Handicapping the Conferences: Week 7

Last week I scored nearly 10 strokes above my handicap while golfing. A bit of a downer, but I did birdie a par 3, a 2 net 1, nonetheless. The handicap system in golf makes allows me to gauge how I have done in comparison to rounds in the past. The spread in college football, or any sport for that matter, operates much in the same way.

Besides the actual records of each time, I have included the record of the team against the spread (in the first column). I have also broken down the records for each team as a favorite and as an underdog. In the event a line was zero, I considered the home team to be a favorite. This review is limited to BCS conferences and the MAC.

Note: Stats referenced only include NCAA recognized games.

Big Ten

Team ATS Overall ATS Favorite ATS Dog   Record
Michigan 5-1 4-1 1-0 6-0
Michigan State 3-2 2-1 1-1 4-1
Iowa 2-3 2-2 0-1 3-2
Northwestern 2-3 0-2 2-1 2-3
Minnesota 2-4 1-2 1-2 1-5
Nebraska 1-5 1-4 0-1 5-1
Wisconsin 4-1 4-1 0-0 5-0
Illinois 3-3 3-3 0-0 6-0
Ohio 3-3 2-2 1-1 3-3
Indiana 3-3 1-2 2-1 1-5
Purdue 2-3 2-2 0-1 3-2
Penn State 1-5 1-4 0-1 5-1

Wisconsin has been impressive on the offensive side of the ball, averaging 48.4 points per game. North Carolina State transfer Russell Wilson (1,391 passing yards, 74.8% completion, and 15 total TD), RBs James C. White (329 rushing yards, 5.9/carry, and 3 TD) and Montee Ball (511 rushing yards, 5.5/carry, and 14 total TD) have been instrumental in the Badgers success this season both on the field and those favoring the Badgers in the sportsbook. Last year, Wisconsin covered the 22.5 spread easily, winning 83-20 over Indiana.

Opening Line: @ Wisconsin -38.0 Indiana.

Michigan’s scoring defense is greatly improved from this point last year. Through six games last year, the Wolverines averaged giving up 26.8 points. This year, the Wolverines have given up an average of 12.5 points (9th in all of NCAA); the Wolverines have also recovered 10 fumbles (1st in all of NCAA). Michigan has scored the same amount of points in each half, 114. The defense has allowed 54 first half points, compared with 21 in the second half; clearly Defensive Coordinator Greg Mattison is making halftime adjustments. Last year, Michigan failed to cover the 4.5 spread, losing 34-17 to Michigan State.

Opening Line: Michigan +3.0 @ Michigan State.

Penn State has seemingly settled on Matt McGloin (758 passing yards, 58.9% completion, and 5 TD) as their QB, but Rob Bolden (486 passing yards, 45.7% completion, 1 TD and 4 INT) is still looming. Penn State’s decision to stick with one QB paid off last week, covering against Iowa. The Nittany Lion defense has led the way with 8 interceptions (tied for 13th in NCAA) and 6 fumbles (tied for 24th in NCAA). These teams last met in 2008, with Penn State barely covering the 13.5 spread, winning 20-6 over Purdue.

Opening Line: @ Penn State -13.0 Purdue.


Team ATS Overall ATS Favorite ATS Dog   Record
Georgia 4-1-1 4-0 0-1-1 4-2
Florida 4-2 4-0 0-2 4-2
Vanderbilt 3-2 2-0 1-2 3-2
Tennessee 2-2-1 2-0-1 0-2 3-2
South Carolina 2-3-1 2-3-1 0-0 5-1
Kentucky 2-4 1-2 1-2 2-4
Alabama 5-1 5-1 0-0 6-0
LSU 4-2 3-2 1-0 6-0
Arkansas 4-2 3-1 1-1 5-1
Ole Miss 2-3 0-2 2-1 2-3
Auburn 2-4 0-2 2-2 4-2
Mississippi State 1-5 1-3 0-2 3-3

Alabama has 7 interceptions on the season (tied for 25th in NCAA), has the 3rd ranked total defense, allowing only 191 yards/game (a gaudy 40 yards/game on the ground – 1st; 152 yards/game through the air – 4th), and 1st in scoring defense, allowing only 7 points/game. Alabama faces a Mississippi team that has thrown 7 interceptions. Last year, Alabama failed to cover the 20.5 spread, but still won 23-10 over Mississippi.

