1. #1
    Chance Harper
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    Looking for '08 dark horses

    NCAA Football Betting: Looking for '08 dark horses

    Last year it was Mark Mangino and the Kansas Jayhawks upsetting preseason pundits and playing the role of cash cows for bettors with their 11-1 mark against the spread. So what college football teams might fill that role this season, dark horses long on the futures boards but good bets to consistently beat the numbers? Oregon and Notre Dame are two programs to watch on the wager front.

    The dog days of summer have arrived. Two months before the start of college football season; two months to spend sifting through college football previews, looking for the teams with the best chance to blow away the betting odds and inject your wallet with a transfusion of cash.

    In my previous article back in May, I identified five clubs with value potential to win the BCS championship. This time, the futures market is not our focus. Instead, we’re broadening our search and looking for Top 10-quality teams who will succeed against the spread during the 2008 campaign. The single-game matchup is the bread and butter of sports gambling; the futures market is significantly more “exotic” and not for everyone.

    Consider the Clemson Tigers, for example. They are about as dark as a dark horse title contender can get. We had them among our BCS fivesome at 22-1 in May, and they’re currently in the Top 10 on the odds list at 20-1. How realistic are Clemson’s title hopes, though? Marginal at best. But this is a team that went 9-4 (6-6 ATS) last year and is in a strong position to bag some cash in 2008.

    We want to do better than that: We want to identify this year’s Kansas Jayhawks. They pounded the pay window last year at 11-1 ATS and upset Virginia Tech at the Orange Bowl, even though the Jayhawks were No. 19 in team efficiency (as measured by the Fremeau Index) in Division I. The betting public questioned this program all season long, all the way to the end, and they kept putting money in the pockets of sharp handicappers.

    We’re not predicting another 11-1 ATS season, but these two teams jump out as Chance’s top dark horse picks to crack the Top 10 of the BCS rankings and make a mint along the way.

    Oregon Ducks (60-1)
    The Ducks made it all the way to No. 2 on the BCS computers last year, then fell apart after QB Dennis Dixon was injured and dropped their last three regular-season games. Very little is expected of Oregon this year with Dixon moving on to the Pittsburgh Steelers. This is where handicappers cackle with glee like mad scientists.

    The Ducks were much more than just Dixon last year. Even with that late-season collapse, Oregon finished No. 3 in team efficiency behind only the national champions from LSU and the Pac-10 champions from USC. The Trojans (3-1 favorites to win the title this year) will hog what precious little spotlight the Pac-10 already gets. Meanwhile, Oregon’s anonymous offensive line and the return of senior RB Jeremiah Johnson will smooth the transition from Dixon to projected (and talented) starting QB Nate Costa.

    Notre Dame Fighting Irish (100-1)
    It’s not easy to bleed away over 100 years of public adoration, but the Irish did it last year by going 3-9 (5-7 ATS), losing the first five games of the season in heroically ugly fashion. Head coach Charlie Weis went from genius to pariah in one fell swoop. Nowhere to go but up, as they say.

    Last year’s squad was paper-thin after the departure of 11 players to the NFL. There will be consistency this year with the return of 17 starters; the offensive line figures to take a step forward, making life easier for sophomore QB Jimmy Clausen, and the early-season schedule is soft enough to give the Irish an opportunity to get a running start toward nine wins.

  2. #2
    BadFinger
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    notre dame might win 9 but they will still be lucky to break even on the spreads with the way their lines are pumped up.

  3. #3
    Richkas
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    illinois.

  4. #4
    SBR_John
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    100-1 is fair odds on ND, what are there like 125 teams? But its a waste of money.

    For live dogs that could cash I'd look at the SEC and South Florida is where I would be looking. Maybe even Miami or Fl St too.

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  5. #5
    SBR Lou
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    I'll take the Irish for a hundred please...

    And how fitting is this smilie...

  6. #6
    seaborneq
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    Oklahoma will mash this year, and run it up every chance they get. Should do very well against the spread.

  7. #7
    bigblue74
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    Bsu

  8. #8
    BadNina
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    I think Ole Miss will account for one to two upsets this year. Houston Nutt seems to have a knack for getting a higher caliber of talent from whatever players he has.

  9. #9
    Hollywood
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    Ole Miss, South Florida, Alabama, Colorado, Nebraska, Florida St, and Boston College are all good dark horse candidates. None will win the national championship, but all should do better than most expect.

  10. #10
    head_strong
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    East Carolina.....Skip will have this team ready starting opening day with VT in Charlotte, NC. The following week WVU better be ready when they go to Greenville, NC as this is the spot where I see an upset. With 15 returning starters (6 offense 9 defense) this team will be solid from top to bottom. After losing 1st Round draft pick Chris Johnson to the NFL I think expectations for this team will slide below the radar. That being said this team doesn't lack dept at the RB position, with 2 if not 3 backs that will be playing on Sunday's as well in the near future. If you can get a decent price on the Pirates to win C-USA I think that bet holds a lot of value.

  11. #11
    armyoflovers
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    Who cares, None are worth betting, OHIO STATE is ****ing taking the title this year baby. Watch out, USC on Sep 13th. Youre going DOWN!!!!

  12. #12
    VegasDave
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    SMU with June Jones will pay huge the first few weeks before people realize how good he and his system are and start jacking up the spreads.

  13. #13
    pavyracer
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    Georgia will go undeafeated this year. Don't waste your money on Notre Dame for sure. It's like saying the Yankees will win the World Series this year. It ain't happening.
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  14. #14
    ZBOIZ
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    Quote Originally Posted by pavyracer View Post
    Georgia will go undeafeated this year. Don't waste your money on Notre Dame for sure. It's like saying the Yankees will win the World Series this year. It ain't happening.
    I highly doubt that!!! You can chalk up 2 losses for Georgia

    FLORIDA

    LSU- THEY HAVE TO COME TO DEATH VALLEY!!!!!!!

  15. #15
    chandler1981
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    It is becomming more difficult every year for any team in the SEC to go undefeated.

    The talent gaps are closing and there are more very good coaches in the SEC than in the past.

    I think UGA will be damn good but hardly a dark horse, they are getting tons of respect. Possibly too much with an unproven young OL.

  16. #16
    mtneer1212
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    Favorites to win BCS conferences: West Virginia, Clemson, Florida, Oklahoma, USC, and Ohio St.

    Darkhorse Teams to spoil: So Fla/Pitt, UNC, Ole Miss, Texas Tech/Mizzou, Arizona/Cal, and Illinois.

    Non-BCS teams to fear: Utah/BYU, East Carolina, Boise St, and Florida Atlantic.

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