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College Football Week 9 Betting News and Notes

College Football Week 9 Betting News and Notes

College Football Week 9 Opening Lines Report
By: David Purdum

This was supposed to be Georgia’s year.

Back in June, when the sports book at the Las Vegas Golden Nugget first posted a line on the Florida-Georgia game, the Bulldogs were favored by 4.5.

Four months later, the Gators are nearly touchdown favorites in Saturday’s showdown in Jacksonville.

UGA started the season as the favorite to win the SEC East. In August, the Las Vegas Hotel & Casino SuperBook had taken more futures wagers on the Bulldogs to win the SEC Championship Game than on either Alabama or LSU.

But things haven’t gone as planned in Athens.

John Avello, sports book director at the Wynn, opened Florida at minus-4.5 for next Saturday’s game. He contemplated opening the Gators as even bigger favorites. By Sunday night, he was wishing he would have.

“I kept thinking back to the beginning of the season, when these teams were power rated so closely,” said Avello. “But it’s been almost all Florida money. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the number grow to seven.”

Early money had already pushed the line up to Florida -6.5 as of Monday. It’s not hard to figure out why.

Mark Richt is 1-8 against the spread in his last nine games against a top 10 team. His teams simply haven't lived up to expectations in big games. He’s 3-8 straight-up and 5-6 against the spread versus Florida. The Gators have covered the spread in five of the last six meetings.

Here’s a look at more opening college football point spreads and where the early action has been placed (odds courtesy of the Las Vegas Wynn).

Ohio State at Penn State

Opened: Buckeyes -3
Monday a.m.: Nittany Lions -2.5

In the betting market’s eyes, no team has changed its perception more than Penn State.

In August, after the NCAA hammered the program with sanctions due to the Jerry Sandusky tragedy, sports books dropped Penn State’s season win total to as low 5.5. Penn State heads into Saturday’s game at 5-2 SU and 6-1 ATS.

In June, the Golden Nugget originally made Ohio State a 3-point favorite against Penn State. Bettors piled on the Buckeyes and moved it to minus-10. But Penn State was the favorite as of Monday morning at the Wynn.

Avello is confident that Buckeyes quarterback Braxton Miller will play and opened Ohio State as a 3-point favorite.

“If I didn’t think he was going to play, I wouldn’t have put it up,” he said. “But money mandated the move to Penn State, although I think this game might come back a little.”

Notre Dame at Oklahoma

Opened: Oklahoma -9.5
Monday a.m.: Oklahoma -10.5

“There will be Notre Dame money here,” said Avello, “but I bet this line ends up right at 10.”

Texas A&M at Auburn

Opened: A&M -8.5
Monday a.m.: A&M -13.5

Avello had not taken a single bet on Auburn in this game as of Monday afternoon, even though Texas A&M is 1-9 ATS in its last 10 games against SEC teams.

Other notable line moves:

Southern Miss at Rice:

Opened: Southern Miss -3.5
Monday: Rice -1.5

Western Kentucky at Florida International

Opened: WKU -4.5
Monday: WKU -7

Odds & Ends

Western Kentucky’s remarkable winning streak against the spread came to an end in Saturday’s overtime loss to Louisiana-Monroe. The Hilltoppers had covered the spread in 15 straight games dating back to last season, one of the longest ATS winning streaks ever in the modern era.

Western Kentucky’s ATS loss also left only one team undefeated vs. the point spread – Utah State. The Aggies are 7-0-1 ATS this season.

The Wynn took the TCU-Oklahoma State game off the board Monday, after news broke that Cowboys’ starting quarterback J.W. Walsh was lost for the season with a leg injury. The Cowboys had been bet up from -8 to -9 before the news. Avello said he planned on reopening the spread Oklahoma State -8.

No. 1 Alabama, a 24-point favorite against Mississippi State this week, has now been favored in 36 straight games. The Crimson Tide have been double-digit favorites in 17 of their last 20 games and have covered the spread in 10 of their last 13 games against SEC competition.

Undefeated Oregon State is a part of the field in the LVH’s BCS Championship odds. You can get the Beavers at 40/1.

Point spreads for upcoming big games

Nov. 3

Alabama (-6.5) at LSU
Oregon (-2.5) at USC

Nov. 17

USC (-7.5) at UCLA
Tennessee at Vanderbilt (-3)

Nov. 24

Florida at Florida State (-3.5)
Michigan at Ohio State (-4.5)
Oregon (-8) at Oregon State
Notre Dame at USC (-6)
Auburn at Alabama (-31.5)

Updated BCS Championship Odds

Alabama 6/5
Oregon 9/2
Kansas State 5/1
Florida 8/1
USC 10/1
Oklahoma 12/1
Notre Dame 15/1
Florida State 30/1

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Standing 8-Count                      
By Marc Lawrence

Imagine being a 10-win team last year and now a losing squad at this stage of the season. How difficult of a job is it for a coach to get his team psyched to play this week, you ask? Plenty.

According to our database, losing teams in Game Eight of the season who won 10 or more game last year are 21-39-1 ATS since 1980, including 13-36-1 ATS If these same teams allow 21 or more PPG on the season.

Three teams on this week’s football card figure to take a Standing 8-Count, namely Arkansas, Houston and Southern Mississippi.

Talk about being staggered: after going 36-5 combined in 2011, this triumvirate enters this week with a cumulative 6-15 record!

Worse, if these standing 8-counters are facing a foe off a loss in its last game, they become a 4-16 ATS punching bag. With that, look for Southern Mississippi to take it squarely on the chin once again this week.

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Games to Watch - Week 9
By Christian Alexander

Florida at Georgia

The "World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party" has bigger implications than just who can leave Jacksonville with the biggest hangover; turns out they play a football game that day too, and a pretty big one at that. Florida has done most of the partying of late winning 18 of the last 22 meetings, although Georgia won 24-20 last year. With South Carolina dropping back-to-back games, including a 44-11 loss to Florida in The Swamp on Saturday, the SEC East race comes down to this game. In fact, the Gators can actually clinch an SEC East title by defeating Georgia on Saturday. Florida however has much bigger aspirations than just winning the SEC East at this point. The key to this game will be if the Dawgs' balanced offense can move the ball on Matt Elam and the Gators defense. Georgia was completely shut down earlier this year when they faced a talented South Carolina defense, especially the ground attack of Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall. Georgia QB Aaron Murray will likely have to carry the offense this week if they are to have any success moving the ball on the stout Gators defense. Meanwhile the Florida offense has been non-existent at times this year, including last week against South Carolina where the Gators ran it 18 times for 13 yards and completed just six passes for 16 yards in the first half but still lead 21-6 due to scoring three touchdowns following South Carolina turnovers. In fact the Gators may have put up 44 points but they were outgained by the Gamecocks 191 to 183 yards in the game. In other words, the alcohol outside the stadium will flow much faster than the offense's inside the stadium this week. Florida opened as a favorite and this should be a typical SEC slugfest with the winner taking over the pole position in the SEC East and bragging rights for the next year.

Texas Tech at Kansas State

Nick Saban may be the most renowned coach in the country, and rightfully so, but Bill Synder should at least be in the same breath. What he has done for the Kansas State program is nothing short of a college football miracle. (You try recruiting talented high school football players to Manhattan, Kansas) Last year the Wildcats were beating teams in close games with more of a smoke and mirrors approach; this year Kansas State boasts one of the most complete teams in the country ranking 10th in points for and 14th in points against while simply dominating teams on both sides of the ball. Meanwhile QB Collin Klein has put himself squarely at the front of the line in the race for the Heisman Trophy after a seven touchdown performance against West Virginia. This weekend they host a very scrappy and resilient Texas Tech team coming in off a thrilling triple-overtime road win over TCU. Red Raider QB Seth Doege also had a career-best seven touchdowns (all passing) against TCU and he will need another big game this week if the Red Raiders are going to pull off back to back Big 12 road wins where they come in as an 8-point road underdog.

Notre Dame at Oklahoma

On Nov. 16, 1957, Notre Dame went to Oklahoma and won 7-0, snapping the Sooners’ 47-game winning streak. So obviously this is a huge revenge game for the Sooners. In fact Notre Dame has dominated the all-time series 8-1, including an undefeated 4-0 record in Norman. However the Sooners are an amazing 79-4 in Norman since Bob Stoops took over in 1999. If Notre Dame’s dream season is to continue they will have to do something they haven’t had to do all season, beat a quality opponent on the road (sorry, but Michigan St doesn’t qualify). The biggest matchup in this game will be Oklahoma’s fast improving passing attack against a virtually untested Notre Dame secondary. While the ND front seven led by All-Everything linebacker Manti Te’o is unquestionably the strength of the Irish this year, their biggest weakness appears to be their secondary. However thanks to a schedule front loaded against teams with virtually non-existent passing games, the Irish have been able to rely heavily on their front seven to stop the run and build a perfect record through seven games. Oklahoma QB Landry Jones meanwhile has improved almost every week this year as he learns to adjust to life without WR Ryan Broyles. On the flip side, Everett Golson has already been named the starting QB for the Irish in this game and he will need to be more than just a game manager if the Irish want to keep their National Championship hopes alive. Despite being undefeated and higher ranked the Irish find themselves an early double-digit underdog this week in Norman. The message there being pretty loud and clear, however a win this week in Norman would prove the Irish are the real deal.

Mississippi State at Alabama

This just in…Alabama is really good. Most would argue that they are clearly the best team in college football from top to bottom. However there are those that will point to their schedule thus far as one reason they have looked so good. Personally, I fall somewhere in the middle. I think there are teams this year just as talented as Alabama and I also think the schedule argument is irrelevant because they are beating bad teams…very badly. The Tide is about to hit a three-week stretch that will make or break their season starting this weekend when they host the Bulldogs, before traveling to Baton Rouge and then hosting Texas A&M. Mississippi State will certainly be the biggest challenge Alabama has faced yet this season and they have a defense that statistically ranks in the top 10 nationally, however Mississippi State also haven't faced anyone thus far that would be considered much of a challenge. With that said, Dan Mullen has revived a Mississippi State program that was the doormat of the SEC for over a decade and this game will certainly be the litmus test to see how far they have really come and just how real their 7-0 start is. As a 24-point road underdog pulling off the upset over 'Bama is a little farfetched, but a close game in Tuscaloosa against the number one team in the country would go a long way for the Bulldogs confidence not only the remainder of this year but possibly heading into next season as well.

