With Alabama’s Tua Tagavailoa now sidelined for the season, it has thrown a bit of a monkey wrench into the College Football Playoff picture.
But not to worry, you don’t need charts, graphs, an abacus, or even a degree in engineering to figure it out.
Obviously the odds on the Crimson Tide have dropped. But understand this. This is still Nick Saban and Alabama football. Backup quarterback Mac Jones is pretty darn good. Any of the Power Five conferences are stacked higher than your morning pancakes. Meaning they are loaded with talent.
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Here’s how the playoff picture is looking: LSU, Ohio State, and Clemson look to be locked in. If Georgia bests LSU in the SEC title game, most likely, both teams would advance to the playoff. If the Tigers take down the Bulldogs, it would give them their second loss and oust them from the playoff scenario.
Guess what? Then Alabama at 11-1 is back in the race or perhaps one-loss conference champ from the Pac-12 (Oregon or Utah).
FYI, if you think Alabama, Oregon, or Utah has a chance to win it all, now is this time to bet them.
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):
Oklahoma State -6.5 at West Virginia: Sports betting isn’t about a team’s won-loss record. It’s about covering the spread. Oklahoma State is the best team in the Big 12 at getting the bettors paid, with an 8-2 ATS mark this season. The Cowboys possess a monster offense, lighting up opponents for over 36.5 PPG.
The Mountaineers are in “let down” mode here as they just bested the Wildcats as a 14-point underdog following a five-game SU slide. Changing quarterbacks is not going to help the anemic 112th ranked offense (21.4 PPG). West Virginia just won’t be able to keep pace here.
Oklahoma State is 4-0 ATS the last four meetings in this series. OKLAHOMA STATE
Louisiana Tech at UAB -5: I’m not holding a grudge against Louisiana Tech, which was my only loss in last week’s column. And normally, I don’t solely judge a team from its previous performance, but without quarterback J’Mar Smith (suspended), the Bulldogs’ offense came to a complete halt in the 31-10 drubbing at the hands of the Thundering Herd.
UAB, which has won and covered the last two meetings in this CUSA West rivalry, owns 5-0 SU and 4-1 ATS marks at home in 2019. The Blazers are all about the defense with one of the nation’s fastest and most ferocious (18.7 PPG allowed) stop-units. As of deadline, the starting quarterback (Johnston III or Hopkins) has not been named. Either way, the offense will put up enough points to get us paid.
UAB is 19-6-1 ATS the last 26 at home and 20-6-1 ATS the last 27 in the conference. UAB
Tennessee +4 at Missouri: This contest puts together two SEC East teams heading in opposite directions. Missouri, which is riding four-game SU and five-game ATS slides, host a Tennessee squad which has won four of the last five SU and all five ATS.
The Tigers’ stagnant “O” (27 total points scored last four outings) are further distracted by a possible bowl ban while revenge motivates UT (lost last two meetings, 100-34).
The Vols are 4-0 ATS the last four in the conference and 5-2 ATS the last seven on the road. TENNESSEE
Boise State -8 at Utah State: The oddsmakers are looking to trap you here as this line should be closer to double digits.
Nationally-ranked Boise State (9-1 overall, 6-0 conference) is not just looking to stay atop the Mountain West, they are seeking a possible New Year’s Bowl Six bid. The Broncos enter this meeting brimming with confidence, as they have dominated the Aggies, taking 11 of the last 12 matchups SU and are a whopping 12-3-2 ATS the last 17, including 8-1 ATS the last nine in Logan, Utah.
This is a mismatch on both sides of the ball. Utah State quarterback Jordan Love (questionable) has more INT’s (14) than TD’s (13). The Aggies rushing game faces one of the best run defenses in college football (23rd, 118 yards per game allowed on the ground). On the flip side, the Broncos’ mighty balanced offense (30th pass, 53rd rush, 36.1 PPG) will score at will whether Hank Bachmeier (questionable) is at the helm or not.
BSU is 7-3-2 ATS the last 12 in the conference. USU is 2-5 ATS the last seven following a SU win. BOISE STATE
Last week: 3-1