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Games to Watch - Week 8
By Chris David

Each week, will keep you abreast with the key games on tap throughout the 15-week regular season.

Kansas at Oklahoma (ABC, 3:30 p.m.)   

Oklahoma's chances of a perfect season are gone after losing to Texas (45-35) in the Red River Shootout last Saturday. Despite the loss, head coach Bob Stoops and company still have a decent shot to play in a BCS bowl if not the national championship game. The Sooners will look to rebound this Saturday at home versus No. 16 Kansas. QB Sam Bradford (387 yards, 5 TDs) played well last week but the Sooners' ground game (48 yards) was held in check. The defense was victimized for 438 total yards, with the majority coming in the second half after linebacker Ryan Reynolds (knee) was lost for the year. The Sooners' D better step up this week against a Kansas offense (522 YPG, 47.2 PPG) that is ranked sixth nationally in yards and fourth in points. QB Todd Reesing (1,980 yards, 15 TDs) gets all the press in Lawrence but the signal caller has a solid core of running backs and receivers around him. Kansas is ranked second in the Big 12 in total defense, right behind Oklahoma, but those numbers are definitely skewed toward its competition. In their two road games, the Jayhawks have been lit up for 37 and 33 points. Don't be surprised to see another 30-spot dropped on the scoreboard in Norman. 

Gambling Notes
The Sooners and Jayhawks haven't tangled since 2005, when OU posted a 19-3 victory in Lawrence. Oklahoma has won four straight in the series, covering three of them. The Sooners have only played two games in Norman, winning and covering both fairly easily. Kansas is 1-1 both SU and ATS away from home this year, with its only loss coming in a Friday Night showdown to South Florida, 37-34. Oddsmakers are expecting a shootout in this matchup, listing the total at 61 points. Considering the attacks on the field, the number appears deserving. However, the last four meetings haven't seen a final score come close to this number (61). Oklahoma has gone 7-3 ATS immediately following the Red River Shootout. 

Ohio State at Michigan State (ABC, 3:30 p.m.)

Ohio State has another opportunity to gain respect on Saturday when it squares off against Michigan State in East Lansing. The Buckeyes have won four straight after losing to USC on Sept. 13 but it appears that the offense is still lacking chemistry and is ranked 10th in the Big Ten. It's obvious that freshman QB Terrelle Pryor (537 yards) is a slow learner and the team has given the keys to running back Chris "Beanie" Wells (479 yards, 2 TDs). The offense should be able to gain some yardage against the Spartans' defense (361 YPG) but it has to be careful considering the same unit has a plus-10 (16-6) turnover margin. Michigan State's offense isn't a juggernaut either but they do have a horse in RB Javon Ringer (1,112 yards, 14 TDs). Whichever team can establish the run will more than likely win the game, considering neither team is looking to air it out. 

Gambling Notes
Ohio State has won six straight against Michigan State, with five of the wins coming by double digits. Last year's battle in Columbus was the closet during the stretch with the Buckeyes earning a hard-fought 24-17 win over the Spartans (+17). OSU clearly dominated the game but its offense handed two defensive touchdowns to MSU, making the final score look respectable. Wells ran for 221 yards and a score in the win. OSU is 2-0 both SU and AST in its last two trips to East Lansing. The total on this game is set at 42, deservingly too. MSU has only allowed an average of 7.5 PPG at home and OSU's inconsistent attack has scored just 16 and 20 the past two weeks. This is a look-ahead game for the Bucks, with third-ranked Penn State visiting Columbus next week. The Spartans are 1-3-2 ATS in their last five spots as home underdogs. The Buckeyes have crushed bankrolls this year, going 1-5 ATS. 

Missouri at Texas (ABC, 8:00 p.m.)

The Big 12 takes center stage once again on Saturday when top-ranked Texas welcomes a very talented Missouri club to Austin. The Longhorns are fresh off their Red River Shootout win over Oklahoma (45-35) behind quarterback Colt McCoy (79.4%, 1,557 yards, 17 TDs). Missouri boasts a gunslinger as well in Chase Daniel (2,055 yards, 16 TDs), who is hoping to bounce back after tossing three interceptions in the team's 28-23 loss at home to Oklahoma State last week. The Tigers weren't able to contain the OSU running game on defense, giving up 187 yards. Missouri's offense was only able to muster up 64 yards on the ground and were just 2-of-9 on third down. Most wouldn't expect Mizzou to pound the rock against Texas (51 YPG), who owns the best run defense in the conference. At the same time, Daniel better watch out for the same unit that leads the Big 12 with 22 sacks. No matter who wins this matchup, it's very possible that the two schools could meet against in the conference championship since they play in different divisions. 

