4 Gambling Storylines Worth Following in 2014
4: The Mighty Ducks
Oregon is known for 1,432 uniform combinations, high-powered offenses, and near misses when it comes to the pursuit of national champions. What most fans don't realize is the Ducks have been a steady money maker in the betting markets going all the way back to 2006, the last time they failed to finish the year with an ATS win percentage > .500. Even if you're not impressed by the quack attack's ability to cash tickets with alarming regularity, keep in mind they've been at least .500 since a 5-6 mark back in 2002. Over the last 4 seasons alone the Ducks elite status as a CFB ATM machine continues to rise amid a 32-19-2 ATS run despite oddsmakers being painfully aware of the blind faith public bettors put in Oregon's offense every week.
3: QB Dominance
The Heisman trophy is a purely quarterback dominated award in the modern era. There's a reason the position (you'd get every quarterback in the country working for you) is listed as -270 favorite against the field. The shift away from ground and pound, everywhere except Alabama & Wisconsin, makes it near impossible for a guy running between the tackles to steal headlines from quarterbacks throwing for 5,000 yards and 40 touchdowns. Jameis Winston, Marcus Mariota, Bryce Petty, and Brett Hundley are all projected 1st round picks at the next level, giving them the inside track on an invite to NYC. The handful of running backs likely to prompt a change in voting (in the eyes of oddsmakers)? Todd Gurley, Melvin Gordon, and the Alabama tandem of Derrick Henry/ TJ Yeldon.
2: Down go the Champs
Teams looking to defend their national title historically come crashing back to earth in the ATS (against the spread) department. The combination of increased expectations, weekly target on their back, and oddsmakers inflating price tags make replicating magical runs in the money-making department damn near impossible. Going back to the year 2000, national champions are 115-62-5 (64%) the year they take home college football's biggest prize. It's during their title defense that national champs become a bad bet compiling a record of 75-84-2, covering just 47% of the time. Florida State will look to put themselves in rarified air as far as your bankroll is concerned when they try to become only the 4th team to turn a profit the year after being crowned champions.
Roll Tide's season opener against West Virginia marks the 55th straight game they've been installed as a favorite. The last time Nick Saban's squad found themselves listed as an underdog was the 2009 SEC title game against the Tim Tebow led Florida Gators. Alabama will be favored in every single regular season game this year (unless the wheels fall off) meaning they'd break the previous record of 58 straight games as a favorite set by the USC Trojans dynasty. The Crimson Tide's closest calls could come in the form of trips to Oxford and Baton Rouge, two conference road trips where they'll most likely open as favorites of less than 10 points. If being favored in 54 straight isn't impressive enough, Alabama has only been single digit chalk in 11 of those 54 contests. Using my preseason power numbers, Alabama will only find themselves as an underdog if they were to tangle with Florida St...meaning a potential national championship meeting between the college football powers could halt the streak (assuming a SEC title birth) at 67 games in early January.