NCAA Football Betting Predictions: Championship Week Opening Line Report and Picks
Last Saturday, LSU, as a 24-point underdog, defeated Florida on the road with minimal scholarship players and mainly freshman and sophomores in the game.
This all but concluded Florida’s hopes of playing in the College Football Playoff as they lost the turnover margin by three and threw a shoe on a third down stop that would’ve given the Gators back the ball in a tie ball game.
Instead, Florida was called for an unsportsmanlike conduct, and LSU was given first down and new life.
With that life, LSU’s Cade York nailed a 57-yard field goal and the Tigers prevailed late after Florida missed the game-tying field goal at the end of regulation.
Florida’s head coach was asked about the CFP after the game was over.
When asked about Florida’s chances to make the CFP, he responded in his presser.
“I don’t have a vote on that, I’m not in the room,” Mullen said. “I know we’ve played 10 games, so I guess probably the best thing to do would’ve been to play less games. Because you seem to get rewarded this year for not playing this year in college football.”
Mullen took a shot at Ohio State because Ohio State was given a chance to play in the Big Ten Championship without playing the minimum required games, which was six.
Florida will take on Alabama for the SEC Championship this week. There’s talk about whether or not Florida would be given a spot in the College Football Playoff with a win.
Of course, Florida has no control over any of that and just has to go out and win.
But chances are that Florida doesn’t come close to defeating Alabama in this one. We’ve seen how good Alabama has been all season long.
But even if they did, Florida would have to root for an upset from Northwestern over Ohio State along with a Notre Dame win over Clemson in the ACC Championship.
If Clemson loses twice to Notre Dame, they’ll be on the outside looking in. And because Ohio State hasn’t played enough games, one loss and they’d be looked at differently.
The Big Ten conference started play way later than the SEC or ACC and those coaches in those conferences aren’t happy about it. Sure, when you play more games, the chance of losing a game increases. But if you’re like Alabama and win all of your games, then you’re easily viewed as the most superior team in the nation.
It has its pros and cons.
Northwestern vs Ohio State (-20.5, 57.5): Northwestern certainly has the defense to stick around with Ohio State. But the question is if they can be consistent on defense while also putting up points on offense. The run game from Northwestern has been very good throughout the season. However, Ohio State’s run defense is one of the best in the nation, along with their pass rush. Up front, they’re phenomenal. On the flip side, Ohio State could be better in coverage and have struggled tackling at times but have done very well up front. On offense, Justin Fields might struggle finding open receivers. However, the reality is that Northwestern won’t get to him fast enough, leaving Fields time in the pocket to find open receivers. With that, I believe Ohio State makes a statement in this one to get into the CFP. Pick: Ohio State
Notre Dame vs Clemson (-10.5, 60.5): This number isn’t correct. Sure, Clemson will have their star quarterback, Trevor Lawrence, back. However, seeing that this game is a double-digit spread is flat out wrong. Notre Dame defeated Clemson earlier this season in overtime, without Lawrence and instead faced a very solid freshman quarterback in DJ Uiagalelei. Notre Dame’s defense has struggled tackling but has a reliable pass rush and is fantastic in coverage. Better yet, they’ve dominated in the run game. On offense, Notre Dame has one of the best run blocking units in the nation, and that should help Notre Dame run well against Clemson once again. On the other hand, Clemson has been just as good on defense. However, offensively, they’ve had their struggles here and there. The offensive line might struggle a little bit against Notre Dame’s front seven, and that could be the difference. Either way, I’ll take the points in this extremely close match-up. Pick: Notre Dame
Florida vs Alabama (-16.5, 74.5): Every one of these big, CFP-changing games have spreads in the double digits. This is absurd, but I probably agree with this one. Florida’s defense is terrible. They’ve been really bad in coverage, can’t tackle well and struggle against the run. We saw it against LSU last week. The offense will do their thing if their tight end, Kyle Pitts, is back from injury. However, I’m not sure they can keep up with Alabama’s pace. Throughout the season, Alabama has looked much better defensively and continues to progress. Offensively, they’ve made plays extremely quickly and have a match-up against Florida that quarterback Mac Jones will appreciate. Pick: Alabama
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