National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell suspended Indianapolis Colts’ Owner Jim Irsay for six games and fined him $500,000 for his arrest back in March. Irsay admitted to a judge that he was under the influence on both hydrocodone and oxycodone. According to ESPN, he also had Xanax in his system as well when he was pulled over near his home.
While I congratulate Goodell for finally reaching a decision in the matter and actually being a bit harsh, the fine is laughable in my opinion. Much like the players who get fined and simply pull the money from the front pockets, Irsay will do the same. If General Managers, Team Presidents and owners are going to commit these types of actions (see the Lions and Broncos for example) then the way you actually get the point across is by hitting them with draft picks.
Most of the reaction on Irsay has been ‘ho-hum’ as expected. Again, I think it’s a great step forward for Goodell but if you really want to put a stop to this stuff then hit’em where it hurts then go after the draft picks because that’s when the fans will get involved too.
Welker Suspension Shouldn’t Surprise You
Late yesterday the NFL suspended Denver Broncos’ receiver Wes Welker for four games after a test for amphetamines came up positive. Welker is already out dealing with his third concussion since November. Welker attended a hearing several days ago in which he argued the sample was tainted but it was to no avail.
When the issue of marijuana use comes around, we are always told that we’d be surprised by the number of players who use the mostly illegal drug. What I believe to be just as prevalent is the use of these amphetamines. Normally taken for things like depression or Attention Deficit Hypertension Disorder (ADHD), the drug is banned by the NFL.
Players in the NFL have been looking for any advantage possible going back to the earliest days of the game. Using amphetamines and other drugs as a way to gain more focus, recover quicker and get stronger faster are as common as a Peyton Manning touchdown pass.
If I’m Wes Welker, I take this as a sign. With so many concussions in such short amounts of times, he needs to think about walking away from the game and perhaps this latest misstep is a sign from above.
Wisconsin Has Another Issue
If you saw the Wisconsin Badgers jump out to a 17-point lead that they carried into the second half Saturday night against LSU then you know they did it on the back of the offensive line and running back Melvin Gordon. QB Tanner McEvoy was making his first start at the position and while he made plays with his feet , he was just 8 of 24 for 50 yards and two interceptions.
The man he was replacing was last year’s starter Joel Stave and there were thoughts that maybe he would return to spark the Badgers’ passing game. That notion is now on the shelf along with Stave who is sidelined with a sore throwing shoulder. It’s been reported that it could be serious enough to keep him out all season. If that’s the case, the Badgers will have to ride with McEvoy which means the running game will have to carry the team.
Along with Nebraska, the Badgers are the favorites to win the Big Ten West but this injury clearly puts them in a tough spot for the remainder of the season.
Bookmakers declared Florida favorites to win an NCAA title on Tuesday. Hours later the Gators fell to conference rivals Missouri.
Whilst Indiana held on to the top spot on the AP poll this week, it was #5 Florida that held tight to the No. 1 spot on bookmakers’ lists of NCAA tournament favorites.
Odds of the Gators winning the tournament currently stand at 5/1. That makes it two weeks in a row that Billy Donovan’s side has impressed bookmakers enough to be considered the best team in college basketball.
But as has been the case so often this season, Tuesday held one more twist in the tale. The Gators traveled to Columbia, Mo., looking to follow up an 83-52 victory over the Tigers in Gainesville, Fla., by handing the side its first home loss of the season.
Missouri had other ideas and mounted a comeback from 13 points down. With 1:15 left on the clock, senior forward Laurence Bowers hit the go-ahead shot and the Tigers never looked back. Missouri (19-7, 8-5 SEC) edged Florida (21-4, 11-2 SEC) by a final score of 63-60.
It appears that the Gators may not top the futures list for much longer.
#1 Indiana (24-3, 12-2 Big Ten) may not have topped bookmakers’ list this week, but the Hoosiers put one foot forward in its bid to secure that very spot when that list is next released, defeating conference rival #4 Michigan State (22-5, 11-3 Big Ten) 72-68 on Tuesday night.
The win was that much more impressive when you consider that the Hoosiers defeated the Spartans in East Lansing, Mich., where Tom Izzo’s side had previously been unbeaten this season.
Indiana currently has odds of 11/2 to win the NCAA tournament. Those odds are likely to fall in the wake of Tuesday night’s win, whilst the top spot in the AP poll is all but a guarantee come Monday with the Hoosiers now idle until next Tuesday.
Michigan State meanwhile saw its odds shorten from 12/1 last week to 10/1 this week. Those odds may be lengthening again after this huge loss. Sunday’s game at Ohio State now becomes very important.
Alongside Indiana, #2 Miami (22-3, 13-0 ACC) is also considered 11/2 to win the tournament. Those odds have shortened from 9/1 this time last week. The Hurricanes held off Virginia 54-50 on Tuesday night, and with a trip to Wake Forest this weekend, the side looks good to hold firm both in the AP poll and on the futures list.
After three losses in four games, #7 Michigan (22-4, 9-4 Big Ten) may have defeated Penn State on Sunday but the Nittany Lions played it close for much of the game. That wasn’t lost on bookmakers. The Wolverines saw their odds of winning the championship slip slightly, dropping from 7/1 to 15/2. With Illinois and Penn State up next, John Beilein’s side has the opportunity to impress again.
In losing to Maryland on Saturday, #6 Duke (22-3, 9-3 ACC) saw its stock drop slightly, with odds of winning the NCAA tournament falling from 17/2 to 9/1. The Blue Devils will remain a popular bet with the public, while nobody will deny that this team has the potential to go all the way, despite three losses in the ACC this year. A visit to Virginia Tech (Thurs.) and a home game against Boston College (Sun.) will give Coach K’s side a chance to bounce back.
Elsewhere on the futures list, #3 Gonzaga (25-2, 12-0 WCC) not only climbed up two places on the AP poll but also saw its tournament odds cut from 18/1 to 12/1. The Zags are one of only three teams in the futures’ top 10 that saw their odds shorten (Miami, Michigan State). With home games against Saint Clara and San Diego scheduled for this week, those odds may be coming down again next week.
