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College Football Week 8 Betting News and Notes

College Football Week 8 Betting News and Notes

Week 8 Opening Line Report
By Larry Josephon

Stock up on Doritos and Budweiser. College football will be one heck of a ride this week, starting Thursday and finishing up late Saturday night.

Oregon and its fastbreak offense that never rests gets it rolling Thursday night at Tempe in a Pac-12 North-South crossover game - and that’s just an appetizer. Several key games will have an impact on rankings, BCS standings, league titles and the Heisman voting.

Here’s an early look at several important games, with help from Peter Korner, founder of the Las Vegas oddsmaking firm The Sports Club.

Oregon Ducks (-12) at Arizona State Sun Devils

Oregon (6-0 SU, 2-4 ATS) has beefed up its numbers with a soft non-league schedule and three soft Pac-12 pop tarts, but the fun starts in Tempe against the Sun Devils (5-1 SU, 5-1 ATS). Both teams were off this weekend.

“All of my (five-member) staff were pretty much in the same spot on this game,” Korner told Covers. “One had it at -11.5, and one had it at 13, so we settled at 12. I can imagine that we’ll see some money on Arizona State as a double-digit home underdog.”

South Carolina Gamecocks (+3) at Florida Gators

The old ball coach may have outsmarted himself with that onside kick late against LSU, possibly ceding 30 to 35 yards in field position even though the Gamecocks (7-0 SU, 6-1 ATS) had two timeouts in their pocket.

“We see this as basically two even teams,” says Korner, “with Florida getting the 3-point home edge. That’s a tough place to play.”

All eyes will be on Florida QB Jeff Driskell, who ran for 177 yards on Saturday against Vanderbilt (Tim Tebow’s best was 166).

Kansas State Wildcats (+4) at West Virginia Mountaineers

The bloom is off the rose after WVU stepped in it at Lubbock Saturday, but the Mountaineers can scramble the Big 12 race big-time with a win at home against unbeaten (and 4-1-1 ATS) Kansas State.

“This should be a fun game to watch,” says Korner.

And why not? K-State has been over 50 points three times, and WVU is scouring dormitory cafeterias for defensive players.

“We had some variance of opinion on this one, with opinion from WVU -1.5 to 6, and we settled at 4,” says Korner.

The O/U will be out Tuesday and don’t be surprised if it’s more than 70 points.

Rutgers Scarlet Knights (-4) at Temple Owls

Not much love anywhere for the Big East, but the conference now has three teams in the Top 25, and that was before Rutgers, Louisville and Cincinnati all won on Saturday. Rutgers is 4-2 ATS (6-0 SU) and is getting props after wins over Syracuse and Arkansas.

“We were all in the same ballpark on this game,” says Korner. “Low number.”

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Games to Watch - Week 8
By Christian Alexander

South Carolina at Florida

Stop me if you've heard this recently…South Carolina has a big game this week. After hosting #5 Georgia, and then traveling to #9 LSU last weekend, the Gamecocks now travel to #3 Florida in what could be the decisive game in the SEC East. Florida leads the series 23-6-2; however the Gamecocks were winless from 1940 to 2004. Since 2004 when Spurrier came to Columbia, The Ol' Ball Coach has defeated his alma mater three out of the last seven, including the last two. Last year's 17-12 South Carolina win in Columbia was a typical SEC slugfest where both teams struggled to get anything going through the air. This year doesn't appear to be any different. The Gamecocks and the Gators are almost mirror images of each other defensively this year to the point that they are tied nationally in scoring defense giving up 12.3 points per game. Offensively South Carolina is a much more balanced team than Florida who relies primarily on running the ball with QB Jeff Driskel and RB Mike Gillislee. South Carolina is coming off a three week stretch as brutal as any team in the country will face all year, however if South Carolina wants to take the next step in its search for their first ever SEC title, winning on the road within the division is a must. On the flip side Florida opens as a 3.5 point home favorite and a win against their former coach continues their perfect season and sets up the biggest 'Outdoor Cocktail Party' game in years next week in Jacksonville.

Kansas State at West Virginia

Water is wet, the sky is blue and West Virginia can't play defense. None of these things are new information to anyone; however some people weren't quite willing to accept the latter because the Mountaineer offense was able to cover it up for most of the year. It wasn't a matter of if WVU would get exposed this year; it was a matter of when. Meanwhile Kansas State has played solid on both sides of the ball all season and is clearly the class of the Big 12 this year having already gone into Norman as a 14 point underdog and won; yet they find themselves 4.5 point underdogs in Morgantown this Saturday. How is that possible you ask? Well, it's not like West Virginia just forgot how to play offense over the weekend and if we have learned anything in college football over the years it's that winning on the road against a quality opponent, especially in conference, can be very difficult. With that said Kansas State is clearly the better team from top to bottom but they will need to play a complete game to pull off another road upset. If Collin Klein and company can slow down the WVU attack and pull off the road upset they will be favored in their remaining games down the stretch with a very realistic shot of going undefeated and playing for a National Championship. If not, West Virginia can get right back in the hunt for the Big 12 title as they also get the Sooners at home later in the year. This game will also go a long way in determining the Heisman trophy race as Collin Klein and Geno Smith square off in a battle of two of the top quarterbacks in the country.

LSU at Texas A&M

The Aggies take on their second straight team from Louisiana; however this team actually comes with a defense attached. A&M freshman sensation Johnny Manziel is coming off a video game effort against Louisiana Tech where he accounted for 6 touchdowns and 576 yards of total offense to break the school and SEC records for yards in game that he had already set earlier in the season. However, those were not against SEC caliber defenses…sorry Arkansas fans. LSU on the other hand comes in off a slightly lower scoring battle against South Carolina where the two teams combined for 617 yards….in comparison Louisiana Tech put up 615 yards on the Aggie defense by themselves. Something has to give this weekend as the Aggies and their 5th ranked scoring offense welcome LSU and their 8th ranked scoring defense to College Station. A&M faced a very similar style Florida team at home earlier in the year and blew a halftime lead before losing 20-17. A similar type of game is expected this week as LSU comes in a field goal favorite. A&M is 2-1 in their inaugural SEC season, however if they want to be taken seriously as a true SEC contender they need to beat a team like LSU this weekend. A win against the defending SEC champs would certainly go a long way to justifying their move into the conference, however another home set back against a quality SEC opponent will further prove the Aggies don't quite belong at the SEC big boy table just yet.

Oregon at Arizona State

Oregon at Arizona State (Thursday): Oregon has won seven straight in this series, including a 41-27 win last year in Eugene, however Thursday night PAC-12 road games for top 10 teams have historically proven to be a tough matchup and this one shouldn't be much of an exception. These two teams combine to average over 90 points per game so while a high scoring affair is entirely possible the Oregon defense is much better than they get credit for and Arizona State hasn't exactly been challenged in their first six games this year. This could be a possible preview for the PAC-12 Championship if Arizona State is in fact as good as their record indicates thus far. The Sun Devils are headed into the meat of their schedule and a win Thursday night as a 12-point home underdog against an explosive Oregon squad could change the entire complexion of both the PAC-12 and national landscape. Meanwhile Oregon looks to keep their perfect season and national championship hopes alive.

Michigan State at Michigan

Michigan State at Michigan: I am dubbing this game the battle of Notre Dame's sloppy seconds. Both teams had high preseason expectations, and then both teams remembered they play in the Big 10. This game has been one of streaks over the last 10 years. Michigan won six straight from 2002 to 2007 before Michigan State took over in 2008. Since then Sparty has won four straight in the series against Michigan for the first time since 1959-62 including won 28-14 last year in East Lansing. Michigan looks to stop the losing streak this year and enters the game as a 10 point home favorite. This perennial ABC game has been demoted to the Comedy Channel…I mean the Big Ten Network.

Cincinnati at Toledo

Cincinnati at Toledo: This game isn't on TV, at least not as of post time, so it's kind of to ironic to put it in an article entitled "games to watch" but this is actually a decent game between two surprise teams this year. Obviously neither team has any national implications but they are a combined 11-1 between them with The Bearcats sitting at 5-0 and the Rockets 6-1, winning six in a row after their week one overtime loss to Arizona. Cincinnati comes in as 5 point road favorite in what should be a good matchup between the Bearcats defense and the Rockets explosive offense.

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College Football's Game Eight Crossroads                      
By Marc Lawrence

Game 8 of the College Football season is often a crossroads for most teams. Those who have won more games than they have lost are entertaining thoughts of securing a bowl bid. Those who are reeling and going down for the count are disappointed and their actions on the field confirm those feelings.
Inside The Stats

According to our powerful database, teams playing Game 8 off three consecutive losses are prime candidates to be dropped into a corner pocket and ignored... especially when they take out as road dogs against an opponent off a loss in this situation. That’s because teams in this scenario are a not-so-pretty 36-70-3 ATS since 1980. This week we’ll be queuing-up against Florida International.

