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CFB championship week odds: USC, TCU barely favored

With College Football Playoff berths on the line, the Trojans and Horned Frogs are both slim favorites to win their respective conference title games

USC wide receiver Tahj Washington (left) stiff-arms Utah safety Brock Nowatzke during a game in Salt Lake City on Oct. 15. Utah beat the Trojans 43-42, and the two teams will meet again Friday in the Pac-12 championship game in Las Vegas. (Photo by Chris Gardner/ Getty Images)
USC wide receiver Tahj Washington (left) stiff-arms Utah safety Brock Nowatzke during a game in Salt Lake City on Oct. 15. Utah beat the Trojans 43-42, and the two teams will meet again Friday in the Pac-12 championship game in Las Vegas. (Photo by Chris Gardner/ Getty Images)Read moreChris Gardner / Getty Images

After 13 weeks, about 800 games and countless wagers won and lost, college football’s 2022 regular season concludes with a slate of 10 conference championship games this week.

The action kicks off Friday evening with the Conference USA title game and wraps up some 28 hours later when the Big Ten champion is crowned.

With undefeated Georgia and Michigan (both 12-0) having all but locked up two of the four College Football Playoff berths, all eyes will be on Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas and AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

Those two venues will respectively host the Pac-12 and Big 12 championship games, where both USC (Pac-12) and TCU (Big 12) are narrowly favored to snatch not only their league titles but also the two remaining playoff berths.

Here’s a sneak preview of college football championship week odds, beginning with the two most important games on the docket.

Note: All odds updated as of 10:15 a.m. ET on Nov. 29.

Pac-12 Championship Game: Utah vs. USC

  1. Day/Time/TV: Friday, 8 p.m. ET (Fox)

  2. Location: Las Vegas (Allegiant Stadium)

  3. Records: Utah 9-3 (7-5 ATS); USC 11-1 (8-4 ATS)

  4. Consensus odds: USC -2.5 (Over/Under: 66.5)

What to know: The Trojans have won five straight games (3-2 ATS) since their last-minute 43-42 loss at Utah as a 3.5-point road underdog on Oct. 15.

USC took a 42-35 lead with 6:15 remaining, but the Utes scored the tying touchdown with 48 seconds to play. Rather than kick the extra point and go to overtime, Utah opted for the game-winning two-point conversion.

USC quarterback and likely Heisman Trophy winner Caleb Williams went 25-for-42 for 381 yards and five touchdowns and also had 57 yards rushing in the loss. The teams combined for 805 total yards.

Utah, which comes into Saturday’s game on a 5-1 run following last week’s 63-21 rout at Colorado, will take the field in Las Vegas an underdog for the first time this season.

Since their victory over USC, the Utes are on a 5-1 Under streak, holding all five opponents to 21 points or less. Conversely, the Trojans have gone Over the total in six straight games, scoring at least 38 points in all six.

» READ MORE: Heisman Trophy odds: USC’s Williams overtakes Ohio State’s Stroud

Big 12 Championship Game: Kansas State vs. TCU

  1. Day/Time/TV: Saturday, noon ET (ABC)

  2. Location: Arlington, Texas (AT&T Stadium)

  3. Records: Kansas State 9-3 (9-3 ATS); TCU 12-0 (9-2-1 ATS)

  4. Consensus odds: TCU -2.5 (Over/Under: 61.5)

What to know: TCU rallied from a 28-10 second-quarter deficit against Kansas State back on Oct. 22, scoring the final four touchdowns en route to a 38-28 victory as a 3.5-point home favorite.

That’s one of seven double-digit victories for the unbeaten Horned Frogs, who have scored at least 29 points in every game but a 17-10 victory at Texas in Week 11.

The Wildcats earned a berth in the Big 12 title game by closing on a three-game winning streak (3-0 ATS). They beat Baylor (road), West Virginia (road) and Kansas (home) by the combined score of 126-61.

Prior to this season, K-State had won and covered three straight games against TCU. Also prior to this season, the Under had cashed in six consecutive meetings. All six ended with 43 total points or fewer.

With a combined 18-5-1 ATS mark, the Horned Frogs and Wildcats rank in the top five in the point-spread standings.

Conference USA Championship Game: North Texas vs. Texas-San Antonio

  1. Day/Time/TV: Friday, 8 p.m. ET (CBS Sports Network)

  2. Location: San Antonio, Texas (Alamodome)

  3. Records: North Texas 7-5 (7-5 ATS); UTSA 10-2 (6-5 ATS)

  4. Consensus odds: UTSA -8.5 (Over/Under: 67.5)

What to know: UTSA ripped through its Conference USA schedule, going 8-0 (but just 4-4 ATS). That’s part of a nine-game winning streak for the Roadrunners, who scored at least 31 points in each contest.

Five of UTSA’s victories during its current run were by 15-plus points, but the other four were by a combined 16 points. That includes a 31-27 home win over North Texas as a 10-point favorite on Oct. 22, followed two weeks later by a 44-38 overtime win at UAB.

