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EARLY SATURDAY RELEASE
Going to give out this early play for tomorrow. Vegas has made a mistake and is quickly making up for it. This game opened 7 and has already jumped to 9.5 so I am advising my clients to get on this game before it moves anymore. We have every angle and advantage that we look for in a game. Good luck,
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Utah (-7.5) at Air Force
There is consensus opinion that Utah is talented enough to be a legitimate BCS party crasher. They are solid in all areas and have won 11 of their last 12 games with the only loss coming by a touchdown at BYU last season. There is little chance of losing focus vs Air Force this week as both teams come in undefeated, Utah hosts Weber State next week, and the Utes will be looking to avenge a home loss to Air Force last season in which their top QB, WR, and RB missed due to injury. Air Force returned just 8 starters from last year, a low number even for a service academy, and two of them are already out due to injury. The Falcons have gotten by with a lot of good fortune the last two weeks defeating a struggling Wyoming team with the help of +4 turnovers and then beating a badly distracted Houston team last week with the help of +2 turnovers. The Houston game was played off campus in Dallas in very wet and windy conditions which heavily favored Air Force's ground based offense and suspect pass defense. They still gave up 534 yards and were outgained by 154 total yards. Air Force has completed just 3 of 11 passes in its two games vs 1-A opponents. That is not going to get it done this week. Utah will be better on both sides of the ball and will win this game convincingly. Give the points.
Play: Utah -7.5 for 1 UNIT
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
Marshall/Southern Miss OVER 52 for 1 UNIT
Idaho/Utah State UNDER 62.5 for 2 UNITS
Iowa State/UNLV OVER 48.5 for 1 UNIT
New Mexico St/UTEP OVER 59 for 1 UNIT
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Just 2 College Best Bets this week (and 4 Strong Opinions), but I should have more starting next week when my math model kicks in.
Rotation #333 Iowa (+1) 2-Stars at -1 or better.
Rotation #389 Kent State (+3) 2-Stars at +1 or more.
Strong Opinions on Florida St -4, Iowa State +2 1/2, San Jose State +8 1/2, and Arizona -3.
2 Star Selection
**Iowa 24 PITTSBURGH (-1.0) 16
Pittsburgh has faced two MAC teams and has out-gained Bowling Green and Buffalo by just 5.0 yards per play to 4.5 yppl in 2 home games, which isn’t very good considering the Falcons and Bulls would combine to be out-gained by an average of 0.7 yppl on the road by an average team. Pitt has been a below average team so far this season and their solid defense is being wasted by an offense that isn’t any better than last year’s sorry attack. Pitt has a decent running back in LeSean McCoy, but his career average of 4.7 ypr is only average for a running back and the Panthers still can’t throw the ball. Bill Stull has averaged only 5.2 yards per pass play in 2 games against two below average pass defenses and I don’t see the Panthers’ offense doing much damage against a good Iowa defense that has yielded just 4.1 yppl in 3 games. Two of those games were against bad offensive teams Maine and Florida International, which scored a combined 3 points, but the Hawkeyes also allowed just 3 points and 4.9 yppl to a pretty good Iowa State offense. Iowa ’s offense has rebounded from an injury plagued 2007 campaign and has produced 6.4 yppl against teams that would allow 5.8 yppl on the road to an average team (all of those games were at Iowa ). The Hawkeyes have two capable quarterbacks Jake Christensen and Ricky Stanzi and two good running backs in Shonn Greene and Jewel Hampton, who have combined for 485 yards at 6.5 ypr. I do give Pitt a slight edge defensively but Iowa has a much better offense and better special teams and my ratings favor the Hawkeyes by 3 ½ points (11 ½ points using this year’s games only). Iowa also applies to a solid 61-28-2 ATS game 4 situation that plays on unbeaten teams. I’ll take Iowa in a 2-Star Best Bet at -1 or better.
