Dr. Bob CFB
4 Best Bets this week and 4 Strong Opinions (pay attention to the line constraints).
Rotation #330 Mississippi (-6 1/2) 2-Stars at -7 or less only. Strong Opinion from -7 1/2 to -9 points.
Rotation #360 Texas Tech (+3 1/2) 3-Stars at +3 or more, 2-Stars down to +1.
Rotation #365 Clemson (+4) 2-Stars at +3 or more, 3-Stars at +6 or more.
Rotation #380 LSU (-25) 3-Stars at -26 or less, 2-Stars up to -28.
Strong Opinion - Rotation #350 USC (-44 1/2) Strong Opinion at -45 or less.
Strong Opinion - Rotation #364 Michigan State (-4 1/2) Strong Opinion at -6 or less, 2-Star Best Bet at -3 or less.
Strong Opinion - Rotation #378 Georgia Tech (-2 1/2) Strong Opinion at -3 or less. 2-Star Best Bet at -1 or better.
Strong Opinion - Rotation #381 TCU (-14) Strong Opinion at -14 or less.
Thursday Opinion - Rotation #306 Cincinnati (+2 1/2) Opinion. Strong Opinion at +3 or more.
Re: Dr. Bob
3 Star Selection
***TEXAS TECH 37 Texas (-3.5) 30
05:00 PM Pacific, 01-Nov-08
If Texas is going to lose this is most likely the game that will trip them up. Not only is Texas in a very negative situation but Texas Tech is every bit as good as the Longhorns are. Texas has been great offensively, averaging 6.8 yards per play against teams that would allow 5.5 yppl to an average team and I actually rate the Longhorns’ attack at 1.6 yppl better than average with Chris Ogbonnaya at running back the last 4 games, as Ogbonnaya is much better than Vondrell McGee or Cody Johnson were when they were getting the bulk of the carries. Texas Tech’s offense is even better, as the Red Raiders have averaged 7.6 yppl with Graham Harrell under center while facing teams that would combine to allow 5.8 yppl to an average team (1.8 yppl better than average). The Texas defense has allowed 5.3 yppl this season to teams that would combine to average 5.9 yppl against an average team while Texas Tech has yielded 5.0 yppl to a schedule of teams that would average 5.7 yppl against an average team, so the Red Raiders also have a slight edge defensively in this game. Both teams are about the same in special teams and Texas Tech has a slight edge in projected turnovers and my math model calls for them to win this game straight up. What I like about this match-up for Texas Tech is their quick hitting pass attack against a vulnerable Texas secondary. Texas is very strong along the defensive line, but their ability to defend the run and to rush the passer (3.5 sacks per game) are negated by the fact that Texas Tech doesn’t run much and Harrell gets rid of the ball so quickly that the opposing pass rush is simply not a factor. Harrell has been sacked only 3 times on 363 pass plays this season and a good pass rushing Nevada team averaging 3.3 sacks per game didn’t touch Harrell. Texas has a good pass defense rating of 1.1 yards per pass play better than average because they get so many sacks, but their secondary has allowed 6.9 yards per pass attempt, which isn’t much better than average. Oklahoma averaged 8.7 yppp and Missouri’s Chase Daniel averaged 7.2 yppp despite having a bad day. Graham Harrell and the Red Raiders’ attack is ideally suited to move the ball against the Longhorns, whose defensive strength along the defensive line will be minimized. Harrell threw for 466 yards on 48 passes last season in a 43-59 loss at Texas and the Longhorns aren’t as likely to score nearly as many points and a much improved Red Raiders’ defense with this game being played in Lubbock, where Tech is at their best. In addition to the line value, the Red Raiders apply to a number of very strong situations – the best of which is a 34-3 ATS subset of a 138-56-3 ATS home momentum situation. Texas, meanwhile, applies to a very negative 5-40 ATS situation that plays against unbeaten teams. Texas is also just 5-12-1 ATS under coach Mack Brown as a road favorite against a team with a winning record. I’ll take Texas Tech in a 3-Star Best Bet at +3 points or more and for 2-Stars from +2 ½ to +1. I’ll also lean with the Under in this game.
