Thursday Service Plays

Thursday Service Plays

CTO

10* ARIZONA STATE over Texas

ARIZONA STATE 38 - Texas 30

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Mighty ! Quinn

Another loser last night
2 - 5 in bowls

Texas - 2 1/2

9 - 28 last 37  big_smile

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Andy Iskoe

4* Arizona State over Texas

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Vegas Hotsheet
0-2 last night

403 Texas 38
404 Arizona 20

TEXAS -2½

FREE PICK: UNDER 62

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Wild Bill

Arizona State +2 (3 units)

Sun Devils primed to win straight up vs banged up Horns

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Erock Money

Arizona St (+2.5) v. Texas

l love the Sun Devils in this game. Texas had a terrible season on and off the field and don't expect them to be focused on this matchup. Arizona St. will have the crowd and play strong under legendary coach Erickson.

Pick: Arizona St. by 4

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THE SPORTS MEMO

Arizona State vs. Texas -2 O/U 61 Recommendation: Over

The PAC-10 has the worst bowl affiliations of any major conference.The second, third and fourth place teams from the Big Ten all play on New Year’s Day in desirable locations: Tampa Bay, Orlando and Pasadena. The fifth team from the SEC, Arkansas, plays in the Cotton Bowl on New Year’s Day. But in the PAC-10, the second place team plays in the Holiday Bowl on a Thursday Night just after Christmas in December. There’s no question that Arizona State, as a team, is extremely disappointed in this bid. The Sun Devils were penalized for the Fiesta Bowl’s location in Tempe, otherwise they would likely have earned a BCS Bowl bid in their home city. But economic concerns (tourists spend more local dollars than residents) forced the Fiesta Bowl to look elsewhere, allowing the Rose Bowl to pick Illinois as an at-large team, leaving Dennis Erickson’s squad in San Diego over the holidays. San Diego certainly isn’t a bad place to be in late December, but it’s certainly not an exotic or enticing location for a PAC-10 school. That’s just one of the reasons why the Holiday Bowl has been an underdog bettor’s dream over the last decade. Qualcomm Stadium seems to be a place where favorites come to lose. The favorite in this bowl is just 1-8 ATS in its nine-year existence, with five favorites losing outright and three more winning in tight fashion. Cal became the first favorite ever to cover the spread in this bowl last year, whipping Texas A&M 45-10. If Arizona State overcomes the disappointment of their BCS Bowl snub and comes to play, they are surely the better of these two teams, capable of winning by margin. The Sun Devils thrived on adversity all year, rallying back repeatedly from early deficits. Quarterback Rudy Carpenter thrived under Erickson’s tutelage, completing 63% of his passes with a 23-to-8 TD-to-INT ratio while throwing for more than 3,000 yards. Leading rusher Keegan Herring struggled down the stretch after his counterpart, Ryan Torain, was lost with a season ending injury, but he still averaged just shy of 5.5 yards per carry. And we’d be remiss if we failed to mention frosh kicker Thomas Weber, who converted on 22 of his 23 field goal tries, including a perfect six-for-six from outside 40 yards. Weber’s foot is a major reason why Arizona State averaged more than 30 points per game in PAC-10 play this year. And with a defense that allowed more than 20 points only three times all season, Arizona State didn’t blow a single lead all season, they were simply outplayed in both of their losses (USC and Oregon). Texas wasn’t very good this year, right from the start. They were resilient, rallying from behind to earn key late season wins against Nebraska and Oklahoma State on consecutive weeks, but their defense really fell apart down the stretch, particularly against the pass. The Longhorns allowed more than 1,500 passing yards in their final four games, giving up more than nine yards per pass attempt during that span. Quarterback Colt McCoy is certainly capable of stellar big game performances, and this bowl has a history of wild shootouts. Expect another wild game this year.

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NORTHCOAST POWERSWEEPS ( 6-1 SO FAR )  3-1 SIDES/ 3-0 TOTALS

ARIZONA ST (10-2) TEXAS (9-3)

