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No line doesn't mean no edge

October 19, 2007|Lonnie White | Times Staff Writer

When it comes to the UCLA vs. California rivalry, the Bruins have dominated since Karl Dorrell took over as coach. That's against the spread, not on the scoreboard.

Since 2003, the Bruins are 3-0 with one push against the Bears, including last season when Cal was favored by 18 points and won, 38-24, at Memorial Stadium.

But this week's game does not have a line because of the uncertainty at quarterback for both teams -- not uncommon for oddsmakers when injuries to key players are involved.

Although UCLA (4-2) is expected to start Patrick Cowan, who has been sidelined because of a knee injury, Cal Coach Jeff Tedford has yet to name a starter between Nate Longshore, who sat out last week's game because of an ankle injury, or Kevin Riley, a redshirt freshman who started against Oregon State and made a costly mistake at the end of the game.

While oddsmakers do not have a handle on the game,, which simulates every game 10,000 times, has Cal winning regardless of who starts at quarterback.

With Longshore matched up against Cowan, the Bears win 71.1% of the games with an average score of 30-23. When Longshore is simulated against Ben Olson, Cal wins 74.9% of the games with an average score of 31-23.

When Riley is matched against Cowan, UCLA's chances improve but Cal still holds an edge at 68.2% with an average score of 30-24.

Pro football

The most interesting thing about this weekend's NFL schedule is the line for New England at Miami. The undefeated Patriots are favored by 17 points, which is the largest road favorite since Baltimore was a 16 1/2 -point favorite at Arizona in 2000.

According to Jimmy Shapiro of, the largest road favorite ever is San Francisco as a 23 1/2 -point favorite at Atlanta in 1987. And guess what? Both Baltimore and San Francisco won but failed to cover the spread.

Here are several interesting NFL prop bets available at New England quarterback Tom Brady's odds to break Peyton Manning's record of 49 touchdown passes in a season is at Yes (-150) or No (+110); What will happen first, New England loss (+140) or Miami win (-180); Will Adrian Peterson break Eric Dickerson's rookie rushing record of 1,808 yards? Yes (+200) or No (-400).

Pro basketball

Ever since Boston acquired Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen, the Celtics have been receiving plenty of love from oddsmakers. Early books have Boston's season win-total set at 45 1/2 but expect that number to grow before the start of the regular season.


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