Saturday Service Plays
Re: Saturday Service Plays
Georgia @ Auburn Under 47.5
The 8-2 Georgia Bulldogs will take on fellow SEC member Auburn this Saturday in a surprisingly unimportant affair. Granted, the game still holds big significance to Georgia, but the Auburn half of the equation brings it down a few notches. It is also the Tigers who have us anticipating the score being down a few notches as well, hence our recommended play on the Under.
If Auburn has proven anything this year, it is that they have difficulty finding the end zone. Despite the Bulldogs suspect defense in recent weeks, Auburn will be hard pressed to score more than two touchdowns, if they can even muster that. The Tigers biggest offensive strength (running game) is Georgia’s biggest defensive strength. And, the Tigers simply do not have the talent this season to overcome a superior opponent. The Auburn offense is averaging just 19.5 points per game this year and they have failed to score more than 17 points in four of their last six games.
Georgia’s offense too, will probably finding the sledding a little tough this Saturday. While the Tigers defense is not what it was supposed to be, it is still a decent unit, holding the opposition to just 16.3 points per game. In fact, Auburn’s average game score in SEC play this year is 29.17 (six games) and not a single game has gone over 47.5.
Look for Auburn to keep it on the ground in order to try to stay in the game. This, along with Georgia’s likely emphasis on the ground game as well, will speed this contest up, allowing for fewer scoring opportunities.
Pick: Take the Under 47.5
Nebraska -6.0 (-110)
This Saturday the Nebraska Cornhuskers will take on Big 12 North division rival, the Kansas State Wildcats. The Huskers are favored -6 on the road and we are going to take them to cover that number.
Nebraska, while not having a shot at the Big 12 North title, is probably playing better than any other North team with the exception of the Missouri Tigers. The Huskers have won three of their last four games and have demonstrated that they are clearly the class of the Big 12’s second tier teams of which K-State is a member. They have wins over Baylor, Iowa State, and Kansas to prove it. Nebraska’s average margin of victory against these squads is 16.67 points per game.
Kansas State is without question a team in turmoil. Even prior to the announcement that Head Coach Ron Prince would be gone at the end the season, the Wildcats were circling the drain. They have now lost four games in a row and they have yet to win a conference game at home this year. The Cats are also 0-3 against their North brethren and their average loss in Big 12 play has been by 20.4 points per game.
Both of these clubs are prone to the turnover and, quite frankly, that is K-State’s best chance to win. However, it will be difficult for them to overcome their own errors. Nebraska should have a field day, as just about every Wildcat opponent has, rushing the ball on Saturday. The Huskers average 156.7 yards per game on the ground while the Cats yield 210.8 rushing yards per game. Nebraska also has a big advantage on third down. They convert at nearly a 50% clip, about the same percentage that K-State allows.
Take Nebraska -6
Re: Saturday Service Plays
East Carolina vs. So Mississippi
Play:East Carolina +2.5
East Carolina, riding a three game SU winning streak, travel to take on So. Mississippi looking to rack up their 11th ATS win over the Golden Eagles. The Pirates offense, although not one of the most prolific scoring machines, have posted a decent 23.2 points per game. Although their defense has been rather porous giving up higher than 20 points per game, they have stepped it up in their last three games allowing their opponents to post just 12 points per game and just 233 yards of total offense.
The So. Mississippi Golden Eagles after losing five in a row come into this one on their own streak winning their last two in a row. Unlike East Carolina, the Eagles haven't have problems scoring posting an average of 31.9 points per game. They have needed every bit of those points as they defense has given up a very high 27.3 points per game. The last two times that these teams have met the defense has given up an average of 24 points.
SUPPORTING ANGLES: E CAROLINA is 7-0 ATS (+7.0 Units) as a road underdog of 3 points or less since 1992. E CAROLINA is 19-9 ATS (+9.1 Units) in games played on a grass field over the last 3 seasons.
Southern Miss’ top two running backs are banged-up. Each missed last Saturday’s game, leaving QB Austin Davis as the team’s leading rusher. That will spell trouble versus a Carolina defense that is athletic and deep enough to shut him down. I'm taking the points and the Golden Eagles in this one.
Re: Saturday Service Plays
Notre Dame @ Navy
PICK: Notre Dame -3.5
Notre Dame lost to Navy at home last year 46-44 in triple overtime, making it the first time in 44 years that Navy beat Notre Dame. Don’t think for one second that the Irish have forgotten about that. At 5-4, Notre Dame may not have the swagger that Irish teams have had in the past, but three of their four losses were on the road to good teams (Michigan State, North Carolina, Boston College) and an overtime loss at home to a good Pittsburgh team. We expect Charlie Weis to have his team ready for revenge against a talented Navy team.
Before last weeks 0-17 loss at the hand of Boston College, Notre Dame quarterback Jimmy Clausen was starting to look like a premiere College quarterback, he threw four interceptions against Boston College, squandering any chance of a win. We expect him to have a big day to redeem himself against Navy’s 105th ranked pass defense. In their most recent game, Navy gave up 340 yards passing and 3 touchdowns against Temple!
In similar match-ups by both of these teams, they have both had a recent game against Pittsburgh; Navy lost their match-up at home with Pitt by 21 and was out-gained by 250 yards, whereas Notre Dame out-gained Pitt and lost in the fourth overtime 36-33. Notre Dame comes into this game under a lot of scrutiny after their shutout loss to BC and knowing that they lost to Navy for the first time in 44 years last year; now Charlie Weis has taken over play-calling duty for the offense and we expect an offensive explosion from the Irish. The road team in this series is 12-1 ATS in their last 13 games and we expect that trend to continue Saturday. The game is technically on a "neutral site" in Baltimore but it is basically a home game for Navy. Go with the Irish.
Re: Saturday Service Plays
Oklahoma State at Colorado
Oklahoma State has a dynamite offense built for the artificial turf at home. But this is a road game on natural grass, that slows down speed-oriented offenses. Colorado plays its best ball at home, as well. Play Colorado.
Re: Saturday Service Plays
MARYLAND +3 from North Carolina--The Terps are unbeaten at home and getting points. They are both 3-2 in conference
TROY +19.5 from LSU--They both average 31 per week and the Tigers are coming off an OT loss to BAMA--how do they get up for this game after that game at home last week ? They don't--and Troy isn't bad-they have the same 6-3 mark as LSU
NC ST +4 from Wake Forest--only because the Wolfpack are at home and they both average 20pts per game
Re: Saturday Service Plays
Minnesota +13 1/2 (5 units)
Wake Forest -4 (5 units)
La Tech -12 1/2 (5 units)
Washington +7 1/2 (5 units)
BYU -4 (5 units)
Marshall -7 (5 units)
Tulsa -5 1/2 (5 units)
Stanford +22 1/2 (5 units)
So Florida -7 1/2 (5 units)
Washington St +36 1/2 (5 units)
Troy +19 1/2 (5 units)
Texas A&M +8 (5 units)
Navy-ND Over 50 1/2 (5 units)
NW-Michigan Under 46 (5 units)
USC-Stanford Over 48 (5 units)
Boise-Idaho Over 59 1/2 (5 units)
Rutgers-SO FLA Over 49 (5 units)
Re: Saturday Service Plays
(24) South Carolina (7-3, 6-3 ATS) at (3) Florida (8-1 SU and ATS)
South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier returns to his old “chomping” grounds in the Swamp, hoping to lead his Gamecocks to an SEC upset win over red-hot Florida, which has battled its way back into national championship contention.
