by: Todd Fuhman
With the regular season wrapping up and bowl season rapidly approaching it’s time to take care of our last order of business: Conference Championship Week! Our Top 10 saw no movement in the 1-8 slots though Auburn and Wisconsin rejoined the party after impressive wins vs quality opponents this past week in impressive rivalry fashion. Our overrated section identifies a team vying for a conference championship this weekend while a surprising SEC school, beloved by Clay Travis, jumps into the underrated portion of our analysis. The Best Bet takes us to the old country roads of Boone, NC where the Louisiana Lafayette Ragin Cajuns take on Appalachian State for Sunbelt supremacy
Bet the Board Top 10 Championship Week:
1.) Ohio State
The Bearcats rank 19th in the national polls, but you’d be hard pressed to find an advantage college football bettor who has this team in their Top 25. Despite their cover last week against Memphis (a line that closed +14), there is no indication that this team, who currently is only a net +0.3 yards per play against a strength of schedule outside the Top 50, is deserving of a Top 25 distinction. The offense leaves a lot to be desired and has all year long barely ranking inside the Top 70 in total efficiency. QB Desmond Ritter has struggled with a bum throwing shoulder over the past few weeks, and it is still TBD for this weekend’s conference title after resting vs Memphis in the regular season finale. Luke Fickel is a coach highly respected by the betting community but this Cincinnati team is pure fools gold. The market reaction to this weekend’s game is quite interesting, as the spread has moved 4+ points in favor of Cincinnati reflecting last week’s final score simply based on perception and a modest upgrade at starting QB.
Finishing the season 7-5 after a rough start to the season (losses to Georgia State and BYU at home don’t scream SEC), the Tennessee Volunteers really turned a corner in the 2nd half of the year, winning 5 straight and now headed to a bowl game. Unlike the team mentioned in our overrated section, the Vols are an impressive +0.6 net yards per play against a Top 40 schedule, and seem to be gaining a ton of momentum for the end of this season that hopefully carries into 2020. This was the first year since 2015 Tennessee beat Kentucky, South Carolina, and Vanderbilt in the same season, a feat that should become the norm moving forward with recruiting rapidly improving in Knoxville. The defense has led the way en route to covering 6 of their final 7 games; finishing the year holding opponents to 5.0 yards per play (29th), and ranking in the Top 20 in Sack %. Head coach Jeremy Pruitt has (surprisingly?) done a nice job turning this team around when things looked grim after a dismal September
This years SunBelt championship game is a rematch from last year as Louisiana Lafayette travels back to Appalachian State to see if they can atone for a series of double digit losses that have plagued them in this rivalry. The market opened this game at 6.5 and we’ve seen very minimal movement on the spread outside of moving juice. These teams are extremely familiar with each other and despite the double digit final scores all the games have been one score contests in the 4th quarter. If ULL can avoid the “big turnover” here, they can win this game outright. They are led by their rushing attack, which has overwhelmed most opponents throughout the year. Recently ULL has even opened up their passing attack with QB Levi Lewis who should have plenty of opportunities this week if App State S Ryan Huff can’t give it a go. This number is a bit inflated here, so grab the points at FoxBet with the Ragin Cajuns and maybe we’ll have a new SunBelt Champion around 3:30pm on Saturday afternoon.