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College Football Betting News and Notes Saturday, August 30
College Football Betting News and Notes Saturday, August 30
NCAAF Week 1
Central Florida (+4.5) won 34-31 at Penn State LY, running ball for 219 yards; total yardage was 507-455, but UCF has new QB, 3 new starters on OL. Lions have new HC in former Vandy mentor Franklin. Penn State lost 4 starters on OL; they're 2-4 in last six neutral field games; its soph QB had 12 starts LY. UCF covered four of last six on neutral field. This game is being played in Ireland, for some reason.
Ohio State lost senior QB Miller for season, a damaging blow; they beat Navy 31-27 (-22) in last meeting five years ago. Buckeyes are 5-8-1 vs spread in last 14 games as road favorite; they lost 4 starters on OL from LY. Middies have 15 starters back and junior QB with 21 starts- they're 20-9 as an underdog under coach Niumatololo. Buckeyes are in trouble at QB, experience-wise- they had 12 days to prep new QB to start.
UCLA has 17 starters back, a QB with 27 starts, an NFL HC and is 5-2 in last seven tries as road favorites; they covered seven of last eight out of conference games. Virginia is 4-8-1 in last 13 games as home dog; they have 3 starters back on OL, soph QB with 7 starts, are just 3-9-1 in last 13 non-ACC games. Long road trip for Bruins, who don't play Texas for two weeks, shouldn't be looking past Cavaliers.
Troy won four of last five games with UAB, with three of last four won by 3 or less points; Trojans are 2-3 in last five visits here, with underdog 3-2 vs spread in those games. Blazers have new coach, new QB, but also has 15 oiher starters back- they're 4-12 vs spread in last 16 games when favored. Troy has new QB, 6 starters back on both sides of ball- they are 5-2-1 in last 8 games as dogs. Average total last four series games, 61.8.
Northwestern (-5.5) won 44-30 at Berkeley in LY's opener, running ball for 209 yards. Wildcats were 5-0 as home favorites LY, after being 5-18 as HFs under Fitzgerald before that. NW has all five starters back on OL, but has senior QB with only 3 career starts. Cal has 4 starters back on OL; they're 2-7 in last nine games as road dogs. Bears have a soph QB with 12 starts- they had 460 passing yards in LY's game.
Notre Dame gets mobile QB Golson back after he was suspended LY; he led Irish to national title game in 2012. Irish have 3 starters back on OL, are 8-11-3 as home favorites under Kelly, 27-48 overall when favored in last decade. Rice covered six of last seven games as road underdog- they have 3 starters back on OL, junior QB is making only 2nd start. Notre Dame plays Michigan next week, figure to hold back a little here.
Alabama didn't name #1 QB this week; they've got three starters back on OL. Tide is 17-11 as road favorites under Saban, covering eight of last 10 on neutral fields, but are just 6-8 vs spread out of SEC last three seasons. West Virginia is 7-7 as underdogs under Holgorsen; they've got senior QB (9 starts) but only two starters back on OL. WVa is 8-16 vs spread in last 24 non-conference games.
Arkansas won four of last six games with Auburn; underdogs are 9-5 vs spread in last 14 series games, 5-2 in last seven here, with Hogs winning three of last four visits here. Marshalll will play but won't start at QB for Tigers after weed bust this spring. Auburn has 4 starters back on OL, is 22-12 vs spread in SEC last four years. Arkansas is 5-12 vs spread in last 17 games as underdog, 3-8 in last 11 games as a road dog.
Clemson (+2.5) beat Georgia 38-35 LY, first renewal since '03 of an old intense rivalry; Dawgs had 545-467 yardage edge LY, 222-197 running ball. Both sides have new QB; Georgia's QB is senior who made couple starts LY, including bowl loss to Nebraska. Dawgs are 5-8 as favorite at home since '12, 10-15 in non-league tilts since '09. Tigers are 6-3 as road underdogs under Swinney, 14-10 vs spread overall on foreign soil.
Kent State won four of last five games with Ohio U; underdogs covered three of last four. Bobcats lost last two visits here, both by an identical 28-6 score. Ohio is 1-6 as road underdogs since 2011; they've got a new QB but have 3 starters back on OL. Kent has 7 starters back on both sides of ball; they're 10-6 as home favorites since '09, 1-1 under Haynes, in his first year at Kent.
