SATURDAY GAMEDAY NEWS AND NOTES
SATURDAY GAMEDAY NEWS AND NOTES
Georgia at LSU
By Brian Edwards
The stakes are clear for Saturday’s SEC showdown between LSU and Georgia at Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge. The winner controls its own destiny in the conference race and remains a player in the national-title picture.
On the other hand, the loser will have a tough road to Atlanta and is most likely eliminated from national-title contention.
Las Vegas Sports Consultants opened LSU (5-1 straight up, 2-3 against the spread) as a 1½-point favorite with a total of 46½. As of Friday evening, the Tigers were in the 1-2 range, while the total had been adjusted to 48½ at most books. Gamblers can back UGA on the money line for a plus 105 return (risk $100 to win $105).
LSU was in serious danger at halftime last Saturday night. After taking a 51-21 clubbing at Florida the previous week, the Tigers found themselves in a 17-10 hole at South Carolina in front of a raucous crowd at Williams-Brice Stadium.
But give credit to Les Miles and his staff. With its defense seemingly falling apart, allowing Stephen Garcia to move the Gamecocks up and down the field with his arm and scrambling ability, LSU buckled down in the second half. In fact, the Tigers limited Steve Spurrier’s offense to 42 total yards in the second half, minus-7 yards in the fourth quarter.
Charles Scott bulled his way into the end zone from two yards out with 4:16 left for the game-winning score. Scott, who had 61 rushing yards, also had a five-yard touchdown run in the second quarter. Keiland Williams had his best game of the season, rushing for 72 yards on 15 carries.
Georgia (6-1 SU, 2-4 ATS) has been burning up the pockets of its backers recently, dropping three in a row ATS and four of its last five. The Dawgs are off a 24-14 home win over Vanderbilt as 14 ½-point favorites.
Mark Richt’s team dominated the game statistically, but it couldn’t put the Commodores away until Blair Walsh booted a 39-yard field goal with 17 seconds remaining.
Georgia has been struggling to put teams away all year. UGA out-yarded Vandy 425-245, yet failed to cash tickets. The Dawgs out-yarded Tennessee 458-209, but they came up short versus the number.
Knowshon Moreno broke loose for a season-best performance against the ‘Dores, rushing for 172 yards and one TD. It was Moreno’s fourth 100-yard effort of the year. Matthew Stafford threw for 194 yards and a pair of TDs, but he was also intercepted twice. Freshman WR A.J. Green continued to turn heads with his stellar play, hauling in seven receptions for 132 yards and one TD.
Moreno will have a tougher time getting off against LSU, which has a stout defensive line led by All-American candidate Tyson Jackson. The Tigers limited South Carolina to 39 rushing yards on 31 attempts. They are fifth in the SEC in rush defense, giving up 96.7 yards per game.
LSU’s running game might have a tougher time producing than Moreno and his back-up Caleb King. UGA has the SEC’s premier run defense, surrendering just 61 yards per game.
Both offenses can put up points. Georgia is third in the SEC in scoring offense, averaging 31.7 points per game. LSU is fourth in the SEC, scoring 31.2 PPG.
LSU is undefeated in three home games this year, but the Tigers are 0-2 ATS at Death Valley. Georgia has won both of its road games, going 1-1 ATS. The Dawgs won 14-7 at South Carolina, but they failed to cover as 7½-point favorites. They did take the cash in a 27-10 win at Arizona St. as seven-point ‘chalk.’
These schools haven’t met since the 2005 SEC Championship Game when the Dawgs stroked LSU by a 34-14 count as one-point underdogs. During Richt’s eight-year tenure, Georgia has only played at LSU once, losing a 17-10 decision as a 1½-point underdog in 2003.
UGA owns a 7-2 spread record as a road underdog under Richt. On the flip side, LSU is an abysmal 8-14 ATS during Miles four years at the helm. Even worse, the Tigers are 0-4 ATS as single-digit home ‘chalk’ under Miles.
The ‘over’ is 3-2 overall for LSU, 1-1 in its home games. As for the Dawgs, they have watched the ‘under’ go 4-2 overall, 2-0 in their road outings.
CBS will provide television coverage at 3:30 p.m. Eastern.
**B.E.’s Bonus Nuggets**
--LVSC has four oddsmakers for college football – Mike Seba, Kenny White, Scott Ramsey and Tony Sinisi. Each oddsmaker makes his own personal number and then White (LVSC’s Chief Operating Officer) basically meets in the middle and sends out the opening line. For UGA-LSU, White made the Dawgs three-point favorites with a total of 52. Ramsey made LSU a three-point ‘chalk’ with a total of 41½. Sinisi made the side a pick ‘em, while Seba went with LSU as a 3½-point ‘chalk.’
--My number: LSU -3, 44½.
--LSU leads the all-time series 14-11-1.
--Miles is 39-7 at LSU, while Richt is 78-20 at UGA.
--UGA is 23-5 in Stafford’s 28 starts at QB. He has a 36/28 career TD-INT ratio.
--LSU’s Charles Scott is fourth in the SEC in rushing with 631 yards and eight TDs. DE Tyson Jackson is second in the SEC in sacks with 4½ after getting to Garcia twice last week.
--Oklahoma St. is winless in eight games against the top-ranked team in the nation.
--Click here for my Saturday pick pack and if you wish, here's my latest Top 30. Good luck with your bets!
Re: SATURDAY GAMEDAY NEWS AND NOTES
College football Saturday Top 25 cheat sheet
By MATT SEVERANCE
Oklahoma State at Texas (-12.5)
Why Cowboys cover: Well prepared after playing two top 10 teams in their last two games. The Horns allow 275 passing yards per game, ninth-most in Division I, which is good news for OSU QB Zac Robinson.
Why Longhorns cover: Haven’t committed a turnover in the past two games (both against ranked teams) and have won 10 straight games against the Cowboys by a combined score of 407-218.