Bring them in as a dog of more than 4 points with a defense that allows 31 or more PPG on the season and they scratch for wins, going 10-38-2 ATS.

And faster than you can say break ‘em, if our qualified ‘play-against’ Game 8 road dog of 4 or more points with a wobbly defense off three straight losses is facing a foe that did not lose its last game by 14 or more points to the spread they scratch with alarming regularity, going 1-35 SU and 5-30-1 ATS.

Yes, FIU figures to get “racked” this week.  Go ahead, you make the call.  8-ball in the corner pocket for the win!

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Fool's Gold
By Cajun Sports

We have reached the halfway pole and it is obvious with a featured game on Tuesday night albeit not Top 25 teams but a contest nonetheless. At the time of this writing the Tuesday affair was still in question and you have realized we are not using either team in that contest as our System Game of the Week. On to more important matters as we reveal Cajun Sports Wire College System of the Week from the plethora of games on Saturday's NCAA, card.

Will this week's college card hold a secret that will lead us to a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow or will a week of research and hard work go down in flames much like last week's System of the Week call on Fresno State? We think not as we return to the winner's column on Saturday.

A quick glance down the college card we noticed a situation that has potential as the oddsmakers have decided to make a winless home team a favorite. Could this in fact be caused by the horrible performance of their opponent over the course of the first half of the season or could it be that they are so closely matched it is just the home field edge that makes them chalk.

Our system tells us from Game 6 on, play AGAINST a winless home favorite coming off a road game versus an opponent not coming off a home SU win. This system has been active only 11 times since 1991 with the last occurrence coming in 2006. The system has a perfect record at 0-11 ATS over that span failing to cover the spread by 15.0 points per game.

In that, game back in 2006 Florida International was the play against home team as they were favored by 2.5 points over UL-Monroe. The game was not close as FIU lost 35 to 0 and continued their winless streak.

This week's play against team is Southern Mississippi and they have been the favorite in all seven of the meetings between these two clubs with five of the seven games having been decided by single digits. Last season our play against team Southern Miss dropped a heartbreaker at Marshall so they have revenge here but they are coming off a double-overtime loss at Central Florida last week while Marshal was enjoying a week off.

The combination of those factors along with solid support from our Cajun Sports Wire NCAA Football System of the Week we will call for the Marshall Thundering Herd to grab the victory on Saturday when they face off against the Southern Miss Golden Eagles.

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CFB: Streaks, Tips, Notes 

South Carolina at Florida

SEC Eastern Division rivals square off in Gainesville Saturday, as the 9th-ranked South Carolina Gamecocks (6-1, 6-1 ATS) visits 3rd-ranked Florida Gators (6-0, 5-1 ATS). The Gamecocks unable to contain LSU's ground game last week surrendering a whopping 258 rushing yards fell 23-21 in suffering it's first blemish of the season and first loss in eleven attempts. South Carolina comes into this contest averaging 34.1 PPG on 378.3 total yards balanced between 217.9 passing, 160.4 rushing yards/game. Meanwhile, Gators beat Vanderbilt 31-17 at home last week despite an unbalance offense that saw the squad put up just 77 passing yards while racking up 326 rushing yards. Gators doing it mostly on the ground with 233.3 RYG while throwing 145 via air-ways score 27.7 PPG. Defensively, it's a toss up. USC yields 12.3 PPG behind 187.6 passing, 108.7 rushing yards/game, Florida gives up 12.3 on 189.7 passing, 107.5 ground yards. Gators lead the all-time series 23-6-3 including 12-1 in Gainesville. Most recently, Gamecocks have had the upper hand winning the past two encounters but remain 3-13 (9-7 ATS) the past sixteen meetings including 1-7 (4-4 ATS) in 'The Swamp'.

LSU at Texas A&M

The Aggies putting up a whopping 47.0 points/game on 543.7 total yards spread-headed by redshirt freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel's 1680 passing (14TD), 676 (10TD) rushing yards have held their own in the SEC. Nipped 20-17 by Gators in their inaugural SEC game the Aggies then recorded victories over Razorbacks (58-10) and Rebels (30-27) and now hope to move to 3-1 within the conference with a win over visiting LSU. Easier said than done, Bayou Bengals' defense gives up a lowly lowly 14.0 points on 219.6 total yards/game. Texas A&M pegged 3.5 point underdogs are in dangerous betting territory. The Aggies are 1-9 ATS last ten vs an SEC opponent, 1-10 ATS facing a team with a winning record, 4-7 ATS at home in October, 3-9 ATS as pups of four or less.

Iowa State at Oklahoma State

Iowa State with two big road wins this season at rival Iowa and ranked TCU will need to rely on its defense (17.7 PPG, 342.3YPG) to pull off another road upset when they visit Pickens' Pokes in Stillwater. Cyclones scoring 25.8 PPG on a lowly 342.8 total yards split between 199.8 passing, 143.0 rushing just haven't got the offense to match Oklahoma State. The Pokes ranked as one of the top offenses in the country put up 48.6 PPG on 601.4 yards. Big revenge spot for OSU who suffered it's only loss of 2011 to Cyclones, a 37-31 double-OT affair at Jack Trice Stadium. Pokes 11-5 ATS in their last sixteen conference games, 19-8 ATS as a favorite the past three campaigns, 8-2 ATS last ten laying 10 to 24 points are worth a second look.

Virginia Tech at Clemson

Rested Clemson Tigers (5-1, 4-2 ATS) off a bye week get back to business Saturday at Clemson Memorial Stadium where they'll host Virginia Tech Hokies (4-3, 2-5 ATS). The Tigers clawed VTech twice in dominant fashion last season winning the regular season clash 23-3 followed by a 38-10 victory in the ACC Championship game. Tigers' potent offense scoring 41.3 PPG on 525.8 total yards split between 324.7 passing, 201.2 rushing yards/game should easily handle VTech. The Hokies with significant losses on offense from a year ago have lost all three of it's games away from Lane Stadium. Consider sticking with Tigers ridding an 11-1 (7-5 ATS) stretch at home, 5-1 SU/ATS streak at Clemson Memorial Stadium in October and a 11-3 ATS stretch vs conference opponents.

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ACC Report - Week 8
By Joe Williams

In Week 7, there was nothing that jumped off the board, and the worst thing you can do is bet just to bet. That's usually what the books want, because they'll win every time. Find restraint when it is needed, and maybe look elsewhere for your action. I decided to do some studying late in the week, and ended up having one of my better weeks of the season despite staying away from my most frequently wagered conference. Find yourself two or three conferences and stick to it. There is no shame in taking a break when it isn't there for you. Would you rather lose betting something you don't necessarily love because you just need the action? If you enjoy losing money, I'll send you my Pay Pal and you can just ship it to me.

Speaking of ACC play, I'll be taking in the North Carolina-Duke game at Wallace Wade Stadium this weekend, and looking forward to it. The two schools separated by about eight miles usually have heated battles in basketball, I am sure you have heard, but lately there hasn't been much of a rivalry on the gridiron. It's different in 2012.

Florida State at Miami

This game used to mean the world in college football. Florida State and Miami were always fighting for the perch, not just in their conference, but in the football world. These days, FSU is back to prominence, although a trip up in Raleigh a couple of weeks ago sent them spinning. They got untracked against Boston College, and now hope to keep their rivals down. While the Hurricanes have gotten drilled during their high-profile, non-conference games, they are still 4-0 ATS in their past four ACC matchups. That includes an 18-14 setback to UNC last week in which the Canes were a 7.5-point dog at home. This is the true definition of a rivalry game, especially if you look at the underdog's record lately. In the past 13 meetings, the dog has covered 12 times. The road team is 6-0 ATS in the past six meetings. However, FSU is installed as a three-touchdown favorite on the road, and in this type of game, that's an awful lot of points.

North Carolina at Duke

Duke bolted out to a 20-0 lead last week in Blacksburg, and it appeared they were on the brink of bowl eligibility with their sixth win. But Virginia Tech dashed the dreams of the Blue Devils, scoring 41 unanswered points, sending them back to Durham with kicked behinds. Now, the Blue Devils are back home, where they have been money, squaring off against their rivals from down US 15-501. The Tar Heels are 0-4 ATS in their past four road games against a team with a winning home record, and 0-4 ATS in their past four road games overall. For Duke, while they have been poor on the road, they are 7-0 ATS in their past seven home games - and they are getting 10.5 points in this one. Duke is also 4-1 ATS in their past five games overall, and 11-3-1 ATS in their past 15 games played in the month of October. However, UNC is 5-2 ATS in their past seven meetings at Wallace Wade Stadium. However, this Blue Devils team is markedly better than most, if not all, of those previous squads. This one might be decided by a touchdown or less.

