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Clemson Offers More Upside Than Alabama on College Football Championship Odds

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There is a disparity in the odds on the pair of powerhouses that have been 1A and 1B in college football for three seasons.

Four weeks out from the first kickoff of the season, the defending champion Alabama Crimson Tide are the +180 favorite on the college football championship odds, while the Clemson Tigers are posted at +550, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

The dueling dynasties have met in the College Football Playoff three seasons in a row, with Alabama winning in the 2015 title game, while Clemson won the 2016 title game before the Crimson Tide won a rubber match in the last season’s semifinal.

Last season illustrated that a one-loss Alabama team will always get a spot in the CFP. The main questions with the Crimson Tide involve how the quarterback controversy between Jalen Hurts and Tua Tagovailoa plays out and whether having to replace 12 NFL draft picks proves to be too much for even coach Nick Saban.

Clemson might have more upside. Lines win championships and the Tigers’ 17 returning starters include three defensive linemen, including ends Austin Bryant and Clelin Ferrell, who earned All-America honors last season. Clemson also managed to be a national semifinalist even though quarterback Kelly Bryant was in his first season as the starter.

The Ohio State Buckeyes (+750) and Georgia Bulldogs (+850) are the only other teams with less than double-digit odds. The Michigan Wolverines (+2000), Oklahoma Sooners (+2000), Washington Huskies (+2000), Penn State Nittany Lions (+2500), Wisconsin Badgers (+2500) and Auburn Tigers (+3000) also round out the top of the board.

Ohio State is loaded and has a promising passing game with QB Dwayne Haskins, but will have to contend with a deep Big Ten conference and a schedule that includes away games against Penn State, Michigan State (+4500) and TCU (+10000).

Georgia has also lost big-name talent to the NFL, but retains QB Jake Fromm and key elements from an outstanding defense. The Bulldogs came within a play or two of slaying Alabama in last season’s national championship game, and the adage that it’s tough to beat the same team twice in a row could come into play if they end up meeting in the SEC championship game in early December.

While the SEC isn’t as deep as it was a decade ago, its best have thrived under the CFP format. The same hasn’t been true for the Big Ten and Pac-12 over the last three seasons. The past doesn’t always predict the future, but bettors will need to really be sold on the likes of Washington or Wisconsin, even with candidate on the Heisman Trophy odds Jonathan  Taylor, before making a longshot play on either of those teams to break the cycle.

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

Dustin Johnson the British Open Betting Favorite, but Carnoustie Plays Shorter

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With his best asset perhaps rendered irrelevant, Dustin Johnson seems like a vulnerable betting favorite for the British Open.

Johnson is the +1200 favorite on the British Open betting lines at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com, with the golf season’s third major due to begin at the 6,941-yard, par-71 Carnoustie Golf Links in Angus, Scotland on Thursday.

A warm summer in the United Kingdom has created some firm fairways at the famously wind-whipped course. That could keep many players’ drivers in their bag, which would negate the edge that big hitters such as Johnson get from strokes gained off the tee. Johnson also has just three top-10 finishes in nine starts at the British Open.

Rickie Fowler (+1600), Justin Rose (+1600) and Rory McIlroy (+1600) are also high up on the board. There is a case for backing Fowler until he sheds the stigma of “best player not to have won a major,” as he has three top-five results in his last five majors. Rose has only placed in the top 10 twice in 16 starts at the British Open, so it might be wise to look past him for value.

McIlroy is a past winner but season-long putting problems might make it hard to trust him.

Getting into the longer odds to win the 2018 British Open, reigning two-time U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka (+2200) has cracked the top 10 in his last two starts in the British Open. Only Tiger Woods (2000) and Tom Watson (1982) have won both the U.S. and British titles in the same year in the last 45 years. That doesn’t automatically rule out that it could happen.

With that said, Tommy Fleetwood (+2200) holds the course record at Carnoustie and also has recent momentum, what with being a U.S. Open runner-up. Tiger Woods (+2200) has the same price and could benefit from not needing to use his driver frequently this week.

The tournament comes at a bad time for defending champion Jordan Spieth (+2200), who has missed the cut in three of his last seven starts.

The case for, or against, Francesco Molinari (+3300) comes down to whether bettors give more weight to recent results or his track record in the event. Molinari has two wins, a second-place finish and a tie for second within his last five tournaments and his proficiency at hitting fairways could serve him well. He’s finished outside of the top 30 in the last three British Opens, but all of those were at other courses.

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

Betting Favorite France Still Offers Value on World Cup Final Odds

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No matter how much the betting line moves into minus money, favored France offers plenty of value against Croatia in the World Cup championship game this weekend.

With the biggest sporting event in the world down to the last two teams, France is a -115 favorite on the World Cup final odds with Croatia coming back at +375, while the draw is priced at +230 and there is a 2.0 total, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

France went through the arguably tougher half of the knockout draw to make it to the final Sunday at Luhzniki Stadium in Moscow, defeating Argentina, Uruguay and Belgium. Croatia outlasted Denmark, Russia and England in knockout games that were tied 1-1 after regulation time, a World Cup first.

Six of the last seven World Cup finals have produced a clean sheet. However, with the playmaking talent on both side – think Paul Pogba for France, or Luka Modric of Croatia, who might be the world’s best midfielder – there’s a chance this won’t be the usual cautiously played final. The both teams to score / over 2.5 goals scored prop is priced at +220.

France has kept forward Antoine Griezmann and winger Kylian Mbappe supplied with scoring chances throughout the tournament, so they are 1A and 1B in all goal-scorer props. Bettors who are confident of France winning the midfield battle – which boils down to Pogba and N’Golo Kante against Modric and Ivan Rakitic – might want to back France at +275 to beat the minus-1.5 goals alternate spread.

Croatia defender Ivan Strinic (groin) has an injury issue and is slated to play across from Mbappe, which might make it worth taking a flier on the French teenager to add to his World Cup account.

Croatia has had a remarkable run, as it conceded the opening goal in each knockout game – a pattern that might continue Sunday – before rallying to pull out the win. Modric controls a game as well as anyone, while forward Mario Mandzukic (+300 to score anytime) has shown he doesn’t need a high volume of chances to get on the board.

The main question hanging over the first-time World Cup finalist is whether Croatia has enough left to go toe-to-toe with France after basically playing an extra game  – the 30 minutes of extra time, multiplied by three – to reach the final.

Bettors who believe they can hold France might want to pore over the method-of-victory prop, where a France extra-time win pays +850 and a Croatia extra-time win is priced at +1800. For victory by penalty kicks, it’s France at +900 and Croatia at +1000.

Mbappe (+300) has top prop to be man of the match, followed by teammate Griezmann (+600) and Croatia’s Modric (+750).

For more odds information, betting picks and a breakdown of this week’s top World Cup betting news check out the OddsShark FC podcast with Andrew Avery, Rob Trites, and Craig Cormier. Subscribe on iTunes or listen to it at OddsSharkFC.libsyn.com.