|Date||Match Up||Rating||Score||Result||Profit||Lead Time||Analysis|
|09-14-13||Georgia Tech -8.5 v. Duke||Top||38-14||Win||100||44 h 4 m||Show|
141 Georgia Tech v Duke
An extra week to prepare for Paul Johnson who in our opinion is one of the most underrated coaches in college football. The Yellow Jackets have owned the Blue Devils winning nine straight while doing so by an average of 21 ppg. Johnson is 22-15-2 ATS when put in the favorite role since coming to Atlanta, as he is at his best as a bully. Georgia Tech is a very experienced team with a great amount of returning starts under their belts. The last time Johnson had such a veteran team the Yellow Jackets posted an 11-3 record in 2009.
Duke just extended the contract of David Cutcliffe which was well deserved, but this team isn't as good as their 6-7 record from a year ago. The Blue Devils only out gained one opponent last year by more than 100 yards, Memphis, while being out gained by over 90 five times. While they do return 14 starters the three best skill position players have moved on. Losing starting QB Boone to injury last week doesn't help the cause. The last three seasons Duke has permitted 35.4, 31.2 and 36.0 points per game. That's not good news against a Georgia Tech offense that can simply wear you down.
The last five meetings has seen Georgia Tech as a double digit favorite each time, Duke hasn't made up enough ground in our eyes for this line to be in this range. Look for another dominating performance from the Yellow Jackets.
PLAY GEORGIA TECH
|09-07-13||Miami (OH) +17.5 v. Kentucky||Top||7-41||Loss||-110||96 h 5 m||Show|
307 Miami Ohio v Kentucky
The Redhawks were beaten in the opener at Marshall but that wasn't much of a surprise to us. We have Marshall as one of the most improved teams in the country, so a dominating home victory didn't come as a shocker. That line opened at 14 1/2 and rose all the way to 20 1/2 at close. But the money did not pour in on the Thundering Herd because of their opponent, it did so because of the massive improvement by Marshall. While Marshall won that game 52-14 on the scoreboard, keep in mind that contest was tied at 14 apiece at the half. Miami Ohio is a middle of the pack MAC team that has a good pedigree of winning. Miami lost star QB Dysert in the off-season but new starting QB Boucher has plenty of experience. The Redhawks were outclassed in the second half last week, but despite facing an SEC squad this week Kentucky is a step down in class.
Kentucky is coming off a neutral site loss to up and coming in-state rival Western Kentucky. The Wildcats entered that game in revenge mode for a 32-31 overtime loss to the Hilltoppers last season. Kentucky has another in-state rivalry revenge game on deck against Louisville. So despite the loss this is a major sandwich game for the host. Add in the fact that Kentucky pounded a fellow MAC team Kent State last year and we can see the Wildcats overlooking Miami here. Jalen Whitlow started at quarterback last week but Maxwell Smith came in and sparked the team in the second half. Smith will get the start here for the Wildcats. Smith has the better arm but Whitlow has the better running game. Defensively Kentucky has permitted 27 points or more in 11 of their last 13 games. They are not a team that should be laying this type of number.
PLAY MIAMI OHIO
|01-05-13||Pittsburgh +3.5 v. Ole Miss||Top||17-38||Loss||-110||17 h 45 m||Show|
265 Pittsburgh vs Mississippi at Birmingham
The Panthers are a lot better team now than early in the season when Cryst was putting in his systems. His staying at Pitt after having other offers means a great deal to these kids who are on their third head coach in three years. In four bowl games in the last four years Pitt has permitted just 58 total points as they have by far the better defense in this contest. Keep in mind that this is a team that took Notre Dame to Triple Overtime on the road.
Teams Ole Miss beat this year: Miss State, Arkansas, Auburn, Tulane, UTEP and Central Arkansas. The Rebels beat just one team who made it to a bowl, Miss State who lost by 14 to Northwestern. The SEC has not been impressive thus far in bowl action with Vanderbilt playing the best game out of this renowned conference. The Rebels held just one team all season to less than 20 points as they are at a clear defensive disadvantage.
|01-01-13||Northwestern v. Mississippi State OVER 53||Top||34-20||Win||100||19 h 32 m||Show|
249 Northwestern vs Mississippi State in Jacksonville
Both teams played in defensive first conferences yet the offenses for each of these squads is talented. Northwestern put up 21 points or better against every opponent they faced including quality defenses like Vanderbilt, Penn State and Michigan State. Mississippi State allowed 24 points to Troy, 31 to Tennessee and 37 or better to the three best teams they faced in Alabama, Texas A&M and LSU.
The Bulldogs were stymied offensively against those three elite teams but when stepping down in class they excelled, putting up 27 or more on every other opponent. The last four times out when not facing the Big Three they managed 24 against Mississippi, 45 against Arkansas, 45 vs Middle Tennessee State and 41 against Tennessee.
The weather won't be a factor and since both teams went bowling the past two years the players shouldn't come out sluggish. This total is based on games against elite defenses and these two squads don't possess that type of defensive talent.
|12-01-12||Texas v. Kansas State -10.5||Top||24-42||Win||100||31 h 47 m||Show|
316 Texas at Kansas State
Huge coaching mismatch here as Mack Brown and his Longhorns end another disappointing year, while Bill Snyder and the Wildcats rebound from its first loss of the season. Texas came out of its bye last week to fall flat on its face at home to TCU and the better coached Horned Frogs. TCU was also off a bye last week which again points to the poor job Mack Brown has done here in Austin. At 8-3 on the year Texas needs a win here and a bowl victory to get back to double digit wins for the first time since 2009. That's simply not going to happen.
Kansas State saw it's undefeated season and chance at the National Championship fall by the wayside two weeks ago in Waco. But if any coach can motivate his team off a devastating loss it would be Bill Snyder. His teams are 23-13 ATS off a loss since 2000 and the extra week of preparation assures a focused squad. After allowing 52 points to Baylor you can rest assured the Wildcat defense will be fired up here.
To show the coaching mismatch in this series let's take a look at recent history. Last year as an 8 point favorite Texas lost to Kansas State 17-13, the prior year at -3 Texas lost 39-14, the prior meeting as a 14 1/2 point favorite Texas lost 41-21 and in 2006 at -16 Texas lost 45-42. So over the last four meetings despite being favored by a combined 41 1/2 points Texas was beaten outright by 52 points. For those keeping track Kansas State has beaten Texas against the spread by 93 1/2 points in the last four meetings.
PLAY KANSAS STATE
|11-24-12||Indiana +6 v. Purdue||Top||35-56||Loss||-110||66 h 1 m||Show|
Indiana at Purdue
What a difference two weeks make. Indiana had been riding high having beaten Illinois and Iowa and taken Navy and undefeated Ohio State to the wire. Purdue on the other hand had lost five straight games. But in the last two weeks the Hoosiers lost badly to physical squads Wisconsin and Penn State while Purdue edged Iowa and Illinois. Had the timing of these games been reversed the Hoosiers would likely be a pick here instead of a 6 point underdog.
Keep in mind that Indiana beat Illinois and Iowa themselves by 17 combined points while the Boilermakers won by 6 against those two squads. Both teams were blown out by Wisconsin and each took Ohio State to the wire. So in reality these two teams are a carbon copy of each other against similar opponents. So the question to be asked is why are the Boilermakers a substantial favorite? We have found out by watching these two programs that Indiana struggles when playing physical opposition that can dominate them in the trenches. But that's just not the type of team Purdue has. They are more like the Hoosiers in their playing style.
We have been very impressed by the job Kevin Wilson has done this year in Bloomington, as this team is unfamiliar with the word quit. After dropping three of the last four meetings Indiana has something to prove here.
|11-23-12||Syracuse v. Temple OVER 56.5||Top||38-20||Win||100||46 h 18 m||Show|
119 Syracuse at Temple
The Orangemen are already bowl eligible so this game doesn't have any real significance. Over the last month they beat South Florida and Missouri in last second comebacks and knocked Louisville from the unbeaten ranks. This game will be played without any pressure. The last five games they have put up 31, 45, 24, 37 and 40 points as the offense is really clicking. This is the fourth road game in five weeks for Syracuse.
Temple has permitted 9.8, 11.6, 10.2 and 11.5 yppa the last four games, which is not a good sign against this aggressive Syracuse passing game. Over the last five contests the Owls have given up 32, 34, 45, 47 and 35 points. With this being the last game of the season for Temple we expect a wide open no holds barred offensive game. Similar to last week when the Owls let it all hang out against Army, we expect plenty of points to be scored.
|11-14-12||Toledo v. Northern Illinois -10.5||Top||24-31||Loss||-105||23 h 37 m||Show|
304 Toledo at Northern Illinois
The Rockets sit just one game behind Northern Illinois in the conference standings, but the truth is Toledo isn't in the same ballpark when it comes to talent. These two clubs have faced four of the same opponents this year, Central Michigan, Ball State, Buffalo and Western Michigan. Each team played twice on the road and twice at home. Northern Illinois has outscored these opponents 183-84. Toledo holds a 139-106 scoring margin.
Northern Illinois has a full three extra days to prepare and are on a 13-6-1 spread run as home favorites, 11-3 ATS as conference home favorites. Northern Illinois has lost just once all season against the spread and that came by just two points against Army in a game with a -3 turnover differential. We've been riding the Huskies all season long as they continue to be underrated in the marketplace. That won't be the case after this nationally televised win.
PLAY NORTHERN ILLINOIS
|11-10-12||Vanderbilt v. Ole Miss -3||Top||27-26||Loss||-100||73 h 14 m||Show|
132 Vanderbilt at Mississippi
Vanderbilt has gotten a great deal of publicity after beating two bad teams the last two weeks. A 49-7 win over UMass and a 40-0 victory over Kentucky. But keep in mind this is the same team who lost to Georgia by 45 and struggled to beat Auburn at home 17-13 three weeks ago. Vandy is a very good defensive team but they have yet to score over 19 points against even an average opponent.
Mississippi was pounded by the Volunteers each of the last two years but the Rebels are a much better team this season. Ole Miss is 5-3 on the year after winning two and four games each of the last two seasons. With five victories the Rebels can become bowl eligible with a victory here and considering they have LSU and Mississippi State on deck you know they will be fully focused.
Vandy is also on the verge of bowl eligibility but they have a much easier path to end the season with in-state rival Tennessee next week followed by Wake Forest. Mississippi needs this game and they have a score to settle with the Volunteers.
|11-03-12||Western Michigan -2.5 v. Central Michigan||Top||42-31||Win||100||74 h 54 m||Show|
367 Western Michigan at Central Michigan
Big drop in quality of opposition here for the Broncos who just lost in overtime at Ball State, by 17 at Kent State and by 14 hosting Northern Illinois. That's a very tough schedule as only Ohio U, Toledo and Bowling Green are of the same quality as those three foes. Now Western Michigan finishes the season with three beatable opponents in the Chippewas, Buffalo and Eastern Michigan.
The Broncos had lost five straight games in this series before crushing Central Michigan last year in Kalamazoo 44-14. They won that game by 30 points without having any type of turnover edge. This team has stepped up this year when dropping down in class so they are a hidden gem in the betting markets. They lost to Toledo, Ball State, Kent State and Northern Illinois but crushed UMass 52-14.
Central Michigan got back into the win column last week as they pulled away from Akron 35-14. But the Zips are not a very deep team and the long season has started to take a toll. The Chippewas have one of the lowest home field advantages in college football as they have gone 1-3 ATS here in 2010, 1-4 ATS here last year and just 1-4 ATS at home in 2012. They also have lost 23 of their last 28 overall games against the spread. Keep in mind that this program was 12-2 in 2009 before Dan Enos took over. They haven't won more than three games in any year since. We get the better team dropping down in class off three straight losses.
PLAY WESTERN MICHIGAN
|10-27-12||Ohio v. Miami (OH) +7||Top||20-23||Win||100||73 h 34 m||Show|
116 Ohio U at Miami Ohio
The Bobcats are coming out of their bye at 7-0 on the season and a first ever ranking in the BCS Standings coming in at #24. While Ohio has remained undefeated they have struggled to win by margins. Beating Marshall by 3, Massachusetts by 3, Buffalo by 7 and Akron by 6. This is a team that has suffered all season long with injuries and despite the bye week the troops are not getting any healthier. Ohio has beaten Miami six straight times and they have nationally televised games the next two weeks against Eastern Michigan and Bowling Green. In three MAC games this season Ohio U has failed to cover the number by a combined 39 1/2 points. So despite a lofty national ranking and an undefeated record this Ohio team is a step down from previous editions.
