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The Triple Option: College football Week 5 best picks and predictions

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So, something fun happened this week. I got a new car! A Toyota C-HR to be exact. I think it’s pretty cool looking. My boss called it an Autobot. Which of course, as a huge nerd, I instantly loved.

That said, there’s a lot of steps that come into play when buying a new car. And although the search for that vehicle is exciting, it sure can be rigorous. From determining your budget, and figuring out your personal or family needs. To test drives and negotiating the best price you can. It’s a lot.

Evaluating college football teams follows a lot of these same principles and can be just as rigorous. But when that bet hits on Saturday it feels an awful lot like gripping the wheel of your brand new rig and taking it for a rip on the highway for the first time. Pretty awesome.

So, who is the fancy new car on the college football lot? For me, that’s Auburn. The Tigers are 4-0 SU/ATS and already have two Top 25 wins, including one of the most impressive victories of the college football season thus far – a 27-21 comeback win over Oregon (who actually still looks like one heck of a football team) in their opening game.

Heading into this season, everyone knew about the Tigers talent on the defensive line, but was there a team to go around Derrick Brown and Co.? Well, nothing is newer and shinier than becoming the first true freshman to start at quarterback for Auburn since 1946. And that’s what exactly what Bo Nix has done.

After a bit of a rocky start in that Oregon game, Nix has been exactly what the Tigers have needed. He’s been efficient and poised when he’s had to be. Nix hasn’t thrown a pick since that first game, and has 645 yards passing with five touchdowns, while adding another 117 and a score on the ground.

He’s also been supported by a strong rushing attack headed by JaTarvious Whitlow, that ranks 22nd in the country in yards per attempt. And Saturday, they’ll go up against a Mississippi State team that is not what it once was on defense. For example: The Bulldogs ranks 81st in the country giving up 4.5 yards per carry.

On the other side, the Tigers have arguably the best defensive line in the country, that already has 11 and haven’t allowed more than 21 points in a game this season. The Bulldogs rely on their run game, but their offensive line is banged up and the Tigers allow just 3.1 yards per attempt. If Auburn can stuff the run (which they are very capable of), it could be a very long day for whomever is under center for Mississippi State.

So, here’s hoping the Tigers roll out like my new Autobot and get us an easy cover this week.

Pick: Auburn -9.5

VIRGINIA CAVALIERS AT NOTRE DAME FIGHTING IRISH (-13, 49 @ BETAMERICA)

This matchup between Virginia and Notre Dame is the low-key Game of the Week. Despite the loss in Athens last Saturday, the Irish proved they were worthy of their Top 10 ranking, while the Cavaliers come into this one undefeated, this will clearly be their toughest competition to date.

Notre Dame easily covered the 15.5-point spread against Georgia last week thanks to the defense doing a good job of containing Jake Fromm and Ian Book putting up some respectable numbers against a very strong Bulldogs defense.

But the Irish will have to go up against another strong defense in this one. Bronco Mendenhall’s unit ranks 14th in the country in total yards allowed and are particularly good at stuffing the run. The Cavs are allowing just 2.3 yards per carry this season, seventh best in the nation. But the secondary is almost as strong led by star corner Bryce Hall.

People may be doubting Virginia here after its uninspiring performance against Old Dominion last week. But that was about as textbook of a lookahead spot as there is.

The Cavs have another thing going for them in this one. And that is quarterback Bryce Perkins. For my money, he is the best signal caller in the ACC not named Trevor Lawrence. He is a true dual-threat quarterback with 843 yards passing and six touchdowns on a 65 percent completion rate and also leads the Cavs in rushing with 183 yards and another two scores.

This is the biggest game for the Cavaliers in years and they’re going to be jacked to be playing in South Bend. I don’t expect Virginia to win, but if Perkins can limit the turnovers this defense is good enough to keep this one within the number. Plus, this is a bit of a letdown spot for the Irish after that close lose to Georgia.

Pick: Virginia +13

TEXAS A&M AGGIES AT ARKANSAS RAZORBACKS (+23.5, 61 @ BETAMERICA)

It’s fair to have expected a little more from Texas A&M this season. Kellen Mond has some big numbers, but he and the Aggies haven’t performed as well as fans would have hoped in their two biggest games against Clemson and last week against Auburn.

That said, the Aggies will be hungry for a win in Saturday’s Southwest Classic at AT&T Stadium against rival Arkansas. And you can expect A&M to take out some frustrations in this one.

Mond has put up 1,082 yards through the first four games and now he gets to go up against a Razorbacks defense that allowed San Jose State’s Josh Love to throw for over 400 yards in last week’s shocking 31-24 home loss to the Spartans. Yes, an SEC team lost outright at home as 20-point faves to a San Jose State team that got blown out by Tulsa. No offense to the Golden Hurricane, it’s just a really bad look for the SEC.

Arkansas quarterback Nick Starkel goes up against his former team and he’s got a good arm, but the Hogs offensive line is shaky at best, and he is prone to making bed decisions under pressure. To make things tougher, the Aggies secondary is probably the best part of their defense, allowing just 165 yards per game through the air.

Despite the issues in big games, the Aggies are still 3-1 ATS this season and have done well covering large spreads. But whether or not A&M can cover this number, all comes down to Mond. He an huck it with the best of ‘em and if he has a good game the Aggies get the job done against what is a mess of a Razorbacks team.

Pick: Texas A&M -23.5

Last week: 2-1
Season to date: 6-5-1

Canucks vs Golden Knights picks and predictions for Game 1

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Perhaps no team has been more fun to follow during the NHL playoffs than the Vancouver Canucks, and hockey bettors can still get the Canucks at +1,300 to hoist Lord Stanley’s cup. Vancouver is coming off a thrilling series win against the defending champion St. Louis Blues, but now a much more difficult challenge awaits. The Vegas Golden Knights are +350 favorites to win it all, and they’ve certainly looked the part while dropping only one playoff contest.

