Saturday Service PLays

Saturday Service PLays

Alex Smart

Oregon -10.0

As soon as the betting pundits heard that starting Oregon QB Justin Roper will miss 2-4 weeks with a partially torn MCL, the money started to flow in on the side of the visiting underdogs the Boise State Broncos. There were wise guys and squares waiting to pounce on the books as soon as the news broke, bringing the line down , which in turn, in my humble opinion now makes the Ducks the right side.

After watching the Ducks comeback with a 32-26 OT victory over Purdue last week, I could see this team had grit and determination , and unlike last years version, will be primed to respond to a QB injury. A quick look at their over all stats, tells the story of a over powering team with credible national championship aspirations. To this point in the season, Oregon is fourth in the nation in total offense (562.33 ypg) and rushing offense (323.33 ypg), and ninth in scoring offense (47.33 ppg).

Meanwhile , the Boise State Broncos, despite of a 20-7 win last week against Bowling Green, surprisingly struggled when they had the rock , registering just 89 yards in total offense in the the second half. The defense despite of allowing just one TD, still gave up a total 307 yards . With that said, Im not totally sold on this years version of the Broncos, especially on the road, against what must be recognized as a superior program, from a better conference.

What Im betting will happen is that JUCO transfer Jeremiah Masoli and Chris Harper will both see playing time under center for the Ducks. The huge Oregon offensive line will give the pivots time to operate, and a lot of pressure will be alleviated via a heavy taste of a viable running game . As the contest progresses, look for and expect the Broncos over matched D, to fold, and for huge holes to open up, which result in a boatload full of scoring opportunities for the home side.

Final notes & Key Trends: Oregon is 28-1 L/29 SU in non conference home games, Mike Bellotti has won 17 straight against WAC programs. Boise State has lost 12 straight road games vs BCS Schools by an average of 21 PPG, and have a recent history of starting slowly in their first road game away from the blue carpet as they failed to cover 7 straight.

Play on Oregon to cover -Projected score: Ducks 35 Broncos 20

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Bettorsworld

3* Vandy +7 over Ole Miss

What's a team need to do to get a little respect? Often times, just 3 games into a season, you can say big deal, a team is 3-0. They haven't played anyone. Well, Vandy opened up by beating Miami Ohio and while that's no great accomplishment, let's not forget, they weren't expected to win. They followed up by beating South Carolina who, unlike their record suggests, is a good team and will be heard from again this year in the SEC. While the win over Rice may not seem like much on the surface, it was a Rice team that was averaging 49 points per game off of wins over Memphis and SMU and Vandy shut them out completely in the 2nd half.

Now Vandy travels to take on Ole Miss, a team that had the worst defense in the SEC a year ago, a team that has a new coach with new schemes to learn and a team that Vandy beat 31-17 last year. Yet Vanderbilt finds themselves in a familiar role. 6.5 point underdogs. Not only are they 6.5 point underdogs, the line opened up 4.5 and early bettors determined that was too low and have pushed the line two full points. Rodney Dangerfield would be proud. No respect I tell ya.

Sure, historically, this one has gone to Ole Miss. Ole Miss has won 12 of the last 15 in this series. But historically, Ole Miss was better than a 3 or 4 win team. In 2003 they won 10 games. Since then they haven't won more than 4 games in a season. Speaking of 2003 when they were 10-3, they only beat Vandy 24-21. In 2004 it took overtime to beat Vandy 26-23. In 2005 they lost at Vandy. In 2006 they won by a TD and last year they lost 31-17.

There is nothing in recent history, or in this years results that suggests this game this week will be anything but close. Vandy hasn't had a winning season in 25 years. However, as we pointed out in our season preview, every single year they are a tough out. They have taken Florida to overtime, they have beaten Georgia, South Carolina two years in a row, the list of close games and upsets goes on and on and that's in years that Vandy won no more than 5 games, often times 2 games!

They have already won 3, and with that comes confidence. When you win as a team, and start 3-0, you start to expect to win. Certainly if they go down here, it figures that they won't go down without a fight. Not to Ole Miss. Again, remember who we're talking about here. The worst defense in the SEC a year ago.

The game plans of both teams going in are no secret. Run, run, run. Vanderbilt's young offensive line has been getting it done so far this year, moving guys off the ball and creating holes. Vandy has been able to run the ball and control the clock while Ole Miss has lost the time of possession battle every game so far this year. Logic tells us Vandy will be successful once again this week running the ball with QB Chris Nickson and RB Jared Hawkins. Run the ball, control the clock, shorten the game, keep it close. That's where we want to be when getting +7. Vanderbilt has been playing sound ball across the board. They haven't made mistakes, they haven't beaten themselves. They have depth on the defensive line allowing their starters to stay fresh the entire game and not tire out in the 2nd half which has long been a problem for them against SEC giants. They are the least penalized team in the SEC and are 6-1 against the spread the last 7 games against Ole Miss and 12-4 against the number as a road dog.

