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 8. Here are the most important numbers that you need to remember for the week!
-8 – The number of yards that the Washington State Cougars had rushing last season against the Oregon Ducks. It’s not all that often that we see a number less than zero on the board for our College Football By the Numbers piece, but it’s definitely something that warrants watching in this one. Going one-dimensional is going to get you killed against this Oregon defense, which is good for pinning its ears back and getting after the quarterback. The only thing that even remotely kept Wazzu in that game last season was throwing for 410 yards.
0 – The number of times that the LSU Tigers have covered a game in their last four tries when allowing 20 points or fewer in their previous game. That’s not a stat that you’d expect to see out of the Bayou Bengals, but it definitely is one that is apt in this game coming up against the Ole Miss Rebels. LSU is coming off of one of its best games of the season, beating the Florida Gators at home, but now, it’s off on the road to prove if the defense is good enough to stick around with QB Bo Wallace and the Rebs as well. This is where LSU could have some troubles, especially if history repeats itself.
3 – The number representing the margin of victory for the Ohio State Buckeyes over the Iowa Hawkeyes in their last two meetings. It’s not that Iowa was really expected to stick around with OSU in either of those games, but the boys from the Horseshoe really were never able to figure out that Hawkeyes defense in either of those games. We do have to go back to 2010 and 2009 for those games, but this could be an apt history lesson in this one. The Hawkeyes don’t figure to have all that much of a chance against Ohio State on the road, and that’s why they’re getting 16.5. But is it apt? That’s what we’ll find out on Saturday night.
6 – The number of times that a team ranked in the Top 20 in the land out of the SEC has lost a game on the road this season. That’s a startling number considering how many of the big SEC games haven’t happened yet. Some of these losses were no great surprise. The Georgia Bulldogs could have very reasonably lost to the Clemson Tigers. The South Carolina Gamecocks were supposed to lose to the Bulldogs. The LSU Tigers were supposed to be beaten by UGA as well. The Florida Gators were supposed to lose to LSU. But then there are the games that make you go, “Hmm…” The Gators also lost to the Miami Hurricanes this year. The Bulldogs were beaten at home by the Missouri Tigers, and they should have been beaten the week before by the Tennessee Volunteers. Anyone ever think that maybe the SEC just isn’t that good this year? That’s what we’re starting to believe for sure.
7 – The number of consecutive victories both from an SU and an ATS perspective that the Arizona State Sun Devils have over the Washington Huskies. The poor Huskies just can’t catch a break. They had to go on the road two weeks ago to take on the Stanford Cardinal, and then they had to come home to face the Oregon Ducks, whom they haven’t beaten in over a decade. Now, they have to take on this Arizona State team that very well could have a decade of dominance really soon as well. Granted, we know that Head Coach Steve Sarkisian is trying to eradicate all of the bad history that this program has had of late, but he has created a lot of this, too. Remember that Sark was on the hot seat at the start of the year, as it was finally time to start parlaying some of those recruiting classes into big Pac-12 wins. This is a game that Sarkisian badly needs to have go his way.
7 – The number of first downs that the South Carolina Gamecocks held the Arkansas Razorbacks to last week. Think that’s demoralizing? Oh, not really! That was a home game for the Hogs. Now, they have to go on the road to take on the #1 team in the land, the Alabama Crimson Tide, who have a defense that has allowed 26 points in five games not played against the Texas A&M Aggies this year. Alabama smacked the Hogs 52-0 last year in Fayetteville, and the feeling is that this one might end up being worse when push comes to shove.
9 – The number representing the biggest margin of victory in six of the last seven games between the North Carolina Tar Heels and the Miami Hurricanes. So don’t go thinking that just because Miami needed a bit of luck at the end of that game against the Tar Heels on Thursday night just to escape with a win that it’s all downhill for the ACC from here. QB Stephen Morris did what he needed to do, even throwing his four picks, and he beat a UNC team that is a heck of a lot better than 1-5 suggests. The margin of victory was tight, but hey, so were five of the other six games played in this rivalry of late, too.
12 – The number of years it has been since the Florida State Seminoles have beaten the Clemson Tigers at Clemson Memorial Stadium. Death Valley literally has been death for Florida State’s National Championship dreams over the course of the last decade, and the hope is that this is a game that can come back to the Sod Cemetery in Tallahassee and not be the death of another season with so much in the way of high hopes. The oddsmakers think that the Seminoles are the better of these two teams, and that’s why they’re favored, but we have seen FSU favored and favored by a lot heavier margins than this up here in South Carolina, and you know that Head Coach Jimbo Fisher isn’t going to let this game, which used to be known as the “Bowden Bowl” go by lightly.
