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 sportsbook.com.

 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.

Mariota Leads Race for Heisman, Gordon Inches Closers

The Heisman Trophy race heated up over the weekend as last week’s leader Marcus Mariota had the week off and Melvin Gordon set a new all time single game record with 408 yards rushing.

The game by Gordon improved his chances for the trophy by light years. It also has helped Gordon’s cause that his team, the Wisconsin Badgers was victorious in an important Big 10 conference game and look to be in position to win their division.

While Mariota was resting over the weekend, another top contender Dak Prescott suffered through a subpar game as Mississippi State lost to Alabama.

Mariota still remains a big distance out in front from the other contenders, but the appearance of Wisconsin in the championship game of the Big 10 will provide Gordon the opportunity to increase his stock.

Heisman Trophy Odds

Marcus Mariota on Bovada and betonline is -500 chalk to win the trophy. Mariota should have huge numbers this Saturday at home versus the Colorado Buffaloes. However, the finale of the regular season against Oregon State on the road could be a challenge. Oregon State was 1-5 in the Pac-12 before beating Arizona State last weekend. Mariota will not have Hroniss Grasu his All-American center or Pharaoh Brown his tight end. Regardless, his ratio of touchdown to interception of 29 to 2 is daunting. Then add in another 8 touchdowns rushing and that makes him look unbeatable.

Melvin Gordon is now 3 to 1 to win the coveted Heisman. He exploded against Nebraska last Saturday for 408 yard on the ground and 4 touchdowns. The running back, who is just a junior, ran the ball just 25 times on the night over three quarters to set the record. The Badgers have now won 5 straight and covered four straight, according to topbet and sportsbook.com. Gordon is the nation’s leader with 1,908 yards on the ground and 23 touchdowns.

J.T. Barrett is now 10 to 1 to win the Heisman. Barrett helped lead the Ohio State Buckeyes to their eight straight win. He amassed 389 total yards and 4 touchdowns. He passed for 200 yards and ran for 189. On the season, the freshman has 29 touchdown passes and 8 interceptions. He has also rushed for 9 touchdowns.

Dak Prescott dropped to 20 to 1. He had 3 interceptions against Alabama in Mississippi State’s 25-20 loss. Prescott now has 20 touchdown passes and 10 interceptions. He has rushed for 11 touchdowns.

Other possibilities but nevertheless long shots are Amari Cooper the wide receiver for Alabama at 40 to 1 and Trevone Boykin the quarterback for TCU at 35 to 1.

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 sportsbook.com.


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.

Kentucky is Huge Favorite to Win NCAA Basketball Championship

Odds makers have placed the Kentucky Wildcats as the biggest favorite starting the NCAA basketball regular season in many years.

Kentucky looks on paper to be leaps and bounds ahead of the rest of college basketball as the season begins this week.

According to Bovada and topbet, the Wildcats are available at just 9 to 5 to win the NCAA National Championship next April.

However, when one is betting, low prices are not good. Odds that low to win the national championship are almost unheard of.

Not even in 2011-12 did the Kentucky squad that had the likes of Anthony Davis start the season which such low odds, according to betonline and sportsbook.com. That season, the Wildcats did win the national championship.

Despite the low value with a short price, the Wildcats have drawn a high percentage of the future bets at many online betting sites.

Close to 48% of the entire money for NCAA futures has been place on Kentucky, said one online betting site spokesperson. Kentucky has received, said the spokesman, five times more money than the next team Arizona.

Bettors know that Kentucky reached the Final Four last season and are comfortable betting even with the short odds. The media is telling everyone that Kentucky has a dozen NBA players, can play like an NBA Playoff team and could go undefeated during the season.

Kentucky head coach John Calipari has between 10 and 12 players who could start on any other team in the country. His bench is so deep he has worked on a platoon system so that his players all are given ample opportunity to help the team win.

In terms of money that has been wagered on the futures for the NCAA Championship, following Arizona is the North Carolina Tar Heels, Wisconsin Badgers, UConn Huskies, Duke Blue Devils, Michigan State Spartans and Texas Longhorns.

The list of teams being bet on the most includes three of the four teams that competed in last season’s Final Four. Last season Kentucky, UConn and Wisconsin were amongst the last four standing, along with Florida.

