There hasn’t been a whole lot of movement just yet in regards to the 14 games on this week’s slate, so I’ve decided to include two marquee college football matchups in our Week 9 breakdown. I’m particularly interested in hearing what you guys have to say about Saturday’s Oregon-USC showdown, so feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below.
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#4 Oregon Ducks (8-0, 2-0 road) at #17 USC Trojans (6-2, 3-0 home)
When: Saturday, 7:00pm ET
Open: Oregon -5.5 (Wynn)
Current: Oregon -7 (-120)
Chip Kelly's Ducks are out for payback against a reeling USC team.
Analysis: It’s going to be very interesting to see at what point the sharps get involved in this one and whether or not the professional money can push this line back under 7. The Wynn opened the undefeated Ducks at -5.5 Sunday afternoon and quickly adjusted the number to -6.5 before finally joining the offshore shops at the key number of 7. Speaking with several industry insiders over the last few days it appears as if grabbing the home dog Trojans in this spot at anything over 7 will be the best value play, but I’m extremely hesitant to support Lane Kiffin and his shoddy defense on Saturday. Oregon is out for revenge and is 5-1 ATS over their last six road games while USC is just 2-6 ATS over their last eight games overall. Call me crazy, but I think quarterback Matt Barkley is overrated.
#1 Alabama Crimson Tide (8-0, 3-0 road) at #5 LSU Tigers (7-1, 5-0 home)
When: Saturday, 8:00pm ET
Open: Alabama -7 (Wynn)
Current: Alabama -9.5
Analysis: When was the last time a team like LSU came off the bye and got so little respect as a home dog in their biggest game of the year? Tigers quarterback Zach Mettenberger will have to play a flawless game for LSU to have any hope of knocking off the best team in the country, but judging by the early money, it doesn’t appear as if there is much faith in the betting public that we’ll see the signal-caller at his finest. This line was steamed from -7 all the way to -10 before the books settled in at -9.5 across the board. Take note that LSU head coach Les Miles is just 24-36-4 ATS in SEC play while Alabama’s Nick Saban is 28-19-1 ATS in conference games. The Crimson Tide should emerge victorious, but that’s a lot of points to cover in a series that has been highlighted by some of the best defensive play in the country over the last few seasons.
Baltimore Ravens (5-2, 1-2 road) at Cleveland Browns (2-6, 2-2 home)
When: Sunday, 1:00pm ET
Open: Baltimore -3
Current: Baltimore -3.5
Analysis: It’s not at all surprising to see the early money come in on the well-rested Ravens for their Week 9 divisional showdown against the uninspiring Cleveland Browns. But before you go dumping that hard earned paper on Jim Harbaugh’s crew, keep the following statistics in mind: For starters, quarterback Joe Flacco has a QB rating of just 55.9 in three road games this year, which includes just two touchdown passes, four interceptions and a completion percentage of 50.0%. Second, the Ravens are 0-5 ATS over their last five games against teams with a losing record while the Browns are 5-0 ATS over their last five contests against teams with a winning record. However, Baltimore backers will be happy to know that the Ravens are a rock-solid 4-0 ATS in their last four trips to Cleveland.
Chicago Bears (6-1, 2-1 road) at Tennessee Titans (3-5, 2-2 home)
When: Sunday, 1:00pm ET
Open: Chicago -4.5
Current: Chicago -3.5
Brian Urlacher and the Chicago defense should give Matt Hasselbeck fits on Sunday afternoon.
Analysis: The Bears got a Halloween-like scare from the Carolina Panthers last Sunday before scoring 16 fourth quarter points to win a 23-22 thriller that was capped off by a 41-yard field goal from Robbie Gould as time expired. Meanwhile, the Titans managed to blow a 13-6 fourth quarter lead before falling to the Colts 19-13 in overtime. So why is the early money coming in on Tennessee? For starters, this is a non-conference road game for Chicago, who also happens to be 2-5 ATS over their last seven games against teams with a losing record. But I’m having trouble throwing support behind the Titans. Tennessee beat a Steelers team two weeks ago that was in a bad spot and then had to gut-out a late victory over a lousy Buffalo team the following weekend before coming up short against Indianapolis. I don’t see Chris Johnson or Matt Hasselbeck having much success against this defense.
Minnesota Vikings (5-3, 1-2 road) at Seattle Seahawks (4-4, 3-0 home)
When: Sunday, 4:05pm ET
Open: Seattle -4
Current: Seattle -5
Analysis: If doesn’t take an IQ of higher than 45 to understand why this line is moving towards Seattle. The Seahawks are 3-0 ATS at home this season, having won all three games (Dallas, Green Bay, New England) outright as home dogs. In addition, last Sunday’s loss at Detroit was a wake-up call for a defense that was starting to get just a little too cocky for their own good. As for Minnesota, this is a much different team on the road than they are at home. In three road contests this season, the Vikings are giving up an average of 24.6 points per game with just two turnovers forced. But in five home games, Minnesota has held the opposition to just 18.6 points per game with eight turnovers forced. Clearly, we like the Seahawks in this spot.
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