Look-ahead lines favor Alabama over College Football Playoff contenders

BetOnline released look-ahead lines for potential College Football Playoff matchups on Saturday.

It’s possible to wager money on those lines, but they’ll be graded as no contest (and your money returned) if they don’t ever take place.

The College Football Playoff committee slotted Alabama at No. 1 in its initial rankings prior to the Iron Bowl, which the Tide won 42-13. Alabama also is the consensus No. 1 in the AP Top 25.

So it isn’t surprising that BetOnline installed Alabama as a favorite against the other three programs that rank in the top four in the College Football Playoff rankings:

  • Alabama -4 vs. Ohio State
  • Alabama -6.5 vs. Clemson
  • Alabama -10.5 vs. Notre Dame

BetOnline posted odds for three other potential College Football Playoff title games:

  • Ohio State -1.5 vs. Clemson
  • Ohio State -6 vs. Notre Dame
  • Clemson -5 vs. Notre Dame

As of Sunday evening, Alabama (-28 at LSU), Notre Dame (-33 vs. Syracuse), Clemson (-21.5 at Virginia Tech) and Ohio State (-22.5 at Michigan State) were all heavy favorites this week.

The presumptive SEC and ACC championship games should have a big impact on the final College Football Playoff selection. It seems like No. 1 Alabama will play No. 6 Florida and No. 3 Clemson will get a rematch with No. 2 Notre Dame.

But the drama unfolding in Columbus, Ohio, may be just as significant.

Undefeated Ohio State keeps losing opportunities

According to the BetOnline oddsmakers, Ohio State is the second-best team in college football, 1.5 points better than Clemson.

Quarterback Justin Fields has completed 79.6 percent of his passes, leading an offense that averages 45.3 points per game against Big Ten competition.

However, Ohio State didn’t play its first game until Oct. 24, the opening weekend for the Big Ten due to COVID-related decisions by the conference.

Compounding the issue, COVID-19 canceled Ohio State’s games at Maryland (Nov. 14) and at Illinois (Nov. 28). Ohio State’s game at Michigan State presumably is in jeopardy this week as the Buckeyes continue to deal with a COVID outbreak.

According to Big Ten rules, a team must play at least six games in order to qualify for the conference title game.

There are loopholes that involve a number of canceled games by other teams in the conference. But Ohio State may need to play Michigan State and Michigan in the next two weeks in order to have a chance at a conference championship win.

If the Buckeyes are unable to play the Spartans, they could be sitting at 5-0 in two weeks.

It’s hard to predict what will happen from there. Perhaps that would still be a strong enough resume to justify keeping Ohio State in the four-team field ahead of a one-loss Texas A&M or an unbeaten Cincinnati.

In any event, another Ohio State cancelation will make it more likely that the Buckeyes get the No. 4 seed in the College Football Playoff.

Alabama almost certainly will get the No. 1 overall seed if the Tide win

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College football odds, lines, schedule for Week 14: No. 1 Alabama opens as four-touchdown favorite over LSU

The first weekend in December is usually reserved for conference championship games, but not this year. Instead, 2020 has delivered us a few extra weeks of regular-season play before conference champions are crowned the weekend before Christmas. 

No. 5 Texas A&M will look to keep its College Football Playoff hopes alive when it travels to Jordan-Hare Stadium to take on Auburn, LSU will host No. 1 Alabama in what is typically one of nation’s biggest games of the year and No. 3 Clemson will travel into Lane Stadium to take on a Virginia Tech team that is in desperation mode.

Lines for most of the Week 14 games have been released by William Hill Sportsbook. Let’s break down the the biggest games and examine what oddsmakers are thinking early in the week.

No. 1 Alabama (-28) at LSU: My, how things have changed. It was fair to expect a big line in this one after the Tigers fell on hard times early this season. Four touchdowns? At home? Yeah, that’s deserved. Teams have to get in shootouts in order to have a chance with Alabama, and there’s no chance that LSU’s offense is capable of doing that. 

