Sep 3, 2022; Gainesville, Florida, USA; Florida Gators quarterback Anthony Richardson (15) during the first quarter at Steve Spurrier-Florida Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Take 5: Week 2 CFB Odds, Trends & Predictions

Week 2 of the college football season features all of the top 25 teams in the nation in action, with three contests pitting ranked teams against each other.

Five interesting trends sportsbooks are reporting ahead of Saturday’s jam-packed slate of games.

5. Roll Tide Roll Over Sark?

Top-ranked Alabama will pay a visit to former Crimson Tide offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian’s unranked Texas team in Austin. The Tide opened as 19-point favorites at PointsBet and the line has moved to 20 with Alabama drawing 90 percent of the spread-line bets and 95 percent of the handle.

The story is similar at BetRivers, where it has been the most wagered-on game of the weekend with 11.1 percent of the total college football handle. There has been almost twice as much money wagered on Alabama vs. Texas than any other game on the Week 2 schedule, with 88 percent of the spread handle backing the Tide at -20.

It has also been the most popular game at BetMGM, where Alabama has been backed by 88 percent of the bets and 92 percent of the handle with the line shifting from 17.5 to 20.5 points by Friday.

4. Pitt on Upset Alert

No. 24 Tennessee travels north to play No. 17 Pittsburgh, but it’s the Volunteers who are a 4.0-point favorite at BetMGM, where they have been backed by the second-most spread bets (73 percent) and handle (73 percent) of all teams this weekend.

The spread is 5.0 points at PointsBet but that hasn’t deterred the public there, either, as Tennessee has drawn 61 and 72 percent of the spread bets and handle, respectively. The game is responsible for 5.1 percent of all the action at BetRivers, third-most at the sportsbook.

3. All Over the Aggies

Fresh off a heartbreaking defeat at home to North Carolina, Appalachian State pays a visit to No. 6 Texas A&M. The Mountaineers put up 61 points in their loss to the Tar Heels, including a whopping 40 in the fourth quarter.

The public is seeing a hangover affect for Appalachian State, with Texas A&M backed by 65 percent of the spread bets and 75 percent of the handle as a 16.5-point favorite at BetMGM.

2. Eyeing the Irish

Following an opening loss to Ohio State, Notre Dame likely has to run the table to have a shot at the College Football Playoff.

That quest begins with a visit from Marshall, and it has been the second-most popular game of Week 2 at BetRivers with 5.5 percent of the total action. The Irish’s 21-point spread is the second-most popular play with 2.5 percent of the total tickets, and is third in handle with 2.0 percent of the action.

The line opened at 19 at PointsBet but shifted to 20.5 with Notre Dame drawing one-sided action, with 95 percent of the spread bets and 96 percent of the handle as of Friday evening.

1. Swamp Support

Florida scored an impressive opening victory over Utah and the 12th-ranked Gators are preparing for one of the bigger games of the weekend as they play host to No. 20 Kentucky.

Anthony Richardson thrust himself into the early-season Heisman chatter with a strong effort in the win over the Utes. Florida, favored by 6.0 points, has been the third-most bet on team at BetMGM this week, with the Gators backed by 62 percent of the bets and 68 percent of the handle.

However, the spread handle has been evenly split at PointsBet, while Florida has drawn 62 percent of the total bets with the line moving from 5.5 to 6.0 points.

–Field Level Media

Los Angeles Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford (9) gestures downfield in the second quarter during Super Bowl 56 against the Cincinnati Bengals, Sunday, Feb. 13, 2022, at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Calif. The Cincinnati Bengals lost, 23-20.

Nfl Super Bowl 56 Los Angeles Rams Vs Cincinnati Bengals Feb 13 2022 1393

AGA: Record 46.6M Americans will wager on NFL this season

A new NFL season kicks off Thursday night, to the great interest of sports bettors across the country.

An American Gaming Association study found that an estimated 46.6 million Americans — a record number of people that accounts for 18 percent of the adult population — plan to bet on football during the 2022 NFL season. That number is up 3 percent year-over-year.

The study also found that about half of those planning to bet, 23 million, will place a bet online this season, as opposed to in person at a sportsbook or through a bookie.

