What an Opening Saturday in College Football!

More Les Miles' magic propelled the Tigers to a comeback win over Wisconsin.

If this is what we are going to get every Saturday through January of 2015 then I think we’ll all be quite pleased. While there will be weekends with more upsets and perhaps more exciting action, this opening Saturday proved one important thing; I don’t think there is one dominant team out there at the moment. Let’s start with the two big games in Texas.

LSU rallied to beat Wisconsin last night in Houston by scoring 21 unanswered points to win 28-24. The Badgers have to be violently ill this morning after having a powerhouse SEC team on the ropes only to get knocked out in the end. Badgers’ QB Melvin Gordon carried his team with 140 yards rushing and a touchdown but new QB Tanner McEvoy could do nothing in the passing game. He went just 8 for 24 for 50 yards and two picks.

The Tigers meanwhile looked uninterested, fundamentally unsound and lazy while falling behind Wisconsin early and into the second half. Les Miles as expected started Anthony Jennings who was miserable at QB. Brandon Davis came in for a series and didn’t look much better. Jennings was able to find a groove in the second half though throwing two touchdown passes to rally the Tigers to victory.

Wisconsin will have to figure out the QB situation because those numbers by McEvoy won’t get it done. LSU meanwhile has tons of work to do but can build on the comeback win.

FSU's Jimbo Fisher has some things to work on despite winning last night in Arlington.

Up the road in Arlington, defending national champion Florida State survived 37-31 against a very tough and game Oklahoma State team. The Seminoles were thought to be as good on defense as they are on offense but giving up 364 yards and 8 of 16 on third downs is not going to get this team a return trip to Cowboys Stadium for the title game.

Reigning Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston was great when he needed to be despite two turnovers. He threw for 370 yards, a touchdown and a fantastic 28-yard TD run. The big concern going forward for FSU is the running game which put up just 106 yards. The Seminoles’ offensive line is considered the best in the country but they looked anything but against a younger, more inexperienced defensive front from Oklahoma State.

Sometimes it’s games like these that give you a shot in the arm or are a real wake up call. If I’m Florida State this morning I’m hoping that this is exactly the case.

Other games of note…

UCLA needed three defensive touchdowns to win on the road against Virginia 28-20. If Brett Hundley expects to be a Heisman candidate then he has to play better than he did… Ohio State defeated Navy 34-17 to begin the ‘season without Braxton Miller’ campaign. The Midshipmen actually led 14-13 in the third quarter… There was no gigantic upset in the Big House this time as Michigan rolled to a 52-14 win over Appalachian State. This was a much less talented Mountaineer team than was the 2007 team however… Second ranked Alabama survived a tough contest with West Virginia winning 33-22 in Atlanta. The Tide rolled to over 500 yards of offense with running backs Derrick Henry and T.J. Yeldon both going over 100 yards on the day. The alarming part for Bama is that WVU QB Clint Trickett threw for 365 yards which is the most ever against a Saban-coached Bama team. He broke the record set in the Tide’s last game which was a Sugar Bowl loss to Oklahoma… The clear front-runner in the Heisman race has to be Georgia’s Todd Gurley who rushed for 198 yards and three TDs in the Bulldogs’ 45-21 rout of Clemson. He also had a 100-yard kickoff return for touchdown too.

Baylor Bears 33-Point Chalk at Home to Open Season

Is anyone interested in seeing a game with oh 70, 80 or even more points scored? Then just tune into Sunday’s matchup between the SMU Mustangs and the Baylor Bears.

The current line on Bovada and betonline has Baylor favored by 33 points. At the same, sites like topbet and sportsbook.com have the point total at 74.5.

The Bears are 20-6 ATS over their past 26 games at home. Dating all the way back to 1989 or 25 years ago, SMU has not won or covered versus Baylor.

Baylor has beat down SMU numerous times. The Bears have beaten SMU most times by double-digits and many times by over 30 points.