Purdue (-1.5) beat Western Michigan 37-32 in last meeting three years ago; Boilermakers have soph QB (7 starts), three new starters on OL, no senior starters on OL but are 5-4 in last nine tries as home favorite- they have 15 starters back overall. Western was 1-11 in Fleck's first year as HC; they're 8-6 as roads underdogs since '11. Broncos could go with a freshman QB, as new coaches usually prefer their own recruits.
Florida State returns Heisman winner Winston at QB, has four starters back on OL (5 senior starters) and has covered 12 of last 15 games on a neutral field. Seminoles are 13-11 vs spread away from home with Fisher as coach. Oklahoma State has junior QB (8 starts) but lost 3 starters on OL; they're 5-3 vs spread in last eight games as underdogs. OSU lost 7 starters on both sides of ball from last year.
LSU will use two QBs, but Jennings played in Outback Bowl win over Iowa LY; Tigers have 4 starters back on OL, are 7-6 in last 13 games as road favorites, 11-17 vs spread in last 28 non-SEC games. Wisconsin will use more mobile QB rather than experienced (19 starts) returning starter Stave. Badgers covered five of last seven games as underdogs, are 8-5-1 vs spread in last 14 games on neutral fields.
Notes on other Saturday games
-- Michigan is 11-7 as home favorites under Hoke, 6-3 in its last nine as a double digit favorite.
-- NC State is 11-4 as home favorites since 2010, but 5-9 in last 14 non-league games.
-- Florida Atlantic fired Bo Pelini’s brother as HC LY. You think Nebraska will run it up, if they can.
-- Boston College is 5-11 in last 16 non-league games, 3-13 as road favorite since 2006.
-- Marshall is 1-8-1 in its last ten games as a road favorite.
-- Louisiana Tech covered only four of last 18 games. Oklahoma covered nine of last 12 out of conference.
-- Florida is just 3-8 as a home favorite the last two seasons.
-- USC is 10-6 in last 16 games as a home favorite; they beat Fresno State 45-20 in Las Vegas Bowl last December.
-- Southern Miss is 6-18 vs spread since Fedora bolted for Chapel Hill; they’re 3-10 in last 13 tries as a road dog.
-- North Texas covered 11 of last 14 games; this is their Super Bowl, playing the Longhorns. First game at Texas for Charlie Strong, who has tossed seven players already.
-- New Mexico covered four of last five games as a home favorite
Re: College Football Betting News and Notes Saturday, August 30
College Football: Streaks, Tips, Notes
Ohio State Buckeyes vs. Navy Midshipmen
Buckeyes are as low as 14-point favorites in some locales for this clash with Midshipmen at M&T Bank Stadium. Urban Meyer's troops on a 24-2 SU stretch aren't about to lose this one. However, with QB Braxton Miller gone for the season due to a shoulder injury along with last years top two running backs, four offensive linemen moving on the Buckeyes are in dangerous betting territory as they're just 6-10 ATS laying double digits. On the other side, Navy a cash stuffing 10-3 ATS in 2013 hit the field on a 5-1 ATS stretch vs non-conference opponents, 11-3 ATS last fourteen taking 8.5 or more points.
Wisconsin Badgers vs. Louisiana State Tigers
Badgers and LSU Tigers a pair of top-25 teams square off in a neutral-site game at Houston’s NRG Stadium. Wisconsin football has been all about the ground-game. Last year they pounded out 282.8 rushing yards/game behind RB Melvin Gordon (1609 RY, 12TD). That ground game will be tested in the opener. The LSU defense is young but did a great job last year allowing just 22.0 PPG on 340.7 total yards/game including just 143.2 rushing yards/game. Trends of note. LSU Tigers have been pegged 4.5 to 5 point favorite a number that has been profitable as the squad is on a sharp 6-2 ATS stretch laying 6 or less points. This being a neutral site game should catch the attention of backers. Tigers open the campaign ridding a prefect 6-0 ATS record at a neutral site.
