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Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:56 AM

Total Moves - Week 13

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College Football Week 13 Total Moves

Splitting the board with last week's selections was a nice step in the right direction after the previous few weeks results.

The Cincinnati Bearcats continued to bring quality defense to the table last week to ruin my second straight 'over' play on them, while the 'under' in Alabama got there with ease, although the injury from Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa probably played a part in the 2nd half only having a grand total of three points scored.

With only a couple weeks left in the regular season, the goal is to get back above the .500 mark for the year, and it starts with hopefully sweeping the board this week. It starts with a look at the Pac-12, as there were actually three games from the conference that were battling to make publication, but with the 'battle of LA' being such a popular topic these days in various other sports, it's the collegiate version of that rivalry that opens up this week's piece.

YTD: 11-14 ATS

Week 13 Total move to disagree with:

UCLA/USC from 62 to 65.5

There has been nothing but love for this 'over' so far this week, and chances are this number probably ends up going a bit higher. So waiting on the 'under' is always an option here as well, and it's probably something I'll do leading up until the 3:30 pm EST kickoff. I believe this number will still go higher because the support has not only been fast and furious for the high side of this total, but the statistical profiles of both teams only had fuel to that fire.

UCLA is a team that loves to play fast under Chip Kelly, and the defense is often highly suspect. 'Over' bettors will point to things like the Bruins allowing 40 points or more in four of their 10 games so far this year, and when you combine that with an offense that knows how to move the ball, this game's got to reach the 70's right?

Well, UCLA is coming off a game where they allowed 40+ in a blowout loss vs Utah last week, and all these 'over' bettors expect a similar thing to happen against the Trojans this week. However, after the previous two times they gave up 40+ in conference play, they responded the following week by allowing just 20 and 16 points respectively, easily cashing 'under' tickets both times. Yes, I'm omitting the third occurrence of them allowing 40+ and what they did after – gave up 48 to Oklahoma and followed that with that epic 69-63 win vs Washington State – but it's why I noted the conference play angle. Chip Kelly may not be noted as a defensive guy, but when his defense gets blasted by a rival, he has done a good job in trying to make sure it doesn't happen the following week and develop into a pattern. The same thing could easily happen here.

From USC's standpoint, they are coming off a game where they scored 40+ themselves, and are on a nice little 4-0 O/U run as it is. But three of those games were on the road – and I've noted before how much worse the Trojans defense has been away from home – and the other was the home showdown vs Oregon.

You eliminate that Oregon game where the Ducks offense could do no wrong, and USC has allowed conference rivals to put up just 14, 23, and 20 points against them on this field this year. Not one of those three games finished with more than 65 total points scored, and USC has only averaged 31 points per game after putting up 40+ themselves this year (two past occurrences). If you were to peg the Trojans with that kind of production on Saturday, and they hold relatively true to the line of being a two-TD home favorite, you end up with a total that's probably a little lucky to get into the mid-50's.

Yes, UCLA is a team that plays fast and that has to be accounted for, but the Trojans defense has the fourth best percentage in the conference in opponent 3rd down conversion rate, and of the three teams ahead of them – Utah, Washington, Oregon – only Utah has faced UCLA this year and they completely shut them down last week. USC's defense isn't nearly as stout as the one Utah has this year, but they can hold their own when asked too.

In a rivalry game where emotions and the physicality are high, I just have a hard time seeing where all these points are going to come from. I get why this total has been pushed upwards as there are plenty of stats favoring points being scored here, but historically this has always been a lower-scoring rivalry as well.

During the past 10 meetings between these two teams, the O/U record is 2-7-1 O/U, with only one of those games finishing with more than 61 points and it went final with 66 – likely where this week's total continues to climb too. Yes, that's different teams, coaching staffs, etc etc, but I'm not sure either side wants to particularly get into a race to 40 here. UCLA still needs to win out to become bowl eligible, and while a SU victory is unlikely here, it will be even less likely in a track meet type affair, because chances are the more talented Trojans defense will get the key stop when needed in that scenario.

In the end, this is just too many points to expect here, as this game probably does top out in the mid-to-high 50's.

Week 13 Total move to agree with:

SMU/Navy from 68 to 66

Historically this has been an 'over' series of late with four straight overs cashing between these two since they became conference rivals again, but I'm not sure that continues on Saturday.

For one, both teams coming off games where they allowed 50+ points respectively is always going to inflate a total number slightly, because everyone likes to refer to what they've seen last. And most recently, SMU has allowed 50+ in two straight games, while Navy did so last week vs Notre Dame. At the same time, Navy's offense also put up 50 points two weeks ago, while SMU accomplished that feat last time out as well.

Put all that together with the historical profile this rivalry has, and the combined 15-4 O/U record these respective teams have on the year and this number had to come out where it did. But there is something to be said about this early move downwards, and it all has to do with the style this game will likely have.

The game is at Navy, so it's the Midshipmen who are going to look to dictate and control the tempo of this game. For them, that means holding onto the ball for as long as possible, sustaining long drives when they can, and hopefully putting up points at the end of them. The triple-option attack is never conducive to seeing two teams run up and down the field on one another, and to get to 67 points you are probably going to need some of that. Now both sides are plenty capable of putting up big plays for quick scores, but I'm still not sure that will be enough.

From SMU's perspective, having two weeks to prepare to stop the triple-option never hurts and that should play a part as well. At the same time, SMU knows that Navy's strategy will be one of keep away with the ball to bleed the clock, and the Mustangs may want to slow down their own offense at times just to keep some sort of rhythm on that side of the ball. When you are built to win with explosive plays offensively, sitting on the sidelines for long stretches of time doesn't allow the players or play-callers to establish a rhythm and thus, execution tends to suffer. So sustaining their own long drives could be a part of SMU's thinking here, especially if they find themselves playing with a lead in the 2nd half.

Considering the O/U record of both teams combined coming in and the initial move going low here, it's a move that you've got to respect, and even at 66 with some value now gone, it's one that should be followed.

Other Notable Moves

Up

Ball State-Kent State: 65 to 67.5

Down

Duke at Wake Forest: 53 to 49.5
Texas State at Appalachian State: 53.5 to 51
Georgia Southern-Arkansas State: 58 to 56
San Diego State-Hawaii: 50.5 to 47.5


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