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College Football Betting Picks for Week Eight (10/24/2020)

At long last, Big Ten (and Mountain West) football is BACK. This weekend, opportunities to see sensational NFL prospects like Justin Fields, Pat Freiermuth, and Rashod Bateman will be littered across the television guide. If there was ever a Saturday to schedule a date with your couch and television, this might be the one.

Week Seven brought a disappointing 1-2 record. Temple overcame a slow start to hold off South Florida, but not by the margin that we needed, and Boston College faltered badly in primetime against Virginia Tech. Luckily, Western Kentucky and UAB nearly crossed the over in the first-half to notch our only win of last week. The season-long record is now 10-8, as we hope to end the two-week slide this week.

Week Eight's slate includes a few exciting games for teams making their season debuts. Here are some betting picks to follow along with as you enjoy another college football Saturday.


Rutgers at Michigan State (-13.5)

O/U: 44.5

Piscataway, New Jersey , has become the laughingstock of the Big Ten. Rutgers, losers of 21 straight conference games, made a big move this offseason by bringing back the program's most successful coach of all-time in Greg Schiano to lead the program once more. Schiano immediately hit the transfer portal to pick up players that could contribute right away such as 2nd team all-Big Ten returner and receiver Aron Cruickshank (Wisconsin), tight end Jovani Haskins (West Virginia) and five defensive linemen from Power 5 schools. Nearly 40% of the players on the 2020 roster are newcomers, and Schiano is beginning to generate a buzz. This infusion of talent will not turn Rutgers into a contender overnight, but it will give 2018 starting quarterback Artur Sitkowski, who took a redshirt year in 2019 to focus on his development, more weapons than any Rutgers quarterback has had since the program's days as a member of the Big East Conference.

The 2020 offseason was tumultuous in East Lansing. After Coach Mark Dantonio resigned, while the program was allegedly under investigation, the team's desperate coaching search for his successor had little success. With top options like Luke Fickell and Pat Narduzzi opting to stay with Cincinnati and Pitt, respectively, the Spartans took an unconventional and unusually late route hiring Mel Tucker away from Colorado in mid-February. The 48-year old Tucker had just wrapped up a 5-7 year in his first and only campaign in Boulder, but brings a strong defensive pedigree with NFL experience and collegiate experience as an understudy to Nick Saban and as Kirby Smart's defensive coordinator at Georgia. 2020 marks the start of a rebuild, replacing 14 starters from a year ago - a 7-6 team that had one of the least productive offenses in college football. Without the benefit of spring practice, and with position battles still ongoing through game week (Michigan State's quarterback race was still unsettled with four contenders), expectations may be at an all-time low for this program.

The Scarlet Knights have been beaten by the Spartans in their last six matchups, but this year's matchup between a pair of new coaches feels different. Sitkowski was a highly sought after quarterback recruit who has never had many weapons at his disposal, but has shown glimpses including a strong performance against Boston College last season. The speedy Cruickshank was underutilized at Wisconsin and should become the go-to option early on. Looking down the road, this game may be each team's most winnable game on the schedule, an opportunity that Coach Schiano will seek to maximize.

Pick: Rutgers +13.5

#3 Notre Dame at Pittsburgh (-13.5)

O/U: 44.5

The Fighting Irish overcame a mini-scare to hold off Louisville last week and preserve their spotless 4-0 record. The passing game still has some flaws, but the rushing attack has powered Notre Dame thus far. Sophomore Kyren Williams and freshman Chris Tyree lead the way as a fearsome duo of running backs that led an Irish rushing attack bulldozing Florida State to the tune of 353 rushing yards. The youngsters' success is made possible by the best offensive line in football, featuring at least five legitimate NFL draft prospects with multiple years of starting experience. Before last week's lackluster 12-7 win, the offense had seemingly been able to do as it pleased with comfortable wins over Duke, South Florida and Florida State. Senior quarterback Ian Book should be expected to bounce back from his poor performance last week to help the Irish passing attack compliment the elite rushing offense.

Pitt found out the hard way last week how difficult life could be without their star quarterback Kenny Pickett. Pickett, who was on his way to a campaign worthy of discussions in the Heisman race, was replaced by redshirt freshman Joey Yellen, a talented four-star transfer from Arizona State. Yellen looked nervous and floated a few throws in the first half, but settled in and seemingly became comfortable behind solid pass protection versus a staunch Miami defense. The Panthers' leading receiver is freshman sensation Jordan Addison, who is a threat to take any play to the house with his speed. The problem for Pitt, offensively, has been running the ball. Pickett had been arguably the team's biggest rushing threat up until his ankle injury, which is expected to keep him out of this week's contest. At one point, Pitt had five running backs designated as co-starters on its depth chart, to no success. In order to have a chance of upsetting the Irish, Pitt will need to develop some sort of threat on the ground to open up the passing game for Yellen.

The defenses for both teams, while rightly praised, have been torched for big plays quite a bit more than one would expect so far. Pitt, for instance, has the nation's leader in sacks (Patrick Jones II) and one of the most talented defensive lines in college football, but continually plays man-to-man press coverage on the outside with the undersized, but talented, 5-foot-8 cornerback Marquis Williams. If Coach Pat Narduzzi sticks to his stubborn defensive philosophy, Notre Dame will follow the blueprint set in their last three losses to North Carolina State, Boston College, and Miami, by attacking Williams and his fellow cornerback Jason Pinnock over and over again until they break a big play.

Pick: Over 44.5

Texas State at Brigham Young (BYU) (-28.5)

O/U: 61.5

Coach Jake Spavital, in his 2nd year commanding the Texas State Bobcats, is one of the youngest coaches in football at age 35. Spavital brought the air raid concept to San Marcos, which he embraced as Dana Holgorsen's offensive coordinator for two seasons at West Virginia. So far, the Bobcats' offense has had its fair share of success through the air, but the defense is ultimately holding the team back from winning more games. At quarterback, Brady McBride gives Coach Spavital the prototypical gunslinger that he's looking for his system, and McBride has done a good job of spreading the targets to senior receiver Jeremiah Haydel and five other pass-catchers with double digits receptions this year. On defense, the Bobcats allow nearly 450 yards of offense per game, and might need a miracle to keep BYU under their season average of 43 points per game. 

Junior quarterback Zach Wilson and the BYU Cougars are playing inspired football and are off to the first 5-0 start for the program since 2008. Head coach Kelani Sitake's team is firing on all cylinders, with a strong offense averaging over 43 points per game, and a solid defense pulling its weight in recent weeks with a convincing 43-26 win on the road at Houston. The offense, which is averaging a staggering 541 yards per game, should score at will in yet another favorable matchup against a lousy defense.

Another week, another large BYU spread. The Cougars are starting to garner College Football Playoff conversation, and for good reason. The team has convincingly dispatched of its opponents thus far in impressive fashion, and has shaped up the narrative for a second half push. The second half of the Cougars schedule, which features marquee games versus Boise State and San Diego State, will put their playoff resume to the test. Winning games like this in convincing fashion will be necessary if BYU wants to earn a spot in the prestigious playoff.

Pick: Over 61.5

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College Football Betting Expert Picks Week Seven (10/17/2020)

Alabama Head Coach Nick Saban contracted COVID-19, and it might not even be the biggest story in college football. This 2020 football season has brought so many unexpected turns of events that hall of fame coaches instructing their players over Zoom barely even registers.

Week Six brought a minor bump in the road, with a 1-2 record. Alabama got an unexpected scare before pulling away late in the second half from Ole Miss. Similarly, Notre Dame could not break loose of Florida State as the Seminoles covered the big spread behind a strong performance from quarterback Jordan Travis. Luckily in Provo, Utah, the UTSA Roadrunners gave the Cougars a scare before falling by a touchdown. The season-long record is now 9-6.

Week Seven gives us our last week of football before the Big Ten Conference starts play. Here are some betting picks to follow along with as you enjoy another college football Saturday.


South Florida at Temple (-10)

O/U: 54.5

Head Coach Jeff Scott spent the past five seasons as the co-offensive coordinator at Clemson before taking his first head coaching job with the South Florida Bulls. The 2020 season is off to an ugly start, with three losses by at least 20 points that followed a season-opening win over FCS-level The Citadel. Coach Scott is hoping to rejuvenate a once-proud program as he overhauled the staff and has hopes of developing a Clemson-like winning culture in Tampa. While the bumps and bruises of a young team will be felt throughout a low expectations year, Coach Scott hopes that his youth movement and young coaching staff, which is the youngest staff in the American Athletic Conference at an average age of 36.4, will pay dividends in the form of wins in the years to come.

The Temple Owls experienced significant turnover of their own this season when star defensive end Quincy Roche decided to transfer to Miami (FL). Roche is one of 8 starters from the Owls' 2019 defense who do not return this year. Despite this turnover, Coach Rod Carey feels confident that his defense can make enough stops and that his explosive offense will pace the team to a strong season. The offense is led by redshirt senior and third-year starting quarterback Anthony Russo. Russo threw for 21 touchdowns and 12 interceptions a season ago, and has high hopes for a strong senior campaign, when he lines up behind a sterling offensive line with 4 seniors. Temple will hope to make the Russo-to-Branden Mack connection early and often, as Mack had 7 catches and a touchdown in the opening loss to Navy. 

When in doubt, experience wins out. With the continuity of eight offensive starters back for a senior quarterback, the Temple Owls should expect to put up a flurry of points on a team that has allowed 52, 28 and 44 points in their three losses. Coach Jeff Scott is making inroads on the recruiting trail, but the talent is not yet on campus and the process will take a few years to rebuild the South Florida Bulls into an AAC contender.

Pick: Temple -10

Western Kentucky at Alabama-Birmingham (UAB) (-13.5)

O/U: 44.5

This Conference-USA matchup is a homecoming of sorts for Western Kentucky Head Coach Tyson Helton, who spent six seasons as the quarterbacks and running backs coach at UAB. Helton's Hilltoppers are off to a slow 1-3 start this season, with former Maryland quarterback Tyrrell Pigrome at the helm. Pigrome is an above-average runner and underrated passer who gets to play behind four multi-season starting offensive linemen. The difficulty that Western Kentucky has had this season surrounds a failure to capitalize in big moments. In the team's three losses, they've converted less than one-third of their 3rd down opportunities, while allowing their opponents to convert at a clip closer to 50%. Pigrome's efficiency (6 touchdowns and 0 interceptions so far in 2020) and the ability to turn long drives into touchdowns rather than field goals will be crucial for the Hilltoppers if they hope to pull off the upset.

The UAB Blazers go as far as their star running back Spencer Brown will carry them. Brown has gained over 100-yards rushing in three of the team's four games so far in 2020, and is the 2nd highest active rusher in the NCAA with over 3,500 yards. Longtime starting quarterback Tyler Johnston III is still expected to miss the game due to a non-throwing shoulder injury, opening the door once more for redshirt freshman Bryson Lucero. Head Coach Bill Clark has opened up the playbook each game a bit more for the young freshman, before he threw for three touchdowns (and three interceptions) against UTSA. Coach Clark showed faith in his young quarterback and the playbook should once again be wide open for Lucero to operate. 

This matchup presents a must-win for Western Kentucky if the Hilltoppers hope to stay alive in the conference championship game hunt. With so much on the line, expect Western Kentucky to take more risks which will hopefully show up on the scoreboard. With each passing week, UAB has given the passing game more responsibilities, while leaning on the running game and Spencer Brown. If Lucero can eliminate the turnovers from the last game against UTSA, this offense should easily top its 30.5 average points per game this season.

Pick: Over 44.5

Boston College at Virginia Tech (-12)

O/U: 62

Boston College is off to an impressive 3-1 start under first-year Head Coach Jeff Hafley. Hafley has relied heavily on his Notre Dame transfer quarterback Phil Jurkovec, who has thrown for 8 touchdowns and 2 interceptions this year. Jurkovec's top two targets - wide receiver Zay Flowers and tight tend Hunter Long - came up big in last week's 1-point overtime win over Pitt and will have to be a priority for the Hokies to hone in on. Boston College's defense has been a "bend, don't break" defense all season that has notched at least one interception in each game this season. The strong defensive backfield will hope to take advantage of the uneven Hokie quarterback play in 2020.

The Virginia Tech Hokies got pummeled last week in Chapel Hill by North Carolina. The defense had no solution for the Tar Heels' running game in the 56-45 loss. While the defense is in shambles, the offense has been churning at a prolific pace behind running back Khalil Herbert, a Kansas transfer, and his 10.4 yards per carry. At quarterback, junior Hendon Hooker missed the first two games after recovering from COVID-19, but returned in the loss to North Carolina. Hooker's performance was a mixed bag, with two touchdowns, but a meager 53.8% completion percentage.

Year in, year out, the Virginia Tech Hokies garner nationwide media attention and hype. For many years under Coach Frank Beamer, this hype was justified and warranted. Now, under Coach Justin Fuente, the hype is far less warranted, with only one ten-win season to his name. Boston College, meanwhile, has found a rhythm under arguably its best quarterback since Matt Ryan, and should cause problems for the Hokie defense all afternoon.

Pick: Boston College +12

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CFB Expert Betting Picks for Week Six (10/10/2020)

A thrilling Week Five in college football brought down seven ranked opponents and served as a running board for potential Heisman campaigns for quarterbacks like Kyle Trask of Florida and Zach Wilson of BYU. Even with the familiar faces of Clemson, Alabama and Georgia occupying the top 3 slots of the rankings, college football has proven unpredictable in 2020 with a host of upsets and new teams ready to make their mark.

Week Five was successful for anyone who tailed the expert picks last week. SMU took a big halftime lead, and was luckily able to hold off a Memphis rally in the second half, Boston College gave the North Carolina Tar Heels a scare, Clemson and Virginia combined for a boatload of points, and Central Arkansas nearly handed North Dakota State its first loss since 2017 to give us a 4-0 day. The 4-0 record was much needed, and brings the season-long tally to 8-4.

Week six is here as we are nearing the mid-way point of this circuitous and unpredictable fall college football season. Here are some betting picks to follow along with as you enjoy another college football Saturday.


#2 Alabama at Ole Miss (+24)

O/U: 70.5

Alabama head coach Nick Saban's Crimson Tide have cruised in the early going with easy wins over Missouri and Texas A&M, both buoyed by quick starts out of the gate. Quarterback Mac Jones graduated last December with a perfect 4.0 GPA midway through only his 3rd year on campus, and is pursuing a master's degree in sports hospitality, with eyes towards a secondary master's degree in marketing down the road. On the field he has been similarly prolific, throwing for 684 yards, 6 touchdowns and only 1 interception in the two wins, and his trio of star receivers Jaylen Waddle, DeVonta Smith and John Metchie have been similarly spectacular. The explosive offense was on display last week with a 78-yard touchdown pass from Jones to Metchie on the opening drive, and later an 87-yard score from Jones to Waddle, which was Waddle's third 75+ yard touchdown reception as a member of the Alabama football team.

Under new head coach Lane Kiffin, the Ole Miss Rebels have jumped out to a 1-1 start, losing to Florida in the opener, but knocking off Kentucky in overtime last week. Expectations entering the year were low, and young sophomore quarterback Matt Corral has done his part to exceed expectations with 715 yards, 7 touchdowns and only 1 interception through two games. Corral has been targeting his go-to receiver Elijah Moore quite a bit (20 receptions on 24 targets), and has a talented young running back in Jerrion Ealy in tow. With the young exciting offense, things are on the upwards trajectory in Oxford. The defense, meanwhile, has holes that they will need to patch up fast if they hope to keep up with the Crimson Tide. Over their first two games, the Rebels have allowed 92 points and 1,201 total yards of offense. A repeat of that poor defensive performance could spell disaster against the high-flying Alabama offense this weekend.

Since his year first year at Alabama in 2007, Nick Saban has coached in 20 games against his former assistants, including Jimbo Fisher and Kirby Smart. Saban gets to face off against his former offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin for the first time as a head coach, and you should expect the game to go about as smoothly as the last 20 games that Saban has played against former assistants - all wins, only two of which were by single digits (2017 National Championship and 2018 SEC Championship, both over Georgia). In 2018, Alabama started the season 10-0 against the first half spread, and in 2019, the Crimson Tide were again positive going 8-4 in the regular season against the first half spread. With Saban's infamous fast starts and Ole Miss' middling young defense, expect this game to get ugly in a hurry.

Pick: Alabama 1st half -13.5

Florida State at #5 Notre Dame (-20.5)

O/U: 52

The unmitigated train wreck that is Florida State football under first-year coach Mike Norvell should have been at least partially expected. Norvell, who came to Tallahassee after a successful four year run with the Memphis Tigers, had a tumultuous offseason which included claims from players about miscommunication about social justice protests and the program's COVID-19 safety protocols. After having been called out by several players, including star defensive tackle Marvin Wilson, things started to settle down until the team dropped its season opener to Georgia Tech, who had gone 3-9 in 2019 and are in the years-long process of recruiting new players to adjust from an option-running offense to a pro style offense. That was followed up by an lifeless 42-point embarrassment against their "in-state rival" Miami. Even last week, the Seminoles were trailing Jacksonville State - an FCS foe - at halftime before pulling away to garner their first win of the year. Sensing the season spinning out of control, Norvell has moved on from longtime quarterback James Blackman to an expected combination of true freshman Tate Rodemaker and redshirt sophomore Jordan Travis. Across the depth chart, the team is littered with first and second year players, as the rebuilding process has taken front stage in yet another lost cause of a season in Florida's capital.

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish had their first COVID-19 postponement when their September 26 game against Wake Forest was pushed back to December 12. With a two week lay-off, Coach Brian Kelly has had ample time to prepare for the 'Noles, and the team should be hungry to see the field again. The Irish are led by their senior signal caller Ian Book, an undersized "gamer" who has played a key part of their 2-0 start. One key advantage in this game for Notre Dame is experience - particularly up front. Notre Dame may have the nation's top offensive line, with four seniors and five legitimate NFL draft prospects starting up front and paving lanes for sophomore running back Kyren Williams, who is the only underclassman starting on offense. The talented defense, which pitched a 52-0 shutout of South Florida, is built similarly with talented safety Kyle Hamilton the only starting underclassman.

Only a few times each year does Notre Dame get to experience a home game under the lights, made possible by an NBC initiative in 2017 to improve Notre Dame Stadium's lighting. Defensive coordinator Clark Lea and his vaunted defense have held Notre Dame's opponents to under 30 points in 27-of-28 games in charge. Expect Lea's and Notre Dame's success to continue in an easy home win against a team still searching for its identity.

Pick: Notre Dame -20.5

Texas San-Antonio (UTSA) at #15 Brigham Young (BYU) (-35)

O/U: 63

The UTSA Roadrunners have charged to a 3-1 start to the Coach Jeff Traylor's first season, on the heels of talented sophomore running back Sincere McCormick, who leads the FBS with 527 yards on the ground. Close wins over Texas State and Middle Tennessee State were made possible by the team's underrated special teams play. Kicker Hunter Duplessis has converted his last 18 field goal attempts, marking the top current active streak in the country, and punter Lucas Dean ranks second in Conference-USA in average yards per punt. Since joining the FBS in 2011, UTSA has faced off against five ranked opponents and have covered the spread in four of those games. Unfortunately, quarterback Josh Adkins broke his collarbone on the first play from scrimmage against UAB, forcing UTSA to turn to its 3rd and 4th string quarterbacks. Luckily, however, junior quarterback Frank Harris, who started the team's first 3 games, is expected back after he missed the team's loss to UAB with a knee injury. Harris has taken the majority of first-team reps in practice this week, and will hope to re-spark the Roadrunnners offense. If Harris, a talented dual-threat quarterback who accounted for 8 touchdowns in two and a half games played, is playing at 100%, then UTSA should be able to find creative ways to keep the ball moving against a strong BYU defense.

BYU has been the most dominant team in 2020, with Coach Kelani Sitake's team beating Navy, Troy and Louisiana Tech by a combined 124 points. On offense, junior quarterback Zach Wilson has completed 85% (949 yards, 6 touchdowns, 1 interception), and has added 5 scores on the ground in an effort that is sure to garner early Heisman voters' attention. Wilson's favorite target has been junior receiver Gunner Romney, a distant relative of Utah senator Mitt Romney, who has opened the 2020 campaign with three consecutive 100-yard games. As strong as the offense has been, the defense has matched it punch-for-punch. The Cougars' defense ranks first in the country allowing a mere 214 yards of offense per game, narrowly ahead of the Pitt Panthers, and fourth in the country allowing only 8 points per game. This defensive performance is unlikely to continue against more formidable offenses like the Roadrunners' but provides BYU with a high floor in their hopes of sneaking into the College Football Playoff.

Do not expect a close game - BYU clearly has UTSA overmatched and will coast to victory. However, passing up a spread this high would be inadvisable. UTSA has an exciting offense and should be able to get a few scores on the board to keep this game within the large spread. On the backs of Harris and McCormick, expect the Roadrunners to keep this game in check, before falling away late.

Pick: UTSA +35

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CFB Expert Betting Picks for Week Five (10/3/2020)

Week Four of the fall college football season was a thriller. Texas managed to overcome a double-digit deficit in the final minutes to stave off Texas Tech's upset bid, whereas fellow Big 12 titan Oklahoma was shocked at home against Kansas State.

Week Four was an unfortunate bump in the road for the record, with a 1-2 performance. Kansas State's monumental second half comeback to knock off Oklahoma easily surpassed the over. However, Auburn came to play as they easily dispatched of Kentucky, and Liberty narrowly knocked down Florida International, but failed to cover the 7-point spread. On the season, the picks have been 4-4, with Week Five presenting an opportunity to get back in the green.

In week five, a wide array of competitive conference games awaits us. Here are some betting picks to follow along with as you enjoy another Saturday of college football.


#25 Memphis at Southern Methodist (+2)

O/U: 74

The Memphis Tigers enter this week at 1-0, having beaten Arkansas State in their season opener, only to not play for 28 days. New coach Ryan Silverfield inherited a strong returning cast of players from Mike Norvell's 2019 squad, and the offense is the key. Quarterback Brady White and his top receiver Damonte Coxie are among the most feared pass-catching duo in the nation and will be trying to take the top off of the SMU defense all day. While the Memphis defense leaves plenty to be desired, this offense is one of the best in the country and will challenge American Athletic Conference (AAC) defenses all season long.