This will be the 1st meeting between these programs. Texas is making a bowl trip for the 10th straight year (23-21-2 all-time). Longhorns are 1-2 SU & 0-3 ATS in the Holiday Bowl & are 0-5 ATS S/’95 in non-NYD bowls. Arizona St (12-10-1 all-time) is 0-2 SU, but 2-0 ATS in the Holiday Bowl (lost 27-4, +18’ in last trip here vs #6 K-St). Sun Devil HC Erickson is 5-5 in bowls (4-6 ATS) and this is the 4th different team he has guided to the post season. Horns’ HC Brown is 9-6 SU & 6-9 ATS (3-6 ATS w/UT) in bowls. ASU & UT are both disappointed not to be playing on NYD. ASU did sell their allotment of tickets, but Texas might have the fan edge due to the Longhorns’ faithful fans. ASU is 4-2 SU & 3-3 ATS vs bowl caliber tms outscoring opp’s on avg 30-28 & being outgained 381-378. UT is 4-2 SU & 3-2-1 ATS vs bowl caliber teams outscoring foes on avg 36-32 & outgaining them 464-432. Texas has 8 senior starters with 15 upperclassman (68%) while ASU has 10 senior starters with 18 upperclassman (82%). The Sun Devils are 6-16 ATS as AD’s, incl TY’s loss in Eugene (w/Dixon). Horns are 2-7-1 ATS as an AF (including LY’s bowl). Texas has had 8 more days to prepare as ASU finished up on Dec 1st. While UT (#6) & ASU (#26) both rank high offensively, the Sun Devils have a slight def edge (#14-32), and have played a stronger sked (#9-25).QB Carpenter flourished in Erickson’s system increasing the tms ppg avg from 26.8 to 32.2 TY.The ground gm was a surprising plus for the 2nd consec yr despite #1RB Torain going down mid-ssn w/inj as Herring & Nance did a solid job in his absence. WR Jones continues to be the deep threat in the receiving corps while McGaha leads the tm in rec & rec yds but surprisingly has yet to reach the EZ. ASU’s OL avg 6’5” 315 and is full of experience with 4 Sr’s & 1 Jr paving the way for 147 ypg (3.4) but surprisingly allowed a Pac 10 high 51 sks (only SYR & ND allowed more nationally). Altogether the offense has our #26 ranking. For the 2nd straight ssn, ASU’s def started on fire holding 4 of their first 5 opponents to 14 pts or less. The DL avg 6’3” 267 & is led by Davis and Vasquez allowing 101 ypg (3.4) on the ground while recording 27 ttl sks. The LB corps is led by James who led the tm intkls (37 more than #2). The ASU secondary is ranked #6 in pass eff def allowing 232 ypg (52%) with a 17-17 ratio. They are led by a dangerous CB in Tryon & playmaking SS Nolan. ASU finished with our #14 overall defense. First yr K Weber had an AA ssn converting on all but 1 of his FG attempts earning the Groza Award in the process. The Sun Devils finished with our #39 ST ranking.Texas has had one of the most inconsistent seasons under Brown, but he is the only active IA HC to guide his tms to 9+ wins in 11 consec ssns. After B2B opening Big XII losses, the Longhorns avg win was by 19 ppg while they outgained foes by 126 ypg before running into an emotional A&M squad in their ssn finale. Brown still had UT one gm from a Title shot & a possible BCS bowl. Soph QB McCoy had a little slump as he tossed an int in every gm TY except vs Rice (#105 pass eff D) & ISU (#106).The rushing attack was stellar led by Charles with six 100+ yd gms including a career best 290 (8.8) vs Nebraska. The Longhorns came into TY with one of the most explosive WR corps in the country, but suffered a huge loss when Sr Sweed had ssn ending wrist surg at mid-ssn. Sr Jones & former minor league baseball player Cosby stepped up as the primary targets. The OL avg 6’5’’ 305 with NO senior starters but 1st Tm All-Big 12 Sr LT Hills (6’6’’ 305) broke his left fibula on 11/10 & Sr C Griffin (6’4’’ 285) tore an ACL on 11/3 & going into the bowl they are very inexperienced with just 1 upperclassman in the 3 deep. The DL avg 6’3’’ 284 with 2 senior starters & this is a deep unit allowing 3.0 ypc & UT is ranked #10 in NCAA in rush D all’g just 99 ypg. UT has a lot of talent in the secondary, but ranks #56 (all’g 276 ypg, 62%, 20-14 ratio). Texas has our #6 ranked offense, #32 defense & #25 sp tms.
This bowl features a pair of HC’s with National Championships. Both teams have a propensity to fall behind early and rally back. Texas had an uneven season and did not win & cover consec games this year and finished their season getting upset by A&M for a 2nd straight year. ASU did finish by beating UA but failed to cover any of their final 4 gms. As you can see by the checklist, we rate these teams even but the Sun Devils get the call being a team thrilled to be here vs a team that is 0-5 ATS on non-NY Day bowls and that expected to be a national contender or at the minimum a BCS bowl team.

FORECAST: ARIZONA STATE (+) 35 Texas 32 RATING: 2*

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Jon Campbell 1-6 bowl record

Texas vs. Arizona State (+2, 62 ½)

Guess what the Horns are working on leading up to the Holiday Bowl? Everything. But especially the pass defense, which has given up 543 yards per game over its last three. Eww.

