NCAAF Week 9
Last week saw a 4-3 result on our plays. Kent State and Ohio saw almost 1,000 yards of offense and a combined 16-28 on 3rd downs but just 61 points total. There were field goals settled for on the 14-, 6-, 10-, and 3-yard line. Sigh. But, if you see me bet on Clemson again this year please check in about my mental health. Their receivers can't catch, their QB can't throw, and their running backs can't - well, run. South Carolina entered the 4th quarter last weekend with 30 total yards, just to score twice in garbage time and cost us the under. Regardless, we still profited fortunately, and for those that put the extra money with me on the Notre Dame alternate line of -13.5, we made just a bit extra there. That was one of those games where the stats and my feelings towards those two teams aligned perfectly. This week seems to be a fun one though, so let's dive in.
#6 Michigan @ #8 Michigan State Under 51.0
Dating back to their last 10 matchups, they're combining to score a total of 41 points. Obviously, they're rivals, and in huge games like this, you expect the defenses to show up and show out. Now, the Spartans have been susceptible through the air this year, but haven't allowed 4 yards per rush or better by a single team this year. Cade McNamara for Michigan has yet to eclipse 260 yards passing all season - as well as posting just 5 TDs. Meanwhile, the Wolverine defense has been downright ferocious, anchored by one of the best defensive ends in America in Aidan Hutchinson. They're allowing just 14 points per game (PPG) and have given up more than 17 once in 2021. We expect Kenneth Walker to get some highlight reel plays, but realistically shouldn't expect him and his team to find the end zone much at all. If you're able to find decent value (such as around +170-200) at Under 45 I'd sprinkle some money there, too. Under 51 here in a game where I expect points to be at a premium.
Missouri Team Total (TT) Over 40.5 @ Vanderbilt
Some teams use lower-tiered schools as punching bag dummies to build their confidence up going forward. Think of teams like bottom feeder Group of 5 schools or FCS universities. Oh, and Vanderbilt. That's literally their entire purpose of being in the SEC for football. They've given up 41+ to 4 of the 5 Power 5 teams they've played this year. Essentially in those games this is what they've allowed: 480 yards per game (YPG) on 7 yards per play (YPP). The only team not to eclipse 41 was South Carolina, whose offense still amassed 434 yards, but had 2 interceptions and 2 fumbles. Missouri, conversely, are a fringe top-25 scoring offense, posting a respectable 6.3 YPP mark on the season. I fully expect Tyler Badie and Conor Bazelak to light up the scoreboard this Saturday.
Florida State +10.0 @ Clemson
The long forgotten about Seminoles have been quietly turning their season around, with quality wins over Syracuse and North Carolina, as well as a drubbing of UMass in their last 3 games. Clemson, meanwhile, keeps taking blows to the head. Against Pitt, they lost their Graduate senior center and defensive end to injuries, who are the team linchpins, as well as losing handily on the scoreboard. They're also one of just 2 FBS programs yet to amass 20 points in regulation all season - as well as yet to cover a game all season. Realistically, they can barely be trusted to score 10 points, let alone cover that number (though it would surely be my luck for them to turn their offensive season around in a game I'm finally betting against them). This could be a trap game I'm overlooking, but it's hard to assume Clemson will finally overcome beating themselves and taking advantage of a Seminole team on the verge of turning their season around.
#1 Georgia TT Over 32.5 vs. Florida (Neutral Field)
If it wasn't clear before the season, it is now: Todd Grantham isn't the answer as Defensive Coordinator for the Gators. They come into this game having just given up an SEC rushing yards record by a single player (287, and 321 rushing as a team) just two weeks ago, to a team that had just 376 RUSHING YARDS TOTAL AGAINST THE PREVIOUS 5 FBS TEAMS THIS SEASON. Georgia has comfortably gone over this total in 5 of 7 games this year, averaging 43 PPG to teams not named Clemson. They also continue to get healthier and healthier on offense, leading to an even more efficient output. I'd almost bet Florida's TT Under 17.5 as well, but I could see a scenario where Dan Mullen schemes his team a few touchdowns coming off an extra week to prepare (it's also a rivalry, so things could get screwy in terms of the point spread and Florida putting up points).
