Saturday Service Plays

Re: Saturday Service Plays

Dave Cokin

Bowling Green / No Illinois
Take No Illinois

This week's free opinion again involves Northern Illinois, and I'm not ready to get off that Huskies express just yet. I've had NIU as a very big play three times this season, and they've obliged with a cinch cover on each occasion. I can't step out with them here, as it's not a very good scheduling spot for the Huskies. In fact, the situation favors Bowling Green to some extent. The Falcons just lost as home chalk and are now catching some decent points on the road. NIU is off the gigantic revenge win over Toledo and they have unbeaten Ball State on deck. But the fundamentals favor the Huskies by a substantial margin. BGU is having a great deal of trouble stopping the run and the Falcons have been unable to create balance offensively. Northern Illinois has surrendered just 434 yards on the ground in their last five games combined and should dominate in the trenches again this week. NIU is just 10 points away from being 7-0 and I still feel they're a bit underrated. The situation prevents me from taking a big stance on the Huskies, but I believe they're good enough to reward their backers yet again this weekend.

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ROCKBOXSPORTS.COM

3 STARS: FLORIDA -24.5 Gators are feeling good coming off the big win over LSU followed with a bye last week. We respect Kentucky, but this is a bad situation for them injury-wise. After losing top WR Dicky Lyons Jr. two weeks ago they lost top rusher RB Derrick Locke last week. DT Marcus Pryor is also out and several other defensive players are banged up. Not good news heading into The Swamp. Urban Meyer is 25-3 SU all-time with more than a week to prepare and he has showed this season that he is not afraid to pile on and get the front door cover. We don't think that will even be necessary this week. This one should be over early.

3 STARS: SMU +12  The Mustangs are a young team and they have struggled this year. However, there is talent here and June Jones' coaching is starting to take hold as the team is showing signs of improvement. After losing 3 of their first 4 by 35 ppg., SMU has played very well and been in the game in recent weeks against the likes of Tulane and  Central Florida and they held fourth quarter leads against Tulsa and Houston. Young QB Bo Levi Mitchell has been improving rapidly under Jones' tutelage, throwing 8 TD's in the last two games. We think they can exploit the Navy pass defense and possibly win this one outright.

2 STARS: TRAP GAME OF THE WEEK: MICHIGAN +3.5 This game has trap written all over it. Michigan has struggled mightily and Michigan State looks primed to hammer their bitter rival. Not so fast, we say. Michigan has won the last six in this series and the last eight at home. Their offense has been decent when QB Threet is healthy and that appears to be the case here. Rich Rodriguez is no slouch as a coach and we think he'll have his team primed to pull a big surprise.

2 STARS: CINCINNATI -2.5 Bearcats have been coming on the last few weeks. Now starting QB Tony Pike returns and the defense is ramping up just in time to face a UCONN team with injury problems and uncertainty at QB. UCONN is a well-coached bunch but they were one of the more fortuitous teams in the nation last year and they may be coming to earth right about now. Cincy is the more talented team and primed for a big conference win here.

2 STARS: KENT STATE +5 The Golden Flashes may be 1-6 and 0-3 in the MAC but they have played well the last two weeks against Akron and Ohio. Their offensive line is beginning to gel and they have real weapons in QB Julian Edelman, RB Eugene Jenkins, and WR Shawn Bayes. The defense is getting healthy as well. We think they are ready for a breakthrough game this week.

2 STARS: CAL -17.5 This appears to be a mismatch on every level. UCLA has no chance to run the ball and Cal's front seven should dominate. Similarly, Cal's O-line should have its way against a banged-up UCLA front seven coming off a physical battle against Stanford. Cal has the speed advantage on the outside as well.  This one could get ugly.

2 STARS: MISSISSIPPI -6.5 Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt returns to Arkansas, site of his bitter departure last year, with a grudge to bear and with the much better team. The Rebels should be motivated here and, if they can avoid turnovers, they should dispose of the Razorbacks with extreme prejudice.

