Total Talk - Week 11
November 9, 2018
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CFB Week 11 Total Talk
Last week's Total Talk piece ended up going 2-1 against the number if you followed the moves/best bet, but you probably lost a few pounds from all the sweating you did in the process.
The UCLA/Oregon game which had opened at 57 and got pushed up to 62.5 by writing time, ended up finishing with 63 total points in the 42-21 win by the Ducks. That victory by Oregon officially got them bowl eligible and it spoiled Chip Kelly's return to Eugene, so all in all it was a good day for Ducks fans.
The lone loss came in the Stanford/Washington game as those two teams combined for 50 total points. That result eclipsed the opener of 47.5, so it's not like following the move at a lower number burned you, but Stanford finding something on offense in the 2nd half, when they scored all 23 points, was the reason that 'under' play failed to find the cashier's window.
And finally, despite seeing some key guys go down with very serious injuries (QB Tyler Huntley and RB Zach Moss) the Utah Utes were able to pull their weight enough in a 38-20 loss at Arizona State to see that game sail over the total of 56. The loss was disappointing for Utes fans in more ways than one, as they now sit tied atop the Pac-12 South division and will be without their starting QB and RB for the remainder of the season.
This piece is not about SU wins and losses though as we want to see points (or lack thereof), so let's get right to this week's movers.
Odds per - BetDSI.eu
Biggest Movers to the 'Over'
Virginia Tech vs Pittsburgh: Open: 51.5 – Current: 54
The ACC Coastal division is a mess right now as teams battle for the right to get beatdown by Clemson in the ACC title game, and coming into the Week it's the Pittsburgh Panthers who hold the edge thanks to a single conference loss. But Virginia Tech is just one game back in that regard and an upset win this week against Pitt would put the Hokies right back in that conversation.
Given how chaotic games involving ACC Coastal teams have been so far this year, it's not too surprising to see a move to the 'over' in this game, as neither side can instill much confidence defensively to get the necessary stops to keep this game below the 50's. Pittsburgh's defense has been great on the road in their last two trips away from home, but they've given up 37 and 45 points in their last two home games and still won those by at least a TD.
However, the only 'over' Virginia Tech has cashed away from home this year came in their shocking loss to Old Dominion, and since that time they've made sure to play much better defense away from home, allowing just 14 and 19 points in their two outings as visitors since. That would suggest a move like this isn't completely warranted, especially if you are of the mindset that the stakes on this game for both sides will bring an elimination type atmosphere, but I'm more inclined to follow this move.
For one, betting percentages at VegasInsider.com currently show overwhelming support (80%+) on the 'under' for this game and the number has still moved a full FG higher. That's some significant line movement there as there are clearly some bettors out there expecting this game to reach the high 50's rather easily, and it's tough to argue against that. Both sides know that their defenses are suspect at best, and if they aren't getting stops early, turning to try and win a shootout-type game isn't a horrible idea.
Pitt is on a 12-3-2 O/U run after allowing 19 points or less in their last outing, so it's not like their defense knows how to double up on quality performances, and the last time these two programs met in Pittsburgh we had a wild 39-36 game unfold. I'm not sure we see that many points this week, but right now, the 'over' is the only way I'd look in this game.
Odds per - BetDSI.eu
Biggest Movers to the 'Under'
Northwestern vs Iowa: Open: 47.5 – Current: 42
Speaking of division leads on shaky ground, over in the Big 10 West we've got a Northwestern program currently atop that division on the strength of one conference loss, going out on the road as a double-digit 'dog in Iowa this week. The Hawkeyes are sitting on three defeats in the Big 10 so they'll need to win out and get some help.
Iowa has lost this matchup outright the past two seasons, last year in OT as a small road dog, and two years ago as a home favorite of the same number they currently sit at this year (-11). Two straight losses at Penn State and at Purdue have put the Hawkeyes behind the eight-ball in the Big 12 West, but they've got a favorable schedule the rest of the way (vs Illinois and Nebraska after this week), and who knows how other games shake out ahead of them. But I'm not sure this total is in the bettable range anymore because it doesn't take much for a college game to creep over a low 40's number, even with two defensively-minded teams involved.
Iowa's been a team that's seen 'under' love all yearlong with four of their totals closing at 44.5 or lower, but the Hawkeyes do own a 3-1 O/U record in those games. They were able to blank Maryland (23-0) the last time they were at home, but Northwestern has so much more at stake and has not scored fewer than 17 points in conference play all year long.
Give the Wildcats 17 points this week and assume the -11 spread on Iowa is accurate, that projects out to a 28-17 final score, one that would get 'over' the current number and burn steam chasers in the process. Unless this total climbs back up above 45 or so, it's probably best to stay away from the 'under' now.
Odds per - BetDSI.eu
Best Total Bet for Week 10
UCLA vs Arizona State Over 61.5
This play was on the chopping block in terms of a move to the 'over' as it did open up at 59, but last week's results by both sides did nothing to make me believe these two won't put up 30+ on each other. UCLA is still a program building for the future and the offense has to continue to make strides. The 21 points they put up on Oregon wasn't tremendous, but the fact that they were able to find consistency in their attack with a TD in each of the final three frames was a positive.
Similar success should be had against the Sun Devils this week as ASU has grown comfortable playing games where each side approaches 30 points. ASU's last three SU wins have all cashed 'over' tickets, and as a double-digit home favorite this week, it's not that hard to project another SU victory coming their way.
The 'over' has cashed in six of the last eight meetings between these two schools, and UCLA is on a 7-3 O/U on the road as well. Arizona State – who is building for the future as well – have a 5-0 O/U run going at home against a losing team, and they don't strike me as a team that will completely shut down their opponent offensively while potentially covering a two-TD spread. This game has all the makings of one that could end up being similar to UCLA's game a week ago with ASU hitting 40+ like Oregon did and the Bruins finishing in at least the mid-20's.
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