Virginia Tech at Clemson

When these two teams get together, it usually has championship ramifications. This season, it is an elimination game of sorts. Virginia Tech is already on life support after a pair of early ACC losses, while Clemson can ill-afford another setback after losing at Florida State. This should be a highly contentious affair. The Hokies are 0-4 ATS in their past four road games, and just 1-3-1 ATS in their past five games against a team with a winning record. In addition, Va. Tech is 2-6-1 ATS in their past nine games, and 4-13 ATS in their past 17 on grass. Meanwhile, Clemson is 4-0 ATS in their past four ACC games, but 2-5 ATS in their past seven games against teams with a winning record. As far as head-to-head, Virginia Tech is 5-2 ATS in the past seven meetings with Clemson, and the dog is 4-0 ATS in the past four in this series. As far as the total, while the over is 4-1 in Virginia Tech's past five, and 4-0 in Clemson's past four, the under has cashed in five of the past six meetings in this series.

North Carolina State at Maryland

The Wolfpack is a hard team to figure. They go down to Miami and lose a shootout on the road, and then come home and trip up Florida State with a rousing comeback. They're even harder to figure against the number. NC State is 5-1-1 ATS in their past seven games against a team with a winning record, but 0-3-1 ATS in their past four road contests. For Maryland, they're fairly easy to figure. They're not good. They are 2-5 ATS in their past seven games against a team with a winning record, 3-10 ATS in their past 13 games overall, and 0-9 ATS in their past nine home games. In this series, however, the home team is 5-2 ATS in the past seven meetings. The under could be the way to go, as the under is 5-1 in NC State's past six road games, and 6-2 in their past eight ACC battles. The under is 5-2 in Maryland's past seven home games. Of course, the over is 4-0 in the past four meetings, so make of that what you will.

Boston College at Georgia Tech

There are some big nuggets of information to remember heading into what looks like a meaningless game between two bad teams. Boston College is 10th in the ACC in total offense with 383.8 yards per game, and they are ninth in scoring with slightly less than 25 points per game. In addition, Boston College has allowed 32.7 ppg on defense, and they have allowed almost 500 yards of offense to the opposition. They are terrible against the run, especially, which is never good when facing Ga. Tech. The Yellow Jackets are third in the NCAA with 331.0 yards per game on the ground. This one could get really ugly. B.C. is 0-4 ATS in their past four games overall, and they are 7-20 ATS in their past 27 games against a team with a losing record. Georgia Tech is 13-6-1 ATS in their past 20 games against a team with a losing record, but just 3-7-1 ATS in their past 11 ACC games. The road team is 4-0 ATS in the past four meetings. At a two-touchdown margin, it is an interesting line. It's easy to see Georgia Tech covering with their rush offense vs. BC's defense, but it's also easy to see B.C. covering, because neither team is very good.

Wake Forest at Virginia

The Demon Deacons will be looking to keep up their dominance against the spread against poor teams. Wake is 5-1 ATS in their past six games against teams with a losing record, but they are just 7-15 ATS in their past 22 road games. However, UVA has been terrible against the spread. They are 0-4 ATS in their past four ACC games, 0-4-1 ATS in their past five home games, and 0-8-1 ATS in their past nine games overall. Wake has dominated this series, going 5-1 ATS in the past six trips to UVA, and they are 4-1-1 ATS in their past six meetings overall with the Cavaliers. The underdog is 4-1-1 ATS in the past six battles, and the road team is 8-2-1 ATS in the past 11 matchups. All signs point to a Wake cover.

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Big Ten Report - Week 8

It's a rivalry weekend here in the Big Ten. Michigan tries to end its four-game losing streak to Michigan State at the Big House while Wisconsin tries to continue its 2000's domination of Minnesota to retain Paul Bunyan's Axe. In another big game, Iowa and Penn State - both currently in first place of their respective divisions - duke it out in Iowa City.

Michigan (-10) vs. Michigan State

UM: Last week vs. Illinois: W 45-0
MSU: Last week vs. Iowa: L 16-19

This is a huge in-state rivalry and motivation will not be lacking for either side. However, it has lost a lot of luster as Michigan State hasn't lived up to its lofty preseason expectations. Last week the Spartans lost at home to Iowa in overtime - their third home loss of the season. Defensively MSU still looks elite at times as they rank 7th in total defense and 14th in scoring defense. Offensively, aside from RB Bell, Mark Dantonio's squad has been an absolute mess. Last week Bell rushed for 140 yards and a touchdown, but the passing game behind QB Andrew Maxwell continued to struggle. Maxwell completed just 12-of-31 passes (39%) for 179 yards and one interception. It's those struggles in the passing game that have hampered this offense all season long. MSU now ranks 81st in total offense and 104th in scoring offense. Things won't get easier against this 10th ranked Wolverine defense that has been steadily improving week by week.

Michigan has dominated its first two Big Ten games, outscoring Purdue and Illinois by a combined score of 89-13. Defensively the Wolves have allowed just 173.5 yards in those two wins while forcing six turnovers. The offense has taken off as they've unleashed QB Robinson. Robinson passed for 264 and rushed for 363 and tallied five total touchdowns the previous two weeks - most importantly with no turnovers. Michigan will face another stout MSU defense after struggling against the other two top-notch defenses it faced in Alabama and Notre Dame. The Wolves managed just 20 total points in those two losses and Robinson really struggled; completing just 24-of-50 passes for 169 yards per game with one touchdown and six interceptions while rushing for just 117 yards on a 3.3 YPC average.

Recent history: After winning six straight in the series from 2002-07, Michigan is 0-4 SU & ATS against Michigan State. MSU has won those four by an average of 12.8 points per game and three were by 14 points or more. The Spartans frustrated Robinson into less than 50% completions with four interceptions and less than 3.3 YPC over the last two years.

Trends: Michigan State is 5-1 ATS in its last 6 road games. However, Sparty is just 0-5 ATS in their last 5 games overall and 2-5 ATS in their last 7 games following a SU loss. Michigan is 6-2 ATS in its last 8 home games. The Wolverines are just 9-24 ATS in their last 33 conference games.

Injury Report: Michigan RB Vincent Smith and FB Stephen Hopkins are expected to play this week against Michigan State.

Iowa (-3) vs. Penn State

IU: Last week at Michigan State: W 19-16
PSU: Last week - BYE

After losing to Central Michigan at home, Kirk Ferentz and his players have turned their season around with back-to-back division wins in the Big Ten against Minnesota and Michigan State. Last week Iowa's defense was aided by terrible weather conditions as MSU couldn't throw the ball with any effectiveness. RB Mark Weisman was able to churn out enough yards on the ground and the defense was opportunistic in the second overtime and Iowa was able to win on the road. Outside of Weisman (who may miss Saturday's game - see more below), the offense has really struggled. QB Vandenberg is completing less than 58% of his passes with just two touchdowns and three interceptions this season. They now rank 100th in both total offense and scoring offense.

Penn State had last week off after winning their first two conference games. The Nittany Lions have now won four straight after dropping its first two games of the season. They are averaging 33 points per game and only allowing 14 points per game during this current hot streak. QB Matt McGloin (12 TD & 2 INT) and WR Allen Robinson (41 REC & 7 TD) have developed a nice rapport together and lead a suddenly dangerous offense. Defensively the Nittany Lions rank 32nd in total defense and 15th in scoring defense and they could have another big day against this struggling offense in Iowa.

Recent history: Iowa is 8-2 SU & 7-3 ATS in the past 10 meetings, but Penn State won and covered in State College last season. Last year Penn State held Iowa to just 253 yards, forced three turnovers, and allowed just three points in the 13-3 win. Expect another low-scoring game Saturday.

Trends: Penn State has covered five straight games. The Nittany Lions are just 4-10-1 ATS in their last 15 vs. a team with a winning record while the Hawkeyes are just 1-7 ATS in their last eight games following a SU win. PSU is just 1-4 ATS in the last five meetings in Iowa and the UNDER is 6-1-1 the last eight meetings.

Injury Report: Iowa RB Mark Weisman hasn't been ruled out for Saturday's game against Penn State, but it doesn't sound like he'll play much or at all after suffering a sprained ankle last week.

Northwestern (+6.5) vs. Nebraska

NU: Last week at Minnesota: W 21-13
UN: Last week - BYE

After their bye, the Cornhuskers will have had two weeks to try and figure out their defensive woes against spread teams and playing on the road in general. In their last game, they were torched by the Buckeyes for 371 rush yards and 63 points in the 25-point road loss. The offense hasn't been an issue as this unit has scored 30 points or more in every game and is ranked 14th in yards per game. They have one of the best rushing attacks in the nation (292 yards per game) and QB Martinez is greatly improved as a passer. Look for a big day from this offense against a Northwestern "D" that has been susceptible to big plays.

After its first loss of the season two weeks ago at Penn State, the Wildcats got back on track with a win at Minnesota last week. They were outgained and had fewer first downs, but they forced three turnovers (and committed none), and turned in a few big touchdown plays to best the Gophers. The Wildcats rushed for 208 yards on a 6.1 YPC average as Venric Mark and Kain Colter (combined to score all three touchdowns) continue to gash defenses. Defensively Northwestern is a ordinary 56th in overall defense, but the Wildcats have been torched by the best offenses they've played. Syracuse scored 41, Penn State scored 39, and Indiana scored 29. Nebraska is better than all three of those teams so the Huskers could have a big day here.