Since the Supreme Court overturned the law that prohibited state-sponsored sports betting in 2018, 36 states and Washington, D.C. have moved to legalize it in their jurisdictions.

“The sustained interest in NFL wagering reflects the growth and continued maturation of legal sports betting across the country,” AGA president and CEO Bill Miller said in a news release. “Consumers clearly want legal sports betting options and understand the regulated industry’s foundational commitments to responsibility.”

–Field Level Media

Dec 31, 2021; Arlington, Texas, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback Bryce Young (9) reacts after throwing a touchdown in the fourth quarter against the Cincinnati Bearcats during the 2021 Cotton Bowl college football CFP national semifinal game at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Week 1 College Football Odds, Predictions

Maybe like the rest of the college football world, you are afraid to go against Nick Saban and Alabama.

But the Crimson Tide are being oversold as the 2022 national championship betting favorites and this week, we find them “untouchable” in that they’re giving six touchdowns (-41.5 points at BetMGM as of 4 p.m. ET Thursday) to a competent Utah State team playing above its weight class.

Here’s a look at the reasons to take what they give you in Tuscaloosa and a few more college football picks we’re intrigued by in Week 1:

Utah State at Alabama (-41.5, -110)

Trends and statistics can be shaped, contextualized into a perceived no-brainer. We’ve all been at the window — at the book or via mobile — trying to convince ourselves the hunch in our noggin is the only way to go.

For starters, if you like Utah State to cover the massive number, shop around. DraftKings and others have Alabama -42, and every half-point can help in this wagering game.

There are a number of possible plays that make sense, including focusing on the first half.

Considering pairing the spread of first half with a prop? Take a look at DraftKings, where Heisman Trophy winner Bryce Young is -115 to go over 304.5 passing yards and -180 to go over 2.5 passing TDs. He hit three TDs and went over 304.5 passing yards in 10 games last season.

Note Alabama beat Mercer 48-14 last year in Week 2.

Utah State is 1-0 but fell behind UConn by 14 in the first quarter before racking up 542 total yards offense.

The Aggies are +27 (DraftKings) in the first half at -105.

But why buy Utah State over the perennial power?

They’re in the right place at the right time.

In case you aren’t within Alabama or Texas state lines, you might not be aware the Crimson Tide are in Austin next week. Not to say Saban will go light as the curtain is raised, but you can see the possibility of a 45-17 type of final here.

Utah State has a seven-game road winning streak. Coach Blake Anderson has won three consecutive games against Power 5 opponents, including Utah State’s 26-23 win at Washington State last season and a 24-13 win against Oregon State in the 2021 Jimmy Kimmel LA Bowl.

Utah (-3, -105) at Florida

The Gators are an underdog in a season opener in The Swamp, which last happened in 1969 when Florida hosted No. 7-ranked Houston.

If you were tied up during the holidays and missed Utah undressing Oregon (twice by a combined count of 76-17) and almost sinking the Buckeyes’ battleship in the Rose Bowl (48-45 final in Pasadena), here’s a reminder: the Utes are the Pac-12 exception, and this team is no joke.

Florida was too often a punchline last season and went 2-6 in the SEC. The Gators are restocking the talent pool, but it’s too much to ask head coach Billy Napier to restore UF’s chomp in 2022.

Utah rarely goes on the road for a cross-country date in an extremely hostile setting. But we say again, this is the Pac-12 anomaly and Utah is legit on both sides of the ball.

We’re liking the looks of Utah over 26.5 points scored — the total is 51.5 — paired with the Utes -3.

Bowling Green at UCLA (-23.5, -110)

Pinky promise, we aren’t knocking the Pac-12 intentionally.

Brass tacks: Bowling Green is not easy prey, and the Bruins have some convincing to do before they receive a vote of confidence, much less investments.

We aren’t the first ones to fly with the Falcons. The opening line in the spring was UCLA -31.5.

It’s worth noting that Bowling Green went 5-1 ATS on the road last season.

DraftKings will allow alternate spread bets on Bowling Green that shouldn’t make one entirely uncomfortable, such as +120 odds on the Falcons +20.5.

