- Opening odds for the major Conference Championship games next weekend have been released
- Top-ranked Alabama has opened as a 14.5-point favorite over Florida in the SEC Championship Game
- Lines have been set for four of the five Power Five title games – see them below
The opening odds have been set for five of the 10 college football contests scheduled to be held the weekend of Dec. 18-19th.
Among the Power Five conferences on the board are the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12 and SEC. The matchup for the Pac-12 title game is to be determined this weekend as the conference championship odds are sure to change in the interim.
A line has also been set on the American Athletic Conference championship game. However, odds have yet to be posted on the other four Group of Five title games.
2020 Conference Championship Game Opening Odds
|Ohio State||-1600||-20.5 (-110)||N/A|
|Iowa State||+172||+4.5 (-110||N/A|
|Clemson||-320||-7.5 (-110)||Over 61.5 (-106)|
|Notre Dame||+245||+7.5 (-110)||Under 61.5 (-114)|
|Alabama||-550||-14.5 (-105)||Over 71.5 (-112)|
|Florida||+390||+14.5 (-115)||Under 71.5 (-108)|
Odds taken Dec. 10 from FanDuel
Buckeyes Big Favorites
The biggest favorite is Ohio State, which is a 20.5-point choice over Northwestern in the Big Ten championship game.
The Big Ten has announced that it has removed the minimum six-game requirement to be eligible for the conference’s title game.
Ohio State will now face Northwestern in the Big Ten Championship. pic.twitter.com/4ztA0sSd6D
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) December 9, 2020
It appeared the Buckeyes would be shut out of the title game in Indianapolis because it did not play the minimum six regular-season games needed to qualify during the pandemic-shortened season.
Ohio State’s sixth game was scheduled for Saturday against arch-rival Michigan. However, that game was cancelled because of a COVID-19 outbreak with the Wolverines. It marked the Buckeyes’ third cancellation.
The Big Ten’s leadership council met Wednesday and abolished the minimum games rules, leading to the Buckeyes being declared the East Division championship and getting a chance to win the conference crown.
Ohio State is 5-0 and fourth in the College Football Playoff rankings. Northwestern is 5-1.
Big 12 Thin Line
The shortest line is the 4.5 points, by which Oklahoma (7-2) is favored over Iowa State (8-2) in the Big 12 Championship Game.
The Sooners have won six games in a row behind redshirt freshman quarterback Spencer Rattler following a 1-2 start. The Cyclones are on a five-game winning streak and will be playing in the title game for the first time.
[email protected] with the escape and dime, @_TheoWeaseJr with the snag. ?
? FOX | https://t.co/kkYzTBtE6opic.twitter.com/A7sQjgaA5U
— Oklahoma Football (@OU_Football) December 6, 2020
Totals have been set on just two championship games so far and the highest is 71.5 points for the matchup between top-ranked Alabama and Florida in the SEC title tilt.
Remember, oh say a couple of years ago, when the SEC was ruled by defense? It seems like a long time ago.
Now, the SEC is a passing league. Alabama quarterback Mac Jones is the Heisman Trophy favorite and Florida QB Kyle Trask is right behind him.
Stop us if you’ve heard this before: Mac Jones threw a touchdown to Devonta Smith. pic.twitter.com/dPcvSk78w3
— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) December 6, 2020
The Crimson Tide is third in the nation in scoring with an average of 49.2 points a game. The Gators’ 42.0 average ranks 10th.
Big Ten Out of Line?
Ohio State does not have a huge body of work with just five games played. However, there is no denying the Buckeyes are the class of the Big Ten.
They are the conference’s only undefeated team. Their only close call was a 42-35 win over Indiana at home in which they built a 28-point lead before the Hoosiers rallied to make it close.
Hey @justnfields, what’s the best thing about going 5-0⁉️? pic.twitter.com/fjFQ9fVDb8
— Ohio State Football (@OhioStateFB) December 6, 2020
The Justin Fields-led offense is among the best in college football. Ohio State is averaging 46.6 points and 532.4 total yards a game, which rank fourth and sixth in the FBS.
Yet the 20.5-point spread seems high and it is easy to envision some early money going on Northwestern and its outstanding defense.
Northwestern is sixth in the nation in points allowed with an average of 15.3 points a game. It is also 14th in total defense with a 322.5 average.
While the Wildcats inexplicably allowed 29 points in a road loss to Michigan State last week, they held powerful Wisconsin to only a touchdown the week before.
Does Home Field Matter?
Of the five championship games in which odds have been listed, the only one that will not be played at a neutral site is the AAC matchup. Tulsa (6-1) will visit Cincinnati (8-0) in that one.
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The #Bearcats will host Tulsa at Nippert Stadium on Saturday, December 19th, for the @American_Conf Championship. pic.twitter.com/8tqqvnHvOP
— Cincinnati Football (@GoBearcatsFB) December 9, 2020
Cincinnati has obviously been unbeatable at any venue this season. Except for a 36-33 victory over Central Florida in their last game, the Bearcats’ other seven wins have been by at least two touchdowns.
Yet Tulsa is also unbeaten in conference play and its lone loss came to Oklahoma State in its opener. The Golden Hurricane hung tough before losing 16-7.
Cincinnati has won a school-record 19 straight games at Nippert Stadium but does home-field advantage mean as much with pandemic-restricted crowds?
Tulsa is good enough that it would not be a surprise to see that opening 13.5-point go down.