Oklahoma State, UCLA Seek Redemption
For his three NCAAF bets, our college football expert is looking at Oklahoma State, UCLA, and the under of a Mountain West game.
This week, NCAAF Bets is scratching its head like a zoo monkey, trying to figure out how that “great Big 12 duel” turned the Oklahoma State Cowboys into the Clantons and McLaurys at the OK Corral.
It’s wondering why Stockholm Syndrome is alive and well, sending us back to another team that didn’t show up for a key conference game a couple weeks ago.
And we’re wondering who has the intestinal fortitude to watch two Mountain West teams with barely an offensive pulse tangle with nothing on the line, save a juicy Under bet.
Last week I went 2-1 and my overall record is 10-14-2 for the season.
Will Cowboys Fire Blanks Again?
Either Stillwater, Oklahoma is undergoing a dandruff epidemic or the Oklahoma State Cowboys are flakier than anyone realized. How else to explain the head-scratching, Pterodactyl-sized egg the Cowboys laid last weekend in Manhattan? The Kansas State Wildcats’ 48-0 curb-stomping of Oklahoma State was the worst beating Coach Mike Gundy has taken in his 18 years in Stillwater.
Gundy is still scratching his head at what happened to the Cowboys, who were shut out for only the third time in his tenure—and first since 2009. Oklahoma State’s rushing game managed a pitiful 1.8 yards-per-carry, outgained by K-State’s Deuce Vaughn, 158-54.
More head-scratching. This line opened with the Cowboys 3.5-point favorites. It dipped to 2 after Gundy said starting quarterback Spencer Sanders may sit with a shoulder injury. This removes a lethal weapon from the Cowboys’ arsenal, since Sanders is second in the Big 12 in passing yards and touchdowns.
Yet, if Sanders plays sparingly, we’ll take our chances on Gunnar Gundy, son of Mike, letting the reins out as the Cowboys take their frustrations out on a Kansas Jayhawks team that came back to earth after a 5-0 start.
The Jayhawks allowed an average of 41.7 points per game in their last three games: losses to TCU Horned Frogs (38-31), Oklahoma Sooners (52-42) and Baylor Bears (35-23). Oklahoma State has won the last 12 games against Kansas, along with winning seven consecutive games following a loss.
The Cowboys are 4-0 ATS in their last four after an ATS loss, 10-1 ATS on the road against teams with a winning home record and 13-3 ATS in their last 16 against Kansas. We’re not scratching our heads at this one
Prediction: Oklahoma State -2 over Kansas (-110 at Caesars)
Watch: Saturday 3:30 p.m. ET, Fox Sports 1, FuboTV
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Back on UCLA Bandwagon
Maybe we have a bettor’s version of Stockholm Syndrome, since—just like Oklahoma State—we’re running back to a team that disappointed us earlier this season. When we last saw the UCLA Bruins, they were validating the Oregon Ducks’ status as the best team in the Pac-12, yielding 545 yards of offense and losing 45-30 in a game that wasn’t that close.
So the same underachieving UCLA defense of lore was back, right? Well, not so fast.
Rumors of the Bruins’ defensive demise were premature, put to rest when UCLA dismantled the Stanford Cardinal, 38-13. It held Stanford to 270 yards of offense, doing so without defensive coordinator Frank McGovern, who was at home with an illness.
When the Bruins get defensive, they are basically unplayable, thanks to a glitzy offense averaging 500 yards and nearly 40 points a game. QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson still carries a 72.4% completion rate that is tied for sixth in the nation. When he’s not running and throwing, DTR is handing the ball to the nation’s No. 8 runner: Zach Charbonnet, who is averaging 7.5 yards per carry en route to his 964 yards and 10 TDs. Last week, he shredded Stanford with a career-high 198 yards.
This is what awaits the host Arizona State Sun Devils, who—to their credit—are 3-0 ATS as an underdog in the Pac-12 this year. The Sun Devils did rack up 557 yards of offense last week—against conference doormat Colorado Buffaloes. And to their credit, the Sun Devils have beaten UCLA two of the last three times in Tempe.
We’re adding amnesia to our Stockholm Syndrome and forgetting that Oregon game. Meanwhile, we’re remembering that UCLA is 7-1 ATS in its last eight conference games, and 10-1 ATS against teams with losing records.
Prediction: UCLA -10.5 over Arizona State (-110 at BetMGM)
Watch: Saturday 9:30 p.m. ET, Fox Sports 1, FuboTV
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Mountain West Offensive Mess
Four years ago, the Utah State Aggies set a then-school record with 704 yards of offense—and 516 yards passing—against the New Mexico Lobos. Last year, quarterback Logan Bonner lit up the Lobos for 306 yards and five TDs in a 35-10 beatdown.
Enjoy that, Utah State fans. Fast forward a year and Utah State is down to its fourth-string quarterback: freshman Bishop Davenport. The Aggies are the only FBS team forced to use four quarterbacks due to injury. The next-man-up syndrome got so bad that Utah State had to play three QBs in one game due to injury.
Not that it matters who’s under center, the Aggies average an anemic 183.1 yards a game passing. They’ve scored only 31 points in their last two games: a loss to Wyoming and a 17-14 grindfest of a win over the Colorado State Rams.
And yet, compared to New Mexico, the 15.5-point favored Aggies look like the 1999 Rams.
The Aggies are favored by that much because New Mexico’s offense defines “anemic.” The Lobos average only 3.6 yards a game, their 16.8-point-per game average is the second worst in the nation among FBS teams and their 295.6-yards-per-game average is eighth-worst.
This—along with the fact New Mexico’s defense yields a respectable 24.9 points and 352 yards a game, which means you could take your chance on catching the 15.5. But we’ll rely on the offenses to sputter, New Mexico’s deep devotion to the Under; its 8-1 to the Under in its last nine road games and 7-2 to the Under in its last nine after an ATS loss, and hit the total.
Prediction: Utah State-New Mexico Under 43.5 (-112 at BetRivers)
Watch: Saturday 3:30 p.m. ET, CBS Sports Network, FuboTV
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