Pick: Arizona State +2

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THE SPORTS REPORTER

BEST BET

ARIZONA STATE over TEXAS by 11

At the end of his first season with the Sun Devils, head coach Dennis Erickson takes one of the nation’s most upperclassmen-laden teams into a state that 41 players on his roster called home before they packed up and moved to Tempe, AZ. Most of those kids were from the Southern California area, where three Texas players are from. Longhorns’ head coach Mack Brown has declared Texas’ bowl practices and the game as “all starting jobs open” season, which will draw some attention Texas’ way. Maybe it should, maybe it shouldn’t. Texas is 0-3 ATS in Holiday Bowls under Brown, all against Pac 10 opponents. When Texas is playing in the Holiday Bowl, Texas has had an unfulfilling season and “all starting jobs are open” for the next. That’s how a coach sustains a highlevel program expected to compete for national championships every year. We played successfully on South Carolina’s Steve Spurrier and a similar “all jobs open” edict in a bowl last season, but Spurrier’s opponent was from Conference USA. If Brown is holding open auditions with only 41 upperclassmen on the roster and three key seniors among 18 unavailable (center Dallas Griffin, left tackle Tony Hill, WR Limas Sweed) then Erickson’s 55 Pac 10 upperclassmen (31 juniors, 24 seniors) would appear to have an edge. Arizona State leads the nation in Time of Possession (33:56), while the Texas defense allowed 533, 476 and 594 yards in its last three outings and was the culprit when the Texas A&M offense played a 40-20 minute game of hide the piggie against

the Longhorns. ARIZONA STATE, 37-26

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WINNING POINTS

ARIZONA STATE over TEXAS by 5

We were surprised when Texas was opened as the favorite in this game, and then
even more surprised when the early money went in the Longhorn direction. But
reputations can be a difficult thing to change, which means that a program that has
been in serious decline since Vince Young left continues to be regarded as one that
rates among the nation’s elite. Part of that, of course, is because Texas still managed
a 9-3 campaign, but it was a precarious tight rope – the Longhorns were 3-0 in
games decided by three points or less. In Jamal Charles they have one of the most
under-rated RB’s in the nation, but QB Colt McCoy lacks the arm strength to
attack defenses vertically, and a quick Sun Devil unit is difficult to move the ball
against if you are trying to make things happen underneath. The real problem for
Texas is a pass defense that was abysmal down the stretch. They finished 109th in
passing yards allowed, and over the last three games gave up a horrific 1,573 yards
and 13 touchdowns through the air, while getting only three interceptions. That
means ample opportunity for Rudy Carpenter (#1 in the Pac 10 in passing efficiency)
to attack, and we anticipate a special hunger from the Sun Devils to cap
their turnaround season under Dennis Erickson in style. This opponent, despite
being favored, is not all that much in their way. ARIZONA STATE 33-28.

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POINTWISE ( 0-7 SO FAR )

HOLIDAY ARIZONA STATE 38 - Texas 36 RATING: 4

ANALYSIS

For the 4th time in 8 years, the Longhorns of Texas return to the Holiday Bowl.Vince Young, of course, took them to a pair of Rose Bowls, with 11-1 & 13-0 marks, the 2nd of which won for them the National Title. Since his departure,Mack Brown's team has compiled a 19-6 log. A mark that the vast majority of squads would cherish, but not up to their combined record of 56-8, the previous 4 seasons. They again rank among the elite squads in moving the ball,finishing in the 12th spot in total offense, & 19th in scoring. RB Charles has been their "go-to" man, finishing the regular season with 1,458 yds (6.3 ypr),along with 18 TDs. But altho QB McCoy has thrown for 3,129 yds (64.9%) & 21 TDs, he has also tossed a co-Big 12 leading 18 interceptions. And check the 'Horns allowing 35.2 ppg over their final 4 games. They are, of course, abowl season fixture, with this marking their 46th such contest, & in recent years, jumping on the underdog has proven profitable, with the pup covering 7 of their last 8 holiday games. The Sun Devils of Arizona State had Rose Bowl dreams as late as the final week of the season, but it wasn't to be. Dennis Erickson inherited 16 starters from LY's 7-6 bowl team, & broke to an 8-0 start,climbing to the 6th spot in the nation, before a loss to Oregon, despite a 489-400 yd edge. Carpenter would rank 15th among the nation's QBs at season's end, with 3,015 yds (63%), 23 TDs, & 8 INTs. Defensively, only 2 teams topped 146 RYs vs the Devils, who ranked 13th vs the run. Neither team did much down the stretch, with the Suns entering on at 0-4 ATS, & the 'Horns at 1-3-1.Holiday Bowls sure have seen their share of wild games. More of the same.

PROPHECY: ARIZONA STATE 38 - Texas 36 RATING: 4

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Norm Hitzges

Arizona State +2.5 vs Texas

Arizona St/Texas Over


MARC LAWRENCE BOWL PREDICTIONS: 6-1 SO FAR

Arizona st by 1


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Picks Pal

Nevada at North Carolina, 7:05 PM ET

Nevada is off to a pretty good start with 7 wins in their first 11 games, but have had their problems on the road with a 2-3 record.

