The big Colleges have played the soft part of the schedule and now it really counts. MyClubBetting handicapper and Lindy’s Sports UK Editor Simon Milham takes a look at the betting trends and some of the best bets ahead of Week 9 of the 2015/16 NCAAF season…
(Handicap is denoted by +/- for the home team)
WEST VIRGINIA at TCU
(-13.5, Total Points 73.5)
There is an early start to Week 9 with the 3-3 West Virginia Mountaineers travelling to the undefeated Texas Christian Union, hoping to avoid their fourth straight defeat.
The Horned Frogs cannot afford to have any losses if they are to compete in the College Football Playoffs and they will rely on stud running back Aaron Green, who was bottled up by Iowa State in his last appearance.
TCU possess one of the best receivers in the Big 12, in the shape of Josh Doctson and he will be a major threat. We look to him to score at least one touchdown and maybe more. He will go over 150 yards receiving, too.
Turnovers have been one of the major reasons why West Virginia has not made progress. Quarterback Skyler Howard has turned the ball over nine times in the three Big 12 conference games.
His counterpart, Trevone Boykin should have a big night, as the Mountaineers’ secondary was torched by Baylor’s Seth Russell, who blasted them for 380 yards and six touchdowns – and Boykin is a better passer.
We see plenty of points in this, with WVUs Jovon Durante keeping the Horned Frogs honest. Yet this could get away from The Mountaineers and we take the hosts to cover a lofty spread.
BEST BET: OVER 73.5 POINTS @ 1.91
NORTH CAROLINA at PITTSBURGH
(+3.5, Total Points 54.5)
North Carolina and Pittsburgh are a combined 12-2 entering Week 9. Not many people would have predicted that.
And in Pittsburgh’s case, their sole loss came to undefeated Iowa on a 57-yard field goal. Other than that, they have been perfect.
Pitt has survived without top running back James Conner thanks to Quadree Ollison, who has stepped up remarkably well, and suddenly this ACC battle, which you can see live on BT Sport, becomes hugely important.
Since their opening game loss to North Carolina, the Tar Heels have been unbeaten, largely thanks to the makeover orchestrated by defensive coordinator Gene Chizik.
Pitt are considered a field-goal underdog in their own house, but they keep finding ways to get the job done. Pitt has never lost three consecutive meetings and they are worth taking with the start.
BEST BET: PITTSBURGH +3.5 @ 1.80
GEORGIA at FLORIDA
(2.5, Total Points 45.5)
There is one way to ease the pain of Trick or Treaters knocking on your door when you are in the middle watching Georgia take on Florida on BT Sport this Saturday evening (besides shooting the little blighters), and that is to join – in spirit – the world’s largest outdoor cocktail party.
The Gators (6-1 overall, 4-1 in the SEC) enter with a more impressive resume, with its lone loss (two weeks ago at LSU) coming by just one touchdown and they are deservedly a 2.5-point favourite. Georgia (5-2, 3-2) in its past three games was blown out at home by Alabama, lost after blowing a 21-point lead at Tennessee, and eked out a 9-6 win over Missouri.
Throw in last year’s 38-20 loss and Georgia should rightly feel they are the underdawgs (see what we did there?).
This is only the second time since 2009 that Florida has been favoured. The other time was 2012, and Georgia won that game.
The quarterback match-up is a wash between Florida’s Treon Harris and Georgia’s Greyson Lambert. Florida has the superior defense and also has the mental edge because of its success in Jacksonville over the past 25 years.
UGA took a major confidence hit against Alabama and lost a 21-point lead at Tennessee, so it is possible that the Bulldogs are on the ropes.
They did pull out a narrow win over Missouri, but the offense struggled mightily, and while they have a good stable of running backs, we take Florida to edge it, probably by a one score margin.
And if we’re wrong, as least we’d have had a few cocktails!
BEST BET: FLORIDA -2.5 @ 1.8
NOTRE DAME at TEMPLE
(+9.5, Total Points 47.5)
No.9-ranked Notre Dame are on the rise, but they face the acid test when they travel to Philadelphia to take on the unbeaten Temple Owls – another game you can see at midnight on BT Sport this Saturday.
