College Football 2012: Early Predictions and Betting Odds for Top Games
Las Vegas sports books have received a dream matchup in the 2012 NBA Finals, but football is still king in Sin City.
The Golden Nugget released betting odds on 111 games for the upcoming 2012 college football season, causing many sports bettors to delay their predictions on the best-of-seven series between the Miami Heat and Oklahoma City Thunder that begins on Tuesday night.
One of the more surprising numbers to land on the odds board Monday was Michigan Wolverines quarterback Denard Robinson receiving 12 points against the Alabama Crimson Tide on Sept. 1, as the betting public loves backing an exciting offensive player at the betting window.
Let's take a closer look and make some early predictions on some of this year's top games from a betting perspective.
Week 1 Betting Odds
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The Michigan State Spartans have opened as six-point home favorites against the Boise State Broncos in the opening week of the 2012 college football season.
Both teams will have an inexperienced player under center, as both Kellen Moore and Kirk Cousins have moved on to the National Football League.
There's no doubt in my mind that the Broncos will receive plenty of action in this contest, as they've done quite well in opening a campaign against college football heavyweights the past two years.
Boise State captured a 35-21 win over the Georgia Bulldogs in last year's season-opener, while walking away with a 33-30 victory over the Virginia Tech Hokies in that situation in 2010.
The Spartans shouldn't be overlooked in this spot, considering they've won 14 consecutive games at Spartan Stadium.
Other Week 1 College Football Odds
Marshall Thundering Herd at West Virginia Mountaineers (-20)
Michigan Wolverines vs. Alabama Crimson Tide (-12)
Auburn Tigers vs. Clemson Tigers (-2)
Navy Midshipmen vs. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (-13.5)
Kentucky Wildcats at Louisville Cardinals (-11.5)
Colorado Buffaloes (-6.5) vs. Colorado State Rams
Week 2 Betting Odds
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The LSU Tigers open their 2012 college football season against the North Texas Mean Green, but it really won't start in terms of competition until hosting the Washington Huskies on Saturday, Sept. 8.
Les Miles' crew has opened as 21-point home favorites, which is a bit surprising since Keith Price is returning at quarterback for the Huskies.
The Tigers will likely open the season with junior Zach Mettenberger under center, as he managed to throw for 270 yards in the program's spring game.
Gotta take the points at this juncture.
Other Week 2 College Football Odds
Pittsburgh Panthers at Cincinnati Bearcats (-5)
Oklahoma State Cowboys at Arizona Wildcats (-9.5)
Miami Hurricanes at Kansas State Wildcats (-7)
Iowa State Cyclones at Iowa Hawkeyes (-5)
Georgia Bulldogs (-3) at Missouri Tigers
Florida Gators at Texas A&M Aggies (Pick)
Nebraska Cornhuskers (-7) at UCLA Bruins
USC Trojans (-21) at Syracuse Orange
Week 3 Betting Odds
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I doubt the Alabama Crimson Tide would be listed as 6.5-point road favorites over the Arkansas Razorbacks in Week 3 if Bobby Petrino was still roaming the sidelines in Fayetteville, but an offseason motorcycle accident took care of that scenario.
Alabama will be trying to win back-to-back national titles with AJ McCarron under center, which will prove difficult to do without the services of running back Trent Richardson who was selected third overall by the Cleveland Browns in the 2012 NFL Draft.
The Razorbacks will be looking to avenge last year's 38-14 blowout loss as 11-point road underdogs in last year's meeting.
Pass for now.
Other Week 3 College Football Odds
Washington State Cougars (-17.5) at UNLV Runnin' Rebels
Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Michigan State Spartans (-3)
USC Trojans (-7.5) at Stanford Cardinal
Florida Gators (-5) at Tennessee Volunteers
Week 4 Betting Odds
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The Florida State Seminoles will likely possess a 3-0 record when playing their fourth consecutive home game to open the 2012 college football season against the Clemson Tigers on Sept. 22.
Gaudy statistics will likely be hyped up in the media for this contest, especially considering the Seminoles play Murray State and Savannah State the first two weeks.
The Tigers are currently listed as eight-point road underdogs in this affair, as they look to bounce back from a humiliating 70-33 loss to the West Virginia Mountaineers in the 2012 Orange Bowl.
This should be one of the best quarterback matchups in the first month of the season, with Clemson's Tajh Boyd going against Florida State's EJ Manuel.
Early lean to laying the points.
Other Week 4 College Football Odds
LSU Tigers (-10.5) at Auburn Tigers
Michigan Wolverines at Notre Dame Fighting Irish (-1)
Kansas State Wildcats at Oklahoma Sooners (-14.5)
Missouri Tigers at South Carolina Gamecocks (-5)
California Golden Bears at USC Trojans (-24)
Week 5 Betting Odds
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The Ohio State Buckeyes will have four games under their belt in Urban Meyer's system when they head to East Lansing, Mich., to take on the Michigan State Spartans, but they have opened up as five-point underdogs in their Big Ten Conference-opener.
