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Thursday Night Football

Thursday Night Football

Denver Broncos vs. Cleveland Browns

Oddsmakers currently have the Browns listed as 3-point favorites versus the Broncos, while the game's total is sitting at 46.

The Broncos lost to Miami 26-17 as a 4.5-point favorite on Sunday. The combined score fell UNDER the posted over/under total (50.5).

Jay Cutler threw for 306 yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions for Denver, while Peyton Hillis caught seven passes for 116 yards and a touchdown.

The Browns lost to Baltimore 37-27 as a 3-point favorite in Week 9. The combined score went well OVER the posted over/under total (36.5).

Derek Anderson had 219 passing yards with two touchdowns and an interception for Cleveland, while Braylon Edwards caught four passes for 86 yards with a TD.

Current streak:
Denver has lost 3 straight games.

Team records:
Denver: 4-4 SU, 1-6-1 ATS
Cleveland: 3-5 SU, 5-3 ATS

Denver most recently:
When playing in November are 5-5
When playing on grass are 5-5
After being outgained are 3-7
When playing outside the division are 4-6

Cleveland most recently:
When playing in November are 4-6
When playing on grass are 5-5
After being outgained are 6-4
When playing outside the division are 7-3

A few trends to consider:
The total has gone OVER in 7 of Denver's last 10 games on the road
Denver is 1-4 SU in its last 5 games
Denver is 1-6 SU in its last 7 games on the road
Denver is 1-6 ATS in its last 7 games on the road
Cleveland is 9-2 ATS in its last 11 games at home
Cleveland is 4-1 ATS in its last 5 games
The total has gone UNDER in 11 of Cleveland's last 14 games
Cleveland is 8-3 SU in its last 11 games at home

Next up:
Denver at Atlanta, Sunday, November 16
Cleveland at Buffalo, Monday, November 17

Maryland Terrapins vs. Virginia Tech Hokies

Oddsmakers currently have the Hokies listed as 3-point favorites versus the Terrapins, while the game's total is sitting at 42.

Obi Egekeze kicked a 20-yard field goal with six seconds left, and Maryland kept North Carolina State winless in Atlantic Coast Conference play with a rain-soaked 27-24 victory in Week 9.

The Terrapins failed to cover the 12-point spread, while the combined score played UNDER the day's posted total of 66.5.

QB Cory Holt finished for Virginia Tech and threw a 4-yard touchdown pass but it was not enough as they lost 30-20 to Florida State in Week 9.

The Hokies did not cover the 6.5-point spread, while the final score played UNDER the day's posted total of 44.

Current streak:
Maryland has won 2 straight games.
Virginia Tech has lost 2 straight games.

Team records:
Maryland: 6-2 SU, 4-3 ATS
Virginia Tech: 5-3 SU, 2-5 ATS

Maryland most recently:
When playing in November are 4-6
When playing on grass are 7-3
After being outgained are 5-5
When playing within the conference are 5-5

Virginia Tech most recently:
When playing in November are 10-0
When playing on grass are 7-3
After being outgained are 8-2
When playing within the conference are 7-3

A few trends to consider:
The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Maryland's last 5 games on the road
Maryland is 5-1 SU in its last 6 games
Maryland is 4-2 ATS in its last 6 games
Maryland is 2-5 SU in its last 7 games on the road
Virginia Tech is 13-2 SU in its last 15 games at home
Virginia Tech is 15-5 SU in its last 20 games
Virginia Tech is 2-4 ATS in its last 6 games

Next up:
Maryland home to North Carolina, Saturday, November 15
Virginia Tech at Miami, Thursday, November 13

TCU Horned Frogs vs. Utah Utes

Oddsmakers currently have the Horned Frogs listed as 2-point favorites versus the Utes, while the game's total is sitting at 43.

TCU scored 24 points in the first half as they cruised past UNLV 44-14 in Week 10. TCU covered the 15-point spread, while the 59 points made it OVER the posted total of 52.

Andy Dalton completed 14-of-27 pass attempts for 135 yards with three touchdowns in the win.

Louie Sakoda booted two field goals in helping Utah earn a 13-10 win over New Mexico in Week 10. Utah could not cover the 7.5-point spread, while the 23 points went UNDER the night's posted total of 45.5.

Brian Johnson completed 23-of-32 passes for 198 yards and a TD in the win.

Current streak:
TCU has won 5 straight games.
Utah has won 9 straight games.

