Nov 5, 2022; Lawrence, Kansas, USA; Kansas Jayhawks running back Devin Neal (4) runs the ball against the Oklahoma State Cowboys during the second half of the game at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Bowl-bound Kansas determined to kick Texas Tech

Lance Leipold pushed Kansas into the postseason for the first time since 2008. Now the only thing anyone remotely interested in Jayhawks’ happenings wants to discuss is whether the second-year head coach will be around for bowl season.

Leipold and the Jayhawks (6-3, 3-3 Big 12) visit Texas Tech (4-5, 2-4) on Saturday, further distancing Kansas from his 2-10 debut season in 2021.

“I’m really proud of them, happy,” Leipold said as the Jayhawks move past a dominant win over Oklahoma State last week. “If you look, some guys have been around a long time. They’ve kind of gone through adversity and stayed with this program. Holistically (it’s great) for the school. I told them (his locker room) we are pretty demanding in things. There’s a reason we are, for moments like this.”

Leipold has been consistently linked to the opening at Wisconsin, his home state, but the 58-year-old continues to shift the conversation to here, now and KU. Coming out of the bye week, Kansas smothered Oklahoma State, bumped the Cowboys from the College Football Playoff rankings and steered the Jayhawks back into the Big 12 Championship conversation.

No. 4 TCU would have one of those spots if the season ended this weekend. But Texas, which plays TCU, Kansas State and Baylor are all 4-2 in conference play. The Wildcats play the Bears at Waco on Saturday.

Leipold won only once in Big 12 play last season. Getting the Jayhawks into the national conversation at this stage of the season was a program goal.

“I would say we’re proud but not satisfied,” he said. “It’s something that we cannot be content about and be satisfied and still want to make sure we grow and continue to to be the program we want to be here these last three weeks.”

Kansas running back Devin Neal had 228 rushing yards and 110 receiving yards (six receptions) to carry the Jayhawks over Oklahoma State.

“It was special,” Neal said of last week’s effort. “But we’re not done yet.”

Texas Tech is 4-1 at home this season and 21-2 all-time against Kansas, including a 41-14 victory last season.

But the Red Raiders lost their second game in a row last week, 34-24 to TCU, and have allowed 79 points during the losing streak. Tops on the list for coach Joey McGuire this week is identifying his best option at quarterback with Behren Morton expected to be out. The redshirt freshman injured his ankle last week.

“I wish I could tell you that I feel 100 percent that I’m going with Tyler (Shough) or 100 percent I’m going with Donovan (Smith),” McGuire said. “And it’s a deal that we really, we know how important this game is.”

Smith did not attempt a pass last week and Shough was 9-for-22 for 84 yards with an interception and garbage-time touchdown.

Texas Tech led TCU 17-13 late in the third quarter last week before penalties and ill-timed poor decisions by both quarterbacks set the Red Raiders into a tailspin to close the game.

“We have to get this one on Saturday,” McGuire said. “There’s no magic dust … you just have to come to work.”

–Field Level Media

Sep 17, 2022; Knoxville, Tennessee, USA; Tennessee Volunteers running back Jaylen Wright (20) and quarterback Hendon Hooker (5) celebrate after a touchdown during the first half against the Akron Zips at Neyland Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bryan Lynn-USA TODAY Sports

Take 5: Week 4 CFB Odds, Trends & Predictions

All but one of the top 25 teams are in action in Week 4 of the college football season, and we’re seeing a gradual uptick in marquee matchups as conference season begins in earnest.

That includes three conference games pitting ranked teams against each other on Saturday.

Five interesting trends sportsbooks are reporting:

5. The Eyes of Texas

No. 22 Texas facing an unranked in-state rival might not have much impact on the national landscape, but the Longhorns’ trip to Texas Tech is gaining the eye of the public. Texas covering its 7.0-point spread has drawn nearly twice the handle as the second-most wagered-on play at BetRivers.

It has been the heaviest-bet college game overall with 7.8 percent of the action. The Over has also been a one-sided play, drawing 89 percent of the tickets and 84 percent of the money on the 61.0-point line.

4. Wolverine Wrecking Crew

No. 4 Michigan has opened its season with three blowouts and the public is expecting Jim Harbaugh’s crew to make it a quartet when the Wolverines play host to unranked Maryland. It has been the most popular game of the week at BetMGM, where Michigan is a 17.0-point favorite after the line opened at 17.5.