Meyer was incredible when receiving points in Gainesville during his time with the Florida Gators, which has me leaning in that direction here.
Take the points, as this line could be a field goal when the game kicks off on Sept. 29.
Other Week 5 College Football Odds
Mississippi Rebels at Alabama Crimson Tide (-31)
Tennessee Volunteers at Georgia Bulldogs (-13.5)
Wisconsin Badgers at Nebraska Cornhuskers (-3)
Texas Longhorns at Oklahoma State Cowboys (-3)
Arkansas Razorbacks (-2.5) at Texas A&M Aggies
Baylor Bears at West Virginia Mountaineers (-11)
Week 6 Betting Odds
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Marcus Lattimore is a ferocious runner in the Southeastern Conference, and he'll need to be great if the South Carolina Gamecocks plan on pulling a slight upset against the Georgia Bulldogs as 2.5-point home underdogs in Week 6.
I'm anxious to see Lattimore get back on the field after missing most of last year with a knee injury, but I'm not ready to back either side until I read some more reports out of Columbia.
Take a wait-and-see approach.
Other Week 6 College Football Odds
USC Trojans (-14) at Utah Utes
Arkansas Razorbacks (-4.5) at Auburn Tigers
LSU Tigers (-7) at Florida Gators
Kansas Jayhawks at Kansas State Wildcats (-20)
Nebraska Cornhuskers at Ohio State Buckeyes (-1)
Washington Huskies at Oregon Ducks (-20)
West Virginia Mountaineers at Texas Longhorns (-4)
Miami Hurricanes at Notre Dame Fighting Irish (-9.5)
Week 7 Betting Odds
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Is this finally the year that Oklahoma Sooners quarterback Landry Jones leads the program to a national title?
The 2012 Red River Rivalry will play a major part in answering that question on Oct. 13, as the Sooners are currently 5.5-point neural-site favorites over the Texas Longhorns. Jones will already begin the year as the school's all-time passing leader, throwing for 12,379 yards in his career in Norman.
I recommend laying the points at this juncture, considering the Sooners tallied a 55-17 win as 11-point favorites in last year's meeting, with Jones completing 31-of-50 passes for 367 yards and three touchdowns.
Other Week 7 College Football Odds
Stanford Cardinal at Notre Dame Fighting Irish (-5)
Nevada Wolf Pack (-17.5) at UNLV Runnin' Rebels
Alabama Crimson Tide (-14) at Missouri Tigers
USC Trojans (-19) at Washington Huskies
Week 8 Betting Odds
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The last time any of us saw the West Virginia Mountaineers on a football field, it resulted in a 37-point win over the Clemson Tigers in the 2012 Orange Bowl.
A result like that automatically has me looking to play against them at this point in time, especially when laying more than a touchdown against the Kansas State Wildcats.
The Mountaineers were 5-5 against the spread as favorites last year, but they were also adjusting to Dana Holgorsen's first year in Morgantown. Quarterback Geno Smith will be playing in this offensive system for a second year, which spells trouble for defenses across the Big 12 Conference.
I suggest backing the Mountaineers as 7.5-point home favorites at this stage of the game.
Other Week 8 College Football Odds
UNLV Runnin' Rebels at Boise State Broncos (-35.5)
Stanford Cardinal (-4) at California Golden Bears
South Carolina Gamecocks at Florida Gators (-3.5)
Florida State Seminoles (-9.5) at Miami Hurricanes
Michigan State Spartans at Michigan Wolverines (-6)
BYU Cougars at Notre Dame Fighting Irish (-9)
Alabama Crimson Tide (-17) at Tennessee Volunteers
Baylor Bears at Texas Longhorns (-11)
LSU Tigers (-8) at Texas A&M Aggies
Colorado Buffaloes at USC Trojans (-34)
Week 9 Betting Odds
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Aaron Murray is a special quarterback in the Southeastern Conference, and someone who I'm looking to back in certain situations during the 2012 college football season.
The Georgia Bulldogs have opened up as 4.5-point neutral-site favorites against the Florida Gators on Oct. 27, which is a point higher than last year's number when they walked away with a 24-20 victory.
Murray will have this game circled on his calendar, considering he completed just 15-of-34 passes for 169 yards in that affair at EverBank Field.
Other Week 9 College Football Odds
Mississippi State Bulldogs at Alabama Crimson Tide (-24)
USC Trojans (-14) at Arizona Wildcats
Texas A&M Aggies at Auburn Tigers (-3.5)
Michigan Wolverines (-2) at Nebraska Cornhuskers
Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Oklahoma Sooners (-11)
TCU Horned Frogs at Oklahoma State Cowboys (-9)
Ohio State Buckeyes (-3.5) at Penn State Nittany Lions
Tennessee Volunteers at South Carolina Gamecocks (-7.5)
Michigan State Spartans at Wisconsin Badgers (-5)
Week 10 Betting Odds
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There's no doubt in my mind that this number has been created in anticipation of receiving money on the home team, as they will be looking to avenge a loss in the 2012 BCS Championship Game.
