Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, September 26

Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, September 26

DUNKEL INDEX

NFL

San Francisco at St. Louis
The 49ers look to snap their two-game losing skid and take advantage of a St. Louis team that is 1-5 ATS in its last 6 home games. San Francisco is the pick (-3) according to Dunkel, which has the 49ers favored by 12. Dunkel Pick: San Francisco (-3)

Game 101-102: San Francisco at St. Louis (8:25 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: San Francisco 140.518; St. Louis 128.169
Dunkel Line: San Francisco by 12; 46
Vegas Line: San Francisco by 3; 42
Dunkel Pick: San Francisco (-3); Over

NCAAF

Virginia Tech at Georgia Tech
The Hokies look to build on their 19-8 ATS record in their last 27 Thursday games. Virginia Tech is the pick (+7 1/2) according to Dunkel, which has the Yellow Jackets favored by only 4 1/2. Dunkel Pick: Virginia Tech (+7 1/2)

Game 103-104: Virginia Tech at Georgia Tech (7:30 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Virginia Tech 94.477; Georgia Tech 98.904
Dunkel Line: Georgia Tech by 4 1/2; 37
Vegas Line: Georgia Tech by 7 1/2; 42
Dunkel Pick: Virginia Tech (+7 1/2); Under

Game 105-106: Iowa State at Tulsa (7:30 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Iowa State 80.431; Tulsa 84.939
Dunkel Line: Tulsa by 4 1/2; 58
Vegas Line: Tulsa by 2 1/2; 54
Dunkel Pick: Tulsa (-2 1/2); Over

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DUNKEL INDEX

MLB

LA Dodgers at San Francisco
The Giants look to build on their 7-2 record in Tim Lincecum's last 9 home starts against the Dodgers. San Francisco is the pick (-125) according to Dunkel, which has the Giants favored by 1 1/2. Dunkel Pick: San Francisco (-125)

Game 901-902: Arizona at San Diego (6:40 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Arizona (Cahill) 15.428; San Diego (Erlin) 15.506
Dunkel Line: Arizona by 1; 6
Vegas Line: San Diego (-115); 7
Dunkel Pick: Arizona (-105); Under

Game 903-904: Milwaukee at NY Mets (7:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Milwaukee (Hellweg) 14.819; NY Mets (Gee) 16.235
Dunkel Line: NY Mets by 1 1/2; 9
Vegas Line: NY Mets (-150); 7 1/2
Dunkel Pick: NY Mets (-150); Over

Game 905-906: Philadelphia at Atlanta (7:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Philadelphia (Cloyd) 14.983; Atlanta (Hale) 13.872
Dunkel Line: Philadelphia by 1; 9
Vegas Line: Atlanta (-175); 8
Dunkel Pick: Philadelphia (+155); Over

Game 907-908: LA Dodgers at San Francisco (10:15 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: LA Dodgers (Volquez) 14.024; San Francisco (Lincecum) 15.598
Dunkel Line: San Francisco by 1 1/2; 6
Vegas Line: San Francisco (-125); 7
Dunkel Pick: San Francisco (-125); Under

Game 909-910: Toronto at Baltimore (7:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Toronto (Buehrle) 15.698; Baltimore (Gonzalez) 14.573
Dunkel Line: Toronto by 1; 9
Vegas Line: Baltimore (-140); 8
Dunkel Pick: Toronto (+120); Over

Game 911-912: Tampa Bay at NY Yankees (7:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Tampa Bay (Cobb) 16.384; NY Yankees (Nova) 14.091
Dunkel Line: Tampa Bay by 2 1/2; 6
Vegas Line: Tampa Bay (-125); 7 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Tampa Bay (-125); Under

Game 913-914: LA Angels at Texas (8:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: LA Angels (Williams) 16.558; Texas (Garza) 16.057
Dunkel Line: LA Angels by 1/2; 8
Vegas Line: Texas (-175); 9
Dunkel Pick: LA Angels (+155); Under

