|Date||Match Up||Rating||Score||Result||Profit||Lead Time||Analysis|
|09-21-19||Charlotte +42 v. Clemson||10-52||Push||0||79 h 6 m||Show|
15* CFB Saturday Non-Conference KNOCKOUT on Charlotte +42
The Clemson Tigers are the No. 1 ranked team in the country and the defending national champs. With that distinction comes expectations from the betting public and oddsmakers that are very tough to live up to. Clemson is fortunate not to be 0-3 ATS this season, but because they are 2-1 ATS they are being overvalued this week.
Clemson beat Georgia Tech by 38 as 36.5-point favorites in the opener. Georgia Tech failed going into the end zone at the 1-yard line which proved to be the difference in covering or not. Clemson then failed to cover as 16.5-point favorites in a 14-point win over Texas A&M. And last week Clemson never led by more than 28 as 28-point favorites against Syracuse, but got a breakaway 57-yard run with 48 seconds left to win by 35 when they were just trying to run out the clock.
Now this is a terrible spot for Clemson. It’s a ACC sandwich spot. They were sky high last week in their ACC opener at Syracuse, and now they have an ACC game at North Carolina on deck next week. They won’t have their full focus here against Charlotte in this non-conference game, which is going to make it extremely difficult for them to cover this massive 42-point spread.
Not to mention, Charlotte looks pretty good. They beat Gardner Webb 49-28 at home in their opener. And they went on the road and only lost 41-56 at Appalachian State as 23.5-point dogs in Week 2. That’s an Appalachian State team that has been one of the best Group of 5 teams in the country in recent years. And last week they throttled UMass 52-17 as 20.5-point favorites.
As you can see, Charlotte has an explosive offense that is capable of scoring more points than anyone has yet on this Clemson defense. The 49ers are averaging 47.3 points and 522.3 yards per game and 7.8 yards per play this season. They have shown tremendous balance with 297 rushing yards per game and 7.1 per carry, and 226 passing yards per game and 9.0 yards per attempt. I believe the 49ers are one of the single-most underrated teams in all of college football based on what I’ve seen so far.
Dabo Swinney is 1-8 ATS in home games after allowing 17 points or less in three straight games as the coach of Clemson. His teams are only winning by 8.4 points per game in this spot. Charlotte is 4-1 ATS in its last five road games. Clemson is 2-6 ATS in its last eight non-conference games.
Plays against favorites of 31.5 or more points (Clemson) - outgaining opponents by 1.0 or more yards per play, after outgaining opponent by 125 or more total yards in two consecutive games are 23-4 (85.2%) ATS over the last five seasons. Plays on road teams (Charlotte) - an excellent offensive team averaging 6.2 or more yards per play against a team with an excellent defense allowing 4.2 or fewer yards per play, after gaining 525 or more total yards in their previous game are 37-11 (77.1%) ATS over the last 10 seasons. Take Charlotte Saturday.
|09-21-19||Wyoming v. Tulsa -3||Top||21-24||Push||0||76 h 2 m||Show|
25* CFB Non-Conference GAME OF THE YEAR on Tulsa -3
There’s a reason a 1-2 Tulsa team is favored over a 3-0 Wyoming team Saturday. And if not for the records, Tulsa would be a much bigger home favorite. But I think we are getting a ton of value here because of the records on Tulsa, and that’s why I’ve made this my 25* CFB Non-Conference GAME OF THE YEAR. This game has blowout written all over it.
Tulsa’s two losses are against Michigan State and Oklahoma State. And they went on the road and beat San Jose State by 18 as 6-point favorites in their lone win. They have faced a brutal schedule thus far, and I came away impressed by the losses to Michigan State and Oklahoma State as well.
Tulsa actually led Oklahoma State 21-20 in the second half before eventually losing 21-40 last week. They deserved to cover the 13.5-point spread, but Oklahoma State busted a long run in the final minutes when they basically could have kneeled on it. It was much closer than that 19-point margin would indicate. They also lost 7-28 at Michigan State to cover the 23.5-point spread, and they held the Spartans to just 303 total yards in the loss.
Tulsa’s offense is better than it has shown due to the tough schedule, but the defense has really impressed me the most. The Golden Hurricane are only allowing 28.0 points and 386 yards per game this season. They are one of the most improved defensive teams in the country the last few years. They are holding opponents to 61 yards per game and 0.9 yards per play less than their season averages this season.
Wyoming is overvalued due to being 3-0. Their win over Missouri in the opener at home was a fluke. They were outgained by 148 yards and had over a 20-point swing in turnovers go in their favor. They beat Texas State 23-14 on the road the next week, but were outgained by 151 yards in another fluky win. And we’ve seen how bad Texas State has been against everyone else this year. Then last week they only beat Idaho 21-16 at home as 27.5-point favorites. They were outgained by 16 yards by Idaho!
Wyoming could easily be 0-3 instead of 3-0 when you consider they were outgained in all three games. They are getting outgained by 105 yards per game on the season now. Their offense is averaging 66 yards per game and 0.5 yards per play less than their opponents average allowing. Their defense is giving up 95 yards per game and 0.6 yards per play more than their opponents normally average.
Tulsa hasn’t been to a bowl game since 2016 and that’s a huge goal of theirs this year. They realize this home game against Wyoming is a must-win for them if they want to go bowling. I have no doubt they will be ‘all in’ Saturday to try and get a win. Meanwhile, Wyoming is feeling fat and happy after that Missouri win in the opener, and they were fortunate not to get upset by both Texas State and Idaho in the two games since. Tulsa is a much different animal than those two teams.
The Golden Hurricane are 13-4 ATS in their last 17 vs. a team with a winning record. Tulsa is 18-7-1 ATS in its last 26 games off an ATS loss. Wyoming is 5-16 ATS in its last 21 September games. The home team has won four of the five meetings between these teams in this all-time series. Bet Tulsa Saturday.
|09-21-19||Auburn v. Texas A&M -3.5||Top||28-20||Loss||-105||75 h 6 m||Show|
20* Auburn/Texas A&M CBS No-Brainer on Texas A&M -3.5
I like the fact that Texas A&M is battle-tested already having lost 10-24 at Clemson as 16.5-point underdogs to cover the spread. The Aggies were only outgained by 100 yards by the Tigers in that tough atmosphere. They handled their business with blowout wins over Texas State and Lamar and covered the spread in both games. Now sitting at 2-1 this season, this game is very important to them in their SEC opener.
Adding to the motivation for the Aggies is the fact that they want revenge from a 24-28 road loss at Auburn last year. Texas A&M led that game 24-7 in the 4th quarter, but gave up 21 unanswered points to lose a heartbreaker. The Aggies feel like they gave that game away as they were clearly the better team and outgained Auburn by 145 yards in the loss.
Now the Aggies are back home at Kyle Field with home of the best home-field advantages in the country. Auburn freshman QB Bo Nix hasn’t seen an atmosphere as hostile as this one. Nix is only completing 52.4% of his passes on 84 attempts this season, so accuracy is an issue. I expect him to have his worst performance of the season thus far Saturday.
No question the Aggies have the clear advantage at quarterback with Kellen Mond in this one. Mond is completing 65% of his passes and has accounted for seven total touchdowns already. Mond has certainly played a lot better at home than he has on the road in his career. And his mobility will be a huge asset against an Auburn defensive line that is clearly their strength.
The 12th man at Kyle Field has been a problem for opponents recently. The Aggies are 6-1 ATS in their last seven home games. Texas A&M is 7-0 ATS in its last seven games after allowing less than 20 points in its previous game. The Aggies are 23-6-1 ATS in their last 30 September games. The Tigers are 3-8 ATS in their last 11 vs. a team with a winning record. Roll with Texas A&M Saturday.
|09-21-19||California v. Ole Miss -2||28-20||Loss||-109||72 h 35 m||Show|
15* CFB Saturday Early ANNIHILATOR on Ole Miss -2
The California Golden Bears just got ranked after a surprising 3-0 start to the season. They are feeling good about themselves now and getting pats on the back. But I think this is the toughest test they’ve faced yet this season, and I expect them to fall flat on their faces.
Cal now has to go out East for a 12:00 EST start time to face Ole Miss. That means this will be a 9:00 AM body clock game for them coming from the West Coast. They aren’t used to playing games this early, while Ole Miss is.
This is an Ole Miss team that I expect to get better in a hurry as the season goes on. They brought in two new coordinators in Rich Rodriquez and Mike MacIntyre. Both are former head coaches in the Pac-12 who are familiar with California’s schemes. That will be a huge advantage for the Rebels as they prepare for the Golden Bears.
I think the Ole Miss players should now be accustomed to the new schemes that Rich Rod and MacIntyre have installed. I’ve particularly been impressed with the improvement of the Ole Miss defense thus far under MacIntyre. They are only giving up 20.3 points per game and 5.0 yards per play on the season. They are holding opponents to 12 points and 63 yards per game less than their season averages. It’s only a matter of time before this talented offense takes off under Rich Rod.
