G.W. Gras

Senior Writer for The Bears Brawl and Lead Host of The Bears Brawl Podcast.

Beating Vegas has had another successful season against the spread in College Football and this week we give you our best “leans” in the College Championship Games.

Big 10 Championship Game (Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana)

Wisconsin Badgers +14.5 VS Ohio State Buckeyes
Over / Under 55

Very few teams dominate a season like the Buckeyes have. They just do everything right and have no real weakness.

Quarterback Justin Fields has been incredible this season completing 68% of his passes, with 37 touchdowns and only one interception on the season. Add to the fact that he has 10 rushing touchdowns and you’re looking at a guy who is three total touchdowns short of 50 on the year.

Source: Ed Zurga/Getty Images North America

During their 38-7 victory over Wisconsin earlier in the year, Fields looked his most human throwing for 167 yards at just about a 50% completion – but still managed two touchdown passes.

In that match-up the problem for Wisconsin became Ohio State’s rushing attack. JK Dobbins was a beast running the ball 20 times for 163 yards. The spell back, Master Teague was able to average 5.8 yards a carry as well.

Those are impressive numbers against anyone, but against Wisconsin, a team holding opponents to 3.3 yards a rush – it’s a lot more impressive. . . or was it really?

When they opened the season, Wisconsin looked unstoppable and went 6-0 against lowly opponents – that includes a Michigan team who didn’t have it all together in September. Then they oddly fell to Illinois and the following week got destroyed by Ohio State. The truth is – they didn’t play a lot of quality opponents outside of Ohio State. Even wins against Iowa and Minnesota – although are “quality” wins in the ranking-perspective of college football – they aren’t real threats like the Buckeyes.

In most games that are re-matches, a double digit underdog might be the way to go. Especially on neutral territory – but this Buckeyes team may just win by more than 31 this time around. Finishing the regular season ranked #1 means something to this program.

The Pick: Ohio State -14

 

 

Mountain West Championship (Albertsons Stadium in Boise, Idaho)

Hawaii Rainbow Warriors +13.5 at Boise State Broncos
Over / Under 64.5

This is a tale of two different programs. The Hawaii program has stopped being a doormat and have established themselves as a threat in the Mountain West, while for Boise State – this is business as usual.

Hawaii winning the Mountain West, West Division is a surprise. Considering they had to outdo San Diego State and Fresno State. Boise State went 11-1 this season, 8-0 in the conference and had the 7-1 Air Force Falcons and 6-2 Utah Aggies on their tale, hoping they’d slip up for the whole season.

One thing is consistent with Boise State – teams with at least a competitive defense, have given Boise some struggle. Marshall and Wyoming lost to Boise by 7 and 3 points respectively and the one team that beat Boise was BYU, by three points.

Hawaii’s defense is just as good as Boise State’s, holding opponents to a completion percentage of 58.5% while Boise defense is slightly better at 56.3%. The rush defense is what you would think separates the two teams but, eh. . .

Boise State is holding opponents to 3.5 yards a carry, while Hawaii is letting teams do whatever they want allowing 5.7 yards a carry.

After completing SMASH averages for both teams, Boise should average 4.6 yards a carry, and Hawaii 4.8 yards a carry.

Earlier this season Hawaii lost to Boise State 59-37, and although two touchdowns scored by Hawaii were during garbage time – the score before that was 52-23.

It’s hard to think more of the same isn’t going to happen here – In Hawaii’s four losses this year they gave up 52, 59, 56 and 41 points. I like to lean Boise here to cover the spread – but the over is where the lock is.

The Pick: Over 64.5

Big 12 Championship Game (AT&T Stadium in Dallas, Texas)

Baylor Bears +9 VS Oklahoma Sooners
Over / Under 62.5

The Big12 is the oddest conference to me. There is a level of respect that comes to playing in the conference – big names like Oklahoma and Texas reside here – but where does defense reside in this conference?

Defensively this conference is much like the aforementioned Mountain West conference, the teams in this conference live and die by their offenses.

Baylor is looking to regain what they lost in the second half against Oklahoma earlier this year. The Bears were up 31-10 at halftime and gave up 24 unanswered to lose the game which may very well have cost them a spot in the College Football Playoff.

Quarterback Jalen Hurts of Oklahoma had 297 yards through the air and 114 on the ground in that meeting and he is looking to add another performance like that to his Heisman-Hopeful status.

Quarterback Charlie Brewer looked like the better quarterback for half of that game and got totally stonewalled in the second half. . .

Source: Getty Images North America

So how do we judge a game like this? Did Baylor get lazy? Did Oklahoma figure Baylor out?

The answer here is – it’s the Big 12, where no lead is ever safe because nobody plays defense.

Statistically there is nothing to separate the two squads, and to be honest – whoever wins this will win the Big 12, but will have no shot at anything else. Baylor has the revenge factor going for them – and a slightly better run defense.

I see both teams coming out a little skittish but Baylor covers the number losing 35-32

The Pick: Baylor +9