Oregon Opens as Early 7.5-Point Favorite in National Championship Game

The first ever College Football Playoff had its opening games on January 1 with the Oregon Ducks routing the Florida State Seminoles, and the Ohio State Buckeyes outscoring the Alabama Crimson Tide.

The final for the national championship will be played on January 12 and Oregon has opened on Bovada and topbet as a 7-point favorite.

After the spread was posted, the Ducks were quickly bet up on betonline and sportsbook.com to -7.5 points and it looks to go even higher.

The moneyline has Oregon at -290 and Ohio State at +245, while the over/under point total opened with 70.5, but was bet up quickly to 73.5.

Oregon reached the national championship game with is rout of 59-20 over FSU on Thursday in the Rose Bowl.

Oregon, led by quarterback Marcus Mariota, the 2014 Heisman Trophy winner, is 9-0 ATS in its past 9 games overall.

This will be the third consecutive game that Ohio State has been an underdog. The Buckeyes were an underdog against Wisconsin for the Big 10 championship and to Alabama in Thursday’s Sugar Bowl.

Ohio State routed the Badgers and upset Alabama 42-35 behind Cardale Jones its third string quarterback.

Urban Meyer the Ohio State head coach was startled when he heard that Oregon had won by 39 points. He quickly left the news conference in jest after hearing of Oregon’s routs saying they need to get going to prepare for the Ducks.

Both Ohio State and Oregon were amongst the favorites during the preseason to win the inaugural College Football Playoff.

Oregon lost to Arizona October 2, but won 9 straight to reach this point, for the second time in the past 4 seasons.

Oregon was beaten by Auburn 22-19 in the 2011 National Championship game.

Ohio State lost to the Virginia Tech Hokies at home on September 6 as underdogs by 10 points. The loss was just one of numerous roadblocks Meyer’s team was able to overcome to make it to the championship game.

This past August, Braxton Miller the starting quarterback was lost for the entire season with an injury to his shoulder.

The odds on many futures boards dropped for Ohio State to 50 to 1 after Miller was hurt.

Money continued flowing in on Ohio State. In fact, more bets at season’s end had been placed on the Buckeyes winning the national championship that with any other team.

Even though Florida State ended its season 13-1 SU the Seminoles were just 3-11 ATS. Alabama was just 4-9-1 ATS this past season.

The line will move up and down for the next 10 days until kickoff of the national championship game. Early betting however shows great support for the Oregon Ducks.

Ducks Laying 9 Points to Undefeated Seminoles

The Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California will kick off the first ever College Football Playoff when the Florida State Seminoles meet the Oregon Ducks.

The last two winners of the Heisman Trophy will be facing off against one another in this highly anticipated national semifinal matchup.

Florida State is unbeaten at 13-0 this season and 29-0 in their past 29 games played, but enters this game as a 9-point dog against the 12-1 Ducks.

This is because the Seminoles have not been anywhere near as good this season as they were last. Over their past 14 games played, the Seminoles are 3-11 ATS.

In addition, Oregon has won its past 8 games by an average of more than 26 points and covered the spread in each of them.

The Seminoles are 29-0 straight up and 15-14 against the spread in their past 29 games played.

The Seminoles are 8-1-1 against the number in their past 10 bowl appearances, while going 8-2 straight up in the same 10 games.

The UNDER has cashed in each of the past 3 games Oregon has played and 5 of the past 6 bowl games the Ducks have played in.

Preparing for the country’s most dangerous offense takes time, and the Seminoles have had it. However, the defense for FSU has been unimpressive the entire season and could use every piece of help they can get when facing Oregon.

This matchup features the newly crowned Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota the quarterback for Oregon and Jameis Winston the 2013 Heisman Trophy winner the starting quarterback for Florida State.

Statistically the years each won the Heisman were similar. However, Mariota is more of a dual threat as he rushed for 669 yards and scored 14 rushing touchdowns on the season.

However, Florida State has not lost a game with Winston at quarterback and is 26-0 in his two seasons. Oregon is 35-4 in the three seasons that Mariota has quarterbacked the Ducks.

The weather should not be a factor as it is expected to be sunny and in the 50s in Pasadena.

Oregon has won as well as covered 8 straight games since their only straight up loss this season to Arizona. However, Florida State has covered the spread in just 1 of its past 5 games played.

