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Thread: NCAAF Trends and Indexes - Week 9 (Tues., Oct. 23 - Sat., Oct. 27)

  1. #16
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    Total Talk - Week 9
    BetDSI


    Week 8 was a good one to follow the steam in regards to totals, as the two games I isolated in this piece a week ago managed to cash tickets in the way that they had moved. The Arizona/UCLA game that had moved upwards from 55 to 57.5 finished with 61 total points, while the Buffalo/Toledo contest that saw a six-point move to the 'under' still stayed well below any total in the 60's as they finished with just 48 points.

    Last week's results show that sometimes following the early week steam and taking a supposed bad number on some lines isn't a bad option sometimes, especially when the total is still too high/low after the move than what you believe it should be. Both of last week's isolated games cashed tickets following the move, but can this week's isolated games provide the same results?

    Biggest Movers to the 'Over'

    Wisconsin vs Northwestern: Open: 51 – Current: 53.5


    Admittedly I did not think too many Big 10 matchups would fall into this category as ones that move to the 'over', especially when the game doesn't involve a team like Ohio State that's known for scoring plenty of points each week. But this Wisconsin/Northwestern game has seen its total jump nearly three points already this week, and that's with betting percentage numbers at VegasInsider.com showing 80%+ of the action having already come in on the 'under'. So how should we approach this total that's seen significant reverse line movement already?

    Well for one, movement like that means you've got to likely assume that while the minority of tickets being bet on this total have been for the 'over', those few tickets had a lot of zeros written on them. A few big money bets have played a part in forcing this total upwards, and it's these spots where I'd lean more towards following the steam/line move rather than stand in it's way. Having that nasty hook on a key number like 53 is a little concerning for 'over' wagers now, but maybe it's more of a case that the market still prices these Wisconsin totals too low.

    The Badgers are 4-0 O/U in their last four games, and have gone 5-2 O/U on the year overall. Most of Wisconsin's totals have closed in the high-40's/low 50s range like we've got here, and last week's 49-20 win by the Badgers is only more fuel to add to a potential 'over' play this week. Defensively the Badgers aren't as stout as they've been in year's past – they've allowed 30 or more in three straight and four of five – and while Northwestern's attack looked sluggish a week ago in narrowly getting by Rutgers, I'd expect QB Clayton Thorson and the rest of the Wildcats offense to be excited and prepared to play well this week.

    Northwestern has gone 'over' the number in two of their last three games, and of the three times the Wildcats have scored 30+ this year, each of the last two have come at home. In fact, any time Northwestern has had a total lined in the 50's this year it's cashed an 'over' ticket (2-0 O/U), as maybe oddsmakers expected a higher-scoring game here from the beginning with this number opening up at 51.

    The betting market numbers and trends suggest that this is a move that should probably be followed rather than faded, although we will likely see some more 'under' money pull back this number late, maybe even all the way back to it's opening line. I say that because when 80% of bettors have already taking a piece of the 'under' (at any stage this week) and have seen the total do nothing but climb all week, chances are most of those will quickly realize they weren't with the market early, let this line climb as high as it can, and then fire more 'under' wagers on the number when it's peaked.

    Waiting until as close to kick-off as you can get is probably the best course of action now – if anything just to try and get an 'over' position below the key number of 53 – as we could see that nasty hook get shed soon enough. If that is what ends up happening, you'd better believe I'll be following this steam on the 'over' as I do believe that both sides have a great shot to get into the 30's offensively this week.


    Biggest Movers to the 'Under'

    San Diego State vs Nevada: Open 48 – Current: 45


    This game made this week's piece because it shares a lot of the same characteristics the Wisconsin/Northwestern game has just in reverse. San Diego State and Nevada have seen steep reverse line movement on their total as well, dropping three full points from opening despite 80% of the action coming in on the high side. Considering neither side has been an offensive juggernaut this year and are a combined 4-11 O/U this season, it's easy to see why the 'under' originally soaked in some large wagers to force this drop.