Re: College Football Betting News and Notes Saturday, August 30
Saturday's Tip Sheet
By Brian Edwards
Clemson at Georgia
As of late Thursday afternoon, most betting shops had Georgia listed as a 7.5-point favorite with a total of 55. Gamblers can back the Tigers on the money line for a +250 return (risk $100 to win $250). The number for the side opened at 8.5, while the 'over/under' started at 58 before steadily coming down.
Georgia's 2013 season was marred by injuries and ended with a disappointing 24-19 loss to Nebraska at the Gator Bowl. The Bulldogs finished 8-5 straight up and they were horrible for our purposes, finished with an abysmal 3-9-1 spread record. Four of UGA's losses were one-possession games, and three of its defeats were gut-wrenching heartbreakers.
The first back-breaking setback came at Clemson in the opener. The Tigers won a 38-35 decision and UGA failed to convert a short field goal in the fourth quarter when the holder couldn't handle a snap. When Mark Richt's team went to Nashville, it let a lead get away at crunch time in a 31-27 loss to Vanderbilt. On the Plains in November, a terrific second-half comeback was wasted when Auburn hit a bomb for a touchdown on a fourth-and-long play after a pair of UGA defenders deflected the pass directly into the hands of a streaking wide receiver.
Senior QB Hutson Mason finally gets his chance as the starter after backing up the departed Aaron Murray, who threw for a school-record 13,166 career passing yards. When Murray tore his ACL in a home win over Kentucky in late November, Mason got a pair of starting assignments. In his first on The Flats, UGA trailed Georgia Tech by 13 at intermission before Mason orchestrated a rally. He threw for 299 yards and a pair of TDs in a 41-34 double-overtime victory. In the loss to Nebraska, Mason threw for 320 yards but a third-quarter interception gave the Cornhuskers a short field and proved to be costly.
UGA returns six starters on offense and eight on defense. RB Todd Gurley is healthy after battling a nagging ankle injury that forced him to miss three full games and a good chunk of a win over LSU. Nevertheless, Gurley still ran for 989 yards and 10 TDs while averaging 6.0 yards per carry. The Dawgs have the country's best 1-2 combo of RBs now that Keith Marshall is also healthy. Marshall went down with a torn ACL in a win at Tennessee in early October. Marshall ran for 759 yards (6.5 YPC) as a true freshman in 2012.
UGA senior WR Malcolm Mitchell saw his 2013 campaign end in the opener at Clemson when he was injured in an end-zone celebration. Bad luck hit Mitchell again when he got hurt at the first practice in August. The knee injury has him listed as 'doubtful' on Saturday. Also, WR Justin Scott-Wesley is suspended.
Clemson returns five starters on offense and seven on defense from a team that went 11-2 SU and 7-6 ATS. The defection on offense are crucial, though. The Tigers must replace the school's all-time leader in passing yards (Tajh Boyd) and receiving yards (Sammy Watkins). Boyd blew up Charlie Whitehurst's career numbers early in his senior year in which he posted a 34/11 TD-INT ratio. The production of Watkins (101 catches, 1,464 yards and 12 TDs in 2013) will be impossible to replace.
Clemson's only losses last season came to top-five teams (vs. FSU and at South Carolina), but we should note that its only regular-season victory over a ranked foe came in the opener vs. UGA. With that said, the Tigers probably had their best performance in their last time out when they captured a 40-35 win over Ohio State as 2.5-point underdogs at the Orange Bowl.
Senior QB Cole Stoudt takes over as the starter under center. He has a stellar 8/1 TD-INT ratio but has never really seen meaningful playing time. In 2013, Stoudt completed 47-of-59 throws (79.7%) for 415 yards and five TDs without being intercepted. True freshman Deshaun Watson, the prize of Clemson's 2014 recruiting class, could see some playing time.
Dabo Swinney probably has the best combo of coordinators in the country with OC Chad Morris and DC Brent Venables. The latter has done a tremendous job in his two years since coming to Clemson after 13 seasons at Oklahoma, and his 'D' in 2014 should be the Tigers' best in at least a decade. This unit is led by DE Vic Beasley, who earned first-team All-American honors as a junior by registering 13 sacks, 10 tackles for loss and 12 QB hurries.
As a road underdog during Swinney's tenure, Clemson owns a 6-3 spread record.
