NCAAF Line Watch: Keep an eye on the total in Temple-Cincinnati


USA Today Sports

Each week during the college football season, Covers Expert Steve Merril
looks at the NCAAF odds and tells you which spread to bet now, which
one to bet later and which total to watch as the week plays out.

Spread to bet now: Minnesota -6 (at Colorado State)

Minnesota opened as -4.5 point favorites, and the early money quickly came in on the Gophers, pushing this line up to the current price of -6. I expect more Minnesota money throughout the week, so getting less than -7 now would be a prudent move.

My power ratings make Minnesota an 8-point favorite in this game. The Gophers played to a respectable 23-17 loss to TCU in their season opener, and they get some extra rest for this game after playing last Thursday. Colorado State is a vastly different team than last season, and their 65-13 win over Savannah State means nothing as CSU was a -51 point favorite in that game. Reality sets in here, so take Minnesota now before the line goes any higher.

Spread to wait on: BYU +2.5 (vs. Boise State)

The dynamic of this game changed dramatically when BYU quarterback Taysom Hill was lost for the season after injuring his foot last week at Nebraska. BYU would have been a 2-point favorite in this game with Hill under center, but the oddsmakers adjusted and opened Boise State -1.5 on the road.

Initial money has come in on the Broncos, and some sports books have moved the line up to Boise State -3. And once the public gets involved, I wouldn’t be surprised to see 3.5 pop up. Backup quarterback Tanner Mangum played well in relief, and he was a highly-rated recruit for BYU, so he should fill in just fine.  Wait for +3 or more and back BYU in this game.

Total to watch: Temple/Cincinnati 51.5

Temple and Cincinnati are complete opposites. The Owls have a terrible offense and a very good defense. The Bearcats have a potent offense and a suspect defense. This total had to be a difficult one for the oddsmakers to set. It opened at 51 in some spots and 52.5 in other locations, while finally settling around 51.5 at most sportsbooks.

Cincinnati is currently a 6.5-point favorite over Temple. The Bearcats opened at -7.5 and the line dropped a full point. With a move to the underdog, money will likely come in on the Under as well. If Temple hangs close, this game will have to be low scoring.

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