Each week during the college football season, renowned Las Vegas wiseguy and Covers Expert Bruce Marshall looks at the NCAAF odds and tells you which spread to bet now, which one to bet later, and which total to watch as the week plays out.
Spread to bet now
UAB Blazers (+35) at LSU Tigers
Now that this number has tickled five full TDs, grab the price value with the Blazers while you can. SEC pedigree or not for LSU, that minimally-key number of 35 should nonetheless provide a nice point of resistance, as we doubt there is going to be overwhelming appetite in the marketplace to continue buying on Les Miles’ team that has flashed indifferent spread form not only as a high-priced home favorite, but also against non-conference opposition in Baton Rouge.
UAB is no powerhouse but is hardly helpless, with a competent offense and a new potential homerun wideout in Jamarcus Nelson. Closer inspection of the Tigers’ win over TCU also uncovered some surprising defensive deficiencies, which should scare away any serious LSU money as the week progresses. In turn, no surprise if market pressure eventually pushes the number downward. Blazer backers should rush to secure any available 35s ASAP.
Spread to wait on
New Mexico Lobos (+6.5) at UTEP Miners
Safe to say that there is not going to be any rush of New Mexico money to the windows of the Las Vegas sports books. Especially after the Lobos managed to blow a 13-0 lead at home to Texas...San Antonio in the opening week. Which has helped push the early price of this week’s game at UTEP to nearly a full TD. Now word is filtering from Albuquerque that HC Bob Davie has already seen enough of soph Cole Gautsche and will make the switch to juco Clayton Mitchem at QB on Saturday at the Sun Bowl, hardly the sort of news to trigger a wave of Lobo support.
The anti-New Mexico money alone could push the price above the key number of 7 sometime this week. So, if you like the Lobos to bounce back, or simply don’t trust the host Miners, you might as well wait until this price crashes past that key number.
Total to watch
San Jose State Spartans at Stanford Cardinal
With scoring totals rising as more “video football” takes hold across the country, we’ll be curious to see if any totals in fact drop during the week, especially in games highlighting featured teams. A good litmus test might come in the San Jose State-Stanford “Battle for Silicon Valley” on Saturday night in Palo Alto. Unlike several other games featuring ranked (and non-ranked) teams this week, there was not much immediate buy pressure on the over when this total was posted at 53.
Given the fact both sides play good defense (yes, even San Jose, which pitched a shutout vs. capable FCS Sac State in its opener), were involved in a taut 20-17 scoreline last season, and the Spartans’ new pro-style offense under first-year HC Ron Caragher that figures to slow the pace of their games significantly, we’d normally expect some downward “total” pressure. But if the total doesn’t drop before kickoff in this game, when can we expect any totals to drop?