Cincinnati at Louisville

Cincinnati at Louisville (Friday) - This game had the potential to be a rare top 25 matchup of undefeated Big East teams on Friday night ESPN primetime…and then Cincinnati remembered they play in the Big East and promptly lost to Toledo over the weekend. This is still a big game as far as the Big East goes (for whatever that's worth) as Louisville looks to remain undefeated and keep their BCS dreams alive. However, the Bearcats have won four straight in the series, including 25-16 last year.

Ohio State at Penn State

Ohio State at Penn State - This game is being dubbed the "Battle of the Banned." For that reason alone it makes the list. This game will also decide the Big 10 coach of the year award between Bill O'Brien and Urban Meyer. After an 0-2 start and the potential for a completely disastrous season in Happy Valley, O'Brien and the Nittany Lions have reeled off 5 straight. Meanwhile Meyer and the Buckeyes are coming off an embarrassing near loss at home to Purdue but did improve to 8-0. Early word is that Ohio St QB Braxton Miller is doubtful even though he was cleared from the hospital with no reported injuries. Personally I think he will start this weekend and have another big game for the Buckeyes. Unfortunately for Meyer, Miller doesn't play defense as well. Look for a shootout in State College in a rare interesting match-up in the Big 10.

Oregon State at Washington

Oregon State at Washington - Oregon State continues their winning ways and in the process continues to give In-N-Out Burger more free advertising than Wonder Bread got in Talladega Nights. They aren't the flashiest team in the Pac-12 but the Beavers have unexpectedly opened 6-0 overall and 4-0 in the Pac-12 after going 3-9 last season. The Beavers defense has played great all year and backup QB Cody Vaz has filled in very well in two games for Sean Mannion. Washington on the other hand has had a very up-and-down season thus far, however they boast one of the best home field advantages in the country and look to put an end to the Beavers dream season Saturday night in CenturyLink Field.

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ACC Report - Week 9
By Joe Williams

It was another good week in the ACC, as I was fortunate enough to select two winners. I was in attendance at the thrilling UNC-Duke game last Saturday, and Duke was in command for most of the game. However, UNC made a feverish comeback, and actually took the lead briefly. Down 30-26, the Blue Devils ended up winning with a fourth-down play in the final minute in the red zone, sending the unusually large and boisterous crowd at Wallace Wade Stadium into a frenzy.

It could have been an even better weekend had I pulled the trigger on Georgia Tech (-14) at home against Boston College, but I didn't like the Yellow Jackets based upon their overall record, and inability to beat Middle Tennessee at home earlier in the year. I also cooled on Clemson (-8) late in the week, tricked into believing Virginia Tech couldn't possibly be the mediocre team that they have become. However, I am not greedy, I'll take my two victories, and feel very happy with an overall 5-1 mark for the previous week. Let's pick some more winners this weekend! Good luck to all.

North Carolina State at North Carolina

This will be a very interesting game to watch, as there are so many different storylines. The Tar Heels were stunned in Durham last weekend by their normally doormat-like rivals, the Duke Blue Devils. Now, they come home to face their bigger gridiron rival, and Triangle neighbor, the N.C. State Wolfpack. Last season, the Pack beat the Heels 13-0 for their fifth consecutive victory in the series. In most of those games, the Wolfpack have been the underdog, and that is no different this season. N.C. State is a very attractive 7.5-point underdog in this one. While the Tar Heels are 6-0 ATS over their past six home games, the underdog is 12-2 ATS in the past 14 meetings, and N.C. State is 5-0 ATS in the past five meetings between these bitter rivals. Keep in mind, North Carolina is also just 2-5 ATS in their past seven games against teams with a winning record, while the Pack is 5-2-1 ATS in similar situations.

Clemson at Wake Forest

The ACC will get a handful of Thursday games, and this week's battle will be a good one despite a deceptive 13.5-point spread. The Clemson Tigers look to remain on a roll as they head into Winston-Salem. Clemson is 5-0 ATS in its past five ACC battles, and 4-0 ATS in their past four overall, including a drumming of Virginia Tech last weekend in Death Valley. On the flip side, Wake is 5-2 ATS in its past seven conference games, including an outright win at Virginia last weekend. However, the Deacs are just 4-9 ATS in their past 13 games against a team with a winning record. One note to really remember is that the home team is 5-2 ATS in the past seven meetings, and Clemson is just 1-4-1 ATS in its past six visits to Wake. In looking at the total, the under is 6-1 in Clemson's past seven games on fieldturf, and the under is 10-3 in Clemson's past 13 road contests and 7-2 in the past nine Thursday games. For Wake, the under is 8-3 in their past 11 games overall, and 5-2 in their past seven ACC battles. In this series, the under has cashed in four straight meetings.

Duke at Florida State

The Duke Blue Devils lead the Coastal Division, and this game could potentially be an ACC Championship Game preview, as strange as that sounds. In fact, Duke is the only team in the Coastal Division more than two games over .500, sitting at an impressive and bowl eligible 6-2. However, they have been a tremendously different football team on the road than they are at home. They are 5-0 at home, and 1-2 on the road, outscored in their three trips away from Durham by a combined score of 117-68. However, Duke is 5-1 ATS in their past six games overall, and 12-3-1 in their past 16 games in the month of October. Florida State is just 2-5 ATS in their past seven ACC games, 2-6 ATS in their past eight home games against a team with a winning record, and 1-4 ATS in their past five games overall. Still, this is a dangerous spot for Duke, who needs to prove they can hang with the big boys. The road team is 7-1 ATS in the past eight meetings, but Duke is 0-4 ATS in the past four meetings, and the favorite is 4-0 ATS during that span.

Brigham Young at Georgia Tech

This will be an interesting game to watch despite the overall records of the teams. Brigham Young comes in with one of the better defenses in the nation, while the Yellow Jackets are one of the most prolific rushing offenses in the game. BYU is 6-1 ATS in their past seven road games, and 11-4 ATS in their past 15 games overall. Interestingly, though, BYU is 0-4 ATS in their past four games against ACC opponents. Meanwhile, the Jackets are 7-1-1 ATS in their past nine games against Independents. The line trends might be a bit confusing, although at first glance BYU might be a good moneyline play mainly because they have been a better team overall this season. However, the total looks to be more in agreement with an under play. The under is 5-1 in BYU's past six games on grass, 4-1 in their past five overall, and the under is 5-2 in BYU's past seven against ACC opponents. For Georgia Tech, the under is 27-10-2 in their past 39 October games, and 3-0-1 in their past four games against Independents.

Boston College at Maryland

Looking at the overall records, Maryland seems like a slam-dunk play getting a point from a 1-6 Boston College club. However, keep in mind that the Terps lost QB Perry Hills (knee) to a torn ACL last week, meaning the club will either hand the reins to true freshman Caleb Rowe or Devin Burns, a redshirt sophomore who orchestrated three straight scoring drives once Hills went down last week. Maryland is 4-1 ATS in their past five games against a team with a losing record, but they are just 5-13 ATS in their past 18 games overall. B.C. is 0-4 ATS in their past four conference games and 0-5 ATS in their past five overall. In the past five meetings, the underdog is 4-1 ATS. The under might be the better play, especially considering Maryland's uncertainty at the QB position. The under is 5-2 in Maryland's past seven ACC games, while the under is 19-6-1 in B.C.'s past 26 games overall. The under is also 10-4 in Boston College's past 14 home games.

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CFB: Streaks, Tips, Notes 

Oregon State at Washington

After going 3-9 last season the Beavers have unexpectedly opened 6-0 (5-1 ATS) including 4-0 (3-1 ATS) in the Pac-12. But, Beavers dream season comes to a crashing halt at Century link stadium. Washington has a way of handling conference foes at home. The Huskies are on a smart 6-2 SU stretch against visiting Pac-12 opponents cashing 7-of-8 tickets. The only losses have come against the other Oregon squad ('Quack-Attack') a far cry better than these Beavers.

Notre Dame at Oklahoma

The Irish (7-0, 4-3 ATS) have their hands full heading into Norman to take on Sooners (5-1, 4-2 ATS). Irish have yet to face the likes of OU which scores a massive 44.7 points/game behind a well balanced offense split between 288.3 passing, 199.8 rushing yards/game and allows just 15.3 per contest. Landry Jones putting up 290.3 passing yards/game tossing 7 TD's in winning the last three in blowout fashion looks primed to exploit the basically untested Notre Dame secondary which gave up two majors vs BYU last week. OU's ground crew notching 10 TD's on an average 152.3 rushing yards/game over the three game win streak will do it's share of damage. Tough venue, tough spot for Irish. The Sooners are on a 43-2 (28-14-1 ATS) stretch at home and have a 6-1 ATS streak going when laying 10 to 16 points.

Kentucky at Missouri

Dismantled 41-20 by Georgia in it's SEC debut, whacked 31-10 by South Carolina, nipped 19-15 at home by Vanderbilt then getting steamrolled 42-10 most recently by defending national champion Crimson Tide the Missouri Tigers are finding the grind of SEC play difficult. On a positive note, the Tigers had this past weekend off and injured QB James Franklin could return from a left knee strain for their October 27 home tilt against strugling Kentucky (1-7, 2-6 ATS) at 'The ZOU' in Columbia. Faurot Field had been one of the toughest home venues in the country the past 7 seasons (34-8 SU) but the edge seems to have shifted since MIZZOU moved to the SEC as they're just 2-3 (1-3-1 ATS) in front of the home crowd this season including 0-3 SU/ATS vs conference opponents. That said, MIZZOU looking for credibility within the conference ramps up intensity on both sides of the ball this week taking full advantage of the offensively (19.2 PPG), defensively (32.4 PPG) challenged Wildcats not exactly road warriors at 1-12 (2-11 ATS) the past thirteen away from home. Consider MIZZOU which has proven resilient in this spot winning five of six SU/ATS and seven of nine SU/ATS following a defeat.

