|Date||Match Up||Rating||Score||Result||Profit||Lead Time||Analysis|
|01-07-19||Alabama -200 v. Clemson||Top||16-44||Loss||-200||32 h 2 m||Show|
20* Alabama/Clemson National Championship No-Brainer on Alabama ML -200
One of the best-kept secrets is betting favorites on the money line in Championship-type games. Whether it be the Super Bowl or the National Championship of college football, you almost always get a cheaper price on the favorite on the money line than it should be.
That’s because with so much action on these standalone games, there’s a ton of liability for sports books on the underdog on the money line. They take way more bets on the dog on the money line than they would in any regular game. So they have to adjust their money line prices so they don’t get killed if the underdog wins the game outright.
A typical 5.5-point favorite is around -240 on the money line. So we are basically getting 40 cents of value here taking Alabama on the money line. I don’t expect this to be a blowout, but I do expect Alabama to win, so I’m more than willing to lay the -200 on Alabama on the money line just to win the game. I think this is the best bet you can make in the National Championship Game.
Alabama certainly wants revenge from losing a heartbreaker on the final play of the game to Clemson a few years ago. And they are also motivated to cement themselves as arguably the greatest team in college football history. They have come this far in the face of all the hype from the media, remaining grounded. And I expect them to complete their mission and win this game Monday night.
This is certainly the best offense the Crimson Tide have ever assembled under Nick Saban, which is why they can stake their claim as the greatest ever. They are scoring 47.7 points per game and averaging 527.6 yards per game. What makes that so remarkable is that they’ve been able to rest their starters in the second half of most of their games this season. And they once again have an elite defense that yields just 16.2 points per game.
I think the fact that Alabama didn’t cover the 14-point spread against Oklahoma last week also has them undervalued. They stormed out to a 31-10 halftime lead and simply took their foot off the gas. Oklahoma got 24 points in garbage time in the second half with the game already decided. Too Tagovailoa showed zero ill-effects of the ankle injury, completing 24-of-27 passes for 318 yards and four touchdowns.
Conversely, I think Clemson is getting way too much respect due to its 30-3 win over Notre Dame. Clearly, the Fighting Irish played an easy schedule this season and weren’t one of the four best teams in the country. But it’s worth noting the Fighting Irish had their chances to put up points. In fact, Notre Dame had six drives that went into Clemson territory, and they came away with just 3 points on those six drives. That’s pretty hard to do.
Speaking of easy schedules, Clemson played a very easy schedule in the ACC, which was way down this season. They have only faced three teams in the Top 30 and one team in the Top 10. Meanwhile, Alabama has faced seven teams that rank in the Top 30 and three teams that rank in the Top 10. The’ve obviously beaten all seven. The Crimson Tide are way more battle-tested than the Tigers are coming into this game.
Nick Saban is 15-1 (+14 units) against the money line after failing to cover three of his last four games as the coach of Alabama. The Crimson Tide will cement themselves as arguably the greatest team in college football history with a win over Clemson. Bet Alabama on the Money Line Monday.
|01-01-19||Texas +14 v. Georgia||Top||28-21||Win||100||211 h 51 m||Show|
20* Texas/Georgia Sugar Bowl BAILOUT on Texas +14
This game is all about motivation. The Texas Longhorns are happy to be here. Whether or not they beat Oklahoma in the Big 12 Championship, they most likely would have been penciled into the Sugar Bowl. So they aren’t disappointed at all with being in this bowl game.
Conversely, Georgia played in the National Championship Game last year against Alabama. They lost to Alabama in the SEC Championship after blowing a double-digit lead to Jalen Hurts, their second blown double-digit lead in as many tries against the Crimson Tide. That loss cost them a spot in the four-team playoff. The Bulldogs aren’t happy at all to be playing in the Sugar Bowl. It was playoffs or bust for them.
The motivational edge will help Texas make up for their talent edge that clearly goes to Georgia in this one. Fortunately for us, talent doesn’t always win out in these bowl games. And we’re getting two touchdowns here with the more motivated team. I’ll take my chances almost every time.
I also like backing head coach Tom Herman as an underdog. Herman is 12-2 ATS as an underdog in all games he has coached between Houston and Texas. He has won most of those games outright, and his teams are outscoring the opposition by 6.0 points per game in these spots. He certainly knows how to get his team motivated when they are being counted out, which is exactly what he’s doing leading into the Sugar Bowl as nobody outside the locker room is giving them a chance to beat Georgia.
Herman is also 10-1 ATS vs. excellent rushing teams that average 5.25 or more yards per carry in all games he has coached. Texas does a good job of stopping the run, holding opponents to 136 rushing yards per game and 3.9 per carry this season. The Longhorns are holding their opponents to 44 rushing yards per game and 0.8 per carry less than their season averages this year. That will help them slow down a Georgia offense that averages 252 rushing yards per game and 6.1 per carry this season.
Plays against favorites of 10.5 to 21 points (Georgia) - a hot team having won eight or more of their last 10 games, a team that wins more than 80% of their games on the season playing a good team that wins 60% to 80% of their games are 61-27 (69.3%) ATS since 1992. Bet Texas Tuesday.
|12-31-18||Missouri v. Oklahoma State +8||Top||33-38||Win||100||182 h 52 m||Show|
20* Missouri/Oklahoma State Liberty Bowl No-Brainer on Oklahoma State +8
It’s time to ‘buy low’ on Oklahoma State and ’sell high’ on Missouri in the Liberty Bowl. The Tigers are getting too much respect with how they finished the season, while the Cowboys are getting zero respect with how they finished the year. That has created some line value here on the Cowboys catching more than a touchdown to the Tigers in this matchup of old Big 12 rivals.
Oklahoma State finished the season 2-5 SU & 3-4 ATS in its last seven games overall. But four of those losses came by 7 points or less, and four of them were on the road. That includes their 47-48 loss at Oklahoma as 21.5-point dogs which showed they could play with anyone. They also beat West Virginia and Texas at home, two of the best teams in the Big 12.
Missouri is getting respect due to its 4-0 SU & 3-1 ATS finish to the season. But two of the wins came against bad Tennessee and Arkansas teams who didn’t make a bowl. They only beat Vanderbilt by 5 as 14.5-point favorites, and Vanderbilt barely made a bowl and went on to lose to Baylor in their bowl game. The win over Florida looks impressive, but not when you consider that it was a huge hangover spot for the Gators off their loss to Georgia the previous week that cost them the SEC East title.
The Cowboys will never be out of this game due to an offense that ranks 10th national in yards per game (500.2) and 14th in scoring (38.4). QB Taylor Cornelius threw for 3,837 yards with a 28-to-11 TD/INT ratio while also rushing for 385 yards and 10 scores. I realize leading rusher Justice Hill (930 yards, 9 TD, 5.9/carry) is out, but his absence is being overblown. Backup Chuba Hubbard (595 yards, 6 TD, 5.6/carry) isn’t much of a downgrade. He’s actually an upgrade in the passing game over Hill, averaging 10.1 yards per reception on his 19 receptions compared to 5.2 on 13 for Hill.
The Cowboys are 8-1 ATS in their last nine non-conference games. Oklahoma State is 5-1 ATS in its last five games following a loss. The Cowboys are 5-1 ATS in their last six games vs. a team with a winning record. The Tigers are 1-8 ATS in their last nine December games. Missouri is 1-4 ATS in its last five games following an ATS win. The Tigers are 1-4 ATS in their last five vs. Big 12 opponents. Bet Oklahoma State Monday.
|12-29-18||Oklahoma v. Alabama UNDER 77.5||34-45||Loss||-107||138 h 7 m||Show|
15* Oklahoma/Alabama Orange Bowl Total DOMINATOR on UNDER 77.5
Alabama has one of the best defenses in the country. The Crimson Tide only give up 14.8 points and 295.4 yards per game on the season. And consistently, they’ve been up enough to put their backups in in the second half. When one team has a defense this good, and the total is 77.5, there’s value with the UNDER.
I know Oklahoma doesn’t have a great defense. But they consistently face better offenses when playing in the Big 12. The Sooners give up 32.4 points and 448.1 yards per game on the season. But even factoring in their bad defense, when you combine what they give up on average to Alabama, you get 47.2 points per game. That’s still more than 30 points less than this posted total of 77.5. There’s still value with the UNDER.
I realize both Alabama and Oklahoma have elite offenses. In fact, these are two of the best offenses in the country. And if both defenses only had a week to prepare for these offenses, it would favor the over. But it favors the under since both teams have had basically one entire month to prepare for one another. Oklahoma won’t be surprising Alabama’s defense, and Alabama won’t be surprising Oklahoma’s defense.
I think this number is inflated largely due to the shootout between Georgia and Oklahoma last year in the first game of the four-team playoff. But you can bet Nick Saban is going to come up with ways to slow down Heisman Trophy winner Kyler Murray and company. And Oklahoma’s defense will be able to hold Alabama’s offense in check, especially with QB Too Tagovailoa hampered with an ankle injury.
I expect Alabama’s strategy to be to slow this game down with its running game. The Crimson Tide will be trying to control the time of possession with their running game. They rush for 202 yards per game and can certainly move the chains with heir running game and keep Murray and company off the field. That’s their best strategy to win this game, and I expect Saban to deploy this strategy. They won’t be trying to simply outscoring Oklahoma in a shootout.
Oklahoma is 19-4 UNDER in its last 23 December games. Alabama sis 10-2 UNDER in tis last 12 games following three or more consecutive overs. Alabama is 43-21 UNDER in its last 64 games vs. good rushing teams that average 200 or more rushing yards per game. The UNDER is 7-2 in Sooners last nine vs. SEC opponents. The UNDER is 8-3 in Sooners last 11 bowl games. Roll with the UNDER in this game Saturday.
|12-29-18||Notre Dame +14 v. Clemson||Top||3-30||Loss||-124||134 h 7 m||Show|
20* Notre Dame/Clemson Cotton Bowl No-Brainer on Notre Dame +14
The Notre Dame Fighting Irish are better than they get credit for. They are getting disrespected despite being 12-0 this season. Their schedule looked very tough coming into the season, but turned out to be less difficult than expected. But the same can be said for Clemson, which beat up on a weak ACC this year.
I think Notre Dame feels disrespected being not only underdogs, but double-digit dogs in this matchup. Everyone thinks back to when they lost to Alabama in the National Championship a few years ago. But that was a different team, and this one is way better on offense than that version of Notre Dame was. This Fighting Irish team has a legit chance to win the national title, or at least beat Clemson in the first round of the four-team playoff. Head coach Brian Kelly will certainly be playing the underdog card leading up to this game.
While Notre Dame opened the season overvalued with Brandon Wimbush at quarterback, they transitioned into a great offensive team with a still elite defense once Ian Book took over. Book is completing 70.4% of his passes for 2,468 yards with a 19-to-6 TD/INT ratio while averaging 8.8 per attempt. And he’s not exactly a stagnant QB who only stays in the pocket. Book has rushed for 250 yards and four scores on 78 attempts this year. He can run the ball if he needs to.
Clemson will be without three suspended players. One of those is a first-round draft pick in DT Dexter Lawrence, and the other are role players in TE Braden Galloway and OL Zach Geilla. The loss of Lawrence is a big one as he’s one of the best players in the country.
Only five times in college football history has an undefeated team played another undefeated team and been a 7-point plus underdog. Well, Notre Dame is that team catching 7 or more points. In fact, the Fighting Irish are catching 14 points or less in most spots. The team catching 7 or more points is not only a perfect 5-0 ATS, but also a perfect 5-0 SU in this situation. The dog has won straight up every time.
Also, favorites in the last 16 Clemson bowl games have gone 4-12 SU & 2-14 ATS. Clemson is 4-14 ATS in its last 18 games after covering the spread in six or seven of its last eight games coming in. The Fighting Irish are 4-0 ATS in their last four neutral site games. Notre Dame is 4-0-1 ATS in its last five vs. a team with a winning record. The Tigers are 0-5 ATS in their last five non-conference games. Take Notre Dame Saturday.
Note: I know this line shows Notre Dame +14 with extra juice. I personally have a bet on Notre Dame +13. And I think they're worth a bet all the way down to +10.
|12-29-18||Florida +7 v. Michigan||Top||41-15||Win||100||130 h 7 m||Show|
20* Florida/Michigan Peach Bowl Early ANNIHILATOR on Florida +7
Dan Mullen has already put Florida on the map in his first season in Gainesville. He took over a team that went 4-7 last year and turned the Gators into a 9-3 team and SEC contenders. And now the Gators will relish this opportunity to face Michigan in the Peach Bowl after missing out on a bowl game last year.
Michigan won’t be so happy to be here. The Wolverines were in prime position to make the four-team playoff. But they once again lost to Urban Meyer and Ohio State 62-39 in their season finale. That loss cost them the Big Ten title and a spot in the four-team playoff. I just don’t see Michigan being able to get back up off the mat after such a demoralizing defeat.
The same thing happened last year when Michigan went on to lose to South Carolina as 8-point favorites in the Outback Bowl. They also lost to Florida State as 7-point favorites in the 2016 Orange Bowl. Jim Harbaugh just hasn’t done a very good job in big games as the coach of Michigan.
Mullen did a great job improving this Florida offense to 34.5 PPG this season. And the Gators have yet another elite defense just as they do every year, giving up 20.4 PPG. The Wolverines also have an elite defense, but they have taken a hit with several players sitting out this game.
They will be without starting DE Rashan Gary, starting LB and Big Ten DPOY Devin Bush and leading rusher Karan Higdon. Florida expects to have everyone available for this bowl game. I think the Gators could have beaten the Wolverines at full strength, let alone without 3 of their best players.
Adding to Florida’s motivation is the fact that they’ve never beaten Michigan, going 0-3 in the all-time series. Two of those losses have come the past two seasons as they lost 41-7 in the 2016 Citrus Bowl and 33-17 in the 2017 season opener in Arlington. The Gators want revenge, while the Wolverines could be getting a case of ‘Florida fatigue’ having just beaten this team twice in the past two seasons.
Mullen is 9-0 ATS off two straight non-conference games in all games he has coached. Michigan is 1-11 ATS in its last 12 games after allowing 17 points or more in the first half of two straight games.
Plays against favorites of 3.5 to 10 points (Michigan) - off a road loss to a conference opponent, a top-level team that wins 80% or more of its games playing a good team (60% to 80%) are 24-5 (82.8%) ATS since 1992. Bet Florida Saturday.
|12-28-18||Iowa State +3 v. Washington State||26-28||Win||100||115 h 8 m||Show|
15* Iowa State/Washington State Alamo Bowl BAILOUT on Iowa State +3
The Iowa State Cyclones have only been to 13 bowl games in school history. They will be going for back-to-back bowl wins for the first time in program history. They will also be going for their 9th win of the season, which would tie a school record set back in 2000. Prior to that season they hadn’t reached even eight wins since 1978. It’s safe to say the Cyclones are happy to be here, and they have every reason to be highly motivated for a win.
The job Matt Campbell is doing at Iowa State is remarkable. He is only in his third season and already has this team to two bowl games and a combined 16-9 record over the past two seasons. After a 1-3 start against a brutal schedule, the Cyclones reeled off five straight wins. They got into Big 12 title contention before a loss to Texas. But they won their final two games and now have a chance to make history.
The run started when freshman Brock Purdy took over at quarterback. He is completing 66.3% of his passes with a 16-to-5 TD/INT ratio and averaging 10 yards per attempt. He has also added a dual threat to the offense with 262 rushing yards and three scores. He has one of the best backs in the country to hand the ball off to in David Montgomery, who has put together back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons. Purdy also has a matchup nightmare to throw the ball to in Hakeem Butler, who has 1,126 receiving yards and 9 touchdowns while season while averaging 22.1 yards per reception.
While the Iowa State offense has made big strides this season, it’s the defense that has allowed them to win so many games over the past few seasons. The Cyclones have the second-best defense in the Big 12 this year. They are giving up just 22.5 points and 351 yards per game this season. They are holding opponents to 8.5 points and 63 yards per game less than their season averages. It’s a defense that is built to stop the Big 12 offenses, which makes this a great matchup against Washington State’s pass-happy attack that belongs in the Big 12.
I think Washington State actually had to be disappointed to be in the Alamo Bowl. The Cougars were ranked in the Top 10 down the stretch and actually had an outside shot to make the four-team playoff. But they once again lost to Washington in the Apple Cup in their season finale, so instead of playing the Pac-12 Championship and possibly the Rose Bowl at worse, they now have to try and get back up off the mat to play Iowa State in the Alamo Bowl.
Matt Campbell is 3-1 in all bowl games dating back to his time at Toledo. Mike Leach is just 1-3 in bowl games as the coach of Washington State. They lost handily 17-42 to Michigan State last year in the Holiday Bowl. I think Leach will have his hands full getting these Cougars motivated to play this game after what happened against Washington in the Apple Cup.
Iowa State played a much tougher schedule than Washington State this season. Iowa State played the 29th-toughest schedule, while Washington State played the 53rd. And Pac-12 teams have been terrible in bowl games in recent seasons. In fact, the Pac-12 is just 3-13 SU & 2-14 ATS in their last 16 bowl games over the past few seasons. It’s a conference that was way down this season, which is why I question how good all these Pac-12 teams are in these bowl games.
Campbell is 13-4 ATS when playing against a team with a winning record as the coach of Iowa State. Campbell is 8-1 ATS when playing against a team that wins more than 75% of their games on the season as the coach of Iowa State. Campbell is 12-2 ATS vs. good teams who outscore their opponents by 10-plus points per game as the coach of the Cyclones. Leach is 2-11 ATS after having won eight or more of his past 10 games in all games as a head coach. The Cougars are 0-5 ATS in their last five vs. Big 12 opponents. Take Iowa State Friday.
|12-28-18||Syracuse v. West Virginia||Top||34-18||Win||100||111 h 23 m||Show|
25* Bowl GAME OF THE YEAR on Syracuse PK
It’s safe to say the Syracuse Orange are happy to be in a bowl game. Head coach Dino Babers delivered in a big way in his third season on the job. The Orange went from 4-8 last year to 9-3 this year and a chance to win 10 games for the first time since 2001. Two of their losses came to playoff teams in Clemson and Notre Dame, and they nearly upset Clemson on the road. They will be playing in their first bowl game since 2013 as well.
I certainly question West Virginia’s motivation. The Mountaineers had a chance to play in the Big 12 Championship in their season finale against Oklahoma. But they lost a 56-59 heartbreaker to the Sooners, and now they have to watch Oklahoma go on to the four-team playoff, while they’re stuck in the Camping World Bowl. They won’t be motivated at all for this game.
That’s especially the case now that Will Grier has decided to skip this bowl game and get ready for the NFL. Also out is left tackle Yodny Cajuste, who is also an NFL prospect. You don’t simply replace a QB the caliber of Grier. He has completed 67% of his passes for 3,864 yards with a 37-to-8 TD/INT ratio this season while averaging 9.7 yards per attempt.
Backup QB Jack Allison has only attempted 10 passes all season, and he’ll get the start Friday. The sophomore won’t have the services of star receiver Gary Jennings Jr, either. Jennings leads the Mountaineers in receiving yards (917) to go along with 54 receptions and 13 touchdowns. He is sitting out with an ankle injury.
The quarterback on the other sideline is a good one. Syracuse’s Eric Dungey played in all 12 games for the first time in his career this season, though he still had some injury issues but gutted it out. He completed 59.8% of his passes for 2,565 yards with a 17-to-7 TD/INT ratio. He is also the team’s second-leading rushing with 732 yards and 15 scores on the ground. He has accounted for 32 total touchdowns and will be a big reason why the Orange win this game.
While the Syracuse offense is explosive in averaging 40.7 points and 468 yards per game, it’s the defense that has made the biggest improvement. The Orange are allowing a respectable 27.7 points per game this season. They are right on par with WVU defensively as the Mountaineers yield 26.5 points per game. And there’s no question the Orange have the advantage on offense now with Grier, Cajuste and Jennings out.
Dana Holgorsen is 6-15 ATS with two or more weeks to prepare as the coach of West Virginia. Holgorsen is 1-4 SU & 0-5 ATS in his last five bowl games with their only win coming by a single point 43-42 over Arizona State in 2015. They lost by 16 to Utah in 2017, by 17 to Miami in 2016, by 8 to Texas A&M in 2014 and by 24 to Syracuse in 2012. The Mountaineers have rarely even been competitive in bowl games under Holgorsen. In fact, dating back further, West Virginia is just 5-16 ATS in its last 21 bowl games.
West Virginia is 0-7 ATS in its last seven December bowl games. The Mountaineers are 7-21 ATS in their last 28 games played on a neutral field. West Virginia is 10-24 ATS in its last 34 vs. ACC opponents. The Orange are 9-1-1 ATS in their last 11 games following a win.
Plays on all teams where the line is +3 to -3 (Syracuse) - off a double-digit road win, a good team (60% to 80%) playing a team with a winning record are 26-9 (74.3%) ATS over the last five seasons. Bet Syracuse Friday.
|12-22-18||Houston v. Army -4.5||Top||14-70||Win||100||72 h 19 m||Show|
20* Houston/Army Armed Forces Bowl No-Brainer on Army -4.5
A military team in a military bowl that’s happy to be here. Sign me up. Army has already had a phenomenal season, but there’s still work to be done. The Black Knights can earn a school-record 11th win with a victory over Houston in the Armed Forces Bowl. They will be max motivated to accomplish that feat.
Houston is a team that has all kinds of issues heading into this game. They lost starting QB D’Eriq King in their 11th game of the season. King is a huge loss as he has a 36-to-6 TD/INT ratio, while also rushing for 674 yards and 14 scores this season. Backup Clayton Tune is only completing 44.7% of his 85 passes and is a massive downgrade as he’s not a dual-threat like King was.
The Cougars are also missing four defensive linemen on their two-deep, including DT Ed Oliver, who will be a Top 10 pick in the NFL Draft. These defensive line injuries will make it extremely difficult for them to stop Army’s rushing attack. In fact, Houston has the worst defense of all the bowl teams, giving up 489 yards per game. And they were awful stopping the run down the stretch, giving up a whopping 278.2 rushing yards per game in their last six games, including 300-plus three times.
Well, Army is the second-best rushing team in the country at 296 yards per game on the ground. And QB Kelvin Hopkins Jr. is actually a threat to throw it this year as he’s averaging 10.6 yards per attempt with six touchdown passes. Army is also 2nd in the country in time of possession (38:51), while Houston is 129th in time of possession (25:04). The Black Knights will wear down this Houston defense and pull away in the second half.
I have a hard time believing Houston wants to be here. They had a chance to win their division and play for the AAC title, but lost in the season finale 31-52 at Memphis. They gave up 610 total yards, including 401 on the ground in that loss. And now they have to go up against a team in Army that is going to chop block them the whole game. No team can be too excited to face the triple-option, an offense designed to punch you in the mouth. Houston players will quit early in this game.
One hidden factor here is that Army recruits as well as almost anyone in the state of Texas. The Black Knights actually have 23 players from Texas on their roster. And this game will be played in Forth Worth, Texas, so they are using this opportunity as an excellent recruiting tool.
Military teams are 33-13 ATS in their last 46 bowl games. Military teams are 23-4 ATS in their last 27 bowl games when facing a team that wins 60% or more of their games. The Black Knights are 6-0-1 ATS in their last seven games vs. a team with a winning record. They’ll cap off a record-setting season with their 11th victory Saturday. Bet Army in the Armed Forces Bowl.
|12-22-18||Wake Forest +3.5 v. Memphis||37-34||Win||100||69 h 50 m||Show|
15* Wake Forest/Memphis CFB Saturday Early ANNIHILATOR on Wake Forest +3.5
I think this this is a case where one team wants to be here, and one team doesn’t in the Birmingham Bowl between Wake Forest and Memphis. Wake Forest is the team that wants to be here. That was evidenced by the way they finished the season just to get into a bowl game.
The Demon Deacons needed to pull off two huge upsets on the road in their final three games just to get to 6-6 and bowl eligible. They beat NC State 27-23 as 18.5-point road underdogs. Then they blasted Duke 59-7 as 9-point road dogs in their season finale. You would be hard-pressed to find two better wins in the ACC than those two for the Demon Deacons.
Wake Forest head coach Dave Clawson is doing a tremendous job here with the Demon Deacons in making them relevant again. And Clawson is 2-0 in bowl games at Wake Forest. The Demon Deacons upset Temple as 12-point dogs in 2016. They also beat Texas A&M in a 55-52 thriller as 3-point favorites last year. They are certainly happy to be here with how hard they had to fight to get here, and I think that will show on the field Saturday.
QB Jamie Newman has been much more effective than Sam Hartman was before him, and he thrived once he was given the starting job after Hartman suffered a season-ending injury. Newman is completing 61.4% of his passes with an 8-to-3 TD/INT ratio while averaging 7.5 yards per attempt. Hartman is completing 55.3% and 6.8 per attempt. Newman has also been the better runner with 3.8 yards per carry compared to 2.6 for Hartman, and both have a significant amount of carries, so Newman being more of a dual-threat is definitely a factor.
Memphis does not want to be here. The Tigers are still reeling from blowing an 18-point halftime lead against UCF in the C-USA title game. They scored 38 points in the first half, but were held to just 3 points after intermission and completely imploded. It was the second blown lead against UCF this season in two losses to the Knights. Now they have to watch UCF go play LSU in the Fiesta Bowl, while they’re stuck in the Birmingham Bowl and have to face a 6-6 Wake Forest team.
Memphis will be without its best player in this game in RB Darrell Henderson, who is one of the best running backs in the country. He is sitting this game out to get ready for the NFL Draft, where he should be one of the first RB’s taken. Henderson has rushed for 1,9-9 yards and 22 touchdowns while averaging a ridiculous 8.9 yards per carry this season. You just don’t replace that type of production.
The Tigers have not fared well in bowl gams over the past three seasons, going 0-3 SU & 0-3 ATS. They lost by 21 to Auburn as 3-point dogs in 2015, by 20 to Western Kentucky as 7-point dogs in 2016, and were upset by Iowa State as 3-point favorites on their home field last year.
Memphis has played the 103rd-ranked schedule in the country, while Wake Forest has played the 53rd-toughest schedule. That’s a big difference in strength of schedule, and facing a team like Memphis will be a step down in class for Wake Forest compared to what they’re used to seeing in ACC action.
Teams that clinch a bowl game in their final game of the season have gone 41-21 ATS over the last 10 seasons. This is a great trend and it just goes to show that teams that had to fight to make a bowl in their final game are happy to be there and usually play well in their bowl game. And Memphis lost their offensive coordinator and their defensive coordinator prior to the bowl game, so they won’t be as well prepared as they normally would be going into a football game.
Memphis is 0-7 ATS in its last seven games after gaining 525 or more total yards in two consecutive games coming in. The Demon Deacons are 4-1 ATS in their last five bowl games, while the Tigers are 1-5 ATS in their last six bowl games. Take Wake Forest Saturday.
|12-20-18||Marshall -2.5 v. South Florida||38-20||Win||100||29 h 50 m||Show|
15* Marshall/USF Gasparilla Bowl ANNIHILATOR on Marshall -2.5
South Florida was a complete fraud during its 7-0 start this season. They had narrow single-digit wins over East Carolina (20-13) as 19-point home favorites, Tulsa (25-24) as 10-point road favorites and UConn (38-30) as 33.5-point home favorites. Looking back, ECU, Tulsa and UConn were awful, and all three had a shot to beat them.
Then reality set in down the stretch. South Florida went 0-5 in its final five games with all five losses coming by double-digits. The schedule got tougher, and the Bulls were completely exposed. And now they are going to have to try and get back up off the mat for their bowl game, and I’m not seeing it. Especially since it’s not a destination bowl game as they will be playing on their home field at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa. Fans won’t be that excited to watch a team that closed the season on a five-game losing streak.
Marshall is happy to be here. The Thundering Herd put together an impressive 8-4 season with two of their losses coming to ACC opponents in NC State and Virginia Tech. And the loss to Virginia Tech in the finale has them undervalued. The Hokies needed that win to make a bowl game, and it was a rescheduled game in the final week. The Thundering Herd were already going to a bowl game and didn’t need a win.
Marshall head coach Doc Holliday certainly knows how to prepare his teams for bowl games. Indeed, Holiday is a perfect 5-0 SU & 5-0 ATS in his five bowl games at Marshall. Not only are the Thundering Herd winning, then are dominating their opposition in these bowl games. They are winning by an average of 11.8 points per game in those five games.
USF QB Blake Barnett is banged up with an ankle injury. He will play, but he could be hampered and not as big of a rushing threat. That’s big because he has rushed for eight scores this year. Barnett is a horrible passer with an 11-to-11 TD/INT ratio. And if he gets hurt, both of the backups are completing less than 50% of their passes in their combined 73 attempts this season.
South Florida’s offense will struggle to move the football on what is a very good Marshall defense. The Thundering Herd are holding their opponents to just 22.0 points and 335.6 yards per game. They are holding their opponents to 5.2 points, 41 yards and 0.7 yards per play less than their season averages. Conversely, the Thundering Herd should be able to move the football at will against a USF defense that is yielding 31.5 points and 442.2 yards per game.
