NCAA Football

Utah Utes vs. Arizona State Sun Devils: Betting Odds, Analysis and Pick

Arizona State is 3-0 straight up and 2-1 against the spread versus Utah since the Utes joined the Pac-12 three seasons ago. That bodes well for the Sun Devils, as they seek a berth in the conference championship game for the second straight season.

South Division-leading ASU hosts second-place Utah for Homecoming in Tempe Saturday night.

 

Point Spread: The Sun Devils opened as 2.5-point favorites.

Odds Shark Computer Pick: Sun Devils 29.9, Utes 26.7

 

Why the Utah Utes Can Cover the Spread

The Utes just came up with a big home win over USC, scoring on a one-yard Travis Wilson touchdown pass with eight seconds to go for a 24-21 victory. Utah only managed 137 yards rushing on 42 carries but held the Trojans to 100 yards on 37 rushing attempts.

The Utes might have avoided the need for last-minute heroics had they not lost two fumbles inside the USC 5-yard line.

Since being upset at home by Washington State last month, Utah has won and covered three games in a row to get to 6-1 both SU and ATS on the season, and 3-1 both SU and ATS in Pac-12 play.

 

Why the Arizona State Sun Devils Can Cover the Spread

The Sun Devils have also won and covered three games in a row after winning at Washington last week 24-10.

ASU was out-gained and out-rushed by the Huskies, but senior quarterback Taylor Kelly—in his first game back after missing a month due to injury—tossed a pair of touchdown passes and the defense forced three turnovers, the last of which was returned for the game-clinching score.

So the only blemish on the Devils' slate remains that loss to UCLA. Arizona State is averaging 186 yards on the ground, 303 through the air and the defense has allowed just 20 points over the last two games.

 

Smart Pick

Statistically speaking, the Utes don't stand out, but they have out-rushed their four Pac-12 foes by an average of almost 100 yards per game and already own three road victories this season.

The Sun Devils, on the other hand, have been out-rushed in four of their five conference contests. Last year, as Utah struggled through a 5-7 season, it almost upset Arizona State, which went on to win the South.

The pick here goes with the Utes, plus the points.

 

Betting Trends

  • Utah is 4-1 ATS in its last five games on the road.
  • Arizona State is 1-4 ATS in its last five games at home.

 

All point spread and lines data courtesy of Odds Shark, all quotes gathered firsthand unless otherwise noted. Check out Twitter for injury and line movement updates and get the free odds tracker app.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Utah Utes vs. Arizona State Sun Devils: Betting Odds, Analysis and Pick

Arizona State is 3-0 straight up and 2-1 against the spread versus Utah since the Utes joined the Pac -12 three seasons ago. That bodes well for the Sun Devils, as they seek a berth in the conference championship game for the second straight season.

Read the full article on Bleacher Report...

TCU Horned Frogs vs. West Virginia Mountaineers Betting Odds and Pick

So far this college football season, TCU is the best team in the country on which to wager, going a perfect 7-0 against the spread. But if the Horned Frogs want a piece of the big prize, something along the lines of a Big 12 conference title, they'll have to leap over at least a couple of teams, including this week's opponent, surprising West Virginia.

 

Point spread: Horned Frogs opened as four-point favorites, according to sportsbooks monitored by Odds Shark. (Line updates and matchup report)

 

College football pick, via Odds Shark computer: 46.8-42.3 Horned Frogs

 

Why the TCU Horned Frogs can cover the spread

The Horned Frogs just laid 82 points on Texas Tech last week, cruising to a cover as 24-point favorites. TCU racked up a ridiculous 785 yards of offense, 305 on the ground, and quarterback Trevone Boykin threw seven touchdown passes. So over their last three games, including that heartbreaking loss at Baylor, the Frogs have scored 182 points.

In fact, while under head coach Gary Patterson TCU has mainly been known for its defense, this year's edition of the Frogs ranks second in the country in total offense and leads the nation in scoring at 50 points per game.

 

Why the West Virginia Mountaineers can cover the spread

The Mountaineers were supposedly headed for another lower-division finish in the Big 12 this season, but instead they've won four conference games in a row and sit just a half-game out of first place. Last week, West Virginia won at Oklahoma State, 34-10, pulling away in the fourth quarter to secure the victory and the cover.

That performance was especially impressive considering the Mountaineers avoided the letdown after the upset victory over Baylor the week before. West Virginia ranks 10th in the country in total offense, and while the defense only ranks 58th overall, it did hold the Bears, who own the top-ranked offense in the country, to just 318 total yards.

 

Smart Pick

These teams have gone to overtime each of their two meetings since joining the Big 12, which is why the underdog is 2-0 against the spread in those two games. And this game looks like it might be another close one. So the smart choice here is with the home dog, plus the points.

 

Betting Trends

  • The total has gone OVER in four of TCU's last five games
  • West Virginia is 6-1 SU in its last seven games

 

All point spread and lines data courtesy of Odds Shark, all quotes gathered firsthand unless otherwise noted. Check out Twitter for injury and line movement updates and get the free odds tracker app.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

College Football Rankings 2014: Full List of Week 10 NCAA Standings and Polls

The long-awaited release of the first College Football Playoff rankings are finally mere hours away. But for now, fans will have to rely on the good, old-fashioned polls to get an idea of where teams stand in the current college football landscape. 

Taking a look at the latest Amway coachesAssociated Press and Bleacher Report polls, one thing is certain—the controversy that marked the BCS era isn't leaving anytime soon. 

With Ole Miss going down in Baton Rouge, Mississippi State and Florida State remain the only two power-five conference teams to remain unbeaten. That means that at least two of the College Football Playoff participants are likely to have at least one loss. 

Figuring out who deserves to earn those two spots is sure to be the topic of debate from now until the end of the season. Here's a look at who the most recent polls like, followed by a preview of some of the week's biggest action:

 

Marquee Matchups

TCU at West Virginia

TCU and West Virginia's brief history against each other in the Big 12 is a dramatic one. In their two games against each other as conference foes, the visiting team has won in overtime. 

