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MHJ’s Tough Cover Column: College Football Saturday preview for 11/12

No time for intros. Let’s get to today’s college football action.

12 p.m.

UCONN +14.5 vs. Liberty

  • UCONN is 8-2 ATS this year as the 4th most profitable team in the country. They are 4-1 ATS in the friendly confines of Connecticut and they are 1 win away from making relative history. They need to win 1 of their next 2 games for bowl eligibility.
  • It’s great to see some of the basketball blue bloods that have been dreadful for years get off the mat and find their way too relevancy on the football field.
  • I get it, Liberty just beat BOTH of BYU and Arkansas. While both teams were trendy preseason playoff picks, they have both disappointed and are not the teams that many thought they’d be. So while they were still impressive wins for Liberty, those victories may be less shiny than they appear.
  • On top of that, this is still the same Liberty team who beat Gardner Webb by just 1 point three weeks ago as a 23.5 point favorite and are only 1-4 ATS as a favorite this season and 0-3 ATS as a double digit favorite.
  • Liberty has also been all over the place. They just traveled from Virginia down to Arkansas and they now have to go up to Connecticut for a sleepy Noon Game against the Huskies? UConn is a live dog. They haven’t made a bowl or won 3 straight games since 2015, they just may remedy both stats at Noon.

Arkansas +3.5 vs. LSU

  • This line makes absolutely no sense. Right? LSU just beat Alabama and are #7 in the CFP Rankings and Arkansas just lost to Liberty?
  • Vegas knows. They’re telling you what to bet here. They are begging you to take LSU. I don’t go with this line of thinking very often but sometimes you have to sniff it out.
  • This is a double jeopardy gambling spot. Arkansas is in a big time bounceback spot at home after a very disappointing loss. LSU is in a big time letdown spot on the road after a big win with a looming potential SEC Title Game against Georgia. And if you break it down, LSU can lose this week and easily still make the SEC Championship by beating UAB and Texas A&M.
  • The other time LSU played at Noon this year? When they got blown out at home by Tennessee.
  • Even with their struggles, Arkansas has the 2nd best rushing offense in the SEC which can keep them in games.
  • Sam Pittman has been a great ATS coach as an underdog. 12-6 ATS and 8-3 ATS against the Top 20. I’ll ride with the Hogs. Wooooooo Pig Soooie.

3:30 p.m.

Tulane ML vs. UCF

  • Tulane THE most profitable team in the country against the spread. Tulane is 8-1 ATS and 6-1 ATS as a favorite. They cover by a touchdown per game. They’ve covered 5 straight games and I’m buying all in on a Tulane Green Wave team that beat a very solid Kansas State squad earlier this season.
  • They have the #1 defense in the AAC with an offense that has picked up a lot of steam, averaging over 32 PPG in the last 5 games.
  • But the main reason that I like Tulane to win here has to do with UCF. Central Florida is a WAY different team away from the Bounce House in(or near?) Orlando as we saw against ECU a few weeks ago. Under Gus Malzahn, UCF is 3-5 ATS on the road.
  • On top of that, Tulane has been incredibly good at home against the number. Under Head Coach Willie Fritz, the Green Wave are 26-11 ATS at home, which is best in the country. Also, these fans are FIRED UP and angry that College Gameday (correctly) bypassed them for Austin, Texas. I think we see a raucous environment down there in Nola.

Under 47.5 App State-Marshall

  • I know it’s the “Fun Belt” but I think this Sun Belt showdown is gonna be a defensive slog.
  • Marshall is tied with Kentucky and Missouri as the 3 most profitable teams on the under in the country. 8-1 on the Under and they have hit 6 straight Unders. They won a 12-0 game against Old Dominion last week that had a very similar total to this game at 46.5. Marshall has the 11th best defense in the country and a bottom 20 offense in many respects.
  • App State is also 4-1 on the Under in the last 5 so they’re no stranger to a low-scoring matchup. Should be a very close and low-scoring game. Just hoping to avoid OT.

