We were two-backdoor-points away from being perfect last week, thanks to Washington letting up late in the game against Arizona State – BUT – two out of three ain’t too shabby as we continue to beat Vegas this year. Thanksgiving week brings us the beginning of the holidays, good food, family, friends and more importantly an entire week of football games. Monday through Sunday we got something going on – but here at Beating Vegas, we’ll steer you into the right direction of which games to pay attention to. . .
LSU -4 at Texas A&M
Thanksgiving Day ain’t just for the big boys. While the NFL gets all the attention on Turkey Day, the SEC is not to be ignored. Slating LSU against Texas A&M worked out to be a good game that should garner some attention on the holiday. LSU is quite possibly the best four loss team in the country. All four losses come to ranked teams and they loss those games by 2, 5, 10 and 6 points. Their brand of football is an SEC standard – of dominating the line of scrimmage. This is exemplified by their offensive line that pushes the ball at 6.2 yards a carry and a defensive front that limits the opposition to 3.4 yards a carry. Usually a team that is so one dimensional on offense can get out-played by an athletic defense – but their one dimension is so good, it really doesn’t factor in. Texas A&M looked like a “sleeper team” in the SEC (if their is such a thing) but the pressure got to them and they’ve been on a downward spiral. Before last week’s lack-luster 23-10 win over UTSA, they lost three of their last four. Team’s that beat LSU usually have a good run defense – A&M’s is “decent” when at it’s best, allowing 4.1 yards a carry (working out a “clash-average” of 5.15 yards in the favor of LSU (yes, “Clash-Average” is something I made up, and it seems to help make sense of things). LSU is coming off a tough loss to a good opponent and is playing with a lot of fire, A&M as of late, plays as if they’re scared of their ow shadow.
The Pick: LSU -4
Auburn +17.5 at Alabama
Keeping it with the SEC, here is a rivalry that is downright ugly. The “Iron Bowl” has seen these two teams slug it out 80 times. Alabama leads searies 44–35–1, and currently is on a two game winning streak against Auburn. Bama is by far the team to beat in the country and it really is going to take some kind of effort to beat them. . . They are number one in the SEC in total defense allowing 11.4 points a game and number one in total offense, scoring 40.3 points a game. They are annoyingly good at everything they do. Auburn is kinda-sorta the lower case version of Bama this year – and although Auburn fans will find that extremely offensive – it’s not a bad thing. Auburn is scoring 34 points a game and allowing 14 — Auburn’s rush defense is allowing 3.4 yards a rush – which is great to see (Bama’s defense allows 2.2) and when it comes to pass defense, they are pretty much neck and neck – and you’d be splitting hairs to give the advantage to Alabama. This is a rivalry game and Auburn knows what’s at stake for Bama if they lose. 17.5 might be too much even if Auburn, wasn’t good this year – but the “Baby Bama Tigers” will give Saban and his Crimson Tide fits in this one.
The Pick: Auburn +17.5
Purdue +20 at Indiana
Oh Indiana, it’s pretty obvious what you are. You’re a team that’s good enough to beat the bad teams and lose to the good ones. It’s pretty black and white when you look at their wins and losses. . . BUT aside from all that, they need one more win to make it to some useless bowl game that will generate money for the university and will probably be played in front of a crowd of hundreds. . . BUT luckily for them, the last team on their schedule this season is an awful Purdue squad. Isn’t it fitting that we talk about Purdue, and it’s Thanksgiving week? . . . Okay. . . Well the Purdue Boilermakers are dead last in total defense in the Big 10 allowing 39.4 points a game, that says a lot considering they are in a conference with such abominations as Rutgers, Illinois and Maryland. Purdue throws the ball a lot and leads the Big 10 in passing yards, mostly because they play from behind and only average 3.4 yards a carry. They’re 23 touchdown passes are matched by their 23 interceptions on the year. . .Indiana’s offense is very similar and for the same reasons, except this is a team that has shown a lot of fight the last two weeks. They were leading late against Penn State but let up, and had Michigan sweat out a 20-10 victory against them last week. They are feeling confident, even in their losses and although 20 is a big number, Indiana is a team that can’t stop a nose bleed and when they do try to stop their nose from bleeding they end up poking out their eyes.
The Pick: Indiana -20
Four Game Teaser of the Week: (by the way, thanks UTAH for ruing it last week): Redskins +19; Air Force +21.5; Wisconsin -2.5 and USC -4.5
Good Luck and Wager Wisely!