Opening Line: Alabama -23.0 @ Mississippi.

Georgia has the third best defense in the SEC, but 6th best in the country (12th rushing – 85.8 yards/game; 11th passing – 174.7 yards/game). Georgia also has 8 interceptions (tied 13th in NCAA). They face a Vanderbilt team who leads the NCAA in interceptions made, 14. Last year, Georgia easily covered the 14.0 spread, with a 43-0 win over Vanderbilt.

Opening Line: Georgia -13.0 @ Vanderbilt.

Mississippi State has underperformed both on the field and in the sportsbook, following up a season where they were 9-4 and 7-6 ATS. One bright spot has been the defense, which has 9 interceptions (tied for 8th in all NCAA). The run offense has been good (36th – 188 yards/game), too, led by RB Vick Ballard (531 rushing yards, 6.2/carry, and 5 TD). These teams last met in 2007, with Mississippi State failing to cover the 13.5 spread and losing 38-21 against South Carolina.

Opening Line: @ Mississippi State +5.0 South Carolina.

Big 12

Team ATS Overall ATS Favorite ATS Dog   Record
Oklahoma 4-1 4-1 0-0 5-0
Kansas State 4-1 1-1 3-0 5-0
Oklahoma State 4-1 3-1 1-0 5-0
Baylor 4-1 3-1 1-0 4-1
Texas Tech 4-1 3-1 1-0 4-1
Texas 3-2 3-1 0-1 4-1
Missouri 3-2 1-2 2-0 2-3
Iowa State 2-3 0-1 2-2 3-2
Kansas 2-3 1-0 1-3 2-3
Texas A&M 1-4 1-4 0-0 3-2

Oklahoma’s closest win was by 10, at Florida State, and the game was never in doubt. Oklahoma travels to Lawrence, looking to use a steady diet of QB Landry Jones (1814 passing yards, 69.2% completion, and 13 passing TDs) and RB Dominique Whaley (462 rushing yards, 5.6/carry, and 8 rushing TDs) against the nation’s worst defense (113th against the run – 223.20 yards/game; 119th against the pass – 332.80 yards/game). These teams last met in 2009, with Oklahoma covering the 7.5 spread, 35-13 at Kansas.

Opening Line: Oklahoma -31.5 @ Kansas.

Kansas State’s defense has been huge this year, forcing 7 interceptions (tied for 25th in NCAA). Last year, through this point, Kansas State averaged giving up 25.4 points/game. This year, Kansas State has averaged giving up 16.6 points/game. Kansas State’s offense will need to improve, though, as it is 97th in the nation, averaging only 335.60 yards/game. These teams last met in 2009, with Kansas State failing to cover the 16.0 spread, as an underdog, with a 66-14 loss at Texas Tech.

Opening Line: Kansas State +3.5 @ Texas Tech.

Oklahoma State is 2nd in total offense, averaging 51.4 points/game (52.6 points/game through this point in 2010) with opponents having a combined record of 13-14 (including Louisiana-Lafayette at 5-1). QB Brandon Weeden (1880 passing yards, 75.8% completion, and 15 passing TDs) and WR Justin Blackmon (534 receiving yards, 11.6/catch, and 6 receiving TD) have combined for 6 TDs this season, including 2 against Kansas last week. Last year, Oklahoma State easily covered the 5.0 spread, with a 33-16 win at Texas.

Opening Line: Oklahoma State -5.5 @ Texas.

Baylor’s struggles on defense have continued, having given up 31 to Rice, 48 to TCU, 36 to Kansas State, and 26 to Iowa State. With that said, through a comparable schedule through this point last year, Baylor averaged 32.6 points per game. The Bears are averaging 47.6 points per game this year. Robert Griffin III was 101/163 (61.96%) 1351 passing 221 rushing and 12 total TD through this point in 2010. Compare that to 114/142 (80.28%) 1520 passing 280 rushing and 21 total TD. RG III’s play will determine the ceiling for Baylor’s success, this year. Last year, Baylor failed to cover as 3.0 underdogs, with a 42-30 loss to Texas A&M.

