College and NFL Trap Game Report
by Trevor Whenham - 11/15/2007
It was a very good week for the Trap Game Report last week. In fact, it couldn't have been better. All four underdogs in the games we identified covered, and three - Illinois, Maryland, and the Atlanta Falcons - won outright. There are four more games to look at this week and, with a bit of luck, maybe we can do as well again.
Syracuse (+19) at Connecticut (Saturday, Nov. 17, 12:00 p.m.) - The Huskies' dreams of the big time took a blow last week with their loss to Cincinnati. They still have a good shot at an improbable BCS bid. All they have to do is beat West Virginia next week. And get past Syracuse, of course. The Orange are a long way from good, but they do have the ability to rise up and surprise an unprepared team once in a while - just ask Louisville. UConn had put together a nice five-game winning streak ATS, but showed last week that they weren't ready for the big time. It's a big mental step up to go from irrelevant to the top of the class, and the Huskies weren't ready for the pressure. If they aren't any more ready for the pressure of rebounding from a humiliating loss then Syracuse could stay close enough to cover in this game.
Idaho (+34.5) at Boise State (Saturday, Nov. 17, 2:00 pm.) - Idaho hasn't done much of a job of rebounding from the sudden departure of coach Dennis Erickson after only one year at the helm. They are just 1-9, and winless against Division 1 talent. They've covered twice, but neither Nevada nor Washington State had to be too nervous about the outcome in either case. As completely beatable as they may be, the Vandals could easily stay within this gigantic spread if Boise State is not at their best. It would be very easy for the Broncos to be taking this game for granted given what is up next - a visit to unbeaten Hawaii with the WAC title, and potentially a BCS bid given the odd happenings of this season, hanging in the balance. Boise State needed four overtimes to beat Nevada despite being favored by 25, so a sub-par effort against outmatched competition isn't unprecedented. It's also possible, and perhaps likely, in a case like this that the team will allow their starters to rest once they get out to a lead because they likely rightly believe that they could beat the Vandals with their third stringers and they don't want to risk an injury. That would make it easier for Idaho to stay within the five touchdowns they need to cover.
Iowa State (+26) at Kansas (Saturday, Nov. 17, 3:30 p.m.) - Like Connecticut, Kansas is a program that certainly isn't used to the bright spotlights that are being shone upon it. Nobody expected them to start off at 10-0, and the players have to be focused on the potential of 13-0 and a shot at the national title. To get there, though, they first have to beat Missouri and likely Oklahoma. That's a tall task, and one that will likely have the players and the coaching staff transfixed. In normal circumstances -- given the way both teams are playing -- the game against the Cyclones should be nothing more than an afterthought, but Iowa State can be pesky, and they may be able to keep it close if Kansas' minds and hearts are already preparing for Missouri. Despite being just 3-8, Iowa State is a solid 6-4 ATS, and is coming in off of two straight wins and four consecutive covers. They have shocked Iowa and they were tied with Oklahoma until the fourth quarter and only lost by 10. A newly confident Iowa State plus a distracted Kansas seems like the ingredients for a potential underdog cover.
Carolina (+10.5) at Green Bay (Sunday, Nov. 18, 1:00 p.m.) - Green Bay is playing so well that they must be surprising even themselves. They are in the heart of the NFC battle, and they could put a stranglehold in the NFC North by beating Detroit on Thanksgiving. Before they get to that point, though, they have to beat Carolina - a team coming off a loss to Atlanta, with a quarterbacking situation that is so bad it's almost laughable. Though Favre and company haven't let their foot off the gas at any point this year they have also played a lot of fairly close games, and they have only faced a double digit spread once. If they are at all inclined to coast, the Packers could definitely put it into neutral in this game once they get a lead. That risk is especially high given that their next game is only four days after this one. Carolina isn't good, but they are a proud team, and they are still in the heat of the NFC South battle despite being just 4-5. That could be motivation to rise up and give the effort needed to provide a cover here.