    Yet, following reverse line moves on 'unders' can be tricky simply because the lower the number is on the whole, sometimes one costly mistake/turnover can squeak the game 'over' the line. Every point matters when backing an 'under', and you'd better be confident that this current total of 45 is still well within your range for an 'under' play to get on board now.

    San Diego State and Nevada may not be offensive juggernauts as each come into this game riding four-game 'under' runs, but points aren't that scarce when these two hook up, as we've seen 45 or more points in five of the last six meetings between these two. That lone outlier finished with 44 points, so chances are this current number of 45 has been bet into the optimal range for this game and any value on the 'under' is probably gone.

    But I said that for last week's 'under' on the Buffalo/Toledo six-point move and that still stayed well below the number. Yet, a total of 60 still gives you more margin for error with an 'under' play then 45 does, especially in college football.

    It would be 'under' or nothing for me now on this game, but keep an eye on whether this total gets pushed up higher throughout the next few days leading up to a late 10:30 EST kickoff here. Any move to 47 or more and I'll be following this steam on the low side for sure.


    Best Total Bet for Week 8: Texas vs Oklahoma State Over 62

    With the theme of this week's article being reverse line movement on college football totals, this week's best bet comes from a game that hit the chopping block in terms of being included in the “biggest movers: Over” section earlier on. The Longhorns/Cowboys game has seen their number rise almost three points from open, and that's with a heavy majority of the action already going low (80%+.)

    Situationally, this Texas/OK State game is in a solid spot to back an 'over' as both teams are coming off no doubt 'unders' in their last outing, with OK State's 31-12 loss as -8 favorites the more shocking of the two results. The Cowboys have actually lost two in a row (and three of four) as favorites of at least a TD, so the bye week they had prior to this week's game probably couldn't have come at a better time. That extra prep time gave this OK State bunch time to figure out what was going wrong with their attack that routinely scores 40+.

    Texas got by Baylor (23-17) before they went for a week of rest as well. That time off was needed for Texas as it was clear they were a team running out of gas after a tough stretch of games against the likes of USC, TCU, and Oklahoma, all games which the Longhorns won. The sloppy, sluggish effort against Baylor can be cast aside now, as the Longhorns understand that to go into Oklahoma State and leave with a win, you'd better be prepared to score 40+ yourselves.

    Iowa State managed to do that a few weeks back in their 48-42 win over the Cowboys, and while this game might not get that many points, I do believe we will see 70+ total points scored by the end of it. OT is always a possibility with the spread floating around a FG, and that's never a bad last resort option to any 'over' play.

    Finally, with Texas getting QB Sam Ehlinger back under center, the Longhorns should be confident in their chances of getting the win in a potential shootout. Ehlinger has been the catalyst for this Texas attack all year long, and he and his offensive teammates have always gotten “up” for these high profile matchups. The three highest point totals put up by Texas this year (37, 31, and 48 points) came against USC, TCU, and Oklahoma respectively, so it's not like scoring in bunches is rare for the Longhorns in these high-profile games.

    This week's game against Oklahoma State should be no different, as the Cowboys 7-1 O/U run following an ATS loss, their 4-1 O/U run following a week off, and their 4-1 O/U run after scoring less than 20 points all get to come into play here. Six of the last seven times these two have played in Stillwater, Oklahoma the 'over' has cashed and this week's meeting should follow suit.

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    By: Brandon DuBreuil


    SEARS STARTS FOR USC

    Redshirt freshman quarterback Jack Sears has been named USC’s starting quarterback for Saturday’s home tilt against Arizona State as J.T. Daniels hasn’t recovered from the concussion he suffered against Utah last week. Sears was third on the QB depth chart as recently as last week but second-stringer Matt Fink broke three ribs in relief of Daniels last week and is also out.

    Sears comes in with a pretty high pedigree as he was ranked as Rivals’ No. 117 overall prospect in 2017 after succeeding Sam Darnold at San Clemente High School. But he has yet to see game action at the collegiate level and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the Trojans roll out a fairly conservative game plan for him. The total is currently set at 52 and the Under could be the play here.


