When you bet on NCAA Football, you should know all about the numbers. Numbers for stats, numbers for trends, numbers for betting lines, numbers for ‘totals’ – You should know it all. Here at Bang the Book, we are set to talk about the NCAA football betting lines for Week 15. Here are the most important numbers that you need to remember for the week!
0 – The number of times that the Duke Blue Devils had ever won a division or a conference, and the number of times which they had won 10 games in a season before this year. Yes, it has been a banner year in Durham for the Dookies, and even if they lose against the Florida State Seminoles by 120 points, they will have absolutely zero to hang their heads about. Head Coach David Cutcliffe has built this program from one which was in shambles for decades to one which could all of a sudden become viable, at least as long as he doesn’t bolt Tobacco Road for the chance of coaching a bigger program after this season.
0.0270 – The number representing the margin between the Ohio State Buckeyes and the Auburn Tigers in the Week 14 BCS rankings. That’s about as small of a margin as you’ll see this time of year, as these teams have all generally worked themselves out at this point and a pecking order has been established. The common thought is that Ohio State will be good enough to get into the National Championship Game with a win over the Michigan State Spartans in the Big Ten Championship Game, but if the Tigers take down the Missouri Tigers in more impressive fashion earlier in the day, that 0.0270 is going to shrink quite a bit to the point that it might disappear. The Buckeyes very conceivably could win 25 consecutive games and not play for a National Championship anywhere along the way.
3 – The number of games this week which feature point spreads beyond seven points. Granted, there aren’t a lot of games on the schedule, but the fact that the only teams which are favored by more than a TD are the Baylor Bears (-13.5 vs. the Texas Longhorns), the Oklahoma Sooners (-10.5 vs. the Oklahoma Sooners), and the Florida State Seminoles (-28.5 vs. the Duke Blue Devils) is remarkable. It’s a testament to just how close a lot of these championship games are expected to be, and it is also a testament to just how even the Sun Belt and the AAC have been all season long.
3 – The number of touchdowns which were scored in the entire game when the Michigan State Spartans and the Ohio State Buckeyes met last season. The game was broken open by a 63-yard touchdown pass from QB Braxton Miller to WR Devin Smith, but if you take that one play out, what was left was just 320 yards of offense for OSU and just two legitimate drives down the field for scores of any type. This year, the Buckeyes have significantly less to work with on the defensive side of the ball, and they could be in a whole mess load of trouble if they allow the Spartans to score some points. Sparty has one of the best defenses in America once again, and it could turn this into a knockdown, drag out game with a spot in the National Championship Game on the line for OSU.
5 – The number which the writers in the SEC picked the Auburn Tigers to finish this year in the SEC West in the preseason. Most remember that Head Coach Gene Chizik left this program in shambles to the point that he was run out of town just two seasons after winning the BCS National Championship. New Head Coach Gus Malzahn was figuring to inherit a complete mess, but after bringing in QB Nick Marshall and incorporating this spread offense, things have really been rolling. Now, the Tigers might have their best team they have had outside of the QB Cam Newton National Championship team in their history, and they have a real shot to win the SEC this year and play for the BCS title once again. Think that’s impressive? We’re not nearly done yet…
6 – The number which the writers in the SEC picked the Missouri Tigers to finish this year in the SEC East in the preseason. That’s right. The Tigers were the sixth choice in the SEC East in the preseason, and there was definitely a precedent for that. This was a team which was a wreck defensively last season, and it was a team that didn’t even qualify for a bowl game. The Tigers looked completely overmatched by the best teams in the SEC, and the transformation which they have made this season has been remarkable. Head Coach Gary Pinkel went from being on the hot seat at the start of the year to warranting a big time raise for what he has done for this school. Mizzou won’t play for the National Championship unless both the Ohio State Buckeyes and the Florida State Seminoles lose this week, something which virtually surely won’t happen, but to win the SEC and go to the Sugar Bowl, where it would likely be a huge favorite over the UCF Knights would be a tremendous accomplishment no less.
29.5 – The number of points the Florida State Seminoles are favored by against the Duke Blue Devils. This makes FSU the biggest favorite in this small docket of games. The Seminoles have never lost a game to Duke, and the average margin of victory in those games has been just shy of 35. The closest game in that bunch? A 26-7 win for the Noles on the road in Durham back in 2007 when they were right about at their bottom towards the end of the Head Coach Bobby Bowden era. This is as good of a Duke team as there has ever been, but the problem for the Blue Devils is that this might be the best Florida State team ever either, and that’s saying something for a team which has won two National Championships, one of which went wire to wire in 1999.