Senior quarterback Shane Buechele has had a strong start to the season, with 852 passing yards and 7 touchdowns. The Mustangs are 3-0 entering conference play, with this game having been circled months ago as their top target. While SMU's offense is the strength of the team, their special teams have created some spark plays including a blocked punt last week for a safety. On the ground, Ulysses Bentley is averaging 126.7 yards per game, and 10.6 yards per carry. Wide receiver Reggie Roberson on the outside has stepped in nicely to fill the absence of top receiver James Proche, a current Baltimore Raven, from a year ago.

In the 2019 edition of this top tier AAC showdown, Memphis held off SMU at home in front of a College GameDay crowd in a 54-48 game. In that game, all-around playmaker Antonio Gibson had an astounding 386 all-purpose yards. Gibson is now with the Washington Football Team, and Memphis after a long lay-off also will be without his backup last season in running back Kenneth Gainwell. The offensive play in this game should be prolific and this should be a must-watch for anyone who likes a flurry of points and big plays.

Pick: SMU +3


#11 North Carolina at Boston College (+14)

O/U: 54

When Coach Mack Brown decided to return to UNC as a 67-year old first-year head coach in 2019, skeptics were aplenty. A season later with a bowl win under his belt and a superstar sophomore quarterback in Sam Howell leading the team, expectations are sky-high for the Tar Heels. After their September 12 win over Syracuse, the team's second game was cancelled due to a COVID-19 outbreak decimating a full position group for their anticipated opponent - the Charlotte 49ers. After a 3-week layoff, Coach Brown's team heads north for its first road game of the year. Brown will hope that the aerial attack of Howell, and his talented trio of receivers Dyami Brown, Dazz Newsome and Beau Corrales can score in bunches to offset an uneven defense which has 6 underclassmen starting.

Boston College survived a strong upset bid from Texas State to win on a last-second 36-yard field goal by Aaron Boumerhi, a former Temple graduate transfer, last week. The Eagles have jumped to a quick 2-0 start behind very strong defensive play, a solid rushing attack, and a steady hand at quarterback in Notre Dame transfer Phil Jurkovec. In the team's season-opening beatdown of Duke, the balanced offensive attack gave Coach Jeff Hafley an easy first win at the helm. While game two was much more difficult, the fourth quarter comeback led by Jurkovec and tight end Hunter Long showed the offensive potential this team can have when running on all cylinders.

Reviving Tar Heels football will not happen overnight, and Coach Brown's job of taking them to a 7-6 record in 2019 was impressive in its own right. The high expectations that national and local media are putting on this team seem a bit unfair, aggressive and undeserved. The Tar Heels very well could contend for the ACC next season when Clemson has to replace Trevor Lawrence and Travis Etienne, but for the time being they appear to be a second or third tier team not yet worthy of ACC Championship discussion.

Pick: Boston College +14


Virginia at #1 Clemson (-28)

O/U: 55

When Virginia won the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Coastal Division, it marked the seventh time in seven seasons that a different team won the division. After watching Duke, Georgia Tech, North Carolina Pitt, Miami and hated rival Virginia Tech get their coastal trophies, the "Hoos" and Coach Bronco Mendenhall finally joined the group. The 2019 offense was paced by Bryce Perkins, a do-it-all quarterback who is irreplaceable. This year, lefty Brennan Armstrong is trying to replicate Perkins' success with a similar dual-threat style, which he put to good use in a convincing 38-20 win to kick off the season over Duke. The defense took advantage of the Blue Devils to the tune of 5 interceptions, with hopes of putting a little bit of fear into Trevor Lawrence this weekend.

Coach Dabo Swinney's run of excellence with the Clemson Tigers is downright marvelous. Clemson has appeared in each of the last five national championship games and is a favorite to make an appearance once again in 2020. Through two games, the Tigers offense has started fast and eased up after having significant leads over Wake Forest and The Citadel. Lawrence and star running back Travis Etienne have largely taken a back seat, playing in the first halves and sitting the majority of the second halves this season. Virginia brings a unique opponent that will challenge the Tigers from the start. If Virginia can keep the Clemson starters on the field, Clemson might be able to reach the total for this game on their own - as they did in the teams' last matchup.

The last time these teams met, the 2019 ACC Championship game, the outcome of the game was decided well before the 62-17 final score flashed on the scoreboard. Virginia was just happy to be there, while Clemson was chasing yet another national title game appearance.

Pick: Over 55


Bonus Game: Central Arkansas at North Dakota State (-23)

The Football Championship Subdivision pushed its season to the spring, while many conferences allowed its teams to pursue additional nonconference games in the fall. Central Arkansas took this as an opportunity to fill up a full fall and spring season, and to pocket some additional funds from FBS teams to help its athletic department. In this game, the Bears, who are 2-1 face off against the defending champion Bison. For the Bears, keep an eye on quarterback Breylin Smith and his talented receivers Tyler Hudson and Lujuan Winningham. For the Bison, much of the fanfare around potential NFL first-round quarterback Trey Lance is justified, having gone for 28 passing touchdowns and zero interceptions in his first season as a starter in 2019. While the Bison will be rightly favored in this game, many teams have experienced bumps in the road when facing off against teams with games under their belt. Having the advantage of already suiting up for a few games this year, expect the Bears to come out firing and hungry at the FargoDome.

Pick: Central Arkansas +23

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CFB Expert Betting Picks for Week Four (9/26/2020)

Week Four of the 2020 fall college football season is upon us. In recent days, both the Mountain West and Mid-American Conferences have publicly pondered a return to collegiate sports this fall, following the lead of the Big Ten who announced its return about a week ago. The prospect of a Tuesday night MAC-tion game in Ypsilanti between Ball State and Eastern Michigan should excite even the most casual college football fan.

In week two, our record was 1-1, due to the unfortunate cancellation of the Baylor-Houston game, a game we almost certainly would have won. Baylor has now had three games cancelled, and Houston has had a stunning five games cancelled because of COVID-19 related reasons. On a positive note, the Pitt offense played just as tepidly as we hoped to allow the Syracuse Orange to cover a large spread, whereas Wake Forest's defense was unable to slow down the North Carolina State Wolfpack on our way to our only narrow defeat last week.

In week four, we will take a look at some high-flying offenses and our first peek at the SEC, who returns to play this week. Here are a few betting picks to follow along with as you enjoy another Saturday of college football.


Kansas State at #3 Oklahoma (-28)

O/U: 61

One of the most thrilling college football games of 2019 was Kansas State's stunning 48-41 upset over Oklahoma. The Wildcats return quarterback Skylar Thompson, who has made 28 career starts. Coach Chris Klieman, who came to Kansas State in 2019 after a dominant run in charge of FCS-powerhouse North Dakota State, had a promising 8-5 2019 campaign. The Wildcats must replace their top rusher and receiver from a year ago, but proved in the season-opening loss to Arkansas State that the offense should continue to thrive. The defense, which gave up 35 to Arkansas State, is another story. Replacing three of four starting defensive linemen created a gash along the line that the team is still trying to adjust to on the fly. An interesting fact - Kansas State allowed its opponents to score on 97.06% of their trips to the red zone, ranking dead last in the nation.

Lincoln Riley is one of the finest offensive minds in college football, and he seemingly has another star quarterback on his hands in redshirt freshman Spencer Rattler. Rattler and the Sooners' offense was dominant against Missouri State in the opener, displaying a proficient ground and air attack. Under Coach Riley's command, Oklahoma only scored under 30 points in one game last season, and star receivers Charleston Rambo and Theo Howard provide Rattler targets that will allow him to strive for that once more. As is the case with many Big 12 teams, the defense has some holes. Star linebacker Kenneth Murray became an NFL first round pick, and while the team did allow Missouri State to a mere 135 yards, you have to consider that the Missouri State Bears are a rebuilding team with Bobby Petrino in his first season as coach.

With two middle-of-the-road defenses, and two prolific quarterbacks, a repeat of last season's shootout is certainly possible. Oklahoma eased up, holding the ball for over 10 minutes in the final 3 quarters, and still managed a 48-0 win. If both offenses are sharp, expect points to fill up the board in a classic Big 12 matchup.

Pick: Over 61


#23 Kentucky at #8 Auburn (-7.5)

O/U: 49.5

Kentucky is certainly a blue-blood basketball school, but head coach Mark Stoops is doing a great job of dispelling that one-sport perception. Stoops has taken the Wildcats to four straight bowls and is 18-8 in his last two seasons, while playing in the gauntlet that is the SEC. In recent year's, Kentucky has built its strength on a strong pass rush on defense, with a solid rushing attack on offense. This season is no different, with stud edge rushers Josh Paschal and Jamar Watson hoping to make the same leap that linebacker Josh Allen made a few seasons ago before becoming a top 10 draft pick in the NFL draft. In 2019, the defense ranked 14th in the country in scoring defense, and returns 7 starters. On offense, the Lynn Bowden experience came to an end when he graduated and became a third round pick in the NFL draft. Bowden was arguably the team's best quarterback, running back, and wide receiver at stretches of last season and will be impossible to replace. 2018 starting quarterback Terry Wilson returns from a devastating knee injury last season, and has a strong stable of running backs at his disposal - Asim Rose, Kavosiey Smoke, and Christopher Rodriguez - that will find plenty of holes behind a top-flight offensive line with four experienced starters back. 

Auburn broke in a true freshman quarterback last season and managed a 9-4 record which included stunning wins over Oregon and Alabama, and losses to four ranked opponents. Sophomore Bo Nix should be more consistent than he was last season, but the engines that led this team were the defense and running back JarTarvious Whitlow. Whitlow is now at Western Illinois, while the defense lost 7 starters, including dominant defensive linemen Derrick Brown and Marlon Davidson. Sophomore running back DJ Williams will hope to replace Whitlow's output, but the defense will be much more difficult to patch together without having had the benefit of a spring practice. There is still plenty of firepower for Coach Guz Malzahn's defense - such as junior cornerback Roger McCreary and senior edge rusher Big Kat Bryant - but retooling the defense and replacing all five offensive line starters is a tall task.

A season ago, the Auburn Tigers had mild expectations with a true freshman quarterback, and rode their defense to a strong campaign. This year, if the pieces on defense meld together and Malzahn can find five linemen to keep Nix standing up, they have a chance to repeat that. This feels like too many things need to fall into place for success, and Kentucky should have plenty of success on the ground on Saturday.

Pick: Kentucky +7.5


Florida International at Liberty (-7)

O/U: 59

Coach Butch Davis, who is the last head coach to take the Cleveland Browns to the playoffs, enters his fourth season at FIU having had plenty of success and sporting a 23-16 record. The 2019 Panthers had two players taken in the NFL draft, including quarterback James Morgan, arguably the best quarterback in program history. On the first depth chart of the season, FIU has 3 co-starters listed at quarterback. As the saying goes, "if you have a ton of quarterbacks, you really have none." The offense returns only 3 starters, while the defense must replace 5. FIU has not won a season opener under Davis, and failed to win a road game last season (the Panthers' upset of Miami last season was technically a home game, despite the schools being a mere 10 miles apart). Outside linebacker Rocky Jacques-Louis is a player to keep an eye on for his pass rushing ability, and his A-grade name.

Liberty had an impressive 8-5 record in Hugh Freeze's first season as coach, and led the 2020 season off with a road upset of Western Kentucky as 14-point underdogs. Replacing 2019's star quarterback-wide receiver duo of Steven Calvert and Antonio Gandy-Golden was not expected to be easy, but Auburn transfer quarterback Malik Wills is making a smooth transition. Wills, a dual threat quarterback, notched 133 yards through the air and 168 yards on the ground, to complement running back Joshua Mack's 100 yards and lead the Flames to victory. Senior wide receiver DJ Stubbs always played second fiddle to Gandy-Golden but has two years of starting experience and will be a weapon throughout for Wills to utilize. On defense, the Flames do have some worries as they replace 7 starters, but does have star-power with defensive end TreShaun Clark, and the defense held Western Kentucky to under 300 yards.

This will will be the first-ever matchup between these two teams. Malik Wills, running behind an experienced offensive line with four seniors, is going to be a difficult matchup for FIU. Coach Hugh Freeze has never lost at Liberty when allowing less than 20 points in a game, and FIU's uncertainty at quarterback creates a massive question mark as to the direction of their offense.

Pick: Liberty -7

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CFB Expert Betting Picks for Week Three (9/19/2020)

Entering week three of the fall college football season, there have been a fair share of upsets, and pandemonium. The Sun Belt went 3-0 against the Big 12, the Big Ten announced that they will be re-starting their fall season in late October, and the Mountain West Conference is also considering following them back with an abbreviated 8-game fall season as well. With news moving so fast around college football, if you blink you might miss something big.

Last week, we got out to a 2-1 start for the year. The humming offenses of Arkansas State and Kansas State easily surpassed the total with ease, and Charlotte stuck with Appalachian State until the upset bid fell apart in the fourth quarter losing by 15 to still cover that spread. Unfortunately, Notre Dame stumbled out of the gate and was in close game with Duke until late in the second half, a result that could be attributed to the team's nervousness playing in their first conference game ever last week (Coach Brian Kelly said in the postgame interview that the Fighting Irish would return to their Independent status in 2021, likely due to fear of losing to teams like Duke in the future conference play).

This week's slate features several exciting match-ups, with Heisman hopefuls and the start of conference championship chases. Here are a few betting picks to follow along with as you enjoy another Saturday of college football.


Syracuse at Pittsburgh (-21.5)

O/U: 50.5

For those who have not had the opportunity, a drive up Interstate-81 through Syracuse and Upstate New York is a sight to behold with the changing of the leaves in autumn. However, Coach Dino Babers' Syracuse Orange football team has been quite the opposite over the past two seasons with poor recruiting and dismal offensive line play cratering the team last year. As recently as 2018, Syracuse sported a 10-3 record, and was one season removed from taking down the ACC's crown jewel Clemson. In the opener, the Orange took the North Carolina Tar Heels to the fourth quarter in a close game only to give up a trio of fourth-quarter touchdowns. Syracuse managed to force two interceptions, and ball hawk safety Andre Cisco will be hoping to notch another pick versus the Panthers.

Under Coach Pat Narduzzi, the Pitt Panthers have a 37-29 record, and have won 24 conference games in that span - a total that only trails Miami and Clemson. Quarterback Kenny Pickett and the offense were able to do anything they wanted to in an easy 55-0 season-opening win over FCS-level Austin Peay. Even after talented defensive tackle Jaylen Twyman opted out of the fall season to prepare for the draft, the Panthers return a very deep defense that only allowed Austin Peay one net rushing yard in their opener last week. While Coach Narduzzi has stated that he expects all of his starters back this week, the ACC COVID-19 protocols may not allow that. The ACC requires players who test positive for COVID to quarantine for 10 days, and the Panthers missed seven players for undisclosed reasons relating to potential positive COVID-19 tests or contact tracing against the Governors last week including starting defensive linemen Rashad Weaver and Keyshon Camp. Even with the Panthers' depth along the defensive line, this will be an item to keep a close eye on this week.

Despite Pitt's recent success in this rivalry between two northeastern ACC teams, the games are always played close. Pitt has won 15 of the past 18 games against the Orange and clearly come in with the superior talent in this game, but the Orange and Panthers have played six of the last eight match-ups to single digit margins of victory.

Pick: Syracuse +21.5


Houston at Baylor (-4.5)

O/U: 62

2019 was a lost cause for Houston under Coach Dana Holgorsen's first year at the helm. After a 1-3 start to the season, a few of the team's key players including quarterback D'Eriq King decided to sit the remainder of the season to redshirt and preserve a season of eligibility. With King having transferred to Miami in the off-season, junior Clayton Tune will retain the starting gig from a year ago. Tune struggled at times, and ended the season with a 59.1% completion percentage and a mere 11 touchdowns to 9 interceptions. Tune does have star receiver Marquez Stevenson, who led the FBS with nine receptions of 50 yards or more and is always a threat to take to break an explosive play. Unfortunately for Coach Holgorsen, a defense that could not seemingly stop anyone last year does not look very improved and may be a sore spot for the Cougars all season long.

The Baylor Bears were one of the best stories in college football last season, making their first appearance in a Big 12 Conference Championship game, an 11-3 record and a Sugar Bowl appearance. After such a successful campaign and overseeing a 1-11 to 11-3 transition in just two seasons, former Coach Matt Rhule took a leap to take the head coaching position for the NFL's Carolina Panthers. Rhule was replaced by former LSU defensive coordinator Dave Aranda, who has the benefit of getting back fourth-year starting quarterback Charlie Brewer - a talented dual-threat signal caller. Top receiver Denzel Mims is now with the New York Jets, but the Bears do return plenty of play-makers on the outside like junior Tyquan Thornton - a potential All-Big 12 breakout receiver.

With Aranda's focus on defense, and the patchwork offensive line of the Cougars, this game could get ugly in a hurry. One key player to keep an eye on is edge rusher William Bradley-King, an Arkansas State graduate transfer, who had 13.5 tackles for loss and 8.5 sacks a season ago and will be used as a disruptive situational pass rusher for Baylor. Expect Baylor's defense to pressure Tune to the tune of a few costly turnovers and the experienced quarterback Brewer to guide the offense in the Bears' season opener.

Pick: Baylor -4.5


Wake Forest at North Carolina State (-2.5)

O/U: 52.5

In 2019, Wake Forest had enviable quarterback depth with the talented dual-threat quarterback Jamie Newman, backed up by 2018 starter Sam Hartman. After Newman decided to transfer to Georgia (and subsequently opted out of the 2020 season to prepare for the draft), the Demon Deacons were still in good hands with the steady Hartman at the helm. Wake Forest was dealt a difficult hand in their opening game suffering a 37-13 defeat at the hands of Clemson at home. Coach Dave Clawson has lead his team with a steady hand - guiding Wake Forest to four consecutive bowl game appearances for the first time in program history.

The North Carolina State Wolfpack endured a miserable 2019 season due to injury, inconsistency, and one of the worst defenses in college football. The Wolfpack only win over a Power 5 school was a 16-10 home win over Syracuse. Coach Dave Doeren is entering his 8th year in charge in Raleigh, and the temperature on his seat has been getting hotter as the 2020 season approaches. For a school that has five current quarterbacks in the NFL (Phillip Rivers, Russel Wilson, Jacoby Brissett, Ryan Finley and Mike Glennon), the results at the position last year had to be disheartening. Devin Leary is a redshirt sophomore this season, with hopes of showing significant improvement over last year's 8 touchdowns to 5 interceptions. Leary's top target will be tight end Cary Angeline, who is a legitimate NFL prospect on a team with a dearth of potential pro talent.

Losing to Clemson by 24 points is a respectable result for Wake Forest, who have experienced a resurgence under Coach Clawson. The offense, led by Hartman and the running back tandem of Christian Beal-Smith and Kenneth Walker, will be difficult for most average ACC teams to contain. Luckily for the Demon Deacon and their star edge rusher Carlos "Boogie" Basham, the Wolfpack are in the midst of a total rebuilding project and present a good opportunity to notch their first win of the abbreviated 2020 fall season.

Pick: Wake Forest +2.5

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CFB Betting Expert Picks for Week One (9/12/2020)

Congratulations, our long national nightmare is over. After an 8-month hiatus, college football is finally back. This week, and every week, we will take a look at some of college football's best available bets on the board.

Each week will bring its bumps, bruises, and unexpected turns in the age of COVID. In the first college football game of the year, for example, Austin Peay played without their top long snapper forcing the quarterback to have to pooch punt for the remainder of the game. Small adjustments like these can make or break a week, and we'll do our part to stay on top of the nuances to bring some of the best picks to you each week.

This week brings the first games for the ACC and Big 12 conferences in this 2020 fall college football season. Without further ado, here are some of my favorite picks for Week 1 of the 2020 college football season.


Charlotte at Appalachian State (-17)

O/U: 59

The 2-hour trip up Interstate-77 is a commute that both Charlotte and Appalachian State have had long interest in making an annual trip, but logistically have been unable to squeeze into a long-term annual contract. In each of the past two seasons, Appalachian State has shown its potent offensive firepower outscoring the 49ers 101 to 50, and now breaks in its third different head coach in as many years when Shawn Clark patrols the sideline for the first time. Third-year starting quarterback Zac Thomas has had a prolific career in Boone, North Carolina, but was dealt a big blow when star receiver Corey Sutton decided to opt out of the fall season in the fall. While the offense should still operate at a high level, with 7 returning starters, the concerns start on defense. Star linebacker Akeem Davis-Gaither, a fourth round draft pick by the Cincinnati Bengals, is irreplaceable and is one of 6 defensive starters gone from last year's team.

The Charlotte 49ers had a highly successful 2019 campaign under first-year head coach Will Healy as they made their first-ever bowl game appearance. Healy, who oversaw a monumental transformation of a middling Austin Peay program prior to joining Charlotte last year, will have to replace a few key contributors from 2019, including All-Conference USA defensive end Alex Highsmith, and two-time 1,000-yard rusher Benny LeMay. Luckily, help on the way on offense as Northern Illinois graduate transfer Tre Harbison (2 consecutive 1,000-yard seasons for the Wolfpack) joined the team in the spring to shore up the running game, while quarterback Chris Reynolds returns his top two receivers in Victor Tucker and Cam Dollar. On defense, Charlotte returns 7 starters, and gets a huge boost with two sixth-year senior stars in defensive end Tyriq Harris and safety Ben DeLuca who both missed 2019 with injury.

Appalachian State is overwhelmingly favored to conquer the Sun Belt, with a legitimate chance of posting a perfect 11-0 record. Having to replace three of four linebackers, and two three-year starters in the defensive backfield will be a difficult task for the Mountaineers in their quest for a perfect season.

Pick: Charlotte +17


Duke at Notre Dame (-20)

O/U: 53.5

Coach David Cutcliffe is one of the longest-tenured coaches in college football, having been at the helm of Duke since December 2017. Duke's 72-79 record in those 12 seasons perfectly encapsulates the consistency that Cutcliffe has brought to an otherwise middling program that had a combined 19 wins in the 12 years prior to his arrival. The Blue Devils enter 2020 with a new quarterback in Clemson transfer Chase Brice, for whom the team has high expectations this year. Unfortunately, Duke received a bad piece of news when All-ACC center Jack Wohlabaugh suffered a serious right knee injury. Coincidentally, Wohlabaugh's injury replacement is redshirt junior Will Taylor, who was the new quarterback's center at Grayson High School in Loganville, Georgia.