3 Star Selection
***LSU (-25.0) 45 Tulane 10
05:00 PM Pacific, 01-Nov-08
LSU may be right in the middle of the conference season, but this will not be a letdown game for the Tigers – especially after just getting whipped by Georgia last Saturday. Les Miles rarely takes it easy on non-conference opponents and his teams have a huge talent edge in these games that he exploits. The Tigers are 10-1 ATS under Miles against non-conference opponents when not favored by more than 40 points and just 8-20-3 ATS in SEC games, so this is exactly the type of game that LSU has covered under Miles. LSU is also 5-1-1 ATS after a loss under Miles and just 11-22-2 ATS after a win, so expect the Green Wave to pay for last week’s loss to Georgia. Miles has actually been good as a big favorite going back to his days coaching at Oklahoma State and he is 10-0 ATS in his career as a favorite of 14 points or more when not coming off a win (8-0 ATS after a loss and 2-0 ATS in game 1). Aside from the team trends, LSU also has a huge advantage on the field against a Tulane team that started the season in pretty good shape but have been hit hard by injuries to key players in recent weeks. Tulane’s big play receiver Jeremy Williams was injured against Army a few weeks ago and the pass attack has struggled since. Williams had amassed 437 receiving yards on 42 balls thrown to him (10.4 yards per attempt) while the rest of Tulane’s passes have averaged 6.3 ypa. Williams’ injury left RB Andre Anderson as the Waves’ only offensive weapon (864 yards at 5.0 ypr), but Anderson was injured early last week against Rice and he’s out indefinitely. Tulane only ran for 67 yards at 2.8 yards per rushing play against a horrible Rice defense last week and they won’t have any success running against LSU’s front line. LSU’s defense has been only 0.2 yards per play better than average this season and they were lit up by the two potent offensive units that they faced, allowing 7.7 yppl to Florida and 7.8 yppl to Georgia last week. However, the Tigers have allowed just 4.3 yppl in their other 5 games (to teams that would average 4.9 yppl against an average team) and I don’t expect a wounded Tulane offense, that I rate at 0.7 yppl worse than average heading into this game, to do much damage. LSU’s offense has moved the ball very well since Jarrett Lee took over at quarterback and the Tigers are 1.4 yppl better than average offensively. That unit should score plenty of points against a Tulane defense that started the season by allowing just 173 yards to Alabama, but have gotten steadily worse as the season has progressed. The Green Wave have allowed 7.0 yppl, 6.9 yppl, and 6.9 yppl in their last 3 games to Army, UTEP, and Rice and I don’t see them stopping a determined LSU squad today. This one sets up for another blowout win over a non-conference opponent for Les Miles’ team and I’ll take LSU in a 3-Star Best Bet at -26 points or less and for 2-Stars from -26 ½ to -28 points.
2 Star Selection
**MISSISSIPPI (-6.5) 28 Auburn 14
09:30 AM Pacific, 01-Nov-08
Auburn has dropped 7 consecutive games to the point spread and they are still overrated. The Tigers’ offense is horrible (4.3 yards per play against teams that would allow 5.5 yppl to an average team) and they’ve averaged just 3.6 yppl in 2 games since changing offensive coordinators. Kodi Burns is the new signal caller for the Tigers, and he may prove to be an upgrade because of his running (220 yards at 4.7 yards per rushing play) despite the fact that his passing numbers are a bit worse than former starter Chris Todd. Auburn’s defense started out the season among the best in the nation, but that unit has struggled in conference play and has allowed 5.8 yppl or more in 3 of their last 6 games. Injuries have played a part in the recent poor play and I do expect the Tigers to start to get better defensively, but they haven’t proven that they can defend an above average attack. Auburn has dominated bad offensive teams this season, but they gave up 6.1 yppl to LSU, 5.8 yppl to Arkansas, and 7.9 yppl to West Virginia last week. Overall the Tigers have been 0.7 yppl better than average defensively, but Ole’ Miss is a very good offensive team that has averaged 5.9 yppl (against teams that would allow 5.0 yppl to an average attack) and the Rebels have performed well against good defensive teams, averaging 5.4 yppl or more against Florida, Alabama, and South Carolina, who are all better defensively than Auburn is. Mississippi’s offense has been 0.2 yppl better than Auburn’s defense this season and the Rebels have a huge edge with their defense (0.3 yppl better than average) going up against a Tigers’ offense that is 1.2 yppl worse than average. Both quarterbacks are a bit interception prone, but Mississippi is a bit more likely to turn the ball over because they’ll likely throw the ball more. Overall, my math model favors Ole’ Miss by 14 ½ points in this game and I’ll take Mississippi in a 2-Star Best Bet at -7 points or less.