2 Star Selection
** Kent State 33 UL LAFAYETTE (-3.0) 27
Kent has been out-scored by an average of 17.3 to 24.0 despite out-gaining their foes 5.5 yards per play to 5.4 yppl. The problem has been a -5 in fumbles lost margin, which is mostly just random bad luck for the Flashes. If Kent doesn’t fumble the ball away more than their opponent then they should win this game against a UL Lafayette team that has major trouble defending the run (637 rushing yards at 6.2 yards per rushing play allowed in their first two games). Kent State running back Eugene Jarvis ran for 1669 yards at 6.0 ypr last season and had 190 yards at 5.4 ypr against Boston College and Iowa State before injuring his ankle early against Delaware State last week. Jarvis played a bit on the bad ankle, but was taken out as a precaution and should be able to play at close to 100% today. Jarvis teams with running quarterback Julian Edelman to give the Golden Flashes a very effective rushing attack that should have no trouble running against UL Lafayette today. Lafayette can also run the ball with RB Tyrell Fenroy and QB Michael Desormeaux, who both ran for over 1000 yards last season, and the Ragin’ Cajuns should have good success on the ground as well against a sub-par Kent defensive front. Overall my ratings make this game a pick and my reason for the Best Bet on Kent State , aside from the 3 points of line value, is a very strong 53-6-1 ATS statistical match-up indicator that applies to Kent State in this game. I’d favor UL Lafayette by 3 ½ points if Jarvis doesn’t play with his bad ankle, so the line is fair even in a worst case scenario. I’ll take Kent State in a 2-Star Best Bet at +1 or more. I'll also lean over (50 points).
Arizona (-3.0) 28 UCLA 20
UCLA was humiliated 0-59 at BYU last week and they were lucky to win their opener against Tennessee , as the Bruins were out-gained 4.0 yards per play to 4.9 yppl by the Volunteers. UCLA still has a solid defense, despite the 59 points they allowed last week (they gave up 6.3 yppl to a BYU team that would average 6.7 yppl at home against an average defensive team), but the Bruins have a horrible offensive line that’s paved the way for just 1.3 yards per rushing play. Quarterback Kevin Craft has been about average after adjusting for the opposing pass defenses faced, but the UCLA offense is well below average with that sad rushing attack. Arizona has a good defensive squad that has yielded just 4.0 yppl to teams that would combine to average 5.0 yppl against an average team and the Wildcats should limit the Bruins’ scoring opportunities. Arizona ’s offense was a bit sloppy last week (3 fumbles lost) against a very good New Mexico defense, but Arizona has averaged 6.3 yppl in 3 games this season versus teams that would allow 5.8 yppl to an average team, so the Wildcats should muster a decent attack against UCLA’s good defense. My ratings favor Arizona by 3 points in this game (using this year’s games only would favor the Wildcats by 11 ½ points) and the Wildcats apply to a solid 55-27-1 ATS bounce-back situation at -3 points or better. I’ll consider Arizona a Strong Opinion at -3 or less and I’d take Arizona in a 2-Star Best Bet at -1 or better.
FLORIDA ST. (-4.0) 26 Wake Forest 16
Florida State has beaten up on two bad teams, but winning by scores of 69-0 and 46-7 is impressive regardless of the opponent and the Seminoles look vastly improved offensively with quarterback Drew Weatherford finally on the bench of 3 seasons of mediocrity. The offense really played well last season when Xavier Lee was at quarterback for 3 ½ games and replacing Weatherford with Christian Ponder should help the offense thrive this season. Florida State has the talent to be a good offensive team and they’ve averaged 8.4 yards per play in their first two games against teams that would allow a combined 7.0 yppl on the road to an average team. Florida State will be tested today by a very good Wake Forest defense today, but I don’t think the Seminoles will need to score too many points to win this game against a mediocre Wake Forest attack that has managed just 4.8 yppl against mediocre defensive teams Baylor and Ole’ Miss. Florida State’s defense is dealing with a number of suspended players for the first 3 games, but they should still be at least average defensively without those players, which is more than good enough to keep the Demon Deacons’ sub-par attack in check. My ratings favor Florida State by 4 points, so the line is fair, and the reason for siding with the Seminoles is a very strong 64-19 ATS situation that they apply to. Wake Forest does have a good record as an underdog under coach Jim Grobe (31-16-1 ATS), so I’ll consider Florida State a Strong Opinion from -5 to -3 ½ and I’d take the Seminoles in a 2-Star Best Bet at -3 or less.
