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College Football Betting News and Notes Friday, August 30

College Football Betting News and Notes Friday, August 30

NCAAF Week 1

Michigan State won its last four games (3-1 vs spread) with Western Michigan, with three of four wins by 24+ points; last meeting was in 2010. Spartans were 0-6 as home favorites LY, are 20-30-1 in that role over last decade- they do have senior QB (13 starts) and four starters back on OL. Broncos are 8-13-1 as road dogs since ’08, 9-13-1 out of conference since ’07; they lost four starters on OL and have senior QB who has only eight career starts.

This will be Florida Atlantic’s Super Bowl, getting to play Miami week before ‘canes play Florida; teams haven’t met. Owls were 8-2 as dogs LY, after being 13-28-2 as road dogs from ’05-’11. Its certainly a road game but not a road trip for FAU, which has a new QB and three new starters on OL. Miami has senior QB (17 starts) and all five starters back on OL, so they’re looking for big things this year. ‘canes 5-5 as home favorites under Golden, 20-34 if you go back to ’03- they’re 5-8 vs spread in last 13 non-league games.

Texas Tech won last seven games with SMU, with six wins by 14+ points, but teams haven’t met since ’07; first game as Tech coach for former NFL QB Kingsbury, whose Red Raiders are 11-3-1 as road favorites since ’07, 8-4 out of conference since ’10. Mustangs have senior (25 starts) QB but three new starters on OL; they’ve covered six of last seven tries as home dog, with home side covering 12 times in last 16 games where SMU was an underdog. SMU is 11-8 in last 19 non-league games. Tech has new coach, new QB, three new starters on OL; road opener has to be at least a little dicey.

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Re: College Football Betting News and Notes Friday, August 30

Friday's Betting Notes
By Brian Edwards

Western Michigan at Michigan State

As of Monday, most betting shops had Michigan State installed as a 27 1/2-point favorite with a total of 44 1/2.

Mark Dantonio’s team finished 2012 with a disappointing 7-6 straight-up record to go with a 5-8 against-the-spread mark. The Spartans lost five games by a combined 13 points with their only lopsided defeat coming in a 20-3 home loss to Notre Dame.

Last season’s issues had nothing to do with the defense. This unit gave up only 16.3 points per game and held opponents to 19 points or fewer in four losses. This group will be stout again in 2013 with seven returning starters, including first-team All Big Ten linebacker Max Bullough, who had a team-high 111 tackles. Bullough also had 10 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, three QB hurries and one interception.

Michigan St.’s 2013 offense was pedestrian if not downright abysmal. The Spartans averaged only 20.0 PPG despite having a RB who ran for 1,793 yards. But Le’Veon Bell isn’t around anymore and Dantonio hasn’t been in any hurry to declare returning starting QB Andrew Maxwell as this year’s starter. Maxwell completed only 52.5 percent of his passes for 2,606 yards with a 13/9 TD-INT ratio in 2012.

Michigan St. compiled an atrocious 0-6 spread record as a home favorite last season. During Dantonio’s tenure, the Spartans are 14-20-1 ATS as home ‘chalk.’

Michigan St. starting junior offensive tackle Skyler Burkland is out for the season. Burkland started 11 of 12 games last season and participated in 775 plays. The defensive line could be thin in Week 1 due to the ‘doubtful’ status of nose tackles Lawrence Thomas (undisclosed) and James Kittredge (hernia).

Western Michigan went through its worst season since 2004 when it finished 4-8 both SU and ATS last season. This prompted the school to hand Bill Cubit a pink slip following an eight-year tenure.

P.J. Fleck is the new head coach. He is familiar with the MAC after a stellar playing career at No. Illinois, where he served on the coaching staff for three seasons. Fleck spent last season in the NFL on Tampa Bay’s staff.

Western Michigan returns five starters on offense and seven on defense. Tyler Van Tubbergen returns as the starting QB for his senior campaign. As a junior, Van Tubbergen split time with Alex Carder, throwing for 1,825 yards with a 15/11 TD-INT ratio.