2 Star Selection
**Clemson 23 BOSTON COLLEGE (-4.0) 19
12:30 PM Pacific, 01-Nov-08
Clemson’s week off has reportedly revived the Tigers, as the players say they are having fun in practice again under new coach Dabo Swinney and are eager to get back to the field to prove themselves after 3 heartbreaking losses. The Tigers lost all 3 of those games by 5 points or less to good teams Maryland, Wake Forest, and Georgia Tech despite being -3, -1, and -4 in turnover margin in those contests. In other words, the Tigers’ woes are more bad luck than bad play, and averaging -2.0 in turnover margin in their 5 games against Division 1A opposition is not something that is likely to continue. The week off also allowed a couple of key players to get healthy enough to play this week, including quarterback Cullen Harper and star running back C.J. Spiller, whose 6.5 ypr average (6.3 ypr in his career on 322 rushes) was sorely missed the last two games. Clemson’s offense has been just average in their 5 D-1A games, averaging 5.1 yppl against teams that would allow 5.1 yppl to an average team, and that attack is 0.1 yppl better than average with Spiller back to join with James Davis (5.3 ypr) in the backfield. Boston College is very good defensively, allowing 4.4 yppl to 6 Division 1A opponents that would combine to average 5.1 yppl against an average team, so the Eagles have a 0.6 yppl advantage over Clemson’s offense – although they aren’t quite as good without top LB Brian Toal and perhaps S Wes Davis, who missed last week’s game. However, Clemson’s rugged defense (4.7 yppl allowed to teams that would average 5.7 yppl against an average team) has a 1.4 yppl advantage over a bad BC attack that has averaged only 5.0 yppl against teams that would allow 5.4 yppl to an average team. Turnover margin shouldn’t be an issue in this game for Clemson given that Harper’s 8 interceptions on 182 passes (4.4%) is considerably better than the 12 picks that the Eagles’ Chris Crane has thrown on 216 attempts (5.6%). Clemson also has better special teams and the Tigers should be favored in this game according to my math model, which successfully picked against Boston College last week with North Carolina. I’ll take Clemson in a 2-Star Best Bet at +3 points or more (at -1.15 odds or better) and for 3-Stars at +6 points or more.
Re: Dr. Bob
CINCINNATI 26 S. Florida (-2.5) 23
04:45 PM Pacific, 30-Oct-08
Both of these teams are coming off upset losses but Cincinnati’s credibility was hurt more by losing 16-40 at U Conn, which looks much worse than USF’s 20-24 loss at Louisville. Cincy’s loss, however, was more about being -6 in turnovers in that game than being dominated by Connecticut, as the Bearcats were only out-gained 4.4 yppl to 4.8 yppl and had to play ½ the game with their 3rd string quarterback. That will be the case again here, as 2nd string QB Tony Pike will not play after losing feeling in his broken non-throwing arm, which kept him out the previous month. Chazz Anderson started 2 games in place of Pike and original starter Grutza, and his numbers aren’t nearly as good – averaging just 5.3 yards per pass play despite facing teams that would combine to allow 7.1 yppp to an average quarterback. The Bearcats are 0.8 yards per play worse than average offensively with Anderson at quarterback, but they have a good defense (0.6 yppl better than average) and very good special teams – so they are still capable of beating an overrated South Florida team that is just 0.3 yppl better than average offensively and 0.1 yppl worse than average on defense (5.0 yppl allowed to teams that would average 5.1 yppl against an average team). The Bulls simply aren’t good defensively, despite their reputation of being a good defensive team. All-American George Selvie isn’t putting up the ridiculous numbers he posted last season, although he does have 5 sacks and 5 other tackles for loss, and South Florida sorely misses last year’s two great cornerbacks, who are both in the NFL this season. South Florida also has a few injuries on the defensive side of the ball, as starters SS Carlton Williams and DL Terrell McClain are both listed as questionable. I make this game a pick with Anderson at quarterback for Cincinnati and the Bearcats apply to a solid 104-48-2 ATS bounce-back situation. South Florida doesn’t apply to any general situations, but the Bulls are 16-9 ATS after a loss, which dampens my enthusiasm a bit. I'd consider Cincinnati a Strong Opinion at +3 or more.
MICHIGAN ST. (-4.5) 30 Wisconsin 20
09:00 AM Pacific, 01-Nov-08
Wisconsin had been 0-4 straight up and 0-4 ATS in Big 10 play before upsetting Illinois last week, but that wins sets up the Badgers in a very negative 11-49-2 ATS subset of a 47-106-2 ATS road letdown situation. Unfortunately, my math model isn’t that impressed with Michigan State and the math favors the Spartans by just 3 points. The situation more than makes up for the lack of line value, but I will resist making the Spartans a Best Bet unless the line goes down to 3 points. I’ll consider Michigan State a Strong Opinion at -6 points or less and I’d take Michigan State in a 2-Star Best Bet at -3 points or less (-1.15 odds or better).
