LSU may have jumped to No. 2 in the AP poll, but futures markets still have the Tigers trailing other superpowers when ranking the most likely college football national champions.
You probably watched LSU (-14) beat Florida 42-28 last week, where the Tigers won total yardage 511-457 on a stunning 10.6 to 5.4 yards-per-play. That launched LSU past No. 3 Georgia…who was shocked by South Carolina 20-17 in overtime as 20-point favorites (winning yardage 468-297 but losing the turnover category 4-0); and past idle Ohio State and previous No. 2 Clemson.
Pollsters decided that beating Florida by 14…on the heels of beating Texas by 7 in Austin…deserved special credit given Clemson’s near-loss to North Carolina a few weeks ago.
Futures bettors? They still know that it could be tough for both #1 Alabama and LSU to reach the playoff from a competitive SEC West division. Here are this week’s national championship odds from the Westgate in Las Vegas…
▪ Alabama 2/1, Clemson 3/1, Ohio State 9/2, Oklahoma 5/1, LSU 7/1, Wisconsin 12/1, Georgia 16/1. (If you’re new to sports betting, a $100 wager on Alabama would earn a profit of $200 if it wins the national championship, a $100 bet on LSU would earn a profit of $700.)
Nobody else is currently better than 50/1 at the Westgate. So, right now, the championship chase is perceived to be an eight-team race where head-to-head losses are disqualifiers. Important to note…
▪ Clemson and Oklahoma won’t play anyone else on that list until a projected playoff. They have the inside track for reaching the Final Four as prohibitive favorites in their remaining games.
▪ Ohio State and Wisconsin play each other October 26 in Columbus, then possibly again in the Big 10 championship game. It would be tough to deny an undefeated survivor a playoff bid. The explosive Buckeyes will be a clear betting favorite a week from Saturday, and very likely neutral-field favorites in a rematch as well.
▪ Alabama and LSU play each other Nov. 9 in Tuscaloosa. Both also have dangerous Auburn left. The Crimson Tide will be favored to top the Tigers…though sharps will be looking to leap on newly multi-faceted LSU at the right price.
▪ If one-loss Georgia wins the SEC East, it would like face the Alabama-LSU survivor in the conference title tilt. The Bulldogs have the toughest challenge of the top eight because of their loss. True odds are likely much longer than 16/1. (If you’re a Georgia fan…just wait to see if they reach the SEC Championship game with one loss, then bet them on the money line the rest of the way for a better-than-16/1 return).
VSiN will update futures markets for you down the stretch.
▪ LSU will be in Starkville Saturday to visit Mississippi State (CBS, 2:30 p.m.). The Bulldogs disappointed again last week, losing 20-10 at Tennessee as 5-point favorites. State was outgained 357-267 on 6.2 to 4.6 yards-per-play. How will the home dog keep up with LSU off an awful passing line of 11-21-3-146 in Knoxville?
LSU could close as high as a 20-point or 21-point favorite Saturday, much higher than anyone had dreamed back during the summer. Mississippi State enters the week 3-3 straight up, 2-4 against the spread.
▪ Ole Miss is at least coming off a pointspread cover as they prepare to host Texas A&M Saturday night (SEC Network, 6:30 p.m.). The Rebels stayed within +12.5 in a 38-27 loss at Missouri last week. A soft Mississippi defense allowed 562 total yards on 7.2 yards-per-play, and 60% on third down conversions.
The Aggies opened as 6-point favorites. Sharps would consider the home dog if +7 comes into play after public betting. Ole Miss is currently 3-4 straight up, but a money-winning 4-3 ATS after last week’s cover.
▪ Southern Miss (-3) looked great last week at home against North Texas. The Golden Eagles won total yardage 563-378 on 7.7 to 6.0 yards-per-play without committing a single turnover. And, how about that 29-36-0-421 passing line from quarterback Jack Abraham!?
This Saturday, Southern Miss has a huge C-USA West game at Louisiana Tech, which will be televised nationally by the NFL Network at 2:30 p.m. Early betting had the line around Tech by -1.5 or -2. That’s less than the standard value of home field advantage, which means markets respect the visitor.
▪ VSiN returns Saturday to preview the much anticipated matchup between the red hot New Orleans Saints and the bye-rested Chicago Bears (Sunday, FOX, 3:25 p.m.)
In the meantime, Thursday night’s NFL attraction got a lot more interesting after last week’s results. Slumping Kansas City is visiting resurgent Denver (FOX/NFL Network, 7:20 p.m.). The Broncos could pull within one game of first place in the AFC West with an upset.
Last Sunday, Kansas City (-3.5) lost its second straight game as a home favorite, falling to Houston 31-24 on a massive yardage loss of 472-309. Denver (-1) humbled Tennessee 16-0, winning total yardage 270-204.
Early betting for Thursday’s game suggested that Kansas City attracted money at -3, but sharp dog lovers were backing the Broncos at +3.5.