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

Nov 27, 2013 |
Saturday's NCAAF Top 25 betting cheat sheet: Afternoon action
Alabama thumped Auburn 49-0 in the Iron Bowl last season.
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports
Alabama thumped Auburn 49-0 in the Iron Bowl last season.
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports
Florida State Seminoles at Florida Gators (+27.5, 44)

The task for host Florida is simple - knock No. 2 Florida State from the ranks of the unbeaten Saturday in the annual Thanksgiving weekend matchup between the rivals. Embattled Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston seemed no worse for wear in throwing for 225 yards and four touchdowns as the Seminoles broke a school record by scoring 80 points against Idaho. The freshman has thrown for 3,163 yards and 32 touchdowns this season.

The Gators have won seven of the last nine meetings but come in off one of the worst defeats in program history against FCS program Georgia Southern. As if the losses were not enough, the Gators also will see a lot streaks come to an end this season, including 22 straight years of playing in a bowl game. The six-game losing streak is their longest in 34 years and assures them of their first losing season since 1979.

LINE: Florida State is a 27.5-point fave after opening as low as -26. The total is steady at 44
WEATHER: Temperatures will be in the low-70s with wind blowing across the field at 6 mph.

* Seminoles are 4-0 ATS in their last four games.
* Gators are 3-10 ATS in their last 13 November games.
* Under is 4-0 in the last four meetings in Florida.

Ohio State Buckeyes at Michigan Wolverines (+16, 57)

While quarterback Braxton Miller has generated a lot of the headlines around Columbus, the Buckeyes' running game ranks first in the Big Ten and fifth nationally with 314 yards per game. Carlos Hyde (1,064 yards, 13 TDs) is the first running back ever to rush for 1,000 yards under Meyer, while Miller is the school's all-time leading rusher among quarterbacks with 2,724 yards.

Michigan has lost three of its last four contests, including a 24-21 defeat to Iowa last week in which Brady Hoke's team squandered a 14-point halftime lead. Still, the Wolverines' head coach remains optimistic heading into their showdown with the Buckeyes, saying earlier this week: "I am very confident that we can win, or we wouldn't play." Michigan's defense has been inconsistent this season, but Blake Countess leads the conference with five interceptions.

LINE: Ohio State opened as a 12-point fave, but the line has been bet up to -16. The total is set at 58.
WEATHER: Temperatures will be in the low-30s with wind blowing diagonally out of the SE at 7 mph.

* Buckeyes are 10-3-1 ATS in their last 14 games following a SU win.
* Wolverines are 5-1 ATS in their last six games following a SU loss.
* Ohio State is 6-0 ATS in the last six meetings.

Minnesota Golden Gophers at Michigan State Spartans (-16, 41)

The Golden Gophers managed only four yards rushing against the Spartans last season, but David Cobb did not get a carry. The junior has emerged in 2013 with 1,010 yards and seven of his team’s 23 touchdowns on the ground, while quarterbacks Philip Nelson and Mitch Leidner have combined for 13. Leidner has not played the past two weeks while Nelson has thrown seven touchdown passes and no interceptions over the last five.

The Spartans, who play unbeaten Ohio State for the Big Ten title and a Rose Bowl bid on Dec. 7 in Indianapolis, have shut out five of their seven league opponents in the second half. Their offense has steadily improved with Cook at the helm and three receivers – Bennie Fowler, Tony Lippett and Macgarrett Kings Jr. – making at least 30 catches.

LINE: Michigan State is currently a 16-point fave, with the total steady at 41.
WEATHER: Temperatures will be in the low-30s with wind blowing across the length of the field at 9 mph.

* Golden Gophers are 13-3 ATS in their last 16 November games.
* Spartans are 4-0 ATS in their last four conference games.
* Underdog is 10-2 ATS in the last 12 meetings.

Duke Blue Devils at North Carolina Tar Heels (-6, 60.5)

Blue Devils quarterback Anthony Boone is clicking again again after missing three games with a broken collarbone. He was less-than-spectacular upon his return, putting Brandon Connette back in the picture in a platoon role, but Boone took most of the snaps Saturday, throwing for 256 yards and three touchdowns with no turnovers or sacks.

