12:15 pm – October 1, 2012
We’ve been getting a few questions about the Mississippi State-Kentucky line. Vegas Insider and other odds providers lists the Wildcats as 14.5-point favorites.
Um, guys. It’s a typo. And an obvious one.
The game is currently off the board due to Kentucky’s uncertainty at quarterback. Head coach Joker Phillips has remained mum on who the starter will be, and the decision is likely to influence the spread. The likely candidates are Maxwell Smith and Jalen Whitlow, a freshman.
Our projected line: Mississippi State -16.5.
6:50 pm – September 29, 2012
Is Texas finally “back?”
Most of the betting market seems to think so, as the Longhorns have swung from 2-point underdogs at Oklahoma State today to, currently, 2-point favorites.
Texas is 3-0 (2-1 ATS) but hasn’t really been tested in wins over Wyoming, New Mexico and Ole Miss, while Oklahoma State was run off the field at Arizona, 59-38, in its only tough game.
For a great forum thread looking at this game from both angles, click here.
6:20 pm – September 29, 2012
So far, SMU has played two bigger conference schools, and it hasn’t gone well.
Like, at all.
The Mustangs lost 59-24 at Baylor as 7-point underdogs and 48-3 against Texas A&M as 10-point underdogs. Neither game was ever in doubt, and now oddsmakers seem to be adjusting, installing SMU as a 14-point home underdog to No. 15 TCU tonight.
This was one of the games mentioned in our “Favorites that will rip the underdog’s face off” thread at the BTB Sports Betting Forum, but could the weather throw a kink in the Horned Frogs’ game plan?
A TCU insider says, “The only negative for a high spread is that it is raining really hard here in Fort Worth and is going to be even harder come game time in Dallas. Don’t know if it will affect throwing the ball as much for [TCU quarterback Casey] Pachall, but still something to consider.”
6:10 pm – September 29, 2012
If you’re a fan of riding the hot hand, Western Kentucky is your play in the 7 p.m. ET games tonight.
The Hilltoppers, now in their third year under Willie Taggart (a former assistant to Jim Harbaugh at Stanford), have covered in 13 straight games dating back to Week 3 of last season. That streak includes six outright wins as underdogs, which it appears they’ll be tonight at Arkansas State.
The Red Wolves won this matchup last year 26-22 as 12-point favorites, which ironically was the first game of Western Kentucky’s current ATS streak.
Arkansas State won the Sun Belt last year with a perfect 8-0 record, while Western Kentucky finished just a hair behind at 7-1. The Red Wolves are only 2-2 in their first season under new coach Gus Malzahn, but the losses—at Oregon and at Nebraska—were more than expected.
“If anything, I see them as being the champions,” Taggart said. “They have what we want, so we’ve got to go out and play really well if we want it. That’s what we want to be. We want people to say, ‘WKU is Sun Belt champ.’ It’s the first step at doing that.”
6:00 pm – September 29, 2012
It’s not your typical “Battle of the Unbeatens,” but Texas Tech and Iowa State are both still unblemished leading up to their Big 12 opener at 7 p.m. ET.
The Red Raiders are currently ranked No. 2 nationally in total defense (198.5 yards allowed), but this is why college football stats should always be taken with a grain of salt, especially early in the season.
Texas Tech has beaten Northwestern State, Texas State and New Mexico to open the year (3-0 ATS), hardly a murderer’s row.
With wins over Tulsa and Iowa, the Cyclones’ résumé is actually far more impressive.
At the current number this is a stay-away game for us, but one thing is fairly certain: Starting tonight, Texas Tech’s defense should take a step back and will probably finish the season outside of the Top 50, let alone the Top 10.
3:10 pm – September 29, 2012
Louisiana Tech is the class of the WAC, but it’s still a little surprising when you see a smaller school favored over a BCS team … on the road.
The Bulldogs smashed Illinois on the road last week, 52-24, as 3-point underdogs. Freshman running back Tevin King, who led the WAC in rushing at 118 yards per game, tore his ACL in that victory, though, and will miss the remainder of the season.
Now, coach Sonny Dykes wants this become an aerial assault, so is the over 60 worth a look?
“They are going to try to come at us, I’m sure, and run over us,” Dykes told the News Star. “They are big and physical up front, and we’re gonna need to be able to hold up in the run game. If we can, I think like anything else, they’ll throw the ball. That’s probably the part of their offense that’s not playing as well as they would like for it to. We need to force them to throw. That means stopping the run.”
