Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, September 21

Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, September 21

Justin Bay

Maine vs. Northwestern    
Play: Maine +28

Maine is coming into this game a perfect 3-0 on the season. Their duel threat QB, Marcus Wasilewski has been pretty much unstoppable this year through the air and ground. This matchup against the Wildcats will be the first challenge of the year, but I think Northwestern will have some trouble dealing with Wasilewski. Maine should be able to run the clock for most of the game which will keep the ball out of Northwestern's potent offense.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, September 21

DB Consensus

Marshall at Virginia Tech
Pick: Marshall

The (2-1) Marshall Thundering Herd travel to Blacksburg to take on (2-1) Virginia Tech. The Hokies had better be ready to play for the early (9am) kickoff because this Marshall team can put up points! Marshall was the 7th highest scoring team in the nation last year, scoring 40.9ppg. Through three games in 2013, they are at 46ppg, good for 11th in the country. Marshall features great balance on offense, rushing for 214ypg and throwing for 312. Virginia Tech meanwhile has struggled on offense only scoring 23ppg. The opener against Alabama aside, last week's showing @ECU scoring 15 points was pathetic. The Hokies rushed 34 times for only 53 yards against a defense not known for stuffing the run. "Pro prospect" Logan Thomas is horribly inaccurate, a career 50% passer. We like Marshall to cover the ten, and possibly win outright if V.Tech isn't ready to play.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, September 21

Bruce Marshall

Mid Tennessee State at Florida Atlantic
Pick: Florida Atlantic

CUSA sources suggesting a connection between Nebraska’s defensive downturn and departure of Bo Pelini’s brother Carl, whose defensive expertise has helped make his FAU (11-2 last 13 vs. line!) an Alabama-like pointspread force. And now that juco QB Johnson more comfy at controls, Owls worth a look in preferred dog role vs. MTSU bunch thinned on DL (forcing 3-4 looks) and laboring on “O” (QB Kilgore only 2 TDP & 4 picks in first three).

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, September 21

Paul Desmond

Cincinnati vs. Miami Ohio
Play: Cincinnati -23

Cinncy owns a top 25 "O" + "D" and going against a Miami OH team that is last in total "O" +"D" at 125th in the country. The favorite in this series is 7-1 ATS last 8 meetings. No brainer here as this is best blowout candidate!!! Cincinnati has beaten Mia OH 7 str8 years with the average score 39-10. And they have a bye next week. Tuberville covered all 3 road games vs non BCS qualifiers while at Texas Tech by an average score of 57-13. Showing us what we need when trying to cover as a road favorite..


San Francisco Giants vs. New York Yankees
Play: New York Yankees

And the Race begins. The Yanks have won 17 of their last 23 home games and sit 2 games back of the final wildcard position. Let’s go Yanks make the Walrus a fortune teller and get that final Wild CARD spot! Vogel has allowed 15 ER’s in his last 21 IP. The Giants are 1-3 in those 4 games. Nova has allowed 11 ER’s his last 3 , so what We are Yankee fans this week [NYY]

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, September 21

Charlie Scott

San Jose State vs. Minnesota
Play: San Jose State +4   

Play San Jose St early as it has an early start time plus wiseguys, sharps, and services are playing San Jose St Today and this line will probably go down. In handicapping this game San Jose St has a huge edge in the QB matchup and passing game. Throw in Minnesota's defense struggled vs Unlv's offense in week #1, they will probably struggle vs San Jose St offense and 1 of the top ranked QB's in NCAAF. Throw in San Jose St had last week off and has had 2 weeks off to prepare for Today, Throw in the Bet Against Bad Teams as Favorites theory and it's a PLAY ON SAN JOSE ST !