South Florida is 0-9 ATS in its last nine home games after having lost five or six of its last seven games coming in. Marshall is 11-2 ATS in its last 13 bowl games, including the 5-0 ATS in Holliday’s tenure as stated before. The Thundering Herd are 21-8-1 ATS in their last 30 non-conference games. The Bulls are 1-4 ATS in their last five vs. C-USA opponents. The Bulls are 0-4 ATS in their last four home games. Bet Marshall Thursday.
|12-19-18||Ohio v. San Diego State +3||27-0||Loss||-100||173 h 2 m||Show|
15* Ohio/SDSU Frisco Bowl ANNIHILATOR on San Diego State +3
I think San Diego State comes into the bowl season undervalued due to its 0-3 finish to the season. That followed a 7-2 start as this was one of the better Group of 5 teams in the country up to that point. But the poor finish can easily be explained.
Let’s go back to the UNLV loss which started the streak. San Diego State saw that Fresno State had lost to Boise State the previous night, meaning that they could afford a loss to UNLV and still have a shot to win their division. And they promptly lost 24-27 as 24-point favorites. Then everything was on the line the next week against Fresno State, and they lost 14-23. And it was then an obvious hangover spot the next week in the 30-31 loss to Hawaii.
There’s no question that head coach Rocky Long and his players want to get that sour taste out of their mouths. They’ll be ‘all in’ for this bowl game against Ohio, and I look for them to dominate from start to finish. MAC teams have been awful in bowl games over the past several season, and that will continue this season. Ohio coach Frank Solich is just 5-9 SU all-time in bowl games, and 3-6 at Ohio.
While Ohio has a very good offense, they have a weak defense that gives up 26.7 points, 399 yards per game and 6.2 yards per play on the season. Compare that to San Diego State, which gives up just 21.7 points, 327 yards per game and 5.0 yards per play, and we are clearly backing the superior defense.
San Diego State’s offense was held back by injuries all season. That made them a bad bet as big favorites, which they were consistently. But this offense is as healthy as it has been all year, and they are healthy as a team as a whole with only two players on the injury list heading into this bowl game. They key is having QB Christian Chapman and his 8.9 yards per attempt and RB Juwan Washington and his 870 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns back healthy. These are the two leaders of this offense and they’ll be looking to go out with a bang.
And this is a great matchup for the Aztecs’ defense. The strength of the Ohio offense is their running game, which produces 262 rushing yards per game and 6.1 per carry. Well, the Aztecs have the fourth-best rushing defense in the country. They give up just 94 rushing yards per game and 2.7 per carry this season. They have the ability to make Ohio one-dimensional, and the Bobcats just aren’t very good when they have to throw the football.
And keep in mind San Diego State is usually laying points, but here they are getting points, and it all stems back to that misleading poor finish to the season. As a dog this season, the Aztecs have stepped up. They beat Arizona State outright as 5.5-point dogs. They went into Boise State and won outright as 13-point dogs. And they covered as 10-point dogs at Fresno State.
Ohio is 1-10 ATS in road games off three consecutive games where they committed one or fewer turnovers. The Aztecs are 11-2 ATS in their last 13 road games following a loss by 3 points or less. Rocky Long is 9-2 ATS in road games vs. teams who average 450 or more yards per game as the coach of San Diego State. The Bobcats are 6-17 ATS in their last 23 games following a win by more than 20 points.
The MAC is 6-24 SU in bowl games over the last six years, including 1-12 SU the last three years. San Diego State is 8-1 ATS in its last nine games as an underdog. Betting on teams in bowl games off a SU loss as a favorite against a team that is coming in off back-to-back wins are 44-14 ATS since 1981. Bet San Diego State Wednesday.
|12-18-18||Northern Illinois v. UAB -1.5||Top||13-37||Win||100||270 h 50 m||Show|
20* NIU/UAB Boca Raton Bowl No-Brainer on UAB -1.5
The UAB Blazers are a tremendous story. To go from not having a football program at all for two years to going 8-5 in 2017 and then 10-3 and a Conference USA Championship this season is one of the most remarkable feats I’ve ever seen in college football. These players love head coach Bill Clark, and they’ll be highly motivated to get another win to cap off this impressive season.
I like their chances of winning this game against a Northern Illinois team that just isn’t very good. Yes, the Huskies won the MAC, but that conference was way down this season and always struggles in bowl games. And they had to erase a 29-10 deficit in the second half against Buffalo to win 30-29. They’ve already reached the pinnacle.
I’ll gladly fade NIU head coach Rod Carey, who just can’t seem to make anything work in bowl games. Carey is 0-5 SU & 0-5 ATS in his career in bowl games, and not only are his teams losing, they are getting crushed. Carey’s teams are getting outscored by 25 points per game on average, and they losing by 18 points per game against the spread on average. In none of those five games did they even stay within a touchdown of the spread!
Yes, Northern Illinois has a good defense, but their offense is atrocious. QB Marcus Childers only averages 5.4 yards per attempt with a 15-to-10 TD/INT ratio on the season. He also rushes for just 2.8 yards per carry on his ridiculous 176 rushing attempts this season. The Huskies score just 20.7 points per game this season. They are getting outgained by 22.8 yards per game on the year. It’s just not an offense I’m willing to get behind, and I’ll gladly fade it.
UAB does have a respectable offense that puts up 29.3 points and 400.1 yards per game. They also have an elite defense that gives up just 17.3 points and 300.2 yards per game on the year. They are outgaining their opponents by 100 yards per game, which is the sign of a good team and one I want to put my money behind, especially laying less than a field goal here.
Keep in mind UAB’s season stats got skewed a little too in the final game of the regular season. They already had a trip to the C-USA Championship clinched, and they didn’t even show up in their 3-27 loss to Middle Tennessee in which they were outgained by 305 yards. They rested their starters, and then came back the next week and won 27-25 at Middle Tennessee in the rematch. So if you throw out that meaningless game, the Blazers have outgained the other 12 opponents by over 1600 yards on the season and by 134 yards per game.
The Huskies are 5-16-1 ATS in their last 22 neutral site games. Northern Illinois is 1-5 ATS in its last six vs. C-USA opponents. UAB is 32-10 ATS in its last 42 games following a two-game road trip. Again, the Huskies are 0-5 ATS in their last five bowl games. And the MAC is 6-22 SU over the last five years in bowl games, and 1-10 SU the last two years. Bet UAB Tuesday.
|12-15-18||Middle Tennessee State +7 v. Appalachian State||Top||13-45||Loss||-110||78 h 2 m||Show|
20* MTSU/App State New Orleans Bowl BAILOUT on Middle Tennessee +7
Appalachian State head coach Scott Satterfield has moved on to coach Louisville. Teams in December bowl games whose coaches were either fired or left to coach elsewhere last season went 1-5 ATS. It always leaves a lot of questions surrounding the program and a ton of distractions for the players when a coach leaves.
I don’t think Appalachian State will be focused at all with Satterfield gone. The Mountaineers have already accomplished all they wanted to this season, and losing to Middle Tennessee isn’t going to change that. They won the Sun Belt title and have already won 10 games, so there’s nothing left for them to play for.
Middle Tennessee comes in with a sour taste in its mouth from a 2-point loss to UAB in the Conference USA Championship Game. The Blue Raiders have gone 11-3 ATS in their last 14 games following a loss, so they have been a resilient bunch. And I look for that to be the case again here as the Blue Raiders clearly want to be playing in this game.
This is the final opportunity for head coach Rick Stockstill and son Brent Stockstill to go to battle together. Stockstill is a redshirt senior quarterback who will be playing his final game at Middle Tennessee. He is the leader of this team and will have his guys ready to go. Stockstill was already the school’s all-time leading passer prior to this season, and he is completing 70.4% of his passes with a 28-to-8 TD/INT ratio this year.
The Blue Raiders come in playing their best football of the season. They have gone 5-1 ATS in their last six games overall. They have outgained each of their last five opponents by an average of 145.4 yards per game. That’s impressive when you consider they’ve played C-USA champ UAB twice and Kentucky on the road during this stretch.
There’s no doubt the Blue Raiders have played the tougher schedule of these two teams as well. They played three SEC bowl teams in Georgia, Kentucky and Vanderbilt all on the road in the non-conference. Meanwhile, the Mountaineers played the 132nd-ranked schedule in the country this season. They’ve played an extremely weak slate since their loss to Penn State in the opener, and they’re still getting too much respect from that OT loss.
I’m getting the more motivated team, and arguably the better team, catching a touchdown in the New Orleans Bowl. Sign me up. Bet Middle Tennessee State Saturday night.
|12-15-18||North Texas +8.5 v. Utah State||13-52||Loss||-105||71 h 3 m||Show|
15* CFB Saturday Early Bowl ANNIHILATOR on North Texas +8.5
The North Texas Mean Green certainly want to be here in this New Mexico Bowl Saturday. Sitting at 9-3, they have a chance to win 10 games for the first time in nearly 70 years. They are 2-7 all-time in bowl games, so they don’t get to go bowling very often. And they want to make amends for their loss to Troy last year. Plus, head coach Seth Littrell turned down the Kansas State job to stay here, so his players will go to war with him.
This is a very experienced Mean Green team that returned 17 starters from a team that also won nine games last season. And they were even better this year, as their three losses all came by 8 points or fewer and by a combined 13 points, and they led by double-digits in all three. That’s how close this team was to being 12-0.
Improvement came from a defense that gave up 35 points and 431 yards per game last season. The Mean Green this season only give up 21.8 points and 359.5 yards per game. And their offense exceeded last years numbers slightly and remains elite, scoring 36.4 points per game and averaging 472.8 yards per game. QB Mason Fine was already the school’s all-time leading passer coming into the season, and had another big year, throwing for 3,734 yards with a 27-to-5 TD/INT ratio.
My favorite stat on this North Texas team is that they were the only team in the country to outgain every opponent they played this year. Even Alabama was outgained by Georgia in the SEC Championship. The Mean Green are outgaining opponents by 113.3 yards per game on the season. That’s the sign of a good team and one that I have no problem getting my money behind.
Utah State head coach Matt Wells has moved on to greener pastures, taking the Texas Tech job. He is going to bring his assistants with him, though those assistants will stick around to coach the bowl game. I expect a lack of focus from these Utah State players given the coaching situation. Plus, teams in December bowl games who lost their head coach last year went 1-5 ATS.
Another reason the Aggies will be lacking motivation is because they blew a huge opportunity in their regular season finale with a heartbreaking loss to Boise State. That loss cost them a trip to the Mountain West Championship Game. Now they have to try and get up to face North Texas when they’d much rather be up against a Power 5 team like both Fresno State and Boise State get the opportunity to as rewards for playing the MWC Championship. Utah State doesn’t want to be here at all.
I’ll gladly back the more motivated team here in North Texas catching more than a touchdown against Utah State in the New Mexico Bowl. Plays against favorites of 3.5 to 10 points (Utah State) - off a road loss to a conference opponent, a team that wins more than 80% of their games playing a good team that wins 60% to 80% of their games are 24-4 (85.7%) ATS since 1992. Take North Texas Saturday.
|12-08-18||Navy +7 v. Army||Top||10-17||Push||0||46 h 11 m||Show|
20* Army/Navy CBS Saturday No-Brainer on Navy +7
The Army Black Knights will be going to the Armed Forces Bowl on December 22nd to face Houston. They have a lot to look forward to still. As a result, they won’t be as motivated as Navy in this matchup, which missed out on a bowl game this season with a 3-9 record. This is Navy’s bowl game.
And you can bet Navy wants revenge from back-to-back losses to Army in this series, losing 21-17 in 2016 and 14-13 last season. The difference here is that Army goes from being the hunter to the hunted here. Army hasn’t been favored in this rivalry game since 2001. Now, all of a sudden the Black Knights are whopping 7-point favorites this year. It’s simply too much.
Army feasted on an easy schedule this season that ranked 99th in the country. The Black Knights haven’t faced an FBS opponent since their 17-14 home win over Air Force back on November 3rd. They closed the season playing Lafayette and Colgate, and they haven’t played a game since November 17th, so they could certainly be rusty. It could take them a quarter or two to fully get into this game.
Navy played the 66th-toughest schedule as their schedule was much more difficult than that of Army. That contributed to their 3-9 record, but so did several close losses along the way. Navy lost three games by a total of 9 points this season to SMU, Tulane and Temple. All three of those teams will be going to bowl games, and they played nine bowl teams this season. To compare, Army only played six bowl teams.
I like the way Navy finished the season. They went 3-0 ATS in their final three games. They gave UCF all they wanted on the road in a 24-35 loss as 23.5-point underdogs. They then beat Tulsa 37-29 at home as 5.5-point favorites. And they finished going on the road losing 28-29 at Tulane as 6-point dogs. Tulane had a huge second half comeback and needed that win to make a bowl. They won on a 2-point conversion in the final minutes.
Navy is 6-0 ATS in road games off three straight games where they committed one or fewer turnovers over the past three seasons. Army is 16-35 ATS in its last 51 games off a bye week. The Black Knights are 3-9 ATS in their last 12 games vs. a team with a losing record. The Midshipmen simply want this game more, and even if they don’t win there’s a great chance they stay within a touchdown, just as they did the past two seasons. In fact, each of the last four meetings were decided by 7 points or fewer. Bet Navy Saturday.
|12-01-18||Northwestern v. Ohio State -14||Top||24-45||Win||100||67 h 47 m||Show|
20* Northwestern/Ohio State Big Ten BAILOUT on Ohio State -14
Because Ohio State came out No. 6 in the playoff rankings this week, they know they need style points to get in. This really feels like a few years ago when they needed style points against Wisconsin. They were actually underdogs in that game and won 59-0. They got in over TCU because of it, and went on to win the national title.
Ohio State knows how to put the hammer down when it needs to. And the Buckeyes certainly put the hammer down last week by scoring 62 points against Michigan’s No. 1 ranked defense in the country. I don’t think I’ve seen a more impressive performance all season. And it just shows what the Buckeyes are capable of when they are locked in. They’ll be locked in Saturday night looking to impress the playoff committee again.
I’ve thought Northwestern was overrated most of the season. They’ve squeaked out a ton of close wins this season to win the Big Ten West division. And basically everyone else in their division fell apart around them to help them out.
This is a Northwestern team that is only outscoring opponents by 2 points per game this season. They are actually getting outgained by 27 yards per game in Big Ten play. Their offense ranks 126th out of 130 teams in yards per play (4.6). They are one-dimensional, averaging just 3.0 yards per carry. It’s an offense that puts up just 23.7 points per game this season, and I just don’t believe Clayton Thorson is capable of matching the Buckeyes score for score.
I like the fact that this game is played indoors in a dome in Indianapolis. That’s going to favor Ohio State’s high-powered offense. The Buckeyes average 43.3 points and 544 yards per game this season. When I’m laying double-digit points, I need it to be with an elite offense that I know is going to hang a big number. Ohio State certainly fits the bill.
I don’t believe this game will ever be close with the exception of early on in the first quarter. But say Ohio State is up by 10 in the final minutes. They won’t simply kneel on it. They’ll go down and try to score for style points because they need to leapfrog Oklahoma or whoever else is in their way in the playoff standings. So we have that in our back pocket if we need it. I don’t think we’ll need it, though.
The Buckeyes are 7-2 ATS in their last nine neutral site games. Ohio State is 5-1 ATS in its last six meetings with Northwestern. Urban Meyer is 13-1 ATS off an upset win as an underdog in all games he has coached. Take Ohio State Saturday.
|12-01-18||Georgia +14 v. Alabama||28-35||Win||100||62 h 31 m||Show|
15* Georgia/Alabama SEC ANNIHILATOR on Georgia +14
The betting public is infatuated with Alabama right now. They are just betting the Crimson Tide blindly because they have been so good to them all season. It’s time to ‘sell high’ on the Crimson Tide this week because bettors are clearly paying a tax to bet them at this point in the season. They should not be two touchdown favorites over Georgia, one of the top teams in the country.
The tax caught up to the Crimson Tide two weeks ago in their 50-17 win over The Citadel. That game was tied 10-10 at halftime believe it or not. And last week they only led Auburn 17-14 at halftime and did not deserve to cover the 25.5-point spread. But they outscored the Tigers 35-7 after intermission to get the cover. Georgia will offer a lot more resistance than any other team Alabama has played this season.
Georgia has had revenge in mind since a 26-23 (OT) loss to Alabama in the National Championship Game last year. They led that game 13-0 at halftime and feel like they let it slip away. I am 100% confident we’ll get the biggest effort of the season from Georgia in the SEC Championship Game this week, and that should be enough to stay within two touchdowns of the Crimson Tide, possibly pulling off the upset.
I think Georgia’s 16-36 loss at LSU was a blessing in disguise back in early October. They gave that game away by committing four turnovers. They have only committed five turnovers in five games since, and they’ve gone 5-0 SU & 4-1 ATS in their last five games overall. Their only non-cover came in a 39-point win as 41.5-point favorites over UMass. Big deal. They have won all five games by at least 17 points.
Alabama hasn’t had to face an offense as good as Georgia’s this season. The Bulldogs score 40.1 points per game an average 481 yards per game. Their ground game is elite once again as they rush for 260 yards per game and 6.3 per carry. And Jake Fromm is completing 69.1% of his passes with a 24-to-5 TD/INT ratio while averaging 9.6 per attempt. He held his own against Alabama as a freshman last year and was the biggest reason they had a shot to win that game. Fromm won’t fold in the SEC Championship Game having that experience in his hip pocket.
Georgia is 9-1 ATS after having won four or five of their last six games over the past two seasons. The Bulldogs are 12-3 ATS when playing against a team with a winning record over the last two seasons. Georgia is 10-2 ATS vs. good rushing teams who average 4.75 or more yards per carry over the last two years. The underdog is 5-0 ATS in the last five meetings.
Plays on neutral field underdogs (Georgia) - an excellent rushing team that averages 225 or more rushing yards per game, after gaining 225 or more rushing yards in four straight games coming in are 23-3 (88.5%) ATS since 1992. Roll with Georgia Saturday.
|12-01-18||Memphis +3.5 v. Central Florida||Top||41-56||Loss||-115||61 h 7 m||Show|
25* Conference Championship GAME OF THE YEAR on Memphis +3.5
I was on the Memphis Tigers last week in a dominant 52-31 win over Houston. They took advantage of Houston’s starting QB being out, and now they’ll take advantage of UCF’s starting QB being out this week as well. The wrong team is favored in this matchup, and I love everything about Memphis in this AAC Championship Game Saturday.
The streak ends here. UCF has won 24 consecutive games over the past two seasons, but all of that was with QB McKenzie Milton at quarterback. He has accounted for 80 total touchdowns over the past two seasons, more than any other player in college football. He is simply irreplaceable.
UCF’s backup is freshman Darriel Mack Jr. He has gotten some action this season in either mop up duty or like last week against USF in the second half after Milton went out. He has not been impressive at all. Mack Jr. is completing just 48.8% of his 43 attempts and averaging only 4.0 yards per attempt. He hasn’t thrown a single touchdown pass on those 43 attempts, either.
Mack Jr. is more of a running quarterback as he has rushed for 281 yards on 40 attempts. Well, that plays right into the hands of Memphis, who have the better defense in this matchup, especially against the run. The Tigers are only giving up 3.9 yards per carry on 40 attempts per game this year. That is the strength of their defense.
UCF has been good at stopping the pass, but terrible at stopping the run. The Knights give up 212 rushing yards per game and 4.5 per carry, including 262 rushing yards per game in their last four games coming in. The Tigers average 276 rushing yards per game and 6.4 per attempt. Don’t get me wrong, they’re still a great passing team at 254 yards per game and 8.6 per attempt behind Brady White, but their strength is their ground game.
And Memphis has one of the best running backs in the country and a future NFL star in Darrell Henderson. He has rushed for the second-most yards in the nation with 1,700 yards and 19 touchdowns while averaging 8.6 per carry. He is a huge back who is tough to bring down, and he has tremendous explosiveness and quickness for a big guy. Henderson rushed for 199 yards against UCF in their first meeting.
Speaking of that first meeting, Memphis will be playing with triple-revenge from three losses to UCF over the past two seasons. They blew a 30-14 lead over UCF and lost 30-31 at home in their first meeting this season. They also lost during the regular season last year at UCF and again at UCF 55-62 in overtime in last year’s AAC Championship Game. To say they want revenge would be a massive understatement, and they don’t care that Milton is out, they just want to beat this UCF team so badly.
I don’t think UCF should be favored at all without Milton. And I just don’t see how the Knights can keep up on the scoreboard with this high-powered Memphis offense that averages 43.8 points and 530 yards per game this season. They hung 52 on Houston last week and amassed 610 total yards, including 410 rushing. They have gone 4-0 SU & 4-0 ATS in their last four games overall and are playing their best football of the season down the stretch when these games matter most.
Memphis is 7-0 ATS vs. poor rushing defenses that allow 200 or more rushing yards per game over the last two seasons. It is winning by 30.3 points per game on average in this spot. Bet Memphis Saturday.
|11-30-18||Utah v. Washington -5||Top||3-10||Win||100||43 h 43 m||Show|
20* Utah/Washington Pac-12 Championship No-Brainer on Washington -5
The Washington Huskies were one of the most overrated teams in the country all season. So despite the fact that they went 9-3 SU, they went just 3-9 ATS. They were consistently laying too many points week in and week out because many expected them to be a playoff contender coming into the season.
This is the role I like them in. The Huskies are only 5-point favorites here against the Utes. Two of their three covers this season came as a small favorite or underdog. They won 21-7 at Utah in their first meeting as 4-point favorites, and then last week put together their most complete performance of the season in a 28-15 win at Washington State as 3-point dogs.
The line in that first meeting with Utah is important. Washington was a 4-point favorite in that true road game, and now they are only a 5-point favorite on a neutral field in the rematch. When you adjust for Utah’s massive home-field advantage, Washington would have been around an 8-point favorite on a neutral back then. So we are getting value here.
And I think Utah has gotten worse since that game while Washington has gotten better. The Utes have lost starting QB Huntley and starting RB Moss, their two best players on offense. Washington State has gotten a healthy Myles Gaskins back at RB after missing a few games and TE Hunter Bryant who missed the first nine games of the season.
The Huskies outgained Washington State by 250 total yards last week. They rushed for 258 yards, including 170 and three touchdowns from Gaskins. And Bryant is one of the most talented tight ends in the country, so Jake Browning is glad to have him back. He caught three balls for 108 yards and a touchdown in the snow against the Cougars.
Meanwhile, Utah had to erase a 27-7 deficit in the second half last week to come back and beat BYU 35-27. The Utes did not deserve to win that game at all as they managed just 296 total yards and were outgained by 61 yards. But they used a lot of energy to erase that deficit, and they haven’t had a bye since mid-September. They are running on fumes right now.
Washington gets an extra days’ rest after playing Washington State last Friday, while Utah had to play a late-night game on Saturday. And the Huskies just had their bye on November 10th, so they are by far the fresher team. It explains their solid play to close out the season, and I think they have another big performance in them here Friday night as they claim the Pac-12 title in blowout fashion. Bet Washington Friday.
|11-24-18||BYU +12 v. Utah||Top||27-35||Win||100||71 h 49 m||Show|
20* BYU/Utah FS1 Late-Night BAILOUT on BYU +12
This is a very precarious spot for the Utah Utes. Even though it’s a rivalry game, I don’t expect them to be motivated at all. That’s because they have their big game on deck next week in the Pac-12 Championship against the Washington/Washington State Apple Cup winner. And if they win that game, they’ll go to the Rose Bowl.
I just don’t foresee the Utes being motivated at all to face BYU this week. And even if they were motivated, it would be tough for them to cover this 12-point spread because BYU simply doesn’t get blown out. I have no doubt the Cougars will want this game more, and I’ll gladly back the more motivated double-digit underdog in this matchup.
Utah lost its two best players on offense in a 20-38 loss to Arizona State. The Utes were able to win their next two games against Oregon and Colorado without those two players, but I think it catches up with them here. Those two players are QB Tyler Huntley and RB Zack Moss, who rushed for 1,092 yards and 11 touchdowns in the first nine games this season.
BYU has had a nice bounce-back season this year and they want to cap it off with an upset win over retire rivals. They are 6-5 this season, but three of those losses have come by 5 points or less. Like I said, this team just doesn’t get blown out. And I think they’ll hold their own in what is sure to be a defensive battle with a total set of only 44. I love taking double-digit dogs in expected defensive battles.
BYU is 6-0 ATS in November road games over the last three seasons. Plays on underdogs of 10.5 to 21 points (BYU) - off a home win by 17 points or more against an opponent that’s off a double-digit road win are 37-14 (72.5%) ATS over the last 10 seasons. Take BYU Saturday.
|11-24-18||Kansas State +14 v. Iowa State||Top||38-42||Win||100||68 h 48 m||Show|
20* Big 12 GAME OF THE WEEK on Kansas State +14
The Iowa State Cyclones had their dreams crushed last week. They went into their showdown with Texas last week controlling their own destiny to get to the Big 12 title game. Simply win that game and this week against Kansas State, and they would have made the conference championship game.
But they got worked and lost 10-24 in a game that wasn’t even that close. And for a program like Iowa State, it was an extra crushing loss because they almost never get the opportunity they had last week. And now they will have a hard time getting back up off the mat to face Kansas State this week.
We know Kansas State will be motivated. The Wildcats currently sit at 5-6 and one win shy of bowl eligibility. They have won their last two games against Kansas and Texas Tech to put themselves in this position. And that 21-6 win against Texas Tech as 6.5-point dogs was mighty impressive. They held the high-powered Red Raiders to just 181 total yards. And they are capable of shutting down this mediocre Iowa State offense as well.
Now team has owned Iowa State quite like Kansas State. Indeed, the Wildcats have gone 10-0 SU in their last 10 meetings with the Cyclones. And now they’re catching 14 points, which makes absolutely zero sense. The Cyclones have struggled to score points against the Wildcats in recent years, and that will be the case again Saturday. Especially in this ‘hangover’ spot off the loss to Texas. Bet Kansas State Saturday.
|11-24-18||Rutgers +27.5 v. Michigan State||10-14||Win||100||65 h 48 m||Show|
15* CFB Saturday Undervalued Underdog on Rutgers +27.5
Quietly, the Rutgers Scarlet Knights have been big money makers down the stretch. They haven’t quit. They have gone 4-0 ATS in in their last four games overall. They only lost 15-18 as 20-point home dogs to Northwestern, 17-31 as 29-point road dogs at Wisconsin, 7-42 as 37-point home dogs to Michigan, and 7-20 as 28-point home dogs to Penn State.
Rutgers has covered the spread by a combined 49 points in its last four games. The betting public wants nothing to do with 1-10 Rutgers, which is why they are consistently catching too many points here down the stretch. And oddsmakers still haven’t adjusted as they are once again catching 27.5-points this week against Michigan State.
I just can’t see Michigan State being motivated enough to beat Rutgers by this kind of margin. The Spartans are 6-5 this season and off back-to-back losses to Ohio State and Nebraska in which they scored a combined 12 points in those two losses. And that’s the issue here with the Spartans. Can they even score 28 points?
Michigan State has a putrid offense that is putting up just 20.3 points per game this season. And Rutgers has a respectable defense that is allowing 409.8 yards per game on the year. The Scarlet Knights are definitely good enough defensively to hold Michigan to less than 28 points. And their offense should contribute a touchdown or two.
The total set in this game is only 37 points. I always like taking big underdogs in games that are expected to be low scoring. Basically they are saying the score is going to be 32-5 based on this total. I think Rutgers can score 7, and I don’t think Michigan State can score 32.
Plays against home favorites (Michigan State) - after going under the total by more than 28 points in their previous game, in weeks 10 through 13 are 33-9 (78.6%) ATS over the last 10 seasons. Michigan State is 10-27 ATS in its last 37 games after scoring 7 points or less in the first half of two straight games. Mark Dantonio is 0-6 ATS after scoring 6 points or less last game as the coach of Michigan State. Bet Rutgers Saturday.
|11-24-18||Tennessee v. Vanderbilt -3||13-38||Win||100||65 h 45 m||Show|
15* CFB Saturday No-Doubt Rout on Vanderbilt -3
Both Vanderbilt and Tennessee have a lot to play for here Saturday. The winner will be going to a bowl game, while the loser will be staying home for bowl season. And it’s Senior Day for the Commodores on their home turf. I just think Vanderbilt is the better team, and they should be laying more than a field goal at home here to the Vols because of it.
Vanderbilt has impressed me a lot here down the stretch. They have played well in five straight games coming in, and that consistency is why I like them so much. It started five weeks ago when they led Florida 21-3 at home, but couldn’t hold on in the second half, losing 27-37 and failing to cover as 9.5-point dogs only after a 43-yard field goal by Florida with 37 seconds left.
Since that defeat, Vanderbilt has gone 4-0 ATS in its last four games, consistently being undervalued. They only lost 7-14 at Kentucky as 10-point dogs, upset Arkansas 45-31 as 2-point road dogs, only lost 28-33 at Missouri as 14.5-point dogs, and beat Ole Miss 36-29 at home as 3-point favorites.
