Saturday's NCAAF Top 25 betting cheat sheet: Afternoon action

Nov 21, 2013 |
Saturday's NCAAF Top 25 betting cheat sheet: Afternoon action
Johnny Manziel tossed three INTs in last season's loss to LSU.
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports
Johnny Manziel tossed three INTs in last season's loss to LSU.
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports
The Citadel Bulldogs at Clemson Tigers (-40.5, 69.5)

Tajh Boyd’s services might not be required long but the Clemson quarterback plans to play when the No. 6 Tigers host The Citadel on Saturday. Boyd left the Nov. 14 victory over Georgia Tech with a collarbone injury and the senior who is three touchdown passes shy of 100 has pronounced himself fit to play in the final home game of his standout career. The FCS Bulldogs have won three straight games and last beat Clemson in 1931.

The Bulldogs run the ball a lot in their triple-option attack and average 282.1 on the ground with quarterback Ben Dupree (939 yards, 18 touchdowns) and running back Darien Robinson (921 and seven) closing in on 1,000-yard seasons. The passing game is virtually non-existent at an average of 91.4 yards and nobody on the roster has even 200 receiving yards.

LINE: Clemson comes in as a 40.5-point favorite, with the total at 69.5.
WEATHER: Temperatures will be in the mid-60s with a 47 percent chance of rain.

* Bulldogs are 2-3 on the road.
* Over is 7-3 in Tigers' last 10 games.
* Clemson is 5-5 ATS.

Michigan State Spartans at Northwestern Wildcats (+7, 41.5)

Michigan State's Aaron Burbridge is healthy but it appears he’ll have to earn his way back into the rotation of what has become a deep group of wide receivers. Burbridge was on the preseason Biletnikoff Award watch list but got off to a slow start and then a hamstring injury Oct. 19 put him on the shelf the last three games. Wide receivers Bennie Fowler and Tony Lippett have stepped up their production and contributed to the winning streak. 

A closer look at the six-game losing streak shows that the Wildcats have dropped two contests in overtime and two others by three points. They still have a shot at becoming bowl eligible for a seventh straight season, but need to start with a mistake-free game against the Spartans. Northwestern has been pretty good at taking advantage of opponents’ mistakes, leading the Big Ten in forcing turnovers (22).

LINE: The Spartans opened -7.5, but the line has been bet down a half-point. The total has held at 41.5.
WEATHER: Temperatures will be in the high-20s with wind blowing diagonally out of the NW at 19 mph.

* Spartans are 6-1 ATS in their last seven conference games.
* Wildcats are 1-7 ATS in their last eight games.
* Road team is 11-1 ATS in the last 12 meetings.

Oklahoma Sooners at Kansas State Wildcats (-5, 54)

Oklahoma quarterback Trevor Knight was solid in relief of Bell (undisclosed injury) last week while sophomore Kendal Thompson saw his first action late in the 48-10 win against Iowa State. Knight, who started the first two games of the season, had 123 rushing yards in the win. The Sooners are second in the Big 12 with 236.4 rushing yards and are ranked No. 13 nationally in total defense, allowing 326.5 yards.

The Wildcats are averaging 39.5 points and are plus-6 in turnovers during their win streak. Quarterbacks Jake Waters (111-of-183 for 1,690 yards, 10 touchdowns and six interceptions) and Daniel Sams (team-high 784 rushing yards and 11 TDs) have both appeared in all 10 games. Kansas State will likely be without senior safety Ty Zimmerman (ankle), who missed the last two games last season with a similar injury.

LINE: The Wildcats are 5-point faves after opening as low as -3. The total has dropped a half-point to 54.
WEATHER: Temperatures will be in the high-20s with sunny skies and wind blowing across the length of the field at 12 mph.

* Sooners are 4-9 ATS in their last 13 games following a SU win.
* Wildcats are 5-1 ATS in their last six games.
* Over is 5-1 in Oklahoma's last six November games.

Memphis Tigers at Louisville Cardinals (-23.5, 43)

Among a handful of standout defenders for coach Justin Fuente is cornerback Bobby McCain, who had three interceptions against South Florida to tie a school record and set the AAC mark. Junior defensive lineman Martin Ifedi added a pair of sacks and needs just two more to tie the team's all-time career mark of 21. The Tigers' six losses have come by an average of 8.5 points.

Mentioned in Heisman Award conversations earlier in the year, quarterback Teddy Bridgewater's season has plateaued a bit. He has just one touchdown and one interception in his last two games, during which the junior has averaged 245.5 passing yards, and had his string of 21 straight games with a touchdown pass snapped in the win over Houston.