With both teams appearing in the Top 25 polls and Morgantown playing host to ESPN College GameDay, the 2014 edition should be yet another chapter in the developing rivalry. 

Of course, no one would have expected these two teams to be playing in such a high-profile game last season. Both teams went 4-8 last season behind starting quarterbacks who threw just seven touchdowns to seven interceptions. 

This year, both teams have experienced much more success. Most likely because both TCU's Trevone Boykin and West Virginia's Clint Trickett have stepped up in big ways:

As TCU's assistant AD Mark Cohen points out, Boykin has been putting up numbers similar to recent Heisman winners Robert Griffin III and Johnny Manziel:

The only downfall to TCU's offensive breakthrough this season has been a downgraded defense. Where the Frogs have traditionally been known for their stout defense, the new fast-paced offense has left the defense out on the field more than it is used to. 

This game should be a shootout. TCU is currently first in the country in points per game at 50.8, but West Virginia is 25th at 34.4. In a shootout, it's the team with the better quarterback that has the advantage. 

That's Boykin by a nose.

Prediction: TCU 45, West Virginia 42

 

Auburn at Ole Miss

Ole Miss won't get much time to lick its wounds after its upset loss to LSU last week. The 6-1 Auburn Tigers will roll into Oxford looking to bolster their claim to a College Football Playoff berth. 

Fortunately for the Rebels, a trip back to Oxford might be just what the doctor ordered. A look at these two teams may reveal a fairly equal matchup, but looking at what Auburn has done on the road this season tells the story. 

Thus far, the Tigers have only left the friendly confines of Jordan-Hare Stadium twice this season. The first was a narrow 20-14 victory over Kansas State. The second was the team's lone loss on the season to Mississippi State, 38-23.

One player in particular whose numbers have declined on the road is Nick Marshall:

This trend gives the Rebels' tough defense a rather simple game plan to follow—force Marshall to throw the ball. 

Given Ole Miss' No. 16 ranking in rushing yards allowed per attempt (3.2, per TeamRankings.com) the Rebels have the tools to stack the box and do just that. The question is whether Marshall can make plays when that happens. 

The answer to that question has been no to this point in the season. With the Rebels looking to rebound this week, it's likely to be the same story. 

Prediction: Ole Miss 20, Auburn 14

 

Upset Alert

Stanford at Oregon

It might be easy to dismiss Stanford as a legitimate threat to hand the Ducks their second loss of the season. The Cardinal have lost all three of their games against ranked opponents this season and have one of the worst offenses in the Pac-12. 

However, doing so would be a mistake. There's a reason that David Shaw's team has given the Ducks fits the last two seasons, and it isn't the offense. Stanford's physical defense has been able to slow Oregon down in wins over the Ducks in each of the last two seasons. 

As David Lombardi of ESPN points out, the defense from Palo Alto is still one of the best in the nation:

Stanford's offense isn't likely to have enough scores in its system to spring the upset. Kevin Hogan hasn't been able to make up for a punchless run game this season. However, the defense and recent history of playing Oregon tough should make this much more challenging for the Ducks than the 10-point spread (via Odds Shark) would indicate.

Prediction: Oregon 24, Stanford 20

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The Power-5 Conference Most Likely to Be Left out of the CFB Playoff

There are five power conferences in college football but only four spots in the College Football Playoff. Four is one fewer than five. It doesn't take Archimedes to deduce that (at least) one of those conferences will be omitted from the field.

The debate over which conference that will be has dominated the season, the answer seeming to change each passing week. Right now? My answer is probably the Big 12. But I say that knowing all too well that it could make me look like an idiot come Monday.

Why the Big 12? It's a process of elimination, more than anything.

The SEC has four teams ranked in the Associated Press Top 10 including No. 1 Mississippi State—one of two unbeaten teams left from power conferences. The other unbeaten, Florida State, has the ACC in good shape to make the field despite (and in many ways because of) the fact that it's the weakest of the power-five leagues.

The Big Ten, the Big 12 and the Pac-12 are the most likely candidates for exclusion, but the Big 12 sticks out, counterproductively, because it has been the best of that triad this season.

It has been, in a way, too good for its own good.

Eighteen power-conference teams have either zero or one loss after nine weeks. If any of those teams runs the table, there is a good (but not definite) chance they make the playoff. Unless there is another chaotic week such as Week 6 where zero- and one-loss teams start dropping like flies, it is safe to assume, for the time being, that every two-loss team has already been eliminated.

Thus, on raw numbers, the Pac-12 has more playoff contenders (4) than the Big Ten (3) and Big 12 (3). Three of those contenders are non-traditional—Utah, Arizona and Arizona State—and one of them is Oregon, whom many have termed the favorite to win the league.

The Big Ten has Ohio State, Michigan State and Nebraska, the former two of which will play each other Nov. 8 in East Lansing. The loser of that game will be eliminated, but the winner will have an easy path to an 11-1 record and the Big Ten Championship Game. If Nebraska, which doesn't have a ranked team left on its schedule, also finishes 11-1, that game will be a de facto playoff quarterfinal.

The Big 12 has TCU, Kansas State and Baylor, three teams good enough to represent the league with pride in the CFP. The problem with the conference isn't that it lacks quality form; au contraire, it's that the conference has too much quality form. Especially with a nine-game conference schedule, the Big 12 is susceptible to cannibalism.

Kansas State has yet to play TCU or Baylor, setting up a potential nightmare scenario for the conference. If the Wildcats split those games, it could throw the Big 12's playoff hopes out of orbit.

But even if it sweeps or gets swept in those games, there are other pitfalls facing all of these teams.

TCU plays West Virginia in Morgantown this weekend. Kansas State makes the same trip to Morgantown in three weeks. Baylor—which plays Oklahoma in Norman in two weeks—saw its own undefeated season slip away in Morgantown two weeks ago.

All of which leads to a counterintuitive hypothesis: The improvement of West Virginia, which by extension means the improvement of the conference, might actually be a terrible thing for the conference.

