ACC Football: Five Teams to Watch

The clock is ticking to the start of another season of college football, and there are five teams in the ACC that have caught Doc’s Sports eye, especially when it comes to wagering on which one will win this season’s conference title based on NCAAF betting odds.

Florida State Seminoles

Florida State has dominated this conference the past few seasons. However, with quarterback Jameis Winston departing for the NFL, there could be a changing of the guard in 2015. The betting odds that the Seminoles win the ACC again this season are still the best on the board at +240, but the gap between them and the other top teams is as close as it has been in quite some time.

This offense got a boost when former Notre Dame quarterback Everett Golson decided to play his final college season in Tallahassee, and there is still some solid depth at both the running back and wide receiver positions. The biggest question mark with this team is on the defensive side of the ball after ranking 50th in points allowed (25.6) last season.

Clemson Tigers

The Tigers have played in the shadow of Florida State for the past few seasons, and the simple fact that both teams play in the Atlantic Division has kept Clemson out of the title hunt with losses to the Seminoles the last three years. Every ACC fan has Nov. 7 circled on this season’s schedule when the two rivals will square off against one another in Clemson.

Many football experts are pinning the Tigers’ conference title hopes as +250 second-favorites on the play of quarterback Deshaun Watson after wowing fans with his play last season as a freshman. Clemson has to hope he can stay healthy enough to live up to these lofty expectations.

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

Georgia Tech won the Coastal Division last season with a 6-2 record in ACC play, and it came very close to knocking off Florida State in the title game in a 37-35 loss as 3.5-point underdogs. The Yellow Jackets went on to stun Mississippi State 49-34 as six-point underdogs in last season’s Orange Bowl. They have been listed as +450 third-favorites to win the ACC this time around.

The Yellow Jackets will get a shot at beating both Clemson and Florida State during the regular season with a road game against the Tigers on Oct.10 followed by a home game against the Seminoles two weeks later. The biggest strength of Georgia Tech should be their offensive line and a running game that averaged 342.1 yards a game in 2014.

Virginia Tech Hokies

The Hokies are coming off a disappointing 3-5 record in conference play last season as part of an overall record of 7-6. Expectations in Blacksburg are running high for a return to the upper echelon of the ACC in 2015 as +800 fourth-favorites to win a conference title. Much of their chances could hinge on what happens in mid-November in a Thursday night trip to Georgia Tech.

Virginia Tech has always been known for playing tough defense, but a lack of true playmakers have hurt this offense over the past several years. The Hokies will need to get some better production from an offense that was ranked 96th in the nation in scoring last year with an average of just 24.1 points a game.

Louisville Cardinals

The Cardinals were able to win five of eight games in their inaugural season in the ACC after coming over from the American Athletic Conference, but they closed as favorites in all five of those games. The losses came to Virginia, Clemson and Florida State, which are all on the schedule this season as well.

Louisville comes into this second season as +850 fifth-favorites to make that dramatic leap to the top of the ACC, but it will need quite a few things to go right to actually get there. The main thing in the Cardinals’ favor is a front seven on defense that helped this unit rank 24th in the nation last season in points allowed (21.8).

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NCAA Football Week 1 Betting Lines and Trends

The start of another season of college football in early September inches closer and closer as we head into the final two weeks of July. Odds Shark has already posted a few early betting odds for some of the top matchups on the board in what should be a great start to another run to the top four spots in the nation for the College Football Playoff Rankings.

The following is Doc’s Sports brief preview of some of the pertinent betting trends for a few of the top matchups on the board in Week 1 of the 2015 college football season.

North Carolina Tar Heels vs. South Carolina Gamecocks

This ACC/SEC clash features a North Carolina team that came up one game short of a .500 record last season at 6-7 after dropping its last two games to NC State and Rutgers in the Quick Lane Bowl. South Carolina’s 2014 campaign ended with a 24-21 victory against Miami in the Independence Bowl to go 7-6 overall, but a 3-5 record in SEC play left the Gamecocks hungry for bigger and better things heading into the 2015 season.

The Tar Heels have been opened as 2.5-point road favorites in this Carolina border clash. While the total line is still off the board, recent betting trends tend to favor the “under” in this matchup. The total has stayed under in eight of North Carolina’s last 12 road games while staying under in four of South Carolina’s last five games at home.

TCU Horned Frogs vs. Minnesota Golden Gophers

The Horned Frogs come into the 2015 college football season with high expectations after going a stellar 12-1 last season. That lone setback came against Baylor in a wild 61-58 loss in early October that eventually decided the Big 12 title last year. Minnesota lost three of its final four games in 2014, including a 33-17 defeat against Missouri on Jan. 1 in the Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl. The Golden Gophers still had to be encouraged with their 5-3 record in Big Ten play that included a 28-24 victory against Nebraska.

