Letdown situations play a role in handicapping games

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We are at the latter stage of the college football season where letdown situations have to play a role in your handicap of certain games. 

SMU was a perfect example of that last week as they struggled to win the game let alone cover as more than three touchdown favorites against East Carolina in a game for the Mustangs which followed their first loss of the season in the Saturday night showdown on ABC two weeks ago against Memphis. 

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Notre Dame barely survived at home against Virginia Tech as 17.5 point favorites two weeks ago coming off a blowout loss in a big game against Michigan which handed the Fighting Irish their second loss of the season. 

Auburn didn’t sniff a point spread cover in a recent home game against Ole Miss coming a physical and intense game against LSU the week prior in a big game in which the Tigers fell short. 

The common thread with all these recent results are teams that lost in “big games” and failed to cover the spread in their next game. I think the letdown spot negatively impacts the losing team of a big game more than the winning team. 

Look no further than Kansas State, which knocked off Oklahoma in a massive upset a few weeks ago but suffered no letdown or hangover in blowing out Kansas in the game following that big win against the Sooners. 

 A few teams fall into potential letdown situations this week. Alabama is laying 21 points on the road against Ole Miss on Saturday after losing to LSU last week in the game hyped as the “Game Of The Year”  by many. Penn State is a favorite of more than 2 TD’s at home against Indiana after losing their first game of the season last week on the road against Minnesota. 

Be mindful of these spots and situations throughout the month of November. You don’t want to blindly bet against teams in these situations. The matchups and injuries still have to work in their favor but you at least want to be aware of teams in dubious spots after they’ve just been involved in a big game where they came up on the losing end. 


Indiana +14.5 at Penn State: Penn State is vulnerable this week after losing outright as road chalk against Minnesota last week and suffering their first loss of the season. The defense was gashed for one of the few times this season and now must try to get up off the mat against a surging Indiana squad that offensively has scored 31+ points in six straight games. 

The Hoosiers only lost by five points in last year’s meeting and outgained the Nittany Lions 554-417 in that game.  INDIANA 

Louisville -4 at North Carolina State: NC State is in a freefall as they’ve been non-competitive in recent games, getting blown out by 21+ points in three straight games going 0-3 SU and ATS against Clemson, Wake Forest and Boston College. The Wolfpack have received awful QB play all season from the trio of Matt McKay, Bailey Hockman and last week’s starter Devin Leary. 

Louisville has QB concerns of their own with Micale Cunningham getting injured last week in their loss against Miami but Evan Conley was decent in relief and I would put more faith in either of those QB’s over the NC State  group. LOUISVILLE 

Minnesota +2.5 at Iowa: Minnesota is the better team and I’m not buying into the idea of the Golden Gophers being flat here on the road at Iowa after last week’s big home win against Penn State to remain undefeated. 

The Gophers have a very good offensive line and a balanced attack led by QB Tanner Morgan and a solid ground attack and should match up well in the trenches against a physical Iowa squad. 

The Hawkeyes come into this game off a hard-fought loss on the road against Wisconsin  where they battled but fell short. Iowa has now lost three games this season and its home loss was against Penn State … the team Minnesota just defeated. MINNESOTA 

Texas +7 at Iowa State: The Longhorns are finally getting healthy and they overcame a sluggish start last week to defeat a feisty Kansas State squad. They have the better offense and had one of their best defensive efforts of the season last week. 

Tom Herman has been excellent in the underdog role over his coaching career and Texas is 3-0 SU and ATS in the last three meetings against Iowa State and the Longhorns were favored in all of those games, which to me makes this spread appear a bit out of whack. TEXAS 

Last week: 2-2

Season: 15-22-1


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