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4 Star Selection
**** Iowa 30 MICHIGAN ST. (-7.0) 24
Michigan State has won 4 straight games since losing at Cal and Iowa is coming off back-to-back loss to Pitt and Northwestern. Those recent results have given me tons of line value to play on a superior Iowa squad that is in a great situation against an overrated Michigan State team. Let’s review Michigan State ’s season so far. The Spartans started the season with a not as close as the final score indicated 31-38 loss at Cal, who out-gained MSU 7.4 yards per play to 5.1 yppl and should have won by 17 points if not for a few fluke plays. Michigan State rebounded with a 42-10 win over Eastern Michigan , but only out-gained the lowly Eagles 6.3 yppl to 5.8 yppl. After that was a solid 17-0 win over Florida Atlantic and a good win over a bad Notre Dame team (you’ll see). Last week’s win over Indiana was the result of a +3 in turnover margin, as the Spartans were out-gained 6.5 yppl to 6.6 yppl against by a Hoosiers team that was missing 3 of their 4 starting defensive backs and lost two subs during the game (which is why Hoyer was able to average 10.0 yards per pass play). For the season Michigan State has been just 0.1 yppl better than average offensively (5.7 yppl against teams that would allow 5.6 yppl) and all this talk about Jevon Ringer’s great season is a bit unfounded when you consider that Ringer has averaged a mediocre 4.8 ypr this season against teams that would allow 5.1 ypr to an average team. The Spartans defense, meanwhile, is 0.3 yppl worse than average, allowing 5.7 yppl to teams that would combine to average 5.4 yppl against an average team. Michigan State does have better than average special teams, but the Spartans are just barely better than an average Division 1A team so far this year – but their 4 straight wins has hidden that fact. Iowa, despite being 3-2, has been 0.7 yppl better than average offensively (6.2 yppl against teams that would allow 5.5 yppl to an average team), and are better now that Ricky Stanzi is the full-time quarterback, and the Hawkeyes have been 0.2 yppl better than average defensively (4.4 yppl allowed to teams that would average 4.6 yppl). Iowa ’s close losses to Pitt and Northwestern are a bit misleading when you consider that the Hawkeyes out-gained those teams 771 yards at 5.8 yppl to 657 yards at 4.8 yppl. The perception of these two teams is way off and Iowa applies to a 63-12 ATS road underdog bounce-back situation while Michigan State applies to a negative 42-91-3 ATS home favorite letdown situation that plays against teams on a 4 game or more win streak. Iowa also applies to a 44-11-2 ATS statistical match-up indicator and the Hawkeyes are 11-4 ATS after consecutive losses since 2000 (8-2 ATS as a dog). I’ll take Iowa in a 4-Star Best Bet at +7 points or more and for 3-Stars from +6 ½ to +4 points (2-Stars down to +3).
3 Star Selection
*** GEORGIA TECH (-12.5) 35 Duke 10
Duke starting the season at 3-1 and breaking a 25 game conference losing streak under new coach David Cutcliffe is a nice story, but the Blue Devils are a Cinderella story that is not going to have a fairy tale ending. Duke has out-scored their opponents by an average score of 30.8 to 16.3, but that is wildly misleading given that the Blue Devils have averaged only 4.8 yards per play while allowing 5.2 yppl. The Blue Devils’ offense has gained their 4.8 yppl against teams that would combine to allow 5.8 yppl to an average team, so they are once again bad offensively and won’t move the ball with much success against a very good Georgia Tech stop unit that has yielded just 4.2 yppl to teams that would combine to average 5.1 yppl against an average team. While Duke’s offense is struggling to move the ball, the Blue Devils mediocre defense (5.2 yppl allowed to teams that would average just 5.1 yppl against an average team) will be overwhelmed by a Georgia Tech option rushing attack that has averaged 6.9 yppl against a schedule of most good defensive teams that would combine to allow just 5.2 yppl to an average attack. Georgia Tech quarterback Josh Nesbitt is nursing an injured hamstring and will not play, but backup quarterback Jaybo Shaw led the attack to 500 yards at 7.9 yppl last week against a normally stingy Mississippi State defense. Many analysts, including myself, wondered if coach Paul Johnson’s option attack that worked so well at Navy could work in the ACC and that question has been answered. I suppose it’s pretty obvious that an offense that was able to move the ball against BCS teams with inferior talent at Navy should really be able to move the ball with BCS athletes running it. This looks like a blowout win to me and I’ll take Georgia Tech in a 3-Star Best Bet at -14 points or less and for 2-Stars from -14 ½ to -17 points.
3 Star Selection
***Stanford 26 NOTRE DAME (-7.0) 23
Stanford won for me last week and I’m back on the Cardinal for another 3-Star Best Bet. Stanford is an improving team that is now better than average on both sides of the ball and is playing with more confidence. Quarterback Tavita Pritchard had his best game ever last week (222 yards on 24 pass plays) and he is now just 0.2 yards per pass play worse than an average quarterback (5.7 yppp against teams that would allow 5.9 yppp to an average quarterback). Stanford’s offensive line is opening holes for Toby Gerhart (421 yards at 5.7 ypr) and backup Anthony Kimble (248 yards at 5.3 ypr), who took over for a woozy Gerhart in the first quarter last week and ran for 157 yards on 15 carries. Gerhart should be over his concussion by game time, but Kimble is good enough to get the job done against a soft Notre Dame defensive front that has given up 4.9 yards per rushing play to teams that would average 4.5 yprp against an average team. The Notre Dame pass defense isn’t good either, allowing 5.9 yppp to teams that would average 5.8 yppp, and the Irish rate at 0.3 yards per play worse than average overall defensively. Stanford is 0.4 yppl better than average offensively with Pritchard on the field and the Cardinal should be able to move the ball pretty well in this game. Notre Dame’s offense did a good job last week in a win over Purdue, but the Irish lack a rushing attack and have averaged just 5.2 yppl for the season (against teams that would allow 5.5 yppl to an average team). Stanford’s defense has come on strong since LB Nick Macaluso and S Sean Wiser joined the lineup after each missed the first two games. The Cardinal were a bit worse than average defensively in the 2 games without Macaluso and Wiser, but they’ve yielded just 4.4 yppl in 3 games with their current lineup (to teams that would combine to average 5.1 yppl against an average defensive team. Even using all games the Cardinal would rate at 0.3 yppl better than average defensively (5.2 yppl allowed to teams that would average 5.5 yppl) and that unit has an edge over Notre Dame’s defense. Stanford has an edge in this game regardless of who has the ball and both teams are good in special teams. Notre Dame’s 3 wins haven’t actually been very impressive, as they barely out-played a bad San Diego State team, were out-gained 5.0 yppl to 5.7 yppl by a mediocre Michigan team and only out-gained Purdue last week 6.45 yppl to 6.42 yppl. Stanford should be favored in this game and the Cardinal apply to a very strong 44-11-2 ATS statistical match-up indicator. I’ll take Stanford in a 3-Star Best Bet at +7 points or more and for 2-Stars from +6 ½ to +5 points.