The betting spread in this contest has TCU favored by 14 points on the road. The Horned Frogs have successfully covered against the spread in 13 of their last 15 games. Minnesota is a healthy 4-1 ATS in its last five outings.

Louisville Cardinals vs. Auburn Tigers

Louisville’s first season in the ACC after coming over from the American Athletic Conference was a mixed bag at 5-3. The Cardinals, for the most part, beat the teams they were supposed to, but against the better teams in the conference (Florida State, Clemson and Virginia) they went 0-3. Last season the Auburn Tigers made their presence felt in the stacked SEC West Division with a 4-4 record in conference play that included big wins against LSU and Ole Miss. The Tigers lost a heartbreaker in the Outback Bowl in a 34-31 overtime defeat to Wisconsin to finish 8-5 on the year.

The Cardinals have been opened as 10.5-point neutral-site underdogs against Auburn with the game being played at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Saturday, Sept. 5. Louisville has now won 20 of its last 25 games SU and it is 5-1 ATS in its last six games played away from home. Auburn is 17-6 SU in its last 23 games.

Texas Longhorns vs. Notre Dame Fighting Irish

The Longhorns battled their way to a 6-6 record in the regular season that included a 5-4 record in Big 12 play, but they ended their season on a down note with a 31-7 rout at the hands of Arkansas in the Texas Bowl. They went just 1-5 against ranked teams last year. Notre Dame started the 2014 season with six straight wins, but it was all downhill from there with just one win in its final six regular-season contests. The Fighting Irish ended the year on a high note with a 31-28 victory against LSU in the Music City Bowl to go 8-5.

Texas comes into this season’s opener as a 10-point road underdog. This game could be another one to watch as far as the total line. The total has stayed under in five of the Longhorns last six games overall, and it has stayed under in seven of their last eight games on the road. Notre Dame is 21-4 SU in its last 25 games at home.

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MLB Betting: All-Star Break Moneyline Report Card

This week’s MLB all-star break is a perfect opportunity to take a closer look at some of the big winners and costly losers this season when it comes to their return to bettors on a moneyline wager. There have been some definite surprises along the way, both good and bad, during this first half of the MLB regular season

Using the current moneyline standings, the following is Doc’s Sports first half MLB report card for a few of the best and worst performers in both the American and National League.

American League Winners

As of this Sunday’s results, the largest lead in any of the six division races was 4.5 games, and in the American League the team that has been the biggest surprise in a tight AL Central Division race has been the Minnesota Twins. They closed out the first half of the regular season with a three-game sweep of Detroit at home to pull within 4.5 games of the Kansas City Royals. The Twins went 7-3 in their last 10 games to improve to 49-40 on the year. More importantly, their return on a moneyline bet is the tops in the Majors at +$1,709. This run has been fueled by an impressive 31-16 record at home. Minnesota’s return on the road is actually down -$16.

The Royals have also stayed hot with seven victories in their last eight games to boost their record to an AL-best 52-34. Their overall return on the moneyline stands at +$1,595 and they remain the most balanced betting team in the league with a +$989 return at home and a +$606 return on the road.

The hottest team in the AL heading into the second half of the season is the Los Angeles Angels. They have gone 11-3 in their last 14 games to take a half-game lead over Houston in the AL West. Their return on the moneyline now stands at +$214 on the year following a slow start out of the gate.

American League Losers

It’s no big surprise that teams such as the Oakland Athletics (-$1,299) and the Boston Red Sox (-$951) are among the costliest teams to wager on in the AL given their unexpected losing records. The A’s are 41-50 on the year and bringing up the rear in the AL West. Boston is five games below .500 at 42-47 and 6.5 games in back of New York in the highly-competitive AL East.

The Seattle Mariners (-$1,075) and the Cleveland Indians (-$983) have also been a disappointment with a sub-.500 records through the first half of the season. Seattle is 7.5 games off the pace in the AL West and the Indians are 11 games in back of Kansas City in the AL Central.

National League Winners

Betting the NL this season has been a risky proposition, and heading into this week’s all-star break there are just six teams in this league with a positive return on a moneyline bet through the first half of the season. The team head and shoulders above the rest has been the St. Louis Cardinals with a MLB-best record of 56-33. They also have the best moneyline return in the NL at +$1,127, but this total took a hit following three losses in a four-game series against the rival Pittsburgh Pirates this past weekend.

The Pirates now have the second-best return in the NL at +$622, and they are just 2.5 games in back of St. Louis in the NL Central Division race. Pittsburgh is another team that has been a solid bet at home with a +$688 moneyline return behind a record of 32-16 at PNC Park.