Game 1 of this series gets underway Sunday, so we’re here to bring you our NHL picks and predictions in this Western Conference semifinal showdown.

Vancouver Canucks vs Vegas Golden Knights betting preview

Starting Goalies

Canucks: Jacob Markstrom – playoffs – 7-3, 2.44 GAA, .929 SV% (season – 23-16, 2.75 GAA, .918 SV%)

Golden Knights: Robin Lehner – playoffs – 5-1, 2.44 GAA, .904 SV% (season – 19-10, 2.89, .920 SV%)

If this game was actually played in Las Vegas, then Markstrom could easily spend a few hours performing with Cirque du Soleil. The 30-year-old dazzled against Blues with an eye-opening array of acrobatic saves and an impressive 7-3 record. He’ll need to provide more of the same against a dangerous Vegas squad.

The Knights will likely roll with Robin Lehner, who has taken over the spot as Vegas’s starter in the crease—and rightfully so. Still, the Knights have the luxury of having Marc-Andre Fleury as their “backup.” The five-time All-Star matched an NHL record this season with his 14th consecutive playoff appearance.

Injuries

Vancouver: Tyler Myers D (out), Tyler Toffoli RW (out), Micheal Ferland LW (out), Josh Leivo LW (out)

Vegas: Tomas Nosek LW (out)

Betting Trend to Know

Canucks are 0-6 in their last six Sunday games. Find the latest NHL betting trends for Canucks vs. Golden Knights.

MONEYLINE PICK

The Canucks have been a force with the extra man during the postseason, converting 26.2% of their power plays. While the Knights are known for their offensive firepower, it’s their stingy defense that allows them to suffocate opponents—as evidenced by an 86.4% penalty kill during their playoff run. Vancouver is the only team in the league to never beat Vegas in regulation, going 0-11 all time. That’s something I just can’t ignore.

PREDICTION: Vegas ML (-175)

OVER/UNDER PICK

Each team is filled with loads of offensive talent. Vancouver’s Bo Horvat and J.T. Miller have combined for 11 goals thus far. Elias Pettersson has racked up 13 points, tied with Colorado’s Nathan MacKinnon for the playoff lead.

The Knights can match Vancouver’s scorers, but they’re more balanced—Shea Theodore, Alex Tuch and Mark Stone have each lit the lamp four times during the postseason. The difference is on defense, where Vancouver has allowed the most high-danger chances of all remaining playoff teams.

PREDICTION: Over 5.5 (-110)

PROP PICK

Though I like Vegas to win, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Canucks kept it close and continued their offensive success. I’ll take a flyer on Vancouver scoring at least three goals.

PREDICTION: Canucks total goals Over 2.5 (-100)

Canucks vs Golden Knights Betting Card

  • Vegas ML (-175)
  • Over 5.5 (-110)
  • Canucks total goals Over 2.5 (-100)
NHL Parlays

Did you know that if you parlayed today’s NHL Canucks vs Golden Knights picks, you could win $104.93 on a $10 bet?

Use our NHL parlay calculator to create your own parlays and see their potential payouts.

Verlander injury shuffles Astros’ MLB futures odds

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MLB betting got a shake-up Sunday afternoon, specifically on World Series odds and AL pennant odds, with news that Astros star pitcher Justin Verlander could miss the rest of the season – or at least a significant chunk of it – with an arm injury.

Initial reports suggested Verlander had an elbow ailment, but both he and manager Dusty Baker quickly denied that. Baker called it a forearm strain and said that Verlander would be re-evaluated in “a couple of weeks.” The reigning AL Cy Young winner pitched a solid six innings in an 8-2 Opening Day rout of the Seattle Mariners on Friday.

Verlander’s injury led oddsmakers to shuffle futures book odds on the defending AL champions. Covers checked in on the MLB odds moves with a couple of Las Vegas sportsbooks.

How does Verlander’s injury affect Astros’ World Series odds?

At CG Technology books, risk analyst Rich Zanco said the Astros quickly moved from +1,200 to +1,800 in World Series futures. The SuperBook at Westgate also had Houston pegged +1,200 prior to Sunday’s news and initially went to +1,600, then dialed it a little further to +1,800.

However, there were apparently buyers on the Astros at that point, prompting the SuperBook to reel the price in to +1,400.

How does Verlander’s injury affect Astros’ American League odds?

In AL pennant futures, the Astros initially moved from +600 to +800 at The SuperBook, then ticked back to +700.

World Series odds

Team Odds to win
Los Angeles Dodgers +350
New York Yankees +350
Houston Astros +600
Atlanta Braves +1,600
Minnesota Twins +1,600
Tampa Bay Rays +1,800
Washington Nationals +2,000
Cleveland Indians +2,000
New York Mets +2,000
Chicago Cubs +2,000
Oakland Athletics +2,000
St. Louis Cardinals +2,500
Cincinnati Reds +2,500
San Diego Padres +2,500
Philadelphia Phillies +3,000
Chicago White Sox +3,000
Los Angeles Angels +3,000
Milwaukee Brewers +4,000
Boston Red Sox +5,000
Arizona Diamondbacks +6,000
Colorado Rockies +8,000
Toronto Blue Jays +10,000
Texas Rangers +10,000
Pittsburgh Pirates +20,000
Detroit Tigers +20,000
San Francisco Giants +30,000
Seattle Mariners +30,000
Miami Marlins +30,000
Baltimore Orioles +30,000
Kansas City Royals +30,000

Odds courtesy The SuperBook