The dominance of the Big Ten and Big East this season reverberates through the futures’ top 25, with both conferences having six sides listed.
In addition to Indiana, Michigan State, and Michigan, the Big Ten is represented by: #18 Ohio State (18-7, 8-5 Big Ten) at 30/1; #19 Wisconsin (18-8, 9-4 Big Ten) at 50/1; and Minnesota (18-8, 6-7 Big Ten) at 60/1.
The Big East is represented by: #10 Louisville (21-5, 9-4 Big East) at 12/1; #8 Syracuse (21-4, 9-3 Big East) at 20/1; #20 Pittsburgh (20-7, 8-6 Big East) at 40/1; Cincinnati (19-7, 7-6 Big East) at 50/1; #11 Georgetown (19-4, 9-3 Big East) at 60/1; and #17 Marquette (19-6, 10-3 Big East) at 60/1.
Marquette is one of three sides to have entered the futures’ top 25 this week. The others are #14 Oklahoma State (19-5, 9-3 Big 12) at 50/1 and #13 Kansas State (21-5, 10-3 Big 12) at 60/1.
Three more AP ranked sides fell to unranked opposition on Saturday, the most noteworthy of which was #2 Duke’s two-point loss to “rivals” Maryland. That result will generate another shakeup in the AP poll to be released on Monday and in the NCAAB futures to be released on Wednesday.
#21 Notre Dame and #25 Kentucky joined Duke on the loser’s list, falling to Providence and Tennessee respectively. Both teams will be struggling for an NCAA tournament berth now.
Sunday’s college hoops slate features a host of ranked teams looking to avoid a similar fate. Whilst we expect #4 Michigan and #12 Louisville to handle business against Penn State and South Florida respectively, the remaining three AP top 25 fixtures have more than a little intrigue about them.
#13 Ohio State @ #20 Wisconsin
1:00 PM ET
The ultra-tough Big Ten conference has made it tough to gage just how good #13 Ohio State (18-6, 8-4 Big Ten) and #20 Wisconsin (17-8, 8-4 Big Ten) are this season. Both have their fair share of wins this year, but losses have begun piling up as well. The same can be said of Michigan and Minnesota.
The Buckeyes and Badgers will both be looking to add a win to their tally Sunday afternoon in Madison. Ohio State grabbed a victory over Northwestern on Thursday, snapping a two-game losing streak. Wisconsin lost in Minnesota that same day, putting the brakes on a three-game winning streak.
Wisconsin has been solid at home this season. The Badgers have won their last three at the Kohl Center and 13 of the last 14. Ohio State has been less than stellar on the road, going 3-4 away from Columbus. They’ll be extra cause for concern for the Buckeyes; the side is 1-6 against opponents ranked in the AP top 25. Wisconsin is 4-4 in that same category.
Wisconsin’s last three games have gone to overtime, a testament to how tough the Badgers play opponents in their very deliberate offense. That very deliberate offense has generated just 237 turnovers (9 ½ per game) which ranks the side the third best in the country.
This Season: Ohio State defeated Wisconsin 58-49 in Columbus on Jan. 29.
Last Season: The two sides split a pair of regular season meetings, with each school winning on its opponent’s floor.
Favorite: Wisconsin Spread: 2 Total: 119½
Take: WISCONSIN – Ohio State hasn’t proved itself on the road this season and the Badgers are very good at home. That should be enough for the straight up victory. Ohio State (12-10-0 ATS) has fared better than Wisconsin (9-14-0 ATS) against the spread this season, but with the spread at just two points it’ll be hard to cover. Take the Badgers t cover. Although both teams trend towards the under, take the total to go over, especially if this one goes to overtime.
#9 Arizona @ Utah
3:00 PM ET
With consecutive losses, #9 Arizona (20-4, 8-4 Pac-12) has slipped to third in the Pac-12, just one game ahead of rivals Arizona State in the loss column. UCLA and #23 Oregon – both winners on Saturday – are ahead of the Wildcats.
Utah (11-13, 3-9 Pac-12) will welcome the slumping Wildcats with open arms. The Utes may look a mess in terms of their record, but Sunday’s game will provide the side with a good opportunity to knock-off a quality opponent. The Utes came close to doing exactly that when the two sides met earlier in the year.
Utah scored a victory over Arizona State on Wednesday, snapping a two-game losing streak in the process. The side limits opponents to just .386 shooting (25th in the nation) and will look to put the shackles on an Arizona side used to scoring.
This Season: Arizona scored a narrow 60-57 win over Utah when the two met Tucson on Jan. 5.
Last Season: Arizona won both games between the two schools last year, including a 77-51 win in Salt Lake City.
Favorite: Arizona Spread: 8½ Total: –
Take: ARIZONA – Expect the Wildcats to grab a bounce back win, but expect it to come at a cost. Utah (14-8-0 ATS) has been tremendous against the spread this season, compiling an 8-5-0 ATS record at home and a 10-5-0 ATS record as underdog. Take the Utes to cover again on Sunday.
#3 Miami (FL) @ Clemson
6:00 PM ET
Duke’s loss to Maryland on Saturday leaves #3 Miami (20-3, 11-0 ACC) way out front in the ACC standings. A win on Sunday would put the Hurricanes three games ahead with six to play. That loss also opens up the possibility that Miami can take the #2 spot in the AP poll on Monday (with two wins, Indiana will stay at #1).
The trick now is to stay ahead of the game and not to lose focus, particularly against a Clemson (13-11, 5-7 ACC) side that will be all too happy to play spoiler. The Tigers don’t have a quality win on their résumé this season, which should give Miami all the more reason to be wary.
This Season: This is the first meeting between the schools this season. They’ll meet again on Mar. 9 in Coral Gables.
Last Season: Miami defeated Clemson 76-73 in Coral Gables in the only meeting between the schools last season.