The Mountaineers played Alabama close in Week 1 and Oklahoma close in Week 4 before finally getting over the hump against Baylor. They did so by holding Baylor to 318 yards of total offense, its lowest output since September 2010.

Their defense has taken an important leap forward, now ranking higher than their offense in Football Outsiders' S&P+ ratings, something Chris Brown of Grantland calls "amazing":

"Holding Baylor to 318 yards and 80 plays is something," head coach Dana Holgorsen said after the win. "We had two starting corners go out in the first half and it didn't change the game plan. We didn't blink. We've been talking about depth for some time…If you've got depth you've got a chance to win these games."

If West Virginia's improved depth—a microcosm of the Big 12's improved depth—is enough for the 'Neers to pull similar upsets over TCU and Kansas State, it could cost the league a spot in the playoff.

And that seems a lot more likely than, say, Oregon State beating Oregon or Penn State beating Michigan State.

Again…the Big 12 is too good for its own good.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Stanford Cardinal vs. Oregon Ducks Betting Odds, Analysis, College Football Pick

Oregon is once again favored for its big Pac-12 North battle with Stanford, but that doesn't mean anything to the Cardinal, who have upset the Ducks each of the past two seasons on their way to back-to-back conference championships. Stanford will shoot for a third straight upset of Oregon Saturday night in Eugene.

 

Point spread: Ducks opened as 12.5-point favorites, according to sportsbooks monitored by Odds Shark. (line updates and matchup report).

 

College football pick, via Odds Shark computer: 53.5-43.2 Ducks

 

Why the Stanford Cardinal can cover the spread

The Cardinal just bounced back from that bad loss at Arizona State two weeks ago to pound Oregon State last week 38-14, easily covering the spread as 12-point favorites. Stanford doubled up the Beavers in total offense, 438-221, and with help from six sacks, it held OSU to just 12 yards rushing.

The Cardinal are struggling on offense, ranking 84th in the country overall, 93rd in rushing, but the defense ranks second overall, fifth against the run, allowing just 91 yards per game, and second in points allowed at 13 per game. Last year, as a 10-point home dog, Stanford built a 26-0 lead over the Ducks, then held on for the 26-20 victory.

 

Why the Oregon Ducks can cover the spread

The Ducks are not quite the well-oiled machine they've been in recent seasons, but they're still in the running for the conference title and a spot in this year's College Football Playoff. Oregon just put up 59 in a victory at Cal, covering the spread as a 17-point road favorite. The Ducks gave up 28 points in the first half against the Bears, then held them to 13 while pulling away in the second half.

So since getting upset at home by Arizona a month ago, Oregon is 3-0 both straight up and against the spread, including that blowout victory at UCLA.

 

Smart pick

The Ducks probably have the better team in this matchup, but the Cardinal have had their number as of late, holding Oregon to a total of 34 points over the last two meetings in this series—and the Ducks often score that many points in less than a half.

Also, Oregon is just 2-5 ATS in its last seven home games, in part because the spreads have been so high. And that might be the case for this game, too, so the smart money should go on underdog Stanford.

 

Betting Trends

  • Stanford is 2-4 ATS in its last six games when playing on the road against Oregon.
  • Oregon is 9-3 SU in its last 12 games when playing Stanford.

 

All point spread and lines data courtesy of Odds Shark. All quotes gathered firsthand unless otherwise noted. Check out Twitter for injury and line movement updates and get the free odds-tracker app.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Stanford Cardinal vs. Oregon Ducks Betting Odds, Analysis, College Football Pick

Oregon is once again favored for its big Pac -12 North battle with Stanford, but that doesn't mean anything to the Cardinal, who have upset the Ducks each of the past two seasons on their way to back-to-back conference championships...

Read the full article on Bleacher Report...

Oklahoma State Cowboys vs. Kansas State Wildcats Betting Odds and Pick

Oklahoma State is 4-1 straight up in its last five meetings with Kansas State, but the Wildcats are 4-1 against the spread over that span. K-State also leads the Big 12 at the moment at 4-0 SU and 3-1 ATS in conference play, while the Cowboys cling to life at 3-2 SU, 1-4 ATS. Border rivals clash when Kansas State and Oklahoma State meet Saturday night in Manhattan.

 

Point spread: Wildcats opened as 12.5-point favorites, according to sportsbooks monitored by Odds Shark. (line updates and matchup report).

 

College football pick, via Odds Shark computer: 28.7-23.4 Wildcats

 

Why the Oklahoma State Cowboys can cover the spread

The Cowboys had won five in a row following their season-opening loss to Florida State, but they have found the going tougher the last two weeks, losing at TCU 42-9 and at home to West Virginia 34-10. Oklahoma State only trailed the Mountaineers by a touchdown heading into the fourth quarter but came up empty from there. For the game the Cowboys only got outgained by 12 yards.

Oklahoma State knew it might go through a rebuilding process this season, with just eight starters back from last year, and lost its starting quarterback for the season to injury back in Week 2. But if they could just get a little better play at quarterback, the Cowboys could stay in this one.

 

Why the Kansas State Wildcats can cover the spread

The Wildcats have won four games in a row SU and five in a row ATS after shutting out Texas last week 23-0. Kansas State nearly doubled up the Longhorns in total yardage, ran the ball 43 times for 143 yards and won time of possession by a lopsided 39-21 margin, covering the spread as a nine-point favorite to improve its ATS mark to 5-2. Senior quarterback Jake Waters has now gone four games without throwing a pick.

The Wildcats have outgained five of seven opponents this season and outrushed five of seven foes by an average of 79 yards per game. And that's a figure usually conducive to covering spreads.

 

Smart pick

Bill Snyder's teams are almost always good bets because of his style and generalship. His teams are always ready to play. Meanwhile, Oklahoma State might be going through a down season. So while the spread on this game is rather large for this series, the smart money should go with the better team in this spot, giving the points.

