NCAAF Games of the Year: Don't second-guess Stanford-OSU line

Odds are out for the biggest games of the college football season. Covers Expert Bruce Marshall gives you his insight into some of the marquee matchups and predicts where the odds could move before kickoff.

Week 9: Stanford Cardinal at Oregon State Beavers (+3)

Past history: Stanford is 3-0 SU and 2-1 ATS since 2010, with OSU managing to barely cover (at +4.5) in last year’s tight 27-23 Cardinal win at Palo Alto; 1-2 O/U in those games. The Beavers’ last series win was a 38-28 success at Corvallis in 2009.  

Early look at Stanford: The Cardinal are getting plenty of attention as they look for a fourth straight BCS visit and perhaps their first title game invitation. The emergence of sophomore QB Kevin Hogan as an exciting playmaker late last season solved what had been a post-Andrew Luck dilemma for head coach David Shaw. Four starters also return along a punishing OL and a committee of capable RBs is expected to replace the graduated Stepfan Taylor. But Stanford’s recent renaissance has been fueled as much by a robust defense that returns eight starters and most key playmakers from last year’s platoon. The “Tree” is also 16-3-1 ATS on the road since 2010.

Early look at Oregon State: With the pressure reduced in Corvallis after OSU responded with a 9-4 mark in a must-win 2012 season for head coach Mike Riley, the Beavers address a pleasant QB dilemma after winning for both Sean Mannion and Cody Vaz last season. Key skill-position weapons WR Brandon Crooks and RB Storm Woods return, as do four OL starters. The defense also upgraded last fall and has an upper class-look about it, although veteran defensive coordinator Mark Banker is going to need JuCo transfers at DT to hit the ground running. Banker’s pass coverage should be even better this fall after the platoon became acclimated to nickel-and-dime looks on a regular basis in 2012. Also note, Riley’s 25-11-1 ATS mark as a dog since 2007.

Where the line will move: It is not unrealistic to project an unbeaten OSU entering this game, especially since the Beavers are likely to be favored in their first seven outings. Stanford, off a high-profile battle with UCLA the previous week and looking forward to the Oregon showdown 12 days hence, could be in a tricky sandwich spot in Corvallis and the Beavers should be in rabid revenge mode after they gave the game away in last year’s bitter loss on The Farm. While at first glance, this number might appear a bit light and offer some value on Stanford. If the season proceeds as expected, it would be no surprise if the price moves slightly in OSU’s direction.

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