Since 2004, UGA has struggled as a home favorite with a 24-32-2 ATS ledger.
ESPN will have the broadcast at 5:30 p.m. Eastern.
Florida State vs. Oklahoma State
As of late Thursday afternoon, most spots had FSU listed as an 18-point favorite with a total of 63.5. Bettors can take the Cowboys to win outright for a +650 payout (risk $100 to win $650).
FSU is set to defend the school's third national title when it makes its first appearance at Jerry World in Arlington, TX. The Seminoles have won 16 in a row and haven't tasted defeat since Florida won by a 37-27 count in Tallahassee in late November of 2012.
Jameis Winston led FSU to a 14-0 SU record and an 11-2-1 ATS mark. He shredded defenses for 4,057 passing yards with a 40/10 TD-INT ratio. Winston also ran for four scores.
Jimbo Fisher's team brings back seven starters on offense and six on defense. The defense lost five of its top six tacklers, while the offense lost leading rusher Devonta Freeman (14 rushing TDs) and WRs Kelvin Benjamin (15 TD catches) and Kenny Shaw (54 receptions, 933 yards & six TDs).
Despite the departures of Benjamin and Shaw, Winston has a pair of All-American candidates to target in WR Rashad Greene and TE Nick O'Leary. Green had a team-high 76 receptions for 1,128 yards and nine TDs last season, while O'Leary hauled in 33 catches for 557 yards and seven TDs.
FSU went 10-2-1 ATS as a double-digit favorite last season.
Oklahoma State has lost a lot of talent from a 2013 squad that finished 10-3 SU and 8-5 ATS. The Cowboys lost by nine at West Virginia, by nine against Oklahoma and by 10 against Missouri at the Cotton Bowl. However, all three of those games were much closer than the final score indicated and OSU was in position to win all three of those contests midway through the fourth quarter.
Mike Gundy's team returns just eight total starters (four on each side of the ball). Junior QB J.W. Walsh is the starting QB after Clint Chelf departed. Walsh has eight career starts and a 22/8 career TD-INT ratio. Chelf has last year's leading rusher Desmond Roland back in the mix. Roland ran for 811 yards and 13 TDs while averaging 4.6 YPC. Gundy will have a new weapon at his disposal in prize recruit Tyreek Hill, a world-class sprinter who will play both WR and RB and might even get touches out of a Wildcat-type formation. OSU fans can look for Hill to make a lot of explosive plays, and the Cowboys will need several Saturday night if they're thinking upset.
Oklahoma State lost eight of its top nine tacklers from one of its best defenses during Gundy's tenure. The unit allowed only 21.6 PPG but must replace a slew of key players.
This is the richest underdog spot for Oklahoma State since a 36-10 loss at Texas as an 18-point 'dog way back in 2006.
Kick-off is scheduled for 8:00 p.m. Eastern on ABC.
Wisconsin vs. LSU
This meeting of SEC and Big Ten powers will take place in Houston. Then in 2015, LSU will travel to Lambeau Field in Green Bay to face Wisconsin.
As of late Thursday afternoon, most books had LSU installed as a five-point favorite with a total of 50 for 'over/under' wagers. The Tigers are -200 on the money line, while the Badgers are +170 on the comeback (risk $100 to win $170).
Les Miles's team went 10-3 SU and 6-7 ATS in 2013. The Tigers dropped a pair of heartbreakers on the road at Georgia (44-41) and at Ole Miss (27-24). They closed the season with a 21-14 non-covering win over Iowa as 7.5-point 'chalk' at the Outback Bowl.
LSU returns five starters on offense and seven on defense. It lost its top four offensive players to the NFL Draft, including QB Zach Mettenberger, RB Jeremy Hill, WR Jarvis Landry and WR Odell Beckham Jr. Nevertheless, the Tigers have a solid offensive line and an outstanding trio of RBs. Despite backing up Hill, Terrence Magee rushed for 626 yards and eight TDs while averaging 7.3 YPC. Kenny Hilliard, who was the MVP of the 2011 SEC Championship Game as a freshman, had seven rushing scores last season and averaged 4.6 YPC. Miles also landed the nation's No. 1 RB in the 2014 class, Leonard Fournette. If Fournette is 'as advertised,' LSU fans can count on an eighth double-digit win season in the 10th year of Miles's tenure.