Recent history: Northwestern won in Lincoln last season in their first meeting as conference foes. Kain Colter had three total touchdowns and Nebraska allowed the Wildcats to hold a +10 minute advantage in time of possession in the 28-25 NW win.

Trends: Nebraska has failed to cover its last five road games and five of its last six conference games. Northwestern has covered four straight home games but is just 6-13 ATS in its last 19 conference games.

Injury Report: Nebraska RB Rex Burkhead will play this week against Northwestern after re-aggravating his left knee injury at Ohio State two weeks ago. Northwestern moved CB Daniel Jones ahead of Quinn Evans on the depth chart for Saturday's game after Evans struggled against Minnesota.

Wisconsin (-18.5) vs. Minnesota

UW: Last week at Purdue: W 38-14
UM: Last week vs. Northwestern: L 13-21

It's the battle for Paul Bunyan's Axe in the oldest rivalry in college football. The Badgers offense looked to be rejuvenated last week against Purdue - which is bad news for Minnesota. Wisconsin tallied 467 rush yards, 645 total yards, and 30 first downs in the 24-point road win over the Boilers. Most importantly RB Montee Ball had his best performance of the season with 247 rush yards and three touchdowns. Defensively the Badgers held Purdue to just 252 total yards and 11 first downs (81 of those yards came on a long touchdown run in garbage time). Purdue was the fourth opponent that this defense has held to 14 points or fewer.

Minnesota is a more dangerous team when senior QB MarQueis Gray is on the field. The Gophers are averaging 14.3 points per game since his injury after averaging 34 PPG with him at the helm. He played sparingly last week and completed 7-of-11 passes and rushed for 86 yards and a touchdown. Gray re-injured his ankle in that game and is doubtful for this weekend. Minnesota has solid defensive rankings across the board, but they've allowed the most points this season in its two road games - 27 at UNLV and 31 at Iowa. Camp Randall is not a forgiving place to play, especially when Wisconsin's offense gets rolling.

Recent history: Wisconsin has won eight straight in the series, including the last two by a combined 47 points. However, the Gophers have covered two straight and four of the last five. In the four games Minny covered, Wisco was favored by double digits - including last year when the Badgers were 30-point favorites. They outgained the Gophers by 309 yards and held them to nine first downs in last year's meeting.

Trends: The Gophers are 4-1 ATS in their last five games following a SU loss and 8-3 ATS in their last 11 games overall. Wisconsin is 4-1 ATS in its last five conference games but just 1-4 ATS in its last five home games. The OVER is 11-1 in the last 12 meetings between these two rivals.

Injury Report: Minnesota coach Jerry Kill suffered a seizure last week but will be on the field Saturday. QB MarQueis Gray will likely not be as lucky. Wisconsin LT Ricky Wagner is listed as the starter on the depth chart, but his status for the game is uncertain after he injured his knee last week.

Ohio State (-19) vs. Purdue

OSU: Last week at Indiana: W 52-49
PU: Last week vs. Wisconsin: L 14-38

Ohio State's defense is far from elite and they couldn't stop the Indiana Hoosiers last week. The Buckeyes allowed 481 yards and 49 points and barely escaped with a win. Offensively the Bucks racked up 578 yards and received another huge performance from QB Braxton Miller. Miller had 211 passing yards and 149 rushing yards with three touchdowns. Miller has now accounted for 2,183 passing and rushing yards and 20 touchdowns this season. It's just a matter of time before someone slows down Miller, and that defense will have to step up.

Purdue is a mess on both sides of the ball right now. The defense has major issues after surrendering an average of 41 points and 385 rushing yards in their first two Big Ten contests - both losses by a combined score of 27-82. That's now three straight games that the Boilers have allowed 38 points or more and they rank 73rd in points per game allowed. Offensively they have yet to find a solid QB rotation with TerBush, Marve, and Henry all getting snaps. The past two weeks they've combined to complete 51.5% for 141 YPG with one touchdown and three interceptions.

Recent history: Purdue and Ohio State have split, 3-3, over the last six meetings - but Purdue is 6-2 ATS over the previous eight. The Boilers beat Ohio State last year at home, 26-23, in overtime. Over the past four meetings, the Boilers have been double-digit underdogs three times, and they've covered two of those three games.

Trends: Purdue is 6-1 ATS in its last seven games following a double-digit loss at home. The Boilers are also 5-2-1 ATS in their last eight games following a SU loss. Ohio State is 2-6 ATS in its last 8 home games. The UNDER is 6-2 in the last eight meetings.

Injury Report: Top FB Zach Boren led the Buckeyes in tackles last week at Indiana playing linebacker and he will be seeing more time on defense in the coming weeks. The Buckeyes have very little depth at linebacker, and Boren played well at the position.

Navy (-2.5) vs. Indiana

Navy: Last week at Central Michigan: W 31-13
IU: Last week vs. Ohio State: L 49-52

The bad news: Indiana has dropped four straight games. The good news: They are doing a lot of things right and remaining competitive. They lost to Ball State by two points, Northwestern by 15, Michigan State by four, and Ohio State by three. The passing offense has been fantastic. Cameron Coffman and Nate Sudfeld have combined to complete over 62% with 12 touchdowns and just one interception. That will help the Hoosiers remain in games, because their defense isn't going to stop many teams. IU has allowed 42 points per game over the four game losing streak and now ranks 106th nationally in total defense. They'll get a chance to break that losing streak with a non-conference roadie at Navy this week.

Navy has back-to-back road wins over Central Michigan and Air Force. The Midshipmen are averaging 233 rush yards per game (15th) in their triple-option attack, but are only averaging 19.5 points per game (110th). Navy hasn't matched up with a Big Ten squad since it's near upset of Ohio State in 2009.

Illinois - BYE

UI: Last week at Michigan: L 0-45

Things continue to get worse for the Illini and the bye comes at a perfect time. They were shutout last week in Michigan and gave up 353 rush yards and three touchdowns of 49 yards or more. Illinois is now 0-3 on the road this year and has been outscored by an average of 40-9 in those three losses. Illinois' offense was totally hopeless against the Wolves. It managed just 134 yards and seven first downs. The Illini now get a week off to prepare for a home date with the Hoosiers.

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Pac-12 Report - Week 8
By Joe Williams

Stanford at California

It's time for the latest installment of 'The Game'. The first thing ANYONE remembers about this rivalry is that amazing series of laterals by Cal, and then the poor trombone player in the end zone getting bowled over while the announcer goes hoarse. I cannot believe I am so old that this famous video is from 30 years ago. Wow. The Cardinal hit the road, losers in their only two road games this season, so this is anything but a slam dunk. Plus, this is a rivalry game, and, as evidenced above, anything can happen. The Cardinal are 4-0-1 ATS in their past five games against a team with a losing record, and 13-2-1 ATS in their past 16 road games. However, Cal is also 6-2 ATS in its past eight conference games. While the road team is 5-2 ATS in the past seven meetings, Stanford is just 3-7-1 ATS in the past 11 meetings. And that includes some good Cardinal teams.

Utah at Oregon State

It looked like it was all over for Oregon State last week. They lose QB Sean Mannion to injury in the previous game, and QB Cody Vaz would be making his first collegiate start under center against BYU's turgid defense. It turns out this Oregon State team is pretty good, and it isn't just about their QB play. In fact, the Beavers posted their best offensive point total (42) of the season. It was an inexplicable result. So far this season, Oregon State is 4-1 ATS, including 2-1 ATS in conference play this season. The Utes are 5-2 ATS in their past seven games against a team with a winning record, while the Beavers are 1-5 ATS in their past six games against a team with a losing record. Despite last week's Oregon State result, the under might be the best play here. The under is 7-2 in Utah's past nine record games against a team with a winning home record. The under is 8-3-1 in Oregon State's past 12 home games, and 5-1 in their past six against teams with a losing record.

Washington at Arizona

The Huskies have not been very good on the road, especially against the number, going 0-6 ATS in their past six games away from Seattle. However, they are 6-0 ATS in their past six games following a bye. Arizona is just 2-5 ATS in their past seven Pac-12 games, and 1-7 ATS in their past eight games after an ATS win. In head-to-head trends, the home team is 4-0 ATS in the past four meetings, while the underdog is 11-3 ATS in the past 14 contests between the sides. Arizona is 2-1 ATS at home this season, but seven and a hook might be a bit much. While Washington is 0-2 SU and ATS on the road this season, those two games were at LSU and at Oregon. There aren't many teams that would have success in those two graveyards for opponents.