And betting Bowling Green to get nine points — yes, over 8.5 — in either half at -110 is generous at worst.

But if you also believe in Bowling Green’s offense, the icing on this cake here is the over-under total of 56.5 points.

UCLA has two defensive starters back and the Bruins and Chip Kelly are always far more concerned with glitter than grit.

–Field Level Media

Los Angeles Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford (9) drops back to pass during a joint practice with the Cincinnati Bengals, Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2022, at the Paycor Stadium practice fields in Cincinnati.

Los Angeles Rams At Cincinnati Bengals Joint Practice Aug 24 0047

Week 1 NFL lines offer intrigue, starting in LA

Are there any more anticipated sporting events than Week 1 of the NFL season? It doesn’t even seem worthy of debate.

One week from the Thursday night opener between the Rams and Bills, fans have had months to assess, question and reassess where they rate teams on the value board.

So, let’s take a look at what matters to those headed to the sportsbook window — or browser — before Week 1 of the 2022 regular season.

–Buffalo Bills -2.5 at Los Angeles Rams (O/U 52.5), Thursday
The Rams must be cringing at that number, coming off a Super Bowl victory and being an underdog at home to the team picked by a legion of prognosticators as this season’s likely champion.
The looming question is the health of Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford’s throwing arm, but just as critical are the losses L.A. had on the offensive line, most notably left tackle Andrew Whitworth. This is a great spot for the Bills to prove their supporters correct in what should be a high-scoring game.

–Las Vegas Raiders at Los Angeles Chargers -3.5 (O/U 52)
How prescient.

The Raiders earned a playoff spot in Week 18 of 2021 by defeating the Chargers in the final game of the season. Now, they play in the Chargers’ “home,” three days after the Rams christened SoFi Stadium for 2022. The AFC West will be a gauntlet and the Chargers have designs on riding quarterback Justin Herbert’s explosive arm. On the other side will be the first game featuring the college connection of quarterback Derek Carr and wide receiver Davante Adams. Fireworks should fill the sky.

–Cleveland Browns at Carolina Panthers -2 (O/U 41.5)
Very few cared about this game until the Panthers acquired quarterback Baker Mayfield in a trade from the Browns.

In the opener, Mayfield faces his former team and Jacoby Brissett, thanks to the Deshaun Watson 11-game suspension.

Mayfield might have too much adrenaline, but a healthy Christian McCaffrey should help keep him calm. With Watson, the Browns might be close to a touchdown favorite, but they don’t have him. The defenses on both sides are good and the Browns sure know Mayfield. A field goal should decide it.

–Denver Broncos -6 at Seattle Seahawks (O/U 41.5)
There’s a lot new in this 2022 Monday night debut.

Bolstered by a new contract former Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson is with the Broncos and will be playing in front of those rabid Seattle fans that helped him so much over the years. The former Fox crew of Joe Buck and Troy Aikman will be in the booth likely extolling the virtues of Wilson.

Wilson won’t be smiling listening to the raucous crowd now trying to make his life miserable. On paper, the line appears right, especially with Geno Smith under center for the home team. But games aren’t played on paper, and something tells me this one will be closer than many think.

–Field Level Media

Pitt begins life without quarterback Kenny Pickett (8) on Thursday night (file photo/Imagn).

No. 17 Pitt draws big backing in Backyard Brawl

No. 17 Pitt opens the season Thursday night in the first playing of the Backyard Brawl rivalry with West Virginia since 2011.

Host Pittsburgh is favored by 7 to 7.5 points and getting big backing from the public in a meeting of former USC quarterbacks.

The primetime Thursday game is the most wagered-on event this week at both BetRivers and BetMGM ahead of Saturday’s matchup of Top 5 teams in Columbus between No. 2 Ohio State and No. 5 Notre Dame.

Thursday’s game is the debut of former Trojans quarterback Kedon Slovis, the chosen replacement for NFL draft pick Kenny Pickett (Steelers). He draws West Virginia’s new starting QB — and fellow former Trojans signal-caller — JT Daniels.

The Pitt money line (-275 as of Thursday morning) is the most popular bet by ticket count at BetRivers, while Pitt to cover -7.5 is the most popular wager by total handle.

