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College football Week 8 opening odds: Early bettors peek at Penn State in clash with Michigan

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College football rolls into Week 8, and in a change of pace, the biggest game is in the Big 10, rather than the Southeastern Conference. Covers checks in on that matchup and three others, with insights from Matt Chaprales, head of content for PointsBet USA.

No. 16 Michigan Wolverines at No. 7 Penn State Nittany Lions (-7.5)

Penn State is undefeated and very much in early College Football Playoff discussion heading into this prime-time game in Happy Valley. The Nittany Lions (6-0 SU, 4-2 ATS) engaged in a defensive slog at Iowa in Week 7, coming away with a 17-12 victory as 3.5-point favorites.

Michigan cannot take another loss and reasonably expect to stay in the College Football Playoff conversation, thanks to its Week 4 blowout setback at No. 6 Wisconsin. In Week 7, the Wolverines (5-1 SU, 2-4 ATS) blew almost all of a 28-0 lead at Illinois, with the score 28-25 early in the fourth quarter. Jim Harbaugh’s squad ultimately won 42-25, but fell short as 24.5-point faves.

“Early action has laid the 7.5 with Penn State, meaning the first move looks like it would be to 8,” Chaprales said. “Either way, with two high-profile teams battling under the lights, we’re anticipating good two-way action on this game.”

No. 12 Oregon Ducks at No. 23 Washington Huskies (+2.5)

At midseason, Oregon is the Pac-12’s best hope for a CFP bid, making this contest extremely important. The Ducks (5-1 SU, 3-3 ATS) bounced back from a season-opening neutral-site loss to Auburn by winning five in a row. In Week 7, Oregon hammered Colorado 45-3 laying 23.5 points at home.

Washington fully expected to be a CFP contender this year, but two outright losses as double-digit chalk – home against California and at Stanford – shattered those expectations. The Huskies (5-2 SU and ATS) followed the Stanford setback by ripping Arizona 51-27 laying 6 points on the road in Week 7.

“Oregon enters with the superior body of work, while Washington has already stumbled a few times in conference play, losing twice as big favorites,” Chaprales said. “Given that, we opened the Ducks as short road favorites and wouldn’t be surprised if this number moves further in their direction.”

That’s exactly what happened by Monday afternoon, with the line ticking up to Oregon -3.

No. 9 Florida Gators at South Carolina Gamecocks (Off)

Florida acquitted itself well in a very difficult two-seek stretch of SEC play, but couldn’t muster two victories. Following a Week 6 home win over Auburn, the Gators (6-1 SU, 4-3 ATS) went to Louisiana State as 14.5-point pups and were in it almost the entire way before bowing out 42-28.

South Carolina wouldn’t normally be worth a mention in this space, except that it’s coming off a monster upset and is 4-1 ATS in its last five games. The Gamecocks (3-3 SU, 4-2 ATS) were 20.5-point road ‘dogs against unbeaten Georgia, but came away with a 20-17 double-overtime victory.

Gamecocks QB Ryan Hilinski left in the third quarter of the big win, due to a knee sprain. It appears he will play this week, but it’s not yet certain.

“This game is currently off the board, pending the status of Hilinski,” Chaprales said. “Assuming he’s a go, it will be interesting to see how the public reacts to this team, on the heels of one of the biggest upsets in recent memory.”

If Hilinski indeed is cleared to play, Chaprales expects to open Florida around -6.

No. 18 Baylor Bears at Oklahoma State Cowboys (-3.5)

No. 5 Oklahoma is rightly all the rage in the Big 12, but flying under the radar is an unbeaten Baylor team. The Bears (6-0 SU, 3-3 ATS) barely kept their perfect record intact in Week 7, edging Texas Tech 33-30 in double overtime giving 10.5 points at home.

Oklahoma State, coming off a bye week, certainly knows a little bit about Texas Tech, as well. The Cowboys (4-2 SU, 5-1 ATS) went to Lubbock as 9-point Week 6 favorites and exited with a 45-39 outright loss.

“This game opened Oklahoma State -3.5 and ticked down to 3 on the strength of some early Baylor interest,” Chaprales said. “The Bears have impressed in a weak Big 12 so far, but the market remains a bit skeptical about their 6-0 start, evidenced by them catching points against a team that’s dropped two of its past three.”

Patrick Everson is a Las Vegas-based senior writer for Covers.com. Follow him on Twitter: @Covers_Vegas.

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