1 STAR: Indiana +8, Utah St. +15, Texas -12, LSU -1, Idaho +12.5, Missouri -24.5, Middle Tennessee +10

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Re: Saturday Service Plays

Chris Jordan

Rutgers at PITTSBURGH -8'

I know that Rutgers has won three straight by an average of 7 points per game, but it is only 6-19 in this series and Pittsburgh has now won five straight. And last season Pittsburgh held Rutgers to 219 yards, had a game-winning touchdown called back on an offensive pass interference call, and then was picked in the end zone on the very next play in a 20-16 road loss.

Now, the Panthers were catching 12 points in Piscataway, but this year they’re laying nearly double digits. That’s a three-touchdown reversal for roughly 350 miles.

Some might say the Panthers have their big game versus Notre Dame on deck, but I doubt they’ll look past Rutgers with a Big East title now in sight.

Rutgers is a dismal 2-5 against the number in its last seven conference games, and is 1-10 versus the books in its last 11 on grass.

On the other hand, the big black cats have covered four straight in the month of October, dating back to last season, they’re 5-1 against the number in their last six at home against a team with a losing road record and they’re 8-3 at the window following a straight-up win.

Lay the chalk in this Big East spotlight game, as Pittsburgh rolls to an easy win and cover.

2♦ PITTSBURGH

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Re: Saturday Service Plays

Chris Jordan

Texas Tech +2 at KANSAS

Let me start by saying that I know Texas is on deck for the Red Raiders, and I know this is conceivably a look-ahead game for them. But let me add to it that this is no ordinary conference. While everyone has been kissing the SEC’s ass this season, the Big 12 has shown me much more chutzpah than the teams from the southeast.

While Kansas has won 13 straight home games – and has covered 10 of 11 – it has not faced a single ranked team in that span. Plus, Texas Tech is 9-1 straight-up in this series, and that includes a 5-0 run in Lawrence.

The Jayhawks will still be stinging from last week’s demolition by Oklahoma, which of course came in pissed off after the Texas loss. Kansas surrendered 674 yards, while providing a blueprint for the nation’s second-best offense and the No. 1 passing game in the country. That’s not going to bode too well for the 65th-ranked defense in the nation, especially when the Achilles Heel is the 99th-ranked pass defense.

At 5-2, it’ll be about time we expose Kansas for the second straight week, as Tech is going to pile up the yards. Remember, those wins came against Florida International, Louisiana Tech, Sam Houston State, Iowa State and Colorado. The bulk of the schedule is coming up, with Texas Tech, intra-state rival Kansas State, burly Nebraska, top-ranked Texas and high-flying Missouri left.

Don’t be surprised if Kansas is left out of the bowl picture. Take the points here.

3♦ TEXAS TECH

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Re: Saturday Service Plays

Larry Ness

Louisiana Tech @ Army
PICK: Army -2

Stan Brock went 3-9 in his first year at West Point and when his team lost 28-10 at home to New Hampshire on September 6, his postgame comments indicated he was at his wit's end. However, the Cadets have looked like a completely different team this past month, as Brock switched to the option full-time with his offense, four games ago. The result has been a 2-2 record and a 4-0 ATS mark. Led by FB Mooney (817 YR / 6.3 YPC), the Cadets have averaged 308 YPG on the ground these last four games (average on the year is up to 253 YPG) and QB Chip Bowden, while hardly ever passing, has added an average of 64.5 YPG on the ground the last four games. He's attempted just 21 passes all season, not throwing a TD pass nor an interception. Army's lost close contests at Texas A&M (21-17) and Buffalo (27-24 in OT), while winning at Tulane (44-13) and at home over Eastern Michigan (17-13), while not completing a single pass. The Army 'D' has been impressive all season, ranking 40th in the nation in yards allowed (325.7 YPG) and giving up a respectable 22.7 PPG. La Tech has given up on Bennett at QB (38.6 percent with two TDs and five INTs) and Ross Jenkins (13-of-20 for 192 yards) helped lead the Bulldogs to a 46-14 win over Idaho last Saturday. However, Tech has scored a total of just 17 points in three road games this year, dropping the school's road mark to 15-44 SU and 18-40-1 ATS this decade. The La Tech rush 'D' has posted some solid numbers in '08 (100.7 YPG / 3.2 YPC) but it hasn't faced the Army option. This is the first-ever meeting between the two schools and I expect Army's current ATS winning streak to stay intact. Take the Cadets.

