SATURDAY PREMIUM SERVICE PLAYS

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Matt Foust

Wisconsin -6  4 units
Alabama +7  3 units
Arkansas St. -2  3 units
Duke -7  3 units
Fresno State -7  3 units
Nebraska -7  3 units
Maryland / Clemson Under  48.5  3 units
Northern Illinois -6.5  3 units
Northwestern +8  3 units
Oklahoma -18.5  3 units
Penn St. -15.5  3 units
Purdue +1.5  3 units
Rice -17  3 units
South Florida -9.5  3 units
Troy / Oklahoma State Over 60  3 units
LSU -24.5  2 units
Oklahoma State -17  2 units

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Pacific Star

Western Michigan -4  6 units
Penn St. -15  5 units
Central Michigan -7  5 units
Alabama +7  5 units
Arkansas St. -2  4 units
Ball St. -19  4 units
Michigan +6  4 units
Mississippi +22  4 units
Purdue +1  4 units
Tennessee +7  4 units
Washington -3  4 units
Central Florida -4  3 units
LSU -25  3 units
Marshall +15  3 units
Navy +16.5  3 units
New Mexico St +3  3 units
North Carolina State +10  3 units
Ohio State -19  3 units
Toledo -19.5  3 units
Virginia Tech +7  3 units

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Mike Rose

Oklahoma State -17  5 units
Alabama / Georgia Under 45  3 units
Michigan +6.5  3 units
Michigan State / Indiana Over 51  3 units
New Mexico St (+140)  3 units
San Jose State +3  3 units
TCU / Oklahoma Under 55  3 units

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ROCKETMAN

North Carolina +8  3 units
Fresno State -7  1 unit

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Teddy Covers

Washington -3  6 units
Illinois +16  4 units
Alabama +7  3 units
Houston +11  3 units
Maryland +11  3 units
Tennessee +7  3 units
UL Lafayette +20.5  3 units

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The Pres

Rice -17.0  6 units
Washington -3  5 units
North Carolina State +9  5 units
Purdue +1.5  5 units
Fresno State -6.5  5 units
Memphis +2.0  5 units
Iowa -8.5  4 units
Maryland +11  4 units
Miami (Florida) -7.5  3 units
Navy +16  3 units
Tennessee +6.5  3 units

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Brandon Lang

20 Dime - New Mexico State

5 Dime - Bowling Green

FREE - Alabama

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Capper James

5* Western Michigan -4

4* New Mexico State +3.5

3* Penn State -15.5

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Pointwise Phone Plays

2* W. Mich
2* Cincinnati
2* New Mex st
2* West Virginia

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LEE STERLING

OKLAHOMA
FLORIDA STATE
ALABAMA
NEBRASKA

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ATS Canadian Lock

3 units British Columbia -12.5

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GATOR REPORT

NCAA “Tech” Game of the Week:

2 STAR SELECTION (2.5% of Bankroll)

WASHINGTON STATE +21½ over Oregon

The Ducks waddle back on to the road on Saturday to take on the Cougars in a Pac-10 contest. Oregon opened the season with three consecutive victories, including a draining 32-26 overtime decision at Purdue two weeks ago. Then last week, Oregon fell at home to Boise State 37-32.

Washington State opened its season in ugly fashion with three lopsided losses, but built some much-needed confidence last weekend with a 48-9 win over 1-AA Portland State.

Oregon comes into this game with major issues at the quarterback position. Nathan Costa tore an ACL back in August and is out for the season. Justin Roper took over the reins, but he suffered a less serious knee injury that has caused him to miss time. Now, Jeremiah Masoli suffered a head injury last weekend which leaves his status for Saturday's clash in question. True freshman Darron Thomas showed flashes of brilliance in the second half of the loss to Boise State, as he completed 13-of-25 passes for 210 yards and three touchdowns. Chris Harper threw three passes against Boise State, two of which were intercepted. Every Duck fan thinks Thomas should get the nod on Saturday; however, during the week he was riding in a car with a couple of teammates that crashed while street racing, which is a big red flag as the focus of Thomas and his team for this contest.

