Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Every so often a bettor comes across a game
that looks like a winner. Sometimes these contests favor the favorites while
other times the underdogs are the top play.
Either way, the gambler is confident his bet will come out on the winning side
The only question is how much money should be wagered? The answer usually
relies on how much money a bettor is willing to risk.
Many of these games revolve around teams faced with difficult situations, such
as a game sandwiched between a pair of important contests against top-ranked
Once such scenario took place this past Saturday in Nashville, Tenn.
Vanderbilt hosted Florida, a team coming off a huge home win over then-fourth-
ranked LSU. The Commodores also lucked out because the Gators will be playing
another top opponent this coming Saturday when former coach Steve Spurrier
brings his standout South Carolina Gamecocks to Gainesville.
In the middle of the sandwich was a road tilt at Vanderbilt, a club that
already played South Carolina at home and only lost by four points. The
Commodores, who outgained the Gamecocks, 276 yards to 272, actually led by a
field goal heading into the fourth quarter, but Marcus Lattimore scored a
fourth-quarter touchdown, leading South Carolina to a 17-13 victory.
Vanderbilt came into the Florida contest riding high off its first Southeastern
Conference win of the season at Missouri. The Commodores were ready to snap the
10-game home losing streak to Florida and the oddsmakers were prepared as well
since the opening line had the Gators favored by only 10 points.
To put that in perspective, two years ago an unranked 5-3 Florida squad was
favored by 14 at LP Field against a 2-6 Vanderbilt club. In addition, the
Gators were the fourth-ranked club four years ago when they went into Nashville
against a 5-3 Vanderbilt team and were favored by 23 points. Coming into this
contest, the fourth-ranked Gators were undefeated at 5-0 while the Commodores
were 2-3 (1-3 against Football Bowl Subdivision competition).
The public jumped all over Vanderbilt during the week as the line amazingly
dropped down to around a touchdown. It seemed as if the entire nation was on
the Commodores' bandwagon until later in the week when the line shifted to nine
and then 9.5 points.
Vanderbilt jumped on top 7-0 midway through the first quarter with a Jordan
Rodgers (Aaron's little brother) 10-yard strike to Jordan Matthews, but Florida
fought back and took an 11-7 halftime lead. Despite being outgained 215-138,
the Commodores and their backers had to be happy because they trailed by only
The Commodores continued covering the spread until 4:44 left in the third
quarter when Jeff Driskel ran for his second touchdown of the game. The Gators
led 18-7 after Caleb Sturgis nailed the extra point.
The wheels almost came loose for Vanderbilt when Rodgers fumbled inside his own
20-yard line, resulting in a Sturgis 29-yard field goal early in the fourth.
However, the Commodores battled back with a Zac Stacy touchdown run on the
following drive that brought the deficit back down to seven points.
After Sturgis nailed another field goal, Rodgers began the next drive by
hitting Matthews for a 53-yard gain, which was followed by three straight Stacy
rushes that went for at least six yards.
The home team had a great chance to pretty much ice the cover with the ball on
Florida's 3-yard line and a 2nd-and-goal with about four minutes to go.
Unfortunately, the Gators defense came up strong and held Vanderbilt to a
short field goal.
With less then three minutes left to play, and facing a seven-point deficit,
all Vanderbilt needed to do was hold Florida to one three-and-out series. Heck,
even if the Gators picked up a couple of first downs, the clock would
eventually wind down with a 24-17 final score and a Commodores cover.
Unthinkably, Vanderbilt allowed Driskel to run 70 yards for a touchdown on the
first play of the drive. The only positive was the score did not take much time
off the clock, meaning Vanderbilt had one last chance to cover with a late
Rodgers drove his team down the field and with one minute remaining the
Commodores were suddenly inside Florida's 10-yard line. Nevertheless, the
Gators defense was up to the task and Rodgers wound up losing nine yards on
two consecutive plays.
Vanderbilt had one chance left on a 4th-and-17 play from the 17-yard line. but
an incomplete pass wrapped up the straight-up and against-the-spread loss. It
was the second time the Commodores failed to convert inside the Gators' 10 in
the second half. The first one resulted in a blocked field goal followed by
Driskel's second of three touchdown runs.
Sometimes the ball doesn't bounce the way you want it to and a possible winning
wager falls flat. The best thing to do is brush it off and chalk it up to bad
Don't dwell on the negatives because not even the No. 1 gambler in the country
wins every game he or she bets. Think positively and make up for the loss the
AFTER SEVEN WEEKS
My overall record through Week 7 is 50-45 after a 5-7 week. The five-star
plays are 9-6, the three-star selections are 8-12, the two-star picks stand at
22-16 and the one-star plays are 11-11.
As a reminder, the five-star plays are when my personal plays coincide with my
power rating plays (games with at least a five-point differential between my
line and the actual line). The three-star choices are my personal picks, the
two-star plays are the games the power rating system picks and the one-star
plays are my personal secondary selections.
THIS WEEK'S JEFF FRANK "DIRTY DOZEN"
1) Alabama, 105; 2) Oregon, 103.5; 3) Florida State, 102.5; 4-T) South Carolina
and Oklahoma, 101.5; 6) USC, 100; 7) LSU, 99; 8) Georgia, 98.5; 9) Florida,
98; 10-T) Notre Dame and Michigan, 97; 12) Texas A&M, 95.
(The Top 12 is not a reflection of a given team's won-loss record. It is based
on power ratings used to predict spreads for the upcoming week. At the
beginning of the season, all 124 FBS teams are assigned a power number, which
changes on a week-to-week basis depending on the results of the previous
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