NCAA Football Betting Odds: Week 12 Line Movements & Last-Minute News
Last weekend was a huge one in terms of shaping the College Football Playoff, and the new CFP Top 25 had quite a shakeup. With Auburn's wipeout of Georgia, Alabama moved to No. 1 - even though the Tide were somewhat fortunate to escape at Mississippi State in Week 11. Clemson jumped from No. 4 to No. 2 and Miami (No. 3) and Oklahoma (No. 4) are now in the national semifinals as things stand.
Let me say first that I don't expect any change in theTop 4 this week because it's a weak schedule. The only game featuring CFP ranked teams is No. 24 Michigan at No. 5 Wisconsin. Alabama will cruise past little Mercer on Saturday, Clemson will do the same to The Citadel, Miami might be a bit sluggish in its home finale but should handle Virginia, and Oklahoma plays the worst Power 5 team west of Rutgers in Kansas.
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Here, though, are my thoughts from the new rankings and each school's BetOnline odds to make the Final Four:
*-Auburn (+240) could become the first two-loss team to make the playoff. The Tigers sit at No. 6. They know that one of Clemson or Miami will lose because those two will play in the ACC title game. Thus, should Auburn beat Alabama (-500) in next week's Iron Bowl and then beat Georgia (+400) again in the SEC title game, the Tigers are in the playoff without question.
*-The ACC has a shot at getting two teams in. This would require Clemson (-260) and Miami (+130) to obviously each win its final two regular-season games in blowouts and then play an epic ACC Championship Game -- won by the Tigers (because they already have a loss) in the final seconds. It would also take some losses by a few other teams, but this ACC could become the first conference with two playoff teams.
*-The Big 12 doesn't have to worry about missing the playoff for the third time in four years as long as the high-powered Oklahoma Sooners (-350) win out. Wouldn't it be ironic if they lost in the Big 12 title game in a rematch vs. TCU? The conference restored that game to help its playoff chances, yet it could hurt in the end.
*-The Big Ten won't miss the playoff for the first time if the No. 5 Badgers (+145) win out, including taking out No. 9 Ohio State (+325) in the conference championship game. I happen to think UW might lose this week to the Wolverines and will not beat the Buckeyes. Also don't see a scenario where OSU gets in the playoff outside of utter chaos.
*-The Pac-12 (USC is +1000) and No. 8 Notre Dame (+2000) are out.
Here are some notes and any major line moves for some of Saturday's games around the country, in no particular order. Rankings from the new College Football Playoff Top 25.
No. 20 LSU at Tennessee (+15.5): The Vols take the field for the first time since Coach Butch Jones was fired, with former Michigan coach Brady Hoke (was UT's defensive line coach) taking over on an interim basis - he's not getting the full-time job. Hoke famously didn't wear a headset while at Michigan but will now. Who starts at QB for Hoke? He hasn't announced a decision between freshman Will McBride - UT fans were angry that Jones burned his redshirt with the season already lost - or redshirt freshman Jarrett Guarantano. McBride got the call in last week's embarrassment to Missouri. The Vols must win here and next week vs. Vandy to get bowl eligible. Football in the Volunteer State is pretty bad right now with both UT and Vanderbilt 0-6 in the SEC. LSU is a win shy of extending its streak of consecutive eight-win seasons to 18 straight - the 17 in a row is the longest among Power 5 schools.
UCLA at No. 11 USC (-16): In the grand scheme of things, this battle for bragging rights in Los Angeles doesn't mean much. The Trojans are in their regular-season finale and have clinched the Pac-12 South as they await an opponent for the conference title game in two weeks. UCLA needs a win here or next week at home vs. Cal to get bowl eligible. But this will be must-see TV because it features the Bruins' Josh Rosen against the Trojans' Sam Darnold, the quarterbacks who could easily go 1-2 in whichever order in next year's draft. There has been some talk that Darnold might stay in school to avoid being chosen by the Browns, but few believe that's going to happen. These two have yet to meet in college as Rosen, a junior, was hurt last year and Darnold is a redshirt sophomore and in only his second season as a starter. Think there will be a few NFL scouts on hand?
Fresno State at Wyoming (+2.5): This has the largest spread move of Saturday's games as the Cowboys opened as 1-point favorites. The reason is because Wyoming star quarterback Josh Allen, expected to be a first-round pick in the 2018 draft, is a game-time decision with a shoulder injury. He was hurt in the first half of last Saturday's win at Air Force. You knew something was up as Allen threw just one second-half pass before giving way to backup Nick Smith. He was 2-for-3 for 39 yards against the Falcons. Smith last started a game in 2015 against Colorado State. The Cowboys lost that day in Laramie and haven't lost a Mountain West Conference game at home since. Wyoming is a game behind Boise State in the MWC Mountain Division but would need the Broncos to lose both remaining games (and Wyoming win both) to have a shot at the division title. Fresno State can wrap up the West Division with a victory. FSU would have to lose both its remaining games and San Diego State win both of its games in order for the Aztecs to win the West.
Boston College vs. UConn (+21.5): What's interesting about this nonconference game? It's being played at Fenway Park, and BC looks to get bowl eligible with a victory. There's quarterback news on both sides. The Eagles' Anthony Brown is done for the season following knee surgery. The redshirt freshman was injured in the second quarter of last week's 17-14 loss to NC State. The future could be bright at BC (relatively speaking) as Brown had thrown for 1,367 yards and 11 scores while rushing for 210 yards and a TD. Meanwhile, UConn goes with David Pindell. He started last week's game at Central Florida in place of Bryant Shirreffs, the starting quarterback for 29 of the Huskies' 35 games the past three seasons. Shirreffs was out with a concussion and says his football career is over because he has had multiple concussions. Pindell was 18-for-31 for 201 yards with two TDs and a pick while rushing for 96 yards and a score against UCF. BC is 11-0-2 all-time vs. UConn. It's the first game at Fenway for Boston College since 2015.
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