The Chicago Cubs (+$286) and the Atlanta Braves (+285) would get an honorable mention in the NL. San Francisco is still +$198 on the year, but the Giants have faded a bit with a 4-7 record in the month of July.

National League Losers

With nine NL teams posting a negative return on a moneyline wager through the first half of the MLB season, there are plenty of names to fill this list. Our top two would have to be the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Washington Nationals. Both the Dodgers (51-39) and the Nationals (48-39) are holding down first place in their respective division, but Los Angeles has cost bettors -$565 on a moneyline bet while Washington is -$189 in the red.

The Dodgers have been lousy on the road this season with a record of 18-22, while the Nationals are a bit more balanced with a 25-16 record at home and an even 23-23 record on the road.

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2015 CFL Grey Cup Futures Odds

The start of another season of football in both the NFL and the college ranks is still a couple of months away, but our friends north of the border in the Canadian Football League are ready to get another season of action underway in a little more than two weeks.

Doc’s Sports has you covered with the latest CFL futures odds to win this season’s Grey Cup, and the following is a brief betting report for all nine teams.

Calgary Stampeders – 10/3

Calgary rode a straight up 15-3 record into last season’s Grey Cup playoffs and all the way to a league title with a 20-16 victory over Hamilton in the championship game after closing as a seven-point favorite on Odds Shark’s betting odds. The Stampeders were a profitable team to wager on last season with a 13-6-1 record against the spread that included a 7-1-1 record ATS at home.

This team remains stacked on offense behind both Bo Levi Mitchell and Drew Tate at quarterback and Jon Cornish running the ball. The only significant loss on defense was Shawn Lemon, so there should be little drop off on either side of the ball in 2015.

Saskatchewan Roughriders – 5/1

The Roughriders finished third in the West Division behind Calgary and Edmonton with a SU record of 10-8. They were a costly 7-12 ATS, and their season came to an end with an 18-10 loss to the Eskimos in the playoffs as 7.5-point road underdogs.

The outlook for 2015 remains positive as the second overall favorite to win a title. Much of Saskatchewan’s chances will hinge on the health of quarterback Darian Durant, who missed a good part of last season due to injury.

Edmonton Eskimos – 11/2

Edmonton could bring a ton of value to the table this season as a third-favorite to win the Grey Cup after posting a SU 12-6 record last season. They ended up getting hammered by Calgary 43-18 in the West Division Finals as 6.5-point road underdogs to end their season 13-7 ATS. This included a 9-2 record ATS as favorites.

Mike Reilly should remain Edmonton’s primary signal caller for 2015, but the Eskimos also have a solid arm in Matt Nichols, so they should once again be one of the top-scoring teams in the league.

British Columbia Lions – 6/1

The Lions finished fourth in the West last season at an even 9-9 both SU and ATS. They are expected to hold that position as the fourth-favorite to win a title in 2015 with some stiff competition ahead of them in the division standings.

Jeff Tedford takes over the reins as BC’s new head coach after a successful career in the college ranks at California. The key to turning things around will be the play of Travis Lulay at quarterback. He should have no problem racking up the passing yards as long as he can stay healthy.

Hamilton Tiger-Cats – 13/2

Hamilton may be the fifth team on the list when it comes to the Grey Cup futures odds, but it should once again be the class of a watered-down East Division after going 9-9 SU last year. The Tiger-Cats made a strong showing in last season’s Grey Cup loss after closing out the season with a 6-1 record ATS in their final seven games.

Zach Collaros is rapidly developing into one of the best young quarterbacks in the CFL, and the addition of wide receiver Spencer Watt gives him another solid weapon in the passing game. Better play on the road could be the key to another division crown after going just 2-7 SU in 2014.

Montreal Alouettes – 8/1

Montreal was able to overcome a painfully slow start to pull to an even 9-9 on the year, but it made an ugly exit from the postseason with a 40-24 loss to Hamilton in the East Division Final as a three-point road underdog. The Alouettes were another team that struggled to win on the road at 3-6 SU (3-5-1 ATS).

Jonathan Crompton is penciled in as the team’s starting quarterback, but early reports out of Montreal suggest that fourth-round pick Brando Bridge could move into the starting role if the Alouettes’ offense once again struggles out of the gate.

Toronto Argonauts – 8/1

The Argonauts missed the playoffs last season after falling to 8-10 SU on the year, and they were slightly worse ATS at 7-11. Like most of the teams in the East, they knew how to win at home with a record of 6-3, but they went just 2-7 SU in nine road games.