San Jose St. 20 STANFORD (-8.5) 23
San Jose State is an underrated team that is pretty good on offense and better than average defensively, so taking more than a touchdown against a sub-par Stanford team looks like a pretty good play. The scores of San Jose State’s first two games - as a 13-10 win over Division 1AA UC Davis and a 12-35 loss at Nebraska – didn’t look too good, but the Spartans were the much better team in their opener after they discovered former Cal quarterback Kyle Reed was the man they needed under center and they were only out-gained 5.3 yards per play to 5.5 yppl by a good Nebraska team. The Spartans then dominated San Diego State 35-10 in a game in which they ran for over 300 yards, averaged 5.8 yppl, and allowed just 3.2 yppl. For the season the Spartans’ defense has yielded just 4.3 yppl to teams that would combine to average 5.1 yppl against an average defense. Coach Tomey has his best defensive line in 4 years in San Jose and the secondary is good once again with 2nd Team All-WAC CB Christopher Owens and former Oregon State starter CB Coye Francies shutting down opposing receivers. San Jose State’s offense is led by Reed, who came off the bench to lead the comeback in week 1 and has averaged a decent 5.8 yards per pass play, and star back Yonus Davis, who missed all of last season but has rushed for 1988 yards in his career at 5.9 ypr (7.1 ypr this season). Stanford has a better than average defense and I project just 4.8 yppl for San Jose State after adjusting for the loss of star WR Kevin Jurovich, who missed last week and is out indefinitely with mono. While 4.8 yppl is not good, it is better than the 4.7 yppl that my ratings project for Stanford in this game. The Cardinal have one good player on offense, RB Tony Gerhart (259 yards at 5.2 ypr), but the rest of the running backs have been horrible and quarterback Tavita Pritchard has averaged a pathetic 4.3 yards per pass play (against teams that would allow 5.4 yppp to an average QB). San Jose State has been good defending the run (3.2 yards per rushing play allowed) and they’ve been good against the pass, so I just don’t see Stanford moving the ball very consistently in this game. San Jose State ’s good defense actually sets them up in a very good 60-19-3 ATS statistical indicator that plays on good defensive teams as underdogs. My only issue with this game is San Jose State’s horrible special teams, which may cost them a touchdown at some point in this game to go along with a couple of missed field goals (SJS kickers are 1 for 6 from 30 or more yards). San Jose State’s bad kicking leads to a less efficient scoring offense than their yardage numbers would suggest and my ratings favor Stanford by 8 points - and by 9 ½ points if the Spartans continue to be as horrible as they’ve been in special teams – so the line looks fair. San Jose State can win this game if their special teams don’t cost them a touchdown or more and I’ll consider San Jose State a Strong Opinion at +7 or more and I’d take the Spartans in a 2-Star Best Bet at +10 or more.
Iowa St. 28 UNLV (-2.5) 24
UNLV is coming off a 23-20 overtime win as a 22 ½ point underdog at Arizona State, but they weren’t actually that impressive in that game, as the Rebels averaged just 4.7 yards per play on offense while allowing the Sun Devils 6.3 yppl – stats that would normally result in about a 17 point loss. Iowa State , meanwhile, lost 5-17 on the road against a very good Iowa team and the Cyclones played that game pretty evenly at 4.9 yppl gained and 4.9 yppl allowed to the Hawkeyes. Iowa returned a punt for a TD and Iowa State managed just 3 points on 6 trips inside the Iowa 30 yard line, so that game should have been much tighter. Last week’s misleading scores involving these teams have supplied us with line value in favor of Iowa State in this game, as the Cyclones would have been about a 2 or 3 point road favorite had this game been played prior to last week’s results. My ratings favor Iowa State by 3 points and the math favors the Cyclones by 6 points using this year’s games only. UNLV should be able to run the ball against a soft Iowa State run defense, but the Cyclones defend the pass well and ISU quarterback Austen Arnaud (7.9 yards per pass play) should have an easy time picking apart a UNLV secondary that has allowed 7.8 yppp this season. UNLV hasn’t been good in competitive games under coach Mike Sanford, as the Rebels are just 1-11 ATS in 4 years under Sanford when not an underdog of 8 points or more (1-6 ATS as a favorite) and 0-4 straight up as a favorite of 6 points or less. UNLV is only 8-30 straight up under Sanford , including 4-30 if they are not favored by more than 6 points or facing a Division 1AA team. Iowa State is 7-3 ATS as an underdog and 5-2 ATS after a loss under coach Gene Chizik and I’ll consider Iowa State a Strong Opinion at +1 or more.
