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March 2nd College Football news ... Welcome to Betting football NCAA, the place that provides the college football bettor with everything he needs to score a profit over the long run.
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College Football News
Week 11 Sleepers
QB Robert Griffin III vs. Bucs ($7400): RGIII has to be the top streamer of the week. He looked healthy in his Week 9 return, as evidenced by the number of roll-outs and read-option plays called by coach Jay Gruden. RGIII has had to two weeks to rest and now gets the Bucs atrocious secondary that could be without top CB Alterraun Verner (hamstring) again this week. Even if Verner plays, RGIII will remain a strong play because Verner has been terrible. The Bucs field the leagues 31st-ranked pass defense and have surrendered the seventh-most fantasy points to quarterbacks. RGIII also has one of the most talented receiving corps. Hes a borderline QB1 who has a very favorable fantasy playoffs schedule with the Colts, Rams, Giants, and Eagles lined up for Weeks 13-16. RGIII is worth grabbing in all formats.
QB Mark Sanchez at Packers ($6900): Some refuse to believe in Sanchez, and thats fair. But he looked good on Monday night, and coach Chip Kelly knows how to play to Sanchezs strengths. Even after his strong Week 10, Sanchezs price rose just $300 on FanDuel. He remains a huge bargain with mid-range QB1 upside. The Packers play strong pass defense, but this game projects as a shootout with a 55-point over-under. 300-plus yards and a couple touchdowns is attainable, even if it comes with a turnover. Sanchez is going to bring back value. After Week 11, Sanchez will face four straight top-ten fantasy pass defenses.
Editor's Note: Rotoworld's partner FanDuel is hosting a one-week $2.5 Million Fantasy Football league for Week 11's games. It's only $25 to join and first prize is $300,000. Starts Sunday, November 16th at 1pm ET. Here's the link.
RB Jeremy Hill at Saints ($6500): Giovani Bernard (hip) is fully expected to miss at least one more game. And the schedule remains soft for the Bengals rushing attack. On deck are three straight bottom-12 fantasy run defenses in New Orleans, Houston, and Tampa Bay. Look for the Saints to force Andy Dalton to beat them and concentrate on Hill and the run game after Daltons bed-wetting against Cleveland last week. But the Browns have a more talented pass defense, so Dalton should find more throwing lanes especially if New Orleans is minus top CB Keenan Lewis (knee). In turn, that would open up more alleys for Hill, who is fully capable of handling 20-plus touches. Owners need not to be scared off by Hills 55-yard effort in Week 10. Hes a legit RB1/2.
RB Ryan Mathews vs. Raiders ($6200): Mathews has missed seven games with a sprained MCL. But hes been practicing for weeks and is set to make his return against Oakland with San Diego coming off its bye. If hes not 100 percent, Mathews is close to it. Hes fully expected to slide right back into the lead-back job on first and second downs, with Branden Oliver playing the Danny Woodhead role. Ace beat writer Michael Gehlken expects Mathews to handle around 15 touches based on game flow. Well, this game could get out of hand in favor of San Diego with the Bolts in dire need of a victory, which could then lead to more carries for Mathews in the second half. 18 carries for 80-plus yards and a touchdown is doable. Mathews needs to be owned in all leagues and fired up as a strong RB2 play in this AFC West tilt.
RB Trent Richardson vs. Patriots ($5700): Youre going to want to own someone from the highest projected shootout (58-point over-under) of the season. Both teams are going to want to throw the ball all over the yard, but look for the Colts to try and take advantage of a New England run defense that is allowing the sixth-most fantasy points to running backs. Richardson gets the starts in the Indianapolis backfield and is a good bet for at least 12 touches. While Ahmad Bradshaw is the preferred play, Richardson will likely see a couple goal-line looks. Wed be more than happy with 60-70 total yards and a touchdown. That would be tremendous value on FanDuels 44th-highest-priced running back for Week 11.
RB Jerick McKinnon at Bears ($5500): Directly under Trent Richardson on the FanDuel pricing chart at running back this week is McKinnon. The rookie is still looking for his first NFL touchdown, and its going to be up to him to break one off because the Vikings plug Matt Asiata into the backfield when they get close to the end zone. I feel pretty confident McKinnon will find pay dirt against the Bears. The Chicago linebackers and safeties cant cover anyone, and we saw it last Sunday night when Eddie Lacy of all people took a screen pass 56 yards to the house. McKinnon would run circles around Lacy, and thats no knock on Lacy. McKinnon is a legitimate RB2 whos had zero trouble picking up yards. Hes going to be looking to have a big game with Adrian Peterson knocking on the door of a possible return in Week 12.
