Like it or not, Las Vegas rarely gets it wrong, so tracking betting lines should always be a big part of each football weekend — even if there are no bets on the line. Whether you condone gambling or not, think of it as becoming a more informed fan.
I tried to tell folks to stay away from their bookies last weekend, so I'm taking my 5-3 mark and sprinting to the bank. Maryland once again delivered and it's only a matter of time before the boys in Vegas pick up on the fact that the Terps have crushed the point spread this season. We can hold off until next weekend to deal with Randy Edsall as his squad is off this weekend.
With a massive weekend of action of ahead of us, bettors need to be aware of a few trends. Most believe in staying away from road favorites, but with 12 of the 19 Top 25 teams in action playing on the road, it may be hard to avoid the road favorite.
2013 Record Against the Spread: 15-8-1 (5-3 last week)
Week 5 Picks of the Week:
Texas A&M (-7) at Arkansas
The Aggies' run defense is atrocious and the Razorbacks have an excellent 1-2 combo with running backs Alex Collins and Jonathan Williams. But there is no way Arkansas can stop Johnny Manziel from posting big numbers. This was an ugly 58-10 game in College Station last year and while Arkansas is improved, the Hogs haven’t closed the 48-point gap. Especially, if starting quarterback Brandon Allen can’t go. Prediction: Texas A&M -7
Fresno State (-17.5) at Hawaii
The Bulldogs thoroughly dominated the Warriors 45-10 at home last year as Derek Carr needed just 15 completions to reach 304 yards and score four times. And while all games seem to be tighter on the Big Island, Fresno State is actually better this year than last. Carr is averaging over 370 yards per game this year and Hawaii recently allowed 451 yards to Sean Mannion and Oregon State. Prediction: Fresno State -17.5
South Alabama (+19) at Tennessee
The USA defensive line is dramatically out-matched and out-weighed by the Tennessee offensive line and shouldn’t be able to stop the Vols' running game. The Jaguars defeated Western Kentucky last week but the win was fluky (a late turnover was returned for a touchdown) and the defense allowed 427 yards on nearly six yards per play. Look for the Vols to pound the football for four quarters and easily win their final non-conference game of the season. Prediction: Tennessee -19
Arizona (+9.5) at Washington
The Huskies are one of the most improved teams in the nation with impressive wins over Boise State and Illinois already. Arizona is still unbeaten but hasn’t played a tough game and their new quarterback, B.J. Denker, has never started in a hostile environment yet in his career. Husky Stadium will be rocking Saturday night and Washington’s elite balance on both sides of the ball will be too much for an Arizona team that is average at best. This line feels skewed due to the drubbing 'Zona put on U of W last year in the desert. Prediction: Washington -9.5
A few more road favorites I like:
Florida State (-21.5) at Boston College
The 'Noles won by 41 last year at home and might be even better this year.
Stanford (-10) at Washington State
The Cardinal sacked Wazzu 10 times and held it to minus-18 yards rushing last year.
South Carolina (-7) at UCF
UCF's win over Penn State has inflated their value. Take the Gamecocks.
Take the Over:
LSU at Georgia: 61.5
Wisconsin at Ohio State: 54.5
South Carolina at UCF: 52.5
Top 25 Picks Against the Spread:
Note: games with FCS opponents won't be included each week
Top 25 Games
No. 21 Ole Miss (+15) at No. 1 Alabama
Cal (+36.5) at No. 2 Oregon
Wake Forest (+28.5) at No. 3 Clemson
No. 23 Wisconsin (+7) at No. 4 Ohio St
No. 5 Stanford (-10) at Washington St
No. 6 LSU (+3) at No. 9 Georgia
No. 8 Florida St (-21.5) at Boston College
No. 10 Texas A&M (-7) at Arkansas
No. 11 Oklahoma St (-18) at West Virginia
No. 12 South Carolina (-7) at UCF
No. 14 Oklahoma (-3.5) at No. 22 Notre Dame
No. 15 Miami (-18.5) at USF
Arizona (+10) at No. 16 Washington
No. 20 Florida (-12.5) at Kentucky
No. 25 Fresno St (-17.5) at Hawaii