3 Star Selection
*** OKLAHOMA ST. (-24.0) 51 Texas A&M 14
Oklahoma State had the nation’s 3rd best offense last season and they rank at #3 in my offensive ratings this season too – although they are better than they were last season. The Cowboys are led by quarterback Zac Robinson, who averaged 8.3 yards per pass play last season (against teams that would allow 5.9 yppp to an average QB), and is even better so far this year (11.1 yppp against teams that would allow 6.0 yppp). While Robinson is a great passer, the Cowboys have chosen to mostly keep the ball on the ground in their 4 blowout wins. That strategy has worked just fine, as the Cowboys have averaged 6.9 yards per rushing play (against teams that would allow 5.5 yprp to an average team). Oklahoma State has racked up more than 600 total yards and 55-plus points in each of their last 3 games, including last week against a good Troy State defense. I don’t see any way that Texas A&M will be able to stop the Cowboys with a defense that has allowed 238 rushing yards at 5.7 yprp to teams that would only average 4.4 yprp against an average defensive team. Oklahoma State may score on every drive in this game when they don’t turn the ball over (and they’ve committed just 5 turnovers in 4 games). Texas A&M will not have much luck when they get the ball, as the Aggies are 0.8 yppl worse than average offensively (5.0 yppl against teams that would allow 5.8 yppl to an average attack) while Oklahoma State is 0.5 yppl better than average on defense (4.6 yppl allowed to teams that would average 5.1 yppp). The Aggies’ starting quarterback Stephen McGee is out, but Jerrod Johnson has had most of the snaps this season and is equally bad. The Cowboys are also dangerous in special teams while Texas A&M is below average in special teams. My ratings favor the Cowboys by 37 points in this game and they apply to a very strong 78-20-2 ATS momentum situation. Oklahoma State certainly has no issues with running up the score either, as they are a perfect 7-0 ATS as a favorite of 13 points the last 3 season, winning those games by an average of 32.4 points while laying an average of 18.4 points. I’ll take Oklahoma State in a 3-Star Best Bet at -27 points or less and for 2-Stars at -27 ½ or -28 points.
3 Star Selection
*** TULSA (-15.5) 55 Rice 28
Both of these teams are horrible defensively, but Tulsa is much better offensively and should eventually pull away from the Owls. Tulsa ’s bend but don’t break defense has allowed an average of 404 yards at 5.9 yards per play (against teams that would average 4.9 yppl against an average team), but only 24 points per game. While the Hurricane are 1.0 yppl worse than average defensively, that unit is better than a Rice defense that is 1.3 yppl worse than average for the season (6.5 yppl allowed to teams that would average 5.2 yppl against an average team) and has been even worse since losing top CB Brandon King, who broke up 19 passes last season and had 2 interceptions in 3 games this season. Rice has been 2.0 yppl worse than average in two games without King, allowing 7.1 yppl to Texas and North Texas , who would combine to average 5.1 yppl against an average defensive team. The difference in this game is offense and that is a huge difference in favor of Tulsa . Rice is a good offensive team that has been 0.2 yppl better than average in their 5 games, averaging 5.9 yppl against teams that would allow 5.7 yppl to an average team. However, Tulsa ’s offense is the best in the nation right now, averaging a ridiculous 601 yards at 8.7 yppl at 55 points per game – against a schedule that would allow 6.2 yppl to an average team. Quarterback David Johnson has averaged an incredible 12.2 yards per pass play (against teams that would allow 7.0 yppp to an average QB) and he has averaged 10 yppp or more in every game with 19 touchdown passes against just 4 interceptions in 4 games. The Golden Hurricane can run the ball too, averaging 216 yards at 5.9 yard per rushing play (against teams that would allow 5.4 yprp) and I expect Tulsa to score every possession in which they do not turn the ball over (they’ve committed just 5 turnovers in 4 games). My math model favors Tulsa by 25 ½ points in this game and the Hurricane apply to a very good 78-20-2 ATS home momentum situation while Rice applies to a negative 64-146-1 ATS road letdown situation that is based on their 77-20 win over North Texas. I’ll take Tulsa in a 3-Star Best Bet at -17 points or less and for 2-Stars from -17 ½ points to -20 points.
2 Star Selection
** WEST VIRGINIA (-13.5) 35 Rutgers 14
West Virginia is much better than a 2-2 team that has only out-scored their foes by an average of 6.7 points. The Mountaineers have out-gained their opponents 6.0 yards per play to 4.5 yppl and it’s just random that they have only averaged 23 points when an average of 6.0 yppl on offense would generally result in about 30 points per game. The offense has improved the last two games with coach Bill Stewart reverting back to the run-oriented option attack that has been so successful for the Mountaineers in recent years, after trying to implement a more pass-heavy attack. Pat White is still an accurate quarterback (73.3% completions), but the inexperienced West Virginia receiving corps is simply not getting open down the field, which has resulted in an average of just 7.2 yards per catch (the worst in the nation I’m guessing). The less passing the better as far as I’m concerned and West Virginia has topped 300 yards rushing in each of their last two games (at 6.8 yards per rushing play) and the Mounties should run for over 300 yards at around 7.0 yprp in this game against a Rutgers defense that allowed 218 rushing yards at 5.9 yprp to Fresno State and 279 yards at 5.9 yprp to Navy – the two good running teams that they’ve faced. Rutgers has been 0.2 yards per play worse than average defensively through their first 4 games (5.6 yppl allowed to teams that would average 5.4 yppl against an average team), so West Virginia should move the ball well with an attack that rates at 0.6 yppl better than average. Rutgers’ offense is probably going to improve upon their poor early season results (just 5.4 yppl against teams that would allow 5.9 yppl to an average team), but West Virginia has been 0.7 yppl better than average defensively (4.5 yppl allowed to teams that would average 5.2 yppl) and the Mounties are even better than that now that star LB Reed Williams (leading tackler last season) is back after missing the first two games. West Virginia has yielded just 3.9 yppl to Colorado and Marshall in the two games with Reed in the lineup, which rates at 1.2 yppl better than average (Colorado and Marshall would combine to average 5.1 yppl against an average team). In addition to my math model favoring West Virginia by 22 ½ points the Mountaineers also apply to a very good 253-136-6 ATS statistical match-up indicator. My only issue with this game is Rutgers ’ 9-1 ATS mark as a double-digit underdog the last 6 seasons, but that team trend doesn’t out-weight the rest of the evidence supporting the Mountaineers. I’ll take West Virginia in a 2-Star Best Bet at -14 points or less and I’d consider the Mountaineers a Strong Opinion from -14 ½ to -16 points.