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Mississippi St 9.0 vs Georgia Tech
3 UNIT DOG OF THE MONTH
What is like being at the practices of Mississippi State this week? I can promise you that it is not where you want to be. Head Coach Sylvester Crooms does not take well to poor execution and he is on the ass of the Bulldogs offense. They scored ZERO last week against what is a very good Auburn D but this team does have some offensive weapons. They certainly have one of the better D's in the Southeastern Conference and one the type of D that Georgia Tech has not seen yet this year. The Yellow Jackets are proving that they have a pretty good squad with a win at BC in a game that I had, and another cover verses Va Tech. These two games have been costly though in some respects and the Rambling Wreck will come into Saturday's action beat up a bit with a couple of defensive injuries at the cornerback and Linebacker position and a number of other players that are not going to be playing at 100% capacity. They will be in for game Saturday as Crooms knows that a 1-3 start is not acceptable for this Bulldog team. The Dogs have been a good traveling squad in recent years going 8-3-1 ATS when doing so and they are catching Ga Tech at a good time. This line is simply overinflated due to the perception that Miss State cannot score, and the last two games by GT, which have opened the eyes of the Oddsmakers. They have opened them way too wide though and this one is likely to be a field goal win for somebody. The one thing the Vegas Experts have done is set this total line very low. They probably got that one right. I will grab these huge points in what I expect to be a field position game, hard hitting matchup.
Navy / Rutgers 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 in scoring 41 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 sparse 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.
Utah St. / Idaho Under 60.0
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MICHIGAN STATE SPARTANS over Notre Dame Fighting Irish
6* Michigan State -8
Oh we can hear it ringing through South Bend now. The Irish are back. No, really they’re back. Uh, no they are not! They’re 2-0 record is as unimpressive as they come. In week one they beat a really bad San Diego State team 21-13 with some help from the officials. They were out gained in that game by an Aztec team that is now 0-3 with a home loss to Division 1AA Cal Poly and a 35-10 pasting at the hands of San Jose State last Saturday. After their loss to the “mighty” Irish, San Diego State head coach Chuck Long was asked who was the better team, Cal Poly or Notre Dame. His answer was, “That’s a tough question.” Wow. We didn’t see that one coming. Many may think that the Irish improved drastically from week one to week two based on their 35-17 trouncing of Michigan. However, was it really a trouncing? The answer is no. The Irish defense allowed the Wolverines to rack up nearly 400 yards of total offense. That’s the same Michigan offense that struggled to mount any kind of offense their first two games with just 203 yards ASA’s Big Ten Game of the Week This section of 1st & Goal has our Big Ten Game of the Week. Located in the heart of the Big Ten country we have great ties or contacts in this region and have always done well with our Big Ten picks.See who we like this week below. against Utah and 281 vs. Miami (Oh). The Wolves out gained Notre Dame by 128 yards and had 7 more first downs. The problem for Michigan was they turned the ball over SIX TIMES! No matter how a team dominates the stat book, if they give the ball away that many times, they have NO CHANCE to win the game. Thus, that ND win was not impressive at all. Now the Irish are off to East Lansing and their first road game of the season. Not only that, they are playing a really good team in Michigan State. The Spartans are 2-1 with their only loss coming @ a very good Cal team by a TD. Since that loss they have picked up two easy wins at home rushing for 238 and 259 yards in the process. Sparty should continue to have success on the ground against an ND team they rolled for 219 yards rushing last year in their 31-17 win in South Bend. Because of their success grinding it out on the ground, QB Brian Hoyer has thrown just 27 total passes the last two weeks combined. However, he is experienced and can put up big numbers if needed. The Spartans have dominated this series as of late winning 8 of the last 11 outright. MSU is also 9-2-1 ATS the last 12 meetings. Notre Dame is Favorite Game of the Week This write up is playing on a team that we feel is undervalued by the oddsmakers and not laying as many points as they should be vulnerable here off a deceiving win over big time rival Michigan. MSU rolls in this one.
