ACC Atlantic Division Odds for 2014

Winston
Winston
If Jameis Winston stays out of trouble the Seminoles should have no trouble staying first place in the ACC Atlantic Division.

It was the ACC Coastal on Monday so today I’m previewing the ACC Atlantic.

Florida State 1/6 – The defending conference and national champs return their Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback and six other guys on offense while the defense returns six starters. With the great recruiting of the Seminoles’ staff, there are more than capable players ready to stand in. There are just two potential bumps on the home schedule and those would be Notre Dame and Florida. The ‘Noles open with Oklahoma State in Arlington but that should be a victory. Other road trips include at Louisville and rival Miami. FSU should find it’s way into the ACC Title game once again.

Clemson 13/2 – Head Coach Dabo Swinney returns just five starters on offense. Among those he needs to replace are Tahj Boyd, Sammy Watkins and Martavis Bryant. In other words, it won’t be easy. The defense returns seven starters but are they enough to carry the Tigers against a brutal first half of the season that includes road trips to Georgia and Florida State. They do get stubborn rival  South Carolina at home to end the season. Sports books like the Tigers a bit if FSU stumbles but I don’t see it happening.

Louisville 13/2 – The Cardinals make the jump to the ACC and automatically become one of the top teams in the conference despite losing guys like Teddy Bridgewater and Calvin Pryor to the NFL. Bobby Petrino returns for his second stint in Louisville and I believe he’ll have this team up to speed quickly. Just four returning starters are back on defense and that will be an issue. The Cards have road trips to Syracuse, Boston College, Clemson and Notre Dame while getting tough home games against Miami in the opener and Florida State on a Thursday night. This could be a nine-win season.

Addazio
Steve Addazio has a lot to replace as he enters year two in Boston College.

Boston College 33/1 – Head Coach Steve Addazio did a nice job by getting the Eagles back to a bowl game in 2013 but the task in 2014 will be more difficult because he only has three starters back on offense. One that is gone is running back Andre Williams who rushed for over 2,000 yards last season. I find the schedule to be too much for the Eagles as they host Pitt, Clemson, USC and Louisville while hitting the road to Virginia Tech and Florida State. If Addazio can get this team to six wins it will be a terrific effort.

Syracuse 33/1 – Want a surprise team to lay some money on in this division then here you go. Second-year coach Scott Shafer returns eight starters on offense and seven on defense from a team that finished the year with a nice bowl win over Minnesota. The non-conference schedule should result in at least three wins out of four with only Notre Dame in MetLife Stadium being a challenge. They get division heavyweights Florida State and Louisville at home as well as ACC foe Duke. If they can stay healthy, they could make a bit of noise.

NC State 40/1 – The Dave Doeren era enters year two and he welcomes 14 starters (7/7) back from a team that won just three times and was winless in the ACC. The non-conference schedule is pathetic and the Wolfpack also get Florida State and Georgia Tech at home. They must travel to Louisville, Clemson and North Carolina. I see more than three wins but I wouldn’t count on much more than that.

Wake Forest 100/1 – Dave Clawson comes to Winston-Salem in hopes of rebuilding a once-competitive program. The Deacons had just four wins in 2013 and lost their last five games. Clawson’s Bowling Green teams were very solid in the MAC and he looks to build the same type of program here with ten starters (5/5) returning. The conference schedule starts brutally on the road against Louisville, Florida State and Duke  but they do get Clemson and Virginia Tech at home. A six-win season and bowl berth would be  a great start to the Clawson era.

The Pick: FSU has too much darn talent to go against so don’t. If you’re feeling crazy though, Syracuse could fit the bill.

Oregon and UCLA Favored to Meet in Pac-12 Championship

The Pac-12 will be a very competitive conference this season. Oregon is favored to win the North division while UCLA is considered the top team in the South.

Overall, the Oregon Ducks are 5 to 7 favorites to win the conference championship. The conference has one of the best teams in the country in Oregon and a number of others that will be bowl hunting at the end of the season.

This could be the year, the Pac-12 crawls out from under the shadow of the SEC.

UCLA is on team that will push Oregon to the limit and could come out on top if the two were to meet in the conference championship game.