Florida at Georgia

The Florida Gators (7-0, 6-1 AT) made a statement last week in 'The Swamp'. Florida didn't win pretty but CB Purifoy poking the ball away from Gamecocks' QB Connor Shaw on USC's first play from scrimmage then recovering the ball on the 2-yard line allowing Gators' to punch in a quick touchdown set the early tone. Building a 21-6 lead with all three TD's set up by fumble recoveries the Gators never looked back as they destroyed South Carolina 44-11 as 3.5 point favorite. With last week's win all that stands in the way of another shot at the conference title is Georgia (6-1, 2-5 ATS) a squad that struggled in defeating SEC East basement dwelling Kentucky (29-24) as 24.5 point favorite. Gators knowing what's at stake and having lost 24-20 to the Bulldogs last year will be primed an ready. Expect Florida to punch it's ticket to the SEC title in this neutral site game at EverBank Stadium in Jacksonville. Trends of note: Gators have won 13-of-16 encounters including a perfect 3-0 SU/ATS exacting revenge in the series. Florida is 4-1-1 ATS laying less than double digits, 8-2 ATS last 10 neutral site games.

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Big Ten Report - Week 9

It's the final weekend of October and the Big Ten picture is finally starting to take place. Michigan and Nebraska are the front-runners to represent the Legends division in the Big Ten Championship while it would take a monumental collapse from Wisconsin for the Badgers to miss out on a ticket to Indianapolis. Meanwhile, possibly the two best teams in the conference, Ohio State and Penn State; can't play in the postseason but matchup this week in the "Ineligibowl". ASA has the inside look at all the matchups inside...

Nebraska (-2.5) vs. Michigan

UN: Last week at Northwestern: W 29-28
UM: Last week vs. Michigan State: W 12-10

The winner of this game gets a head up on the Legends Division race. If the Wolverines win, they will be tough to catch as they would remain undefeated. Michigan's defense has been the best in the Big Ten in conference play. The Wolverines have allowed just 23 points through three games and have allowed opposing offenses to pass for just 126 yards per game (just 4.4 yards per attempt) with two touchdowns and four interceptions. They've also allowed Big Ten opponents to rush for just 91 yards per game on a 2.9 YPC average with no touchdowns through three games. Purdue, Michigan State, and Illinois haven't exactly been lighting it up on offense, but those are still impressive numbers. They'll try to carry that success over on the road against the league's top offense. Offensively Michigan was held out of the endzone last week against MSU, but four field goals was enough to top their rival. The Wolves still have one of the top weapons in the country in Denard Robinson and Nebraska has had its difficulties dealing with dual-threat quarterbacks. After an emotion-charged, physical game against its rival, Michigan will have to reload in a hurry for this week's showdown with Nebraska on the road.

Nothing has come easy for the Huskers on the road, but they buckled down in the clutch and got two touchdowns with under 6:00 remaining to get the win over Northwestern last week. Looking at the stats, it's a wonder how the Huskers didn't win in a blowout. Nebraska had 201 rush yards, a +242 yard advantage, and +12 first downs. The defense really stepped up as the Huskers allowed a respectful 180 rush yards (4.7 YPC) to one of the top rushing offenses in the country. They also held Northwestern QB's to complete just 16-of-37 passes for 121 yards. That was a promising performance against a spread team after allowing 63 points to Ohio State in Nebraska's last game. Next the Huskers will deal with a much more potent offense, but they'll be at home where they are 4-0 this season.

Recent history: Nebraska isn't lacking for motivation here after losing at Michigan by 28 points last season in their first matchup as conference foes. Nebraska turned the ball over three times and was held to just 260 total yards.

Trends: Michigan is just 9-25 ATS in its last 34 conference games and 3-9-1 ATS in its last 13 road games. Nebraska is 4-1 ATS in its last 5 home games, but just 1-5-1 ATS in its last 7 conference games. The Huskers are also just 1-6 ATS in their last 7 games following a SU win.

Injury report: Michigan CB Ramon Taylor is still listed as the starter on the depth chart after suffering an undisclosed injury last week. Nebraska RB Rex Burkhead is day-to-day after aggravating his left knee injury for the second time in three weeks Saturday at Northwestern.

Penn State (PK) vs. Ohio State

PSU: Last week at Iowa: W 38-14
OSU: Last week vs. Purdue: W 29-22 (OT)

This game has been dubbed as "The Ineligi-Bowl" as both squads are banned from postseason play this year. Both teams come in undefeated in league play so this is for the Leaders division lead. Still, without an impact on postseason implication, this game still means a lot to both sides that are playing well. Penn State is playing as well as anyone in the Big Ten and just got done destroying Iowa on the road, a place PSU hadn't won at since 1999. The Nittany Lions have now reeled off five straight wins (5-0 ATS) and have won each game by an average of 20.2 points per game (none by less than 11 points). QB McGloin continued his ascension with 289 yards and two touchdowns last week and he now has 14 TD's and just two INT's this season. RB Belton added 103 rush yards and three scores last week and coach Bill O'Brien's offense gets better every week. Defensively PSU held Iowa to just 20 rush yards on 23 carries and 209 total yards. PSU now ranks 22nd in total defense and 13th in scoring defense. Beaver Stadium will be rocking on Saturday afternoon when OSU comes to town.

This will be the toughest test to date for the undefeated Buckeyes, who barely escaped with a home win over Purdue last weekend. Backup QB Kenny Guiton led the Buckeyes to a game-tying touchdown with three seconds remaining to send the game into overtime - where they won. Guiton may get the start as Braxton Miller remains questionable for this weekend's game (see more below). The Buckeyes haven't been good defensively this season. OSU ranks 68th in total defense, 109th against the pass, and 51st in scoring defense. The Bucks are allowing 31.3 points per game in conference play and they'll face another difficult test against PSU's new & improved offense.

Recent history: It's been a pretty even series history. Ohio State is 4-3 SU & ATS over the previous seven. They've also won back-to-back games at State College by 20 & 17 points, respectively. PSU won this meeting at OSU last season, 20-14. That was the score at halftime and PSU's defense (held OSU to just 139 2nd half yards) and running game (239 rush yards on 6.1 YPC) led the way for the PSU victory.

Trends: OSU is 26-10-1 ATS in its last 37 road games. But the Bucks are just 2-5 ATS in their last seven games overall. PSU is on a 6-0 ATS run. The Nittany Lions are also 4-1-1 ATS in their last 6 conference games. In head-to-head trends, the road team is 4-1 ATS in their last 5 meetings and the score has remained 'under' in six of the last eight meetings.

Injury report: Braxton Miller is participating in practice, but head coach Urban Meyer hasn't stated if Miller will play or not this Saturday. PSU LB Joshua Perry and WR Corey Brown both are expected to be fine for the Penn State game after getting nicked up against Purdue.

Wisconsin (-6.5) vs. Michigan State

UW: Last week vs. Minnesota: W 38-13
MSU: Last week at Michigan: L 10-12

This was supposed to be one of the marquee matchups in the Big Ten this season. But Wisconsin dropped two of its first five games and MSU already has four losses, taking away some of the luster from this budding rivalry. Still, there's no love lost from these two after two meetings last season (more in "recent history" below) and motivation will be high for both squads. The Badgers have gotten back to the ground-n-pound attack over the last few weeks. RB's Montee Ball and James White have paved the way for a three-game winning streak. Ball has 529 yards (7.3 YPC) and seven scores while White has 341 yards (9.2 YPC) and four scores. This offense will face its biggest test, however, when Michigan State's 12th ranked rush defense comes to town Saturday. The defense stepped up again last week and held Minnesota to just 245 total yards as the Badgers retained Paul Bunyan's Axe for the ninth straight year. This underrated defensive unit now ranks 19th in total defense and 21st in points allowed.

MSU has now dropped two straight games and four of its last six overall. Offensively the Spartans are a mess, and things haven't been improving (just 16.5 PPG over the last six games). The running attack appeared to be its strong suit early in the season, but Le'Veon Bell appears to be wearing down under the heavy workload. Over the last four games, he's carried it 91 times for just 3.4 YPC with three scores. QB Maxwell also continues to struggle as he's completing just 55% of his passes with seven touchdowns and five interceptions this season. The defense played well again last week against Michigan, but to no avail. This unit is 5th in total defense and 11th in points allowed. MSU will have to avoid a hangover from last week's loss to rival Michigan and get prepared for another road test here at Camp Randall Stadium.

Recent history: Michigan State has been a thorn in the Badgers side. Wisconsin is 17-4 in its last 21 Big Ten games; two of those four losses are against MSU. However, Wisconsin got some revenge in the inaugural Big Ten title game last season with a 42-39 victory over Sparty. Montee Ball had 283 rushing & receiving yards with six total touchdowns in two games against MSU last year. MSU has covered three straight vs. the Badgers.

Trends: MSU is 6-1 ATS in its last seven road games. The Spartans are just 1-5 ATS in their last six games overall. Wisconsin has covered four straight games and the Badgers are 13-4-1 ATS in their last 18 home games. The total has finished 'over' in the last six meetings between MSU-Wisconsin in Madison.

Injury report: Badgers coach Bret Bielema said he's unsure if LT Ricky Wagner will be available for this week's game against Michigan State. Wagner injured his right knee two weeks ago against Purdue.

Northwestern (-6) vs. Iowa

NU: Last week vs. Nebraska: L 28-29
UI: Last week vs. Penn State: L 14-38

Both teams suffered home losses last week and both teams' chances of winning the Legends division just got that much smaller. For Northwestern, it was the second time in three weeks the Wildcats held a double-digit lead in the fourth quarter of a game it lost. NW watched a 12-point lead evaporate against Nebraska. Defensively the Wildcats allowed Nebraska QB Martinez to complete 27-of-39 passes for 342 yards and three scores while the Huskers also rushed for 201 yards (543 total yards allowed). QB Kain Colter barely played last week after being the focal point of the offense during the first half of the season. Colter and Siemian combined to complete just 16-of-37 for 121 yards. NW looks for a bounce-back performance here against the Hawkeyes.

After a big road win at Michigan State, Iowa returned home to a packed Kinnick Stadium for its lone night game of the year and the Hawks laid an egg. Iowa never really challenged PSU, as the Nittany Lions built a 24-0 halftime lead. The Hawks didn't score until a kickoff return for touchdown in the 4th quarter. QB James Vandenberg and the Hawkeyes' offense struggled again. Through seven games, Vandenberg has just three touchdown passes (had 25 in 2011). A couple of notable injuries in the Northwestern secondary should help Vandenberg bounce back this weekend. This unit now ranks 107th in total offense and 103rd in scoring offense. The defense couldn't stop Penn State as the Nittany Lions racked up over 500 yards of total offense and 28 first downs. With how mediocre the Hawkeyes have been this season, with a win over Northwestern, they can manage to linger in the Legends division race with a favorable schedule.

