NCAA Week 13 Recap: Notre Dame Earns a Spot in the Title Game

With the conclusion of week 13 comes the end to most of the confusion in college football and the BCS bowl picture. Notre Dame officially earned its trip to the 2013 BCS National Championship game with its 22-13 win this Saturday over the USC Trojans on the road, improving to 12-0 and finishing the season as the only undefeated team in the nation. The question of who they will play is yet to be decided by the SEC Championship game, but with it being down to just two possible teams, we can go ahead and look at the potential match-ups.

Notre Dame is back in the big one

Five teams entered the week with hopes of playing for a national title, but there was only room for two. Notre Dame rose to the occasion and handled the pressure by winning its 12th straight game in 2012. Just as they had all year, the Irish defense put a stop to their opponent, even backed up defending the goal line from one yard out.

“We’re going to fight,” Notre Dame linebacker and Heisman candidate Manti Te’o said via ESPN.com. “That’s our name. It doesn’t matter where we are.”

Theo Riddick rushed for 146 yards and Everett Golson threw for 217 more as the Irish completed their first perfect regular season since 1988. The stroired program’s streak of down years has been well publicized, but its been a return to prominence in 2012.

Meanwhile, the two biggest title contenders out of the SEC, #2 Alabama and #3 Georgia, both easily dispatched of their rivals this week, launching them into one of the most anticipated and significant match-ups of the season that will ultimately decide who plays Notre Dame in the championship game. That game, the SEC Championship, will take place next week in Atlanta.

Who will represent the SEC in the title game this year?

Either one would prove to be a difficult match-up for the Irish, who don’t score a ton of points (26.8) per game, but Notre Dame’s defense gives them a chance to win any game, as it has done this year, allowing only 10.3 points per game (2nd in the nation).

Georgia actually may be the more balanced team. Ranked 35th in rushing, 39th in passing and 16th in points allowed, the Bulldogs can do it all. If the Dawgs play their best game, they are likely to beat anyone.

Bama doesn’t do as much through the air, but as we know, it is the defending champions and the only team with a better defense than the Irish, allowing just 9.3 points per game. A match-up between Notre Dame and Alabama would certainly be low-scoring, but the advantage would likely go to the Crimson Tide, considering not just their recent history, but the the recent history of the SEC’s dominance.

A match-up between Georgia and Notre Dame would similarly give the edge to the SEC squad, but the Bulldogs might even be a bigger favorite with their offensive weapons.

Look for the winner of the SEC Championship to be the favorite in the title game and unless Notre Dame can continue its magic this season, expect the SEC to reign supreme once again.

 

 

Week 12 NFL Betting Tips

Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints welcome a San Francisco side led by rookie quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

Thanksgiving served up three highly entertaining games, particularly Washington’s upset win over Dallas at Cowboys Stadium. With a total of 212 points on the board, those three games really were all about spectacle.

Week 12 resumes in the NFL with a 12-game slate jam-packed with intriguing match-ups. To help you get started with your picks, CasinoReview has picked out three of the best games on offer, and gone through them with a fine-toothed comb.

 

Atlanta Falcons @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers

After losing to New Orleans in Week 10, Atlanta (9-1, 4-1 road) returned to winning ways with a 23-19 victory over the Arizona Cardinals last week. Alarmingly for the Falcons though, the win only came after a late Michael Turner touchdown erased a lead that the Cardinals had sustained for long portions of the game.

This weekend, Atlanta travels to a very in-form Tampa Bay (6-4, 3-2 home) side, winners of four straight and five of six.

After a rocky start to the season that saw the side lose three of its first four, the Buccaneers have turned things around thanks to a high-scoring offense – the Bucs rank fourth in the league in points scored. That offense has been complimented by the league’s best defense against the run.

The Buccaneers will look to build on a 2-1 record within the division, and make some ground up on the NFC South-leading Falcons. It’ll be tough though; Atlanta has won six of the last seven meetings between the sides.

Odds: Atlanta is a marginal favorite (-1½) on the road. The over/under is 48.

Take: Tampa Bay – Atlanta’s most convincing wins came early in the season, and bar a beat down of the Eagles, the Falcons have not won by more than a touchdown since Week 3. Tampa Bay meanwhile has been menacing opponents, winning four of the last six by 10 points or more. The Buccaneer’s 8-2-0 ATS record is the best in the entire NFL. Take the total to go over; both sides rank in the top six in points scored.

 

San Francisco 49ers @ New Orleans Saints

San Francisco (7-2-1, 3-1 road), winners of three of the last four – the fourth being a tie with St. Louis – will head to the Big Easy this weekend looking to add another win the tally. Of course, most of the focus this week has been on who will play quarterback for the Niners.

After suffering a concussion in that 24-24 tie with the Rams, Alex Smith missed last week’s home game against Chicago. His replacement, Colin Kaepernick led the Northern California side to a 32-7 trouncing of the Bears, who were without their own starting quarterback, Jay Cutler. Following the result, pressure has fallen on Jim Harbaugh to start the rookie out of Nevada. Despite Smith being fully cleared by medical staff on Friday, it looks as though Kaepernick will indeed get a second shot at leading the side.

