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Air Force vs Army

Air Force comes into this armed forces match up with a 6-2 record, but they need the win to have a chance at the Commander-In-Chief's Trophy. The Falcons already suffered a loss at the hands of Navy by six, and their other loss came against No. 10 Utah by a touchdown. Air Force has already qualified for a bowl game, and they still have an outside shot an the Mountain West Conference Championship. The Falcons come in with the fourth-ranked rushing offense in the nation, averaging 291 yards per game on the ground with an options attack. They are the 118th-ranked passing attack in the nation. They actually won a game this season without completing a single pass (31-28 over Houston.)

Army started the season 0-4, but they have won three of their last four to give themselves hope for a bowl game. The remaining schedule isn't a Mount Everest of opponents, but there aren't any easy wins either. They open their competition for the Commander-In-Chief's trophy with this game against Air Force; they close the season on December 6th against Navy in Philadelphia. The Black Knights turned their season around with an option attack on offense. Head Coach Stan Brock said sophomore quarterback Chip Bowden “grew up a lot and matured a great deal” with last week's win over Louisiana Tech, and that he even looks more comfortable throwing the ball. The Army defense has also come on strong in the last four games, giving up an average of 15 points per game over that span.

Air Force opened as 9-point favorites at Pinnacle, and they are receiving 73% of the public's spread bets and 81% of parlay bets. Yet the line has moved down to Air Force -8. The is indicating some wiseguy action behind the Black Knights, and there have been multiple Smart Money plays triggered on Army. We like the improving Army team as they can see the possibility of a bowl berth. We'll follow the Smart Money, and take the Black Knights with the points at home.

Army +8


Florida vs Georgia

Florida is coming off a pair of blowout wins over LSU and Kentucky. The 63-5 victory over the Wildcats was over early thanks to the Gators' special teams, which blocked Kentucky's first two punts to set up easy touchdowns for the offense. Florida has had this week's game circled since last season's defeat at the hands of Georgia. The Bulldogs drew the ire of the Gators last year when the entire team rushed into the end zone after scoring their first touchdown in a 42-30 win. That incident has been on the Gators' minds all year, and they are looking for some revenge this weekend. Tim Tebow continues his assault on record books, and has a chance to break Emmit Smith's school record for touchdowns this week. The Gators rank first in the SEC in scoring defense, allowing only 11.3 points per game.

Georgia earned a big 52-38 win last week over LSU, and they head into this top-10 match up with a three-game win streak after suffering a loss to No. 2 Alabama. The Bulldogs are led by one of the nation's most talented backfields in quarterback Matthew Stafford and tailback Knowshown Moreno. Both had big games in last year's victory over the Gators. Stafford was 11-of-18 for 217 yards, a career-high three TDs and one interception, and Moreno rushed for 188 yards and three touchdowns. After a career-low 34 yards in the loss to Alabama, Moreno has rushed for 436 yards in the last three games. The Bulldogs have a strong run defense, but their pass defense gives up 221 yards per game

It's "The World's Largest Cocktail Party" in Jacksonville, Florida. Georgia is considered the home team, but the crowd should be pretty even. The winner will only need one more win to secure a spot in the SEC Championship game. There's a lot at stake in the game between these border rivals. Florida opened as 6.5 point favorites at Pinnacle and the line has moved back to that spread. The bets were pretty evenly split early in the week, but the Gators are now receiving 61% of spread bets and 66% of parlay bets. That swing in percentage and the line drop could signal some smart money behind the Bulldogs. We'll take the Bulldogs getting points in this bitter rivalry.

Georgia +6.5


Wisconsin vs Michigan State

Wisconsin got its first conference win last week against Illinois, but they also lost All-American tight end Travis Beckum for the season with a broken leg. The Badgers broke a four-game losing streak with the win, and they are starting to get healthy despite the loss of Beckum. Junior tailback P.J. Hill has been cleared to return to full action after seeing limited time last week. They also return two starting linemen who have missed recent games due to injuries. Junior quarterback Dustin Sherer will make his third consecutive start after showing a huge improvement during last week's win.

Michigan State bounced back from getting blown out by Ohio State with a win over in-state rival Michigan last week. That win returned them to the top-25 rankings, and kept them in contention for the Big Ten title. The Spartans utilize a smash-mouth running attack on offense, led by tailback Javon Ringer. Ringer has 1,373 yards and 16 touchdowns on the ground this season, which leads the nation. Michigan State often uses two tight ends and a fullback to get maximum blocking. While the run game is the Spartans' strength on offense, it is also a weakness on defense, as they are allowing 138 yards per game on the ground.

Wisconsin needs two more wins to be eligible for a bowl game, and this would be a good start with only three games afterwards (including a match up with No. 17 Minnesota.) The Spartans can ensure at least a tie for the Big Ten championship if they win out. So this game has big implications for both teams. Michigan State opened as 5.5 point favorites at Pinnacle, and they're receiving 73% of the public spread bets and 82% of parlay bets. The line moved toward Wisconsin during the week, which triggered a number of Smart Money plays on the Badgers, but the line moved back towards Michigan State at -5.5. We're following the Smart Money plays, and taking Wisconsin and the points.

