There were only nine college football games on Saturday, but there was plenty of betting on the conference championships. While there were large wagers on the Big 10 and SEC conference matchups, the smaller conference championship games also saw significant action.

Sun Belt Conference Championship
Appalachian State running back Darrynton Evans (#3) had three rushing touchdowns to lead the Mountaineers to the Sun Belt Conference Championship. (Image: AP)

Caesars Palace Director of Trading, Jeff Davis, told Covers.com that Clemson vs. Virginia got little attention, while Appalachian State and Louisiana-Lafayette did much more business. Davis attributed at least part of the ACC Championship game’s light action on the fact Clemson was laying 29.5 points.

“Very little interest, as is the case when there is a spread of this size,” Davis said. “The Sun Belt game (ULL-APPST) has three times as much handle.”

Despite the lack of money on Clemson-Virginia, those that did bet on the Tigers got their cover with six minutes remaining in the third quarter. Clemson manhandled the Cavaliers, winning 62-17.

Tigers quarterback Trevor Lawrence said Clemson wanted a strong showing in the conference championship.

“I’m proud of the way we handled it. We came out with a fire,” Lawrence said. The way we’re playing, I think we are better.”

Clemson became the fifth team to score at least 60 points in a conference championship game, joining 2017 UCF, 2012 Wisconsin, 2008 Oklahoma and 2005 Texas. Clemson’s 45-point victory was the largest in an ACC Championship.

Favorites, Underdogs Split Conference Championships

Including the Pac-12 Championship, which was played on Friday, conference championship favorites and underdogs were 5-5 against the spread.

The favorite that provided the biggest sweat was Appalachian State. The Mountaineers were a 6.5-point pick in the Sun Belt Championship over Louisiana-Lafayette. App State built a 35-17 halftime lead, then let the Ragin’ Cajuns almost pull off the upset. Louisiana-Lafayette scored 14, fourth-quarter points to pull within a touchdown with 1:19 remaining. Fortunately, the Mountaineers recovered the onside kick and were able to run out the clock, covering the spread by a half-point.

The other favorites to cover were Oregon (+6.5) in the Pac-12, Florida Atlantic (-8) in the Conference USA Championship, Boise State (-14) in the Mountain West, LSU (-7) in the SEC, and Clemson (-29.5) in the ACC.

The underdogs that covered were Miami of Ohio (+6) in the MAC, Baylor (+9.5) in the Big 12, Cincinnati (+9) in the American Athletic Conference, and Wisconsin (+17) in the Big 10. Of those five, Oregon and Miami of Ohio won outright.

Big Bets, No Returns

There were some notable wagers for the conference championship games. One unidentified gambler in New Jersey put $220,000 on Oklahoma. He would have won $200,000. He also put $110,000 on the Sooners on the William Hill app to make $100,00. The Sooners failed to cover against Baylor by 2.5 points.

CG Technology took a $55,000 bet on Ohio State against Wisconsin to win $50,000. The Buckeyes struggled against the Badgers, and failed to cover by four points.

Stat of the Week

Oklahoma becomes the first team, regardless of conference, to win 10 conference championship games all-time. The Sooners also won the Big 12 for the fifth straight year, their longest conference title streak since winning eight straight from 1973-80.

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