With so much focus on San Francisco, New Orleans (5-5, 3-2 home) has quietly been preparing for the late afternoon game, and will be looking to win a fourth straight game and six of the last seven. At .500, that 0-4 start already looks a long way off, and the Saints are once again marching.

Drew Brees and the Saints’ No. 1 ranked passing offense will be up against the stingiest defense in the league though. San Francisco has given up just 13.4 points per game, so we’ll be left witnessing a classic offence versus defense match-up.

San Francisco’s victory in the divisional round of last season’s playoffs snapped a six-game losing streak against the Saints. In fact, prior to the loss, New Orleans had run out winners in nine of the previous 11 head-to-head meetings, a stretch that dated back to November 1999, when both teams could be found at the bottom of the old NFC West.

The last time San Francisco won in New Orleans was in January 2002, in a matchup that was rescheduled following the 9/11 bombings. The Niners will be looking for a repeat of that 28-27 victory.

Odds: San Francisco is preferred is preferred (-2½) entering the game. The over/under is 48½.

Take: New Orleans – Distraction is always a killer in the NFL and San Francisco has had plenty of that this week. The Saints meanwhile offer a legitimate threat to the defensive-minded side; the team tallies yards and points as though they’re going out of fashion. Alongside the upset win, take the total to go over; San Francisco has proven all season it can score and we know the Saints can also.

 

Green Bay Packers @ New York Giants

Sunday Night Football sees a clash between two sides currently experiencing opposing fortunes. Green Bay (7-3, 3-2 road) has hit its stride, winning five straight and six of seven. The New York Giants (6-4, 3-2 home) meanwhile have slipped up recently, losing two in a row, both of which were winnable games (Pittsburgh at home, Cincinnati on the road).

Sunday’s showdown will be a chance for the Packers to garner some revenge after the Giants eliminated the Wisconsin side from last season’s playoffs. In favor of the Packers is a 6-3 record over the past nine meetings between the sides.

The Giants however have had an extra week to prepare for the arrival of the Packers, thanks to a bye in Week 11, whilst Green Bay arrives at MetLife Stadium following a close 24-20 victory over Detroit.

Odds: The Giants are favored (-1½) over the Packers. The over/under is 49.

Take: Green Bay – History suggests that once Green Bay finds its form, it rarely lets a foot off the gas. That’s bad news for the Giants, who once again look anything but dominant. Washington’s win over Dallas on Thanksgiving afternoon does give the Giants a bit of breathing space still. Take the total to go over; the last three contests between the sides have smashed the 49 mark, with an average score of 30-34 in favor of the Packers.

 

Week 12 Schedule

Thursday: Houston 34-31 Detroit (OT) | Washington 38-31 Dallas | New England 49-19 NY Jets

Sunday: (1 PM ET) Minnesota @ Chicago | Oakland @ Cincinnati | Pittsburgh @ Cleveland | Buffalo @ Indianapolis |Tennessee @ Jacksonville | Denver @ Kansas City | Seattle @ Miami | Atlanta @ Tampa Bay; (4:05 PM ET) Baltimore @ San Diego; (4:25 PM ET) St. Louis @ Arizona | San Francisco @ New Orleans; (8:20 PM ET) Green Bay @ NY Giants

Monday: (8:30 PM ET) Carolina @ Philadelphia

NFC Playoff Picture and Week 12 Quick Picks

The Niners and Packers look determined to make the all-important late season push

As we enter week 12 in the NFL this weekend, it’s time to start thinking about the postseason. By this point in the season, we have a good idea of which teams we will see compete for a Super Bowl, but there’s still time for others to make a move and a push towards getting into the playoffs. Here is how things are shaping up in the NFC and a quick glimpse and this weekend’s contests involving teams in the NFC who are in the hunt for those coveted playoff spots.

NFC East-N.Y. Giants 6-4, Washington 5-6, Dallas 5-6, Philadelphia 3-7                                                                                  

NFC West- San Francisco 7-2-1, Seattle 6-4, Arizona 4-6, St. Louis 3-6-1

NFC North-Green Bay 7-3, Chicago 7-3, Minnesota 6-4, Detroit 4-7

NFC South- Atlanta 9-1, Tampa Bay 6-4, New Orleans 5-5, Carolina 2-8  

NFC East

The East is certainly the most shaky division. The Giants have an opportunity to extend their lead to two games this weekend, but it won’t come easy, as they have to take on the Packers, who are playing like they did when they won the Super Bowl a couple of years back. The Pack will be going for their sixth straight win, however they are going up against s team that is only one removed from the Super Bowl and a team that should be able to get pressure on Aaron Rodgers. I like the Giants at home in this one to cover -3 and improve to 7-4.

