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Alabama favored over Clemson for College Football Playoff National Championship

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Alabama faces a line that is smaller than its lowest winning margin of the season in its latest January rematch with Clemson. The Crimson Tide, led by quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, are five-point favorites on the college football odds against the Clemson Tigers with a 58.5-point total for Monday’s title game at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

The contest at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California is the fourth consecutive postseason meeting between the teams. In the Nick Saban era, Alabama is 5-1 straight-up and 3-2-1 against the spread as a favorite of 7.0 or fewer points in postseason games, with the 2016 Tigers accounting for that one outright defeat.

Clemson has gone 14-0 SU and 8-6 ATS against a schedule rated as less difficult than Alabama’s docket of defeated foes. Offensively, freshman quarterback Trevor Lawrence does not seem likely to be intimidated by the big stage, and the Tigers’ third-ranked offense stands a good chance of putting up some points against Alabama, which allowed 34 against the Oklahoma Sooners’ top-ranked attack in the Orange Bowl on December 29.

A bigger unknown is whether Clemson has a stout enough offensive line to negate nosetackle Quinnen Williams and the Crimson Tide’s interior push. The Tigers’ rushing game was a non-factor against Alabama in the 2017 playoff game, but leading rusher Travis Etienne is the type of edge runner that often poses difficulty for the Crimson Tide.

Alabama is also 14-0 SU and 8-6 ATS, with Tagovailoa serving as the linchpin of a No. 4-ranked offense that is also second only to Oklahoma in scoring. Clemson’s defense is also the fourth-best in the country statistically, and the Tigers, first in the country with 52 sacks, will likely rely on a four-man pass rush led by defensive tackle Christian Wilkins to slow down Alabama, since Tagovailoa is excellent when teams blitz with five or more defenders.

Thanks to myriad major touchdown threats such as wide receivers Jerry Jeudy, Henry Ruggs III and Devonta Smith, Alabama averages a nation-leading 11.3 yards per pass. Clemson allows 6.3 yards per pass, but did not face a team with a pro-style offense that ranked in the top 20 in the country in yards per throw.

The total has gone UNDER at online sports betting sites in seven of Alabama’s last 10 games when it was favored by 7.0 or fewer points. However, that sample spans eight seasons. The total has gone OVER in nine of Alabama’s last 14 games, with an average combined score of 63.93 points. Five of Clemson’s 14 games finished with 60 or more total points.

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 Spotify or listen to it at OddsShark.libsyn.com.

Per OddsShark.com, Alabama, Clemson remain double-digit favorites

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The Clemson Tigers are 12.5-point favorites against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish with a 56.5-point total on the Cotton Bowl odds at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, on Saturday at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

Support for No. 3 Notre Dame has led to some adjustment in the betting line, and now the favored Tigers have lost defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence to a failed drug test. That might make life easier for Notre Dame’s offensive line and quarterback Ian Book, but No. 2 Clemson is 6-2 against the spread (ATS) in its last eight games as a double-digit favorite for reasons that go beyond one player.

With that said, Notre Dame is 4-1 ATS in its last five games against the Atlantic Coast Conference according to the OddsShark College Football Database.

Clemson ranks fourth in the country in both total offense and total defense, while Notre Dame ranks 28th and 22nd in those categories. The total has gone OVER in six of Notre Dame’s last eight games in December.

Orange Bowl Odds: No. 4 Oklahoma vs. No. 1 Alabama (-14)
The Alabama Crimson Tide are 14-point favorites against the Oklahoma Sooners with a 77-point total on the Orange Bowl odds at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida, which is the second CFP semifinal.

The Sooners lead the country in scoring (49.5 points per game) with Alabama second (47.9). However, the Crimson Tide, who expect to have Heisman Trophy runner-up quarterback Tua Tagovailoa healthy after an ankle injury four weeks ago, finished 98 places ahead of Oklahoma in the total defense rankings and are 30-0 straight up (SU) and 18-12 ATS in their last 30 games as a favorite of 13.0 or more points.

Oklahoma, led by Heisman-winning quarterback Kyler Murray, is 2-4 both SU and ATS in its last six postseason games as the underdog.