Recent history: Northwestern in 5-2 SU & ATS in the last seven meetings; however, the Hawkeyes won & covered in Iowa City last season, ending a three-year losing streak. Siemian and Colter each passed for a touchdown in a losing effort while Iowa QB Vandenberg led the way for the Hawkeyes with 224 passing yards and two scores.

Trends: Iowa is 36-15-1 ATS in its last 52 games following a loss. The Hawks are just 2-9 ATS in their last 11 road games. Northwestern has covered five straight home games and it is 7-1 ATS in its last eight games overall. The underdog is 6-1 ATS in the last seven meetings between these two and the score has remained 'under' the total in six of the last seven.

Injury report: Iowa starting LT Brandon Scherff will miss several months after undergoing surgery to repair a leg injury suffered in Saturday night's loss to Penn State. Northwestern's secondary could be very thin this week. CB's Nick VanHoose and Quinn Evans are doubtful. VanHoose is the team's top cover man. The good news is that top RB Venric Mark is expected to play Saturday.

Minnesota (+3.5) vs. Purdue

UM: Last week at Wisconsin: L 13-38
PU: Last week at Ohio State: L 22-29

Purdue has dropped three straight games against some formidable Big Ten opponents: Michigan, Wisconsin, and Ohio State. The Boilers still need to win three of their last five games to become bowl eligible and they have a pretty favorable schedule the rest of the way. This week against Minnesota they'll have to shake off the stink of last week's loss to Ohio State. Despite a blocked extra point and a blocked field goal - Purdue held a lead the entire 4th quarter before Ohio State scored the tying touchdown with just three seconds remaining (OSU won it in overtime). It was a strong performance on both sides of the ball from Purdue and just a devastating way to lose a game like that on the road. One of these two is going to break a three-game losing streak. The other falls to 0-4 in league play.

Minnesota Head coach Jerry Kill has committed to true freshman QB Philip Nelson as his quarterback, with oft-injured MarQueis Gray going to receiver. Nelson made his collegiate debut in his start at Wisconsin last week. He had mixed results, throwing for two touchdowns and two interceptions. The Gophers are looking for a scoring spark as Minnesota has scored exactly 13 points in three straight conference losses. They haven't scored over 17 points since mid-September when Gray got hurt. Defensively the Gophers rank 6th against the pass - mostly because opponents have so much success running against them (83rd against the run) that they don't have to pass. Last week Wisconsin ran for 337 yards on 6.1 YPC average.

Recent history: Purdue has won and covered two straight in the series and they are 7-3 SU & ATS dating back to 2000. Last year the Boilers took a 24-0 lead after the first quarter and took a 31-3 lead into halftime. Minnesota managed just 213 total yards and 11 first downs. The favorite is 10-1-1 ATS in the last 12 meetings between these two and the total has finished 'over' in the last four meetings in Minnesota.

Trends: Purdue is 6-2-1 ATS in its last nine games following a loss. Minnesota is 6-1 ATS in its last seven home games and 7-3 ATS in its last 10 games following a SU loss of more than 20 points.

Injury report: Minnesota WR Gray, whose knee/ankle issues prevent him from being full strength at quarterback, will work at wide receiver for the foreseeable future.

Illinois (-2) vs. Indiana

Ill: Last week - BYE
Ind: Last week at Navy: L 30-31

Both teams have combined to lose nine straight games. But the good news is that one of these two HAS to win this weekend. The Illini haven't been close to a victory over an FBS opponent since the opener. But they've had two weeks to prepare for this one after losing 0-45 to Michigan two weeks ago. Offensively the Illini have nothing going for them. They've scored 21 total points in three Big Ten games, rank 115th in total offense, and have more turnovers than touchdowns this season. The defense hasn't been terrible, but even an elite unit couldn't make up for the offensive deficiencies that this team has.

Sooner or later, Indiana has to pull one of these games out. They've lost five straight games by an average of 5 PPG. Four of the five games have been decided by four points or less including last week's one-point loss to Navy. Indiana held a lead almost the entire game before Navy scored the go-ahead touchdown with 2:05 remaining in the fourth quarter. The Hoosiers tallied 417 yards and 26 first downs, but two interceptions (one returned for touchdown) and the inability to stop the run doomed them in the end. Navy tallied 257 rush yards.

Recent history: Illinois has won and covered four of the last five in the series. The four wins were by an average 26.5 points per game (none by fewer than 13 points). Last year Indiana took a 10-0 lead, but was outscored 41-10 after that in the 21-point loss.

Trends: Indiana is 3-1-1 ATS in its last five games following a loss. Illinois is 0-4 ATS in its last four conference games. The favorite is 4-1 ATS in the last five meetings between these two and the home team is 7-3 ATS in the last 10 meetings.

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Re: College Football Week 9 Betting News and Notes

College Football Top 25 Betting Cheat Sheet: Week 9

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 9 of the season:

(13) Clemson at Wake Forest (11.5, 58.5)

Clemson allowed a season-low in points to an FBS school and forced four turnovers in last weekend’s 38-17 home triumph over Virginia Tech and can move into a tie with Florida State in its division with a victory. The Deamon Deacons turned in their best defensive performance of the year last week by holding Virginia to 10 points and 48 yards rushing, both of which were season-best totals for the defense. The schools have played under the total in their last four meetings.

Cincinnati at (14) Louisville (-3, 52)

All but one of Louisville’s seven victories has come against teams under .500 and the only other opponent left on its schedule after the Bearcats that owns a winning record is No. 15 Rutgers – another of the 11 remaining unbeaten FBS teams. Cincinnati suffered its first setback last weekend despite not allowing an offensive touchdown in a 29-23 loss at Toledo. The Bearcats have won five straight and nine of their last 10 against ranked conference opponents, including their last five away from home.

(24) Texas at Kansas (21, 60.5)

Texas has won nine straight versus Kansas including the last seven meetings by an average of 36 points. However, any dreams the Longhorns had of winning the Big 12 have been crushed by a defense that ranks 107th against the run (215.7) and overall (472.1), as well as 102nd in scoring (35.0). Texas, which lost star DE Jackson Jeffcoat (torn pectoral) for the season two weeks ago, has allowed an average of 580 yards over its last four contests. The Longhorns have played over the total in their last five games overall.

Tennessee at (16) South Carolina (-13.5, 57)

After nearly picking off LSU the week before, the Gamecocks crashed hard against the Gators, turning the ball over four times and surrendering four touchdown passes. Tennessee-South Carolina games have been decided by an average of 9.17 points since 2000, the closest matchup in the SEC. The Volunteers are 6-1 ATS in their last seven games in South Carolina.

Colorado at (2) Oregon (-46, 67.5)

The Ducks are coming off an impressive 43-21 victory last Thursday at Arizona State, which was allowing only 14.2 points entering the contest. Oregon has scored 30 points in 20 straight games - the longest streak in the FBS - and has put up 42 or more points in 10 straight games. The Buffaloes lost at USC 50-6 last week and allow 42.6 points per game - second-most in the nation, and have been outscored 143-37 in their last three games.

(8) USC at Arizona (6.5, 65.5)

Even though No. 8 USC will be aiming for its sixth straight win against Arizona when it travels to Tucson for a Pac-12 Conference game, the margin of each victory has been seven points or less. Arizona’s 114th-ranked defense will be up against one of the most prolific passing attacks in the country. USC quarterback Matt Barkley took over the conference’s all-time career mark for touchdown passes last week, and receivers Robert Woods and Marqise Lee are No. 1 and 2 in the Pac-12 in touchdown receptions this season. The underdog is 7-0 ATS in their last seven meetings.

Duke at (10) FSU (-27, 56.5)

Florida State has no choice but to push forward without leading rusher Chris Thompson against ACC rival Duke on Saturday in Tallahassee. Thompson was lost for the season with a torn ACL in last week's 33-20 victory over Miami, leaving the Seminoles without the ACC's third leading rusher.  The Blue Devils got back on track with a 33-30 decision over North Carolina last week after having a four-game win streak snapped at Virginia Tech the week before, but have never beaten the Seminoles in 17 meetings. Florida State is 1-4 ATS in its last five games overall.

(18) Boise State at Wyoming (16.5, 51.5)

Boise State seeks its seventh consecutive victory when it visits a Wyoming team spiraling downward. Not only have the Cowboys lost three consecutive games but coach Dave Christensen was suspended for Saturday’s game and fined $50,000 for verbally accosting Air Force coach Troy Calhoun after Wyoming’s loss on Oct. 13. Assistant head coach Pete Kaligis will serve as interim coach against the No. 18 Broncos. The road team is 5-1 ATS in their last six meetings.

(3) Florida at (11) Georgia (7, 47.5)

The Bulldogs are the only team in the SEC East with a chance to steal the Gators’ spot in the SEC title game but will need to win out to make it happen. If Florida gets by Georgia, it will have clinched a spot in the big game thanks to head-to-head wins over South Carolina and the Bulldogs. The Gators are fourth nationally in scoring defense, surrendering just 12.1 points, and held the Gamecocks to 36 rushing yards last Saturday. The favorite is 4-0 ATS in their last four meetings.

Kent State at (15) Rutgers (-13.5, 46)

Rutgers can improve to 8-0 for the fourth time in the program’s 143 years, but high-scoring Kent State has won five straight and is off to its best start since 1973. Kent State RB Dri Archer, who leads the nation in all-purpose yards per game, will present a big challenge to the Rutgers defense. The Golden Flashes are 5-0 ATS in their last five games overall.

(23) Ohio at Miami (Ohio) (7, 60.5)

Ohio, which is 7-0 for the first time in 44 years, has been pushed in its past three games, winning by a combined total of 16 points. Both teams were off last week, which was a good thing for the RedHawks. Miami lost its final two games before their week off by a combined 89-26 margin. The Bobcats are 6-0-1 ATS in their last seven games following a bye week.

Michigan State at (25) Wisconsin (-6, 41.5)

The Badgers have won three straight, including last Saturday’s 38-13 victory against Minnesota when tailbacks Montee Ball and James White both rushed for more than 100 yards. Michigan State’s impressive defense will look to slow down Wisconsin, which has averaged 34.2 points in its last five games. The last six games in the series have been decided by 10 points or less.

