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College Football Betting News and Notes Friday 12/21

College Football Betting News and Notes Friday 12/21

BALL ST (9 - 3) vs. UCF (9 - 4) - 12/21/2012, 7:30 PM

Top Trends for this game.
BALL ST is 8-1 ATS (+6.9 Units) off a win against a conference rival over the last 2 seasons.
BALL ST is 11-3 ATS (+7.7 Units) after playing a conference game over the last 2 seasons.
BALL ST is 12-3 ATS (+8.7 Units) in games played on turf over the last 2 seasons.

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

Ball State is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games
The total has gone OVER in 12 of Ball State's last 17 games
The total has gone OVER in 8 of Central Florida's last 9 games
Central Florida is 7-2 SU in its last 9 games

Ball State vs. Central Florida
Ball State: 6-0 ATS off a road win
Central Florida: 9-1 Over as a favorite

13-5 ATS last 18 following a SU loss.
5-2 ATS in their last 7 vs. MAC.

Ball State
5-1 ATS in their last 6 games overall.
9-2 ATS in their last 11 games following a S.U. win.
19-7 ATS in their last 26 non-conference games.
6-0 ATS off a road win.

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Re: College Football Betting News and Notes Friday 12/21

Beef O Brady's Bowl Preview
By Matt Fargo

Ball St. Cardinals vs. Central Florida Knights (-7/61.5)

How Ball St. got here

Ball St. is one of the hotter teams in the country as it won its final six games of the regular season to slide into this bowl game that was slotted for a Big East team but not enough qualified. The Cardinals were bowl eligible last season but were bypassed so they may be playing with a chip on their shoulder this year. Ball St. was picked by some to finish at the bottom of the MAC West but proved a lot of people wrong while playing the second toughest schedule in the MAC. The Cardinals three losses this year have come against Kent St., Northern Illinois and Clemson, which have a combined five losses.

How Central Florida got here

UCF is lucky to be here. Over the summer, the Knights were hit with five years of probation for major recruiting violations including a one-year postseason ban in football and in men's basketball. They appealed though and will not hear until January so they got to play in a bowl game after all. UCF won the C-USA East but lost to Tulsa in the Championship game, the second time in three weeks the Knights lost to Tulsa. Unlike the Cardinals, UCF played a soft schedule but the one quality opponent was Ohio St., which it lost to by 15 points. The Knights should have a crowd edge with this game just 100 miles from campus.

Interesting Stat

Ball St. surpassed 30 points in 10 of 12 games while Central Florida went over 30 points on offense in nine of 13 games.


Two potent offense will take the field as Ball St. is ranked 31st in the country and second in the MAC in scoring offense while the Knights are ranked 27th in the nation and second in C-USA in scoring offense. That means the game should come down to which defense plays the better game and on paper, that should be Central Florida. The Knights are ranked 45th in total defense and 29th in scoring defense while Ball St. comes in ranked 102nd and 89th respectively. MAC teams averaged 29 ppg while C-USA teams averaged 29.3 ppg so the majority of the offenses played is not a factor at all. Keep an eye on the injury status of Cardinals quarterback Keith Wenning as he missed the regular season finale against Miami Ohio with an Achilles injury and his absence would be a huge disadvantage.Â


Ball St. is 6-0 ATS in its last six games coming off a  conference win by seven points or less.

Central Florida is 1-10 ATS in its last 11 games after allowing less than 170 yards passing in its previous game.

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Re: College Football Betting News and Notes Friday 12/21

Beef O Brady's Bowl Preview

The Central Florida Golden Knights won't have to travel very far for their bowl game this season, but Ball State won't care that it has to make its way to the Sunshine State.

Why Ball State Will Win

Any credible college football online sports book expert worth his keep would tell you that this game has a very good chance to be a nail-biter, one in which Ball State can and will cover the spread, possibly winning the game outright.

Online football betting gurus know that Ball State was the surprise team in the Mid-American Conference's West Division in 2012, the team that not only performed well in league play but stepped outside the conference and played well in unfamiliar surroundings. The Cardinals picked up non-conference wins over Army, Indiana, and South Florida, while also beating both Ohio and Toledo in league play.