Team records:
TCU: 9-1 SU, 7-2 ATS
Utah: 9-0 SU, 4-3-1 ATS

TCU most recently:
When playing in November are 9-1
When playing on turf are 7-3
After outgaining opponent are 9-1
When playing within the conference are 9-1

Utah most recently:
When playing in November are 7-3
When playing on turf are 10-0
After outgaining opponent are 9-1
When playing within the conference are 9-1

A few trends to consider:
TCU is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games
TCU is 6-1 SU in its last 7 games on the road
TCU is 4-1 ATS in its last 5 games
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of TCU's last 6 games
Utah is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games at home
Utah is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games
Utah is 4-1 SU in its last 5 games when playing TCU

Next up:
TCU home to Air Force, Saturday, November 22
Utah at San Diego State, Saturday, November 15

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Re: Thursday Night Football

DENVER (4 - 4) at CLEVELAND (3 - 5)
Top Trends for this game.
DENVER is 1-7 ATS (-6.7 Units) in all games this season.
DENVER is 1-7 ATS (-6.7 Units) in all lined games this season.
DENVER is 2-9 ATS (-7.9 Units) in road games over the last 2 seasons.
DENVER is 2-9 ATS (-7.9 Units) in road lined games over the last 2 seasons.
DENVER is 0-6 ATS (-6.6 Units) in a road game where the total is between 45.5 and 49 points over the last 2 seasons.
DENVER is 0-12 ATS (-13.2 Units) in all games where the total is between 42.5 and 49 points over the last 2 seasons.
DENVER is 5-13 ATS (-9.3 Units) against conference opponents over the last 2 seasons.
DENVER is 3-13 ATS (-11.3 Units) when playing with 6 or less days rest over the last 2 seasons.
DENVER is 10-24 ATS (-16.4 Units) in games played on a grass field over the last 3 seasons.
DENVER is 33-53 ATS (-25.3 Units) when playing against a team with a losing record since 1992.
CLEVELAND is 17-7 ATS (+9.3 Units) in all games over the last 2 seasons.
CLEVELAND is 17-7 ATS (+9.3 Units) in all lined games over the last 2 seasons.
CLEVELAND is 15-5 ATS (+9.5 Units) when playing with 6 or less days rest over the last 2 seasons.
CLEVELAND is 15-4 ATS (+10.6 Units) in games played on a grass field over the last 2 seasons.

Head-to-Head Series History
DENVER is 1-0 against the spread versus CLEVELAND over the last 3 seasons
DENVER is 1-0 straight up against CLEVELAND over the last 3 seasons
1 of 1 games in this series have gone UNDER THE TOTAL over the last 3 seasons

Denver at Cleveland
Denver: 0-12 ATS if total is between 42.5 and 49
Cleveland: 11-1 ATS off an Over


Denver is 0-5 ATS in its last 5 games
Denver is 1-4 SU in its last 5 games
Cleveland is 4-1 ATS in its last 5 games
The total has gone UNDER in 11 of Cleveland's last 14 games

MARYLAND (6 - 2) at VIRGINIA TECH (5 - 3)
There are no Top Trends with records of significance that apply to this game.

Head-to-Head Series History
There were no past matchups in this series during this time period.

TCU (9 - 1) at UTAH (9 - 0)
Top Trends for this game.
UTAH is 39-19 ATS (+18.1 Units) as an underdog since 1992.
TCU is 22-11 ATS (+9.9 Units) in all games over the last 3 seasons.
TCU is 13-3 ATS (+9.7 Units) after 2 or more consecutive straight up wins over the last 3 seasons.
TCU is 22-11 ATS (+9.9 Units) in all lined games over the last 3 seasons.
TCU is 7-1 ATS (+5.9 Units) as a favorite this season.

Head-to-Head Series History
UTAH is 2-0 against the spread versus TCU over the last 3 seasons
UTAH is 2-0 straight up against TCU over the last 3 seasons
2 of 2 games in this series have gone UNDER THE TOTAL over the last 3 seasons 

Maryland at Virginia Tech
Maryland: 3-7 ATS off conference win
Virginia Tech: 7-1 ATS in November

TCU at Utah
TCU: 34-18 Over off ATS win
Utah: 39-19 ATS as an underdog

Maryland is 4-2 ATS in its last 6 games
Maryland is 5-1 SU in its last 6 games
Virginia Tech is 2-4 ATS in its last 6 games
Virginia Tech is 15-5 SU in its last 20 games

TCU is 1-4 SU in its last 5 games when playing Utah
TCU is 4-6-2 ATS in its last 12 games on the road
Utah is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games at home
Utah is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games

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Re: Thursday Night Football

Tips and Trends

Denver Broncos at Cleveland Browns

Broncos:  Denver has failed to score 20 points in any of its last five games after averaging 38 during a 3-0 start. Broncos QB Jay Cutler is partially to blame even though he has continued to post solid numbers. Cutler threw for 307 yards and two touchdowns in a 26-17 home loss to the Dolphins last Sunday, but he also threw three interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown. In fact, top receiver Brandon Marshall has now gone four straight games without scoring a TD after scoring in each of his first three games.

