The One(s) that got Away

The One(s) that got Away

Are we really heading into week 9 of the college football season? Time flies when best bets are slipping through your fingers or falling victoriously into your lap. Week eight was certainly no exception and we have plenty of betting ups and downs to report on. On with the complaining…

Case #1: #21 Cincinnati (5-1) @ SMU (3-3) Betting Line: Cin -3

Sometimes when something seems too good to be true, it might be. The Bearcats rolled into SMU with a 5-1 record, five-straight wins and off of a bye. SMU was at home but just .500 on the season after ending a 3-game losing streak with a win over Navy the previous week. And the spread is just three?! Sign me up, this is too good to…be…uh oh.

When the Bearcats jumped out to a quick 10-0 lead after one quarter, things were feeling good, not too good. Then it jumped up to 17-0 and, yes, I’ll say it: it felt too good to be true. A quick, two-play Mustangs’ drive turned the tide a bit as the Bearcats lead was trimmed to 17-7. The Bearcats’ ensuing drive stalled and they had to settle for a field goal. Ok, a 20-7 lead at halftime would feel good except…here come the Mustangs. An agonizing 13-play Mustangs’ drive made it 20-14 at the half.

Settling into the 3rd quarter, a simple Bearcats’ touchdown would make things very comfortable. The Bearcats defense was solid and kept the Mustangs off the board in the 3rd quarter. Just give us a touchdown and we’ll feel great. Three Bearcats drives, 20 plays in total, resulted in three crummy field goals! Well, the lead is 29-14 and the Mustangs can’t seem to move the ball. If you’ve been down this road before, you know that leaving points on the board is always trouble. Fourth quarter, here we come.

With eight minutes to go in the game, still up 15 and things are looking good. At the very least, if the Bearcats can kick a sixth field goal, we have the W. Three minutes and 11 plays later, the Mustangs punch in a score. 29-21 with 5 minutes left. Let the pacing begin. Just get a first down and this thing is over. One first down and, oh good God, the Bearcats are punting! Make a stop…make a stop..make a…You guessed it, Mustangs touchdown! Ok, now we are fully rooting for the Mustangs to make the two-point conversion. We can still steal this one with an OT touchdown and a stop. Our final hope. Suddenly, the Bearcats’ defense wakes up and tips the 2pt conversion pass away.

Final Score: Cincinnati 29 SMU 27 Spread -3: Loss

Case #2: Arizona State (2-4) @ Stanford (2-4) Betting Line: Stanford -2.5

Pac-12 Conference game with an interim coached team in the Sun Devils squaring off against veteran coach David Shaw and the Stanford Cardinal. Stanford is giving up just 2.5 points at home? This seems too good to be…does someone sense a theme?

Stanford comes in following a huge road win as three-score underdogs at Notre Dame. They face an ASU team that has already parted with their coach and one just once in four weeks. Certainly, the motivated Cardinal can pull out a win larger than a field goal or, at LEAST by a field goal.

One quarter in, things aren’t feeling as good as we’d hoped. The Cardinal trail 7-6 after having to settle for two field goals in two scoring drives. Speaking of themes, this could be another theme coming on here. By halftime, the Sun Devils tack on another touchdown and it is 14-6 at the half. Far from insurmountable, one touchdown can tie this one up and then we would just need a field goal. Oh no, did someone say field goal?

A third-quarter turnover puts the Cardinal in great shape but they can only advance 21 yards and finish with a field goal. 14-9 and we are heading into the fourth quarter. Stanford’s defense has been solid so we just need a touchdown and this one will be a win. A 9-play 67-yard drive from the end of the third until the start of the fourth quarter leads to, is that a little guy with a strong leg?! Yep, 14-12 ASU now with four drives, four field goals. Stanford gets the ball back with just over six minutes to go. ASU’s offense has completely shut down so a touchdown here and it's over. The Cardinal march 15 plays, kill over five minutes of clock and move into…did the camera just pan the sideline to show some clown booting footballs into a net?! Oh no!!! With a minute left, you guessed it, a field goal!! UGHHHH!!!!!

Final Score: Stanford 15 Arizona State 14 Spread -2.5: Loss

So what did we learn this week? Well besides the fact that small lines do not mean easy wins, we also have determined that placekickers are pure evil, they really are. Check in next week for another sampling of ‘The One(s) that got Away’. Also, be sure to check out my premium bets and packages here for all the inside knowledge in baseball, the NBA, the NHL, the NFL and college football.

*College football lines courtesy of

Author Profile
Mark Ruelle

Mark has been a sports fanatic since childhood. He is also an avid follower of sports analytics and has used it in his own betting analysis for over two decades. Now we have Mark on our team here at Stat Salt. He holds degrees in marketing, broadcasting, and English and uses this vast array of assets to dissect and analyze game matchups. Mark will provide you with a wide variety of statistics to consider and a strong opinion in each matchup that he covers. Please follow him daily for an up-to-the-minute analysis of all the important games.