RB Benny Cunningham vs. Broncos ($5400): Cunningham is a lock for 6-10 touches, and hes found the end zone in 4-of-6 games since the Rams bye. Hes the running back the Rams trust most in pass protection and on third downs, and hes also the one who gets the key looks near the goal line. With less mobile Shaun Hill at quarterback, DeMarcus Ware and Von Miller coming off the edges, Id expect Cunningham to out-snap Tre Mason on Sunday. Cunningham will be Hills outlet. He hasnt touched the ball more than 10 times in a game this season, but could surpass that this week with the Rams likely to get blown out and forced to pass. Hill is a checkdown artist with no downfield pass-game options in St. Louis. Cunningham is the ultimate dart-throw. There are worse options at running back.
WR Marques Colston vs. Bengals ($6100): Colston has averaged just four targets per game the past three weeks, so this isnt a play for the faint of heart. Bengals slot CB Leon Hall missed Week 10 with a concussion, but is expected back Sunday. Before getting hurt, Hall had been one of the worst cover corners in the league the previous few weeks. Allen Hurns burned Hall for 4-79-1 in Week 9, and T.Y. Hilton beat him for 4-81 two weeks prior. Colston had opportunities for big plays last week, but couldnt corral a pass that wouldve gone for an 81-yard score. The Saints are at home again where the offense as a whole plays much better. Colston is a WR4 with some upside.
WR Rueben Randle vs. 49ers ($6100): Randle falls into that category with Michael Floyd and Justin Hunter as guys we continue to wait on for big games. Unlike Floyd and Hunter, Randle sees consistent targets; hes seen at least nine passes come his way in 6-of-7 games since Week 2. Now, the 49ers are down top CB Tramaine Brock and may also be without slot CB Jimmie Ward, forcing other players into action. Randle has fallen behind Odell Beckham as the Giants unquestioned No. 1 receiver, but theres still gobs of talent here. He just has to harness it. Eli Manning will continue to give Randle opportunities to make plays. The 49ers have been susceptible to the pass. Randle remains a boom-or-bust WR3 with boom potential Sunday.
WR Cordarrelle Patterson at Bears ($6000): Patterson is another guy were waiting on. After totaling 96 yards in Week 8, Patterson came crashing back down in Week 9 with just nine yards on one catch. The Vikings continue to say they want Petterson more involved on offense, so maybe they used the bye week to draw some plays up for him. The Bears cant cover, tackle, or play the run, leaving the Vikings playmakers as interesting fantasy options. Packers WRs were running free all night last Sunday. Patterson is a headache, but one worth the gamble against Chicago.
WR Andrew Hawkins vs. Texans ($5300): Hawkins missed last Thursday nights game against the Bengals with a thigh/knee issue, but said he was close to playing. Hes now at just about 100 percent and gets a date with a Texans pass defense that has given up the second-most fantasy points to receivers. Hawkins plays the slot about 55 percent of the time, so hes going to see enough of Texans CB Andre Hal, whos been torched for 11-185-2 the past three games. Houstons regular slot CB Kareem Jackson remains sidelined with a knee injury. Hawkins has seen at least eight targets in 7-of-8 games played this season.
TE Kyle Rudolph at Bears (N/A): Its extremely frustrating that Rudolph isnt available on FanDuel this week. And were not sure why thats the case, as plenty of other injured players are available on the site. Rudolph has been out since Week 3 after undergoing sports-hernia surgery. Hes been eyeing a Week 11 return all along and was back at practice Wednesday. Rudolphs fill-in, Chase Ford, caught 11-of-12 targets for 127 yards and one touchdown the past two weeks, and became a favorite of Teddy Bridgewaters as a middle-of-the-field intermediate option. Thats where Bridgewater excels. Last week, the Bears gave up two touchdowns to tight ends. Rudolph should be added in all leagues as a potential stretch-run TE1 with a favorable schedule the next five weeks. With Rudolph unavailable on FanDuel, Ill most likely end up dishing out the dollars for Rob Gronkowski. Im not a fan of the basement-priced tight ends this week.