Broncos are 7-24-1 ATS in their last 32 games overall.
The OVER is 7-2-1 in Denver's last 10 road games.

Key Injuries - RB Selvin Young (groin) is questionable.
TE Tony Scheffler (groin) is questionable.


Browns (-3, O/U 46): The Brady Quinn era begins in Cleveland after head coach Romeo Crennel decided to give the former Notre Dame QB his first career start over Derek Anderson. The Browns rank 28th in the NFL in total offense, and Crennel realizes he needed to make the change in order to try to salvage the season. “We’re not throwing in the towel - we’re not giving up on the season,” Crennel said. “I think Quinn will represent himself and represent the Browns very well. This is a lifetime opportunity for Brady to be the quarterback of the Browns.”
Browns are 9-2 ATS in their last 11 home games.
The UNDER is 11-3 in Cleveland's last 14 games overall.

Key Injuries - LG Eric Steinbach (ribs) is doubtful.
WR Donte Stallworth (quad) is probable.

PROJECTED SCORE: 27 (Side Play of the Day)

#23 Maryland at Virginia Tech

Maryland: The Terps expect to have leading rusher Da'Rel Scott back for this key ACC matchup at Virginia Tech. Scott originally injured his shoulder on September 13th against Cal and then re-injured it in a 27-24 win over North Carolina State on October 25th. He rushed for 163 yards in that game but has totaled just 148 in three games since then. “I see Da’Rel maturing on almost a daily basis,” Maryland head coach Ralph Friedgen said. “I see him turning into a leader on our team.”

Maryland is 3-8 ATS in its last 11 road games.
The UNDER is 10-4 in Maryland's last 14 games overall.

Key Injuries - RB Da'Rel Scott (shoulder) is probable.
LB Dave Philistin (shoulder) is questionable.


Virginia Tech (-3, O/U 42): The status of QBs Sean Glennon and Tyrod Taylor remains in question as both continue to recover from ankle injuries. The Hokies may have to turn to fifth-year senior Cory Holt, who was 3-of-6 passing for 28 yards and a touchdown as a replacement for Glennon after was knocked out in the third quarter of a 30-20 loss to Florida State on October 25. “He had been working as a wide receiver all week,” coach Frank Beamer said of Holt. “It’s a credit to him that he came in and made a couple of plays, battled, picked up a nice first down, made a nice throw, did a nice job.”

Virginia Tech is 12-4 ATS in its last 16 Thursday games.
The UNDER is 10-2 in Virginia Tech's last 12 home games.

Key Injuries - QB Sean Glennon (ankle) is questionable.
QB Tyrod Taylor (ankle) is doubtful.
FS Lorenzo Williams (undisclosed) is OUT.


#12 TCU at #8 Utah

TCU (-2, O/U 43): The Horned Frogs realize their slim chances of earning a BCS bid go through Utah. After topping BYU 32-7 back on October 16th (also a Thursday night game), TCU has an opportunity to hand another team its first loss in the Utes, who have won nine straight home games and are a perfect 9-0 so far this season. “You always want to play in the big arena,” TCU head coach Gary Patterson said. “Utah is a good football team - lot better at home. We’ve got a lot of work to do. We have to get everyone healed up and ready to go.”

TCU is 8-2 ATS in its last 10 games overall.
The OVER is 6-2 in TCU's last 8 November games.

Key Injuries - RB Joseph Turner (undisclosed) is questionable.

PROJECTED SCORE: 24 (OVER - Total Play of the Day)

Utah: The Utes are off to their best start since they went 12-0 in 2004, and they hope to build off one of their closest game of the season. Utah edged New Mexico 13-10 last Saturday, scoring the team's lone touchdown with 3:23 left in the third quarter on a pass from QB Brian Johnson to WR Jereme Brooks, who pitched it to Brent Casteel for the score. The Utes could be in for a similar game here, as TCU ranks third in the nation in scoring defense (giving up 10.8 points per game) and second in total defense (allowing 214.5 yards per game).

Utah is 6-2 ATS in its last 8 November games.
The OVER is 8-1 in Utah's last 9 games overall.

