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Saturday, October 03, 2015
Houston vs. Tulsa (NCAAF) - 12:00 PM EDT
Pick: Point Spread: 7.0/-105 Tulsa Pick Title: 5* American Athletic Game of the Month on Tulsa +
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The betting public is all over Houston in this one, yet we have seen the line drop from it's opening mark of 9.5. That's a clear indication that big money is coming in on Tulsa and I believe it's for good reason. The Golden Hurricane are greatly improved from last year's 2-10 season, as they already have matched their win total from last year at 2-1. Their lone loss was a 38-52 defeat at Oklahoma. The improvement is a direct result of first year head coach Philip Montgomery, who spent the last 7 years at Baylor with the final 3 as the offensive coordinator.
Tulsa certainly has the offensive fire-power to hang with Houston in this one. The Golden Hurricane are ranked 3rd in the country with an average of 607.0 ypg. They are doing it both on the ground (216.3, 33rd) and through the air (390.7, 5th). This is without question the best defense the Cougars have faced this year, as their 3 opponents so far have been Tennessee Tech, Louisville and Texas State. Their win at Louisville is a big reason the public is all over this team, but Louisville is way down this year.
One of the huge factors here that is getting overlooked by the public, is that Tulsa comes into this game off a bye, giving them more than enough time to prepare for this matchup. Keep in mind, as bad as they were last year, they only lost by 10-points at Houston as a 20-point dog and were only outgained in the contest by 55 yards (had 25-21 edge in first downs). That game was also tied 28-28 with under 8 minutes to go in the 4th quarter and Tulsa threw an interception on the Cougars 6-yard line. not only do I think Tulsa will cover this number, but I think there's a good chance they win outright.
Tulsa is 13-4 ATS in their last 17 home games against teams who are allowing 120 or less rushing yards per game and we also find a strong system in play backing a fade of the Cougars. Favorites of 3.5 to 10 points who are giving up 125 or less rushing yards/game, who gained 5.5 or more yards/carry in their last contest are just 15-41 ATS over the last 5 seasons. That's a 73% long-term system in favor of the Golden Hurricane. Take Tulsa!
Arizona State vs. UCLA (NCAAF) - 7:30 PM EDT
Pick: Point Spread: 13.5/-110 Arizona State Pick Title: 4* NCAAF Undervalued Underdog of the Week on Arizona St +
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I believe we are getting some exceptional value here on the Sun Devils as a two touchdown dog against the Bruins. This is due to the fact that Arizona State is way undervalued after a 14-42 home loss to USC, while UCLA is getting all kinds of love for a 56-30 win against Arizona. This is still the same Sun Devils team that was right there with Texas A&M in the 4th quarter and the same Bruins team that had to rally to beat BYU at home.
I wasn't all that surprise with the results last week. I believe USC is the most talented team in the conference and the Trojans were extremely motivated off that loss at home to Stanford and were out for revenge from last year's loss to Arizona State on a Hail Mary. Arizona simply isn't a very good team and were dealing with numerous injuries to key players.
Speaking of injuries, you can't ignore the talent UCLA has lost so far, all of which came on the defensive side of the ball. Linebacker Myles Jack, corner Fabian Moreau and defensive end Eddie Vanderdoes have all been lost for the season. These injures weren't a factor against the Wildcats, but will be against a talented Arizona State offense that has yet to play up to their potential.
I also love the situation here. UCLA coming off a big road win, could overlook an Arizona State team they destroyed 62-27 on the road last year, especially with a massive road game on deck against Stanford. The Sun Devils on the other hand are going to be highly motivated to get revenge from that loss to the Bruins on their home turf and sometimes it's the ugly blowout losses like they suffered last week that get a team going.
I expect this to be a much more competitive game than the books are leading on and don't think it's out of the question that the Sun Devils pull off the upset. Arizona State is 8-2 ATS in their last 10 after scoring 20 points or less, while UCLA is just 1-4 in their last 5 games after scoring more than 40 and 6-20 in their last 26 games in the month of October (largely due to being overvalued). Take Arizona State!
