College football betting: Conference championship line moves

·5 min read

For one final time, we're taking a look at the early week line movement when it comes to the upcoming weekend's college football slate. We have a much smaller slate this week and each game is important in its own way, so there hasn't been much movement across the market. However, we've seen some movement around key numbers and some totals are also moving slightly. Which college football games this weekend have seen some early line movement?

Oregon now getting less than a field goal

Two weeks ago, the Utah Utes beat the Oregon Ducks by a score of 38-7. The game ended any playoff dreams and aspirations for the Ducks as they were beaten not only on the scoreboard, but physically as well. Utah exposed Oregon in the trenches and dominated on both sides of the ball. It was never really a game. 

Naturally, Utah opened as a 3-point favorite in the rematch of this game. After what we saw just a few days ago, it's hard to envision any scenario where backing Oregon as an underdog would seem appealing. However, it seems like the betting market likes Oregon to get revenge here.

Oregon is now down to a 2.5-point underdog in the Pac-12 championship game. While its playoff dreams are gone, you'd have to expect Oregon to play with pride as revenge is on the line. Then again, the Ducks should have been plenty motivated in the first game between these teams. 

Western Kentucky gets love in Conference USA championship

Western Kentucky enters conference championship weekend as the winner of seven straight games. The Hilltoppers boast one of the country's most electric offenses, ranking top 10 in points, offensive yards and yards per play. 

On the other hand, UTSA entered the final week of the regular season with a chance to cap off an undefeated regular season. They couldn't get the job done, falling to North Texas in the finale. UTSA looked dominant to open the season but endured some scares and eventually a loss in the final few weeks of the season. 

EAST LANSING, MI - OCTOBER 02: Western Kentucky Hilltoppers quarterback Bailey Zappe (4) looks to his bench for a play call during a college football game between the Michigan State Spartans and the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers on October 2, 2021 at Spartan Stadium in East Lansing, MI. (Photo by Adam Ruff/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Bailey Zappe of Western Kentucky is quietly having a sensational season. (Adam Ruff/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Western Kentucky opened as a 1-point favorite in the Conference USA championship game, but it seems like the market is siding with the hotter team. The Hilltoppers are currently 3-point favorites over UTSA.

One can say that UTSA had the better overall season, but momentum matters. UTSA beat Western Kentucky by a score of 52-46 in October, but does that result hold water in December? It seems like early line movement suggests that it doesn't. 

Slight movement in the ACC championship game

Wake Forest opened as a 3-point underdog in the ACC championship game against Pittsburgh. The line made sense as both offenses are electric while Pittsburgh has a slightly better defense. However, it seems like the market likes the Demon Deacons in the underdog role. 

Wake Forest has blown through preseason expectations en route to a 10-2 record. However, the Demon Deacons been an underdog in just three games this season. Wake Forest is 1-2 straight up in games where it's been the underdog. 

Pittsburgh is also 10-2 and hasn't been an underdog this season. That won't change this week as Pittsburgh is currently a 2.5-point favorite over Wake Forest. Nevertheless, Pittsburgh has lost to Western Michigan as a 14-point favorite and Miami as a 9.5-point favorite.

This game seems like it'll come down to which team has the ball last, which makes grabbing the underdog an appealing proposition. The line has been moving between 2.5 points and 3 points all week, so keep an eye out for a number based on which side you want to back.

Kent State now laying more than a field goal

We've got one last serving of MACtion on tap as Kent State and Northern Illinois go head-to-head in the MAC championship game. Kent State is currently a 3.5-point favorite after the line opened with the Golden Flashes laying just a field goal. 

Kent State ranks top 10 in the country in both pace of play and yards per game. Their offense should have no issue moving the ball against a Northern Illinois defense that ranks 119th in yards-per-play allowed. Dustin Crum should have a big game for the Golden Flashes. 

Northern Illinois might have a lucky horseshoe somewhere. The Huskies are 7-1 in one score games this season with the one loss in a close game coming to this very Kent State team. On paper, the matchup favors Kent State but by now we know this game isn't played on paper. 

Lincoln Riley effect

There's actually a completely meaningless regular season game between USC and California on this weekend's schedule. It's a rescheduled make-up game which explains why it's being played on conference championship weekend.

Since the game means nothing, I won't spend too much time on it. However, California opened as a 2.5-point favorite but is now laying 4.5-points. It's a significant line movement and I can't help but wonder if the football program at USC might be focused on something else this week. 

Conference championship weekend betting lines

Here's the full slate of this weekend's betting lines:

  • Conference USA: Western Kentucky -3 @ UTSA (Total: 72.5)

  • Pac-12: Utah -2.5 vs. Oregon (Total: 59.5)

  • Big 12: Oklahoma State -5.5 vs. Baylor (Total: 46.5)

  • MAC: Kent State -3.5 vs. Northern Illinois (Total: 73.5)

  • Mountain West: Utah State +5.5 @ San Diego State (Total: 50.5)

  • Sun Belt: Appalachian State -3 @ Louisiana (Total: 53.5)

  • American: Houston +10.5 @ Cincinnati (Total: 53.5)

  • SEC: Georgia -6.5 vs. Alabama (Total: 49.5)

  • ACC: Pittsburgh -2.5 vs. Wake Forest (Total: 72.5)

  • Big Ten: Michigan -10.5 vs. Iowa (Total: 43.5)