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Michigan, Ohio State co-favorites at top of Big Ten champion odds

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Entering year two of the Jim Harbaugh era, Michigan is level with archrival Ohio State at the top of the Big Ten champion futures board at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

Harbaugh’s revival of the maize and blue has led to the Wolverines being installed as co-favorites alongside the Buckeyes, with each holding identical +175 odds. Michigan’s climb up the board also means that the Michigan State Spartans might be undervalued at +700.

Ohio State coach Urban Meyer will need to call upon his proven ability to reload quickly. The Buckeyes return only six starters from a year ago, although one is star quarterback J.T. Barrett. The talent level at Ohio State is still mouth-watering, but bettors will have to decide how they feel about the Buckeyes’ chances in a daunting September 17 road game against the Oklahoma Sooners. That top-ten matchup won’t affect conference standings, but a loss could affect the Buckeyes’ morale.

Michigan returns 14 starters, including eight on a defense now coordinated by Don Brown, who oversaw the nation’s No. 1 defense last season at Boston College. Whether the Wolverines will push Ohio State – which has home field for their November 26 rivalry game – might come down to quarterback play. Michigan is counting on Houston transfer John O’Korn to deliver the ball to their trio of senior receivers that includes tight end Jake Butt.

It is possible some fans might not identify Michigan State as one of the six Power 5 teams which has an .800 winning percentage since 2010. The Spartans, with likely high NFL draft pick Malik McDowell as the fulcrum of their rugged defense, should give offenses headaches once again. Michigan State’s offense is a blank slate. Fifth-year senior quarterback Tyler O’Connor might represent a step down from Connor Cook, while there isn’t a wide receiver on the roster who had more than seven catches last season.

The Big Ten West offers two darkhorses, with the Iowa Hawkeyes and Nebraska Cornhuskers each listed at +900 on the college football betting lines. Of the two, Iowa is the one whose prop owes more to past performance. Everything went right for Iowa early last season while starting 12-0, but that eventually culminated in losses in both the Big Ten championship and the Rose Bowl. They could be due for a step back, even with quarterback C.J. Beathard and shutdown cover cornerback Desmond King among their 13 returning starters.

The law of averages would suggest a better fate is in store for Nebraska after a 6-7 season where it lost five games by less than a one-touchdown margin. The Cornhuskers project to have seven seniors starting on offense, including quarterback Tommy Armstrong Jr., so they will be well-equipped for high-scoring games. To get in contention, though, Nebraska needs to coach up their inexperienced front four. Their pass defense, which ranked No. 122 (of 128 teams) last season, has nowhere to go but up.

The Wisconsin Badgers, who are listed at +1400 odds, appear to be on a downswing. The Badgers’ famed rushing attack was garden-variety last season. Meanwhile, post-Christian Hackenberg Penn State is listed at +1800, followed by the Northwestern Wildcats (+3300) and Minnesota Golden Gophers (+4400). The Indiana Hoosiers, Illinois Fighting Illini and Maryland Terrapins are all listed at +5000, with the Purdue Boilermakers and Rutgers Scarlet Knights at +10000 each.

Auburn, USC, Ohio State among conference championship favorites

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The Auburn Tigers’ habit of closing well and the Georgia Bulldogs’ resiliency are two trends to be mindful of heading into Week 14, when the College Football Playoff matchups will be determined.

By virtue of a head-to-head win earlier this month, Auburn is a two-point favorite against Georgia with a 44-point total in the SEC championship game at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

Georgia, which will be a de facto home team at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, is 9-3 straight-up in its last 12 games against Auburn, according to the OddsShark College Football Database. The Bulldogs are also 4-0 both SU and against the spread in rematches against teams which they lost to in the previous matchup. Auburn, led by QB Jarrett Stidham and RB Kerryon Johnson, is 5-0 ATS in its last five games in December.

The USC Trojans are four-point favorites against the Stanford Cardinal with a 58.5 total in the Pac-12 championship game at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, which is a Friday matchup. Stanford is 9-1 SU in its last 10 games on a Friday. Southern California beat rival UCLA last week but is 2-6 ATS in its last eight games after a win.

The Ohio State Buckeyes are 6.5-point favorites against the Wisconsin Badgers, with a 51.5 total in the Big Ten championship game at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. Wisconsin is 0-5 SU and 1-4 ATS in its last five games against Ohio State. Ohio State is 1-4 ATS in its last five games against its conference. The total has gone over in eight of Ohio State’s last nine games.

The Clemson Tigers are 9.5-point favorites against the Miami Hurricanes, with a 46 total in the ACC championship game at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte. Miami is 1-4 ATS in its last five games against Clemson. The total has gone over in Miami’s last four games against Clemson. Clemson is 33-1 SU in its last 34 games after winning the previous game in a matchup.

The Oklahoma Sooners are seven-point favorites against the TCU Horned Frogs, with a 63.5 total in the Big 12 championship game at AT&T Stadium in Arlington. TCU is 1-6 SU in its last seven games against Oklahoma. The total has gone under in six of TCU’s last eight games against Oklahoma. Oklahoma is 8-1 SU and 7-2 ATS in its last nine games in Week 14.

