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Betting on College Football’s Power 5 Conferences - Odds, Analysis, and Picks

By Michael Wynn
Published on August 24, 2022
Power 5 Conferences

By the time next weekend arrives, the college football season will be underway. That means that if your favorite team has serious plans of making the College Football Playoff, they can ill-afford to slip up early on in the year.

If you look at the opening week’s schedule, you’ll see that we get a little taste of everything right from the get-go.

Do you want to see a couple of top-10 teams from opposite regions of the country face off in a decisive Week 1 game? Because 6th-ranked Washington will travel to the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta to play the 9th-ranked Auburn Tigers on September 1st.

Would you rather watch heated rivalry take place between a pair of top-20 teams from the same conference? Well, Virginia Tech and Florida State clash in Tallahassee on September 3rd, and it should be an absolute dandy.

The point is, not every team in the Power 5 Conferences gets a “cupcake game” on their schedule in Week 1. Look at the Michigan Wolverines out of the Big Ten.

They start the year on the road in South Bend facing the 12th-ranked Fighting Irish in a game that promises to be a spectacle.

The bottom line is that if you play in one of NCAA’s Power 5 Conferences, you are bound to get hit with a tough stretch of games. Winning on the road is never easy, especially in the conferences I am referring to in this article.

To avoid any potential confusion, the Power 5 Conferences in college football are listed below.

  • The ACC
  • Big Ten
  • Big 12
  • Pac-12
  • SEC

I’ve spent a solid chunk of time analyzing and previewing each of these conferences, trying to narrow it down to who I believe will end the year as their conference champion.

I’ll start with the ACC, who currently boasts 4 teams inside the top 20 in both of the major polls.


The Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) is made up of 14 teams. Check out the 7 teams in each division of the ACC below.


  • Boston College
  • Clemson
  • Florida State
  • Louisville
  • NC State
  • Syracuse
  • Wake Forest


  • Duke
  • Georgia Tech
  • Miami
  • North Carolina
  • Pittsburgh
  • Virginia
  • Virginia Tech

As I mentioned above, Clemson (2), Miami (8), Florida State (19), and Virginia Tech (20) all begin the year ranked inside the top 20. While the winner of the FSU/Virginia Tech game will obviously be feeling pretty good about themselves, I see this conference as a “two-horse race” when it’s all said and done.

That’s not to discount teams like Boston College and NC State as teams on the rise, but let’s just be real here.

Clemson is the class of the ACC, and the Miami Hurricanes are likely the only team with enough firepower to challenge the Tigers. Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney doesn’t get the credit that Nick Saban gets in Alabama, but his record speaks for itself.

After back-to-back 14-win seasons (a win and a loss in the College Football Championship Game), Clemson is right back on track to be an utterly dominant team in 2023.

We still don’t know if it will be Kelly Bryant under center or if Dabo will elect to insert true freshman Trevor Lawrence, and I’m not sure it really even matters.

The 6’5” 2017 USA Today Offensive Player of the Year is mightily, and a decision should come soon.

Either way, this defense is so stacked, and there is so much speed on offense, that this squad should have no problem breezing through the majority of their schedule.

Other than a true road game at FSU on October 27th, I expect to see Clemson heavily favored in all their games. Barring something unusual, that means we’ll probably see Swinney and his men back in the College Football Playoff for a fourth consecutive year.


Big Ten

Just like the ACC, the Big Ten Conference also consists of 14 teams separated into two distinct divisions.


  • Indiana
  • Maryland
  • Michigan State
  • Michigan
  • Ohio State
  • Penn State
  • Rutgers


  • Illinois
  • Iowa
  • Minnesota
  • Nebraska
  • Northwestern
  • Purdue
  • Wisconsin

I wish I could tell you that all the talk regarding the Big Ten Conference in recent weeks has been all about the players.

Unfortunately, Ohio State had been discussing an ongoing probe into the Urban Meyer situation to find out what the heck really happened. I’m embarrassed to say that by only suspending him for the first 3 games of the season.

Personally, I think his involvement in the whole Zach Smith cover-up situation warranted him getting the boot, but clearly, politics and money play a big part in those decisions.