Tennessee has not played well down the stretch, going 1-2 ATS, with their only win coming at home over Kentucky in a clear flat spot for the Wildcats after losing to Georgia the previous week. They only beat a bad Charlotte team 14-3 at home as 21-point favorites. And they lost 17-50 to Missouri as 6-point home dogs last week.
While Vanderbilt has been able to stay remarkably healthy this season, Tennessee has not. They have seven players who are out for the season, and several others who are probable or questionable, including QB Jarrett Guarantano. This guy has taken a beating all season from poor offensive line play, and it’s starting to take its toll. He is dealing with a head injury, and if he takes another big hit Saturday, he’ll get the hook quick. And the drop-off from him to backup Keller Chryst is significant.
No question we are backing the better offense and the better quarterback here in Kyle Shurmur. The senior will be looking to make a statement in his final home game. Shurmur has thrown for 2,477 yards with a 20-to-6 TD/INT ratio this season while completing 61.4% of his passes in the rugged SEC. He has a stud running back to hand the ball off to in Ke’Shawn Vaughn, who has rushed for 976 yards and 10 touchdowns while averaging a jaw-dropping 7.1 per carry.
Tennessee’s offense averages just 23.6 points per game overall and 21.3 points per game in conference play. And this is a pretty evenly-matched game defensively, tho the Vols give up more points overall (27.0) and in conference play (35.9) than Vanderbilt does overall (26.2) and in conference play (31.7). So we’re getting the better offense at home on Senior Day playing for a bowl game. That’s worth more than 3 points in my eyes.
Vanderbilt is 4-2 SU & 5-1 ATS in its last six meetings with Tennessee. The Vols are 0-4 ATS in their last four games vs. a team with a losing record. The Commodores are 5-1 ATS in their last six games following an ATS win. Vanderbilt is 4-0 ATS in its last four conference games. Take Vanderbilt Saturday.
|11-24-18||Marshall v. Florida International +3||28-25||Push||0||61 h 47 m||Show|
15* CFB Saturday UPSET SHOCKER On Florida International +3
I’ve cashed in FIU each of the last two weeks. They won 45-7 as 10.5-point favorites at UTSA and 42-35 as 3.5-point favorites at Charlotte. And I’m on FIU again this week simply because I believe they continue to be undervalued here as 3-point home underdogs to Marshall.
Motivation is a big reason I’ve been on FIU. Three weeks ago, win out and they controlled their own destiny to get to the C-USA title game. They’ve completed the first two steps, and now I expect them to finish it off and improve to 7-1 in C-USA with a win over Marshall Saturday.
Marshall is in a questionable motivational spot. Sure, they are still alive for the C-USA East title, but they would also need some help. They would need Middle Tennessee to lose at home to UAB, a team that has nothing to play for this week. I just really like the motivational spot better for FIU here, especially at home on Senior Day, and I simply believe they are the better team as well.
This FIU offense has been impressive this season, averaging 35.5 points per game. And their defense has held opponents to 24.4 points per game. James Morgan is having a huge season at quarterback for the Golden Panthers, completing 65.5% of his passes, averaging 8.7 yards per attempt, and compiling a 26-to-5 TD/INT ratio.
Marshall has an uninspiring offense that is putting up 28.1 points per game this season. Against the same two opponents FIU played the last two weeks, they only managed 30 points against Charlotte and 23 against UTSA. FIU scored 45 on UTSA and 42 on Charlotte. I just don’t think the Thundering Herd have the firepower to keep up in this one.
Marshall is 19-34 ATS in its last 53 games as a road favorite. The Golden Panthers are 14-3 ATS in their last 17 games after scoring more than 40 points in their previous game. FIU is 6-1 ATS in its last seven vs. a team with a winning record. The Thundering Herd are 0-6 ATS in their last six games after allowing more than 20 points in their previous game. Marshall is 1-5 ATS in its last six games following a win. Roll with Florida International Saturday.
|11-23-18||East Carolina +19.5 v. Cincinnati||Top||6-56||Loss||-110||41 h 48 m||Show|
20* AAC GAME OF THE WEEK on East Carolina +19.5
East Carolina may be just 3-7 on the season, but they have the stats more of a 7-3 team, which has them undervalued at this point in the campaign. The Pirates are actually outgaining their opponents by 58 yards per game on the season.
The problem for the Pirates has been turnovers. But they finally won the turnover battle last week, and they beat UConn 55-21 as a result. And I think they can hang with Cincinnati this week. This is a Cincinnati team that has committed at least three turnovers in four of their last six games coming in.
It’s also a Bearcats squad that had their dreams crushed last week in their 25-point loss to UCF. That game decided which team was going to the AAC Title game, and they fell flat on their faces. I don’t expect these Cincinnati players to get back up off the mat in time to face lowly East Carolina. They probably think they can just show up and win, but that won’t be the case.
Especially now that stud freshman Holton Ahlers has taken over at quarterback. He has really thrives the past five games since taking over against mostly a brutal schedule that has included Houston, UCF, Memphis and Tulane. Ahlers has thrown for 1,601 yards with an 11-to-2 TD/INT ratio this season, while also rushing for a team-high 571 yards and six scores on 5.2 per carry. He is one of the best freshman QB’s in the country that not many folks know about.
Cincinnati is 0-6 ATS after allowing 37 points or more last game over the past three seasons. The Bearcats are 0-7 ATS in home games when the total is 49.5 to 56 over the last three years. I don’t expect the Bearcats to show up at all this week. That’s going to make it extremely difficult to cover this 19.5-point spread. Bet East Carolina Thursday.
|11-23-18||Houston v. Memphis -7||31-52||Win||100||37 h 19 m||Show|
15* CFB Friday No-Doubt Rout on Memphis -7
The AAC West title is on the line here when Houston visits Memphis Friday afternoon. I think the home team has a ton of advantages here that will allow them to not only win, but also cover this generous 7-point spread. Lay the wood on the Tigers here Friday.
For starters, the Liberty Bowl in Memphis has been one of the best home-field advantages in the country. The Tigers have gone 27-6 SU at home over the past five seasons. They are 5-1 at home this season and outscoring their foes by 28.7 points per game. Their only loss this season came 30-31 to unbeaten UCF after they blew a big lead in the 2nd half. Houston’s not nearly as good as UCF.
That’s especially the case now that Houston lost its all-everything QB D’Eriq King to a season-ending injury in the win over Tulane last week. It’s the one player they could not afford to live without. King threw for 2,982 yards with a 36-to-6 TD/INT ratio this season, while also rushing for 674 yards and 14 scores. He was their entire offense. Now they have to get freshman QB Clayton Tune ready to make his first-ever road start in a hostile environment. Tune is only completing 47.6% of his 42 attempts this season, and he’s not a dual-threat.
The Cougars will now have a very hard time keeping up with this high-powered Memphis offense Friday. The Tigers are scoring 43.1 points per game and averaging 523.0 yards per game on the season, including 51.5 points per game and 602.8 yards per game at home. That’s why I have no problem laying the seven points with the Tigers here.
Houston is 3-11 ATS off a home win over the last three seasons. The Tigers are 6-0 ATS in November games over the last two years. The Cougars are 1-10 ATS in their last 11 games on field turf. The Tigers are 7-1 ATS in their last eight Friday games. With what’s at stake here, we’ll get an ‘A-Plus’ effort from Memphis, and Houston won’t be able to match it due to the injury to King. Roll with Memphis Friday.
|11-23-18||Nebraska +9 v. Iowa||28-31||Win||100||37 h 19 m||Show|
15* Nebraska/Iowa Big Ten No-Brainer on Nebraska +9
I certainly don’t mind buying stock in Nebraska right now. The Huskers are 6-1 ATS in their last seven games overall. Their only non-cover was a 45-9 win over Bethune-Cookman as 46.5-point favorites in which they pulled their starters after a 38-3 halftime lead. They have been way undervalued since their 0-6 start to the season.
The Huskers haven’t been blown out at all here down the stretch. They covered as 18.5-point dogs at Wisconsin, as 3.5-point dogs at Northwestern in a 31-34 (OT) loss after they blew a 14-point lead late, they beat Minnesota 53-28 as 4-point home favorites, only lost 31-36 at Ohio State as 17-point dogs, crushed Illinois 54-35 as 17-point home favorites, and knocked off Michigan State 9-6 as 1-point home favorites last week.
How they’ve played against all of those teams shows me that they can certainly hang with Iowa, which has lost three of its last four coming in with its only win coming against lowly Illinois. The Hawkeyes seem to just be going through the motions since their dreams of winning the Big Ten West were crushed.
Nebraska certainly has the offense to keep up with the Hawkeyes. They are scoring 30.0 points and averaging 459.6 yards per game in conference play this season. And their defense has only gotten better as the season has gone on. That was on display last week when they held Michigan State to just 6 points and 289 yards of offense. And Iowa has a very similar offense to Michigan State.
No question Nebraska wants revenge from back-to-back blowout losses to the Hawkeyes by 30 and 42 points. But those games were with the anemic Mike Riley at the helm. Scott Frost has changed the culture here already, and he certainly wants his team to know that it’s extremely important to win these rivalry games. No question we’ll get an ‘A-Plus’ effort here from the Cornhuskers knowing this is their final game of the season.
Nebraska is 9-1 ATS off a home win over the last three seasons. Plays on road teams (Nebraska) - with an excellent offense that averages 6.1 or more yards per play, after gaining 3.75 or less hard per play in their previous game are 23-4 (85.2%) ATS since 1992. Take Nebraska Friday.
|11-22-18||Mississippi State v. Ole Miss +11.5||35-3||Loss||-110||29 h 28 m||Show|
15* Mississippi State/Ole Miss SEC ANNIHILATOR on Ole Miss +11.5
The Ole Miss Rebels sit at 5-6, needing a win to make a bowl game. They have lost four straight coming in, but it’s not for a lack of trying. Their four losses have all come by 15 points or less, and their offense has been good enough to win every game. I think they’re undervalued due to going 0-5 ATS in their last five games, and now we will ‘buy low’ on them here as double-digit home dogs to Mississippi State.
They were only 5.5-point home dogs to Auburn and 2-point home favorites against South Carolina during this stretch. And Mississippi State isn’t necessarily better than either of those teams, yet they are laying 11.5-points to the Rebels. They were also only 11-point road underdogs to LSU and 21-point home underdogs to Alabama. That fact alone shows you there’s value with the home dog here.
Ole Miss had 447 total yards against Auburn, 616 total yards against South Carolina, 440 total yards against Texas A&M and 578 total yards against Vanderbilt in their last four games. With this offense, they are never out of any game. And I just don’t think Mississippi State has the firepower on offense to put them away.
This is a Mississippi State offense that is only averaging 17.0 points and 301.3 total yards per game in SEC play this season, and that even includes the 52 points they scored against Arkansas. So they have been horrible. The Bulldogs are 1-3 SU & 1-3 ATS on the road this season, averaging just 10.2 points and 292 yards per game. Ole Miss is 3-3 at home, scoring 41.8 points per game and averaging 572 yards per game.
Mississippi State is 0-6 ATS after having won three of its last four games over the past two seasons. Plays on any team (Ole Miss) - off five or more consecutive ATS losses against an opponent that’s off one or more consecutive ATS wins are 39-11 (78%) ATS over the last five seasons. Roll with Ole Miss Thursday.
|11-20-18||Northern Illinois v. Western Michigan +7||21-28||Win||100||6 h 15 m||Show|
15* NIU/WMU MAC Tuesday No-Brainer on Western Michigan +7
We’re definitely getting a ‘buy low’ opportunity here on the Western Michigan Broncos Tuesday night. They have lost three straight coming in, including upset losses to Toledo and Ball State. And now we’re catching more points than we should be with them at home tonight.
I think their misleading 41-42 loss to Ball State has a lot to do with it. Western Michigan racked up 548 total yards in that game and held Ball State to 349, outgaining them by nearly 200 yards. They obviously should have won that game. And they committed six turnovers the game before against Ohio to give that game away as well.
Look for the Broncos to be the more motivated team here at home on Senior Night Tuesday. They want to end their season with a victory over one of their biggest rivals here in Northern Illinois. And they want to get to 7-5 on the season to make sure they get to a bowl game, as just because they are bowl eligible doesn’t mean they’ll be going to a bowl game for sure.
What I do know for sure is that Northern Illinois is in a tough spot mentally here. The Huskies have already clinched the MAC West title, so they’ll be going to the MAC Championship Game no matter what happens here. Their lack of motivation showed last week in a 7-13 upset home los to Miami Ohio. And I don’t see them showing up for this game tonight, either.
Western Michigan is 21-7 ATS in its last 28 games vs. good rush defenses that allow 120 or fewer rushing yards per game. Plays on underdogs of 3.5 to 10 points (WMU) - good rushing team (190-230 RYPG) against a team with a good rushing defense (100-140 RYPG), after outrushing their last opponent by 150 yards or more are 31-10 (75.6%) ATS over the last 10 seasons. Bet Western Michigan Tuesday.
|11-17-18||San Diego State +15 v. Fresno State||Top||14-23||Win||100||116 h 41 m||Show|
20* SDSU/Fresno State MWC Late-Night BAILOUT on San Diego State +15
This is the perfect opportunity to ‘buy low’ on San Diego State and ‘sell high’ on Fresno State. We’ll ‘sell high’ on the Bulldogs, who have been the best point spread team in the country over the last two seasons, going 21-4-1 ATS in their last 26 games overall. Now they are being asked to lay a whopping 15 points to a San Diego State team capable of winning outright.
We’ll ‘buy low’ on the Aztecs, who are coming off the biggest upset loss of the week last week. They lost 24-27 at home to UNLV as 24-point favorites. Now the betting public wants nothing to do with the Aztecs this week after seeing that result. But there’s a perfectly good explanation for it when you read between the lines.
San Diego State woke up Saturday morning knowing they could lose to UNLV and STILL win the Mountain West’s West Division title. That’s because they saw Fresno State lose to Boise State Friday night. That meant Fresno State was 5-1 within the conference, and San Diego State was sitting at 4-1. So a win or loss didn’t matter. The Aztecs knew that they could win the tiebreaker over Fresno State simply by winning this week. And that’s the scenario.
No question we are getting extra value here on San Diego State because they lost to UNLV last week. And it’s value we’ll take advantage of. This line probably would have been closer to 7 had they not lost to UNLV. And I have no doubt we get a big effort here from the Aztecs in bounce-back mode with the division title on the line.
San Diego State has actually gotten two huge pieces back recently from injury that will make them a tough out here against Fresno State. QB Christian Chapman has returned to the lineup and has played in just four games this season. He completes 67.3% of his passes, which is a huge upgrade over Ryan Agnew, who completed just 51.9% in his absence.
The other huge player the Aztecs got back was RB Juwan Washington. He has rushed for 674 yards and eight touchdowns while averaging 5.1 per carry in only six games this season, which means he has missed four games. He is the most talented player on the entire roster and gives the Aztecs a fighting chance to pull this upset Saturday night.
The Bulldogs still have the edge on offense, but I give the edge to the Aztecs on defense, and that gives them a fighting chance. San Diego State is only allowing 20.7 points, 302 yards per game and 4.6 yards per play this season. They are holding opponents to 7.5 points, 83 yards and 1.1 yards per play less than their season averages this season. They have played a much tougher schedule than Fresno State has, too. And keep in mind San Diego State won 19-13 at Boise State as 13-point dogs, while Fresno State lost at Boise State 17-24 as 2-point favorites.
San Diego State is 10-2 ATS in its last 12 road games off a loss by 3 points or less. The Aztecs are 16-5 ATS in their last 21 road games vs. good offensive teams that score 34 or more points per game. San Diego State is 13-3 ATS in its last 16 games on field turf. This line has gotten out of hand. The Aztecs will come to play with the division title at stake, while the Bulldogs could suffer a hangover from that loss to Boise State last week. Bet San Diego State Saturday.
|11-17-18||Rice +44 v. LSU||10-42||Win||100||113 h 41 m||Show|
15* CFB Saturday Undervalued Underdog on Rice +44
I always like fading SEC teams in this spot. They step out of conference late in the season to face a non-conference opponent. They are never motivated for these games, and they aren’t looking to run up the score, either. They are looking to play their starters for a half before giving way to the backups. It’s as easy as it gets taking the big underdog in these spots.
My favorite SEC candidate to fade in this spot this week is LSU, though there’s plenty to choose from. But LSU makes the best candidate because they don’t put up big numbers offensively. Heck, I’d be surprised if they even score 44 points, which is what it’s going to take and then some to cover this 44-point spread.
LSU is winning with defense, not offense this season. The Tigers are only averaging 26.7 points and 362.3 yards per game on the year. We saw LSU step out of conference earlier this season and only beat LA Tech 38-21 as 18.5-point favorites. And that game is significant because Rice just played LA Tech.
In fact, Rice actually led LA Tech in the second half on the road last week. But they ultimately lost 13-28 as 23-point underdogs, easily covering the spread. And they have gone 3-1 ATS in their last four games overall as they have consistently been catching too many points. They only lost by 19 as 23-point dogs at FIU and by 24 as 29.5-point dogs at North Texas. They are once again catching too many points this week.
The clock is constantly going to be moving, which will shorten the game and help Rice cover here. That’s because both of these teams rely heavily on the run to move the football. LSU averages 42 rushing attempts per game compared to only 28 passing. Rice averages 37 rushing attempts per game compared to 31 passing. It’s no surprise that both teams have won the time of possession battle this season.
I also like the quotes I’ve read from Rice head coach Mike Bloomgren heading into this one. “We can’t come out of the tunnel and let Death Valley or Mike the Tigers score points for them. We’ve got to make them line up across from us, go toe-to-toe and earn everything they get. And we’ve got to give it back to them. That’s what I expect from our guys. Nobody outside these walls believes we can do it. We know we can. So let’s go. Let’s just go play football and enjoy every minute.”
I guarantee you LSU doesn’t have that same mindset. They think they can just show up and win, which they probably can, but not by 44 points. And they’ll certainly be more worried about their road game at Texas A&M next week that will likely decide whether or not they will make it to a New Year’s Six Bowl. Their concern is staying healthy and just getting out with a win, not with a cover.
Plays against home favorites of 31.5 or more points (LSU) - after allowing 10 or less rushing yards last game are 35-17 (72.6%) ATS over the last five seasons. The Tigers are 1-5-1 ATS in their last seven non-conference games. The Owls are 4-0 ATS in their last four road games vs. a team with a winning home record. Roll with Rice Saturday.
|11-17-18||Indiana +28 v. Michigan||Top||20-31||Win||100||118 h 34 m||Show|
20* CFB Line Mistake GAME OF THE MONTH on Indiana +28
I liked the fight I saw in Indiana last week as they beat Maryland 34-32 at home to keep their bowl hopes alive and improve to 5-5 on the season. I look for the Hoosiers to fight again this week to try and knock off the big, bad Michigan Wolverines. And they are catching 28 points to boot, so we have a ton of room to work with.
We see this almost every season where a team gets ranked highly in the playoff rankings. And with that high ranking comes expectations from oddsmakers that are tough to live up to. Michigan failed to cover as 37-point favorites at Rutgers last week, and they are going to have to play a near-perfect game to cover against Indiana this week.
You also have to consider the mental state of the Wolverines right now. They don’t need style points, they just need to win out and they’ll get in the four-team playoff. Plain and simple. So they won’t be looking to pour it on here against Indiana, only to get out with a win. And then you consider that Michigan will likely be overlooking Indiana and looking ahead to the huge showdown at Ohio State next week, and we are getting a ton of value here with the Hoosiers.
Indiana hasn’t lost by this margin all season. All five of their losses came by 26 points or fewer, including their 26-49 road loss at Ohio State as 27.5-point underdogs. That game was much closer than the final score showed. They only lost to Michigan State by 14, a Spartans team that was coming off a bye. And they only lost by 5 as 14-point dogs to Penn State. They have played the best teams in the Big Ten East tough thus far.
Michigan’s offense only averages 422 yards per game. Indiana’s offense averages 411 yards per game, which is 43 yards per game more than their opponents normally give up on average. The Hoosiers have faced the gauntlet in terms of strength of opposing defenses, and they’ve bene able to score plenty of points to be competitive. So they won’t be phased by this Michigan defense they are about to see.
Michigan’s defense hasn’t faced many quarterbacks the caliber of Indiana’s Peyton Ramsey. He is an accurate thrower who completes 67.3% of his passes, and he has some mobility as he has rushed for 266 yards and four touchdowns this year. His escapability will be key here in creating some plays with his legs that Michigan doesn’t usually have to account for.
Indiana also will be revenge-minded. The Hoosiers have lost two of their last three meetings with the Wolverines in overtime, and the other was a 10-point road loss. So they have played the Wolverines right down to the wire each of the last three seasons. Plus, the Hoosiers haven’t lost any of their last seven meetings with the Wolverines by more than 24 points, which makes for a 7-0 ATS system backing them pertaining to this 28-point spread.
Jim Harbaugh is 1-8 ATS off a win by 35 or more points as the coach of Michigan. Harbaugh is 0-6 ATS off a blowout win by 35 points or more against a conference opponent as the coach of the Wolverines. This is also a 100% never lost system pertaining to Harbaugh at Michigan in this spot. Take Indiana Saturday.
|11-17-18||Florida International -5.5 v. Charlotte||42-35||Win||100||107 h 11 m||Show|
15* Conference USA PLAY OF THE DAY on Florida International -5.5
I was on Florida International -10 at UTSA last week and they delivered with an emphatic 45-7 victory. I’m back on them again for many of the same reasons, and for the simple fact that they should be laying more than 5.5 points to Charlotte this week.
FIU is a highly motivated team right now. That’s because a win this week would tie them for first place with Middle Tennessee for the C-USA East Division lead. And they beat Middle Tennessee 24-21, so they own the tiebreaker. Essentially, they control their own destiny. Win out and they will win the East Division and earn a trip to the C-USA Championship Game to face UAB. I expect them to handle their business this week.
Charlotte is in a world of hurt right now offensively. They lost starting QB Chris Reynolds a few weeks back to a season-ending ankle injury. He was completing 64.9% of his passes with a 6-to-2 TD/INT ratio at the time of his departure. Backup Evan Shirreffs just hasn’t been nearly as good, completing only 51.9% of his passes with a 2-to-4 TD/INT ratio. Reynolds averaged 7.6 YPA compared to 6.1 YPA for Shirreffs as well.
That helps explain why Charlotte’s offense has struggled so badly over the last four weeks. They are averaging just 11.5 points per game and 253 yards per game in their last four games. I just don’t see how Charlotte can possibly hang with this high-powered FIU attack that is averaging 34.8 points per game on the season. Offensively, this is a huge mismatch, and we’ll gladly bet the better offensive team here.
FIU is 13-2 ATS in its last 15 games off a game with a turnover margin of +3 or better. Charlotte is 1-8 ATS in its last nine games off two consecutive games where it committed one or fewer turnovers. The Golden Panthers are 12-3 ATS in their last 15 games off a win by 21 points or more.
Plays against home underdogs of 3.5 to 10 points (Charlotte) - after having lost five or six of their last seven games against opponent after having won three of their last four games are 27-4 (87.1%) ATS over the last five seasons. Take Florida International Saturday.
|11-17-18||Northwestern v. Minnesota +3||Top||24-14||Loss||-120||116 h 45 m||Show|
25* College Football GAME OF THE YEAR on Minnesota +3
This game has everything I look for when seeking out a pick to use as my 25* College Football GAME OF THE YEAR. We have one team who will be max motivated in Minnesota up against another team in Northwestern that is likely to just go through the motions. And we’re getting the max motivated team as the underdog.
The reason the Golden Gophers will be max motivated is because they sit at 5-5 and need a win to get to a bowl game. And with a road game at Wisconsin on deck, this is their best chance to get it. It’s also Senior Day for Minnesota here. So they have every reason to want to lay it all on the line to win this game.
Conversely, Northwestern just clinched everything with last week’s 14-10 win at Iowa. They clinched the Big Ten West Division title, which means they will be going to the Conference Championship Game to face either Michigan or Ohio State. And they clinched a bowl berth with their 6th win.
I expect the Wildcats to fall flat on their faces this week as they don’t care one bit whether or not they win this game now. They’ve been getting patted on the back all week at school and having everyone tell them how good they are. They probably also partied more than usual this week leading up to the game. It’s just not a spot where you want to be betting on the Wildcats this week.
Plus, one of my favorite trends this season is that the underdog in Northwestern games is now 9-0-1 ATS on the season. I used this trend last week when I backed the Wildcats as my 25* Big Ten GAME OF THE YEAR. And I’m using it again this week to fade them in this horrific spot. Pat Fitzgerald knows how to motivated his team when they are the underdog, but not when he has expectations and he is favored.
Northwestern was favored by 3 at home against Duke and lost 7-21. The Wildcats were favored by 21 against Akron and lost outright 34-39. They were favored by 3.5 against Nebraska and won 34-31 only after a last-second miracle, but failed to cover. And they were favored by 20 at Rutgers and barely escaped with an 18-15 victory.
Minnesota’s 41-10 win over Purdue as 11-point underdogs last week was one of the best performances of the season. The Golden Gophers came into that game knowing they needed to beat Purdue and Northwestern to make a bowl, and step 1 is completed. They held that high-octane Purdue offensive attack to just 233 total yards in the win.
The Golden Gophers have a huge home/road split this season. They have yet to win a road game, but they are 5-1 SU & 5-1 ATS at home this year, outscoring their opponents by 14.9 points per game in the process. And home-field advantage has been huge in this series in recent meetings as the home team is 4-0 SU & 4-0 ATS in the last four meetings.
Minnesota is 24-9-2 ATS in its last 35 November games. The Golden Gophers are 10-1 ATS in their last 11 games following an upset win as a double-digit underdog. Bet Minnesota Saturday.
Note: I know this line has flipped to Minnesota -2.5 as of this writing Saturday morning. I still like Minnesota as a 25* up to -3 today.
|11-17-18||TCU v. Baylor -2||Top||16-9||Loss||-109||105 h 12 m||Show|
20* TCU/Baylor Big 12 Early ANNIHILATOR on Baylor -2
The books have been off on TCU all season. They are just 4-6 SU & 1-9 ATS this year. Yet they keep getting respect from the books week after week. And they’re getting too much respect again this week as only 2-point road underdogs to the Baylor Bears.
Things have gotten so bad for TCU that they lost outright to Kansas as 13-point favorites. They have completely fallen apart since losing to Ohio State in Week 3. They are 0-7 ATS in their last seven games since then and have failed to cover by a combined 101 points in those seven games! Books haven’t even been close on this team.
While TCU still has a respectable defense, though were forced for 52 points against Oklahoma and 47 against West Virginia. But the defense isn’t the issue. It’s the putrid offense that has been held to 17 points or fewer in five of their last seven games. That’s just not going to cut it in the Big 12. They lost starting QB Shawn Robinson to a season-ending shoulder injury on October 22nd, and then lost their best playmaker in KaVontae Turpin on October 23rd due to a suspension.
I don’t even think TCU wants to make a bowl game at this point, they just want the season to be over. The Horned Frogs lost 10-47 at West Virginia last week and looked to have quit. We actually saw this a few years back in 2013 with the Horned Frogs as they finished 4-8. Sitting at 4-6 on the season, a 4-8 finish is highly likely at this point.
Conversely, Baylor wants to get to a bowl game. The Bears are in the second year under Matt Rhule and have been one of the most improved teams in the country. They sit at 5-5 on the season and one win shy of a bowl berth. They’ll be highly motivated to clinch that bowl bid here at home Saturday instead of waiting until next week against Texas Tech.
I was impressed with the way Baylor played against Iowa State on the road last week. If they didn’t have struggles in the red zone and two missed chip shot field goals, they probably would have won that game. They actually outgained the Cyclones 505 to 355 in that game, or by 150 total yards. Iowa State has the best defense in the Big 12, so putting up 505 yards on them is no small feat.
The Bears received good news early this week when it was announced that QB Charlie Brewer wouldn’t be suspended for this game after getting ejected against Iowa State. Brewer is completing 61.6% of his passes for 2,164 yards with 14 touchdowns and only six interceptions on the season, while also rushing for 223 yards and four scores. He has really taken a big step forward as a sophomore this season, as has the rest of this team under the guidance of Rhule.
TCU is 0-6 ATS vs. good passing teams with a completion percentage of 58% or better this season. The Horned Frogs are 0-7 ATS in conference games this season. This is simply as obvious as it looks folks. The Horned Frogs are once again getting respect from the books that they don’t deserve here. Roll with Baylor Saturday.
|11-17-18||Arkansas +20.5 v. Mississippi State||6-52||Loss||-109||105 h 12 m||Show|
15* SEC PLAY OF THE DAY on Arkansas +20.5
I usually look to fade teams the week after they play Alabama. There’s usually a ‘hangover’ effect from the loss to the No. 1 team in the country. Simply put, teams won’t be nearly as motivated against their next opponent. And teams certainly are beat up physically from facing the Crimson Tide. Such is the case for Mississippi State this week.
