Category Archives: NCAAF

Penn State vs Illinois

No. 10-ranked Penn State is a 28.5-point favorite against Illinois in the teams’ Big Ten opener. The line opened at 26.5 on Sunday and money on the Nittany Lions moved it by Monday afternoon.

The early over/under is 60, which might seem low. James Franklin’s team averaged 53 points per game in its non-conference slate, while Lovie Smith’s squad managed, on average, 28 points per contest.


Network: FS1

Kickoff Time: 9 p.m., Friday

Play-By-Play: Justin Kutcher

Color: Petros Papadakus

Sideline: DeMarco Murray

This is the second-largest spread Penn State has been a part of in Big Ten play since Franklin’s 2014 arrival. The Nittany Lions were 31-point favorites against Rutgers last year and did not cover, beating the Scarlet Knights 35-6. Penn State also failed to cover against Nebraska in 2017, winning 56-44 as 27-point favorites.

Meanwhile, the Illini — who own a 4-22 record against Big Ten teams since 2015 — have actually been a solid bet as significant underdogs. Illinois has covered four out of five times in the last two years when underdogs by 20 or more points. The conference punching bag covered at Ohio State (-41) and at home against Wisconsin (-28.5).

Penn State kicks off against Illinois at 9 p.m. Friday. The game will be televised on Fox Sports 1.Penn State and Illinois have not played since the Nittany Lions’ 39-0 win over the Illini at Beaver Stadium in 2015. PSU leads the all-time series 18-5, and has won four of the last five games between the two programs. This will mark the first time Penn State has faced Illinois since Lovie Smith took over has Illini head coach in 2016.

The Nittany Lions have had 186 consecutive games televised nationally, with 306 of the last 308 contests being on TV. Penn State is tied with fellow Big Ten member Michigan for the most games televised since 1995 with 272 each.

Ohio State vs. TCU College Football

Ohio State and TCU have replaced a home-and-home series previously scheduled for 2018-19 with one game at AT&T Stadium on September 15, 2018. The Big Ten and Big 12 don’t hook up all that often, but the Big Ten holds the edge recently, going 6-3 straight up and 5-3-1 against the spread versus the Big 12 over the last three seasons. In an interesting early-season inter-sectional battle, Ohio State takes on TCU on Saturday night on neutral turf at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

Ohio State vs TCU

College football point spread: The Buckeyes opened as 12.5-point favorites, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark (line updates and matchup report).

College football betting pick, via OddsShark computer: 42.2-26.6 Buckeyes (College football picks on every game).

Why the Ohio State Buckeyes can cover the spread

The Buckeyes are 2-0 both SU and ATS this season, covering two big spreads, after roughing up Rutgers on Saturday 52-3. Ohio State drove 67 yards to a touchdown on its first possession, led 14-0 after one quarter, 35-0 at the half and 42-0 before allowing the Scarlet Knights to hit the board with a field goal midway through the third quarter. The Buckeyes then tacked on the game’s final 10 points to secure the cover as 35-point favorites.

On the day, Ohio State out-gained Rutgers 579-134 and out-rushed the Knights 225-69. Sophomore quarterback Dwayne Haskins threw four touchdown passes without an interception and has now thrown nine touchdown passes through his first two games. Meanwhile, the Buckeyes defense held Rutgers to just 2.2 yards per play.

Two weeks ago, Ohio State opened this season with a 77-31 rout of Oregon State, covering a 40-point spread.

Why the TCU Horned Frogs can cover the spread

The Frogs are also off to a 2-0 start, following their 42-12 victory over SMU on Friday night. TCU spotted the Mustangs the first nine points of the game and only led 14-12 at the half. But a fumble return for a touchdown early in the third quarter sparked a 28-0 run to end the game, and the Frogs covered as 23-point favorites.

On the night TCU out-gained SMU 393-242, out-rushed the Mustangs 247-131 and won time of possession by a 34/26 split. Two weeks ago, the Frogs defeated FCS Southern University 55-7, just missing the cover as 49-point favorites.

Wisconsin vs. New Mexico: Game preview, prediction

The New Mexico Lobos face their toughest test against the Wisconsin Badgers. Here’s how to watch, and how the Lobos can pull an upset. TEAMS: New Mexico Lobos (1-0) at Wisconsin Badgers (1-0).

Wisconsin vs. New Mexico

WHERE: Camp Randall Stadium.

TIME: 11 a.m. Saturday.

TV: BTN with Brandon Gaudin (play-by-play), Glen Mason (analysis) and Elise Menaker (sideline).

RADIO: AM-920 in Milwaukee and a state network with Matt Lepay (play-by-play) and Mike Lucas (analysis).

TICKETS: Available.

LINE: Wisconsin by 35.

SERIES: First meeting.

COACHES: Wisconsin’s Paul Chryst (35-7, third season; 54-26 overall); vs. New Mexico’s Bob Davie (31-45, seventh season; 66-70, 12th season overall).

LIVE GAME BLOG: Follow JR Radcliffe and Jeff Potrykus’ live coverage for updates, analysis and Q&A throughout the game

SCOUTING REPORT: New Mexico at a glance

STATS, ROSTERS: Wisconsin | New Mexico

LIVE SCOREBOARD: NCAA football schedule, box scores

WELCOME BACK TO THE HUDDLE: Senior tight end Zander Neuville and redshirt sophomore defensive end Isaiahh Loudermilk are expected to make their 2018 debuts on Saturday.

Neuville has been out since suffering a torn ACL in his right knee in the 2017 regular-season finale at Minnesota. Loudermilk closed spring ball on the No. 1 line but underwent May surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee.