The Seminoles have seen their rating fall 10 points since the start of this season, which for an undefeated team is unheard of.

However, 9 points or more is a great deal to give a team that has won 29 consecutive games.

FSU has been involved in close games the entire season. They are 7-0 in games that have been decided by 6 or fewer points. They come in battled tested and even though they are getting 9 points, they could win outright.

Early Line Has Alabama and Oregon as Heavy Favorites

The selection committee for the inaugural College Football Playoff has spoken and the four teams that will battle for the national title have been picked.

The selection committee did not have an easy task this season, as there were a number of teams vying for the fourth and final berth.

One of the biggest debates that took place prior to the final selection was whether the selection committee would pick Baylor or TCU in their final four.

Both were ranked near one another all season and Baylor just squeaked by TCU by three points 61-58 when they met head to head.

Each team ended up as co-champions in the Big 12 as the conference does not use a tiebreaker.

Ohio State was another team that made a charge following an early season loss against Virginia Tech. The Buckeyes with a third string quarterback, routed Wisconsin 59-0 to win the Big 10 championship.

Florida State had close calls all season, but ended their regular season 13-0. Alabama and Oregon dominated in their conference championship games to solidify their spots.

In the end, the selection committee left the Big 12 schools Baylor and TCU out of the top 4 rankings and selected instead Alabama, Oregon, Florida State and Ohio State.

Alabama and Oregon have opened as big favorites in the opening two games on New Year’s Day.

Both are favored by over a touchdown in their respective games on New Year’s Day.

Alabama was chosen as the top seed by the committee and will face Ohio State in New Orleans at the Sugar Bowl.

Oregon was chosen as the No. 2 seed and will face Florida State in Pasadena, California, in the Rose Bowl.

Alabama opened as 10-point chalk on Bovada and sportsbook.com against Ohio State in the Sugar Bowl, but that was bet down slightly to 9.5 points early on. The total points for that game was moving between a low of 57 and a high of 58.5.

Oregon opened at -8 over Florida State in the Rose Bowl on both topbet and betonline. The total for that game bounced between 70.5 and 71.5, which is more suited to the Ducks type of game.

The first season of using the College Football Playoff has proved that picking the top 4 teams to battle for the National Championship is not an easy task.

Current odds for National Championship January 12, 2015

Alabama +100

Oregon 8 to 5

Ohio State 7 to 1

Florida State 8 to 1

It All Comes Down to One Final Week of College Football

Boykin
Boykin
Trevone Boykin and the Horned Frogs should have no trouble with Iowa State but you never know.

It’s a big week in college football with all sorts of bowl spots on the line. Chief among them are those four coveted playoff spots.

Iowa State (+34.5) at TCU (O/U 69) – The Cyclones enter at 2-9 and this very well could be Paul Rhoades final game coaching the Cyclones. Only one time all season did ISU get beat by more than 34 points and that was a 59-14 loss to Oklahoma.

With everything that TCU is playing for, I still can’t see the Cyclones getting beaten by that much unless they just flat-out give up.

The Pick: Take ISU and the UNDER.

Kansas State (+8) at Baylor (O/U 67) – The Wildcats have already faced TCU and lost 41-20. The pressure is now on the Bears to win by that margin at least. Why? Because the playoff committee clearly doesn’t care about the Bears’ head-to-head win over the Horned Frogs, Baylor needs a monster win over K-State because what is prized by the committee is schedule strength.

Kansas State plays well defensively but it will be their offense that keeps them in this game. Baylor’s fortunes will depend on the health of Bryce Petty who missed time last week with a concussion.

The Pick: Baylor will know it’s fate because TCU’s game will have ended about three hours before they kick off. That will be a factor… Take the Wildcats getting the points and the UNDER.

 

Mauk
Mauk needs to have a turnover-free game if the Tigers are to upset the Crimson Tide.

Missouri (+14.5) vs. Alabama (O/U 49) – Not too bad for the Tigers; two years in the SEC and two SEC East titles. Last year, Mizzou gave Auburn a valiant effort in the SEC Title game before losing and now they have to contend with the Crimson Tide.

Missouri’s defense will give Alabama some problems. They’ve only given up one 100-yard receiving performance this season while the Tide’s Amari Cooper has seven himself. Mizzou also gets to the QB which could be a problem if Blake Sims starts making poor decisions.