Ole Miss gets star defensive end Greg Hardy back this week however this week was his first in pads since the spring. Conditioning will be a factor. Ole Miss will be an improved team each time they take the field under new coach Houston Nutt. No argument here. This play simply comes down to common sense. There is nothing that suggests Ole Miss is deserving of being a 6.5 - 7 point favorite here. Quite the opposite actually. At the very least this game breaks down as dead even on a neutral field. So, unless you feel their 21-29 record at home this decade warrants a 7 point home field advantage, there's plenty of value in the line taking Vandy. Put another way, if the Ole Miss home field edge is a field goal, this line suggests Ole Miss would be a 4 point fav on a neutral field and a 1 point fav at Vandy.

Show us a football game where the talent level between the two teams is a touchdown or less and we'll show you a game that was decided by simple fundamentals. The team that makes the fewest mistakes, that team that doesn't turn the ball over, the team that is least penalized, the team that controls the clock and can run the football, wins the game.

For the first time in 24 years, Vandy is closing in on a top 25 ranking. They received 63 votes this week which places them at #26. A win here and, well, you guessed it, top 25. We've sounded like a broken record in the past by stating that when teams not used to being in the limelight, teams not used to winning, teams not used to beating certain opponents, that when they get these chances, they have to capitalize as there's no telling when those opportunities will arise again. We're not talking Florida and LSU here folks, who compete for championships every year. We're talking Vandy. They don't have to knock off a top 10 team to get there either. They have to beat Ole Miss. 3-9 a year ago. A team they have beaten 2 of the last 3 times they have played. This is within reach. At the very least this one goes to the wire. 3* Vanderbilt +7 (buy the hook if you have to)

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Bettorsworld

2* Mississippi State + 8.5 over Georgia Tech

You'll certainly want to keep an eye on the number here. +10 would be very nice. But 8.5 should be enough. This number just seems a tad too high. We have used Georgia Tech twice this year, both as underdogs and have won both times. The first was an upset over BC and the 2nd last week when they lost by just 3 to Virginia Tech as a 7 point dog. But now Tech finds themselves in the role of favorite and a lofty one at that.

First let's look at our previous two plays involving Georgia Tech. Those plays were as much against BC and Virginia Tech as they were for Georgia Tech. We felt that both BC and Virginia Tech were down a notch or two from previous seasons and we were right. We also felt that the new Georgia Tech option attack would shorten the games and keep the scores close. Bingo again. But we can't get carried away with those wins. It's not the same BC and Hokie squads of the past and yet judging from line this week and the reaction to the opener, you'd think it was the Matt Ryan led Eagles they beat and the 11-3 Hokies of a year ago they almost upset. The game opened at Georgia Tech -7 and has been bet up to -9 at Bookmaker.com. (back down to 8.5 now)

The Georgia Tech offense is a work in progress. We've mentioned in previous write ups that they turned the ball over like crazy in the spring and in summer scrimmages. That trend has continued so far this season. Now they face a Miss State defense that last year ranked 21st in the nation, 7th against the pass in a year that saw them improve their win total from 3 games to 8 and a Bowl game. They have 8 of 11 back on that defense this year and if last weeks 3-2 game with Auburn is any indication, they'll be every bit as good this year. New defensive coordinator, but same players and the new coordinator was on the defensive staff last year.

Miss State had a couple of lopsided losses last year but also some good showings. They beat Auburn. They beat a Kentucky team loaded with offensive weapons and they beat an Alabama team with an improved offense holding them to just 12 points, their 2nd lowest point total of the year. So this team can be competitive and can hang with the big boys.

While the Paul Johnson triple option can give teams headaches, it hasn't exactly overwhelmed the two legit teams they faced so far. Georgia Tech has scored 19 and 17 points in two 3 point games, a win and a loss. We can't imagine they are going to overwhelm and confuse a solid Miss State defense that's seen much more potent attacks than this. As mentioned above, they held one of the most potent offenses in the country to just 14 points last year in beating Kentucky 31-14. The same Kentucky team that scored 43 on LSU, 37 on Florida and 50 on Tennessee.

The passing game figures to be non existent for Tech against the Miss St defense that was 7th against the pass last year. Not that it was much of a threat to begin with but take it away completely and keying on QB Nesbitt becomes a bit easier. Also note that Georgia Tech has suffered some early season injuries including leading rusher Jonathan Dwyer who has a bruised back. Injuries, fumbles, new offense, all the makings for a close one.

We're a bit worried about the Miss State offense but certainly not as a result of last weeks showing against Auburn. Auburn has one of the top D's in the nation so really, no shame in last weeks performance. Neither BC or Virginia Tech figures to be an offensive powerhouse this year yet both still managed to score some points, in the Hokies case, enough to win and for BC, almost.

