Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:56 AM

Total Moves - Week 10

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College Football Week 10 Total Moves

After three straight weeks of pushing with these total plays, stepping out with three of them last week got a defined result, just not the one I was looking for.

Indiana and Nebraska was a back-and-forth shootout that saw Indiana's streak of scoring 30+ get extended to five straight games. That game had little chance to stay low after 37 total points in the first half for one of the negative plays on the card.

The other selection that failed to get there was the 'over' in Virginia/Louisville, as they fell a FG short of pushing on 52; a total that closed even lower then that. In terms of game script, that game brought no complaints about coming up short, it was just one of those contests where the initial move down proved to be correct and you can do nothing else but move on from it.

The lone winner came from the highest profile game, as Auburn/LSU never came close to sniffing the high 50's as those SEC defenses showed up and balled out. It was arguably the second stiff test that Joe Burrow and that LSU offense has faced this year (the other being Florida) from a defensive standpoint, and Auburn made sure they weren't going to get embarrassed by watching that LSU run up and down the field against them.

It does beg the question though of whether or not more and more film on this LSU offense and Joe Burrow could end up being LSU's undoing, as the opposition has more evidence of what works and what doesn't against him, how to disguise coverages and/or confuse him, and play-calling patterns LSU may have been falling into. I'm sure those are the types of things Nick Saban and Alabama are spending this week identifying ahead of that huge showdown with LSU next Saturday.

We've still got a week of games to get through until that huge 2nd Saturday in November, and after last week's 1-2 record, it's back to just a single play from each category this week in hopes of sweeping the board.

YTD: 10-9 ATS

Week 10 Total move to disagree with:

SMU/Memphis from 70 to 71.5

This is a huge game in the American conference as SMU and Memphis are getting the full prime time treatment with College Game Day being there. SMU is a perfect 8-0 SU thanks in large part to an offense that's scored 34 or more points in all eight games, including a run of 40 or more in six straight games before having it snapped last week.

Memphis is also a program built to win with their offense as they've put up 35+ in all but one of their seven games since a sluggish season opener, and have hit the 40+ point mark in five of their eight games on the season.

You get two teams like that squaring off in prime time it's got to be an easy 'over' right?

Statistically speaking, everything does point to this 'over' being the only way to look at this total and with support of 85%+ currently here on Thursday afternoon, the betting market has voiced that same opinion so far this week. After all, when you've got two teams that have scored 34 or more points in 14 of their 16 total games this year, it's easy to surmise that this game that these two will put up that number on one another, and then all it takes is one more TD from someone to get 'over' this current total. I mean, Memphis is 6-2 O/U this year and SMU is 7-1 O/U, so how can you not like the 'over' here.

Well for one, that's always going to be the popular belief in a game like this, and while popular/public sides do win each week, I'm not so sure that will be the case here. In a game that features two teams that are so good at scoring, totals are always going to be shaded to the high side of things because oddsmakers understand that that's going to be the prevailing belief. So just from a line perspective, there is always going to be some intrinsic value in going the other way – as there would be in going 'over' the number in a game between two very good defensive teams that has a low total posted.

That means that you've got a case where there is a good chance the true number oddsmakers believe this line to be at is likely a point or two lower then it opened, knowing they'd get bulk support on the 'over' and they can adjust it even higher accordingly. Heck, by the time the full effect of the College Game Day hype machine does its work on previewing this game, we are likely to see this total climb even higher into the mid-70's by kickoff. If that's the case you may hear me complain about giving out this play on a bad number, but there really is no harm in waiting because this number won't dip any lower then the opener of 70 – which I suggested was shaded high in the first place.

Furthermore, this game isn't short on having high stakes attached to it, given that SMU is undefeated and ranked for the first time in forever, and are still battling with Memphis (and Navy) for a West division crown in the AAC. Yes, both teams have to be confident in their ability to move the ball and score a TD when needed, but I'd venture a guess that the bulk of the work in practice this week – for both sides – is on the defensive side of things to make sure they can also get that key stop when needed. Last year's game closed with a total of 74.5 and the final score of 28-18 never came close to that. Clearly both coaching staffs have an idea on how to slow down the opposition's attack, and even accounting for adjustments made on both sides in that regard, I do think we get some solid defensive play here.

This total fits into one of those situations where the 'over' looks like one of the easiest bets on the board and given that the game gets the national spotlight too, everyone wants to take the 'easy' option on a game they know they'll be able to watch. You'll hear things like “I can't stomach an 'under' play with these two teams” and statements along those lines, which will only push this total higher and higher.

Sure we could end up getting a shootout where the first to 50 wins, it's not like I've got all the answers either. But given how the entirety of this game sets up in that it's two high-powered offenses on the national stage with a tremendous amount to play for on both sides, I think the severe offensive explosion that all of these 'over' bettors expect ends up being a little bit more of a whimper relative to expectation.

It's not like we can't have a highly entertaining 37-31 game right?

Week 10 Total move to agree with:

Michigan/Maryland from 55.5 to 56

Not exactly the biggest move by any means here, but that's actually beneficial for this section of the piece where you aren't looking to bet into severely bad numbers.

But this is a spot where this Michigan team – especially on defense – isn't all there in terms of a mental/focus perspective, as they are coming off two huge games in prime time themselves. Obviously the 1-1 SU record vs Penn State and Notre Dame wanted to be better from a Michigan standpoint, but they got their win in a big game by beating the Irish last week, and now they've got to turn around and play a Maryland team that's no threat at all. Not to mention they've got a big rivalry game vs Michigan State on deck, which it never matters how good or bad the Spartans are in a particular year, that game is always going to get plenty of focus.

Michigan will likely take heed of what happened to Wisconsin in a similar spot a few weeks ago when they fell to Illinois, but I don't expect the Wolverines to be anywhere near their sharpest here as they know they can leave town with a win as long as they execute offensively. Given that Maryland has allowed 34+ points to every Big 10 foe they've played not-named Rutgers, scoring on offense shouldn't be an issue for the Wolverines here.

We will need Maryland to pull their weight enough to get this one into the high 50's though and that's where the talk about Michigan not being at their sharpest comes in. As 21-point road chalk all it takes is a few early scores by the Wolverines to take control of this game and then play soft shell or prevent defense the rest of the way. That's conducive to Maryland points as the saying “prevent defense only prevents you from winning” takes shape in that regard. Not that Maryland will likely win this game, but scoring 20 or so themselves isn't a huge ask considering they've put up 48 and 28 points in their two previous opportunities of rebounding from a performance of scoring 17 or less this year.

Finally, if this game does end up being much closer then the point spread suggests and Maryland is threatening to pull off a shocking upset, the likelihood of that being the case in a lower-scoring game is rather low. So that's working in the favor of an 'over' play as well.

Other Notable Moves


Northwestern-Indiana: 45.5 to 43.5
Tulsa-Tulane: 62 to 60


UNLV-Colorado State: 61.5 to 65
UTEP-North Texas: 58 to 60
Miami-Florida State: 46 to 48

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