Philadelphia, PA – Want to know which teams to wager on 12-1 over the last six years. That's a solid 58% winning percentage.
Leading the charge is the Atlantic Coast Conference as the betting choice in the ACC has won and covered each of the last four years with Virginia Tech the major reason why. The Hokies are 3-0 both straight up and against the spread knocking off Florida State last year, 44-33 (four-point favorites), Boston College three years ago, 30-12 (one-point favorites) and four seasons back, 30-16 (five-point favorites).
This year Virginia Tech takes on a Clemson team that dominated the Hokies, 23-3, earlier this season in Blacksburg. However, Frank Beamer's team has a history of bouncing back in ACC Championship games after losing to their opponent during the season. Don't forget that Boston College beat the Hokies during the regular season in 2007 and in 2008.
Quarterback Logan Thomas has been a man possessed since losing to Clemson with 23 touchdowns (14 passing and nine rushing) and just two interceptions in seven games. On the other side, Clemson is 4-3 since then including three losses in its last four games. The Tigers offense has averaged just 18.5 points per game since Oct. 29 after hitting for 41 points per game in the first eight. Tajh Boyd has thrown seven interceptions in the last four games while being sacked 15 times and the defense hasn't helped matters any by allowing 28 points or more in six consecutive contests.
Look for Virginia Tech to win by double digits.
The SEC favorite is a solid 3-1-1 over the last five years, including last year's blowout win by Auburn over South Carolina. LSU will be in that chair in 2011 as the hefty choice over Georgia. The No.1 team in the country will most likely reach the BCS Championship Game even with a loss but the Tigers have been playing so well the entire season that it is doubtful Georgia has enough to take them down.
The Bulldogs reached 10 wins this year without having to play LSU, Alabama, or Arkansas. In fact, they took on just three teams that finished above .500 in their own conference and lost to two of them - South Carolina and Boise State. Moreover, both of those games were played in the state of Georgia.
LSU has taken on one of the most difficult schedules in recent years and has come through undefeated. Furthermore, the Tigers are 9-2 ATS with their only losses coming when they were favored by over 30 points and they won't be giving that many points in this one.
Look for this contest to be over by the third quarter with LSU strolling into the title game against Alabama.
The one league where the underdog has been king is the Mid-American Conference. Favorites have not only dropped three straight games against the spread but they have also lost two of the three straight up.
Northern Illinois takes on Ohio at Ford Field in Detroit and the two teams surprisingly have squared off just three times since 1999 with Ohio covering all three - twice when getting 20 points or more. The last matchup came two years ago when the Bobcats got the best of the Huskies, 38-31, in a game played at Peden Stadium.
Northern Illinois started the season slowly having lost nine starters on defense from 2010. In fact, the Huskies gave up 45 points or more in three of their first five games, going 2-3 in the process. Since then, they have won seven in a row giving up more than 30 points just twice.
On the other sideline is an Ohio squad that has won its last five games. Quarterback Tyler Tettleton (Mickey Tettleton's son) has had an outstanding first season as the starter with 26 touchdown passes to just seven interceptions. The Bobcats also finished second in the league in scoring defense allowing 22 points per game. However, they have given up an average of 26 in the last eight contests. Northern Ill's offense will provide a big challenge, especially at a neutral site.
Houston, the nation's only other undefeated squad besides LSU, hosts Southern Mississippi in the Conference USA Championship Game. These two teams met in the 2006 title game and Houston was favored by 5.5 points. The Cougars rolled to a two-touchdown victory.
Everyone points to the Cougars offense as the reason why they haven't lost a game this season but don't underestimate how well the defense has played. Houston has given up just 53 points in the last four contests and that includes games against SMU and Tulsa.
Expect the Cougars to win but fail to cover the inflated spread.
The other two games don't have much history behind them as the Pac-12 and the Big Ten will be hosting their initial conference championships. Oregon hosts UCLA less than one year after crushing the Bruins 60-13. Look for similar results on Friday night.
The following evening has Wisconsin taking on Michigan State in a rematch of the incredible Spartans home victory in late October. The key number in this contest is nine. That's how many straight times the "over" has come out on top when these two teams have played.