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

Sep 12, 2013 |
Saturday's NCAAF Top 25 betting cheat sheet: Evening action
Freshman QB Jared Goff has four TD passes and leads an explosive Cal offense.
Photo By - USA Today Sports
Freshman QB Jared Goff has four TD passes and leads an explosive Cal offense.
Photo By - USA Today Sports
Check out quick-hitting betting notes for Saturday's evening college football Week 3 action:

Washington Huskies at Illinois Fighting Illini (+9.5, 62.5)

*Game to be played at Soldier Field in Chicago.

No. 23 Washington seeks to prove its season-opening thrashing of Boise State wasn’t a fluke and Illinois looks to start 3-0 for only the second time in 12 seasons when the teams meet Saturday at Soldier Field in Chicago. The Huskies shot into the national rankings after their convincing 38-6 win in their opener but went 3-10 away from Seattle over the previous two seasons. Illinois is playing at Soldier Field for only the second time.

The Fighting Illini brought in former Western Michigan coach Bill Cubit to revamp the offense, and the results were favorable in victories over Southern Illinois and Cincinnati. Illinois is averaging 43.5 points and 493 yards and has posted 17 plays of 20-plus yards after having just 34 last season. The Huskies will have All-American tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins (69 receptions, 850 yards in 2012) back on the field after he was suspended for the Boise State game due to an offseason DUI charge.

Temperatures will be in the high-60s with sunny skies over Chicago's Soldier Field.
LINE: Washington opened as a 10-point road favorite and is currently -9.5. The total is 62.5.

* Huskies are 6-1 ATS in their last seven games overall.
* Fighting Illini are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 neutral site games.
* The over is 4-0 in Fighting Illini last 4 non-conference games.

Vanderbilt Commodores at South Carolina Gamecocks (-13.5, 51)

Vanderbilt is trying to climb into the upper echelon of the Southern Conference's Eastern Division while No. 14 South Carolina is trying to stay there. The Commodores enter Saturday's road game with 14 straight losses to division powers Florida, Georgia and South Carolina and 14 consecutive losses to ranked opponents. South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier expressed concerns about his defense - which has been strong against Vanderbilt recently - after a dismal showing in a 41-30 loss to Georgia.

"There's nothing embarrassing about losing as long as you play smart and play with a lot of effort," Spurrier told the media Tuesday. "We didn't do those two things." The Gamecocks' defensive frustrations were evident on the sideline during that loss when two assistant coaches got into an argument and after the game when junior defensive end Jadeveon Clowney complained about how he was used. "Very frustrating," Clowney told ESPN after the Georgia game. "I told the coaches you got to put me somewhere else - in the middle if you want to - somewhere I can make some plays (to) help my team get in position to win. But (Georgia) took me right out of the game."

WEATHER: Skies will be partly cloudy to start and should clear up by the second half and temperatures will be in the low-70s.
LINE: Most books opened with the Gamecocks as 13.5-point home favorites. The total is currently 51.

* The Gamecocks are 8-2 ATS in their last 10 home games.
* The under is 5-1 in the Commodores last six games in September.
* The under is 5-0-1 in the last six meetings.

Ohio State Buckeyes at California Golden Bears (+15.5, 65)

Heisman Trophy candidate Braxton Miller is expected to be available Saturday when Ohio State looks to extend the nation’s longest winning streak to 15 games against California. The junior quarterback exited last week’s 42-7 victory over San Diego State in the first quarter with a sprained left knee, but he’s hoping to return against a California team that tested Ohio State in Columbus last season before falling 35-28. If Miller isn’t cleared to play, senior Kenny Guiton will get the start.

The Golden Bears followed their season-opening loss to Northwestern with an uninspiring 37-30 win over FCS opponent Portland State last week. Ohio State allowed a season-high 512 yards against California in last year’s matchup, and the Golden Bears’ offense is even more explosive this season under new coach Sonny Dykes. California’s running attack has struggled early, but freshman quarterback Jared Goff has been a revelation with 930 passing yards in his first two games.