The Central Florida Golden Knights are seven-point home favorites against the Memphis Tigers, with an 82 total in the AAC championship game. The total has gone under in four of Memphis’ last five games against Central Florida. Central Florida is 1-4 ATS in its last five games after consecutive wins.

Despite losing to them a week ago, the Boise State Broncos are 8.5-point home favorites against the Fresno State Bulldogs, with a 50 total in the Mountain West championship game. Fresno State is 4-12 ATS in its last 16 games against Boise State. Boise State is 19-3 SU in its last 22 games after a loss.

The Toledo Rockets are 21.5-point favorites against the Akron Zips, with a 57.5 total in the Mid-American championship game at Ford Field in Detroit. Akron is 7-2 ATS in its last nine games. The total has gone under in nine of Akron’s last 11 games against its conference. Toledo is 6-1 ATS in its last seven games.

And the Florida Atlantic Owls are 11-point home favorites against the North Texas Mean Green with a 73.5 total in the Conference USA championship game. The total has gone over in 10 of North Texas’s last 14 games. Florida Atlantic is 7-2 ATS in its last nine games as a favorite.

For more info, picks and a breakdown of this week’s top sports betting news check out the new OddsShark podcast with Jon Campbell and Andrew Avery. Subscribe on iTunes, or check it out at OddsShark.libsyn.com.

Alabama an Iron Bowl betting favorite to highlight college football week slate

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Alabama and Jalen Hurts will have to correct their recent offensive regression away from home in order to get a cover against archrival Auburn. The Crimson Tide are listed as 4.5-point road favorites against the Tigers in the Iron Bowl with a 47.5-point total at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

Alabama is a stellar 8-2 straight-up and 7-3 against the spread in its last 10 road games as a favorite of 6.5 or fewer points. However, they are just 2-4 ATS in their last six games overall, with one culprit being the fact their average production in their last two road games (29 points, 399.5 yards) pales compared to the Tide’s output at home (40 points, 482.3 yards).

Auburn and star QB Jarrett Stidham are 3-0 ATS in its last three home games as the underdog, although it is just 2-7 ATS in its last nine home games in November, according to the OddsShark College Football Database.

The Miami Hurricanes are 13.5-point road favorites against the Pittsburgh Panthers, with a 52 total in a Friday betting matchup. Miami is 9-0 SU and 8-1 ATS in its last nine games in November. The total has gone under in seven of Miami’s last eight games. Pittsburgh is 5-14 ATS in its last 19 games at home.

The UCF Golden Knights are 10-point favorites against the South Florida Bulls with a 62.5 total in a Friday matchup. South Florida is 6-2 SU and ATS in its last eight games against Central Florida. Central Florida is 7-1 SU and 6-2 ATS in its last eight games on a Friday.

The Ohio State Buckeyes are 12-point road betting favorites against the Michigan Wolverines, with a 50 total. Ohio State is 7-3 ATS in its last 10 games against Michigan. The total has gone over in Ohio State’s last four games against Michigan. Michigan is 1-5 ATS in its last six games at home.

The Georgia Bulldogs are 11-point road favorites against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, with a 51.5 total. Georgia is 9-0 ATS in its last nine games on the road against Georgia Tech. Georgia Tech is 7-3 SU in its last 10 games at home in November. The total has gone under in five of Georgia Tech’s last six home games against Georgia.

The Clemson Tigers are 14-point road favorites against the South Carolina Gamecocks, with a 46.5 total. The total has gone under in nine of South Carolina’s last 12 games against the ACC. Clemson is 2-6 ATS in its last eight games against South Carolina.

The Wisconsin Badgers are 17-point road favorites against the Minnesota Golden Gophers, with a 43 total. The total has gone over in 15 of Wisconsin’s last 17 games against Minnesota. Minnesota is 22-8-1 ATS in its last 31 games in November.

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish are 2.5-point road favorites against the Stanford Cardinal, with a 57 total. Notre Dame is 0-5 ATS in its last five games in November. The total has gone under in six of Notre Dame’s last seven games against Stanford. Stanford is 5-2 ATS in its last seven games in Week 13.

The Oklahoma Sooners are 22.5-point favorites against the West Virginia Mountaineers, with a 68.5 total. West Virginia is 8-1 SU and 7-2 ATS in its last nine games in Week 13. The total has gone under in Oklahoma’s last five games at home against teams with winning records.

And the Washington Huskies are 10-point favorites against the Washington State Cougars, with a 47.5 total. Washington State is 9-3 ATS in its last 12 games on the road against teams with winning records. The total has gone UNDER in nine of Washington’s last 12 games against its conference.

For more info, picks and a breakdown of this week’s top sports betting news check out the new OddsShark podcast with Jon Campbell and Andrew Avery. Subscribe on iTunes, or check it out at OddsShark.libsyn.com.