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, September 21

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DUKE +4 over PittsburghFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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It's common for teams that make a bowl for the first time in many years to come out the following spring intent on proving that the special season wasn't a one-time offer. Duke fits that profile this year and is a tight group that has prepared for the season as though there is indeed something more to prove. The Blue Devils lost quarterback Anthony Boone, but new QB Brandon Connette is an experienced multi-position athlete and established team leader.
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Pitt has cause for optimism in that three of the team's best players were unknown quantities a few weeks ago. True freshmen Tyler Boyd and James Conner have been weapons at the receiver and running back positions, while linebacker Todd Thomas, who quit the team briefly in camp, has performed daily like a star and leader since he returned. However, the Panthers have been torched for 68 points by Florida St and New Mexico and both those games were at home. Pitt has lots of young players making their first road trip under one of the league's weakest staffs. A Week 2 open date also means that this is the first time the Panthers have had a regular game week routine. Duke will persevere defensively and the offense will move the chains running downhill on a Pitt front seven built more for speed than for the power stylings of Connette and lead back Jela Duncan. The better team is getting points at home.
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San Jose State +160 over MINNESOTAFREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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The Golden Gophers are 3-0 after defeating UNLV, New Mexico State and Western Illinois. Of all the power-conference schools, the Gophers have had the easiest schedule of the bunch. Of the 120 FBS schools, you would be hard-pressed to find a handful of them that have played an easier schedule than Minnesota. New Mexico State, a team that has won just 10 of its last 50 games and hasn’t appeared in a Bowl game in 53 years, actually held the edge in time of possession against Minnesota and had just as many first downs. The Gophers 44-21 victory over NMSU was one of this year’s most misleading scores. Another misleading score was the Gophers 51-23 win over UNLV in the season opener. The Rebels, who lost 58-13 to Arizona in Week 2, had more first downs than the Gophers and also outgained them, 419-320. Against three cupcake defenses, the Gophers passing attack ranks 118 out of 120 programs. This is the worst Gopher team in a long time and although the Spartans of San Jose State are not well-known, they are a gritty club with talent.
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The Spartans are coming off a bye week after their 34-13 loss against #5 Stanford in Week 2. Against Stanford’s outstanding defense, SJSU recorded 22 first downs while surrendering 25. They competed for the first half before being put away by one the best teams in college football. After facing both the offense and defense of the Cardinal, facing the Gophers will appear in slow motion for the Spartans. One of the top quarterbacks in the country with little fanfare, SJSU QB David Fales led the WAC and was third nationally in 2012 with a 170.76 rating, as he completed 72.5 percent of his passes, for 4,193 yards and 33 touchdowns. With two weeks to prepare for this one after a morale lifting experience against Stanford, these Spartans figure to come out completely jacked up and ready to expose the Gophers for what they really are. We get the better team and the vastly superior QB against a one-dimensional offense that will pass the ball maybe 12 times, even if their down by 21. We also get a sweet price tag on the better squad.
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NOTRE DAME -4½ over Michigan St.FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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This is a big rivalry game in which nine of the past 13 meetings between these teams have been decided by single digits and that has many folks backing the dog. We say, how does a game from 6, 7, 8 or 13 years ago affect the outcome of this one? It doesn’t, that’s how and anyone that uses betting “trends” as their criteria for handicapping is being fooled into thinking it matters when it does not. Over time, over thousands and thousands of games, some things will stick out more than others, such as the close games in this series. But to think that a 44-41 score from 2005 or a 40-37 score from 2006 will impact this game is utterly ridiculous. Truth is, the Spartans are getting way too much credit here. MSU has played three games so far and they’ve racked up a 3-0 record with some nice defensive rankings to go along with it but defense isn’t its problem. In Michigan’s State opener they were a 27½ point favorite over Western Michigan and didn’t even score that many. As a 21½-point choice in Week 2 against South Florida, the Spartans scored 21 points. Last week, MSU exploded for 55 points but that came against the Youngstown St. Penguins. Aside from last week against a team that plays no defense, MSU had nothing but misery in their attempts to move the chains against South Florida and W. Michigan. Don’t ignore that. MSU quarterback Connor Cook will be making his first career road start in South Bend, where the Irish have won nine straight home games, their longest streak since 1997-1999.
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So, while the Spartans were playing three marshmallows, the Irish played Temple, Michigan and Purdue. Incidentally, the Wolverines might have the best set of tackles in the nation and may also be the best team in the Big 10. Last week, the Irish were in a flat spot against Purdue and found themselves down 17-10 into the fourth quarter before they scored three touchdowns in a span of 3:30 to make it 31-17. Quarterback Tommy Rees has thrown for more than 300 yards in all three games this year. Brian Kelly's fourth edition of the Irish is a top-five caliber team worthy of investment. The Irish possess a vicious front seven and a head coach with a solid track record as a favorite. Notre Dame is just 2-1, having already played Michigan and getting a scare last week against Purdue. Those two games have the Irish undervalued here but again, last week’s game against the Boilermakers was sandwiched between Michigan and this one.  This isn’t a small step up in class for the Spartans, it’s a huge step up in class for them and one they are just not good enough offensively to compete in for a full 60 minutes.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, September 21

