Upset Watch: Week 7

Submitted by Maize_in_Spartyland on October 11th, 2011 at 7:23 PM

 

The Wolverines passed their first road test this past weekend, with a 42-24 win in Evanston. This week, Michigan hits the road to East Lansing, to face the Gremlins, or Spartans, of Michigan State. Michigan holds a 67-31-5 advantage in the series, which began in 1898, with a 39-0 Michigan win (Michigan won in 1902, the next meeting, 119-0). Michigan hasn’t lost four straight in this series since 1959-1962.

Here’s another interesting stat for you sports gamblers out there.

Rank

Team

ATS Overall

ATS Favorite

ATS Dog

 

Record

1

LSU

4-2

3-2

1-0

 

6-0

2

Alabama

5-1

5-1

0-0

 

6-0

3

Oklahoma

4-1

4-1

0-0

 

5-0

4

Wisconsin

4-1

4-1

0-0

 

5-0

5

Boise State

3-2

3-2

0-0

 

5-0

6

Oklahoma State

4-1

3-1

1-0

 

5-0

7

Stanford

5-0

5-0

0-0

 

5-0

8

Clemson

5-1

4-1

1-0

 

6-0

9

Oregon

3-2

3-2

0-0

 

4-1

10

Arkansas

4-2

3-1

1-1

 

5-1

11

Michigan

5-1

4-1

1-0

 

6-0

12

Georgia Tech

4-1-1

4-1-1

0-0

 

6-0

13

West Virginia

3-3

2-2

1-1

 

5-1

14

Nebraska

1-5

1-4

0-1

 

5-1

15

South Carolina

2-3-1

2-3-1

0-0

 

5-1

16

Illinois

3-3

3-3

0-0

 

6-0

17

Kansas State

4-1

1-1

3-0

 

5-0

18

Arizona State

2-4

2-3

0-1

 

5-1

19

Virginia Tech

1-5

1-5

0-0

 

5-1

20

Baylor

4-1

3-1

1-0

 

4-1

21

Texas A&M

1-4

1-4

0-0

 

3-2

22

Texas

3-2

3-1

0-1

 

4-1

23

Michigan State

3-2

2-1

1-1

 

4-1

24

Auburn

2-4

0-2

2-2

 

4-2

25

Houston

4-2

4-2

0-0

 

6-0

 

The Top 25 teams are 83-54-2 (60%) against the spread; the top 12 being 50-15-1 (76.5%) against the spread. Who says betting the favorite doesn’t pay?

 

As typical with the Watch, we’ll review the picks from last week, noting the bad picks, and point out a few games to give the underdog some credit in, even if it is only in Vegas. We’ll also look at a sure-fire favorite and attempt to preview the Michigan game.

Be sure to check out my blog, Before Visiting the Sportsbook, throughout the week, for more content.

If you missed last week’s column, take a minute to look at Gulo Gulo Luscus’s conference re-alignment from a geographic perspective, which probably should have been at least a forum topic by itself.

Recap:

Wins

Arizona State (5-1) -3.5 @ Utah (2-3). Arizona State 35 Utah 14 [Props to the following for taking Arizona State to cover: randyfloyd, hajiblue72, MH20].

Losses

Iowa (3-2) +3.5 @ Penn State (5-1). Penn State 13 Iowa 3 [Props to dennisblundon for taking Penn State to cover].

Air Force (3-2) +16.5 @ Notre Dame (4-2). Notre Dame 59 Air Force 33 [Props to the following for taking Notre Dame to cover: go16blue, Picktown GoBlue, randyfloyd].

Wyoming (3-2) +11.0 @ Utah State (2-3). Utah State 63 Wyoming 19 [Props to randyfloyd for taking Utah State to cover].

@ Tennessee (3-2) +1.5 Georgia (4-2). Georgia 20 Tennessee 12 [Props to the following for taking Georgia to cover: randyfloyd, MH20].

UNLV (1-4) +21.0 @ Nevada (3-2). Nevada 37 UNLV 0 [Props to the following for taking Nevada to cover: randyfloyd, hajiblue72].

@ Northwestern (2-3) +7.5 Michigan (6-0). Michigan 42 Northwestern 24 [Props to the following for taking Michigan to cover: Indiana Blue, Tyang, go16blue, rockydude, Picktown GoBlue, Coach Schiano, wolverine2015, MGoDC, bama blue].

Poster Picks

randyfloyd went 8-2 this past week, adding in favorites Oklahoma (-11; 55-17), Boise State (-21.5; 57-7), Clemson (-21; 36-14), and LSU (-14; 41-11) as winners.

Trebor picked up two wins, with Illinois (-14; 41-20) and LSU as favorites covering.