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Re: Saturday Service Plays

Tom Stryker

Boston College vs. North Carolina
Play:Boston College +2.5

Boston College has been one of the best road teams in college football over the past six seasons and I’ll have no trouble taking the Eagles plus the points in this ACC battle.

Since 1993, BC has cruised to a remarkable 24-10 SU record on the road or at neutral sites. That record places the Eagles at No. 7 behind road warriors like USC, Texas, LSU, Georgia, Boise State and Auburn. With regards to profitability, Boston College has been at its best on foreign soil when priced as an underdog. In this role, the Eagles are a powerful 10-2 SU and ATS!

Technically speaking, this is NOT the spot for North Carolina. According to my college football database, since 1985, home favorites priced at -7 or less are a stiff 38-63 ATS provided they enter off exactly one straight up road favorite loss. Even worse, if our host carries a won/loss percentage greater than .500, this system crashes to an ugly 16-41 ATS! The Tar Heels apply to the general situation and the tightener!

If you want to win big games, you need to bring a defense to the table. Boston College can do that. The Eagles are ranked in the Top 25 in nine different categories including No. 1 in pass efficiency defense (86.70) and red zone defense (.58). Matched up against a North Carolina offense that is currently without its best player (WR Brandon Tate out for the season with torn ligaments in his right knee) the Eagles will soar. Take Boston College! 

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Re: Saturday Service Plays

Wunderdog

E. Michigan at Ball State
Pick: Ball State -25

Eastern Michigan comes in off a disaster vs. Akron. They led with 30 seconds left and block an Akron game winning FG attempt. Game over, right? No! Akron picks it up and advances for a first down, calls two timeouts, and runs in for the game winning TD. So, how does this poor team bounce back from that at home? Especially when facing a rested really good Ball State team? They don't. Ball has covered every game on their schedule by double-digits on average. The offense is racking up 37.4 ppg and they are converting over 52% of third down situations. They have allowed just four sacks on the season and are rushing for over 5 yards a carry. So down and distance has favored them all season thanks to a balanced attack. Eastern Michigan has given up 37+ in five games already and hasn't faced this potent of an offense all season. Now they have to contend with it on the road, after a very emotionally disappointing loss. Ball State gets the call here.

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Re: Saturday Service Plays

Stephen Nover

Florida Atlantic @ UL Monroe 
PICK: Under 54

A look at the added board games finds this high total on Florida Atlantic and Louisiana Monroe, two disappointing Sun Belt Conference teams.

While it's true neither team has a good defense, both of their offenses haven't gotten the job done either. Florida Atlantic, in fact, ranks 117th out of 120 Division I-A schools in scoring averaging a meager 16.6 points.

Owls quarterback Rusty Smith is having a terrible junior season after a brilliant sophomore campaign. He has thrown just six touchdowns, while being picked off nine times. Some of his troubles can be attributed to a separated shoulder that he finally admitted he was suffering from.

I applaud Smith's courage, but this explains why his quality of play is way down. Monroe isn't exactly a brilliant offensive team either, ranking 69th in scoring and 77th in total offense.

There are several trends that point to a lower-scoring contest than the oddsmaker envisions. The 'under' is 5-0 in the Owls' past five games.

The Warhawks have gone 'under' in five of their last seven home games. The 'under' is 9-2-1 during the past 12 times the Warhawks have played a team with a losing record.

This is a one-unit play for me.

