Spread Options: Week 5

By Tom Fornelli | College Football Writer
Geno Smith gets his first crack at one of those Big 12 defenses on Saturday. (US Presswire)

Every Monday in Spread Options Eye On College Football blogger Tom Fornelli will take a look at the betting lines for five of the coming week's most important games. By looking at recent trends for both schools involved, along with their head coaches, he'll try to get an early read on what the best bet is for you to make, or if it's a game you should just stay away from.

Last week was not a good week for Spread Options. I went 1-3 -- I recommended staying away from South Carolina/Missouri -- but rather than blaming myself I'm going to blame Oregon and Arizona. I should have been 2-2 but then the Ducks and Wildcats decided to play Big Ten football for a half.

The good news is that I'm still 9-9 on the season. The bad news is that being 9-9 is the good news. That's just the kind of week it was, but not to worry, we'll get thing sorted out starting right now.

Game One: Texas (-2 ½) at Oklahoma State, Over/Under 69
Saturday 9/29 7:30 p.m. (all times Eastern) Fox

2011+12 Against The Spread
Overall: 11-5Overall: 9-7
Home: 6-2Road: 4-2
Home Dog: 0-0Road Fav: 3-1
vs. Big 12: 7-2vs. Big 12: 4-5
Over/Under: 7-6-2Over/Under: 6-8-1
Under Current Head Coaches*
Overall: 50-35-3Overall: 67-62-2
Home: 24-16-3Road: 25-18-1
Home Dog: 4-6-2Road Fav: 20-17-1
vs. Big 12: 32-22-3vs. Big 12: 40-41-2
Last Five Meetings
2011: Oklahoma State 38, Texas 26
2010: Oklahoma State 33, Texas 16
2009: Texas 41, Oklahoma State 14
2008: Texas 28, Oklahoma State 24
2007: Texas 38, Oklahoma State 35

*Mack Brown since 2002

Historically this has been a series dominated by the Longhorns. Of the first 26 meetings between these schools Oklahoma State has managed to win four times, although half of those victories have come in the last two seasons.

VERDICT: It's hard to ignore Oklahoma State's numbers the last two seasons and under Mike Gundy. Still, while the Cowboys may be 11-5 overall and 7-2 against the Big 12 versus the number the last two seasons, I can't help but notice that the Cowboys are 4-6-2 as home underdogs.

It's a situation that the Cowboys haven't been in since 2010, which tells me that when Oklahoma State is a home dog, it's for a reason. So in spite of the program's recent success against the Longhorns, I'm going to have to go with history here and recommend taking Texas -2 1/2.

Game Two: Wisconsin at Nebraska (-13 ½) Over/Under 51 ½
Saturday 9/29 8 p.m. ABC

2011+12 Against The Spread
Overall: 7-9-1Overall: 8-10
Home: 5-5Road: 1-4
Home Fav: 5-5Road Dog: 0-0
vs. Big 10: 3-4-1vs. Big 10: 5-4
Over/Under: 8-8Over/Under: 11-6
Under Current Head Coaches
Overall: 30-27-1Overall: 40-38-1
Home: 15-17Road: 12-16-1
Home Fav: 14-16Road Dog: 3-6
vs. Big 10: 3-4-1vs. Big 10: 26-23
Last Meeting
2011: Wisconsin 48, Nebraska 17

Who's excited for Big Ten football this year? Nobody? Well then betting on it will help. This is the primetime game on ABC this week so at least you'll have a reason to watch. Of these two teams Nebraska has been the most impressive, but that's not really saying much given how terrible Wisconsin has looked for large portions of the 2012 season.

VERDICT: I don't care how bad Wisconsin has looked this season, a two-touchdown spread in this game is scary, even if the game is in Lincoln. Frankly I'd prefer to stay away from it -- especially since there is no clear advantage for either team when looking at trends -- and look at the over/under instead. And I'm going to go a bit against the grain here, and take the Under 51 1/2.

As bad as Wisconsin has been this year, the defense hasn't been terrible, and Nebraska's defense has been solid as well -- at least if you take out the train wreck on the road against UCLA. With Joel Stave at quarterback for the Badgers in his first road start, I'm just not sure a Wisconsin team that's averaging 21.5 points per game this season can manage even that this week.

