Saturday Service Plays

Re: Saturday Service Plays

John Fisher

Missouri vs. Nebraska
Play:Missouri -10

It has been 30 years since Missouri beat Nebraska at Lincoln. I believe that Chase Daniels and crew will carve up Nebraska. V. Tech is not as explosive as Missouri and laid over 35 points in Cornhusker land last week. I just worry about the Tigers defense. So will pass on this as a 3 star or higher. Missouri 45 Nebraska 31 2 STAR

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Re: Saturday Service Plays

Gregg Price

Texas A&M vs. Oklahoma State    
Play:Oklahoma State -25

Ok St - 3 Straight games scoring 50+. This offense can move the ball. RB Hunter is on pace for over 1800 yards and 20+ TD's. The defense is improved and they are ranked. They are 4-0 for the first time since 2004. Next week is the big one, but A&M is so bad they barely beat ARMY, so even if they are looking ahead they should win this one by 4 TD's.

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Re: Saturday Service Plays

Sean Higgs

Akron vs. Kent     
Play:Kent St +3.5

We are backing the home team who is on a 0-11 ATS run! These teams just 14 miles apart, and the Zips have played well lately. But, we are going out on a limb here and saying that KENT STATE gets off the snide, and picks up a big home win.

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Re: Saturday Service Plays

Chris Jordan

Rutgers at WEST VIRGINIA -13½

It seems quite simple to me … Rutgers is winless in Morgantown and West Virginia appears to have recovered from consecutive road losses. Now 2-2, the Mountaineers appear to have their potent rushing game back on track with back-to-back 300-yard games. Last season all-everything QB Pat White rumbled for 156 yards and threw for 144, while Noel Devine – who was a backup to Steve Slaton - averaged seven yards per carry in a 31-3 win. And that was up in Piscataway, N.J. Again, this one is in Morgantown, where the Knights have never been victorious.

Now I know the Mountaineers haven’t found the end zone on a regular basis, and appear to be struggling on third down and short-yardage situations, but this could be the right spot for them to improve in those areas, while building some momentum in this midst of this four-game homestand. There’s no looking ahead – not to Syracuse, come on, seriously – and the team comes in off a dominating performance against intra-state rival Marshall, which is always a tough game.

The Knights are 0-3 SU and against the number this season, while they’re mired in a 1-7 ATS skid in their last eight on the betting board, dating back to 2007. Let’s lay the chalk with the Mountaineers in this one.

3♦ WEST VIRGINIA


Connecticut +7 at NORTH CAROLINA

Roy Williams nor Jim Calhoun will be present on the sidelines in this one, I know this. So why would we even consider the Huskies down in Tobacco Road in this one? Well, first and foremost, need I remind everyone they’re the defending co-Big East Conference champions? That’s right, the Huskies finished 5-2 in Big East play right along with West Virginia, alerting everyone this is no longer just a basketball school.

Tonight, U Conn is hoping to achieve its best start in 14 years, as the Huskies are 5-0 for the second straight season, and haven't opened with six wins since Skip Holtz's team did it 13 years ago. To catch seven points with the nation’s leading rusher – Donald Brown – I think the Huskies have a damn good chance at getting there against a tough test in UNC’s rushing defense. The Heels have allowed just one 100-yard rusher this season, but Brown is responsible for nearly half of the Huskies' 1,965 total yards this season and carries the ball on 41 percent of U Conn's plays from scrimmage. That could be a bad thing, since we can assume the Heels will focus on one person in this game; then again, no one else has been able to slow Brown down, so what makes UNC any different.

North Carolina quarterback Cameron Sexton is a former third-stringer and will make his first start since 2006. And with him being 1-4 in his career as a starter, this could be a long day for him … on his back. UNC is 1-5 as a favorite dating back to the 2006 season, while they’ve covered only two of nine dating back to the 2003 season. Now I know better than to compare the 2003 football Heels to the present-day version, but the fact is, this is just not a program that lays points well. Take the dog.

3♦ CONNECTICUT

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Re: Saturday Service Plays

Karl Garrett

Connecticut +7½ at NORTH CAROLINA 

G-Man thinks the price is a little "rich" on Tobacco Road this Saturday night.

Both Connecticut, and North Carolina picked up impressive road wins their last time out, and both did so with back-up quarterbacks under center.

UConn has had a few extra days to get Frazer more comfortable under center, and who wouldn't feel comfortable handing the ball off to the nation's leading rusher, Donald Brown?

Throw in a Huskies defense that is allowing only 14 points per game, and I don't see the Tar Heels blowing the undfeated Huskies out in this game.

North Carolina is 1-3 against the spread as a home favorite under Butch Davis (0-1 this year), and 2-7 in that role overall their last 9 tries.

The G-Man has to back the value in this game, and the value is all on the side of Connecticut.

Take the visitor plus the points.

4♦ CONNECTICUT

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Re: Saturday Service Plays

Sports Gambling Hotline

Kentucky +14½ at ALABAMA 

Both schools enter undefeated, but we will definitely agree that Alabama has had the much tougher road to this point, but we will also tell you that we believe 'Bama is in the ultimate "letdown" spot.

Looks like the public also believes this, as the number has tumbled a few points in this one. Still, we will stick with the Wildcats plus the points, as we believe their defense is staunch enough to keep this one within the impost today in Tuscaloosa.

Alabama is 1-1 this season as a home favorite, and just 3-15 in that role since the 2005 season, while Kentucky is a profitbale 7-4 against the spread as a double-digit underdog under Rich Brooks.

No doubt Nick Sabin has the Tide in a quick turnaround, but this is still a very young team that most experts projected wouldn't peak until next season. That being the case, we will look for the natural letdown after 'Bama's huge road win over Georgia, and for Alabama to win this one a lot closer than expected.

Play on Kentucky.

1♦ KENTUCKY

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SPORTS ADVISORS

(6) Penn State (5-0, 3-1 ATS) at Purdue (2-2, 1-2 ATS)

The Nittany Lions leave the comforts of Happy Valley for just the second time this season when they go to West Lafayette, Ind., to take on Purdue in a Big Ten matchup.

Penn State has opened the season with five straight wins, including last week’s 38-24 victory over Illinois, though Joe Paterno’s club came up just short as a 15-point home favorite, its first non-cover of the season. In their lone road trip this season, the Nittany Lions went to Syracuse and delivered a 55-13 beatdown as 27½-point road chalk. Penn State comes into this contest ranked fourth in the nation in scoring (49.8 points per game) and ninth in total offense (515.2 yards per game).

