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West Virginia will struggle to find room, and the college football best bets you need to make in Week 10

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Week 10 in the college football season gets underway on Thursday night with both Mountaineers programs in action as West Virginia tangles with Baylor, and Appalachian State hosts Georgia Southern. We break down the odds for those Thursday matchups as well as a pair of games on the weekend in our college football best bets and predictions.

 

NOT A GREAT MATCHUP

The West Virginia Mountaineers had an extra week to prepare for this week’s encounter with the host Baylor Bears – but not even that might cure what ails them. The Mountaineers enter Thursday’s matchup with one of the worst rush attacks in the nation, averaging a paltry 2.9 yards per carry on 213 attempts. And they’ll get no relief from a Bears defense that has punished opposing backfields, limiting them to just 3.6 yards per attempt so far this season. West Virginia’s pass protection will also face a major test from a Baylor defensive unit that leads the Big 12 in sacks with 25 despite having played just seven games.

You could bet on the Mountaineers having figured out its ground game, or you could acknowledge that West Virginia could find itself struggling to score against the Bears in hostile territory. Either way, we like Baylor to cover the spread here.

GO LOW, THEN GO LOWER

What happens when two run-heavy teams with stout ground defenses face off against one another? We’ll find out Thursday night as Georgia Southern brings its sixth-ranked rush attack into Appalachian State for a showdown with the Mountaineers. App State ranks 14th in the country in rushing yards per game, setting the stage for what should be a whole lot of handoffs. But both teams have defended the run well this season, with the visiting Eagles having limited opponents to just 133.0 yards per game (3.46 YPC) and Appalachian State having been just as proficient defensively (118.5 YPG, 3.51 YPC in conference play).

Both teams should be able to move the ball, but not nearly as efficiently as they have for the majority of the season. The total for this game is already three points lower than its opener, and that’s still not low enough. We favor the under.

 

TAYLOR A GAMETIME DECISION

The Memphis Tigers might have another stud running back in the fold for this week’s pivotal AAC showdown with visiting SMU. Patrick Taylor Jr. suffered a leg injury in the Tigers’ season opener against Ole Miss on Aug. 31 and hasn’t played since – but has been practicing in a non-contact jersey this week and is a game-time decision against the Mustangs. His return would give Memphis an incredible 1-2 punch in the backfield; Taylor racked up 128 rushing yards and a score vs. the Rebels, while freshman Kenneth Gainwell has compiled 979 yards and 11 touchdowns in Taylor’s absence.

Memphis is already looking at a total in the high-30s for this one, but if Taylor returns, we’ll feel a whole lot better about taking the Over. Keep an eye on Taylor’s status, and act accordingly.

HAMMERIN’ HANK SET TO RETURN

The Boise State Broncos are hoping to have their No. 1 quarterback on the field this weekend against host San Jose State. Hank Bachmeier missed last week’s 28-25 loss at BYU – the Broncos’ first defeat of the season – with a lower-body injury. But the freshman was seen throwing passes to Boise State receivers in practice earlier this week, though the team hasn’t updated his status. Bachmeier has been one of the top first-year quarterbacks in the country so far, throwing for more than 1,500 yards with nine touchdowns, three interceptions and a rushing score.

The Broncos’ offense looked out-of-sync against the Cougars, especially through the air (185 total yards, 5.8 yards per attempt). Bachmeier’s return, coupled with SJSU’s dismal run defense, should make Boise State a solid option to go Over its team total.

 

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

MLB picks and predictions for Opening Day

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It was a long and scary road, but we finally get MLB betting back on Thursday, July 23. Opening Day of the pandemic-shortened 60-game baseball schedule is headlined by a pair of matchups, with the New York Yankees visiting the Washington Nationals and the Los Angeles Dodgers rekindling their rivalry with the San Francisco Giants.

Like we do each MLB season (COVID-19 or not), we’ll be taking a swing at today’s baseball odds and giving our best MLB picks and predictions. Up first: Opening Day 2020.

MLB picks for today

New York Yankees vs Washington Nationals

Yankees slugger Aaron Judge was supposed to miss the start of the season back in the spring, but the delay to the 2020 campaign allowed the outfielder to heal up from broken ribs and return to his longball-launching self.

Judge looked great in New York’s warmup games, albeit for a limited number of at-bats. He went 3-for-7 with all three hits leaving the ballpark. And he wasn’t alone, with the Yankees’ other power bats providing plenty of pop around him in the order. He’ll get a chance to go yard again on Opening Day.

PREDICTION: Aaron Judge home run (+210)

San Francisco Giants at Los Angeles Dodgers

The Giants are no strangers to Clayton Kershaw, who has long dominated the Dodgers’ divisional foes. In 49 career appearances against San Francisco, The Claw is 23-12 with a 1.74 ERA and has allowed just 0.71 hits per innings pitched in those starts.

The Giants don’t pose much of an offensive threat, averaging 8.22 hits per game in 2019. San Francisco has managed 45 total hits in its last eight starts against Kershaw – an average of 0.86 hits per inning faced. Given the Dodgers’ ace looked ready for work in his tune-up efforts, we could see him go seven innings or more on Thursday, panning out to a little over six hits for San Fran.

PREDICTION: Giants between 6-7 total hits (+235)

Mookie Betts has reportedly landed a whale of a contract extension with the Dodgers after joining the ballclub this offseason via a trade with the Boston Red Sox. And what better way to lock down that deal than an impressive effort on Opening Day.

Betts recorded 313 total bases in 2019 (30th) and 353 in 2018 (fourth). He’s been swinging well in training sessions this offseason: in 27 at-bats during the spring/summer schedule, he has 13 total bases, including two doubles and a home run, while hitting leadoff during Summer Camp. We like that to continue into Opening Day.

PREDICTION: Mookie Betts two or more total bases (-182)

Top MLB consensus for today

Want to know who today’s biggest MLB betting and consensus bets are right now? Check out our top MLB consensus picks.

Opening Day betting card

  • Aaron Judge home run (+210)
  • Giants between 6-7 total hits (+235)
  • Mookie Betts two or more total bases (-182)