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''She said we have to go run an errand or something. She looked like she was out of her mind,'' he said, grinning at the thought of his first Michigan-Ohio State game. ''We went to some outdoor area, like a mall. They were playing The Game' over the louds
2014-11-28

It's a meaningless matchup that means everything to the Hawkeyes and Cornhuskers.

Nebraska coach Bo Pelini's status is yet again a hot topic ahead of the Iowa game. Pelini kept his job despite a 38-17 home thrashing against the Hawkeyes last November, and he rewarded new athletic director Shawn Eichorst with a bowl win over Georgia and an 8-1 start in 2014.

But a two-game slide has left the Huskers (8-3, 4-3 Big Ten) in danger of their sixth straight four-loss campaign.

A bad showing in Iowa City could spell the end for Pelini.

''I think the last two weeks we didn't play very well. I said this earlier in the year: Some of the things were happening and weren't hurting us. And that's reality. In the last two weeks it's hurt us,'' Pelini said.

Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz isn't going anywhere, not after signing a huge contract extension in 2010.

But a second straight win over Nebraska - and the 8-4 mark that would go with it - would go a long way toward satisfying a fan base that thought the Hawkeyes (7-4, 4-3) could have won the Big Ten West.

Both teams enter Friday's game unranked and out of league title game contention. But the circumstances surrounding this year's matchup should help turn this series into the rivalry the Big Ten always hoped it would become.

''We want to win really bad. They want to win really bad,'' Iowa quarterback Jake Rudock said. ''Does that make it a rivalry? It probably does.''

Here are a few key things to consider with Nebraska and Iowa set to meet in Iowa City:

ABDULLAH'S DAY? The Big Ten's best backs have done big things against the Hawkeyes in Kinnick Stadium. Indiana's Tevin Coleman had 219 yards rushing on just 15 carries and Wisconsin's Melvin Gordon had 200 in last week's 26-24 win. Nebraska's Ameer Abdullah could be the next back to slice through the Hawkeyes, but he hasn't been the same since he sprained his left knee against Purdue this month.

RUDOCK: Iowa quarterback Jake Rudock has made plenty of strides since the last time he played Nebraska. Rudock has 14 TD passes, a league-low four interceptions and is less than a point behind Ohio State's J.T. Barrett for the Big Ten lead in completion percentage. ''It's not only he has ability, but he really works at it hard. The other part is, can you do that when you get knocked around a little bit?'' Ferentz said. ''It's really a tough job. Some guys are better than others. He's really doing a nice job.''

GREGORY VS. SCHERFF: The matchup to watch inside will be Nebraska defensive end Brandon Gregory against Iowa tackle Brandon Scherff. Gregory has seven sacks and 10 tackles for loss. But Scherff is one of three finalists for the Outland Trophy given to the nation's top lineman. The Huskers will likely move Gregory around to exploit matchups, but it'll be fun to see Gregory and Scherff square off.

WIDEOUT WOES: Pelini said Monday that Jordan Westerkamp will play after hyperextending his knee in last week's loss to Minnesota. But Kenny Bell, whose 171 career catches are the most in school history, is questionable after sustaining an apparent concussion against the Gophers. ''When somebody has a head injury, it's difficult to say,'' Pelini said.

TICKETS: Iowa and Nebraska's fan bases have long been regarded among the most passionate in the Midwest. But that hasn't translated at the ticket office. Iowa spokesman Steve Roe said Wednesday that just under 3,000 tickets were still available. Kinnick Stadium seats 70,585.




2015 Kentucky Derby Odds
2015-04-15

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American League Thursday night Betting preview
2010-09-23

Aces duel in the Bronx tonight as the Tampa Bay Rays send David Price to the mound to do battle with CC Sabathia. Despite Price’s 17-6 record and 2.78 ERA, Sportsbook.com currently has the Rays as +130 underdogs.

The Rays enter the night 1.5 games behind New York in the East.

Just 10 days removed from an epic pitching duel in Tampa, David Price (17-6, 2.79 ERA) once again squares off against CC Sabathia (20-6, 3.05 ERA). Both starters were brilliant that night, with Price allowing only three hits in eight innings, while Sabathia gave up only two. Price has been masterful for the Rays all year. The team has won his last four starts and seven of his last eight. His most recent effort was a no-decision against the Angels where he gave up three runs on four hits over seven innings in a 4-3 Tampa win.

Sabathia is also coming off a three-run, seven inning outing that saw him get back in the win column after the Yankees dropped his last two starts. Prior to that, they had won his last six. Sabathia has good career numbers against the Rays, going 8-4 with a 2.89 ERA in 19 career starts. Price also has solid numbers against New York, carrying a 2-1 mark with a 3.20 ERA into Thursday’s game.

After checking out the betting guide at Sportsbook.com, this interesting trend sides with the Yankees.

Play Against - Road underdogs with a money line of +125 to +175 (TAMPA BAY) - poor AL hitting team (AVG <=.260) against a team with a good bullpen (ERA <=3.75), with a starting pitcher whose gives up 0.5 or less HR's/start. (55-17 over the last 5 seasons.) (76.4%, +28.7 units. Rating = 2*).

Another top notch American League pitching duel takes place out west as Cliff Lee and the Texas Rangers take on Dallas Braden and the Oakland A’s. After scanning Sportsbook.com betting board, the Rangers are currently -125 money line favorites. As expected, the oddsmakers set a low ‘total’ of 6.5 runs.