Purdue couldn’t stop Notre Dame last weekend in South Bend, giving up 476 yards in a 38-21 loss as a two-point road ‘dog. The Boilermakers have scored 21 or more points in every game this season, but they’ve been outrushed in every contest and outgained in their last three. Also, senior QB Curtis Painter has not been on top of his game this season, throwing just five TDs and four INTs.

Painter has not thrown a TD pass in 104 attempts over three games against Penn State, and the Purdue offense hasn’t scored a TD in its last two matchups, including a 12-0 home loss in 2006. The Nittany Lions won last year’s game 26-19 in Happy Valley, but came up short as an eight-point favorite. Penn State is 7-2 ATS in the last nine meetings, and the straight-up winner is 7-3 ATS in the last 10 series clashes.

Penn State is just 12-20 ATS on the road in Big Ten action since 2000, and they are on additional ATS slides of 3-8 on the road overall and 1-7 in conference roadies. Purdue is on a slew of ATS nosedives, including 1-5 overall, 7-15 at home, 3-14 in October, 8-20 against teams with a winning record and 5-17 following a straight-up loss.

The over is 4-1 in the Lions’ last five conference games and 4-1 in their last five after a straight-up win. Meanwhile the under is on a plethora of runs for the Boilermakers, including 26-8-2 at home, 27-10 in Big Ten matchups, 16-5 in October and 12-5 following non-cover. Finally, the under has been the play in this rivalry each of the last the last six years.

ATS ADVANTAGE: PENN STATE and UNDER


(24) UConn (5-0, 2-2 ATS) at North Carolina (3-1, 2-1 ATS)

UConn is trying to go 6-0 for the first time in 14 years when it visits Kenan Memorial Stadium in Chapel Hill, N.C., to take on the Tar Heels.

The Huskies opened last season 5-0 to catapult themselves into the Top 25 and they’ve done the same this year, with three of the victories coming in thrilling fashion. That includes last week’s 26-21 win at Louisville as a 3½-point underdog, as UConn got an interception return for a touchdown for the winning score in the waning minutes. The Huskies also narrowly edged Baylor 31-28 back on Sept. 19 as a 13-point home favorite and got a 12-9 overtime win over Temple in a downpour in Philadelphia, coming up short as a seven-point favorite.

UConn’s offense revolves around stud RB Ronald Brown, a junior who is the nation’s leading rusher with 906 yards in five games, and he is second in scoring with 11 TDs.

North Carolina rallied for a 28-24 road win in Miami last week, cashing as a 7½-point underdog. The Tar Heels got the job done in South Florida behind backup QB Cameron Sexton, who threw for 242 yards and a pair of fourth-quarter TDs against the Hurricanes, including the game-winner with less than a minute to play.

UConn is on ATS slides of 5-12 as a road ‘dog since 2003, 1-5 against winning teams and 1-4 in its last five on the road overall, but the Huskies are on positive pointspread runs of 28-13-1 in non-conference action and 4-0 in October contests. North Carolina is on ATS streaks of 12-5-1 in October and 4-1 in non-conference action, but they are on slides of 1-5 against Big East foes and 2-7 ATS as a home favorite since 2003.

For the Huskies, the under is on streaks of 7-2 vs. ACC foes, 13-6 in non-conference action, 6-0 in October and 5-1 on the highway. Meanwhile, the Tar Heels have topped the total in six of their last eight against the Big East, but the under is 4-0 in their last four at home.

These two teams have not met since 1990 when North Carolina scored a 48-21 win, getting the cash as a 14-point favorite.

ATS ADVANTAGE: NONE


South Carolina (3-2, 2-2 ATS) at Mississippi (3-2, 3-1 ATS)

In what might just boil down to an early elimination game in the SEC, South Carolina heads to Oxford, Miss., to take on Ole Miss at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.

Steve Spurrier’s Gamecocks have beaten two inferior opponents in Wofford (23-13 in a non-lined contest) and UAB (26-13 as a 26-point favorite) the last two weeks after losing back-to-back SEC contests to Georgia and Vanderbilt. Redshirt freshman QB Stephen Garcia will get the start today after throwing for 131 yards, rushing for 86 and accounting for two TDs in the ‘Cocks win over UAB.

South Carolina’s defense leads the SEC in total yards allowed (221.4 ypg) and is fourth in scoring defense (12.8 ppg).

Mississippi pulled off the upset of the week last Saturday, going to Gainesville and shocking Florida 31-30 as a 23-point ‘dog. The Gators scored late in the game, but Ole Miss blocked the ensuing game-tying PAT attempt. Houston Nutt’s offense averages 172 rushing yards per game and 214 through the air, but his defense has allowed 23.4 points per game this season. QB Jevan Snead paces the offense, throwing for 1,029 yards, but his eight TD passes have been offset by eight INTs.

These squads haven’t met since 2004, when Ole Miss went to South Carolina and prevailed 31-28 as a 17-point underdog. The Rebels have won all four meetings dating back to 1998 (2-2 ATS), but three of the four contests have been decided by three points or less with the underdog going 3-1 ATS and the road team a perfect 4-0 ATS.

South Carolina is 7-2-1 ATS as a road underdog under Spurrier, but otherwise the ATS numbers aren’t pretty for the ‘Cocks, including 2-7-1 overall, 1-4 in October kickoffs, 0-5-1 in SEC action, 0-4 on the road and 0-4 following a straight-up win. Conversely, the Rebels are on ATS streaks of 8-3-1 at home, 6-1 overall, 4-1 in SEC play and 4-1 in October.

For the Gamecocks, the under is on runs of 4-0-1 overall, 25-9-1 on the road and 6-2 following a non-cover. The under is also 9-3 in the Rebels’ last 12 October games. But the over has been the play in the last two head-to-head meetings.

ATS ADVANTAGE: UNDER


(7) Texas Tech (4-0, 1-1-1 ATS) at Kansas State (3-1, 1-2 ATS)

Kansas State tries to remain perfect at home in 2008 while trying to slow one of the most potent offenses in the country in this Big 12 battle with Texas Tech, which arrives in Manhattan carrying a six-game winning streak.