Gambling Notes
Texas is one of two (Ball State) schools in the country that is perfect against the spread (6-0). And, all six of the Longhorns' wins have been by double digits. Texas has won four straight in the head-to-head series over Missouri and seven of the last eight. However, these two teams haven't met since 2005 and that matchup featured a QB battle between Vince Young and Brad Smith. Missouri is an underdog for the first time since it was walloped 38-17 in last year's Big 12 championship to Oklahoma. Some might expect a letdown for the 'Horns but the school has covered eight of their last nine games the week after playing Oklahoma. 

Virginia Tech at Boston College (ESPN2, 8:00 p.m.) 

The ACC only has three schools ranked in the Top 25, with the highest squad being Virginia Tech in the 17th position. The Hokies hope to move up when it heads to Chestnut Hill for a battle against Boston College. After losing its opener to East Carolina (27-22), Frank Beamer's team has ripped off five straight victories. Boston College only has one blemish on its ledger (4-1) as well, losing a close battle at home to Georgia Tech (19-16). V-Tech QB Tyrod Taylor and BC QB Chris Crane have both had troubles tossing the football, which puts even more pressure on the offensive lines and running games. Taylor is arguably the most explosive player on the field but his inability to connect with any deep balls has hurt the team. VT is ranked last in the ACC in passing offense and 113th nationally. BC isn't much better, sitting in the 89th slot. The only given in this game is that both BC (15) and VT (14) have been able to force turnovers this year and more than likely that will decide the winner again. 

Gambling Notes
Anytime you have an unranked opponent laying points to a ranked team, it tells you that the oddsmakers don't look at the rankings at all. Last year, Matt Ryan (Atlanta Falcons) tossed two touchdowns in the final 2:11 to lead BC past V-Tech, 14-10. Later in December, the Hokies avenged that loss with a 30-16 win over the Eagles in the ACC Championship. The 'under' cashed in both of those contests and is on a 4-0 run. VT has gone 2-1 both SU and ATS on the road this year, while BC is 2-1 SU and 1-1 ATS at home. Gamblers should note that the four victories earned by Boston College came against teams with a combined record of 7-19 and that includes 1-AA Rhode Island. The Hokies or Eagles should both be well prepared for this matchup since both schools haven't stepped on the gridiron in over 14 days (Oct. 4). 

Other Games to Watch

LSU at South Carolina

The Tigers were humbled last week to the Gators (51-21) in Gainesville and now face another tough road trip to South Carolina. Steve Spurrier's club has won four in a row and is looking to avenge a 28-16 loss to LSU last year. 

Vanderbilt at Georgia

The Commodores has their bubble burst last week against Mississippi State, 17-14. Now, we're going to find out how good Vandy is when it plays its second straight road game in Athens against Georgia. The last two meetings have been decided by a total of five points, with the 'Dores covering both battles. 

Baylor at Oklahoma State

Oklahoma State is fresh off a 28-23 upset victory over No. 3 Missouri. Will the Cowboys have a letdown against a Baylor team that has gained confidence this season? Hard to fade an OSU team that is 5-0 at the ticket counter this year. 

Califonia at Arizona

The Wildcats blew a winnable game last week at Stanford (24-23) and now face a must-win situation against a very talented Golden Bears club. The loser more than likely eliminates itself from the Pac 10 race while the winner gains confidence heading into a bigger test versus Southern California.

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Weekend Football Betting Preview
by Marc Lawrence

A new No.1 team tops the College Football polls while the NFL is down to one undefeated team as Halloween weekend draws near.

Listed below are a half-dozen of the top games on this weekend's College and NFL cards. With upsets galore happening on a weekly basis, let's see how many of the these matchups have upset potential.

Remember, Series History reflects results in head-to-head battles between the two teams.  All results are ATS (Against The Spread) unless noted otherwise.

Virginia Tech at Boston College

Series History: Hokies beat the Eagles, 30-16, in ACC title game last year.  Boston College is 6-1 in the last seven regular season meetings.

Virginia Tech Key Stat: Beamer is 19-8-2 as a conference dog of more than 1 point.

Boston College Key Stat: The Eagles are 6-1 ATS at home with rest.

You Need To Know: The combined win-loss record of BC's lined game opponents is 5-13 this season.  They are 0-1 in their only game against a winning opponent.

Missouri at Texas

Series History: Longhorns beat the Tigers, 50-21, in last meeting in 2005 in Columbia, the 3rd worst Big 12 Conference loss of Gary Pinkel's career.