According to Bovada and sportsbook.com, the Bruins were 10-3 last season and have drawn 5 to 2 odds to be Pac-12 champions, which is the second shortest behind just Oregon.

Brett Hundley the junior quarterback returns after deciding to play one more year, before heading to the NFL. His returning to the team is the biggest reason the short-term future for UCLA is very bright.

Hundley is 6-foot-3 and 227 pounds. He is a dual threat at quarterback. Last season he threw for 3,072 yards and ran for another 748. He threw 24 touchdown passes, ran for 11 touchdowns and caught one.

UCLA has also a strong defense led by Myles Jack a linebacker who also played at running back during his freshman season last year. He earned the Defensive as well as Offensive Pac-12 Freshman of the Year.

Coaches at UCLA say Jack is not a two-way player. However, Hundley is not saying the same thing, suggesting he will play some on offense.

Jack only ran the ball 38 times last season but scored seven touchdowns.

Oregon is the odds on favorite to win the conference and contend for a national championship behind Marcus Mariota their junior quarterback and one of the early favorites for the Heisman Trophy.

Mariota is also a dual threat at QB. According to topbet and betonline, last season he threw for 4,438 yards with 41 touchdown passes, despite a knee injury.

He did not miss any games, but did struggle in a loss to Stanford. Oregon has an opportunity to redeem themselves against Stanford this season on November 1.

The conference championship might run through Eugene and Westwood, but other teams like Arizona State, Washington and USC will make the conference schedule very interesting.

ODDS for PAC-12 CHAMPIONSHIP

OREGON DUCKS 5 to 7

UCLA BRUINS 5 to 2

USC TROJANS 9 to 2

STANFORD CARDINAL 12 to 1

WASHINGTON HUSKIES 12 to 1

ARIZONA ST SUN DEVILS 15 to 1

ARIZONA WILDCATS 30 to 1

UTAH UTES 50 to 1

OREGON ST BEAVERS 60 to 1

WASHINGTON ST COUGARS 200 to 1

CALIFORNIA GOLDEN BEARS 200 to 1

COLORADO BUFFALOES 200 to 1

The Big Ten Continues to Struggle Against the SEC, Power Conferences

Fitzgerald
Fitzgerald
Pat Fitzgerald and his Wildcats are 8-2 against power conferences but none of those games were against ranked teams.

For many years in old system of college football, the Big Ten Champion would travel westward to play the Pac-8, then 10 and now 12 in the Rose Bowl. For many decades there was dominance by the Big Ten and then in the 1970’s and 1980’s the pendulum swung drastically in favor of the kids from the West Coast.

In the 1990’s, the Big Ten won six of the 10 games leading up to the birth of the BCS and with that slight edge, some thought the Big Ten had turned a corner and was ready to return as the best or second best conference in America.

The Big Ten, which is now actually made up of 14 teams, is no longer compared to the Pac-12 the way it once was. The standard today is the SEC who had won seven straight national titles until last season. This isn’t to say the Big Ten isn’t still compared to the Pac-12 because it is any time they face each other but the SEC is the cream of the crop right now.

Of the five major conferences in college football right now, one could argue that the Big Ten has slipped not to number two but perhaps as far as fourth or fifth. The ACC has the reigning champion in college football and was better overall last season in terms of depth. The Big 12, which has ten teams, had two BCS bowl bids last season.

UM/PSU
Michigan and Penn State need to rack up some wins against the SEC in order to gain any respect for the conference.

If we look at the breakdown of Big Ten teams vs the ‘Power Five’ conferences (this doesn’t include Rutgers or Maryland), only Northwestern (8-2) and Ohio State (5-3) have winning records against schools from those conferences since 2010. Overall, the Big Ten is 35-48 over that time span.

Before we anoint Northwestern the kings of the block, consider that they are 0-0 against ranked Power Five conferences. That means they are thriving on the bottom-dwellers of those conferences. Only the Buckeyes have a winning record against ranked Power Five conferences and that’s a rather meager 2-1 record.

The overall Big Ten record against ranked Power Five conference teams is just 8-25.

