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Saturday Service Plays
Re: Saturday Service Plays
5 STAR: (364) TEMPLE (+7) over Connecticut
(Risking $550 to win $500)
3 STAR: (317) MINNESOTA (+5) over Bowling Green
(Risking $330 to win $300)
2 STAR: (307) AKRON (+4.5) over Syracuse
(Risking $220 to win $200)
2 STAR: (315) WEST VIRGINIA (-7.5) over East Carolina
(Risking $220 to win $200)
2 STAR: (348) NEW MEXICO (+2.5) over Texas A&M
(Risking $220 to win $200)
2 STAR: (902) NY METS (-$128) over Philadelphia
(Risking $256 to win $200)
2 STAR: (904) LA DODGERS (-$115) over Arizona
(Risking $230 to win $200)
Re: Saturday Service Plays
Arizona / Toledo Over 58.0 B
I wrote a blog post back in June where I declared that Arizona was the "Top OVER team in College Football this Season." I didn't take the OVER last week because I wanted to sit back and watch the Wildcats offense and see what happened. Well, what happened was 521 yards and 70 points.
Last year Sonny Dykes brought the Texas Tech-spread offense to Tucson. After a few early bumps in the road, the Wildcats were an offensive machine toward the end of the season. In winning three of their final four games, Arizona scored 48, 34 and 34 points respectively. They also topped forty points two other times last season. Now add in the 70-point outburst against Idaho last week and you are witnessing one of the most explosive offenses in CFB.
The thing I love about this offense is its continuity. The Cats return 10 starters on the offensive side of the ball, including QB Willie Tuitama, so virtually every player on the field is in their second year in Dykes' system. Arizona is loaded with quality receivers to team with Tuitama. Last week Tuitama was 17-of-21 for 169 yards and three scores in just over a half of work.
Don't be fooled by Arizona pitching a shutout last week either. Idaho is God-awful. This actually helps us because the young Wildcats defense has yet to be tested and it keeps the line down. Arizona is replacing its entire defensive line, both starting corners and two starting linebackers from a year ago. They have no proven pass rushers, which means the new corners will be tested early and often by Toledo.
Granted, this is the Rockets first game of the season but I believe they will have one of the top offenses in the country themselves this year. Led by quarterback Aaron Opelt, Toledo is going to put up a ton of points this season. Toledo has five starters returning on defense but they are returning to a unit that gave up almost 40 points a game in 2007. The Rockets ranked near the bottom in both rush and total defense last year. Toledo's defense is going to have a heck of a time slowing down Arizona's high-flying offense this week.
When taking an OVER, you need both teams to score. That should be no problem at all here. I expect this game to go well over 80 points and with the early line sitting at 58, I'm not only going to hit this hard, I'm making it my CFB TOTAL OF THE MONTH! ***3 UNIT PLAY***
Oklahoma -21.0 vs Cincinnati
I think the Sooners are the best team in the country and they name their score in this game. A lot of people will take the points with Cincy because they have been a covering machine of late. However, the single biggest thing I learned from Bill Belichick when I worked for the Patriots is that every game is its own entity. No matter what trends or numbers say, the team that plays the best will win on Saturday. I think in this matchup, the Sonners are five touchdowns better than the Bearcats. I know it was just Chattanooga but the Sooners beat them in one of the most lopsided games I've ever seen. OU had a 27-1 edge in first downs and outgained Chattanooga in total yards 487-36! So you would think Bob Stoops would have been happy with such a dominant performance. Well, think again. Leading 50-2 at the half, Stoops put his starters back in because he said they needed to be sharp for this game. Bearcats quarterback Dustin Grutza had a strong outing last week but I've never been impressed with him. I expect the Sooners to control this game in the trenches on both sides of the ball by getting after Grutza on defense and wearing down a smallish Cincinnati front on offense. This game has blowout written all over it. The Sooners make a statement Saturday and win big.. ***2 UNIT PLAY***
West Virginia -7.0 vs East Carolina
East Carolina is a nice story but there's just too much line value for me to pass up here. I asked a guy out in Vegas what the line would be in this game if ECU didn't block that punt and he said around 15 or16 points. So we are getting nine points in value because of one blocked punt? Again, I can't pass that up. First of all, Virginia Tech sucks. They are so bad this year that Frank Beamer was going to redshirt Tyrod Taylor for the future. Why? Because the Hokies are young and will be loaded the next couple of years. But even as bad as the Hokies are this year, they still should have beaten ECU last week. Now the Pirates are taking on a Top 5 team and only getting a TD. Yet people like ECU. Why? West Virginia is far superior in every way to Va Tech and Pat White will have no trouble moving the ball on offense. Plus, all the pressure is on ECU now. They are at home coming off a huge win and people actually expect them to beat WV. I'm not one of those people. I like the Mountaineers by 17 points in this game and like I said, this line is too good for us not to throw a unit on it. I bought it down to 7 just to be safe and I would advise you to do the same. ***1 UNIT PLAY***
Stanford 14.0 vs 374 Arizona St.