NFC North

We already determined the Packers’ win-streak will be snapped, so who will be able to take advantage in the battle between Chicago and Minnesota? The Bears have proven themselves to be incapable of defeating strong opponents, with only one of their seven wins coming against a team over .500. There is also uncertainty at the quarterback position for the Bears, as Jay Cutler suffered a concussion two weeks ago. Look for Minnesota to hand Chicago it’s third straight loss and easily cover +7 on the road. This will create a rare three-way tie atop the division, but consider Green Bay still the favorite.

NFC South

Atlanta has had a stranglehold on the South all year long, but Tampa Bay and New Orleans still have wild card spots to play for and each are very hot. Tampa’s won four straight and you would think they would have a tough time making it five against the Falcons, but they match up quite well, with a strong running game against the 26th ranked run defense, not to mention Tampa has the best run defense in the league itself. Take Tampa Bay at home to cover +1.

New Orleans will have a tough go against the 49ers, as they have the worst ranked run defense, going up against the top ranked NFL run game of San Fran. New Orleans won’t be able to keep rolling here and will fall to 5-6, which should be too much to overcome to make the postseason.

NFC West 

The 49ers should have no problem with the Saints and their NFL worst run defense and second worse pass defense, so take them to cover -1 on the road. Seattle will face another roadblock in its quest to earn a wild card spot in Miami, but should be able to run over it with Marshawn Lynch and one of the league’s best ground games. Take Seattle to cover -3 and keep pace with Tampa and Minnesota in the wild card.

There’s still a long way to go, but here are my playoff picks in the NFC as of week 12:

East Champ-New York

North Champ-Green Bay

South Champ-Atlanta

West Champ-San Francisco

Wildcards-Tampa Bay, Seattle

Rivalry Week in College Football: Saturday Games

#4 Florida visiting #10 Florida State is just one of the huge rivalry games on Saturday that will have a big impact on the BCS standings.

Following on from Thursday’s look at Friday night’s Rivalry Week games, CasinoReview returns with a lowdown of those rivalry games taking place on Saturday, some of which will have serious implications within the hunt for the National Championship.

 

#1 Notre Dame @ USC

The Jeweled Shillelagh won’t be the only thing up for grabs at the Coliseum on Saturday. Notre Dame (11-0) will look to remain perfect on the season, which should be enough to book the Irish a spot in the BCS National Championship Game. USC (7-4, 5-4 Pac-12) has owned the Irish in recent years and will be looking to resuscitate a disappointing year ahead of Bowl season.

Favorite: Notre Dame Spread: 4 Total: 46

 

Auburn @ #2 Alabama (“The Iron Bowl”)

Last week’s chaotic results washed away the Tide’s surprise loss to Texas A&M. A win over arch-nemesis Auburn (3-8, 0-7 SEC) will sew-up the SEC West, and send Alabama (10-1, 6-1 SEC) to the Championship Game in Atlanta next weekend, where Georgia lays in wait.

Favorite: Alabama Spread: 34 Total: 46

 

#5 Oregon @ #15 Oregon State (“The Civil War”)

Stanford’s upset win over the Ducks means it’s now very unlikely that Oregon (10-1, 7-1 Pac-12) will be considered for the National Championship. In fact, Oregon’s division hopes are now in jeopardy and anything less than a win in this rivalry matchup against Oregon State (8-2, 6-2 Pac-12) will be disastrous. If the Ducks take the ‘W’, they’ll then have to hope UCLA knocks off Stanford.

Favorite: Oregon Spread: 12.5 Total: 64.5

 

#4 Florida @ #10 Florida State

Quarterback Jeff Driskell will start for Florida (10-1, 7-1 SEC) but the Gators will be up against the wall in this one, with bookies preferring the Seminoles. Florida State (10-1, 7-1 ACC) has beaten Florida two straight times, and will be looking to make it three in a row for the first time since 1998-2000. The winner of this one can expect to climb the BCS ladder.

Favorite: Florida State Spread: 7 Total: 44.5

 

Georgia Tech @ #3 Georgia (“Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate”)

Georgia (10-1, 7-1 SEC) has already booked its place in the SEC Championship Game, a win in which will most likely send the Bulldogs to the National Championship. This week is about taking home the Governor’s Cup though, something Georgia has done in 10 of the last 11 seasons. An upset win for the Yellow Jackets of Georgia Tech (6-5, 5-3 ACC) would send Georgia tumbling out of the national title conversation.

Favorite: Georgia Spread: 14 Total: 64.5

 

#12 South Carolina @ #11 Clemson

If Florida State falls to Florida and the Tigers defeat the Gamecocks, not only will Clemson (10-1, 7-1 ACC) take home Hardee’s Trophy but also the Atlantic Division, setting up a clash with Georgia Tech for the ACC championship. South Carolina (9-2, 6-2 SEC) has won the last three meetings between the sides though, making this anything but a dead cert.

Favorite: Clemson Spread: 4 Total: 61.5

 

#21 Oklahoma State @ #13 Oklahoma (“The Bedlam Series”)

Last year Oklahoma State (7-3, 5-2 Big 12) took home the Bedlam Bell, snapping Oklahoma’s (8-2, 6-1 Big 12) eight-year hold on the trophy. This season, the Cowboys will look to keep a hold of it. The Sooners however are not out of the Big 12 title picture and need a win over their state rivals to keep pace with Kansas State, who owns the tiebreaker in the series.

