Upset Watch: Week 9

Michigan comes off a much-needed bye week. Since 1998, Michigan is 8-3 straight up coming off a bye week (2 bye weeks in the 2001 season; no bye weeks in 2006, 2007, and 2009), with the losses being to at Penn State (2010), at Northwestern (2000), and home to Illinois (1999). Purdue comes in this week, fresh off a win over now-unranked Illinois. Michigan State now controls its destiny with a win over Wisconsin, but a loss in Lincoln would bring Nebraska and Michigan back in the picture.

For you sports gamblers out there:

Rank Team ATS Overall ATS Favorite ATS Dog


LSU 6-2 5-2 1-0 8-0


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


Oklahoma State 6-1 5-1 1-0 7-0


Stanford 7-0 7-0 0-0 7-0


Boise State 4-3 4-3 0-0 7-0


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


Oregon 4-3 4-3 0-0 6-1


Arkansas 4-3 3-2 1-1 6-1


Michigan State 5-2 3-1 2-1 6-1


Kansas State 6-1 2-1 4-0 7-0


Oklahoma 4-3 4-3 0-0 6-1


Wisconsin 5-2 5-2 0-0 6-1


Nebraska 2-5 2-4 0-1 6-1


South Carolina 2-4-1 2-4-1 0-0 6-1


Virginia Tech 2-6 2-6 0-0 7-1


Texas A&M 2-5 2-5 0-0 5-2


Michigan 5-2 4-1 1-1 6-1


Houston 5-2 5-2 0-0 7-0


Texas Tech 5-2 3-2 2-0 5-2


USC 4-3 3-2 1-1 6-1


Penn State 2-6 2-5 0-1 7-1


Georgia 4-2-1 4-1 0-1-1 5-2


Arizona State 3-4 2-3 1-1 5-2


Cincinnati 5-2 4-1 1-1 6-1


West Virginia 3-4 2-3 1-1 5-2

The Top 25 teams were 10-11 ATS last week, with last week’s Top 10 teams going 6-4. To date, current top 10 teams are 56-17 ATS (76.7% success rate; 10-2 as underdogs) and current top 25 teams are 109-69-2 ATS (61.1% success rate; 17-10-1 as underdogs). Clearly the money has been with the top 10 teams.

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.



Cincinnati (6-1) +3.0 @ South Florida (3-3). Result: Cincinnati 37 South Florida 34.

Oregon State (2-5) +3.0 @ Washington State (3-4). Result: Oregon State 44 Washington State 21.

@ Alabama (8-0) -29.0 Tennessee (3-4). Result: Alabama 37 Tennessee 6.


@ Florida Atlantic (0-7) +6.5 Middle Tennessee (2-4). Result: Middle Tennessee 28 Florida Atlantic 14.

Georgia Tech (6-2) +3.0 Miami (FL) (4-3). Result: Miami (FL) 24 Georgia Tech 7.

Marshall (3-5) +22.0 @ Houston (7-0). Result: Houston 63 Marshall 28.

Wisconsin (6-1) -7.5 @ Michigan State (6-1). Result: Michigan State 37 Wisconsin 31.

This Week

Not only are there college games on Thursday and Friday this week, but also on Tuesday and Wednesday. Week 9 kicks off Connecticut visiting Pittsburgh (8:00 PM EST/ESPN/ESPN3). On Thursday, Rice visits (#17) Houston, in the Bayou Bucket Classic (8:00 PM EST) and Virginia visiting Miami (FL) (8:00 PM EST/ESPN/ESPN3). On Friday, BYU and TCU will clash in Arlington; both teams could once again be conference foes, next year (8:00 PM EST/ESPN/ESPN3). BYU and TCU have played each year since 2005.

Saturday football kicks off with (#11) Michigan State visiting (#14) Nebraska (12:00 PM EST/ESPN/ESPN3); incidentally, both coaches have ties to Columbus, and will likely be frontrunners to coach the Buckeyes this season. (#9) Oklahoma visits surprising (#8) Kansas State in the Little Apple (3:30 PM EST/ESPN/ESPN3). As good as Bill Snyder was against Kansas (15-4), he is only 6-10 against Oklahoma, last defeating the Sooners in the Big XII Title in 2003.

