Total Talk - Week 7
October 11, 2018
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CFB Week 7 Total Talk
There weren't too many things that went well for this piece a week ago, as those early line moves on ASU/Colorado 'over' never came close to cashing, while the 'under' action for Michigan State was all washed away except for those that were able to get a push on that opener of 48.
Even my Best Bet came up short in BC/NC State, so hopefully you were able to avoid some of that damage. That 'under' in the Michigan State seemed destined to lose for those following line moves and as I said in that piece, I am glad I sat on the sidelines there.
A new week brings new prospects though and hopefully the totals I've isolated for discussion this week can bring more fruitful results, so let's get right to work:
Odds per - BetDSI.eu
Biggest Movers to the 'Over'
#10 UCF vs Memphis: Open: 78 – Current: 81
I've long been a proponent of “siding with the crazy side” when it comes to totals wagering – ie take the 'over' on totals that appear to be crazily high – but these days it's become harder and harder to define what exactly a “crazy” total is for a football game. Seeing totals in the high-70's and low 80's is something we see a handful or more times a year now, as it's slowly started to creep into normalcy here.
Now there is no question we can trust this UCF offense to pull their own weight in terms of scoring 40+ here as this team has averaged 48.6 points per game offensively. The Knights have become a victim of their own success in the betting market though – specifically with totals – because all of those points scored has just let to a 2-3 O/U record. That is partially on the defense as they seem to be holding the fort more often these days, and with just 24.5 points allowed per game this year, maybe we should expect UCF to slow down this Memphis attack somewhat.
Memphis will be ready for a shootout if that's what it ends up being, as they average 46.2 points per game themselves, while their defense comes in allowing 17.7 a game. Granted, neither defensive side has gone up against a talented offense like they'll see here, but doing some cross comparisons with those points per game numbers (UCF offense vs Memphis defense and vice versa), you come up with a 35-33 score in favor of the underdog home side.
More importantly, that final score is 10 points below the original number and 13 points below the current one. That's quite a spread of value on that general basis alone, and it's enough to keep me from following this move and expecting this total to get surpassed. But like I said before, I'm not really that interested in the 'under' either as the “crazy side” could come in here, especially if it's a tight game late and the possibility of OT is still on the table. These two teams might not need extra time to get 'over' this number, but it's not a move I'm interested in following.
Odds per - BetDSI.eu
Biggest Movers to the 'Under'
Michigan State vs #8 Penn State: Open 56.5 – Current: 53
Now this is a move I am interested in following because 53 is still a key number in totals to go low on (for 31-21 or 28-24 type scores), and because it's Michigan State involved again and I do side with this general consensus that they should be an 'under' minded team.
Seeing a Michigan State total take another leap down was something I expected given how last week's move on the 'under' was basically spoiled by poor final half of the 3rd quarter. 21 points were scored in those final seven minutes of the 3rd frame, and even then, it took a TD in the final three minutes for that opening number to get 'pushed' on, while bettors getting to the 'over' late got to cash a ticket. Whether it was a tough beat or not in the end, the reality is that this Michigan State team is one that should have trouble scoring all year long and has no other option but to rely on a very stout defense to do all the heavy lifting. That's the generic recipe for an 'under' team – especially when they are on the road – and it's the result I do expect to see from this Michigan State/Penn State tilt.
For one, Michigan State hasn't allowed 30 or more points in any of their last four games overall, and in their two games on the road they've given up 16 and 21 points respectively, and they LOST one of those games. If that doesn't speak to both Michigan State's defensive play as well as their offensive play, I don't know what will, as this is not a team you can trust to score 17 points against any type of quality foe.
Penn State is a quality foe whether they deserve to be ranked in the Top 10 now or not, and having had their season in 2017 spoiled by a road loss as a 10-point favorite in Michigan State last year, this is a game the Nittany Lions have had circled.
So while the 'over' has cashed in four straight games between these two, three of those four games closed with totals at 47.5 or less. The last time they played at Penn State it was nearly an identical scenario as this year's game (Penn State was -11, Total: 53.5), and while the game did sail 'over' on the 45-12 Penn State win, it was a 10-6 game at half and Penn State needed to outscore Michigan State 35-0 in the final 30 minutes to just get 'over' that total.
I don't think we see that type of scoring outburst late this time around and anything at 53 or higher I'd gladly follow here.
Odds per - BetDSI.eu
Best Total Bet for Week 7: Middle Tennessee vs. FIU Over 56.5
This week I'm heading to the first place showdown between FIU and Middle Tennessee as both teams look to remain perfect in Conference USA play. This total has taken some 'under' money earlier this week as I assume some bettors look at the stakes of this matchup and project it with a playoff-like atmosphere, but that never seems to be the case when these two teams square off.
The O/U record between these teams the past six meetings is 4-1-1 O/U and that lone 'under' came in a 48-0 blowout win with the total closing at 49. Last year's push on 54 total points wouldn't help us on the 'over' play this year, but we had 77 and 76-point games in the two years prior and that's more of the style of game I think we get here.
For one, FIU has scored an average of 48.6 points per home game this year, and although that number is clearly skewed based on the level of competition (games against UMass and FCS Arkansas Pine-Bluff), this Panthers team can score at home and should be able to at least threaten the 30-point mark in this contest. After all, Middle Tennessee does give up 36 points per game on the road this year.
Secondly, Middle Tennessee is looking for more consistency in their offensive play right now and they are hoping that last week's breakthrough of 34 points scored @ Marshall was the start of them turning the corner in that regard. This FIU defense can be had, and considering the 'over' has gone 5-0-1 in Middle Tennessee's last six trips to FIU, the Blue Raiders program knows they've got to be prepared to win a shootout on this field.
With Middle Tennessee on a 10-4 O/U run after covering the point spread, and FIU on a 13-5-1 O/U run after failing to cover the point spread, this game seemingly has quite a few things lining up for the 'over' here and it's a play I can't pass up in Week 7.
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