|Date||Match Up||Rating||Score||Result||Profit||Lead Time||Analysis|
|10-25-18||Appalachian State v. Georgia Southern +10.5||14-34||Win||100||30 h 52 m||Show|
15* App State/Georgia Southern Sun Belt ANNIHILATOR on Georgia Southern +10.5
Appalachian State just moved into the Top 25 for the first time in program history this week. I always like fading teams who just reached the Top 25 that aren’t used to it. They start getting national recognition and feeling fat and happy. And they have extra expectations from oddsmakers that they simply cannot live up to.
I’m shocked to see the Mountaineers as double-digit road favorites over Georgia Southern tonight. There’s so much to like about this game, but it starts with the value perspective fading the Mountaineers because of their Top 25 ranking.
The second-most important factor is that Georgia Southern runs a triple-option offense, and Appalachian State only has a few days to get ready for it after playing on Saturday. Triple-option teams have a huge advantage on a short week every time. It’s simply the most difficult offense to prepare for because defensive fundamentals are so important.
This Georgia Southern team is one of the most underrated in the country. They returned 18 starters this year, so this was already going to be a veteran bunch. And they have come out guns-a-blazing with a 6-1 start and are legitimate threats to Appalachian State to win the Sun Belt. Their only loss this season came on the road at Clemson.
Georgia Southern is a perfect 4-0 SU & 4-0 ATS at home this season. They are outscoring their opponents 36.7 to 13.2 on average, or by 23.5 points per game at home. The Eagles are 6-0 ATS in their last six home games dating back to last year. Head coach Chad Lunsford is 6-0 ATS in games played on a grass field as the coach of Georgia Southern.
Plays against a team with a winning percentage of 80% or better (Appalachian State) - after beating the spread by 49 or more points total in their last five games when playing another team with a winning record are 59-23 (72%) ATS over the last five seasons. Roll with Georgia Southern Thursday.
|10-25-18||Ball State +11 v. Ohio||14-52||Loss||-115||29 h 23 m||Show|
15* Ball State/Ohio MAC ANNIHILATOR on Ball State +11
Sitting at 3-5 on the season, the Ball State Cardinals need a win tonight if they want any chance of making a bowl game. I look for them to lay it all on the line here against the Ohio Bobcats to get a win. I love catching double-digits with this hungry Cardinals squad tonight.
I have no doubt Ball State is better than is 3-5 record, too. Three of the losses came by 8 points or fewer, including a 16-24 loss at Notre Dame as 33.5-point underdogs. The only exceptions were a 10-38 loss at Indiana and a 20-42 loss to Eastern Michigan, which is probably the best team in the MAC. And they’ve only been outgained by more than 69 yards once this season, and that was the 110 yards at Indiana.
Many expected Ohio to compete for a MAC title this year, but this team looks far from a MAC title contender thus far. The Bobcats opened the season with a 38-32 home win over Howard as 30.5-point favorites and were outgained by 220 yards in that game. That was a sign of things to come for this team.
The Bobcats have been outgained in five of their seven games this season, so they are very fortunate to be 4-3. The only two teams they outgained were Bowling Green and UMass, and both of those games were at home. Their other two wins came against Kent State 27-26 as 11-point favorites and that 6-point win over FCS foe Howard. Ball State is much better than the four teams Ohio has beaten this year.
I think we’re getting some extra value here on the Cardinals based on last week’s results. Ball State lost by 22 to Eastern Michigan, while Ohio beat Bowling Green by 35. Otherwise this line probably would have been a touchdown or less. So now we’re catching double-digits on the Cardinals when we shouldn’t be.
These are two evenly-matched teams when you look at the numbers, and if anything the Cardinals have been better. Ball State has clearly played the tougher schedule having had to face Notre Dame and Indiana out of conference. And the Cardinals are still outgaining opponents by 31 yards per game on the season. Ohio is actually getting outgained by 9 yards per game. This is an Ohio defense that can’t be trusted, giving up 465 yards per game and 6.7 per play.
The Cardinals are 56-27 ATS in their last 83 road games. The Bobcats are 5-16 ATS int heir last 21 games following a SU win of more than 20 points. Ball State is 3-1 ATS in its last four meetings with Ohio. Take Ball State Thursday.
|10-25-18||Baylor +14 v. West Virginia||Top||14-58||Loss||-105||29 h 22 m||Show|
20* Baylor/WVU Big 12 No-Brainer on Baylor +14
The Baylor Bears are 4-3 this season and have their sights set on a bowl game in Matt Rhule’s second season. Their three losses have come to Duke, Oklahoma and Texas with the latter two coming on the road.
But they showed they could play with the big boys in that loss to Texas. They actually had the ball inside the Texas 20-yard line with only a few seconds left and a chance to win. They lost 17-23 as identical 14-point underdogs.
West Virginia came into the Iowa State game way overrated as the No. 6 team in the country. I was on Iowa State +7 as my 25* Big 12 GAME OF THE YEAR in that game. And the Cyclones dominated the Mountaineers 30-14. They held Will Grier and WVU to just 7 points and 152 total yards. Their other TD came on a blocked FG return TD.
The reason they were so overrated is because they played such an easy early schedule. They have still played just the 53rd-ranked schedule in the country, so their 5-1 start is fraudulent. Baylor has already played Oklahoma and Texas, the two best teams in the Big 12, and West Virginia hasn’t played either yet.
Baylor has had West Virginia’s number, too. The Bears are 5-1 ATS in the last six meetings. Their four SU losses during this stretch have come by 2, 3, 14 and 7 points. So they haven’t lost once by more than two touchdowns. And last year a 1-11 Baylor team only lost 36-38 at home to WVU as 10.5-point underdogs In 2016 they only lost 21-24 as 17-point road dogs as well.
Baylor has put up the kind of numbers that validate them being a good team. They have outgained five of their seven opponents this season. The only exceptions were the 114 yards they were outgained by at Oklahoma and the 61 yards at Texas. They are averaging 475 yards per game on offense and giving up 408 yards per game on defense, outgaining opponents by 67 yards per game.
West Virginia is 2-11 ATS in its last 13 home games off an upset loss to a conference opponent as a favorite. Rhule is 26-13 ATS as an underdog in all games as a head coach. Holgorsen is 0-6 ATS after being outgained by 225 or more yards in his previous game as the coach of West Virginia. The Mountaineers are 7-22-1 ATS in their last 30 home games vs. a team with a winning record. Bet Baylor Thursday.
|10-23-18||Troy v. South Alabama +13||Top||38-17||Loss||-110||8 h 12 m||Show|
20* Troy/South Alabama Sun Belt GAME OF THE WEEK on South Alabama +13
The South Alabama Jaguars have been through the gauntlet this season. They’ve played four road games against Oklahoma State, Memphis, Appalachian State and Georgia Southern. So they’ve already played the two best teams in the Sun Belt, plus Oklahoma State and Memphis out of conference. It’s no wonder they are just 2-5.
But South Alabama has played well at home this season. The Jaguars are 2-1 SU & 2-0-1 ATS at home this year. Their only loss came to a very good Louisiana Tech team from Conference USA by a final of 26-30 as 11-point underdogs. They beat Texas State 41-31 as 10-point favorites and Alabama State 45-7 as 27-point favorites.
I think Troy is getting too much respect from oddsmakers for what they did last season. Quarterback Kaleb Barker had been very good, completing 73% of his passes for 1,013 yards with a 10-to-2 TD/INT ratio. Unfortunately, he suffered a season-ending ACL injury in a 37-20 home win over Georgia State on October 4th.
The Trojans were forced to go with backup QB Sawyer Smith against Liberty last time out, and they were promptly upset 16-22 as 10.5-point road favorites. Smith hasn’t been nearly as good as Barker, completing just 59.3% of his passes with a 4-to-3 TD/INT ratio. I’m shocked the Trojans are double-digit road favorites here against the Jaguars again this week with Smith starting at QB.
This is a rivalry game in the state of Alabama, and I think South Alabama takes it a lot more seriously than Troy. South Alabama is actually 3-1 SU & 3-1 ATS in the last four meetings. The Jaguars won outright 19-8 as 18-point underdogs last year. They only lost by 7 as 9.5-point home dogs in 2016. They won 24-18 as 6-point road dogs in 2015. And they won 27-13 as 16-point home favorites in 2014.
The Jaguars are 4-0 ATS in their last four home games vs. a team with a winning road record. The Trojans are 1-5-1 ATS in their last seven October games. The underdog is 5-0 ATS in the last five meetings. The Jaguars are 4-1 ATS in the last five meetings. Bet South Alabama Tuesday.
|10-20-18||Ohio State v. Purdue +13||Top||20-49||Win||100||49 h 49 m||Show|
20* Big Ten GAME OF THE MONTH on Purdue +13
Purdue has put together a great turnaround this season. The Boilermakers lost their first three games of the season by a combined 8 points. But they have rebounded by winning their last three games in dominant fashion.
They beat Boston College 30-13 as 6.5-point home underdogs to get their first victory of the season. Then they went on the road and topped Nebraska 42-28 as 3.5-point favorites. And last week they went into Illinois and won 46-7 as 10.5-point favorites. And that’s a much-improved Illinois squad.
The Boilermakers are really close to being 6-0 this season. They have outgained five of their six opponents this season. They are outgaining foes by nearly 100 yards per game. The offense has taken off since David Blough took over at QB for good. Blough is completing 68.4% of his passes with a 10-to-2 TD/INT ratio while averaging 9.1 yards per attempt. They are rushing for 5.2 yards per carry as a team. And the defense has improved dramatically over the last three weeks.
Ohio State is way overvalued due to its No. 2 national ranking. And that has shown in recent weeks as the Buckeyes are just 1-4 ATS in their last five games overall. They failed to cover against TCU, Penn State, Indiana and Minnesota. I mean they only beat a terrible Minnesota team 30-14 at home as 29-point favorites last week. And they even won the turnover battle 3-0 against the Gophers.
The Buckeyes have played just two road games this season, and one true road game. They failed to cover against TCU on a neutral field and only outgained the Horned Frogs by 15 yards. They were outgained by 103 yards at Penn State and were very fortunate to win that game by a single point, 27-26.
The last time Ohio State was a road favorite of at least 13 points was at Iowa last year, and they lost that game 55-24 as 20.5-point favorites. Purdue is 7-2 ATS as an underdog with four outright wins under Jeff Brohm. That includes outright wins in three of their last four games as a dog with the only exception being losing on a last-second field goal against Missouri, but covering as 7-point dogs.
I think Purdue is ready to show that it can hang with a team like Ohio State. The Buckeyes are 0-7 ATS off five or more consecutive wins over the last three seasons. The more they win, the more overvalued they become. They will struggle to win this game, let alone win it by two touchdowns over an improving Boilermakers squad. Take Purdue Saturday.
|10-20-18||Oregon v. Washington State -3||Top||20-34||Win||100||49 h 39 m||Show|
20* Oregon/Washington State FOX Saturday No-Brainer on Washington State -3
ESPN College Game Day will be going to Pullman, Washington for the first time ever. Tickets on the secondary market are expensive, which just shows how excited Cougar fans are for this game. It’s safe to say that it will be perhaps the best atmosphere ever at Pullman on Saturday night when the Cougars host the Oregon Ducks.
Washington State has been an undervalued commodity all season. That’s evident by the fact that the Cougars are not only 5-1 SU but also a perfect 6-0 ATS this season. Their only loss came on the road 36-39 as 4.5-point underdogs to USC. And they led most the way in that game.
Now the Cougars have had two full weeks to get ready for Oregon as they had a bye last week. And the Cougars have been very tough to beat in Pullman. In fact, they were currently in the midst of a 10-game home winning streak. This is quickly becoming one of the more underrated home-field advantages in the country.
Nothing has been fluky about this start for the Cougars, either. They have outgained all six opponents the’ve faced. And they are outgaining them by a massive 175.3 yards per game. Their offense is hitting on all cylinders at 41.8 points and 485.5 yards per game, and their defense is underrated giving up just 23.8 points and 310.2 yards per game.
Oregon is certainly in a bit of a letdown spot here off its 30-27 overtime victory over Washington last week. The Huskies should have won that game as they missed a chip shot field goal at the end of regulation. Prior to that, Oregon lost at home to Stanford in overtime and won 42-24 at Cal, but Cal gave that game away with 5 turnovers. And that Cal win doesn’t look nearly as good now after Cal lost 37-7 at home to UCLA last week.
Washington State simply has Oregon’s number. I think it’s because the Cougars are used to going against a spread team in practice every day, so what Oregon does on offense doesn’t bother them. But the Cougars are 8-0 ATS in their last eight meetings with Oregon with those eight covers coming by an average of 17 points per game. They won the last three meetings outright with a 33-10 road win as 1.5-point favorites in 2017, a 51-33 home win as 2.5-point dogs in 2016, and a 45-38 road win as 15.5-point dogs in 2015.
The Cougars are 8-0 ATS in their last eight home games. The Ducks are 3-13-1 ATS in their last 17 games following a SU win, and 2-8 ATS in their last 10 games following an ATS win. Oregon is 1-4 ATS in its last five road games. Expect a fourth straight win in this series and a ninth straight cover here for the Cougars. Roll with Washington State Saturday.
|10-20-18||Connecticut +34 v. South Florida||Top||30-38||Win||100||48 h 10 m||Show|
25* AAC GAME OF THE YEAR on Connecticut +34
I keep coming back to the fact that South Florida is way overvalued due to being unbeaten and ranking in the Top 25. I’ve faded them with tremendous success all season, and I’m fading them again here as massive 34-point favorites over the UConn Huskies Saturday.
South Florida lost a ton of talent from last year’s team with just 11 returning starters this year. They lost all of their top playmakers on offense, and this offense hasn’t been the juggernaut it once was, which is why it’s making it difficult for them to cover spreads week in and week out.
The signs were there starting in Week 1 as USF failed to cover as 27.5-point favorites in a lackluster 34-14 home win over FCS foe Elon. They did cover in Week 2 in a 49-38 win over Georgia Tech, but that was a misleading final. They trailed in the 4th quarter of that game and were outgained by 176 yards. They also trailed in the 4th quarter against Illinois the next week and won 25-19, failing to cover as 14-point favorites. And they only beat ECU 20-13 as 20-point home favorites the next week and were outgained by 116 yards.
Then the Bulls had their bye week and returned to barely cover against an awful UMass team as 15.5-point favorites in a 58-42 win. And last week they needed yet another 4th quarter rally to beat Tulsa 25-24 as 10-point favorites. They trailed by 14 and outscored the Golden Hurricane 15-0 in the final period. That’s a 1-5 Tulsa squad. So they’re barely beating a bunch of bad teams like Tulsa, UMass, ECU, South Florida and Elon. That makes me believe even UConn can hang with them.
And this is the perfect spot for a young UConn team. They are coming off their bye week, and bye weeks are much more useful with young teams. It gives head coach Randy Edsall two full weeks to work on fundamentals and get this young squad ready for the stretch run. It was also key to get a bunch of guys healthy, especially on defense.
“We were able during the off week to get some guys healed up a little bit, take care of some of those bumps and bruises and catch our break a little bit,” Edsall said.
There’s no question the Huskies’ brutal schedule has a lot to do with their rough start. They have already played five teams that I have power rated higher than South Florida. Their five losses have come to UCF, Boise State, Syracuse, Cincinnati and Memphis. I think all five of those teams would beat USF on a neutral field. So the Huskies are battle-tested having faced the gauntlet already. They won’t be phased by this ranked USF squad that is nowhere near as good as their 6-0 record.
UConn has played USF very tough through the years. They have covered the spread each of the last two years losing by 17 as 23-point home underdogs last season and losing by 15 as 20-point road underdogs in 2016. And those were two USF teams that were much better than this year’s version. UConn hasn’t lost to USF by more than 22 points in any of the last 15 meetings, making for a perfect 15-0 system backing the Huskies pertaining to this 34-point spread. The underdog is 6-1-1 ATS in the last eight meetings. Bet Connecticut Saturday.
|10-20-18||Penn State v. Indiana +15||33-28||Win||100||45 h 49 m||Show|
15* CFB Saturday Line Mistake on Indiana +15
Penn State is in a very bad spot mentally right now. The Nittany Lions had not only Big Ten title aspirations, but also four-team playoff aspirations coming into the season. And it’s like the 26-27 home loss to Ohio State zapped all of the life out of them.
The Nittany Lions had a bye week to recover from that defeat, but they never did. They promptly came out after the bye and were upset 17-21 at home by Michigan State as 13.5-point favorites. All of their losses recently have come in gut-wrenching fashion. And now they have nothing but pride to play for the rest of the way because they aren’t going to win the loaded Big Ten East with two losses. I think we see a ‘hangover’ effect here at Indiana this week.
I think Indiana is undervalued off its 16-42 home loss to Iowa last week. But that is an Iowa team that is much better than it gets credit for. And that has shown in the fact that teams that have lost to Iowa are now 4-0 ATS the following week. Minnesota fit that role last week and nearly upset Ohio State on the road, only losing 14-30 as 29-point dogs in a game that was much closer than the final score would indicate. And Indiana only lost 26-49 at Ohio State as 27.5-point dogs in a game that was also closer than the final score, so they should be able to hang with Penn State at home this week.
The Nittany Lions are 2-12-2 ATS in their last 16 games following a SU loss. Penn State is 0-5-1 ATS in its last six games after scoring less than 20 points in its previous game. The home team is 5-1-1 ATS in the last seven meetings. This is more of a play against Penn State due to the awful spot they’re in mentally than it is a play on Indiana. I think the spot warrants grabbing 15 points with the Hoosiers at home here. Take Indiana Saturday.
|10-20-18||Houston v. Navy +11.5||49-36||Loss||-106||45 h 39 m||Show|
15* CFB Saturday Undervalued Underdog on Navy +11.5
At 2-4 on the season, the Navy Midshipmen need a win this week over Houston if they want any chance of making a bowl game. They have lost three straight coming in, including gut-wrenching losses to SMU (30-31, OT) and Temple (17-24). The blew a 17-7 lead against Temple last week and were outscored 17-0 to close out the game. They’ll have a sour taste in their mouth, and they’ll be looking to take it out on Houston this week.
The reason this game is so important for Navy is because the next three games are all on the road against Notre Dame, Cincinnati and UCF. They must win this game and pull off an upset in one of those three road games to get to a bowl. They are putting all their eggs into one basket this week to get a win, I have no doubt about that.
Houston has been very vulnerable this season. They trailed in the third quarter against an awful Rice team and they trailed in the 4th quarter 26-17 at home against Tulsa, which is 1-5 this season. And even last week their 42-20 win over ECU was misleading. The Pirates had a 27-18 first down edge over the Cougars but lost the turnover battle 4-0, which was the difference. And because Houston covered the spread against ECU, they are overvalued here this week.
Houston came off a bye last year to face two triple-option teams in Tulane and Navy in back-to-back weeks. So they had practice against the option before facing Navy. Yet Navy did hang tough in that game in a 24-14 road loss. But now the Cougars will be facing the triple-option for the first time this season, so they won’t be nearly as prepared for Navy as they were last year.
Navy is an impressive 46-12 SU at home under head coach Ken Niumatalolo. The home team is 3-0 ATS in this series since both Houston and Navy became AAC members. Houston now has to go on the road in consecutive weeks for long trips out to the East Coast, and that’s a difficult spot. The Cougars are just 2-8 ATS in their last 10 games as a road favorite. Navy is 5-1-1 ATS in its last seven games as a home underdog.
Houston is 1-8 ATS in its last nine games after having won four or five of its last six games. The Cougars are 0-9 ATS in their last nine games on field turf. Houston is 0-6 ATS in its last six games following a SU win of more than 20 points. The Cougars are 3-9 ATS int heir last 12 road games. The Midshipmen are 18-8-1 ATS in their last 27 home games. Bet Navy Saturday.
|10-20-18||SMU v. Tulane -6.5||27-23||Loss||-115||45 h 39 m||Show|
15* CFB Saturday No-Doubt Rout on Tulane -6.5
I’m certain we get a big effort out of the Tulane Green Wave here Saturday as they host the SMU Mustangs. That’s why I’m willing to lay the 6.5-points at home. They’ll be not only fresh and rested coming off their bye week, but they’ll be revenge-minded, which is a great combination.
Last year, SMU beat Tulane 41-38 in the final game of the regular season. That was a more crushing loss than most for the Green Wave. They were sitting at 5-6 and one win shy of a bowl berth. And they drove all the way down to the SMU 1-yard line in the closing seconds before the clock expired. It’s safe to say the Green Wave have not forgotten, and they are now primed for their best performance of the season.
Tulane has played very well at home this season. They are 2-1 SU & 3-0 ATS at home this year. They lost in overtime to Wake Forest in the opener 17-23 as 7.5-point underdogs. They beat a good FCS opponent in Nicholls State handily 42-17 as 18-point favorites. That’s a Nicholls State team that went on the road and beat Kansas earlier this year. And they crushed Memphis 40-24 at home as 14.5-point underdogs, covering the spread by 30.5 points. The other three losses all came on the road to Ohio State (7-0), Cincinnati (6-0) and UAB (5-1), three teams who are a combined 18-1 this season.
Tulane is every bit as good as it was last season, while SMU has clearly taken a huge step back. The Mustangs lost head coach Chad Morris to Arkansas, and Sonny Dykes just hasn’t had the same kind of effect on this team that Morris did. SMU is 2-5 dating back to its blowout bowl loss under Dykes. The two wins have both come at home against Navy (OT) and Houston Baptist.
The four losses have all come by 23 points or more. They lost 23-46 at North Texas, 12-42 at home to TCU, 20-45 at Michigan and 20-48 at UCF. Certainly that’s a tough schedule as well, but the Mustangs weren’t even competitive. They are getting outscored by 25.3 points per game on the road this season. And now they’re only getting 6.5 points here against a revenge-minded Tulane squad. It’s not enough.
Tulane is 8-1 ATS at home over the last two seasons. The Green Wave are 15-5 ATS in their last 20 home games vs. a team with a losing road record. The Mustangs are 2-8 ATS in their last 10 games overall. SMU is 1-6 ATS in its last seven road games. Roll with Tulane Saturday.
|10-20-18||Cincinnati v. Temple -3||17-24||Win||100||41 h 8 m||Show|
15* UConn/Temple AAC Early ANNIHILATOR on Temple -3
Temple has rebounded nicely from an 0-2 start. The Owls have gone 4-1 SU & 5-0 ATS in their last five games overall. The biggest reason has been the emergence of QB Anthony Russo, who has led this Temple offense to an average of 34.8 points per game over the last five weeks.
The defense also deserves some credit. The Owls have allowed 17 points or fewer in four of their last five gams. The only exception was their 10-point loss at Boston College as 13.5-point underdogs in the only game they’ve lost during this stretch, but they did play a great game and covered.
I think we get a big effort from Temple here this week. They can see the finish line as they have a bye next week, so they’ll be all in and won’t be focusing on the fact that they will be playing for an 8th straight week. I think that counteracts the fact that Cincinnati is coming off a bye. The Owls will be able to match Cincinnati’s intensity, especially at home.
Bye weeks can come at bad times. Not all bye weeks are created equal. And for Cincinnati, I think it’s a disadvantage. The Bearcats were rolling to a 6-0 start and are currently ranked 20th ranked team in the country. They had a ton of momentum and didn’t want a bye. I think they’ll be feeling fat and happy on their bye week, especially with that Top 25 ranking, and they won’t work as hard as they did to get to 6-0.
Let’s be honest, the 6-0 start isn’t all that impressive. Cincinnati has faced the 118th-ranked schedule in the country. Sagarin has them as the 49th-best team in college football, not the 20th. So the Bearcats are clearly overrated, and I agree with Temple being the favorite in this matchup because they are simply the better team.
Cincinnati’s six wins have come against UCLA, Miami Ohio, Alabama A&M, Ohio, UConn and Tulane. Temple is better than all six of those teams. And Cincinnati benefited from playing UCLA in the first week of the season under a first-year head coach in Chip Kelly. UCLA is just 1-5 but is improving as the season goes on. They were dreadful the first three weeks of the campaign.
Temple has clearly had Cincinnati’s number the last three years. The Owls are 3-0 SU & 3-0 ATS in the last three meetings. They won 35-24 as 3-point road favorites in 2017, 34-13 as 9.5-point home favorites in 2016, and 34-26 as 6-point road underdogs in 2015. I think they get their 4th straight win and cover in this series Saturday.
Temple is 10-0 ATS after allowing 125 or fewer passing yards in their last game over the last three seasons. The Owls are 19-3 ATS off an ATS win over the last three years. Temple is 21-5 ATS in its last 26 conference games. The Bearcats are 1-4 ATS in their last five games vs. a team with a winning record. The Owls are 11-1 ATS in weeks 5 through 9 over the last three years. Temple is 9-1 ATS vs. good rushing teams who average 230 or more rushing yards per game over the last three years. Bet Temple Saturday.
|10-19-18||Colorado State +23.5 v. Boise State||Top||28-56||Loss||-105||53 h 47 m||Show|
20* Mountain West GAME OF THE MONTH on Colorado State +23.5
This one is all about revenge for the Colorado State Rams. Last year, Colorado State led Boise State 52-38 with under two minutes to go. Boise State got a touchdown with 1:41 left, then got the onside kick and forced overtime with another touchdown. The Broncos went on to win 59-52 in the first overtime.
That came a year after the Rams lost 23-28 on the road to Boise State as 28-point underdogs. So the Rams have been gutted by the Broncos each of the last two seasons, and Mike Bobo and company have not forgotten. They will be upset-minded 23.5-point underdogs here at Boise State Friday night, and I think they’ll give Boise State more of a game than most are expecting.
Colorado State hasn’t been as poor as its 3-4 record would suggest. The Rams have rallied the troops after a 1-4 start by winning their last two games at San Jose State and at home to New Mexico. And they also beat Arkansas earlier this year as 14-point underdogs. Their 10-48 loss to Florida was very misleading as the Rams were only outgained by 28 yards in that contest, but special teams miscues and turnovers turned it into a blowout. So this team is clearly battle-tested.
Boise State is way overrated, and that has shown since season-opening wins over Troy and UConn. The Broncos are just 2-2 SU & 1-3 ATS in their last four games. They lost 21-44 at Oklahoma State, beat a bad Wyoming team 34-14, were upset by San Diego State 13-19 as 13-point underdogs, and barely escaped with a 31-27 win at Nevada as 14-point favorites.
The Blue Turf is not the home-field advantage that it used to be. The Broncos are just 4-14 ATS in their last 18 home games. The Rams have been great in this big underdog role as they are 9-2 ATS in their last 11 road games vs. a team with a winning home record. The road team is 6-1 ATS in the last seven meetings. Bet Colorado State Friday.
|10-18-18||Stanford v. Arizona State UNDER 57.5||Top||20-13||Win||100||29 h 43 m||Show|
20* Stanford/ASU Pac-12 No-Brainer on UNDER 57.5
Both Stanford and Arizona State are coming off bye weeks. That means they’ve had nearly two weeks to prepare for one another. And I think that extra preparation favors the defenses more than the offenses. So I like the UNDER here in this Pac-12 matchup.
I think this number is inflated because Stanford’s defense fell apart over their last three games, and they went over the total in all three. But they played three great offenses in Oregon, Notre Dame and Utah with with first two on the road. And they were simply out of gas by the time they faced Utah, so this bye week came at the right time.
But Arizona State’s offense isn’t going to scare Stanford’s defense. This is an ASU offense that has put up 21 or fewer points in the four games they’ve played that weren’t against UTSA and Oregon State. They only scored 16 against Michigan State, 21 against San Diego State, 20 against Washington and 21 against Colorado. And I think Stanford is a similar opponent to Michigan State, and ASU beat MSU 16-13 at home.
But Arizona State’s defense has played admirably this season. The Sun Devils haven’t allowed more than 28 points in any game this season, and one of those two teams is going to have to top 28 points for this game to go OVER. I don’t see either team surpassing 28. The Sun Devils are allowing 21.2 points and 385 yards per game this season. The Cardinal are allowing 22.0 points per game this year.
Stanford’s offense has been nothing special, averaging just 25.7 points per game this season. The Cardinal just don’t have a very good offensive line this year. In fact, it’s the worst that I can remember. They are averaging just 86 rushing yards per game and 3.1 per carry this season. It doesn’t help that Bryce Love has been banged up, and he remains hampered by an ankle injury this week.
The UNDER is 7-2 in the last nine meetings. Stanford and ASU have combined for 58 or fewer points in eight of those nine meetings. They are averaging just 48.4 combined points per game in those nine meetings, which is nearly 10 points less than tonight’s posted total of 57.5. I think we are getting great value here on this UNDER.
The UNDER is 54-26-1 in Stanford’s last 81 games following an ATS loss. The UNDER is 44-20 in Stanford’s last 64 games in October. The UNDER is 5-1 in the last six meetings. The UNDER is 4-1 in the last five meetings at Arizona State. Stanford is 11-1 UNDER in its last 12 games off two straight losses by 17 points or more. The UNDER is 19-3 in Cardinal’s last 22 games after a game with a turnover margin of -3 or worse. Bet the UNDER in this game Thursday.
|10-13-18||Miami-FL v. Virginia +7||Top||13-16||Win||100||67 h 59 m||Show|
20* ACC GAME OF THE MONTH on Virginia +7
Bronco Mendenhall has this Virginia Cavaliers program on the rise in his third season. They are off to a 3-2 start this year with their only losses coming on the road to Indiana (16-20) and NC State (21-35). They also beat Ohio 45-31 on a neutral field, and dominated their two home games with a 42-13 win over Richmond as 14.5-point favorites and a 27-3 thumping of Louisville as 4.5-point favorites.
Now the Cavaliers return home this week fresh off a bye, so they will be rested and ready to go. And they have made this a night game in Charlottesville, so the atmosphere will be electric with nationally ranked Miami coming to town. The Cavaliers are looking for that signature win under Mendenhall, and I think they have a great chance to get it given the situation Saturday night off the bye.