Michigan has been backed by 91 percent of the spread bets and 92 percent of the money, both leading the way at BetMGM. The percent of the action has been identical at PointsBet, while DraftKings reported 92 percent of the spread bets and 93 percent of the handle backing the Wolverines.

3. Razors’ Edge?

Texas A&M kept its faint College Football Playoff hopes alive with a win over Miami last week and now plays host to 10th-ranked Arkansas. The Razorbacks come to College Station with a 3-0 record and respect from the public.

The Aggies are 2.0-point consensus favorites, with the line moving from 2.5 at BetMGM with the Razorbacks drawing 74 percent of the spread bets and 78 percent of the money. Arkansas has been equally as popular at BetRivers, where it has been backed by 78 and 82 percent of the action, respectively.

PointsBet reported Texas A&M holding an edge with 53 percent of the bets and 61 percent of the money, while the action has been split at DraftKings, with the Razorbacks supported by 51 percent of the bets while the Aggies have drawn 54 percent of the handle.

2. ACC Battle of Unbeatens

Of course, there are countless markets beyond game spreads, and the most lopsided prop at PointsBet involves No. 5 Clemson making an important road trip to No. 21 Wake Forest.

The Over/Under market opened at 57 points at the sportsbook but moved to 55.5 and has seen the Over draw a whopping 93 percent of the total money wagered. That includes some large bets with 81 percent of the total tickets placed on the Over.

The line has also moved to 55.5 at BetMGM, where the Over has drawn 83 percent of both the total bets and money.

1. Gators Swamped at Neyland?

Florida is one of the few teams to face multiple ranked teams within its first four games. After losing at home to Kentucky two weeks ago, the 20th-ranked Gators now travel to No. 11 Tennessee.

The Volunteers enter the game 3-0 but with a lone win over a Power 5 team — an overtime victory at Pittsburgh. This is an important litmus test for Tennessee with at trip to LSU next week ahead of hosting Alabama.

The Vols are double-digit favorites, which has spurred split action at many books. Florida has been backed by 58 percent of the bets at +10.5 at DraftKings while Tennessee has drawn 51 percent of the spread money. The same spread has similar action at BetMGM — 57 percent of the bets on the Gators and 51 percent of the money on the Vols.

–Field Level Media

Jan 10, 2022; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Georgia Bulldogs quarterback Stetson Bennett (13) celebrates after defeating the Alabama Crimson Tide in the 2022 CFP college football national championship game at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Sportsbooks split on CFP title favorite

Georgia flexed at South Carolina on Saturday and the No. 1 Bulldogs are viewed as the national title favorites at DraftKings and FanDuel.

The Bulldogs offered their latest exhibit in domination by going ahead 48-0 in Columbia, S.C., before the Gamecocks found the endzone late in the fourth quarter.

At BetMGM, nearly 11 percent of national championship futures tickets list Georgia as the favorite. Most books then tend to be aligned on one thing: through Week 3 of the college football season, it’s a three-horse race.

Georgia pulled well ahead at +175 at DraftKings, which lists Alabama at +210 and Ohio State at +275 before anyone else enters the equation (USC is +1200 and fourth on the national title board).

FanDuel has Georgia at +180, Alabama +200 and Ohio State at +300.

As of Monday morning, the Crimson Tide were favored at Caesars Sportsbook at +200 and Georgia +210.

It’s difficult to see Georgia being an underdog the rest of the season, and even finding an opponent that will challenge the Bulldogs might be relatively challenging by SEC standards.

The line for Week 4 against Kent State on Saturday? Georgia is a 44-point favorite with the total set at 59.5.

The Bulldogs have now allowed 10 points in three games. In addition to the annual showdown with Florida (Oct. 29), Georgia visits No. 8 Kentucky on Nov. 19 and doesn’t face Alabama in the regular season.

–Field Level Media

Dec 31, 2021; Arlington, Texas, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback Bryce Young (9) reacts after throwing a touchdown in the fourth quarter against the Cincinnati Bearcats during the 2021 Cotton Bowl college football CFP national semifinal game at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Week 1 College Football Odds, Predictions

Maybe like the rest of the college football world, you are afraid to go against Nick Saban and Alabama.

But the Crimson Tide are being oversold as the 2022 national championship betting favorites and this week, we find them “untouchable” in that they’re giving six touchdowns (-41.5 points at BetMGM as of 4 p.m. ET Thursday) to a competent Utah State team playing above its weight class.