The LSU Tigers have been sent out as two-point home favorites against the Alabama Crimson Tide in his high-profile affair on Nov. 3, which has me landing on the road underdog.
Alabama was favored by 5.5 and 2.5 points in the two meetings a year ago.
Other Week 10 College Football Odds
Virginia Tech Hokies (-6.5) at Miami Hurricanes
Missouri Tigers at Florida Gators (-5.5)
Oklahoma State Cowboys at Kansas State Wildcats (-1)
Nebraska Cornhuskers at Michigan State Spartans (-5)
Pittsburgh Panthers at Notre Dame Fighting Irish (-12.5)
Oregon Ducks at USC Trojans (-6)
TCU Horned Frogs at West Virginia Mountaineers (-6)
Week 11 Betting Odds
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Tyler Wilson is definitely the main reason that the Arkansas Razorbacks are currently laying 2.5 points on the road against the South Carolina Gamecocks on Nov. 10, which provides a ton of value on the home underdog.
I'm definitely aware that the Razorbacks manhandled the Gamecocks as five-point home favorites in 2011, but Steve Spurrier hasn't received points at home since facing the Auburn Tigers and Cam Newton on Dec. 4, 2010.
Take the points.
Other Week 11 College Football Odds
Florida State Seminoles at Virginia Tech Hokies (-1)
Texas A&M Aggies at Alabama Crimson Tide (-20)
Georgia Bulldogs (-6) at Auburn Tigers
Notre Dame Fighting Irish (-12) at Boston College Eagles
Mississippi State Bulldogs at LSU Tigers (-17)
Baylor Bears at Oklahoma Sooners (-17)
West Virginia Mountaineers at Oklahoma State Cowboys (-6.5)
Kansas State Wildcats at TCU Horned Frogs (-3.5)
Missouri Tigers at Tennessee Volunteers (-1)
Arizona State Sun Devils at USC Trojans (-27)
Week 12 Betting Odds
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The Oregon Ducks are expected to play second fiddle to the USC Trojans in the Pac-12 Conference this year, but I wouldn't count out this program under Chip Kelly.
Las Vegas oddsmakers still hold this team in high regard, establishing the Ducks as 13-point home favorites over the Stanford Cardinal in Week 12. Kenjon Barner and De'Anthony Thomas are going to be tough to handle for a Cardinal defense that lacks speed on the perimeter.
Oregon has won and covered the last two meetings by an average of 15 points.
Other Week 12 College Football Odds
Mississippi Rebels at LSU Tigers (-26)
USC Trojans (-16) at UCLA Bruins
Ohio State Buckeyes at Wisconsin Badgers (-6)
Oklahoma Sooners (-4) at West Virginia Mountaineers
Week 13 Betting Odds
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Matt Barkley is the early favorite to win the 2012 Heisman Trophy, which automatically inflates the spread in every game he's scheduled to play this season.
The USC Trojans have been sent out as 13-point home favorites against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish on Nov. 24, supplying incredible value on the visitor.
Notre Dame suffered a 31-17 setback in last year's meeting as 9.5-point home favorites, but the 22.5-point difference is too good to pass up.
Other Week 13 College Football Odds
Arizona State Sun Devils at Arizona Wildcats (-5.5)
Washington Huskies at Washington State Cougars (-3)
Auburn Tigers at Alabama Crimson Tide (-18)
LSU Tigers (-3) at Arkansas Razorbacks
South Carolina Gamecocks at Clemson Tigers (-3.5)
Florida Gators at Florida State Seminoles (-7.5)
Mississippi State Bulldogs (-10) at Mississippi Rebels
Michigan Wolverines (-2) at Ohio State Buckeyes
Oklahoma State Cowboys at Oklahoma Sooners (-8)
Oregon Ducks (-16) at Oregon State Beavers
TCU Horned Frogs at Texas Longhorns (-7)
Missouri Tigers at Texas A&M Aggies (-3)
Week 14 Betting Odds
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The Texas Longhorns are one of the best teams in college football to play for when avenging a home loss, under the direction of head coach Mack Brown.
This angle worked wonders early on in 2011, which is why I'm suggesting a play on the Longhorns as three-point road favorites against the Kansas State Wildcats on Dec. 1.
Texas suffered a 17-13 loss as 7.5-point home favorites in last year's meeting, but out-gained Kansas State by 189 total yards.
Other Week 14 College Football Odds
Oklahoma Sooners (-9.5) at TCU Horned Frogs