Cal has had a problem scoring the last two years offensively. The Golden Bears average just 23.3 points per game, 351 yards per game & 5.1 yards per play this season. They don’t look improved at all on that side of the ball. Cal will suffer its first loss of the season on the road against an up-and-coming SEC opponent in an early start time here Saturday.
Cal is 21-45 ATS in its last 66 games with a line of +3 to -3. The Golden Bears are 0-4 ATS in their last four non-conference games. They only beat North Texas by 6 as 14-point home favorites last week. They were outgained by both Washington and North Texas despite winning those games. Their luck runs out this weekend. Take Ole Miss Saturday.
|09-21-19||Southern Miss +39.5 v. Alabama||7-49||Loss||-110||72 h 35 m||Show|
15* CFB Saturday Undervalued Underdog on Southern Miss +39.5
This is one of my favorite spots to fade Alabama. The Crimson Tide are in a SEC sandwich game here. They just won their SEC opener last week at South Carolina, and now they step out of conference for a game against Southern Miss before dipping back into SEC action next week against Ole Miss. They won’t be fully invested in this game, which will make it tough to cover this massive 39.5-point spread.
Alabama is fortunate not to be 0-3 ATS this season. They only led Duke 14-3 at halftime as 33.5-point favorites but outscored them 28-0 in the second half to cover. Then they failed to cover as 55.5-point favorites against New Mexico State and as 26-point favorites against South Carolina in their two games since. This is another inflated number simply because it’s Alabama.
There’s been several concerns about Alabama despite the easy schedule thus far. Their rushing attack only produced 145 yards on 42 carries against Duke for 3.5 yards per carry. They only had 76 rushing yards on 25 attempts against South Carolina for 3.0 yards per carry. Defensively, the Crimson Tide have allowed at least 100 rushing yards in all three games this season. They clearly aren’t as strong at the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball as they have been in years’ past.
I’d argue that Southern Miss could be the best team they’ve faced yet. This is a Southern Miss team that returned 16 starters and is among the favorites to win Conference USA this season. They’ve managed to go 2-1 to start despite playing a tough schedule that has featured road games at Mississippi State and Troy. The 15-38 loss at Mississippi State was a misleading final because they were only outgained by 42 yards. Then they outgained Troy by 98 yards in their 47-42 win last week.
This is a Southern Miss offense that returned 10 starters and is hitting on all cylinders. They are scoring 33.3 points per game and averaging 453 yards per game and 7.2 yards per play. They are averaging 79 yards and 1.2 yards per play more than their opponents allow on average this season. They can certainly move the ball and score on this Alabama defense that gave up 459 total yards to a bad South Carolina offense last week.
This is an early start time at 12:00 AM EST and won’t be the same kind of home-field advantage for Alabama as it would be if it was a night game. They are just looking to get in and get out with a victory. Southern Miss is 15-7-1 ATS in its last 23 non-conference games. The Golden Eagles are 15-5-1 ATS in their last 21 September games. Alabama is 1-6 ATS in its last seven vs. C-USA opponents. The Crimson Tide are 0-5 ATS in their last five games following a win.
Plays against favorites of 31.5 or more points (Alabama) - outgaining opponents by 1.0 or more yards per play, after outgaining opponents by 125 or more total yards in two straight games are 23-4 (85.2%) ATS over the last five seasons. Plays on road underdogs of 21.5 or more points (Southern Miss) - after gaining 525 or more total yards in their previous game, with eight or more offensive starters including QB returning, in the first month of the season are 22-4 (84.6%) ATS since 1992. Alabama is once again overvalued this week. Bet Southern Miss Saturday.
|09-20-19||Air Force +8.5 v. Boise State||Top||19-30||Loss||-110||57 h 6 m||Show|
20* Air Force/Boise State MWC GAME OF THE MONTH on Air Force +8.5
Air Force is a team I was very high on coming into the year. The Falcons are coming off a 5-7 season, but they were much better than their record would indicate last year. Four of their losses came by 3, 3, 4 and 6 points. In fact, all seven of their losses came by 10 points or less, so they were competitive in every game they played. They can only have better luck in close games this season.
Air Force returns a whopping 15 starters, which is a ton for a service academy. It’s their most returning starters since 2014, when they went 10-3. This is easily the best team Air Force has had in years, and I have no doubt they will be one of the most improved teams in the country.
The Falcons got off to a flying start by handling Colgate 48-7 as 20.5-point favorites in their opener. They rushed for 423 yards and will be a force on the ground again with four returning starters along the offensive line. Then after a bye, they went into Colorado last week and pulled off the 30-23 upset as 3-point underdogs. It was no fluke as they outgained the Buffaloes by 119 yards behind 289 rushing yards. They even turned the ball over three times and still won.
Few teams have played Boise State tougher than Air Force in Mountain West action in recent years. Indeed, Air Force is 3-3 SU & 5-1 ATS in the last six meetings with three outright upsets. And I just think this Boise State team is overrated after going on the road and beating Florida State in the opener. As we’ve seen since, that FSU team just isn’t very good. Boise State only beat Marshall by 7 as 14-point favorites at home two weeks ago before making easy work of Portland State last week.
The blue turf at Boise State just hasn’t been the advantage it used to be. The Broncos are 8-17 ATS in their last 25 home games. Boise State is also 7-15 ATS in its last 22 vs. a team with a winning record. Air Force is 10-2 ATS in its last 12 games as a road dog of 7.5 to 10 points. Brian Harsin is 2-9 ATS as a home favorite of 7.5 to 14 points as the coach of Boise State. Bet Air Force Friday.
|09-19-19||Houston v. Tulane OVER 55.5||Top||31-38||Win||100||32 h 6 m||Show|
20* Houston/Tulane ESPN Thursday No-Brainer on OVER 55.5
This total opened around 60 and has been bet down to 56 and lower as of this writing. I think the value is now there to pull the trigger on the OVER. Bettors are overreacting to the fact that these teams are a combined 5-0 to the under this season. But two of those unders came by a combined 2 points.
These are two teams I have been high on early in the season. And a big reason I’m high on them is because of their offenses. I expect a shootout between two of the best offenses in the AAC on a fast track down in New Orleans. And the offenses have an advantage on a short week like this.
I loved the move by Willie Fritz to turn over his offense to new coordinator Will Hall. They have moved away from the triple-option and have gone to more of a spread option and faster tempo. The result has been 35.3 points and 436 yards per game this season. And that’s with a road game at Auburn on the schedule in which they scored just 6 points.
Houston’s offense is loaded with eight returning starters for new head coach Dana Holgorsen. That includes star QB D’Eriq King, who accounted for 50 total touchdowns last year despite missing two games. And Houston has played a brutal schedule thus far with road games against Oklahoma and Washington State. But they are still averaging 30.7 points per game.
Tulane’s defense hasn’t been tested against an offense as explosive as this Houston unit. And it’s worth mentioning that Houston has one of the worst defenses in the country. They are giving up 32.3 points per game, 506 yards per game and 7.6 yards per play this season. They were awful in the second half of the season defensively last year and only returned four starters on that side of the ball this year.
Houston is 18-5 OVER in its last 23 games as a dog of 3.5 to 10 points. The OVER is 6-1 in Cougars last seven games on field turf. The OVER is 4-0-1 in Cougars last five road games. The OVER is 5-1 in Cougars last six conference games. Finally, these teams combined for 65 points last year in Houston. They should have no problem topping 55.5 here in the rematch, especially with Tulane’s improved offense. Bet the OVER in this game Thursday.
|09-14-19||Texas v. Rice +32.5||48-13||Loss||-114||68 h 43 m||Show|
15* CFB Saturday Undervalued Underdog on Rice +32.5
The Texas Longhorns are in a massive flat spot here Saturday against Rice. Texas played in a huge game at home against LSU last week and came up short in a 38-45 shootout. Now they have their Big 12 opener on deck against Oklahoma State. I just can’t see them putting forth a very good effort here as they are deflated off that LSU loss, and they just want to get on to Oklahoma State and get out of here with a win against Rice. Asking them to cover 32.5 points in this flat spot is asking too much.
Texas allowed 573 total yards to a mediocre LSU offense last week. That came a week after they gave up 413 total yards against Louisiana Tech in a game that was much closer than the final score would indicate. That’s a LA Tech team that went on to only beat Grambling 20-14 as 30-point home favorites last week. It’s a young Texas defense that returned just three starters and lost each of its top three tacklers from a year ago.
I have been impressed with this Rice team thus far. Former Stanford offensive coordinator Mike Bloomgren has been trying to copy the blueprint at Stanford. He has recruited some big offensive linemen so the Owls can move people up front. They are trying to run the ball and shorten games, which gives them the best chance to be competitive despite the lack of skill talent.
Rice only lost 7-14 at Army as 23-point underdogs in their opener. That’s an Army team that went on to nearly upset Michigan, losing in overtime in the Big House last week. It’s also an Army team that won 11 games last year, so it just shows what Rice is capable of.
Last week, Rice lost 21-41 at home to Wake Forest as 20-point dogs to push the number. They showed they could throw the ball if needed, passing for 254 yards on 22-of-35 attempts. I know starting QB Wiley Green was injured in that game, but Harvard transfer Tom Stewart stepped in and did a great job. Stewart has been the better QB thus far, completing 63.3% of his 30 attempts compared to 52.6% on 19 attempts for Green. So I think the QB injury here is getting factored into the line too much.