Game 915-916: Cleveland at Minnesota (8:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Cleveland (McAllister) 16.561; Minnesota (Albers) 13.082
Dunkel Line: Cleveland by 3 1/2; 9
Vegas Line: Cleveland (-160); 8
Dunkel Pick: Cleveland (-160); Over

Game 917-918: Kansas City at Chicago White Sox (8:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Kansas City (Guthrie) 15.791; White Sox (Rienzo) 14.272
Dunkel Line: Kansas City by 1 1/2; 8
Vegas Line: Kansas City (-135); 8 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Kansas City (-135); Under

WNBA

Phoenix at Minnesota
The Mercury look to open the series and build on their 8-2 ATS record in their last 10 games against a team with a winning SU record. Phoenix is the pick (+9) according to Dunkel, which has the Lynx favored by only 6 1/2. Dunkel Pick: Phoenix (+9)

Game 601-602: Indiana at Atlanta (7:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Indiana 113.835; Atlanta 108.384
Dunkel Line & Total: Indiana by 5 1/2; 137
Vegas Line & Total: Atlanta by 3; 142
Dunkel Pick: Indiana (+3); Under

Game 603-604: Phoenix at Minnesota (9:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Phoenix 113.497; Minnesota 120.028
Dunkel Line & Total: Minnesota by 6 1/2; 164
Vegas Line & Total: Minnesota by 9; 158 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Phoenix (+9); Over

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Marc LawrenceFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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San Francisco vs. St. LouisFREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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When Jim Harbaugh sends his troops on to the field against the Rams in St. Louis Thursday evening he will do so knowing his teams strap on the 'D' after a losing performance the game before. That's confirmed by his 2-6 UNDER record in these games, allowing an average of less then 9 PPG, with none of the games playing to a total of more than 40 points.  With these two teams having played UNDER in 9 of the last 13 meetings, look for more of the same this evening.  We recommend a 1-unit play on the Niners-Rams game UNDER the total.

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Teddy CoversFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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San Francisco vs. St. LouisFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Thursday Night NFL games tend to be the least entertaining games in the league.  Teams don’t have time to implement a full offensive gameplan, and the result tends to be a bevy of low scoring, relatively dull affairs.
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Look no further than last year.  The Week 2 Thursday Night game finished with 33 points, staying Under the total of 50 by a wide margin.  The Week 3 Thursday Night game stayed Under, with the home dog Panthers managing only a single touchdown.   The Week 4 matchup between the Browns and Ravens?  Another Under.  Week 5?  Arizona vs. St Louis in a 17-3 snoozer that stayed Under the total.
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What have we seen so far this year?  In two games following ‘normal’ weeks (not including Week 1, when both Denver and Baltimore had extra time to prepare), we’ve seen the Jets – Patriots stay Under by three TD’s and the Chiefs – Eagles stay Under by more than a TD.  More of the same, plain and simple
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Over the long term, intense divisional games (like the one we’ve got this week) have been the strongest Thursday Night Unders out there.  In 52 such matchups dating back to 2006, the Under is 35-17, a long term 67% proposition; worth betting at every reasonable opportunity.
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And this is most assuredly a ‘reasonable’ opportunity!  When these two teams met on this field last year, the final score was 16-13 in overtime.  The 49ers downfield passing game has been extremely limited in recent weeks – heck, they’ve only scored ten points in their last two games combined, with Colin Kaepernick unable to find open receivers to throw to.  The Rams offense has been every bit as bad, if not worse, with Sam Bradford under constant pressure and virtually no running game to support him.  Expect a low scoring contest that stays well Under the total.

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Sam Martin

Virginia Tech at Georgia Tech
Prediction: Virginia Tech

Hokies didn't look good in their season opening loss against Alabama (although almost everyone looks bad against the Crimson Tide) which is the main cause for this line being as big as it is. The other reason is the large margins of victory Georgia Tech has had this season, although against inferior competition. We'll take the points with Virginia Tech tonight, and while we give them a slight chance of winning this game outright we do think the Yellow Jackets will pull out a small win here. Georgia Tech's triple-option offense has worked to perfection so far this year against Elon, Duke, and North Carolina. They face a much more disciplined defense tonight in Virginia Tech, who is only giving up 2.6 yards per rush and held Alabama to just 96 yards rushing on 38 carries. Hokies have won three straight in this series including an 11-point win in their last trip here to Georgia Tech (as a two-point road favorite). We expect both defenses to play well here with this game staying close throughout, and the Hokies passing game is the difference. VTech can win outright if they keep their turnovers to a minimum, but we'll take the points as insurance in what we expect to be a close game.