Wisconsin +5.5

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Nebraska Cornhuskers @ Oklahoma Sooners

Former 80’s National Championship rivals hit the gridiron in what was at one time the game of the season. The Sooners (7-1) lost it’s #1 status to now#1 Texas a few weeks back. Led by QB Sam Bradford whose credentials are Heisman worthy (2775 yds and 29td’s through 8 games). Oklahoma has rolled the last 2 weeks, including scoring 55 points in the 1st half last week.

Nebraska (5-3) is last in the tough Big 12 North. Now a shadow of it’s self. of a mere decade ago, the Huskers have some talent including QB Joe Ganz ( 2300 yds-15tds) and RB Marion Lucky (7td’s)!

CSS ANALYSIS: It has been a season of scoreboard operators nightmares in the Big 12 this season. However, this week we anticipate a difference. Nebraska stuggles at times moving the ball and in rivalry games defenses tend to rise up. We expect this one to be played in the mid-upper 50’s!

PLAY: UNDER THE 72

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Dark Horse Sports

Florida State at Georgia Tech

The crisp, cold air of November is here, but it wouldn’t truly feel like November if conference championship hopes weren’t on the line.  Luckily we get a real dose of November football, as Georgia Tech and Florida State meet on Saturday with ACC Championship Game dreams on the line.

Both teams bring a game management approach to their offense.  These are two of the best rushing attacks in the conference.  The passing games leave something to be desired.  Neither team sports a bad passing game.  But both teams simply love to run the football.

Not to mention, both teams live and die by their defense.  This will be a great game to watch, with two good rushing attacks going up against two even better, dare we say elite, defenses.  Florida State ranks #3 in the country in total defense, and Georgia Tech ranks #12.  Not far off, Florida State is tied for 4th in the nation in red zone defense, while Georgia Tech is tied for 13th.  This will be a game of attrition.  These teams play the game the way it is meant to be played.  Look for dirt and dust to be flying all day, and, at the end, a low scoring affair with plenty of good offensive drives ending in field goals.

Take Florida State / Georgia Tech under 42.

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Platinum Plays

Georgia Bulldogs vs Florida Gators

The general consensus says the SEC is having a down year pertaining to the overall strength of the teams in the conference and this argument has some merit.  Auburn, Arkansas, Kentucky, and Tennesse are all having down years and one wonders if these programs are suffering or just reloading for the future.  However, this weekend’s matchup between the # 8 ranked Georgia Bulldogs and #5 ranked Florida Gators is one of the premier matchups in college football and should determine one of the teams who will represent the SEC East and play for the SEC Championship in the Georgia Dome on December 6th.  Saturday’s game will take place at Alltel Stadium in Jacksonville and was previously known as the “World’s largest outdoor cocktail party” but, in this age of political correctness, is now just a huge showdown between the Bulldogs and the Gators.

The Bulldogs were ranked #1 in the preseason football polls and are coming off an impressive win (52-38) over LSU last Saturday in “Death Valley”, LSU’s home field in Baton Rouge.  Jr QB Matthew Stafford (1946 yds/12 TDs/5 ints) has a strong arm and can dominate a game when given time to pick out his targets.  However, the Bulldogs have been hit by injuries to the offensive line and are on their 4th left tackle of this season.  A.J. Green (39 catches/5 TDs) and Mohamed Massaquoi (28 catches) are above average targets who will have to be at their best come this Saturday for Georgia to succeed.  The ground game boasts one of college football’s best running backs with Knowshon Moreno (925 yds/6.2 avg/12 TDs) who can dominate a game by himself but, with Stafford and company, doesn’t need to.  Offensively, Georgia can compete with the Gators however, the defense will have to play their best game of the season for the Bulldogs to have a chance.  They rank in the lower half of the SEC giving up 20.3 pts per game and were lit up by Alabama (their only loss) for 31 points in the first half.  Stopping Florida’s high powered offense will the main objective for the Bulldogs and they can ill afford to get behind big early.  Head coach Mark Richt has proved he is one of the best in college football at devising strategy and recruiting but this Saturday’s counterpart, Urban Meyer may even be better.

