Auburn should put heat on ‘Bama

Aug 15, 2017 3:12 AM

We can assume Alabama, Ohio State, Florida State and USC will most likely be the playoff teams, in college football but I’m looking at an Auburn squad to be on the next level, waiting for one of those teams to falter.

Who knows, it could even be Alabama losing to them on Nov. 25 where the Crimson Tide are the South Point’s 3.5-point favorite at Auburn. The low number should automatically tell how respected Auburn is with sportsbook director Chris Andrews. War Eagle!

Auburn has a few games on the schedule that present some challenges, but I’m looking for them to win their first six games and then they get a hellish three game road trip at LSU, at Arkansas and at Texas A&M. After that, it’s Georgia at home, a cakewalk against Louisiana Monroe and then Alabama comes to town.

It looks like a 10-2 regular season, or maybe even 11-1 and a chance to be playing in the playoffs. That means taking OVER 8 regular season wins at CG Technology laying -140 sounds like a good deal. The Westgate is offering 30-1 to win the National Championship game, which I also like. They also have them 9-2 to win the SEC Championship Game.

The best reason to like Auburn is kind of twofold. First they return eight starters on offense, including three offensive linemen, and the defense has seven starters back from an 8-5 team. That defense only allowed 17.9 ppg last year. Auburn’s offense also gets a boost with former 5-star recruit from Baylor, Jarrett Stidham. The sophomore should step in right away and be the difference in Auburn really making a splash in 2017.

The Westgate currently has Stidham at 15-1 to win the Heisman Trophy. The low odds exemplify the strong possibilities for Auburn this season.

Young Wolverines

The talent pool is deep at Michigan, but not quite in the same category as Alabama or Ohio State who stockpile the best players in the land. Last year’s 10-3 squad had 14 returning starters. This season they only return five, meaning the bulk of Michigan’s starters are going to be green. Yes, they’re very talented, but also young and I’m not sure they’ll be ready out of the gate no matter how fired up Coach Jim Harbaugh has them. I’m also not a big fan of QB Wilton Speight despite the offense averaging 40.3 ppg last season.

Michigan’s season win total at CG Technology is 9. Can I find three losses on their schedule? How about four? Yes, I think I can, and it begins with a loss on Sept. 2 to Florida in Arlington, Texas where the inexperience in so many areas on both sides of the ball will be apparent.

Penn State and Wisconsin on the road is going to be tough and I don’t expect them to beat the Buckeyes on Nov. 25 at Ann Arbor. Ohio State is the South Point’s 7-point favorite for that annual clash. And who knows, maybe there’s another loss to someone else, like at Indiana on Oct. 14, which is the Hoosiers’ Homecoming game. They lost 20-10 at the Big House as 24-point dogs.

Apparently bettors at the Westgate have also been doubting Michigan’s 2017 season. Their odds to win the National Championship were raised from 12-1 up to 25-1. By contrast, Ohio State’s odds have been reduced from 8-1 down to 3-1. The movement is a combination of cash wagered and public perception on each of the teams.

Backward Falcons?

I don’t like to call teams overrated, but when looking at NFL teams I feel are rated a bit too high coming into 2017, the one that stands out the most is the Falcons. Super Bowl losers traditionally have more failure than success the following year. The perfect example was watching Carolina start 2016 in a sluggish 1-5 funk that they could never recover from. I think Atlanta is that team this year, which has me liking several props posted at the Westgate.

My reason for not liking the Falcons this season rests with their defense that allowed 371 ypg and 24.5 ppg. They got lucky not to get exposed too much until blowing a 28-3 lead in the Super Bowl. I think their defense fails them to a 4-6 start and the offense will be less crisp without Kyle Shanahan calling the plays. Some of the props that stand out that should cash if correct is taking Under 9.5 wins (+105), NO to make the playoffs at +130 and taking either the Panthers (9-4) or Buccaneers to win the NFL South (7-2).