I think Miami is massively overrated right now. They lost their toughest game 17-33 to LSU in what was a 33-3 game until the Hurricanes tacked on two meaningless touchdowns late. Since then, their five wins have come against suspect competition in Savannah State, Toledo, FIU, UNC and Florida State. And they’ve had some lackluster efforts in there.
Miami only beat Florida International 31-17 at home as 26-point favorites three weeks ago. Then two weeks ago their 47-10 win over UNC was very misleading. They only outgained UNC by 25 yards in that contest and were the beneficiaries of 6 turnovers, 3 that were returned for touchdowns. And last week against Florida State they trailed 27-7 before rallying to win 28-27 as 14-point favorites.
I think that comeback will certainly have taken a lot out of the Hurricanes emotionally and physically. They are now in line for a hangover effect here against Virginia. It’s never easy playing the next week off a win against one of your biggest rivals, and the nature of the way they won that game will make it even more difficult this week. Virginia will simply want this game more than Miami.
Virginia also wants revenge from blowing a 28-14 lead in the 3rd quarter on the road at Miami last season. The Hurricanes scored the final 30 points in that game to win 44-28, but failed to cover the 20.5-point spread. Virginia actually outgained Miami 439 to 358 in that contest, or by 81 total yards. I think they’ll win the box score and the game this time around.
Virginia has a great defense that is giving up just 20.4 points per game and 325 total yards per game this season. Defense has always been a staple with Mendenhall-coached teams. But the reason the Cavaliers are so improved this season is that the offense is so much better. The Cavaliers are averaging 30.2 points and 418 yards per game this season. QB Bryce Perkins is completing 63.5% of his passes, averaging 8.2 yards per attempt, and has an 11-to-4 TD/INT ratio. He is a dual-threat who has also rushed for 341 yards and three scores this year.
The Hurricanes are 1-5 ATS in their last six games vs. a team with a winning record. The Cavaliers are 8-3 ATS in their last 11 vs. a team with a winning record. Virginia is 9-2 ATS in its last 11 games following a bye week. The underdog is 12-2 ATS in the last 14 meetings. Don’t be surprised if the Cavaliers win this game outright. Roll with Virginia Saturday.
|10-13-18||West Virginia v. Iowa State +7||Top||14-30||Win||100||103 h 19 m||Show|
25* Big 12 GAME OF THE YEAR on Iowa State +7
The West Virginia Mountaineers are way overrated right now. They are off to a 5-0 start and currently ranked as the No. 6 team in the country. With that ranking comes respect from oddsmakers that they simply cannot live up to. They should not be laying a touchdown on the road to Iowa State this week.
For starters, WVU has played a soft schedule. The Mountaineers have played the 70th-ranked schedule in the country. Their five wins have come against Tennessee, Youngstown State, Kansas State, Texas Tech and Kansas. They have played just one true road game this season, which was their 42-34 win at Texas Tech in which they won the turnover battler 3-0 that was the difference.
After covering the spread in each of their first four games, the Mountaineers came up short last week in a lackluster 38-22 home win over Kansas as 27.5-point favorites. Now they will be facing their stiffest test of the season on the road against a Cyclones team that just thrives in these big games against nationally ranked opponents.
Iowa State is undervalued after a 2-3 start to the season. But the Cyclones have played the 2nd-toughest schedule in the entire country. Despite this, they’ve had a chance to win all five games. They only lost by 10 at Iowa, by 10 to Oklahoma and by 3 to TCU. They went on the road and beat Oklahoma State 48-42 last week as 10-point underdogs. They have been a dog in four of five games thus far, so to get through at 2-3 with a chance to win every game is actually a nice accomplishment.
And now the Cyclones will be battle-tested here and not phased with No. 6 WVU coming to town. After all, they beat two Top 10 opponents last season. They beat Oklahoma on the road and TCU at home last year. Matt Campbell is a tremendous coach who thrives in the underdog role. Campbell is 16-5 ATS as an underdog in his last 21 games as the coach of Iowa State.
Iowa State has a very good defense that is giving up just 350 yards per game and 5.1 yards per play against opponents that average 438 yards per game and 6.4 per play, holding them to 88 yards and 1.3 yards per play less than their season averages. This is by far the best defense that WVU will have faced this season.
After struggling a little on offense the first four games, the Cyclones made the switch at quarterback to freshman Brock Purdy against Oklahoma State. And boy did it pay off. Purdy led the Cyclones to 48 points in the upset of the Cowboys last week while completing several beautiful deep balls. Purdy finished 18-of-23 passing for 318 yards with four touchdowns and one interception, while also rushing for 84 yards and a score. It was the best freshman QB debut in Cyclone history, and the future is bright for this program with him at the helm.
The Cyclones are 13-3-1 ATS in their last 17 vs. a team with a winning record. Iowa State is 21-6-1 ATS in its last 28 games overall. The Cyclones are 10-1 ATS in their last 11 games after allowing more than 40 points in their previous game. Iowa State is 9-1 ATS vs. excellent passing teams that average 8.5 or more yards per attempt over the last three seasons. Dana Holgorsen is 0-8 ATS after covering the spread in three of his last four games as the coach of West Virginia. He has never covered in this spot. Bet Iowa State Saturday.
|10-13-18||UCLA v. California -7||37-7||Loss||-110||71 h 14 m||Show|
15* CFB Saturday No-Doubt Rout on California -7
This feels like a get right game for the Cal Golden Bears. They have lost the last two weeks to Oregon and Arizona. They gave both those games away by committing a combined 9 turnovers. I can only think that the emphasis all week will be taking care of the football, because if they do they should roll UCLA at home Saturday night.
The 17-24 loss at Arizona last week was particularly misleading. Cal outgained Arizona by 211 total yards. But the Wildcats got two defensive touchdowns to swing the game in their favor. This elite Cal defense held Arizona to just 10 points and 265 total yards. They will shut down a poor UCLA offense this week.
UCLA is 0-5 this season. The Bruins have played a tough schedule, no question, but they’re also not very good. And they’ve rarely been competitive as all five of their losses have come by 7 points or more. They trailed by 17 to Washington last week but made it interesting in the end, losing 24-31. I think the fact that they kept the final score close is earning them too much respect now from oddsmakers this week. And it was a deflating loss that they will probably suffer a hangover from.
Turnovers shouldn’t be a problem for Cal against UCLA. After all, the Bruins have only forced five turnovers in five games this season. They aren’t big on takeaways. And I just don’t know how UCLA is going to score against Cal’s defense, which is giving up just 331 yards per game and 4.9 per play. UCLA’s offense is only averaging 18.4 points, 334 yards per game and 5.1 per play this season.
The last time at Cal in 2016 the Bears rolled to a 36-10 victory as 3-point underdogs. They outgained the Bruins 496 to 260 in that contest. I think we see a similar beat down here, especially with the Bears coming off two straight losses and wanting revenge from a 27-30 road loss at UCLA last year.
The Bruins are 14-34 ATS in their last 48 October road games. UCLA is 3-13 ATS in its last 16 games following an ATS win. UCLA is 2-7 ATS in its last nine road games. The Bears are 6-1 ATS in their last seven games after scoring less than 20 points in their previous game. Cal is 5-2-1 ATS in its last eight home games. The Bears are 4-1 ATS in their last five vs. a team with a losing record. The home team is 7-1 ATS in the last eight meetings. The Bears are 5-0 ATS int heir last five home meetings with the Bruins. Bet Cal Saturday.
|10-13-18||Houston v. East Carolina +16||42-20||Loss||-106||67 h 49 m||Show|
15* CFB Saturday Undervalued Underdog on East Carolina +16
The Houston Cougars have been an overvalued commodity this season. They should not be laying 16 points on the road to an improved East Carolina squad that is fully capable of making a game out of this based off everything I’ve seen this season.
Houston opened the season with a 45-27 win at Rice as 25-point favorites. But the Cougars actually trailed in that game 27-17 midway through the second quarter before scoring the final 28 points. Their win over Arizona doesn’t look that impressive now, and they lost 49-63 at Texas Tech. A win over Texas Southern is nothing to brag about. And last week they actually trailed 26-17 in the 4th quarter at home to Tulsa before scoring the final 24 points to win 41-26 as 17-point favorites. Tulsa gave them two free touchdowns on turnovers late to turn a near-upset into a semi-blowout.
East Carolina has beaten UNC 41-29 as 15-point underdogs, while also going on the road and giving South Florida all they could handle in a 13-20 loss as 19-point underdogs. In fact, ECU actually outgained each of its first four opponents by 113 or more yards. That’s why I’m saying their 6-49 loss at Temple last week was clearly the aberration, not the norm for this team. And that blowout loss clearly has them undervalued heading into this matchup with Houston, catching more points than they should be.
Last year, Houston won 52-27 at home over East Carolina as 24.5-point favorites, covering by a half a point. But that was a misleading final as well. ECU actually outgained Houston 504 to 472 in that contest. But the Pirates lost the turnover battle 3-0. And there’s no question the Pirates are a lot better than they were a year ago, while the Cougars aren’t nearly as good, especially with their leaky defense that is giving up 29.6 points and 488 yards per game this season. ECU is only allowing 340 yards per game this year.
Houston is 0-6 ATS off a home win over the last two seasons. The Cougars are 1-8 ATS in road games after the first month of the season over the last three seasons. Houston is 1-5 ATS in its last six road games. The Cougars are 4-11 ATS in their last 15 conference games. The home team is 4-0 ATS in the last four meetings. Take East Carolina Saturday.
|10-13-18||Washington v. Oregon +3.5||Top||27-30||Win||100||72 h 51 m||Show|
20* Washington/Oregon Pac-12 No-Brainer on Oregon +3.5
The Oregon Ducks should be 5-0 this season. They blew a 24-7 lead in the second half against Stanford a few weeks ago and eventually lost in overtime. Several fluky things went against them, and they simply could have kneeled on the ball at the end and won. Instead, they fumbled and Stanford scored to tie it, and the rest was history.
Almost everyone was on California the next week against Oregon, thinking the Ducks wouldn’t be able to recover from that loss. Instead, the Ducks showed a lot of heart, throttling California 42-24 on the road. It was a Cal team that was coming off a bye, so it was a great performance for the Ducks.
Now the Ducks have had a bye week to get ready for a Washington team that was in a dog fight last week in a 31-24 win over UCLA as 21-point favorites. They only outgained the Bruins by 40 yards in that contest, and that’s a UCLA team that is currently 0-5. The Huskies only beat Arizona State by 7 at home as 18-point favorites earlier this year. And they lost at Auburn, and that loss looks a lot worse now after Auburn went on to lose to LSU at home and Mississippi State on the road.
I think the Huskies are starting to run out of gas a little because they will be playing for a 7th consecutive week, and that started to show in the second half last week against UCLA. Now the Ducks will put their fatigue to the test with their spread-option, up-tempo offense. QB Justin Herbert is leading an Oregon offense that is putting up 46 points and 504 yards per game this season.
The Ducks have been an elite team with a healthy Herbert under center. Jake Browning is one of the most overrated quarterbacks in the country. He leads a Washington offense that is averaging just 29 points pre game this season. Running back Myles Gaskins is banged up, and Browning is lacking weapons on the outside. Clearly Oregon has the supreme offense in this matchup.
Washington’s defense is very good, there’s no question about it, but they did give up 24 points and 422 total yards to a very bad UCLA offense last week. Again, it was a sign that they are starting to show some fatigue. I think Oregon coming off a bye this week is a huge advantage, and it’s going to be a great atmosphere at Autzen Stadium with essentially the Pac-12 North title on the line in this matchup.
Plays on underdogs of 3.5 to 10 points (Oregon) - in a game involving two teams who are outgaining opponents by 100-plus yards per game, after gaining 475 or more total yards in two consecutive games are 29-7 (80.6%) ATS over the last five seasons. Take Oregon Saturday.
|10-13-18||Ohio v. Northern Illinois -3.5||21-24||Loss||-110||63 h 19 m||Show|
15* MAC PLAY OF THE DAY on Northern Illinois -3.5
The Northern Illinois Huskies headed into MAC play grossly undervalued. That’s because they went 0-3 in non-conference play against a brutal schedule. They lost to the likes of Iowa, Utah and Florida State with two of those games on the road. And I think they continue to be undervalued here as only 3.5-point home favorites over Ohio.
It’s no surprise that NIU is 3-0 in MAC play this season because they are still one of the best teams in this conference. They beat Central Michigan 24-16 at home before going not he road and topping Eastern Michigan 26-23 and Ball State 24-16. And now they return home here against an Ohio team that has been getting way too much respect from oddsmakers.
Ohio is 3-2, but it has been outgained in four of its five games this season. The most concerning game was the 38-32 home victory over Howard as 30.5-point favorites in the opener. The Bobcats were outgained by 220 yards in that game and should have lost. They were also outgained by 188 yards in their 31-45 loss at Virginia. And last week they only beat Kent State 27-26 as 11-point favorites and were outgained by 58 yards.
The problem with backing Ohio is that they play no defense. They are giving up 35.8 points, 509 yards per game and 7.2 yards per play this season against opponents that only average 435 yards per game and 5.8 per play. They are allowing 74 yards and 1.4 yards per play more than their opponents average this season. They simply cannot stop anyone, and even NIU is in line for its biggest offensive output of the season this week.
Conversely, Northern Illinois has probably the best defense in the MAC. The Huskies are only giving up 23.7 points, 356 yards per game and 4.4 yards per play this season. That’s despite playing three elite Power 5 programs in Iowa, Utah and FSU already. And they’ve also shut down two very good MAC offenses in EMU and Ball State while also holding a bad CMU offense to 16 points.
Another concern for Ohio is that starting QB Nathan Rourke is banged up and battling a shoulder injury right now, leaving his status up in the air for this game. He is the heart and soul of this team, averaging 8.7 has per pass attempt and 7.8 per rush attempt while rushing for 391 yards and three scores this season. Early indications are that he will likely suit up, but he clearly won’t be 100%. If he doesn’t play then this is an absolute certainty that NIU wins and covers.
Ohio is 2-10 ATS in its last 12 road games vs. good rushing defenses that allow 3.25 or fewer yards per carry. Northern Illinois is 10-2 ATS vs. poor passing defenses that allow 58% completions or worse over the last three seasons. The Bobcats are 1-4 ATS in their last five road games. The Huskies are 14-6-1 ATS in their last 21 after accumulating more than 200 rushing yards in their previous game. Roll with Northern Illinois Saturday.
|10-13-18||Georgia v. LSU +7.5||16-36||Win||100||63 h 19 m||Show|
15* Georgia/LSU SEC ANNIHILATOR on LSU +7.5
The LSU Tigers just can’t get any love this season. They have opened 5-1 with wins over the likes of Miami, at Auburn and home against Ole Miss. They were up 33-3 on Miami on a neutral, they outgained Auburn by 42 yards in a 22-21 road win at 10-point dogs, and they crushed Ole Miss 45-16 as 11.5-point home favorites.
Last week’s 19-27 loss to Florida has everyone writing off LSU. I’m not one of those people. I was on Florida in that game and felt it was a great spot for the Gators, and I’m on record saying that Florida was an SEC title contender coming into the season. And that game was up for grabs in the final seconds before the Gators got a defensive touchdown. Florida only outgained LSU by 19 yards.
There’s no question LSU has played the more more difficult schedule between these teams. In fact, the Tigers have played the 13th-toughest schedule this season. Georgia has played just the 62nd-toughest. I think the Bulldogs are way overvalued right now due to their No. 2 ranking and their 6-0 start. Their six wins have come against Austin Peay, South Carolina, Middle Tennessee, Missouri, Tennessee and Vanderbilt.
I would have to say their toughest game was at Missouri. And they only won 43-29 as 14-point favorites. Georgia only outgained Missouri by 52 yards in that contest. I have no doubt that this road game at LSU is the most difficult game thus far on their schedule. And there’s nothing like the home-field advantage the Tigers have in Death Valley.
LSU is never more than a touchdown home underdog due to their home-field advantage. The only times they’ve been priced in this range in the past decade was against Tim Tebow’s Florida team and two times against Alabama. No question Georgia is a great team, but they are not good enough to be laying more than a touchdown on the road here to the Tigers in the Bayou.
LSU is a perfect 9-0 ATS vs. good passing teams who average 8 or more yards per attempt over the last three seasons. It is actually winning by 18.9 points per game in this spot and holding those teams to just 16.0 points per game. The Tigers are 8-1 ATS in their last nine conference games. Bet LSU Saturday.
|10-12-18||South Florida v. Tulsa +7.5||25-24||Win||100||57 h 22 m||Show|
15* USF/Tulsa AAC ANNIHILATOR on Tulsa +7.5
It’s time to ‘buy low’ on Tulsa and ‘sell high’ on South Florida in this AAC showdown Friday night. I like the Golden Hurricane catching more than a touchdown at home to the Bulls in a game that they have an excellent chance to win outright.
Tulsa is better than its 1-4 record would indicate. The Golden Hurricane are actually outgaining their opponents by 17 yards per game this season despite that record, and they have an improved defense that is allowing just 381 yards per game. The problem with them has been turnovers as they’ve committed 16 already through five games and it will be a point of emphasis this week.
South Florida is 5-0, but not nearly as good as its record would indicate. The Bulls are only outgaining their opponents by 54 yards per game. And they’ve played a much easier schedule than Tulsa as their five wins have come against Elon, Georgia Tech, Illinois, ECU and UMass. They only beat Illinois by 6 and ECU by 7, they were outgained by Georgia Tech by 176 yards and by ECU by 116 yards. And they needed a big 4th quarter comeback to beat Illinois.
Tulsa’s four losses have come to Texas, Arkansas State, Temple and Houston. They were competitive in all four of those games. They only lost by 7 to Texas and by 9 to Arkansas State. They outgained Temple by 103 yards despite losing by 14 thanks to a pair of defensive touchdowns. And they led Houston on the road last week 26-17 in the 4th quarter before giving up 24 unanswered points in the final 12 minutes.
Tulsa knows that if it is going to challenge for a bowl game, it starts with a win this week against South Florida. And the Golden Hurricane have the rest advantage after playing last Thursday, so they have had seven days to get ready for this game. USF played on Saturday in a 58-42 shootout at UMass and will be the more fatigued team here having just five days to get ready for Tulsa.
Last year, Tulsa only lost 20-27 at South Florida as 23.5-point underdogs. And that was a much better USF team that lost a lot from last year. And Tulsa is certainly better this season than last with 15 returning starters from a squad that went 2-10. The Golden Hurricane will be out for revenge at home this time around, and they’ll be excited welcoming a Top 25 team in a nationally televised Friday night game.
Plays on underdogs of 3.5 to 10 points (Tulsa) - off two consecutive losses by 10 points or more to conference opponents, in October games are 26-6 (81.2%) ATS over the last five seasons. The Golden Hurricane are 11-2 ATS in their last 13 vs. a team with a winning record. They just come up big time and time again against teams they appear overmatched by. Roll with Tulsa Friday.
|10-11-18||Texas Tech v. TCU UNDER 62||Top||17-14||Win||100||34 h 52 m||Show|
20* Texas Tech/TCU Big 12 No-Brainer on UNDER 62
Both Texas Tech and TCU have quarterback injuries heading into this one that makes me like the UNDER quite a bit. Tech starter Alan Bowman suffered a collapsed lung last game and is highly questionable, and his backed McLane Carter is also questionable with an ankle injury. TCU starter Shawn Robinson is battling a shoulder injury, and even though he’s probable he may not start Thursday.
Regardless, this has been an UNDER series the past two years. TCU won 27-24 (OT) in 2016 for 51 combined points, but they scored 17 in overtime so there were just 34 combined points at the end of regulation. And then last year TCU won 27-3 for 30 combined points. It’s clear to me that this 62-point total has been set way too high Thursday night.
I also like the fact that both teams come in off bye weeks and on extra rest. That extra time to prepare certainly favors the defenses more than the offenses. There will be no element of surprise for these two teams because they’ll know each other so well. And Texas Tech has an improved defense this year, while TCU has one of the best defenses in the country once again.
The Horned Frogs are giving up just 304 yards per game and 4.5 yards per play against opponents that average 380 yards per game and 5.5 yards per play. Texas Tech has faced some great offenses this year, so the numbers haven’t been as good. But they are giving up 6.2 yards per play against teams that average 6.5 yards per play, so they have actually been better than average. And they should be able to contain a suspect TCU offense that is managing just 415 yards per game this season.
TCU is 10-1 UNDER off a win against a conference opponent over the last three seasons. The Horned Frogs are 11-1 UNDER vs. poor passing defenses that are allowing 250 or more passing yards per game over the last three seasons. The UNDER is 4-1 in Red Raiders last five road games. The UNDER is 21-6 in Horned Frogs last 27 conference games. Bet the UNDER in this game Thursday.
|10-09-18||Appalachian State v. Arkansas State +10.5||Top||35-9||Loss||-105||8 h 14 m||Show|
20* App State/Ark State Sun Belt No-Brainer on Arkansas State +10.5
The Arkansas State Red Wolves are getting zero respect from oddsmakers here as 10-point home underdogs to the Appalachian State Mountaineers. This is a team that has dominated the Sun Belt, winning at least a share of the conference title five of the last six years while going 40-7 in Sun Belt play over that time frame. Simply put, they are better than everyone else in the Sun Belt.
The Red Wolves have opened 3-2 against a tough schedule. Their two losses came on the road at Alabama and at Georgia Southern 21-28 in the closing seconds. And that means they are 0-1 in Sun Belt play to open the season, so they’ll be extra motivated here to avoid falling to 0-2. They also went on the road and got a big win at Tulsa while also beating a good UNLV team at home.
Appalachian State deserves some credit for taking Penn State to overtime in the opener. But there’s no question they are overvalued now because of it, especially after three straight blowout wins over Charlotte, Gardner Webb and South Alabama since. Well, Gardner Webb is an FCS school, and Charlotte and South Alabama are two of the worst FBS programs in the country. This is a huge step up in class for the Mountaineers tonight.
Arkansas State is a veteran squad that returned all of its top playmakers from an offense that put up 37.8 points and 495 yards per game last season. They are still averaging 474 yards per game this season, but the points haven’t been there at 26.4 per game, and I think they’re undervalued because of it. And their defense has been solid in giving up just 393 yards per game despite the brutal schedule.
Senior QB Justice Hansen is probably one of the best quarterbacks you’ve never heard of for the Red Wolves. He is completing 64.8% of his passes for 1,329 yards with an 11-to-2 TD/INT ratio this season. He has also rushed for 192 yards and two scores. He has a plethora of weapons outside with the top two receivers back from last year in Justin McInnis (23 receptions, 233 yards, 2 TD) and Omar Bayless (13, 216, 1 TD), as well as Oregon transfer Kirk Merritt (29, 238, 1 TD).
The Red Wolves are 37-17-1 ATS in their last 55 conference games. Arkansas State is 6-1 ATS in its last seven games following a bye week. The Red Wolves are 7-0 ATS in October games over the last three seasons, winning by 23.4 points per game on average. Take Arkansas State Tuesday.
|10-07-18||Wyoming v. Hawaii -3||Top||13-17||Win||100||55 h 3 m||Show|
20* Wyoming/Hawaii MWC Late-Night BAILOUT on Hawaii -3
I faded Hawaii with success last Saturday as I backed San Jose State +10 at home against the Warriors. And that game went into overtime as SJSU easily covered, but Hawaii won outright 44-41. Well, that was a dream spot for SJSU coming off a bye and with Hawaii coming to the mainland.
However, I think this is now a dream spot for the Warriors. They will be playing with a ton of momentum from that OT win that improved them to 5-1 this season. And now fans back home in Hawaii are excited, and it should be a great atmosphere for them at home against Wyoming this week.
I certainly felt the Warriors were overvalued last week, and that has shown of late as they are just 0-3-1 ATS in their last four games overall. Now the public is off of them, and I think the value is back with them now as only 3-point favorites here. Plus, their only loss came on the road 21-28 at Army, and we’ve seen Army take Oklahoma to overtime as 28.5-point underdogs and crush Buffalo 42-13 as an underdog. Clearly, that loss to Army doesn’t look so bad now.
Hawaii is 3-0 at home this season with three double-digit wins over Navy (59-41), Rice (43-29) and Duquesne (42-21). The Warriors boast an explosive offense that is putting up 42.0 points and 495.8 yards per game this season, including 48.0 points and 507.0 yards per game at home. They clearly have a huge edge on offense over Wyoming.
Wyoming is off to a 2-3 start this season. Its two wins came against New Mexico State 29-7 and Wofford 17-14. Well, NMSU is 1-4 this season with four double-digit losses and their only win coming against UTEP. And that 17-14 win over FCS foe Wofford is clearly a concern for the Cowboys.
Wyoming’s three losses have all come in blowout fashion. They lost at home to Washington State 19-41, at Missouri 13-40 and at home to Boise State 14-34 last week. They were even coming off a bye. This is a Wyoming offense that is only averaging 18.4 points, 304 yards per game and 4.8 yards per play this season. There’s no way they can keep up with Hawaii in this one.
One key factor here that is certainly getting overlooked is Wyoming lost its punter to a season-ending injury in that loss to Boise State last week. Tim Zaleski suffered a torn ACL. He started all 18 games since the start of last season, averaging 39.9 yards per punt. That leaves junior Ryan Galovich, who had not punted in a game until last week. His lone career punt covered only 27 yards in the fourth quarter last week after Zaleski went down.
“Losing your punter is a big, big hit,” Wyoming head coach Craig Bowl said. “We’re going to need to absorb that and make some plans.” With how poor this Wyoming offense has been, they’re going to need their punter a lot this week against Hawaii. And the Warriors should get plenty of short fields for their offense to take advantage of as a result.
Plays against underdogs of 3 to 10 points (Wyoming) - after having lost two of their last three games against an opponent that’s won four of their last five games are 41-12 (77.4%) ATS over the last five seasons. The Warriors will improve to 6-1 Saturday night and get back in the ATS win column with ease. Roll with Hawaii Saturday.
|10-06-18||Kentucky v. Texas A&M -5.5||14-20||Win||100||50 h 60 m||Show|
15* CFB Saturday No-Doubt Rout on Texas A&M -5.5
The No. 13 Kentucky Wildcats are starting to get some accolades. And now they will be looking to open a season 6-0 for the first time since 1950. I don’t see it happening Saturday as they finally meet their match against Texas A&M and the 12th man at Kyle Field. It will be a hostile atmosphere for the Wildcats for this Saturday night game under the bright lights.
Kentucky has had the fortune of playing four of its first five games at home. The Wildcats’ lone road game was an upset win at Florida, which was clearly impressive, but they caught the Gators in the second week of the season when they weren’t hitting on all cylinders under a new head coach. And they simply wanted that game more as they had lost 31 straight previously to Florida.
I’ve been a lot more impressed with Texas A&M despite just a 3-2 start. Well, the two losses came to a pair of playoff contenders in Clemson and Alabama, and they covered the spread in both games. They only lost 26-28 at home to Clemson as 11.5-point underdogs, and 23-45 at Alabama as 24-point dogs. I’m willing to forgive them for their 24-17 win as 20-point favorites against Arkansas last week because it was a hangover spot from the Alabama loss.
Jimbo Fisher has been quick to call out his team for that poor performance against Arkansas. Look for them to respond in a big way here. And Fisher will be going against his pupil in Mark Stoops, who was the defensive coordinator under Fisher as Florida State. I give a big advantage to the teacher over the pupil in this head coaching matchup.
Both teams have great defenses, but I give Texas A&M the edge on offense. The Aggies are averaging 36 points, 512 yards per game and 6.7 yards per play this season behind a balanced attack that averages 232 rushing yards and 280 passing yards per game despite the brutal schedule. Kentucky is only averaging 407 yards per game.
This one-dimensional Kentucky offense will cost them this week. The Wildcats are only averaging 153 passing yards per game this season. They have relied heavily on Benny Snell and the running game, which has averaged 254 yards per game and 5.8 per carry. Fisher will be locked in on trying to stop Snell, and there’s no question Texas A&M has the goods to do it.
Indeed, the Aggies are only allowing 81 rushing yards per game and 3.1 per carry this season against teams that average 157 yards per game and 4.8 per carry. Just look at what they did to Clemson and Alabama. The Aggies held Clemson to just 115 rushing yards on 32 carries, and Alabama to 109 rushing yards on 28 carries. They are 3rd in the country in stopping the run this season, and they’ve played some great running teams thus far. It’s impressive to say the least.
Texas A&M is a perfect 8-0 ATS off a home game over the last two seasons. Plays against any team (Kentucky) - after beating the spread by 49 or more points in their last five games, a team that wins 80% or more of their games against a good team that wins 60% to 80% are 34-10 (77.3%) ATS over the last five seasons. The Wildcats are simply overvalued right now due to their 5-0 start and Top 25 ranking. Roll with Texas A&M Saturday.
|10-06-18||Florida State +14 v. Miami-FL||27-28||Win||100||47 h 2 m||Show|
15* FSU/Miami ACC No-Brainer on Florida State +14
It was going to take some time for Willie Taggart to get Florida State back to an ACC title contender. The Seminoles were decimated by injuries last season and barely made a bowl game. And they have started just 3-2 this season with ugly losses to Virginia Tech and Syracuse.
However, now we are nearing the midway point of the season, and it’s clear Taggart hasn’t lost his team. The fruits of his labor have started to show the past two weeks. After crushing Northern Illinois 37-19 despite losing the turnover battle 4-0, they went on the road last week and pulled out a gutsy comeback victory at Louisville 28-24. Taggart clearly hasn’t lost his players, and this team will be feeling good about themselves and 100% focused going up against rival Miami this week.
I think Miami comes into this game way overvalued due to a four-game winning streak since their ugly 17-33 loss to LSU in the opener. Well, the four wins have come against Savannah State, Toledo, FIU and UNC. And they only beat FIU 31-17 as 26-point home favorites.
I also believe Miami’s misleading 47-10 win over North Carolina last week has them overvalued as well. That was a much closer game than the final score showed. UNC committed six turnovers, three of which were returned for touchdowns. Miami only outgained UNC by 25 yards in that game. The Hurricanes deserved to probably win by two touchdowns, but not by 37 points. And because of the misleading final, they’re now being asked to lay 14 points to an FSU team that will be the most talented squad they’ve faced since that 16-point loss to LSU.