    LEWERKE OUT OF OFFICE

    Reports out of East Lansing on Friday evening are that Michigan State starting quarterback Brian Lewerke won’t start and is unlikely to see the field against Purdue. The junior played through the shoulder injury he suffered two weeks ago against Penn State but that led to a horrendous stat line of 5-of-25 passing for 66 yards last week against Michigan. Assuming Lewerke can’t go, freshman Rocky Lombardi will get the call.

    Lewerke is the second huge offensive loss for the Spartans this week as top receiver Felton Davis III tore his Achilles against Michigan and is out for the season. The line for this game opened at MSU -2.5 but has now shifted to MSU -1. Purdue is coming off a huge upset win over Ohio State and is in a classic letdown spot, which is likely why oddsmakers favor the Spartans, but the loss of their quarterback and top receiver seem like too much to overcome. Take Purdue as an underdog before the line the line shifts in the other direction.


    NO HORNIBROOK FOR BADGERS

    In keeping with the theme of big-time quarterbacks who aren’t playing this week, Wisconsin will be without starting quarterback Alex Hornibrook as he recovers from a concussion. Sophomore Jack Coan will make his first start and his first appearance of the season. Coan did get limited action as a freshman, going 5 of 5 for 36 yards over three different games.

    Badgers coach Paul Chryst mentioned on Friday that the team knew about the possibility of Hornibook not playing at Northwestern on Saturday and has been preparing for the scenario this week. That will likely mean a lot of Jonathan Taylor as Chryst tries to protect his young QB. Taylor is in line to have a big day as the Badgers’ offensive line should be able to push around Northwestern’s defensive front and open up big holes. The line opened at Wisconsin -6 and is now down to -4.5, making it the perfect time to jump on the favorites. Take the Badgers and the points.


    EHLINGER GOOD TO GO

    Finally, some good news for quarterbacks as Texas QB Sam Ehlinger (shoulder) is expected to start Saturday’s road game at Oklahoma State. Ehlinger was knocked out of Texas’ last game on Oct. 13 against Baylor but the bye week was apparently enough time for him to heal. But how well his sprained shoulder will hold up when he takes a big it is a valid question and there’s a good chance we’ll find out on Saturday night as OSU leads the Big 12 in sacks.

    Another question worth asking is about Texas’ ability to win on the road. The Longhorns have had a comfortable schedule so far this season with only three games away from Austin: two neutral site games (the loss vs. Maryland in Landover and the win vs. Oklahoma at the Cotton Bowl) and one true road game (a 19-14 win over Kansas State where they didn’t cover the spread). They’ve been great at home but pretty average outside of Texas state lines. Oklahoma State is coming off its bye and has had extra time to get up for its biggest game of the season, making this the perfect spot for the home team to pull off the upset. We’re taking the Cowboys and the points with OSU +3.


    TWO QBS FOR THE ORANGE?

    Syracuse coach Dino Babers suggested late this week that both senior Eric Dungey and freshman Tommy DeVito could see snaps against NC State. He also noted that the two had basically split the first-team reps and that the “major players” have been informed as to how he’ll use his QBs on Saturday. DeVito looked great in relief of the four-year starter Dungey last week, throwing three touchdowns in leading the Orange to an overtime win over North Carolina and we’d expect him to get the majority of the snaps against the Wolfpack.

    Regardless of who’s under center on Saturday, we like the Orange but it’s more because of NC State’s below-average running game that’s ranked 12 of 14 teams in the ACC in yards per attempt — and running the ball is what you want to do against Syracuse and its S&P+ run defense that’s ranked 101st in the nation. The Wolfpack are a throwing team and the Orange are solid against the pass at No. 32 in S&P+ pass defense; NC State, meanwhile, is No. 64 in the same metric. With a total of 65.5, oddsmakers are expecting a shootout and if it comes down to passing, we’ll take the team with the better pass defense and the home-field advantage. We’re backing Syracuse +2.5.
    Last edited by StarDust Bum; 10-27-2018 at 10:53 AM.

