Spread Options: Week 10

By Tom Fornelli | College Football Writer
Long time no see, fellas. (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.

Things started out very well for me in Spread Options last week, as I nailed Games One through Three to get off to a 3-0 start. Unfortunately for me both Florida and Georgia spent too much time tailgating before trying to play what they tell me was a football game. It was more like a Salvador Dali painting, in that it made no sense and I did not understand it in the slightest.

Though I'd call it The Persistence Of Turnovers.

The day finished when Notre Dame told me to take my Oklahoma -10 pick and shove it.

So in the end it was a 3-2 week for me. Not a good week, but still a winning week, and I'm now 25-16 on the season. Let's see if I can improve on that number right now.

Game One: Arizona at UCLA (-3), Over/Under 70 ½
Saturday 10:30 p.m. (All times Eastern) Pac-12 Network

2011+12 Against The Spread
Overall: 10-12Overall: 9-11
Home: 5-5Road: 3-5
Home Fav: 2-4Road Dog: 3-3
vs. Pac-12: 7-8vs. Pac-12: 6-8
Over/Under: 9-12Over/Under: 14-6
Under Current Head Coaches
Overall: 5-3Overall: 5-3
Home: 2-2Road: 1-1
Home Fav: 1-2Road Dog: 1-1
vs. Pac-12: 2-3vs. Pac-12: 3-2
Last Five Meetings
2011: Arizona 48 UCLA 12
2010: Arizona 29 UCLA 21
2009: Arizona 27 UCLA 13
2008: Arizona 31 UCLA 10
2007: Arizona 34 UCLA 27

Kind of hard to believe that Rich Rodriguez and Jim Mora would be meeting in a game this important during their first year on the job, no? Depending on how things go in the Oregon/USC game -- which we'll get to shortly -- this game could decide the winner of the Pac-12's South Division.

VERDICT: Say what you want about Mike Stoops' tenure at Arizona, the man knew how to beat UCLA, doing so six out of seven times, including the last five. That being said, a lot has changed for both teams in 2012.

I think the trend of Arizona beating up on UCLA is going to change too, and I'm going with UCLA -3. Arizona's just been a much better team at home than on the road, and with the status of Matt Scott up in the air, I just can't take the Wildcats on the road here.

Game Two: Texas A&M (-6 ½) at Mississippi State, Over/Under 59
Saturday 12 p.m. ESPN

2011+12 Against The Spread
Overall: 10-10Overall: 8-13
Home: 7-3Road: 2-6
Home Dog: 2-1Road Fav: 2-5
vs. SEC: 7-5vs. SEC: 2-3
Over/Under: 6-14Over/Under: 11-9
Under Current Head Coaches
Overall: 23-21Overall: 4-4
Home: 13-10Road: 2-2
Home Dog: 5-5Road Fav: 2-2
vs. SEC: 16-12vs. SEC: 2-3

Mississippi State got a bit of a reality check against Alabama last week, but it returns home this week to take on an Aggies team that just destroyed Auburn last week.

VERDICT: The second I saw this spread my initial reaction was that making Texas A&M a 6 ½-point favorite on the road against a 7-1 Mississippi State team was foolish. Nothing has changed my mind since, so I'm taking Mississippi State +6 ½. Yes, Texas A&M is 2-2 on the road as a favorite this season, but those four road games were against SMU, Ole Miss, Louisiana Tech and Auburn. The two games it covered were SMU and Auburn.

This Mississippi State team is much better than either of those teams, and I really don't see Texas A&M torching the Bulldogs defense like it has other teams. At least not enough to justify giving up nearly a touchdown in an SEC West road game.

Game Three: Oklahoma State at Kansas State (-9), Over/Under 66
Saturday 8 p.m. ABC

2011+12 Against The Spread
Overall: 15-5-1Overall: 13-7
Home: 8-4Road: 5-3
Home Fav: 5-3Road Dog: 1-0
vs. Big 12: 11-2-1vs. Big 12: 9-4
Over/Under: 12-8Over/Under: 7-10-2
Under Current Head Coaches*
Overall: 27-16-1Overall: 52-36-3
Home: 13-9Road: 23-16
Home Fav: 7-5Road Dog: 8-10
vs. Big 12: 22-7-1vs. Big 12: 34-24-3
Last Five Meetings
2011: Oklahoma State 52 Kansas State 45
2010: Oklahoma State 24 Kansas State 14
2007: Oklahoma State 41 Kansas State 39
2006: Kansas State 31 Oklahoma State 27
2003: Oklahoma State 38 Kansas State 34

*Bill Snyder since 2009

Last year these two teams met and played one of the most entertaining games of the entire 2011 season, as Kansas State put a real scare into the Cowboys in Stillwater, with Collin Klein's pass to Tramaine Thompson falling incomplete on a 3rd and goal as time expired. Now the tables have turned, as Kansas State is the team with a BCS title shot on the line.