2 Star Selection
**BAYLOR 24 Oklahoma (-26.5) 40
Baylor’s days as the Big 12’s punching bag are over. The Bears are a new team under new coach Art Briles and freshman quarterback Robert Griffin is one of the most exciting and talented newcomers in the nation. Griffin took over the reigns of the offense late in the Bears’ opening 13-41 loss to Wake Forest and he has been great ever since. Griffin has averaged 8.3 yards per pass play (against teams that would combine to allow 6.3 yppp to an average QB) with zero interceptions while also running for 372 yards in just over 3 games on just 46 rushing plays (that’s 8.1 yprp!). Taking out the game with Division 1AA Northwestern State would drop gives a better indication of Griffin’s ability at this level, but he’s still been very good in averaging 6.5 yppp againsat Division 1A teams that would combine to allow just 5.4 yppp to an average QB. Griffin is joined in the backfield by sophomore back Jay Finley, who has run for 317 yards at 8.1 ypr. Overall, Baylor has been 1.4 yards per play better than average in 3 games against Division 1A teams when Griffin was at quarterback (6.5 yppl against teams that would allow 5.1 yppl to an average team). Oklahoma ’s defense has been 0.8 yppl better than average in 3 games against Division 1A opponents (4.6 yppl allowed to teams that would average 5.4 yppl), so Baylor has an advantage against the Sooners’ defense and should move the ball pretty well. The Bears are also good defensively, allowing just 4.9 yppl in 3 Division 1A games to teams that would combine to average 5.1 yppl against an average team. Oklahoma is great offensively, averaging 7.4 yppl when quarterback Sam Bradford is in the game (against teams that would allow 5.7 yppl to an average attack), but they’re facing a defense that is 0.5 yppl better than the average stop unit they’ve faced this season and this game is on the road – so I doubt that the Sooners will get to their 49.8 point average. Oklahoma is actually not likely to continue scoring as efficiently as they have been, as it’s nearly impossible to continue to score a touchdown nearly every time they get in the redzone (they’ve attempted just 1 field goal and scored a TD every other time they’ve been within the opponent’s 20 yard line) and the Sooners are not going to go through the season with zero lost fumbles either. My math model project Oklahoma to tally 498 yards at 7.1 yppl in this game, but it also projects Baylor with 397 yards at 5.9 yppl, which would lead to a game that is much close than expected even if Oklahoma continues to score as efficiently as they have been. In addition to good line value (the fair line should be 22 points) Oklahoma applies to a negative 32-85-1 ATS road favorite letdown situation that has already worked twice this year (against USC in their straight up loss at Oregon State and against Oregon in their non-covering OT win at Purdue). The Sooners are also just 5-18 ATS as a favorite of 24 points or more following consecutive wins and they will probably be looking past this game towards next week showdown with rival Texas. Baylor, meanwhile, applies to a solid 83-40-5 ATS situation that plays on good running teams as underdogs of 24 points or more. Underrated Baylor is 2-0 ATS with Griffin starting at quarterback and Oklahoma is due for a letdown (and Baylor is likely to cover even if the Sooners don’t letdown). I’ll take Baylor in a 2-Star Best Bet at +24 points or more and for 3-Stars at +27 or more.
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2 Star Selection
** NORTH CAROLINA (-7.0) 33 Connecticut 17
Both of these teams will be using quarterbacks getting their first starts of the season, but North Carolina is most likely to be successful in this game. Connecticut ’s Tyler Lorenzen, knocked of last week’s game, will miss most of the season and will be replaced by highly touted passing quartertback Zach Frazer, who transferred from Notre Dame. Frazer is likely going to be a better passing quarterback than Lorenzen was, but the Huskies will miss Lorenzen’s 236 yards on 35 rushing plays. Overall, I’ll call for the Huskies to be a bit better with Frazer than they were with Lorenzen, which puts U Conn’s attack (5.8 yppl against teams that would allow 5.6 yppl to an average team) about 0.4 yppl better than average for this game. U Conn is known as a good defensive team and they’ve only give up 14.2 points per game, but the Huskies are actually below average on a yards per pass play basis after factoring in the schedule of most weak offensive teams. U Conn has yielded 5.1 yppl to teams that would combine to average 5.0 yppl against an average defensive team and the 6.4 yppl that they’ve allowed Baylor and Louisville the last 2 weeks is more indicative of the struggles they’re really having on defense (Baylor and Louisville would combine to average 6.0 yppl against an average team). North Carolina’s offense was hurt by the injury to starting quarterback T.J. Yates and backup Mike Paulus was horrible in his place (23 yards on 14 pass plays), but veteran Cameron Sexton came off the bench last week to lead the comeback over Miami last week with 242 yards on 19 pass attempts and 2 touchdown passes. Sexton was thrown into the lineup as a freshman back in 2006 and struggled in a bad offense (5.1 yards per pass play against teams that would allow 5.7 yppp to an average QB), but his numbers actually weren’t that bad for a freshman and North Carolina has a much better system under Butch Davis and more weapons at the receiver position than they had in 2006. I don’t expect Sexton to play at the level he played last week, or even at the level that Yates was playing at, but he should be above average throwing the ball while North Carolina’s ground attack does some damage against a U Conn defensive front that’s allowed 5.0 yards per rushing play to teams that would average just 4.5 yprp against an average team. While Connecticut has the undeserved reputation of being good defensively, the Tar Heels actually are good defensively, allowing just 4.9 yppl to teams that would combine to average 5.4 yppl against an average team. UNC also has much better special teams with Brandon Tate averaging 28.5 yards per kick return and an incredible 28.2 yards per punt return. My math model favors North Carolina by 13 points in this game after making the appropriate adjustments (it favored UNC by 16 points without those adjustments) and Connecticut applies to a negative 18-64 ATS road letdown situation that is based on last week’s lucky upset win at Louisville (U Conn was out-gained 289 yards at 4.8 yppl to 508 yards at 7.2 yppl by Louisville). I’ll resist making UNC a 3-Star, even at -7 or less, because of the higher level of uncertainty of exactly how well each new quarterback will perform (although Sexton was clearly better last week). I’ll take North Carolina in a 2-Star Best Bet at -9 points or less.
