Cincinnati-Miami Odds

Oxford, OH Some may be wondering if Cincinnati is the best college team in Ohio, instead of the one that plays in Columbus.

There's no question the Bearcats are much better than the one based in Oxford.

Bet College Football Week 5

Unbeaten Cincinnati enters Saturday as a top-10 team for the first time in school history when it visits winless Miami of Ohio in college football's oldest non-conference rivalry.

Oddsmakers from online sports book SBGGLOBAL have made Cincinnati -27 point spread favorites (View College Football odds) for Saturday’s game (Game Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 87% of bets for this game have been placed on Cincinnati -27 (View College Football bet percentages).

While Ohio State is regularly the dominant force in the state's football landscape, the 10th-ranked Bearcats (4-0) are staking a claim they're the best Ohio has to offer this year.

Despite winning the Big East and reaching the Orange Bowl last season, Cincinnati had never previously been ranked higher than No. 12 until this week, remaining one spot behind a one-loss Buckeyes team.

"I think as long as you're in the state of Ohio and you're not looked at as an equal or partner, you're going to play with a chip on your shoulder," coach Brian Kelly said last week.

His team probably won't have to play with that chip to take care of Miami (0-4), outscored 167-45 this season.

The Bearcats have won the last three meetings by a 116-40 margin in the Battle for the Victory Bell. The RedHawks, whose Oxford campus is about 40 miles north of Cincinnati, have a 59-47-7 lead in a series that dates to Dec. 8, 1888 - the first college football game played in Ohio.

Bearcats quarterback Tony Pike made his first career start in last season's meeting, a 45-20 win Sept. 20, 2008, as he went 20 of 24 for 241 yards with three touchdowns.

It was a sign of things to come for Pike, who has gone 12-2 as a starter. He's the nation's fifth-rated passer (172.8), completing 70.5 percent of his throws for 1,223 yards with 11 TDs and two interceptions.

His favorite target may be Cincinnati's best weapon. Mardy Gilyard is the reigning Big East offensive player of the week after making nine catches for a career-high 177 yards and two scores in a 28-20 win over Fresno State last Saturday.

The senior speedster is among the top 10 nationally in receptions (32), receiving yards (442) and touchdown catches (six).

"Me and Pike with our offense, we just spent so much time from the Orange Bowl to now with our offense," said Gilyard, who also has scored on a run and a punt return. "Coach Kelly does a good job that we rep everything that we need to. I don't know how it looks on the field, but to us, it is another day in the office."

The quick-strike Cincinnati offense spent just 16:18 on the field last week while Kelly employed a conservative strategy on defense due partly to a banged-up secondary.

The Bearcats gave up 290 yards rushing - they surrendered 208 in the first three games combined - but held Fresno State to three points in the second half.

"It is a long season, and you have to pick your spots," Kelly said. "You have to keep putting W's on the board."

Wideout Marcus Barnett, who has 15 career TD receptions, was given his first career start at cornerback in place of the injured Dominique Battle (ankle). Barnett came up with two tackles and a pass break-up, and could start again Saturday if Battle can't return.

The Bearcats have not allowed more than 20 points in a game this season.

"Without a doubt, I knew we could be a great defense as well," Pike said. "Going against them every day during the summer and seeing the speed, and we don't see that as offense. Anytime we can score on them in practice we are happy."

That means the RedHawks should be thrilled to score.

They were shut out in two non-conference games - against Kentucky and then-No. 12 Boise State - before losing road games to Mid-American Conference foes Western Michigan and Kent State the past two weeks.

There was a bright spot in last Saturday's 29-19 loss at Kent State, as freshman Zac Dysert made an impressive first start with 337 yards passing and 107 rushing. However, he had three turnovers as Miami finished with five for a second consecutive game.

Under coach Michael Haywood, who spent the previous four years as Notre Dame's offensive coordinator, the RedHawks are looking to snap a nine-game losing streak.

Bet College Football Week 5

Posted: 9/29/09 2:15PM ET

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