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Saturday Premium Service Plays
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1ST CFB CONF GAME OF THE YEAR! *3-0, 100% w/ GOYs!
Utah @ Air Force
I'm laying the points with Utah on Saturday. Before the season began, I predicted Utah would win the MWC, beating BYU for the league title. I also felt Air Force was due for a rough season. I still believe both predictions will play out in conference action. The Falcons beat a depleted Ute squad, 20-12 last season. But man, is this a different Utah team. The Utes spread attack is led by a healthy Brian Johnson at QB, directing the team to 41 points per game. Air Force's defense was absolutely exposed by Houston's spread attack last week, getting drilled for 534 yards by the Cougars. And, Houston had to deal with wind and rain, yet still completed 34-of-57 passes for 362 yards, and four touchdowns. Meanwhile, AFA won the game by three, but finished with 154 fewer total yards than Houston. Believe it or not, all 380 yards by AFA came on the ground. QB Shea Smith finished 0-of-7 in the passing game. The Falcons opened up with a win over out-manned Southern Utah. They have beaten Wyoming and of course, Houston, since then. Shea Smith has completed just 3-of-11 passes in those last two games, with no TDs and one interception. They managed just 12 first downs at Wyoming, getting three FGs and just two offensive TDs. One dimensional teams will have NO chance against the Utes in 2008. Especially when Utah jumps out to a big lead like I expect in this one. No passing game for AFA, means they're less likely to creep back into the game. The Utes already took care of one conference revenge spot two weeks ago when they thumped a decent UNLV squad, 42-21. I expect more of the same in Colorado Springs. Utah's next tilt is a homer against Weber State, so they'll be 100% focused on clipping the Falcons. The number has gone up since it opened, but not nearly enough, as far as I'm concerned. I'm laying the points with Utah, my MWC Game of the Year.
TKO Bailout Shocker GOM
San Jose St
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BIG GAME ALERT
I'm taking the points with AUBURN. LSU has crushed two inferior opponents at home. However, Auburn has done exactly the same thing. The difference is that Auburn survived a tough conference road game at Mississippi State last week (3-2 victory) while LSU has yet to play a competitive team or a road game. That has the betting public believing that LSU is the better team, which is helping give us excellent value. However, I feel that the hard-fought game will actually work in Auburn's favor here. Of course, playing at home is also a major advantage. That's particularly true in this series where the home team has won eight straight meetings. Last year's game was played at LSU. Auburn led 17-7 at halftime but #5 LSU came back to win after scoring a touchdown on a 22 yard Matt Flynn pass with one second left in the fourth quarter. This year, in addition to getting to play at home, Auburn brought back 16 starters while LSU brought back only 12, including only five on defense. One of those five, starting linebacker Darry Beckwith, is out with an injury this week. That's significant as Beckwith is an outstanding defender who turned down a chance to go the NFL early. While LSU's defense will miss Beckwith, Auburn's defense is coming off a game in which it held the Bulldogs to a mere 116 total yards of offense. As coach Tuberville had to say: "We gave up zero first downs on 14 chances ... You can win a lot of games like that." Including last year's cover at LSU, Auburn is 8-1 ATS the last nine times it was listed as an underdog and 14-4 ATS the last 18. Auburn is also 5-1 ATS the last six times it played a game with a line ranging from -3 to +3. Meanwhile, we find LSU at just 4-10-1 ATS the last 15 times it was coming off two or more consecutive victories and an even worse 3-13-3 ATS its last 19 conference games. As stated, Auburn very nearly won on the road last year and this year's team suffered fewer losses than LSU did. Look for homefield to continue to make the difference in this series as Auburn scores the minor upset and grabs control of the SEC West. *SEC GOY