Lastly is the record of Big Ten teams against SEC teams dating back to 2010. Not surprisingly it is well below .500 at 7-15 with Northwestern once again “leading” the way with a 3-1 record. The three wins were against Vanderbilt (2) and Mississippi State and the loss was to Texas A&M when they were still in the Big 12.

The Wildcats are the only team with a winning record against the SEC. Ohio State and Michigan State are 1-1 while Michigan and Penn State are both 0-3.

So what does the Big Ten do to regain a place among the top two conferences in college football? Unfortunately not much in the short-term because the bottom of the conference is just horrendous and yes I’m looking at you Purdue and Illinois.

South Carolina Head Coach Steve Spurrier said this week his team gets more out of a game against East Carolina then they would against the bottom half of the Big Ten. Here’s the thing; Spurrier is absolutely right. Top Big Ten teams usually have starters and first line depth to compete with anyone but once you get into the middle and bottom of the Big Ten the starters of those teams aren’t much better if at all then a school like East Carolina.

The Big Ten for many years has ‘sampled’ the talent in places like Texas and Florida but still can’t compete with Nick Saban and Les Miles coming into a kid’s living room. With Rutgers and Maryland coming in, the hope is that the Big Ten’s recruiting base will now open up places like New York City, Philadelphia and Baltimore. That will help but until the Big Ten can consistently go into the deep south they will continue to struggle.

Lowering their academic standards might help too.

Cowboys and Panthers Taking Action on Win Totals

The NFL full preseason schedule begins this week. Two teams that bettors are looking at early on are the Carolina Panthers and Dallas Cowboys.

Even though Carolina won the NFC South title and reached the playoffs, bettors are hitting the UNDER hard for the team’s win total in 2014.

According to Bovada and topbet, Carolina’s win total is now sitting on 8, with the OVER sitting on odds of +135, while the UNDER is -165.

Bettors are lining up to take the UNDER on the win totals for the Dallas Cowboys as well. The total wins for Dallas at this time is 7.5. The OVER is sitting on even odds on betonline and sportsbook.com, while the UNDER carries -130 odds.

Action on Carolina and Dallas has caught the eyes of some in the sportsbook world. One odds maker said the both teams popped up on the radar as both are taking a great deal of UNDER money that has dropped the Cowboys win total from its opening of 8 to just 7.5.

For Carolina, more than 80% of the public bettors expect the team to pull back from its strong season in 2013, which is evidenced by the strong play on the UNDER for the Panthers.

Dallas should possess a very explosive offense. Tony Romo is healthy along as are DeMarco Murray and Dez Bryant. The Cowboys offensive line is one of the top 10 in the league and tight end Jason Witten just keeps on ticking like the Duracell bunny.

However, on the opposite side of the ball, the Dallas defense could be even worse than last season, if that is possible.

The defense lost Sean Lee for the season and must replace the pass rushing skills of DeMarcus Ware.

As for Carolina, the team lost three of its starters on the offensive line because of retirement. The receiving corps is completely new as well.

The running game will be strong having the option of quarterback Cam Newton to run or throw. However, the passing game likely will struggle.

Carolina also plays in a strong division with New Orleans, Atlanta and Tampa Bay, who will all battle for the division title or a wild card spot.

Also seeing a large amount of betting action on Bovada early this preseason are the Patriots, Bears and Saints.

The win totals in the NFL are continuing to take the most money of any future market available for the NFL. A couple of the teams are sticking out as the popular bets for the public.

Chicago is sitting on 8.5 in win total and the OVER on the Bears has taken more than 95% of the bets. However, odds makers feel the NFC North is a competitive division making it difficult for Chicago to win that many games.

The Patriots and Saints are also seeing similar type action forcing the win totals for both to move a half a win higher.

ACC Coastal Division Odds for 2014

Fedora
Fedora
Larry Fedora and the Tar Heels are looking to capture the ACC Coastal Division.

As my tour around college football continues, today is the ACC Coastal.