LSU is expected to play both of its QBs against Wisconsin. Anthony Jennings got one start last season against Iowa, but he didn't look sharp in the winning effort. To his credit, however, Jennings replaced an injured Mettenberger in a tie game and threw a game-winning TD pass to beat Arkansas in the regular-season finale. Brandon Harris was more impressive in the spring game, though, as Jennings threw a pair of pick-sixes.
Wisconsin brings back seven starters on offense and three on defense from a team that went 9-4 both SU and ATS. The Badgers lost three one-possession games last season and dropped a 34-24 decision to South Carolina at the Capital One Bowl. One of those defeats, a 32-30 setback at Arizona State, can be blamed on Gary Andersen, who made a knucklehead clock-management decision that prevented his team from being able to attempt a short field goal for the win. They basically lost their entire front seven, including All-American LB Chris Borland, so inexperience on defense is a concern.
Wisconsin's Joel Stave started all 13 games at QB last year and six as a redshirt freshman in 2012. But Andersen named Tanner McEvoy as the starter vs. LSU last week. McEvoy provides more of a scrambling dynamic, but he played safety for the Badgers last season. Andersen clearly wants a more mobile QB in the mold of his signal caller Chuckie Keeton at Utah St.
The catalyst for UW is junior RB Melvin Gordon, who is a legit Heisman candidate. Gordon rushed for 1,609 yards and 12 TDs while averaging 7.8 YPC in 2013. Those numbers earned the speedster third-team All-American honors. Gordon will run behind an offensive line that's ranked tops in the Big Ten by Phil Steele.
UW lost its top four pass catchers, including perennial All Big Ten selection Jared Abbrederis.
ESPN will provide television coverage at 9:00 p.m. Eastern.
Re: College Football Betting News and Notes Saturday, August 30
Game of the Day: Florida State vs. Oklahoma State
Florida State Seminoles vs. Oklahoma State Cowboys (+18, 63)
Florida State's title defense begins with a stern test Saturday, as the national champion Seminoles open against Oklahoma State in Dallas. The Seminoles return 15 starters from last year's championship squad, including reigning Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston at quarterback, but they aren't easing into the defense of their crown. The Cowboys have won six straight season openers and have knocked off four top-10 foes under coach Mike Gundy, though they've never beaten a No. 1 team.
Florida State's 16-game winning streak dating to the 2012 season is one shy of the school record set from 1999-2000. The Seminoles' retooled defense gets a good early test against an Oklahoma State team that has been one of the nation's most prolific on offense during Gundy's tenture. "They are very diverse, they are very athletic, and they are very well-coached," Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher told reporters. "They keep you off-balanced, and they are not scored to do things. They are very aggressive with how they play."
LINE HISTORY: The Seminoles opened as 17.5-point road favorites and now sit at -18. The total has held steady at 63.
INJURY REPORT: Florida State: LB Delvin Purifoy - out for season (ankle). Oklahoma State: N//A.
COVERS POWER RANKINGS: Florida State (-24) - Oklahoma State (-10.5) + home field (-3) = Oklahoma State +10.5
WHAT BOOKS SAY: "Both the opening line and total were strong plays for this games as Florida State open at -18 and the total is 63.5. We will have a huge decision on the side and the total with 83 percent of cash and 86 percent on Florida State and 95 percent of cash and 93 percent of bets on the over 63.5." - Mike Perry of Sportsbook.ag.
ABOUT FLORIDA STATE (14-0, 11-3 ATS): The Seminoles return a number of key players from an offense that has put up 30 or more points in 15 straight games, but the receiving corps is thin on experience with starting receivers Kelvin Benjamin and Kenny Shaw gone after combining for 108 receptions and 21 touchdowns a year ago. New defensive coordinator Charles Kelly inherits a unit that returns six starters and is especially strong against the pass, with returners having combined for 16 interceptions in 2013. Like they did a year ago, the Seminoles figure to have an advantage on special teams with the return of record-breaking kicker Roberto Aguayo and return specialist Kermit Whitfield.