The Mean Green won three of their final four regular-season contests to set up Saturday’s return trip to UTSA. However, North Texas failed to cash in its last two following a 6-0 ATS run.

The teams have alternated victories in their last four meetings, with the host winning each. Prior to the Mean Green cashing as a double-digit underdog last month, the home team had been on an 8-0 ATS roll in this rivalry.

Mid-American Conference Championship Game: Toledo vs. Ohio

  1. Day/Time/TV: Saturday, noon ET (ESPN)

  2. Location: Detroit (Ford Field)

  3. Records: Toledo 7-5 (4-8 ATS); Ohio 9-3 (9-3 ATS)

  4. Consensus odds: Toledo -1.5 (Over/Under: 55.5)

What to know: Ohio carries a seven-game winning streak into the MAC championship game. The Bobcats also have cashed in an FBS-best eight consecutive games, going 4-0 ATS as an underdog.

Toledo won the MAC West title despite stumbling to the finish line with upset losses to Bowling Green (42-35 at home) and Western Michigan (20-14 on the road). The Rockets have failed to cover in five straight contests, all as a favorite.

This matchup features a contrast in styles, as Ohio ranks 33rd in total offense (438.1 yards per game), while Toledo is 29th in total defense (337.8 yards per game).

These instate rivals have faced each other just once since 2017, with Toledo earning a 35-23 victory as a 7.5-point road favorite last November.

Sun Belt Conference Championship Game: Coastal Carolina vs. Troy

  1. Day/Time/TV: Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET (ESPN)

  2. Location: Troy, Alabama (Veterans Memorial Stadium)

  3. Records: Coastal Carolina 9-2 (4-6-1 ATS); 10-2 (9-3 ATS)

  4. Consensus odds: Troy -10.5 (Over/Under: 48.5)

What to know: Troy enters the Sun Belt title tilt having won nine straight games. The Trojans are also riding an 8-2 ATS hot streak.

Following four straight narrow wins by a total of 14 points, Troy blew out its last two opponents — Louisiana-Monroe and Arkansas State — by a combined tally of 82-35. The Trojans have held seven straight opponents (and eight of the last nine) to less than 20 points.

Coastal Carolina took a 9-1 record and a three-game winning streak into Saturday’s game at James Madison. However, without starting quarterback Grayson McCall, the Chanticleers got steamrolled 47-7 as a 15-point road underdog.

Coastal Carolina finished tied with James Madison in the Sun Belt East standings at 6-2. However, as a first-year FBS team, James Madison is ineligible for postseason play.

The Trojans and Chanticleers didn’t meet in the regular season, but Coastal Carolina has won the last three matchups. The underdog covered in all three games, with Troy cashing in the last two.

American Athletic Conference Championship Game: Central Florida vs. Tulane

  1. Day/Time/TV: Saturday, 4 p.m. ET (ABC)

  2. Location: New Orleans (Yulman Stadium)

  3. Records: UCF 9-3 (7-5 ATS); Tulane 10-2 (10-2 ATS)

  4. Consensus odds: Tulane -3.5 (Over/Under: 56.5)

What to know: Tulane has won and covered seven of its last eight, going 6-1 SU and ATS as a favorite. The lone blemish: A 38-31 home loss to UCF as a 1-point chalk.

The Golden Knights followed the upset in New Orleans with a shocking 17-14 loss to Navy as a 14.5-point home favorite. However, they rebounded with Saturday’s come-from-behind 46-39 win over South Florida to earn a rematch at Tulane.

UCF never threatened to cover as a 19.5-point chalk against USF. Its 0-2 ATS slump follows a 5-1 ATS roll.

The underdog has covered in six of the last seven UCF-Tulane clashes, including the past four in a row. However, prior to this season, the favorite had posted four consecutive SU victories.

Mountain West Conference Championship Game: Fresno State vs. Boise State

  1. Day/Time/TV: Saturday, 4 p.m. ET (Fox)

  2. Location: Boise, Idaho (Albertsons Stadium)

  3. Records: Fresno State 8-4 (5-7 ATS); Boise State 9-3 (6-5-1 ATS)

  4. Consensus odds: Boise State -3.5 (Over/Under: 54.5)

What to know: Fresno State traveled to Boise on Oct. 8 and got stomped 40-20 as a 10.5-point underdog. Since then, the Bulldogs have ripped off seven straight wins (5-2 ATS), scoring 30-plus points in each of the last six contests.

The Broncos rolled through the Mountain West campaign unscathed, winning six of eight games by double digits (including all four at home). Boise State held all eight conference foes to 23 points or fewer, yielding an average of just 14.3 points per game.

The only thing keeping the Broncos from entering Saturday’s home contest on an eight-game winning streak: a 31-28 home loss as an 9.5-point favorite to former Mountain West rival/current independent BYU on Nov. 5.

