Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, October 12

Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, October 12

Kyle Hunter

Oregon St vs. Washington St
Play: Over 62

Oregon State and Washington State both like to throw the ball early and often. On the other side, both of these defenses aren't very good at all in the secondary. There should be a lot of fireworks in this game. Mike Leach's air raid system is catching on at Washington State, but their defense is still a liability. Oregon State has a good run D, but I don't expect Washington State to even attempt to get the run game going here. The oddsmakers haven't been able to catch up to Oregon State's improved offense. The over is 9-1 in their last 10 games overall. The over is 4-1 in the last 5 meetings between these two at Washington State. Take the over.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, October 12

Freddy Wills

Memphis vs. Houston    
Play: Memphis +9½

Houston has been extremely lucky to start the season and everyone is automatically assuming this is the same Houston team that hung up 50+ points on a regular basis, but I'm still not convinced considering Houston largely benefited last game from turnovers against Texas San Antonio, and got lucky in Rice who lost their start offensive player early in that game. In both games they were -9 minutes in time of possession.

Memphis meanwhile just comes off a game in which they hung with Central Florida leading 17-10 in the 4th quarter when they allowed 2 TD's in 9 seconds to go on and lose 24-17. Memphis defense held UCF to just 297 yards, but the 4 turnovers cost them. Memphis should be able to runt he ball and pass against Houston whose defense is not up to par. Memphis has a very balanced offense, but it's their defense that's catching a lot of respect.

Memphis is ranked 21st allowing 3.2 yards per carry in run support which is better than Houston's last two opponents. They are also ranked 26th in opposing QB rating, and 19th in sack % also much better than Houston's last two opponents. Houston's offense struggled against Temple and I think they will have similar issues again today especially in the red zone where opponents have only gone 9 times this season.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, October 12

River City SportsFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Central Michigan at OhioFOR THE LARGEST SELECTION OF FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
Play: Ohio -18FOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Ohio comes into this game having won 4 in a row and a 43-3 beat down of Akron at Akron last week. The offense rolled up almost 400 yards and held Akron to 150. The offense is led by senior QB Tettleton who has been solid all year throwing for over 1000 yds, 8 TD and only 3 INT. Their defense has also been solid giving up just over 20 ppg and that includes the opening loss they suffered at Louisville where the Cardinals put up 49 on them. Central Michigan on the other hand needs help on both sides of the ball, they can’t score 17.7ppg ranked 113th and can’t stop anybody 34 ppg 103rd. They do come off a win vs lowly Miami, Oh but have lost 3 of their last 4 by an avg of 20 ppg and QB Rush has been erratic 3 TD 8 INT the last 4 games. We would expect that trend to continue as this is their 3rd road game in a row, and the Bobcats come in rested off a bye and only Eastern Michigan on deck.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, October 12

Jim Feist

Texas A&M takes on Ole Miss
Play: Over

Texas A&M is 4-1 over the total with a great offense behind QB Johnny Manziel (14 TDs, 4 INTs, 1,489 yds, 71.4%) with an attack that averages 49.2 points, 365 yards passing (5th in the nation), 221 yds rushing per game (28th) for coach Kevin Sumlin. But the defense is a weak spot allowing 30.8 ppg (86th). The over is 42-19-2 in Aggies last 63 games following an ATS loss. Ole Miss (3-2 SU, 2-3 ATS) also has a dynamite, uptempo attack behind junior QB Bo Wallace. The last game they lost 30-22 at Auburn with an edge in yards 464-375, but they allowed 282 yds rushing (5.9 ypc). Wait until they see this Aggie attack! This shapes up as a shootout; Play Texas A&M/Ole Miss over the total.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, October 12