2015 Kentucky Derby Odds
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Odds to Win 2015 Kentucky Derby
March Madness Bracket
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CFB: Liberty Bowl -ARKANSAS vs. EAST CAROLINA (5:30 PM ET, ESPN)
On the surface, a SEC vs. Conference USA bowl game matchup would figure to be a mismatch, but East Carolina is C-USA’s best team while Arkansas was a middle of the pack team from the SEC. Still, oddsmakers at Sportsbook.com see enough in the Razorbacks to make them 8-point favorites.
East Carolina captured its second straight Conference USA title by beating Houston in the league championship game. The reward of that accomplishment…a date with a SEC foe in the Liberty Bowl. In last year’s game, East Carolina lost to Kentucky, playing as a three-point favorite. In the 2010 edition, the Pirates are a 7.5-point underdog to Arkansas, which could be big for bettors, as they are 22-10 ATS in the pup role under head coach Skip Holtz. His team comes into the game at 9-4 and played its best ball at the end, going 6-1 SU and 5-2 ATS in its L7. The Razorbacks also played well down the stretch though, going 4-1 SU and ATS in their final five, while scoring 44.8 points per game. They have won just two of their L9 bowl games though and are 3-6 ATS.
Quarterback Ryan Mallet transferred from Michigan and needless to say, the move was a smashing success. Mallet led the Hogs’ explosive offense to some pretty impressive numbers, 6.8 yards per play and 37 points per game. If it wasn’t for a couple of gut-wrenching three-point road losses to Florida and LSU, Arkansas would have certainly been placed in a high-profile bowl. East Carolina, led by 20th-year senior Patrick Pinkney (just kidding, it only seems that way), won its last six conference games to capture a second consecutive C-USA title. The real question here is whether the Pirates’ average defense (allowing 22 points per game and 386 yards per game) can slow down the explosive Razorback attack. Most likely the answer is no and Arkansas will prevail in a shootout.
Top FoxSheets.com ATS Trend
Skip Holtz is 13-5 ATS (+7.5 Units) versus good offensive teams - averaging >=5.9 yards/play as the coach of E CAROLINA. The average score was E CAROLINA 28.8, OPPONENT 27.4 - (Rating = 1*)
Top FoxSheets.com Total Super Situation
Play Over - All teams where the total is greater than or equal to 63 (ARKANSAS) - in a game involving two average teams (within +/- 50 YPG of their opponents) after 7+ games, in non-conference games. (24-4 over the last 10 seasons.) (85.7%, +19.6 units. Rating = 3*)
LIBERTY BOWL Series Trend: The last three Liberty Bowl games have matched the SEC vs. Conference USA, and not surprisingly, the SEC has swept those contests 3-0 SU & ATS. What is more surprising is that C-USA was the favorite in each of the last two seasons. Overall, underdogs have covered seven of the last 10 installments of this series. The UNDER shares that same mark over the last decade, but has alternated with the OVER in the last six years.
CFB: Champs Sports Bowl - Wisconsin vs. Miami (8:00 PM ET, ESPN)
One of the bowls that was being tagged by experts on ESPN as an intriguing matchup was the Champs Sports Bowl, pitting Wisconsin vs. Miami. That game comes Tuesday night from Orlando. Apparently bettors at Sportsbook.com aren’t seeing the same type of competitive contest, as 75% of them have backed the Hurricanes, moving them from 2-point opening line favorites to now minus 3.5-points.
Wisconsin still has not-so-distant and not-so-pleasant memories of its last trip to the Champs Sports Bowl. That came last December when the Badgers (9-3, 6-6 ATS) were spanked 42-13 by Florida State. For 2009, Miami-Fl. is the opponent, and though head coach Bret Bielema’s team is two games better than it was a year ago, the Hurricanes (9-3, 6-6 ATS) present an imposing challenge. Miami ended up having played one of the country’s tougher schedules featuring eight bowl teams (5-3 SU & ATS). The Badgers were matched against seven postseason participants (4-3, 2-5 ATS) and failed to win or cover versus the last three.
This bowl has had more name changes than the emotions Urban Meyer has gone through in the last week (Tangerine, Blockbuster and Micron PC) and annually has been one of the least competitive bowls, as since 1993 only three games have been decided by a touchdown of less. Maybe a cheap tire company should be the sponsor in the “Blowout Bowl”.