To sum up we simply don't feel that Georgia Tech is a threat to put many points on the board against this defense. Likewise, if the BC and Va Tech offenses found a way to put close to 20 on the board against the Yellow Jackets then Miss State ought to be able to at least approach that number, making the +8.5 loom very large here in this one. This is a play on the Bulldog defense and a play against the Tech offense. 2* Miss State +8.5

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Strike Point Sports

Take Auburn +2.5 over LSU

The SEC has a major showdown this weekend, and no, it is not Florida/Tennessee. This one’s an all-Tigers affair, but look for the home Auburn team to score the win as the small underdog. Both defenses will dominate this game like in recent meetings, however I favor War Eagle’s unit and put them as the best defensive group in the country not residing in South California. Both teams have a lot of skill, no doubt, but I want to see LSU prove their can win a big game on the road before I validate their high ranking minus all the talent lost to graduation last season.There’s going to be no blowout in this one, however I think the small advantage lies with Auburn, and at home we’ll back them in this SEC clash.

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Vegas Sports Informer

Take BYU -28 over Wyoming

Can easily see the BYU Cougars hitting 40 points in this game but with the Wyoming offense struggles this could and will get ugly. BYU and the favorite in this series is 4-0 ATS. Wyoming is 0-5 ATS in their last 5 road games.

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Wunderdog

Alabama at Arkansas
Pick: Arkansas +9.5

The SEC has now gone into the record books with five teams in the top 10. Top to bottom this is the best conference in football right now. It is very very difficult to play anywhere on the road in this conference, no matter which teams are playing. Laying two scores on the road is just too much. That especially rings true given the fact that Alabama is not a big play, quick-strike offense. In fact, their scoring drives have averaged over eight plays per drive. That Tide philosophy has kept them from winning big on the road in the SEC where they own just one win by more than a TD since 2005. That makes the TD+ here look very valuable. Bobby Petrino is 17-6 ATS in home games and he'll have his team ready. Arkansas had it's game last week postponed vs Texas, so they have had ample time to gameplan here for the Tide. I look for them to hang close here.

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LT Profits

Arkansas +9.5

The Alabama Crimson Tide are 3-0 and ranked for a very good reason, but keep in mind that this tilt with Arkansas is their first true road game of the season.

Alabama is just 2-7 straight up in true road games the last two years, making them quite vulnerable as road favorites in this spot, and they are facing a much more balanced Arkansas offense than they are accustomed to facing.

Any success the Razorbacks have had in recent year has come by handing the ball off to any of their plethora of stud running backs, led by Darren McFadden and Felix Jones. However, new coach Bobby Petrino has brought over some of his pass-happy attack with him from Louisville, and as a result, Casey Dick has passed for 641 yards in two games while completing 62.7 percent of his passes, with four touchdown passes vs. just one interception.

Now Alabama represents a huge jump in class for he Hogs, as the Tide have steamrolled their first three opponents by an average margin of +24.0 points. As great as Alabama has looked, Tulane and Western Kentucky are not much better than the two cupcakes that Arkansas has faced, and Clemson has proven to be a grossly overrated team from a terrible conference.

Now we are by no means demeaning the Tide here, as this is a quality football club. It is just that this game marks the toughest opponent that either of these teams has faced, and Alabama may not be fully prepared for the newfound Arkansas passing attack.

The Crimson Tide may win this game on the field, but we expect Arkansas to match them virtually point for point, setting up a barnburner of a finish in front of a raucous home crowd.

Pick: Arkansas +9.5

Rice +29.5

First of all, there is little question that Texas will win this game. However, we do feel that Rice has enough talent to stay within four touchdowns here.

After all, the Owls are averaging 39.7 points and 434.3 yards of total offense per game. They started the season 2-0 in Conference USA play, and then even though they lost 38-21 to Vanderbilt from the SEC last week, they still managed 407 yards including 299 through the air.

Rice has the quick strike ability with quarterback Chase Clement, who has 875 passing yards in three games while completing 62.5 percent of his passes, to stay in any game vs. comparable opponents. Now obviously that is not the case with Texas, but Rice could still score enough points not to get embarrassed here.

Now the Longhorns are 2-0, although there momentum may have been slowed down by Hurricane Ike, which forced their game vs. Arkansas to be postponed last week. That game has been moved to next week, which may also be a distraction for the Horns, as they will almost undoubtedly have one eye on that contest during the second half of this one.

That should at the very least leave the back door open, although it is not a given that Texas will build up a 30-point lead to begin with in a look-ahead situation. Take the abundance of points.

Pick: Rice +29.5

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Matt Foust

Baylor @ U Connecticut Over 50.5

The Baylor Bears will travel to Storrs, Connecticut this week for a Friday night, stand alone tilt with the Connecticut Huskies. We are going to go with over 50.5 for this ESPN 2 national game.

The Baylor Bears were anything but a prolific offensive team in 2007, averaging 18.2 points per game. Head Coach Art Briles no doubt made the offense a big priority in the off season as he headed into his first season at Baylor. So far the results would indicate that to be true. The Bears have averaged 36.33 points per game thus far in 2008; the only game that they did not break 20 was their opener against Wake Forest. Baylor also had five turnovers in that game which limited their ability to put points on the board.

True freshmen quarterback Robert Griffin has added a different dimension to the offense this season and he will certainly put the Huskies defense on notice. Last week against Washington State Griffin threw for 129 yards and rushed 11 times for 217 yards and two touchdowns.