The recent series history shows that there’s no way Miami should be favored by 14 points. Florida State is 8-2 SU in the last 10 meetings with Miami’s two wins coming by 4 points each, including last year’s last-second 24-20 win that will have FSU out for revenge. In fact, Miami hasn’t beaten Florida State by more than 8 points in any of the last 17 meetings, making for a 17-0 system backing the Seminoles pertaining to this 14-point spread. The last time Miami won by this kind of margin was their 49-27 win in 2001.
Mark Richt is 1-9 ATS in home games off two consecutive home wins in all games he has coached. His teams are only winning by 5.9 points per game in this spot. Taggart is 23-9 ATS as a road underdog in all games he has coached. Taggart is 10-2 ATS off a win by 6 points or less in all games he has coached. The underdog is 13-3 ATS in the last 16 meetings. Bet Florida State Saturday.
|10-06-18||LSU v. Florida +3||Top||19-27||Win||100||47 h 52 m||Show|
20* SEC GAME OF THE MONTH on Florida +3
There’s no question LSU came into the season undervalued. I wasn’t very high on them coming into the season either, but fortunately I’ve only faded them once, and I won that bet when I did on Louisiana Tech +21 in Week 4. And I’m now ready to fade them again this week.
LSU is starting to get that respect now that they are 5-0 and ranked No. 5 in the country. With that ranking comes expectations that are tough to live up to. They are now being asked to go on the road and lay points to the Florida Gators. Well, I believe Florida is the better team, and they’re at home.
I was really high on the Gators coming into the season. I thought they’d have a chance to win the SEC. And with the way they are going right now, they certainly will have a chance. They have gone 4-1 SU & 4-1 ATS in this season with their only loss coming to Kentucky, which doesn’t look that bad now.
Florida beat Colorado State 48-10 as 21.5-point home favorites, won at Tennessee 47-21 as 4.5-point favorites, and upset Mississippi State 13-6 as 7-point road underdogs the past three weeks. The Gators keep getting better with each game. They are the most experienced team in the SEC with 19 returning starters, while LSU is the least-experienced team in the SEC with just 10 starters back.
And those returning starters remember their 17-16 loss to LSU last season. Florida was a much weaker team last year than they are this year due to all the injuries and suspensions. But they’re a lot healthier this year and got most of those suspended players back. They will be a force the rest of the way.
Florida is averaging 6.4 yards per play on offense and giving up just 4.6 yards per play on defense, outgaining teams by 1.8 yards per play. LSU hasn’t been nearly as dominant in that category, averaging 5.7 on offense and giving up 4.7 on defense, only outgaining opponents by 1.0 yards per play.
Florida head coach Dan Mullen is making his mark already on this program. And Mullen actually went 4-0 ATS in his final four meetings with LSU at Mississippi State, so he knows how to beat this team. Mullen will push the right buttons here and let his team know that they are getting no respect while playing the underdog card. Expect a huge effort from the Gators this weekend. Take Florida Saturday.
|10-06-18||Iowa v. Minnesota +7||48-31||Loss||-105||47 h 52 m||Show|
15* Big Ten PLAY OF THE DAY on Minnesota +7
Both of these teams are off a bye week. While that would normally be a wash, it’s worth noting that Iowa is 2-8 ATS in road games off a bye under head coach Kirk Ferentz. I think Iowa wouldn’t have been too focused during its bye week after pretty much losing its Super Bowl in a 17-28 home loss to Wisconsin that will likely decide the West Division. So I like the spot for Minnesota better.
And I just don’t think this Iowa team is very good. The Hawkeyes have played four home games to open the season. They beat Northern Illinois, Iowa State and Northern Iowa before losing to Wisconsin. So their three wins were against some pretty bad teams. And now they’ll be hitting the road for the first time this season.
Well, Minnesota is 3-0 at home this season. They mopped the floor with New Mexico State 48-10 in their opener. Then they beat Fresno State 21-14 despite being underdogs in that game. And we’ve seen Fresno State go on to basically blow everyone else out, so that win looks better and better by the week. And the Golden Gophers easily covered as 13.5-point favorites in a 26-3 beat down of Miami Ohio.
I think Minnesota comes into this game undervalued due to its 13-42 loss at Maryland last time out. Well, that was a hungry Maryland team that was coming off an upset loss to Temple. And the Golden Gophers were probably feeling fat and happy after their 3-0 start. I think that loss will have humbled them, and it will be much easier to get over than Iowa’s loss to Wisconsin where they had every chance to win.
These teams are pretty much mirror images of each other. Both have sub-par offenses and elite defenses. Minnesota is giving up just 17.2 points, 300 yards per game and 5.0 yards per play this season. They are holding opponents to 12.0 points per game less than their season averages. And it’s their defense that gives them a chance to win here against an Iowa offense that is only scoring 25.2 points per game despite such a soft schedule.
Just looking at the recent series history it’s easy to see there’s value on Minnesota as 7-point home underdogs here. Each of the last three meetings in this series were decided by 7 points or less. Iowa won all three by 5, 7 and 7 points, so you can bet the Golden Gophers want some revenge. They last beat Iowa 51-14 at home in 2014. And the home team is 7-2 SU in the last nine meetings. The underdog is 3-0-1 ATS in the last four meetings.
The Hawkeyes are 0-5 ATS in their last five road games vs. a team with a winning home record. The Golden Gophers are 10-2-3 ATS in their last 15 games following an ATS loss. Minnesota is 4-1 ATS in its last five home games.
Plays on underdogs of 3.5 to 10 points (Minnesota) after a game with a turnover margin of -2 or worse against an opponent after a game with turnover margin of -3 or worse are 34-10 (77.3%) ATS over the last 10 seasons. Take Minnesota Saturday.
|10-06-18||Oklahoma v. Texas +8||Top||45-48||Win||100||74 h 35 m||Show|
20* Oklahoma/Texas Big 12 Early ANNIHILATOR on Texas +8
It’s well documented how great Tom Herman has been as an underdog. In fact, Herman is a ridiculous 22-1 ATS as an underdog in all games as a coach dating back to his time as an assistant at Iowa State and Ohio State, and most recently as the head coach of Houston and Texas.
Herman has his best team yet at Texas. I thought the Longhorns were a Big 12 title contender coming into the season, and nothing has changed my mind on that. Sure, they were upset by Maryland in the opener, but they came into the season overvalued. They have since reeled off four straight victories to get back in the discussion.
They throttled USC 37-14 at home as 3-point favorites, and won outright as 2.5-point home underdogs over TCU in a dominant 31-16 win. I think last week’s narrow 19-14 win at Kansas State has Texas undervalued coming into this week. But that was a 19-0 game before the Wildcats tacked on two second half touchdowns. And Texas held K-State to just 217 total yards in a dominant effort.
Conversely, I think Oklahoma is coming in overvalued off its 66-33 win over Baylor last week. Well, the Sooners were 21-point favorites in that game so it wasn’t expected to be close. And it’s clear that Baylor is still another year or two away from really being competitive.
That effort against Baylor has folks quickly forgetting that Oklahoma needed overtime to beat Army as a 28.5-point favorite the week prior. And the Sooners failed to cover their previous three spreads before Baylor, so they’ve been overvalued. It’s just tough for Top 10 teams like the Sooners to live up to expectations every week because they are ranked so high and in the public eye.
Oklahoma's five opponents this season are a combined 1-10 against Power 5 opponents, so they haven't really played anybody compared to Texas. The Longhorns already have wins over two ranked opponents in TCU and USC by a combined 38 points. They have played the much tougher schedule, and that will have them a lot more battle-tested than the Sooners coming into this one.
Texas certainly wants some revenge after some heartbreaking losses to Oklahoma in recent years. Oklahoma has won three of the last five meetings, including the last two, but all three victories came by only 5 points. Texas is a perfect 5-0 ATS in the last five meetings, including two outright upsets as double-digit underdogs, covering the spread by an average of 15 points per game in those five contests. I think there’s a ton of value getting the Longhorns as more than a TD dog here against the Sooners.
This is an elite Texas defense that is giving up just 19.8 points, 333 yards per game and 4.8 yards per play this season with opposing QB’s completing just 54.9% of their passes. Their defense is the reason they have a chance to upset the Sooners here. Oklahoma has given up at least 21 points in four consecutive games, including the 33 to Baylor last week. Their lackluster defense, which is allowing 30 points and 470 yards per game in two Big 12 games against Iowa State and Baylor, is going to make it difficult for them to put Texas away.
Texas is 7-0 ATS vs. good passing teams who average 8.5 or more yards per attempt over the last three seasons. The Longhorns are 7-2-1 ATS in their last 10 vs. a team with a winning record. The Sooners are 2-8 ATS in their last 10 neutral site games. The Longhorns are 10-2 ATS vs. good offensive teams that average 37 or more points per game over the last three seasons. Bet Texas Saturday.
|10-06-18||Alabama v. Arkansas +36||65-31||Win||100||43 h 18 m||Show|
15* CFB Saturday Undervalued Underdog on Arkansas +36
These Alabama spreads are getting out of hand. They are the No. 1 ranked team in the country and the public has been all over them. Oddsmakers are forced to set the number higher than it should be to try and get even action on both sides. And if you faded Alabama the last two weeks, you would have won.
I did fade Alabama two weeks ago by cashing in Texas A&M +27 in a 23-45 road loss to the Crimson Tide. I didn’t pull the trigger last week on UL Lafayette +49 but wish I would have. Alabama actually jumped out to a 56-0 lead before allowing 14 points in the 4th quarter to win 56-14 and fail to cover.
And that’s the problem with laying these kinds of numbers with Alabama. They try for a quarter or two, jump out to a big lead, and then call off the dogs. The back door is almost always open with the underdog. But I don’t think we’ll need the back door with Arkansas this week.
You can see that Arkansas is improving despite a misleading 1-4 record. They have actually outgained three of their five opponents this Eason. They won their opener 55-20. They lost 27-34 to Colorado State after leading that game 27-9 in the second half. They lost 17-44 to North Texas but were only outgained by 40 yards. They lost 3-34 at Auburn but actually outgained Auburn by 65 yards in one of the most misleading finals of the year. And they only lost 17-24 as 20-point underdogs at Texas A&M last week, which was their most impressive showing yet.
The reason Arkansas has a chance to hang within the number is because they boast a defense that is much better than it is getting credit for. The Razorbacks are only giving up 353 yards per game and 4.9 yards per play against opponents that average 430 yards per game and 5.6 per play. They have been very good against the run, yielding just 106 rushing yards per game and 3.0 per carry.
Arkansas held a good North Texas offense to just 376 total yards. Then the next week in the misleading final of the year they held Auburn to just 225 total yards. And then they held an explosive Texas A&M offense to just 377 total yards last week. That’s a Texas A&M offense that put up over 500 yards on Clemson and 393 yards against Alabama. The Razorbacks should be able to stop the run once Alabama gets ahead, and that will be key in them playing close to an even game with the Crimson Tide in the second half.
Arkansas is 3-1 ATS in the last four meetings. They lost by 1, 13, 19 and 32 points. But even in that 32-point loss last year on the road they covered as 37-point underdogs. And now they’re 36-point underdogs at home this time around. It’s simply too much.
The Razorbacks are 15-6 ATS in their last 21 home games vs. a team with a winning road record. The Crimson Tide are 2-6 ATS in their last eight vs. a team with a losing record. Alabama is 1-5 ATS in its last six conference games. Arkansas is 15-4 ATS in its last 19 home games vs. teams who average 275 or more passing yards pre game. The Razorbacks are 20-8 ATS in their last 28 games following three or more consecutive losses.
Plays on underdogs of 31.5 or more points (Arkansas) - with 17 or more starters returning are 52-22 (70.3%) ATS since 1992. Bet Arkansas Saturday.
|10-05-18||Georgia Tech v. Louisville +4.5||Top||66-31||Loss||-105||31 h 39 m||Show|
20* Georgia Tech/Louisville ACC ANNIHILATOR on Louisville +4.5
I’m surprised Georgia Tech is a road favorite at Louisville this week. Both of these teams have been disappointing to this point, but for whatever reason the Yellow Jackets are getting respect, but the Cardinals are not. I’m not buying it.
I think Louisville’s potential is much greater the rest of the way than Georgia Tech. This Cardinals team still has a ton of talent and they are relatively healthy. They showed a lot last week when they led Florida State late in the 4th quarter and probably should have won that game, but lost 24-28. They outgained the Seminoles by 51 yards and covered as 5-point underdogs.
I think the Cardinals are going to be playing pissed off at home Friday night. They need a win if they are going to make a bowl game because they cannot afford to fall to 2-4 with the tough schedule that lies ahead. I expect them to get the job done, and for the offense to build on a solid effort in which they gained 421 yards against a good FSU defense.
Louisville should be able to light up a Georgia Tech defense that gave up 49 points to South Florid and 49 points to Clemson in two of its three losses. And this is a Georgia Tech offense that just hasn’t been the same since losing KirVonte Benson to a season-ending injury in the loss to USF. Benson rushed for over 1,000 yards last season and they simply lack playmakers without him.
Georgia Tech’s only two wins this season came against Alcorn State and Bowling Green. They trailed Pitt 24-6 in the 4th quarter, and that’s a Pitt team that we’ve seen is absolutely awful. They also lost 38-49 to a USF team that nearly lost to both Illinois and ECU. It’s clear to me that the Yellow Jackets aren’t very good.
Georgia Tech is 0-8 SU & 0-8 ATS in its last eight games as a road favorite, losing outright by double-digits four times during this span. The Yellow Jackets simply cannot be trusted in the road favorite role, especially here on a short week against a talented Louisville team that is way undervalued right now after a poor start to the season. The Cardinals have the bigger upside, and I think they show it Friday night. Bet Louisville Friday.
|10-04-18||Tulsa +18.5 v. Houston||26-41||Win||100||8 h 59 m||Show|
15* Tulsa/Houston ESPN No-Brainer on Tulsa +18.5
I have no doubt Tulsa is better than an 18.5-point underdog to Houston today. But the fact that the Golden Hurricane have opened 1-3 has them way undervalued. I’ll back them here catching this big number in a rivalry game that they care more about than Houston does.
All three of Tulsa’s losses have come by 14 points or less. They only lost by 7 at Texas as 21-point underdogs to show what they are capable of. They lost 20-29 to Arkansas State and were only outgained by 70 yards. And they actually outgained Temple by 103 yards but lost 17-31 on the road due to giving up two defensive touchdowns.
Tulsa has now had two full weeks to get right off their bye. They are outgaining their opponents by 34 yards per game this season, so they are way better than their 1-3 record would suggest. And the schedule has been tough to their credit, so they are battle-tested and ready to give Houston a run for its money.
The Cougars have opened 3-1 and are overvalued. Their win over Arizona doesn’t look that good now, and their other two wins came against Rice and Texas Southern. They only beat Rice by 18 as 25-point favorites and actually trailed that game 24-17 at halftime. They needed a big second half just to escape with that victory. And they lost 49-63 to Texas Tech.
It’s clear that Tulsa takes this game more seriously than Houston every year. Tulsa is 2-3 SU but 4-1 ATS in the last five meetings. Houston hasn’t beaten Tulsa by more than 14 points in any of the five meetings. Last year, Tulsa won 45-17 outright as 13.5-point home underdogs, and that was a bad Tulsa team. In 2016, Tulsa only lost 31-38 at Houston as 21.5-point dogs.
The Golden Hurricane are 10-2 ATS in their last 12 games vs. a team with a winning record. Tulsa is 16-6 ATS in its last 22 road games. The Cougars are 0-5 ATS in their last five games following a SU win of more than 20 points. Houston is 4-10 ATS in its last 14 conference games. The Golden Hurricane are 4-0 ATS in their last four meetings in Houston. The road team is 6-1 ATS in the last seven meetings. Take Tulsa Thursday.
|09-29-18||Oregon State +22 v. Arizona State||Top||24-52||Loss||-106||54 h 24 m||Show|
20* CFB Saturday Late-Night BAILOUT on Oregon State +22
I really question what the Arizona State Sun Devils have left in the tank for Oregon State this week. They are coming off three straight physically taxing games against Michigan State, San Diego State and Washington over the past three weeks. Those are three teams that will punch you in the mouth on both sides of the football.
Now they must play an Oregon State team that will go up-tempo and spread you out. It’s a completely different style than what they’ve seen thus far, and I think this Oregon State offense will certainly have some success against Arizona State’s defense.
It’s an Oregon State offense that scored 31 points and had nearly 400 total yards against Ohio State in Week 1. Then they scored 48 with 639 total yards against Southern Utah in Week 2. And they lost scored 35 with 540 total yards against Nevada in Week 3 in a game they should have won.
But Oregon State laid an egg in a 14-35 home loss to Arizona last week. So this week I think we’re getting the opportunity to ‘buy low’ on the Beavers off that performance. And we are ‘selling high’ on the Sun Devils after their 3-1 ATS start which included a cover as 18-point underdogs in a 20-27 loss at Washington last week. The Sun Devils will also have a ‘hangover’ effect after facing ranked Washington, and they won’t be focused enough this week to put Oregon State away by more than three touchdowns.
And Arizona State hasn’t been able to beat Oregon State by this kind of margin in recent years. In fact, each of the last nine meetings in this series have been decided by 16 points or less. And dating back further, Arizona State has not beaten Oregon State by more than 21 points in any of the last 23 meetings. That’s a perfect 23-0 system backing the Beavers pertaining to this 22-point spread. Bet Oregon State Saturday.
|09-29-18||Ohio State v. Penn State UNDER 71||Top||27-26||Win||100||52 h 5 m||Show|
20* Ohio State/Penn State ABC No-Brainer on UNDER 71
This total of 71 is simply too high. For starters, it’s the highest total for any Penn State game in program history. And it’s the third-highest total in Ohio State program history. That alone shows that there has to be some value with this UNDER.
This game not only has Big Ten title implications, but also national title implications as well. It will be played closer to the vest, which is going to favor the defenses. It will be a white out at Penn State Saturday night and the noise is going to affect both offenses. It’s also on grass, which is ideal conditions for under bettors as compared to turf.
A lot is being made about how well both offenses have played. But they’ve both played extremely soft schedules to this point. And the defenses have both been excellent. The Nittany Lions are allowing just 19.5 points per game this season, holding opponents to 13 points and 1.3 yards per play less than their season averages. The Buckeyes are giving up 17 points per game, holding opponents to 9.4 points and 0.5 yards per play less than their season averages.
I think the fact that last year was a shootout between these two teams is also playing into this total being so high. Ohio State beat Penn State 39-38 at home last year for 77 combined points. But that was a huge misleading final. Penn State only had 283 yards of total offense, yet scored 38 points. And they barely topped 800 total yards between them.
The previous three meetings between these teams were all low-scoring. Penn State won 24-21 at home in 2016 for 45 combined points. Ohio State won 38-10 at home in 2015 for 48 combined points. And Ohio State won 31-24 (OT) on the road in 2014 for 55 combined points, but just 48 points at the end of regulation. I think we see a combined score in the 50’s here, not the 70’s. Take the UNDER in this game Saturday.
|09-29-18||Hawaii v. San Jose State +10||Top||44-41||Win||100||51 h 24 m||Show|
25* Mountain West GAME OF THE YEAR on San Jose State +10
The San Jose State Spartans are coming off a bye week. They have had two full weeks to prepare for Hawaii, and they’ll be desperate for a win after their 0-3 start to the season. I think they’re sitting on a big game here against a Hawaii team that has to be tired after playing five games already without a bye in between.
It’s easy to see why San Jose State is 0-3. The Spartans opened the season with a very good FCS opponent in Cal Davis and lost 38-44 as 3-point favorites. Then they went on the road to Washington State and lost 31-0 as 30.5-point underdogs. It’s clear that Washington State is better than most expected.
But most impressively, San Jose State only lost 22-35 at Oregon as 42.5-point underdogs in Week 3. They covered the spread by 29.5 points in that matchup. And we know how good Oregon looked at home against Stanford last week as they clearly should have won that game. And SJSU held Oregon’s offense to just 35 points and 443 total yards, which is no small feat.
Hawaii is overvalued off its 4-1 start to the season. The four wins have come against Colorado State, Navy, Rice and Duquesne. And it’s not like they are blowing anyone out as their biggest victory was a 21-point win over Duquesne as 36.5-point favorites. Now the Warriors are being asked to lay double-digits on the road here to an improved, rested San Jose State squad, and it’s simply too much.
Last year, San Jose State went into Hawaii and played a four-quarter game, losing 26-37 as 17-point underdogs. They actually outgained the Warriors by 53 yards in that contest and racked up 504 total yards on Hawaii’s defense. I think they’ll have their way with a Hawaii defense that is giving up 30.6 points, 428 yards per game and 6.3 yards per play against opponents that are averaging 25.7 points, 374 yards per game and 5.2 yards per play. This is a bad Hawaii defense that can’t be trusted laying double-digits on the road here.
Nick Rolovich is 1-8 ATS as a favorite as the coach of Hawaii. Rolovich is 1-10 ATS off two or more consecutive ATS losses as the coach of the Warriors. The Warriors are also 0-9 ATS in their last nine games off an ATS loss. Hawaii is 6-21 ATS in its last 27 games vs. a team with a losing record. Bet San Jose State Saturday.
|09-29-18||Florida Atlantic v. Middle Tennessee State +3.5||24-25||Win||100||51 h 24 m||Show|
15* CFB Saturday UPSET SHOCKER on Middle Tennessee +3.5
The betting public jumped on the Lane Kiffin train late in the season last year. They beat up on a very weak schedule and kept on covering. And they haven’t jumped off the train yet in 2018. The Owls clearly came into this season overvalued, and that has shown with their 0-4 ATS start. And now they’re once again overvalued as road favorites here against a very good Middle Tennessee squad.
FAU opened its season with a 14-63 loss at Oklahoma as only 18.5-point dogs. Then they failed to cover as 7.5-point home favorites in a 33-27 home win over Air Force. They weren’t impressive at all in their 49-28 home win over Bethune-Cookman as 40.5-point favorites. And they lost 36-56 on the road to UCF as 14-point favorites last week.
That game against UCF sets FAU up for a big ‘hangover’ effect here. The Owls wanted to prove they could beat UCF, a team that went undefeated last season and still hasn’t lost. And instead they got embarrassed, giving up 56 points and 545 total yards and turning the ball over three times. I don’t think they’ll get up off the mat in time to get ready for Middle Tennessee this week.
This is a Middle Tennessee team that is rested and ready to go after getting a bye last week. And it’s also one that is undervalued right now due to its 1-2 start to the season. But both losses came on the road to a pair of SEC teams in Vanderbilt and Georgia. Now they’ll be primed for a big performance in their Conference USA opener here against FAU with two weeks to prepare for them.
Middle Tennessee is 9-1 SU in its last 10 meetings with FAU. The Blue Raiders had their nine-game winning streak over the Owls snapped last year in a 20-38 road loss. But they were without starting QB Brent Stockstill, and their backup QB three three costly interceptions. Yet the Blue Raiders still outgained the Owls 454 to 413 in that game with a backup QB.
Now Stockstill is back healthy and sitting on a big performance as he’s one of the more underrated quarterbacks in the country. Stockstill is completing 69% of his passes with a 7-to-2 TD/INT ratio thus far in 2018 despite facing a brutal schedule. He’ll have his way with an awful FAU pass defense that is allowing 67.3% completions and 10.1 yards per attempt to opposing quarterbacks. This its an awful FAU defense in general.
Middle Tennessee is 6-0 ATS off a loss by 21 or more points over the last three seasons. It is bouncing back to win by 16.0 points per game on average in this spot. The Owls are 3-11-1 ATS in their last 15 games vs. a team with a losing record. The Blue Raiders are 7-1 ATS in their last eight games following a SU loss. Middle Tennessee is 8-3 ATS in its last 11 games following a bye week. The Blue Raiders are 6-0 ATS in their last six games after scoring less than 20 points in their previous game. Roll with Middle Tennessee Saturday.
|09-29-18||Cincinnati v. Connecticut +17.5||49-7||Loss||-106||48 h 52 m||Show|
15* CFB Saturday Undervalued Underdog on Connecticut +17.5
It’s time to ‘buy low’ on Connecticut and ‘sell high’ on Cincinnati this week. Cincinnati has opened 4-0 SU & 3-1 ATS this season, while UConn has opened 1-3 SU & 0-3-1 ATS. As a result, you have to pay a tax to bet Cincinnati here as 17.5-point road favorites against the Huskies.
I’ll admit the Huskies have a terrible defense and have been dreadful. But a lot of that has to do with the schedule. They have faced UCF, Boise State and Syracuse already, and those are three of the best offenses in the country. It’s also a big reason why they are 1-3 as they have been 24-point underdogs plus in those three contests. I don’t think Cincinnati is anywhere near as good as those three squads.
Cincinnati has feasted on an easy schedule. They beat UCLA, Miami Ohio, Alabama A&M and Ohio. Well, UCLA is still winless, Miami Ohio is not nearly as good as they were expected to be, and the same can be said for Ohio. No question the Bearcats are improved this season, but they are getting way too much respect from oddsmakers due to this 4-0 start.
UConn does have a good offense that can put up enough points to stay within the number this week. Despite the tough schedule, they are averaging 25.2 points and 412 yards per game. Randy Edsall has allowed them to put in a more up-tempo offense that is starting to see the fruits of their labor.
UConn was bad last season and still nearly beat Cincinnati, losing 21-22 as 6.5-point road underdogs. They outgained the Bearcats 449 to 335 in that game. And UConn won 20-9 as 3-point home underdogs against the Bearcats in 2016 as well, outgaining them 412 to 317 in the process.
So, after being only 6.5-point road dogs to Cincinnati last year, the Huskies are now 17.5-point home dogs this year, basically an 18-point adjustment from 2017 to 2018 when you factor in home-field advantage. There’s clearly a ton of value on the Huskies +17.5 here.
Plays against road favorites of 10.5 to 21 points (Cincinnati) - who are outgaining their opponents by 125 yards per game, after gaining 525 or more yards in two consecutive games are 46-14 (76.7%) ATS over the last 10 seasons.
Cincinnati is 1-8 ATS vs. poor pass defenses that allow 58% or more completions over the last three seasons. The Bearcats are 4-12 ATS in their last 16 conference games. The Huskies are 5-1 ATS in their last six conference games. The home team is 9-4 ATS in the last 13 meetings. Take UConn Saturday.
|09-29-18||Syracuse +25.5 v. Clemson||23-27||Win||100||44 h 24 m||Show|
15* Syracuse/Clemson ACC Early ANNIHILATOR on Syracuse +25.5
Clemson is getting way too much respect from oddsmakers as 25.5-point home favorites over Syracuse this week. This line opened at -18.5 and has been moved seven full points to -25.5 as of this writing. That was mostly due to Clemson announcing that freshman Trevor Lawrence will start at QB.
No question Lawrence has the better long-term potential over the incumbent Kelly Bryant. But I worry about the state of the Tigers in the locker room right now because Bryant immediately announced he was transferring after the decision to start Lawrence came out this week. There’s no doubt that the team loved Bryant.
And Clemson being a Top 5 team makes them overvalued most weeks. They have opened just 1-3 ATS in their four games with their lone cover coming as 15.5-point road favorites over Georgia Tech last week. I was on Clemson in that game as my free pick for Saturday because it was a great matchup for them, and they own the Yellow Jackets’ triple option. And Georgia Tech simply isn’t any good.
But this Syracuse team might be the most underrated team in the entire country. Head coach Dino Babers has his best team yet this year. The Orange have opened 4-0 SU & 3-0-1 ATS in their four games. Yet they are getting no respect from oddsmakers this week.
Syracuse goes as QB Eric Dungey goes. When healthy, they have been a dangerous team. Last year they upset Clemson at home as 23.5-point underdogs. And they were huge dogs against LSU, Miami and Florida State last year, but lost those three games by a combined 11 points.
Dungey is healthy this year and engineering an offense that is putting up 49.5 points and 523 yards per game. He is completing 62.4% of his passes with a 9-to-1 TD/INT ratio, while also rushing for 354 yards and four scores on 6.9 per carry. Dungey gave Clemson’s defense fits last year. They run a quick-strike passing game that will negate Clemson’s great D-Line, and Dungey’s ability to extend plays is exactly the recipe for having success against this Clemson D.
After all, Clemson’s worst performance this season was against Texas A&M and mobile QB Kellen Mond, who torched the Clemson defense for 501 total yards, including 430 passing. The Tigers only won that game 28-26 as 11.5-point favorites. I’m not so sure Syracuse isn’t every bit as good as Texas A&M, and Dungey is a comparable QB to Mond, and probably better. Clemson’s other three wins have come against Furman, Georgia Southern and Georgia Tech, three run-heavy triple-option teams who just didn’t have the athletes to match the Tigers. Syracuse does.
I have been impressed with the improvement Syracuse has made defensively this year, which I think is getting overlooked. Not only can Syracuse score with Clemson, they can get off the field, too. That was evident in Week 3 when they held Florida State to just 7 points and 240 total yards. I know Western Michigan scored 42 points on them in Week 1, but Syracuse got a huge early 34-7 lead and was simply playing prevent defense the rest of the way. They won’t be playing prevent against Clemson, they’ll be playing more aggressive like they did against FSU.
Plays on road teams (Syracuse) an excellent offensive team averaging 6.2 or more yards per play against a team with an excellent defense allowing 4.2 or fewer yards per play, after gaining 525 or more total yards in their previous game are 34-9 (79.1%) ATS over the last 10 seasons.
Clemson has only won three of its past 19 ACC games by more than 22 points. The Tigers are also 1-8 ATS in their last nine ACC games as a favorite of 20-plus points. The Orange are 5-0-1 ATS in their last six games following a win. The Orange are 6-1 ATS in their last seven road games. Roll with Syracuse Saturday.
|09-29-18||Temple v. Boston College -12.5||35-45||Loss||-100||44 h 22 m||Show|
15* CFB Saturday No-Doubt Rout on Boston College -12.5
A lot of bettors were high on Boston College coming into the season. It made sense because they finished last season very strong and had 16 starters back this season, including 10 on an explosive offense led by QB Anthony Brown and RB AJ Dillon. And their defense is stout year after year.
