As it always seems to, the college football regular season has flown by and we now find ourselves looking ahead to a weekend full of exciting conference championship games. There is much riding on these contests for a handful of teams, including potential CFP invitations for some. We scoured this weekend’s card and identified three against the spread picks we believe should prove profitable.

Let’s take a look at our favorite college football conference championship game picks, complete with full betting analysis and ATS predictions.

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Best College Football Conference Championship Game Picks

Western Kentucky vs. UTSA (7p ET, Friday, December 3, 2021)

The Conference USA Championship Game pits a red-hot Western Kentucky group against UTSA at the Alamodome, the which happens to be Roadrunners’ home field. The Hilltoppers have won seven straight games, covering six of those since a home loss to UTSA back in early October. Meanwhile, the Roadrunners limp in after seeing their bid for an undefeated season get derailed last weekend against North Texas.

We think the shock of that loss might leave UTSA still stunned a bit here, facing a team against which it cannot afford to go to sleep. The Hilltoppers boast the nation’s best passing offense and sit second in total yards per game. They have tallied at least 42 points in five straight outings, as well as seven of their last eight, winning each of the last five by at least 21 points.

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WKU posted 670 yards of offense in the first meeting with UTSA this season, leaning on a bevy of transfers from Houston Baptist, including quarterback Bailey Zappe, who is contending for the FBS lead in total yards this season.

Western Kentucky essentially played a postseason game last weekend, defeating Marshall to secure the C-USA East Division regular season title and a spot in this game. The Hilltoppers should ride that momentum to a fast start here, assuming they learned a valuable lesson after getting behind two scores to Marshall in that regular season finale.

UTSA survived the aforementioned onslaught by Zappe and WKU in the first meeting thanks to an equally impressive display by quarterback Frank Harris. However, Harris and his team have struggled down the stretch, failing to cover any of their last three games and going just 1-3 ATS in the last four at home.In fact, Harris was benched at halftime last week following three fumbles, one of which was recovered by the Mean Green. Turnovers could spell UTSA’s doom here, as WKU generated the fifth most takeaways per game in the FBS this season.

Trends to Know

The Roadrunners are just 4-7 ATS as home underdogs since the start of 2017 and are just 1-9-1 ATS in 11 games off a SU defeat as a favorite. Meanwhile, Western Kentucky is 5-2-1 ATS in its last eight games as road favorites and 16-5-1 ATS in its last 22 following an outright victory. They have rattled off seven straight ATS wins when on five or more consecutive SU victories, including two their last two outings.

Western Kentucky vs. UTSA Pick

Hilltoppers head coach Tyson Helton entered 2021 with seven straight covers against opponents off a SU and ATS loss. Look for his boatload of former Houston Baptist guys to show well in this one, playing just 200 miles west of their former campus.

Western Kentucky vs. USTA pick: WKU -2.5

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Baylor vs. Oklahoma State (12p ET, Saturday, December 4, 2021)

An ironic and unexpected Big 12 Championship Game will be taking place at AT&T Stadium in Arlington Saturday afternoon, as Baylor and Oklahoma State bested Oklahoma and Texas in the standings, the two programs jumping ship for the greener of the SEC. While the Sooners and Longhorns were busy finishing in the top 20 in the FBS in points scored per game, the Bears and Cowboys were proving defense wins championships, boasting units that currently sit in the top 20 in fewest points allowed per game.

Defense has really been the hallmark for both of these programs this season and we expect that to continue in this meaningful title game. Baylor knows it will need to be on its game defensively to compensate for questions on the offensive side of the ball, particularly with starting quarterback Gerry Bohanon still listed as questionable after missing last week’s regular season finale.

Nobody would be surprised if Oklahoma State came out a bit flat offensively here following the emotional winner-take-all comeback victory over rival Oklahoma last week.

Baylor averages 446.7 total yards per game, but Oklahoma State holds the third best yardage defense among FBS teams, allowing just 276.3 total yards per game. Notably, the Cowboys held the Bears to a season low 280 yards in a 24-14 victory earlier this year. Part of that defensive dominance involved OSU’s fifth ranked rush defense limiting the Bears’ eighth ranked run game, which averages 227.7 yards per game, to just 107 yards on the ground. If Bohanon’s mobility is limited, or if he is unable to go, things could get even tougher for Baylor this time around.