BRIGHAM YOUNG COUGARS over Wyoming Cowboys
3* BYU -28
BYU can simply name their score here. This team has averaged 42 PPG through their three wins this year and they are playing against a team with no offense what so ever. The Cowboys are 2-1 with wins over Ohio (21-20) and North Dakota State (16-13). Their loss came at the hands of Air Force 23-3. Their high water mark for yardage this year is just 271 total yards in their season opener. They have been out gained in every game including last week’s come from behind win over Division 1AA North Dakota State. At the same time the Cow Pokes were struggling with ND State, the Cougars were throttling UCLA to the tune of 59-0. The score was actually 59-0 in the THIRD QUARTER when BYU pulled their QB Max Hall. He threw for 7 TD’s in the first three quarters alone last week. That was against a UCLA team that is MUCH better than this year’s Wyoming squad. BYU is peaking early in the season on offense and they’ll continue to rip up the Wyoming defense this week. If the Ohio Bobcats threw for 248 yards on this team, what do you think BYU will do at home? Throw at will is the answer. Wyoming has to be able to run to have any success what so ever. They CANNOT throw the ball. They average 92 YPG through the air in their three games this year. Their first year QB Dax Crum has really struggled hitting just 55% of his passes. Not only that, he is averaging just 4.7 yards per pass completions so most of his completions are short. By comparison, Max Hall is completing almost 78% of his throws for nearly 10 yards per completion. BYU’s defense is allowing just 3.2 yards per carry this year so Wyoming will have to throw at some point to try and stay in this one. In order for us to lay this sizable number, we better have a team that can score A LOT. We also need an opponent that struggles on offense. We have both here. Not to mention, Wyoming is one of the biggest money eaters in college football going just 2-15 ATS their last 17 games overall. BYU won at Wyoming last year 35-10 vs. a much better Cowboy team. In 2006, the Cougs whipped the Boys here 55-7. Look for a similar score on Saturday. BYU BIG!!
TENNESSEE VOLUNTEERS over Florida Gators
3* Tennessee +7
Every weekend there seems to be a ‘big game’ in the SEC and this Saturday’s showdown between Florida and Tennessee fits the bill. Public money has come in on Florida in this game so we’ll be quick to jump on the other side and take the home team plus the full TD or more. Four of the last five meetings played between these two rivals in Tennessee as been decided by just four points or less and this year will be no different. Statistically these two teams are pretty comparable as Florida rushes for 5.3 yards per carry and gives up just 2.0 ypc while Tennessee is right there with them at 5.9 ypr offensively and 2.5 ypc defensively. Offensively the Gators have an edge at the quarterback position with Tebow but the Vols defense and 106,000 fans will negate some of that advantage. I’m sure some of you are thinking how can we use a team that gave up 59-points a year ago in a 39-point loss. That was last year at Florida and this is a new football season. The Vols are in a much better position to defend Florida than they were a season ago. Plagued with injuries in the secondary and inexperience at the line, the Tennessee defense gave up one big play after another at Florida in 2007. A healthy, more experienced defense has seen fewer problems so far this season, save two bad drives in the Vols' 27-24 loss at UCLA. Tennessee limited the Bruins to just 29 yards on the ground and grabbed four interceptions in that game. The Vols also have a good idea of what the Gators will want to run this weekend as they played a similar offense last week in UAB. The Volunteers certainly enjoy home cooking here as they have a 144-38-4 SU record at home dating back to 1980 and within those 186 total games they’ve been a dog just 26 times. The Neers have covered 5 straight as a home underdog and 10 of their last 14 in that role. Would we be surprised if the Gators get knocked off this weekend? No not at all. Take the points and the home team in this revenge setting.
ARIZONA STATE SUN DEVILS over Georgia Bulldogs
3* Arizona St. +7
Last week, Arizona St. had a devastating loss to UNLV 23-20 in overtime. Head Coach Dennis Erickson said he didn’t sleep for two whole days following that loss. Quarterback Rudy Carpenter said they had a bad practice Thursday and came out flat and couldn’t overcome the momentum that UNLV had. Look for Erickson and Carpenter to have EVERYONE ready for this big-time home game against the Georgia Bulldogs. Georgia struggled against a very physical South Carolina squad last weekend and only managed 252 total yards in a 14-7 win. Running back Knowshon Moreno only managed 79 yards on the ground and Matthew Stafford had just 146 yards passing. We see that type of physical game taking its toll on the Georgia offense and see them struggling against a speedy Sun Devil defense. Dennis Erickson will be throwing early and often against a Georgia secondary that struggles against the pass, allowing 236 yards per game. Carpenter has been incredible so far this season, already passing for 975 yards this season (325 per game) and 6 touchdowns! They have four receivers that already exceeded 100 yards this year and five different receivers that have caught touchdowns. We expect to see the quick receivers to cause a lot of problems for a more physical Bulldog defense. Georgia’s win last week vs. the Gamecocks could have easily been a loss. With eight minutes left, South Carolina running back Mike Davis fumbled over the goal line trying to jump for a touchdown. Later, with less than a minute left, SC was going for a touchdown and threw an interception at the 3 yard line which finalized the win for the Bulldogs. Gamecock quarterback Chris Smelley went 23/39 for 271 yards. Look for Sun Devil QB Rudy Carpenter to have a big game if the Bulldog secondary played like they did against South Carolina. We expect the Sun Devils, who are coming off a demoralizing loss last week, to be absolutely ready this week and benefit from a Georgia squad that was beat up in their first conference game last week against South Carolina. Go with the Sun Devils plus the points.
TOLEDO ROCKETS over Fresno State Bulldogs
3* Toledo +7
Talk about a tough spot for Fresno. Last week’s home game vs. Wisconsin was dubbed by head coach Pat Hill as the biggest home game in school history. Nothing like putting all of your eggs in one basket. After coming out of that hard fought game with a 13-10 loss, we can’t expect Fresno to travel across the country and be ready for this one. They won’t be. Last week’s loss crushed their hopes of going undefeated and potentially playing in a BCS bowl game. And while those aspirations were well down the line, word is they felt if they could get by Wisconsin, they would be well on their way to accomplishing that goal. Now it is shot. Not only that, they have another big game on deck to concentrate on with UCLA next Saturday. The Bulldogs will be looking ahead and back at the same time here. The problem for them is, they won’t be looking at Toledo and that means an upset is brewing here. The Rockets have a great home field advantage playing in the “Glass Bowl”. They are now 41-6 SU their last 47 home games. This is their home opener and they have some nice momentum after last week’s 41-17 win @ Eastern Michigan. Toledo has been nearly unbeatable as a home dog both ATS and SU. They have been a home underdog just 7 times since 2000. They are an impressive 6-1 ATS in those game. Even more impressive they have won 6 of those 7 games outright. They get another one here. We’ll call for Toledo to upset an unmotivated Fresno team who is deflated after last week’s loss.
College FB System Smashers for Week 3 These are simply pointspread observations and NOT ASA selections!
• North Carolina (-1.5) over Virginia Tech,Virginia Tech’s offense has struggled to get anything going this year. The problem is, they don’t have an effective passing game. Opposing teams can load up against the run and make the Hokies attempt, and we mean attempt to beat them through the air. They simply can’t do that. VT QB Sean Glennon has struggled his entire career. He was so bad in their first game loss to East Carolina that head coach Frank Beamer pulled a redshirt off future QB Tyrod Taylor. The problem with that is, Taylor, while a very effective runner, is not an efficient passer. Glennon has now been sent to the bench in favor of Taylor who threw for just 48 yards in Tech’s 20-17 home win over Georgia Tech. Speaking of a struggling offense, the Hokies are 2-1, however they are averaging just 279 YPG on offense. It would be worse than that folks if Virginia Tech had not played a Division 1AA team, Furman, in week two. They won that game 24-7 but were up just 3-0 at halftime. In that game they put up 349 yards which is extremely unimpressive when considering the competition. In their two games vs. Division 1A competition, Tech has mounted just 243 yards vs. East Carolina and only 247 last week vs. Georgia Tech. They were out gained by 140 yards at home last week vs. the Yellow Jackets, however GT turned the ball over three times and gave the game away. UNC is brimming with confidence after their 44-12 thrashing @ Rutgers last Thursday. That gives the 2-0 Tar Heels an extra few days to prepare for a game they have been pointing to for nearly a year. That’s because, in 2007 a young North Carolina team went into Blacksburg and nearly pulled the upset. That actually out played VT on the stat sheet but lost 17-10. In that game, the Heels had 18 first downs to just 11 for Tech. They also out gained the Hokies 306 to 241. As per usual, Tech had just 76 yards passing in that close win. Now UNC has gone from a young and talented team in 2007, to a real threat to make a run in the ACC. Head coach Butch Davis knows what he is doing and now he gets an “offenseless” Virginia Tech at home. The Hokies go down here.