Favorite: Miami Spread: 6½ Total: 120
Take: MIAMI – It’s hard not to expect the Hurricanes to slip up somewhere along the way, but the side seemingly is refusing to do so. It wouldn’t be a stretch to the imagination to see the side head into Duke on Mar. 2 with a 15-0 ACC record. The side won’t slip up against Clemson, a side that is 0-4 against AP ranked opponents. The game could be close though, particularly as the Tigers have won seven of the last nine at home. Still, take Miami (14-4-2 ATS) to cover the spread. With both teams able to stop opponents scoring, take the total to go under.
With just five Saturday’s left on the college basketball regular season, every single game is taking on a bigger importance. Don’t believe us? Just ask any of those ranked teams that came unglued this past week.
With the top spot in the AP poll up for grabs, the likes of Michigan, Duke, and Miami (FL) will be gunning to make an upwards move, and impress the selection committee along the way. What they’ll be looking to avoid is ending up on the wrong end of the score line, a la Indiana, Florida, and Kansas.
Here at Casino Review we’ve filtered through Saturday’s gargantuan college hoops schedule to bring you some betting tips in games that really matter.
#3 Michigan @ Wisconsin
12:00 PM ET
Kicking-off Saturday’s lunchtime slot in style, #2 Michigan (21-2, 8-2 Big Ten) will travel to Wisconsin (16-7, 7-3 Big Ten) in one of this weekend’s Big Ten crunch games.
The Wolverines scored a nail-biting victory over Ohio State in Ann Arbor on Tuesday, taking the game 76-74 in overtime. Some have suggested that the Buckeyes – having already beaten the Wolverines once this season – may be better than Michigan. John Beilein’s side will look to prove the doubters wrong.
Wisconsin has proven to be a tough out in the Big Ten this season. With wins over Illinois, Minnesota, and Indiana – all ranked at the time – the Badgers have played hard and appear to be on the cusp of infiltrating the AP poll themselves.
The Badgers will look to command a slow pace, and limit the scoring of the fifth best shooting team in the league. Michigan has shot .503 from the field, and .412 from behind the arc (6th). Stopping this efficient offense will be the only way Wisconsin can win.
This Season: This is the only regular meeting between the two schools this year.
Last Season: Michigan downed the Badgers 59-41 at the Crisler Center in the only meeting between the sides last season.
Favorite: Michigan Spread: 1 Total: 122
Take: MICHIGAN – No doubt there’s a serious upset opportunity here, but Wisconsin has yet to prove itself capable of beating one of the Big Ten’s top sides in Madison. The closest the side got was a two-point loss to Michigan State. This will be a close one, but with the spread at one, take the Wolverines (13-8-1 ATS) to cover also. Take the total to go under, as is the trend with the very deliberate game plan Wisconsin brings to the table.
North Carolina @ #8 Miami (FL)
2:00 PM ET
Are the Hurricanes for real? Will the Tar Heels turn this season around? Those are just two of the questions that we’d like answers to, and preferably sooner rather than later.
#8 Miami (18-3, 9-0 ACC) will put its undefeated ACC record on the line as North Carolina (16-6, 6-3 ACC) comes to town. The Tar Heels looked to have turned things around until falling to North Carolina State two weeks ago. With three wins since, it’ll take a win in Miami to prove to anybody that this season can be turned around for good.
Ranking in the top 10 in points, rebounds, and assists this season, North Carolina will need to improve its defense if it’s to get past Miami, a team that is very good on the defensive end.
Meanwhile, the Hurricanes simply need to play their own game and shoot the ball well to get a win out of this one.
This Season: Miami defeated UNC 68-59 in Chapel Hill on Jan. 10, the third win on the side’s current 10-game winning streak.
Last Season: The Tar Heels handed a pair of losses to Miami last season, winning 73-56 at home and 73-64 in Miami.
Favorite: Miami (FL) Spread: 7½ Total: 136½
Take: MIAMI – Two weeks ago we had UNC to defeat NC State. The Tar Heels let us down that week, and now we’re hesitant to back them in any big game. Still, we wouldn’t be surprised to see Roy Williams’ side hand the Hurricanes a first ACC loss. Still, take the Hurricanes to hold on to this undefeated streak and, with a 13-4-1 ATS record, cover the spread as well, something North Carolina hasn’t done well on the road (4-4 ATS) or as the underdog (1-3 ATS). Take the total to fo under, a it has in 12 Miami games this season.
#11 Louisville @ #25 Notre Dame
After ‘celebrating’ a top-ranking in the AP polls with three straight losses, #11 Louisville (19-4, 7-3 Big East) has secured three straight wins, and will look to add a fourth on Saturday night.
#25 Notre Dame (18-5, 6-4 Big East) has yo-yo’d in and out of the rankings thanks to an inconsistent season. The Fighting Irish are one of the best shooting teams in the country – shooting .487 from the field (11th) and .391 (19th) from three-point range – yet poor shooting defense has seen the side struggle. Never was this more evident than in Monday’s 63-47 loss in Syracuse. With five of the last eight games against teams currently ranked in the AP top 25, Notre Dame needs to find a way to win here.
The Irish are 13-2 at home, with only Connecticut and Georgetown scoring wins at Purcell Pavilion. Meanwhile, Louisville is 5-2 in true road games. Two of those losses came in the three-game skid following the top ranking. The Cardinals handled Rutgers on Wednesday night, handing the Scarlet Knights a 63-47 beating.
This Season: This is the first of two meetings between the schools this season. They will meet again on Mar. 9, in the final game of the season.
Last Season: Notre Dame scored a 67-65 double-overtime win over the Cardinals in last season’s regular season fixture (at Louisville), before the Cardinals gained a measure of revenge in the Big East tournament, defeating the Irish 64-50 in the semifinals.
Favorite: Louisville Spread: 4½ Total: 131
Take: LOUISVILLE – Another game with upset potential, but expect Louisville to come out of this one unscathed. The Cardinals (12-9-1 ATS as the favorite) should cover the spread also. Take the total to go under.