Colorado at Southern California

Colorado has been putrid this season, and with games at USC, at Oregon and then home to Stanford, things aren't looking up anytime soon. Colorado is 1-5 SU and ATS this season, covering in their only win at Washington State, another terrible team. Meanwhile, while USC is 5-1 SU, they too are 1-5 ATS. Do you have the nerve to take a bad Colorado team getting anywhere from 40 to 41 points? That is a confusing pick, but so too is the total. The over is 6-1 in Colorado's past seven games following an ATS loss, and straight up loss. The under is 4-0 in USC's past four home games, and 4-1 in their past five Pac-12 games. The under is also 5-2 in USC's past seven games overall. It might be a good idea to steer far clear of this one.

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Michigan State at Michigan: What Bettors Need to Know

Michigan State at Michigan (-9.5, 43)

Michigan State’s goal of winning the Big Ten and playing in the Rose Bowl is looking more and more like a long shot with each backbreaking loss. The Spartans fell to 1-2 in conference play last weekend and have dropped out of the Top 25. One thing that could greatly improve their outlook on the last half of the season would be a win over rival Michigan. The No. 25 Wolverines are undefeated in the Big Ten and are tied for first in the Legends Division. Michigan has rolled over inferior opponents but has yet to post a win over strong competition. The Wolverines will not face another ranked team until the regular-season finale at Ohio State, but have struggled with their in-state rivals, dropping four straight to the Spartans. Michigan will be looking to end that streak when it hosts Michigan State on Saturday.

LINE: Michigan -9.5, O/U 43.

WEATHER: Forecasts are calling for temperatures in the low-50s with a 40 percent chance of showers at Michigan Stadium. Winds will blow out of the west at 11 mph.

ABOUT MICHIGAN STATE (4-3, 1-2 Big Ten): The Spartans matched their longest winning streak in the series in last season’s 28-14 triumph in East Lansing. The defense held Michigan to 250 total yards and forced a turnover while Kirk Cousins threw for a pair of touchdowns and Edwin Baker dominated on the ground. The defense has at times been that strong in 2012 but the offense has taken a big step back. With Cousins now in the NFL with the Washington Redskins backing up Robert Griffin III, Michigan State is averaging only 21.0 points - 104th in the nation. Junior running back Le’Veon Bell has been asked to carry much of the burden and has at least 29 carries in four of the Spartans’ seven games. He rushed 29 times for 140 yards and a score last week, but it wasn’t enough in a 19-16 double overtime home loss to Iowa.

ABOUT MICHIGAN (4-2, 2-0): Brady Hoke suffered his first loss as coach of the Wolverines against the Spartans last season, when Denard Robinson was harassed into a 9 for 24 passing performance. Robinson ended up throwing for 123 yards and one interception and was held to only 42 yards on the ground. The dual-threat quarterback has had similar struggles in 2012 against ranked teams Alabama and Notre Dame, combining for one touchdown and six interceptions in those two losses. But Robinson and the Wolverines offense has looked unstoppable in back-to-back wins over Purdue and Illinois by a combined 89-13. Robinson rushed for two touchdowns and threw for two more against the Illini. With games against Northwestern and Iowa at home in November, Michigan could control its own destiny for the Legends Division.


* Spartans are 4-0 ATS in their last four meetings.
* Favorite is 5-1 ATS in their last six meetings.
* Spartans are 5-1 ATS in their last six road games.
* Under is 5-1-1 in Spartans’ last seven games overall.


1. The school that won the rushing battle has taken 39 of the last 42 games in the series.

2. Michigan leads the all-time series 67-32-5, including 48-20-3 at home.

3. The Spartans have not lost consecutive conference games in the same season since falling to Iowa and Minnesota in October 2009.

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South Carolina at Florida: What Bettors Need to Know

South Carolina at Florida (-3.5, 41)

Steve Spurrier built Florida into a powerhouse in the 1990s behind a high-powered offense that helped produce six SEC titles and one national championship. When Spurrier - now the head coach at South Carolina - returns to Gainesville on Saturday, he'll hardly recognize the program he left. That won't make the task any easier for Spurrier and No. 8 South Carolina against the fourth-ranked Gators, who have used a staunch ground game to remain undefeated and climb to No. 2 in the season's initial BCS standings. The Gamecocks have won the last two meetings, including a 36-14 win in 2010 that marked their first win in Gainesville following 12 consecutive losses.

LINE: Florida -3.5, O/U 42.

WEATHER: Forecasts are calling for temperatures in the high-70s under sunny skies. Winds will be light out of the west.

ABOUT SOUTH CAROLINA (6-1, 4-1 SEC): The Gamecocks had their 10-game win streak snapped in a 23-21 loss last week at Louisiana State in the second of three straight matchups against top-10 opponents. LSU, which lost at Florida a week earlier, limited star running back Marcus Lattimore to a season-low 35 yards on 13 carries. Lattimore rushed for 212 yards and three touchdowns at Florida two years ago but missed last season's matchup due to a knee injury. Quarterback Connor Shaw, who struggled in last week's loss, hurt Florida more with his legs than his arm last season, rushing for 88 yards and two TDs in South Carolina's 17-12 victory.

ABOUT FLORIDA (6-0, 5-0): Gators quarterback Jeff Driskel threw for only 77 yards in last week's 31-17 win at Vanderbilt, but he ran for three touchdowns and 177 yards - eclipsing the school-record 166 yards rushing by a QB set by Tim Tebow. Florida ranks last in the SEC in passing and has accumulated a combined 138 yards through the air in the past two games. That number has been offset by a running game featuring Mike Gillislee, who has three 100-yard games and has rushed for seven touchdowns, and a defense that is third in the SEC against the run. Florida has shown its mettle by erasing halftime deficits to beat Texas A&M, Tennessee and LSU.


* Gamecocks are 5-2 ATS in their last seven meetings.
* Under is 4-0 in Gators’ last four home games.
* Gamecocks are 6-0 ATS in their last six games overall.
* Gators are 5-0 ATS in their last five games overall.


1. Florida has already matched its regular-season win total from a year ago.

2. Lattimore has run for 10 touchdowns this season and has rushed for 37 TDs in 27 career games.

3. The Gators lead the all-time series 23-6-3 and have won 17 of 20 meetings since South Carolina joined the SEC.

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Kansas State at West Virginia: What Bettors Need to Know

Kansas State at West Virginia (-2.5, 73.5)

The Big 12 showdown lost some intrigue when No. 15 West Virginia was drubbed by Texas Tech last week, but Saturday's game remains a huge contest for No. 3 Kansas State in its first visit to Morgantown since 1931. Prior to the Mountaineers’ loss, this clash was on a collision course to be a high-stakes contest between two unbeaten squads. The Wildcats are alone in first place in the Big 12 and are surprise entrants in the national championship picture. The Mountaineers are in a four-way tie for second place and their big-play offense is being sabotaged by a leaky defense that is one of the worst in the nation. West Virginia has allowed a whopping 157 points in three conference games.

LINE: West Virginia -2.5, O/U 73.5.

WEATHER: Forecasts are calling for temperatures in the mid-40s with a 40 percent chance of showers at Mountaineer Field. Winds will be light out of the west.

ABOUT KANSAS STATE (6-0, 3-0 Big 12): Senior run-first quarterback Collin Klein is on the fringe of the Heisman Trophy race. Klein has rushed for 10 touchdowns and passed for seven, completing 66.9 percent of his passes with only two interceptions. He has 510 rushing yards. Junior running back John Hubert (602 yards) is averaging 6.2 yards per carry and has rushed for eight touchdowns. The defense hasn’t allowed more than 21 points in a game but will be challenged by the high-flying Mountaineers. Junior safety Ty Zimmerman has a team-best three interceptions and senior defensive end Adam Davis has a team-high six tackles for loss.

ABOUT WEST VIRGINIA (5-1, 2-1): Senior quarterback Geno Smith has had a tremendous season with 25 touchdown passes against no interceptions. He has a streak of 314 passes since he was last picked off and is the Heisman Trophy frontrunner with 2,271 yards. Senior wideout Tavon Austin (68 receptions, 758 yards) has caught 10 or more passes in seven straight games dating back to last season. Junior receiver Stedman Bailey has been slowed by an ankle injury and has 55 receptions for a team-high 799 yards. The defense was riddled for 676 yards by Texas Tech two weeks after allowing 700 to Baylor. The Mountaineers are allowing 37.3 points and 498.5 yards per game.


* Wildcats are 6-1-1 ATS in their last eight road games.
* Mountaineers are 4-0 ATS in their last four games following a loss.
* Over is 7-2 in Mountaineers’ last nine home games.
* Over is 4-1 in Wildcats’ last five October games.


1. This is only the third meeting between the squads and the first in 81 years. The series is tied 1-1.

2. Kansas State is seeking a fourth straight road victory against a ranked opponent, which would mark a first in school history.

3. West Virginia has allowed 600-plus yards in two of its last three games. That had occurred only one time in the school’s football history previously.