A week after pummeling hated Georgia 49-10, the Gators avoided the dreaded letdown last week at Vanderbilt, jumping out to a 42-0 lead and cruising to a 42-14 victory as a 23½-point road favorite. QB Tim Tebow (171 passing yards, 88 rushing yards, 3 total TDs) accounted for 259 of Florida’s 422 total yards and half of its six touchdowns as the Gators won their fifth in a row (5-0 ATS) and clinched the SEC East and an a berth in the league championship game against No. 1 Alabama.
Not only has Florida ripped off five straight wins since its shocking 31-30 home loss to Ole Miss, but all five have come by 28 points or more. In fact, Urban Meyer’s squad has outscored the opposition 355-76 in its eight wins, all of them coming by at least 23 points.
South Carolina enters this contest on a roll, having won six of its last seven, including the last two in a row over Tennessee (27-6 as a six-point home favorite on Nov. 1) and Arkansas (34-21 as a 12½-point home chalk last week). The Gamecocks barely outgained the Razorbacks 351-309, but they had a 132-54 edge in rushing, and the defense had three interceptions.
The Gators went to South Carolina last year and spanked the Gators 51-31 as a seven-point road favorite, finishing with a 153-yard edge in total offense (537-384) as Tebow accounted for all seven of Florida’s touchdowns (2 passing, 5 rushing). Florida is 16-1 SU all-time in the series, but the Gamecocks have cashed in two of three since Spurrier became their coach, including a 17-16 loss as a 13-point underdog in his only previous return trip to Gainesville.
South Carolina’s current 4-1 ATS run has all come in SEC action, and the ‘Cocks are also on pointspread streaks of 11-4 on the road, 9-2-1 as a road underdog, 5-1 as a double-digit underdog, 5-2-1 on grass, 6-2 in November, 11-5-1 against teams with a winning record and 10-4 after a spread-cover. Meanwhile, in addition to its 5-0 ATS run overall (all against SEC foes), Florida is on spread rolls of 9-2 at home, 6-0 in November and Florida 12-5-1 as a home chalk.
Florida has topped the total in four straight games and is on further over runs of 5-1 at home, 5-1 in November, 20-8 on grass and 13-3 after an ATS win. Also, the over is 3-1 in the last four meetings in this series. However, the under is 25-11-1 in South Carolina’s last 37 road games.
ATS ADVANTAGE: FLORIDA
(10) Ohio State (8-2, 3-6 ATS) at Illinois (5-5, 4-5 ATS)
Rapidly maturing redshirt freshman quarterback Terrelle Pryor faces his second straight Big Ten road test when he leads Ohio State into Memorial Stadium for a meeting with Illinois.
Pryor shook off a poor performance in the Buckeyes’ 13-6 home loss to Penn State with a sterling effort against Northwestern last week, passing for 197 yards and three touchdowns en rout to a 45-10 rout as an 11-point road favorite. Pryor, who attempted just 14 passes and competed nine, also had 33 rushing yards, while RB Beanie Wells chipped in 140 rushing yards and two TDs as Ohio State finished with a 441-294 edge in total offense.
Illinois’ road woes continued in last week’s surprising 23-17 loss at Western Michigan as a seven-point road favorite. QB Juice Williams threw two more interceptions, running his season total to 14, and the Illini never led after the midway point of the second quarter. Illinois has alternated wins and losses in its last eight games and alternated spread-covers in its last six, though Ron Zook’s team is 4-1 at home in 2008 (2-2 ATS).
Illinois handed Ohio State its first and only regular-season loss last year, going to Columbus and winning 28-21 as a 15½-point road underdog. The Illini dominated the contest, piling up 400 total yards (260 rushing) and allowing 336 (180 rushing), and Williams tossed four TD passes. The visitor is on an 8-2 SU roll in this rivalry, but Illinois is 6-1 ATS in the last seven meetings (3-1 ATS in the last four as an underdog).
Ohio State has yet to cash in any of its five home games this year, but Jim Tressel’s squad is 3-1 ATS on the road, improving to 14-4 ATS in its last 18 on the highway. Additionally, the Buckeyes are on pointspread streaks of 13-3 as a road favorite (3-0 this year), 25-10 against Big Ten foes and 8-3 in November, but they’ve failed to cash in six straight games on field turf. Meanwhile, the Illini are on positive ATS rolls of 7-2 in conference, 9-1 as an underdog in Big Ten games, 4-1 in November and 4-0 following a non-cover.
The over is 6-1-1 in Illinois’ last nine Big Ten tilts and 5-1 in OSU’s last six in November. However, the under is on a 3-1 roll in this rivalry, and each of the last three clashes at Illinois have stayed low.
ATS ADVANTAGE: NONE
(17) North Carolina (7-2, 5-3 ATS) at Maryland (6-3, 4-4 ATS)
The Tar Heels, off to their best start in more than a decade, travel to Maryland for an ACC battle with the Terrapins.
North Carolina has won five of its last six (4-2 ATS) and dominated Georgia Tech on Saturday, winning 28-7 as 5½-point home favorites. The Tar Heels are averaging 30.8 points and 327.9 yards per game, but got outgained 423-314 against the Yellow Jackets. UNC averages 132.3 yards rushing and now faces a Maryland defense giving up 152.3 rushing ypg.
Maryland is 5-0 (3-1 ATS) at home this season, outscoring the opposition 153-82. But last week the Terps went to Virginia Tech and fell 23-13 as a three-point ‘dog, getting outgained 400-228 and finishing with minus-12 yards rushing. Maryland has already upset three Top-25 teams this season, outscoring those ranked foes by an average of 12.3 points.
Both teams are 3-2 in ACC play, with North Carolina residing in second place in the Coastal Division, one-half game behind Miami, Fla., while Maryland is a game back of both Wake Forest and Florida State in the Atlantic Division.
North Carolina got a 16-13 home win over the Terps last year, cashing as a two-point favorite and snapping a four-game SU losing skid and a seven-game ATS slide in this rivalry. The last time these two squared off in Maryland was in 2003 when the Terrapins delivered a 59-21 thumping as a 17-point favorite. The straight-up winner is 8-2 ATS in the last 10 series clashes.