The Wildcats have posted three double-digit wins at home, all against inferior foes North Texas (45-6), Montana State (69-10) and Louisiana-Lafayette (45-37). However, the one time it stepped up in class, Kansas State lost 38-29 at Louisville as a 5½-point road underdog, getting outgained 577-343. Wildcats QB Josh Freeman (67 percent completion rate, 1,105 yards, 11 TDs, 2 INTs) has been solid, but the defense is allowing 22.8 points and 370.5 yards per outing.

The Red Raiders prepped for this Big 12 opener with a 56-14 home win over Massachusetts in a non-lined game on Sept. 20. Senior QB Graham Harrell (64.5 percent completion rate, 1,573 yards, 12 TDs, three INTs) paces a Texas Tech offense that’s averaging 47 points and 572.8 total yards per game, including 426.2 passing ypg. But the biggest surprise has been the play of the Red Raiders’ defense, which is yielding only 16 points and 346 yards per contest.

Texas Tech is on a 3-0 SU and 4-0 ATS roll against the Wildcats, with the most recent meeting coming in 2005, when the Red Raiders cruised to a 59-20 victory as a 15-point home chalk.

Texas Tech is 4-1 ATS as a road favorite dating to last season, 4-1-1 ATS in its last six on artificial turf and 35-17 ATS in its last 52 October games. Meanwhile, Kansas State is 1-6 ATS in its last seven lined games, but 13-6 ATS in its last 19 at home.

Despite their explosive offense, Texas Tech has stayed under the total in eight of its last 10 games overall and six of its last seven in Big 12 play.  Conversely, K-State is on over runs of 35-16 overall, 20-7 in league action and 4-1 at home.

ATS ADVANTAGE: NONE


(13) Auburn (4-1, 1-4 ATS) at (19) Vanderbilt (4-0 SU and ATS)

Off to one of the most surprising starts in college football, Vanderbilt looks to remain perfect when it hosts 13th-ranked Auburn in an SEC battle.

The Commodores opened SEC play with a 23-17 upset win at Mississippi as a seven-point road underdog back on Sept. 20, then took last week off. Vandy is putting up nearly 30 points per game despite an offense that’s averaging only 282.8 total yards per contest, including 80.8 ypg on the ground. In fact, the Commodores have been outgained in three of their four wins – including by a 385-202 margin at Ole Miss – and the defense is surrendering 81 more ypg than the offense is producing.

Auburn bounced back from a difficult 26-21 home loss to LSU by eking out a 14-12 home win over Tennessee last week. However, the Tigers, failed to cover as a 6½-point home favorite and have yet to cash a ticket this season.

Auburn has defeated Vanderbilt 13 straight times dating to 1995, and that includes a 35-7 rout as a seven-point home favorite in 2007. The Tigers are 7-3 ATS in the last 10 meetings, including three straight spread-covers since 2002, with the average margin of victory being 30 ppg (37-7).

In addition to its spread-covering woes this year, Auburn has failed to cover in five of its last six league games. But the Tigers are 18-5 ATS in their last 23 in October and 5-2 ATS in their last seven on the highway. Meanwhile, Vanderbilt is just 3-6 ATS as a home underdog since 2005 and 10-21-1 ATS in its last 32 in October.

For Auburn, the under is on runs 6-1 overall, 9-3 in SEC action and 5-2 on the road. For Vanderbilt, the under streaks include 11-4-1 overall, 7-2-1 at home, 9-1-1 in conference and 4-0 in October.

ATS ADVANTAGE: AUBURN and UNDER


Illinois (2-2, 1-2 ATS) at Michigan (2-2, 1-3 ATS)

Illinois faces its second tough Big Ten road test when it travels to Ann Arbor to take on the resurgent Wolverines, who are coming off the biggest come-from-behind victory in Michigan Stadium history.

The Illini went to Happy Valley last week and became Penn State’s latest victim, falling 38-24, but cashing as a 15-point underdog. Illinois had a balanced offensive attack (183 passing yards, 189 rushing yards), but its leaky defense couldn’t stop the Nittany Lions, giving up 422 total yards, including 241 on the ground. For the season, the Illini are surrendering 32 points and 384 total yards per game (182.5 rushing ypg).

Michigan stormed back from a 19-0 halftime deficit in last week’s Big Ten opener against Wisconsin and held on for a 27-25 victory as a 5½-point home underdog, its first spread-cover of the season. The Wolverines prevailed despite just 96 passing yards and five turnovers (all in the first half), but the defense forced four Badgers turnovers, one of which was returned for a touchdown.

These schools met last year for the first time since 2004, and Michigan prevailed 27-17 as a 1½-point road favorite, improving to 39-4-2 SU all-time against the Illini. The Wolverines have won the last five meetings in a row since 2001, going 4-1 ATS, all as a favorite.

Michigan snapped an 0-5-1 ATS regular-season slide with last week’s win and cover, and the Wolverines are now 15-5-1 ATS in their last 21 Big Ten contests, as well as 8-2 ATS in its last 10 in October. Meanwhile, by getting the cash at Penn State, Illinois improved to 8-2 ATS in its last 10 true road games and 4-0 ATS in its last four Big Ten outings. On the downside, the Illini are in ATS ruts of 22-47 after a SU defeat and 6-15 in October.

The over is on runs of 6-1 for Illinois overall, 5-0 for Illinois on the road, 4-0 for Illinois on artificial turf and 4-1 for Michigan overall. However, the under is 12-5 in the Wolverines’ last 17 conference contests, and 2-0 in the last two meetings between these teams (both at Illinois).

ATS ADVANTAGE: MICHIGAN


(4) Missouri (4-0, 2-1 ATS) at Nebraska (3-1, 2-2 ATS)

Nebraska will try to bounce back from its first loss of the Bo Pelini era when it hosts Heisman Trophy candidate Chase Daniel and the high-scoring Tigers in the conference opener for both Big 12 North rivals.

After blowing out three weak non-conference opponents – Western Michigan, San Jose State and New Mexico State – by the combined score of 120-43, the Huskers finally met their match last week, losing 35-30 to Virginia Tech as a seven-point home favorite. Nebraska’s offense produced just 333 total yards and 14 first downs, and the Huskers got outrushed 206-55 and lost the turnover battle 2-0.

