Upset Watch: Week 11

LSU field-goaled Alabama to death, with LSU remaining 1, but Alabama didn’t fall far (now #3). Boise State looks to be out of the BCS National Championship picture, as Alabama remains in front of the Broncos. The winner of Stanford/Oregon will likely be in front of Boise State, too.

For you sports gamblers out there:

Rank Team ATS Overall ATS Favorite ATS Dog   Record


LSU 7-2 5-2 2-0 9-0


Oklahoma State 7-2 6-2 1-0 9-0


Stanford 8-1 8-1 0-0 9-0


Alabama 7-2 7-2 0-0 8-1


Boise State 4-4 4-4 0-0 8-0


Oregon 5-4 5-4 0-0 8-1


Oklahoma 6-3 6-3 0-0 8-1


Arkansas 5-4 4-3 1-1 8-1


Clemson 7-2 6-2 1-0 8-1


Virginia Tech 2-7 2-7 0-0 8-1


Houston 7-2 7-2 0-0 9-0


Penn State 2-7 2-6 0-1 8-1


Michigan State 5-4 3-2 2-2 7-2


Georgia 6-2-1 6-1 0-1-1 7-2


South Carolina 3-5-1 3-4-1 0-1 7-2


Wisconsin 6-3 6-3 0-0 7-2


Kansas State 7-2 2-1 5-1 7-2


USC 5-4 3-3 2-1 7-2


Nebraska 3-6 3-5 0-1 7-2


Georgia Tech 5-3-1 4-2-1 1-1 7-2


Texas 5-3 5-1 0-2 6-2


Michigan 6-3 5-2 1-1 7-2


Cincinnati 5-3 4-2 1-1 7-1


Auburn 4-5 1-2 3-3 6-3


Southern Miss 7-2 5-2 2-0 8-1

The Top 25 teams were 9-11 ATS last week, with last week’s Top 10 teams going 5-5. To date, current top 10 teams are 58-31 ATS (65.2% success rate; 5-1 as underdogs) and current top 25 teams are 134-85-3 ATS (61.0% success rate; 22-17-1 as underdogs).

As typical with the Watch, we’ll review the picks from last week, noting the bad picks, and point out a few games to give the underdog some credit in, even if it is only in Vegas. We’ll also look at a sure-fire favorite and attempt to preview the Michigan game.



@ Iowa (6-3) +4.0 Michigan (7-2). Result: Iowa 24 Michigan 16.


Kansas (2-7) +14.5 @ Iowa State (5-4). Result: Iowa State 13 Kansas 10.


@ Kentucky (4-5) +1.0 Ole Miss (2-7). Result: Kentucky 30 Ole Miss 13.


@ Rutgers (6-3) +2.5 South Florida (4-4). Result: Rutgers 20 South Florida 17.


@ Oklahoma (8-1) -13.0 Texas A&M (5-4). Result: Oklahoma 41 Texas A&M 25.



Washington State (3-6) +10.0 @ California (5-4). Result: California 30 Washington State 7.


Duke (3-6) +15.0 @ Miami Florida (5-4). Result: Miami Florida 49 Duke 14.


This Week

Two games for Northwest Ohio kick off Week 11, with Northern Illinois visiting Bowling Green (8:00 PM/EST/ESPN2/ESPN3) and Western Michigan visiting Toledo (8:00 PM/EST/ESPNU) on Tuesday night. The MAC takes the spotlight on Wednesday night, with Miami Ohio visiting Philadelphia, to take on Temple (8:00 PM/EST/ESPN/ESPN3). Three games on Thursday, with Ohio University visiting Mt. Pleasant, playing disappointing Central Michigan (7:30 PM/EST/ESPNU); (#10) Virginia Tech taking on (#21) Georgia Tech, in a Coastal Division battle (8:00 PM/EST/ESPN/ESPN3) (since 2006, the first year of the ACC Championship game, Virginia Tech has been in the title game four times [3-1] and Georgia Tech twice [1-1], with no other Coastal teams taking part); and (#11) Houston visiting the Crescent City, playing Tulane (8:00 PM/EST). Friday is a Big East showdown, with Syracuse hoping to become bowl eligible against South Florida (8:00 PM/EST/ESPN2/ESPN3).

Only three games involving top 25 teams with week. (#12) Penn State plays host to (#19) Nebraska, both of which are coming off embarrassing weeks (12:00 PM/EST/ESPN/ESPN3) (but Penn State’s being more serious). (#15) Georgia hosts (#20) Auburn Between the Hedges (3:30 PM/EST/CBS). Gameday is live from Palo Alto, for (#4) Stanford against (#7) Oregon (8:00 PM/EST/ABC).