The Heels are just 2-5 ATS in their last seven games after a spread-cover, but they are 4-1 ATS in their last five against teams with a winning record. Maryland is on ATS slides of 5-11 in ACC play and 2-6 in November, but the Terrapins are 4-1 ATS in their last five home games and 4-0 ATS in their last four after a straight-up loss.
For North Carolina, the under is 7-3 in its last 10 November games, while the over is 4-1 in their last five roadies and 4-1 in their last five against teams with a winning record. Maryland has topped the total in four of its last five at home, but otherwise the under is on several streaks for the Terps, including 4-1 overall, 6-1 in ACC games, 5-1 against teams with a winning record and 5-1 following a non-cover. Finally, the over is 3-1 in the last four clashes in this series.
ATS ADVANTAGE: MARYLAND
(4) Texas (9-1, 7-3 ATS) at Kansas (6-4, 5-4 ATS)
Texas will try to beat Kansas for the seventh straight time when it travels to Lawrence for a Big 12 meeting with the slumping Jayhawks.
The Longhorns rebounded from their first loss of the season two weeks ago by downing Baylor 45-21 in Austin, failing to cash as a 27-point home favorite, the team’s third straight non-cover after a 7-0 ATS start. QB Colt McCoy threw five touchdown passes to continue his stellar campaign, as the junior is completing 78 percent of his throws for 2,879 yards, 28 TDs and seven INTs.
Kansas has dropped three of its last four (2-2 ATS), including a 45-35 loss in Nebraska on Saturday, coming up well short as a 1½-point ‘dog. The Jayhawks gave up 495 yards, including 328 through the air. Kansas QB Todd Reesing was just 15-of-30 passing, but had 304 yards, three TDs and one INT. Reesing has thrown for 2,940 yards this season with 23 TDs, but his 10 INTs are tied for the Big 12 lead.
Texas is 6-0 (5-1 ATS) against Kansas dating back to 1996, with all but one victory coming by 14 points or more. These two haven’t met since 2005 when the Longhorns crushed the Jayhawks 66-14 in Austin as a 32-point home favorite. However, the last time they went to Kansas, the ‘Horns barely escaped with a 27-23 win, scoring the game-winning TD with 11 seconds left to fall well short as 23-point favorites.
Texas is just 2-5 ATS in its last seven November games, but otherwise the Longhorns are on ATS streaks of 8-3 overall, 4-1 on the highway, 25-12-1 after a non-cover and 9-3 against a team with a winning record. Meanwhile, despite its recent struggles, the Jayhawks remain on a host of ATS streaks, including 20-6 overall, 11-3 at home, 14-5 in Big 12 games, 10-4 in November contests and 5-0 coming off a non-cover.
Texas is in the midst of a bevy of over streaks, including 6-1 overall, 16-5-1 on the road, 8-1 in conference action, 5-0 in November and 4-0 following a non-cover. Kansas also is on several over streaks, including 4-0 overall, 10-2 in November, 4-0 in conference play and 5-2 at home against teams with a winning road record.
ATS ADVANTAGE: OVER
Cal (6-3, 7-2 ATS) at (23) Oregon State (6-3 SU and ATS)
Oregon State’s quest for its first Pac-10 championship in more than 40 years continues went it returns to Reser Stadium for a home game against Cal.
The Beavers shook out of a first-half funk against UCLA last week, outscoring the Bruins 31-3 over the final 30 minutes on their way to a 34-6 victory – their fourth in a row – covering as a 7½-point road chalk. Oregon State, which cracked the Top 25 for the first time this year with the win, finished with 423 total yards to UCLA’s 234, including a 205-45 advantage in rushing yards, easily improving to 6-1 ATS in its last seven.
Oregon State, which opened the season with a 36-28 Pac-10 road loss to Stanford, has since won five straight league games (4-1 ATS) and is a half-game behind USC in the league standings. However, the Beavers control their own destiny in the conference race based on their stunning 27-21 home win over the then-No. 1 Trojans back on Sept. 5.
Cal went to USC last week and became the latest team to get stonewalled by the top-rated Trojans defense, managing just 165 total yards (27 rushing) in a 17-3 road defeat. On the bright side, the Bears easily cashed as a 22-point road underdog, their third straight ATS win and their eighth spread-cover in the last 10 games dating to last year’s bowl victory over Air Force. It’s been a stark turnaround in the pointspread department for Cal, which failed to cash in its final seven regular-season games in 2007.
This has been a road-dominated series the last five years, with the visitor going 5-0 SU and ATS. Last year, the Beavers’ traveled south and stunned then-No. 2 Cal 31-28 as a 14-point underdog, costing the Bears their first No. 1 ranking in 56 years. Going back to 1999, Oregon State is 7-2 SU against Cal, and the Beavers have covered in 14 of the last 21 series clashes.
Despite its current 8-2 ATS tear and last week’s cover at USC, Cal is still just 3-9 ATS in its last 12 road games, 2-6 ATS in its last eight in November and 3-7 ATS in its last 10 following a SU defeat. Meanwhile, Oregon State carries ATS trends of 13-3 overall, 38-18-1 in Corvalis (9-3 last 12), 17-8 in November, 4-0 in Pac-10 play, 10-1 on artificial turf and 42-17 after an ATS triumph.
For the Bears, the under is on runs of 9-4-1 on the road, 6-1 in November, 7-2 against winning teams and 7-3 after a defeat. The under is also 5-2 in Oregon State’s last seven home games. Lastly, the under is 3-0-1 in the last four meetings between these schools at Reser Stadium.
ATS ADVANTAGE: OREGON STATE and UNDER
Arizona (6-3 SU and ATS) at Oregon (7-3, 4-6 ATS)
Arizona goes for its third straight win over Oregon when it pays a visit to Autzen Stadium in this Pac-10 battle.
The Wildcats hit the highway last week and claimed a 59-28 victory over lowly Washington State, but came up well short as a 41-point road chalk despite eye-popping advantages of 531-208 in total offense, 28-12 in first downs, 4-2 in turnovers and 37½-22½ minutes in time of possession.
Oregon got a 6-yard touchdown run with six seconds left to erase a 28-27 deficit and beat Stanford 35-28. However, the Ducks failed to cash as a 14-point favorite, dropping to 2-6 ATS in their last six games (2-4 ATS in Pac-10 play). Oregon outgained Stanford 451-325 (307-187 on the ground), but it lost four fumbles.
Neither team is playing consistent football right now, with both going 4-3 in their last seven, while Arizona has alternated wins and losses both in its last five overall and in all four of its road trips.
The Wildcats snapped a seven-game losing streak to Oregon in 2006 with a stunning 37-10 win at Autzen Stadium as a 14-point road pup. Then last year, the Ducks went to Tucson with an 8-1 record and No. 3 national ranking, but lost starting QB Dennis Dixon to an injury early in the contest and Arizona prevailed 34-24 as a 10½-point home ‘dog. The ‘Cats have cashed in the last three meetings – all as a double-digit pup – after Oregon had gone 4-0 ATS in the previous four.