The Owls are 4-0-1 ATS in their last five games overall. They have been undervalued because the betting public has wanted nothing to do with them. Rice is 4-1 ATS in its last five vs. Big 12 opponents. Texas will be more than satisfied with a victory by three or four touchdowns, and don’t be surprised if this game is much closer than anticipated with the sandwich spot for the Longhorns. Bet Rice Saturday.
|09-14-19||Florida State v. Virginia -7||24-31||Push||0||67 h 14 m||Show|
15* CFB Saturday No-Doubt Rout on Virginia -7
The Virginia Cavaliers are a team on the rise under fourth-year head coach Bronco Mendenhall. He has improved this team in each of his first three seasons, going from 2-10 in Year 1 to 6-7 in Year 2 and 8-5 in Year 3 last season. Now he has his best team yet and some stability in the program with how well he has recruited. The Cavaliers are a legit contender to win the Coastal this year.
Last year, the Cavaliers lost five games, but three were by 4 points or fewer. They were in every game they played. Now they have 14 starters back and one of the best defenses in the ACC with eight starters back from a unit that gave up just 20.1 points per game.
Offensively, the Cavaliers return stud quarterback Bryce Perkins, which will help make up for the fact that they only return six starters on that side of the ball. Perkins threw for 2,680 yards with a 25-to-9 TD/INT ratio, while also rushing for 923 yards and nine scores. The offensive line returns three starters and they have 17 offensive linemen on scholarship, so Mendenhall now has the numbers he wants up front.
Virginia is off to an impressive 2-0 SU & 2-0 ATS start this season. They beat Pittsburgh handily 30-14 on the road in Week 1 while limiting the Panthers to just 263 total yards. That’s a Pitt team that went on to beat a good Ohio team 20-10 at home last week. Then Virginia handled their business in a 52-17 win over William & Mary as 32.5-point favorites last week.
Florida State failed to make a bowl game last year at 5-7. Many thought they’d bounce back this season, but from what I’ve seen so far, they are just a bad, undisciplined football team. Florida State lost its opener 31-36 at home to Boise State as 6.5-point favorites. Then, the Seminoles were fortunate to escape with a 45-44 (OT) home victory over Louisiana-Monroe as 23-point favorites last week.
It’s clear the Seminoles have an awful defense. They are giving up 40.0 points and 520.0 yards per game this season. And that’s where the difference lies in this football game. Virginia has one of the best defenses in the country, giving up just 15.5 points and 228 yards per game through their first two games. These teams are similar offensively.
I also like the fact that this is a night game for Virginia, so it will be a rowdy atmosphere in Charlottesville. Fans are very excited about this team as they have a great chance to win the Coastal and get to the ACC Championship Game. Virginia has easily been the most impressive team in the Coastal thus far, and arguably the second-best team in the ACC behind Clemson.
I'm definitely starting to believe that Willie Taggart is an overrated head coach. If he can't make the talent work in Tallahassee, that's on him. And Taggart is 0-6 SU & 1-5 ATS as a road underdogs in his time between Oregon and Florida State with the five ATS losses coming by an average of 17 points per game.
Florida State is 0-7 ATS off a home game over the last two seasons. Virginia is 6-0 ATS in the first month of the season over the last two years. Mendenhall is 11-1 ATS off a non-conference game as the coach of Virginia. The Cavaliers are 8-0-1 ATS in their last nine games after scoring more than 40 points in their previous game. These four trends combine for a 32-1 system backing the Cavaliers. Take Virginia Saturday.
|09-14-19||Clemson v. Syracuse +28.5||41-6||Loss||-110||67 h 13 m||Show|
15* Clemson/Syracuse ACC ANNIHILATOR on Syracuse +28.5
I faded Clemson with success last week on Texas A&M. And I’m fading them again for many of the same reasons. Being the No. 1 team in the country and the defending national champs comes with expectations from oddsmakers and the betting public that are hard to live up to. The Tigers are lucky not to be 0-2 ATS as Georgia Tech fumbled going into the end zone, losing by 38 as 36.5-point dogs.
Last week, Clemson wasn’t all that dominant at home against Texas A&M. They won 24-10 as 15.5-point favorites and only outgained the Aggies by 100 yards. All the hype surrounding Trevor Lawrence may be getting to him. He has thrown two touchdowns against three interceptions and is only averaging 7.5 yards per attempt.
This is the perfect ‘buy low’ situation on Syracuse. Many thought Syracuse was the second-best team in the ACC coming into the season because they won 10 games last year. After beating Liberty 24-0, the Orange fell flat last week amidst the big expectations and lost 20-63 at Maryland. That was exactly the humbling they needed, and it was clearly a lookahead spot for them to this Clemson game, so you can understand the poor performance.
Syracuse is clearly better than they showed against Maryland last week. They returned 13 starters this year, including seven on defense and are better on that side of the ball than the 63 points they allowed to Maryland. Keep in mind they shut out Liberty the previous week. And offensively, Tommy DeVito now has two starts under his belt and should be much more comfortable moving forward. He has leading rusher Moe Neal and three of his top four receivers back from last year, so it’s only a matter of time before this Dino Babers offense takes off after scoring 40.2 points per game last year.
Syracuse has played Clemson as tough as anyone the last two years. They won 27-24 as 23-point underdogs in the Carrier Dome in 2017. Then they came back last year and led most the way at Clemson before giving up a late score to lose 23-27 as 24.5-point dogs. Imagine the disrespect they are feeling now as 28.5-point underdogs at home this year after taking Clemson to the wire each of the last two seasons. They will be playing with a chip on their shoulder this week. And it will be a great night time atmosphere with this game behind played at 7:30 PM EST inside the Carrier Dome.
Dabo Swinney is 4-12 ATS as a favorite of 21.5 to 31 points as the coach of Clemson. Te Tigers are 1-5 ATS in their last six September games. The Orange are 5-0 ATS in their last five games off a loss by more than 20 points. Syracuse is 6-1-1 ATS in its last eight September games. The Orange are 7-2 ATS in their last nine home games vs. a team with a winning record. Roll with Syracuse Saturday.
|09-14-19||Western Kentucky v. Louisville -10||Top||21-38||Win||100||64 h 44 m||Show|
20* CFB BLOWOUT GAME OF THE WEEK on Louisville -10
Louisville came into the season way undervalued. They went 2-10 last season and Bobby Petrino was let go before season’s end. Simply put, the Cardinals quit on Petrino. They lost their final nine games and were never really competitive. I have no doubt the talent level on that team was better than their 2-10 record. And keep in mind that Louisville had been to eight straight bowl games prior to last year. They had won 8 or more games in six straight seasons coming into 2018.
I loved the hiring of Scott Satterfield in the offseason. He came over from Appalachian State where he compiled a 51-24 record there. Fortunately for Satterfield, the cupboard wasn’t left bare. Louisville returned 16 starters in all. They should be one of the most improved defensive teams in the country with 10 starters back on that side of the ball.
So far, so good for Satterfield and company. I was very impressed with their 17-35 loss to Notre Dame as 18.5-point favorites in the opener. That’s a Notre Dame team that went 12-0 in the regular season last year and made the four-team playoff. And they played the Fighting Irish toe-to-toe, only getting outgained by 31 yards. The difference was the 3-to-1 turnover edge for the Irish.
Last week, Louisville took it to Eastern Kentucky 42-0 as 21-point favorites. They outgained Eastern Kentucky by 370 total yards and held them to just 172 yards of offense. It’s the type of team that Louisville would have struggled against last season. But this is clearly a revamped and revitalized Louisville squad under the leadership of Satterfield.
Western Kentucky is getting way too much respect for beating Florida International 20-14 last week. That’s an FIU team that lost 14-42 to Tulane in their opener. It’s clear that FIU was one of the most overrated teams in the country coming into the season.
I think the home loss to Central Arkansas 28-35 as 10-point favorites in the opener is a better sign of how good this Western Kentucky team is. Losing to an FCS opponent as a double-digit favorite is never a good sign. They gave up 404 passing yards to Central Arkansas in the loss.
Louisville is 16-4-1 ATS in its last 21 vs. Conference USA opponents. Western Kentucky is 4-11 ATS in its last 15 non-conference games. This spread is also low because Louisville only beat WKU 20-17 last year. But like I said, that was a team that quit on Petrino, and now they are ‘all in’ for Satterfield and playing up to their talent level. I expect this game to be over by halftime. Take Louisville Saturday.
|09-14-19||Air Force +5 v. Colorado||30-23||Win||100||61 h 44 m||Show|
15* CFB Saturday UPSET SHOCKER on Air Force +5
The Colorado Buffaloes are in a massive letdown spot this week. They came back from 17-0 down at halftime to beat Nebraska 34-31 in overtime last week. They have their Pac-12 opener on deck against Arizona State next week, making this a sandwich game for them.
