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Saturday - Cincinnati at Rutgers (ESPNU, 12:00 p.m.)
Cincy tasted defeat for the first time since Week 2 when West Virginia went into Paul Brown Stadium and won a 24-21 decision last Saturday. Making matters worse, the Bearcats lost QB Zach Collaros for the rest of the regular season with a broken ankle. Therefore, Munchie Legaux will get the starting nod under center. Look for him to look to RB Isaian Pead early and often. Pead ran for 113 yard and two TDs against WVU and for the season, he's tallied 934 rushing yards and 10 TDs with a 6.0 YPC average. Rutgers owns an 18-14 sporead record as a home 'dog under Greg Schiano. The 'under' is 8-2 overall for RU, 4-2 in its home games. The 'under' is 5-4 overall for the Bearcats. Most books are listing Cincy as a three-point 'chalk' with a total of 47 ½.
Saturday - Wisconsin at Illinois (ESPN2, 12:00 p.m.)
Most spots are listing Wisconsin as a 14 ½-point favorite with a total of 51 ½. The Badgers fell to 0-3 ATS on the road when they failed to cover the number in last week's 42-13 win at Minnesota as 29 ½-point favorites. Brett Bielema's team is led by QB Russell Wilson, who has 25 TD passes and merely three interceptions. The transfer from N.C. St. has also rushed for 295 yards and four TDs. Junior RB Montee Ball has rushed for 1,242 yards and 23 TDs, while James White has 611 rushing yards and six scores. Illinois won its first six games but is in the midst of a four-game losing streak that has head coach Ron Zook under fire once again. Zook's situation was made more tenuous when LB Trulon Henry was shot in the hand this past Saturday night at a party. Henry wasn't even at the party but was called there by a teammate to give several players a ride home after a fight broke out. When asked about his future at a Tuesday presser, Zook walked out on the media. As a home 'dog under Zook, Illinois owns a 7-7 spread record. The 'over' is 7-3 overall for the Badgers, 2-1 in their three true road games. The 'under' is 7-3 overall for the Illinis, 5-2 in its home games.
Saturday - Mississippi State at Arkansas (CBS, 3:30 p.m.)
Most books are listing Arkansas as a 13-point favorite with a total of 53 ½. The big news out of Fayetteville this week is that junior RB Knile Davis, considered out for the season since breaking his ankle in August, practiced in pads Tuesday and might be able to play soon. Bobby Petrino's team isn't getting much hype as a potential national-title contender, but it still has an outside shot. In fact, all it has to do is win out and hope that Auburn can pull a stunning upset over Alabama in the Iron Bowl that will be held on The Plains. Arkansas is 6-0 SU and 5-1 ATS at home after destroying Tennessee 49-7 as a 15-point 'chalk.' The Hogs are 12-5-1 ATS as home favorites on Petrino's watch. Mississippi St. gave a game effort last week at home only to come up on the short end of a 24-7 decision against Alabama. The Bulldogs did cover the number for the fourth straight game, though, hooking up their backers as 17 ½-point home underdogs. QB Chris Relf suffered a concussion and is a question mark this week, meaning Tyler Russell will get the starting nod. The 'over' is 6-4 overall for the Hogs, 3-3 in their home games, while the 'under' is 6-4 overall for MSU. However, the Bulldogs have seen the 'under' go 3-2 in their road assignments.
Saturday - Virginia at Florida State (ESPN2, 7:30 p.m.)
Most books are listing FSU as a 17 ½-point 'chalk' with a total of 47. The Seminoles saw their four-game ATS surge end in last week's 23-19 win over Miami as 11-point home 'chalk.' Virginia has won three in a row and five of its last six to garner what will be its first postseason appearance since 2007. The Cavs are coming off a 31-21 win over Duke as a 9 ½-point home favorite. QB Michael Rocco, who has played much better in recent weeks, threw a pair of TD passes and wasn't intercepted. UVA has been getting solid production from RB Perry Jones, who has 856 rushing yards and five TDs while averaging 5.3 YPC. When these teams met in Charlottesville in 2010, FSU captured a 34-14 win as a 6 ½-point road favorite. Might the 'under' be worth a look in this spot? The 'under' has cashed in nine consecutive head-to-head meetings between these ACC adversaries. As for this year, UVA has seen the 'under' emerge at a lucrative 8-2 overall clip, while the 'Noles have seen the 'under' go 6-4 overall, 4-2 in their home outings.