 

Betting trends

  • Oklahoma State is 4-1 SU in its last five games when playing Kansas State
  • Kansas State is 5-0 ATS in its last five games

 

All point spread and lines data courtesy of Odds Shark, all quotes gathered firsthand unless otherwise noted. Check out Twitter for injury and line movement updates and get the free odds tracker app.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs. Navy Midshipmen Betting Odds and Pick

Notre Dame once beat Navy 43 times in a row, but the Midshipmen have won three of the last seven meetings in this rivalry outright, going 4-3 against the spread in the process. The 6-1 Irish and 4-4 Mids square off for the 87th consecutive season, this time at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland Saturday night.

 

Point spread: The Fighting Irish opened as 13.5-point favorites, according to sportsbooks monitored by Odds Shark. (Line updates and matchup report.)

 

College football pick, via Odds Shark computer: 33.2-19.0 Fighting Irish

 

Why the Notre Dame Fighting Irish can cover the spread

The Irish started 6-0 straight up and 4-2 against the spread this season, but two weeks ago suffered their first outright loss in a 31-27 decision at defending national champion Florida State. Notre Dame outgained the Seminoles 470-323 and outrushed them 157-50, but had a game-winning Everett Golson touchdown pass in the waning seconds nullified by an offensive pass interference call.

The Irish have outgained five of seven opponents this year, and outrushed six of seven foes, by an average of 60 yards per game. Meanwhile, Golson, after sitting out all last season, has improved his completion percentage from 59 two years ago to 62 this season.

 

Why the Navy Midshipmen can cover the spread

The Mids had lost three games in a row, but have won their last two after beating San Jose State last week 41-31, covering as eight-point favorites. Navy ran the ball 68 times for 423 yards against the Spartans, 251 of those yards by junior quarterback Keenan Reynolds. So the Mids have outgained and outrushed their last three opponents.

In fact, they rank second in the country in rushing at 352 yards per game, outrushing foes by an average of 181 yards. As mentioned above, Navy has beaten Notre Dame in three of the last seven meetings, and almost did it again last year, giving up an Irish score with three minutes to go to lose 38-34.

 

Smart Pick

Notre Dame is the better team, but Navy is a pain in the butt to play. The Irish may put up 40 points on the smallish Mids defense, but Navy's option might be good for 30 points itself. So the smart money for this rivalry resides with the underdog Middies.

 

Betting Trends

  • Notre Dame is 4-1 ATS in its last five games on the road.
  • The total has gone OVER in four of Navy's last five games when playing Notre Dame.

 

All point spread and lines data courtesy of Odds Shark. All quotes gathered firsthand unless otherwise noted. Check out Twitter for injury and line movement updates and get the free odds tracker app.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Florida State Seminoles vs. Louisville Cardinals Betting Odds and Pick

Florida State might be undefeated and headed for the College Football Playoff, but as heavy betting favorites almost every time out, the Seminoles are also only 1-8 against the spread in their last nine games. Florida State will be a solid favorite again when it takes on Louisville in the teams' first meeting as ACC foes Thursday night at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium.

 

Point spread: Seminoles opened as 8.5-point favorites, according to sportsbooks monitored by Odds Shark (line updates and matchup report).

 

College football pick, via Odds Shark computer: 37.3-25.2 Seminoles

 

Why the Florida State Seminoles can cover the spread

Following the victory over Notre Dame two weeks ago, the Seminoles have now won 23 games in a row, going 13-9-1 ATS. Florida State didn't have its top game against the Irish, but it made the plays when it needed to, getting two Jameis Winston touchdown passes and two Karlos Williams touchdown runs.

The phantom offensive pass interference call against Notre Dame at the end of the game didn't hurt, either. Florida State only ranks 47th in the country in total offense and 53rd in total defense but 19th in scoring at 38 points per game and 29th in points allowed at 22 per game.

 

Why the Louisville Cardinals can cover the spread

The Cardinals have won three of their last four games, and covered three of their last five, after beating North Carolina State two weeks ago 30-18. Louisville got 173 yards on the ground from running back Michael Dyer and two touchdown passes from quarterback Will Gardner, who now owns an 11-2 touchdown-to-interception ratio this season.

And the Cardinals defense held the Wolf Pack to just 128 yards rushing. Louisville ranks 94th in total offense but leads the nation in both total defense, allowing 245 yards per game, and against the run, giving up 69 yards per game. The most points the Cardinals have allowed this season was the 23 both Virginia and Clemson scored.

 

Smart pick

Florida State has not looked like the team it was last year, but the 'Noles are still a dangerous bunch. If this game were being played in Tallahassee, the Seminoles might be favored by as much as two touchdowns. Meanwhile, Louisville is only 1-7 ATS the last eight times it's been lined as a home dog. So the smart choice here is with the visiting Seminoles, minus the points.

 

Betting Trends

  • Florida State is 4-10 ATS in its last 14 games on the road.
  • The total has gone under in five of Louisville's last seven games at home.

 

All point spread and lines data courtesy of Odds Shark. All quotes gathered firsthand unless otherwise noted. Check out Twitter for injury and line movement updates and get the free odds-tracker app.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Florida Gators vs. Georgia Bulldogs: Betting Odds, Analysis and Pick

Not too long ago, Florida owned the rivalry with Georgia, winning five of six meetings. But the Bulldogs have turned the tables on the Gators, winning the last three meetings, going 2-0-1 against the spread. The 6-1 'Dawgs will try to beat 3-3 Florida for a fourth straight time when the teams meet for the big cocktail party in Jacksonville Saturday afternoon.

 

Point spread: Bulldogs opened as 10-point favorites, according to sportsbooks monitored by Odds Shark. (Line updates and matchup report)

 

College football pick, via Odds Shark computer: 38.5-30.7 Bulldogs

 

Why the Florida Gators can cover the spread

The Gators are coming off a disheartening 42-13 loss at home to Missouri in which they held the Tigers to just 119 yards of total offense but gave up four Mizzou touchdowns on returns. Florida allowed the Tigers to return the opening kickoff for a score and never recovered.