Connecticut is averaging 30.67 points per game this season and they have rushed for an average of 297.7 per game. Last week, against Virginia, the Huskies posted 45 points, ran for 382 yards, and collected 25 first downs. They have a deep and talented group of running backs and a veteran quarterback in senior Tyler Lorenzen.

Connecticut has the better defense in this contest, but Baylor will be able to move the ball against them. The Huskies defensive line is very good but Griffin’s mobility will give them some trouble and his ability to run or pass will help Baylor keep the chains moving. While Baylor won the game on the ground versus Washington State, they still averaged 8.1 yards per pass and they have great speed at receiver as well as big play capability in David Gettis. The Huskies, on the other hand, will be able to run against Baylor’s front. Last week the Bears throttled Washington State’s rushing attack, but they will have a much more difficult time trying to stop Uconn. Look for the scoring to start early and happen often.

Pick: Take the OVER 50.5

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Wild Bill

Over 50 Baylor-Conn (5 units)
Penn State -27 1/2 (5 units)
Ohio +11 (5 units)
Byu -26 (5 units)
Lsu -2 1/2 (5 units)
Rutgers -4 1/2 (5 units)
Wake Forest+4 (5 units)
Utah - 7 (5 units)
Middle Tenn St +5 (5 units)
Indiana -3 1/2 (5 units)
Eastern Michigan +21 1/2 (5 units)
NC State +7 1/2 (5 units)
Florida Atlantic +6 1/2 (5 units)
Smu +24 (5 units)
Georgia  -6 1/2 (5 units)
Stanford  -9 1/2 (5 units)
New Mexico State +6 1/2 (5 units)
Ucla +1 1/2 (5 units)   
Over 40 1/2 BC-UCF (5 units)
Over 41 Iowa-Pitt (5 units)
Under 60 1/2 Ball St-Indiana (5 units)
Over 64 CMU-Purdue (5 units)
Over 49 Akron-Army (5 units)
Over 69 1/2 Rice-Texas (5 units)
Over 51 TCU-SMU (5 units)
Over 47 Stanford-SJ St (5 units)
Over 63 1/2 Fla Atl-Minn (5 units)

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Sportsbettingstats

LSU Tigers at Auburn

Auburn comes into this game after beating Mississippi 3-2, while LSU crushed North Texas 41-3. If LSU wants to repeat as National Champs they have to win at Auburn, which is something they have not done since 1998. This is HUGE SEC match up with BCS implications and features two of the best defenses in the nation. LSU is led by QB's Andrew Hatch (202 1 TD) and Jarrett Lee (200 yds 2 TD). The strength of LSU is their running game, as stud RB Charles Scott (262 yds 4 TD) is the main man in the backfield. The main target for LSU's QB's is Brandon LaFell (11 rec 156 yds 4 TD), who is 6'3" and creates match up problems for any opposing secondary. Auburn is led by QB Chris Todd (472 yds 1 TD 1 INT) and his main targets are WR's Montez Billings (6 rec 98 yds) and Rodgeriqus Smith (8 rec 86 yds). Auburn's rushing attack is led by Ben Tate (278 yds 1 TD) and Brad Lester (148 yds 1 TD) will also see some carries.

Staff Pick: Both teams have great D's, but the keys to this game will be which offense can run the ball and if either can get some yards through the air. LSU's D took a big hit last week as LB Darry Beckwith went down with a knee injury and he will not play in this game. Auburn has to contain RB Charles Scott, who is averaging an impressive 11.4 yards per carry. This match up has always produced close games, as 11 of the last 18 games between the two have been decided by a TD or less. Auburn showed how good their D was last week in limiting Mississippi to only 116 yards, but their offense only scored on a field goal. In their first 3 games Auburn has given up an average of only 53 rushing yards per game and has given up only 15 points in their 3 wins. However, Auburn has not faced the caliber of RB like Scott and if their D can stop him they will have a huge advantage. The game is at Auburn, so that is another big advantage for them and if they can run the ball and stop Scott they will be sitting pretty. Look for both defenses to play well and for a low scoring game. The home field will be the deciding factor, as Auburn will win in a close game.

Auburn 17 LSU 13

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TEDDY COVERS

MARSHALL AT SOUTHERN MISS -9.5

Recommendation: Southern Miss
You’re not going to find a less hyped 3-0 ATS team than Southern Miss, way off the radar screen for most of the betting marketplace. Most preseason guides predicted a down season for the Golden Eagles. They haven’t been on TV, and they were beat up pretty good in their lone test against a BCS powerhouse, although they came back late to cover at Auburn. Make no mistake about it, however - this team is exceeding expectations and should be able to do so again here. In their lone home game, Southern Miss hung 51 points and 633 yards of offense on Louisiana-Lafayette. Redshirt frosh QB Austin Davis has been remarkably impressive in his first season as the starter. Junior running back Damion Fletcher will be playing on Sundays in a year or two. Frosh wide receiver DeAndre Brown will be the best playmaker on the field here. Marshall lost by nine at home to Southern Miss last year. The Thundering Herd lost 42-7 on their last trip to Hattiesburg. In four seasons under Mark Snyder, Marshall is a truly woeful 2-17 SU on the road, losing 14 of those games by double-digit margins,with a 4-13 ATS mark as a road underdog . That’s a trend worth betting!