Saturday - Boise State at San Diego State (CSTV, 8:00 p.m.)
Chris Petersen's squad dropped a 36-35 decision vs. TCU last week, ending its 35-game winning streak on the smurf turf at Bronco Stadium. The Broncos gave up the go-ahead score and subsequent two-point conversion with 1:05 remaining. They quickly moved into field-goal range for a potential game-winning field goal but the kick was off the mark. In all three of BSU's losses from 2008-2011, it missed FGs to win the games at crunch time. Nevertheless, Boise St. still has one of the country's premier squads led by senior QB Kellen Moore, who has a 31/5 TD-INT ratio. San Diego St. has one of the nation's most underrated players in RB Ronnie Hillman, who has 1,278 rushing yards and 13 TDs, and QB Ryan Lindley has a 15/6 TD-INT ratio. But the Aztecs' defense will be without one of their best players after senior LB Logan Ketchum went down last week with a season-ending injury. The 'over' is 6-3 overall for BSU, 4-1 in its road assignments. The 'under'
Saturday - Oklahoma at Baylor (ABC-ESPN, 8:00 p.m.)
As of Wednesday, most betting shops were listing Oklahoma as a 15 ½-point favorite with a total of 75. The Sooners are coming off an open date following their bittersweet 41-25 win over Texas A&M as 13 ½-point home favorites. The victory was costly because OU lost the school's all-time leading receiver Ryan Broyles to a season-ending knee injury. Nevertheless, we still have a matchup of two of the country's best quarterbacks. OU's Landry Jones has 3,349 passing yards with a 28/9 touchdowns-to-interceptions ratio. Meanwhile, Baylor's Robert Griffin III is enjoying another incredible campaign, throwing for 3,093 yards and rushing for 489 to date. 'RG3' has 29 TD passes compared to only five interceptions and he's also rushed for five scores. Griffin has one of the Big 12's top wideouts in Kendall Wright, who has 81 receptions for 1,073 yards and nine TDs. The Bears can also run the ball with Terrance Ganaway, who has 880 rushing yards and 10 TDs while averaging 6.0 yards per carry. Since 2002, OU owns a 14-20-2 spread record as a road favorite. Meanwhile, Baylor is 3-6 ATS as a home underdog during Art Briles' four-year tenure. The Bears are 5-0 SU and 4-0 ATS at home this season. They have watched the 'over' go 6-1-1 overall, while OU has seen the 'over' go 5-4 overall. Baylor has never beaten Oklahoma in 20 all-time meetings, although the Bears have taken the cash in five of the last eight encounters.
Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
With only two weeks remaining before the inaugural Big Ten Championship game in Indianapolis, the Leaders & Legends divisions are finally taking shape. Wisconsin and Michigan State each control its own destiny while Nebraska, Michigan, Penn State, and Ohio State all remain in the hunt. Here's an inside look at each matchup in the Big Ten.
Michigan (-3) vs. Nebraska - 12:00 PM ET, ESPN
MICH: 8-2 SU, 7-3 ATS - Last week: at Illinois, W 31-14
NEB: 8-2 SU, 3-7 ATS - Last week: at Penn State, W 17-14
Nebraska has won two straight Big Ten games after getting blown out by Wisconsin in its first conference game as a member. The Huskers beat hapless Minnesota (41-14) and a PSU team in turmoil last week (17-14). Neither team controls its own destiny in the Legends division as Michigan State would need to lose one for either to have a chance. But the winner of this game stays alive in the division race and also a shot an at-large BCS bid while the loser is eliminated from both.