No. 3 Clemson (-21.5) at Virginia Tech: Tigers quarterback Trevor Lawrence came back with a vengeance, and the defense showed out last weekend against Pittsburgh. The Hokies, however, are getting no respect at all from oddsmakers after losing three straight games to Liberty, Miami and Pitt. 

No. 5 Texas A&M (-4) at No. 22 Auburn: The Aggies didn’t look very sharp on offense last week. More specifically, quarterback Kellen Mond struggled mightily in less-than-ideal conditions with heavy rain. The defense, however, absolutely dominated up front. That bodes well against an Auburn offensive line that hasn’t give quarterback Bo Nix much help this year. 

No.  6 Florida (-16.5) at Tennessee: The first game of the SEC on CBS doubleheader features traditional rivals that are going in different directions. The Gators are on a fast track toward the SEC Championship Game with Heisman Trophy contender Kyle Trask at quarterback. Meanwhile, the Volunteers have lost five straight after a hot start.

West Virginia at No. 13 Iowa State (-7): The Cyclones are coming off of a big win at Texas, and oddsmakers clearly think that they’ll continue that hot streak against a Mountaineers team that had their game vs. Oklahoma last week canceled due to COVID-19 protocols.

Best of the rest

Syracuse at No. 3 Notre Dame (-33)
Vanderbilt at No. 9 Georgia (-33)
No. 15 Oregon (-9.5) at California

Liberty at No. 20 Coastal Carolina (-5.5)
Rice at No. 21 Marshall (-23.5)
No. 23 Oklahoma State (-1.5) at TCU
No. 24 Iowa (-12) at Illinois
No. 25 Tulsa (-10) at Navy

Stanford at Washington (-10)


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What is Ohio State football’s point spread at Michigan State despite coronavirus cases? College betting lines

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio State football is again a big favorite in a Big Ten Conference road game on Saturday.

The Buckeyes, though, do not yet know if they will even make the trip to Michigan State on Saturday.

Circa Sports made Ohio State a 24-point favorite in Sunday’s opening betting line.

Ohio State was favored by 28 points at Illinois even after initial reports of coronavirus cases within the Buckeye program. That game was canceled Friday night after the number of cases increased.

Ohio State has paused all football operations as it awaits further test results to determine the extent of the outbreak. Buckeyes coach Ryan Day, who has tested positive and is in isolation, said OSU could play as long as it has a practice on Thursday and a walk-through on Friday.

Oddsmakers have not shied away from other pandemic-affected games. Northwestern opened as a 10-point favorite at Minnesota per Circa despite an increasing number of cases for the Gophers. As of Saturday, Minnesota was dealing with 40 confirmed cases after canceling last week’s game against Wisconsin.

Ohio State was favored by 21 points at kickoff against Indiana in its last game on Nov. 14, led 35-7 early in the third quarter and held on for a 42-35 victory.

The Buckeyes were favored by 38.5 points against Rutgers on Nov. 7, led 35-3 at halftime and settled for a 49-27 victory.

Overall, Ohio State is 2-2 against the spread. The Spartans are 2-3, but have twice won outright as home underdogs. MSU won as a 21.5-point dog against Michigan on Oct. 31 and as a 13.5-point dog against Northwestern this past Saturday.

Circa also installed an opening total of 62.5 for the Ohio State-Michigan State game, but that quickly dropped to 59.5. Three of the Buckeyes’ totals have gone over, with one push. Three of the Spartans’ games have gone over, with two unders.

New Ohio State face masks for sale: Here’s where you can buy Ohio State-themed face coverings for coronavirus protection. A 3-pack is available on Fanatics for $29.99.

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One Colorado Business Owner Partners with a Houston University to Help Harris County Seniors Endure Long Lines at the Polls.

(Denver, Colorado) – With only a day until the 2020 U.S. presidential election, voters in Harris County, Texas are clamoring to the polls, many waiting hours in line to cast their vote. After watching what was happening on the news, Colorado business owner Jim Burness wanted to help.  

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“We weren’t sure how we could make a difference, but we knew we had to try,” Burness shared and after a few hours of brainstorming, he had an idea. “We knew lots of companies would be sending water and offering food, but I wanted to find another way to keep people in line. I was most concerned about seniors and those with health issues, so we packed up a bunch of camp chairs and shipped them to Texas.”  