Hawaii vs. Boise State (NCAAF) - 10:15 PM EDT
Pick: Point Spread: -25.0/-103 Boise State Pick Title: 4* NCAAF Vegas Insider Game of the Week on Boise St -
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This game has blowout written all over it. Hawaii is an awful road team, especially under head coach Norm Chow. The Rainbow Warriors are 1-19 away from home, largely due to the long travel, under Chow and the only win came last year against a San Jose State team that finished the season 3-9. Hawaii has played 2 road games so far in 2015 and have yet to score a point, losing 0-38 at Ohio State and 0-28 at Wisconsin.
While you might not think Boise State is on the same level as the Buckeyes and Badgers, Ohio State's offense has been in a funk to start the year and I don't think Wisconsin is as good as years past. Boise State's offense comes in ranked 49th at 435.8 ypg, but I believe it's even better than that right now.
When starting quarterback Ryan Finley went down with an injury, it turned out to be a blessing in disguise, as it allowed true freshman Brett Rypien to take over. He was a top 25 recruit out of high school at quarterback and lived up to the hype in his first start at Virginia last week, completing 24 of 35 attempts for 321 yards and 3 touchdowns in a 56-14 win over the Cavaliers. The same Cavaliers team that only lost at UCLA by 18 and should have won at home against Notre Dame (lost on a last second touchdown). Boise State is going to be able to score and score a lot in this one.
The other key here is the Broncos are stout defensively. Boise State is ranked 16th in the country in total defense, allowing just 282.8 ypg. They are tops in the country against the run, giving up just 44.3 ypg (allowing just 1.5 yards/carry). I already mentioned Hawaii hasn't scored on the road and that's because they are averaging 3.3 yards/carry against teams that allow 4.0 and have completed just 49.2% of their pass attempts.
Each of the last 3 times Boise State has played Hawaii, they have won by at least 35 points and I don't see that trend coming to an end. Albertsons Stadium and the blue turf is one of the toughest places for opposing teams to play and the Broncos are going to be a lot more motivated for Hawaii than either Ohio State or Wisconsin was, as this is their conference opener. Take Boise State!
Alabama vs. Georgia (NCAAF) - 3:30 PM EDT
Pick: Point Spread: 1.5/-109 Alabama Pick Title: 3* NCAAF Situational Oddsmakers Error on Alabama +
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It will be hard for some to back the Crimson Tide after the way they were beat at home by Ole Miss, but I think the smart play here is on Alabama as an underdog. As poorly as Alabama played against the Rebels, they had a chance to win late and outgained Ole Miss 503 to 433 with a 29 to 16 edge in first downs.
While you could argue that there’s not a big gap in terms of talent between Ole Miss and Georgia, I think this is a much better matchup for the Crimson Tide. The Rebels’ offense is built around a strong passing attack, while the Bulldogs are built around their running game. Alabama’s defense has allowed 227 total rushing yards in 4 games. They are ranked 4th in the country, allowing just 56.8 ypg. It’s no fluke either. They held Wisconsin to 40 yards on 21 attempts. The Badgers are consistently one of the top rushing teams in the country and have averaged 237.7 ypg in their 3 games following their opener against the Crimson Tide.
While Georgia’s Greyson Lambert has completed 76.5% of his attempts for 733 yards with 7 touchdowns and 0 interceptions, he’s yet to have more than 25 pass attempts in a game and has faced an easy schedule with the Bulldogs having played ULM, Vanderbilt, South Carolina and Southern. Do not be fooled by his strong showing against an awful Gamecocks defense.
Defensively the Bulldogs have been solid, but that again is a result of the soft schedule. Even with what figures to be a rowdy home crowd, I look for Georgia to struggle to slow down this Alabama offensive attack. Keep in mind that this Crimson Tide offense scored 35 on Wisconsin and 37 on Ole Miss, two of the better defensive teams in the country. I just don’t see the Bulldogs being able to score into the 30’s here against what will be a highly motivated Alabama team that knows they must win out to have a shot at making the playoffs.
