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Spread Options: Week 8

By Tom Fornelli | College Football Writer
Steve Spurrier photos are just the best photos. (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 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.

Who wants to get rich? If you do, you should probably invest your money wisely or have a marketable skill and work really hard, because gambling on sports is no way to get rich. Unless you read Spread Options and do exactly as I tell you, anyway.

After a 4-0 Week 6, I couldn't keep stay unbeaten in Week 7. But I still had a winning record of 3-2, and I'm 19-13 for the season. Which means if you had placed $1 million down on every bet that I told you to make in Spread Options this season, you'd be almost $6 million richer right now.

Yet you share absolutely none of those winnings with me. You should be ashamed of yourself.

Game One: Oregon (-9½) at Arizona State, Over/Under 66
Thursday, 9 p.m. (all times Eastern) ESPN

2011+12 Against The Spread
Overall: 7-9-2Overall: 10-9-1
Home: 4-5Road: 4-0
Home Dog: 0-0Road Fav: 3-0
vs. Pac-12: 6-5-1vs. Pac-12: 8-4-1
Over/Under: 12-5Over/Under: 12-6
Under Current Coaches
Overall: 4-0-1Overall: 25-19-2
Home: 2-0Road: 9-6
Home Dog: 0-0Road Fav: 3-0
vs. Pac-12: 3-0vs. Pac-12: 19-10-2
Last Five Meetings
2011: Oregon 41 Arizona State 27
2010: Oregon 42 Arizona State 31
2009: Oregon 44 Arizona State 21
2008: Oregon 54 Arizona State 20
2007: Oregon 35 Arizona State 23

It's entirely possible we're looking at a preview of the Pac-12 Championship Game on Thursday night in Tempe. Arizona State has been a pleasant surprise in Todd Graham's first season, but the Sun Devils will be getting their biggest test of the season with Oregon in town.

VERDICT: When I see that Oregon has won four straight in Tempe and are 4-0 against the spread on the road, a large part of me wants to give up the -9½ with Oregon -- the lowest spread in any Ducks game this season. However, this will be Oregon's first "true" road game of the season -- the Washington State game was played in Seattle -- and the Ducks haven't exactly done well against the number in 2012, going 2-4.

But that's when I see that the last five games between these teams have averaged 67.6 points per contest. I also notice these teams are a combined 24-11 on the over/under (24 of their 35 games have hit the over) in the last two seasons. So I'm going with Over 66 on Thursday night.

Game Two: Texas Tech (-2½) at TCU, Over/Under 55½
Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ESPN2

2011+12 Against The Spread
Overall: 8-10Overall: 11-7
Home: 4-5Road: 6-1
Home Dog: 0-0Road Fav: 4-0
vs. Big 12: 1-2vs. Big 12: 6-6
Over/Under: 11-6Over/Under: 10-8
Under Current Coaches*
Overall: 67-57-4Overall: 16-14-1
Home: 37-23Road: 7-4-1
Home Dog: 4-0Road Fav: 5-1-1
vs. Big 12: 1-2vs. Big 12: 8-11-1

*Gary Patterson since 2002

What do we make of these two teams? There's TCU, which rebounded very well from its loss against Iowa State with an impressive win against Baylor, and Texas Tech which responded from an ugly loss against Oklahoma by blowing out West Virginia. How am I to know which version of these teams shows up on Saturday?

VERDICT: My official call for this game is to STAY AWAY. However, there's a caveat with it. You see, this line originally opened with TCU as a 3½-point favorite before it quickly shifted to Texas Tech -2½. If I were you, I'd keep an eye on this line for the rest of the week. If the betting public keeps pounding Texas Tech and causing the Raiders to become an even bigger favorite, then I'd take TCU and the points on Saturday morning.