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Tulane + over East CarolinaFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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East Carolina looks like the top team in the East division of Conference USA but that assumption is based on one big win over North Carolina, a game that came in a bad spot for a Tar Heels team that has simply struggled all around this season. The Pirates did play close with Virginia Tech but posting 204 yards in a game should not be worth much credit and the other wins came in ATS losses as a favorite with wins over Old Dominion, Florida Atlantic, and Middle Tennessee State, hardly an impressive trio. This will be the third straight week in a row on the road for the Pirates and coming off back-to-back narrow wins this could be a letdown spot. Last season East Carolina won by five in this matchup and Tulane looks greatly improved this season. The Wave already has four wins this season after going 2-10 last season and the wins came against credible competition beating Louisiana Tech, Louisiana-Monroe, and North Texas. The offense has a formidable passing attack led by Nick Montana and Tulane has soundly out-rushed the last two foes. Tulane has covered in five of the last seven in this series and this spread does not seem to account for much change from last season despite great improvement for Tulane as East Carolina was favored by 10 last season at Tulane as these teams are playing consecutive seasons in New Orleans with the shake-up in Conference USA. Tulane should continue to be a formidable home underdog after winning in that role last week.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, October 12

Doug Upstone

East Carolina vs. Tulane    
Play: Tulane +9½

For Saturday, Play ON home underdogs like Tulane of 3.5 to 10 points, off a close home win by three points or less, in the first half of the season. In the last 21 years, this system is 23-3 ATS, 88.5 percent. This college football system has won nine in a row.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, October 12

Rob Vinciletti

Missouri vs. Georgia    
Play: Missouri +7

This was a unit rated play at +9 but the line has moved down to 7. Missouri is undefeated and travels into Georgia off a solid win and cover at Vanderbilt last week. Georgia escaped Tennessee last week emerging with a come from behind and subsequent overtime win. Mizzou has Home loss revenge here for a 41-20 loss last year. That loss may sound bad bu it really wasn't. Mizzou had a 10-9 Halftime lead and had more pass and rush yards than Georgia, but were done in by special teams. Today we note that Road teams that are off 3+ wins of 17 or more have covered 26 of 29 times if there were more than 59 points scored in their opponents last game. Georgia can score but they have to concerned with a defense that has allowed 31 or more in 4 of the first 5 games. Coach Richt is 1-10 ats at home vs teams with a .750 or higher win percentage. We wont call for the upset win, but we would not be shocked if it happened either. Mizzou has covered 7 of 10 as a road dog of 7.5 to 10 and 6-1 on the road when the total is 63.5 to 70. Were on Missouri here today.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, October 12

