Football lines that make you go hmmm...

Nov 6, 2012 |
Football lines that make you go hmmm...
Defenses have figured out how to stop West Virginia's big plays.
Defenses have figured out how to stop West Virginia's big plays.
November 10 has been circled on total bettors’ calendars since Week 5 of the college football schedule.

That was the week in which oddsmakers tagged Baylor’s trip to West Virginia with an 82.5-point total – one of the highest totals ever set for an FBS college football game.

The two Big 12 rivals went on to blow the number out of the water with a 70-63 WVU win at Milan Puskar Stadium. After that shootout, football bettors couldn’t wait to see how high the number would climb when the Mountaineers made the trip to Stillwater to face Oklahoma State on Nov. 10.

Here it is Week 11 and the totals for this Saturday’s NCAAF slate are beginning to trickle out. And, to the surprise of some, the WVU-OSU number has opened at what seems to be a stubby 79 points.

Those of you expecting a record-breaking over/under haven’t been paying much attention over the past few weeks, have you?

West Virginia finds itself outside the Top 25 thanks to a floundering offense that mustered just 14 points in losses to Texas Tech and Kansas State. The Mountaineers put up 38 points in an overtime loss to TCU but have been exposed by evolving defenses, which gladly drop everyone into coverage and guard against the big play.

On the other side of the number, Oklahoma State has gone from “shoot first and ask questions later” to a defensive-minded team that has leaned on its stop unit in recent weeks. After giving up 59 and 41 points in losses to Arizona and Texas, the Cowboys tightened the bolts and limited three straight opponents to an average of 12.6 points before losing 44-30 to Kansas State last weekend. On top of that, the Cowboys are still trying to iron out their QB options after losing J.W. Walsh for the season.

With the way things have played out for the ‘Neers and Pokes in recent outings, the 79-point total – which would have been deemed way too low back in Week 5 – might be way too high in Week 11.

Here are some other football odds making bettors go “hmmm…” heading into the weekend:


Miami Hurricanes at Virginia Cavaliers (-1, 52.5)

The ACC has been a staple of this feature all season. In fact, the Atlantic Coast Conference might as well be the frickin’ mystery island from Lost when it comes to wonky odds.

Week 11 is no exception with Virginia opening as a 2.5-point underdog hosting Miami then taking serious early action to send the spread over the fence, currently sitting Cavs -1 as of Tuesday afternoon.

The Hurricanes are coming off an impressive win over Virginia Tech last weekend and have hung tough in their recent contests. Miami has quickly become one of the best bets in the land, going 5-1 ATS in its last six outings – four of those paydays coming as an underdog.

Virginia is also fresh off a victory, knocking off North Carolina State 33-6 as a 10.5-point underdog to snap a six-game losing streak. That was the first time Virginia covered a spread all season, clearly taking advantage of a bye the week before.


Denver Broncos at Carolina Panthers
(+3.5, 47.5)

You’d think after the week books just had, bettors would be paying a premium to wager on public faves like the Broncos.

However, Denver is just a 3.5-point favorite in Carolina this Sunday facing a Panthers team coming off a hard-fought win at Washington in Week 9. The last time Carolina won a game, it laid an egg the following week – a 36-7 thrashing at the hands of the Giants.

The Broncos edged the Bengals in Cincinnati last Sunday, covering as 5-point road underdogs. The perception early in the year was that Denver struggled away from Mile High. After wins at San Diego and Cincy, perhaps that school of thought should be dismissed.

Dallas Cowboys at Philadelphia Eagles (-1, 45)

Trying to handicap this NFC East debacle is like trying to figure out what smells worse – cat or dog feces.

Here’s a hint: They both stink.

These rivals have played well below their standards this season, but Philadelphia has been the most consistent disappointment after many picked it to win the division back in September. The Eagles offense is in shambles, averaging just 16.6 points per game – 30th in the NFL.

Dallas at least puts up a fight and gives bettors hope before removing its shoe, cocking the hammer, and blowing its foot clean off.

Some books opened this line at the pick. We’d rather not…

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