Miami is also coming off a bye but unlike Ohio U they entered the bye off two blowout losses to Cincinnati and Bowling Green. Angry teams with an extra week to prepare are always dangerous, especially knowing they have lost six straight games in this series. With Ohio U having a game this upcoming Thursday and Miami not playing again until Saturday we know which team will be fully focused here. Miami has won 5 of their last 6 games in Yager Stadium straight up with the only loss being a 24-21 defeat to Western Michigan last season. With a 3-4 record on the year this is a must win game for the host. Ohio has shown no reason to be laying a touchdown to the Redhawks here as we expect this one to be decided in the closing minutes.
PLAU MIAMI OHIO
|10-26-12||Cincinnati +3.5 v. Louisville||Top||31-34||Win||100||56 h 3 m||Show|
107 Cincinnati at Louisville
The Bearcats are coming off their first loss on the season last week at Toledo but the final score was not indicative as to how the game was played. Toledo scored 29 points but their only two touchdowns were on special teams and interception scores. Cincinnati dominated in yardage and lost with a negative turnover differential. Because of that outcome we have an extremely motivated underdog here who has won the last four meetings in this rivalry.
The Bearcats came out of their bye with a solid victory over Virginia Tech before blowing out in-state rival Miami Ohio. They then crushed Fordham before possibly looking past the Rockets last week. With only Syracuse and Temple on the horizon this is the game the Bearcats have circled, especially since the Cardinals enter play undefeated.
Louisville has beaten just a single team with a winning record, North Carolina, and they almost blew a huge lead in that contest. Louisville is 7-0 on the season but even in victory they have been less than impressive. A 28-21 win at Florida International when the Panthers QB didn't play the entire game, a 21-17 win at Southern Miss who has been a disaster this season, and last week they needed a late rally to beat South Florida 27-25, a Bulls team that had gone 3-12-1 ATS in conference the previous 16 Big East games. Louisville hasn't had a winning spread record at Papa John's Stadium in any year since 2006 and they lost by exactly eight points each of the last two times hosting Cincinnati. The wrong team is favored here.
|10-13-12||North Carolina -5 v. Miami (Florida)||Top||18-14||Loss||-105||124 h 54 m||Show|
115 North Carolina at Miami Florida
Ever since the second half of the Louisville game this has been a totally different Tar Heels squad. Over the last 14 quarters North Carolina has outscored the opposition 168 to 43. They did so against Louisville, East Carolina, Idaho and Virginia Tech. This is a team that is peaking right now and they look for triple revenge this week against Miami. The only reason this line hasn't skyrocketed is because the Tar Heels are 0-2 on the road this year losing to Wake Forest by a single point and Louisville by 5. Larry Fedora is doing a hell of a job here in his first season.
Miami enters play at 4-2 on the year but they have to be the least impressive 4-2 squad in the country. The four wins were against Boston College who has yet to beat an FBS squad, Bethune Cookman, Georgia Tech who's lone FBS win was against Virginia, and NC State where they used a whopping +5 turnover margin to cover a game by just 5 points. This is not a good football team by any measure. The Hurricanes have permitted 32, 52, 36, 37 and 41 points to every FBS team they have faced this season. The defense of Notre Dame completely shut them down last week and North Carolina's stop unit should have the same success.
PLAY NORTH CAROLINA
|10-11-12||Arizona State v. Colorado +23||Top||51-17||Loss||-110||36 h 5 m||Show|
104 Arizona State at Colorado
Arizona State has been terrific thus far with their only loss coming at Missouri. The traveling fool Todd Graham has really gotten this team off to an impressive start. But after playing Utah and California, with a huge game on deck next Thursday hosting Oregon this is definitely a flat spot on the schedule for the Sun Devils. After all, they pounded Colorado last year 48-14 as the Buffaloes were making their debut season in the PAC 12.
While Arizona State has bigger fish to fry this is the biggest game of the year for Colorado. At 1-4 on the season and no bowl game in their future it's a rare nationally televised appearance for the host. Home teams traditionally do well in these early week affairs and Colorado has played much more competitively as of late. The Buffaloes also have an edge with the high altitude here as Arizona State is a team that likes to push the pace. Weather could also be somewhat a concern as the temperatures are expected to reach the low 40's tonight, a major difference from what the Sun Devils are used to. With the public backing the road favorite at 76% it's time to step in and take the points with the ugly dog.
|09-29-12||Miami (OH) v. Akron +6||Top||56-49||Loss||-109||123 h 25 m||Show|
164 Miami Ohio at Akron
The betting public has been extremely slow to react to the recent play of both these teams. Miami is 2-2 on the season but they still haven't covered a spread, losing to the line by a combined 39 1/2 points. They opened the season losing to Ohio State 56-10. We've seen how the Buckeyes have struggled at home the last two weeks against Cal and UAB. The Redhawks then lost 39-12 at Boise State, the same Bronco team that was thoroughly outplayed at Michigan State and struggled at home to BYU. Michigan State has since been a major disappointment, even losing at halftime Saturday hosting Eastern Michigan. Boise hasn't scored an offensive touchdown against anyone not wearing a Miami Ohio jersey.
Akron turned the ball over four times deep in their own territory against Central Florida in their opener. Other than the turnovers they played the Knights even. The following week they took Florida International to overtime on the road, the same Panthers team that took nationally ranked Louisville to the wire last week. Akron trailed Tennessee by just 3 points in the fourth quarter in Knoxville. They lost the turnover battle and still covered the number by double digits. QB Williams who was tied for second in the nation in touchdowns before the game didn't record a TD and yet the Zips played even with a good SEC team on the road through three quarters. The wrong team is favored here.
|09-29-12||Duke +3 v. Wake Forest||Top||34-27||Win||100||74 h 47 m||Show|
131 Duke at Wake Forest
The Blue Devils are looking to end a 12 game losing streak to the Demon Deacons on Saturday. But unlike past seasons Duke is the better squad in this match-up. The Blue Devils are 3-1 and a win here could put them in a pretty solid spot to break the long winless season and bowl appearance streaks. Duke's only loss came to Stanford as they had to travel cross country to take on a very good Cardinal squad. Duke pulled off something you rarely see last week when they won the game and covered the spread despite a negative 4 turnover ratio against Memphis. Teams that are able to cover despite losing the turnover battle are teams we pay special attention to, and Duke has covered 3 of 4 games with a seasonal turnover margin of minus 4. While Wake Forest has that long winning streak in this series keep in mind 5 of the last 6 meetings have been decided by six points or less.
Wake also sits at 3-1 on the season but they are 2-2 ATS despite winning the turnover battle in each and every game. They lost to Florida State by 52 and struggled to beat Liberty at home in a 20-17 victory. Wake Forest hasn't lost a fumble all season which just shows how fortunate this team has been. Last week coach Grobe and company had to prepare for the Army rushing attack and now this week they face the Duke aerial assault. That's quite a change in just one week and they struggled to stop the Black Knights last Saturday. After allowing 89 combined points the last two weeks they may get their best defender back, but even with his addition Wake Forest has serious defensive concerns. Duke led this game last year late until Wake scored the final touchdown, we look for the Blue Devils to get over than hump this time around.
|09-15-12||Utah State v. Wisconsin -13||Top||14-16||Loss||-105||61 h 47 m||Show|
164 Utah State at Wisconsin
Terrible scheduling spot here for the Aggies who are off quite possibly the biggest win in the programs history. The coaches and players talked about facing Utah in Romney Stadium last week on National Television, and it was clearly a circled game. Now they must regroup and travel to Wisconsin before looking for double overtime loss revenge next week against Colorado State.
Utah State has fared well as of late when stepping up in class, but all of their opponents had bigger fish to fry and overlooked the Aggies. Last year they went to Auburn after the Tigers were coming off an undefeated National Championship season. Auburn had major off-season losses and had a conference game against Mississippi State on deck. Last week Utah clearly took this team for granted and it showed early on that the Utes would be in for a game. Utah has their big rivalry showdown with BYU this week. With Wisconsin off a bad showing last week at Oregon State they will not take Utah State for granted.
Wisconsin beat a very good Northern Iowa team opening weekend. While the final score was 26-21 the Badgers were clearly in command until getting their depth involved. Last week Wisconsin produced just 7 points at Oregon State, but it's a well known fact the Big 10 struggles when traveling to the west coast. Both Nebraska and Illinois were in the same situation last week.
Despite the Utah State showing last week these two programs are on clearly different levels. Wisconsin was 6-1 ATS as a home favorite last year and they have produced just one losing season in that role the past eight years. The Badgers fired their offensive line coach which has been the major offensive problem for this team. Keep in mind that when it comes to offensive line play you would be hard pressed to find a college football team with more offensive line success than this team. Just look at all the draft choices from that position playing in the NFL.
We knew Wisconsin would struggle the first two weeks losing an NFL drafted quarterback and traveling west to face a quality opponent in Oregon State. Now we take advantage of a cheap line and pound the clearly more talented and motivated squad.
|09-15-12||Western Kentucky +7 v. Kentucky||Top||32-31||Win||100||30 h 30 m||Show|
191 Western Kentucky at Kentucky
Wanted to wait on this for something more than 7 to show up again but it doesn't look like that will be the case.
Last week we backed the Wildcats as a cheap home favorite over Kent State and Kentucky pulled away in the second half for an easy point spread cover. But Kent State played Kentucky even through much of that game and we don't think much of the Golden Flashes. In watching the contest it was clear than Kentucky will be a bottom feeder in the SEC this season. But the good news is since they fared so well on the scoreboard we have a similar number here against a far superior team than the one they faced a week ago. Kentucky beat the Hilltoppers 62-28 in 2010 and 14-3 last year so with SEC action starting next week we know which of the two teams will be more motivated here.
Western Kentucky handled themselves very well against Alabama last week as Willie Taggart has done a wonderful job in Bowling Green after taking over a winless squad in 2010. Last year Western Kentucky had a winning record and produced a 10-2 spread mark. The Hilltoppers have continued in that cashing vein with ATS wins the first two weeks of the season. Taggart is now 9-3 ATS as a road dog since taking over the reigns and this game means much more to his squad than Kentucky. In last years contest WKU held the Wildcats to 190 total yards of offense and covered the spread by 5 1/2 points despite losing the turnover battle. Now with 16 returning starters we fully expect the outright underdog win.
PLAY WESTERN KENTUCKY
|09-08-12||Akron v. Florida International OVER 53.5||Top||38-41||Win||100||77 h 6 m||Show|
379 Akron at Florida International
The Zips have a new coaching staff led by Terry Bowden who came to fame at Auburn and being the son of Bobby Bowden. The rotund coach wants to speed up the game and keep the ball in the air. They did just that against Central Florida producing 81 plays while the Zips averaged just 66 snaps a year ago. New signal caller Dalton Williams looks to be a major upgrade at the quarterback position from a year ago as Clayton Moore was a fill-in at best behind center. The numbers won't show it because of many dropped passes but Williams really impressed in his first game at Akron.
Defensively the Zips are very small along the line and Central Florida just handed the ball off with great success. Akron allowed 4.9 yards per carry a season ago and the Knights pounded the Zips for 4.5 ypc last week. We look for more of the same from a Florida International team that ran the ball for 4.0 and 4.7 ypc the last two seasons.
Mario Cristobal has done a great job at Florida International since taking over an 0-12 team in 2007. Last year the Panthers went 8-5 and participated in a bowl game. His team took a major jump defensively a year ago going from 27.3 ppg allowed to 19.5. Despite returning 10 starters to that side of the field they are bound for some regression.
Akron has been a sieve defensively on the road as of late allowing 68, 51, 35, 31, 59, 42, 37, 30 and 38 points the last nine away from home. In fact, the Zips have permitted 27 points or more in 15 straight road games. Last year FIU won 27-17 in Akron but the Zips have a far more dynamic offense this year, and the plays will be coming fast and furious. More plays equal more scoring opportunities and we want to get ahead of the crowd early as we expect Akron's totals to skyrocket.
|09-08-12||Purdue +14.5 v. Notre Dame||Top||17-20||Win||100||74 h 27 m||Show|
335 Purdue at Notre Dame
Everything we have read coming out of West Lafayette this year has been a positive. At the Big 10 media day coach Hope went out of his way to spread the word on how much he liked this 2012 Purdue squad. The team has two experienced signal callers and the offense returns 8 starters. Last week the Boilermakers dominated a nationally ranked FCS team as they beat Eastern Kentucky 48-6. That was done despite losing the turnover battle.
