Tennessee survives Georgia Tech in double overtime! Plus a hurricane watch for Tampa Bay/Miami, an NFL “market” Power Ratings update, and a check on “recent form” in the MLB pennant races today in VSiN City.
College Football: Georgia Tech blows game, but still covers in heartbreaking 42-41 Monday night loss to Tennessee
Georgia Tech has nobody to blame but itself. Tech controlled the flow of play most of the night. The Yellow Jackets ended regulation with a stunning 605-326 advantage in total yards. But two costly turnovers, and two missed field goal tries of less than 40 yards had allowed the Volunteers to hang around. Tennessee hung around long enough to steal a win.
Tennessee (-4) 42, Georgia Tech 41 (in double overtime)
- Regulation Score: Tennessee 28, Georgia Tech 28
- Total Yardage: Tennessee 369, Georgia Tech 655
- Yards-per-Play: Tennessee 6.3, Georgia Tech 6.8
- Third Down Conversions: Tennessee 42%, Georgia Tech 72%
- Turnovers: Tennessee 0, Georgia Tech 2
- Rushing Yards: Tennessee 148, Georgia Tech 535
- Passing Stats: Tennessee 20-37-0-221, Georgia Tech 5-10-0-120
- TD Drive Lengths (in regulation): Tennessee 46-70-61-93, Georgia Tech 86-75-80-75
An entertaining fourth quarter and overtime. But it has to be said that this felt more like a game between teams ranked around 40-50 in the country rather than a #25 team battling a possible ACC spoiler. Tennessee’s defense was obviously pushed around all night, even though it had weeks to prepare for an option attack. Give the Vols credit for forcing those two turnovers…and for getting a stop on the two-point conversion attempt in OT that Tech went for to put the game out of its misery. But this obviously should have been a loss for Rocky Top. Georgia Tech shot itself in the foot four times (well, its kicker performed like he had been shot in the foot before the game).
Will Butch Jones be able to save his job this season at Tennessee? He has athletes…but his quarterback was only comfortable throwing very short passes for the most part. Like a lot of teams, Tennessee is going to have to win shootouts. Not ALL the teams in that boat are going to win ALL their shootouts.
Georgia Tech has a short week to prepare for a bounce-back against Jacksonville State. Tennessee has a tune-up against Indiana State before the big rivalry game at Florida on September 16 that opens up SEC play for the Vols. Unlucky Tennessee has to face both Alabama and LSU from the SEC West in cross-divisional play. Monday’s win sure didn’t get them ready for THAT.
College Football: Early lines for Saturday night’s simultaneous TV grand slam
After a weekend mostly devoid of blockbuster TV matchups outside of FSU/Alabama (which largely disappointed before ending in depressing fashion), we have FOUR big TV games coming this Saturday in prime time. Here are the early-week point spreads.
- Auburn at Clemson (-5.5) on ESPN
- Georgia at Notre Dame (-6.5) on NBC
- Oklahoma at Ohio State (-7.5) on ABC
- Stanford at USC (-7) on FOX
Remember that home field advantage typically counts for 3 points in college football (though market adjustments of 3.5 and 4 are more common here than in the NFL). That will give you a sense of how the teams should be stacked on a “market” Power Rating scale.
Clemson is about 2 points better than Auburn on a neutral field
Notre Dame is about 3 points better than Georgia
Ohio State is about 4 points better than Oklahoma amidst Final Four contenders
USC is about 4 points better than Stanford
Note that Notre Dame was closer to pick-em at home in the GOY lines that went up earlier this summer, meaning that the market has now flipped from seeing Georgia as the superior neutral field team to seeing Notre Dame that way. Is that an overreaction? USC was up close to -10 over Stanford at the Coliseum earlier this summer. Stanford impressed vs. Rice, while USC took awhile to get going vs. Western Michigan.
Be sure you watch VSiN programming all week for preview information from guests in the sports betting and mainstream media universes.
NFL: Hurricane Irma may force a schedule change in Sunday’s Tampa Bay/Miami game
The forecast for dangerous hurricane Irma shows it homing in on a likely landfall in the state of Florida late this weekend. Obviously, there are several days between now and then for the path to change. But the models are largely in agreement, which is very bad news for anything in its pathway. It’s already a Category 4, with indicators that Category 5 is likely.
The Tampa Bay Bucs and Miami Dolphins are already talking about moving the date of their Sunday season opener in South Florida. Though both share a bye week later in the season…rescheduling and taking a bye in the FIRST week of the season would force both teams to play 16 weeks in a row. The most likely scenario appears to be a move to this coming Friday night.
VSiN City contacted South Point Sports Book Director Chris Andrews Monday evening for clarification on what happens to betting tickets in that game if there is a date change. Chris said all prior bets would be refunded, and the game would re-open for new betting for the Sept. 8 meeting.
There currently aren’t any rumblings about Saturday college games changing dates. There are two scheduled on the regular board for the Sunshine State: Louisiana Monroe at Florida State and Memphis at Central Florida. Two more games from the “added” slate are Northern Colorado at Florida and Alcorn State at Florida International.
NFL: Estimated Market Power Ratings
We’re now just hours away from the first kickoff of the NFL regular season Thursday night when Kansas City visits New England. That means point spreads are firming up in a way that helps us pin down our ever-evolving estimate of “market” Power Ratings in pro football.