Here’s a look at the reasons to take what they give you in Tuscaloosa and a few more college football picks we’re intrigued by in Week 1:

Utah State at Alabama (-41.5, -110)

Trends and statistics can be shaped, contextualized into a perceived no-brainer. We’ve all been at the window — at the book or via mobile — trying to convince ourselves the hunch in our noggin is the only way to go.

For starters, if you like Utah State to cover the massive number, shop around. DraftKings and others have Alabama -42, and every half-point can help in this wagering game.

There are a number of possible plays that make sense, including focusing on the first half.

Considering pairing the spread of first half with a prop? Take a look at DraftKings, where Heisman Trophy winner Bryce Young is -115 to go over 304.5 passing yards and -180 to go over 2.5 passing TDs. He hit three TDs and went over 304.5 passing yards in 10 games last season.

Note Alabama beat Mercer 48-14 last year in Week 2.

Utah State is 1-0 but fell behind UConn by 14 in the first quarter before racking up 542 total yards offense.

The Aggies are +27 (DraftKings) in the first half at -105.

But why buy Utah State over the perennial power?

They’re in the right place at the right time.

In case you aren’t within Alabama or Texas state lines, you might not be aware the Crimson Tide are in Austin next week. Not to say Saban will go light as the curtain is raised, but you can see the possibility of a 45-17 type of final here.

Utah State has a seven-game road winning streak. Coach Blake Anderson has won three consecutive games against Power 5 opponents, including Utah State’s 26-23 win at Washington State last season and a 24-13 win against Oregon State in the 2021 Jimmy Kimmel LA Bowl.

Utah (-3, -105) at Florida

The Gators are an underdog in a season opener in The Swamp, which last happened in 1969 when Florida hosted No. 7-ranked Houston.

If you were tied up during the holidays and missed Utah undressing Oregon (twice by a combined count of 76-17) and almost sinking the Buckeyes’ battleship in the Rose Bowl (48-45 final in Pasadena), here’s a reminder: the Utes are the Pac-12 exception, and this team is no joke.

Florida was too often a punchline last season and went 2-6 in the SEC. The Gators are restocking the talent pool, but it’s too much to ask head coach Billy Napier to restore UF’s chomp in 2022.

Utah rarely goes on the road for a cross-country date in an extremely hostile setting. But we say again, this is the Pac-12 anomaly and Utah is legit on both sides of the ball.

We’re liking the looks of Utah over 26.5 points scored — the total is 51.5 — paired with the Utes -3.

Bowling Green at UCLA (-23.5, -110)

Pinky promise, we aren’t knocking the Pac-12 intentionally.

Brass tacks: Bowling Green is not easy prey, and the Bruins have some convincing to do before they receive a vote of confidence, much less investments.

We aren’t the first ones to fly with the Falcons. The opening line in the spring was UCLA -31.5.

It’s worth noting that Bowling Green went 5-1 ATS on the road last season.

DraftKings will allow alternate spread bets on Bowling Green that shouldn’t make one entirely uncomfortable, such as +120 odds on the Falcons +20.5.

And betting Bowling Green to get nine points — yes, over 8.5 — in either half at -110 is generous at worst.

But if you also believe in Bowling Green’s offense, the icing on this cake here is the over-under total of 56.5 points.

UCLA has two defensive starters back and the Bruins and Chip Kelly are always far more concerned with glitter than grit.

–Field Level Media

May 25, 2021; Ashburn, Virginia, USA; A general view of an NFL ball on the field during a Washington Football Team OTA at Inova Sports Performance Center. Mandatory Credit: Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Football to generate more than $20B in legal sports bets

The NFL and college football could generate more than $20 billion in legal sports betting during the upcoming season, according to projections released Tuesday by PlayUSA.

It would result in as much as $1.5 billion in revenue for sportsbooks, per PlayUSA.

“The U.S. sports betting market looks entirely different than it did just one year ago. There is no question that it will be a historic football season unlike any we’ve seen before,” said Dustin Gouker, lead analyst for the PlayUSA.com network.

The projections are at least $12 billion wagered on NFL games and roughly $8 billion on college football, per the report.

The total football-related handle was about $7.5 billion for the 2020 season.

Since the end of the 2020 football seasons, Michigan and Virginia have launched sports betting to emerge as the fifth- and seventh-largest markets in the U.S., respectively, per PlayUSA.

