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NCAAF

Oct 14, 2019

Hot & Not Report - Week 8

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Week of October 14th

There were some strong results if you followed last week's piece that touched on NFL divisional games, as the majority of those trends held true in Week 6.

Road teams managed to sweep the board against the spread with Carolina, Cincinnati and San Francisco all cashing tickets on Sunday, with the Lions the only remaining team in that spot tonight on MNF. Carolina dominated Tampa Bay from start to finish, the Bengals were able to sneak through the back door against Baltimore, and San Francisco brought their best stuff to LA in beating the Rams in a game that many viewed as a measuring stick for the now 5-0 SU 49ers.

At the same time, NFL division games staying 'under' the number posted a 2-1 record as well on Sunday, with only the Panthers/Bucs game over in London sailing 'over' the number. Given the different circumstances of that game with no true home field – and London games tendency to go over as the NFL wants to make sure they put on a show over there – on paper that was the easiest division game to avoid going 'under' on the Week 6 card, especially with it being the first divisional rematch game of the year and the flip-flop theory seemingly alive and well in that regard again. Hindsight is always 20-20 though, but the good news is that had you played all three of those games you'd still have come out on top.

This week I'm taking a break from the pro game as there is one specific conference in college football that deserves noting. So I'd like to wish a happy Columbus Day to everyone - and a happy Thanksgiving to all you Canadians out there – as Columbus (the place), has a tie to this week's piece as we look at what's been going on in the Big 10.

Who's Hot

Home teams in Big 10 games are 11-2 SU the past two weeks – 9-4 ATS in that span

It's been quite the 14 days for Big 10 teams that play in front of their adoring fans, as that SU run is pretty impressive. Home sides went 5-1 SU in conference play this past week, after going 6-1 SU in Week 6. And the 9-4 ATS record could have been a little better considering Penn State's 35-7 win over Purdue in Week 6 missed out on cashing an ATS ticket by the hook.

What makes a run like this intriguing from a betting perspective is the six Big 10 games we've got on the schedule this upcoming week. It all starts with those boys from Columbus, Ohio – the Ohio State Buckeyes – heading out on the road on Friday night to face a Northwestern team as heavy, heavy chalk. Ohio State is currently laying 27.5 points on the road for that game, and that's a lofty number for any road team to cover in today's game, let alone one going up against quite a run for home teams within the conference right now.

The Buckeyes aren't the only Big 10 team laying heavy chalk on the road either this week, as Wisconsin's spread is even bigger (-30.5) for their road trip to Illinois, and Minnesota is laying about four TD's for their contest at Rutgers. Given that the outright record of those three road teams – Ohio State, Wisconsin, and Minnesota – is 18-0 SU and their opponents sit at 2-13 SU, the numbers are somewhat warranted, but don't be surprise to see at least one of those heavy chalk visitors fail to cover their lofty spread.

On the flip side of that equation we've got two other Big 10 games where the home team is laying chalk, the most notable being Penn State has they host Michigan under the lights. The “September Warriors” in the Iowa Hawkeyes – every year Iowa beats up on cupcakes and Iowa State in September to earn a Top 25 ranking and promptly loses it in October when the competition level rises – are the other team laying chalk with Purdue coming to town. Indiana/Maryland is yet to have a line as of this writing but that's the other Big 10 game on the board this week.

But it's the Michigan/Penn State game that becomes highly intriguing given this run for Big 10 home teams, because Michigan is already a program that's been labelled as chokers once again this year. There is never any love for Harbaugh's squad in these type of big games, and with the number on Penn State currently climbing to approach double digits, it will be very interesting to see how this game shakes out. My initial reaction is that if there ever was a game to go against a run by the home teams like this, this would be it, but you can't deny there are plenty of good things (revenge, being undefeated, being at home) working for the Nittany Lions here as well.

Penn State backers will assuredly use this great run by Big 10 home teams as an additional layer of support for why the Nittany Lions are getting their support, but whether that ends up being the right side, we've got six days to debate it and then find out.

Who's Not

Backing 'Overs' in Big 10 games the past two weeks – 2-11 O/U run against closing number

Similar to the great 'under' run in division games in the NFL that was touched on last week, this Big 10 conference games have been an 'under' bettors haven the past 14 days.

A run like that on low-scoring games is a combination of superior teams blowing out inferior teams, keeping those weaker foes off the scoreboard and then running out the clock with reserves, but also quality foes – especially on defense – doing battle with one another as well.

This week's card has a bit of both in that regard as we've got all those huge road favorites that were already discussed likely to fall on the former side of things if things go according to plan for them. However, if those home teams like Northwestern, Illinois, and Rutgers do end up keeping that trend going for home sides, you've got to figure they'd do so by putting up a few scores to put a scare in their opponent. It's what we saw from Illinois this past week when they hosted Michigan, and I wouldn't put it past them or Northwestern to have a similar type of effort this week.

Then again, Ohio State and Wisconsin could put the clamps down on defense rather early and cruise to blowout wins (as expected) that fail to see enough total points be put up to break this great run of 'unders.'

The Michigan/Penn State game is likely to see some initial 'under' love when totals come out as they fit the style of two elite defenses squaring off with points being at a premium. Both of those teams were on the right side of that style of game against Iowa the past two weeks, but the series history between the two schools is also on a 4-0 O/U run the past four years, and that includes the loser scoring 13 or fewer points in each of the past three meetings.

Yet, just like the initial feel of going against the home team trend for this game that I talked about earlier, this would be the one game where I'd strongly consider going against this 'under' trend as well. Obviously we've got to wait to see what number gets posted for this total, but it's definitely something to consider.

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