and Stanford (-8) at home against UCLA in the Pac-12 Championship Game.

On Saturday Alabama (-7.5) plays Georgia in the SEC Championship Game, and the largest favorite of the championship games is Florida State (-14) against Georgia Tech in the ACC Championship Game.
           
Here are some other championship game trends since 2008:

Favorites are 4-0 ATS in the SEC Championship Games
Underdogs are 4-0 ATS in MAC Championship Games
The “over” is 12-8 in all championship games played since 2008
The over is 3-1 in ACC Championship Games and SEC Championship Games
The “under” is 3-1 in MAC Championship Games
Underdogs are 3-1 ATS and 3-1 SU in Conference USA Championship Games

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