The Pac-12 conference might be the center of the football world this weekend, as Oregon, Washington, and USC all face their biggest tests of the season so far.
Lions at Buccaneers
Sunday, Oct. 15 | 4:25 p.m. ET | FOX
There are only two NFL games this week featuring a pair of teams with winning records. One is Colts at Jaguars (-4) in the early Sunday window; the other is Lions at Buccaneers (+3.5). Public interest will naturally gravitate toward the latter option, which should get prime billing in the late afternoon window.
Detroit was a beloved public target in the offseason; at BetMGM the Lions are currently responsible for 40.1% of all NFC championship tickets, plus 7.4% of all tickets in the Super Bowl odds market.
The Buccaneers are a bit more of a surprise. With Tom Brady swapped out for Baker Mayfield and an aging, increasingly expensive roster, few bettors were willing to take a chance on Tampa Bay in the NFL futures market, even though the division was widely considered to be up-for-grabs throughout the preseason.
There’s still time to bet the Bucs in the NFC South odds market, too. Tampa is third in the table at +200, despite the fact that it’s currently in first place with a head-to-head road win over the favorite Saints. If the Bucs manage to top the Lions on Sunday, those odds will surely flip.
Oregon at Washington
Saturday, Oct. 14 | 3:30 p.m. ET | ABC
Tragically, the doomed Pac-12 has emerged as the deepest and most fun conference in college football this year. Bettors are trying to enjoy it while they still can.
This weekend’s marquee game is happening in the Pacific Northwest, and there are major implications in the college football national championship odds market. No. 8 Oregon heads to Seattle for a showdown with No. 7 Washington, and the winner will become the clear betting favorite in the Pac-12 with about six weeks to go in the regular season.
Oregon is arguably the most balanced team in the Pac-12, featuring a highly effective quarterback in Bo Nix and one of the better defenses in the conference. But that Oregon defense will have its hands full against Michael Penix Jr., who ranks second in FBS college football in QBR. Washington also leads all FBS teams in total offense per game.
Penix Jr. became the favorite in the Heisman Trophy odds market a few days ago.
Texas A&M at Tennessee
Saturday, Oct. 14 | 3:30 p.m. ET | CBS
The 2023 season has quickly become a strange and fascinating season for SEC football. College football’s most accomplished conference is used to fielding a number of top-flight teams that compete for College Football Playoff berths. This year, every team but Georgia already had a loss by the conclusion of last week’s games.
As a result, bettors are already seeing de facto elimination games for teams that had major aspirations only a few weeks ago.
One of those games is this weekend in Knoxville, where Texas A&M will face off with Tennessee. BetMGM’s college football odds make the home team a 3.5-point favorite.
The Vols lost a road game to nemesis Florida last month, which means the margin for error is virtually zero if they want to challenge Georgia in the East. Tennessee will host the champs on Nov. 18.
Texas A&M entered the season with a smattering of playoff hype, but has already lost a nonconference game to Miami (FL). The Aggies dropped their first conference game last week to Alabama at home, and games against Ole Miss and LSU remain. The pressure on head coach Jimbo Fisher remains high.