WEATHER: Temperatures will be in the high-60s and skies will be clear in Berkeley. Wind will blow from SW at 11 mph across the field.
LINE: Cal opened as a 14.5-point home dog and that line is currently +15.5. The total is currently 65.

* The Buckeyes are 8-2-1 ATS in their last 11 versus the Pac-12.
* The Golden Bears are 0-7 ATS in their last 7 games overall.
* The over is 5-0 in the Golden Bears last five versus the Big Ten.

Kent State Golden Flashes at Louisiana State Tigers (-37, 55)

The Golden Flashes averaged 33.1 points in 2012 en route to an 11-3 record and were led by a dominant rushing attack that piled up an average of more than 225 yards. That ground game has yet to find its footing in 2013 without starter Dri Archer, who was hurt three carries into the season opener against Liberty and is day-to-day with an ankle injury. Archer piled up 1990 yards from scrimmage in 2012 and averaged nine yards per carry.

The Tigers opened things up in the passing game under new offensive coordinator Cam Cameron and quarterback Zach Mettenberger. The senior set a school record with five touchdown passes in a 56-17 demolition of Alabama-Birmingham last week thanks in part to a strong connection with junior wide receivers Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry. Beckham is averaging 251.5 all-purpose yards and had 331 last week - the eighth-best mark in SEC history.

WEATHER: There is a 20 percent chance of thunderstorms in the forecast for Baton Rouge. Skies will be cloudy and temperatures will be in the mid-80s.
LINE: The Tigers opened as 37.5-point home faves and have moved to -37. The total is 55.

* The Golden Flashes are 0-4 ATS in their last four versus the SEC.
* The over is 5-1 in Tigers last six home games.
* The over is 4-1 in Golden Flashes last five games in September.

Lamar Cardinals at Oklahoma State Cowboys (-46, 61.5)

Oklahoma State will try to return to making news on the field Saturday when the No. 11 Cowboys host Lamar in their home opener. Oklahoma State is the subject of an ongoing series in Sports Illustrated that alleges numerous NCAA violations from 2001-11, including payments to players. “We're all committed to playing by the rules and doing things the right way,” said athletic director Mike Holder, adding that “for people to say that is not what's happening is very disturbing.”

Lamar WR Jordan Edwards has stepped up with seven catches for 164 yards and three touchdowns through the first two games, giving quarterback Caleb Berry two deep threats against Oklahoma State. Size could be a problem on defense, however, as Lamar's leading tackler is 5-8, 175-pound defensive back Tyrus McGlothen.

WEATHER: Forecasts are calling for partly cloudy skies and temperatures in the high-70s. Wind will blow from SE across the field at 6 mph.
LINE: Oklahoma State opened as a 46.6-point favorite and is currently -46. The total opened at 60.5 and is up to 61.5.

Mississippi Rebels at Texas Longhorns (-3, 65.5)

Mississippi will try to avenge an embarrassing loss from last season when the 25th-ranked Rebels visit reeling Texas on Saturday. Texas whipped Ole Miss 66-31 on the Rebels' home field last year, but the Longhorns enter this contest in disarray. Texas gave up 550 rushing yards in a 40-21 loss at Brigham Young last week, prompting coach Mack Brown to replace defensive coordinator Manny Diaz with Greg Robinson. Starting QB David Ash (head) did not practice Tuesday and the Longhorns could call on backup Case McCoy get the start.

The Rebels will pose a stiff test for Robinson as they are averaging 35 points behind quarterback Bo Wallace (471 passing yards, 2 TDs) and running back Jeff Scott (10.4 yards per carry). This is Ole Miss’ first trip to Austin since 1925 and it marks the start of a three-game road swing, with visits to Alabama and Auburn next. With a win over Texas, Ole Miss will improve to 3-0 for the first time since 1989.

WEATHER: Temperatures will be in the low-90s with partly cloudy skies. Wind will blow from the east across the field at 6 mph.
LINE: The Longhorns opened as 2.5-point home favorites and have since been bet up to -3. The total is 65.5.