(17) Texas Tech at (4) Kansas State (-7, 60.5)

Kansas State has turned in two of the most impressive performances of the season, squeezing out a victory at then-No. 5 Oklahoma last month before visiting West Virginia last week and annihilating the 15th-ranked Mountaineers, 55-14. Senior QB Collin Klein seized control of the Heisman Trophy race by accounting for all seven touchdowns to help Kansas State move up to No. 3 in the latest BCS poll. The Red Raiders survived a three-overtime shootout to outlast Texas Christian 56-53 last week. Quarterback Seth Doege has thrown for 817 yards and 13 touchdowns versus one pick in the last two games.  The schools have played over the total in their last four meetings.

Washington State at (19) Stanford (-24.5, 50.5)

Stanford will play consecutive games against the worst teams in the Pac-12 beginning Saturday when it hosts Washington State. The No. 19 Cardinal is fourth in the country and leads the Pac-12 with 77.0 rushing yards allowed per game, while the Cougars have the second-worst rushing offense in the country (40.6). Stanford is 5-0-1 ATS in its last six games vs. a team with a losing record.

(21) Texas A&M at Auburn (14.5, 52.5)

After committing five turnovers in a heartbreaking loss to LSU, No. 21 Texas A&M brings its explosive offense to Auburn to face the reeling Tigers. Freshman QB Johnny Manziel (14 passing touchdowns, 10 rushing TDs) should bounce back after being forced to throw 56 times and getting picked off three times by LSU. Auburn is off to its worst start in 60 years and ranks 121st nationally in scoring (15.7). Texas A&M is one of only three teams that ranks in the top 20 nationally in rushing, passing, total offense and points. The Aggies are 0-5 ATS in their last five October games.

(5) Notre Dame at (7) Oklahoma (-11, 48)

Oklahoma has bounced back with a vengeance from its lone loss to Kansas State, rolling up 156 points in lopsided victories over Texas, Texas Tech and Kansas, but it will be facing a defense that ranks second nationally in points allowed at 9.4 per game. Four of the Fighting Irish's wins have been by seven points or fewer, but the offense should get a boost with the return of starting QB Everett Golson, who missed the BYU game due to a concussion suffered in an overtime win over Stanford on Oct. 13. The under is 5-1-1 in Notre Dame’s last seven road games and has cashed in Notre Dame's last six games overall.

(20) Michigan at Nebraska (-2.5, 58)

Nebraska is playing at home for the first time since Sept. 29 and is expected to be without star RB Rex Burkhead, who aggravated a left knee injury in the Northwestern game. The Wolverines have allowed 13 or fewer points in each of their last five games. Michigan is 10th nationally in total defense (286.0 yards per game) and fourth in defending the pass (143.0). The Cornhuskers are 0-5 ATS in their last five games vs. a team with a winning record.

(12) Mississippi State at (1) Alabama (-24, 46)

The Crimson Tide has rolled through its first seven games, winning each by at least 19 points and by an average of 32.7 points. Alabama has taken the past four meetings - by a 117-27 margin - and nine of the past 11. Mississippi State has scored 27 or more points in each game this season, the first time in school history the Bulldogs have topped 25 points in seven straight games. The Crimson Tide is just 1-5 ATS in its last six home games.

(9) Oregon State at Washington (4, 47.5)

Oregon State, ranked seventh in the latest BCS list, suddenly is being mentioned in the national title race, if only as an afterthought. The Beavs have to run the table, of course. The surprising Beavers are off to a 6-0 start and starting QB Sean Mannion is expected to return to the lineup Saturday after undergoing a surgical procedure on his knee Tuesday. The Beavers are 8-0 ATS in their last eight meetings.

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Dogged Perfection
By Robbie Gainous

The college football season continues to roll on and the BCS comes under fire after just the second week of their rankings. Will we ever have a playoff?

Last week our College Football System of the Week won easily as we called for a play on Marshall Thundering Herd over the Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles and they delivered winning 59 to 24 as a 4-point road underdog.

This week our research has uncovered a powerful system that involves conference road underdogs coming off a home victory over a non-conference foe. In this particular situation, we are playing against the road underdog after winning at home while giving up a ton of points.

System: In games 2-11, play AGAINST a conference road underdog off a non-conference home SU win allowing 36+ points vs. an opponent not off a SU loss scoring 30+ points.

We have to go all the way back to September 2006 for the last active date for our system. That game featured a North Carolina Tar Heels team coming off a big victory over a non-conference foe and then facing the Clemson Tigers. Our system said to play AGAINST the UNC Tar Heels +16.5 points versus the Clemson Tigers and the system was right as Clemson destroyed UNC 52 to 7.

With that win, the system now has a record of 12-0 straight up and against the spread winning straight up by an average of 24.2 points per game while the spread victory has averaged covering by 12.2 points per game over that span.

This week our system is active and with all the system parameters met, the Cajun Sports NCAA Football System of the Week qualifies a play AGAINST Eastern Michigan in their game versus Bowling Green on Saturday. This week we will Play ON the Bowling Green Falcons.

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Florida at Georgia: What Bettors Need to Know

Florida at Georgia (6.5, 46.5)

The last big test for No. 3 Florida and the obstacle standing in the way of a spot in the SEC Championship Game comes this weekend with No. 11 Georgia. The annual cocktail party in Jacksonville, Florida, takes place on Saturday afternoon. The Bulldogs are the only team in the SEC East with a chance to steal the Gators’ spot in the SEC title game but will need to win out to make it happen. If Florida gets by Georgia, it will have clinched a spot in the big game thanks to head-to-head wins over South Carolina and the Bulldogs. Any remaining doubts about the Gators’ legitimacy were wiped away with that 44-11 drubbing of the Gamecocks last weekend, and quarterback Jeff Driskel has emerged as a threat in both the passing and running game. The Bulldogs have been less impressive, getting drilled by South Carolina and barely scraping by Tennessee and Kentucky in the last three games.

LINE: Florida -6.5, O/U 46.5.

WEATHER: Forecasts are calling for temperatures in the mid-70s with a 33 percent chance of showers. Winds will be strong out of the north at 21 mph.

ABOUT FLORIDA (7-0, 6-0 SEC): The Gators have one game left in a brutal four-game stretch that included LSU and South Carolina. Florida struggled on both sides of the ball at times during its 7-6 campaign in 2011 but has tightened things up in 2012, especially on the defensive end. The Gators are fourth nationally in scoring defense, surrendering just 12.1 points, and held the Gamecocks to 36 rushing yards last Saturday. Driskel, who rushed for 177 yards in a win at Vanderbilt and passed for 219 at Tennessee, was efficient in the red zone against South Carolina with four touchdown passes. The sophomore has been asked to manage the game more than carry the offense and has responded with a 9-to-1 touchdown-to-interception ratio for an offense averaging better than 30 points.

ABOUT GEORGIA (6-1, 4-1): The Bulldogs put up at least 48 points in each of their first three conference games but had their defense exposed in a 51-44 win over the Volunteers on Sept. 29. Including that contest, Georgia has allowed 34.3 points over its last three games. That has put more pressure on quarterback Aaron Murray, who matched Driskel with a four-TD, no-interception performance in a 29-24 win at Kentucky last weekend. Murray became the school’s all-time leader in touchdown passes with that effort while putting up 427 yards through the air. But the only top-20 defense Murray has faced in 2012 was South Carolina, which forced him into a season-worst 11-for-31 passing performance with no touchdowns. Murray was 15-for-34 for 169 yards, two touchdowns and one interception last season against Florida but converted a pair of fourth downs for scores to help pull out a 24-20 victory.


* Favorite is 4-0 ATS in their last four meetings.
* Over is 4-1 in the last five meetings.
* Gators are 6-0 ATS in their last six games overall.
* Bulldogs are 1-4 ATS in their last five games overall.


1. Second-year Florida coach Will Muschamp played at Georgia from 1991-94 and was defensive captain as a safety his senior year.

2. The Bulldogs’ victory last season snapped a three-game losing streak in the series. Georgia leads the series overall at 48-40-2.

3. Bulldogs DE Abry Jones (ankle) won't play, but OLB Jarvis Jones (ankle), who missed the Kentucky game, is expected to return.

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Ohio State at Penn State: What Bettors Need to Know

Ohio State at Penn State (-1, 50.5)

In a down year for the Big Ten, the two best teams might be the only two that are banned from postseason play. Ohio State is the lone Big Ten team without a loss but is still dealing with sanctions left over from the Jim Tressel regime. Penn State has won five straight and is the only team other than Ohio State coming into this weekend undefeated in Leaders Division play. But the Nittany Lions, like the Buckeyes, will be watching the postseason from home. Instead of the Big Ten championship game, the two best teams in the conference will meet Saturday evening at Beaver Stadium. Ohio State hopes to have quarterback Braxton Miller at 100 percent by game time. The dark horse Heisman contender was knocked out of last weekend’s victory over Purdue and sent to the hospital to be checked out. Miller cleared all the tests this week, but will be closely monitored.

LINE: Penn State -1, O/U 50.5.

WEATHER: Forecasts are calling for temperatures in the mid-50s with a 35 percent chance of showers. Winds will be light out of the east.

ABOUT OHIO STATE (8-0, 4-0 Big Ten): Buckeyes coach Urban Meyer expects Miller to start Saturday, with backup Kenny Guiton ready if needed. Guiton led a game-tying touchdown drive against the Boilermakers and helped the team pull out a 29-22 victory in overtime. Miller, who is 41 yards short of 1,000 rushing yards on the season, will be running into a Penn State defense that has yielded an average of 13.8 points over its last five games. An area of greater concern for Meyer could be on the other side of the ball, where Ohio State has been gouged for 36.3 points over the last three games. The Buckeyes rank 11th in the Big Ten against the pass, surrendering 271.8 yards through the air. They have made up for it with 11 interceptions but will be going up against a quarterback in Matt McGloin who is at the top of his game.

ABOUT PENN STATE (5-2, 3-0): McGloin led the 38-14 thrashing of Iowa last weekend and ranks second in the Big Ten in passing yardage at 1,788. His 14-to-2 touchdown-to-interception ratio is the best in the league. Expectations were low for the Nittany Lions after crushing sanctions and two losses to open the season, but first-year coach Bill O’Brien has pulled the team together on both sides of the ball. Known as an offensive coordinator, O’Brien’s defense has been just as strong over the last five games. Penn State is second in the Big Ten against the run, averaging only 110.1 yards allowed, and held Illinois dual-threat quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase to seven yards on 11 carries in a 35-7 drubbing Sept. 29.


