August 23, 2006

A look at the spread

It's been a long off-season for Texas A&M coaches, players and fans as the Aggies look to return to prominence in the Big 12 conference after a disappointing 5-6 record in 2005. With the season opener against The Citadel only 10 days away, the 2006 season has already been previewed from just about every angle imaginable.

Now, we're going to take you through the 2006 schedule game-by-game projecting the point spread for each contest for analytical purposes only. Remember, no wagering please.

Based on my calculations looking at the 2006 schedule, A&M should be favored in eight of their first nine games of the year, with the ninth game being a dead even pick. However, the schedule takes a dramatic step up in difficulty with a brutal November stretch that will leave the Aggies as the underdog in each of the final three games.

For those that don't frequent the Las Vegas sports books or don't own a Sportsbook.com account on the Internet, here's a quick lesson on reading the point spreads. If a team is favored by seven points (-7), that means that team is expected to win that game by approximately seven points. For example, if the point spread, or line as it's called, is A&M -38 vs. The Citadel, then most experts believe A&M should win the game by 38 points.

Another major factor when analyzing point spreads is home field advantage. Typically, handicappers give the home team a three-point advantage for playing in its own stadium in front of the noisy home crowd. Thus, if a team is otherwise a four-point favorite over its opponent yet is playing at home the point spread will be adjusted to -7. Likewise, if that team is a four-point favorite but playing on the road, the point spread is adjusted to -1.

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