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Re: Saturday Service Plays

Bryan Leonard

Oklahoma State at Texas

The Cowboys have stayed under the radar for most of the season despite entering this game undefeated not only straight up but against the pointspread. Now they catch the Longhorns off back to back huge games and with a number one ranking. Oklahoma State can score on anybody as witnessed by their point totals of 39, 56, 57, 55, 56, 28 and 34 points this season. They can beat you on the ground or through the air. Zac Robinson has been terrific at quarterback yet he is never mentioned in the same breath as the other signal callers in this league. Last year the Cowboy defense allowed 29.5 points per game but this season only one opponent has surpassed that mark. This is a very good team who is playing with a chip on their shoulder as they blew a big lead to the Longhorns last year only to lose 38-35 in Stillwater. Texas is in the middle of one of the toughest scheduling situations we have seen in quite some time. They battled former #1 Oklahoma in the Red River Rivalry and pulled away late 45-35. Last week they faced one of the most potent offenses in college football as they manhandled Missouri 56-31. After facing the undefeated Cowboys this week they travel to Lubbock to face the undefeated Red Raiders next weekend. We are of the belief that players only have so much energy to give, which is why teams are prone to upsets. After facing Oklahoma and Missouri with Texas Tech on deck we simply can't see the Longhorns being fully motivated to face a team they have now beaten 10 straight times. Especially knowing that this game will be played at home. We're all human and it would be shocking to see the top ranked team going all out in preparation of this game. Colt McCoy has just been anointed as the next great passer as he has taken the lead in the Heisman Trophy race. Texas is an excellent team no doubt about it but the best teams don't win by double-digit margins all the time. With Oklahoma State off Baylor and with Iowa State on deck this game gets their full attention. This is just too many points to give an undefeated squad playing with memorable revenge.

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Re: Saturday Service Plays

JrTips

GEORGIA vs. LSU

Georgia and LSU face each other in an SEC conference game at 3:30 Saturday after comming into the season with big expectations. The Bulldogs started out at No. 1 for the first time in school history and the Tigers are trying to defend their national championship. After each team has received a blowout loss and cant afford another loss. The No. 11 LSU Tigers start a five-game homestand by hosting the ninth-ranked Bulldogs for the first time since 2003. Georgia is (6-1, 3-1 SEC) and received a 41-30 home loss to Alabama on Sept. 27 in which Georgia fell behind 31-0 at halftime. The Bulldogs won their two games since the loss to the Crimson Tide but haven't looked that great as they struggled against Tennessee who kept it close well into the fourth quarter in Athens before Georgia won 26-14 and then had a tough game against Vanderbilt last Saturday finally winning a 24-14. LSU is (5-1, 3-1) and after losing in a blowout to Florida on Oct. 11 they came back to win 24-17 after trailing17-10 at South Carolina last Saturday. The ground game for LSU produced 74 yards in the final two drives of their 24-17 win. Charles Scott who ran for 535 yards and six touchdowns in the first four games moved back to fullback allowing the speedier Keiland Williams to get more carries. Scott is averaging 105.2 yards per game on the ground which is fourth in the SEC but he'll only be the second best rusher on the field Saturday. Georgia's Knowshon Moreno is averaging 108.9 ypg and has 11 touchdowns which tops in the SEC as Moreno rushed for a season-high 172 yards and a score against Vandi last Saturday which has made up for the struggles of junior quarterback Matthew Stafford who has thrown five interceptions in his last three games but he is still the conference's second-highest rated quarterback (142.6) behind reigning Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow of Florida. LSU has won six consecutive home games against top 10 opponents and should continue that trend with a Georgia offense that has struggled of late. This will be a tough place for the junior quartetback for Georgia that has had turnover problems in his last couple of games to overcome any turnovers Saturday afternoon. LSU will be able to put pressue on the Georgia offense and get the win at home.

TAKE LSU-1

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SportsInsights

Oklahoma State vs Texas

Oklahoma State's best start since 1945 has moved the Cowboys up to No. 7 in the polls after starting the season unranked. They are the fourth-highest scoring team in the nation, averaging 46.4 points per game. Their rushing attack is gaining over 280 yards per game, but will have to face a Texas defense only allowing 48.1 rushing yards per contest. The team's top three rushers all average over 6 ypc, and starter Kendall Hunter needs only 45 yards to break the 1,000 mark for the season. Quarterback Zac Robinson has played well with 14 touchdowns to only 4 interceptions and completing 70% of his passes. The Cowboys have only played in one close game this season, and that was the 28-23 upset win over then-No. 3 Missouri.

