We still have more than 100 days to go before the first real football game of the upcoming season begins, but there are already plenty of odds to chew on. Over at 5dimes they’ve got a handful of season props including a small menu of college football win totals (Michigan isnt on the board yet, but MSU, OSU and Notre Dame have been set at O/U 8.5 wins) as well as championship odds for all six BCS conferences. Sportsbook.com has odds on all eight NFL divisions and for several weeks now have had spreads for the eventual Week One NFL slate. The big news within the last week was Cantor Gaming releasing pointspreads for every NFL game this season. Cantor runs the books at Vegas casinos such as Venetian, Tropicana and the M, so presumably you can already bet any NFL game this season in their sportsbooks. Other than Week One lines at sportsbook.com, I havent seen any of these games available online yet.
I’ve got a few posts upcoming looking into those NFL numbers, but for today I wanted to talk college football. By this time next month, we ought to have game lines for a similar amount of college football games. But the aforementioned 5Dimes has a list up of 10 games from the opening week of the college season. Before looking at any of the odds available for the college or pro game, I just wanted to quickly zip through the college games that are easily available to bet on right now if you were so inclined. All these games are from the first weekend of the season August 30-September 3.
South Carolina -10 at Vanderbilt, Thursday Night, 8/30…… A year removed from being one of the better underdog teams on the season, Vanderbilt begins the season as a double digit home dog. They were 5-2 ATS a year ago catching points. Given the state of the SEC East, I dont feel a division title is out of the question down the line under James Franklin. Dont fret. It’s May. You can get away with making statements like that this time of year. As for this game, the Gamecocks were one favorite that did cover against the Dores in their 21-3 smackdown of Vandy last fall. How bad was the Commodore O that day? They more than negated Steven Garcia’s four picks for the Gamecocks. Vandy could send an early shockwave through the SEC with a win. Not sure they can pull that off, but I’m inclined to think they can cover that number and stay within single digits.
Boise State+6.5 at Michigan State, Friday Night, 8/31………..We make no secret that Boise is one of our teams here at the JCB. At home devouring on a bunch of chalk or on any field, especially catching points, against a team from a big boy conference. If you’re not betting Boise St consistently during the season, you’re losing out on dough. But the storyline all offseason is obvious. They’re replacing a ton on both sides of the ball. Certainly a non vintage Boise season is on tap. Then again, can you trust any team to cover as chalk when they’re replacing a heart and soul quarterback for three years running with a first time starter? I dont know. Right now, I feel MSU will win this game, but not sure on the cover. And that 6.5-point line is just begging to pair MSU on a teaser with somebody else. Stay tuned.
NC State +6.5 vs Tennessee, Friday Night, 8/31…….Doesnt Tennessee just feel like a program we should be betting against right no? They appear to be in a tailspin. Or is it a sinking ship. I can never remember. I do know that I’m not starting my season taking the Vols as near TD chalk against a BCS team that won a bowl game a year ago. The question then becomes shall I start the season by taking an ACC team over an SEC squad. That doesnt sound fun either. But this Pack team is getting a lot of off season buzz. And, if you ask me which program is better right now, I’d almost have to say NC State. These points are destined to tempt me all summer long.
Michigan +14 vs Alabama, Saturday Night, 9/1……I promise to not get talked into believing MIchigan will win this game. But I’d like to think they can hang around, make it interesting enough and at least get this cover. Bottomline? I’m happily holding on to the fact that a Michigan win is at least conceivable, a 180 degree turnaround from what I felt about this game one year ago when it looked Cumberland College might possibly be off the hook. A sure prediction? These wont be the final words I write on this game this summer.
Marshall +21.5 at West Virginia, Saturday, 9/1…………I really have nothing to say on this one. I realize its a rivalry game. But I’m a bit miffed we cant find a better, more imaginative game to release an early line on. #smh
Auburn +5 at Clemson, Saturday, 9/1…..technically speaking, its Clemson’s Sammy Watkins thats the defending September Heisman Trophy. Sorry, Denard. The 5-star WR exploded out of the gates in his first month as a collegiate and his effort against Auburn was arguably the best performance. A year after winning the national championship, Auburn was 2-5 SU, ATS in the regular season a year ago against FBS teams that ended with a winning record. Meanwhile, the last time we saw Clemson, they were giving up 70 points to West Virginia in the bowl game. I dont know what to expect out of either team this season, so this opener is an attractive litmus test for both.
Southern Miss +13 at Nebraska, Saturday, 9/1……this has all the makings of a game I’d talk myself into taking with what looks like a plush, bounty of points with the feisty winning program from a lesser league trying to impress. Instead, a line of faceless Blackshirt defenders will probably whip the midmajor offensive line making the day a pain in the ass at best for the So Miss QB en route to a businesslike strangulation of the game in a 27-10 final. But I’m just spitballing here possible outcomes here.
Navy +13.5 vs Notre Dame (Dublin), Saturday, 9/1….two of favorite consistent bets, Navy catching points and fading the Irish as chalk, go head to head on the first Saturday of the season. Except the fade the Irish part is really only when they’re in South Bend where they’re perpetually overrated by the betting public. And this game is across the ocean in Dublin. Way to ruin something good Irish. Dicks. On the other hand, Navy is on a skid from an against the spread standpoint. I dont know how reliable they are now and is taking them when they’re at an obvious talent disadvantage in Week One really the prudent way to find out? We might have a bit more on this game later in the week.
Kentucky +10 at Louisville, Sunday, 9/2…..Taking 10 points in a rivalry game on a Sunday afternoon while still in a fog in the wake of the first full Saturday of the college football season totally sounds like something I would do. Like it just wouldnt be the JCB Labor Day Picnic without it. I guess that means I should spend some time this summer really determining if this is something worth putting on the eventual holiday itinerary. Since doing so involves betting UK Wildcat football, my early hunch says that it wont be.
Georgia Tech +9 at Virginia Tech, Monday Night, 9/3……..This is the annual Monday Night, Labor Day game. And its another game pitting a pair of JCB faves. We’re never shy about taking the Hokies in big ACC games. And Paul Johnson has always been one of our favorite underdog coaches and Georgia Tech one of our favorite road underdog programs. The Hokie side of me backs away thinking its a little too much chalk. The Georgia Tech side of me backs away, still reeling from last year’s 1-3 mark in that underdog role in the second half of the season. Tech is just 3-6 as an underdog in their last nine under Johnson. I expect to waste way too much idle thought this summer tossing around in my head arguments in favor or against on whether or not the rose has fallen off the bloom on what usually is an annual moneymaker for us.
So, what do you think? Do you see any best bets on this short menu?