North Carolina 7/4 – The Tar Heels have seven starters back on defense but three of those that are gone went to the NFL. The offense returns eight players but one of the three gone is tight end Eric Ebron who was an absolute stud for UNC. Other than Notre Dame, the non-conference schedule is not overly difficult. Besides the Irish, the Heels also have road trips to Clemson, Virginia and Miami. I see UNC finishing with seven to eight wins this year.

Miami 3/1 – Al Golden enters his fourth year with a 22-15 record and seven starters returning on each side of the ball. QB Jake Heaps who is with his third team now, seems to have the keys to the offense but Golden has yet to commit. The Canes were selected as the favorites to win the Coastal and that possibility obviously exists with their talent. Miami opens at the team they last saw in a game and that’s ACC newcomer Louisville who blasted the Canes in last season’s Russell Athletic Bowl. They also have trips to Nebraska, Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech as well. They do get Florida State and Duke at home. The division title is there for them but is the schedule too much?

Beamer
I have a feeling Frank Beamer and the Hokies will challenge for the Coastal Division if not win it.

Virginia Tech 3/1 – The Hokies return nine starters on offense but just five on defense from a team that struggled last season with just eight wins and a blowout bowl loss to UCLA. QB Logan Thomas is gone and I think that’s a good thing as he never lived up to expectations. Despite few starters back on D, the talent is there especially in the secondary and on the D-Line. If the offensive line can gel, then the Hokies are a legitimate threat to win the division. The tough road trips are to Ohio State, North Carolina and Duke.

Duke 6/1 – The Blue Devils return eight starters on offense and six on defense as they look to follow up last year’s division title. Duke must replace three starters on the defensive line and Anthony Boone is the only QB with experience. The Blue Devils should roll to a 4-0 record against weak non-conference opponents but then they have four conference road games in their next five and among them are trips to Miami, Pitt, Syracuse and Georgia Tech. I do not see repeat for Duke in 2014.

Georgia Tech 8/1 – The Yellow Jackets return just 10 starters from last year’s team that featured some big wins and heartbreaking losses. Because of the offensive system, losing backs isn’t usually a big deal. Coach Paul Johnson just reloads in the backfield. Other than Georgia to finish the season, the non-conference slate is easy. Besides the trip to Athens, GT also has trips to Virginia Tech, North Carolina and NC State. If the defense comes together, the Jackets can be a threat in the division.

Pitt 25/1 – The Panthers come off of a 6-7 record in Paul Chryst’s first year in Pittsburgh. Eight starters return on offense and just five on defense. Pitt will rely on a new quarterback but he’ll have the benefit of receiver Tyler Boyd who was even better than Larry Fitzgerald was as a freshman. Tough road games are at Boston College, North Carolina and Miami. 6-6 is very possible again in the Steel City.

Virginia 25/1 – With 16 starters (9-Off/7-Def) returning, Mike London has no more excuses especially considering the solid recruiting class as well. London is one of America’s ‘coaches on the hot seat.’ The first four games will tell the story for the 2014 Cavaliers. They host UCLA, Richmond and Louisville and then travel to BYU. The only way London survives is by getting to a bowl game and even that isn’t a guarantee.

The Pick: I have a feeling Coach Frank Beamer will have his Hokies ready to be back among the elite in the ACC.The Tar Heels could put pressure on both Miami and the Hokies but I’m not sure I’m buying the UNC hype.

Alabama Favored to Win SEC

The Southeastern Conference has been the powerhouse of college football for the past decade with 7 national champions in the past 10 seasons.

Last season however, the Florida State Seminoles ended the run of 7 straight national titles by a SEC team when they defeated the Auburn Tigers in the BCS Championship Game.

Since 2006 at least on team in the SEC has reached the National Champions game. With a streak like the one the SEC has had, it is important to know who is the favorite to win the SEC conference championship in the 2014 season.

It likely is not a surprise to anyone that the Crimson Tide of Alabama at 13 to 10, with their series of consecutive recruiting classes and a new transfer quarterback own the shortest odds in the conference.

Jacob Coker who transferred to the Tide from FSU, where he became second string to Jameis Winston the Heisman Trophy winner, is expected to step in and start this season as the new signal caller for Bama despite head coach Nick Saban talking about a fierce competition at quarterback.

