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

Nov 24, 2018; College Station, TX, USA; LSU Tigers quarterback Joe Burrow (9) runs for a touchdown as Texas A&M Aggies defensive back Roney Elam (27) defends during the seventh overtime at Kyle Field. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

NCAA changes football overtime rules

Dec 31, 2020; Memphis, TN, USA; West Virginia Mountaineers head coach Neal Brown during the first half against the Army Black Knights  at Liberty Bowl Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

A rule change aimed at shortening overtime and reducing the risk of injury in college football was approved Thursday by the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel.

Under the rule, which will take effect at the start of the 2021 season, teams must attempt a 2-point conversion beginning with the second overtime period.

In the first and second overtime periods, teams will continue to start with the ball at their opponent’s 25-yard-line in an attempt to score a touchdown or field goal.

If the game remains tied after two overtimes, the teams will not be given the ball to try to score touchdown or field goal. Instead, the NCAA is installing a 2-point shootout, similar to an NHL shootout.

A rule change last year required teams begin the shootout in the fifth overtime.

The longest overtime game on record is seven overtimes, and that has occurred five times. The most recent seven-overtime game was played Nov. 24, 2018, when Texas A&M defeated LSU 74-72.

–Field Level Media

Week 12 College Football Picks: Syracuse-Notre Dame Yankee Stadium Clash, WVU at OK State

Each week we’ll be providing our top college football picks.

Also check out our NFL Week 11 “Lookahead Lines” story, finding value (or not) by comparing earlier lines, and identifying recency bias.

Back to the college game. (Season record: 20-15.)

Week 12 College Football Picks, Preview: West Virginia in a Great Spot on the Road and Syracuse Catching Points Against Notre Dame at Yankee Stadium

notre dame syracuse cfb week 12


Memphis/SMU OVER 72.5 (Friday)

I grew up rooting for the old Pony Express so I’m a closet SMU fan. I know the team well and the Ponies have had little success against Memphis in recent years. In their last four games against SMU, Memphis has scored 48, 63, 51 and 66 points. The Tigers won last year’s meeting 66-45 and we should see another game that approaches 100 points.

SMU’s offense is finally starting to click under new coach Sonny Dykes. The Mustangs have scored 107 points in their last two games with wins over Houston and UConn. Memphis has scored 106 points in its last two games with victories over East Carolina and Tulsa.

While the Mustangs’ offense is rolling, their defense continues to struggle. SMU is allowing 242 rushing yards per game in conference play and now must face Memphis running back Darrell Henderson who is averaging 9.2 yards per carry on the season.

SMU ranks 115th in scoring defense allowing 36.8 points per game, while Memphis ranks 86th giving up 30.5 per contest. Both teams will put up points with ease Friday night in what could be the highest-scoring game of the college football season.

 

Read more Week 12 College Football Picks: Syracuse-Notre Dame Yankee Stadium Clash, WVU at OK State on SportsHandle.

Week 11 College Football Picks: Fresno Over Boise, Washington State A Short Road Favorite And More

Each week we’ll be providing our top college football picks. Season Record: 17-13.

This week we have six plays, including Fresno State laying a short number on the road in Boise and fading Duke as a big favorite.

Also check out our NFL Week 10 “Lookahead Lines” story, finding value (or not) by comparing earlier lines, and identifying recency bias. Back to the college game:

Week 11 College Football Picks: Fresno State Bulldogs -2.5 at Boise State, Fading Duke, And More Miami Dominance Over Georgia Tech


Fresno State -2.5 over Boise State (Friday)

This is a huge game in the Mountain West Conference. Fresno State is 8-1 and Boise State 7-2. It might be surprising to see the Broncos as the home dog here but there’s a reason for it. Fresno State is just a much better team.

The Bulldogs are 4-0 ATS in the last four meetings and won last year in Boise 28-17. Boise State has already lost at home to San Diego State and its offense struggles against better defenses. Fresno State is holding conference opponents to 93 yards below their season average, while quarterbacks hit just 48 percent of their passes against the Bulldogs.

A Las Vegas oddsmaker recently stated he would make Fresno State around a field goal favorite over UCF on a neutral field. The Bulldogs are the best non-Power 5 team this season. There’s value taking the Bulldogs under a field goal. They should win rather easily on the road in a showcase game.

 

 

Read more Week 11 College Football Picks: Fresno Over Boise, Washington State A Short Road Favorite And More on SportsHandle.

Week 9 College Football Picks: LSU +15 Against No. 1-Ranked Alabama, And More

Each week we’ll be providing our top college football picks.

Also check out our NFL “Lookahead Lines” story, finding value (or not) by comparing earlier lines, and identifying recency bias.

This week we have six plays, including a rebound spot for Oregon and LSU getting over two touchdowns at home versus Alabama.

Week 9 College Football Picks: LSU +15 Over Alabama, Ducks -10 Over UCLA & More

cfb picks week 10 ucla oregon
RB Joshua Kelley

Oregon -10 over UCLA

Oregon is my favorite play of the season so far, assuming quarterback Justin Herbert plays. Herbert suffered a concussion in last week’s loss to Arizona but returned to practice Wednesday.

