USC’s Sam Darnold enters season as Heisman Trophy betting favorite

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While being Hollywood-adjacent gives Southern Cal’s Sam Darnold a huge platform for a Heisman Trophy campaign, recent history shows being an early favorite often works against a player’s chance of being voted college football’s most outstanding player.

Darnold, the sophomore quarterback for the USC Trojans, is listed as the +400 favorite on the odds to win the 2017 Heisman Trophy at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. The top tier of the board also includes Penn State RB Saquon Barkley (+700), Oklahoma Sooners QB Baker Mayfield (+800), Louisville QB and reigning Heisman winner Lamar Jackson (+800),  and Ohio State QB J.T. Barrett (+800).

At the outset of the 2016 season, the board was topped by talents such as Christian McCaffrey and Deshaun Watson. Jackson was listed at +1800 early in the season.

Darnold is certainly worthy of 2018 NFL draft hype, but as a pocket passer likely will need numbers in the range of 4,000 yards and 40 TD passes to have a shot. Doing so will require quickly building rapport with a USC receiving corps that lost the sure hands that latched on to 44 per cent of Darnold’s 2016 yardage, so how Darnold gets up to speed with ballyhooed frosh WR Joseph Lewis will be essential.

Similarly, Mayfield has also lost his three best skill-position complements to the NFL. Being a finalist as a sophomore or junior, as Mayfield was, usually doesn’t portend winning; it often just means a player has hit his ceiling with Heisman voters. The debate over how Jackson’s game will translate to the NFL could also give voters pause about picking him again, unless he somehow tops his 2016 total of 51 total touchdowns (passing and rushing).

The last three running backs selected all gained at least 1,650 yards, and if he stays healthy Barkley is capable of exceeding that total in a Penn State spread offense where QB Trace McSorley (+3300) will keep opponents from putting eight defenders in the box. The Big Ten has not had a Heisman winner in the last 10 seasons, its longest drought since a 15-year span a generation ago (1976-90).

Five of the last 10 Heisman winners have hailed from the SEC, which has by far the largest media footprint of any conference in the nation. With some further research, one can zero in on playing a hunch on the Heisman Trophy betting lines between one of the many SEC running backs on the board, including Alabama’s Bo Scarbrough (+1400), Louisiana State’s Derrius Guice (+1200) and Georgia’s Nick Chubb (+2500).

Of those three, Guice, who averaged almost 162 yards across his eight starts in 2016, might be the most likely to get credit for his team’s success. It’s hard to imagine another ‘Bama back winning so soon after the 1,943-yard season Derrick Henry had while winning the Heisman in 2015.

Three of the last six winners, including Jackson, played for teams that heretofore had never had a Heisman winner. That is more of a cluster than a trend, since prior to Baylor’s Robert Griffin III in 2011, the last player to bring his team its first Heisman was in 1994.

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.

Week 12: Wisconsin, Georgia, USC among college football favorites

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While ball security has been problematic for the Wisconsin Badgers, they have been a secure lock for bettors against Michigan. The undefeated Badgers are a 7.5-point favorite against the Michigan Wolverines with a 40-point total in their Week 12 college football matchup at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

Taking an erratic interception-prone passing game with QB Alex Hornibrook into a matchup against Michigan’s No. 3-ranked defense is a concern, but the OddsShark College Football Database shows that Wisconsin is 8-1-1 against the spread in its last 10 games against Michigan.

With a dominant No. 1-ranked defense and a strong rushing game built around freshman Jonathan Taylor, the Badgers have a similar structure to coach Jim Harbaugh’s Michigan team but have been more proficient in both those areas. That explains why Wisconsin is 7-0 straight-up and 6-0-1 ATS in its last seven games in November.

Michigan is coming off a road win against Maryland but is 4-15-1 ATS in its last 20 road games after winning their most recent road game. The total has gone over in nine of Wisconsin’s last 11 games against its conference The total has gone over in eight of Michigan’s last 11 road games .

The Georgia Bulldogs are 21-point favorites against the Kentucky Wildcats, with a 51 total. Kentucky is 4-14 SU and 5-13 ATS in its last 18 games in November. Georgia is 1-7 ATS in its last eight games in Week 12.

The Oklahoma Sooners are 36.5-point road favorites against the Kansas Jayhawks, with a 70.5 total. The visiting team is 1-5 ATS in its last six games in this matchup. The total has gone over in 15 of Oklahoma’s last 18 road games .

The Miami Hurricanes are 19-point favorites against the Virginia Cavaliers, with a 50.5 total. The visiting team is 5-1 ATS in its last six games in this matchup, but Virginia is 1-16 SU in its last 17 road games against teams with winning records. The total has gone under in Miami’s last seven games.

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish are 17.5-point favorites against the Navy Midshipmen, with a 60.5 total. Navy is 7-2 ATS in its last nine road games against Notre Dame. Navy is 7-2 ATS in its last nine road games against Notre Dame. Notre Dame is 2-7 ATS in its last nine games against the American Athletic Conference.

The Penn State Nittany Lions are 26-point favorites against the Nebraska Cornhuskers, with a 56 total. Nebraska is 17-7 ATS in its last 24 road games. Penn State is 10-1-1 ATS in its last 12 home games.

The Auburn Tigers are 37-point favorites against the Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks, with a 68 total. Louisiana-Monroe is 5-2 ATS in its last seven games. Auburn is 8-14-3 in its last 25 home games. The total has gone over in Auburn’s last five games.

The TCU Horned Frogs are 6.5-point road favorites against the Texas Tech Red Raiders, with a 57 total. TCU, which lost to Oklahoma in Week 11, is 10-2 SU in its last 12 games after a loss. Texas Tech is 9-3 ATS in its last 12 games in November. The total has gone under in TCU’s last six games against its conference.

The USC Trojans are 16-point favorites against the UCLA Bruins, with a 71 total. UCLA is 2-8 ATS in its last 10 road games against USC. The total has gone under in nine of UCLA’s last 11 games against USC. Southern California is 2-5 ATS in its last seven games after a win.

And the Washington Huskies are 17-point favorites against the Utah Utes, with a 47 total. Utah is 11-0 ATS in its last 11 road games against teams with winning records. Washington is 7-2 ATS in its last nine games against its conference.