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish are led by their fifth-year senior quarterback and marketing major Ian Book. Book took over as the starting quarterback midway through the 2018 season, en route to a prolific 2019 season in which the captain was threw for 34 touchdowns and just 6 interceptions as the team's offensive player of the year. Entering 2020 as an early Heisman contender, Book will have plenty of help up front with all five primary starting offensive linemen - Liam Eichenberg, Aaron Banks, Jarrett Patterson, Tommy Kraemer and Robert Hainsey - returning for another season in South Bend. The road-grading group up front paved the way for lead back Tony Jones Jr. to average over 6 yards per carry last year and will open holes for whichever young back takes over for Jones this season.

With the South Bend weather forecasting rain and overcast skies, the running game will be crucial to deciding this game's fate. Behind the stout offensive line, the weather and overall talent level vastly favors the Fighting Irish.

Pick: Notre Dame -10 first half


Arkansas State at Kansas State (-11)

O/U: 54.5

The Arkansas State Red Wolves stumbled in their opener last week at Memphis, but showed some flashes that should keep bettors excited about this team's prospects. Starting quarterback Logan Bonner, a junior who started four games in 2019 before injury, had two costly interceptions and looked lost against the Memphis defense. Coach Blake Andersen turned to his backup, Alabama transfer Layne Hatcher, who led the Red Wolves down the field catching an immediate connection with former Oklahoma transfer Dahu Green on the outside. Last season under the Bonner-Hatcher duo, Arkansas State ranked 10th in the nation in passing yards per game (312) and 26th in points per game (33.7). The defense, which ranked 114th in points allowed per game (34.2) remains suspect. 

Coach Chris Klieman worked wonders with Kansas State last year in his first season at the FBS level, after leading North Dakota State to four consecutive FCS championship appearances. The Wildcats are led by dual-threat quarterback Skylar Thompson, who threw for 12 touchdowns and ran for 11 more in 2019. An interesting tidbit to keep an eye on - the Wildcats have scored the most non-offensive touchdowns in the nation since 1999 with 118. 

Kansas State will be caught up in its fair share of high-scoring affairs playing in the Big 12 this season, and it makes sense that this game should be another one of those types of games.

Pick: Over 54.5

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CFB Expert Heisman Futures Betting Picks

Despite a smaller field of teams playing college football this fall, decision-makers have confirmed that the College Football Playoff will be played, and the Heisman trophy will be awarded. With many top players opting out of the season to prepare for the draft, this year's field of Heisman hopefuls will bring some new faces to the familiar group of favorites.

A season ago, Joe Burrow shattered many of the Heisman trophy voting records and came close to a unanimous win. Burrow's unexpected rise to stardom could be the path followed by any number of players in this year's field, as we seek to find the next Heisman winner.

As the 2020 fall college football season approaches, also take a look at some of our expert CFB conference futures picks. Also, every week this season, we will bring you expert betting picks and content to help guide you through the college football season.


A History of the Heisman Trophy

The Heisman trophy, which is annually awarded to the "most outstanding player in college football," was first awarded in 1935. In a normal year, all living Heisman trophy winners and the current year's finalists are invited to New York City to welcome the newest member of their elite group.

The Heisman trophy has been dominated in recent years by quarterbacks, but that has not always been the case. Up until the turn of the 21st Century, running backs were the typical winners. With the way that the game has changed and the introduction of the air raid offenses, expect the recent dominance of quarterbacks to continue. Below is the list of historical Heisman winners by position.

Position Winners Most Recent Winner
RB 43 Derrick Henry (2015)
QB 35 Joe Burrow (2019)
WR 3 Desmond Howard (1991)
TE 2 Leon Hart (1949)
DB 1 Charles Woodson (1997)


In recent years, the foregone conclusion in most years is that a quarterback on a contending team should enter the year as a favorite to win it. This year's odds reflect that, as the last ten Heisman award winners are seen below.

Year Winner Position School
2019 Joe Burrow QB LSU
2018 Kyler Murray QB Oklahoma
2017 Baker Mayfield QB Oklahoma
2016 Lamar Jackson QB Louisville
2015 Derrick Henry RB Alabama
2014 Marcus Mariota QB Oregon
2013 Jameis Winston QB Florida State
2012 Johnny Manziel QB Texas A&M
2011 Robert Griffin III QB Baylor
2010 Cam Newton QB Auburn


The Favorites

Unsurprisingly, Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence enters 2020 as the odds-on favorite to win the Heisman, coming off an impressive season with 3,665 passing yards, 36 touchdowns and 8 interceptions for the national runners-up. Lawrence will be without top pass-catcher Tee Higgins from a year ago, but the plethora of talented 5-star recruits surrounding him justify his position as the favorite.

In 2017 and 2018, Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray became the first duo of quarterbacks to win the Heisman trophy in back-to-back years from the same school. In 2019, Jalen Hurts nearly continued the trend with an extremely strong campaign for coach Lincoln Riley. This year's new starter, redshirt freshman Spencer Rattler, is receiving more hype than some might expect for a player with 11 career passing attempts. Rattler, a dual-threat quarterback, has talented play-makers around him like receiver Charleston Rambo, and has the pedigree (consensus 5-star recruit out of high school) to put up some gaudy statistics in 2020.

Sam Ehlinger enters his fourth year as the Texas Longhorns' starting quarterback to much fanfare. In 2019, Ehlinger improved statistically across the board with 32 touchdowns, and only 10 interceptions. The marketing major from Austin, Texas, also poses a threat with his legs - as proven by his 16 rushing touchdowns in 2018. Ehlinger has talented receivers in Tarik Black, a Michigan transfer, and Brennan Eagles that will need to have big seasons if he hopes to hoist the Heisman this fall.

D'Eriq King enters 2020 as one of the most highly anticipated transfer quarterbacks this season. After a prolific 2018 campaign in which King accounted for 50 touchdowns, he played only four games in 2019 in order to preserve a redshirt for 2020. A graduate transfer from Houston, King hopes to take the Miami Hurricanes back to their early 2000's greatness. Miami's offense as a whole struggled mightily in 2019, and the young offensive line and inconsistent quarterback play. King's mobility and experience gives Hurricanes fans hope that 2020 will be a good one for "The U" and that it might come with some shiny hardware like the Heisman trophy.



When Mack Brown decided to reenter coaching last year at the age of 67, expectations were fairly low for his North Carolina Tar Heels team. After an impressive freshman campaign by his quarterback Sam Howell, expectations now are sky high. Howell threw for 38 touchdowns and only 7 interceptions a true freshman, and brought the Tar Heels out of the basement of the ACC and to their first bowl win since 2013. With his top 3 receivers - Dyami Brown, Dazz Newsome and Beau Corrales - all returning for 2020, Howell should be a strong contender if he can avoid a sophomore slump in his second year in Chapel Hill.

Kellen Mond, the highly touted quarterback of Texas A&M, enters his fourth season as the Aggies starting quarterback. Mond entered 2019 with much fanfare, but stumbled as he could not replicate his strong sophomore campaign. With a wealth of experience, having started 36 career games, and a difficult 10-game gauntlet of a schedule, Mond has both the requisite experience and challenging opponents needed to impress Heisman voters. Mond will need to improve on his 20 passing touchdowns and 9 interceptions from a year ago if he hopes to compete for the most prestigious award in college football and follow in the footsteps of Texas A&M's most recent Heisman winner, Johnny Manziel.

Another ACC school that had a great bounce-back season under a first year head coach was Louisville last season. Head coach Scott Satterfield brought a high-tempo offense with him from Appalachian State, and the Louisville Cardinals offense flourished under his guidance with quarterback Micale Cunningham leading the way. Cunningham was incredibly efficient throwing only 5 interceptions against 22 touchdowns, and added 482 yards rushing. With top receiver Tutu Atwell, and top running backs Javian Hawkins and Hassan Hall, back for 2020, Cunningham has the weapons around him for a monster season.

John Rhys Plumlee split time last season as the starting quarterback for Ole Miss. In 9 games as a true freshman, he displayed an impressive rushing ability with 1,023 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns. The lackluster part of his game was his passing as he completed only 52.7% of his throws and had a dismal 4 touchdowns against 3 interceptions. For bettors looking for a value pick, Plumlee has a high floor with his impressive rushing ability, and will have plenty of marquee match-ups in the SEC. If Plumlee can show significant improvement in the passing game, and replicate his rookie rushing numbers, he could be a Heisman long-shot to keep an eye on.

The Picks:

Sam Howell +2000 to win the Heisman

Micale Cunningham +12500 to win the Heisman

John Rhys Plumlee +15000 to win the Heisman


Thanks for reading, and remember to gamble responsibly.

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2020 College Football Preseason Expert Futures Betting Picks

College football's long-awaited return came on August 29th when Central Arkansas took down Austin Peay in the annual Football Championship Subdivision (FCS, formerly I-AA) kickoff game. Labor Day weekend brought the return of the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS), which is commonly referred to as "D-1."

This coming weekend brings the return of three of the "Power 5" conferences, a full slate of exciting games, and the sense of a return to normalcy to one of America's fall traditions. Tailgating might be disallowed in some states, but fans will be able to follow along with their favorite teams (or pick new teams) as the pursuit of the College Football Playoff (CFP) commences.

As the 2020 fall college football season approaches, keeping our fingers crossed each week that it will continue, we will look through some of the available futures bets available. Every week this season, we will bring you expert betting picks and content to help guide you through the college football season.


Who's Playing and What Will Be Different This Fall

Before digging into some of our best futures bets, let's reset the diminished 2020 college football field. The Big Ten, Pac-12, Mountain West, and Mid-American Conferences all postponed their fall football seasons, with eyes on rescheduling for the spring. The American Athletic Conference (AAC), Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), Big 12 Conference, Conference-USA, Southeastern Conference (SEC), and Sun Belt Conference have all made plans to play this fall 2020 season. Despite recent conversations that the Big Ten has reportedly had with state and federal elected officials about a mid-October start to the season, as things presently stand the National Championship contender field will be devoid of the opportunity of seeing Ohio State in the (CFP) once again.

While the rules of the game have not changed, you will see many new changes coming this fall. Referees will no longer be using the traditional whistles, replaced by an electronic whistle attached to their hips, and activated with the click of a button. Coaches and players on the sidelines will be wearing masks and practicing social distancing when they can. Stadiums will be largely empty, with capacity ranging from zero fans allowed to 20,000 fans. Players, coaches, and officials are privy to their conference's COVID-19 testing policies, with multiple tests required throughout a week in order to play on Saturdays. Despite all these changes, the return of college football will bring a sense of normalcy to many.


Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC)

The ACC will be playing a 10-game conference schedule, with each team permitted to seek out an additional non-conference matchup. The Clemson Tigers are the overwhelming favorite to repeat as ACC champions for the sixth consecutive season at -455. The Tigers must replace four multi-year starters from their stout offensive line, star receiver Tee Higgins, and six defensive starters from a team that placed second in the nation behind LSU. With quarterback Trevor Lawrence and running back Travis Etienne returning for another year, the Tigers will and should be favored in every game this season even with a largely new supporting cast surrounding them.

2020 marks the first year that Notre Dame will be playing in a college football conference when they suit up as a member of the ACC. The Fighting Irish, who joined the ACC in all sports but football and hockey in 2012, return 8 offensive starters including their star quarterback Ian Book, who passed for 34 touchdowns and only 6 interceptions a year ago. Notre Dame also has a fairly manageable schedule and should be favored in all of their matchups aside from the November 7 showdown with Clemson in South Bend. If Notre Dame can steer clear of potential road upsets at Pitt or North Carolina, they should get another chance at Clemson in the December ACC championship game.

When looking for a sleeper, an experienced team with a stout defense and history of upsets is not a bad place to start. Coach Pat Narduzzi's Pitt Panthers return 16 starters from a year ago, as well as adding two potential star defensive linemen in Rashad Weaver and Keyshon Camp who were injured a year ago. The Panthers have knocked off #2 Clemson in Death Valley in 2016 (no team has won at Clemson since), #2 Miami in the final game of 2017, and handed Central Florida (UCF) its first loss in 27 regular-season games in memorable fashion.


The Value Pick: Notre Dame +650 to win the ACC

The Sleeper: Pittsburgh +3300 to win the ACC


The Big 12 Conference

The Big 12 adopted a similar plan to the ACC's plan, with their usual nine-game conference schedule, and an additional optional non-conference game. This year's favorite, the Oklahoma Sooners, will be starting a non-transfer quarterback for the first time in five years when highly touted redshirt freshman Spencer Rattler takes the field on Saturday in an unusual "Pay Per View" matchup costing $54.99. Coach Lincoln Riley has the unenviable task of having to replace the heart-and-soul of both his offense and defense - NFL first-round picks CeeDee Lamb and linebacker Kenneth Murray. Junior wide receiver Charleston Rambo, who caught 43 passes playing across the field from Lamb, is the player to watch on offense. If Rambo has a breakout season, the Sooners should be the odds-on favorite in most of their matchups in 2020 and is favored to win the conference at -125 odds.

Entering the 2020 season ranked as the #23 team in the country, Iowa State is a team on the rise. The Hawkeyes return 14 players who received All-Big 12 recognition last year, including junior quarterback Brock Purdy, and his dual tight end threats Charlie Kolar and Chase Allen. The Cyclones have 10 players on both offense and defense who have started at least five games in their careers and set school records in total offense and passing yards last year. The Cyclones are the only team in the Big 12 other than Oklahoma to have appeared in the CFP rankings in each of the last 3 seasons and have the returning team to finally reach that new height.

In Coach Neal Brown's first season at the helm, the West Virginia Mountaineers stumbled to a 5-7 record in 2019. The team did, however, win two of their final three games after Bowling Green transfer Jarret Doege was installed as the new starting quarterback. Doege, who played only four games last season to preserve a redshirt and an extra season of eligibility under NCAA rules, sat by design in an effort to learn the offense and prepare for a comeback season in 2020. With Doege under center and a talented young set of skill position players surrounding him, the West Virginia offense should produce at its usual Big 12-proficiency. In an unpredictable season, the Mountaineer defense will have to overcome losses such as cornerbacks Hakeem Bailey and Keith Washington and linebacker Shane Campbell, to compete in the Big 12.

The Value Pick: Iowa State +1000 to win the Big 12

The Sleeper: West Virginia +2500 to win the Big 12


Southeastern Conference (SEC)

The SEC decided in early August to scrap the original schedule and replace it with a ten-game schedule featuring conference opponents only to insulate the schools from lax COVID-19 testing procedures. Alabama enters the season as the favorite to win the conference with -143 odds. The Tagovailoa era came to an end last year with Tua and brother Taulia's respective departures to the NFL's Miami Dolphins and the Maryland Terrapins. Mac Jones, who threw 14 touchdowns against 3 interceptions in four starts last season, takes over at quarterback, with returning star receivers DeVonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle forming a dangerous duo. As usual, the Crimson Tide will be a tough team to beat this fall.

The Florida Gators, led by quarterback Kyle Trask and tight end Kyle Pitts, are emerging as a legitimate contender under head coach Dan Mullen. The Gators benefit from avoiding Alabama and Auburn in conference play and getting a rebuilding LSU at home this year. When Georgia quarterback Jamie Newman decided to opt-out of the season to prepare for the 2021 NFL draft, the Gators became the best team in the East and should advance to the SEC Championship in December for a battle with 'Bama if all goes according to plan this season.

Coach Mark Stoops has managed to build the Kentucky Wildcats into a formidable SEC opponent, something that many would have thought an impossible feat at the outset of the 21st century. Stoops has taken the Wildcats to four straight bowls, including victories over Penn State in 2018 and Virginia Tech in 2019. Now, the Wildcats are seeking to take the next step towards an appearance in the SEC Championship game. The Wildcats' 2019 season was defined by wide receiver Lynn Bowden Jr, a 3rd round draft pick in the 2020 NFL draft, as he led the team in rushing and receiving while starting much of the second half of the season as the team's quarterback. The return of quarterback Terry Wilson, who suffered a season-ending knee injury, and the team's stable of talented young running backs behind four returning starters on the offensive line, eases the pain of losing Bowden. The strong rushing attack should allow the Wildcats to continue to control the pace of play as they hope to take the next step as an SEC contender.

The Value Pick: Florida +400 to win the SEC

The Sleeper: Kentucky to win the SEC East +1400


Odds shown are courtesy of Draftkings. Thanks for reading, and remember to gamble responsibly.

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Gardner Minshew (QB, JAX) - 2020 Fantasy Football Draft Sleeper

BALLER MOVE: Target Around ~160 Overall


ANALYSIS: As a sixth-round draft pick last season, Gardner Minshew II was expected to compete for a backup role behind recently-acquired Nick Foles. The rookie was thrust into a starring role early on though after Foles was injured in the season-opening game. Minshew would go on to start 12 games last year and far exceeded expectations as a freshman racking up all of 233.2 fantasy points to finish the year as the QB20 and on pace to QB12 had he played in all 16 games.

An overlooked talent of Minshew's is his ability to improvise and take advantage of his athleticism. Minshew averaged 5.1 yards-per-carry last year as a runner, trailing only Lamar Jackson and Kyler Murray among quarterbacks with at least 30 rushing attempts. Minshew's rushing ability should provide a solid floor to his fantasy outlook, similar to Josh Allen of the Bills last season. All in all, Minshew ran for 344 yards in 67 attempts and odds are with him in the scoring side of things, as he couldn't cross the goal line last season and that should positively regress in 2020.

The stable of weapons at the young quarterback's disposal has improved in 2020, with draft picks Laviska Shenault and Collin Johnson providing high-upside wide receivers, and the addition of long-time Bengal Tyler Eifert at the tight end gives Minshew another quality red-zone target to augment his statistics. That (and playing a full 16-game schedule) should help Minshew top his 3,271 passing yards and 21 TDs from 2019.

Expecting a season approaching 4,000 yards through the air, 500 yards rushing, and 25+ touchdowns would place Minshew a high-end QB2, which means he would outperform his current ADP of QB24 (borderline QB2) by a mile. He is a solid last-round pick at the position and a sound candidate to stash as your backup fantasy football quarterback this fall and stream if your starter is on a bye, out, or Minshew starts to have booming performances down the road.

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Gardner Minshew - 2020 Fantasy Football Sleeper

Entering the 2019 season, the Jacksonville Jaguars were receiving warranted hype after the pickup of former Super Bowl-winning quarterback Nick Foles. By the end of the season, the Jaguars had stumbled to a 6-10 record while finding a pleasant surprise in young rookie quarterback Gardner Minshew II. The mustached Minshew threw for 3,271 yards and sported a shiny 21-to-6 touchdown-to-interception ratio in his first campaign as a professional.

To build off of his first-year success, Minshew decided to take a 17-day cross-country trip in an RV, where he made stops to visit the Grand Canyon, flew an F-16 jet with the Air Force Thunderbirds and made plenty of time to partake in one of his favorite offseason activities - duck hunting. While his off-the-field personality has quickly endeared him to Jaguars fans, it was his on-the-field performance as a graduate transfer in the Mike Leach "Air Raid" offense at Washington State that put him on the map for NFL scouts.

As a sixth-round draft pick last season, Minshew was expected to compete for a backup role behind the team's notable 2019 offseason free-agent acquisition Nick Foles. The rookie was thrust into a starring role early on though after Foles was injured in the season-opening game. Minshew would go on to start 12 games last year and far exceeded industry expectations for his rookie season.


Opportunity Knocks

The Jaguars showed their faith in Minshew when trading 2019 notable free-agent acquisition Nick Foles to the Chicago Bears, and leaving their quarterback room relatively untouched. As a sixth-round draft pick in 2019, the expectations for Minshew were low, but after a promising rookie campaign, the starting job is his to lose. The depth behind Minshew consists of astrophysicist and career backup Josh Dobbs, journeyman Mike Glennon, and 2020 sixth-round draft pick Jake Luton.

New offensive coordinator Jay Gruden, who previously served as the head coach of Washington's football team, heaped praise on Minshew already, citing his "competitive spirit." Gruden's teams have historically run West Coast-style offenses, and he has had success with Andy Dalton and Kirk Cousins in the past, two quarterbacks whose success could provide a blueprint for his new project with the Jaguars.

An overlooked talent of Minshew's is his ability to improvise and take advantage of his athleticism. Minshew averaged 5.1 yards-per-carry last year as a runner, trailing only Lamar Jackson and Kyler Murray among quarterbacks with at least 30 rushing attempts. Minshew's rushing ability should provide a solid floor to his fantasy outlook, similar to Josh Allen of the Bills last season.

The stable of weapons at the young quarterback's disposal has improved in 2020, with draft picks Laviska Shenault and Collin Johnson providing high-upside wide receivers, and the addition of long-time Bengal Tyler Eifert at the tight end gives Minshew another quality red-zone target to augment his statistics. The improved receivers, combined with an unstable rushing game and a defense that seemingly will regress based on the transactions on paper, should create a perfect storm to increase the Jaguars' passing game.

Minshew, who is ranked as the 26th best fantasy football quarterback by our resident experts at Rotoballer, will have every opportunity to throw the ball in the Jaguars offense this season for a team that is not expected by many experts to compete in 2020. In deep leagues, Minshew provides more upside and opportunity than some of the other quarterbacks in his draft tier, such as Tyrod Taylor, Jimmy Garoppolo, and Jared Goff. Expecting a season approaching 4,000 yards through the air, 500 yards rushing, and 25+ touchdowns would place Minshew in the higher tier of QB-2 candidates and a solid candidate to stash as your backup fantasy football quarterback this fall.

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2020 Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest Preview

On July 4th every year, thousands of fans crowd Coney Island for the annual Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Major League Eating (MLE) announced significant changes to this year's event, but the show will go on. For the 18 consecutive years, ESPN will broadcast the contest on its family of networks, and viewership is expected to top the 1.9 million record-viewership from the 2011 contest. TV coverage will begin at noon ET on July 4, 2020.

