Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:56 AM
Saturday's Tip Sheet
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Without a real main event – at least under the lights – in Week 8, we’re just going to jump around the country with some nuggets on various games Saturday…
-- South Carolina QB Ryan Hilinski is ‘probable’ vs. Florida after spraining his knee and missing the second half of last week’s 20-17 double-overtime win at Georgia. The Gamecocks cashed 10/1 money-line tickets at the Westgate SuperBook, even though they had to play a third-string QB the entire second half and both extra sessions. Bryan Edwards, who ranks third in program history in career receiving yards, is ‘questionable’ against the Gators, who are 3-1 ATS as road favorites on Dan Mullen’s watch. UF’s two best pass rushers, DEs Jonathan Greenard and Jabari Zuniga, will both be game-time decisions, according to Mullen. However, VegasInsider.com sources have indicated that there isn’t much confidence that either defensive force is going to be able to go at Williams-Brice Stadium at noon Eastern on Saturday. As of Friday, most books had Florida installed as a five-point favorite with a total of 47. The Gamecocks were +175 on the money line. The weather forecast is calling for rain in Columbia. ESPN will provide television coverage.
-- Alabama will play host to Tennessee at 9:00 p.m. Eastern on ESPN. As of Friday afternoon, most books had the Crimson Tide listed as a 34.5-point home ‘chalk’ with a total of 61. Playing this side is dangerous because if Nick Saban’s club gets ahead of the number, there’s a good chance junior QB and Heisman Trophy favorite Tua Tagovailoa (27/1 touchdown-to-interception ratio) will get shut down for the rest of the night. That would leave the backdoor open. I believe you look to play Alabama’s team total ‘over’ in the first half if it’s 28 points or less. I did this on the Tide last week at ‘over’ 20.5 for its first-half team total and it was an easy winner. UT improved to 2-4 with last week’s 20-10 home win over Tennessee.
-- Boston College junior QB Anthony Brown is out for the rest of the season with a knee injury.
-- Oregon TE Jacob Breeland is out for the season. Breeland was leading the Ducks in receiving yards. Washington, a 2.5-point home underdog vs. Oregon, is a home ‘dog for the first time since 2015. ABC will have the telecast at 3:30 p.m. Eastern.
-- Eastern Michigan is an 8.5-point underdog vs. Western Michigan. The Eagles are a stellar 21-4-1 ATS in their past 26 games as underdogs. They committed a pair of red-zone turnovers and missed an extra point in last week’s 29-23 home loss to Ball State. EMU has been favored in each of its last three games, but Chris Creighton’s club is back in the ‘dog role bettors love to see it occupying.
-- Buffalo QB Matt Myers is ‘questionable’ with a neck injury that caused him to miss a 21-20 overtime loss to Ohio two weeks ago. Back-up Kyle Vantrease sustained a foot injury against the Bobcats, but he was upgraded to ‘probable’ Thursday and will likely start at Akron. The Zips, who are 0-6 ATS along with Vanderbilt and Georgia Tech, are 17.5-point home underdogs against the Bulls, who are 0-3 both SU and ATS on the road this year.
-- Wake Forest junior rover Luke Masterson is out for the season with a shoulder injury. QB Jamie Newman is ‘questionable’ vs FSU with a shoulder injury, but the Demon Deacons have one of the nation’s best back-up QBs in Sam Hartman, who nearly orchestrated a remarkable comeback win in last week’s 62-59 home loss to Louisville. Hartman, who played a lot as a true freshman in 2018 when he had a 16/8 TD-INT ratio, threw for 175 yards and two TDs without an interception. He also had a rushing TD against the Cardinals. This is the first time the Deacs have been favorites (H/T to ESPN’s ‘The Bear,’ Chris Fallica) against FSU since the Seminoles entered the ACC in 1990. In fact, they’ve only been underdogs of less than a TD twice, winning outright both times during Riley Skinner’s Era as QB under Jim Grobe. As of Friday afternoon, most spots had Wake favored by 1.5 points. Another note on Dave Clawson’s team is that starting senior OG Nathan Gilliam popped up on the injury report Thursday as ‘questionable’ with a foot injury. FSU got smashed 45-14 at Clemson last week in a game that wasn’t as close as the final score indicated. The Seminoles are 1-3-1 ATS in five games as road underdogs on Willie Taggart’s watch. Kickoff in Winston-Salem is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Eastern on the ACC Network.
-- Vanderbilt star RB Ke’Shawn Vaughn and WR Kalija Lipscomb, who led the SEC in catches in 2018, are both ‘questionable’ for Saturday’s home game vs. Missouri. However, Vaughn indicated on Twitter earlier this week that he will play. The Tigers, who have beaten Vandy three times in a row but failed to cover and had to rally for a 33-28 home triumph last season, were 21-point road favorites as of late Friday afternoon. This is a 4:00 p.m. Eastern kick on the SEC Network.
-- The Westgate SuperBook updated its Games of the Year spreads earlier this week. Some notable highlights include Georgia -10 vs. Florida, Alabama -10.5 vs. LSU, Ohio State -14.5 vs. Penn State, Alabama -13.5 vs. Auburn, Florida -16.5 vs. FSU, LSU -17.5 vs. Texas A&M, Wisconsin -11.5 at Minnesota, Clemson -19.5 at South Carolina, Oklahoma -14 at Oklahoma State and Ohio State -13 at Michigan. If Zuniga and Greenard are back healthy, I like the Gators to beat UGA outright. Remember, UF might get explosive WR Kadarius Toney back from a wrist injury sustained in Week 2 in time to face the Bulldogs.
-- What are you thinking on an LSU at Alabama total with the way these offenses are humming right now? I asked a couple of sharp handicappers that question this week. Brad Powers said 71, while Christopher Smith offered 76? Me? I’m thinking closer to 80.
-- Boise State true freshman QB Hank Bachmeier is ‘questionable’ at BYU due to hip injury sustained in last week’s 59-37 home win over Hawaii. BYU is already without its starting QB Zach Wilson (thumb) until late November, and Cougars’ back-up QB Jaren Hall is going to be a game-time decision due to an undisclosed injury. The Broncos are seven-point road favorites in Provo during ‘The Feel-Good Hours,’ which is to say it’s a 10:15 p.m. ET. start on ESPN2.
-- Illinois QB Brandon Peters (10/4 TD-INT) is ‘questionable’ vs. Wisconsin due to a concussion sustained earlier this month. The Badgers, who are 31-point road favorites, have cashed tickets at an outstanding 12-3 ATS clip in their 15 games as road ‘chalk’ on Paul Chryst’s watch. This is a noon Eastern start on the Big Ten Network.
-- West Virginia QB Austin Kendall was upgraded to ‘probable’ early Friday for his team’s trip to Norman to face his former team. Oklahoma is a 33-point home favorite against the Mountaineers for a noon kick on FOX.
--Louisiana improved to 6-1 ATS with Thursday’s 37-20 win at Arkansas State as a six-point road favorite. Raymond Calais had 144 rushing yards and two TDs on just eight carries for the Ragin’ Cajuns, who have an open date on deck before hosting Texas St. Billy Napier’s team should be favored in its final five games and if it wins them all, it will be 10-2 (SU) and get a rematch with Appalachian St. in the Sun Belt Championship Game. The Mountaineers, who are 14.5-point home favorites vs. ULM on Saturday, won a 17-7 decision in Lafayette last Wednesday.
-- UTSA QB Frank Harris is out for the year with an arm injury.
Follow Brian Edwards' sports gambling opinions on Twitter at @vegasbedwards.