Missouri Key Stat: Tigers are 17-3 SU in their their 20 games.

Texas Key Stat: Longhorns have scored on 32 of 33 possessions in the "red-zone" this season.

You Need To Know: Texas' leap from No. 5 to No.1 in the polls was the largest jump in the last 20 years.

LSU at South Carolina

Series History: LSU beat SC, 28-16, as 17.5-point home favorites last season. They are 6-1-1 SU and 4-4 ATS in the series against the Gamecocks since 1982.

LSU Key Stat: Bengals are 9-0 SU and 7-1-1 ATS in games off a loss the last six years.

South Carolina Key Stat:  Steve Spurrier is 1-7 SU and 2-6 ATS as a home dog of 4 or less points.

You Need To Know: Defending National Champions are 19-1 SU and 15-4 ATS in games off their 1st loss of the season the last 20 years.

Other Top Trends for this weekend: The dog in the Clemson/Georgia Tech series is 11-1; Wisconsin is 12-1 off BB losses; Alabama is 2-16 in its last 18 games as a conference home favorite.

This Week's Super System Says: PLAY AGAINST any college football team in Game Seven if they are playing their 5th road game of the season if they allow 21.5 or more PPG and their opponent is off a win.

ATS W-L Record Since 1980: 26-8 (76%)

Play Against: Florida Internationa

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College football Saturday Top 25 cheat sheet

Missouri at Texas (-5)

Why Tigers cover: Chase Daniel is due for a bounce-back game after struggling in the upset loss to Oklahoma State last week. And this game is arguably more important for Missouri since another loss knocks them out of BCS title contention for good. Mizzou is 3-1 ATS in its past four games as an underdog.

Why Longhorns cover: They have won the past four meetings by an average of 23.0 points and Mizzou hasn’t won at Texas since 1896. Texas scored 35 of the final 49 points against Oklahoma last weekend. Mizzou is 0-10 all-time vs. No. 1 teams.

Total (69): The over is 7-1 in Missouri’s last eight road games and in Texas’ last eight vs. a team with a winning record.

Mississippi at Alabama (-13)

Why Rebels cover: While Alabama leads the SEC in rushing, Ole Miss allows only 3.0 yards per carry. The last three games in the series have been decided in the final minute.

Why Crimson Tide cover: QB John Parker Wilson is a combined 42-of-68 for 471 yards with two touchdowns and a passer rating of 126.7 in two career games (both wins) vs. the Rebels. The Tide have the SEC’s best ground game this year. Ole Miss has committed 15 turnovers in its past five games.

Total (49): The over is 8-2 in Alabama’s last 10 games following a SU win and 4-1 in Mississippi’s last five games overall.

Michigan at Penn State (-23)

Why Wolverines cover: Michigan has won the past nine meetings, with the past four decided by a combined 17 points. The Wolverines are 5-1 in Happy Valley and have won four in a row there. Penn State could be looking ahead to next week’s game vs. Ohio State.

Why Nittany Lions cover: Penn State is beating opponents by an average of 34.3 points, it just won big at Wisconsin (handing the Badgers their worst home loss since 1989) and Michigan just lost at home to Toledo. UM also has the worst offense in the Big Ten and is 109th in Division I.

Total (47.5): The over is 4-0 in Michigan’s last four road games and 5-2 in PSU’s last seven Big Ten games.

Kansas at Oklahoma (-20.5)

Why Jayhawks cover: Oklahoma’s best defensive player, Ryan Reynolds, is out for the year with a knee injury. The Sooners’ defense allowed a season-high 438 yards last week against Texas. The Jayhawks are 6-1 ATS in their past seven road games and 12-3 ATS in their past 15 conference games.

Why Sooners cover: They have won their past 21 games at home and know one more loss ends their BCS title hopes – they are currently the highest-ranked one-loss team. The Sooners are 6-1 ATS in their past seven games following a loss.

Total (60): The under is 14-5-1 in Oklahoma’s last 20 conference games and 6-2 in KU’s last eight games overall.

USC at Washington St. (+42.5)

Why Trojans cover: The Cougars have allowed 63 points or more to three Pac-10 foes, and the Trojans have won the past five meetings (against much better Wazzu teams than this) by an average of 27.6 points.

Why Cougars cover: Because a six-TD margin is an awful lot to lose by, especially at home. Southern Cal tends to play down to its competition at times (see Oregon State this year and Stanford last year) and there’s no reason the Trojans starters will play a majority of the second half. The Cougars are 7-1 ATS in their last eight home games vs. a team with a winning road record.

