Saturday Service Plays

Saturday Service Plays

Mike Anthony

NorthWestern vs. Michigan    
Play: Michigan -4

Michigan reached back for its best performance of the season in garnering a win at Minnesota last week. Must believe HC Rich Rodriguez will call on the Wolverines to show some additional pride and build on that effort this week against a Northwestern squad not at full strength.Michigan has won five straight against the Wildcats, all by doubledigit margins. Although Northwestern QB C.J. Bacher is expected to return from a hamstring injury that kept him out the last two games, he won’t be in full form. The Wildcats 5-0 start has faded to 2-3 the last 5 games, as injures have forced them to play without leading rusher Tyrell Sutton. Michigan has 15 Seniors who will be playing their final games of their college careers at home. I'm backing the Michigan Wolves.

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Doc's Sports

BYU vs. Air Force 
Play: BYU -5.5

The Cougars still have a fighting chance to capture the MWC and cannot afford a slip-up in this game against the Falcons. Bronco Mendenhall has never lost to the Falcons (3-0) and easily won the game in 2007, 31-6. In fact, his average margin of victory over Air Force is 22 points. BYU will stop the run and make Air Force beat them over the top and that is something that they are just not capable of doing. We will lay the field goal and easily collect with the visitor behind Max Hall and company. Doc’s Sports Revenge Game of the Year goes Saturday, sign-up for this selection along with a full card. 

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Robert Ferringo

Take Duke (+11) over Clemson

It has to be really hard for the Tigers to get up for this one. Clemson has been one of the biggest disappointments in all of college football and after a late collapse at Florida State that essentially buried their hopes at a late ACC run, this team is ready to mail it in. Clemson is just 1-9 ATS in its last 10 while Duke is 7-3 ATS in its last 10 road games. Underdogs are always a sharp play in the ACC and I think the Blue Devils will have more fight in them. Over 60 percent of the action in this game is on the Tigers, yet the line has already fallen from an open of 12.5. That looks like a red flag to me that this dog is live.

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Strike Point Sports

Take USC/Stanford Under 48

The Trojans have been just lights out on defense and have dominated the rest of the Pac 10. Get this: in the last 20 quarters of conference play USC has allowed just 13 points, and now Southern Cal gets a Stanford team that they have been waiting for since that unheard of upset last season in Los Angeles. The 'Under' is 21-5-1 in USC's last 27 league games and in this one I wouldn't be surprised if the Trojans kept the Cardinal under ten points. USC gets revenge and cruises, 35-7.

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Matt Fargo

Duke vs. Clemson
Play: Duke +10.5

It is homecoming in Clemson but should that really make the Tigers such a large favorite in this spot? I certainly do not think so. After the loss against Florida St. last weekend, they have dropped four of their last five games and are likely one more loss away from going from a preseason National Championship contender to an early season exit with no bowl invite. There have been some downright huge disappointments this season and Clemson is right at the top of that list.

Duke comes into this game with an identical 4-5 record and while that is a disappointment for the Tigers, it is a huge accomplishment for the Blue Devils. They were picked by many to finish dead last in the ACC Coastal Division and that still may be the case, they are two wins away from bowl eligibility. Winning two of the final three games may not happen but no mater what this season was a success. The four wins have matched the win total from the previous four seasons combined.

Duke has been fantastic against the run of late as it has allowed 117.3 ypg on 3.2 ypc over its last three games. The Tigers have not been able to run the much at all this season and that has been the biggest downfall of this offense. After gaining nothing on the ground against Alabama, the running game flourished for four weeks but has since fallen off again. Clemson is averaging just 59.5 ypg over its last five games while James Davis has totaled only 151 yards rushing on 47 carries (3.2 ypc) over that stretch.

Davis, who last January reversed his decision to bolt early for the NFL, is trying to stay positive but admits it's difficult because “it seems like everything bad happened.” A team that has gone through this is not a team you want to back because it looks at though the white flag is waving and the towel has been tossed in. Clemson does have the same record as Duke but two of its wins came against The Citadel and South Carolina St., both of whom are FCS teams those wins do not count toward bowl eligibility.