Art Briles the Baylor head coach will make sure the Bears score and score often. Bryce Petty a Heisman Trophy hopeful at quarterback for Baylor returns along with Antwan Goodley one of his favorite targets at wide receiver.

Baylor will have another strong season on offense. Just the Bears alone scored 70 or more points on four occasions last year.

On August 31 of last year, the Bears rolled over Wofford easily 69-3.

Last season, six of the first seven Baylor games had the Bears favored by between 28.5 and 34.5 points. Baylor covered each of them.

Baylor has similar weak competition beginning the 2014 season as they faced to start 2013. However, after covering the number in 8 of their first 9 games, the Bears covered just 1 of their last 4.

Last season in the first four games, the score cashed on the OVER all 4 times, but adjustments were made by sports books and the last 9 games for Baylor the OVER was 4-4-1.

Things will get tougher for Baylor as the season wears on and the competition on their schedule gets tougher. However, early in the season there is no reason to believe that Baylor will do anything else than score, score and scored some more.

There are a number of trends, which are convincing that point to an OVER in this game. However, the value is more important here than the trends.

The total is incredibly high in this game and looks as if it is being bet up higher. The value in this is with the UNDER.

The line is also a tough choice as Baylor will score and score often, but SMU will be strong offensively.

SMU last season moved the ball well with their pass happy attack, yet could only score an average of 26.8 points a game. Two receivers return that caught over 100 passes but the team only averaged 10 yards per reception.

The two teams have faced one another 79 times and it cannot get any closer than it is at 36-36-7. However, the Bears have won 10 consecutive meetings and will win their 11th tonight.

Rejoice! College Football Saturday is Back

Hutson Mason takes over for Aaron Murray in Georgia as the Bulldogs welcome Clemson.

It’s finally here! Football Saturday is back!

Clemson (+8) at Georgia (O/U 54) – The Tigers enter 2014 having to replace a lot of offensive talent which means Head Coach Dabo Swinney will rely on a seasoned defense to carry his team early in the season. Georgia enters the post-Aaron Murray era with QB Hutson Mason who will benefit from having Heisman Trophy hopeful Todd Gurley in the backfield.

Cole Stoudt replaces Tajh Boyd at QB for Clemson and although it was in mop-up duty last season, he threw five TD passes. The Georgia defense struggled mightily last season and I’m not sure how quickly they turn things around. I sense a close game in Athens so take the Tigers and I like the over.

Jeff Driskel returns from injury to lead the Gators into 2014.

Idaho (+37) at Florida (O/U 50) – It’s been an incredibly long offseason in Gainesville following last year’s horrendous season. The Gators and Head Coach Will Muschamp will feature a very good defense and an offense that returns quarterback Jeff Driskel who missed most of last year with an injury. His absence led to many of the problems for the Gators.

Last season, the Vandals surrendered 80 points to Florida State and now they play a Gators’ team that has won 24 straight season openers. I like Florida to cover and I love the over.

Fresno State (+21) at USC (O/U 58) – Is anyone happier to actually play a game than Steve Sarkisian and the Trojans? The last week has seen the coach be called a ‘racist’ by a former player and he’s had to deal with Josh Shaw’s heroic story-turned police investigation. USC and Fresno saw each other in the Las Vegas Bowl where the Trojans routed the Bulldogs 45-20.

USC has excellent talent in the top 22 players but the depth is hurting a bit. Fresno State has to replace record-setting QB Derek Carr who could be starting for the Oakland Raiders in the NFL. I like USC to cover today simply because I think  they’ll be excited to play football and remember, this was a ten-win team last season. I love the over as well.

Florida State (-19) vs Oklahoma State (O/U 64) – The defending national champions open their season in Cowboys Stadium against the Cowboys from Oklahoma State. Like USC, the Seminoles have to be happy to get back on the field after a ‘crabby’ offseason for Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston.

