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Thursday's NCAAF action: What bettors need to know

Texas Longhorns at Iowa State Cyclones (+8, 56.5)

A win over Kansas State quieted the critics briefly, but Texas still has some work to do to get back national attention. The Longhorns look to put together back-to-back wins for the first time this season when they visit Iowa State on Thursday. Texas coach Mack Brown is under fire to put a championship-caliber team back on the field, and even school legend Earl Campbell recently called for his firing.

“Nobody likes to get fired or leave a job, but things happen,” Campbell told KRIV-TV in Houston. “I’d go on record and say yes, I think it’s time.” Brown is under contract until 2020 with one of the largest annual salaries in the NCAA but is just 24-18 since a loss to Alabama in the 2009 National Championship game. The Cyclones don’t have quite the storied history of the Longhorns but are always a pesky opponent for the Big 12’s top tier and are coming off an impressive win over Tulsa.

TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN.
LINE: Texas opened at -9 and has moved to -7.5. Total moved from 56 to 56.5.
WEATHER: Temperatures in low 70s, with 73 percent chance of thunder showers, winds blowing S at 3 mph.
TRENDS:

* Under is 5-2 in the last seven meetings.
* Road team is 6-1 ATS in their last seven meetings.
* Under is 35-17 in Cyclones' last 52 games overall.

Western Kentucky Hilltopppers at UL Monroe Warhawks (+7, 48.5)

The Warhawks will be without starting QB Kolton Browning Thursday. He is expected to miss the rest of the season due to a quad injury. Browning, who has passed for 967 yards, seven touchdowns and six interceptions, will be replaced with backup sophomore Brayle Brown, who is making his first start. UL Monroe is 2-3 on the year, having lost two straight and allowing 101 total points in defeats to Baylor and Tulane.

Western Kentucky comes into Thursday riding back-to-back wins over FCS Morgan State and Navy, covering the spread in both games. Hilltoppers RB Antonio Andrews has been a dominant force on offense with 727 rushing yards, 154 receiving yards and seven touchdowns. WKU will be out for revenge after losing to ULM in overtime during last year’s homecoming.

TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPNU
LINE: WKU opened as a 4.5-point favorite and was bet up to -7. Total steady at 48.5.
WEATHER: Temperatures in low 80s, 20 percent chance of thunder showers with winds blowing SE at 6 mph.
TRENDS:

* Underdog is 4-0 ATS in their last four meetings.
* Road team is 4-0 ATS in their last four meetings.
* Warhawks are 1-5 ATS in their last six games overall.

UCLA Bruins at Utah Utes (+5.5, 60.5)

After winning its first three games in convincing fashion, UCLA begins Pac-12 play on Saturday at Utah, where the 13th-ranked Bruins have been outscored 75-12 in their last two visits. The Utes have the personnel to keep pace with a UCLA offense averaging 52.7 points, but Utah's defense remains a question mark. Both teams are coming off a bye week, and UCLA should be particularly well-rested after routing New Mexico State 59-13 on Sept. 21.

Utah opened the last two seasons with four straight conference losses before dropping this year's opener 51-48 in overtime to Oregon State on Sept. 14. The Utes followed the close loss with an impressive 20-13 win at BYU on Sept. 21, when sophomore quarterback Travis Wilson continued his strong play with 273 passing yards and two touchdowns. Wilson needs a repeat performance against UCLA, which is seeking its first 4-0 start since 2005 after winning its first three games by a total of 93 points.

TV: 10 p.m. ET, Fox Sports 1.
LINE: UCLA opened as a 3.5-point favorite and has moved to -5.5. Total moved from 61.5 to 60.5.
WEATHER: Temperatures in the low 40s with 71 percent chance of snow and winds blowing NNW at 13 mph.
TRENDS:

* Bruins are 5-2 ATS in their last seven road games.
* Utes are 9-3 ATS in their last 12 games following a bye week.
* Over is 8-2 in Bruins' last 10 games overall.

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