2 Star Selection
** ARIZONA (-21.5) 42 Washington 10
Washington is loaded with underclassmen on a defensive unit that has allowed 7.7 yards per play (to teams that would combine to average 6.1 yppl against an average team) and Arizona’s spread passing attack should move the ball at will (Washington has allowed 9.6 yards per pass play). While Arizona is known for Willie Tuitama and the pass attack, it is the Wildcats’ defense that has really shined, as that unit has yielded just 3.9 yppl (to a schedule of teams that would average 4.8 yppl against an average team) and 15.5 points per game. The 36 points that Arizona allowed to New Mexico is misleading given that the Lobos averaged a sub-par 5.2 yppl in that game (Arizona turned the ball over 5 times are were -4 in turnovers, but have only committed 2 total turnovers in their other 3 games). Washington will be without dynamic quarterback Jake Locker for awhile, but sophomore Ronnie Fouch will probably be a better passing quarterback than Locker was (Fouch has averaged 6.1 yards on 50 pass plays while Locker had averaged just 4.2 yppp), but Locker was the team’s leading rusher last season and this season and those yards are not going to be replaced. Overall, I actually rate the Washington offense as better with Fouch given how poorly Locker was throwing the ball, but Fouch will probably struggle in this game against an Arizona secondary that has yielded just 3.3 yppp in 4 games (to teams that would average 5.2 yppp against an average defensive team). Arizona ’s pass defense actually ranks as #2 in the nation in my ratings and covering Washington ’s only legitimate threat at wide receiver, D’Andre Goodwin, will be easier with Goodwin attempting to play with his injured ribs. Goodwin has 27 catches for 315 yards and the #2 pass catcher on the team has just 11 receptions for 128 yards, so it would hurt the Huskies if Goodwin is not able to play up to his normal standards. Washington isn’t likely to take advantage of a mediocre Wildcats run defense given that the Huskies have averaged just 3.5 yards per rushing play after taking out Locker’s contributions. In addition to being overmatched on both sides of the ball, the Huskies have horrible special teams while Arizona excels in that department. My math model favors Arizona by 32 points and the Huskies apply to a negative 31-70-2 ATS situation that is based on their poor recent defensive performances. I’ll take Arizona in a 2-Star Best Bet at -24 points or less and for 3-Stars at -21 or less.
2 Star Selection
** Hawaii 24 FRESNO ST. (-22.0) 37
Hawaii is 0-3 straight up and 0-3 ATS against Division 1A competition this season, but the Rainbow Warriors are now an underrated team. Hawaii has been out-scored by an average of 17.0 points per game in 4 games despite averaging 5.0 yards per play on offense and allowing 5.0 yppl on defense. The reason for the large negative scoring differential is a -15 in turnover margin in those 4 games, but it’s nearly impossible to continue to be so negative in turnovers and the point spread for this game hasn’t taken that into account. Hawaii matches up very well with Fresno State from a yards per play perspective, as Warriors have actually been 0.3 yppl better than average offensively when either Tyler Graunke or Inoke Funaki are in at quarterback (5.5 yppl against teams that would allow 5.2 yppl to an average team) while the banged up Fresno State defense has been 0.5 yppl worse than average (5.9 yppl allowed to teams that would average 5.4 yppl against an average team) and getting worse with the injuries to DT Jon Monga and LB Nick Bates (the Bulldogs allowed 982 yards at 6.7 yppl the last two weeks to Toledo and UCLA, who would average just 5.4 yppl against an average team). Fresno has made up for their bad defense with a good offense that rates at 0.9 yppl better than average (6.3 yppl against teams that would allow 5.4 yppl), but Hawaii should be able to slow that attack with a stop unit that’s given up just 5.0 yppl to teams that would combine to average 5.7 yppl against an average team. Hawaii has faced two very good offensive teams in Florida and Oregon State , both on the road, and the Warriors allowed 6.3 yppl to the Gators and Beavers, who would combine to average 6.7 yppl at home against an average team. Hawaii is clearly better than average defensively and the Warriors actually have an overall advantage over Fresno State from the line of scrimmage. Fresno has a huge edge in this game in special teams (about 9 points) and my math model projects the Bulldogs to be +1.5 in turnover margin. Even with those edges, the math still only favors Fresno State by 13 points in this game and Hawaii should cover the spread even if they are -3 in turnovers (which would be an improvement over their -3.75 TO margin average). I’ll take Hawaii in a 2-Star Best Bet at +20 points or more.
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Dr Bob Opinions/Leans
UTAH (-11.5) 31 Oregon St. 13
Oregon State was an underrated team heading into last Thursday’s game with USC and the Trojans were in a very negative situation – a combination that led to a 27-21 upset win over the Trojans. The Beavers are a good team, as they’ve been about even in yards per play (5.4 yppl and allowed 5.5 yppl) and are +1.2 in point differential despite facing a schedule that would out-gain their opponents by an average of 1.6 yppl and are 10.2 points better than average. While OSU is a good team, they are once again up against a better team – and this game is not in Corvallis . The Beavers lost at Stanford and were destroyed at Penn State and now they must visit a Utah squad that rates at 0.5 yppl better than average on offense (6.0 yppl against teams that would allow 5.5 yppl to an average team) and are among the nation’s best defensive teams (their starters have allowed just 3.7 yppl to teams that would average 5.1 yppl against an average team - I excluded the 154 yards on 18 plays that Utah’s backups allowed last week in the 4th quarter against Weber State after the starters left with a 37-7 lead). Utah is also among the best teams in the nation in special teams and my math model favors the Utes by 16 points in this game. In addition to the line value, Oregon State applies to a negative 17-50-1 ATS road letdown situation and the Beavers are just 2-12-1 ATS in regular season games under coach Riley when they don’t have the revenge motive and are facing a team with a win percentage of .750 or better (Riley’s teams are very good with revenge and when facing mediocre and bad teams). Utah is a superior team that is looking to even the score from last season’s 7-24 loss in Corvallis and they should get it done. I’ll consider Utah a Strong Opinion at -13 or less and I’d take Utah in a 2-Star Best Bet at -10 or less.