Now the Buffaloes have to try and get ready for the Air Force triple-option in just one week’s time, which is very hard to do. And this is a Colorado defense that has been absolutely gashed this season. They have given up 487 yards per game and 6.5 yards per play. They have actually been outgained on the season despite their 2-0 start, and I think they’re overrated because of it.
Air Force is a team I’ve very high on coming into the year. The Falcons are coming off a 5-7 season, but they were much better than their record would indicate last year. Four of their losses came by 3, 3, 4 and 6 points. In fact, all seven of their losses came by 10 points or less, so they were competitive in every game they played. They can only have better luck in close games this season.
Air Force returns a whopping 15 starters, which is a ton for a service academy. It’s their most returning starters since 2014, when they went 10-3. This is easily the best team Air Force has had in years, and I have no doubt they will be one of the most improved teams in the country.
The Falcons are off to a flying start by handling Colgate 48-7 as 20.5-point favorites in their opener. They rushed for 423 yards and will be a force on the ground again with four returning starters along the offensive line. And they had a bye last week to get ready for Colorado, giving them a big edge in rest and preparation.
The Falcons are 20-6 ATS in their last 26 non-conference games, including 8-1 ATS in none-conference games overall the last three seasons. Colorado is 1-9 ATS after a game where 60 or more total points were scored over the last three seasons. The Buffaloes are 0-6 ATS in their last six home games vs. a team with a winning record. Colorado is 4-11-1 ATS in its last 16 games vs. a team with a winning record overall. Bet Air Force Saturday.
|09-14-19||Kansas State +8.5 v. Mississippi State||Top||31-24||Win||100||60 h 45 m||Show|
20* K-State/Mississippi State ESPN No-Brainer on Kansas State +8.5
Kansas State got a great hire to replace the legendary Bill Snyder this offseason. Chris Klieman won four FCS national titles in his five seasons at North Dakota State. And he stepped into a good situation at Kansas State with 14 returning starters.
The Wildcats are off to an impressive 2-0 SU & 2-0 ATS start this season. They beat Nicholls State by 35 as 20.5-point favorites. They beat Bowling Green 52-0 as 24.5-point favorites. They have covered the spread by a combined 42 points in their first two games.
The defense has been really impressive and allowed just 140 total yards to Bowling Green last week. That’s a Bowling Green offense that had 620 yards and 46 points in their opener. The Wildcats also brought back a veteran QB in Skyler Thompson, who has played well. And the running game has produced an average of 347 yards per game and 6 yards per carry thus far.
Kansas State wants revenge from a 31-10 home loss to Mississippi State last year. But that was a Mississippi State team that was way better than this 2019 version. I am way down on these Bulldogs and the UNDER 7.5 wins for them was one of my favorite win totals coming into the season.
I think the loss of Dan Mullen will be felt this season. Jim Moorhead no longer has Mullen’s recruits to rely on. The Bulldogs returned just 11 starters this season. The defense lost three first-round draft picks. And they lost their stud QB in Nick Fitzgerald on offense.
I have not been impressed at all by Mississippi State thus far despite their 2-0 start. The only beat Louisiana Lafayette by 10 as 18.5-point favorites in their opener. They beat Southern Miss by 23 as 16-point favorites last week, but that was a misleading final. They only outgained Lafayette by 67 yards and Southern Miss by 42 yards.
The Bulldogs even took advantage of a combined 8 turnovers forced by their defense, yet still weren’t impressive. Kansas State isn’t the type of team that beats themselves. The Bulldogs won’t be gifted those same turnovers by the Wildcats.
I think Mississippi State could be overlooking Kansas State with its SEC opener on deck next week. Conversely, Kansas State has a bye next week, so they’ll be all in especially since they are seeking revenge.
Plays on underdogs of 3.5 to 10 points (Kansas State) - after scoring 42 points or more in two straight games are 43-15 (74.1%) ATS over the last five seasons. Kansas State is 21-9-1 ATS in its last 31 road games against a team with a winning home record. Bet Kansas State Saturday.
|09-14-19||Maryland v. Temple +7.5||17-20||Win||100||60 h 44 m||Show|
15* CFB Saturday Non-Conference KNOCKOUT on Temple +7.5
Talk about an overreaction. Maryland has started 2-0 with two blowout wins over Howard (79-0) and Syracuse (63-20). Now they are ranked 24th in the country and getting a ton of hype. This is exactly the type of spot I like to fade teams in.
Temple didn’t play last week as they had a bye, giving them a full two weeks to prepare for Maryland. You know that they are going to be extra amped for this game hearing all the good things about Maryland in the media. And the Owls love being counted out as they have been one of the best money makers in college football over the last few years, especially in the underdog role.
New Temple head coach Rod Carey comes over from Northern Illinois. He won at least 8 games in five of his six seasons at NIU and three MAC titles. He brought over both his offensive and defensive coordinators from NIU, so there will be some stability here.
The cupboard clearly isn’t bare for Carey, either. Temple returned 14 starters from a team that went 8-5 last year. Their four losses during the regular season all came by 12 points or less, so they were competitive in every game. And one of those games included a 35-14 win at Maryland as 15-point underdogs. They outgained the Terrapins 429 to 195 in that beat down. So you can imagine how they feel about being 7-point dogs in the rematch.
Temple returns a lot of talent on both sides of the ball. They have seven starters back on offense from a unit that put up 34.7 points per game, including QB Anthony Russo and five linemen with starting experience. The defense also returns seven starters from a unit that allowed 27.1 points per game. Seven of the top 10 tacklers are back.
Temple took care of business 56-12 as 40-point favorites over Canisius in their opener. You would expect them to struggle a little in their first game with a new head coach, but that didn’t happen at all. They put up 695 yards on offense, including 507 passing yards as they weren’t afraid at all to let loose and air it out. Their defense gave up just 211 total yards, including 21 rushing on 26 attempts.
Stopping the run will be the key to stopping Maryland. The Terrapins have rushed for over 300 yards in each of their first two games, but those were against two bad defenses in Howard and Syracuse. Temple has been known for stopping the run and great linebackers. They have allowed 4.0 or fewer yards per carry in four of the past five seasons. I expect them to be great against the run again this season with five starters back in their front seven.
Plays on home underdogs of 3.5 to 10 points (Temple) - a team that had a winning record last season, in non-conference games are 74-33 (69.2%) ATS since 1992. It’s really time to ’sell high’ on Maryland this week.
The Owls are 38-18 ATS in their last 56 games overall. Temple is 6-0 ATS in its last six games after gaining 280 or more passing yards last game. Maryland is 6-14 ATS in its last 20 games vs. a team with a winning record. The Terrapins are 6-23 ATS in their last 29 games following a win, and 7-25 ATS in their last 32 games off an ATS win. Maryland is 2-10 ATS in its last 12 road games vs. a team with a winning home record. Roll with Temple Saturday.
|09-13-19||Washington State v. Houston +9||Top||31-24||Win||100||45 h 60 m||Show|
20* Washington State/Houston ESPN Late-Night BAILOUT on Houston +9
This is technically a neutral site game. However, it will be played in Houston at NRG Stadium, which is the home of the Texans. There’s no question the Cougars will have a home field advantage in this one.
It’s a Houston team I was high on coming into the season. They brought back eight starters on offense, including QB D’Eriq King, who accounted for 50 total touchdowns last year despite missing two games. They will never be out of any game with King running the show under first-year head coach Dana Holgorsen.
We saw that against Oklahoma in the opener as the Cougars got down by 25 points, but clawed back to get within 11 late in the fourth quarter. The Sooners tacked on a rushing TD from 21 yards out with 1:17 left to push the final margin back to 18 when they were just trying to run out the clock. That effort on the road against the Sooners shows shat Houston is capable of as Oklahoma is one of the best teams in the country.
Last week was clearly a flat spot for Houston and a sandwich game between Oklahoma and Washington State. It’s no surprise they came out flat and only beat Prairie View 37-17 as 36-point favorites. I think they are now undervalued because everyone is seeing that result and thinking that Houston isn’t very good. But human nature is the reason why they didn’t perform up to par in that game.
Now the Cougars will be ’sky high’ with Washington State coming to town. This is a Cougars team I’m way down on after a school record 11 wins last year. They are overvalued early in the season, especially after two blowout wins against a couple cupcakes to start the season.
They beat New Mexico State 58-7 as 33.5-point favorites and Northern Colorado 59-17 as 43-point favorites. New Mexico State is one of the worst teams in FBS and lost to Alabama 10-62 last week. Northern Colorado is one of the worst teams in FCS. They lost to San Jose State 35-18 in their opener, and San Jose State lost 16-34 at home to Tulsa last week.
The betting public is going to see those scores and automatically jump on Washington State. There’s clearly value with Houston because of it. Give Mike Leach props for a great season last year, but the schedule was very easy and gets a lot tougher this season. They also lost QB Gardner Minshew, who had a monster season after transferring from Eastern Washington.
I realize it has been basically plug and play at QB for Washington State. And the offense should be fine again, but the defense only returns six starters. They have allowed 336.0 yards per game to New Mexico State and Northern Colorado. Their defense was much better last year and that’s the biggest reason they won 11 games. They lost a lot of talent from that stop unit.