49.5 – The number representing the lowest ‘total’ of the weekend. The game we are discussing is the Big Ten Championship Game between the Ohio State Buckeyes against the Michigan State Spartans. We’re used to seeing Michigan State featuring the lowest ‘total’ of the weekend, but we aren’t used to seeing the number be this high. However, when you’ve got the most explosive offense in the Big Ten and one of the more explosive offenses in the nation up on the docket, that makes the ‘total’ go up quite a bit. Note: Not all ‘totals’ were released as of the writing of this article. The South Florida Bulls and Rutgers Scarlet Knights will likely have the lowest ‘total’ of the week when it is released.
62 – The number representing the highest ‘total’ of the weekend. The game we are discussing is the ACC Championship Game between the Duke Blue Devils and the Florida State Seminoles. The Noles have put up at least 37 points against everyone which they have faced this year, and though they haven’t given up more than 17 to 11 of their 12 foes, this could be the exception. FSU hasn’t seen a lot of spread offense this year like what Duke will bring to the table, and that could make this one higher scoring than your average Seminoles game for sure. The Noles are averaging over 50 points per game against the Blue Devils all-time. Note: Not all ‘totals’ were released as of the writing of this article. The Oklahoma State Cowboys and the Oklahoma Sooners will likely have the highest ‘total’ of the week when it is released.
102.5 – The number of yards per game that the Auburn Tigers outrushed their SEC opponents by this year. That’s a heck of an accomplishment in this conference, and that feat is made all the more impressive by the fact that Auburn was outgained by a total of 97 rushing yards in their first two SEC games of the year against the Mississippi State Bulldogs and the LSU Tigers. Since that game against LSU though, Auburn is 8-0 SU and 8-0 ATS, and it has outdone its foes by an average of 210.9 rushing yards per game. The most impressive feat was Saturday of course, when the Tigers outrushed the Alabama Crimson Tide by 78 yards in the Iron Bowl to get into the SEC Championship Game.
168 – The number of receiving yards that WR Jaelen Strong had for the Arizona State Sun Devils when they played against the Stanford Cardinal in the regular season. There was just no answer for Strong in that game, as he had 12 catches and a TD to go with those 168 yards. Strong has now had seven games with at least 100 receiving yards this year, and he could be in for a big one in this one as well, especially knowing that he had at least 100 yards in five games this season. This is a man who comes up big in the biggest games. The only games which he had fewer than 91 yards this year came against the Sacramento State Hornets, Washington Huskies, Washington State Cougars, and Utah Utes.
279.6 – The number of passing yards per game the Duke Blue Devils have allowed against most of their schedule this year. The games we are taking out of the mix are the ones against clubs who run the triple option (Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets and Navy Midshipmen) and the ones against teams who are pathetic (Memphis Tigers and North Carolina Central Eagles). QB Jameis Winston threw for 3,490 yards and 35 TDs in essentially just about nine games of game time this year, which would make him the best quarterback in the nation by a country mile. This has the potential to get ugly for the Dookies, understandably.
500 – The number of passing yards that the Oklahoma Sooners had last season in Bedlam against the Oklahoma State Cowboys. QB Landry Jones threw the ball 71 times and had 500 yards through the air, throwing for at least 65 yards to four different targets and at least 100 yards and at least nine catches to three different targets. Here’s the problem. Jones is gone now, and QB Blake Bell can’t throw the ball nearly as many times if the Sooners want any chance of winning this game. Oklahoma has to get the job done with its ground game and its defense regardless of whether it is Bell or QB Trevor Knight taking snaps, which leads us to believe that there is a real chance for some revenge for the Pokes, who still have distant chances of going to the BCS National Championship Game.
736 – The number of yards the Fresno State Bulldogs allowed last week against the San Jose State Spartans. The game was lost 62-52, and it was a defeat which removed any chances of going to a BCS bowl game for the boys from Fresno. The problem is that there is still a game to play, and it comes on Saturday night at home against the Utah State Aggies, who are going to be bringing an even more explosive offense to the table for the first ever Mountain West Championship Game. QB Darell Garretson has had to take over for the injured QB Chuckie Keeton, but you wouldn’t know that the Aggies have had a quarterback problem, knowing that they have gone 5-0 SU and 4-1 ATS in their last five.
1999 – The number representing the last year in which a team from the collection of squads from the Pac-12 South outside of the USC Trojans played in the Rose Bowl. That’s something that can change this week when the Arizona State Sun Devils play against the Stanford Cardinal. This is the first time that a team from the Pac-12 South has hosted the Pac-12 Championship Game as well, and Arizona State is going to wear that hat proudly. It earned the right to host this game even though it was beaten by Stanford earlier this season, and there’s a reason that the Sun Devils are favored by just over the value of home field advantage even though the Cardinal are perceived to be the better of these two teams by the voters and by a lot of the general public.
is a staff writer living in the Orlando area. He has covered NFL, MLB, college football, CFL, AFL, NBA, college basketball, NASCAR, golf, tennis, and the NHL for a number of various outlets in his career, and he has been published by a number of different media outlets, including the Orlando Sentinel and the Wall Street Journal.