VT vs LSU will be huge

Jul 3, 2007 7:38 AM

For the last two years, the game that carried the most impact in September on the national title picture was Ohio State vs Texas. This year, we’ll go with Virginia Tech at LSU in Week 2.

Both VT and LSU are 5/2 at Cal Neva to win their respective conferences (ACC, SEC) and each opens better on defense. Being that LSU is home, the Tigers should be favored somewhere between three and six points. Both teams have national title aspirations, so whichever team loses figures to have a long road back in chasing down No. 1.

"LSU is probably the No. 2 team going into the season," said Mike Seba, college football analyst and oddsmaker for the Las Vegas Sports Consultants, which supplies the first line to nearly all the top sports books. "Still there is a gap between LSU and Southern Cal. The Trojans may have eight running backs capable of being All-Americans. Pete Carroll’s team is loaded."

So, if Seba is right in his early assessment, it’s Southern Cal et al. But there are games to be played in several months. So here’s a capsule of each conference and some of the best players and matchups to watch.

SEC

Florida (17/10): Winning the SEC often leads to a berth in the BCS title game. It worked last year for the Gators, which leap-frogged Michigan into the No. 2 slot and eventual victory over top-rated Ohio State. The betting numbers on Florida, however, were not good. The Gators were 5-7 against the spread during the regular season, 3-7 as a favorite and just 1-4 on the road.

South Carolina (10/1): is a longshot to win the league, but Steve Spurrier has again recruited well and the betting numbers suggest the Gamecocks can make you some pretty good cash. Last year, Carolina was 9-3 ATS in the regular season, 6-0 away, 5-0 as a favorite and 4-0 vs. nonconference teams.

ACC

Wake Forest (20/1): The Demon Deacons took a giant step forward in respectability last year, but these opening odds suggest they are going backwards again in 2007. Wake was an opportunistic +13 for the year in turnover ratio and saw 10 of its 13 board games wind up under the posted total. Wake has always been a great betting team when made a double-digit dog.

Duke (125/1): Hey, if the Blue Devils win one game in the league, they’re ahead of the game. However, the Devils are a moneymaker. Though 0-12 overall last year, Duke was 5-6 ATS, 3-2 on the road and 4-4 within the league. The ACC is supposedly up this year, so Duke figures to be back on the bottom and presenting some betting value.

Big 10

Penn State (3/1): Nobody knows for sure how many years Joe Paterno has left with the Nittany Lions, but this could be his best shot at a league title. Ohio State took heavy losses in graduation a year ago, though still a top 10 caliber team. Michigan and Wisconsin opened 1-2, but we like Penn State to make a serious run. The Lions were a poor 0-4 ATS as a road underdog, but were 5-2 as a home favorite. Penn State games were 8-3 to the under.

Iowa (7-1): We are still waiting for Kirk Ferentz to live up to all the hype as one of the best coaches in the country. He certainly is there as far as demand. Iowa was a horrible 1-11 ATS last year with a turnover ratio of -11. Ferentz has perennially been a 60 percent spread winner so expect a big turnaround in 2007.

Pac 10

Arizona St (12/1): California and Oregon are the stylish choices to pressure USC for the top spot, but the Sun Devils are ready to make a run of their own. ASU was 7-5 ATS, including an impressive 28-21 loss at Southern Cal. The Devils struggled against Oregon and Cal, but blasted Washington State by 33 and saw 8-of-12 games go under the posted total, including high-powered Hawaii at Aloha Stadium.

Washington (20/1): The Huskies continue to rebuild under Ty Willingham and probably have the nation’s most difficult schedule. That could be very good from a betting angle, figuring UW will be in the heavy underdog role most of the season. Check this murderer’s row: at Syracuse, Boise State, Ohio State, at UCLA, USC, at Arizona State, Oregon, Arizona, at Stanford, at Oregon State, Cal, Washington St, at Hawaii. That’s nine bowl teams with a combined record of 105-62.

Big 12

Baylor (60/1): It was a case of two half-seasons last year. The first part was good, going 3-2-1 ATS including wins over Kansas State and Colorado, along with just a 17-7 loss to WAC champ TCU. The second half was a nightmare, 0-6 that included blowouts at Texas, Oklahoma and Oklahoma. In between was an impressive 10-point loss to Texas A&M. The Bears may be worth a few bets in September, then start hedging.

Oklahoma St (10/1): With Texas being Texas and Oklahoma needing to replace Adrian Peterson at tailback, the Cowboys could make some noise this season. Okie State was a +10 in turnover ratio as a favorite and went 7-4 ATS. OSU scores points, evidenced by an 8-4 over mark. The Pokes finished strong, going 3-0-1 ATS, including a 34-31 bowl win over Alabama. State lost six-point contests to both Oklahoma and Texas Tech. They can score on anyone.

2008 BCS TITLE

c/o Club Cal Neva

ACC champion

team

odds

Florida St

9/5

Virginia Tech

5/2

Miami, FL

3/1

Clemson

4/1

Boston College

10/1

Maryland

13/1

Georgia Tech

15/1

North Carolina

16/1

N.Carolina St

18/1

Virginia

20/1

Wake Forest

20/1

Duke

125/1

SEC champion

team

odds

Florida

17/10

LSU

5/2

Arkansas

9/2

Georgia

5/1

S.Carolina

10/1

Alabama

12/1

Auburn

13/2

Kentucky

20/1

Mississippi

60/1

Mississippi St

100/1

Vanderbilt

150/1

Pac 10 champion

team

odds

USC

2/5

California

2/1

Oregon

9/2

UCLA

8/1

Arizona

9/1

Arizona St