Inflated Week 6 College Football Odds

Willie Bee

Monday, September 29, 2014 1:30 PM UTC

Monday, Sep. 29, 2014 1:30 PM UTC

October arrives with some coaches either on the hot seat or already gone.  Join us as we take a look at how that news might inflate College Football odds for Week 6.

Tick.  Tock.  Time is running out for Brady Hoke in Ann Arbor where the Michigan Wolverines have gotten off to a 2-3 start to the season and coming off their second consecutive loss as a home favorite.


Michigan Wolverines vs. Rutgers Scarlet Knights: New Big Ten Conference Foes
The Wolverines will neither be home nor the favorite this weekend when they travel to Piscataway, NJ for a clash with the Rutgers Scarlet Knights.  Saturday's 7 PM (ET) boot at High Point Solutions Stadium will be carried by the Big Ten Network, and the Scarlet Knights went out as 3.5 point favorites.

It's the first-ever gridiron meeting between the new Big Ten Conference foes, and unless the Wolverines win out, it will be the last time Hoke faces Rutgers from the Michigan sidelines.  If it was up to many of the Wolverine faithful, Hoke wouldn't even be running the show for this matchup after last week's 30-14 loss to Minnesota at The Big House.  The Maize and Blue were favored by 10.5 only to sit stunned while the Golden Gophers scored 30-straight points following Michigan's early 7-0 lead.

It's the first time in Michigan's long and glorious history that the Wolverines have amassed three losses before October, and it leaves them 3-8 over the past 11 games after dropping five of the final six in 2013.  It also leaves Michigan with a $2 million buyout if the decision is made to eat the last two years of Hoke's contract.  Jim Harbaugh rumors have already begun.

As bad as things are for the Wolverines, the College Football odds for Saturday's matchup appear fair.   Rutgers is getting some consideration for playing at home where the Scarlet Knights have covered two of three contests this year, including last week's 31-6 triumph vs. Tulane.  They also proved they can win without starting tailback Paul James who was lost to a season-ending knee injury a week earlier at Navy; the tandem of Desmon Peoples and Justin Goodwin complemented each other nicely, combining for 165 yards on 33 totes.

Michigan, meanwhile, has a couple of key injuries as WR Devin Funchess (leg) and QB Shane Morris (concussion) are both questionable against the Knights.  Hoke may have to give the offense back to Devin Gardner, who in turn will have to find different targets downfield.

While I see no inflation on this week's current spread, the total might prove differently once it's released on Tuesday.  There are some strong 'under' trends in this game, and that's where we could see some value for college football bettors.

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Kansas Jayhawks vs. West Virginia Mountaineers: How Much Has Weis' Firing At Kansas Affected Early Spread?
If it wasn't for Kansas firing head coach Charlie Weis on Sunday, very few people would have any interest in the Jayhawks traveling to West Virginia to meet the Mountaineers.  Even with that news, few people will be able to see this game except those inside Milan Puskar Stadium since there's no national or regional TV coverage for the 4 PM (ET) boot.

West Virginia backers will have to lay 24 after the spread opened a bit lower at most shops monitored by SBR's live NCAA football odds.

You never know how a bunch of 20-year-olds are going to respond to upheaval on the sidelines, but one thing is for certain: The Kansas offense sucks.  Texas just shut out the Jayhawks on their own field in Lawrence, leaving KU 124th on the list of 128 Div-I schools in scoring.  I expect this spread to continue to inflate during the week; we may not see WVU put 59 on the Jayhawks as the Mountaineers did the last time Kansas came to Morgantown in 2012, but the home team should be able to cover up to 30 this Saturday.

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Utah Utes vs. UCLA Bruins: Bruins Climb Back Into Top 10
One coach whose job is very secure is the UCLA Bruin's Jim Mora.  His Bruins started 2014 ranked seventh in the AP, but barely survived three close calls against Virginia, Memphis and Texas while the offense struggled to find consistency behind Brett Hundley.

The offense was a little slow out of the gate last Thursday in Tempe against Arizona State, but eventually got going to help the Bruins to a 62-27 rout of the Sun Devils.  That win helped push UCLA back into the top 10 of both polls in advance of this Saturday's home tilt against the Utah Utes (ESPN, 10:30 PM ET).

While Hundley and the Bruins offense did roll up 580 yards, ASU also had no trouble against the UCLA defense with more than 625 total yards.  The Bruins did come away with four turnovers and scored two more defense/special team touchdowns, but they can't count on that again this week against a Utah team that doesn't give the ball up.

UCLA backers are being asked to lay 12.5 points vs. the Utes, and while more poll voters are happy with where the Bruins are right now, the majority of College Football picks are on Utah plus the points at several sports books (like 5Dimes) in the early going.  Until Mora's squad shows me a little more, I'm among them in my belief this spread is inflated by a couple of points.

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Willie Bee's Free College Picks Season Record: 26-16-1 (+8.40) 

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