14 – The number representing the turnover margin for the Houston Cougars this year. The Cougs have been nuts defensively, causing a whopping 18 turnovers in just five games. They are +3 better than any other team in the nation when it comes to turnover margin, and they are the only team in America averaging outdoing foes by more than two turnovers per game (and they’re at nearly three). Houston is going to need those forced turnovers at home against the BYU Cougars on Saturday afternoon, as the hosts are getting 9.5 from the oddsmakers who clearly don’t believe that that turnover margin is all that important.
33 – The minimum number of points that the Texas A&M Aggies have given up this year in games played against SEC teams. If that’s not proof that QB Johnny Manziel is deserving of a second straight Heisman Trophy, we have no idea what is. These Aggies are putrid defensively, and we saw that right away in the first game of the season when the Rice Owls were hanging around with this team in College Station. Texas A&M is only going to be as good this year as Johnny Football makes it, and even if he is at his absolute best like we saw in that game against the Alabama Crimson Tide, it still might not ultimately be enough. This defense is going to get this team in trouble at some point.
38.5 – The number of points that the Oregon Ducks are favored by over the Washington State Huskies. That makes Wazzu the biggest underdog of the weekend and not a surprising one at that. However, we forewarn you! These Cougars are a lot better than the loveable losers that you might remember from yesteryear. Head Coach Mike Leach is going to have this team in a bowl game this year. Though QB Connor Halliday is going to make far too many mistakes to ultimately challenge in this game, sticking with five touchdowns isn’t out of the question. The last three seasons, Washington State has been getting 30.5, 37.5, and 36.5 points, and in each of those games, the team stuck within 25, and it averaged putting up right around 400 yards per game in those clashes.
42.5 – The number representing the lowest ‘total’ of the weekend. The Michigan State Spartans are, once again not surprisingly involved in this game, as the numbers just continue to get lower with every passing defensive showdown that the Big Ten reps play. The foes this time are the Purdue Boilermakers, who are only averaging 287.3 yards and 15.3 points per game coming into this one. Translation: Purdue isn’t scoring more than one touchdown in this game, and that might be an optimistic number to shoot at against this awesome defense with a ton of future NFL talent on it.
76.5 – The number representing the highest ‘total’ of the weekend. Those crazy Baylor Bears are a part of it again, and they are going to be looking to score 69 or more points for the fifth time this season when they take on the Iowa State Cyclones this week in Waco. This is expected to be a crazy game with a lot of scoring, but a lot of it is going to be done by the hosts, who have a projected team over/under of 54 or 54.5 points. QB Bryce Petty just keeps doing what he’s doing, and RB Lache Seastrunk and the gang never let up. This time around though, QB Sam Richardson might have a few answers for the Cyclones. Remember that Baylor was “held” to 35 points in last week’s escape from the Kansas State Wildcats.
211 – The number of more rushing yards that the UCLA Bruins had against the Stanford Cardinal in the Pac-12 Championship Game than they had in the first meeting of the two teams last year. Remember that the Pac-12 title game came just six days after these two met to end the regular season in a game that really didn’t matter all that much (though it did keep Oregon out of the Pac-12 Championship Game for a second straight season). We don’t know what Head Coach Jim Mora Jr. really learned from that first game to the second, but if he figured out that much in that period of time and took an 18-point game and made it a three-point game that easily could have gone the other way, we think that he might have the game plan to pull off the upset when these two teams meet for the third time in the last 10+ months against each other down on “The Farm” in Palo Alto.
407 – The number of rushing yards the Northern Illinois Huskies had against the Central Michigan Chippewas last season when these two teams met. We really haven’t seen last year’s Orange Bowl losers take that step in the right direction again this year. Sure, NIU is undefeated and ranked again, but close calls against teams like the Akron Zips, or even like the Iowa Hawkeyes, aren’t going to help when it comes time for the first BCS Rankings to come out on Sunday night. Perhaps a dominating performance on the road, albeit only in Mount Pleasant and not in say, Ann Arbor or East Lansing, would at least help to get this team up the rankings in a hurry. It’s going to take a lot of work and some luck for QB Jordan Lynch and the gang to get back to the BCS.
Aaron Ryan has been in the sportswriting biz since the late-90s, and he has worked side by side with some of the best and brightest in sports gambling. Always searching for the best trends in sports, Andrew uses his brilliant math mind to his advantage to beat the books.