This game features two of the top rushing QB's in the nation. Nebraska's Martinez has rushed for 768 yards (5.0) with 9 touchdowns (Nebraska ranks 12th nationally in rush offense). Michigan's Robinson has accumulated 910 rush yards (5.7) with 12 touchdowns (Michigan ranks 13th nationally in rush offense). Both struggle in the passing game, however, and this game will likely come down to which defense can effectively limit the opposing QB's rush yards. Robinson also injured his wrist in last week's win over Illinois, but is fully expected to play here.
Nebraska's "Blackshirts" are allowing 180 rush yards in Big Ten play and have struggled against elite rushing attacks. Michigan is allowing just 108 rush yards per game in Big Ten play and is off of a dominating performance of Illinois. The Wolverines held the Illini to just 37 rush yards on 33 carries (1.1 YPC).
Something to consider: Michigan plays its final two games at home after traveling for four of the previous five. The Wolverines are 6-0 at home this season, winning by 26 PPG (average score 37-11).
Ohio State (-6.5) vs. Penn State - 3:30 PM ET, ABC regional/ESPN
OSU: 6-4 SU, 5-5 ATS - Last week: at Purdue, L 23-26 (OT)
PSU: 8-2 SU, 3-7 ATS - Last week: vs. Nebraska, L 14-17
Despite all of the off-field distractions facing Penn State last week, the Nittany Lions performed admirably albeit in a loss against Nebraska. They outgained the Huskers and had a chance to win at the end, but were stopped on downs with 1:55 remaining to seal the defeat. It will be tough for PSU to travel after that emotional home game (their first since 1965 without Joe Paterno as head coach) and play as motivated against an OSU squad off of a loss.
OSU freshman QB Miller is a great raw talent that still makes some bad reads and mistakes. He's completing 50% of his passes this season with eight touchdowns and three interceptions and has rushed for an additional 490 yards and five scores. The offense is limited in its play-calling with him under center and this unit ranks just 108th in total offense and 74th in scoring offense. PSU is, by far, the best defense that Miller will face this season. PSU is allowing just 287 yards per game (8th nationally) and 13 points per game (3rd). Due to a scheduling realignment when Nebraska joined the conference, PSU will visit OSU for the second consecutive year. Last year here, Penn State held a 14-3 lead at halftime before OSU scored 35 unanswered 2nd half points to get the blowout victory. Matt McGloin threw two 2nd half interceptions that were both returned for touchdowns.
Something to consider: OSU has covered seven straight games off of a straight up loss. Penn State is 1-8 SU & ATS in Columbus and is averaging 12 PPG over that span (hasn't scored over 20 points).
Illinois (+14) vs. Wisconsin - 12:00 PM ET, ESPN2
ILL: 6-4 SU, 4-6 ATS - Last week: vs. Michigan, L 14-31
WISC: 8-2 SU, 6-4 ATS - Last week: at Minnesota, W 42-13
Wisconsin won its first road game of the season in dominating fashion last week with a 42-13 beatdown at Minnesota. They had 20 more first downs than Minnesota and a +305 yard advantage. This will be the Badgers' fourth road game in five weeks before finishing the season at home against Penn State. Thanks to help from OSU and PSU last week, the Badgers now control their own destiny and can earn a trip to the Big Ten title game by winning out.
There aren't many weaknesses in this Wisconsin offense. QB Wilson leads FBS in pass efficiency (242 YPG, 73%, 23-5) and Ball leads the FBS in points per game (16.4 points per game!). However, senior leader and top offensive lineman Peter Konz won't play Saturday and could miss the remainder of the regular season.
Illinois has solid defensive rankings across the board (9th total defense & 13 scoring defense), but its offense has been the major problem in the recent four-game skid. Illinois averaged 448 YPG and 35 PPG during its 6-0 start, but is only averaging 288 YPG and 11 PPG during the last four losses. The running game, which carried them the first half of the season, has averaged just 117 YPG (3.1 YPC) the past four. Also, the Illini haven't scored in the first 40 minutes of any game during the losing streak.
Something to consider: These two haven't met since 2008. The home team has won three straight in this series with Illinois winning 31-26 here in 2007. However, Illinois is just 2-7 SU and 3-6 ATS (including 0-3 last three) in home finales.