Arizona is on positive pointspread runs of 10-3 overall, 8-2 in Pac-10 play, 7-0 as an underdog, 6-0 against winning teams, 6-2 in November and 6-0 versus winning teams. On the flip side, in addition to its current 2-6 ATS nosedive, Oregon is in pointspread funks of 1-4 in Pac-10 play, 0-3 at home, 2-4 as a favorite, 1-4 on artificial turf, 0-5 against winning teams and 0-4 in November.
For Oregon, the over is on runs of 5-2-2 overall and 4-1-1 at home, and the Wildcats have topped the total in six of their last seven on turf.
ATS ADVANTAGE: ARIZONA and OVER
(13) Georgia (8-2, 3-6 ATS) at Auburn (5-5, 1-8 ATS)
Auburn, which has lost four straight games to Division I-A teams, tries to get back on track when it hosts SEC rival Georgia at Jordan Hare Stadium.
The Tigers took their frustrations out on Division I-AA Tennessee-Martin last week, rolling 37-20 in a non-lined contest. Auburn’s offense, which has struggled all season, put up a season high in points last week after producing an average of 14.8 points in four previous losses. Tommy Tuberville’s squad has dropped three straight SEC contests and hasn’t covered a pointspread since a season-opening 34-0 rout of Louisiana-Monroe, a span of eight games.
Georgia bounced back from an ugly 49-10 loss to archrival Florida with a narrow 42-38 victory at Kentucky last week, falling well short as a 13-point road favorite. The Bulldogs, who are 1-5 ATS in their last six games (0-4 ATS as a favorite), had a 520-331-yard edge in total offense against the Wildcats, but needed an 11-yard TD pass from Matthew Stafford to AJ Green with 1:54 to play to secure the victory.
The Bulldogs have trashed Auburn each of the last two years, winning 45-20 as a 1½-point home chalk last year and 37-15 as an 11½-point road underdog in 2006. Georgia is 4-2 SU and ATS in the last six meetings, the visitor is 11-4-1 in the last 15 battles (11-5 ATS), and the SU winner has cashed in each of the last 10 clashes.
Despite their current 1-5 ATS slump, the Bulldogs are 4-1-1 ATS in their last six true road games and 7-3-1 ATS in their last 10 following a SU win. On the other hand, as part of their ongoing 0-8 ATS slide, the Tigers are 0-4 ATS at home, 0-6 ATS in SEC play, 0-5 ATS on grass and 0-4 ATS against winning teams.
While Georgia is putting up 32.6 points and 437 total yards per game, Auburn’s offense is netting a paltry 19.5 points and 315.4 yards per contest. The Tigers do rate a slight edge on defense, yielding 16.3 points and 305 yards per game compared with Georgia’s 25 points and 309 yards per game.
For Auburn, the under is on runs of 8-3 overall, 6-2 at home, 11-4 against SEC foes and 5-2 on grass. Georgia has topped the total in three straight overall, two straight on the road and five of its last six November outings. Also, the over is on a 3-0 run in this rivalry.
ATS ADVANTAGE: NONE
(6) USC (8-1, 5-3 ATS) at Stanford (5-5, 6-4 ATS)
USC heads up the California coast looking to avenge one of the biggest upset losses in college football history when it meets Stanford in a Pac-10 clash.
The Trojans’ offense rolled up 411 total yards but struggled to put points on the board last week against Cal, but the defense came to the rescue again in a 17-3 home victory, the team’s sixth in a row. USC, which never threatened to cover as a hefty 22-point home favorite, allowed just 165 yards of total offense (27 rushing yards) against the Bears.
USC’s defense has surrendered a total of 23 points in six games since a 27-21 loss at Oregon State, and Pete Carroll’s stop unit continues to lead the nation in scoring defense (6.7 ppg allowed), total defense (206.4 total ypg allowed) and passing defense (128.7 ypg allowed), while ranking third in rushing defense (77.8 ypg allowed).
The Cardinal have alternated SU wins and losses in their last six games, falling at Oregon last week 35-28 but cashing as a 14-point road underdog. Stanford, which has scored at least 20 points in seven straight games, led 28-27 before giving up the game-winning touchdown on a 6-yard run with six seconds left to play. Jim Harbaugh’s squad got outgained 451-325 in the defeat, but forced four turnovers (all fumbles).
Last year, Stanford went to Los Angeles as a 41-point road underdog and stunned the second-ranked Trojans 24-23, scoring the game-winning TD on a 10-yard pass on fourth-and-goal to end a five-game winning streak against USC. The Cardinal trailed by 11 points with less than six minutes to go and won despite getting outgained 459-235. Stanford is now 6-3 ATS in the last nine meetings, all as an underdog, but the visitor is 5-2 ATS in the last seven in this rivalry.
USC has alternated spread-covers in each of its last seven games and is 1-2 ATS in Pac-10 roadies this year and 5-10 ATS in its last 15 conference games. However, the Trojans are 25-0 SU in November under Carroll and 21-6 ATS in their last 27 November contests. Meanwhile, the Cardinal are on ATS runs of 5-2 overall, 4-1 in Pac-10 play and 5-0 at home (4-0 this year).
For USC, the under is on streaks of 20-7-1 overall (6-2-1 this year), 21-5-1 in Pac-10 action (5-1-1 this year), 20-6-1 on grass and 6-2-1 in November. Stanford also carries several “under” trends into today’s contest, including 48-23-1 overall, 39-16-1 in league play, 5-2 at home, 5-2-1 in November and 18-8 on grass. However, the over is 7-3 in Stanford’s 10 contests this season, 9-3 in the last 12 Stanford-USC tussles overall and 4-1 in the last five clashes in Palo Alto.
ATS ADVANTAGE: NONE
Re: Saturday Service Plays
(11) Oklahoma State (8-2, 8-1 ATS) at Colorado (5-5, 2-7 ATS)
Colorado looks to win consecutive games for the first time since starting the season 3-0 when it hosts a disappointed Oklahoma State squad in a Big 12 battle at Folsom Field.
Oklahoma State started the season 7-0, but its dreams of a Big 12 championship and BCS bowl bid have gone out the window with two losses in the last three weeks. First, the Cowboys fell 28-24 at Texas on Oct. 25, then after a 59-17 bounce-back home win over Iowa State, they went to No. 2 Texas Tech last Saturday and got squashed 56-20 as a 3½-point underdog – the first time this season Mike Gundy’s team failed to bring home the cash.
In Lubbock, Oklahoma State was held to a season low in points and finished on the short end of a 629-368 discrepancy in total offense, yielding 456 passing yards and six TDs to Texas Tech QB Graham Harrell.
Colorado earned just its second Big 12 victory a week ago, holding off Iowa State 28-24 but failing to cover as a 9½-point home chalk, the team’s seventh straight non-cover. The 28 points the Buffaloes scored last week were the most since putting up 31 against Eastern Washington in Week 2, a span of eight games. Meanwhile, the CU defense has given up an average of 35.3 points in its last three contests.