I'm playing this game for 1 Unit because it came from my Pac 10 Insider. This is an old friend of mine who covers Pac 10 sports for a living. He gives me 15-20 plays a year in football and usually hits around 65 percent. Not many people know Pac 10 football better than this guy. He sent me a text message tonight that said, "Take Stanford plus the points. Could win outright." I play all of his games for 1 unit unless he tells me otherwise. Like I said, his information has been very strong over the years and if he likes Stanford to possibly win this game, the 14 points should be more than enough. He's not always right but he's right a lot more times than he's wrong and he really has a knack for hitting Pac 10 underdogs. ***1 UNIT Play***
Re: Saturday Service Plays
Oddsmaker's Error-CFB (7-2 or 77.8 percent ATS start in CFB '08!)
My Oddsmaker's Error is on Syracuse at 3:30 ET. It's seems like decades ago that Syracuse was a major player in the East. The 'Cuse did win 10 games in 2001 (including a 26-3 Insight Bowl win over a Kansa State team that entered 11-1) but the Orange haven't had a winning season since. Greg Robinson enters his fourth year at the school and after last Saturday's 30-10 loss at Northwestern, his record stands at just 7-29. Akron, which didn't join Div I-A until 1987, will be meeting Syracuse for the first time ever. The Zips are coming off a 4-8 campaign in '07 and return just 13 starters, tied for the fewest among MAC schools. For the fourth time in the last five seasons, the Zips opened a new season with a loss, as Akron was easily handled at Wisconsin, 38-17. Akron has not had much success against non-conference foes lately, going 4-12 since 2004 and is just 2-11 all-time vs current Big East teams, with both of those wins coming over Cincinnati (in '89 and '92), before the Bearcats joined the Big East. Akron snuck under LW's huge pointspread, scoring late in the game after a Wisconsin fumble. Akron's rush D was pummeled by the Badgers, who gained 404 yards on 63 carries, as PJ Hill gained 210 yards all by himself. Syracuse may be able to run on the Zips as well, as RBs Brinkley and Carter are both healthy this year. Brinkley had 49 yards on nine carries and Carter had 45 yards on six carries last week vs Northwestern. I expect them to perform much better on Saturday. QB Andrew Robinson was not sharp vs the Wildcats, completing just 14-of-28 passes for only 103 yards. He was sacked twice and threw an INT, as the Orange collected just 11 first downs, while converting on only 3-of-14 third down attempts. However, the Akron defense should be a welcome relief for them, as will Akron's mediocre offense be for Syracuse's questionable defense. The Orange saw Northwestern QB Bacher throw for 215 yards and three TDs last week, while a now-healthy Tyrell Sutton showed his old form, running for 144 yards on just 21 carries. However, the Syracuse D will be facing an Akron offense which has averaged only 19.7 and 21.2 PPG over the last two seasons. Akron's offense was overmatched in its opener against Wisconsin, as the team finished with just 297 total yards. The running game posted just 70 yards on 22 attempts (3.2 YPC) but a bright spot was the play of QB Chris Jacquemain. He completed 22-of-36 passes for 227 yards and two scores but Akron only converted 4-of-11 third down attempts. Syracuse hasn't had a winning season since 2001 and while the Orange are only 14-17 SU the last five years in the Carrier Dome, they are an impressive 11-4 ATS as a home favorite. Syracuse and its head coach Greg Robinson sure need a win here and the Zips seem like the perfect foil. Akron is now 2-13 its last 15 road games since the beginning of the '06 season, winning only at NC State in '06 (Wolfpack went 3-9) and Western Mich in '07 and with such a small spread, almost need to win SU to cover. I not only don't think the Zips can win, I don't think they'll stay with double-digits! At this price, Syracuse is a bargain. Oddsmaker's Error on Syracuse.