Upset Watch

Western Kentucky (5-4) +41.5 @ LSU (9-0). The Hilltoppers are 101st in total offense (56th rushing, 104th passing); LSU is 87th (38th rushing, 102nd passing). Western Kentucky is 52nd in total defense (46th rushing, 75th passing); the Tigers are 3rd (2nd rushing, 9th passing). LSU is 35-0 all time against Sun Belt Conference teams with an average MOV of 41. Coming off the Alabama game, since 2006, LSU is 5-0, but only 2-3 ATS (2-2 ATS against non-conference opponents and 1-1 ATS against Sun Belt). LSU is 7-2 ATS, including 5-2 as a favorite; Western Kentucky is 7-2 ATS, including 7-1 as an underdog. Les Miles is 31-1 in non-conference play with LSU; 18-12 ATS in non-conference play (7-10 since 2008). Western Kentucky became Division 1 in 2008, since then they are 9-36, but 22-20 ATS. My only reluctance on taking Western Kentucky is that they are 1-4 ATS against SEC teams since 2008. The over/under is 49½, so bettors seem to think a 46-4, or 46-3, final is about right. I’d be surprised if the ‘Toppers score more than 3, but LSU will be on an emotional letdown, and I’d be surprised if they score 42 or more. Take Western Kentucky to cover.

Kentucky (4-5) +13.0 @ Vanderbilt (4-5) The Wildcats are 117th in total offense (79th rushing, 111th passing); Vanderbilt is 103rd (60th rushing, 106th passing). Kentucky is 70th in total defense (100th rushing, 28th passing); the Commodores are 30th (44th rushing, 41st passing). Since 1997, Kentucky is 11-3 SU against Vanderbilt and 9-4 ATS (3-0 ATS as an underdog). Kentucky is 4-5 ATS this year (2-3 as an underdog, while Vanderbilt is 7-2 ATS (3-0 as a favorite). Since their bye week, Kentucky is 2-1 SU and 2-1 ATS, Vanderbilt is 1-4 SU, but 4-1 ATS, losing back-to-back conference games by a combined 8 points. Since QB Jordan Rodgers (959 passing yards, 51.1% completion 5 passing TDs, but 5 INTs) started against Alabama, Vanderbilt’s offense has averaged 24.2 points/game. In the last three games, Rodgers is averaging 241 passing yards and 53.7% completion; has 4 passing TDs, but 2 INTs. I like Vanderbilt to win, despite Kentucky having more talent overall. Take Kentucky with the points.

Miami Florida (5-4) +9.0 @ Florida State (6-3). The Hurricanes are 67th in total offense (59th rushing, 66th passing); Florida State is 45th (91st rushing, 18th passing). Miami Florida is 64th in total defense (81st rushing, 39th passing); the Seminoles are 4th (3rd rushing, 22nd passing). The underdog has won six straight in this series and the visiting team has won five straight. In the past six years, five of the six meetings have been decided by eight points or less (since 1997, 10 of the last 15 meetings have been decided by eight points or less). Since 1997, Miami Florida is 8-7 SU against Florida State and 8-7 ATS. Since 2004, Miami Florida is 33-29 in the ACC, but 26-36 ATS in conference (11-10 ATS as an underdog, 9-8 ATS as a road underdog). Since 2004, Florida State is 38-26 in the ACC, but 27-37 ATS in conference (27-38 ATS as favorite, 17-25 ATS as a home favorite). This year, Florida State is 5-4 ATS, including 5-2 as a favorite; Miami Florida is 5-4 ATS, including 2-1 as an underdog. I’ll pass on projecting a winner of this one, based on the recent history, but Miami Florida should keep it closer than the spread indicates. Take Miami Florida with the points.


Washington (6-3) +12.5 @ USC (7-2). The Huskies are 51st in total offense (52nd rushing, 43rd passing); USC is 26th (61st rushing, 20th passing). Washington is 93rd in total defense (52nd rushing, 113th passing); the Trojans are 56th (18th rushing, 104th passing). Since 1997, Washington is 4-8 SU against USC, but 6-6 ATS (since 2005, 5-1 ATS). Four of the last six meetings have been decided by six points or less. USC Coach Lane Kiffin is 22-13 SU (13-10 in conference play), 17-18 ATS (13-10 ATS in conference play), and 11-14 ATS as favorite (7-10 ATS as a home favorite). Washington Coach Steve Sarkisian is 18-16 SU (13-11 in conference play), 19-15 ATS (13-11 ATS in conference play), and 10-11 ATS as an underdog (5-7 ATS as a road underdog). Washington is 6-3 ATS this year, including 3-2 as an underdog; USC is 5-4 ATS, including 3-3 as a favorite. This game has the potential to be a shootout, with two porous pass defenses. Washington should keep this closer than the spread indicates. Take Washington with the points.