Clemson has not covered a home game in its last six attempts and it is just 2-9 in its last 11 games following a loss against the number. The Blue Devils have covered five of their last seven games against teams with a losing record and they are 7-3 ATS in their last 10 road games including a 2-1 ATS mark this season. Emotion plays a big part in this game and right now, Duke has a big edge in that department and don’t be surprised to see the Blue Devils officially close the door on the Clemson season. 3* Duke Blue Devils

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Wunderdog

Minnesota at Wisconsin
Pick: Minnesota +13.5

How the perception of these teams has changed. Minnesota was rolling along at 7-1, but then took a couple tumbles. Wisconsin had lost five of six, before finding the win column at feeble Indiana. But let's not overreact to recent history. Ask yourself what this line would have been a few weeks ago? The answer would have likely been 7 or less. So the teams haven't changed, but the perception of them surely has, and as a result this one is chock full of line value. The Badgers made a QB change, but it hasn't improved their ability to throw the ball as they remain a ru-only team. The fact is, the passing numbers have gotten worse! Allan Evridge was completing to a 7.2 yards per pass rate while Sherer is sitting at just 6.3, with an even lower completion rate. Minnesota is simply not two TD's worse than the Badgers right now, and this is a huge overlay. Minnesota has lost to one team by more than this amount all season, and it happened to be in their last game. I'm backing the dog.

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Alex Smart

BYU -5.5

The 16th ranked BYU Cougars (9-1) enter into this Mountain West Conference game against Air Force (8-2), in a ATS swoon, as is evident by failing to cover 6 straight games, thanks in part, because of the hefty spreads they have been asked to cover, and also some lackluster efforts. . The Cougars have not looked as dominant as many thought ,they would be , since taking a 32-7 beating at the hands of a pretty good looking TCU Horned Frogs team . There is, however, good news on the horizon for Cougar betting backers as they face a Fly boys program they have owned in the recent past as is evident by winning four straight in the series by no less than 17 points.

I am betting a BYU offense that has put at least 41 points in the board in their last 3 games, behind the arm of QB Max Hall ( 71 % passer accuracy, 32 TDs)to let loose with another barrage of points this week. I also expect the mormons inconsistent defense, to finally stand tall and give coach Mendenhall a stable effort against a Falcons offense that is easy to read , because of a one way ground attack.

Final notes & Key Trends: The SU winner in this series has covered 20 of 21 meetings.

Projected score: BYU 31 Air Force 20

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Nelly

Mississippi State + over Alabama

After squeaking out an OT win last week in a highly anticipated game, Alabama now must face a tricky flat spot at home. Alabama has clinched the West division and looking ahead to the Auburn game or the SEC championship is a strong possibility. Mississippi State has had two weeks to prepare for this game and the Bulldogs have won outright the last two years in this series. Mississippi State also owns great defensive numbers and the Tide are overvalued with the high ranking in the polls. Alabama has had horrible recent results in the home favorite role amazingly going 3-18 ATS the last 21 games laying points at home while Mississippi State is 12-4 ATS in the last 16 meetings of this series. This game will mean a lot more to the underdog Bulldogs and MSU owns a defense that is allowing just 295 yards per game with second ranked pass defense in the nation.

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David Malinsky

New Mexico @ Colorado St.
PICK: 4* Colorado St. +2.5 

Back in an early-season edition of ”Verities and Balderdash” we focused on the various elements that the 12-game schedule would bring into play, now that all teams are into the rhythm of that being the way of life. This game provides us with a classic example of how we can use one of those edges for our purposes, with a road favorite that may bring little or nothing to the table.

New Mexico will become the first team to call it a season, with the Lobos packing up all of their equipment when this one is over. It is a problem from two directions – 1. A team that has appeared in a bowl game for seven straight seasons certainly did not plan on the end coming in mid-November; and 2. In playing 12 games in as many weeks, the Lobos are the only team at this level that did not have a bye week, and that means both physical and psychological issues for this setting.

The college football season is a long grind, and while there are often humorous references about the academic standards involved at this level, the bottom line is that most of these players do go to class. Much of the anticipated fatigue is negated by the fact that there are continually targets to shoot for – championships, winning seasons, bowl bids, and the last home game for the senior class. But what happens when those targets go away? We see things like the listless New Mexico loss at U.N.L.V. on Saturday night, when there were still minor bowl hopes in play, and we do not expect to see anything special from Bronco Mendenhall’s team here. Not that they are capable of much anyway, which is one of the prime reasons why they will finish with their first losing record since 2000. The passing game could not deal with the loss of starting QB Donovan Porterie early in the season (they have not reached 200 air yards in a game), and that made it easy for opposing defenses to stack the line of scrimmage, rendering the offensive helpless on many occasions.