For Alabama, the toughest competitors in the conference based upon the prices are Auburn at 7 to 2 and Georgia at 11 to 2. However, a great deal of noise will be made by South Carolina at 6 to 1 and LSU at 8 to 1.

Nick Marshall will return at quarterback for Auburn, but there could be fallout from a marijuana citation he received in early July.

Auburn will open its season against Arkansas an SEC rival so if Marshall is suspended early it could be detrimental to their season.

Georgia will have a new quarterback starting in 2014, but the Bulldogs will likely jump on Todd Gurley’s broad shoulders and let the talent running back carry them early and often. That is at least through the first few games until the new QB can become comfortable and learn the ropes in the SEC.

Both Tigers – Auburn as well as LSU – will have direct shots at knocking the Tide off in head-to-head games. However, both the Bulldogs and Gamecocks would have to wait until the title game of the conference to get an opportunity to face them if one or the other were to make it that far.

Current SEC Championship Odds

  • Alabama 13 to 10
  • Auburn 7 to 2
  • Georgia 11 to 2
  • South Carolina 6 to 1
  • LSU 8 to 1
  • Florida 12 to 1
  • Ole Miss 12 to 1
  • Missouri 40 to 1
  • Tennessee 50 to 1
  • Mississippi State 50 to 1
  • Texas A&M 50 to 1
  • Arkansas 75 to 1
  • Kentucky 100 to 1
  • Vanderbilt 100 to 1

Goodell Finally Speaks; Says Nothing to Make Us Think He Has a Clue

Goodell
Goodell
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell defends the two-game punishment for Ray Rice on Friday.

A week or so ago, National Football League Commissioner sent out one of his hired henchmen to defend the league’s decision to suspend Baltimore Ravens’ running back just two games. NFL V.P. Adolpho Birch appeared on ESPN’s ‘Mike and Mike’ and proceeded to make the entire situation even worse as he stumbled over answers and twisted himself into knots defending the the league’s decision.

What we all wanted was not to hear from the minions, but to hear from Goodell himself and we finally got our chance when he spoke on the Rice suspension on Friday. We should not have been surprised by his words which did nothing but tow the company line and give the same lip service Birch had given.

Goodell’s words in italics…

“We have a very firm policy that domestic violence is not acceptable in the NFL, and there are consequences for that,” the commissioner said. “Obviously, when we are going through the process of evaluating an issue and whether there will be discipline, you look at all of the facts that are available to us.” 

“We have to remain consistent,” he said. “We can’t just make up the discipline. It has to be consistent with other cases, and it was in this matter.”

I found two things disturbing with the above comments. First, he claims the NFL can’t just make up the discipline. That is 100% wrong because there is nothing in the collective bargaining agreement that covers knocking your significant other out cold in an elevator. Things that are collectively bargained are agreed upon by the league and the players. Therefore, Goodell and the NFL would have had cart blanche to suspend Rice with a much more harsh punishment.

Roethlisberger
Rice deserved a punishment similar to Roethlisberger but Goodell will hear nothing of it.

Secondly, Goodell was asked to compare this suspension to that of Pittsburgh Steelers’ quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and as expected Goodell said there had been a prior incident in his past which warranted the long suspension. Let’s keep in mind that Roethlisberger was never videotaped, never arrested, never charged, never made to agree to a plea deal and so on.

If you want to say Roethlisberger was guilty of poor judgment then I can certainly understand that especially in the Georgia alleged incident. The first one that Goodell always cites was a money grab of the highest order and NFL security knows it just as they know it was the case in Georgia as well. Before you get pissed off, I suggest you read through the two incident reports and articles to educate yourself.

As for Rice, I thought he was very honest and contrite when he spoke to the media. I really do believe this has affected him greatly as it should have. I seriously hope that Rice can move forward and that he never again touches his wife or any other woman. My anger towards him is obvious but not nearly as much as it is towards Goodell.

I truly believe it is time for the Commissioner to completely remove himself from disciplinary decisions. He is losing terribly in the court of public opinion and looks even worse after the swift action of NBA Commissioner Adam Silver who hasn’t even been on his detail a year yet.