Total (55.5): The over is 6-0 in the last six meetings in Pullman and 9-2 in the last 11 meetings overall.

Texas Tech at Texas A&M (+21)

Why Red Raiders cover: Texas A&M ranks 107th in the nation in scoring defense (allowing 33.0 points per game) and the Aggies haven’t seen an offense resembling Texas Tech’s high-powered unit yet.

Why Aggies cover: The Red Raiders were lucky to escape last week against Nebraska after getting pushed around on defense for most of the game. Tech could be looking past A&M, the only team left on the Red Raiders’ schedule (besides Baylor) that's currently unranked. The Aggies are 9-3-1 ATS in their past 13 games following a loss.

Total (66): Believe it or not, the under is 9-3 in Texas Tech’s last 12 games.

Baylor at Oklahoma State (-16.5)

Why Bears cover: This could be a trap game for OSU. The Cowboys just won at Missouri last week and face Texas next week. The Bears are 10-4 ATS in the past 14 games following a win.

Why Cowboys cover: They are 11-1 against the Bears since the inception of the Big 12, including wins by a combined 111-38 the last two seasons. And Coach Mike Gundy won’t let the Cowboys overlook a Baylor team that last week won by its biggest margin since joining the Big 12.

Total (68.5): Over is 5-1 in the past six meetings.

Vanderbilt at Georgia (-14.5)

Why Commodores cover: Georgia lost another starting offensive lineman last week to injury and may not start a single upperclassman this week on the O-Line. New Vandy starting QB Mackenzi Adams could spark a dormant passing game (90.3 ypg).

Why Bulldogs cover: The Vandy offense is struggling big-time: 117th in the country in total offense and has switched starting QBs. Vandy solid ground game will be tested against the fourth-best run defense in the nation.

Total (45): The under is 11-1-1 in Vandy’s last 13 SEC games and 4-1 in Georgia’s last five October games.

Ohio State at Michigan State (+3)

Why Buckeyes cover: Because they can concentrate on stopping Michigan State’s one-man show on offense - RB Javon Ringer. The Sparty defense is suspect, giving up more than 410 yards per game in the past three. OSU has won six in a row in this series and is 14-3 ATS in the past 17 road games against a team with a winning home record.

Why Spartans cover: Because it’s one of the biggest games in school history. Michigan State is 7-1 ATS in its past eight games versus a team with a winning record. The OSU offense has sputtered since Terrelle Pryor took over at QB, averaging just 128.8 yards per game through the air.

Total (41.5): Under is 5-1 in OSU’s last six games and 4-0 in MSU’s last four home games.

LSU at South Carolina (+2.5)

Why Tigers cover: Should be highly motivated following the program’s worst loss since 2002. They are 15-2-1 all-time vs. South Carolina and haven’t lost to the Gamecocks since 1994 or in South Carolina since 1930. LSU is 7-1-1 ATS in its past nine games following a loss.

Why Gamecocks cover: The Tigers are coming off a crushing loss to Florida and face Georgia next week. The South Carolina defense is third in the country and could pose problems for young QB Jarrett Lee and an offense that has been inconsistent this season. USC is 11-4-1 ATS in its past 15 games against a team with a winning record.

Total (45): Hard to imagine this game going over between two grind-it-out clubs. The under is 4-0 in South Carolina’s last four home games.

Colorado State at Utah (-21)

Why Rams cover: They have alternated wins and losses in their past four games – and they lost last week. The Rams nearly upset a good TCU team last week and are 5-0 ATS in their past five conference games.

Why Utes cover: Utah is 18th in the country in scoring offense (37.5 ppg) and it is 4-0-1 ATS in the past five meetings with CSU. Colorado State can’t run the ball – only 11 yards last week – and Utah ranks seventh in the country in total defense.

Total (50.5): The over is 7-0 in Utah’s last seven games.

Virginia Tech at Boston College (-3)

Why Hokies cover: They have won 17 of their past 18 road games in the ACC and they are 14-3 ATS in their past 17 road games vs. a team with a winning record. The Hokies haven’t lost this year since putting Tyrod Taylor back at QB.

Why Eagles cover: Virginia Tech can’t throw the ball much, averaging just 118.2 yards per game. And the Hokies’ lone road loss in the ACC was at Boston College in 2006. BC has won three straight home games vs. ranked teams, and QB Chris Crane his coming off his best game.

Total (41): The under is 4-0 in the past four meetings.