The problem for the Tigers is that I’m not convinced their offense can put up the kind of points they are going to need to win. Gary Pinkel is a solid coach and he’ll need every trick in the book to win this win.

The Pick: A late score gives Bama the cover and I like the OVER.

Florida State (-4) vs. Georgia Tech (O/U 61) – The Yellow Jackets are without top receiver Deandre Smelter who has a knee injury. That could be a factor should Georgia Tech get behind and be forced to throw the ball.

That’s not the game plan though and Florida State knows it. The Yellow Jackets will run the ball and will run it and run it and run it some more. Tech is not great defensively per se but they won’t be a rollover either.

Jameis Winston cannot afford another four turnover game because of the time GT takes off the clock on each possession.

The Pick: Take the Noles to cover on another late TD and take the UNDER.

Wisconsin (-4) vs Ohio State (O/U 53) – Cardale Jones takes over under center for the Buckeyes after J.T. Barrett went down for the season last weekend at against Michigan. A lot of national pundits are jumping on the Wisconsin bandwagon with Barrett out but don’t count out Ohio State just yet. Urban Meyer and offensive coordinator Tom Herman will develop a gameplan that fits Jones who is much bigger than Barrett of Braxton Miller.

Wisconsin has a very good defense that will be tested by athletes for the first time really since the opener against LSU. The Badgers will no doubt ride the running game with Melvin Gordon against a Buckeyes’ defense that has struggled against the run.

The Pick: I like OSU getting the points and the UNDER.

 

Predicting the Committee’s Penultimate Playoff Rankings in College Football

Yeldon
Yeldon
T.J. Yeldon and the Tide survived Auburn. Can they now get past Missouri in the SEC Title game?

It’s really hard to put into perspective just what the College Football Playoff Committee is facing this week and in the week to come. On Sunday, December 7th, the committee will announce the four teams that will play in major college football’s first-ever playoff.

Let’s address this week and what we can expect from the committee first.

Alabama will remain the top-seed with their win over Auburn. It was the highest-scoring Iron Bowl in history and despite giving up a boatload of points and passing yards, the Tide will remain in the top spot heading into the SEC Championship Game.

While it would not surprise me to see Oregon jump into the top spot following their blowout win over rival Oregon State, I think they’ll stay put at number two. The Beavers were not nearly the level of competition that Auburn was so look for the Ducks to stay at number two.

Jameis
Despite four picks by Winston, the Seminoles hung on to beat Florida.

At number three, I expect the committee to stick with Florida State. To be really, really honest here I can actually see them dropping to number four because they continue to win ugly against lesser competition. Jameis Winston has not played well but the team keeps surviving and the name of the game is to win so look for the ‘Noles to stay at three.

The fourth and final spot is again filled with intrigue. I feel that TCU will stay because the committee has favored strength of schedule over head-to-head competition. The Horned Frogs destroyed a Texas team that was thought to be improving while Baylor survived Texas Tech. The Red Raiders are arguably the worst team in the Big 12.

TCU finishes at home against a pretty bad Iowa State team while the Baylor Bears finish with a very good Kansas State in Waco.

I expect to see Ohio State at five and Baylor at six, but the injury to Buckeyes’ QB J.T. Barrett could be a factor at least this week in the opinion of the committee.

So how will things shakeout?

Next Saturday could reveal a lot of status quo or we could see massive changes to the playoff participant list. Alabama plays a very good Missouri team in the SEC Title game. Oregon plays the only team to beat them this season, Arizona, in the Pac-12 Title game and Florida State will play in the ACC Championship game against a very hot Georgia Tech team who just beat Georgia in Athens.

Let’s imagine for a second that Bama, Oregon and Florida State all lose. With Ohio State playing in the Big 10 Title game against Wisconsin, a win by them immediately vaults them into the playoff but who else would join them?

Arizona would have to get a spot right? They would have been a top four team twice in the same season. With just one loss would Florida State be given a reprieve? I doubt it because the committee hasn’t been impressed with FSU all season. The most interesting question to me is what happens if TCU and Baylor both finish with just one loss.

Would the committee seed them ahead of a two-loss Alabama team?

