ESPN betting analyst has some thoughts:
Oregon vs. Georgia (-17.5) and Notre Dame at Ohio State (-14.5) are two games that could impact the CFP landscape. What are your early thoughts on those two matchups?
Bill Connelly, ESPN Football Insider: Let’s put it this way: SP+ couldn’t possibly be higher on Ohio State — it has the Buckeyes No. 1 over Georgia and Alabama thanks to how highly it thinks of the Buckeyes’ offense — and it still projects them to beat Notre Dame by only an average of 12.8 points. Obviously if Notre Dame’s quarterback situation remains blurry, the Irish could bobble, but they have the kind of experience and physicality in the trenches that Ohio State struggled with at times last season (particularly against Michigan and Oregon). If I’m putting money on that one, I’m picking the Irish..
It’s kind of the same story with UGA-Oregon. SP+ never saw Oregon as a serious contender last season, projects the Ducks just 24th to start the year and still has them as only 13.5-point underdogs in this one. The “Kirby Smart facing his former protege (Dan Lanning)” angle makes things a bit weird, especially if Smart is as mean to former assistants’ teams as Nick Saban has tended to be through the years. For that reason, I wouldn’t put money on this either way. But 17.5 points is awfully aggressive.
Stanford Steve Coughlin, ESPN betting analyst: I don’t like both games, but if I had to lean, I would rather lay the 14.5 with Buckeyes because they can turn it into a shootout. When I look at the other game, Oregon has a ton of experience coming back on the offensive line, and Lanning has enough talent to frustrate Georgia’s offense while the Ducks’ offense attempts to shorten the game on the ground. Georgia also has to replace players on defense, with many replacements playing considerable time for the first time in their careers.