Total (69.5): The over is 4-1 in the past five meetings as well as in Texas’ past four games overall.
Alabama at Tennessee (+6)
Why Crimson Tide cover: Alabama has tremendous offensive balance and the SEC’s top rushing defense, while Tennessee offense can’t move the ball ranking 107th in the nation in total yards.
Why Volunteers cover: Barely beat UT last year and haven’t won consecutive games over the Vols since 1991-1992. Alabama hasn’t won in Knoxville since 2002. Mammoth Alabama defensive tackle Terrence Cody is out due to injury.
Total (41.5): The under is 12-2 in Tennessee’s last 14 contests.
Penn State at Ohio State (+2.5)
Why Nittany Lions cover: Ended a long winless skid vs. Michigan last week and are due against OSU, having not won in Columbus since 1978. The eighth best defense in the nation should cause problems for young OSU quarterback Terrelle Pryor.
Why Buckeyes cover: Should be motivated knowing they are an underdog at home to their conference rival. Penn State has lost 10 straight road games against ranked opponents. The Buckeyes have won 12 of their last 13 conference home games against ranked opponents.
Total (46): Over is 4-1 in PSU’s last five conference games and in OSU’s past five games vs. a team with a winning home record.
USC at Arizona (+16)
Why Trojans cover: Have been a different team since the loss to Oregon State, outscoring opponents 141-10 during a three-game win streak. The Trojans lead the nation in scoring defense at 7.8 points per game. USC has won six in a row against Arizona.
Why Wildcats cover: Nearly beat the Trojans last year and have won their four home games by an average of 36 points. The Cats have also won four of their last five at home against Top 25 opponents.
Total (54): The under is 8-1 in Trojans’ last 9 games after scoring more than 40 points in their previous game. The under also is 12-5-1 in Wildcats’ last 18 October games.
Oklahoma at Kansas State (+18.5)
Why Sooners cover: QB Sam Bradford, third in Division I in passing yards and second in TDs, faces a Wildcats defense that's ranked 93rd in pass defense. Oklahoma has won five of the past six meetings.
Why Wildcats cover: They are 5-1 ATS in their last six games in October, while the Sooners have the exact opposite ATS record in their past six October games. Oklahoma’s top wideout, Manuel Johnson, is likely out with a dislocated elbow.
Total (70.5): Over is 6-1 in OU’s past seven games and 5-1 in KSU’s past six home games.
Texas Tech at Kansas (-1)
Why Red Raiders cover: Kansas is 0-2 vs. ranked teams this year. Tech QB and Heisman hopeful Graham Harrell will be facing the nation’s 99th ranked pass defense. KU defense allowed 674 total yards to Oklahoma last week.
Why Jayhawks cover: This will be the Red Raiders’ first game vs. a ranked opponent this year. KU is 5-0 ATS in its past five vs. teams with a winning record. The Red Raiders are 1-4 in their past five October games.
Total (67): The under is 5-0 in KU’s past five home games.
Kentucky at Florida (-25.5)
Why Wildcats cover: The Gators had a week off following a blowout of LSU and have a major rivalry game next week vs. Georgia. UK has the SEC’s best scoring defense.
Why Gators cover: UK’s top RB, Derrick Locke, is out with an injury and so is top WR Dicky Lyons Jr. UF has won 21 straight against Kentucky. The Wildcats are 3-24 vs. Florida all-time when the Gators are ranked. The Florida offense looked the best it had all season in the LSU victory.
Total (49): The under is 5-1 in Kentucky’s past six games and 4-1 in UF’s past five games after a bye.
Georgia at LSU (-1.5)
Why Bulldogs cover: Knowshon Moreno is the best running back the Tigers have seen this year, and he’s fresh off a 172-yard effort last week. LSU is only 2-6-1 ATS in its past nine home games.
Why Tigers cover: They have won six games in a row against top-10 opponents, and Georgia looked ordinary in its past two wins (vs. Vanderbilt and Tennessee).
Total (48.5): The over is 10-1 in LSU’s past 11 games following a victory.
South Florida at Louisville (+4)
Why Bulls cover: They crushed UL 55-17 last year and have won all three of their road games this year. USF leads the Big East with 35.4 points and 436.3 yards per game and it also owns the conference’s best defense.
Why Cardinals cover: The Bulls are 3-2 all-time vs. the Cards, but both of those losses have come at Louisville. USF is 0-7 ATS in its past seven games vs. a team with a winning record. The home team is 5-0 ATS in this series.
Total (55.5): The over is 8-2-1 in USF’s last 11 and 6-2 in Louisville’s last eight.
Wyoming at TCU (-31)
Why Cowboys cover: Beat Frogs 24-21 in Laramie on Oct. 6, 2007. The Frogs are primed for a letdown following their rout of a highly ranked BYU team.
Why Horned Frogs cover: Wyoming is 3-17 ATS in its past 17 road games. TCU possesses the nation’s top defense. TCU is 9-3 ATS in its past 12 games.
Total (42.5): The under is 9-1 in TCU’s past 10 home games.
Colorado at Missouri (-23.5)
Why Buffaloes cover: The Mizzou offense has been good but not great lately, totaling only 54 points in its past two games after averaging nearly 54 in the first five. New Colorado QB Tyler Hansen seemed to spark the offense last week.
Why Tigers cover: They should be plenty motivated after dropping their last two games. Mizzou beat Colorado 55-10 at Boulder last year. The Buffs are 2-9 ATS in their last 11 road games vs. a team with a winning home record.
Total (63): The over is 5-1 in Mizzou’s last six games following an ATS loss as well as in CU’s last six following a straight-up win.
UNLV at BYU (-23.5)
Why Runnin’ Rebels cover: Are 5-1-1 in their past seven vs. a team with a winning record. The Rebels only lost by 10 to BYU on the road last season.
