The College Football Playoff rankings got a lot of buzz this week after a huge national shake-up with the Alabama Crimson Tide and Clemson Tigers both going down on the field on Saturday and then falling down the list on Tuesday. Sharp bettors I spoke to say that they don’t factor the rankings into their weekly handicaps, but there are some futures opportunities available based on the magnitude of the remaining games.
This week, I asked Brad Powers (BradPowersSports.com; @BradPowers7) and Thor Nystrom (BettingPros.com; @thorku) for their thoughts on the CFP odds and the Week 11 card.
Which four teams make the College Football Playoff?
Powers: Georgia, Ohio State, Tennessee, Oregon.
-TCU loses this week, so the Horned Frogs are out.
-Georgia could lose a game and still make it.
-Ohio State is going to be about a TD favorite vs Michigan and hasn't lost at home to Michigan in 22 years, so I think the Buckeyes win out.
-Tennessee is a monster favorite in its last three games and I think the Vols will make it at 11-1.
-Oregon could have 12 straight wins and each of its last four games (Washington, Utah, Oregon State, USC/UCLA winner) would be a quality win.
Nystrom: Georgia, Ohio State, Tennessee, USC
If you had to bet on any of these Yes/No Playoff Odds, which one(s) would you bet (if any)?
Tennessee -240 (Y) / +190 (N)
TCU +700 (Y) / -1200 (N)
Michigan +140 (Y) / -175 (N)
Oregon +300 (Y) / -400 (N)
USC +450 (Y) / -650 (N)
(odds from DraftKings)
Powers: Oregon 3/1 (Yes) would be the best bet.
Nystrom: USC is who I’d take.
Which underdog of a touchdown or more has the best chance to win outright this week (and why)?
Powers: Rutgers (+10 vs. Michigan State)
For being a 10-point underdog, Rutgers has a better yards per play and yards per game margin. Rutgers has the much better defense (No. 18 vs No. 105 in YPG allowed). The market is overreacting a bit to Michigan State’s upset win over Illinois, as the Spartans were still outgained by 147 yards.
Nystrom: South Carolina (+8 vs. Florida)
I love the way they match up with Florida. Gamecocks are getting RB MarShawn Lloyd back, so expect them to tee off on an abomination of a Florida run defense. And Florida’s offensive approach of deriving points from explosive plays while eschewing efficiency doesn’t line up well with a USC defense designed to take away explosive plays. Beamer Ball special teams is going to make the going even more hard for Florida’s offense — the Gators will start further back and be forced to move the ball in a way that isn’t their style, methodically and patiently.
What is your favorite bet for Week 11?
Powers: Texas -7 over TCU
TCU has been the most fortunate team in the country facing a backup QB in the second half of four different games this year. Despite that, their defense is fraudulent ranking No. 83 in YPG and No. 84 in PPG allowed. On offense, they're dealing with an injury to WR Quentin Johnston, who got hurt in the Texas Tech game, and did not practice on Tuesday. The way to beat Texas is through the air and now that might be a bit compromised for TCU. Texas is an underrated three-loss team that could easily be 8-1 or 9-0. This game is also important to the Horns as they control their destiny in the race to get to the Big 12 Championship.
Nystrom: Navy plus the points (+16.5 vs. Notre Dame) and Iowa State as close to a pick ‘em at Oklahoma State
Navy matches up super well in a letdown spot for Notre Dame — the Irish can’t stop the run, so Navy will be nicking them with paper cuts all game on the ground, and, on the other side, Navy’s superb run defense is going to deprive Notre Dame of the offensive efficiency they rely on to derive offense. As for Iowa State, they’re in a do-or-die position to return to bowl season, and they’re getting a depleted, injury-riddled, appearing-to-be-on-the-verge-of-quitting Oklahoma State team that appears as though it’ll be without its starting QB and multiple other starters again.