King and company should be able to score at will on them. Houston averaged 47.8 points and 541 yards per game in games in which King started last year. Now that he has two games under his belt in Holgorsen’s new offense, he should start to really shine after a somewhat slow start to the season. King has six total touchdowns (3 passing, 3 rushing) and only one interception thus far.
Plays on underdogs of 3.5 to 10 points (Houston) - a bad defensive team from last season that allowed 425 or more total yards per game, with eight or more offensive starters including their QB returning are 52-21 (71.2%) ATS since 1992.
Mike Leach is 0-7 ATS in road games after two consecutive games where his team forced three or more turnovers in all games he has coached. HIs teams have never covered in this situation. Bet Houston Friday.
|09-07-19||New Mexico State +55.5 v. Alabama||10-62||Win||100||46 h 38 m||Show|
15* CFB Saturday Non-Conference KNOCKOUT on New Mexico State +55.5
This game is all about fading Alabama in the big favorite role. Nick Saban is quicker to pull his starters than almost any other head coach in this situation. He wants to get his backups more playing time, and he doesn’t want to show too much, especially with their SEC opener on deck against South Carolina next week.
New Mexico State is not a good team, but they return 14 starters and are experienced. I think the fact they lost 7-58 to Washington State last week is pushing this spread up higher than it should be. Washington State threw the ball 49 times and only ran it 20 times. They were trying to get their passing game going with a new quarterback.
Alabama won’t be looking to throw the ball all over the yard. They will run it more than they pass it, which will keep the clock running and shorten the game, helping New Mexico State stay within this number. And I think NMSU’s offense was better than the 7 points showed last week as they had 317 total yards but committed three turnovers. Also, they held Washington State to 111 rushing yards on those 20 carries.
Saban is 3-11 ATS as a home favorite of 42.5 or more points as the coach of Alabama, including 0-4 ATS as a favorite of 50 or more points having never covered in this situation. These trends just show that he takes his foot off the gas all the time in this large favorite roles. He has respect for his opponents and doesn’t run up the score.
Plays against home favorites of 31.5 or more points (Alabama) - after outgaining its last opponent by 125 or more total yards against an opponent that was outgained by 125 or more total yards last game are 23-3 (88.5%) ATS over the last five seasons. We’ll ‘buy low’ on the Aggies after failing to cover against Washington State, and ‘sell high’ on the Crimson Tide after covering against Duke. Roll with New Mexico State Saturday.
|09-07-19||Central Michigan +35 v. Wisconsin||0-61||Loss||-104||45 h 18 m||Show|
15* CFB Saturday Undervalued Underdog on Central Michigan +35
The Wisconsin Badgers are coming off one of the most impressive wins of Week 1. They beat South Florida 49-0 as 10-point road favorites. Now it’s time to ’sell high’ on the Badgers, who come back as whopping 35-point favorites over Central Michigan this week.
While impressive, that win against South Florida I think has more to do with the direction of the Bulls than anything. Charlie Strong was a disaster in Texas and has been a disaster thus far at South Florida. This team lost their final six games last year once the competition got tougher after a 7-0 start. Wisconsin was simply able to maul them and continue USF’s downward spiral.
Central Michigan has been one of the best MAC programs throughout the years. But they are coming off a dreadful 1-11 season, so I think we are definitely ‘buying low’ on them to start the season. They had been bowl eligible in six straight seasons before bottoming out at 1-11 last year. There’s reason for optimism in Mt. Pleasant moving forward.
That’s because Central Michigan had one of the best hires of the offseason in Jim McElwain. He has been a winner everywhere he has gone, turning around Colorado State in his three years there before landing the Florida job. He has a 44-28 record as a head coach and is instantly one of the best coaches in the MAC now.
McElwain has always been an offensive guy, and he actually has some nice talent to work with in his eight returning starters. That doesn’t even count Tennessee transfer QB Quinten Dormady, who was a Top 20 recruit coming out of high school. Dormady won the job in camp and was great in Week 1.
Central Michigan beat Albany 38-21 as 13.5-point favorites int heir opener. This was an even bigger blowout than the score showed as they outgained Albany 529 to 244, or by 285 total yards. Dormady went 27-of-37 for 285 yards and three touchdowns in the win. The Chippewas rushed for 244 yards as a team as well.
Wisconsin just can’t seem to get over the injury bug that has plagued them the last few seasons. The Badgers have a ton of projected starters coming into the season that are out with injuries this week. They include NT Bryson Williams, S Scott Nelson, RT Logan Bruss and LB Chris Orr. That’s a lot of starters to be missing this early in the season for a team that returned just 12 starters and was projected to start eight sophomores.
Paul Chryst is 1-10 ATS after leading their previous game by 17 or more points at half as the coach of Wisconsin. The Badgers are 0-8 ATS in their last eight games following a win. Chryst is 3-11 ATS off a cover as a double-digit favorite as the coach of Wisconsin. The Chippewas are 12-4 ATS in their last 16 road games vs. a team with a winning record. Take Central Michigan Saturday.
|09-07-19||Nebraska -4 v. Colorado||Top||31-34||Loss||-109||45 h 9 m||Show|
20* Nebraska/Colorado FOX No-Brainer on Nebraska -4
The Nebraska hype in the offseason was definitely off the charts. And they failed to live up to it in Week 1 as they won just 35-21 as 35-point favorites against South Alabama. Now that the hype has cooled, I think it’s time to jump on Nebraska against Colorado this week as only 4-point favorites.
The comments coming from Nebraska’s locked room after the game were the type of comments I like to hear. Both head coach Scott Frost and QB Adrian Martinez were disappointed. Frost said that’s one of the worst offensive performances he’s ever been a part of, and Martinez said their performance was unacceptable.
I have no doubt the Huskers will put their best foot forward this week. Not just because they weren’t satisfied with their performance against South Alabama, but also because they want revenge on Colorado from a 28-33 home loss to the Buffaloes last year. That was a very misleading loss as the Huskers outgained the Buffaloes 565 to 395, but lost the turnover battle 3-0.
Colorado is getting a lot of respect now after beating Colorado State 52-31 as 11-point favorites in their opener. That was a misleading final too as the Buffaloes were outgained in the game and actually gave up a whopping 505 total yards to the Rams. But they won the turnover battle 4-0, which was the difference. And that’s a Colorado State team that has been trending in the wrong direction in recent years.
Colorado is a rebuilding team this year with a first-year head coach in Mel Tucker. They return just 11 starters. The Buffaloes do have a good offense with seven starters back, but their defense only has four starters back and should be one of the worst units in the Pac-12. That was on display last week as they gave up those 505 yards to Colorado State.
Even thought this is technically a home game for Colorado, it won’t feel like one. That’s because Nebraska fans travel almost as well as anyone, and it’s a short trip to Boulder. They will have nearly 50% of the fans there as I know for sure Colorado allotted at least 30% of the tickets for Nebraska fans. So this will be closer to a neutral site game, and Nebraska is much better than -4 against Colorado on a neutral.
Colorado is 0-9 ATS after a game where 60 or more points were scored over the last three seasons. It is losing by 11.0 points per game in this spot. The Buffaloes are 0-7 ATS after allowing 475 or more total yards in their previous game. They are losing by 10.8 points per game in this spot. We’ll buy low on the Huskers in after last week’s performance and in a revenge spot here. Bet Nebraska Saturday.
|09-07-19||Texas A&M +17.5 v. Clemson||10-24||Win||100||45 h 8 m||Show|
15* Texas A&M/Clemson ABC ANNIHILATOR on Texas A&M +17.5
Being the No. 1 team in the country coming off a national championship comes with a heavy price tag when it comes to betting. That’s the case for the Clemson Tigers, who are going to have inflated spreads week in and week out moving forward. It’s going to make it very difficult for them to cover consistently knowing that the betting public will be quick to back them at any numbers, forcing oddsmakers to inflate their spreads.
Clemson was fortunate to cover as 36.5-point favorites in a 52-14 win over Georgia Tech last week. Georgia Tech was putting in a new system under a new coach going away from the triple-option from year’s past, so this was always going to be a tough test for them. And Georgia Tech fumbled on the 1-yard line going into the end zone for a touchback, and their four turnovers overall were the difference in them covering or not.
Texas A&M will be the best team that Clemson faces during the regular season, and it’s not even close. I think the Aggies are fully capable of hanging with Clemson, and they proved that last year. Clemson only won 28-26 as 11.5-point road favorites at Texas A&M. I’d argue the Aggies deserved to win that game as they outgained the Tigers by 88 yards and racked up 501 total yards in the loss.
Jimbo Fisher is one of my favorite head coaches. He won a National Championship at Florida State and won 10-plus games in five of his final six seasons. Then he came to Texas A&M and in his first year went 9-4 for their first season of nine-plus since since 2013. And Fisher is killing it in recruiting, which will keep the Aggies as an SEC West contender for years to come.
Only 11 starters are back for Texas A&M, but more of his recruits will be seeing playing time this year, which makes them more veteran than that 11 number shows. And the offense is loaded with seven returning starters, including stud QB Kellen Mond, who accounted for 31 touchdowns last year. He accounted for four touchdowns in their 41-7 win over Texas State last week as 34-point favorites.
