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

Sep 6, 2013 |
Saturday's NCAAF Top 25 betting cheat sheet: Evening action
Home team is 5-1 ATS in the last six games between Michigan and Notre Dame.
Photo By - USA Today Sports
Home team is 5-1 ATS in the last six games between Michigan and Notre Dame.
Photo By - USA Today Sports
Check out quick-hitting betting notes for Saturday's evening college football Week 2 action:

Syracuse Orange at Northwestern Wildcats (-17, 53)

Backup quarterback Trevor Siemian was the hero for Northwestern against Syracuse last season, and he may get a chance to squeeze the Orange again this weekend. In Northwestern’s 2012 season opener, Siemian came on for an injured Kain Colter and threw the game-winning touchdown pass with 44 seconds left, lifting his team to a 42-41 victory over the Orange. With Colter banged up again, Siemian could get the start for the No. 20 Wildcats on Saturday in their home opener versus Syracuse.
Northwestern is coming off a 44-30 victory at California in which the offense piled up 508 yards despite Colter suffering a concussion on the opening drive. Siemian came on to pass for 276 yards and a touchdown, while the Northwestern defense also made some big plays, including two interceptions returned for touchdowns by junior linebacker Collin Ellis. Syracuse fell to Penn State 23-17 last week in the debut of senior quarterback Drew Allen, a transfer from Oklahoma who was 16-of-37 for 189 yards and two interceptions against the Nittany Lions.

Key betting stat: Wildcats are 8-0 ATS in their last eight home games.

Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles at Nebraska Cornhuskers (-28, 59.5)

Nebraska survived a scare from Wyoming in its season opener but should be able to celebrate a larger margin of victory when it hosts Southern Mississippi on Saturday. The No. 19 Cornhuskers allowed a stunning 602 yards in a 37-34 victory over Wyoming and strive for a much better performance against the Golden Eagles, who possess the nation’s longest losing streak at 13 consecutive games. Southern Miss lost 22-15 to Texas State in Todd Monken’s debut as coach.

The Golden Eagles outgained FCS school Texas State 400-207 but sabotaged themselves with six turnovers – four fumbles, two interceptions. Nebraska’s yardage allowed was its second-most ever in a victory (610 versus Ball State in 2007) as a young unit took its lumps against Wyoming and allowed eight plays of 20 or more yards. Senior quarterback Taylor Martinez bruised his left shoulder during the contest and is expected to be fully ready by kickoff.

Key betting stat: Golden Eagles are 0-4 ATS in their last four vs. Big Ten.

Texas Longhorns at BYU Cougars (+7, 57.5)

No. 16 Texas set a school mark for total offense in its opener and now faces a tough defensive squad when it visits Brigham Young on Saturday. The Longhorns rolled up 715 yards in a 56-7 rout of New Mexico State and had four scoring plays of 50 or more yards for the first time in program history. Brigham Young finished third in total defense last season and allowed 223 yards and forced 13 punts in a season-opening 19-16 loss to Virginia.

The Cougars hope to have senior receiver Cody Hoffman on the field after he missed the opener with a hamstring injury. Hoffman had eight 100-yard receiving games last season and ranks third in BYU history in receiving touchdowns (28), fourth in career receptions (203) and fifth in receiving yardage (2,718). Texas has won 13 consecutive non-conference road games and is attempting to get back into the national championship discussion this season after going 22-16 over the last three years.

Key betting stat:
Longhorns are 4-0 ATS in their last four non-conference games.

UAB Blazers at LSU Tigers (-34.5, 60.5)

No. 11 LSU will look to carry forward the offensive fortitude it displayed in last week’s season-opening 37-27 victory over TCU, but as the Tigers host UAB on Saturday, there will be a focus on eliminating the mistakes that kept the opener close. The Tigers gave up a kickoff return for a touchdown, set up another TCU score with a fumble at their 6-yard line and kept a drive alive with a roughing the passer penalty. “If we improve on our tackling, we minimize some of the penalties, we don’t turn the ball over, it could have been a much different game,” LSU coach Les Miles told reporters Tuesday.

The Tigers figure to have an easier time with a UAB squad that allowed 497 yards and blew a 14-point fourth-quarter lead in a 34-31 overtime loss to Troy in its season opener. The Blazers allowed 319 yards passing as Troy quarterback Corey Robinson set a NCAA record by completing 93.8 percent of his passes (30-for-32). LSU senior quarterback Zach Mettenberger passed for 251 yards and a touchdown against TCU in Cam Cameron’s first game as offensive coordinator, and the Tigers’ defense surrendered only 259 yards.

Key betting stat:
Over is 7-3 in Tigers' last 10 non-conference games.