The Eagles delivered for bettors the first three weeks of the season, opening 3-0 SU & 3-0 ATS with wins and covers against UMass, Holy Cross and Wake Forest. But then they laid an egg last week at Purdue, losing 13-30 as 6-point favorites. And I think this is a perfect ‘buy low’ situation on the Eagles this week as only 12.5-point favorites over Temple.
Look for the Eagles to be in a sour mood all week in practice. They’re sitting on a big effort here. I still believe this is one of the best teams in the ACC and a legit contender. That loss to Purdue wasn’t as bad as it looked because Purdue was way better than the 0-3 record they had coming into that contest, losing three straight coin flip games. Purdue simply wanted it more, and Boston College was feeling fat and happy being ranked in the Top 25. They’ll be humbled this week, and a humbled team is a dangerous one.
We’ll ‘sell high’ on this Temple team this week. The Owls are coming off back-to-back wins and covers. They beat Maryland 35-14 on the road as 16-point underdogs. Then they beat Tulsa 31-17 as 6-point home favorites last week. Those two efforts quickly allowed most to overlook the fact that Temple had already been upset by Villanova 17-19 at home in Week 1 and Buffalo 29-36 at home in Week 2.
I think this Temple team is more like the one that lost to Villanova and Buffalo than the one that beat Maryland and Tulsa. And that win over a 2-10 Tulsa team from last year could not have been more misleading. Tulsa outgained Temple 403 to 300 for the game, or by 103 total yards. But the Golden Hurricane turned the ball over 5 times, including a 36-yard INT return TD and a 50-yard fumble return TD. I’m giving Temple zero credit for beating Tulsa at home in a game they should have lost. Boston College will be by far the best team that they’ve faced yet.
Boston College is 10-1 ATS when playing with 6 or less days’ rest over the last two seasons. The Eagles are 11-2-1 ATS in their last 14 games overall. Boston College is 8-0-1 ATS in its last nine games on field turf. The Owls are 1-4 ATS in their last five vs. ACC opponents.
Boston College is 5-0 SU & 5-0 ATS in its last five meetings with Temple, winning all five games by 17 points or more and by an average of 23.0 points per game. The Eagles get right this week with a blowout victory by two touchdowns or more. Bet Boston College Saturday.
|09-28-18||UCLA v. Colorado UNDER 61||Top||16-38||Win||100||54 h 16 m||Show|
20* UCLA/Colorado Pac-12 Late-Night BAILOUT on UNDER 61
Both Colorado and UCLA have had two weeks to prepare for this game as each is coming off a bye week. I actually think that strongly favors the defenses in this game getting that extra time to prepare for these offenses. And as a result, I expect a lower-scoring game than the oddsmakers are anticipating, so I’ll take the UNDER 61 here.
Colorado is putting up some big offensive numbers thus far, but that’s only because they’ve faced such a soft schedule of opposing defenses in Colorado State, Nebraska and New Hampshire. And despite playing a decent schedule of opposing offenses, the Buffaloes are only giving up 18.3 points, 373 yards per game and 4.9 yards per play.
This isn’t the Chip Kelly offense we saw at Oregon. UCLA has an atrocious offense and is seriously lacking talent. The Bruins have only averaged 17.3 points, 320 yards per game and 4.8 yards per play this season. That’s the biggest reason why they are 0-3 because their offense has been woeful, plus they’ve played a tough schedule.
But I have been impressed with what UCLA has done defensively despite facing Cincinnati, Oklahoma and Fresno State. The Bruins are holding those three offenses to an average of just 403 yards per game and 5.2 yards per play. Those three offenses average 6.3 yards per play on the season, so the Bruins are holding them to 1.1 yards per play less than their season averages.
The last two meetings in this series have gone well UNDER the total. Colorado beat UCLA 20-10 at home in 2016 with total of 56.5, going 26.5 points UNDER the number with only 30 combined points. Then last year UCLA won 27-23 at home for 50 combined points with a total of 66.5, going UNDER by 16.5 points. Now we’re seeing another total that is too high here at 61.
UCLA is 10-2 UNDER in its last 12 games after allowing 37 points or more in two straight games coming in. The Bruins are 32-13 UNDER in their last 45 games after a game where they committed four or more turnovers. The UNDER is 6-0 in Colorado’s last six Friday games. Bet the UNDER in this game Friday.
|09-27-18||North Carolina +18 v. Miami-FL||10-47||Loss||-105||29 h 12 m||Show|
15* UNC/Miami ACC ANNIHILATOR on North Carolina +18
Certainly the start to the season was not a good one for North Carolina. They lost 17-24 at California and were trailing by three touchdowns at one point in their opener. Then they lost 19-41 at East Carolina as a 15-point favorite.
But I think those two results had this team undervalued moving forward. And they pulled off the upset as 3-point home underdogs to Pittsburgh last week. And that game was a bigger blowout than the final score showed as the Tar Heels outgained the Panthers by 84 yards. They racked up 486 total yards on a good Pitt defense.
Miami had a big season last year during its 10-0 start, but it got very lucky in close games. And the Hurricanes went on to lose their next four games to quality competition, including their 17-33 season-opening loss to LSU. They have rebounded with three straight wins since, but those have come against Savannah State, Toledo and FIU. And they only beat FIU 31-17 as 26-point home favorites last week. Now they’re laying an even bigger price here to UNC as 18-point favorites.
Plus, this is a UNC team that is going to be vastly improved this week from the simple fact that they get seven players back from suspension who missed the first three games this year. One of those is sophomore QB Chazz Surratt, who started for them last year. Senior DE Malik Carney is also back. He had two sacks against Cal in Week 1 and has had his suspension staggered. OL Brian Anderson was the No. 12 center in the country coming out of high school. If nothing else, these seven players will add some depth.
UNC has clearly had Miami’s number in recent years. The Tar Heels are just 2-3 SU but 4-1 ATS in the last five meetings. They covered as 21-point home underdogs in a 19-24 loss to Miami last year and actually outgained the Hurricanes. They won outright as 6-point road dogs in 2016 by a final of 20-13 and outgained the Hurricanes by nearly 100 yards. Larry Fedora and company just seem to get up for Miami every year.
Plays against home favorites of 10.5 to 21 points (Miami) - with a good run D that allows 100 or fewer rushing yards per game, after allowing one or less rushing yards per attempt last game are 42-13 (76.4%) ATS since 1992.
The Tar Heels are 10-2 ATS in their last 12 road games after allowing 17 points or more in the first half of two straight games. Fedora is a perfect 7-0 ATS vs. good punt return teams who average 12 or more yards per return as the coach of UNC. The Tar Heels are 4-0 ATS in their last four vs. a team with a winning record. UNC is 5-1-1 ATS in its last seven games overall. The Hurricanes are 1-6 ATS in their last seven conference games. I simply believe Miami is overvalued right now, while UNC is undervalued. Take North Carolina Thursday.
|09-22-18||Eastern Michigan +12 v. San Diego State||20-23||Win||100||44 h 23 m||Show|
15* Eastern Michigan/SDSU Late-Night BAILOUT on Eastern Michigan +12
This is a very bad spot for the San Diego State Aztecs. They are getting a lot of respect from oddsmakers now after their upset win over Arizona State last week. But it was a Sun Devils team in a flat spot off their own upset win over Michigan State the week prior. And now SDSU won’t be able to help but look ahead to their huge showdown with Boise State on deck. This is the classic sandwich game, and I expect the Aztecs to be flatter than a pancake. That will make it very difficult for them to cover this 12-point spread, let alone win the game.
Eastern Michigan has flown under the radar over the past few seasons under Chris Creighton. The Eagles made their first bowl game since 1987 in 2016 and went 7-6. They were better than their 5-7 record showed last year. And now they have 13 starters back this season and have already outperformed expectations.
Eastern Michigan opened with a resounding 51-17 win over Monmouth. Then they went on the road in Week 2 and upset Purdue 20-19 as 15-point underdogs. Last week they were on the road again and lost to a very good Buffalo team 28-35 as 3-point dogs. But they weren’t overmatched in that game as they actually outgained Buffalo in that contest. I had Buffalo last week and had to sweat that one out.
That’s the thing about this Eagles squad, they just don’t get blown out. In fact, each of their last 10 losses have come by 12 points or less, including nine by 7 points or fewer. And each of their last 14 losses have come by 15 points or less. They aren’t going to be intimidated by this San Diego State squad after beating the likes of Rutgers and Purdue on the road over the past few seasons.
Eastern Michigan is 8-0 ATS when playing against a good team with a winning percentage between 60% and 75% over the last three seasons. The Eagles are 10-2 ATS as road underdogs over the last three years. Eastern Michigan is 14-3 ATS in its last 17 non-conference games. The Eagles are 7-0 ATS in their last seven games following an ATS loss. The Aztecs are 1-5 ATS in their last six vs. a team with a winning record. Roll with Eastern Michigan Saturday.
|09-22-18||East Carolina +21 v. South Florida||13-20||Win||100||42 h 2 m||Show|
15* CFB Saturday Undervalued Underdog on East Carolina +21
South Florida is being priced like the team that went a combined 21-4 over the previous two seasons. But that team was loaded, and Charlie Strong now has mostly his players instead of Willie Taggart’s. And Strong has an inexperienced bunch that returned just 11 starters this season. I have not been impressed with USF thus far, and they certainly shouldn’t be laying three touchdowns to East Carolina here Saturday.
USF opened with an underwhelming 34-14 win over Elon as 27.5-point favorites. Their 49-38 home win over Georgia Tech as 3.5-point dogs in Week 2 was a fluke. They were outgained by 176 yards and gave up 602 yards to the Yellow Jackets, trailing through three quarters and needing a miracle finish to pull off the upset. Then last week they trailed by 12 in the fourth quarter against a bad Illinois team and needed to score the final 17 points to win 24-19 as 14-point favorites.
Scottie Montgomery is in Year 3 at East Carolina, which is when teams usually show their most improvement under a new head coach. And I think it’s safe to say this team is Montgomery’s best yet after upsetting North Carolina 41-19 as 15-point underdogs in Week 2, covering the spread by 37 points. They racked up 510 total yards and held the Tar Heels to 395 in a dominant effort.
Now the Pirates have had two full weeks to prepare for South Florida after their game against Virginia Tech was cancelled last week. Look for a big effort from them because of it. And they have a knack for playing South Florida tough. Four of the last five meetings have been decided by 17 points or less. In their last two trips to USF, ECU lost by 16 but only trailed by 2 with under seven minutes left in 2016. And they won outright 28-17 back in 2014. I believe the Pirates will keep this one closer than expected. Take East Carolina Saturday.
|09-22-18||Stanford -2 v. Oregon||38-31||Win||100||42 h 52 m||Show|
15* Stanford/Oregon ABC ANNIHILATOR on Stanford -2
This used to be a great rivalry with Stanford and Oregon trading blows every year back when Chip Kelly around. But that’s no longer the case. Stanford has dominated the last two meetings. They won 52-27 on the road as 3-point favorites in 2016. They won 49-7 at home as 9.5-point favorites last year.
Now, Stanford is only a 2-point favorite in 2018 as oddsmakers are expecting a close game. I’m just not seeing it. Stanford is a legit contender to win the Pac-12. The Cardinal have been tested already and have passed with flying colors.
The Cardinal beat San Diego State 31-10 as 14-point home favorites. They shut down USC 17-3 as 4.5-point home favorites as well. So, they have been battle-tested, and it’s clear they have an elite defense. Offensively, star RB Bryce Love sat out last week and is now healthy and fresh for this huge game against Oregon. He will easily have his best game of the season here.
No team has faced an easier schedule than Oregon through the first three weeks. They beat Bowling Green in the opener. Then they beat Portland State, an FCS team that is 1-13 dating back to last season. Most concerning was Oregon’s 35-22 home win over San Jose State as 42.5-point favorites last week.
That mere 13-point win is a big concern considering San Jose State is one of the worst teams in the country. Now, the Ducks won’t be prepared to get smacked in the mouth like they will against Stanford this week due to their lack of competition up to this point. It’s going to be a big eye-opener for them.
This is also a big coaching mismatch with David Shaw over Mario Cristobal. I believe Cristobal is in over his head here. Also, Autzen Stadium isn’t what it once was back when Oregon was actually good. Stanford is 21-8-1 ATS in its last 30 games following an ATS loss. The Cardinal are 5-1 ATS in their last six vs. a team with a winning record. The Ducks are 3-12-1 ATS in their last 16 games following a win.
Cristobal is 0-7 ATS in home games off a home game in all games he has coached. Oregon is 0-6 ATS after allowing 100 or less rushing yards last game over the past two seasons. The Ducks are 0-7 ATS vs. teams who commit one or fewer turnovers per game over the last three seasons. Oregon is 1-9 ATS versus good offensive teams that average 5.9 or more yards per play over the last three years. Stanford is 6-0 ATS vs. good offensive teams that average 5.9 or more yards per play over the last two seasons. These last five trends combine for a 35-1 system backing the Cardinal. Bet Stanford Saturday.
|09-22-18||Texas Tech +14 v. Oklahoma State||Top||41-17||Win||100||41 h 14 m||Show|
20* Big 12 GAME OF THE MONTH on Texas Tech +14
Many expected Oklahoma State to be down this season because they lost a ton of talent on offense. But they have proved their doubters wrong thus far by opening 3-0. The Missouri State and South Alabama wins were nothing to be proud of, but their 44-21 win over Boise State at home last week was certainly a statement game. Keep in mind that Oklahoma State only outgained Boise State by 8 yards in that contest, though.
Now, after ‘upsetting’ Boise State as 1-point underdogs, the Cowboys are back to getting respect from oddsmakers. And I think it’s too much respect. I still question how good this team really is. And Boise State isn’t the program it once was under Chris Petersen. I think the Cowboys are getting way more credit for that win than they deserve. They’re being asked to lay two touchdowns in their Big 12 opener against Texas Tech this week.
Texas Tech was written off after its 27-47 season-opening loss to Ole Miss. But this team has shown some big-time resiliency the last two weeks. They throttled Lamar 77-0, which OK it’s Lamar. But then last week was their real impressive win against Houston 63-49. They racked up a whopping 704 total yards, including 605 passing, against a good Houston defense.
Clearly Texas Tech has the offensive firepower to keep up with Oklahoma State. That has shown in recent meetings, too. Texas Tech is 3-1 ATS in the last four meetings despite going 0-4 SU. They lost 34-41 at home as 10-point dogs in 2017, 44-45 on the road as 10.5-point dogs in 2016, 53-70 at home as 2-point dogs in 2015, and lost 35-45 on the road as 14.5-point dogs in 2014. “Last year we had our chances, so we feel like we’ve closed the gap some compared to when we first got here.” Head coach Kliff Kingsbury said.
Kingsbury is on the hot seat and needs a signature win. The Red Raiders have shown they are behind him 100% with their effort over the last two weeks. And now they want some revenge after losing nine straight to the Cowboys in this series. I think they can not only cover, but pull off the upset as well. This is a Texas Tech team that returned 16 starters from last year, including 10 on defense. This should be one of their best chances to actually beat Oklahoma State in recent years because of all the Cowboys lost with just 5 starters back on offense and all of their key playmakers gone from last year.
The Red Raiders are 21-6-1 ATS in their last 28 September games. Texas Tech is 8-2 ATS in its last 10 games after scoring more than 40 points in their previous game. Kingsbury is 8-1 ATS off two straight non-conference games as the coach of Texas Tech. The Red Raiders are 6-0 ATS off a home game where both teams scored 31 or more points over the last three seasons.
Plays on road teams (Texas Tech) with an excellent offense that averages 6.2 or more yards per play against a team with a defense that allows 4.2 or fewer yards per play, after gaining 525 or more yards in their previous game are 33-9 (78.6%) ATS over the last 10 seasons. Bet Texas Tech Saturday.
|09-22-18||Louisiana Tech +21 v. LSU||21-38||Win||100||41 h 2 m||Show|
15* CFB Saturday Non-Conference KNOCKOUT on Louisiana Tech +21
This is a bad spot here for the LSU Tigers. They have overachieved thus far with two upset wins over top-10 teams in Miami and Auburn. And after their big win at Auburn last week, this is going to be a flat spot for them hosting Louisiana Tech as 21-point favorites. I think the Tigers are way overvalued right now due to their 3-0 start.
We saw them fall pretty flat in Week 2 with their 31-0 win over SE Louisiana, failing to cover as 41.5-point favorites. Their offense is still an issue as they only managed 31 points and 335 total yards against that Southern Utah squad. And they will be hard-pressed to top those numbers here against a much better Louisiana Tech team.
Skip Holtz is one of my favorite coached in college football. He got has gotten Louisiana Tech to at least 9 wins in three of the past four seasons. After a 7-6 season last year with just 11 returning starters, Holtz brought back 15 starters this season and has one of the best teams in Conference USA.
Louisiana Tech opened its season with a. 30-26 win at South Alabama. That game was a bigger blowout than the final score showed as the Bulldogs outgained USA by 132 yards. And then they beat Southern 54-17 at home in Week 2 before getting a bye last week. So now they’ve had two full weeks to prepare for this game against LSU. And you can tell from the press clippings that this team is hungry to beat their in-state foe.
Tech cornerback Amik Robertson, sho said he chose the Bulldogs over the Tigers when he was recruited out of Thibodaux High School in Louisiana, call this a ‘statement game’. “It’s a huge game, not just for me, but for everyone on the team,” Roberston said. “I probably wasn’t the only person on my team that had interest from LSU. LSU has passed on a lot of players on this team and they also have a point to prove. And not just proving to LSU, but proving to Louisiana Tech that we can play with anybody.”
Last season, the Bulldogs proved they could play with another SEC school when they led at South Carolina until the Gamecocks prevailed 17-16 on a field goal with four seconds remaining. In fact, the Bulldogs are 9-4 ATS in in their last 13 games as underdogs against Power 5 schools.
“I’m not really proud that we lost that game, but I’m king of happy that it did happen,” Roberston said. “Now we know what it takes - finishing at the end, make those important plays. We had a lot of busted players toward the end, not at the beginning. That’s why we got to go into this game and play 60 minutes of Louisiana Tech football.”
Those are some quotes I can certainly get behind. Not only does Louisiana Tech think they can be competitive in this game, they think they can win it. And LSU lost outright to Troy in a similar spot last year as 20.5-point home favorites. LSU is now 2-7 ATS in its past nine games as a 20-plus point favorites. The Tigers just don’t have the kind of offensive firepower it takes to cover these massive spreads.
LSU is 8-19 ATS in its last 27 games as a home favorites of 14.5 to 21 points. The Tigers are 0-6 ATS in September home games over the last three seasons. Holtz is 30-15 ATS as a road underdog in all games as a head coach. The Bulldogs are 7-2 ATS in their last nine vs. SEC opponents.
Plays on road underdogs (Louisiana Tech) - off a home win, with 4-plus more returning starters and their QB returning against a team with a new QB are 27-7 (79.4%) ATS over the last five seasons. Bet Louisiana Tech Saturday.
|09-22-18||Arizona v. Oregon State +7||Top||35-14||Loss||-110||38 h 53 m||Show|
20* CFB Saturday UPSET SHOCKER on Oregon State +7
Many expected Oregon State to be one of the worst Power 5 teams in the country this season. After all, this was a team that was coming off a 1-11 season last year and with a new head coach in former Beaver QB Jonathan Smith. Well, Smith is getting the most out of this team, and I believe the Braves are vastly underrated right now entering Week 4.
Losing 31-77 at Ohio State in the opener wasn’t that bad of a loss. And I came away impressed that they could put up 31 points on that defense. They then beat Southern Utah 48-25 and covered as 13.5-point favorites. And they should have beaten Nevada last week, losing 35-37 as 4-point underdogs. But they committed three turnovers in that game and missed two field goals, including a chip shot that would have won it in the closing seconds. They outgained Nevada by 183 yards in that contest.
This is a talented Oregon State offense that can hang with mediocre teams like Arizona. The Beavers are averaging 38.0 points and 527.0 yards per game. That’s bad news for an Arizona defense that has been torched this season, giving up 34.7 points and 469 yards per game. I don’t know how Arizona can be laying a touchdown on the road here with that defense.
Kevin Sumlin is one of the worst coaches in college football. He recruited great talent at Texas A&M, but could never get anything out of it after Johnny Manziel left. And now he’s been a big disappointment at Arizona thus far. The Wildcats are 1-2 SU & 1-2 ATS. They lost 23-28 at home to BYU as 11.5-point favorites, and were blasted 18-45 at Houston as 3.5-point dogs. They also beat Southern Utah at home 62-31, the same team that Oregon State faced and beat handily.
Arizona is 5-16 ATS in its last 21 road games, while Oregon State is 9-4 ATS in its last 13 home games. The Beavers are 13-4 ATS in the last 17 meetings, including 7-2 ATS in their last nine home meetings. The Wildcats are 1-8 ATS in conference road games over the last three seasons. The Beavers are 6-0 ATS in home games vs. teams who commit 60 or more penalty yards per game over the last three seasons. Roll with Oregon State Saturday.
|09-22-18||Texas A&M +27 v. Alabama||Top||23-45||Win||100||37 h 23 m||Show|
20* SEC GAME OF THE MONTH on Texas A&M +27
The Alabama Crimson Tide are the defending national champs. They are also the No. 1 team in the country. The betting public has been all over this team in the early going, and it has paid huge dividends. Alabama is off to a 3-0 SU & 3-0 ATS start this season. The public is going to continue to back them this week, and I think this is finally the game where the market has over-corrected itself. There’s value with Texas A&M as 27-point dogs in this matchup.
I question that strength of schedule to this point for Alabama, though. The win over Louisville doesn’t look any good now after Louisville nearly lost to Western Kentucky at home last week. They were outplayed badly in that game and won 20-17. And Ole Miss clearly isn’t that good, especially defensively. A win over Arkansas State is nothing special, either. This is a huge step up in class for Alabama this week.
Texas A&M has already played a team the caliber of Alabama and passed with flying colors. They only lost 26-28 at home to Clemson as 11.5-point underdogs. And you could argue that they should have won that game. They racked up 501 total yards against a very good Clemson defense, a defense that is probably better than this Alabama unit. QB Kellen Mound threw for 430 yards and three touchdowns without an interception against that Clemson defense.
No team upgraded at head coach more than Texas A&M this offseason. Kevin Sumlin could recruit talent to college station, but he didn’t know what do to with it. And now Sumlin is struggling at Arizona. Jimbo Fisher was a home run hire after winning a national championship at Florida State. He is already getting the most out of this talent as Texas A&M is 3-0 ATS this season and hitting on all cylinders. The cupboard certainly wasn’t bare as 16 starters returned from last year’s squad.
Mond has already thrown for 824 yards with a 6-to-0 TD/INT ratio. This is an offense that is putting up 44.3 points, 596.3 yards per game and 7.5 yards per play. The defense is also playing very well, limiting opponents to 15.0 points and 331 yards per game. I think this team really believes they can hang with Alabama, and few teams have been as competitive against Alabama as Texas A&M over the past several years.
Alabama and Texas A&M have played in six consecutive seasons since the Aggies joined the SEC. Well, Alabama has only beaten Texas A&M by more than 19 points once in those six meetings. Texas A&M only lost 19-27 at home to Alabama as 25-point dogs last year. I think getting them as 27-point road underdogs is an absolute gift from oddsmakers this week. Fisher will have his team ready to go Saturday.
Plays on road underdogs of 21.5 or more points (Texas A&M) - after outgaining an opponent by 175 or more total yards in their previous game, with an experienced QB returning as a starter, in the first month of the season are 30-9 (76.9%) ATS over the last 10 seasons.
Texas A&M is 9-1 ATS in the first month of the season over the last three seasons. The Aggies are 7-0 ATS after playing a home game over the last two years. Texas A&M is 20-5-1 ATS in its last 26 September games. Alabama is 1-4 ATS in its last five conference games. It’s time to ‘sell high’ on the Crimson Tide this week. Take Texas A&M Saturday.
|09-21-18||Washington State v. USC -3.5||Top||36-39||Loss||-108||50 h 39 m||Show|
20* Pac-12 GAME OF THE MONTH on USC -3.5
This feels like a ‘rally the troops’ game for USC. And that has been evident in practice this week. Clay Helton has stated that this has been the best week of practice this season. Players are fired up and ready to show that they aren’t as bad as their 1-2 record would suggest. They simply need a win here.
It’s easy to see how USC is 1-2. After all, they were road underdogs in each of their last two games with a 3-17 loss at Stanford as 4.5-point dogs, and a 14-37 loss at Texas as 3-point dogs. Those are two very tough places to play, so they are forgivable. I think we are getting a discount on USC this week because the betting public wants nothing to do with them now after those two losses.
But those two games weren’t the blowouts that they seemed. USC was only outgained by 10 yards at Stanford and simply couldn’t capitalize on a handful of trips to the Stanford side of the 50. And they were only outgained by 77 yards at Texas. They actually led that game 14-3 and played well defensively. But Texas got a special teams TD on a blocked FG return that really changed the course of that game. Also, Texas should have been called for a safety that wasn't called. And USC was stopped on 4th-and-goal from the 1.
Washington State hasn’t played anyone. But they’re 3-0 and getting a lot of respect now. They beat Wyoming 41-19 but they only led 20-19 going into the 4th quarter before outscoring Wyoming 21-0 in the final period. And Wyoming clearly isn’t very good because they were blown out 13-40 at Missouri and barely beat Wofford 17-14 at home. Then they beat San Jose State 31-0 and Eastern Washington 59-24. Big deal. You won’t find many teams with easier schedules thus far than that.
So, USC is clearly the more battle-tested team. They will be ready for this game. And they have an advantage playing on a short week at home not having to travel. Plus, USC wants revenge from a 30-27 loss at Washington State last year as 4.5-point favorites. But the Cougars only return 10 starters from that team and are one of the least-experienced teams in the country.
USC is now a perfect 14-0 straight up at home over the last three seasons. In fact, Clay Helton is 17-0 SU at home as the coach of USC. They have a better home-field advantage than they get credit. I think after two tough road tests, freshman QB JT Daniels will have his coming out party here in front of his home fans against a suspect Washington State defense. The Trojans will be playing with a chip on their shoulder in this one. Bet USC Friday.
|09-20-18||Tulsa +7 v. Temple||17-31||Loss||-100||23 h 34 m||Show|
15* Tulsa/Temple ESPN ANNIHILATOR on Tulsa +7
The Tulsa Golden Hurricane are a vastly improved team this season over a year ago. They returned 15 starters this year. It’s a team that went 10-3 in 2016 but just 2-10 in 2017. I think they’re somewhere in between this year.
Tulsa beat Central Arkansas in the opener 38-27 as 11.5-point favorites. But that was a bigger blowout than the final score showed as the Tulsa outgained them by 223 total yards. Then in Week 2 Tulsa went toe-to-toe with Texas and only lost 21-28 as 22.5-point road underdogs.
I think the Golden Hurricane are undervalued this week due to their 20-29 home loss to Arkansas State as 2-point favorites last week. A lot of money came pouring in on Tulsa for that game as they flipped favorites because they opened as dogs. And now all that money wants nothing to do with them this week. I like getting a full touchdown with the Golden Hurricane here.
This Tulsa defense has played two really good offenses in Texas and Arkansas State and have held their own. This was the weakness of the team last year, but it’s a strength now. The Golden Hurricane are only allowing 377 yards per game and 5.3 yards per play. That’s way down from the 529 yards per game and 5.9 per play they allowed last season. And the offense is better than it has shown to this point.
I think Temple comes in overvalued due to its shocking 35-14 win at Maryland as 16-point underdogs last week. But keep in mind this is a Temple team that was upset 17-19 by Villanova as 14.5-point home favorites in Week 1. They were even outgained by 154 yards in that contest. They were also upset 29-36 as 4-point home favorites to Buffalo in Week 2 while getting outgained by 72 yards.
Temple has some serious injury issues coming into this one. They are without starting DL Dana Levine. Starting QB Frank Nutile, DL Quincy Roche, K Aaron Boumerhi, TE Kenny Yeboah, and LT James McHale are all listed as questionable for this game. That’s six potential starters they could be without for this game. Meanwhile, Tulsa is extremely healthy with only two players on the injury list, and only one is a starter in LB Robert Revels III who is questionable.
Philip Montgomery is 12-3 ATS as a road underdog as the coach of Tulsa. Montgomery is 10-1 ATS after a game where they forced one or fewer turnovers as the coach of Tulsa. Montgomery is a perfect 6-0 ATS after a game where they committed three or more turnovers as the coach of Tulsa. The Golden Hurricane have committed eight turnovers this season thus far otherwise they could easily be 3-0. Don’t be surprised if they pull the upset in this game tonight. Take Tulsa Thursday.
|09-15-18||USC v. Texas -3||Top||14-37||Win||100||103 h 42 m||Show|
20* USC/Texas FOX Saturday No-Brainer on Texas -3
I believe we are getting Texas at a great value here as only 3-point home favorites over the USC Trojans. They would be bigger favorites if not for a sluggish start to the season. They were clearly overvalued coming into the season, being asked to lay 12 points on the road at Maryland and 21 points at home to Tulsa.
They lost to Maryland 29-34 outright. That’s a Maryland team that I feel was underrated coming into the season. They also only beat Tulsa 28-21 at home, but that was a 21-0 game late in the 3rd quarter before the Longhorns let their foot off the gas. Those two scores now have the Longhorns undervalued.
Texas is still one of the best teams in the Big 12. They have 14 starters back in Tom Herman’s second season and should only get better as the season goes along. And they have had this game against USC circled all offseason after losing 24-27 (OT) at USC last season. It’s revenge time for the Longhorns as they get the Trojans at home this time around.