Game Three: LSU (-3) at Texas A&M, Over/Under 52
Saturday, 12 p.m. ESPN

2011+12 Against The Spread
Overall: 7-12Overall: 12-9
Home: 5-5Road: 5-2
Home Dog: 0-0Road Fav: 4-2
vs. SEC: 1-2vs. SEC: 8-5
Over/Under: 9-8Over/Under: 10-8-1
Under Current Coaches
Overall: 3-3Overall: 43-51-4
Home: 2-1Road: 17-15-2
Home Dog: 0-0Road Fav: 12-9-2
vs. SEC: 1-2vs. SEC: 23-36-4

Ah, yes, our third straight game with a road favorite. There were eight ranked teams that were road favorites last week, and they went 3-5 against the spread. Which is just mediocre enough of a record to be of absolutely no use to me here.

VERDICT: Did you know that if you just bet against LSU every week this season, you'd be doing pretty well? While the numbers of the last two years don't look bad at all, all that good was in 2011. This season, LSU is 2-5 against the spread, including a record of 0-3 against SEC opponents. Despite that trend, I'm not comfortable with A&M +3 in this matchup. So I'm taking the Under 52.

This Aggies offense might be potent, but it could only manage 17 points against Florida, and that's the only other defense that it faced on the same level as LSU's. While I can't say for sure who is going to win, I do feel it's going to be a low-scoring affair.

Game Four: Kansas State at West Virginia (-3), Over/Under 72½
Saturday, 7 p.m. Fox

2011+12 Against The Spread
Overall: 8-9-1Overall: 13-5-1
Home: 3-6Road: 6-0-1
Home Fav: 3-5Road Dog: 5-0
vs. Big 12: 1-2vs. Big 12: 9-2-1
Over/Under: 11-7Over/Under: 11-7
Under Current Coaches*
Overall: 8-9-1Overall: 25-16-1
Home: 3-6Road: 11-5-1
Home Fav: 3-5Road Dog: 9-2
vs. Big 12: 1-2vs. Big 12: 20-7-1

*Bill Snyder since 2009

One quarterback whom everybody was ready to hand the Heisman Trophy to a week ago against another quarterback who is getting ready to take it off his hands. The Wildcats find themselves fourth in the BCS standings and could further solidify that position with a road win in Morgantown.

VERDICT: I'm not a religious man, but I have a very good reason not to be. Nobody has started a church that does nothing but worship Bill Snyder's record against the spread at Kansas State. Once they do, I'll be at church ever Sunday to cash my ticket. Take Kansas State +3.

Game Five: South Carolina at Florida (-3), Over/Under 42
Saturday, 3:30 p.m. CBS

2011+12 Against The Spread
Overall: 10-9Overall: 12-7-1
Home: 5-5Road: 3-3-1
Home Fav: 4-3Road Dog: 1-1
vs. SEC: 7-6vs. SEC: 8-4-1
Over/Under: 9-10Over/Under: 10-10
Under Current Coaches
Overall: 10-9Overall: 51-39-3
Home: 5-5Road: 21-13-2
Home Fav: 4-3Road Dog: 13-8-1
vs. SEC: 7-6vs. SEC: 34-25-3
Last Five Meetings
2011: South Carolina 17 Florida 12
2010: South Carolina 36 Florida 14
2009: Florida 24 South Carolina 14
2008: Florida 56 South Carolina 6
2007: Florida 51 South Carolina 31

The game that could very well decide the SEC East. If South Carolina wins, it has the tie-breaker over both Florida and Georgia. If the Gators win, they'll have a game-in-hand on both Georgia and the Gamecocks. So this one is rather important.

VERDICT: This game is not easy to pick along the line, as that 3 points is probably perfect. While looking at the trends screams South Carolina considering its success against the number both in the last few years and under Steve Spurrier, that's because those charts show Florida in 2011 and 2012.

In 2012, Florida is 5-1 against the spread and 4-0 against SEC opponents. South Carolina is 6-1 overall and 4-1 in the SEC against the number. Because of all that, I'm taking the Over 42. I'd also suggest waiting on that bet to see if it gets any lower -- it opened at 44. While I respect both of these defenses, I don't think either offense is getting as much respect as it deserves.

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