Why Cougars cover: Should be upset after getting dominated by TCU in their last game. The BYU offense struggled mightily against the Frogs but should bounce back against a UNLV team allowing an average of 32.7 ppg. The Cougars are also 6-1 ATS in their past seven following a loss.
Total (55.5): The over is 4-0 in both teams’ past four games overall.
Rutgers at Pittsburgh (-9.5)
Why Scarlet Knights cover: Pittsburgh is 0-5 ATS in its past five road games. Rutgers has beaten Pitt the last three times the two programs met.
Why Panthers cover: Just had their best offensive showing in two years in last week’s rout of Navy. RB LeSean McCoy has three straight 100-yard games, and the Scarlet Knights’ rush defense is at the bottom of the Big East. Rutgers is 1-10 in its past 11 games on grass.
Total (43.5): The under is 4-0 in Rutgers past four games and 5-1 in Pitt’s past six home games.
Virginia at Georgia Tech (-13)
Why Cavaliers cover: Have won three games in a row, including a win over a ranked UNC team last week, outscoring opponents 82-33 over the stretch. The Cavs are 4-1 ATS in the past five meetings.
Why Yellow Jackets cover: Georgia Tech's defense ranks in the top 10 in the country in eight categories, including fifth in the nation in scoring defense, and the Virginia offense struggled last week against the Tar Heels. The Jackets are 5-0 ATS in their past five.
Total (38.5): The under is 4-0 in the last our meetings in Georgia Tech.
Eastern Michigan at Ball State (-25)
Why Eagles cover: This is the first home game Ball State has played in front of its fans as a ranked team. Ball State might overlook the Eagles with more difficult opponents down the road. Eastern is 12-5 ATS in its last 17 October games.
Why Cardinals cover: They have won four in a row in this series. EMU just allowed a season-high 547 yards to a far less explosive Akron team. Ball State is 7-2 ATS in the past nine vs. EMU.
Total (59.5): The under is 4-1 in Ball State’s past five vs. a team with a losing record and in Eastern’s past five October games.
Virginia Tech at Florida State (-5)
Why Hokies cover: They have an incredible road record since joining the ACC, with their only two losses coming to Boston College. FSU is 1-4 ATS in its past five games following a victory.
Why Seminoles cover: FSU discovered its running game after rushing for at least 100 yards in each game this season, the first time since 2002. Bobby Bowden is 15-1 all-time vs. Virginia Tech.
Total (43.5): Over is 9-3 in FSU’s last 12 October games and 8-3 in Tech’s last 11 road games.
Northwestern at Indiana (+7.5)
Why Wildcats cover: Hoosiers rank last in the Big Ten in turnover margin. They have fumbled at least once in the past four games. The IU defense has allowed 200 total points in the past five weeks.
Why Hoosiers cover: The Wildcats are 0-11 ATS in their last 11 games following a win of more than 20 points. The underdog in this series is 4-1 ATS in the past 5 meetings.
Total (51): The over is 4-1 in IU’s past five games.
Minnesota at Purdue (+1.5)
Why Gophers cover: Purdue has lost 17 games in a row to Top 25 teams. The Boilermakers are last in the Big Ten in defense and Minnesota averages nearly 30 ppg. The Gophers are 11-2 in their past 13 vs. a team with a losing record.
Why Boilermakers cover: Minnesota hasn’t won at Purdue since 1990 and has lost two in a row to the Boilermakers and nine of the past 10. QB Curtis Painter has been off this year but had one of the better games of his career last year vs. the Gophers. Minnesota is 0-4 ATS in the past four in Purdue.
Total (51.5): The over is 5-2 in the past seven meetings.
Re: SATURDAY GAMEDAY NEWS AND NOTES
Saturday's key line moves
Sat 12:00 pm ESPN2
- The pointspread was hit by wise action on Illinois -1.5
- The total is down from 56
- Where the public is: Illinois by a ratio of 5.9 to 2.1
- Where the money is: Illinois
- Illinois is the slight favorite to win because of the wise action, but Wisconsin has a decent shot to cover the spread.
Sat 3:30 pm ABC
- The pointspread was hit by wise action on UCLA +18.5
- The total hasn’t moved from 51
- Where the public is: UCLA by a ratio of 4 to 1
- Where the money is: UCLA
- We have California as decent favorites to win outright but only slightly favorites to cover the spread at home.
Oklahoma St 68.5
Sat 3:30 pm ABC
- The total was hit by wise action at under 70
- The pointspread is down from -13
- Where the public is: Texas by a ratio of 6.8 to 4.0
- Where the money is: Texas
- We give Texas big win odds and Oklahoma State only a slim edge in odds to cover.
Sat 3:30 pm CBS
- The pointspread was hit by wise action on Georgia +1.5
- The total opened at 48.5
- Where the public is: Split
- Where the money is: Georgia
- We mark this game as a toss up.
Michigan St. -4
Sat 3:30 pm ABC
- The pointspread was hit by wise action on Michigan +5.5
- The total down from 45.5
- Where the public is: Michigan St by a ratio of 68.0 to 10.2
- Where the money is: Michigan
- Michigan St is the decent favorite to win outright, but Michigan has a decent shot to cover the spread.
Virginia Tech 42.5
Florida St -5.5
Sat 3:30 pm ABC
- The total was hit by wise action at Under 43.5
- The pointspread is up from -5
- Where the public is: Florida St by a ratio of 2.2 to 1.4
- Where the money is: Florida St
- We give Florida State big home-field advantage win odds, and also make the Seminoles as solid favorites to cover the points at home.
Texas Tech 67.5
Sat 12:00 pm ESPN
- The pointspread was hit by wise action on Texas Tech +1.5
- The total is down from 68
- Where the public is: Texas Tech by a ratio of 6.5 to 4.6
- Where the money is: Kansas
- We have Texas Tech as slight to moderate favorite to win and cover the spread away from home.