USC is a team that is due to regress this season after some key losses on offense and defense. They lost QB Sam Darnold (4,143 yards, 26 TD), leading rusher Ronald Jones (1,550 yards, 19 TD) and leading receiver Deontay Burnett (1,114 yards, 9 TD) to the NFL. They have clearly not been good through the first two games and will struggle against Texas as well.
USC only outgained UNLV by 96 yards in the opener in what was a closer game than the final 43-21 margin would suggest. Then they lost 3-17 at Stanford last week and couldn’t get anything going offensively. Freshman QB JT Daniels was put in his place by that Stanford defense, and he won’t have much more success here against Texas, either.
Daniels hit only 16 of 34 passes for 215 yards with two fourth quarter interceptions against Stanford last week. He sustained a bruise to his right (throwing) hand during the loss, which is obviously a concern for any quarterback. He will play this week, but he won’t be 100%.
USC is 0-6 ATS in September road games over the last three seasons. Texas is 6-0 ATS off a home game over the last two years. The Longhorns are 13-4 ATS in their last 17 games as a home favorite of 3 to 7 points. Clay Helton is 1-9 ATS as an underdog as the coach of USC, and his teams are losing by 16.9 points per game in this spot. Helton is 0-6 ATS as a road dog of 7 points or less as the coach of the Trojans. Roll with Texas Saturday.
|09-15-18||Missouri v. Purdue +7.5||40-37||Win||100||101 h 38 m||Show|
15* CFB Saturday UPSET SHOCKER on Purdue +7.5
This just feels like a ‘rally the troops’ game for Purdue. It’s a team that had high expectations following a bowl win in Jeff Brohm’s first season last year. But the Boilermakers are off to an 0-2 start with losses to Northwestern and Eastern Michigan by a combined 5 points. So they could easily be 2-0, and now they’ll be extra motivated for a win to save their season.
The Boilermakers have had 15-yard penalties to keep drives alive late in their losses to both Northwestern and Eastern Michigan. It’s something that Brohm has harped on all week leading up to the game. I believe Purdue will have an excellent week of practice and put their best foot forward against Missouri this week.
Purdue outgained Northwestern by 71 yards and Eastern Michigan by 60 yards and clearly should have won both games. But they lost the turnover battle 5-1 combined in those two games, which has also been a point of emphasis. The offense, which returned nine starters this year, has been explosive in averaging 474 yards per game and 6.9 yards per play. Avoid the turnovers and this is going to be a scary bunch.
While Purdue is undervalued right now due to its 0-2 start, Missouri is clearly overvalued due to its 2-0 start. They have blowout wins over Tennessee-Martin and Wyoming. Big deal. We saw Wyoming get blown out at home by Washington State the week prior to playing Missouri, and that’s a rebuilding Cougars team.
No question the Tigers have a good offense, but their defense was one of the worst in the country last year and won’t be much improved. It’s a Missouri team that went 7-0 against teams with losing records last year, but 0-6 against teams with winning records. Every time they stepped up in class they couldn’t win. And they’re stepping up in class here against a capable Big Ten foe.
Purdue went into Missouri and won 35-3 last year as 6-point underdogs. The Boilermakers gained 477 yards on offense and allowed just 203 yards on defense, outgaining the Tigers by 274 yards in a dominant effort. Now we are seeing basically the same spread here with Purdue as a touchdown underdog, but the Boilermakers are at home this time around. That clearly shows what public perception is doing here, and it’s working in our favor.
Sure, Missouri will want revenge, but Purdue will match or exceed their intensity after an 0-2 start. I’m not even sure Missouri is the better of these two teams, but I am certain they are not good enough to justify being a 7.5-point road favorite here.
Plays on underdogs of 3.5 to 10 points (Purdue) - in a game involving two dominant teams who outgain their opponents by 1.2-plus yards per play, after gaining 450 or more total yards in two consecutive games are 32-9 (78%) ATS over the last five seasons. The Boilermakers are 5-1 ATS in their last six non-conference games. Bet Purdue Saturday.
|09-15-18||Eastern Michigan v. Buffalo -3||28-35||Win||100||58 h 16 m||Show|
15* MAC PLAY OF THE DAY on Buffalo -3
The Buffalo Bulls are one of the better Group of 5 teams in the country this season. They went 6-6 last year in Lance Leipold’s third season and got better as the season went on, winning each of their fina three games. And all six of their losses came by 10 points or less, including a 10-point loss at Minnesota as 24-point dogs and a 4-point loss to Army as 15-point dogs. They went 8-2-2 ATS last season and were a very undervalued commodity.
The Bulls returned 14 starters this year, including eight on offense from a unit that average 432 yards per game last year. Tyree Jackson is back at QB after only starting half the games last year due to injury. He has stud WR Anthony Johnson back as well, and Johnson had 1,356 yards and 14 touchdowns last year. Leading rusher Emmanuel Reed (840 yards, 9 TD) is back as well.
This Buffalo offense is hitting on all cylinders with a 48-10 win over Delaware State in the opener and a 36-29 win at Temple as 4-point dogs in Week 2. The defense is only giving up 19.5 points and 315 yards per game and 4.5 per play while forcing seven turnovers thus far. This defense is solid again after allowing just 24.8 points per game last season.
No question Eastern Michigan has been an undervalued commodity as well over the past couple seasons. And they are off to a 2-0 SU & 2-0 ATS start this season, including their shocking 20-19 upset win at Purdue last week. However, its that win that has me liking Buffalo here. There’s no question Eastern Michigan is in line for a huge letdown after a road win over a Big Ten opponent. They won’t be on their ‘A’ game this week because of it.
The Eagles are 9-22 ATS in their last 31 games following a win. Eastern Michigan is 11-32 ATS in its last 43 games after allowing less than 20 points in its previous game. The Bulls are 11-4 ATS in their last 15 games overall, including 6-1 ATS in their last seven home games. Buffalo is 6-0 ATS in its last six home games vs. a team with a winning road record. Bet Buffalo Saturday.
|09-15-18||Ohio v. Virginia -3.5||31-45||Win||100||57 h 47 m||Show|
15* CFB Saturday No-Doubt Rout on Virginia -3.5
The Virginia Cavaliers are in Year 3 under Bronco Mendenhall. They went 6-7 last year and made a bowl game, already ahead of schedule. And they have 13 starters back this season, including eight on defense. This should be his best stop unit yet.
I’ve been impressed with this Virginia outfit thus far, especially defensively. They beat Richmond 42-13 in their opener as 14.5-point favorites and outgained them by 267 yards in a dominant effort. Then they only lost 16-20 at Indiana and covered as 5-point road underdogs against a solid Big Ten squad. It’s a team I believe to be flying under the radar.
Ohio has only played one game because they had an open date Week 2. They have that advantage plus this game has been moved from Virginia to Nashville, so it will essentially be a neutral site game. But I think that’s why we are getting a shorter price on Virginia than we should be here as only 3.5-point favorites.
And that opener by Ohio was shocking, and it’s a sign of things to come for this team this season. Ohio only beat Howard 38-32 as 30.5-point home favorites. The Bobcats were actually outgained by 220 yards by Howard! But they won’t the turnover battle 4-0, which is the only reason they were able to pull out the win.
The Bobcats gave up a whopping 645 total yards to Howard. It’s a defense that has problems because they only returned four starters on D this year. They have to replace six of seven starters along the front seven. And get this, Howard lost 14-54 at Kent State in Week 2! I don’t need to say it but Kent State is not very good.
Mendenhall is 8-1 ATS off a non-conference game as the coach of Virginia. Mendenhall is 6-0 ATS in road games in the first half of the season as the coach of the Cavaliers. The Cavaliers are 6-2 ATS in their last eight games vs. a team with a winning record. Roll with Virginia Saturday.
|09-15-18||Colorado State v. Florida -20||10-48||Win||100||98 h 26 m||Show|
15* CFB Saturday Big Chalk BLOWOUT on Florida -20
The Florida Gators are a team I’m very high on coming into the season. They had 19 returning starters and Dan Mullen is one of the most underrated head coaches in the country. And they looked the part in their season-opening 53-6 win over Southern. But they were upset 16-27 by Kentucky last week, ending their 31-game winning streak over the Wildcats.
I think because they were upset they are laying fewer points than they should be this week against Colorado State. And because Colorado State upset Arkansas at home last week, the Rams are getting too much respect from oddsmakers. It’s the perfect storm and a great situation to back the Gators this week. They’ll be motivated to bounce back, while the Rams could fall flat and will get beat up playing two SEC teams in consecutive weeks.
This is a Colorado State team that couldn’t look any worse in their first two games. They trailed Hawaii 37-7 and lost 34-43 as 17-point home favorites in their opener. They lost 13-45 to Colorado as 7-point underdogs on a neutral field in Week 2. And they were down 27-9 late against Arkansas before scoring 25 unanswered points to steal victory from the jaws of defeat. I still don’t believe this team is any good, and that will show this week as the Gators keep their foot on the gas for four quarters.
This Colorado State defense is giving up a whopping 38.3 points and 550 yards per game this season while yielding 7.7 yards per play. Florida should be able to score at will on them. And this Florida defense is one of the best in the country and has been one for years. Colorado State only managed 13 points against Colorado, and I’d be surprised if they top that total this weekend.
The Gators are 7-2 ATS in their last nine games following a double-digit home loss. The Rams are 1-9 ATS in their last 10 games overall. Off a rare cover against Arkansas last week in a miracle comeback, the Rams will get back to their losing ways against the number here. Take Florida Saturday.
|09-15-18||Georgia Tech v. Pittsburgh +4||19-24||Win||100||53 h 47 m||Show|
15* CFB Saturday Undervalued Underdog on Pittsburgh +4
I liked Pitt coming into the season and took their OVER 5.5 wins as part of my Top 10 NCAAF Season Win Totals bets. This was a game I expected the Panthers to win, and I still do. And I think it’s a great time to back them as they are undervalued off their misleading 6-51 loss to Penn State last week.
That was a 7-6 game against Penn State with only a few seconds left before halftime. The Nittany Lions scored right before half, and proceeded to roll in the second half. But Pitt was only outgained by 90 yards in that contest and held the Nittany Lions to 390 total yards, which is no small feat against that offense. I believe this is the best defense that Pat Narduzzi has fielded at Pitt with nine returning starters from last year.
Georgia Tech gave up a whopping 49 points in their loss to South Florida last week. That loss and defensive effort is a big concern considering USF lost most of their studs from last season and isn’t nearly as good as they have been over the past few years.
Georgia Tech has some key injuries heading into this one. For starters, QB TaQuan Marshall is nursing a toe injury that will slow him down. And the Yellow Jackets lost their stud B-Back in KirVonte Benson to a season-ending knee injury in the lost to USF. He rushed for 1,053 yards and six touchdowns last year. Their next leading back had 271 yards on the ground, so it’s a huge blown. And center Kenny Cooper has a foot injury as well and is questionable for this one. He made 11 starts last year and would be a big loss if he can’t go.
I simply feel that the wrong team is favored here Saturday. Georgia Tech is 0-7 SU & 0-7 ATS in its last seven games as a road favorite, including four losses by double-digits. The underdog is 4-1 ATS in the last five meetings. Take Pittsburgh Saturday.
|09-15-18||Florida State v. Syracuse +3||Top||7-30||Win||100||52 h 19 m||Show|
20* FSU/Syracuse ESPN Early ANNIHILATOR on Syracuse +3
The Syracuse Orange are in the 3rd year under Dino Babers. They have 14 returning starters including eight on an explosive offense that could hang with anyone when QB Eric Dungey was healthy last year. That showed by how they performed against their best competition last year.
Syracuse handed Clemson its only regular season loss last year in a 27-24 upset at home as 23-point dogs. The Orange hung with LSU for four quarters and only lost 26-35 on the road as 21-point dogs. They only lost at NC State 25-33 as 13-point dogs. They only lost at Miami 19-27 as 17-point dogs. And they nearly upset Florida State in a 24-27 road loss as 6-point dogs.
Once Dungey got hurt last year, the Orange folded in their final three games. Dungey is back healthy and has this Syracuse offense hitting on all cylinders. The Orange have averaged 58.5 points and 508 yards per game in wins over Western Michigan and Wagner. Dungey has a 7-to-1 TD/INT ratio while also rushing for 244 yards and a score on 9.4 per carry thus far through two games.
Florida State is a team in transition under first-year head coach Willie Taggart. It has been an ugly start for the Seminoles. They lost 3-24 at home to Virginia Tech as 7.5-point favorites in their opener and committed five turnovers. Even worse was their 36-26 home win over lowly Samford as 31-point favorites in Week 2. Samford actually gained 525 total yards on this suspect FSU defense and committed 5 turnovers, otherwise they probably would have pulled off the upset.
You can just imagine what Dungey and company will do against this FSU defense. And the Orange want revenge from that 27-24 loss at Florida State last year. I simply believe the wrong team is favored in this matchup as Syracuse has the better team this year.
The Seminoles are 0-7-2 ATS in their last nine conference games. Florida State is 0-6 ATS in the first half of the season over the last two seasons. Syracuse is 8-3-1 ATS in its last 12 games overall with its only non-covers coming without Dungey under center. Bet Syracuse Saturday.
|09-13-18||Boston College v. Wake Forest +7||41-34||Push||0||52 h 13 m||Show|
15* Boston College/Wake Forest ACC ANNIHILATOR on Wake Forest +7
The Wake Forest Demon Deacons just get no respect. They went 8-5 last season and 8-3-2 ATS in their 13 games. Dave Clawson has now gotten the Demon Deacons to back-to-back bowl games. They are well on their way to another bowl game after their 2-0 start in Clawson’s 5th season.
The Demon Deacons returned 14 starters this season. Eight starters are back on an offense that set a school record with 454 points last year while averaging 35.3 points and 466 yards per game. They were competitive in every single game last season due to the offense and did not get beat by more than 14 points all season.
All five starters and a whopping 132 career starts returned along the offensive line in what will be one of the ACC’s top O-Lines. Each of the top two receivers are back from last year in Greg Dortch (53 receptions, 722 yards, 9 TD) and Scotty Washington (45, 711, 3 TD), as is leading rusher Matt Colburn (904 yards, 7 TD). That has helped ease the transition of highly touted freshman QB Sam Hartman.
The offense is in high gear already as the Demon Deacons have averaged 37 points and 565 yards per game in wins over Tulane and Towson. They beat Tulane 23-17 in a game that was a bigger blowout than the final score showed. They outgained Tulane by 112 yards, and that’s a Tulane team that went on to beat FCS power Nicholls State 42-17 the following week. Nicholls State upset Kansas on the road in Week 1. Wake Forest then handled Towson 51-20 in Week 2.
Hartman is completing 61.5% of his passes for 620 yards with four touchdowns and three interceptions, while also rushing for 128 yards and a score on 5.8 per carry. And he hasn’t even had the services of Washington yet, who missed the two games with a shoulder injury and is questionable tonight. Dortch leads the way with 19 receptions for 243 yards and Sage Surratt has 15 receptions for 213 yards.
Boston College is a team that everyone and their brother has jumped on this season as being a team that could contend in the ACC. While I agree they should be good, the love has gotten out of control, especially after a 2-0 start against weak competition in UMass and Holy Cross. Now the Eagles are being asked to go on the road and win by a touchdown or more to cover this spread this week, and I feel like it’s too much. I think Wake wins this game outright.
That’s precisely what happened last year as Wake Forest dominated Boston College 34-10 on the road. The Demon Deacons forced four turnovers and held Boston College to 305 total yards. Boston College has only beaten Wake Forest by more than 6 points on the road once in the last seven trips to Winston-Salem. That was a 10-point victory back in 2010.
Plays on underdogs of 3.5 to 10 points (Wake Forest) - in a game involving two dominant teams that are outgaining their opponents by 100-plus yards per game, after gaining 475 or more total yards in two consecutive games are 28-5 (84.8%) ATS over the last five seasons.
Wake Forest is 11-2 ATS in its last 13 games as an underdog. Clawson is 14-3 ATS off a win by 21 or more points in all games he has coached. Clawson is 9-1 ATS off two consecutive games with a turnover margin of -1 or worse in all games he has coached. They only had 13 turnovers all of last season, and now they have 5 already this season. It has been a point of emphasis in practice this week for Clawson. Look for a big effort from the Demon Deacons at home tonight. Take Wake Forest Thursday.
|09-08-18||Fresno State v. Minnesota -1.5||14-21||Win||100||34 h 34 m||Show|
15* CFB Saturday Non-Conference KNOCKOUT on Minnesota -1.5
I’m buying Minnesota being vastly improved this season in Year 2 under P.J. Fleck, who is one of the most underrated head coaches in the country. What he did at Western Michigan two years ago goes without saying. And now he’s trying to rebuild Minnesota football into a Big Ten contender.
Fleck now has more of his players in place after a 5-7 campaign in his first season. He has 14 returning starters to work with. The Gophers can only be better offensively as they return seven starters, their leading rusher, top two receivers and four starters along the offensive line. That makes life on freshman QB Zack Annexstad much easier.
Fleck turned an inexperienced defense that returned just five starters last year into one of the Big Ten’s best units. The Gophers only allowed 22.8 points and 347 yards per game in 2017. Now they return seven starters, led by leading tackler Thomas Barber (115 tackles, 10.5 for loss last year) at linebacker. This is an experienced unit that has nine junior and senior starters. One of the sophomores is Antoine Winfield, who got a medical redshirt and will be one of the best safeties in the Big Ten.
Minnesota was sharp in its 48-10 season-opening victory over New Mexico State as 21.5-point favorites, covering the spread by 16.5 points. Annexstad threw for 220 yards and two touchdowns in his first career start. The Gophers rushed for 300 yards and 6.5 per carry. Winfield made his presence felt with a 76-yard punt return TD that blew the game wide open.
I backed Fresno State several times last season. I saw the improvement coming from Jeff Tedford, the former Cal coach, and he did a remarkable job. The Bulldogs finished 10-4 and lost to Boise State by only a field goal in the Mountain West Championship Game. They went on to beat Houston 33-27 in their bowl game.
Now Fresno State returns 15 starters and is on everyone’s radar. The betting public is quick to back this team, but I think the love for them is too much right now. That’s especially the case off a 79-13 win over FCS bottom feeder Idaho. That game was much closer than the final score as the Bulldogs only outgained them by 181 yards but shockingly won the turnover battle 7-0.
Now Fresno State is basically being asked to go into enemy territory against a quality Big Ten opponent and win the game straight up just to cover. I’m not buying it. I’ll gladly take Minnesota at this price and watch the Golden Gophers steamroll this Group of 5 squad.
Minnesota is 9-1 ATS in its last 10 games after allowing 40 or less rushing yards last game. Fleck is 17-6 ATS in non-conference games as a head coach. Tedford is 10-23 ATS when the line is +3 to -3 in all games as a head coach. Bet Minnesota Saturday.
|09-08-18||Kentucky v. Florida -13.5||27-16||Loss||-107||33 h 24 m||Show|
15* SEC PLAY OF THE DAY on Florida -13.5
Florida should be one of the most improved teams in the country in 2018. The Gators are coming off a 4-7 disaster. They lost their starting RB, top WR and eight other players to suspension prior to the season. None of those suspended players returning. They were also decimated by injuries and had no depth. They were without 28 scholarship players and their head coach by the end of the season.
Now Dan Mullen steps into a great situation. Florida has 19 returning starters and gets some of those suspended players back. Mullen did an underrated job at Mississippi State, taking the Bulldogs to seven bowl games in his nine seasons. He was the perfect hire for Florida and exactly the guy that can get them back into SEC title contention.
Florida owns the longest series win streak in the nation with 31 consecutive wins over Kentucky. That streak was in jeopardy last year as the Gators trailed 24-14, but Felipe Franks took over for an injured Luke Del Rio at that point. Franks led two touchdown drives in the final eight minutes and Kentucky missed a potential game-winning field goal, with the Gators prevailing 28-27.
Last time in Gainesville, Florida rolled Kentucky 45-7. The Gators led 45-0 until garbage time and outgained the Wildcats 564-149. I think we get back to seeing the kind of dominance we expect from Florida in this rivalry in 2018.
Kentucky is just 2-10 in its last 12 SEC road openers. Kentucky lost their left tackle Landon Young in the season opener and don’t have much of a veteran presence this season. The Wildcats are only the 102nd-most experienced team in the country, so this is a young roster. Dan Mullen went 8-1 against Kentucky while at Mississippi State, playing them every year.
Kentucky wasn’t very impressive in its opener, failing to cover as 17.5-point favorites in a 35-20 home win over an inexperienced, rebuilding Central Michigan team. The quarterback play was very shaky as the Wildcats break in a new QB this year. The combo of Terry Wilson and Gunnar Hoak went 15-of-27 passing for just 128 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions in the win. They have more questions than answers heading into Week 2 at QB. Whoever is under center is going to have to make plays with their arm to hang with Florida, and I just don’t think they are capable.
Conversely, Florida handled its business, winning 53-6 as 43-point favorites against Charleston Southern. Franks threw for 219 yards and 5 touchdowns in the win. He suddenly looks like a star in the making as a sophomore. Charleston Southern QB’s went just 5-of-16 passing for 3 yards against Florida.
Kentucky is 2-8 ATS in its last 10 games overall. The Gators are 9-2 ATS in the last 11 meetings. Plays on favorites of 10.5 to 21 points (Florida) - after gaining 6.25 or more yards per play in their previous game, with 9 or more offensive starters returning are 57-25 (69.5%) ATS over the last five seasons. Roll with Florida Saturday.
|09-08-18||Baylor -16 v. UTSA||37-20||Win||100||33 h 55 m||Show|
15* CFB Saturday Big Chalk BLOWOUT on Baylor -16
Baylor should be one of the most improved teams in the country in 2018. Matt Rhule enters his second season and is another year removed from the tumultuous offseason from 2016. Rhule loves a challenge, and I think he starts seeing some of the fruits of his labor in 2018.
Baylor went just 1-11 last season, but took both Oklahoma (41-49) and West Virginia (34-38) to the wire. The Bears were more competitive than their record showed. Now they have a whopping 17 starters and 52 lettermen returning this season, while losing just 15 lettermen. Rhule has cleaned house and now has his players in place moving forward.
Baylor rolled Abilene Christian 55-27 in its opener. The Bears racked up 606 total yards, including 295 rushing and 8.2 per carry. QB Charlie Brewer, who completed 68.4% of his passes with an 11-to-4 TD/INT ratio last season, got banged up in the win. They took him out for precautionary reasons, but he is expected back healthy this week.
UTSA had a solid team the last two years, going 6-7 in 2016 and 6-5 in 2017. But they lose a lot of players from those teams as they have just 10 returning starters this season. They had to replace a ton of seniors from last year and are actually just the 128th-most experienced team in the country this season.
I think we saw that inexperience in the opener. UTSA was blitzed 7-49 by Arizona State. They managed just 220 total yards and committed three turnovers in the loss. And that was an Arizona State team going through change and a new head coach in Herm Edwards. I think Baylor is better than Arizona State this season, and the Bears should be much bigger than 16-point favorites in this matchup.
Plays on road favorites (Baylor) - after gaining 275 or more rushing yards last game against an opponent that was outrushed by 125 or more yards last game are 42-13 (76.4%) ATS over the last five seasons. Rhule is a perfect 7-0 ATS all-time after leading in their previous game by 17 points or more at the half in all games as a head coach. Take Baylor Saturday.
|09-08-18||Ball State +34.5 v. Notre Dame||Top||16-24||Win||100||30 h 35 m||Show|
25* CFB Non-Conference GAME OF THE YEAR on Ball State +34.5
Ball State has the makings of one of the most improved teams in the country. They went just 2-10 last season with 11 starters back, but now they have 16 starters back in 2018 and should challenge for a bowl game.
The biggest problem for Ball State last year was that QB Riley Neal started the first three games but then was knocked out with a season-ending injury. And the Cardinals opened 2-1 with their only loss coming 21-24 at Illinois as 6-point underdogs. They also lost RB James Gilbert after two games. Well, Neal and Gilbert are both back healthy to guide the offense this season.
Both players were on their game in their season-opening 42-6 victory over Central Connecticut State as 19.5-point favorites, covering by 16.5 points. Neal went 23-of-30 passing for 259 yards and two touchdowns, while also rushing for 37 yards and a score. Gilbert had 100 yards rushing and a touchdown on 14 carries. This is certainly a team to look out for this season.
This is an awful spot for Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish opened the season with arguably their biggest game of the year, and they beat Michigan 24-17. Now they are primed for a letdown the falling week as they will have been patted on the back all week leading up to this game. They won’t have 100% focus for Ball State.
But the Fighting Irish only managed 302 total yards in the win, and their offense is going to hold them back again this year. They don’t have the kind of offense that is built to cover massive numbers like this 34.5-point spread. They are a power-running team that needs to control time of possession because Brandon Wimbush isn’t a very good passer. He only completed 49.5% of his passes last season for 1,870 yards despite making 12 starts. He managed just 12-of-22 completions against Michigan.
The Cardinals are 8-1 ATS in their last nine non-conference games. Ball State is 7-1 ATS in its last eight vs. Independent opponents. The Cardinals are 54-26 ATS in their last 80 road games. The Fighting Irish are 1-4 ATS in their last five vs. a team with a winning record.
Plays on underdogs of 31.5 or more points (Ball State) - after outgunning their opponent by 175 or more total yards in their previous game are 32-7 (82.1%) ATS since 1992. This is way too many points. Bet Ball State Saturday.
|09-08-18||Rutgers +35.5 v. Ohio State||Top||3-52||Loss||-110||29 h 30 m||Show|
20* Big Ten GAME OF THE WEEK on Rutgers +35.5
Rutgers is a team I’m looking to back early and often. In fact, when I did my Top 10 season win total bets, Rutgers OVER 3.5 was high up on my list. I won with them last week as 16-point favorites in a 35-7 win over Texas State. I’m back on them for many of the same reasons this week.
Rutgers went 4-8 last year, but was more competitive and now enters Year 3 under head coach Chris Ash, which is when teams usually make their biggest improvements. The Scarlet Knights return 15 starters this season. They have seven back on offense and will be better, simply because freshman QB Artur Sitkowski is one of the top recruits in the country. He ran away with he job this fall and is one of the better young QB’s that not many folks know about.
The defense improved a ton last year, going from allowing 37.5 points per game in 2016 to 28.3 points per game in 2017. Now the defense returns eight starts and five of the six tacklers. Not only will this be Ash’s best defense yet, it will also be one of the better units in the Big Ten.
Rutgers outgained Texas State 423 to 169, or by 254 total yards. Sitkowski threw for 205 yards and a touchdown, but he was also picked off three times. Now that he has a game under his belt, he should be much more comfortable in Week 2. And the Scarlet Knights ran for 218 yards as a team, led by Boston College transfer Jon Hillman, who had 60 yards and two scores and adds a punch to this rushing attack.
I think Ohio State comes in overvalued off its 77-31 victory over Oregon State as 40-point favorites. Well, Oregon State is the worst team in the Power 5 outside of perhaps Kansas. And they managed to hang 31 points on the Buckeyes. Ohio State isn’t going to score 77 on Rutgers in this one. I’m anticipating Rutgers is good enough to hold the Buckeyes below 50, which will make it very difficult for them to cover this massive 35.5-point spread.
Ohio State is also in a big lookahead spot. The Buckeyes have a huge game at TCU on deck in their biggest non-conference game this season. I think they’ll be more than happy to get a win and pull the starters early in this one. They won’t be looking to run up the score like they were against Oregon State, especially since defensive coordinator Greg Schiano owes Rutgers a big thanks for getting his coaching career kick-started. Schiano and company will call off the dogs if necessary.
Ash is 6-0 ATS off a win as the coach of Rutgers. Urban Meyer teams are 4-12 ATS as a favorite of 31 or more points as the coach of Ohio State. Plays against home favorites of 31.5 or more points (Ohio State) who outgained their opponents by 1.5 or more yards per play, with 5 defensive starters returning are 23-5 (82.1%) ATS since 1992. Plays on underdogs of 31.5 or more points (Rutgers) - after outgaining their last opponent by 175 or more total yards are 32-7 (82.1%) ATS since 1992. Take Rutgers Saturday.
|09-08-18||Arkansas State +36.5 v. Alabama||7-57||Loss||-110||29 h 25 m||Show|
15* CFB Saturday Undervalued Underdog on Arkansas State +36.5
This is a situational play for me. Alabama just doesn’t cover these kinds of game. Since 2011, in their last 13 games as a favorite of at least 28 points against non-conference FBS opponents, Alabama just just 1-10-2 ATS.
I have cashed going against the Crimson Tide several times in this same scenario. I was also against them the one time they actually did cover two years ago as 43-point favorites in a 48-0 win over Kent State. But Kent State had a TD overturned on review late, otherwise they wouldn’t have covered that game, either.
The reason for their struggles in this spot is because they are usually in a letdown situation or a lookahead spot. In this case, it’s a letdown situation after their big win over Louisville last week, and they could be looking ahead to Ole Miss. Plus, Nick Saban just isn’t the type of coach to run it up on an opponent. He shows mercy, unless it’s an SEC rival.
Arkansas State is one of the better Group of 5 programs in the country. The Red Wolves have won five Sun Belt titles in the past seven seasons. They fell just short last year with a 25-32 loss to Troy. In fact, they went 7-5 last year and four of those five losses came by 7 points or fewer. They were in every game they played.
Now the Red Wolves welcome back 12 starters, and they biggest key is that they get their top three playmakers back on offense. Leading rusher Warren Wand and leading receiver Justin Mcinnis both return. But the key is getting senior QB Justice Hansen back. He threw for 3,967 yards and 37 touchdowns last year, while also rushing for 422 yards and seven scores. He will give Alabama some problems.
Arkansas State’s 48-21 win over SE Missouri State last week was a bigger blowout than the final score showed. The Red Wolves outgained them by 400 yards. They racked up 685 yards on offense, including 423 passing yards and six touchdowns from Hansen. They also gave up just 285 yards on defense. But they lost the turnover battle 3-0 to keep the score closer than it was, and gave up a meaningless TD with only 37 seconds left.