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Rocketman

Kansas City @ Chicago White Sox
Play: Kansas City -130

The Kansas City Royals travel to Chicago to take on the White Sox on Thursday night. Kansas City is 11-2 the past 3 years and 9-1 this year as a road favorite of -125 to -150. Chicago White Sox are 22-48 this year when the total is 8 to 8 1/2 including 8-22 at home in this same situation. Kansas City is allowing only 2.9 runs per game their past seven games overall where they are holding opponents to a combined team batting average of only .202. Jeremy Guthrie has pitched well this year going 14-12 with a 4.09 ERA overall this year, 5-7 with a 3.81 ERA on the road this season and 1-2 with a 3.15 ERA his last 3 starts. Andre Rienzo is 0-1 with an 8.22 ERA at home this year and 1-2 with a 7.24 ERA his last 3 starts. Rienzo is a little wild with 27 walks compared to 34 strike outs overall this year. Guthrie has a nice 3.60 ERA in his 18 starts vs the White Sox in his career. We'll recommend a small play on Kansas City tonight!

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Jimmy Boyd

Los Angeles Angels +162

The Angels have played well on the road all season, scoring 4.8 runs per game. They will have Jerome Williams getting the start today, and Williams has posted a 5-2 record in his 11 road starts this year. As a team the Angels are 7-4 in those games. Williams has the hot arm for the Angels right now, going 3-0 in his last three starts with a 4.07 ERA.

The Rangers will have Matt Garza getting the start, and he is trending in the wrong direction. Over his last three starts Garza has posted a 5.51 ERA and a 1-2 record. Run support should also be a major issue for Texas today. They are facing a pitcher that is red hot, and have struggled with a .253 batting average against right-handed starters this season. Garza has never won against the Angels, posting a 0-2 career record and a 5.61 ERA in seven starts. His team is 2-5 in those games.

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Red Dog Sports

New York Mets -144 

Take the New York Mets with Dillon Gee on the mound. He has been solid all year long for the home team. The Mets are led by David Wright and are trying to end the year on a high note. Milwaukee has struggled all year long and will find it difficult to score more than 3 runs on Thursday night. Our free pick is on the Mets.

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Rob Vinciletti

New York Mets -144

The Mets fit a rare system that has cashed the only 7 times it has applies since 2004. Play on any home team where the total is 8 or less if they are off a 1 run road dog win and are taking on a team, like the Brewers tonight come in off a road dog win by 2 or more runs. The Mets have the pitching advantage with Dillion Gee who is 17-2 in his career if he threw between 60 and 90 pitches in his last start. Gee has a solid 2.53 home era which is far better than Hellweg of Milwaukee who has a 7.43 era on the year. The Brewers are 3-12 on Thursday and are off a 4-0 win in Atlanta is what was a solid "Brawl" game for them. Look for the Mets to take the opener.

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SPORTS WAGERS

ST. LOUIS +3 over San Francisco

It wasn’t supposed to start like this for either team, especially San Fran, which was predicted to be a force by many. Now the 49ers stock has dropped dramatically and so has the Rams’ stock after two blowout losses. The question now becomes which team can be trusted and what is real?