The Crimson Tide are 22-5 ATS in their last 27 road games off a win as a favorite where they failed to cover the spread, winning by an average of 13.5 ppg. Georgia on the other hand is 6-16 ATS in their last 22 home games after allowing 125 or less passing yards in their previous game and are just 6-14-1 ATS in their last 21 home games against a team with a winning road record. Take Alabama!
Pittsburgh vs. Virginia Tech (NCAAF) - 12:00 PM EDT
Pick: Point Spread: 4.5/-108 Pittsburgh Pick Title: 3* NCAAF Vegas Line Mistake on Pitt +
Click Here to View Pick Analysis
I'll admit that I was very high on Virginia Tech to open the season, but a lot has changed since the summer. The Hokies lost senior starting quarterback Michael Brewer for 4-8 weeks in the opener against Ohio State and this past weekend lost their best defensive player in junior corner Kendall Fuller, who was easily going to be a 1st round NFL pick. They also lost running back Shai McKenzie for the season and could be without another running back in Marshawn Williams, who is questionable with a knee injury.
This is simply no where close to the Virginia Tech team that I was so high on in the summer and that was evident in last week's 28-35 loss at East Carolina as a 10-point favorite. Their only wins on the season have come against FCS foe Furman and Big Ten bottom feeder Purdue.
Pittsburgh lost a big part of their offense in running back James Connor, but still have a lot of talent on their roster, including junior quarterback Chad Voytik and one of the top receivers in the country in Tyler Boyd. It's also worth noting that freshman Qadree Ollison has filled in nicely in place of Connor. He's rushed for 305 with an impressive 7.4 average per carry. Virginia Tech gave up 24 points to Purdue and 35 to East Carolina, leaving me to believe that the Panthers will be able to score enough here to cover the 4.5 and potentially win outright.
The key is they don't figure to have to put up a ton of points to win, as their defense has been really good to start the year. Pitt is only giving up 3.4 yards/carry against teams that are averaging 4.6 and their secondary is holding opposing quarterbacks to a completion percentage of just 52.9%. This is important to note, as the Hokies backup QB is more of a running threat than he is a pocket passer.
You also have to factor in the Panthers are coming into this game off a bye, giving them a full two weeks to prepare for the Hokies. Pittsburgh lost their last game at Iowa, which is important to note, as they are 24-9-1 ATS in their last 34 games following a SU loss. They are also 7-2-1 ATS in their last 10 road games, while the Hokies are just 3-7 ATS in their last 10 conference games. Take Pittsburgh!
Mississippi St vs. Texas A&M (NCAAF) - 7:30 PM EDT
Pick: Point Spread: -5.5/-105 Texas A&M Pick Title: Free Pick on Texas A&M -
Click Here to View Pick Analysis
With the Aggies coming off a fortunate cover or push depending on the line you got and Mississippi State winning outright on the road against Auburn for a third straight cover, the public isn't going to trust the Aggies enough to lay near a touchdown. I think Texas A&M not only covers the spread, but wins here in a blowout.
I know Mississippi State is 3-1 and ranked in the Top 25, but I still don’t trust this team and foresee them being ranked at the end the year. Texas A&M on the other hand is a team I’m very high on in 2015 and believe this is a great spot to back the Aggies at home with revenge clearly on their minds after the Bulldogs put an end to their 5-0 start last year.
If you look at Mississippi State’s defensive numbers, you will see they come in ranked 25th (170.3 ypg) in the country against the pass. However, the Bulldogs have benefited from playing two teams (LSU, Northwestern St) who don’t even look to throw the football and last week played a red-shirt freshman in his first ever start.
LSU only attempted 14 passes and Northwestern State just 16. What stands out to me is that opposing quarterbacks have completed 66.7% of their attempts against the Bulldogs and they allowed Southern Miss’ quarterback to go 30 of 44 for 311 yards in their opener.
