Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:56 AM
Total Moves - Week 9
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College Football Week 9 Total Moves
I'm now on a three-week run of splitting these total plays, as last week's selections on the 'over' in Georgia Tech/Miami eventually got there after a 1st half that looked like it would get there with ease, and Wisconsin/Illinois ended up falling short.
The Illini did their part as expected in putting up 20+ points, but Wisconsin's offense no-showed in the latter half of that game as they got really tight and ultimately exposed when the game got close. Hopefully for Badgers fans it was nothing more then Wisconsin taking a lesser opponent extremely lightly with Ohio State on deck, but to lose outright as a 30-point favorite is very disturbing no matter how you try to spin it.
Three straight weeks of basically breaking even is rather frustrating though, and as dumb as it may sound from a bottom line perspective, I would like to see a result one way or the other this week. With multiple total moves I've found to disagree with this week, we are bumping up the plays to three this week to get a definitive result, and let's hope that the change in approach doesn't lead to my ass getting spanked with the oddsmakers broom.
YTD: 9-7 ATS
Week 9 Total move(s) to disagree with:
Virginia/Louisville from 55 to 52
I would venture a guess that part of this move downwards has to do with the rainy forecast Louisville's got this weekend, but rain is always something you can look at both ways – it could hinder offenses, but also lead to multiple turnovers and short fields – although I never look at rain as that big of a deal.
However, this team has started to find a bit of something on offense lately, scoring 22 or more points in each of their last two games, and three of their past four, after opening the year needing three grams to crack the 14-point barrier. Miami's defense is quite good and overall should not have much issue holding the Jackets down, but it's also going to be tough for them to be overly sharp mentally coming off a national prime time game against a ranked foe. The Hurricanes are expected to win this game rather easily as 18-point chalk, but easy wins don't necessarily mean said team will hold their foes off the score sheet as well.
Granted, Virginia's offense may have erupted last week in a 48-14 win over Duke and some bettors may have a hard time figuring that's going to happen two weeks in a row, but the Cavaliers likely only need about half of that 48 number – against a defense that's allowed 45, 59, 39, and 35 points in their last four games – to likely get over this total that's moved far too much.
Yes, Louisville's offense looked very poor last week in scoring only 10 points vs Clemson, but who in the ACC does look like an offensive juggernaut against the Tigers. I'm sure many expected a much better performance from Louisville offensively after seeing them put up 62 vs Wake the week before, and 41 vs Boston College the week before that, and probably got burned on either Louisville ATS and/or the 'over' because of it. But that's just one of the pitfalls of the “betting teams and not numbers” approach so many defacto GM's in this business swear by, and it causes them to either miss out on great spots further down the road and/or overreact to a number like appears to be the case here.
Interestingly enough, a pattern that we've seen this year for teams following facing that vaunted Clemson defense is that the chains tend to come off offensively and points come in bunches. A new-look Georgia Tech team only scored 14 points the week after falling to Clemson, but that was a Week 2 game where the Yellow Jackets were still adjusting to life after the triple-option.
The other teams that have followed since then have come up with 62 points (Texas A&M), 52 points (Syracuse), 27 points (Charlotte), 38 points (North Carolina) and 20 points (Florida State) the game after facing Clemson. That's good enough for an average of 39.8 points per game for those five squads and Louisville does have an offense to do that type of damage.
Obviously a talented Virginia defense will have plenty to say about that, but a 31-28 type game here isn't a big stretch at all. With Louisville on a 8-2 O/U run when coming off a loss as a program, and Virginia on a 7-2 O/U run away from home against a winning home team, this game should sail over the current number of 52, and probably the opener of 55 as well as long as the projected rain isn't too heavy for too long. That's a risk I'm willing to take here.
Auburn/LSU from 58.5 to 59.5
Not the biggest mover of the week by any means, but with LSU scoring 42 or more in all of their home games so far this year and QB Joe Burrow being a Heisman favorite now, you can understand where the love for the high side of this total is coming from. But as I've said before, understanding why a move has happened and agreeing with it are two very different things, and given the caliber of defense these two SEC rivals bring to the table, I'm not sure we see this total get as high as it seems many expect.
Yes, LSU's offense has looked spectacular every week this year, and Auburn is coming off a game where they put up 51 in an easy win over Arkansas, but this game should see only the winner get to 30 points, if either of them get that high.
Auburn's already had two other 50+ point performances already this season and in the following game they managed just 28 and 13 points respectively, going 1-1 O/U in the process. The 'over' came just by the hook on a closing total of 47.5 so take that for what it's worth.
The 13 points they had vs Florida's defense is rather comparable to what they'll see from LSU this week, and I'm sure their own defense will have some exotic looks to throw at Burrow and company as well. Not one of the past three meetings between these two programs has finished with more than 50 total points scored, and while LSU's offense this year is light years ahead of where they've been in recent seasons, this game topping out at 50 or 51 points is where I see it landing.
Week 9 Total move to agree with:
Indiana/Nebraska from 54.5 to 52
As is always the case with this portion of this weekly piece, betting into bad numbers is always tough to stomach, but any total above 51 here still seems a bit high.
Nebraska's offense is essentially non-existent these days as they have no real identity and no confidence in the ones they are trying on. The Cornhuskers have put up a grand total of 27 points in their last three games combined – and never more than 13 poitns in a single game – and have easily cashed 'under' tickets in all three. Yes, Indiana's defense is softer then the likes of Ohio State, Northwestern, and Minnesota – Nebraska's last three opponents – but with them potentially starting a third string QB here, how anxious are the Cornhuskers to get into a track meet style of game.
At the same time, Indiana has not cashed two consecutive 'overs' all year, and after creeping over the number a week ago in a win over Maryland, I'm not sure the Hoosiers offense – which has put up 30+ in four straight games.