What are the odds: Best bets around college football


Hyosub Shin/Atlanta Journal-Constitution/TNS

Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Dinucci (3) gets tackled from behind by Georgia Tech defensive lineman Antonio Simmons (93) in the second half on Sept. 23, 2017, in Atlanta. Georgia Tech won 35-17 over Pittsburgh.

By Colin Martin, Staff Writer

Since the Supreme Court repealed the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act in May — allowing individual states to legalize sports gambling — the pastime has become far more popular. The five states to officially legalize sports betting are Nevada, Delaware, New Jersey, Mississippi and West Virginia. Pennsylvania voted to legalize sports betting, but no casinos have obtained the proper licensing yet.

But luckily, for people like me and (maybe) you who believe they can beat Vegas, betting online is a very simple and legal process. So gather around, and dig deep into your couch cushions for some extra change to place some bets this weekend.

(Never bet before? Here’s two quick definitions: the spread is a figure oddsmakers set that predicts by how much a team is expected to win or lose. The over/under is a prediction of the final combined score of both teams.)

Sitting around and watching college football all Saturday is a bettor’s dream. Let’s take a look at the top college games this weekend and see where it may be worth it to throw a little money.

Georgia Tech (1-1) vs. Pitt (1-1)

Spread: Georgia Tech -4

Over/under: 55

Analysis: Coming off a 45-point loss at home to rival Penn State, the Pitt Panthers will look to bounce back and play strong this weekend. Visiting opponent Georgia Tech is also coming off a tough loss to South Florida, 49-38. Both the Yellow Jackets and Panthers want to start 1-0 in the ACC.

Looking at the spread, Georgia Tech is favored to win the game by four points. That may not seem like a lot, but something like a game-winning field goal could easily be the difference in this game. Pitt’s offense will rely heavily on the run, as it did against Penn State when the team had 245 yards on the ground. The Yellow Jackets laugh at only having 245 rushing yards — that’s about what they rush for in one half. They had 419 yards on the ground against South Florida in their loss last week. However, their starting running back KirVonte Benson is officially out for the season after sustaining a knee injury in last week’s game. He had 1,053 yards on the ground last season and will definitely be missed going forward.

Bet: Take Georgia Tech to cover the 4 points and the over.

No. 12 LSU (2-0) vs. No. 7 Auburn (2-0)

Spread: Auburn -9.5

Over/under: 45

Analysis: Two top-ranked teams face off in an early season matchup that could easily have College Football Playoff impacts. Auburn has looked extremely good in its first two games of the season. It came back and beat No. 10 Washington 21-16 and then demolished Alabama State 63-9. Heisman Trophy candidate Jarrett Stidham has been quite efficient, completing 68 percent of his passes so far this season. If he has desires to hoist the trophy in December, then voters will be looking closely at his performance this Saturday against LSU’s top defense.

Led by their passionate head coach, Ed Orgeron, the LSU Tigers have proved analysts wrong already this year. They upset a Miami team that was ranked No. 8 at the time 33-17. They followed up the big win by beating FCS opponent Southeastern Louisiana 31-0. Ohio State graduate transfer Joe Burrow has looked good despite only completing 47.7 percent of his passes. His veteran leadership is something that LSU hasn’t had at the quarterback position for a while.

The offense is going to need to take a big step forward against Auburn if it has any hopes of winning. LSU will rely heavily on its defense to stop Stidham or else it could get ugly. Orgeron will have to deliver a big time pregame speech for his Tigers to go into a tough road environment and upset Auburn. Expect this game to be a high-scoring battle until the end.

Bet: LSU will cover the spread and bet the over.

No. 22 USC (1-1) vs. Texas (1-1)

Spread: Texas -3

Over/under: 47

Analysis: A fan favorite game, as the Texas Longhorns face off at home in a huge matchup with the USC Trojans. Coach Tom Herman will face his biggest game in only his second season as head coach of Texas. The rivalry game makes Longhorn fans think back to better times in 2005 when Vince Young upset USC in a Rose Bowl game that determined the national champion. It was arguably the best college football game in the last 25 years and Texas fans are hoping to relive that feeling. Beating USC is the first step to bringing Texas football back to where it once was.

The Longhorns lost 34-29 to Maryland to start the season and then beat Tulsa 28-21 last week. Sophomore quarterback Sam Ehlinger is ready for the big stage and will look to show off against USC. The Trojans are ready to stop the young gunslinger and bounce back after a 17-3 loss to Stanford last week. First-year quarterback JT Daniels has struggled so far this season as he tries to fill the shoes of former quarterback Sam Darnold, the No. 3 pick in the 2018 NFL Draft by the New York Jets. Expect Daniels and the Trojans to struggle offensively again this week when they travel to Austin.

Bet: Texas will cover the spread, but take the under.

No. 4 Ohio State (2-0) vs. No. 15 TCU (2-0)

Spread: Ohio State -13

Over/under: 60

Analysis: Despite all the drama going on in Columbus, Ohio State has ignored the media and focused on football so far this season. It beat Oregon State in a game that looks like a basketball score, 77-31, and then dismantled poor Rutgers 52-3. Sophomore quarterback Dwayne Haskins has lived up to the hype for the Buckeyes, throwing for nine touchdowns and completing 79.2 percent of his passes through two games. He’s recorded just one interception and one sack so far this year. The Horned Frogs of TCU will look to bring pressure and make Haskins uncomfortable in the pocket.

This will be their first real test of the season, after beating Southern 55-7 and SMU 42-12. TCU head coach Gary Patterson is used to being the underdog, so he’ll have that advantage going into the game Saturday. TCU is often overlooked, but the Horned Frogs have looked good early on this season. They can’t afford to have any mistakes if they plan on pulling off the huge upset.

The Horned Frogs will have to dig deep in the bag of tricks to pull off the upset, but expect them to hang around with Ohio State in a high scoring game.

Bet: Ohio State is this good, take the spread and the over.

All of the spreads and over/unders are taken from Bovada. https://www.oddsshark.com/ncaaf/odds