Clemson also has a loaded offense with eight starters back, but they have some of the same problems as Texas A&M on defense. Both squads return just four starters on defense. The Tigers lose their entire defensive line from last year to the NFL. I know they have talented replacements, but I think Mond can have more success just like he had last year against their defense. Mond threw for 430 yards and three touchdowns against Clemson last year.
Texas A&M is 12-1 ATS after playing a home game over the last three seasons. The Aggies are 10-1 ATS in their last 11 non-conference games. The Tigers are 2-5 ATS in their last seven non-conference games. Texas A&M is 21-6-1 ATS in its last 28 September games.
Plays on road teams (Texas A&M) - after a game where they forced four or more turnovers against an opponent after a game where they committed three or more turnovers are 40-13 (75.5%) ATS over the last five seasons. Take Texas A&M Saturday.
|09-07-19||Rutgers +20.5 v. Iowa||Top||0-30||Loss||-106||66 h 46 m||Show|
20* Big Ten GAME OF THE WEEK on Rutgers +20.5
Rutgers came into the season undervalued after going 1-11 last year. I backed Rutgers over UMass in Week 1 and they delivered with a 48-21 victory as 17-point favorites. After a slow start, they showed some great resiliency and scored the final 41 points of the game.
This is easily Chris Ash’s best team yet in his 4 years here. The offense looks to be greatly improved after putting up 554 yards on UMass. Texas Tech transfer McLane Carter threw for 340 yards in the win, and the Scarlet Knights may finally have a quarterback. They have always had a competitive defense under Ash, which helps keep them in ball games.
Rutgers is now 6-0 ATS in its last six games overall dating back to last season. They covered in each of their final five games of the season against Northwestern, Wisconsin, Michigan, Penn State and Michigan State last year. They nearly upset Northwestern losing by just 3 as 20-point dogs. They also lost by only 4 as 24-point dogs at Michigan State.
The Iowa Hawkeyes aren’t a team built to cover these big spreads. They run a ball control offense and a bend but don’t break defense. It’s tough for them to score enough points to cover these lofty margins. They didn’t cover as 25-point favorites against Miami Ohio last week. And they even scored 2 touchdowns in the final 6 minutes of that game to turn a 10-point game into a 24-point win.
Iowa has a huge game on deck next week against Iowa State. They could easily be looking ahead to that Top 25 showdown and overlooking Rutgers. Either way, I think Rutgers is talented enough to stay within 3 touchdowns of the Hawkeyes. Kirk Ferentz is 19-31 ATS as a favorite of 10.5 to 21 points as the coach of Iowa.
Plays on road underdogs (Rutgers) - after gaining 475 or more total yards in their previous game, with eight or more offensive starters including their QB returning are 124-69 (64.2%) ATS over the last five seasons. Bet Rutgers Saturday.
|09-06-19||Marshall +12.5 v. Boise State||Top||7-14||Win||100||27 h 40 m||Show|
20* Marshall/Boise State ESPN 2 No-Brainer on Marshall +12.5
The Marshall Thundering Herd have been a power in Conference USA since Doc Holliday has been there. He enters his 10th season this year having won eight or more games in five of the last six years overall. Coming off a 9-4 season last year, the Thundering Herd return 14 starters and are among the favorites to win C-USA.
Marshall gave up just 21.9 points per game last year and brought back six of its top nine tacklers from that unit. The stop unit will be good again, and this figures to be one of Marshall’s best offenses in years with eight starters back, including QB Isaiah Green.
That Marshall offense impressed in Week 1 by beating VMI 56-17. It’s worth noting it was a 49-7 game heading into the 4th quarter before the Thundering Herd called off the dogs. Green threw for 238 yards and four touchdowns while also rushing for 46 yards on eight carries in the win.
Boise State used a lot of energy coming back from 31-13 down at Florida State to win 36-31 in the heat and humidity last week. Now the Broncos are on a short week here and probably won’t have a ton left in the tank. It’s also a letdown spot after that huge road win in Tallahassee.
The blue turf in Boise State isn’t the advantage it used to be. The Broncos have consistently been overvalued at home. They are just 7-16 ATS in their last 23 home games. Brian Harsin is 0-7 ATS as a home favorite of 10.5 to 14 points as the coach of Boise State. Harsin is also 1-9 ATS after gaining 375 or more passing yards last game as the coach of the Broncos.
Plays against home favorites (Boise State) - after allowing 100 or less rushing yards last game against an opponent that outrushed its last opponent by 200 or more yards are 44-16 (73.3%) ATS over the last five seasons. Bet Marshall Friday.
|09-02-19||Notre Dame v. Louisville +18.5||35-17||Win||100||102 h 24 m||Show|
15* Notre Dame/Louisville ESPN ANNIHILATOR on Louisville +18.5
This is a great opportunity to buy low on Louisville and sell high on Notre Dame in Week 1. Louisville is coming off a disastrous 2-10 season last year that came out of nowhere. Meanwhile, Notre Dame went 12-1 and made the four-team playoff, so expectations are way high on them now.
Simply put, players quit on head coach Bobby Petrino last year. They lost their final nine games and rarely were competitive. Petrino was fired with two games left. I have no doubt the talent level on that team was better than their 2-10 record, and now new head coach Scott Satterfield should get the most out of these players.
Satterfield comes over from Appalachian State where he posted a 51-24 record in his six years there. Fortunately for Satterfield, the cupboard isn’t bare as the Cardinals return 16 starters. This should be one of the most improved defenses in the country with 10 starters back on defense.
Offensively, the Cardinals return six starters, including starting QB Jawon Pass. He has had a lot of success in the simplified offense in the offseason and is ready to take this offense to the next level. He has stated that he wants to prove to himself and his teammates that they are better than they showed last year, and now it’s time to prove it on the field in Week 1.
Notre Dame has 13 starters back and is certainly talented, but they have rarely been this heavy of a road favorite under Brian Kelly. They will have to replace their top two playmakers in RB Dexter Williams and WR Miles Boykin. Defensively, the Fighting Irish lose three of their top five tacklers from last year and three NFL draft picks.
Louisville had been to a bowl game in eight straight seasons prior to going 2-10 last year. They had also won 8 or more games in six straight seasons coming into 2018. I just don’t think this program will stay down for long, especially with a coach the caliber of Satterfield running the show. The Cardinals will give the Fighting Irish more than they bargained for in Week 1. Roll with Louisville Monday.
|09-01-19||Houston v. Oklahoma UNDER 80||31-49||Push||0||78 h 55 m||Show|
15* Houston/Oklahoma ABC No-Brainer on UNDER 80
This UNDER bet has a lot to do with Oklahoma. After having a dominant offense over the last two years with Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray running the show, the Sooners are sure to take a big step back offensively this year with Alabama transfer Jalen Hurts. He is just as good of a runner or better than both those guys, but he is nowhere near the passer that they were.
Not to mention, only four starters return on offense. The Sooners lose leading receiver Marquise Brown and his 1,318 yards and 10 touchdowns to the NFL. Four NFL draft picks are gone from an offensive line that won the Joe Moore Award after being named the nation’s top O-Line. They have three sophomore starters and just 36 career starts returning up front.
I expect Oklahoma to have one of the most improved defenses in the country after a subpar season that saw them allow 33.3 points and 454 yards per game. They fired Mike Stoops midseason and now have replaced him with Alex Grinch, who was the co-defensive coordinator at Ohio State last year. Grinch has a ton of talent and experience to work with as the Sooners return eight starters and eight of their top nine tacklers.
Houston has some talent on offense with QB D’Eriq King and all of his top playmakers back. But there will be some growing pains early under new head coach Dana Holgorsen and his new scheme. His scheme is much more complex than the one they ran last year, and it won’t be hitting on all cylinders in Week 1 against this tough Oklahoma defense.
Houston was decimated by injuries lsat year down the stretch and the numbers took a hit because of it. I know that they only have four starters back on defense this year, but this unit can only stay healthier. And they are more experienced than that considering several players were forced into action due to the injuries. Houston is projected to start nine upperclassmen, which shows the experience.
Simply put, I believe this total has been inflated based on what these teams did last year. The Sooners were 9-4 to the OVER while the Cougars were 10-4 to the OVER last year. Oddsmakers have been forced to adjust accordingly, and this 80-point total is simply too high now.
Plays on the UNDER on all teams where the total is 63 or higher (Houston) - in non-conference D1 games, with an experienced QB returning as a starter, in the first two weeks of the season are 37-12 (75.5%) since 1992. The UNDER is 4-1 in Cougars last five vs. Big 12 opponents. Take the UNDER in this game Sunday.
|08-31-19||Louisiana Tech +20.5 v. Texas||14-45||Loss||-102||55 h 31 m||Show|
15* CFB Saturday Undervalued Underdog on Louisiana Tech +20.5
The Louisiana Tech Bulldogs have been as consistent as they come under 7th-year head coach Skip Holtz. They have won anywhere from 7 to 9 games over the last five seasons since going just 4-8 in his first year on the job. It’s a team that has proven they can play with the big boys throughout the years, and they are also a contender to win Conference USA.
