College Football Predictions & Best Bets for Conference Championship Week

min read
Georgia head coach Kirby Smart watches his players warm up before an NCAA college football game against Tennessee, Saturday, Nov. 18, 2023, in Knoxville, Tenn.
(AP Photo/Wade Payne)
Chase Kiddy @chaseakiddy Nov 29, 2023, 12:58 PM
  • Conference championships are here, providing one final week of NCAAF betting.
  • Best bets for Alabama-Georgia, Oregon-Washington, and more.

This is it. The 2023 college football season comes down to this last handful of football betting lines. It’s conference championship time. 

Today – as I do every Wednesday throughout the college football season – I’ve put together a handful of my favorite college football betting predictions for you to consider this weekend. 

College Football Best Bets: Conference Championship Week

After I’ve handicapped the whole board each week, I will publish my best plays from the wider canon of college football odds. 

I’ll provide a short explanation of why I like each college football bet, so you don’t have to go on faith alone. 

If you prefer an audio version of this weekly article, you can always subscribe to The Lion’s Edge, my weekly handicapping podcast for BetMGM. 

Pac-12 Championship Spread Prediction: Oregon vs. Washington

Washington is undefeated and already owns a head-to-head win over Oregon. A Pac-12 Championship will put the Huskies back in the College Football Playoff. So why are they nearly 10-point dogs in Las Vegas against the Ducks?

The answer, fair or unfair, is that Oregon has just played way better football since these two teams met in late October. Washington has played six games, and four of them were one-possession games.

That includes games against Arizona State and rival Washington State – two of the worst teams in the conference. The biggest margin of victory was 10, against USC.

Over that same time frame, Oregon’s average margin of victory has been 26 points.

I feel pretty strongly that the Ducks will win this rematch, so the only question is whether or not I want to lay nearly 10 points against an undefeated team. 

That’s a harder puzzle to solve, but with 60% of tickets at BetMGM backing the square public dog, I will go ahead and buy a little bit of Oregon. 

Lean: Oregon -9.5

Conference USA Championship Spread Prediction: New Mexico State at Liberty

Here’s a strange but (potentially) true story. The last time I bet on a Liberty game and walked through my rationale here in my weekly column, the Flames coaching staff *might* have read my post. I picked against them. 

The end result? Liberty played one of its best games of the year (against Old Dominion), and then head coach Jamie Chadwell seemed to directly address points I had made in my article during his postgame press conference. 

Oh, and the director of player personnel made sure I knew they were aware of my prediction on Twitter. 

These are the same college football coaches who constantly talk about how they don’t pay attention to outside noise, right?

So, would I love to bet New Mexico State on Friday night? Sure. You bet. 

But if you believe, as I do, that New Mexico State’s Auburn win was a lot more about the Tigers looking ahead to Alabama than it was about the greatness of NMSU, then the Aggies become a much tougher team to back. 

It remains true that Liberty has played a brutally unimpressive schedule this year – maybe the worst schedule ever by a likely conference champion in modern college football. 

But discussions of Liberty’s strength of schedule also tend to dismiss how good Kaidon Salter has been. And the difference between Salter and opposing quarterbacks is the main factor powering Liberty’s 12-0 record going into this game. (Another major factor is Chadwell, who is a really good coach.)

New Mexico State is a lot better than it was when it lost 33-17 in Lynchburg way back in Week 2, but I’d still rather lay the points here with Liberty. The reality is that New Mexico State would be a way more valuable side if it hadn’t just beaten an SEC team. 

Best Bet: Liberty -10.5

SEC Championship Game Spread Prediction: Alabama vs. Georgia

I’m not betting Georgia here simply because Alabama should have lost to a very mid Auburn team. We know what the Iron Bowl is. We know the records are irrelevant. 

I’m betting Georgia because it’s playing its best football right now and mashing point spreads with ease.

On the season, the Bulldogs have been a lousy cover team because they were priced like a reigning national champion without the personnel. But now that it’s December, these players are essentially a year older than they were at the start of September. 

Georgia is playing its best ball right now, and I think that’s better than what Alabama has. A month ago, I was ready to back the Tide in this game, but Georgia has really won me over.

Best Bet: Georgia -5.5

Sun Belt Championship Game Spread Prediction: Appalachian State vs. Troy

Since I can’t bet on JMU to win this game, I’m going to bet on the second-best team in the conference right now. And with all due respect to the Trojans, that’s probably App State. 

Troy has the benefit of playing in the Sun Belt West, where there are far more easy wins than in the rugged Eastern division. As a result, Troy has ripped off nine straight wins and is at the apex of its market value.

Undoubtedly, Troy will play great defense in this game. But I do think App State has the offense to win this game and certainly cover a juicy 6.5-point spread. I’m taking both the points and the moneyline in what is likely my favorite bet of championship weekend. 

Best Bet: Appalachian State +6.5; App State +220

ACC Championship Game Spread Prediction: Louisville vs. Florida State

Florida State will line up for its most challenging game of the season without its leader and one-time Heisman contender Jordan Travis.

Can backup quarterback Tate Rodemaker get FSU over the hump and into the College Football Playoff in his second-ever start? My guess is no. The Seminoles struggled with Florida last week. Even before Travis was hurt, they were sloppy in games against Miami, Clemson, and Boston College but managed to pull games out on the back of their superior talent. 

Louisville is the best team Florida State has played all season, and I’m not reading too much into the Kentucky loss last week. I think the Cardinals will be prepared this week after watching the Florida tape. They’ll clog the running lanes and force Rodemaker to win the game with his arm and decision-making.

Best Bet: Louisville +2.5; Louisville +115

College Football Picks Against the Spread

If you like this sort of content, I’d recommend checking out my podcast, The Lion’s Edge, which I host on behalf of our content team here at BetMGM.

Every week, I highlight college football predictions, odds, and betting opportunities that I think are ripe for advantage bettors, like me. 

I also bring on expert guests from both inside and outside of the sportsbook, so you can learn a little bit more about key topics in online sports betting.

Check it out and subscribe on the podcast player of your choice. You can also listen to some of the most recent episodes in the podcast player below. 

College Football Odds at BetMGM

At BetMGM, you view updated college football lines throughout the season. Check out moneylines, spreads, parlays, college football live betting, and more. For the best online sports betting experience, visit the sportsbook to bet online!

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About the Author

Chase Kiddy

Read More @chaseakiddy

Chase Kiddy is a writer for BetMGM and co-host of The Lion's Edge, an NFL and college football podcast available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and everywhere else. He has also written for a number of print and online outlets, including the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Washington Post, Daily News-Record, and HERO Sports. His first novel, Cave Paintings, is in development.

Chase Kiddy is a writer for BetMGM and co-host of The Lion's Edge, an NFL and college football podcast available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and everywhere else. He has also written for a number of print and online outlets, including the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Washington Post, Daily News-Record, and HERO Sports. His first novel, Cave Paintings, is in development.