Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday December, 1

Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday December, 1

DAVID BANKS

Nebraska / Wisconsin Over 49

The Big Ten Championship Saturday night pits the champions of the Legends Division, the Nebraska Cornhuskers (10-2, 6-5-1 ATS ) against the third place team in the Leaders Division, the Wisconsin Badgers (7-5, 5-7 ATS) at Lucas Oil Field in Indianapolis, IN. You read that correctly, the third place Badgers out of the Leaders Division are in this game at 7-5 because the top two teams in that division, Ohio State and Penn State, are both ineligible for post-season play. You can catch all the action on FOX, with kick-off scheduled for 8:17 ET.

Nebraska enters this contest riding a six-game winning streak, and its two losses this year came at UCLA early on, a loss that does not look bad at all right now, and at Ohio State, a team that finished 12-0 this year. The Cornhuskers beat everyone else mostly because of a potent running game that ranked eighth in the country with 252.2 yards per game, and as if things weren't bleak enough for Wisconsin, Nebraska welcomed back running back Rex Burkhead in the season finale vs. Iowa after he had missed four games with a knee sprain. The Huskers did have a bit more balance this year compared to past seasons though as quarterback Taylor Martinez improved his passing immeasurably over last season, passing for 2483 yards while completing 63.3 percent of his passes with 21 touchdown throws against only eight interceptions. He also added 833 rushing yards on 5.3 yards per carry with eight rushing touchdowns. Now the Huskers did rank only 75th nationally in rushing defense, but that figure is a bit skewed because of allowing 371 rushing yards at Ohio State. That continued the struggles Nebraska has had vs. spread offenses, but lucky it is going up against a pro set here.

Wisconsin meanwhile stumbled down the stretch losing three of its last four games, although it bears mentioning that all three losses were in overtime. That does not change the fact that, unlike the Cornhuskers, the Badgers have absolutely no momentum right now. What Wisconsin does have is a one-dimensional rushing offense with the team now on its third starting quarterback this year in Curt Phillips. Yes, that rushing attack is led by last year's Heisman Trophy finalist Montee Ball, who had another fine season with 1525 rushing yards on 4.9 yards per carry with 18 touchdowns. However, Nebraska could put all of its efforts into trying to stop him, as Phillips completed only 52.6 percent of his passes and has yet to reach 200 passing yards in a game. Also note that while Nebraska beat just about all the teams that it was supposed to beat this year and most of them handily, Wisconsin lost at home to a 6-6 Michigan State team and it had much closer games than expected vs. the likes of UTEP and especially Utah State, against whom the Badgers had to rally to beat 16-14 at home.

These teams met in the regular season way back on September 29th, and although Nebraska won by only a 30-27 score, it piled up 440 total yards of offense including 259 rushing yards while holding the Badgers to 295 total yards. Wisconsin ended the regular season with a non-covering loss at Penn State, and the Badgers are on a 2-5 ATS run following an ATS loss.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday December, 1

Bob Balfe
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Boise State Nevada
Play: Nevada +8
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This is always a fun rivalry to watch. Boise has done a great job on defense this year and not bad on offense considering they really had nobody returning from last year. This young team is a reflection of their tremendous head coach, but I do not think they should be favored by this much on the road against a very good Nevada Rushing Attack. The weather will be very windy in this one and this could be another game like two years ago in Nevada. An upset would not shock me at all. Take Nevada

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FLORIDA ATLANTIC (+9) over UL-Lafayette
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Not only has Florida Atlantic been undervalued all season long -- going 8-2 ATS as an underdog -- but this is also a great spot to be on the Owls. Last week, UL-Lafayette became bowl eligible by winning its sixth game. On Sunday night the team accepted an invitation to play in the New Orleans Bowl for a second straight year. With a couple of key injuries and a suspension heading into this week's game against an inferior opponent on the road, you simply can't expect a focused effort from the Cajuns in this game. Florida Atlantic has improved as the season has gone on. After losing six of their first seven, the Owls have won two of their last four games and with a chance to knock off one of the better teams in their last game as a member of the Sun Belt Conference, they will treat today like a bowl game. Let's take the motivated home dog and watch the Owls earn yet another cover.