The 49ers level of play has been somewhat surreal compared to expectations. Their failures have been in every facet of the game and the 84 points allowed over three weeks ranks as 8th worse in the NFL. Were it not for the 34 points in the season opener, this offense would rank very near the bottom in points scored. The season is still young and any coach will say their team should never panic. Guess what, the 49ers need to panic. After opening with 423 yards and three touchdowns, the world was all okay. Then Colin Kaepernick was crushed by the Seahawks and only managed 13 of 28 passes for 127 yards and three interceptions. Then he was held to only 150 yards by the visiting Colts and ran for 20 yards. That set off the alarms. Missing Vernon Davis has proven to be catastrophic since there are no other reliable receivers, not even Anquan Boldin who has morphed back into being a mediocre possession receiver. The 49ers are going to be without their best run stopper and pass rusher Aldon Smith. They will also be without ILB Patrick Willis. They have already allowed an uncharacteristic six touchdowns to opposing running backs and now they’re being asked to spot a margin on the road in a short week. As we’ve learned over and over in all sports on teams with high expectations, there is no switch that turns off and on. The 49ers are reeling after three weeks and this is not the right spot to be giving away road points.

The problem with the Rams has been a slow start in each game. Against Arizona in the opener, they were down 7-0 early and 24-13 going to the fourth quarter. In Week 2 against Atlanta, the Rams fell behind 21-0 and 24-3 at the half. Last week against Dallas, it was 17-0 at the half and 24-0 early in the third quarter. You’re going to read about the Rams lack of a running game and that has been the case. However, let us point out that St. Louis has fallen behind by so much so early that they’ve never had a chance to establish it. Don’t put too much emphasis on that lack of a running game that the media is pounding into our heads. Sam Bradford is still on a pace for 4700 yards and 32 touchdowns. The Rams have looked very sharp in at least half of the 12 quarters they’ve played so far. Sam Bradford had not been sacked even one time prior to last week’s debacle in Dallas. The Rams have a decent pass rush too. Even teams with little talent rarely get whacked three games in succession. The Rams have plenty of talent and there is no way a Jeff Fisher coached team is going to get rolled over for the third time in three weeks.

The 49ers poor play is not an aberration. They are a seriously banged up team at several key positions and suddenly Colin Kaepernick’s confidence is on very shaky ground. There isn’t enough lube on the planet to slide the last two games of Colin Kaepernick past us. Let’s assess. In the air, he’s 26 of 55 for 277 yards with no TDs and four picks. He ran, right? Not enough. The number 37 means two things in the NFL. It’s the age of a QB hell-bound on getting to a Super Bowl (Peyton Manning) and the passer rating of the one that lost last year. Rams in better form taking back points at home in a short week gets the call.

Pass NCAAF

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SPORTS WAGERS

L.A. Angels +161 over TEXAS

Man, were the Rangers ever happy to see the Houston Astros roll into town after this team had lost 10 of 13 games in the heat of a pennant race. During that time, Ron Washington looked more confused than a moth on the Las Vegas strip. The Rangers lost series after series down the stretch and that includes losing two of three to both the White Sox and Twins. The next best thing to playing in the post-season is preventing a team from appearing in it and that’s the huge motivation that the Angels will bring to this series. Jerome Williams has posted a 3.55 ERA over his past five starts. He has decent numbers right across the board the entire season that includes a very respectable 47% groundball rate. Williams is not going to dominate. He’s a serviceable pitcher that usually gives the Angels a chance to win. As a favorite, he would not come recommended but as a big pooch against a team feeling the heat, he and the Halos offer up some outstanding value, as this line is out of whack.

Matt Garza has likely been a bit of a disappointment for the Rangers with a 4-5 record and a 4.56 ERA since they traded for him. He is just 1-4 over his last six starts and has thrown a disaster in two of his last three. Over his last 10 starts, Garza’s groundball rate is way down to 37% and his line drive rate and WHIP rates are also way up to 26% and 1.32 respectively. With Texas battling for a wild card spot, all might be forgiven with a solid effort here, but that will not come easy as the Angels are averaging 5.2 runs per game in September. Huge overlay.