ABOUT OKLAHOMA STATE (10-3, 8-5 ATS): The Cowboys appear to be headed for a rebuilding year, as they're picked to finish fifth in the Big 12 and don't return much star power. Only six players on the roster have more than 10 career starts, and only one — receiver Jhajuan Seales — plays an offensive skill position. Quarterback J.W. Walsh isn't on that list — he has started only eight games — but could be poised for a breakout year after passing for 22 touchdowns and rushing for 10 while splitting time under center the past two seasons.
* Seminoles are 6-1 ATS in their last seven games overall.
* Cowboys are 6-2 ATS in their last eight games overall.
* Over is 10-4 in the Seminoles last 14 games overall.
* Over is 7-2 in the Cowboys last nine non-conference games.
COVERS CONSENSUS: Just over 53 percent of the wagers are on Oklahoma State at +18. Almost 70 percent of wagers are on the over at 63.
Re: College Football Betting News and Notes Saturday, August 30
Saturday's SEC Action
WISCONSIN BADGERS vs. LSU TIGERS
Sportsbook.ag Line and Total: LSU -5.5 & 50
The marquee non-conference Week 1 college football game takes place at NRG Stadium in Houston on Saturday night as No. 13 Wisconsin takes on No. 14 LSU.
The staple of the Badgers the past few seasons has been their rushing game, and in Gary Andersen's first year as head coach in 2013, that trend continued. The Badgers ranked eighth in the country in rushing (283.8 YPG), and once again have the makings of one of the best ground games in the nation. Melvin Gordon (1,609 rush yards, 7.8 YPC, 12 TD) is one of the elite running backs in the country, and last year, he was splitting carries with James White, who rushed for 1,444 yards himself.
With White gone, a 2,000-yard season is a definite possibility. However, if the Badgers (9-3 ATS, 8-5 UNDER) are going to contend for a Big Ten title, they will have to get much stronger play in the passing game. Junior Tanner McEvoy, who played receiver and safety for the Badgers last season, will get the nod here. Joel Stave (2,294 pass yds, 22 TD, 13 INT) was the starter last season, but was inconsistent at times and allowed the defenses to focus on the running game. At 6-foot-6, 222 pounds, McEvoy is a prototypical quarterback who has a strong arm. The ability to throw it deep will play a huge role this season, as the play-action fake could open things up even more for a rushing game that has four starters back on the offensive line.
Unlike the Badgers, the Tigers are bringing in a lot of young players on the offense, but there is a ton of talent. All of the talk in Baton Rouge this offseason has been about incoming freshman RB Leonard Fournette, who is already being heralded as the best player ever from the state of Louisiana, even before he plays a game at LSU. At 6-foot-1, 224 pounds, Fournette is a rare combination of size and speed for the running back position. The ground game of the Tigers (5-7 ATS, 8-4 OVER) will be key as the team has very little experience at the quarterback position. Sophomore QB Anthony Jennings and freshman QB Brandon Harris are both players with a lot of talent, but have very little experience. Both teams are going to rely on the rushing game, while also playing terrific defense. The Badgers benefit from underdogs of 3.5 to 10 points in the first two weeks of the year coming off a bowl season and two straight defeats going 34-10 ATS (77%) since 1992, but the Tigers are 6-0 ATS on a neutral field where the total is between 49.5 and 56 in this same timeframe. Neither team has any significant injuries, but LSU will be without suspended S Jalen Mills.
Wisconsin is going to heavily rely on Gordon in the ground game, because of a new quarterback and a team that is missing its top four receivers from last season. Sophomore WR Alex Erickson (nine catches, 127 yards) has some potential to be a very good player, but it is still yet to be known if he is ready to be a No. 1 receiver on a conference championship contender. The passing game ranked 96th in the country last season (197.1 yards), and that was with much more experienced receivers. McEvoy is an intriguing prospect because of his size and the ability to throw the deep ball, but he will be tested on Saturday night as the Tigers could put eight, or even nine men in the box. The defense of the Badgers was very good last year, (6th in FBS in points allowed, 16.3 PPG) and will be counted upon to carry the team, especially early. Marcus Trotter (23 tackles) did not see the field a lot last season, but he will be taking over the middle linebacker spot for Chris Borland, who is currently with the San Francisco 49ers. The secondary should be a strength of the team, with three starters coming back. Safety Michael Caputo (63 tackles) is the leading returner on the defense, and brings that nasty mentality you want to see from the safety position. In this game, he may be playing in the box a lot more than usual, as the LSU Tigers do not figure to be throwing the ball down field a ton.