The Irish are coming off a game in Ireland where 35,000 Notre Dame faithful made the trip. They were rewarded with a 50-10 win over Navy. While the Irish looked impressive keep in mind they had all off-season to prepare for the Navy option. That's a huge edge that cannot be ignored. Now they must travel all the way back to South Bend to play another game just 7 days later.
Notre Dame has beaten Purdue four straight years including a 28 point win last season. With Michigan State on deck it's quite possible the Irish will overlook the Boilermakers. Notre Dame has lost 4 of the last 7 games against Michigan State and they know a win over the Spartans will put them back on the map after not winning more than 8 games in any season since 2006.
The Irish haven't posted a winning home spread mark since 2002. As a home favorite they stand just 15-28-2 the last 9 seasons. In the last 5 years Notre Dame is 23-26 straight up against BCS automatic qualifying entrants. They are not deserving of being this type of favorite against a quality Big 10 opponent.
|01-02-12||Wisconsin +6.5 v. Oregon||Top||38-45||Loss||-110||24 h 31 m||Show|
Wisconsin & Oregon at Pasadena
The Big 10 Conference is considered a big bruising collection which lacks team speed. That may have been the case in the past but that's no longer. These teams have emphasized speed the last few seasons expanding their recruiting to the south and west. The Wisconsin team has been working the hurry up offense in practice trying to replicate the pace and speed of the Ducks. The Badgers have been one of the strongest defensive teams in the country with little fanfare. They have held all but two opponents to 17 points or less all season. Wisconsin is also a team that has been favored by a touchdown or more in every game this season and are now an underdog for the first time all season. The last four times Wisconsin took points they covered the number with the only straight up loss coming by 2 points.
Oregon is a highly athletic offense but they can be beaten with extra time to prepare. The Ducks lost straight up and against the spread the last two bowl games and they were beaten in the opener this year when LSU had extra time to prepare. As a whole no league has fared worse this bowl season than the PAC 12 which has failed to cover the number by a combined 27 1/2 points thus far with the lone win coming by Utah in overtime. In what we expect to be a lower scoring game than projected we look for the Badger defense to be the difference maker.
|12-31-11||Utah +3 v. Georgia Tech||Top||30-27||Win||100||24 h 53 m||Show|
Utah at Georgia Tech
Paul Johnson has had a great deal of success in his four years in Atlanta. His option offense is tough to get ready for with only a week of preparation. But with extra time to prepare opponents have had a lot of success against him. In his first three seasons at Georgia Tech his offenses averaged 26.0, 33.8 and 24.4 points heading into bowl season. In the bowl games the Yellow Jackets were held to 7, 14 and 3 points, losing to the spread by a combined 59 1/2 points. Things could be even worse for Georgia Tech this season.
Utah coach Kyle Whittingham is very familiar with this offense considering he had to face Air Force every year in the Mountain West Conference. The last five years his teams have held Air Force to 23, 16, 23, 20 and 14 points. Winning 4 of those 5 games in straight up fashion. Now in the PAC 12 his team plays a higher quality opponent on a weekly basis and he will have his team fully prepared for Georgia Tech. Since coming to Salt Lake City Whittingham is 5-2 ATS in bowl action off a rare straight up loss last year to Boise State. That defeat broke a nine game straight up winning streak for the Utes in the bowls. A new streak starts on Saturday.
|12-30-11||Iowa +14 v. Oklahoma||Top||14-31||Loss||-110||28 h 46 m||Show|
Iowa State & Oklahoma at Tempe
The Hawkeyes are 7-2 ATS in bowl action since Kirk Ferentz took over in Iowa City. Only once were they beaten by more than 7 points and that was way back in 2002. They are 6-1 ATS catching points in the bowls. Off a mediocre 7-5 regular season this is actually a reward for the 30 Hawkeye seniors. Starting running back Marcus Coker has been suspended but the Hawkeyes recruit talented rushers who just need to a chance. One year ago Coker was thrust into the same scenario and he took advantage of it.
Oklahoma is a team used to playing in much more prestigious bowl games than one before the new year. They at one time were one of the top ranked teams in the country before losing extremely talented skill position players. Now instead of playing in a BCS Bowl they are forced to go to Tempe and face a middle of the road Big 10 squad. In 13 years in Norman Bob Stoops is 4-8 ATS in bowl action. As a favorite the Sooners are 1-6 ATS including four outright losses.
Oklahoma has the superior talent in this game but what is their motivation? The last 11 years they played against Top 25 opposition in every bowl game, now they take on the 7-5 Hawkeyes. The Sooners are coming off a rare bowl win as they beat UConn last year 48-20 as a 14 1/2 point favorite. We can't expect the same enthusiasm this year from a program that had much higher preseason expectations.
|12-29-11||Washington +9.5 v. Baylor||Top||56-67||Loss||-110||30 h 59 m||Show|
Washington & Baylor at San Antonio
The venue slightly favors the in-state Bears but this line in our opinion is way overpriced. Baylor is a high scoring team with the Heisman Trophy winning quarterback. They are bound to be overvalued here. We all know about the Heisman jinx but what is being overlooked is how bad this Baylor defense is. Every FBS opponent they faced this season put up at least 24 points against them and that includes Rice and Kansas. In games away from Waco the Bears went 1-4 ATS with a one point win at Kansas and blowout losses at Texas A&M by 27 and Oklahoma State by 35. Since Art Briles took over the program this team is 6-17 ATS away from home.
There were only 11 teams in the FBS this season that had winning spread records in games they lost the turnover battle, Washington was one of those teams. Squads able to cover spreads with a turnover disadvantage are teams we want to back. While Robert Griffin III was roaming the country celebrating his player of the year award Steve Sarkisian and his troops were home preparing for the Bears. Washington won't be intimidated by this Baylor offense as they faced Stanford, Oregon and USC in conference play. The PAC 12 has fared much better than the Big 12 the last five seasons in bowl play, and we look for that trend to continue.
|12-24-11||Nevada +7.5 v. Southern Mississippi||Top||17-24||Win||100||55 h 49 m||Show|
Nevada & Southern Miss at Honolulu
Now that the line has surpassed the touchdown margin it's time to step in on the Wolf Pack of Nevada. Just 1-5 ATS in bowl action the Wolf Pack are being undervalued in our minds in a very winnable game for Nevada. They are very familiar with the surroundings having played in the Hawaii Bowl 2 of the last 6 seasons. They also have traveled to Hawaii every other year in WAC play. Even though they have struggled ATS in bowl action this is by far their biggest underdog spread. They were a 3 1/2 point dog against Miami Florida in 2006 and lost that game by a single point.
Nevada has only two losses by more than four points all season and those defeats were to Oregon and Boise State, two teams head and shoulders better than either of these participants. In fact, Nevada has stayed within this current spread in 23 of their last 25 games.
Larry Fedora took the head coaching job at North Carolina yet he will remain here as the head man for the bowl game. Fedora selected the Hawaii Bowl as a reward for his players before he decided to abandon ship and head to North Carolina. His coaching this game is a negative for this program as the players already know who the new coach will be and they don't need to listen to the person who abandoned them. Word out of Hattiesburg is the team didn't necessarily want to go to this location. In fact, the Southern Miss program will actually lose money because of all the travel costs.
Much has been made about the lack of ticket sales from the Wolf pack fans. But with comps there will actually be more Nevada fans here than Southern Miss faithful. And you know the local fans will support the WAC against Conference USA.
Southern Miss was a good team this season that played an extremely easy schedule. The only quality opposition they faced were Louisiana Tech, Virginia and Houston. We agree they should be a slight favorite here but nothing close to this current spread of over a touchdown. In the last four years the Golden Eagles haven't won their bowl game by more than 3 points and that victory came in overtime against Troy in 2008. This is not the type of team we want laying points, especially in these circumstances.
|12-17-11||Temple v. Wyoming +7||Top||37-15||Loss||-110||121 h 21 m||Show|
201/202 Temple & Wyoming in the New Mexico Bowl
The Owls struggled a bit when stepping up in class this season losing to fellow bowl entrants Penn State, Toledo and Ohio U, posting a 1-2 spread mark in the process. They also lost at Bowling Green a place where the Wyoming Cowboys won earlier this year. Temple feasted on the weaklings of the MAC and a non-conference slate of victories over Villanova, Maryland and Army didn't help their resume. Over the last 5 years MAC teams have been overrated in the bowls with a 5-15-1 spread mark including a 30-21 non-covering loss for the Owls against UCLA in the 2009 Eagle Bank Bowl.
Wyoming finished the regular season with the same 8-4 record as the Owls. They too struggled when stepping up in class with losses to Nebraska, Utah State, TCU and Boise State, all bowl participants this year. They did beat two other bowl entrants with wins over San Diego State and Air Force, both on the road. Therefore we feel the Cowboys are the more tested team. Wyoming played in this same bowl in 2009 and upset Fresno State 35-28 as a double digit underdog in double overtime. Mountain West Conference teams have posted a 14-10 spread record in bowl action the past five seasons.
The MAC has struggled outside of conference action and there isn't a single team in this conference we would feel comfortable laying a touchdown with in the post season. Wyoming has been a strong road team with a 12-6 ATS mark away from Laramie under Dave Christensen. They get our money here.
|12-03-11||Iowa State v. Kansas State -10.5||Top||23-30||Loss||-105||116 h 8 m||Show|
313/314 Iowa State at Kansas State
The Cyclones have looked good as of late beating Oklahoma State and covering last week against Oklahoma. But when we look closer we see that Iowa State is getting a little too much credit for their recent success. This is a team with a long injury list and they had a bye before facing the Oklahoma schools. Oklahoma State clearly overlooked the Cyclones with in-state rival Oklahoma on deck and Iowa State had a rare nationally televised home game. Last week winds of up to 40 mph hurt the Oklahoma passing game and Iowa State only scored because of a snap that flew over the punters head. The Cyclones were held to a season low in yardage against an Oklahoma team that had a clear lookahead to Oklahoma State and the Big 12 Championship. After playing the two best teams in the conference in back to back weeks we can't expect a supreme effort from the Cyclones here on Saturday.
Kansas State had a bye last week which sets them up for a big performance here. They are actually still alive for a BCS bid and are aiming for their first ten win season since 2003. The Wildcats have struggled against the pure passing offenses of Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, but the Cyclones don't have that kind of ability in the passing game. Kansas State is also a team who doesn't turn the ball over as they haven't lost the turnover battle since opening week against Eastern Kentucky. In fact, since Bill Snyder returned to the sideline three years ago the Wildcats are plus 26 in turnover margin. Iowa State on the other hand has only won the turnover battle in two games all season.
PLAY KANSAS STATE
|12-02-11||Northern Illinois v. Ohio +3.5||Top||23-20||Win||100||30 h 48 m||Show|
305/306 Northern Illinois & Ohio U
Both of these teams have played in front of national television audiences each of the last four weeks. The Huskies have gone 4-0 SU and 2-2 ATS. The Bobcats have put up the same 4-0 SU & 2-2 ATS record. Northern Illinois wins with offense, Ohio U wins with defense. The Huskies put up impressive offensive numbers against the likes of Toledo, Bowling Green and Ball State but when they faced a decent defense last week against Eastern Michigan they were held to just 18 points. When you look over the Northern Illinois schedule you see that it's loaded with bad defensive football teams. Even in non-conference play they faced the likes of Army, Kansas and Cal Poly. Against the only two quality stop units they faced the Huskies scored 7 against Wisconsin and 18 against Eastern Michigan. The casual fan loves high scoring offenses so you know what team will be bet by the general public.
Since Frank Solich has been in Athens the Bobcats have faced the Huskies twice, in 2009 in a pick 'em game and in 2006 when Northern Illinois was a 16 1/2 point favorite. Ohio U won both of those games by 38-31 and 35-23 scores, covering the posted number by a combined 35 1/2 points. Last week Ohio U had nothing to play for in a 21-14 go through the motions game against Miami Ohio. This is a team that has permitted more than 28 points just three times all season. The quarterbacking has been outstanding with just one game of over a single interception and the Bobcats for the most part have stayed under the radar because they are not a flashy high scoring outfit. Since 2006 the Bobcats are 11-5 as a conference underdog. Ohio U has yet to win a conference championship under Solich and this is the year they accomplish that goal.