This year's contest will still feature some of the world's greatest competitive eaters, albeit in a different setting. There will be no fans, and the contest will be held indoors for the first time since its inception. In a typical year, 15 to 20 contestants gather on the stage for the chance at the Mustard Belt (men's winner) or the bejeweled pink belt (women's winner). This year, there will be only 6 competitors in the men's division, and 5 competitors in the women's division. The goal remains to eat as many hot dogs as possible in 10 minutes.

Bettors in certain states will be able to place wagers through DraftKings SportsBook. For fans outside of Colorado, New Hampshire, and New Jersey, DraftKings is also offering a free-to-play $25,000 prop contest for all players in all states.


Breaking Down the Women's Division

6-time champion Miki Sudo (Photo courtesy of Shea Communications and Major League Eating)

The Women's Division first opened competition in 2011, when Sonya Thomas took the crown with 40 hot dogs eaten. Thomas would go on to win the 2012 and 2013 competition,s before being overtaken by Miki Sudo, a newcomer to the competitive eating circle. Sudo has won each of the past 6 contests and is looking to continue her dominance of the sport.

Year Hot Dogs Eaten by Winner
2019         31.00
2018         37.00
2017         41.00
2016         38.50
2015         38.00
2014         34.00
2013         36.75
2012         45.00
2011         40.00

Miki Sudo - The 5-foot-7 native of Torrington, Connecticut has won all 6 Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contests that she has competed in, is the #6 ranked eater in the world, and is the #1 ranked female eater in the world. Her personal best performance was in the 2017 competition when she consumed 41 hot dogs. Last year was her weakest performance in the contest (31), and she still managed to win by almost 5 hot dogs. Sudo is the overwhelming favorite, and for good reason.

Larell Marie Mele - Mele is the 30th ranked eater in the world, and is coming off a 5th place finish in last year's event (18). Mele is not new to the circuit, as this will be her 9th hot dog eating contest. Her best performance in a contest was 21.25, slightly above her 9-contest average of 17.22 hot dogs per contest.

Katie Prettyman - The 36-year old Washington state native is ranked #36 in the world by the MLE rankings. This will be her 3rd appearance in the hot dog eating contest, where she recorded a personal-best 12.5 hot dogs eaten last year's 10-minute contest.

Julie Goldberg - This will be Baruch College history professor's 2nd appearance in the annual contest. Goldberg only ate 7 hot dogs in last year's contest, but since has been training under the guidance of longtime MLE legend Crazy Legs Conti, which she hopes will pay off in this year's contest.

Dr. Rene Rovtar - Dr. Rovtar is a New Jersey superintendent by day and a competitive eater on the weekends. She has competed in 3 contests and is the long-shot with an average of 7 hot dogs consumed. While Rovtar may not be a top-grade competitive eater, she has plenty to be proud of as she was awarded the Morris County Superintendent of the Year award for the 2016-2017 school year.


Breaking Down the Men's Division

12-time champion Joey Chestnut (Photo courtesy of Shea Communications and Major League Eating)

Similarly to the Women's Division, the Men have seen two dominant eaters dominate the competition for the better part of the 21st Century. Joey "Jaws" Chestnut and Takeru Kobayashi have combined for 18 Mustard Belt championships. While Kobayashi has been in a contract dispute with MLE since 2011 and will not compete, Chestnut is seeking his 13th win this year. With the absence of 2015 champion Matt Stonie (due to New York quarantine laws from coming out of state), the Mustard Belt should return to Chestnut - the only matter to determine is by how many dogs.

Year Hot Dogs Eaten by Winner
2019         71.00
2018         74.00
2017         72.00
2016         70.00
2015         62.00
2014         61.00
2013         69.00
2012         68.00
2011         62.00
2010         54.00
2009         68.00
2008         59.00
2007         66.00
2006         53.75
2005         49.00
2004         53.50
2003         44.50
2002         50.50
2001         50.00

Joey "Jaws" Chestnut - Chesnut, who weighs in at 6-foot-1, 230 pounds, is the #1 ranked competitive eater in the world by the MLE. Chestnut holds 56 world records in various competitive eating categories, including Twinkies (121 in 6 minutes), hard-boiled eggs (141 in 8 minutes), and hot dogs (74). Chestnut has competed in 15 contests, and his average hot dogs eaten is a staggering 62.5 per 10 minutes. In the lead-up to the event, Chestnut has said in interviews that he is going for the world record and "could push 80." If you look at Chesnut's interviews in the lead-up to last year's event, these are some of the same promotional things he was out there saying. Being in an air-conditioned environment should help, but without the energy of the fans to feed off, it will be difficult for "Jaws" to break his world record of 74.

Geoffrey Esper - Esper is a physics teacher who holds the record as the world Pizza Eating Champion, with 83 slices consumed in 10 minutes. He is the #2 ranked eater in the world, and arguably Chestnut's top competition. Esper's 5-contest average of 39.9 hot dogs pales in comparison to Chestnut, but he hopes he can build off of last year's 47 hot dogs, a personal best.

Darron Breeden - The 31-year old Breeden is the #4 ranked competitive eater and placed 2nd in the 2019 contest with 50 hot dogs. Breeden holds the world record for Cheese Curd Eating champion (5 pounds and 2 ounces in 6 minutes) and will have an exciting contest with Esper for 2nd place.

Nick Wehry - Wehry, the #8 ranked professional eater in the world, isn't even the best eater in his own home. His girlfriend, Miki Sudo, is the overwhelming favorite to win her 7th championship. Wehry has competed twice in the annual 4th of July hot dog eating contest, with an average of 33.5 hot dogs eaten.

George Chiger - Chiger, who stands at 6-foot-6 and weighs in at a burly 340 pounds is a physically imposing eater who MLE co-founder George Shea calls, "a gentle giant." Chiger is the #12 ranked eater in the world. The 2020 contest will be Chiger's 3rd attempt, and he hopes to improve on last year's performance of 26 hot dogs.

Eric "Badlands" Booker - Last, but certainly not least is one of the most eccentric eaters, the fan-favorite Badlands Booker. Badlands is a 6-foot-5, 400-pound professional rapper and the #21 ranked eater in the world. He holds world records in green pea eating (9.5 pounds in 12 minutes) and corned beef hash (4 pounds in 1 minute, 58 seconds). Badlands has been working on a new rap album and is expected to debut one of his songs on stage before the competition.



Picking an outright winner in this contest would be futile, as Miki Sudo (-835) and Joey Chestnut (-1000) are overwhelming favorites who should, in all likelihood, repeat as champions. Picking any other participant for the women's (+500) and men's (+550) doesn't offer enough value considering the sheer distance between the competition. A parlay of Sudo and Chestnut (-700) has a bit too much juice but is a pretty certain winner.

Miki Sudo's over/under is currently set at 40.5. In the past few years, she has only topped that once, but she recently finished 50 in a training session with her boyfriend Nick Wehry. The other advantage of Sudo is that she will be eating in a temperature-controlled environment. Sudo's recent 50-hot dog performance has me convinced she is ready to set a new women's world record.

Joey Chestnut's over/under is set at 74.5 hot dogs. Similarly, Chestnut has never topped that amount, only coming close with his world record 74 hot dogs in 2018. Despite the improved temperature conditions, a significant factor to consider is that Chestnut will not have any crowd on whose energy to feed off of. Added with this being his first MLE event back after a few months, and it all adds up to the makings of a slight off-year for Jaws. Chestnut should handily win, but to expect him to top his world-record performance in a year with significantly fewer MLE events is probably asking too much.



Miki Sudo/Joey Chestnut to win - parlay (-700)

Miki Sudo - over 40.5 hot dogs eaten (-162)

Joey Chestnut under 74.5 hot dogs eaten (-162)

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Bryan Edwards - Fantasy Football Rookie Spotlight

The enormous level of excitement that exists surrounding members of each year's rookie class has become an annual occurrence for the fantasy community. This frenzy for first-year players also intensifies as each NFL Draft approaches, then continues through the draft process. This enthusiasm rises even higher as owners anticipate the opportunity to secure these rookies for their own rosters.

The tremendous degree of interest in this season's newcomers has been no exception. That is why the team at RotoBaller is assembling a collection of fantasy football rookie profiles that will provide you with analysis and data for the most promising first-year players. This will help you determine which rookies should be targeted during your draft process, and which players are less worthy of consideration as components for your rosters.

This year's rookie class includes a collection of wide receivers that will be forced to overcome the challenges of an unusual offseason. This scenario will impact Bryan Edwards, who was a standout homegrown receiver from South Carolina and is currently 19th in our latest rookie rankings. His potential to provide owners with a productive resource during 2020 and beyond will be examined in this profile.



Team: Las Vegas Raiders
College: South Carolina
Height/Weight: 6’ 3”, 212 lb
2020 NFL Draft: Round 3, Pick 17


A Palmetto State Star

Dating back to his time at Conway High School, Bryan Edwards was easy to pick out for scouts and fans alike. Edwards was considered one of the best high school players in the state of South Carolina, nominated as a finalist for South Carolina's "Mr. Football," and appearing in the prestigious US Army All-American game. As a four-star recruit, Edwards chose to stay in his home state to attend the University of South Carolina in nearby Columbia over scholarship offers from southeastern powerhouse programs such as Clemson and Georgia. Enrolling early in the spring of 2016, Edwards immediately became the best receiver on campus and would retain that role for his four years in Columbia.

In the fall of 2016, Edwards would become only the sixth Gamecock of all-time to start in his first collegiate game as a true freshman, joining an elite group with the likes of Jadeveon Clowney and Stephon Gilmore. Throughout his illustrious career, Edwards won the Steve Spurrier MVP Award, given to the most valuable offensive player on the team, twice, as well as the team most valuable player award his senior season. Despite playing only 10 games and with a true freshman quarterback, Edwards had a prolific senior season, leading the SEC in receptions per game with 7.1. He holds the University of South Carolina career records for consecutive games with a catch (all 48 career games played), receptions, and receiving yards, some records that seem destined to be in his control for a very long time.

Edwards' career statistics at South Carolina:

Games Receptions Yards TDs
2019 10 71 816 6
2018 13 55 846 7
2017 13 64 793 5
2016 12 44 590 4
Total 48 234 3045 22


Production vs. Measurables

Despite an incredibly productive career, Edwards fell to the third round, largely due to concerns that he has a low ceiling and a rumored 4.52 40-yard dash time. When looking at the tape though, Edwards shows the ability to outrun cornerbacks with consistency, and he also served kick returning and punt returning duties during his last two years on campus. In addition to South Carolina's pro day being canceled because of the COVID-19 outbreak, Edwards did not get an opportunity to participate in drills at the NFL combine due to a broken foot that he suffered during training.

Another factor that may have helped the Raiders get Edwards with the 81st overall pick is his injury history. Edwards suffered three major injuries since high school that would give most NFL general managers pause. After tearing his right meniscus and missing the state playoffs in his senior high school season, Edwards also had arthroscopic knee surgery that ended his 2019 season and broke his foot while training for the 2020 NFL draft. He is expected to make a full recovery in anticipation of training camp this fall, but his recovery will be an area to monitor through the summer.


Not the only fish to feed in Vegas

Entering the 2019 NFL season, the Las Vegas Raiders' offense was expected to operate through their star receiver Antonio Brown. After Brown's well-documented separation from the team, the Raiders struggled to find a go-to receiver last season, resulting in a 43% target share to the position, which ranked second-to-last in the NFL. was a mere 0.01% above Philadelphia’s league-worst percentage.

Raiders Coach Jon Gruden and General Manager Mike Mayock were aggressive in their pursuit of offensive weaponry to surround quarterback Derek Carr with. The Raiders signed former Eagles slot receiver Nelson Agholor, traded for former Bills receiver Zay Jones last season, and also drafted Henry Ruggs III with their first of two first-round picks in the 2020 NFL Draft. This is to say nothing of the addition of former Kentucky all-purpose star Lynn Bowden Jr, who played receiver, running back and quarterback as an all-around threat in college but will be featured primarily as a running back for the Raiders. The Raiders return Tyrell Williams and slot receiver Hunter Renfrow from last year's underwhelming receiver corps.

Stylistically, the easiest path to playing time for Edwards will come through Tyrell Williams' starting position. Edwards did the majority of his damage on the outside as a lead receiver, which is the role that Williams took on for the Raiders last season. Williams battled a case of plantar fasciitis last season but still performed to a measly 42 receptions and 6 catches. Williams, a 28-year old journeyman who started his career with the Chargers, is a useful receiver whose talents overlap with Edwards and will be in a battle with the rookie all season long.

The biggest beneficiary of the Raiders' lack of wide receiver depth in the 2019 season was Hard Knocks star tight end Darren Waller, who broke out for 90 catches and 1,145 yards in his age-27 season. Prior to 2019, Waller had a combined 18 receptions in three years, and it will be unlikely to expect him to replicate 2019's performance thanks to the addition of Edwards and Ruggs.

Edwards’ Outlook

The lack of organized team activities this summer won't impact Edwards' fantasy outlook as significant as his rookie teammates Ruggs and Bowden due to the likelihood that Edwards would sit them out while nursing his broken foot. The Raiders have been conducting virtual team meetings, and there is no doubt that offensive coordinator Greg Olson is already constructing ways to use his trio of rookie offensive weapons in creative ways.

Edwards' size, experience with the previous middling quarterback play at South Carolina, and a lack of other options on the Raiders roster should provide him with an opportunity to make an instant impact on offense for Las Vegas.

Last season, the Raiders' receivers were not worthy of significant fantasy consideration, with only Renfrow and Williams exceeding 20 catches. This season, with the addition of Ruggs and Edwards, the position will certainly be more utilized than in 2019, and Edwards is a rookie that should be expected to make an immediate fantasy impact if he can overcome the broken foot.

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Top College Basketball Betting Picks for Wednesday, March 11

After a long wait, we are finally in the midst of the college basketball conference tournament season. In this article every week, we'll be reviewing some of the top college basketball games of the day to see how we can beat Vegas.

On Saturday, our games notched a 2-3 record, with Rhode Island squandering a big second-half lead to narrowly fail to cover, and Boston College nearly being able to overcome an 18-point halftime deficit to cover a sixteen-and-a-half point spread.

Here are some of the top college basketball expert betting picks for Wednesday, March 11. Let me know your thoughts, and follow me on Twitter @fredetterline. All game times below are Eastern Standard Time. All game times are approximate, and typically the games are played 30 minutes after the conference tournament game directly preceding the previous game.

Season record to date: 43-47-2 (-3.5 units)


Texas Tech vs. Texas - 12:30 pm

The kickoff game of the Big 12 Tournament gives us a matchup that holds significant bubble implications. Texas Tech and Texas split the regular-season series, with the road team winning each of their games. Coach Chris Beard has a 72% winning percentage as an NCAA Head Coach and led the Red Raiders to the NCAA Championship in a loss to Virginia last year. This year's team is led by Big 12 freshman of the year point guard in Jahm'ius Ramsey, a pair of impactful graduate transfer forwards in TJ Holyfield (Stephen F. Austin) and Chris Clarke (Virginia Tech), and a holdover guard who is one of the best shooters in the Big 12 in Davide Moretti. The Red Raiders will be a difficult team to eliminate in the NCAA Tournament.

Texas was in the middle of a bubble resurgence but squandered a four-game win streak with a 22-point loss to Oklahoma State to close out the regular season. Coach Shaka Smart may have saved his job with a late surge but would feel a lot more comfortable with an opening win over a fellow bubble team that would provide them with a chance to play Kansas in the semifinals. The Longhorns are led by sophomore guard Andrew Jones, a leukemia survivor, and junior forward Jericho Sims, a legitimate rim protector who may have an NBA future.

Pick: Texas +5.5


Boston University vs. Colgate - 7:30 pm

The Patriot League championship will be played between two familiar faces. The Boston University Terriers have had an up-and-down-season, but enter the championship with a 19-13 record and in a position to notch their first NCAA Tournament appearance since Penn State Coach Pat Chambers patrolled the sideline in the 2010-2011 season. To pull off the upset, the Terriers will need big games from their big 3 players - senior forward Max Mahoney, and junior guards Javante McCoy and Walter Whyte.

Coach Matt Langel has developed his program over his nine years at Colgate into the clear-cut class of the conference. Junior guard Jordan Lyons has had an all-Patriot League year, scoring in double figures in 21 straight games. In last year's NCAA Tournament game where Colgate nearly knocked off 2-seed Tennessee, Lyons hit eight three-pointers and kept the Raiders in the game. Lyons won't have to do it alone, as Patriot League defensive player of the year senior forward Will Rayman leads the league with 11 double-doubles, senior forward Rapolas Ivanauskas has been one of the top Colgate players since his transfer in from Northwestern a few seasons ago, and sophomore guards Tucker Richardson and Nelly Cummings also average double-digit scoring.

Pick: Colgate -7


McNeese State vs. Lamar - 8:30 pm

The Cowboys closed Southland conference play by winning three of their final four games to clinch the 3rd-seed in the Southland Tournament. This year will be McNeese State's first appearance in the conference tournament since an appearance in 2016. The Southland Tournament, which will be played in Katy, Texas, pits the top eight conference teams against each other. Guard Dru Kuxhausen leads the nation with 125 three-pointers made and is shooting over 42% from beyond the arc. Kuxhausen won the March 7 game over Lamar with a successful 4-point play near the buzzer.

The Lamar Cardinals dropped their final two games in conference, including a home loss to McNeese State, which dropped them to sixth in the conference. Coach Tic Price's team enters the tournament ranked 273rd in the NCAA's NET rankings, and in need of stringing a few wins together to realize their hope of continuing the team's season with a postseason appearance.

Pick: McNeese State -1


Nebraska vs. Indiana - 8:30 pm

Coach Fred Hoibeg's Cornhuskers had a forgetful year at the helm. Nebraska won just two conference games, did not win a single true road game, and recently suspended its second and third-ranked scorers in junior guards Dachon Burke Jr. and Cam Mack, who combine for over 24 points per game. Replacing Burke and Mack, the Cornhuskers added two football players to the roster in quarterback Noah Vedral and offensive tackle Brant Banks, to help augment the seven existing scholarship players. For the Cornhuskers to compete, Coach Hoiberg will need a big game from Icelandic junior guard Thorir Thorbjarnarson. Nebraska lost its final conference regular-season game to Minnesota by 32 points.

Coach Archie Miller's Hoosiers are squarely on the bubble and need to impress the Committee. The problem with this matchup is that a loss might move Indiana off the bubble, and an unimpressive win won't do anything to move the needle. Indiana will need a convincing win, as well as a strong performance in a second-round game versus Penn State at the Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, which is less than an hour drive from Indiana's Bloomington campus.

Pick: Indiana -13.5


Marquette vs. Seton Hall - 9:30 pm

The Golden Eagles are floundering at the wrong time. Having lost seven of their last eight games to close out the season, a once highly expected seed now finds the possibility of a double-digit seed. Senior guard Markus Howard is a prolific scorer who will go down as one of the greatest Big East players of all-time, but his supporting cast is lackluster. Fellow senior guard Sacar Anim is the only other player averaging double-figure scoring for a team that relies heavily on Howard. Despite being ranked 26th in the NCAA's NET rankings, Marquette has a 5-10 record in Quad-1 games, with its signature win over USC standing out as the only Quad-1 nonconference win.

Coach Kevin Willard's Pirates look poised to gain a top-4 seed and have a deep team that appears ready to make a deep run in the tournament. The Pirates also have a prolific scoring senior guard in Myles Powell, who teams with junior forward Sandro Mamukelashvili to make one of the most formidable inside-outside duos in the country. Seton Hall is an experienced team starting three seniors, and the rotation consists of just one underclassman.

Pick: Seton Hall -2.5


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March Madness Bubble Report - March 9th, 2020

March Madness is approaching fast, and bracketologists around the nation are scrambling to perfect their predictions and project what field of teams the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee will choose on Sunday, March 15, 2020.

One of the most prominent metrics that the Selection Committee uses in determining the bracket is the NCAA's NET ranking. The NET ranking uses the strength of schedule, scoring margins, offensive, and defensive efficiencies, and locations of the games to rank the 353 Division I teams. Determining what quadrant a game falls into depends on the team's opponent's NET ranking.

  • Quadrant 1: Home game opponent ranking 1-30, Neutral site 1-50, Away game 1-75
  • Quadrant 2: Home game 31-75, Neutral site 51-100, Away game 76-135
  • Quadrant 3: Home game 76-160, Neutral site 101-200, Away game 135-240
  • Quadrant 4: Home game 161-353, Neutral site 201-353, Away game 241-353

Below, we will take a look at the movement on the bubble and see what teams need to accomplish in order to further secure their bids to the Big Dance.



With a strong NET ranking, no losses to Quad-3 or 4 teams, and the 6th most difficult schedule in the country, Marquette's status in the field is relatively safe on Selection Sunday. Star senior guard Markus Howard has proven the ability to singlehandedly take over games and will the Golden Eagles to wins, but his supporting cast has been lackluster over the past month.

Marquette ended the regular season on a three-game losing streak and a sub-.500 Big East conference record. While they will hear their name announced on Selection Sunday, the seed line will likely be disappointing when compared to early season expectations and the team will need to turn things around quickly if they want to avoid being one-and-done in the tournament.

Status: Stock down (Projected #9 seed)


Utah State

Utah State became arguably the biggest winner from bubble teams in the past week when senior guard Sam Merrill drained a late three-pointer to give the Aggies the upset victory over San Diego State in the Mountain West Conference tournament championship game.

The Aggies will be a difficult first-round matchup, as they have a fearsome duo of Merrill paired with Portuguese sophomore center Neemias Queta, for whom NBA scouts have been a mainstay in Logan, Utah. Another breakout sophomore to keep an eye on is the 6-foot-7 Justin Bean, one of the best pound-for-pound rebounders in the country who makes opponents pay if they try double-teaming Queta.

Status: Automatic berth clinched (Projected #10 seed)



The Hoosiers hold a very bubbly resume which largely hinges on the strength of a December 3rd home win over Florida State. The strength of schedule is buoyed by the Big Ten's strength this season, but Coach Archie Miller's team has won only 2 games away from home, a statistic that will sound the alarm for the Selection Committee.

Miller, who compared the art of bracketology to the children's show Sesame Street, has a team that has dropped two of its past three and will need to avoid a loss in the opening round of the Big Ten Tournament to Nebraska.