@ Mississippi (2-7) +2.5 Louisiana Tech (5-4). The Rebels are 113th in total offense (84th rushing, 107th passing); Louisiana Tech is 57th (65th rushing, 49th passing). Mississippi is 98th in total defense (110th rushing, 57th passing); the Bulldogs are 60th (14th rushing, 108th passing). Mississippi is 8-1 all time against Louisiana Tech, but the two teams have only met once since 1993, a 2007 meeting in Oxford, with the Rebels winning 24-0. Over the nine game series, Mississippi has an average MOV of 12.8 (18.2-5.4). Louisiana Tech Coach Sonny Dykes is 10-11 SU (2-6 in non-conference play), 12-9 ATS (4-4 ATS in non-conference play), and 4-4 ATS as favorite (2-1 ATS as a road favorite). Since 2001, Mississippi Coach Houston Nutt is 76-58 SU (37-9 in non-conference play), 65-62 ATS (22-17 ATS in non-conference play), and 27-20 ATS as an underdog (7-9 ATS as a home underdog). Mississippi is 3-6 ATS this year, including 3-3 as an underdog; Louisiana Tech is 7-2 ATS, including 2-2 as a favorite. Houston Nutt has lost two non-conference games only once since 1998 (coached Boise State in 1997 – then Big West member; Arkansas from 1998-2007, and Mississippi from 2008-2011), losing two non-conference games in 2006, to USC and Wisconsin; Mississippi is 2-1 in non-conference this season. Despite Mississippi being a bad football team, Houston Nutt rarely loses non-conference games. Take Mississippi with the points, and to win.


Sure-fire Favorite

@ SMU (6-3) -8.5 Navy (3-6). The Mustangs are 49th in total offense (97th rushing, 15th passing); Navy is 43rd (3rd rushing, 119th passing). SMU is 35th in total defense (18th rushing, 81st passing); the Midshipmen are 88th (87th rushing, 65th passing). The two teams meet for the Gansz Trophy; Navy has held the trophy since its inception in 2009, and Navy leads the series 8-7. Since 1997, SMU is 1-5 against Navy, but 2-4 ATS (1-1 ATS as a favorite).

Since 2001, SMU Coach June Jones is 86-54 SU (46-25 in non-conference play), 65-65-2 ATS (24-21 ATS in non-conference play), and 35-40-1 ATS as favorite (25-27-1 ATS as a home favorite). Navy Coach Ken Niumatalolo is 30-20 SU, 24-22-1 ATS, and 11-6 ATS as an underdog (9-5 ATS as a road underdog). Navy is 5-4 ATS this year, including 2-1 as an underdog; SMU is 5-4 ATS, including 4-1 as a favorite. In six losses Navy’s average MOD is 13 (but 4 losses by a combined 8 points). Navy’s defense isn’t great, and SMU is capable of minimizing damage from the triple option. Take SMU to cover.


Gameday Prediction

Ron Zook is 34-48 straight up at Illinois. Coach Zook is 23-20 at home (5-1 this year), 18-35 against the Big Ten (2-3 this year), and 4-19 against the top 25 (1-1 this year). Coach Zook is 37-41 ATS and 20-14 as an underdog ATS at Illinois since 2005 (7-7 underdog ATS at home).

Brady Hoke is 54-52 straight up (13-12 at San Diego State, 34-38 at Ball State). Coach Hoke is 59-42-3 ATS and 31-17-2 against the spread as a favorite.

Illinois’s defense is ranked 6th (8th passing [177.22 yards/game], 15th rushing [102.89 yards/game]). Michigan’s offense is ranked 28th (82nd passing [208.10 yards/game], 14th rushing [237.50 yards/game]).

Illinois’s offense is ranked 55th (84th passing [204.10 yards/game], 26th rushing [198.44 yards/game]). Michigan’s defense is ranked 28th (26th passing [193.13 yards/game], 54th rushing [142.63 yards/game]).

Since 1997, Michigan is 7-3 straight up against Iowa (4-6 ATS). Michigan has averaged 440 offensive yards (compare with 341.5 offensive yards against Iowa) with 254.6 of those being passing (compare with 220 against Iowa) and 185.4 rushing (compare with 121.5 rushing against Iowa) since 1997.

Michigan hasn’t won the turnover margin against Illinois since 2004 (2-2 in games since then).

Illinois could pass for Rodney Dangerfield; they just get no respect. Granted, Illinois’s conference foes to date are a combined 10-11 on Big Ten (remaining opponents, including Michigan, are a combined 7-8 in Big Ten), the Fighting Illini have given up an average of 20.6 points/game in Big Ten play (16 points/game in last three – 0-3 over that stretch). Since 1997, Illinois has averaged giving up 36.7 points/game to Michigan (33.33 points/game, excluding last year), compared with 27.9 to Northwestern (14 meetings), 22.2 to Indiana (14 meetings), 27.75 to Ohio (12 meetings), 32.8 to Purdue (10 meetings), and 28.9 to Penn State (12 meetings), not including this year.

The Illini have recovered 8 fumbles to date (T-36th in NCAA) and have forced 8 interceptions (T-56th in NCAA). With that said, Illinois has been atrocious in net punting, averaging only 33.8 yards/punt (105th in NCAA); Michigan has been worse (32.9 yards/punt; 114th in NCAA).

@ Illinois +1.5 Michigan.

Illinois 27 Michigan 24.


One response

  1. Pingback: Before Visiting The Sportsbook - New Content Added: Week of November 6th

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