I faded LSU in the same spot last week off their 29-0 loss to Alabama. And they failed to cover as 14-point favorites against Arkansas. And now I’m backing Arkansas again this week because they are once again facing the team that played Alabama last week. They keep getting these good scheduling spots to close out the season.
Quietly, Arkansas has gone 5-1 ATS in its last six games overall. The betting public wants nothing to do with this team because they are just 2-8 SU on the season. They are catching too many points every week, and that’s again the case here this week as nearly three-touchdowns underdogs to the Bulldogs.
I’m not sure how Mississippi State is expected to cover three touchdowns when they have had a hard time even scoring three touchdowns. Indeed, the Bulldogs have failed to top 28 points in any SEC game this season. They are scoring just 11.2 points per game and averaging just 272.3 yards per game against SEC opponents this season. Arkansas held LSU to just 24 points last week, and they should be able to hold Mississippi State to 24 or fewer, too.
The Razorbacks have been respectable against the run this season, giving up just 155 rushing yards per game and 4.0 per carry. That will be the key to their cover this week because Mississippi State is only completing 50.2% of its passes and is not known as a passing team. The Bulldogs average 212 rushing yards per game, and that’s their strength. They are very predictable.
Arkansas is 13-2 ATS in its last 15 road games with a total set of 45.5 to 49 points. The Razorbacks are 7-0 ATS off a home loss to a conference opponent over the last three years. Arkansas is 6-0 ATS vs. excellent rushing teams that average 5.25 or more yards per carry over the last three years. The Razorbacks are 5-0 ATS in their last five games following a loss. These four trends combine for a 31-2 system backing the Razorbacks. Bet Arkansas Saturday.
|11-17-18||Ohio State -16.5 v. Maryland||52-51||Loss||-103||105 h 12 m||Show|
15* CFB Saturday No-Doubt Rout on Ohio State -16.5
I cashed in Ohio State last week against Michigan State, and style points was the theme. They took care of business in a 26-6 win as only 3.5-point favorites. The Buckeyes need style points this time of year because they are 10th in the latest playoff rankings. And they’ll be looking for more style points this week against Maryland.
Let’s just look at the last four meetings in this series, and you’ll love Ohio State as much as I do this week. The Buckeyes are 4-0 SU & 3-1 ATS in the last four meetings, winning by 48, 59, 21 and 28 points. They have won those four meetings by an average of 39 points per game. And we’re only having to lay 16.5 with the Buckeyes this week? Sign me up.
The reason Maryland struggles against teams like Ohio State is because they can’t keep up with them offensively. Maryland is a run-first team that struggles against teams that can stop the run. That was on display two weeks ago when they lost to Michigan State 24-3 at home, the same Michigan State team Ohio State just beat by 20 on the road.
Maryland only averages 131 passing yards per game, but 235 rushing. Well, Ohio State has been good at stopping the run this season as they give up just 143 rushing yards per game and 4.2 per carry. The only teams that Ohio State has really struggled against are teams that can throw the ball, which includes their narrow wins over Nebraska and Penn State, and their loss to Purdue. They won’t struggle against this predictable Maryland outfit.
Maryland is 0-8 ATS in its last eight games after gaining 350 or more rushing yards in their last game. They ran all over Indiana last week and still lost 32-34. Again, that’s the same Indiana team that lost by 23 to Ohio State. The Terrapins are 1-9 ATS in their last 10 games vs. good passing teams who complete 62% of their passes or better. They are losing by 30.6 points per game on average in this spot. Look for the Buckeyes to hang a big number on the Terrapins and cover this generous number with ease. Roll with Ohio State Saturday.
|11-17-18||South Florida v. Temple -13.5||17-27||Loss||-112||105 h 11 m||Show|
15* AAC PLAY OF THE DAY on Temple -13.5
It was obvious that South Florida’s 7-0 start was a fraudulent one. They were outgained by 176 yards by Georgia Tech and found a way to win. They were also outgained by 116 yards by ECU and won 20-13. They only beat Tulsa by one and UConn by 8, and those are two of the worst teams in the AAC.
But once the competition ramped up in recent weeks, the Bulls were exposed for the frauds that they are. They lost 36-57 at Houston and were outgained by 215 yards. They lost 15-41 to Tulane at home, getting upset as 6-point favorites. And they lost 23-35 at Cincinnati last week. It’s worth noting the Bearcats had the ball down to the USF 1-yard line in closing seconds and took a knee.
Now they have to face Temple, which I believe is the best team in the AAC. They beat Cincinnati earlier this season and have been playing great football. They should have beaten UCF a few weeks ago as they outgained them by 40 yards but blew a late lead and lost 40-52 on the road. And then last week they went on the road at Houston and won 59-49 as 3.5-point dogs. South Florida was blasted by both Houston and Cincinnati, and they’d get blasted by UCF, too. They’ll get blasted by Temple this week.
This is a Temple offense that is hitting on all cylinders right now. They put up 40 points and 670 total yards on UCF two weeks ago, and then 59 points and 537 total yards on Houston last week. When I’m laying double-digit points like this, I want it to be with an offense that is going to put up a big number. And there’s no question the Owls are going to hang a big number on this poor USF defense that has allowed an average of 38.2 points per game in their last six games. That’s real bad when you consider UMass, Tulsa, UConn and Tulane were four of those six opponents.
I have to believe Temple remembers their 7-43 road loss at South Florida last year. The Bulls weren’t afraid to run up the score on them, and the Owls won’t be afraid to run of the score this season to return the favor. Temple won 46-30 in their last home meeting in 2016 as 6-point underdogs. And this is the first time in recent seasons that Temple actually has the better team between these two. They should have no problem winning by two-plus touchdowns here on Senior Day, which is also extra motivation for them.
The Owls are 21-5 ATS in their last 26 conference games. The Bulls are 1-5 ATS in their last six conference games. The home team is 4-0 ATS in the last four meetings. Temple is 8-0 ATS after scoring 37 points or more last game over the last three seasons. The Owls are 7-0 ATS when playing against a good team that wins 60% to 75% of their games over the last three years. The Owls are 9-1 ATS vs. poor defensive teams that allow 425 or more yards per game over the past three seasons. These last four trends combine for a 28-1 system backing the Owls. Take Temple Saturday.
|11-16-18||Memphis v. SMU OVER 72||Top||28-18||Loss||-110||90 h 6 m||Show|
20* Memphis/SMU ESPN 2 Total DOMINATOR on OVER 72
Get ready for plenty of offensive fireworks Friday night in this standalone game between Memphis and SMU in AAC action. Both teams will be full speed trying to put up as many points as possible, and there will be very little defense being played in this battle between two teams known for offense and not so much for defense.
Memphis is putting up 44.6 points and 531.9 yards per game this season behind a balanced attack that produces 270 rushing yards per game and 262 passing. SMU is scoring 32.3 points per game this season and has improved as the season has gone on under Sonny Dykes. The Mustangs put up 45 points against Houston and 62 points against UConn in their last two games coming in.
The problem both of these teams have is that they cannot defend a lick. The Mustangs are giving up 36.8 points per game, while the Tigers are yielding 30.5 points per game on the season. The Tigers have gone OVER the total in three straight coming in, while the Mustangs have gone OVER in each of their last two contests.
I think we get a similar output to last year when Memphis beat SMU 66-45 for 111 combined points and a total of 71.5. The Tigers racked up 664 total yards in the win, while the Mustangs managed 477 themselves. That was a similar total to this 72.5-point number we’re seeing here. And I just think it’s two low as both of these teams get to at least 35 points in this one with Memphis likely topping 50. After all, Memphis has scored at least 48 points in each of its last four meetings with SMU.
Memphis is a perfect 7-0 to the OVER in road games vs. good passing teams with a completion percentage of 58% or better over the last three seasons. We’re seeing 89.1 combined points per game on average in this spot. The OVER is 9-1 in Tigers last 10 games after gaining 450 or more total yards in their previous game. The OVER is 4-0 in Tigers last four November games. The OVER is 5-0 in Mustangs last five November games. These four trends combine for a 25-1 system backing the OVER. Bet the OVER in this game Friday.
|11-15-18||Florida Atlantic v. North Texas OVER 61||Top||38-41||Win||100||67 h 31 m||Show|
20* FAU/North Texas CFB Late-Night BAILOUT on OVER 61
I think we’re getting value on the OVER tonight between FAU and North Texas because both of these teams have been under teams of late, especially the Mean Green. North Texas has gone under the total in all 10 of their games thus far, which is almost unheard of. But that trend stops tonight.
The problem recently with betting overs in North Texas games is all the poor offenses they’ve been up against this season. But they have still combined for 61 or more points four times with their opponents this season, and most of those were against the best offensive teams the’ve faced in SMU, Arkansas and Old Dominion.
FAU has gone under the total in three of their last four games coming in. The one exception was against the best offensive team they faced in FIU, and they combined for 63 points with the Golden Panthers. The fact of the matter is that these are two of the best offensive teams in Conference USA, and we’re going to see plenty of points between them as a result to top this 61-point total.
North Texas boasts an offense that puts up 37.2 points and 464.7 yards per game this season. Florida Atlantic’s offense is putting up 31.1 points and 476.5 yards per game on the year. The Owls are getting better as the season goes on offensively. They put up 49 points and 596 yards against FIU and 34 points and 576 yards against Western Kentucky in their last two games coming in.
These teams met twice last year. The first meeting was a 69-31 FAU blowout with 100 combined points and a total of 67. The second meeting was in the Conference Championship Game with FAU winning 41-17 and 58 combined points with a total of 71.5. So the fact that the total was 67 and 71.5 in the two meetings last year and now it’s only 61 in the rematch this year shows there’s clearly value with the OVER. I expect both teams to top 30 points in this one. Bet the OVER in this game Thursday.
|11-10-18||Clemson v. Boston College +20||27-7||Push||0||50 h 17 m||Show|
15* Clemson/Boston College ACC No-Brainer on Boston College +20
It’s time to ‘sell high’ on the Clemson Tigers this week. Bettors are clearly being asked to pay a tax to back Clemson now after what they’ve done in recent weeks. Not only are they 9-0 and the No. 2 ranked team in the country, but they’re 4-0 ATS in their last four games overall, winning by 60, 34, 49 and 61 points. But that was against the bottom of the ACC in Wake Forest, NC State, FSU and Louisville.
Now Clemson actually has to play what I believe is the second-best team in the ACC in Boston College. The Eagles are 7-2 SU & 7-2 ATS this season and have been covering machines over the past two years. Yet, they are getting absolutely no respect from oddsmakers this week as 20-point home underdogs.
This will be a night game in the cold in Boston. The Eagles are used to these conditions, while the Tigers are now. And Boston College is 5-0 SU & 4-1 ATS at home this season, outscoring opponents by a whopping 24.6 points per game on average. They are outgaining their foes by 207 yards per game at home as well, averaging 504 yards per game on offense and giving up only 297 yards per game on defense.
Clemson doesn’t need style points any more. They just know that they need to win out to make the four-team playoff because they aren’t going to drop from the No. 2 ranking if they just keep winning. They certainly wouldn’t drop all the way to No. 5 if they win out, but it’s ugly. And so they can win this game and we can still win catching 20 points on the Eagles.
One matchup I like here is this Boston College offensive line against Clemson’s defensive line. The Tigers get all the accolades for having a NFL talent across their defensive line, but the Eagles have NFL talent on their offensive line as well. In fact, I believe this is one of the Top 5 offensive lines in the country. And they’re well-equipped to handle this Clemson defensive front. The Eagles are rushing for 229 yards per game this season and have one of the better running backs in the country in A.J. Dillon. Dillon and company can control the clock, move the chains and keep that Clemson high-powered offense off the field.
Boston College is 11-1 ATS against ACC opponents over the last two seasons. The Eagles are 6-0 ATS vs. good offensive teams who score 31 or more points per game over the last two years. Boston College is 9-1-1 ATS in its last 11 games vs. a team with a winning record. The Eagles are 4-1 ATS in their last five meetings with Clemson. Bet Boston College Saturday.
|11-10-18||LSU v. Arkansas +14||Top||24-17||Win||100||75 h 24 m||Show|
20* SEC GAME OF THE MONTH on Arkansas +14
I always like fading teams after they play Alabama. This is the perfect spot to fade LSU. Their dreams were crushed last week with their 29-0 loss to Alabama. They could have won the SEC West and been a playoff contender if they had won that game, but they were thoroughly outplayed. It was a bigger blowout than the 29-point margin suggests even as they were outgained by 380 yards and managed just 196 total yards on offense.
Now the Tigers somehow have to try and get motivated to face a 2-7 Arkansas team, and I don’t think they will. They certainly won’t be motivated enough to cover this 14-point spread. The Razorbacks come in on two weeks’ rest fresh off their bye as well, so they should be sitting on a big effort here. I’ll gladly back the more motivated home team in this matchup.
Having a first-year head coach in Chad Morris, the Razorbacks won’t quit on their season, and they’ve shown no signs of doing so. They have been undervalued here down the stretch, going 4-1 ATS in their last five games overall. They beat Tulsa 23-0, only lost by 4 to Ole Miss after blowing a late double-digit lead, and they only lost by 7 at Texas A&M as 19-point dogs. They covered as 35-point dogs against Alabama and actually scored 31 points on the Crimson Tide, which is the most they have allowed to anyone all season.
The Razorbacks also get some key players back healthy this week off their bye. And LSU usually plays Arkansas the week after Alabama. That helps explain the fact that the Razorbacks are 8-3 ATS in the last 11 meetings, including 4-1 ATS in the last five meetings in Fayetteville. Arkansas is 6-0 ATS off a home conference loss over the last three seasons. The Razorbacks are 4-0 ATS in their last four games following a loss. The Tigers are 0-4 ATS int heir last four games following a double-digit home loss. The Razorbacks are 16-6 ATS in their last 22 home games vs. a team with a winning record. Take Arkansas Saturday.
|11-10-18||Miami-FL v. Georgia Tech -3||Top||21-27||Win||100||49 h 18 m||Show|
20* Miami/Georgia Tech ACC ANNIHILATOR on Georgia Tech -3
The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets have been a buzz saw lately. They have gone 4-1 SU & 4-1 ATS in their last five games overall and now would love to clinch a bowl berth with a home win Saturday against Miami. They have not only been winning, they’ve been dominating.
The Yellow Jackets’ four wins during this stretch came by a combined 112 points and by an average of 28 points per game against Bowling Green, Louisville, VA Tech and UNC with three of those games on the road. Their only loss was to a well-rested Duke team coming off a bye week, but they gave that game away with three turnovers. They have outgained each of their last five opponents and eight of their last nine foes with the only exception being Clemson. They are much better than their 5-4 record would suggest.
What does Miami have to play for at this point? The Hurricanes were the favorites to win the ACC Coastal this season and they fell flat on their faces. With three straight losses, they now sit at 5-4 and in 6th place in the Coastal. They will simply be playing out the string at this point. They were upset 12-20 as 9-point home favorites against Duke last week. Their offense has been held to just 13 points per game in their last three contests.
Now, the Hurricanes go into this game against Georgia Tech knowing it’s going to be physical, and knowing they are going to get cut-block all game. They don’t want any part of it. I expect Georgia Tech, which averages 377 rushing yards per game and 6.2 per carry this season, to break the will of the Hurricanes. This Yellow Jackets offense has really taken off since Tobias Oliver took over at quarterback. He has rushed for 780 yards and 12 touchdowns on 5.9 per carry.
Miami is 2-10 ATS when playing against a team with a winning record over the last two seasons. The Hurricanes are 3-14 ATS in their last 17 games off an upset loss to a conference opponent as a favorite of 6 points or more. Miami is 0-7 ATS off a conference loss over the last three years. The Hurricanes are 0-7 ATS in road games off one or more consecutive ATS losses over the last three seasons. Georgia Tech is 10-1 ATS after gaining 125 or fewer passing yards in three straight games over the last three years. The Hurricanes are 1-6 ATS in their last seven road games. Bet Georgia Tech Saturday.
|11-10-18||Florida International -10 v. UTSA||45-7||Win||100||49 h 18 m||Show|
15* Conference USA PLAY OF THE DAY on Florida International -10
I think this is a ‘buy low’ opportunity on the Florida International Panthers this week. They are coming off a 14-49 loss to Lane Kiffin and the FAU Owls. That was a 21-14 game going into the 4th quarter before the Kiffin and company decided to run up the score late, which they’ve been known to do. So that misleading final has FIU laying less than they should be here as only 10-point favorites against UTSA.
It won’t be hard at all for head coach Butch Davis to get his team refocused this week and over that loss to FAU quickly. That’s because when you look at the standings, the Panthers are just a half-game behind Middle Tennessee for first place in Conference USA’s East Division. They are 4-1 and Middle Tennessee is 5-1, but FIU holds the tiebreaker over MTSU after beating them 24-21 earlier this season.
They control their own destiny. Win out and the Panthers will be going to the C-USA Championship Game to face UAB. They’ll be motivated to get back on the horse this week and picked up where they left off with a four-game winning streak prior to that FAU defeat. And they should have no problem making easy work of an overmatched UTSA squad this week.
The UTSA Roadrunners are just 3-6 on the season. They still have FIU, Marshall and North Texas on the schedule, and will be huge underdogs in all three games, so they won’t be going to a bowl game. And that realization has really sunk in over the last three weeks as the Roadrunners have been battered and bruises.
UTSA lost three straight to open the season, then won three straight over bottom feeders Texas State, UTEP and Rice to get to 3-3. But then the competition ramped up again and they haven’t even been competitive at all. They lost 3-31 at home to Louisiana Tech, followed by a 17-27 loss at Southern Miss, and then the ultimate 3-52 embarrassment at home to UAB last week.
It’s hard to fathom how UTSA is supposed to stay within 10 points of FIU with their offense. The Roadrunners are averaging a paltry 15.8 points, 243 yards per game and 3.8 yards per play this season. They are averaging 10.4 points, 132 yards per game and 1.9 per play less than their opponents average giving up on the season. This is one of the worst offenses in the country folks. Compare that to FIU, which averages 33.7 points per game and 6.2 yards per play this season, and it’s easy to see how the Roadrunners are going to have a hard time keeping pace.
UTSA has zero home-field advantage, especially now that they are this bad and there’s likely only to be a few thousand fans in attendance. The Roadrunners are 0-9 ATS in all home games over the last two seasons. UTSA is also 0-6 ATS when playing against a team with a winning record over the last two years. Roll with Florida International Saturday.
|11-10-18||Northwestern +11 v. Iowa||Top||14-10||Win||100||71 h 24 m||Show|
25* Big Ten GAME OF THE YEAR on Northwestern +11
The Northwestern Wildcats have been one of the most underrated teams in the Big Ten this season. Here they sit at 5-1 within the conference and with a one-game lead over both Purdue and Wisconsin in the West Division. Yet they are getting no respect as 11-point underdogs, and you can bet that head coach Pat Fitzgerald will play the underdog card the disrespect cards to their fullest Saturday when the Wildcats take on the Iowa Hawkeyes.
The Wildcats went on the road and beat Michigan State and Purdue, while also topping Wisconsin at home. Their only conference loss this season came to Michigan by a final of 17-20. And we’ve seen in recent weeks how good Michigan is. They also hung tough against unbeaten Notre Dame last week in a 10-point loss. Yet here they are needing to prove themselves again, and they’ll be up to the task Saturday.
I like the mindset of the Wildcats right now because they still haven’t clinched a bowl berth at 5-4 because of their struggles outside the conference. Fitzgerald said his message to the team Monday was ’20’. “This squad is only guaranteed 20 days together,” Fitzgerald said. “What we learn every day will hopefully prepare us for those three Saturday’s we have left together.”
I think that Iowa is in a very tough spot mentally. It’s going to be very hard for them to recover from back-to-back gut-wrenching losses to Penn State and Purdue in which they had to a chance to win both games in the final minutes, but came up short. The same thing happened against Wisconsin a few weeks back. That leaves the Hawkeyes at 3-3 within the conference and with basically zero chance of winning the West, because they also trail both Purdue and Wisconsin, two teams that hold the tiebreaker over them. So basically Iowa is just playing out the string now.
My favorite trend for this game is that underdogs are 9-0-1 ATS in Northwestern games this season. That just goes with my theory that Fitzgerald thrives preparing his team when they are the underdogs. They don’t respond as well to him when they are expected to win. And the Wildcats are a perfect 6-0 ATS as road underdogs over the last three seasons. Northwestern is 20-5-1 ATS in its last 26 conference games. The Wildcats are 16-5 ATS in their last 21 road games. Northwestern is 21-4-1 ATS in its last 26 games after allowing more than 280 passing yards in its previous game. Bet Northwestern Saturday.
|11-10-18||Virginia Tech v. Pittsburgh -3||22-52||Win||100||46 h 48 m||Show|
15* CFB Saturday No-Doubt Rout on Pittsburgh -3
Don’t look now, but the Pitt Panthers are 4-1 in ACC and atop the ACC Coastal Division. They control their own destiny and have certainly been rejuvenated by it. It should be a great atmosphere for Senior Day in their final home game of the season Saturday at Heinz Field as they host the Virginia Tech Hokies.
The resurgent Panthers have gone 3-1 SU & 4-0 ATS in their last four games overall. They beat Syracuse 44-37 as 3-point home dogs, only lost 14-19 at Notre Dame as 21-point dogs, upset Duke 54-45 as 2.5-point home dogs, and upset Virginia 23-13 as 7-point road dogs. And I still don’t think they’re getting any respect here as only 3-point home favorites against Virginia Tech.
The Hokies are a mess right now. They just haven’t recovered since their 35-49 road loss at Old Dominion, a team that is just 2-7 on the season. The Hokies are 2-4 SU & 1-5 ATS in their last six games overall. They were lucky to win 22-19 at North Carolina in a final seconds, a UNC team that is 1-7 this season. They also lost by 22 at home to Notre Dame, by 21 at home to Georgia Tech and by 10 at home to Boston College. It’s just not a team I trust at all right now.
The key matchup here is Pitt’s running game against VA Tech’s young defense that just can’t stop the run. The Panthers are averaging 231 rushing yards per game and 5.8 per carry against teams that normally only give up 178 rushing yards per game and 4.5 per carry. They are averaging 280 rushing yards per game in their last four, which is impressive considering they’ve faced some good run defenses in Notre Dame, Duke and Virginia during this stretch.
Virginia Tech has allowed 178 rushing yards per game and 4.4 per carry this season. But it’s gotten a lot worse for them of late. In their last three games, the Hokies allowed 235 rushing yards to UNC, 465 to Georgia Tech and 219 to Boston College. You can just imagine what this fierce Pitt rushing attack is going to do to them this week. The Panthers should get 300-plus yards on the ground in this one.
Virginia Tech is 0-6 ATS vs. excellent rushing teams that average 230 or more rushing yards per game over the last three seasons. They are losing by 9.7 points per game on average against these power-running teams. The Hokies are 0-5 ATS in their last five games after allowing more than 200 rushing yards in their previous game. The Panthers are 6-1 ATS in their last seven conference games, and 4-0 ATS in their last four games overall. Finally, Pitt has owned VA Tech, going 10-1 ATS in the last 11 meetings, and 7-0 ATS in the last seven meetings at Heinz Field. Take Pittsburgh Saturday.
|11-10-18||Kentucky v. Tennessee +6||7-24||Win||100||46 h 47 m||Show|
15* CFB Saturday UPSET SHOCKER on Tennessee +6
This is an awful spot for the Kentucky Wildcats Saturday. They are coming off their ‘game of the century’ last week against Georgia. It was for all the marbles to win the SEC East, and the Wildcats fell flat on their faces in a 17-34 defeat that really wasn’t even as close as the score. And now what do they have left to play for?
They’ve already clinched a bowl berth and they could win out and maybe snag a New Year’s Six Game, but it’s unlikely. I think the most likely scenario is that the Wildcats fall flat on their faces this week at Tennessee. This is clearly a ‘hangover’ spot for them, and I look for it to be one of their worst games of the season.
I think we’re getting added value built into the line on Tennessee because the Vols are coming off a lackluster 14-3 home win over Charlotte last week. Well, SEC teams who step out of conference right in the middle of the conference slate usually struggle to be motivated in these non-conference games.
That was especially the case for Tennessee last week. They were coming off five straight grueling conference games against Florida, Georgia, Auburn, Alabama and South Carolina with three of those on the road. They actually held their own in many of those games, winning outright at Auburn 30-24 as 15.5-point dogs, and only losing 24-27 at South Carolina as 10.5-point dogs.
I think those performances against Auburn and South Carolina are more indicative of what Tennessee is capable of than their 14-3 win over Charlotte last week as 21-point favorites. And you know first-year head coach Jeremy Pruitt is going to rally the troops this week. Tennessee still needs two wins in its final three games to make a bowl, and they have home games against Kentucky and Missouri, and a road game at Vanderbilt to finish, so it’s very doable. It starts with an upset of Kentucky this week.
The Wildcats just don’t have the offense to put away teams. They are scoring just 24.7 points per game an averaging 356 yards per game this season. This is a below-average offense with numbers comparable to that of Tennessee. And the Vols have actually been pretty good defensively given the tough schedule, surrendering just 26.7 points and 368.4 yards per game this season. This is a much more evenly-matched game than this spread would suggest, and that’s even before you factor in the awful spot for Kentucky.
Kentucky has been thriving in the role of the underdog lately under Mark Stoops, but now they have expectations with a national ranking and a 7-2 record. And they haven’t handled expectations very well at all. That’s evident by the fact that Kentucky is 1-9 ATS as a favorite over the last two seasons. Stoops is 0-6 ATS as a favorite of 3.5 to 10 points as the coach of Kentucky having never covered a spread in this price range. Roll with Tennessee Saturday.
|11-10-18||Maryland v. Indiana -1.5||Top||32-34||Win||100||42 h 18 m||Show|
20* CFB BLOWOUT GAME OF THE MONTH on Indiana -1.5
I love the spot for the Indiana Hoosiers this week. They are coming off a much-needed bye week after going through the gauntlet with four straight losses to Ohio State, Iowa, Penn State and Minnesota. But they still sit at 4-5 on the season, and they still have two home games left against Maryland and Purdue, so they can still make a bowl game. They’ll come in fresh and ready to go off their bye week as they seek their 5th win of the season.
I just don’t like the feel of this Maryland program at all right now. The Terrapins reinstated DJ Durkin then fired him again. And the team has been drug through the media. I think it showed last week in their lackluster 3-24 home loss to the Michigan State Spartans. The Terrapins managed just 100 total yards of offense in an embarrassing effort. Don’t expect them to fare much better this week, and I’m shocked Indiana is only a 1.5-point favorite Saturday.
Indiana had won both meetings in 2015 and 2016 before losing 39-42 at Maryland last season. They outgained the Terrapins 483 to 345 in that game, or by 138 yards and certainly deserved to win. Now they’ll want revenge on the Terrapins, who probably just want this season to be over at this point and don’t even want to go to a bowl game.
Maryland is 2-10 ATS in road games after the first month of the season over the last three seasons. They are losing by 20 points per game on average in this spot. The Terrapins are 1-8 ATS vs. excellent passing teams with a completion percentage of 62% or better over the last three years. They are losing by 33.8 points per game in this situation. The Terrapins are 4-11 ATS in their last 15 road games overall. Roll with Indiana Saturday.
|11-10-18||Ohio State -3.5 v. Michigan State||26-6||Win||100||42 h 17 m||Show|
15* Ohio State/Michigan State Big Ten No-Brainer on Ohio State -3.5
The Ohio State Buckeyes are grossly undervalued right now. They have gone 0-5 ATS in their last five games overall, which is why they are only 3.5-point favorites at Michigan State this weekend. I bought Ohio State down to -3 personally and hit it hard, and I think you should too. This is the perfect ‘buy low’ opportunity on the Buckeyes, which is rare.
Ohio State still has everything to play for. At 8-1, the Buckeyes are the lowest ranked (No. 10) one-loss Power 5 team in the latest playoff rankings. They have some work to do, but with ranked matchups against Michigan State and Michigan on the horizon, they can make up some serious ground. They know they need to do so with style points, too, which makes laying this small price a no-brainer.
I’m just not that impressed with this Michigan State offense, and I don’t think they have the firepower to hang with the Buckeyes Saturday. The Spartans are only averaging 23.4 points, 360 yards per game and 5.0 yards per play this season. Compare that to the Buckeyes, who average 42.2 points, 547 yards per game and 6.7 per play, and you can see how they are going to have some issues trying to keep up.
Ohio State crushed Michigan State 48-3 at home last season. Sure, I don’t expect it to be that lopsided again, but you don’t need much to cover this 3.5-point spread. Under Urban Meyer, the Buckeyes are 11-2 SU & 10-3 ATS as a favorite of 4 points or less or an underdog. In these types of roles, the Buckeyes excel. They just aren’t great at covering the massive spreads they’ve been asked to cover in recent weeks, which is why they are on an 0-5 ATS run. That run stops today.