MH20, in addition to the picks above, also picked up two wins, with Washington State (+3.5; 25-28) and TCU (-4; 27-14) covering the points.

I doubted that Kansas State would win, let alone cover the points, but Gulo Gulo Luscus didn’t doubt them (+2.5; 24-17), and he was correct.

This Week

Week 7 kicks off with two great games, San Diego State visits Air Force (SDSU is looking for their first win in Colorado Springs since 2004) (8:00 PM EST) and USC visiting California (USC has won 7 straight over California and hasn’t lost away from Los Angeles to Cal, since 2003) (9:00 PM EST/ESPN), both on Thursday. On Friday, Hawaii visits upstart San Jose State (9:00 PM EST/ESPN/ESPN3); Hawaii has won 9 of the last 10 meetings.

Saturday football kicks off with an old fashioned Texas Showdown, between (#20) Baylor and (#21) Texas A&M (12:00 PM EST/FX). Apparently there is a game in East Lansing this week, or so I have been told – (#11) Michigan visits (#21) Michigan State (12:00 PM EST/ESPN/ESPN3). After the early games, settle in to watch one of the most prolific offenses, as (#6) Oklahoma State visits (#22) Texas (3:30 PM EST/ABC/ESPN/ESPN3). Finally, (#18) Arizona State faces a conference road test, traveling to Eugene to face (#9) Oregon (10:15 PM EST/ESPN/ESPN3).

Upset Watch

Northwestern (2-3) +6.0 @ Iowa (3-2). Northwestern has won 5 of the last 6 meetings straight up (average line favoring Iowa by 9, Northwestern has an average MOV over Iowa of 21-18 over that stretch). The favorite has lost the last six meetings, since 2005. Iowa has not beaten Northwestern in Iowa City since 2002. Since 2010, Coach Kirk Ferentz is 4-5 SU and 3-5-1 ATS in Big Ten games. Northwestern has averaged 29.5 points/game in Big Ten games this season (23.1 in Big Ten games last season, scoring 21 against Iowa). I like Northwestern to cover the points, and win, in Iowa City.

Idaho (1-5) +1.5 @ New Mexico State (2-3).Since 2006, New Mexico State has been favored in only 11 games (played 67 games since 2006 – 2007, 2008, and 2009 against Idaho); by contrast, Idaho has been favored in 16 games (played 68 games since 2006). Under Coach DeWayne Walker, the Aggies are 7-23, and 4-10 at home. Idaho is 18-38 under Coach Robb Akey and 5-22 (5-10 since 2009) on the road. Since 1997, Idaho is 9-4 SU (5-2 at Las Cruces) against New Mexico State and 8-5 ATS (4-1 ATS at Las Cruces) against the Aggies. New Mexico State is a much improved team, but games against good offenses in Bowling Green and Texas A&M have better prepared the Vandals for conference play than games against Minnesota, UTEP, and New Mexico prepared the Aggies. Take the Vandals to win.

@ Auburn (4-2) +2.0 Florida (4-2). John Brantley is out again this week for the Gators; Jacoby Brissett will likely start over freshman Jeff Driskel. Auburn has won 3 of the last 4 meetings. (Auburn is 4-0 ATS over that stretch, with an average score of 23.25-21 for Auburn). Florida has not won at Auburn since 1999. Since 2009, Florida is 2-7 against top 25 teams (1-3 on the road against top 25 teams); Florida is 6-6 in conference since last season (3-2 on the road). Florida should have an easier time scoring, after averaging 10.5 against the top two defenses in the SEC. Auburn has won 11 straight at home. An inexperienced QB, on the road, in a BCS conference? This is a loss for the Gators.

Western Kentucky (1-4) +2.5 Florida Atlantic (0-5).Florida Atlantic has their home opener, and stadium dedication game, for FAU Football Stadium, which seats 30,000. Since last year WKU is 3-14 (3-5 on the road) and FAU is 4-13 (2-2 at home). The teams have only met 3 times, as WKU became an FBS team in 2008, with FAU winning each contest, with the greatest MOV being 6 (average score of 23.3-19.7), but WKU is 2-1 ATS. FAU is 66th in run defense allowing 156 yards/game. WKY RB Bobby Rainey is 24th in the nation in rushing, averaging 115 yards/game (WKU is averaging 142.6 yards/game on the ground, good for 66th). As an FBS team, WKU is 18-21 ATS (11-7 ATS in the Sun Belt) (4-0 ATS as a single digit underdog last season). I like WKU to at least match their conference win total from last year (2-6 in 2010), with a win at FAU this week.