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    ⚠️🌧️COLLEGE FOOTBALL WEATHER WATCH🌧️⚠️

    Forecast for Norfolk, Virginia calling for light rain, temps in the low 40s, and possible wind gust of 17 mph. Old Dominion +4.5 vs. Middle Tennessee with the total at 60.5 points.


    Rain and cold in Beaver Stadium when Iowa faces Penn State. PSU 5.5-point fave with total at 51 points. Forecast calling for showers early on and temperatures to "feel like" 37 degrees. Rain expected to stop. Wind not a factor.


    Rain, wind and cold for today's game between UMass and UConn. Huskies are 4-point home dogs with the total at 64.5 points. Forecast calling for temps to "feel like" 39 degrees.

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    Essentials - Week 9
    Tony Mejia

    It isn't a huge day for battles between ranked teams outside of the top game on this list, which carries enormous national consequences. It's weekends like this one that typically produce their share of surprises since you don't see the carnage coming. Here are the week's top matchups:

    Georgia at Florida, 3:30 p.m. ET, CBS:
    New head coach Dan Mullen has reiinvigorated the Gators, which few saw coming after Kentucky ended more than three decades of futility against them in the second game of the season. Florida hasn't lost since, riding an improved Feleipe Franks, who will be looking for retribution after getting overwhelmend by the 'Dawgs in last year's rivalry game. Franks threw for 30 yards on 7-for-19 passing before he was benched and will have to try and navigate against man coverage with the nation's top corner, DeAndre Baker, attempting to render one side of the field a no-fly zone.

    Mullen lost to Kirby Smart-coached Georgia 31-3 in the lone meeting between the two as head coaches, but Smart presided over a defense that consistently baffled Mississippi State when he was at Alabama. The Bulldogs lost every year from '08 to '15, getting outscored 231-67, scoring more than 10 points only once. We'll see if improved talent yields different results, but it should be pointed out that Dak Prescott lineup under center for Mullen in a couple of those losses. The Cocktail Party atmosphere in Jacksonville is always, um, interesting, but today's weather should be ideal. There will be some wind, but nothing too intrusive. Injury-wise, Florida looks relatively clean while Georgia will have DT Devonte Wyatt but will be without DaQuan Hawkins-Muncie. RB D'Andre Swift's ankle isn't expected to be an issue. The Gators had won three straight before last season's loss.

    Texas at Oklahoma State, 8 p.m. ET, ABC:
    Getting Sam Ehlinger cleared was the primary objective in Austin this week, but even with the sophomore a go, uncertainty remains. It's hard to forecast whether his shoulder will hold up for four quarters, so we'll see if he can make all the throws he's usually able to sling. On the road, the decision may have been made that he's too valuable as a game manager not to have out there. In any case, backup Shane Buechele could be called upon at any moment .

    Oklahoma State has disappointed most of the season, which has led to QB Taylor Cornelius getting the bulk of the criticism since he drove away one of the program's top receivers and has lost three of the last four, including two listless performances. Head coach Mike Gundy is sticking by him despite cries to pull the plug and try someone else, so the danger exists that the home crowd turns on the Pokes if things don't go well early. Oklahoma State has won six of eight in the series.

    Washington State at Stanford, 7 p.m. ET, Pac-12:
    The Cougs look to continue what may be a special season after holding serve last week against Oregon but still have a lot of work to do considering this trip to Palo Alto is one of three where they're expected to be underdogs since a visit to Colorado and a season-ending home game against Washington must still be played. Washington State won last week despite missing corner Sean Harper Jr., but it would be nice to have him back here against Stanford's big receivers since he's the most physically imposing of Washington State's defensive backs.

    You can't talk Stanford football in 2018 without discussing Bryce Love's availability. He's seemingly been limited by ankle issues all season as the decision not to turn pro hasn't gone as planned, but it's hard to imagine him missing a home game if he can go since those are dwindling. QB K.J. Costello has had an issue with his right throwing hand but is expected to start. Linebacker Joey Alfieri has joined safety Ben Sanders as a major loss for the Cardinal defense. Washington State has a great chance to beat Stanford for a third straight time after losing eight consecutive meetings.