Missouri has been idle since a 42-21 win over Buffalo on Sept. 20, coming up short as a hefty 31½-point home favorite. The 42 points were the fewest the Tigers have scored this season, as the offense is netting nearly 54 points and 595.5 total yards per game. Daniel has been the catalyst, completing an astounding 77 percent of his throws for 1,412 yards with 12 TDs and just one interception.

The home team is on a 6-0 SU and ATS roll in this rivalry, including Missouri’s 41-6 rout in Columbia last year as a 6½-point chalk. Each of the last nine series meetings dating to 1999 has been decided by double digits, with eight decided by at least two touchdowns.

Going back to last year, Nebraska has alternated ATS wins and losses in its last nine games, but otherwise the Huskers sport a bunch of negative ATS trends, including 4-11 overall, 3-7 at home, 2-7 in Big 12 games, 4-10-1 on artificial turf, 1-4 in October and 2-9 against winning teams.

Missouri is 7-1 ATS on the highway since last year, going 3-0 ATS as a road favorite. The Tigers are also on pointspread runs of 14-4 overall, 7-3 in conference play, 4-0 after an ATS setback and 9-3 versus winning teams.

The over for the Cornhuskers is on streaks of 5-2 overall and 15-6 in Lincoln, while the over is 6-1 in Mizzou’s last seven on the highway.

ATS ADVANTAGE: MISSOURI and OVER


(5) Texas (4-0 SU and ATS) at Colorado (3-1, 2-1 ATS)

Texas quietly rolled through a perfect September and now figures to face its stiffest test of the season when it travels to Colorado for a Big 12 clash.

The Longhorns are coming off identical 52-10 home routs of Rice and Arkansas, covering easily as 29- and 27½-point favorites. Texas has given up exactly 10 points in three of its first four games (allowing just 13 in the other), and the offense has produced exactly 52 points in four of five games going back to last December’s 52-34 Holiday Bowl rout of Arizona State. For the season, Mack Brown’s troops are averaging 49.5 points and 482 total yards per game, while giving up 10.8 points and 303.2 yards per outing.

Texas junior quarterback Colt McCoy is playing out of his mind, completing 80 percent of his passes for 1,018 yards with a 14-1 TD-to-INT ratio. He faces a defense today that’s allowing just 163 passing yards per game.

Colorado followed up a 17-14 overtime upset win over then-No. 21 West Virginia with last week’s 39-21 loss at Florida State, falling way short as a 5½-point road underdog. The Buffaloes got outgained 368-278, including 249-124 on the ground, in suffering their first defeat of the season.

These teams last met in the 2005 Big 12 Championship game, and Texas pummeled the Buffs 70-3 as a 25½-point favorite. The Longhorns also routed Colorado 42-17 as a 16-point home favorite in the 2005 regular season, and they’re on a 6-0 ATS tear in this rivalry, winning four of the last five meetings by the combined score of 184-34.

Texas has cashed in five straight games overall dating to last year and is also 6-1 ATS in its last seven against teams with a winning record. Conversely, Colorado is mired in pointspread funks of 6-13 in Big 12 play and 1-4 against winning teams.

The over is 7-2 in Texas’ last nine on the highway, 9-4 in its last 13 on grass, 5-2 in Colorado’s last seven overall, 8-3 in Colorado’s last 11 conference contests and 3-1 in the last four series meetings.

ATS ADVANTAGE: TEXAS and OVER

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Florida State (3-1, 1-1 ATS) at Miami (Fla.) (2-2, 1-2 ATS)

One of the sport’s most heated rivalries gets renewed at Dolphin Stadium in South Beach, as the Hurricanes host Miami in an annual ACC battle.

Miami squandered a 10-point, fourth-quarter lead in last week’s conference opener against North Carolina, falling 28-24 as a 7½-point home chalk. The Canes outrushed the Tar Heels by 100 yards (135-35), but allowed a second-string quarterback to pass for 264 yards and two touchdowns, including the clincher with 46 seconds to play.

The Seminoles rebounded from an ugly 12-3 home loss to Wake Forest with a dominating 39-21 non-conference home win over Colorado, easily covering as a 5½-point favorite. After committing seven turnovers in the loss to Wake, Florida State coughed the ball up twice against Colorado, but also forced two miscues, one of which led to a safety.

After a series of boring low-scoring affairs against each other, the Canes and Seminoles got the offenses cranked up last year in a 37-29 shootout, with Miami prevailing as a 5½-point road underdog. Not including one pick-em contest, the underdog has covered in six consecutive head-to-head battles, including five straight outright upsets.

Going back to 2000, Miami is on a 7-2 SU roll against Florida State and 7-3 ATS in the last 10 battles. Finally, the last seven clashes have been decided by an average of 4.4 points per game.

Florida State is on an 8-3 ATS roll as an underdog since 2005, but Bobby Bowden’s squad is 3-7 ATS in its last 10 ACC games, 1-5 ATS in its last six after an outright win and 1-5 ATS in its last six in October. Meanwhile, Miami is 8-19 ATS as a favorite going back to 2005 and 0-5 ATS in ACC home games under coach Randy Shannon. Additionally, the Hurricanes are on pointspread nosedives of 9-20-1 overall, 0-5 at home, 3-7 on grass, 1-4 in the ACC and 1-4 in October.

These teams had stayed under the total in six straight meetings before last year’s clash, and the under is 5-0-1 in the last six tussles in Miami. The under is also on streaks of 41-20 for the Hurricanes overall, 24-8 for the Hurricanes at home, 13-6 for the Hurricanes in conference action and 7-3 for the ‘Noles following a SU win.

ATS ADVANTAGE: MIAMI, FLA. and UNDER


Kentucky (4-0, 2-1 ATS) at (2) Alabama (5-0, 4-1 ATS)

Fresh off a dominating victory over third-ranked Georgia, Alabama will try to avoid the dreaded letdown when it returns home to Tuscaloosa for an SEC battle against unbeaten Kentucky.

The Crimson Tide went to Georgia as a 6½-point road underdog but quickly proved the oddsmakers were way off, jumping out to a 31-0 halftime lead and cruising to a 41-30 victory. Although Alabama had just a 10-yard edge in total offense (334-324), it forced two turnovers, got efficient play from QB John Parker Wilson (13-for-16, 205 yards, 1 TD, no INT) and was never threatened in the game. Nick Saban’s defense is yielding just 13.4 points and 259.4 yards per outing this season.

