By Todd Fuhrman
Following a week where we lacked big games, there were no changes to our Bet the Board Top 10. Notre Dame easily dismantled Syracuse (featured in our overrated section last week) while Ohio State survived a scare in Maryland. This week we revisit a team that has been a thorn in our side most of the year in the overrated section, the Hawkeyes from Iowa may not be getting the proper respect they deserve, and we go to the SEC for our Best Bet of the week.
Vegas Top 10 Week 13:
5.) Notre Dame
7.) Ohio State
9.) Penn State
10.) Mississippi State
I understand by now that we are definitely NOT on the LSU mailing list but we can’t help where the value may (or may not) lie in different teams across the country. LSU remains at #7 in the College Football Playoff Rankings yet but as you can observe above, they do no crack our Top Ten. We’ve hammered this point home throughout the season; LSU offers very little on the offensive side of the ball averaging a mere 5.2 yards per play (90th in the country) including 4.0 yards per carry (80th). They are a net +0.3 yards per play, basically due to their defense performing well. Not to mention LSU is in the Top 10 in the country in turnover margin per game (turnover’s tend to be more random, and swing from season to season). We can’t have a team in the Top 10 whose offense doesn’t crack the Top 80 teams in terms of efficiency; goes against everything we stand for and this team will be put to the test on the road this week at Texas A&M (more on that later).
Iowa seems to be one of those teams that slides under the radar every year priding themselves on a very stingy defense and an offense that predicates itself on establishing the run. They’ve been a team of streaks, going on multiple 3-game wins/losses streaks. They have lost 3 of their last 4 (total of 12 points) but two of the three games were on the road and all the games were against formidable opponents (Penn State, Purdue, Northwestern). Iowa is a net +1.0 yards per play on the year (4.3 opponents yards per play, 6th nationally) and that’s against a Top 30 strength of schedule. QB Nate Stanley has a 21:9 TD to Interception ratio, and is certainly underrated as it pertains to the Big 10 QB pool. The market for this week’s game against a much improved Nebraska team has moved Iowa from a TD favorite at BetOnline.AG out to double digits needless to say we’re not surprised.
Best Bet:  Texas A&M-2.5 (-120):
“Hello darkness, my old friend” should probably be the theme lyric of our stand against the Bayou Bengals. It hasn’t been pretty throughout the year but this is a great spot for Texas A&M and hopefully our betting bankroll. The Aggies excel stopping the run (3.1 opponent yards per carry, 6th in the country), and that is extremely important when facing LSU. In their two losses, the Tigers were held to 2.91 yards per rush and they face their toughest run stuffing opponent in College Station. Texas A&M can also get after the opposing QB’s touting the 12th best sack percentage in the country. Joe Burrow needs to make big pass after big pass for LSU to win this game, and we’re not confident in this offense that’s an easy task. With one of the best home field advantages in the country, especially in a night time setting, we’re going to back the better overall team under a FG.