Jahwan Edwards is the team's big playmaker. He ran for over 1,300 yards on the season to accompany 14 touchdown runs. While the passing game put up average numbers nationally, wide receiver Willie Snead did top 1,000 yards on the season with seven scores to add a threat in the passing game. The Cardinals did a solid job all year of finishing drives as well. They converted 85 percent of their red zone drives into points and 71 percent of their red zone scores were a touchdown. This covered a multitude of sins on the defensive side of the field for coach Pete Lembo's lads. Only 18 teams in America were better at converting third downs as Ball State as well, a good indicator of a team which can sustain drives, as opposed to the quick-strike offenses seen around college football that are common among high-scoring teams. Ball State has not lost since early October, and with the Cardinals' only three losses coming to top 25 teams, they should be ready for Central Florida, even though this game - played in St. Petersburg, Fla. - could amount to a road game for David Letterman's alma mater.

Why Central Florida Will Win

When you go over your next play at any of the best online betting sites in the country, you should be able to come to the conclusion that for the Central Florida Golden Knights, the key is a solid run game and a tough defense. They're led by a three-headed backfield of Latavius Murray, Storm Johnson, and - to a lesser extent - Brynn Harvey. While Murray is the leader of the pack, all three have carried about 50 times and are used throughout the game in a number of ways. The Knights' defense, which has been a top 30 unit most of the season, has held six opponents to 20 points or fewer.

The Knights competed in non-conference games against Missouri and Ohio State and have appeared to be too much for most of their Conference USA counterparts to handle, even if the league hasn't matched up to its usual respectable level. The Golden Knights have also had success on third down, ranking in the top 20 nationally on third down conversion percentage. While they may not have any eye-popping statistics like some high-powered offenses do, they know what their strengths are and they play to them. They don't beat themselves, either. As one of the most disciplined teams in the country, it stands to reason that Central Florida is one of the nation's least penalized teams. Ball State will have to beat UCF not by getting mistakes from the Knights, but by being better than them. This will be an uphill battle for the Cardinals.

Who Will Win?

Central Florida has not been a particularly impressive team this season. The Golden Knights have won the games they're supposed to win, but against better or equally talented teams, they've fallen short. Ball State is not the same team it was in the first six weeks of the season. The Cardinals will enter this game with a world of confidence, and that should enable them to play their best. Ball State will pull the upset here.

Pick: Ball State +7

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Re: College Football Betting News and Notes Friday 12/21

Beef O Brady's Bowl Preview

First bowl for Ball State since their 12-2 season in '08; they lost last two bowls, 52-30/45-13, are 0-5 all-time (1-2 vs spread). 90-minute trip west for UCF, which lost 45-24 (+2) in this game to Rutgers three years ago; Knights are 1-3 in bowls- they beat Georgia 10-6 in Liberty Bowl two years ago, their last bowl. Ball State won last six games after a 3-3 start; losing side scored 26+ points in 8 of their 12 games. Cardinals are 4-1 vs spread as an underdog this year; UCF is 5-5 as a favorite. 10 of 13 UCF games went over total; Cardinals allowed 400+ TY in nine of 12 games. MAC dogs are 17-15 vs spread, 13-11 on road. C-USA favorites are 4-6 vs spread this season. Indoor game, so weather not an issue. Favorites covered three of previous four O'Brady games, with C-USA teams 1-3 in those games, but all three losses were to Big East teams.

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Re: College Football Betting News and Notes Friday 12/21

Beef O'Brady's Bowl Betting Preview
By Rob Veno

Ball State vs. Central Florida
CRIS Opener: Central Florida -7.5 O/U 63
CRIS Current: Central Florida -7 (-115) O/U 62
Rob Veno's Power Rating: Central Florida -8

There’s an interesting but not uncommon dilemma for Ball State heading into this contest. Some players have openly addressed the very disjointed schedule they’ve been on since their regular season finale against Miami (OH). Final exams, the long layoff between games, sporadic practices, coaches intermittent appearances on campus due to recruiting trips, and talk of hitting the beach are all distractions from Ball State’s normal in-season routine. However, when you get down to the root of the team mindsets for this game it seems pretty clear. This invite is a great post season prize for Ball State and a bittersweet one for UCF. BSU players have never have never participated in a bowl game and their seniors especially want to win one before their careers end. It’s a tough handicapping choice when one team involved is highly motivated but at the same time distracted and very green when it comes to post season play. Central Florida on the other hand has a different hurdle to overcome because they’re not where they envisioned being. They fought and subsequently reversed a ban which up until Week 8 of the regular season had them ineligible for the C-USA title and any bowl game. That decision reversal had UCF pointing toward a conference championship and a spot in the Liberty Bowl. Falling short of their goals can hinder a team’s focus during bowl season but as of now, Knights players are conveying a message of excitement and a strong desire to be the first 10-win team in school history.