Weekend Wipeout Winner (7-2 CFB start / won LW's Wipeout Winner 56-10!)
My Weekend Wipeout Winner is on Pittsburgh at 6:00 ET. The last image of Dave Wannstedt from the '07 CFB season was him hobbling around the sidelines on crutches, as his Pitt Panthers were taking on their most-hated rival, West Virginia. Pit upset the Mountaineers at West Va in that regular season finale, 13-9. The loss kept the Mountaineers from their first-ever BCS title game appearance. The win by Pitt gave the Panthers a 5-7 finish to the '07 season and Wannstedt entered this year with a three-year mark of just 16-19 at Pitt but with a No. 25 preseason ranking from the AP. Pitt's season-opener came last Saturday (at home) against Bowling Green, a team which had lost last year's GMAC Bowl, 63-7 to Tulsa. So what happened at Heinz Field. The Panthers jumped out to a 14-0 lead (outgained BG 137-6 in the first quarter) but lost, 27-17. BG put "eight guys in the box" and LeSean McCoy, who ran for 1,328 yards last year in the best freshman season by a Pitt runner since Tony Dorsett in 1973, was held to 71 yards on 23 carries. He didn't have a run longer than 12 yards. Meanwhile, QB Bill Stull was not able to compensate. Stull began last year as Pitt's starting QB but was lost in the season's first game and never returned. He threw for 264 yards vs BG (one TD / one INT) but that came on 51 attempts (29 completions). As for Buffalo, the Bulls opened Turner Gill's third year at the school by routing UTEP, 42-17. The 42 points represent the most scored in a season-opener at the Division I-A level for the Bulls, who return 18 starters from last year's 5-7 team. QB Drew Willy threw just 16 times but he completed 10 of them for 221 yards and four TDs (a school Div I-A record). He also extended his streak to 251 pass attempts since his last INT (longest active streak in the nation). What's more, the Bulls ran for 263 yards. Buffalo averaged only 130.0 rushing YPG in 2007 but both James Starks (1,103-yards LY) and Brandon Thermilus topped 100 yards. Starks had 179 (31 ATTs) and Thermilus had 102 (16 ATTs / 2 TDs). The Buffalo "D" was pretty good too, holding an explosive UTEP team (33.6 PPG and 423 YPG in '07) to 17 points and 266 yards. The Panthers were able to move the ball in their opener against BGSU (393 yards) but their four turnovers proved costly. Defensively, the Panthers only allowed just 254 yards, so expect a better result this Saturday. Wannstedt's team has next week off, so getting a crack at another MAC team here at home, could be "just what the doctor ordered." Gill's been recruiting better athletes since coming to Buffalo but it's only been three years. Under Gill, Buffalo lost all seven games on the road in '06 and last year went just 2-5, winning only at Temple (4-8) and Kent State (3-9). I like Gill (I played Buffalo last week) but this is a case of "wrong place, wrong time" for the Bulls. Wannstedt and his team NEEDS this win (and a convincing one at that!) and let's remember that prior to last week's home game to Bowling Green, Pitt was 25-2 against the MAC, 8-0 in season openers and 24-0 at home. Weekend Wipeout Winner on Pittsburgh.
15* TV Game of the Week-MLB (185-100 two-year run!)