Game Three: Tennessee at Georgia (-14), Over/Under 61
Saturday 9/29 3:30 p.m. CBS

2011+12 Against The Spread
Overall: 10-7-1Overall: 5-11
Home: 5-3-1Road: 0-4
Home Fav: 5-3Road Dog: 0-3
vs. SEC: 7-3-1vs. SEC: 1-8
Over/Under: 10-7Over/Under: 9-6-1
Under Current Head Coaches*
Overall: 65-1-4Overall: 12-17
Home: 28-30-2Road: 4-5
Home Fav: 28-29-1Road Dog: 2-4
vs. SEC: 42-41-3vs. SEC: 6-11
Last Five Meetings
2011: Georgia 20, Tennessee 12
2010: Georgia 41, Tennessee 14
2009: Tennessee 45, Georgia 19
2008: Georgia 26, Tennessee 14
2007: Tennessee 35, Georgia 14

*Mark Richt since 2002

It was 2006 the last time Georgia lost to Tennessee in Athens. The Bulldogs were undefeated and ranked 10th, while the Vols were 3-1 with their only loss coming against Florida. Somewhat reminiscent of this year's meeting, no?

VERDICT: Yeah, well it might be but trust me it doesn't mean anything. Take Georgia -14. If the Volunteers can get beat up at home by Florida, going on the road against Georgia isn't going to be any easier, and if that's not good enough for you, look at the trends.

Tennessee has been terrible against the spread since last season, including a 1-3 mark so far in 2012, and look at that record on the road and against the SEC. You see anything there that says "bet Tennessee?" No, of course you don't.

Game Four: Ohio State at Michigan State (-3), Over/Under 43 ½
Saturday 9/29 3:30 p.m. ABC

2011+12 Against The Spread
Overall: 11-7Overall: 7-10
Home: 5-5Road: 3-2
Home Fav: 4-5Road Dog: 3-1
vs. Big 10: 7-2vs. Big 10: 4-4
Over/Under: 6-10-1Over/Under: 8-8
Under Current Head Coaches
Overall: 36-30-3Overall: 1-3
Home: 17-18-2Road: 0-0
Home Fav: 14-16-1Road Dog: 0-0
vs. Big 10: 23-16-2vs. Big 10: 0-0
Last Five Meetings
2011: Michigan State 10, Ohio State 7
2008: Ohio State 45, Michigan State 7
2007: Ohio State 24, Michigan State 17
2006: Ohio State 38, Michigan State 7
2005: Ohio State 35, Michigan State 24

While we've seen Michigan State play a couple of big games already this season, this will be Ohio State's first real test under Urban Meyer. The pivotal matchup will be seeing if the Michigan State defense can keep Braxton Miller under wraps once again, as the Buckeyes didn't score their lone touchdown last season until there was only 10 seconds left.

VERDICT: This game is not easy to figure out at all. While Mark Dantonio's record against the Big Ten is impressive -- particularly that 7-2 mark last season -- this year's Michigan State offense just looks terrible outside of Le'Veon Bell. While Ohio State has a secondary that can be beat, I just don't think the Spartans have the tools to do it.

Which is why, even though I think the number is low, I'm going to take the Under 43 1/2. Just have to have faith that the Michigan State defense can keep Miller in check again.

Game Five: Baylor at West Virginia (-12 ½) Over/Under 81 ½
Saturday 9/29 Noon FX

2011+12 Against The Spread
Overall: 7-7-1Overall: 9-6
Home: 3-5Road: 0-5
Home Fav: 3-4Road Dog: 0-2
vs. Big 12: 0-0vs. Big 12: 5-4
Over/Under: 10-5Over/Under: 12-2-1
Under Current Head Coaches
Overall: 7-7-1Overall: 27-23
Home: 3-5Road: 10-10
Home Fav: 3-4Road Dog: 8-7
vs. Big 12: 0-0vs. Big 12: 18-15

West Virginia is making its Big 12 debut and OH GOD, POINT ORGY. Two offenses that haven't been stopped very often are going to do battle in Morgantown and it is going to be so much fun to watch. It's also a noon game, which is just a fantastic way to start your college football Saturday. But which way do you want to bet?

VERDICT: You know, after what happened between Oregon and Arizona I'm a little trigger shy to just say take the over, because that's just about what everybody is going to be thinking. Which just means you should take the Over 81 1/2 now before it climbs any higher. West Virginia has hit the over 10 times in its last 15 games and Baylor has done it 12 times in the last 15.

 
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