Contrast the flat Lobos with the spark that Colorado State will play with. Assuming that Utah goes 12-0 and earns the likely BCS spot that will come along with that, it means that a Mountain West bowl tie-in has been opened up, and Steve Fairchild’s Rams can qualify for that by winning here, and again at Wyoming next week. It is also the last home game for a senior class that includes starting QB Billy Farris, leading rusher Gartrell Johnson (only needs 71 yards to reach 1,000 for the season), and TE Kory Sperry, a potential NFL draft choice. They have beaten Houston and U.N.L.V. on this field, while also taking T.C.U. and Brigham Young to the final possession, creating a perfect 4-0 ATS run in which they have beaten the spread by 42.5 points. The hungrier and fresher team should not have any difficulty winning this one SU.

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Larry Ness

Texas -13.5 vs Kansas

The Longhorns did not come out flat last week against Baylor, after losing that heart-breaking 39-33 game at Lubbock the week before. Texas outgained Baylor 494-272 in yards and had 30 FDs to Baylor's nine in a 45-21 win. However, the loss at Texas Tech cost the Longhorns their No. 1 ranking and maybe a chance to play in the Big 12 Championship game and possibly, the BCS title game. The Longhorns now need help for that to happen, as they will need Oklahoma to beat Texas Tech on 11/22 and then hope that they can finish higher than either the Red Raiders and the Sooners in the BCS standings (the tie-breaker if all three schools finish 7-1). Texas can't do much about how other games play out, so expect them to concentrate fully here at Lawrence, knowing the team doesn't have to play again until their game at College Station on Thanksgiving. The Jayhawks were once 5-1 (lone loss came at USF, 37-34) but they've dropped three of their last four since then, allowing 43.5 PPG and an average of 369.5 YPG through the air. That includes losses to Oklahoma and Texas Tech, teams which combined to throw for 886 yards, with QBs Bradford and Harrell throwing eight TDs and not a single interception in 95 attempts. Colt McCoy (244-of-313 / 78.0 percent / 2,879 yards with 28 TDs and 7 INTs / QB rating of 180.3 is 4th in the nation) should sure 'love' that Jayhawks secondary. Lay the points!

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Chip Chirimbes

Texas vs. Kansas
Play: Over 67

Former #1 Texas Longhorns has to run the table and hope for a little help along the way to represent the Big XII South, or to make a BCS bowl as an at-large berth. Lead by Colt McCoy (78% completions) there is plenty of offense to go around as neither team can stop the pass. Kansas’ QB Reesing can move the ball through the air as well as McCoy. Kansas' secondary has been the main culprit in allowing nearly 40 ppg in Big XII games this season. Texas has also fallen short, recently giving up over 30 ppg in a four game run against offenses’ similar to that of the Jayhawks. Combined these two teams have gone over the total in 10 of their 12 Big XII conference games. No reason to believe there is any letdown from these two high powered offenses. With less of a pass rush without Orakpo, Texas’ secondary is even more vulnerable. Plus Kansas hasn’t covered anyone all season. 70+ points seems the likely destination when all is said and done. Play OVER!

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SportsInsights

Georgia vs Auburn

Georgia came into the season ranked No. 1, but they were blown out by both Alabama and Florida to end any chance at a national championship. The Bulldogs have a high-powered offense led by a talented trio at the skill positions. Quarterback Matthew Stafford, tailback Knowshon Moreno, and wide receiver A.J. Green are the main reasons Georgia leads the SEC in total offense. The Bulldogs exploded last week for 520 yards against Kentucky. With this team, defense is the weak link. They allow 24.9 points per game, which is 11th in the SEC. They escaped last week with a win after Stafford's touchdown pass to Green with 1:48 left.

Auburn came into the season with a top-10 ranking and a new spread offense that was supposed to put up a lot of points. The offense never developed, and they quickly dropped out of the rankings after a four-game losing streak. They ended that streak last week with a 37-20 win against Tennessee-Martin, in which they reached their highest point output for the season. The Tigers settled on Kodi Burns at quarterback three games ago, and that move improved the offensive numbers. They have gained 1,114 yards in those three games behind the dual threat Burns. The Tigers strength is defense, and they're allowing an average of 16.3 points per game.

