College Football Picks Week 16: Vegas Odds and Predictions for Top 25 Games

·5 min read

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish proved they can beat the Clemson Tigers on November 7, but they are not getting respect on the betting line ahead of Saturday's ACC Championship Game.

Clemson opened as a double-digit favorite to win the rematch with Notre Dame, which will be played on a neutral field in Charlotte, North Carolina.

In comparison to the Big Ten and SEC Championship Games, the 10.5-point line in favor of Clemson is small.

The Alabama Crimson Tide and Ohio State Buckeyes are both projected to win by more than 17 points. If they both come out on top, they will end up in the College Football Playoff alongside the ACC champion.

Alabama's matchup with the Florida Gators appeared to get easier in Week 15, when the SEC East champion stumbled at home to the LSU Tigers.

Conference Championship Games

Friday, December 12

Ball State vs. No. 23 Buffalo (-12.5) (7:30 p.m., ESPN)

Washington vs. No. 13 USC (-7.5) (8 p.m., Fox)

Saturday, December 13

No. 15 Northwestern vs. No. 3 Ohio State (-20.5) (Noon, Fox)

No. 12 Oklahoma (-4.5) vs. No. 8 Iowa State (Noon, ABC)

No. 17 Louisiana vs. No. 9 Coastal Carolina (-3.5) (3:30 p.m., ESPN)

No. 4 Clemson (-10.5) vs. No. 2 Notre Dame (4 p.m., ABC)

Boise State (-6.5) vs. No. 25 San Jose State (4:15 p.m., Fox)

No. 11 Florida vs. No. 1 Alabama (-17.5) (8 p.m., CBS)

No. 20 Tulsa vs. No. 6 Cincinnati (-14.5) (8 p.m., ABC)

Other Games

Saturday, December 13

No. 5 Texas A&M (-13.5) at Tennessee (Noon, ESPN)

Vanderbilt at No. 10 Georgia (-38.5) (Noon, SEC Network)

All Times ET; Picks against the spread. Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook.

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Notre Dame deserves more respect on the ACC Championship Game spread as the second-best team in the country.

Sure, Clemson has Trevor Lawrence and a few defenders back in the fold, but the Irish have not done anything in the last few weeks to suggest they are susceptible to a double-digit loss on Saturday.

In fact, Notre Dame may have impressed its critics more than the win over Clemson by holding the North Carolina offense to 17 points on November 27. That victory looks even more impressive after the Tar Heels stormed through the Miami Hurricanes defense for 62 points and 778 total yards in Week 15.

If Notre Dame utilizes the same concepts from that game to contain Lawrence and Travis Etienne, it could keep the game within one score.

There's no guarantee Notre Dame can beat the Lawrence-led offense outright, but Brian Kelly's team will certainly be in the mix for the victory in the fourth quarter.

If the spread moves down a point or two before kickoff, then a bet in the opposite direction could be considered, but Clemson has to prove it is a touchdown and field goal better than the Irish before it gets that much respect on the betting line.

Even if Clemson wins, Notre Dame has plenty of incentive to keep the game close because it can still get into the College Football Playoff with a close loss. The Irish should remain at No. 2 in Tuesday's rankings and a two-spot drop is possible.

After what we saw out of Alabama and Florida in Week 15, the SEC Championship Game could serve as more of a coronation of the top team in the country than a competitive battle.

The Crimson Tide ran rampant through their final six contests, a sequence that started after it won the showdown with the Georgia Bulldogs on October 17.

Alabama's offense is humming along like a brand-new sports car with Mac Jones and DeVonta Smith fighting for Heisman Trophy votes and Najee Harris barreling through defenders on the interior.

Florida's defense is coming off a 418-yard, 37-point concession in its upset loss to LSU in which it failed to contain freshman quarterback Max Johnson.

If the Gators can't fix the issues they had against a first-year signal-caller, they could be torn apart by an experienced quarterback in Jones.

Jones put up over 400 yards in each of Alabama's ranked victories over Texas A&M and Georgia. The two wins were by 17 points or more.

The Alabama quarterback could also be motivated by a potential Heisman Trophy win. If he outperforms Kyle Trask and takes up more of the spotlight in comparison to Smith, he could be the front-runner to earn the honor.

To be in that position, though, Jones needs to put up high passing totals, which has been in Alabama's offensive DNA. The Crimson Tide scored over 50 points on five occasions and reached the 40-point threshold in nine of 10 contests.

If Florida fails to contain Alabama's offense, it could suffer the same fate as the Tide's two other ranked foes.

Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90.

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