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John RyanFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Cincinnati Bearcats at Connecticut
Prediction: Cincinnati Bearcats
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This is a game with two teams from one of the worst BCS Conferences in the nation. However, there are solid reasons to back the Bearcats in this matchup. The simulator shows a high probability that the Bearcats will win this game by five or more points. Statistically, the Huskies have a very strong defensive unit that ranks high in the FBS standings in several categories. However, this was attained against a vast weak schedule. They rank 17th in the nation allowing 18.5 PPG, 10th allowing 306 YPG, 19th posting a 0.261 points per play ratio, seventh allowing 4.3 YPP, BUT 120th allowing opponents to score 90% of the time when in the red zone. Bearcats are a run dominated unit that can wear down the UCONN defensive front. When they are in the red zone, they score 87% of the time good for 25th best in the country. The Bearcats defensive unit matches up very well against an incredibly poor UCONN offensive unit. In fact, the Bearcats may have the better defensive unit. They also have the 13th ranked red zone scoring defense in the nation. Bearcats have the better OL and DL and the combination will simply wear down the 5-6 Huskies. Take Cincinnati.

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Ray Monohan
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Oklahoma City Thunder vs. New Orleans Hornets
Play: Oklahoma City Thunder   
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The defending Western conference champion Thunder put on an absolute clinic in a 114-69 win over a Charlotte Bobcats’ team that has played respectable basketball this season, locking in a 69-24 halftime advantage that ranked fifth-biggest in the shot-clock era. On that same night, the Hornets managed to snap a seven-game slide with a win at the Los Angeles Clippers, but they are still dealing with a ton of injuries, including rookie first-overall pick Anthony Davis who is out with a foot sprain. Oklahoma City has already made progress through its first 15 games of a new sports betting season, and the effort put forward Monday against the Bobcats is proof that they won’t let down if they smell blood in the water.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday December, 1

Charlie Scott
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Alabama vs. Georgia
Play: Under 50.5FOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Georgia had a pretty easy schedule this season, However when they played good teams with talent similiar to Alabama, both were easy Unders. Georgia lost to South Carolina 7-35 and beat Florida 17-9. Big games can make Coaches more conservative and players play tenative, I made this Total 44-45 and will play UNDER !

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David Chan
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Sacramento vs. L.A. Clippers
Pick: Under
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Sacramento is coming off a 97-92 loss at home to Indiana last night. It's 4-10-1 ATS thus far. The O/U is 8-7. The Kings have wet to win on the road. Note that DeMarcus Cousins' scoring average vs. LA is the worst vs. any Western Conference opponent.
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The Kings lost all three games vs. the Clippers last year.
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Not only will Sacramento be "tired" here after last nights loss, but it will likely once again be without the services of guard Tyreke Evans due to injury (if he does play, note that Evans will hardly be 100%; also note that he's also averaging a career low 14.9 points this season anyways).
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It's interesting to note that Sacramento has seen the total go "under" the number in three of five this year vs. team's with winning records.
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LA is 9-6 SU and 8-7 ATS. The O/U is 9-6. It's coming off a 101-95 win over Minnesota. The total has sailed above the posted number in three straight.
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It's almost impossible to find a single "under" trend that outweighs the "over" for the Clippers, therefore it's very significant to note that they have in fact seen the total go "under" the number in 12 of their last 19 after playing to three or more consecutive "overs".
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I believe this one sets up as a classic defensive affair, and will recommend taking a second look at the "under"!

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday December, 1

Jesse Schule
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Alabama vs. Georgia
Pick: Alabama
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Alabama finished the season with an emphatic victory over Auburn in the Iron Bowl, beating the Tigers 49-0. They ended the season with back to back shutout victories, and the Tide's #1 ranked defense blanked opponents four times this year.
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The Tide will take on the Georgia Bulldogs in the SEC championship game at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. The Bulldogs have also been strong defensively in recent games, after struggling early in the season. Georgia's offense hasn't had much trouble scoring points this year, but quarterback Aaron Murry will be under a lot of pressure, facing the best defense he has seen so far.
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When you look at how Murray has performed against top defenses in the SEC in past games this year, it doesn't bode well for the Bulldogs. He completed just 11 of 31 passes for 109 yards and an INT, failing to get in the endzone against the Gamecocks. The Bulldogs got blown out in that game, losing 35-7 on the road. They played Florida at home two weeks later, and while the result was a 17-9 victory, Murray didn't play any better. He was 12 of 24 for 150 yards, with a TD and 3 INTs against the Gators.
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A.J. McCarron on the other hand has risen to the occasion in his toughest challenge this season, engineering the game winning drive in the dying minutes of a close game against LSU. McCarron was 14-27 for 165 yards, one TD and no interceptions in that game. In fact, McCarron has only been picked off twice all year, and both of those came in Alabama's only loss to Texas A&M. He did complete 21 of 34 passes for 309 yards and a TD in that game.
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Alabama is the better team, with a better defense, a more reliable quarterback, and they make fewer mistakes than anyone. To top it off, Nick Saban is a better coach than his counterpart, and that is likely to show here in this game.
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I expect the Crimson Tide to win this game by stifling the Bulldogs with their defense, forcing them to make mistakes and turn the ball over.
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Alabama should cover the points.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday December, 1