Mike Gundy has done a great job for his alma mater in Stillwater but he could use a signature win but it won’t happen here. The Seminoles have too much speed and talent in all of the right places and I expect them to cover tonight. I also love the over.

LSU (-5.5) vs Wisconsin (O/U 50) – The good news for Wisconsin is that they are one of the Big Ten’s top teams for 2014. The bad news is that they have lost six of their last seven bowl games which means the jump in competition has been an issue. The fact that the Badgers return just three starters on defense doesn’t bode well for them either. The Tigers always reload well and that’s the case again in Baton Rouge. QB Zach Mettenberger is off to the NFL and Head Coach Les Miles seems likely to play both Anthony Jennings and Brandon Harris in the opener.

The game is being played in Houston but that favors the Tigers significantly who don’t have a long way to drive. The amount of newcomers on the Wisconsin defense worries me and it looks like the Badgers will go with untested QB Tanner McEvoy. I like the Tigers to cover and I’ll take the under as the Tigers will limit Melvin Gordon forcing the Badgers to throw.

USC hosts Fresno State to Start Sarkisian Era

College football is back and with it comes some controversy. In southern California, the USC Trojans will host the Fresno State Bulldogs on Saturday night in a rematch of the Las Vegas Bowl of last year in which the Trojans easily defeated the Bulldogs 45-20 as a favorite by 5 points.

The point total cashed on the UNDER as the line was 65.5 and the teams combined for 65.

In that game, Cody Kessler the Trojans quarterback had 345 yards passing with four touchdowns.

He returns to lead the Trojans under new head coach Steve Sarkisian.

The Fresno State Bulldogs have had to replace Derek Carr a starter at quarterback for three years who moved on to the NFL. Brian Burrell a junior and Brandon Connette a senior transfer from Duke will share the duties early.

On Bovada and sportsbook.com, the current line has USC favored by 21.5 points. While on betonline and topbet, the point total is sitting on 58.

Interesting trends in the matchup:

  • The UNDER has cashed in 12 of the past 16 games USC has played non-conference opponents.
  • The Bulldogs are 13-4 against the number in their past 17 road games.
  • The UNDER was 6-2 last year for Fresno State in the last 8 games after the OVER had started 4-1.

Controversy took hold at USC this week when a story broke that Josh Shaw the starting cornerback injured himself when he saved his nephew. However, it turned out that his story was a lie and he hurt his ankles doing something else.

Anthony Brown also quit the team amidst reports that he said Sarkisian was racist.

USC has changed its offense to a more up-tempo formation with Sarkisian. The key to the Trojans this season will be if their offensive line can hold up.

Fresno State will certainly miss Carr but will continue using its own up-tempo offense. Last season the Bulldogs were sixth in the nation in scoring was 43.4 points per game.

Defensively the Bulldogs were weak finishing No. 95 in yards allowed. Eight starters have returned and there should be some improvement over last season.

For USC, Shaw and Lamar Dawson a linebacker are out and Jabari Ruffin a linebacker will miss the entire season.

Dillon Root a kick returner for Fresno State is suspended.

This could be a big beat down on USC’s part over Fresno State. The Bulldogs have a big uncertainty at their quarterback position, while USC has Kessler securely entrenched as their quarterback.

Sarkisian wants to impress everyone at USC, especially the alumni and that could mean lots of scoring on the Trojans part.

A big win by USC will make the two controversial incidents of earlier this week disappear.

I like the Trojans by at least 28 if not more.

It’s Friday and I’ve Got Several Things on My Mind and Football is All of Them

Kenny Hill torched 9th-ranked South Carolina last night with over 500 yards passing.

So apparently my English skills are about as good as my ability to predict things if read this title. Two days ago, I gave you five fearless predictions for college football and already one of them is looking incredibly wrong. I said that Steve Spurrier and his South Carolina Gamecocks would win the SEC and while that could still happen, that theory took a massive hit last night.