Wisconsin has to have QB Scott Tolzien play well or the Badgers probably can’t win just running with John Clay. They need balance and throwing to talented tight ends and underrated WR Nick Toon, prevents Miami from stuffing the box. Off their demolition of Hawaii (51-10), Wisconsin is 21-6-1 ATS next after conceding 20 or fewer points.
Miami must have quarterback Jacory Harris at the top of his game. The Hurricanes undoubtedly have more offensive weapons, speed and athleticism, however if Harris is under pressure in the pocket, the offense tends not function as proficiently. It would make sense for Miami to play to strengths and come out throwing, testing the Badgers with their speed and determine how they react, which leads to running the ball with Graig Copper and their stable of backs. The Canes have covered five of last seven against teams with winning records.
Miami is a 3.5-point favorite, with total of 58 and despite most recent 7-3 ATS bowl mark, the Hurricanes are 10-24-1 ATS as favorites. The Badgers have covered the number just once in last seven encounters against squads with winning records and are 4-9 ATS as underdogs.
Wisconsin has become a bowl regular and is 9-10 with 9-8 ATS mark. This will be the Badgers sixth straight trip to the Sunshine State for bowl activity and the eighth consecutive time they will be an underdog in the postseason (3-4 SU & 4-3 ATS). Miami is 18-14 as a bowler, with above average 14-10 ATS record. The Hurricanes are 11-9 ATS as faves, but 1-3 ATS the last four times. The ACC team in the Champs Bowl has six-game winning streak with 4-2 ATS record.
The StatFox Power Line shows Miami by 4.
CFB: Recent Bowl Game Betting Happenings
For almost every one of the 34 bowl games, we’ve been given at least two weeks to prepare. In that sense, we might as well dig up as much as we can in search of that one golden nugget for each. In this piece, we’ll take a look at some general bowl game trends recent years, then dive into some more team specific trends for the ’09-10 bowl games. View the current lines for all the games on the LIVE ODDS page of Sportsbook.com.
Here are some highlights of past bowl game action in terms of Home/Road, Favorite/Underdog, and Totals results.
- After being an UNDERDOG dominated event in the early part of the decade, FAVORITES have turned the tables in bowl games the last two years, going 17-15 ATS in ’08-09 & 18-14 ATS the prior season, good for 55% ATS. During that same span, UNDER has been the winning total wager in 36 of 66 games, also 55%.
- In BCS games of the last two years, FAVORITES hold a 6-4 SU edge but the ATS ledger is split 5/5.
- FAVORITES have held the biggest edge over the last two seasons in post-New Year’s non-BCS games, going 9-3 SU & 8-4 ATS.
- Prior to the ‘07-08 bowl season, a distinct pattern had been forming in which UNDERDOGS were dominating the bowl games between the two holidays, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. However, in the last two seasons, that pattern has reversed itself, with FAVORITES going 16-13 ATS in those games.
- There were seven games in the ’08-09 bowl season that matched BCS-level conference schools against non-BCS opponents. In those games, the big boys took care of business with a 6-1 SU & ATS record. The only loss Utah’s Sugar Bowl upset of Alabama. Over the last two bowl seasons now, BCS schools own a 12-5 ATS mark in such matchups.
- Double-digit underdogs weren’t as effective as usual last season in bowl games but still managed to split four games against the spread. Overall, these heavy pups are 35-25-2 ATS, 58.3%, since 1992. The opening lines for the ‘09-10 bowl season show just three different games with pointspreads of 10-points or more.
- Concerning totals, 21 of last year’s 34 games went UNDER the total. In fact, in the games that were expected to be the most high scoring, or those with posted totals of 51 or higher, the UNDER was 16-6.
Here are some angles digging deeper into the “quality” of the bowl series. I have broken the database of past bowl games into five different categories.
BCS Bowl Games
- Dating back to ’04, UNDERDOGS own a sizeable 17-10 ATS edge in the last five bowl game seasons.
- The most likely FAVORITES to cover in BCS bowl games are those laying 5-points or less, 11-7 ATS in the L18
- The SEC owns a 5-1 SU & ATS in its L6 BCS bowl games, best of any league
Post New Year’s Day Low Level Bowl Games
- FAVORITES dominate the late season lower tier bowl games, 9-2 SU & 8-3 ATS in the L11. Eight of the 11 games in this group were decided by 18-points or more.