PLAY OHIO U
|11-25-11||UTEP v. Central Florida -9.5||Top||14-31||Win||100||28 h 27 m||Show|
135/136 UTEP at Central Florida
This line represents the typical late season need situation which is almost always an overreaction. UTEP needs a victory here to become bowl eligible, which is to say that they haven't been a very good team all season. UTEP owns five victories on the season against a who's who of bad football teams. Stony Brook, New Mexico State, Tulane, Colorado State and likely their most impressive win over East Carolina, a game they failed to cover. That's not the type of resume that bowl organizers smile upon. Because of their need and the disappointing season of Central Florida we have a great deal of line value here.
UCF has lost seven games this season, 6 of those coming by 7 points or less. This is a team stepping way down in class this week after facing the likes of East Carolina, Southern Miss and Tulsa the last three games. As a home favorite the Knights are 3-2 this year and 11-5 the past three years. Off three straight losses this is a hungry squad who would like nothing better than to end the season for the Miners. This is a very young club with a huge upside for the future, they won't go down without a fight here. Just three weeks ago this team gave 2 points to Tulsa, now they are laying just north of a touchdown more to UTEP, a team with one quality victory all year. We take full advantage of this overreaction in the betting marketplace with a very capable home favorite.
PLAY CENTRAL FLORIDA
|11-25-11||Arkansas v. LSU OVER 52||Top||17-41||Win||100||43 h 48 m||Show|
129/130 Arkansas at LSU
This is a huge game in not only the SEC but on a national level. Since Bobby Petrino has been at Arkansas he has had great offensive success against some pretty good LSU defenses, putting up 31, 30 and 31 points. The Razorbacks are in terrific offensive form scoring 44, 49 and 44 points the last three weeks. Doing so against the stiff defensive talent of Mississippi State, Tennessee and South Carolina. In fact, Arkansas has put up 26 points or more in 18 of their last 19 games. The last five meetings in this series have produced point totals of 54, 63, 61, 98 and 57, all higher than the Vegas line in this match-up.
LSU has put up 35 points or more in all but two games all season, against Alabama and Mississippi State. While Arkansas can put points up on just about anybody this Razorback defense has some problems.
Both teams should be able to trade points here as Arkansas has the passing game and team speed to stretch the field against the Tigers. We look for a high scoring contest in a game where neither team will be looking to milk the clock.
|11-22-11||Miami (OH) +7.5 v. Ohio||Top||14-21||Win||100||32 h 51 m||Show|
Miami Ohio at Ohio U
This line was made strictly off of power ratings and doesn't take into effect that the Bobcats have already clinched a spot in the MAC Championship Game. Ohio U has no extra motivation in this game except to keep their key personnel healthy for their biggest game of the season. Last time out Ohio U used a late minute drive to surpass Bowling Green and clinch the victory as well as a spot in the big game. That was last Wednesday, so they have less than a full week to prepare for the Redhawks. Ohio U is already 0-3 ATS as a conference home favorite this year and it wouldn't be surprising if they are not fully attentive in practice this week.
Miami has had a disappointing season under first year coach Don Treadwell, but they are playing much better ball the second half of the season. They are 4-3 straight up down the stretch with two of the losses coming by exactly a field goal. This game has extra meaning for the 31 Miami seniors as they have never beaten Ohio U in their playing careers. The Redhawks have dropped the last 5 meetings in this series, including an embarrassing 21 point home loss last year in Oxford.
Miami has the motivation here while Ohio U is likely to overlook a team they have beaten soundly as of late. Throw in the Championship Game celebration and the points are too tempting to pass up.
PLAY MIAMI OHIO
|11-19-11||Louisiana Tech v. Nevada -7||Top||24-20||Loss||-110||70 h 23 m||Show|
387/388 Louisiana Tech at Nevada
We've made some nice change this season on the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs as they have covered the number five straight heading into Saturday action. But now the betting public has overrated this squad in a terrible situational spot. Louisiana Tech isn't happy to be playing in the WAC and you really can't blame them. Situated in Ruston Louisiana they would be much more comfortable in either the SEC or Conference USA. But they have been relegated to the WAC with the teams from California and Utah for example which makes for a terrible road schedule. Fresh off a huge victory over SEC entrant Mississippi, the Bulldogs now head out once again for the third straight week and fifth time in their last six games. Louisiana Tech has lost six straight games to Nevada and the past three visits to Reno have resulted in losses by margins of 23, 39 and 10 points, failing to cover the number by a combined 52 1/2 points.
Nevada is a covering machine at home under Chris Ault. In his current go round at the school he has posted a 30-13 spread mark in home games. In two games this year against UNLV and last week against Hawaii is was clear that Ault went for the pointspread cover in order to reward his backers. That's the way it is in Nevada where sports betting is legal. It's also telling that in the last 6+ seasons Ault is 32-19 ATS in conference action. It's a recruiting ploy for Ault who knows it's tougher to get star athletes to go to Reno when the likes of San Jose and Hawaii are viable conference alternatives.
With the line sitting around a touchdown we can very easily see Ault going out of his way to cash this for local fans of the program, something he's starting to be known for.
|11-16-11||Ohio v. Bowling Green +7||Top||29-28||Win||100||9 h 17 m||Show|
Ohio U at Bowling Green
The Bobcats have excelled in their two nationally televised contests beating Temple 35-31 as an underdog and taking care of Central Michigan 43-28 last Thursday. But now they face a team they have struggled with in the past. The Bobcats are just 7-12 straight up and 5-14 ATS in this series, although they have won and covered the past two seasons. Because the public has witnessed the good Ohio U the past two weeks this line has been a bit inflated. We saw the same thing with Northern Illinois last night and they struggled for the outright victory, we see more of the same tonight.
Bowling Green hasn't played since an embarrassing nationally televised loss to Northern Illinois on November 8th. Ohio U on the other hand has two less days to prepare after having last played Thursday night. While Ohio U is already bowl eligible the Falcons need to sweep their last two games over the Bobcats and Buffalo for any postseason hopes. The Bowling Green offense has struggled as of late posting 21 or less points in six straight games, but this Ohio U offense hasn't always hit on all cylinders either.
Bowling Green has had a problem with turnovers all year, only winning the turnover battle twice all season. But this Bobcats team also struggles in that regard so the Falcons won't be dominated in the trenches. Off two straight embarrassing losses to Kent State and Northern Illinois we expect Dave Clawson to have his team fully prepared to close out the home portion of their schedule with a win tonight.
PLAY BOWLING GREEN
|11-15-11||Ball State +17.5 v. Northern Illinois||Top||38-41||Win||100||25 h 58 m||Show|
Ball State at Northern Illinois
First nationally televised game for the Cardinals who have cashed four straight games while staying under the radar. After struggling in back to back games against Oklahoma and Temple this team has rattled off point totals of 33, 35, 31 and 23 the last four games. Ball State has played very well at this venue as of late winning 2 of the last 3 visits covering the spread in those three meetings by a combined 62 points! The Cardinals excel in the role of MAC home dog posting an outstanding 14-3 ATS mark. It is their third straight road game but they are off a straight up victory at an improving Eastern Michigan squad.
Northern Illinois is a very public team right now after back to back impressive nationally televised wins over Toledo and Bowling Green. But keep in mind that the Huskies only beat Buffalo by a single point and lost outright at Central Michigan. They are far from a dominant squad. Northern Illinois has three less days to prepare for this contest, and they are likely to come into this game fat and happy off five straight wins and a bye on deck. Especially when you take in to account that they beat Ball State 59-21 last year in Muncie.
PLAY BALL STATE
|11-11-11||South Florida -3.5 v. Syracuse||Top||37-17||Win||100||33 h 9 m||Show|
South Florida at Syracuse
The Bulls have been money burners as of late dropping five straight to the number. But with closer inspection we see that they lost last week in overtime as a 2 point favorite and the prior game they failed to cover by just six points. So while the betting public has soured on this team the markets have made an overadjustment. Keep in mind this team is 4-4 on the season and is still bowl eligible. South Florida is 5-1 SU & ATS in this series including wins by 14, 31 and 27 points the last three times they played in this building. While the Bulls have obviously slipped badly the last six weeks this program is at a higher level than the one they will be playing on Friday.
Syracuse is 5-4 on the season but they have been extremely fortunate with that record. They were being blown out in the opener before the Wake Forest quarterback left the game with an injury. The Orangemen stormed back against a backup to win in overtime. They also beat Toledo in overtime when the officials miscalled a field goal attempt. This is a team that has had one bye all season and has played in three overtime games. South Florida has had two byes thus far and only one overtime contest. The Orangemen are just 5-12 ATS in the home underdog role and have failed to cover 3 of their last 4 games despite a combined turnover advantage of plus 7 in those games.
PLAY SOUTH FLORIDA
|11-05-11||Louisiana Tech +3.5 v. Fresno State||Top||41-21||Win||100||123 h 59 m||Show|
389/390 Louisiana Tech at Fresno State
The Bulldogs have traditionally struggled on the road and it makes a great deal of sense. Located in Ruston Louisiana it's a hell of a long way to get to the other locations in the WAC, especially all the way to the coast to face a team from California. But that hasn't been the case this year which tells us just how good this Bulldogs squad is. Louisiana Tech is a perfect 4-0 ATS on the road this year cashing at the likes of Southern Miss, Mississippi State, Idaho and Utah State. This is a team that came within 2 at the Top 25 Golden Eagles, took an SEC squad like the Bulldogs to overtime, won by 13 visiting the Vandals which is always a tough trip, and winning outright in Logan against a pretty good Aggie squad. Only Idaho can be considered a weaker team than Fresno State. Louisiana Tech has cashed 6 of the last 7 meetings in this series and they are looking to avenge a home loss to the Bulldogs last year.
Fresno State has just three wins on the season, against North Dakota, Idaho and Utah State. North Dakota is an FCS school, Idaho is winless against FCS competition and Utah State owns one FCS victory. Needless to say this Fresno State team is way down from the last four seasons when they posted a combined 32-20 record. Fresno has never had much of a home field advantage. The last 5+ seasons they have posted a 7-23-1 spread mark in Bulldog Stadium. The last five times Fresno State hosted Louisiana Tech they managed an 0-4-1 spread record. The Bulldogs are a very young team with just 10 returning starters. They haven't yet learned how to win, a problem the visiting Bulldogs have finally figured out.
PLAY LOUISIANA TECH
|11-05-11||Washington State +10 v. California||Top||7-30||Loss||-115||80 h 2 m||Show|
365/366 Washington State at California
Talk about public perception leading to a bad line. Washington State came into this season winning 2, 1 and 2 games the first three years of the Paul Wulff regime. They started the season winning 3 of 4 but have dropped four straight heading into this contest. So those on the outside looking in are saying that this is the same old Cougars team that is the laughingstock of the PAC 12. But those willing to put in the effort know that this is a team that is much better than their recent results. Washington State lost at UCLA by 3 earlier this month, a team that crushed California last week. They then lost at Stanford by 30, a team that was won and covered every game this season. The following week the Cougars were in the unfamiliar home favorite role against Oregon State and predictably failed to live up to expectations. It was the first conference home favorite role under Wulff. Last week Washington State lost at Oregon but played them extremely well in a 43-28 loss on the road. The Cougars cashed just 4 of 7 tries in the red zone as the Oregon special teams caused them fits. But in between the 20's the Cougars played the Ducks virtually even. Because of those games we are seeing great pointspread value on the visitor who has cashed 7 of 9 in the road underdog role.
California on the other hand is known to have a huge home field advantage. But they are not playing at home this season, instead the Bears are calling AT&T Park their home as Memorial Stadium is being renovated. So because of public perception this line is at least a field goal too high in our estimation. Cal is 4-4 on the year with wins over Fresno State, Colorado, Presbyterian and Utah. Just two weeks ago they were just 1 1/2 point home favorites over the Utes, now they are laying over a touchdown more to a very comparable Washington State club.
If you've followed the Golden Bears over the last seven years or so you are well acquainted with the California fade. It's not a haircut or a dance but the way the Golden Bears end their seasons. Over that time frame California is 8-21 ATS the last four games of the regular season, to go along with 2-4 ATS in bowl games. Washington State marks the first of the final four games of the season for California. We will ride the wave, or the fade in this instance, with the underrated Cougars.