Below is a list of the top 15 odds to win the NCAA National Championship in 2015.

2015 NCAA Basketball Tournament Odds
KENTUCKY WILDCATS 9 to 5
ARIZONA WILDCATS 7 to 1
DUKE BLUE DEVILS 10 to 1
WISCONSIN BADGERS 10 to 1
NORTH CAROLINA TAR HEELS 15 to 1
FLORIDA GATORS 18 to 1
KANSAS JAYHAWKS 18 to 1
GONZAGA BULLDOGS 20 to 1
TEXAS LONGHORNS 25 to 1
LOUISVILLE CARDINALS 30 to 1

Large Handle Expected on Six Important College Football Games

Thus far, during the week the biggest moves on betting lines for Week 11 have involved schools that are smaller such as Appalachian State and Georgia Southern.

However the bigger schools scheduled to play games that are much more meaningful for the inaugural College Football Playoff, will likely attract large volume come Saturday.

According to data take from Bovada and topbet, both Alabama and Auburn have must win games if they want to stay in the race for the College Football Playoff.

Big Ten action features the conference’s most important matchup of the entire season between Ohio State and Michigan State.

On betonline and sportsbook.com, Appalachian State was a pick ‘em when the lines opened on Sunday, but by Friday was -4. Georgia Southern opened as a favorite on the road by -9 over Texas State, but that has grown to 14.

Northwestern opened the week as a favorite at home by 2.5 points over Michigan, but by Friday, the line reversed and the Wolverines became a 1.5-point favorite.

Six games are expected to take a huge amount of action on Saturday, including Alabama visiting LSU, Texas A&M visiting Auburn, TCU hosting Kansas State, Michigan State hosting Ohio State, Oregon traveling to Utah and Notre Dame on the road versus Arizona State.

These are all games that will determine who moves on as well as who is gone.

One odds maker said that the wise guys would still be looking at some secondary schools. However, he added that the public would only be looking at these all important games with postseason implications.

Auburn was a 20-point favorite at home to open against a Texas A&M team that has struggled of late. That line by late Friday was at -23. Bettors have bailed out on A&M after they have won just 1 of their past 4 games and are 0-5 ATS in their past 5 games played.

With Kenny Hill sidelined, no one really feels they have a remote chance of keeping the game close, unless Auburn is looking ahead to another important game.

Michigan State was a 3-point favorite at home over Ohio State when the lines opened. That went up to -4 but has settled on -3.5.

Whoever wins this matchup of perennial Big Ten powerhouses, will have the best shot in the conference of making the College Football Playoff.

Late games will also influence the College Football Playoff this weekend.

With Utah hosting Oregon in Pac-12 play and Notre Dame visiting Arizona State, there are 3 teams playing in two games that have legitimate shots at playing for the national championship if they win today as well as the rest of the season.

Sit down and get ready to watch football at its best.

Alabama Laying 6 points at LSU Saturday Night

Southeastern Conference action highlights the college football schedule on Saturday. One of those important games will be the Alabama Crimson Tide visiting the LSU Tigers.

Alabama remains outside the top 4 in the College Football Playoff rankings at No. 5. However, the Tide will have another opportunity to showcase their talent when they travel to LSU.

Before anyone goes and writes in a win for Alabama on Saturday, remember that LSU is has won 19 of its past 21 games at home against opponents from the SEC.

A win by LSU against Alabama as a dog at home, would help the Tigers for their short and long-term futures.

The current line has Alabama favored by 6.5 points with the point total on just 45.5.

According to Bovada and betonline, Alabama is just 1-7 ATS over its past eight games as a favorite on the road, without covering its last five.

LSU is 3-0 against the number over its past three games playing as a dog at home.

According to topbet and sportsbook.com, the Tigers are 19-2 SU over their past 21 games at home versus opponents from the SEC. The only two losses are Mississippi State earlier in the season and two years ago to Alabama.

The UNDER has cashed in 3 of the past 4 LSU games as an underdog at home. The UNDER has cashed in 4 of the past 5 games between these two archrivals.

Alabama might be No. 5 in the most recent rankings for the College Football Playoff, but their schedule will give them a shot to prove to their doubters that are amongst the top 4. The Tide has the Tigers this weekend and then must play at home versus Mississippi State and Auburn.