LINE: Louisville opened as a 24.5-point favorite, but the line has dropped by one. The total is currently 43.
WEATHER: Temperatures will be in the mid-40s with wind blowing diagonally out of the NW at 13 mph.

* Tigers are 9-1-2 ATS in their last 12 November games.
* Cardinals are 0-5 ATS in their last five games following a SU win.
* Under is 7-2 in Memphis' last nine games.

Coastal Carolina Chanticleers at South Carolina Gamecocks (-34.5, 70)

The Chanticleers average 45.5 points and 512.5 yards and have committed just nine turnovers (six interceptions, three fumbles). Lorenzo Taliaferro is one of the top backs at the FCS level and has rushed for 1,466 yards and 23 touchdowns, while quarterback Alex Ross has thrown for 2,282 yards and 17 touchdowns. Defensively, Coastal Carolina allows 25.5 points and 417.1 yards and is led by linebacker Quinn Backus (108 tackles, three interceptions).

Shon Carson was terrific with a career-best 102 rushing yards against Florida last Saturday and is averaging 4.6 yards on 47 carries. Quarterback Connor Shaw has 19 TD passes against just one interception. Defensive end Kelcy Quarles has posted a team-best seven sacks while the more heralded Jadeveon Clowney has just two sacks and 8.5 tackles for losses after receiving preseason hype as the rare defensive Heisman Trophy candidate.

LINE: South Carolina is a 34.5-point fave with the total set at 70.
WEATHER: Rain is in the forecast with temperatures in the high-60s.

* Chanticleers are 4-1 on the road.
* Gamecocks are 4-6 ATS.
* Over is 4-2 in South Carolina's last six games.

Chattanooga Mocs at Alabama Crimson Tide (-49, 52.5)

Quarterback Jacob Huesman is a multipurpose threat, passing for 16 touchdowns against five interceptions and adding 894 rushing yards and nine scores. Keon Williams (687 yards) hopes to return from a three-game absence due to an ankle injury to further spruce up a ground game that averages 223.3 yards. The Moccasins have two standout defenders in linebacker Wes Dothard (81 tackles) and defensive end Davis Tull (nine sacks).

Quarterback AJ McCarron threw two of his five interceptions in the contest against Mississippi State but has mostly performed well with 2,228 yards and 21 touchdown passes. T.J. Yeldon rushed for a career-high 160 yards to raise his season output to 1,022 but also coughed up a fumble against the Bulldogs while Kenyan Drake (584 yards, 7.6 average) continues to be a strong complement. The Crimson Tide lead the nation in scoring defense (10.2).

LINE: The Crimson Tide are 49-point faves, with a total of 52.5 listed at some books.
WEATHER: There is a 39 percent chance of showers and wind blowing across the length of the field at 11 mph.

* Mocs are 3-2 on the road.
* Crimson Tide are 6-4 ATS.
* Under is 1-3-1 in Alabama's last five games.

Idaho Vandals at Florida State Seminoles (-57, 68)

Receiver Dezmon Epps has been the bright spot of another dreary season for the Vandals. The junior has 66 receptions for 811 yards and is coming off a big performance against Old Dominion in which he accumulated a career-high 175 yards on nine receptions. Idaho is often outmatched defensively – allowing 45.7 points and 531.5 yards per game – but the unit has received solid play from defensive tackle QuayShawne Buckley, who has 12 tackles for loss.

The Seminoles are led by Winston but the defense has also been excellent, ranking third nationally in scoring defense (11.1) and fourth in total defense (271.4). Outside linebacker Telvin Smith has a team-leading 68 tackles and has recorded 7.5 stops for losses and cornerback Lamarcus Joyner has 51 tackles, five sacks, three forced fumbles and an interception.

LINE: The Seminoles are a whopping 57-point favorite after opening at -56. The total has dropped from 69.5 to 68.
WEATHER: There's a 22 percent chance of rain with wind blowing across the length of the field at 7 mph.

* Vandals are 5-17 ATS in their last 22 non-conference games.
* Seminoles are 8-1 ATS in their last nine games on grass.
* Over is 8-0 in Florida State's last eight games following an ATS win.

