It was a relatively tame NFL weekend by the league’s lofty standards.
Sure, the Colts-Packers thriller was entertaining and emotional, but Week 3 gave us about six games on par or even better than that one. Sunday featured blowout after blowout, to the extent that even Las Vegas didn’t have to do much breath-holding. Only one game was covered by fewer than three points (the Eagles were four-point underdogs in Pittsburgh and lost by just two).
Leave it to the NCAA, though, to pick up the slack in advance. Three teams in the AP Top 5 went down. So did Top 25 members Texas, TCU, Stanford, Nebraska, and Northwestern. Wild action also saw Ohio State put up 63 points…on defensive-prided Nebraska, no less. Just how crazy was college football? The weekend saw Duke improve to 2-0 in the ACC. That’s right. Duke. Undefeated in conference.
A look at how the weekend’s action impacted futures betting:
Heisman hopefuls (odds at Sportsbook.ag)
Geno Smith (“Even”) – OK, so Geno at least returned from his trip to Mars (a 70-63 shootout victory over Baylor on Sept. 29). Still, Earth isn’t too shabby for the Heisman Trophy favorite. On the road against Texas last Saturday night, Geno completed 25-of-35 passes for 268 yards and four more touchdowns. He is a ridiculous 166-for-204 with 1,996 yards, 24 touchdowns, and zero interceptions through five games for undefeated West Virginia. Not even Bevo, Texas’ long-horned mascot, could deter this guy right now.
Braxton Miller (+500) – The sophomore signal-caller has led Ohio State to a perfect 6-0 record. He has 1,060 passing yards, 763 on the ground, and 17 total touchdowns (nine passing, eight rushing). The Buckeyes’ 63 points against Nebraska last Saturday were their most in a conference game since 1983.
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Matt Barkley (+500) – Barkley is still in the hunt in part because he is a big name, but his stats are modest (15 touchdowns, five interceptions) and USC already has a loss pinned on it by Stanford. This dude went back to school to win the National Championship and the Heisman and he probably won’t win either. Hey, at least he’ll have something in common with Tim Tebow!
National Championship picture (odds to win BCS title game at TopBet.eu)
Alabama (Even) – There are three certainties in life: death, taxes, and an SEC squad winning the BCS National Championship. As other top teams continue to stumble, ‘Bama is poised to make it seven in a row for the conference. If the Tide somehow stumble, Florida and South Carolina could throw themselves into the fray.
Oregon (+350) – The Ducks haven’t won anything this big since Gordon Bombay etched his name in Hollywood lore by leading his “Mighty Ducks” to a series of epic triumphs. Oregon may end the slump, though, because this team has the most explosive offense since Bombay’s “Flying V” formation.
West Virginia (+500) – “Country roads, take me home / To the place I belong / West Virginia, Mountain Mama / Take me home, country roads.” I had never imagined a scenario in which this John Denver classic would get old…until WVU entered the National Championship picture. If Geno delivers the crystal ball to West Virginia, it might!
AFC Championship odds (Bovada Sportsbook)
Houston Texans (+200) – J.J. Watt got his hands on more Mark Sanchez passes than did the entire Jets’ receiving corps. No, a win over Sanchez and co. is not that impressive, but a 5-0 record is.
New England Patriots (+250) – Wait, I just remembered a fourth life certainty: Tom Brady beating Peyton Manning. It happened yet again on Sunday, to the surprise of no one.
Baltimore Ravens (+400) – The Ravens are 4-1 with a win over New England and its only loss coming by one point at Philly. And they’ve been doing it without one of their best players. Just think if Terrell Suggs makes a return to Ball So Hard University….
NFC Championship odds (Bovada Sportsbook)
San Francisco 49ers (+225) – How the hell did San Francisco lose to the Vikings? I know Minnesota is 4-1, but wow. Then again, it may not have been a bad thing. The Niners have won their last two games by a combined score of 79-3.
Atlanta Falcons (+325) – Quarterback Matt Ryan and Head Coach Mike Smith have won the same amount of playoff games as I have. It’s the same story for every Atlanta sports team: nothing matters until the postseason.
Chicago Bears (+650) – So it’s the 49ers, the Falcons, and then everyone else? When the leader of that “everyone else” is quarterbacked by Jay Cutler, in can only mean good news for San Francisco and Atlanta.
Super Bowl odds(all odds here provided by Sportsbook.ag)
Texans (+350) – We’ll know even more about these guys after a Sunday night home game vs. Green Bay (Houston is favored by 3.5 points at Sportsbook.ag).
49ers (+450) – Can San Fran stay hot in a rematch of the NFC Championship (five-point home favorite vs. the Giants)?
Patriots (+450) – New England’s schedule is a joke from now until Dec. 10. That’s when they host the Texans, and home-field advantage in the AFC playoffs could be at stake.
Falcons (+700) – Atlanta already has an outrageous 3.5-game lead in the NFC South. I think that says more about the rest of the division than it does about the Falcons. Yeah, I’m looking at you, Cam Newton and Drew Brees!
Ravens (+900) – You have to think that if the Ravens make it to New Orleans, they’ll be favored based on Ray Lewis’ inspirational pregame speech alone.
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