Boise has won four of the last five meetings against the Bulldogs (3-2 ATS). The home team is 8-2 SU in the past 10 battles, but just 4-6 ATS.

SEC Championship Game: LSU vs. Georgia

  1. Day/Time/TV: Saturday, 4 p.m. ET (CBS)

  2. Location: Atlanta (Mercedes-Benz Stadium)

  3. Records: LSU 9-3 (7-5 ATS); Georgia 12-0 (6-6 ATS)

  4. Consensus odds: Georgia -18.5 (Over/Under: 50.5)

What to know: Win or lose Saturday, Georgia will get the opportunity to defend its national championship when the College Football Playoff semifinals are held Dec. 31.

Conversely, LSU saw its slim national title hopes crushed in Saturday’s 38-23 loss at Texas A&M as a 10-point road favorite. The Tigers arrived in College Station, Texas, with a five-game winning streak (4-1 ATS) and a shot to become the first two-loss team to make the CFP.

This week, LSU runs up against a Bulldogs squad that rolls into Atlanta on a 26-1 SU run. The only misstep was a 41-24 upset loss to Alabama in last year’s SEC title game.

All but two of those 26 victories have been double-digit blowouts. The exceptions: A 10-3 win over Clemson in last year’s season opener and a 26-22 come-from-behind squeaker at Missouri in Week 5.

Georgia leads the nation in scoring defense (11.3 points per game) and rushing defense (79.5 yards per game), and ranks fourth in total defense (270.7 yards per game). The Bulldogs also are eighth in total offense (488.8 yards per game) and 12th in scoring (38.3).

However, Georgia has just one SEC championship (2017) since a 34-14 victory over LSU in 2005. Also, the Tigers have won four of the last five meetings dating to 2009.

That includes back-to-back routs in 2019 (37-10 as a 7.5-point favorite in the SEC title game) and 2018 (36-16 as a 7-point underdog).

ACC Championship Game: Clemson vs. North Carolina

  1. Day/Time/TV: Saturday, 8 p.m. ET (ABC)

  2. Location: Charlotte, North Carolina (Bank of American Stadium)

  3. Records: Clemson 10-2 (6-6 ATS); North Carolina 9-3 (5-6-1 ATS)

  4. Consensus odds: Clemson -7.5 (Over/Under: 63.5)

What to know: Like LSU, Clemson saw its national championship dreams go up in smoke with an upset loss Saturday. Facing instate rival South Carolina at home, the Tigers blew leads of 14-0 and 23-14, ultimately falling 31-30 as a 14.5-point favorite.

Clemson had started the season 8-0 before getting clocked 35-14 at Notre Dame as a 3.5-point road favorite on Nov. 5.

Meanwhile, North Carolina fell out of the College Football Playoff picutre with a stunning 21-17 loss to Georgia Tech as a 21.5-point home favorite on Nov. 19. The Tar Heels followed that with Saturday’s 30-27 loss to rival North Carolina State as a 6.5-point home chalk.

On the bright side, UNC is 3-0 SU and ATS as an underdog this year. The Heels upset Appalachian State 63-61 as a 3.5-point pup; Miami, Fla., 27-24 as a 4-point dog; and Wake Forest 36-34 catching 4.5 points.

Clemson has won four straight against North Carolina going back to 2011. However, after cashing in the first three, the Tigers barely eked out a 21-20 road victory as a 27.5-point favorite in the most recent meeting in 2019.

Big Ten Championship Game: Purdue vs. Michigan

  1. Day/Time/TV: Saturday, 8 p.m. ET (Fox)

  2. Location: Indianapolis (Lucas Oil Stadium)

  3. Records: Purdue 8-4 (5-7 ATS); Michigan 12-0 (7-5 ATS)

  4. Consensus odds: Michigan -16.5 (Over/Under: 51.5)

What to know: Michigan kept its undefeated season alive and clinched its second straight College Football Playoff berth with Saturday’s 45-23 destruction of previously undefeated Ohio State.

The Wolverines, who trailed 20-17 at halftime, outscored their hated rivals 28-3 in the second half to win outright as a 9-point road underdog. Michigan has won nine of its 12 games by at least three touchdowns.

The Wolverines reached the Big Ten title game with a perfect record for the second straight season. Last year, coach Jim Harbaugh’s squad traveled to Indianapolis and pummeled Iowa 42-3 as an 11.5-point favorite.

Purdue clinched its first Big Ten West title with Saturday’s 30-16 win at Indiana as a 10-point road favorite. The Boilermakers enter their first Big Ten championship contest having won three in a row.

Purdue lost its first two games as an underdog to Penn State and Syracuse by a combined seven points. Since then, though, the Boilermakers are 3-1 SU and ATS as a pup. They also have just one defeat by more than 11 points this season (24-3 home loss to Iowa on Nov. 5).

Michigan and Purdue have met just four times since 2010. The Wolverines won all four, cashing in the last three.

» READ MORE: Full sports betting coverage from The Philadelphia Inquirer

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