Come back to Casino Review tomorrow for a full preview of #1 Indiana’s crunch Big Ten showdown with #10 Ohio State.
In what has become the most open race in recent years, college basketball was blown wide open again on Saturday as a slew of AP-ranked sides fell by the wayside.
Whilst the likes of Duke and North Carolina State returned to winning ways, Saturday’s schedule saw no fewer than six Top 25 teams fall to non-ranked opposition, with the most high-profile upsets coming in the Big East.
#3 Syracuse 71, Villanova 75 (OT)
#3 Syracuse (18-2, 6-1 Big East) was the first side on Saturday to come up short against a non-ranked opponent. The Orange had been flying high with an 18-1 record and an unbeaten tally in the Big East. Jim Boeheim’s side had relished in Louisville’s shortcomings over the last week.
That was until a trip to Villanova (13-7, 4-3 Big East). The Wildcats picked off Syracuse in overtime, just four days after knocking off the Cardinals. The Orange had been favored by 5½ points going into the game, but ended up losing for the first time in conference play. Despite the result, Syracuse remains at the top of the Big East, just ahead of Marquette and Pittsburgh.
#5 Louisville 51, Georgetown 53
#5 Louisville (16-4, 4-3 Big East) followed up two straight losses with more disappointment on Saturday, this time in D.C.
Georgetown (14-4, 4-3 Big East) covered a +5 spread and scored a narrow win over the luckless Cardinals, who now find themselves sixth in the conference just two weeks after being the top-ranked team in the nation. This poor run of form could see Rick Pitino’s side plummet down the AP poll on Monday.
#11 Kansas State 67, Iowa State 73
#11 Kansas State (15-4, 4-2 Big 12) followed up Tuesday’s loss to #3 Kansas with another loss, this time to Iowa State (14-5, 4-2 Big 12). Whilst Iowa State might not have been ranked heading into this one, the Cyclones were the bookies’ pick to win the game, opening with as the favorite with the spread at 3. This loss alone might not have had a huge factor on Kansas State, but coupled with Tuesday’s loss it could see the Wildcats drop a long way down.
#12 Minnesota 44, Wisconsin 45
Like Kansas State, #12 Minnesota (15-5, 3-4 Big Ten) wasn’t favored by bookmakers headed into this one. The Golden Gophers (+1½) had lost three straight, and were in free fall. That free fall just got a whole lot worse, as the Badgers scored a one-point victory on Saturday.
Wisconsin (14-6, 5-2 Big Ten) snapped a two-game losing streak, scoring its first win since defeating a #2 Indiana side on Jan. 15. The Badgers have now won three games against ranked opposition since the turn of the year.
#15 New Mexico 34, San Diego State 55
#15 New Mexico (17-3, 4-1 MWC) head coach Steve Alford criticized the lack of support for the Mountain West Conference in the AP polls earlier this week, stating that there were four sides that should have been ranked. One of those sides made mincemeat of the Lobos on Saturday.
San Diego State (16-4, 4-2 MWC) made a push for this week’s AP poll with a 21-point win over New Mexico, as decisive victory as you’re likely to see between the sides. Bookmakers certainly expected something a lot closer, setting the spread at 3½. Vegas did get one thing right though; they had the Aztecs as favorites.
La Salle 69, #19 Virginia Commonwealth 61
Notice any trends above? That’s right; all of the ranked teams that came up short on Saturday were playing on the road. Now, welcome Virginia Commonwealth.
The Rams of Virginia Commonwealth (16-5, 4-2 A 10) had already experienced one loss this week – a 86-74 defeat at Richmond – before the side came up short at home on Saturday. La Salle (14-5, 4-2 A 10) meanwhile scored its second victory over ranked opposition of the week, after defeating Minnesota on Wednesday.
With two losses this week, expect the Rams to drop out of the AP poll completely this week.
A Week of Upsets
The six ranked sides that fell to non-ranked opposition on Saturday brought this week’s total up to a staggering 13.
Things started on Monday when Georgetown defeated #24 Notre Dame, a win that, coupled with Saturday’s win, will almost certainly see the Hoyas make this week’s Top 25.
On Tuesday Villanova upset #5 Louisville while Wake Forest handed #18 North Carolina State a loss.
On Wednesday, La Salle beat #12 Minnesota and #17 Creighton fell to Drake. The big news that day was #25 Miami’s demolition job of Duke, which whilst it was a game between ranked opponents at least deserves mention here.
Thursday saw Richmond defeat #19 Virginia Commonwealth, and UCLA had #6 Arizona a loss.
Three more ranked sides will be looking to avoid losing to non-ranked opposition on Sunday, the highest profile of which will be #2 Michigan (18-1, 5-1 Big Ten). A win for the Wolverines could very well put the side at the top of the poll. A loss will all but assure Kansas takes that spot.
Meanwhile, #25 Miami (14-3, 5-0 ACC) could be primed for a huge leap, providing the Hurricanes can add Florida State (11-7, 3-2 ACC) to its list of scalps this season.
If you didn’t get your fill of basketball action on Martin Luther King Day yesterday, fear not. College basketball serves up an extensive slate of games on Tuesday, including six involving teams ranked in this week’s AP Top 25.
Casino Review has filtered through these and brings you a preview of two of the biggest on the schedule, starting with the Spartans hitting the road.
#13 Michigan State @ Wisconsin
7:00 PM ET
How do you follow up a win over Indiana? Wisconsin (13-5, 4-1 Big Ten) answered that question with a loss to Iowa on Saturday, which may be proof enough that the Badgers aren’t quite ready to contend in a loaded Big Ten just yet.
Michigan State (16-3, 5-1 Big Ten) meanwhile is riding a five-game winning streak into Madison, Wis. That streak makes up part of an 11-1 run since the beginning of December. The Spartans now look to retain their spot at the top of the conference.
Both sides have been defensively-minded this season. Michigan State has conceded 58.4 points per game while Wisconsin has allowed just 55.8. The two sides matchup evenly in scoring and on the boards, as well as in assists and blocks.