Ricky Ray is probably the top gun slinger in the CFL at quarterback, so much of Toronto’s chances to turn things around will depend upon how his surgically-repaired shoulder holds up.

Winnipeg Blue Bombers – 17/2

The Blue Bombers improved to 7-11 SU (8-9-1 ATS) on the year in their first season in the West Division after winning just three games the season before as bottom dwellers in the East. They started the season on a 5-1 SU run. However, as their offense basically ground to a halt, they proceeded to lose 10 of their final 12 games.

The outlook for a winning season in 2015 remains in doubt mainly because of the stiff competition Winnipeg will face in the stacked West Division. Richie Hall was brought in as the team’s new defensive coordinator to help clean up a unit that allowed a total of 481 points last season.

Ottawa RedBlacks – 20/1

The expansion RedBlacks played true to expectations in their inaugural season in the CFL with a SU record of 2-16, but they did cover in six of their 18 games as an underdog in every contest. The lone ray of hope was a 4-4-1 record ATS at home.

It will be a couple more seasons before Ottawa will legitimately compete for a playoff spot in the East, but hiring Jason Mass as its new offensive coordinator has to be seen as a step in the right direction. The RedBlacks scored an average of just 15.4 points a game last year.

2015 U.S. Open Golf Odds

Professional golf’s second major of the season starts on June 17 with the first round of this year’s U.S. Open at Chambers Bay Golf Club in University Place, Washington. will have full-blown coverage of this event on its site in the coming days, but we wanted to start things off with an early look at five players to watch along with their futures odds to win.

Rory McIlroy 4/1

McIlroy is widely considered the best golfer in the game today, so it is little wonder that the 2011 U.S. Open Champion and winner of three additional majors is the current favorite to win at Chambers Bay. McIlroy last played in the Wells Fargo Championship in mid-May, and he came away with that title. So you know that is current form is where it needs to be.

The 26-year-old will be making his seventh-start in a U.S. Open after winning this event as the youngest champion since Bobby Jones in 1923. He is currently No. 1 in the Official World Golf Rankings. Along with his win last month, he also won the 2015 WGC-Cadillac Match Play Championship after finishing fourth in the Masters.

Jordan Spieth 7/1

With this year’s Masters’ title already under wraps, Spieth will now set his sights on winning a second consecutive major as the second-favorite to win the U.S. Open. At the tender age of 21, he became the second-youngest Masters Champion behind Tiger Woods with his wire-to-wire run around Augusta. He tied Wood’s 72-hole scoring record with an 18-under total of 270.

Since that dominating victory, he has placed second in the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial CC, and just this past week he posted a 275 13-under score to finish third in this year’s Memorial at Muirfield Village GC. This will be his fourth start in a U.S. Open, and his best finish was 17th in last year’s event at Pinehurst No. 2.

Dustin Johnson 14/1

The betting odds start to drop off rather steeply from here, but there is still some solid value to be found in Johnson at 14/1. This is a golfer that has suffered some setbacks in his personal life off the course, but he still has the game to be a factor in any major he plays in.

He has come close a few times to ending his drought in majors during his professional career, and with a victory in the WGC-Cadillac Championship in March of this season he now has 11 professional victories to his credit. His best finish in a U.S. Open came in last year’s U.S. Open with a tie for fourth. He also had the lead in the 2010 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach heading into the final round, but he ended up eighth.

Adam Scott 16/1

Scott was able to shed the dubious title of “best player never to win a major” with his breakthrough victory in the 2013 Masters, and he remained in contention in last season’s U.S. Open with a tie for ninth. He continues to play all over the world, and over the course of his career Scott has laid claim to 27 tournament victories

Looking back at his recent play in the United States, Scott has played in nine events, with his best finish coming in the WGC-Cadillac Championships (fourth) in early March. This past week he finished 24th in the Memorial after missing the cut in the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow Club the week before.

Rickie Fowler 18/1

Fowler has quickly established himself as a crowd favorite for his colorful attire and stylish play, but at 26-years-old he knows that it is time to get serious about adding a major to his golfing resume. In what many golf experts consider the fifth major tournament, he did claim the top spot in this year’s Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass in a three-way playoff.

This will be his seventh start in a U.S. Open, and he came as close as you can without actually winning this event with a second-place finish at Pinehurst in 2014. The year before at Merion Golf Club, he was also in contention for a U.S. Open title with a 10th-place finish.

Doc’s Sports is offering $60 worth of member’s picks absolutely free – no obligation, no sales people – you don’t even have to enter credit card information. You can use this $60 credit any way you please for any handicapper and any sport on Doc’s Sports Advisory Board list of expert sports handicappers. Click here for more details and take advantage of this free $60 picks credit today.