My 15* play is on the Min Twins at 3:55 ET. The Twins returned from their 14-game road trip and celebrated with a 10-2 win over the Tigers on Friday. Minnesota had gone 5-9 on the trip, after losing all three games earlier this week vs the Blue Jays but continued their domination over the Tigers here in the Metrodome this season. The Twins have now won SIX of seven games over the Tigers here at home, outscoring them 49-19. Actually, the Twins have played well against all opponents in the Metrodome this year, going 47-23 and outscoring opponents by an average of 5.40-to-3.74 RPG. While the Twins remain in a tight race with the White Sox in the AL Central (trail by 1 1/2 games), the Tigers are only 67-74 and 12 1/2 games behind the White Sox. It's been quite some time now since anyone's said, "the Tigers are still alive." Detroit's moves over the winter made them the AL Central favorite entering this year (as well as one of the AL's overall favorites) but the Tigers started 0-7 and never really recovered. Justin Verlander (10-15, 4.74 ERA) gets the start today and in '06 and '07, he was one of the AL's biggest winners, going 35-15 (3.64 ERA) with the Tigers going 41-21 in his starts (plus-$1,652). However, he started horribly this year (team lost 12 of his 15 starts!), then went on a terrific six-start streak from 6/22-7/20 (was 5-0 with a 2.50 ERA as the team was 6-0), but has now regressed to his early season form, going 2-6 with a 7.29 ERA in his last eight starts. On the year, Detroit is 11-18 (minus-$1,380) in his starts, making him MLB's biggest "money-burner" (ranks LAST against the moneyline among almost 300 pitchers who have made a start in '08!). As for the Twins, Scott Baker (8-4, 3.66 ERA) has pitched very well this year. He was placed on the DL on May 7 with a strained right groin (team had won five of his six starts to open '08) and didn't return to the rotation until June 5. The team dropped his first three starts back but Baker pitched well (3.00 ERA). He's continued his solid pitching, allowing three ERs or less in 10 of his last 14 starts, as the Twins have gone 9-5. The Twins are 14-9 (plus-$574) in his in all of his starts this year, including 7-2 in his home starts, where he's posted a solid 3.23 ERA. Both pitchers are right-handers and while the Tigers are just 18-34 vs right-handers on the road (3-13, averaging just 3.0 RPG in day games), the Twins are a solid 30-18 vs righties at home. I realize that this game is inside but 3-13 and averaging 3.0 RPG is downright 'UGLY!' TV Game of the Week 15* Min Twins.
Las Vegas Insider-CFB (PERFECT 2-0 start in FB '08!)
My Las Vegas Insider is on Iowa State at 7:00 ET. Gene Chizik's first game as Iowa State's head coach came a year ago vs Kent State, a game the Cyclones lost at home, 23-14. Leading 14-9 in the early third quarter, the Cyclones allowed the Flashes to drive for the go-ahead score and on the very next series, got intercepted by Kent State. It was returned 50 yards (all the way to the ISU eight-yard line) and KSU shortly made it 23-14. Neither team scored the rest of the way. It was not a good beginning for Chizik, who had made a HUGE name for himself as Auburn's DC in '04 (Tigers went 13-0 that year) and as DC of the Longhorns in '05 (won national title) and '06. ISU did upset Iowa 15-13 (as 17-point dogs) in last year's third game but took a 1-8 mark into the final three games of last season. However, the Cyclones then won back-to-back home games, beating Kansas St 31-20 (plus-15 1/2) and Colorado 31-28 (at plus-3 1/2), before getting crushed at Kansas (45-7). With the team's 44-17 win over South Dakota State on August 28, the Cyclones have now won three straight home games. Saturday, Chizik and his Cyclones get a "revenge game" with Kent State and once again the game is being played in Ames. KSU won last year's game in Ames but then lost FIVE of its remaining six road games, allowing an average of 34.5 PPG. The Zips opened the '08 season getting shutout in Cleveland by Boston College last Saturday, 21-0. QB Edelman completed 10-of-14 passes but for only 123 yards and he threw two INTs. RB Jarvis, who ran for 1,669 yards (6.0 YPC) in '07, had 51 yards on 11 carries. KSU was not up to the challenge of facing a defense the likes of BC and while it should fare better here vs ISU, this is still a Big 12 team vs a MAC team. ISU only averaged around 125 YPG rushing last year (3.1 per) but gained 229 yards on 42 carries last week. The team's running game could get a boost this week if JJ Bass (462 YR) is permitted to return to the field after a suspension. Austen Arnaud and Phillip Bates both saw time at QB last week with Arnaud going 8-of-11 for 98 yards (one TD), and Bates completing 5-of-8 passes for 61 yards (one TD). Overall, Iowa State finished with 20 FDs and converted 6-of-7 red zone chances. The ISU defense (31.8 PPG and 390 TYPG allowed last year) was terrific, forcing SIX turnovers and returning FIVE interceptions for a school-record 202 yards. KSU has only one winning season the last 20 years (went 6-5 in 2001) and its win in Ames last year was the school's first win over a BCS school since it beat Kansas back in 1987. ISU does have Iowa up next but KSU's win last year is one the Cyclones and Chizik will remember well. Las Vegas Insider on Iowa State. Larry Ness' Las Vegas Insider-MLB (48-28 since May 26!)