North Carolina at Virginia (+4.5)

Why Tar Heels cover: They lead the nation in interceptions (14) and turnover margin (+1.83) and are the most talented UNC team in years. Virginia is 1-4 ATS in its past five home games vs. a team with a winning road record.

Why Cavaliers cover: UNC hasn’t won at Virginia since 1981 and the Heels are without top playmaker Brandon Tate for the rest of the season. Tate led the ACC in all-purpose yards as a receiver/returner. The Heels are 1-9 ATS in the past 10 meetings and 0-6 ATS in the past six in Virginia.

Total (45): The over is 4-0 in UNC’s past four road games and 4-1 in Virginia’s last five road games.

Syracuse at South Florida (-24)

Why Orange cover: Could USF be rusty after not playing for 16 days? Syracuse has discovered a ground game behind Curtis Brinkley, who has three consecutive games of at least 100 yards rushing. SU outgained West Virginia in its last game. USF is 1-4 ATS in its past five home games.

Why Bulls cover: USF has won the prior three meetings by an average margin of 25.0 ppg. USF ranks 25th in the nation in offense, while the Orange are 105th in defense. All-American defensive end George Selvie should finally be healthy after the team’s 16-day layoff.

Total (49.5): Under is 5-0 in Orange’s past five road games and 8-2-1 in Bulls’ last 11 vs. a team with a losing record.

Wake Forest at Maryland (+2)

Why Demon Deacons cover: They have won the past two meetings vs. Maryland, and the Wake defense has allowed a total of 10 points to Florida State and Clemson. Wake is 10-3 ATS in its past 13 games overall.

Why Terrapins cover: Wake can’t run the ball (99 ypg) and has scored only one touchdown overall in conference play so far this year. Maryland has beaten two ranked teams already this year and has won four in a row vs. ranked teams. The Deacons are 2-7 ATS in the past nine meetings.

Total (41.5): The under is 4-0 in Maryland’s last four conference games and 5-2 in Wake’s last seven games following a win.

California at Arizona (+2)

Why Golden Bears cover: Star running back Jahvid Best is expected to return after missing a game with a dislocated left elbow. Best leads the nation in all-purpose yards (215.5 ypg). Arizona allowed 286 yards on the ground in losing to Stanford last week. The Bears are 4-1 ATS in the past five meetings vs. Arizona.

Why Wildcats cover: They have won four of the last five meetings in Tucson, and the home team is 4-1 ATS in the past five meetings. The Wildcats struggled defending the run last week vs. Stanford, but they lead the nation in pass defense. Arizona is 5-0 ATS in its past five home games.

Total (54.5): The under is 4-1 in Arizona’s last five conference games and 6-2 in Bears’ last eight conference games.

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What Bettors Need to Know: Missouri at Texas

Line Moves

The line opened with Texas as a 6.5 favorite and then fluctuated between 6 and 7 on Monday and Tuesday before dropping to 5.5 and then to 5 on Wednesday.

The over/under opened at 69.5, was bet down to 68.5 and then settled at the current mark of 69.

Head to Head

Texas is 13-1 against Missouri since 1931 and 5-1 since the teams became Big 12 rivals in 1996. UT has won the last four meetings by an average of 23 points.

Missouri is 5-17 against ranked teams under Gary Pinkel (4-2 last season) and 2-9 against top 10 teams (1-2) last season.

With the win over Oklahoma last week, Texas is now 12-3 against ranked teams the last five years.

Texas Flavored Tigers

Missouri features 28 players that hail from the state of Texas, including QB Chase Daniel and five other starters, all of whom will be making their first appearance in Austin.

Daniel grew up a Longhorn fan. Despite starring in high school in the Dallas suburbs he received only a last minute scholarship offer from UT after he had already committed to Mizzou.

Missouri’s last win in Austin came in 1896.

McCoy on a Roll

Texas QB Colt McCoy continued his spectacular season last week, completing 28 of 35 attempts for 277 yards and a TD.

He is ranked ninth in the nation in total offense and sports a 79.4 completion percentage along with a 17-3 TD/INT ratio.

Offensive Letdown

The high-powered Missouri attack tripped up at key moments in last week’s loss to Oklahoma State. Chase Daniel took the blame after tossing three interceptions, but the truth is that the Tiger offensive line and running game let the team down.

Missouri will have to provide better pass protection and make a better attempt to run the ball if they hope to slow the stellar Texas pass rush.

Longhorn Pass Rush a Key

While Texas clearly possesses one of the best D-lines in the country and is very difficult to run against, their young secondary struggled even in victory last week. Oklahoma QB Sam Bradford threw for 387 yards and 5 TDs.

