OddsUSA College Football Best Bet of the Week for Week 8: Michigan at Minnesota

  • Spread: Michigan -3.5
  • Moneyline: Michigan -155; Minnesota +125
  • Over/Under: 54.5

*Odds via DraftKings.com

If you are thinking it is taking the Big Ten forever to get started, well—you are not wrong. But starting with Illinois-Wisconsin Friday night, the Big Ten season will finally get underway. While Ohio State is likely going to be the team everyone wants to see most, the better storylines are elsewhere.

Yes, every game Ohio State plays in will have national title implications, including their season opener. But does anyone really think they are going to have much trouble against Nebraska? Anyone outside of the state of Nebraska? Probably not.

However, the outcome between No. 18 Michigan and No. 21 Minnesota is not as cut and dry. The emergence of the Golden Gophers surprised everyone last season, but Jim Harbaugh’s team always has high expectations. Both are expected to be among the conference’s best this season.

But only one can start the season 1-0.

Michigan Wolverines Betting Preview

The Wolverines have had to do one thing every season during the Jim Harbaugh Era to contend for the Big Ten title—find a quarterback. This season will be no different. With Dylan McCaffrey sitting out and planning on transferring, that means the job will be going to Joe Milton.

However, while Milton has the size and athleticism you like to see in a quarterback, he lacks experience. So, he will have to learn as he goes. He will not have much experience at wide receiver to help him out with Donovan People-Jones in the NFL, Tarik Black at Texas, and Nico Collins sitting out.

In case things were not challenging enough, he will not benefit from a veteran offensive line either. With Jaylen Mayfield opting back in, they will need to find four new offensive line starters—not an ideal situation for a new starting quarterback.

While there is no standout running back, Milton is expected to have a talented group joining him in the Michigan backfield.

But it looks like the offensive may have time to gel with most of their top-ranked defense coming back. The Michigan defense lost three of their top tacklers from last year’s 11th ranked defense, but defensive depth has not been an issue under Harbaugh.

The Wolverines will need their defense to slow down Minnesota’s offense if they are going to have a chance to win this week.

Minnesota Golden Gophers Betting Preview

The Golden Gophers are in a situation similar to Michigan’s but different. Instead of needing to find several new starters on offense, their offense looks like it could be the best in the conference. Tanner Morgan is back, and he will have a future NFL wide receiver to work with once again in Rashod Bateman.

Overall, the offense has nine returning starters, which means the Golden Gophers should have the edge offensively. But that edge may not be enough with the work they need to do on defense. Four starters off last year’s top-ten defense got drafted, and the team is down nine of their top 12 tacklers, too.

While they may have size in their defensive front, it is not clear where the pass rush will come from. They may be okay at linebacker but will need Itayvion Brown to step up early. Jordan Howden will anchor the secondary, but Minnesota will struggle to replace Antoine Winfield.

The key for the Gophers will be getting the connection between Tanner Morgan and Rashod Bateman on track early. It will not be easy against Michigan. But if they can, that will make Michigan a little predictable on offense, which would, in turn, help out their young defense.

OddsUSA College Football Best Bet of the Week Betting Prediction

Neither team could have been happy when they saw the schedule. During a typical season, opening against a formidable opponent and winning is a great way to make a statement. But that is also after having the usual spring practice and training camp to prepare—which is not the case here.

Like teams from the Big 12, ACC, and SEC, both will likely struggle to start the game as it will be the first time everyone is going up against a live opponent. Winning the game will come down to whoever can get things on track first.

Minnesota will need to strike quick and get some points on the board while the Wolverines are getting things figured out on offense. Look for them to target the hole in the secondary created when Ambry Thomas decided to opt-out.

Assuming the Golden Gophers can do so and score enough to keep Michigan from leaning on their run game, they will record the upset.

So—how should you bet? Take Minnesota to win straight up and against the spread. As for the over/under, don’t expect a ton of points right out of the gate. Take the under.

Heisman Trophy Odds for Week Eight: All Hail the Long-Haired Assassin?

Nothing makes anything sports-related less entertaining than knowing the outcome long before it happens. Take the ACC. It is pretty much impossible to make a case for anyone other than Clemson to win the championship. For much of the year, it has been looking the same way for the Heisman Trophy race.

Trevor Lawrence has remained the favorite. While he has played almost flawless football, his competition has been sub-standard, and his performance has not been spectacular.  He has played very well. But there just has not been anything to make you go ‘wow.’

His Heisman competition has tried hard to make him the only viable candidate:

D’Eriq King was a co-favorite for a week but has since seen his odds drop to +3300. While beating Pitt last weekend helps, his numbers were not spectacular.

Spencer Rattler and Sam Ehlinger (+10000) are no longer in the conversation but at one time were viewed as potential contenders (+900 and +1200, respectively).

Chuba Hubbard was an early longshot at +3300, but after a slow start is an even longer one at +8000.

JT Daniels had good odds at one point (+1400) but isn’t even playing.

For some crazy reason, Kellen Mond had odds as low as +1600 once, but his are now +10000.

Stetson Bennett was looking like he might have a chance at +1000. But after losing to Alabama last weekend, his odds dropped to +3300.

A poor start has knocked Brock Purdy (no odds listed) and Myles Brennan (+20000) out of the running.

Ian Book (+8000) has been good enough to keep Notre Dame winning but has otherwise been unspectacular.

But while Trevor Lawrence’s odds (-167; odds via DraftKings) give him a 62.55 percent chance of winning the Heisman Trophy this year, a few guys are making pretty good cases for themselves.