Dr. BobFOR  FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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VIRGINIA TECH (-9) 26 Pittsburgh 16
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The matchup that will decide this game is Pittsburgh’s good, but inconsistent offense against Virginia Tech’s consistently dominant defense. The Hokies have allowed just 4.1 yards per play and 16 points per game to a schedule of teams that would average 5.7 yppl and 28.7 points per game against an average defensive unit. Pittsburgh’s offense is incredibly good against bad defensive teams, averaging 575 yards at 9.0 yppl against New Mexico and Duke, but they’ve managed just 248 yards at 4.1 yppl against good defensive teams Florida State and Virginia – who would combine to allow 4.8 yppl to an average team. The Panthers actually performed relatively well offensively against Florida State (5.4 yppl against a defense that would allow 4.6 yppl on the road to an average team) and their 3.0 yppl against Virginia could very well be an aberration given that 3 of Pitt’s 4 games have been at least 0.8 yppl better than average offensively. My math model projects 268 yards at 4.8 yppl for the Panthers in this game while the Hokies’ sub-par attack (5.0 yppl against teams that would allow 5.7 yppl) is projected to gain 351 yards at 5.2 yppl against Pittsburgh’s mediocre defense. The math favors the Hokies by 8 points but Pitt won last year’s meeting and Frank Beamer’s teams are 57-29-2 ATS if they lost the previous meeting to their opponent, including 47-19-2 ATS if their opponent is a .500 team or better. I’ll lean slightly with the Hokies as they get their revenge.
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Oklahoma (-13½) 40 Texas 23FOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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My math model favored Oklahoma by 14½ points using statistics from the entire season but Oklahoma has been much better offensively since Blake Bell took over at quarterback and Texas has been worse with Case McCoy at quarterback in place of injured starter David Ash. For the season Oklahoma is 0.5 yards per play better than average offensively and just 0.1 yards per pass play better than average but Bell has averaged 7.3 yppp against teams that would allow 6.1 yppp to an average quarterback (I actually rate him at +0.9 yppp after accounting for some variance in his yards per completion average). Oklahoma’s rushing numbers aren’t as good without former starting quarterback Trevor Knight’s rushing numbers (184 yards on just 20 runs) but overall the Sooners’ attack rates at 0.8 yppl better than average with Bell at quarterback. That unit should have no trouble moving the ball against a sub-par Texas defense that has been 0.4 yppl worse than average for the season and 0.4 yppl worse than average since changing their defensive coordinator after their week 2 loss to BYU.
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Oklahoma also has the advantage with Texas has the ball, as the Sooners’ defense is 0.5 yppl better than average (4.8 yppl allowed to teams that would combine to average 5.3 yppl against an average team) while Texas is 0.2 yppl worse than average with McCoy at quarterback (+0.3 yppl overall). McCoy has averaged only 4.8 yards on 106 pass plays (against teams that would allow 5.6 yppp to an average quarterback) and the Longhorns’ better than average rushing attack isn’t enough to make up for that poor play. McCoy simply has not been able, or he’s been unwilling, to throw the ball down the field – instead relying on short passes (he’s averaged only 9.3 yards per completion while Ash averaged 14.3 ypc). Oklahoma only allows 10.1 ypc (12.0 ypc is average), so McCoy isn’t likely to suddenly have success throwing the ball down the field in this game.
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Overall the math favors Oklahoma by 17½ points, which makes the Sooners a pretty solid play.
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TEXAS TECH (-14) 34 Iowa State 23FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Iowa State lost their season opener to FCS team Northern Iowa and the Cyclones appear to be underrated because of that loss and a 1-3 record. Northern Iowa is actually a good team that is a couple of points better than an average FBS team and Iowa State has been better than average in my line of scrimmage ratings in all 3 games since that loss. The Cyclones are 0.1 yppl worse than average offensively (5.4 yppl against teams that would allow 5.5 yppl to an average team) and 0.2 yppl better than average defensively (5.2 yppl allowed to teams that would average 5.4 yppl against an average team) after taking out the Hail Mary pass they gave up at the end of the first half against Texas last week, which I consider non predictive.
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Texas Tech has looked really good on the scoreboard (37-14 average score) but they’ve only been 0.6 yppl better than average from the line of scrimmage, rating at 0.1 yppl worse than average offensively (5.5 yppl against teams that would allow 5.6 yppl to an average team) and 0.7 yppl better than average defensively (4.6 yppl allowed to teams that would average 5.3 yppl). The Red Raiders are actually 7.6 points better than an average FBS team when factoring in their +9.5 play differential. However, that’s certainly not as good as their scoring makes them appear to be and my math model favors the Red Raiders by just 11 points in this game.