The Spartans have the advantage in field goal percentage, shooting 46.8 percent, good enough for 39th in the nation. But Wisconsin is better from beyond the arc as well as looking after the ball. The Badgers have turned the ball over just 163 times this season, which puts the side third in the nation.
Michigan State has posted a 41-28 record over the Badgers since 1979.
Last Season: Michigan State scored a triumvirate of wins over Wisconsin, beating the Badgers twice during the regular season and then again in the semifinals of the Big Ten tournament.
Odds: Wisconsin is a 4½-point favorite at home, with the over/under at 123.
Take: MICHIGAN STATE – Bookmakers have taken a look at the Spartans’ 3-2 road record and considered the team unlikely to defeat the Badgers, who are 10-1 at home. Michigan State however outranks Wisconsin on enough levels to make this less clear-cut than a 4½-point spread would suggest. Take the Spartans to score the road victory and upset the spread. Take the total to go under behind both sides’ tough defense.
#3 Kansas @ # 11 Kansas State
8:00 PM ET
It’s the biggest game of the season so far, and perhaps the biggest the Big 12 has seen so far, so both Kansas (16-1, 4-0 Big 12) and Kansas State (15-2, 4-0 Big 12) will be eager to score a victory on Tuesday night.
The two sides have both impressed this season, with just three losses between them, and all to AP-ranked opposition. The Jayhawks dropped a very early game to Michigan State, but has won 15 straight since. The Wildcats fell to Michigan in December and Gonzaga in January, and are looking to extend an eight-game winning streak.
Kansas has owned the Wildcats in this series historically, running-up a 68-17 record.
Both sides have performed well defensively this year, with the Jayhawks giving up just 59.3 points per game, and ranking second in the nation with 136 blocks. The Wildcats have been even stingier on defense, giving up a paltry 57.3 points per game. Don’t expect this to be a shootout.
Kansas will look to take advantage of a superior record when it comes to shooting, scoring, and rebounding.
Last Season: Kansas won both meetings between the sides last season, including a 59-53 win in Manhattan.
Odds: Kansas is favored (-2½) heading into this one. The total stands at 127.
Take: KANSAS – The Jayhawks have had the Wildcats’ number of late, so take the side to remain unbeaten on the road whilst handing Kansas State its first home loss. Neither side is stellar against the spread so take Kansas (7-9-0 ATS) to edge out Kansas State (6-7-0 ATS) and the spread. Take the low total to go under, as is prevalent with both these sides.
Despite suffering an 84-76 defeat at the hands of North Carolina State on Saturday, Duke remains the bookmakers’ choice to win the 2013 NCAA Men’s Basketball tournament.
Currently ranked No. 3 by the Associated Press, Duke (15-1, 2-1 ACC) has been given 11/2 odds of winning the tournament, keeping the side ahead of the victorious NC State (14-3, 3-1 ACC), considered 18/1 to successfully navigate March Madness, a figure good enough for joint eighth on the NCAAB Futures.
Mike Krzyzewski’s side returns home to Cameron Indoor Stadium in Durham, N.C., on Thursday night to host a Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (10-5, 0-3 ACC) side still looking for its first ACC win of the season.
Odds makers have Indiana – ranked No. 2 in this week’s AP polls – nipping at the heels of the Blue Devils. Odds of the Hoosiers (15-2, 3-1 Big Ten) winning the tournament stand at 6/1, although Tuesday night’s home loss to Wisconsin could change a lot of opinion regarding the Bloomington side come this time next week.
Indiana is one of six Big Ten sides to feature in bookmakers’ top 25 list this week, making the conference the most represented in the list. The Big East is a close second with five sides represented.
The first of those Big East representatives is Louisville (16-1, 4-0 Big East). The Cardinals secured a No. 1 AP ranking this week following losses for Duke, Michigan, and Arizona, and are now considered third favorite to win the NCAA tournament.
Odds of Louisville winning it all currently stand at 8/1. The Cardinals host a huge game this Saturday as Syracuse (16-1, 4-0 Big East) makes the trip southwest to the ‘Ville.
The sixth-ranked Orange currently ranks behind Louisville in the Big East standings, AP polls, and NCAAB Futures, with odds of 14/1 – sixth on the list – to win the tournament. This game could have huge implications in all of those categories.
Florida (12-2, 2-0 SEC) – ranked No. 10 by the AP but fourth by bookmakers – has 12/1 odds to win the tournament. The Gators are the highest ranked SEC side on the list, heading off Kentucky (16/1) and Missouri (20/1).
The Gators will travel to Texas A&M (12-3, 2-0 SEC) on Thursday night before hosting Missouri (13-3, 2-1 SEC) in a big clash on Saturday.
The bookmakers’ top five is rounded out by Michigan (16-1, 3-1 Big Ten). The Wolverines’ 56-56 loss to Ohio State (13-3, 3-1 Big Ten) saw the side slip to No. 5 in the AP poll. Odds makers have the team tied with Florida at 12/1 to win the tournament.
Sunday’s result also saw the Buckeyes stake a claim for being a contender in the Big Ten. Ohio State has been assigned 18/1 odds of winning March Madness. That figure is identical to that given to Arizona (15-1, 3-1 Pac-12). The Wildcats – the highest rated Pac-12 side – bounced back from last week’s loss to Oregon with a win over Oregon State on Saturday.
Kansas (15-1, 3-0 Big 12) is the highest ranked Big 12 school, both in the standings and polls, but bookmakers currently think little of the side’s No. 4 AP ranking. The Jayhawks are considered 20/1 to win the tournament, 11th on the list. The side’s nearest conference rival, Baylor (11-5, 3-1 Big 12), is 25th on the list with odds of 40/1.
At 20/1, UNLV (15-3, 2-1 MWC) has the shortest odds of any side playing ball outside of the Power Six conferences. San Diego State (14-3, 2-1 MWC) also represent the conference in the bookmakers’ top 25, with odds of 33/1.
