So, as usual, Frump took the first two weeks to get a feel for the college football landscape this year. Week 3 we went 4-3 against the spread (ATS); Week 4 was dominated by wedding festivities (no (betting) action); and now we head into week 5 sitting at 57%, 3 points shy of Frump’s lofty 60% ATS winning percentage goal for the season.
We’re not counting on that, obviously. We’d be thrilled to even maintain our current 57-58% rate, but why not to aim high, right? With that in mind, let’s go ahead and take a quick look at the seven games Frump likes for Week 5 (in no order):
N.C. State at Miami -2.5; O/U 56.5
Kicking things off with a bit of Raleigh flavor, N.C. State (3-1) travels down to sunny south Florida to take on the Miami Hurricanes (3-1) before what’s sure to be yet another tepid, non-capacity crowd at Sun Life Stadium.
Yes, in case you haven’t heard, despite the best efforts of the local sports radio community, the U tends to have a bit of trouble drumming up the kind of fan enthusiasm, passion and support that one might expect from such a prestigious college football program. And that should play an important role in Frump’s pick of Under 56.5.
There’s not a heap of series history here; N.C. State is 5-7-1 all time against Miami. The relevant angle for the Under, however, is what these two teams have done against comparable competition this year, and — in the case of Miami — where they’ve done it.
The total in each of N.C. State’s three games against FBS competition would meet the Under 56.5 today, including a strong 10-7 win @ UConn in Week 2. Miami, on the other hand, has been hitting Overs on the reg (3-0). All three of the Hurricanes games against FBS competition (Boston College, Kansas State, Georgia Tech) have smashed Over 56.5 (72, 65, 78, respectively). All three of those games have also, however, been on the road.
The lone home game for Miami up until today saw the Canes beat Bethune-Cookman 38-10 in Week 3. After an emotional, hard fought win against @ Georgia Tech last week, expect Miami to return home to the lukewarm confines of Sun Life Stadium, where a similarly-styled performance from two teams still seemingly trying to find their way should help Frump win with the Under here.
Louisiana Tech at Virginia +3.5; O/U 60.5
Staying in ACC land for now; this time with a game that actually has some strong trends associated with it.
While Louisiana-Monroe has been making headlines by knocking off and/or taking supposed SEC and Big 12 powers to the wire, Louisiana Tech has quietly gone 3-0 with wins @ Houston, Rice, and @ Illinois. Sure, maybe not the most impressive list of wins, but if the Bulldogs can somehow manage to get by the Cavaliers in Charlottesivlle today, they might very well be looking at a 12-0, BCS-buster-like season (Texas A&M appears to be the only remaining threat on La. Tech’s schedule).
Louisiana Tech is an impressive 11-3 ATS on the road over the last three years, to go with a nice 8-1 ATS trend during the same span after two straight up wins. Virginia, while having looked woefully unimpressive so far — especially in regard to the still murky Blake Sims/Michael Rocco situation — is also on an unsavory 11-17 ATS dip in all games over the last three seasons, including just 6-9 ATS at home.
Frump’s rolling with Louisiana Tech -3.5 in a pseudo-upset pick.
Cincinnati v.s. Virginia Tech -6.5; O/U 47 (Neutral site: FedEx Field, Landover, MD)
Still ACC-heavy for the time being, Frump likes the Bearcats to at least cover against the Hokies in the house that Robert Griffin, III is currently rebuilding.
Handful for reasons for this: (1) Cincinnati is coming off of 14 days rest; extra-time to prepare is typically invaluable, obviously; (2) Similar to the N.C. State-Miami game above, word on the streets is that tickets aren’t exactly hard to come by for this one. I question how Virginia Tech responds to playing in such an atypical environment to Saturdays in Blacksburg; (3) Perhaps most importantly, these two teams have shared a common opponent (Pittsburgh), within a week of each other, and with drastically different results.
On September 9th, Cincinnati played Pittsburgh at home. The Bearcats won 34-10, putting of 464 yards of offense to Pitt’s 415. On September 15th, Virginia Tech played Pittsburgh on the road. The Hokies lost 17-35, and managed only 324 yards of offense to Pittsburgh’s 587.