Nothing went right for the Ducks in Tucson. It was an awful spot for them coming off two emotional games against Washington and Washington State. I looked hard at fading the Ducks last week but just couldn’t trust Arizona.

While last week was a terrible spot for Oregon, this week is the exact opposite. Chip Kelly returns to Eugene where he was the head coach for four years and led the Ducks to the National Championship Game. His UCLA Bruins are coming off a 31-point loss to Utah and have dropped 10 of their last 11 conference games on the road by an average of 16 points.

Oregon has Utah on deck but because they got hammered by Arizona, the Ducks can’t afford to look past the overmatched Bruins. Nothing went right for Oregon against Arizona. It’s one of those games you just throw away because Oregon simply didn’t show up. Expect them to show up Saturday with Kelly in town.

Oregon is 4-1 at home this season. The Ducks’ only loss was to Stanford when they fumbled running out the clock. I expect Oregon to roll at home on Saturday. This line should be up to two touchdowns by kickoff. It opened Oregon -13 then dropped to 7.5 when  Herbert was questionable Tuesday. It’s back on the rise, so if you like the Ducks, grab them as soon as possible.

NCAA Announces Establishment of New Committee to ‘Examine’ Sports Wagering

The NCAA announced on Friday the formation of a new committee to examine sports wagering.

“The Board of Governors Ad Hoc Committee on Sports Wagering will examine the sports wagering landscape and its potential impact on current NCAA rules, educational efforts, player availability reporting, and any associated risks as more states legalize sports wagering,” the statement reads.

This follows the Association’s announcement in July that the national office is examining the long-term impact on college sports with an “internal team of subject matter experts,” with generally the same objectives.

This all follows the United States Supreme Court’s decision on May 14 in Murphy v NCAA, in which the high court struck down the 1992 federal ban on full-fledged sports wagering outside Nevada on Tenth Amendment principles. Since that time, the NCAA’s fellow respondents in the case, the National Basketball Association, Major League Baseball and the National Football League, and some of those leagues’ teams, have announced new partnerships with casinos, sportsbooks, and overall relaxed its rules regarding such deals.

 

Read more NCAA Announces Establishment of New Committee to ‘Examine’ Sports Wagering on SportsHandle.

Week 9 College Football Picks: Take Iowa Over Overvalued Penn State

The post Week 9 College Football Picks: Take Iowa Over Overvalued Penn State appeared first on SportsHandle.

Each week we’ll be providing our top college football picks.

Also check out our NFL “Lookahead Lines” story, finding value (or not) by comparing earlier lines, and identifying recency bias.

Back to the college game (season record: 11-9) … This week we look at three live underdogs and a big favorite in the Big Ten.

College Football Picks Week 9: Take Iowa Over Penn State; Maryland Should Have a Fairly Easy Time With Illinois

cfb picks week 9 iowa penn state

Iowa +6.5 over Penn State

Penn State continues to be the most overvalued team in college football. After losing two straight, the Nittany Lions managed to squeak by a bad Indiana team last week, 33-28, as a 14-point favorite. Penn State won the game despite being outgained by 137 yards.

Iowa has won three consecutive games by a combined score of 113-47 and is coming off a 23-0 shutout over Maryland. The Hawkeyes have been money on the road in recent years, going 22-10-1 ATS in its last 33 games away from home.

It seems like people still aren’t buying into Iowa, but the Hawkeyes have outgained five opponents by at least 100 yards and their only blemish this season was a tough loss at Wisconsin. Penn State has failed to cover its last two games as favorites, while Iowa is 4-0 ATS in its last four road games dating back to last year.

The money came in on Penn State early with the line opening between 4.5-6 and up to 6.5 at most Las Vegas sportsbooks. I expect the money to come in the other way as we get closer to kickoff. Almost a touchdown is too much to give in what should be a close game throughout.

I’ll gladly take the Hawkeyes plus the points with a small wager on the Iowa ML +210.


Texas A&M +1 over Mississippi State

These two teams are going in opposite directions. Texas A&M has won three straight and is coming off a bye, while Mississippi State has lost three of four.

The Bulldogs were expected to be Alabama’s biggest threat in the SEC West, but have struggled on the offensive side of the ball. Mississippi State has scored seven points or fewer in its last three losses.

The Bulldogs aren’t likely to get the offense going this week. Texas A&M allows just 78 yards per game rushing and 3.1 yards per carry. The Aggies’ defense has held its last three opponents to a season-low in total yards. Mississippi State will need to throw the ball to win this game and that won’t be easy.

Quarterback Nick Fitzgerald is coming off a game versus LSU where he threw for 59 yards and four interceptions while completing just 33 percent of his passes. Fitzgerald has thrown for fewer than 100 yards in three straight games with no touchdowns and five interceptions.

