There are only two weeks left in the college football regular season ahead of the conference championship games and an extended bowl season that runs from mid-December right through the College Football Playoff Championship on Monday, Jan. 7.

Four teams have emerged as likely playoff candidates as long as they can win out over their next few games. No. 1 Alabama still has its annual showdown against No. 24 Auburn and the SEC title game to get past. Clemson is second in the rankings and it will face Duke and South Carolina at home the next two weeks ahead of the ACC Championship.


Big 12 down to final 4 teams to determine 2 title game spots


The next two teams have a bit tougher row to hoe over the next few weeks to lay claim to the other two playoff spots. The Big Ten’s Michigan Wolverines are fourth on the list in advance of the next CFP rankings. They will be home this Saturday against Indiana as heavy 28-point favorites before heading on the road to face No. 9 Ohio State next Saturday for the East Division title and a trip to the Big Ten title game.

The No. 3 Notre Dame Fighting Irish will face their last big test this Saturday afternoon in a 2:30 p.m. start at home against the ACC’s No. 13 Syracuse Orange. Intertops online sportsbook has opened Notre Dame as a nine-point favorite and the betting line for the total has been set at 61.5 points.

The Orange come into this showdown at 8-2 straight-up with a 7-3 record against the spread. They have won their last four games SU with a 3-1 mark ATS. The total went OVER 69 points in last Friday night’s 54-23 romp over Louisville as 20.5-point home favorites. It has gone OVER the closing line in four of their last five games.

 


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The Fighting Irish moved to a perfect 10-0 SU with Saturday’s lopsided 42-13 victory against Florida State as 17.5-point home favorites. The total went OVER 51.5 points in that game and it has gone OVER six of their last seven games. With the cover against the Seminoles, Notre Dame is 5-4-1 ATS this season.

Head-to-head in this matchup, the Irish have won three of the last five meetings SU with Syracuse holding the slight 3-2 edge ATS. The total has gone OVER or ended as a PUSH in three of those last five meetings.

Saturday’s college football betting action gets an early 12 p.m. start with an interesting matchup in the ACC between the Pittsburgh Panthers and the Wake Forest Demon Deacons. The surprising Panthers have won four of their last five games SU while going a perfect 5-0 ATS to improve to 6-4 SU and 7-3 ATS overall. They are in excellent position to lay claim to the Coastal Division title at 5-1 SU in ACC play, but they still have to win this game and get by Miami in their season finale.


STAT WATCH: Pitt's rushing performance its best since 1975


Pitt has been listed as a five-point road favorite for Saturday’s contest with the total line set at 61 points. It has gone 4-2 ATS in its last six road games and the total has stayed UNDER in nine of its last 10 games on the road. The Demon Deacons are an even 5-5 SU with a 3-7 record ATS. They have failed to cover in six of their last seven home games with the total going OVER in five of their last six games played at home.

The AAC’s No. 12 Central Florida Knights are the top team in the Mid Majors this season while in the midst of an SU 22-game winning streak that dates back to last season. The 9-0 SU (6-3 ATS) Knights will put that winning streak on the line this Saturday night at 8 p.m. as 7.5-point home favorites against the 9-1 SU (6-4) Cincinnati Bearcats. The total for this East Division showdown has been set at 58.5. Central Florida holds the 2-1 edge SU and ATS in the last three meetings.

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