West Virginia Mountaineers at Oklahoma Sooners (-21, 57.5)

No. 15 Oklahoma and visiting West Virginia enter Saturday's Big 12 opener after debuting new quarterbacks and improved defenses in season-opening wins last week. The Sooners, who posted their first shutout since 2010, pointed to a 2012 meeting with the Mountaineers as one of their defensive low points. "Between that night (a 50-49 road win) and what happened in the bowl game (a 41-13 loss to Texas A&M), it obviously convinced us that we needed to adjust our defense," defensive coordinator Mike Stoops said at Monday's press conference. "(We had to) be more flexible and more diverse and put more pressure on the quarterback."

West Virginia posted a second-half shutout in a rally against William & Mary after an inexperienced defense settled down. Junior quarterback Paul Millard has been tabbed the starter for the Mountaineers for the second straight week but junior backup Clint Trickett could figure in the offense attack. Oklahoma redshirt freshman Trevor Knight showed off more of his running ability than his arm in his debut.

Key betting stat: Mountaineers are 4-9 ATS in their last 13 games overall.

Sam Houston State Bearkats at Texas A&M Aggies (-37.5)

One week before its highly anticipated showdown with No. 1-ranked Alabama, seventh-ranked Texas A&M welcomes FCS opponent Sam Houston State to Kyle Field on Saturday. All eyes figure to be on Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel, who tossed three touchdown passes in the second half of the Aggies’ 52-31 win over Rice last Saturday. The sophomore quarterback was also benched late in the game after drawing an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for taunting.

Manziel’s antics overshadowed the Aggies’ season-opening win, which featured a shaky performance by the defensive unit. With five defensive starters suspended, Texas A&M allowed a surprising 509 yards of total offense against Rice. Two of the suspended players are due back against Southland Conference opponent Sam Houston State, which extended its home win streak to 15 games with a 74-0 victory over Houston Baptist last Saturday.

Key betting stat: Under is 8-2 in Aggies last 10 games following a SU win of more than 20 points.

Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Michigan Wolverines (-3.5, 50)

Notre Dame hasn't won at Michigan's "Big House" since 2005, a fact the 13th-ranked Fighting Irish need to remedy Saturday to keep their hopes of getting back to the national championship game alive. The 17th-ranked Wolverines seek their 400th victory at Michigan Stadium - and their 16th straight under coach Brady Hoke. Michigan has won six of its last seven home games versus Notre Dame, including three straight - one shy of its longest home win streak in the series.

The Wolverines hold a 23-16-1 edge in the series between the teams with the two best winning percentages in college football history. But the Irish defense dominated last year's matchup, intercepting Denard Robinson five times in a 13-6 victory. That sort of defensive performance would be even more impressive against this Michigan team, which rolled up 463 yards in a 59-9 win over Central Michigan last week.

Key betting stat: Home team is 5-1 ATS in their last six meetings.

Washington State Cougars at USC Trojans (-15.5, 53.5)

No. 22 USC hopes explosive tailback Silas Redd will be ready when it begins Pac-12 Conference play against visiting Washington State on Saturday. Redd missed last week's game at Hawaii, further hampering an offense in flux. The Trojans still haven't decided on a starting quarterback for Saturday with Max Wittek and Cody Kessler still battling for Matt Barkley's old job.

The Cougars opened the season with a hard-fought 31-24 loss at Auburn last week. Washington State surrendered a kickoff return for a touchdown and had its comeback hopes ended when Connor Halliday was picked off in the end zone with five minutes left. Washington State has lost 20 straight games to ranked opponents and hasn't beaten USC since 2002.

Key betting stat: Over is 10-3 in the last 13 meetings.

San Jose State Spartans at Stanford Cardinal (-25, 48.5)

Stanford enters its season opener Saturday against visiting San Jose State as a heavy favorite, but the Spartans are very capable of making things interesting. San Jose State has won eight straight and 12 of its last 13 games, including a 24-0 win over Sacramento State in Week 1. The Spartans are unlikely to be overlooked by the fourth-ranked Cardinal, who won their fifth straight game in the series last season by a narrow 20-17 margin.

San Jose State’s upset hopes are fueled by senior quarterback David Fales, who is 12-2 as a starter and ended last season as the nation's most accurate passer. He’ll be tested by a Stanford defense that led the country in sacks last season and returns eight starters, including linebackers Shayne Skov and Trent Murphy. The Spartans’ running game could struggle without starting tailback Tyler Ervin, who hasn’t practiced since leaving last Thursday's game with a right foot injury.

Key betting stat: Spartans are 2-8 ATS in their last 10 meetings.

Check out our NCAAF Top 25 betting cheat sheet for Saturday's afternoon action.

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