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Sooners or later in NCAA?

Oct 11, 2008 8:03 PM

by Mark Mayer | If you like betting favorites in college football, it’s been a very good week. In weeknight action leading into today’s big slate of 47 games, favorites have gone 4-0 to cut the deficit for the season to just four at 137-133-7. Troy, Wake Forest, Houston and Louisville would have made a nice 4-team parlay.

Today’s card is highlighted by the Red River Shootout at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas between Oklahoma and Texas with the No. 1 ranking hanging in the balance. The Sooners opened as a 7-point favorite, briefly dropped to 6½ and went back to 7 at kickoff. OU-Texas is one of many marquee matchups in what could be the best weekend of the season. Here are some of the other big games that should receive large betting action:

• Northwestern, 5-0 for the first time since 1962, is a 1½-point home underdog to Michigan State.

• Vanderbilt, which hasn’t been 6-0 since 1928, is a 1½-point favorite at Mississippi State.

• Missouri, which has not had a 3-and-out on offense all year, is a 14½-point favorite over Oklahoma State in a Big 12 matchup of unbeatens.

• Georgia, which can’t afford a second loss, is a 13-point home favorite against Tennessee.

• Notre Dame, for the first time ever not ranked when 4-1, is a 9-point underdog at North Carolina.

• Florida, also with one loss, is a 6½-point home favorite against defending national champion LSU.

• Unbeaten Penn State is a 5½-point chalk at Wisconsin, which has dropped back-to-back close games to Michigan and Ohio State.

Of the 47 games on the docket, 26 feature teams giving at least 10 points. Last week, teams favored by double-digits were 13-5 against the spread. The largest favorite on the card is Oregon State, giving 30 to Washington State in Corvallis. The greatest line moves involve Notre Dame-North Carolina and Syracuse-West Virginia. The Irish went from a 5½-point underdog to 9, while favored West Virginia fell from 25 to 21½.

The most interesting game in terms of uncertainty is the South Carolina-Kentucky SEC matchup in Lexington. The visiting Gamecocks opened as a 1-point favorite, fell to a 1-point underdog, then went to a pick and finally back to the chalk at -2½.