Another 11 states could launch or expand betting initiatives during this upcoming football season.

–Field Level Media

Jul 27, 2021; Hollywood, CA, USA; UCLA Bruins head coach Chip Kelly speaks with the media during the Pac-12 football Media Day at the W Hollywood. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

CFB Week 0 lines: Fresno State, UCLA lines climbing

UCLA opened as an 11.5-point favorite but the Bruins are currently sitting at minus-17 over Hawaii in their opener.

There are five total college football games involving major conference teams on Aug. 28, which has formally been dubbed “Week 0.”

The Bruins are the second-biggest favorite of the opening weekend in college football with Fresno State (-27.5) the biggest heavy. Visiting UConn opened at +26.5 points but could fall to a four-touchdown dog by kickoff.

A win bet on Fresno State — also known as the moneyline — has -10000 odds, or an implied probability of 99.01 percent. Spelled out further, a bettor would need to wager $100 on the moneyline to win $1.

UCLA and Hawaii hold the distinction for the highest over-under of Week 0 at 70.

Week 1 of college football season gets underway Sept. 1 with UAB facing Jacksonville State, the appetizer for a smorgasbord on tap for Labor Day weekend. Multiple games are scheduled for Thursday, Friday and Saturday, which features four top-20 matchups, none more anticipated than No. 5 Georgia against No. 3 Clemson in the primetime game on ABC.

The Tigers are 3.5-point favorites and have a -160 moneyline in the neutral site game in Charlotte, N.C.

No. 19 Penn State and No. 12 Wisconsin play at noon ET, and No. 1 Alabama faces No. 14 Miami at 3:30 p.m. ET, the same kickoff slot for Indiana (No. 17) at Iowa (No. 18). Alabama, the national championship favorite at +260 entering the season, is favored by 18.5 points over the Hurricanes.

The lone Power 5 matchup of Week 0 is a Big Ten game in Champaign, Ill., where the Fighting Illini opened as 9.5-point home underdogs. That line is closing almost by the day with Nebraska sitting as 7-point favorites as of Wednesday at noon ET.

That conference game kicks off the five-game slate at noon CT with a national TV audience on FOX. Illinois is a popular pick to surprise in former Wisconsin and Arkansas coach Bret Bielema’s debut season.

Illinois’ moneyline is +220 after opening at +280.

In the only other game on the board for the late August weekend, UTEP holds firm as 9.5-point favorites at New Mexico State in a line that hasn’t moved since the morning odds were first released.

There is no line set for Southern Utah at San Jose State, which is the final game of Aug. 28 (10 p.m. ET).

All lines mentioned above are courtesy of PointsBetUSA.

–Field Level Media

Dec 29, 2020; Orlando, FL, USA; Miami Hurricanes quarterback D'Eriq King (1) reacts after running the ball in for a touchdown which is called back for a penalty during the first half against the Oklahoma State Cowboys during the Cheez-It Bowl Game at Camping World Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

Miami, BYU agree to home-and-home in 2026, 2028

Miami and Brigham Young will meet for a home-and-home football series in 2026 and 2028, the schools announced Thursday.

Miami will host BYU on Sept. 19, 2026 at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla. Two seasons later, BYU will host the Hurricanes on Sept. 2, 2028 in Provo, Utah.

Unless they meet in a postseason game before 2026, it will mark the first time Miami and BYU square off since 1990, when the Cougars upset the top-ranked and defending national champion Hurricanes in Provo.

The two programs have enjoyed strong showings of late. In the final Associated Press poll of the 2020 season, BYU (11-1) finished No. 11 in the country and Miami (8-3) was No. 22. The ‘Canes are ranked No. 16 in the preseason coaches’ poll for 2021.

“We are always looking for opportunities to schedule storied football programs like Miami,” BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe said in a statement. “Traveling to ACC country and competing in an NFL stadium will be a great experience for our coaches, players and fans.”

“We are excited to add BYU to our future football schedule,” Miami AD Blake James said in a statement. “We remain committed to scheduling top programs for our nonconference games and showcasing The U across the country.”

–Field Level Media

Dec 2, 2020; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA;  Baltimore Ravens quarterback Robert Griffin III (3) rushes the ball against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the first quarter at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Robert Griffin III joins ESPN as football analyst

Former Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Robert Griffin III joined ESPN as a college football and NFL analyst, signing a multi-year contract on Thursday.