* The Rebels are 5-1 ATS in their last six road games.
* The Longhorns are 4-1 ATS in their last five non-conference games.
* The over is 4-0 in Longhorns last four games overall.

Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Purdue Boilermakers (+20.5, 49)

This year's Notre Dame defense isn't as good as the one that propelled the Fighting Irish into last year's BCS National Championship game. But the 41-30 loss at Michigan won't force Irish coach Brian Kelly to make drastic changes before the No. 21 Irish travel to Purdue on Saturday. "We're not a finished product," Kelly said during an early-week press conference. "We got some work to do."

The Boilermakers are ranked 116th out of 123 FBS teams in total offense (255 yards) and tied for 113th in points (13.5) and have just four scores (two touchdowns and two field goals) in seven red-zone trips. Purdue lost junior safety Landon Feichter to a broken leg and sophomore Anthony Brown will likely take his place. The Boilermakers' schedule doesn't get any easier with three ranked teams in the next five games (No. 18 Wisconsin, No. 15 Nebraska and No. 3 Ohio State) after Notre Dame.

WEATHER: Forecasts are calling for clear skies and temperatures in the low-60s.
LINE: Notre Dame opened as a 20.5-point road fave. The total opened at 50 and has moved to 49.

* The Boilermakers are 1-5 ATS in their last six home games.
* The under is 3-0-1 in the last four meetings.
* The Fighting Irish are 5-2 ATS in their last seven meetings in Purdue.

Western Michigan Broncos at Northwestern Wildcats (-30.5, 59)

No. 16 Northwestern goes for its 15th straight non-conference home win when it hosts Western Michigan on Saturday in the teams’ first-ever meeting. The Wildcats averaged 46 points and 544.5 total yards in beating California and Syracuse with quarterbacks Kain Colter and Trevor Siemian both playing at a high level. Kolter, who suffered a concussion in the opener, is listed as questionable but expected to suit up again like he did last week.

The Broncos are staggering after a 27-23 home loss to FCS opponent Nicholls State. First-year coach P.J. Fleck knew he was in for a rebuilding job as the team returned just 10 starters, two on offense. Senior quarterback Tyler Van Tubbergen has thrown four interceptions without a touchdown pass.

WEATHER: Temperatures will be in the mid-60s with wind blowing from the south towards the north endzone at 6 mph.
LINE: The Wildcats opened as 31.5-point home favorites and are currently -30.5. The total opened at 59.5 and has since moved to 59.

* The Broncos are 2-8 ATS in their last 10 versus the Big Ten.
* The Wildcats are 9-0 ATS in their last nine home games.
* The under is 4-0 in the Broncos last four games overall.

Wisconsin Badgers at Arizona State Sun Devils (-5.5, 54.5)

Arizona State will host its first ranked opponent of the season in No. 18 Wisconsin on Saturday. The Badgers are coming off two blowout road victories against Massachusetts and Tennessee Tech and are preparing for their first true test of the season in the Sun Devils. Arizona State lost a heartbreaker to then-ranked No. 11 Wisconsin in 2010 - the last time these teams met - after a blocked extra point resulted in a 20-19 win at Camp Randall Stadium.

Defense will play a pivotal role in this matchup as the teams rank first and second nationally in yards allowed with Wisconsin giving up just 162.5 and Arizona State only 167. The Sun Devils will need that second-ranked defense to stop a trio of running backs in James White, Melvin Gordon and Corey Clement, who have rushed for more than 100 yards apiece in each of the last two games for the Badgers. Saturday's matchup will also feature two quarterbacks that have thrown for more than 300 yards and five touchdowns in Arizona State junior Taylor Kelly and Wisconsin sophomore Joel Stave.

WEATHER: Temperatures will be in the mid-90s with clear skies. Wind will blow from the west across the field at 5 mph.
LINE: The Sun Devils opened as 5.5-poin home faves. The total opened at 52.5 and has moved to 54.5.

* Sun Devils are 4-0 ATS in their last four games overall.
* Badgers are 1-4 ATS in their last five versus the Pac-12.
* The over is 11-4 in the Sun Devils last 15 home games.

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