My Winners for Today’s Semifinal Games and More.

A win in the Rose Bowl would make Jameis Winston's career record at Florida State 28-0.

Normally a piece like this would be featured in the research area of the website but I’m “blogging” it today because I just have to break down these New Year’s Day games.

Florida State (+8) vs Oregon (O/U 71) – Despite being the only unbeaten team left in college football, the Seminoles are the three-seed in the first-ever college football playoff. Frankly, there’s a couple of reasons for that and those are the relatively weak schedule and the constant need to come from behind against much of that competition.

The Ducks are out to prove a couple of things; first, that they aren’t a finesse team and second, that their Heisman winning QB is better than Florida State’s. While may will make this a game between Marcus Mariota and Jameis Winston, I believe the defenses will play a significant role in who advances to the title game.

FSU has struggled defensively compared to last year and that’s giving lots of people reason to lay their money on the Ducks but there is one major concern I have here. Oregon struggles to score touchdowns in the red zone because they tend to go east and west more than north and south and they run out of room near the end zone. Offensive coordinator Scott Frost will need to make proper adjustments there.

Trends: The Ducks are 5-0 straight up in their last five games… Florida State is 1-4 against the spread in their last five games…The total has gone UNDER in four of FSU’s last five games.

The Pick: As badly as I want to take FSU here because of their penchant for comebacks this season, I have a feeling the Ducks are going to run them out of the building with an offensive pace they haven’t seen all year. Take the Ducks to cover and take the OVER.

The Buckeyes' fortunes will rise or fall behind QB Cardale Jones tonight.

Ohio State (+9) vs Alabama (O/U 58) – Ohio State comes to New Orleans with a team led by a quarterback who has started just one game in his career. Granted, Cardale Jones tore up Wisconsin in the Big Ten Title game 59-0, but he’ll face a much greater challenge in terms of both defensive talent and defensive coaching from Alabama.

The Tide under Nick Saban have always been a run-first team but behind new offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin, the offense has exploded. The key will be whether the Alabama offensive line can handle a very good defensive line from Ohio State. If the Crimson Tide control the line of scrimmage then it could be a long day for the OSU defense.

Trends: Alabama is 4-10-1 against the spread in their last 15 games… Ohio State is 5-0 straight up in their last five games… The total has gone OVER in 11 of OSU’s last 12 games… The Crimson Tide is 5-0 in its’ last five contests.

The Pick: With six national titles between the two of the them, Saban and Urban Meyer will have their teams ready to play. I think Bama wins but I like the Buckeyes getting the points and I like the OVER as well.

Other Bowls

Wisconsin (+7) vs Auburn – Take the Tigers to cover as the Badgers are in a bit of disarray right now.

Michigan State (+3) vs Baylor – I can’t get Sparty’s second half collapse against Oregon’s high-octane offense out of my head. Take the Bears to cover.

Minnesota (+5) vs Missouri – Are you sensing a trend? Every Big Ten team playing today is an underdog. With good reason too, take the Tigers to cover.

College Football Conference Championships – Lines, Looks and Trends

College football this weekend has conference championships and other games that could have postseason implications. The season has winded down and teams know that with each game their hopes of playing for the national championship will continue or be extinguished.

Missouri has played well this season as the underdog with a 5-1 SU and ATS record. The Tigers are 8-1 SU in their past 9 games as dogs.

Last week the Tigers were dogs and won outright after rallying in the final quarter to defeat Arkansas 21-14 and take the SEC East title for the second consecutive year.

On Saturday, the Tigers will face Alabama as 14.5-point dogs in the SEC Championship game.

This season Alabama was just 3-5-1 ATS for the 9 games the Tide was a favorite by double-digits. However, if you count the last four games of last season, the Tide was 3-9-1 ATS over its past 13 games favored by double-digits.

Missouri is No. 13 in the nation in scoring defense allowing just less than 20 points per game. Missouri has thrived for the past few years as an underdog. Alabama is likely to win outright, but the Tigers will be a solid choice ATS.

