Tuesday, November 2, 2010

TCU vs Utah & Alabama vs LSU Matchups

Saturday - TCU at Utah (CBS College Sports, 3:30 p.m. EDT)
MatchupSkinnyGambling Notes
All eyes are on the Mountain West this weekend as No. 4 TCU (9-0 straight up, 4-4 against the spread) heads to Salt Lake City to face off with No. 6 Utah (8-0 SU, 6-1-1 ATS) in what looks like a battle for a BCS Bowl and maybe more. These squads sit atop the conference standings and a win by either team virtually guarantees them the Mountain West crown. A win for either team here gives them a better Top 10 triumph than what Boise State has on its schedule. Utah can really make a name for itself with a win this week and then a win at Notre Dame next weekend. Looking at this week's battle, this has all the marking of a classic. The Horned Frogs (40.8 PPG) and Utes (45.3 PPG) know how to score in bunches. TCU is a much more ground oriented team, evidenced by 270.9 yards per game on the ground to rank 9th nationally. They rely on Ed Wesley (938 yards, 10 TDs) to pace them on the ground. But the Horned Frogs can also take to the air with some effectiveness with Andy Dalton (16 TDs) under center. Utah possesses a more balanced attack on offense 191.5 YPG on the ground and 258.1 YPG through the air. But they do have the advantage of having two solid quarterbacks with Jordan Wynn (13 TD, 6 INTs) and Terrance Cain (6 TD, O INT). The Utes will be looking for some revenge from last year's 55-28 whipping they took in Fort Worth last year. While that sounds awful, keep in mind that Wynn was starting his third game for Utah.Outside of last year's blowout, this series has remained a close one. Utah has won four of the last six head-to-head meetings with a 4-2 ATS mark. Three of these games have been decided by no more than seven points. The home squad has been the right bet here as they're 4-1 SU and ATS. TCU has been a covering machine as of late, posting a 3-1 ATS record in its last four games. That will tend to happen when you outscore opponents 162-16. The Horned Frogs have also gone 3-1 ATS at home this season. Utah suffered its first ATS loss last weekend against the Falcons in what was a classic look ahead spot. Yet the Utes are a stellar 3-0-1 ATS at Rice-Eccles Stadium. Totals players would do well to focus on a low score as the 'under' is 4-1. The lone 'over' came in last year's blowout.
Saturday - Alabama at LSU (3:30 p.m.)
MatchupSkinnyGambling Notes
The national title hunt is still alive and well in the SEC. Well, just alive and well in the SEC West, anyway. Somebody's title hopes will be dashed in Baton Rouge on Saturday afternoon as fifth-ranked Alabama (7-1 SU, 5-3 ATS) takes on No. 12 LSU (7-1 SU, 3-4 ATS). This is the fourth edition of the "Saban Bowl" and we have a good chance at another nail biter. The first two meetings between these programs since Nick Saban took over the Crimson Tide in 2007 saw the road teams leave triumphant. Last year's battle saw 'Bama force the Tigers into two three-and-outs and an interception in the fourth quarter for a 24-15 win in Tuscaloosa. Most experts would tell you that this game could be one where points are at a premium as the Tide are 2nd (12.5 PPG) and the Bayou Bengals are 10th (15.6 PPG) in scoring defense. LSU is coming into this game after a 24-17 road loss to Auburn in the first big SEC West battle of the year. While the Tigers stayed close in the final score, they were toyed with by Auburn for 526 total yards with 440 of that on the ground. That has no doubt made Mark Ingram (544 yards, 8 TDs) and Trent Richardson (606 yards, 5 TDs) salivate at the thought of taking on Les Miles' defense. Alabama has bounced back strong with two comfortable wins over Ole Miss and Tennessee.Could we have an upset brewing down in Tiger Stadium? Totally possible with the Tigers as 6.5-point home pups. However, Les Miles and Company have gone 0-3 SU and 0-2-1 ATS in their last three games as home underdogs over the last five years. Alabama has been a great wager for gamblers when posted as a road "chalk" against SEC foes since Saban took over in '07, evidenced by a 11-2 SU and 8-5 ATS record. However, the Tide have struggled in this role recently with a 1-3 ATS mark in their last four games in this role. Plus, LSU has gone a 2-5 SU and ATS when listed as a 6.5-point or less underdog over the last five years.

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