Bruce Marshall
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Middle Tennessee vs. Arkansas State
Pick: Arkansas State
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Gus Malzahn has put himself in position to get hired away from Arkansas State with recent uptick that's seen his Red Wolves win and cover their last four in improessive fashion and sit on the cusp of another Sun Belt title.
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Gus Malzahn has put himself in position to get hired away from Arkansas State with recent uptick that's seen his Red Wolves win and cover their last four in improessive fashion and sit on the cusp of another Sun Belt title.  His Ark State side is runnign and passing with equal effectiveness while scorign 43 ppg the last four outings, and has scored a whopping 96 points over the last two seasons vs. Rick Stockstill's MTSU.  Prefer Ark State QB Ryan Aplin, and note that the Red Wolves are a solid 17-6 vs. the number in reg.-season play since last year.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday December, 1

Joe Gavazzi
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Pittsburgh -7.5FOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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These are a pair of teams that have straight-lined in opposite directions from the beginning of the season. As such, I offer a preference for the Super Surger vs. the Towel Tosser. At the beginning of the season, projections were for USF to use a veteran, speedy team to bounce back from a disappointing 5-7 SU season of last to garner Big East superiority and the BCS bid. Today, they enter this home finale on a 4-16 ATS slide, 1-9 ATS at home, and 3-8 SU, ATS for the season. Injuries have been partially to blame for their decline. Today they will start 3rd string QB Floyd to lead an offense that has scored just 32 total points the last 3 weeks since the injury to starting QB Daniels. The fact they have a -14 net turnover margin is a further indicator of their failure. Under 1st year HC Chryst, the Pitt season has progressed in a totally opposite way. They began the season with a 31-17 loss to Youngstown State and a 34-10 blowout at Cincinnati in which they allowed the Bearcats to run for more than 8.0 YPR. Since that time, they have righted the ship including a near upset of Notre Dame in a 29-26 OT loss at South Bend. QB Sunseri has led the offensive resurgence with an 18/0 ratio since the first two losses. And the defense, for the season, has allowed just 20 PPG, 345 yards and just 3.9 YPR. At 5-6 SU, they have the motivation of going to a Bowl game with this victory. And why not against a USF team they have defeated the last 4 seasons by scores of 44-17, 17-10, 41-14 and 26-21. Pitt qualifies for their 5th consecutive Bowl game.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday December, 1

Tony George
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Texas +11FOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Pressure mounting for K State and QB Collin Klein. Not as easy as this one looks, even off a bye week, I like Texas to pull out all the stops after a beatdown against TCU on Turkey Day. Big 12 Title and BCS Bowl Bid on the line for a good K State team, and this one is pressure packed and will be tighter than you think. The noose always gets tighter, as we have seen with all the dogs covering Thursday and Friday in NCAA football. Bill Snyder outcoaches Mack Brown down the stretch and gets a HUGE win for K State.