The Fighting Irish’s defense against the run is a bit flaky, but their offensive line, led by Ron Stanley, is going to provide some big running lanes as they aim to stay perfect on Halloween games (15-0 all-time).
C.J. Prosise has five 100-yard rushing games this year – the most by a Notre Dame player since Darius Walker had six in 2006.
Over the past 50 years Notre Dame is 11-7-2 against teams with a record of 7-0 or better and their 41-31 victory over USC two weeks ago showed their fighting spirit, rallying from a seven-point fourth quarter deficit with scoring drives of 90 and 91 yards.
Notre Dame’s only stumble this year was a 24-22 setback over Clemson on October 3.
Temple are no mugs. Their defense is a veteran unit and one that has the Owls on the inside track for an American Conference title. They are 8th in the country in scoring defense, rank No.6 against the run and have allowed 14.6 points per game.
The issue for the Owls is their attack. It is definitely a work in progress, although there has been improvement from the offensive line. Which has allowed just seven sacks.
We are taking a chance here. While we like the Unders, we will side with the owls in receipt of the points in their biggest game for many years.
BEST BET: TEMPLE +9.5 @ 1.91
GEORGIA TECH at VIRGINIA
(+6, Total Points 54)
Georgia Tech seek a fourth straight victory over Virginia, something they have not achieved since 1983 and they have a chance of salvaging their season after a 3-5 start. Four games remain for Paul Johnson’s team and they need six wins to become Bowl eligible.
The Yellow Jackets should get the first of those required wins against Virginia, although victories in remaining games against Virginia Tech, Miami and Georgia are far from certain.
Last week’s shock win over Florida State has energised the Yellow Jackets and we expect them to show up in Charlottesville with a sense of purpose, particularly with top cornerback D.J. White now fit again.
Virginia’s frustration at losing five second-half turnovers in a 26-13 loss to North Carolina is understandable. Yet they played one of their best games of the year. The running game was solid, racking up 205 yards at 5.3 yards per pop, and they eclipsed their highest offensive output by 40 yards.
Yet it was their defense that impressed most. UNC has one of the best attacks in college football and Virginia became the first team to hold them under 38 points since their season opener. The defense was asked several times to deal with a short field and the fact that just six points came from those turnovers speaks volumes.
The worst of the schedule is behind them but improvement may have come too late to see Virginia in a Bowl for the first time in four years.
This is a tough call, but we feel Georgia Tech has the momentum to win a close one and cover the spread.
BEST BET: GEORGIA TECH -6 @ 1.91
OKLAHOMA STATE at TEXAS TECH
(+3, Total Points 77.5)
Texas Tech has won the last six meetings with the last four all topping the 70-point barrier.
However, while there should be a few areal fireworks, there is reason to think the line might not be breached this time.
Texas Tech (5-3, 2-3 Big 12) enters the contest following a 63-27 loss at No. 17 Oklahoma on Saturday. Texas Tech already has registered five wins on the year, one more victory than it registered during the 2014 season.
In undefeated and first-place Oklahoma State (7-0, 4-0 Big 12), Texas Tech faces its sixth Big 12 opponent of the year.
Saturday’s game will mark the 43rd all-time meeting between Texas Tech and Oklahoma State. The Red Raiders lead the series with a 21-18-3 advantage, including a 12-5-2 mark in games played in Lubbock. This is the fourth time already for Texas Tech during Big 12 play where both teams enter averaging at least 40 points per game.
Texas Tech continues to boast one of the nation’s top offenses as the Red Raiders rank third nationally in total offense and passing offense.
On 34 offensive plays this season, the Red Raiders had a gain of at least 30 yards. There were touchdowns on 20 of those plays.
The reason why we think the line will go under is the Red Raiders’ inability to stop the run – that rank 125th nationally. During last week’s Sooners victory over Texas Tech, OU’s Samaje Perine and Joe Mixon rushed for a total of 355 yards. Their combined average per carry was 9.1 yards. So expect a few time-consuming drives on the ground.
We feel the hosts will not only win on the handicap, we feel OSU’s unbeaten record will go. They have played a soft schedule thus far and going to Lubbock will be a tough challenge.
BEST BET: Under 77.5 POINTS @ 1.91
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