It’s the final weekend of the college football regular season. Conference championship game spots are at stake. There are many rivalry games across the country. Most attention, however, is focused on Columbus, where Ohio State has Michigan at stake with a berth in the Big Ten championship game. Ohio State is a 7.5-point favorite. Which way do bettors lean?
Weather like Michigan to keep it close
There’s a lot at stake when Ohio State hosts Michigan on Saturday afternoon. It’s probably the most impressive game of college football’s regular season. The winner will secure a seat in the Big Ten championship game, where he will be a huge favorite. At this point, a place in the College Football Playoffs seems all but assured. The loser has to make a few other teams lose across the country and then hope the committee appreciates their resume enough to give them serious consideration.
These teams found themselves in a similar position last year, although both teams had more of a loss than the unbeaten records they currently hold. This game was played in Ann Arbor, and Ohio State was a touchdown road favorite. In a snowy game, however, it was the home team, the Wolverines, that caused an uproar and ultimately holed their ticket to the College Football Playoffs. It was Jim Harbaugh’s first win against Ohio State as Michigan head coach.
This time, the game in Columbus, Ohio State is once again a big favorite. The Buckeyes lay down 7.5 points Saturday afternoon. Prior to last season, Ohio State had beaten Michigan eight times in a row by an average margin of 14.4 points. However, Michigan now knows they can compete with and beat this team. Will they be able to keep it tight again this year?
Michigan is the most popular bet of the weekend, both in terms of the number of bets placed and the amount of money wagered. Overall, 58% of the bets are on Michigan to cover 7.5 points. Many bettors also like it when Michigan stirs things up. At BetMGM, 85% of moneyline bets are placed on the Wolverines at +240.
Blake Corum was in Heisman’s picture for most of the season. Unfortunately for Michigan, its status is in question. You have to assume he’ll do everything in his power to play, but if you like Michigan on Saturday it might be best to wait for a definitive report.
Weather like Notre Dame and Iowa State to scare playoff contenders
The game in Columbus isn’t the only thing that could affect the national landscape this weekend.
TCU is looking to remain undefeated with a home game against Iowa State. A loss for the Horned Frogs would take them out of the playoff suspensions and into the bubble even if they ultimately win the Big 12 championship next weekend.
TCU is a 10-point favorite against an Iowa State team that’s only 1-7 in conference play. However, six of Iowa State’s conference losses were by seven points or less. They played tight games but just came out on the wrong side of everyone.
The betting public likes that Iowa State is playing another close game this weekend. At BetMGM, 65% of the bets and 76% of the money are on the Hawkeyes to cover as a 10 point straight favourite. Seven of TCU’s eight conference games have been decided by 10 points or less, with TCU obviously coming out on top in all of them.
While some think TCU has some margin for error, USC is a team that definitely has no margin for error. They need to beat Notre Dame on Saturday, then win the Pac-12 championship game and hope the committee takes a positive view of a 1-loss Pac-12 champion.
USC is the home favorite by just 5.5 points against the Fighting Irish on Saturday. At BetMGM, 67% of the bets and 70% of the money support Notre Dame. It’s obviously a classic rivalry game, and Notre Dame spoiled Clemson’s season earlier this year. USC’s defense is questionable and bettors are banking on the Irish at least keeping them close.
Other popular bets
While many of the big games take place on Saturdays, there’s a decent Friday dinner table, and college football makes its presence felt on Black Friday. Here are some other popular bets at BetMGM this weekend:
On Friday, North Carolina is a 6.5-point favorite against NC State. Bettors like UNC to cover as 83% of the money is on the tar heels.
Florida vs. Florida State is a classic rivalry game, and bettors like FSU can comfortably win against their SEC rivals on Friday night. 71% of the money goes to Florida State to cover as a 9.5-point favorite.
After a massive excitement last weekend, bettors like South Carolina are looking to stay close against another top team. Overall, 76% of the bets support the Gamecocks as a 14.5 point underdog against Clemson.
In the Iron Bowl, 70% of bets are placed on Auburn going up against Alabama as a 22-point underdog.
In LSU’s last ballot before the SEC championship game, they are a 10-point favorite over Texas A&M. A large majority of bettors are backing LSU with 82% of the bets and 85% of the money going to LSU.