The Cougars are averaging 20 ppg and 335 total ypg, as they get accustomed to the new offensive schemes being implemented. Last week’s blowout win, even against a weak foe, shows progress has been made, and one of our strongest “new coach” handicapping keys is to play ON a team with a new head coach off a non-lined win.

With new head coaches, oddsmakers will likely take a “wait and see” attitude. A new coach can use a non-lined game against an inferior opponent to get some quality work in against a live opponent and build some confidence with a dominating win. Even with an easy win, the wagering public is likely to ignore or dismiss it, due to the level of competition. This means the line will not be adjusted against the team with the new coach, providing his team with line value. Such is the case here with the Cougars catching 3 TDs worth of points at home.

Oregon is 0-3 ATS as a road favorite with less than 13 days rest vs. Washington State, all coming since 2000, 0-3 ATS (-11.7 ppg) since at least 1980 as a road favorite of more than 18 points, and 0-5 ATS (-19.2 ppg) as a road favorite off a favorite SU loss since 1989, while Washington State is 3-0 ATS in the reverse role over the past 10 seasons.

The Cougars are also 4-0 ATS as a conference home dog vs. opponents off a SU loss since 1998.

Finally, our database research shows that Game 5 road favorites of 17+ points are 0-5-0 (-17.1 ppg) off allowing more points in each of its first 4 games. We look for an improving Cougar offense to keep this one close against a Duck team playing it conservative on the road.

PROJECTED FINAL SCORE: OREGON 28 WASHINGTON STATE 21


Gator Report NCAA Games of the Week:

>SEC GOW (1-1 ): Alabama +6½ over GEORGIA 7:45 EST

Alabama is 10-0-1 ATS (+11 ppg) since 1995 as an underdog of 2+ points vs. an undefeated opponent.

Georgia is:

0-5 ATS (-14.1 ppg) as an undefeated conference home team

0-3 (-22.7 ppg) SU & 0-3 ATS (-16.3 ppg) in home games from Game 4 on vs. undefeated conference foes since at least 1980

0-9 ATS (-9.9 ppg) as a home favorite of more than 4 points off 2 road/neutral site games, while Alabama is 7-0 ATS (+10.1 ppg) in the reverse role before Game 11

In a battle of unbeaten conference foes, road-weary favorites have struggled. Specifically, undefeated conference favorite of more than 6 points off 2 road favorite SU wins are 10-0 ATS since at least 1980 vs. undefeated opponents.


>Big 10 GOW (0-0-1 0.0): no play for this week

>CUSA GOW (1-0 +100): no play for this week

>PAC 10 GOW (1-0 +100): no play for this week

>ACC GOW (0-0): no play for this week

>MAC GOW (0-0): Northern Illinois -6½ over EASTERN MICHIGAN

The Huskies got a big injection of confidence with a dominating, 48-3, win over Indiana State.

The ROAD TEAM is 5-3 SU & 8-0 ATS in N ILLINOIS-E MICHIGAN series since ‘00

Eastern Michigan is:

0-8 ATS/1-11 ATS last 12/2-17 ATS last 19 games at home vs. opponent playing with revenge

0-6 (-7.7 ppg) all-time at home vs. opponent seeking revenge for a SU loss in the last matchup and won the matchup before that


>“BIG EASY” GOW (3-0 +300): RICE -17 over North Texas

North Texas is:

0-13 ATS (-13.2) as an underdog of 17½ - 41½ points

Rice is

8-0 ATS off an ATS loss of 10+ points and not an underdog of more than 30 points vs. an opponent off a SU loss

4-0 ATS as a home favorite of 8½–23 points since 2001

Sizeable home favorites have taken out their frustrations after getting whipped on the road as a big underdog. Specifically, home favorites of 11½-25 points off a road SU & ATS loss as an underdog of more than 17 points are 11-0 (+31.8 ppg) SU & 11-0 (+14.5 ppg) ATS since 1989 (2-0 already this season).