Re: SATURDAY GAMEDAY NEWS AND NOTES
What Bettors Need to Know: Oklahoma State at Texas
By CHRIS MARAKOVITZ
Head to Head
Oklahoma State is 2-20 SU all time against Texas, 1-11 in the Big 12, with their last win coming in 1997. The Cowboys are 1-13 at Austin with their lone win coming in 1944.
Is Any Cowboy Lead Safe?
The recent history of the rivalry has seen a trend of remarkable comeback wins for the Longhorns. In 2004 Texas trailed 35-7 before coming back to win (and cover) 56-35. In 2005 they trailed 28-9 and came back to win 47-28. Last year Oklahoma State led 35-14 heading into the fourth quarter and saw Texas come back to win (and push) 38-35 on a late field goal.
If the season ended today, Colt McCoy would be a deserving Heisman winner. He has not only been great this year, he has been near perfect.
McCoy has an astounding 81.21 completion percentage, a 19-3 TD/INT ratio and is averaging 53 yards per game rushing.
Last week against Missouri he was 29-32 with 2 TD passes, no picks, and a rushing TD.
In a game where QB play makes all the difference, it is McCoy that has separated this Texas team from the pack of national championship contenders.
Strength versus Strength
This game will pit Oklahoma State’s Big 12-leading rushing attack (283 yds per game), led by RB Kendall Hunter (134.6 ypg), against a Texas rush defense ranked No. 2 in the nation.
Then again, the Cowboys are not dependent on the run. They are one of the most balanced teams in the country, with QB Zac Robinson presenting a dual threat and he currently ranks No. 3 in the nation in pass efficiency.
Texas ranks No. 1 in the conference in scoring defense, allowing 17.6 points per game. They have relied heavily on their outstanding defensive line not only to stymie the run but also to protect a young secondary by pressuring the QB.
Although this has been a successful strategy so far, the weakness of the Longhorn secondary is highlighted by their lack of takeaways. The team has only 10 on the season.
Oklahoma State has been solid on defense as well- ranked No. 2 in the conference in scoring defense behind only Texas.
The team was particularly impressive in the Missouri game, forcing Chase Daniel into key turnovers that swung the tide in OSU’s direction.
Under the Radar Receivers
Texas’ wide receiver tandem of Jordan Shipley and Quan Cosby is perhaps the most underrated in the country. Shipley has caught TD passes in seven consecutive games, tying a school record.
While there’s no doubt that this is the best Oklahoma State team in quite some time, it must be noted that the Missouri game marks their only win over quality competition.
The Cowboys have played five of their seven games at home and one of their road games was against Washington State, one of the worst teams in the country.
The five home wins have come against Houston, Missouri State, Troy, Texas A&M and Baylor.
With such a schedule, is this team worthy of a top-10 ranking? Saturday’s game may provide an indication.
Improved Stadium, Improved Home Field Advantage
Texas’ Memorial Stadium has never been a first-class venue and the laid back Texas crowd has never offered the type of home-field advantage seen in places like Florida’s Swamp.
With some new renovations, however, the fans have been moved closer to the field. This factor, along with the excitement of having a No. 1 team, have brought the fan base to life.
Re: SATURDAY GAMEDAY NEWS AND NOTES
(7) Oklahoma State (7-0, 6-0 ATS) at (1) Texas (7-0 SU and ATS)
The game of the day comes from Austin, where the top-ranked Longhorns play host to No. 7 Oklahoma State as Texas plays its third straight game against a Big 12 foe ranked in the Top 15.
Texas beat archrival and top-ranked Oklahoma 45-35 as a seven-point ‘dog two weeks ago in the Red River Shootout, then showed no signs of a letdown in last week’s 56-31 home rout of then-No. 11 Missouri as a four-point chalk. QB Colt McCoy, a Heisman Trophy candidate, threw for 337 yards and two TDs and also ran for two scores against Missouri last week as Texas racked up 591 total yards and held the Tigers to 348.
Versatile QB Zach Robinson (238 passing yards, 57 rushing yards, two passing TDs) led Oklahoma State to a 34-6 blowout win over Baylor a week ago, cashing as a 17-point home favorite. The Cowboys, who upset Missouri 28-23 as a 14-point underdog in their most recent road trip two weeks ago, are riding an eight-game winning streak dating back to last November (7-0 ATS).
Mack Brown’s Longhorns have owned Oklahoma State in this series, going 20-2 all-time and outscoring the Cowboys 407-218 in winning the last 10 in a row (7-3 ATS). Last season in Stillwater, Okla., Texas rallied from a 35-14 fourth-quarter deficit to score a miracle 38-35 comeback win, cashing as a 1½-point road favorite. The last time these two met in Austin, the Longhorns rolled to a 36-10 victory as an 18½-point favorite and outgained the Cowboys by 307 yards (510-203).
This matchup features two of the nation’s top four scoring offenses, as Texas is second at 48.1 points per game and the Cowboys are fourth at 46.4 ppg. Oklahoma State ranks seventh in total offense (501.4 total yards per game) and fifth in rushing offense (283.1 rushing ypg), while the Longhorns are 10th in total offense (484 ypg), including averaging 193.4 ypg on the ground.
Both offenses are driven by outstanding quarterbacks. McCoy is completing an astounding 81.2 percent of his throws for 270.6 ypg with 19 TDs and just three INTs, and he also has 371 rushing yards (5.3 yards per carry) and six TDs on the ground. Meanwhile, Robinson is connecting on 70 percent of his throws for 213 ypg, with 14 TDs and four INTs, to go with 249 rushing yards (3.4 per carry) and five additional scores.
Oklahoma State is on ATS streaks of 5-1 on the road, 4-1 in Big 12 games, 6-1 in October, 4-0 against teams with a winning record and 5-0 following a straight-up win. Meanwhile, Texas is on a slew of ATS runs, including 10-1 overall, 20-8 at home, 5-1 in conference play, 13-5 in October, 6-0 against teams with a winning record and 6-0 after a straight-up win.