In fact, it was more than “a bunch”. Mr. Burness and his wife cleaned out their local Walmart and shipped a huge pallet of camp chairs to Texas. Unable to travel and distribute the chairs himself, he decided to reach out to the Rice University Young Democrats for help.

In fact, it was more than “a bunch”. Mr. Burness and his wife cleaned out their local Walmart and shipped a huge pallet of camp chairs to Texas. Unable to travel and distribute the chairs himself, he decided to reach out to the Rice University Young Democrats for help.

“We were blown away by the gesture and definitely wanted to find a way to make this happen,” Alissa Kono shared, a junior studying social policy analysis at Rice and President of the university’s Young Democrats. The group, who’s actively engaged in getting the vote out on campus, has also been phone banking and actively reaching out to the community to ensure everyone gets to the polls and is up to date on the issues. “This election is too important not to vote, but even beyond that voting is a huge responsibility and privilege, and everyone needs to get out there and exercise their voice.”  

“We’re fortunate in Colorado, because everyone receives a ballot in the mail. But in Texas that’s not the case,” Burness shared. “When I was contemplating how I could best support the election, I kept thinking of my dad. There is no way he could have ever stood in line for an hour let alone five. My hope is that this small gift will allow others like him to have their voice heard, no matter if they are voting red or blue.”

Nearly 1.4 million Houston area residents have already cast their ballots in early voting, exceeding the number that turned out for the 2016 election. This surge, without question, is a response to the presidential race, but also related to the challenges Harris County voters found in 2016. Even though they continue to see long lines, Harris County officials have done everything in their power to make voting more accessible by expanding voting hours and tripling the number of voting locations, the lines continue to be long. While local officials actively want to ensure their constituents are able to vote, the newly blue county leadership, also recognized the nation’s third largest county with record breaking turnout could play a pivotal role in the election – potentially, tipping Texas for Biden. 

While Mr. Burness is an active Colorado Democrat, he’s equally a strong believer in exercising your right to vote – so much so, he is closing his offices on November 3rd. “I made the decision to make Election Day a staff holiday, not only because I wanted to give everyone the opportunity to vote, but also because so many wanted to get involved as poll watchers, dropping off ballots for the elderly or making phone calls,” he shared. “Do I want to see Biden victory? Absolutely, but regardless of party, no

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Cover 3 Podcast: College Football Week 13, Clemson-FSU beef, BYU in the playoff? Early Week 13 lines

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What is Ohio State football’s humongous point spread at Illinois? College betting lines

COLUMBUS, Ohio — In Ohio State football’s past two games, the Buckeyes built big halftime leads and were outscored in the second half.

That did not dissuade oddsmakers from installing the Buckeyes as big favorites again for Saturday’s game at Illinois.

Circa Sports made Ohio State a 30-point favorite in its opening line. By Sunday night the spread had dropped to 28.

Ohio State was favored by 21 points at kickoff against Indiana on Saturday, led 35-7 early in the third quarter and held on for a 42-35 victory.

The Buckeyes were favored by 38.5 points against Rutgers on Nov. 7, led 35-3 at halftime and settled for a 49-27 victory.

Overall, Ohio State is 2-2 against the spread. Illinois has been an underdog in all five games but is 3-2 against the spread, per Vegas Insider. The Illini won 41-23 at Nebraska on Saturday despite getting 16.5 points at kickoff.

Circa also put an opening total of 72.5 on the Illinois game, which quickly dropped to 69. Three of four Buckeye games gave gone over the total at kickoff, while the other pushed.

According to Odds Shark, Ohio State failed to cover its last two spreads of 30 or more points against the Illini — 41 in 2017 and 33.5 in 2013.

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What is Ohio State football’s ludicrous point spread against Rutgers? College betting lines

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio State football could not match last season’s insane opening line at Rutgers, but is still a monster favorite for Saturday’s game at Ohio Stadium.

The Buckeyes opened as 37-point favorites at Circa Sports. A year ago, they were favored by 50.5 on the road when the line opened — and it grew throughout the week.

