Early College Football Odds Analysis
Earlier this month, the Golden Nugget released lines for 200 of the biggest games of the 2014 college football season. They have titled these 200 their “Games of the Year”, pinpointing the contests that they feel bettors may be most interested in heading into the new campaign. Now it’s time to analyze the numbers they have come up with.
First, I’m going to cover the four teams that have the most games listed that aren’t an underdog in any of them. They are Florida State, Oregon, Alabama and Oklahoma. These are certainly four teams who are expected to compete for spots in the first-ever college football playoff in 2014-15.
Check out all 200 games listed by the Golden Nugget here.
Florida State: Favored in All 8 Games (Average Line: -19.7)
Jameis Winston and the defending national champs are favored in every game they play in 2014. More impressively, they are at least a 14.5-point favorite in all eight games listed. They play Oklahoma State (-17) in Arlington, Notre Dame (-24) at home, Syracuse (-21) on the road, Miami (-14.5) on the road, Louisville (-17) on the road, Florida (-17) at home, Clemson (-17) at home, and NC State (-30) on the road.
Oregon: Favored in All 9 Games (Average Line: -17.9)
The Ducks are the favorites to win the Pac-12 every year these days. Obviously, 2014 is no exception considering they are favored in all nine games. A lot of that has to do with the return of starting quarterback Marcus Mariota. They play home games against Arizona (-25), Washington (-20), Michigan State (-13) and Stanford (-10). They also have road games against Oregon State (-13), UCLA (-3), California (-34), Utah (-20) and Washington State (-23).
Alabama: Favored in All 8 Games (Average Line: -15.8)
Having won three of the past five national championships, it’s no surprise that the Crimson Tide are expected to win the SEC in 2014. They are favored in all eight games listed, and they still have the best head coach in college football in Nick Saban. Alabama plays home games against West Virginia (-27.5), Florida (-21), Auburn (-6) and Texas A&M (-16.5). It also has road trips to Tennessee (-20), LSU (-2.5), Ole Miss (-9) and Arkansas (-24).
Oklahoma: Favored in All 9 Games (Average Line: -14.2)
Oklahoma is the surprise of the four teams listed here. They are actually favored in all nine games listed in 2014. A big reason for that is their performance in the Sugar Bowl last year. They beat Saban and Alabama by a final of 45-31 behind a tremendous performance from quarterback Trevor Knight, who returns this season. The Sooners play home games against Tennessee (-19), Baylor (-11), Oklahoma State (-11) and Kansas State (-14). They also have road tilts at Iowa State (-22.5), West Virginia (-17), Texas Tech (-10) and TCU (-14). They play Texas (-9) in the Cotton Bowl as well.
Now, it’s time to reverse roles and look for the teams who the Golden Nugget project to be awful this year. A lot of this has to do with the fact that they have released lines for the ‘biggest’ games, so they are a bit swayed because of the competition. Nonetheless, West Virginia, Virginia, Arkansas and California make this daunting list.
West Virginia: Underdog in All 7 Games (Average Line: +13.3)
The Mountaineers are coming off an ugly 4-8 season in 2013. Now, they have been tabbed an underdog in all eight games they play in 2014. They are road dogs at Oklahoma State (+19), Alabama (+27.5), Texas (+13), Texas Tech (+10) and Iowa State (PK). They are also home dogs to Kansas State (+7.5) and Baylor (+16).
Arkansas: Underdog in All 7 Games (Average Line: +14.6)
It was a season to forget for former Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielema in his first season at Arkansas. The Razorbacks went 3-9 last year, including 0-8 in SEC play. They came close to pulling off a few upsets, and should be better in 2014, but oddsmakers hardly agree. Arkansas is a home dog to LSU (+14), Ole Miss (+5), Alabama (+24) and Georgia (+14.5). It is also a road dog against Auburn (+24), Texas A&M (+11) and Missouri (+10).
Virginia: Underdog in All 5 Games (Average Line: +13.4)
The Cavaliers went 2-10 overall last season, including 0-8 in ACC play. It’s no wonder they are an underdog in all six games that the Golden Nugget has posted lines for in 2014. They are home dogs to UCLA (+21.5), North Carolina (+14), Louisville (+7.5), Miami (+10). They are also road dogs at Virginia Tech (+14).
California: Underdog in All 5 Games (Average Line: +23.6)
The final team I’ll cover here is the California Bears, who were atrocious last season. They certainly lacked talent, but then they were also derailed by injuries en route to a 1-11 season (0-9 in Pac-12). The Bears are road dogs to USC (+34). They are also home dogs against Stanford (+17), UCLA (+22), BYU (+11) and Oregon (+34). That says a lot about this team considering they average being a 23.6-point dog despite four of their five games being at home.
2014 CFB Team Spread Analysis
|Teams||Games Posted||Favorite||Underdog||Avg. Line||Max Line||Min. Line|
|SAN DIEGO ST.||3||0||3||13.8||7.5||21|
|N. CAROLINA ST.||3||0||3||24.3||20||30|