College football odds: Week 16 lines & trends


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The incredibly unusual 2020 college football regular season comes to a close this weekend with a handful of teams finishing up with meaningless games but highlighted by the Power 5 conference championship games. While the coronavirus has canceled/postponed many games this year, the leagues are going to do whatever possible to make sure conference title games are played.


The final College Football Playoff Top 25 rankings will be released Sunday, which means it’s Selection Sunday. Those rankings will determine the four teams in the College Football Playoff as well as the other schools filling out the New Year’s Six bowl slots.

There already has been one conference title game change due to the coronavirus: Washington pulled out of Friday’s Pac-12 matchup at No. 15 USC and will be replaced by Oregon. The Huskies and Ducks were supposed to play for the North Division title this past weekend, but UW didn’t have enough players and still doesn’t. The Trojans are -3.5 against Oregon and the favorite has covered the past four in the series.

No. 3 Clemson visits No. 2 Notre Dame in the ACC Championship Game from Charlotte on Saturday, and the winner is a lock to make the playoff. The Irish beat the Tigers in a double-overtime thriller in South Bend earlier this season, but Clemson didn’t have star QB Trevor Lawrence then due to COVID. He’s back now. Should Clemson beat Notre Dame close, it’s expected that the Irish still make the playoff. If Notre Dame wins again, though, Clemson’s five-year run of reaching the playoff is probably over. Clemson is -10 and on a seven-game cover streak in December games.

The SEC was hoping to get two teams possibly into the playoff but now would need help after No. 6 Florida was shocked at home this past Saturday by LSU so the Gators will not be No. 6 in the new CFP Top 25. No. 1 Alabama faces Florida in the SEC Championship Game from Atlanta. The Tide probably are in the playoff even with a loss – barring it being by 30 points, etc. That’s obviously very unlikely. Bama is -15.5 and has covered seven straight SEC games overall.

The Big Ten Championship Game features No. 14 Northwestern against No. 4 Ohio State from Indianapolis. The Buckeyes were given a waiver into the game as they have played just five times this season. The conference originally had a rule where only schools that played at least six games were eligible for the Big Ten title game, but they changed that rule last week when Ohio State’s regular-season finale at Michigan was canceled.

No question the Buckeyes are the Big Ten’s best team so it wasn’t a shock that the rule was changed. Will playing just six total games hurt the Buckeyes in the eyes of the College Football Playoff selection committee? OSU is -21 and 7-1 ATS in its past eight games against Northwestern.