* Road team is 4-1 ATS in their last five meetings.
* Under is 6-2 in the last eight meetings.
* Nittany Lions are 4-0 ATS in their last four games following a win.
* Buckeyes are 2-5 ATS in their last seven games overall.
* Nittany Lions are 6-0 ATS in their last six games overall.


1. The vacated wins over the past several seasons by each team has changed the historical record between the schools. Ohio State lists the series as tied, 13-13, while Penn State has the Buckeyes leading 14-8 (noting five vacated wins for the Nittany Lions).

2. Penn State won the meeting last season 20-14 in Columbus. Miller threw for a touchdown and ran for another but was sacked on the final play.

3. Ohio State has rushed for at least 100 yards in each of its eight games in 2012.

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Florida vs. Georgia
By Brian Edwards

The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party has gone the way of the Gators in recent years. In fact, Florida (7-0 straight up, 6-1 against the spread) has won 18 of the last 22 head-to-head meetings against Georgia, which hasn’t won back-to-back games in this rivalry since the 1980s.

As of late Friday afternoon, most betting shops had Will Muschamp’s team installed as a 6½-point favorite with the total in the 46-47 range. Gamblers can take the Bulldogs to win outright for a lucrative plus-230 return (risk $100 to win $230).

UF stayed undefeated by spanking South Carolina by a 44-11 count as a 3½-point home favorite last Saturday. The Gators were actually out-gained 191-183 in total offense, but they cruised to the blowout victory thanks to a 4-0 advantage in turnover margin.

Jeff Driskel threw four touchdown passes, including a pair of scoring strikes to junior tight end Jordan Reed. For the season, Driskel is completing 66.9 percent of his throws with an 8/1 touchdown-to-interception ratio.

Driskel is also a threat with his legs, as evidenced by 321 rushing yards and four touchdowns. Senior running back Mike Gillislee has been keyed on by opposing defenses recently, resulting in just 104 rushing yards and zero TDs in the last two games.
Nevertheless, Gillislee is still fifth in the SEC in rushing with 652 yards and seven TDs. He averages 4.7 yards per carry.

Florida doesn’t blow any opponent away with offensive firepower, but it has established a recipe for success bases on defense, special teams and taking care of the football. Speaking of special teams, the Gators might have both the best place-kicker and punter in the nation.

Kyle Christy had a huge impact on the win over the Gamecocks, flipping the field several times while averaging 54.3 yards per on seven punts. Caleb Sturgis, who has been injured and unable to play in two straight games against UGA, has excellent range and will probably be booting field goals on Sundays next year.

Georgia (6-1 SU, 2-5 ATS) went into 2012 as the SEC East favorite based mainly on the fact that it had an easier schedule compared to its division rivals. This is the second straight season that Alabama, LSU and Arkansas have been absent from the Dawgs’ slate.

Even though it has won six of seven games, Mark Richt’s squad has not picked up any style points along the way. Last week may have been the best example.

Kentucky was without its two best QBs, two best RBs and nearly its entire secondary when UGA came to Lexington. But the Wildcats were in the game for 60 minutes before coming up on the short end of a 29-24 decision. UK took the cash as a 25 ½-point underdog.

Most of the criticism in Athens has come toward a stop unit that’s stacked with NFL talents like Jarvis Jones, Alec Ogletree, Bacarri Rambo and Shawn Williams. However, the defense has struggled mightily against the run, giving up 167.9 yards per game.

Rambo and Ogletree’s four-game suspensions didn’t help, nor did two-game suspensions for another pair of starters in cornerback Sanders Commings and LB Chase Vasser. Jones didn’t play last week at UK due to a sprained ankle, but he’s set to return to the lineup in Jacksonville.

Aaron Murray is a solid signal caller for UGA, but he’s had a propensity for not playing his best in the biggest games. For instance, he was awful in a 35-7 loss at South Carolina earlier this month, and the junior kept Tennessee in the game in a non-covering 51-44 home win by gift-wrapping the Vols with a pair of first-half TDs (one pick-six and a fumble on UGA’s nine).

I don’t mean to portray a picture of all gloom and doom for UGA, though. After all, a win over Florida will put the Bulldogs in control of their own destiny in terms of winning the East and returning to the Ga. Dome for the SEC Championship Game. Furthermore, none of Georgia’s goals are off the table as it could conceivably still win the national title.

With that said, there’s no hiding this team from the ‘underachiever label’ to date.

One positive for the Dawgs has been the emergence of a pair of freshman RBs in Keith Marshall and Todd Gurley, who have combined to rush for 1,110 yards and 14 TDs. Gurley has nine rushing scores and is averaging 6.7 YPC. Marshall has five TD runs and a 7.0 YPC average.

Murray has completed 65.2 percent of his passes for 1,906 yards with a 16/4 TD-INT ratio. One of his favorite targets, WR Michael Bennett, suffered a torn ACL in early October and is done for the season. Taverres King has a team-high 26 receptions for 511 yards and five TDs.

When these teams met last year, UGA captured a 24-20 win as a 3 ½-point favorite. Murray threw a pair of TD passes on fourth-down plays.

The ‘over’ is hitting at a 5-2 overall clip for UGA, while the ‘under’ has gone 4-3 overall for UF. The ‘over’ is 4-1 in the last five UF-UGA games.

CBS will provide television coverage at 3:30 p.m. Eastern.

B.E.’s Bonus Nuggets

Auburn owns a 5-1 spread record in six games as a home underdog during Gene Chizik’s four-year tenure. The Tigers, who are 15-point home ‘dogs Saturday vs. Texas A&M, have won three of those games outright.

Vanderbilt is favored by 33 Saturday at home vs. Massachusetts. Many sharp bettors like to fade (go against) teams when they are in unfamiliar roles. Obviously, we don’t see the Commodores as extremely healthy favorites very often. However, we should note that in three double-digit ‘chalk’ spots on James Franklin’s watch, Vandy has gone 3-0 ATS.

Florida has won 18 of the last 22 head-to-head meetings against Georgia dating back to 1990. The Gators are 3-1 ATS in the last four encounters. For what it’s worth (nothing?), UF head coach Will Muschamp is winless in five Florida-Georgia games. He was winless as a player at UGA in four tries and his first UF squad lost a 24-20 decision in Jacksonville last year.

Northwestern is a six-point home favorite vs. Iowa. Although the Wildcats are 2-0 ATS as home favorites this season, they are 6-13 ATS in 19 games as home ‘chalk’ during Pat Fitzgerald’s seven-year tenure.

Duke has never beaten Florida St, going 0-17 with an average score of 50-16. No game has been closer than 19 points. The Seminoles are favored by 27½ at home against the Blue Devils.

ULM owns a 6-1 spread record after rallying for a 43-42 overtime win last week at Western Kentucky. For the second time this season, the Warhawks rallied from a 28-7 deficit to win a road game in overtime. They take on South Alabama this weekend as 23-point home favorites.

Notre Dame is 3-1 ATS as a road underdog during Brian Kelly’s three-year stay at the helm. The unbeaten Irish is an 11-point underdog at Oklahoma.

Virginia still hasn’t covered the spread all season, going 0-7-1 ATS. Unfortunately, gamblers can’t fade the Cavs this weekend because they have an open date.

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Re: College Football Week 9 Betting News and Notes

Pac-12 Report - Week 9
By Joe Williams

Southern California at Arizona

Arizona and head coach Rich Rodriguez could use a signature win, and taking down Pac-12 behemoth USC would definitely fit that bill. The Wildcats have started out 1-3 in conference play, and are quickly fading from the bowl picture. They need two victories to become bowl eligible, and really are likely to be favored in just one of their remaining games. USC covered a giant number last weekend against Colorado, and this week they'll only need to cover six points. USC is just 2-5 ATS this season, but as mentioned they covered last week, and are 2-2 ATS in their past four. Arizona comes in having covered two straight, and they are 4-2 ATS in their past six. In this series, the road team is 4-1 ATS in the past five meetings, but USC is just 1-6 ATS in the past seven battles. In addition, the underdog is a perfect 7-0 ATS in the last seven contests between the sides. The under might be a better play, as the number has gone under in four of USC's past five, and the under is 5-1 in their past six Pac-12 games. The under is also 7-3 in USC's past 10 road games against a team with a winning home record. For Arizona, the over is 5-1 in their past six home games. However, the under is 19-6-1 in their past 26 home games against a team with a winning road record. The under is also a perfect 4-0 in the past four meetings in Arizona, and 5-1 in the past six meetings overall.

UCLA at Arizona State

This is a battle of two 5-2 teams with major bowl implications in the Pac-12. The Bruins need to get it together if they're going to remain in that picture, or they'll be playing mighty early in the bowl season. UCLA is just 7-17 ATS in their past 24 Pac-12 games, they're just 10-22 ATS in their past 32 games on grass, and just 2-14 ATS in their past 16 games in the month of October. AZ State, on the other hand, is 5-1 ATS in their past six games on grass, 3-1-1 in their past five games in the month of October, and 5-2 ATS in the past seven games overall. However, in this series, UCLA has covered seven of the past nine, though the home team is a perfect 5-0. That's a bit confusing. The total might not be. The under has cashed in seven of UCLA's past eight games following an ATS loss, and the under has cashed in four of their five games overall. The under is also 37-15-1 in their past 53 Pac-12 games. For AZ State, the under is also 4-1 in their past five games overall, and 5-1 in their past six home games against a team with a winning road record. However, the over is 8-3 in the past 11 home games for the Sun Devils, so maybe take the under and bet lightly, especially if you can get it at 58 or higher.

Oregon State at Washington

The public is in love with the Beavers this weekend, picking them at a nearly 2-to-1 clip to cover in Seattle against the Huskies. The public had similar trust in Stanford a few weeks back on a Thursday, and were smacked by Washington. Love for Oregon State might be warranted, however. First, they get QB Sean Mannion back from injury. He missed the past two games due to a knee injury. QB Cody Vaz did an admirable just leading the team to a pair of wins in his first two collegiate starts, and he is waiting in the wings if Mannion is rusty. Second, Oregon State is a robust 6-1-1 ATS in their past eight games, and 4-1-1 ATS in their past six Pac-12 battles. In addition, Oregon State is a whopping 40-14-1 in their past 55 games in the month of October. For Washington, they are 8-2 ATS in their past 10 home games, but just 2-6 ATS in their past eight against teams with a winning record. In addition, the Huskies are a dismal 13-36-2 ATS in their past 51 games in the month of October. Now, here is the dealbreaker if you were leaning toward U-Dub: Oregon State is a perfect 8-0 ATS in the past eight meetings, and 5-0 ATS in their past five trips to Seattle.