Favorite: Oklahoma Spread: 9 Total: 72.5

 

#19 Michigan @ Ohio State

Michigan’s (8-3, 6-1 Big Ten) hopes of taking the Legends Division outright this year were extinguished by Nebraska’s victory over Iowa on Friday afternoon. Now the Wolverines will look to play spoiler and hand Ohio State (11-0, 7-0 Big Ten) its first loss of the season. A win for the Buckeyes and the undefeated season that comes along with it will leave a bitter taste in the mouths of those playing for the postseason-banned school.

Favorite: Ohio State Spread: 4.5 Total: 54.5

 

Whilst those games will have some impact on the final BCS rankings and the National Championship hunt, a number of other games this weekend can determine whether teams will be Bowl eligible or not. There’s also bound to be some pure hatred flying around also. Don’t expect any of these to be pretty.

 

Illinois @ Northwestern

Illinois (2-9, 0-7 Big Ten) will hope to take home the Land of Lincoln Trophy for third straight year, securing its first conference win of the season in the process. Northwestern (8-3, 4-3 Big Ten) will look to pile more misery on the so-far hapless Illini.

Favorite: Northwestern Spread: 18.5 Total: 50.5

 

Southern Mississippi @ Memphis (“Black and Blue Bowl”)

Southern Mississippi (0-11, 0-7 CUSA) seeks its first win of the year in Memphis (3-8, 3-4 CUSA). A rivalry game is as good a time as any to notch a debut victory.

Favorite: Memphis Spread: 3.5 Total: 51.5

 

Troy at Middle Tennessee (“Battle for the Palladium”)

A win will not only give Troy (5-6, 3-4 Sun Belt) the Palladium Trophy but also makes the side Bowl eligible. Middle Tennessee (7-3, 5-1 Sun Belt) will look to prevent that, particularly as it looks to remain in the hunt for the Sun Belt Conference title.

Favorite: Middle Tennessee Spread: 3 Total: 67.5

 

Mississippi State @ Ole Miss (“The Egg Bowl”)

A 7-0 start for Mississippi State (8-3, 4-3 SEC) fizzled out once the Bulldogs came up against ranked opposition. Now the side will look to win the Golden Egg Trophy, something Ole Miss (5-6, 2-5 SEC) – looking to become Bowl eligible – will try to prevent.

Favorite: EVEN Spread: EVEN Total: 54.5

 

Indiana @ Purdue

Purdue (5-6, 2-5 Big Ten) is another side looking to become Bowl eligible. The Boilermakers will do so with a win over Indiana (4-7, 2-5 Big Ten), and take home the Old Oaken Bucket in the process.

Favorite: Purdue Spread: 6 Total: 62.5

 

Virginia @ Virginia Tech

Finally, Virginia Tech (5-6, 3-4 ACC) will look to become Bowl eligible with a win over rivals, Virginia (4-7, 2-5 ACC). History is on the side of the Hokies, who have won the Commonwealth Cup in eight straight seasons, and 12 of the last 13.

Favorite: Virginia Tech Spread: 10 Total: 49.5

NBA Black Friday Slate

We'll be treated to the Gasol vs. Gasol match-up today

NBA players got a nice day off for Thanksgiving yesterday, but they’ll be back to the hardwood on Black Friday in a big way with a huge 12 game slate. Not only is just about every team in action today, but the slate is highlighted by some entertaining, high-profile match-ups that should be great for viewers planted on the couch all day, having those delicious leftovers. As always, there are great betting opportunities as well, so here are some picks from a selection of today’s top games.

 Atlanta Hawks 6-4 at Charlotte Bobcats 6-4

For a team that won just seven games all of last season, it’s been a pleasantly surprising start to 2012 for the Bobcats, who have an opportunity to actually get off to their best start in franchise history today with a win. They’ll have a decent chance at home today, where they are 5-2 so far this season. However, the Hawks are coming in as winners of four of their last five and have the fifth best scoring defense in the league, giving up just 92.1 points per contest. Atlanta should be able to win this one, even on the road and cover -4 points.

Oklahoma City Thunder 9-3 at Boston Celtics 6-6

Typically known for their stellar defense, the Celtics have struggled recently on that side of the floor, giving up more than 100 points in each of their last two efforts. Things won’t get any easier for them tonight, as they take on the 9-3 defending Western Conference champions, who are averaging triple digits in scoring. Look for the Thunder to stay hot and take this one on the road, covering -3 points.

Los Angeles Clippers 8-3 at Brooklyn Nets 6-4

Watch Blake Griffin throw down on the Nets tonight

The Thunder snapped the Clippers’ six-game winning streak Wednesday night, but don’t expect that to slow this team down. Los Angeles is still averaging 102.4 points per game and it has played well on the road, as evidenced by its 3-1 record away from Staples Center. The Nets have been solid in their first 10 games in Brooklyn, but the Clipps’ combo of Chris Paul and Blake Griffin should prove to be too much for them to handle. Take LA to cover -3 points on the road.