A key to the Missouri game will be whether Chase Daniel is given time to throw against the Longhorn DBs. The unusually wide splits of the Missouri offensive linemen make it difficult to rush the QB off the edge. Texas will have to make adjustments. They have generally rushed from the outside up until this point.

Will Missouri’s D Hold Up?

For all of its talent and star power on offense, the Missouri defense is a bit more problematic. There are a few excellent players like DT Ziggy Hood, LB Sean Weatherspoon, and FS William Moore. The rest of the Tiger D leans towards the mediocre.

Even though they generated three turnovers against Oklahoma State, the defense was a disappointment, lacking a strong push on the line, revealing holes in the secondary, and demonstrating a penchant for poor tackling.

The unit, which ranks No. 71 in the nation in pass efficiency defense, will have to step up and make some corrections if the team is to get a win in Austin.

Well-Kept Longhorn Secret

One of the best kept secrets about the Texas team is the quality of their starting WR duo of Quan Cosby and Jordan Shipley.

The players offer complementary sets of skills, with the faster Cosby providing a vertical threat while the precise route-runner Shipley is an excellent possession receiver underneath.

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LSU at South Carolina
By Brian Edwards

All of a sudden, South Carolina (5-2 straight up, 4-2 against the spread) appears to clearly be in the mix in the SEC East. When the Gamecocks lost consecutive heartbreakers at Vandy (24-17) and vs. Georgia (14-7), many scribes left Steve Spurrier’s team for dead and were seemingly writing his coaching obituary, suggesting that he was on his way out at the end of the season.

Where are Spurrier’s critics now? South Carolina has quietly won four straight games, including back-to-back conference wins on the road. The Gamecocks went into Lexington last week and emerged with a 24-17 victory over Kentucky as two-point favorites.

Stephen Garcia was the catalyst, playing terrific in relief of Chris Smelley. The redshirt freshman quarterback completed 10-of-14 passes for 169 yards and one touchdown, a seven-yard connection with Weslye Saunders. After replacing Smelley midway through the third quarter, Garcia was at the wheel for four drives that all advanced into Wildcat territory.

Garcia’s performance earned him the starting nod – the first of his career – for this week. For the season, Garcia has completed 23-of-35 throws (65.7%) for 300 yards with a 2/1 touchdown-interception ratio. He has also scrambled for 109 rushing yards.

LSU (4-1 SU, 1-3 ATS) is playing its second road game in as many weeks. The Tigers are off their worst defeat under Les Miles, a 51-21 loss at Florida as seven-point underdogs.

Jarrett Lee threw for 209 yards and two touchdowns, but he also threw a pair of interceptions. When Florida junior LB Brandon Spikes picked off Lee and returned the interception 52 yards for a TD, LSU was finished after it had rallied from a 20-0 deficit to pull to within 20-14 early in the third quarter.

Before losing at The Swamp, LSU had wins over Appalachian State (41-13), North Texas (41-3), Auburn (26-21) and Mississippi St. (34-24). With Auburn’s fade into mediocrity, you start to think that LSU really hasn’t done much to impress this year.

That can change Saturday night, however.

Las Vegas Sports Consultants opened LSU as a three-point favorite with a total of 43½. As of early Friday evening, the Bayou Bengals were listed as 2½-point ‘chalk’ at most books. The total had moved into the 44-45 range. South Carolina is plus 115 on the money line (risk $100 to win $115).

If LSU is going to bounce back, it will need to get its running game revived. Charles Scott went into Gainesville as a Heisman candidate, but a 12-carry, 35-yard effort probably cancelled any plans of visiting NYC in early December. Scott's previous season low was 102 rushing yards vs. North Texas, but he had only seven totes against the Mean Green.

For the year, Scott still has outstanding numbers, averaging 6.9 yards per carry. He has rushed for 570 yards and six TDs.

Lee won the starting QB job thanks to a brilliant second-half performance at Auburn. For the season, Lee is completing 59.1 percent of his passes for 852 yards with an 8/5 TD-INT ratio.

He has a couple of big-time wide receivers in Brandon LaFell and Demetrius Byrd. LaFell leads the SEC in receptions and receiving yards per game. He has 29 catches for 407 yards and three TDs, while Byrd has 16 receptions for 226 yards and three TDs.

The LSU passing game will have its hands full against South Carolina’s secondary, which is one of the nation’s best. The Gamecocks lead the SEC in pass defense, surrendering just 132 yards per game through the air.

