You are using an old web browser. Such browsers do not support modern web technologies and do not offer proper security. Please update your browser or download one of the others suggested for free.
Mozilla Firefox |
Google Chrome |
Internet Explorer |
THE STORY: The next two weeks will go a long way toward determining the relative success of Will Muschamp's first season as Florida coach - and the pecking order atop the Southeastern Conference. The 12th-ranked Gators face the first of back-to-back games against national title contenders as No. 2 Alabama travels to Gainesville, Fla. Both teams average more than 450 yards per game of total offense, but both also rank in the top five in the nation in total defense, rushing defense and scoring defense. Alabama leads the series 22-14, but one of those wins from 2005 was vacated.
TV: 8 p.m. ET, CBS
LINE MOVES: Alabama opened as high as a 5-point road favorite, but money on the home side moved the spread as low as a field goal before buyback on the Crimson Tide pushed the line back to -4. As for the total, the number posted at 45 and has been bet down to 44.5.
ABOUT ALABAMA (4-0, 1-0 SEC, 3-1 ATS): The Crimson Tide already have two wins against ranked opponents, including a road win at Penn State. The defense flexed its muscles in a 38-14 victory against Arkansas last week as the nation's No. 3 defense (184 yards allowed per game) shut down the Razorbacks' high-powered offense. Junior running back Trent Richardson continues to anchor the offense, earning SEC Offensive Player of the Week honors after rushing for 126 yards and catching three passes for 85 yards and a touchdown against North Texas. Richardson has more than 100 yards rushing in three consecutive games.
ABOUT FLORIDA (4-0, 2-0 SEC, 3-0-1 ATS): The Gators are off to a 4-0 start for the third consecutive season after a 48-10 victory at Kentucky, but they have yet to face a ranked opponent. The duo of Chris Rainey and Jeff Demps has rolled up big rushing numbers (731 yards, six touchdowns) through four games, but the Gators haven't faced a run defense such as Alabama's, which ranks third in the nation with 45.8 rushing yards allowed per game. The Gators also have a steady foot to count on as kicker Caleb Sturgis is 11-for-11 on field goals this season and has made 13 consecutive field-goal attempts dating back to last season.
1. In Saban's 58-game tenure at Alabama, the Crimson Tide have allowed less than 300 yards of total offense 33 times. Alabama has held opponents to 10 points or less 26 times under Saban.
2. Muschamp, who coached on Saban's staff at LSU and with the Miami Dolphins, is the sixth Florida coach to begin his career with the Gators with four straight wins. Only three of those coaches also have won their fifth game (Steve Spurrier, 1990; Charles Bachman, 1928; Galen Hall, 1984).
3. Alabama is 19-2 in September under Saban, including 16-0 since 2008.
* Crimson Tide are 7-1-1 ATS in their last nine meetings.
* Home team is 5-1 ATS in their last six meetings.
* Underdog is 6-2-1 ATS in their last nine meetings.
It seems like Northwestern QB Dan Persa’s expected return would sway this line the other way. But according to Fuhrman, one notable handicapping service released a play on Illinois -7, and that forced books to make the jump from one key number to the next.
“A lot of people are anxious to see just how mobile Persa can be after the Achilles injury,” says Fuhrman. “If he plays, I expected the line to come down a bit.”
Wake Forest Demon Deacons at Boston College Eagles – Open: Pick, Moved to BC +3, Current: -1
With Boston College star RB Montel Harris expected to be at full speed versus the Demon Deacons, bettors have jumped on the Eagles in this ACC clash, flipping the spread on the home side.
“As soon as (Harris’) status was upgraded, we saw money on BC,” says Fuhrman. “Boston College has been brutal on offense, so this is definitely a boost.”
Texas Longhorns at Iowa State Cyclones – Open: 44, Current: 50.5
This total opened as low as 44, but with Texas going with QB Case McCoy under center, total bettors have faith in the Horns' offense Saturday.
“The insertion of McCoy seems to be the sparkplug or catalyst that Texas was looking for,” says Fuhrman.
Washington Huskies at Utah Utes – Open: Utah -7, Current: -10
According to Fuhrman, Utah’s games have seen the most amount of line moves this season. This week’s tilt with Washington has moved from a touchdown to the key number of 10.
“It looks like there is a group of bettors who think there is more value in the Utes than what oddsmakers are giving them credit for in the opening lines,” he says. “We saw big moves in Utah’s games with USC and BYU.”
New Mexico State Aggies at New Mexico Lobos – Open: New Mexico +1.5, Current: -1
The firing of Lobos head coach Mike Locksley forced oddsmakers to tag New Mexico as a slight home dog versus its state rival. However, bettors aren’t buying the Aggies and have flipped this spread.
“These are two second or third-tier teams, so no one really knows what to expect after the firing of Locksley,” says Fuhrman. “If you’re watching this one Saturday night, you need an intervention.”
Nebraska Cornhuskers at Wisconsin Badgers (-10, 56.5)
THE STORY: The Big Ten opener between No. 8 Nebraska and No. 7 Wisconsin could be a possible preview of the inaugural conference championship game in December. The unbeaten Huskers are playing their first league game since joining the Big Ten and will be up against a Badgers squad that has won its four games by a combined 194-34. Wisconsin, led by all-everything quarterback Russell Wilson, has scored at least 35 points in each game. This matchup is the first between a pair of Top 10 teams in Madison since 1962.
TV: ABC 8 p.m. ET
LINE MOVES: Wisconsin opened as a 9.5-point home favorite and was bet down to -9 before buyback on the Badgers brough the spread to -10. The total opened at 57 and has been bet down to 56.5 points.
ABOUT NEBRASKA (4-0, 0-0 Big Ten): Nebraska, the Big Ten’s top rushing team, eclipsed the 300-yard mark for the second consecutive game in its 38-14 victory over Wyoming last week. But this will be the Huskers’ first real test of the season, and a win would go a long way toward helping them re-establish some big-game credibility. The Huskers lost two games against ranked opponents late in 2010 - against No. 18 Texas A&M and No. 10 Oklahoma in the Big 12 championship game - before falling to Washington 19-7 in the Holiday Bowl. Nebraska has scored 30 or more points in all four of its games. Nebraska leads the all-time series 3-2, but the teams haven’t met since 1974, when Wisconsin won 21-20.
ABOUT WISCONSIN (4-0, 0-0): The Badgers were ranked No. 10 in the preseason poll and have moved up at least one spot in the rankings each week except this one. A win over Nebraska, however, would likely put them in the top five for the first time since being ranked fourth prior to last year’s Rose Bowl loss to TCU. Wisconsin ranks eighth in total offense (532.3 yards per game), sixth in points (48.5) and seventh in total defense (246.5), but has done it against four teams that are a combined 5-10 this season. The Badgers have won 12 straight home games and haven’t lost at Camp Randall Stadium since a 20-10 setback against Iowa in 2009.
1. The last time Wisconsin faced a ranked opponent at home was last season against top-ranked Ohio State. The Badgers defeated the Buckeyes 31-18.
2. Wisconsin has won 11 straight regular season games, its longest streak since winning 13 in a row in coach Bret Bielema’s first two seasons in 2006 and 2007.
3. Nebraska has won 34 of 36 conference-opening games since 1975.
* Cornhuskers are 5-0 ATS in their last five games as underdogs.
* Badgers are 7-0-1 ATS in their last eight games as favorites.
* Under is 8-3 in Cornhuskers last 11 games as road underdogs.
* Over is 6-2 in Badgers last eight games as home favorites.