The Bulldogs gave up just 23.0 points per game on defense last year and should be good again on that side of the ball with five of their top eight tacklers back. The improvements should come on offense after averaging just 24.7 points pre game last year. That was a real down season for a Holtz offense because they had scored 30-plus points per game in the four seasons prior. Look for them to get back up above that number this season.
The offense returns six starters and almost all the top playmakers. QB J’Mar Smith is back after throwing for 3,160 yards and 15 touchdowns while also rushing for three more. Leading receiver Adrian Hardy (75 receptions, 1,145 yards, 6 TD) is also back, as is leading rusher Jaqwis Dancy (667 yards, 9 TD). The offensive line returns three starters and 78 career starts and should stay healthier than last year. This is the 25th-most experienced team in the country.
I just don’t understand all the hype for the Texas Longhorns this year. They are getting a lot of respect for going 10-4 last year and beating Georgia in the bowl. That was a Georgia team that didn’t want to be there after losing to Alabama in the SEC Championship Game that cost them a spot in the four-team playoff. And keep in mind seven of Texas’ 10 wins last year came by 7 points or fewer, so they were fortunate in close games. They only won one game by 20-plus points all season.
Now Texas is one of the least-experienced teams in the country with just eight starters back. The defense returns just three starters and loses seven of their top 10 tacklers from a year ago. This will probably be Tom Herman’s worst defense since he’s been here. The offense returns just five starters, loses its leading rusher and receiver, and just two starters are back on the offensive line. Sam Ehlinger is a nice talent, but he will have his hands full early in the season getting in sync with his O-Line and skill players.
This is definitely a lookahead spot for Texas. They have a massive game with LSU on deck next week at home. They could easily be overlooking Louisiana Tech. And we’ve seen the Longhorns struggle in these early season games against non-conference teams recently. They’ve been upset by Maryland as 17 and 13-point favorites each of the last two years. And they barely beat Tulsa 28-21 at home as 22-point favorites last year.
Louisiana Tech is 7-1 ATS as a dog of 20-plus points over the last 10 yards. Skip Holtz is 7-2 ATS as a dog of 20-plus points in his career as a head coach. Holtz is 27-14 ATS in road games as the coach of Louisiana Tech, including 14-4-1 ATS as a road dog over the past five years. Herman is just 6-15-1 ATS as a home favorite. The Bulldogs are 38-18 ATS in their last 56 road games overall. Roll with Louisiana Tech Saturday.
|08-31-19||Virginia -2.5 v. Pittsburgh||Top||30-14||Win||100||54 h 56 m||Show|
20* ACC GAME OF THE WEEK on Virginia -2.5
The Virginia Cavaliers are a team on the rise under fourth-year head coach Bronco Mendenhall. He has improved this team in each of his first three seasons, going from 2-10 in Year 1 to 6-7 in Year 2 and 8-5 in Year 3 last season. Now he has his best team yet and some stability in the program with how well he has recruited. The Cavaliers are a legit contender to win the Coastal this year.
Last year, the Cavaliers lost five games, but three were by 4 points or fewer. They were in every game they played. Now they have 14 starters back and one of the best defenses in the ACC with eight starters back from a unit that gave up just 20.1 points per game.
Offensively, the Cavaliers return stud quarterback Bryce Perkins, which will help make up for the fact that they only return six starters on that side of the ball. Perkins threw for 2,680 yards with a 25-to-9 TD/INT ratio, while also rushing for 923 yards and nine scores. The offensive line returns three starters and they have 17 offensive linemen on scholarship, so Mendenhall now has the numbers he wants up front.
Pittsburgh came out of nowhere to win the Coastal last year. They did so despite finishing with just a 7-7 record, and they clearly weren’t the best team in the Coastal. Now the Panthers have just 101 starters back this year and I expect them to be one of the worst teams in the division.
The losses on offense are huge as they return just five starters and lose two 1,000-yard backs in Quadree Ollison (1,213 yards, 11 TD) and Darrin Hall (1,144 yards, 10 TD). They rushed for 228 yards per game last year, but only passed for 142 per game. So now they are going to have to throw the ball more with Kenny Pickett, who only completed 58.1% of his passes last year and just isn’t that good. Only one starter returns on the offensive line and just 37 career starts. Pickett will struggle once again this season, especially in Week 1 against one of the best defenses in the country.
Pittsburgh had just a mediocre defense last year that gave up 27.8 points and 388 yards per game. After having nine starters back on that unit, the Panthers now only have five starters back on defense. That was supposed to be six, but then their best defender in DE Rashad Weaver (47 tackles, 6.5 sacks, 14 TFL) suffered a season-ending ACL injury in fall camp. So they now lose four of their top six tacklers and this unit won’t be better than last year.
Virginia wants revenge from a 13-23 home loss to Pitt as 7-point favorites that ultimately cost them the Coastal. I think the Cavaliers come into the season with a chip on their shoulder, while Pitt is still feeling fat and happy after winning the division. The Cavaliers are 9-2 ATS in their last 11 Saturday games. The road team is 3-1-1 ATS in the last five meetings. The favorite is 6-2-1 ATS in the last nine meetings. Take Virginia Saturday.
|08-31-19||Boise State v. Florida State -5.5||Top||36-31||Loss||-110||46 h 26 m||Show|
20* CFB Saturday No-Doubt Rout on Florida State -5.5
This game has been moved from Jacksonville to Tallahassee due to the pending hurricane, so it will be a home game for the Seminoles. It’s a Florida State team I’m buying low on early in the season.
The Seminoles went 5-7 last year for their first losing season since 1976. They had won 10-plus games in 5 straight years prior to last season. It was a clear rebuilding year for first-year head coach Willie Taggart. But unlike most programs, it only takes one year to rebuild Florida State because they recruit so much talent.
I trust Taggart because he has been a winner everywhere he has gone. And I think he rights the ship this year with 16 returning starters and a Top 10 recruiting class. This team will be playing with a chip on their shoulder early. The hire of offensive coordinator Kendall Briles was one of the best hires in the country.
Briles guided Houston to 44 points per game & 513 yards per game last year. In 2017, he was in charge of a Florida Atlantic offense that put up over 40 points pre game and nearly 500 yards per game while winning 11 games. We saw how much their offense struggled without him last year. And Briles oversaw a Baylor offense that averaged over 40 points per game and 500 yards per game in his two seasons as coordinator in 2015-16.
This will be one of the most improved offenses in the country with eight starters back. Sophomore James Blackman has been named quarterback and I like that move over Wisconsin transfer Alex Hornibrook. The offensive line was a mess last year, but it won’t be this year. And the defense should also be vastly improved with eight starters back.
Boise State has 13 starters back. They are probably the class of the Mountain West this season, but that’s not saying much. The biggest concern is losing a 4-year starter at quarterback in Brett Rypien who leaves as the school’s 2nd-leading passer. Hank Bachmeier is a true freshman who will be making his first start. He’s talented, but I can’t foresee his first start going well against an opponent the caliber of Florida State. That’s especially the case the top 2 receivers and leading rusher Alex Mattison also gone from last year’s team.
In recent years we’ve seen Boise State struggle in these early non-conference games. They lost by 22 to Ole Miss, by 19 to Virginia and by 23 to Oklahoma State all within the last 5 years. This is easily one of the toughest non-conference games they’ve ever faced. Florida State has the talent edge and it’s really not even close. I expect Taggart to get the most out of that talent starting in Week 1. Bet Florida State Saturday.
|08-30-19||UMass v. Rutgers -15||Top||21-48||Win||100||48 h 33 m||Show|
20* CFB Friday Non-Conference KNOCKOUT on Rutgers -15
Rutgers enters the 2019 season with the nation's longest losing streak at 11 games. The betting public wants nothing to do with this team, and I think we are getting them cheap in Week 1 as a result. They should absolutely crush UMass in their home opener Friday night.
Rutgers decided to stick with Chris Ash after their 1-11 season. I think it was a good move to keep some chemistry here and now Ash has easily his best team yet. And Rutgers wasn’t as bad as their 1-11 record last year either as they nearly beat both Northwestern and Michigan State late in the year. They lost 15-18 to Northwestern as 20-point dogs and 10-14 at Michigan State as 24-point dogs.
We saw last year just how underrated this team was down the stretch as Rutgers went 5-0 ATS in its final five games overall while covering against Northwestern, Wisconsin, Michigan, Penn State and Michigan State. Four of those five games were competitive and decided by two touchdowns or less, which is impressive against that gauntlet.
I remember taking Rutgers in their opener last year and they rolled to a 35-7 victory as nearly identical 16-point favorites against Texas State. UMass is a team that is similar to Texas State talent wise as the Bobcats were one of the worst teams in the country, and this year the Minutemen are the worst team in the country according to Phil Steele, and I certainly agree.
UMass only returns eight starters this season and is the single least-experienced team in the country this year. They went 4-8 last season and head coach Mark Whipple stepped down. In comes Walt Bell, who was the offensive coordinator at Florida State last year in one of the worst offensive seasons in history for the Seminoles. Whipple certainly left the cupboard very bare here at UMass.
