College Football Betting News and Notes Sunday, August 31

College Football Betting News and Notes Sunday, August 31

Game of the Day: SMU at Baylor

Southern Methodist Mustangs at Baylor Bears (-33, 74.5)

Tenth-ranked Baylor feels like it still has something to prove when it opens its new $266 million on-campus McLane Stadium on Sunday against visiting Southern Methodist. The reigning Big 12 champion set an NCAA record by scoring 52.4 points per game and led the nation with 618.8 yards in 2013 but finished 2-2 - including a 52-42 loss to Central Florida in the Fiesta Bowl. The Bears' high-flying offense has to replace two running backs and a key lineman but senior quarterback Bryce Petty has lots of targets returning.

"Our offense is going to be unbelievable - faster, stronger and more physical," the Heisman hopeful told the media earlier this month. "We have more athletes than we've had in a long time." Sophomore Neal Burcham won the job to replace SMU quarterback Garrett Gilbert and the Mustangs need an improved defense to aid the transition. SMU's June Jones has never had back-to-back losing seasons in his 15 years as a coach.

LINE HISTORY: A large portion of offshores opened the Bears as 31.5-point home faves, but that line is now Baylor -33. The total is currently 74.5.

INJURY REPORT: Mustangs - DB J.R. Richardson (Questionable, illness). Bears - WR Corey Coleman (Questionable, hamstring), WR Clay Fuller (Out indefinitely, collarbone).

WEATHER REPORT: Forecasts are calling for temperatures in the low-90s with wind blowing from the south at 13 mph.

WHAT CAPPERS SAY: "The Bears were the highest scoring team in college football in 2013, and Bryce Petty should keep the offense clicking again this season. They only return four starters on defense though, and the secondary looks like a big question mark." Covers Expert Jesse Schule.

ABOUT SOUTHERN METHODIST (2013: 5-7 SU, 6-6 ATS): Burcham started the final two games in place of injured Gilbert and finished the year completing 58.7 percent of his passes for 556 yards and two touchdowns. Junior receiver Darius Joseph (808 yards, five touchdowns) was ranked second in the American Athletic Conference last year with 103 catches and linebacker-turned-running back Kevin Pope will give the Mustangs depth in the backfield. SMU has three defensive line starters and linebacker Stephon Sanders (86 tackles, 13.5 tackles for loss) returning to a defense that allowed 412.6 yards and 33.3 points last year.

ABOUT BAYLOR (2013: 11-2 SU, 9-4 ATS): Petty (62 percent completions for 4,200 yards, 32 touchdowns, three interceptions) and the Bears have five of their top six receivers back, including Antwan Goodley (71 catches, 1,339 yards, 13 scores) and Levi Norwood (47, 733, eight), who is on a 27-game reception streak. Shock Linwood will be the primary back after rushing for 881 yards and eight touchdowns last year behind departed 1,000-yard rusher Lache Seastrunk. Linebacker Bryce Hager (71 tackles in nine games before a season-ending injury) and safety Terrell Burt (61 tackles, two interceptions) return to lead a young defense.


* Favorite is 4-0 ATS in their last four meetings.
* Mustangs are 0-4 ATS in their last four non-conference games.
* Over is 4-0 in Bears last four non-conference games.
* Over is 21-5-1 in Bears last 27 home games.

COVERS CONSENSUS: Sixty-five percent of Covers Consensus bets are backing Baylor.

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Re: College Football Betting News and Notes Sunday, August 31

SMU at Baylor Betting Preview and Pick
By: Ryan Mercier

How far can the Baylor Bears go this season? It all starts with a matchup against the SMU Mustangs this Sunday at Floyd Casey Stadium (7:30 p.m., FOX Sports 1).

Line: Baylor -33, Total: 74.5

Line movements: Baylor opened as a comically large favorite at -31.5 and the spread has grown even larger. The total opened up at 73, 73.5 and it's been bet up to 74.5 and even 75. For updated spreads and totals, visit our live odds page.

Trends that matter: Baylor is 20-6 ATS in its last 26 home games. Dating back to 1989, SMU has never won or covered against Baylor.

SMU masochists: The Mustangs have suffered a lifetime of beatings at the hands of the Baylor Bears. With a couple of small exceptions, SMU has been dominated by Baylor, often losing to the Bears by double-digits and many times by more than 30 points.

Does the 49-3 Baylor win in 1989 have any tangible effect on this opening-day matchup on Sunday? Of course not. However, with each team having off-season time to prepare for each other, both schools know where the all-time series stands.

On offense, quarterback Garrett Gilbert is gone, and sophomore Neal Burcham looks to get the nod to replace him. Burcham did get to start a couple of games at the end of last season so he isn't coming in completely green, but the results were mixed.

Points-a-plenty: Art Briles is going to make sure his team scores points, a lot of points. With Heisman hopeful QB Bryce Petty returning (not to mention WR Antwan Goodley), Baylor is bound to have another fantastic season on the offensive side of the ball. Baylor scored 70 or more points four times last year. Exactly one year ago before this Sunday's game on August 31, the Bears defeated Wofford, 69-3.

Obviously, this is why the spread has climbed. Last season, six out of Baylor's first seven games had them listed as a 28.5 to 34.5-point favorite and they covered all of them. This squad has proven that it can come into a situation where they are the far superior team, illustrate it on the field, and then add on another 20 points or so for fun.

Baylor faces similarly weak competition to start off 2014 as they did in 2013. But after covering its first four games and eight of its first nine, Baylor finished the season on a 1-3 ATS run, indicating that its rating caught up with them.

A season ago, the Bears went 4-0 to the OVER in their first four games. But sports books’ adjustments have been sharp, as they went a middling 4-4-1 O/U during their last nine games.

When the spreads start getting tighter later this season and the competition stiffens, the story could certainly be different on the Baylor Bears. Early in the year, there's no reason to think that Baylor has any other plans than to just light it up.

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