Key Injuries - LB Kepa Gaison (knee) is probable.


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Re: Thursday Night Football

Broncos (4-4) @ Browns (3-5)-- Cleveland switches to Quinn as its QB after Ravens outscored them 24-0 in final 21:06 of 37-27 home loss last week, their third home loss in four tries. Denver has long road trip on a short week; they've covered just one of last nine road games. Denver is 1-4 in last five games, scoring 13.7 ppg during its three-game skid where they turned ball over 11 times. Browns are just 9 for last 40 on third down, but are 8-3 vs spread in last 11 tries as home favorite. AFC West road dogs are 3-6 in non-division games; AFC North home faves are 2-1.

Utah is unbeaten, TCU lost only at Oklahoma, so big game tonight on CBS-College Sports; Utes won last two meetings, 20-7/27-20- they are 4-1 vs spread in last five games as an underdog. TCU outscored its last five opponents 184-42 since losing to Sooners- they have 12 takeaways in last four games. Mountain West home teams are 17-9 vs spread, 8-5 if an underdog. Over is 6-1-1 in Utah games this season.

Virginia Tech covered 80% of its last 15 weeknight TV games; they won last two games vs Maryland by combined score of 83-15, but both their QBs got hurt against Florida State, so could be 3rd-strong QB going here vs Terrapin squad that won five of last six games and is 5-1 vs spread in last six tries as underdog. Hokies won last five home games, but lost last two games overall, allowing 58 points in losses at BC, Florida State. So far this season, ACC home favorites are 8-13 in conference games.

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Re: Thursday Night Football

What bettors need to know: Denver vs. Cleveland

Denver Broncos at Cleveland Browns (-3, 46)

Line Movement

The line opened at the key number of three it still sits there at most betting shops. It can be found in several places at 3.5, though. It's not a huge move, but it's still intriguing because the action is split roughly evenly between the two teams, with just over half of all bets placed being on the Broncos. The fact that the line has moved off the key number despite that could suggest that there is smart money in play and it’s on the home team.


Cleveland can be an ugly place to be, but that won't be the case Thursday night. Temperatures are expected to be a mild 66 degrees at kickoff. Precipitation is highly unlikely and the wind won't be a significant factor. It will be showcase conditions for football.


The total opened at 46.5 and is now available there and at 46. The teams have met each of the last two seasons (last year's was a preseason game), and they have gone under much smaller totals both times.

The Broncos began the year as an over machine, but their offense has sputtered and in the last four weeks they have gone under three times and pushed once. The Browns have also tended towards the under, not exceeding the total in two of their last three and five of eight on the year.

This is the largest total that the Browns have faced since Week 1 against Dallas, while 46 is tied for the second lowest the Broncos have faced all season.

Some guy from Notre Dame

One storyline dominates all others in this game: Brady Quinn will make his long awaited debut at quarterback. For a season and a half now, Quinn has been assured of being the most popular guy in Cleveland. Now he actually has to prove that he can play. The expectations are high, but the standard hasn’t exactly been lofty with Derek Anderson this season.

Quinn has just eight career passes and he has a short week of practice to get ready. On the other hand, he must know the offense like the back of his hand by now and his first opponent could hardly be better if it was hand-picked - the Broncos have the fourth worst defense in the league.

The lackadaisical play of the offense lately - notably including an obscene number of dropped passes by Braylon Edwards - must have to do with a lack of respect for Anderson given his struggles. The short term success Quinn enjoys will be determined largely by his ability to get the checked out players to check back in.

Who is in charge?

The change in quarterback isn't the only big issue facing the Browns. It seems like there could be a power struggle under way between the coaching staff and the front office.

Coach Romeo Crennel stated on Monday there would not be a change in quarterback. Just hours later, it was announced that Quinn would get the start. Crennell insists that the decision was his and that he just changed his mind, but that seems hard to believe. Cleveland isn't exactly playing great football, and it is hard for a team to turn things around when the players don't know who to listen to.

It doesn't help, either, that the team is playing out like a soap opera. The Kellen Winslow drama is the most obvious example, but far too much of the team's laundry is being aired in public.

Last year the Browns seemed like the perfect, happy family. Now they look just as dysfunctional as the rest of us.

Where has all the offense gone?

In the first three games of the season the Broncos averaged 38 points per game and won all three. Since then they have averaged just over 15 per game and they are 1-4.

Starting quarterback Jay Cutler hasn't been hurt and he is still passing for lots of yards - 307 in his last game. He just isn't nearly as crisp as he was to start the season with more mistakes and fewer big plays. Brandon Marshall has done a gradual, predictable shift from receiving star to whiny malcontent.