South Carolina also leads the conference in total defense, allowing just 240 yards per game. Junior safety Emanuel Cook is a head hunter in the secondary who does a sensational job in run support. In fact, Cook leads the team and is fifth in the SEC in tackles with 56 (43 solo, 13 assists).

Junior cornerback Captain Munnerlyn is also a big-time playmaker. In last week’s win at UK, Munnerlyn returned a blocked field goal 81 yards for a TD and also had an 84-yard kickoff return that set up another score.

ESPN will provide television coverage at 8:00 p.m. Eastern.

**B.E.’s Bonus Nuggets**

--Three of LVSC’s four college football oddsmakers made LSU the favorite, but Kenny White went with South Carolina as a 4½-point favorite. Mike Seba made LSU a three-point 'chalk,' while Scott Ramsey had LSU at 2½ and Tony Sinisi had LSU at 3½.

--South Carolina hasn’t beaten LSU at home since 1930.

--If South Carolina wins out in SEC play (next three games at home vs. LSU, Tennessee and Arkansas, then at Florida), it will need Georgia and Vandy to both lose two more SEC games in order to win the East.

--With Alabama still on its schedule, LSU still controls its own destiny in terms of winning the SEC West.

--LSU is second in the SEC in total offense, averaging 406 yards per game.

--If you’re interested, check out my blog page for this week's SEC Nuggets.

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Tips and Trends

#16 Kansas at #4 Oklahoma

Kansas: The Jayhawks continue to improve their ground game and Jake Sharp is a key reason since being elevated from third string. Two Big 12 games have resulted in two 100-yard games, including 118 yards on 31 carries as Sharp turned into a workhorse against Colorado. Sharp is a nice complement to quarterback Todd Reesing, who leads a Jayhawks offense that averages 331 yards per game through the air. The Kansas defense has played well of late but it hasn’t seen the kind of firepower that Oklahoma’s possesses up to this point.

Kansas is 12-3 ATS in its last 15 conference games.
Kansas is 6-1 ATS in its last 7 road games.

Key Injuries - WR Kelly Meier (leg) is probable.


Oklahoma (-20, O/U 60.5): The Sooners have to rebound from a tough loss to rival Texas last week and get ready to take on a very good Kansas team. The Sooners running game was non-existent against Both TCU and Texas and has become a concern in Norman. Against the Longhorns, Oklahoma rushed for just 1.8 yards per carry. Luckily for the Sooners they have quarterback Sam Bradford. To date, Bradford is completing 72.4% of his passes (134-of-185) and has thrown 23 touchdown passes against five picks.

Oklahoma is 6-1 ATS in its last 7 games following a SU loss.
Oklahoma is 1-4 ATS in its last 5 games in October.

Key Injuries - LB Ryan Reynolds (knee) is OUT.


#12 Ohio State at #20 Michigan State

Ohio State (-3, O/U 41): For all the talk about Terrelle Pryor, the Ohio State offense continues to struggle. Last week against Purdue – the 108th ranked defense in the country – the Buckeyes only scored 16 points and were held out of the end zone. For the second time since becoming the starter, Pryor was held to less than 100 yards passing and Beanie Wells was held under 100 yards rushing by a below average Purdue defense. Luckily for the Buckeyes, their defense and special teams have picked up the slack for a slumping offense.

Ohio State is 4-1 ATS in its last 5 meetings.
Ohio State is 1-6 ATS in its last 7 games overall.

Key Injuries - DE Lawrence Wilson (knee) is OUT.


Michigan State: After dropping its opener on the road at Cal, Michigan State has now won six straight games. RB Javon Ringer has been a beast, already topping 1,000 yards for the season but quarterback Brian Hoyer stepped up last week against Northwestern as well. Hoyer completed 14 of 20 passes for 169 yards and a pair of touchdowns in a 37-20 win over the Wildcats. The Spartans biggest weakness has been defending the run, allowing an average of 135 yards a game. Last week Northwestern’s Tyrell Sutton rumbled for 139 yards and now the Spartans have to worry about the tandem of Terrelle Pryor and Beanie Wells.

Michigan State is 4-1 ATS in its last 5 conference games.
Michigan State is 7-16 ATS in its last 23 home games.

Key Injuries - CB Chris Rucker (arm) is questionable.

