For those who prefer to win bets, here is the Bodog newsletter. It takes a look at Texas A&M vs. Oklahoma State, but NFL injuries and college football injuries.
Quite possibly the highest-scoring college football game of the week will come on Thursday night between two unbeaten yet unranked (in the AP poll) Big 12 South teams in Texas A&M and Oklahoma State. The Cowboys are 3.5-point favorites on Bodog’s NCAA Football Odds with a total set at a whopping 67 – there will be live betting available on the ESPN game.
New offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen has Oklahoma State’s offense humming at a level unlike any in Cowboys history. Led by QB Brandon Weeden (73.3 percent completions, 975 yards passing, 11 TDs), running back Kendall Hunter (60 carries, 473 yards, 6 TDs) and receiver Justin Blackmon (24 catches, 431 yards, FBS-leading 8 TD catches), the Cowboys are No. 1 overall in total offense and No. 2 in scoring (57 points per game) and passing. Last time out against Tulsa, Weeden had six touchdown passes and the Cowboys put up a school-record 722 yards of offense while scoring on 10 straight possessions in a 65-28 win.
Texas A&M enters having played one of the worst schedules so far in the nation, having beaten Stephen F. Austin, Louisiana Tech and Florida International – and the Aggies were lucky to beat FIU as QB Jerrod Johnson was picked off four times in a row in the second half of the 27-20 win. Other than that, Johnson has been good, ranking in the Top 15 in total offense and passing, while RB Christine Michael hasn’t been held under 100 yards yet. The Aggies rank 9th in the nation in total offense and 10th in total defense, but consider the competition.
OSU has beaten Texas A&M two games in a row in this series but has never won three straight against the Aggies. Oklahoma State is 2-1 when opening the Big 12 season against Texas A&M with a loss in 2001 and wins the past two years. These are just two of 25 unbeaten teams left in the country.
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Now for NFL injuries for week 4 NFL picks.
The winless Cleveland Browns might get starting quarterback Jake Delhomme back on Sunday as Delhomme, who hasn’t played since Week 1, is expected to return to practice for the first time since injuring his ankle. Cleveland hosts Cincinnati on Sunday – bet on the game with Bodog’s NFL Odds.
Delhomme won’t practice Wednesday but coach Eric Mangini said he expected Delhomme back on the practice field either Thursday or Friday. Delhomme, who suffered a high ankle sprain against the Bucs, has been in a walking boot ever since. If he can’t practice or is still limited, Seneca Wallace will start again.
“I anticipate Jake coming back (to practice),” said Mangini. “We’ll see where he is. I want Jake to be healthy. That’s not a knock on Seneca. But Jake does some good things for us offensively (too).”
The Browns are 0-3 but have lost those three by just a combined 12 points. They have had a fourth-quarter lead in all three games this season, but are 0-3 for the third straight season and the fourth time in five years. Wallace was pretty good this past week against a great Ravens defense, going 18-for-24 for 141 yards and a touchdown.
Meanwhile, Mangini said the team will stick with Peyton Hillis as the starting running back. Hillis, starting for an injured Jerome Harrison against the Ravens, had 180 yards from scrimmage and his 144 rushing yards (on 22 carries, with a TD) set a career high. Hillis also had seven catches. Harrison could return against the Bengals but will be used more as a change-of-pace back.
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Boise State junior running back D.J. Harper, a key part of the Broncos’ excellent running back rotation, has been lost for the season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament – the second year in a row Harper has torn his ACL.
Harper was injured in Boise State’s win over Oregon State on Saturday night. He got hurt while trying to make a cut and immediately grabbed his knee. But he went to the sideline, went through some exercises and returned to the game. He had three carries for 21 yards against the Beavers but 160 yards rushing and two touchdowns overall this season – including a big 71-yard touchdown run in the opener against Virginia Tech. Harper also was injured in the third game of the 2009 season (the same knee) and redshirted.
If there’s good news it’s that the Broncos are deep at the position. Senior Jeremy Avery, a 1,000-yard rusher last year, will step into Harper’s role as the second option behind Doug Martin. Avery has been used in special packages this season while Martin and Harper handled the base plays.
Boise State, which has won 17 games in a row, now enters WAC play and will be a huge favorite on every week the rest of the season other than Nov. 26 at Nevada. The Broncos are -42.5 this week on Bodog’s NCAA odds against winless New Mexico State. The Aggies shouldn’t put up much of a fight as they have lost 10 in a row overall and are second-to-last in the FBS in defense. Boise is 10th in the nation in offense.