Early Line Analysis: NCAAF Week 7
Expect these lines to move as the week rolls on
- The Miami Hurricanes (-1) are 4-12 in their last 16 games against Power 5 teams, including 0-3 this year, which is why they shouldn’t be favored against a team the caliber of No. 20 Virginia.
- Iowa’s offense was dominated by Michigan at the line of scrimmage and now face an even stauncher defense in Penn State (-4).
- Coming off a bye week, USC (+11.5) expects to get quarterback Kedon Slovis back for their trip to South Bend. His availability will impact the line this week.
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- Iowa State (-10) quarterback Brock Purdy is coming off a big game with 247 passing yards, 102 rushing yards, and four scores. With the way Purdy is playing, the Cyclones should be a bigger favorite against a down West Virginia team.
- With Jalen Hurts leading an Oklahoma offense that’s as balanced as ever and the Sooners playing their best defense in years, the Sooners will be a bigger favorite than 10.5 when they kick off against Texas.
The Miami Hurricanes simply aren’t that good of a football team right now. They have the name but not the game. The ‘Canes are 2-3 on the season and 0-3 against Power 5 teams, including an 0-2 start in ACC play. Since they reached No. 2 in the country under Mark Richt in 2017 (10-0), Miami has gone 7-12 in 19 FBS games with an abysmal 4-12 record against Power 5 foes. Last week against an equally-mediocre Virginia Tech team, the Hurricanes overcame a 28-point deficit only to lose in front of the home crowd 42-35. That’s a tough one to recover from, especially against a very good Virginia team, who is 4-1 and ranked 20th in the country. They’re coming off their only loss at No. 10 Notre Dame and had an extra week to prepare for Miami.
Against a Michigan team that had underwhelmed through four games, the Hawkeyes were unable to do anything last week. How bad was the Iowa offense? Nate Stanley threw more interceptions (three), than the Hawkeyes had rushing yards (one). A big part of that was the pressure Michigan put on Iowa, as Stanley was sacked eight times. Now they face an even better defense in Penn State, who is ranked second in the conference in scoring defense (7.4 PPG) and third in total defense (240.4) with their five sacks per game leading the Big Ten. It’s no surprise the Nittany Lions are favored in Iowa City and the line should move in their favor throughout the week.
Notre Dame may be in the top 10, but they’re not an offensive juggernaut by any stretch, as they’re averaging 29 points against Power 5 opponents, just below what USC (29.7) is averaging in their Power 5 games. In Southern Cal’s only game where they failed to score at least 27 points, third-string quarterback Matt Fink got the start and threw three very costly interceptions against Washington. The good news is USC is coming off an open week and Kedon Slovis was cleared to return to practice last week with optimism that he’d be ready to return for the Notre Dame game. If he’s officially slated to start expect the action to slide slightly in USC’s favor.
If you’re looking for a team ready to take off in the Big 12, look no further than Iowa State. The Cyclones have lost a couple of heartbreakers decided by one (18-17 vs. Iowa) and two points (23-21 at Baylor) but are coming off an impressive thumping of TCU, 49-24, which is their largest margin of victory and most points ever scored against the Horned Frogs. The ‘Clones also improved to 8-0 over the month of October since 2017. On Saturday, they face a West Virginia team coming off their second double-digit loss of the season as quarterback Austin Kendall threw four interceptions against Texas. That’s twice the amount of interceptions in one game than ISU’s Brock Purdy has all season. Although they’re double-digit road favorites, the line could move in their favor even more throughout the week.
The Red River Rivalry figures to generate a lot of action this Saturday. Some will point to Texas coach Tom Herman’s record as an underdog, which is impressive, but even harder to ignore is the play of Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts. The Alabama transfer is playing the best football of his career as he’s completing over 75 percent of his passes while averaging an eye-popping 14.0 yards per attempt. He leads an OU ground game that has seen four runners with at least 25 carries all average over 7.5 yards per carry. In the past, Texas has given Oklahoma trouble because of a superior defense, but rolling into this week, the Sooners are playing their best D under Lincoln Riley, while the ‘Horns have already allowed 30-plus points three times this season, including 45 in a home loss to LSU. That doesn’t bode well for their chances against Hurts and the Sooners, who could become larger favorites as the week rolls on.