Status: Stock down (Projected #11 seed)


Stephen F. Austin (SFA)

The Lumberjacks play in the Southland Conference, a league that has never sent more than one school to the NCAA Tournament in the same year. The uphill battle that SFA is pursuing is fully reliant on the strength of their November road win over Duke and a gaudy 25-3 record entering the Southland Conference tournament.

The biggest problem for Coach Kyle Keller's team is that every hypothetical Southland tournament opponent would be a Quad-3 or Quad-4 opponent, meaning a loss would add a second bad stain to the resume alongside a 1-point road loss to Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. SFA should be heavily favored to win their tournament, but it looks like they will need to in order to join the Big Dance.

Status: Stock up (Projected #12 seed)


North Carolina State (NC State)

In a down season for the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), no team had clearly emerged as a clear bubble contender past the top four teams until recently. The Wolfpack have key wins over Duke and Wisconsin, but also have lost twice to Quad-3 opponents. After being left on the outside of the bracket last year largely due to a weak non-conference schedule, Coach Kevin Keatts went out and challenged his team with games against Wisconsin, UNC-Greensboro, and Memphis in the non-conference schedule.

If the Wolfpack can get past the winner of the Pitt-Wake Forest winner, a rematch with Duke will await that would go a long way to making Wolfpack fans a little bit more comfortable on Selection Sunday.

Status: Stock up (Projected #12 seed/Last Four In)


East Tennessee State (ETSU)

Coach Steve Forbes joined East Tennessee State as its Head Coach in 2015 and has an impressive 127-43 record in his four successful seasons. The Buccaneers have a quality win at LSU and swept conference rival UNC-Greensboro to boost the resume. While the 25-4 record and 40th NET ranking suggest this team should be in the field, the path ahead may indicate otherwise.

Both Furman and UNC-Greensboro, the two chief contenders for the Southern Conference title, were upset by Wofford and Chattanooga respectively. Having dispatched of Western Carolina in the semifinals, ETSU will have a chance to seal its own fate with a win tonight over Wofford in the Southern Conference Championship game.

Status: Stock unchanged (Projected #10 seed)


Projected Bracket

Below is my projected full bracket. The last four teams in the field (in order) are projected to be Cincinnati, UCLA, Xavier, and NC State. The first four teams out of the field in the projection are (in order) Wichita State, Stanford, Rhode Island, and Northern Iowa. Automatic qualifiers are indicated in all caps.

Houston L.A. Indianapolis NYC
4 Michigan State Louisville Wisconsin Villanova
5 Auburn Michigan Brigham Young Penn State
6 Colorado HOUSTON Iowa Butler
7 Louisiana State Illinois Ohio State West Virginia
8 Saint Mary's Arizona Virginia Oklahoma
9 Florida Texas Tech Marquette Providence
11 Indiana Richmond Cincinnati/Ucla Arizona State


Stay tuned for our weekly update on the bubble each week before Selection Sunday.

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Top College Basketball Betting Picks for Saturday, March 7

Happy March! In this article every week, we'll be reviewing some of the top college basketball games of the day to see how we can beat Vegas. Today's slate of games brings us into the heart of the conference tournament season. Wednesday was a solid 3-1-1 start to the conference tournament season. Thus far, there have been a few surprises in the conference tournaments, such as Northern Iowa being downright shocked by eighth-seeded Drake and its bubble hopes being dashed.

Here are some of the top college basketball expert betting picks for Saturday, March 7. Let me know your thoughts, and follow me on Twitter @fredetterline. All game times below are Eastern Standard Time.

Season record to date: 41-44-2 (-2.5 units)


Western Carolina vs. Mercer - 2:30 pm

The Western Carolina Catamounts have been one of the most exciting teams in college basketball this season. Sporting an 18-11 record and entering the Southern Conference in the #5 seed, Coach Mark Prosser's team ranks 18th in the country scoring nearly 80 points per game in an up-tempo offense. Redshirt junior guard Mason Faulkner transferred into the program from Northern Kentucky and instantly became one of the top players in the conference. With the do-it-all Faulkner and senior double-double machine Carlos Dotson leading the way, the Catamounts pose a challenge as a sleeper that could pose a threat to top-seeded East Tennessee State.

Coach Greg Gary navigated the Mercer Bears to a fourth-place finish in the conference in his first year at the Georgia university. The Bears have been led by senior guard Djordje Dimitrijevic, who emerged as an all-Southern Conference performer this season. The Bears lost the first game between these teams in January but exacted revenge a few weeks later to even the season series. The Bears' defense has been a weak point and may struggle against the Catamounts' perimeter attack.

Pick: Western Carolina -1


Boston College @ Florida State - 4:30 pm

With the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) in the middle of a down-year, the Boston College Eagles had a ripe opportunity to emerge as a conference leader this season but seemingly never grasped the chance. Graduate transfer point guard Derryck Thornton, who previously had stops at USC and Duke, is a former 5-star recruit that has led the Eagles in scoring but his final collegiate year has not gone according to plan. With no possibility of the NIT or the NCAA Tournament, Coach Jim Christian is likely entering the final days of his tenure as the Head Coach, unless he can pull off the unthinkable and make a strong run through the conference tournament to obtain the automatic bid.

Florida State needed a pair of late free throws, but they were able to win a crucial road game at Notre Dame. With a win tonight, Florida State would clinch the ACC regular-season crown and solidify its status on the 2-seed line in the NCAA Tournament. The Seminoles have entered the phase of the schedule where the most important thing is to win, no matter how ugly. The Noles have not beaten a team by more than 16.5 points in over a month, and have played more low scoring affairs recently as they reach towards their goal of securing a strong seed in the NCAA Tournament.

Pick: Boston College +16.5


Rhode Island @ Massachusetts (UMass) - 7:00 pm

Little over a month ago, most mock brackets were projecting the Rhode Island Rams as a safe bet for an NCAA Tournament at-large berth. After a dismal recent stretch that has seen the Rams drop four of their past seven games, that previous assurance appears to have been misplaced. The Rams now find themselves on the outside looking in and in desperate need of wins. Rhode Island will need to win out the regular season and spin together at least a few wins in the conference tournament to re-enter its position as a team worthy of an at-large berth.

UMass is in the midst of a rebuilding season, and the Minutemen seem to have found the program-defining building block that they were missing. Coach Matt McCall's team relies heavily on freshmen, but none more so than star freshman center Tre Mitchell. Mitchell, a four-star recruit from the Pittsburgh area and one of the highest-rated recruits in recent UMass history, is averaging over 17 points per game and has the look of a player who will be a problem for opposing Atlantic-10 coaches for years to come. With Mitchell and other promising freshmen does come the drawback of inconsistent play, middling defensive performance and longstanding offensive droughts where the team tends to fall into spells of "hero-ball" expecting Mitchell to create and score all on his own.

Pick: Rhode Island -3


Hawaii @ Cal-State Northridge (CSUN - 10:00 pm

The Hawaii Rainbow Warriors have had a solid 17-12 season so far in the Big West. The team has played a soft schedule, and relies on its strong perimeter defense, as they allow the fifth-least 3-point field goals in the nation. Junior point guard Drew Buggs is the orchestrator of the offense and leads the way with five assists per game. Hawaii is slowly building a competing program and Brazilian freshman forward Bernardo Da Silva has the makings of a program-altering player in a few years. Despite a promising future, Hawaii has lost six of its last nine and may struggle to be motivated for a meaningless regular-season road game, or be looking ahead towards the conference tournament which begins next week.

The CSUN Matadors have been team that has rounded into form and is playing its best basketball at the right time. Coach Mark Gottfried's team is led by the star duo of Terrell Gomez and Lamine Diane, two names that NBA scouts are keeping a close eye on. The pair of high-flying scorers are leading a resurgent team that recently knocked off the Big West-leading UC Irvine.

Pick: CSUN -3


Stanford @ Oregon - 11:00 pm

Stanford has played itself onto the right side of the bubble with a strong recent month of play. In a relatively strong year for the Pac-12, the Stanford Cardinal has emerged by winning four of its past five games and garnering a top-30 NET ranking. Their non-conference win over Oklahoma looks better every day, and they have shown an ability to play with anyone in the conference, thanks to game-changing forward Oscar Da Silva and an impressive defense, which allows only 61.9 points per game, ranking 12th in the country. Thursday's loss to Oregon State will renew the bubble fear, and Stanford would be well-served to notch another strong road win to boost its resume and put to rest the bubble discussion.

Oregon finds itself as one of the top teams in the Pac-12 and likely to be the top-seeded team in the NCAA Tournament to represent the Pac-12. Coach Dana Altman's team is led by one of the top players in the country, senior guard Payton Pritchard. Pritchard, who was the star of last year's Sweet 16 team, is averaging over 20 points per game and has been a source of fits for opposing defense. Alongside Pritchard, Coach Altman brought in a very well-regarded recruiting class including the top junior college player, guard Chris Duarte. Duarte contributes across the board and had a three-game stretch where he had 21 total steals in conference play. The Ducks dropped the earlier game between these teams.

Pick: Stanford +8


Thanks for reading, and remember to gamble responsibly.

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March Madness Odds and Futures Bets

With Selection Sunday now less than two weeks away, it is time to look at what Vegas is offering for futures bets and what teams might be currently undervalued.

Most sportsbooks currently offer national championship odds, and plenty of additional odds will be added in the coming days such as whether a team will reach the Final 4, the highest-numbered seed to make the Sweet 16, and whether the national championship-winning team will be an odd or even seed-number.

As teams enter the conference tournament phase of the 2019-2020 college basketball season, the importance of building momentum, getting healthy, and consistent three-point shooting becomes of the utmost importance.


The Favorites

Entering March, the oddsmakers consistently have pegged Kansas as the team most likely to win the National Championship, and with good reason. The duo of guard Devon Dotson and center Udoka Azubuike gives Kansas two Wooden Award contenders and arguably the best one-two punch in the country. Kansas' Achilles heel is its free-throw shooting, where it ranks 289th in the country with a 67.2% free throw percentage. Sportsbooks presently are offering Kansas at +700 odds to win the National Championship.

Baylor, who split a season series with Kansas, is being offered at +900 alongside Gonzaga. Baylor's suffocating defense makes them the more appealing of the two options on paper and having lost only two games to teams not named Kansas proves that Baylor's 10-1 record in Quad-1 games is no joke. The Zags, meanwhile, sports a gaudy 29-2 record and a perfect record in West Coast Conference play. Dayton, Duke, Kentucky, San Diego State, Maryland, and Louisville are also being offered at +1900 and lower, and have their share of pros and cons.


Florida State

Coach Leonard Hamilton has led the Seminoles to a 24-5 record, with a strong resume that could give them their highest seed ever, surpassing the 3-seed that they have obtained in four tournaments.  Hamilton, a 1971 graduate of UT-Martin, has built yet another strong bench, relying on an 11-man rotation. The Noles have such depth that they can afford off games from future NBA guards Devin Vassell and Trent Forrest, because of players like 5-star freshman forward Patrick Williams and Ole Miss transfer center Dominik Olejniczak coming off the bench and contributing like a starter on some nights.

Florida State has come a long way since its season-opening loss at Pitt, and has shown recently just how dangerous they can be in a convincing late February win over Louisville.

Current Odds: +2000 to win the National Championship


Brigham Young (BYU)

The BYU Cougars have not lost a game since mid-January and don't look likely to anytime soon if they maintain their prolific shooting. First-year Coach Mark Pope has an embarrassing toolshed of talent at his disposal. In addition to star forward Yoeli Childs, who is a matchup nightmare and arguably the most talented offensive forward in the country, the Cougars senior guards Jake Toolson and TJ Haws are high-volume and efficient shooters that can take over a game.

One downside to the Cougars' chances is their depth if Childs or Toolson gets into foul trouble. The team usually relies on a short bench and does not rebound well with Childs off the floor. If BYU can get caught up in a handful of high-scoring affairs, they have the offensive chops to take a deep run through the field.

Current Odds: +2000 to reach the Final 4



Entering the season, the national media hype train promoted Florida as a perennial National Title contender. Following a difficult non-conference schedule, the Gators are rounding into form and should enter the Tournament in the 7-to-10 seed range, with a lot riding on the fate of their February 7 game against Kentucky in Gainesville. The Gators have a lot of the desirable characteristics in a potential title contender. They challenged themselves out of conference, have an experienced and talented big man in former Virginia Tech transfer Kerry Blackshear, and a horde of talented former top-100 guards such as freshman Scottie Lewis who are hitting their stride at just the right time.

Under Coach Mike White, Florida has reached an Elite 8 and has won at least a game in each of its past three tournaments. With his most talented team to date, and the seemingly most wide-open field in recent memory, the opportunity for a longshot champion like the 2013-2014 UConn Huskies.

Current Odds: +8000 to win the National Championship



A few months ago, the thought of UCLA appearing in the postseason may have been laughable. Coach Mick Cronin, in his first year, has transformed the season thanks to five Quad-1 and Quad-2 wins in the month of February and has the Bruins in first place in the Pac-12. The top seed in the Pac-12 receives a bye until the Quarterfinals, meaning they would need just three wins in three days to claim the automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.

After a first-round win over California or Utah, UCLA would have to stave off either USC or Colorado, and then finish with likely Oregon or Arizona State. Getting the first-place team in a conference at such long odds is a worthwhile wager for the Pac-12 tournament in Las Vegas.

Current Odds: +2200 to win the Pac-12 Tournament


William & Mary

Last but not least, the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) opens its tournament on March 7 in Washington, DC and the field has been set. In order to claim the automatic bid, William & Mary would have to navigate past Elon and likely Towson before the conference championship game. If the Tribe, who holds the CAA's #2 seed in the tournament, is able to get conquer two middling opponents, a game against one of Hofstra, Charleston & Delaware in the championship game.

Nathan Knight, the most talented player in the CAA and a future NBA first-round draft pick, is the player to watch for the Tribe, averaging a double-double and expanding his offensive game beyond the arc this season. William & Mary would enter a hypothetical championship game as at worst a narrow underdog, which would be a chance to hedge your bet at that point.

Current Odds: +500 to win the Colonial Athletic Association Tournament


Odds may vary. Thanks for reading, and remember to gamble responsibly.

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Top College Basketball Betting Picks for Wednesday, March 4

Happy March! In this article every week, we'll be reviewing some of the top college basketball games of the day to see how we can beat Vegas.  Today's slate of games is the first edition that includes conference tournament games.

Today brings a new opportunity to start fresh from the difficult Saturday we endured. A 1-4 record on Saturday could have been a lot better had Iona not squandered a sizeable lead in regulation, Delaware brought the fire a bit earlier than the second half they went on, and Belmont kept the pedal on the metal after a strong first half.

Here are some of the top college basketball expert betting picks for Wednesday, March 4. Let me know your thoughts, and follow me on Twitter @fredetterline. All game times below are Eastern Standard Time.

Season record to date: 38-43-1 (-4.5 units)


Saint Francis-Brooklyn @ Robert Morris - 7:00 pm

The Saint Francis-Brooklyn Terriers were able to notch a road win over middling Central Connecticut State to enter the Northeast Conference (NEC) Tournament on a positive note. Prior to that win, the Terriers had lost three straight and have a sub-.500 record against-the-spread in conference play. The Terriers have a dismal 4-12 record on the road and appear likely to wrap up their 2019-2020 season tonight in Moon.

After ending up on the wrong side of Robert Morris's top-seed clinching victory over Saint Francis-PA last week, a return to Moon, Pennsylvania, is in order. The Colonials leaned on strong performances by its trio of seniors, led by guard Josh Williams, en route to an easy and convincing victory over Saint Francis-PA. Now faced with a game against the "other" Saint Francis, Robert Morris will seek to replicate its January thrashing of the Terriers, a convincing 26 point win.

Pick: Robert Morris -8.5


Florida @ Georgia - 7:00 pm

The Florida Gators are still technically on the bubble following a road loss to Tennessee but can solidify their seeding with a win at Georgia. The Gators won the first matchup between these teams, a 6-point affair in Gainesville, and have shown growth since that game. While forward Kerry Blackshear continues to be a focal point for opposing defenses, sophomore guards Andrew Nembhard and Keyontae Johnson have shined. Florida will be motivated to improve its seeding and to be best prepared for a season-ending home game against conference-leading Kentucky.

Coach Tom Crean is in his second season in charge, and his Bulldogs have stumbled to a 15-14 record. Freshman guard Anthony Edwards, who was a consensus top-5 recruit, has starred on his way to a likely top-5 draft position in this summer's NBA draft. Edwards teamed with guard Sahvir Wheeler and forward Christian Brown to give Georgia a highly regarded freshman class that has endured its share of growing pains. Georgia does have quality wins at Memphis and versus Arkansas but has largely been overmatched in Southeast Conference (SEC) play. The most significant issue for the Bulldogs has been a poor defense, allowing an average of 75.6 points per game (ppg), ranking 315th in the nation.

Pick: Florida -2.5


Jacksonville State vs. Eastern Illinois - 8:30 pm

The Jacksonville State Gamecocks find themselves in unfamiliar territory entering the first round of the Ohio Valley Conference (OVC) Tournament. After having to replace four starters, the Gamecocks took a step back to a 13-18 record this season against an especially weak schedule that was ranked as the 309th most difficult schedule in the country. Jacksonville State failed to cover in 8 of its final 10 games of the regular season.

For the second consecutive season, the Panthers enter the OVC Tournament as the #6 seed. Eastern Illinois won its final four regular-season games and enters the tournament in hopes of securing its first automatic bid since the memorable 2000-2001 season. Coach Jay Spoonhour is in his 8th season in charge of the Panthers, and has relied on a relatively young team whose typical starting five will all return next season. The star of the show is junior guard Josiah Wallace who can put up points in a hurry. Wallace has scored at least 20 points in 7 of the last 8 games to finish the season, and he'll be needed tonight to keep the Panthers' postseason hopes alive.

Pick: Eastern Illinois -2.5

Virginia @ Miami - 9:00 pm

Coach Tony Bennett's Virginia Cavaliers can finally breathe easy as their at-large spot seems assured in the upcoming NCAA Tournament. The Hoos are allowing only 52.6 ppg, ranking first in the nation. Virginia also ranks dead last in the country in the number of possessions per game with 62.4 possessions per game. By limiting their opponent's chances and playing suffocating defense, the defending champions have worked their way to a 21-7 record and a likely fourth-place finish in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC).  If Virginia is to make a run to defend its title this season, the lion's share of responsibilities will be shared by diminutive 5-foot-9 point guard Kihei Clark and senior forward Mamadi Diakite, who both played key supporting roles in last year's national championship.

The Miami Hurricanes are in the midst of a season that Coach Jim Larranaga would probably love to forget. The Hurricanes have 14 wins against 14 losses and have been plagued by a porous defense and inconsistent rebounding. Coach Larranaga has begun to ease his young players into the gameplan more lately with mixed results. Freshman Isaiah Wong is arguably the highlight of the season for Miami, as he has emerged as a solid contributor that could develop into an all-ACC performer if provided a decent supporting cast.

Pick: Under 120 points

Pitt @ Georgia Tech - 9:00 pm

The Pitt Panthers have undergone yet another difficult season, albeit expected, in the ACC, but have a young cast of players that could surge this team to success sooner than later. For much of the season, Coach Jeff Capel's team has struggled to score but managed to garner some solid wins by playing stout defense. While the Panthers have dropped six straight, there were strong signs of an offensive resurgence in their last time out at North Carolina State. The trio of sophomore guards Xavier Johnson, Trey McGowens and Au'Diese Toney have flashed stardom at different times and all have the ability to grow into all-ACC players in their final 2 years of college basketball. In addition to that trio, freshman forward Justin Champagnie, whose twin brother Julian is a freshman at Saint John's, has been the team's leading scorer and rebounder in a surprising breakout freshman season. Coach Capel a solid core of players, and with a strong 2020 recruiting class incoming should have the Panthers in the heat of contention for the 2020-2021 season.

Coach Josh Pastner's Yellow Jackets have won four of their last five as they attempt to close out the 2019-2020 regular season on a strong note. Georgia Tech has defended their home court well, including an upset victory over Louisville in mid-February and knocking off resurgent Clemson just over a week ago. Sophomore guard Michael Devoe has been a breakout star and has teamed with junior forward Moses Wright and junior guard Jose Alvarado to form a fearsome trio. Past that trio, Georgia Tech has struggled to find consistency from its role players. One of the keys to Georgia Tech's success this year has been its ability to restrict its opponents from beyond the arc by allowing opponents to a mere 28% 3-point field goal percentage. With much of their core returning next season, Georgia Tech will be a team to monitor strongly this offseason.

Pick: Under 130

Thanks for reading, and remember to gamble responsibly.

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March Madness Bubble Report - March 2

March Madness is approaching fast, and bracketologists around the nation are scrambling to perfect their predictions and project what field of teams the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee will choose on Sunday, March 15, 2020.

One of the most prominent metrics that the Selection Committee uses in determining the bracket is the NCAA's NET ranking. The NET ranking uses the strength of schedule, scoring margins, offensive, and defensive efficiencies, and locations of the games to rank the 353 Division I teams. Determining what quadrant a game falls into depends on the team's opponent's NET ranking.

  • Quadrant 1: Home game opponent ranking 1-30, Neutral site 1-50, Away game 1-75
  • Quadrant 2: Home game 31-75, Neutral site 51-100, Away game 76-135
  • Quadrant 3: Home game 76-160, Neutral site 101-200, Away game 135-240
  • Quadrant 4: Home game 161-353, Neutral site 201-353, Away game 241-353

Below, we will take a look at the movement on the bubble and see what teams need to accomplish in order to further secure their bids to the Big Dance.



Coach Lon Kruger has taken the Sooners to the NCAA Tournament in six of his first eight seasons as the Head Coach in Norman, Oklahoma, and it is looking rather likely to make another appearance this year. A recent push, including a pair of dominant wins over Texas Tech and West Virginia this past week, has moved the Sooners up to the 10-seed line. Oklahoma finishes the season at home against a surging Texas team, and on the road against TCU. The Sooners appear to be moving towards a safe position in the field avoiding a total collapse this week.