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Montreal +8 over HamiltonFREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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The first thing to note about this game is that it’s a neutral site contest that will be played in Moncton, New Brunswick and spotting significant points in unfamiliar surroundings cannot come recommended here. Spotting significant points with the Tiger-Cats is also too risky because Hamilton is just too erratic to trust as a big favorite. The Tiger Cats have had a rough schedule the entire year and it’s starting to take a toll. They have not been home in consecutive weeks since July 7 and 13, meaning this is the 8th straight week in which they’ve had to travel with the last four road games all being on the West Coast. This week the Tiger-Cats have to travel 950 miles (1530 km) to New Brunswick after playing in Calgary last week. They had that game all but wrapped up last week but they allowed the Stamps a big fourth quarter and a late TD en route to a 26-22 loss. Hamilton has now dropped two of three and Henry Burris has made some poor decisions over those three games and he’s not getting the protection he needs to make good decisions.
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Montreal has QB issues and that’s why they’re being offered so many points here. The Als have also lost two straight, including last week’s blowout loss in British Columbia. Montreal is giving Josh Neiswander another chance to prove himself. The sophomore quarterback turned in a decent performance coming off the bench in last weekend’s 36-14 loss to the B.C. Lions. Neiswander finished 14-of-23 passing for 153 yards with two TDs and two interceptions. We’re not asking Neiswander to have a big game here, as that would be unreasonable. However, Hamilton’s defense isn’t exactly the cream of the crop and Neiswander has proven that he can make plays. Montreal can also turn to its running game with Jerome Messam, who is dangerous and has played well at points since his return. The real key here is that Montreal’s defense is a very capable stop unit, who are in the top 2 in the league in several key categories. Let’s also not forget that prior to losing its last two, Montreal won back-to-back games over B.C. and Toronto and out-gained that pair by a combined 334 yards. The Als can win this one outright but the eight points being offered gives us plenty of security to step in with confidence.
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B.C. Lions +5½ over SASKATCHEWANSERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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This one goes on Sunday. As back-to-back 9-point favorites over the Argos and Bombers the past two weeks, Saskatchewan not only failed to cover, they lost outright and now they’re giving away just 3½-points less to the best team out of that bunch. The reason the Riders are favored by 5½ is because B.C’s QB, Travis Lulay is out for a couple of weeks and we say bring it on. Lulay getting injured may turn out to a blessing in disguise. Lulay has been nothing but ordinary the entire season but his replacement this week, Thomas DeMarco (not Buck Pierce) is anything but ordinary. For the first time this year, the B.C. Lions offense looked like a well-oiled machine under Thomas. Thomas came in and played a near-flawless stretch by reading and beating blitzes, running for a first down, throwing a TD pass to Marco Iannuzzi, and just generally settling the nerves of Lions’ fans who had feared the worst when Lulay went down. In the Lions locker room after the game, Thomas received one of the game balls and the players responded by chanting “Tommy”. This is one of those moments that can change the course of a season, as every teammate is pulling for DeMarco and that’s huge. B.C. is coming off a 36-14 win over the Alouettes and they figure to carry that momentum into this game and even dig down deeper in support of DeMarco’s first start.
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Meanwhile, the Riders have suddenly turned into a mess. They’ve been regressing for seven weeks and now the loss of Kory Sheets hurts the Riders more than the loss of Travis Lulay hurts the Lions. From a bevy of bad decisions made by QB Darian Durant, who has a history of going off the rails, to numerous turnovers and penalties, to the issue of three players, including two high-profile stars, who have been charged with aggravated assault following an incident in Regina last month, Saskatchewan is coming apart at the seams. About this time every year, the truth about every team in the CFL gets exposed and right now the Riders are a team to avoid, especially when being asked to win by a margin. Frame of mind, momentum and current form all heavily favor the visitor and that’s the way we’re going to play it.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, September 21

