College football's biggest betting mismatches: Championship week edition
Monty Andrews

TCU's Kenny Hill was one of the most accurate passers in the nation in 2017, completing two-thirds of his attempts while throwing multiple interceptions just once all season.

Pac-12 Championship

Stanford Cardinal vs. USC Trojans (-3, 57.5)


Cardinal's ball-hawking prowess vs. Trojans' turnover troubles

Things looked bleak early in the season for Stanford, but wins in eight of their final nine games have the Cardinal facing the USC Trojans for Pac-12 supremacy this Friday night. Stanford running back Bryce Love might be on the outside looking in for the Heisman Trophy, but it was still a sensational season for the 5-10 dynamo, who racked up nearly 1,900 yards on the ground. But the focus here isn't on Love: rather, it's on the significant advantage Stanford has in the turnover department.

Stanford has one of the most dangerous secondaries in the nation, finishing the regular season tied for 10th among FBS teams in interceptions (16). Combine that with eight fumble recoveries in 12 games, and the Cardinal finished tied for 11th in total turnovers gained with 24. Stanford won the turnover battle by a 3-0 margin in last weekend's 38-20 victory over the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, and forced two turnovers in their earlier meeting with the Trojans, a 42-24 setback in their second game of the season.

USC dominated that initial matchup despite losing the turnover battle, but will need to be better in that department if it hopes for a similar result this Friday. The Trojans finished outside the top 100 nationally in total turnovers allowed with 22 - 10 fumbles lost and 12 interceptions. USC turned the ball over a combined five times in its two regular-season losses to Washington and Notre Dame - and if it can't do a better job against the Cardinal, it could have one more loss on its 2017 ledger.

Big 12 Championship

Oklahoma Sooners vs. TCU Horned Frogs (+7, 62.5)


Sooners' so-so pass defense vs. cool Kenny Hill

TCU will have revenge on its mind Saturday afternoon as the Horned Frogs square off against the Oklahoma Sooners for the Big 12 Championship. The Sooners racked up 38 first-half points en route to a 38-20 triumph over the Horned Frogs back on Nov. 11, part of a seven-game winning streak that has Oklahoma in the mix for the national title. But to get there, the Sooners will need to be better in the pass defense department - and they should get a stiff test this weekend from TCU quarterback Kenny Hill.

Oklahoma doesn't have many weaknesses, but its QB pressure and overall secondary performance represent areas that could use some improvement. The Sooners finished in the lower half among FBS teams in sacks per game at 1.92, and intercepted just seven passes all season; only 21 teams had fewer INTs. Oklahoma didn't let those deficiencies prevent them from emerging as the team to beat in the Big 12, but it could be a different story this weekend.

Only five teams threw fewer interceptions than the Horned Frogs this season, who had just five INTs in 12 games. Hill was one of the most accurate passers in the nation in 2017, completing two-thirds of his attempts while throwing multiple interceptions just once all season. Oklahoma limited him to 13-of-28 passing in one of his rare off games, but he still racked up 270 yards and a touchdown in that encounter - and if he's given time to operate this weekend, TCU will make a game of it.

SEC Championship

Georgia Bulldogs vs. Auburn Tigers (-2.5, 49)


Georgia's red-zone rampage vs. Auburn's downfield defensive problems

One of the weekend's marquee matchups pits SEC East champion Georgia against SEC West champ Auburn. The Tigers injected themselves into the national title picture with last weekend's 24-16 triumph over the formerly top-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide, and will lock up a spot in the College Football Playoff semifinal with a victory over the Bulldogs. But it won't be an easy encounter this weekend, with Georgia boasting the top red-zone scoring offense in the nation.

The Bulldogs are known for boasting one of the country's top defenses - ranking fifth among FBS in scoring defense (13.8 points per game), but they were as tenacious as any team in Division I when they reached the opponent's 20-yard line, scoring 33 touchdowns and adding 11 field goals in 45 total trips - good for an absurd 97.8-percent success rate. Twenty-three of those TDs came courtesy the run - no surprise, considering that RBs Nick Chubb and Sony Michel combined for 26 rushing scores this season.

Auburn didn't allow many red-zone chances this season - teams reached the Tigers' 20-yard line just 26 times all season. But the Tigers were below-average when it came to allowing points on those red-zone opportunities, permitting opponents to score 84.6 percent of the time. Like Georgia, Auburn is one of the top defensive teams in Division I - but if the Bulldogs get inside the Tigers' 20, it could spell major problems for them in what is expected to be a tightly-contested affair.

ACC Championship

Clemson Tigers vs. Miami Hurricanes (+9.5, 47.5)


Clemson's third-down dominance vs. Miami's drive-extension woes

Clemson is in the enviable position of holding down the nation's No. 1 seed heading into the final game before the College Football Playoff participants are chosen. That makes the goal for this weekend simple: Win the ACC championship game against the Coastal Division-champion Miami Hurricanes, and you're in. And to that end, Clemson will look to take advantage of a sizeable edge when it comes to the Hurricanes facing third down situations.

Clemson forced more than its share of punts during the regular season, ranking sixth in the country in third-down conversion rate against at 28.6 percent. Prior to South Carolina's 6-of-15 performance on third down last week, the Tigers held its previous four opponents - Georgia Tech, N.C. State, Florida State and the Citadel - to a combined 13-for-58 on third-down chances. It's no wonder that the Tigers racked up 27 punt returns on the season, ranking in the top 10 nationally.

Miami overcame a difficult start to the season - at least from a weather perspective - to reel off 10 consecutive victories before dropping a 24-14 stunner to host Pittsburgh last weekend. And you could make the case that the Hurricanes' third-down struggles finally caught up with them; they went just 4-of-15 in that situation against the Panthers, and rank 121st out of 129 FBS teams in overall third-down conversion rate (30.7 percent). More struggles this weekend could mean disaster for Miami.