Since losing to Arizona 31-24 on October 2, Oregon is 7-0 SU and ATS.

The Ducks have won each game by 12 or more points. Oregon is sitting as the 14.5-point favorite at this time for Friday’s Pac-12 Championship game.

As a dog, Arizona is 2-1 SU and ATS this season. Arizona defeated both Oregon and Utah, as an underdog, but lost SU and ATS against UCLA as the dog.

Baylor meets Kansas State on Saturday with both teams hoping to make the inaugural College Football Playoff. No line has been opened as, books wait to see if Bryce Petty the talented quarterback for Baylor can play after suffering a concussion last weekend.

Kansas State is 9-5 ATS in its past 24 games played as an underdog on the road.

This year the Wildcats won the game outright in two games in that situation against West Virginia and Oklahoma. However, they also were resoundingly beat by TCU in that same situation as a road dog 41-20.

Georgia Tech will not have two top playmakers on Saturday against Florida State in the ACC Championship. DeAndre Smelter has a torn ACL and Broderick Snoddy has an injured leg. Both account for a great deal of offense for the Ramblin’ Wreck.

Ohio State will be without starting quarterback J.T. Barrett in their Big 10 Championship Game against the Wisconsin Badgers. Cardale Jones a sophomore will start in Barrett’s place. The Buckeyes are currently an underdog by 4 points to Wisconsin according to Bovada and topbet.

Lots of Leftovers for Your Wagering Plate

Saturday is likely the end for Brady Hoke's tenure at Michigan.

Today would normally be a day to sit down and give you the breakdown on a handful of college games that are going on today and tomorrow. Instead, I’m going to give you much more. Kind of like how you went back for more turkey, stuffing, potatoes, etc.

Loosen your belt and enjoy. (My picks are in BOLD)

Northern Illinois (+7) at Western Michigan – Both teams are tied atop the MAC West with Toledo at 6-1. WMU has won six-straight but needs help while a NIU win gives them the title.

Virginia (-1) at Virginia Tech – Both teams enter at 5-6. The winner goes bowling while the loser goes home and perhaps starts searching for a new head coach.

Nebraska (EVEN) at Iowa – There are some suggesting this game could determine Bo Pelini’s fate in Lincoln while Kirk Ferentz appears to be in Iowa City for life.

Arkansas (-3) at Missouri – The Razorbacks are playing as well right now as any team in the country. They’ve posted back-to-back shutouts over LSU and Ole Miss. A Mizzou win gives them the SEC East title.

Rich Rodriguez and his Wildcats host rival Arizona State in a game with major implications.

Arizona State (+2.5) at Arizona – This one is simple. The winner stays alive in the Pac-12 South race while the loser is out. This is one of the great rivalries in college football that doesn’t get the attention it deserves.

Stanford (+6) at UCLA – The disappointing season of Stanford finishes in the Rose Bowl where it all unraveled last season in a loss to Michigan State. The Bruins appear to be peaking and remain a long-shot for the college football playoff should chaos ensue at the top.

Saturday’s Action

Michigan (+21) at Ohio State – Brady Hoke needs a win just to make UM officials even consider keeping him. The Buckeyes have been heavy favorites before against the Wolverines but have struggled to win. Not today… This one will get ugly.

Minnesota (+14) at Wisconsin – Minnesota has to be ticked at being a two-touchdown dog at Wisconsin. The Gophers have played well in wins and losses this season and this one is for the Big 10 West title. Look for lots of running in this one.

Washington (-3) at Washington State – The Battle for the Apple Cup features the bowl-bound Huskies against a Cougars’ team that has struggled all season. Mike Leach’s job security in Pullman can only be described as “not very good” at the moment.

Baylor (-25) at Texas Tech – TCU is in the clubhouse at 11-1 after drubbing Texas. Baylor now must hold serve in order to keep their playoff chances alive. The Red Raiders can score points but their defense is…. Going to be abused today. Normally anything over 21 points scares me but not today.