Texas gets its third straight ranked Big 12 opponent after handling Oklahoma and Missouri. The Longhorns are led by Heisman candidate Colt McCoy, who leads the nation with an 81.2% completion percentage. McCoy has thrown for 1894 yards with 19 touchdowns and 3 picks, and he also has 371 yards (a team high) and 6 TD on the ground. Senior WR Jordan Shipley has been McCoy's favorite scoring target with 9 TD grabs. The Texas defense has been bend-but-don't-break when it comes to the passing game. They are giving up 275 yards per game through the air, which is ninth worst in the FBS.

Both teams come in undefeated, and both are also undefeated against the spread. One will fall this weekend, and the public is slightly favoring Texas in spread bets at 57%. Parlay bets are more strongly behind the Longhorns at 66%. At Pinnacle the line opened at Texas -12.5 and has fluctuated between -12 and -13. The movement triggered a Smart Money play on the Cowboys at Bodog, which has a 17-7 record for NCAA football. The stats are evenly matched between these teams, so we'll follow the Smart Money and take the Cowboys with the points.

Oklahoma State +12.5 


Wake Forest vs Miami (FL)

Wake Forest is coming of a disappointing 26-0 loss at Maryland that dropped them out of the top 25 rankings. Junior quarterback Riley Skinner has been slumping of late with only two touchdown passes and four interceptions in his last four games. He only completed 46.7% of his passes against Maryland. Part of the problem for the Demon Deacons is the lack of a consistent running game to take pressure off Skinner. Sophomore Josh Adams is the team's leading rusher and has only gained 246 yards while averaging 3.1 ypc. The Deac's defense, which starts eight seniors and three juniors, was allowing only 15 points per game until last week's debacle.

Miami put up 35 points in the second half to overcome a 10-point deficit in last week's win at Duke. The Hurricanes made a quarterback switch during the second quarter, and the move sparked the offense. Freshman Jacory Harris ended the game with five total touchdowns, with four coming through the air. Harris won't make the start this week, but he will see playing time. If starter Robert Marve struggles, watch for Harris to get the majority of the snaps. The win was Miami's first inside the competitive ACC this season, and gives them a glimmer of hope in the conference standings. The Canes defense doesn't give up a lot of yardage, only 287 yards per game, but they have a tendency to allow big plays.

Both teams struggle defensively in the red zone, with Miami ranking last in the ACC and Wake next-to-last. This game could come down to red zone opportunities and conversions. The Deacons actually average more yards per game on offense than the Canes, but Miami is putting up 32.6 points per game compared to 18.7 for Wake Forest. Miami opened as 2.5 point favorites at Pinnacle, and the line has returned there after moving to Miami -3 during the middle of the week. The Canes are receiving 63% of the public's spread and parlay bets. The return of the line to Miami -2.5 and the betting percentage is an indication of Smart Money. We're going to follow that and buy low and a good Wake Forest team.

Wake Forest +2.5

Rutgers vs Pittsburgh

Rutgers has been one of the most disappointing teams in the nation this season, but they are coming off a big win over UConn. In that game the Scarlet Knight defense held FBS leading rusher Donald Brown to a season-low 107 yards. The Rutgers offense isn't a juggernaut, but they do put up a respectable 314.7 yards per game. Unfortunately they are only averaging 16.7 points per game, while the defense allows 19.7 points. Last week quarterback Mike Teel moved up to second on the school's all-time passing yards list. Junior WR Kenny Britt had nine catches and 107 receiving yards against UConn, which was his third 100-yard game this season.

Pittsburgh jumped up to a 17th ranking after their best offensive display in two years. The Panthers compiled 499 yards and 42 points last week against Navy. Pittsburgh features the Big East's second-leading rusher in LeSean McCoy, who has 689 yards and 10 touchdowns. Quarterback Bill Stull has been steady behind center, while completing 58.5% of his passes with four touchdowns and five interceptions. The Panthers defense has held opponents to 287 yards per game and only 156.5 yards through the air. Pittsburgh is looking for it's sixth straight win, which it hasn't done since 1983.

