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Favorites hot in NCAA

Aug 30, 2008 8:24 PM

by Mark Mayer |

It’s normal for opening week games to feature a lot of mismatches on paper that reflect into high point spreads. Without much stats to go on, the public will generally ride a favorite and trust the judgment of linesmakers. So far, so good.

Favorites are 6-2 against the spread through the eight games played thus far, including a perfect 2-0 last night after convincing wins by Temple and Rice. The only underdogs to cover the spread both won outright – Stanford 36-28 over Oregon State as a 3-point home dog and Vanderbilt 34-13 at Miami of Ohio getting 3½.

For those who believe in trends, note that 21 of the 29 games today see the favorites giving at least 10 points. And, in 10 of those contests, the favorite is spotting 20 points or more. The largest spread involves Kansas giving 35½ in Lawrence to visiting Florida International. Just behind is Florida, a 34½-point favorite in Gainesville over visiting Hawaii.

The closest spread on the docket is at Ann Arbor, where host Michigan is a slight 3-point favorite over Utah in the debut of Rich Rodriguez as the Wolverines coach. Another top matchup will be tonight at the Georgia Dome where ACC preseason favorite Clemson is a 5-point choice over Nick Saban’s Alabama Crimson Tide.

The college football slate continues with two games both Sunday and Monday, highlighted by the Tennessee-UCLA intersectional battle at the Rose Bowl. ESPN will televise at 5 p.m. Monday night. The visiting Vols are a 7-point favorite in Rick Neuheisel’s coaching debut at UCLA.

Here are the Top 10 teams by region as supplied weekly by GT analyst Noland Parry.

East: West Virginia, Ohio St, Penn St, Michigan, Maryland, Cincinnati, Michigan St, Rutgers, Boston College, Connecticut.

Midwest: Missouri, Oklahoma, Kansas, Texas, Texas Tech, Wisconsin, Oklahoma St, Illinois, TCU, Texas A&M.

South: Georgia, Virginia Tech, LSU, Florida, Tennessee, Wake Forest, Auburn, South Florida, Arkansas, Clemson.

West: USC, Arizona, Oregon St, Oregon, Arizona St, BYU, UCLA, Utah, Washington, Washington St.