The Gators are coming off a dominating win (63-5) over Kentucky in a game pretty much decided after the opening minutes.  Whether they were sending a message to the Bulldogs or not, the Gators are firing on all cylinders and looking to revenge last year’s loss to the Bulldogs.  With the added incentive of last years game, when Georgia intentionally took an unsportsman like conduct penalty after their first touch down (when the whole team went on the field to celebrate), Florida is not only looking to win Saturday’s game but, put a big time whoopin’ on the Bulldogs.  Head coach Urban Meyer informed his team that no one will talk to the media about the upcoming game against Georgia but, you know they have revenge in their hearts and the players for which to inflict it.  Heisman trophy winning QB Tim Tebow may not this years lead candidate to repeat for the trophy but, he’s thrown for 12 TDs, rushed for another 5 and only thrown for 2 interceptions.  Jr WR Percy Harvin (26 catches/6 TDs/16.5 avg) started the season dinged up but, his health is fine and is one of the most electrifying players in college football.  The running back by committee approach used earlier in the season has sorted itself out and speedy Fr Jeffrey Demps (357 yds/11.9 avg) has moved to the front of the rotation.  Demps has also proved he can catch the ball out of the backfield which makes him even more dangerous.  Florida’s defense may have been underrated to at the start of the season but, no longer as they lead the SEC giving up only an average of 11.9 points per game.  An early loss to Mississippi is the only blemish on the Gators record and you can bet Meyer has done his best to correct the flaws which showed up in that loss.

There’s a lot on the line in this game including a possible BCS Bowl opportunity and normally big games like this don’t live up to the hype.  Florida is currently a 5½ point favorite and you know I’ll have a play on the side of this game on Saturday.  The total of this game is 56½ and you can play this one over as the endzone is going to see a lot of action this Saturday.

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#1 Sports

Oregon @ California

Oregon (6-2, 4-1 PAC 10) pounded Arizona State 54-20 last trip out, doing what they do best – running the ball with authority – but also saw improvement in the passing game led by JUCO-transfer quarterback, 5’11” 214 sophomore QB Jeremiah Masoli. A series of serious injuries at the position gave the former City College of San Francisco standout a shot and his wheels (56 for 391 yards and 2 TD rushing) plus his improving ability to get the ball downfield (68 of 122 for 726 yards, 6 TD, 2 INT) have kept the starting role his, even though 6’5” 204 sophomore QB Justin Roper (44 of 80 for 570 yards, 3 TD, 4 INT) is back from a knee injury. At Arizona State, Masoli even earned PAC 10 Offensive Player of the Week honors partly due to his 17 completions in 26 attempts for 147 yards and a score before handing the reigns to Roper for the fourth quarter. Offensive Coordinator Chip Kelly’s teams have racked 600+ yards in a game 6 separate times since coming on at the beginning of 2007 and he could be happier with the added option of attacking through the air again. With all the injuries at the trigger, Kelly has employed all of his top receivers plus 6’5” 243 junior TE ED Dickson (23 catches for 310 yards and TD) in the rushing game just to get these athletes touches and as the ability to get vertical improves we expect 6’5” 242 senior WR Jaison Williams (25 for 331 and 3 TD), 6’1” 175 sophomore WR Jeff Maehl (28 for 263 and 2 TD), and 6’0” 171 senior WR Terence Scott (29 for 383 and 3 TD) to balance out this offense at make the Ducks even more dangerous than the 41.5 points and 479.9 yards per game they average heading into this week. Of course, when you talk Oregon football, you still have to address their simply dominating ground attack. Four seniors man a line that busts holes for a 5th in the nation 278.8 yards per game rushing at 6.0 yards per attempt and 30 touchdowns. The Ducks have bested the 300+ yards rushing mark in 5 of their 8 games this season led by the tandem of 5’10” 200 speedy senior RB Jeremiah Johnson (98 for 573 yards and 9 TD) and 6’2” 229 bruising junior RB LeGarrette Blount (90 for 650 and 12 TD). Past late seasons have been short-circuited by Duck injuries at the quarterback position…this one may be helped by them.

Head Coach Mike Belotti’s (112-53 in 14th season at Oregon) defense is especially tough up front with just 2.8 yards allowed per rush and 28 sacks to their credit. 6’5” 300 senior DT Ra’Shon Harris (28 T, 5 TFL, S) and 6’4” 290 senior DT Cole Linehan (12 T, S) are a load to move in the middle and these ends bring the pain in high doses. 6’4” 272 junior LDE Will Tukuafu has racked 12 ½ tackles for loss including 6 sacks so far while 6’2” 248 senior RDE Nick Reed has piled up 11 ½ tackles for loss and 8 sacks. Starting linebackers Jerome Boyd (43 T, 4 TFL, 2 S), Casey Mathews (29 T, 5 ½ TFL, S), and Spencer Paysinger (50 T, 4 ½ TFL, 2 S) are smallish and speedy to clean up the loose change from sideline to sideline while Oregon’s defensive backfield is physical and fights well for the ball. Junior Corners 6’0” 205 Jarius Byrd (50 T, 4 INT) and 6’0” 180 Walter Thurmond III (36 T, 2 INT) each possesses the size needed to compete against a conference stacked with big receivers plus sophomore nickel back Talmadge Jackson III (22 T, I) provides the depth needed against the multiple sets of the PAC 10. 5’11” 201 FS TJ Ward (51 T, I) has been solid in run support while 6’0” 210 senior SS Patrick Chung (50 T, 5 ½ TFL, 2 S) can do it all. Chung is not only a ferocious hitter but has been invaluable on special teams where his athletic ability has churned out 28.4 yards per kick return. Speaking of special teams, Oregon’s have bested most they have faced. A kick return advantage of 4.2 yards per and a punt return advantage of 11.0 yards per is dynamite while senior K Matt Evenson (11 of 16 field goals) was named Conference Special Teams Player of the Week after nailing a 52-yarder against the Sun Devils.