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Re: College Football Week 8 Betting News and Notes

College football Top 25 Betting Cheat Sheet: Week 8

If you're looking to get some action down but only have a few minutes to handicap, let our Top-25 cheat sheet help you out. We grab the best quick-hitting betting info on each of the Top 25 matchups with odds available in Week 8 of the season:

(17) Rutgers at Temple (5.5, 41)

The Scarlet Knights can win seven straight to start a season for only the third time since 1976 and the fifth time in the program’s 143 years. Rutgers is only allowing 11.5 points per contest and has held opponents to only 60.8 yards rushing. The Scarlet Knights have outscored opponents 48-3 in the third quarter and have covered the spread in their last four contests.

Virginia Tech at (13) Clemson (-8.5, 61.5)

Virginia Tech travels to No. 13 Clemson on Saturday for a rematch of last year's ACC championship. The Hokies have enjoyed going on the road in ACC play, producing a 27-6 mark since joining the league in 2004. Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said all the players on his injury report are expected to play against Virginia Tech after getting additional rest from the bye week – WR Martavis Bryant (groin), RB D.J. Howard (shoulder), TE Brandon Ford (ankle) and LB Lateek Townsend (thigh). The Tigers have covered the spread in their last four conference games.

(6) LSU at (19) Texas A&M (3.5, 52)

Freshman QB Johnny Manziel has led the Aggies to an SEC-best 47 points and 543.7 total yards per game but will be tested by LSU's dominant defense. The Tigers rank second in the conference in total defense (219.6 yards per game) and fourth in scoring defense (14.0 points per game).

(23) Stanford at California (2.5, 48)

The Cardinal is coming off a controversial overtime loss to Notre Dame and hasn’t scored an offensive touchdown in two road losses this season. The Golden Bears have won back-to-back games after a disappointing 1-4 start and rank seventh in the nation at stopping the run at 89.3 yards per game. California racked up a season-high 318 rushing yards while beating Washington State last week and is averaging 195 per game, third-best in the Pac-12. These schools have played over the total in their last four meetings.

UNLV at (22) Boise State (-28.5, 54.5)

Boise State is ranked 22nd in the first BCS standings of the season, the highest placement of any non-BCS program. UNLV has lost three consecutive games after blowing a 21-point lead and losing to Nevada last week. The Rebels have lost 18 consecutive road games dating back to 2009. While the Broncos have won 46 consecutive games in October dating back to a 45-14 loss to Rice in 2001.

BYU at (5) Notre Dame (-13.5, 40)

Off to its first 6-0 start since 2002, Notre Dame is climbing the polls behind a defense that hasn’t allowed a touchdown in its last four games. The Irish rank first in the nation in red zone defense and they've limited each of its past five opponents to less than 300 total yards. The Cougars are 5-1 ATS in their last six road games.

(8) South Carolina at (4) Florida (-3.5, 41.5)

The Gamecocks had their 10-game win streak snapped in a 23-21 loss last week at Louisiana State in the second of three straight matchups against top-10 opponents. Gators QB Jeff Driskel threw for only 77 yards in last week's 31-17 win at Vanderbilt, but he ran for three touchdowns and 177 yards - eclipsing the school-record 166 yards rushing by a QB set by Tim Tebow. Florida ranks last in the SEC in passing and has accumulated a combined 138 yards through the air in the past two games. The Gators have played under the total in their last four home games.

South Florida at (14) Louisville (-6.5, 54)

Louisville QB Teddy Bridgewater has completed almost 72 percent of his passes and RBs Senorise Perry and Jeremy Wright have combined for more than 1,000 yards and 15 touchdowns on the ground so far this season. South Florida has not been strong defensively, averaging 30.3 points against during a four-game losing streak. The underdog has covered the spread in each of their last four meetings.

Michigan State at (25) Michigan (-10, 42.5)

Brady Hoke suffered his first loss as coach of the Wolverines against the Spartans last season, when QB Denard Robinson was harassed into a 9 for 24 passing performance. Robinson ended up throwing for 123 yards and one interception and was held to only 42 yards on the ground. The dual-threat QB has had similar struggles in 2012 against ranked teams Alabama and Notre Dame, combining for one touchdown and six interceptions in those two losses. The Spartans are 4-0 ATS in their last four meetings.

(20) Texas Tech at (21) TCU (1, 55)

The Horned Frogs' transition to the Big 12 has been eased by their strong defense, which leads the league in scoring (14.5) and ranks third in total defense (300.8). The offense, however, has to adjust to the loss of QB Casey Pachall, who withdrew from the school after his arrest for drunken driving. Texas Tech ranks first in the Big 12 in total defense (243.0) and second in scoring defense (16.3). The Red Raiders are 5-1 ATS in their last six games overall.

Colorado at (9) USC (-40.5, 57.5)

The Buffaloes, who play at No. 2 Oregon next week, have been outscored 93-31 in back-to-back home losses to Arizona State and UCLA and continue to struggle mightily in coach Jon Embree's second season. Colorado is last in the Pac-12 in scoring (20.8), scoring defense (41.3), total defense (494.2 yards) and pass defense (312.7). But the Trojans have only covered once in their last six games.

(12) Georgia at Kentucky (27.5, 58.5)

Georgia has had some extra time to think about its humbling 35-7 loss at South Carolina on Oct. 6 and should be well rested after coming off a bye week. The Wildcats, who are facing their fifth ranked team, are expected to start freshman Jalen Whitlow at QB for the third straight game as fellow freshman Patrick Towles recovers from a high ankle sprain. Kentucky has used four QBs so far this season and stands 113th in the nation in total offense. The over is 4-1 in the last five meetings in Kentucky.

Kansas at (7) Oklahoma (-35, 57.5)

The Sooners blasted rival Texas last week and still believe they can make a run at the BCS Championship game with a strong back half of the season. Quarterback Landry Jones and the offense have been rolling, putting up 104 points over the last two games. The Jayhawks have dropped seven straight in the series and have lost 15 in a row on the road. But Kansas is 4-1 ATS in its last five games in Oklahoma.

(3) Kansas State at (15) West Virginia (-2.5, 74)

West Virginia has allowed a whopping 157 points in three conference games and has surrendered 600-plus yards in two of its last three games overall. The Kansas State defense hasn’t allowed more than 21 points in a game but will certainly be challenged by QB Geno Smith and the high-flying Mountaineers offense. The Wildcats are 6-1-1 ATS in their last eight road games.

(1) Alabama at Tennessee (20, 55.5)

The Crimson Tide used an overpowering ground game to steamroll Missouri 42-10 last week. Eddie Lacy rushed for a career-high 177 yards and three touchdowns on 18 carries and T.J. Yeldon piled up 144 yards and a pair of scores. Alabama rolled up a season-high 533 yards of total offense and once again received a dominating effort from its defense, which has allowed an average of 7.5 points and has held four opponents to 10 or fewer. The Crimson Tide are 5-0 ATS in their last five games in Tennessee.

Middle Tennessee at (16) Mississippi State (-19.5, 56)

The Bulldogs, off to their best start since beginning the 1999 season with eight straight wins, have scored at least 25 points in their first six games for the first time in the 113-year history of the football program. The Mississippi State defense has done a fine job at getting the ball back to the offense by forcing 18 turnovers – tied for the fourth-highest total in the country – and ranks in the top 20 nationally in interceptions and fumbles recovered. The Blue Raiders are 4-1 ATS in their last five games overall.

(18) Cincinnati at Toledo (7, 64.5)

Cincinnati has cruised to a 5-0 mark with a near 25-point average margin of victory. The Bearcats have scored 101 points in their last two games and against a porous Rockets defense Saturday night; QB Munchie Legaux and Co. could be in for another high-scoring performance. The Rockets are tied for 30th in the nation with 36.4 points per game - chalking up 50-plus in each of their last two contests. The over is 5-0 in Toledo’s last five games vs. a team with a winning record.

(10) FSU at Miami (20.5, 56.5)

Florida State bounced back from its lone loss by punishing Boston College 51-7. The defense, led by senior end Bjoern Werner, is allowing an average of 11.4 points - the fourth-best mark in the nation. Miami has gotten crushed by a combined 77 points in its two previous games against ranked opponents and is coming off a home loss to North Carolina. Only one of the last 10 meetings (a 45-17 Florida State victory in Miami in 2010) has been decided by more than one touchdown.

Utah at (11) Oregon State (-10.5, 47)

The No. 11 Beavers, 3-0 in conference play for the first time since 1968, have lost four of their last five against the Utes. Utah is trying to avoid starting 0-4 in the Pac-12 for the second straight year, though. Sean Mannion, the second-ranked QB in the Pac-12, remains sidelined after undergoing minor knee surgery last week. Cody Vaz will start for a second consecutive contest for Oregon State. He threw for 332 yards and three touchdowns in last week’s victory against Brigham Young and was not intercepted. The Beavers are 5-1-1 ATS in their last seven games overall.

