College Football Best Bets

College Football Best Bets for Week 14

Coastal Carolina vs Troy
Right in the middle of championship weekend, don’t sleep on this year’s Sun Belt Conference Championship Game between the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers and the Troy Trojans. The Trojans are playing in the conference title game for the first time and seeking their first Sun Belt championship since 2017. Likewise, the Chanticleers had to settle for a share of the conference crown in 2020 when the title game had to be canceled because of a COVID outbreak in the Coastal Carolina locker room. The Trojans will have the benefit of playing at home as an 8.5-point favorite, as they try to avoid losing to Coastal Carolina for a fourth consecutive season.

Perhaps the biggest reason the Chanticleers are underdogs in this game is the uncertainty surrounding starting quarterback Grayson McCall. The Chanticleers beat Southern Miss a few weeks ago with McCall out due to injury. But they also endured a disastrous 47-7 loss to James Madison last week without their starting quarterback. That loss should have kept them from this week’s game but James Madison is ineligible for a postseason game in the program’s first season at the FBS level. It remains unclear if McCall will play this week. With backup Jarrett Guest completing seven of 14 passes for 163 yards and throwing two interceptions last week, Coastal Carolina desperately needs McCall. The Chanticleers still have a steady rushing attack, but they need their starting quarterback on the field to be a serious contender in this game. But if McCall plays, they should be able to go toe-to-toe with Troy.

Of course, the Trojans went 10-2 this season, including a 7-1 record in Sun Belt play and a 9-3 record ATS. A 10-6 road win over South Alabama ultimately gave the Trojans the tiebreaker at the top of the West Division. That 10-6 win over South Alabama played out like many of Troy’s games. The Trojans had a top-10 defense nationally this season, conceding just 16.8 points per game. There were just three games this season in which the Trojans allowed more than 29 points in a game. That includes four games in which Troy allowed 10 points or less. On the other side of the coin, the Troy offense had its ups and downs as well, especially against quality competition. They scored 17 points or less in five of their 12 games. Troy averaged just 3.6 yards per carry on the ground while quarterback Gunnar Watson threw 10 touchdowns and 10 interceptions while the Troy offensive line conceded an average of three sacks per game. In the biggest game of the season against a talented Coastal Carolina team, the Trojans might have a hard time covering more than a touchdown if the offense continues to showcase such obvious flaws.

Akron vs Buffalo 

Football fans who want a Friday matinee are in luck this weekend. The Akron Zips will visit the Buffalo Bills on Friday afternoon to close out the regular season for each team. This game is a makeup from the weekend that Buffalo got buried by a snowstorm. The game holds great significance for the Bulls, who need one more win to become bowl-eligible. Fortunately, they are 11-point home favorites in this game, as Buffalo seeks a fifth-straight win over Akron with the Bulls winning by a combined score of 101-17 against the Zips over the past two seasons.

The only piece of good news for the Zips is they are coming off a win for just the second time this season. Akron barely beat St. Francisco PA in its season opener and then proceeded to lose nine in a row before a shockingly dominant 44-12 win over Northern Illinois last week. At 2-9, the goal for the Zips now is to avoid three consecutive seasons (excluding the shortened 2020 campaign) with at least 10 losses. Of course, it’s tough to tell whether the Akron offense of the Akron defense deserves to be the bigger scapegoat this season. The Zips averaged 21.7 points per game on the season while conceding 34.5 points per game. With 50 sacks allowed by the offensive line, Akron gained just 2.9 yards per carry on the ground. To make matters worse, starting quarterback DJ Irons is questionable to play, although backup Jeff Undercuffler is the one who threw for 312 yards and three touchdowns in last week’s win over NIU.

As for the Bulls, they had hopes of going to the MAC Championship Game a month ago, only to lose three in a row. In fairness, two of those losses came by four points or less. Nevertheless, Buffalo needs one more win to have a chance at a bowl game. The great Buffalo rushing attack from recent years hasn’t shown up in 2022 while quarterback Cole Snyder has failed to throw a touchdown pass in back-to-back games. However, this is the same Buffalo team that scored 50 points against Eastern Michigan earlier in the season. The Bulls have also scored at least 24 points in every conference game and at least 27 points in all but two MAC games. While the Bulls may not have a dynamic rushing attack or offer a lot of big-play potential, they have been balanced and consistent offensively this year. With the possibility of a bowl game on the line, Buffalo should be motivated to come out and dominate Akron.