BRENT CROW

EAST CAROLINA -7.5 AT NC STATE

Recommendation: East Carolina
After winning with East Carolina in its first two games, I passed last week as they nipped Tulane, 28-24. That was an obvious letdown spot for them and I didn’t expect them to play their best. This week they should have plenty of motivation for their in-state rivals from Raleigh. The Pirates have long hated NC State, and this is yet another chance to knock off a BCS school. Adding to the motivation for the Pirates is a 34-20 home loss to the Wolfpack last year. There is no doubt that East Carolina has the better team this year, and its defense should shut down a woeful NC State offense that has scored just three points in two games against I-A competition. State scored a touchdown on an interception return last week on the first play of the game, yet still lost to Clemson 27-9 and was shut out in their opener by South Carolina, 34-0. The East Carolina defense has allowed just 275 yards per game in their three wins over Virginia Tech, West Virginia and Tulane. The offense, led by Patrick Pinkney, has yet to really explode, but they have been solid and will face a young NC State defense that has allowed 4.75 ypc thus far. Pirates win this one easily.


MARTY OTTO

NAVY AT RUTGERS O/U 58

Recommendation: Over
Rutgers’ quarterback Mike Teel has looked terrible through two games but there isn’t much doubt that he’ll have a huge day here against Navy. The Midshipmen allowed opponents to connect at a 70% clip in the pass game last year and have already been torched twice this season by Ball State and Duke for over 640 yards and seven TDs through the air. Teel has lost his composure against two up and coming defenses but he still moved the ball. The difference this week is that they will finally turn the yardage into points. Kenny Britt and Tiquan Underwood will have a field day against this secondary. But Navy will have its fare share of success offensively as well. We have seen the Rutgers defense give up 160 yards and three scores to Ryan Matthews in week one and UNC had no trouble ripping off 4.1 yards per carry as a team. This is a tough system to prepare for and stop and I have no faith in the Scarlet Knights to keep Shun White, Kaipo, or Jarrod Bryant in check. After all, Navy has scored at least 23 points in 18 straight games. Over is the play this week.


TIM TRUSHEL

VIRGINIA TECH AT NORTH CAROLINA -1.5

Recommendation: North Carolina
We picked North Carolina to win the ACC Championship and part of the reasoning behind that selection was the fact that within their division, the powerhouse teams Virginia Tech and Miami-Florida, were down significantly. Head coach Butch Davis has a young but talented group of players. With 18 returning starters, the benefit of playing so many true freshmen and sophomores last year, would be realized this season. Brandon Tate is as a dynamic talent as we have seen all year long. Not only is he a solid receiver but he is the best return men in college football. Hakeem Nicks is somewhat overshadowed by Tate, but he makes for an explosive tandem. Quarterback TJ Yates is quite efficient and has a knack for making big plays. Their hard hitting defense is quick to the ball and has created turnovers regularly. Simply put this is a solid team. Virginia Tech perhaps telegraphed their intention on the season when Frank Beamer originally had decided to red-shirt quarterback Tyrod Taylor. Perhaps not convinced that the season would be a huge success,Beamer originally felt better served in playing for the future. As evidenced this is not a great Hokies team. They are skittish on offense and will not have any athletic edge on special teams. We clearly see that the better team is UNC and will lay the short price.


ED CASH

GEORGIA -6.5 AT ARIZONA STATE

Recommendation: Georgia
Georgia got a very stiff test last week in Columbia, South Carolina, surviving with a 14-7 win over the Gamecocks. This week they travel across the country to face an Arizona State team that lost at home to UNLV last week as a 24-point favorite. I am sure that the Sun Devils were probably thinking about Georgia last week, but I am not sure that is going to help them this week. The Bulldogs should be too tough and fast for the Sun Devils of the PAC-10, which went 0-4 against the Mountain West last week. Georgia faced a very physical South Carolina defense last week, but that won’t be the case in the desert. Look for Knowshon Moreno and the Georgia running game to have a big day, which will set up the passing game as well. Arizona State seems to still be a notch below the top level of college football teams as evidenced by their last three games as an underdog. They lost to Texas in last year’s Holiday Bowl, 52-34, and were beaten in the regular season by USC, 44-24 and Oregon, 35-23 and were outgained by an average of 461-358 in the three losses. Expect more of the same this week.


DONNIE BLACK

LSU AT AUBURN +3

Recommendation: Auburn
The Auburn offense in its win over Mississippi State looked about as poor as an SEC offensive unit has looked all year. Perhaps the only exception was Mississippi State as they could manage no offense scoring in the 3-2 (yes that’s right) defeat. Against MSU the Auburn offense struggled as it lost three more fumbles and committed 12 penalties for 94 yards. On the season they have committed eight turnovers, six of which are fumbles from skill position players. Yet while Auburn has struggled offensively, its defense has been positively dominant. This past weekend, the Bulldogs were held to 116 yards while going 0-for-14 on third-down conversions and 0-for-3 on fourth downs. They were forced to punt 10 times. On the season, Auburn has held the opposition to just 641 total yards of offense in three games. Auburn ranks third nationally in scoring defense (5.0), ninth in rushing defense (53.0) and 10th in total defense (213.7). They don’t miss tackles and they don’t allow extra yardage after contact. The opposition has been held to an incredible 3-of-46 on third down conversions. We expect improved play out of the offense as they eliminate the turnovers and we’ll call for the home team to win the ninth consecutive game in the series. Play the home underdog Tigers.

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Jimmy Boyd

Virginia Tech vs. North Carolina     
Play: North Carolina -2

This is a huge game for the Heels to let the Hokies see what it feels like to be on the losing end of this matchup. Following a devastating loss in their season opener, the Hokies have bounce back with back-to-back wins but haven’t looked overly impressive in either. The Tar Heels will have had nine days of preparation leading up to this one and that, along with home field, gives them a big advantage here. The Hokies are a terrible 0-7 ATS in their last 7 games in September and just 3-7 ATS in their last 10 games after allowing more than 200 yards rushing in their previous game. This points out the simple fact that this is not the same defensive team we are used to seeing. The Tar Heels are 6-2 ATS in their last 8 home games and 4-1 ATS vs. a team with a winning record. Take the Tar Heels.

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Greg Shaker

Rutgers Scarlet Knights at Navy Midshipmen
Play: Over 60.5

The Rutgers Scarlet Knights are off to their worst start in a very long time and there are a lot of reasons for that. The most glaring thing about this team is their offensive attack, or lack of it. They have managed just 19 points this year in two contests and both of those games have been at home where they have always had great success. We can, however, look more closely to find that they have had more success than the scores would indicate. The fact is, they have averaged near 380 yards of offense against Fresno and North Carolina, and what has kept them down has been a large amount of turnovers and problems in the Red Zone. That should not be a problem Saturday as they travel to play a Navy Squad that does not have the secondary, nor the defensive front to control any team on the field. That was the reason I played Duke last week and the Blue Devils did not disapoint as they rolled up 41 points and over 300 yards via the air verses the Midshipmen. Navy cannot stop anyone and they will not be able to to stop what is expected to be a very focused Rutgers team Saturday. What probably will not be fixed is the Rutgers D which has been very poor in the first two games this year. They have allowed their first two opponents to score an average of 34 points on right at 400 yards per game. We are seeing the Ugliness that Graduation has brought to the Knights as well as a Key injury to defensive end Gary Watts. Navy might not be as prolific at scoring as they have been in the past, but they are a tough team to prepare for and they are still racking up the offensive stats. At their home place, they will put the ball in the endzone. Let's take a line from the Navy Song, "Roll up the score, Navy, Anchors Aweigh." That is what I think they can do Saturday and they will drop some anchors on the Rutgers sparser than usual defense. This line is up from an early open of 58 and it would not surprise me if it continued to rise further. With both teams coming into Saturday's action very healthy on offense, and the Rutgers offensive squad wanting to get that monkey off their back, I can see the Knights scoring 40+ and Navy being right there most every step of the way.

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STEVE ZUKIEL

Miami - FL Hurricanes vs Texas A&M Aggies

This is a battle of two teams learning to adjust to new offensive schemes. Both have struggled as well with the learning curve, and I do think Miami has the better defense, but I also believe it's A&M with more upside on the offensive side of the football. With that being said, I can't believe the Aggies are 4 1/2 point underdogs at home. Take the points folks. STEVE ZUKIEL TAKES THE TEXAS A&M AGGIES PLUS THE POINTS OVER THE MIAMI HURRICANES AS AN EZ FREE WINNER

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Right Angle Sports

New Mexico (+10) at Tulsa

New Mexico is known for starting slow under Rocky Long, so their 1-2 record should come as no surprise especially when considering the level of competition they have faced to start the season in TCU, Texas A&M, and Arizona. They did not play well vs TCU in the opener, but outgained TAMU 370 to 236 only losing by 6 as a result of -3 turnovers including a pick six. They rebounded with a big win over Arizona last week, beating the Cats for the second straight year. QB Donovan Porterie, a third year starter, had to be benched in the opener but has looked more and more like his old self in the last two games. He hasn't been called on to do too much yet with the Lobo ground game going for over 200 yards in the last two games. New Mexico will be able to move the ball on Tulsa, and their efficient ground game will keep Tulsa's high powered offense off the field more than they would like to be. Oddsmakers are assigning a rating to Tulsa that assumes they have improved from last year based off two easy wins over horrible teams in UAB and North Texas. The UAB game was actually more competitive (Tulsa trailed at half) than the final score indicates and North Texas is worse than many 1-AA teams right now. Tulsa still has huge question marks on a defense that gave up huge numbers last year and a QB that lacks experience. Last year only 3 of Tulsa's 9 regular season wins came by more than 10 points and New Mexico figures to be one of the better teams they will face all season. In fact head coach Graham calls it the best defense they will see all season. They also may be one of the most well prepared as the Lobos have faced pass happy spread offenses in BYU, New Mexico St, and Arizona each of the past two seasons. The Mountain West is far superior to C-USA and this line is too high. Take the points.

Play:New Mexico +10 for 1 UNIT

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Matt Fargo

Florida Atlantic @ Minnesota
PICK: Minnesota -6.5

The Gophers are 3-0 after coming off a dismal 1-11 campaign last season. Minnesota has been solid on offense which was expected as it has averaged 36 ppg through those first three games. The Gophers should once again be able to move the chains and put up points against a very suspect Florida Atlantic defense. In last year’s meeting, Minnesota put up 470 total yards and there is no reason to think it cannot do it again.

The Owls are coming off a loss, this time a shutout at Michigan St. The 17-0 final may have looked close but it could have been a lot worse if not for the bad weather that took place in East Lansing. The Spartans put up 250 yards rushing but because of the bad weather, they were able to go only 3-15 on third down and that resulted in opportunities lost. Florida Atlantic has now scored a total of 10 points in two road games.

Minnesota went to Bowling Green earlier this season and avenged a loss form last season and it has the chance to do it again. The Gophers lost some tough games last season and one of those was a three-point setback in Boca Raton so revenge is once again in play here. Minnesota was favored by a touchdown in that game and it is now favored by the same amount but this time it is at home making the no change in line value filled.

Minnesota has nine returning starters on offense, including quarterback Adam Weber, who led the offense in rushing and passing last year. It finished 48th in total offense which was outstanding considering it was the first year the new offense was in place. In the second year, things are really coming together. The Gophers are 15th in the nation in passing efficiency offense while Florida Atlantic is 92nd in passing efficiency defense.

Overall, the Owls are 105th in total defense and 103rd in scoring defense so they could once again be in for a long one. Another key factor for the Gophers turnaround has been turnovers. Minnesota finished 114th in the country in turnover margin last season as it gave it up 1.25 times per game. This year it is a complete turnaround as it is 3rd in the nation at +2.67. Look for the Gopher to continue their run and get their revenge Saturday. Play Minnesota Golden Gopher 1.5 Units

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David Malinsky

Central Florida @ Boston College
PICK: 4* Boston College -10

One of our favorite settings in college football through the years comes up in this one, and yet it is one that we have never developed a catch phrase for. A “No-Sizzle” favorite? We will have to do better. What we have is a superior team that brings a defense that can absolutely dominate the opposing team’s offense, and the mind-set to do so. But because they lack sex appeal, the number is short.

The public is always enamored with big favorites that are explosive on offense, since those teams can score into the 40’s and 50’s to break games wide open. As such, the oddsmakers have to make particular adjustments for those settings. But the favorite that can completely shut down the opponent often has an even better chance of covering the spread; they are just not as likely to do it in explosive fashion. That is Boston College this week. The Eagle front seven on defense is among the best in the nation, and through the first two games the defense has allowed only 17 points, 24 first downs and 485 yards. Those games were against opponents that had mobile QB’s (Justin Edelman for Kent State and Josh Nesbitt for Georgia Tech), and dynamic lead RB’s (Eugene Jarvis for Kent and Jonathan Dwyer for GT). Now they face a young Central Florida offense that has neither. In fact, the Golden Knights do not have much of anything offensively.

We do not think much of Michael Greco at QB. We do not think much of his receivers. And in all of the years that we have charted college football, falling down from the 2,567 rushing yards and 29 rushing TD’s of Kevin Smith, to a current RB corps in which the top three on the depth chart are all freshmen, is one of the biggest single-position drop-offs we have seen. Even the OL only brought back two starters from LY. So how has this played out? In the opener against lowly South Carolina State they managed only 318 yards, and it was 7-0 well into the 4th quarter of a 17-0 win. As for that overtime thriller vs. South Florida, go back and review. Even with the added possession in O.T. they could muster only 12 first downs and 226 yards, and the game would likely have ended 24-10, with their only touchdown coming on a punt return, if South Florida had not set up the late sequence by throwing an ill-timed interception with a little more than three minutes left.

Yes, there should be some concerns about the Boston College offense, after three second-half turnovers turned their game around vs. Georgia Tech. But as we wrote in the first paragraph, the “mind-set” is right where we want it to be. The Eagles have had two weeks to build up some frustrations off of the Tech loss, and with only Rhode Island on deck there is absolutely no holding back. That means that they bring a knock-out punch to the table against an opponent that clearly has a glass jaw.

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Captain Morgan

Iowa @ Pittsburgh

Iowa is 1-3 straight-up in road openers versus non-conference opponents
Pitt is 5-1 ATS versus the Big Ten last 6 times

PLAY ON PITTSBURGH

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GREG GAMBLE’S 2008 PIGSKIN PICKS - 14-7 ATS...67%
NCAA ATS: 6-0 - NFL ATS: 4-6 - Teasers ATS: 4-1

Greg Gamble Rule #54-Mariah: Urban Meyer playin off a bye-week (& still acting more pissed-off than an adult actress after an unexpected hair shot), facing an unranked squad on the road & favored by less than 2 tuddies is almost as wise an investment as Nick Cannon's in Mariah's cougar-azz for a few years before cashing in!