Baylor (4-1) +9.5 @ Texas A&M (3-2).Baylor is 19-23 under Coach Art Briles (23-18 ATS, 11-13 ATS underdog) and Texas A&M is 22-21 under Coach Mike Sherman (19-19 ATS, 13-10 ATS as a favorite). Baylor is 4-1 ATS and Texas A&M 1-4 ATS this season. The Aggies have faced Tyler Wilson (28th in QB rating; Arkansas is 9th in pass offense), Brandon Weeden (12th in QB rating; Oklahoma State is 2nd in pass offense), and Seth Doege (21st in QB rating; Texas Tech is 6th in pass offense) with the former two accounting for A&M’s losses (A&M beat Tech by 5 last week). The Aggies now face Robert Griffin III (2nd in QB rating). Texas A&M is 99th in total defense (7th in run defense, but 120th [LAST] in pass defense), giving up 348 yards/game passing. Baylor is 3rd in total offense (10th in run offense, 14th in pass offense). RG III is averaging 304 yards through the air (346 passing yards in loss to Kansas State). The Aggie defense will get absolutely torched. You do the math.

 

Sure-fire Favorite

Georgia (4-2) -11.0 @ Vanderbilt (3-2).Georgia is 13-1 SU against Vanderbilt since 1997, but, more importantly, is 8-6 ATS against Vanderbilt (average line of Georgia by 16; average score of 31-13). After starting off the year with two losses to Boise State and South Carolina, Georgia has won 4 straight, including 3 straight SEC games, with a MOV of 12. Vanderbilt is 1-2 in SEC play, being outscored by an average of 10 points/game (23 MOV over Ole Miss; 18 MOD against South Carolina; 34 MOD against Alabama). Vanderbilt faced the 3rd ranked defense last week and the ‘Dores were shut out; they face the 6th ranked defense this week and may be shut out, again. Vanderbilt’s offense is ranked 117th and the QB competition appears to be in full swing in Nashville. With Vanderbilt averaging 14.25 points/game against FBS opponents (only 3 points scored in last 2 games), Georgia averaging 26.8 points/game against FBS opponents, and a good Georgia defense, expect Georgia to win by at least 2 TDs.

 

Gameday Prediction

Mark Dantonio is 37-20 straight up at Michigan State. Coach Dantonio is 25-6 at home, 20-12 against the Big Ten, and 3-11 against the top 25. Coach Dantonio is 28-25-4 against the spread and 20-14-3 as a favorite against the spread at Michigan State.

 

Brady Hoke is 53-50 straight up (13-12 at San Diego State, 34-38 at Ball State). Coach Hoke is 15-8 against the spread as an underdog and 43-23-2 overall since 2006.

 

Michigan State’s defense is ranked 1st (2nd passing [109.40 yards/game], 3rd rushing [64.00 yards/game]). Michigan’s offense is ranked 14th (105th passing [168.20 yards/game], 7th rushing [270.40 yards/game]).

 

Michigan State’s offense is ranked 61st (34th passing [269.20 yards/game], 79th rushing [128.80 yards/game]). Michigan’s defense is ranked 39th (39th passing [206.40 yards/game], 58th rushing [141.60 yards/game]).

 

Since 1997, Michigan is 9-5 straight up against Michigan State (6-7-1 against the spread). Michigan has averaged 367.1 offensive yards (293.3 the past three years against MSU), with 214.4 of those yards being passing (202 the past three years against MSU) and 152.7 rushing (91.3(!) the past three years against MSU).

 

The team with more rushing yards in this game is 12-2 since 1997 in this series.

 

Remember how I said to ignore the awful rank of Northwestern run defense last week? I’m tempted to give the same advice this week, when referring to Michigan State’s “stout” defense. Florida Atlantic’s offense ranks 118th (111th rushing – 86.80 yards/game), Central Michigan’s ranks 88th (94th rushing – 117.00 yards/game), Ohio’s ranks 105th (48th rushing – 169.00 yards/game), and Youngstown is an FCS team. The only good offense they faced, Notre Dame, 21st (31st rushing – 194.00 yards/game), was a game Michigan State lost. The teams Michigan State has beaten are a combined 7-15.

 

Against Ohio, the Spartans started So. Dan France (LT; played 7 games on DL as a Fr), Sr. Joel Foreman (LG; 36 career starts at LG going into 2011), Fr. Travis Jackson (C; no experience), Jr. Chris McDonald (RG; 12 career starts at RG going into 2011), Jr./JC Fou Tonoti (RT; no experience). The guards, Foreman and McDonald, have experience, with Foreman clearly anchoring the line.

 

Outside of the guards, there is ZERO experience playing offensive line. ZIP, ZILCH, NADA.

 

This is the game where we see what Coach Mattison can do as a Defensive Coordinator. He’s done a great job making second half adjustments. Michigan has outscored opponents 114-54 in the first half, but has done even better in the second half, outscoring opponents 114-21 in the second half; notably, Michigan has NOT been outscored in the second half.