Washington State at Stanford

This is a game the Cardinal should dominate, as they're a 5-2 team which is battle-tested against a difficult early slate of opponent, against a Cougars team still finding its way. Washington State is 1-3-1 ATS in their past five road contests, and 2-5-1 ATS in their past eight games overall. However, Washington State is 5-2 ATS in their past seven games against a team with a winning record, so they definitely rise for the occasion. Stanford is 5-0-1 ATS in their past six games against a team with a losing record, and they are 20-5-1 ATS in their past 26 games following an ATS win. Stanford is also a solid 13-4-1 ATS in their past 18 Pac-12 games, and have been a bettor's friend by going 35-16-1 ATS over their past 52 overall. In this series, the fave is 5-1 ATS in the past six battles, and the Cougars are an awful 5-12 ATS in the past 17 meetings.

Colorado at Oregon

Poor Colorado. They might be regretting their move to the Pac-12 right about now, as they are in the second of a three-game stretch at USC, at Oregon and home to Stanford. Ouch. The Buffaloes were drilled 50-6 last week at SC, and they have now failed to cover in six of their seven games this season. They're an awful football team, and not showing any signs of getting better. Last season, they were punished by UO 45-2. It should be more of the same this weekend, and this game wouldn't even be a one-star matchup if not for the fact it involved Oregon. After some early backdoor covers, and an 0-3 ATS mark to start the season, the Ducks have gained traction and are 3-1 ATS over their past four. While Colorado is 7-20 ATS in their past 27 road games, and 2-10 ATS in their past 12 games a team with a winning record, the Ducks are 23-8-2 ATS in their past 33 tries against a team with a losing record, and 9-4-2 ATS in their past 15 Pac-12 battles.

California at Utah

It's ironic this is a game under 'Game to Watch' when there is no television, but anyway. Cal is just 4-9 ATS in the past 13 games, although during that span they ruined a lot of bettors' plans with a sound victory over UCLA. Cal also hasn't played particularly well against team's with a losing record, going 3-7 ATS over their past 10 games in that situation. For Utah, they have bounced back well after a straight-up loss, going 6-1 ATS in the following game. In addition, they are 10-3 ATS in their past 13 games against a team with a losing record. However, the better way to go might be the total. The under has cashed in four straight for Cal against a team with a losing record, and is 4-1 in Cal's past five overall. The under is also 21-8 in Cal's past 29 Pac-12 games. For Utah, the under is 4-1 in their past five conference games, 5-1 in their past six visits from a team with a losing road record, and 5-1 in the past six in the month of October.

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Re: College Football Week 9 Betting News and Notes

NCAAF Week 9

Northwestern won five of last seven games with Iowa, with underdogs winning sox of the seven SU; Hawkeyes lost four of last six visits here, but none of the losses was by more than 4 points (dogs 5-1 vs spread in games played here). Wildcats were outscored in second half of last four games, outscored 29-14/19-14 in second half of their two losses; they’re 3-0-1 as favorites this year, improving them to 6-13 as home favorites under Fitzgerald. Iowa is just 3-3 vs I-A opponents, scoring 19 or less points in three of last five games, despite a +6 turnover ratio; they won only true road game in OT at Michigan State, are 8-6 as road underdogs since 2007.

Spreads on Alabama games are getting inflated because they’ve been so good this year, with no win by less than 19 points. Mississippi State is 7-0 and still getting 24 points here; they’ve lost nine of last 11 and four in row vs Bama by average score of 29-7- they lost 30-10/32-7 in last two visits here. State’s 7-0 record came vs three Sun Belt teams, I-AA Jackson State and three SEC teams with losing records, so they’re stepping way up in class here. Crimson Tide just went on road for two games and crushed Missouri 42-10, Tennessee 44-13; one caveat here is that their biggest game, the LSU game, is next Saturday in Baton Rouge. Five of six Bulldog games stayed under the total.

Wisconsin has turned their season around, winning last three games (after sluggish 3-2 start) by 17-24-25 points, while running ball for average of 305.7 yards/game, which is what they’ve done in past; home teams won their last six games with Michigan State, with underdogs covering six of last seven. Spartans lost last three visits here, by 8-3-35 points. MSU lost three of last four games, with all three losses by 3 or less points, scoring 16 or less points in all three games- under is 6-1-1 in their games this season, but four of last five Wisconsin games went over. Wisconsin is 10-3 in last 13 tries as a home favorite. Badgers beat State 42-39 in Big Dozen title game last December.

7-0 Florida covered its last six games, outscoring four best teams they’ve played 74-11 in second half; they’ve been underdog in three of their seven games. Gators have been so dominant they’ve abandoned the pass, throwing for 61-77-94 yards in last three games, but they might need it here vs 6-1 Georgia team that scored 29+ points in every game but its 35-7 loss at South Carolina. Dawgs failed to cover their last four games as a dog. Georgia beat Florida 24-20 LY, just their 4th win in last 22 games in this old-time rivalry; last two meetings were decided by total of 7 points. Dogs are 6-4 vs spread in last 10 series games, with Florida 5-3-1 vs spread last nine times they were a series favorite.

Home team covered all seven of North Carolina’s lined games this year, with UNC 3-0 as home favorite, winning those games by average score of 47-13. NC State is 2-2 on road, winning close games at UConn/Maryland, losing on last play at Miami- they beat Carolina the last five years, despite being underdog in last four meetings; Wolfpack won last two visits here, 41-10/29-25. Tar Heels got upset at Duke last week; they’re 0-3 this year when they have negative turnover ratio. 5-2 State won its last two games by combined total of 3 points; they’re 2-4 in last six games as road underdog, after covering 12 of first 18 such games under O’Brien. Four of last five Wolfpack games stayed under the total.

Favorites covered all six of Arizona State’s lined games this season; Sun Devils are 4-0 as favorites, 2-0 at home, but they got smoked at home (down 43-7 at half) by Oregon last week, as Ducks had 406 yards rushing. Home side won last four UCLA-ASU games, with Bruins losing 55-34/34-9 in last two visits here; UCLA had last week off- they’ve won two of three road games, but were favored in all three. Bruins covered only game as an underdog- they were 6-16 as road underdogs under Neuheisel, their last coach. Since 2007, ASU is now 16-11 vs spread as a home favorite. Four of last five games for both sides stayed under the total. UCLA had last week off; ASU played last Thursday.

8-0 Ohio State needed OT to survive Purdue last week, and hung on to beat Indiana 52-49 the week before, so they’re vulnerable, even moreso if QB Miller can’t go here (he’s expected to play); Buckeyes won three of its last four visits to Penn State- underdogs covered four of last five series games played here. Penn State won/covered last five games after an 0-2 start, allowing an average of 13.8 ppg; Northwestern was only one of those five opponents to score more than 14 points. Lions are 3-1 as home favorites under O’Brien, after covering only four of previous 17 tries- they’ve thrown ball for 282+ yards in three of last four games. OSU won its two road games (Mich State/Indiana) by combined total of 4 points.

6-0 Oregon State won seven of its last eight games with Washington, losing 35-34 in last visit here; they’ve won four of last five visits to Seattle, and covered last five times they were favored to beat Huskies. Beavers’ last three wins are all by 13+ points despite playing backup QB Vaz. OSU already has road wins at UCLA/Arizona/BYU- they’ve been underdog in four of six lined games. Since 2004, OSU is 9-5 as a road favorite. Washington got waxed 52-17 last week at Arizona, its third loss in row (average score, 43-17); home team covered Huskies’ last five games. Washington is 2-0 as home dog this year- they’re 6-4 overall as home dogs under Sarkisian. Four of six OSU games stayed under the total.

7-0 Kansas State comes home off smashing 55-14 at West Virginia LW (TY 479-243, was 31-7 at half); Wildcats (+3) upset Texas Tech 41-34 in Lubbock LY, after having lost 66-14/58-28 in previous two series games; total yardage in game LY was 580-241 Tech, but K-State was +4 in turnovers and got the win. K-State is 2-1 as home favorite this year, 8-5 in last 13 tries under Snyder, who is legit miracle worker for job he’s done in Little Apple. Wildcats are +13 in turnovers this season, with only 4 giveaways. 6-1 Tech hammered Tech two weeks ago, they pulled out OT win at TCU last week, so this is third tough game in row for them; teams been having trouble in that role this season.

TCU’s first year in Big X has been hampered by its star QB getting a DIU and suspended for season, but they scored 53 points last week in OT loss to Texas Tech; Horned Frogs are 4-0 as road underdogs since ’09, winning 49-21 SU at Baylor (+7) in only game as road dog this season. 5-2 TCU is -7 in turnovers in its two losses, +10 in its wins- they have road wins at Kansas (20-6, -21), SMU (24-16, -15 in downpour). Oklahoma State gave up 59-41 points in its two losses; they allowed 23-14-10 in three wins vs I-A teams, are trying to run ball more to protect banged up young QB’s; their starting QB this year is nine years younger than LY’s starter (Weeden), now a 28-year old rookie in NFL.

Arkansas hammered Auburn (24-7, +8), Kentucky (49-7, -18) last two weeks after 1-4 start; curious to see if they’ve snapped their funk by beating Ole Miss team they beat 29-24/38-24 last two years. Favorites are 7-3 vs spread in last ten series games; Rebels lost four of last five visits here, with all four losses by 14+ points. New Ole Miss coach Freeze has Rebels at surprisingly good 4-3, with tough loss to A&M; Rebels are 10-4 vs spread in last 14 games as road underdog. Hogs were 13-4-1 as home favorite from ’09-’11, but are 1-2 this year, giving up average of 40.3 ppg in their three home losses (2-3 SU). Three of last four Arkansas games went over total; three of last four Rebel games stayed under.

Look at their schedule; if Notre Dame wins this game, only real threat between them and unbeaten regular season would be at USC Nov 24; Irish play great defense, allowing 11 ppg in 7-0 start, but other than Miami, none of those seven opponents have dynamic passing games. ND covered five of last six tries as road underdog, winning 20-3 (+6) SU at Michigan State in their only true road game this season. Oklahoma scored 41-63-52 points in winning three league games since getting upset 24-19 (-16) at home by Kansas State; Sooners had only one takeaway (-4) in first three games, have nine (+6) in last three. Since ’06, Oklahoma is 24-12-1 vs spread as a home favorite.