The most striking problem, though, is the running game. This team has been in the top 10 in the league in rushing since 2000. This year, though, they are just 18th. They have had just one 100-yard rusher all year.

Rock bottom was emphatically reached last week when they managed just 14 yards rushing against the Dolphins. Miami's run defense is good, but not that good. Cleveland’s 25th best defense may be just what Denver needs to turn things around.

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Re: Thursday Night Football

NFL cheat sheet: Week 10

Denver at Cleveland (-3.5)

Why Broncos cover:  Have won last seven meetings. Facing 25th ranked run defense. Brady Quinn, who has only attempted eight NFL passes (zero this year), will start at QB for Cleveland.

Why Browns cover: Are 9-2 ATS in their last 11 home games and 4-1 ATS in their last five games overall. Broncos are 1-6 ATS in their last seven road games. With five interceptions in his last two games, Jay Cutler is struggling. Leading rusher Michael Pittman is out for the season along with Andre Hall, which means Denver is counting on rookie Ryan Torain and banged up Selvin Young to run the ball.

Total (46): Under is 5-2 in Browns’ last seven home games and 11-3 in their last 14 games overall.

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Re: Thursday Night Football

Denver (4-4, 2-6 ATS) at Cleveland (3-5, 5-3 ATS)

The Brady Quinn era begins when the second-year quarterback leads the host Browns against the slumping Broncos in the second Thursday night contest of the season.

Cleveland blew a 27-13 lead last week and lost to Baltimore 37-27 as a one-point home chalk, halting a four-game ATS winning streak. QB Derek Anderson (17 of 33, 219 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT) had a serviceable game, but his lone pick came late in the fourth quarter and was returned for a game-clinching TD. The Browns, who were outscored 17-0 in the fourth quarter, got outgained 429-274, lost the turnover battle 2-0 and held the ball for 7:30 less than the Ravens.

On Monday, Cleveland coach Romeo Crennel revealed he’s benching Anderson in favor of Quinn at the QB spot. It will be the first career start for the former first-round draft pick out of Notre Dame, who saw his only other regular-season action during Cleveland’s 20-7 home win over San Francisco in the 2007 regular-season finale.

Denver is coming off Sunday’s 26-17 home loss to Miami as a four-point favorite for its third consecutive loss and its sixth straight pointspread setback. QB Jay Cutler (24 of 46, 307 yards, 2 TDs, 3 INTs) had another subpar day, playing from behind throughout after throwing INTs on two of his first three possessions, with the second pick returned for a TD. The Broncos, who had only 14 net rushing yards, lost the turnover battle 3-1 and the time-of-possession battle by 13 minutes.

These teams have met three times this decade, with Denver going 3-0 SU (2-1 ATS). Most recently, the Broncos won 17-7 as a 4½-point road chalk in 2006.

Despite last week’s double-digit defeat to Baltimore, the Browns remain on several positive ATS runs, including 4-1 overall, 9-2 at home (2-2 this year), 6-1 after a non-cover, 9-2 after a SU loss, 8-3 as a home chalk and 12-4 against AFC foes (3-2 this year). On the flip side, the Broncos are on a bundle of ATS freefalls, including 8-24 overall, 1-8 on the highway (1-2 this year), 1-4 against losing teams, 5-17 after a non-cover and 7-19-1 inside the AFC (1-4 this year)

The under for Cleveland is on streaks of 11-3 overall, 7-2 against the AFC, 10-3 on grass and 5-2 at home. Conversely, Denver carries a handful of “over” trends, including 20-7-2 overall, 7-2-1 on the highway, 9-3 against losing teams, 12-4-1 in conference play and 19-7-1 when playing on grass.



(23) Maryland (6-2, 4-3 ATS) at Virginia Tech (5-3, 2-5 ATS)

Maryland goes for its third straight victory when it travels to Blacksburg for an ACC battle against Virginia Tech.

The Terrapins have won two in a row and five of their last six, and they’re coming off a narrow 27-24 home win over North Carolina State two weekends ago, failing to cash as an11½-point chalk. Maryland was outgained 342-229 and had a 12-minute deficit in time of possession against N.C. State. But RB Da’Rel Scott had 23 carries for 163 yards and a TD as part of the Terps’ 203 total rushing yards.