Plays on underdogs of 31.5 or more points (Arkansas State) - after outgaining opponent by 175 or more total yards in their previous game are 32-7 (82.1%) ATS since 1992. The Red Wolves are 14-6 ATS in their last 20 vs. a team with a winning record. The Crimson Tide are 0-5 ATS in their last five vs. Sun Belt opponents. Bet Arkansas State Saturday.
|09-08-18||Nevada v. Vanderbilt -8.5||10-41||Win||100||26 h 54 m||Show|
15* CFB Saturday No-Doubt Rout on Vanderbilt -8.5
The Vanderbilt Commodores just get no love every season, especially early in the year. They opened this season as only 3-point favorites over Middle Tennessee. They proceeded to crush the Blue Raiders 35-7, covering the spread by 25 points.
The Commodores held what was supposed to be an explosive MTSU offense to just one touchdown and 294 total yards. Now they’re up against another supposed high-powered Nevada offense, and I expect them to shut them down, too.
I like what Jay Norvell is doing at Nevada, making them a fun program to watch. It’s an offense that put up 28 points per game last season and got better as the season went on. But the defensive deficiencies are still there after allowing 34 points per game and 471 total yards per game last year.
I think Nevada is getting too much credit for its 72-19 shellacking of Portland State last week. Well, Portland State went 0-11 last season and is one of the worst teams in the FCS. Now Nevada will have to go up against SEC talent, and I believe Vanderbilt will have the talent edge at every position on the field.
Nevada is 0-4 against current SEC members all-time. The Wolf Pack are just 1-11 SU in true road games over the last two seasons. Vanderbilt is 15-2 SU when hosting non-conference opponents since 2011, and 10-2 SU when hosting Group of 5 teams since 2008.
Derek Mason is a perfect 6-0 ATS off a game with a turnover margin of +2 or better as the coach of the Commodores. The Wolf Pack are 1-5 ATS in their last six vs. a team with a winning record. Roll with Vanderbilt Saturday.
|09-07-18||TCU -22 v. SMU||Top||42-12||Win||100||12 h 56 m||Show|
20* TCU/SMU ESPN 2 Friday No-Brainer on TCU -22
The TCU Horned Frogs have one of the most underrated programs in the country. Gary Patterson just gets the most out of his players. What the Horned Frogs lack in talent, they make up for in guts and smarts. They have won at least 10 games three of the past four seasons.
The Horned Frogs have a stout defense every year, and that is the case again this season. They have six starters back on D from a unit that gave up just 19.0 points per game last season, which is mighty impressive in the Big 12. They should have the best defense in this conference once again.
I thought Kenny Hill was an erratic quarterback last year and held their offense back. But talented sophomore Shawn Robinson will be the signal caller this season and should be better than Hill was. The leading rusher (Darius Anderson) and leading receiver (Jalen Reagor) are both back this season to help out Robinson.
TCU beat Southern 55-7 in its opener. Robinson threw for 182 yards and three touchdowns, while also rushing for 45 yards and two scores on two carries before giving way to backup quarterbacks. They had 55 points by the end of the 3rd quarter before calling off the dogs.
SMU was a team I was high on under Chad Morris. He did a great job of getting them to a bowl last season and a 7-6 record overall. Now Morris is gone to Arkansas, a much-deserved promotion for him. SMU hired Sonny Dykes in the offseason, and Dykes is a coach I have no problem going against because he simply isn’t that good. He has a career record of 41-46. LA Tech got better once he left, and Cal got better once he left, too.
Dykes was on the sidelines for SMU’s 10-51 loss to Louisiana Tech in the bowl game. And Dykes’ 2018 debut was a rough one as well. SMU lost 23-46 at North Texas, giving up 461 passing yards to the Mean Green. Their offense only managed 256 yards against a terrible North Texas defense, and they were outgained by 273 yards in the game.
That’s a sign of things to come about how much this SMU program has fallen with the loss of Morris and the hiring of Dykes. The thing is Dykes is known for having an offensive mind, and he has a good QB in Ben Hicks back from lsat season. So to only managed 256 yards against that North Texas defense is atrocious. And SMU has never been good defensively as they gave up 36.7 points and 477 yards per game last season. They could be even worse on that side of the ball this year.
I think TCU can name its number on offense, and the defense is going to limit SMU to fewer than 20 points. TCU has really owned SMU, going 5-0 SU & 3-2 ATS in the five meetings over the past five seasons. The Horned Frogs have outscored the Mustangs by an average of 31.2 points per game in those five meetings. I expect them to win by 30-plus in this one as well, and they only need to win by more than 22 to get us a cover. Bet TCU Friday.
|09-03-18||Virginia Tech v. Florida State OVER 54.5||24-3||Loss||-110||106 h 4 m||Show|
15* VA Tech/FSU ESPN Monday Total DOMINATOR on OVER 54.5
Willie Taggart steps into a great situation at Florida State, especially from an offensive perspective. He is known for coaching up high-octane offenses, and he will love the talent he has to work with here. Florida State returns 8 starters on offense, including QB Deondre Francois, who was lost to a season-ending injury in the opener against Alabama last year. That injury derailed their season.
Francois has the luxury of having each of his top two rushers back, including the electric Came Akers, who rushed for 1,024 yards and seven touchdowns last year as a freshman. He also had leading receiver Nyqwan Murray back, along with four starters and 90 career starts on the offensive line. This should be one of the best offenses in the country.
The problem for the Seminoles this year is going to be defense. They go from having 9 returning starters on D last year to only 4 returning starters this year. They lost six of their top seven tacklers. This unit is certainly going to be a mystery, and I’m banking on this being one of the worse defenses in recent memory at FSU.
VA Tech coach Justin Fuente earned his stripes at Memphis for what he did on the offensive side of the football. And he’s doing it again at Virginia Tech. The Hokies averaged 35.0 points per game in his first season in 2016. They did slip to 28.2 points per game last year, but they only had 5 returning starters and were breaking in a freshman quarterback. Now the Hokies have 7 returning starters on offense, including QB Josh Jackson, who is now a sophomore. He completed 60% of his passes for 2,991 yards and a 20-to-9 TD/INT ratio, while also rushing for 324 yards and 6 scores as a freshman. He should take this offense to new heights this year.
Like Florida State, VA Tech’s biggest questions coming into the season are on the defensive side of the football. The Hokies return just 5 starters on defense and lose several players to the NFL. Gone to the NFL are CB Greg Stroman, LB Tremaine Edmunds, and DT Tim Settle. This is going to be one of the youngest defenses in the country. Bud Foster will have to work his magic on this group. They won’t come close to matching last year’s impressive numbers.
Taggart is 19-7 OVER as a home favorite in all games he has coached. The OVER is 5-0 in the last five meetings in this series. Bet the OVER in this game Monday.
|09-02-18||Miami-FL v. LSU UNDER 47||Top||17-33||Loss||-110||81 h 29 m||Show|
20* Miami/LSU ABC Sunday No-Brainer on UNDER 47
The Miami Hurricanes take on the LSU Tigers on Sunday in one of the most anticipated Week 1 games on the board. They will meet in Arlington, and I’m expecting a defensive battle in this one between two teams whose strengths are their defenses.
Miami gave up 18.5 points per game in 2016 and 21.0 points per game last season. Those were Mark Richt’s first two years on the job. Now they have 7 starters and each of their top 5 tacklers back from last year’s squad, making this likely Richt’s best defense yet.
Inconsistent quarterback play held Miami back down the stretch last season. Malik Rosier threw for 3,120 yards and 26 touchdowns, but he also threw 14 interceptions and completed just 54% of his passes. And now he’ll be without each of his top two receivers from last year in Braxton Berrios and Christopher Herndon.
Ed Oregon is on the hotseat already at LSU because he still hasn’t developed an offense. That was especially the case last year when the Tigers went up against some similar defenses to Miami. They managed beat Florida 17-16, lost to Alabama 10-24, and lost to Notre Dame 17-21. As you can see, their defense played well enough to win those games, but their offense didn’t get the job done.
Now LSU has just 5 returning starters on offense. They lose QB Danny Etling, who had a 16-to-2 TD/INT ratio, so he will be tougher to replace than most expect. The new QB is Joe Burrow. Derrius Guide and Darrell Williams, who combined for over 2,000 rushing yards and 20 touchdowns last year, have departed. And each of the top three pass catchers from last year are gone. This offense is going to struggle again.
But you can count on LSU to have a great defense, which they have for over a decade and that has been the case again with Orgeron running the show and defensive coordinator Dave Aranda calling the shots. LSU gave up just 15.8 points per game in 2016 and 18.9 points per game in 2017. While they only have 5 starters back this season, that happens almost every year as they had just 5 starters back on D last season as well. They do have three of their top four tacklers back, including the best LB in the country in Devin White (133 tackles, 14 for loss last year). This will be one of the best stop units in the country.
Orgeron is 34-18 UNDER in all games he has been a head coach. The UNDER is 9-2 in Hurricanes last 11 games overall. The UNDER is 20-8-2 in Tigers last 30 games overall. The UNDER is 6-0 in Hurricanes last six neutral site games. The UNDER is 4-0 in Tigers last four neutral site games. Bet the UNDER in this game Sunday.
|09-01-18||Marshall v. Miami-OH +2.5||35-28||Loss||-100||74 h 41 m||Show|
15* CFB Saturday UPSET SHOCKER on Miami Ohio +2.5
Miami Ohio remarkably opened 0-6 in 2016 and finished 6-0 to make a bowl game, where they would lose by a single points 16-17 to Mississippi State as 14-point underdogs. Many expected them to be real good last year because they had 17 returning starters. But the Redhawks lost QB Gus Ragland for three games, and they lost two starting offensively linemen for the first four games. Miami suffered four losses by 5 points or less to finish 5-7 in 2017.
Now, the Redhawks have 16 returning starters and will be one of the most improved teams in the country. Miami Ohio is expected to have 15 senior starters among the 22 on offense and defense. This is a team I’m going to be looking to back early and often.
Offensively, the Redhawks have eight returning starters, including QB Gus Ragland, who had a 39-to-8 TD/INT ratio in three years with the program. He has stud receiver James Gardner (47 receptions, 927 yards, 11 TD) back as his disposal. Each of the top two rushers are back from last year. They have seven offensive linemen with starting experience and 100 career starts back.
Defensively, the Redhawks have eight returning starters from a unit that gave up just 24.1 points per game last season. This will be one of the best units in the MAC this season.
Marshall made a big jump last year from 3-9 in 2016 to 8-5 in 2017. And now they have 18 returning starters, so they will be pretty good again. But they lose their most important player in QB Chase Litton, who threw for 3,115 yards and 25 touchdowns a year ago. Their defense will be good again, but their offense only managed 26.7 points per game last year even with good QB play, and they likely won’t get the kind of production they had from Litton last year.
Marshall still hasn’t announced its starting QB yet and likely won’t until gamely. Alex Thomson is likely the new QB, and the grad transfer from Wagner has made 20 starts in his career, but he has completed just 55% of his passes. It will either be Thomson or redshirt freshman Isaiah Green, and whoever starts will be making their first start at the FBS level.
What really stood out to me about this game is that this is a rematch from last year. Marshall beat Miami Ohio 31-26 as 3.5-point home underdogs. But that final score doesn’t even tell half the story. Miami outgained Marshall 429 to 267 for the game, or by 162 total yards. Marshall got three non-offensive touchdowns in the game with a 99-yard KO return, a 97-yard kickoff return and a 72-yard interception return. It’s amazing Miami only lost by 5.
Now the Redhawks will be out for revenge and get the Thundering Herd at home this time around. They are fully healthy coming into this matchup and should get the job done. The home team is a perfect 6-0 ATS in the last six meetings. Take Miami Ohio Saturday.
|09-01-18||North Carolina v. California -7||Top||17-24||Push||0||72 h 12 m||Show|
25* CFB Week 1 GAME OF THE YEAR on California -7
Justin Wilcox did a good job in his first season at Cal head coach last year. The Golden Bears went just 5-7, but they had three losses by a combined 7 points. This was an inexperienced team last year, but that won’t be the case in 2018.
The Golden Bears return 18 starters this season and go from being #110 in experience last year all the way up to #18 this year. They also faced the 2nd-toughest schedule in the country last year, and this year they only face the 49th toughest. This could be one of the most improved teams in the land.
The offense returns 10 starters after having just 5 starters back on offense last year. Junior QB Ross Bowers is back after throwing for 3,039 yards and 18 touchdowns a year ago. Leading rusher Patrick Laird (1,127 yards, 8 TD, 5.9/carry) and each of the top two receivers in Vic Wharton and Kanawai Noa (123 receptions, 1,659 yards, 9 TD between them) are back. All five starters and seven who have started return along the offensive line.
Wilcox is known for defense, and he improved this group dramatically last year. Cal gave up 42.6 points and 518 yards per game in 2016, but those numbers dropped to 28.4 points and 430 yards per game in 2017 under Wilcox. Now he has 8 starts back on defense and the numbers should improve once again.
UNC is an absolute mess right now. The Tar Heels are coming off a 3-9 season and return a modest 13 starters this year. Their three wins last year came against Old Dominion, Western Carolina and Pitt. While they can’t be any worse, they aren’t going to be much better, either.
That’s because they had 13 players suspended for at least one game and as many as four games for selling team-issued shoes. Nine of the 13 suspended players will miss the first four games, the most notable being QB Chazz Surratt, the team leader last season in passing yards, yards per attempt and completion percentage.
Not to mention, projected starting RB Michael Carter (558 yards, 8 TD, 5.8 YPC LY) is out until late September with a wrist injury. Starting DT Aaron Crawford (29 tackles, 3 sacks LY) is out with a knee injury. The Tar Heels are going to be short-handed for the opener and for the first month of the season for that matter. Cal went on the road and beat UNC 35-30 in the opener last season. Now they get the Tar Heels at home this time around and the Golden Bears are vastly improved.
This is the longest road trip (2,800 miles) in school history for the Tar Heels. California is 5-0 ATS in its last five home games. The Golden Bears are 5-1 ATS in their last six games overall. North Carolina is 1-5 ATS in its last six September games. Bet California Saturday.
|09-01-18||Appalachian State +24 v. Penn State||38-45||Win||100||72 h 1 m||Show|
15* CFB Saturday Undervalued Underdog on Appalachian State +24
The Appalachian State Mountaineers have cemented themselves as one of the better Group of 5 teams in the country over the past decade. It all started when they upset Michigan in the Big House back in 2007. But they have since taken some other Power 5 teams right down to the wire.
The Mountaineers won 11 games in 2015, 10 games in 2016 and 9 games in 2017. They have won at least 10 games five times over the past decade. They only lost 13-20 as 20-point underdogs in Week 1 against Tennessee two years ago. They lost 10-31 at Georgia in the opener last year, and we all know how good Georgia turned out to be. They also lost 19-20 as 5-point home dogs to an 8-win Wake Forest team last year.
I was impressed with the way the Mountaineers finished the season last year. They won their final four games by 21, 21, 49 and 34 points, including their 34-0 beat down of Toledo in the Dollar General Bowl. That gives them a ton of momentum heading into 2018.
Appalachian State returns only 11 starters but 59 lettermen, so while they may be a little young, they have plenty of depth. The loss of four-year starting QB Taylor Lamb is tough, but sophomore Zac Thomas is ready to be the next great QB here. Reports are he’s actually a better runner and has a better arm than Lamb did, so the future is bright for him.
The good news for Thomas is that he’ll be able to lean on an offensive line that returns five players with starting experience, including 1st-Team All-Sun Belt LT Victor Johnson. And they’ll be blocking for the best RB in the Sun Belt in Jalin Moore, who has delivered back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons.
The bread and butter of the Mountaineers has been defense under head coach Scott Satterfield. They allowed just 19.1 points per game in 2015, 17.8 in 2016 and 20.2 in 2017. They return 14 of their top 20 tacklers from a year ago and should be good again. It’s this defense that will give them a chance to hang with Penn State Saturday.
I think the Nittany Lions are one of the most overrated teams in the country heading into 2018. They shocked everyone by winning 11 game each of the last two seasons, but now they lose a ton of talent from those two teams. The Nittany Lions have just 10 returning starters in 2018.
While they have seven starters back on offense, including QB Trace McSorley, they lose their top three playmakers in RB Saquon Barkley (1,903 scrimmage yards, 21 total TD LY), WR DaeSean Hamilton (857 yards, 9 TD LY) and TE Mike Gesicki (57 receptions, 563 yards, 9 TD LY). That trio is simply irreplaceable.
The losses are just as big on defense as the Nittany Lions return only 3 starters this year. They lost seven of their top eight tacklers from a year ago, so it will basically be all new faces for them on this side of the ball. There’s no way they even come close to last year’s 16.5 points per game allowed. They gave up 25.4 points per game in 2016 and will likely be closer to that number this year.
Penn State opens the 2018 season with expectations it simply cannot live up to from a point spread perspective. They should not be 24-point favorites over pesky Appalachian State in the opener. The Mountaineers are 4-0 ATS in their last four games overall. Roll with Appalachian State Saturday.
|09-01-18||Texas State v. Rutgers -16||Top||7-35||Win||100||68 h 22 m||Show|
20* CFB Saturday No-Doubt Rout on Rutgers -16
Rutgers is a team I’ll be looking to back early and often. In fact, when I did my Top 10 season win total bets, the Rutgers Over 3.5 made my list. It’s a team that went 4-8 last year and now enters year 3 under head coach Chris Ash, which is when teams usually make their biggest improvements.
The Scarlet Knights return 15 starters this season. Freshman QB Artur Sitkowski is one of the top recruits in the country, and he ran away with the job in fall camp and has been named the starter. He is a big reason why I’m so high on this team because he has all the tools to be one of the better quarterbacks in the country that most don’t know much about.
The offense has seven starters back and can only improve after averaging just 18 points per game a year ago. They brought in a new coordinator in John McNulty, who has spent the past nine years in the NFL with four teams, and he was the former offensive coordinator at Rutgers from 2004-2008. There is a lot of talent at receiver, three starters return on the offensive line that allowed just 18 sacks last year, and Jon Hillman is a grad transfer from Boston College at running back who should inject life into the running game.
The defense improved a ton last year, going from allowing 37.5 points per game in 2016 to 28.3 points per game in 2017. Now that unit returns eight starters and five of the top six tacklers. This will be one of the most underrated stop units in the Big Ten this season.
Texas State was one of the worst teams in the country last season. The Bobcats went just 2-10 and were outscored by an average of 16.3 points per game on the season. Their two wins came against Houston Baptist and Coastal Carolina, an FCS team and a team that was in their first season at the FBS level.
The Bobcats do have 14 starters back this year, but they won’t be any good. They lose their starting QB in Damian Williams and their most explosive playmakers in WR Elijah King (750 yards, 3 TD). Sophomore Willie Lee Jones is expected to step in at QB, but he completed just 48.6% of his 37 attempts last year in the backup role.
Texas State is expected to be the worst team in the Sun Belt, which is the worst conference in the country. The Scarlet Knights from the Big Ten should have no problem waxing them by 17-plus points to get the win and cover in this one. Take Rutgers Saturday.
|09-01-18||Costal Carolina +29.5 v. South Carolina||15-49||Loss||-106||68 h 11 m||Show|
15* CFB Saturday Line Mistake on Coastal Carolina +29.5
The Coastal Carolina Chanticleers will be playing their first season as an official FBS member after dominating in FCS over the past five years. They won 12, 12, 9 and 10 games from 2013-2016. Last year they played a schedule that featured 11 FBS teams to get them prepared for this season.
They went just 3-9 last year, but there were some highlights, and evidence that they were better than their record would suggest. They went 1-5 in games decided by 8 points or less. But they won their final two games against Idaho and Georgia Southern outright as underdogs to give them some momentum heading into 2018.
Now they have 12 returning starters after having just 9 back last year. And one huge factor is that head coach Joe Moglia, the former FCS Coach of the Year, missed the entire season last year with a lung infection. He’s back healthy now and will be on the sidelines coaching this team up.
Perhaps Coastal Carolina’s most impressive effort last season was in a loss. The Chanticleers went on the road as 23-point underdogs and nearly upset SEC foe Arkansas 38-39. That effort showed that they could play with the big boys, which is a big reason why I think they can hang with South Carolina, or at least stay within this 29.5-point spread.
South Carolina overachieved last year by going 9-4. They were opposite of Coastal Carolina in terms of luck in close games. The Gamecocks went 6-1 in games decided by 8 points or less. They didn’t beat anyone by more than 26 points. They only beat Wofford 31-10 as 27-point home favorites, and they only beat Louisiana Tech 17-16 as 9-point home favorites.
So now expectations are high for the Gamecocks heading into 2018 when they really shouldn’t be because they simply were lucky in close games last year and were really closer to a 6-7 or 7-6 team rather than a 9-4 one. They do have 14 starters back and return some key playmakers, but they should not be 29.5-point favorites here in the opener.
That’s especially the case when you consider South Carolina won’t be able to help but overlook Coastal Carolina. They have their ‘game of the year’ on deck next week hosting Georgia. They will want to make sure that everyone is healthy for that game, which means they will likely pull the starters or limit their snaps at the first opportunity they get. They are just looking to win this game, not win it by margin. Bet Coastal Carolina Saturday.
|08-31-18||Colorado State v. Colorado -7.5||Top||13-45||Win||100||84 h 50 m||Show|
20* Colorado State/Colorado CFB Late-Night BAILOUT on Colorado -7.5
The Colorado Buffaloes won the Pac-12 South in 2016 despite being picked by most outlets to finish last. Head coach Mike MacIntyre always gets the most out of his teams. They were due for some regression last year, and they did at 5-7, but still came within one win of making a bowl but lost their final three games. They had just 12 returning starters last year, including only 3 on defense.
I realize they only have 10 returning starters in 2018, but this is actually a better team than the ’17 version. I love the offense led by Steven Montez, a junior who threw for 2,975 yards and 18 touchdowns with nine interceptions, while also rushing for 338 yards and three scores. The offense boasts nine junior and senior starters and will be better than what you would expect for having just four returning starters.
Improvement will come from a defense that returns six starters, including each of the top three tacklers from a year ago. This unit slipped big-time last year going from nine returning starters in ’16 to just three in ’17. But they still only allowing 28.2 points per game, a respectable number considering all they had to replace. This should now be one of the better stop units in the Pac-12 again.
Colorado State is one of the single-least experienced team in FBS, ranking #130 in terms of returning experience. They have just nine starters and 39 lettermen returning. They lost QB Nick Stevens (3,799 yards, 29 TD), leading rusher Dalyn Dawkins (1,399 yards, 8 TD) and leading receiver Michael Gallup (100 receptions, 1,413 yards, 7 TD) on offense. Defensively, they have just five starters back.
I think you saw everything you needed to know about how bad Colorado State is going to be this season in their opener against Hawaii on Saturday. They were favored by 17 over a Hawaii team that brought back just 9 starters this season. They trailed 37-7 as their offense couldn’t get anything going against an awful Hawaii defense. And by the time they did get their offense going, it was too late as they lost 34-43. Their defense gave up 617 total yards to the Warriors.
Colorado is 8-2 in its last 10 meetings with Colorado State in Denver. Those eight wins have come by an average of 16 points per game. The Rams were better the last two seasons than they will be this season, yet the Buffaloes crushed them 44-7 in 2016 and 17-3 in 2017.
Colorado State is at a disadvantage here having to play on a short week after facing Hawaii on Saturday, Meanwhile, the Buffaloes had all offseason to prepare for this one, and now have some actual game film to do so all week. The Rams are 0-8 ATS in their last eight games overall. Colorado State is 0-6-1 ATS in its last seven neutral site games. Bet Colorado Friday.
|08-31-18||Utah State v. Michigan State UNDER 51.5||31-38||Loss||-107||81 h 25 m||Show|
15* CFB Friday Total DOMINATOR on Utah State/Michigan State UNDER 51.5
I expect a defensive battle tonight between Utah State and Michigan State in the season opener for both teams. Both squads have experienced defenses returning, which will be the strength of both teams in 2018.
Michigan State went 10-3 last year despite averaging just 24.5 points per game. That’s because they won a lot of close games and their defense was tremendous, giving up just 20.0 points and 298 yards per game despite having just four starters back on D last year. Now the Spartans have 9 starters and 10 of their top 11 tacklers back on defense and will have one of the best stop units in the country.
Utah State gave up 26.9 points per game last season with just 5 starters back on defense. Now they have 9 starters and 19 of their top 21 tacklers back on defense and will have one of the best stop units in the Mountain West. This should be one of Matt Wells’ best defenses yet as he enters his 6th season wit the Aggies. In his first three years, they surrendered just 339.6 yards per game. It’s the most returning experience he’s had on any defense yet.
Utah State’s offense isn’t anything special, either. The Aggies played two Power 5 teams last year and managed just 10 points against Wisconsin and 10 points against Wake Forest. Both teams have a lot of experience returning on offense as well, but that’s not necessarily a good thing considering both offenses were sub-par a year ago.
Plays on the UNDER on all teams where the total is between 49.5 and 56 in a game that features both teams having 8 or more defensive starters returning, in the first month of the season are 42-12 (77.8%) over the last five seasons. Michigan State is 9-1 to the UNDER as a home favorite over the last three seasons. Take the UNDER in this game Friday.
|08-30-18||Wake Forest -6.5 v. Tulane||Top||23-17||Loss||-110||79 h 48 m||Show|
20* Wake Forest/Tulane Non-Conference KNOCKOUT on Wake Forest -6.5
The Wake Forest Demon Deacons just get no respect. They went 8-5 last season and 8-3-2 ATS in their 13 games. Dave Clawson has now gotten the Demon Deacons to back-to-back bowl games and enters his 5th season in Winston-Salem.
Clawson has 14 returning starters this season. He has eight starters back from an offense that set a school record with 454 points last year and averaged 35.3 points and 466 yards per game. They were competitive in every game last season due to the offense and did not get beat by more than 14 points once all season.
The offense is led by an offensive line that returns all five starters and a whopping 132 career starts. This will be one of the best units in the ACC. Each of the top two receivers are back from last year in Great Dortch (53 receptions, 722 yards, 9 TD) and Scotty Washington (45, 711, 3 TD), as is leading rusher Matt Colburn (904 yards, 7 TD). That will help ease the transition of the new quarterback.
Wake Forest does have only six starters back on defense, but should be improved from a unit that gave up 28.3 points per game last season with just five starters back. Their weakness last year was against the pass as they gave up 272 yards per game through the air. But that won’t be a problem against Tulane, which runs an option attack. And the Demon Deacons have a huge advantage getting to prepare all offseason for the option.
I like what Willie Fritz is doing at Tulane. He enters his 3rd season here from a team that went 5-7 last year and fell just a few yards shy of beating SMU in the season finale and making a bowl game. Fritz has 14 starters back and the Green Wave should be competitive again against most AAC teams, but this is a different story here against one of the most underrated teams in the ACC.
With nine starters back on offense, the Green Wave should be able to match or exceed last year’s 27.5 PPG in which they had eight starters back. But they do lose leading rusher Montreal Hilliard (1,091 yards, 12 TD). QB Jonathan Banks is back to run the offense and should be able to have a decent senior season, though he competed just 56.6% of his passes last year and accuracy will always be an issue for him.
The reason I really love Wake Forest is because I believe their high-powered offense will score at will against this suspect Tulane defense. The Green Wave return just 5 starters on defense from a unit that gave up 29.2 points and 436 yards per game last season. This defense is clearly worse off than it was a year ago as they lose their top three playmakers in Rae Juan Marbley, Jarrod Franklin and Parry Nickerson (6 INT). The lose 3.5 defensive line starters and 7 of their top 12 tacklers.
The Demon Deacons are 10-4 ATS in their last 14 road games. Wake Forest is 12-5-1 ATS in its last 18 games overall. The Demon Deacons are 8-2-1 ATS in their last 11 games on fieldturf. Tulane is 2-11 ATS in its last 13 vs. ACC opponents. They are losing by 27.7 points per game in this situation. The last time Tulane hosted a Power 5 team to open the season they lost to ACC opponent Duke 37-7 back in 2015. Bet Wake Forest Thursday.
|08-30-18||New Mexico State v. Minnesota -20||10-48||Win||100||78 h 22 m||Show|
15* NMSU/Minnesota BTN No-Brainer on Minnesota -20
Unfortunately, I took New Mexico State +4 against Wyoming in their opener. I couldn’t have been more wrong. But I’m willing to realize my mistakes and correct them. After watching just how ugly New Mexico State looked against a mediocre Wyoming squad, I have no doubt they are going to have many of the same issues against Minnesota Thursday night.
New Mexico State had negative yards on offense in the first half against Wyoming last week and themselves trailing 15-0. It didn’t get much better in the second half as they trailed 29-0 before getting a garbage TD in the final seconds to lose 29-7. They were outgained 450 to 135 for the game, or by 315 total yards.
Wyoming ran wild on the NMSU defense for 313 rushing yards and 5.6 yards per carry. Now the Aggies must play on a short week having just four days to prepare for Minnesota, another team that loves to run the football as they averaged 182 rushing yards per game last season. The Gophers should be able to move the ball on the ground at will on a tired NMSU defense.
PJ Fleck enters his second season at Minnesota. He has more of his players in place to take on bigger roles this season. He has 14 returning starters as well and this should be one of the most improved teams in the Big Ten after a 5-7 campaign in his first season.
The Gophers can only be better offensively as they return seven starters, their leading rusher, top two receivers and four starters along the offensive line. The problem last year was QB play as it was atrocious. That means it can only get better, and Fleck true freshman recruit Zack Annexstad will get the first crack at the job. He beat out fellow freshman Tanner Morgan, who many expected to win the job.
Fleck turned an inexperienced defense that returned just five starters last year into one of the Big Ten’s best units. The Gophers only allowed 22.8 points and 347 yards per game. Now they return seven starters, led by leading tackler Thomas Barber (115 tackles, 10.5 for loss) at linebacker. This is an experienced unit that is expected to have nine junior or senior starters. One of the sophomores is Antoine Winfield, who got a medical redshirt and will be one of the best safeties in the Big Ten.
