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Bet The Game: 3 Takeaways from the Betting Weekend

By Zack Schlegel

The college football championship future bet with the greatest value right now is Georgia at 16-1. 

Georgia’s week 7 loss to South Carolina in double OT was a set back for the Bulldogs, but it wasn’t a death sentence. QB Jake Fromm had his worst game of the season, completing just 55% of his passes, and getting intercepted three times by the Gamecocks defense — all by the same player, sophomore DB Israel Mukuamu.

The Bulldogs turned the ball over four times in the game, and their defense was unable to force any takeaways on the Gamecocks offense. Georgia had 30 total first downs compared to South Carolina’s 16, and their offense possessed the ball for 12 more minutes overall. Long story short, turnovers killed Georgia in the game, as well as some questionable coaching decisions down the stretch.

Overall, Georgia still has a top-15 rushing offense (237 ypg), a top-5 defense (10.6 ppg), and a very efficient quarterback who has completed 71% of his passes this season — 77% if you remove the South Carolina game. In the last three seasons under head coach Kirby Smart, Georgia has won the SEC East twice, and made the CFB National Championship once in 2017 against Alabama. The one year they didn’t win the East under Smart, was in his first year when they were transitioning from former head coach Mark Richt.

Currently, the Bulldogs are sitting in 2nd place in the SEC East, just behind the Florida Gators. Both teams have just one conference loss, along with Missouri who is still waiting to hear from the NCAA on the final ruling regarding their appeal of a post season bowl ban. If Missouri’s appeal is upheld, then it would be a three team race in the East moving forward.

Looking ahead at Georgia’s remaining schedule, they have a bye this weekend and then they will begin November with their three most important games of the season. No. 7 Florida will visit Athens on November 2nd, which is most likely going to decide who makes it to the SEC Championship game. Georgia will host Missouri the following week, which means that if the Bulldogs can win both games, they will guarantee themselves a shot at an SEC Championship this season.

Beyond the next two games against opposition in the East, Georgia will need to win out in order to remain in the hunt for the CFB Playoff. They will finish the regular season at No. 9 Auburn, home against Texas A&M, and then home against a struggling Georgia Tech team with a first year head coach.

In my mind, the East comes down to two teams — Georgia and Florida. Since the game between these two teams is at Georgia, I give the edge to the Bulldogs and strongly believe we will be seeing them in the SEC Championship game against either Alabama or LSU (who will play each other on Nov. 9th). An 11-1 Georgia team who goes on to win the conference championship, will not be left out of the CFB Playoff. In short, even after their loss to South Carolina, Georgia still controls their own destiny.

If you believed that Georgia was a National Championship contender prior to the season, now is your chance to get the most out of them. At 16-1 odds, this is the best value you will see on the Bulldogs. ESPN’s Playoff Prediction says that Georgia has a 9% chance to make the CFB Playoff, and just a 2% chance to win it all. However, given their path to make the SEC Championship and the fact that they still control their own destiny, odds-makers have Georgia as the 6th best odds to win the title, behind Clemson, Alabama, Ohio St, LSU, and Oklahoma.

 

Teddy Bridgewater is the Saints MVP in the absence of Brees, and he’s helping Saints backers get paid. 

When Saints QB Drew Brees was knocked out the game against the Rams with a thumb injury in week 2, many believed the Saints Superbowl (and possibly Playoff chances) were crushed. Good thing New Orleans decided to sign Bridgewater to a one-year, $7.25 million fully guaranteed contract back in March of this year. The Saints have gone 5-0 with Bridgewater starting in Brees’ absence. Do you think the $7.25 million was worth it? — Duh.

It has been a perfect storm for both Teddy and the entire Saints organization. Since tearing his ACL in a non-contact injury back in 2016, Bridgewater’s NFL future has been questionable to say the least. The Vikings did not pick up the fifth-year option on his contract, making him a free agent after the 2017 season. Bridgewater signed a one-year deal with the Jets, but the Jets traded him away to the Saints prior to the start of the 2018 season.

Saints head coach Sean Payton may be the only one who knew what we would be getting from Bridgewater going forward. Although no one wants to plan for their future Hall of Fame quarterback to go down with an injury early in the season, Payton and the Saints sure are happy that Bridgewater was there to step in and keep the train moving.

In Bridgewater’s three road starts this season, he has completed 65.3% of his passes, thrown for five touchdowns, zero interceptions, and has only been sacked four times. He’s completed 76% of his passes at home, and even took down the Dallas Cowboys in prime time.

All together, Bridgewater has thrown nine touchdowns to just two interceptions in his five starts, and his team is currently two and a half games up on the Carolina Panthers in the NFC South. In addition, New Orleans has covered the spread in all five of Bridgewater’s starts, winning four games outright as underdogs. Saints fans have little to complain about. In fact, who’s laughing now @stephenasmith?

Now that Drew Brees is reportedly returning to practice and eyeing a possible return in week 8, we’ll see what Sean Payton decides to do with two home games coming up against teams at or below .500 (Cardinals and Falcons). Regardless of when Brees makes his return to the Saints offense, Teddy Bridgewater has made the most of his opportunities with the Saints this season. There are teams that would love a guy like Bridgewater on their roster, but with the 40-year-old Brees nearing the end of his NFL journey, one can only wonder if the Saints will look to hold onto Teddy for the future.

 

When in doubt, take SMU and the Over. 

The No. 16 SMU Mustangs are one of ten teams in college football that remain undefeated after week 8. Furthermore, SMU is tied for the best record against the spread this season (6-1), and every single one of their games have gone Over the point total, by an average of 9.5 points.

SMU has as good of a chance as any of the remaining undefeated teams to finish the season unblemished. The Mustangs offense led by transfer QB Shane Buechele, is putting up some serious numbers. SMU is 7th in the nation in yards per game (521.1), 12th in passing yards per game (315.4), and T-5th in points per game (44.3). They have only scored less than 40 points one time all season, in the their opener.

Buechele has tossed for 18 touchdowns on the year, including six in a 45-21 route against Temple this past weekend.

The Mustangs have three road games remaining on their schedule, with the first of them coming this Thursday evening at Houston. Sitting at 7-0 and rising all the way to No. 16 in the latest AP Poll, SMU is eyeing their first undefeated season since 1982, when they rose all the way to No. 2 in the country and beat Pittsburgh in the Cotton Bowl.

Head coach Sonny Dykes has been successful in turning around programs, taking Louisiana Tech from 5-7 to 9-3 in two seasons, and bringing the Cal Bears from the dumps of the Pac-12 at 1-11 in 2013, all the way to 8-5 in 2015 (with some help from the top pick in the NFL Draft, QB Jared Goff).

Dykes has roots in the state of Texas, having been born in Big Spring, TX and attending high school in Lubbock, but don’t be surprised if he uses his success at SMU as a spring board to bigger opportunities in the future. For now, just continue to bet the Mustangs and the Over until further notice.

 

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