Georgia opened as 8-point favorites at Pinnacle, and the line remained there until early Wednesday despite the overwhelming majority of bettors behind the Dawgs. Since the the line has moved to Georgia -9.5, with the Bulldogs receiving 75% of spread bets and 87% of parlay bets. The movement has triggered multiple Smart Money plays on Auburn, all with positive results. We're going to follow the Smart Money and take the home underdog.

Auburn +10


Boston College vs Florida State

Boston College bounced back from back-to-back conference losses with a 17-0 win over Notre Dame last week. The Eagles posted their third shutout of the season last week, and the strength of the team is on that side of the ball. BC is allowing under 17 points per contest. The loss of first round pick Matt Ryan at quarterback has left BC's offense in bad shape, as they rank 95th nationally in total offense. The Eagles control their own destiny in the ACC. With wins in their final three games against Florida State, Wake Forest and Maryland, the Eagles will secure a trip to the ACC Championship game and a possible BCS Bowl.

No. 20 Florida State has returned to its usual perch in the top ranks of the ACC. They are doing it behind one of the nation's best running attacks, which averages 205.2 yards per game. No single player is doing all the work, as four players have at least 200 yards rushing on the season, including quarterback Christian Ponder. Their defense has also keyed the return to relevance in the ACC. The Seminoles are allowing 100 fewer yards of offense than they did last season. A key has been the third down defense, as they allow opponents to convert only 18 percent of third down attempts.

The top-25 ranked Seminoles opened as a touchdown favorite at Pinnacle, and the line remained there until Wednesday when it dropped to Florida State -6.5. The change occured with the Seminoles receiving 67% of spread bets and 80% of parlay bets from the public. The moves triggered a Smart Money play at The Pig (56-49, +1.9 units.) We're going to follow the Smart Money and take BC with the points.

Boston College +6.5


Tulsa vs Houston

No. 23 Tulsa had its BCS bubble burst two weeks ago with a 30-23 loss to Arkansas. The Golden Hurricane had been undefeated and were 18th in the BCS Standings. They hope to rebound and gain the inside track in the Conference USA West Division race. The are currently ahead of Rice and Houston. Tulsa's offense is averaging 52 points and 593 total yards per game. Senior quarterback David Johnson has thrown for 33 touchdowns against only 10 interceptions. The Golden Hurricane defense is also solid, leading the conference in rushing defense. They went into last week's bye tied for second in the nation with 31 sacks.

Houston is coming off a lop-sided 42-14 win against Tulane, in which the Cougars gained a season-high 693 yards of offense. Sophomore quarterback Case Keenum has thrown for at least 300 yards and two touchdowns in each game this season. He has 29 touchdown passes against nine interceptions. Keenum has the Cougars passing attack ranked second nationally. Houston's defense is allowing an average of 385 yards per game. Defensive end Philip Hunt is ranked third in the NCAA with 10 sacks on the season.

Tulsa opened as 5.5-point favorites at Pinnacle, and they are receiving 62% of spread bets and 76% of parlay bets. Despite that level of backing the line has dropped to Tulsa -4. That movement has triggered some Smart Money plays, including one at Bodog (14-6, +6.65 units), and a pair of Steam Moves on Houston. We'll again follow the Smart Money and take the home underdog, especially with some 4.5-point lines still out there.

Houston +4.5

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Matty Baiungo

Georgia vs. Auburn 
Play: Auburn +9.5       

So much for that preseason # 1 ranking on Georgia. That was obviously way off line. The current reality is that this Georgia team isn’t really that good. About a month back, I used Georgia over Vanderbilt. And in my write-up, I said: “If Georgia doesn’t win this game by 30 points or more, then they too would qualify as a phony team.” Well they didn’t win big rather they held on for a 10 point win (24-14). And since that game, the Bulldogs have gone 2-1 straight-up and just 1-2 against the spread. Over those three games, their defense has allowed 38, 49, and 38 points. And head coach Mark Richt knows his team has a ton of issues other than the leaky defense: “We’ve got some special teams issues that have put these guys in a bind. We’ve had turnover issues that have put these guys in a bind. It is a team game and it’s going to take the entire team to get the point total down. That’s the bottom line. It’s not just the defense.”