>Underdog GOW (1-1 -10): UCLA +7½ over Fresno State


Fresno State will have 4 starters from defense out for this game. They are:

0-12-1 ATS (-9.7 ppg) with a line between -14 and +8 off a non-conference game
0-3 ATS as a road favorite vs. Pac-10 since 1991
0-5 SU last 5 vs. Pac-10 and 0-4 ATS vs. Pac-10 when not getting 22+ points
0-6 ATS (-20 ppg) as a non-conference road favorite since 1990

UCLA is:

11-0 ATS (+12.1 ppg) as a home underdog of 6+ points since at least 1980, including upset win over Tennessee in this year’s opener.

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Highprofitsports

5* New Mexico
3* Purdue / Notre Dame Over
3* Wisconsin
3* Bowling Green
3* Michigan State

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Ballinpicks

Ball St
Florida
Georgia
LSU

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Marc Lawrence Guaranteed Picks

Tennessee Volunteers at Auburn
Prediction: Tennessee Volunteers

Tennessee, our No. 1 College Football Underdog Game of the Week, is 16-2 SU and 14-4 ATS in games off a loss of more than 7 points under Phil Fulmer, including 9-0 ATS as a dog or favorite of less than 6 points. On the flip side, Auburn head coach Tommy Tuberville is 1-13 ATS at home against an opponent off a loss of 17 or more points, including 0-11 if the foe owns a win percentage of .250 or more. Grab the points with the Vols in this upset maker.


Game: Wisconsin at Michigan
Prediction: Michigan

Michigan, our No. 1 College Football Revenge Game of the Week, plays host to Wisconsin with revenge on their minds from a 16-point loss as 3-point road favorites last year. Aside from having NEVER been favored against the Wolverines in the 'Big House' in Ann Arbor, the Badgers are 1-16 SU on this field since 1965. To top it off, Michigan is 25-1 SU in its last 26 conference openers, with the one loss by 3 points - making them 26-0 to this number. Toss is Rich Rodriguez' 7-0 SU mark at home in games with rest and suddenly this game has all the making of a Live Home Dog win.


Game: Colorado St. at California
Prediction: California

California, our No. 1 College Football Favorite Game of the Week, returns home their stunning loss at Maryland two weeks ago as 14-point favorites to host Colorado State who enters off a SU home underdog win last week. With that we note that home teams in Game Four playing with a week of rest against a non-conference opponent off a win are 19-2 ATS, including 17-0 ATS if the host is off a win or loss of less than 20 and the visitor did not toss a shutout in its win. Lay the lumber with the Bears in this blowout.

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EZWINNERS NCAA FOOTBALL

5 STAR: (109) WESTERN MICHIGAN (-4) over Temple
(Risking $550 to win $500)

5 STAR: (145) ALABAMA (+7)(-$120) over Georgia
(Risking $600 to win $500)

2 STAR: (181) SAN JOSE STATE (+3) over Hawaii
(Risking $220 to win $200) (Buy the 1/2 point)

3 STAR: (174) PENN STATE (-15.5) over Illinois
(Risking $330 to win $300)

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Tommy Rider

Triple Dime - Cinn -10 (GOM)

Double Dime - East Carolina / Houston Over 56

Single Dime - Pitt -15

Single Dime - Marshall + 14.5

Single Dime - Miss + 23

Single Dime - Arkansas (+130) ML

Single Dime - Washington -3

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LSU DAWG

PICK OF THE WEEK IS Arkansas + 27.5 @ Texas – Arkansas looks pretty bad so far this season and Texas looks strong, but this is way too many points. Arkansas did do some good things against Alabama offensively, and they gave Bama two touchdowns with pick-6s. Texas has never been too good at covering these large spreads, especially against decent opponents. Lastly, Arkansas and Texas played a series a few years ago and Arkansas won one game outright and played Texas very close in the other. It's a big game for the Hogs but one that Texas doesn't take too seriously. Arkansas has the mental edge. I like Texas big, but maybe something like 31-14.