The Buckeyes are 37-18 ATS in their last 55 games on grass. Ohio State is 34-16-1 ATS in its last 51 road games vs. a team with a winning home record. The Spartans are 1-4 ATS in their last five home games. The road team is 7-3 ATS in the last 10 meetings. The Buckeyes are 5-2 ATS in their last seven trips to East Lansing. Ohio State is 23-9 ATS in its last 32 games as a road favorite of 7 points or less. Take Ohio State Saturday.
|11-09-18||Fresno State -2.5 v. Boise State||17-24||Loss||-115||54 h 18 m||Show|
15* Fresno State/Boise State ESPN 2 No-Brainer on Fresno State -2.5
The Fresno State Bulldogs have been the single-most underrated team in the country over the past two seasons. That’s evident by their success against the spread as they’ve gone 25-4-1 ATS in their last 30 games overall. They’ve also gone 13-2-1 ATS in their last 16 road games.
But because the Bulldogs play on the West Coast, they don’t get much national attention. And they really should be 9-0, but their early season loss at Minnesota has them flying under the radar. I get that they have had a lack of competition, but they have played everyone that’s on their schedule, and they’ve handled them all outside Minnesota.
Indeed, Fresno State is 8-0 SU & 8-0 ATS in all games outside Minnesota. They won all eight of those games by 18 points or more. They are outscoring opponents by a ridiculous 28.1 points per game on the season. Their offense is rolling at 40.4 points per game, and their defense would allow them to hang with anyone as they are giving up just 12.3 points per game on the season. They have allowed 7 or fewer points in four of their last five games overall coming in, including exactly 3 points three times.
Boise State has been one of the most overrated teams in the country since Brian Harsin took over. They are just 2-4-1 ATS in their last seven games overall. They stepped up in class and lost 21-44 at Oklahoma State and 13-19 at home to San Diego State. They only beat Nevada by 4 and BYU by 5 recently. And that BYU game they were thoroughly outplayed and fortunate to win.
Fresno State clearly has the better defense between these teams, and it’s not really even close. The Broncos have lost three of their best players on defense to season-ending injuries. They were already without NT David Moa and S DeAndre Pierce, and now you can add leading tackler Riley Whimpey to the list as their LB suffered a torn ACL against BYU last week. The Broncos are allowing 23.7 points per game this year.
Fresno State wants revenge from a 14-17 loss to Boise State in the Mountain West Championship Game last season. The Bulldogs held a 14-10 lead at half but were shut out after intermission and lost a heartbreaker. I have no doubt Fresno State is the better team this year, and Boise State has taken a step back. And the Bulldogs will be looking to prove that on the field Friday night.
Fresno State is 12-1 ATS in conference games over the last two seasons. The Broncos are 9-0 ATS when playing against a team with a winning record over the last two years. Boise State is 0-8 ATS in its last eight home games vs. teams who commit one or fewer turnovers per game. The Broncos are just 5-15 ATS in their last 20 home games overall. Bet Fresno State Friday.
|11-07-18||Ohio -3.5 v. Miami-OH||Top||28-30||Loss||-105||22 h 8 m||Show|
20* MAC GAME OF THE WEEK on Ohio -3.5
The Ohio Bobcats will be max motivated tonight to beat the Miami Ohio Redhawks. They are in 2nd place behind Buffalo in the MAC East division, and they need a win to keep pace with the Bulls. A win this week would mean a win next week at home against Buffalo would put Ohio in 1st place in the MAC East and a trip to the MAC Championship Game.
Miami Ohio had its make-or-break game last week against Buffalo. The Redhawks played well, only losing 42-51 in that contest, but it was a dream-crushing loss. The Redhawks and now 2.5 games behind Buffalo in the MAC East with zero chance to win the division because they’ve already lost the tiebreaker. And certainly it’s going to be tough to recover from back-to-back brutal losses to Army and Buffalo by a combined 10 points. They won’t get back up off the mat in time to stop this Ohio freight train.
Freight train, indeed. The Bobcats are absolutely rolling right now. They have gone 6-1 ATS in their last seven games overall. Their only two losses straight up during this stretch came on the road at Cincinnati by 4 and at Northern Illinois by 3. If you look at their last three games, you can tell the Bobcats are zoned in.
Ohio beat Bowling Green 49-14 on October 20 as 16.5-point favorites and outgained them by 283 yards. The Bobcats beat Ball State 52-14 as 10.5-point favorites on October 25th and outgained them by 312 years. And then they went into Western Michigan last week and rolled 59-14 as 3-point favorites. This team is simply on a mission right now and cannot be stopped.
The Bobcats have probably the best quarterback in the MAC in Nathan Roarke, if it’s not Buffalo’s Tyree Jackson. Roarked has a 17-to-5 TD/INT ratio this season while averaging 9.5 yards per attempt. And he has been an unstoppable force on the ground, rushing for 637 yards and 7.3 per carry with eight touchdowns. And his teammates will go to war with him any day.
Ohio has made huge strides defensively after being awful on that side of the ball to start the season. The Bobcats are holding their last three opponents to just 14.0 points and 275.3 yards per game. Miami Ohio has been hit hard by injuries on defense, and that was on display last week with the 51 points and 505 total yards given up to Buffalo.
Ohio has simply owned this series, going 5-0 SU & 3-1-1 ATS in the last five meetings. The Bobcats have won four of those five meetings by 10 points or more. Ohio is 4-1-1 ATS in its last six trips to Miami. They won 45-28 at home last year as 6.5-point favorites, and 17-7 on the road as 2-point favorites in 2016. I think this domination continues given that both teams are going in opposite directions both in the win-loss column and mentally right now.
Plays against home underdogs of 3.5 to 10 points (Miami Ohio) - after having lost two of their last three games against opponent after having won four of their last five games are 31-6 (83.8%) ATS over the last five seasons. Plays on road favorites (Ohio) - after allowing 17 points or less in two straight games against an opponent that allowed 37 points or more last game are 40-11 (78.4%) ATS over the last five seasons. Bet Ohio Wednesday.
|11-06-18||Kent State +21.5 v. Buffalo||Top||14-48||Loss||-110||6 h 21 m||Show|
20* Kent State/Buffalo MAC Tuesday No-Brainer on Kent State +21.5
Buffalo (8-1, 5-0 MAC) plays Ohio (6-3, 4-1 MAC) next week in the game that will decide the MAC East title. The Bulls will certainly have that game in the back of their minds, knowing they could actually lose to Kent State and win next week and still capture the MAC East crown. That’s a precarious spot to be in mentally, and I certainly don’t think the Bulls are capable of covering this massive 21-point spread given the situation.
Kent State is a vastly improved team this year. I know the record shows 2-7, but this is a team that scored just 12.8 points per game last year, which was the second-worst mark in college football. Former Syracuse offensive coordinator Sean Lewis has turned the Golden Flashes into a much more competitive team this year, with an improved offense and an improved defense.
Kent State is two 1-point losses away from behind 4-5 this year instead of 2-7. They lost 23-25 to Akron as 5-point home dogs and 26-27 to Ohio as 11.5-point home dogs. That effort against Ohio showed they could play with anyone in the MAC, because Ohio is as good as any of these MAC teams. The Bobcats have been steamrolling everyone else of late.
The weather conditions also make me like the underdog Golden Flashes. It’s going to be a windy night in Buffalo with the average wind at 30 MPH. There will be gusts up to 50 MPH. That’s why the total on this game has dropped from 52 all the way down to 43. And getting 21 points with a team with a total of only 43 is usually a great proposition.
Both teams will be running the football almost exclusively to keep the clock moving and avoid making mistakes. And Kent State has been solid at running the ball this year. They are averaging 178 rushing yards per game and 4.3 per carry. And they’ve been respectable at stopping the run, giving up 4.2 yards per carry against teams that normally average 4.4 per carry.
Buffalo rushes for 173 yards per game and 4.3 per carry, numbers similar to Kent State but actually worse. And Buffalo allows 3.9 per carry against teams that normally average 4.0 per carry. So they haven’t faced too many good rushing offenses yet, meaning their defensive numbers are a bit skewed. Tyree Jackson is clearly the better quarterback in this matchup for Buffalo, but his passing will almost be a non-factor.
The road team is 9-1-2 ATS in the last 12 meetings. The Golden Flashes are 4-1-1 ATS in their last six trips to Buffalo. Bet Kent State Tuesday.
|11-03-18||BYU +13 v. Boise State||16-21||Win||100||74 h 22 m||Show|
15* BYU/Boise State ESPN 2 Late-Night BAILOUT on BYU +13
The Boise State Broncos are grossly overrated. There’s no way they should be laying 13 points to a very good BYU team that is capable of hanging with the Broncos, and possibly pulling off the upset. I’ll gladly take the value with the road underdog in this rivalry.
The Broncos have gone just 4-2 SU & 2-3-1 ATS in their last six games overall. They only had one real solid performance during this stretch, which was their 34-14 win at Wyoming as 15.5-point favorites where they outgained a bad Cowboys team by 211 total yards. Other than that, they have actually been outgained in three of their last six games. And they pushed in a 48-38 win at Air Force last week as 10-point favorites while only outgaining them by 87 yards. And they won 31-27 at Nevada as 14.5-point favorites in a game where they only outgained the Wolf Pack by 120 yards.
BYU comes in undervalued off its 6-7 upset home loss to Northern Illinois last week as 6.5-point favorites. But that’s a very good NIU team whose only losses this season have come to Iowa, Utah and Florida State. And keep in mind that BYU had a bye heading into that game, so they will still be fresh and ready to go against Boise State this week.
I also look for the Cougars to be max motivated against their rivals here needing two more wins to get bowl eligible. They still have a road game at Utah in the season finale, so they’ll be playing with a sense of urgency, especially after blowing a golden opportunity to beat NIU last week. They outgained the Huskies by 97 yards and really should have won.
The Broncos have lost their home-field advantage. They are just 5-14 ATS in their last 19 home games. Boise State is 1-8 ATS in home games after committing zero turnovers in their previous game over the last three seasons. Brian Harsin is 0-6 ATS as a home favorite of 10.5 to 14 points as the coach of Boise State, actually losing outright by 0.9 points per game on average in this spot.
The Cougars are 5-1 ATS in their last six road games, which includes an outright win as 23.5-point dogs at Wisconsin earlier this year. BYU is also 5-1 ATS in its last six games following a loss. Bet BYU Saturday.
|11-03-18||Alabama v. LSU +14.5||29-0||Loss||-106||72 h 8 m||Show|
15* Alabama/LSU CBS No-Brainer on LSU +14.5
For starters, this is the largest home underdog role for a Top 4 team in the country ever. LSU has lost by double-digits only once at home in the past decade. And there’s nothing like a night game in Baton Rouge. So the Tigers have everything going for them here as 14.5-point home underdogs to Alabama Saturday night.
No question what Alabama has done so far has been mighty impressive. They are not only winning, they are winning big. But with that 8-0 record and all those blowout wins comes expectations from oddsmakers that are tough to live up to. And we’ve seen that recently with the Crimson Tide going 2-3 ATS in their last five games overall coming in.
The problem I have with Alabama is that they haven’t faced any real good teams yet. The best opponent they played was Texas A&M, and they played them at home. They won by 22 as 23.5-point favorites, failing to cove the spread. Alabama has faced just two Top 50 teams all season and have played the 60th-toughest schedule in the country.
Conversely, LSU has played the 6th-toughest schedule in the country. They’ve already played five Top 30 teams. And they have gotten through that gauntlet at 7-1. What more does this team need to do to get some respect from oddsmakers? The Tigers will certainly be playing the disrespect and underdog cards leading up to this game, which works in their favor big-time, especially with the home crowd on their side.
This will easily be Alabama’s toughest test of the season to date, and it’s not really even close. LSU has gone 4-1 against those five Top 30 teams with road wins over Miami and Auburn, and home wins over Georgia and Mississippi State. That 36-16 beat down of Georgia was really impressive as they outgained the Bulldogs by 158 yards and gained 475 total yards on offense. And they avoided the letdown the next week with an equally impressive 19-3 win over Mississippi State.
No question the Crimson Tide have the edge on offense with better quarterback play, but this LSU offense is getting it done and has been better than in year’s past. And the Tigers actually have the better defense this year because they’ve put up nearly identical numbers to Alabama despite facing the tougher schedule. They are giving up just 15.1 points per game. They are holding opposing quarterbacks to 50.6% completions and just 200 passing yards per game. They have what it takes to slow down this Alabama offensive freight train.
Ed Orgeron is 10-0 ATS vs. good passing teams who average 8 or more yards per attempt as the coach of LSU. The Tigers are winning by 19 points per game in this spot having never lost against the spread. That perfect record continues here this weekend as the Tigers get the cover and possibly pull off the upset. Roll with LSU Saturday.
|11-03-18||Louisiana Tech +23.5 v. Mississippi State||3-45||Loss||-106||51 h 57 m||Show|
15* CFB Saturday Undervalued Underdog on Louisiana Tech +23.5
This could not be a worse spot for Mississippi State. The Bulldogs are coming off a huge 28-13 home win over Texas A&M last week after playing LSU, Auburn, Florida and Kentucky in their previous five games. And now they step out of conference to face LA Tech with a game against Alabama looming on deck next week. This is a sandwich spot if I’ve ever seen one.
We’ve seen these SEC teams fail to cover time and time again in these sandwich spots when they step out of conference. And I don’t expect to get the best effort from Mississippi State here. The Bulldogs will be just looking to get out of Starkville with a win. They won’t be concerned at all about covering this massive 23.5-point spread.
Louisiana Tech went into LSU and gave the Tigers a run for their money earlier this season. They lost 21-38 as 19.5-point underdogs, covering the spread. But that was a 21-24 game in the second half before the Tigers tacked on two late touchdowns to pull away. And LSU beat Mississippi State 19-3 in their meeting just two weeks ago. So LA Tech is catching more points here against Mississippi State than they were against LSU. That fact alone shows there’s value, even without considering the awful situational spot for Mississippi State.
And this is one of the better teams Skip Holtz has had at Louisiana Tech. They are 6-2 this season with their only losses coming to LSU and UAB, which may be the best team in Conference USA. Those teams are a combined 14-2 this season
I love backing Skip Holtz as an underdog. In fact, Holtz is 21-7 ATS in his last 28 games as a head coach as a road underdog. LA Tech is 6-0 ATS in road games off a conference game over the last two seasons. LA Tech is 8-1 ATS off two or more consecutive wins over the last three years. LA Tech is 8-2 ATS in its last 10 vs. SEC opponents. LA Tech is 37-17 ATS in its last 54 road games. Take Louisiana Tech Saturday.
|11-03-18||Notre Dame v. Northwestern +9.5||31-21||Loss||-106||51 h 42 m||Show|
15* Notre Dame/Northwestern ESPN ANNIHILATOR on Northwestern +9.5
We see this year after year with Notre Dame. They’ll get off to a hot start and get into the playoff conversation before shitting the bed down the stretch. The Fighting Irish are now ranked No. 4 in the initial college football playoff rankings. They have expectations now, and those expectations are very tough for them to live up to. Notre Dame is just 3-14 ATS in their last 17 games in the month of November.
That has proven to be the case in their last two games as the Fighting Irish have failed to cover the massive spreads. They only won 19-14 as 21-point home favorites against Pittsburgh two games ago. And last week they won 44-22 as 22.5-point favorites over Navy, failing to cover against a Navy team that is way down this year.
And that Navy game also figures into this handicap. Teams don’t tend to do well the following week after facing a triple-option team. Those are physical games where the defense gets cut-blocked continuously. That’s especially the case for Notre Dame over the years after facing Navy. In fact, the Fighting Irish are just 3-11 ATS in their last 14 games after facing Navy.
Just bet the underdog in Northwestern games this season and you’d be a perfect 9-0 ATS. The Wildcats always rise to the occasion in the role of the dog, and fail to meet expectations as a favorite. That could just be a reflection of head coach Pat Fitzgerald. He’s able to get his players up for these big games, and that has been the case all season for the Wildcats.
Indeed, Northwestern 4-0 ATS as an underdog this season, and 0-5 ATS as a favorite. They won at Purdue 31-27 as 1-point underdogs. They only lost 17-20 at home to Michigan as 14.5-point dogs. They won 29-19 at Michigan State as 10.5-point road underdogs. And last week they upset Wisconsin 31-17 as 4.5-point home dogs.
The Wildcats have a strong defense that is holding opponents to just 23.6 points per game this season. And Clayton Thorsen has put the offense on his shoulders and really improved his draft stock with what he has been able to do against these good teams. He has led the Wildcats to four straight victories in Big Ten play and certainly will be relishing the opportunity of trying to knock off unbeaten Notre Dame.
The Wildcats are 5-0 ATS in their last five games in the month of November. Northwestern is 7-2-1 ATS in its last 10 games following an ATS win. Fitzgerald is 9-2 ATS off three straight conference wins as the coach of Northwestern. Don’t be surprised if the Wildcats pull off another upset here, but 9.5 points is simply too much either way. Roll with Northwestern Saturday.
|11-03-18||Houston v. SMU +14||Top||31-45||Win||100||71 h 9 m||Show|
20* AAC GAME OF THE MONTH on SMU +14
The Houston Cougars are coming off a huge win over ranked and previously unbeaten South Florida last week. They now have a two-game lead for first place in the West Division. This is now a massive letdown spot for the Cougars, and that’s not being priced into the line here. They should not be 14-point road favorites over SMU this week.
The Mustangs are the team that trails Houston by two games in the division, so they will be max motivated to get a win here and stay alive. And I really like the way this SMU team is playing coming in. They are 3-2 in their last five games with a home win over Navy and a road win at Tulane. Their only two losses came to UCF and Cincinnati, who teams who are a combined 15-1 this season. And they only lost in overtime to Cincinnati.
SMU only lost 22-35 on the road at Houston last year. And SMU pulled one of the biggest upsets of the season at home against Houston in 2016. They came in as 23.5-point underdogs and won 38-16, covering the spread by 45.5 points. The Mustangs are live underdogs in this game here Saturday as well.
The Cougars are 1-9 ATS in their last 10 games on field turf. Houston is 1-6 ATS in its last seven games following a straight up win of more than 20 points. The Cougars are simply overvalued right now and in a very tough spot here against the Mustangs. They’re getting way too much respect for their win over an overrated South Florida team last week. Roll with SMU Saturday.
|11-03-18||Missouri v. Florida -6||38-17||Loss||-109||68 h 8 m||Show|
15* CFB Saturday No-Doubt Rout on Florida -6
The Missouri Tigers beat up on weak competition and lose to good competition. The Tigers went 1-13 in 2016 and 2017 against bowl teams. And this year they have folded against the best competition. They are 0-4 in SEC play this year and I’m not expecting them to pick up their first conference win of the season this week at Florida.
Drew Lock has a 24-to-29 TD/INT ratio against Power 5 teams that make it to a bowl game, but a 61-to-8 ratio in all other games in his career. Lock has a 1-to-5 ratio in SEC play this season and an 11-to-1 ratio against non-conference opponents. Lock is also 0-9 SU against Top 25 teams in his career.
I think this is a worse spot for Missouri this week than Florida. The Tigers are coming off a gut-wrenching last-second loss to Kentucky. The final score showed 14-15, but the Tigers were actually outgained in that game by 136 total yards. Lock and the offense were held to just 239 total yards against a good Kentucky defense, one that’s similar to the one they will be up against this weekend at Florida.
Certainly the Gators won’t be feeling too hot after tier 17-36 loss to Georgia in the Cocktail Party. But they still have big aspirations and can have a 10-win season if they win out while making a New Year’s Six Bowl. And they should be favorites in the rest of their games to do so.
Keep in mind that Florida had a bye before the Georgia game, so they are still fresh. And Dan Mullen is one of my favorite head coaches in the country. Considering this is his first year with the program, he won’t let this team quit on their season. He’ll get the most out of them and I expect the Gators to show up this week and handle their business against Missouri.
Another reason they should show up is because they were embarrassed 16-45 at Missouri last year. Obviously that was a completely different Florida team with suspensions and injuries, but many of these players have not forgotten that loss. They want to put a beat down on Missouri similar to the 40-14 thrashing they put on the Tigers in Gainesville in 2016.
Plays against underdogs of 3.5 to 10 points (Missouri) - with a good offense that averages 450 or more total yards per game, after being outgained by 125 or more yards in their previous game are 35-11 (76.1%) ATS over the last five seasons. The Tigers didn’t have a single first down in the second half against Kentucky last week. They’ll struggle to get anything going against what may be the fastest defense in the SEC in the Gators this week. Take Florida Saturday.
|11-03-18||West Virginia v. Texas -2||Top||42-41||Loss||-105||68 h 39 m||Show|
20* Big 12 GAME OF THE MONTH on Texas -2
The West Virginia Mountaineers are getting way too much respect from oddsmakers due to their 6-1 start this season. They have played the 59th-toughest schedule in the country, and that easy schedule is the reason for their fast start. But we’ve seen this time and time again with Dana Holorsen teams. When the competition gets tougher, the Mountaineers fold.
West Virginia still has Oklahoma, Texas, Oklahoma State and TCU remaining on the schedule. Their toughest game thus far was a trip to Iowa State. They lost 30-14 in a game that was a bigger blowout than the final score even showed. They were outgained by 346 yards by the Cyclones and held to just 152 yards of total offense. They have played the rest of the worst teams in the Big 12 up to this point.
Texas has been through the gauntlet already while facing the 18th-toughest schedule in the country. They handed Oklahoma their only loss of the season. I am not concerned with their loss to Oklahoma State last week. I think they’ll bounce back in a big way knowing that if they run the table, they will win the Big 12 regular season title and beat headed to the conference championship game. They’ll be 100% focused and ready to go Saturday knowing that WVU is likely their biggest threat to play Oklahoma in the title game.
The Mountaineers have played just two true road games this season. They barely won at Texas Tech and were thoroughly outplayed by Iowa State. Texas is 4-0 at home this season and holding opponents to just 17 points per game. They have a defense the caliber of Iowa State’s that can give Will Grier fits as well. This will be Grier’s stiffest test of the season to date.
I also think West Virginia is getting too much respect from its home blowout win over Baylor last week. But the Bears basically gave that game away by losing the turnover battle 4-0. And Holgorsen is 5-19 ATS off a game where they forced three or more turnovers as the coach of West Virginia.
Texas is 8-1 ATS vs. teams who average 8.5 or more passing yards per attempt over the last three seasons. The Longhorns are 11-3 ATS vs. teams who score 37 or more points per game over the last three years. They usually step up against good offensive teams like West Virginia. That will be the case again this weekend. West Virginia is 0-7 ATS as an underdog over the last three seasons. Take Texas Saturday.
|11-03-18||Georgia Southern v. UL-Monroe +7.5||Top||25-44||Win||100||67 h 9 m||Show|
25* Sun Belt GAME OF THE YEAR on Louisiana-Monroe +7.5
Georgia Southern is coming off one of the biggest wins in program history. They beat Appalachian State 34-14 to take the lead in their division last week. And now they have a huge game on deck against Troy next week. This is clearly a sandwich spot for them, and I don’t expect them to show up at all.
That was a misleading win over Appalachian State, too. The Eagles won outright as 11-point underdogs. But they had a huge advantage after star App State QB Zac Thomas was knocked out with an injury on the first series. Their backup quarterbacks combined for five turnovers the rest of the way to basically gift-wrap the victory for Georgia Southern.
Louisiana-Monroe comes in at 4-4 on the season and in need of a victory if they want to get bowl eligible. Three of their losses have come to Troy, Texas A&M and Ole Miss. They are coming off a bye week as well, so they’ve had two full weeks to prepare for Georgia Southern’s option offense. I always like backing teams who have extra prep time against option offenses. It’s safe to say that this couldn’t be a better spot for the Warhawks.
Louisiana-Monroe is 6-1 ATS in its last seven November games. The Warhawks are 7-2 ATS in their last nine games after allowing less than 275 total yards in their previous game. This game really doesn’t matter to Georgia Southern at all because if they win next week against Troy, they will win the East division and head to the Sun Belt title game. Conversely, Monroe is tied for first place in the West and needs this win more if they want to be serious contenders. Bet Louisiana-Monroe Saturday.
|11-03-18||Georgia Tech -6 v. North Carolina||38-28||Win||100||64 h 22 m||Show|
15* GA Tech/UNC ACC Early ANNIHILATOR on Georgia Tech -6
The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets have really turned the corner here of late. They have gone 3-1 SU & 3-1 ATS in their last four games overall with blowout wins over Bowling Green (63-17), Louisville (66-31) and Virginia Tech (49-28) with the latter two coming on the road. Their only loss came to a Duke team that was coming off a bye week.
I have a good feeling the Yellow Jackets are going to put UNC out of its misery here. The Tar Heels are just 1-7 on the season with nothing to play for now. They have suffered some tough close losses of late and I just don’t know how much more they can handle. I think they’ve hit their breaking point now that they’ve officially been eliminated from bowl contention.
Meanwhile, Georgia Tech still needs two more wins for bowl eligibility. And with Miami and Georgia still on the schedule, the Yellow Jackets are looking at this like a must-win game here against the Tar Heels. So they should be max motivated. Plus, the Yellow Jackets get extra time to prep after playing last Thursday, while UNC played on Saturday. That’s a hidden rest and prep advantage here for Georgia Tech.
Georgia Tech beat UNC 33-7 as 8-point home favorites last season. The Yellow Jackets have rushed for 300-plus yards in nine of their last 10 meetings with the Tar Heels. They should have their way on the ground again against a UNC defense that is allowing 191 rushing yards per game and 4.7 per carry this season.
Georgia Tech is 9-1 ATS in its last 10 games following an upset win by 10 points or more as a road underdog. The Yellow Jackets are 9-1 ATS after gaining 125 or fewer passing yards in three straight games over the past two seasons. Georgia Tech is 6-0 ATS vs. bad defensive teams that allow 31 or more points per game over the last three years.
Plays against home underdogs of 3.5 to 10 points (UNC) - after having lost five or six of their last seven games against an opponent that’s won three of their last four games are 25-4 (86.2%) ATS over the last five seasons.
Plays on road favorites (Georgia Tech) - after outfighting opponent by 100 or more yards in three straight games against an opponent that was outrushed by 125 or more yards last game are 25-3 (89.3%) ATS over the last 10 seasons. Bet Georgia Tech Saturday.
|11-02-18||Pittsburgh +7.5 v. Virginia||Top||23-13||Win||100||53 h 28 m||Show|
20* Pitt/Virginia ACC GAME OF THE WEEK on Pittsburgh +7.5
Virginia is in a spot it is not used to here Friday night against Pitt. The Cavaliers are now the hunted and not the hunters after a 6-2 start to the season. They have already clinched bowl eligibility and are ranked for the first time since 2011. That’s a huge accomplishment for a program that has had just one winning season since 2008.
But now the Cavaliers have to deal with expectations. And they will surely be getting serenaded in the media all week leading up to this game. I can’t help but think they will not put forth their best effort given what they have just accomplished. I look for them to come out flat, which is going to make it difficult for them to cover this 7.5-point spread against Pitt.
The Pitt Panthers will show up because they are fighting to make a bowl. They sit at just 4-4 this season with three road games in their last four to close. They may not be favored in any of the four games. So they have to give it their all to try and scrape out two wins to get to a bowl. And it’s clearly to me they’ve already started to fight with how well they’ve played the last three weeks.
Pitt is 2-1 SU & 3-0 ATS in its last three games overall despite being an underdog in all three games. The Panthers upset Syracuse 44-37 as 3-point home dogs. They then gave Notre Dame all they wanted in a 14-19 road loss at 21-point dogs. And last week they beat Duke 54-45 as 2.5-point home dogs. If that’s not an impressive run then I don’t know what is.
The problem with asking Virginia to lay points is that they just don’t have that good of an offense. They have been held to 28 or fewer points in five of their last seven games overall. The only exceptions were the 45 they scored against an awful Ohio defense and the 31 against a bad UNC defense. Pitt will offer some resistance here, and they’ll certainly be able to put up some points with an offense that is clicking right now.
Pitt is 4-1 SU & 3-1-1 ATS in five meetings with Virginia over the past five seasons as ACC opponents. The only loss came by 5 by a final of 19-24 as 5-point underdogs. Pitt beat Virginia 31-14 at home last season, 45-31 on the road in 2016, and 26-19 at home in 2015.
The Panthers are 5-1 ATS in their last six conference games. Pitt is 7-2 ATS in its last nine vs. a team with a winning record. Virginia is 14-28 ATS in its last 42 games after having won four of its last five games coming in. I don’t think the Cavaliers will handle all the hype they’re getting right now very well. And I know we’ll get a big effort from Pitt, which should be good enough to cover this 7.5-point spread regardless of whether or not Virginia shows up. Bet Pittsburgh Friday.
|11-01-18||Temple +11 v. Central Florida||Top||40-52||Loss||-115||29 h 29 m||Show|
20* Temple/UCF ESPN Thursday No-Brainer on Temple +11
The UCF Knights are ranked 12th in the initial playoff rankings. They are getting respect for going 13-0 last season and 7-0 this season for a 20-0 record over the past two years. And with that record comes expectations from oddsmakers that are going to be tough to live up to moving forward. I don’t think the Knights should be 11-point favorites over Temple in this game.
The problem I have with UCF is that they have played nobody. They have faced the 125th-ranked schedule in the country. Their seven wins have come against UConn, South Carolina State, FAU, Pitt, SMU, Memphis and ECU. They best opponent there was probably Memphis and they only won that game 31-30 as 4.5-point road favorites. I have no doubt Temple is the best team they will have faced yet.