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Curtis Woodhouse +175 over Derry Matthews
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This is a real interesting fight and one that should be a lot of fun. It seems every fight Derry Matthews is in, is a dust up. For someone with right losses and seven by stoppage, Matthews has shown he is still a worthy fighter. Matthews looked to be at the end of the road in 2009, when as a scrawny featherweight, was stopped three consecutive times and four times in five bouts. But he has fought through the disappointments and chalked up some excellent wins since moving up two weight divisions. He’s long and can box and punch. His punch resistance can be questioned but his heart and fighting spirit cannot.
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Curtis Woodhouse is a former soccer player that has carved out a reasonably successful career as a boxer. Besides a stoppage loss to heavy hitting Dale Miles, no one has ever dominated Woodhouse. And that includes superb prospect Frankie Gavin who barely escaped with a split decision win. In fact, besides Miles, all Woodhouse’s losses have been by a single point or split decision. Woodhouse is a good athlete that has worked hard on his craft.
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Matthews scored a great one punch KO in his last fight over Tommy Coyle but was getting touched quite a bit and mostly has grueling wars in his bouts. Woodhouse is a decent puncher and could certainly hurt Matthews if he caught him. Matthews has more experience and is the more “natural” fighter but Woodhouse is the bigger man, having fought as a welterweight and his ability is improving, as he has amassed some solid pro experience. In a dustup we can see Woodhouse as the stronger man with the better chin. Expect a ferocious fight but look for Woodhouse’s size and Matthews’ vulnerability to play out in a Woodhouse upset, probably by stoppage.
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Jones/Gustafsson Under 2½
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Jon “Bones” Jones is undefeated aside from a ridiculous disqualification loss for an illegal elbow(s) on his almost dead opponent, Matt Hamill, back in 2009. That was a real travesty and heartbreaker, not only for Mr. Jones but for his backers as well. The fight was stopped, and everybody assumed that Jones won via TKO but then came a strange and eerie delay before the unthinkable happened. Jones is 26-yrs-old, he’s 6’4” with a huge, 84½-inch reach and is considered by most to be the top pound-for-pound fighter on the planet. He can do it all and has a real killer instinct so you can be sure that he isn’t going to be playing games and/or wanting this fight to go to the judge’s scorecards. Everybody learned a lesson from watching Anderson Silva fool around in there a few weeks back and you can bet your bottom dollar that Jon will never make that mistake. He’s a huge favorite in this one, hovering in the neighbourhood of 10-1, a price that is so rare in a main event.
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Obviously, the odds makers don’t see this as being a competitive fight. Jones’ opponent is the 26-yr.-old Swede, Alexander “The Mauler” Gustafsson. He is no slouch but appears to be outclassed and overmatched here. He’s coming off an 8-month layoff due to injury and the last thing one would hope for in such a situation/circumstance would be to get thrown into the proverbial lion’s den with Jones. Alexander will be giving away eight inches in reach and has never been in the Octagon with a striker such as the one he’ll be facing on Saturday night. Since being in the UFC, Gustafsson has only fought a single top 10-rated fighter and was quickly submitted in the first round by Phil Davis when he did. Anything less here would be a surprise. Jones is intent on breaking the UFC record for most consecutive title defenses, meaning he’s hungry and he’s extra focused. 2½ rounds is an eternity to be in the ring with Jones and he figures to come at Gustafsson as soon as the opening bell goes off and there’s not a thing the Swede is going to be able to do about it.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, September 21

Craig Davis

Free play of the day on the Tennessee Vols plus the big number against the Florida Gators.

We live in a very short-memoried society (is that a word?)... meaning we pay way too much attention to the prior week's happenings and bet accordingly.

After jumping out to an early 7-0 lead, the Vols got completely slapped in the face by the Oregon Ducks last week and looked completely lost.

Oregon had their way with the Vols in every capacity from the second quarter on and now bettors are jumping all over the Florida Gators.

Granted, Florida has won eight in a row against Tennessee, the longest streak in the series since the early 1900s. Not even the great Peyton Manning could figure out how to beat the Gators.

But these days are different. I haven't been impressed with Florida, including an early season win over Toledo and especially in their loss to Miami.

Tennessee's experienced offensive line will allow them to run the football as they want to do... as long as the Gators don't jump out to a huge lead like Oregon did last week.

Tennessee's biggest problem this year has been their nine turnovers... which I don't believe they'll suffer from today as long as they don't have to put the ball in the air a ton.

