PAC-12 TOTAL PLUMMETING
It surprised many bettors to see the total for Friday's Pac-12 Championship Game between Utah and Oregon open above 50 – and it didn't take long for market correction to take hold. The number has dipped from an open of 51 all the way down to 46, largely due to the defensive prowess of both teams coming into their title game matchup and some inclement weather. Utah comes in ranked third in the country in total defense (241.6 yards per game allowed) while allowing 20+ points just twice all season. Oregon has been no slouch itself, ranked 24th in FBS in total defense (331.3) while racking up more interceptions (17) than passing touchdowns against (15).
While this one might not be as devoid of offense as last year's Pac-12 championship game – a 10-3 Washington win over Utah – it should still see defense prevail. Even at five points lower than the open, we're leaning toward the Under.
RED ALERT FOR REDHAWKS
The Miami (Ohio) RedHawks are unlikely participants in Saturday's MAC title game – and they could have trouble doing much on offense against the favored Central Michigan Chippewas. While the RedHawks favor the ground attack (59.2 percent of their offensive play calls were runs), they averaged a minuscule 3.6 YPC vs. FBS teams. And that's where the Chippewas excel defensively, having allowed the second-fewest rush yards in the conference (while ranking 22nd overall). Miami (Ohio) completed just over 52 percent of its pass attempts while also ranking near the bottom in sack rate and interception rate.
Combine the RedHawks' offensive struggles with the fact that they won't have home field in this one (they're just 2-5 SU in away games entering Saturday's encounter at Ford Field in Detroit) and we're big fans of CMU against the spread.
The Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns have a tall task ahead of them – but their recent performance suggests they have a shot as they visit the Appalachian State Mountaineers in Saturday's Sun Belt Conference Championship. The Ragin' Cajuns are roughly a one-touchdown underdog and have lost three meetings with the Mountaineers over the past two seasons. But Louisiana comes in having won six consecutive games since its most recent loss to App State, going 4-2 ATS in the process. And the defense has been the catalyst over that stretch, with ULL having cashed the Under in six of its past seven overall.
If you're angling toward the upset here, you might as well go all the way in and combine it with the U56.5 play (the teams have come in under 50 points in three straight meetings) for a +400 payout.
WASN’T THAT A PARTY!
The Hawaii Rainbow Warriors and Boise State Broncos have already put on quite a show this season – and football fans will undoubtedly be hoping for a repeat as the teams face off in Saturday's Mountain West Championship Game. The teams combined for a whopping 96 points in their earlier meeting – which is no surprise given that BSU and Hawaii rank 1-2, respectively, in the conference in points per game. And Boise State has been particularly prolific in their recent meetings, having put up at least 42 points in each of the previous six meetings (with six 50+-point performances).
The Broncos might not get to the 50-point plateau in this one, but with how prolific these offenses are, it's mildly surprising to see the total "only" in the mid-60s. We're leaning toward the Over here.