This Week in College Football Betting by the Numbers
by Aaron Smith - 10/4/2012
October is here, and the college football season is in full swing. The SEC looks as dominant as ever, and the Big Ten is once again the media’s punching bag because of the pathetic performance of the conference. John L. Smith is staking his claim as the worst college football coach of all time. Many expected Arkansas to be down after Bobby Petrino was fired, but who could have expected this complete disaster? If Arkansas is wise, they’ll let Tyler Wilson or one of the teams veteran players do the team’s press conferences the rest of the year so Smith doesn’t end up with his foot in his mouth again.
There are a few unbeaten teams that stand out as big surprises. Oregon State and Northwestern were both picked to finish near the bottom of their respective conferences, but they are both unbeaten heading into Week 6 of the season. Greg Schiano may be in the NFL now, but Rutgers is off to a terrific 4-0 start without him. Maybe it wasn’t all about chopping wood?
There are some marquee matchups all over the nation this weekend. Let’s take a look at some interesting numbers to keep in mind when you are betting on college football this weekend.
0- The number of interceptions West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith has thrown so far this year. Smith has attempted 169 passes, and he has thrown 20 touchdowns. With numbers like that, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that he is listed as a -125 favorite to win the Heisman Trophy according to WagerWeb.
1- Mike Gundy received one big apology from the Big 12 coordinator of officials for his official’s botched call at the end of the Texas vs. Oklahoma State game last weekend. Texas running back Joe Bergeron appeared to fumble before crossing into the end zone at the end of last week’s game in Stillwater. The officiating crew called it a touchdown, and the Cowboys lost by five points because of the call. I’m guessing that Gundy and the rest of the team don’t feel any better after receiving the apology.
2- The number of teams who are winless against the spread so far this year. Not surprisingly, Arkansas is one of those teams. Virginia is the other one. The fact that there are 124 teams playing FBS-level college football and only two are winless ATS speaks to the job that oddsmakers do setting tight lines in this sport.
5- The number of unbeaten schools remaining in the Big 12. The biggest surprise is that Oklahoma isn’t one of those teams. Only Kansas looks like a team that is a real bottom-feeder in this league. Overall, this conference is looking like the second strongest in the nation behind only the SEC.
10- The number of teams who are undefeated against the spread this season. Northwestern, Western Kentucky, Fresno State, and San Jose State all have five wins ATS. The rest of the teams who have covered the spread each game have either three or four wins against the number.
27- According to odds posted at BookMaker, Louisiana-Lafayette is favored by 27 points this week against Tulane. This is the largest spread on the board this week. This kind of number on a matchup like this says a lot about both teams. Louisana-Lafeyette has made a ton of progress from when they were the laughingstock of the Sun Belt a few years ago. At the same time, Tulane’s football program is really at rock bottom right now.
75- The total of this week’s West Virginia vs. Texas game in Austin. The Mountaineers ridiculous 70-63 win over Baylor last weekend definitely had some influence on this total. This is the highest total on the board this week. Who said one game couldn’t influence the oddsmakers?
135- Alabama is a huge favorite to win the BCS title right now. BetOnline lists the Crimson Tide +135 to win the BCS Championship this season. It’s almost unheard of to see a team this heavily favored in early October, but the Crimson Tide have been dominating.
160- Looking for a fun prop bet for this weekend? 5Dimes has a prop bet regarding which team Lee Corso will pick on College Gameday for this weekend’s Georgia vs. South Carolina matchup. South Carolina is currently listed as a -160 favorite.
168- The number of total yards per game the Texas Tech defense is giving up so far this year. The Red Raiders are first in the nation in total defense this year. They haven’t exactly faced the best offenses in the nation, so don’t expect this unit to stay at the top. Still, the fact that Texas Tech has the top-ranked defense in the land through four games is a major accomplishment for the program.
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