Texas A&M came to Columbia with a redshirt freshman quarterback not named Johnny Manziel and torched the Gamecocks for over 500 yards passing in a 52-28 upset. Kenny Hill, son of former MLB pitcher Ken Hill, threw for 511 yards and three touchdowns in the rout over ninth-ranked South Carolina. The win does two things; first it makes us question just how good South Carolina is and two, how much longer before Kevin Sumlin is coaching in the NFL.

The fact that Sumlin has been able to show in just one game that he has moved this team beyond the Manziel era is enough for NFL teams and other major college programs to take notice. As for the Gamecocks, might want to work on that pass defense.

Ray Rice got one heck of a hometown discount from Roger Goodell as it turns out.

Goodell Does Something Positive for Once

Roger Goodell and the NFL announced yesterday that they have implemented a disciplinary system for domestic violence abusers. The first time will result in a six-game suspension while the second offense will result in a lifetime ban from the sport. Why it took this long for some form action in this regard is beyond me but it’s finally here and we should be happy about it as we can’t tolerate this behavior.

In the announcement, Goodell did something I never dreamed I’d hear from him. He apologized for the weak response in Ray Rice’s situation. While I appreciate the apology, I find it interesting that he didn’t extend Rice’s penalty. Perhaps it has to do with the NFLPA or maybe that Baltimore is his hometown team.

Strange that Goodell never apologized to Ben Roethlisberger after suspending him even though he was never arrested or charged with a crime. I digress however… I’m glad that the NFL is acting on domestic violence. It’s just a shame it’s taken this long and after a massive cry from the general public. Goodell has once again proven himself as the ‘reactive’ commissioner.

Because they have made themselves the epicenter of the sports’ world, ESPN is hard to avoid no matter how much they irritate and bother the hell out of us. Outside of ’30 for 30′ and the featuring of the several major sports, the rest of ESPN is essentially tabloid fodder. This notion was proved once again this week as ESPN reporter Josina Anderson decided to report on St. Louis Rams’ defensive end Michael Sam’s showering habits.

As you know, Sam is an openly gay man trying to make the roster and so far, he has an excellent shot at it. Whoever thought a story about whether Michael Sam showers with his teammates was worthy of our viewing time at ESPN needs to be fired. My question in this manner is quite simple; “who cares?”

Sam has had a really good preseason for the Rams and his two sacks of Cleveland Browns’ QB Johnny Manziel nearly forced Twitter into a shutdown. Whether he makes the roster or not is uncertain but someone will grab him because he has proven he can play in the NFL. Let’s hope that is what ESPN chooses to report on from here on out.

First Week in NCAA Football Tough for Both Bettors and Odds Makers

College football started with one game on Wednesday followed up by a light schedule on Thursday. Friday’s schedule is also quite light, but on Saturday, nearly every team will be playing from coast to coast.

The first week of action is equally difficult for bettors and odd makers as both do their past to predict how good or how bad a team will be at the outset.

Odds makers can adjust their numbers while the year progresses, while bettors look over all the trends and decide from there what their best possible bet is.

For odds makers the first week can be either real good or the opposite, very bad. Teams can lose two dozen players to the draft and graduation, but remain powerful making it hard to judge them out of the box.

On Thursday night, South Carolina was expected to defeat the Texas A&M Aggies who were playing their first game without Johnny Manziel. The Aggies ended up routing the Gamecocks 52-28.

On Saturday, all eyes will be focused on the freshman quarterback for Ohio State. The Buckeyes on Bovada and betonline were 16.5-point favorites over Navy to start the week, but once Braxton Miller their starting quarterback was lost to a season ending injury that line shrank to 13.5 points.

J.T. Barrett the redshirt freshman will make his first start for the Buckeyes. The big wonder is will he live up to expectation and can he lead the No. 5 ranked Buckeyes to glory this season. Everyone gets their first glimpse on Saturday.