Michigan (-3) beat Nebraska 45-17 LY, outgaining Cornhuskers 418-260, 238-135 on ground, in first meeting as conference rivals (Nebraska won ’05 bowl game, 32-28). Since 2007, Wolverines are 4-9 vs spread as road underdogs; they’re 0-2 this year, losing 41-14 (+12) to Alabama in Dallas, then 13-6 (+6) at Notre Dame- they completed only 31 of 61 passes in last three games. Nebraska is 4-0 (2-1 as home favorite) in Lincoln, but over last six games, Huskers are -10 in turnovers, coughing ball up 18 times- they escaped Northwestern last week with 29-28 win after late rally, passing for an un-Huskerlike 342 yards. Nebraska is 13-17 vs spread as a home favorite under Pelini.

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Re: College Football Week 9 Betting News and Notes

College Betting Preview: Michigan at Nebraska
By Rob Veno

Rob Veno's Recommendation: Nebraska
Saturday, 5 pm PT - ESPN2
CRIS Opener: Nebraska -1 O/U 56
CRIS Current: Nebraska -2 O/U 57.5
Rob Veno's Power Rating: Nebraska pk

The winner of this game takes leadership of not only the Legends Division, but also control of a spot in the Big Ten Conference Championship game. With that at stake, expect fully focused efforts from each side. Each is off of a fourth quarter come-from-behind win last week but Nebraska failed to cover the pointspread for the third consecutive game.

Defense has been a sore spot for the Cornhuskers who have allowed 154 points in their four games versus BCS teams (38.5 ppg per contest). In Big Ten play, they’ve given up 27 points or more in every game but what’s interesting is that NU has only twice this season given up more than 4.3 yards per play. That number indicates the defense has been better than the scoreboard results suggest. In fact, Nebraska holds a significant 2.0 yards per play advantage over their opponents this year (6.9-4.9). Despite the in again, out again playing status of star RB Rex Burkhead this season, Nebraska has been an offensive machine. With backup RB Ameer Abdullah (87.9 rypg) more than sufficiently replacing Burkhead when necessary, the ‘Huskers have been able to continue rolling over opposing defenses. Their 512.4 ypg and 41.6 ppg offense appears to be facing its stiffest challenge as Michigan enters Memorial Stadium having yielded 13 points or less in five straight games.       

While statistically and visually looking very strong since the Air Force game, Michigan HC Brady Hoke is not admitting any defensive improvement. The coach’s let’s wait-and-see attitude could be standard coach speak or he may really be unsure how good his defense is because the last five games have been against average to below average offenses. There’s no doubt that Nebraska represents the toughest task for this Wolverine defense since playing Alabama in Week 1.

Each defense in this game has been hurt by running QBs so it will be interesting to see which defense if either is able to focus on and contain Denard Robinson and Taylor Martinez. The offensive “X” factor so to speak comes in the passing game where each QB has a track record of inconsistency. Martinez has had more ups than downs this year completing 60% or better five times  if you take away the Ohio State game, he’s thrown only two interceptions. The difference between each quarterback’s passing success in this game could be the opposing pass defenses. Nebraska has been tremendous this season allowing just 49.3% completions.

These teams are near mirror images which have each played almost identical schedules when you break them down. Each team is dominant at the line of scrimmage with a +1.5 yard per carry advantage over their opponents. If Michigan’s defense is really as good as it’s been the past five games then they will win because they won’t allow any big plays (1 TD of 25+ yards allowed this season). Nebraska’s high pressure defensive approach (22 sacks) is subject to allowing game breaking plays (8 TDs of 25+ yards allowed). In the end, you just can’t ignore the combination of Nebraska’s yards per play allowed number which is excellent and Michigan’s lack of a challenge to their defense the past five weeks.

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Re: College Football Week 9 Betting News and Notes

College  Betting Preview: UCLA at Arizona State
By Andrew Lange

Andrew Lange's Recommendation: UCLA
Saturday, 12 pm PT - FX
CRIS Opener: Arizona State -7 O/U 55
CRIS Current: Arizona State -6.5 O/U 57.5
Rob Veno's Power Rating: Arizona State -3

College football has certainly changed over the last decade with the popularity of spread and pass-happy offenses. But one thing that remains constant is that teams who are sound in the running game tend to be much stronger bets than teams who don't. When I handicap the college football card this time of year, one of the things I'm looking for are underdogs with better ypc and ypca allowed numbers than the favorite. It doesn't happen often because that type of discrepancy is usually accounted for in the betting markets.

In the case of UCLA-Arizona State, our ACCU-Stats show that the Bruins are over a yard per carry better than the Sun Devils. Considering both teams have nearly identical SOS, it is surprising to see ASU as nearly a touchdown favorite. Defensively, both teams are comparable with UCLA holding a small edge. Take a step back and you'll notice UCLA to be +0.60 ypc while ASU, a favorite, is -0.51 ypc. I've said it time and time again that it’s very tough to make money betting favorite that allow more yards per carry that they gain. Also note that Arizona State will be without defensive stalwart Will Sutton (8 sacks, 14 TFLs).

As an added bonus, we get the Bruins coming in off a bye week while ASU was blasted at home by Oregon in what was clearly their biggest game of the season. From a line perspective, the value is there (some +7's currently available) for a game that should be lined around a field goal.

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Re: College Football Week 9 Betting News and Notes

College Betting Preview: TCU at Oklahoma State
By Ian Cameron

Ian Cameron's Recommendation: TCU
Saturday, 12:20 pm PT - FSN
CRIS Opener: Oklahoma State -9 O/U 61
CRIS Current: Oklahoma State -7 O/U 63.5
Rob Veno's Power Rating: Oklahoma State -9

Oklahoma State has some quarterback concerns entering Saturday’s Big XII showdown against TCU. Backup J.W. Walsh, who has been starting for injured starter Wes Lunt, is now out for the rest of the year with a knee injury. Walsh had played in six games and gone 102-of-154 passing for 1,467 yards and 10 touchdowns. Lunt is currently listed as probable to return for this game from his own injury but he still may not be quite at 100% yet.

TCU’s defense, while not being the same shutdown unit we’ve seen from previous Gary Patterson squads, still has better numbers across the board than Oklahoma State. TCU is 17th in the nation in total yards allowed at 313 per game and 32nd in the nation in points allowed at 20.4 per game compared to Okie State’s 47th ranking in total yards allowed with 365 per game and 53rd ranking in points allowed at 24.7 per game. Lunt had efficient completion numbers before his injury but he only threw four touchdowns to go along with three interceptions and it’s worth noting he faced easier competition early on against Savannah State, Arizona (a 59-38 loss) and UL Lafayette which was the game he got injured. Now Lunt must make his first start against a Big XII defense coming off an injury that has kept him sidelined for weeks.

TCU deserves credit for bouncing back and continuing to play hard following the suspension of starting quarterback Casey Pachall. The incident hasn’t derailed the team as some people suggested it would. Frosh back-up Trevone Boykin has done an admirable job taking over the reigns under difficult circumstances. He’s thrown 10 touchdowns to 5 interceptions with a solid 64% completion rate. Boykin won’t be a stranger to playing on the road as he engineered 48 points with this TCU offense in its last road game which resulted in a 49-21 blowout win at Baylor. The Horned Frogs ground game was potentially in trouble after the season ending injury to running back Waymon James but B.J. Catalon and Matthew Tucker have come on and stabilized the position. TCU still possesses numerous threats in the passing game with recievers Brandon Carter, Josh Boyce, Skye Dawson and LaDarius Brown who have combined for 1,556 receiving yards and 14 touchdowns this season. In Boykin’s last two starts against Baylor and Texas Tech, TCU has piled up 102 points and outgained both teams by a combined 204 yards. Oklahoma State’s defense is not a unit that will shut teams down. The Cowboys allowed 59 points to Arizona and 41 points to Texas and this TCU offense, which has been humming along in the post- Pachall era, is poised to do just as much damage if not more to Oklahoma State.

TCU has thrived on the road all season going a perfect 3-0 SU. Gary Patterson has been a great coach to support in the underdog role: 4-0 ATS in his last four tries dating back to 2009 and the Horned Frogs won all four of those games in outright fashion as well. Look for the Horned Frogs to give the Cowboys all they can handle in what should be a competitive game from start to finish. Don’t rule out the upset possibility either!

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Re: College Football Week 9 Betting News and Notes

College Betting Preview: Mississippi State at Alabama
By Alatex Sports

Brent Crow's Recommendation: Over
Saturday, 5:30 pm PT - ESPN
CRIS Opener: Alabama -23.5 O/U 47.5
CRIS Current: Alabama -24 O/U 46.5
Rob Veno's Power Rating: Alabama -24

We have yet another huge SEC matchup this week, with top-ranked Alabama hosting the unbeaten Mississippi State Bulldogs. Unlike the last few weeks, where we saw short-lined matchups between Florida- LSU, South Carolina-LSU, Florida-South Carolina, Alabama is laying a hefty -24. Clearly, Mississippi State is not thought of as a “real” contender in the SEC despite its unblemished record. This biggest reason for this is their lack of quality wins due to a fairly soft schedle. The Bulldogs’ most impressive win came at home against Tennessee – and Alabama just dismantled the Vols in Knoxville, 44-13, last week.

Mississippi State’s other victims include Auburn and Kentucky, both of which are winless in the SEC, three weak Sun Belt teams and Jackson State. And some of the finals scores didn’t indicate complete domination by the MSU side. They are obviously taking a huge step up in class this week facing the No. 1 team in the nation on the road.

On the other hand, Alabama has been blowing out everyone it faces, although its schedule hasn’t been very impressive either. Michigan and Tennessee are the Tide’s best two victims, but they have an average margin of victory of 33 ppg, compared to 12 ppg for the Bulldogs.

I have been waiting for the Tide to sleepwalk through a game, and with LSU on deck this might be the one. However, Mississippi State’s unbeaten record will surely get the players’ attention. There is also the chance that Mississippi State is for real, and can play with the Tide. They without question have been improving under Dan Mullen’s watch.

For me, the best way to play this is over the total of 46. Alabama averages 41 points per game and has scored 35 or more in every game this season. They should approach their average in this one and I expect State to score at least a couple of touchdowns.

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