Heisman Trophy Odds: It Doesn’t Belong to Trevor Yet

Okay, yes—Lawrence looked pretty darn good against Georgia Tech last weekend. Except for an interception, his game was as close to perfect as you can get (24-32 for 404 yards and five touchdowns), which is why his odds got shorter.

However, it would be a more impressive performance if it did not come against the 68th ranked pass defense (yards allowed).

Mac Jones (+350) had a similar performance against a better defense (Georgia’s pass defense is ranked 46th); he went 24-32 for 417 yards and four touchdowns with one interception. It’s his third 400+ yard game in a row.

Jaylen Waddle (+800) had another great game with six catches for 161 yards and a touchdown. But his candidacy will be overshadowed by Jones.

If someone else from Alabama is going to win, it is more likely Najee Harris does. Despite another solid day over the weekend (152 yards and a touchdown), his odds went from +1600 to +2500.

Kyle Trask (+1600) saw his odds take a hit when Florida lost to Texas A&M. If he is going to have a shot, he is going to need to shine the rest of the way.

But while the field of contenders looks thin right now, it is about to grow with the Big Ten kicking things off finally. Everyone will be watching Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields (+600) to see what he does. Other Big Ten hopefuls include:

  • Penn State quarterback Sean Clifford (+5000)
  • Ohio State running back Trey Sermon (+8000)
  • Minnesota quarterback Tanner Morgan (+8000)
  • Nebraska quarterback Adrian Martinez (+10000)

If anyone from the Big Ten will give Trevor Lawrence a run for his money, they will have to hit the ground running in their first game this weekend. Because of their late start and shorter schedule, voters will be less forgiving if performances do not meet or exceed expectations.  

OddsUSA College Football Best Bet of the Week: Mississippi State at LSU

By: Travis Pulver

  • Spread: LSU -16.5
  • Moneyline: LSU -1250; Mississippi State +750
  • Over/Under: 56.0

*Odds via DraftKings.com

It has been a long time coming, but the defending national champions will finally take the field this weekend when the LSU Tigers host the Mississippi State Bulldogs for the 114th time. While it hasn’t always been the most competitive rivalry, it is a rivalry, nonetheless.

Fans can count on both teams bringing their ‘A’ games.

If history is any indication, though, the game may already be done and over with. Since 1985, LSU has lost to Mississippi State just five times. Only two losses have come since the turn of the millennium. But when both teams take the field Saturday, neither will be much like it was last season.

So, since they have yet to play a single game, how can you trust what they will play like? You can’t. That means fans will have to decide how to bet off what little they do know.

LSU Tigers Betting Preview

When you think about a national champion that went 15-0 taking on a team that went 6-7 last season, it is hard not to favor the defending champs. But these champs are not going to look too much like the group that won it all last season.

Last year’s team saw 14 guys get drafted, five inside the first round. Twenty former players total are now on NFL rosters. Another 15 are gone due to opt-outs, transfers, and/or dismissals. That means the roster has only a few returning starters and even less with experience of any kind.

Due to all the personnel losses, many have viewed the Tigers’ preseason rank to be a little inflated (No.6). But head coach Ed Orgeron has always been viewed as a solid recruiter. However, while fielding an almost brand-new starting offense will be a challenge, replacing passing game coordinator Joe Brady may be asking too much.

They have tasked Scott Linehan with that job. But as antiquated as he was with the Cowboys, is he going to be up to the challenge?

It doesn’t get any easier on defense, either. Defensive coordinator Dave Aranda is now the head coach at Baylor. Former Nebraska head coach, Bo Pelini, steps in as the new DC. He will need to find several new starters, as well, along with installing a new scheme.

Mississippi State Bulldogs Betting Preview

For the Bulldogs, the story is all about their new head coach—Mike Leach. With him, will, of course, be his ‘air raid,’ pass-happy offense. To guide it, he will have former Stanford quarterback and graduate transfer, K.J. Costello.

Officially, freshman Will Rogers is also listed as the starter, but he will probably only play if Costello falls flat on his face.

Costello’s best offensive weapon will be running back Kylin Hill, the SEC’s leading returning rusher. He will likely not see nearly as many carries but will probably get lots of work as a receiver out of the backfield.

His receivers do not have a ton of experience, but they will get put to work quickly in Mike Leach’s offense.

If there is a downside to the offense, it is the front line. Last year’s group as a good one, but losing Tyre Phillips (tackle) and Darryl Williams (center) will hurt. How quickly the rebuilt line can gel will be the key to whatever success the Bulldogs have on offense.  

But if there is a downside to Mississippi State, it is the defense. While there is talent in the group, it will be down five of last season’s top tacklers.  The defensive line is expected to be tough, and the linebackers will be led by a beast in Errol Thompson.

Their problem, however, will be in the secondary. While some experience does return, it will need to learn from last season and perform better this year.

OddsUSA Best Bet of the Week Betting Prediction

LSU will likely be just fine despite losing so many players from the championship squad. Programs like the Tigers tend to reload with ease because they recruit so well. That could very well be the case for the Tigers this season.

However, with new coaches on both sides of the ball to go with so many new starters, it would not be shocking to see LSU get off to a slow start. Not only does it take time to learn how to play together, but it takes time to learn how to play a new system together.

Having Scott Linehan coordinating the passing game is not encouraging.

Mississippi State will have its share of growing pains as well, but the Bulldogs may start with a slight edge since it has more returning starters. However, Ed Orgeron is the better head coach between him and Mike Leach. While his players may not look great right out of the gate, he will make the necessary in-game changes to get things on track. So—how should you bet? Take Mississippi State to win against the spread, but for LSU to win straight up. As for the over/under, with how well a Mike Leach offense can score, take the over (56).