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AUBURN AT VANDERBILT

10/4/08

2* Vanderbilt +4 over Auburn - We had a feeling we'd be playing this one a couple of weeks ago. First we are going to tell you why this play scares us. Then we are going to tell you why we're going to play it anyways.

A pointspread is an indicator of a teams value in the marketplace. If a team outperforms the indicator, it tells us they are undervalued. If a team doesn't perform well against the pointspread, it tells us they are overvalued. This game presents a classic look at overvalued and undervalued. This generally happens because a team is given credit, or not given credit, based on what they have done historically. Here we have Auburn, a team that is top 5 in wins over the last decade in college football, against Vanderbilt, a team that hasn't had a winning season in 25 years. Auburn is down a notch mostly as a result of implementing a new offense while Vandy is playing at a higher level thus far than they have in years. So it should be no surprise that Vandy is 4-0 against the spread this year while Auburn is 1-3 against the number.

The problem is that when this occurs, adjustments are made each week to correct the problem. Little by little, that early season value begins to disappear. Without these adjustments, bettors could simply load up on or against these teams each week and laugh all the way to the bank. As it stands with Vandy, we are approaching the point of diminishing returns. Interestingly enough, the oddsmakers still didn't get it right this week according to the early bettors who are usually a sharp crowd. Auburn opened a 6 point favorite but was quickly bet down to 4.

In order for there to be any value betting on Vanderbilt this season, past this game, there needs to be a correction in the market place. Is this the week of the correction? We hope not, as we are going to ride the Vandy train for one more week.

You've seen us refer to special seasons and the likes of Cinci, Rutgers and Wake Forest in recent years. One thing that all of these teams had in common was that they were all among the best teams in the nation in turnover margin at the time of their special runs. You commonly here people state that these teams "get all the breaks" or the "ball has bounced their way" but that's all nonsense. Teams that find themselves at the top of the turnover category are creating those bounces and breaks. So with Vanderbilt, it should come as no surprise that they are #1 in the country in Turnover Margin at +9. Auburn meanwhile, weighs in at -3 which is to be expected from a team implementing a new spread offense.

 

CAROLINA SPORTS - THE BEST BIG GAME CAPPER IN THE NATION - COLLEGE FOOTBALL GAME OF THE YEAR - SATURDAY

 

It won't be easy to beat Auburn with a one dimensional attack. Auburn has a fantastic defense. Vanderbilt is all about the run. They are pretty much no threat whatsoever to throw the ball downfield. Auburn held two opponents this year to 39 yards rushing. They held another to 84 yards on the ground with only LSU and Tennessee gaining any significant yardage overland but both of those teams were a threat thru the air which opened up the ground game. No such threat with Vandy and that could be a problem.

What we need here is a game that plays out similar to the Auburn Miss State game. A defensive battle where one or two big plays makes the difference. We like our chances of Vandy being the team that gets the big play to make a difference.

As with the Wake Forest and Rutgers teams, we get to say that this will probably be the biggest game Vanderbilt has ever played to date in the history of their program. They get the chance to prove they are deserving of the top 25 ranking. ESPN will be broadcasting from there all day starting with their Game Day show. For Vanderbilt, that's huge. The added emotional boost here can only be a positive. We'll ride Vandy one more week. 2* Vanderbilt +4

 

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