Status: Stock up (Projected #10 seed)



Texas has one of the most polarizing resumes on the bubble this season. Entering last week, the Longhorns had only two Quad-1 wins and sported a 16-11 overall record. Following wins over West Virginia and Texas Tech this week, Coach Shaka Smart's Longhorns now have a 4-7 record in Quad-1 games and, more importantly, have zero losses to Quad-3 and Quad-4 teams. While it may not be a must-win game, Texas' resume could get a huge boost with a win on Tuesday at Oklahoma.

Status: Stock up (Projected - First Four Out)



The Bearcats have dropped two of their past three games and endured a long four-game stretch in February with tight overtime matches in each. Coach John Brannen has kept his team on the bubble in his first year, but the overtime losses to UConn and UCF are not helping the resume. Cincinnati is ranked 53rd in the NET rankings, being held down by four Quad-3 losses and a 2-5 record in Quad-1 games. Yesterday they lost their best opportunity for a huge win, being manhandled by Houston. A win in either of the two remaining games against South Florida and Temple won't help the Bearcats feel any safer on Selection Sunday, and they may need to win a few games in the American Athletic Conference tournament. If there is one redeeming quality that cannot be affected by what is yet to come, the Bearcats challenged themselves in non-conference with a top-30 schedule, a quality that the Committee certainly will like to see.

Status: Stock down (Projected - First Four Out)



As a byproduct of the strong Big Ten, Rutgers may appear to have a better NET ranking than the seed it will receive. Rutgers is 3-9 in Quad-1 games and can claim a home victory over Seton Hall as its best non-conference win. Rutgers has only one road win all season, over Nebraska who is sitting in the Big Ten cellar. The Scarlet Knights still have upcoming games at home against Maryland and at Purdue, so the opportunities are present to give themselves a little bit of breathing room on the bubble. If the Scarlet Knights are able to get into the field, their 1-8 road record will be a reason to fade them early on.

Status: Stock down (Projected - #11 seed/Last Four In)



With a NET ranking of 30, Stanford is the highest-ranked team according to the NET metrics that reside on the wrong side of the bubble in my projection. The Cardinal does have five Quad-1 wins and only one Quad-3 loss at California. Yesterday's home win over Colorado gave this team a huge boost, and they are inching closer towards a tournament berth. This upcoming week gives them two Quad-1 win opportunities with road games at Oregon and Oregon State.

Status: Stock up, (Projected - First Four Out)



Tulsa is not a bubble team. They are ranked 83rd in the NET rankings and has racked up a 20-9 record full of Quad-3 and Quad-4 wins and Quad-1 and Quad-2 losses. However, the Golden Hurricane find themselves in sole possession of first-place in the American Athletic Conference, which would give them ideal seeding for the conference tournament. Tulsa would need to win its conference tournament, something it has proven it could do with a 12-4 conference record. They are projected in the field below as a result of their status as a conference leader but could lose in the conference tournament, affording a spot to Wichita State or another bubble contender.

Status: Stock up, but would need to win AAC Tournament (Projected AAC automatic qualifier)


Wichita State

Coach Gregg Marshall's team is yet another bubble team lacking a truly impressive win and relying more on the lack of bad losses on its resume. Wichita State sports an impressive 21-7 record, with all 7 losses to Quad-1 and Quad-2 teams. The Shockers do have an upcoming Quad-1 road game at Memphis which would help their case. The Shockers will be rooting strongly against any potential bid thieves and may need a few wins in the conference tournament to solidify their spot in the field.

Status: Stock down (Projected - First Four Out)


Below is my projected full bracket. The last four teams in the field (in order) are projected to be USC, Richmond, Providence, and Rutgers. The first four teams out of the field in the projection are (in order) Stanford, Wichita State, Cincinnati, and Texas. Automatic qualifiers are indicated in all caps.

Seed Houston L.A. Indianapolis NYC
4 Louisville Oregon Auburn Penn State
5 Michigan State Iowa Michigan Colorado
6 Illinois Brigham Young Wisconsin Houston
7 West Virginia Ohio St Arizona Marquette
8 Florida Texas Tech LSU Butler
9 Saint Mary's Arizona State Virginia Indiana
10 Xavier EAST TENN. ST Utah St Oklahoma
11 Rhode Island So. California/Rutgers Richmond/Providence UCLA


Stay tuned for our weekly update on the bubble each week before Selection Sunday.

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Top College Basketball Betting Picks for Saturday, February 29

In this article every week, we'll be reviewing some of the top college basketball games of the day to see how we can beat Vegas.  Today's slate of games includes five mid-major games.

Wednesday's 2-3 record left a bad taste in the mouth seeking more, having missed out on 2 games by a half-point each. As teams make their last pitch for an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament, the key is to evaluate momentum and motivation properly.

Here are some of the top college basketball expert betting picks for Saturday, February 29. Let me know your thoughts, and follow me on Twitter @fredetterline. All game times below are Eastern Standard Time.

Season record to date: 37-39-1 (-2.7 units)


Saint Francis-PA @ Robert Morris - 1:00 pm

In what is shaping up to be the Northeast Conference regular-season title game, Saint Francis travels the two hour trip from Loretto to Moon, PA. The Red Flash have won eight consecutive games, including dispatching of Bobby Mo handily two weeks ago. While Robert Morris leads the all-time series 15-11, the Red Flash have won the last nine games in this series, a dominant run that dates back to January 2016. St. Francis will be aiming to score at a heightened pace, while the Colonials typically like the scores of their games to end up in the fifties and sixties.

Robert Morris is running in the opposite direction at the moment. After an 11-2 start to conference play, the Colonials have lost three of their past four. If this game comes down to the wire, don't be surprised if Coach Andy Toole has a few tricks up his sleeve to help take the win - the Colonials are 64-41 in games decided by five points or less during Toole's tenure in Moon. Senior guards Sayveon McEwen, Josh Williams and forward Yannis Mendy will be honored for Senior Night.

Pick: St. Francis PK


Iona @ Niagara - 1:00 pm

The Iona Gaels have represented the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) in the NCAA Tournament in each of the past four seasons. Despite Coach Tim Cluess' absence this season on medical leave, the Gaels have managed to come back from a 2-7 start to the season to find themselves at 11-13, and with a 9-8 record in conference play. The Gaels are led by their quartet of seniors in guards EJ Crawford, Isaiah Ross, and Asante Gist, and forward Tajuan Agree. Niagara won the January matchup between these teams, but Iona has made significant strides since that game and appears to have the momentum with six wins in their last seven games.

Former NBA coach Jeff Van Gundy once said, "The MAAC is the best league there is. Every team is the same. Every game is super competitive. One of these years, I swear, every single team in the league is going to finish 9-9." That quote embodies Niagara's season as the Purple Eagles have won a game against each of the teams that reside in the top-5 places in the MAAC standings. According to advanced metrics, Niagara has a sub-300 defense, and a below-average offense.

Pick: Iona -3


Delaware @ North Carolina-Wilmington (UNC-W)- 7:00 pm

Coach Martin Ingelsby directed Delaware to its first 20-win season since the 2013-2014 season, which ended in an NCAA Tournament appearance that season. This year's Fightin' Blue Hens have a deep roster, with star senior guard Nate Darling shouldering the majority of the scoring load. Junior guard Ryan Allen and junior forward Dylan Painter, a Villanova transfer, provide Coach Ingelsby with 2 proven options on offense. Delaware has yet to lose three consecutive games all season.

This season has turned into a season that the Seahawks would like to forget. Head Coach CB McGrath was fired mid-season, star point guard Kai Toews left the team after 13 games to return to his native Japan to start his professional career, and the Seahawks find themselves with a 10-20 record. UNCW has dropped the last five games with Delaware, including a 14-point loss earlier this season.

Pick: Delaware first half -2


Belmont @ Tennessee State - 8:30 pm

Despite replacing coach legend Rick Byrd and several key contributors, the Belmont Bruins find themselves in a 3-way tie for first place in the Ohio Valley Conference (OVC) with Murray State and Austin Peay. The hyper-efficient Belmont offense is orchestrated by new Coach and former Belmont graduate Casey Alexander, who took the Lipscomb Bison to the NIT finals a season ago. The Bruins' greatest threat on offense is 6-foot-11 sophomore center Nick Muszynski who scored 23 points in Thursday's win over Tennessee Tech. Muszynski is joined by a band of emerging sophomore guards in Adam Kunkel, Grayson Murphy and Tate Pierson who have helped Belmont to an OVC-best 80.6 points per game in conference play.

Tennessee State Head Coach Brian Collins was a former player for Belmont in the early 2000-s. Collins' Tennessee State Tigers are tied for sixth place in the OVC and sport an impressive 11-2 record at home, with the two losses coming to Murray State and Eastern Kentucky. The Tigers dropped the first game in Nashville between these teams by 23 points, and they may struggle to keep up with Belmont's high-powered offense.

Pick: Belmont -8


Eastern Washington @ Northern Colorado - 9:00 pm

Eastern Washington is on a nice stretch, having won 10 of their last 12 games. The Eagles have produced on offense, averaging over 80 points per game in conference play. The team is led by Mason Peatling and Jacob Davison, who are scoring nearly 19 and 18 points per game, respectively in conference play. The Eagles won the first matchup between these teams at home, but now face an improved and rolling Bears squad in a game that could ultimately decide the Big Sky regular-season title.

The Northern Colorado Bears are in the midst of a five-game winning streak and have taken the lead in the Big Sky Conference. The Bears sport an impressive 11-2 record at home, and are the top-rated Big Sky school in the NCAA's NET rankings at 100th. Senior guard Jonah Radebaugh will be playing his final home game at the Bank of Colorado Stadium, and this game has important implications. Northern Colorado's five turnovers per game ranks fifth-best in the nation.

Pick: Under 148


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Top College Basketball Betting Picks for Wednesday, February 26

In this article every week, we'll be reviewing some of the top college basketball games of the day to see how we can beat Vegas.  Today's slate of games features a handful of senior nights as we approach the end of the college basketball regular season.

A bounceback 3-2 Saturday was just what the doctor ordered. In this time of year, it is especially important to stay focused on injuries, as well as another metric that can be difficult to measure - team motivation.

Here are some of the top college basketball expert betting picks for Wednesday, February 26. Let me know your thoughts, and follow me on Twitter @fredetterline. All game times below are Eastern Standard Time.

Season record to date: 35-36-1 (-1.9 units)


Loyola-Maryland @ Navy - 7:00 pm

The 2019-2020 Loyola-Maryland Greyhounds' season has been a tale of two seasons. The first half of the season was marred by a difficult beginning stretch, opening Patriot League conference play with a miserable 1-7 record. Then, freshman Santiago "Santi" Aldama, a Spaniard big man who became the highest-ranked recruit in Greyhounds basketball history, made his season debut in January. Aldama's absence, due to knee surgery, left the team relying on senior guard Andrew Kostecka as the only double-digit scorer on a one-dimensional team. Since Aldama's entrance to the lineup in the February 1 matchup between these teams, the Greyhounds have won six of their past seven. The 6-foot-11 Aldama paired with fellow Spaniard freshman Golden Dike make a fearsome frontline that will be a force in the Patriot League for years to come.

Coach Ed DeChellis's Midshipmen are in the midst of a slide in conference play, having lost six of their past seven. Evan Wieck, an ocean engineering major and the team captain, will be playing the final home game of his Navy career on the Midshipmen's senior night. Wieck had a strong performance in the first game between these teams, scoring 21 points but only acquiring 2 rebounds. According to Ken Pomeroy's "KenPom" ratings, Navy is a slightly worse team than Loyola-Maryland, further encouraging the decision to side with the Greyhounds.

Pick: Loyola-Maryland +3.5


Rutgers @ Penn State - 7:00 pm

Rutgers is looking likely to reach its first NCAA Tournament since losing in the first round of the 1991 Tournament. The Scarlet Knights, led by fourth year coach Steve Pikiell, entered the Associated Press' Top 25 rankings for the first time since the 1978-1979 season this year. This banner year has been made possible by a startling 17-1 home record. When the Scarlet Knights have to travel from Piscataway though, they are a dismal 1-7. Rutgers did win the early January match between these teams at home. Guard Ron Harper Jr., the son of a former NBA champion guard, has been one of the key performers and will need a big game to help his team to a rare road win.

The Penn State Nittany Lions are also seeking to end a long NCAA Tournament drought this season. Penn State is seeking its first NCAA Tournament since the 2011 Tournament and entered the Associated Press' Top 25 rankings for the first time since the 1995-1996 season. Coach Pat Chambers is in his ninth season in charge in Happy Valley and this is only his second 20-win season. Penn State has covered the spread in seven of their last ten games.

Pick: Penn State -6


Syracuse @ Pittsburgh - 7:00 pm

Coach Jim Boeheim's signature 2-3 zone defense usually keeps it relevant despite significant talent deficiencies, but this year's Orange team has spiraled out of NCAA Tournament contention. A well-orchestrated 2-3 zone defense forces the opposition to hoist more 3-point shots, which should bode well against a Pitt team that ranks 335th in the nation with a 29.2% team 3-point field goal percentage.

Coach Jeff Capel took the Pitt job in the spring of 2017 with the Panthers coming off a 0-18 year in ACC play under former coach Kevin Stallings. Recent NCAA sanctions placed on the Pitt basketball program for recruiting violations and allowing non-coaching staff to conduct coaching during practices during Stallings' tenure shed light on just how impressive Capel's ability to get his team in contention for the NIT in year two has been. With a 15-13 record, but on a four-game slide, the Panthers will need to stretch a few wins together to ensure an NIT bid and may also need a couple wins in Greensboro at the ACC tournament. The Panthers will be honoring three seldom-used big men on Pitt's senior night, and much more should be expected of the team next season.

Pick: Syracuse -1.5

Maryland @ Minnesota - 9:00 pm

The Maryland Terrapins have emerged as the most trustworthy and highest-ranked team in a deep Big Ten Conference. Despite a recent loss at Ohio State, Maryland finds itself being projected on the 2-seed line in most mock brackets and will be looking for a strong finish down the stretch to cement a strong seeding position. Senior point guard Anthony Cowan, who will make his record-breaking 127th consecutive start tonight, decided to return after flirting with the NBA draft a season ago and despite his struggles with shooting accuracy at times has been an effective floor general. His teammate, sophomore forward Jalen Smith emerged this season giving NBA general managers plenty of reason to target him as a potential first-round pick in this year's draft. Maryland has not lost a game to an opponent outside of Quad-1 opponents.

The Minnesota Golden Gophers only returned 32.8% of minutes played from last year, and with only one senior on the roster, expectations were tempered entering the year. The Golden Gophers' 13-13 record is misleading as they have had to play the 2nd most difficult schedule in the nation. Young sophomore center Daniel Oturu has emerged as a strong force and should be an All-Big Ten performer next year. Minnesota is 2-9 in its last 11 games against Maryland.

Pick: Maryland +1


Utah @ Stanford - 10:00 pm

Coach Larry Krystkowiak knew that this year would be a significant rebuilding project due to returning only 33.5% of the minutes played from a season ago. Sophomore forward Timmy Allen, freshman guard Rylan Jones, and sophomore guard Both Gach grew up quickly and showed that the future is bright in Salt Lake City. With the Utes only replacing reserve senior forward Marc Reininger next season, the expectations will be high for this team in the 2020-2021 season. The Utes won the first game between these teams in a February 6 overtime win at home.

Stanford is currently operating on the outer fringes of the bubble. The Cardinal will likely need to win this game, as well as the remaining three games versus Colorado, at Oregon State and at Oregon, to have a fighting chance at an at-large bid. Ten of the fifteen student-athletes on Stanford's basketball team are undecided on their majors.

Pick: Utah +7.5


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March Madness Bubble Report - February 24

March Madness is right around the corner, and bracketologists around the nation are scrambling to perfect their predictions and project what field of teams the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee will choose on Sunday, March 15, 2020.

The criteria for selecting a field is arbitrary, but the Selection Committee does make use of various rankings and metrics. One of the most prominent metrics that is used is the NCAA's NET ranking. The NET ranking uses the strength of schedule, scoring margins, offensive, and defensive efficiencies, and locations of the games to rank the 353 Division I teams. Determining what quadrant a game falls into depends on the team's opponent's NET ranking.

  • Quadrant 1: Home game opponent ranking 1-30, Neutral site 1-50, Away game 1-75
  • Quadrant 2: Home game 31-75, Neutral site 51-100, Away game 76-135
  • Quadrant 3: Home game 76-160, Neutral site 101-200, Away game 135-240
  • Quadrant 4: Home game 161-353, Neutral site 201-353, Away game 241-353

Below, we will take a look at the movement on the bubble and see what teams need to accomplish in order to further secure their bids to the Big Dance.


Brigham Young University (BYU)

The BYU Cougars can punch their ticket to the Big Dance. BYU notched an impressive 91-78 win over Gonzaga, ensuring that the West Coast Conference will once again have multiple bids this year. The Cougars will be a difficult matchup in the Tournament due to the well-oiled offensive machine that Coach Mark Pope is operating. BYU has gone 15-2 with star forward Yoeli Childs in the lineup. The six-foot-eight Childs is a matchup nightmare with a toolset of post moves and a 50% mark from beyond the arc resulting in 21 points per game. BYU being a Mormon school does pose a unique dilemma for the Selection Committee as they will be required by school policy to not play games on Sundays, which could cause them to fall to a lower than expected seed in order to set them up to play on a Thursday for both their first-round game and any potential Sweet 16 game

Status: Safely in the field (projected #7 seed)



The Atlantic 10 Conference is in the midst of a banner season. Dayton has run the table outside of nonconference overtime losses to Colorado and Kansas, and the team has arguably six teams vying for NCAA Tournament or NIT bids. The Spiders are presently listed as one of Joe Lunardi's Last Four Teams In but dropped a crucial game on Saturday at Saint Bonaventure. The Richmond Spiders' four remaining conference matchups give them four winnable games, but any slip-up would likely move them to the wrong side of the bubble. If the Spiders can hold off George Washington and UMass this week, they will not have helped their position and we will still be talking about them next week, but if they lose either of those games they will be in an even more perilous position than before.

Status: Stock unchanged, but can't afford to lose (projected #12 seed)



The defending champions are looking more and more like a team that team will be eager to steer clear of in the bracket. The Cavaliers have won seven of their past eight, many defensive slugfests, and an impressive win over Florida State to hang their hat on. With two of their final four games being played against Quad-1 opponents (Duke and Louisville), the Hoos are unlikely to be punished for those losses but will need to take care of business against Miami or Notre Dame. If the Cavaliers can avoid an 0-4 finish to the season, they should feel comfortable on Selection Sunday.

Status: Stock up (Projected #10 seed)


East Tennessee State

Coach Steve Forbes' Buccaneers have run the Southern Conference gauntlet once again with minimal damage. Despite not having the services of senior forward Jeromy Rodriguez for half of the season and a host of other injuries, ETSU finds itself with a rare opportunity of providing the Southern Conference with multiple bids to the Tournament. The Quad-4 loss to Mercer is a damning stain on an otherwise immaculate resume. One of the big keys on Selection Sunday will be determining how much the Selection Committee will value the Bucs' December win at LSU, as well as how much the Committee will weight the bad loss to Mercer. If the Buccaneers are unable to win their conference tournament to ensure the automatic bid, the watch party in Johnson City, Tennessee will certainly be one to keep an eye on.

Status: Stock unchanged, but can't afford to lose (Projected #11 seed)



According to most national pundits, the Big Ten is having an unprecedentedly strong year. There are only two of the fourteen teams without reasonable NCAA Tournament aspirations. Thanks to the strong conference, Purdue has been afforded more than its share of Quad-1 opportunities, but they are only 4-11 in Quad-1 games. With a 14-14 record and a sub-.500 record in conference play, the case for a Purdue at-large bid is suspect at first glance. However, the team has three remaining Quad-1 and Quad-2 opportunities ahead and plenty of time to bolster its resume. Coach Matt Painter's team has relied on its strong defense, which ranks 28th in the nation in points allowed per game, but the offense has been non-existent in their current four-game losing streak. If Junior Dutch center Matt Haarms can neutralize Iowa star center, Luka Garza, on March 3, the Boilermakers' will have an opportunity to pick up one of their biggest wins of the season to help a shaky resume.

Status: Stock down (Projected - First Four Out)



No team helped their case for a Tournament bid in the past week more than the Providence Friars. Coach Ed Cooley's team was left for dead by bracketologists as soon as late January with an 11-10 record and a Quad-4 home loss against Long Beach State. Since then, the team has gone 5-2, with four of those wins over ranked teams. On Saturday, February 29, the Friars travel to Philadelphia for the biggest remaining game on their schedule against Villanova. If Providence can pull off the upset road upset, they should move into the field in our update next week.

Status: Stock up (Projected - First Four Out)


Stay tuned for our weekly update on the bubble each week before Selection Sunday.

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Top College Basketball Betting Picks for Saturday, February 22, 2020

In this article every week, we'll be reviewing some of the top college basketball games of the day to see how we can beat Vegas.  Today's slate of games includes a heavy dose of SWAC and Atlantic Sun action as we enter the final week of February.

Conference play has been especially unforgiving to bettors this year. Today's focus is on smaller conference races where there may be big opportunities for profit.

Here are some of the top college basketball expert betting picks for Saturday, February 22. Let me know your thoughts, and follow me on Twitter @fredetterline. All game times below are Eastern Standard Time.

Season record to date: 32-34-1 (-2.8 units)


Florida State @ North Carolina State (NC State) - 4:00 pm

Coach Leonard Hamilton has long been one of the most underrated coaches in the nation, and this year's dominant Florida State Seminoles team is yet another example. The Seminoles have only dropped four games this year, and are teetering between the projected second and third seed lines by most bracketologists. One of the keys to the Seminoles' success this season is their depth, with 11 players averaging at least 10 minutes per game. Coach Hamilton's team secured key road wins over likely tournament teams such as Florida, Louisville, and Purdue, and have a strong chance to add NC State to that list.

The NC State Wolfpack were living on the bracket's bubble life support before their impressive dominance of the Duke Blue Devils on Wednesday. Senior guard Markell Johnson took over against Duke with 28 points, leading the Wolfpack beyond the arc with a five-of-eight performance beyond the arc. Expecting another dominant performance by the Wolfpack on the boards is unlikely based on their overall body of work.

