COLLEGE BOWL GAME ODDS ARE UP

CFP 2COLLEGE BOWL GAME ODDS ARE UP

Going into their Big Ten Championship game against the University of Wisconsin, the Ohio State Buckeyes were the odds on favorites to win the NCAA Football Championship, or CFP, this year.  By half time all that had changed as the Badgers held a 21-7 lead over the Buckeyes who went into the game as 16.5 point favorites.

Even though Ohio State was able to come back after half time and put up 27 unanswered points to take home the victory, and the Big Ten Championship, by a final score of 34-21, the damage had been done. The weakness was exposed and shades of doubt began to creep into the minds of the committee members charged with making the decision of who shall be the number one college football team in the land.

Then the #2 ranked LSU Tigers simply dominated the Georgia Bulldogs, who came into the SEC Championship ranked #4 in the CFP standings as 7 point underdogs, but ended up losing by 27 points 37-10.  LSU put up grand total of 467 yards as Heisman Trophy favorite Joe Burrow at quarterback threw for 349 yards completing 28 of 38 passes with zero picks.

The choice left to the committee was clear.  LSU had the strongest resume overall and topped it off with a convincing defeat of the powerful Georgia Bulldogs while Ohio State struggled early on before asserting themselves in the second half of their game against Wisconsin.

So much so that the Tigers of LSU will now face the newly arrived #4 Oklahoma Sooners as 13 point favorites in the Peach Bowl in Atlanta on Saturday December the 28th while the Buckeyes will travel out to Glendale, Arizona to participate in the Fiesta Bowl as 2 point underdogs against Dabo Swinney’s Clemson Tigers.

Now the Clemson Tigers, led by quarterback Trevor Lawrence, are feeling a lack of respect from the CFP committee, but the Las Vegas oddsmakers are certainly giving them their due by crowning them as the favorites over the formally number one ranked Ohio State Buckeyes.

Assuming that LSU takes care of business in Atlanta and defeats the Sooners, the winners of the Ohio State-Clemson game are going to have to travel down to New Orleans and the Super Dome on January the 13th, 2020 to take on the Bayou Bengals in what amounts to being a home game for LSU in one of the loudest venues in all of football.

Before the drama of the CFP Semifinal Games get started at 4 EST, there is early action on Saturday December the 28th from Dallas as #17 Memphis takes on #10 Penn State as 7 point underdogs in the Cotton Bowl Classic on ESPN. Airing at the same time on ABC from Orlando will be a contest between the #15 ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish and the Cyclones of Iowa State University with the Irish listed as 3.5 point favorites for the Camping World Bowl.

The Orange Bowl from Miami this year will be played on Monday evening December the 30th between the #9 ranked Florida Gators and the #24 ranked Virginia Cavaliers with the Gators going in as 13.5 point favorites.

Top rated CFP games continue on New Year’s Day when #18 Minnesota plays that same #12 ranked Auburn team that defeated mighty Alabama just a few weeks ago. The Gophers will be 8 point underdogs against the Tigers of Auburn in the Outback Bowl from Tampa, Florida.

Then it’s ‘Oh how the mighty have fallen’, Alabama playing in the Citrus Bowl down in Orlando as the #13th ranked team in the land up against #14 Michigan Wolverines as 7 point favorites.  This game will pit two of the best known head coaches against one another in college football as Jim Harbaugh and Nick Saban try to salvage what they can from less than stellar seasons.

Out in Pasadena, California, the Rose Bowl will feature the #6 ranked Oregon Ducks against the Badgers of Wisconsin, listed at (-2.5),  who finished as the #8 ranked team in the country and represent the Big Ten since Ohio State is going on to the CFP Finals.

The final contest on New Year’s Day will be coming from New Orleans when the #5 Georgia Bulldogs take on the #7 Baylor Bears as 7.5 point favorites in the Sugar Bowl from the Super Dome down in the ‘Big Easy’.

HEROES GOLFING IN THE BAHAMAS

hero twHEROES GOLFING IN THE BAHAMAS

Some of the best professional golfers in the world are headed out to the Bahamas Islands this weekend to join a rejuvenated Tiger Woods for his Hero World Challenge Tournament which sets up as a sort of prelude to the upcoming President’s Cup action which will be taking place at the Royal Melbourne Golf Club down under in Australia beginning on December the 12th.