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GEORGIA (-7½) 38 Missouri 29FOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Georgia suffered a letdown from their big win over LSU and nearly lost to Tennessee last week before surviving in overtime. The Bulldogs also suffered major attrition in their receiving corps, as #2 receiver Justin Scott-Wesley and #3 receiver Michael Bennett were both injured and won’t be playing for some time (Scott-Wesley for the season and Bennett is listed as out indefinitely). Quarterback Aaron Murray has had an incredible season so far (9.6 yards per pass play against teams that would allow 5.8 yppp to an average quarterback) but he averaged just 5.3 yppp last week against the Vols. I’m guessing a big part of that was due to a team wide letdown, as Murray was struggling early in the game before the injuries, but there is certainly going to be an impact on the passing game with 3 of the top 4 receivers out (top receiver Malcom Mitchell was injured early in week 1 and is out for the season). Georgia is still going to be an elite offense and Missouri is only 0.3 yards per play better than average defensively, so I expect Murray to make his new featured receivers look good.
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Georgia’s defense hasn’t received any credit for their 4-1 start but the 6.0 yppl and 32 points per game that the Bulldogs have allowed is actually pretty good considering that they’ve faced a schedule of teams that would average 6.4 yppl and 36.5 points against an average defensive unit. Missouri’s offense has an advantage, however, as the Tigers have been 1.0 yppl better than average offensively (7.1 yppl against teams that would allow 6.1 yppl). The math model projects 392 yards at 5.9 yppl for the Tigers in this game.
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I pegged Missouri as a bounce-back team before the season started and my bet on the Tigers to win more than 6 games is looking pretty good after a 5-0 start. However, I’ll probably have to wait for that 6th win, as my math favors Georgia by 9 points after some educated guesses on how much the Bulldogs’ pass attack will fall off.
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South Carolina (-6) 29 ARKANSAS 27FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Arkansas is a good team that has had the misfortune of playing Texas A&M and Florida the last two weeks and visiting a beatable Rutgers team when they were without their starting quarterback. Backup quarterback A.J. Derby only averaged 4.7 yards per pass play (against teams that would allow 6.6 yppp to an average QB) in 7 quarters filling in for starter Brandon Allen, including that 24-28 loss at Rutgers, and Arkansas’ very good rushing attack wasn’t as good with Derby under center either because his inability to throw allowed teams that put an extra player at the line of scrimmage to defend the run. Allen is a capable passer (6.4 yppp against teams that would allow 6.3 yppp) an d the rushing attack is 1.2 yards per rushing play better than average when Allen is in the game (6.3 yprp against teams that would allow 5.1 yprp) while they were 0.1 yprp worse than average with Derby under center. Overall, Arkansas is 0.2 yards per play better than average offensively this season (5.9 yppl against teams that would allow 5.7 yppl to an average team) but the Razorbacks are 0.5 yppl better than average with Allen at quarterback and their defense is 0.8 yppl better than average (5.2 yppl allowed to teams that would average 6.0 yppl against an average team). That’s a pretty solid team and the Hogs are underrated at this point and should give South Carolina a good game.
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CLEMSON (-24½) 45 Boston College 21SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Clemson is better defensively this season than they were a year ago and the Tigers are coming off consecutive blowout wins of 56-7 over Wake Forest and 49-14 last week against Syracuse. Boston College is a step up from those teams, rating slightly better than average from a yards per play perspective (better than average offensively and worse than average defensively) and I expect the Eagles to move the ball pretty well in this game with star RB Andre Williams (768 yards at 5.8 ypr) moving the chains against Clemson’s soft run defense (5.2 yards per rushing play allowed to teams that would average 4.6 yprp against an average team). Tajh Boyd will continue to put up big numbers against BC’s porous pass defense (7.4 yards per pass play allowed) but overall my math favors Clemson by just 21 ½ points. However, the Tigers do apply to a 125-64-5 ATS big home favorite momentum situation so it’s best to pass on this game.
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Baylor (-17½) 49 KANSAS STATE 28FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Baylor’s offensive performance in their first 4 games is by far the best I can remember in all my years handicapping. The Bears have averaged an amazing 70.5 points on 783 yards at 9.8 yards per play and the opponents that they’ve faced aren’t that much worse than average collectively. The true test was last week’s game against a better than average West Virginia defense that was coming off a win over a ranked Oklahoma State team. The Mountaineers proved to be not test at all despite their better than average defense, as the Bears racked up 73 points on 875 yards at 9.4 yppl. Kansas State’s defense is about the same caliber as West Virginia’s defense (0.3 yppl better than average), so it’s certainly possible that Baylor will put another 70 points on the board. However, the Bears are so far outside the range for offensive performance that regression to the mean is likely an my math model projects ‘just’ 49 points for Art Briles’ team today.
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Baylor’s defense certainly isn’t getting the headlines but the Bears’ stop unit is 0.5 yppl better than average, allowing 4.3 yppl to teams that would combine to average 4.8 yppl against an average team. Kansas State’s attack rates at 0.7 yppl better than average and the Wildcats’ very good pass attack (8.0 yards per pass play against teams that would allow 6.2 yppp to an average team) should perform pretty well against a sub-par Baylor pass defense (5.5 yppp allowed to quarterbacks that would average 5.3 yppp). Overall my math model favors Baylor by 21 points and I get 17 ½ points if the Bears regress offensively toward the mean as expected.