3:00 pm – September 29, 2012
Arizona State is 3-1 and California is 1-3 so, naturally, the betting market has made the Sun Devils 2.5-point road favorites today after opening as 2-point underdogs.
But is this a case of the wrong team being favored?
At least one person thinks so, and it just happens to be one of the most respected college football minds out there.
Phil Steele called this his “Misleading Game of the Week” for a few reasons.
- Arizona State is ninth nationally at only 286 yards allowed per game, but the Sun Devils have faced backup quarterbacks in the last three games.
- Sure, Cal has three losses, but two of those came on the road at USC and Ohio State, two places where very few opponents would win. Combined first downs in those two contests were The other one came at home against Nevada in a game where starting quarterback Zach Maynard left with an injury.
- The Golden Bears get their first conference home game in their new, refurbished stadium.
“Despite the records,” Steele concluded, “I think Cal is the better team.”
2:45 pm – September 29, 2012
Houston is 0-3 both straight up and against the spread, but that hasn’t stopped oddsmakers from making the Cougars 8-point road favorites at Rice today.
This game has seen all kinds of crazy line movement. It opened with Houston as a 7-point favorite but was quickly bet down to -4 at most books. Then, when it was announced that Rice quarterback Taylor McHargue was questionable with an injury to his non-throwing shoulder, the spread shot back up above a touchdown.
For what it’s worth, Houston won this matchup last year, 73-34, but that was when Kevin Sumlin and Case Keenum were still operating the high-octane offense.
The Owls, who could be a “live dog” if McHargue is able to play, have won the last two meetings at Rice Stadium.
2:42 pm – September 29, 2012
College football afternoon lines (openers in parentheses):
* * *
All games start at 3 p.m. ET or later
108 Virginia Tech -7 (-6)
117 Clemson -6.5 (-9.5)
118 Boston College
119 Lousiana Tech -3.5 (-4)
121 Ohio -23 (-24)
126 North Carolina -27.5 (-23.5)
130 Purdue -16
139 Central Michigan
140 Northern Illinois -10
143 San Jose State -2.5
153 Ohio State
154 Michigan State -2.5 (-1)
156 Georgia -14 (-15.5)
157 Arizona State -1 (+2)
183 Tulsa -15 (-15.5)
187 Houston -8 (-7)
2:30 pm – September 29, 2012
Before the season started, Tennessee was an 11.5-point underdog at Georgia in Games of the Year lines released by the Golden Nugget.
Now that the game has arrived, it’s Georgia -13.5, as these appear to be two teams heading in opposite directions.
But could the Bulldogs—considered by many to be one of the top five national title contenders at this point—possibly be looking past the Volunteers?
It’s hard to tell because it’s an SEC East rival, but Georgia does have a titanic matchup looming at South Carolina next weekend, a game that could likely determine the SEC East champion.
For what it’s worth, Georgia and South Carolina were the top two teams listed in our “Who’s Looking Ahead?” feature this week.
1:55 pm – September 29, 2012
We stopped by the LVH SuperBook today, as we do every Saturday, and collected the updated list of college football Games of the Year lines. Here are a few of the notable lines for future games:
Texas pick ‘em
Notre Dame -5
West Virginia -9
Florida State -11
Ohio State -8
12:51 pm – September 29, 2012
We expected scoring, and we’re getting it.
Late in the first quarter of the West Virginia-Baylor game, the score is currently tied at 14, and the adjusted over/under is now 92 ½. The total opened at 78 and closed at 83, believed to be the highest in college football history.
12:30 pm – September 29, 2012
Virginia Tech will meet Cincinnati today in a neutral-site game, and the Hokies are listed as 7-point favorites. Both teams have already played a common opponent—Pittsburgh—but had much different results.
The Bearcats won handily, 34-10, while the Hokies were outclassed in a 35-17 loss.
The key to today’s game will be Munchie Legaux’s ability to eliminate mistakes. The Cincinnati quarterback committed four of the team’s SIX turnovers against FCS Delaware State two weeks ago, an ugly 23-7 victory, and he’s arguably one of the most erratic quarterbacks in the country.
Expect Bud Foster’s defense to pressure him relentlessly and try to force mistakes. Legaux says the turnovers are behind him, but we think it’s highly unlikely he plays a clean game against a Hokies team that’s pretty strong defensively.