The Buckeyes seemed to have everything in order to make a run at a National Championship, and now the program is left with this huge black cloud hanging over them.

The good news for Big Ten fans is that this conference is loaded at the top, and I’m talking REALLY loaded.

Five of the top 14 teams in the country right now play in the Big Ten, four of which are in the East Division. Talk about a brutal schedule. The teams are going to be beating each other up all year long in the Big Ten, so I don’t expect anyone to get out unscathed.

I’m not even sure we’ll see a one-loss team from this group, but here’s what I will predict.

Whoever is able to win the Big Ten Championship Game in Indianapolis on December 1st will almost certainly be able to punch their ticket into the College Football Playoff.

When you look at SportsBetting.ag and see the odds to capture the Big Ten, you’ll notice that you can get some pretty attractive prices on Penn State and Michigan State, while clearly, the bookies think that Ohio State and Wisconsin are the favorites.

Penn State QB Trace McSorley is a Heisman Trophy candidate, and HC James Franklin is among the best in the nation at rallying his troops while maximizing effort from his players.

The Nittany Lions get the Buckeyes, the Spartans, and the Badgers all at home, but they will have to travel to Ann Arbor to face the Wolverines on November 3rd. If they can win 3 of those 4 games and get through the rest of their schedule, they’ll have a date in Indy for a Big Ten Title.

I think the +750 number for Penn State to win the conference is more than fair, as I can’t see myself paying +190 for Ohio State given all the distractions.

Roll with Nittany Lions and know you are getting some really good value for a team ranked in the top 10 in all preseason polls.

PICKPenn State+750

Big 12

Don’t let the name of the Big 12 Conference confuse you into thinking there are 12 teams that play in it. There are actually just 10 teams in the Big 12, and you can see them right here.

  • Baylor
  • Iowa State
  • Kansas
  • Kansas State
  • Oklahoma
  • Oklahoma State
  • TCU
  • Texas
  • Texas Tech
  • West Virginia

If you enjoy high-scoring games and bloated statistics, welcome to the Big 12!

Despite losing 2017 Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield to the NFL, the Oklahoma Sooners begin the year as the leading candidate to win this conference, and it’s not even as close as you may have thought. In fact, according to Vegas, they don’t see anyone outside of Texas giving the Sooners a legitimate run for their money.

West Virginia is a team that some touts have their eye on, and a home game versus Oklahoma on November 23rd will give the Mountaineers a chance to prove how good they are. I like QB Will Grier, and Dana Holgorsen could have his best team since taking over in Morgantown in 2011.

But I am not convinced that their defense will be able to stop anyone when push comes to shove. Outside of Oklahoma, TCU is really the only team that has a defensive unit that can be relied on to make stops in crunch time.

That’s why as much as I like some of the offenses in the Big 12, the Horned Frogs are really the only team that can hang with the Sooners for 60 minutes. Oklahoma State lost Mason Rudolph and James Washington, so they’ll be looking for new leaders as they retool their program.

I don’t think a team like Texas is quite ready to take that next step towards being a serious contender, although I do think Tom Herman does have the Longhorns headed in the right direction.

So in the end, it could come down to an October 20th game between Oklahoma and TCU, and fortunately for TCU fans, that game will be played in Fort Worth.

The fact that we can grab TCU at +600 to scoop the Big 12 sounds appetizing, but remember that they have to play Ohio State out of conference on September 15th. If they get through that game and can beat Oklahoma, then that +600 number is going to look even more mouthwatering than it does now.

As much value as there is presented with Gary Patterson’s squad, I just think Oklahoma is the best team in this conference from top to bottom, and I think it’ll show by season’s end.

I don’t love the even-money price, but I feel solid that Sooners HC Lincoln Riley will get it done.



Finally, a conference where the title makes sense!

There are actually 12 teams in the conference like the name suggests, and they are split up into two divisions. Despite not always receiving as much notoriety as the SEC or the Big Ten, the Pac-12 has a few teams that are more than worthy of being considered.


