With college football heating up down the regular-season stretch and college basketball in the midst of its season-opening, 24-hour marathon, a smorgasbord of betting opportunities is being bestowed upon sports enthusiasts. Is Alabama done on the gridiron? Can North Carolina be as good as it once was on the hardwood? We’re about to find out….
All odds provided by Sportsbook.ag.
Kansas State (+140) – The Wildcats top the BCS standings thanks to Alabama’s loss, and, although it’s close, they have a decent cushion over both Oregon and Notre Dame. All that stands between KSU and the title game are contests at Baylor and vs. Texas. It looks like Collin Klein may win the National Championship and the Heisman Trophy.
Oregon (+120) – If rankings were based on excitement and style points, the Ducks would be No. 1 going away. They still should get one of the two championship spots as long as they stay undefeated. Oregon’s lead over ND is tenuous at best, but its next two opponents (Stanford and Oregon State) are Top 25 teams, so two more wins will almost certainly be enough.
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Notre Dame (+600) – It’s amazing — and also kind of refreshing — that while the Irish have a contract that basically says they automatically go to a BCS game with anything better than a 6-4 record, they can also miss out on the title game despite going undefeated. Crazy! Notre Dame got help from ‘Bama, but it likely needs more from either KSU or Oregon.
Alabama (+600) – Last season, Nick Saban and company fell to LSU then backed into the championship when everyone and their mother lost at the end of the regular season. If the Crimson Tide beats Georgia and watches two of the Top 3 tumble from the unbeaten ranks, they are back in it. But based on the way the five aforementioned teams are playing right now, both of those are huge “ifs.”
North Carolina (+175) – The Heels may not be expected to contend for a National Championship like they do most years, but they still have talent. James Michael McAdoo is poised for a breakout campaign; he’s already averaging 22.5 points per game and 12.5 rebounds per game through two games.
Marquette (+400) – A Nov. 9 date with Ohio State would have told us a fair amount about this new-look Marquette squad, but it got cancelled due to condensation on the aircraft carrier’s court. How will the Golden Eagles fare without guard Todd Mayo (academically ineligible)?
Texas (+400) – Maui’s field is deep but not top-heavy; Texas (ranked 25th by the coaches) is the only Top 25 team other than North Carolina. The Longhorns have a nice draw, going up against tournament host school Chaminade in the first round.
Butler (+500) – The Bulldogs are a traditional darling of the NCAA Tournament; they’ve finished runner-up twice in the last three years. But can they start this season as hot as they normally finish? Butler, which opens in Maui against Marquette, has a tough warmup at Xavier on Tuesday.
Houston Texans (+400) – Never mind that the conditions were almost unplayable and that Jay Cutler missed much of the game due to a concussion…when you roll into Chicago and take care of the Bears, you know you’re doing something right. The Texans are 8-1 and still on course for home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.
New England Patriots (+450) – The Patriots have struggled in three of their last four contests, but they have won three in a row. A 37-31 win over Buffalo does not inspire much confidence, but it does keep New England alive for a first-round bye in the postseason.
Denver Broncos (+500) – Memo from the NFL to Atlanta, Houston, and New England: You’re welcome for getting to play Denver at some point during the first five weeks of the season. Now Peyton Manning is settled into his new home and the Broncos are arguably the hottest team in football. They’ve won four straight after abusing Carolina 36-14 in Week 10.
San Francisco 49ers (+500) – A tie at home against St. Louis has to feel like a loss. In the long run, however, San Francisco has to like its chances thanks to its pedigree. It plays outstanding defense and can run the football. An upcoming Monday night collision with Chicago could go a long way in determining a first-round bye in the NFC.
LeBron James (+160) – The three-time MVP is favored to win a fourth, and why not? He’s arguably the best player on the best team in the league. LeBron is averaging a double-double (only 23.9 points per game but also 10.0 rebounds) to go along with 6.1 assists through eight games for the 6-2 Heat.
Kevin Durant (+200) – Oklahoma City compiled a .712 winning percentage last season, and if Durant can lead the team to a similar mark in 2012-13 without James Harden then voters will give him serious props. The Thunder are off to a 6-2 start (they’ve currently won five in a row) and Durant is averaging just 23.0 ppg but is attempting the fewest shots of his career (16.6 per contest).
Carmelo Anthony (+500) – The Knicks have played a mere four games, in part due to the opening postponement against Brooklyn. Only five percent of precincts are reporting, but early returns are extremely favorable for both Carmelo and his team. He’s leading the NBA in scoring at 27.3 ppg and New York is a perfect 4-0.
Kobe Bryant (+500) – Say what you will about Mike D’Antoni’s fit (or lack thereof) with the Lakers, but there is some undeniable good news for Kobe: 1) D’Antoni isn’t Mike Brown, and 2) offensive production for D’Antoni is the equivalent of child’s play. Kobe is already scoring 26.1 ppg and that number will only increase.
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