Kentucky was barely tested during its non-conference campaign, outscoring its four opponents by the combined tally of 126-22, including last weekend’s 41-3 rout of Western Kentucky as a 21-point favorite. The Wildcats have held three opponents – Western Kentucky, Norfolk State and Louisville – to 3, 3 and 2 points, respectively, and they’re giving up an average of just 227.5 ypg.

This is the first meeting between these teams since 2004, when Alabama rolled to a 45-17 road win as a 4½-point chalk. That snapped a 4-0 run (3-1 ATS) by the home team in this rivalry. The Tide are 33-2-1 SU all-time against the ‘Cats, including 19-0-1 at home.

The Wildcats, who have won five straight games dating to last year’s bowl victory over Florida State, are 6-2 ATS in their last eight road games and 7-4 ATS in their last 11 as a double-digit underdog, but 1-4 ATS in it their last five SEC contests and 2-5 ATS in their last seven in October.

Alabama has followed up an 11-22-3 ATS slide by going 5-1 ATS in its last six. However, the Tide are just 7-19-2 ATS in their last 28 at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, including 3-15 ATS as a home favorite since 2005.

Kentucky is on under runs of 6-2 overall  (3-0 this year) and 5-2 on the road, but Alabama has over streaks of 3-0 overall, 7-3 at home, 7-2 in SEC play, 8-1 following a SU win

ATS ADVANTAGE: NONE


(14) Ohio State (4-1, 0-4 ATS) at (18) Wisconsin (3-1, 2-2 ATS)

Seven days after a shocking loss at Michigan, things don’t get much easier for Wisconsin when it welcomes electrifying freshman QB Terrelle Pryor and Ohio State to Camp Randall Stadium for a Big Ten tussle.

The Badgers were seemingly in control with a 19-0 lead at Ann Arbor last week, then completely came unglued in the final two quarters, losing 27-25 as a 5½-point road favorite. Wisconsin, which had a 384-270 edge in total offense, scored a touchdown with 13 seconds to left, but a game-tying two-point conversion was nullified by a penalty, and the second attempt failed.

Ohio State opened Big Ten play with last week’s 34-21 victory over Minnesota, but the Buckeyes gave up a touchdown with a little more than a minute to play to blow the cover as a 20-point home favorite. A week after throwing for four touchdowns in his first collegiate start, Pryor accounted for three scores in the win over Minnesota (one passing, two rushing) and finished 8-for-13 for 70 yards in the air and had 97 rushing yards on just eight carries (12.1 yards per rush).

The Buckeyes hammered Wisconsin 38-17 as a 16-point home favorite last year, snapping the Badgers’ two-game SU and four-game ATS winning streaks in this rivalry. Prior to OSU’s rout last year, the underdog had cashed in seven straight series meetings.

Despite failing to cover a spread all season, the Buckeyes are still on ATS hot streaks of 11-3 as a road favorite, 22-8 in conference action, 9-2 in Big Ten road games and 6-1 in October. Meanwhile, Wisconsin is 6-2 ATS as a home pup since 1998, including 2-0 ATS since 2005, and 4-1 ATS in its last five overall at Camp Randall. However, the Badgers have now failed to cash in seven of their last nine Big Ten battles.

The over is 6-2 in Wisconsin’s last eight overall, 4-0 in its last four in league play and 4-1 in Ohio State’s last five Big Ten games. However, the last four head-to-head clashes at Camp Randall have stayed under the posted number.

ATS ADVANTAGE: OHIO STATE


(23) Oregon (4-1, 3-2 ATS) at (9) USC (2-1 SU and ATS)

Having had nine days to digest its shocking loss at Oregon State, USC returns to the field hoping to re-establish its dominance – and avenge a loss – when it hosts Pac-10 rival Oregon at the L.A. Coliseum.

The Trojans went to Corvalis, Ore., as a 25-point favorite and the top-ranked team in the nation last Thursday, but they came out flat, falling behind 21-0 at halftime. They were unable to recover in a 27-21 loss, snapping a seven-game winning streak (6-1 ATS) that dated to last year’s loss at Oregon. Against the Beavers, USC committed two turnovers, forced none and got manhandled at the line of scrimmage, giving up 176 rushing yards while totaling just 86 yards on the ground.

Oregon bounced back from a surprising 37-32 home loss to Boise State with last Saturday’s 63-14 destruction of Washington State as a 21½-point road chalk, improving to 2-0 in Pac-10 play. The Ducks rolled up 507 total yards, gave up only 271 and forced four turnovers while committing none. Mike Bellotti’s team has lost its top two quarterbacks this season, but sophomore Jeremiah Masoli (9-for-16, 161 yards, 2 TDs) performed well last week.

Oregon’s offense has been unstoppable this year, putting up 47.4 points and 531.6 yards per game (308.6 rushing ypg), while the Trojans are averaging 36 points and 405.3 total yards (155 rushing). However, USC has the edge on defense (12.3 points, 245.7 yards per game) over Oregon (22.2 points, 330.2 yards per game).

The Ducks snapped a three-game losing skid against USC with last year’s 24-17 victory as a three-point home favorite. The favorite has covered in each of the last four meetings dating to 2002 after the ‘dog went 5-1 ATS in the previous six.

USC is on a 4-2 ATS roll following a SU regular-season defeat. The Trojans are on further pointspread streaks of 28-12 at home (1-0 this year), 16-8 ATS as a home chalk in league play, 5-1 against winning teams and 6-1 on grass. However, they’re 1-6 ATS in their last seven October affairs and now 3-11 ATS in their last 14 as a double-digit chalk against Pac-10 rivals.

Oregon has cashed in four of its last five in October and is 25-13 ATS in its last 38 as an underdog dating to 1998 and 8-2 ATS in its last 10 after a victory of more than 20 points.

The under is 5-1 in the last six series meetings between these teams. Furthermore, USC is on under streaks of 20-8 overall, 7-1 at home, 21-7 in the Pac-10, 16-5 on grass and 4-0 in October. Finally, Oregon’s under runs include 4-1 on grass and 5-2 in conference, but the over is 5-1-1 in the Ducks’ last seven overall and 9-4-2 in their last 15 on the highway.