Pitt -7 is the most bet game and bet type (spread) at BetMGM.

–Field Level Media

Aug 13, 2022; Landover, Maryland, USA; Carolina Panthers quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) participates in warmups prior to the game against the Washington Commanders at FedExField. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Panthers QB Baker Mayfield popular with public for Comeback POY

With an injury-plagued 2021 season behind him and on a new team, Baker Mayfield has a fresh start in 2022.

The betting public likes the recipe for a comeback with the Carolina Panthers.

Mayfield, named starting quarterback of the Panthers, is receiving the largest share of the handle on futures betting for NFL Comeback Player of the Year at DraftKings.

Mayfield was tied for the fourth-shortest odds at +800. His 20 percent of the handle was spread across just 6 percent of the total bets, signaling some high-money wagers are among the plays.

The former No. 1 overall draft pick also raked in the third-largest share of the handle for the same award at BetMGM, as of Tuesday’s data. At +1200 at the time (now up to +800), Mayfield received 11.8 percent of the handle and 4.8 percent of the tickets.

His competition includes his new Panthers teammate, Christian McCaffrey. The oft-injured running back led the field at BetMGM in both share of the handle (16 percent) and share of the total tickets (20 percent). Those shares were 13 percent of the handle and 13 percent of the bets at DraftKings. McCaffrey was +750 at both sportsbooks.

Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry is the +400 favorite at both DraftKings and BetMGM. He’s raked in 30 percent of the total bets for Comeback Player of the Year at DraftKings, with 13 percent of the handle. His handle share at BetMGM (14.8 percent) was second-highest, on 9.2 percent of tickets.

Mayfield, 27, led Cleveland to the playoffs in 2020, the woebegone franchise’s first appearance since 2002.

He spent much of the 2021 campaign playing through a torn labrum in his non-throwing shoulder before finally being placed on injured reserve on Jan. 5. The Browns acquired Deshaun Watson from the Houston Texans, gave him a record-setting guaranteed contract and eventually dealt Mayfield to Carolina last month.

Carolina opens the regular season against Cleveland on Sept. 11.

–Field Level Media

Jun 14, 2022; Costa Mesa, California, USA; Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert (10) during minicamp at the Hoag Performance Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Public backing Chargers QB Justin Herbert for 2022 MVP

Most sportsbooks have installed Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen as the favorite to take home MVP honors during the 2022 NFL season. But the betting public is enamored with a different passer, as the Los Angeles Chargers’ Justin Herbert has been the heaviest bet so far.

BetRivers.com and PlaySugarHouse.com report that Herbert (+900) has taken on the most bets (19.9 percent handle, 12.6 percent tickets) and that he is backed almost twice as much as Joe Burrow of the Cincinnati Bengals (+1200), who ranks second (9.9 percent money, 6.7 percent tickets).

Allen (+700) is the third-most backed player for the award (8.7 percent money, 8.5 percent tickets).

DraftKings, who also listed Allen as the favorite at +700, has Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady listed with the second-best odds at +800 and Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes third at +900.

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, the man who won the award in 2021 — the fourth time he had won MVP — is listed at +1000.

But those three — Brady, Mahomes and Rodgers — trail players such as Jalen Hurts (+3300) and Justin Fields (+10000) in the early betting. Hurts is getting 6.9 percent of the money and Fields is getting 5.3 percent of the tickets.

Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry and Indianapolis Colts running back Jonathan Taylor, the top non-quarterbacks listed, are both +5000 with DraftKings.

Taylor, last season’s leading rusher, has the highest percentage of bets with BetRivers.com and PlaySugarHouse.com among non-quarterbacks (2.5 percent). Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp (+5000) has seen 2.3 percent of the money, the most among non-quarterbacks.

–Field Level Media

Quarterback Josh Allen will lead the Bills against the Rams on Sept. 8.

 Syndication Democrat And Chronicle

NFL Week 1 lines: No big favorites

Three teams are 6.5-point favorites in opening lines for the 2022 NFL regular season released by sportsbooks with the 18-week game schedule finalized.