The Buffaloes are on an 11-2 SU roll in this rivalry, but the Cowboys are 8-5 ATS during this stretch, including 6-2 ATS in the last eight. In the most recent meeting in 2005, Colorado scored a 34-0 shutout win as a 3½-point home chalk.
Despite dropping two of its last three games, Oklahoma State is still riding positive pointspread runs of 9-1 overall, 5-1 in Big 12 play this season, 6-2 on the highway, 10-0 as a double-digit favorite and 7-1 after a SU defeat. As for the Buffs, in addition to their ongoing 0-7 ATS rut, they’re 2-5 ATS in their last seven home games, 7-20 ATS in their last 27 conference contests, 5-15-1 ATS in their last 21 as an underdog and 1-5 ATS in their last six in November.
The under is 7-1 in OSU’s last eight road games (the one “over” coming last week) and 4-1 in Colorado’s last five overall, However, when playing in November, the over is on runs of 18-7 for Oklahoma State and 7-1 for Colorado.
ATS ADVANTAGE: OKLAHOMA STATE
Boston College (6-3, 4-4 ATS) at (20) Florida State (7-2, 4-3 ATS)
Florida State tries to keep its ACC Atlantic Division title hopes alive when it welcomes league rival Boston College to Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee.
The Seminoles improved to 5-1 in their last six games with last week’s 41-27 waxing of Clemson, easily cashing as a four-point home favorite. Florida State, which is tied with Wake Forest atop the Atlantic Division standings at 4-2 (3-3 ATS), fell behind 10-0 halfway through the first quarter but ended up with 419 total yards (266 rushing) while holding the Tigers to 316 yards (79 rushing).
Boston College took a break from ACC play last Saturday and blanked Notre Dame 17-0 – its third shutout of the season – cashing as a 3½-point home chalk to halt a two-game SU and ATS slide. The Eagles actually got outgained 292-246, but they outrushed the Irish 167-66 and they picked off Jimmy Clausen four times. B.C. is out of the Atlantic Division race, sitting in fourth place at 2-3 (1-4 ATS) in ACC play.
These teams have met each of the last three years since the Eagles joined the ACC, and the visitor has won all three contests SU and ATS. Last year, the Seminoles went to Boston and handed the second-ranked Eagles their first loss of the season, 27-17 as a 6½-point road underdog. That avenged FSU’s 24-19 home loss to Boston College as a seven-point favorite in 2006.
Boston College is mired in pointspread funks of 1-6 in ACC play, 2-5 in November, 1-4 on grass and 0-6 following a spread-cover, but the Eagles have covered in nine of their last 11 as a road underdog since 2003. Meanwhile, Florida State is 5-1 ATS in its last six lined games at Doak Walker.
The Seminoles, who average 36 points per game, have scored at least 26 points during their current 5-1 SU run, and they average 392.4 total yards per game (201 rushing ypg). However, tonight they run up against a Boston College defense that yields just 17 points and 276.7 total yards per game. FSU’s defense is also stout, allowing 19.3 points and 264.8 yards per outing.
The over is 5-1 in B.C.’s last six games overall (4-0 in ACC play), but the under is 7-3 in its last 10 on the road and 11-4 in its last 15 on grass. For Florida State, the over is on streaks of 5-1 overall (4-1 in conference) and 8-2 against winning teams. Also, all three series meetings between these schools have topped the total.
ATS ADVANTAGE: FLORIDA STATE and OVER
(25) Tulsa (8-1, 6-2 ATS) at Houston (5-4, 3-5 ATS)
The Golden Hurricane will try to rebound from their first loss of the season when they travel to Houston for a key Conference USA West Division matchup.
Tulsa rattled off eight straight wins to start the season (6-1-1 ATS) and had hopes of a BCS bowl bid, but those hopes went out the window on Nov. 1 with a 30-23 loss at Arkansas as a seven-point favorite. Now the Golden Hurricane turn their attention to the West Division of C-USA, as they lead Rice by a half game and sit one game ahead of Houston.
Tulsa’s offense leads Division I-A with 52 points and 593 yards per game, but in Arkansas the offense managed just three points second-half points and none in the fourth quarter, its first scoreless quarter this season. QB David Johnson threw for 322 yards, one TD and an INT and has just two TD passes in his last two games after tossing 31 in his first seven games.
Houston gained a season-high 693 yards in last Saturday’s 42-14 win over Tulane, cashing as 17½-point favorites. The Cougars have won four of their last five games (3-2 ATS) after dropping three straight (0-3 ATS) in September. Houston is fourth in the nation in total offense with 547.3 yards per game and the team has scored at least 41 points in four of its last five games. QB Case Keenum leads the Cougars’ attack, throwing for 3,385 yards, 29 TDs and nine INTs.
The Golden Hurricane stomped Houston last season 56-7 in Oklahoma in a pick-em contest, snapping a two-game SU and ATS losing streak to the Cougars. The straight-up winner is 8-0 ATS in this series dating to 1985.
Tulsa is on ATS slides of 2-5 on the road, 4-10 coming off a non-cover and 0-6 on the road against teams with a winning home record, but the Golden Hurricane are 7-2 ATS in their last nine overall and 4-1 ATS in their last five C-USA games. Houston hasn’t been a good bet lately, currently stuck in ATS slides of 3-10 overall, 2-6 at home, 17-35 after a spread-cover, 1-7 after a straight-up win and 1-5 against teams with a winning record.
For Tulsa, the under is on runs of 9-3 against teams with a winning record, 5-0 after a straight-up loss and 7-0 on grass. Meanwhile, for the Cougars, the under runs include 10-4 overall, 5-1 at home, 8-2 in conference games and 5-0 in November. Lastly, the under has been the play in the last three series clashes.
ATS ADVANTAGE: TULSA and UNDER
San Diego at UNLV
UNLV begins its quest for a third straight NCAA Tournament appearance when it opens the season at the Thomas & Mack center against San Diego, which is looking to make a second consecutive trip to the Big Dance.
The Rebels (27-8, 18-12-1 ATS last year) won a second straight Mountain West Conference championship last year and closed the season on an 8-2 run (6-3-1 ATS). They upset Kent State 71-58 as a 1½-point underdog in the first round of the NCAA Tournament before losing to eventual national champion Kansas 75-56 as a 13½-point underdog in the second round.
San Diego (22-14, 22-10 ATS) took advantage of the fact the West Coast Conference tournament was played in its home gym in March, knocking off Pepperdine, St. Mary’s and Gonzaga on consecutive days to claim the conference crown and a berth in the NCAA Tournament. Once there, the Toreros stunned UConn 70-69 as a 12½-point underdog in the opening round before bowing out in a 72-63 loss to Western Kentucky as a five-point pup. The Toreros finished the season on a 14-3 SU run and a 14-4 ATS roll.