Pittsburgh opened as 10-point favorites at Pinnacle following last week's strong performance. The public is backing the Panthers with 67% of spread bets and a whopping 89% of parlay bets, but the line dropped as low as Pittsburgh -8 before climbing back to -10. This is an indication of some Smart Money behind the Scarlet Knights. The movement also triggered a Steam Move on Rutgers by Bet Jamaica (90-67.) Pittsburgh is also 0-3 at home against the spread this season. We'll follow that Steam and back Rutgers with the points.

Rutgers +10

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Game Time Sports Advisors

Wyoming vs. TCU
Play: TCU -30.5

Lay the wood.. 30 PLUS+.. These Cowboys of Wyoming are brutal. Who cares they are off a bye week, did they glue the football to their hands. -15 in turnovers! Cowboys outscored 68-0 in losses on road at New Mexico and BYU and now face a better D in TCU. TCU is 7-1 last 8 laying DD at home. Last year TCU lost a heartbreaker at Wyoming. REVENGE!! TCU is the MONEY.. GTSA

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Re: Saturday Service Plays

Michael Alexander

Kentucky vs. Florida
Play:Kentucky +25

After losing two in a row the Kentucky Wild Cats were able to pull out a close win over Arkansas pushing their mark to 5-2 SU on the season. This week they travel to the Swamp to take on the Florida Gators. Surprisingly unlike seasons past it is the Kentucky defense that is getting the attention as they have averaged giving up only 11.3 points per game and only 9.5 when they have been on the road while their offense has put up 25.4 per game.

The Florida Gators come into this one riding high as they pasted the defending Champion LSU Tigers 51-21 pushing their mark to 5-1 SU overall but left them ranked only 10th in the first BCS poll. As usual the Gators are not having any problems putting points on the board as they average 38.5 points per game. Their defense has been tough as well giving up only 13.0 points per game.

SUPPORTING ANGLES: Kentucky is 5-1 ATS in the last six games in this series including 3-0 ATS at The Swamp are 6-2 ATS as SEC underdogs of greater than 15 points. Florida is 2-11 ATS record as conference favorites of 14 or more points. Also, any team who beat the defending National Champs are 6-21 ATS when facing an opponent that won 7 or more games the previous season.

Kentucky’s defense has yielded a season-high of just 24 points and Florida has a date with Georgia next week. Too many points considering so I'm taking the Wildcats in this one.

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Tony Karpinski

Penn State vs. Ohio State
Play:Penn State -2

Penn State has consistently performed like one of the best teams in the country this year, and are now even better since they have gotten even better as they've gotten healthier along the defensive line. This is Penn St's National Championship game as its smooth sailing after Ohio St. Penn St has speed at QB, RB, and WR's and I expect them to spread the ball out just like USC did to pick apart Ohio St. Penn is isn't your average Big Ten school of the past.The Lions are 6-1-1 ATS in their last eight games overall and the favorite has dominated this series, covering seven out of 10 meetings. Penn State has speed on both side of the ball - the type of speed that we've seen the Buckeyes have problems with in nonconference play for years now. Take JoePA and Penn St to get the win Saturday night and stay undefeated!