Penn St. (-13.5) 41 PURDUE 23
Penn State failed to cover by 1 point in last week’s 38-24 win over Illinois , but the Nittany Lions continued to play well as they out-gained the Illini 6.9 yards per play to 5.6 yppl. For the season Penn State has averaged 7.3 yppl while allowing just 3.9 yppl while facing a schedule that would average 5.0 yppl and allow 5.5 yppl to an average team. Those numbers show that Penn State has been 2.9 yppl better than average from the line of scrimmage and that is not just a function of facing a few bad teams. The Nittany Lions have out-gained good teams Oregon State and Illinois 6.9 yppl to 5.1 yppl, which is very good considering that the Illinis and the Beavers would combine to out-gain an average team 6.0 yppl to 5.0 yppl on the road. So Penn State is 2.8 yppl better than average in those two games, which is about the same as their overall season rating. Purdue, meanwhile, has been a below average team – rating at 0.1 yppl better than average offensively and 0.2 yppl worse than average defensively in their 4 games. The big problem for the Boilermakers in this game is their horrible run defense (5.5 yards per rushing play allowed to teams that would combine to average just 4.4 yprp against an average team) going up against a great Penn State offensive line that is paving the way for 273 yards per game at 6.6 yprp (against teams that would allow 4.9 yprp). Penn State ’s offense should move the ball at will while their sturdy defense limits a mediocre Purdue attack. Purdue did manage to cover as a home underdog against Oregon, but the Boilermakers gave up 306 yards at 7.1 yprp to the Ducks in that game and were lucky to be close while getting out-gained by 1.2 yppl in that game. I would love to play Penn State here but the Nittany Lions apply to a negative 5-30 ATS subset of a 28-68-2 ATS letdown situation that will keep me from making this game a Best Bet. Penn State does apply to a 90-36-1 ATS statistical match-up indicator and the Lions are 17-5-1 ATS, but I must respect the strong situation going against them even though I can’t see how they won’t win by at least two touchdowns. I’ll consider Penn State a Strong Opinion at -14 or less and I’d take Penn State in a 2-Star Best Bet at -10 points or less.
KANSAS ST. 33 Texas Tech (-7.0) 34
Texas Tech has not been as good away from home (25-28 ATS) as they have been at home (27-17-2 ATS) under coach Mike Leach and the Red Raiders haven’t been as good following a victory (26-33-1 ATS) as they have been following a loss (21-10 ATS). Tech is just 14-24 ATS away from home when not coming off a loss, including 10-21 ATS against teams with a win percentage of at least .333 (2-12 ATS since 2005). Off back-to-back wins that record gets even worse, as Leach’s team is just 1-14 straight up and 3-12 ATS on the road after consecutive wins against a team with a win percentage of .333 or higher – including 1-12 ATS if not an underdog of more than 18 points (0-7 ATS since 2004). That includes an 0-2 straight up record as a favorite of 6 points or more, with one of those being a loss as a 23 point favorite. Now that we’ve established the fact that Texas Tech is in a situation in which they normally don’t cover, I can start to argue that they shouldn’t be favored by as much as they are in this game. Kansas State ’s defense has been ripped apart the last two weeks by Louisville and UL Lafayette, but most of that damage was on the ground, as those teams combined for 682 rushing yards at 6.9 yards per rushing play against the Wildcats. Kansas State has been good against the pass this season (4.5 yards per pass play allowed to teams that would combine to average 5.1 yppp against an average team) and they allowed a reasonable 6.0 yppp in those last two games, which is pretty good considering that Louisville and UL Lafayette would combine to average 6.3 yppp against an average defensive team. While Kansas State ’s run defense is a problem for them, that problem won’t be completely exploited this week by a Texas Tech offense that has thrown the ball on 67% of their plays this season. The Red Raiders have been good running the ball when they do decide to put it on the ground and my math model projects 211 rushing yards for them in this game, but Kansas State should limit Tech’s aerial attack to a modest average. My math projects Tech to gain 486 total yards at 6.9 yards per play, but Kansas State can come close to matching those numbers. Kansas State quarterback Josh Freeman is having an incredible season, averaging 9.6 yppp against teams that would allow 6.7 yppp to an average QB, and the Wildcats have averaged 7.0 yppl when Freeman has been on the field (against teams that would allow 5.8 yppl to an average team). Texas Tech is a solid defensive team, but the Red Raiders are 0.5 yppl better than average on defense, which is not close to how good the Wildcats are offensively. My math projects 442 yards at 6.3 yppl for Kansas State and the Wildcats are among the best in the nation in special teams again this season. My ratings favor Texas Tech by just 3 points in this game and that doesn’t take into account the fact that the Red Raiders don’t play as well away from home (or the fact that Kansas State is 74-34 ATS at home since 1990). Texas Tech’s only road game was a lucky cover at Nevada in which Tech only out-gained the Wolf Pack 6.2 yppl to 6.0 yppl as a 10 ½ point favorite. I’ll consider Kansas State a Strong Opinion at +7 points or more.
Navy 27 AIR FORCE (-5.0) 26
Navy matches up very well with Air Force on both sides of the ball. Navy’s option rushing attack has averaged an incredible 6.8 yards per play this season (against teams that would allow 5.6 yppl to an average team) and that attack matches up well against an Air Force defense that has been good in pass defense but has been horrible against the run (5.4 yards per rushing play allowed to teams that would average 4.6 yprp against an average team). The Falcons are 0.1 yppl better than average overall defensively, but they are worse than average against a team that runs the ball 86% of the time. Navy’s defense, meanwhile, is horrible against the pass (7.4 yppp allowed to teams that would combine to average just 5.6 yppp against an average team), but the Middies are pretty good against the run (4.1 yprp allowed to teams that would average 4.3 yprp against an average team) – which matches up perfectly against an Air Force option attack that runs the ball 87% of the time. So, Air Force is a team that isn’t likely to take advantage of Navy’s bad pass defense while also not being able to defend what Navy does on offense. My math model takes into account such match-ups and the math favors Navy to win this game. Sadly, there is a negative 21-67-1 ATS letdown situation that applies to Navy and is based on their upset win over Wake Forest . That situation is enough to keep me from being on Navy as a Best Bet, but I’ll consider Navy a Strong Opinion at +3 points or more.
TCU (-24.0) 38 San Diego St. 9
TCU applies to a very strong 74-17-1 ATS statistical match-up indicator while San Diego State applies to a negative 64-146-1 ATS road letdown situation. While the technical analysis is strongly in the favor of the Horned Frogs I am not confident in their ability to take advantage of a bad San Diego State defense (5.6 yppl allowed to teams that would average 5.1 yppl against an average team). TCU will surely be able to run the ball, as the Aztecs are particularly bad defending the run (5.2 yprp allowed to teams that would average 4.5 yprp against an average team), but TCU’s offense is 0.7 yppl worse than average and my math model projects only 34 points for the Frogs. TCU does have a very strong defense that’s allowed just 4.1 yppl to teams that would combine to average 5.3 yppl against an average stop unit and my math projects just 14 points for the Aztecs in this game. However, the math favor TCU by just 20 points and the negative line value makes it tough to back the Frogs as a Best Bet in this game even though the technical analysis is so strongly in their favor. My overall analysis gives TCU a solid 54% chance to cover at -24 ½ points and a 56.7% chance at -24 points and I’ll consider TCU a Strong Opinion at -24 points or less.