Trends to Know

Baylor has played five of its last six under the total in neutral site games, while Oklahoma State has done so in six of its last seven on neutral fields. The Bears have played four straight under against teams with winning records, while the Cowboys have stayed under in four of their last five against winning teams. Baylor has also played seven straight games under the posted number against an opponent which has won four or more gams in a row.

Oklahoma State controlled the first meeting between these two and has it all to play for here. The Cowboys currently sit fifth in the CFP rankings, but play before all four teams they currently trail. A dominant effort here from a team that led the nation in sacks per game, tackles for loss per game, and third down defense would make it hard for the committee to keep OSU out of the playoff. After all, the Cowboys are certainly capable of such a performance given they only allowed more than 20 points three times all season before last weekend and promptly responded in their next outings by allowing an average of just 15.7 points per game.

Baylor vs. Oklahoma State Pick

Expect the under in OSU games to move to 19-8-1 in the team’s last 28 overall.

Baylor vs. Oklahoma State Pick: Under 46.5

Michigan vs. Iowa (8p ET, Saturday, December 4, 2021)

Even a week ago, this Big Ten Championship Game matchup was almost unfathomable. Iowa needed a win as underdogs at Nebraska coupled with a Wisconsin loss as favorites over Minnesota to sneak in from the Big Ten West Division.

Michigan needed to finally solve an Ohio State team that was rolling over all comers and had beaten the Wolverines in eight straight and 15 of the last 16 head-to-head meetings. Yet, here we are, and the Wolverines and Hawkeyes will meet at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

For Michigan, a win here and the Wolverines are assured of a spot in the College Football Playoff, currently ranked second by the committee after the team’s upset victory over the Buckeyes. Style points and covering spreads be damned; Jim Harbaugh’s boys are here simply to win this game. And, after that highly emotional victory, it wouldn’t be surprising to see a conservative early approach to this one as Harbaugh eases his guys back up to the level of focus needed to win games like this one, regardless of their opponent.

Be sure the check out our guide how to bet the Big Ten Championship Game.

Michigan is constructed to avoid letdowns, too, as the Wolverines play solid defense and run the ball extremely well. Their defense allows the eighth fewest points and the 14th fewest yards per game, while they are extremely well-balanced on that side of the ball, ranking 23rd against the pass and 21st against the rush. Offensively, they are among the 20 best teams in terms of time of possession, rushing attempts per game, and percentage of run plays.

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The Wolverines get a bit of a gift by facing one of the nation’s most anemic offenses. Iowa is one of just eight FBS programs averaging fewer than 300 total yards of offense per game. In fact, the Hawkeyes do not rank in the top 100 in rushing yards, passing yards, or total yards per game.

It’s logical then to wonder how Iowa went 10-2 and made it to this game. Well, the answer is, quite obviously, the team’s defense. The Hawkeyes made up for their offensive ineptitude with a defense ranked among the FBS top 15 in rushing yards and total yards against per game, coupled with a top 40 pass stopping unit. Iowa allowed the tenth least points per game in the nation (17.3) and never conceded more than 27 points in a game all season.

The Hawkeyes also thrive off of takeaways and turnover differential, a category in which they are third best in the country (+16). They generate the fourth most turnovers per game, including college football’s best mark of 3.2 takeaways per game when they are away from home.

Michigan has been elite at protecting the football this season, turning it over just nine times in 12 games. That said, they haven’t met a ball-hawking defense anything like this one.

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Trends to Know

The last five head-to-head meetings between these schools averaged just 36.8 total points per game with four of the five producing fewer than our total here. Each of the last three head-to-head remained under the poste numbers and four of the last five in which Michigan met Iowa away from home stayed under.

Iowa has played four of its last five games under the total as underdogs, including two of three times in 2021. Michigan has also played four of its last five games under after scoring 41 or more points previously.

Michigan vs. Iowa Pick

In a program-defining game for Harbaugh’s team, expect the defense to take charge and the run game to shrink the things enough to hold on for a win and a trip to the College Football Playoff.

Michigan vs. Iowa Pick: Under 43.5