North Carolina has had no problems this year with an 11-0 record (4-0 at home) and are the No. 1 team in the country.

Look for the Tar Heels to make it an even dozen as they prove to be too much for Wolf Pack to handle in North Carolina.

Play North Carolina (-20.5)

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Vegas Experts Tip Of The Day

It's Boston at Seattle tonight in the TNT nightcap. The Celts scored but 89 points last night in Sacramento in a game that went well under the total. More of the same tonight?

Boston had a 13-point third quarter last night but still scored 89 points. Expect an offensive show in Ray Allen's return to the Emerald City. Sonics were held to 79 in their Christmas Night loss at Portland so will better that number here in an up and down game. BOSTON is 18-3 OVER against Northwest division opponents over the last 3 seasons. SEATTLE is 17-6 OVER in home games in December games over the last 3 seasons.

Play on: Over

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Brandon Lang

Thursday
5 DIME

Arizona State
Seton Hall
Rider

5 Dime - Arizona State: The Sun Devils had an impressive season, and despite having it deflated from a blowout loss to Southern Cal, they'll finish the campaign with an extraordinary win over the unsuspecting Longhorns. ASU is a rejuvenated team under first-year coach Dennis Erickson, and it's also the latest team from the Pac-10 grumbling about being left out of the BCS lineup, as the league was left without two teams in the bowl games that generate the substantial cash flow once again.

But the bigger disappointment has to be on the sidelines occupied by Mack Brown's troops, who certainly don't feel they should be playing in the Holiday Bowl. Nevertheless, Texas probably got better than it deserved, as this is a team that was involved in several embarrassing games this year. There was the slim win in the season opener at home, where it laid 40-1/2 points and won, 21-13, there was a nail-biter at Central Florida, the back-to-back losses to Kansas State and Oklahoma and of course the season-ending loss to Texas A&M.

The downfall is that atrocious passing defense, and against a kid like Randy Carpenter, I don't know how the 'Horns will be able to contain him and keep up with the Devils against that stifling stop unit. Take ASU, as a win tonight will take the sting out of the USC loss.

5 Dime - Seton Hall: The Pirates are averaging 86.5 points per game so far this season, and that's tops in the Big East Conference. They’ve topped the 80-point mark six times this season, and they do it with a balanced attack, as we've seen them have three players score in double figures in all 10 of their games, while in five games at least four players have. Senior Brian Laing leads the Big East in scoring at 20.2 points per game, while sophomore Eugene Harvey ranks fourth with his 18.2 contribution per game.

Making matters better for us is the depth factor, as the Pirates have gotten great play from their bench all season long. Seton Hall’s reserves have outscored its opponents in eight of its 10 games. And let's not forget that NC State point guard Farnold Degand is out for the season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament, and the Pack will now depend on freshman Javier Gonzalez. This is an easy win and cover for the Pirates, who will trounce NC State with their strong guard play.

5 Dime – Rider: He's been the target of opposing teams' game plans all season, yet Rider's Jason Thompson avoids foul trouble and finds ways to remain on the court to dominate games for the Broncs. And this may sound like a surprise to most, but he was the only returning player in Division I to have averaged at least 20 points and 10 rebounds last season; this season he's already recorded seven double-doubles in Rider's 8-4 start, averaging 19.8 points on 53.4-percent field-goal shooting, while grabbing 11.3 rebounds. He also has 33 assists and 37 blocked shots.

This kid is an absolute monster, and in a conference like the MAAC, he could lead his team to the conference title and into the Big Dance. But the best thing about Thompson, is he's type of player who when not shooting well, makes the right passes, dishes the assists, he's in there rebounding, and he simply makes becomes more valuable because he turns the Broncs into a multi-dimensional team. This is a well-coached team with a number of really good players on the team.

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Arthur Ralph

Super Pick Seton Hall College Hoop

900 Gold Key Arizona State Holiday Bowl

Ralph FREE PLAY is MAVS UNDER


EZ Winners

1 STAR: SETON HALL (-2.5) over NC State

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SUNSHINE FORECAST

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Texas(-1?) vs. Arizona State [Holiday Bowl]

Power Rating Projection:

Arizona State 29 Texas 28
Statistical Projections

Texas 29

Rushing Yards: 146
Passing Yards: 292
Turnovers: 2 Arizona State 27

Rushing Yards: 97
Passing Yards: 269
Turnovers: 1

SUNSHINE FORECAST Official Prediction:

Texas 36 Arizona State 24
Texas (1 star)

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ARMVIN SPORTS

CBB
12/27/2007 NEVADA 20

NHL
FLORIDA at ATLANTA Over 5.5
12/27/2007 MINNESOTA 105

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Teddy Covers

College
Rider +

NBA
Under Celts/Sonics

Foots
Over 62 Ariz St/Texas

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