Upset Watch

NC State (4-3) +19.5 @ Florida State (4-3). The Seminoles are 38th in total offense (86th rushing, 14th passing); NC State is 80th (99th rushing, 37th passing). Florida State is 12th in total defense (6th rushing, 39th passing); the Wolfpack are 67th (71st rushing, 57th passing). Florida State has played well lately, but largely against teams who struggle passing and/or don’t play pass defense. NC State has played well lately, too, 2-0-1 ATS in the last three games. NC State is 6-0 ATS against Florida State since 2005, but just 2-3 SU. Home team is 4-2 during that time. Since 1997, seven games (of 14) have been decided by double digits, but only one since 2005. They won’t win, but take NC State to cover the points.

@ UCLA (3-4) +5.5 California (4-3). The Bruins are 74th in total offense (47th rushing, 82nd passing); California is 40th (78th rushing, 19th passing). UCLA is 106th in total defense (95th rushing, 88th passing); the Golden Bears are 26th (27th rushing, 46th passing). Yes, UCLA got drilled at Arizona, for Arizona’s first FBS win of the year. UCLA has gotten torched by Houston, Stanford and Arizona, all of which are top 20 offenses. Against non-top 20 offenses, UCLA is 3-1, including a win over pass-happy Washington State. Yes, UCLA has lost three straight to California, and 0-3 ATS in the last three meetings. But in the last 11 meetings, the home team is 10-1. Yes, take UCLA to cover the points, and win.

Ball State (5-3) +11.5 @ Western Michigan (4-4). The Cardinals are 89th in total offense (74th rushing, 79th passing); Western Michigan is 46th (83rd rushing, 26th passing). Ball State is 116th in total defense (108th rushing, 105th passing); the Broncos are 83rd (113th rushing, 28th passing). Just looking at the numbers, taking WMU seems to be a no-brainer. Since the Bowling Green game, the Broncos have been awful offensively, averaging 326.5 total yards (averaging 414.71 on the season), 215.5 passing (averaging 283.4 on the season). More importantly, the Broncos averaged 16 points/game in the last two (28.4 points/game on the season). Ball State was outclassed by Temple, since then they have won two straight MAC games. The home team has lost five of the last six. Since 2001, Ball State is 7-3 ATS and 7-3 SU against Western Michigan. Take Ball State to cover, but the Broncos may get back on track with a win.

Louisiana-Lafayette (6-2) +3.0 @ Middle Tennessee (2-4). The Ragin Cajuns are 87th in total offense (87th rushing, 52nd passing); Middle Tennessee is 20th (45th rushing, 17th passing). Louisiana-Lafayette is 53rd in total defense (46th rushing, 76th passing); the Blue Raiders are 98th (102nd rushing, 65th passing). Since 1997, the home team is 6-6. The Ragin Cajuns are 6-6 SU and 7-5 ATS against Middle Tennessee. In two Sun Belt conference losses, Middle Tennessee has given up an average of 434.50 yards/game (averaging 426.00 on the season), 284.5 yards/game (averaging 228.00 on the season). Take Louisiana-Lafayette with the points, and to win.

Navy (2-5) +20.5 @ Notre Dame (4-3). The Midshipmen are 32nd in total offense (3rd rushing, 117th passing); Notre Dame is 29th (46th rushing, 32nd passing). Navy is 95th in total defense (103rd rushing, 61st passing); the Irish are 58th (58th rushing, 59th passing). Against Air Force, who runs an offense similar to Navy’s, Notre Dame amassed 560 yards, 294 through the air. Notre Dame allowed 565 total yards, 363 on the ground, despite a 59-33 win. Navy has lost five straight, four by a total of 8 points (the other loss was by 28 to Southern Miss). Since 2007, Navy is 3-1 SU (3-11 SU since 1997) against Notre Dame and 3-1 ATS (9-5 ATS since 1997); the home team is 1-3 since 2007. Three of the last four meetings have been decided by less than a touchdown (7 of the last 14, since 1997, have been decided by 7 points or less; 10 of 14 by less than 21. Take Navy with the points, but I think Notre Dame halts their two game home losing streak to the Middies.