In his new role, Griffin will call a college football game on ESPN or ABC every week of the season and “contribute to the network’s coverage of the College Football Playoff, Super Bowl and other major events.”

NFL Network reported that Griffin’s deal will include a clause that would allow him to pursue a return to the NFL should he have the opportunity. Most recently, Griffin served as Lamar Jackson’s backup with the Baltimore Ravens, starting one game apiece in 2019 and 2020.

“College football has always been an integral part of my life, first as a kid watching it, then as a young man playing it,” Griffin said in a statement. “Some of my greatest sports memories come from my collegiate days surrounded by the pageantry, the traditions and the passion of the fans. College football is life-changing for many and I will always look back on my time playing it with tremendous gratitude.”

Griffin won the Heisman in 2011 while starring for Baylor. He passed for 4,293 yards, 37 touchdowns and six interceptions while beating out Stanford’s Andrew Luck for the honor.

The No. 2 overall draft pick in 2012, Griffin played three seasons for Washington and one for the Cleveland Browns before finding his way to the Ravens. He won Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2012 and led Washington to the playoffs before a knee injury set his career on a different trajectory.

In seven NFL seasons, Griffin played in 56 games, starting 42. He threw for 9,271 yards, 43 touchdowns and 30 interceptions with a 63.0 percent completion rate. Griffin also ran for 1,809 yards and 10 touchdowns.

For ESPN, Griffin’s hiring comes on the heels of the sports media giant reaching an agreement with Peyton and Eli Manning to take turns starring in an alternate broadcast of “Monday Night Football” for the next three seasons.

–Field Level Media

Jul 21, 2019; Miami Beach, FL, USA; A general view of gaming controllers on display during the Call of Duty League Finals e-sports event at Miami Beach Convention Center. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

EA Sports to bring back college football video game

EA Sports is bringing college football back to video game consoles.

The company on Tuesday introduced EA Sports College Football, the successor to its NCAA Football, last produced in 2013.

While the company’s social media post didn’t provide any detail about the pending game, Daryl Holt, EA Sports vice president and general manager, told ESPN the time was right.

“It all starts with the passion of our fans and the opportunities of what they are interested in,” Holt said. “I don’t think there’s a visit where I go outside wearing a piece of EA Sports-branded apparel that someone doesn’t go, ‘Hey, when is college football coming back?’”

Holt said the new version of the game will include more than 100 teams. EA Sports is pairing with CLC, the collegiate licensing company, to get the rights to publish the teams’ uniforms and such.

“We want to make sure we deliver what our college football game players would want in a game,” Holt said. “And that starts with just a very immersive experience, and there’s lots of things we can do to bring the true college game play and game day to the virtual world.”

The release date has not been set. It will be geared toward next generation platforms such as the Sony PlayStation5 and the Xbox Series X.

EA Sports hasn’t published a college football game since NCAA Football 2014. On the cover of that release was Denard Robinson, the Michigan quarterback at the time.

–Field Level Media

Nov 7, 2020; South Bend, Indiana, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish quarterback Ian Book (12) readies for the snap in the first quarter against the Clemson Tigers at Notre Dame Stadium. Notre Dame defeated Clemson 47-40 in two overtimes. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Notre Dame, Northwestern enter title games as massive moneyline values

Multiple spots in the College Football Playoff are on the line Saturday in conference championship games.

No. 1 Alabama could be a lock, win or lose in the SEC title game against Florida.

Despite a shocking loss to LSU last week, the Gators remain in play for a spot in the top four if they can beat the Crimson Tide.

Ohio State, currently No. 4, remains in the CFP mix as well, but in-state counterpart Cincinnati continues to get overlooked because of its Group of Five membership.

And the committee could be confounded by the scenarios involving No. 2 Notre Dame if the Irish, already holding a win over current No. 3 Clemson (Nov. 7), can’t pull the repeat in the ACC championship rematch Saturday.

Those riddles are best left to the committee.

In the meantime, let’s hunt for value in this week’s analysis of college football’s top moneyline plays:

Florida State +193 at Wake Forest

The Demon Deacons are -6.5 at 888 Sport and the book offers intriguing alternate lines for those not ready to dive into the deep end on the Seminoles’ upset.

