Games to Watch - Week 5
September 23, 2013
By Brian Edwards
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Editor’s Note: Brian Edwards finished up Week 4 with a 5-1 (83%) record. Don’t miss out on his Week 5 Winners on VegasInsider.com. Click to win!
Ohio State at Wisconsin
As of Monday afternoon, most books had Ohio State (4-0 straight up, 3-1 against the spread) installed as a 7 ½-point home favorite. During Urban Meyer’s two-year tenure, the Buckeyes are 6-5 against the spread as home favorites. After missing back-to-back games with a sprained knee, junior quarterback Braxton Miller is considered ‘probable.’ In his absence, Kenny Guiton has thrown for 664 yards and rushed for 186. Guiton has a 13/2 touchdown-to-interception ratio. Wisconsin (3-1 SU, 4-0 ATS) bounced back from its heartbreaking defeat at Arizona State by demolishing Purdue 41-10 as a 22-point home ‘chalk.’ Sophomore RB Melvin Gordon leads the country with 624 rushing yards and seven TDs. Gordon is averaging 11.8 yards per carry and has the potential to take it to the house on any given touch. When these schools met at Camp Randall last year, Ohio State won 21-14 in overtime as a 2 ½-point road underdog. The Bucks have won five of the last six head-to-head meetings both SU and ATS. The ‘over’ is 3-1 for Ohio State this year, 2-2 for Wisconsin. Kickoff is scheduled for 8:00 p.m. Eastern on ABC.
Ole Miss at Alabama
Most spots have top-ranked Alabama (3-0 SU, 1-2 ATS) favored by 16 ½ points. The Crimson Tide has an 18-21 spread record as a home favorite under Nick Saban. QB A.J. McCarron has 702 passing yards with a 6/2 TD-INT ratio for Alabama. As a road underdog on Hugh Freeze’s watch, Ole Miss (3-0 SU, 2-1 ATS) owns a 4-1 spread record. The Rebels are 7-1 ATS in their eight games away from Oxford (7 road, 1 neutral) under Freeze. Ole Miss’s leading returning tackler Denzel Nkemdiche (knee) was injured in the opener against Vandy and has missed the last two games. But Freeze told the media Monday afternoon that Nkemdiche would practice on Tuesday and be evaluated later in the week. He and CB Charles Sawyer are both listed as ‘questionable.’ Sawyer was suspended for the 44-23 win at Texas after his arrest on DUI charges the previous weekend. WR Vince Sanders (collarbone) is expected to play. Rebs’ QB Bo Wallace has completed 64.4 percent of his passes for 648 yards with a 4/0 TD-INT ratio. He has also run for 120 yards and three TDs. Jeff Scott has rushed for 330 yards and three TDs, averaging 9.4 YPC. He also has a punt return for a score. ESPN will have the telecast at 6:30 p.m. Eastern.
Oklahoma at Notre Dame
Oklahoma (3-0 SU, 2-1 ATS) will be seeking revenge for last season’s 30-13 home loss to Notre Dame in Norman. The oddsmakers have made the Sooners 3 ½-point favorites. They had an open date following their 51-20 victory over Tulsa. Blake Bell took control of the starting QB job with his 413 passing yards and four TDs without an interception against the Golden Hurricane. OU is 12-10 ATS in its last 22 games as a road favorite. Notre Dame (3-1 SU, 0-3-1 ATS) has only been a home underdog twice under Brian Kelly, going 1-1 both SU and ATS. The Fighting Irish won a 17-13 decision over Michigan State this past weekend as a four-point home favorite. The 30 combined points stayed ‘under’ the 42-point total. NBC will provide television coverage at 3:30 p.m. Eastern.
Arizona at Washington
Most books are listing Washington (3-0 SU, 2-1 ATS) as an eight-point favorite. During Steve Sarkisian’s five-year tenure, the Huskies are 9-5 ATS as home favorites. UW has won all three of its games by double-digit margins, including victories over Boise State (38-6) vs. Illinois (34-24 in Chicago). Senior QB Keith Price has completed 77.0 percent of his passes for 877 yards with a 7/1 TD-INT ratio. RB Bishop Sankey has run for 446 yards and four TDs, averaging 7.0 YPC. Arizona (3-0 SU, 2-1 ATS) has a 2-2 spread record in four games as a road underdog since Rich Rodriguez took over. AU’s new starting QB B.J. Denker has played well through 12 quarters. Denker has rushed for 221 yards and five TDs, in addition to a pair of TD passes without being intercepted. The Wildcats’ star is RB Ka’Deem Carey, who has 299 yards rushing and four TDs. He has a 7.0 YPC average. The ‘under’ is 2-1 for both schools. The ‘over’ has hit in six consecutive head-to-head meetings. When these Pac-12 rivals met last season, Arizona ran away with a 52-17 win as an 8 ½-point home ‘chalk.’ Carey ran for 172 yards and one TD, while AU’s defense intercepted Price twice. AU has had two weeks to prepare for the Huskies, who spanked Idaho St. 56-0 this past weekend. Kickoff is slated for 7:00 p.m. Eastern on FOX.
Texas A&M at Arkansas
As of Monday afternoon, there was no line due to the uncertain status of Arkansas QB Brandon Allen, who missed Saturday’s 28-24 loss at Rutgers with a bruised shoulder suffered in a win over Souther Mississippi on Sept. 14. The Razorbacks allowed a 24-7 third-quarter lead to get away in the loss to the Scarlet Knights. Back-up QB A.J. Derby completed 14-of-26 passes for 137 yards and one TD without an interception. Arkansas (3-1 SU, 1-3 ATS) won the turnover battle 3-0 but couldn’t run the ball effectively like it had done in winning its first three games. Texas A&M (3-1 SU, 3-1 ATS) has covered the number in three straight outings, including Saturday’s 42-13 win over SMU as a 28 ½-point favorite. The ‘over’ hit in the first three games for the Aggies, but the 55 combined points against the Mustangs dipped well ‘under’ the 80-point total. Johnny Manziel threw for 244 yards and one TD, while also rushing for a team-high 102 yards and two TDs. For the season, Manziel has 1,205 passing yards with a 12/4 TD-INT ratio. He has rushed for 255 yards and three TDs. WR Mike Evans is second in the nation with 575 receiving yards. When these schools met in College Station last year, Texas A&M cruised to a 58-10 win as a 13-point home favorite. ESPN2 will have the telecast at 7:00 p.m. Eastern.
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