After enduring a period of being not quite up to par earlier in the year, Tiger Woods has come back looking fit and as competitive as ever by winning the recent Zozo Championship in Chiba, Japan. It was his 82nd career win!  Woods is listed as one of the odds on favorites to win the Hero World Classic this weekend as well.

Woods actually is one of the principal sponsors of the annual Hero World Challenge event which is held at the Albany Golf Club in the Bahamas Islands.  Although the $3,500,000 purse is not quite on par with some of the other major tournaments, the money is still attractive, plus, everybody gets to go to the beach!

So, the event has attracted a stellar field of some of the best golfers on the planet to the Bahamas to play alongside Tiger Woods and feel good about it because the tournament is a benefit for the Tiger Woods Foundation which was created in 1996 to support community based programs that improve health, education and welfare for all children in America.

Although there are only 18 golfers participating this year, they are the cream of the crop.  This becomes obvious when you look at the odds board and find Chez Reavie, who won the Travelers Championship back in June, at the very bottom at 66 to 1!

The World Challenge format has been around since the turn of the century under different sponsors and played at various locations before moving to the Bahamas in 2015 with the Albany Golf Club as its permanent home.

Ironically, with all the golfing heroes participating in the event, the word Hero in the title actually refers to the event’s sponsor since 2014, the Hero MotoCorp, which makes motorcycles and scooters in India.

As a concession to next week’s President’s Cup play down in Australia, this Hero World Challenge will be played from Wednesday to Saturday to allow the golfers an additional day for travel in order to get ready for the competition which will pit the top golfers from the United States against a team made up of some of the best golfers from outside the USA and coached by Ernie Ells. Team USA was selected and will be coached by none other than Tiger Woods himself.

Spanish ace Jon Rahm, who won the event in 2018, is the hottest golfer in the world right now and oddsmakers agree making him the tournament favorite at 7 to 2, and right behind him is Justin Thomas at 7 to 1 who has two outright wins and two other top ten performances in the last five tournaments.

Tiger Woods is listed at 8 to 1.  Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele at 17 to 2 are two young golfers that everyone is watching in wonder with the anticipation that they will soon be major players on the PGA circuit.

Webb Simpson starts the tourney at 10 to 1 with Rickie Fowler at 12 to 1 and Justin Rose at 14 to 1. Patrick Reed, Gary Woodland, Bryson DeChambeau, Tony Finau, Matt Kuchar, Henrick Stenson, Kevin Kisner and Bubba Watson round out the all star field for this year’s Hero World Challenge.

And if you are looking for a sleeper bet for this tournament, 2014 winner Jordan Spieth could be a good one going in at 28 to 1.

The ultimate winners of the Hero World Challenge will be the kids that the Tiger Woods Foundation helps using the proceeds from the event.

THE 49ers ARE THE UNDERDOGS THIS SUNDAY

49er hatTHE 49ers ARE THE UNDERDOGS THIS SUNDAY

The winningest team in the NFC so far this season has been the San Francisco 49ers.  They are 10 and 1 on the year having only lost to the Seahawks in a thriller of a game by the close score of 27-24 on a game winning 42 yard field goal in overtime by Jason Myers of Seattle.

That impressive 10-1 record is only matched by Tom Brady and his New England Patriots under head coach Bill Belichick over in the AFC. So, why are the 49ers listed as 6 point underdogs going into Sunday’s big showdown with the Baltimore Ravens?

Good question for those who have not had the opportunity to watch young Lamar Jackson at quarterback for the Ravens; those who have seen this year’s version of the Ravens in action already understand why.  They are a force to be reckoned with in any NFL stadium, anywhere.

But San Francisco is coming off of a 37-8 Sunday Night Football beat down of Aaron Rodgers and his Green Bay Packers, who went into the game at 8-3 as 3 point underdogs to the ‘Niners at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara.

The 49ers looked very strong on Sunday, too much so to be listed at 6 point dogs the very next Sunday. But the NFL MVP forerunner Lamar Jackson and his 9-2 Raven squad have won 7 straight games and they totally dismantled the defending Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams on Monday Night Football.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the 49ers are the first team with 10 wins to only 1 loss in about 12 years to go into Week 13 games as an underdog.  Oddsmakers are listing the Ravens as 6 point favorites but we have not seen a 10 and 1 team listed without an advantage in the point spread since 2007, and even then the favorite team failed to cover the spread.