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Re: College Football Week 8 Betting News and Notes

South Carolina at Florida
By Brian Edwards

In the 1990s, Steve Spurrier dubbed Florida Field ‘The Swamp,’ where only Gators get out alive. Spurrier’s name and accomplishments, winning the Heisman Trophy as a player in 1966 and guiding UF to six SEC titles and the school’s first national championship during a dynastic 12-year tenure, can be seen all over Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.

But on Saturday afternoon in Gainesville at 3:30 p.m. Eastern, Spurrier will lead the enemy, South Carolina, into The Swamp to take on the Gators in a crucial SEC East showdown.

On Sunday night, most betting shops opened Florida (6-0 straight up, 5-1 against the spread) as a three-point favorite with a total of 42½ for ‘over/under’ wagers. However, when word of injuries to Marcus Lattimore and Jadeveon Clowney broke early Wednesday night, most books adjusted to the Gators to 3½-point ‘chalk.’

The total also moved from 42½ to 41½. The money-line payout for the Gamecocks has increased to plus-150 (risk $100 to win $150).
On Friday morning, Lattimore was upgraded to ‘probable’ even though his only practice all week was Thursday on a limited basis. Spurrier has indicated that senior running back Kenny Miles will start regardless of Lattimore’s presence.

South Carolina (6-1 SU, 6-1 ATS) blasted UF by a 36-14 count as a 6½-point road underdog to clinch the school’s first SEC East title in 2010. As a true freshman, Lattimore shredded the Gators for 212 rushing yards and three touchdowns on 40 carries.

When these teams met in Columbia last year, South Carolina collected a 17-12 victory as a 2½-point home ‘chalk.’ The Gamecocks have covered the spread in three consecutive head-too-head meetings.

With last week’s spread cover in a 23-21 loss at LSU as a three-point underdog, South Carolina improved to 13-8-1 ATS as a road underdog during Spurrier’s eight-year tenure.

The Gators have covered the number in five consecutive games, including last Saturday’s 31-17 win at Vanderbilt as nine-point favorites. Jeff Driskel broke a school-record for rushing yards by a UF quarterback, tallying 177 yards and three touchdowns on 11 carries.

Florida is second in the SEC in rushing, averaging 233.3 yards per game. Senior RB Mike Gillislee is also second in the SEC in rushing with 615 yards and seven touchdowns. He is averaging 5.1 yards per carry.

Lattimore is tied for the SEC lead in rushing TDs with 10. The junior RB has rushed for 584 yards, averaging 4.5 YPC.

Like Driskel, South Carolina QB Connor Shaw is a serious threat with his scrambling ability. Shaw, who has a 9/4 touchdown-to-interception ratio, has rushed for 280 yards and one TD.

For the season, Driskel has thrown for 836 yards with a 4/1 TD-INT ratio. The sophomore signal caller has rushed for 326 yards and four TDs, averaging 5.7 YPC.

The ‘under’ is 4-2 overall for UF this year, 3-0 in its home games. The Gamecocks have seen the ‘over’ go 4-3 overall, 2-1 in their road assignments.

Spurrier has faced his alma mater seven times as South Carolina’s head coach, going 5-2 ATS with three outright victories.

CBS will provide television coverage.

B.E.’s Bonus Nuggets

Florida and South Carolina are tied for second in the SEC in scoring defense, allowing 12.3 points per game.

UF is 4-3 ATS as home ‘chalk’ on Will Muschamp’s watch.

The ‘under’ has connected in the last three USC-UF encounters.

South Carolina starting DT Kelcy Quarles will not play due to a one-game suspension levied by the SEC for throwing a punch in last week’s game at LSU.

Saturday could be a first for Georgia fans, who have to root for Florida is they want the Bulldogs to control their own destiny in the SEC East. UF and UGA will square off in Jacksonville next weekend.

Although Vanderbilt has lost four of its six games, it will undoubtedly be favored to win at least four of its next six games. The Commodores, who are seven-point home favorites Saturday vs. Auburn, could be favored in all of their remaining games. The two contests in question will be at Ole Miss and vs. Tennessee.

We’ve known that the Kentucky and Arkansas jobs are going to be available in December, and now it’s becoming increasingly clear that Auburn and Tennessee might also be conducting coaching searches soon. Now certainly, a win over top-ranked Alabama at Neyland Stadium this week will automatically change the fate of Derek Dooley, who inherited a tough situation that I outlined this past summer. Gene Chizik is only two years removed from winning a national championship, but it’s well documented how quickly the Auburn fan base has a propensity to turn on a head coach. With a 1-5 record, Auburn’s season is in the toilet. The Tigers are only going to be favored twice more in home games against New Mexico St. and Alabama A&M. Look for Louisville’s Charlie Strong to be a hot name in these coaching searches.

The only teams remaining with unscathed against-the-spread records are Western Kentucky (6-0 ATS) and Utah St. (6-0-1 ATS). The head coaches of these schools, Willie Taggart and Gary Andersen, might not be ready for SEC jobs yet. However, both are outstanding young coaches who will be at more high-profile programs soon.

Virginia is the only team in America that hasn’t covered the spread yet. The Cavaliers, who are 0-6-1 ATS, are 3½-point home favorites Saturday vs. Wake Forest.

The ‘over’ is a perfect 6-0 for both Tennessee and La. Tech. The Volunteers have a total of 56 for their home game vs. Alabama. The Bulldogs will welcome Idaho to Ruston with a total of 73½.

The ‘under’ is an NCAA-best 6-1 for Bowling Green.

Since 2004, Va. Tech has only been a road underdog 10 times, compiling a 6-4 spread record. The Hokies are 8½-point ‘dogs Saturday at Clemson.

Western Kentucky has won outright in 12 of its last 14 games. The losses came at LSU and at Alabama. That’s why head coach Willie Taggart will most likely have a more high-profile job next year.

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Re: College Football Week 8 Betting News and Notes

College Football Betting Preview: Michigan St at Michigan
By Ian Cameron

Michigan State at Michigan 

Ian Cameron's Recommendation: Michigan State
Saturday, 12:30 pm PT - Big Ten
CRIS Opener: Michigan -11.5 O/U 45
CRIS Current: Michigan -9.5 O/U 43
Rob Veno's Power Rating: Michigan -10.5

Michigan State enters its annual rivalry game with Michigan having stumbled a bit of late. They needed to rally from an early deficit to beat defensively challenged Indiana, 31-27, and lost outright at home in OT to Iowa, 19-16, as 8.5-point chalk. Obviously, that loss didn’t sit well with Sparty and I’d expect them to bounce back with a strong, motivated effort against a rival they’ve dominated in recent years. Michigan State is 4-0 SU and ATS since 2008 against Michigan, winning by margins of 35-21, 26-20, 34-17 and 28-14. The question now becomes has MSU’s struggles in 2012 been so profound that they should be nearly double-digit underdogs in this year’s meeting in Ann Arbor? I’d argue no.

The Spartans still possess the better defense and the numbers are there to back it up. Michigan State has allowed 3.73 yards per rush compared to Michigan’s 4.18 yards per rush. Michigan State has allowed 5.12 yards per pass compared to Michigan’s 5.18 yards per pass so the Spartans rate as the stronger defense.

Michigan QB Denard Robinson has struggled to get untracked against Michigan State. Robinson has thrown 2 TDs and 4 INTs in his previous two starts against the Spartans and he was absolutely shut down in the running game last year by the same senior laden MSU defense that he’ll face on Saturday. The Wolverines gained just 82 yards on 36 carries in last year’s meeting. That’s not a recipe for success. The ability to take away the running element of Robinson’s game means that you can shut down the Michigan offense as a whole. I’d expect the Spartans, who suffered very little turnover on the defensive side of the football this offseason, to once again cause problems for the Wolverine offense.

Michigan State has had plenty of offensive woes this season specifically at QB with Andrew Maxwell. But what the Spartans can do well is run the ball with Le’Veon Bell. He’ll face a Michigan defense that allowed 213 rushing yards in last year’s meeting. Rush defense is again a weak link for UM this season – 148 yards per game allowed, 57th nationally.

You’d have to go back to last season to find the last time Michigan State was an underdog. And the Spartans have been profitable as underdogs under head coach Mark D’Antonio at 4-2 ATS including a trio of outright wins against Wisconsin, Ohio State and Georgia last year. Look for the Spartans to give their in-state rivals a battle from start to finish on Saturday.

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Re: College Football Week 8 Betting News and Notes

College Football Betting Preview: Washington at Arizona
By Andrew Lange

Washington at Arizona 

Andrew Lange’s Recommendation: Arizona
Saturday, 7 pm PT
CRIS Opener: Arizona -6 O/U 62
CRIS Current: Arizona -7.5 O/U 63.5
Rob Veno’s Power Rating: Arizona -4

Arizona has surprised me this season. When a new coach arrives and brings a completely new system, it can take a full year or more for things to click. Offensively, the transition to Rich Rodriquez hasn’t been an issue for the Cats. There have been some hiccups (turnovers and missed FGs vs. Toledo; red zone snafus vs. Oregon) but in terms of the season as a whole, we’re talking about one of the best offenses in the country (551.3 ypg). Defensively is where the Wildcats have had their issues and it isn’t necessarily trying to figure out a system but rather a lack of depth.  Opposing offenses have been able to move the ball at will which is part of the reason why UA enter Saturday’s game having lost three straight.

