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When to consider betting over/unders

By Jeff Frank, The Sports Analyst

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Most gamblers stick to betting on point spreads, but it's wise to take a peek once in a while at the over/unders to see what trends might catch the eye.

Some teams have remarkable numbers when it comes to totals and Utah State leads the pack with eight consecutive unders.

Despite averaging only 25 points per game over a seven-game stretch before the BYU matchup, the average total set for those seven contests was actually 57. The high number had a lot to do with the opposition as Nevada, Wisconsin, Utah and Ohio made up more than half of Utah State's opponents.

Still, defenses also play a role in setting the total and the Aggies defense appears to have been underrated by the oddsmakers. Over the aforementioned seven games, Utah State had allowed an average of only 18.5 ppg.

Certain trends do not come out of nowhere. They evolve over time. No one would have expected the Aggies to be so stingy on the defensive side of the ball after they had given up 31.5 points per game over the first nine games of the 2011 campaign, but it is obvious the defense has been the reason the Aggies have been one of the top teams in the Western Athletic Conference since the middle of last year.

The reason I did not include the BYU game in the above numbers - which would have made the Aggies' defensive numbers even more imposing - is to show everyone how some over/unders are easy to figure.

The Cougars came into the Utah State game with a mild over/under streak of their own. They had gone under the total in five consecutive matchups while allowing an average of 11.6 ppg, including a shutout of Hawaii in their prior contest.

BYU averaged fewer than 20 ppg on its own against Boise State, Utah and Washington State (the 47 points scored versus Hawaii was an outlier), so it was obvious its offense was not going to strike for a ton of points against Utah State.

Based on all those figures, as well as the fact that both squads came into the game ranked in the top 20 in scoring defense, it was shocking to see the total close at 45.

When deciding to wager on over/unders, it also is helpful to look at the series history to see if most of the previous meetings have tilted to one side or the other.

If one had perused through the recent games between BYU-Utah State, he would have seen that four of the previous five meetings fell under the total, with one push, Moreover, the "45" was the lowest posted total in the last six meetings.

BYU won, 6-3, in a game that saw just one second-half drive longer than 35 yards.


Baylor, even without Robert Griffin III, is still scoring a ton of points each and every week. The Bears are 3-0 to the over this season and 13-1-1 to the over going back to the beginning of the 2011 campaign.

West Virginia is an offensive juggernaut, which the oddsmakers have yet to figure out. Since Dana Holgorsen took over as coach, the Mountaineers are 12-3 to the over, including five overs in their last six games.

Kansas State is 18-5 to the over in its last 23 regular-season games. It will be interesting to see the total when the Wildcats take on West Virginia in Morgantown on Oct. 20.

Louisiana Tech, another high-powered offense, has gone over the total all five games this season. The Bulldogs are averaging 53 ppg while allowing 35.5.

Duke is averaging 35 ppg and is 4-1 to the over. That record has come against teams such as Virginia and Wake Forest, so imagine how easy it will be for the Blue Devils to go over the number when they take on more high-powered Atlantic Coast Conference members.

Georgia Tech, another ACC squad, has gone over the total in four straight games primarily because its defense has allowed 40 points or more the last three contests.

Finally, in terms of clubs that light up the scoreboard, Indiana has not gone under the total since Oct. 1 of last year. Since then, the Hoosiers are 10-0-1 to the over.

It is easy to spot the teams that go under the total more often than not as most of them reside in the Southeastern Conference.

Alabama is 7-3 to the under in its last 10 contests. The Crimson Tide have yet to allow more than 14 points in a game this season, and that statistic should hold true after their next game against Missouri.

Mississippi State has gone under the total six games in a row going back to last season. However, the Bulldogs have not faced any opponent capable of scoring more than three touchdowns. Look for a healthy dose of overs the rest of the year when the defense is tested by opposing SEC offensives.

Florida is coming off a 14-6 win over LSU, a game that sent the Gators under the total in seven of their last eight.

One more team that has dominated the under side of the ledger is Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish have four consecutive unders and seven in their last eight.

Those are just some of the over/under nuggets that should help guide bettors in the right direction. My advice is to do some homework and analyze all the matchups until you come across a game that fits the scenarios you are looking for.


My overall record through Week 6 is 45-38 after an 11-4 week. The five-star plays remain at 8-5, the three-star selections are 8-10, the two-star picks stand at 20-15 and the one-star plays are 9-8.

As a reminder, the five-star plays are when my personal plays coincide with my power rating plays (games with at least a five-point differential between my line and the actual line). The three-star choices are my personal picks, the two-star plays are the games the power rating system picks and the one-star plays are my personal secondary selections.


1) Oregon, 103.5; 2) Alabama, 103; 3) South Carolina, 101.5; 4) USC, 100.5; 5) Florida State, 100; 6) LSU, 99; 7-T) Oklahoma and Georgia, 98.5; 9) Florida, 97.5; 10) Notre Dame, 97; 11) Texas, 96.5; 12) Texas A&M, 95.5;

(The Top 12 is not a reflection of a given team's won-loss record. It is based on power ratings used to predict spreads for the upcoming week. At the beginning of the season, all 124 FBS teams are assigned a power number, which changes on a week-to-week basis depending on the results of the previous week.)

10/08 09:42:59 ET