ATS ADVANTAGE: OREGON and UNDER


N.L. DIVISIONAL PLAYOFFS

Philadelphia (2-0) at Milwaukee (0-2)

On the brink of their first trip to the National League Championship Series since 1993, the Phillies hand the ball to ageless Jamie Moyer (16-7, 3.71 ERA) as this best-of-5 series shifts to Miller Park. Meanwhile, the Brewers turn to the inconsistent Dave Bush (9-10, 4.18) to save their season.

Philadelphia on Thursday did what no other National League team was able to do this year, roughing up Brewers ace CC Sabathia en route to a 5-2 home victory. Shane Victorino’s grand slam sparked a five-run second inning against Sabathia, who lasted just 4 2/3 innings, his shortest stint since joining the Brewers in mid-July.

The Phillies, who got swept in last year’s divisional round, are on runs of 15-3 overall run, 5-1 on the road, 8-0 against the N.L. Central, 5-0 on Saturdays, 11-1 following a day off and 20-7 against right-handed starters. Additionally, since losing the season’s first meeting in Milwaukee, Philly has now won seven straight games against the Brewers. Those seven wins have come by the combined tally of 37-14, and the Phillies have held Milwaukee to three runs or fewer in each victory.

Milwaukee, which is back in the playoffs for the first time since the 1982 World Series, is 3-13 in its last 16 against winning teams and has lost nine straight contests to N.L. East foes. On the bright side, the Brewers went 49-32 at home this year (6-1 in the last seven), and they’re on positive runs of 11-4 on Saturdays and 8-2 when hosting Philadelphia at Miller Park.

Moyer won his final six decisions in the regular season, and Philadelphia went 7-0 in his last seven starts overall and 6-0 in his last six on the road. The 45-year-old lefty allowed one run on six hits in six innings in each of his final two outings – a 4-3 home win over the Nationals and 5-2 road victory at Florida.

Moyer went 10-3 with a 2.92 ERA in 17 starts on the highway this season, with the Phillies winning 13 of those contests. He’s also 9-5 with a 3.63 ERA in 22 career appearances (17 starts) against the Brewers, including 1-0 with a 3.09 ERA in two games this season (both Philly wins). Finally, Moyer is 3-1 with a 2.43 ERA in five playoff stats, including a no-decision in the Phillies’ season-ending 2-1 loss at Colorado in Game 3 of last year’s NLDS.

Bush pitched three innings of scoreless relief in last Saturday’s 7-3 home loss to the Cubs, and Milwaukee was just 1-4 in his last five starts. He gave up three earned runs or fewer in nine of his 10 starts after Aug. 1, including each of his last four. Bush, who is pitching in the postseason for the first time, went 6-4 with a 3.50 ERA in 17 games (16 starts) at Miller Park. Also, he has a 5.88 ERA in six career starts against the Phillies, failing to get a decision in any of those contests, with Milwaukee going 4-2 (1-1 this year).

The under is 3-0 in the last three meetings between these teams and is on further runs of 6-1 for the Brewers overall, 4-1 for the Brewers at home, 39-17-4 for the Brewers against the N.L. East, 7-3 for the Phillies overall, 4-1 for the Phillies on the road, 4-1 for the Phillies in the playoffs, 15-6 in Moyer’s last 21 starts overall and 16-5 in his last 21 outings on the road. However, with Bush on the mound, Milwaukee has over steaks of 5-0 overall, 16-5-1 at home and 12-5-1 against the N.L. East, and all six of his starts against the Phillies have topped the total.

ATS ADVANTAGE: PHILADELPHIA and UNDER


Chicago Cubs (0-2) at L.A. Dodgers (2-0)

Needing a victory to keep their season alive, the scuffling Cubs hand the ball to Rich Harden (5-1, 1.77) in Game 3 of a best-of-5 divisional series at Dodger Stadium, while Los Angeles will counter with rookie Hiroki Kuroda (9-10, 3.73).

The Dodgers stunned the Cubs at Wrigley Field in Games 1 and 2, outscoring Chicago 17-5 after scoring only three runs in three previous games this year at the old yard. Los Angeles, which hasn’t won a postseason series since capturing the 1988 World Series, is on hot streaks of 21-8 overall, 24-9 at home, 7-0 against winning teams, 13-6 against right-handed starters, 5-0 on Saturdays and 4-0 after an off day. However, they’re still just 3-12 in their last 15 postseason outings dating to 1993.

Chicago has now dropped eight straight playoff games. On the positive side, the Cubs are on runs of 21-8 on the highway, 39-20 against right-handed starters, 22-11 against the N.L. West, 4-1 on Saturdays and 8-1 behind Harden this year.

Los Angeles is now on a 4-1 roll against Chicago, but the teams split four-regular season meetings at Dodger Stadium.

Harden was brilliant in his 12 starts with the Cubs after being traded from Oakland in July, giving up two earned runs or fewer in 11 of those 12 contests, including allowing one or no runs nine times. In his final start on Sept. 25 at the Mets, he allowed three runs (two earned) on two hits and five walks, failing to get a decision in his team’s 7-6 loss.

Including his time with the A’s, Harden was 10-2 with a 2.07 ERA this year, including 5-2 with a 2.50 ERA on the road. Tonight marks his first career start against the Dodgers, and in his only playoff outing back in the 2006 A.L. Championship Series, Harden surrendered three runs in 5 2/3 innings of a 3-0 loss to the Tigers.

Kuroda, whom the Dodgers acquired from Japan in the offseason, was sharp in his final regular-season start, giving up two hits in five scoreless innings at the Giants on Sunday. He didn’t register a decision, as Los Angeles lost 3-1, ending a 4-0 run with Kuroda on the hill.

The right-handed Kuroda was 6-2 with a 3.68 ERA in 14 home starts this season, including a complete-game 3-0 shutout of the Cubs on June 6, as he scattered four hits, walked none and struck out 11. He also pitched at Wrigley Field 10 days earlier, giving up two runs (one earned) on seven hits in 6 1/3 innings, losing 3-1.

The first two games of this series topped the total, and the over is on runs of 7-2 for Chicago overall, 5-2 for Chicago on the road, 9-3 for Chicago in the playoffs, 6-2 for the Dodgers overall, 4-1 for the Dodgers at home, 4-1 for the Dodgers in postseason play, 4-1-1 with Kuroda on the hill overall and 5-2 when Kuroda works in Los Angeles.