North Carolina tight end Eric Ebron has pieced together a strong junior season, leading the team with 50 catches for 774 yards and three touchdowns. Things have gone so well for Ebron that he has decided to enter the NFL Draft next year and forego his final year of eligibility. His best game came against then-unbeaten Miami last month, when he grabbed eight passes for 199 yards and a 71-yard touchdown in the 27-23 loss.

LINE: North Carolina opened -5.5 but is up to -6. The total is set at 60.5.
WEATHER: Temperatures will be in the mid-40s with wind blowing diagonally out of the NE at 5 mph.

* Blue Devils are 6-0 ATS in their last six conference games.
* Tar Heels are 6-0 ATS in their last six games on grass.
* Home team is 4-0 ATS in the last four meetings.

Alabama Crimson Tide at Auburn Tigers (+10.5, 54.5)

The early-season concerns about the Crimson Tide's defense have proven unfounded, as Alabama ranks third in the nation in total defense (263.9 yards per game) and leads the country at 9.3 points allowed per contest. The offense is often downplayed, but quarterback A.J. McCarron is enjoying another outstanding season, completing 68.6 percent of his passes for 2,399 yards with 23 touchdowns and five interceptions.

The Tigers boast the top ground game in the SEC with Tre Mason (1,153 yards, 17 TDs) and quarterback Nick Marshall (823 yards, nine TDs) leading the way, but they know they'll need to be more balanced against a tough Alabama defense. Auburn can't afford a slow start that would force it to the passing game, so the sometimes-suspect defense must slow down the Crimson Tide early.

LINE: Alabama is holding as a 10.5-point fave, while the total is 54.5.
WEATHER: Temperatures will be in the high-40s with wind blowing across the field at 8 mph.

* Crimson Tide are 3-8-1 ATS in their last 12 November games.
* Tigers are 6-0 ATS in their last six conference games.
* Under is 5-0-1 in Auburn's last six games following a bye week.

Baylor Bears at TCU Horned Frogs (+13, 64.5)

The Bears were hopeful leading rusher Lache Seastrunk would be ready to return from a groin injury that kept him sidelined the previous week against Texas Tech, but he was a no-go against Oklahoma State and the running game suffered, totaling just 94 rushing yards. Making things more difficult, third-leading rusher Glasco Martin has missed the last two games with a leg injury.

B.J. Catalon is on pace to become the first TCU player to lead the team in rushing in consecutive seasons since Joseph Turner led the Horned Frogs in three straight years from 2007-09. He and sophomore Aaron Green figure to get even more carries now that third-leading rusher Waymon James is no longer on the roster, though coach Gary Patterson would not reveal why at his weekly press conference Monday.

LINE: Baylor opened at -13 while the total is up a half-point to 64.5.
WEATHER: Temperatures will be in the mid-50s with wind blowing out of the SW at 7 mph.

* Bears are 21-6 ATS in their last 27 games.
* Horned Frogs are 8-0 ATS in their last eight games following a bye week.
* Under is 9-2 in TCU's last 11 conference games.

Penn State Nittany Lions at Wisconsin Badgers (-24.5, 49.5)

Zach Zwinak had 149 rushing yards in last Saturday’s 23-20 loss to Nebraska and has put together three consecutive 100-yard outings to push his season total to 874 yards. Freshman quarterback Christian Hackenberg has fared well with 2,616 yards – fifth most in school history – and has 16 touchdown passes against 10 interceptions.

A strong defense that ranks fifth in scoring defense (13.4) and sixth in total defense (278.5) complements the rushing attack that is 34 yards away from surpassing last season’s school record for rushing yards (3,309). Star linebacker Chris Borland is eight tackles away from his third consecutive 100-tackle campaign and ranks sixth in school history with 400 stops while equaling the Big Ten record with 14 career forced fumbles.

LINE: Wisconsin is a 24.5-point fave after opening at -23.5. The total is set at 49 1/2.
WEATHER: Temperatures will be in the low-30s with wind blowing diagonally out of the SW at 7 mph.

* Nittany Lions are 7-1 ATS in their last eight games following a SU loss.
* Badgers are 13-3-1 ATS in their last 17 games on fieldturf.
* Favorite is 8-0 ATS in the last eight meetings.

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