The total has gone OVER in six of Alabama’s last eight games in December. The total has gone OVER in four of Oklahoma’s last five games, with an average combined score of 93.6 points.

Peach Bowl Odds: No. 10 Florida vs. No. 7 Michigan
The Michigan Wolverines are 6-point favorites against the Florida Gators with a 51-point total on the Peach Bowl odds at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. Michigan is 10-1 SU in its last 11 games as a favorite, but quarterback Shea Patterson has a diminishing supporting cast with leading rusher Karan Higdon, defensive end Rashan Gary and linebacker Devin Bush sitting out to prepare for the NFL draft.

However, Florida, led offensively by quarterback Feleipe Franks, is 0-4 SU in its last four games against Michigan (with an average losing margin of 16 points) and is also 3-8 ATS in its last 11 games as the underdog. The total has gone OVER in six of Florida’s last seven games, with an average combined score of 58.86 points.

Elsewhere Saturday, the South Carolina Gamecocks are 5-point favorites against the Virginia Cavaliers with a 54-point total in the Belk Bowl at U.S. Bank Stadium in Charlotte. South Carolina is 12-4 ATS in its last 16 games against the ACC.

And the Nevada Wolf Pack are 1-point favorites against the Arkansas State Red Wolves with a 56.5-point total in the Arizona Bowl at Arizona Stadium in Tucson, Arizona. Nevada is 6-1 ATS in its last seven games in December.

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 Spotify or listen to it at OddsShark.libsyn.com.

Army, Hawaii highlight betting favorites on Saturday’s bowl game odds

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Army (10-2), with quarterback Kelvin Hopkins at the controls of its run-based triple-option, are 4.5-point betting favorites against the Houston Cougars (8-4) with a 60.5-point total in the Armed Forces Bowl at Amon G. Carter Stadium in Fort Worth on Saturday at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

Army is only 8-20 against the spread in its last 28 games against teams from the American, as well as 1-5 against the spread (ATS) in its last six games as a favorite of 3.5 to 6.5 points at kickoff. However, the Black Knights lead the country in time of possession and the linchpin of Houston’s resistance to the run, nose tackle Ed Oliver, is sitting out to get ready for the NFL draft.

Houston, which is 1-4 ATS in its last five games according to the OddsShark College Football Database, appears to be counting on a freshman quarterback, Clayton Tune, in a game where a handful of empty possessions will be magnified. The total has gone UNDER in seven of Army’s last nine games against American Athletic Conference teams.

Elsewhere on the second weekend of the college football bowl season:

MEMPHIS (8-5) vs. WAKE FOREST (6-6)
The Memphis Tigers are 3.5-point favorites against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons with a 73-point total in the Birmingham Bowl at Legion Field in Birmingham. Memphis, which has the No. 3 offense in the country built around a run-pass threat of Brady White and Patrick Taylor, will be trying to continue a streak of being 5-0 ATS in its last five games as a favorite.

Wake Forest’s season-long defensive issues are a concern, but it is 10-2 SU in its last 12 games against teams from the American, as well as 7-1 ATS at online betting sites in its last eight games in December. The total has gone OVER in five of Memphis’ last six games.

BUFFALO (10-3) vs. TROY (9-3)
The Buffalo Bulls are 1.5-point favorites against the Troy Trojans with a 49.5-point total in the Dollar General Bowl at Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile, Alabama. Buffalo, 5-1 ATS in its last six games as a favorite, will need to negate a strong Troy pass rush to boost quarterback Tyree Jackson.

The Sun Belt Conference representative is 5-1 in the last six editions of this game and the Trojans are close to home, as well as 8-0 SU in their last eight games after a loss, so how bettors feel about underdog Troy comes down to gauging the capabilities of an offense that’s counting on sophomore quarterback Sawyer Smith having his receiving corps healthy again.

The total has gone UNDER in three of Troy’s last four games, with an average combined score of 37.0 points.

LOUISIANA TECH (7-5) vs. HAWAII (8-5)
In Saturday’s final bowl matchup, the Hawaii Rainbow are one-point favorites on the Hawaii Bowl odds against the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs with a 61-point total at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu. There is a decided disparity in experience that augurs poorly for Hawaii, which is not only playing in its first bowl in eight seasons, but is also 0-15-1 ATS in its last 16 games as a favorite

Louisiana Tech has won its last four bowls and is 6-1 ATS in its last seven games as a road underdog, which both seem promising signs as quarterback J’Mar Smith faces a Hawaii defense that is among the bottom 30 in the country playing the run and the pass. The total has gone UNDER in four of Hawaii’s last five home games, with an average combined score of 58.2 points.