Now, Frump’s not saying the disparity in results there NECESSARILY means anything. It’s enough, however, combined with the other reasons outlined above, to at least lean towards Cincinnati in this one. Take Cincinnati and the poins.
Clemson at Boston College +7; O/U 59.5
More ACC football. More empty, lifeless stadiums. More reasons to take the Under 59.5 here.
Clemson and BC have played every year since 2005. Only once (2006′s 34-33 Boston College victory) has the total in this series been within even 10 points of 59.5. Moreover, the Under trend for both teams is beyond strong in general: the Under is 22-4 in all Boston College games over the last three years; 14-3 in ACC games; and 10-3 in games at Chestnut Hill.
Meanwhile Clemson, for their part, is on a 9-2 Under swing in road games over the last three seasons. The Tigers are also without star WR Sammy Watkins today due to a stomach virus, and Boston College has had an extra week to prepare for Clemson’s offense. Take the Under here and don’t look back.
Texas at Oklahoma State +2.5; O/U 65.5
Trend wise, nearly everything points to Oklahoma State here. The Cowboys are 21-8 ATS over the last three years overall, have beat Texas two years running, and will surely be hyped at the prospect of a hat trick tonight in Stillwater. Unfortunately, Frump just can’t get over that 38-59 loss to @ Arizona, the only reasonable opponent the Cowboys have faced this year.
Both teams are coming off byes here, so there’s no reason to think one will be anymore prepared than the other. Texas does seem to be slightly more battle tested thus far, though. Instead of beating Savannah State 84-0, the Longhorns beat Wyoming 37-17. Instead of beating Louisiana-Lafayette 65-24, they beat New Mexico 45-0. Instead of losing @ Arizona, they beat Ole Miss on the road 66-31.
One more fun fact: Texas is 6-1 against Oklahoma State in Stillwater, and hasn’t lost there since 1997. Hook ‘Em Horns, -2.5.
Wisconsin at Nebraska -11.5; O/U 50.5
In recent years, asking someone to eat 11.5 points and take Nebraska, home or away, against Wisconsin would probably evoke looks of disdain and lead to merciless ridicule. Not this year, though. I’m not exactly sure what’s going on with the Badgers, but having watched them a couple times, one thing is clear: They haven’t been good. In fact, they’ve been quite bad, and Frump hopes that trend continues today.
Indeed, Wisconsin (3-1) is 0-4 ATS so far this year, managing an ugly 26-21 win in Madison against Northern Iowa (in football); a 16-14 win against Utah State, also in Madison; and an unimpressive 37-26 home victory over the Miners of UTEP. In Wisconsin’s lone trip outside the state thus far, they fought tooth and nail with Oregon State, but lost 7-10. Through all that, they somehow managed to remain ranked in the Coach’s Poll, but that’s a topic for another day.
The Cornhuskers (3-1), to be fair, haven’t been terribly impressive themselves. Despite wins against Southern Miss (49-20), Arkansas State (42-13), and Idaho State (73-7), Nebraska’s trip to the West Coast also ended in a humbling loss, 30-36 @ UCLA.
Still, the Cornhuskers are 3-1 ATS, and Frump can’t stress enough just how bad Wisconsin has looked. The announcement of Tom Osborne’s retirement as Athletic Director should be enough motivation to help Nebraska cover that 11.5 spread. Frump’s husking with Nebraska -11.5.
Louisville at Southern Mississippi +10; O/U 49.5
Quick and easy here. Louisville is 4-0 and looking good so far with decent to solid wins over Kentucky, Missouri St., North Carolina and Florida International.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, Southern Miss is in complete disarray after a marquee 12-2 season last year. The Golden Eagles (0-3) have dropped games @ Nerbaska and @ Western Kentucky by a combined score of 91-37, while also losing at home to East Carolina 13-24.
Lousiville is 10-2 ATS the last three years on the road, and 5-0 ATS in its last 5 games against Southern Mississippi. 10 points may be teetering on a bit much to ask here, but Frump thinks the Cardinals will see this one through. Louisville +10 on the road.