Updated on 09/16/2011 8:22AM

Ole Miss +13 = backdoor cover


LAS VEGAS - Larry Grossman, host of the "You Can Bet On It" radio program, made an interesting observation this week.

While going over Saturday's college football TV schedule with Palms race and sports book manager Fred Crespi, Grossman started reminiscing about his younger days and how excited he used to get about watching bowl games on New Year's Day. That was in the days when you might only get two or three televised games each Saturday throughout the fall.

He then pointed out that nowadays - with the advent of cable and the public's growing appetite for football, football, and more football - every Saturday in the fall is like New Year's Day, or at least the way it used to be. This Saturday, there will be nine nationally televised games throughout the day, plus regional games. On New Year's Day 2003, there will be only six games played.

Now that's progress.

Florida at Mississippi (+13)

Remember the game last Thursday with a Florida team (Florida St.) going to Louisville and getting beat by a top-notch QB (Dave Ragone) in the rain? Well, we might be seeing the equivalent of a rerun here on CBS, with the setting changing to Mississippi and Rebel QB Eli Manning replacing Ragone in the starring role. Florida will get its points against a mediocre Mississippi defense, but the Rebel offense will also be able to move the ball just as Kentucky did last week in a 41-34 loss at Florida. I would lean toward going over the total of 61 1/2, but the threat of inclement weather (the area has been soaked by Hurricane Lili) has me off that. Even if I don't get the outright upset, the Rebels should be able to stay within two touchdowns and be in position for a backdoor cover.

PLAY: Mississippi for 2 units.

Nevada (-1 1/2) at UNLV

Speaking of Rebels, the UNLV Runnin' Rebels haven't been running well this season (or passin' well, or tacklin' well, or playin' special teams well, either). The Rebels' only victory has been over Big 12 doormat Kansas, but they're not in Kansas anymore. Meanwhile, Nevada has beaten BYU and come up just short against Colorado St. Nevada is out to prove it's the best team in the state, and the Wolfpack has added incentive, thanks to last year's game in Reno in which UNLV had a win well in hand. Instead of kneeling down at the end, QB Jason Thomas ran for a nose-thumbing TD. The local papers have been running a quote from Nevada linebacker Logan Carter: "I hate Jason Thomas." Pundits have been saying this will be bulletin-board material for UNLV, but I feel the Rebels aren't good enough to just flip the switch and begin playing well. Nevada's Zack Threadgill and Nate Burleson should hook up early and often against a soft UNLV defense that has dug itself early holes in all three of the Rebel losses.

PLAY: Nevada for 2 units.

Oklahoma at Missouri (+14)

Oklahoma hasn't been its usual dominant self so far this season, coasting on talent alone in a 37-0 win over one of the worst teams in Division I-A, Tulsa; putting in a lackluster effort in beating Alabama 37-27; whipping an overmatched UTEP team 68-0; and then struggling to put away South Florida before prevailing 31-24. It would be understandable if Oklahoma is also looking past this game (the top story on OU's website is that the game versus Texas will start at 2:30 next Saturday), with Texas, Iowa State, Colorado, and Texas A&M (at College Station) looming. If The Sooners aren't careful, they could fall to a Missouri team that is averaging 36.5 points per game and will be sky-high for a chance to knock off a highly ranked team.

PLAY: Missouri for 1 unit.

Season record: 8-11, including 4-4 on best bets, for -3.5 units (based on laying 1.1 units to win 1).