California (5-2, 3-1 PAC 10) was expected to be an explosive crew this season behind the 1-2 punch of QB Nate Longshore and RB Jahvid Best. The Bears certainly are explosive at 37.9 points and 409.7 yards per game but what wasn’t expected is that much of it would be accomplished with this pair on the sidelines. First of all, Coach Jeff Tedford’s (55-28 in 7th season at Cal) defense has been superb against the run with just 95.7 yards allowed per game at 2.6 yards per carry. Often forced into a one-dimensional passing game, opponents have been the victim of 20 sacks and 15 interceptions – including 4 last week and a pair of pick-sixes in a 41-20 win over UCLA at Memorial Field in which the Bruins were held to just 16 yards. In all, California has scored 80 points off 19 forced turnovers through 7 games. Secondly, QB Nate Longshore (54 of 91 for 631 yards, 7 TD, 4 INT) has for now lost his starting job to 6’2” 224 sophomore QB Kevin Riley (80 of 150 for 985 yards, 9 TD, 2 INT). Frankly, we’ve always thought the senior Longshore was a top arm and – unlike most Golden Bear fans – should have kept the job but Coach Tedford deserves his reputation for grooming quarterbacks so we will give him the nod he has earned. Each has played in 6 games so far and will each likely see some time this week against Oregon. Thirdly, tailbacks 5’10” 192 freshman Shane Vereen (80 for 494 yards and 2 TD rushing, 17 for 111 receiving) and 5’10” 198 sophomore Tracy Slocum (16 for 89 and TD) have been carrying the load on the ground the last few weeks as 5’10” 193 sophomore star RB Jahvid Best has been working his way back from and elbow injury. Best saw significant action for the first time in a few weeks against UCLA, piling up 115 rush yards on 17 carries with a score in addition to Vereen’s 14 carries for 99 yards – a dynamite sign for Cal backers. Best not only has managed 643 yards on 92 carries 6 TD rushing despite missing time, he has added 19 grabs for 194 yards through the air plus averages 31.6 yards per kick return. Without a doubt, a legitimate NFL candidate. Receivers Sean Young (15 for 171 and TD), Nyan Boeteng (16 for 268 and 3 TD), and Michael Calvin (8 for 103) have been underused while 6’4” 245 junior TE Cameron Morrah (20 for 259 and 6 TD) has been the favorite target. Regardless of who is at the trigger, the Bears must get the ball downfield more often but will the massive 6’6” 330 freshman LT Mitchell Schwartz be able to get his hands on blazing Nick Reed to provide the time? The Pro scouts will be watching that match up very closely.

As mentioned, California’s defense has produced plenty of big plays in 2008 but it may be the alignment that gives Oregon the most trouble. The Bears primarily run a 3-4 system, becoming more common in the college ranks but yet to be seen by this week’s opponents. 6’4” 290 sophomore LDE Cameron Jordan (20 T, 4 ½ TFL, 2 S, INT), 6’2” 298 sophomore NT Derrick Hill (17 T, TFL), and 6’3” 290 junior RDE Tyson Alualu (29 T, 5 ½ TFL, 4 S) are as stout and stingy as they come, setting up backers Follett (38 T, 8 ½ TFL, 4 S), Williams (35 T, 4 1/2 TFL, S), Felder (48 T, 5 TFL, INT), and Young (27 T) to lay the leather with a running start. Maybe the most compelling front 7 player doesn’t even hold starting job. PAC 10 Defensive Player of the Week 6’3” 229 sophomore Mike Mohamed (45 T, 3 ½ TFL, S, INT) routinely plays all four linebacker positions during a single game, never missing a beat and managing to rank second on the squad in tackles including 9 against UCLA with a sack and a pick returned 19 yards for a score! Behind a front of this caliber, the defensive backfield has been able to take chances that have paid off repeatedly with no less than 7 players making interceptions. 5’9” 184 junior RCB Syd’Quan Thompson (36 T, 2 ½ TFL, 2 S, 3 INT) is one of the best small corners in the nation plus has ripped the opposition for 12.4 yards per punt return including a touchdown. 6’0” 181 sophomore LCB Darian Hagan (31 T, 2 TFL, INT) is solid but will need plenty of help this week against the huge Faison Williams if Syd’Quan’s height matches him with Scott or Maehl. Junior safeties 6’1” 192 Brett Johnson (24 T, 2 INT) and 6’1” 192 Marcus Ezeff (30 T, TFL, 2 INT) must read pass/run flawlessly this week and simply must avoid poor decision making.

