Baylor quarterback Charlie Brewer (12) looks for a receiver against Texas in the first half of an NCAA college football game on Saturday, Nov. 23, 2019, in Waco, Texas. [Stephen Spillman for Statesman]

Mike Craven staff


Craven’s Corner: A pair of college games headline a slow week of football for sports betting

Posted September 16th, 2020


Craven’s Corner went 4-1 in Week 1 of the NFL, moving our early record on the year to 6-2. We went 70-61-3 in 2019.

This week we’ll focus on a pair of college games and three specific NFL matchups. Only 12 of the top 25 college teams are in action this week as most programs take a bye in preparation of their conference schedules. 

A quick refresher: Betting looks difficult, but it’s easy to grasp. A negative number denotes the favorite. The number after the negative represents how much money you’d need to bet to win $100. So, a -265 favorite would require a $265 bet to win you $100. Conversely, a positive number is the underdog. The number following the positive represents how much money you’d make on a $100 bet. So, a +265 bet means $100 earns you $265.


We’re using as our general sports book. Remember that lines fluctuate based on bets and are subject to change before kickoff.

Got it? OK, let’s make some money: 

Former Texas defensive coordinator Manny Diaz is now the head coach at Miami. His Hurricanes are nationally ranked. (Ricardo B. Brazziell/American-Statesman file photo)

College football

Miami +2.5 over Louisville: Two teams ranked inside the top 20 will square off for the first time with ESPN’s “College Gameday” in attendance. This game is exciting because of the quarterback matchup. D’Eriq King transferred to Miami from Houston and looked good in his first game against UAB. Louisville has Micale Cunningham, who started his redshirt junior season with 343 yards and three touchdowns against Western Kentucky. I expect a close game, so I’m picking the underdog. 

Baylor -4.5 over Houston: Both were supposed to start their seasons last week before opponents canceled over COVID-19 issues. The two schools worked quickly to set up this contest, which will take place at 11 a.m. in Waco. I’ll take quarterback Charlie Brewer and a strong defense at home over a Houston team that was inconsistent in Dana Holgorsen’s first year. Houston was 4-8 in 2019, the worst record for the Cougars since 2012. The four wins were the fewest by a first year head coach at UH in 20 years.



Bengals +6 over Browns: Do you trust the Browns and quarterback Baker Mayfield to beat any team by more than six points? I don’t. Rookie quarterback Joe Burrow looked good in his NFL debut, when the Bengals lost by three to the Chargers. The Browns were swamped by the Ravens but should win this game, though confidence levels in Cleveland are on life support entering Week 2. 

Seahawks -4 over Patriots: Cam Newton impressed as the new quarterback of the Patriots, but a 10-point victory over the Dolphins doesn’t move the needle for me. The Seahawks looked like Super Bowl contenders in a 13-point victory over the Falcons in Atlanta. Russell Wilson will out-duel Newton by a touchdown. 

Vikings +3 over Colts: Both teams lost in Week 1 despite the Vikings entering the season with strong odds to win the NFC North and the Colts being the co-favorites in the AFC South alongside the Titans. The Vikings were 0-2 against Aaron Rodgers and the Packers in 2019, so I won’t lose faith in Minnesota because of a Week 1 loss to Green Bay. Expect Kirk Cousins and the Vikings to rebound against an overrated Colts squad.