Western Michigan will be without its best WR Jaime Wilson due to an ankle injury. Wilson, who had a team-high 67 receptions for 792 yards and six touchdowns last year, isn’t expected to be back until late September or early October.

Kickoff is slated for 8:00 p.m. Eastern on Friday night. The Big Ten Network will provide the telecast.

Florida Atlantic at Miami

As of Monday, most spots had Miami as a 32 1/2-point favorite with a total of 53 1/2.

Al Golden’s team can go to a bowl game for the first time since he took over in 2011. The Hurricanes finished 2012 with a 7-5 SU record and an 8-3-1 ATS mark. They return 10 starters on offense and eight on defense.

UM senior QB Stephen Morris threw for 3,345 yards with a 21/7 TD-INT ratio last season. Morris has his top three WRs back, including Phillip Dorsett and his 58 receptions for 842 yards and four TDs. Perhaps most important, the ‘Canes have dynamic sophomore RB Duke Johnson back in the fold. Johnson rushed for 947 yards and 10 TDs while averaging 6.8 YPC last year.

If Miami is going to have a shot at winning the ACC, it has got to improve on defense. This unit gave up 30.5 PPG in 2012.

Miami owns a 5-5 spread record in 10 games as a home favorite during Golden’s tenure.

Florida Atlantic enters its first season in Conference USA after limping to a 3-9 SU record last year. However, the Owls posted a profitable 8-4 ATS ledger. They return six starters on offense and nine on defense.

FAU went 6-1 ATS as a road underdog last season.

This is the first meeting between these schools.

ESPNU will provide television coverage at 8:00 p.m. Eastern.

Texas Tech at SMU

Most books are listing Texas Tech as a 5 1/2-point favorite with a total of 59 1/2.

Texas Tech has a new head coach in Kliff Kingsbury, who is the school’s second all-time leading passer and the youngest BCS coach in America. Kingsbury was Kevin Sumlin’s offensive coordinator at Texas A&M last season, helping Johnny Manziel win the Heisman Trophy.

Texas Tech finished 2012 with an 8-5 SU record and a 6-7 ATS mark. The Red Raiders beat Minnesota 34-31 at the Car Care Bowl, but they failed to cover as 13-point ‘chalk.’

Sophomore Michael Brewer was expected to take over as the new starter at the QB position. As a redshirt freshman, Brewer connected on 34-of-48 passes for 375 yards with four TDs and zero interceptions. However, a back injury has Brewer sidelined with two freshman QBs competing for the job. The winners will have one of the Big 12’s top WRs in Eric Ward, who had 82 receptions for 1,053 yards and 12 TDs last season. The Red Raiders also return their leading rusher, Kenny Williams, who had 824 rushing yards and five TDs while averaging 5.8 YPC.

Texas Tech returns five starters on offense and eight on defense.

Texas Tech owns a 5-0 spread record in its last five games as a road favorite.

In addition to Brewer, starting OG Tony Morales is ‘out’ with a shoulder injury. Also, starting WR/TE Jace Amaro has to sit out the first half due to a suspension. Amaro had 25 catches for 409 yards and four TDs last year.

SMU compiled a 7-6 SU record to go with an 8-5 ATS mark in 2012. The Mustangs ended the year on a high note by spanking Fresno St. 43-10 as 13-point underdogs at the Hawaii Bowl. They bring back six starters on offense and five on defense.

Senior QB Garrett Gilbert, a transfer from Texas, struggled early in his first season in June Jones’s offense. But Gilbert played much better late in the year and finished with 2,932 passing yards. His favorite target in 2013 will be Jeremy Johnson, who had 67 receptions for 679 yards and three TDs last season.

As a home underdog on Jones’s watch, SMU has posted an 8-3 spread record.

SMU has lost 14 in a row to Texas Tech in this rivalry.

Kickoff is slated for 8:00 p.m. Eastern on ESPN.

