College football Week 14 Saturday is chock full of games that could impact the College Football Playoff. Covers checks in on the action and odds movement, with insights from Scott Shelton, sportsbook supervisor at The Mirage on the Las Vegas Strip.
(5) ALABAMA AT (15) Auburn – OPEN: +4; MOVE: +3.5
Alabama certainly remains in the CFP conversation, despite losing star quarterback Tua Tagovailoa to a nasty hip injury in Week 12. The Crimson Tide (10-1 SU, 6-5 ATS) got an easy tuneup game behind new starter Mac Jones, blasting Western Carolina 66-3 as massive 58.5-point home favorites.
Auburn has three losses already and no shot at the CFP, but will surely be amped up for the Iron Bowl kickoff at 3:30 p.m. ET. Like ‘Bama, the Tigers (8-3 SU and ATS) faced an FCS foe in Week 13, hammering Samford 52-0 as 45.5-point home faves.
“Tickets are 2.5/1 Alabama, money is just a couple thousand more on Alabama,” Shelton said of pointspread action at The Mirage and other Vegas MGM Resorts sportsbooks. “We’ll probably need Auburn small by kickoff, but without the Alabama QB, I think we’ll get pretty good two-way action.”
No. 2 Ohio State Buckeyes at No. 11 Michigan Wolverines – Open: +8.5; Move: +9; Move: +9.5; Move: +9
Ohio State is entrenched in the CFP top four and aims to stay there in this noon ET showdown at the Big House. The Buckeyes (11-0 SU, 8-3 ATS) went off as 18-point home favorites against Penn State in Week 13, then let a 21-0 third-quarter lead tighten to 21-17 before going on to a 28-17 victory.
Much like Auburn, Michigan is just hoping to play spoiler against its archrival. The Wolverines (9-2 SU, 7-4 ATS) are on streaks of 4-0 SU and 5-0 ATS, downing Indiana 39-14 as 10-point road favorites in Week 13.
“We went to 9.5 off a $25,000 bet on Ohio State -9,” Shelton said, referring to a sizable Friday night bet. “We also took a huge moneyline parlay, $100,000 on Ohio State -340/Kansas City Chiefs -750, to win $46,000. There was also sharp play on Ohio State, moving us from -8.5 to -9. Money is 8/1 and tickets 4/1 on Ohio State. We’re gonna need the ‘dog big.”
A little Michigan money showed late Friday night at +9.5, taking the line back to 9.
(7) OKLAHOMA AT (21) OKLAHOMA STATE – OPEN: +12.5; MOVE: +13; MOVE: +13.5
Oklahoma will likely need some help to land in the four-team CFP, though obviously it must keep winning, too. The Sooners (10-1 SU, 4-7 ATS) struggled in each of their last four games, starting with a loss at Kansas State. Last week, the Sooners blew a 21-0 lead against Texas Christian, but escaped with a 28-24 home win laying 19 points.
Oklahoma State is in the same boat as Auburn and Michigan, looking to blow up its archrival’s CFP plans. The Cowboys (8-3 SU, 8-2-1 ATS) are the nation’s second-best pointspread team, though they’re coming off a push as 7-point favorites in a 20-13 win at West Virginia.
“Money is 2/1 Oklahoma, tickets are neck-and-neck, actually a couple more tickets on Oklahoma State,” Shelton said of an 8 p.m. ET clash. “Sharp play drove that line up. They laid 12.5 and 13 with Oklahoma.”
(12) WISCONSIN AT (8) MINNESOTA – OPEN: +2.5; MOVE: +3
Minnesota could work its way into the CFP, but doing so requires a win in this 3:30 p.m. ET regular-season finale and in the Big Ten title game against Ohio State. At least. The Golden Gophers (10-1 SU, 7-3-1 ATS) rebounded from a loss at Iowa by dropping Northwestern 38-22 giving 15.5 points on the road.
Wisconsin looks to snare Paul Bunyan’s Axe and steal the Big Ten West from its neighbor rival. The Badgers (9-2 SU, 6-5 ATS) rolled past Purdue 45-24 in Week 13, falling short of the cash as 24.5-point home favorites.
“Sharp play on Wisconsin,” Shelton said of the line move from Badgers -2.5 to -3. “A few more tickets on Minnesota, money 2/1 on Wisconsin. We took a $30,000 bet on Wisconsin -2.5. I think it might be pretty close by kickoff. With the line at 3, there’s three times more money on Minnesota than Wisconsin.”
TEXAS A&M AT (1) LSU – OPEN: -17; MOVE: -16.5; MOVE: -17; MOVE: -17.5; MOVE: -17
Louisiana State is also locked into the CFP for the moment, though it certainly doesn’t want any toe-stubbing moments, either this week or in the Southeastern Conference title game. In Week 13, the Tigers (11-0 SU, 6-5 ATS) pounded Arkansas 56-20 laying 39.5 points at home.
Texas A&M won four in a row (3-1 ATS) to get its season back in order, but that streak ended in Week 13. The Aggies (7-4 SU and ATS) went to Georgia as 11.5-point pups and exited with a respectable 19-13 loss.
“We got sharp play on LSU -16.5, and we’ve been as high as 17.5, where we got sharp play on Texas A&M,” Shelton said of this 7 p.m. ET kickoff. “Money and tickets are 3/1 on LSU. We’ll definitely need the ‘dog.”
Other notable matchups:
• Iowa State at Kansas State, 7 p.m. ET: The Cyclones moved from -3.5 to -5.5. “Iowa State is the sharp side on that one,” Shelton said. “Tickets are really close, but money is running about 10/1 on Iowa State.
• Brigham Young at San Diego State, 9 p.m. ET: The Aztecs are minus starting QB Ryan Agnew (calf), so this line moved from BYU -3 to -5.5. “It’s been creeping up,” Shelton said. “Tickets 4/1 in favor of BYU, money 20/1 on BYU. There’s almost no money on San Diego State. It’s totally one-sided.
• California at UCLA, 10:30 p.m. ET: This line bounced around a lot, from Bruins -2 to Golden Bears -1 back to Bruins -1. “There’s sharp money on both sides,” Shelton said. “Money is about 2.5/1 on Cal, tickets are within a few, really close.”
Patrick Everson is a Las Vegas-based senior writer for Covers. Follow him on Twitter: @Covers_Vegas.