UAB +26.5 @ South Carolina- Can South Carolina even score 26 points? I'm doubting that. South Carolina has looked really bad in every game this year, with the exception being their game against Georgia. But even in that game, their offense still looked pedestrian. I'm not a believer in the Cocks right now, especially after they struggled with Wofford last week, winning only 23-13. Don't get me wrong, UAB is crap...but this is way too many points for South Carolina's offense, regardless of who they're playing.

Georgia -6.5 vs. Alabama - Georgia is very quietly going about their business and living up to their pre-season expectations this year. They arne't flashy but they are definitely getting the job done. Alabama has received a lot of attention, and rightfully so, for playing impressively through 3 of their first 4 games. Crushing Arkansas on the road last week certainly gave them a lot of confidence. But Alabama's offense only works if they can run the ball to open things up and Georgia's run defense is top notch...better than anything Bama has faced yet. Heck, Tulane was the most physical team Bama has played yet so their running game hasn't been all that tested. I think Bama's offense will sputter with Georgia controlling the line of scrimmage. On offense, I think Georgia will be able to do enough on the ground to where QB Matt Stafford can hit some big plays off play action. I think UGA has the match-up advantage in this game, and I see them winning by 10-14 points.

LSU -24.5 vs. Mississppi State - This is a lot of points, especially given the unpredictability of LSU's offense right now. Will QB Jarrett Lee be the erratic freshman or the guy who was throwing darts in the 2nd half at Auburn? He'll need the running game to take pressure off of him, and I think he'll have it. LSU is second in the SEC in rushing while Mississippi State is 11th in the SEC in rush defense. That should really open up the play action and ensure a lot of man coverage for LSU's wide receivers. Overall, LSU has the league's 2nd ranked offense and State has the 11th ranked defense. So even a mediocre day from LSU's QBs should be enough to get the job done. The flip side, and the main reason why I like this pick, is that Mississippi State's offense is putrid. It is really bad and the match up favors LSU in a large, large way. Over the last few years, LSU has really killed offense without a mobile QB and who don't run a spread offense. State has a traditional offense with a poor QB and a poor OL blocking for him. State's strength is running the ball, but their running back, Anthony Dixon, is a north south runner and doesn't have much speed. He'll be trying to run up the middle against LSU and it wont' work. I'd be downright shocked if State scored in double digits in this game. They very well might get shut out. Lastly, LSU owns Mississippi State winning 14 of the last 15 straight up and every game this decade.

Ole Miss +22 @ Florida - I'm going against the public in a big way here. I realize UF just beat Tennessee on the road by 24, so covering 22 at home against Ole Miss should be no sweat. Plus, Ole Miss just lost to Vanderbilt. But 3 TDs is a lot in any SEC game, and I still think this Ole Miss team is much improved from a year ago. Ole Miss ran the ball very well a week ago, averaging 5 yards per carry. Their problem was turnovers as Jevon Snead threw 4 interceptions. They have a very good offensive line, so they could certainly do some things on the ground against Florida. Florida, meanwhile, hasn't looked right on offense this year. They managed just 243 yards of total offense last week, despite the lopsided score and they only rushed for 3.8 yards per carry. Tim Tebow also only went 8 of 15 for 96 yards. Florida will be trying to work out the kinks, but I'm not sure their offense is what everyone thinks it is right now. I like Ole Miss to stay within 3 TDs here.

Tennessee +7 @ Auburn (buy half point if necessary) - Both of these teams are coming off big losses. Both of the fanbases are down on the coaching staffs. And both of these teams need a win in a big, big way. I think that Tennessee's coaching staff is certainly feeling more pressure right now than Auburn's however. These teams are almost identical statistically and both have inexperienced quarterbacks. I see a very hard fought game that is going to come down to the wire. I like the matchup of Tennessee's very good, very physical secondary going against Auburn's inexperienced QB trying to throw down the field. And if he's unable to throw down the field, Auburn will struggle to move the ball. Against a good LSU defense last week, Auburn didn't move the ball well but got some big plays throwing down the field. If those are taken away from them, their offense is very mediocre. Tennessee will have to scrap for points, but after seeing a good running back run through Auburn's defense last week, I have to like Arian Foster's chance of having a good day.