Obviously there’s a lot that can still happen. Should total chaos ensue, can we rule out teams like Mississippi State, Wisconsin, Georgia Tech or Missouri? I don’t think so simply based on who they would have beat this coming Saturday.

For tomorrow, plan on Alabama, Oregon, Florida State and TCU. For next week, plan on just about anything.

Baylor Bears Need to Impress CFP Committee against Texas Tech

College football’s weekend of rivalries continues on Saturday with a number of great betting choices.

On such game features, the Baylor Bears against the Texas Tech Red Raiders.

The Bears are ranked No. 7 in the country and need a huge showing today to help their chances of landing one of the four spots in the College Football Playoff.

Bettors have noticed the importance of a huge game by Baylor after TCU routed Texas.

The Bears opened as 23-point chalk but that has grown to 27 points.

Baylor could leapfrog TCU with strong wins in its last two regular season games versus Texas Tech and next week Kansas State.

Baylor defeated TCU October 11 by a score of 61-58 staging a huge comeback. Both teams might have to enlist the help of Ole Miss and the winner of the Big 10 game on Saturday between Wisconsin and Minnesota to reach the final four.

Ole Miss hosts Mississippi State Saturday in the annual Egg Bowl. The Badgers or Golden Gophers will play Ohio State in the Big 10 Championship.

Baylor needs the No. 6 Buckeyes to lose one of their final two games.

Ohio State is on the outside looking in and needs to impress the CFP selection committee. The Buckeyes host Michigan Saturday as 20.5-point chalk.

Ohio State is expected to be a strong favorite against either Wisconsin or Minnesota but defeating Michigan and either team after that will not mean the same as Baylor winning its last two games.

Mississippi State is in the No. 4 spot in the CFP rankings and could drop out even with a win over Ole Miss due to the way TCU manhandled Texas.

Baylor will also have work to do and it will not be easy. The Bears have to impress against Texas Tech. If they play well and cover the spread the Bears could pass Ohio State if the Buckeyes struggle against Michigan or lose.

Big Line Moves

Cincinnati went from a -4 to -7 versus Temple.

Wisconsin is up to -14 after opening at -11.5 versus Minnesota.

Tennessee has seen its line increased from -14.5 to -17 on the road at Vanderbilt.

Arkansas State opened at -21 but has been bet up to -23.5 at home to New Mexico State.

The point spread and over/under total points are constantly changing and one much always be on the lookout leading up to the games. Bovada, betonline, topbet and sportsbook.com are all legitimate and reputable companies in the sports betting realm.

Updated Futures for College Football National Champions

The college football regular season is in the backstretch, but a number of teams are fighting for the top four stops to reach the inaugural College Football Playoff.

While each has the possibility of losing along the way, Florida State, Alabama and Oregon are headed towards claiming 3 of the 4 spots for the College Football Playoff.

However, before making reservations Florida State will have to play archrival Florida and play in the ACC championship game.

Alabama has to play Auburn in the Iron Bowl before its potential participation in the SEC title game.

Oregon must play on the road against Oregon State prior to playing the championship game of the Pac-12.

Assuming the three win out, there would be a host of one-loss teams battling for the last spot remaining for football’s first final four.

Mississippi State ranked No. 4 did not move off its price of 7 to 1 on Bovada or topbet, despite losing on Saturday to Alabama.

Mississippi State could possibly be rewarded by the selection committee if they can win out their last two games, including the huge rivalry with Ole Miss in the Egg Bowl.

Both TCU and Ohio State are sitting at 6 to 1 on betonline and sportsbook.com and have been given higher billing than the Bulldogs.

Baylor, which has just one loss, beat TCU and is at 7 to 1 behind the Horned Frogs. How Baylor can have longer odds than TCU is strange since the Bears rallied and won their head-to-head matchup.

Without a title game in the conference, Baylor and TCU could be shorthanded but Ohio State will have an opportunity to impress the committee even more with a victory in the Big 10 championship game.

The season still has three weeks left of regular season and conference championship matches before the selection committee must pick their final four.
Some teams will make the committee’s choice easy by winning out or losing. In the end, the winners are the college football fans and the bettors.