Expect a low-scoring grudge match, decided in the final minutes of the game. I think 17 is too many and that's why I'm giving you the Vols as your free play of the day.

3♦ TENNESSEE

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, September 21

Brad Wilton

Saturday free play will be to lay the points with the Georgia Bulldogs as they play the Mean Green from North Texas.

Fact: UGa is 0-4 their last 4 when laying 20 points or more dating back to last season.

Fact: North Texas is on a 4-1 spread run when installed as an underdog of 20 points or more since the 2011 season.

Bottom Line: I don't give a flying continental y'all, as this one is a sucker play plain-and-simple. The linesmakers are tempting you to side with the Mean Green and all of those points, but my feeling is that the Bulldogs will welcome this "soft" spot in their schedule which has already featured heavy hitters in Clemson and South Carolina, and will heat up again with a visit from LSU next Saturday between the hedges.

I do not think the Dawgs are going to take it easy or let up in this spot once they get the ball rolling, and make no mistake, they will get the ball rolling against a North Texas team that may have celebrated just a little too much in their comeback win last week at home against Ball State.

I am going to lay it with Georgia and laugh all the way to the bank.

2♦ GEORGIA

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, September 21

Brett Atkins

I like the Stanford Cardinal laying the points to the Arizona State Sun Devils, who won a controversial decision last Saturday against Wisconsin, 32-30.

Stanford comes in after knocking off San Jose State and winning at Army in its first two games, so while I admit this conference-opener is going to be the Cardinal's first real test, I don't think the Devils will be able to contend with what Stanford has to offer.

ASU, which opened the season with a 55-0 blitz of Sacramento State, escaped last week's contest with the Badgers when they drove to Arizona State's 13-yard line with 18 seconds left and confusion began over a misconstrued fumble.

Without getting into a tumbleweed of detail, make note the Pac-12 Conference reprimanded the officials from last Saturday night's game, and now the Devils are headed to Palo Alto to play a team that has won this meeting the past two seasons.

And lest we forget, Stanford won the Pac-12 Conference and the Rose Bowl last season. And by the looks of things, the Cardinal is well on its way to defending that title and potentially another trip to Pasadena, if not the BCS title game.

Running back Tyler Gaffney has run for 104 and 132 yards in the first two games of the season, while quarterback Kevin Hogan has completed 62 percent of his passes for 395 yards, five touchdowns and one interception. This is a deadly combination for the Cardinal, and I think the home crowd will have them fired up.

The favorite in this showdown is on a 4-0-1 run in the series, while the Sun Devils have failed to grab the cash in 5 of their last 6 at Palo Alto.

3♦ STANFORD

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, September 21

Chris Jordan

Yes, I am being a homer for Saturday's college football card, as my free play is on the UNLV Rebels minus the points against Western Illinois. It's the very last game on the card, off the added board, and make note - if your book does not have a line on the game, tell him or it to get with it, or move on to another one.

After watching the Rebels finish with the 98th-ranked defense overall, I have to say I'm pleased to see their stop unit improved to 66th in the nation after waking up in time to defeat Central Michigan last week, with a 31-0 run after falling behind 21-0 at the 7:02 mark of the second quarter.

The defense has arguably been the lone thing coach Bobby Hauck has been able to count on, as his stop unit stymied the Chippewas after they scored on three of their first five possessions to take a three-touchdown lead on the Rebels. CMU punted on its last possession of the first half, and then saw its second-half possession go as follows: punt, punt, punt, interception, interception and turnover on downs.

Next up are the Western Illinois Leathernecks, who are 2-1 on the season after trouncing Hampton and Quincy, then losing at Minnesota, the same place the Rebels lost their season-opener.

But with a newfound momentum swing, and quarterback Caleb Herring likely getting a majority of the snaps against the Leathernecks, I like what I've seen from reports out of Las Vegas, about the Rebels' practices this week.

For the record, Herring made a statement by completing 24 of 28 passes for 266 yards and a career-high three touchdowns. His completion percentage of 85.7 broke a school record (80.8) set by Randall Cunningham in 1984 against Idaho State. Herring's effort earned him Mountain West offensive player of the week honors.

Look for a balanced effort by UNLV, as it will shine against Western Illinois to match last season's win total, in time for its second road game, next week at New Mexico.