Las Vegas Insider is on the StL Cards at 7:15 ET. Both the Marlins and Cards have been pretty mediocre since the break and both look as if their playoff hopes are all but over. The Marlins beat the Cards 4-1 (11 innings) last night, in the opening game of this three-game series. Once again, Ricky Nolasco came through for Florida (7 IP / 6 hits / 1 ER), as the Marlins won for the 16th time in his last 21 starts. However, the Marlins can't expect that kind of a effort out of their starter tonight, Scott Olsen. Olsen entered the '08 season off a terrible '07 season (10-15, 5.81 ERA), which included off-the-field issues as well. Most regular followers of MLB were surprised to see Olsen open strongly in '08, as Florida won EIGHT of his first nine starts. However, Olsen was not able to keep up his fine pitching and his overall record entering this game is 6-9, 4.35 ERA (team is 12-16 and minus-$362 in his 28 starts). He gone winless since July 19, a span of EIGHT straight starts, going 0-5 with a 5.70 ERA (team is 0-8!). There's little reason to expect his current slide to end tonight. Todd Wellemeyer has been another in a growing list of relievers turned starters for St Louis. The Cards 'rescued' him last year from KC and Wellemeyer finished 3-2 with a 3.11 ERA in 20 appearances for St Louis the remainder of the year. However, 11 of his 20 appearances were starts, with the Cards going 9-2 in those games. He's been used strictly as a starter in '08 and enters with an 11-6 record and a 3.76 ERA. He had all sorts of trouble right before the break (team lost his final five starts of the season's first half) but in nine starts since the break, he's allowed three ERs or less in nine starts. A "typical" effort from Wellemeyer will give the Cards an easy win over the Marlins tonight, as Olsen's woes continue. Las Vegas Insider on the StL Cards.
Re: Saturday Service Plays
Florida -23 - Miami-Florida
It is hard to beleive how many points the oddsmakers are giving Miami to work with as this is the biggest underdog price tag in a Hurricanes game dating all the way back to 1997. Of course the reason why the Hurricanes are getting so many point is because they are so YOUNG as 22 of their top 44 players are either freshmen or sophomores. Miami's recruiting class is actually highly rated, but this "green" group is going to suffer from growing pains. I will admit that the Hurricanes looked good last week at home as they trounced Charleston Southern 52-7 in a tune-up. But playing a primetime National-TV game inside Florida's "swamp" is a whole different story as this marks the first time that freshman quarterback Robert Mavre will be tested on the highway. Mavre actually redshirted last season due to injuries suffered in a car accident. It is worth noting that he broke Tim Tebow's high school passing records, so keep an eye on this exceptional talent. Another reason why tonight's price tag is out of sight has to do with Miami's most recent National-TV appearance where they were trounced in their final home game at the original Orange Bowl. 2007 marked the first time Miami finished with a losing record in an entire decade. While the Hurricanes routed a Non-Division I opponent last week, Florida crushed a team that made one of the BCS sanctioned Bowl games (Hawaii) to the tune of 56-10. The Gators played without wide receiver Percy Harrison and middle linebacker Brandon Spikes due to foot injuries, but both WILL make their season debuts tonight which makes the Gators roster extremely deep. I will admit that Miami has beaten the Gators SIX in a row in this series, but the two have not actually met on the same field since 2004 when Urban Meyer had not yet arrived in Gainsville. In all the games that Meyer has coached in his career, his teams have gone a mind boggling 11-1 ATS in the initial two weeks of a brand new campaign. Florida as a team is UNDEFEATED the past three years (6-0 ATS) in home "non conference" setups like this with an average margin of victory a full FORTY points! I found another undefeated database angle which my come as a shock but Miami is 0-6 ATS/ROAD the past three years when coming off an outright victory