Opening Line: Baylor +9.5 @ Texas A&M.

Texas Tech’s offense hasn’t been as high powered as Oklahoma State’s but it was been pretty good (7th in total offense – 524.60 yards/game). But their defense needs to improve, as the Red Raiders are 96th in total defense, giving up 420.20 yards/game and allowing 17 TDs in 5 games. These teams last met in 2009, with Texas Tech easily covering the 16.0 spread with a 66-14 win over Kansas State.

Opening Line: @ Texas Tech -3.5 Kansas State.

Texas A&M’s defense has been dreadful (99th – 424.40 yards/game), specifically the pass defense (120th – 347.60 yards/game), but how much of that can be attributed to facing three of the top passing offenses in the past three weeks, with Oklahoma State (2nd in NCAA – 431.2 yards/game), Arkansas (9th in NCAA – 336.8 yards/game), and Texas Tech (6th in NCAA – 354.6 yards/game). The good news is the Aggies will face weak passing offenses in Iowa state and Missouri before playing Oklahoma. The bad news? They play Baylor (14th in NCAA – 323.6 yards/game), first. Last year, Texas A&M covered 3.0 spread, with a 42-30 win over Baylor.

Opening Line: @ Texas A&M -9.5 Baylor.


Team ATS Overall ATS Favorite ATS Dog   Record
Wake Forest 4-0-1 1-0 3-0-1 4-1
Clemson 5-1 4-1 1-0 6-0
Maryland 2-3 1-3 1-0 2-3
North Carolina St. 1-4-1 1-3 0-1-1 3-3
Florida State 1-4 1-2 0-2 2-3
Boston College 1-5 1-3 0-2 1-5
Georgia Tech 4-1-1 4-1-1 0-0 6-0
Duke 3-2 1-1 2-1 3-2
North Carolina 3-3 3-2 0-1 5-1
Miami (FL) 2-3 1-2 1-1 2-3
Virginia 1-4 1-3 0-1 3-2
Virginia Tech 1-5 1-5 0-0 5-1

Wake Forest has the third best passing offense in the ACC (17th in NCAA – 303.8 yards/game), behind only Florida State and Duke. The Demon Deacons have also forced 6 interceptions (tied for 37th in NCAA). Wake’s defense has improved, too, having given up an average of 36.8 points/game through five games last year; the Deacons have given up an average of 23.4 points/game. Last year, Wake Forest failed to cover the 22.5 spread, as an underdog, with a 52-21 loss at Virginia Tech.

Opening Line: @ Wake Forest +7.0 Virginia Tech.

Clemson’s QB Tajh Boyd (1742 passing yards, 61.3% completion, and 15 passing TD) and WR Sammy Watkins (623 receiving yards, 16.4/catch, and 6 receiving TD) have combined for 6 TDs. Clemson averaged 30.8 points/game last year through 6 games; this year they are averaging 35.0 points/game. Last year, Clemson covered the 14.5 spread, with a 31-7 win over Maryland.

Opening Line: Clemson -8.0 @ Maryland.


Georgia Tech’s number four rushing offense has spurred the Yellow Jackets to success on the field and for those favoring the Ramblin’ Wreck. Through six games last year, Georgia Tech averaged 328.0 yards on the ground; this year, the Yellow Jackets have averaged 360.50 yards on the ground this year, leading to a 16.3 point scoring average increase from this year, as compared with last year. Last year, Georgia Tech covered the 10.0 spread, with a 33-21 win over Virginia.

Opening Line: Georgia Tech -8.5 @ Virginia.

Florida State started the season ranked in the top 5, they will now need some help from other ACC teams, as they are 0-2 in conference play, including a loss to Clemson.  The Seminoles look to regroup against Duke this week, who FSU has never lost to, with an average margin of victory of 34. These teams last met in 2007, with Florida State easily covering the 17.5 spread with a 25-6 win over Duke.

Opening Line: Florida State -10.5 @ Duke.

Virginia averaged 26.2 points through 5 games last year, while allowing 20.8 points/game; Virginia has averaged 27.2 points/game while giving up 22.4 points/game. The Cavs will take on a Georgia Tech offense that has been nothing short of impressive. Virginia has had 5 fumble recoveries this year (40th in NCAA) and will need to keep it up, to keep the Yellow Jacket offense off the field. Last year, Virginia failed to cover the 10.0 spread, as an underdog, with a 33-21 loss to Georgia Tech.

