Week 12 Primer
Published on Thursday, 11/17/16, at 12:20 p.m. Eastern.
—Saturday UPDATE: According to a tweet from long-time LSU beat writer Ross Dellenger of the Baton Rouge Advocate, LSU junior RB Leonard Fournette is ‘out’ vs. Florida (per his source). The line has moved from LSU -14.5 to LSU -13.5 after that tweet. The Mirage was down to -13 at 12:15 p.m. Eastern. However, UF beat reporter Chris Harry tweeted at 12:29 p.m. Eastern that Fournette was now dressed out and warming up. So…we shall see.
–The ‘over’ has hit in nine straight Pittsburgh games. The Panthers host Duke this week with a total of 64.
–Duke, a 7.5 to eight-point underdog as of Thursday, has covered the number in five consecutive games after beating North Carolina 28-27 as a double-digit ‘dog last Thursday.
–Pitt won’t have star safety Jordan Whitehead for the final two games of the regular season after he broke his arm in last week’s 43-42 win at Clemson. Whitehead, who led the Panthers with 109 tackles last year and has a team-best 65 tackles this season, might be able to return for his team’s bowl game. He had also recorded 1.5 tackles for loss, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery, two passes broken up and a 59-yard pick-six.
–The ‘under’ has cashed at a remarkable 9-0-1 clip for Tommy Tuberville’s Cincinnati Bearcats squad this season. Cincy is a 7.5-point home underdog to Memphis on Friday night. The Bearcats are 1-3 both straight up and ATS as home underdogs this year, while the Tigers have limped to a 1-6 spread record in their last seven outings. This game will kick at 8:00 p.m. Eastern on the CBS Sports College Network.
–BYU running back Jamaal Williams is ‘questionable’ vs. UMass due to a foot injury. Williams has rushed for 1,034 yards and 10 TDs this year. The Cougars were favored by 29 as of late Friday afternoon.
–Florida won’t have at least six starters at LSU. Marcus Maye and Alex Anzalone are done for the season, while leading tackler Jarrad Davis (ankle) remains ‘out.’ Starting center Cam Dillard (knee) is also done for the year, while Bryan Cox Jr. is out for at least this week. Tyler Jordan, a starting OG who moved to center before getting hurt in last week’s 20-7 home win over South Carolina, practiced on a limited basis Tuesday and Wednesday and will most likely be available. He’s expected to play at OG if he goes, though, because Jim McElwain liked what he saw at center from redshirt freshman T.J. McCoy when he was pressed into action against the Gamecocks. McCoy is the son of former Gator Tony McCoy, who played in the NFL for the Colts for many years. UF’s best o-lineman, junior OT David Sharpe, also left the win over USC with an ankle injury. McElwain said he was out earlier in the week but after Wednesday’s practice, he upgraded Sharpe from ‘out’ to ‘questionable’ after he took reps and “had that look in his eye” [as if he’d be ready on Saturday in Red Stick]. Starting sophomore DE CeCe Jefferson missed the USC game but has been upgraded to ‘probable.’
–As of Thursday, most spots had LSU listed as a 14-point home favorite vs. Florida. UF has only been a double-digit underdog once since McElwain replaced Will Muschamp going into the 2015 campaign. The Gators covered in that situation, a 29-15 loss to Alabama as 17.5-point ‘dogs at the 2015 SEC Championship Game. They are 2-0-1 ATS when catching 6.5 points or more under McElwain.
–Mississippi St. is a short favorite vs. Arkansas. During Dan Mullen’s tenure, the Bulldogs have compiled a 20-13 spread record in 33 games as home favorites. Meanwhile, Arkansas is 6-1 ATS in its last seven as a road underdog.
–Kentucky is 6-1 ATS in its last seven games. If the ‘Cats can beat winless Austin Peay, they’ll be bowl eligible for the first time during Mark Stoops’s four-year tenure.
–Vandy has seen the ‘under’ go 6-0 in its SEC games with all those contests combining for 43 points or fewer. The Commodores, who are 11-5 ATS as double-digit underdogs since Derek Mason took over, play host to Ole Miss as 10-point home ‘dogs Saturday night at 8:00 p.m. Eastern on the SEC Network. Ole Miss owns a 5-7 spread record as a road favorite on Hugh Freeze’s watch.
–Washington State owns a 14-3 spread record in its last 17 games as a road underdog. The Cougars are +4.5 at Colorado. They have won eight in a row since losing 31-28 at Boise St. in Week 2. Luke Falk has a 71/14 career touchdown-to-interception ratio after throwing 17 TD passes compared to one interception in the last four games.
–Washington St. goes to Boulder without its second-best WR in River Cracraft, who is done for the season after getting injured in last week’s blowout win over California.
–Colorado and Temple have the nation’s best ATS records (9-1). The Buffaloes were 8-0 ATS as home favorites since Mike MacIntyre took over until failing to cover vs. UCLA last Thursday. Speaking of MacIntyre, I had him second on my list of the Coach of the Year candidates in this column filed to VegasInsider.com earlier this week.
–Arizona has the nation’s worst ATS record (1-9), while Oregon has limped to a 1-8-1 ATS ledger.
–Syracuse sophomore QB Eric Dungey (15/7 TD-INT, 2,679 passing yards) is ‘doubtful’ (concussion) for Saturday’s home game vs. FSU. The Seminoles were favored by 21 points on Thursday.
–Alabama will undoubtedly be favored by more than 35 points when the line for its home game against Chattanooga is released Friday night or Saturday morning. Therefore, we should note that the Crimson Tide has limped to an abysmal 3-12 spread record in its last 15 games as a favorite of 35 points or more.
–South Florida junior QB Quinton Flowers produced an amazing stat line during his team’s 49-42 win at Memphis as a three-point road favorite last week. Flowers hit 24-of-29 passes for 263 yards and two TDs without an interception He also had 210 rushing yards and three TDs on 20 carries, including the game-winning score on a 22-yard scamper with 1:46 remaining. Flowers’ score resulted in the fifth lead change of a thrilling game at the Liberty Bowl.
–Utah St. has failed to cover the number in five straight contests. The ‘over’ had hit in four in a row for the Aggies until they lost 24-21 to New Mexico last week when the 45 combined points went ‘under’ the 57-point total. Matt Wells’s squad is set to make the trip to Reno to take on Nevada as a six-point road favorite. The total was 55ish on Thursday.
–Air Force is mired in a 1-5 ATS slump, while the ‘over’ is on a 5-1 run for the Falcons in their last six games. As of Thursday, they were favored by 10 at San Jose St. with a 58-point total.
–Great stuff from SVP and Stanford Steve with last week’s Bad Beats. If you had UTSA catching the points against La. Tech, don’t watch. Also, you’re allowed to hate Skip Holtz for the rest of your life without feeling bad for even a split second.
—Ross Dellenger of the Baton Rouge Advocate breaks down how the battle between Danny Etling and Austin Appleby for the starting QB job drove a wedge between two Purdue coaches. Nevertheless, Etling and Appleby remain friends, while neither coach remains in West Lafayette.
–I’ve had a terrible college football season, but I’ve finally picked a few winners lately. After cashing a huge +475 money-line winner on Houston Thursday night, in addition to an easy Memphis winner last night, my record improved to 15-7 (68.2%) for 11.03 units of profit since Oct. 29. You can get my picks for Saturday here.