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Victorious Play

South Florida / NC State
2* Over 45.5

Mississippi / Florida
1* Florida -22.5

Illinois / Penn St.
1* Illinois +15

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Cajun-Sports Executive Report

4 STAR SELECTION

Tennessee +7 over AUBURN

A couple of SEC teams fresh off disappointing losses collide this weekend, as the Tigers host the Volunteers. Tennessee opened league play last weekend at home and got embarrassed by Florida , 30-6. Auburn battled LSU in last weekend's most intriguing collegiate game. The result was a heart-breaking 26-21 setback in front of the home crowd for Auburn .

The Vols obviously struggled against a terrific Gator defense, but figures to bounce back here. Star tailback Arian Foster has rushed for 233 yards on an average of 6 ypc, while QB Crompton will have to pick up his play.

Tennessee's defense should be what keeps them in this game, as they certainly put forth a strong effort last weekend against Florida 's explosive offense. The Gators scored only two offensive touchdowns and finished with a mere 243 total yards. Florida attempted 39 running plays and averaged fewer than four yards per carry. Opponents have only managed 20 ppg and 269 total ypg against the Vols, who have limited foes to 95 rushing ypg on 3 ypc. The pass defense has been strong as well, registering seven interceptions to date.

Auburn has earned the reputation of being a power running team with such star tailbacks as Bo Jackson, Rudi Johnson, Cadillac Williams and Ronnie Brown. Many fans were not happy when it was announced that the Tigers would be installing a spread offense this season, and many of them are still not happy. Through the first four games of the campaign, Auburn is generating just 21 ppg and 355 total ypg. Against LSU last weekend, Auburn managed to rush for only 70 yards on 36 attempts. The lack of production on the ground put a great deal of pressure on QB Todd, and his two interceptions proved costly.

Defensively, few teams in the nation have been as strong as Auburn . The Tigers are yielding 10 ppg and 260 total ypg, impressive to say the least. LSU was able to gain 398 yards versus Auburn last week in what was the worst defensive performance by Tuberville's team this season. The defense allowed LSU to average 15.7 yards per pass completion and 4.7 yards per rushing attempt.

Off the tough loss to a Top 10 team and defending national champion, it will be hard for Auburn to bounce back strong; meanwhile, the Volunteers do figure to bring their best effort here, as we look to play ON a team off a nationally televised blowout loss.

As an old handicapper proverb states, “a team is never as good or as bad as its last game”. Blowouts do happen, and when they occur on a national stage, they can leave a lasting impression on viewers. The public regards the losing team as woeful and won’t want to touch them the following week. The oddsmakers know this and adjust the line accordingly, providing good value on the losing team. Such is the case with Tennessee .

The Vols have a history of rebounding after going down against the Gators, as they are 5-0 SU (+25.2 ppg) & 5-0 ATS (+11.1 ppg) off a SU loss to Florida and not favored by more than 26 points. Tennessee is also:

4-0 SU (+9.8 ppg) & 4-0 ATS (+10 ppg) off a home SU loss of 14+ points since 2002, all coming on the road vs. conference foes.

6-0-1 ATS as an underdog vs. opponents off an ATS loss

7-0-2 ATS as an underdog vs. conference opponents off an ATS loss

We also like to play AGAINST a team with a good SU record but a bad ATS record. Such teams are the most overvalued on the board. Due to their good SU mark, they will continue to get a lot of attention, and thus money, from the public, preserving the line value in playing against them. Auburn has failed to cover 3 straight now, and they are 0-5 ATS as a conference home favorite off 2 ATS losses, failing to cover by a whopping 17 ppg!

As TD dogs on the road where nobody expects them to perform, we look for the Volunteers to hang tough with the Tigers and take this one down to the gun to earn at least a spread win.

PROJECTED FINAL SCORE: AUBURN 28 TENNESSEE 27


4 STAR SELECTION

UCLA +7½ over Fresno State

The Bulldogs, still clinging to a Top 25 slot, hit the road again this weekend, for the in-state trip to Los Angeles where they will face the Bruins at the Rose Bowl.