Los Angeles Lakers 6-6 at Memphis Grizzlies 8-2

The other LA squad will also have a tough match-up against the Grizzlies, the team that currently owns the league’s best record. Both teams are coming off a loss; Memphis dropped its first game after an eight-game winning streak and the Lakers lost their first under new coach Mike D’Antoni, but both teams are undoubtedly two of the hottest in the league coming into the game. Los Angeles is 6-2 since starting 0-4 on the season, but is the middle of a three-game road trip tonight and is yet to win a road game this season. Memphis is the 4.5 point favorite, but look for the talented Lakers to start making a move. I like LA to cover +4.5 and even win outright tonight.

Week 13 College Football Tips

Manti Te'o and the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame will face a stiff challenge from rivals, USC.

It’s rivalry week in College Football which means there’s a wealth of games to get your bet on to. A number of teams will also be looking to take division honors, booking a place in those oh so important conference championship games. And then there’s the small matter of seeing whether #1 Notre Dame can close out the season unbeaten.

Welcome to the best week in College Football yet.

 

#1 Notre Dame @ USC

In what is arguably the toughest game to pick this weekend, #1 Notre Dame (11-0) travels to Los Angeles and puts its undefeated season – and National Championship hopes – on the line against rivals, USC (7-4, 5-4 Pac-12).

On season form alone the Fighting Irish would take this one without much of a battle but the fact that this USC makes this a much tougher prospect.

Notre Dame has won just one of its last 10 games against the Trojans – a 20-16 win in SoCal two years ago – and will be well aware of the fact that USC will want to close out the regular season on a high note, of which there have been few this season.

Odds: Notre Dame opened as four-point favorites and has seen that figure rise to 5.5. The over/under is 46.

Take: Notre Dame – A USC win here wouldn’t actually be a surprise, especially as it opens up the opportunity for absolute chaos in the rankings and National Championship hunt, so in many ways the Trojans look like the smart bet, particularly with history on their side. However, USC has faced only one team with a high-end defense this year, Stanford, and came up short. Meanwhile, Notre Dame has been expected to fall at every hurdle, but has used the best defense in the country to shutdown everybody. Take the Irish to do it again in this history-making season, with the Trojans covering the spread. Take the under, as has been the trend in nine Irish games this season.

 

#8 Stanford @ #17 UCLA

The Cardinal’s 17-14 overtime upset of Oregon last weekend completely changed the Pac-12 landscape. Now, Stanford (9-2, 7-1 Pac-12) holds the advantage in the race for the North Division title, which it can take with a win or an Oregon loss this weekend.

UCLA (9-2, 6-2 Pac-12) meanwhile booked its place in the Pac-12 Championship Game with a win over USC last weekend. That doesn’t mean the Bruins will ease up this weekend, as some have suggested. Jim Mora’s side knows as well as anybody that another win will go a long way to climbing those rankings and getting a spot in a bigger, better Bowl game.

The clash at the Rose Bowl promises to be an intriguing matchup, as Stanford’s defense will look to shut down the high-scoring UCLA offense in the same manner as it did Oregon’s.

Odds: UCLA opened as 1.5-point favorites but the spread has switched in favor of Stanford (-2.5). The over/under is 53.

Take: Stanford – The Cardinal hasn’t lost since a Week 7 defeat at the hands of Notre Dame. Since that game, Stanford has looked a much improved side, and has conceded an average of just 11.4 points per game since. UCLA will need to score points to win this one, but points will certainly be at a premium. Take Stanford to cover the spread, and the total to go under, as it has in eight Cardinal games this season.

 

#19 Michigan @ Ohio State

In all likeliness, the Wolverines’ hopes of winning the Legends Division and heading to Indianapolis for the Big Ten Championship Game will be extinguished with a Nebraska win on Friday night. That means this one will be all about bragging rights for Brady Hoke’s side.

Michigan (8-3, 6-1 Big Ten) has won three straight and six of the last seven – that one blemish being an all-important loss at Nebraska – so will arrive at the Horseshoe confident.

Ohio State (11-0, 7-0 Big Ten) however will be looking to close out this Bowl-ineligible season undefeated, thus placing an asterisk beside whoever is crowned National Champion this season. Quarterback Braxton Miller will be looking to tally a few more Heisman votes in the process.

Odds: The Buckeyes are favorites (-4) at home with the over/under at 54.5.

Take: Ohio State – It’s been 12 years since the Wolverines won at Ohio Stadium and that doesn’t look like changing this week, despite the team’s improved play of late. Ohio State’s rampant point-scoring offense may struggle against a strong Michigan defense but it will ultimately win out. Take the Buckeyes to cover the spread with the total going under.