Northern Ill 14 TENNESSEE (-16.0) 24
Even with two losses behind them, the Volunteers may have trouble dipping into the emotional well after SEC games with Florida and Auburn and with a trip to Georgia next week. If the Vols do play with some intensity I still don’t think they’ll cover the big spread with a bad offense (5.1 yppl against teams that would allow 5.3 yppl to an average team) going up against a pretty solid Northern Illinois defense that’s allowed just 4.7 yards per play this season (to teams that would combine to average 4.8 yppl against an average team). The Huskies are coming off a 37-0 road win at Eastern Michigan and road underdogs coming off a road shutout win are 30-8 ATS since 1980. Northern Illinois has been better than average offensively this season (6.4 yppl against teams that would allow 6.1 yppl to an average team), but most of the aerial damage was done by injured starter Chandler Harnish, who was having a great start to his career before getting hurt in game 2. Veteran Dan Nicholson was 0.9 yards per pass play worse than average for his career entering this season and he’s 0.9 yards per pass play worse than average on 59 pass plays (5.9 yppp against teams that would allow 6.8 yppp to an average QB) since taking over for Harnish. Northern Illinois is a decent running team (5.4 yprp against teams that would allow 5.6 yprp), but Tennessee is strong defensively (4.2 yppl allowed to teams that would average 5.5 yppl against an average defense) and my math model projects only 233 total yards at 3.6 yppl for the Huskies in this game. Tennessee is at a major disadvantage in special teams with their backup punter and poor punt coverage (28.0 net punting) going up against a Northern Illinois punt return team that has caused opponents to net just 26.6 net yards per punt. The Huskies’ punt team has averaged 41.7 net yards per boot while the Vols’ punt return team has allowed opponents to net 38.0 yards per punt. With all the punting that’s going to be going on for both sides in this game, that turns into a significant advantage for Northern Illinois and is likely to keep Tennessee in bad field position with an offense that won’t move the ball that easily. I’ll consider Northern Illinois a Strong Opinion at +14 points or more and I’d take the Huskies in a 2-Star Best Bet at +17 points or more.
UL Lafayette (-2.5) 37 UL MONROE 28
UL Lafayette is a very good offensive team by national standards (not just by Sun Belt standards), as the Ragin’ Cajuns have averaged 6.4 yards per play this season against teams that would allow 5.5 yppl to an average team. That average is skewed by a 667 yard at 9.0 yppl game against Kent State, but UL Lafayette just gained 509 yards at 6.4 yppl on the road against at Kansas State last week and their median offensive game rating is 0.6 yppl better than average. That unit should move the ball at easily against a UL Monroe defense that’s allowed 6.2 yppl to teams that would combine to average just 4.9 yppl against an average team. Monroe is decent offensively, rating at 0.2 yppl worse than average (5.1 yppl against teams that would allow 5.3 yppl to an average team) and they’ll have pretty good success against a Lafayette defense that has been 0.6 yppl worse than average this season (6.3 yppl allowed to teams that would average 5.7 yppl). UL Lafayette is better on both sides of the ball and in special teams and I’ll consider UL Lafayette a Strong Opinion at -3 points or less.
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11* MINNESOTA over Indiana
*MINNESOTA 40 - Indiana 21
CKO scouts expect Minnesota HC Tim Brewster to rally his club off Ohio State loss for what is a crucial game in Minny’s quest for bowl eligibility. Gophers have ample weapons to lay open a banged-up Indiana “D”, which has suffered injuries to three 2ndary starters and its nickel back and has yielded 960 total yards & 84 pts. in last 2 games vs. Ball St. & Michigan State. Minny QB Adam Weber is 2nd in the Big Ten in passing and is more efficient this season, with an 8-2 TD-int. ratio (was 24-19 LY). WR Eric Decker not only leads the Big Ten in receptions, but o.c. Mike Dunbar is using him as a runner as well (8 carries, 77 YR last 4 games). Running game hasn’t fallen off much after injury to Duane Bennett, as true frosh DeLeon Eskridge (90 ypg rushing & 5 TDs last 3 games). Indiana QB Kellen Lewis, who was shaken up last week, has seen his passing production take a nosedive this season from 234 ypg LY to 162 in ‘08. Obviously, he misses departed WRs James Hardy & James Bailey, while new lead receiver Ray Fisher has just 4 catches this season.
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Lenny Del Genio
25* SEC Game of the Year
Play on South Carolina
Whenever you bet an underdog you always want to believe that they have a chance to win outright, but never in our wildest dreams could we have imagined that Ole Miss, our #1 CFB Underdog of the Month, would beat #4 Florida OUTRIGHT in Gainesville at +23.5. We have already made a ton of cash this year betting underdogs in SEC play as we've noticed that, like in the NFL, parity is the rule of the day in this conference. The talent game between the best and worst teams is no longer what it once was and the linesmakers simply have failed to adjust. Thus, although it's only a short number, we're going with the Ole Ball Coach over Ole Miss this week. Off the big Florida win, this is clear letdown spot for Houston Nutt's Rebels. They are off, not one, but two straight very physical contests as they came up just short against unbeaten Vandy the week prior. Had Mississippi not beaten Florida last week, South Carolina may very well have been favored in this game. Now, we get the Gamecocks at an underdog price, where Spurrier is 7-2-1 ATS since taking over this program. Granted, he doesn't have USC where he wants them to be, but they have a much better defense than Ole Miss and the team is coming off two creampuff wins over Wofford and UAB, leaving them fresh for what will be their third conference game of the year. They are off to a 0-2 start, but they did play Georgia tough in a 14-7 loss in Columbia. The defense will be able to contain Miss QB Jevan Snead, who has a completion percentage of just 46.7% on the season. The SC stop unit has allowed more than 14 points in just one game this season. This is also a very important game to the South Carolina program as they have lost five straight to the Rebels (last win came in 1979). South Carolina is our 25* SEC Game of the Year.
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RIGHT ANGLE SPORTS
Ohio at Western Michigan -4
I have been high on the Broncos for a while and they are finally learning to win consistently. They enter this game having won four in a row including two road wins and a win over dark horse Northern Illinois that now looks better than it first did. Last week they beat a scrappy Temple team 7-3 but enjoyed significant edges in first downs and total yardage. They now return home for a key conference homecoming game and a chance to go to 2-0 in MAC play. Ohio enters the game 1-4 and is getting too much credit for their close losses this year. First at Wyoming who has looked horrible ever since, then at Ohio State who had USC on deck, and then at Northwestern when the Cats got a near career worst passing effort from their QB. Ohio is only averaging 84 yards per game on the ground vs FBS opponents which would rank them in the bottom 10 nationally. They even struggled in short yardage situations against a horrible VMI (FCS) team last week while giving up 456 total yards on defense in a game that was closer for a lot longer than it should have been. Injuries continue to pile up with three starters missing last week's game, two more (one OL, one DL) suffering significant injuries, and three other players having to leave the game with statuses pending as of this writing. Ohio will already be playing their fourth road game in just six weeks. Western Michigan is one of the more physical teams in the conference and should control the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball in this matchup. Due to unbalanced scheduling last year the MAC East vs West games did not really count in the standings but this year every game is important. Expect the better Bronco team to take care of business at home with a convincing win here. Give the points.