I think it should be noted however that Arizona’s schedule has been littered with upper-class offenses. Toledo, Oregon, Oregon State, and Oklahoma State all rank 32nd or higher nationally in total offense. The lone sub-par offense UA has faced was last time out against Stanford. We won’t give Arizona’s defense a complete pass (they allowed over 600 yards) but with zero defensive depth, on the road, playing their sixth game in six weeks, with a lead, it wasn’t exactly an ideal situation for the stop unit to thrive.

This week however I expect Arizona’s defense to produce its best numbers of the season. Washington’s offense is a significant step down in class. The Huskies have been a mess offensively because they can’t block up front.  They've allowed 17 sacks, 47 tackles for loss, and average only 5.8 yards per pass attempt which ranks 117th nationally. And while UW has the better defense, those numbers are somewhat skewed after facing the slow-paced, pro-style offenses of LSU, Stanford and USC.  When you look at the yards per play allowed UW ranks 62nd nationally. And when they did face an up-tempo, spread offense, in Oregon, the Huskies gave up 52 points and 32 first downs.

Arizona’s bye week was perfect timing. They are rested and ready and for the first time all season face an opponent (at home) with an underwhelming offense. Still a couple of -7’s out there but it looks like this one is headed to -7.5.

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Re: College Football Week 8 Betting News and Notes

College Football Betting Preview: Virginia Tech at Clemson
By Rob Veno

Virginia Tech at Clemson

Rob Veno's Recommendation: Over
Saturday, 9 am PT - ESPN
CRIS Opener: Clemson -9.5 O/U 61
CRIS Current: Clemson -8 O/U 62
Rob Veno's Power Rating: Clemson -9.5

I sense renewed problems for Virginia Tech in this matchup after going 0-2 SU/ATS and outscored by a combined total of 61-13 against Clemson last season. Tech’s shortcomings against Clemson last year were two-fold as they couldn’t run the football to keep the Tigers offense off the field (69 total rush attempts for 189 yards, 2.7 per carry) and they couldn’t protect quarterback Logan Thomas (allowed 6 sacks in 71 pass attempts, 1 every 11.8). With a far less experienced receiving crew combined with the inaccurate Thomas throwing the football (52.3% completions), Clemson should be able to focus on stopping the run and underneath passing game. The Hokies have seen a bunch of that recently and have resorted to throwing a number of low percentage deep balls which has produced back-back 300+ passing games but much of that is attributed to playing from way behind on the scoreboard. Clemson is not a great defensive team at this point under new defensive coordinator Brent Venables and VT may hit a long completion or two but the fundamentals suggest it will hardly be enough to keep pace with the Tigers unstoppable offense. 

On offense, Clemson has sawed through the opposition for 41.3 points and 525.8 total yards per game. The opposing defenses have not been good overall but the way the Tigers tore up Florida State’s fourth-ranked defense (37 points, 426 yards) indicates how strong they are. Virginia Tech had a tougher time handling Clemson in the rematch last season allowing 217 yards rushing and 240 yards passing which shows that despite having game tape on offensive coordinator Chad Morris’ offense, they still regressed. With Clemson returning every key skill position component (minus TE Dwayne Allen) from that young offense, it’s hard to see this lesser version of the Hokies defense stopping them. 

Throughout his tenure at Virginia Tech, you could almost always back defensive coordinator Bud Foster in anticipation of him conceiving a defense to confuse and halt the opponent but this season we haven’t seen that. Aside from Georgia Tech’s run-heavy option offense in their season opener which VT had an entire summer to prepare for, this defense has been lit up by any capable offense it has faced. Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, North Carolina and Duke have combined to average 450.3 yards and 32 points against them. With Clemson off of a bye week, expect the damage they wreak upon Tech to be even higher. North Carolina, whose up-tempo offense is most comparable to Clemson’s, did exceed each of those averages in winning by 14 over Virginia Tech. With all the advantages Clemson figures to have here, the problem with mechanically playing them is that the line is basically right on target. With that in mind, the higher percentage play here is likely to be OVER 61.5. In games played against teams other than Auburn and Furman, the Tigers have yielded 34.5 ppg and the game totals have averaged 79.8 ppg. With a lot more allowance for success lying in the current total, weather permitting, that’s the way I’ll recommend this one.

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Re: College Football Week 8 Betting News and Notes

College Football Value Plays
By: The Linemakers

Each week we look at the biggest differentials between what The Linemakers College Football Power Ratings say a point spread should be and what the actual market price is. A lot of the differences lay within the proper rating of a home-field advantage, but sometimes we have a number that is way off the charts relative to the actual point spread.

It doesn't mean ours is necessarily the right number, but we're usually closer to being right than wrong.

As sports book directors, we used these ratings to help shade the numbers in our books. We'd be crazy to post our exact thoughts against the market line, but we would shade the numbers to ensure we at least got our first few bets on the desired team. If we thought Florida State should be -15 against Miami, but the betting market everywhere else had -21.5, we may open the game -19.5 or -20. We'd eventually get pushed to the market price, but at least we had bets on the side we hoped for.

We simplify this process for you by calculating the biggest differentials each week and relaying to you which teams present the best value. It saves you the work, and gives you a nice tool as you're finalizing your betting strategies for Saturday.

On the left are the bet number and team that offers the best value relative to the current Vegas line.

329 NC State (-3) at Maryland: We think the line should be closer to -9

335 Rutgers (-4) at Temple: Rutgers should be about -14.

350 Tennessee (+20.5) vs. Alabama: The Tide should be only -14 on the road here.

353 Washington (+8) at Arizona: We like Arizona at -4 here.

355 Purdue (+18.5) at Ohio State: The Buckeyes should be laying only 12.

366 Miami-Fla (+21.5) vs. Florida State: The ‘Noles -15 is the better number.

377 Western Michigan (+3) at Kent State: The wrong team is favored here. Western Michigan should be -2.

381 Central Florida (-22.5) at Memphis: UCF should be laying a bigger number, closer to -28.

384 Louisville (-6) vs. South Florida: We like Louisville at -11.

386 Louisiana Tech (-30) vs. Idaho: La. Tech -36 is more like it.

393 Pittsburgh (-8) at Buffalo: We like Pittsburgh -14.

410 Mississippi State (-19) vs. Middle Tennessee State: Miss State should be closer to -26.

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Re: College Football Week 8 Betting News and Notes

College Football Weather
By: The Linemakers

In the pass-happy Big 12, wind is a factor, whether West Virginia quarterback and Heisman candidate Geno Smith admits it or not.

Mountaineers’ coach Dan Holgorsen said a gusty 20-30 mph Lubbock, Texas, wind affected Smith in last week’s loss to the Red Raiders. But Smith disagreed with his coach and told reporters, “Anyone who says that obviously doesn’t know football.”

Professional football bettors tend to side with Holgorsen and believe wind actually can play more of a factor than rain or even snow.

"Wind, especially one blowing across the field, can be an issue," said longtime Vegas bookmaker and sports bettor Richie Baccellieri.

Wind definitely played a role in day-to-day life this week in the Midwest. According to, there were 392 reports of 58-mph or higher winds, including 25 reports of at least 75 mph winds, in the previous three days. The strong winds were centered in Oklahoma, Kansas and Missouri and could linger during Saturday’s action. Parts of Interstate 35 had to be closed in Oklahoma due to a dust storm caused by this week’s wind.

Purdue at Ohio State (-18.5, 62), 12 p.m.: Showers are expected in the morning, but should be decreasing by afternoon. Winds could gust up to 25 mph.

Northern Illinois (-16.5, 66) at Akron, 12 p.m.: Rain and a stiffening 10-15 mph wind is expected throughout the day in Ohio.

Ball State (-3, 65.5) at Central Michigan, 3:30 p.m.: Showers are expected to clear out before kickoff, leaving a brisk wind gusting from 15-25 mph.

Western Michigan at Kent State (-3.5, 53), 3:30 p.m.: 40 percent chance of showers throughout the day with gusty winds from 10-20 mph.

Utah at Oregon State (-10, 46.5), 10:30 p.m.: Rain is expected throughout Saturday in Corvallis, with temperatures dropping into the 30s by kickoff.

Pittsburgh (-9, 54.5) at Buffalo, 8 p.m.: 30 percent chance of rain throughout the day, with winds between 10-15 mph.

Kansas at Oklahoma (-34.5, 57.5), 7 p.m.: Winds are expected to gust up to 20 mph during Saturday’s game.

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