GEORGIA TECH (-2.5) 27 Florida St. 19
12:30 PM Pacific, 01-Nov-08
Georgia Tech let me down last week with an upset loss to Virginia, but that was the first time all season that the underrated Yellow Jackets have not covered the spread and they are likely to get back on the right side of the ledger today. Florida State is a decent team, averaging 4.9 yards per play on offense and allowing 4.6 yppl on defense in 5 games against Division 1A competition that would combine to be out-gained 4.8 yppl to 5.2 yppl by an average team. In other words, the Seminoles are about an average team from the line of scrimmage and just a bit better than average overall after adding in special teams. Georgia Tech, meanwhile, has averaged 5.8 yppl and allowed just 4.4 yppl to a schedule of 6 Division 1A teams that would combine averaging 5.2 yppl and allow 5.3 yppl to an average team. Georgia Tech has been much better than average on both sides of the ball and they should be favored by more than a touchdown in this game. My math model gives the Yellow Jackets a 62% chance of covering at -2 points based solely on the math, but they unfortunately apply to a negative 46-102-2 ATS situation that will keep me from making this game a Best Bet. That situation has about a 56% of covering at a fair line, which gives the Yellow Jackets a solid 56% chance of covering when I combine the math with the negative situation. I’ll consider Georgia Tech a Strong Opinion at -3 points or less and I’d take Georgia Tech in a 2-Star Best Bet at -1 or better.
USC (-44.5) 54 Washington 3
03:30 PM Pacific, 01-Nov-08
USC was in a tough spot last week in Arizona, but they dominated that game against a good Wildcats squad more than the 17-10 final score indicates. The Trojans out-gained Arizona 368 yards at 4.8 yards per play to 188 yards at 3.1 yppl and should have won by more than 7 points. USC is not in a negative situation this week and the Trojans can name the score against a horrible Washington team that is winless this season and just 1-6 ATS. The Huskies are a bit improved offensively since Ronnie Fouch took over the quarterbacking after Jake Locker was injured, as Fouch is a much better passer. However, Washington still rates at 0.5 yppl worse than average offensively and they don’t stand much of a chance against a dominating USC stop unit that’s yielded just 3.5 yppl and 8 points per game to a schedule of teams that would combine to average 5.7 yppl and 29 points against an average defensive team. USC has an even bigger advantage when they have the ball, as the Trojans’ offense is 1.8 yppl better than average (6.7 yppl against teams that would allow 5.0 yppl to an average team) while Washington’s young defensive unit is 1.2 yppl worse than average (7.3 yppl allowed to teams that would average 6.1 yppl). My math model favors USC by 50 ½ points and the Trojans are 31-10 ATS under coach Pete Carroll from game 8 on (3-1 ATS as a favorite of more than 28 points), so the Trojans should begin to play even better. USC’s backups are all top recruits too, so there is little drop-off when the subs enter the game - so the margin should continue to rise until the final gun. I’ll consider USC a Strong Opinion at -45 points or less and I’d take USC as a 2-Star Best Bet at -42 points or less.
TCU (-14.0) 35 UNLV 16
05:00 PM Pacific, 01-Nov-08
UNLV is coming off a 35-42 loss as a 23 ½ point dog against an overrated BYU squad and they may not have much left for a TCU team with a dominating defense and a surging offense. UNLV is a good offensive team, averaging 5.8 yards per play against teams that would combine to allow 5.4 yppl to an average team, but they aren’t good enough to move the ball with any consistency against a great TCU defense that has yielded just 3.8 yppl and 10.4 points per game to a schedule of teams that would combine to average 5.4 yppl and 24.8 points against an average defensive unit. TCU allowed 35 points to Oklahoma’s potent attack (the fewest points Oklahoma has scored this season), they gave up 14 points to a good Stanford offense and they’ve allowed 7 points or fewer in their other 7 games, including giving up just 4.2 yppl to BYU. Only Oklahoma has been able to average more than 4.2 yppl against the Frogs, so UNLV has their work cut out for them today. The Rebels aren’t likely to score more than 14 points and their horrible defense (6.7 yppl allowed to teams that would average 5.5 yppl against an average team) will have a tough time keeping TCU below 30 points in this game. The Horned Frogs were without starting quarterback Andy Dalton for a couple of games, but Dalton returned for the 32-7 win over BYU and he’s been great since coming back to the lineup. TCU is still 0.2 yppl worse than average offensively for the season with Dalton under center, but they’ve been 0.9 yppl better than average in 2 games since Dalton returned from injury. Even using TCU’s season rating would yield a prediction of 36 points for the Horned Frogs against UNLV’s porous stop unit. The Horned Frogs have a 58% chance of covering at -14 points based solely on line value (based on the historical performance of my math model) but the Rebels have a 10-4 ATS mark as a home underdog while TCU is just 4-13 ATS in recent years as a road favorite of more than 7 points (1-1 this year). The team trends are enough to keep me from making this game a Best Bet but I still like the Horned Frogs. I’ll consider TCU a Strong Opinion at -14 points or less.