ATS ADVANTAGE: L.A. DODGERS and OVER

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Sports Insights Smart Money Plays

Kent State +3.5
Purdue +13.5
Iowa State +11.5
Michigan -2
Kansas State +7
Colorado +12
Wisconsin +1
Nebraska +10

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Carlo Campenella

Florida State at Miami (Fla.)

This match-up doesn't have the National Championship implications that it once had, however, it's still an important ACC Conference game featuring 3-1 Florida State squad heading to Miami (2-2). Miami won last year's meeting at FSU, 37-29, as 5 point Dogs and look to make it two in a row as they host this season's meeting. However, Miami enters this game following a 24-28 home loss to North Carolina that dropped them to 0-5 ATS as home Favorites against Conference opponents behind Head Coach Randy Shannon. Take the points with 3-1 Florida State as Miami has stumbled to a 2-7 ATS Conference record during their last 9 ACC battles!

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POWER INDEX

1. Florida -24½ over Arkansas*
We have enjoyed going against the Razorbacks for the last 2 weeks and hope to win again at their expense. The Hogs have played 4 awful games so far and look to be outclassed again. The spread has grown to 24½ but we just don't see how Arkansas can stay in this game for long with their pathetic offense and rollover defense. Tebow leads the charge to rebound from last week's devastating loss to Ole Miss.

2. Notre Dame* -6½ over Stanford
The rebuilding job continues at Notre Dame. QB Clausen is developing with each outing. The Irish have now won 3 straight at home and we expect another solid performance against a mediocre Pac-10 team. Clausen had a solid game last week against Purdue and should find the Cardinal pass defense as exploitable as they were last week against pass-happy Washington.

3. Texas Tech -7½ over Kansas State*
Texas Tech has been unstoppable facing weak competition. Kansas State has three wins, all against poor opponents. Our bet is on the Red Raiders here, as K-State was pushed to the limit last week by UL-Lafayette, who gashed the Wildcat defense for 335 rushing yards. There is no doubt that Tech QB Harrell will be able to move the team and score plenty of points. We have our doubts that Kansas State can stay close for 4 quarters.

4. Florida State/Miami FL* UNDER 42
Two tough defensive units should be able to shut down the opposing running games and neither team is particularly scary though the air.

5. Oregon +16½ over Southern Cal*
USC looks to rebound from last week's surprising loss to Oregon State on the road. The Trojans fell behind by 21 points and rallied to make a game of it late. The ability of the Beavers to run the ball on the Trojan defense was a surprise. Oregon features a very explosive offense and their ground game is as good as anyone's. We feel the Ducks can make a game of it and stay within 16½.

6. Ohio State -2 over Wisconsin*
Ohio State is on the comeback trail, following that awful loss earlier to USC. The Buckeye defense is solid and RB Wells is healthy again. QB Pryor is getting a little better each time out. We believe the edge here goes to the Buckeyes, as Wisconsin lost to Michigan last week in a 4 turnover debacle. The OSU defense should pressure Wisconsin into a few mistakes, too.

7. Missouri/Nebraska* UNDER 69
The number on this game is a remarkably high 69. While Missouri is very explosive, the Huskers are not. Nebraska will need to employ a little ball possession to stay in the game. Therefore, we are expecting a few long Husker drives to consume some clock and make 69 difficult to reach. Missouri is not stellar on defense, but Nebraska should score in long, slow drives.

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Gold Medal Club

Iowa / Michigan State
PLAY ON MICHIGAN STATE -6.5

Lesson number one, learn when your young, things aren't always as they appear. Okay so Iowa owns the 20th ranked defense and Michigan State is 63rd. But a closer look reveals that Iowa has not had a tough schedule, and now they go on the road facing an offensive powerhouse, there ranking will change after this game.
We back the Spartans knowing they are 6-1 ats after 2 consecutive wins during the last 3 years, and are in revenge mode for last years loss to Iowa.

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JEFF BENTON

If you haven’t heard it yet, you will hear that Missouri hasn’t won in Lincoln in 30 years. True. But the Tigers have never taken a team THIS good to Husker-ville, and with two weeks to prepare for this Big 12 opener, there’s little doubt that Mizzou will finally get it done at Nebraska tonight. And the reason is Chase Daniel and the incredible video game-like offense, which is producing 53.8 points and almost 600 yards per game. In fact, the 42 points the Tigers scored against Buffalo two weeks ago was their fewest of the season.

Daniel has been about as close to perfect as you could possibly be, completing an astounding 77.1 percent of his passes for 353 yards per game with 12 TDs and just one pick. But the Heisman Trophy frontrunner isn’t doing it all alone, as the Tigers are averaging 191 rushing yards per game (5.8 yards per carry).

What about Nebraska, you ask? Well, the Cornhuskers finally stepped up in class last week, hosting Virginia Tech at home … and they lost 35-30 as a seven-point favorite. Well, if Va-Tech’s pedestrian offense can put up 377 yards and 35 points on the Huskers’ defense, how much of a field day are Daniel and the Tigers going to have?

Throw in some favorable trends for Missouri – the Tigers are 14-4 ATS in their last 18 overall, including 7-1 ATS on the road, while Nebraska is 4-11 ATS in its last 15 overall (3-7 ATS at home) – and I’ll confidently lay the big price, as Missouri is much further along right now than the Huskers.

8♦ MISSOURI

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Bobby Maxwell

Chicago Cubs at L.A. DODGERS +125 

Have the oddsmakers been watching this series? The Dodgers have dominated this series through two games in Chicago and now return home with a chance to sweep and yet they are plus-money. Well, let's say "thank you," grab the plus-money and play Los Angeles as they finish this thing off tonight.

The Dodgers have Hiroki Kuroda (9-10, 3.73 ERA) going tonight against the Cubs' Rich Harden (5-1, 1.77). Kuroda went 6-2 in 14 home starts with a 3.68 ERA, including a 3-0 complete-game shutout of the Cubs back on June 6 when he allowed just four hits and struck out 11.

Kuroda pitched five scoreless innings on Sunday in San Francisco but didn't get a decision and the Dodgers are 4-1 in his last five starts. Los Angeles is 21-8 in its last 29 games, 24-9 at home, 7-0 against teams with a winning record and 4-0 when coming from an off day.