Last season, the Tigers were blessed to have Zac Mettenberger at the quarterback position, as he had one of the biggest arms in all of college football. The Tigers averaged 35.8 PPG on offense last year (26th in FBS), while finishing 29th in rushing (202.3 YPG). While Fournette has gotten all the talk, senior RB Terrence Magee (759 rush yards, 9 TD) will also get a lot of carries as well. In Les Miles’ tenure at LSU, his best teams have been able to use two or three different running backs to get the job done. This will be especially important this season, as the Tigers are in the same boat as the Badgers, losing some serious receiving talent. Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry were one of the best receiving duos in all of the country last season.
Travin Dural (seven catches, 145 yards, 2 TD) is the top guy returning. The sophomore is 6-foot-2, and has many of the same talents that Landry and Beckham have. There are a lot of question marks on the offensive side of the ball, but if the Tigers are going to make some noise this year, it will be because of their defense. The unit ranked 21st in the country last season, allowing 22.0 PPG. The back seven has the chance to be as good as any in the country, but the defensive line is where the question marks remain. Jermauria Rasco (56 tackles and four sacks) is a talented player returning from a defense that ranked third in the SEC against the run, but this unit will need to be strong. Tre’Davious White (55 tackles, 2 INT) and Rashard Robinson (16 tackles, 1 INT) have a chance to be the best secondary duo in the country. LSU has been known as the DBU in recent years with Patrick Peterson and Morris Claiborne making it to the next level, but this duo has a chance to be just as special.
CLEMSON TIGERS at GEORGIA BULLDOGS
Sportsbook.ag Line and Total Georgia -7.5 & 54.5
For the second consecutive year, No. 16 Clemson and No. 12 Georgia will meet for their season opener when they do battle at Sanford Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Clemson was tremendous last year with an 11-2 record, but could not beat out Florida State for the first spot in the division. The ACC was a fairly weak conference besides FSU and Duke, so their performance does not stand out quite as much, and the team lost the bulk of their key offensive players with QB Tajh Boyd and WRs Sammy Watkins and Martavis Bryant all heading to the NFL. The program has been very successful lately with double-digit wins in each of the past three seasons, but with the losses of all this offensive talent, Clemson is supposed to take a step back this season. On the flip side, Georgia played well below expectations last year as they came into the season ranked fifth in the nation and finished the year 8-5 overall (5-3 in the SEC). A loss to Clemson to start of the season really got things off on the wrong foot, as the team was defeated 38-35 as a 1.5-point favorite on the road.
Georgia is yet another team that lost a longtime starter from their program with four-year starter QB Aaron Murray graduating and being drafted in the fifth round of the NFL draft. Picking up his slack will be a tough task as he put together four consecutive seasons with 3,000+ yards and at least 24 touchdowns. As mentioned previously, the Tigers won the last meeting between these two teams and that was their only victory when facing the Bulldogs since 1992 as they were 0-4 SU (1-3 ATS) previously. As far as trends are concerned, Clemson is 27-13 ATS (68%) as an underdog of 3.5 to 10 points since 1992 while the Bulldogs are an impressive 22-9 ATS (71%) against ACC opponents in that same timeframe.