I'm playing on PITTSBURGH. Having already lost to Bowling Green, this game is arguably more important to the Panthers than it is to the Hawkeyes, who are off to a 3-0 start. In addition to having homefield advantage, the Panthers have the schedule in their favor. After falling to Bowling Green, the Panthers responded with a double-digit victory vs. a fairly solid Buffalo team and then had a week off to prepare for Iowa. On the other hand, the Hawkeyes are coming off a hard-fought an emotional win vs. instate rival Iowa State. While the Hawkeyes won by a score of 17-5, it was somewhat closer than the score indicates as the Cyclones missed a few field goals and were held scoreless inside the five-yard line twice. In addition to the letdown spot, it's also worth noting that the Hawkeyes have their conference opener and homecoming game on deck. While the Panthers also have their conference opener on deck, it's vs. lowly Syracuse, so isn't exactly a "look-ahead" spot. As usual, the Hawkeyes boast a solid team with a good defense. They haven't fared very well in non-conference road games in recent seasons though. In fact, they're 1-3 in true road games vs. non-conference foes the past four seasons. The losses weren't close either, as they came by a combined score of 82-23. Overall, the Hawkeyes are just 2-8 ATS (3-7 SU) their last 10 road games. This is a very experienced Pittsburgh team, one which has very big expectations. The Panthers were much better from Week 1 to Week 2 and I look for continued improvement this week. After failing to cover in last week's win vs. Iowa State last week, the Hawkeyes are now 0-7 ATS the last seven times they were coming off two or more consecutive victories. I successfully played on Louisville, a Big East team, on Wednesday night. At the time I mentioned that the public was really down on the entire Big East conference and that we were getting some additional value as a result. I feel that's the case here and that this year's Pittsburgh team will prove to be much better than people think. Including the victory vs. Buffalo, the Panthers are an impressive 13-4 SU their last 17 September home games. I feel that this is a good matchup for them and I look for them to come away with another victory. *Annihilator
UPSET AT HIGH NOON
I'm taking the points with FLORIDA ATLANTIC. There is little doubt that the 3-0 Gophers are improved from last season. That's not necessarily saying much though, as the 2007 Gophers won only one game and they closed out the year on a 10-game losing streak. I believe that the 3-0 record has caused the Gophers to be over-valued this week. Let's take a closer look at the three wins. This year's team began the year with a 4-point home win vs. Northern Illinois, a team which finished last year with a 2-10 record and which is currently winless. In other words, that first win wasn't all that special. Give the Gophers credit for their second win. However, it came on the road and it was against a Bowling Green team which was in "letdown mode" after a huge upset win at Pittsburgh. Like their first victory, the Gophers' third win falls into the 'nothing special' category, as it came by only 12 points vs. 1-A Montana State. Considering that Montana State had lost 69-10 the previous week, Minnesota's 35-23 victory wasn't very impressive. Today, the Gophers will face a MUCH tougher test, as they'll take on an underrated Florida Atlantic team. Like the Gophers, the Owls' record is deceiving. However, it's deceiving in the opposite manner. While Minnesota isn't as good as it's 3-0 record indicates, the Owls are actually better than their 1-2 record reflects. That's because their two losses were both on the road and they came vs. the likes of Michigan State and Texas, two teams which are both significantly better than Minnesota. In their lone game against a lessser opponent, the Owls put up 49 points, en route to a double-digit victory vs. UAB. You may remember Florida Atlantic having a solid season last year, which finished with a double-digit win over Memphis in the New Orleans Bowl. The 1-2 start notwithstanding, this year's team is arguably even better. That's because they returned a whopping 18 starters. The Owls know they can beat Minnesota too, as they upset the Gophers last year. The final score of that game was 45-42. However, a closer look shows that the Owls actually had a massive edge in total yards in that game and were up big almost the entire way. Look for them to bring plenty of confidence into this afternoon's game, taking things down to the wire with an excellent shot at another upset.
9 units Auburn +3
6 units Toledo +7.5
4 units Ben Burns Pittsburgh -1
3 units Florida Atlantic +7.5
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3 units Arkansas St. -6
3 units Auburn +3
3 units LSU Auburn Under 37.5
3 units San Jose State +8
2 units Michigan State -8.5
2 units Missouri -33
2 units Penn St. -28.5
2 units Boise St +10.5
2 units Georgia -7
2 units Air Force +9.5
2 units Iowa State +2.5