PLAY WASHINGTON STATE
|11-05-11||Southern Mississippi v. East Carolina +9.5||Top||48-28||Loss||-110||120 h 52 m||Show|
369/370 Southern Miss at East Carolina
The Golden Eagles have started to get a great deal of press based on their 7-1 start. They have broken into the Top 25 for the first time in seven years and they are being featured on CBS Sports College Football Confidential the next three weeks. A nice accomplishment for Larry Fedora and his players. But all that does is make this Southern Miss team complacent and overrated in the betting marketplace. Keep in mind that the Golden Eagles have dropped 3 of the last 5 meetings in this series despite being favored four times against East Carolina. Southern Miss has cashed 6 straight games overall heading into this match-up so they are a bit overvalued right now despite facing a very weak schedule.
East Carolina has won three straight after being embarrassed 56-3 at Houston. That was the first of three straight road games for the Pirates, but they rebounded nicely since that game as this young team has matured. Now in their second home game in a row we expect East Carolina to be a very dangerous home underdog. Now 13-5-1 ATS in the role of home underdogs the Pirates look for their third straight outright win in this series. While Southern Miss will provide a much tougher defensive opponent than they have faced as of late, this Pirates defense themselves is getting better and better each week. Keep in mind that East Carolina is 5-3 ATS on the season. In each of their three losses they had a negative turnover differential of 4 in every game. QB Dominique Davis is coming into his own and the mistakes he made earlier this year are in the rearview mirror. After all he had a 37-16 touchdown to interception ratio a season ago and he has been in a record breaking mood the past two weeks. A red hot quarterback and an improved stop unit makes this home dog a dangerous one.
PLAY EAST CAROLINA
|11-05-11||Kansas +14.5 v. Iowa State||Top||10-13||Win||100||117 h 48 m||Show|
339/340 Kansas at Iowa State
The Jayhawks are coming off a string of six games in which they faced teams that are or have been in the Top 25 at one time or another this season. As expected they were pounded on a regular basis which culminated in a 43-0 loss last week at Texas. That was the first time Kansas has been shutout since the 2002 football season. In fact, the Texas defensive starters reentered the game late to ensure the blanking. Now after being humiliated on a regular basis they face off against a team they have beaten straight up in 5 of the last 6 meetings. A team that is coming off a huge upset victory over a squad that beat Oklahoma the previous week. Kansas is stepping way down in class this week and yet they are in the same pointspread range as games against Georgia Tech and Kansas State, two teams far superior to the Cyclones.
Iowa State was winless in Big 12 action going into last week, losing by margins of 23, 23, 35 and 16 points. They took advantage of a terrible scheduling spot for Texas Tech off a huge Oklahoma upset with in-state rival Texas on deck. So now Iowa State comes in fat and happy off their best game of the season and a bye on deck, facing a team that has been beaten by a combined score of 330-124 the past six games. Do you really think Paul Rhoads will have the attention of his players in practice this week? All his team knows is that they just beat the team that beat Oklahoma and that they won 28-16 over Kansas last year.
Handicapping 101 says that we need to hold our noses and back the Jayhawks here. We didn't do that with the St Louis Rams on Sunday and we're still kicking ourselves, it won't happen again.
|10-29-11||SMU +3 v. Tulsa||Top||7-38||Loss||-110||51 h 9 m||Show|
153/154 SMU at Tulsa
SMU had a major letdown last week after gaining revenge on Central Florida for a loss in last years Conference USA championship game. After putting up point totals of 38, 40, 42 and 40 the prior four weeks Southern Miss held the Mustangs to just 3 total points, the lowest points scored in the June Jones era. Now SMU comes out with a vengeance against a team they have cashed against 6 of the last 7 meetings, the lone pointspread loss being a 21-18 win last year laying 6 1/2. In those seven meetings SMU has covered the pointspread by a combined total of 94 points! They are 12-7 ATS as a conference road underdog.
Here is a stat you rarely see in your handicapping. SMU is 4-3 ATS on the season despite not winning the turnover battle in any game. As we all know if you can predict the team that will win the turnover battle you will get rich in your sports betting. So even though the Mustangs have yet to win the turnover battle against any opponent they have a winning spread record. That right there shows you how undervalued this SMU team is in the sports betting marketplace.
Tulsa has only won the turnover battle three times all season, all against far inferior competition. They held the edge against Tulane, North Texas and Rice who are a combined 6-16 straight up against FBS competition this season. When stepping out of the dregs of college football Tulsa has lost by 33, 26 and 20 points, allowing 47, 59 and 41 points in the process. Tulsa has beaten up on the likes of Tulane, North Texas, UAB and Rice, they are taking a sizable step up in class here. Keep in mind that the Golden Hurricane are 4-12 ATS in this series and the road team has cashed 7 of the last 9 meetings. Off back to back satisfying double digit wins the much more motivated squad resides in Dallas.
|10-29-11||Boston College +7.5 v. Maryland||Top||28-17||Win||100||118 h 34 m||Show|
141/142 Boston College at Maryland
Boston College has been favored over Maryland each of the last six years yet the Eagles are installed as a touchdown underdog here. This is a team that excels in the role of road underdog posting a 16-8 ATS mark. Coming off a spread covering competitive loss at Virginia Tech the Eagles are stepping way down in class here. Sure the offense has struggled all season but it's not like they are facing the same stop units as they have the last two games. Clemson and Virginia Tech are far more advanced than this Maryland defense.
Maryland owns just two victories on the season. The first was hosting Miami Florida in the season opener when new coach Al Golden hadn't had enough time to prepare his team after taking over for Randy Shannon. New coaches often struggle out of the gate and with all the off-season troubles this program faced it was clear Golden wasn't ready for a conference clash right out of the box. The other victory for the Terrapins was over FCS entrant Towson, a non-covering victory. Maryland is on a 7-16 spread run as home favorites. They have cashed just once since the opening game against an unprepared Miami squad.
Each of the last four meetings in this series have been decided by a seven points or less, so we ask why is this line so inflated? The Terrapins are playing for the seventh straight week after facing three physical squads in Florida State, Clemson and Georgia Tech. BC on the other hand had a bye week before taking on the Hokies last week. Boston College is the fresher team and the line in this game is overly adjusted because of the weak Eagle offense. Maryland isn't the type of team you lay this type of number with as they have underperformed against the spread all season.
PLAY BOSTON COLLEGE
|10-22-11||East Carolina v. Navy -10||Top||38-35||Loss||-104||52 h 24 m||Show|
369/370 East Carolina at Navy
The Pirates of East Carolina were good to us last week after an embarrassing performance at Houston. But now we find the Pirates playing their third straight road game in a non-conference affair with Navy, a team that beat them 76-35 last year. Just like a season ago East Carolina is more worried about conference action than preparing for the Navy option. Now standing at 2-1 in the East Division of Conference USA the team has goals of making it to the conference championship. So despite having revenge from last year we can't see the Pirates approaching this game with high intensity. They couldn't stop Navy last year and with five straight conference games on deck we can't see the Midshipmen having any trouble scoring again this season. Offensively the Pirates will be missing two starters on the offensive line and they already lack big play ability. Going into the Memphis games last week East Carolina had just one offensive play of 40 or more yards. While they did have three against Memphis that was likely more of a factor of the Tigers defense than the Pirates offense.
Navy should be a fired up squad as they enter play off four straight losses including a 21-20 defeat at Rutgers last week. This is a team that rarely turns the ball over based on their style of play as they haven't lost the turnover battle in any game this year. In fact, Navy is plus 36 in turnover ratio the past 4+ seasons. East Carolina on the other hand have lost the turnover battle in the last four games by a whopping 12 miscues. Navy does have rival Notre Dame on deck but after tasting defeat as frequently as they have the Midshipmen will not overlook East Carolina. While Navy has lost four straight, three of those defeats were by margins of 1, 1 in overtime and 3. Navy takes out some frustrations here.
|10-20-11||UCLA v. Arizona -4||Top||12-48||Win||100||34 h 21 m||Show|
UCLA at Arizona
Both teams had byes last week but Arizona used the extra week to fire their head coach and promote the defensive coordinator. Tim Kish takes over for Stoops as he was on the staff as the defensive coordinator. While Kish has no head coaching experience the change at the top has to be viewed as a positive for Arizona. The players had been tuning out the high strung Stoops who clearly wore his emotions on his sleeves. Word out of Tucson is the players and the practices are more relaxed and the new coach has brought back a fun atmosphere. Off five straight losses the Wildcats are a hungry team and they want to assure the higher ups in the administration that the move was warranted.
Offensively Arizona doesn't have any problems as Nick Foles will likely be playing on Sundays. The problem has been a defense which has regularly struggled and has had to deal with injuries. But after playing the likes of Oklahoma State, Oregon, Stanford and USC we expect the Arizona stop unit to step it up this week in front of a home national audience. Arizona has owned this series as of late winning 4 straight while cashing 3 of those games. The only non-cover for the Wildcats was last year when they were favored by 9 on the road and won by just 8.
UCLA is now on a 3-10 spread run as a conference road dog. The defense has permitted 38, 49 and 45 points to the only three decent offenses they have faced. This is coming off a year in which they permitted over 30 ppg. UCLA has won three games this season but those wins came over San Jose State and Washington State at home along with a victory at Oregon State. Those teams have a combined record of 6-11 vs FBS competition.
UCLA has averaged less than 15 points per game the last three years against Arizona. They don't have enough offensive talent to trade points with the Wildcats. This is a huge game for the host after the coaching change and it's in front of a national television audience. Look for Arizona to make a statement here.
|10-15-11||Idaho +3 v. New Mexico State||Top||24-31||Loss||-105||125 h 49 m||Show|
189/190 Idaho at New Mexico State
The Vandals enter this game still looking for their first victory over an FBS participant and that gives us plenty of value since Joe Public isn't running out to bet Idaho on his parlay cards. This game fits a simple system that we've used for years that has a lot of validity. When two bad teams face off always take the points. The reasoning is simple, as the team winning the game is just happy as hell to get the "W" and isn't prepared to extend the margin. It's hard to ask a bad football team to not only win but to win by a margin, and despite the play here on the Vandals these are two bad football teams. That said, Idaho is the lesser of two evils.
From a pure power rating angle we actually have Idaho as a 3 point favorite in this game. Last week they dropped a 24-11 home contest to Louisiana Tech. But in looking over the box score we see that the Vandals came within 13 points as a 4 point underdog despite a -4 turnover margin. Keep in mind this is the same team who gave their all the week prior in a 21-20 loss at Virginia, in a spot in which they could have easily been a no-show in the middle of conference action. Idaho has dominated this series winning 13 of 17 meetings and cashing 7 of the last 9. They beat the Aggies by margins of 23, 15 and 6 points the last three years, covering the spread by a combined margin of 35 points.
New Mexico State is coming in off a bye week after outlasting in-state rival New Mexico 42-28. For a team that had won a combined 18 games the last 6+ years you know they were flying high the last two weeks with all the Aggies boosters patting them on the back. While they enter this game at 2-3 on the season the wins came against Minnesota and New Mexico, two of the most troubled programs in college football. Minnesota coach Jerry Kill recently marveled at the lack of talent he was given from departing head coach Brewster. So even though New Mexico State has a better resume this remains one of the worst teams in college football. Keep in mind the Aggies are now 4-15 ATS in the role of home favorite and 3-15 ATS overall in Aggie Memorial Stadium. This is not a strong home field advantage by any measure. Idaho on the other hand is in their preferred role of road dog in which they boast a 9-3 spread record including covers at Texas A&M and Virginia by a combined 21 points this year.
|10-15-11||East Carolina -15.5 v. Memphis||Top||35-17||Win||100||120 h 24 m||Show|
183/184 East Carolina at Memphis
The Pirates take a major step down in class this week after facing the likes of South Carolina, Virginia Tech, North Carolina and Houston. East Carolina has lost to teams that are a combined 21-3. At 1-4 on the season the team still has a shot at winning their division, even after losing the turnover battle by an astounding 12 the past three weeks combined. One of our favorite handicapping angles is to take a much more talented team off an embarrassing loss against a squad they have dominated in the past. Say what you want about the Pirates this team and this program is miles ahead of the program they will be facing on Saturday. Off a humiliating 56-3 loss to Top 25 Conference USA powerhouse Houston the Pirates will be playing with a chip on their shoulders. Keep in mind that East Carolina has beaten Memphis by 22, 19, 20, 16 and 15 points the past five years, covering the spread by a combined 56 points.