Kansas State TT Over 30.5 vs. TCU
This line is mind boggling to me, and I'm struggling to see what I'm missing. TCU has given up this many points in all but one FBS game this season (29 to WVU). In games where Skylar Thompson has played, the Wildcats are averaging 28 PPG on 375 YPG. It also stands to reason that the Horned Frogs are either the worst or 2nd worst defense they've played against in 2021. K-State should have no problem winning the trench war offensively, allowing Thompson and Deuce Vaughn to shred TCU's abysmal defense. Genuinely, the only concern for us is if TCU is able to go on long, sustained drives, given that both teams play at a snailâs pace offensively.
#12 Kentucky @ Mississippi State Under 47.0
This game last year saw just 26 total points as MSU threw 6 interceptions and Kentucky totaled a lowly 157 yards of total offense. But, wait, you'll tell me Kentucky's revamped their offense! Sure, so they're now the *checks notes* 74th best scoring offense in the country! ...Which, includes matchups against the esteemed defensive powerhouses: UL-Monroe, Missouri, UT-Chattanooga, and LSU. Here's the thing though, Will Rodgers, aside from the Bama game, has been serviceable as the quarterback for the Bulldogs. Regardless of that and the yards they garner, theyâre just averaging just 21 PPG to Power 5 teams not named Vanderbilt (who are to be excluded for obvious reasons). Their defense is also yet to give up 200 yards on the ground, and just 4 rushing touchdowns have been scored on them to date. Will Levis is closer to being a game-manger than a game-changer, despite what Wildcat fans would have you believe. He has great accuracy but doesn't complete long passes downfield very often (ex.: 42 attempts against Georgia, longest completion of 16 yards). So I believe if they're going to score and be successful, the drives will be long, tedious, and time-consuming. I see this score closer to being somewhere in the 21-17 range, though I'm not sure of the winner.
Houston TT Over 31.5 vs. #19 SMU
Houston has scored 31+ points in 5 of 7 games, and went for 20 and 28 in the other two. SMU's defense is less than stellar, specifically in the secondary. They're allowing exactly 25 PPG in FBS games this year, but the offenses they've faced as a whole leave a lot to be desired. Those teams' combined average Points Per Play (PPP) sits right at 89th in the nation, while Houston's offense is 18th nationally. The Mustangs' offense can be potent in their own right, but I'm not entirely sure if Houston's defense will be able to stop them or not. Regardless, SMU plays at an incredibly fast rate, which means either quick scores or three and outs, giving the Cougars that many more opportunities to score. Houston's QB, Clayton Tune, has been much more efficient this year, and their return man is electrifiying as well, having a TD on a punt and kickoff this year. Finally, my favorite stat: Houston has scored 31+ in 13 of the last 14 matchups in this rivalry game, averaging 37 PPG over the same timeframe.*
*Side note: Houston's defense appears to be great, but they've played just one team inside the top 50 in PPP and PPG. As it stands, I'll probably bet both TT overs, going for the maximum high-risk high-reward, but Houston's TT Over 31.5 remains the only official play.
#17 Pitt TT Over 36.5 vs. Miami
Pitt has been held below this number only twice, against Clemson and at Virginia Tech, though they've topped 27+ in every outing. The Hurricanes have played 4 offenses inside the top 50 in scoring and they've given up an average of 40 PPG in those contests. Could be a hangover spot for the Panthers, however, so I won't be wagering on them in this one.
Wisconsin TT Under 20.5 vs. #9 Iowa
Just one team has put up this many points on Iowa all season. Wisconsin is 110th in the nation in scoring and Graham Mertz has 23 completions in the last 3 games. They'll have a really tough time getting things going on the ground against one of the best run defenses in the country.
TTU +19.5 @ #4 Oklahoma
Oklahoma has just 1 FBS win by this many points and their defense is more than susceptible in both facets of the game. This would've been one of my favorite plays, but TTU just fired their head coach 2 hours ago from the time I'm writing this. That, combined with my lack of absolute faith in backup QB Henry Colombi, unfortunately means this play will ultimately be a pass for me.
Oregon State @ Cal Over 55.5
The Beavers are the better team, so I'd lean the spread, but they've struggled attempting to stop dual-threat quarterbacks this year. I also believe Cal's defense is inflated from playing bad offenses & Oregon State's attack style is multi-faceted and hard to predict at times. I'd expect success for both sides.
Duke @ #13 Wake Forest
I don't actually have a side to this game: just wanted to give a shoutout to Wake Forest for putting up 70 points on just 51 plays last week in what was one of the most entertaining games I've watched all season. Truly phenomenal stuff.
Written by Alex Hill
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