In SEC play, Georgia has allowed its opponents to score an average of 28.7 points per game. You can understand the LSU game to a degree, and certainly understand the waxing at the hands of Florida, but there’s no excuse to allow 38 points at Kentucky last week. To show you just how bad that is, consider that Kentucky had scored no more than 21 points in their five conference games with an average of just 14.2 points scored per game. And they put up 38 points on Georgia while gashing them for 226 yards on the ground. Georgia’s offense has played well in spurts, but they haven’t been consistent because of their offensive line troubles. The line was young to begin with, but injuries have continued to mount and they lost another tackle at Kentucky. And the special teams have been atrocious all season long. So in all three phases of the game, Georgia has issues, and cannot be trusted laying points.

Auburn is no great shakes by any means. They, themselves, have plenty of their own issues. But since Kodi Burns took over the offense, they’ve improved on that side of the ball. Burns threw for more than 300 yards at Mississippi, and then last week, ran for 158 yards against Tennessee-Martin. In those two games, Burns has accounted for 620 yards which totaled 73% of Auburn's offense. He’s a dual threat quarterback who can take advantage of Georgia’s defensive troubles. Defensively, Auburn played the Tennessee-Martin game without their entire defensive line because of injury. But all are expected back here. Both teams have been dreadful against the spread with Auburn just 1-8 and Georgia 3-6. But Auburn has more incentive here. The Tigers win last Saturday snapped a four game losing skid, and with the way Burns is playing, there’s a chance momentum will carry over to their last home game here against Georgia, and then into the Iron Bowl at Alabama in their finale. Still, this is more of an anti-Georgia play than anything else. Play Auburn plus the points.

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Ted Sevransky

Wake Forest @ NC State
PICK: NC State +3.5

We backed NC State last week and were rewarded as they pulled off the outright upset over Duke, winning by double digits on the road. I’m ready, willing and able to ride this Wolfpack squad as an underdog one more time this week. Here’s an excerpt of my rationale behind the play on Tom O’Brien’s squad last week: “The Wolfpack have the better of the two quarterbacks, redshirt frosh Russell Wilson, a future NFL prospect and a legitimate savior for a squad that has suffered through some dismal QB play since Philip Rivers moved on to the NFL. In his last three ACC games, Wilson has completed 58% of his pass attempts, throwing five touchdowns without a single interception. NC State lost all three games in heartbreaking fashion, losing in the final minute against Boston College and Maryland, while blowing a fourth quarter lead against Florida State. With an extra week of prep time following their bye, look for NC State to end their string of close losses with a straight up victory here.”

Wilson was rock solid again last week, needing only 13 completions to produce more than 200 passing yards and a pair of touchdowns without an interception. Running backs Jamell Eugene and Andre Brown combined for nearly 150 rushing yards on 26 carries. They made a big play on special teams, returning a kickoff for a touchdown. The defense shut down the Blue Devils on the ground, and stiffened up repeatedly in the red zone. This is a rested (two bye weeks in the last month), improving squad, making significant strides towards respectability in O’Brien’s second year on the job. With a 3-6 SU mark, one of the few teams that is out of contention in the ACC, the betting marketplace hasn’t seemed to notice.

Wake Forest is certainly no juggernaut. They’ve been held to 17 points or less five times in their last seven games, and they’ve lost three of their last six in outright fashion. Yes, Wake has won back-2-back games over Duke and Virginia, but they needed overtime to beat the Blue Devils at home, and were actually outgained by the Cavaliers last week; held scoreless in the second half following an interception return touchdown before halftime. The Demon Deacons rank 115th in the nation in true rushing yards, and 85th in yards per pass attempt, as QB Riley Skinner continues to struggle. In eight years under Jim Grobe, Wake Forest is a 33% ATS proposition as a road favorite, with three of their four wins and covers in that role coming against Duke. Expect them to be in a battle to win the game at all, let alone winning it by any sort of a margin. (#326) 2* Take North Carolina State.

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Brian Hansen

Game: Oklahoma St. at Colorado
Prediction: Oklahoma St.