Minnesota should be able to shut down a New Mexico State offense that lost its top three playmakers from a year ago. They lost the school’s second all-time leading passer in Tyler Rogers from a passing offense that ranked 3rd in the country last season. They also lost 1,000-yard receiver Jaleel Scott (1,079 yards, 9 TD) and star RB Larry Rose, who accounted for 1,471 yards and 12 touchdowns from scrimmage last year. It was clear NMSU misses this trio when they managed just 7 points and 135 total yards against Wyoming last week.
New Mexico State is 10-30-1 ATS in its last 41 games following a double-digit home loss. The Aggies are 3-15 in their last 18 road openers, and 0-12 in their last 12 against Power 5 schools. The Gophers have won 19 of their last 23 home openers, and five of their last six with their only loss coming to #2 TCU 17-23 as 16-point underdogs in 2015.
NMSU having to play on a short week off a very physical game and against another physical opponent here is such a huge schedule disadvantage for them. That’s why I’m willing to lay this many points with the Gophers. Doug Martin is 0-11 ATS after gaining 225 or less total yards in their previous game in all games he has coached. Take Minnesota Thursday.
|08-25-18||Wyoming v. New Mexico State +4||Top||29-7||Loss||-105||11 h 29 m||Show|
20* Wyoming/New Mexico State ESPN 2 Late-Night BAILOUT on New Mexico State +4
New Mexico State went to a bowl game for the first time since 1960 last year. Not only did the Aggies get to a bowl, they actually upset Utah State 26-20 in overtime. Head coach Doug Martin has done a tremendous job of turning this program around as he enters his 6th season here.
Now the Aggies return 15 starters and 49 lettermen in 2018 while losing only 13 lettermen. The strength of this team will be a defense that gave up their fewest points per game since 2003 last year. They have nine starters and 10 of their top 11 tacklers back on D. They were an attacking D last year that set a school record with 43 sacks. Frank Spaziani, the former Boston College head coach, is a big reason for the turnaround. He enters his second season running the defense.
There are questions for the Aggies offensively as they return 6 starts and lose their top three playmakers. However, they have a junior back in Jason Huntley that is ready to take over for Larry Rose. Huntley averaged 6.0 YPC last season compared to 5.1 for Rose. Four of their top five receivers are back, so that helps soften the loss of 1,000-yard receiver Jaleel Scott.
The biggest loss is QB Tyler Rogers, who was third in the country at 334.7 passing yards per game last season. However, the Aggies signed JUCO transfer Matt Romero in the offseason. He threw for 5,873 yards and 49 touchdowns over two seasons at Palomar College in California. It’s a great fit for Romero, who ran the exact same offense at Palomar. And six offensive linemen with starting experience return this season, helping ease Romero’s transition.
Wyoming does have a lot of experience back as well with 17 returning starters, but many of those players are hurt. Two projected starters along the offensive line will be out with injuries. WR CJ Johnson, who led the team with 7 TD receptions last year, is out. LB Cassh Mauluia (74 tackles last year) is also out. So technically, they have just 13 healthy starters for Game 1 from last year.
And the biggest loss is QB Josh Allen, who was taken as a first-round draft pick of the Buffalo Bills. They even traded up to get him. I know his numbers weren’t great last year, but he’s the biggest reason the Cowboys were able to make bowl games each of the past two seasons. You simply don’t replace a talent like Allen at a school as small as Wyoming. The Cowboys will now be starting a freshman QB this year.
New Mexico State is 5-0 ATS in its last five games vs. MWC opponents. The Aggies are 18-9 ATS in all games over the past two seasons. Bets on home underdogs of 3.5 to 10 points (New Mexico State) - team that had a winning record last season, in non-conference game are 67-27 (71.3%) ATS since 1992. Wyoming is 10-22 ATS in its last 32 games as a road favorite. The Aggies are 8-1 ATS in their last nine non-conference games. Bet New Mexico State Saturday.
|01-08-18||Alabama -175 v. Georgia||Top||26-23||Win||100||115 h 24 m||Show|
20* Alabama/Georgia National Championship No-Brainer on Alabama -175
I backed Alabama -1.5 as my 25* College Bowl Game of the Year in a 24-6 win over Clemson in the first round of the college football playoffs. I’m not about to buck them now as they still fit many of the same reasons I backed them against Clemson.
I thought Alabama came into the four-team playoff grossly underrated for the first time ever. It’s because they were the No. 4 seed and barely got in after not winning the SEC Championship thanks to their loss to Auburn in the regular season finale. They actually came in as an underdog by perception because they were the No. 4 seed going against the No. 1 seed Clemson.
Let’s just think back to the National Championship last year. If Alabama hadn’t gave up a touchdown on the final play of the game to lose to Clemson, they would be going for their 3rd straight national title. And if that was the case, which it easily could be, Alabama would be upwards of a 7-point favorite or more here against Georgia. Instead they are only 3.5-point favorites and -175 on the money line, which I think is the better bet in this matchup in case they do win by 3. But I’m confident they will win this game.
Alabama has the best defense in the country, and that showed in limiting Clemson to just 6 points and 188 total yards last week. They match up very well with Georgia, a predominant running team that only averages 173 passing yards per game. The Crimson Tide only give up 92 rushing yards per game and 2.7 per carry, with the latter being the best mark in the entire country. The only teams the Crimson Tide struggle against are ones with mobile quarterbacks, and Jake Fromm doesn’t fit that category. He has rushed for just 94 yards on the season and 2.0 per carry.
I think the situation is better for Alabama having more time to get ready for this game. They played in New Orleans, made easy work of Clemson, and have a short trip up to Atlanta for the National Championship. Meanwhile, Georgia played all the way out in California and as a result will have the tougher travel schedule. They also needed to exert more effort as they went to double-overtime in a 54-48 thriller. And I think the Bulldogs are just happy to be here, while Alabama is on a mission to make up for that devastating loss in the national title game last season.
Alabama has been favored in 112 of its 113 games. The only time it wasn’t a favorite was as a 1.5-point underdog at Georgia in 2015. Well, the Crimson Tide rolled the Bulldogs 38-10 in that game. Rarely ever do we get to back them as small as -175 money line favorites. This is basically free money in my opinion because they aren’t going to lose this game.
My favorite trend in this game is that Nick Saban is 11-0 SU & 9-2 ATS when facing his former assistants. This is a big brother, little brother phenomenon. Saban has won by 14-plus points in all 11 games and by an average of a whopping 29 points per game in this spot. Kirby Smart will be overmatched in this matchup.
Saban has also had great success in games that are expected to be low scoring, which this game is considering the total is only 45 points. Alabama is 45-19 ATS in its last 64 games with a total set of 50 points or less under Saban. This goes back to the point I made before that the only teams that give the Crimson Tide trouble are teams with dual-threat quarterbacks when shootouts are the expectation. This game will be a grind-it-out, hard-hitting game that plays right into Alabama’s hands. Saban and company live for these kinds of games.
Saban is 21-11 ATS vs. good defensive teams that give up 17 or fewer points per game as the coach of Alabama. His teams are winning these matchups by 15.1 points per game on average. The Crimson Tide are 5-1 ATS in their last six neutral site games. I think we are getting a nice discount here with the Crimson Tide on the money line because a very large amount of people who are betting Georgia are betting them on the money line. Bet Alabama on the Money Line.
|01-01-18||Alabama -1.5 v. Clemson||Top||24-6||Win||100||654 h 29 m||Show|
25* College Bowl GAME OF THE YEAR on Alabama -1.5
Nick Saban with revenge and extra time to prepare. Sign me up. The Crimson Tide get a chance to avenge their 35-31 loss to Clemson in the National Championship last year. I fully expect them to take advantage of their opportunity, and this time around they won’t have to deal with Deshaun Watson.
This is the third straight year these teams will meet in the playoffs. The Crimson Tide were 6-point favorites two years ago and 6.5-point favorites last year. So the fact that they are only 1.5-point favorites in the grudge match shows that there is some line value here.
Let’s look at those last two meetings. Alabama led 45-33 two years ago with two minutes left before Clemson got a meaningless touchdown with 12 seconds left to cover as 6.5-point dogs. Then last year, Alabama led 31-28 with only two minutes left, only to watch Clemson score on the game’s final play on a pick play that wasn’t called to win 35-31.
That sick loss has sat in Saban and the Crimson Tide’s stomach for a full year now, and they can’t wait to get the taste out of their mouths. And they won’t have to deal with Watson this time. Kelly Bryant is a good quarterback, but he’s certainly no Watson and isn’t battle-tested in these big games like Watson was.
I think Alabama actually comes into the four-team playoff undervalued because of the fact that they are the No. 4 seed and they ended their season with a 14-26 loss at Auburn, which was their only loss of the season. It’s the first time in a long time I can remember this team being as undervalued as they are right now.
Conversely, Clemson comes into this game overvalued due to being the No. 1 seed. They were last seen beating a banged-up Miami team 38-3 in the ACC Championship. I think that Saban will feed off of the fact that they are the higher seed and cement in his players’ minds that they are the underdogs, despite the fact that Vegas disagrees, and I agree with Vegas.
The Crimson Tide were banged up on defense down the stretch this season, but they are expected to get several key players back along the defensive front seven and in the secondary for this game. They should be about as healthy as they’ve been since the start of the season. And I’d put this defense up against anyone.
Alabama gives up just 11.5 points per game, 258 yards per game and 4.0 yards per play this season against teams that average 27 points, 382 yards per game and 5.7 per play. Clemson has an elite defense as well, but it’s not as good as this Alabama unit when you compare the numbers.
Alabama also has the edge on offense, and it’s not really even that close. Clemson has taken a big step back on offense this season. Yards per play is the most important stat in my opinion. Alabama averages 6.9 yards per play against teams that give up 5.7 per play, while Clemson averages just 6.0 yards per play against teams that give up 5.7 per play. So essentially the Crimson Tide are 0.9 yards per play better than Clemson offensively.
Saban is 15-4 ATS after failing to cover three of their last four against the spread as the coach of Alabama. The Crimson Tide are 42-21 ATS in their last 63 road games following one or more consecutive ATS losses. Alabama is 10-4 ATS in its last 14 games following an ATS loss. The Crimson Tide are 4-0 ATS in their last four games on fieldturf. The Tigers are 2-7 ATS in their last nine games on fieldturf. Bet Alabama in the Sugar Bowl Monday.
|01-01-18||Georgia v. Oklahoma +2.5||54-48||Loss||-110||80 h 34 m||Show|
15* Georgia/Oklahoma Rose Bowl ANNIHILATOR on Oklahoma +2.5
The Big 12 has put together an impressive showing in these bowl games with a 5-2 record thus far. And Oklahoma was the class of the Big 12, and it wasn’t really even close. Once again the Sooners won the conference and will get another shot at the four-team playoff here, and they’ll want to redeem themselves after losing to Clemson in their last appearance.
Now they have the best quarterback in the country in Baker Mayfield. He leads a high-octane Oklahoma offense that is putting up 44.9 points per game, 583 yards per game and 8.4 yards per play. The Sooners are scoring 17 points per game, averaging 181 yards per game and 3.1 yards per play more than their opponents allow on average this season. This offense is simply unstoppable.
TCU has a comparable defense to Georgia. The Horned Frogs were one of the best defensive teams in the country this season. And Oklahoma beat TCU 38-20 in the regular season while putting up 533 total yards. Then they backed up that win with a 41-17 win over the Horned Frogs in the Big 12 Championship Game. Georgia isn’t going to be able to stop Mayfield and company, either.
I think Georgia benefited from an extremely soft schedule this season. The SEC East was arguably the worst division of all Power 5 conferences. And they draw Mississippi State and Auburn from the SEC West, and actually lost to Auburn 17-40 in the regular season. The Bulldogs were able to get revenge in the SEC Championship against Auburn to get into the four-team playoff, but it doesn’t mask the fact that their schedule was rather easy this year outside of a 1-1 split with Auburn.
Oklahoma is 4-0 in its last four games against SEC opponents, which includes a bowl win over Alabama a few years back. The Sooners have been able to step up to the plate against the better teams, and they have been able to handle the SEC. That’s evidence by the fact that they are 11-1 ATS when playing against a team with a winning record over the last two seasons, and a perfect 7-0 ATS when playing against a team with a winning percentage of better than 75% over the last two years. Roll with Oklahoma in the Rose Bowl.
|01-01-18||Central Florida +10 v. Auburn||Top||34-27||Win||100||75 h 5 m||Show|
20* UCF/Auburn Peach Bowl No-Brainer on UCF +10
Let’s take a look at the history of how these Group of 5 teams have done against the Power 5 opponents dating back to the BCS era and currently the New Year’s 6. In the last 19 meetings, the Power 5 team has been favored 16 times. Well, the Group of 5 team has actually gone 13-6 straight up in those 19 meetings.
I think there’s an obvious explanation for the success of the Group of 5 team holding that 13-6 straight up edge. The Group of 5 team is almost always max motivated, as will be the case for UCF in this game as they are 12-0 and feel like they belong in the four-team playoff.
Conversely, the Power 5 team is not motivated. It’s a lose-lose situation for them. If they win the game they were expected to win anyways. If they lose the game, it looks really bad. And that Power 5 team likely just missed out on the four-team playoff or a bigger bowl game dating back to the BCS era.
That is the case for Auburn here. The Tigers would have made the four-team playoff had they beaten Georgia for a second time in the SEC Championship Game. Instead, they lost that game and now have to settle for the Peach Bowl. They will still be disappointed that they aren’t in the playoff, and they won’t be fully motivated for this game.
UCF has made me a lot of money this season, going 12-0 SU & 7-3-1 ATS. The Knights were really undervalued early in the year going 5-0 ATS in their last first five games while winning each of their first seven games by double-digits. I think the fact that they went just 2-3 ATS in their final five games has them undervalued.
The schedule got tougher and the pressure mounted down the stretch. They beat South Florida 49-42 to get in the AAC Championship Game, then had to face a revenge-minded Memphis team that they had beaten 40-13 earlier in the year. Memphis gave them all they wanted in a 62-55 overtime win.
I think the experience from those two close games will pay dividends for them in this game against Auburn, which I expect to be close as well. And instead of having a huge target on their backs like they did during their 12-0 run, they get to be the hunters in this game. All the pressure is on Auburn, a big-name team from the SEC with the target on their backs in this one.
I also love the fact that Scott Frost has remained with the team and will coach this game. He will keep his assistants with him before they move on full time to Nebraska after this game. It shows a lot about the character of Frost in wanting to see this unbeaten 13-0 season through.
"There's some unusual circumstances, but our staff is completely committed and we're going to do everything we can for this football team," Frost said. "It's an honor to be invited to this game. These players have poured their hearts out to accomplish a lot this year."
The Knights lead the nation in scoring offense at 49.4 points per game. They also have an elite defense, giving up just 25.2 points per game. They won’t be overmatched athletically as Frost did a tremendous job of recruiting athletes that can compete with SEC teams. The Tigers are 0-4-1 ATS in their last five non-conference games. Take UCF in the Peach Bowl Monday.
|12-30-17||Wisconsin v. Miami-FL +6||34-24||Loss||-103||83 h 54 m||Show|
15* Wisconsin/Miami Orange Bowl ANNIHILATOR on Miami +6
No Power 5 team played a softer schedule than Wisconsin this season. The Badgers played in the weak Big Ten West Division and took advantage. That is evident in the fact that they were double-digit favorites in 11 of their 12 regular season games this year.
We saw that weak schedule catch up to them in the Big Ten Championship in a 21-27 loss to Ohio State, which is also a team that I think is overrated. But that game was a bigger blowout than the final score showed. The Badgers were outgained by 151 yards by the Buckeyes and should have lost by more.
Now the Badgers will have to deal with either the first or second-best team they have faced all season in Miami. The Hurricanes went through the gauntlet this season in the ACC, and they also beat Notre Dame 41-8 out of conference. I think they come into this game undervalued due to losing their final two games to Pittsburgh and Clemson on the road after their 10-0 start.
I like this matchup for the Hurricanes. Their front seven is loaded with athletes that will be able to slow down Wisconsin’s running game. The Hurricanes only allow 146 rushing yards per game and 3.5 per carry this season. And they have a ball-hawking secondary, forcing 22 turnovers in their last seven games. That could be a problem for Wisconsin QB Alex Hornibrook, who has thrown 15 interceptions this year.
Wisconsin didn’t handle the most athletic team they’ve seen this season in Ohio State very well. They gave up 449 total yards to the Buckeyes and were held to just 298 total yards themselves. They gave up 238 rushing yards to Ohio State. I have no doubt Miami’s athletes are going to be a problem in this game on both sides of the ball for the slower Badgers.
I also question Wisconsin’s motivation in this game. It’s the second straight year that the Badgers have had to play in a second-tier bowl game. Had they beaten Ohio State, they would have made the four-team playoff. After letting that opportunity slip through their grasps, I don’t think they’ll be nearly as motivated to win the Orange Bowl.
This is going to be a home game for the Hurricanes being played at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami. That is a huge advantage for their team as this has become a rabid fan base once again now that Mark Richt has put the program back on the map. And Richt has proven to be a quality coach with extra time to prepare, going 10-5 SU & 9-6 ATS in his career in bowl games.
"It means a lot," defensive lineman Kendrick Norton said. "Obviously, it's going to be like a home game for us, so we will be comfortable. Miami hasn't been (in the Orange Bowl) for a while, so we have a lot of pride in getting there and doing well.”
The Hurricanes went 7-0 at home this season and outscored opponents by 18.0 points per game. Miami is 4-0 ATS in its last four home games vs. a team with a winning road record. The Hurricanes are 6-2 ATS in their last eight non-conference games. I believe the wrong team is favored in this game. Take Miami Saturday.
|12-30-17||Washington v. Penn State -1.5||Top||28-35||Win||100||79 h 35 m||Show|
20* Washington/Penn State Fiesta Bowl No-Brainer on Penn State -1.5
Penn State is good enough to be a playoff team. Their two losses this season came by a combined 4 points to Ohio State and Michigan State both on the road. In fact, they have now lost three games over the past year and a half by a combined 7 points when you factor in their 52-49 loss to USC in the Rose Bowl last year. I would argue that they are the best team in the Big Ten right now.
The Nittany Lions are loaded on offense with Trace McSorley, Saquon Barkley and four receivers with 40-plus receptions this season. They average 41.6 points per game. They also have an elite defense that gives up 15.5 points per game. I think the Nittany Lions are the more battle-tested team playing a much tougher schedule in the Big Ten East division.
I’m way down on the Pac-12 in these bowl games. I’ve faded several Pac-12 teams with success up to this point. Washington played a very soft schedule this season and isn’t battle-tested. The Huskies lost to both Arizona State and Stanford on the road this season, managing just 7 points and 230 total yards against ASU and 22 points and 315 total yards against Stanford.
And that’s the problem for the Huskies and why I don’t trust them. Quarterback Jake Browning has come up short time and time again in big games. He was off the mark against Stanford and ASU this year, and he was overwhelmed against both USC and Alabama last year. He has thrown for only 2,544 yards and 18 touchdowns on the season.
McSorley has upped his play in the biggest games with what he did against USC last year and at Ohio State this year on the road, leading the Nittany Lions to 49 and 38 points against those two teams, respectively. He has accounted for 37 total touchdowns this season with 26 passing and 11 rushing. I simply trust McSorley more than Browning at the all-important QB position in what is otherwise a pretty evenly matched game elsewhere on the field.
The Nittany Lions are 16-4-2 ATS in their last 22 games overall. They have been extremely undervalued for two straight seasons now. James Franklin is 7-0 ATS off two consecutive wins by 10 points or more over conference opponents as the coach of Penn State. Franklin is 7-0 ATS off a road win as the coach of the Nittany Lions. Franklin is 9-0 ATS off three straight conference wins as the coach of Penn State. Take these three 100% never lost systems straight to the bank today. Bet Penn State Saturday.
|12-29-17||USC +8.5 v. Ohio State||Top||7-24||Loss||-115||59 h 25 m||Show|
20* USC/Ohio State Cotton Bowl No-Brainer on USC +8.5
This is a classic case of Urban Meyer and Ohio State getting way too much respect in another bowl game. There’s no way this line should be 8.5 or even over a touchdown. It should be close to Ohio State -3, and I wouldn’t be surprised if USC won this game outright.
I question the Buckeyes’ motivation a little in this game because they thought they did enough to make the four-team playoff by winning the Big Ten. But a 16-31 home loss to Oklahoma and a 24-55 road loss at Iowa as 18-point favorites did them in, and I 100% agree with the committee they aren’t one of the best four teams in the country. They have to be deflated a little playing in this second-tier bowl game.
USC, on the other hand, was never going to make the four-team playoff after losing two games to Washington State and Notre Dame both on the road midseason. But I like the way this team fought back by going 5-0 over their final five games. I think they’re more than happy to be playing in the Cotton Bowl after beating Stanford in the Pac-12 Championship because they were never talked about for the four-team playoff down the stretch.
It seemed like every time Ohio State took a step up in class this season they did not play well. They lost to Oklahoma and Iowa as mentioned before. They needed to erase a 19-point deficit at home to beat Penn State 39-38. They trailed Michigan most the way before winning 31-20. And they couldn’t put away Wisconsin in a 27-21 win in the Big Ten Championship. I would argue USC is the best team they have faced since Oklahoma, so I don’t know how oddsmakers can expect them to beat the Trojans by more than a touchdown.
USC has played Big Ten teams each of the last three seasons in bowls. They went 2-1 with their only loss coming 21-23 to Wisconsin. They beat Penn State 52-49 last year in the Rose Bowl, the same Penn State team that had beaten Ohio State. They racked up 575 total yards on the Nittany Lions behind 453 passing from Sam Darnold. He’ll be ultra-motivated to put on another lasting impression and improve his draft stock. He threw 14 touchdowns with just 3 interceptions over his final seven games this season.
The Buckeyes are 0-4 ATS in their last four non-conference games. Ohio State is 1-4 ATS in its last five games following a win. The Buckeyes are 3-7 ATS in their last 10 games vs. a team with a winning record. They padded their stats against weak Big Ten teams this year. Now they take a massive step up in class in the Cotton Bowl. Bet USC Friday.
|12-28-17||Michigan State +1 v. Washington State||42-17||Win||100||43 h 35 m||Show|
15* Michigan State/Washington State Holiday Bowl BAILOUT on Michigan State +1
This line is moving toward Michigan State for good reason. Washington State opened as a 4.5-point favorite and now is only a 1-point favorite and even underdogs in some spots. I totally agree with this move as I currently lock in Michigan State as a 1-point underdog in the Holiday Bowl.
For starters, Mark Dantonio is 17-4 ATS in his last 21 games as an underdog. I realize the Spartans may not be dogs by the time this game goes off. But it’s still worth noting and just goes to show how he has been one of the most underrated head coaches in the country. He almost always exceeds expectations.
That was certainly the case this season as nothing was expected from Michigan State after they went just 3-9 last year. They returned only eight starters from that squad. It was a young team, and Dantonio worked his magic by getting the Spartans to 9-3. Now they have a chance for their fourth 10-win season in the past five years and will be highly motivated to get it.
It wasn’t a fluky 9-3, either. Michigan State actually outgained 10 of its 12 opponents this season with he only exceptions both coming on the road at Ohio State and Michigan, and they beat Michigan 14-10 as 13-point dogs. They are outgaining opponents by 80 yards per game on the season. Their defense has been very good, giving up just 298 yards per game.
I really question Washington State’s motivation coming into this game. The Cougars had a chance to get to the Pac-12 Championship in their season finale against Washington for a second consecutive season. And for a second straight year, they fell flat on their faces with a 14-41 loss at 9.5-point underdogs. Luke Falk was overwhelmed and played one of the worst games of his career with 3 interceptions. After playing for such high stakes and coming up short, I can’t see the Cougars being all that motivated to play Michigan State here.
Now Falk’s job gets even tougher due to the losses of his two best receivers in Tavares Martin Jr. and Isaiah Johnson0Mack, who have both been dismissed from the team heading into the bowl game. These two combined for 130 receptions, 1,386 receiving yards and 14 touchdowns this season. The fact that both aren’t playing helps explain this line move in Michigan State’s favor.
Washington State hasn’t fared very well in the three bowl games under Mike Leach over the past four seasons. Despite being favored in all three games, the Cougars have gone just 1-2 SU & 1-2 ATS. They lost as 5-point favorites to Colorado State in 2013, barely beat Miami 20-14 as 3-point favorites in 2015, and lost 12-17 to Minnesota as 10-point favorites last year. The Spartans are by far the best bowl team that the Cougars will have faced in the Leach era.
The Spartans have been impressive in bowl games over the last six years under Dantonio. They have gone 4-1 SU & 4-1 ATS despite being underdogs in all five. They lost to Alabama in the four-team playoff two years ago, but upset Georgia, TCU, Stanford and Baylor in their previous four bowl games.
Dantonio is 6-0 ATS in road games off a double-digit road win as the coach of Michigan State. The Spartans are 12-1 ATS in their last 13 games after allowing 150 or fewer yards in their previous game. The Cougars are 1-5 ATS in their last six vs. Big Ten opponents. Take Michigan State Thursday.
|12-28-17||Virginia Tech v. Oklahoma State -4||Top||21-30||Win||100||69 h 54 m||Show|
20* VA Tech/Oklahoma State Camping World Bowl No-Brainer on Oklahoma State -4
The Oklahoma State Cowboys were a national title contender coming into the season. So their 9-3 record is a bit of a disappointment, but it also has them coming into the bowl season undervalued. This team is among the Top 10 in the country talent-wise, and I think the price is cheap here as only 4-point favorites over the VA Tech Hokies in the Camping World Bowl because of it.
The Cowboys were a very public team after a 3-0 SU & 3-0 ATS start with three blowout victories. But they couldn’t live up to the expectations after that, going just 3-6 ATS over their final nine games as they were consistently laying big numbers that they couldn’t cover. But now they are in the type of price range that’s easy for them to cover as they basically just have to win the game by a touchdown or more here.
The three losses came to Oklahoma, TCU and Kansas State at home, and they were competitive in all three games. Most impressively is the fact that Oklahoma State went 6-0 on the road. The Cowboys averaged 42.7 points and 532 yards per game on the road while giving up just 25.5 points and 345 yards per game on the highway. They outscored teams by 17.2 points per game and outgunned them by 187 yards per game on the road this season.
Everyone knows about Oklahoma State’s high-powered offense that averages 46.2 points, 576 yards per game and 7.3 yards per play on the season against teams that allow 28.7 points, 420 yards per game and 5.9 per play. They are topping their opponent’s season averages by 17.5 points per game, 156 yards per game and 1.4 per play. Mason Rudolph is one of the best quarterbacks in the country, completing 65% of his passes for 4,553 yards with 35 touchdowns and only 9 interceptions while averaging 10.0 per attempt.
But most folks don’t realize how improved Oklahoma State’s defense is this season. The Cowboys are allowing only 400 yards per game and 5.5 per play against teams that average 415 yards per game and 5.9 per play. Their defense fell off toward the end of the year against Oklahoma, and then with hangover games against Iowa State and Kansas State. But this defense is loaded with speed and talent and will be re-focused for this bowl game against Virginia Tech.
The Hokies have a great defense, there’s no question, but their offense is just average. They score 28.7 points pre game and average 5.4 yards per play against teams that give up 5.6 per play. They struggle to throw the football, and they are stubborn trying to run the ball. They average 44 rushing attempts per game, but only 167 rushing yards per game and 3.8 per carry.
Virginia Tech’s offense won’t be able to keep up with Mason Rudolph and company in this one. That’s especially the case now that they are going to be without two of their best playmakers in WR Cam Phillips and RB Travon McMillian. Phillips is the leading receiver on the team by a landslide with 71 receptions for 964 yards and 7 touchdowns, so his loss is huge. McMillian leads the team in rushing and is a significant loss as well.
Oklahoma State is 28-12 ATS in its last 40 games after scoring 50 points or more in its last game. Mike Gundy is 19-10 ATS as a favorite of 3.5 to 10 points as the coach of Oklahoma State. Gundy is 15-4 ATS after two straight games with 40 or more pass attempts as the coach of the Cowboys. The Cowboys are 5-0 ATS in their last five non-conference games. Bet Oklahoma State Thursday.
|12-27-17||Purdue +3.5 v. Arizona||Top||38-35||Win||100||203 h 40 m||Show|
20* Purdue/Arizona Foster Farms Bowl No-Brainer on Purdue +3.5
Jeff Brohm seriously deserved coach of the year consideration for the job he did at Purdue this season. He took a team that was 9-39 over the past four seasons and got them to 6-6 and a bowl game in the rugged Big Ten. This team was undervalued all seasons with their 8-4 ATS record, and I think they remain undervalued as underdogs here to Arizona in the Foster Farms Bowl.
What the Boilermakers did down the stretch shows how badly they wanted to make a bowl game. They went 3-1 over their final four games, beating Illinois 29-10 at home, Iowa 24-15 as 6-point road underdogs, and Indiana 31-24 at home. That Indiana game was a 31-10 blowout late in the fourth quarter before giving up two garbage touchdowns late. And in their lone loss, they put up 438 total yards against a very good Northwestern team in a 13-23 road loss. They outgained the Wildcats in that contest.
So there’s no question that Purdue wants to be playing in this bowl game. It will be their first bowl game since 2012 and only their third bowl appearance in the last 10 years. And Brohm is 2-0 in his career in bowl games. At Western Kentucky, they beat Memphis 51-31 as 7-point favorites in 2016 and USF 45-35 as 2-point favorites in 2015. I trust Brohm and his players to come forth with a big effort in this game Wednesday.
Brohm was known for his offense at Western Kentucky, and while they do have a solid offense that averages 5.6 yards per play against teams that only allow 5.3 per play, the real improvement on this team has come on defense. The Boilermakers only allow 19.3 points per game and 5.2 yards per play against teams that average 28.6 yards per game and 5.7 per play. They are holding opponents to 9.3 points and 0.5 yards per play below their season averages. That’s the sign of an elite defense.