The Cowboys have topped the total in 10 of their last 14 October games, but the under has been the play in their last six road contests. However, it’s been all “overs” for Texas lately, including 4-0 overall, 6-0 in Big 12 action, 25-10-1 after a straight-up win and 7-2 at home against teams with a winning road record. Finally, the over has cashed in four of the last five series clashes between these schools.
ATS ADVANTAGE: TEXAS and OVER
(3) Penn State (8-0, 6-1 ATS) at (10) Ohio State (7-1, 2-5 ATS)
The biggest game in the Big Ten this season takes place under the lights at the Horseshoe in Columbus, where Ohio State will try to knock Penn State from the ranks of the unbeaten in a battle for sole possession of first place in the league standings.
The Buckeyes went to East Lansing, Mich., last week and walloped Michigan State 45-7 as a three-point road favorite, the team’s fifth straight victory since a 35-3 loss at then-No. 1 USC. Behind freshman QB Terrelle Pryor (116 passing yards, 72 rushing yards, 2 total TDs) and RB Beanie Wells (140 rushing yards, 2 TDs), Ohio State jumped out to a 28-0 halftime lead and ended up with a 332-240 edge in total offense, including outrushing the Spartans 216-52.
Penn State played two totally different games against Michigan last week, coming out sluggish in the first half as it fell behind 17-7, only to outscore the Wolverines 39-0 the rest of the way en route to a 46-17 home victory. The Lions’ final score came on an 80-yard screen pass from backup QB Stephon Green to Pat Devlin, which allowed Penn State to miraculously cover a 24-point spread.
While the Buckeyes are riding a five-game winning streak, the Nittany Lions have won nine in a row (7-1 ATS in lined contests) dating to last year’s 24-17 Alamo Bowl victory over Texas A&M. However, Penn State hasn’t defeated a ranked opponent on the road since 2002.
Ohio State is on a 5-1 roll (4-2 ATS) in this rivalry, including last year’s 37-17 shellacking of the Lions in Happy Valley as a three-point road chalk. The Buckeyes have covered nine of the last 13 head-to-head battles and have never lost to Penn State in Columbus since the Lions joined the Big Ten in 1993 (7-0 SU and ATS). Finally, the host is 9-1 ATS in the last 10 series clashes, and the favorite has covered in seven of those contests.
Penn State, which outgained Michigan 482-291 last week, has now scored at least 45 points in six of its eight contests this season, and Joe Paterno’s squad ranks seventh nationally in scoring offense (45.4 ppg), 11th in total offense (482 ypg) and 10th in rushing offense (234.6 ypg). On the other side of the ball, the Nittany Lions are sixth in scoring defense (11.8 ppg allowed), eighth in total defense (263.3 ypg allowed) and 11th in passing defense (159.4 ypg allowed).
Ohio State, which had a season high in points last week, is averaging 27 points and 322 total yards per contest (182 rushing ypg), while surrendering 13.4 points and 265.4 total yards per outing (97.1 rushing ypg). In five home victories, those defensive numbers drop to 9.6 ppg, 241.8 total ypg and 76.4 rushing ypg.
Ohio State has followed up an 0-5 ATS slide by cashing in two of its last three games. However, the Buckeyes are 0-4 ATS at home this season (all as a favorite), and going back to last season they’ve failed to cover in five straight at the Horseshoe. On the bright side, they’re on a 19-7 ATS roll in Big Ten play (2-2 this year) and they’re 8-2 ATS in their last 10 October outings.
In addition to their overall 7-1 ATS run, the Nittany Lions feature positive pointspread trends of 5-0-1 on the road and 11-4-1 in October, but they’re just 3-5 ATS in their last eight conference affairs (3-1 ATS this year).
The under is 3-1 in the last four clashes overall in this rivalry and 4-1 in the last five meetings at the Horseshoe, and the under is also 5-2 in the Buckeyes’ last seven games overall and 8-3 in their last 11 October outings. However, for Penn State, the over is on streaks of 5-2 overall, 4-1 in Big Ten action and 4-1 in October.
ATS ADVANTAGE: OHIO STATE
Wake Forest (4-2, 3-3 ATS) at Miami, Fla. (4-3, 2-4 ATS)
Wake Forest travels to South Beach for a date with the Hurricanes in an ACC showdown between two teams in desperate need of a victory.
The Demon Deacons are one of four teams tied atop the ACC’s Atlantic Division, despite only scoring one touchdown in three league games and averaging a league-low eight points per contest in conference play. Wake Forest was blanked at Maryland on Saturday 26-0, falling as a one-point ‘dog. Despite that result, the Deacons’ defense is still allowing just 12 points a game in conference action.
Miami has won two straight, including a 49-31 shootout victory at Duke last Saturday, cashing as a three-point road chalk. That snapped an 0-3 ATS drought for the Hurricanes, who have yet to cash in front of the home crowd this season. The Miami offense averages only 308 yards per game, and they use a tag-team at QB with Robert Marve (677 yards, 7 TDs, 9 INTs) and Jacory Harris (497 yards, 5 TDs, 3 three INTs).
These two haven’t met since 2005, when Miami went to Wake Forest and delivered a 47-17 whipping as a 16-point road chalk. In the Demon Deacons’ last trip to South Beach, they got whacked 52-7 as 18½-point road underdogs.
Wake Forest remains on ATS runs of 10-4 overall, 5-2 on the road, 19-7 in October, 6-2 in ACC play, 15-5 against teams with a winning record and 9-0 following a non-cover. Conversely, Miami has been a disaster at the betting window, posting negative ATS trends of 10-22-1 overall, 12-31-1 at home, 5-15-1 in ACC play, 6-22 following an ATS win and 1-11 at home against a team with a winning road record.