2♦ UNLV

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, September 21

Jeff Benton

Your Saturday freebie comes in ACC action, as I side with Georgia Tech as the home favorite over the visiting North Carolina Tar Heels.

Yes, UNC has had a bye week, but I think Tech is the real-deal this season. Defensive coordinator Ted Roof has the Yellow Jackets defense buzzing - no pun intended - and the Tech offense has been humming under Vad Lee who has passed for 6 touchdowns already.

Last season the Yellow Jackets were a 68-50 road dog winner in Chapel Hill, as G-Tech ran their win and cover streak in this series to 4-0 the past 4 seasons.
Georgia Tech is on an 11-5 spread run since last season, while North Carolina is just 1-5-1 against the spread their last 7 when catching points.

Nothing changes in Atlanta today.

Wramblin' Wreck to make it 5 in a row both SU & ATS in this series.

2* GEORGIA TECH


Your Saturday freebie is the Marshall Thundering Herd plus the points as they pay a visit to Blacksburg for a game against the Virginia Tech Hokies.

Marshall was caught looking ahead last week when they lost a 34-31 contest at Ohio in the role of road favorite. In their preferred role of road underdog (3-1 against the spread as the visiting dog last year), I look for the Herd to be there against a Hokies team that has been a money-burner with just 8 covers in their last 30 lined games. That includes a spread loss just last Saturday in their war at East Carolina. The Gobblers were very lucky to leave Greenville with the outright in that one!

Tech signal-caller Logan Thomas continues to underachieve, and then their is the matter of their place-kicker Cody Journell missing multiple field goals in their escape-job at ECU last Saturday. Combine that with Marshall QB's Rakeem Cato's playmaking abilities, and I think taking the points will work with the Herd in the "live dog" role.

3* MARSHALL

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, September 21

Dave Essler

Arkansas / Rutgers Under 44

There are two premises here. First of all, Arkansas simply can't score with this "new" offense. They've put up 30 +/- points in each game, but against exactly whom. Nobody. We know Rutgers can play defense, but we also know Arkansas has a date w/Texas A & M next week, so this is almost an inconvenience to them, IMO. Obviously, for Rutgers to have a chance to beat an SEC team IS a big deal, but they can't score either, and are seriously smaller on both lines. That's really all there is too this, and I really wanted to take Rutgers as well, but with the fishy line and injuries, simply see this as the best play on the board from a totals standpoint. At 44 in a CFB game they're almost begging for people to take the over based on the old perception of Arkansas, but I'm not buying it at all. This should be a 17-16 type game.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, September 21

Jeff Scott Sports

4 UNIT PLAY

Kansas/ Louisiana Tech Under 51: This is not the same La Tech offense as last years group, as they come in averaging 349.7 ypg and 18.7 ppg on the year, which is 220 ypg and 33 ppg worse than they put up last year. That's a big drop, but it makes sense as they did go through a coaching change and on have 3 starters back from last year's group. Today it doesn't figure to get much better for them vs a Kansas team that has played very good defsne in the early going, allowing just 328 ypg and 18.5 ppg on the year. their pass defense has been really good, allowing just 122 ypg so far, and that could have La Tech looking to run a bit more in this one. They are balanced as far as running and passing with 34 running plays and 34 passing plays a game, but they may have to run a little more in this one. Kansas is primarily a running team with 42 rushes per game, compared to 24 pass a game so they will have a lot of clock eating drives. The La Tech defense is bad at 422 ypg and 26 ppg allowed, but that is still 123 ypg and 12 ppg less than they allowed last year and Kansas is not the kind of offense that can really take advantage. I really look for this game to be played in the 30's, as both offenses are struggling and both defense are solid enough to get the job done here. Key Trend: The UNDER is 10-1 when Kansas is off a spread loss.