 

Quick Picks…

Take Florida (10-1, 7-1 SEC) to lose to favorites Florida State (10-1, 7-1 ACC), eliminating the Gators from any talk of a National Championship and making a few more people stand up and take notice of a very good Seminoles team. … Oregon (10-1, 7-1 Pac-12) will defeat Oregon State (8-2, 6-2 Pac-12), covering the 10-point spread, but ultimately last week’s loss will prove costly. … Alabama (10-1, 6-1 SEC) will be on upset watch but take the Tide to defeat Auburn (3-8, 0-7 SEC) in the Iron Bowl, although the Tigers will cover the 34-point spread. … Take the Tigers of Clemson (10-1, 7-1 ACC) to defeat South Carolina (9-2, 6-2 SEC) and take home Hardee’s Trophy, but not the Atlantic Division. … Finally, take Oklahoma State (7-3, 5-2 Big 12) to upset Oklahoma (8-2, 6-1 Big 12) and retain the Bedlam Bell.

 

BCS Top 25 Schedule (Week 13)

TCU 20-13 #16 Texas (Thursday)

#7 LSU @ Arkansas (Friday)

#14 Nebraska @ Iowa (Friday)

Ohio @ #23 Kent State (Friday)

Arizona State @ #24 Arizona

#25 Washington @ Washington State (Friday)

#1 Notre Dame @ USC

Auburn @ #2 Alabama

Georgia Tech @ #3 Georgia

#4 Florida @ #10 Florida State

#5 Oregon @ #15 Oregon State

#8 Stanford @ #17 UCLA

Missouri @ #9 Texas A&M

#12 South Carolina @ #11 Clemson

#21 Oklahoma State @ #13 Oklahoma

#18 Rutgers @ Pittsburgh

#19 Michigan @ Ohio State

Connecticut @ #20 Louisville

#6 Kansas State – Bye

#22 Boise State – Bye

Rivalry Week in College Football: Friday Games

LSU will look to hoist the Golden Boot for the second consecutive season Friday as it takes on Arkansas.

Welcome to Rivalry Week!

Once you’re done with the turkey, stuffing and NFL games, get ready for an absolute doozy of a week in College Football. As well National Championship implications, Week 13 is home to no fewer than 19 rivalry games, any of which could see an upset victory for an upstart team.

To get you in the mood, CasinoReview brings you an overview of those games that will take place on Friday night. Once you’re done here, be sure to come back on Friday for some College Football betting tips, before we take a closer look at those Saturday rivalry games on, well, Saturday.

 

Arizona State @ #24 Arizona (“Duel in the Desert”)

After a solid start to the season from both schools, #24 Arizona (7-4, 4-4 Pac-12) and Arizona State (6-5, 4-4 Pac-12) have fallen off the pace as conference play has taken a hold of the schedule. Now the only thing to separate the two will be this matchup. The Wildcats will look to lift the Territorial Cup for a second consecutive season.

Favorite: Arizona Spread: 3 Total: 68.5

 

#7 LSU @ Arkansas

Not only will #7 LSU (9-2, 5-2 SEC) look to take home the Golden Boot on Friday night, but a win will keep the school’s slim hopes of a place in the SEC Championship Game alive. The Tigers will need a win from Texas A&M and a loss for Alabama. Meanwhile, Arkansas (4-7, 2-5 SEC) will look to wind up a (very) disappointing season by playing spoiler.

Favorite: LSU Spread: 13.5 Total: 51

 

Utah @ Colorado (“Rumble in the Rockies”)

Colorado (1-10, 1-7 Pac-12) has had a season to forget (to say the least) but a win over rival Utah (4-7, 2-6 Pac-12) would at least be something to smile about as the season comes to a close, particularly as the Buffaloes also lost to Colorado State to open the season. Utah haven’t fared much better this season. The Utes are 1-1 in rivalry games this season, having lost to Utah State and beaten BYU early in the season.

Favorite: Utah Spread: 23 Total: 53

 

#14 Nebraska @ Iowa

Not only is the Heroes Trophy on the line but so are Nebraska’s (9-2, 6-1 Big Ten) hopes of going to the Big Ten Championship Game next weekend. A win over the Hawkeyes will book the Cornhuskers’ place. A loss, coupled with a Michigan win, will prematurely end Nebraska’s season. Meanwhile, Iowa (4-7, 2-5 Big Ten) will look to break the Cornhuskers’ four-game winning streak in the head-to-head as well as a five-game losing streak this season.

Favorite: Nebraska Spread: 14.5 Total: 53

 

#25 Washington @ Washington State

Washington State (2-9, 0-8 Pac-12) can get its first conference win of the season by knocking off #25 Washington (7-4, 5-3 Pac-12) on Friday night, taking home the Apple Cup in the process. As far as solitary wins in a season go, that would be worth writing home about. The Huskies will have other ideas though, and will feel confident riding a three-game winning series winning streak – and a four-game winning streak this season – into the game. The Apple Cup for a Washington side that has impressed at times this season.

Favorite: Washington Spread: 10.5 Total: 51

 

Remember to check back on Saturday for CasinoReview’s rundown of the top rivalry games set to take place on Saturday. Expect news on the Iron Bowl and the Civil War, as well as Florida’s trip to Florida State and USC hosting  #1 Notre Dame.

