Week 10 provides some interesting matchups to look out for. There are several non-conference sandwich games that bettors must be weary of. Otherwise, conference play is starting to heat up in many divisions, with some crucial games on the slate this weekend. As we dig deeper into the season, motivation becomes a really important factor for teams that are still in contention for national and conference titles. Also, it is important to keep in mind coaching advantages, especially when two familiar conference foes are going against each other. This usually carries more weight in November and December. In addition, depth, fatigue, injuries, and even weather will likely play a bigger role throughout the rest of the season.
As I mention every week, it is important to remember that these trends and stats are only one piece of the puzzle when trying to figure out which team to place a wager on. They shouldn’t be followed blindly, but instead they should be considered and factored into the broader context and reasoning for selecting a side. So without further ado, let’s kick it off for week 10.
Betting on College Football – Week 10 Quick Hitters
(All point spreads and totals are as of noon CST on Thursday)
- This year’s Over-achiever. Despite having a disappointing 2012 campaign so far, the Tennessee Volunteers have managed to hit the “overs” in all seven games this season. This week they will take on Troy, who has the 22nd ranked passing attack in college football. Both defenses rank in the bottom 20 in yards per pass allowed. Expect the ball to be in the air early and often at Neyland Stadium on Saturday. (Line = Tenn -18, 69)
- Pork Sandwich. Arkansas will host the Tulsa Golden Hurricanes this weekend. This is not a good spot for the Hogs, as it is a sandwich game between two quality SEC opponents. They are coming off a tough loss vs Ole Miss last week, and they will head to #8 South Carolina next week. Even though Tulsa is from the C-USA, I’m not sure they are really a step down in class for Arkansas. Tulsa sees this as a huge opportunity to make a statement. Arkansas sees this as a pesky non-conference game, and another potential letdown spot in what has been a disappointing season so far. Tulsa’s starting QB, Cody Green is probable to start this game after missing last week. (Line = Ark -8.5, 64.5)
- Did the oddsmakers miss on Ole Miss? Ever since the 2nd quarter of the Alabama game in week 5, Mississippi has looked like a team ready to make noise in the SEC. They outscored Alabama 7-6 in the second half, they almost beat Texas A&M, then they picked up a pair of quality conference wins vs Auburn and at Arkansas last week. However, the Rebels are still 14 point underdogs at Georgia next week. Georgia usually plays well at home, but the Bulldogs may be in a classic letdown spot following their victory over Florida last weekend. You can read more info on this game at Week 10 Sides and Totals to consider. (Line = Geo -14, 61.5)
- The Hokies will take their talents to South Beach on Thursday. Virginia Tech has been 0-4 ATS (and straight up) on the road this season. They will take on a Miami team that is 3-0 ATS at home this year. Our ACC handicapper, Jimmyshivers, thinks this is the week VaTech will break that trend due in large part to a big line of scrimmage advantage for the Hokies. His write-up can be found here. (Line = VT -1.5, 57.5)
- How can Buffalo be favored? If you recall, in last week’s Quick Hitters I warned people leaning on Toledo to cover over Buffalo despite the low spread. As it turns out, Buffalo kept that game close and covered. This week, Buffalo is favored by 3 to 3.5 at home vs a Miami OH team that knocked off the ranked Ohio Bobcats last week. A huge reason why Buffalo is favored in this game has to do with their solid rushing attack lining up against a Miami OH defense that ranks #117 in yards per carry and #118 in rushing yards per game. Look for the Bulls to impose their will through the ground. (Line = Buf -3.5, 55.5)
- Indiana may win back to back conference games….in football! After Wisconsin’s loss last week, Indiana suddenly has a shot at capturing the Leaders division. They will take on Iowa this week, which has a defense that has struggled against throwing teams. Radcliff of Central Michigan went 26/35 283 yards 2 TD 0 INT, and Iowa lost that game. Matt McGloin of PSU went 26/38 289 yards 2 TD 0 INT in a 38-14 rout in Iowa City. Indiana’s pass offense ranks #30 in the nation. Regardless of who is QB for the Hoosiers, Coffman or the surprising freshman Sudfield, they should find holes in that Iowa secondary. This game is the “featured matchup” at Opening Line Sports; read the full breakdown and pick. (Line = Ind -2, 56)