Purdue (+2.5) vs. Iowa - 12:00 PM ET, Big Ten Network
PU: 5-5 SU, 5-5 ATS - Last week: vs. Ohio State, W 26-23 (OT)
IOWA: 6-4 SU, 4-6 ATS - Last week: vs. Michigan State, L 21-37
Purdue is off of its biggest game of the year, an overtime victory over Ohio State, and will try to bounce back with another home win here against Iowa. Iowa couldn't overcome numerous mistakes last week in a home loss to Michigan State and also lost out on a great opportunity to remain in the hunt in the Legends division. Iowa has dropped five straight road games dating back to last season and is just 1-7 ATS in its last eight road games. The Hawkeyes are, however, 3-0 ATS this season off of a loss and 11-2-1 ATS the past 14 chances.
The Hawkeyes had two turnovers that turned into 27 & 19 yard touchdown drives for the Spartans last week. Iowa also had a field goal attempt blocked and fumbled at the MSU 8-yard line. Iowa's defense is allowing more points (23.8 PPG) and yards (398 YPG) than it has in the past seven years. The Hawks rank dead last in the Big Ten in pass defense and a big reason for that is lack of a consistent pass rush (only 15 sacks through 10 games).
The Boilers thoroughly dominated the Bucks in the big overtime win last week. They had more first downs and more yards and the defense was able to hold OSU's rushing attack - a strong area for OSU - in check. However, Purdue is still allowing 212 rush yards per game in conference play and they'll have to play well again to slow down Iowa RB Coker. Coker was shutdown by Michigan State last week, but is still averaging 115 rush yards per game with 13 touchdowns this season. As he goes, so does Iowa's offense.
Something to consider: Iowa won the last meeting in 2008 and the Hawks have won four of the past five in the series. The home team is 9-1 (7-3 ATS) last 10 in this series.
Michigan State (-28.5) vs. Indiana - 12:00 PM ET, Big Ten Network
MSU: 8-2 SU, 6-4 ATS - Last week: at Iowa, W 37-21
IND: 1-9 SU, 5-5 ATS - Last week: BYE
Michigan State took command of the Big Ten Legends division with a convincing win at Iowa last week. The Spartans now return home to play their final home game of the season. They are 13-0 at home over the previous two seasons and they've also won the last three home meetings with Indiana by 28 points per game.
Surprisingly, MSU has the worst rush-offense in the Big Ten with just 133 rush yards per game (3.7 YPC). The Spartans will likely see more success against this Indiana defense that hasn't stopped anyone this entire season. The Hoosiers are allowing 283 rush yards per game in Big Ten play and 42 points per game to conference opponents.
Indiana is off of a bye and will try to play spoiler to Michigan State here on Saturday. The Hoosiers have been much more competitive the last three weeks since inserting play-making QB Roberson into the starting lineup. Roberson is averaging a pedestrian 180 pass yards per game with 3 touchdowns and 2 picks, but it's his 92 rush yards per game that make him dangerous. He's got the Hoosiers averaging 27 points per game over the previous three games (18 PPG the first seven without him). A bye week can only benefit Indiana and its young QB.
Something to consider: Michigan State is 11-2 straight up in its last 13 against Indiana and 6-1 ATS last seven. However, the Spartans are 0-5 ATS as a Big 10 favorite of 20+.
Northwestern (-15.5) vs. Minnesota - 12:00 PM ET, Big Ten Network
NW: 5-5 SU, 5-5 ATS - Last week: vs. Rice, W 28-6
MINN: 2-8 SU, 5-5 ATS - Last week: vs. Wisconsin, L 13-42
The Wildcats can clinch bowl eligibility with a win. Hard to believe that this is the same team that was 2-5 and looked completely lost just three weeks ago. This defense that was allowing 32 points per game over the first eight games has allowed a total of 31 points the past two weeks to Nebraska and Rice.