Last weekend, Fresno State had to play into double-overtime against the Toledo Rockets on the road and narrowly escaped with a 55-54 decision in Ohio .

As for the Bruins, they began the 2008 campaign with a stunning 27-24 overtime victory against then-ranked Tennessee . Unfortunately, UCLA was crushed at BYU, 59-0, in their next outing, then were handed a 31-10 setback by fellow Pac-10 Conference member Arizona last weekend.

Fresno State quarterback Tom Brandstater stepped up his efforts by going 22-of-28 for 231 yards and four touchdowns and more importantly, no interceptions. Although he tends to play it safe for the most part, Brandstater has done well not to make mistakes so far, tossing just a single interception in 79 pass attempts.

For as strong as the defense has been for the Bulldogs so far this season and in recent years, the effort at Toledo wasn’t up to standards, as the Bulldogs were torched for almost 600 yards by Toledo , giving up 297 yards on the ground alone. Fresno State is now ranked 100th in the country in terms of total defense, allowing an average of 424 ypg. Part of the problem is that the squad is not getting enough of a push at the line of scrimmage.

UCLA quarterback Kevin Craft continues to have his ups and downs for the Bruins offense, and he has not got much help from the running game. The defense has also struggled, being on the field so much, but with some healthy bodies returning to the lineup, we look for improvement across the board. Here, they stand a very good chance against a team that is tired, hurting, and road weary.

Fresno State allowed two rushers to clear the century mark last week and gave up a robust 6.5 yards per carry on the night. Mounting injuries along the defensive line forced Fresno State to turn to youth at that spot. Four defensive starters for the Bulldogs will sit out this game, allowing us to play AGAINST a team, especially a favorite, suffering from a cluster of injuries.

If a defense or offense is missing several starters all at once, the team can be very vulnerable to fatigue in addition to being unable to replace the absent talent. A team with a single unit that is missing several key starters and reserves, such as an offensive line without 2+ starters or a defensive backfield missing its top 3 cornerbacks, also figures to struggle.

The Bulldogs are simply in no shape or condition for a dominating game here, as they are:

0-12-1 ATS (-9.7 ppg) with a line between -14 and +8 off a non-conference game

0-3 ATS as a road favorite vs. Pac-10 since 1991

0-5 SU last 5 vs. Pac-10 and 0-4 ATS vs. Pac-10 when not getting 22+ points

0-6 ATS (-20 ppg) as a non-conference road favorite since 1990

In a very simple but very strong situation, road teams favored by more than a FG off a favorite OT win in which they allowed 14+ points have been extremely flat. Fresno qualifies for a related NCAA Football POWER SYSTEM that states:

Play AGAINST a road favorite of 3+ points off an OT SU win allowing 14+ points (not as an underdog of 3+ points) in its last game and not a non-conference home favorite SU & ATS win before that.

Since 1999, these teams are a ghastly 0-23-1 ATS, including 0-3 ATS last season.

Meanwhile, the Bruins will exception to being a big underdog to a WAC team, as they are 11-0 ATS (+12.1 ppg) as a home underdog of 6+ points since at least 1980, including upset win over Tennessee in this year’s opener. We look for the Bruins to bounce back here with a strong effort and stand a great chance of pulling off another outright upset victory against the road-weary Bulldogs.

PROJECTED FINAL SCORE: UCLA 31 FRESNO STATE 27


4 STAR SELECTION

Alabama +6½ over GEORGIA

In the game of the week, the Bulldogs welcome the Crimson Tide for an SEC showdown of Top 10 teams.

Both schools are sitting at 4-0 on the young season and coming off big road wins. Alabama continues to impress with each passing week. They opened the season with a rout of a good Clemson program and have continued the strong play with wins over Tulane, Western Kentucky and most recently blasted Arkansas , 49-14. In fact, the Tide's offensive eruption against the Razorbacks in their SEC-opener was the most points by Alabama in an SEC game since 1990.

