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Missouri vs. Texas A&M
Betting Line: A&M -3.5 o/u 55
As a handicapper, you have to be careful not to get caught up in early season media hype pertaining to certain teams. For example, Texas A&M is 7th in the Nation against the run allowing just 81 rushing yards per game. While that's nice to read, what that doesn't tell you is that they opened up the year against Stephen F Austin (that's a college for those of you not sure), La Tech and Florida International.
Not that Missouri has opened the year with the toughest schedule in the Nation, but they have beaten Illinois, who is looking pretty good, San Diego State, who is also looking pretty good and they blanked the first Big 12 team they faced, Colorado, 26-0.
The real season is underway for both of these programs now. No easy games the rest of the way, so we'll learn plenty each week from here forward about Missouri and Texas A&M. A&M has stepped up in class the past two weeks losing close games to Arkansas and Oklahoma State.
The key to the success of Missouri thus far has been the play of their defense. They have forced 14 turnovers and rank 1st in the Big 12 in scoring defense. Nine of Mizu's forced turnovers have come by way of interception and this week they face A&M QB Jerrod Johnson who has already thrown more picks this year (9) than all of last season.
Some of the line value in this game is due to the status is Missouri QB
Blaine Gabbert who sustained a high hip pointer against Colorado and left the
game and did not return. He is listed as probable but there is very little doubt
he will play. He wanted to stay in the game at Colorado. He will play.
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While much of the focus has been on Gabbert and his status, the real question mark at QB may be on the A&M side and Jerrod Johnson. He completed just 15 of 40 last Saturday and is under 50% on the year, with the 9 picks we mentioned above. Rumors are swirling about possible shoulder problems for Johnson. Last week, of his 15 completions, all but 4 of those were to the same receiver and of those 4, two came against a prevent defense. Now he faces a top notch defense in Missouri. It goes without saying that he'll need to find more than one receiver if they are to have any success against the Tigers.
We like to say that in college football, the situations and the stats stay the same from year to year, only the names of the teams change. In other words, when we make a play on a game, we are making that play based on statistical and emotional situations that exist. They exist every year. We are making plays based on the fact that over the long haul, games we find matching those stats and emotional situations have proven profitable to us over the long haul. We expect to win 54 to 58% of those games. Some years more, some years less. This is one such game. We will win a game like this more often than we will lose. What happens this week, is irrelevant. Though we hope it's a win of course. We want to get our readers thinking long term. It's crucial to sportsbetting success.
Missouri comes into this game with a yards per point number 12 offensively and a whopping 28 defensively. That 28 makes them the #1 team in the Nation in terms of defensive yards per point. A&M is a 13 offensively and a 15 defensively, and of course, we can't ignore the turnover margin with A&M at -6 and Missouri at +5 for a difference of 11.
One model we use that has been the most accurate this year in terms of predicting final scores, has Missouri winning this one straight up by a score of 24-18. We can't pass up the +3.5 points here. It's a spot where we have had an edge over the long haul, so, we play. Missouri +3.5