The Wildcats have a potent offensive attack that ranks 26th in total offense and 44th in scoring offense behind QB Persa - the FBS leader in completion percentage. Persa and this Wildcats spread-option offense could have a big day against this Gopher defense that ranks 113th in pass efficiency defense.
Minnesota is off of a crushing 42-13 defeat at home to archrival Wisconsin. The Gophers were absolutely punchless as they had 20 fewer first downs and were outgained by 305 yards. QB Gray didn't play well and coaches indicated after the game that he's dealing with multiple injuries. Whoever starts at QB for the Gophers doesn't really make a difference, as this unit ranks an abysmal 112th in scoring & total offense.
Something to consider: The visitor is 14-2 ATS in this series and the underdog is 6-2 ATS over the previous eight. Northwestern is just 3-10 ATS as a conference home favorite.
Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
One of the fun things to do at this juncture of the season is speculate what the college football bowls will be, and more importantly, what the lines of those games will be.
I talked with Las Vegas oddsmaker Kenny White, co-star of “The Linemakers’ TV show on Discovery’s Velocity channel, about all of the top possible BCS bowl games and he gave his raw number on all the games with LSU being favored against anyone they match up against. That’s of course assuming they beat Arkansas next week and Georgia in the SEC title game.
I say ‘raw number’ because that’s a number compiled strictly on White's rating for a neutral site. The sports books will then take that number and see if they can do any tinkering with it to justify a move to a key number like 3, 4, 6, 7 or 10 as their starting point.
By getting to that key number as a starting point, it allows some flexibility to absorb multiple limit bets before making a move and limit exposure with middle opportunities. For example, if you opened LSU -2 against Oklahoma, one limit bet on the favorite might take you to -2 ½ and then maybe two limit bets from there to -3.
Whereas, if you opened -3 from the start, you could absorb three to four limit bets on Oklahoma before going to -2 ½.
Obviously, the market dictates what the games open at as well, but with isolated Bowl games, most Las Vegas sports books have a side they’ve chosen that they want their first few bets to be based on all their data accumulated from the season. The handle is so large in these games that they’re all kind of treated like mini-Super Bowls.
Here’s a look at what White's projected bowl numbers were with comments on what the sports book might do with that number:
LSU -1 vs. Alabama: There’s a feeling that the public and sharp money both like LSU, so starting at -2 ½ to see if Alabama money can quickly be found might be an early strategy here. If LSU money still comes in, then the book saved itself two to three moves up the ladder and limit exposure where they can be beaten by both sides.
LSU -2 ½ vs. Oklahoma: There are factions that still believe Oklahoma is the best team in the nation. A sports book would open -3 and say, “show me the money.”
LSU -3 vs. Oklahoma State: The Cowboys can score at will, but might they find some issues with LSU’s defense? Although LSU hasn’t looked good offensively all season, they might be at their best against Oklahoma State’s defense. The public would still side with LSU and the book might want to get closer to -5 by opening -4 ½.
LSU -3 vs. Oregon: Oregon is a very popular public team on the West Coast and in games like this, they have to respect almost as much as the sharp money because their contributions to the overall cash pile will outweigh the sharps. LSU -3 would be a good starting point to see where the money takes them, if anywhere at all.
Should LSU lose in the next three weeks, it will be a wild dash to the finish. Oklahoma or Oklahoma State will also eliminate one of themselves from contention on Dec. 3. If it’s Oklahoma winning, then Alabama would be in the driver’s seat. Oregon would have to win very impressively over USC this weekend to help offset the surge in points Oklahoma would get by beating OSU.
Here are Kenny White’s projected lines involving Alabama in the BCS National Championship game under the scenario that LSU loses:
Alabama -1.5 vs. Oklahoma
Alabama -1.5 vs. Oklahoma State
Alabama -2 ½ vs. Oregon
Here’s a look at White’s projected line for a couple of other BCS Bowl games possibilities:
Orange Bowl: Clemson -7 vs. Cincinnati
Sugar Bowl: Alabama -4 vs. Stanford
Rose Bowl: Oregon -2 ½ vs. Wisconsin
Fiesta Bowl: Oklahoma -10 vs. Houston
Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs: