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Saturday Service PLays

Re: Saturday Service PLays

Kevin O’Neill

Auburn (+3) over LSU

It was one ugly game in Starkville Saturday night. Auburn escaped with a 3-2 win (really, it was 3-2). Auburn’s defense was tremendous, but obviously they struggled against Mississippi State’s stout defense. The Tigers gained only 315 yards, missed a pair of field goals, and blew two opportunities in the red zone. It was just one of those nights, and Auburn fans are surely lighting up the talk shows and message boards with vitriol toward new offensive coordinator Tony Franklin. But the Tigers will learn a lot from that contest and move forward. Auburn will not be the only team to play a lowscoring brutal war with Mississippi State this season, and MSU’s stop unit will be one of the better defenses in college football. It was just one of those games, and they got out of their alive. Franklin indicated on Sunday that he would rely more on his instinct in his play calling and will refer less to a prepared script. Look for more of a contribution from backup QB Kodi Burns and more time on the field (and potential home run calls) for WR Terrell Zachery as the Tigers open things up a little bit. LSU has scored only 7, 9, and 3 points on their last three visits here. And they really haven’t even started playing yet this season. A home postponement against Troy sandwiched between home “friendlies” against Appalachian State and North Texas is all that LSU has been involved in this season. Of course, they are the defending national champions, and it isn’t like their 12 returning starters haven’t been around the block a time or two. And it isn’t as if LSU lacks talent. But Auburn’s defensive ability (holding Mississippi State to 116 total yards), and the intensity that can only be found in big SEC night games will be a major culture shock for the inexperienced LSU quarterbacks. Neither Andrew Hatch nor Jarrett Lee has experience in an environment like this one. They are completely unproven. Darry Beckwith’s knee injury leaves the LSU linebacking corps very inexperienced, as he was the only returning starter on that unit. Home dogs that allowed a conference opponent 2.1 yards per play in their last game are probably a pretty good play when hosting teams led by inexperienced quarterbacks, don’t you think? Take the points as Auburn finds a way to win in a brutal, hard-hitting contest. Auburn by 3.


North Carolina (-1½) over Virginia Tech

North Carolina rolled Rutgers 40-12 on Thursday night, and we got there with them on our phone service. As you know from reading our annual, we think highly of the Tar Heels chances this season. They have some formidable young talent, have tremendous receiving talents for emerging QB TJ Yates to connect with, and while ex-NFL coaches are failing from coast to coast, Butch Davis was a success in college before he tanked with the Cleveland Browns. UNC struggled in their first game against McNeese State (a team that lost only once last year and runs a highly effective spread offense) but really came together in their win over Rutgers. This is a team to watch. Virginia Tech is really struggling offensively. They were very fortunate to beat Georgia Tech. The Hokies were outgained 388-247 and needed a couple of questionable penalties after 3rd and long plays to keep their scoring drive alive. If it wasn’t for the 3-0 Gobbler turnover edge the Yellow Jackets would likely have returned to Atlanta with a victory. You’re aware of their struggles in their loss vs. East Carolina as well. This is the first game that the Hokies will play in hostile territory, as ECU’s “home game” in Charlotte was actually played much closer to Blacksburg than Greenville and took place in front of mostly Hokie partisans. While UNC will never be accused of having the most intense crowd in college football, there is an escalating interest in the Heels football program and they’ll enjoy a legit home field edge here. Virginia Tech’s offense is really struggling, leading to a radio call in show mini-controversy where Frank Beamer passionately defended his program and his offensive coordinator. But there’s no getting around the fact that the VT can’t move the ball right now. 58 plays for 244 yards against East Carolina and a nearly identical 61 plays for 247 yards against Georgia Tech. That’s 4.2 yards per play against their two 1-A opponents, with a different starting QB in each game. Virginia Tech has the better defense, but how do they score? Defense and specialteams? Maybe. But an athletic edge was not evident against East Carolina and Georgia Tech. In his first start against a 1-A opponent this year, QB Tyrod Taylor passed only 15 times; wile the coaches called 46 running plays. If Frank Beamer doesn’t trust Taylor, why should we? North Carolina by 7.


Arkansas State (-5) over MTSU

The Sun Belt is the worst conference in Division 1-A. But they’ve been making some noise this season, thanks to these two clubs. Both have already beaten BCS conference opponents, with Arkansas State winning at Texas A&M and Middle Tennessee State notching a home upset over Maryland. And then they both came up just short against bigger name opposition this week. But how they come out of those games is completely different.After Arkansas State tossed an interception while driving in an evenly played 27-24 loss to Southern Miss, ASU’s fine head coach Steve Roberts was proud of his team. “We played very, very well and I’m not disappointed in our kids’ effort. I thought we played very hard and showed a lot of maturity and resiliency during the course of the ball game. We fought back from 10 down and 14 down...we came back and got ourselves and the crowd back into the game.” MTSU, with a bad home loss against Troy before that home win over Maryland, went up to Lexington and took Kentucky to the wire, completing a deflected 61-yard Hail Mary pass that saw WR Eldred King dragged down on the one-yard line as time expired in a 20-14 loss. Disappointed at a penalty that negated a long returned FG block and emotional over the near miss, MTSU coach Rick Stockstill asked reporters “how would you feel if you just had your guts ripped out?” So in consecutive weeks, MTSU has had their biggest win in program history, and then followed that up with a heartbreaking loss. Now Stockstill is supposed to get his team up for a trip to Jonesboro,Arkansas to take on a team that they’ve beaten by a combined 152-41 in the last four years. Arkansas State, who has already won at Texas A&M this season, was a very popular play against Southern Missisippi. Oftentimes it pays to go with the teams that were failed “wise guy” move from the week before. And why was ASU so supported by professional bettors? The Red Wolves (formerly Indians) running game is extraordinary. ASU gains 7.1 yards per rush, and if you take away their game against Texas Southern and look just at A&M and Southern Miss, they average 5.2 yards per rush.MTSU was outrushed 102-31 at Kentucky.ASU is playing a strong brand of football, is off a respectable loss they can build from, and will likely be able to control the line of scrimmage against a team that will have trouble getting up for this game for a multitude of reasons. Lay the points with the Red Wolves. ASU by 11.

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Re: Saturday Service PLays

Matty Baiungo

Tennessee (+7½) over Florida

Knee jerking to SEC home underdogs is not a bad strategy, and that’s exactly what I did when I first saw the line for this game. Taking a full touchdown with a team that has won 85% (85-16) of their home games over the last 16 years is simply way too good to pass up. Now I do not care for head coach Phil Fulmer all that much. Much of Fulmer’s success can certainly be credited to his good friend, former offensive coordinator David Cutcliffe (now at Duke). It was Cutcliffe, not Fulmer who was responsible for the potent Tennessee offenses of the late 90’s. And when things went sour in 2005, Fulmer lured Cutcliffe back to Knoxville in order to save his job. But Tennessee has no shot to win this game in a shootout, so Cutcliffe’s absence shouldn’t matter much. So we’ll lean on one of the best defensive coordinators in the country, John Chavis, to come up with a nice game plan to try and contain Florida. Tennessee opened their season by handing UCLA an undeserving win. The Vols out-played the Bruins at the line of scrimmage holding them to just 29 yards on the ground while forcing four turnovers yet they still couldn’t get the win. And one might see that as a negative, especially after UCLA got waxed last week by BYU (59-0). But I really liked how Tennessee bounced back off their bye and drilled UAB on Saturday. The Vols erased the LA fiasco by doubling the Blazers in yardage and totally shutting them down with their defense. And the stop unit will have to come up big once again here against the Gators, which is quite possible considering Florida’s tendencies. Since Urban Meyer took over Florida in 2005, the Gators are just 7-5 straight up on the road with the seven wins coming by 21, 1, 6, 7, 6, 8 and 20 points. And they haven’t played nearly as good on the road as they have at home. Their offensive and defensive numbers both drop dramatically to the tune of double digits. They score 16 points per game less on the road and they allow close to 12 points per game more on the road. And that’s the main reason why they’ve struggled when laying points away from Gainesville. In twelve true road games under Meyer, Florida is just 4-8 against the spread including a miserable 2-8 as a road favorite. That also includes a 2-7 spread mark in SEC road games when laying points. Aside from the above, there are really no negatives on Florida. But they embarrassed Tennessee last year by 39 points (59- 20), and it was Fulmer’s biggest margin of defeat.Neyland Stadium will be packed with over 100,000 fans clad in burnt orange looking to return the favor. Game comes down to the wire. Florida by only 1.


Utah (-7½) over Air Force

Perception meets reality here. Both teams enter without a loss (yet), which makes this line much shorter than it should be. Utah is a legit top 15 team. They’ve got a very good quarterback in Brian Johnson, one of the toughest defenses in the country, and a veteran group of guys that know how to win. On the other hand, Air Force is living off last year’s reputation, when in fact the talent is lesser. Head coach Troy Calhoun took over for the legendary Fisher DeBerry last year, and he inherited a good team with a talented quarterback (Shaun Carney) that led the Falcons to a bowl game. But Carney has graduated, and this year’s team is made up of different parts, not equal to last year. And their 3-0 start may be giving them a false sense of security, but they’ll get a reality check in this game. It’s no secret that Air Force is a one trick pony to the run, even though Calhoun’s plans were to switch to more of a passing attack upon his hire. The triple option is tough to stop even with the defense knowing what’s coming. But you have to mix in a pass every now and then just to keep opposing defenses honest, something Air Force did effectively last year. That hasn’t been the case over their first three games so far with 210 rushing attempts to just 23 passing attempts. And last week at Houston, quarterback Shea Smith was 0 for 7 throwing the ball. That’s not a misprint. Smith did not complete a single pass, which is just unfathomable for a major college football team. Houston also out-yarded the Force by 154 yards (534-380) and made 9 more first downs yet still lost. That box score is simply wacky, and a repeat of that performance here gets Air Force smoked in this game. Utah is loaded with offensive firepower, and all of the skill positions are filled with seniors. The Utes have been waiting for this game after losing 20-12 as a 7-point home favorite to Air Force last year. QB Brian Johnson did not play in that game because of a separated shoulder, and his presence alone will make the outcome much different. Johnson loves where his team is at: "I love the attitude of this team," he said. "I love the edge we are practicing with every day." Utah is focused on this conference game and there are no look ahead worries with Weber St on deck. With this line in the single digits, the perception is that Air Force is as good as their 3- 0 record indicates. But the reality is just the opposite, they are not that good. They’ve beaten three bad teams and are taking a huge step up in class here. Utah by 14.

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Re: Saturday Service PLays

Erik Scheponik

Wake Forest (+4½) @ Florida St.

Florida State has gotten fat and happy (and somehow ranked?) off of two blowout wins against 1AA squads Chattanooga and Western Carolina, and are now somehow laying points to a team that has beaten them two straight seasons and won 5 more conference game than the Seminoles during that span. Sure, recruiting ratings keep telling us that FSU is bringing in top talent, but it surely is not showing it on the field, as they are off back-to-back 7-6 seasons, and have not won 10 games in a season since 2003. On the opposite side of the spectrum is Jim Grobe and Wake Forest, who supposedly bring in average talent, but obviously know what to do with it. This is Grobe’s most talented team yet, especially on the defensive side of the ball, and we know he and his staff know how to coach players up. FSU sophomore QB Christian Ponder somehow beat out senior Drew Weatherford, and is the starter for this one. He may be in for a rude awakening against a Demon Deacons defense that returns its entire back 7 after leading the NCAA with 8 defensive touchdowns last season. That defense is off to a fast start already this season, forcing 8 turnovers in two games. The other question I have with the ‘Noles is leadership. They have, on paper, an all-star coaching staff, but they often look poorly coached and locker room problems have surfaced the last couple of seasons. Offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher is supposed to take over when Bobby Bowden retires, but one gets the feeling that has led to a bit of an awkward situation among the staff and players. The two question marks I just listed for FSU are areas of strength for Wake Forest. Grobe is one of college football’s best head coaches, and crafty QB Skinner is an extension of him. Skinner makes play after play with excellent football IQ and accuracy, if not a big arm. He has now started 25 games at Wake (compared to two for FSU’s Ponder, both against 1AA teams), and as smart and poised as he was as a freshman, he is tough as nails now. The final advantage for Wake is their ace special teams, led by NFL caliber K/P Sam Swank. FSU, on the other hand, lost SR. specialist Graham Gano to injury, and his replacement, sophomore Zach Hobby, has missed two field goals and two extra points thus far. The punting is handled by a true frosh as well, and he obviously has not had many chances in the first two games. Expect Wake to win the battle of special teams by even a bigger margin than they usually do. Wake Forest is one of college football’s top underdogs at 28-14-2 ATS when taking points under Grobe. The Noles, on the other hand, continue to be overrated by the betting public, as evidenced by their 15-24 ATS record as a home favorite since 2001. Make FSU with Ponder beat us before we believe the hype. Wake Forest by 3

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Re: Saturday Service PLays

Larry Ness

Idaho @ Utah St
PICK:Utah St. -5

Robb Akey is in his second year as Idaho's head coach and he's 2-13 SU. The wins have come over two Division I-AA schools, Cal Poly last year (20-13) and Idaho State this year (42-27). Meanwhile, Utah State's Brent Guy is in his fifth year at Logan and after an 0-3 start to '08, he's 6-32 as the Aggies head coach. Utah State was competitive in Las Vegas against UNLV on August 30 (lost 27-17) but the Aggies were "in over their heads" the last two Saturdays, allowing 66 points at Oregon and 58 at home to Utah last week. That 58-10 loss marked Utah State's eighth straight home defeat (1-7 ATS), which represents the longest active home losing streak in CFB. However, the visiting Vandals own a nine-game road losing streak entering this Saturday's contest, allowing an average of 47.0 PPG. Idaho QB Nathan Enderle (334 YP and three TD passes last week) and RB Deonte Jackson (1,175 YR in '07 and back-to-back 100-yard games in '08) give the Vandals more offensive 'punch' than the Aggies but I'm taking Idaho away from home, considering its current record. Utah State won last year's game in Moscow 24-19, despite being out-gained 428 to 272 in yards. Four Idaho turnovers were the difference and while one can't "count on getting turnovers," one also can't rely on the poor-traveling Vandals in this price range, either. Take Utan State.

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Re: Saturday Service PLays

JORGE GONZALEZ

Iowa vs. Pittsburgh U   
Play: Under 41.5     
 
The Iowa Hawkeyes come into this game with a record of 3-0. They have one of the best defenses in the country not having allowed a touchdown in their first 12 quarters. The Hawkeyes defense has the #1 ranked in points allowed, 2.7 points per game. There are stiffing the run for just 88 yards per contest and 165 yards on the air. Iowa has recorded eight sacks and will playing against a Pittsburgh offense line that is suspect, six sacks allowed, when they drop back to protect the quarterback. The Panthers will try to get their star running back LeSean McCoy going to take pressure off of the passing game. The Iowa offense strength is running the ball. Shawn Green is leading the way with 359 yards on 6.5 yards per carry on the ground. As a team, Iowa is averaging 201.3 yards rushing per game. The Pittsburgh defense will benefit from Iowa's inability to throw the football. The Hawkeyes rotate Richard Stanzi and Jake Christensen at quarterback. In their 17-5 victory over in-state rival Iowa State, they combined to complete 9 of 19 passes for 122 yards and two interceptions. Look for both teams to take a conservative approach to this game keeping the ball on the ground chewing up the game clock. Take the under. 

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Re: Saturday Service PLays

Sean Higgs

Florida Atlantic vs. Minnesota U
Play: Minnesota U -6.5

Take the Golden Gophers early in a nice revenge spot at home.

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Re: Saturday Service PLays

Norm Hitzges

Double Plays

Utah -8 vs Air Force
Georgia -7 vs Arizona St
Houston -6.5 vs Colorado St

Single Plays

Minnesota -7 vs Florida International
Mississippi -7 vs Vanderbilt
Rutgers -6 vs Navy
Boston College -10 vs Central Florida
Miami, FL -3 vs Texas A&M
UTEP -7 vs New Mexico State
Arizona -2.5 vs UCLA

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Re: Saturday Service PLays

FairWay Jay

Toledo +7.0

Tough spot for Fresno State, as they travel following "the biggest game in school history" in which they went toe-to-toe with Wisconsin but came up just short in losing 13-10. The Bulldogs traveled across country in their opener at Rutgers, and have UCLA on deck. The ‘Dogs defense will be asked to win this one, and while Toledo’s offense has struggled and been a bit inefficient, the Rockets committed to the running game with success last week and can rely on that strength to stay in this ballgame. The Rockets have been terrific at home in the ‘Glass Bowl’, where they have gone 41-6 SU and 6-1 as a home underdog since 2000. Teams favored by 7 or more points that fail to score 28 in a contest are a poor proposition to cover the pointspread (<20%), and Fresno State will be hard pressed to reach that total at Toledo. The Bulldogs failed to cover the pointspread in two similar situational spots last year, and while Fresno State is the better team the schedule and situation points to the home 'Dog.

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Sports Insights

Vanderbilt vs Mississippi

Vanderbilt is a small surprise early in the season with a 3-0 record, including a home upset of then No.24 ranked South Carolina. The Commodores have an offense dominated by the running game. Quarterback Chris Nickson has more rushing attempts (49) and rushing yards (268) than pass attempts (45) and passing yards (252). He has also rushed for 5 touchdowns, while only tossing two TDs to his receivers. Senior Sean Walker leads all receivers with six catches for 93 yards. Running back Jared Hawkins is Vandy's second-leading rusher with 242 yards on 50 carries, including 107 yards last week in a win over Rice. The Commodores defense isn't the strength of the team, as they are allowing over 350 yards of total offense per game.

Mississippi is off to a good start in Head Coach Houston Nutt's first season. Two easy wins and a road loss to No. 18 Wake Forest on a last-second field goal, have the Rebels feeling pretty good as they seek their first SEC win since November of 2006. The Rebels are putting up points with Nutt's unorthodox offensive system that likes to spread the ball and confuse defenses. Texas transfer Javon Snead has looked good, but not great, behind center, and he is coming off his worst performance for Ole Miss after throwing no TDs and two interceptions against Samford. The Rebels are averaging over 400 yards of offense per game.

This game features two teams that have made previous appearances in this column and a pretty big line movement since opening as Mississippi -5 at Pinnacle. The Rebels are currently laying 7 points to the Commodores across the board, even with Vandy garnering 60% of the public bets. That kind of movement with the public backing the underdog indicates the Sharps are giving up the points to take the home team. We tend to follow those guys here at Sports Marketwatch, so  why change now? We'll go against Vandy for a second straight week, and hope Ole Miss comes through for us again.

Mississippi –6.5 


LSU vs Arkansas

LSU has dominated two underdogs by scoring 41 points in both of its first two games. They will get a much stiffer test as the open SEC play traveling to Auburn. The Bayou Bengals individual numbers don't look that impressive until you notice how many players are making contributions on offense. They are averaging 445 yards per game on offense, including 241 on the ground. The defense is a strength for this team. They've limited opponents from putting points on the board, but they only created one turnover against lesser teams Appalachian State and North Texas. LSU will be without defensive cornerstone LB Darry Beckwith after he suffered a knee injury last week. The Bayou Bengals have also committed 14 penalties in their two contests in 2008.

Auburn is coming off one of the lowest scoring games in the history of college football, a 3-2 win against Mississippi State last Saturday. The Tigers have only given up 15 points in their three games this season; two coming from last week's safety and seven from a Southern Mississippi touchdown following an Auburn turnover. That leaves six points that can be placed on the defense's shoulder through tree games. They are allowing only 53 rushing yards per game to opponents. Auburn is still adjusting to the spread offense implemented during the off-season, and it showed during last week's sloppy performance against the Bulldogs. The Tigers feature a pair of talented running backs in Ben Tate and Brad Lester.

Early action from the public loves defending champ LSU, who are receiving 84% of bets. The line has moved from an opening of LSU -1.5 to -2.5 at Pinnacle. Their combination of offense and defense makes them attractive against what looks like a one-sided Auburn team. Well, here at the Marketwatch, we like going against the public and this game has some history on that side. The home team has won this matchup eight consecutive times, and 11 of the previous 18 games have been decided by a touchdown or less, including the last four. We're thinking this one will be nail-biter, so we're taking the home team with the points.

Auburn +3


Florida vs Tennessee

Florida came into the season as a championship contender, and the Gators have done nothing to show otherwise so far in 2008. Led by returning Heisman winner Tim Tebow, Florida has stormed out of the gate scoring 82 points in its first two games, while allowing only 13 points to Hawaii and Miami (FL). They come off a bye week, giving them extra time before opening SEC play on the road. This is a team in the spotlight, and they tend to put up lots of points, which draws the public's interest.

Tennessee bounced back from the UCLA upset with a 35-3 win over Alabama-Birmingham last week. The Volunteers put up 548 yards of total offense, including 266 on the ground. Stud running back Adrian Foster only ran the ball 12 times for 100 yards against the Blazers, a sign of good health for the Tennessee running game overall. Quarterback Jonathan Crompton also looked more comfortable against the UAB than he did in the season opener, completing 19 of 31 pass attempts for 240 yards. The Volunteers defense also made three interceptions last week to give them seven through two games.

Tennessee's Phillip Fulmer hasn't beaten Florida since Urban Meyer took over in Gainseville, and many people think this is a make-or-break season for Fulmer. He gets the No. 4 Gators at home as a chance to make a statement. Florida's flash has the public backing them with 80% of bets, but the line has jumped back-and-forth from Florida -7.5 and -7 since opening at Pinnacle. We'll go against the public and take the home team getting 7.5 points.

Tennessee +7.5

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Advantage Plays

Tulane has had the extreme good fortune to look very good against two teams that had just come off of some very emotional wins. Alabama was played tough in Tuscaloosa the week after the Bama boys beat Clemson in a huge opener in Atlanta's Georgia Dome on national tv. The next week, they got East Carolina at home after the Pirates had two huge wins over Virginia Tech and West Virginia. Tulane lost both games, but probably felt that they had gone toe to toe with two national powers. This game, however, sets up poorly for them. They opened conference play last week and have a short week with another conference game against SMU upcoming on national tv, so little preparation will have gone into this one. Meanwhile, Monroe is off next week so they can bring their "A" Game for this one. The Wave have not been this big a favorite since 2004 and shouldn't be here. The offense has been stagnant and while the D represented well the past two weeks, that is likely more a situational stat than a reality stat. The Monroe offense is capable of staying in this game and Charlie Weatherbie will have his team focused. Bob Toledo may have focus issues following the tough loss against ECU last week. A good setup for an upset.UL Monroe 29, Tulane 21.

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Scott Ferrall

Cleveland -115 with Sowers over Verlander and the Tigers, who've completely melted down at the end of the yr--Leyland is suspended and not in the dugout, so jump on the Tribe

Halladay -135 and Jays over Lester and the Red Sox--Halladay has been unreal lately--almost unbeatable

Dodgers -240 over an Fran--LA is finishing off the D'Backs with the easy schedule at home this weekend--Take Kuroda here--he's been tough of late for Joe Torre's BLUE

Aaron Cook -135 and the Rockies over the D'Backs at Coors Field in the thin air

Nationals -105 and John Lannan over the Padres and Chris Young in DC

TAKE MILWAUKEE OVER CINCY (NO MATTER THE ODDS) WITH CC SABATHIA GOING FOR THE BREWERS AGAINST CUETO

BONUS SNAGS : A's over Mariners in Oakland because Carlos Silva BLOWS! (No early line)

YANKS OVER BALTIMORE--LOOK FOR THE SWEEP THIS WEEKEND AT THE BRONX IN THE FINAL GAMES EVER AT YANKEE STADIUM


NCAAF

Vandy +5.5 from Ole Miss

Mississippi St +8 from Georgia tech

Air Force +7.5 from Utah

Southern Miss -9.5 to Marshall

Houston -6 to Colorado St

Navy +5 from Rutgers

North Carolina -1.5 to Virginia Tech

Iowa +1.5 from Pitt

Florida St -4.5 to Wake Forest

Tulsa -10 to New Mexico

Army +7 from Akron

Maryland -21.5 to Eastern Michigan

Miami -3 to A&M

East Carolina -7.5 to NC ST

Texas -30.5 to RICE

Utah St -4.5 to Idaho

TCU -24 to SMU

Florida -7.5 to Tennessee

UNLV -3 to Iowa St

Stanford -9.5 to San Jose St

UTEP -6 to New Mexico St

UCLA +1 from Arizona

Middle Tenn +5 from Arkansas St

Minnesota -6.5 to FAU

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Ted Sevransky

Army +10.0

Sometimes, there are very legitimate reasons to support some of the worst teams in college football. This is one of those times. Yes, Army is ranked #120 out of 120 teams in my latest college football power ratings. Yes, the Cadets have lost to Temple 35-7 and to New Hampshire 28-10 in their first two ballgames, both right here at West Point. But if Army is going to win one game this year, it’ll be this Saturday – quite simply, this is their spot.

Head coach Stan Brock flipped out following the ugly loss to New Hampshire: “I'm embarrassed. I'm ashamed -- not that we lost to the University of New Hampshire, because they are a good football team, but by the way we did it…. In the second half, when things started going bad, I think there's some guys [who] quit. ... I'm ashamed. I apologize to the United States Military, Corps of Cadets, anybody really who watched that game. That's not the way that these kids need to play this game.”

Army has had two weeks to prep for Akron, and their starting quarterback, Carson Williams, has been upgraded to ‘probable’, while the Zips are caught in an ugly sandwich spot between a 17 point home loss to Ball State that opened their MAC campaign, and an in-state rivalry game against Cincinnati next week. The Zips struggled against Army last year, eking out an eight point win at home. Their defensive front has been decimated with injuries, and frankly, I’m not expecting their best effort here to begin with. With the betting marketplace seemingly in love with Akron, betting them up all week, this is one spot where a play on the worst team in college football makes perfect sense.Take Army.

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Nelly

Minnesota – over Florida Atlantic

Florida Atlantic beat Minnesota by three points 42-39 last season in Florida. In that game Minnesota had seven turnovers and still nearly rallied for the win. The Gophers may well be one of the worst 3-0 teams in the nation but it is huge progress from a year ago and this is a game that a more experienced Minnesota team will be able to win handily. The Gophers were actually a larger favorite last season on the road and Minnesota has been somewhat impressive this season with convincing wins the past two weeks following a narrow victory in the opener.

Florida Atlantic won the Sun Belt last season but they were not best team in the conference. This game falls in a brutal scheduling spot with the third road game in four weeks for the Owls were soundly defeated in bad weather last week at Michigan State. The FAU passing game will have some success against Minnesota but the Gophers will be able to move the ball as well as QB Weber and the running game are starting to come together in year two of Coach Brewster’s spread attack.

The Gophers have also done a much better job of taking care of the ball this season and given all the extra chances that the Owls had last season it should be a much different looking game this year. Take nothing away from Florida Atlantic as they have built a solid program that should be a Sun Belt contender but given this situation and having a much more important conference game next week the Owls will likely fail to hang close here. Minnesota will not overlook this game at all after last season and this is a win that the Gophers need to get.

The most intriguing game on the schedule Saturday morning involves a Big East vs. Big Ten match-up between Iowa and Pittsburgh. This is a very closely lined game and will be a critical match-up for both teams but we actually expect a lopsided win for one side. This is game we like on many levels and this is the perfect package to start off your day. Nelly’s has been on a strong run winning four of our last five packages and hitting 65 percent since late August on this site.

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King Creole Sports

Florida Gators @ Tennessee Volunteers
Play: TENNESSEE VOLUNTEERS

Grab the points with the Home Dog VOLUNTEERS based on a couple of situational Systems. Florida is off BB non-conference BIG wins against Miami-Florida and Hawaii. Tennessee comes in off a big win versus Southern Miss... and a road favorite loss against UCLA.

0-7-1 ATS since 1986: GAME THREE conference road favorites of < 28 points off BB 'lined' non-conference home wins of 23 > points each (Play AGAINST Florida).

5-0 ATS since 1980: GAME THREE underdogs playing off a SU home win of 21 > pts... and a SU road FAVORITE non-conference loss (Play ON Tennessee).

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Re: Saturday Service PLays

Stephen Nover

LSU @ Auburn
PICK: Auburn +3

Auburn is the right side here, but I would back that opinion up by making sure to get three points instead of 2 1/2.

Yes, Auburn's offense is struggling with its new spread attack. Offensive coordinator Tony Franklin probably isn't selling too many DVD's these days.

But oh that Auburn defense. It's holding foes to an average of 53 yards rushing and five points. Auburn's defense has more experience and depth than LSU's. So we're getting points at home with one of the strongest defenses in the country.

LSU has good running backs, but inexperience at quarterback. This is a brutal venue for LSU's quarterbacks Andrew Hatch and Jarrett Lee to make their road debuts. Auburn has won 30 of 37 at Jordan Hare Stadium during the past six years.

Don't be surprised if Auburn does better on offense than expected. Quarterback Chris Todd played for Franklin in high school and is well versed in this offense.

LSU will be without injured linebacker, Darry Beckwith. He's one of the best linebackers in the conference. The Tigers also are breaking in new cornerbacks. They could be vulnerable to play-action in their first road start.

While Auburn has played Louisiana Monroe, Southern Mississippi and Mississippi State on the road, LSU has just played two home games - Appalachian State and Troy. So Auburn has played the stiffer competition.

Hurricane Ike didn't do LSU any favors, disrupting and distracting its schedule.

LSU has failed to cover its past four games. The Bengal Tigers are 2-4-2 against the spread in SEC road play during the past two plus seasons.

The home team has won the past eight matches in this series. The last time Auburn has lost two straight in this series was 1995-96.

Auburn has played the tougher schedule, has a strong home-field edge and facing LSU quarterbacks playing in their first road contest. Auburn's offense is more potent than it has looked.

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Craig Trapp

Buffalo U vs. Missouri
Play:Missouri
     
WOW is all that can be said for Missouri so far. They have ran the score up so far on all foes. Expect more of the same here can't imaging anyone will play them close until they play OKL. Enjoy this one it will be a track meet.

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Jimmy Moore

Rutgers @ Navy
Pick:Rutgers -5.5

Take the Scarlet Knights to recover from their embarrassing loss to North Carolina against the banged up Midshipmen this Saturday afternoon.

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Sean Higgs

Florida Atlantic vs. Minnesota U    
Play:Minnesota U -6.5   

Take the Golden Gophers early in a nice revenge spot at home,

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Colin Cowherd 11-4-2 YTD

Auburn +3
17-14

Michigan State -9
33-20

Arizona State +7
27-23

Tennessee +7.5
24-23

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Cajun-Sports

NCAA “Tech” Game of the Week:

2 STAR SELECTION

Kent State +2½ over LOUISIANA-LAFAYETTE

The Ragin' Cajuns seek their first win of the season when they host the Golden Flashes in a MAC vs. Sun Belt Conference clash Saturday night. Akron did get their first win of the season last week over 1-AA Delaware, 24-3. They opened the 2008 season with back-to-back losses to Boston College and Iowa State. Meanwhile, Louisiana-Lafayette opened the 2008 campaign with an embarrassing, 51-21 setback to Southern Mississippi, and followed that game with a tough, 20-17 loss at Illinois.

The Cajuns have not enjoyed much of a home field advantage, as they lost 5 of 6 Cajun Field and will now try to stop a Kent State team coming off its best offensive effort of the year. The defense for ULL has been unable to stop the run, as the opposition is pounding the Cajuns for a whopping 300+ rushing ypg. Overall the defense is allowing 487 total ypg, and that has led to a whopping 35.5 ppg.

The opening line of this game certainly caught our eye, as we look to play AGAINST a team that opened as a favorite a half-point lower than a “key number”, such as a 2', or 6'-point favorite, especially the 2'.

Three and seven are the top 2 key numbers in college football, meaning more games end with those 2 margins than any others. Oddsmakers try to use numbers a half-point below the keys against the player, hoping the bettor will think "oh, the favorite 'only' has to win by a FG, TD, or double-digits (the key number in question) and still cover the spread." This can be a trap as the underdog will often cover easily and sometimes win outright.

This certainly has not been a good price range for Louisiana-Lafayette, as they are 0-5-1 ATS (-13.1 ppg) with a line between -3 and +1. These inter-conference meetings have not been kind to the Cajun’s conference as well. Sun Belt teams are 0-7 SU (-13.4 ppg) & 0-6-1 ATS (-9 ppg) vs. the Mid-American Conference when not favored by 8+ points since 2004.

Actually, Sun Belt Conference teams have done very poorly since the league’s existence in games with very tight lines in all non-conference games. This is documented by an NCAA Football POWER SYSTEM which states:

Play AGAINST a Sun Belt Conference team (not a favorite of more than 3 points or underdog of 3+ points) vs. a non-conference opponent.

The Sun Belt teams in this spot are 0-10 SU & ATS, losing outright and failing to cover by an average of 2 TDs per game on each count. Last year, it was Louisiana-Lafayette hosting Ohio of the MAC and lost 31-23 as a 1-point home dog. The Cajuns qualify again as the PLAY AGAINST team, so we’ll take all the points we can get back the over looked Golden Flashes.

PROJECTED FINAL SCORE: KENT STATE 28 LOUISIANA-LAFAYETTE 24


NCAA 70% Super Situations:

Play Under CFB team against the total after gaining 150 or less total yards in their previous game against opponent after gaining 6.25 or more yards per play in their previous game, 25-2 Under since 1992 (92.6%)

PLAY:Mississippi State / Georgia Tech UNDER 36.5

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