This was a 22-20 decision for Wake Forest in Winston-Salem last season, but there are a lot of trends siding with the ‘Noles. FSU is coming off of a 56-35 home win over Duke, while Wake dropped a 45-21 road tilt at Louisville.

Florida State is also 8-2 in its last 10 matchups against the Deacs. Sure, these aren’t your big brother’s Seminoles. But Mike Norvell has started to at least veer the ship in the right direction, so grabbing FSU against a team that struggled last week would be a smart play.

Bonus pick: We like 888 Sport’s lone prop on FSU to score first at +105.

Northwestern +650 vs. Ohio State

The Buckeyes are climbing and were all the way up to -20 at 888 Sport on Friday afternoon.

Ohio State will draw a lot of eyeballs in Indianapolis this weekend as they try to make their best case yet for a CFP berth. A lot has been made of Ryan Day’s squad being so high in the rankings despite playing only five games, but there is also no denying the talent on the Buckeyes’ roster.

OSU handled Northwestern 52-3 last season, and it beat Michigan State 52-12 in its most recent matchup.

Remember, the Wildcats’ only loss this year is to Sparty.

But the transitive theory doesn’t often apply in college football, and Pat Fitzgerald’s squad is 4-1-1 against the spread this season. This Northwestern defense is legit.

The Wildcats are allowing just 14.6 points per game (second nationally), so it will be a test for the Buckeyes’ offense. One worry for bettors is where Northwestern can find points. As the No. 100 ranked offense in the FBS, that’s legitimate.

In a pressure cooker and prove-it moment for Ohio State, Northwestern is the team being dismissed. Take the ‘Cats +650 and see what happens.

Iowa State +165 vs. Oklahoma

The line has come down a touch this week, with Iowa State’s moneyline value as high as +175. On Friday afternoon it was at +165 at 888 Sports.

The No. 6 Cyclones beat Oklahoma 37-30 on Oct. 3 with a last-second interception of Sooners quarterback Spencer Rattler and are 8-1 in the Big 12.

But the Cyclones have a very tough task in front of them: beating Lincoln Riley and OU twice in the same season. But stranger things have happened. Remember that the Cyclones had not defeated the Sooners in Ames since 1960 before doing so earlier this season.

OU has not lost since that setback against the Cyclones and ISU’s only blemish since its opening defeat against Louisiana came at the hands of Oklahoma State on Oct. 24.

Matt Campbell’s crew destroyed West Virginia 42-6 in its last contest, and the balance on both sides of the ball is what makes this team so dangerous. The ‘Clones are 6-2 ATS in their last eight games.

If you haven’t seen much of the Cyclones, running back Breece Hall should be getting more recognition in Heisman Trophy discussions.

Already on the Iowa State moneyline? Consider 888 Sport’s game parlay of Iowa State and over the 58 total points. Iowa State has averaged 40 points per game during a current five-game winning streak and OU is even better since slapping a 50 burger on Texas.

Notre Dame +275 vs. Clemson

Favored by 10.5 points with quarterback Trevor Lawrence in the fold for this rematch points to how difficult it could be to beat the Tigers twice in the same season.

Lawrence didn’t play in the first meeting because of his positive COVID-19 test.

Brian Kelly’s squad is legit on both sides of the ball, and the Tigers’ offense wasn’t the reason the team fell in South Bend. Dabo Swinney will have his team motivated, but don’t overlook Ian Book and the Irish.

Grabbing the No. 2-ranked team in the country +275 via 888 Sport in a league championship game is very rare.

Big-game failings can’t entirely be ignored here, and using the alternate line play at 888 Sport is worth consideration. For example, Notre Dame plus 10 is still +100 odds.

The Irish are a different breed than past Tigers opponents in this game, and running back Kyren Williams (140 rushing yards and three scores in the first meeting) makes this Irish offense explosive.

San Jose State +185 vs. Boise State

This is a matchup that the Broncos have dominated. They’re a perfect 14-0 against the Spartans all time, which isn’t so surprising given the rise to prominence of the Boise program through several different head coaches along with the longtime struggles of SJSU.

But Brent Brennan has this Spartans program trending upward, as it is one of eight remaining unbeaten teams in this weird season — and it hasn’t been 6-0 since 1939.

The Spartans’ defense is allowing only 17.5 points per game, and the passing offense is led by veteran quarterback Nick Starkel. This feels like the year the Spartans get on the board against Boise as this matchup has all the makings of a close Mountain West title game.

–Field Level Media