Memphis owns two victories over FBS teams the last 2+ years combined. One of those victories came against a Sun Belt Conference entrant and the other was a victory over UTEP in 2009. This is a team with virtually no home field advantage with home losses by margins of 42 and 45 against FBS teams this season. In fact, against non-FCS competition Memphis has lost by margins of 42, 45, 20, 36, 39, 22 and 41 points the last seven home games. Memphis failed to cover those games by a combined 98 points! Now they take on a superior team with a major chip on their shoulders. This one could and will get ugly in a hurry.
PLAY EAST CAROLINA
|10-08-11||Auburn v. Arkansas -10||Top||14-38||Win||100||77 h 22 m||Show|
347/348 Auburn at Arkansas
The Tigers are coming off a huge victory last week at South Carolina where color blind Cocks QB Stephen Garcia virtually gift-wrapped the game for Auburn. After a four interception game we expect the Tigers to regress here as they play their second of four straight brutal SEC contests. Auburn has yet to lose the turnover battle in any game this season yet they are just 2-3 ATS. That's very important as no team was expected to fall further than the defending national champions. Keep in mind they returned just six starters and struggled against the likes of Utah State and Florida Atlantic. Now the Tigers must face Arkansas without their two most productive receivers who are listed as all but out this Saturday. In order to beat Arkansas you need to outscore them, and after posting point totals of 16 against South Carolina and 24 against Clemson, we doubt Auburn has the fire power to keep this one close.
Arkansas is off back to back games against Alabama and Texas A&M with a bye on deck. They played the little sisters of the poor their first three games but showed pretty well the last two weeks stepping up in class. As opposed to Auburn, Arkansas has only won the turnover battle once all season yet they stand at a profitable 3-2 ATS. The Razorbacks have also beaten Auburn in 2 of the last 3 meetings including a 44-23 underdog victory here the last time these two met in Fayetteville. Arkansas was dominated across the lines against a physical Alabama squad but they won't be at a disadvantage here against an Auburn team that simply isn't overwhelming in the trenches. The Razorbacks have the far superior skill position players and they will be stepping down in class after the last two weeks. Under Bobby Petrino the Razorbacks are a solid 11-4-1 the past 2+ seasons in Razorback Stadium. We expect a strong showing from the host here.
|10-08-11||Temple -9.5 v. Ball State||Top||42-0||Win||100||119 h 31 m||Show|
335/336 Temple at Ball State
Temple has proven themselves as a true contender in the MAC after giving Penn State and Maryland all they could handle in back to back weeks. They suffered a letdown last week hosting a very good Toledo squad as turnovers did them in. Now 11-3 ATS on the road we look for a big bounce-back from the Owls here. Coach Addazio was furious after the game saying his team totally got away from what his team is, and that they would surely pay all week at practice. He said he would guarantee that his team would be "pissed off" and ready to take out some frustrations on Saturday.
Ball State is off a humiliating 62-6 loss at Oklahoma now they return home to face the power rushing MAC squads of Temple and Ohio U in back to back weekends. Under Pete Lembo the Cards are now 1-8 ATS in conference home games after struggling against Buffalo here in their MAC opener. Keep in mind that twice last year as double digit home favorites this team was forced to go to overtime against Eastern Michigan and Akron, the two worst teams in this conference. Now 2-11 ATS overall under Lembo at Scheumann Stadium the Cards look to be in for a long day with a fired up Temple squad looking to take no prisoners.
|10-01-11||Hawaii +4.5 v. Louisiana Tech||Top||44-26||Win||100||30 h 47 m||Show|
173/174 Hawaii at Louisiana Tech
The last time the Warriors visited the mainland they were embarrassed at UNLV as a 19 point favorite 40-20. The prior visit the Warriors fell at Washington 40-32 failing to get the cash. This is a team that has had success on the road against lesser squads but struggles in the road dog role. Hawaii is now 9-14 ATS catching points on the road. Considering they they are an amazing 77-63 ATS overall the last decade you can really tell that the Warriors struggle in this role. Hawaii simply doesn't have the talent at the skill positions that they have had in the past. Bryant Moniz is still solid while throwing just a single pick in four games but this team lacks the explosiveness of prior versions. Defensively Hawaii has permitted 40 points in each of their road games to offensively challenged clubs Washington and UNLV. Hawaii has really struggled at this location over the years as Ruston isn't an easy travel location.
Louisiana Tech may come into this match-up at just 1-3 but they have faced three teams that are better than anything the Warriors have fought with. The Bulldogs came within two points of Southern Miss in Hattiesburg, they took fringe Top 25 opponent Houston to the wire here in a 35-34 loss, and then last week they took a solid SEC opponent to overtime at Mississippi State. This is a team that is hiding in the weeds and ready to pound a team of this quality. The last three times the Bulldogs hosted Hawaii not only did they cash the tickets but they did so by a combined 71 points! These games have not even been close as it's been very clear that Hawaii simply struggles in Ruston. With Louisiana Tech stepping down in class we look for the host to take advantage of a sizable location edge and win this one going away.
PLAY LOUISIANA TECH
|10-01-11||Georgia Tech -10 v. North Carolina State||Top||45-35||Push||0||48 h 14 m||Show|
131/132 Georgia Tech at NC State
The Techsters are now 25-12 ATS on the road dating back to 2004. Because of their running style with coach Paul Johnson they limit turnovers which is a major key in winning football games. Georgia Tech is 4-0 SU & ATS on the season and they have yet to lose the turnover battle in any game. It's very likely that they have another edge in that department here as this team is blocking like a machine offensively. A highly productive machine at that. After scoring 63, 49, 66 and 35 points so far this season we expect another offensive explosion from the Yellow Jackets.
Coach O'Brien's club held the Jackets somewhat in check in last year's 45-28 road upset win in Atlanta. But we can't count on that happening again as this defense is in shambles. Four more players from that defense will be out this week and now only one defensive starter remains at his original position from the team that started the year. Off an embarrassing 30 point loss on national television against Cincinnati things are only getting worse for the Wolfpack. Despite a 2-2 record coming into play this week the Wolfpack are winless ATS, failing to cover the number by 42 points. When you are losing to the number by double digits per game and you can't field a defense with enough healthy bodies to face an offensive system you only see one time a year, we want no part of this home dog.
PLAY GEORGIA TECH
|10-01-11||Arizona +12.5 v. USC||Top||41-48||Win||100||26 h 59 m||Show|
161/162 Arizona at USC
The Arizona Wildcats just faced possibly the three most explosive offenses in college football, Oklahoma State, Stanford and Oregon. All three of those games were seen by a majority of the country and in all three games the Wildcats were beaten to the tune of 75 combined points. Therefore nobody wants anything to do with Arizona in this game. If you've followed our analysis over the years you know that is exactly the time we want this ugly dog. Keep in mind that just three weeks ago the Wildcats were a 14 point underdog in Stillwater against the highly ranked Cowboys, now they are receiving virtually the exact same number from a USC team that has problems of their own. The last four times these two clubs met up the final verdict was 7 points or less each time with Arizona cashing three of those meetings. Nick Foles could very well be the best quarterback in the country that isn't in the national spotlight. Despite being forced to throw from behind he has an amazing 10-0 touchdown to turnover margin. Last year he posted a 20-10 margin with 71% completions, he simply knows how to play.
USC is battling injuries to many of their rotational players which makes this team a questionable favorite. Now on a 4-8 home favorite spread run the Trojans are not a team we feel comfortable laying points with. Off a game in which they lost the turnover battle 4-0 we expect USC to try to keep Foles off the field by rushing the football and playing a ball control game. Last week they were lit up by the Sun Devils for 43 points which was almost as much as they permitted the first three weeks. With the game being shortened and Arizona really stepping down in class defensively this week the high number here puts us clearly on the Underdog.
|09-24-11||Vanderbilt +15.5 v. South Carolina||Top||3-21||Loss||-105||31 h 32 m||Show|
363/364 Vanderbilt at South Carolina
The Commodores were making solid strides under Bobby Johnson heading into 2009 when injuries took a toll on the team in a 2-10 season. Right before the 2010 season was to get underway Johnson abruptly quit the program which left Robbie Caldwell to piece together some semblance of a team, it didn't work as another 2-10 season followed. But now the Commodores are back on solid ground with the hiring of James Franklin. Through three games Vanderbilt had already tasted victory more than they had in either of the previous seasons and they started league play with a convincing 30-7 win over Mississippi last week. This is a team that returned 19 starters including QB Larry Smith.
Vanderbilt despite a subpar history has played the Gamecocks very well, especially in Columbia. The last four visits have resulted a 17-6 outright victory in 2007 along with respectable losses by 4, 7 and 11 points. Until last years unstable situation Vanderbilt had cashed to the tune of 20-5-1 ATS as a road underdog. Under Franklin who is known as an excellent recruiter we expect that to continue. With a bye next week we look for another solid effort from the Commodores here.
We went against the Gamecocks last week with a strong play on Navy and we were rewarded with a wire to wire spread covering win. South Carolina hasn't yielded more than 23.5 ppg in any of the last seven seasons but we have serious doubts about that streak continuing. So far this year they permitted 37 to East Carolina, 42 to Georgia and 21 last week to Navy. This is the 2nd of 4 straight home games for South Carolina with revenge games each of the next two weeks against Auburn and Kentucky. While we're sure Spurrier wasn't happy with the team's play last week, we're not so sure that he has the horses to dominate an SEC squad. After all they trailed East Carolina badly in the opener and traded leads with Georgia the entire game. The dog in this series has cashed 8 of the last 9 meetings and Vanderbilt looks like a strong bet to continue that trend.
|09-24-11||North Carolina +7.5 v. Georgia Tech||Top||28-35||Win||100||24 h 46 m||Show|
345/346 North Carolina at Georgia Tech
North Carolina is in a strong role as they are 6-2 ATS as road underdogs. Always like to take the better defensive team getting points and the Tar Heels have shown the ability to slow down this potent Yellow Jacket offense. The last five years these two have tangled and Georgia Tech has averaged just 19 points per game. Considering that overall the Yellow Jackets have averaged over 27 ppg that's a solid accomplishment. North Carolina is 3-0 on the season and the only thing that has slowed down this scoring offense has been mistakes. They own a -4 turnover margin which isn't indicative of the talent on this team. North Carolina has held James Madison, Rutgers and Virginia to a total of 49 points. It's a much tougher schedule to the one faced by their opponent. Georgia Tech went head to head with Western Carolina, Middle Tennessee and Kansas.
Georgia Tech is known primarily for their rushing prowess but this season they have had great success in the passing game. That said, they have yet to play any team that you could even consider average defensively. Last year Georgia Tech managed just 76 yards through the air and we don't expect that number to be much higher. Overall these are two teams we are looking to back this season but we were really surprised this line came out so high. We have the Tar Heels rated as a slightly better team yet they are a touchdown underdog. Better team, extra points and the much better defense. That's a combination we'll go to war with every time.
PLAY NORTH CAROLINA
|09-22-11||North Carolina State +8 v. Cincinnati||Top||14-44||Loss||-105||33 h 42 m||Show|
NC State at Cincinnati
The Bearcats have a reputation of beating up the little guy but struggling when stepping up in class. Last year as a double digit favorite they beat Indiana State by 33, Miami Ohio by 42 and Rutgers by 31. This season has been no different with a 62 point win over Austin Peay and a 45 point victory last week over Akron. Cincinnati is just 1-10 ATS when the game is lined in single digits. That is to say, in what is considered a competitive game the Bearcats underperform. Two weeks ago Cincinnati took money in their trip to Tennessee and they were dominated by the Volunteers 45-23 despite a two turnover advantage. Last year the Bearcats went into NC State and dropped a 30-19 decision as a 2 point underdog despite winning the turnover battle. Special teams were a big reason they lost last year and the Wolfpack have a huge edge in that regard here. Cincinnati had a terrific kicker a season ago in Jacob Rogers and his graduation has left a sizable void for the Bearcats, not only in his field goal kicking but in his kickoff placement. NC State will once again have a huge edge in special teams Thursday night.