We all know that Goodell’s main mission is to make money for the owners. He is excelling at doing that but also has a myriad of other issues on his plate as well. Playoff expansion, London, concussions, and a growing list of felons are all weighing him down.

He can avoid a lot of headaches this way too.

 

Bills are 2.5-point Chalk in Hall of Fame Game

Preseason football in the NFL starts officially on August 3 at 8:00 p.m. ET when the Buffalo Bills meet the New York Giants in the Hall of Fame game.

According to Bovada and topbet, Buffalo is a 2-point favorite, with the total points sitting on 32.5.

Narrow spreads and small totals are hallmarks of preseason games. Everyone knows the Giants and Bills will attempt to get as much work in as possible with great efficiency and a minimum of injuries.

The Giants and Bills should be forgiven if neither is happy with playing an exhibition game especially an extra one at that.

Kevin Kolb a quarterback for Buffalo suffered a concussion last season that ended his career, while Andre Brown a tailback for the Giants broke a leg in the last game of the preseason last year.

Both teams had major setbacks from the two injuries. Buffalo without Kolb did not have a quarterback that had an experience behind EJ Manuel their rookie.

Manuel suffered through injuries his first season and missed 6 games. Since Buffalo lacked experience in a backup, they were 2-4 with Manuel out.

Brown’s absence hurt the Giants rushing attack. With little or no depth behind Brown, New York did not have any running game the first part of the regular season and started the season 0-6.

Both teams desperately need improved play for their offense. New York hired Ben McAdoo as their new offensive coordinator. The offense has changed to showcase more short, quick passes.

Starting quarterback Eli Manning likely will play some and maybe even the entire first quarter.

The Bills likely will have a hurry up offense with Manuel under center.

Buffalo has more depth at quarterback with Thaddeus Lewis as well as Jeff Tuel. Last season Lewis played much better than Tuel.

Ryan Nassib in his second year is one of New York’s backup quarterbacks. He is attempting to take the backup role away from last year’s backup Curtis Painter.

Numbers to Think About

Since 2000, in the 12 Hall of Fame games, teams have combined for 34.8 points on average. In those same 12 season not counting 2003 or 2011, teams during the regular season have averaged 37.8 points per game.

Last preseason, teams averaged 20.5 points per game, the most scored since 2000. Teams have averages close to that amount during 2 of the past 3 NFL seasons.

Over the past 25 Hall of Fame games, there has been an average of 32.8 points scored by both teams combined.

That figure is more in line with the current over/under posted on sportsbooks.

Odds to Win the 2014 Pac-12 South Division

Hundley
Hundley
I expect Brett Hundley and the UCLA Bruins to capture the Pac-12 South.

On Wednesday I gave you the Pac-12 North odds and who I liked to win it. Today, I’m presenting the Pac-12 South which I believe is a four-horse race.

UCLA 5/4 – Jim Mora, Jr. enters his third year in Los Angeles and brings with him high expectations coming off a very nice 10-3 record. Nine starters return on offense while the defense returns eight. Dual-threat quarterback Brett Hundley returns to lead the offense as does Freshman of the Year Myles Jack who plays on both sides of the ball. The only scary road trips are against Texas in Arlington and at Arizona State. The Bruins get USC and Stanford at home to finish the season. Another 10-win season is very possible.

USC 7/4 – It’s year of Steve Sarkisian and expectations are high. Cody Kessler is one of seven starters who return on offense and he has already been named the starter at QB. Seven starters also return on defense which bodes well for a team facing a tough start to the season. The Trojans get always tough Fresno State at home before traveling to Stanford and then across the country to Boston College. Trips to Arizona and UCLA also await. SC does get Notre Dame, Arizona State and Oregon State at home. I think eight wins is the number but some will expect higher.

Graham
Todd Graham's Sun Devils could repeat with some big road wins in 2014.

