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Behind the lines

These men of Troy not such a good bet

September 29, 2007|Lonnie White | Times Staff Writer

The first month of the college football season has not been kind to Louisiana Monroe.

In three games, the winless Warhawks have been outscored, 138-57, and in a Sept. 15 game at Texas A&M, the Aggies scored nine of the 10 times they had the ball in a 54-14 rout.

It's this type of ineptitude that has made Monroe the underdog of the week for today's game against Troy, which is a 13-point favorite at home. According to Wagerline.com, the Trojans have had more bets placed on them than any other team at a whopping 82.97% as of Friday morning.

But a closer look reveals that Monroe could be a sleeper pick. In the Warhawks' last eight road games, they are 7-1 against the spread and 5-1 against the spread in their last six games against Sun Belt Conference opponents.

Want more? Monroe has beaten the spread the last three times it has played Troy, including last season, when the Trojans failed to cover a 10 1/2 -point line in a 24-19 victory, which also was played at Troy.

Georgia Tech opened the season with two victories, including an impressive win at Notre Dame, but the Yellow Jackets have lost their last two games. This up-and-down style may be the reason the line on Georgia Tech's home game against Clemson (4-0) has moved so much this week.

The Yellow Jackets opened as a one-point favorite but had dropped to three-point underdogs by Friday. Bettors seem to have put a lot of significance behind Clemson's 31-7 victory over Georgia Tech last season and the Yellow Jackets' 28-23 loss at Virginia last week.

But that actually might be good news for Georgia Tech supporters because the Yellow Jackets are 6-0 against the spread in their last six games when they've been home underdogs of three points or less.

Also, in case you missed it: Notre Dame is a 22-point underdog at Purdue. Yes, the Fighting Irish are more than three touchdown underdogs to the Boilermakers. But then again, over the last 10 years, Notre Dame has a 75-51 record, and Purdue is 79-49.

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Pro football

The Buffalo Bills (0-3) have taken their lumps this season and are listed as 3 1/2 -point underdogs at home for Sunday's game against the New York Jets.

For the Bills to turn things around, they will have to buck a few trends against the Jets. In their last nine meetings, the road team has won seven times and the home team has covered only three times. Also, the Jets are 5-1 against the spread in their last six road games.

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lonnie.white@latimes.com

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