Pick: Florida State -1


Lipscomb @ North Florida - 5:00 pm

This year's Lipscomb barely resembles the team that lost in the NIT finals last year to Texas. Garrison Matthews, Rob Marberry, Kenny Cooper, Nathan Moran, Eli Pepper, Matt Rose, and coach Casey Alexander departed in the offseason, leaving the Bison in a rebuilding mode. Coach Lennie Acuff was promoted from the ranks of Division II to lead the Bison and his offense has relied entirely on sophomore center Ahsan Asadullah, a well-regarded young player from Atlanta who is nearly averaging a double-double and whose production has improved significantly as the season has progressed.

The North Florida Ospreys recently dropped a crucial divisional game against Liberty that dropped them to 11-3 in Atlantic Sun Conference play. Having split the season series with Liberty, the secondary tiebreaker is the school's NET ranking which is the NCAA's relatively new tool to evaluate the strength of a team's wins and losses. Liberty has one of the strongest NET rankings among mid-majors at 57th, but North Florida sits over 100 spots behind at 164th, so the Ospreys may have lost their opportunity to host the Atlantic Sun conference tournament on their home court.

Pick: Lipscomb +9


Stetson @ Liberty - 5:00 pm

Coach Donnie Jones inherited a team that won 3 games in the 2018-2019 season against one of the weakest schedules in the nation. The incredible turnaround has been jumpstarted by a lockdown defense that ranks 59th in the country allowing 65 points per game. The Hatters start three freshmen and their leading scorers are freshman guard Rob Perry and his classmate Mahamadou Diawara, who is converting over 60% of his shots from the field. Stetson's nine conference wins marks their highest mark since the 2012-2013 season. With two strong defenses, a slugfest that resembles the January 25th game between these teams that Liberty won 48-43 is certainly not out of the question.

Coach Ritchie McKay's Liberty Flames are senior-laden, have an NCAA Tournament win under their belt from last year, and have a suffocating defense that ranks narrowly behind Virginia for least points allowed per game. The Flames maximize the majority of their offensive possessions, ranking 13th by offensive efficiency metrics, making the limited possessions that they allow their opponent even more meaningful. While Liberty is the class of the conference, a quick review of their schedule reveals that they have only played one power conference team which resulted in a narrow win over Vanderbilt from the Southeastern Conference cellar. Liberty has been favored by double digits eight times in conference play but has failed to cover the spread in seven of these games.

Pick: Stetson +16.5


Texas Southern @ Mississippi Valley State - 5:00 pm

Texas Southern has dominated the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) for the better part of the last decade, with four NCAA Tournament appearances since 2014. Coach Johnny Jones, who took previous stops as the head coach at Memphis, North Texas and LSU, has the Tigers in position for a good seed in the SWAC Tournament with a 9-3 record and only Prairie View A&M standing in the way of home-court advantage. The Tigers have excellent restraint on defense, committing the least fouls and allowing the least free throws in SWAC play, and senior point guard Tyrik Armstrong is a ball of energy that can put up points in a hurry.

Former NBA role player Lindsey Hunter, who won NBA Championships as a member of both the Lakers and Pistons, is in the midst of a miserable first season leading the Delta Devils. Mississippi Valley State sports only a 2-23 record against a schedule that Ken Pomeroy ranks as the 333rd most difficult schedule out of 353 Division I teams. The defense has been non-existent this year, as the Delta Devils allowed 143 points to Utah in a 94-point loss, and have allowed under 70 points only twice all season. With inefficient scorers like senior guard Michael Green and freshman guard - and the coach's son - Caleb Hunter, leading the way, the Delta Devils will continue to be subject to blowouts in what has become a season to forget for Coach Hunter.

Pick: Texas Southern -14


Alcorn State @ Alabama A&M - 6:30 pm

The Alcorn State Braves sit in a strong position at 8-5 in SWAC play. However, the Braves' midseason 5-game win streak that boosted that record feels like an eon ago. Coach Montez Robinson's team barely eked out an overtime win over Mississippi Valley State followed by a narrow regulation win over Arkansas-Pine Bluff, two teams that have a combined 4 wins in SWAC play.

Alabama A&M has been led by a trio of freshmen guards - Cameron Alford, Garett Hicks, and Cameron Tucker. Tonight in Huntsville, Alabama, the Alabama A&M Bulldogs host their annual Greek night which will be sure to boost student attendance. The school will be handing out free t-shirts to encourage the "white-out" event for a winnable game in a season that does not have many winnable games on the schedule. Considering our record is 1-0 as

Pick: Alabama A&M -1

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Top College Basketball Betting Picks for Wednesday, February 19

In this article every week, we'll be reviewing some of the top college basketball games of the day to see how we can beat Vegas.  Today's slate of games is full of teams seeking to make lasting and final impressions on the Selection Committee, and other teams trying to build momentum in advance of their conference tournaments.

An incompetent first half of play by the Seton Hall Pirates was the only thing standing in the way of a winning day on Saturday. The second half played by the Pirates showed exactly why we trusted Kevin Willard's team, and why they will still be a serious title contender to be reckoned with in March.

Here are some of the top college basketball expert betting picks for Wednesday, February 19. Let me know your thoughts, and follow me on Twitter @fredetterline. All game times below are Eastern Standard Time.

Season record to date: 31-30-1 (-1.2 units)


Nicholls State @ Northwestern State - 7:30 pm

The Nicholls State Colonels have been a difficult team to evaluate this season. They started the season with a win over Pitt, and single-digit losses to three likely NCAA Tournament teams in Illinois, LSU and Rhode Island. Once the team got to conference play, Coach Austin Claunch's team dropped a head-scratching game at home against a pesky Northwestern State team. The 29-year old Claunch, who is the youngest head coach in Division I, attributed the loss to poor three-point defense and most importantly being outrebounded by 21. Regression to the mean would likely cause that rebounding margin to be fairly even, as Northwestern State ranks only slightly above Nicholls State in rebounding statistics for the season as a whole.

Coach Mike McConathy is the longest-tenured head coach in the Southland Conference in his 21st season in charge of Northwestern State. The memories of the Demons' 2005 NCAA Tournament victory over Iowa as a 14-seed are long gone. At 12-12, the Demons stand a decent chance of notching their first winning season since the 2014-2015 campaign.

Pick: Nicholls State -3.5


George Washington @ Duquesne - 0:00 pm

The George Washington Colonials, led by Head Coach Jamion Christian, are in the midst of a rebuilding year. Arguably the most exciting player so far has been freshman guard Jameer Nelson Jr., who is leading the Colonials in steals and is scoring in double figures. The Colonials sport a miserable 2-7 record on the road, and it will take time for Coach Christian to continue to recruit the players needed to fit his system. George Washington has lost the last five games against the Dukes. One season ago, George Washington lost its last game in Pittsburgh by 16.

Coach Keith Dambrot's Duquesne Dukes have not played a true "home game" all season, due to renovations at the UPMC Cooper Fieldhouse which will be their new home arena for the 2020-2021 season. Students have trekked to nearby PPG Paints Arena, home of the Pittsburgh Penguins, and the Dukes have adopted PPG as their home away from home this year. Junior guard Tavian Dunn-Martin, who was the 2019 Atlantic 10 Sixth Man of the Year, is a 5-foot-8 ball of lightning who leads the Dukes with 57 three-pointers. The star for the Dukes is sophomore point guard Sincere Carry, who originally was committed to Division II West Chester University before signing with the Dukes and has made many college coaches look foolish for not recruiting him.

Pick: Duquesne first half -5


Boston College @ Virginia - 8:00 pm

Coach Jim Christian is in his sixth season as the head coach of Boston College and in the midst of his most successful year in charge. Despite losing star guard Ky Bowman to the NBA, the Eagles find themselves at 7-8 in ACC play and in reaching distance of an NIT invitation. For a school that has played in only one postseason tournament this decade, Coach Christian will surely be motivated as the Eagles seek out a few more resume-boosting wins. Former five-star point guard Derryck Thornton, who comes to Boston College via Duke and USC, is the lifeblood of the offense, with the sharpshooting Jay Heath and big man Nik Popovic contributing in big ways this season.

The defending champion Virginia Cavaliers has been a defensive juggernaut that far surpasses any team that Coach Tony Bennett has led. Coach Bennett, long known for his defensive-minded philosophy, has his team allowing a mere 52 points per game, ranking first in the nation. The problem for the Hoos comes on the offensive end, where they score a measly 56.8 points per game, which sits at 351st out of 353 NCAA Division I teams. Virginia, who currently sits squarely on the bubble with a 17-7 record, has only won one game in 2020 by double digits. With a game likely to find the score for each team falling in the 50s, a double-digit spread is too large to pass up.

Pick: Boston College +11


Tulsa  @ Houston - 9:00 pm

The Tulsa Golden Hurricane's surprising 2019-2020 season has been one of the best developments in the American Athletic Conference (AAC). Coach Frank Haith has done a good job resuscitating a middling program and his team is on the edge of the bubble. With an NIT bid more likely at the moment, some teams might settle and not bring their best. Coach Haith has coached in the NCAA Tournament four times and has been eager for the opportunity to get Tulsa back to the Big Dance for the first time since 2016. These road warriors, on the back of French senior forward Martins Igbanu, have won four of their last five road games, and are in upset form at the right time. In the early season matchup between these teams, Tulsa edged out Houston narrowly at home.

The Houston Cougars entered the season as the presumptive second-best team in the AAC behind the stacked Memphis Tigers. Now in mid-February, the Cougars find themselves tied for the conference lead at 10-3 and safely in the NCAA Tournament field. Coach Kelvin Sampson's team relies on its stellar defense to suffocate opponents and win more than its fair share of slugfests. Aside from a total collapse, the Cougars likely will not be able to change their seeding in the NCAA Tournament, so they may fall into a mode known to some as "playing not to lose."

Pick: Tulsa +10.5


Duke @ North Carolina State (NC State) - 9:00 pm

On Saturday, we were on the wrong side of the Duke beatdown that Coach K's team put on Notre Dame. That game, and the dominant run that Duke has been on in conference play, further displays the growing chasm between the top-3 Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) teams and the remainder of the league. Most of the ACC teams not named Duke, Louisville or Florida State, find themselves closer to the NIT bubble than the NCAA Tournament bubble. Duke has only dropped two conference games this season and should be locked in as they pursue a spot on the 1-seed line.

The NC State Wolfpack have played only one of the top-3 ACC teams, and that game ended in a 20-point home loss to Louisville. Coach Kevin Keatts' team has lost four of their last six games, and have slid well off the NCAA Tournament bubble. Senior guards Markell Johnson and CJ Bryce form a respectable backcourt, but the Wolfpack have continued to search for an answer in the frontcourt to no avail. A mixture of Lehigh graduate transfer Pat Andree and fellow forwards DJ Funderburk and Jericole Hellems will play the majority of minutes underneath but do little to instill confidence that they will be able to improve on their 212th ranked team rebounding against a strong Duke frontline led by all-ACC contender Vernon Carey.

Pick: Duke -6.5

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Top College Basketball Betting Picks for Saturday, February 15

Happy Valentine's Day to all college basketball fans. In this article every week, we'll be reviewing some of the top college basketball games of the day to see how we can beat Vegas.  Today's slate of games features a number of bubble teams trying to further cement their spots in the upcoming NCAA Tournament.

Another 3-2 day on Wednesday leaves the taste of winning in the mouth, ready to pounce on a great slate of games today.

Here are some of the top college basketball expert betting picks for Saturday, February 15. Let me know your thoughts, and follow me on Twitter @fredetterline. All game times below are Eastern Standard Time.

Season record to date: 29-27-1 (-0.4 units)


Notre Dame @ Duke - 4:00 pm

During Coach Mike Brey's twenty-year tenure in South Bend, the Fighting Irish have been known for tenacious defense, above-average perimeter shooting, and a team-first mentality. Brey, a former Duke assistant, has led the Irish to critical wins over North Carolina (UNC) and Florida State in the past couple of weeks. This year's Irish team, while young, is no different. Right now, the Irish find themselves on the wrong side of the bubble, but with a quality opportunity to improve their chances at Duke. Senior forward John Mooney, a threat from anywhere on the court, is averaging a double-double and is one of the top players in the conference. Every Irish conference game since the season-opening loss to UNC has been decided by single digits.

Coach Krzyzewski has gone from coaching teams full of experienced seniors to now the main exhibit of a "one-and-done" dynasty. This year's team is led by sophomore guard Tre Jones and freshman star big man Vernon Carey. Jones played the hero in Duke's comeback overtime victory over UNC with 28 points, 6 assists, 5 rebounds, and 3 steals. The Blue Devils can be streaky shooters but have taken care of business in conference play with slip-ups to Clemson and Louisville. The Blue Devils have only covered in 3 of 13 conference games this season.

Pick: Notre Dame +12

Virginia Commonwealth (VCU) @ Richmond - 4:00 pm

The VCU Rams enter this bout with Richmond in what is shaping up to be a crucial matchup between two bubble teams. The Rams dropped two of their last three games, including an inexplicable loss as a 12.5-point favorite versus lowly George Mason. Coach Mike Rhoades has certainly had this game circled for a long time with it being one of the last opportunities for a quality win before the Atlantic 10 Conference tournament.  VCU goes as far as senior point guard Marcus Evans will take them, and rely on their traditionally strong defense which is allowing only 63.8 points per game. VCU has better talent, but is playing a poor stretch of basketball and is running into a strong Richmond team that is catching fire at the right time.

The Richmond Spiders are chasing their first NCAA Tournament since a Cinderella run to the Sweet 16 as a 12-seed in 2011. Coach Chris Mooney has been leading the Spiders since 2005 and this year's team has the strongest strength of schedule of any of Mooney's teams to date. Richmond's early-season win at Wisconsin and a conference win over Rhode Island looks better and better each day. On January 28, when VCU and Richmond first met, VCU throttled the Spiders by 18, but the Spiders were without star guard Blake Francis and the game was played on VCU's campus.

Pick: Richmond  -1.5

UNC-Greensboro @ Mercer - 4:30 pm

The UNC-Greensboro Spartans find themselves in a conundrum that we see similar mid-major teams in. They have taken care of business in the Southern Conference, but don't have a signature non-conference win and were swept in the season series by East Tennessee State, who offered the most realistic Quad-1 win opportunity. A few nice wins over Vermont, Furman, and Georgetown aren't quite enough to move the Spartans off the bubble, and they will need to run the table and win convincingly to impress the Selection Committee.

Coach Greg Gary is in his first year in charge at Mercer after spending the past decade as Matt Painter's top assistant at Purdue. The Bears have an international flair with top scorer senior guard Djordje Dimitrijevic hailing from Serbia, and starting forward Maciej Bender a Polish transfer who started his career at West Virginia. Coach Gary will need a few more years to get the players for his system of play on campus, and until then you will see more drubbings like the one the Bears were handed in the first meetings between these teams.

Pick: UNC-Greensboro -6


Seton Hall @ Providence - 8:00 pm

Coach Kevin Willard's Seton Hall Pirates have been the class of the Big East Conference all season long. With a sterling 10-2 conference record and a strong 7-2 road record, the Pirates have very few weaknesses and will be a tough team to eliminate in the NCAA Tournament. The Pirates are led by star senior guard Myles Powell, who is averaging 21.2 points per game this year. Powell, who hails from nearby Trenton, chose to stay in New Jersey as a top-100 recruit in 2016 and is putting the finishing touches on a career that may make him the top basketball player in Seton Hall history. The Pirates got a big boost at the end of January when big man Sandro Mamukelashvili returned from injury and are hitting the right stride on their way towards a high seed and Final Four aspirations.

Coach Ed Cooley is in his ninth year at the helm of Providence, and the Friars are enduring a mini-rebuild at the moment. The Friars have a senior-laden team, with Alpha Diallo heading a group of five senior contributors that have not been able to crack through in conference play. Providence lost the early season matchup at Seton Hall in a game that was never in doubt from the opening tip.

Pick: Seton Hall -2


California-State Northridge (CSUN) @ California-Davis (UC-Davis) - 8:00 pm

The CSUN Matadors have become a real force in Big West Conference play since star forward Lamine Diane returned from his first semester academic suspension. The Matadors have found themselves in 2nd place in the conference and seeking their first NCAA tournament since a first-round loss to Memphis in the 2009 Tournament. In order to meet their goal, Coach Mark Gottfried will need to get better defensive play from his team, as they are allowing nearly 80 points per game, ranking 333rd in points against per game in the nation.

The UC-Davis Aggies have won 3 of their past 4 games as they try to climb back into the Big West Conference race. Coach Jim Les runs lots of 4-guard offenses centered around star senior guard Joe Mooney. The Aggies last played in the NCAA Tournament in the 2016-2017 season as a 16-seed, but Coach Les' team has faltered since then and has struggled badly this season. The Pavilion, the Aggies home stadium, will be rocking tonight in hopes that the home Aggies can avenge their earlier-season loss to the Matadors.

Pick: CSUN +3

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Top College Basketball Betting Picks for Wednesday, February 12

In this article every week, we'll be reviewing some of the top college basketball games of the day to see how we can beat Vegas.  Today's slate of games brings us one day closer to March Madness with a host of teams vying for only a few unclaimed spots on this year's "bubble."

Thanks to all of the support for Saturday's 3-2 bounceback, which was a Lamine Diane late missed layup away from 4-1.

Here are some of the top college basketball expert betting picks for Saturday, February 8. Let me know your thoughts, and follow me on Twitter @fredetterline. All game times below are Eastern Standard Time.

Season record to date: 26-25-1 (-1.2 units)

Richmond @ La Salle - 7:00 pm

The Richmond Spiders find themselves squarely on the bubble this year in the competitive Atlantic 10 (A-10) Conference. The Spiders, led by Coach Chris Mooney and an experienced team that returned all five starters and over 85% of total minutes played from the team a year ago. Wagner transfer guard Blake Francis returned this past Saturday for his first game back from injury from a month and picked up where he left off with 18 points, narrowly eclipsing his season average. With a fully healthy roster, Richmond will continue to make things difficult for the Selection Committee.

Coach Ashley Howard is in the second season at the helm of a full program rebuild at the Philadelphia-based La Salle University. This season, the Explorers have given consistent minutes to a foursome of freshmen, finding themselves at just 2-8 in conference play. There have been some bright spots this season with the play of the young freshmen, and a free t-shirt giveaway should generate some excitement for the fans tonight, but the Explorers at this step of their rebuild will be vastly overmatched.

Pick: Richmond -4.5


Lafayette @ Army - 7:00 pm

The Lafayette College Leopards are celebrating their silver anniversary with Coach Fran "The Lafayette Man" O'Hanlon this season. Twenty-five years with the same coach is an impressive undertaking in college basketball, and it is even more impressive considering O'Hanlon has taken the Leopards to the NCAA Tournament only once since the turn of the 21st Century. Junior guard Justin Jaworski has been the go-to scorer this season, but with additional touches this season his efficiency has dropped significantly. The Leopards' schedule has been rather soft, ranking 313th of the 353 NCAA programs in terms of strength of schedule.

The Army Black Knights have rallied around their senior leader point guard Tommy Funk to win six of their past eight conference games to re-enter the conversation for the Patriot League title. Funk's usage and efficiency both increased to career bests so far and should be one of the leading vote-getters in the Patriot League's Player of the Year race. Coach Jimmy Allen has the service academy from West Point, NY, playing its best basketball at the right time in hopes of finally taking Army to its first-ever NCAA Tournament.

Pick: Army +1.5


Louisville @ Georgia Tech - 8:00 pm

Coach Chris Mack's Louisville Cardinals are without a doubt a top championship contender. The team is very deep, with talented shooters, multiple experienced big men, and top young freshmen who are contributing right away. A trip away from the Yum! Center should be of little concern to the Cardinals, who have covered three straight road games. The Cardinals have their ticket securely booked for the bracket and are now working their way up towards the top seed-line. In order to move up to the 1-seed, the Cardinals will need to handily defeat programs like Georgia Tech and get some help with a hopeful loss from San Diego State or Gonzaga.

It is 2020 and Josh Pastner is still a college basketball coach for a major program. Pastner, who has seemingly had no success in Atlanta and left Memphis at an opportune time, is a solid coach who simply entered the biggest rebuild job in the ACC at the time. Pastner is now in his fourth season at Georgia Tech and will need to start showing signs of life before school administrators start talking about canning him.

Pick: Louisville -6


Illinois State @ Northern Iowa - 8:00 pm

The Illinois State Redbirds were one of only a handful of FCS programs to have a player invited to the NFL Combine, with running back James Robinson representing the school. On the hardwood, they are a maddening team to watch at times due to their inconsistencies. Pundits had high expectations for the Redbirds only to see them fail to fully live up to them. Despite a seven-game conference losing streak, Coach Dan Muller got the team to split its next four games in an effort to get them back on track. In the teams' earlier match, Illinois State hung around for most of the game, falling to Northern Iowa by 6.

Coach Ben Jacobson has done an excellent job with this year's Northern Iowa Panthers. Led by star sophomore guard AJ Green, the Panthers are seemingly always churning out strong possessions with top-five offensive efficiency rankings. Northern Iowa has not been made privy to many large spreads, and this twelve-point spread will be one of the largest that they have seen to date.

Pick: Illinois State +12


Clemson @ Pitt - 9:00 pm

Coach Brad Brownell was in a difficult position entering the year, having to replace four of five starters and most of his offensive firepower. The Tigers have relied this season on a new cast of contributors, including Alabama grad transfer guard Tevin Mack. This rag-tag group has struggled badly to score at times, placing 308th in the country in points per game. Interestingly, Clemson only has one road conference win this season, which was in Chapel Hill - their first defeat of North Carolina in Clemson basketball history. Clemson has failed to cover the spread in five of its last six games.

The Pitt Panthers find themselves on the bubble - the NIT bubble that is - for the first time since Jamie Dixon strolled the sidelines of the Petersen Events Center. Coach Jeff Capel's team is nearly fully reliant on underclassmen as Wichita State grad transfer center Eric Hamilton and injured Swedish forward Kene Chukwuka are the only seniors on the roster. Sophomore guards Trey McGowens and Xavier Johnson are typically the first players that broadcasters will reference, but the player who has made the biggest difference in conference play has been freshman forward Justin Champagnie. Champagnie, whose twin brother Julian is a freshman for Saint John's, dropped 30 points his last time out on Georgia Tech and will look to continue his success against the Tigers.