UNLV went to San Diego last November and dominated the Toreros 66-55, cashing as a two-point road underdog.
Including the Mountain West tournament, which was played at the Thomas & Mack in Las Vegas, UNLV went 21-2 at home (11-6 ATS in lined games). The Rebels come into this season riding a 15-game home winning streak (7-4 ATS). Meanwhile, San Diego went 9-8 on the highway in 2007-08, but 13-4 ATS.
The Toreros enter the season on ATS streaks of 20-7 overall, 47-20 on the road, 36-17 in non-conference play, 5-2 against Mountain West foes and 4-1 when playing on Saturday. UNLV is riding pointspread runs of 18-6-2 at home, 24-9-1 in non-conference action and 37-18-3 on Saturdays.
The under is on runs of 8-3-2 for UNLV overall and 4-1 for San Diego against the Mountain West. Also, last year’s meeting between these teams stayed well under the posted price.
ATS ADVANTAGE: UNDER
Butler at Drake
Two mid-majors coming off NCAA Tournament appearances hook up in a non-conference game for the second straight season as Drake hosts Butler in a battle of Bulldogs.
Drake (28-5, 20-8-1 ATS) started last season on a 22-1 run (15-4 ATS) – including a 21-game winning streak – and climbed to as high as 14th in the national rankings en route to winning the Missouri Valley Conference’s regular-season and tournament championships. However, Drake’s first NCAA Tournament appearance since 1971 didn’t last long, as the fifth-seeded Bulldogs lost to Western Kentucky 101-99 on a last-second shot in overtime, failing to cover as a four-point favorite.
Butler (30-4, 16-15 ATS) won the Horizon League championship last year, reached No. 11 in the rankings and made it to the second round of the Big Dance. But like Drake, Butler’s season ended in overtime, as it fell 76-71 to second-seeded Tennessee as a 4½-point underdog. Butler has started off the last two seasons with SU winning streaks of eight in a row and 10 in a row, and the Bulldogs began 5-0 ATS two years ago and 4-0 ATS last season.
Drake handed Butler one of its three regular-season losses last season – and its only home defeat – prevailing 71-64 as a 5½-point road underdog in a Bracket Buster Saturday game in late February. Drake went 14-1 SU and 7-4 ATS at home last season, while Butler was 15-3 (8-7 ATS) as a visitor.
In addition to its 20-8-1 ATS roll last season, Drake is on pointspread streaks of 11-5 at home, 20-8 in non-conference play and 10-3 on Saturdays. Meanwhile, Butler is 21-7 ATS in its last 28 non-league contests and 4-1 ATS in its last five against the Missouri Valley Conference.
For Butler, the over is on runs of 5-2 overall, 5-1 in non-conference action and 6-2 against the Missouri Valley Conference. Also, Drake enters the year on over streaks of 12-2 overall, 7-1 at home and 5-1 on Saturday. Finally, last year’s meeting between these teams soared over the 127½-point total.
ATS ADVANTAGE: OVER
Re: Saturday Service Plays
South Carolina Gamecocks at Florida Gators
Florida Gators look to win their 12 straight game against the South Carolina Gamecocks in Gainesville.Without doubt, the Gamecocks have a sound defense, rank 10th in scoring defense at 15.6 point per game and third in total defense at 256.5 yards per game. Their defense may be tough, but offensively can’t match Tebow and his crew. Florida has won their last five games by an average of 37 points.Florida battered them last season and Tim Tebow threw for five touchdowns for 304 yards, rushing for 120 yards in a 51-31 victory in South Carolina. Take the Gators to win this battle convincingly in the Swamp.
Florida Gators -21
Texas Longhorns -13
Minnesota Golden Gophers +14
Alabama Crimson Tide -20.5
Re: Saturday Service Plays
I'm on a 7-2 run with free plays in College Football. We'll look to keep that roll going on Saturday, as we’ll grab the big points with Mississippi State against top-ranked Alabama.
No doubt there’s a huge class difference between these teams – Alabama is 10-0 and headed to the SEC championship game and Mississippi State is 3-6 and headed toward another losing season. And I would be stunned if the Crimson Tide lost this game. That said, they better come ready to play today, because the Bulldogs are better than their record. They lost to then-No. 9 Auburn by a single point (3-2 as a 10-point underdog); they went to fifth-ranked LSU and competed all night before falling 34-24 as a 24-point underdog; and they knocked off then-13th-ranked and unbeaten Vanderbilt 17-14. That’s three games against ranked foes, and three spread-covers.
Mississippi State also has an outside shot at a bowl bid if it can win out – of course that would require a win tonight, but that carrot certainly adds to the Bulldogs’ motivation.
Meanwhile, take a look at how Alabama has performed as a double-digit home chalk this year: It covered against lowly Sun Belt Conference opponents Arkansas State and Western Kentucky, but fell well short against Tulane (20-6 win as a 29-point home favorite) as well as SEC foes Kentucky (17-14 win as a 15½-point chalk) and Ole Miss (24-20 win as a 12½-point choice). Not only that, but consider that Alabama has played down to the level of its competition in recent years (3-10 ATS last 13 against losing teams) while Mississippi State has played above its head (7-3 ATS last 10 against winning teams). Also, the Tide have been a horrible bet in Tuscaloosa the last four years (7-20-2 ATS last 29 home games).
Throw in the fact that Mississippi State is 10-3 ATS in the last 13 meetings with Alabama, winning the last two outright and cashing in each of its last four trips to Tuscaloosa, and I’ll take these big points in a heartbeat.
4♦ MISSISSIPPI STATE
Re: Saturday Service Plays
For Saturday take the gargantuan number with the Hoosiers of Indiana in Happy Valley.
Penn State watched their national championship hopes go by the boards last week in Iowa and truly cannot be expected to rally back well enough to cover a number such as this in a conference game in this spot.
Sure Indiana is fairly awful and possibly the worst team in a down Big Ten Conference but the Hoosiers at least have a Quarterback in Kellen Lewis that is semi athletic and can make a few plays. Lewis has been banged up recently but it does appear that he will be good enough to go here and even if not this price is still too much.
Penn State is still a very very good team that will have athletes all over the field but in a noon kickoff after the terrible loss last week in Iowa just cannot be expected to win this thing by the number, no how no way. Look back over the past few games and you see a Penn State team that has shown some chinks in the armor. They were losing by double digits early on against Michigan before the huge rally and cover. Then the next week JoPa's team was far from great in that late win in Ohio State and last week fell in Iowa against a good but not great Hawkeyes' squad.
There is just no real motivation for the Penn State players and especially when you also factor in how a quality Michigan State team is on deck in a game that could prove to be for the prestigious Rose Bowl.
Let's recap all of the negatives against PSU:
A loss last week killing the National Championship!
A look-ahead spot with Michigan State up next for the Rose Bowl!
A Penn State team playing little old "Indiana"!