12:05 pm – September 29, 2012
The headline for our Arkansas preview before the season went as follows: “Explosive Razorbacks out to prove one crash won’t lead to another.”
Well, it has.
Without embattled coach Bobby Petrino, the Razorbacks look completely lost. They’ve lost three straight games, and you have to wonder if they’ve even “rock bottom” yet.
It’s almost impossible to believe Arkansas was a 3.5-point favorite for today’s matchup at Texas A&M in Golden Nugget’s “Games of the Year” lines released before the season, but now the spread is A&M -13.5.
For an interesting forum thread looking at this game from a statistical, matchup-driven and motivational perspective, click here.
11:55 am – September 29, 2012
We asked for your top plays of the day today on Twitter and received roughly 50 replies. The most common picks have surprisingly all been road teams: Minnesota (+7 at Iowa), Clemson (-7 at Boston College) and Texas (-2.5 at Oklahoma State).
We’re not suggesting you employ a fade-the-public strategy on these particular games, but any time a game is “too easy”—as some think the Minnesota and Clemson picks are—you can’t help but second-guess the selection.
Other popular choices:
- Penn State +1.5 vs. Illinois
- San Jose State -2.5 vs. Navy
- Oregon -31.5 vs. Washington State
11:50 am – September 29, 2012
The most interesting line move of the early games is the Clemson-Boston College matchup, where the usually-public Tigers are currently a 6.5-point road favorite after opening at -10 at some books.
Sammy Watkins, Clemson’s star wide receiver, will miss the game with an abdominal virus. Also, it’s possible the Tigers get caught looking ahead to next week’s matchup against Georgia Tech, a revenge game from last year.
Still, laying less than a TD with a team that was previously ranked in the top 10 will certainly have some appeal to public bettors. We’ll find out soon enough if the line move is justified. Kickoff is at 12:30 p.m. ET.
11:48 am – September 29, 2012
For what it’s worth, we don’t agree with the Arizona State line move and actually think Cal is a strong bet today.
11:40 am – September 29, 2012
We all love looking for value in underdogs, but sometimes, it’s best just to lay the points with the favorite and root for them to beat the opponents’ brains in.
A few BTB Forum members have been starting a thread each week about favorites that will “rip the underdog’s face off,” and here’s this week’s version.
Among the possibilities thrown out there so far:
Northwestern -11 vs. Indiana (although there’s some argument about this one)
Northern Illinois -10 vs. Central Michigan
Air Force -14.5 vs. Colorado State
UCLA -20 at Colorado
TCU -15 at SMU
11:30 am – September 29, 2012
College football can be overwhelming sometimes on Saturdays, with so many games taking place at the same time and you frantically searching through the TV Guide trying to find the ones you want.
Don’t waste your time.
Instead, let Deadspin help you out with their College Football Master Schedule.
There you’ll find every game, sorted by conference, telling you exactly where to find those matchups on TV.
One note: That list goes by home team, so if you can’t find a non-conference matchup, look under the conference of whichever team is the host.
11:20 am – September 29, 2012
Beginning this week, we’re going to start tracking ESPN’s college football conference bloggers to see if they’re any good at picking games against the spread. Every Thursday, each of the bloggers predict the final scores of games involving teams from their designated conference.
By using the predicted scores and factoring in the point spread, we can then derive who they would take if they were betting on the games rather than picking for fun. Below are the current standings, and as you’ll see, the SEC guys are off to a fast start:
ACC (Heather Dinich) 13-21-1 ATS
Big 12 (David Ubben) 14-11-1 ATS
Big East (Andrea Adelson) 9-14-1 ATS
Big Ten (Brian Bennett) 22-18 ATS | (Adam Rittenberg) 21-20 ATS
Pac-12 (Ted Miller) 18-19 ATS | (Kevin Gemmell) 16-21 ATS
SEC (Chris Low) 25-15 ATS | (Edward Aschoff) 24-17 ATS
* * *
You can view game predictions for each blogger by clicking here.
11:09 am – September 29, 2012
There are five 4-0 ATS teams in action today:
BALL STATE -2.5 at Kent State
SAN JOSE STATE -3 at Navy
Indiana at NORTHWESTERN -11
WESTERN KENTUCKY -2.5 at Arkansas State
San Diego State at FRESNO STATE -7