For the Demon Deacons, the under is on runs of 4-0 overall, 5-2 in ACC games and 4-1 against teams with a winning record. The under is also 25-9 in Miami’s last 34 home games, but otherwise, the Hurricanes are on over streaks of 4-1 overall, 5-1 in conference action and 8-2 against teams with a winning record.
ATS ADVANTAGE: WAKE FOREST
(23) Boston College (5-1, 3-2 ATS) at North Carolina (5-2, 3-3 ATS)
Boston College guns for its fifth straight win – and third straight in ACC play – when it heads to Kenan Stadium in Chapel Hill, N.C., to take on the Tar Heels.
The Eagles scored a 28-23 victory over then-No. 17 Virginia Tech a week ago, cashing as a three-point home favorite. The victory avenged Boston College’s loss to the Hokies in last year’s ACC Championship game as it rallied from a 10-0 deficit and overcame two INT returns for touchdowns to get the win. The Eagles’ defense, which ranks fourth in the country in surrendering just 251 yards per contest, helped secure the victory, allowing Virginia Tech just 240 total yards (90 passing yards).
North Carolina had a three-game winning streak snapped in last week’s mistake-filled 16-13 overtime loss at Virginia as a 3½-point chalk. Junior QB Cameron Sexton threw two INTs, and the defense gave up a tying touchdown in the final minute after holding the Cavaliers without a TD the first 59 minutes. Tar Heels RB Shaun Draughn ran for a career-high 138 yards as North Carolina outrushed Virginia by 108 yards (166-58).
These teams haven’t met since 2005, when North Carolina won 16-14 as a four-point home ‘dog. The previous year, they met in the Continental Tire Bowl, and Boston College rolled 37-24 as a 2½-point pup.
The Eagles are 6-2 ATS in their last eight October contests, but otherwise they are on ATS slides of 1-4 in ACC action and 0-5 after a spread-cover. The Tar Heels are on pointspread streaks of 9-4 against teams with a winning record, 4-0 at home against teams with a winning road record and 4-1 after a non-cover.
Boston College is on under runs of 7-2 on the road, 7-3 following an ATS win and 4-1 against teams with a winning record. For the Tar Heels, the over is 4-1 in their last five against a team with a winning record, 9-4 following a non-cover and 7-3-1 following a SU defeat. Most recently, the over is 3-0 in the Eagles’ last three overall and 3-1 in UNC’s last four.
ATS ADVANTAGE: UNDER
(2) Alabama (7-0, 4-3 ATS) at Tennessee (3-4, 4-3 ATS)
The Crimson Tide try to keep their perfect season intact when they visit Neyland Stadium for an SEC clash against Tennessee.
Alabama is the only undefeated team left in the SEC after holding on for a 24-20 home win over Mississippi last week, failing to cover the 12½-point line. The Crimson Tide led 24-3 at the half but had to hang on in the fourth quarter, stopping Ole Miss on a fourth down near midfield late in the game to wrap up the win. QB John Parker Wilson, who threw for 219 yards and two TDs against the Rebels, had a career-high 363 passing yards and three TDs a year ago against the Vols, running his total to 521 yards in two matchups with Tennessee.
The Volunteers are coming off a 34-3 blowout win over Mississippi State in Knoxville, easily cashing as a 9½-point favorite. Tennessee rushed for 139 yards and passed for 136 against the Bulldogs, and got a pair of fourth-quarter defensive TDs to seal the win, including a 72-yard interception return from sophomore Eric Berry, who has 10 career picks and is the SEC’s all-time leader in interception return yards with 397.
Alabama leads the all-time series with Tennessee 45-38-7, and they trounced the Vols 41-17 a season ago as one-point home ‘dogs. The host has won the last four in this rivalry, but the Tide are 3-0-1 ATS in those four and 5-1 ATS in their last six trips to Knoxville. Finally, the underdog is 5-1 ATS in the last six meetings, and the straight-up winner is 6-3-1 ATS in the last 10 clashes.
Alabama is on ATS slides of 8-20 against teams with a losing record, 3-8 in SEC play, 3-9 following a non-cover and 1-4 in October, but the Crimson Tide are 9-4 ATS in their last 13 on the highway. Tennessee is on ATS streaks of 6-1-1 against teams with a winning record, 4-1-1 in SEC action, 4-1 as a home underdog and 6-2 in October kickoffs.
The under is 11-4 in Alabama’s last 15 October games and 15-6 in its last 21 against teams with a losing record. The Vols are on a plethora of under runs, including 12-2 overall, 35-16-3 at home, 5-0 in SEC action, 4-0 in October, 35-16-2 following a spread-cover and 5-0 against teams with a winning record. Lastly, the under is 3-1 in this rivalry dating to 2004.
ATS ADVANTAGE: UNDER
(9) Georgia (6-1, 2-3-1 ATS) at (11) LSU (5-1, 2-3 ATS)
After splitting a pair of tough SEC road games, LSU finally returns home to Baton Rouge for another difficult conference test against the ninth-ranked Bulldogs.
A week after getting throttled 51-31 at Florida, the Tigers went to South Carolina last Saturday and rallied for a 24-17 victory over the Gamecocks as a 2½-point road favorite. LSU’s defense forced three turnovers, and the Tigers outrushed South Carolina 164-39 in the victory.
Georgia has rebounded from its first defeat of the season – a 41-30 home setback to Alabama on Sept. 27 – with a pair of double-digit home wins over Tennessee (26-14) and Vanderbilt (24-14). However, the Bulldogs failed to cash in both contests, despite finishing with a 249-yard edge in total offense against Tennessee and a 180-yard advantage versus Vandy. Georgia has followed up a 6-0-1 ATS run with three straight non-covers.
These schools last met in the 2005 SEC Championship Game, when the Bulldogs skewered LSU 34-14 as a two-point underdog. The host is 5-1 SU and 4-2 ATS in the last six meetings, and the winner has covered in nine of the last 10, including the last four in a row.