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 Spotify or listen to it at OddsShark.libsyn.com

Wager this: Odds for the opening Saturday of the 2018-19 college football bowl season

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Fresno State has been covering as a favorite of late, while bowl opponent Arizona State has troubling trends both against the Mountain West and at this time of the year.

The Fresno State Bulldogs, with Marcus McMaryion behind center and a stout defense, are 4.5-point favorites against the Arizona State Sun Devils with a 53.5-point total on the Mitsubishi Motors Las Vegas Bowl odds on Saturday at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

The Bulldogs go into the game at Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas with a record of 4-4 against the spread over their last 18 games, That sample includes an 8-3 against the spread (ATS) record as a favorite this season. The Sun Devils are 2-10 ATS in their last 12 games in December and are also 1-6 ATS in their last seven games against the Mountain West.

Fresno State has had the total go under in five consecutive games with an average total of 41.6. Arizona State will not have star wide receiver N'Keal Harry, who is sitting out to avoid injury before the NFL draft, so the Sun Devils might have issues finishing drives against the nation’s No. 2 scoring defense.

Elsewhere on the opening weekend of the college football bowl season:

TULANE (6-6) vs. LOUISIANA (7-6)
The Tulane Green Wave are 3.5-point favorites at sports betting sites against the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns with a 59-point total in the AutoNation Cure Bowl at Camping World Stadium in Orlando. In a matchup of run-first offenses, it’s notable that the Green Wave allows a full yard less per carry than their Cajun counterparts. Tulane has not covered in its last three games, but is 8-2 ATS after consecutive ATS losses. The total has gone UNDER in five of Tulane’s last six games, with an average combined score of 51.83 points.

UTAH STATE (10-2) vs. NORTH TEXAS (9-3)
The Utah State Aggies are 7.5-point favorites against the North Texas Mean Green with a 68-point total on the New Mexico Bowl odds at Dreamstyle Stadium in Albuquerque. Utah State will be operating without coach Matt Wells, who has left for Texas Tech, and could be thrown off. On paper, Aggies quarterback Jordan Love leads a potent offense and Utah State is also 8-2 ATS in its last 10 games as a favorite of 7 to 10 points. North Texas, which can also score in bunches with Mason Fine at quarterback, is 0-5 ATS in its last five games.

GEORGIA SOUTHERN (9-3) vs. EASTERN MICHIGAN (7-5)
The Georgia Southern Eagles are 2.5-point favorites against the Eastern Michigan Eagles with a 47.5-point total in the Raycom Media Camellia Bowl at the Cramton Bowl in Montgomery, Alabama. Georgia Southern and quarterback Shai Werts use the triple-option, which could negate the influence of Eastern Michigan’s fifth-ranked pass defense and leave it vulnerable in the ground game. The total has gone OVER in five of Georgia Southern’s last six games.

MIDDLE TENNESSEE STATE (8-5) vs. APPALACHIAN STATE (10-2)
The Appalachian State Mountaineers are 6.5-point favorites against the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders with a 50-point total on the R&L Carriers New Orleans Bowl odds at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Appalachian State is also under interim leadership, with Mark Ivey filling in, and the Mountaineers’ offense relies heavily on running back Darrynton Evans. Middle Tennessee, thanks to senior quarterback Brent Stockstill, has a decided edge in the passing game and is 6-1 SU and 5-1-1 ATS in its last seven games against Sun Belt teams. The total has gone UNDER in four of Appalachian State’s last five games.

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 Spotify or listen to it at OddsShark.libsyn.com

Week 14 college football odds: wagering table set for big Championship Weekend

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There are some strong OVER trends in a conference championship game that some are resigned to believing will be more of a coronation for top-ranked Alabama.