The Minutemen will certainly have one of the worst defenses in the country, so even a team like Rutgers should be able to score at will on them. The Minutemen gave up 42.9 points and 485 yards per game last year. Now they return just three starters on defense and are extremely inexperienced. They lose their leader in Bryton Barr (147 tackles, 10.5 TFL), who had 75 more tackles than their next leading returning tackler. This defense could be even worse in 2019.
The losses are massive on offense as well. Only five starters return, and they lose all of their top playmakers. UMass loses QB Andrew Ford, who was their starter before going down with injury. They also lost QB Ross Comes, who had a 14-to-3 TD/INT ratio in Ford’s absence. Also gone is leading rusher Marquise Young as their top returning RB rushed for only 139 yards last year. And last but certainly not least, stud WR Andy Isabella (102 receptions, 1,698 yards, 13 TD last year) is now in the NFL.
Rutgers has had a solid defense the last two years, but it’s the offense that has held them back. They were -14 in turnovers last year and gave the ball away too much. But with eight starters back on offense, this can only be one of the most improved units in the country. Ash hasn’t named a starting QB yet, but his team knows who it will be, and that’s all that matters. Sophomore Artur Sitkowski had a forgettable freshman campaign with 18 interceptions. So Texas Tech transfer McClane Carter and BC transfer Johnny Langan are now here to push him. Whoever is under center will have no problem moving the ball against his soft UMass defense.
Ash has been a double-digit favorite twice the last two years. He has covered in those games by an average of 17.5 points per game. UMass is 3-12 ATS in its last 15 games during the first two weeks of a season. The Minutemen are 8-20 ATS in their last 28 games as a dog of 10.5 to 21 points. The Scarlet Knights are 5-0 ATS in their last five vs. Independents. Rutgers is 5-0 ATS in its last five games overall. The Minutemen are 0-4 ATS in their last four vs. Big Ten opponents. Bet Rutgers Friday.
|08-29-19||Florida International v. Tulane -2||Top||14-42||Win||100||50 h 20 m||Show|
20* CFB Thursday No-Doubt Rout on Tulane -2
The Tulane Green Wave made their first bowl games since 2013 last year and capitalized with a 41-24 win over Louisiana in the Cure Bowl. Willie Fritz is one of the most underrated coaches in the country with what he is doing down in New Orleans.
Fritz has gone from 4 to 5 to 7 wins in his first three seasons on the job. And now he enters Year 4 with his best team yet. And I love the fact that Fritz realizes this triple-option offense will only carry him so far, so he brought in a new coordinator this year in Will Hall. He comes over from Memphis and will be running an up-tempo offense that Florida International will not be prepared for.
The Green Wave return all of their best playmakers on offense for Hall to work with. QB Justin McMillian is back and is a dual-threat guy. The top two rushers are back in Darius Bradwell (1,134 yards, 11 TD) and Corey Dauphine (785 yards, 7 TD), as is leading receiver Darnell Mooney (48 receptions, 993 yards, 8 TD).
I’m also very excited about a defense that returns eight starters and will be the best stop unit that Fritz has had at Tulane. The Green Wave only had five starters back last year and allowed a respectable 27.5 points per game. They are loaded up front along the defensive line with all of their starters back, including Patrick Johnson (49 tackles, 10.5 sacks).
Florida International has exceeded expectations in the first two seasons under Butch Davis. They have gone 8-5 and 9-4 the last two years and have come very close to winning a C-USA title. And they have 16 starters back this year and will be solid again, but I just think they’re getting too much respect early in the season.
FIU feasted on an easy schedule last year as their schedule ranked 123rd in the country. Tulane played the 79th toughest schedule. Conference USA in general is one of the weakest conferences in the country, while the AAC is one of the most underrated, which teams like UCF and Cincinnati have proven in recent years.
FIU only beat two teams that made bowl games last year in Middle Tennessee and Toledo, and they won both those games by a field goal. Five of Tulane’s six losses last year came against both teams, and three of them were by a touchdown or less. Four of them were on the road, while the other two at home came in overtime to Wake Forest and by 4 to SMU.
I think the biggest matchup here that is going to go in our favor is FIU’s inexperienced offensive line up against Tulane’s dominant defensive line, which is the best in the AAC. FIU only gave up 8 sacks last year, while Tulane had 41 sacks as a team. But FIU loses three starters along the offensive line and will be tested like they haven’t been yet.
Not only will the Green Wave control the line of scrimmage on defense, they’ll also control it on offense. They rushed for 218 yards per game and 4.7 per carry last season and will be potent on the ground again. FIU’s weakness last year was up front as they allowed 192 rushing yards per game and 4.9 per carry.
Tulane is 6-0 ATS in home games in the first half of the season over the last three seasons. It is winning by 17.0 points per game in this spot. Fritz is 6-0 ATS in the first two weeks of the season as the coach of Tulane. The Green Wave are 12-5 ATS in their last 17 vs. C-USA opponents, while the Golden Panthers are 2-5 ATS in their last seven vs. AAC foes. Bet Tulane Thursday.
|08-24-19||Arizona v. Hawaii +11||Top||38-45||Win||100||98 h 6 m||Show|
20* Arizona/Hawaii 2019 CFB Season Opener on Hawaii +11
It’s an exciting time of year with college football starting back up on August 24th. And I’m expecting we could have a huge upset right out of the gates here as Hawaii is more than capable of hanging toe-to-toe with Arizona in the opener. I’ll take the whopping 11 points for some insurance, though.
Hawaii OVER 5.5 is one of my favorite season win total bets this year. There’s several reasons why I’m high on this team. They return a whopping 18 starters in Year 4 under head coach Nick Rolovic, and this is easily his best team yet. That’s saying a lot after the Rainbow Warriors went 8-6 last season.
QB Cole McDonald was one of the best quarterbacks in the country that not many people heard about. He threw for 3,875 yards with a 36-to-10 TD/INT ratio, while also rushing for 359 yards and four scores. Most impressively, he put up those numbers despite missing two starts, and played through a torn ligament in his knee for much of the year.
Now McDonald is back healthy and heading an offense that returns nine starters after returning just three last year. This is a much more veteran unit that returns all 5 O-Line starters and adds in an Arizona transfer and two JUCO’s who redshirted last year. McDonald has two stud receivers in Cedric Byrd and JoJo Ward, who combined for 130 receptions, 1,835 yards and 18 touchdowns last year.
Defensively the Rainbow Warriors should be greatly improved. They gave up 35.1 points and 440 yards per game last season with just five returning starters. Now they have nine starters back on defense, including each of their top three tacklers from a year ago. With how good the offense is going to be, the defense just needs to be average for this team to win its share of games.
Arizona UNDER 6.5 is one of my favorite win total bets as well, so this is an easy choice here. The Wildcats went just 5-7 in Kevin Sumlin’s first season on the job after he was oustered from Texas A&M. Sumlin has always been able to recruit decently, but he’s just obviously not a very good head coach.
You’re going to hear a lot about Arizona QB Khalil Tate once again this season. He was among the Heisman favorites last year, but injuries hampered him last year and he hardly used his dual-threat ability, only rushing for 224 yards and two touchdowns. He had to become a pocket passer, which he’s clearly not as he completed just 56.3% of his passes last year. I think he’s one of the most overrated players in college football, and he’ll once again be protected by the play calling because he means to much to their team, so he won’t run that much.
Making matters worse for Tate is that each of his top four receivers from last year are now gone. The Wildcats are expected to start a pair of freshmen at receiver, and chemistry and communication will be an issue in Game 1. I think their offense will be fine, but it’s no more potent than what Hawaii will put on the field with McDonald and company.
Defensively, the Wildcats are no better than Hawaii, either. They gave up 32.6 points per game and 432 yards per game last season despite having eight returning starters. They also have eight starters back this season on D, so the improvements can’t be great. This is one of the worst defenses in the Pac-12 and the talent level just isn’t there to make much progress.
Last year, Arizona lost at home to BYU 23-28 as 10-point favorites. They also lost at Houston 18-45 as 3-point underdogs. The year before they lost at home to Houston 16-19. And the year before that, they lost at home to BYU 16-18. They have obviously been vulnerable early in the season in non-conference play, and I think that’s the case here against a Hawaii team that is one of the most underrated in the country.
Last year, Hawaii went 4-1 in non-conference play en route to a 6-1 start. They upset Colorado State as 16-point road dogs, upset Navy as 11-point home dogs, and beat both Rice and Duquesne handily. Their only loss in the non-conference was at Army 21-28, and that was a terrible body clock game that started at 9:00 AM for them. They hung right with an Army team for four quarters that won a school-record 11 games last year.
Hawaii is notoriously underrated to start each season, going 26-11 ATS in the first two weeks of the season since 1992. Arizona is 12-27 ATS in its last 39 games as a favorite of 10.5 to 21 points. The Wildcats are just 4-13 SU & 4-13 ATS in all games played away from home the last three years. Arizona is 5-16 ATS in its last 21 true road games. The Rainbow Warriors are 8-2 ATS in their last 10 vs. Pac-12 opponents. Bet Hawaii Saturday.
|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.