Two other non-power conference sides currently reside on the bookmakers’ top 25; Creighton (17-1, 6-0 MVC) at 22/1 (14th) and Gonzaga (16-1, 3-0 WCC) at 33/1 (21st).
Odds to Win the 2013 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament
Duke Blue Devils 11/2
Indiana Hoosiers 6/1
Louisville Cardinals 8/1
Florida Gators 12/1
Michigan Wolverines 12/1
Syracuse Orange 14/1
Kentucky Wildcats 16/1
Ohio State Buckeyes 18/1
Arizona Wildcats 18/1
Kansas Jayhawks 20/1
Missouri Tigers 20/1
UNLV Rebels 20/1
North Carolina State Wolfpack 18/1
Creighton Bluejays 22/1
Michigan State Spartans 25/1
North Carolina Tar Heels 25/1
Georgetown Hoyas 25/1
Cincinnati Bearcats 28/1
UCLA Bruins 33/1
Pittsburgh Panthers 33/1
Gonzaga Bulldogs 33/1
Wisconsin Badgers 33/1
San Diego State Aztecs 33/1
Illinois Fighting Illini 33/1
Baylor Bears 40/1
Odds supplied by Uwin.com (formerly Sportsbook.com)
Tired of trying to work through the ramifications of each of the conference races this year? Finding it hard to work out who needs to beat who and who needs to avoid a loss altogether? Fear not. CasinoReview has sat down and worked it all out for you and cut it into nice bite-size chunks.
Read on to see how the Automatic Qualifying conferences might pan out this season, then return on Friday to see what the non-AQ conferences have left in store.
ATLANTIC COAST CONFERENCE (ACC)
Florida State (9-1, 6-1 ACC) – A win over Maryland this weekend will see the Seminoles crowned division champions. A loss would leave the team hoping Clemson falls to NC State.
Clemson (9-1, 6-1 ACC) – Thanks to a loss to Florida State back in September, the only way Clemson can win the division would be a defeat of NC State coupled with a Florida State loss to Maryland. Anything else and the Seminoles take the division.
Duke (6-4, 3-3 ACC) – The Blue Devils actually have the future in their own hands. As fortune would have it, Duke plays its two nearest rivals – Miami (FL) and Georgia Tech – over the next two weeks. Wins in both games will secure the division. Losses in one or both game will eliminate the team from contention.
Miami (FL) (5-5, 4-3 ACC) – A win over Duke in the final week of the season will secure the division. A loss to Duke is acceptable, providing the Blue Devils defeat Georgia Tech this weekend.
Georgia Tech (5-5, 4-3 ACC) – A loss to the Hurricanes in September means the Yellow Jackets need to beat Duke this weekend and hope the Blue Devils knock-off Miami (FL) next weekend. Anything else and Georgia Tech is eliminated.
Kansas State (10-0, 7-0 Big 12) – Things couldn’t be more straightforward for the Wildcats. Win one of the last two and take home the Big 12 trophy. If Kansas State loses two, it will need Oklahoma to lose one of its last three.
Oklahoma (7-2, 5-1 Big 12) – The Sooners need to win out and hope that Kansas State loses its last two games.
Texas (8-2, 5-2 Big 12) – The Longhorns need to win out and hope Kansas State loses its last two games and Oklahoma loses its last three. That right there is the definition of a ‘long shot’.
Rutgers (8-1, 4-0 Big East) – Wins over Cincinnati (Nov. 17) and Louisville (Nov. 29) would give the Scarlet Knights the conference championship regardless of all other results. A loss to either will set-up one hell of a three-way-dance. Losses to both will effectively end Rutgers’ season.
Louisville (9-1, 4-1 Big East) – Taking care of business against Connecticut (Nov. 24) is the first piece of business for the Cardinals, who will then need to beat Rutgers in the last game of the season. A loss to Rutgers eliminates Louisville completely.
Cincinnati (7-2, 3-1 Big East) – A win over Rutgers this weekend puts Cincinnati in the driving seat having already beaten Louisville. From there, the Bearcats will need to match wins with both rivals to win the conference.
Nebraska (8-2, 5-1 Big Ten) – The Cornhuskers’ win over Michigan gives the team the advantage with just two games left. As long as Nebraska matches Michigan for wins, the Huskers will represent the Legends Division in the Big Ten Championship Game in Indianapolis.
Michigan (7-3, 5-1 Big Ten) – The Wolverines need one more win than the Cornhuskers to take the title. That means winning out and hoping Nebraska drops an unlikely game to Minnesota or Iowa.
With Ohio State and Penn State both ineligible for postseason play, Wisconsin booked its place in the Big Ten Championship Game last week. However, the actual division title remains on the line.
Ohio State (10-0, 6-0 Big Ten) – For whatever it’s worth, one more win secures the Leaders Division for the Buckeyes. Two losses would leave it in the hands of Wisconsin and Penn State, who play in the last game of the season.
Wisconsin (7-3, 4-2 Big Ten) – Wins over Ohio State (Nov. 17) and Penn State (Nov. 24) coupled with a Buckeyes loss to Michigan would give the Badgers the title. Anything less isn’t good enough.
Penn State (6-4, 4-2 Big Ten) – A win over Illinois (Nov. 17) is first on the agenda for the Nittany Lions. Then the team will need a win over Wisconsin and a Michigan win over Ohio State.
Oregon (10-0, 7-0 Pac-12) – A win over Stanford this weekend is enough for the Ducks to take the North Division championship. A loss makes next week’s Civil War game against Oregon State a must-win, as if it wasn’t already.
Stanford (8-2, 6-1 Pac-12) – A win over Oregon this weekend keeps the Cardinal in the race. From there, the team will need to beat UCLA or, failing that, hope Oregon State can beat Oregon.
UCLA (8-2, 5-2 Pac-12) – A win over the Trojans this weekend in Los Angeles will give the Bruins the South Division title and a shot at the conference championship. A loss gives the title to USC, even if the Bruins defeat Stanford next week as the Trojans would own the head-to-head tiebreaker.
