Get the best handicapping articles and gambling advice throughout the football, basketball and baseball seasons from the world's top sports handicappers, as well as from Bovada (Bodog) Sportsbook and Casino.
by Matt Fargo - 10/06/2011
The Pac 12 again had a majority of disappointing games with lopsided outcomes and misleading finals.
The game of the day took place in Colorado as Washington St. came from behind to defeat the Buffaloes 31-27. The Cougars led the game early but Colorado started to take control of the game and took a 10-point lead with 5:11 left. Washington St. then made it a three-point game with 2:35 left, forced a punt and scored five plays later for the win.
USC won by a touchdown over Arizona but the game was not as close as that score shows. The Trojans jumped ahead 17-0 and the Wildcats could not keep up and was not able to close the deficit by less than a touchdown. Arizona was only outgained 582-554 but two of its first three possessions resulted in interceptions.
Washington was the other Pac 12 road winner this weekend as it had a surprisingly easy time with Utah. The Huskies easily covered as double-digit underdogs as they jumped ahead 31-7 before the Utes scored their second touchdown in garbage time with seven seconds left. The Huskies won the yardage battle 411-322.
Oregon St. jumped ahead 13-0 over the Sun Devils as all of those points were results of three Arizona St. turnovers. The Sun Devils eventually built an eight-point lead but the Beavers hung around until Arizona St. scored the final two touchdowns of the game. Oregon St. won the yardage battle 388-367 but five turnovers and 13 penalties did them in.
Stanford continues to bury the completion as the Cardinals jumped ahead of UCLA 17-0 and never looked back. They outgained the Bruins 442-343 and balance was the key as the Cardinal rushed for 202 yards and passed for 240 yards. Stanford has won all four games by at least 26 points and is a perfect 4-0 against the number.
Another week, another huge loss for UCLA. The Bruins have alternated losses and wins this season and head back home to try and keep that trend going with a win over Washington St. The Cougars have been the pleasant surprise of the Pac 12, going 3-1 including a 1-0 record in the conference following that big win at Colorado.
A loss against Washington St. could mean the beginning of the end for head coach Rick Neuheisel who came into the season on the hot seat and it is only getting hotter. No one is happy with the lack of a turnaround that he promised when coming to his alma meter four years ago.
Neuheisel said the UCLA program is "not far away." It's too bad he may not be around to see it.
Washington St. head coach Paul Wulff came into the season with a similar bit of pressure. He brought in a 5-32 record through his first three years but he has already surpassed his win total in any of those first three seasons so he is looking fine to stick around for at least another year.
The problem is that the Cougars play in the same division as Oregon and Stanford so getting out of the Pac 12 North will be a challenge.
Defensive Lack of Ability
Last week we talked about how good the conferences quarterbacks have been and that is directly related to how the defenses have played. We saw another week of high scoring games with the total going 3-2 to the over with the Cougars/Buffaloes falling under by just two points.
The defenses have been sieves this season, with only Stanford and California ranked in the top 30 in the nation in total defense and just five teams ranked in the top 50. The scoring defenses are even worse as Stanford is in the top ten but nine teams are outside the top 50 with UCLA and Arizona ranked 105th and 114th respectively.
The linesmakers will be making big adjustments if this continues and we may be able to find value in the other direction.
The over is now a profitable 20-14 on the season.
Game of the Week
California at Oregon on Thursday night. This is the lone game that has two teams squaring off with greater than .500 records, the second straight week there has been only one such game. Both the Bears and Ducks come in with 3-1 records although California is 0-1 in the Pac 12 after losing its last game at Washington.
Oregon is 1-0 in the conference following its win at Arizona in its Pac 12 opener. The Ducks won last year's meeting in Berkeley 15-13 in a defensive battle despite outgaining the Bears 320-193.
Oregon was favored by 18.5 points then and it is favored by 23.5 points at home this season. California has taken four of the last five meetings against the number while all four of the previous meetings have stayed under the posted total.