3 UNIT PLAYS

UL Lafayette -6 over AKRON: The Zips nearly shocked the CFB world last week, coming with in a few yards of upsetting the Wolverines at the "Big House". Now they are in a tough letdown spot as they let it all on the field last week and may have nothing left for this one. The Ragin Cajuns started the year at 0-2 , but those were games at an improved SEC squad in Arkansas and at a Kansas State squad that was embarrassed at home the week before by an FCS squad. Both teams have played an FCS foe this year and Louisiana had a far better time of it as the Ragin Cajuns beat Nicholls state 70-7 and outgained them by 315 yards, while the Zips beat James Madison by just 2 points and were outgained by 142 yards in the game. Last week was just a case of Michigan looking past this team after their huge win over Notre Dame. Last weeks game vs Michigan should also give Louisiana some motivation and they would lover to get a nice easy win over a team that nearly upset Michigan on the road. Louisiana does have their Sun Belt opener on deck, but there is a bye week in between, so they should be fully focused for this one. This game should be rated a bit higher, but the lack of line movement in an obvious spot to take Louisiana has kept this play as a 3 Unit play. I expect a double digit win by the Cajuns in this one.

WISCONSIN -22 over Purdue: This is an angry bunch of Badgers after they had victory snatched away from them by a blunder by the officials. I feel bad for the Boilers in this one. Wisconsin is 7-0 ATS the last 7 in this series, including 3-0 ATS the last 3 here, while winning the last 2 here by 37 and 45 points. Last year in Purdue the Badgers won by 24 and outgained the Boilers by 393 yards in the game. The Wisconsin offenses has been awesome so far putting up 123 points in their 3 games, and while the Defense allowed 32 points last week to ASU, let us note that this Purdue offense is nothing like the Badgers faced last week as the Boilers are 118th in total offense.  The Badgers are a team that like to wear you down and that is not good news for a smallish Purdue defense that has been outscored by 70-24 in the 2nd half this year. Badgers pull away for the 28+ point win in the second half.

2 UNIT PLAYS

BAYLOR -30.5 over UL Monroe: Monroe lost by 34 points at Oklahoma in its season opener and the Bears have far more blowout power than the Sooners do. The Bears are on an 11-1 ATS run at home and have an offense that has been unstoppable in the early going so far, averaging 763.5 ypg and 69.5 ppg. The Bears also remember last year, in which they nearly lost to the Warhawks beating them by just 7. The Bears are off a bye and have a bye on deck so they will be fully focused for this one and should win the game by at least 35 points.

Western Michigan/ Iowa Under 47:  Gotta feel that this will be a sloppy game with more FG's than TDs. Neither offense is really explosive as both teams like the ball control game. Iowa love to pound the ball and they run the ball 53.7 times a game, and they will look to run here vs a WMU team that allows 245 ypg on the ground and 5.3 ypc. That should chew up allot of clock. On the other side we have a WMU team that averages just 4.4 yards per play, going up against an Iowa defense that has allowed just 318 ypg on the year on 4.8 ypp. This game will feature a lot of dinking and dunking and running and punting and... you get the picture. No more than 40 in this one.

1 UNIT PLAYS

Troy/ Mississippi State Over 60: This one should be fun. The Troy Trojans can score points in bunches, but their defense is very weak, meaning they will also give up points in bunches. MSU has had some problems on offense vs FBS teams, but that should be corrected vs this defense. Look for about 65 points in this one. 

Marshall/ Va Tech Under 49: Going to be plenty of low scoring games in Blacksburg this year as the Hokies have a stout defense, but their offense is poor. Marshall can score, but not vs this defense, while their own defense has played very well this year so far, allowing just 252.7 ypg and 16 ppg. Look for this one to possibly be played in the 30's

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, September 21

Nick Parsons

Miami vs. Washington
Pick: Washington

With its season on the brink and off a big win yesterday, I look for the home side to keep things rolling vs. the lowly Marlins tonight.

Tom Koehler (3-10, 4.51 ERA)

Koehler is a bit unfortunate to get saddled with a no-decision vs. the Mets on Sunday, allowing just three hits and walking none while striking out five in his team's eventual 1-0 setback.

Koehler for the most part has been a disaster this season though and is a poor 2-5 with a pedestrian 4.32 ERA on the road.

Stephen Strasburg (7-9, 2.96 ERA)

Strasburg returns to the rotation after being skipped over a couple times due to stiffness in his throwing arm.

Strasburg has had an up-and-down season. He's just 2-2 with a 7.56 ERA in his last six starts vs. the Fish, after going 4-1 with a 1.56 ERA in his first seven.

Note though that Strasburg has been a "different" pitcher in front of the home town crowd all year, just 5-4 but with a spectacular 1.55 ERA.