I think Arizona remains overvalued due to the Khalil Tate factor. He has taken the college football world by storm. And he started off tremendous against some bad teams, but then teams got film on him and the Wildcats struggled down the stretch. Arizona went 1-3 SU & 1-3 ATS over its final four games with its only win coming against terrible Oregon State. The Wildcats lost all three games by double-digits.
No question Purdue has a massive edge on defense in this game. And the matchup favors this Purdue defense because stopping Tate and the running game is the key. The Boilermakers are equipped to do just that. They give up just 132 rushing yards per game and 3.6 per carry against opponents that average 174 rushing yards per game and 4.5 per carry on average. They are holding teams to 42 yards and 0.9 per carry less than their season averages.
Arizona has one of the worst defenses in the country. They give up 34.1 points, 464 yards per game and 6.0 yards per play against teams that average 28 points, 420 yards per game and 5.7 per play. The Wildcats have allowed 37 or more points in six of their last eight games coming into this bowl game. It’s a defense that cannot be trusted, and certainly one that can’t be trusted to lay points here.
While Brohm is 2-0 SU & 2-0 ATS in bowl games, Arizona head coach Rich Rodriquez has been terrible in bowl games. Rodriquez is just 3-7 ATS in his career in bowl games. Arizona barely beat New Mexico last year and barely beat Nevada a few years back. The Wildcats lost when they took a step up in class in recent bowl games against Oklahoma State and Boise State. And I think Purdue is a step up in class for them here. The Wildcats are also 1-5 ATS in their last six bowl games.
Rodriquez is 1-10 ATS in road games after three straight games where 60 or more points were scored in all games he has coached. Brohm is 10-2 ATS versus good rushing teams averaging 4.75 or more yards per carry in all games he has coached. Arizona is 0-7 ATS in road games off two straight conference games over the last two seasons. The Wildcats are 0-6 ATS in road games in the second half of the season over the last two seasons. Purdue is 6-0 ATS in road games off one or more straight overs over the last two years. The Wildcats are 0-4 ATS in their last four neutral site games. The Boilermakers are 4-0 ATS in their last four non-conference games. These seven trends combine for a 47-3 system backing the Boilermakers. Bet Purdue Wednesday.
|12-27-17||Boston College v. Iowa -2.5||20-27||Win||100||45 h 56 m||Show|
15* Boston College/Iowa Pinstripe Bowl ANNIHILATOR on Iowa -2.5
Let’s just start out with the fact that Iowa is going to be highly motivated for a victory in this bowl game. The Hawkeyes have lost five straight bowl games and really want to end that streak. But there’s a reason they’ve lost five straight because they have been underdogs in all five against superior competition.
The five losses have come to Oklahoma as 13-point dogs, LSU as 7-point dogs, Tennessee as 3-point dogs, Stanford as 6-point dogs and Florida as 3-point dogs. Now they finally get to take a step down in class after a 7-5 season against 7-5 Boston College. And they’re favored for a reason here because they are clearly the better team. And these Iowa seniors will be motivated to taste their first bowl victory.
Iowa closed it season with a 56-14 blowout at Nebraska. Four of Iowa’s five losses this season came by single-digits, and the one exception was a loss at Wisconsin the week after their 55-24 win over Ohio State. That was arguably the best win of the season of any team in college football against the Buckeyes, and it was clearly a massive letdown spot the next week against Wisconsin.
Boston College had a very impressive season with one of the youngest teams in the country. But a big reason for the Eagles’ success was freshman quarterback Anthony Brown. This offense isn’t nearly as explosive without Brown’s dual-threat ability. He has missed the final two games of the season.
I think people will see that Boston College blew out its final opponents so the Brown loss isn’t that big. But one of the wins was against one of the worst teams in college football in UConn 39-16, and the other was against a Syracuse team that was without starting quarterback Eric Dungey by a final of 42-14. UConn and Syracuse have terrible defenses, and this will be a big step up in class for backup QB Darius Wade against this Iowa defense.
Boston College only averages 163 passing yards per game and 5.7 per attempt. So the key to stopping the Eagles is stopping their running game, which averages 224 yards per game and 4.7 per carry. That makes this a perfect matchup for head coach Kirk Ferentz and this Iowa defense. His teams have always thrived against power-running teams, and that will show in this next trend.
Ferentz is 36-15 ATS versus good rushing teams averaging 200 or more rushing yards per game as the coach of Iowa. The Hawkeyes gave up just 19.9 points per game this season, and they allowed just 142 rushing yards per game and 4.1 per carry in the rugged Big Ten. Iowa is 55-28 ATS in its last 83 games after failing to cover the spread in two of its last three games coming in. The Eagles are 2-6 ATS in their last eight bowl games. The Eagles are 1-4 ATS in their last five vs. Big Ten opponents. Boston College is 1-8 ATS in its last nine December games. Take Iowa in the Pinstripe Bowl Wednesday.
|12-26-17||Kansas State v. UCLA UNDER 60.5||35-17||Win||100||25 h 31 m||Show|
15* Kansas State/UCLA Cactus Bowl BAILOUT on UNDER 60.5
Josh Rosen, the potential No. 1 overall pick in this year’s draft, is doubtful to play in this game with a concussion. The line moving from K-State -2.5 to -6.5 indicates he is not going to play. That completely changes the complexion of this game, and I think the UNDER is a great beat tonight.
Rosen means everything to this offense. He is completing 62.5 percent of his passes for 3,717 yards with 26 touchdowns and 10 interceptions on the season while averaging 8.2 per attempt. Backup Devon Modster hasn’t been nearly as effective in spot duty for him. Look for the Bruins to go to more of a run-first approach without him.
Running the ball certainly isn’t a strength of the Bruins. They are averaging just 120 rushing yards per game and 3.9 per carry. Kansas State been tremendous at stopping the run this season, holding opponents to just 122 rushing yards per game and 3.6 per carry.
The Wildcats once again feature a methodical offense that likes to churn yards out on the ground. They only average 182 passing yards per game. They rush 39 times per game for 187 yards per game and 4.8 per carry. They will keep the ball on the ground in this game and churn out yards and burn clock.
Kansas State is also likely to go with a redshirt freshman at quarterback due to injuries to starter Jesse Ertz and backup Alex Delton. He went 10-of-21 for 152 yards in the season finale against Iowa State. He isn’t likely to handle this big stage that well, and the game plan will be conservative with him under center.
Plays on the UNDER on neutral field teams where the total is between 56.5 and 63 (UCLA) - off a home win against a conference rival against an opponent off a win against a conference rival are 28-9 (75.7%) over the last 10 seasons. The UNDER is 4-1 in Wildcats last five December games. Take the UNDER in this game Tuesday.
|12-26-17||Utah v. West Virginia UNDER 57||Top||30-14||Win||100||172 h 41 m||Show|
25* College Bowl TOTAL OF THE YEAR on Utah/West Virginia UNDER 57
I expect a low-scoring affair between Utah and West Virginia today. The biggest reason is that West Virginia is going to be without starting quarterback Will Grier, who means everything to their offense. They will have to go to a more run-first approach without him.
Grier was one of the better quarterbacks in the country this season. He completed 64.4 percent of his passes for 3,490 yards with 34 touchdowns and 12 interceptions while averaging 9.0 per attempt. Backup Chris Chugunov completes just 54.8 percent of his passes and averages 6.6 per attempt in limited action in Grier’s place.
Utah boasts an elite defense once again this season that gives up just 23.9 points, 353 yards per game and 5.2 per play against teams that average 29.5 points, 405 yards and 5.8 per play. They are stout up front and will be able to limit WVU’s run-heavy attack in this one.
Utah also insists on running the football more than it throws it. But the Utes have struggled to run the ball this year. They average 39 attempts for 161 yards per game and 4.1 per carry against teams that give up 188 yards per game and 4.6 per carry on the ground. They are a below-average running team.
Utah is 29-10 UNDER in its last 39 road games after gaining 6.25 or more yards per play in its previous game. The UNDER is 5-1 in Utah last six games following a win by more than 20 points. The UNDER is 7-1 in Mountaineers last eight December games. Bet the UNDER in this game Tuesday.
|12-24-17||Houston v. Fresno State OVER 49||27-33||Win||100||131 h 42 m||Show|
15* Houston/Fresno State Hawai’i Bowl BAILOUT on OVER 49
I think the fact that both Houston and Fresno State were heavy under teams during the regular season is giving us value to pull the trigger on the OVER in the Hawai’i Bowl. The Cougars went 2-9 to the under this season, while the Bulldogs went 3-9-1 to the under this year.
But we’ve seen this story in bowl games before. Offenses pull out new tricks with all of that extra time to prepare, and I think that will certainly be the case here. Both head coaches in Jeff Tedford and Major Applewhite are great offensive minds who got their jobs because of the work they’ve done on the offensive side of the football.
Fresno State made its run to a trip to the MWC title game after quarterback Marcus McMaryion took over the reigns after the non-conference portion of the schedule. He went on to complete 61.1 percent of his passes for 2,384 yards with 14 touchdowns and only 4 interceptions while averaging 7.9 per attempt. He also rushed for 250 yards and two scores on 5.1 per carry.
The same thing happened for Houston once D’Eriq King took over at quarterback four the final four games of the season. He has completed 69.8 percent of his passes for 991 yards with a 6-to-1 TD/INT ratio while averaging 10.3 per attempt. King also brings a big rushing element to the offense, rushing for 341 yards and eight scores while averaging 5.4 per carry. He has 15 pass plays of 20 or more yards, including touchdowns of 61, 62 and 75 yards despite such limited action.
Tedford is 17-5 OVER in non-conference road games in all games he has coached. We’re seeing an average of 61.6 points per game on average in this spot. The OVER is 12-5-1 in Bulldogs last 18 non-conference games. Perfect conditions inside Aloha Stadium in Hawai’i will also help aid this OVER. Bet the OVER in the Hawai’i Bowl Sunday.
|12-23-17||Army v. San Diego State -6.5||Top||42-35||Loss||-115||102 h 52 m||Show|
20* Army/San Diego State Armed Forces Bowl ANNIHILATOR on San Diego State -6.5
Despite being 10-2 this season, I think the San Diego State Aztecs are actually being undervalued because they didn’t win the Mountain West. But they basically gave the game away to Boise State, and they suffered a hangover the next week against Fresno State, the two teams that played in the Mountain West Championship.
Rocky Long has done a great job of refocusing the Aztecs and getting them to finish the season strong following those two losses. This is a team that beat both Arizona State and Stanford earlier in the season, and then they finishes the year by going 4-0 SU & 4-0 ATS over their final four games with four straight wins all by 19 points or more.
Now Rocky Long gets extra time to prepare for Army’s triple-option. I always like fading triple-option teams when their opponent has extra time to prepare. And Long is used to facing triple-option teams having to play Air Force every season. And boy do his defenses know how to stop them. In his time at San Diego State, Long’s teams are 13-2 SU & 12-3 ATS in 15 games against triple-option teams.
I really question Army’s motivation in this bowl game. They just upset Navy for a second consecutive year with a late touchdown to win 14-13. That game was their Super Bowl, and they won’t nearly be as motivated to face San Diego State as they were to face Navy.
Army was a very fortunate team this season, going 5-2 in games decided by a touchdown or less. I don’t think the Black Knights are nearly as good as their 9-3 record would suggest. And they played a much softer schedule than that of San Diego State. Seven of the Aztecs’ 10 wins came by double-digits, while only four of Army’s nine wins came by double-digits, and those were against Fordham, UTEP, Rice and Air Force.
Rocky Long’s teams always get after it defensively, and this year has been no exception. They only give up 18.4 points, 299 yards per game and 5.1 yards per play this season. They have been extremely good at stopping the run, allowing just 111 rushing yards per game and 3.5 per carry. That makes this an excellent matchup for their defense.
San Diego State actually has one of the best offenses it has had in years this season. The Aztecs average 30.4 points per game. They are led by a ground attack that produces 253 yards per game and 5.5 per carry. Army gives up 5.0 per carry, so this is also a good matchup for their offense. Rashaad Penny, one of the most underrated players in college football, rushed for 2,027 yards and 19 touchdowns this season while averaging 7.4 per carry. He’ll be primed for a big game in this one.
The Aztecs have won their last two bowl games in blowout fashion with a 34-10 win over Houston as 4-point dogs in the Las Vegas Bowl last year, and a 42-7 win over Cincinnati as 2-point favorites in the Hawai’i Bowl in 2015.
Plays on any team (San Diego State) - excellent rushing team averaging 4.8 or more yards per carry against a terrible rushing defense giving up 4.8 or more per carry after 7-plus games, after outrushing their last two opponents by 150 or more yards per game are 37-10 (78.7%) ATS since 1992. The Black Knights are 1-5 ATS in their last six vs. MWC opponents. Bet San Diego State Saturday.
|12-22-17||UAB +7.5 v. Ohio||Top||6-41||Loss||-110||75 h 43 m||Show|
20* UAB/Ohio Bahamas Bowl No-Brainer on UAB +7.5
The UAB Blazers have gone from not fielding a team the last two years to playing in their first bowl game in 13 seasons. Financial reasons forced them to close the football program after the 2014 season. But fundraising helped bring back the program in 2017, and the fan base has been behind them 100%.
Head coach Bill Clark did not leave the program after the 2014 season. He came back and led the Blazers to a school-record 8 wins. They went 8-4 overall and finished 6-2 in Conference USA’s West Division. Now they’ll be playing in their first bowl game since 2004, and it’s safe to say that no team will be more happy to be playing in a bowl this year than them.
Clark is deserving of winning Coach of the Year honors, and many speculated that he would leave for greener pastures. But Clark has shown his loyalty to the program by recently signing a five-year extension. That will give the team a huge boost and eliminate any possible distractions.
While UAB is happy to be here, I think Ohio is still suffering a hangover effect from losing its final two games of the season. Those losses cost the Bobcats a chance to play for the MAC Championship. They were upset 34-37 at Akron as 15.5-point dogs, and then watched Akron go on to get blown out by Toledo in the MAC Championship and by FAU in the Boca Raton Bowl. The Bobcats also lost 24-31 at Buffalo in the finale.
The Bobcats’ ground game is their strength, but that takes a big hit now that leading rusher A.J. Oullette (985 yards, 7 TD) is doubtful with a shoulder injury. That will allow UAB to focus in more on stopping QB Nathan Rourke (877 yards, 21 TD). And UAB only gives up 188 passing yards per game and 51.4% completions this season, so they are equipped to stop Rourke if he decided to air it out more.
Head coach Frank Solich hasn’t been very good at pushing the right buttons with players leading up to bowl games. He is 4-9 in his career in bowl games, including 2-6 at Ohio. The Bobcats have lost three straight bowl games, and the opponents haven’t been very good in East Carolina, Appalachian State and Troy. I don’t trust Solich’s ability to regroup this team after such a deflating finish to the season losing out on a chance at a MAC title.
Plays against any team (Ohio) off two straight losses to conference rivals, allowing 31 points or more in each, in a game involving two good teams winning 60% to 80% of their games are 28-8 (77.8%) ATS over the last 10 seasons. The Blazers are 5-0 ATS in their last five games vs. a team with a winning record. Bet UAB in the Bahamas Bowl Friday.
|12-20-17||Louisiana Tech +5 v. SMU||51-10||Win||100||34 h 13 m||Show|
15* LA Tech/SMU Frisco Bowl ANNIHILATOR on LA Tech +5
The LA Tech Bulldogs are one of the most underrated teams heading into bowl season. That’s because they went just 6-6 this season, but they were better than that record suggests. In fact, three of their losses this season came by a single points, and they went 1-4 in games decided by a touchdown or less.
But give head coach Skip Holtz and the Bulldogs credit for continuing to fight. They needed to win each of their final two games to get into a bowl, and they did just that with a 42-21 win at UTEP as 16-point favorites, and a 20-6 home win over UTSA as 1-point favorites. This team will clearly be happy to be playing in a ball after the way they fought for it down the stretch.
"The competitive nature of this team and the will to fight, that's been consistent all throughout the season." Louisiana Tech senior running back Boston Scott said. "We're going to go out there and play hard -- we know what's at stake. We have to have that single-elimination mindset; it's win or end with a loss. I'm looking forward to seeing this team compete."
Holtz has certainly been a coach you want to back in these bowl games. He is 3-0 in bowl games as the head coach at Louisiana Tech. They beat Illinois 35-18 in in the 2014 Heart of Dallas Bowl, topped Arkansas State 47-28 in the 2015 New Orleans Bowl, and then won a wild 48-45 game against Navy in the 2016 Armed Forces bowl.
No doubt SMU players were happy to clinch a bowl berth back on October 27th with their 38-34 win over Tulsa. But they struggled down the stretch to stay motivated, going 1-3 SU & 1-3 ATS in their final four games overall. They were fortunate to beat Tulane 41-38 as 8-point favorites in their season finale at home as the Green Wave came up inches short of a game-winning TD in the closing seconds.
Now I really question the motivation of this team. Head coach Chad Morris has abandoned the team and left for the Arkansas job, and he took a handful of assistants with him. New head coach Sonny Dykes hasn’t had time to install his preferred Air Raid offense, so he will just sit back and let some of the team’s remaining assistants call the game and let his new team play to their strengths. That sounds like a disaster waiting to happen, and I just can’t imagine these SMU players being as focused as they normally would be coming into a game.
It’s just hard to trust SMU in this game with the way they play defense. They give up 35.5 points, 487 yards per game and 6.7 yards per play on the season. Compare that to LA Tech, which allows 26.7 points, 395 yards per game and 5.8 per play, and it’s easy to see which team has the superior defense in this one. I think that will be the difference in this game, plus the fact that the Bulldogs will be the more focused, motivated team.
SMU is 1-9 ATS in its last 10 games off a close home win by 3 points or less. LA Tech is 8-1 ATS versus poor rushing defenses that allow 200 or more yards per game over the last three seasons. The Mustangs are 1-6 ATS in their last seven games overall. The Bulldogs are 4-1 ATS in their last five bowl games. Bet Louisiana Tech Wednesday.
|12-19-17||Akron +23.5 v. Florida Atlantic||Top||3-50||Loss||-110||9 h 14 m||Show|
20* Akron/FAU Boca Raton Bowl No-Brainer on Akron +23.5
For starters, this is the biggest spread in college football bowl history. I’ll gladly take the underdog in this situation as this 23.5-point spread has gotten out of hand for a number of reasons. The value is clearly with Akron in the Boca Raton Bowl Tuesday.
This is an Akron team that has been underrated for most of the season. Nobody expected them to go to the MAC Championship, but that’s precisely what they did. The key was their 37-34 win over Ohio as 15.5-point underdogs. There was nothing fluky about that win as they outgunned Ohio by 48 yards.
I like the fact that in the MAC Championship Game, they could have packed it in when they fell behind big early. But they kept fighting and wound up covering as 20.5-point underdogs in a 28-45 loss to Toledo, which is a better team than Florida Atlantic.
The Zips are very happy to be playing in a bowl game and will be motivated to try to pull the upset and finish their season with a winning record. After all, this is only their third bowl game in the history of the program. It’s only their second bowl appearance in the past 11 seasons. They now get to head down to some warm weather in Florida and couldn’t be more excited to be here.
I think Florida Atlantic comes in way overvalued after going 9-0 SU & 7-2 ATS in their last nine games overall. The betting public has caught on to this team and has driven this line all the way up to 23.5. Their season is a success no matter what happens in this game, because they just won Conference USA with a 41-17 victory over North Texas.
They won their conference, and there really isn’t anything more to accomplish. And what is Florida Atlantic’s reward for winning a down Conference USA? They get to play another home game here. The betting public will look at that as a good thing, but I don’t believe it’s a good thing at all. They would much rather travel somewhere to a better destination. These players won’t be excited at all to stay home. Their lack of motivation in this game will make it very difficult to cover this 23.5-point spread in spite of their big talent edge.
Akron is 6-0 ATS after covering the spread in two of their last three games this season. Florida Atlantic is 25-42 ATS in its last 67 home games. The Zips are 21-8 ATS in their last 29 games versus good rushing teams who average 4.75 or more yards per carry. Akron is 6-1 ATS in its last seven vs. a team with a winning record. The Zips are 8-2 ATS in their last 10 games overall. The Owls are 2-6 ATS in their last eight non-conference games.
Plays against home favorites (Florida Atlantic) - an excellent offensive team averaging 6.2 or more yards per play against a defense that gives up 5.6 to 6.2 yards per play after 7-plus games, in non-conference games are 22-5 (81.5%) ATS since 1992. Bet Akron Tuesday.
|12-16-17||North Texas v. Troy -6.5||Top||30-50||Win||100||68 h 23 m||Show|
20* North Texas/Troy 2017 Bowl Season Opener on Troy -6.5
The Troy Trojans are 10-2 this season. Their only losses came to Boise State and South Alabama. The Boise State loss was on the road and they were in it the entire way, and the South Alabama loss was a letdown spot following the biggest win in program history at LSU the previous week. Both losses were understandable.
This is a Troy team that is loaded with seniors. They will be motivated to win their 11th game and end their careers on top with a win in the New Orleans Bowl. And I certainly believe they are far and away the better team in this matchup with North Texas.
This is a North Texas team that was extremely fortunate to post a 9-4 record this year. The Mean Green went 5-0 in games decided by a touchdown or less. Every time they took a step up in class, they were blown out, and this is a step up as well. They lost by 22 at SMU, by 17 at Iowa, by 38 at Florida Atlantic and by 24 to FAU in the C-USA Championship. They trailed that game 34-0 before getting some garbage time scores.
Since that loss to South Alabama, Troy has gone 6-0 with five of those wins coming by 7 points or more. They are playing well and will be the superior team at the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. They give up just 3.0 yards per carry on defense, and they average 4.8 yards per carry on offense.
North Texas hasn’t been able to run the ball since losing arguably their best player in running back Jeffery Wilson. He was hurt in the Army game in their 11th game of the season. Wilson has rushed for 1,215 yards and accounted for 16 total touchdowns. The Mean Green managed just 81 rushing yards on 35 carries against Florida Atlantic in the C-USA title game. They are one-dimensional now, which will make the task much easier for Troy in this game.
Another big difference in this game is on the defensive side of the ball. Troy has one of the better defenses in the country, giving up just 17.5 points per game and 4.9 yards per play on the season. North Texas is one of the worst defensive teams, giving up 33.8 points pre game and 5.9 yards per play. That’s more than a 16-point difference.
The Trojans have a coaching edge in this game. Troy defensive coordinator Vic Koenning held the same title at North Carolina when North Texas head coach Seth Littrell was the offensive coordinator of the Tar Heels. The Trojans will be prepared for what they’re going to face defensively Saturday.
"He's a really good friend of mine. I respect what he's done," Brown said of Littrell. "Vic's got an understanding of who Seth is and what he's about.”
"I really like what those guys do on offense, so I've watched them quite a bit as the years have gone on," Brown said of North Texas. "I've got a good feel for what they're trying to do offensively. The Fine kid ... they recruited him hard here at Troy. He's doing a really good job."
Plays on neutral field favorites (Troy) after allowing 8 or more yards per passing attempt last game, with 8 offensive starters returning are 23-4 (85.2%) ATS since 1992. North Texas is 1-9 ATS in road games vs. good passing teams with a completion percentage of 58% or better over the last three seasons. The Mean Green are 3-13 ATS in their last 16 road games vs. good offensive teams that average 5.9 or more yards per play. Neal Brown is 13-3 ATS in Saturday road games as the coach of Troy. The Trojans are 9-3 ATS in their last 12 games vs. at team with a winning record. Bet Troy in the New Orleans Bowl Saturday.
|12-09-17||Army v. Navy -2.5||Top||14-13||Loss||-115||13 h 25 m||Show|
20* Army/Navy CBS Saturday No-Brainer on Navy -2.5
Navy had won 14 straight meetings with Army before finally losing to the Black Knights 21-17 last season. But that was an awful situation for the Midshipmen, to recently moved into the AAC. They played for the AAC Championship against Temple last year and lost that game.
Normally, Navy would have two weeks to get ready for Army. But that wasn’t the case last year as the Midshipmen had to play on Championship Week, while Army got two weeks to prepare. The Black Knights took advantage of that break and pulled off the upset.
That won’t be the case this year as both teams have two weeks to prepare. And you can bet Navy wasn’t happy about having to hear about losing to Army for 365 days. Look for the Midshipmen to be playing with a chip on their shoulder this week and to have a big brother mentality where they never want to lose to their little brother.
Let’s look at this game from a line value perspective. Navy has been favored by at least 6 points against Army in 14 consecutive meetings. They have been a double-digit favorite nine times during this stretch. Now they are only 2.5-point favorites this year, and I think the value is clearly with the Midshipmen because of it.
Sure, Army is improved at 8-3 this season, but the Black Knights have played an extremely soft schedule. They haven’t beaten a team with a winning record all season! The best wins they have are against 6-6 teams. And they’ve lost to Tulane and North Texas.
Navy has played the much more difficult schedule, and they’ve been in every game they played. They are 6-5 this season, but all five losses came by 10 points or less, and they came to five bowl teams with four of them on the road to Memphis, UCF, Temple, Notre Dame and Houston. They played all five teams right down to the wire, including a 17-24 loss at Notre Dame as 21-point dogs.
Army outgained teams by 38 yards per game on the season while Navy outgained teams by 39 yards per game, and that’s important when you consider how much more difficult Navy’s schedule was. This game will come down to which team stops the run.
Navy gives up 4.6 yards per carry against teams that average 5.1 per carry, holding them to 0.5 yards per carry below their season averages. Army gives up 4.8 per carry against teams that only average 4.3 per carry, actually giving up 0.5 per carry more than their opponents normally average. It’s clear that the Midshipmen have the better run defense.
Army is 6-21 ATS in its last 27 vs. poor pass defenses that allow 8.5 or more yards per attempt. Navy is 22-6 ATS in its last 28 road games after having lost two of its last three games coming in. The Black Knights are 14-35 ATS in their last 49 games following a bye week. Bet Navy Saturday.
|12-02-17||Ohio State v. Wisconsin +6||27-21||Push||0||42 h 29 m||Show|
15* Ohio State/Wisconsin Big Ten Championship No-Brainer on Wisconsin +6
Wisconsin just can’t get any love despite being unbeaten. Sure, they have played a softer schedule than most Power 5 teams, but they’ve also taken care of business and have outgained all 12 opponents during their 12-0 start. Nothing about their 12-0 record has been fluky as all 12 wins have come by 8 points or more, including a whopping 10 wins by 14 points or more.
The oddsmakers just haven’t been able to catch up with Wisconsin down the stretch, either, because the public perception on them has been so poor. All the Badgers have done is go 4-0 SU & 4-0 ATS in their last four games, covering the spread by a combined 45 points to absolutely demolish these spreads.
Now the Badgers are getting nearly a touchdown against Ohio State in the Big Ten Championship. I really think the value is with the Badgers in a game they probably win outright. You can bet head coach Paul Chryst is going to be playing the no respect card with this team. I think they are ready to take that next step and make their way into the four-team playoff.
Ohio State just gets love from the betting public because of the name on their jersey. But the Buckeyes have been far from impressive in their ‘step up’ games. They are just 2-7 ATS in their last nine games vs. a team with a winning record. The Urban Meyer ‘mystique’ is no longer there when playing these bigger games.
The Buckeyes lost at home to Oklahoma, needed a huge 4th quarter comeback to beat Penn State at home, and trailed Michigan most of the way last week on the road. Not to mention, they lost 24-55 at Iowa and were outgained by 116 yards. That’s the same Iowa team that Wisconsin beat 38-14 the next week while outgaining the Hawkeyes by 316 yards.
J.T. Barrett suffered a knee injury against Michigan last week that forced him to leave the game. He then had surgery on his knee this week, but he is expected to play. That’s not a quarterback I’d want to be backing with my money with the fact that he actually had surgery the week of a game. Barrett won’t be anywhere near 100% for this game.
It’s also a revenge game for Wisconsin after losing in overtime at home to Ohio State last year. The underdog is 12-3-1 ATS in the last 16 meetings in this series. Ohio State is 0-6 ATS off three straight conference wins over the last two seasons. Wisconsin is 10-1 ATS off one or more consecutive unders over the last two seasons. The Badgers are 7-0 ATS after allowing 17 points or less in four straight games over the last two seasons. Take Wisconsin Saturday.
|12-02-17||Troy v. Arkansas State||32-25||Win||100||42 h 44 m||Show|
15* Troy/Arkansas State Sun Belt ANNIHILATOR on Troy PK
This is a huge revenge game for the Troy Trojans. Last year, they were expected to win the Sun Belt and only needed to beat Arkansas State to do so. They fell flat on their faces and lost 3-35 at home despite being 10-point favorites.
This is a Troy team that returned 14 starters from that team and a ton of experience. They are the best team in the Sun Belt in my opinion, and this is a scary team when they are motivated. Now they prove they are the best team with a win over Arkansas State here.
We saw what they could do when they were motivated when they beat LSU outright on the road as 20.5-point underdogs earlier this year. That’s an LSU team that has since gone on to go 5-1 with its only loss coming to Alabama in a game where they actually outgained the Crimson Tide.
The Trojans are the fresher team as they had a bye two weeks ago before crushing Texas State 62-9 last week. Meanwhile, Arkansas State has had to play three straight weeks and is coming off a draining 67-50 shootout win over Louisiana Monroe. I like the freshness of Troy better and the motivation of Troy better in this game.
Troy has played the tougher schedule this season, yet still has put up the better numbers. The Trojans are averaging 6.4 yards per play on offense and giving up only 4.7 yards per play on defense. To compare, Arkansas State is at 6.2 yards per play on offense and giving up 5.4 yards per play on defense. With the Trojans having by far the superior defense, giving up 16.8 points per game this season compared to 24.2 for Arkansas State, that’s where this game is going to be decided.
Troy is 9-1 ATS in its last 10 games after outgaining its last two opponents by 125 or more total yards each. Plays on all teams where the line is +3 to -3 (TROY) - off a win by 10 points or more over a conference rival, with 4+ more total starters returning than opponent are 30-6 (83.3%) ATS over the last five seasons. Roll with Troy Saturday.