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Re: College Football Betting News and Notes Friday, August 30

Friday's NCAAF action: What Bettors Need to Know

Western Michigan Broncos at Michigan State Spartans (-28, 44.5)

Michigan State’s offensive identity remains a mystery heading into its season opener on Friday against visiting Western Michigan, which was picked to finish fifth in the MAC’s West Division. Fortunately for the Spartans, their vaunted defense again should rank among the nation’s best this season. Even with an offense that’s a work in progress, Michigan State figures to be a difficult matchup for the Broncos and 32-year-old first-year head coach P.J. Fleck.

Spartans head coach Mark Dantonio held an open competition at quarterback before finally naming senior Andrew Maxwell as his starter on Tuesday, but sophomore Connor Cook also is expected to play in the season opener. Thanks to a forgiving early-season schedule, Michigan State has some time to figure out its offense before visiting Notre Dame on Sept. 21. The Spartans should be able to rely on their defense to get past Western Michigan, which faces three Big Ten teams in the first four weeks.

Key betting stat: Broncos are 1-8 ATS in their last nine vs. Big Ten.

Florida Atlantic Owls at Miami Hurricanes (-31.5, 53.5)

With expectations on the rise, Miami looks to begin its season in impressive fashion when Florida Atlantic visits on Friday night. Al Golden, starting his third season as the Hurricanes’ coach, admitted this week that he has “a lot of concerns” about his team, even though Miami is the preseason favorite to win the ACC Coastal Division. Those concerns do not include senior quarterback Stephen Morris, who is coming off a terrific 2012 season.

Morris passed for 3,345 yards last year – the fifth-highest single-season total in Hurricanes history. In his final four games, Morris completed 60 percent of his passes for 1,131 yards with 11 touchdowns and no interceptions. In addition to Morris, Florida Atlantic will have its hands full with Duke Johnson, Miami’s electrifying running back who racked up 2,060 all-purpose yards as a freshman last season.

Key betting stat: Under is 42-19-1 in Hurricanes' last 62 home games.

Texas Tech Red Raiders at SMU Mustangs (+4, 59.5)

Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury won’t be alone in making his debut in a high-profile role Friday at SMU. The Red Raiders are expected to rotate freshmen quarterbacks Davis Webb and Baker Mayfield as projected starter Michael Brewer is battling a back injury. Kingsbury, who guided Johnny Manziel to the Heisman Trophy as the offensive coordinator at Texas A&M last season, turned 34 earlier this month but remains the second-youngest active head coach in college football.

SMU will have an experienced quarterback operating its pass-heavy offense. Garrett Gilbert spent parts of three seasons at Texas - starting every game in 2010 - and is pegged to lead the Mustangs for a second straight year. Cutting down on turnovers will be key as Gilbert helps transition SMU into the newly formed American Athletic Conference. He committed five turnovers after taking over for injured starter Colt McCoy in the loss to Alabama in the 2010 BCS title game, was intercepted 17 times as the starter the following year and picked off 15 times last season.

Key betting stat: Mustangs are 5-15-1 ATS in their last 21 vs. Big 12.

North Dakota State Bison at Kansas State Wildcats (-13)

Kansas State briefly flirted with an undefeated season and a spot in the BCS Championship Game last season behind quarterback and Heisman Trophy finalist Collin Klein before settling for the Big 12 title. Klein is gone, along with most of the defensive front seven, giving the Wildcats a new look when they begin the 2013 campaign by hosting North Dakota State on Friday. The Football Championship Series power is trying to knock off an FBS school for the fourth straight season.

The Bison have claimed back-to-back FCS Championships and won at Kansas in 2010, versus Minnesota in 2011 and at Colorado State in 2012. The experienced squad takes on a Kansas State team that is going into the season unranked despite a BCS Bowl appearance in January. The Wildcats still are trying to settle on a starting quarterback as Jake Waters and Daniel Sams battle for the position.

Key betting stat: Over is 9-1 in Wildcats' last 10 home games.