The Bottom Line

With just eight games to go, the Nats trail the Reds and Pirates by five games.

Washington has been pushing to the end though, having won 12 of its last 14.

Conversely, Miami is limping to the finish line, loser of 12 of its last 15.

The talent discrepancy on the bump, coupled with a clear mismatch at the plate, along with the massive motivational factors stacked in the home side's favor, makes giving up the 1.5 runs and laying the mid-sized price something we can live with in this matchup.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, September 21

Doug Upstone

Giants vs.Yankees
Play: Over 9

These two teams haven't lit the scoreboard up this year, but this pitching matchup may present an opportunity to do just that. Vogelsong has been struggling, and Ivan Nova is very inconsistent. Take the over 8.5 Sunday afternoon in the Bronx.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, September 21

Big Kat Sports

Auburn +17

The LSU Tigers will put their record 28 game September winning streak on the line when they take on the Auburn Tigers tonight at Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge. LSU has hammered many teams in their usual soft September schedule but they struggled with Auburn last year, only winning by a score of 12-10 and we expect more of the same tonight. First year Head Coach Gus Malzahn has retuned to the Auburn sideline and has brought with him his usual potent offense but it’s the Tiger defense that has us intrigued this evening. They have recently held their opponents scoreless across 30 straight possessions and have athletes that can keep up with the LSU offense. They have actually had recruiting classes rated above LSU’s in the past two seasons and they finally looked like they were putting it all together in last week’s win over Mississippi St. They may not be able to get this one outright on the road, but 17 points seems a bit much to be giving an Auburn team that may be better than we all thought coming into the season.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, September 21

Brad Diamond

Pittsburgh at Duke
Play: Pittsburgh

Early Saturday afternoon the resurgent Panthers visit Duke in what should be a special football game. Pittsburgh continues on the up-tick after smashing New Mexico 49-27 last week. Pitt amassed over 500 total yards of offense in an easy home win. In addition, the Pitt D held NM to just 57 yards on the ground. In order to beat the Panthers this year and their bulky defense, a sufficient running game will be needed. Duke was at home last week as an 8-9 point underdog to the Rambling Wreck last week, and of course, GT wrecked the Blue Devils 38-14 punishing the rush defense with 344 yards. Overall, we note this week the difference at the line of scrimmage favoring Pitt and the fact, Duke needed to make a QB change because of an injury LW. The questions that need to be answered here are, Will Pitt come in flat after their BLOWOUT win? Will the Blue Devils respond favorably enough on offense to at least grab the cash? First off, this is a bigger game for the Blue Devils as Pitt has important fish to fry down the road. However, it is our inclination to go with the larger more talented and deep Pitt unit. From the technical perspective the Dukeees have dropped 5 straight ATS in conference and show at 1-7 ATS on grass. Further, Duke has zero based zing with their 0-6 ATS run as a DOG. Pitt comes in with enough emotion and a fantastic 13-4 ATS run against >.500 teams, while holding a nice 4-1-1 ATS run off an ATS win.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, September 21

Cajun Sports

Wyoming vs. Air Force
Play: Wyoming -4.5

This game takes place in Colorado Springs on Saturday night with kick off set for 10:15PM Eastern Time. These two teams appear headed in opposite directions with the Cowboys off two huge blowout victories while the Flyboys are off two blowouts as well but they were on the wrong end of said blowouts. The Cowboys are playing with legitimate revenge with the ending of last season's contest sending one coach home with a one-game suspension. Cowboys head coach Christensen expressed his displeasure with AF head coach Calhoun yelling at him following the 28 to 27 loss which was enough to get him that one-game suspension so to say there is bad blood here could be a huge understatement. Weather was somewhat of an equalizer last week in the meeting between Air Force and Boise State as the game should have been much worse for a Falcons team that cannot stop the pass with only one sack on the season teams are having no trouble at all lighting them up. We want to play against CFB teams who allowed their previous opponent to score more than thirty-six points and their current opponent is coming off back-to-back contests where their margin was twenty-seven or better as long as they are not favored today by more than 35 points. These play against teams are struggling and when they face a team playing with momentum they have produced a record of 40-101-1 ATS. This system fits the Flyboys perfectly as they get steamrolled by a very motivated Cowboys team on Saturday night. Lay the points!

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