CHAMPIONSHIP ODDS – 2014 College Football

ALABAMA CRIMSON TIDE 9 to 4
OREGON DUCKS 4 to 1
FLORIDA ST SEMINOLES 6 to 1
TCU HORNED FROGS 6 to 1
OHIO ST BUCKEYES 6 to 1
BAYLOR BEARS 7 to 1
MISSISSIPPI ST BULLDOGS 7 to 1
GEORGIA BULLDOGS 20 to 1
OLE MISS REBELS 25 to 1
UCLA BRUINS 40 to 1

The Bickering Over the Top Four in College Football is Pointless

CFB Trophy
CFB Trophy
Eventually, four teams will fight for this trophy. Arguing about what four they are now is a fruitless endeavor.

One thing that many college football pundits and fans worried about with the demise of the BCS was that the talking points would be gone. That is to say, sports talk radio and sports television wouldn’t have nearly the guesswork and hyperbole to dwell over for the final six weeks of the season.

Common thought was that with four teams making the final four playoff, there would be no need to have endless discussions about who would be in and who would be out. I think we can safely say that this notion has been crushed. In fact, I would go so far as to say the discussion of the new playoff system is already more intense and more interesting than it ever was in the BCS.

Look no further than this past week’s committee unveiling of the latest top four teams. For me personally, the whole thing is essentially a waste of time. What sense is there in getting all worked up over a “projected” final four when there are so many games yet to be played?

The big argument this week stems over the committee’s decision to place 8-1 TCU ahead of fellow one-loss team Alabama and to have once beaten Oregon jump over unbeaten Florida State. What is clear beyond any doubt is that the committee could care less about a team’s record right now and is much more enamored in a team’s strength of schedule.

While the Seminoles have remained unbeaten, their victories have been less than impressive. While I see the committee’s thinking, isn’t the one, over-ridding objective to win football games? Should and will “style points” matter?

Perhaps the more fascinating dilemma facing the committee will be with TCU and Big 12 rival Baylor. The Bears and Horned Frogs each have one loss. Baylor suffered theirs on the road at West Virginia while TCU suffered their only loss at Baylor in a close shootout. Normally the head-to-head is the clincher and this discussion would go no further.

Baylor-TCU
Baylor's 61-58 win over TCU would seem like enough to give the Bears an edge over TCU but apparently not.

Head-to-head does not appear to be the number one concern for this committee at the current time with TCU ahead of Baylor. The only logical explanation is strength of schedule which clearly favors the Frogs. If we assume both teams win out and finish 11-1, will the committee stick to its’ current platform which puts strength of schedule ahead of head-to-head.

This notion will be tested again this coming weekend when top-ranked Mississippi State travels to fifth-ranked Alabama who has one loss. If the Bulldogs lose a close contest to Bama I have to believe that the committee will keep both the Crimson Tide and the Bulldogs in the top four. That would likely mean TCU would get the boot and would put to rest any debate over whether the Frogs or the Bears should get a top four nod.

All of this conjecture, as I stated in the opening, is futile. Fans in Arizona will have arguments as will fans in Ohio and on and on and on… Eventually the college football playoff will be set and the debate will rage not on who is in but on who is out.

The next step of course will be calling for an eight-team playoff and then 16. I believe the eight-team playoff will come in the future but that’s as far as it will go in my opinion. For the next few weeks anyway, enjoy all the arguing and dissecting of every team. In the end, it really won’t matter much.

 

Putting the Bow on Another Crazy Saturday

Petty
Petty
Bryce Petty and the Baylor Bears throttled the Sooners in Norman to stay alive in the playoff chase.

Just when you thought things couldn’t get any more strange in the the world of college football, the second Saturday of November came along. Here’s a look at the craziness.

The Oklahoma Sooners still held out hope for a Big 12 title heading into their home game against 12th-ranked Baylor. Things were certainly looking good as the Sooners led 14-3 at the end of the first quarter. Ahem, that 14 points is all that OU would score. Their defense on the other hand gave up 45 unanswered points in the Bears’ 48-14 thrashing of Oklahoma in Norman.

Minnesota and Wisconsin will play at the end of the season in Madison for the Paul Bunyan ax. Both remained on a crash course for the Big Ten West title with wins Saturday. The Gophers blew out Iowa 51-14 while Wisconsin went to West Lafayette and beat the Boilers 34-16. Both teams must face Nebraska before then and the Gophers still have the Ohio State Buckeyes as well so there is still much to be determined.