Another big game on Saturday has the UCLA Bruins coming east to play the Virginia Cavaliers. The Bruins on topbet and sportsbook.com are favored by 22 points on the road.

With Brett Hundley at quarterback and the talented Myles Jack on defense, UCLA will be tough to beat on Saturday. If the Bruins jump out early to a two or three touchdown lead, the game will end up a rout by 35 to 40 points, otherwise Virginia might keep it interesting at least for three quarters.

How much will the Tide roll is another uncertainty entering the new season. Alabama starts a new era without AJ McCarron under center and faces West Virginia.

The spread has bounced between -26 and -27 for Alabama. Observers are nervously awaiting the play of the Tide’s new quarterback, which is still up in the air.

One certainty remains with Alabama however, their defense will once again be very strong.

Baylor faces SMU on Sunday and this game has the highest point total for the week at 73.5. Baylor opened -31 and that has grown to -33. Last season, the Bears scored 69 points or more in each of their opening four games.

Some observers see that total being pushed up to 75 before Sunday arrives.

The season is just starting and already the excitement is taking hold of players, fans, bettors and bookmakers.

Hold on, it should be a fun ride.

Odds for the AFC West Division in 2014

Peyton Manning and the Broncos are the clear favorites in the AFC West.

Our trip through the eight NFL divisions ends here.

Denver -300 – Last we saw the Denver Broncos they were getting steam-rolled in MetLife Stadium by the Seattle Seahawks. With Peyton Manning back and a host of potentially dangerous upgrades on defense, the Broncos are a strong favorite to get back to the Super Bowl from the AFC. Because Denver was beaten so badly by Seattle, the defense getting stronger seemed obvious but I think the equally important issue was upgrading the offense that was stymied in Super Bowl XLVIII.

I’m concerned about the running game for the Broncos. Montee Ball has missed time after having his appendix removed and I’m not sure about the depth there. I think the’ll be fine in the regular season but the playoffs will be a different story. Denver’s schedule is brutal out of the gate. They open Indianapolis and Kansas City at home, travel to Seattle and then have Arizona after the bye week. They also play six of their final nine games on the road.

Season Projection: 12-4

Ryan Mathews needs another solid campaign for the Chargers this season.

San Diego +500 – QB guru Ken Whisenhunt left for the Titans’ job and now Philip Rivers has to show he can play QB at a high level without Whisenhunt or Norv Turner who was with him for years. Ryan Mathews looked much better last year as a pro running back and the emergence of Keenan Allen at wideout will help Rivers as well.

The Chargers were decent against the run last season but they were 30th against the pass and that is not going to get things done especially when they have to play Peyton Manning twice. If San Diego can find ways to create consistent pressure on the quarterback then they could be more of a threat than most of us think. The Chargers have two tough opening games at Arizona and then home to Seattle. The last five games however are not easy either with trips to Baltimore, San Francisco and Kansas City mixed in with home games against New England and Denver.

Season Projection: 8-8

Kansas City +600 – The Kansas City Chiefs were 2nd in passing, 4th in rushing and 2nd overall last season offensively. Defensively, they were 31st overall and dead last in pass defense. While the offense doesn’t seem to have too many issues, the defense is an entirely different question. Andy Reid and the front office addressed the troubles by adding defensive end Dee Ford and cornerback Phillip Gaines with their first two picks.

A lot of people think the Chiefs will take a step back this year and I can see that happening but I can also see this team being just as competitive as well. Alex Smith won’t win a ton of games by himself but he won’t lose many either. If the defense comes around, they could challenge in the West. The schedule features an incredibly tough four game stretch through most of September. They play at Denver, at Miami home with New England and at San Francisco. Can they survive that?

Season Projection: 9-7

Oakland +1800 – In most seasons, it’s bad enough just having to discuss the Raiders and their on-field shortcomings but now there is speculation they might not even be in Oakland much longer. That’s not good for anyone on the field or in the stands. I have zero faith in Matt Schaub and and perhaps even less that Darren McFadden can stay healthy.

