Looking Back at the Week in College Football Betting
by Trevor Whenham - 11/19/2012
It’s time for the weekly look back at the highs and lows of the week in college football betting. Every week is crazy in college football, and this certainly was no exception:
The toppling two
We can’t look back on last weekend’s action without discussing the fall from grace of the top two ranked teams in the country. My theory is that both Kansas State and Oregon took bribes from the SEC after that conference faced the real possibility of not even being in the BCS Championship Game. Oregon was just much more subtle about throwing their game than the Wildcats were.
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Baylor 52, Kansas State 24
This is as close to an impossible-to-handicap outcome as you’ll find. I suppose you could have made a reasonable case that the Bears could cover the 12-point spread at home — though the large majority of bettors were on Kansas State. You would have really struggled to believe, though, that Baylor’s defense — which was so bad heading into the game that in multiple statistical categories no team in the whole country was worse — would stifle the presumptive Heisman winner and lead their team to a four-touchdown win. Kansas State had faced good teams and beat them convincingly, yet they just didn’t show up here. If anyone tells you they saw this specific outcome coming then you can feel free to call them a liar.
Stanford 17, Oregon 14
Is it possible that by losing Jim Harbaugh and replacing him with David Shaw the Cardinal actually upgraded their coaching situation? You could certainly make that argument after the masterful defensive display Stanford put on in this one. Oregon hadn’t scored less than 42 all year, but they were lucky to get to 14 here. Incredibly impressive.
The best (or worst, depending on your perspective) of the rest
Florida State 41, Maryland 14
Hours before news broke of their ridiculous move to the Big Ten, Maryland stole a cover to break the hearts of Florida State backers. The Terrapins were 31.5-point underdogs at home, and they had been just terrible all day. With just 25 seconds left QB Shawn Petty lofted up a desperation bomb. He had completed just 7-of-18 passes to that point, but he found the endzone on a 42-yard passing play. That made it 42-14, and gave them a cover they didn’t deserve.
Marshall 44, Houston 41
This was a very crazy game — and a very good reminder of how important it is to shop for the best line you can find in every game. Marshall was up 38-17 with just over two minutes left in the third quarter, but then Houston woke up. The Cougars eventually tied it at 41 with 1:18 left on the clock. Instead of settling for overtime, though, Marshall fired their last bullet, and they scored the winning field goal with just seven ticks left. At kickoff Marshall was favored by 3.5 points, so Houston still stole the cover by a half point. Leading up to the game, though, Marshall had been favored by just three points — and the game was a “push”. In fact, at some books the three-point spread was available at kickoff. Shop around!
Louisiana Lafayette 31, Western Kentucky 27
You don’t see this very often. UL Lafayette scored a touchdown with 38 seconds left to seal the win. Not only did that score lead to a push on the four-point spread, but it also forced a push on the 58-point total. With that single touchdown it was as if the game no longer existed from a betting perspective.
Utah State 48, Louisiana Tech 41
This was the de facto WAC Championship Game — the last one ever since the conference disappears next year — and it was a doozy. Utah State was favored by three, and for much of the game it looked like they were going to cover soundly. Louisiana Tech wouldn’t quit, though. They ended up tying it with no time left on the clock. The Aggies struck in overtime, though, to pull off the win — and the impressive road cover. We shouldn’t be surprised at the result, though — this moves Utah State to 10-0-1 ATS on the season, making them the only team that hasn’t disappointed bettors all year.
Oklahoma 50, West Virginia 49
There wasn’t a lot of drama here for those who bet a side — West Virginia was 10.5-point underdogs at home, and they stayed within that for more than the last 20 minutes of game time. For those who were on the moneyline, though, this was a real rollercoaster. With just over seven minutes left West Virginia scored to make it 38-37. A minute and a half later they scored again, but they missed the extra point, so it was 43038. 96 seconds later Oklahoma went up 44-43. Only 77 seconds passed until West Virginia was up again. They tried for two and failed, so the margin was 49-44 with just less than three minutes left. With 24 seconds remaining Oklahoma capped this crazy one with the final TD. That is four lead changes in just over five minutes. Insane. Also insane in this game is that West Virginia missed two extra point kicks and a two-point try — any one of which could have had a huge impact if made.
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