College football odds: Week 7 opening line report

Oct 7, 2012 |
It’s all about damage assessment today as three teams with national championship aspirations deal with the carnage left over from Saturday. Third-ranked Florida State, No. 4 LSU and fifth-rated Georgia are all licking their wounds and hoping to find a way to soldier on after difficult defeats that sucker-punched their title aspirations.

Florida State paid the price for getting into a taffy pull with North Carolina State and lost in the final seconds when it couldn’t get off a punt. The special teams disaster led to a short touchdown pass for the Wolfpack, who were 17-point dogs but came out with a 17-16 SU victory.

Bettors grew suspicious of LSU after the Tigers were forced to play a full 60 minutes against Towson. On Saturday, it became apparent that the doubts were legit – LSU faded again, going scoreless in the second half and sputtering all day without a TD in a 14-6 loss to Florida. Why the Gators were +2 in that one is anyone’s guess.

Georgia, meanwhile, is still trying to get the plate number of the truck that ran over them in Columbia. Steve Spurrier’s Gamecocks (-1) went wire-to-wire in a 35-7 win, and the old ball coach’s team should be ranked somewhere in the top four when the new ratings come out.

Here’s an early look at some of the biggest games this coming weekend, with an assist from Peter Korner, founder of the Las Vegas-based oddsmaking firm The Sports Club:

Alabama Crimson Tide (-21.5) at Missouri Tigers

“My team had this one as low as 15 and as high as 20,” said Korner, “so we settled on 17.” 
 
That number is Alabama’s lowest spread since opening -12 for its Week 1 meeting with Michigan. The Crimson Tide will need to get used to playing on the road as they have only one game at home in October, though four of their final five are in Tuscaloosa. Online books pumped up that opening line to Alabama -21.5 in Missouri this weekend.

No. 1-ranked Alabama had this past weekend off, and Missouri is still dealing with the effects of the one-game suspension of five players for allegedly getting caught blowing dope. Only one of the miscreants, WR Dorial Green-Beckham, had been seeing serious playing time. He’ll be back against Bama, but Missouri will still have trouble moving the ball against the country’s best defense.

West Virginia Mountaineers (-4.5) at Texas Tech

Has any team ever given up 35 points a game through the first half of season and been 5-0? Given their defensive indifference, the Mountaineers have no option but to score. A lot. 

“This seems to me like a pretty close game,” said Korner, “but to me it’s a bit more than a field goal. We had this game as low as 3 and as high as 6, so we settled at 4.5.” 

Tech actually has a decent defense, but it’s doubtful the Red Raiders will see the likes of WVU Heisman favorite Geno Smith anywhere else on their schedule.

Stanford Cardinal (+9) at Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Korner advises Stanford backers to hang on before moving on this game – “I just see the number going up,” he says. “The [betting] public is results oriented.”

Notre Dame is 5-0, headed upward in the polls and seems to be hitting its stride after a 41-3 victory over Miami. ND’s defense has been solid all season, and the Cardinal have been sloppy with the ball (four fumbles, two lost) over the last two games.

The Sports Club suggested 7.5, however, early spreads at online books have tagged on an extra point and a half, opening the line at Notre Dame -9.
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