Ball State’s offense was extremely explosive all season long behind the direction of head coach Pete Lembo and the quarterback play of junior Keith Wenning. Wenning’s surgically repaired ankle which cost him the final game and a half this year has been a source of concern leading into this contest but he began practicing last Friday and all reports are that he showed no ill effects from the injury. This week’s practice updates should be followed. With Wenning at the controls and star sophomore running back Jahwan Edwards rushing prowess (1,321 yards, 6.1 ypc) this spread offense has exceptional balance. The offensive line has been superb not just opening holes for Edwards but in protecting the quarterback, allowing only 10 sacks in 457 pass attempts. This offense will be the most diverse one UCF has seen this season. When they’re on offense, Central Florida has a distinct advantage in the trenches. As good as the numbers show Ball State’s o-line to be this season, the eye test tells you that the Knights’ is even better. This physical offensive line pushed around every opponent not named Tulsa or Ohio State this season. The Tulsa situation seemed to be a matter of scheme and speed as UCF struggled to handle the 3-3-5 and the Golden Hurricane ability to swarm to the football. Fortunately for head coach George O’Leary’s troops, Ball State’s defense does not have any traits resembling that of Tulsa or Ohio State so they figure to be able execute their preferred mix of run and play action passing.

Scheduling from my power ratings perspective indicates that these teams played nearly equal slates with UCF holding a slim 32.8-31.8 opponents’ power rating edge. It’s also interesting to note that the Knights have faced extreme tempo offenses like that of Ball State’s four times this season and in all four instances they held the opponent to 27 points or less in regulation (average 22.5 per game). As stated above, BSU presents the most balanced and explosive offense they’ve seen so this is a good test. Dome conditions in this one make that aspect perfect for each side. The attendance factor will likely favor Orlando-based Central Florida especially since the BSU student body has vocally objected to the $20 per ticket offer made by the university (they want the freebies conference foe Northern Illinois is handing out to their students). The team had the MAC’s 10th best home attendance mark this year at a paltry 12,929 per game so they’re not likely to have a lot of support. The questions on Wenning’s ankle at game speed and post season distractions plus inexperience remain for Ball State. At their best, they can give Central Florida a real good run in this one but not at their best, they will lose by double-digits.

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Re: College Football Betting News and Notes Friday 12/21

Beef O'Brady's Bowl: What Bettors Need to Know

Beef O'Brady's Bowl: UCF Knights vs. Ball State Cardinals (+7, 61.5)


1. Ball State began the season 3-3 and has won six straight games since, while Central Florida was victorious in two of its first four games before finishing 7-2.

2. Jahwan Edwards of Ball State and Central Florida’s Latavius Murray have each rushed for more than 1,000 yards and 14 touchdowns. The Cardinals average 214.3 yards and UCF 178.7 on the ground.

3. Ball State has won four games with scores in the last two minutes of regulation or in overtime. Central Florida is 2-3 in games decided by seven points or less.

LINE: Central Florida opened as a touchdown favorite and has remained steady. The total has also stood pat at 61.5 points.


* Knights are 5-2 ATS in their last seven vs. MAC.
* Cardinals are 19-7 ATS in their last 26 non-conference games.
* Under is 7-2 in Knights' last nine vs. MAC.
* Over is 4-1-1 in Cardinals' last six non-conference games.

ABOUT BALL STATE (9-3, 6-2 MAC, 9-3 ATS): The Cardinals are tied for the third most victories in the program’s history, thanks to a productive offense. Ball State’s losses are to Clemson, Northern Illinois and Kent State - who combined for a 33-5 record - and the Cardinals have averaged 31 points in those games. Quarterback Keith Wenning, who is probable with an Achilles injury which kept him out of the last regular-season game, has completed 65.5 percent of his passes and thrown for 22 touchdowns while averaging 261.2 yards. Willie Snead is the top target with 82 receptions and 1,070 yards and 135-pound Jamill Smith has 69 for 706. Edwards, who has totaled of 1,321 yards, keys a ground game that has produced more than 220 yards in four of the last five games. Linebacker Travis Freeman is the nation’s active leader in career tackles with 455. Ball State is 0-5 in bowl games and plays in its first since the 2008-09 season.