SELECTION: Each of these crews has been through plenty of adversity this campaign already and should be congratulated for their success to this point. Rather than overall ability, it will be the individual match ups that will hand the Golden Bears their first loss this season in Strawberry Canyon. Take Oregon +3.

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Priceless Picks

1 Unit on Hawaii Warriors -7

I see a big letdown in store for Utah State this week after coming so close to beating Fresno State a week ago. Hawaii continues to get better and better on the offensive side of the football and is now 3-1 SU and 3-0-1 ATS in its last 4 games. Utah State is just 1-7 on the season and has lost 4 in a row. Hawaii has won 3 straight against the Aggies with all 3 wins coming by 15 points or more. This is not the same Colt Brennan led offense, but it is one that was good enough to beat both Freno State and Nevada . Nevada crushed Utah State 44-17 by the way. Lay the points with the Warriors here.

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Bryan Leonard

San Diego St. @ Wyoming
PICK: 2* Over 45.5

A general rule of thought is to always look to play the over late in the season when two bad teams face each other. Well you can't find two worse teams if you tried as both Mountain West opponents have been absolutely terrible this season. While we don't have the 'nads to back either of these squads we may be able to make some money by playing the total.

One of the things we have enjoyed doing in our preparations each week is watching the coaches press conferences. Many times you can pick up on not only what a coach says but also the way they say it that doesn't always come through in the print media. Watching Chuck Long this week he said that he was very happy with how the offensive line was jelling. The running game is picking up which gives them a run/pass combination that they haven't had all season. The Aztecs put up 34 points last week against Colorado State while rushing for 226 yards. He also said that the big problem on defense was that he didn't have enough quality players to substitute freely, thus the starters were in the game for way too many plays and wearing down. San Diego State allowed 38 points last week to go along with the 70, 35 and 41 points permitted the previous three weeks. Simply put this defense not only is thin but this week they have to deal with the altitude of Laramie. You have to have defensive depth when playing in altitude or you are in serious trouble.

Wyoming is a team that has scored 7, 7, and 0 points the last three weeks. Yet they are being installed as a midrange favorite in this game. Let's face it the linesmakers aren't stupid, they know that this defense the Cowboys will be playing is nowhere near as stout as TCU, New Mexico and Utah the last three stop units they played. Wyoming will be able to run on San Diego State and that in turn will wear down the Aztec defense. In another press conference earlier this year New Mexico coach Rocky Long talked about defense. He said that teams that have to stop the run as opposed to the pass get beat up much more physically and it takes longer for the body to recuperate.

The last three seasons these two teams combined for 51, 51 and 55 points. With both defenses having taken a huge beating in the running game this season we can see the posted total being surpassed in the third quarter. Look for both coaches to throw the offensive playbooks out the window as they try anything to break these losing streaks.

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Tony Karpinski

Florida vs. Georgia
Play: Georgia +6.5

Both teams come into this game off three straight wins, and each had impressive wins last week. Georgia won 52-38 at LSU, while Florida absolutely destroyed Kentucky by 58 points. I was impressed with the way Georgia's young team handled LSU big guys up front. I expect a tight game with Georgia possibly pulling the upset. 

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Tom Stryker

Nebraska vs. Oklahoma
Play: Oklahoma -21

Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops is one of the best at winning big games and you can bet your last dollar that he will have his Sooners well prepared for this Big 12 battle.

These two rivals haven’t knocked helmets since the 2006 Big 12 Championship Game in Kansas City. Oklahoma has won three straight in this series including a 21-7 decision in the conference title game mentioned. The fact that OU is playing in Norman is huge. In their last 62 battles at Oklahoma Memorial Stadium, the Boomer Sooners are a tremendous 60-2 SU (33-26-1 ATS) including 30-1 SU and 20-10-1 ATS in this set matched up against an opponent that enters off a straight up victory.

Off wins over Iowa State and Baylor, Nebraska enters this contest with a little bit of momentum of its own. Unfortunately, that won’t be enough for the Cornhuskers. With a 12-20 SU and 14-18 ATS record, the Big Red has forgotten how to win on foreign soil. Even worse, off a straight up victory in this role, Nebish dips to a dismal 6-13 SU and 5-14 ATS.

A favorable system applies to Oklahoma in this game and it needs to be respected as well. Based on their dominant performance at Kansas State last Saturday, the Sooners apply to a 189-103 ATS home blowout situation of mine. This angle improves to 76-35 ATS when our host is matched against an opponent that enters off a straight up win of 10 points or more (which Nebraska does)!

The Sooners exploded for 55 first-half points in Manhattan last Saturday and they’re cranking offensively. Rest assured, the Boomer Sooner will have no trouble piling up yards and points matched up against a Nebraska defense that has surrendered an average of 458.8 yards per game! Take Oklahoma! 

