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Third downs will determine Temple vs ECU, and the college football bets you need to make in Week 6

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There are two matchups on the college football odds board Thursday night, with a Sun Belt battle and some AAC action. We give you our best bets and predictions for those matchups as well as some need-to-know notes for wagering on the weekend games. 

NOT FOR THE FAINT OF HEART

Thursday’s Sun Belt Conference between Georgia Southern and host South Alabama probably isn’t going to generate a lot of offense. And even that might be putting it mildly.

These teams boast two of the worst offenses in the entire FBS, with Georgia Southern ranked 112th in points per game (21.3) and South Alabama 123rd (16.8). The Eagles and Jaguars both rank near the bottom of the collegiate pecking order in a multitude of offensive categories, while combining to convert just 32.5 percent of their third-down opportunities. They also have touchdowns on fewer than 45 percent of their combined red-zone visits.

Both teams could struggle to put points on the board in what is a very short week for both sides. The total for this one is sitting in the high-40s, and we like the Under play a lot here.

MORE LIKE “LEAST” CAROLINA

The East Carolina Pirates are above .500 for the season and have yet to lose at home but both of those marks are in jeopardy Friday night, as they host the heavily-favored Temple Owls.

The Pirates are fortunate to be in this position given that they’re averaging just 21.4 points per game, ahead of only 19 other FBS teams. And they’ve been particularly weak on third downs, having scored or extended drives just 34.2 percent of the time (108th in FBS). That so happens to be an area of strength for the Temple defense, which ranks sixth in the nation in opposition third-down success rate (25 percent).

Take out a one-sided win over Gardner-Webb, and ECU’s offense belongs in the ICU. Not being able to sustain drives against this Temple defense will leave East Carolina short of its already meager team point total, which sits at around 16.5.

DTR WITH THE DNP

The UCLA Bruins could be down their starting quarterback for this weekend’s game against Oregon State. Dorian Thompson-Robinson missed practice Wednesday with an undisclosed injury. He was seen on the sidelines stretching but did not take the field.

Thompson-Robinson was knocked out of last week’s loss to Arizona with a suspected leg injury and his status for this weekend is unclear. Austin Burton will get the start if Thompson-Robinson can’t play. DTR has thrown for 1,243 yards with 11 touchdowns and six interceptions for the Bruins so far this season.

This is certainly an injury to monitor, with the struggling Bruins favored by six points against the visiting Beavers. A potential downgrade at QB for UCLA limits the Bruins’ scoring potential, which brings the Under in play (especially with this game carrying a total in the mid-60s).

PASS TO PLAY?

Jawon Pass is hoping to return to the Louisville Cardinals’ lineup for this weekend’s home encounter with Boston College.

The junior quarterback suffered a foot injury that has kept him out the Cardinals’ previous two games but with Louisville coming off a bye, Pass has had time to recover and was able to practice over the weekend.

That said, he’s still considered a game-time decision against the Eagles, with Malik Cunningham set to start if Pass is unable to go. Pass threw four touchdown passes in his previous outing, a 42-0 victory over Eastern Kentucky back on September 7.

If Pass is healthy enough to go, he’ll find himself in a favorable matchup against a Boston College pass defense that ranks just inside the Top 100 nationally in yards allowed per game (255.6), making the home team cover a more viable option.

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