    Iowa at Penn State, 3:30 p.m. ET, ESPN:
    The Nittany Lions have been reduced to playing spoiler and need to hold serve at home just to avoid slipping under .500 in Big Ten play. Considering they were a few plays away from taking down Ohio State and barely won at Indiana last week, it's hard to know what to expect from Penn State. Top WR KJ Hamler is healthy, but counterpart Juwan Johnson has been limited by an ankle injury. He's still expected to suit up, which would be a boost.

    The Hawkeyes haven't surrendered a rushing touchdown this season as they look to keep Miles Sanders and Trace McSorley from breaking that run. Substantial rain is expected in State College, so Iowa may get to perform in weather perfectly suited for its style as it comes off a 23-0 shutout in similar circumstance against Maryland. LB Jack Hockaday and RB Toren Young should both play. Iowa has lost four straight in the series and hasn't lost five in a row since the early 1970s. If it pulls off this upset, Iowa is likely to be favored in all its remaining games.

    Arizona State at USC, 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC:
    The Trojans are expected to be without starting QB JT Daniels, who suffered a concussion and may not clear protocol in time to even suit up. Third-stringer Jack Sears will start since backup Matt Fink suffered a rib injury, so it's no surprise to see this line has dipped. USC will also be without many of its top defensive players due to injuries.

    The Sun Devils have had an up-and-down first season under Herm Edwards but have been extremely competitive, losing all four of their games by seven points. QB Manny Wilkins has dealt with some physical challenges in his senior season but has proven reliable and will be looking for his first win against USC, which has won the last three meetings by 21 or more points each time.

    Clemson at Florida State, 12 p.m. ET, ABC:
    Freshman QB Trevor Lawrence has made the departure of predecessor Kelly Bryant an afterthought with his solid play. As long as he stays healthy, the Tigers will be fine, but depth behind him is dicey. Fortunately, RB Travis Etienne has stepped up, benefiting from opponents having to respect Lawrence's arm and no longer being able to stack the box. He's scored three touchdowns in three straight games.

    Willie Taggart's first season started terribly, so there was nowhere to go but up. Still, FSU has demonstrated improvement and comes off its best win, an impressive rout of Wake Forest after falling behind 10-0. The key to the 'Noles hanging around at home will be their porous offensive line. If they can give Deondre Francois time to make plays by holding off the nation's most talented defensive front, FSU has enough playmakers to make this interesting at home. It would be great to see how Lawrence holds up in a hostile atmosphere.

    Wisconsin at Northwestern, 12 p.m. ET, FOX:
    The Badgers haven't been as consistent or as explosive as they were expected to be up front given all the talent they returned along the offensive line, but that hasn't prevented national rushing leader Jonathan Taylor from topping the 100-yard mark in eight straight games. He'll take aim at a typically stingy Northwestern defense.

    The Wildcats can surprisingly take control of the Big Ten West entering November games against Notre Dame and fellow division frontrunner Iowa and may not have to face QB Alex Hornibrook, who may be sidelined with a concussion. Jack Coan would get his first career start if Hornibrook can't go.

    Navy vs. Notre Dame, 8 p.m. ET, CBS:
    The Fighting Irish will have to navigate this potential pothole in the form of an offense they only run into once a year and a "neutral" environment in a big Navy city like San Diego. Fortunately, they did enjoy a bye week to aid in preparation, but there's a divide whether significant practice time against the triple option actually makes a substantial difference since it is so difficult to replicate and practice against. Cut blocks and varying formations make it a challenge that makes the spread here a bit of a stretch.

    Since Ian Book took over for senior Brandon Wimbush at QB, Notre Dame's offense has averaged just short of 40 points per game to run the table and put it in the national playoff conversation. Games against Northwestern, FSU, Syracuse and USC remain after this one, but all of them are winnable so long as they can get out of this one unscathed, both on the scoreboard and in terms of injuries. These institutions have played annually since 1927 and Navy has typically been crushed. They did win in a neutral site in 2016.