Although both players report they feel fit, expect the staff to avoid pushing them too hard in their first game back. UW has one more nonconference game before opening Big Ten play Sept. 22 at Iowa and it is critical both players are ready for full-time duty in that game.

SAFETY STILL THIN: UW’s top three safeties are set – senior D’Cota Dixon, redshirt freshman Scott Nelson and redshirt sophomore Eric Burrell. Yet with redshirt sophomore Patrick Johnson leaving the team and freshman Reggie Pearson out again because of a leg injury the rest of the picture is blurry.

Johnson closed camp as the third safety but missed the opener after suffering a concussion. He opted to leave for personal reasons after being cleared to play. The staff hoped Pearson, who enrolled at UW in January, would be able to play this week.

SMOOTH OVER THE ROUGH EDGES: As is the case in most openers, the play of the offensive line wasn’t as clean as the starters wanted. That wasn’t surprising because UW had Jon Dietzen and Cole Van Lanen split time at left tackle and because Dietzen, right guard Beau Benzshcawel and right tackle David Edwards missed time late in camp while nursing minor injuries. Expect fewer pre-snap penalties and better overall blocking this week.

ONE-MAN SHOW? No one would be bold enough to label New Mexico, looking to rebound from a 3-9 record last season, a formidable foe for a top-10 team. Yet redshirt sophomore quarterback Tevaka Tuioti appears good enough to test UW’s young defense.

The 6-foot-1, 199-pounder can pass from the pocket or on the move and is a threat to run. He completed 13 of 21 passes for 327 yards and four touchdowns and rushed 11 times for 54 yards and a touchdown in the Lobos’ 62-30 victory over Incarnate Word last week.

“They’ve put a lot on him, run and pass game,” UW defensive coordinator Jim Leonhard said. “Obviously, he threw the ball well this last game and they had a lot of big plays. When you watch how they use him in the run game, he is a big-time factor there. We’ve got to do a great job keying on that position.”

UW has played 14 home nonconference games since the 2013 season. During that run, half of UW’s foes have failed to score an offensive touchdown. UW has allowed an average of 7.4 points per game, with four shutouts, during that run.

Western Kentucky managed just one field goal on a total of four trips into the red zone against UW in the teams’ opener. Dating to the start of the 2017 season, UW’s defense has allowed only 11 touchdowns on opponents’ 39 trips into the red zone, of 28.2%.

UW’s offense sputtered early in the opener, which was to be expected with tight end Zander Neuville out because of injury and wide receivers Quintez Cephus and Danny Davis suspended. Neuville should be back this week; the line should be more cohesive; and the Badgers are facing a defense that allowed big plays in the opener. UW will roll, 45-7.

Wisconsin vs. New Mexico Football Game

New Mexico Lobos (1-0) at Wisconsin Badgers (1-0) College Football: Saturday, September 8, 2018 at 12:00 pm (Camp Randall Stadium) The Line: Wisconsin Badgers -35 — Over/Under: See the Latest Odds

Wisconsin vs. New Mexico

The New Mexico Lobos and Wisconsin Badgers meet Saturday in college football action at Camp Randall Stadium.

The New Mexico Lobos look for their first 2-0 start to the season for the first time since 2005 after beating Incarnate Word opening weekend. The New Mexico Lobos have lost four straight road games. Tevaka Tuioti is completing 61.9 percent of his passes for 327 yards, four touchdowns and one interception. Tuioti has five touchdown passes on his last 41 pass attempts. Patrick Reed and Elijah Lilly have combined for 130 receiving yards and two touchdowns while Marcus Williams has two receptions. The New Mexico Lobos ground game is averaging 319 yards per contest, and Zahneer Shuler leads the way with 90 yards on five carries. Defensively, New Mexico is allowing 30 points and 566 yards per game. Rhashaun Epting leads the New Mexico Lobos with five tackles, Jordan Flack has one sack and Jalin Burrell has one interception.

The Wisconsin Badgers look for their third straight 2-0 start after beating Western Kentucky, 34-3. The Wisconsin Badgers have won 11 straight home games. Alex Hornibrook is completing 58.6 percent of his passes for 257 yards, two touchdowns and zero interceptions. Sindelar has two or more touchdown passes in six of his last nine games. A.J. Taylor and Kendric Pryor have combined for 136 receiving yards and one touchdown while Jake Ferguson has four receptions. The Wisconsin Badgers ground game is averaging 234 yards per contest, and Jonathan Taylor leads the way with 145 yards and two touchdowns. Defensively, Wisconsin is allowing three points and 305 yards per game. Scott Nelson leads the Wisconsin Badgers with seven tackles, Ryan Connelly has one sack and Faion Hicks has one interception.

The Lobos are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 non-conference games, 0-4 ATS in their last 4 road games and 0-6 ATS in their last 6 games overall. The Badgers are 5-0 ATS in their last 5 games following a ATS loss, 3-0-1 ATS in their last 4 vs. MWC and 5-2 ATS in their last 7 games overall. The under is 4-1 in Badgers last 5 games overall and the under is 10-4 in Lobos last 14 games overall.

The New Mexico Lobos may have won in convincing fahsion, but allowing 566 yards of offense doesn’t bode well when the comp increases. This is a game where Wisconsin could put up video game numbers. However, the Wisconsin Badgers have failed to cover five of their last six games when favored by at least 30 points. Wisconsin is also just 5-5 ATS in its last 10 games when favored by at least 17 points. The Wisconsin Badgers simply don’t cover big numbers often, usually due to a lack of consistent offense or a ground game that chews up the clock. Wisconsin has won three games by 35 or more points since the start of the 2016 season. So, while it wouldn’t be shocking if this is a blowout, trends and history suggest the points are the right play. I’ll take a shot.