Besides divisional opponents Kansas City, Denver and San Diego, the Raiders also have to travel to Seattle and New England. I just don’t think this team is going to do very much and you probably don’t either.

Season Prediction: 4-12

Overall: Don’t overlook the Chiefs but take Denver and run here.

South Carolina Hosts Texas A&M in Life After Manziel and Shaw

The NCAA football season starts in full force on Thursday with a number of games on the schedule. One of those games is the South Carolina Gamecocks hosting the Texas A&M Aggies, with new quarterbacks taking over for both teams.

South Carolina has 6 to 1 odds to win the SEC and 30- to 1 to win the inaugural College Football Playoff and national championship.

The current line on Bovada and sportsbook.com has South Carolina -10.5. The point total on betonline and topbet is sitting on 58.

The line has bounced back and forth from 10.5 to 11. The total was opened on 56 and has been bet up to its current 58.

This is the first head-to-head meeting between the two schools. South Carolina at home during last season was 7-0 SU and 4-3 ATS.

Texas A&M was 2-2 SU as well as 0-4 ATS in away games last season.

Both teams will have new quarterbacks with Texas A&M using Kenny Hill a sophomore. He has the unenviable task of replacing Johnny Manziel who is now with the Cleveland Browns.

Last season he attempted just 22 passes, but he won the starting job over Kyle Allen a true freshman. However, that competition is not over and Allen is ready to take over if need be.

Connor Shaw is no longer at South Carolina and head coach Steve Spurrier must find someone to replace his 7,534  career total yards, 72 touchdowns and 33 victories during 2011 through 2013.

The Gamecocks will start Dylan Thompson at quarterback who has only 218 passes to his credit in the NCAA.

Mike Davis the running back for South Carolina has hurt ribs, but his coach said the junior would be ready to play, even though he might not be 100%.

The offense for the Aggies should continue on fine without Manziel. In five of the six years Kevin Sumlin has been the head coach for Texas A&M, the offense has averaged more than 500 yards a game.

The system in place will make Hill a huge success and he could be a special quarterback.

Thompson has played in three seasons with South Carolina and has done well when handed the ball.

The point spread is a large one at 10.5 with the likes of Texas A&M on the other side of the ball. The best bet is to take the Aggies and the 10-5 points. The UNDER should also cash out.

The weather forecast has called for mid-80s temperatures and no rain or wind is expected.

Five Fearless Predictions for College Football 2014

Urban Meyer and the Buckeyes will survive the loss of Braxton Miller and still win ten games.

There are any number of adjectives I could use to describe my predictions for college football 2014 but ‘fearless’ just seems right. After all, they are fearless. I mean, it isn’t like I should ‘fear’ any repercussions should my predictions prove untrue right?

Enough lip service. Here are some predictions sure to come true for college football this year.

1. Ohio State still wins 10 games despite the loss of Braxton Miller. Have you seen the Buckeyes’ schedule? The two biggest road games are at Navy in the opener and at Michigan State in what most expect will be for the Big Ten East Division title. While the loss of Braxton to season-ending shoulder surgery is a tough pill to swallow, it’s not like Urban Meyer suddenly forget how to recruit and how to coach. Even with a redshirt freshman quarterback I expect Ohio State to still win ten games.

Trevor Knight was great in last year's Sugar Bowl but I have concerns this season.

2. Oklahoma doesn’t make the Final Four. Everyone is jumping on the Sooners’ bandwagon and it all has to do with Trevor Knight’s performance against Alabama in the Sugar Bowl. Let’s think about this for a second; Alabama was playing a meaningless game after their difficult and heart-breaking loss to Auburn. They went from the number one team in the land and potential SEC Champ to a Sugar Bowl bid. Oklahoma Tech could have beaten Alabama in the Sugar Bowl last year based on this theory. Knight is a nice QB but I expect some less than good games along the way. Don’t be surprised to see the Sooners lose one or two they probably shouldn’t. One loss is enough to cost them a Final Four bid.