The Aggies are 6-1 ATS this season and after starting 3-0. Mississippi State is 1-3 SU and ATS in its last four games. I’ll call for the small road upset here. Keep in mind the line opened at 3 and has come down to 1.


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Kentucky +7 over Missouri

I took Kentucky last week as a 14-point favorite over Vanderbilt. They won, 14-7, failing to cover in one of the ugliest games you’ll ever see. I’m going back to the Wildcats getting a touchdown on the road to Missouri this week.

The Tigers hammered Memphis last Saturday, 65-33, as a nine-point favorite. Memphis is a perfect opponent for Missouri because it has one of the worst defenses in the country. The Tigers face a much tougher test this week against Kentucky. The Wildcats rank 11th in total defense, holding opponents to 108 yards below their season average.

Kentucky is also 14th in pass efficiency defense and its defensive front should create problems for Missouri quarterback Drew Lock. Lock’s numbers are great against weaker competition, but he has a TD to interception ratio of 21-28 versus Power 5 bowl opponents.

Missouri has played four Power 5 teams this year, beating Purdue by three, losing to Georgia by 14, losing to South Carolina by three and losing to Alabama by 29. A touchdown is too much here with an overvalued Missouri team. Kentucky has won three straight in this series. Make it four.


Maryland -17.5 over Illinois

This is the first meeting between the two schools and Illinois comes in losers of four of its last five games. The Illini have been outscored in their last two games, 95-27, in losses to Purdue and Wisconsin.

Maryland got shut out, 23-0, on the road in Iowa last week, but I view the Hawkeyes as one of the top teams in the Big Ten. The Terrapins have taken care of business versus teams they’re supposed to beat this year, defeating Bowling Green by 31, Minnesota by 29, and Rutgers by 27.

Maryland is tough when it can run the football with running backs Ty Johnson and Anthony McFarland. Expect that to be the case on Saturday against an Illinois defense allowing 273 rushing yards per game and 6.1 yards per rush in Big Ten play.

Maryland is 4-3 and 3-1 at home while playing one of the nation’s toughest schedules. It gets a breather this week in the reeling Illini who are just 8-19 ATS in their last 27 as an away dog. The Terrapins romp at home.


Also check out The Pro Football Handle: NFL Week 8 has both a potential NFC Championship preview in Saints vs. Vikings and the worst game of the year with 49ers vs. Cardinals. The New York Football Giants are in the midst of a fire sale and the Oakland Raiders are officially in tank mode. There are some crazy lines this week, listen below for complete insight and some laughs:

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The post Week 9 College Football Picks: Take Iowa Over Overvalued Penn State appeared first on SportsHandle.

Week 8 College Football Picks: Navy’s A Double-Digit Home ‘Dog, Oklahoma

 

Each week we’ll be providing our top college football picks. (Season record: 8-5.)

Also check out our NFL “Lookahead Lines” story, finding value (or not) by comparing earlier lines, and identifying recency bias.

Back to the college game…


College Football Picks Week 8: Navy’s a Double-Digit Home Underdog and Oklahoma in a Good Spot vs. TCU

cfb picks oklahoma tcu sports betting


Oklahoma -8 over TCU

It seems like everyone in the world is on Oklahoma this week. I usually try to stay away from games like that but sometimes you just have to ride the public wave to the window and cash the ticket.

This is such a great spot for the Sooners. Oklahoma is coming off a bye and finally fired “defensive” coordinator Mike Stoops. Ruffin McNeill will take over a defense that faces a struggling TCU offense. The Horned Frogs have lost three of their last four games and have scored more than 17 points just once over that span.

TCU is only 2-4 ATS as a home dog in its last six games and 2-7 ATS overall in its last nine. Oklahoma has won four straight over the Horned Frogs with the average margin of victory of 12.2 points. 

I’ll take the Sooners to pull away in this game and cover the eight points.


Kentucky -11 over Vanderbilt

Speaking of good spots, Kentucky finds itself in one this week. The Wildcats are coming off a bye, while Vanderbilt is playing for the eighth straight week and must rebound from a tough loss to Florida where they blew a 21-3 lead.

Kentucky has a major edge here with their rushing offense going against a Vandy defense that’s allowed an average of 257 rushing yards over the last four games. That will be a big problem when facing Kentucky RB Benny Snell and his 5.5 yards per carry.

Vanderbilt quarterback Ke’Shawn Vaughn was injured last week but is expected to play on Saturday. Kentucky has been strong on defense this year holding opponents to 116 yards below their opponents’ season average.

Vanderbilt has been a great fade in conference play going 1-10 ATS in its last 11 games versus SEC opponents. This line opened 10.5 at the SuperBook and moved to 11 where it is at most books as of Wednesday. Kentucky’s five wins this year have all been by 11 points or more. I’ll call for another double-digit victory here.es not used to seeing that offense, especially when I’m getting points (a dozen of ’em).

Read more Week 8 College Football Picks: Navy’s A Double-Digit Home ‘Dog, Oklahoma  on SportsHandle.