88: New England
84: Pittsburgh, Atlanta, Seattle, Green Bay
83: Dallas without Elliot
82: Kansas City, Oakland, NY Giants
81: Minnesota, Carolina, Philadelphia, Arizona, Tennessee
80: Tampa Bay, New Orleans
79: Baltimore, Cincinnati
78: Houston, Denver
77: Washington, Detroit, LA Chargers
75: Miami, Buffalo
74: Chicago, LA Rams
73: Indianapolis with Tolzien
72: Cleveland, San Francisco
70: NY Jets
Of note this week:
- Buffalo is now up to -8 over the New York Jets even though Tyrod Taylor hasn’t been cleared to play yet from concussion protocol. That knocks the Jets down to what skeptics had been projecting all summer. NYJ is an expansion caliber team and will be priced that way until they show otherwise.
- Philadelphia is now a 1-point road favorite at Washington. The Eagles struggled to win away from home a season ago. But losing nailbiters with a rookie QB is a decent indicator for winning those when he’s more experienced. We must now have the Eagles FOUR points clear of the Redskins on the scale because of this line development.
- Similar situation with Arizona now laying -1 or -1.5 at Detroit after opening as a short dog over the summer. Some meaningful money expects the Cards to compete for a playoff spot again.
- Tennessee is -2 at home vs. Oakland, suggesting the Raiders are only one-point better on a neutral field. (If you think Tennessee has a below average home field value, the two teams are even tighter). That either reflects new respect for Tennessee’s quality, or skepticism about Oakland’s ability to maintain last year’s level of play.
- Indianapolis is painted at plus 3.5 at the LA Rams…which is an indictment of Colts temporary starting QB Scott Tolzien. If the teams were seen as even, that would be a pure three. Sports books are afraid of getting hit hard with Rams money at -3…so we see the hook.
As we’ve said through the summer, this is just an estimate using clues from the lines and some common sense. Green Bay and Seattle are priced as even…but maybe they should be on the 85-line, or the 83-line rather than the 84-line. Atlanta is 10 better than Chicago (laying -7 on the road). Maybe those two teams should be 83 and 73 rather than 84 and 74. We’ll learn more when there’s more inter-connectivity.
For now, those look pretty accurate in terms of reflecting “the market.” Do YOU see any couplets that look to be two points off or more? If so, drop us a note or leave a comment in the Facebook widget.
We probably won’t update these again until Week 2 lines are up next week. But if there are significant moves between now and Thursday night, we’ll post some tweaks. (If you’ve been following in the CFL and EPL estimates from earlier this summer…we’ll put those on hiatus unless something VERY interesting happens in those lower interest leagues for US bettors.)
MLB: Updating the still developing playoff picture
Let’s update the still-active races, as well as recent form for the contenders. Since last Tuesday’s edition of VSiN City…
- Boston now leads the NY Yankees by only 2.5 games in the AL East (down 1)
- There are still EIGHT teams fighting for two AL Wildcard spots
- The Chicago Cubs now lead Milwaukee by 3.5 games, St. Louis by 5 in the NL Central
- Milwaukee is now with 1.5 games of an NL Wildcard spot!
Amazingly, the Cubs lengthened their lead on Milwaukee while the Brewers were still creeping closer to Colorado in the Wildcard race. Moving to recent form through Monday night’s completed action (hope you had a great Labor Day!)…
- Chicago Cubs plus 13 (6-2 last 8, 32-17 since ASB)
- Milwaukee plus 6 (6-3 last 9, 13-7 last 20)
- St. Louis plus 3 (4-1 last 5, but treading water otherwise)
The Cubs are still playing like a playoff team. But Jake Arrieta left Monday’s game early with what appeared to be a pulled hamstring. Be sure you check out VSiN programming throughout the day Tuesday for the latest on that. Jon Lester just came back from his injury a few days ago! Milwaukee was a .500 team until 20 games ago. Instead of fading to oblivion, they’re very much in the thick of things. St. Louis is running out of time, but is closer to the Wildcard now than anyone thought possible a few weeks ago.
NL Wildcard (best two qualify for play-in game)
- Arizona plus 22 (11 in a row, 13-1 last 14!)
- Colorado plus 9 (9-17 last 26, at worst possible time)
- Milwaukee plus 6
- St. Louis plus 3
Red hot Arizona is now a virtual lock to host the NL Wildcard game…and will have the luxury of arranging its rotation to put its best pitcher on the mound. Colorado is on the verge of erasing its great first half performance. Can the Rockies snap out of it?
- Boston plus 16 (1-3 last 4, 4-8 last 12)
- NY Yankees plus 11 (4-1 last 5, 26-18 last 44)
- Baltimore plus 2 (9-3 last 12)
- Tampa Bay -1 (9-5 last 14, but 12-17 last 29)
Boston had seemed to be pulling away. Instead, they got pulled back into a race. How about the Orioles playing .750 ball over two weeks?! The Red Sox are still fairly safe to “make” the playoffs. Skipping the Wildcard play-in game is less safe with their recent doldrums.
AL Wildcard (best two qualify for play-in game)
- NY Yankees plus 11
- Minnesota plus 5 (1-3 last 4, but 19-10 last 29)
- LA Angels plus 4 (5-2 last 7, 16-9 last 25)
- Baltimore plus 2
- Texas plus 1 (5-2 last 7, 16-9 last 25)
- Kansas City even (4-2 last 6, but 14-21 last 35)
- Seattle even (3-1 last 4, but choppy waters for awhile)
- Tampa Bay -1
Who says contenders can’t lift their games down the stretch? That’s 19-10 for Minnesota, 16-9 for the Halos, 9-3 for Baltimore, and 16-9 for Texas. Somebody’s going to blink. It might take three or four teams to blink for that final spot to resolve itself before the final weekend.
Head-to-head contender battles to start the week:
NY Yankees at Baltimore
Minnesota at Tampa Bay
In the National League, Milwaukee will visit the Chicago Cubs this weekend in what could be the defining series of the final month for that dark horse.
We’ll see you again Wednesday as we continue to gear up for opening weekend in the NFL.
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