Still in all, there are many bettors out there who think that six points is not nearly enough considering what Baltimore has been doing lately. In the last five games the Ravens have outscored opponents, including teams like the Houston Texans and the Seattle Seahawks, by a total of 202 to 62, or by about 20 touchdowns. Now that -6 starts to make some sense.

The contest will take place on Sunday afternoon at M&T Bank Stadium on the river in Baltimore, which is not a closed in facility and the weather is predicted to be inclement this weekend on the east coast, so, cold, wind and rain could be a factor as well.

As further proof that Las Vegas lines makers believe in the Baltimore Ravens, they are now the odds on favorites to win Super Bowl LIV and take the Lombardi Trophy back to Baltimore. The Ravens are now at 3-1 with the Patriots at 7-2 and the New Orleans Saints at 4-1.  The 49ers follow at 7-1 with the Chiefs at 10-1 and both the Seahawks and the Vikings are listed at 12-1.

NBA ACTION HEATS UP EARLY THIS YEAR

nba smNBA ACTION HEATS UP EARLY THIS YEAR

Four teams in the NBA Eastern Division stand at .750 or better 17 games into the season with the Milwaukee Bucks alone at the top of the heap at 14 and 3 with a .824 winning percentage scoring an average of almost 120 points per game while allowing only 110.6 point per game from their opponents.

The Boston Celtics, the Miami Heat and the Toronto Raptors are all close behind with 12 wins each to just 4 losses, so, their winning percentage is right on .7500.  Points per game for all three teams are similar at around 111.

The Bucks are currently on an 8 game winning streak, so catching up to them in the near future may be more than most teams can handle. But, the season is still young and there is a lot of NBA Basketball yet to be played.

Correspondingly, Milwaukee is the current favorite in the NBA East at +400 at the big Las Vegas sports books.  The Philadelphia 76ers are at +700 and the Boston Celtics are listed at +900. All other teams in the NBA East are +2500 and up beginning with last years’ NBA Finals winning Toronto Raptors.

Over in the NBA Western Division however, we have a completely different story.  In fact a line picking the East or the West in the NBA this year would show the West as being heavily favored.

When LeBron James saw the opportunity to get New Orleans’ big man Anthony Davis to join the Lakers squad, he jumped at it right away. The perennial All Star was lacking a ‘soul partner’ on the court if he was to lead the Lakers back to their traditional greatness, and he had seen Anthony Davis play before.

The chemistry was almost instantaneous and now the Lakers are at 15-2 having only lost their first game to their neighboring LA Clippers and then dropping one to the defending NBA champion Toronto Raptors in early November.  Apart from those two losses, the Lakers have pretty much dominated every team they have come up against this season and look to be able to continue that run.

Behind the Lakers in the West are the Denver Nuggets at 12-3 and the LA Clippers at 12-5 followed by the Dallas Mavericks, the Houston Rockets and the Utah Jazz, all with 11 wins so far this season.  Utah is currently listed at +900 with the Houston Rockets at +800 while the over achieving Dallas Mavericks are only getting +3000 at this point.

Leading the NBA West once again are the Los Angeles Lakers, bringing cheers and joy back to the Staples Center in downtown LA once again. Who knows, Jack Nicholson might even start showing up again at courtside.

The LA Clippers have even invaded the Lakers home quarters at the Staples Center while their new basketball palace is being built over in nearby Englewood on the site of the fabled Hollywood Park Horse Racing Track. Actually the deal is working out well for both NBA clubs and surely for the Staples Center which changes the floor decorations depending on which team is playing that night and there has been nothing but respect shown by both side so far.

Both the Lakers and the Clippers are leading the NBA at present with just a +150 posted by the oddsmakers.  The Denver Nuggets follow at +800 and the Utah Jazz at +900.

The Lakers also lead in the current ‘Power Rankings’ in the news this week followed by the Bucks and the Clippers with Denver, Dallas, Philadelphia and defending NBA Finals Champions the Toronto Raptors in 7th place.

The early leaders have been established in the NBA season. Now we will see which teams have the staying power and which display the power to come from behind and give the big boys a run for their money.

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