Week 11 of the 2018 college football season features high-stakes conference games across the country, as teams fight for playoff berths, conference championships and quality bowl bids. A lot is on the table so lets look at the top 5 betting trends for NCAA Football this week.
Ohio State is 1-5 ATS in its last six Big Ten games. They are 8-2 ATS and 9-1 SU in their last 10 at Michigan State.
The Buckeyes should be very concerned as they head to East Lansing. Michigan State played Ohio State very close two years ago at home, losing by only one point. That 2016 Ohio State team made the College Football Playoff. Michigan State defeated Ohio State narrowly in 2015 and also defeated Urban Meyer in 2013. Those last two games were not played at Michigan State – 2015 was in Ohio and 2013 was the Big Ten Championship Game in Indianapolis – but it remains that MSU is a tough foe for OSU.
Ohio State’s big problem is that it is not playing well on either side of the ball. There are sparks of good play in small bursts, but very little is being sustained. The Buckeyes struggled with their red-zone offense and their rushing defense in a blowout loss to Purdue. They had a hard time stopping Nebraska’s offense this past week. If at least one side of the ball was airtight, this team could feel comfortable, but that is not the current reality. Skepticism of Ohio State is warranted right now.
Boston College has covered seven of nine games this year. They are 7-1-1 ATS and 4-5 straight-up in their last nine games as an underdog. Clemson is 4-1 ATS as a favorite of 10.5 to 21 and has won 14 straight games (straight up) in that role.
Boston College is not used to the kind of situation it will step into on Saturday night in a big ACC Atlantic Division game. Clemson is thoroughly used to this level of pressure, having won three straight ACC championships, while closing in on a fourth. Experience is a major point of differentiation. What also matters is that Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence is playing lights-out football. He is showing NFL-level skill and owns complete comfort as the leader of the Clemson offense. All signs point to an authoritative Clemson win.
Alabama has been favored by 21.5 to 31 points four times this season and they’ve covered three of those games. They are 7-3 ATS in last 10 in that role and 26-16 in last 42. Alabama hasn’t lost to Mississippi State since 2007, though the Bulldogs are a respectable 6-5 ATS in those 11 matchups.
Alabama’s next opponent is Mississippi State. The Bulldogs have a decent defense, but it is not as good as the LSU defense which played well against Alabama on Saturday night. Even then, LSU allowed 29 points, which is not exactly a small number. Alabama should be able to score in the 40s against Mississippi State, maybe the low 50s. MSU, on the other hand, will find it hard to score much against Bama. Quarterback Nick Fitzgerald has struggled to throw the ball well – specifically for huge gains and touchdowns – in SEC games this year. Mississippi State has averaged under 14 points in five SEC games. Fitzgerald has thrown for just two touchdowns and has surrendered six interceptions. Three times this year, MSU has scored under 10 points in an SEC game. Alabama has a very favorable matchup here.
Wisconsin has covered 11 of their last 14 road games. They are 27-18 ATS in their last 45 as a dog of 3.5 to 10 points. Penn State is 13-7 ATS in its last 20 against teams with a winning record.
Wisconsin quarterback Alex Hornibrook is questionable for this game. Penn State quarterback Trace McSorley should play, but was briefly yanked this past Saturday against Michigan when he took a pounding from the Wolverines’ defensive front. Both teams are struggling massively on offense, which makes this game hard to read, but it seems that the injuries which have plagued Wisconsin’s secondary this season are also being felt by the Badgers. Wisconsin allowed 17 points to Rutgers, which might not seem like a big deal, but is noteworthy because the Badgers allowed as many points to Rutgers as Indiana and Illinois did this year. That’s a sign of weakness. It suggests Penn State is better equipped to win this game.
Oklahoma State is just 4-36 SU in its last 40 as a dog of 10.5 to 21 points. Oklahoma is 12-1 in its last 13 as a favorite in that range but just 6-7 ATS. The Sooners have covered 12 of their last 17 at home and 12 of last 17 against teams with a winning record.
The Sooners briefly had a period earlier in this decade in which they struggled against Oklahoma State, splitting two of four games, but the larger history of this rivalry points to a big Oklahoma win. The Sooners have lost only twice to the Cowboys since 2002. Over the last three years, they are 3-0 win an average margin of victory of 21 points. They scored 62 against Oklahoma State last year and have an offense capable of doing the same this year. They are also playing at home in 2018. OU should roll.
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