College Football’s Opening Week
We warned anyone that would listen that there would be a double-digit upset winner or two on this Labor Day Weekend menu and we wound up selling the twin-digit dogs short: There were actually four major upsets of 10-or-more point favorites beginning with last Friday's last-second 34-31 win by 10.5-point home dog Nevada against Purdue.
They then continued on last Saturday with the following:
Georgia State (+ 26) beat Tennessee 38-30;
North Carolina (+11) roared back to beat rival South Carolina 24-20;
And Wyoming (+ 16) toppled Mizzou 37-31.
Now the $64,000 question while heading into tonight's TV tilt between #9 Notre Dame at Louisville - the home team is an 18-point underdog - is will lightning strike a fifth team this holiday weekend? Will we have another monster dog shocking the college football universe?
My Best Bets Club Off To 6-2 Start And Up 250 Units
9/1…15 Units…Houston (+23) 31, Oklahoma 49 (Won)
8/31…200 Units…Georgia (-22.5) 30, Vanderbilt 6 (Won)
8/31…15 Units…Boise State) +6.5) 38, Florida State 31 (Won)
8/31…10 Units…Mississippi State (-19.5) 38, UL-Lafayette 28 (Lost)
8/31…10 Units…Iowa State (-19.5) 29, Northern Iowa 26 (Lost)
8/30…15 Units…Oklahoma State (-14) 52, Oregon State 36 (Won)
8/29…15 Units…Cincinnati (-2.5) 24, UCLA 14 (Won)
8/29…15 Units…Utah (-5.5) 30, BYU 12 (Won)
Tonight, it's ... #9 NOTRE DAME at LOUISVILLE - 8 p.m., ESPN
There were plenty of things to celebrate last year if you're a fan of the ND Fighting Irish: Brian Kelly's club won 12 games SU (straight-up) including high-profile victories against Michigan, Stanford, Virginia Tech, Northwestern, Florida State and USC and the South Bend gang made it to their first-ever College Football Playoffs. But a stinging 30-3loss to eventual national champion Clemson got Notre Dame fans rather cranky and now they're itching to get back into the CFP hunt from the get-go here.
Let's see if Louisville is up to the task after last year allowing 52-or-more points in each of the team's last five games - farewell bad-boy Bobby Petrino and hello former Appalachian State head coach Scott Satterfield. Does he have the answer to slow down Irish QB Ian Book (2,628 yards passing and 19 TDs in 2018) and his high-octane fiends here? The totals price is 54 points - and that's down from an opening price of 59 points.
Spread Note - Notre Dame is 7-4-2 ATS (against the spread) in road or neutral field games the past two years.
In other College Football opening-week notes ...
No doubt the major storylines coming out of this first full week of the here-and-now College Football Season was that the mighty Southeastern Conference was roughed up a bit: Besides the aforementioned Tennessee Vols' facemask-first flop in Knoxville - nobody was humming "Rocky Top" exiting Neyland Stadium, we can tell you that! - Ole Miss was a 15-10 loser at Memphis, above-mentioned South Carolina fell to North Carolina and Missouri lost in Laramie but truth is, before the "experts" out there bury the SEC one week into this current campaign, the truth is the SEC registered a sub-par 5-7-1 ATS (against the spread) overall mark this holiday weekend but #2 Alabama, #3 Georgia, #6 LSU and #16 Auburn each covered the mighty vig as betting favorites.
And that gets us back to who were the "real losers" on this first full weekend and note neither of these teams named here hail from the SEC:
#11 OREGON - Geez, the Pac-12 has been screaming all summer long for "respect" and, when one of the league's major star teams gets a shot to beat a favored SEC team, it winds up failing badly to close the deal. Folks, we watched this prime-time game from start-to-finish and still can't believe that 3.5-point dog Oregon lost this game and didn't cash the bet. The Ducks rushed for 229 yards, QB Justin Herbert (242 yards passing) didn't toss a single interception and Oregon led 21-6 late in the third quarter but head coach Mario Cristobal didn't know the injury rule (and thus burned two time outs when he should not have needed to call one) and the Ducks withered late against a freshman quarterback. Wave bye-bye to any/all hopes of making it to this year's College Football Playoffs, guys!
FLORIDA STATE - You have to be kidding, Seminoles! Following on the heels of the program's first non-bowl season since 1981, second-year head coach Willie Taggart faced instant heat to bang out a season-opening win (and cover) as 6.5-point home favorites. Heck, the 'Noles even got to play this one in their own backyard after Hurricane Dorian forced the shift from "neutral" Jacksonville but FSU wound up blowing a 31-13 lead as Boise State pounded away with 57 rushing attempts while Boise State's kid QB Hank Bachmeier threw for 407 yards. Folks, we're generally not in the business of getting coaches fired but we say it's 50 / 50 that Taggart doesn't even last the season in Tallahassee.
Finally, the real hard-luck losers this first full weekend includes anyone that wagered on Ole Miss (allowed late-game safety in 15-10 loss to 3.5-point fav Memphis and that's after this Las Vegas price tag had dropped down from 7.5 points to open); on Ohio State which led 28-0 after the first quarter and didn't cover the 28-point price in its 45-21 win against Florida Atlantic; and, of course, Northwestern which trailed just 10-7 late at 6.5-point fav Stanford only to see transfer QB Hunter Johnson get strip-sacked with Stanford recovering the ball in the end zone for a 17-7 Cardinal win / cover. Ahh, it's a long season ahead ... maybe the gambling gods give you one (or two) back in the weeks ahead!