    Others to watch:
    Purdue at Michigan State, N.C. State at Syracuse, San Diego State at Nevada, Texas Tech at Iowa State, Washington at Cal, Texas A&M at Mississippi State, Oregon at Arizona, Kansas State at Oklahoma, North Carolina at Virginia, Duke at Pittsburgh, Northern Illinois at BYU, Boise State at Air Force, Tennessee at South Carolina

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    Essentials - Week 9
    October 27, 2018
    By Tony Mejia


    It isn't a huge day for battles between ranked teams outside of the top game on this list, which carries enormous national consequences. It's weekends like this one that typically produce their share of surprises since you don't see the carnage coming. Here are the week's top matchups:

    Georgia at Florida, 3:30 p.m. ET, CBS: New head coach Dan Mullen has reiinvigorated the Gators, which few saw coming after Kentucky ended more than three decades of futility against them in the second game of the season. Florida hasn't lost since, riding an improved Feleipe Franks, who will be looking for retribution after getting overwhelmend by the 'Dawgs in last year's rivalry game. Franks threw for 30 yards on 7-for-19 passing before he was benched and will have to try and navigate against man coverage with the nation's top corner, DeAndre Baker, attempting to render one side of the field a no-fly zone.

    Mullen lost to Kirby Smart-coached Georgia 31-3 in the lone meeting between the two as head coaches, but Smart presided over a defense that consistently baffled Mississippi State when he was at Alabama. The Bulldogs lost every year from '08 to '15, getting outscored 231-67, scoring more than 10 points only once. We'll see if improved talent yields different results, but it should be pointed out that Dak Prescott lineup under center for Mullen in a couple of those losses. The Cocktail Party atmosphere in Jacksonville is always, um, interesting, but today's weather should be ideal. There will be some wind, but nothing too intrusive. Injury-wise, Florida looks relatively clean while Georgia will have DT Devonte Wyatt but will be without DaQuan Hawkins-Muncie. RB D'Andre Swift's ankle isn't expected to be an issue. The Gators had won three straight before last season's loss.

    Texas at Oklahoma State, 8 p.m. ET, ABC: Getting Sam Ehlinger cleared was the primary objective in Austin this week, but even with the sophomore a go, uncertainty remains. It's hard to forecast whether his shoulder will hold up for four quarters, so we'll see if he can make all the throws he's usually able to sling. On the road, the decision may have been made that he's too valuable as a game manager not to have out there. In any case, backup Shane Buechele could be called upon at any moment .

    Oklahoma State has disappointed most of the season, which has led to QB Taylor Cornelius getting the bulk of the criticism since he drove away one of the program's top receivers and has lost three of the last four, including two listless performances. Head coach Mike Gundy is sticking by him despite cries to pull the plug and try someone else, so the danger exists that the home crowd turns on the Pokes if things don't go well early. Oklahoma State has won six of eight in the series.

    Washington State at Stanford, 7 p.m. ET, Pac-12: The Cougs look to continue what may be a special season after holding serve last week against Oregon but still have a lot of work to do considering this trip to Palo Alto is one of three where they're expected to be underdogs since a visit to Colorado and a season-ending home game against Washington must still be played. Washington State won last week despite missing corner Sean Harper Jr., but it would be nice to have him back here against Stanford's big receivers since he's the most physically imposing of Washington State's defensive backs.

    You can't talk Stanford football in 2018 without discussing Bryce Love's availability. He's seemingly been limited by ankle issues all season as the decision not to turn pro hasn't gone as planned, but it's hard to imagine him missing a home game if he can go since those are dwindling. QB K.J. Costello has had an issue with his right throwing hand but is expected to start. Linebacker Joey Alfieri has joined safety Ben Sanders as a major loss for the Cardinal defense. Washington State has a great chance to beat Stanford for a third straight time after losing eight consecutive meetings.

    Iowa at Penn State, 3:30 p.m. ET, ESPN: The Nittany Lions have been reduced to playing spoiler and need to hold serve at home just to avoid slipping under .500 in Big Ten play. Considering they were a few plays away from taking down Ohio State and barely won at Indiana last week, it's hard to know what to expect from Penn State. Top WR KJ Hamler is healthy, but counterpart Juwan Johnson has been limited by an ankle injury. He's still expected to suit up, which would be a boost.