Like Alabama, the Tigers have won three straight games. LSU’s last win was October 25, as an underdog at home by 4 points, when they defeated Ole Miss 10-7.

Most insiders believe Alabama has a much better offense than does LSU and will likely put points on the board easier than the Tigers will.

As the season has gone on, LSU has picked up experience and confidence. At home under the lights, LSU is 46-4 under Les Miles.

The game will likely be a defensive battle with turnovers playing a key part in who wins this matchup. Both teams are very strong defensively, while both tend to be very conservative offensively making an ideal situation for the UNDER.

LSU is 3-0 over its past three home games when an underdog. The big play however in this is the UNDER, with a slight lean toward LSU and the points.

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 sportsbook.com.

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

OREGON DUCKS 9 to 2
ALABAMA CRIMSON TIDE 5 to 1
FLORIDA ST SEMINOLES 6 to 1
MICHIGAN ST SPARTANS 7 to 1
MISSISSIPPI ST BULLDOGS 7 to 1
TCU HORNED FROGS 8 to 1
AUBURN TIGERS 10 to 1
KANSAS ST WILDCATS 12 to 1
OHIO ST BUCKEYES 15 to 1
NOTRE DAME FIGHTING IRISH 15 to 1

SEC Showdown in Oxford Between Auburn and Ole Miss

The start of November, an SEC rivalry, both teams in the top four in the inaugural rankings for the College Football Playoff, it just does not get any better than this.

On Saturday, the Auburn Tigers visit the Ole Miss Rebels in what should be an exciting game under the lights.

Ole Miss is looking to rebound from its first loss of this season.

However, Auburn has won four of the past five head-to-head games versus Ole Miss, both straight up and against the number.

Both teams must win if they hope to remain in the top four of the College Football Playoff rankings.

The current line has Ole Miss favored by 2.5 points with the point total sitting on 51.

Auburn is 4-1 SU as well as ATS in its past 5 games versus Mississippi. The Tigers are also 4-1 ATS in its past 5 games on the road versus opponents from the SEC. The Tigers are 3-1 ATS over its past four games as a road ‘dog.

The Rebels are 4-0 ATS over their past 4 games as a favorite at home. Ole Miss has covered the spread in 7 of its past 10 games played at home versus opponents from the SEC.

The OVER has cashed in each of the past three games Auburn has played as a road ‘dog. The OVER has cashed in 7 of the past 10 games Ole Miss has played as the favorite at home.

Head to head the OVER has cashed in 4 of the past 5 games between the Tigers and Rebels.

Last week Ole Miss faced another must win game to be considered a legitimate contender for the national championship. The Rebels came up short when they lost to LSU 10-7.

However, the selection committee for the College Football Playoff kept Ole Miss for the time being in the top 4.

Many football observers believe Ole Miss will make the final four if they can run the table from here on out. That includes Auburn today and Mississippi State to end the regular season, which is no easy task

Auburn has a daunting task ahead of them as well.

The Tigers this month have to play on the road against Ole Miss today, Georgia and Alabama. They have to also play at home versus Samford and Texas A&M.

Ole Miss loves the UNDER. The UNDER has cashed in 7 of the Rebels 8 games this season and 10 of their last 11 dating back to last season.

With the pressure mounting on both teams to win, that could make the UNDER if more attractive.

The home side giving less than a field goal is a solid play.

I like Ole Miss and the UNDER.

Winston Situation is a Referendum on the Whole Darn Problem

Winston
Winston
While I'm pretty sure Jamies Winston is guilty of several things, getting money for autographs shouldn't be one of them.

Off the field, the last seven days have been pretty bad for the reigning Heisman Trophy Winner Jameis Winston. His school, Florida State University, has opened an investigation into his sexual assault allegations. According to Title IX rules, FSU is within its’ rights to investigate the alleged assault on their own. Winston has also been linked to the same sports’ memorabilia people that have cost Georgia running back Todd Gurley his season.

On the field, Winston was brilliant in leading the Seminoles over Syracuse in Western New York on Saturday. He was 30 for 36 for 318 yards and three touchdowns and is proving once again that he seems to play better the more the off-field scrutiny he is under.