The Gators committed six turnovers, but the defense did its part, stuffing the Missouri offense to the tune of just over two yards per play. Two weeks ago, Florida put on a decent performance at LSU, losing 30-27 on a 50-yard field goal at the buzzer. The Gators rank just 99th in the country in total offense but 12th in total defense, holding foes to 313 yards per game.

 

Why the Georgia Bulldogs can cover the spread

Since losing at South Carolina back in September, the Bulldogs have won their last five games in a row, four in blowout fashion, going 3-2 ATS. Three weeks ago, Georgia, suddenly playing without Heisman candidate running back Todd Gurley, won at Missouri 34-0, and two weeks ago the 'Dawgs bolted out to a 38-6 halftime lead on their way to a 45-32 victory at Arkansas.

Toting the load in place of Gurley, freshman Nick Chubb chugged for 202 yards and two scores against the Razorbacks after going for 143 against Mizzou. And the Georgia defense, which ranks 13th in the nation against the run, held the ground-oriented Hogs to 126 yards on 37 carries.

 

Smart Pick

Georgia is rolling with or without Gurley, while Florida looks like a lost cause and is probably heading for a coaching change. So while this spread might seem a bit inflated, the smart choice is with the Bulldogs, minus the points.

 

Betting Trends

  • Florida is 5-2 ATS in its last seven games when playing on the road against Georgia
  • The total has gone OVER in 11 of Georgia's last 13 games at home

 

All point spread and lines data courtesy of Odds Shark, all quotes gathered firsthand unless otherwise noted. Check out Twitter for injury and line movement updates and get the free odds tracker app.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Auburn Tigers vs. Mississippi Rebels Betting Odds, Analysis and Pick

Ole Miss just suffered its first loss of this season but still ranks as one of the best teams in college football on which to wager with its 6-1-1 against the spread record. The Rebels will try to jump back on the winning track when they host defending SEC champion and West division rival Auburn Saturday night down in Oxford.

 

Point spread: Rebels opened as three-point favorites, according to sportsbooks monitored by Odds Shark (line updates and matchup report).

 

College football pick, via Odds Shark computer: 33.7-30.3 Rebels

 

Why the Auburn Tigers can cover the spread

The Tigers bounced back from their first loss of the season two weeks ago at Mississippi State to beat South Carolina 42-35, avoiding what might have been a season-killing second SEC loss. Auburn racked up 551 yards of offense against the Gamecocks, 395 on the ground, as three different Tigers–Cameron Artis-Payne, Ricardo Louis and Nick Marshall–ran for at least 89 yards.

Auburn ranks 20th in the nation in total offense, 46th in total defense and has out-rushed opponents this season by an average of 161 yards per game. The Tigers will be going up against a stout Ole Miss defense, but last year, in a 30-22 victory, Auburn ran for 282 yards against the Rebels.

 

Why the Mississippi Rebels can cover the spread

The Rebs just lost a tough game at LSU 10-7, allowing the game-winning score with five minutes to go, but there's no real shame in losing by a field goal in a place like Death Valley. Ole Miss hung onto a lead for as long as it could, but quarterback Bo Wallace had his toughest outing of the season, completing just 14 of 33 passes. Going into that game, the senior quarterback had hit on 64 percent of his throws, with 17 touchdowns and just six interceptions.

Offensively the Rebs only rank 64th overall, but the Ole Miss defense ranks ninth overall and first in points allowed, at just 11 per game.

 

Smart pick

Auburn has won four of the last five meetings in this series, going 4-1 ATS in the process. The Tigers have also outgained every opponent this year but one and out-rushed them all. Meanwhile, Ole Miss has been outgained in three of its last four games. So the smart money here goes with Auburn, plus the points.

 

Betting trends

  • Auburn is 4-1 ATS in its last five games when playing Mississippi
  • Mississippi is 3-6 ATS in its last nine games when playing at home against Auburn

 

All point spread and lines data courtesy of Odds Shark, all quotes gathered firsthand unless otherwise noted. Check out Twitter for injury and line movement updates and get the free odds tracker app.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Arkansas Razorbacks vs. Mississippi State Bulldogs: Odds, College Football Pick

Arkansas is still winless in SEC play under head coach Bret Bielema and has lost 16 straight conference games overall, going 6-10 against the spread. However, the Razorbacks have shown some money-making ability this season, going 6-2 ATS.

The Hogs will try again to break that SEC losing streak this weekend, but it won't be easy, taking on the top-ranked Bulldogs of Mississippi State in Starkville Saturday night.

 

Point Spread: The Bulldogs opened as 14-point favorites.

Odds Shark Computer Pick: Bulldogs 40.5, Razorbacks 25.8

 

Why the Arkansas Razorbacks Can Cover the Spread

The Razorbacks just bombed Alabama-Birmingham 45-17, covering the spread as 24-point favorites. Arkansas gained 484 yards to the Blazers' 195, racked up 273 rushing yards and held the ball for almost 35 minutes.

Two weeks ago, the Hogs thought they had a chance to snap that SEC losing streak but got slapped down by Georgia. Just before that, Arkansas gave Alabama all it could handle, losing 14-13 but out-gaining the Tide by over 100 yards.

In a tough game earlier this year, the Razorbacks played Auburn to a 21-21 halftime tie before fading down the stretch.

So they can play with quality opponents.

 

Why the Mississippi State Bulldogs Can Cover the Spread

The Bulldogs are 7-0 for the second time in the last two seasons after winning at Kentucky last week 45-31. Mississippi State piled up 542 yards on offense, 326 on the ground, held the ball for almost 35 minutes and limited the Wildcats to 103 yards on 32 carries.

Near the end, the Bulldogs returned a kickoff for a score that garnered them a push as 14.5-point favorites.

For the season, Mississippi State is out-rushing opponents by 155 yards per game, which is a big reason why the Bulldogs are 5-2 ATS.