Georgia Tech (+13) at Georgia – The Yellow Jackets are already in the ACC Title game against Florida State. The Bulldogs will already know if they are in the SEC Title game by the time they wake up today. Either way, I expect home-field to be important.

Oregon (-20) at Oregon State – What a disappointing season this has been for the Beavers. I expected so much more from Sean Mannion and company… The Ducks know the drill; win today and win the Pac-12 title and they’re in the playoff. OSU won’t go easily though and keeps it close.

Auburn (+9) at Alabama – Nothing can top last year’s game so let’s forget that right now. Bama has been a machine at home this season while Auburn has really fallen apart in recent weeks.

Florida (+7.5) at Florida State – The Seminoles have done nothing easy all season and that will continue today. In Will Muschamp’s final game coaching the Gators, I expect them to keep it close.

Tennessee Suspensions and Weekend Trends

This week’s college football lineup has some interesting storylines. One of those involves the Tennessee Volunteers. Just when Butch Jones the head coach seemed to have his team headed in the right direction with two consecutive wins against Kentucky and South Carolina, bad news arrived earlier in the week.

A.J. Johnson the team’s star linebacker and Michael Williams the talented sophomore cornerback  were indefinitely suspended from all activities related to the team pending a police investigation.

Williams and Johnson are involved in allegations of sexual assault stemming from a Sunday morning incident in Knoxville.

Johnson is the SEC leader with 101 tackles, while Williams has 23 tackles and has started five games.

The Volunteers through early Friday were still favored on Bovada and topbet by 3.5 points over Missouri their opponent on Saturday.

Missouri, after defeating Texas A&M 34-27 as a 3.5-point road dog, has cashed in 8 straight road games. Dating back as far as 2007, Missouri is 25-9 against the number in their past 34 games on the road, according to betonline and

 Quick Tips

  • Notre Dame has two linemen on defense out for their Louisville game at home. Both Daniel Cage and Sheldon Day will be sidelined with injuries to their knees. Everett Golson at quarterback is probable with a shoulder injury. The Irish are favored by 3.
  • Marshawn Williams the running back from Virginia Tech has an ACL tear. The top three rushers for VT have gone down injured this season. Virginia Tech is favored on Saturday over Wake Forest by 15 points, but is 1-7 ATS over their past 8 games as a favorite on the road.
  • Arkansas defeated LSU last week 17-0 for its first SEC victory under Bret Bielema. The Razorbacks are 8-1 ATS in their past 9 games. This weekend they are 3-point home dogs against Ole Miss. As a favorite on the road under Huge Freeze, Ole Miss is 3-3 ATS. The Razorbacks are 2-3 ATS playing as a dog at home during Bielema’s tenure there.
  • Daxx Garman the quarterback at Oklahoma State is questionable for the Cowboys games against Baylor on Saturday.
  • Cody Thomas will start at Oklahoma under center for the second consecutive game. Trevor Knight is out after suffering a concussion in the Sooners loss at home to Baylor.
  • Connecticut is 1-3 ATS as a dog at home this season, but 20-7 ATS since 2005 as home dogs.

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 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


One Game Headlines Saturday College Football Schedule

College Football enters week 12 with a number of good matchups, but one is the clear headliner, when it comes to the national championship.

However, any game that has a point spread and an over/under point total is interesting.

The headliner between Alabama, which is No. 5 in the last College Football Playoff off rankings, will host Mississippi State, which is No. 1.

Nearly all the action is on Alabama, which Bovada and betonline, say has driven up the line to nearly a 10 point spread with Alabama favored at home.

Florida State enters the weekend at No. 3 in the CFP rankings and must visit arch rival Miami. The Seminoles are favored by just 2.5 points, according to topbet and sportsbook com. Do you remember prior to the start of the season, when Florida State was a double –digit favorite on the futures board for every game?