Signing autographs for anyone is not against the law nor is it against the rules of the NCAA. Accepting so much as a dime however is a violation of NCAA rules and to this point Winston claims he never accepted any money. ESPN’s Darren Revell said the signatures on 500 pieces of memorabilia were in the same location on each piece and were signed with the same marker.

While that doesn’t mean Winston did anything wrong, it suggests that he did these signings at one time which under almost all circumstances results in a payment.

Gurley
Todd Gurley was suspended for making money on his name. Georgia makes millions on it but that's OK.

I don’t have the answers here and I’m not going to claim to but I’ve been around long enough to know that where there is smoke, there is almost always fire. Going back to the FSU investigation for a minute, while this will not result in any jail time or legal ramification, it could be a tremendous thorn in Winston’s side from here on out in his personal and professional life.

He has the right to remain 100% silent while being questioned by FSU authorities but what has already been uncovered is disturbing. Florida State officials have admitted what many of us assumed about the Tallahassee Police Department’s investigation. It was poorly done and was essentially swept under the rug to make things easier for Winston and the football program.

Regardless of how this investigation turns out, the real issue here is the eventual death of amateurism.

My personal opinion is that a player should be allowed to make money any way possible (within the law obviously). Take Gurley for example who is currently suspended for signing jerseys for money. Why can’t he make money for this when the University of Georgia is making money hand over fist by selling his jersey on their own website?

Move away from football for second… There was a time in amateur athletics when athletes basically lived on whatever they had. Corporate sponsorship was not allowed at the time so many Olympic hopefuls had to rely on their families for financial support.

Now, look at a guy like Michael Phelps who apparently got bored being an average citizen and was arrest two weeks ago for his second DUI. Phelps has made millions off of sponsorships like the ones he’s had with Subway, Under Armor and several swimming apparel companies. The mere fact we call Olympians ‘amateurs’ anymore is a joke.

While I firmly believe Winston has screwed up royally and much of it due to feelings of entitlement, the system still needs to be overhauled. College athletes need to be allowed to take advantage of their fame especially considering the money they bring in for their universities.

Oregon Ducks 23-Point Chalk at Home Against Arizona

Thursday night college football heads to the Pacific Northwest, when the Oregon Ducks host the Arizona Wildcats in a Pac-12 showdown.

Last season, the Wildcats upset the Ducks 42-16 and the Ducks will be looking to take their revenge.

The line has Oregon favored by 23 points on Bovada and topbet, while on betonline and sportsbook.com the point total is sitting on 79.

Arizona enters this matchup at 4-0 SU and 1-3 ATS. The Wildcats are 6-3 SU over the past 9 head-to-head games with Oregon.

Arizona is 1-4 against the number over its past 5 games as a road dog.

Oregon is also 1-4 against the spread in its past five home games as a favorite. The Ducks are also 2-7 ATS over their past 9 games overall.

In point totals, the OVER is 4-1 over the past five games Oregon has been the favorite at home.

Last season when the two met, the Ducks had been defeated by Stanford two weeks earlier and did not have an opportunity for a perfect season.

Marcus Mariota the talented Oregon quarterback will be looking to dissect the Arizona secondary and put up a number of points on the board.

The Arizona rushing offense is strong and with quarterback Anu Solomon coming off a five-touchdown effort on September 20 against Cal.

Two seasons ago, the Ducks defeated Arizona at home 49-0 as a favorite by 20 points.

Nick Wilson the talented freshman running back for Arizona helped the Wildcats to their Hail Mary win over Cal 49-45. He leads the Pac-12 in rushing.

However, Arizona on the road following a bye is 1-4 SU and ATS. The only ATS win in that stretch was against the Ducks in 2010 when the Wildcats lost 48-29 but covered an underdog spread of 20.5 points.

Oregon is coming off a September 20 win of 38-31 over Washington State, but they failed again to cover a 21.5 spread as the favorite.

At home, following a bye, the Ducks are 10-0 SU in their past 10 and 6-2 ATS over their past 8.

With both teams only covering a combined 2 of 8 games this season, the advantage of playing at home could be big for Oregon.

Some believe Arizona will score and kept it within the 23-point spread, but I think differently I am taking the Ducks in a lopsided 55-21 win.