There’s nowhere to go but up for the Arkansas Razorbacks after a 52-0 drubbing at the hands of the Alabama Crimson Tide last Saturday.
The Hogs have hit rock bottom after a summer in which head coach Bobby Petrino was fired for his high-speed undercover lovin’ and starting quarterback Tyler Wilson was injured in an overtime loss to UL Monroe in Week 2.
Makeshift coach John L. Smith knows things can only get better for Arkansas at this point, opening his weekly media session with, "Smile! Smile! Or I'm not talking."
It’s been tough for anyone around Razorbacks football to smile this season, especially bettors. The team is 0-2 ATS in its lined games, first losing outright as 30-point chalk then failing to come through when books handed it a cool 20 versus the Tide.
And now that the Hogs are wallowing at their very lowest, oddsmakers throw college football fans a curveball in Week 4. Arkansas is a 7-point home favorite hosting Rutgers Saturday night.
If you subscribe to the SEC vs. Everybody theory, there’s no way the Scarlet Knights, of the laughable Big East, can come into Donald W. Reynolds and push around what still is a solid Razorbacks squad.
Rutgers is 3-0 but has so-so wins over Tulane, FCS Howard and South Florida, going just 1-2 ATS in that span. Oh, and Wilson is expected to return from a concussion in time for Saturday's game.
But if you don’t have the BCS blinders on, you know Rutgers is a very good defensive team that is currently ranked 12th in the land in total yards against and has allowed an average of just 8.3 points to start the year – fifth best in the nation.
It seems early bettors are siding with the former, taking the opening spread from as low as Arkansas -2 to -7 at some online books
. Just like the Hogs, this number may have nowhere to go but up.
These are the other football lines making bettor go “hmmm…”
NCAAFTemple Owls at Penn State Nittany Lions (-8.5)
Winning cures everything, well almost everything. There’s no washing away what happened at State College with a victory over Navy, but as far as the football program is concerned, there’s a rather large monkey absent from Bill O'Brien’s back.
The Nittany Lions looked a little more like the “Nittany Lions” in Week 3, locking down a dangerous Navy rushing offense for a dominant 34-7 win. Penn State’s offense looked crisp, after mustering just 30 total points in the first two games.
This week, PSU hosts state rival Temple, who nearly stunned its big brother in Philadelphia last year. The Owls, who are coming off the bye, are 8.5-point road dogs after opening at +9.NFLSan Francisco 49ers at Minnesota Vikings (+7, 43.5)
San Francisco is the Super Bowl favorite after two impressive wins over Green Bay and Detroit. Minnesota, on the other hand, is not. The Vikings needed overtime to edge the Jaguars and lost to the Colts, who didn’t pick up their first win of 2011 until Week 15.
So, what’s with the lenient touchdown spread?
To quote the visionary Jacobim Mugatu from Zoolander
, “I feel like I’m taking crazy pills!”Detroit Lions at Tennessee Titans (+3, 47)
Detroit is lucky to be 1-1 heading into Week 3, but the Lions have more offensive fire power packed in their sweaty socks than the Titans’ entire roster.
Tennessee has had the unpleasantness of opening the season against three of the better quarterbacks in the NFL – Tom Brady, Philip Rivers, and now Matt Stafford – and has been able to counter all those points with just two total touchdowns and a handful of field goals.
Running back Chris Johnson not only threw his offensive line under the bus this week, he got behind the wheel. He put on the funny “Ralph Kramden” hat and said: “People need to step up and do their job…They don’t need to let people beat them. It don’t matter who the opposing defense is, you can’t let your guy beat you.”
This spread is going to be moving faster than the Titans' PR department by game day.