USC (7-3, 5-3 Pac-12) – A loss to UCLA this weekend hands the division title to the Bruins. A win crowns the Trojans. Simple.
SOUTHEASTERN CONFERENCE (SEC)
Georgia (9-1, 7-1 SEC) booked its place in the SEC Championship Game last week with a 38-0 drubbing of Auburn. Florida (9-1, 7-1 SEC) was victorious last weekend also, but he Bulldogs’ 17-9 win over the Gators on October 27 gives the team from Atlanta the tiebreaker advantage.
Alabama (9-1, 6-1 SEC) – In order to win the division, Alabama must defeat Auburn in the Iron Bowl, the last game of the season. A loss would see the Crimson Tide hoping Texas A&M loses to Missouri that same week.
Texas A&M (8-2, 5-2 SEC) – The Aggies need Alabama to trip up against Auburn. A win over Missouri would then set up Texas A&M for the division, providing LSU loses one of its last two remaining games.
LSU (8-2, 4-2 SEC) – LSU needs to win out to stand any chance of winning the division. The Tigers will have a jumpstart, playing their last game of the season on Friday, November 23. With two wins, LSU would then need Alabama to lose to Auburn and Texas A&M to beat Missouri. That would set up a three-way tie for the division lead, which plays right into LSU’s hands.
With all three sides posting a conference record of 6-2, it would take a tiebreaker to decide the division champion, which is where it gets interesting.
LSU beat Texas A&M but lost to Alabama. Alabama beat LSU but lost to Texas A&M. Texas A&M beat Alabama but lost to LSU. There’s no head-to-head separation there which would take us to the next tiebreaker: the record within the division. Alabama loses out here with a 4-2 record while the Aggies and Tigers would both have a 5-1 record. The tiebreak then reverts back to head-to-head record, and because LSU toppled A&M, the Tigers would head to Atlanta and the championship game.
And after all of that, there’s time to breathe.
So there you have it. All the ifs, ands, and buts measured up and served in (almost) easy to swallow pieces. Remember to come back on Friday for CasinoReview’s breakdown of the non-AQ conferences.
On Tuesday CasinoReview took a look at the biggest rivalry games still to be played this season. There’s a whole chunk of them and College Football is going to be exciting down to the last play of the season.
Today we’ve trawled through the remaining schedule and picked out the biggest (non-rivalry) games left on the slate, most of which focus on those teams looking to play their way into a conference championship game or a conference title itself.
Below is a list of the top ten(ish) fixtures left on the schedule.
Editor’s Note: Much of the content is based on assumptions that the formbook will remain true. Of course, College Football is all too good at throwing upsets out there, so there’s (always) a chance that those games played towards the end of November may take on a whole different meaning. For now, let’s play nicely in the world of theoretical football. As a final note, the games included on this list generally feature two sides that will be impacted by the same game. Yes, we know Alabama-Texas A&M is going to be a big game, but more so for the Tide than the Aggies.
Wisconsin @ Indiana (Nov. 10)
Big Ten: Indiana could represent the Leaders Division at the Big Ten Championship Game. This might seem a little beyond the realms of plausibility, but it’s true. Due to both Ohio State and Penn State – the two table-toppers – being ineligible, Wisconsin currently fills the ‘top’ spot, one-game ahead of the Hoosiers. If Indiana beats the Badgers, in theory it has an ‘easier’ schedule (at Penn State, at Purdue) than Wisconsin (Vs. Ohio State, at Penn State). That means this Saturday’s game could ultimately decide the Leaders Division’s representative. Shocking.
San Diego State @ Air Force (Nov. 10)
MWC: It should be duly noted that the Mountain West isn’t simply about one big game; there are plenty to follow. With five teams still in the hunt, this weekend’s clash between the Aztecs and Falcons will not decide the conference, but it will make a massive dent. As well as this meeting with the San Diego State, Air Force still has an impending clash with Fresno State (Nov. 24) which puts the impetus firmly on the Falcons’ side of the field. Nevada’s games with Fresno State (Nov. 10) and Boise State (Dec. 1) could prove to have a huge impact too.
Arizona State @ USC (Nov. 10)
Pac-12: USC hosts the Sun Devils this coming weekend aware that a loss will effectively mean the end of the Trojans’ hopes for the South Division title. A win for USC sets up a must-win game with UCLA the following weekend, although Lane Kiffin’s side will still need to hope Stanford can knock off the Bruins in the last week of the season.
Oregon State @ Stanford (Nov. 10)
Pac-12: Big strides can be made in the Pac-12 North this weekend also, as the Beavers travel to the Farm to take on Stanford. Both sides currently have conference records of 5-1, and are within touching distance of the undefeated Oregon. A loss for either side will see those championship chances extinguished. Both sides still have to face Oregon, which brings us to…
Stanford @ Oregon (Nov. 17) or Oregon @ Oregon State (Nov. 24)
Pac-12: If Stanford beats Oregon State, the North Division title will be decided in Eugene, Ore., on Nov. 17. If the Beavers win, a Civil War showdown in Corvallis on Nov. 24 will be for all the marbles. Yes, we realize that this list wasn’t supposed to include rivalry match-ups, but this is one hell of a three-way dance.
Kent State @ Bowling Green (Nov. 17)
MAC: Bowling Green’s 26-14 win over Ohio on Wednesday night looks to have turned a three-horse race for the MAC’s Eastern Division into a two horse race. Providing the team wins this weekend, the Golden Flashes will visit Perry Stadium knowing that a win will all but secure the title.
Utah State @ Louisiana Tech (Nov. 17)
WAC: The Bulldogs of LA Tech have been bothering the rankings for what seems like the better part of the season now. Only a loss to Texas A&M mars the school’s record. But Louisiana Tech isn’t guaranteed a second straight WAC title. Utah State, still unbeaten in the conference, will have a say in who is crowned the final conference football champion. Essentially, barring any hiccups down the stretch, this game will determine who takes the prize.