A noon kickoff is never great for the big chalk!
The Nittany Lions will win this game and probably with relative ease but the number is too much as this thing ends something like 41-13!
Re: Saturday Service Plays
Wisconsin -13 vs Minnesota
Houston +4.5 vs Tulsa
Louisiana Tech -13 vs Utah State
USC -24 vs Stanford
Iowa -17.5 vs Purdue
UConn -10 vs Syracuse
Mississippi St +22 vs Alabama
Notre Dame -4 vs Navy
Ohio State -9 vs Illinois
Western Michigan -16 vs Toledo
Texas -13.5 vs Kansas
Baylor -8 vs Texas A&M
Florida State -6 vs Boston College
Florida State/Boston College Under 44.5
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Re: Saturday Service Plays
Auburn +10 over Georgia
Auburn finally got a win after 4 straight losses. Now it was a win over Tennessee Martin, but they are off the losing streak. Auburn plays great defense and at home they will give Georgia all they have trying to get bowl eligible. The betting public is all over Georgia and I would not be shocked to see an upset. Look for a tight defensive battle. Take Auburn.
Re: Saturday Service Plays
Mississippi St vs. Alabama
Play: Mississippi St +22
The nation's #1 team puts its perfect record on the line Saturday as the Crimson Tide host the Bulldogs in SEC play. It hasn’t been a great season for Mississippi State, as the team comes in with a 3-6 record, including a tough 14-13 home loss to Kentucky 2 weeks ago. They have been idle since November 1st and figure to be well-rested for this weekend's road clash, where they will try to make their season with a huge upset victory.
Alabama was pushed to overtime by LSU on the road last weekend, but pulled out the 27-21 victory. Saban, who is 10-0 for the first time ever as a head coach, has turned 'Bama into a national power a bit faster than most fans and analysts expected. The SEC title game is already set, as the Tide will play Florida in the championship game, but the team is now trying to take care of business the next w2 weeks to carry an undefeated record into that showdown with the Gators.
Mississippi State relies on their defense, as they have been one of the weakest offensive teams in the nation this season, with the squad averaging only 16 ppg.
Opponents are posting 21 ppg and less than 300 total ypg against the solid Bulldogs “D”.
Overall this season, Alabama is averaging nearly 32 ppg, although they could manage only 21 points through 4 quarters last week, as they sputtered against the Tigers defense. Opponents are managing a mere 13 ppg against the Crimson Tide, who are one of the best defensive teams in the nation, although teams have had success running on Alabama in recent games, something Mississippi State will certainly look to be doing here, along with their defense keeping them close.
The Bulldogs are embracing this opportunity to play a #1 team for the sixth time in program history, and only its first since 1998. State has won against #1 one other time -- Alabama, in 1980.
"It's a great opportunity for us as a football team," Bulldogs coach Croom said. "It's rare that you get a chance to play the #1 team in the country during the course of the season. That opportunity has been afforded us and we're going to prepare as best as we possibly can and go over there and play as well as we possibly can in the hopes of winning a game, on the road, in Tuscaloosa, against the #1 team in the country."
They actually should have a fair amount of confidence coming in here, as State has beaten the Crimson Tide two straight years, not allowing an offensive TD in either game.
In looking at some numbers, we note that Mississippi State is:
2-0 ATS this season as an underdog of more than 9 points;
3-0 ATS this season vs. undefeated opponents;
6-0-1 ATS (+14.4 ppg) as a road underdog of more than 9 points and not off a non-lined SU win over the past 3 seasons;
3-0 ATS the past 2 seasons as an underdog vs. opponents playing with revenge;
5-0 ATS with rest, including winning the last 4 SU, the last 3 of which were as underdogs, including a victory over Alabama.
Despite being unbeaten, Alabama has some concerns, with QB John Parker Wilson being less than stellar after his outstanding 13-of-16 game against Georgia. In five games since then, he's thrown only two touchdowns and four interceptions, and the passing game has fallen to 100th in the NCAA. Additionally, LSU ran for 201 yards against the Tide defense, and since the open week opposing teams have rushed for over 120 yards per game. Depth has always been the worry for Alabama, and this is the time of the season when players start to get worn down. Coming off a very hard-fought OT game at LSU won’t help matters either.
It should come as no surprise, that with little rest off an overtime game, teams facing rested opponents have not fared well. In fact, we have an NCAA Football POWER SYSTEM that states:
From Game 4 on, play AGAINST a team (not a favorite of more than 29 points or underdog of 11+ points) with less than 8 days rest off an OT game vs. an opponent with 10+ days rest and not off an overtime shutout SU loss.
Just since 2004, these teams are 0-14 ATS! The Crimson Tide qualified as a “Play AGAINST” team last season and failed to cover the spread, and now they qualify once again.
In looking at some more technical information, we Alabama is:
0-6 ATS as a home favorite of less than 27 points vs. a sub-.500% opponent;
0-8 ATS & 1-12 ATS as a favorite of more than 6 points before playing Auburn.
We keep an eye on the pointspread from opening to closing, and a couple of things have caught our notice here.
First, we like to play AGAINST a team that opened as a favorite a half-point lower than a “key number. 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. If the line has moved up to the key number or above it after the opening spreads were posted, it's a sign that the public has taken the bait and the favorite, especially if the line move did not happened a day or more after the number was put up. This now allows a sharp bettor to play the underdog without being concerned about the opening line a half-point off a key number.
Secondly, we look to play AGAINST a team that was faded by a strong early line move and then favored by later line moves. Early line moves are those that occur in the first few hours after the virgin lines are posted. They are to be respected. The people who move the line early are not fooling around; they are serious players who love to take shots at virgin numbers. The oddsmakers are sharp, but they have to make a line on every game and do make occasional mistakes. Bettors have the advantage of picking and choosing specific games and when they focus on specific games when they first come out, their opinion should be noted with respect. If a line moves strongly during the early period and then heads in the other direction in the normal movement period, we usually have a case for the sharp bettors on one side and the public on the other - a definite scenario for respecting the early move.
Here, we get the best of both situations. Alabama opened as a 20½-point favorite – a ½-point under the key number of 21. The early sharp bettor not only did not bite on Crimson Tide, they went the other way, jumping on the Bulldogs, which dropped the line a full point to 19½ points Sunday night; however, during the week, the public has bet the Tide heavily enough that the oddsmakers responded by bumping the line up and over that 21 key number to 22 points and more.
We’ll back the defensive dogs and fade the public live move, as we look for the Bulldogs to give the tired Crimson Tide quite the scare.