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Bryan Leonard

Oklahoma State vs. Texas
Play:Oklahoma State +12

Oklahoma State at Texas The Cowboys have stayed under the radar for most of the season despite entering this game undefeated not only straight up but against the pointspread. Now they catch the Longhorns off back to back huge games and with a number one ranking. Oklahoma State can score on anybody as witnessed by their point totals of 39, 56, 57, 55, 56, 28 and 34 points this season. They can beat you on the ground or through the air. Zac Robinson has been terrific at quarterback yet he is never mentioned in the same breath as the other signal callers in this league. Last year the Cowboy defense allowed 29.5 points per game but this season only one opponent has surpassed that mark. This is a very good team who is playing with a chip on their shoulder as they blew a big lead to the Longhorns last year only to lose 38-35 in Stillwater. Texas is in the middle of one of the toughest scheduling situations we have seen in quite some time. They battled former #1 Oklahoma in the Red River Rivalry and pulled away late 45-35. Last week they faced one of the most potent offenses in college football as they manhandled Missouri 56-31. After facing the undefeated Cowboys this week they travel to Lubbock to face the undefeated Red Raiders next weekend. We are of the belief that players only have so much energy to give, which is why teams are prone to upsets. After facing Oklahoma and Missouri with Texas Tech on deck we simply can't see the Longhorns being fully motivated to face a team they have now beaten 10 straight times. Especially knowing that this game will be played at home. We're all human and it would be shocking to see the top ranked team going all out in preparation of this game. Colt McCoy has just been anointed as the next great passer as he has taken the lead in the Heisman Trophy race. Texas is an excellent team no doubt about it but the best teams don't win by double-digit margins all the time. With Oklahoma State off Baylor and with Iowa State on deck this game gets their full attention. This is just too many points to give an undefeated squad playing with memorable revenge. PLAY OKLAHOMA STATE

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Craig Trapp

Rutgers vs. Pittsburgh U
Play:Pittsburgh -10

Love the Panthers this week to win by over 17. Pitt has been much better since being upset in the opener. They are so good at running the ball and overpowering opponents. They set up there play action passing after pounding the ball up the middle. Big plays will not be easy to come by against Rutgers but they will at least have two 50 or longer TD runs or passes. Rutgers is pitiful they barely beat UConn last week and have not been able to score all year. Pitt will not be stopped and Rutgers can't score sounds like a blowout. SCORE PITT 31 - RUT 13

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ASA
California (-18) over UCLA

The Bears will be in a grizzly mood here after losing at Arizona last Saturday. Cal blew a 24-14 halftime lead but the Wildcats blitzed them for 28 third quarter points and went on to win 42-27. Now the Bears get a chance at revenge against the Bruins this Saturday. UCLA looks as though they may have turned the corner winning two of their last three games. We say, "Not so fast my friend" in a salute to Lee Corso. Their two wins have come against Washington State and Stanford and BOTH were at home. While Stanford is improved, it wasn't the greatest spot for them playing their third road game in four weeks. And Washington State? Well let's just say the Cougars have allowed 63 points or more in four of their five Pac 10 games this season.

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Brian Gabrielle

Eastern Michigan Eagles vs Ball St. Cardinals

The Ball State Cardinals find themselves undefeated behind a powerful offense this season. Led by Quarterback Nate Davis, the team is averaging over 37 points per game on 456 total yards per game. Davis has been sensational, completing over 68 percent of his passes for 1,817 yards and 13 TD's, but the Cardinals are also churning out 5.1 yards per rush to compliment 13.2 yards per pass completion.

Those are huge numbers considering opponents of Eastern Michigan are racking up over 31 ppg. The biggest problem for EMU has been its inability to stop the run, as foes are averaging over 223 ypg and 5.5 yards per carry - playing right into a strength of Ball State.

Look for a lopsided game on both sides of the ball as the Cardinals move to 8-0 and remain one of the nations undefeated squads.

Ball State 37, Eastern Michigan 6

Take Ball State

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Bob Balfe

Purdue +1 over Minnesota

Minnesota has a lot to look forward to with a new stadium opening and finally a bowl eligible season. Purdue has looked horrible in Joe Tillers last season, but they have one of the toughest schedules in the nation. Minnesota had a pretty soft schedule and you have to figure that today that senior QB Curtis Painter will bounce out of his slump and win on homecoming. Take Purdue.

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Cajun Sports

2 STAR SELECTION

Rice +2½ over TULANE

The Green Wave battle the Owls at the Louisiana Superdome on Saturday, as the Conference-USA rivals have their annual meeting. Rice pushed their season record to 4-3 last weekend with a thrilling, 45-40, victory over Southern Mississippi, while Tulane has dropped their last two contests, including a tough 24-21 setback to UTEP 2 weeks ago.

