College and NFL Trap Game Report
by Trevor Whenham - 11/01/2007
After a one-week hiatus we are back with the Trap Game Report. This week there are five games that we will look at - four in college and one in the NFL - in which an obviously superior team could look past their lesser opponent to someone more ominous down the road. All of the games have large spreads, and an argument can be made in each case that the better team may not cover if they let their foot off the gas. As any sports bettor knows well, crazy things can happen when the better team doesn't care about a game and the underdog has nothing to lose.
Vanderbilt (+14.5) at Florida (Saturday, Nov. 3, 12:30 p.m.) - Florida is basically out of their conference race, and they have beaten Vanderbilt every year for more than a decade. It wouldn't be surprising if the Gators looked at this game as if they were entitled to a win. Looming on a horizon next week for Florida is another showdown with the Old Ball Coach. Steve Spurrier has been out of Florida for quite a while now, but the time hasn't dimmed the importance of beating their former coach. The Gators may not be focused on this game, they have struggled at times with bi spreads this year, and Spurrier knows better than anyone that Vanderbilt can sneak up and bite you if you aren't ready for them.
Troy (+16) at Georgia (Saturday, Nov. 3, 1:00 p.m.) - I don't even particularly like the SEC, but I am obviously fixated on it this week - this is the second of three games from the conference here this week. Georgia is in the lead in the SEC East and they have a valuable win over Florida, but they need to stay ahead of Tennessee. That means that every conference game matters. This is obviously not a conference game, and the team could look at it as a virtual bye week before heading into the home stretch of conference play. The two teams have never met, so Georgia won't know what to expect. Troy started the year off with a couple of losses, but have since reeled off six-straight wins, including a dominating win over Oklahoma State. They are also 6-2 ATS, so they are better than bettors think they are. This game means everything to Troy and almost nothing to Georgia. That could make it interesting.
UL Lafayette (+28.5) at Tennessee (Saturday, Nov. 3, 4:00 p.m.) - Tennessee has had split personalities this year. When they have focused on their games they have won convincingly and looked elite. When they have lost, though, they have looked completely outclassed and out of place. Despite their inconsistency they are in a solid position in the SEC East thanks to their victory over Georgia, and they have three winnable conference games remaining. This game is absolutely meaningless for the Volunteers because they only way they are getting to the BCS is by winning their conference. That makes it highly unlikely that they will play at their best. UL Lafayette is far from a good team, but they have had two spreads of more than 20 points this year (South Carolina and Central Florida) and they have covered both times. It's not hard to imagine a scenario in which the Vols don't cover.
Washington State (+14.5) at Cal (Saturday, Nov. 3, 10:00 p.m.) - This one could set up badly for the Bears. They are reeling after three-straight losses, they have little left to play for after starting with such promise, and they are hurting. Washington State is a meaningless opponent, and Cal won't be excited about the game. With so many things going against this team, all they have left to play for is pride. Pride could come in the form of beating USC next week, and the team will likely be focused on knocking off another struggling giant. Washington State isn't good, but they surprised UCLA last week, and they could surprise an opponent again here.
San Diego (-8) at Minnesota (Sunday, Nov. 4, 1:00 p.m.) - The Chargers had a horrible start to the year, but they have won three in a row and they have some of their swagger back. Nothing would prove to the world that they are still the same old Chargers of recent years than knocking off Indianapolis next week. Standing in between now and that game is Minnesota. This is the kind of game that can easily get ignored by a team. The Vikings have struggled, and Tavaris Jackson is starting this week because his injuries aren't as bad as Kelly Holcomb's are. The Vikes can run the ball as well as anyone, though, and they have also been excellent at stopping the run. The Chargers are clearly the better team, but the better team doesn't always win or cover in the NFL.