The Temple Owls have been one of the most underrated teams in the country over the past few seasons. That’s evident by the fact that they are 35-16 ATS in their last 51 games overall. They have gone 6-0 ATS in their last six games this season as they have been a completely different team since their 0-2 start.
Temple has won five of its last six games with its only loss coming at Boston College 35-45, but covered the 13-point spread. The Owls outgained five of those six opponents, so there was nothing fluky about the run. They also won outright as 16-point dogs at Maryland 35-14 while covering by 37 points. They have played very well on the road this season and certainly will be up for this game to knock off an unbeaten, ranked squad in UCF here.
UCF QB McKenzie Milton actually had to sit out last game against ECU with an ankle injury and is questionable to return this week. All signs are that Milton will play but not at 100%. The Tigers were outgained by ECU and they were also outgained the previous week by Memphis. Their defense gave up 496 yards to ECU and 490 yards to Memphis. It’s their defense that is the biggest reason it will be difficult to beat Temple by double-digits Thursday night.
The Owls are 22-5 ATS in their last 27 conference games. Temple is 41-18 ATS in its last 59 road games. The Owls are 10-1 ATS vs. good rushing teams who average 230 or more yards per game over rate last three years. Temple is 5-0 ATS in its last five road games vs. a team with a winning home record. The Owls are 9-0 ATS in their last nine games off a game where they committed 3 or more turnovers. The UCF winning streak may come to an end here this week. Bet Temple Thursday.
|10-30-18||Miami-OH +7.5 v. Buffalo||42-51||Loss||-115||8 h 48 m||Show|
15* Miami Ohio/Buffalo MAC No-Brainer on Miami Ohio +7.5
The Miami Ohio Redhawks need a win here Tuesday to keep their bowl hopes alive. They sit at just 3-5 on the season, but 3-1 in MAC play and only one game out of first place in the MAC East. They can move into a tie with Buffalo, tonight’s opponent, with an upset win Tuesday. It’s safe to say they will be ‘all in’ to try and win this game tonight given the situation.
I like how this Redhawks team has responded following a tough start to the season with three consecutive non-conference losses to Marshall, Cincinnati and Minnesota. They have gone 3-2 SU and a perfect 5-0 ATS in their last five games overall. Their two losses came by a single point each with a 39-40 home loss to Western Michigan and a 30-31 road loss to Army. And now they’re catching 7.5 points against Buffalo.
The Bulls are 7-1 this season and getting a lot of respect from oddsmakers because of it. But they do have a common opponent with Miami Ohio in Army, and Buffalo lost that game 13-42 at home as 7-point favorites. As stated before, Miami Ohio only lost by a single point at Army when they played them last time out.
While Buffalo may have a slight edge on offense, Miami has a clear edge on defense. The Redhawks are holding opponents to 48 yards per game and 0.6 yards per play less than their season averages. The Bulls are holding their opponents to just one yard less than their season average and are dead even in yards per play based on what their opponents average this season. I think this is a much more evenly-matched game than this line would suggest.
Miami Ohio is 2-1 SU & 3-0 ATS in its last three meetings with Buffalo. The Redhawks won 24-14 as 3-point home favorites in 2017, 35-24 as 10-point road favorites in 2016, and lost only 24-29 as 7-point home dogs in 2015.
The Redhawks are 5-0 ATS in their last five conference games. Miami Ohio is 4-1 ATS in its lsat five road games. The Bulls are 5-13-1 ATS in their last 19 games following a bye week. Chuck Martin is 13-5 ATS in conference road games as the coach of the Redhawks. Roll with Miami Ohio Tuesday.
|10-27-18||Georgia v. Florida +7||Top||36-17||Loss||-115||74 h 38 m||Show|
20* Georgia/Florida SEC No-Brainer on Florida +7
I came into the season loving Florida with the OVER 8 wins as my favorite win total. And they’ve done nothing to disappoint me. They’ve gone 6-1 SU & 6-1 ATS this season as a hugely underrated commodity. And they remain underrated as 7-point underdogs to Georgia here in the Cocktail Party.
Just look at common opponents and it’s easy to see that Florida is the better of these two teams. They’ve both played the same three teams this season. Florida is 3-0 against them, outscoring them by 14.7 points per game. Georgia is 2-1 against them, inly outscoring them by 11.4 points per game.
The one game that really stands out is the LSU game. Florida beat LSU 27-19 and held the Tigers to just 371 total yards. Georgia lost 16-36 at LSU and gave up 475 total yards. The Bulldogs were pushed around at the line of scrimmage, while the Gators stood their ground. Georgia rushed for 275 yards on Georgia and 180 against Florida. Florida rushed for 215 yards against LSU while Georgia rushed for just 113 yards. And I think Florida winning the battle at the line of scrimmage is the key to their victory here.
Plays on underdogs of 3.5 to 10 points (Florida) - a good rushing team that gains 190 to 230 RYPG against a team with a good run defense that gives up 100 to 140 RYPG, after outrushing their last opponent by 150 or more yards are 30-9 (76.9%) ATS over the last 10 seasons.
Dan Mullen is 15-5 ATS versus excellent rushing teams that average 5.25 or more yards per carry in all games he has coached. Florida is 34-17 ATS in its last 51 road games when playing with two or more weeks’ rest. The Bulldogs are 3-11 ATS in their last 14 games following a bye week. The Gators are 4-1 ATS in the last five meetings. Roll with Florida Saturday.
|10-27-18||Texas Tech v. Iowa State -3||Top||31-40||Win||100||84 h 34 m||Show|
25* CFB BLOWOUT GAME OF THE YEAR on Iowa State -3
The Iowa State Cyclones have played the toughest schedule in the entire country to this point according to the Sagarin ratings. That explains why they are just 3-3 on the season, and they’ve done a great job of winning three games when you consider they’ve been an underdog in five of their six games this year. And they were competitive in every game as they didn’t lose once by more than 10 points.
Iowa State’s resurgence in its last two games have been a lot about freshman QB Brock Purdy. He took over against Oklahoma State and led the Cyclones to a 48-42 victory as 10-point road underdogs. And he also led them to a 30-14 home win over West Virginia as 4.5-point dogs.
Purdy is completing 75% of his passes for 572 yards with a 7-to-2 TD/INT ratio and 11.9 yards per attempt. He is a dual-threat with 122 rushing yards and a score as well in those two games. Star RB David Montgomery is back healthy, and WR Hakeem Butler is a beast who is averaging 20 yards per reception with 5 touchdowns. The run-pass option of Purdy, Montgomery and Butler is one of the deadliest trios in the country.
But it’s this Iowa State defense that deserves the credit. The Cyclones held Will Grier and the high-powered WVU offense to just 152 total yards and outgained them by 346 yards for the game. Despite playing the toughest schedule in the country, the Cyclones are only giving up 22.7 points per game and 316.7 yards per game. They are holding opponents to 115 yards per game and 1.5 per play below their season averages.
I think the bye week came at a great time after the win over West Virginia. Any team that plays a tough early schedule needs a bye, and the Cyclones got it at the perfect time. Now they can refocus for the stretch run. They have a legit shot to make the Big 12 title game because they will be favored in five of their final six games with the only exception being at Texas.
Kliff Kingsbury learned his offense from WVU head coach Dana Holgorsen. And Iowa State head coach Matt Campbell has owned the Red Raiders in his two meetings against them. The Cyclones won 66-10 as 3.5-point home dogs in 2016. They also won 31-13 as 7-point road dogs in 2017. They have covered the spread by a combined 85 points in their two games against Texas Tech under Campbell. And their defense held held that potent Red Raiders offense to just 11.5 points and 321 yards per game in the two meetings.
The Cyclones are 22-6-1 ATS in their last 29 games overall. They have been way undervalued over the past three seasons under Campbell, and they continue to be here as only 3-point home favorites in a game I expect them to win in blowout fashion. Iowa State is 8-1 ATS when playing against a team with a winning record over the last two seasons. Texas Tech is 5-17 ATS in its last 22 games as a road underdog of 3 to 7 points. Kingsbury is 2-9 ATS off a conference win by 10 points or more as the coach of Texas Tech. Bet Iowa State Saturday.
|10-27-18||Clemson v. Florida State +17||Top||59-10||Loss||-110||70 h 8 m||Show|
20* Clemson/Florida State ACC Early ANNIHILATOR on Florida State +17
For starters, this is the biggest home underdog role for Florida State since at least 1980. That was the furthest I was able to look back. So that fact alone show you there’s value with Florida State as 17-point home dogs to Clemson this week.
It was always going to take some time for first-year head coach Willie Taggart to implement his systems. And it was ugly to start this year as the Seminoles opened 1-2 with blowout losses to Virginia Tech and Syracuse, as well as a narrow home win over FCS foe Samford.
But the Seminoles have gotten going in recent weeks. They are 3-1 SU & 3-1 ATS in their last four games overall. They beat Northern Illinois by 18 at home, won 28-24 at Louisville, and beat Wake Forest by 21 at home. Their only loss was a 28-27 road loss at Miami as 14-point dogs, so they covered the spread with ease and actually led that game 27-7 before giving up 21 unanswered to close.
I was impressed with the way the Seminoles came out of their bye week following that heartbreaking loss to Miami. They swiftly took care of business against Wake Forest in that 21-point win. And now they will be amped up to face the No. 2 team in the country in Clemson.
I think Clemson comes in overvalued off its 41-7 win over NC State last week at home. The Wolfpack were ranked coming into that game, so the win looks better than it was, but they were clearly overrated. And most teams Clemson goes up against they have the better athletes, but that won’t be the case here against Florida State.
Florida State hasn’t lost by more than 17 points to Clemson in any of the last 12 meetings in this series. And the lone 17-point loss came last year at Clemson as 16.5-point dogs. Well, that was a 17-14 game with only three minutes to go. Clemson got two touchdowns in the final three minutes, including a 10-yard run with 35 seconds left when they could have simply kneeled. I think these FSU players remember the way that Clemson kind of rubber their noses in at the end of the game and will be looking for revenge.
The Seminoles didn’t have QB Deondre Francois for that game as he was lost for the season in the opener against Alabama. Francois is starting to grasp Taggart’s offense, and his talents are really starting to show over the past four games. He has a 10-to-2 TD/INT ratio in his last four games while throwing for at least 294 yards in three of the four.
Plays against road favorite of 10.5 to 21 points (Clemson) - a team that outgains their opponents by 125 or more yards per game, after gaining 525 or more total yards per game in their last two games are 48-17 (73.8%) ATS over the last 10 seasons. Th home team is 14-6 ATS in the last 20 meetings. Clemson is 14-29 ATS in its last 43 games off three straight wins over conference opponents. The Seminoles are 7-1 ATS in their last eight games following an ATS win. Take Florida State Saturday.
|10-27-18||UMass v. Connecticut +5||22-17||Push||0||42 h 45 m||Show|
15* CFB Saturday Non-Conference KNOCKOUT on Connecticut +5
This young UConn team went through the gauntlet to start the season. They are 1-6 with their six losses coming to UCF, Boise State, Syracuse, Cincinnati, Memphis and South Florida with four of those on the road. They have played the 26th-toughest schedule in the country.
I was all over UConn last week as 34-point underdogs at South Florida as my 25* AAC GAME OF THE YEAR. They easily covered in a 30-38 loss. A big reason I was on them was because of the difficult schedule, and also because they were coming off a bye. And bye weeks are huge for young teams. There’s no question this team took a big step forward on their bye week.
And now they should still be fresh here with Mass coming to town this weekend, and a great chance for the Huskies to pick up their second win of the season. These opportunities are few and far between for this team, so I look for them to take advantage and be playing with a lot of confidence following that 8-point road loss to unbeaten and ranked South Florida.
I’m shocked UMass is a road favorite here. This is a Minutemen team that is just 1-6 SU & 1-6 ATS on the season with their only win coming at home against Charlotte as favorites. All six of their losses have come by double-digits, including their 13-24 home loss to Coastal Carolina last week as 2-point favorites. They also have losses to Boston College, Georgia Southern, FIU, Ohio and South Florida. As you can see, that’s a much easier slate than what UConn has been up against. The Minutemen have played the 100th-toughest schedule in the country.
Now UMass even has to deal with the loss of their best player in QB Andrew Ford, who is out for the season with a leg injury. He has put up huge numbers over the past few seasons for the Minutemen. Ford is completing 64.4% of his passes for 1,340 yards with a 9-to-5 TD/INT ratio for Mass this season. There’s a big downgrade to their backup quarterback. Without Ford, it makes even less sense that the Minutemen are favored here.
UConn has actually put up solid offensive numbers this season despite the brutal schedule. They hung 30 points and 455 total yards on South Florida last week. And they should be able to do whatever they want to offensively against a UMass defense that is allowing 42.2 points and 500 yards per game. UConn allowed a season-low in points last week and this defense certainly got a lot healthier over the bye week. This defense will be much better the rest of the way than it was in the first half of the season, simply with experience and healthy, plus the fact that the schedule gets a lot easier.
UConn is a perfect 9-0 ATS in its last nine games off two consecutive road losses. The Minutemen are 0-5 ATS in their last five road games. These two trends combine for a perfect 14-0 system backing the Huskies, who are simply undervalued right now because the betting public wants nothing to do with them. There’s going to be value on the Huskies moving forward, including this week. Take UConn Saturday.
|10-27-18||Vanderbilt v. Arkansas +1.5||45-31||Loss||-108||42 h 45 m||Show|
15* CFB Saturday UPSET SHOCKER on Arkansas +1.5
It was always going to take some time for Chad Morris to turn around this Arkansas program. After a 1-6 start to the season, the Razorbacks had been through the gauntlet. Their final four losses during that stretch came against Auburn, Texas A&M, Alabama and Ole Miss. But there were parts of every one of those games that were good signs for Arkansas moving forward.
The 3-34 loss at Auburn was one of the biggest misleading finals of the year. Arkansas actually outgained Auburn by 65 yards in that game while holding the Tigers to just 225 total yards. They only lost 17-24 at Texas A&M the next week and easily covered the 19-point spread. Then they hung 31 points on Alabama and covered the 34.5-point spread. And then they held a 10-point lead over Ole Miss late, but lost 33-37, covering as 6.5-point underdogs.
The Razorbacks took out their frustration last week with a 23-0 win over Tulsa as 7-point favorites. The defense has made major strides in recent weeks, and the offense is playing much better under QB Ty Story. Quietly, the Razorbacks have gone 4-0 ATS in their last four games overall. And they’re once again getting zero respect as home underdogs to Vanderbilt here.
We see this happen to Vanderbilt every season. They’ll get off to a great start in non-conference play, but then get worked in SEC play. And it’s been more of the same this year. Vanderbilt is 0-4 SU & 1-3 ATS in SEC play this season. In between the four losses was an ugly 31-27 home win over Tennessee State as 28.5-point favorites.
Vanderbilt lost 14-37 at home to South Carolina as 1.5-point dogs and were outgained by 250 yards. They were crushed 13-41 at Georgia as 25.5-point dogs and outgained by 239 yards. They lost at home to Florida 27-37 as 9.5-point dogs and were outgained by 240 yards. They did only lose 7-14 at Kentucky last time out as 10.5-point dogs, but that’s an overrated Kentucky team.
The Commodores are 2-9-1 ATS in their last 12 conference games. The Razorbacks are 5-1 ATS in their last six conference games. Arkansas is 5-1-1 ATS in its last seven home games. Vanderbilt is 1-9 ATS in its last 10 games after gaining less than 100 rushing yards in its previous game. The Commodores are 2-17 SU in SEC road games since 2013. The Razorbacks are 5-1 SU in their last six meetings with Vanderbilt. Bet Arkansas Saturday.
|10-26-18||Miami-FL v. Boston College +3.5||Top||14-27||Win||100||53 h 22 m||Show|
20* Miami/Boston College ACC No-Brainer on Boston College +3.5
The Boston College Eagles still have their sights set on an ACC title. They sit at 5-2 on the season with one of their losses being a non-conference loss at Purdue, which looks better and better by the day. And their other loss was a 23-28 road loss to NC State. And now the Eagles get to host both Miami and Clemson in two of the next three weeks, so they have a legitimate shot.
It should be a great atmosphere for the Eagles on a Friday night home game on ESPN. The Eagles are 4-0 SU & 3-1 ATS at home this year, outscoring opponents by 27.5 points per game. They are scoring 50.0 points and putting up 521.2 yards per game at home this year, and giving up just 22.5 points and 294.5 yards per game.
Boston College is remarkably healthy right now. The only player listed on the injury report is RB A.J. Dillon, but he is probable. And while Dillon (652 yards, 6 TD) is a special back, he is one of five players averaging at least 5.6 yards per carry for the Eagles. BC has one of the best offensive lines in the entire country, and their ability to move Miami back will be the key to them winning this game.
Maimi’s five wins this season have come against Savannah State, Toledo, FIU, UNC and FSU with four of those wins coming at home. When they’ve stepped up in class, they haven’t performed well. They lost 17-33 to LSU on a neutral in what was a 33-3 game before the Hurricanes tacked on two late garbage touchdowns. They only beat Florida State 28-27 at home as 14-point favorites, and actually trailed 27-7 in that game. And they lost 13-16 at Virginia as 7-point favorites.
Miami does have a laundry list of injuries with 10 players out. And they keep playing musical chairs at quarterback. After a sluggish start to the season, Malik Rosier was benched. But now after that 13-16 loss to Virginia, the Hurricanes are going back to Rosier this week. He has held back this offense over the past two years and he won’t have much success against his stingy BC defense this week, either.
Miami is 3-13 ATS in its last 16 games off an upset loss to a conference opponent as a favorite of 6 or more points. The Hurricanes are 0-6 ATS in road games off one or more consecutive ATS losses over the last three years. The Eagles are 10-1-1 ATS in their last 12 conference games. Boston College is 13-3-1 ATS in its last 17 games overall. The Hurricanes are 1-6 ATS in their last seven vs. a team with a winning record.
Plays against road favorite of 3.5 to 10 points (Miami) - off a road loss, with a winning record on the season playing another winning team are 30-8 (78.9%) ATS since 1992. Bet Boston College Friday.
|10-25-18||Appalachian State v. Georgia Southern +10.5||14-34||Win||100||30 h 52 m||Show|
15* App State/Georgia Southern Sun Belt ANNIHILATOR on Georgia Southern +10.5
Appalachian State just moved into the Top 25 for the first time in program history this week. I always like fading teams who just reached the Top 25 that aren’t used to it. They start getting national recognition and feeling fat and happy. And they have extra expectations from oddsmakers that they simply cannot live up to.
I’m shocked to see the Mountaineers as double-digit road favorites over Georgia Southern tonight. There’s so much to like about this game, but it starts with the value perspective fading the Mountaineers because of their Top 25 ranking.
The second-most important factor is that Georgia Southern runs a triple-option offense, and Appalachian State only has a few days to get ready for it after playing on Saturday. Triple-option teams have a huge advantage on a short week every time. It’s simply the most difficult offense to prepare for because defensive fundamentals are so important.
This Georgia Southern team is one of the most underrated in the country. They returned 18 starters this year, so this was already going to be a veteran bunch. And they have come out guns-a-blazing with a 6-1 start and are legitimate threats to Appalachian State to win the Sun Belt. Their only loss this season came on the road at Clemson.
Georgia Southern is a perfect 4-0 SU & 4-0 ATS at home this season. They are outscoring their opponents 36.7 to 13.2 on average, or by 23.5 points per game at home. The Eagles are 6-0 ATS in their last six home games dating back to last year. Head coach Chad Lunsford is 6-0 ATS in games played on a grass field as the coach of Georgia Southern.
Plays against a team with a winning percentage of 80% or better (Appalachian State) - after beating the spread by 49 or more points total in their last five games when playing another team with a winning record are 59-23 (72%) ATS over the last five seasons. Roll with Georgia Southern Thursday.
|10-25-18||Ball State +11 v. Ohio||14-52||Loss||-115||29 h 23 m||Show|
15* Ball State/Ohio MAC ANNIHILATOR on Ball State +11
Sitting at 3-5 on the season, the Ball State Cardinals need a win tonight if they want any chance of making a bowl game. I look for them to lay it all on the line here against the Ohio Bobcats to get a win. I love catching double-digits with this hungry Cardinals squad tonight.
I have no doubt Ball State is better than is 3-5 record, too. Three of the losses came by 8 points or fewer, including a 16-24 loss at Notre Dame as 33.5-point underdogs. The only exceptions were a 10-38 loss at Indiana and a 20-42 loss to Eastern Michigan, which is probably the best team in the MAC. And they’ve only been outgained by more than 69 yards once this season, and that was the 110 yards at Indiana.
Many expected Ohio to compete for a MAC title this year, but this team looks far from a MAC title contender thus far. The Bobcats opened the season with a 38-32 home win over Howard as 30.5-point favorites and were outgained by 220 yards in that game. That was a sign of things to come for this team.
The Bobcats have been outgained in five of their seven games this season, so they are very fortunate to be 4-3. The only two teams they outgained were Bowling Green and UMass, and both of those games were at home. Their other two wins came against Kent State 27-26 as 11-point favorites and that 6-point win over FCS foe Howard. Ball State is much better than the four teams Ohio has beaten this year.
I think we’re getting some extra value here on the Cardinals based on last week’s results. Ball State lost by 22 to Eastern Michigan, while Ohio beat Bowling Green by 35. Otherwise this line probably would have been a touchdown or less. So now we’re catching double-digits on the Cardinals when we shouldn’t be.
These are two evenly-matched teams when you look at the numbers, and if anything the Cardinals have been better. Ball State has clearly played the tougher schedule having had to face Notre Dame and Indiana out of conference. And the Cardinals are still outgaining opponents by 31 yards per game on the season. Ohio is actually getting outgained by 9 yards per game. This is an Ohio defense that can’t be trusted, giving up 465 yards per game and 6.7 per play.
The Cardinals are 56-27 ATS in their last 83 road games. The Bobcats are 5-16 ATS int heir last 21 games following a SU win of more than 20 points. Ball State is 3-1 ATS in its last four meetings with Ohio. Take Ball State Thursday.
|10-25-18||Baylor +14 v. West Virginia||Top||14-58||Loss||-105||29 h 22 m||Show|
20* Baylor/WVU Big 12 No-Brainer on Baylor +14
The Baylor Bears are 4-3 this season and have their sights set on a bowl game in Matt Rhule’s second season. Their three losses have come to Duke, Oklahoma and Texas with the latter two coming on the road.
But they showed they could play with the big boys in that loss to Texas. They actually had the ball inside the Texas 20-yard line with only a few seconds left and a chance to win. They lost 17-23 as identical 14-point underdogs.
West Virginia came into the Iowa State game way overrated as the No. 6 team in the country. I was on Iowa State +7 as my 25* Big 12 GAME OF THE YEAR in that game. And the Cyclones dominated the Mountaineers 30-14. They held Will Grier and WVU to just 7 points and 152 total yards. Their other TD came on a blocked FG return TD.
The reason they were so overrated is because they played such an easy early schedule. They have still played just the 53rd-ranked schedule in the country, so their 5-1 start is fraudulent. Baylor has already played Oklahoma and Texas, the two best teams in the Big 12, and West Virginia hasn’t played either yet.
Baylor has had West Virginia’s number, too. The Bears are 5-1 ATS in the last six meetings. Their four SU losses during this stretch have come by 2, 3, 14 and 7 points. So they haven’t lost once by more than two touchdowns. And last year a 1-11 Baylor team only lost 36-38 at home to WVU as 10.5-point underdogs In 2016 they only lost 21-24 as 17-point road dogs as well.
Baylor has put up the kind of numbers that validate them being a good team. They have outgained five of their seven opponents this season. The only exceptions were the 114 yards they were outgained by at Oklahoma and the 61 yards at Texas. They are averaging 475 yards per game on offense and giving up 408 yards per game on defense, outgaining opponents by 67 yards per game.
West Virginia is 2-11 ATS in its last 13 home games off an upset loss to a conference opponent as a favorite. Rhule is 26-13 ATS as an underdog in all games as a head coach. Holgorsen is 0-6 ATS after being outgained by 225 or more yards in his previous game as the coach of West Virginia. The Mountaineers are 7-22-1 ATS in their last 30 home games vs. a team with a winning record. Bet Baylor Thursday.
|10-23-18||Troy v. South Alabama +13||Top||38-17||Loss||-110||8 h 12 m||Show|
20* Troy/South Alabama Sun Belt GAME OF THE WEEK on South Alabama +13
The South Alabama Jaguars have been through the gauntlet this season. They’ve played four road games against Oklahoma State, Memphis, Appalachian State and Georgia Southern. So they’ve already played the two best teams in the Sun Belt, plus Oklahoma State and Memphis out of conference. It’s no wonder they are just 2-5.
But South Alabama has played well at home this season. The Jaguars are 2-1 SU & 2-0-1 ATS at home this year. Their only loss came to a very good Louisiana Tech team from Conference USA by a final of 26-30 as 11-point underdogs. They beat Texas State 41-31 as 10-point favorites and Alabama State 45-7 as 27-point favorites.
I think Troy is getting too much respect from oddsmakers for what they did last season. Quarterback Kaleb Barker had been very good, completing 73% of his passes for 1,013 yards with a 10-to-2 TD/INT ratio. Unfortunately, he suffered a season-ending ACL injury in a 37-20 home win over Georgia State on October 4th.
The Trojans were forced to go with backup QB Sawyer Smith against Liberty last time out, and they were promptly upset 16-22 as 10.5-point road favorites. Smith hasn’t been nearly as good as Barker, completing just 59.3% of his passes with a 4-to-3 TD/INT ratio. I’m shocked the Trojans are double-digit road favorites here against the Jaguars again this week with Smith starting at QB.
This is a rivalry game in the state of Alabama, and I think South Alabama takes it a lot more seriously than Troy. South Alabama is actually 3-1 SU & 3-1 ATS in the last four meetings. The Jaguars won outright 19-8 as 18-point underdogs last year. They only lost by 7 as 9.5-point home dogs in 2016. They won 24-18 as 6-point road dogs in 2015. And they won 27-13 as 16-point home favorites in 2014.
The Jaguars are 4-0 ATS in their last four home games vs. a team with a winning road record. The Trojans are 1-5-1 ATS in their last seven October games. The underdog is 5-0 ATS in the last five meetings. The Jaguars are 4-1 ATS in the last five meetings. Bet South Alabama Tuesday.
|10-20-18||Ohio State v. Purdue +13||Top||20-49||Win||100||49 h 49 m||Show|
20* Big Ten GAME OF THE MONTH on Purdue +13
Purdue has put together a great turnaround this season. The Boilermakers lost their first three games of the season by a combined 8 points. But they have rebounded by winning their last three games in dominant fashion.
They beat Boston College 30-13 as 6.5-point home underdogs to get their first victory of the season. Then they went on the road and topped Nebraska 42-28 as 3.5-point favorites. And last week they went into Illinois and won 46-7 as 10.5-point favorites. And that’s a much-improved Illinois squad.
The Boilermakers are really close to being 6-0 this season. They have outgained five of their six opponents this season. They are outgaining foes by nearly 100 yards per game. The offense has taken off since David Blough took over at QB for good. Blough is completing 68.4% of his passes with a 10-to-2 TD/INT ratio while averaging 9.1 yards per attempt. They are rushing for 5.2 yards per carry as a team. And the defense has improved dramatically over the last three weeks.
Ohio State is way overvalued due to its No. 2 national ranking. And that has shown in recent weeks as the Buckeyes are just 1-4 ATS in their last five games overall. They failed to cover against TCU, Penn State, Indiana and Minnesota. I mean they only beat a terrible Minnesota team 30-14 at home as 29-point favorites last week. And they even won the turnover battle 3-0 against the Gophers.
The Buckeyes have played just two road games this season, and one true road game. They failed to cover against TCU on a neutral field and only outgained the Horned Frogs by 15 yards. They were outgained by 103 yards at Penn State and were very fortunate to win that game by a single point, 27-26.
The last time Ohio State was a road favorite of at least 13 points was at Iowa last year, and they lost that game 55-24 as 20.5-point favorites. Purdue is 7-2 ATS as an underdog with four outright wins under Jeff Brohm. That includes outright wins in three of their last four games as a dog with the only exception being losing on a last-second field goal against Missouri, but covering as 7-point dogs.
I think Purdue is ready to show that it can hang with a team like Ohio State. The Buckeyes are 0-7 ATS off five or more consecutive wins over the last three seasons. The more they win, the more overvalued they become. They will struggle to win this game, let alone win it by two touchdowns over an improving Boilermakers squad. Take Purdue Saturday.
|10-20-18||Oregon v. Washington State -3||Top||20-34||Win||100||49 h 39 m||Show|
20* Oregon/Washington State FOX Saturday No-Brainer on Washington State -3
ESPN College Game Day will be going to Pullman, Washington for the first time ever. Tickets on the secondary market are expensive, which just shows how excited Cougar fans are for this game. It’s safe to say that it will be perhaps the best atmosphere ever at Pullman on Saturday night when the Cougars host the Oregon Ducks.