7 p.m.

Kansas +3.5 @ Texas Tech

  • I’ve been riding with Kansas all year long, why stop now? KU is 7-1-1 ATS this year and 4-1-1 as an Underdog. Just like UCONN, they are another basketball blue blood that has gotten off the mat on the football field. In 7 seasons before Lance Leipold arrived at Kansas, the Jayhawks were 9-60. Kansas is 6-3.
  • I honestly don’t even care if it’s Jason Bean or Jalon Daniels at QB as I’ve been incredibly impressed with both. Since Daniels’ injury, Bean has thrown for 986 yards with 11 touchdowns in 3.5 games. Credit to Kansas for having 2 great QB options when many big time College Football programs can’t find one, looking at you Notre Dame and Texas A&M. Every single team with a coaching vacancy should look at Lance Leipold.
  • But the main reason I’m betting on Kansas has nothing to do with Kansas. I watched every snap of TCU-Texas Tech last week. TCU begged the Red Raiders to win that game and Texas Tech couldn’t close them out. Scoring only 24 points against a bad TCU defense is cause for concern. Texas Tech is 1-4 ATS and outright in their last 5.
  • Give me Kansas to continue their Cinderella run and not only cover but win this game. Kansas can guarantee a winning record for the first time since the Mark Mangino days of 2008.

Over 52 KState-Baylor

  • Who would have thought that Dave Aranda’s Baylor Bears would become an Over team? 6 straight Overs have cashed for Baylor. They are 7-2 on the Overs this year. They are scoring 40 points per game in their last 4 matchups and they’ve scored 36 points per game in their last 6 matchups.
  • 4-2 in the last 6 on the Over for K State. Adrian Martinez is back for the Wildcats and he and Deuce Vaughn make a lethal duo.
  • Big 12 Overs are back. Give me a high scoring vintage Big 12 shootout in Waco.

7:30 p.m.

Texas -6.5 vs. TCU

  • The TCU fairytale is over and I think it just may go down in flames. Not only are they going to lose this game but I think they lose next week to Baylor and potentially in the Big 12 title game to either of them. Even though they don’t have to leave the state of Texas, they still have 2 really tough road games that will be an uphill clime for TCU.
  • TCU has knocked out 6 opposing starting QB’s. They have faced the most backup QB’s of any team in the country. Yet even if Quinn Ewers gets hurt, Texas has one of the best backup QB’s in the country in Hudson Card. So the Longhorns may finally have the antidote for the TCU “hurt the QB” strategy.
  • Quentin Johnston, TCU’s best player and an expected Top 10 pick as a WR in next year’s draft, is playing but is not expected to be at 100% after injuring his ankle last week. QB Max Duggan is also banged up.
  • Texas’ secret weapon? Former TCU Head Coach legend Gary Patterson is on the Texas staff. Who knows these players and Max Duggan better than Patterson?
  • There are a ton of stats to point to that tell you that this is a very dangerous spot for TCU. Give me Texas in a blowout. Undefeated teams are 5-12 ATS in the months of November and December when they are a TD+ underdog on the road.

Over 64.5 TCU-Texas

  • 3 of the last 4 TCU games have went Over. The last two Texas games have went over.
  • Not only do we have 2 QB’s who have been Top 10 in the country this year in Max Duggan and Quinn Ewers but tremendous weapons on both sides. Both teams come in with tremendous rushers with over 1,000 yards in Kendre’ Miller and Bijan Robinson. Both teams also come in with explosive options at Wide Receiver in Quentin Johnston and Xavier Worthy.
  • TCU’s totals have come at an average of 70 points. I’ve been riding TCU’s Team Totals but I trust the Texas offense to hold up their end of the bargain. TCU averages 43 PPG while Texas averages 36 PPG. I expect FIREWORKS in Austin with Texas ultimately winning by a comfortable margin.

You can follow Mark Henry Jr. on Twitter (@MarkHenryJr_) and listen to the Tough Cover Radio Show every Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Fox Sports Radio The Gambler.

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