Spreads: When to Lay the Wood
PA (My Sportsbook)
- There were 20 teams last Saturday favored by
two touchdowns or more, with eight giving 20 points
or more. Five of the 20 clubs lost outright, including
Iowa, which was favored by 20 1/2.
Only six teams (30%) covered
the huge spreads. Suffice to say, chalk players
did not have a good day. Alabama, Clemson, Kent
State, Washington State and the aforementioned
Hawkeyes all lost, despite being favored by a
combined 86 points.
The squads that won yet failed
to cover were Michigan, Ohio State, Notre Dame,
Central Michigan, Auburn, Florida, TCU, California
and Wyoming. So how easy is it to make money when
laying so many points?
Gamblers must pick their
spots, as there were a few useable games to fatten
the wallet. Vanderbilt was as close to a lock
as a team could get. Florida was stuck in a Commodore
Sandwich after the annual battle with Georgia
the week before and the look-ahead game to Steve
Spurrier and South Carolina the following week.
The Gators have not been
scoring points like many thought they would this
season in Urban Meyers second year as head coach.
They are averaging only 23 ppg in SEC play, which
meant the defense would have had to hold Vandy
to a touchdown or less, which was not going to
Another game that was ripe
for the picking was Arkansas State at Auburn.
The Tigers have been a major disappointment this
season and are another team struggling to score
points. They averaged 33 ppg in conference play
last year and opened 06 strong vs. Mississippi
State, popping in 34. However, they have averaged
a measly 18 ppg in their last five SEC games.
Coach Tommy Tubervilles club
had failed to cover its last two nonconference
matchups with Buffalo and Tulane, two games in
which the Tigers were heavy favorites. This past
Saturday, they once again couldn't score enough
to cover the spread, defeating the Indians, 27-0.
One could say that this was a game that Auburn
was looking past, with Georgia and Alabama coming
up the next two weeks. However, weekly followers
of the Tigers know they are not a great football
THE BIG TEN WEEK 11 BATTLE
Ohio State and Michigan are
two teams just playing out the string until the
November 18 matchup in Columbus. Both clubs failed
against the spread this past week: The Wolverines
stumbled home to a 34-26 win over Ball State,
while the Buckeyes held off Illinois.
The Michigan debacle could
have been expected, as the Maize and Blue were
0-3 ATS when favored by three touchdowns or more
prior to the game. The Ohio State contest was
harder to come up with since the Buckeyes had
stormed through their last 16 games, covering
all but one.
The question for these two
teams is: How will they come out this Saturday?
Bettors must learn from previous weeks, and both
of these clubs have one hurdle left before the
most important game of the year. Michigan heads
to Bloomington for a meeting with Indiana, while
Ohio State stays on the road against Northwestern.
The Hoosiers came out flat
on the road at Minnesota, trailing 35-0 before
they even knew what hit them. Nevertheless, they
have their most wins (5) in a season since 1994
and have won and covered their last two home games,
versus Iowa and Michigan State. One other note:
The Wolverines are 6-2 ATS in the last eight years
before playing Ohio State.
Northwestern has covered
three straight, including its upset win at Iowa
last week. This will be the Wildcats' first home
game since the incredible loss to Michigan State
a few weeks back, and they have fared well vs.
Ohio State, having covered three of the last four
meetings. Also, the Buckeyes are 2-7-1 ATS in
the last 10 years prior to facing Michigan.
THE WEEK 11 WEEKS KEY
As most of my readers know,
I am not a trend guy. Matchups and emotion play
a much larger role in my selections. Cincinnati
is at West Virginia this week, and this is a classic
case of an up-and-coming team taking on a squad
coming off a huge game the week before with a
rivalry game the following week.
The Mountaineers faltered
in a big spot against Louisville, losing by 10
last Thursday. They fumbled the ball six times
and certainly did not look like a top five team.
WVU travels to Pittsburgh for the 99th meeting
of the Backyard Brawl on Thursday, November 16.
Cincinnati will not be intimidated
by West Virginia, as Mark Dantonios club has already
squared off against Ohio State, Virginia Tech
and Louisville, all on the road. The Bearcats
actually led the Hokies by one point heading into
the fourth quarter and were outgained by only
43 yards in the contest. Louisville only led Cincinnati
by three points at the half, and the Bearcats
held their own vs. Ohio State earlier in the year,
trailing the Buckeyes by a 20-7 score after three
Defense has been the story
for Cincinnati, as the Cats have given up an average
of 14 points per game in their last six, and that
includes the matchups with V-Tech and Louisville.
They also are coming off a bye and have had extra
time to prepare for West Virginia. There is also
the revenge factor working, as the Mountaineers
shut them out last year at home, 38-0.
Take Cincinnati plus
Temple and Penn State hook
up in Happy Valley for the first time since the
2003 opener, when the Nittany Lions defeated the
Owls, 23-10, a game in which the Lions were favored
by 23 points. Temple head coach Al Golden played
under Joe Paterno when he was at Penn State, so
its very doubtful JoPa and the Lions will run
it up on the Owls.
Temple actually has been
playing better ball as the season has progressed,
having covered five of its last six games while
scoring over 20 points in each of its last three
games. Penn States offense is nothing to write
home about, so even if Paterno and the Lions wanted
to run up the score, they might not be able to
The most points they have
scored against a Division 1-A opponent this season
were 34 against Akron. They are averaging 19 ppg
vs. 1-A teams. Its also fair to say that the conference
is in a down year, as five of the 11 teams have
an overall record of .500 or lower and only three
teams are better than 6-4.
Go with Temple plus the
Perhaps the top game of the
weekend pits Steve Spurrier against his former
team. South Carolina travels to Florida in what
will be a circus atmosphere in Gainesville. The
Gators, as mentioned earlier, are having problems
on offense and actually have been outgained in
two of their last three contests, including a
418-370 deficit to Vanderbilt of all teams.
Florida, which has outscored
its SEC opponents by an average score of 23-16,
is 1-6 ATS in conference play but is a double-digit
favorite once again! South Carolina is a lot better
than Vanderbilt, and theres no doubt that Spurrier
will have his team ready. The Gamecocks are 3-0
SU and ATS on the road and have dropped three
home games to Auburn, Tennessee and Arkansas by
seven, seven and six points respectively.
Take South Carolina plus
Other big plays include Maryland,
Iowa, Alabama, NC State, San Jose State and Arizona.
THE WEEK 11 TOP 10
The Buckeyes' seven-point
win brought them back to the pack a bit, but they
are still ranked number one. Here are this weeks
1) Ohio State, 107; 2) LSU,
105; 2) Texas, 105; 4) California, 103; 5) Louisville,
101.5; 6) USC, 99.5; 6) West Virginia, 99.5; 8)
Oklahoma, 99; 8) Clemson, 99; 10) Florida, 98;
10) Virginia Tech, 98
Posted by MySportsbook November
7, 2006, at 03:25 PM ET
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