- Utah is coming off a bea-ute-ful win. The Utes crushed Cal last week 49-27. However, the scoring summary was slightly inflated due to a fumble return for a touchdown, two kickoff return TD’s, and three touchdown drives of less than 40 yards. Utah may not get so lucky this week against a Washington State team that held Stanford’s methodical offense in check in last Saturday. (Line = Utah -11.5, 49)
- Best early retirement strategy: Fade Idaho. The Vandals have lost six straight against the spread, including some absolute beatdowns to LSU, UNC, and Louisiana Tech. This week they are +20 vs a San Jose State team that is #1 in completion percentage and #8 in passing yards per game. Idaho is ranked the bottom ten in all critical pass defense categories. Jimmyshivers has a good write-up on why you should take San Jose State here. (Line = SJSU -20, 53.5)
- UConn will look to bounce back following their bye week. After their 40-10 loss to Syracuse two weeks ago, UConn is now 0-7 ATS as a road underdog in the past two years. They will try to snap that streak at South Florida on Saturday. (Line = USF -8, 46)
- The good, the bad, and the ugly: Colorado edition. I know the Buffaloes have done nothing this season to inspire confidence, but at least consider this situation. The Good: They are at home, going up against a methodical, more conventional Stanford offense that only scored 24 points on a Washington State defense that ranked #100+ in nearly every critical defensive category. The Bad: Colorado ranks #110 in total offense. Stanford ranks in the top 20 in most defensive categories. The Ugly: Colorado is even worse on defense, ranking #117 in total yards, and 2nd to last in points per play. Pezgordo has more insight into this game here.(Line = Stan -28, 51)
- Is this the week Virginia can turn it around? The Cavaliers have lost 9 straight against the spread dating back to November of last year. However, that losing streak may have created some value for UVA, as they are now double digit underdogs to NC State this weekend. Jimmyshivers has a good write-up on why you should consider Virginia here. (Line = NC State -10.5, 49.5)
- Road rage. In the past three years, Penn State is 7-1 ATS as a road favorite in Big Ten play. They are 3-0 ATS on the road already this season. On Saturday, they will travel to West Lafayette to take on a Purdue team that has been spiraling out of control the past few weeks. You can read more info on this game at Week #10 Sides and Totals to consider. (Line = PSU -3.5, 51)
- Friday Night Lights. Fresh off their upset of #7 Oregon State, the Washington Huskies will travel to Cal this Friday. The Huskies have notched two surprising wins over ranked opponents at home this season; however, they have struggled mightily on the road. In fact, dating back to last season, Washington has lost 7 straight ATS on the road, including a 52-17 beatdown at Arizona two weeks ago. Pezgordo has a breakdown of this game here.(Line = Cal -4, 52).
- Big letdown in the Big East? In the past two seasons, Louisville is 1-5 ATS when favored by 7 or more, with the only cover coming versus Kentucky in week one. The Cardinals are notorious for playing down to their competition, as they did against FIU and Southern Miss earlier this year. On Saturday, they will take on a struggling Temple team that has taken a beating in their last two games against Rutgers and Pitt. (Line = L’Ville -16, 51.5)
- LSU-Alabama should play with the rest of the NFL on Sunday. Both teams are loaded with NFL talent, especially on defense. The main weakness (statistically speaking) resides in LSU’s offense. The Tigers are only converting 37% of their 3rd downs this season due in large part to an ineffective passing game. They may need to get creative on 3rd and 5+ yards, because Alabama’s defense ranks 4th in the nation in limiting their opponents on 3rd down. The Crimson Tide also rank 6th in opponent completion percentage, and 5th in yards per pass allowed. If you thought LSU QB Zach Mettenberger played poorly earlier in the season, you may want to brace yourself for Saturday night. Saber has a write-up on this game here, Pezgordo is also playing this game, found here. (Line = Bama -8.5, 41)
If you have any questions regarding matchups (covered or not covered in this article), feel free to post your inquiries in the comment section. I will be periodically checking and responding to all questions. You can also contact me on twitter @OpeningLine, and I should respond relatively soon.
You can see all of my College Football Selections for the week at Opening Line Sports. On a 29-11 (73%) run in the past month, and looking to keep it going this weekend. Featured games are a perfect 4-0 on the season; this week Indiana vs Iowa is the featured selection.
Sources: Covers.com, TeamRankings.com, ESPN.com, scoresandodds.com, GoldSheet.com