College football expert betting picks for Championship Weekend
Wes Reynolds is on VSiN Tonight (9 p.m.-12 a.m. ET / 6-9 p.m. PT) and will be posting his weekly college football and NFL best bets for us. He is also one of the hosts of our Long Shots golf betting podcast. He also writes weekly golf previews
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(odds as of December 1, 10:35 a.m. PT)
MAC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
Ford Field – Detroit, MI
This will be a rematch of a regular season meeting on October 21 when the Rockets pulled out a 21-17 road victory in Oxford as 1.5-point favorites.
In that defeat on October 21, Miami QB Brett Gabbert was lost for the season with a leg injury. Backup Aveon Smith took over and has gone 4-0 as a starter. However, Smith only has two touchdown passes in those four starts and completes just 52.5% of his passes as Miami has gone to more of an RPO-based attack that relies heavier on the run.
Miami slows the game down and then counts on its defense (Top 25 nationally in total defense) and special teams.
On the other side, Toledo is looking to go back-to-back as MAC Champions. Dual-threat QB DeQuan Finn led the Rockets to the title in 2022, but this year he has help with Peny Boone, a former Maryland transfer who stepped in as the starting back in 2023 and has rushed for over 1,300 yards and 7.4 yards per carry.
Toledo also possesses a solid defense (No. 32 nationally in total defense).
With two good defenses and a Miami team that plays at a slow pace offensively (130th in seconds per play, this could be a similar MAC Championship Game to last season when Toledo grinded out a 17-7 victory over Ohio.
Miami does have an ace though with its kicking game as Graham Nicholson has connected on all 23 field goal attempts this season, including a 9-of-9 mark from 40 yards or more.
Toledo, like many other teams this time of year, is also in an interesting spot in that the team knows that its head coach Jason Candle is interviewing for other jobs (he was a finalist at Indiana). It is fair to question the players’ focus with the transfer portal now being so entrenched in college football, but there is a coaching portal as well.
Bet: Miami OH +7.5; Under 44
MOUNTAIN WEST CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
Allegiant Stadium – Las Vegas, NV
Both Boise State and UNLV reach the Mountain West Championship Game with potential looming questions regarding who will be coaching their respective teams in the future. After firing Andy Avalos, Boise State has rallied behind defensive coordinator and interim coach Spencer Danielson and the Broncos have won their last two games. UNLV is 9-3 and has accumulated its most wins in a season since the 11-win 1984 team. Barry Odom engineered a four-game turnaround in his first year. Odom and offensive coordinator Brennan Marion, the architect of the Rebels ‘Go-Go” offense, both look to be in high demand on the coaching carousel.
The two clubs both run the ball effectively. Boise State does so with a more methodical approach behind Ashton Jeanty (1113 yards, 13 TDs), George Holani (530 yards, five TDs), and QB Taylen Green (344 yards, seven TDs). Meanwhile, UNLV lives off explosive plays led by QB Jayden Maiava (2616 yards, 14 passing TDs, three rushing TDs), a rushing attack that has 36 touchdowns on the ground by eight different ball carriers, and a big-play receiver in Ricky White (76 catches, 1298 yards, 7 TD, 17.1 yards per catch).
Both teams also struggle with missed tackles defensively and will give up the aforementioned big plays on the fast track at Allegiant Stadium.
Bet: Over 60
SUN BELT CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
Veterans Memorial Stadium – Troy, AL
After two consecutive losses at Kansas State and vs. James Madison, Troy has ripped off nine straight victories, seven of them by 18 points or more behind a defense that rates No. 12 nationally in total defense. Meanwhile, Appalachian State closed its regular season with five straight victories and were the only team to defeat James Madison and did so as 10-point underdogs.
While it is unfair to call the Mountaineers “road warriors” per se, they did win at JMU, should have won at Wyoming, and took North Carolina to overtime in Chapel Hill.
Troy is 10-2 and has certainly finished the season strong but did get to play four backup quarterbacks in conference play during its nine-game win streak against a weaker conference schedule.
App State started the season 3-4 and all four losses were by seven points or less, but they are peaking at the right time.
Bet: Appalachian State +5.5 (Play to +4.5)