The Dawgs are on ATS streaks of 5-2-1 on the road, 7-2 as an underdog, 5-0 as a road pup and 6-2 against winning teams, but they’ve now failed to cover in nine of their last 11 October affairs. Meanwhile, despite last week’s win and cover at South Carolina, LSU is still mired in pointspread funks of 5-10-1 overall, 2-6-1 at home, 3-8-1 in SEC action and 1-4 in October.
The last three meetings between these teams have climbed over the total, and the over is also on runs for LSU of 11-3 overall, 6-2 at home, 9-2 in SEC action and 4-1 in October. On the other hand, Georgia has stayed under the total in four of its last five overall, four of its last five SEC games, five of its last six in October and 10 of its last 14 on the highway.
ATS ADVANTAGE: GEORGIA
Re: SATURDAY GAMEDAY NEWS AND NOTES
Virginia Tech (5-2, 2-4 ATS) at (24) Florida State (5-1, 2-2 ATS)
Virginia Tech hits the road for an ACC battle for the second straight week when it travels to Tallahassee, Fla., to take on the surging Seminoles.
The Hokies jumped out to a 10-0 lead and returned two interceptions for touchdowns last week at Boston College, but it wasn’t good enough as they fell 28-23 as a three-point road underdog. The loss snapped Virginia Tech’s five-game overall and seven-game ACC road winning streaks, and Frank Beamer’s team, which got outgained 300-240 at B.C., is now in a 2-5 ATS slump going back to last year’s Orange Bowl loss to Kansas.
Florida State ran its winning streak to three in a row with last Thursday’s come-from-behind 26-17 victory at North Carolina State, though it failed to cover as a 10½-point chalk. Sophomore QB Christian Ponder was outstanding (23-for-35 for 254 yards, one TD, no INTs) in helping the Seminoles pile up 392 total yards. Bobby Bowden’s offense has put up an average of 35.3 points per game in its last three contests since a 12-3 home loss to Wake Forest.
The Hokies outscored Florida State 20-0 in the fourth quarter last year en route to a 40-21 victory as a seven-point home favorite, the school’s first win in 16 tries against Florida State. Virginia Tech, which had a 396-267 advantage in total offense in last year’s victory, also snapped an 0-3 ATS slide against the ‘Noles.
Despite its current pointspread woes, Va-Tech still enters this contest on positive ATS streaks of 19-7 on the highway, 24-8 in ACC play, 17-4 as an underdog, 12-3 as a road pup since 2001, 6-2 following a SU defeat and 11-5 in October. Meanwhile, Florida State is 5-14 ATS in its last 19 as a home favorite, 1-4 ATS in its last five after a victory, 2-6 ATS in its last eight in October and 2-5-1 ATS in its last eight versus winning teams.
The over is 8-3 in the Hokies’ last 11 road games, 9-3 in FSU’s last 12 in October and 3-1 in the last four series meetings. However, five of the Seminoles’ last seven contests in Tallahassee have stayed low.
ATS ADVANTAGE: VIRGINIA TECH and OVER
(14) South Florida (6-1, 2-4 ATS) at Louisville (4-2, 3-2 ATS)
Louisville tries for its first three-game winning streak since 2006 when it welcomes No. 14 South Florida to Papa Johns Cardinal Stadium for a Big East tussle.
The Cardinals resume Big East play after a couple of non-conference wins and covers over Memphis (35-28 as a 5½-point road favorite) and Middle Tennessee (42-33 as a 14½-point home chalk). In last week’s victory over Middle Tennessee, Louisville rallied from a 17-14 halftime deficit to score 28 unanswered points before giving up a meaningless touchdown with 36 seconds remaining in the game. The Cardinals finished with 391 yards (247 rushing) and gave up 306 (105 on the ground).
South Florida bounced back from its first setback of the season – a stunning 26-21 home loss to Pitt – by throttling Syracuse 45-13 last week as a 23½-point home chalk. QB Matt Grothe went 16-for-26 for 248 yards, with three TDs and no picks, and he also ran for a TD as the Bulls racked up advantages of 487-230 in total yards, 239-101 in rushing yards and 26-11 in first downs.
The Cardinals will have payback in mind today as they look to avenge last year’s ugly 55-17 loss at South Florida as a nine-point road underdog. In that one, South Florida led 41-10 at the half and tallied 481 total yards (230 on the ground) while forcing an astonishing seven turnovers. The home team has won and covered all five meetings in this rivalry over the past five years, the last four decided by 25 points or more.
South Florida is stuck in pointspread ruts of 2-5 overall, 3-6 as a road favorite, 2-5 in October, 1-5 after a SU victory and 0-7 against winning teams, but the Bulls are 4-1 ATS in their last five Big East contests. Louisville is 20-9 ATS in its last 29 at home and 3-1 ATS in its last four as an underdog, but 4-9 ATS in its last 13 on grass.
The over is on runs of 6-2 for Louisville overall, 16-7 for Louisville in October contests, 8-2-1 for South Florida overall, 6-2-1 for South Florida on the highway, 4-1-1 for South Florida in league contests and 7-3 for South Florida in October.
ATS ADVANTAGE: OVER
(8) Texas Tech (7-0, 2-3 ATS) at (19) Kansas (5-2, 4-2 ATS)
Kansas attempts to bounce back from a humbling loss at Oklahoma when it entertains unbeaten Texas Tech at Memorial Stadium in a Big 12 battle.
The Jayhawks kept things close for a half at Norman, Okla., last week, but eventually succumbed to the Sooners 45-31. Kansas did get a touchdown with 58 seconds to play to sneak in the backdoor and cover as a 19½-point road underdog. Although they racked up 491 yards of total offense, the Jayhawks surrendered a whopping 674 total yards (206 rushing) as their three-game winning steak came to a halt.