• Ohio @ Northwestern (-10.5) – The Cats are simply not accustomed to being favored by double digits. Since the start of the 1980 season, Northwestern has been favored by 10 or more points just 25 times. They are 9-16 ATS in those games (36%). On a side note, the largest number NU has ever laid was 19 points back in 1998 vs. UNLV.
• Wyoming @ BYU (-27) – BYU has been favored in every game in this series since 1985. This is the highest number in this series since 1985 when BYU was a 30-point chalk. Dating back to 2004, the Cougars have covered four straight vs. Wyoming. However, leading up to ’04, the Cowboys had covered 8 in a row. BYU has won 13 of the last 15 games in this series outright.
• Alabama (-9.5) @ Arkansas – Bama has been favored on the road just 5 times in this series. They are a (-9.5) point favorite this Saturday which is the highest point spread in Bama’s favor EVER when traveling to the Razors home field. The last time the Tide was favored @ Arky was back in 2000. The Crimson Tide are 4-4 SU in Arkansas but they have lost four of the last five SU.
• Virginia Tech @ North Carolina (-1.5) – The Heels have been a double digit underdog each of the last four years vs. the Hokies. Last year they were +19.5 @ Virginia Tech and lost the game 17-10. Now they are actually favored after being nearly a 3 TD dog just 12 months ago.
• Utah (-7.5) @ Air Force – In this huge Mountain West rivalry, Air Force has been a home dog to Utah just TWICE since 1980. Once in 1994 and another time in 2001. Not only did the Falcons cover both of those games, they won them each outright as 7.5 point and 16.5 point underdogs.
• East Carolina (-7.5) @ NC State – The Wolfpack have never been a home dog to ECU. The Pirates have been a road favorite of a TD or more just 14 times since 1980. They are 7-7 ATS in those games. ECU has been favored on the road vs. an ACC team just twice in their history. Both games were vs. Duke.
Re: Saturday Premium Service Plays
UNLV / Iowa St. Under 51
This line makes absolutely no sense to me - UNLV is coming off a huge overtime win at Arizona State last week because of great defense when it mattered most. The Rebels limited the Sun Devils to just seven points after halftime and realize continuing to limit opponents offensively will be the key to whether or not they can keep winning. Meanwhile, Iowa State averaged 46 points in two home games against Kent State and San Diego State but totaled just five in a loss at Iowa last Saturday. The Cyclones rank first in the country with 12 takeaways but are dead last in the Big 12 in third-down conversions at 39 percent. The Rebels are also the only team in the nation yet to commit a turnover, so something has to give. Iowa State head coach Gene Chizik is defensive-minded and like UNLV will look to win a low-scoring defensive battle in Vegas. Finally, there are a couple powerful trends working in our favor: The UNDER is 10-1 in UNLV's last 11 non-conference games and 15-7 in Iowa State's last 22 overall. That's why I'm betting the UNDER as my Triple Dime NCAA Total Play O' the Month.
Re: Saturday Premium Service Plays
5 STAR: (308) PENN STATE (-28) over Temple
(Risking $550 to win $500)
5 STAR: (360) TOLEDO (+7) over Fresno State
(Risking $550 to win $500)
3 STAR: (332) NORTH CAROLINA (-3.5) over Virginia Tech
(Risking $330 to win $300)
3 STAR: (335) WAKE FOREST (+4.5) over Florida State
(Risking $330 to win $300)
2 STAR: (329) RUTGERS (-5.5) over Navy
(Risking $220 to win $200)