Toledo @ Northern Illinois (Nov. 17)
MAC: Currently one and two in the MAC’s Western Division, the Rockets and Huskies will meet in DeKalb, Ill., next weekend in what could be the division decider. Toledo’s loss to Ball State on Tuesday night has given Northern Illinois the advantage for now, but a head-to-head win would propel Toledo above the Huskies.
Louisville @ Rutgers (Nov. 29)
Big East: With both sides facing two conference challenges between now and this New Jersey showdown, a lot of scenarios can arise. For now, it’s simple: if both teams steer the course, this clash will determine who closes out the season as Big East champions.
Arkansas State @ Middle Tennessee (Dec. 1)
Sun Belt: Finally, with four weeks of play left, the Sun Belt Conference is completely up for grabs. No fewer than seven teams (Arkansas State, Louisiana-Monroe, Middle Tennessee, Western Kentucky, Louisiana-Lafayette, Troy, and North Texas) are still mathematically in the mix, which makes this a bettors’ paradise or nightmare, depending how you look at it. Let’s keep it simple then; if the remaining schedule is true to the formbook, this clash between the Red Wolves and Blue Raiders could well decide the division. This weekend’s rivalry clash between Arkansas State and ULM could have a huge bearing also.
List of Conference Championship Games
ACC: Sat., Dec. 1 – Bank of America Stadium (Charlotte, NC)
Big Ten: Sat., Dec. 1 – Lucas Oil Stadium (Indianapolis, IN)
C-USA: Sat, Dec. 1 – Hosted by team with highest winning percentage
MAC: Fri., Nov. 30 – Ford Field (Detroit, MI)
Pac-12: Fri., Nov. 30 – Hosted by team with best conference record
SEC: Sat., Dec. 1 – Georgia Dome (Atlanta, GA)
BCS National Championship Game: Mon., Jan. 7 – Sun Life Stadium (Miami Gardens, FL)
It didn’t take long for the upsets to start. Washington (3-1) beat #8 Stanford (3-1) 17-13 on Thursday night in a match few thought the Huskies had a chance in. With the game at CenturyLink Field – the site of Monday’s NFL upset/debacle – people probably should have thought a little harder.
The remaining Week 5 college football slate doesn’t look like it has too many upsets on it, but then again, how many times has that been said this week. Here’s a look at some of the key matchups.
As Big Ten conference play kicks off, #14 Ohio State (4-0, 0-0 road) visits #20 Michigan State (3-1, 3-0 home) as 3-point underdogs. The Spartans have been touted for their defense this season, but a loss to Notre Dame two weeks ago suggest it might not be up to scratch. Against Ohio State and the elusive Braxton Miller, the defense will get tested. With the way the Big Ten’s going this year, take Ohio State to win this one.
In the only other ranked game this weekend, #25 Baylor (3-0, 1-0 road) travels to #9 West Virginia (3-0, 3-0 home) to see what all the Geno Smith fuss is about. The Bears have been on the cusp of the AP rankings this season, but expect them to fall off the list again as the 11-point favorite Mountaineers win this one comfortably.
Top of the Polls
Let’s cut to the chase. The AP Poll’s top three all have it easy this week. #1 Alabama and #3 Oregon are 30+ point favorites against Ole Miss and Washington State respectively. #2 LSU takes on Towson of the FCS. Everything there should go to order.
#4 Florida State meanwhile pays a visit to South Florida in what some are picking to be a potential upset, but in reality is going to go the same way as the Seminoles’ last four.
So that brings us to this SEC East beauty. Tennessee (3-1, 0-0 road) visits #5 Georgia (4-0, 3-0 home) in the first of four consecutive games against ranked opposition. The Vols looked ordinary against Florida two weeks ago and the Bulldogs have looked like beasts. Freshman RB Todd Gurley has already ran for 406 yards and six touchdowns. Take favorites Georgia to win outright and to beat the 14-point spread.
#12 Texas (3-0, 1-0 road) heads to Oklahoma State (2-1, 2-0 home) on the back of an extra week to prepare for the Cowboys. This is a close one to call as highlighted by the 3-point spread in favor of the visitors. If Texas is to improve on two poor seasons, they’ll need to run and run early against the Cowboys defense. Ultimately, take the home team to win a close one and get the experts asking even more questions about the Longhorns.
#18 Oregon State (2-0, 1-0 road) visits Arizona (3-1, 3-0 home) as underdogs. It appears oddsmakers aren’t bowled over by two solid performances. The Wildcats have played well this season, bar last week’s 49-0 drubbing at the hands of Oregon. Take Arizona to beat the 3-point spread in a rebound performance.
#22 Nebraska (3-1, 3-0 home) hosts Big Ten rivals Wisconsin (3-1, 0-1 road) in a battle of underachievers. Badgers’ RB Montee Ball is having a tough time of it trying to run the football this season, so if the away team is to get anything out of this visit that will have to change. Meanwhile, the Cornhuskers have looked less than impressive this season, and suggestions that their place in the polls is down to last year’s performance may not be too far from the mark. In this one the Huskers will be 12-point favorites. Take Wisconsin to beat the spread but lose a close one in what will be a scrappy game.
Worth a Watch?
It’s a quieter week in college football than normal but here are a few games that might be worth a watch.
Louisiana Tech (3-0, 2-0 road) heads to Virginia (2-2, 2-0 home) and while most will switch channels this could be a doozy. The Bulldogs are running rampant in the WAC and have not scored less than 52 points in three games. With the spread at just three points, take the favored Bulldogs to win this one with the 60 point over/under being smashed in a shootout.
UTSA (4-0, 2-0 road) visits New Mexico State (1-3, 1-1 home) in the WAC’s first conference game. The Aggies opened as favorites but that line has quickly changed. The Roadrunners are now one-point favorites to beat a New Mexico team that has lost three straight. Take the Aggies to break the trend and beat the spread.
Finally, Rice (1-3, 1-1 road) and Houston (0-3, 0-1 road) meet in the Bayou Bowl at Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas. The Cougars could do with some of the Texans’ good play rubbing off on them. Take Houston as 7½-point underdogs to finally get off the mark.