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Betting Recap – Week 13
By Daniel Dobish

Overall Notes


Wager Favorites-Underdogs
Straight Up 49-13
Against the Spread 39-22-1

Wager Home-Away
Straight Up 28-34
Against the Spread 24-37-1

Wager Totals (O/U)
Over-Under 34-26-2

The largest underdog to win straight up
South Florida (-24.5) at UCF, 44-3

The largest favorite to cover
New Mexico (+10.5, ML +350) vs. Air Force, 47-35
Ohio (+12, ML +350) at Northern Illinois, 26-21

Top 25 Notes

— The holiday weekend solved a lot of questions, as the playoff picture really cleared up quite a bit. Five of the Top 6 teams in the nation won outright, with the Top 6 ranked teams going 5-1 ATS. Notre Dame was the lone exception, falling at Stanford on a last-season field goal, 38-36, but they were able to earn the cover. Top-ranked Clemson won their rivalry game at South Carolina by a 37-32 count, but they were never close to cover their 20 1/2-point spread. … Baylor slipped up Friday in sloppy conditions at Texas Christian in double-overtime, one of three Top 10 teams to lose straight up and fail to cover the spread, joining Florida and Oklahoma State in the loser’s lounge.

— Ohio State was able to bounce back after losing at home to Michigan State. In fact, the Buckeyes offense had their most complete effort of the season, humbling rival Michigan in the Big House by a 42-13 score for the win and cover. … Speaking of Sparty, they showed last weekend’s big win was no fluke and they are hungry for a spot in the four-team playoff, roughing up Penn State by a 55-16 count.

— Houston bounced back rather nicely after their disappointing setback last week, surprising Navy 52-31 in the AAC Friday night. The Middies, and Toledo, each potentially fumbled away their chance at a New Year’s Day bowl game with a costly loss. It likely opened up the door for the Cougars of Houston to move into the prestigious spot for a big payday.

Big Five Conference Report (ACC, Big 10, Big 12, Pac-12, SEC)

— The Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Championship Game will feature Clemson and North Carolina next weekend, as the Tar Heels did their part to knock off North Carolina State in Raleigh by a 45-34 count. The Tar Heels have rattled off 11 straight victories since a neutral-site setback against South Carolina in Week 1. UNC is 8-3 ATS during the 11-game winning streak and will be a handful for Clemson. UNC returns to the scene of their neutral-site loss back on Sept. 3 when they face the Tigers in Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte.

— Iowa capped off a perfect 12-0 regular season with a 28-20 road win and cover at Nebraska, as they head off to Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis next weekend to meet Michigan State. The Hawkeyes opened the season 4-1 ATS, but they’re just 3-4 ATS since Oct. 10. The ‘over’ did not hit against the Huskers, but is 7-3-1 in Iowa’s past 11 outings. … For Michigan State, they opened 6-0 SU, but 0-6 ATS, in their first six games. However, they have gotten much better against the number, going 5-1 SU/ATS over the past six outings.

— The Big 12 had a crazy weekend, as Oklahoma carries the conference flag into the four-team playoff, as the league will not be denied this season. The Sooners crushed OK State in Stillwater in a game which nearly had the ‘over’ connect by halftime. Since the Red River Rivalry setback to Texas back on Oct. 10, the Sooners ripped off seven straight wins while going 6-1 ATS during the span. The ‘over’ also went 6-1 during the span, thanks in large part to their nearly automatic offense. The Sooners have scored 44 or more points in six of the past seven, and 41 or more points in nine of their 12 games this season.

— Southern California punched their ticket to the Pac-12 Championship Game in Santa Clara next weekend with a 40-21 thumping of UCLA at the L.A. Coliseum. The Trojans have been decent at home, going 5-2 SU. Remember one of those losses came against Stanford back on Sept. 19. They will face the Cardinal next weekend in the Bay Area. … As far as UCLA is concerned, they will head to a bowl game, but they failed to cover in back-to-back games all season. The good news for bettors is that they only failed to cover in two straight games only once, back in early October. So they might be in good shape against the number heading into their bowl game if trends continue.

— Florida will meet Alabama in the SEC Championship Game in Atlanta next weekend, but the Gators limp in with more questions than answers. After barely dispatching Florida Atlantic last week in an overtime win, they were listless in their rivalry game against Florida State, falling 27-2. After opening the season 6-0 SU and 5-1 ATS, the Gators went 4-2 SU and 2-4 ATS since Oct. 17, the first game to start QB Will Grier’s season-ending suspension. … ‘Bama had their hands full for three quarters at Auburn, leading just 19-13. Howeer, the Tide pulled away for the cover in the fourth quarter, winning 29-13. The Tide roll into Atlanta next weekend with a season-best four-game cover streak after opening 3-5 ATS in the first eight games. The ‘under’ has also cashed in four of the past four and seven of the past nine for the Tide.

