Graham Mertz! Before he tested positive along with a host of other Badgers prompting the cancellation of Big Ten football this weekend, Wisconsin put on quite the show against Illinois. Given that tremendous outburst you see a little Big Ten flavor further injected into our Bet the Board Top 10. Michigan was also mighty impressive in their dismantling of Minnesota making it an easy choice to drop Penn State out in exchange for the Wolverines. We’d also like to roll out the red carpet and welcome back top 10 fixture Oklahoma after a brief vacation; the Sooners took care of business at TCU and appear to be learning on the fly what life can be like with a young QB in charge.
We have an SEC-themed over/underrated portion this week with Tigers filling up both spots. Our Best Bet heads to what should be the highest scoring game of the weekend as the UCF Golden Knights take on the Houston Cougars in an AAC conference firefight.
Bet the Board Top 10 Week 9:
1.) Ohio State
5.) Notre Dame
Auburn certainly didn’t expect to have the rocky start it has had but things could be worse if they weren’t on the right side of two very curious officiating decisions this season. Despite the public love for Auburn, there are some major concerns about what’s going on when it comes to that whole actually playing football thing. Auburn doesn’t crack the Top 30 in offensive nor defensive efficiency and when we start breaking down their wins, the resume leaves a lot to be desired. We touched on one of their results earlier in the year when they were semi-fortunate to slip by Kentucky in the opener. It also goes without saying both the win over Arkansas and Ole Miss could easily have gone a very different direction. Auburn to date has a net 0.0 yards per play advantage and we have them pegged just outside our Top 30. This week, the Tigers opened up as at “pick em” vs. LSU at home but that number has already moved out to LSU-3 for their 3:30 pm show-down on Saturday. However … this isn’t an endorsement of an Auburn fade it’s just reflective of how bettors see Gus’ squad so far.
At 3-1 against the number (the only record that matters) and a 2-2 SU record that includes impressive wins over LSU and Kentucky, Missouri is on the rise in the SEC. Outside of the opener against Alabama, Missouri has seen significant professional money over the previous three week’s including early cash for their trip to Gainesville Saturday to take on the Gators. The Tigers have faced a Top 10 strength of schedule thus far with road games at Tennessee and LSU along with home games against Alabama and Kentucky. Their Kentucky win was especially impressive since the Tiger defense held the Wildcats to only 145 TOTAL yards in the game with just 8 first downs. They also held the ball 2.5x longer than the Wildcats in the dominant performance. The defense is the strength of this team and they’ll need to lean on it this week once again as they travel to Gainesville to take on the Gators. If the offense can find some consistency at the QB position from Connor Bazelak, this Tigers team could go on a run in the back end of the schedule.
Best Bet: 178 Houston +3 (-115)
While the total will garner all the attention we’ll look to back the home underdog Cougars in this spot. We saw UCF open as a field goal favorite here and while some books across the globe still have some 3’s available, we’re starting to see some of the sharper shops trend below the key number. On Friday, 10/16, our #9 rated BYU team went into Houston and found a way to rally in the 4th quarter, coming from behind to win by 17 points in a game which was much closer than the score indicated. The reason we bring this up is BYU closed as a -3 (-110) favorite, very similar to where UCF opened and candidly speaking we don’t see these teams as even close to equal. Houston should regain the services of redshirt senior RB Mulbah Car after missing last two games with an ankle injury. QB Clayton Tune and WR Marquez Stevenson give this Cougars offense the explosion to keep up in what should be a high scoring affair and we’ll take the points in a game we make closer to “pick em.”