Arizona State 3 /1 – Todd Graham has a very nice 18-9 record in two years at ASU but the real test begins as the Sun Devils return just two starters on defense and only six on the offensive side of the ball. I like the job he has done since leaving Pitt in the middle of the night, but the chances of repeating as South Division champs are going to be very difficult. The schedule is brutal in my opinion with trips to USC, Washington, Oregon State and Arizona. The home schedule isn’t much better with Notre Dame, UCLA and Stanford coming to Tempe. A step back is highly possible in 2014 but there is a lot of talent on the roster too.

Arizona 10/1 – Rich Rodriguez enters year three in the desert and comes off an 8-5 record and a bowl victory. Last year’s Wildcats surprised a few teams like Oregon and USC but lost to a few schools they probably shouldn’t have. Seven starters return on offense and six on the defense which was beaten up in conference play. The schedule features only two road games of note; at Oregon and at UCLA. The other three should provide wins. At home, the Wildcats get USC, Washington and Arizona State. I expect another eight win season in Tucson.

Utah 33/1 – Kyle Whittingham has a really strong 75-39 overall record entering his tenth season in the Beehive State. Six starters return on both sides of the ball as the Utes look to make a splash in the Pac-12 South. Utah faces a tough road schedule with trips to Michigan, UCLA, Oregon State, Arizona State and Stanford. I think the goal here for Whittingham and company is to get back to .500 and a bowl game but that road schedule worries me.

Colorado 50/1 – In year one, Mike McIntyre went just 4-8 but he gets eight starters back on both sides of the ball. The Buffaloes’ defense surrendered over 40 points in seven of their eight losses and three times gave up over 50. Colorado has just four road games and the neutral site rivalry game against Colorado State in Denver. Three of those four are brutal though as they travel to Oregon, Arizona and USC. I think six wins is the goal here and I think it’s very workable as well.

The Pick: Toss out Colorado and Utah right now as they just don’t have the horses. The wild-cards are the schools in the desert and the favorites are the schools from LA. I like the Bruins to take the Pac-12 South in 2014.

NFL Week 1 Lines Released By Odds Makers

It might only be the beginning of August but it is never too early to think about NFL football. This week the Week 1 opening lines were released for the NFL and while the opening kickoff of the regular season is still a month away, football has invaded our brains ago.

Here are a few thoughts about a few matchups for the first week of play.

The Green Bay Packers host the Seattle Seahawks and are +5 dogs at home. Last season the Packers reached the playoffs despite Aaron Rodgers their star quarterback missing half the regular season.

Rodgers came back during the last week of the regular season. Green Bay was the NFC North champions, but lost during the Wild Card round to San Francisco.

With Rodgers as the starting quarterback, Green Bay is 5-2 straight up and against the spread in games to open the season.

Seattle is 2-3 ATS in the season opening matchups. The team has lost the past two outright to the New York Giants and Baltimore Ravens in 2012 and 2013 respectively.

Green Bay was the last defending champion of the Super Bowl to win its opening game of the regular season.

The line might be inflated, as Green Bay is tough at home against any opponent.

The Denver Broncos visit the Indianapolis Colts to start their regular season. Denver was in the Super Bowl last season and that might be why the line Denver -7, is so high.

Indy had as strong season winning the AFC South and one playoff game. Andrew Luck the Colts star quarterback leads a young team. Offensively Luck has a number of receivers to throw to.

Last season, the Colts defeated the Broncos during the regular season in a Sunday night matchup and this matchup is at the same time.

According to Bovada and topbet, the highest opening line for the first week of the season goes to the Philadelphia Eagles at -11 over the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Last season was a positive season for the Eagles. Nick Foles had 27 touchdown passes and only 2 picks. The Eagles finished the regular season 7-1, but lost at home in the Wild Card round to New Orleans.

The Jaguars started the season 0-8 but finished it 4-4. Jacksonville was 4-1 ATS over their last 5 games of the regular season.

According to betonline and sportsbook.com, the Eagles at home last season were just 4-4 SU and 3-5 ATS.

Quick Facts

The OVER in games during week won over the past three seasons is 29-18-1.

Favorites by double digits in week 1 the last eight seasons are 4-6.

Favorites on Monday Night Football in week 1 over the last eight seasons are 6-10.

Over the last eight seasons, the favorites are 65-62-1 ATS in week 1.