VERDICT: Ordinarily I just go with Bill Snyder and Kansas State because, seriously, the Wildcats are 11-2-1 against the Big 12 the last two seasons and 22-7-1 since 2009. However, when you look at those Oklahoma State numbers, Mike Gundy is no slouch. All that said, I'm still going with Kansas State -9.

I don't see Oklahoma State's defense doing anything to impede Collin Klein, and the Cowboys lost JW Walsh to injury. While Wes Lunt played well against TCU last week, doing so on the road against this Kansas State defense is a bit different.

Game Four: Oregon (-7 ½) at Southern California, Over/Under 68
Saturday 7 p.m. Fox

2011+12 Against The Spread
Overall: 10-10Overall: 12-9-1
Home: 6-4Road: 5-0
Home Dog: 0-1Road Fav: 4-0
vs. Pac-12: 8-7vs. Pac-12: 10-4-1
Over/Under: 9-11Over/Under: 14-7
Under Current Head Coaches
Overall: 15-18Overall: 27-19-2
Home: 7-9Road: 10-6
Home Dog: 0-2Road Fav: 9-5
vs. Pac-12: 13-11vs. Pac-12: 21-10-2
Last Five Meetings
2011: USC 38 Oregon 35
2010: Oregon 53 USC 32
2009: Oregon 47 USC 20
2008: USC 44 Oregon 10
2007: Oregon 24 USC 17

This game was a lot more attractive before USC went and lost to Arizona, but it's still a very important game both in the Pac-12 and in the BCS picture. A win over USC is a great way for Oregon to start climbing out of fourth in the BCS standings.

VERDICT: I'm a bit torn here as Chip Kelly and Oregon's record on the road really makes me want to give up the points with Oregon. The problem with that is while USC has been a mediocre football team outside of Los Angeles this season, it's pretty good at home (ATS: 2-1 at home, 0-5 on road or neutral).

So I'm rolling with the Over 68. If you look at the last five meetings between these two teams, focus on 2009 through the present. That's when Chip Kelly joined the fray, and in those three meetings there has been an average of 75 points scored per game. I think Oregon can torch the USC defense for at least 40 this season and I also think USC can still put up points on this Oregon defense like it has in the past. Besides, while watching an Oregon game you always want to root for the over because it makes things all that much more entertaining.

Game Five: Alabama (-10) at LSU, Over/Under 42 ½
Saturday 7 p.m. CBS

2011+12 Against The Spread
Overall: 13-9Overall: 14-7
Home: 5-6Road: 7-1
Home Dog: 0-0Road Fav: 7-1
vs. SEC: 9-5vs. SEC: 11-3
Over/Under: 10-9-1Over/Under: 11-10
Under Current Head Coaches
Overall: 41-51-4Overall: 43-29-1
Home: 19-31-1Road: 17-8
Home Dog: 1-2Road Fav: 16-7
vs. SEC: 10-9-1vs. SEC: 28-14-1
Last Five Meetings
2012: Alabama 21 LSU 0
2011: LSU 9 Alabama 6 OT
2010: LSU 24 Alabama 21
2009: Alabama 24 LSU 15
2008: Alabama 27 LSU 21 OT

Man, these two teams just don't meet enough.

VERDICT: It should be easy. I should just have to look at Nick Saban's record against the spread, compare it to Les Miles' and then go cash the ticket. But it's not. I know Alabama has looked like a team that's far superior to LSU this season, but LSU is still ranked fifth in the BCS, folks.

And this game is still in Baton Rouge. At night. I'm just supposed to give up 10 points?

I can't. I just can't. What I can do, though, is take the Under 42½. It seems too obvious, yes, but I sure don't see LSU's offense doing much of anything in this game. So as long as the LSU defense holds the Tide offense in check, it seems pretty safe to me. Considering Alabama hasn't scored more than 27 in any of the last five meetings, I like my odds.

 
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