 

Smart Pick

One of these days, Arkansas is going to put it all together and break that SEC losing streak. Can the Hogs do it in this spot, playing at the top-ranked team in the land? Unlikely.

But to keep a game like this close, the underdog has to run the ball, work the clock and limit the turnovers, and Arkansas might be able to pull that off.

The smart choice here is with the Hogs, plus the points.

 

Betting Trends

  • Arkansas is 4-13 straight up in its last 17 games.
  • Mississippi State is 5-0 SU in its last five games.

 

All point spread and lines data courtesy of Odds Shark, all quotes gathered firsthand unless otherwise noted. Check out Twitter for injury and line movement updates and get the free odds tracker app.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Arizona Wildcats vs. UCLA Bruins Betting Odds, Analysis, College Football Pick

The UCLA Bruins are 2-0 both straight up and against the spread versus the Arizona Wildcats the last two years. But after beginning this season as the favorite to win the Pac-12 South, UCLA has already lost twice in conference play and can ill afford another defeat. The 6-2 Bruins host the 6-1 Wildcats for homecoming at the Rose Bowl on Saturday night.

 

Point spread: The Bruins opened as 4.5-point favorites, according to sportsbooks monitored by Odds Shark (line updates and matchup report).

 

College football pick, via Odds Shark computer: 39.4-34.7 Bruins

 

Why the Arizona Wildcats can cover the spread

The Wildcats bounced back from their first loss of the season, that heartbreaker to USC, to win 59-37 at Washington State last week.

Arizona returned a punt for a touchdown two minutes into the game, led 24-0 after one quarter, and cruised to the victory and the cover as a field-goal favorite.

The 'Cats ran for 157 yards, got five touchdown passes from redshirt freshman quarterback Anu Solomon and held the supposedly high-powered Cougars passing attack to just two touchdowns through the first three quarters.

Arizona ranks sixth in the nation in total offense and 13th in scoring at 41 points per game.

 

Why the UCLA Bruins can cover the spread

The Bruins avoided disaster with a 40-37 overtime victory at Colorado last week.

UCLA jumped out to a 24-7 lead, allowed the Buffaloes to come back and tie the score at 31 late, and then won it on a Brett Hundley scoring run in the second OT. The Bruins racked up 509 yards of offense, 309 on the ground.

UCLA ranks 21st in the nation in total offense and is averaging 214 yards per game rushing.

Two years ago, the Bruins thrashed Arizona 66-10. Last year, they beat the 'Cats 31-26. In those two games combined, UCLA amassed nearly 1,100 yards of offense, 550 on the ground.

 

Smart Pick

UCLA has been one of the worst teams in college football to bet on this season, going just 1-7 ATS. But a trend like that, involving a team like this, should begin reverting back toward the .500 mark sometime soon. If the Bruins can put on a full four-quarter performance, they should win and cover this contest.

 

Betting Trends

  • Arizona is 2-4 ATS in its last six games.
  • UCLA is 1-7 ATS in its last eight games.

 

All point spread and lines data courtesy of Odds Shark. All quotes gathered firsthand unless otherwise noted. Check out Twitter for injury and line-movement updates, and get the free odds tracker app.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Arizona Wildcats vs. UCLA Bruins Betting Odds, Analysis, College Football Pick

The UCLA Bruins are 2-0 both straight up and against the spread versus the Arizona Wildcats the last two years...

Read the full article on Bleacher Report...

SEC Football Q&A: Is Georgia a Legit College Football Playoff Contender?

As we turn the calendar from October to November, it's now the home stretch for many teams in the playoff hunt, players in the Heisman Trophy race and coaches looking to save their jobs.

Georgia will play Florida this weekend in a game that could boost the Bulldogs' playoff hopes and simultaneously send Gators head coach Will Muschamp to the unemployment line.

Meanwhile, LSU and Alabama have two weeks to prepare for their showdown in Baton Rouge, after both looked fantastic in wins last weekend. In Columbia, Steve Spurrier's South Carolina Gamecocks already have dropped four games with several more nail-biters left on the schedule.

Let's get you prepared for the final month of the season with a little SEC Q&A:

 

Oh, without a doubt. In fact, Georgia is one of only a few teams that controls its playoff destiny heading into the final month of the season.

If Georgia wins out, not only will head coach Mark Richt's crew make the College Football Playoff, it will likely either be a No. 2 seed or a No. 1 seed if Florida State goes down. The Bulldogs would have a win over Auburn (Nov. 15) and whoever wins the SEC West in the SEC Championship Game in Atlanta.

That's not as far-fetched as it may seem. With Florida, Kentucky, Auburn, Charleston Southern and Georgia Tech remaining, the Bulldogs will likely be underdogs in just one of those games—Auburn—which will be played in Athens. The path sets up well, and is syncing up nicely with Georgia finding its groove.

Nick Chubb filled in wonderfully for suspended running back Todd Gurley in road games at Missouri and Arkansas, rushing for 345 yards and three touchdowns in those two games. At the same time, the much-maligned defense was busy picking off six passes—one shy of their total for the entire 2013 season.

Yes, Georgia is very much a playoff contender—especially if Gurley comes back soon, which is something that is expected. Even if the Bulldogs lose to Auburn, they still might make it to Atlanta and make life miserable for whoever emerges from the SEC West.

Would a two-loss Georgia team with an SEC title make the playoff? At that point, it'd be hard to keep out.

 

Certainly more of a shot now than it did two weeks ago, when the offense looked lost and the defense still had issues.

Since the Florida game, though, LSU has found its identity.

The offense found a groove with a bruising rushing attack and a punishing offensive line that creates holes the size of the Grand Canyon for running backs Leonard Fournette, Terrence Magee and Kenny Hilliard. Fournette rushed for 140 yards against the tough Gators defense and then 113 against the Rebels last weekend in two big wins for the Tigers.

The Tigers have also been better stopping the run, and Kendell Beckwith's emergence at middle linebacker is a big reason for that. Beckwith took over for D.J. Welter following the Auburn game, and he has responded with 26 tackles over the last three games.