  • California
  • Oregon
  • Oregon State
  • Stanford
  • Washington
  • Washington State


  • Arizona State
  • Arizona
  • Colorado
  • UCLA
  • USC
  • Utah

Looking at the prices, the oddsmakers don’t seem to think that anyone outside of Washington (-140) can win the Pac-12. Certainly, the bottom dwellers won’t be in the picture, but teams like USC and Stanford aren’t rolling over just yet.

Although Washington doesn’t face Southern Cal on their regular-season schedule, they do have to open the year on the other side of the country in Atlanta in a nationally-televised game versus the 9th-ranked Auburn Tigers.

We are going to find out if Jake Browning is a Heisman candidate right off the bat in a game that is highly anticipated around the college football community.

It appears that Washington has enough on both sides of the ball to be able to dominate this conference, but winning on the road is a lot easier said than done.

I see Stanford in too many tough spots to be able to get to 10 wins, so I’m not banking on them to make a dent in this conference. However, the USC Trojans are in an interesting spot if they can win on the road early in the season at Stanford and at Texas.

Wrapping up the season against Notre Dame two days after Thanksgiving could give Clay Helton the marquee matchup he needs to close out the year and impress the selection committee.

Although I give the edge to Washington in terms of pure talent and ability, I can’t ignore the obvious value we can latch onto with USC. Being that I have to lay -140 on the Huskies when I can bet on the Trojans at +450 makes me think the play here is fairly obvious.



There hasn’t been much debate over the past 10+ years over which NCAA Football conference is the best. Just look at the 14 teams in the Southeastern Conference and tell me if you see any holes.

Okay, so Tennessee and Vanderbilt don’t scare anyone in the East, nor is anyone in the West that afraid of the Arkansas Razorbacks. But I can assure you that the overall speed and talent in the SEC tops all conferences in the nation.


  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Kentucky
  • Missouri
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Vanderbilt


  • Alabama
  • Arkansas
  • Auburn
  • LSU
  • Mississippi State
  • Ole Miss
  • Texas A&M

We saw the Crimson Tide and the Bulldogs compete for a National Championship last season, and it’s not out of the question that another pair of SEC teams lands in the College Football Playoff this time around.

In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised at all if we saw both Nick Saban and Kirby Smart get back to the big game. Alabama begins the year as the undisputed number-one-ranked team in the country, and Georgia isn’t too far behind, nipping at their heels at #3/4.

Auburn can never be counted out, and a lot of folks around the industry are pretty high on Mississippi State and their new head coach, Joe Moorhead.

The former offensive coordinator at Penn State has nice pieces to work with, but not anywhere in the realm of what Coach Saban and Coach Smart have at their disposal.

While Nick Saban hasn’t made an official announcement on who will be his starting QB, all signs are pointing towards sophomore Tua Tagovailoa being the man under center. I think this dude’s potential is off the charts, and we could see Alabama’s offense being even stronger than it has in years past.

As much as I respect Kirby Smart and what he brings to the table, I can’t overlook how immensely talented the Crimson Tide’s roster is. Every year, Alabama sends a plethora of players to the NFL, and every year, Nick Saban replenishes his roster to the fullest.

I don’t really mind the -140 number, because this team is that good, ladies and gentlemen.


Runaway Thoughts

As fun as it is to root for the Mid-Majors, the writing is on the wall when it comes to the College Football Playoff. We saw it last year when Scott Frost led the UCF Knights to an undefeated season, only to be completely left out of the loop.

It’s because it’s all about the Power 5 Conferences, and everybody knows it. These are the schools that we’ll see in the biggest games year after year, and that’s just the reality.

I previewed which teams I believe will come out on top of their respective conference, but it’s up to you to go place the wager and see if it pays off.

If you saw any bets that piqued your interest, I wouldn’t wait too much longer to create an account on SportsBetting.ag and get your bets in. I can assure you that these prices won’t last forever!

Betting on College Football’s Power 5 Conferences - Odds, Analysis, and Picks
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Betting on College Football’s Power 5 Conferences - Odds, Analysis, and Picks
Here we give you a preview of the 2023 Power 5 Conferences for the NCAA. We provide picks and predictions for who we think will come out on top.
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