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Old 11-05-2009, 04:20 PM
stevo stevo is offline
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Default Week 10 college football point-spread moves / Millman

Week 10 college football point-spread moves
Chad Millman
Thursday, November 5, 2009 | Print Entry


I called Paul Stone, the Texas-based handicapper who also writes about college football for the Las Vegas Review-Journal, on Thursday morning to talk about this week's college football line moves. He was in his car on his way to a town about 60 miles north of Houston, where he was going to organize an adventure race.



Turns out the man has been running ultramarathons and adventure races for the past 17 years. In case you don't know, an ultramarathon is anything longer than a marathon. And adventure races go through hills, valleys, rivers and streams, sometimes for days on end. One year, Paul ran from the Texas-Mexico border to the Oklahoma-Texas border to raise money for a homeless shelter. It took 17 days to go the 670 miles. For three straight years, between 2000 and 2002, he ran a race in Death Valley that started at Badwater, Calif., the lowest point in the western hemisphere, and ended at Mount Whitney, the highest point in the contiguous United States. Racers get 60 hours to run the 135 miles. One of the years he ran it in 37:51:00 and finished ninth out of 75 runners. He figures he's done close to 25 races of 100 miles or more.

"You don't have to be talented," Paul says. "Just need to be persistent and not have too much to do."



Of course, handicapping does require some skill. And Paul shared some of his in this week's breakdowns.




Matchup: Northwestern at Iowa
Line moves: Iowa opened at minus-16, currently at minus-15.5.
What that means: It's not the amount that the number dropped, it's the fact it dropped at all when the No. 4 team in the country is playing a conference bottom dweller.



Stone says: "Undoubtedly the betting public views Iowa as more pretender than contender. It is just living on the edge week after week and, with its limited offense, no experienced handicapper trusts laying more than two TDs on it. That offense is just living on borrowed time. People see Iowa as incapable of getting into the mid-30s regularly, so if Northwestern can score 14 points, it is in good shape for a cover; it's just a numbers game. I don't think anyone expects Northwestern to beat Iowa, but until further notice, people are going to be playing against the Hawkeyes week in and week out."




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Matchup: South Carolina at Arkansas
Line moves: Arkansas opened at minus-5, currently minus-7.
What that means: Most wise guys are fading South Carolina, which has lost two of three.



Stone says: "This surprised me. When I saw Arkansas at minus-6 on Sunday night, I jumped on it. One reason may be that South Carolina defensive end Cliff Matthews was injured last week. Ryan Mallett, who is probably the best NFL prospect of any quarterback in college, isn't very mobile -- so Matthews being out helps him. But to me, handicapping is all about timing. People get caught up in a moment and rest heavily on what they saw most recently and don't look at the broader perspective. Even though South Carolina is in a tailspin, I think it's a great time to get on the Gamecocks. They are the same team they have been all season, there is no obvious reason they should be playing badly and I don't think Arkansas is ready to give seven points to a team like that. I like to play teams when no one else is looking at them. That is when you get more value. I made this one Arkansas 4 so I felt like I was getting good value and will probably add on at seven."




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Matchup: Texas A&M at Colorado
Line moves: Aggies opened as 4.5-point faves, currently favored by 2.5.
What that means: Sharps don't believe the Aggies are strong roadies, even against the bumbling Buffs.



Stone says: "A&M went to Lubbock and hung 52 on the Red Raiders. While the Aggies are vastly improved, I still don't [think] they are ready to go on the road and take Colorado for more than a field goal. So I took Colorado plus-4.5 on Sunday. You have to look at the overall performance, and A&M has not been strong when it is a road favorite, especially in conference. You have to be seasoned to cover the number as a road fave, and I don't think the Aggies are there yet. Besides, Colorado beat Kansas and played well against West Virginia. So while A&M might look like it's hit the gas the past couple weeks, the astute handicapper is not buying into it that. Only certain teams are worth betting as 3-point faves on the road."




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Matchup: LSU at Alabama
Line moves: Bama opened as a 10-point fave, it moved to 9.5 within three minutes, spread is now down to 7.5.
What that means: Wise guys jumped on an inflated number from the sports books.



Stone says: "I think two names come to mind: John Chavis, the LSU defensive coordinator, and Greg McElroy, Bama's quarterback. Defensive coordinators in the SEC are seeing that if you rush McElroy and force him into quick decisions he doesn't have the experience to respond and make the correct reads. I anticipate LSU will come early and often and disguise coverages and force a turnover or two. The number was way too high when it was in double digits and now [it] is in a more natural place where it should have opened. I had it at 8."




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Matchup: Houston at Tulsa
Line moves: Cougars opened as two-point faves, now Tulsa minus-1.
What that means: Anytime there is a favorite change, it means the bookmakers weren't quite sure which way to go.



Stone says: "Earlier this year, Houston beat Texas Tech in what was its game of the year. A week later, it played UTEP and got beat. This is really just a situation of gamblers being hesitant to back teams as away faves in conference games. In conference play, teams know each other and it's harder for road teams to cover. This is already probably a bad bet, though. Nobody can bet 2 or 3 points off the opening number and consistently win, by then all the value is lost."

NCF - Chad Millman - Week 10 college football line moves - ESPN
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