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Jim Feist

Dodgers at Giants
Play: Giants

This is the last chance for some pride from the defending champs. LA goes with its worst pitcher, wild man Edinson Volquez (9-11, 5.99 ERA) is in town and he has walked 70 in 153 innings. His last three starts: 10.13 ERA, so nothing is going right. He has a career 6.07 ERA against the Giants walking 23 in 46 innings with 55 hits allowed. The Giants are 4-1 in their last 5 vs. National League West and 5-2 in their last 7 games as a favorite.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, September 26

Jeff Scott Sports

2 UNIT PLAY

Georgia Tech / Virginia Tech over 43: 43 is just too low here, especially for an offense that can score like the Jackets can. Both teams have played well defensively so far, but Georgia Tech does come in averaging 45.3 ppg, while Virginia Tech is putting up a solid 24.8 ppg. Both teams can hit the 20 point mark in this one. 7 of the last 9 in the series has put up at least 49 points and I see more of the same here.

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Larry Ness

Cleveland vs. Minnesota
Pick: Cleveland

The Indians go for a seventh consecutive win Thursday night in the opener of a four-game road series against the lowly Minnesota Twins. Cleveland would love to catch the Rays and earn home field in the one-game wild card playoff but MORE importantly, the Indians have to “take care of business” so that the Rangers (just one game back of Cleveland), don’t catch them from behind and ruin Cleveland’s postseason opportunity. The Indians have sure gotten ‘hot’ at the right time, as Terry Francona’s team enters 16-5 over its last 21 games.

"We're in control of our own destiny. That's all you can ask for at this time of year," designated hitter Jason Giambi said. "We've just got to play baseball, that's all we gotta do. We don't have to worry about anybody else beating anybody else. We've just get to go out and play baseball, which is the fun part of the game." Cleveland has outscored opponents 29-11 during its six-game win streak and can’t be unhappy about the prospect of playing its final four games of the regular season at Minnesota (Twins are 66-92 on the season).

The Indians give the ball to Zach McAllister (9-9, 3.88 ERA), who is looking to win a career-high third consecutive start after posting a 1.54 ERA in his last two. McAllister won three straight starts from August 13-24, a stretch that included two victories over Minnesota. He allowed three ERs in 13.1 innings while holding the Twins to a .170 average in those two outings. Andrew Albers (2-4, 3.98 ERA) gets the start for Minnesota and he looks to snap a seven-start winless streak. The left-handed rookie made his major league debut back on August 6 and won his first two starts, pitching 17.1 scoreless innings while allowing only six hits. However, he’s winless in his seven starts since those first two outings, posting a 5.84 ERA (Twins are 2-5 in the seven games).

The Indians can’t control what the Rays or Rangers do from now until Sunday so why not just beat the sad-sack Twins these next few days and not worry about anything else? I’ll back the Indians here.

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Steve Janus

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets -6.5

I have backed Georgia Tech successfully each of the last two weeks and I'm going to keep pounding the Yellow Jackets until they prove me wrong. While this isn't as big of a bet as I had on them against Duke and North Carolina, I like their chances of winning this game by double-digits.

The fact that oddsmakers have listed Georgia Tech at -6.5 really says a lot about what they think of the Hokies. Last time these two teams played in Atlanta, Virginia Tech was favored by 2. Plain and simple the Yellow Jackets are out for revenge! They have lost three straight in the series, including an overtime loss in the opener last year in Blacksburg. A game they should have won. One thing to keep in mind is that the Hokies have either opened the season or came off a bye in each of their wins during their 3-game winning streak. Having extra time to prepare for an option offense like Georgia Tech is a huge advantage. This time they come in off a triple-overtime game against Marshall on a short week of rest. That dominant defense everyone is talking about isn't going to be playing up to their full potential.

Arguably the biggest key to this game is that it's being played at Bobby Dodd Stadium. Since the start of last season, Virginia Tech's only two true road wins have come against Boston College (30-23 OT) and a couple weeks ago at East Carolina. Every other road game has resulted in a loss of at least 14 points.

While I think the Hokies defense will hold their own early, I can't see them holding up the entire game. There's going to come a point where the Yellow Jackets break them and when they do it's going to result in touchdowns. On the flip side of things, Virginia Tech's offense is a complete mess. Logan Thomas has got worse with each season and there's serious issues in the kicking game. Not to mention Georgia Tech's defense is as good as it's been in years.