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SPORTS WAGERS
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TULSA -2½ -110 over Central Florida
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Two weeks ago, when these teams met in Tulsa, the Hurricane won by just two points but outgained the Knights by a whopping 226 yards and had a huge 26-14 edge in first downs. The Central Florida offense struggled in that one with just 66 yards on the ground and 235 total yards. That narrow but misleading Hurricane victory has them underpriced in this rematch. Had Tulsa not lost the turnover battle 2-0, they would’ve won by two TD’s instead of two points.
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Last week, the Knights allowed 599 yards to UAB in what coach George O'Leary called the worst defensive performance he has ever been associated with. That type of Jekyll-and-Hyde act has been exactly what's plagued the Knights throughout a not so dominant 9-3 campaign. One of those wins came against an (0-12) Southern Miss team in OT. Central Florida has a special-teams edge in this matchup but any other edge ends right there. The 4-0 sack differential enjoyed by the Hurricane in the last meeting was right in line with season-long trends. The host has enough of an advantage to make laying less than a field goal the prudent choice.
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NEVADA +8½ -105 over Boise State
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The 9-2 Boise State Broncos have an outstanding pedigree over the past decade or so and are currently ranked 20th in the nation. That’s laughable, as we can name at least 25 other teams that are vastly superior to these imposters. The Broncos have played perhaps the easiest schedule in the country with their opponents amassing a 25-69 record combined. Only the 6-5 BYU Cougars are over .500, who the Broncos beat 7-6 after winning the turnover battle 5-0.
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Clearly, this season has been one of transition for the Broncos after losing many key players from recent teams that have given the BCS a scare on a regular basis. However, their ranking and record does not reflect that and now we get an inflated price on the 7-4 Wolfpack, playing at home and with the superior QB. Nevada QB Cody Fajardo who, in the mold of former Nevada signal-caller Colin Kaepernick, can be a dual threat when the offense is operating at peak performance. The only concern here is that Nevada has already locked up a Bowl Game and will play for pride only. However, with a chance to knock off a top 20 club, we trust they’ll bring it in the season finale.  Even the Wolfpack’s worst game could get the cover and should they come in focused, they could easily win outright.   
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Wisconsin +3 +103 over Nebraska
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The respective W/L records of these two has this game wrongly priced and we’ll look to take advantage. Wisconsin is 7-5 but three of those losses have come in overtime and two by a field goal in regulation. Nebraska (10-2) has won just three of its five games away from Lincoln, all requiring second-half comebacks and none by more than six points. The Cornhuskers are still allowing an average of nearly 250 rushing yards per game away from home even after shutting down a pedestrian Iowa offense in bad weather conditions last week. This game is in neutral Indianapolis, but that's still a disadvantage for the Huskers, as Nebraska fans purchased barely half of the school's modest 15,000-ticket allotment.
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The Huskers will be missing their starting center and best interior defensive lineman, while Wisconsin's overall health is better than it has been in weeks and considerably better than it was when these two teams met in September. Aside from this year and it wasn’t pretty, Bo Pelini's Huskers have never lost fewer than four games, have never posted a winning record against the spread in conference play, have lost eight games as favorites (five as double-digit favorites) and have been blown out by at least three scores seven times. We simply do not trust this bunch, especially spotting points at unfavorable venue. Wisconsin outright.

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SPORTS WAGERS
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Memphis +6 -105 over SAN ANTONIO
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The Popgate scandal aside, the Spurs have nothing to prove and will treat this game like any other. They still return home from an exhausting trip to face one the NBA’s toughest teams.
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Not only are the Grizzlies 12-2 overall but they’ve won four straight on the road and haven’t lost  an away contest since the season’s opening game. They’re also the top defensive team in the league, allowing just 90 points per game. Based on that number alone, the Grizz are not getting the respect they deserve and we can confidently keep stepping in until they do.
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CLEVELAND -105 over Portland
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The Cavaliers 4-12 record has them grossly undervalued here against a Blazers team that looks to be in serious trouble. Cleveland has played just five of its 16 games at home. Most of their losses have come against some of the best talent in the NBA. Now the Cavs will play at home for only the third time since Nov 2 after beating the Hawks in Atlanta last night.
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After being the first team to lose to the then 0-12 Wizards, Portland had a players only meeting before its game in Boston last night.  It didn’t help.They fell behind 56-33 at the half and never stood a chance after that. Reports are that LeMarcus Aldridge, the team leader, sat silent at the meeting. It was their fourth loss in a row and they’re showing less interest in each passing game. There’s nothing in their game or body language that suggests a fire will get lit tonight against a team that plays hard every game and it’s about to pay off again.

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Tony Karpinski
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Florida State vs. Georgia Tech    
Play: Florida State
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At Florida State, they play for championships. They have been doing that for a long time. FSU had 5 turnovers last week and just played poorly the entire game. FSU will let Tech have their little plays, after the FSU offense has made their quick, big ones against a defense formerly known as the Al Groh Clown Show, and still has the make-up and costumes. Florida State by 30 here on Saturday night!

