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Games to Watch - Week 9

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Vanderbilt at Texas A&M
As of Wednesday morning, most books had Texas A&M (5-2 straight up, 3-4 against the spread) as an 18-point favorite with a total of 68 ½. Vanderbilt (4-3 SU, 3-4 ATS) rallied from a double-digit second-half deficit to upset Georgia 31-27 as a seven-point home underdog this past Saturday. QB Austyn Carta-Samuels was injured in the first half against UGA and isn’t expected to play in College Station. Patton Robinette will get his first career start. He helped orchestrate the comeback against UGA with a touchdown run early in the fourth quarter. Texas A&M is coming off a devastating 45-41 home loss to Auburn as a 14-point favorite. Johnny Manziel injured his shoulder in the second half and missed one series. He didn’t practice Monday but is expected to be ready by Saturday. Manziel leads the SEC in passing yards, passing touchdowns (18), total offense and passing efficiency. He is 11th in the conference in rushing yards and has six rushing scores. His favorite target Mike Evans leads the league in receiving yards. The Aggies are 5-4 ATS as home favorites on Kevin Sumlin’s watch. Vandy has compiled a 4-3 spread record as a road underdog during James Franklin’s tenure. The ‘over’ has cashed at a 6-1 overall clip for A&M, going 4-1 in its home games. The ‘over’ is 4-3 overall for the Commodores, 1-1 in their road contests. This is the SEC Game of the Week at 12:20 p.m. Eastern in the South. Viewers elsewhere can get this game as a part of the ESPN Game Plan.

Tennessee at Alabama

As of Wednesday morning, most betting shops had Alabama (7-0 SU, 4-3 ATS) as a 28 ½-point favorite with a total of 51 ½. The Crimson Tide trounced Arkansas 52-0 in Tuscaloosa last weekend. An 80-yard TD run by Derrick Henry sent ‘over’ backers to the ticket counter with a winner when all seemed lost after the Razorbacks were stopped on downs in the final two minutes. The total had closed at 49. Senior QB A.J. McCarron improved to 33-2 in 35 career starts. McCarron has a 14/3 touchdown-to-interception ratio in 2013. Butch Jones’s squad is coming off two strong performances at home, taking Georgia to overtime before losing a heartbreaker nearly three weeks ago. In bounce-back mode after an open date, Tennessee (4-3 SU, 4-3 ATS) beat South Carolina 23-21 on a walk-off field goal. They won outright as 7 ½-point home underdogs. The ‘over’ is 4-3 overall for UT, 2-0 in its road assignments. The ‘under’ is 3-1 in the Tide’s four home outings. ‘Bama has won six in a row over UT, going 5-1 ATS with the lone non-cover coming in Lane Kiffin’s only season with the Vols. CBS will have the telecast at 3:30 p.m. Eastern.

Texas Tech at Oklahoma
As of early Wednesday, most spots had Oklahoma (6-1 SU, 3-4 ATS) listed as a seven-point home favorite with a total of 58. The Red Raiders are +230 on the money line (risk $100 to win $230). The Sooners are 27-17-1 ATS as home ‘chalk’ since 2006. Texas Tech (7-0 SU, 5-2 ATS) hasn’t faced a murderer’s row of opponents by any means so far, but new head coach Kliff Kingsbury is doing a masterful job nonetheless. The school’s second all-time leading passer and youngest FBS coach has used a pair of freshmen at QB in leading his squad to an unbeaten start a 4-0 record in Big 12 play. The Red Raiders hooked up their betting supporters in last week’s 37-27 win at West Virginia by outscoring the Mountaineers 14-0 in the final stanza. They took the money thanks to a 10-yard TD pass from Davis Webb to Jace Amaro with 1:01 remaining as 4 ½-point road favorites. Webb threw for 462 yards and a pair of scores without being intercepted. He and Baker Mayfield have combined to throw for 2,915 yards and nine TDs through seven games. OU won its first five games before getting thumped 36-20 by Texas. Then last week, the Sooners fell down 13-0 at Kansas before rallying for a 33-18 triumph although they failed to cover as 21-point favorites. The ‘over’ is 5-2 for Texas Tech, 3-0 in its previous road assignments. The ‘under’ is 4-3 for OU overall, 3-1 in its home games. Kickoff is slated for 3:30 p.m. Eastern on FOX.

Baylor at Kansas
As of early Wednesday, most books had Baylor (6-0 SU, 5-1 ATS) favored by 35 with a total of 66 ½. Art Briles’s team trounced Iowa St. by a 71-7 count as a 33-point home ‘chalk’ last weekend. Bryce Petty threw for 343 yards and two TDs without an interception, while RB Lache Seastrunk ran for 118 yards and a pair of scores. For the season, Petty is completing 71.0 percent of his passes for 2,033 yards with a 15/1 TD-INT ratio. And remember, Petty has only gone the distance in a 35-25 win at Kansas St. that was the Bears’ only game that wasn’t decided by halftime. Seastrunk has run for 760 yards in the nation’s No. 1 offense that’s averaging 64.7 points and more than 700 yards of offense per game. The ‘over’ cashed in Baylor’s first four games, but the ‘under’ is 1-0-1 in their last two times out. Kansas (2-4 SU, 2-4 ATS) gave OU an early scare and took the cash in last week’s home loss, but second-year head coach Charlie Weis is feeling the heat in Lawrence with just three wins since he took over before the 2012 campaign. The Jayhawks are 4-2 ATS as home underdogs under Weis. The Bears are 2-4 ATS as road favorites during Briles’s tenure. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. Eastern on ESPNU.

Fresno State at San Diego State
As of early Wednesday, most books had Fresno St. (6-0 SU, 1-5 ATS) favored by 8 ½ or nine with a total of 61 ½. The Bulldogs are racking up victories for themselves, but they’re killing their backers. That continued this past Saturday when Fresno St. beat UNLV 38-14 as a 25-point home favorite. Derek Carr is enjoying a stellar senior campaign, completing 70.4 percent of his throws for 2,276 yards with a 23/4 TD-INT ratio. San Diego St. (3-3 SU, 3-3 ATS) has won three in a row since losing its first three. The Aztecs have had two weeks to prep for this spot after pulling out a 27-20 comeback win at Air Force. They trailed the Falcons 20-6 going into the final stanza before Quinn Kaehler threw a pair of scoring strikes to (almost) tie the game until the PAT failed. Then with 1:39 remaining, Donnel Pumphrey put SDS up for good with a 10-yard TD scamper. As a home underdog under Rocky Long, SDS has a 2-2 spread record. ESPN2 will have the telecast at 10:30 p.m. Eastern.

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