This is a matchup of two different caliber teams and I look for Oklahoma State to roll Colorado in this game. The Cowboys are 6-0 ATS their last six games when listed as a favorite of 10.5 to 21 points. Oklahoma State is 8-1 ATS this season with their only loss being last week against Texas Tech. The Cowboys have bounced back well in this situation as they are 8-2 ATS their last 10 games when off a loss to a conference opponent in their last game. Colorado has been awful this season versus Big 12 opponents going 0-6 ATS. The Buffaloes are 5-15 ATS their last 20 after playing a conference game the previous week. Colorado is 1-5 ATS this season when listed as an underdog and the Buffaloes are 5-17 ATS their last 22 games when listed as an underdog. Colorado won last week versus Iowa State but the Buffaloes haven't fared well off a win versus a conference opponent as they are 1-6 ATS their last seven tries. Look for Oklahoma State to rebound in a big way as they improve to 14-4 ATS their last 18 games as a favorite. Play on Oklahoma State!

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James Patrick Sports

South Carolina vs. Florida
Play South Carolina

Gamecocks Head Coach Steve Spurrier returns to the “Swamp” seeking revenge for last seasons (51-31) loss to his Alma Mater. Amazingly we grab the nations #3 ranked defensive unit as a 20 point underdog to go along with Spurrier’s 6-1 ATS record as a double-digit SEC underdog. 

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Dave Cokin

South Carolina @ Florida 
Play: South Carolina +22'

The Florida Gators may indeed be the best team in the land right now, and there's no question they should at least win this football game. But make no mistake, the visiting Gamecocks are legit on defense and I don't see the Gators moving the ball at will here. The key is the So Car offense. I believe they get the number covered here if they can simply get to the end zone twice and I think Spurrier can find a way to accomplish that feat. I'll go with South Carolina plus the points.

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Dave Price

1 Unit on Louisiana Tech -13

The lowly Aggies will be a long way from home this Saturday and that likely means more doom and gloom as they are 0-5 on the road this season while Louisiana Tech is 4-0 at home. Tech has beat the Aggies by double digits in each of the past two seasons and comes into this year's matchup with lots of momentum, having won back-to-back games over Fresno State and San Diego State. Utah State is 4-17 ATS after a loss by 28 or more points since 1992 and only 1-15 ATS off a road blowout loss by 28 points or more since 1992. Take Tech.

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John Martin

1 Unit on Nevada -14.5

Nevada’s running game is one that not too many folks know about. But I would put their rushing attack up against any other team in the country. Nevada is scoring 38.2 points/game, which is largely attributed to their running game where the Wolf Pack are averaging 324 rushing yards/game on the season. You would think this team would be one-dimensional with those rushing numbers, but that’s simply not the case. Nevada is also throwing for 200 passing yards/game this season for an average of 524.1 totals yards of offense/game. Nevada catches a struggling San Jose State team at home Saturday. The Spartans have played poorly in each of their last 3 games, losing badly to Boise State, narrowly escaping a terrible Idaho team 30-24 the following week, and then getting crushed at home by Louisiana Tech 21-0 last week. San Jose State cannot throw the ball, which makes the Spartans an easy team to stop. San Jose State has thrown for 118 yards or less in 3 of their last 4 games overall. The Spartans were held to just 30 yards rushing last week on 28 carries. SJSU is down for the count, while Nevada is flourishing right now. Nevada posted 472 rushing yards on Fresno State last week, and SJSU is not about to slow this offense down Saturday. Once Nevada jumps on the Spartans early, they will be able to increase their lead with the best rushing attack in the country coupled with the fact that San Jose State cannot throw the ball, thus they cannot play from behind. Cash in with Nevada as the favorite.

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Jeff Alexander

1 Unit on Oregon State -3

Cal is just 1-3 on the road this season and faces a stiff challenge this week against an OSU team that has won 4 straight. OSU has been phenomenal at home this season, averaging 41.2 ppg on offense and only allowing 16.5 ppg on defense. The Beavers have a legit shot to win the Pac-10 and I don't see them ruining that opportunity at home this week. If anything, they would likely fall next week on the road to Arizona. Oregon State is 20-6 ATS in home games in weeks 10 through 13 since 1992, 14-3 ATS in home games after 2 or more consecutive straight up wins since 1992, and 17-5 ATS after covering the spread in 4 out of their last 5 games since 1992. Cal has also been poor in games odds makers have figured to be close, at 12-26 ATS when the line is +3 to -3 since 1992. Take the Beavers at home.

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