Ohio State did not cover that spread, by the way, winning only 56-21.

Ohio State is 2-0 against the spread this season, covering a 26-point spread against Nebraska and a 10-point favor at Penn State on Saturday.

Circa also posted an opening point total of 70.5 for the Ohio State-Rutgers game, but that quickly shrank to 62.5.

In other lines of interest, Michigan is favored by 4 at Indiana, Clemson is favored by 5.5 at Notre Dame and Georgia is favored by 6 at home against Florida.

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Former University of Michigan violin professor charged with transporting minor girl across state lines

ANN ARBOR, MI — A former University of Michigan professor could be facing up to 15 years in prison after being charged with two counts of transporting a minor girl across state lines with the intent to engage in sexual conduct.

a man wearing a suit and tie: UM Professor Stephen Shipps and Maureen O'Boyle

© UM staff photo and O’Boyle courtesy photo/mlive.com/TNS
UM Professor Stephen Shipps and Maureen O’Boyle

Stephen Shipps, 67, was arrested Thursday morning in Ann Arbor, according to a release from the U.S. Attorney Matthew Schneider. Shipps was employed by the UM School of Music, Theatre and Dance as a violin professor. He retired in February 2019, the release said.

The indictment by Schneider’s office alleges that in February, March, June and July of 2002, Shipps transported a girl under the age of 18 across state lines and intended to engage in sexual activity with her.

If convicted of both counts, Shipps faces a statutory maximum penalty of 15 years in federal prison, the release said.

“We are committed to the safety and well-being of the most vulnerable members of our society – our children,” Schneider said. “For over 20 years, Stephen Shipps had close interactions with many young girls who were gifted musicians. Shipps met with these young girls both inside and outside of the State of Michigan. Our determination and commitment to seeking justice for victims has no time limit.”

Shipps was placed on paid leave by UM in 2018 after allegations of sexual misconduct against him were brought forward by former students he taught in the 1970s and 1980s in Nebraska and North Carolina.

UM violin professor accused of sexual misconduct

MLive does not usually name victims in sexual assault or misconduct cases, but Maureen O’Boyle gave permission when she was interviewed for a story in December 2018.

O’Boyle said she was invited to a party in Shipps’ basement in 1978. After smoking marijuana and drinking alcohol, “Steve had sex with me on that couch, where I always unpacked my violin for a lesson,” O’Boyle wrote in a written account of her affair with Shipps.

After that, O’Boyle said she visited the Shipps’ home regularly to babysit, take lessons or have sex.

“I didn’t know if he was going to give me a violin lesson or initiate sex,” O’Boyle told MLive. “It was just sort of a disaster … I felt terrible about the whole thing. He was married at the time.”

The case is being investigated by agents of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) with the assistance of the UM Police Department. Anyone with additional information about alleged crimes committed by Shipps is asked to call a tip line set up by the Department of Homeland Security at 866-347-2423.


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College football odds, lines, schedule for Week 9: Ohio State, Wisconsin open as double-digit road favorites

Halloween weekend is upcoming, and there are some scary lines out there in the college football world. William Hill Sportsbook released the lines for Week 9 of the college football season, which features several big-time matchups including a Big Ten East showdown between No. 3 Ohio State and No. 18 Penn State in Happy Valley. 

It isn’t the only big game of the week, though. LSU will travel to Auburn in a division matchup that always seems to provide at least one trick or treat. Elsewhere, the AAC slate will feature a matchup between Memphis and No. 7 Cincinnati at noon ET that could have massive ramifications across the Group of Five world.

Let’s break down the odds for the biggest games in Week 9 of the college football season. 

No. 3 Ohio State (-11) at No. 18 Penn State: The Nittany Lions are fresh off a dramatic loss at Indiana, but get a chance to get right at home against the top dog in the Big Ten. Will that loss to the Hoosiers have a lingering effect, or will Justin Fields and Co. orchestrate another blowout? This line surprised me quite a bit. Sure, Happy Valley is normally an intimidating place to play … but there won’t be fans there on Saturday. 