Rice comes into this matchup averaging an impressive 40 ppg on an outstanding 452 total ypg. The majority of the success for the Owls have come through the air, as they are torching the opposition for 328 ypg. Chase Clement has been one of the top quarterbacks in the nation, completing 64% of his throws for well over 2,000 yards. The signal caller has already tossed 22 touchdowns on the year, and has just five interceptions.

The Owls' success with their passing attack continued this past weekend as the team abused Southern Mississippi for 444 yards through the air. Clement completed 30-of-44 passes in the win, and finished the game with an amazing six touchdowns. Three different players finished with over 100 receiving yards

The defense for Rice is the weak spot, as the team is surrendering 39 ppg. Playing 2 BCS schools on the road, including #1 Texas, certainly didn’t help their defensive numbers. The Owls have been opportunistic, forcing 18 turnovers on the year, setting up the offense on numerous occasions.

Tulane is averaging over 400 total ypg on offense, but they have not been efficient, as they are only producing 20 ppg. Tulane has relied heavily on its ground attack with Andre Anderson, as the tailback has rushed for 852 yards and seven touchdowns. Unfortunately for the Wave, the passing attack has not enjoyed the same success, as Kevin Moore has been inconsistent for most of the year. Moore has thrown for 1,340 yards and seven touchdowns, but has also tossed seven interceptions as well. Against UTEP, the Green Wave posted 412 total yards, but still fell to the Miners by three points. Moore only completed 10-of-20 passes in the contest, throwing for just 80 yards and a touchdown.

The Green Wave has done a solid job against the run, holding teams to just 120 ypg, but here they will be overmatched by the Rice passing game. Tulane has struggled to make the big play, as this unit has forced just nine turnovers. The last time Tulane was on the field, the defensive unit suffered some problems against the Miners, they allowed 452 total yards. Tulane was torched through the air, allowing UTEP to throw for 296 yards and three touchdowns – numbers that should have Rice licking their chops.

As if Tulane didn’t have enough problems, RB Anderson may be starting to wear down after averaging nearly 35 touches over the past five games. He was limited in practice last week with a hip contusion and bruised sternum. Additionally up to FOUR injured defensive starters may not be able to take the field against Rice

The line opened in this game at Tulane -2½ and has pretty much stayed there. Getting any points here with the Owls is a great value, as our Power Ratings show them as a TD better at Tulane. We like to play AGAINST a team that opened as a favorite a half-point lower than a “key number”, such as a 2', or 6'-point favorite, especially the 2'. Three and seven are the top 2 key numbers in college football, meaning more games end with those 2 margins than any others. About 8% of all college football games end with a 3-point SU winner and slightly more than 6% end with a 7-point margin. Oddsmakers try to use numbers a half-point below the keys against the player, hoping the bettor will think "oh, the favorite 'only' has to win by a FG, TD, or double-digits (the key number in question) and still cover the spread." This can be a trap as the underdog will often cover easily and sometimes win outright.

Other numbers back us up here, as Rice is 4-0 SU & ATS when not an underdog of more than 8 points this season, and a super 6-0 SU (+17.8 ppg) & ATS 6-0 ATS (+16.6 ppg) vs. opponents off a SU loss since last year.

On the other side of the field, the Green Wave has been a horrible 0-9-1 ATS (-12.2 ppg) at home with 7+ days rest, and they qualify for an NCAA Football POWER SYSTEM that states:

From Game 6 on, play AGAINST a home favorite of less than 7 points with 7+ days rest off a conference road underdog SU loss & ATS win.

This demonstrates how hard it is for a team to get over a close loss, even with a break, such as Tulane suffered at UTEP 2 weeks ago. Teams in this spot are 1-13 SU (-10.1) & 0-14 ATS (-13.9 ppg) since at least 1980!

Rice simply has too much offensive power to be held down by the Tulane defense, while the Green Wave offense doesn’t have enough offense to take advantage of a weak Owls defense, and will not be able to keep up, ultimately losing this game, perhaps by double digits.

PROJECTED FINAL SCORE: RICE 30 TULANE 20

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