Surprise! Surprise! The new college football rankings came out this week and there are quite a few new faces to the Top-25. Without the Big Ten and Pac-12 playing right now (along with several other conferences), missing from the list are perennials Ohio State, Penn State and Oregon.
The Sun Belt has two representatives in Louisiana Lafayette and Appalachian State. A few teams return after long-awaited absences and a few for the first time in eons: Miami-Fla., Louisville, Virginia Tech, Brigham Young, Army, Kentucky, and Pitt all made the rankings.
No shock that Clemson remains No.1 and teams like Alabama, Oklahoma, Georgia, Florida, and LSU all moved up without any Big Ten or Pac-12 teams around.
One place that is rarely surprised is the SuperBook at the Westgate. I spoke to Randy Blum on Monday. He told me that, as expected, the action at the book was very good, particularly with a limited slate and without any marquee matchups.
"We are very happy with the handle and the physical turnout," Blum said.."As the number of games and the level of competition increases, we expect the handle to increase as well."
It seems as though the "sharp" money was a bit less than usual as the book feels the "wiseguys" are taking a wait-and-see approach in college football.
One specific item this past week, with rumors of the coronavirus effecting the Arkansas State team, the line moved Saturday morning from 11.5 up to 14.5 very quickly. They expect this to happen in this unique season.
Arkansas State pushes back Central Arkansas game to Oct. 10, saying the team cannot assemble a full two-deep depth chart at a specific position group due to player unavailability. https://t.co/WpRwIGEtaF— AP Top 25 (@AP_Top25) September 15, 2020
Here are this week's Best Bets (Lines are as of Tuesday and can change. If a line is around a Hot Number or moves against us, be smart):
Tulsa at Oklahoma State -23: With both teams kicking off the campaign here, I have no problem laying the wood with an Oklahoma State team looking for redemption after a disappointing finish to its season a year ago, losing to Texas A&M in their Bowl matchup.
These in-state rivals have only met four times over the last decade but the Cowboys won and covered all four meetings. In last year's contest, running back Chuba Hubbard steamrolled the Golden Hurricanes' defense for 256 yards on the ground en route to over 2,094 yards rushing for the season.
This won't fare well for Tulsa as Hubbard returns this season and faces a defense that ranked 92nd vs. the rush in 2019. Not only that, but Okie State also sees the return of standout quarterback Spencer Sanders (62.8% completion rate, 2,065 yards passing) and wide receiver Tylan Wallace (53 receptions, 903 yards receiving).
The Cowboys are 5-0 ATS the last five in the month of September, 7-2 ATS the last nine at home, and 14-0 ATS the last 14 against non Big 12 foes. OKLAHOMA STATE
Appalachian State -4 at Marshall: Even though Appalachian State lost for us in last week's column, this week, they get us the money. Yes, Marshall flattened Eastern Kentucky in their opener with only four offensive starters back,. However, they will have no such luck in this matchup.
The Mountaineers haven't given up more than 20.2 PPG over the last five seasons. Appalachian State, with Zac Thomas at the helm, joined by solid running backs Marcus Williams Jr. and Camerun Peoples and wideout Thomas Hennigan will light up the scoreboard here on an outclassed Marshall team.
The Mountaineers are 7-2 ATS the last nine in the month of September, 12-3 ATS the last 15 on the road, and 9-3 ATS the last 12 nonconference matchups. The line is 3.5 as of Tuesday. Just to air on the side of caution, if it's still around this by game time, buy it down. APPALACHIAN STATE
Central Florida -7.5 at Georgia Tech: One mistake many bettors make is judging a team solely by their last performance. Georgia Tech upended Florida State in Week 1. But the Seminoles gave away the contest.
Central Florida, which is the odds-on favorite to take the American Athletic Conference crown, is a monstrous team. They return most of their offensive role players from last season's Top-10 squad (43.0 PPG).
On the flipside, the Knights possess an experienced, veteran defense that will get to Yellow Jackets frosh quarterback Josh Sims and force the youngster to make mistakes. Look for their stellar, ball-hawking secondary (all four starters return) to make his life miserable here.
Georgia Tech is 0-6 ATS the last six nonconference games, 1-8 ATS the last nine home games, and 2-7 ATS the last nine September games. CENTRAL FLORIDA
Last week: 1-2