They've got a shot, but I wouldn't pick the Tigers to win if I had to make a pick right now.

LSU's pass defense is great, but there's nobody on LSU's roster—or, really, anybody's roster—who can cover Tide wide receiver Amari Cooper.

On the flip side, Alabama's front seven is fast and physical, and it will present a tremendous challenge to the Tigers offensive line and running backs. The Tide's defense will put the game in the hands of Tigers quarterback Anthony Jennings, who has completed just 50 percent of his passes, tossing eight touchdowns and five picks this season. 

Not exactly the most reassuring thing in the world.

 

After Steve Spurrier's performance last week in the 42-35 loss to Auburn, not a chance.

The Head Ball Coach had those ball plays workin' on the Plains, racking up 535 total yards, converting 5-of-6 fourth downs and recovering a third-quarter surprise onside kick in what was a wildly entertaining game between the Gamecocks and the Tigers.

According to ESPN.com, Spurrier got a raise during the offseason that pays him $4 million per year through the 2018 season. Unless Spurrier wins the SEC title before 2018, I would expect him to stick around through the entire contract.

It's no secret, though, that he wants another SEC title. If that happens before his contract runs out, it wouldn't surprise me at all if Spurrier rides off into the sunset and chases a little white ball around a large lawn in Crescent Beach, Florida every day for the rest of his life.

As far as who replaces Spurrier, it's hard to know what the market will look like when the Head Ball Coach hangs up the visor. If Chad Morris is still Clemson's offensive coordinator, though, it would be wise for the Gamecocks to raid enemy territory and get him before somebody else does.

 

Barrett Sallee is the lead SEC college football writer and video analyst for Bleacher Report as well as a co-host of the CFB Hangover on Bleacher Report Radio (Sundays, 9-11 a.m. ET) on Sirius 93, XM 208.

Quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted. All stats are courtesy of cfbstats.com, and all recruiting information is courtesy of 247Sports. Follow Barrett on Twitter @BarrettSallee.

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Watch High School Linebacker Snag 1-Handed Pick-6

One-handed interceptions are impressive. One-handed interceptions that result in six points are even more noteworthy.

Tristian Pipp, an inside linebacker out of Greendale, Wisconsin, read the quarterback perfectly, timed his jump, snatched the intended pass with one hand and returned it for the score. 

Was this the best interception of the high school season?

Watch the video and let us know! 

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Michigan Football: Wolverines Need More Players Like Joe Bolden

Don’t knock Michigan linebacker Joe Bolden for showing heart during a heated moment—the “classless” and “unsportsmanlike” arguments won’t hold a drop of water.

Granted, his tent-spike-driving tirade near midfield prior to Michigan’s 35-11 loss to Michigan State was a bit misdirected—not to mention a tad overdramatic—but the 6'3", 231-pound junior didn’t overstep boundaries or taint the legend of the Big Ten’s iconic in-state rivalry.

There is no need for a judge and jury, as there was no crime or violation committed.

In fact, by lighting an emotional fire underneath his teammates, the defensive cornerstone and team captain was simply carrying out orders—plain and simple.

However, on Sunday, Brady Hoke felt the need to apologize for Bolden, placing a phone call to Spartans coach Mark Dantonio to clear the air. In an effort to further clarify the scenario, Hoke followed by releasing a public statement—you know, just for the sake of being thorough and transparent.

It was thoughtful but entirely unnecessary.

Apologize? For what? So the guy got wild by performing a team-wide gut check in front of a packed Spartan Stadium. So he challenged his own team to tilt the balance of the recently lopsided annual affair.

Good for him.

By doing that, he proved that some members of Team 135 still have a pulse—the intent was there and duly noted by defensive coordinator Greg Mattison.

“I love Joe Bolden! Are you kidding me?” he exclaimed when asked about the pregame outburst. “Joe Bolden...[satisfied laughter]...Man, I’ll tell you what: Give me a room of him. Give me a room of Joe Boldens. Give me 11 of them. Just line them up—put them at any position you want—and I’m going to tell you what: There will be a lot of happy people, and me being the happiest.

“When you say ‘Joe Bolden’ to me, you’ve got a guy—that’s a football player. That’s a guy who’s a leader, who gives everything that he can give. And you know what? We’ve got a bunch of them like that too, which is really neat.”

Mattison got quite emotional in response to the question about Bolden. See it here on MGoBlue (5:30).

It’s taken Bolden less than two full seasons to solidify himself as a leading producer. His 63 tackles (32 solo, 31 assists) are second to fellow linebacker Jake Ryan’s 68 (40, 28) and, since his sophomore year, he’s been frequently mentioned as one of Team 135’s most dedicated members.

When Hoke and Mattison discuss players who get it, they’re referencing the Boldens of the world.

Following the Wolverines’ 30-14 loss to the Gophers, Bolden, in essence, took full blame for his defense’s lapses and transgressions; it surrendered a season-high 183 yards to running back David Cobb and missed several tackles during the Wolverines' first home loss to Minnesota since 2005.

He had a decent game, though the same can’t be said for the rest of his teammates. However, instead of placing blame, he chose to shoulder the burden while facing an army of glaring TV cameras that was posted behind a flock of reporters with recorders.

"You know, you're never happy with a loss,” he said, visibly tense. “If you love to compete, you're never happy unless you win. And when you win, you want to still compete and you want to keep on it."

Rather than complaining about the defense being on the field for 34 minutes, 40 seconds, he flipped the script when asked if he was irritated by the lack of rest between series.

"Not at all,” Bolden replied. “From a defensive perspective, you have the opportunity to go out and play more snaps. If you love the game, if you love Michigan, you love putting the winged helmet on, you love the opportunity to go out and play Michigan defense."

Mattison’s correct: The Wolverines need more Boldens. Sure, they all "compete" and "work hard," as the staff says each week. But if they don't feel differently while playing—and ultimately losing to—the Spartans, and if they seem content after bowing to teams Michigan's owned in the past, then they’re playing for the wrong school.

