Week 11 Upset Alerts
November 7, 2018
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NCAAF Week 11 Upset Alerts
It was a disappointing Saturday for last week's underdogs that I isolated in this piece as they ended up going 1-2 ATS overall. More importantly though, my 9-0 ATS run on the big 20+ underdogs came to an end as UNLV just couldn't hang with Fresno State as I believed they could. Who knows, maybe the run ended because a certain “animal” from ESPN's College Game Day decided to “mush” my run on big dogs by backing UNLV as well, but I've still got a few weeks left in the season to add to that nice record as I look to get back in the winner's circle with those big dogs this week.
Outside of the UNLV play, Virginia Tech (another strong pick from said “animal” last week) couldn't manage to hold onto a 14-7 halftime lead in their 10-point home loss to Boston College, but Louisiana-Lafayette did the opposite in using a strong 3rd quarter to get back in their game to end up covering the +10.5 number by the hook. A 1-2 ATS week with the lone winner coming by a hook is not ideal, but hopefully the results this week turn out to be much more profitable.
Odds per - Sportsbetting.ag
Upset Alert #1: Underdogs in the +1 to +9 range
YTD: 3-8 SU; 3-8 ATS
Tennessee +6 over Kentucky
The Kentucky Wildcats got served a harsh dose of reality last week when Georgia came into their house and put a beating on them (34-17) in what was a defacto SEC East title game. For as good as this year has been for Kentucky, they just didn't have the talent on either side of the ball to match up with that Georgia team. Now sitting at 7-2 SU and no division crown or conference title game within reach, what's really left to play for if you're Kentucky?
Last week's game against Georgia got all the hype as one of the biggest in recent history for Kentucky's football program and rightfully so. But with the way it went down, the Wildcats probably can't help but be plenty disappointed if for no other reason than what could have been with a win. Now, they go out on the road to face a Tennessee team that the markets have not given much credit too all year long, so where will the energy be to show up? Sure, a 10-win campaign is still a reasonable goal for the Wildcats (they should be able to beat Middle Tennessee and Louisville in their final two games), but with this spread being bet up to -6 after coming out at -3.5, I believe most of those bettors are not considering this brutal situation the Wildcats are in this week.
Not only could there be an extreme lack of interest in this game from Kentucky's standpoint, but what's been masked in Kentucky's great campaign is the fact that this Wildcats offense has really struggled for about a month now. Kentucky hasn't scored more than 17 points in their last four games, and that includes games against the likes of Missouri and Vanderbilt, two SEC rivals that aren't exactly known for their defense. This is also the first time Kentucky has laid chalk on the road this year and is it really that warranted? They beat Mizzou on a untimed final play of the game in their last road outing, and if it wasn't for a fumble recovery TD with four minutes left @ Texas A&M prior to that, the Wildcats would have never even got to OT against the Aggies.
Simply put, that initial -3.5 line the oddsmakers came out with for this game is probably where this line should actually be, but I'll gladly take the extra points with this Tennessee team that's catching Kentucky in a huge letdown spot and trying to become Bowl eligible themselves.
Odds per - Sportsbetting.ag
Upset Alert #2: Underdogs in the +10 to +19 range
YTD: 1-9 SU; 5-5 ATS
Auburn +14 over Georgia
Speaking of that Kentucky/Georgia game last week, the Georgia Bulldogs did what they needed to do and now basically have a full month to prepare for Alabama in the SEC title game. Georgia would love to get some revenge for falling to 'Bama in the National Championship a year ago, and you know HC Kirby Smart will isolate some time each week to begin implementing his plan for the Crimson Tide this time around. That's not to say the Bulldogs will be taking this Auburn team extremely lightly as Georgia still has to win games SU to be considered for the CFP playoff, but in this spot, it's just too many points to lay.
Georgia may already be eyeing their revenge against Alabama next month, but Auburn's got their own vengeful thoughts this week. Remember, it was Georgia who beat Auburn rather handily (28-7) in last year's SEC Championship game, three weeks after Auburn had clobbered the Bulldogs 40-17. That SEC Championship loss likely cost Auburn a spot in last year's playoff (and who knows if Alabama would have got in then), and the Tigers would love to be that speed bump that Georgia stumbles on a year later in their quest for national supremacy.
The Tigers have not closed as an underdog all year, so to see them catching this many points was rather surprising. However, given that Georgia looked very good a week ago in the national spotlight and are now on a collision course with Alabama, the spread probably had to come out in this range if for no other reason than for oddsmakers to protect themselves from a flood of Bulldogs money. But similar to Kentucky being in a letdown spot after last week, Georgia could feel some of those affects as well here, as they accomplished their first goal of the 2018 season (win the SEC East) and now it's time to just survive and advance. That's going to be easier said than done against this Auburn team that's looking for redemption after how their season ended a year ago. This should be a single-digit margin of victory for the Bulldogs at best.
Odds per - Sportsbetting.ag
Upset Alert #3: Underdogs in the +20 and above range
YTD: 9-1 ATS
Rutgers +39 over Michigan
I've been a big fan of the “Michigan Revenge Tour” all year long if for no other reason than the Wolverines weren't shy about putting that statement out there from the get-go and have backed it up every step of the way. Last week's 42-7 win over Penn State as the latest instalment for the Tour was impressive, as Michigan has now covered the number in four straight weeks and done so with relative ease. But it's also been three straight weeks where the Revenge Tour has taken center stage in terms of focus (Wisconsin, Michigan State, Penn State) and now the Wolverines – who are currently inside the playoff picture – get a week to let up a bit as they visit lowly Rutgers.
Without question, Michigan will win this game SU rather easily, but winning by 40 on the road after three straight high-intensity weeks (with one more still to come down the road @ Ohio State) is a lot to ask. There are plenty of bettors that would suggest fading Michigan next week prior to that Ohio State game may be the better spot, but I actually believe this is the week to go that route simply because the Wolverines know they've just got to show up for probably a quarter before this game is well within control.
Rutgers has not been a good team all year long (1-8 SU) and going against arguably the nation's best defense this week won't be fun. But the Scarlet Knights have managed to cover big numbers the last two weeks (vs Northwestern and Wisconsin) and I think Michigan lets them hang around enough to make it three straight ATS wins this week. With the number being as high as it is, a garbage time score by Rutgers may be all they need to cinch the cover, as Michigan can't have too much interest in “style points” given that they are already in the playoff picture; and really, a win by 28-35 points is still plenty of “style” for Michigan to show the committee.
A mental letdown after three straight weeks of “Touring” will be what holds Michigan back from covering all this chalk, as they just want to leave New Jersey healthy. Michigan will let Rutgers keep some dignity here by sitting on the ball late and giving their depth guys plenty of time on the field, pushing the Scarlet Knights record as double-digit home underdogs this year to a perfect 3-0 ATS.
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