Saban
Alabama survived in Death Valley and Nick Saban couldn't be happier. I think...

In Death Valley where LSU Had Coach Les Miles has lost just three times in 50 night games there, the Alabama Crimson Tide defeated the Tigers in overtime 20-13. Bama kicked a field goal to tie in the final seconds then scored immediately in OT. The defense took over from there forcing four-straight incompletions to earn the win.

With the Tide’s win, there are four other games from yesterday that will impact their standing heading into Tuesday’s “Big Reveal.”

A lot of people were trying to make an argument for Notre Dame should the Irish finish with just the one, close loss to Florida State. That argument is no longer valid after the Irish were left for dead in the desert by Arizona State. QB Everett Golson threw for over 400 yards but turned the ball over five times in the 55-31 loss. With this development, the Irish are on the outside looking in while ASU will have built up its’ standing with just one loss.

Another one-loss team hoping to survive the regular season was Auburn. No one however, could have seen their 41-38 loss to Texas A&M coming. The Aggies just weeks ago were beaten by Alabama 59-0 but behind new QB Kyle Allen they held off a late charge by the Tigers. Auburn will now have to be the litmus test as to whether a two-loss SEC team can make it. They still have to survive road trips to Georgia and Alabama though.

In an elimination game, the Ohio State Buckeyes went into East Lansing and dropped 49 points on the Spartans in a 49-37 win that gives Ohio State control of the Big Ten East Division. The loss for the Spartans means a chance at the college football playoff is now gone. For the Buckeyes, it means they stay alive. Their one loss was to Virginia Tech and is probably the worst loss of any of the one-loss teams so there is no guarantee OSU gets in but at least they are in position.

The other elimination game was in the Big 12 where TCU knocked off fellow one-loss tea Kansas State 41-20. The Horned Frogs have road trips to Kansas and Texas before finishing the season at home against Iowa State. On paper, it would appear TCU is a shoo-in to finish with just the one loss to Baylor. The really intriguing part here is if both finish with one loss.

Baylor finishes with Oklahoma State, Texas Tech and Kansas State all at home. The nod would have to be given to the Bears should they also finish with just one loss

My top Four for right now would be Mississippi State, Florida State, Oregon and Alabama.

 

2015 College Football Playoff Futures Released

The 2013 NCAA football season has come to close for another year after an incredible final BCS Championship Game was won by Florida State 34-31 on a last second touchdown pass by Heisman Trophy holder Jameis Winston.

Within 24 hours of the crystal bowl trophy being handed to the Florida State players and coaches, sportsbooks such as Bovada, betonline, sportsbook.com and topbet had already released their opening odds for the winner of the first College Football Playoff.

It is not surprising that the team at the top of the list is the new national champion the Florida State Seminoles. With Winston returning to play another season, the Seminoles are at the head of the class with just less than 8 months before the opening kickoff.

The Seminoles have been listed as the odds on favorite for another national title with futures sitting on 5 to 2. The new system to determine the national champion is known as the College Football Playoff and consists of four teams. The new format replaces the BCS that was in place for 16 years.

The final game of the four-team tournament will determine the national champion with the title game being played in Arlington, Texas at AT&T Stadium home of the Dallas Cowboys on January 12, 2015.

Auburn, who was just 79 seconds from a national title on Monday night, is tied for sixth in the odds at 20 to 1 to win the national title. Tre Mason, the team’s talented running back who ran for 195 yards in the title game on Monday, has not announced if he will return for another season at Auburn.

However, most insiders believe the rest of Auburn’s offense will return. On defense, some players are graduating, but with their depth, they should find sound replacements.

Alabama sat atop the futures boards for college football most of this past season trailed closely by Oregon. Those two schools are tied for second in the new futures for next season at 5 to 1.

The Crimson Tide has not been used to a longer price like 5 to 1, but head coach Nick Saban will have to work hard to find a quarterback to replace four-year starter A.J. McCarron. Rounding out the top 5 on the new futures board for college football are the Oklahoma Sooners and Ohio State Buckeyes both at 12 to 1.

Top Ten Odds for 2015 National Champion

Florida State 5-2

Alabama 5-1

Oregon 5-1

Ohio State 12-1

Oklahoma 12-1

Auburn 20-1

LSU 20-1

UCLA 20-1

Baylor 20-1

Michigan State 25-1