NCAA Football Betting Odds: Week 5 Line Movements & Last-Minute News
Arguably my dream job, other than spritzing supermodels with oil on some Caribbean beach (could happen!), would be to work for one of the sportsbooks listed here at Doc's and come up with daily/weekly special prop bets. It would be similar, in my mind, to writing for a sitcom or something were you have to come up with new ideas all the time.
I mention this because I'm a sucker for unique props, and Bovada has one this week that relates to college football even though you can find it under NFL specials: Who will be the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 draft? The choices are USC quarterback Sam Darnold (-125), Penn State running back Saquon Barkley (+125), UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen (+700) and Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield (+1000). Forget about Mayfield - he's a great college player but a guy most scouts don't believe transitions to the pro game.
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Obviously, it would depend on which team lands the top pick. Let's look at the five winless clubs in the NFL: San Francisco probably takes a quarterback; the New York Giants might lean Barkley unless they think Eli Manning is shot; the LA Chargers have Melvin Gordon so they'd take Philip Rivers' replacement under center; the Bengals could be ready to move on from Andy Dalton after this season with a new QB; Cleveland needs a tailback but what the Browns do under center depends on how rookie DeShone Kizer plays the rest of the way. Incidentally, no running back has No. 1 overall since Ki-Jana Carter to Cincinnati, and he was a bust. The 1-2 Jets could be in this mix and they would take a QB for sure. I believe it will be Darnold, and ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. still has him atop his Big Board, followed by Barkley and Rosen. Mayfield isn't even on it.
Here are some notes and any major line moves for some of Saturday's games around the country, in no particular order.
No. 15 Oklahoma State at Texas Tech (+9.5): This game has the biggest line move around the country, with the Red Raiders opening at +14.5, as well as the highest total, jumping from an open of 81 to 85. It's a mustwin for the Pokes following last week's home loss to TCU or they can forget about playing in the Big 12 title game. OSU quarterback Mason Rudolph was my preseason Heisman pick, but he'll have no shot if his team loses again. Texas Tech always gets off to a strong start in the first month or so under Kliff Kingsbury and then fades because of a terrible defense. Maybe this year's team is different as it owns a solid home win over Arizona State and then ended Houston's 16-game home winning streak last week. The Red Raiders still sling it all over the field, ranking second in passing yards and ninth in points, but the defense has been respectable so far. Texas Tech ranks second nationally in turnover margin and has forced nine turnovers. I still might lean over this huge total as OSU beat TTU 45-44 last year. The Cowboys have won eight straight in the series.
Vanderbilt at No. 21 Florida (-9.5): The Gators opened as 7-point favorites and this has the lowest total on the board at 41.5 . I'm going to call Florida lucky instead of good; the Gators aren't the latter after getting smoked in the season opener by Michigan. They should be 0-3 but won on a Hail Mary two weeks ago against Tennessee and then rallied from down 27-14 midway through the fourth quarter last week at Kentucky to win 28-27. Freddie Swain caught a 5-yard touchdown pass from backup quarterback Luke Del Rio with 43 seconds remaining. The UF offense was stuck in neutral behind starting QB Feleipe Franks, so he was pulled late in the third quarter for Del Rio. The redshirt junior will start here as Coach Jim McElwain said his team played faster and was more organized with Del Rio under center. Del Rio was 5-1 as a starter last year until shoulder injuries ended his season. This could be a trap game for Florida, which is still without all those suspended guys (they won't be back) and LSU visiting next week.
New Mexico State at Arkansas (-17.5): This is a sandwich game for the Hogs after losing 50-43 in a wild overtime game last week against Texas A&M and ahead of trips to South Carolina and Alabama back in SEC play. Honestly, if Arkansas loses here, and I'm not ruling it out, Bret Bielema probably isn't the team's coach on Sunday. The bloom is off the rose for him in Fayetteville. Arkansas will be without receiver Jared Cornelius for the rest of the year after he injured his Achilles in the second half against A&M. Cornelius was the Razorbacks' leading returning receiver from 2016 when he had 32 catches for 515 yards. The Texas A&M game was his first of 2017 as Cornelius had been dealing with a hamstring injury. Junior college transfer Jonathan Nance will move into the starting lineup. Even though Nance has been coming off the bench, he leads the team receptions (nine), receiving yards (200) and receiving touchdowns (two). NMSU has a very good skill-position trio of QB Tyler Rogers (1,413 yards, 12 TDs), RB Larry Rose III (372 yards, two TDs) and WR Jaleel Scott (26 catches, 369 yards, four TDs). NM State hasn't beaten a Power 5 foe since September 2011, but I think I'll be taking the points here.
Maryland at Minnesota (-13): The Gophers opened at -11. Maryland is making another quarterback change, but not because Coach D.J. Durkin wants to. In the season-opening upset at Texas, Tyrrell Pigrome tore his ACL and obviously was lost for the year. Freshman Kasim Hill replaced him and had played well since, completing 18 of 21 for 230 and two scores while rushing for 60 yards and a touchdown. However, in last week's surprising 38-10 loss to Central Florida (not shocked UCF won but by 28 on the road?), Hill tore his ACL. Presumably it will be sophomore Max Bortenschlager, no relation to Ben Roethlisberger, under center vs. the Gophers. He was 15-for-26 for 132 yards, a TD and two picks in place of Hill against UCF. Minnesota is banged up, too, as cornerback Zo Craighton and wide receiver Melvin Holland Jr. will miss the rest of the season because of injuries suffered in their last game. Not huge contributors, but they played. This is the Big Ten opener for new Gophers coach P.J. Fleck; he was 2-0 vs. the conference last year while at Western Michigan.
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