Mid-Major Report

— Temple and Houston will meet in the AAC Championship Game at TDECU Stadium in Houston next Saturday. The Owls avoided the upset bug in their 27-3 against Connecticut to cap off their historic regular season in style. The Owls are 5-1 ATS over their past six games, and they will play Houston for the first time this season. … South Florida was likely the most improved team in any conference as the season went on. They opened 1-3 SU, but won seven of their final eight games, going 7-1 ATS in their final eight games.

— In Conference USA play, Southern Mississippi and Western Kentucky will do battle in Bowling Green next Saturday at 12:00 p.m. ET for the conference title. The Golden Eagles were one of the best stories in college football this season, rebounding for a couple of seasons where they were one of the worst programs in the nation. They covered all but two of their 12 games this season, and ended the year 9-3 SU. They did not play the Hilltoppers during the regular season. … Western finished with wins in four straight, and eight of the final nine, with only a 48-20 setback at LSU Oct. 24 as the lone blemish since mid-September. The ‘over’ connected in six of their final seven games, and nine of the past 11.

— Ohio provided Toledo a gift with a 26-21 upset in DeKalb against Northern Illinois Tuesday, but the Rockets declined the chance to go to the MAC Championship Game with a 35-30 loss to Western Michigan. It will be NIU facing Bowling Green in the title game next weekend in Detroit. Bowling Green and NIU did not play during the regular season. The Falcons finished off the season with covers in six of their final seven.

— San Diego State and Air Force will lock horns in the Mountain West Conference title game Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. ET. The Aztecs and Falcons did not face each other during the regular season. The Aztecs opened the season 1-3 SU/0-4 ATS, but Rocky Long’s bunch went 8-0 SU in conference play and went 7-0-1 ATS during the impressive span. USAFA wasn’t as impressive, losing their final at New Mexico to snap a five-game win and cover streak. The ‘over’ went 6-1 in the final seven for Air Force. … Speaking of UNM, they will go bowling after finishing with eight victories. They won three of their past four to finish the season, and they were double-digit underdogs during the span.

Bad Beats

— If you had California (-3.5) against Arizona State late Saturday night, you were likely feeling very uneasy as the final minutes ticked down. The Golden Bears erased a 21-point deficit to storm into the lead, going up six at one point. Both teams let up defensively down the stretch and couldn’t stop anyone, with Arizona State taking a late 46-45 lead. Cal drove down the field rather quickly, and nearly broke tackles on a few plays for the touchdown and cover. However, they bogged down offensively and settled for a field goal. However, Arizona State coach Todd Graham had two timeouts and elected not to use them for some reason, letting Cal kick a chip-shot game-winning field goal. Had he elected to use his timeouts, perhaps Cal would have broken a short run for score to cover. Anyway, Arizona State bettors were actually helped out by the coaches’ strange clock management, but Cal bettors were likely steaming.

— If you had the ‘under’ (64.5) in the Egg Bowl, your ticket could look very different from others. The line opened at 64, and closed at 66.5. So depending on when you made your wager was important. After a 21-point first quarter (all by Mississippi), the scoring settled down significantly and the ‘under’ looked good regardless of your total. However, a touchdown with 1:17 by Mississippi State ended up pushing the total over for some, ruining what looked to be shaping up as a win.

— Fresno State (+10.5) moneyline bettors were feeling pretty good about themselves early on, as the Bulldogs went up 24-7 against Colorado State. After frittering away the lead with 20 unanswered points by the Rams, the Bulldogs went up 31-27 with 12:58. However, a quick responded by the Rams with 10:03 was the final score of the game and a tough pill to swallow for moneyline bettors. At least Fresno State side bettors were on the right side all evening long and the spread was never threatened.

— Hawaii was up 21-3 in the second quarter, and 28-10 early in the third quarter as a touchdown favorite against Louisiana-Monroe. However, the Warhawks posted 13 points in 39 seconds late in the fourth quarter to turn a 28-13 game into a 28-26 backdoor cover in the late game.

— In the Alabama-Auburn game, a Tigers receiver was wide open and dropped what likely would have been a touchdown to cut the game to 22-19 pending the extra point. Instead, the Tide got the ball back, up nine, and punched in a 25-yard touchdown run with :26 left to take a 29-13 lead and give Tide side bettors a miracle cover, and Tigers side bettors searching for the Pepto Bismol.

— Tulane was up 34-24 against Tulsa with 7:40 to go, and they were a 9 1/2-point underdog at home. Tulsa quickly closed it to 34-31 with 6:45, and then a pick-six put the Golden Hurricane up 38-34 for the first time since 12:29 of the first quarter. With less than two minutes to go, the Green Wave were driving for the game-winning touchdown, but instead were victimized by another pick-six with 1:12 to go to give Tulsa a 45-34 win and their first time covering all game.