Virginia Tech is also coming off a bye, having lost to Florida State 30-20 two weekends ago as a 6½-point pup for its second consecutive SU loss and third straight ATS setback. The Hokies jumped out to a 10-0 first-quarter lead for the second straight game but once again couldn’t hold it, as the Seminoles scored 27 of the next 30 points. In a defensive struggle, Virginia Tech netted 243 yards while allowing 248, and the Hokies had the game’s only two turnovers.

These schools have met just twice this decade, with Va-Tech going 2-0 SU and ATS – a 55-6 home rout in 2004 and a 28-9 road win in 2005, with the Hokies laying 10½ points each time.

The Terps are on a 4-0 ATS run following a pointspread defeat, but they are on ATS slides of 0-4 on Thursday, 3-10 after a SU win and 5-10 on the highway. The Hokies are on pointspread declines of 2-6 overall and 2-7 at home (all as a favorite), but they carry positive ATS trends of 6-0 in November, 12-4 on Thursday and 24-9 in ACC action.

Both teams are averaging a little more than 23 points per game, and both squads do the bulk of their damage on the ground, with Maryland averaging 167 rushing yards per game and the Hokies grinding out 160.5 rushing ypg. However, in their three road games, the Terps have averaged just 11.3 points and 317.7 yards (115.7 rushing ypg), while Va-Tech is putting up 23.7 points and 298.7 total yards per game (203.7 rushing ypg) in three home contests.

The under for Maryland is on streaks of 10-4 overall, 7-0 in roadies, 5-1 in conference play and 8-2 on Thursday. Likewise, the under for Virginia Tech is on runs of 7-0 on Thursday and 10-2 at home.


(11) TCU (9-1, 7-2 ATS) at (10) Utah (9-0, 4-3-1 ATS)

In a battle with BCS bowl ramifications for both teams, unbeaten Utah welcomes Texas Christian to Rice-Eccles Stadium for a Mountain West Conference battle.

The Utes are coming off their closest game in weeks, squeaking past New Mexico 13-10 Saturday on the road, failing to cover as an eight-point chalk to halt a two-game ATS win streak. Utah, which has won 10 in a row and 17 of its last 18 going back to last season, had a disproportionate yards-to-points total, finishing with 388 total yards, while allowing 284. QB Brian Johnson (23 of 32, 195 yards, 1 TD) didn’t help the offense’s cause by having his lone INT picked off in the end zone.

The Horned Frogs ripped UNLV 44-14 Saturday laying 16½ points for their fifth consecutive SU win and third straight cover. In fact, in its last three games, TCU has outscored opponents by a total of 130-28, including a 32-7 home rout of then ninth-ranked and unbeaten BYU. Against the Rebels, the Horned Frogs’ defense, which ranks second in the nation, allowed just 175 total yards, including a stifling 20 passing yards. QB Andy Dalton (16 of 29, 151 yards, 3 TDs) was efficient, and TCU rushed for 259 yards (5.5 yards per carry).

Utah has won and cashed in the last two meetings against TCU, most recently notching a 20-7 home win two years ago laying two points and a 27-20 road win last year as a four-point pup.

TCU has given up 14 points or less in all nine of its wins, and it ranks third nationally in scoring defense, yielding an average of 10.8 ppg. Additionally, the Frogs are second in total defense (214.5 ypg) and they lead the country by a mile in rushing defense, giving up just 38.9 rushing ypg and 1.4 yards per carry. Utah also fields a solid defense, squandering only 17.7 points and 266.3 total yards per game (89.7 rushing ypg).

Offensively, both squads are nearly dead even, with TCU putting up averages 36.6 points and 405.5 yards and the Utes netting 36.1 points and 403.7 yards per contest.

The Utes are on a 1-4 ATS skid in Thursday games (0-1 ATS this year), but they carry positive pointspread trends of 5-1-1 on field turf, 6-2 in November games, 12-5-1 after a SU win and 7-3-1 in conference play. The Horned Frogs also sport several positive pointspread runs, including 8-2 overall, 7-1 in November, 6-2 after a SU win, 22-8-1 in Mountain West action, 9-4-1 after a spread-cover and 13-6-1 against winning teams.

Utah has topped the total in eight of its last nine games overall and the over is on further runs for the Utes of 22-8 at home and 4-1 in conference play. However, for TCU, the under is on stretches of 4-0 against winning teams and 4-1 on Thursdays.


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Re: Thursday Night Football

Texas Christian at Utah
By Christian Alexander

#11 Texas Christian (9-1, 6-0 Mountain West) at #10 Utah (9-0, 5-0 Mountain West)
Thursday, November 6 8:00 PM CBS College Sports Network
Rice-Eccles Stadium Line: Texas Christian -2, O/U 43.5

In my write up for last Thursday night’s game between South Florida and Cincinnati, I suggested that if you were looking for a direction to go you “might take a long look at fading South Florida the rest of the season. Why? Just look at 2007.” Then I recalled how the Bulls had self destructed at the end of last year, ending the season unranked after being as high as #2 at one point.