ABOUT CENTRAL FLORIDA (9-4, 7-1 C-USA, 6-7 ATS): The Knights have lost to undefeated Ohio State, bowl-bound Tulsa twice and Missouri – three of those by six points or less. Central Florida, which has won one of three games all time against Ball State, has been balanced by scoring 31 times on the ground and 25 through the air. Murray has 1,035 yards rushing in 10 games. Quarterback Blake Bortles has thrown 22 touchdown passes with only seven interceptions – three less than his counterpart. Bortles averages more than 200 yards and has completed 62.6 percent of his passes. J.J. Worton, Rannell Hall and Jeff Godfrey all have at least 31 receptions and 400 yards, combining for 11 scores. Central Florida is tied for 16th in the nation in turnover margin plus .85). The Knights are 1-3 in bowl games, winning their last against Georgia in the 2010 Liberty Bowl. They lost to Rutgers 45-24 in the 2009 Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl.

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Re: College Football Betting News and Notes Friday 12/21

Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl Preview
By Brian Edwards

The lone bowl game Friday night will go down at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, FL., where Central Florida will square off against Ball State at The Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl.

Most books are listing Central Florida (9-4 straight up, 6-7 against the spread) as a seven-point favorite with a total of 61½. The Cardinals can be had to win outright for a generous plus-250 payout (risk $100 to win $250).

UCF is gunning for its fourth 10-win season in school history. During the ninth year of George O’Leary’s tenure, the Knights are going to their fifth bowl game after losing in the Conference USA title game.

Tulsa beat UCF 33-27 in overtime as a three-point home favorite to capture C-USA gold. Bettors backing the Knights (+3) had to feel cursed after a pair of missed extra points cost them a winner.

When UCF cut its deficit to 21-20 late in the third quarter, a missed PAT kept the score that way. With 5:06 left in the fourth, Tulsa tied the game at 27-27 but missed its PAT that would’ve given it a 28-27 advantage.

In that scenario, UCF backers would have won catching three points as an underdog. However, Tulsa backers cashed with the win by six in OT.

O’Leary’s squad missed out on a trip to the Liberty Bowl by losing to the Golden Hurricane. Instead, the Knights stay close to home by venturing across Interstate-4 to the other side of the Sunshine State.

The key for UCF is its offense led by Blake Bortles, the sophomore signal caller who threw for 2,787 yards with a 22/7 touchdown-to-interception ratio. Bortles drives an offense that averages 35.2 points per game.

Bortles had a pair of TD passes without an interception against Tulsa and also rushed for 61 yards and one score. For the season, he has seven rushing touchdowns.

UCF senior RB Latavius Murray has rushed for a team-high 1,037 yards and 14 TDs. Murray averages 5.8 yards per carry and has 21 catches for 198 yards and two TDs.

Ball St. (9-3 SU, 9-3 ATS) has been an underdog five times this season, compiling a 4-1 spread record with three outright victories at Indiana, vs. South Florida and at Toledo. The Cardinals finished the regular season with six consecutive wins both SU and ATS.

Pete Lembo’s team played six bowl-bound schools, going 3-3 SU and 4-2 ATS. Ball St.’s only losses came at Clemson (52-27), at Kent St. (45-33) and vs. No. Illinois (35-23).

The Cardinals are led by sophomore running back Jahwan Edwards, who has 1,321 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns. Edwards averages 6.1 yards per carry.

Junior quarterback Keith Wenning has completed 65.5 percent of his passes for 2,878 yards with a 22/10 touchdown-to-interception ratio. Wenning also rushed for three TDs during the regular season.

Willie Snead is Wenning’s favorite target and one of the MAC’s premier wide receivers. Snead, a sophomore, made 82 catches for 1,070 yards and seven TDs. Jamill Smith hauled in 69 receptions for 706 yards and six TDs. Smith is also a weapon on special teams, averaging 13.8 yards per punt return and 25.8 yards per kick return.

Wenning and Smith both missed the regular-season finale, a 31-24 win at Miami (OH.). Wenning was suffering from an Achilles strain, but he is expected to get the starting nod vs. UCF. Smith had a foot injury but he’s also ‘probable.’

Gamblers have to be concerned with Ball St.’s defense, a unit ranked 104th in the nation that gave up 460 yards and 31.5 points per game.

The ‘over’ is on an 8-1 run in UCF games, going 10-3 overall for the season. The ‘over’ is 6-5-1 overall for the Cardinals, but they have seen the ‘under’ go 5-2 in their last seven outings.

UCF played at this venue in this bowl game in 2009, getting run out of the building by Rutgers, 45-23. Two seasons ago, the Knights captured the school’s first bowl win by knocking off Georgia 10-6 at the Liberty Bowl.

Ball St. is back in the postseason for the first time since 2008 when it got trounced 45-13 by Tulsa at the GMAC Bowl.

ESPN will have the telecast at 7:30 p.m. Eastern

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