Opening Line: @ Virginia +8.5 Georgia Tech.

Virginia Tech’s pathetic performance against the spread should have been a wake up call. The loss to Clemson should sound alarm bells, now. The home loss to Clemson snapped a 10 game home winning streak, losing at home to a ranked opponent for the first time since 2007 (Boston College, 14-10). The Hokies have only forced 2 fumbles (tied for 99th in NCAA), but have forced 8 interceptions (tied for 13th in NCAA). Last year, Virginia Tech covered the 22.5 spread with a 52-21 win over Wake Forest.

Opening Line: Virginia Tech -7.0 @ Wake Forest.


Team ATS Overall ATS Favorite ATS Dog   Record
Stanford 5-0 5-0 0-0 5-0
Washington 4-1 1-1 3-0 4-1
Washington State 4-1 2-0 2-1 3-2
Oregon 3-2 3-2 0-0 4-1
California 2-3 2-2 0-1 3-2
Oregon State 2-3 0-2 2-1 1-4
USC 2-3 2-2 0-1 4-1
Arizona State 2-4 2-3 0-1 5-1
Arizona 2-4 1-1 1-3 1-5
Colorado 2-4 1-1 1-3 1-5
Utah 1-4 0-2 1-2 2-3
UCLA 1-5 0-2 1-3 3-3

Stanford picked up right where they left off last year, starting off 4-1 on the field (last year, the Cardinal were 3-2 ATS, failing to cover against Sacramento State). The Cardinal are 15th in total offense, averaging 487.80 yards per game, largely behind the arm of Andrew Luck (1383 passing yards, 73.1% completion, and 14 passing TD) and the legs of Stepfan Taylor (459 rushing yards, 5.5/carry, and 5 rushing TD). Last year, Stanford failed to cover the 36.0 spread, but won, 38-28, over Washington State.

Opening Line: Stanford -20.0 @ Washington State.

Utah will look to turn over its offense to QB Jordan Hays (355 passing yards, 59.6% completion, and 2 passing TD) after a season ending injury to Jordan Wynn (727 passing yards, 56.9% completion, and 6 passing TD). Utah is still looking for their first conference win as a member of the PAC-12, but will have to wait another week, as they visit Pittsburgh, in a non-conference game. Last year, Utah pushed on the 3.0 spread in a 27-24 win over Pittsburgh.

Opening Line: @ Pittsburgh -6.5 Utah.

Big East

Team ATS Overall ATS Favorite ATS Dog   Record
Rutgers 5-0 2-0 3-0 4-1
Cincinnati 4-1 4-0 0-1 4-1
South Florida 3-2 2-2 1-0 4-1
West Virginia 3-3 2-2 1-1 5-1
Louisville 2-3 0-3 2-0 2-3
Pittsburgh 2-4 0-3 2-1 3-3
Syracuse 1-4-1 1-3-1 0-1 4-2
Connecticut 1-5 1-3 0-2 2-4

Rutgers has put together a nice start to the season with a quality win over Pittsburgh and almost knocking off North Carolina in Chapel Hill. WR Mohamed Sanu (455 receiving yards, 10.1/catch, and 5 receiving TD) has led the Rutgers offense. Rutgers and Sanu will have their work cut out for them this week, as Navy brings in the always tough-to-defend triple option offense. These teams last met in 2008, with Rutgers failing to cover the 5.0 spread, and losing, 23-21 at Navy.

Opening Line: @ Rutgers -2.0 Navy.

Connecticut knew that life without Coach Randy Edsall would be tough, but they didn’t think it would be this tough. The Huskies are 2-4 on the season, looking like they will be home for the holidays, but more importantly, they are a team to not bet at the sportsbook. The Huskies are 101st in total offense, unless they can get the offense going, expect there to be more losses, both ATS and in the overall record. Last year, Connecticut covered the 2.5 spread, as an underdog, in a 19-16 win at South Florida.

Opening Line: @ Connecticut +7.0 South Florida.


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  1. Pingback: Before Visiting The Sportsbook - New Content Added: Week of October 9th

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