LSU (-2) at Auburn: The SEC on CBS Game of the Week features two SEC West teams that are in desperate need of a win in order to have any chance at being relevant down the stretch. LSU just throttled a South Carolina team that beat Auburn two weeks ago, while Auburn escaped the clutches of Ole Miss in Oxford on Saturday. Weird things always seem to happen in this rivalry. Buyer beware. 

Boston College at No. 1 Clemson (-31.5): The Tigers struggled to get going against Syracuse at home, and have another massive line this week against an Eagles team that, if nothing else, has been pesky in 2020. It’s hard to bet on dial-a-score games involving Clemson since the outcome might hinge on when coach Dabo Swinney decides to take his foot off of the gas. 

No. 9 Wisconsin (-11) at Nebraska: The Badgers suddenly have a passing game after the world got a taste of redshirt freshman Graham Metz on Saturday night in Madison. Nebraska hung around with Ohio State for a bit on Saturday, and will have another big challenge against a quarterback who loves to air it out. 

Texas at No. 6 Oklahoma State (-3): We know now that Texas isn’t “back.” But it could be back to playing the spoiler role against a Cowboys squad that has quietly gone undefeated through the first month-plus of the season. Oddsmakers clearly think that Mike Gundy’s squad is more sizzle than steak even though quarterback Spencer Sanders returned to action and played well last week in a win over Iowa State.

Memphis at No. 7 Cincinnati (-6.5): The Bearcats made a big statement in a Week 8 victory over SMU, while one-loss Memphis needs

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College football odds, lines, schedule for Week 8: Michigan opens as a favorite vs. Minnesota on road

We’re entering Week 8 of the college football season and some teams are already near the midway point of their 2020 campaigns. However, one of the country’s most-prominent conferences is just getting started. 

The Big Ten is finally set to join the fray this week as the league debuts with a slate of seven games, starting Friday when No. 14 Wisconsin hosts Illinois.

The addition of a fourth power conference to the action makes for an intriguing weekend slate that features a total of 20 ranked teams in action. Among them are No. 1 Clemson and No. 2 Alabama, both of whom are massive favorites against league foes. But the Big Ten’s return is sure to add drama to the national picture as teams like Ohio State, Penn State and Wisconsin launch their bids to crash the College Football Playoff.

It’s never too early to take a look at the lines for the weekend ahead, so here are the odds from William Hill Sportsbook.

Want more college football in your life? Listen below and subscribe to the Cover 3 College Football podcast for top-notch insight and analysis beyond the gridiron.

Syracuse at No. 1 Clemson (-44.5): Clemson closed as a 26.5-point favorite at Georgia Tech on Saturday and proceeded to thrash the Yellow Jackets 73-7. Now the top-ranked Tigers host a Syracuse team that is 1-4 and coming off a 38-21 home loss to Liberty. The Orange have never been a bigger underdog in an ACC game. But perhaps it’s worth noting they upset Clemson in 2017 as a 23.5-point underdog.

No. 17 Iowa State at No. 6 Oklahoma State (-3.5): With Texas and Oklahoma each already nursing two Big 12 losses, this game could be an important determining factor in who wins the league’s regular-season title. These two teams along with Kansas State are the only squads left without a league loss. So perhaps this will be a preview of the Big 12 Championship game. If nothing else, it should be a great game. The last five between these two teams have been decided by a touchdown or less.

No. 9 Cincinnati (-1) at No. 16 SMU: Cincinnati and SMU are the only remaining undefeated AAC teams so there will be plenty on the line when they square off Saturday. The Mustangs are banged up but have a veteran quarterback and shown an ability to close out close games so far. Cincinnati has not truly been tested and has not played since in an uninspiring win over South Florida on Oct. 3.

No. 18 Michigan (-3) at No. 21 Minnesota: This is the only game of the Big Ten’s opening weekend that features two ranked teams, and it truly is a huge one for both squads. Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh needs a win to quiet the chaos surrounding him as he enters his sixth season. Meanwhile, the Gophers are looking to prove last season’s 11 wins were no fluke and that they are ready to overtake Wisconsin in the

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