With the losses of their signal caller and top two receivers, it is tough to imagine that the Tigers will be able to replicate what was a great offensive season last year in which they ranked eighth in scoring (40.2 PPG) and 10th in total offense (507.7 YPG). With Boyd out of the picture, it will be up to QB Cole Stoudt to pick up the slack. In three seasons as a backup, he is 86-for-119 (72%) for 742 yards (6.2 YPA) with 8 TD and only 1 INT. He threw double-digit attempts just twice last year, but should be able to catch on quick with the offense after being with the team for three full seasons now. Aiding him in the backfield will be HB D.J. Howard who is a senior that had 57 attempts in 2013, where he gained a meager 213 yards (3.7 YPC) with two touchdowns. He was an asset in the passing game as well with eight catches for 123 yards (15.4 YPC) and a touchdown. WR Adam Humphries is the best ball catcher coming back this year and he totaled 483 yards on 41 catches (11.8 avg.) while scoring two touchdowns; both of which came in the same contest at Syracuse. DE Vic Beasley (13 sacks, 40 tackles) is expected to be a very high pick in next year’s NFL Draft and he hopes to help the team improve on a defense that was solid last year, allowing opponents to score 22.2 PPG (24th in FBS) while keeping the other team’s quarterbacks yardage down to 201.0 YPG (16th in nation).
Georgia’s subpar 2013 season was not due to a lack of offense as the club scored 36.7 PPG (21st in the nation) and passed for a very solid 314.2 YPG (15th in FBS). Much of this production came at the hands of standout QB Aaron Murray who is no longer part of the team after four tremendous seasons. The torch will be passed to QB Hutson Mason who did well last year as Murray’s backup, throwing for 968 yards (8.8 YPA) with 5 TD and 3 INT. His transition into the role as starter should be much smoother knowing that HB Todd Gurley is still in the mix. The dynamic player ran for 989 yards (6.0 YPC) with 10 TD last year while adding 441 receiving yards (11.9 avg.) and 6 TD through the air. His best game coincidentally enough came in the season opener against Clemson when he popped off for 154 yards on just 12 carries (12.8 YPC) and added two touchdowns in the loss, including a 75-yard TD scamper. The receiving part of his game occurred late in the season, as 26 of his 37 receptions came in the final four games; meaning Gurley should have a more prominent role in the passing game in 2014.
The teams’ top two receivers, Chris Conley (651 rec. yds, 4 TD) and Michael Bennett (538 rec. yds, 4 TD), are both back with the team and should provide more solid experience for Mason in the passing game. Where the program faltered most in 2013 was on the defensive side of the ball. The Bulldogs allowed opponents to score 29.0 PPG against them (79th in nation), but there are many positives going into this year as the core of ILB Ramik Wilson (133 tackles, 4 sacks) and OLB Jordan Jenkins (5 sacks, 45 tackles) make their cases to be early picks in next year’s draft.
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Re: College Football Betting News and Notes Saturday, August 30
College Football Betting News and Notes
Wind, chance of storms at this stadium Saturday
The Big House could be in store for some less-than-ideal weather conditions Saturday.
The Michigan Wolverines host the Appalachian State Mountaineers from Michigan Stadium and forecasts are calling for a 56 percent possibility of thunderstorms.
Furthermore, wind could play a factor as gusts are expected to hover around 12-to-15 mph, blowing toward the north endzone.
The Wolverines are currently 34-point home favorites for the matchup. The total is 54.5.
Over a hot bet when this school plays MAC teams
The Over is 4-0 in the last four games when the Purdue Boilermakers take on teams from the Mid-American Conference.
The Boilermakers will host the Western Michigan Broncos from Ross-Ade Stadium Saturday afternoon.
Purdue and the MAC's Northern Illinois Huskies played over the closing total of 59.5 last year with the Huskies prevailing 55-24.
The LV Superbook has tabbed the game with a total of 53.
This opening number too high for totals bettors
Despite being the top Over play last season, the opening number appears to be simply too high for the Troy Trojans' first game of the season versus UAB.
Offshore books posted a total of 67 to start with, but that has been in free-fall mode ever since, with most shops dealing a 63, the same number the LV Superbook opened with earlier this morning.
The Trojans were a spectacular 11-1 Over/Under last season, including a 34-31 victory over the Blazers in Week 1 last year. The 64 points finished over the closing total of 62.5.
Bruins cashing tickets outside of conference
The UCLA Bruins, lead by Heisman-hopeful Brett Hundley, open the season on the other side of the country Saturday, but they more prove to fruitful for bettors.
The Bruins are 4-0 against the spread in their last four non-conference games and are currently 20-point road faves at the Virginia Cavaliers of the ACC Saturday.
Bruins backers will hope for a start the new season reminiscent of last season, when UCLA began the season 5-0 ATS in their opening five games.