Texas A&M is without question the best passing attack the Bulldogs will have seen so far this season. Not only do I expect Kyle Allen and the Aggies to pick up big yardage through the air, but they should also have success on the ground. Mississippi State allowed 266 rushing yards to LSU and 201 to Auburn.
I just don’t see the Bulldogs being able to keep pace offensively on the road. Mississippi State only managed 6 points against LSU at home through the first 3 quarters and just 3-points in the 2nd half last week against Auburn. It’s also worth noting they were outgained 389 to 326 and were just 18 to 25 in first downs against Auburn.
The Bulldogs are just 4-14 ATS in their last 18 road games after allowing 7 points or less in the first half of 2 straight games, plus we have a great system in play backing the Aggies. Teams that have gained 6.25 or more yards/play in 3 straight games with 8 or more offensive starters back including the QB are 44-15 (75%) ATS over the last 10 seasons when facing an opponent that returns 5 or fewer defensive starters. Take Texas A&M!
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NFC North Champion: Green Bay Packers – Many forget the Super Bowl champion Packers didn’t win the NFC North division last season. They should knock that one off the list this year. Green Bay defeated the NFC North champion Chicago Bears in the NFC title game. One thing was evident in that game. The Packers had Aaron Rodgers and the Bears didn’t. That simple fact alone gives the Pack the edge in t ... read more
The Pittsburgh Steelers head to LP Field Sunday for a Week 2 showdown with the Tennessee Titans. The Steelers passed their first test without Ben Roethlisberger, earning a hard fought overtime win over the Atlanta Falcons, but NFL odds makers have them coming up short Sunday. The Titans are coming off an impressive 38-13 win over the Oakland Raiders, and they have been listed as a 5.5-point fav ... read more
Green Bay Packers vs. San Francisco 49ers (NFL) - Oct 4, 2015 4:25 PM EDT
Play: Total: 48.0/-108 Over Play Title: Free Pick on Packers/49ers OVER
I'm going to take the Green Bay Packers and San Francisco 49ers to go over the total of 48.5 points. The Packers lowest scoring game so far this season is 44 points in Week 2's Sunday Night Football showdown against the Seahawks. That's the only contest Green Bay hasn't eclipsed 30 points, as they head into Week 4 averaging 32.0 ppg. Now they face a 49ers defense that has allowed 90 points the last two weeks.
While San Francisco's defense did hold the Vikings to just 3-points at home in Week 1, Minnesota's offense is built around the running game with Adrian Peterson. The 49ers secondary wasn't tested in that game, but clearly should have been. San Francisco allowed Ben Roethlisberger to complete 21 of 27 for 369 yards and 3 scores in Week 2 and followed that up by allowing Carson Palmer to complete 20 of 32 for 311 yards and 2 touchdowns. Now they face arguably the best quarterback in the NFL in Aaron Rodgers, who is coming off a 5 TD performance against the Chiefs.
Some will point to Rodgers not being as good on the road as he is at home, but that's irrelevant with this matchup. What a lot of people don't realize is how much this game means to Rodgers and the Packers, as they have lost 4 straight to the 49ers with two of those coming in the playoffs. Rodgers doesn't forget about these kind of things and will be extremely motivated to not just beat San Francisco but embarrass them.
Now I could see some concern with backing the OVER at close to 50 points with a 49ers offense that hasn't looked good the last two weeks, but I'm expecting San Francisco to bounce back at home after playing the last two on the road. It will also help that Green Bay is playing on a short week of rest and has to travel quite a ways out to the west coast. I don't see it having a negative impact on Rodgers, but I do think it will take away from their defense.
The OVER is 5-0 in the Packers last 5 games in the month of October, 10-4 in their last 14 against the NFC and 14-6 in their last 20 road games. We also find a great system in play. The OVER is 36-11 since 1983 in games with a total of 42.5 to 49 points where the road team is coming off a home win by 10 or more points and is undefeated on the season. That's a 70% long-term system. Take the OVER!