Washington State has been an undervalued commodity all season. That’s evident by the fact that the Cougars are not only 5-1 SU but also a perfect 6-0 ATS this season. Their only loss came on the road 36-39 as 4.5-point underdogs to USC. And they led most the way in that game.
Now the Cougars have had two full weeks to get ready for Oregon as they had a bye last week. And the Cougars have been very tough to beat in Pullman. In fact, they were currently in the midst of a 10-game home winning streak. This is quickly becoming one of the more underrated home-field advantages in the country.
Nothing has been fluky about this start for the Cougars, either. They have outgained all six opponents the’ve faced. And they are outgaining them by a massive 175.3 yards per game. Their offense is hitting on all cylinders at 41.8 points and 485.5 yards per game, and their defense is underrated giving up just 23.8 points and 310.2 yards per game.
Oregon is certainly in a bit of a letdown spot here off its 30-27 overtime victory over Washington last week. The Huskies should have won that game as they missed a chip shot field goal at the end of regulation. Prior to that, Oregon lost at home to Stanford in overtime and won 42-24 at Cal, but Cal gave that game away with 5 turnovers. And that Cal win doesn’t look nearly as good now after Cal lost 37-7 at home to UCLA last week.
Washington State simply has Oregon’s number. I think it’s because the Cougars are used to going against a spread team in practice every day, so what Oregon does on offense doesn’t bother them. But the Cougars are 8-0 ATS in their last eight meetings with Oregon with those eight covers coming by an average of 17 points per game. They won the last three meetings outright with a 33-10 road win as 1.5-point favorites in 2017, a 51-33 home win as 2.5-point dogs in 2016, and a 45-38 road win as 15.5-point dogs in 2015.
The Cougars are 8-0 ATS in their last eight home games. The Ducks are 3-13-1 ATS in their last 17 games following a SU win, and 2-8 ATS in their last 10 games following an ATS win. Oregon is 1-4 ATS in its last five road games. Expect a fourth straight win in this series and a ninth straight cover here for the Cougars. Roll with Washington State Saturday.
|10-20-18||Connecticut +34 v. South Florida||Top||30-38||Win||100||48 h 10 m||Show|
25* AAC GAME OF THE YEAR on Connecticut +34
I keep coming back to the fact that South Florida is way overvalued due to being unbeaten and ranking in the Top 25. I’ve faded them with tremendous success all season, and I’m fading them again here as massive 34-point favorites over the UConn Huskies Saturday.
South Florida lost a ton of talent from last year’s team with just 11 returning starters this year. They lost all of their top playmakers on offense, and this offense hasn’t been the juggernaut it once was, which is why it’s making it difficult for them to cover spreads week in and week out.
The signs were there starting in Week 1 as USF failed to cover as 27.5-point favorites in a lackluster 34-14 home win over FCS foe Elon. They did cover in Week 2 in a 49-38 win over Georgia Tech, but that was a misleading final. They trailed in the 4th quarter of that game and were outgained by 176 yards. They also trailed in the 4th quarter against Illinois the next week and won 25-19, failing to cover as 14-point favorites. And they only beat ECU 20-13 as 20-point home favorites the next week and were outgained by 116 yards.
Then the Bulls had their bye week and returned to barely cover against an awful UMass team as 15.5-point favorites in a 58-42 win. And last week they needed yet another 4th quarter rally to beat Tulsa 25-24 as 10-point favorites. They trailed by 14 and outscored the Golden Hurricane 15-0 in the final period. That’s a 1-5 Tulsa squad. So they’re barely beating a bunch of bad teams like Tulsa, UMass, ECU, South Florida and Elon. That makes me believe even UConn can hang with them.
And this is the perfect spot for a young UConn team. They are coming off their bye week, and bye weeks are much more useful with young teams. It gives head coach Randy Edsall two full weeks to work on fundamentals and get this young squad ready for the stretch run. It was also key to get a bunch of guys healthy, especially on defense.
“We were able during the off week to get some guys healed up a little bit, take care of some of those bumps and bruises and catch our break a little bit,” Edsall said.
There’s no question the Huskies’ brutal schedule has a lot to do with their rough start. They have already played five teams that I have power rated higher than South Florida. Their five losses have come to UCF, Boise State, Syracuse, Cincinnati and Memphis. I think all five of those teams would beat USF on a neutral field. So the Huskies are battle-tested having faced the gauntlet already. They won’t be phased by this ranked USF squad that is nowhere near as good as their 6-0 record.
UConn has played USF very tough through the years. They have covered the spread each of the last two years losing by 17 as 23-point home underdogs last season and losing by 15 as 20-point road underdogs in 2016. And those were two USF teams that were much better than this year’s version. UConn hasn’t lost to USF by more than 22 points in any of the last 15 meetings, making for a perfect 15-0 system backing the Huskies pertaining to this 34-point spread. The underdog is 6-1-1 ATS in the last eight meetings. Bet Connecticut Saturday.
|10-20-18||Penn State v. Indiana +15||33-28||Win||100||45 h 49 m||Show|
15* CFB Saturday Line Mistake on Indiana +15
Penn State is in a very bad spot mentally right now. The Nittany Lions had not only Big Ten title aspirations, but also four-team playoff aspirations coming into the season. And it’s like the 26-27 home loss to Ohio State zapped all of the life out of them.
The Nittany Lions had a bye week to recover from that defeat, but they never did. They promptly came out after the bye and were upset 17-21 at home by Michigan State as 13.5-point favorites. All of their losses recently have come in gut-wrenching fashion. And now they have nothing but pride to play for the rest of the way because they aren’t going to win the loaded Big Ten East with two losses. I think we see a ‘hangover’ effect here at Indiana this week.
I think Indiana is undervalued off its 16-42 home loss to Iowa last week. But that is an Iowa team that is much better than it gets credit for. And that has shown in the fact that teams that have lost to Iowa are now 4-0 ATS the following week. Minnesota fit that role last week and nearly upset Ohio State on the road, only losing 14-30 as 29-point dogs in a game that was much closer than the final score would indicate. And Indiana only lost 26-49 at Ohio State as 27.5-point dogs in a game that was also closer than the final score, so they should be able to hang with Penn State at home this week.
The Nittany Lions are 2-12-2 ATS in their last 16 games following a SU loss. Penn State is 0-5-1 ATS in its last six games after scoring less than 20 points in its previous game. The home team is 5-1-1 ATS in the last seven meetings. This is more of a play against Penn State due to the awful spot they’re in mentally than it is a play on Indiana. I think the spot warrants grabbing 15 points with the Hoosiers at home here. Take Indiana Saturday.
|10-20-18||Houston v. Navy +11.5||49-36||Loss||-106||45 h 39 m||Show|
15* CFB Saturday Undervalued Underdog on Navy +11.5
At 2-4 on the season, the Navy Midshipmen need a win this week over Houston if they want any chance of making a bowl game. They have lost three straight coming in, including gut-wrenching losses to SMU (30-31, OT) and Temple (17-24). The blew a 17-7 lead against Temple last week and were outscored 17-0 to close out the game. They’ll have a sour taste in their mouth, and they’ll be looking to take it out on Houston this week.
The reason this game is so important for Navy is because the next three games are all on the road against Notre Dame, Cincinnati and UCF. They must win this game and pull off an upset in one of those three road games to get to a bowl. They are putting all their eggs into one basket this week to get a win, I have no doubt about that.
Houston has been very vulnerable this season. They trailed in the third quarter against an awful Rice team and they trailed in the 4th quarter 26-17 at home against Tulsa, which is 1-5 this season. And even last week their 42-20 win over ECU was misleading. The Pirates had a 27-18 first down edge over the Cougars but lost the turnover battle 4-0, which was the difference. And because Houston covered the spread against ECU, they are overvalued here this week.
Houston came off a bye last year to face two triple-option teams in Tulane and Navy in back-to-back weeks. So they had practice against the option before facing Navy. Yet Navy did hang tough in that game in a 24-14 road loss. But now the Cougars will be facing the triple-option for the first time this season, so they won’t be nearly as prepared for Navy as they were last year.
Navy is an impressive 46-12 SU at home under head coach Ken Niumatalolo. The home team is 3-0 ATS in this series since both Houston and Navy became AAC members. Houston now has to go on the road in consecutive weeks for long trips out to the East Coast, and that’s a difficult spot. The Cougars are just 2-8 ATS in their last 10 games as a road favorite. Navy is 5-1-1 ATS in its last seven games as a home underdog.
Houston is 1-8 ATS in its last nine games after having won four or five of its last six games. The Cougars are 0-9 ATS in their last nine games on field turf. Houston is 0-6 ATS in its last six games following a SU win of more than 20 points. The Cougars are 3-9 ATS int heir last 12 road games. The Midshipmen are 18-8-1 ATS in their last 27 home games. Bet Navy Saturday.
|10-20-18||SMU v. Tulane -6.5||27-23||Loss||-115||45 h 39 m||Show|
15* CFB Saturday No-Doubt Rout on Tulane -6.5
I’m certain we get a big effort out of the Tulane Green Wave here Saturday as they host the SMU Mustangs. That’s why I’m willing to lay the 6.5-points at home. They’ll be not only fresh and rested coming off their bye week, but they’ll be revenge-minded, which is a great combination.
Last year, SMU beat Tulane 41-38 in the final game of the regular season. That was a more crushing loss than most for the Green Wave. They were sitting at 5-6 and one win shy of a bowl berth. And they drove all the way down to the SMU 1-yard line in the closing seconds before the clock expired. It’s safe to say the Green Wave have not forgotten, and they are now primed for their best performance of the season.
Tulane has played very well at home this season. They are 2-1 SU & 3-0 ATS at home this year. They lost in overtime to Wake Forest in the opener 17-23 as 7.5-point underdogs. They beat a good FCS opponent in Nicholls State handily 42-17 as 18-point favorites. That’s a Nicholls State team that went on the road and beat Kansas earlier this year. And they crushed Memphis 40-24 at home as 14.5-point underdogs, covering the spread by 30.5 points. The other three losses all came on the road to Ohio State (7-0), Cincinnati (6-0) and UAB (5-1), three teams who are a combined 18-1 this season.
Tulane is every bit as good as it was last season, while SMU has clearly taken a huge step back. The Mustangs lost head coach Chad Morris to Arkansas, and Sonny Dykes just hasn’t had the same kind of effect on this team that Morris did. SMU is 2-5 dating back to its blowout bowl loss under Dykes. The two wins have both come at home against Navy (OT) and Houston Baptist.
The four losses have all come by 23 points or more. They lost 23-46 at North Texas, 12-42 at home to TCU, 20-45 at Michigan and 20-48 at UCF. Certainly that’s a tough schedule as well, but the Mustangs weren’t even competitive. They are getting outscored by 25.3 points per game on the road this season. And now they’re only getting 6.5 points here against a revenge-minded Tulane squad. It’s not enough.
Tulane is 8-1 ATS at home over the last two seasons. The Green Wave are 15-5 ATS in their last 20 home games vs. a team with a losing road record. The Mustangs are 2-8 ATS in their last 10 games overall. SMU is 1-6 ATS in its last seven road games. Roll with Tulane Saturday.
|10-20-18||Cincinnati v. Temple -3||17-24||Win||100||41 h 8 m||Show|
15* UConn/Temple AAC Early ANNIHILATOR on Temple -3
Temple has rebounded nicely from an 0-2 start. The Owls have gone 4-1 SU & 5-0 ATS in their last five games overall. The biggest reason has been the emergence of QB Anthony Russo, who has led this Temple offense to an average of 34.8 points per game over the last five weeks.
The defense also deserves some credit. The Owls have allowed 17 points or fewer in four of their last five gams. The only exception was their 10-point loss at Boston College as 13.5-point underdogs in the only game they’ve lost during this stretch, but they did play a great game and covered.
I think we get a big effort from Temple here this week. They can see the finish line as they have a bye next week, so they’ll be all in and won’t be focusing on the fact that they will be playing for an 8th straight week. I think that counteracts the fact that Cincinnati is coming off a bye. The Owls will be able to match Cincinnati’s intensity, especially at home.
Bye weeks can come at bad times. Not all bye weeks are created equal. And for Cincinnati, I think it’s a disadvantage. The Bearcats were rolling to a 6-0 start and are currently ranked 20th ranked team in the country. They had a ton of momentum and didn’t want a bye. I think they’ll be feeling fat and happy on their bye week, especially with that Top 25 ranking, and they won’t work as hard as they did to get to 6-0.
Let’s be honest, the 6-0 start isn’t all that impressive. Cincinnati has faced the 118th-ranked schedule in the country. Sagarin has them as the 49th-best team in college football, not the 20th. So the Bearcats are clearly overrated, and I agree with Temple being the favorite in this matchup because they are simply the better team.
Cincinnati’s six wins have come against UCLA, Miami Ohio, Alabama A&M, Ohio, UConn and Tulane. Temple is better than all six of those teams. And Cincinnati benefited from playing UCLA in the first week of the season under a first-year head coach in Chip Kelly. UCLA is just 1-5 but is improving as the season goes on. They were dreadful the first three weeks of the campaign.
Temple has clearly had Cincinnati’s number the last three years. The Owls are 3-0 SU & 3-0 ATS in the last three meetings. They won 35-24 as 3-point road favorites in 2017, 34-13 as 9.5-point home favorites in 2016, and 34-26 as 6-point road underdogs in 2015. I think they get their 4th straight win and cover in this series Saturday.
Temple is 10-0 ATS after allowing 125 or fewer passing yards in their last game over the last three seasons. The Owls are 19-3 ATS off an ATS win over the last three years. Temple is 21-5 ATS in its last 26 conference games. The Bearcats are 1-4 ATS in their last five games vs. a team with a winning record. The Owls are 11-1 ATS in weeks 5 through 9 over the last three years. Temple is 9-1 ATS vs. good rushing teams who average 230 or more rushing yards per game over the last three years. Bet Temple Saturday.
|10-19-18||Colorado State +23.5 v. Boise State||Top||28-56||Loss||-105||53 h 47 m||Show|
20* Mountain West GAME OF THE MONTH on Colorado State +23.5
This one is all about revenge for the Colorado State Rams. Last year, Colorado State led Boise State 52-38 with under two minutes to go. Boise State got a touchdown with 1:41 left, then got the onside kick and forced overtime with another touchdown. The Broncos went on to win 59-52 in the first overtime.
That came a year after the Rams lost 23-28 on the road to Boise State as 28-point underdogs. So the Rams have been gutted by the Broncos each of the last two seasons, and Mike Bobo and company have not forgotten. They will be upset-minded 23.5-point underdogs here at Boise State Friday night, and I think they’ll give Boise State more of a game than most are expecting.
Colorado State hasn’t been as poor as its 3-4 record would suggest. The Rams have rallied the troops after a 1-4 start by winning their last two games at San Jose State and at home to New Mexico. And they also beat Arkansas earlier this year as 14-point underdogs. Their 10-48 loss to Florida was very misleading as the Rams were only outgained by 28 yards in that contest, but special teams miscues and turnovers turned it into a blowout. So this team is clearly battle-tested.
Boise State is way overrated, and that has shown since season-opening wins over Troy and UConn. The Broncos are just 2-2 SU & 1-3 ATS in their last four games. They lost 21-44 at Oklahoma State, beat a bad Wyoming team 34-14, were upset by San Diego State 13-19 as 13-point underdogs, and barely escaped with a 31-27 win at Nevada as 14-point favorites.
The Blue Turf is not the home-field advantage that it used to be. The Broncos are just 4-14 ATS in their last 18 home games. The Rams have been great in this big underdog role as they are 9-2 ATS in their last 11 road games vs. a team with a winning home record. The road team is 6-1 ATS in the last seven meetings. Bet Colorado State Friday.
|10-18-18||Stanford v. Arizona State UNDER 57.5||Top||20-13||Win||100||29 h 43 m||Show|
20* Stanford/ASU Pac-12 No-Brainer on UNDER 57.5
Both Stanford and Arizona State are coming off bye weeks. That means they’ve had nearly two weeks to prepare for one another. And I think that extra preparation favors the defenses more than the offenses. So I like the UNDER here in this Pac-12 matchup.
I think this number is inflated because Stanford’s defense fell apart over their last three games, and they went over the total in all three. But they played three great offenses in Oregon, Notre Dame and Utah with with first two on the road. And they were simply out of gas by the time they faced Utah, so this bye week came at the right time.
But Arizona State’s offense isn’t going to scare Stanford’s defense. This is an ASU offense that has put up 21 or fewer points in the four games they’ve played that weren’t against UTSA and Oregon State. They only scored 16 against Michigan State, 21 against San Diego State, 20 against Washington and 21 against Colorado. And I think Stanford is a similar opponent to Michigan State, and ASU beat MSU 16-13 at home.
But Arizona State’s defense has played admirably this season. The Sun Devils haven’t allowed more than 28 points in any game this season, and one of those two teams is going to have to top 28 points for this game to go OVER. I don’t see either team surpassing 28. The Sun Devils are allowing 21.2 points and 385 yards per game this season. The Cardinal are allowing 22.0 points per game this year.
Stanford’s offense has been nothing special, averaging just 25.7 points per game this season. The Cardinal just don’t have a very good offensive line this year. In fact, it’s the worst that I can remember. They are averaging just 86 rushing yards per game and 3.1 per carry this season. It doesn’t help that Bryce Love has been banged up, and he remains hampered by an ankle injury this week.
The UNDER is 7-2 in the last nine meetings. Stanford and ASU have combined for 58 or fewer points in eight of those nine meetings. They are averaging just 48.4 combined points per game in those nine meetings, which is nearly 10 points less than tonight’s posted total of 57.5. I think we are getting great value here on this UNDER.
The UNDER is 54-26-1 in Stanford’s last 81 games following an ATS loss. The UNDER is 44-20 in Stanford’s last 64 games in October. The UNDER is 5-1 in the last six meetings. The UNDER is 4-1 in the last five meetings at Arizona State. Stanford is 11-1 UNDER in its last 12 games off two straight losses by 17 points or more. The UNDER is 19-3 in Cardinal’s last 22 games after a game with a turnover margin of -3 or worse. Bet the UNDER in this game Thursday.
|10-13-18||Miami-FL v. Virginia +7||Top||13-16||Win||100||67 h 59 m||Show|
20* ACC GAME OF THE MONTH on Virginia +7
Bronco Mendenhall has this Virginia Cavaliers program on the rise in his third season. They are off to a 3-2 start this year with their only losses coming on the road to Indiana (16-20) and NC State (21-35). They also beat Ohio 45-31 on a neutral field, and dominated their two home games with a 42-13 win over Richmond as 14.5-point favorites and a 27-3 thumping of Louisville as 4.5-point favorites.
Now the Cavaliers return home this week fresh off a bye, so they will be rested and ready to go. And they have made this a night game in Charlottesville, so the atmosphere will be electric with nationally ranked Miami coming to town. The Cavaliers are looking for that signature win under Mendenhall, and I think they have a great chance to get it given the situation Saturday night off the bye.
I think Miami is massively overrated right now. They lost their toughest game 17-33 to LSU in what was a 33-3 game until the Hurricanes tacked on two meaningless touchdowns late. Since then, their five wins have come against suspect competition in Savannah State, Toledo, FIU, UNC and Florida State. And they’ve had some lackluster efforts in there.
Miami only beat Florida International 31-17 at home as 26-point favorites three weeks ago. Then two weeks ago their 47-10 win over UNC was very misleading. They only outgained UNC by 25 yards in that contest and were the beneficiaries of 6 turnovers, 3 that were returned for touchdowns. And last week against Florida State they trailed 27-7 before rallying to win 28-27 as 14-point favorites.
I think that comeback will certainly have taken a lot out of the Hurricanes emotionally and physically. They are now in line for a hangover effect here against Virginia. It’s never easy playing the next week off a win against one of your biggest rivals, and the nature of the way they won that game will make it even more difficult this week. Virginia will simply want this game more than Miami.
Virginia also wants revenge from blowing a 28-14 lead in the 3rd quarter on the road at Miami last season. The Hurricanes scored the final 30 points in that game to win 44-28, but failed to cover the 20.5-point spread. Virginia actually outgained Miami 439 to 358 in that contest, or by 81 total yards. I think they’ll win the box score and the game this time around.
Virginia has a great defense that is giving up just 20.4 points per game and 325 total yards per game this season. Defense has always been a staple with Mendenhall-coached teams. But the reason the Cavaliers are so improved this season is that the offense is so much better. The Cavaliers are averaging 30.2 points and 418 yards per game this season. QB Bryce Perkins is completing 63.5% of his passes, averaging 8.2 yards per attempt, and has an 11-to-4 TD/INT ratio. He is a dual-threat who has also rushed for 341 yards and three scores this year.
The Hurricanes are 1-5 ATS in their last six games vs. a team with a winning record. The Cavaliers are 8-3 ATS in their last 11 vs. a team with a winning record. Virginia is 9-2 ATS in its last 11 games following a bye week. The underdog is 12-2 ATS in the last 14 meetings. Don’t be surprised if the Cavaliers win this game outright. Roll with Virginia Saturday.
|10-13-18||West Virginia v. Iowa State +7||Top||14-30||Win||100||103 h 19 m||Show|
25* Big 12 GAME OF THE YEAR on Iowa State +7
The West Virginia Mountaineers are way overrated right now. They are off to a 5-0 start and currently ranked as the No. 6 team in the country. With that ranking comes respect from oddsmakers that they simply cannot live up to. They should not be laying a touchdown on the road to Iowa State this week.
For starters, WVU has played a soft schedule. The Mountaineers have played the 70th-ranked schedule in the country. Their five wins have come against Tennessee, Youngstown State, Kansas State, Texas Tech and Kansas. They have played just one true road game this season, which was their 42-34 win at Texas Tech in which they won the turnover battler 3-0 that was the difference.
After covering the spread in each of their first four games, the Mountaineers came up short last week in a lackluster 38-22 home win over Kansas as 27.5-point favorites. Now they will be facing their stiffest test of the season on the road against a Cyclones team that just thrives in these big games against nationally ranked opponents.
Iowa State is undervalued after a 2-3 start to the season. But the Cyclones have played the 2nd-toughest schedule in the entire country. Despite this, they’ve had a chance to win all five games. They only lost by 10 at Iowa, by 10 to Oklahoma and by 3 to TCU. They went on the road and beat Oklahoma State 48-42 last week as 10-point underdogs. They have been a dog in four of five games thus far, so to get through at 2-3 with a chance to win every game is actually a nice accomplishment.
And now the Cyclones will be battle-tested here and not phased with No. 6 WVU coming to town. After all, they beat two Top 10 opponents last season. They beat Oklahoma on the road and TCU at home last year. Matt Campbell is a tremendous coach who thrives in the underdog role. Campbell is 16-5 ATS as an underdog in his last 21 games as the coach of Iowa State.
Iowa State has a very good defense that is giving up just 350 yards per game and 5.1 yards per play against opponents that average 438 yards per game and 6.4 per play, holding them to 88 yards and 1.3 yards per play less than their season averages. This is by far the best defense that WVU will have faced this season.
After struggling a little on offense the first four games, the Cyclones made the switch at quarterback to freshman Brock Purdy against Oklahoma State. And boy did it pay off. Purdy led the Cyclones to 48 points in the upset of the Cowboys last week while completing several beautiful deep balls. Purdy finished 18-of-23 passing for 318 yards with four touchdowns and one interception, while also rushing for 84 yards and a score. It was the best freshman QB debut in Cyclone history, and the future is bright for this program with him at the helm.
The Cyclones are 13-3-1 ATS in their last 17 vs. a team with a winning record. Iowa State is 21-6-1 ATS in its last 28 games overall. The Cyclones are 10-1 ATS in their last 11 games after allowing more than 40 points in their previous game. Iowa State is 9-1 ATS vs. excellent passing teams that average 8.5 or more yards per attempt over the last three seasons. Dana Holgorsen is 0-8 ATS after covering the spread in three of his last four games as the coach of West Virginia. He has never covered in this spot. Bet Iowa State Saturday.
|10-13-18||UCLA v. California -7||37-7||Loss||-110||71 h 14 m||Show|
15* CFB Saturday No-Doubt Rout on California -7
This feels like a get right game for the Cal Golden Bears. They have lost the last two weeks to Oregon and Arizona. They gave both those games away by committing a combined 9 turnovers. I can only think that the emphasis all week will be taking care of the football, because if they do they should roll UCLA at home Saturday night.
The 17-24 loss at Arizona last week was particularly misleading. Cal outgained Arizona by 211 total yards. But the Wildcats got two defensive touchdowns to swing the game in their favor. This elite Cal defense held Arizona to just 10 points and 265 total yards. They will shut down a poor UCLA offense this week.
UCLA is 0-5 this season. The Bruins have played a tough schedule, no question, but they’re also not very good. And they’ve rarely been competitive as all five of their losses have come by 7 points or more. They trailed by 17 to Washington last week but made it interesting in the end, losing 24-31. I think the fact that they kept the final score close is earning them too much respect now from oddsmakers this week. And it was a deflating loss that they will probably suffer a hangover from.
Turnovers shouldn’t be a problem for Cal against UCLA. After all, the Bruins have only forced five turnovers in five games this season. They aren’t big on takeaways. And I just don’t know how UCLA is going to score against Cal’s defense, which is giving up just 331 yards per game and 4.9 per play. UCLA’s offense is only averaging 18.4 points, 334 yards per game and 5.1 per play this season.
The last time at Cal in 2016 the Bears rolled to a 36-10 victory as 3-point underdogs. They outgained the Bruins 496 to 260 in that contest. I think we see a similar beat down here, especially with the Bears coming off two straight losses and wanting revenge from a 27-30 road loss at UCLA last year.
The Bruins are 14-34 ATS in their last 48 October road games. UCLA is 3-13 ATS in its last 16 games following an ATS win. UCLA is 2-7 ATS in its last nine road games. The Bears are 6-1 ATS in their last seven games after scoring less than 20 points in their previous game. Cal is 5-2-1 ATS in its last eight home games. The Bears are 4-1 ATS in their last five vs. a team with a losing record. The home team is 7-1 ATS in the last eight meetings. The Bears are 5-0 ATS int heir last five home meetings with the Bruins. Bet Cal Saturday.
|10-13-18||Houston v. East Carolina +16||42-20||Loss||-106||67 h 49 m||Show|
15* CFB Saturday Undervalued Underdog on East Carolina +16
The Houston Cougars have been an overvalued commodity this season. They should not be laying 16 points on the road to an improved East Carolina squad that is fully capable of making a game out of this based off everything I’ve seen this season.
Houston opened the season with a 45-27 win at Rice as 25-point favorites. But the Cougars actually trailed in that game 27-17 midway through the second quarter before scoring the final 28 points. Their win over Arizona doesn’t look that impressive now, and they lost 49-63 at Texas Tech. A win over Texas Southern is nothing to brag about. And last week they actually trailed 26-17 in the 4th quarter at home to Tulsa before scoring the final 24 points to win 41-26 as 17-point favorites. Tulsa gave them two free touchdowns on turnovers late to turn a near-upset into a semi-blowout.
East Carolina has beaten UNC 41-29 as 15-point underdogs, while also going on the road and giving South Florida all they could handle in a 13-20 loss as 19-point underdogs. In fact, ECU actually outgained each of its first four opponents by 113 or more yards. That’s why I’m saying their 6-49 loss at Temple last week was clearly the aberration, not the norm for this team. And that blowout loss clearly has them undervalued heading into this matchup with Houston, catching more points than they should be.
Last year, Houston won 52-27 at home over East Carolina as 24.5-point favorites, covering by a half a point. But that was a misleading final as well. ECU actually outgained Houston 504 to 472 in that contest. But the Pirates lost the turnover battle 3-0. And there’s no question the Pirates are a lot better than they were a year ago, while the Cougars aren’t nearly as good, especially with their leaky defense that is giving up 29.6 points and 488 yards per game this season. ECU is only allowing 340 yards per game this year.
Houston is 0-6 ATS off a home win over the last two seasons. The Cougars are 1-8 ATS in road games after the first month of the season over the last three seasons. Houston is 1-5 ATS in its last six road games. The Cougars are 4-11 ATS in their last 15 conference games. The home team is 4-0 ATS in the last four meetings. Take East Carolina Saturday.
|10-13-18||Washington v. Oregon +3.5||Top||27-30||Win||100||72 h 51 m||Show|
20* Washington/Oregon Pac-12 No-Brainer on Oregon +3.5
The Oregon Ducks should be 5-0 this season. They blew a 24-7 lead in the second half against Stanford a few weeks ago and eventually lost in overtime. Several fluky things went against them, and they simply could have kneeled on the ball at the end and won. Instead, they fumbled and Stanford scored to tie it, and the rest was history.
Almost everyone was on California the next week against Oregon, thinking the Ducks wouldn’t be able to recover from that loss. Instead, the Ducks showed a lot of heart, throttling California 42-24 on the road. It was a Cal team that was coming off a bye, so it was a great performance for the Ducks.