Looking to bring a halt to Alabama 's momentum is Georgia , which moved to 4-0 on the season with a solid 27-10 victory at Arizona State . Prior to that, the Bulldogs had rather bland wins over Georgia Southern and South Carolina , sandwiched around a rout of Central Michigan .

The Tide are certainly rolling on offense this year, as they are averaging 36 ppg on 388 yards of total offense. The ground game is the most productive phase of the offense, as the team is churning out 237 yards per game rushing the football, on a healthy 5.9 yards per carry. Quarterback John Parker-Wilson is a savvy signal-caller with the ability to manage a game quite well. He has completed nearly 60 percent of his throws thus far, going for 542 yards, with five TDs and just one INT.

Few teams are getting it done as well as Alabama on the defensive side of the football. The team is yielding a mere 9.2 ppg and that is more impressive considering the team has held solid teams in Clemson and Arkansas to a combined 24 points. The rush defense has been particularly stout, ranking among the nation's best at a meager 55 yards per game on 2.2 ypc. Every level of the defense has excelled thus far.

The Bulldogs do a lot of the same things offensively that the Crimson Tide do. Georgia is averaging 36 ppg on the year and enjoys mixing up the run and the pass.

Heisman hopeful Knowshon Moreno, the standout sophomore tailback is a dangerous runner, averaging 114 yards per game on 6.6 yards per carry. QB Matthew Stafford has also been impressive in terms of managing the game this year and is currently completing just over 60 percent of his passes, with five TDs and no interceptions.

The Georgia defense has dominated the line of scrimmage thus far and has completely shut down opposing ground games, giving up just 45.8 yards rushing per game on 2 yards per carry. The pass defense has been a little more forgiving.

Last year, Alabama was 3-0 heading into the Georgia game. This year, the Tide is 4-0 getting ready to play Georgia .

The difference? Last year, Tide coach Nick Saban was warning everyone the bubble was going to burst. This year, Saban seems a little happier with the caliber of his team week to week. Even last year, ‘Bama only lost by 3 to the Bulldogs and the Tide has not lost a game by more than 7 points under Saban.

The Tide's offensive and defensive lines are clearly the strength of this team, and its here in the pits where Alabama should exert themselves.

Alabama is a tremendous 10-0-1 ATS (+11 ppg) since 1995 as an underdog of 2+ points vs. undefeated opponents, while Georgia is 0-5 ATS (-14.1 ppg) as an undefeated conference home team. The Bulldogs are also:

0-3 SU (-22.7 ppg ) & 0-3 (-16.3 ppg) in home games from Game 4 on vs. undefeated conference foes since at least 1980

0-9 ATS (-9.9 ppg) as a home favorite of more than 4 points off 2 road/neutral site games/Alabama is 7-0 ATS (+10.1 ppg) in the reverse role before Game 11

Finally, we have an NCAA Football POWER SYSTEM showing that in a battle of unbeaten conference foes, road-weary favorites have struggled. It states:

Play AGAINST an undefeated conference favorite of more than 6 points off 2 road favorite SU wins vs. an undefeated opponent.

Since at least 1980 these teams are 0-10 ATS. Georgia will have its hands full all day with a very confident and well-coached Crimson Tide team that should at least cover the spread in what should be an SEC classic going down to the wire.

PROJECTED FINAL SCORE: GEORGIA 24 ALABAMA 23


3 STAR SELECTION

Stanford +3 over WASHINGTON

The Huskies hope to break into the win column for the first time this season, when the Cardinal pay them a visit for a Pac-10 bout Saturday night. Stanford notched a 23-10 win over San Jose State last weekend to even their record on the season at 2-2.

This is the third game of a three-game homestand for the Huskies, who got steam-rolled by second-ranked Oklahoma two weeks ago, 55-14. It's been a horrible start for the Huskies, who've faced three opponents that were all ranked when they met.

Stanford’s biggest threat on offense has been running back Toby Gerhart, who rushed for a career-high 148 yards and a touchdown against San Jose State . He is averaging 102 ypg on the ground, which ranks third in the Pac-10. Quarterback Tavita Pritchard struggled with his accuracy, finishing with 159 yards; however, he did add 40 yards and a TD on the ground. As a team, the Cardinal churned out 204 rushing yards while averaging 5.7 ypc. It's a good bet coach Jim Harbaugh sticks with the ground game against a Washington defense that has been exposed often.

The Cardinal defense held its ground after falling behind, 10-0. San Jose State managed just 38 total yards in the second half, including -24 yards in the fourth quarter. They put relentless pressure on the quarterback, finishing with eight sacks. The Cardinal now rank 10th nationally with three sacks per game. On top of that, the defense held the Spartans to 3-of-13 on third downs.

Their last time out, the Huskies became the latest team to find out just how tough Oklahoma is. They ran for just 87 yards on 2.6 ypc, and were basically never able to finish drives. Defensively, the Huskies rank at the very bottom of the FBS in nearly every major statistical category. They are 118th in total defense and 116th in scoring defense and simply are not in a position to be favored.

One of our handicapping strategies is to play ON an underdog or single-digit favorite that has a net 2+ offensive/defensive YPR. A college football team that can successfully run the ball and defend the run should enjoy success. A strong running game can overcome turnovers and spotty QB play. College games have more plays than the NFL contests, allowing a team with a stronger running game more opportunities to exert their physical dominance, especially as their opponent wears down and gets tired. This obviously favors The Cardinal in this game.

We also like to play AGAINST a favorite with a defense among the worst quartile in points allowed. Bad defensive teams are very unreliable as favorites.

This looms as potentially a make-or-break game for the season and for Willingham's future at Washington, so many are backing the home team here; however, the Huskies are now 11-28 under Willingham, who is in his fourth season, and if they couldn't win for him before, it's unlikely they can now with this additional pressure. This is why we like to

play AGAINST a team with a short-term head coach that is on the “hot seat”, unless he’s beloved and respected by his players.

If a coach hasn’t turned a program around in the usual 3-year “honeymoon” period and is under fire, the added pressure is not likely to help. He probably worked hard and gave it his best effort since his arrival. If that’s not been enough, it’s not likely to get better. The coach may take drastic measures like firing and hiring new assistants, bring in new offensive and/or defensive schemes, and/or throw young, untested players onto the field, but there are usually signs of desperation. Additionally, unless the coach is revered by the team, there’s no reason for them to work harder in practice and hustle more in games to save his job. In fact, it gives them an excuse to under-perform, since the coach will get the blame and not them.

The last time the 'Dawgs were 0-3 in 2004 it also played its fourth game of the season against the Cardinal. The Huskies lost a 27-13 decision in Palo Alto that dropped them to 0-4 and helped seal the fate of then-coach Keith Gilbertson.

In looking at some more numbers, we find that Stanford is 11-0-1 ATS (+9.6 ppg) as a conference road underdog of less than 9 points not off a conference home SU loss vs. an opponent off a SU loss and 5-0 ATS (+18.6 ppg) with less than 13 days rest as an underdog of more than 3 points vs. Washington.

Our database research shows that home favorites and single-digit underdogs have been disastrous with rest off a home loss of 4 TDs or more. This is documented by an NCAA Football POWER SYSTEM which states:

Play AGAINST a home/neutral team (not an underdog of more than 9 points) with 8+ days rest off a home/neutral site SU loss of 28+ points vs. an opponent not off a SU & ATS loss as an underdog of 19+ points.

Since the mid-1980s, these teams are an awful 0-15 ATS, failing to cover by more than 13 ppg on average. Washington is next in line of qualifying teams.

Finally, we like to Play ON a team that has the line moving against it, despite more money being wagered on its opponent.

The biggest sportsbooks sometimes don't move a line based upon the amount of money, but rather upon what they consider sharp money. This "reverse line move" reveals where the smart money is, even if its less overall than the square money. There's a reason it's called "smart" money. Here, we have the line dipping from -4’ to -3, despite the fact that Washington is getting more action. Again, this tells us the smart money is on The Cardinal for this game, which we agree with as the Huskies appear to have given up on Ty Willingham.

PROJECTED FINAL SCORE: STANFORD 24 WASHINGTON 21

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