- The bigger the FAVORITE in this category, the bigger the chance for a blowout. Chalk of 6-points or more from this set of games is 6-1 ATS in the L7.
- MAC teams are the most frequent victim in the post-New Year’s Day low level bowl games, 1-5 ATS.
Christmas thru New Year’s Eve Bowl Games
- In last year’s post-Christmas, pre-New Year’s bowl season, 11 of 15 games went UNDER the total.
- Dating back to ’98, UNDERDOGS own a huge 96-55-3 ATS (64%) edge in this grouping of bowl games. However, as noted earlier, FAVORITES have sliced the gap in the last two years.
- Double-digit UNDERDOGS are a near automatic play during this portion of the bowl season, 16-3 ATS since ’98. There could be two in place for ’09 if the lines in the Boston College & Stanford games climb a bit before kickoff.
Premium Post-New Year’s Bowl Games
- The Premium Post-New Year’s Bowl Games are those most likely to go UNDER the total, 35-23 (60%) since ’96. These games typically include the Outback, Gator, Capital One, and Cotton Bowl games.
- Interestingly, in these Premium Games with higher pointspreads, or those 7-points or greater, the OVER is 14-10 since ’92.
- The OUTRIGHT winner is a nearly automatic pointspread winner in this category of bowl games, 58-7-2 ATS since ’92.
- Dating back to ’02, FAVORITES own a significant edge of 33-7 SU & 25-15 ATS (60%) in the pre-Christmas Day bowl games.
- Small FAVORITES, or those of -3.5 or less, have been particularly dominant in pre-Christmas Day bowl games over the last seven years, 16-2 SU & 15-3 ATS. For ’09, there were four teams fitting that bill as of presstime, Rutgers, Southern Miss, Oregon St, and California.
- Oddsmakers have done a fine job indicating the tempo of these pre-Christmas Day bowl games. In those with totals of 63.5 or higher, 12 of the L13 games have gone OVER the total, producing 82.1 PPG. The Nevada-SMU game could prove to be a shootout.
Does how a team is playing at the end of the regular season have any bearing on how they do in their bowl game. I’ve heard arguments on both sides and have seen completely varying results on this subject. In any case, here are the hottest and coldest of the 68 teams taking part in this year’s bowl game lineup. Keep track of how these teams do, and if you see a pattern forming either way, take advantage.
The HOT Teams Heading into the Bowl Games
* TEMPLE won eight of 11 games against the spread in '09
* UCF was 9-2 ATS in '09, including 4-0 ATS in its L4
* MIDDLE TENN ST comes into its bowl game on a 6-game SU & ATS winning streak
* OREGON ST closed the season on a 6-2 SU & 7-1 ATS surge
* NEVADA was 8-1 SU & 7-2 ATS down the stretch, scoring 49.6 PPG
* OHIO U, GEORGIA TECH, and TROY all won eight of their L10 games ATS
* VIRGINIA TECH swept its L4 opponents SU & ATS, yielding just 9.5 PPG
* OHIO ST was 9-2 ATS after its season opening narrow win over Navy, allowing just 10.8 PPG
* CONNECTICUT was the nation's top spread covering team in '09, 10-2 ATS
* TCU was 7-0 SU & 6-1 ATS down the stretch, winning by 36.6 PPG
The COLD Teams Heading into the Bowl Games
* UCLA was just 3-6 SU & ATS in its L9 games of the season
* BYU was just 3-7 ATS in its L10 regular season games
* Following its season opening rout win, USC went on to lose nine of its L11 ATS
* TEXAS A&M made a bowl game despite winning just three of its L9 games
* After starting 7-0 ATS, IDAHO finished the season on a 1-4 SU & 0-5 ATS skid
* MISSOURI was just 2-6 ATS in its L8 games
* AUBURN was just 1-5 SU & 2-4 ATS in its L6 lined games
* FLORIDA ST was just 3-9 ATS this season
* S FLORIDA received a bowl bid despite going 2-5 SU & ATS in its L7 games
* MICHIGAN ST was just 1-4-1 ATS in a season-ending swoon
For more great bowl game trends, predictions, previews, and forecasts, be sure to pick up a copy of the 2009-10 StatFox Edge Bowl Game Handicapping Guide, or click on the TEAM STATISTICS & BETTING TRENDS pages.