This team is so much more relaxed with Manny Ramirez in the lineup, they look completely different than they did through June and July. Everybody gets involved and they are having fun. We like the way they've looked in the first two games and Chicago has looked like a disaster, kicking the ball all over the field and not getting any timely hits. Play Los Angeles to finish this tonight.

4♦ L.A. DODGERS

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Scott Delaney

I know Fort Collins is going to be rocking for this contest, and I know the Rebels are reeling from a tough loss to intra-state rival Nevada. But as tight as this point spread is, the oddsmakers are clearly telling us the better team is UNLV. On a neutral site the Rebels would be laying a couple points, and in Vegas they’d be laying about -5 points.

So why this team can’t go into Fort Collins and steal one, I don’t know, I think it’s feasible. Look, the one thing the Rebels have going against them is that it’s a Noon kickoff, which means 11 a.m. Vegas time. And true, in that altitude the Rebels could stumble out of the blocks to get things going and might start off sluggish with the aerial game. Thus, you have to ask yourself if UNLV has a rushing game, and if it can battle in the trenches defensively. Uh, yes, on both accounts.

To maintain possession, and to keep the Rams off the field, the Rebels will pound tank-like running back Frank Summers into the CSU line the entire first quarter, softening the Rams up for quarterback Omar Clayton. These two complement each other very nicely, and as long as Summers can move the ball and get CSU thinking ‘rushing defense’, UNLV will have its chance to strike in the second quarter.

Defensively, I am not worried one bit, as we’ve seen this unit play well in situations. Yes, it give ups a lot of points, but we’ll get ours thanks to what I just explained about the offense. What I am banking on is an aggressive pass rush on immobile quarterback Billy Farris, who is getting the nod in favor of redshirt freshman Klay Kubiak. In fact, the entire CSU team is going to suffer because of its lack of athleticism and team speed. The Rebels will exploit that advantage as much as possible, especially at the skill positions, and pull away to win this Mountain West clash on the road.

UNLV

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MATT RIVERS

For Saturday take the Wildcats of Kentucky.

I do believe that Alabama is deserving of their number two rating and are a legit squad but the Tide are in a tough spot here. Everybody is telling these 'Bama playes how great they are after the ridiculosuly easy win in Athens destroying Knowshon and the Bulldogs. We all saw what happened to USC when they thought their sh♦t didn't stink and today in a perfect letdown spot against a decent enough conference squad in Kentucky we can see a tighter than expected game for sure.

Even after scoring the 41 points last week I still do not view Nick Saban's team as a total offensive juggernaut. The Tide did roll in that last game for sure and did the same on the road in the blowout win in Arkansas but these guys are still a run first, pass second team and have a Quarterback in John Parker Wilson who can be good but also certainly can be a little sketchy and throw a few picks.

About a month ago Tulane came to town and completely dominated the Tide in a loss thanks to special teams breakdowns but a ridiculously easier than  easy cover. I can see Kentucky watching that tape and staying competitive today with their pretty good defense. After all Rich Brooks' squad did lose a lot of guys including Andre Woodson from last season but they are still undefeated and feeling pretty good about themselves right now.

The Wildcats have not played much of anybody, I do admit that, but this is their Super Bowl and I can easily see a lower scoring than expected game and a 17-10 type of a pedestrian Alabama win.

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JAKE TIMLIN

Your complimentary Saturday selection is the Nevada Wolf Pack.

West coast blowout I like Nevada to thrash Idaho tonight. I mean given Nevada’s 49-27 road win last week over an improved UNLV who left face it is better the Idaho and another route is in the Wolf Pack’s future. Especially, once you factor in that Idaho show just how bad they are by losing to a bad San Diego State team by a score of 45-17 making the Vandals a bad 1-12 ATS in their last 13 lined games. So building of their 3 straight series wins while covering 2 of the last 3 meetings look for the Wolf Pack to make easy work of Idaho in potato country.

All Nevada!

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TONY WESTON

No baseball for us tonight as we’re heading to the ’hood in Los Angeles as we’re taking USC at home over Pac-10 rival Oregon.

While the Ducks somewhat shocked the Trojans last season, winning 24-17 as a 3-point favorite, this series for most of this decade has belonged to USC. Since 2001 USC is only 3-2 SU against the Ducks, but it is a strong 4-1 ATS in their last five meetings.

USC also comes into this game 4-2 ATS coming off a regular-season loss and is a strong 28-12 ATS at home over its last 40 games at the Coliseum. The Trojans are also 16-8 ATS as a home favorite and are 5-1 ATS their last six games against teams with winning records.

Oregon pulled out the victory last season at home, but a lot has changed since then. USC will shake off last week’s upset loss to Oregon State and take out its anger against the Ducks. Take USC at home tonight.

3♦ OREGON

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Steve Merril

Ball State vs. Toledo    
Play:Toledo +7

Tremendous line value based on recent results as we now get Toledo as a full touchdown home underdog on a field where they entered the season on a 47-6 SU run. Back-to-back home losses have now created line value, especially since Ball State is off to a strong 5-0 SU start. Toledo came out flat last week after a heart-breaking 55-54 double-overtime loss versus Fresno State and the Rockets were also playing without their best running back DaJuane Collins (8.2 ypr) who missed last week’s game due to an ankle injury, but is now listed as probable and is expected to return this week. Toledo has a solid rushing attack that averages 174 yards per game this season (5.1 ypr) and they should have plenty of success against a suspect Ball State rush defense that is permitting 198 rushing yards per game (4.9 ypr). Ball State is a strong offensive team, but their passing attack suffered a major blow with the loss of their best wide receiver, Dante Lewis, who is out for the rest of the season due to a neck injury. Toledo scored 54 points and gained 598 total yards at home versus Fresno State, so the Rockets are more than capable of moving the ball and keeping this game close today. Toledo also qualifies in a solid 36-11 ATS situation which plays on underdogs in this price range that just lost outright as a double-digit favorite.

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Great Lakes Sports

Ohio State at Wisconsin
Play: Ohio State

The Ohio State Buckeyes are a perfect 3-0 ATS when the line is between +3 to -3 the last three years, and they are 11-6 ATS vs conference opponents the last three years. The Ohio State Buckeyes is also 6-2 ATS when play in the month of October the last three years, and they are 8-3 ATS when playing on the road the last three years. We look for the Ohio State Buckeyes to grab the road ATS win & cover tonight.

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