Southern Jaguars at Houston Cougars (-40)

The Houston Cougars begin what they hope will be a bounceback season in the new American Athletic Conference when they host Southern University in the opener for both teams Friday at Reliant Stadium. After a 13-1 record and a TicketCity Bowl win in 2011, Houston stumbled to a 5-7 mark last year in head coach Tony Levine's first full season. However, the Cougars return 10 starters from an offense that averaged 32.4 points.

Junior quarterback David Piland is back for a third year under center after producing 2,929 passing yards and 16 touchdowns last season, the program's last in Robertson Stadium. He will lead a squad that will play its home games at three different locations before moving into a new stadium in 2014. Southern, which has not had a winning campaign since 2009, is entering its first full season under head coach Dawson Odums, who served on an interim basis for the final nine games in 2012.

Key betting stat: Over is 6-2 in Cougars' last eight Friday games.

Northern Arizona Lumberjacks at Arizona Wildcats (-34.5)

A pair of running backs will be in the spotlight when Arizona hosts Northern Arizona on Friday. Arizona junior Ka'Deem Carey led the nation in rushing yards (1,929) in 2012 and Northern Arizona senior Zach Bauman, a 2013 nominee on the Walter Payton Award watch list, is coming off his third consecutive 1,000-yard season. The Wildcats and Lumberjacks last met in 2011, with the Wildcats scoring an easy 41-10 victory in coach Rich Rodriguez's Arizona debut.

Both teams are replacing their starting quarterbacks. Cary Grossart, a two-year starter for Northern Arizona, leaves as the school's all-time leader in completion percentage (66.3). Arizona is in the process of finding a successor to Matt Scott, who ranked second in the Pac-12 in completions (301) and passing yards (3,620) last season.

Key betting stat: Wildcats are 5-1 ATS in their last six Friday games.

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Re: College Football Betting News and Notes Friday, August 30

Books, KSU have respect for North Dakota State
By Jason Logan

Meet North Dakota State. Every FBS program’s worst nightmare.

The Bison are kings of the FCS – Football Championship Subdivision – otherwise known as Division I-AA, winning their respective national championship the past two years. And each fall, North Dakota State crosses the tracks into FBS territory and tangles with the big boys for a tune-up game.

This time around, the Bison march to Manhattan to face the Kansas State Wildcats in Week 1 and oddsmakers are giving NDSU plenty of respect, setting the FCS champs as 13-point road underdogs. In fact, some books opened NDSU as a 15-point pup and were quickly bet down to its current stand.

That short spread may shock some. But the Bison have been FBS giant killers the past three seasons, winning SU and ATS against Colorado State (22-7 as 4-point dogs) in 2012, Minnesota (37-24 as 9.5-point dogs) in 2011, and Kansas (6-3 as 27.5-point dogs) in 2010.

“It’s safe to say that North Dakota State is the FCS version of Alabama,” Mike Perry of told Covers. “After all, they have won two straight national championships so bookmakers definitely have a healthy respect for NDSU.”

Besides being automatically discounted by opponents as an FCS program, North Dakota State has a strong mental edge every time it butts helmets with an FBS school. Unlike their Div. 1-A foes, the Bison have nothing to lose and everything to gain in these games.

If they get beat, they’re just another FCS punching bag. But if they win, not only does that give NDSU a huge head of steam heading into its regular season, it also sends its FBS opponent reeling. Media sources gobble up the big upset, setting the stage for failure for the fallen Goliath. The last three FBS schools to lose to North Dakota State are a combined 10-26 SU and 16-18-2 ATS during that respective season.

Of course, the likes of Colorado State, Minnesota, and Kansas aren’t the toughest gauntlet to run and KSU represents the Bison’s biggest FBS challenge ever. However, NDSU’s resume is not lost on the Wildcats.

“This is a faster football team than people want to envision,” KSU head coach Bill Snyder told the Wichita Eagle. “Sometimes on tape you can’t visualize that, but they run around. Secondly, they are as aggressive and as tough as a football team as you will line up against. They play with a great deal of confidence. Defensively, they have been amazing.”

That’s high praise coming from the guy with his name on the stadium where the Bison and Wildcats meet Friday night.

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