There are only three weeks remaining of regular season college football. There's a lot to be decided in the coming weeks as teams try and bolster their resumes for the College Football Playoff. Of course, for those not at the top of the country, bowl eligibility and getting into the best bowl game possible are also motivating factors. Last week was wild with Tennessee, Clemson and Alabama all losing. As the games get bigger and the margin for error disappears, which way are bettors leaning ahead of Saturday's slate?
Bettors expect Tennessee to bounce back
Last week, Tennessee went into Georgia and was beaten thoroughly. It was its first loss of the season, and if you believe the oddsmakers, the Vols are still in decent enough shape when it comes to making the College Football Playoff.
However, Tennessee almost certainly won't have the opportunity to bolster their resume with a conference championship. That means the Vols have three more games to play before the committee examines their body of work. The first of those comes on Saturday, with Tennessee installed as a sizable 20.5-point home favorite against Missouri.
It's the most-bet game of the weekend, and Tennessee is the most popular bet of any side on Saturday's slate. Seamus Magee of BetMGM said, "Despite losing as the No. 1 seed last week, the public is all over the Volunteers again as the book needs both Mizzou and the under in this week’s most bet game."
Overall, 75% of bets and 79% of the money is on Tennessee to cover. Additionally, 92% of the money is on the game to go over 56.5 points.
Despite their 4-5 record, Missouri has been no pushover in SEC play. They took Auburn to overtime on the road. They played one possession games in losses to Georgia, Kentucky and Florida. They beat South Carolina and Vanderbilt.
Of course, the thought here is that with no championship game on deck, Tennessee will try and run up the score and get margin over its final three games. The committee won't be overly impressed if the Vols go 3-0 against Missouri, South Carolina and Vanderbilt. However, if those three are all absolute beatdowns, Tennessee's resume will look slightly better. Bettors expect the Vols to win big on Saturday.
Action on TCU-Texas is pretty split
Undefeated TCU is a 7-point road underdog against three-loss Texas in Austin this weekend. A lot of people have been hesitant to buy in on the Horned Frogs this season. They've had some big comebacks in games and have played a lot of close games in Big 12 play. They've also won four games where the opponent had to turn to their backup quarterback. However, there's no denying they've come out on top in all of them.
Every other team in the Big 12 has at least three losses, so TCU is the conference's only chance at a potential college playoff berth. However, it seems like oddsmakers are expected that dream to come crashing down on Saturday. Bettors are more split. Overall at BetMGM, 53% of bets are on TCU getting a touchdown, but 58% of the money is laying the points with the Longhorns.
It's worth noting that a lot of bettors that like TCU feel like they don't need the points. TCU is +220 on the moneyline, and 93% of moneyline bets are backing the Horned Frogs. "The second-most bet-on game currently is TCU vs Texas, which has a split spread, but there's heavy action on TCU moneyline. Texas winning but not covering is one of our biggest hopes this weekend," said Magee.
Bettors are expecting fireworks to fly between the two high-scoring offenses. The total for the game is set at 65 points, and 97% of the money is on the over.
Other notable bets
Bettors like Penn State to roll at home as a 10.5-point favorite against Maryland. At BetMGM, 79% of bets are on Penn State to cover. Additionally, 96% of the money is on this game to go under 56 points.
LSU is in a tricky spot after its big win last weekend as it heads to Arkansas. LSU is just a 3.5-point road favorite against a team that lost to Liberty last weekend. Bettors are backing the Tigers, as 68% of bets and 66% of the money is on LSU.
Illinois is quietly ranked and atop the Big Ten West. The Illini are 6.5-point home favorites against Purdue this weekend, and bettors love them. Currently, 82% of bets and 93% of the money is on Illinois. Additionally, 87% of money is on the game to go under 44.5 points. The total has dropped three points from the opening number.
The four top teams in the Pac-12 are all sizable home favorites and are all getting at least 73% of the money backing them. USC is a 34.5-point favorite against Colorado on Friday. Oregon is laying 13 against Washington, UCLA is a 20-point favorite against Arizona and Utah is laying 24 against Stanford on Saturday.
Alabama basically saw its playoff hopes come crashing down last week, and bettors are fading the team this week. Alabama is an 11.5-point road favorite against Ole Miss, but 62% of bets are on the home dog.
In the ACC, betting action is split 50/50 on Clemson-Louisville, with Clemson installed as just a 7-point home favorite. Seventy-six percent of the money is on Wake Forest to cover as a 4.5-point home favorite against UNC. In Syracuse, 89% of the money is backing Florida State as 7-point road favorite.