Burke: Saturday rematches in conference title games

By Adam Burke  (VSiN.com) 

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In yesterday’s blurb, I talked about how both of Friday’s games were rematches and how the first game could have some influence on the second game. Well, the UTSA vs. Western Kentucky game was a lot different. The Utah vs. Oregon game was actually just more of the same.

We’ve got three more rematches on Saturday, with Baylor vs. Oklahoma State, App State vs. Louisiana and Kent State vs. Northern Illinois. Let’s look back at the first meeting and see how it applies to the rematch.

Baylor vs. Oklahoma State (-7, 46)

The first game was in Stillwater and a 24-14 win for Oklahoma State. The Cowboys outgained Baylor by 121 yards and never trailed. Oklahoma State even had three turnovers, but Baylor punted after all three takeaways. One of them came deep in Baylor territory.

Baylor QB Gerry Bohanon was only 13-of-27 for 173 yards and he was healthier at that point than he is now. That being said, OSU was -3.5 at home in that game, so we’ve clearly seen an adjustment to the line. Let’s assume 2.5 points for HFA. Is Oklahoma State really six points better than Baylor from that Oct. 2 game?

Maybe so, as Baylor hasn’t looked all that great recently, including a loss to TCU and a game that came down to the wire against Texas Tech. As far as the total goes, the first meeting opened 49.5, touched 50.5 and closed 47.5. I think a 1.5-point adjustment on the total creates a fair line.

 

Kent State (-4, 74.5) vs. Northern Illinois

Like the Oregon vs. Utah team, these two teams played each other recently. Kent State won 52-47, but NIU scored 20 points in the fourth quarter to make a 45-27 deficit look a whole lot better. The first game was lined Kent State -3 at home with a total of 69.5 that opened 67.5 and actually got as low as 66 before coming back up.

The game started slow at 7-0 before Kent exploded for 31 of the 45 points tallied in the fourth quarter. A similarly slow start could be a possibility here, as we’ve seen some MAC games start quietly and then explode. If that’s the case, a live bet on the over might be better than a preflop wager.

If we once again assume 2.5 points for HFA, Kent was about -0.5 on a neutral at the time against NIU per the closing number. Most books opened the spread higher than 3.5, though. So this line is pretty close to where the oddsmakers originally had it with HFA included. This game opened -2 and Kent money blew through the key number of 3.

The first game had 99 points and 1,345 yards. We may get a slightly tighter contest here with the big stakes, but it would be very hard to bet an under here.

 

App State (-2.5, 52) at Louisiana

This is a home-site conference championship game and Louisiana will be at home. That was the situation back on Oct. 12 when the Ragin’ Cajuns rolled to a 41-13 win over App State. It was the worst loss of the season for Mountaineers and maybe the most complete game Louisiana played all season.

That line was in the -4 range for App State as the road favorite. Despite the lopsided result, App State is still the clear road favorite here. The line sat -3 most of the week and then moved to -2.5 going into Saturday morning. This is one that has to sound alarm bells. Much like Oregon vs. Utah, where the line didn’t move much, despite the change of venue, this line isn’t that adjusted from the first meeting, even though Louisiana won handily.

That says a lot to me. App State was included in our staff best bets article for this weekend, which you can read here.

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