Bolden seems to be one of a select few who are capable of making those distinctions.

 

Follow Bleacher Report’s Michigan Wolverines football writer Adam Biggers on Twitter: @AdamBiggers81

Unless otherwise noted, all quotes and references to were obtained firsthand by the writer.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

College Football Rankings 2014: Week 10 Standings and Top 25 Team Records

If you look at the college football rankings heading into Week 10, there is a feeling of inevitable controversy that creeps in.

After all, there are 16 power-five conference teams (including Notre Dame) that are ranked in the Associated Press Top 25 with a single loss. Even if you work under the assumption that the undefeated Florida State Seminoles and Mississippi State Bulldogs will be in the College Football Playoff field, the selection committee still has to pick two more squads.

Then there is undefeated Marshall, who won’t get in the playoffs but is still racking together win after win.

With that in mind, here is a look at the Week 10 rankings. The official Bleacher Report poll can be found here.

 

Week 10 Under-the-Radar Game to Watch: Florida State at Louisville

The Thursday night showdown between Florida State and Louisville may not be the marquee matchup on paper that the games featuring Ole Miss against Auburn, TCU against West Virginia, Utah against Arizona State and Arizona against UCLA are in Week 10, but don’t be surprised when the Cardinals keep it close.

Stranger things have happened on Thursday nights in college football, and the home crowd will be absolutely rocking throughout the game.

This is about more than just the home-field advantage, though. The Louisville defense is fourth in the nation in scoring at 14.6 points allowed per game, No. 1 nationally in total defense, No. 1 against the run and No. 10 against the pass. Louisville has won four of its last five games and has not given up more than 23 points in a single contest all year.

In fact, the Cardinals have held their six ACC opponents below their scoring average every time out.

The Florida State offense is going to have its hands full trying to reach the end zone.

Louisville is so efficient defensively because it has so many impressive individual talents. Gerod Holliman, James Sample and Charles Gaines are all in the top 11 in the ACC in passes defended, and Lorenzo Mauldin, Sheldon Rankins and Keith Kelsey are all in the top 11 in the ACC in sacks.

That combination of ruthless pass-rushers and talented secondary members allows Louisville to get pressure when it only rushes four. That makes life particularly difficult on the wide receivers trying to get open when there is safety help and only a couple of seconds until the quarterback gets hit.

Louisville defensive coordinator Todd Grantham discussed his unit, via Andrea Adelson of ESPN.com:

I felt we had individuals who could be really good at their positions, so we talk about that as winning your one-on-one matchups. As you go through the day and you work, try to be the best at your position and if you’re the best at your position, and we can get you in one-on-one situations, you’re going to affect the game, which is good for our team. We’ve been able to get some matchups that are positive for us and those guys have made some plays.

The Cardinals are fresh off a 30-18 win over North Carolina State. The transitive property is too simple to apply to college football, but it still has to be mentioned that it was the same Wolfpack team that dropped 41 points on Florida State.

Brendan Sonnone of the Orlando Sentinel shared his thoughts on the defense Florida State will face on Thursday, as well as a quote from head coach Jimbo Fisher:

Considering Florida State has not scored less than 30 points this year with Winston under center and Louisville has not given up 30, something has to give.

This is also Florida State’s first game since the Notre Dame nail-biter, and clashes with Miami and Florida are waiting down the road. Between any lingering sense of relief from the Seminoles after the offensive pass interference call against the Fighting Irish and the anticipation of those upcoming rivalry games, Florida State could overlook this one.

While the majority of the focus heading into the showdown will be on the Louisville defense against the defending Heisman Trophy winner Winston and the Florida State offense, the difference in this game may be the Cardinals’ ability (or inability) to score against the Seminoles.

Louisville ranks 72nd nationally in passing yards per game and 90th in rushing yards per game, and Florida State is 29th in the country in scoring defense and has plenty of potential NFL talent on that side of the ball. Yes, the Seminoles have struggled at times defensively, but they will find a way to keep the Cardinals from scoring too often on Thursday night.

Winston will have a difficult test against the Louisville defense, but if he finds the end zone three times, that will be enough because his defense will thrive in this matchup against a middle-of-the-road Louisville offense.

Winston will do just enough to get his team yet another victory. 

Prediction: Florida State 27, Louisville 20

 

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Michigan Wolverines vs. Indiana Hoosiers Complete Game Preview

Michigan (3-5, 1-3 Big Ten) continued its free fall last week losing 35-11 to in-state rival Michigan State. Michigan was not only dominated on the field but found itself embarrassed by a motivational ploy gone wrong that further angered the Spartans. Michigan State hammered the Wolverines, tacking on a late touchdown after which its fans chanted “Keep Brady Hoke” as the game clock expired.

The Wolverines return to Michigan Stadium for a homecoming game versus Indiana with a razor-thin margin for error left to make a bowl game, needing to win of three of four remaining games to be postseason eligible. Indiana (3-4, 0-3 Big Ten) is also struggling, and Michigan needs to take advantage of this opportunity to get back on track.

A loss to Indiana would accelerate calls for Brady Hoke’s dismissal.

This homecoming will be a time for Michigan fans to revel in memories of the past while wondering how long it will be before gridiron glory again returns to Ann Arbor.

 

Date: Saturday, November 1, 2014

Time: 3:30 p.m. EDT

Place: Michigan Stadium (109,901), Ann Arbor, Mich.

Series vs. Indiana: Michigan leads 53-9

Television: BTN

Radio: Michigan Sports Network, Sirius (113), XM (195)

Spread: Michigan by 9.5 via Odds Shark

Live Stats: MGoBlue.com GameTracker

 

Last Meeting vs. Indiana

Michigan won a 63-47 shootout over Indiana for its final home win of the season. The Wolverines pulled away with three fourth-quarter touchdowns. Michigan would only win one more game (an overtime thriller versus Northwestern) for the rest of the 2013 season.


*Information according to University of Michigan Wolverine Football game notes.

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