Of course, after that history lesson what did I do? You got it, I backed South Florida (-2.5).

As you well know now, Cincinnati proceeded to take the Bulls out back for a 24-10 win, ending my four-game winning streak on Thursday nights and putting me at 7-4 (64%) for the season.

Knowing how South Florida had ended 2007, considering the Bulls had dropped two of their last three games and were on the road against a talented Cincinnati team you would have thought it was a pretty easy call to go with the Bearcats. I made the age-old mistake of “over thinking” the game when some obvious signs pointed me which way I should be headed.

I’ve certainly learned that lesson in the past, the problem being it’s hard to tell you’ve made that mistake until the game is over!

While hoping that I don’t make the same mistake twice in a row, let’s turn the page and take a look at this Thursday night.

I’ve been covering the Thursday night college football game for VegasInsider since 2000, and this is the first time I can ever remember writing up a game that wasn’t being shown on one of the ESPN networks. Of course, there is a game being shown on ESPN at 7:45 as Maryland visits Virginia Tech. However, there is a much more interesting game being show on CBS College Sports Network as #11 Texas Christian heads to Salt Lake City to face #10 Utah.

Unfortunately, with only 27 million subscribers out of the roughly 113 million homes with televisions across the country, chances are many of you don’t get CBS College Sports Network, formerly known as CSTV. Furthermore, considering that ESPN is in about 87 percent of all homes, I’m guessing many of you will be stuck watching the Hokies and Terps. But trust me when I say that there will be a much better battle, heavy with BCS implications, being waged in Utah on Thursday night.

TCU and Utah are a combined 18-1, with the lone blemish being the Horned Frogs road loss to Oklahoma. Obviously nothing to be ashamed of there.

Coach Kyle Whittingham has Utah off to its best start since 2004 when the Utes not only won the Mountain West, but became the first team from a non-Bowl Championship Series conference to qualify for a BCS bowl. Utah landed in the Fiesta Bowl and crushed Pittsburgh to finish a perfect 12-0. That team was led by QB Alex Smith, who of course went on to be the #1 pick of the San Francisco 49ers in the NFL draft.

As many people remember, the coach of that 2004 Utah team was Urban Meyer who parlayed his success in Salt Lake City into one of the premiere jobs in college football at Florida. Whittingham, who had been Utah's defensive coordinator since 1995, was named the school's 20th head coach when Meyer left for Gainesville at the end of the 2004 season.

As Meyer had in 2004, Whittingham is utilizing another talented QB in his pursuit of a perfect season. Quarterback Brian Johnson has thrown for almost two thousand yards along with 14 touchdowns while keeping defenses honest with his running skills. Johnson, along with RB Matt Asiata and WR Brent Casteel, is part of a dangerous offense that is ranked 20th in the nation by scoring just over 36 points a game.

However, while offense has traditionally gotten all the attention at Utah, it’s the Utes defense that actually has this team in a position to run the table and land in the BCS. Whittingham must love the fact that his team is ranked seventh in the nation in total defense, allowing just a touch over 265 yards a game.

That said, while the offense and defense cover the bulk of the team, Utah’s MVP this season just might be its placekicker and punter Louie Sakoda. The senior has single handily – or single “footily” – won several games over his career at Utah including last week’s contest against New Mexico.  Sakoda nailed both field-goal attempts (43 and 38 yards) and pinned the Lobos deep with four punts inside the 20, three of which were inside the 10.

In a game that could very easily come down to a last second kick, Sakoda is an incredibly valuable weapon to have.

Johnson and the Utes offense could only muster 227 total yards against TCU last year, but the Utes were still were able to walk away with a 27-20 victory. It will be surprising if Johnson can post 27 points against the 2008 TCU defense, a unit that ranks #1 in the nation in rush defense (39 ypg), #2 in total defense (215 ypg) and #3 in scoring defense (10.8 ppg).

Just ask BYU how tough TCU is on defense. The Cougars were averaging 38 points a game when they faced the Horned Frogs on October 16. Final score? 32-7 TCU.

To make a dent against TCU, Utah will have to hope that its ground game will be effective. The Utes have pumped out 520 yards over their last two games, and can loosen up the defensive line to create some time for Johnson to pass the ball down the field.

