We're just a few days away from this year's Rose Bowl, and SBR is keeping an eye on how the lines have been moving for the matchup between Florida State and Oregon.
The NFL Playoffs have finally been decided, meaning there will be a lot of talk on the airwaves and out in cyberspace to begin the week about the upcoming road to the Super Bowl. Those games will have to take a backseat midweek when the first College Football Playoff gets underway, and cranks up smack-dab in the semifinal round starting with the Rose Bowl.
The Granddaddy of The All has certainly generated its share of hype over the past three weeks with a matchup between the Oregon Ducks and Florida State Seminoles, though that hasn't led to much change in the college football odds. Seeded second in the gridiron version of the Final Four, Oregon officially went out -9½ with that spread sliding a bit to stick at -9 for the last 7-10 days at many sports books.
The total, meanwhile, went from 71 to 72 a week ago when we first took a look at line movement in this clash, and now settled in-between at 71½.
A quick unofficial survey of wagering centers shows about 60% of the bets are coming in on the Seminoles, still the side I am taking for my NCAA football picks and have been since the get-go. Action on Florida State is on the uptick at a few spots, which could lead to the spread dropping to 8½ by the time we get to New Year's Eve.
'Noles Taking Aim At 30th-Straight Win
How much of Florida State's win streak, now standing at 29, is playing into the bettors taking the Seminoles and the points is unclear. What is clear is you won't often see any team going for a 30th consecutive victory in the underdog role, the first time in more than three years FSU has received points from the college football oddsmakers.
Jimbo Fisher's group certainly didn't perform well as the favorite in 2014, their backers dropping the cash in 10 of 13 trips to the window. A turnover-prone offense, directed by 2013 Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston, nearly ended the win streak on four occasions as Notre Dame, Miami (FL), Boston College and Florida nearly scored outright wins as the 'dogs. Of FSU's 27 turnovers, 17 were picks thrown by Winston.
The Seminoles' offense could be without a key contributor with tailback Karlos Williams listed as questionable still due to a concussion the senior suffered in the win over the Gators. Winston is going to have to avoid digging an early hole against a Ducks D that tallied 25 takeaways during the regular season.
Forecast Calls For Even Cooler Temps Than First Expected
What makes those 25 takeaways even more impressive is they came while Marcus Mariota and the Oregon go-squad gave it away just eight times, the fewest turnovers in the nation by three. This year's Heisman recipient was only picked off twice during the entire season while tossing 38 touchdowns, and brings a string of 130 consecutive passes without an interception into the playoffs.
Mariota enjoyed playing with a lead most of the season, but like Winston, the junior out of Honolulu still proved his mettle when games were on the line. He brought the Ducks back from 9-down in the second half against Michigan State way back in September, from an 11-point halftime deficit on this field against UCLA in October, and was a key factor in blowing open a tight game late at Utah in November.
We discussed the long-range weather forecast a week ago in our first installment on line movement, noting it was supposed to be on the cool side of the average for Pasadena on New Year's Day. Folks lining up to see the Tournament of Roses Parade that morning are now going to find it downright chilly with sunrise temps at or just above the freezing mark. The thermometer is only expected to reach the low-to-mid 50s at kickoff, a good 10º-12º cooler than normal, with a few clouds and light breeze.
SBR's live college football odds will continue to track all of the line movement for the Rose Bowl. Good luck with your wager.
Season: 63-46-1 (+12.40)