After dropping four of their last six games, the Rangers turn to Cliff Lee (12-8, 3.19 ERA) to right the ship Thursday night in Oakland. Lee is coming off a pair of wins that saw him go eight innings and give up one run to both the Yankees and Mariners. Prior to those outings Lee had been shaky, going 0-3 over his previous five starts. The Rangers were 0-5 in those games. He has had success against Oakland in his career, going 5-2 with a 2.20 ERA in 11 starts.

Lee will be opposed by Dallas Braden (9-13, 3.65 ERA). It’s been a struggle for Braden lately, who is 0-3 with a 7.56 ERA in his last three starts. Most recently he gave up four runs on eight hits over six innings in taking the loss at Minnesota. Things have gone downhill since Braden threw his perfect game on May 9. He’s just 5-11 in 20 starts since that day and the A’s are 6-14 in those games. A silver lining in that record is a complete game, four-hit shutout of Texas on August 28.

Despite Braden’s recent struggles, the following betting trend sides with those betting on Oakland:

Play On - Home teams (OAKLAND) - cold hitting team - batting .240 or worse over their last 10 games against opponent starting a pitcher who gave up <=1 earned runs in his last 2 outings. (129-65 over the last 5 seasons.) (66.5%, +69.7 units. Rating = 4*).

To check out more statistics and trends, head over to Sportsbook.com and check out the sports betting guide for all of the MLB games as well as NFL Week 3 betting.


CFB: GMAC Bowl - TROY vs. CENTRAL MICHIGAN (8:00 PM ET, ESPN)
2010-01-06

The GMAC Bowl series has produced the most lopsided games of any bowl series in recent years, as favorites are on an incredible 7-0 SU and ATS run, winning by an average margin of 30.3 points per game. Central Michigan hopes that trend continues, although the MAC representative has been on the short end of the L3 blowouts. The Chippewas are 2-point favorites at Sportsbook.com after spending most of the last three weeks as favorites of 4-points or more.

The Chippewas got here by virtue of an 11-2 record and third conference title in the L4 years. The 2009 group was the best of the bunch, however, evidenced by the 33.2-to-17.2 scoring differential. Senior and four-year starting quarterback Dan LeFevour plays his last game for Central Michigan. Troy is again the Sun Belt champ and comes in with a 9-3 SU and 8-4 ATS mark. The Trojans have played in three prior bowl games, going 1-2 SU and ATS, including 3-0 going OVER the total.

Coach Butch Jones took the Central Michigan football program to new heights. He won't be around to fully enjoy the fruits of his labor.

With the first national ranking in their history but without the coach who led them there, the No. 25 Chippewas will face Sun Belt Conference champion Troy on Wednesday night at the GMAC Bowl in Mobile, Ala.

Central Michigan (11-2) is champion of the Mid-American Conference for the third time in four seasons, with the last two titles coming under Jones. The coach posted a 27-13 record in his three seasons, marked by a spread offense that averaged 32.6 points during his tenure and exceeded 45 points five times in 2009. A 20-10 victory over Ohio in the MAC championship game vaulted the Chippewas into the Top 25 for the first time.

After that success, No. 4 Cincinnati came calling. Faced with a coaching vacancy after Brian Kelly left for Notre Dame, the Bearcats tabbed Jones for the job. Associate coach Steve Stripling will lead the Chippewas on an interim basis.

The Chippewas may no longer have the coach who installed their high-powered offense, but they still have the record-setting quarterback who makes it run. Four-year starter Dan LeFevour has thrown for 27 touchdowns and run for 14 to bring his career total to 147 TDs passing, rushing and receiving. That sets the major college football mark, previously shared by Hawaii's Colt Brennan and Texas Tech's Graham Harrell.

Having a record-setting receiver to target also helps. Senior Bryan Anderson has caught at least one pass in an NCAA record 53 consecutive games, and has 57 receptions for 700 yards and six touchdowns this season. Junior Antonio Brown, meanwhile, has team highs of 97 catches, 1,020 yards and nine scores.

Troy's offense may be able to keep pace. The Trojans (9-3) averaged 33.1 points - 41.2 over their last six games - en route to winning at least a share of the Sun Belt title for the fourth consecutive year.

They also boast a record-setting quarterback of their own. Senior Levi Brown ranks second in the nation with 322.3 passing yards per game, and his 3,868 yards were the most in the history of both Troy and the Sun Belt.

When Brown isn't throwing the ball, he's often handing it off to Shawn Southward. The running back ranked fifth in the nation among freshmen with 10 rushing touchdowns and gained 574 yards on 100 carries. He's taken some of the workload away from junior DuJuan Harris, whose production fell from 1,077 rushing yards in 2008 to 471.

Troy lost in overtime to Southern Miss in the New Orleans Bowl following last season. The Trojans earned their lone bowl victory in three tries in 2006, beating Rice at the New Orleans Bowl.

The Chippewas are 1-4 in bowl games, defeating Middle Tennessee in the 2006 Motor City Bowl. This is the first time they've ventured out of state in postseason play since 1994, when they fell to UNLV in the Las Vegas Bowl.

This is the first meeting between these schools.

GMAC BOWL Series Trend: Since the well-known Marshall 64-61 come from behind win over East Carolina in 2001, the GMAC Bowl results have been downright ugly. Favorites have won and covered the last seven games of the series, with an average winning margin of 30.3 PPG. The last three installments have seen Conference USA on the winning end over the MAC. The last four games have gone UNDER the total, simply since the losing team has only produced 10.0 PPG.