PROJECTED SCORE: 21 (Side Play of the Day)

#11 Missouri at #1 Texas

Missouri: After Texas defeated Oklahoma earlier in the day, it looked like this could be a matchup of two top three teams. However, someone forget to tell Oklahoma State, who upset Missouri 28-23. Quarterback Chase Daniel tossed for 390 yards against Oklahoma State but he also threw three costly interceptions. But the biggest problem for Missouri is its defense. The Tigers gave up over 400 yards of total offense to the Cowboys and for the year allow an average of 380 yards per game, despite playing an easy schedule early in the season. Missouri hasn’t beaten Texas in Austin since 1896.

Missouri is 8-0 ATS in its last 8 road games.
The OVER is 7-1 in Missouri’s last 8 road games.

Key Injuries - NONE

PROJECTED SCORE: 35 (OVER - Total Play of the Day)

Texas (-6, O/U 69.5): The Longhorns were flying under the radar but that isn’t the case anymore after Texas defeated Oklahoma last week to vault to No. 1 in the polls. Junior quarterback Colt McCoy continues to shine. He completed 28 of 35 passes for 277 yards, while RB Chris Ogbonnaya added 127 yards rushing against the Sooners. Texas’ defense did allow 35 points and 377 yards passing to Oklahoma but they made big stops when they needed to. The unit is much improved this year under new defensive coordinator Will Muschamp, allowing just 51 yards per game on the ground.

Texas is 4-1 ATS in its last 5 conference games.
Texas is 7-0 ATS in its last 7 games overall.

Key Injuries - RB Foswhitt Whittaker (knee) is questionable.


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Where the action is: College football line moves report

Georgia Tech -1.5
Clemson  39.5
- The pointspread was hit by wise action on GT +2, the favorite has since changed to GT -1.5
- Clemson fired head coach Tommy Bowden and named Dabo Sweeney interim HC
- The total is up from 38
- Where the public is: Georgia Tech by a ratio of 10.9 to 3.6
- Where the money is: Georgia Tech
- Georgia Tech is the favorite because of the wise action, but Clemson still has a decent shot to get the home win.

Mississippi  49
Alabama  -11.5
- The pointspread was hit by wise action on Mississippi +12.5.
- The total hasn’t moved from 49
- Where the public is: Alabama by a ratio of 8.4 to 5.5
- Where the money is: Mississippi
- Alabama is a big favorite to win at home; however, we have Mississippi as a moderate favorite to cover the spread.

Pittsburgh -2.5
Navy 52
- The pointspread was hit by wise action on Navy +3.
- The total is up from 51.5
- Where the public is: Pittsburgh by a ratio of 4.0 to 2.4
- Where the money is: Navy
- We have Pittsburgh as slim favorites, even though the wise action is on Navy.

Ohio State -3.5
Michigan State 42.5
- The pointspread was hit by wise action on Ohio St -3.
- The total is up from 41.5
- Where the public is: Michigan State by a ratio of 6.6 to 5.7
- Where the money is: Ohio State
- Ohio State is a decent favorite to win the game outright, but we have the Buckeyes as only slight faves to cover this spread.

Missouri 66.5
Texas -4.5
- The pointspread was hit by wise action on Missouri +5
- The total was hit by wise action at 67.5
- Where the public is: Texas by a ratio of 9.8 to 6.2
- Where the money is: Missouri and Under
- We have Texas as decent favorites to win outright but only moderate favorites to cover the spread at home.

USC -42
Washington St. 55.5
- The biggest pointspread of the season, some have it as high as 43
- The total is up from 55
- Where the public is: Washington State at a ratio of 4.5 to 2.3
- Where the money is: Washington State
- USC is an absolute monster to win this game outright, but spreads of 40+ are extremely rare. Washington State could be a strong favorite to cover this huge spread at home.

Michigan 46.5
Penn St  -25
- The pointspread was hit by wise action on Penn State -23.5
- The total hasn’t moved from 46.5
- Where the public is: Split 50/50
- Where the money is: Penn State
- We have Penn State as huge favorites, giving Michigan less than a five percent chance to win. The spread however is very tight now and we give Penn State only a thin chance of covering the spread.

LSU -2
South Carolina 44.5
- The pointspread was hit by wise action on South Carolina +3
- The total hasn’t moved from 44.5
- Where the public is: LSU by a huge ratio of 11.6 to 1.7
- Where the money is: LSU
- Good odds on South Carolina for the upset, and also a solid favorite to cover the underdog spread at home.

UTEP 75.5
Tulsa -18
- The total was hit by wise action at Under 76.5
- The pointspread is up from -17
- Where the public is: Tulsa by a ratio of 2.6 to 0.6
- Where the money: is Tulsa and under
- We have Tulsa as big favorites to win outright but only moderate favorites to cover the spread at home.

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