Turkey Day College Football: TCU vs. Texas

One Texas team will have a much better Thanksgiving than the other

Football is one of America’s greatest traditions on Thanksgiving. So, while you’re chowing down on some turkey, mashed potatoes and stuffing, you’re sure to have plenty of viewing options. Most will choose to check out the three NFL games on turkey day, but there’s also a big college game that’s not getting much attention, but should still be a great betting opportunity, not to mention a great game. Here’s a little preview for TCU versus #16 Texas in a Big 12 battle.

Before Texas takes on Kansas State in their much-anticipated (slightly less anticipated since K State lost) match-up next week, the Longhorns will have to deal with in-state rival and new conference foe, TCU. The road has proven to be bumpy for the Horned Frogs in their first season in a BCS conference, but they are still a team with plenty of weapons and enough firepower to knock off a ranked Horns squad.

Texas has put together quite a fine season. They’ve improved to 8-2 on the season after four consecutive wins and currently have the 30th ranked offense in terms of total yards and 14th in scoring. They’ve found an even better groove with sophomore David Ash under center. Ash has thrown for more than 2300 yards this season and has 17 touchdowns against just five interceptions.

TCU has a similarly effective offensive attack, but the Frogs’ defense will likely have trouble defending Ash’s aerial barrage. TCU’s defense has given up nearly 40 points per game in the last four contests, three of which resulted in losses. The fact that the Frogs will playing away from Fort Worth will also hurt them, as they have fared better on their home turf.

Texas has dominated this rival over the years with a record of 61-20-1 overall. The Longhorns also won in their last meeting with the Frogs in 2007, 34-13.

Look for the Longhorns to stay hot this Thanksgiving day and for the Frogs to stay cold. Take Texas to win this one by covering -7.5 at home today.

Early Thanksgiving Football Betting Tips

The Cowboys and Redskins collide Thursday in a true Thanksgiving tradition.

Thanksgiving is upon us which means it’s time for some real Thursday night football, and not those hapless games that parade under the Thursday Night Football banner the rest of the year.

Let’s face it, there’s no way you’re going to get to sit down tomorrow and work your way through the NFL’s Thanksgiving schedule looking for those all-important tips that will ultimately help you make the right pick. There’s always someone, or some task, that gets in the way. So take the opportunity today to get on top of things and pick your teams early.

Here’re a few tips from CasinoReview that may well help you with the three-game slate.

 

Houston Texans @ Detroit Lions

12:30 PM ET

In keeping with tradition, Detroit (4-6, 2-2 home) hosts the Thanksgiving Classic opening, this year welcoming the best team (record-wise) in all of football, Houston (9-1, 4-0 road).

The Lions have had a rough season so far, coming across as a one-dimensional passing team with just one receiving threat (Calvin Johnson). A porous defense hasn’t helped matter, with the team conceding 24.6 points per game, 23rd in the league.

The Texans meanwhile have been the toast of the AFC, serving up nine wins from 10. The team’s only loss – a 42-24 beat down at the hands of Green Bay – alongside close wins over the Jets, Broncos, Bears, and this past weekend against Jacksonville, have proved the side is fallible though, and Detroit will look to make the most of home field advantage.

These two sides have met just twice before (2004, 2008), splitting the pair between them.

Odds: Despite its superior record, Houston opens as just three-point favorites. The over/under is 49.

Take: Houston – With a defense that ranks in the top 10 in passing (7), rushing (2) and scoring (4), it’s hard to imagine the Lions putting many points on the board in this one – despite passing for more yards per game than any other team in the league. Detroit’s defense has been relatively sharp itself, until you consider points conceded, a category in which the Lions rank 23rd across the league. That means Matt Schaub, Andre Johnson and Arian Foster may have a typical Texans game. On top of all of this, Detroit has not won a Thanksgiving Day game since beating the Green Bay Packers 22-14 in 2003. Take the Texans to cover the spread and the total to go over.

 

Washington Redskins @ Dallas Cowboys

4:15 PM ET

In the second of Thursday’s traditional Thanksgiving games, Dallas (5-5, 2-2 home) hosts division rivals Washington (4-6, 2-3 road) in what may prove to be the most competitive game on the schedule.

The Cowboys’ spluttering season has almost evened out over the past two weeks, with wins over Philadelphia and Cleveland (just). That being said, that isn’t exactly the most sterling of opposition.

Washington routed Philadelphia 31-16 this past weekend, halting a three-game skid in the process. Rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III has impressed for much of the season, and the Redskins at least seem pointed in the right direction. A win over the Cowboys will put the side back in contention for the NFC East, which the Giants seem determined to lose.

Washington’s pass defense – which is ranked 29th in the league – could be up against the wall as Tony Romo and the Cowboys passing game – ranked seventh in the league – looks to lead an almost rushing-less offense.

Odds: Dallas is favored but the opening spread of six points has dwindled to three ahead of kickoff. The over/under is 46.

