Bet the Board: Avoid A Trojan Horse This Championship Week

The twilight of the college football season is finally upon us as a multitude of teams have already played their final game of the pandemic shortened 2020 campaign. As a result we only had two changes this week to our Bet the Board Top 10.  Oklahoma has climbed to the 5th spot, just behind the “Big 4”, as Florida’s loss to LSU drops the Gators to #6 (don’t tell that to the betting public who wants to make them underdogs against Cincinnati).  North Carolina jumped over Iowa State this week as the Tar Heels, our Best Bet last week, went into Miami Florida and had their way with the Hurricanes amassing 778 yards of total offense.

This will be USC’s second appearance in our overrated portion of this piece while the Badgers of Wisconsin have finally fallen to a point where it feels as though no one wants any part of this team…although the betting market this week may be signing a different tune.  Our Best bet heads to the Pac-12 championship game, where we see two big name programs slated to do battle for the right to go to the Rose Bowl (or wherever they’re sending them in 2020) 

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Since they compete over everything, 

Bet the Board Top 10 Championship Week:

1.) Alabama
2.) Clemson
3.) Ohio State
4.) Notre Dame
5.) Oklahoma
6.) Florida
7.) Georgia
8.) Cincinnati
9.) Texas A&M
10.) North Carolina

Overrated:  USC

For the 3rd time in 5 weeks the Trojans were able to finagle their way to another victory, this time against Pac-12 rival UCLA.  They’ve climbed the polls to #13 but we could very well be looking at a 3-2 team with an outside shot at potentially being 2-3.  USC was out-gained by over 100 yards against the Bruins, and early in the 3rd quarter they were down 28-10 before ultimately coming back and covering, much to the chagrin of all UCLA backers.  USC only has a net +0.1 yards per play on the season, and the defense has been anything but good for the entirety of their season.  We cannot in good conscious verify that USC belongs in the top tier of college football teams and we’ll revisit them in our best bet portion as well.

Underrated: Wisconsin

Wisconsin has played the 3rd toughest schedule in college football, and, unfortunately for the Badgers, it has showed.  Wisconsin was stricken by the Covid-19 bug early on and they haven’t been able to string together a pair of W’s since.  Unfortunately for Badgers backers last week (mainly our Bet the Board listeners), RB Jalen Berger (covid) and WR’s Kendrick Pryor and Danny Davis missed the game with unspecified injuries limiting big play potential against a stingy Iowa defense.  QB Graham Mertz missed some easy throws early with things spiraling from there.  The defense is still a Top 5 unit in all of CFB; its possible the Badgers could be returning some offensive weapons for their upcoming game against Minnesota.  Speaking of their Saturday contest, despite the recent struggles, Wisconsin opened as a 10.5 point favorite and have already been bet out to -12.5 early in the week.  While there is no way Wisconsin could have remained in our Top 10, as they were during the middle portion of the season, we still have the Badgers inside our Bet the Board Top 25.

Best Bet: 251 Oregon+3.5(-110)

We spoke about the Trojans’ issues above so no reason to belabor the irony in a Fight On war cry.  Oregon has been no stranger to our overrated column but ultimately the market catches up and creates opportunity for every team.  Mario Cristobal’s squad has new life after it was announced Washington wouldn’t be able to compete in the Pac-12 title game opening the door for Oregon to take on Clay Helton’s USC side. If we diagnose this line, there’s a great chance to see how much perception has changed over the past three weeks.  Oregon closed -18.5 against the UCLA bruins at home on November 21st, while USC closed -3.5 on Saturday at UCLA.  With home-field advantage being a much lesser number than in previous years for obvious reasons, we’ve seen quite an adjustment on the power rankings of these programs.  Despite the recent losses, Oregon’s still a net +1.5 yards per play because of a defense that’s showed marked improvement in recent weeks.  If the Ducks can neutralize the turnover bug that’s plagued them all season long they’re more than a live dog once lady luck finally leaves USC high and dry.  Oregon +3.5 is the wager here