Led by Heisman Trophy betting favorite Tua Tagovailoa, the Alabama Crimson Tide are 13-point favorites against the Georgia Bulldogs with a 63-point total ahead of the SEC Championship Game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta on Saturday, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

Alabama is actually facing its tightest line of the season, but it is 14-0 straight-up over its last 14 games with an average winning margin of 31.71 points. Georgia is 4-1 against the spread (ATS) in its last five games. The total might seem high by SEC standards, but five of Georgia’s last six games have gone OVER, with an average combined score of 58.67. The total has also gone OVER in five of Alabama’s last seven games in December.

Elsewhere on championship weekend:

BUFFALO (10-2) VS. NORTHERN ILLINOIS (7-5)
The Buffalo Bulls are 3.5-point favorites on the college football odds against the Northern Illinois Huskies with a 49.5-point total in the Mid-American Championship Game at Ford Field in Detroit on Friday. Northern Illinois is 1-8 ATS in its last nine games in Week 14. Buffalo is 6-1 ATS in its last seven games.

NO. 11 WASHINGTON (9-3) VS. NO. 17 UTAH (9-3)
The Washington Huskies are five-point favorites against the Utah Utes with a 44.5-point total in the Pac-12 Championship Game at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara on Friday. Utah is 7-1 straight up (SU) and 6-2 ATS in its last eight games. Washington is 1-6 ATS in its last seven games.

NO. 5 OKLAHOMA (11-1) VS. NO. 14 TEXAS (9-3)
The Oklahoma Sooners are eight-point favorites against the Texas Longhorns with a 77.5-point total in the Big 12 Championship Game at AT&T Stadium in Arlington. The total has gone UNDER in 19 of Texas’ last 25 games against teams from its conference. Oklahoma is 9-1 SU and 8-2 ATS in its last 10 games in Week 14.

NO. 6 OHIO STATE (11-1) VS. NO. 21 NORTHWESTERN (8-4)
The Ohio State Buckeyes are 14-point favorites against the Northwestern Wildcats with a 60.5-point total in the Big Ten Championship Game at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. Northwestern is 0-6 SU and 1-5 ATS in its last six games against Ohio State, according to the OddsShark College Football Database, with an average losing margin of 30.8 points. Ohio State covered in its most recent game against Michigan, but it is 0-3 ATS in its last three games after an ATS win.

NO. 2 CLEMSON (12-0) VS. PITT (7-5)
The Clemson Tigers are 27.5-point favorites against the Pitt Panthers with a 52.5-point total in the ACC Championship Game at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte. Pittsburgh is 5-2 SU and ATS in its last seven games in December. Clemson is 8-0 SU and 7-1 ATS in its last eight games in December.

NO. 8 UCF (11-0) VS. MEMPHIS (8-4)
The UCF Knights are three-point favorites against the Memphis Tigers with a 64.5-point total in the AAC Championship Game. Memphis is 0-6 SU and ATS in its last six games on the road against Central Florida. The total has gone UNDER in six of UCF’s last seven games against its conference.

UAB (9-3) VS. MIDDLE TENNESSEE STATE (8-4)
The Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders are 1.5-point favorites against the UAB Blazers with a 45-point total in the Conference-USA Championship Game. The total has gone UNDER in seven of UAB’s last 10 games, with an average combined score of 43.1 points. Middle Tennessee is 7-0 SU and 6-1 ATS in its last seven games at home.

NO. 22 BOISE STATE (10-2) VS. NO. 25 FRESNO STATE (10-2)
The Boise State Broncos are 2.5-point favorites against the Fresno State Bulldogs with a 52.5-point total in the Mountain West Championship Game. Fresno State is 13-4 ATS in its last 17 games. The total has gone UNDER in 10 of Fresno State’s last 11 games on the road, with an average combined score of 38.0 points. Boise State is 0-6 ATS in its last six games at home in December.

APPALACHIAN STATE (9-2) VS. LOUISIANA (7-5)
The Appalachian State Mountaineers are 16.5-point betting favorites against the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns with a 58.5-point total in the Sun Belt Championship Game. The total has gone UNDER in four of Louisiana-Lafayette’s last five games against Appalachian State, with an average combined score of 46.2 points. Appalachian State is 9-0 SU in its last nine home games, with a winning margin of 27.89 points.

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 Spotify or listen to it at OddsShark.libsyn.com.