Take: Dallas – In many ways it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the Redskins take this game, which is more a commentary on the Cowboys’ lack of consistency than it is Washington’s prowess. However, Dallas has owned Washington in the recent past, taking three straight and six of the last seven. Add to that the fact that the Redskins have never beaten the Cowboys on Thanksgiving Day (in six attempts) and Tony Romo’s impressive November record (21-3) and you have all the ingredients for history to repeat itself, however uninteresting that might seem to those rooting against America’s Team.

 

New England Patriots @ New York Jets

8:20 PM ET

The third game on Thursday’s schedule is the non-tradition, NFL-makes-some-money game between New England (7-3, 3-2 road) and the New York Jets (4-6, 2-3 home).

A win in this AFC East divisional match-up could well be enough for the Patriots – already three games ahead of the Jets, Bills and Dolphins, who are all tied up – to all but be awarded the division title. The Jets therefore need a win and even that might not be enough to bring back any credibility to what has been an incredulous season.

The bad news for the Jets is that not only was New England victorious earlier in the season, and not only have the Patriots won three straight, but the Massachusetts side has also won 18 of the last 24. The Jets, to put it abruptly, are up against it.

Rex Ryan, Mark Sanchez and Co. will need to remember that the Patriots’ victory earlier this year was achieved only in overtime. There might be some hope yet.

Odds: New England is a one-touchdown favorite heading into this one. The over/under is 51.

Take: New England – Okay, so we’re going with all three Thanksgiving favorites, but that’s just the way this schedule is shaping up. Few people expect the hapless Jets to get anything from the Patriots, a team that has averaged 47 points per contest over the last three games. Compare that to a paltry 14.3 being put up by the Jets in that same period. Take the Patriots to cover/obliterate the spread and take the total to go over, as it has in eight New England games this season, especially as the Patriots covered the total alone last weekend.

 

Remaining Week 12 Schedule

Sunday: (1 PM ET) Minnesota @ Chicago | Oakland @ Cincinnati | Pittsburgh @ Cleveland | Buffalo @ Indianapolis |Tennessee @ Jacksonville | Denver @ Kansas City | Seattle @ Miami | Atlanta @ Tampa Bay; (4:05 PM ET) Baltimore @ San Diego; (4:25 PM ET) St. Louis @ Arizona | San Francisco @ New Orleans; (8:20 PM ET) Green Bay @ NY Giants

Monday: (8:30 PM ET) Carolina @ Philadelphia

Updated NFL Futures Odds

The NFL’s providing bettors with some great Thanksgiving day games to bet on again this year, but odds makers also have some treats for us just in time for the holiday season, as Bovada has recently unveiled updated futures odds for the conference titles and the Super Bowl. So, let’s take a lot at where we are entering week 12 and who the favorites and the potential sleepers are now.

The Favorites

Houston Texans-5/1 for Super Bowl, 9/4 for AFC title

J.J. Watt leads a fiercely improved Texans defense

Most of us knew the Texans would be strong this year, as they were given 12/1 Super Bowl odds before the season began. The playoff-bound team for a year ago was returning its best players including Matt Schaub, who missed the postseason due to injury and was in a very winnable division. However, I don’t think many of us thought they would be this good, as the Texans’ 9-1 start has made them the odds on favorite to win it all at 5/1.

The Texans are certainly the best team in the AFC right now, but come playoff time the exeprience of teams like the Patriots, the Ravens and the Steelers could outshine them. They are good, but not a great money-making pick at 5/1.

San Francisco 49ers-13/2 for Super Bowl, 3/1 for NFC title

You can never go wrong with Green Bay

Still behind the Broncos and Patriots, who have been given 11/2 odds for the SB, the 49ers are the best odds in the NFC. They were oh-so-close last year from reaching the promised land and with the league’s best defense and a strong running game again this season, maybe all they need is a second chance.

The tough part for the Niners will be competing with the other major teams in the NFC looking to make that next step, including 9-1 Atlanta (9/1 SB odds) and teams that have been there before like Green Bay (7/1 SB odds). The 49ers have a solid advantage in their division and I’m sure we will see them in the playoffs, but there anything can happen. I personally like Atlanta and GB better with those odds.

Sleepers

New Orleans Saints-25/1 for Super Bowl, 12/1 for NFC title

While hardly considered a sleeper at the beginning of the year, when they had 9/1 odds to take down the NFC title, the Saints now find themselves in that category after facing a disastrous 0-4 start. However, since then they’ve gone on a tear with one of the league’s best offenses and are now 5-5, hoping to secure a wild card spot before all is said and done.

Will the Saints win it all? Probably not. But at 25/1, it’s worth a shot and if they get into the playoffs, they are definitely a threat to win the NFC, considering how hot they can get.

Cincinnati Bengals-100/1 for Super Bowl, 50/1 for AFC title

That’s right, the Bengals. I know they started the season with better odds (40/1 for SB) and haven’t gotten off to a fantastic start at 5-5, but this team has a wealth of young talent and could get hot at just the right time. With a solid young QB in Andy Dalton and one of the most dynamic receivers in football in A.J. Green, the Bengals are one of those teams that can sneak up on you. And at 100/1, you really have nothing to lose, yet so much to gain.