    The Hawkeyes haven't surrendered a rushing touchdown this season as they look to keep Miles Sanders and Trace McSorley from breaking that run. Substantial rain is expected in State College, so Iowa may get to perform in weather perfectly suited for its style as it comes off a 23-0 shutout in similar circumstance against Maryland. LB Jack Hockaday and RB Toren Young should both play. Iowa has lost four straight in the series and hasn't lost five in a row since the early 1970s. If it pulls off this upset, Iowa is likely to be favored in all its remaining games.

    Arizona State at USC, 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC: The Trojans are expected to be without starting QB JT Daniels, who suffered a concussion and may not clear protocol in time to even suit up. Third-stringer Jack Sears will start since backup Matt Fink suffered a rib injury, so it's no surprise to see this line has dipped. USC will also be without many of its top defensive players due to injuries.

    The Sun Devils have had an up-and-down first season under Herm Edwards but have been extremely competitive, losing all four of their games by seven points. QB Manny Wilkins has dealt with some physical challenges in his senior season but has proven reliable and will be looking for his first win against USC, which has won the last three meetings by 21 or more points each time.

    Clemson at Florida State, 12 p.m. ET, ABC: Freshman QB Trevor Lawrence has made the departure of predecessor Kelly Bryant an afterthought with his solid play. As long as he stays healthy, the Tigers will be fine, but depth behind him is dicey. Fortunately, RB Travis Etienne has stepped up, benefiting from opponents having to respect Lawrence's arm and no longer being able to stack the box. He's scored three touchdowns in three straight games.

    Willie Taggart's first season started terribly, so there was nowhere to go but up. Still, FSU has demonstrated improvement and comes off its best win, an impressive rout of Wake Forest after falling behind 10-0. The key to the 'Noles hanging around at home will be their porous offensive line. If they can give Deondre Francois time to make plays by holding off the nation's most talented defensive front, FSU has enough playmakers to make this interesting at home. It would be great to see how Lawrence holds up in a hostile atmosphere.

    Wisconsin at Northwestern, 12 p.m. ET, FOX: The Badgers haven't been as consistent or as explosive as they were expected to be up front given all the talent they returned along the offensive line, but that hasn't prevented national rushing leader Jonathan Taylor from topping the 100-yard mark in eight straight games. He'll take aim at a typically stingy Northwestern defense.

    The Wildcats can surprisingly take control of the Big Ten West entering November games against Notre Dame and fellow division frontrunner Iowa and may not have to face QB Alex Hornibrook, who may be sidelined with a concussion. Jack Coan would get his first career start if Hornibrook can't go.

    Navy vs. Notre Dame, 8 p.m. ET, CBS: The Fighting Irish will have to navigate this potential pothole in the form of an offense they only run into once a year and a "neutral" environment in a big Navy city like San Diego. Fortunately, they did enjoy a bye week to aid in preparation, but there's a divide whether significant practice time against the triple option actually makes a substantial difference since it is so difficult to replicate and practice against. Cut blocks and varying formations make it a challenge that makes the spread here a bit of a stretch.

    Since Ian Book took over for senior Brandon Wimbush at QB, Notre Dame's offense has averaged just short of 40 points per game to run the table and put it in the national playoff conversation. Games against Northwestern, FSU, Syracuse and USC remain after this one, but all of them are winnable so long as they can get out of this one unscathed, both on the scoreboard and in terms of injuries. These institutions have played annually since 1927 and Navy has typically been crushed. They did win in a neutral site in 2016.


    Others to watch: Purdue at Michigan State, N.C. State at Syracuse, San Diego State at Nevada, Texas Tech at Iowa State, Washington at Cal, Texas A&M at Mississippi State, Oregon at Arizona, Kansas State at Oklahoma, North Carolina at Virginia, Duke at Pittsburgh, Northern Illinois at BYU, Boise State at Air Force, Tennessee at South Carolina
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    Wrapping up a college football Saturday

    13) Kentucky 15, Missouri 14— Mizzou got called for pass interference in the end zone on the last play of the game, so Kentucky got another play, threw a 2-yard TD pass, and now Wildcats are 7-1.