Sure-fire Favorite

Bowling Green (4-4) -4.5 @ Kent State (1-6). The Falcons are 61st in total offense (75th rushing, 41st passing); Kent State is 120th (119th rushing, 119th passing). Bowling Green is 70th in total defense (101st rushing, 30th passing); the Golden Flashes are 22nd (50th rushing, 17th passing). Bowling Green is 5-7-1 ATS, since 1997, against Kent and is 9-4 SU. The home team has only won one of the last six meetings. Kent is awful offensively, having averaged 10.71 points/game (7 points/game against FBS opponents). Bowling Green is averaging 27.38 points/game (23 points/game against FBS opponents). With games left against Ohio University and Buffalo, besides Kent, Bowling Green controls their own destiny for the MAC East Division. Bowling Green should win, easy.


Gameday Prediction

Danny Hope is 13-18 straight up at Purdue. Coach Hope is 3-9 on the road, 8-11 against the Big Ten, and 2-3 against the top 25. Coach Hope is 13-16-2 against the spread and 9-7-1 as an underdog against the spread at Purdue.

Brady Hoke is 53-51 straight up (13-12 at San Diego State, 34-38 at Ball State). Coach Hoke is 28-14-2 against the spread as a favorite and 43-24-2 overall since 2006.

Purdue’s defense is ranked 39th (38th passing [206.43 yards/game], 55th rushing [145.29 yards/game]). Michigan’s offense is ranked 26th (80th passing [212.20 yards/game], 12th rushing [239.00 yards/game]).

Purdue’s offense is ranked 68th (96th passing [192.00 yards/game], 26th rushing [195.00 yards/game]). Michigan’s defense is ranked 36th (26th passing [192.00 yards/game], 62nd rushing [153.50 yards/game]).

Since 1997, Michigan is 7-3 straight up against Purdue (6-4 against the spread). Michigan has averaged 401.3 offensive yards (compare with 367.1 against MSU) with 230.5 of those being passing (compare with 214.4 against MSU) and 170.8 rushing (compare with 152.7 rushing against MSU) since 1997.

Since 1969, Michigan is 29-7 against Purdue and 17-1 in Ann Arbor. This season, against FBS opponents, Purdue is 3-1 when they outrush their opponent, but 0-2 when they are outrushed by their opponent. Its not your typical Purdue team, either. Big Ten fans have been used to Purdue QBs such as Len Dawson, Bob Griese, Gary Danielson, Drew Brees, and Curtis Painter. But who can forget RBs Mike Alstott and Kory Sheets? Under Coach Hope, Purdue has become a run first team; they aren’t built to stage huge come backs, like the teams of old.

Field position will be key, as Purdue is 4th in the nation in punting average, averaging 41.68 yards/punt. Michigan leads the NCAA in fumble recoveries, with 12. Purdue has lost 2 fumbles and thrown 5 interceptions. Last year, Purdue turned the ball over 5 times, with 3 fumbles lost and 2 interceptions (Michigan also had 5 turnovers with the same breakdown). In 2009, Purdue threw 2 interceptions against Michigan, despite winning 38-36.

Expect Purdue to turn the ball over at least twice on Saturday. Michigan will need to capitalize on the Boilermakers mistakes. Expect Michigan to continue to run the ball, as the Purdue pass defense has been pretty good to date. Michigan can expect big games from Fitz Toussaint and Vincent Smith. Don’t be surprised if there is a Roy Roundtree sighting, too.

@ Michigan -13.5 Purdue.

Michigan 34 Purdue 18.


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  1. Pingback: Before Visiting The Sportsbook - New Content Added: Week of October 23rd

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