Greg Gamble Rule #69-DD: When a team loses (Vols) to a team (Bruins) that was destroyed the following game (UCLA lost 59-0 to BYU); the worse case scenario for that team (Vols) is to bounce back against last year’s Heisman winner...unless his friend Double D is in the stands, then it's not that bad!

Greg Gamble Rule #69ing with Poprocks: If a Top-5 ranked team is better this year ova last year (Florida), and is playing an opponent they beat by more the 38 the year prior that is actually worse this season (Tennessee), put the midgets & Asians to bed and go looking for your checkbook!

Final Score: GATORS 34 VOLS 17


ARIZONA WILDCATS (-2.5) @ UCLA BRUINS
Under new headmaster Rich “Gambling Pool” Neuheisel, the Bruins secondary was abused like an NBA groupie last week as BYU completed 78% and tossed 7 tuddies! This week, they face a pass-happy Wildcat squad averaging ova 46 pts/gm in their first three contests (2-1) and looking for redemption after an 8-point loss at New Mexico. Led by Sr. QB Willie Tuitama (8 TD, 2 Int, & 66%), his game breaking WRs (Mike Thomas- 302 yrds 3 TD, Delashaun Dean- 220 yrds, 2 TD, & Terrell Turner- 134 yrds, TD), & possibly the most underrated back in the Pac-10 Nic Grigsby (125 ypg, 6.6 avg, 6 TD), I cannot fathom how UCLA’s offense bounces back to keep up.

Especially with Zona getting their feet wet on the road last week, the trip to Hollywood should be a much easier adjustment. While Neuheisel will eventually turn the program around, recruitment over the last few years and player movement after the coaching change has left UCLA without much depth. Just like BYU did, look for Mike Stoops to turn this into a track meet early and then pound Grigsy late as the Bruins tire.

Final Score: WILDCATS 37 BRUINS 27


#9 ALABAMA TIDE (-9.5) @ ARKANSAS HOGS
While I’d pay money to see what happened to Charlie Weis happen to Nick Satan, i'll admit the A-hole can fire-up a college program something fierce. In only his 2nd season, Bama already looks like a powerhouse after opening 3-0 and winning by an average of 24 pts/gm (won at then #9 Clemson 34-10). The Tide has a bevy of star RBs sharing the pill this season and each has the ability to take over a game.

Combined with their power rushing attack, after starring in Home Improvement Sr. QB John Parker Wilson has development into a confident leader and become a play-action guru for Satan. As for the Hogs, besides losing the most dynamic backfield in NCAA history (Darren McFaddon & Felix Jones) and more than half their starters on both sides of the ball, the change in coaching staff has been the biggest adjustment for the few veterans left on the squad. As a result, the Hogs barely squeaked by W. Illinois in the opener (28-24) and followed that up with an ugly come from behind one-point victory at Louisiana-Monroe. Smellin' a blowout boys?

Final Score: CRIMSON TIDE 31 HOGS 13

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Sportsbettingstats

LSU Tigers at Auburn

Auburn comes into this game after beating Mississippi 3-2, while LSU crushed North Texas 41-3. If LSU wants to repeat as National Champs they have to win at Auburn, which is something they have not done since 1998. This is HUGE SEC match up with BCS implications and features two of the best defenses in the nation. LSU is led by QB's Andrew Hatch (202 1 TD) and Jarrett Lee (200 yds 2 TD). The strength of LSU is their running game, as stud RB Charles Scott (262 yds 4 TD) is the main man in the backfield. The main target for LSU's QB's is Brandon LaFell (11 rec 156 yds 4 TD), who is 6'3" and creates match up problems for any opposing secondary. Auburn is led by QB Chris Todd (472 yds 1 TD 1 INT) and his main targets are WR's Montez Billings (6 rec 98 yds) and Rodgeriqus Smith (8 rec 86 yds). Auburn's rushing attack is led by Ben Tate (278 yds 1 TD) and Brad Lester (148 yds 1 TD) will also see some carries.

Staff Pick: Both teams have great D's, but the keys to this game will be which offense can run the ball and if either can get some yards through the air. LSU's D took a big hit last week as LB Darry Beckwith went down with a knee injury and he will not play in this game. Auburn has to contain RB Charles Scott, who is averaging an impressive 11.4 yards per carry. This match up has always produced close games, as 11 of the last 18 games between the two have been decided by a TD or less. Auburn showed how good their D was last week in limiting Mississippi to only 116 yards, but their offense only scored on a field goal. In their first 3 games Auburn has given up an average of only 53 rushing yards per game and has given up only 15 points in their 3 wins. However, Auburn has not faced the caliber of RB like Scott and if their D can stop him they will have a huge advantage. The game is at Auburn, so that is another big advantage for them and if they can run the ball and stop Scott they will be sitting pretty. Look for both defenses to play well and for a low scoring game. The home field will be the deciding factor, as Auburn will win in a close game.

Auburn 17 LSU 13

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