Indiana Hoosiers at Ohio State Buckeyes (-34.5, 81)

The Hoosiers need to win their final two games against Ohio State and Purdue to become bowl eligible. Indiana, which has scored a school single-season record 52 touchdowns, had scored 28-or-more points in 10 straight games before the streak came to a halt last week at chilly and rainy Wisconsin. Sophomore QB Nate Sudfeld has thrown for 2,281 yards and a Big Ten-best 19 touchdowns.

The Buckeyes lead the Big Ten and rank fourth nationally in rushing with an average of 315.1 yards and are coming off a season-best 441 yards on the ground in a 60-35 victory at Illinois last week. Senior RB Carlos Hyde has rushed for 821 yards and 11 touchdowns over the last five games and needs 53 more yards to hit the 1,000-yard mark for the season.

LINE: After opening as low as -31, the Buckeyes have been bet up to a 34.5-point fave. The total is set at 81.
WEATHER: Temperatures will be in the high-30s with wind blowing across the width of the field at 13 mph.

* Hoosiers are 1-5 ATS in their last six November games.
* Buckeyes are 10-2-1 ATS in their last 13 games following a SU win.
* Favorite is 6-2 ATS in the last eight meetings.

Oregon Ducks at Arizona Wildcats (+20.5, 67.5)

Oregon's top six rushers on the season are all averaging at least 6.5 yards per carry and are led by Byron Marshall, who has 152 rushes for 991 yards and 14 scores. Quarterback Marcus Mariota could find his way to the Heisman Trophy ceremony next month, as his ratio of 25 touchdowns to zero interceptions is pretty eye-catching, not to mention his 477 rushing yards and nine scores.

The Wildcats have had a streaky year, winning their first three games followed by a two-game losing streak, a three-game winning streak and now another two-game skid. In addition to standout back Ka'Deem Carey, Arizona also can run the ball with quarterback B.J. Denker, whose 709 rushing yards are a Wildcats single-season record. On the defensive side of the ball, linebacker Scooby Wright leads the team with 70 tackles.

LINE: Oregon opened as a 17.5-point fave, but the line has since been bet up to 20.5. The total is up a half-point to 67.5.
WEATHER: Temperatures will be in the high-50s with a 70 percent chance of showers or thunderstorms.

* Ducks are 10-1 ATS in their last 11 games on grass.
* Wildcats are 5-16 ATS in their last 21 November games.
* Over is 4-1 in the last five meetings.

Wisconsin Badgers at Minnesota Golden Gophers (+16.5, 50)

To say that the Badgers ground game is clicking right now would be a woeful understatement. Three individual rushers topped 100 yards and the team amassed 554 yards on the ground - the second-highest total in team history - in the rout of the Hoosiers. The tandem of Melvin Gordon (1,306 yards) and James White (1,156) gives Wisconsin the status as the only FBS team with multiple players over the 1,000-yard mark.

The Gophers also have utilized the ground game for recent success, climbing to 20th in FBS play in rushing yards per game at 218.5 (Wisconsin is sixth at 307.9). David Cobb's emergence has been the catalyst, as the unheralded running back has recorded four straight 100-yard rushing efforts and has 405 total yards in his last two contests.

LINE: Wisconsin is a 16.5-point fave after opening at -14.5. The total is steady at 50.
WEATHER: Temperatures will be in the mid-teens with sunny skies and wind blowing diagonally out of the NW at 7 mph.

* Badgers are 15-5-1 ATS in their last 21 games.
* Gophers are 12-3 ATS in their last 15 November games.
* Under is 4-0-1 in Minnesota's last five games following a bye week.

Texas A&M Aggies at LSU Tigers (-4.5, 71)

The Aggies' offense has been unstoppable, topping 40 points in 13 consecutive games and going over 500 total yards in nine straight. The catalyst, of course, is reigning Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel, who leads the nation in completion percentage (73), ranks second in total offense (3,924) and ranks third in passer efficiency (186.86).

The Tigers are far more balanced than the Aggies, if not nearly as explosive. Quarterback Zach Mettenberger (2,733 passing yards, 20 TDs) is nursing a sore ankle but is expected to play and needs 93 passing yards to pass Matt Mauck for third on LSU's single-season list. The defense had its share of struggles early in the season but has rounded into form - especially against the pass - and allows just 14.6 points per game at home.

LINE: LSU is installed as a 4.5-point fave, down from -4. The total is set at 71.
WEATHER: Persistent rain is expected with wind blowing across the length of the field at 12 mph.

* Aggies are 0-6 ATS in their last six games following a bye week.
* Tigers are 2-5-1 ATS in their last eight conference games.
* Over is 8-2 in LSU's last 10 games.

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