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ASA

Pittsburgh (+) over Notre Dame

Pitt was playing very well and had won 5 straight games heading into last week's homer vs. Rutgers. The Panthers completely imploded in that game and lost 54-34. Believe it or not, Pitt out gained the Scarlet Knights by 44 yards and had a 5:00 minute time of possession edge. Rutgers hit on a number of big plays, three TD's of 36-yards or further including a 60 & 79 yard TD passes, and that killed the Panthers. Their defense has been solid for most of the season and we expect them to come out with some serious fire after playing poorly last week. Many have jumped squarely onto the Notre Dame bandwagon and while we will admit they are improved over last year's horrendous campaign, we are not completely sold just yet. The Domers are now 5-2 SU this season, but their wins have been less than impressive due to weak competition.

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ROCKBOXSPORTS.COM

3 STAR SELECTION: Virginia -2

Cavaliers looked horrible in early blowout losses but they've very quietly turned things around, winners of four in a row. Miami is the sexier pick here but Virginia is getting very good quarterback play and is the more mature team.

3 STAR SELECTION: Georgia Tech -2.5

Florida State struggles against the run and now they get their first dose of GT's tricky option attack. Noles are talented but young and undisciplined- precisely the type of team that the option feasts on.

2 STAR SELECTION: Kent State +6.5

As we predicted, Golden Flashes had a breakout game on offense last week. Look for them to stay hot this week and quite possibly post another outright win as a live dog.

2 STAR SELECTION: Ole Miss -6.5

Auburn and Ole Miss heading in very different directions. Houston Nutt's Rebels are a good young team on the rise while Auburn has gone completely off the rails. Tuberville and co. have failed to cover for seven straight weeks. Ole Miss is hungry for a bowl this year and we think they'll take a step in that direction this week.

2 STAR SELECTION:Stanford -30

Laying 30 points with Stanford? Never thought I'd see the day. However, if you're a follower of the Rock Box you know we've been saying early on that this Washington State team is epically atrocious. Wazzu has not covered a spread yet, and we (and hopefully you) have benefitted by going against them with regularity- including laying 43 with USC and watching the Trojans cover easily. Stanford is a respectable Pac-10 team and they're angry and restless after a gut-wrenching loss to UCLA two weeks back. Cardinal wants to taste bowl season desperately and no reason to think they won't pad their resume and introduce the hapless Cougs to the local woodshed. We have gone against Wash State and won every week and will continue to do so until they prove they can cover a spread.

1 STAR SELECTIONS: Wisconsin +5.5; Miss/Auburn OVER 42; Cal -3; USC -46; UAB +8

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Carlo Campanella

Texas at Texas Tech

One of Saturday´s biggest match-ups will be played in Lubbock, as this game features two unbeaten squads both owning 8-0 records.Even with both teams entering undefeated, #1 ranked Texas will be almost a Touchdown road favorite over their in-state rival. Led by QB Colt McCoy, Texas won their closest game of the season last Saturday,28-24, against another previously undefeated Oklahoma State squad. While Texas is a win machine,they´re only 4-8-1 ATS on the road against Big 12 opponents and must try to cover the spread this week against a Tech squad that´s 8-4 ATS as home dogs, after failing to do so last week for the first time this season. Take the points as we find Texas at 5-14 ATS on the road after 5 or more consecutive wins behind HC Brown.

Play on Texas Tech

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Lenny Del Genio

Tulsa at Arkansas

For unbeaten Tulsa, this is a rare opportunity to gain a road win against an FBS opponent. Currently ranked #17 in the latest BCS Poll, the Golden Hurricane will still need to demonstrate some “style points” down the stretch and hope that fellow unbeatens Utah and Boise State falter allowing them to climb into the Top 12 (a requirement for non-BCS conference schools to qualify for a BCS Bowl). Honestly, that scenario is unlikely to unfold, however, that doesn’t mean that Tulsa is without an impressive resume. They are #1 in the country in scoring offense at 55.6 PPG. They have covered all but one game this year with all five ATS wins seeing them win by 28 points or more. However, this may be a spot where their dreams go to die. They have not won at a BCS conference school since a shocking upset of in-state rival Oklahoma in 1996. That’s a span of 14 games where they have lost outright. Laying more than a touchdown here to an Arkansas team that has beaten them 16 straight times (Razorbacks lead all-time series 51-16-3) is not good news.It is homecoming in Fayetteville this week. Tulsa is just 1-9 ATS on the road after scoring 37 or more points in their previous game. The Hogs have covered three straight and own an outright win at Auburn, which is more impressive than anything Tulsa has done this year. Off back-to-back heartbreakers against Kentucky and Ole Miss, this is a last gasp for Bobby Petrino to put a “stamp” on this program in his first year.

Play on Arkansas

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Scott Spreitzer

TCU at UNLV

UNLV is making noticeable progress under the direction of HC Mike Sanford. They have some nice wins on the season, including the upset at then top-20 Arizona State, which went a long way in derailing the Sun Devils' season. All but one of their losses have come in close, hard-fought battles. In fact, the Rebels led in the final five minutes in each of their last three defeats, to Colorado State, Air Force, and most recently, at BYU. But this week's opponent is an incredibly difficult matchup. As far as I'm concerned, TCU is the best team on the Rebels' schedule, and yes, that includes the Utah Utes. The Horned Frogs are a very disciplined team that runs the ball and stops the run. UNLV suffered some key injuries on the defensive side of the football and they have really paid for it against the run. The Rebels were absolutely crushed by Nevada, (their one bad performance), because the Wolfpack went almost exclusively to the ground game to take advantage of the Rebels' weakness. The Pack ran for 444 yards on 58 carries in a 49-27 win. Including that game, the Rebels have allowed a total of 1,215 rushing yards on 204 carries to their last four opponents. That's an average of 303.75 yards per game at 5.96 yards per carry! UNLV has stayed in their last three games due to their offensive abilities. But TCU owns the best defense they will face this season, and I highly doubt UNLV will be able to trade points. The Horned Frogs have allowed a grand total of just 94 points in nine games. Take away the loss at Oklahoma, and TCU has allowed just 7.38 points per game to their other eight opponents.They're a perfect 5-0 in conference play, winning by an average final score of 33.2 to 6.2! They have held four conference opponents to a TD each, and one opponent to a field goal. MWC teams are averaging less than 12 first downs per game against TCU. The Horned Frogs have allowed just 190 rushing yards on 146 carries, or 1.30 yards per carry and 38 yards per game. The pass defense is just as strong. Their five conference opponents have connected on just 65 of 141 pass attempts, a 46% completion rate, for an average of 159.6 yards per game. Through their first five MWC tilts, TCU has NOT allowed a single TD pass, yet they have intercepted seven passes and have sacked the QB 24 times, just short of five sacks per game. It's a tough matchup for UNLV. They are maturing under Mike Sanford, but Saturday's contest with TCU has "growing pains" written all over it. I'm laying the points with TCU on Saturday night.

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Brian Hansen

Iowa State at Oklahoma State

This is a matchup of teams going in opposite directions and I expect more of the same in this one. Oklahoma State showed the world that they are for real last week as they took top ranked Texas down to the final play of the game. Despite their awesome performance, the Cowboys got no respect from the pollsters as they dropped to ninth in the nation. I look for the Cowboys to come out strong this week as they try to prove a point to the college voters. Iowa State appears to have packed it in for the season as the Cyclones are 1-4 ATS their last five games and have lost their last three games by a combined 70 points to far less competition than they will face in this game. The Cyclones are 4-10 ATS off a conference loss the last three years.Iowa State hasn't fared well on turf either as they are 1-5 ATS on the surface the last three seasons. Oklahoma State, on the other hand, is an amazing 7-0 ATS this season. The Cowboys are 12-4 ATS their last 16 games when listed as a favorite including 8- 3 ATS their last 11 games when listed as a favorite of 21.5 to 31 points. Oklahoma State has bounced back in a big way over the years off a conference loss as they are 7-2 ATS in that situation.Look for the Cowboys to roll in this one as they move to 10-1 ATS their last 11 games when listed as a double digit favorite.

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Dennis Macklin

Colorado at Texas A&M

It's been a terrible year for both teams as the 4-4 Buffs take on the 3-5 Aggies. The Buffalos are off a 58-0 shellacking at the hands of Missouri that was actually worse than the final score indicated. Dan Hawkins got a new long term deal last week so he's safe, but the year has had to be exceedingly tough on him as he's had to bench QB and son Cody Hawkins at times for poor play. Not the best of spots for a Colorado squad that doesn't travel well. Buffs are 3-10 ATS in L13 roadies and a dog with no bite at 5-16 L21. They're 1-5 L6 getting this type of points. The Aggies aren't exactly pointed up with a bullet but fast improving under ex-Packer HC Sherman. After getting beaten down in their Big 12 gauntlet they opened up a can of whup ass on Iowa State when facing their own kind. Same difference here and the Aggies have shown a propensity to improve late under prior regimes. A&M has much more physical outfit that will bully Buffs much to the delight of the infamous Aggie 12th man who will be looking for blood with final homie vs Oklahoma on deck. Texas A&M 45-24.

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Ted Sevransky

Arkansas St. @ Alabama
PICK: Arkansas St. +23.5

Alabama is coming off of their “most complete game” of the season, according to head coach Nick Saban. We’ve seen the Crimson Tide let down repeatedly following their big road wins. The Crimson Tide were outgained at home by Tulane following a big win against Clemson. They narrowly escaped with a three point win against Kentucky following their blowout in Athens against Georgia. In fact, for all the hype that their undefeated season has brought to Nick Saban and company, we’re talking about a team with a grand total of one pointspread cover in four previous tries as a home favorite this year, and that ATS win came after the sluggish showing against Tulane against a Sun Belt bottom feeder Western Kentucky. It’s surely worth noting that Western Kentucky’s offense was stymied every bit as much in losses at Michigan State, Indiana and Virginia Tech; a team that simply can’t move the football against quality competition.

Arkansas State doesn’t seem to have that problem. The Red Wolves gave Texas everything they could handle in Austin last year. They hung 27 points on Tennessee’s SEC East winning defense. This year, Arkansas State already has a SU win as 18.5 point underdogs at Texas A&M. Even discounting their amazing 83-10 win over FCS Texas Southern back in September, the Red Wolves are still averaging a whopping 6.25 yards per carry, the seventh best ‘true’ yards per carry average in the country. QB Corey Leonard has an 11:3 touchdown to interception ratio in his third year as the starter. Running backs Reggie Arnold and Derek Lawson have combined for more than 1100 rushing yards between them. Quite simply, this team should be able to move the football, even against Alabama’s dominant stop unit.

The spot here is what makes these matchup issues worthy of a wager. I’ve already written about the Crimson Tide’s strong tendency to let down following a big win, and their inability to cover pointspreads as a home favorite. To make matters even worse for Alabama here, they are in an awful sandwich spot. They blasted Tennessee in Knoxville last week and have a matchup with LSU (and a chance to clinch the SEC West title) on deck next week. How much attention do you think the Tide paid to UL-M in practice this week? If you answered ‘not much’ you’re on the same page as I am. Given Nick Saban’s 1-5 ATS mark as a double digit favorite during his tenure in Tuscaloosa, the lack of focus on UL-M is a major concern for the home team.

Meanwhile, Arkansas State is fresh and healthy, coming off a bye week. They’ve got a potent offense, capable of moving the football against the Tide. Kicker Josh Arauco has nailed 15 consecutive field goal attempts, and those field goals really add up in this pointspread range against this caliber of defense. The Red Wolves even have the nation’s leader in tackles for loss this season, playmaking junior defensive end Alex Carrington. In this spread range we don’t need an outright upset or anything close – a three touchdown defeat still cashes our ticket. (#393) 2* Take Arkansas State.

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Lee Kostroski

Arkansas St. @ Alabama
PICK: Arkansas St. +23.5

Alabama may be 8-0 after notching a couple of BIG road SEC wins against Georgia and Tennessee; but of their 8 wins, only 2 were by more than 25 points (Western Kentucky, Arkansas). They really don’t have an overly dominant offense, ranking 60th in total offense and 100th in pass offense. But like a classic Nick Saban coached team, they grind out wins by having an above average running game, and not making mistakes. Alabama is a good team, but don’t expect them to cover the 25 point spread against Arkansas State.

Arkansas State features a multi-dimensional offense, with playmaking quarterback Corey Leonard (11 touchdowns passing, 3 interceptions; 350 yards rushing, 2 touchdowns), and talented running backs Reggie Arnold (555 yards, 4 touchdowns), and speedster Derek Lawson (553 yards, 3 touchdowns, 8.1 yard average). This team has the ability to put up a bunch of points and a lot of yards, as they average 435 yards per game and 33 points.

Alabama is coming off a really tough 5-game stretch against conference foes, and almost slipped up a few times, but came away with wins. Next week Nick Saban takes the Tide to LSU in his first game visiting Baton Rouge since he left them to coach the Miami Dolphins. We see Alabama looking ahead to next week’s big match-up and not being fully prepared for Arkansas State. Arkansas State is 8-4 ATS all-time against SEC opponents and look to continue that trend here. Alabama may get the win, but it won’t be by 24 points. Take Arkansas State plus the points.

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Big Al McMordie

Miami (FL) at Virginia

The Cavaliers won at Georgia Tech last week, as a 14.5-point underdog, and that win, amazingly, was Virginia's fourth straight as an underdog. Al Groh has completely turned around his young football team, which was annihilated 52-7 by Southern Cal to open the season. Not surprisingly, all the money is flowing in on the Cavaliers this week, as Virginia opened up as a 2.5-point underdog, but is currently installed as the favorite. I'm going to buck the Cavaliers and the bettors here, and take the points with Miami as College Football home teams off an outright win on the road as 14-point (or greater) underdogs are a dismal 33-45 ATS since 1980 vs. a foe off a win.

Play on: Over

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VEGAS EXPERTS

Central Michigan at Indiana

Last Saturday's Tip of the Day was on Georgia over LSU as we noted that we were not only taking the better team, but getting points as well. Same situation this week with Central Michigan at Indiana. Hoosiers are due for a letdown after LW's upset of Northwestern. Don't believe us? IU is just 1-8 ATS when coming off a home win. The Chippewas are one of the better pointspread teams in the country, going 23-10 ATS L33, including 8 for 8 in this price range.

Play on: Central Michigan

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