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Bruce Marshall

Iowa State vs. Tulsa
Pick: Iowa State

Rematch from a pair of meetings (split) last season, and both have been disappointments thus far, neither with a spread cover in a combined five games. But measured vote against Tulsa side that has had a big defensive drop-off after losing nine starters from CUSA's top-ranked stop unit last season and now allowing 37 ppg, while QB Cody Green (only 51.7%) continues to look lackluster. ISU has been slowed by lingering early injuries to QB Sam Richardson (ankle) and key C Tom Farniok (knee), but both are expected to play tonight.

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GamePlan

San Francisco Giants -128

The Dodgers are in cruise control mode the rest of the way and will look to rest as many players as they can. The Giants still have some pride and this is a heated rivalry no matter what the records indicate. Edinson Volquez stinks on the road with 6.06 ERA. Take the Giants in this one.

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Dave Price

NY Yankees +121

The Yankees have been eliminated from playoff contention, but they are still showing value at home at this price with Nova on the hill. Plus, they will be motivated to make Mariano Rivera's last game at Yankee Stadium a win. The Rays have never pulled off a three-game sweep in the Bronx, and the Yankees are 45-19 in their last 64 games after losing the first two games of a series. Nova has been flat out dealing. The Yankees are 8-2 in his last 10 starts, 5-1 in his last 6 home starts and 8-3 in his last 11 starts versus the Rays. Take the Yanks.

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Jack Jones

Tulsa -2.5

Both of Tulsa’s losses this season have come on the road against formidable opponents in Bowling Green and Oklahoma. Its lone victory came at home against Colorado State. It has continued its success at home over the past decade. In fact, the Golden Hurricane are now 48-14 at home over the past 11 seasons. They are 12-2 at home under current head coach, Bill Blankenship.

Iowa State has suffered both of its losses at home against below-average opponents in Northern Iowa and Iowa. It fell 20-28 to UNI on September 31, and 21-27 to Iowa on September 14. The Cyclones are only averaging 20.5 points and 364.5 total yards per game, while allowing 27.5 points and 417.5 yards in the losses. This team has clearly taken a step back in 2013, which was to be expected with only nine returning starters.

Tulsa thoroughly outplayed Iowa State in the 31-17 victory in the Liberty Bowl. It outgained the Cyclones 410-268 and got stronger as the game went on. After falling behind 17-7 in the first quarter, it was all Golden Hurricane from that point-on. They held the Cyclones to just 133 total yards in the final three quarters. Eight of Iowa State’s final 10 drives came to an end in four plays or less.

Tulsa amassed 317 rushing yards in the Liberty Bowl win, and there’s no question that the Cyclones aren’t as strong defensively as they were a year ago. In fact, Iowa State is giving up 223.0 rushing yards per game to rank 101st in the country against the run. Tulsa us a running team that averaged 246 rushing yards per game last season. It has returned its top two running backs in Trey Watts (1,108 yards) and Ja'Terian Douglas (936 yards), so this is an explosive ground attack once again.

The Cyclones are 9-27 against the spread in their last 36 games after accumulating less than 100 yards rushing in their previous game. Both teams are coming off bye weeks, but that clearly favors the Golden Hurricane. Tulsa is 10-2 against the number in its last 12 games following a bye week, while Iowa State is 3-8 against the spread in its last 11 games following a bye week. Bet Tulsa Thursday.

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Eddie J

Virginia Tech at Georgia Tech
Pick: Virginia Tech

Virginia Tech heads to Atlanta to play Georgia Tech.The Hokies are 3-1 while the Jackets are 3-0.Georgia Tech has averaged 345.3 yards per game on the ground but will face the nation's fifth ranked defense allowing only 233.3 yards per game. The Hokies have had success against the triple option and lead the head to head series 7-3. Georgia Tech has had a soft schedule so far and will get their first true test. The Hokies led by QB Logan Thomas will try to get thier offense rolling. They have alot of talent and putting it all together just may lead to the upset in Atlanta. The dog is 6-1 ATS L7 and the road team is 6-1 ATS L7 in this series!

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