College Football Point Spreads Explained:

The most popular way to bet on college football is against the spread, which is the number of points the favorite has to win by, and the number of points the underdog can lose by. Before we explain how college football point spreads work it is important to understand why there are point spreads in the first place.

A point spread is a way to make a game more fair. Everyone has a good idea on who will win a given football game, but the sportsbook number one goal is to have even bets on both sides of the game. If Alabama is playing against Montana State then everyone will immediately bet Alabama to win and the sportsbooks don't stand to gain much. To even the playing field they have added in the point spread. The easiest way to understand college football point spreads is to think about them as imaginary points you either add or subtract to the final score depending on which side of the game you bet.

When you look at a sportsbook you will see a number next to a team's name, one of these numbers will be positive and the other will be the same number but negative. The team that is more likely to win the game has the negative number and is called the favorite. For example if we go back to our Alabama vs Montana State example, Alabama may have a (-42) next to their team name, this means they are the favorite and they have to win the game by more than 42 points for you to win your bet. Montana State would have a (+42) next to their team name which means they are the underdog, and they can lose by 41 points and you would win your bet

The easiest way to figure out if you have won your bet against the point spread is to take the final score of the game and subtract the spread from your team's score if you bet the favorite, or add the spread to your team's final score if you bet the underdog. If your team wins the game with the spread added or subtracted that means your bet won!

If you are still confused read an in depth example of betting college football with the point spread below:

College Football Point Spreads Example: Clemson -7 (Clemson Must Win By More Than 7 Points) vs. Notre Dame +7 (ND Can’t Lose By More Than 7 Points)

When betting on the point spread, the favorite will always be indicated with a minus (-) sign in front of their number. In this scenario from a highly-anticipated game from last season, the Clemson Tigers were -7 on the spread line. This simply means that the Tigers must win by at least 8 points for you to win your bet if you bet on them. If the number lands on 7 exactly, your bet will push, and you will simply be refunded your bet back. The underdog will always be identified with a plus (+) sign in front of their number. If you wanted to bet on Notre Dame here at +7, that means that Notre Dame cannot lose the game by more than 7 points. Luckily for people who bet the underdog, if the games ends up being decided by exactly that number, they still win the bet.

In this game, Notre Dame was the underdog by 7 points against the favored Clemson Tigers. In one of the best matchups of the year last season, Clemson came into Notre Dame as the No. 1 team in the country, but missing their star QB Trevor Lawrence. Notre Dame was the No. 4 team in college football, so this was a heavily bet on and anticipated match. Despite not having Lawrence, Clemson was still favored by quite a bit, which is indicated in their -7 spread line odds. Bettors who laid the points were disappointed and went home empty-handed, as the Fighting Irish prevailed in an OT classic to take down the No. 1 team. Clemson had their chance at the end of the game to come through for their backers and potentially tie the game, but failed on a fourth and long attempt. It was clear how much Clemson missed Lawrence, as the Irish focused on stopping star RB Travis Etienne instead, holding him to just 28 yards total in the game on 20 carries. They couldn’t get anything going on the ground, which forced their freshman QB D.J. Uiagalelei to pass all game.

Those who bet the Irish to win were rewarded with a nice payday, as they took home winnings on whatever they bet. Since they won outright, they clearly covered the +7 points. If a team that is plus the points wins, you automatically win that bet because they obviously didn’t lose by more than the number. Meanwhile, Clemson backers were sent home packing nothing after their bet failed to cover the -7 point spread. Since Clemson didn’t win by 8 points, or even push at 7, they lost the bet.

College Football Betting Lines Explained

Lines are very easy to figure out. When someone says “What’s the line?”, they are basically just asking you what the spread is. In the examples from above, you’d just say that the line is seven with Clemson favored, and the odds are -110 both ways.

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