The NFL released a full schedule for the regular season on Thursday night, including the opening game of the season in Los Angeles between the Rams and Buffalo Bills. The Super Bowl champion Rams are a 1-point favorite at SoFi Stadium.

The AFC champion Cincinnati Bengals are 6.5-point favorites over the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 1 and no team is a bigger favorite on the early lines.

San Francisco is a 6.5-point favorite at Chicago and the Tennessee Titans are 6.5-point favorites over the New York Giants.

The primetime games in Week 1 include Russell Wilson returning to Seattle with the Denver Broncos. Wilson’s new crew is a 4-point favorite over the Seahawks on “Monday Night Football.”

Dallas is a home underdog on “Sunday Night Football.” The Cowboys are +2.5 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

–Field Level Media

Mar 3, 2022; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Liberty quarterback Malik Willis (QB16) goes through a drill during the 2022 NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Malik Willis favored over Kenny Pickett to be first QB taken in draft

The oddsmakers like Liberty quarterback Malik Willis to be the first quarterback selected in this week’s NFL draft.

The margin between Willis and Pitt’s Kenny Pickett is close, but Willis is the narrow favorite at multiple sportsbooks as of Tuesday, two days before the first round is held in Las Vegas.

Willis was the -190 favorite at DraftKings, with Pickett also owning reasonably short odds at +170. At BetMGM, Willis opened at -155 and Pickett was next at +130.

Then there is a considerable gap between them and the third option, Cincinnati’s Desmond Ridder. Ridder stood at +800 at BetMGM and +1000 at DraftKings. Matt Corral of Ole Miss was fourth (+1600 at BetMGM, +1800 at DraftKings).

Willis led the Flames in both passing and rushing in 2021, putting up 2,857 passing yards and 27 touchdowns while rushing for 878 yards and 13 more scores. He guided the Flames to an 8-5 record and a 56-20 victory in the LendingTree Bowl over Eastern Michigan.

Pickett burst onto the national scene in his senior season, leading Pitt to its first ACC championship and being named a Heisman Trophy finalist. He ranked fifth in the nation in passing yards (4,319) and third in passing touchdowns (42).

The top five teams in the draft order — the Jacksonville Jaguars, Detroit Lions, Houston Texans, New York Jets and New York Giants — are not expected to take a quarterback. The Carolina Panthers, at No. 6 overall, are the first team that may be interested in a quarterback.

The Atlanta Falcons (eighth overall) and Seattle Seahawks (ninth) are also in the market for a quarterback after trading away Matt Ryan and Russell Wilson, respectively.

–Field Level Media

Feb 8, 2022; Inglewood, CA, USA; A general overall aerial view of SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Super Bowl betting expected to set records, AGA says

Super Bowl LVI is expected to set records for bettors and money wagered, the American Gaming Association said Wednesday.

A total of 31.4 million Americans, up 35 percent from last year, are expected to wager on the NFL championship game between the Los Angeles Rams and Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday, according to AGA research. It estimates that $7.61 billion will be wagered on the game, up 78 percent from the $3.33 billion that was bet last year on the game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Kansas City Chiefs.

According to the AGA, 55 percent of bettors plan to wager on the Rams, who will be playing at home in SoFi Stadium, with 45 percent planning to bet on the Bengals.

The AGA said its research shows that 18.2 million Americans are expected to place a Super Bowl wager online, at a retail sportsbook or with a bookie, up 78 percent from last year. Also, 18.5 million plan to bet casually with friends or as part of a pool or squares contest, up 23 percent year over year.

The research also noted that 76 percent said bettors feel it’s important for them to bet through a legal operator; that figure is up 11 percent from last year.

“The results are clear: Americans have never been more interested in legal sports wagering,” AGA president and CEO Bill Miller said. “The growth of legal options across the country not only protects fans and the integrity of games and bets but also puts illegal operators on notice that their time is limited.”

Sports betting is live and legal in 30 states and Washington D.C. Since Super Bowl LV, an additional 45 million more Americans can legally wager in their home state. Arizona, Connecticut, Louisiana, Maryland, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Dakota, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming have launched sports betting since last year’s game.

–Field Level Media