Of course, to win at Utah, TCU will have to produce some offense of its own. As it often does, the main person responsible for that task will be the quarterback. TCU sophomore QB Andy Dalton will look to forget last season's performance against Utah when he tossed a career-high four interceptions. The good news for TCU fans is that Dalton has been very sharp lately, throwing nine touchdowns and no interceptions in his last three games after missing two weeks due to a (right) knee injury.

The Horned Frogs have won five straight games by an average of nearly 30 points since the aforementioned loss to the Sooners (35-10) in September.

Utah has won nine straight home games, while TCU has lost four of its last five meetings with the Utes.

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Re: Thursday Night Football

By IndianCowboy

Denver vs. Cleveland

Let's start to look for value today in the NFL. Last time Cleveland was on national television on primetime during a weekday they defeated the Giants at home in a shocker. Will that be the case today as they host Denver? What makes this game more of interest is that Brady Quinn will be making his first start of his NFL Career. Does this mean Cleveland has decided to hang it up for the year or do they feel more competitive with Quinn? After all, Cleveland let's not forget is 3-5 and not completely out of the picture. But, I think Cleveland also realizes what is going in the AFC East where the worst team is 4-4 and everyone else is at 5-3. Thus, they have decided to give Quinn some early experience so they can bank such experience for the future. Besides, it energizes their fan base and keeps them relevant. The line opened up at Cleveland -3 and has remained there without budge. The public is split even on this game. The total has not budged either as it sits at 46. Denver has placed Pittman and Hall on the Injured Reserve coming into this game and note that this game is on the NFL Network. What's amusing about this game is that if Cleveland wins, then both teams will be 4-5. Something that might surprise you is that the Broncos are 3rd in the league in offense and 4th in passing yards while the Broncos defense is around the top 30 in the league. Broncos come off losing 7-41 at New England and they look to bounce-back after that terrible performance. They beat Cleveland 17-7 at Cleveland last year. Cleveland comes off a loss to the Ravens at home but before that had won 23-17 at Jacksonville. Of course, Cleveland has covered 4 of 5 coming into this game. But, the loss to the Ravens really ticked off the Browns organization - note though the Cleveland defense certainly didn't help the cause. As per my lean with this game, frankly it can go either way. Brady is young but talented and Cleveland is rolling right now. On the other hand, the Broncos were embarrassed on national television last time and will come out fired up - but they are a bit dinged up and the Pound is a tough place to play. A small lean on Cleveland and a small lean on the under here.

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Re: Thursday Night Football

By IndianCowboy

Maryland vs. Virginia Tech

Usually I stay out of ACC Football, but on weekdays I research all football games to look for value. As per this game, note that Glennon will likely play as he is listed as probable and QB Taylor is listed as questionable. Thus, VT will have their pocket passer available as compared to a more mobile quarterback in Taylor. It looks like Maryland will have their RB ready to go for this game as well. The total for this game is creeping up but note that Maryland is no joke and this is a game they can win outright. Having said that, every favorite and their mother in college football has been covering this week - just take a look at the MAC games earlier this week. Heck, I'm glad I stayed away from the 2 football games yesterday as both public favorites in Ball State and Akron won easily 45-14 and 47-30 as the books got pummeled. Vegas will make their money make as they always do and note that the public is on Va Tech by 65% here. Maryland once again is no joke, they are 6-2 and ranked #21 in the nation. By the way, while I'm at it, can you believe there are just 4 weeks of College Football left in the regular season? Well, believe it. That's what makes this game that much more vital. Maryland remember has defeated NC State, Wake Forrest, beat Clemson on the road, has yet to lose back to back covers this year and has revenge on Va Tech from losing 9-28 last year. Va Tech comes off back to back losses to BC and FSU. This team struggles b/c they are 113th in the nation in offense but do sport a top 30 defense.

TCU vs. Utah

How interesting is that game huh? What you have here is two top 15 teams going at it. One is ranked #11 in TCU which is getting love from the public at 57% and other is ranked #9 in Utah which is getting about 42% of the support from the public. TCU is probably getting such love b/c they destroyed BYU at home, spanked UNLV on the road just last week, and kicked Wyoming's tail just the week before. Heck, this team has put up 130 points in the last 3 weeks which is unbelievable. The line here moved from a pick-em to -2 quickly for TCU and remember they do have revenge from last year's loss. As per the total in this game, the public favors the over by a margin of 2:1. This game is on CBS tonight. My lean here is actually on the under a bit as I believe the total is set low for a reason, but having said that, how do you take the under with both of these teams in the mix. Nevertheless, a lean on the under here.

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