We’re two weeks away from the first College Football Playoff rankings release, and the Week 9 schedule could have a big impact on those ratings. Covers checks in on the opening odds and early action for four games.
No. 10 Auburn Tigers at No. 3 Louisiana State Tigers (-11.5)
It’s a battle of two Tigers, with Louisiana State holding the upper hand heading into this Saturday afternoon Southeastern Conference clash. LSU (7-0 SU, 5-2 ATS) has won all its games by at least 14 points, including a 36-13 victory at Mississippi State as 17.5-point favorites in Week 8.
Auburn hit a speed bump at Florida in Week 6, losing 24-13 as 2.5-point favorites, so it can ill afford another loss. Auburn (6-1 SU and ATS) had a bye in Week 7, then pounded Arkansas 51-10 as 20.5-point road faves last weekend.
Early bettors seem to like the Bayou Bengals better, as the number quickly moved to LSU -12.
“LSU continues to be a runaway train, and despite Auburn boasting a pretty strong resume, the public is continuing to ride LSU,” Chaprales said. “The number has already moved in LSU’s direction. While it remains to be seen how high the action will drive it, we’ll be needing Auburn one way or another.”
No. 13 Wisconsin Badgers at No. 4 Ohio State Buckeyes (-14)
Wisconsin was certainly a part of the CFP conversation until Week 8, when it suffered one of the season’s most stunning losses. The Badgers (6-1 SU, 5-2 ATS) went to Illinois as 28.5-point favorites, led 20-7 early in the third quarter, then tumbled outright 24-23 on a field goal in the final seconds.
Ohio State has been just fine on the field and against the oddsmakers, going 7-0 SU and 6-1 ATS, cashing the last six games. The Buckeyes boatraced Northwestern 52-3 in a Week 8 Friday nighter, easily covering as hefty 26.5-point road favorites.
“This matchup was obviously looking quite a bit more enticing before Saturday, but Ohio State was going to open as big favorites regardless of Wisconsin’s result,” Chaprales said. “The first few tickets have been on the Buckeyes laying the two touchdowns.”
No. 7 Notre Dame Fighting Irish at No. 20 Michigan Wolverines (-2.5)
Notre Dame could still have a place at the CFP table, but another loss would certainly wipe out any hopes of making the four-team field. The Fighting Irish (5-1 SU, 4-2 ATS), whose only setback was at Georgia, edged Southern California 30-27 laying 10.5 points at home in Week 7. Brian Kelly’s squad had a bye in Week 8.
Michigan’s goose is already cooked as it relates to the CFP, with two losses already and Ohio State looming at season’s end. In Week 8 at Penn State, the Wolverines (5-2 SU, 3-4 ATS) rallied from a 21-0 deficit, falling short on a late fourth-and-goal from the 3-yard line in a 28-21 loss catching 7.5 points.
“Notre Dame’s tight loss to Georgia a few weeks ago is suddenly not looking as impressive, while Michigan’s slim playoff hopes were officially extinguished by Penn State,” Chaprales said. “Early action has landed on the Irish, resulting in an adjustment down to Michigan -1.5.”
The Wolverines dipped to -1 by Monday afternoon.
Washington State Cougars at No. 11 Oregon Ducks (-13.5)
Oregon remains the Pac-12’s best-though-unlikely hope for a CFP bid, with its lone loss coming to Auburn in a Week 1 neutral-site contest. The Ducks (6-1 SU, 4-3 ATS) rallied from a 28-14 third-quarter deficit at Washington to nab a 35-31 win and cover as 3-point favorites Saturday.
Washington State had higher expectations for this season, but a three-game skid – starting with a 67-63 home loss to UCLA after leading 49-17 as 18-point chalk – squelched those hopes. The Cougars (4-3 SU, 2-5 ATS) got back on track in Week 8 against Colorado with a 41-10 home rout giving 13.5 points.
“This one looks pretty cut and dried – Oregon or pass for the public,” Chaprales said. “We went up with 13.5, but it probably won’t take much for it to move to 14.”
In fact, by Monday afternoon, PointsBet moved the line to Ducks -14.
Patrick Everson is a Las Vegas-based senior writer for Covers.com. Follow him on Twitter: @Covers_Vegas.
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