    Missouri had zero first downs in the second half- none.

    12) Cincinnati 26, SMU 20 OT— Bearcats kicked 41-yard FG at the gun to force OT, then ran back an INT 86 yards for the game-winning TD in overtime. That hasn’t happened much, where a defensive score decided a game in overtime.

    11) Kansas 27, TCU 26— Horned Frogs fumbled on the Kansas 10-yard line in last 2:00, screwing up what would at least have been the game-tying FG.

    From 2015-17, Jayhawks were 3-33; this year, they’re 3-5, so big improvement for them.

    In their last six games, TCU is -14 in turnovers (2-16).

    10) Iowa State 40, Texas Tech 31— Cyclone fans better enjoy this, because their coach Matt Campbell ain’t going to be in Ames much longer— the big-$$$ people will come calling for him, and soon, then the Iowa State revival will be in jeopardy.

    This game was 31-all with under 5:00 left when Tech got called for intentional grounding in their own end zone, which out ISU up 33-31. On the ensuing series, Cyclones had 3rd-and-9 but threw a 48-yard TD pass, putting the game out of reach.

    Lot of points for a game with two freshman QB’s playing.

    9) Clemson 59, Florida State 10— Oy. This is the worst Florida State team since Bobby Bowden got to Tallahassee over 40 years ago. Willie Taggart needs to have a seriously positive run of good recruiting; this game tied a 49-0 loss to Florida in 1973 as the worst loss in FSU history.

    8) Penn State 30, Iowa 24— Iowa had the ball on Penn State’s 3-yard line with 3:17 left, but threw a hideous INT where instead of calling a timeout to get organized, Iowa’s QB ran a play and QB/WR weren’t on the same page, and Penn State got the clinching INT.

    Hawkeyes had two safeties in first 16:39 of this game; don’t see that a lot; Iowa’s punter also threw a TD on a fake FG. Rough day for Iowa’s QB; in the first half, they ran a play action fake and had a TE wide-open (by 20 yards) for an easy TD, but the QB overthrew the pass.

    7) Upsets of the Week:
    — Oregon State (+23.5) 41, Colorado 34
    — Kansas (+13.5) 27, TCU 26
    — California (+10.5) 12, Washington 10
    — Georgia Southern (+8) 34, Appalachian State 14
    — Northern Illinois (+7.5) 7, BYU 6
    — Kentucky (+7) 15, Missouri 14
    — Charlotte (+6.5) 20, Southern Miss 17
    — Northwestern (+6) 31, Wisconsin 17

    6) Georgia Tech 49, Virginia Tech 28— We mentioned how Yellow Jackets didn’t complete a pass in this game Thursday; last college team to score 40+ points in a road game without completing a pass? Ohio Bobcats, in 2002, in a 50-0 win at Kent State.

    5) Oregon State 41, Colorado 34 OT— Horrific loss for Colorado; Buffs led this game 31-3 with 9:00 left in third quarter, but lose as a 23-point favorite.

    4) Wake Forest 56, Louisville 35— Few years ago, Louisville coach Petrino pulled a scholarship from a RB named Matt Colburn right before Signing Day, leaving the kid without a place to play ball. Wake Forest wound up signing him; Saturday, Colburn ran for 202 yards and three TD’s……against Louisville.

    3) Arizona State 38, USC 35— Go-ahead TD was a 92-yard punt return for a TD by N’Keal Harry late in 3rd quarter where USC appeared to have lot of big guys covering the punt— lot of numbers in the 70’s chasing a very fast guy, which seldom ends well for the team that kicked.

    Trojans are 4-4; the natives are restless. coach Helton’s seat is very hot- they scored 35 points with their 3rd-string QB playing, but one TD was a punt return, another a trick play.

    2) Georgia 36, Florida 17— Dawgs outgained Florida 429-275, and the Gators had won five in a row coming in. All seven of Georgia’s wins are by 14+ points. Top of the SEC is a meat grinder.

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