Play:Western Michigan -4 for 1 UNIT
Wyoming (+12) at New Mexico
The Cowboys have been one of the unluckiest teams in the country in terms of turnovers and yards per point (on both sides of the ball) and it has led them to a 2-3 record with some lopsided scores. Despite the misfortune their defense has remained adequate throughout the year. Coaches have been far too patient with struggling first year starting QB Dax Crum (52.6% with 6 ints in 5 games) and are finally giving the reigns back to last year's starter Karsten Sween. Sween has 18 career starts and was actually 9-3 as a starter at one point last year. Most followers agree that he gives the team their best chance to win and there was renewed optimism when Sween was named the started on Monday. Another boost to the offense will be the probable return of WR Brandon Stewart. The speedster won a starting job at wideout and punt returner before a shoulder injury sidelined him in the first five games. Two weeks ago New Mexico was blown off the field by Tulsa, losing starting QB Porterie in the process. They got the perfect opponent last week in New Mexico State who cannot stop the run and the Lobo's were able to bully their way to an improbable come from behind win. This was despite new starting QB Gruner only generating 55 passing yards and looking awful in the process. Gruner finished 7 for 16 with 1 interception against a highly suspect Aggie defense. This week the Lobos will face a much tougher defense, particularly against the run, and it will be very difficult for them to generate much offense. I expect this to be a very low scoring game which makes the double digit spread even more of a premium. Take the points.
Play:Wyoming +12 for 1 UNIT
Texas A&M/Oklahoma State UNDER 63 for 1 UNIT
Wyoming/New Mexico UNDER 43.5 for 1 UNIT
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20* Revenge Game of the Year-CFB
My 20* play is on Air Force at 4:00 ET. Navy has dominated its service academy rivals for six years now, winning 11 of 12 games while capturing five consecutive Commander-in-Chief's trophies. Air Force has "felt that pain," suffering five straight losses to the Midshipmen. The losing streak began in 2003, with Air Force losing 28-25 in Landover as 14-point favorites. Three-point losses followed the next two seasons as well, before the Falcons lost by seven point in '06 and nine points last year. That's five losses by a combined total of 25 points. New Air Force head coach Troy Calhoun (in his second year) has given "lip service" to de-emphasizing the military rivalries but I'm not buying it. Air Force knows what's it's like to dominate its fellow service academies, as from 1982-2002, the Falcons won 19 of 21 games vs Navy and 17 of 21 against Army. Calhoun took over at Colorado Springs last year, replacing the legendary Fisher DeBerry, who had just five losing seasons in 23 years for Air Force. However, three of those losing seasons had come in his final three years at the school. Calhoun's first year was an unqualified success, as the Falcons went 9-3 during the regular season (9-2 ATS), before losing in the Armed Forces Bowl to Cal. In that game, Air Force jumped out to a 21-0 lead but wound up on the short end of a 42-36 final. It didn't help things that starting QB Carney was lost to an injury in the late third quarter with Air Force leading 27-21. Air Force is 3-1 to start '08, winning road games at Wyoming (23-3) and Houston (31-28) as underdogs, while beating Southern Utah at home and losing to an excellent Utah team in Colorado Springs on September 20. Air Force lead 16-7 at the half against the Utes but lost 30-23, when Utah scored with just under a minute to go in the game. Navy enters this game 3-2, after back-to-back wins over Rutgers (23-21) and at then-No. 16 Wake Forest. The 24-17 win over Wake marks Navy's first win over a ranked opponent in 23 years. Navy won despite losing starting QB Kaheaku-Enhada leaving with a hamstring injury in the second quarter. Enhada is questionable here and Navy will likely go with Jarod Bryant at QB, who I believe is a huge step down in class. Navy ranks No. 2 in the nation with 335.0 YPG on the ground (6.1 per). The Middies have two quality RBs in White (693 YR / 9.4 YPC) and Kettani (435 YR / 7.3 YPC). White, who had 348 yards vs Towson State in the season-opener, had just 20 yards on 11 carries vs Wake but Kettani had 175 vs Wake, after getting 133 the week before against Rutgers. Air Force can run the ball well too, averaging 281.8 YPG on the ground (4.5 YPC). QB Shea Smith has not shown much promise in the passing game, which ranks dead-last in the nation at 57.0 YPG (Carney completed 62.9 percent for 1,491 yards with nine TDs last year). Then again, Navy (with either Enhada or Bryant), only averages 80.2 YPG through the air, ranking just two spots ahead of Air Force. Navy is in a very tough spot scheduling-wise in this one and I believe that's a key to the game. It will be the team's FOURTH road game in its last five contests and prior to the Wake game, the Navy 'D' had allowed 35 points (488 yards) at Ball State and 41 points (396 yards) at Duke. As for Air Force, the Falcons had last weekend off, after its tough loss at home to Utah. That was Calhoun's first home loss as the Falcons' head coach (7-1) but the cover keeps him a perfect 6-0 ATS in Colorado Springs. As already mentioned, Navy is off a HUGE upset win over Wake, due largely to six Wake Forest turnovers. Wake QB Riley Skinner wound up with four INTs (ending a streak of 133 passes without an INT) and one lost fumble. Navy cannot expect those kind of 'gifts' in this game, against a major rival out to end a five-game series losing streak. Revenge works when the situation is right and the talent-gap is negligible. That's the case here and I look for the Falcons to roll. Revenge GOY 20* Air Force.