NC State has some injury concerns in the defense as three projected starters are out this week. While that is definitely a concern we like the job Mike Glennon has done since taking over for Wisconsin transfer Russell Wilson at quarterback. The Wolfpack have now gone 16 straight games without losing by more than a touchdown. Unlike the Bearcats they cash in competitive games going 8-4 ATS in games with a single digit pointspread. They are also a very solid 12-6 ATS under Tom O'Brien as a road underdog. If you remember back to O'Brien's reign at Boston College his teams were 6-1 ATS his last four years in the road dog role. NC State struggled at Wake Forest in their only other road game but we feel the Demon Deacons are one of the most underrated clubs in college football. With Cincinnati's failures in stepping up in class and O'Brien's ability to get the best out of his clubs in this role we really like the points here in this nationally televised battle.
PLAY NC STATE
|09-17-11||Navy +17 v. South Carolina||Top||21-24||Win||100||54 h 37 m||Show|
153/154 Navy at South Carolina
There is plenty of value taking teams who don't turn the ball over when playing on the road. Last year Navy only lost the turnover battle 2 of 8 games in neutral or road venues. In fact, the past 3+ seasons the Midshipmen have a +34 turnover differential. Going back the past 9+ years Navy is now 23-9 ATS as a road underdog. It makes a great deal of sense yet they continue to cash as the betting public ignores the fact that this isn't your typical road team. Football is just a minor part of what these men have to endure and their maturity definitely shows. Navy has lost just one game by more than this spread in the last 3+ seasons. That includes games against Notre Dame 3 times, East Carolina, Ohio State, Pittsburgh twice, Hawaii and Rutgers. They will not be intimidated playing in SEC country.
South Carolina is coming off what could be their most important game of the year in a back and forth 45-42 victory over Georgia. They along with the Bulldogs are considered the top contenders in their division. Next week they return to conference action to take on an improved Vanderbilt team followed by defending National Champion Auburn. So not only is this a sandwich affair for Steve Spurrier's crew but they must prepare for an option type of offense they rarely see. You know they didn't spend a great deal of practice before the season on Navy, especially with their two tough opponents to open up the season. Both East Carolina and Georgia went bowling last year. So basically they have one week to get ready for the Midshipmen, off their must win game over the Bulldogs. We just can't see South Carolina dominating this game especially when you consider that they are not a team that wins the turnover battle on a regular basis. The last five seasons South Carolina has never ended the year with a turnover advantage. That's actually pretty amazing when you consider they play non-conference cupcakes like Furman, Florida Atlantic and Wofford.
This is simply too many points to give a club that won't beat itself, and the letdown for South Carolina has to be a factor.
|09-17-11||Nevada -6.5 v. San Jose State||Top||17-14||Loss||-110||52 h 42 m||Show|
149/150 Nevada at San Jose State
Last week we went against Nevada against Oregon and we easily cashed with a fired up favorite. This week we take advantage of public perception and back the road favorite Wolf Pack. Nevada has posted six straight winning seasons and they are in the middle of a brutal schedule. Not only are they off Oregon but after this week's game they go to Texas Tech and Boise State before facing in-state rival UNLV at home. Starting with four straight road games including Oregon, Texas Tech and Boise should definitely prepare the Wolf Pack for WAC play. Chris Ault is now in his 27th season at Nevada and if anyone knows how to prepare his team for this rough slate he does. From a player perspective off an embarrassment at Oregon and with two very tough road games ahead this is an early must win game for the Wolf Pack. The players were very upset with their play last week and that's the type of team we want to back especially against a team they have dominated. Nevada has beaten San Jose State by margins of 22, 55 and 24 points the last three years. While Kaepernick and Taua are gone we are not looking at a -37 1/2 number this team laid to the Spartans last year.
San Jose State is off back to back road games in Pac 12 country as they dropped 54 and 10 point decisions to Stanford and UCLA. The Spartans have a very weak home field advantage which is one reason why they are 3-6 ATS catching points here the past three seasons. Their only home win a season ago was a 16-11 victory over Southern Utah. They lost here to the likes of UC Davis and Utah State. This is a team that has won three games the past 2+ seasons and has shown no signs of a turnaround under Mike MacIntyre.
There is simply a class difference with these two programs and the Wolf Pack have the talent to run it up. After facing the speed of Oregon last week the Spartans will look like a slow motion train the Wolf Pack are looking to ride.
|09-15-11||LSU -3.5 v. Mississippi State||Top||19-6||Win||100||55 h 55 m||Show|
101/102 LSU at Mississippi State
Short preparation for both of these teams this week but the Tigers had a semi bye as they faced Northwestern State as a 48 point favorite, while the Bulldogs had a conference battle with defending National Champion Auburn. LSU showed their speed on defense against Oregon in opening week action and the offense put the ball in the air with a lot of success. We knew the Tigers could run the ball, but with Jarrett Lee behind center coach Miles opened up the offensive passing playbook. We expect to see more of that on Thursday as the Tigers look to continue their fast start. In his seven years in Baton Rouge Les Miles has posted an 8-5-1 ATS mark as a conference road favorite. His teams are 34-16 straight up in SEC action. The better the conference the less home field advantage exists and Miles' clubs are an excellent proposition on the road. This is a team that doesn't get rattled, and they have already shown their mettle against the team that played in the National Championship a year ago in their 40-27 win over Oregon. With a non-conference affair against West Virginia on deck, the Bulldogs have their full attention.
Mississippi State is an overrated club in our eyes. They blew out a Memphis team in week one, the same Tiger squad that lost last week to a Sun Belt team by 44 points. Last week they came up a yard short to an Auburn squad who is returning just 6 players and struggled to beat a WAC school the previous week. The Bulldogs don't own a very strong home field advantage as this club is just 20-31 ATS at home the past nine seasons. The only quality team they beat at home last year was Georgia and that team underperformed all season. The Bulldogs have not fared well in this series losing 18 of the last 19 meetings in straight up fashion, while cashing just 4 of those 19 games.
Mississippi State won 4 games in 2008 and 5 in 2009, after winning 9 games last season we expect a regression for Mississippi State this season. You rarely see teams make a permanent climb in the SEC, sure you have your one year spikes but overall the best teams win each and every year. We're pretty confident that the Bulldogs are a few years away from the Alabama's and LSU's of this conference. This number is much too short considering talent and past history. Keep in mind the last time LSU played here they were favored by 12 points. The gap between these two programs hasn't narrowed by nearly that much.
|09-10-11||Notre Dame -3 v. Michigan||Top||31-35||Loss||-105||27 h 29 m||Show|
375/376 Notre Dame at Michigan
Rule number one in week two college football betting is don't overreact. About two months ago while I was betting the opening numbers from the Golden Nugget Casino, myself and a few highly regarded sports betting minds pounded Notre Dame in this match-up. It was a play on Notre Dame and a play against Michigan. The line went up as high as 4 1/2 before the betting stopped. Now after week one the line is down to -3 and possibly dropping. Why? An obvious overcorrection in the betting marketplace.
Notre Dame was involved in an on again off again situation last week because of terrible storms in the area, as a matter of fact Michigan was affected by the same storm. So the outcome of those games has to be taken with a grain of salt, because it was a situation I'm sure neither team had ever been through before. That said, the Irish lost to South Florida in a game they totally dominated. They doubled the Bulls yardage wise but had an amazing -5 turnover disadvantage. How many times do you see a 10 point favorite lose the turnover battle by 5 and still only lose the game by a field goal. That shows you just how talented this Notre Dame team is. Michigan on the other hand had a 3 turnover advantage against a team from the MAC, a much weaker squad than the one the Irish faced. So their rain shortened 24 point victory was less impressive.
Michigan has a new coach and new coordinators and while I do believe they will improve as the season goes on, they are really stepping up in class here. As much as we like Brady Hoke we like Brian Kelly even better. Maybe it's because in his time at Central Michigan, Cincinnati and Notre Dame he has made us a great deal of money. Want an example of how good a coach Kelly is? How bout since 2005 his teams are 24-11-1 ATS on the road. Want more? How bout 14-5 ATS off a loss. We took the +1 and P on the Irish when this game opened and we still like them at the current price. Betting on talented teams off a terrible game has tremendous value, doing so in week 2 is even more extreme.
PLAY NOTRE DAME
|09-03-11||BYU v. Ole Miss +3||Top||14-13||Win||100||26 h 48 m||Show|
165/166 BYU at Mississippi
After back to back 9-4 seasons in Houston Nutt's first two years in Oxford the Rebels fell to 4-8 last year and failed to play in the postseason. But Nutt has twice been SEC Coach of the Year and with 13 returning starters we expect the Rebels to be much more competitive this season. Ole Miss is 8-3 ATS vs non-conference foes under Nutt. After losing outright in their home opener last year to Jacksonville State you can bet the team has his attention in this opener. A key for the host will be the humidity factor as BYU doesn't see much of that out west, especially in their old conference the Mountain West. The Rebels bring in their biggest offensive line under Nutt which should provide a good push in the running game. BYU will have a tough time preparing for the Rebel offense because Houston Nutt has delegated the play calling to David Lee who has been a mainstay in the NFL the last few seasons.
BYU has faced the SEC three times winning once by only 3 points. The Cougars traveled just twice out on the mountain area last year losing 34-10 at Florida State and 31-3 at TCU. In fact, take a glance at how the Cougars have done traveling against quality teams. Last year they failed to cover by 14 at Florida State and cashed by a single point at TCU. In 2008 they beat Washington by just a single point as an 8 1/2 point favorite, they also failed to cover by 23 at TCU. In 2007 they lost ATS and SU at UCLA and were beaten outright by 8 as a 6 1/2 point favorite at Tulsa. While BYU brings back 15 returning starters the edge they have had in their prior conference was size, they won't have that advantage against an SEC school.
The Cougars will have another solid season in their first year as an independent, but with Texas, Utah and Central Florida on deck after this one they could really be behind the eight ball to start the year. MIssissippi coming off a terrible season and with only Southern Illinois on deck have had this game circled all off-season.
|01-03-11||Virginia Tech v. Stanford -3.5||Top||12-40||Win||100||19 h 14 m||Show|
Virginia Tech & Stanford at Miami
Stanford has a hell of a football team that just doesn't get enough publicity. They suffered just one loss on the season and that was to Oregon, a team playing in the National Championship game. The Cardinal actually led that game at the half before the Duck's superior quickness did them in. Virginia Tech simply doesn't have the team speed that Oregon possesses. The Cardinal offense has gotten all of the accolades for good reason as Andrew Luck may be the best quarterback in the college ranks. But it's the defense that has gotten better and better as the season has gone on, limiting their last five opponents to a combined 44 points.
Virginia Tech is a good football team but I'm not sure they should be playing in a game of this magnitude. They allowed 33 points in a virtual home loss to Boise State and gave up 30 to NC State which has a solid quarterback at the helm. Other than those two teams they haven't faced another quality signal caller. If the Hokies are going to allow a similar number of points here to what likely is the best quarterback they have faced this season, we can't expect this pedestrian offense to keep this game close. The last three times Virginia Tech has faced a Top 10 ranked team in a bowl game they lost every game, while averaging just 19.3 points per contest. We look for more of the same as the Cardinal have the power running game, better quarterback and stronger defense.
|01-01-11||Penn State v. Florida -7||Top||24-37||Win||100||13 h 59 m||Show|
Penn State & Florida at Tampa
Joe Paterno announced earlier this week that he will be back for yet another season in Happy Valley. Based on this season that may not be a positive. In fact, many Penn State fans will consider that as a negative. Penn State was a young team this year with only 17 seniors on the roster. In looking over the schedule the best team they beat was either Michigan or Northwestern, teams that they played at home. Against the better teams on the schedule Penn State lost to Alabama by 21, to Iowa by 21, to Ohio State by 24 and to Michigan State by 6. Penn State really struggled against good defensive teams scoring 3 against Bama, 3 against Iowa and 14 against Ohio State. Even with extra preparation time we can't see this offense having much success against a solid Florida defense.
The Brett Favre of coaching announced his retirement again as Urban Meyer is stepping down for the second straight year. Because of that we expect a big emotional game from his Gators players. We're well aware of the off the field issues this team has had, including injuries, but sometimes emotion overcomes obstacles. The Gator offense started to come together late in the season and we look for more of the same here. Penn State doesn't have great playmakers this season in order to stretch the field. That negates what has been a weakness for this Florida defense.