Now the Ducks have had a bye week to get ready for a Washington team that was in a dog fight last week in a 31-24 win over UCLA as 21-point favorites. They only outgained the Bruins by 40 yards in that contest, and that’s a UCLA team that is currently 0-5. The Huskies only beat Arizona State by 7 at home as 18-point favorites earlier this year. And they lost at Auburn, and that loss looks a lot worse now after Auburn went on to lose to LSU at home and Mississippi State on the road.
I think the Huskies are starting to run out of gas a little because they will be playing for a 7th consecutive week, and that started to show in the second half last week against UCLA. Now the Ducks will put their fatigue to the test with their spread-option, up-tempo offense. QB Justin Herbert is leading an Oregon offense that is putting up 46 points and 504 yards per game this season.
The Ducks have been an elite team with a healthy Herbert under center. Jake Browning is one of the most overrated quarterbacks in the country. He leads a Washington offense that is averaging just 29 points pre game this season. Running back Myles Gaskins is banged up, and Browning is lacking weapons on the outside. Clearly Oregon has the supreme offense in this matchup.
Washington’s defense is very good, there’s no question about it, but they did give up 24 points and 422 total yards to a very bad UCLA offense last week. Again, it was a sign that they are starting to show some fatigue. I think Oregon coming off a bye this week is a huge advantage, and it’s going to be a great atmosphere at Autzen Stadium with essentially the Pac-12 North title on the line in this matchup.
Plays on underdogs of 3.5 to 10 points (Oregon) - in a game involving two teams who are outgaining opponents by 100-plus yards per game, after gaining 475 or more total yards in two consecutive games are 29-7 (80.6%) ATS over the last five seasons. Take Oregon Saturday.
|10-13-18||Ohio v. Northern Illinois -3.5||21-24||Loss||-110||63 h 19 m||Show|
15* MAC PLAY OF THE DAY on Northern Illinois -3.5
The Northern Illinois Huskies headed into MAC play grossly undervalued. That’s because they went 0-3 in non-conference play against a brutal schedule. They lost to the likes of Iowa, Utah and Florida State with two of those games on the road. And I think they continue to be undervalued here as only 3.5-point home favorites over Ohio.
It’s no surprise that NIU is 3-0 in MAC play this season because they are still one of the best teams in this conference. They beat Central Michigan 24-16 at home before going not he road and topping Eastern Michigan 26-23 and Ball State 24-16. And now they return home here against an Ohio team that has been getting way too much respect from oddsmakers.
Ohio is 3-2, but it has been outgained in four of its five games this season. The most concerning game was the 38-32 home victory over Howard as 30.5-point favorites in the opener. The Bobcats were outgained by 220 yards in that game and should have lost. They were also outgained by 188 yards in their 31-45 loss at Virginia. And last week they only beat Kent State 27-26 as 11-point favorites and were outgained by 58 yards.
The problem with backing Ohio is that they play no defense. They are giving up 35.8 points, 509 yards per game and 7.2 yards per play this season against opponents that only average 435 yards per game and 5.8 per play. They are allowing 74 yards and 1.4 yards per play more than their opponents average this season. They simply cannot stop anyone, and even NIU is in line for its biggest offensive output of the season this week.
Conversely, Northern Illinois has probably the best defense in the MAC. The Huskies are only giving up 23.7 points, 356 yards per game and 4.4 yards per play this season. That’s despite playing three elite Power 5 programs in Iowa, Utah and FSU already. And they’ve also shut down two very good MAC offenses in EMU and Ball State while also holding a bad CMU offense to 16 points.
Another concern for Ohio is that starting QB Nathan Rourke is banged up and battling a shoulder injury right now, leaving his status up in the air for this game. He is the heart and soul of this team, averaging 8.7 has per pass attempt and 7.8 per rush attempt while rushing for 391 yards and three scores this season. Early indications are that he will likely suit up, but he clearly won’t be 100%. If he doesn’t play then this is an absolute certainty that NIU wins and covers.
Ohio is 2-10 ATS in its last 12 road games vs. good rushing defenses that allow 3.25 or fewer yards per carry. Northern Illinois is 10-2 ATS vs. poor passing defenses that allow 58% completions or worse over the last three seasons. The Bobcats are 1-4 ATS in their last five road games. The Huskies are 14-6-1 ATS in their last 21 after accumulating more than 200 rushing yards in their previous game. Roll with Northern Illinois Saturday.
|10-13-18||Georgia v. LSU +7.5||16-36||Win||100||63 h 19 m||Show|
15* Georgia/LSU SEC ANNIHILATOR on LSU +7.5
The LSU Tigers just can’t get any love this season. They have opened 5-1 with wins over the likes of Miami, at Auburn and home against Ole Miss. They were up 33-3 on Miami on a neutral, they outgained Auburn by 42 yards in a 22-21 road win at 10-point dogs, and they crushed Ole Miss 45-16 as 11.5-point home favorites.
Last week’s 19-27 loss to Florida has everyone writing off LSU. I’m not one of those people. I was on Florida in that game and felt it was a great spot for the Gators, and I’m on record saying that Florida was an SEC title contender coming into the season. And that game was up for grabs in the final seconds before the Gators got a defensive touchdown. Florida only outgained LSU by 19 yards.
There’s no question LSU has played the more more difficult schedule between these teams. In fact, the Tigers have played the 13th-toughest schedule this season. Georgia has played just the 62nd-toughest. I think the Bulldogs are way overvalued right now due to their No. 2 ranking and their 6-0 start. Their six wins have come against Austin Peay, South Carolina, Middle Tennessee, Missouri, Tennessee and Vanderbilt.
I would have to say their toughest game was at Missouri. And they only won 43-29 as 14-point favorites. Georgia only outgained Missouri by 52 yards in that contest. I have no doubt that this road game at LSU is the most difficult game thus far on their schedule. And there’s nothing like the home-field advantage the Tigers have in Death Valley.
LSU is never more than a touchdown home underdog due to their home-field advantage. The only times they’ve been priced in this range in the past decade was against Tim Tebow’s Florida team and two times against Alabama. No question Georgia is a great team, but they are not good enough to be laying more than a touchdown on the road here to the Tigers in the Bayou.
LSU is a perfect 9-0 ATS vs. good passing teams who average 8 or more yards per attempt over the last three seasons. It is actually winning by 18.9 points per game in this spot and holding those teams to just 16.0 points per game. The Tigers are 8-1 ATS in their last nine conference games. Bet LSU Saturday.
|10-12-18||South Florida v. Tulsa +7.5||25-24||Win||100||57 h 22 m||Show|
15* USF/Tulsa AAC ANNIHILATOR on Tulsa +7.5
It’s time to ‘buy low’ on Tulsa and ‘sell high’ on South Florida in this AAC showdown Friday night. I like the Golden Hurricane catching more than a touchdown at home to the Bulls in a game that they have an excellent chance to win outright.
Tulsa is better than its 1-4 record would indicate. The Golden Hurricane are actually outgaining their opponents by 17 yards per game this season despite that record, and they have an improved defense that is allowing just 381 yards per game. The problem with them has been turnovers as they’ve committed 16 already through five games and it will be a point of emphasis this week.
South Florida is 5-0, but not nearly as good as its record would indicate. The Bulls are only outgaining their opponents by 54 yards per game. And they’ve played a much easier schedule than Tulsa as their five wins have come against Elon, Georgia Tech, Illinois, ECU and UMass. They only beat Illinois by 6 and ECU by 7, they were outgained by Georgia Tech by 176 yards and by ECU by 116 yards. And they needed a big 4th quarter comeback to beat Illinois.
Tulsa’s four losses have come to Texas, Arkansas State, Temple and Houston. They were competitive in all four of those games. They only lost by 7 to Texas and by 9 to Arkansas State. They outgained Temple by 103 yards despite losing by 14 thanks to a pair of defensive touchdowns. And they led Houston on the road last week 26-17 in the 4th quarter before giving up 24 unanswered points in the final 12 minutes.
Tulsa knows that if it is going to challenge for a bowl game, it starts with a win this week against South Florida. And the Golden Hurricane have the rest advantage after playing last Thursday, so they have had seven days to get ready for this game. USF played on Saturday in a 58-42 shootout at UMass and will be the more fatigued team here having just five days to get ready for Tulsa.
Last year, Tulsa only lost 20-27 at South Florida as 23.5-point underdogs. And that was a much better USF team that lost a lot from last year. And Tulsa is certainly better this season than last with 15 returning starters from a squad that went 2-10. The Golden Hurricane will be out for revenge at home this time around, and they’ll be excited welcoming a Top 25 team in a nationally televised Friday night game.
Plays on underdogs of 3.5 to 10 points (Tulsa) - off two consecutive losses by 10 points or more to conference opponents, in October games are 26-6 (81.2%) ATS over the last five seasons. The Golden Hurricane are 11-2 ATS in their last 13 vs. a team with a winning record. They just come up big time and time again against teams they appear overmatched by. Roll with Tulsa Friday.
|10-11-18||Texas Tech v. TCU UNDER 62||Top||17-14||Win||100||34 h 52 m||Show|
20* Texas Tech/TCU Big 12 No-Brainer on UNDER 62
Both Texas Tech and TCU have quarterback injuries heading into this one that makes me like the UNDER quite a bit. Tech starter Alan Bowman suffered a collapsed lung last game and is highly questionable, and his backed McLane Carter is also questionable with an ankle injury. TCU starter Shawn Robinson is battling a shoulder injury, and even though he’s probable he may not start Thursday.
Regardless, this has been an UNDER series the past two years. TCU won 27-24 (OT) in 2016 for 51 combined points, but they scored 17 in overtime so there were just 34 combined points at the end of regulation. And then last year TCU won 27-3 for 30 combined points. It’s clear to me that this 62-point total has been set way too high Thursday night.
I also like the fact that both teams come in off bye weeks and on extra rest. That extra time to prepare certainly favors the defenses more than the offenses. There will be no element of surprise for these two teams because they’ll know each other so well. And Texas Tech has an improved defense this year, while TCU has one of the best defenses in the country once again.
The Horned Frogs are giving up just 304 yards per game and 4.5 yards per play against opponents that average 380 yards per game and 5.5 yards per play. Texas Tech has faced some great offenses this year, so the numbers haven’t been as good. But they are giving up 6.2 yards per play against teams that average 6.5 yards per play, so they have actually been better than average. And they should be able to contain a suspect TCU offense that is managing just 415 yards per game this season.
TCU is 10-1 UNDER off a win against a conference opponent over the last three seasons. The Horned Frogs are 11-1 UNDER vs. poor passing defenses that are allowing 250 or more passing yards per game over the last three seasons. The UNDER is 4-1 in Red Raiders last five road games. The UNDER is 21-6 in Horned Frogs last 27 conference games. Bet the UNDER in this game Thursday.
|10-09-18||Appalachian State v. Arkansas State +10.5||Top||35-9||Loss||-105||8 h 14 m||Show|
20* App State/Ark State Sun Belt No-Brainer on Arkansas State +10.5
The Arkansas State Red Wolves are getting zero respect from oddsmakers here as 10-point home underdogs to the Appalachian State Mountaineers. This is a team that has dominated the Sun Belt, winning at least a share of the conference title five of the last six years while going 40-7 in Sun Belt play over that time frame. Simply put, they are better than everyone else in the Sun Belt.
The Red Wolves have opened 3-2 against a tough schedule. Their two losses came on the road at Alabama and at Georgia Southern 21-28 in the closing seconds. And that means they are 0-1 in Sun Belt play to open the season, so they’ll be extra motivated here to avoid falling to 0-2. They also went on the road and got a big win at Tulsa while also beating a good UNLV team at home.
Appalachian State deserves some credit for taking Penn State to overtime in the opener. But there’s no question they are overvalued now because of it, especially after three straight blowout wins over Charlotte, Gardner Webb and South Alabama since. Well, Gardner Webb is an FCS school, and Charlotte and South Alabama are two of the worst FBS programs in the country. This is a huge step up in class for the Mountaineers tonight.
Arkansas State is a veteran squad that returned all of its top playmakers from an offense that put up 37.8 points and 495 yards per game last season. They are still averaging 474 yards per game this season, but the points haven’t been there at 26.4 per game, and I think they’re undervalued because of it. And their defense has been solid in giving up just 393 yards per game despite the brutal schedule.
Senior QB Justice Hansen is probably one of the best quarterbacks you’ve never heard of for the Red Wolves. He is completing 64.8% of his passes for 1,329 yards with an 11-to-2 TD/INT ratio this season. He has also rushed for 192 yards and two scores. He has a plethora of weapons outside with the top two receivers back from last year in Justin McInnis (23 receptions, 233 yards, 2 TD) and Omar Bayless (13, 216, 1 TD), as well as Oregon transfer Kirk Merritt (29, 238, 1 TD).
The Red Wolves are 37-17-1 ATS in their last 55 conference games. Arkansas State is 6-1 ATS in its last seven games following a bye week. The Red Wolves are 7-0 ATS in October games over the last three seasons, winning by 23.4 points per game on average. Take Arkansas State Tuesday.
|10-07-18||Wyoming v. Hawaii -3||Top||13-17||Win||100||55 h 3 m||Show|
20* Wyoming/Hawaii MWC Late-Night BAILOUT on Hawaii -3
I faded Hawaii with success last Saturday as I backed San Jose State +10 at home against the Warriors. And that game went into overtime as SJSU easily covered, but Hawaii won outright 44-41. Well, that was a dream spot for SJSU coming off a bye and with Hawaii coming to the mainland.
However, I think this is now a dream spot for the Warriors. They will be playing with a ton of momentum from that OT win that improved them to 5-1 this season. And now fans back home in Hawaii are excited, and it should be a great atmosphere for them at home against Wyoming this week.
I certainly felt the Warriors were overvalued last week, and that has shown of late as they are just 0-3-1 ATS in their last four games overall. Now the public is off of them, and I think the value is back with them now as only 3-point favorites here. Plus, their only loss came on the road 21-28 at Army, and we’ve seen Army take Oklahoma to overtime as 28.5-point underdogs and crush Buffalo 42-13 as an underdog. Clearly, that loss to Army doesn’t look so bad now.
Hawaii is 3-0 at home this season with three double-digit wins over Navy (59-41), Rice (43-29) and Duquesne (42-21). The Warriors boast an explosive offense that is putting up 42.0 points and 495.8 yards per game this season, including 48.0 points and 507.0 yards per game at home. They clearly have a huge edge on offense over Wyoming.
Wyoming is off to a 2-3 start this season. Its two wins came against New Mexico State 29-7 and Wofford 17-14. Well, NMSU is 1-4 this season with four double-digit losses and their only win coming against UTEP. And that 17-14 win over FCS foe Wofford is clearly a concern for the Cowboys.
Wyoming’s three losses have all come in blowout fashion. They lost at home to Washington State 19-41, at Missouri 13-40 and at home to Boise State 14-34 last week. They were even coming off a bye. This is a Wyoming offense that is only averaging 18.4 points, 304 yards per game and 4.8 yards per play this season. There’s no way they can keep up with Hawaii in this one.
One key factor here that is certainly getting overlooked is Wyoming lost its punter to a season-ending injury in that loss to Boise State last week. Tim Zaleski suffered a torn ACL. He started all 18 games since the start of last season, averaging 39.9 yards per punt. That leaves junior Ryan Galovich, who had not punted in a game until last week. His lone career punt covered only 27 yards in the fourth quarter last week after Zaleski went down.
“Losing your punter is a big, big hit,” Wyoming head coach Craig Bowl said. “We’re going to need to absorb that and make some plans.” With how poor this Wyoming offense has been, they’re going to need their punter a lot this week against Hawaii. And the Warriors should get plenty of short fields for their offense to take advantage of as a result.
Plays against underdogs of 3 to 10 points (Wyoming) - after having lost two of their last three games against an opponent that’s won four of their last five games are 41-12 (77.4%) ATS over the last five seasons. The Warriors will improve to 6-1 Saturday night and get back in the ATS win column with ease. Roll with Hawaii Saturday.
|10-06-18||Kentucky v. Texas A&M -5.5||14-20||Win||100||50 h 60 m||Show|
15* CFB Saturday No-Doubt Rout on Texas A&M -5.5
The No. 13 Kentucky Wildcats are starting to get some accolades. And now they will be looking to open a season 6-0 for the first time since 1950. I don’t see it happening Saturday as they finally meet their match against Texas A&M and the 12th man at Kyle Field. It will be a hostile atmosphere for the Wildcats for this Saturday night game under the bright lights.
Kentucky has had the fortune of playing four of its first five games at home. The Wildcats’ lone road game was an upset win at Florida, which was clearly impressive, but they caught the Gators in the second week of the season when they weren’t hitting on all cylinders under a new head coach. And they simply wanted that game more as they had lost 31 straight previously to Florida.
I’ve been a lot more impressed with Texas A&M despite just a 3-2 start. Well, the two losses came to a pair of playoff contenders in Clemson and Alabama, and they covered the spread in both games. They only lost 26-28 at home to Clemson as 11.5-point underdogs, and 23-45 at Alabama as 24-point dogs. I’m willing to forgive them for their 24-17 win as 20-point favorites against Arkansas last week because it was a hangover spot from the Alabama loss.
Jimbo Fisher has been quick to call out his team for that poor performance against Arkansas. Look for them to respond in a big way here. And Fisher will be going against his pupil in Mark Stoops, who was the defensive coordinator under Fisher as Florida State. I give a big advantage to the teacher over the pupil in this head coaching matchup.
Both teams have great defenses, but I give Texas A&M the edge on offense. The Aggies are averaging 36 points, 512 yards per game and 6.7 yards per play this season behind a balanced attack that averages 232 rushing yards and 280 passing yards per game despite the brutal schedule. Kentucky is only averaging 407 yards per game.
This one-dimensional Kentucky offense will cost them this week. The Wildcats are only averaging 153 passing yards per game this season. They have relied heavily on Benny Snell and the running game, which has averaged 254 yards per game and 5.8 per carry. Fisher will be locked in on trying to stop Snell, and there’s no question Texas A&M has the goods to do it.
Indeed, the Aggies are only allowing 81 rushing yards per game and 3.1 per carry this season against teams that average 157 yards per game and 4.8 per carry. Just look at what they did to Clemson and Alabama. The Aggies held Clemson to just 115 rushing yards on 32 carries, and Alabama to 109 rushing yards on 28 carries. They are 3rd in the country in stopping the run this season, and they’ve played some great running teams thus far. It’s impressive to say the least.
Texas A&M is a perfect 8-0 ATS off a home game over the last two seasons. Plays against any team (Kentucky) - after beating the spread by 49 or more points in their last five games, a team that wins 80% or more of their games against a good team that wins 60% to 80% are 34-10 (77.3%) ATS over the last five seasons. The Wildcats are simply overvalued right now due to their 5-0 start and Top 25 ranking. Roll with Texas A&M Saturday.
|10-06-18||Florida State +14 v. Miami-FL||27-28||Win||100||47 h 2 m||Show|
15* FSU/Miami ACC No-Brainer on Florida State +14
It was going to take some time for Willie Taggart to get Florida State back to an ACC title contender. The Seminoles were decimated by injuries last season and barely made a bowl game. And they have started just 3-2 this season with ugly losses to Virginia Tech and Syracuse.
However, now we are nearing the midway point of the season, and it’s clear Taggart hasn’t lost his team. The fruits of his labor have started to show the past two weeks. After crushing Northern Illinois 37-19 despite losing the turnover battle 4-0, they went on the road last week and pulled out a gutsy comeback victory at Louisville 28-24. Taggart clearly hasn’t lost his players, and this team will be feeling good about themselves and 100% focused going up against rival Miami this week.
I think Miami comes into this game way overvalued due to a four-game winning streak since their ugly 17-33 loss to LSU in the opener. Well, the four wins have come against Savannah State, Toledo, FIU and UNC. And they only beat FIU 31-17 as 26-point home favorites.
I also believe Miami’s misleading 47-10 win over North Carolina last week has them overvalued as well. That was a much closer game than the final score showed. UNC committed six turnovers, three of which were returned for touchdowns. Miami only outgained UNC by 25 yards in that game. The Hurricanes deserved to probably win by two touchdowns, but not by 37 points. And because of the misleading final, they’re now being asked to lay 14 points to an FSU team that will be the most talented squad they’ve faced since that 16-point loss to LSU.
The recent series history shows that there’s no way Miami should be favored by 14 points. Florida State is 8-2 SU in the last 10 meetings with Miami’s two wins coming by 4 points each, including last year’s last-second 24-20 win that will have FSU out for revenge. In fact, Miami hasn’t beaten Florida State by more than 8 points in any of the last 17 meetings, making for a 17-0 system backing the Seminoles pertaining to this 14-point spread. The last time Miami won by this kind of margin was their 49-27 win in 2001.
Mark Richt is 1-9 ATS in home games off two consecutive home wins in all games he has coached. His teams are only winning by 5.9 points per game in this spot. Taggart is 23-9 ATS as a road underdog in all games he has coached. Taggart is 10-2 ATS off a win by 6 points or less in all games he has coached. The underdog is 13-3 ATS in the last 16 meetings. Bet Florida State Saturday.
|10-06-18||LSU v. Florida +3||Top||19-27||Win||100||47 h 52 m||Show|
20* SEC GAME OF THE MONTH on Florida +3
There’s no question LSU came into the season undervalued. I wasn’t very high on them coming into the season either, but fortunately I’ve only faded them once, and I won that bet when I did on Louisiana Tech +21 in Week 4. And I’m now ready to fade them again this week.
LSU is starting to get that respect now that they are 5-0 and ranked No. 5 in the country. With that ranking comes expectations that are tough to live up to. They are now being asked to go on the road and lay points to the Florida Gators. Well, I believe Florida is the better team, and they’re at home.
I was really high on the Gators coming into the season. I thought they’d have a chance to win the SEC. And with the way they are going right now, they certainly will have a chance. They have gone 4-1 SU & 4-1 ATS in this season with their only loss coming to Kentucky, which doesn’t look that bad now.
Florida beat Colorado State 48-10 as 21.5-point home favorites, won at Tennessee 47-21 as 4.5-point favorites, and upset Mississippi State 13-6 as 7-point road underdogs the past three weeks. The Gators keep getting better with each game. They are the most experienced team in the SEC with 19 returning starters, while LSU is the least-experienced team in the SEC with just 10 starters back.
And those returning starters remember their 17-16 loss to LSU last season. Florida was a much weaker team last year than they are this year due to all the injuries and suspensions. But they’re a lot healthier this year and got most of those suspended players back. They will be a force the rest of the way.
Florida is averaging 6.4 yards per play on offense and giving up just 4.6 yards per play on defense, outgaining teams by 1.8 yards per play. LSU hasn’t been nearly as dominant in that category, averaging 5.7 on offense and giving up 4.7 on defense, only outgaining opponents by 1.0 yards per play.
Florida head coach Dan Mullen is making his mark already on this program. And Mullen actually went 4-0 ATS in his final four meetings with LSU at Mississippi State, so he knows how to beat this team. Mullen will push the right buttons here and let his team know that they are getting no respect while playing the underdog card. Expect a huge effort from the Gators this weekend. Take Florida Saturday.
|10-06-18||Iowa v. Minnesota +7||48-31||Loss||-105||47 h 52 m||Show|
15* Big Ten PLAY OF THE DAY on Minnesota +7
Both of these teams are off a bye week. While that would normally be a wash, it’s worth noting that Iowa is 2-8 ATS in road games off a bye under head coach Kirk Ferentz. I think Iowa wouldn’t have been too focused during its bye week after pretty much losing its Super Bowl in a 17-28 home loss to Wisconsin that will likely decide the West Division. So I like the spot for Minnesota better.
And I just don’t think this Iowa team is very good. The Hawkeyes have played four home games to open the season. They beat Northern Illinois, Iowa State and Northern Iowa before losing to Wisconsin. So their three wins were against some pretty bad teams. And now they’ll be hitting the road for the first time this season.
Well, Minnesota is 3-0 at home this season. They mopped the floor with New Mexico State 48-10 in their opener. Then they beat Fresno State 21-14 despite being underdogs in that game. And we’ve seen Fresno State go on to basically blow everyone else out, so that win looks better and better by the week. And the Golden Gophers easily covered as 13.5-point favorites in a 26-3 beat down of Miami Ohio.
I think Minnesota comes into this game undervalued due to its 13-42 loss at Maryland last time out. Well, that was a hungry Maryland team that was coming off an upset loss to Temple. And the Golden Gophers were probably feeling fat and happy after their 3-0 start. I think that loss will have humbled them, and it will be much easier to get over than Iowa’s loss to Wisconsin where they had every chance to win.
These teams are pretty much mirror images of each other. Both have sub-par offenses and elite defenses. Minnesota is giving up just 17.2 points, 300 yards per game and 5.0 yards per play this season. They are holding opponents to 12.0 points per game less than their season averages. And it’s their defense that gives them a chance to win here against an Iowa offense that is only scoring 25.2 points per game despite such a soft schedule.
Just looking at the recent series history it’s easy to see there’s value on Minnesota as 7-point home underdogs here. Each of the last three meetings in this series were decided by 7 points or less. Iowa won all three by 5, 7 and 7 points, so you can bet the Golden Gophers want some revenge. They last beat Iowa 51-14 at home in 2014. And the home team is 7-2 SU in the last nine meetings. The underdog is 3-0-1 ATS in the last four meetings.
The Hawkeyes are 0-5 ATS in their last five road games vs. a team with a winning home record. The Golden Gophers are 10-2-3 ATS in their last 15 games following an ATS loss. Minnesota is 4-1 ATS in its last five home games.
Plays on underdogs of 3.5 to 10 points (Minnesota) after a game with a turnover margin of -2 or worse against an opponent after a game with turnover margin of -3 or worse are 34-10 (77.3%) ATS over the last 10 seasons. Take Minnesota Saturday.
|10-06-18||Oklahoma v. Texas +8||Top||45-48||Win||100||74 h 35 m||Show|
20* Oklahoma/Texas Big 12 Early ANNIHILATOR on Texas +8
It’s well documented how great Tom Herman has been as an underdog. In fact, Herman is a ridiculous 22-1 ATS as an underdog in all games as a coach dating back to his time as an assistant at Iowa State and Ohio State, and most recently as the head coach of Houston and Texas.
Herman has his best team yet at Texas. I thought the Longhorns were a Big 12 title contender coming into the season, and nothing has changed my mind on that. Sure, they were upset by Maryland in the opener, but they came into the season overvalued. They have since reeled off four straight victories to get back in the discussion.
They throttled USC 37-14 at home as 3-point favorites, and won outright as 2.5-point home underdogs over TCU in a dominant 31-16 win. I think last week’s narrow 19-14 win at Kansas State has Texas undervalued coming into this week. But that was a 19-0 game before the Wildcats tacked on two second half touchdowns. And Texas held K-State to just 217 total yards in a dominant effort.
Conversely, I think Oklahoma is coming in overvalued off its 66-33 win over Baylor last week. Well, the Sooners were 21-point favorites in that game so it wasn’t expected to be close. And it’s clear that Baylor is still another year or two away from really being competitive.
That effort against Baylor has folks quickly forgetting that Oklahoma needed overtime to beat Army as a 28.5-point favorite the week prior. And the Sooners failed to cover their previous three spreads before Baylor, so they’ve been overvalued. It’s just tough for Top 10 teams like the Sooners to live up to expectations every week because they are ranked so high and in the public eye.
Oklahoma's five opponents this season are a combined 1-10 against Power 5 opponents, so they haven't really played anybody compared to Texas. The Longhorns already have wins over two ranked opponents in TCU and USC by a combined 38 points. They have played the much tougher schedule, and that will have them a lot more battle-tested than the Sooners coming into this one.
Texas certainly wants some revenge after some heartbreaking losses to Oklahoma in recent years. Oklahoma has won three of the last five meetings, including the last two, but all three victories came by only 5 points. Texas is a perfect 5-0 ATS in the last five meetings, including two outright upsets as double-digit underdogs, covering the spread by an average of 15 points per game in those five contests. I think there’s a ton of value getting the Longhorns as more than a TD dog here against the Sooners.
This is an elite Texas defense that is giving up just 19.8 points, 333 yards per game and 4.8 yards per play this season with opposing QB’s completing just 54.9% of their passes. Their defense is the reason they have a chance to upset the Sooners here. Oklahoma has given up at least 21 points in four consecutive games, including the 33 to Baylor last week. Their lackluster defense, which is allowing 30 points and 470 yards per game in two Big 12 games against Iowa State and Baylor, is going to make it difficult for them to put Texas away.
Texas is 7-0 ATS vs. good passing teams who average 8.5 or more yards per attempt over the last three seasons. The Longhorns are 7-2-1 ATS in their last 10 vs. a team with a winning record. The Sooners are 2-8 ATS in their last 10 neutral site games. The Longhorns are 10-2 ATS vs. good offensive teams that average 37 or more points per game over the last three seasons. Bet Texas Saturday.
As you probably already know, Ben Burns has historically fared EXTREMELY WELL on Opening Night of the NFL season. He did it AGAIN in 2018, going a PERFECT 2-0 on Opening Night, nailing both the Eagles, minus the points, and the 'Under.' This year, its the Bears hosting the Packers, a pair of teams that Burns knows like the back of his hand. You in?