CFB Blowout Game of the Month
My CFB Blowout of the Month is on Both Ohio U and Western Michigan were bowl teams in 2006 but the Bobcats fell to 6-6 last year, with the Broncos falling even further (5-7). The current season has seen the Bobcats open 0-4 before finally getting their first win last week vs VMI (51-31), while the Broncos have won four straight (2-0 start in the MAC) games since losing their season-opener at Nebraska. Ohio lost its starting QB (Theo Scott) in the second game of the year (at Ohio State) and Boo Jackson has taken over. Jackson threw three INTs in that game at Columbus and threw two more INTs in a 16-8 loss at Northwestern. While he has played well at home in his two starts (365 yards with three TDs and 0 INTs vs CMU plus 287 yards with two TDs and 0 INTs vs VMI), it's his two road performances which are more relevant here. Ohio hasn't had much balance to its offense, as the Bobcats have averaged just 117.4 RPG on the ground (3.6 YPC). The team's leading rusher (by far) is Harden, who has 274 yards (5.3). However, if one were to subtract his 142 yards vs VMI, he's averaged just 44.0 YPG in his other four contests. WMU only scored seven points in winning at Temple last week but the team has decent balance on offense and has averaged 30.4 PPG for the season. RB Brandon West was held to 35 last week (15 attempts) but let's not forget he was averaging 108.0 YPG through his first four games and ran for 848 yards (4.8) last season. He'll be up against a weak Ohio U defensive front-seven, which is allowing 175.6 YPG on the ground, which ranks them 92nd in the nation. QB Tim Hiller had a solid season last year for WMU and is off to an excellent start in '08. He's completing 69.4 percent of his passes, averaging 270.8 YPG with 15 TDs and just three INTs. The WMU defense is nothing special (despite good efforts the last two weeks vs Temple and Tenn Tech) but the Bobcats are not really capable of trading points with the Broncos. With two straight conference road games on tap (at Buffalo and Central Michigan), the Broncos will be focused for this Homecoming game, with a win meaning a 3-0 start in the MAC. This year's team looks similar in talent to the '06 and '05 editions of the Broncos, who went 9-1 SU at home in those two seasons (lone loss was to Ball State in '05, a multi-OT shootout game which ended 60-57). Broncos roll in this one. Blowout Game of the Month 15* Western Michigan.
Las Vegas Insider-CFB (6-2 with FB Insiders to open '08!)
My Las Vegas Insider is on Miami-Ohio at 3:30 ET. Al Golden entered his third year at Temple in '08 with a lot of optimism. He went just 1-11 in his first season in Philadelphia (2006) but in '07 the Owls were 4-8 SU and 7-5 ATS. QB Adam DiMichele completed 61.4 percent of his passes in '06 and 61.9 percent in '07, throwing 12 TDs and only 10 INTs. Most importantly, a defense which had allowed more than 30.0 PPG over the previous four seasons (had allowed 45.3 and 41.3 PPG in '05 and '06, respectively), became rejuvenated in '07, allowing 26.3 PPG and almost 90 YPG less than it did in '06. All 11 starters returned on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball. Temple opened '08 with an easy win at Army and then lost back-to-back heartbreakers. The Owls lost 12-9 in OT to U Conn, a school which is currently 5-0 and ranked 24th in the AP. Then Temple lost 30-28 at Buffalo, when the Bulls connected on a 35-yard TD pass on the game's final play. The Owls visited Happy Valley a week later and QB Adam DiMichele separated his shoulder in the first quarter (after two pass attempts). The Owls have not recovered. After a scoreless first quarter vs the Nittany Lions, Temple went on to lose 45-3. In last week's Homecoming game, Temple lost 7-3 to Western Michigan. Freshman QB Chester Stewart has not been able to adequately replace DiMichele (still out), going 26-of-50 the last two games, while passing for a total of just 176 yards (88.0 per game). He's led the team to just two FGs and has thrown three INTs. Without the threat of a passing game, the Owls' rushing game has totaled just 152 yards the last two weeks (76 per), while averaging 2.3 YPC. It should hardly go unnoticed that Temple has converted just SIX of its 31 third down opportunities these past two weeks. Miami-Ohio comes in just 1-3 but the RedHawks match up well here. QB Raudabaugh is better than his early numbers in '08 (58.9 percent with four TDs and five INTs). He completed 20-of-33 at Michigan for 161 yards (zero TDs and INTs) and 28-of-42 at Cincinnati, for 235 yards with two TDs and just one INT. The Temple 'D' is getting overworked because of the team's offensive struggles and I'm expecting a big game from Raudabaugh in this one. Miami and Temple have met just twice ('05 and '07) and while the schools have split those two meetings, Miami has outgained Temple 876 yards to 493. Miami hasn't played since that September 20 loss at Cincy and head coach Shane Montgomery is 3-0-1 off a bye week. Winning on the road has never come easy for this Temple program, as the Owls are a rather sad 3-31 SU away from home since 2003. The lone wins have come against Sun Belt member MTSU in '03, a 4-8 Akron team last year and at Army to open TY (Army currently owns the nation's longest active overall losing streak at 10 straight). With no DiMichele at QB, the Owls can't move the ball consistently and eventually, the defense will wear down. Las Vegas Insider on Miami-Ohio.
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$1000 Take #338 Vanderbilt (+4) over Auburn (6 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 4)
This is our NCAA Game of the Month and I think it's a game that the Commodores win outright. Auburn's offense has not proven that it can score points efficiently enough to where they should be laying points on the road. They are very shaky at the quarterback position and People keep betting against Vandy and the 'Dores just keep covering the spread. They remind me a bit of Virginia last year in that people keep playing against them waiting for their luck to change, but the Commodores, like the Cavs, will just keep finding ways to win (and cover). The home team is 4-1 ATS in this series and Vanderbilt is 5-2 ATS in SEC play. Auburn embarrassed Vanderbilt last year, but they are going to find out that this is a much better Vandy team.
$300.00 Take #310 Utah (-11) over Oregon State (9 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 2)
I think that the Beavers are set for a letdown and I think that the the line movement on this game told us everything we need to know. This line steamed over three points on the side of the Utes. We are also going to keep playing a trend that we've noticed in this early season, and that is that the home teams in the primetime games are 8-2-1 ATS to this point.
$500.00 Take #331 Texas Tech (-7.5) over Kansas State (3:30 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 4)
We've seen the Wildcats enough this year to know that they aren't very good, and people haven't seen the Red Raiders enough this year to realize just how good they are. The Red Raiders boast one of the best passing offenses in the country, but look for them to be able to move the ball easily on the ground against the No. 107 rated rush defense in the country. Basically, I think that Tech can move the ball at will and I don't think that the Wildcats will be able to score enough points to keep up. Texas Tech is 4-0 ATS in the last four meetings and I think they win this one in blowout fashion.
$300.00 Take #340 Illinois (+2.5) over Michigan (3:30 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 4)
The Wolverines managed a pretty luck win at home against Wisconsin last week when the Badgers started to look ahead to Ohio State in the second half. That won't happen with Illinois, which is a bit undervalued because they've lost some road games to some of the top teams in the country (Missouri, Penn State). I don't think that Michigan will be able to handle the speed that the Illini bring to this game, and I think that Illinois defense is going to be able to handle the slow, weak spread offense that the Wolverines are trying to run.
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100% CFB Super Super Pick Super Play!
Play On: Stanford
Notre Dame returns home to host Stanford Saturday afternoon with the Cardinal looking to avenge a 7-point home loss last year. While the Irish appear to have turned things around the fact of the matter is they are still being outgained on the playing field, allowing 51 YPG more than they gain this season. With the Dame 0-8 ATS against avenging opponents, look for Stanford to get their revenge against the Irish.