3. Florida State drops an unexpected game. By all accounts, the Seminoles could be better than they were last year but that doesn’t mean they are infallible. If you had to point to a game where the opponent could give them trouble, you’d say Oklahoma State, Clemson, Miami and Florida. I have a feeling they are going to stunned by an unexpected foe however. Don’t rule out a road loss to NC State or Louisville. Both environments will be rocking.

4. Michigan’s Brady Hoke will lose to both Michigan State and Ohio State. Again. I like Brady Hoke and I think  a lot of the Michigan faithful does as well but I think there’s one major problem with him and that’s that I don’t know how good of a coach he really is. Look at the losses in his time in Ann Arbor and you’ll notice multiple losses to Urban Meyer, Kirk Ferentz, Bo Pelini and Mark Dantonio. There’s no shame in losing multiple games to those coaches but at some point you have to start questioning whether he can get it done with his great recruiting classes. This year won’t be any better as the Wolverines have to go to both Columbus and East Lansing.

5. South Carolina wins the SEC. Yup. That’s what I said. South Carolina wins the SEC. The first clue was the fact that Head Coach Steve Spurrier has been flapping his trademark gums more than usual of late. Dating back to his days coaching the Florida Gators, that’s a sure sign that he likes his team. Secondly, the Gamecocks avoid both LSU and Alabama on the schedule. Their only two tough road games are at Auburn and at Florida. Normally I’d add Clemson to that list but Spurrier has owned the in-state Tigers. I like USC to win the SEC Title game over Alabama.

U.S. and Spain Heavy Favorites in FIBA World Cup

When one hears World Cup, their minds are automatically thinking about the sport the entire world, less the United States, calls football. However in this case they would be wrong, this World Cup is basketball and will take place starting on Saturday August 30 in Spain.

The early lines for the event on Bovada and topbet have the U.S. and Spain as the heavy favorites to win gold. The U.S. on betonline is currently going off at 4 to 7, while Spain on sportsbook.com is sitting on 3 to 2.

Host country Spain has seen the gap in price between it and the U.S. shrink just a bit since the beginning of last week. That could be due to Kevin Durant deciding not to play.

However, the U.S. remains the favorite to win a fourth consecutive international tournament after winning gold in the 2008 Olympics, the 2010 World Championships, and the 2012 Olympics.

Despite not having basketball’s two best players in LeBron James and Durant, Team USA still has a number of strong players that are currently or have been NBA All-Stars.

The roster for Team USA includes the likes of Chicago’s Derrick Rose, Golden State’s Stephen Curry, Houston’s James Harden, New Orleans’ Anthony Davis, and Cleveland’s Kyrie Irving amongst others.

Davis and Harden were on the Olympic team from 2012, while Rose and Curry played on the team that won the World Championship in 2010.

Spain’s team will not be a slouch. The roster includes a number of former and current players in the NBA.

If or when the two powers play head to head, the USA must deal with the brothers Gasol – Pau and Marc and Serge Ibaka down low and point guard Ricky Rubio.

The next group of teams below the two heavy favorites is Argentina, Brazil, France, Lithuania and Greece. All five of the teams are currently 30 to 1 to win the title.
Each of those five teams have players with NBA experience,  if odds are to be believed then those five will battle it out for the bronze.

Of course, international basketball has some quirks such as a wider lane and rules around the rim, that are different than what most in the U.S. are used to. However, the talent the U.S. team possesses likely will carry them to a gold medal.

2014 FIBA World Cup Odds

U.S. 4 to 7

SPAIN 3 to 2


BRAZIL 30 to 1


FRANCE 30 to 1

GREECE 30 to 1