Other Saturday Games

Ohio State at Minnesota

The Buckeyes are favored by 13.5 points. In the 9 Ohio State games this season, 8 have cashed on the OVER. The Buckeyes must avoid a letdown after defeating Michigan State last week.

TCU enters the game favored by 28 points. The Horned Frogs are 8-1 against the number this season. The Kansas offense and defense are poor and that should help TCU to easily cover.

Nebraska at Wisconsin

The OVER has cashed in three straight games between the two schools. That trend will likely continue in this matchup, with both schools having a superior running attack that will continue moving the chains.

Mississippi State at Alabama

The Crimson Tide is favored by 9.5 points. Many believe Alabama is far superior and that the line will be up to 10.5 or 11 before the kickoff Saturday afternoon.

Auburn at Georgia

Georgia has a number of weapons offensively now that running back Todd Gurley was reinstated. Auburn faces a letdown after its loss last week. This could be an even better matchup than Mississippi State and Alabama.

LSU at Arkansas

LSU could see a letdown after suffering a heartbreaking loss last week. However, with that in mind, many are surprised to see Arkansas favored after losing 17 consecutive games against SEC opponents.

Florida State at Miami

This matchup throws out regular season records. The bitter rivalry will be a close battle. Miami has Duke Johnson one of the best running backs in college football, while Florida State has Jameis Winston to guide its potent offense.

Arizona State at Oregon State

Arizona State is in a tough spot laying 7.5 points on the road. ASU is winless at Reser Stadium since 2005. The point total in only 2 of the past 10 games has reached a combined 60 points.

Alabama 9-point Chalk at Home Against No. 1 Mississippi State

College football enters week 12 with a number of great conference matchups. One such matchup will be in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, when the Alabama Crimson Tide ranked No. 3 in the nation hosts the No. 1 ranked Mississippi Bulldogs.

For Alabama this is a must win if it hopes to play for its fourth national title in the past six years. A win puts then closer to being selected as one of the final four teams for the inaugural College Football Playoff, while a loss all but eliminates them from any hope.

Alabama is currently on the outside looking in, in the most recent College Football Playoff rankings. Mississippi State is No. 1 while Alabama is No. 5.

The ironic thing is that Alabama is favored by 9 points over the No. 1 team in the nation.

The Tide opened as the favorite by 7 points and that number has been bet up during the week to the 9.5 points where it sits at his time, according to information taken from Bovada and

Trends that Must be Looked At

  • Alabama is 7-0 straight up and against the spread in its past 7 games at home versus SEC opponents.
  • The Tide is 6-2 ATS over its past 8 games as a favorite at home.
  • Alabama is 0-5-1 against the number in its past 6 games as a favorite by single digits, but each of those previous six was on the road.
  • This the shortest favorite line at home Alabama has had since November 2011 when they won 9-6 SU, but failed to cover as a 5.5-point favorite against LSU.
  • Mississippi State has lost 11 of its past 13 games head to head with Alabama.
  • The Bulldogs are 2-10 SU over their past 12 games as a dog on the road.
  • The UNDER point total is 11-2-1 over the past 14 games and has cashed in 6 of the past 7 between the two teams.

According to betonline and topbet, most of the betting public has placed their dime on Alabama to cover in this matchup.

Alabama has defeated Mississippi State rather easily in each of the past six games. The Tide in those six games has outscored the Bulldogs 175-41 for an average score of 29-7.

However, against the spread, Alabama is only 4-2 over those same six games.

Mississippi State however will not roll over easy. The Bulldogs are averaging over 522 yards a game, which is No. 6 in the nation and 39 points per games, which is No. 12.

Pick: I lean toward Alabama. The Tide has played four out of its past five games on the road. Mississippi State has played under par the past three games.

The Bulldogs are not familiar with being in these types of pressure situations. I like Alabama 35-21.

Marcus Mariota Shortens His Odds in Heisman Trophy Race

For some college football fans, the hype of the first College Football Playoff has overshadowed this season’s race for the coveted Heisman Trophy.

