College Football Betting and Handicapping: Scouting the Week Ahead
by Alan Matthews - 11/5/2012
The big injury to keep an eye this week is clearly that of Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein, but you’d probably have better luck getting truthful information out of North Korea than you would from KSU coach Bill Snyder. The scuttlebutt is that Klein suffered a concussion in Saturday’s victory over Oklahoma State. All Snyder would say Monday about Klein playing this week was: “Hope so. I hope they all play.”
When Klein came out in the third quarter vs. the Cowboys, he was seen walking around the sidelines without his helmet. That’s usually a sign the helmet has been taken away by team doctors/trainers because of a head injury, and indeed that’s what happened.
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Klein will be your Heisman winner if he can finish out the season; he is the -250 favorite on Sportsbook.ag. Klein is completing 71.1 percent of his passes for 1,875 yards with 12 TDs and two interceptions. The senior is the second-leading rusher for Kansas State with 698 yards on 139 carries, and he averages 5.0 yards per rush with 17 TDs. There is no opening line for KSU’s game at TCU because of Klein’s status. In an amazing stat and largely because of Klein, the Wildcats haven’t turned the ball over since they played against North Texas on Sept. 15. They have four turnovers all season.
TCU is no pushover, although it had struggled since losing starting QB Casey Pachall. But the Frogs won at West Virginia 39-38 in double overtime on Saturday. KSU, which remained No. 2 in the BCS standings this week, finishes at Baylor and then home vs. Texas.
The big mover on the Heisman odds this week was Oregon’s Kenjon Barner, to where he is now the +300 second favorite to Klein. Barner was brilliant in the Ducks’ highly entertaining 62-51 win over USC on Saturday. He rushed for a school-record 321 yards and five touchdowns on 38 carries. Oregon’s 62 points and 730 yards of offense were both the most ever allowed by USC. That defense had allowed just six rushing touchdowns in its previous eight games. Barner now averages 7.23 yards per carry and has scored 19 touchdowns.
The Ducks leapfrogged Notre Dame to No. 3 in the BCS standings but they might face a major letdown this week at Cal – Oregon is a 27.5-point opening favorite. Cal could be without starting QB Zach Maynard. He left the Bears’ 21-13 loss to Washington on Friday with a knee injury. Maynard doesn’t have ligament damage but is in doubt for the game. It’s likely the final home game for Cal coach Jeff Tedford as he is rumored to be let go after this season with the Bears missing a bowl game for the second time in three seasons. For what it’s worth, the only team to slow Oregon during the 2010 regular season was Cal, with the Bears losing only 15-13 at home.
Oregon and Kansas State are each +300 second-favorites to Alabama (-125) to win the national title. The Ducks probably would overtake KSU in the BCS standings because Oregon still has to play ranked Stanford and Oregon State, then likely either UCLA or USC in the Pac-12 title game.
Big Blow For Dawgs
Georgia suffered a big injury of its own last week as the Dawgs lost senior receiver Marlon Brown for the season with a torn ACL suffered in Saturday’s win over Ole Miss. Brown had three catches for 116 yards and a touchdown against the Rebels before the injury. He was tied for the team lead with 27 catches and was second with 469 receiving yards and four touchdown catches overall. Georgia lost former leading receiver Michael Bennett to a torn ACL earlier this season.
Georgia is a 15.5-point favorite this week at Auburn. This injury might not kill the Dawgs against the lousy Tigers, but it certainly could be a problem in the SEC Championship Game against Alabama. At 6-3, Chris Conley is now Georgia’s only receiver on scholarship who is taller than 6-foot-1. UGA will win the SEC East by beating Auburn; a loss gives the division to Florida. Georgia is +350 to win the SEC, with the Tide at -600. Florida is +700.
Week 11 Trap Games?
I thought Georgia might be in a trap game last week vs. Ole Miss after the big Florida win, but the Dawgs covered easily. However, I did forecast Notre Dame having a huge letdown at home vs. Pittsburgh – the Irish simply had no right winning that game. The ugly effort did cost Notre Dame in the BCS standings as it dropped to No. 4.
I do think Oregon has a bit of a letdown this week and that the Cal players give a great effort for Tedford in his likely finale. Ditto for both Alabama and LSU after that very emotional game on Saturday. The Tide are opening 13.5-point home favorites vs. Texas A&M, while LSU is a 14-point home favorite vs. Mississippi State.
UCLA also looks poised for a letdown off its huge win over Arizona; the Bruins, who now control their destiny in the Pac-12 South, are 14-point favorites at Washington State. Also expect an ugly game from Florida this week vs. Louisiana-Lafayette. The Gators are finished with SEC play and probably already are preparing for the Nov. 24 finale at Florida State. ULL is a 26-point dog.
Last week, I hit on Miami over Virginia Tech (also the under) and LSU covering vs. the Tide (the under again). I missed on Arizona vs. UCLA but hit the over there. This week, I will preview Florida State at Virginia Tech (Thursday ESPN game), Oregon State at Stanford (game of week; winner will be Oregon’s primary challenger in the Pac-12 North) and Fresno State at Nevada (final kickoff of Saturday).
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