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Betting site posts some sharp comparisons


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USF Bulls

Record: 8-5, 6-5 ATS

Returning Starters Off/Def: 10/5 

Preseason Accolades: Phil Steele - 4th Big East. Athlon - No. 45

Earlier this summer I wrote that USF has a decent amount of betting value to win the Big East at +500. Skip Holtz takes over for longtime head coach Jim Leavitt who was forced to resign after an altercation with a player. Leavitt was a good coach but the timing of the move could pay dividends. USF went 2-5 and 3-4 over the last two years in the Big East and the switch to Holtz could provide a much needed spark.

The offense returns 10 starters including quarterback BJ Daniels who was put in a difficult situation last year of having to replace Matt Grothe after Week 3. Daniels will work behind five returning starters along the offensive line.

Defensively, the Bulls were very consistent under Leavitt allowing 20 ppg or less in four of his last five seasons. Holtz' put up very similar numbers during his tenure at ECU.

On initial glance, it looks as if the Bulls are sitting on another 8-5 type season but here is where I think Holtz could make a difference. While Leavitt recruited and got the best out of his kids, mental errors and sloppy play were an ongoing trend in Tampa. Below I broke down turnover margin and penalty yards per game over the last five seasons at both schools. While year-to-year turnover margins often yield random results, Holtz clearly had an impact as the Pirates never had a negative season under his watch. USF meanwhile was always inconsistent; forcing plenty of turnovers but coughing up nearly the same. Penalty statistics can also be random but for every big upset USF pulled off under Leavitt there was a game that was lost as a result of a key late hit or other unforced errors. I think we’ll see a more fundamentally sound brand of football this season under Holtz.

East Carolina turnover margin under Holtz (2005-09)

2005 0

2006 +4

2007 +17

2008 +5

2009 +11

Total +37

USF turnover margin under Leavitt (2005-09)

2005 +5

2006 -4

2007 +9

2008 -8

2009 0

Total +2

East Carolina penalty yards per game/national rank under Holtz (2005-09)

2005 46.3 - 18th

2006 39.3 - 24th

2007 63.6 - 100th

2008 53.0 - 73rd

2009 57.6 - 82nd

Average - 59th

USF penalty yards per game/national rank under Leavitt (2005-09)

2005 69.3 - 97th

2006 70.5 - 116th

2007 72.1 - 116th

2008 67.8 - 110th

2009 57.6 - 84th

Average - 105th

From a betting perspective, there will be plenty of opportunities to bet USF as an underdog. In the Golden Nugget's Games of the Year lines, the Bulls were underdogs in all five lined contests.

+18 at Florida

+7.5 at West Virginia

+3 vs. Pittsburgh

+4 at Cincinnati

+10 at Miami (FL)

We know from past history the Bulls are more than capable of winning two or three of those games outright. USF looks just as good on paper as the other Big East contenders and has a "bet on" look heading into 2010.


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