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Joe Nelson - Blogs

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BETWEEN THE LINES - NOV. 4

By Joe Nelson
Posted 11/04/2013 at 06:33 PM

College Football is taking over the whole week this time of year with Tuesday and Wednesday games lined up in the coming weeks. This week’s Thursday schedule is almost more appealing than the Saturday slate with two huge conference clashes with major national implications as Baylor gets its first big test hosting Oklahoma and the huge Pac-12 game features Oregon at Stanford in a rematch of last year’s national landscape changing game.
 
Road favorites seem like a risky play in college football but this year they have been one of the best bets. Road favorites are 96-75-2 in college football this season with most of the edge coming in the last two weeks. Road favorites went 14-6-1 ATS last week and are 26-11-1 the last two weeks. It makes logical sense that playing on the road earlier in the season would be more difficult for a team early in the season and now with a few road tests under a team’s belt the better teams are taking care of business. That said November weather can certainly make for some more dramatic differences in road venues so the success of road favorites may reverse course in the coming weeks.
 
Think handicapping the NFL is easy? Half of the 12 teams that won the yardage battle in week 9 (before Monday’s game) lost outright. Three teams that were out-gained by 120 or more yards managed to win and cover with the Colts and Chiefs doing so most notably and as favorites. The Colts were out-gained in Houston by 169 yards and won and the Chiefs were out-gained by a whopping 260 yards in Buffalo and yet they remained perfect as the lone 9-0 team in the league. Kansas City has scored 81 points on defense this season, Jacksonville has scored 86 points overall this season (through 8 games). The Dolphins, Jets, Eagles, and Cowboys all won while being out-gained last week as well with only the Cowboys failing to cover in their last minute win over the Vikings.
 
Speaking of Minnesota, a team that was 10-6 last season has now lost three games by allowing a go-ahead touchdown in the final minute this season. The Vikings have not been a good team this season, but they certainly are not far from being respectable had those games gone the other way. Last year the Vikings won five games by less than a touchdown so it was commonly expected that they would fall off a bit this year but the Colts are a team that continues to defy that notion of a balancing out correction for close wins. Indianapolis won eight games last season by seven or fewer points, going 11-5 with a negative point and yardage differential but they are at it again with four such wins already this season.
 
In the new era of NFL there have been some big shifts for totals. In 2011 56 games featured a total below 40, there were 38 last season, this season there has been just six instances so far. In 2011 there were just 31 games with a total of 50 or more, last season there were 38, this season at the midway point there has already been 26 games with total of 50 or more. The ‘over’ is 17-9 in those games and 71-58-3 overall this season as the rising numbers will continue. Colder weather may force some lower numbers in the coming weeks but no total has closed below 38½ so far this season. Best of Luck, on to this week’s slate…

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