 

Not one Michigan player has played in a win over Michigan State.  That changes on Saturday.

 

Michigan +3.0 @ Michigan State.

Michigan 38 Michigan State 24.

Who ya got?

Comments

Butterfield

October 11th, 2011 at 7:44 PM ^

Betting "the chalk" is a horrible strategy in horse racing (because the risk of a 1:9 horse losing far outweighs the small gain you can make if it likely wins), but a fantastic one in pretty much every other type of sports betting.  Of course this assumes you're betting ATS instead of moneylines.... 

profitgoblue

October 11th, 2011 at 8:30 PM ^

Here are my thoughts:

Northwestern not only covers but wins straight up.

Auburn fails to cover and actually loses at Florida.

Georgia fails to cover against Vandy.

Michigan wins 42-27 - many more points than expected thanks to Gorgeous Borges's creativity and a TD from the defense.

Gulo Gulo Luscus

October 11th, 2011 at 9:13 PM ^

appreciate the mention of the FBS map.  i have been considering adding data points to create some interesting looks at relationships between schools other than geography.  people have put a lot of focus on research dollars, especially in regards to big ten expansion.  other possibilities would include enrollment, all-time D1 record for each program, number of games played historically against current conference members.  maybe none of it means anything, but could make for some cool maps using GIS.  any input on this from the community is appreciated.

 

as for the upset watch...  i bombed pretty bad last week (minnesota, really?) despite having KSU pegged as legit.  this week i like:

  • NW to cover +6 (won't go out on your limb with the straight up win)
  • the wolverines to win as +3 dogs in east lansing
  • (and as always i'll take one you didn't address) maryland +8 at home versus clemson

CapedBlueSader

October 12th, 2011 at 10:11 AM ^

Michigan (+3) to win over MSU

Northwestern (+6) to win over Iowa

WKU (+2.5) to win over FAU

Baylor (+9.5) to win over A&M

Georgia (-11.5) to win over Vandy

Idaho (+1.5) to win over New Mexico State

Auburn (+2) to win over Florida

Add in LSU, Wisconsin, and Boise to cover the spread no matter what it is.

My upset pick this week is ASU plus the points over Oregon.

Number 7

October 12th, 2011 at 5:12 PM ^

I was a brutal 0-3 last week, which makes me roughly even on the year.  Lessons learned:  stay away from the ACC and EMU.  Slate cleaned, let me try to start anew:

Favorite ATS:  Stanford and the 21 points they're giving WSU.  Ordinarily, my philosophy is "don't touch anything over two touchdowns" -- but Luck is on a Heisman campaign, and no reason for them not to try to run it up.

Dog ATS: Baylor against Texas A&M.  Spunky Bears will keep it within a TD (they're getting 9 1/2), and might even come out on top. 

Dog to win outright: BYU against Oregon State.  Why are the Beavers 2-pt favorites against a halfway decent team that plays well on the road?  No, wait, that's too easy.  Who wastes internet pixels on a lower-tier 2-pt dog?  Let's go with Texas, playing for pride over a slightly overrated OK State, and a 7 pt dog at home.

hajiblue72

October 12th, 2011 at 10:39 PM ^

Predictions.....

Northwestern over Iowa 31-24

Auburn rolls Florida at home 31-13

Baylor covers spread but loses to A&M 38-35

Georgia rolls Vanderbilt 27-6

and....

UM 23  Sparty 21 on a gibbons last second field goal

 

Go Blue!

Trebor

October 13th, 2011 at 7:33 AM ^

Sitting at 7-8 on the season - here's to getting over .500! My five picks:

 

Northwestern (+6.5) - Iowa's got a decent offense, but a shaky defense. With Persa approaching 100%, Northwestern might be better on both sides of the ball.

Virginia Tech (-7) - Wake Forest reached the apex of their season last week by beating FSU. I think they're in store for a big let down game against a very talented VT squad.

Alabama (-25.5) - Ole Miss is flat out terrible.

LSU (-15) - Without Bray, Tennessee is going to struggle to do much of anything.

Ohio State (+4) - If Miller can stay in the whole game, I think OSU can pull off the upset. Of course, if Bauserman is forced to play significant minutes, it might be game over.

 

As for the only game that matters - I don't have a good feeling about the MSU game on Saturday, but I don't like to play the line for teams I root for.

Picktown GoBlue

October 14th, 2011 at 6:02 PM ^

but thinking Michigan gets past Sparty 38-20 and a Dantonio trick play backfires

I see Northwestern winning straight up even though they've had trouble with Iowa in the past.

And I see Baylor adding to farewell party beating A&M straight up, without having to smear their buses with anything.