One week after surviving a scare at home against Nebraska (37-31 overtime win), the Red Raiders went to Texas A&M and struggled for a half before rallying for a comfortable 43-25 victory, outscoring the Aggies 25-2 in the second half. However, Texas Tech came up short as a 21-point road favorite, the team’s second straight non-cover. The Red Raiders, who have won nine straight games, finished with 561 total yards, but committed three turnovers.
These teams last met in 2005 at Texas Tech, and the Red Raiders prevailed 30-17 but failed to cash as an 18½-point chalk. Kansas has covered the last three meetings, but Texas Tech has won five of the last six SU going back to 1996. Finally, the underdog has been the play in each of the last four battles.
Texas Tech is just 1-5 ATS in its last six as a road underdog, while Kansas is on pointspread runs of 21-6 overall, 21-8 at home, 10-1 as a home chalk, 23-9 on artificial turf, 13-3 in conference play and 8-1 in October. In fact, the Jayhawks have won 13 consecutive home games (10-1 ATS in lined contests), but none of those were against ranked foes.
For the Red Raiders, the under is on runs of 9-4 overall, 7-3 in Big 12 action and 6-1 on turf. The under is also 5-0 in Kansas’ last five home games and 4-0 in its last four on turf. Finally, the last two meetings between these schools stayed low.
ATS ADVANTAGE: KANSAS and UNDER
Colorado (4-3, 2-4 ATS) at (16) Missouri (5-2, 3-3 ATS)
Missouri will try to get back in the win column for the first time in three weeks when it hosts Colorado in a Big 12 North clash at Faurot Field in Columbia.
The Tigers’ dreams of a national championship season have gone up in flames the last two weeks with losses to Oklahoma State (28-23 as a 14-point home favorite) and top-ranked Texas (56-31 as a four-point road underdog). In last week’s ugly outing in Austin, Missouri fell behind 35-3 at halftime and ended up getting outgained 591-343, including 203-30 on the ground.
Colorado snapped a three-game slide with its first Big 12 victory of the season, a 14-13 win over Kansas State, though the Buffaloes came up short as a 3½-point home favorite, falling to 0-4 ATS over the past month. Colorado has scored exactly 14 points in three straight games, but after giving up an average of 35.7 points in its previous three contests, it yielded a season-low 13 points to the high-scoring Wildcats.
Missouri went to Boulder last year and thumped the Buffaloes 55-10, piling up 598 total yards (and allowing 196) as a 3½-point road favorite. The Tigers have won and covered the last two meetings after Colorado started the decade on a 5-0-1 ATS roll against Mizzou.
Colorado is 4-12-1 ATS in its last 17 road games since 2005 (0-3 ATS this year), and the Buffs are on further ATS nosedives of 1-5 in Big 12 play, 1-6 in October, 7-19 against winning teams and 3-7 when playing on grass. Conversely, despite what’s happened the last two weeks, the Tigers are still 15-6 ATS in their last 21 overall, 13-6 ATS in their last 19 at home, 12-4 ATS in their last 16 as a favorite and 9-4 ATS in their last 13 following a SU defeat.
The over is 5-2 in the last seven series meetings, with the last three in a row topping the posted price.
ATS ADVANTAGE: MISSOURI and OVER
(6) USC (5-1, 4-1 ATS) at Arizona (5-2 SU and ATS)
Coming off their second straight shutout – and one of the most lopsided victories in school history – USC takes to the road for the second consecutive week when it invades Arizona Stadium for a meeting with the upset-minded Wildcats.
After blanking Arizona State 28-0 on Oct. 11, the Trojans went to Washington State last week and humiliated the Cougars 69-0, easily covering despite being a ridiculous 43-point favorite. QB Mark Sanchez set a school record with five first-half touchdowns passes as USC took a 41-0 halftime lead, and the Trojans finished with 625 total yards while allowing 116. It was the Trojans’ biggest shutout win since a 69-0 rout of Montana in 1931.
USC is working on a 10-quarter scoreless string, having outscored opponents 131-0 during this stretch. The Trojans are allowing an average of 7.8 points, 220.2 total yards and 136.5 passing yards per game, figures that rank first, second and first, respectively, in the nation.
Arizona bounced back from a heartbreaking one-point loss at Stanford with last Saturday’s mild 42-27 upset win over Cal as a 2½-point home underdog. The Wildcats outscored the 25th-ranked Bears 28-3 in the second half to improve to 4-0 SU and ATS at home, where they are averaging a whopping 50.2 points and 456.5 total yards per game and giving up 14.2 points and 256.2 yards per contest.
USC is in the midst of a six-game winning streak against the Wildcats dating to 2001, but Arizona has covered the last three in a row, all as a three-touchdown underdog or more. Last year, the Wildcats went to L.A. and took a 13-10 lead into the fourth quarter before falling 20-13 as a 21-point pup. The visitor has cashed in five of the last seven meetings.
The Trojans are riding pointspread runs of 8-3 overall, 4-1 on the highway, 6-1 against winning teams and 4-1 on grass. They’re also 27-12 ATS in their past 39 games after scoring more than 40 points the previous week, but they’re still 4-11 ATS in their last 15 October outings. Meanwhile, Arizona is on ATS streaks of 9-2 overall, 6-0 at home, 7-1 in Pac-10 play, 8-2 on grass and 5-0 versus winning teams. However, they’re 2-7 ATS in their last nine when coming off a 40-plus-point offensive outburst.
The under is on streaks of 20-8 for USC overall, 20-6 for USC in conference, 18-5 for USC on grass, 6-1 for USC in October, 15-7 for Arizona on grass and 12-5-1 for Arizona in October. Finally, the last two head-to-head battles between these schools have stayed low, which comes on the heels of a 4-1 “over” stretch in this rivalry.
ATS ADVANTAGE: USC and UNDER