PROJECTED FINAL SCORE: ALABAMA 21 MISSISSIPPI STATE 20
Re: Saturday Service Plays
Selection: Notre Dame -4.5
Reason: Put us down on Notre Dame -4.5 for our Free College Football Selection on Saturday. Last season when these two teams met in South Bend, Navy beat Notre Dame. The Midshipmen defeated the Fighting Irish 46-44 in triple overtime. This matchup will be a huge revenge game for the Fighting Irish, a chance to salvage their pride and redeem themselves from last season’s loss. Notre Dame has lost 3 of their last 4 games which provides good value for us this week. The Midshipmen have lost head coach Paul Johnson, their star quarterback, and returned just five offensive starters, but it doesn’t seem to be affecting their performance at all. Navy has still managed to win 5 of the last 6 games including 2 consecutive wins. For the 6th season in a row, Navy is once again bowl eligible. This performance is exactly opposite from the general opinion that Navy was going through a rebuilding phase. However, this success did not come easy. Navy’s success has a lot to do with luck since 4 of their 6 wins came by a touchdown or less. The Midshipmen were outgained by their opponents in 5 out of 9 games. As for this season, Navy’s numbers are unexceptional, and so they are only in the +1.9 yards per game margin. While one could argue that in rushing offense Navy is ranked 2nd in the nation, they are ranked at only 51st in total offense and at 73rd for total defense. Navy is much better in turnovers with a rank of 18th in the country but the Midshipmen are not big on interceptions. The Fighting Irish offense has improved significantly this season moving up to a rank of 50th from the absolute worst in the country last season. This week, Charlie Weis has taken over the play calling for the struggling Irish, because Offensive coordinator isn’t worth his salt but won’t be available anyway. In the last two weeks, Notre Dame has faced two excellent defenses, so they will be prepared here while also getting a break. Lay the points! Take Notre Dame -4.5!
Re: Saturday Service Plays
North Carolina State +4.0
Both of these teams have very deceptive records, as the North Carolina State olfpack have been very competitive despite being just 3-6 straight up, while the Wake Forest Demon Deacons have actually underachieved while going 6-3.
Case in point is that NC State is currently on a 4-0 run against the spread, and they are 6-1 ATS in their seven lined games since an opening week loss at South Carolina.
The Wolfpack are coming off of a nice 27-17 outright road upset of Duke, and they are averaging a nice 24.4 points and 313.0 total yards per game at home. Comparatively, Wake Forest is averaging just 15.8 points and 280.8 total yards on the road.
Now granted, NC State has a one dimensional passing offense, but that may actually not be a negative in this case. That is because the Demon Deacons are allowing only 3.5 yards per rushing attempt, so the best way to attack this defense is by throwing the ball and making big plays.
If the Wolfpack are successful, Wake Forest has been a major disappointment offensively and we feel they would be unable to match NC State if this turns into somewhat of a shootout. In fact, the Deacons have yet to score more then 12 points in their three conference road games.
Because of this lack of offense, Wake Forest is just 4-5 ATs despite their winning record, and we are looking for them to lose outright here, although getting more than a field goal with NC State is nice insurance.
Pick: NC State +4
Boston College +6.5
The visiting team has won the last three head-to-head meetings between the Boston College Eagles and the Florida State Seminoles outright, and even if BC does not continue that pattern this week, we do expect the Eagles the cover this spread at the very least.
What makes Boston College dangerous as decided underdogs here is that the play good defense and they run the ball well. The Eagles are allowing just 16.9 points and 276.7 total yards per game, and they are coming off of a dominant defensive performance last week, a 17-0 shutout of Notre Dame.
Offensively, they punished the Irish defense for 167 yards on the ground, raising their season average to 152.4 rushing yards per game on 4.2 yards per carry. Remember also that the Eagles have some major revenge on their minds, as it was Florida State that handed then their first loss last season after an 8-0 start.
Now granted Florida State is 7-2 and averaging 35.9 points per game. However, only once this season have they faced a defense that is comparable to Boston College, and not so coincidentally, that resulted in their worst offensive performance of the year in a 12-3 loss to Wake Forest here at home.
While we do expect the Noles to score more than three points this time around, we still expect Boston College to keep the Florida State offense in check enough to get the cover here.
Pick: Boston College +6.5
Re: Saturday Service Plays
Boston College at Florida State
Boston College (6-3) at No.20 Florida State -7 (7-2) - Last week the Golden Eagles beat Notre Dame 17-0 while the Seminoles beat Clemson 41-27. Coming into this game FSU head coach Bobby Bowden suspended 5 WR's because of a an on-campus brawl. However, the Seminoles rely on their rushing game, but if they can't run the ball they may be in trouble with the lack of WR's. The Seminoles are led by Christian Ponder (1421 yds 11 TD 8 INT0 and his main target will be Greg Carr (24 rec 380 yds 2 TD) and that will be about it with the depleted receiving corps of the Seminoles. FSU's rushing attack is led by Antone Smith (632 yds 13 TD). The Golden Eagles are led by QB Chris Crane (1506 yds 9 TD 12 TD) and his main targets are Brandon Robinson (29 rec 470 yds 3 TD) and Rich Gunnell (30 rec 270 yds 1 TD). The Golden Eagles rushing attack is led by Montel Harris (531 yds 4 TD).
Staff Pick: The Seminoles have the nation's 19th ranked rushing offense, in terms of yards per game, and they will be facing a BC defense that ranks 9th in the nation. The Golden Eagles D leads the ACC in rushing yards allowed per game (101.8). For the Golden Eagles to win this game they will have to stop the rushing offense of the Seminoles. FSU has to hold onto the ball and not turn the ball over, as in their last four games, the Eagles have returned an interception, a fumble and 2 punts for touchdowns. BC is among the nation's leaders with 18 interceptions. BC does not have a great offense and they will count on their defense to score some points and give them good field position. The Seminoles rank 5th in the nation on defense, so it will be hard for the Eagles to score many points. The Seminoles are tied with Wake Forrest for the ACC Atlantic lead and look to play in the ACC title game for the first time since 2005. The Seminoles come into this HUGE ACC game on a roll, as they have won 5 of their last 6 games and are undefeated at home this season. There is a good chance of rain in this game, which would give the Seminoles the advantage since they have the better rushing offense. Look for a defensive game, but for the Seminoles to score just enough to win and keep their ACC title hopes alive.
Seminoles 22 Golden Eagles 18
Re: Saturday Service Plays
Ohio State at Illinois
Illinois has dominated this series on the Las Vegas scoreboard, going 19-7 ATS since 1980, including 15-1 when priced from -2 to +17 points. And the Illini's only loss in that pointspread range was by a half-point. The Illini have covered eight of of their last 12 as home dogs, and have also covered seven of nine as underdogs of more than seven points in their final home game. Take Ron Zook's men to keep it close here.
Play on: Illinois
Re: Saturday Service Plays
BYU at Air Force
Take a look at Air Force's schedule. They haven't beaten anybody of substance. When they faced off with BYU's rival Utah, they were outgained by over 200 yards and had 15 less first downs. The last two times BYU was the road team in this rivalry game, they won outright by 17 and 19 points respectively. Because of their pointspread woes, we are getting tremendous value on this matchup as BYU is long overdue for a cover.
Play on: BYU