Pick: Pitt -3

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Top College Basketball Betting Picks for Saturday, February 8

In this article every week, we'll be reviewing some of the top college basketball games of the day to see how we can beat Vegas.  Today's slate of games includes a myriad of midmajor opportunities and late conference races.

Wednesday's 1-4 record was less than ideal. We've had a difficult couple of weeks, and trust me I'm feeling it betting all these games with you. We are due for some positive regression that looks to start today.

Here are some of the top college basketball expert betting picks for Saturday, February 8. Let me know your thoughts, and follow me on Twitter @fredetterline. All game times below are Eastern Standard Time.

Season record to date: 23-23-1 (-2.0 units)


Robert Morris @ Sacred Heart - 3:00 pm

The Robert Morris Colonials have been led by Coach Andy Toole for the past decade, which will go down as the best decade in program history. Having led the Colonials to multiple NIT wins, including a memorable win over Kentucky, and a play-in game win over North Florida in the 2015 NCAA tournament. The Colonials are currently 9-2 in the conference only behind Merrimack, the new team on the block. A key to Robert Morris' success has been a balanced rotation, as the team plays eight players with balanced minutes and plenty of interchangeable guards. The key will be getting another strong performance from junior forward AJ Bramah, who had 18 points and 20 rebounds in his earlier game against the Colonials.

The Sacred Heart Pioneers returned much of their production from last year, but have not quite met up to the high expectations that followed last year's upstart team that was one win away from an NCAA tournament appearance. Coach Anthony Latina's team is anchored defensively by senior center Jare'l Spellman, who averaged 3 blocks per game last year. The Pioneers dropped the matchup between these two teams in Moon by double digits, and have shown continued inconsistency in conference play.

Pick: Robert Morris +4


North Carolina Central @ Coppin State - 4:00 pm

The North Carolina Central Eagles have been playing at a high level of late, with seven wins in their last nine games. When it comes to big-time games, Coach LeVelle Moton among historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs). Coach Moton has led the Eagles to four of the last six NCAA tournaments as the MEAC representative, and his Eagles are catching fire at the exact right time. February and March are usually a bad time to bet against Coach Moton.

The Coppin State Eagles, hailing from Baltimore, Maryland, are in the midst of a rebuild. Juan Dixon, who won a national championship as a player at Maryland and produced a productive NBA career, is in his 2nd season as the head coach and is still trying to establish the team's identity. Before the season, Coach Dixon hyped up freshman guard Nigel Marshall as "Baby LeBron," but Marshall played sparingly in November and subsequently got shelved for a redshirt season. Without the services of "Baby LeBron" and with leading scorer Kamar McKnight out indefinitely, it is unclear where Coppin State will find the scoring to keep up with their MEAC opponent.

Pick: NC Central +1


William & Mary @ North Carolina-Wilmington (UNCW) - 7:00 pm

The William & Mary Tribe underwent some significant changes over the offseason and expectations were relatively low entering the 2019-2020 season. First, the team saw three starters depart and returned only 39% of the minutes played from the prior year. Then, Coach Tony Shaver, who had been at the helm for 16 seasons, was fired in March and replaced by 40-year old Dane Fischer. Fischer got a huge recruiting boost when he kept all-Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) forward Nathan Knight to return for his senior season. Knight has played otherworldly this season, averaging 20.6 points per game (ppg) and 10.9 rebounds per game on 53% shooting from the floor. Combining Knight with the Wisconsin transfer 7-foot Belgian stretch forward Any Van Vliet has provided the Tribe with a dangerous force that is nearly unguardable.

Coach CB McGrath entered the season with high hopes, as his returning sophomore point guard Kai Toews ranked second in the nation in assists last year and showed poise beyond his years. Toews made the surprising decision midseason to depart for his home nation of Japan to pursue a career of professional basketball and the Seahawks have been reeling. Having been swept in the season series by lowly Elon, and losing to William & Mary by 16 in their early January matchup, it is time to continue to fade UNCW.

Pick: William & Mary -5.5


Sacramento State @ Idaho State - 9:00 pm

The Sacramento State Hornets are led by Head Coach Brian Katz, who is in his 12th year in charge. Senior guard Izayah Mauriohooho-Le'afa hails from New Zealand and has arguably a top-5 name in college basketball. Despite returning four seniors and 77% of minutes played from last season, the Hornets have endured a difficult year. Luckily, they get an opportunity against one of the few teams that have struggled more than them.

The Idaho State Bengals basketball program has been in a funk for years. This season, the Bengals lost by 19 points at Sacramento State, and are currently in the midst of a seven-game losing streak. Coach Ryan Looney inherited a barren roster and brought in five players from one junior college alone. Expecting players who were backups at the College of Southern Idaho to contribute the following season at Division I level probably isn't a plan that will work long-term. Freshman guard Nico Aguirre is a member of the Chilean basketball team.

Pick: Sacramento State -1.5


California-Riverside @ California State Northridge (CSUN) - 10:00 pm

The California-Riverside Highlanders sit in a cluster of teams stuck in the middle of the Big West Conference at 4-4. Coach David Patrick, best known as the godfather of Ben Simmons and the lead recruiter to get Simmons to LSU, has plenty of interesting pieces in a competitive conference. Sophomore Callum McRae of New Zealand lost 40 pounds this offseason and has emerged as the most consistent contributor on this year's team. The biggest fault for the Highlanders is that they seem to forget how to play when they go on the road, with a 4-8 road record opposite their impressive 10-2 home record.

CSUN got one of the biggest boosts at the season's midway point when star sophomore forward Lamine Diane rejoined the team after missing the first semester due to being academically ineligible. Joining Diane with electric diminutive guard Terrell Gomez makes the Matadors an extremely potent offense. Diane and Gomez log heavy minutes, contribute over 60% of the team's scoring and are probably the two most difficult players to stop in the Big West. The Matadors have only lost one home game since Diane's return.

Pick: CSUN -4


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Top College Basketball Betting Picks for Wednesday, February 5, 2020

In this article every week, we'll be reviewing some of the top college basketball games of the day to see how we can beat Vegas.  Today's slate of games includes several Power Five conference showdowns, bubble teams, and under-the-radar mid-major conference races.

On Saturday, a 2-3 record was a bit of a letdown, with Oregon squandering a significant halftime lead, and the Florida Gulf Coast Eagles playing with an offense so poor that they should have had their red blood cells checked for anemia. Nevertheless, today is an opportunity to bounce back with a juicy slate of basketball games.

Here are some of the top college basketball expert betting picks for Wednesday, February 5. Let me know your thoughts, and follow me on Twitter @fredetterline. All game times below are Eastern Standard Time.

Season record to date: 22-19-1 (+0.4 units)


Clemson @ Virginia - 7:00 pm

Coach Brad Brownell's Clemson Tigers are a mixed bag and are a good reflection of just how disappointing the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) has been this season. Replacing four of five starters, expectations were low for the Tigers and yet they found a way to take down the extremely talented Duke Blue Devils, but have lost ten games and looked dreadful their last time out against Wake Forest. Sophomore guard John Newman and graduate transfer Tevin Mack, who arrived in Clemson, South Carolina, after previous stops at Alabama and Texas, are the players to watch for the Tigers as they seek to push the pace against a Virginia team that seeks to limit possessions.

Virginia is the top defensive unit in the country, by a longshot. Coach Tony Bennett, long considered a defensive mastermind, has his team competing fiercely on defense and allowing only 50.7 points per game (ppg). Early in the year, it seemed like Virginia would never hit an over. Now, it appears Vegas may have over-adjusted as the Cavaliers have gone over the total in seven of their past ten games.

Pick: Over 107


Hartford @ Maryland-Baltimore County (UMBC) - 7:00 pm

The Hartford Hawks enter tonight's game on a three-game win streak and in a two-way tie for 2nd place in the America East conference. Coach John Gallagher has done a fantastic job this season with a team that had low expectations and only returned 4 scholarship players from a year ago. Graduate transfer Malik Ellison, who is the son of former NBA star Pervis Ellison, has thrived as the go-to player for the Hawks after previous stops at St. John's and Pitt. Helping Ellison out this year is a pair of star freshmen in guard Moses Flowers and Czech forward Miroslav Stafl. Presently, the Hawks and Stony Brook Seawolves look like the best two bets to take down Vermont from on top of the conference to represent the conference in the NCAA tournament.

UMBC enters the game in quite an opposite position. The Retrievers, who were the first 16-seed in an NCAA tournament to take down a 1-seed when they took down Virginia in March 2018, were picked to finish 3rd in the conference in the preseason poll but find themselves in a tie for last with a 2-6 conference record. Coach Ryan Odom's team has struggled largely due to its inability to rebound effectively, ranking 296th in rebounding. Luckily for the Retrievers, Hartford ranks 325th in the nation and plays large stretches of its games with the 6-foot-6 guard Ellison playing at power forward.

Pick: UMBC -3


George Washington @ Saint Bonaventure - 7:00 pm

George Washington University, named after our nation's first president, is in a transition year with new coach Jamion Christian at the helm. Christian, who comes to the District of Columbia after six years in charge of Mount Saint Mary's and one year in charge of Siena, is widely considered a rising star in the coaching stratosphere and quickly found his way to a well-regarded Atlantic 10 (A-10) program. The Colonials are going to be a team to watch in the future, with young freshmen forward Jamison Battle and guard Jameer Nelson Jr, son of the former Orlando Magic and St. Joseph's star of the same name, have emerged as the team's leaders. While these freshmen have endured their share of bumps and bruises, the immense potential they have shown should excite Colonials fans for the years to come.

Saint Bonaventure has been an example of consistency for years in the A-10, with coach Mark Schmidt at the helm since the 2007-2008 season. The Bonnies are in somewhat unfamiliar territory, having lost stars Courtney Stockard and LaDarien Griffin to graduation with seemingly no well-planned replacement. Sophomore guard Kyle Lofton was the heir apparent but due to inconsistent three-point shooting and increased turnovers, the expected star-turn may need to wait a year.

Pick: George Washington +9.5


Sam Houston State @ Incarnate Word - 8:00 pm

Sam Houston State University, named after one of the iconic heroes of the Alamo, is the third oldest public college or university in Texas. The basketball program has experienced similar lengthy success with 19 of 20 seasons in the 21st century having winning records above .500. Coach Jason Hooten, in his tenth season at the helm of the Bearkats, has built a winning culture in Huntsville, Texas, and a passionate fanbase. Senior forward Kai Mitchell is the team's scoring and rebounding leader, but the team uses a deep rotation to tire out opponents.

Incarnate Word, a private Catholic university in San Antonio, was founded in 1881 by an order of Catholic nuns in 1881. The Cardinals have probably started prayer chains for an expedited end to what will go down possibly as their worst men's basketball season of all-time. Aside from a narrow win over lowly Houston Baptist, which we were on the wrong side on, the Cardinals have shown game-in and game-out that they would be better served playing in Division II or III this year. In a few years, coach Carson Cunningham's team may be competing, but for now, a team led by a band of lightly-recruited freshmen will continue to struggle in the Southland conference gauntlet.

Pick: Sam Houston 1st Half -7.5


Temple @ Memphis - 8:00 pm

This year marks a new beginning for Temple basketball. Fran Dunphy was a Division I basketball coach in Philadelphia for 30 years, split between Temple and Penn, and his absence this season has been felt. Dunphy's top assistant, and former Philadelphia 76er and Temple Owl, Aaron McKie has stepped in to replace his old retired boss. McKie is well-respected and well-known in Philadelphia basketball circles, already making his presence known by bringing in New Jersey freshman guard Josh Pierre-Louis, whose brother Nate is the team's best perimeter defender.

The Memphis Tigers have been an unmitigated letdown this season. Coach Penny Hardaway's team has all the talent in the world but cannot seem to play with any sense of urgency or consistency. The Tigers, who had the consensus #1 recruiting class in the nation and brought in five top-100 players, were dealt a blow with the loss of James Wiseman when he decided to depart school early to prepare for the NBA draft. The team is a top-10 team in terms of talent but is playing like a bubble team at the moment.

Pick: Temple +7.5


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Super Bowl Squares - Strategies and Historical Trends for SB LIV

One of the most common "office pool" games across the country this time of year is played on a piece of paper with 100 squares. The "Super Bowl Squares" game is a staple in offices and at Super Bowl parties because it is a fun way for everyone to have a rooting interest in the big game.

The game works simply. In the days leading up to the big game, a box with 100 squares, 10 wide by 10 high, is slowly filled one-by-one. Once all the boxes have been filled, the numbers 0 through 9 are randomly assigned to each column and then to each row so that each individual cell is a unique combination. The players now have their number combination that they are rooting for. The last digit of each team's final score will correspond with the winning square.

In the Chiefs' two Super Bowl appearances, the number zero was extremely popular, connecting on all four quarters in their Super Bowl I loss to Green Bay and the only other numbers to hit were the next-most-popular three and seven. The 49ers have appeared in the Super Bowl six times, bringing many unconventional or unexpected results. For example, their Super Bowl games have never ended the first quarter with a score ending in zero, bucking the most popular number in favor of three, seven and four. Over the course of the six appearances, the 49ers have ended a quarter with each of the 10 possible last digits. How much does historical data matter for something that seems like random luck, especially for games that took place years and even decades ago? More than you might imagine. Let's take a look, quarter by quarter.


First Quarter

# NFC AFC Total %
1 - - - 0.0%
2 - - - 0.0%
3 14 9 23 21.7%
4 4 3 7 6.6%
5 - - - 0.0%
6 1 1 2 1.9%
7 8 11 19 17.9%
8 1 - 1 0.9%
9 2 - 2 1.9%
0 23 29 52 49.1%

The first-quarter results show that the best number to have on the board is undoubtedly zero, which has been one of the two teams' results in 49.1%. If you have the numbers one, two, five, six, eight or nine, you should take another trip to the buffet line during the first quarter because those have been winning numbers in the first quarter combination only six combined times. The American Football Conference (AFC) team has ended the first quarter with zero more often than their National Football Conference (NFC) counterparts.



# NFC AFC Total %
1 2 3 5 4.7%
2 2 3 5 4.7%
3 11 9 20 18.9%
4 5 6 11 10.4%
5 1 - 1 0.9%
6 5 5 10 9.4%
7 6 12 18 17.0%
8 3 - 3 2.8%
9 3 - 3 2.8%
0 15 15 30 28.3%

The second quarter adds variability to the results. Zero is still the most common result at 28.3%, followed closely by three, seven, and four. Five has only been in the halftime winning combination once out of 106 results.


Third Quarter

# NFC AFC Total %
1 4 2 6 5.7%
2 1 2 3 2.8%
3 7 7 14 13.2%
4 4 9 13 12.3%
5 3 1 4 3.8%
6 7 5 12 11.3%
7 10 13 23 21.7%
8 3 3 6 5.7%
9 3 4 7 6.6%
0 11 7 18 17.0%

The third quarter is much more wide open, as teams' scores increase and more time for missed extra points and safeties helps the range of reasonable possibilities expand. As expected, the numbers zero, three and seven are the most common winners, but the rest of the pack is not far behind.


Final Score

# NFC AFC Total %
1 7 7 14 13.2%
2 2 2 4 3.8%
3 6 6 12 11.3%
4 4 11 15 14.2%
5 3 2 5 4.7%
6 3 7 10 9.4%
7 13 6 19 17.9%
8 3 3 6 5.7%
9 6 2 8 7.5%
0 6 7 13 12.3%

So what is the best final score number combination to have for the big game? The Chiefs' average points scored in a Super Bowl is 17 points per game (ppg), and they have allowed 21 ppg in their two collective Super Bowl appearances. The 49ers are averaging a more robust 37 ppg in six appearances against 21 ppg allowed in Super Bowls. Overall, the best number is traditionally zero, followed by seven, three and four, while two and five are the numbers that a competitor should desire to stay away from in the past.



The beauty of the Super Bowl Squares game is that anything can happen. In Super Bowl XLVIII, the Seahawks' Cliff Avril tackled Broncos running back Knowshon Moreno in the end zone for a safety, which caused unexpected Super Bowl Squares results for the remainder of the game. When Adam Vinatieri's extra point attempt failed in the first quarter of Super Bowl XLI, the resulting scores in the game's four quarters did not follow historical precedents.

We've seen which numbers are most likely to hit based on past results but often this game is played without player choice, meaning you are simply hoping for a lucky draw. The best thing you can do is sit back, relax, enjoy the game and hope history is on your side or that history is made depending on the number combination that you end up with.

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Top College Basketball Betting Picks for Saturday, February 1

In this article every week, we'll be reviewing some of the top college basketball games of the day to see how we can beat Vegas.  Today's slate of games includes a couple of West Coast Conference showdowns, the lowest over/under of the season for two teams, and a fading Pac-12 team against a surging Pac-12 team.

This past Wednesday's record was 2-2-1, with our first push of the season coming in Memphis' 2-point win over Central Florida. This week, we turn the calendar into February as teams are working towards putting the finishing touches on their resume with the hope of sneaking into the tournament and making a run towards the title.

Here are some of the top college basketball expert betting picks for Saturday, February 1. Let me know your thoughts, and follow me on Twitter @fredetterline. All game times below are Eastern Standard Time.

Season record to date: 20-16-1 (+2.2 units)


Gonzaga @ San Francisco - 4:00 pm

Coach Mark Few has built an absolute juggernaut in Spokane. It is not often that you will see a spread this low for the Zags, who have been favored in all but one game this season and have seen spreads under 11 points only three times. The one recent concern for the Zags is that forward Killian Tillie is injured and will be out indefinitely. This absence though will mean more playing time for Filip Petrusev, the young Serbian center who has put up incredible per-minute statistics and is a sure-fire future NBA player.

The San Francisco Dons had a notable season last season but were expected to take a step back with the losses of Coach Kyle Smith and star guard Frankie Ferrari. New Coach Todd Golden has helped the Dons continue their success this year, maintaining their status as a mid-tier West Coast Conference team. The Dons are hoping to finish the season strong, and do have an upset win over BYU on their resume, but will prove to be no match for an experienced and well-coach Gonzaga team.

Pick: Gonzaga -11


Oregon @ Stanford - 6:00 pm

Payton Pritchard has been phenomenal for Coach Dana Altman's Ducks this year. Pritchard was the star of the show for last year's Sweet 16 team, but this year's team is even better with the additions of two highly heralded freshmen in CJ Walker and N'Faly Dante. The biggest addition to the Ducks roster since last year has been guard Chris Duarte, the nation's top-ranked junior college transfer a year ago, who is contributing across the board with strong defensive metrics and double-digit scoring. Aside from an embarrassing loss to middling Washington State, the team's other three losses are to powerhouse Gonzaga, a strong Colorado team, and UNC before losing Cole Anthony. Oregon is a team to keep an eye on, as they have the talent of a second-weekend team in the NCAA tournament.

Stanford has been a great story this season, as the once-storied program has finally shown signs of life, starting the year 15-2. Coach Jerod Haase's team has fallen down to earth on a recent three-game conference losing streak. Freshman guard Tyrell Terry has become a star for the team from the minute he stepped on campus, and pairs well with junior German forward Oscar da Silva, a biology major, and the team's highest scorer. The Cardinal beefed up their record with more than their fair share of cupcake games and the freefall will likely continue for this young team.

Pick: Oregon -1.5


Florida Gulf Coast @ Liberty - 7:00 pm

The days of "Dunk City" are two coaches and nearly a decade removed from Florida Gulf Coast University basketball lore. Coach Michael Fly does not play at the same tempo as his predecessors Joe Dooley and Andy Enfield, and the Eagles are averaging only 61.9 ppg. This team underwent a significant roster overhaul over the summer and has many freshmen contributing across the board. Junior Justus Rainwater, a transfer center from Cochise Junior College, has one of the best names in college basketball and is the primary scoring option for the Eagles on the interior. This posted total is the lowest total of the year for the Eagles.

Coach Ritchie McKay's Liberty Flames have played with consistency and have been one of the best defensive teams in the country. The Flames' 51.2 ppg allowed is the 2nd best in the nation, and their 67.5 ppg on offense is a measly 316th. Liberty games this year have been slugfest after slugfest, with minimal offensive outbursts. Despite this, seeing a total so low should be alarming. This will also be the lowest total posted for Liberty.

Pick: Over 113.5


Saint Mary's @ Brigham Young (BYU) - 10:00 pm

Coach Randy Bennett is in his 19th season at the helm of the Saint Mary's Gaels, one of three Catholic schools in the San Francisco bay area. The Gaels have one of their strongest teams in recent memory. The only blemishes on the resume is an inexcusable early-season loss to Winthrop that is far and away in the rearview mirror. With two games still to play against the indestructible Gonzaga Bulldogs, this game may be the most realistic and final opportunity for Saint Mary's to stake its claim for an at-large bid with a win over a tournament-caliber team. Senior guard Jordan Ford is the engine that runs this team, scoring 21.ppg in a staggering 37 minutes per game. Secondary scoring falls to former South Florida big man Malik Fitts, and four-year contributor guard Tanner Krebs. The Gaels are well-coached, play with strong fundamentals, and should not be razzled by the tenacious atmosphere in Provo.

The 2019-2020 season was expected to be one of transition after longtime coach Dave Rose retired and guard Nick Emery, whose brother Jackson starred alongside Jimmer Fredette, decided to hang up his sneakers for good in October. New head coach Mark Pope, who had some success at Utah Valley prior to leading the Cougars in Provo, has this team running on all cylinders and looking like a legitimate tournament team. Star forward Yoeli Childs was suspended for the first nine games of the season by NCAA for incorrectly filing paperwork to declare for the NBA draft last season, but is back and is scoring 21.2 ppg on over 60% shooting from the field. The team will play four guards surrounding Childs at times, led by Utah Valley graduate transfer Jake Toolson and Arizona transfer Alex Barcello. This will be a must-watch showdown between two dangerous teams that both have the potential to make long runs in March.

Pick: Saint Mary's +6


New Orleans @ Southeastern Louisiana - 5:00 pm

Southeastern Louisiana should be favored over about 5 teams in college basketball, even at home. While New Orleans is far from a perfect team and has its share of warts, it is a significantly more polished team at this stage, much better coached, and has better recruits. Southeastern Louisiana is a bottom-10 team in the nation, and this will be only the second instance that they have been favored this year.

Pick: New Orleans +2.5


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