Nevertheless, odds makers have kept up with the race and have updated odds each week. Currently on Bovada and, Marcus Mariota the talented dual-threat quarterback for the Oregon Ducks is leading.

With another very good outing last week with Oregon winning straight up as well as against the spread, the Ducks junior quarterback has become a stronger favorite to win the coveted prize.

According to topbet and betonline, Dak Prescott the quarterback for Mississippi State is in second, but he does not have stats close to those of Mariota.

The only way it looks like Prescott might have a chance against Mariota is if Mariota loses over his last two regular season games or the Pac-12 championship and then it will be tough for Prescott to catch him.

 Current Top 5 for the Heisman Trophy

  1. Mariota is -300 Chalk. This week is a bye week for Oregon, but Mariota has hit 67% of his passes, has 2,781 yards passing and a 29 to 2 TD to interception ratio. Last week against Utah in a 51-27 win, he accounted for 4 touchdowns and 353 total all-purpose yards.
  2. Prescott is 4 to 1 to win. Last week he had two touchdown passes while running for another without throwing any interceptions in a rout over UT Martin. This season he has 18 touchdowns and 7 interceptions, 2,231 yards passing and 779 yards rushing.
  3. Melvin Gordon is 12 to 1 to win. Gordon, the talented running back for Wisconsin is the leading rusher in the nation. He ran for 205 yards and a touchdown versus Purdue last week. On the season, Gordon has rushed for 1,500 yards averaging 7.6 yards a carry. He has 21 touchdowns, which is second in the nation.
  4.  J.T. Barrett is 18 to 1 to win. Barrett was thrust into the spotlight as a redshirt freshman to start the season when Braxton Miller went down with a season ending injury. The Ohio State QB has 26 touchdown passes and 7 interceptions. He has rushed for 582 yards and 8 TDs.
  5. Alabama wide receiver Amari Cooper is 20 to 1 to win. Cooper has caught 79 passes for 1,216 yards with 10 touchdowns. To have the slightest shot at winning he will have to have great games versus Auburn and Mississippi State.

The race looks to be Mariota’s to loss. If he continues playing well and the Ducks when their last two regular season games in which they are heavily favored, he should take home the coveted trophy handed out by the Downtown Athletic Club.

College Football Championship Odds Updated

College football is entering week 11 this week and teams are jockeying for position in their conferences and in the national polls.

This season marks the inaugural College Football Playoff with the top 4 teams headed to a three game playoff that will culminate with the college football championship.

Over the past two seasons, Oregon was defeated by Stanford and that made this past Saturday’s game between the two carry a great deal of weight despite the Cardinal being unranked and just 5-3 on the season.

Oregon was able to exact revenge on the Cardinal and cruised to a 29-point win on Saturday. That has prompted odds makers at Bovada and topbet to make them the 9 to 2 favorites to win the inaugural College Football Playoff.

The Ducks, led by talented junior quarterback Marcus Mariota still have to face Utah, the No. 17 ranked team in the nation. The Utes have already defeated two ranked teams during the season.

Oregon’s road to the title game in the Pac-12 is very smooth with just Oregon State and Colorado to end the season.

However, winning out and claiming the Pac-12 crown would help Oregon convince the committee picking the four playoff teams that they are deserving to be one of the those four.

Florida State was able to handle what appears to be its final tough test prior to the ACC Championship with an 11-point win against the Louisville Cardinals.

Over the upcoming several weeks, it is likely there will be plenty of moving amongst the teams vying for the four spots.

That movement will be seen on odds boards and on sites such as betonline and

All the teams from the SEC that are in the mix for the playoff have huge matchups remaining on their schedules. For example, Alabama must play LSU, Mississippi State and Auburn

If Oregon can continue winning, the Ducks should not have a problem becoming one of the four teams to play for the national championship.


Latest Odds for 2015 College Football Championship


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 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.