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Charlie Sports

Utah Jazz+ at Houston Rockets
Play: Utah Jazz

The (9-8) Utah Jazz of the NBA Western Conference Northwest division will take on the (7-8) Houston Rockets of the Western Conference Southwest division in 2012 NBA action. Utah beat Houston 102-91 earlier this season at home. The Jazz have also covered 4 of the last 5 Against The Spread vs. The Rockets. The under has come in the last 4 meetings between the teams. The Rockets have also won 3 of their last 4 straight up and ATS. Utah gets the road cover.

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Northcoast Sports

Texas +12

Since ‘99 the dog is a perfect 7-0 ATS with 6 outright upsets (5 by KSU). LY UT (-8) was out to avenge a 39-14 spanking on the road at KSU the previous yr. In that game, UT had finished with a 412-290 yd edge but trailed 24-0 at the half and got a garbage td with :31 left. LY KSU QB Klein was sk’d 5 times and hit just 9-17 passes. Just before the half KSU would get a td to lead 10-3. After an int KSU drove 37 yds for a td. UT settled for a 26 yd FG and ended up losing 17-13 despite the large stat edges (310-121 yd, 15-9 FD). Even though they won, KSU HC Snyder said after the game about the UT D, “they just beat the tar out of us.” Texas is just 2-6 SU in the series with their largest wins by 4 and 3 pts and their avg loss by 18.5 ppg!!! The Horns (-7) lost to TCU 20-13 on Thanksgiving as UT finished with a 22-15 FD edge but TO’s doomed them as QB Ash had 3 incl int’s at the TCU1 and 6 and a fmbl which set up a 16 yd Frog td drive. McCoy (11-17-119-0-1) played in both halves and led a 4Q td drive after Ash (ribs) left the gm for good. All 7 of Ash’s int’s TY have come in the opp’s RZ (223, 68%, 17-7). KSU had the bye to get over their bubble bursting loss to Baylor which likely cost them a chance at the national title. The Cats can clinch their 1st B12 title s/’03 with a win here and keep QB Klein (210, 67%, 14-6, 787 rush, 20 td) in the Heisman hunt. The Cats have been outgained by their L/4 opp by 68 ypg but the FBS’s best TO margin (+21) kept the win streak alive until Baylor where they had a negative TO margin (-1) for just the 2nd time TY. Snyder is off of a SU loss (23-13 ATS) with extra time to game plan during the bye, but the dog rules this series. With that in mind, we’ll go with a Longhorns team that is sticking with McCoy which will settle their offense down and accept the generous points here.

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Andrew Lange
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Alabama at Cincinnati
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Toughest challenge of the season for Alabama's youthful lineup as they head up north to face a very experience and talented Cincinnati squad. The Crimson Tide are a perfect 6-0 with decent wins over South Dakota State, Oregon State and Villanova. But those were at home and on neutral courts. It will be very tough for a rotation that features 4 sophomores, 2 freshmen, and 2 juniors to go on the road to a hostile environment and hang for a full 40 minutes. Especially considering the Crimson Tide are notorious for their outside shooting struggles – you have to knock down threes in this type of underdog role. Cincinnati returns from a strong showing in Las Vegas with wins over Iowa State and Oregon. The Bearcats do at times live and die with the three but they have hit 40% thus far and will be in the comforts of home this afternoon. Defensively is where the Bearcats have looked the part. They held the Cyclones and Ducks to 0.93 points per possession and 43% and 39% effective FG percentage respectively. Defensively, I see both squads as even, but offensively, the Bearcats just have too many weapons and when you add in home court, Cinci is sitting on a double-digit win.

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Wunderdog

Texas A&M at Houston
Pick: Texas A&M -3

Texas A&M will bring a three-game winning streak with them to Houston, who suffered their first setback their last time on the floor. It was not a good one either as they were beaten by Prairie View A&M. The Cougars like to get out and run the floor or spread their opponent out on the offensive end, but they don't do a good job on the other end of the floor and it caught up with them against Prairie View. A&M has lost just once as well, and has had a much more difficult road to 5-1 than Houston. The Aggies have a lot more discipline and will be the best team the Cougars have faced all season. A&M plays both ends, and that will be the difference here. The Cougars have not been strong off a loss at 4-10 ATS in their last 14 when following a setback. A&M delivers the knockout punch often as a road team vs. a team with a winning home record at an impressive 47-22 ATS in their last 69. Texas A&M gets the call.

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