Off an embarrassing 31-7 in-state loss to Florida State we look for a very emotional effort from the Gators playing in their home state. Lay the wood as Urban Meyer leaves the program with a solid victory.
|01-01-11||Northwestern +9.5 v. Texas Tech||Top||38-45||Win||100||17 h 2 m||Show|
Northwestern & Texas Tech at Dallas
The last time we saw these Wildcats play they were steamrolled by Wisconsin 70-23 in a game in which they had a turnover deficit of seven. The week prior Northwestern allowed 48 points to Illinois. You can bet this team is chomping at the bit to redeem themselves here against another team from a power conference. Under Pat Fitzgerald the Wildcats went bowling each of the last two years and covered the spread both games, with each game ending in an overtime loss. If there is a more motivated team coming into their bowl game we haven't found one.
Texas Tech beat one good football team all season, a 24-17 home win over Missouri. Other that that the most impressive victory likely came in the season opener as the Red Raiders beat SMU at home 35-27. Keep in mind that this is a team that lost a home to Texas in the worst season for the Longhorns in decades.
Northwestern had a habit all season of blowing sizable leads in the second half. Much of that had to do with facing a physical Big Ten Conference schedule. Now with five weeks of rest we expect the Wildcats to come out healthy and strong throughout this contest.
|12-30-10||Army v. SMU -7||Top||16-14||Loss||-110||16 h 24 m||Show|
Army & SMU at Dallas
Big props to Rich Ellerson who has the Black Knights bowling for the first time since 1996. But truth be told Army played what could possibly be the weakest schedule this side of the MAC and Sun Belt Conference. The best teams the Knights faced were Hawaii in a 3 point home loss, Temple in a 7 point home loss, Air Force in a 20 point home loss, Notre Dame in a 24 point neutral site loss and Navy in a 14 point neutral site loss. The Cadets lost to every decent team they faced this season.
SMU has a distinct advantage here after facing a similar styled Navy team earlier this season. June Jones reiterated that fact earlier this week. The Mustangs held Navy to 28 points in that game and have been very solid defensively for much of the year. Keep in mind that this is the team who gave TCU all they could handle in an earlier 41-24 loss. While Conference USA isn't a hot bed of football strength the Mustangs have fared better than the Knights against quality opposition. They beat East Carolina and Tulsa, two teams who went bowling this year.
With June Jones putting to rest the Maryland rumors it's time for the Mustangs to take the next step. After a 45-10 pounding of Nevada in the Hawaii Bowl last year SMU continues their rise.
|12-28-10||North Carolina State +3 v. West Virginia||Top||23-7||Win||100||8 h 50 m||Show|
North Carolina State & West Virginia in Orlando
West Virginia is about to go through a great deal of change. Bill Stewart has already been told that he won't be around after next season and they have already made some coaching changes for this game. Those coaches who haven't already been dismissed must worry about future jobs for 2012. This is not the type of atmosphere you want in a bowl game situation. The Mountaineers have only practiced seven times since the matchup was announced and the West Virginia fan base has been very slow in buying tickets for this contest.
NC State has a veteran coach in Tom O'Brien who has had great success in the postseason. Remember that he was the head man at Boston College who garnered great success from his bowl game victories. The Wolfpack also have the better quarterback which is a huge edge in these type of affairs.
We expect late money to come in on NC State once the late bettors realize the situation in Morgantown. There are still some 3's available as we write this but they likely won't last. NC State has been very good to us this year as we announced that they would be our play on team in college football this year. With a 9-3 spread record they haven't disappointed, while the smart money has been against West Virginia just about all season. Look for the Wolfpack to win this one outright.
PLAY NC STATE
|12-04-10||Auburn v. South Carolina +6||Top||56-17||Loss||-110||24 h 22 m||Show|
Auburn & South Carolina at Atlanta
Make no mistake about it this Auburn team has been very lucky to be in the position they sit right now. They won by just 3 points at Mississippi State. They beat Clemson at home by a field goal in overtime. They took advantage of a plus two turnover margin in beating these same Gamecocks by 8 at home. Auburn beat Kentucky by 3 points. The Tigers beat LSU at home by 7 points. And last week coming off a bye they made a huge second half comeback in order to beat Alabama by a single point. It's said it's better to be lucky than good, I guess that's Auburn's season in a nutshell.
South Carolina has three losses on the season as they didn't win the lone coin-flip game on their schedule. The Cocks lost at Kentucky by 3 and were pounded in a meaningless game against Arkansas in November. The reason why the game meant nothing to South Carolina was that they had to beat Florida the following week in order to play in this game. So the three losses came in a meaningless game, by 3 on the road at Kentucky and by 8 on the road at Auburn. While the Tigers were involved in close game after close game South Carolina's wins were by margins of 28, 11, 19, 14, 14, 14, 12, 45 and 22 points.
Auburn struggled at home against Clemson yet South Carolina beat them on the road by 22. The Tigers almost had their season end last week at Alabama yet the Gamecocks beat the Tide by 14 points. If the coin-flip games would have gone any other way the Gamecocks would likely be favored here. We expect the outright upset in revenge.
PLAY SOUTH CAROLINA
|11-27-10||Washington Huskies v. California -6.5||Top||16-13||Loss||-110||40 h 27 m||Show|
Washington at California
The Huskies haven't been very competitive on the road this year losing the last two games by margins of 37 and 30 points. While they did upset USC in a huge game for head coach Greg Sarkisian and his staff, they also lost at BYU in the opener when the Cougars were simply terrible. Off a bye last week Washington pulled away in the second half and beat UCLA 24-7 at home. But now with a road trip to Pullman next week to face instate rival Washington State, the Huskies are in a sandwich situation.
The Golden Bears have been simply awful away from Berkeley but at home they have been dominant. When not facing the top ranked teams of Oregon and Stanford the Bears have won by margins of 49, 45, 28 and 33 points here. Even in a loss to Oregon they gave the top ranked team in the country all they could handle in a 15-13 defeat. Last week they ran into a very physical Stanford team and the Cardinal simply dominated. But against the more finesse teams on the schedule California has been unstoppable here.
Cal has dominated Washington in Berkeley winning by margins of 41, 7 and 47 points the last three visits. Last year the Huskies embarrassed the Golden Bears 42-10 in Seattle, look for payback from the host.
|11-26-10||Buffalo v. Akron -1||Top||14-22||Win||100||21 h 13 m||Show|
Buffalo at Akron
We went against the Bulls last week for our college football game of the year and we do so again here. Buffalo simply doesn't put up enough points to be in this price range on the road. The last six weeks they have produced 17, 3, 17, 9, 0 and 14 points. Keep in mind all those games came against the weak defenses of the MAC. The Bulls have beaten Akron the past three years and the Zips are winless, but Akron is the only one of these two squads showing heart right now.
The Zips are the last winless team in the FCS and you know they don't want that stat in the record books. Despite an 0-11 record Akron continues to play for first year coach Rob Ianello. Last week they took Ball State to the wire in a five point home cover. The previous game they took Ball State to overtime on the road. In the game preceding that Akron trailed Temple on the road at halftime 6-0 before the physical Owls wore them down in the second half.
The Zips aren't an offense force by any means but this game is all about heart and pride, two things the Bulls have a shortage of right now. Last week we backed the one win Eagles this week the winless Zips make up money.
|11-20-10||Tennessee -9 v. Vanderbilt||Top||24-10||Win||100||48 h 0 m||Show|
Tennessee at Vanderbilt
These two clubs are going in opposite directions. The Volunteers have cashed three straight games including impressive wins over Memphis 50-14 and Mississippi 51-14. Derek Dooley in his first season in Knoxville is turning this program around and he will take great pride in pounding in-state rival Vanderbilt. The Vols have won 11 of the last 12 meetings including a 15 point victory a year ago at home. The last time Tennessee visited Vandy they won by a 10 point margin in 2008. As long as the Volunteers don't turn the ball over they are an excellent pointspread proposition. They are just 1-3 ATS when having a turnover deficit. A telling stat happened three weeks ago when Tennessee gave South Carolina all they could handle in a 38-24 loss. Despite a negative three turnover disadvantage the Volunteers covered the spread by 3 1/2 points. That type of TO deficit very rarely results in a pointspread cover unless the betting public is dead wrong with their evaluation of a team, and that has proven out the last two weeks with spread covers of 16 and 35 points.
Vanderbilt is having a season they would like to forget. Right before the year started long time coach Bobby Johnson abruptly quit the program. That left the team with many question marks and after a 2-8 start to the season not many of those questions have been answered. Vanderbilt has one of the weakest offenses in the nation having been shutout in the first half an amazing three times. The Commodores have dropped five straight games ATS but they end the season with a winnable game next week when the host the equally woeful Wake Forest Demon Deacons. I spoke earlier in reference to turnover margins. Vandy has lost that TO margin five times this year in turn losing to the spread each time by a combined 83 points.
Vandy knows a win over Tennessee could make their season but the Commodores just don't have the horses to pull it off. Tennessee has shown no reason to pull of the reigns against other competition and to beat their in-state rival by a margin would be a recruiting statement for Dooley in his first year at UT>
|11-20-10||Arkansas -3 v. Mississippi State||Top||38-31||Win||100||50 h 4 m||Show|
Arkansas at Mississippi State
We knew coming into the season that Arkansas would be dynamic offensively and it has surely proven out. The last five weeks they have scored 43, 38, 49, 41 and 58 points. But the defense has been a major surprise as they have held all but one opponent to 24 points or less. That includes Georgia, Alabama, Texas A&M and South Carolina. The Razorbacks have gone on the road and posted a 3-1 straight up record with the lone loss coming at Auburn. In fact, their only losses came against Alabama, the defending national champion, and Auburn who is currently slated to play in the BCS title game. Arkansas has beaten Mississippi State 8 of the last 9 meetings including a 42-21 home win last year.
We were on the Bulldogs last week against Alabama with poor results. The situation screamed for a play on Mississippi State off a bye with Alabama's national title hopes ruined. But the Tide dominated play and came away with a 30-10 victory that was more lopsided than the final score. The simple truth is that the Bulldogs just don't have the offensive firepower to compete with very good offenses. This is a team that scored 14 against Auburn, 7 against LSU, 10 against Florida and 10 last week against Alabama. Other than Auburn, this Arkansas offense is vastly superior to the those other teams. Mississippi State is 5-5 ATS on the season despite a plus 7 turnover margin. They have yet to cover this year without a turnover advantage going 0-4 ATS losing to the spread by a combined margin of 34 1/2 points.
Mississippi State just doesn't have an offense able to trade points with Arkansas and the Razorback defense has held far more dynamic scoring teams in check.
|11-20-10||Eastern Michigan +7 v. Buffalo||Top||21-17||Win||100||45 h 56 m||Show|
Eastern Michigan at Buffalo
The Eagles are a team nobody gives any credit to because of a 1-21 straight up record as of late. But this team is improving every week under second year coach Ron English. Eastern Michigan has posted a 4-6 spread record on the year despite losing the turnover battle eight times. They have played the likes of Ohio State, Ohio U, Vanderbilt, and Virginia, all teams that should and did manhandle the Eagles at the point of attack. This team easily stayed under the number last week at Western Michigan and now they take a huge step down in class to face an equally skilled Buffalo team. The Eagles played very competitive ball against the likes of Miami Ohio, a 7 point road loss, Ball State, an overtime road win and last week at Western Michigan. Because of their blowout losses when they were outclassed, especially offensively, this team is thought to be weaker than they truly are. Eastern is 3-3 ATS on the road this season and a perfect 3-0 ATS away in conference. The games at Ohio State, Vanderbilt and Virginia were basically paycheck games for this program.
Buffalo enters play at 2-8 on the season. The two wins came over Bowling Green and FCS entrant Rhode Island. The Bulls lost at home to Miami Ohio by 12, the same team Eastern beat on the road, and lost at home to Ball State by 17, the same team the Eagles only lost by 7 to on the road. Buffalo played the last two weeks in front of a national audience against Ohio U and Ball State and next week they appear on TV again as they go to Akron. So this could be considered a sandwich situation for the Bulls.
Buffalo is on a 1-5 ATS run in the role of home favorite with outright losses in four of those games. The Bulls have score 3, 17, 9, 0 and 14 points the last five weeks. They are averaging just 11.8 points per game in league play. So I ask you, how can a team scoring less than two touchdowns a game be expected to cover a touchdown spread? We call for the outright upset as Eastern Michigan is simply the better team in this matchup.
PLAY EASTERN MICHIGAN