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WISCONSIN (-10) 37 Northwestern 21FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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I would have been on Wisconsin as a Best Bet in this game if not for a 59-15-3 ATS bounce-back situation that favors Northwestern. But, that trend will keep me off an otherwise good bet, as Wisconsin should be able to beat up on the Wildcats based on what each team has done so far this season. It’s not often that an unranked team is a 10 point favorite over a team ranked team (NW is #19) but that just goes to show you how stupid the rankings are. Northwestern is 4-1 and the Wildcats are a pretty good team, but they’re certainly not a Top 25 team (I rate them at #42). Wisconsin, on the other hand, should be ranked among the top 25 teams in the nation, as their two losses were by 2 point at Arizona State in a game in which they got screwed by the refs while setting up for the game winning chip shot field goal, and a competitive 7 point loss on the road against highly ranked Ohio State, who Northwestern just lost to by 10 points at home.
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Northwestern is 0.5 yards per play better than average offensively, averaging 6.5 yppl against teams that would allow 6.0 yppl to an average team, but Wisconsin is 1.1 yppl better than average defensively (4.4 yppl allowed to teams that would average 5.5 yppl against an average defense). The advantage is even greater on the other side of the ball, as the Badgers are 1.6 yppl better than average (7.8 yppl against teams that would allow 6.1 yppl) while the Wildcats are just barely better than average on defense (5.4 yppl to teams that would average 5.6 yppl against an average team). Wisconsin is significantly better than Northwestern and my math model gives the Badgers a 57.7% chance of covering at -10 based solely on the historical performance of my model. However, the situation favor Northwestern has a 53.6% chance of winning. That still makes Wisconsin a profitable 54% play.
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Oregon (-13½) 41 WASHINGTON 31FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Washington outplayed Stanford last week 491 yards at 5.6 yards per play to 287 yards at 4.9 yppl but a kickoff return for a touchdown by Stanford on the first play of the game proved to be the difference in a 28-31 loss. Washington is a very good team on both sides of the ball, as the Huskies have faced a better than average schedule of teams and outgained those opponents 560 yards at 6.6 yppl to 291 yards at 4.0 yppl. Oregon’s numbers are even better on a compensated yards per play basis, as the Ducks are 2.3 yppl better than average offensively and 1.1 yppl better than average defensively. My math model projects Oregon at 7.0 yppl in this game while the Huskies are projected at 6.2 yppl but Washington’s offense is designed to control the ball (+12.2 play differential), which leads to more plays for their offense and fewer plays for the explosive Ducks. Oregon does have a significant edge in special teams, which helps with field position but Washington is not drastically worse from the line of scrimmage and this game could be very close. My math model gives Washington a 56.4% chance of covering based solely on the math but Washington applies to a 44-119-2 ATS situation that is based on last week’s close loss at Stanford. I’ll still lean with Washington plus the points and I wouldn’t be shocked if the Huskies won this game straight up.
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NORTHERN ILLINOIS (-23) 44 Akron 21SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Northern Illinois entered the Top 25 this week after going to 5-0 with a 14 point win at Akron but the Huskies are not nearly as good as last year’s team and are barely better than an average FBS team. Northern Illinois is good offensively, averaging 6.7 yards per play against teams that would allow 6.0 yppl to an average team, but the Huskies are 0.8 yppl worse than average defensively (6.0 yppl allowed to teams that would combine to average 5.2 yppl against an average defensive team). NIU does have better than average special teams and quarterback Jordan Lynch tends to take care of the football so the Huskies are better than average overall despite their -0.1 yppl over rating from the line of scrimmage.
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Northern Illinois is also good enough to beat up on an Akron team that is 0.7 yppl worse than average offensively and 0.4 yppl worse than average defensively. Those numbers don’t justify such a large spread, but Northern Illinois has an edge projected plays, turnover margin, and a solid advantage in special teams. Overall the math only favors Northern Illinois by 20 ½ points, so the line is inflated, but the Huskies apply to a 42-10 ATS subset of a 125-64-5 ATS big home favorite momentum situation. I’ll pass on this game.
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Stanford (-8) 31 UTAH 24FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Utah is 3-2 with both losses coming by 7 points or less and the Utes could easily be 5-0 if not for being -3 in turnovers in an overtime loss to Oregon State and -4 in turnovers in their 27-34 loss to UCLA last week. If the Utes limit their turnovers they are capable of pulling off the upset in this game. The 4 FBS teams that Utah has faced are all good teams and wins over Utah State and at BYU are certainly impressive, as is losing close to two good teams while being -7 in turnovers in those two teams. Utah has outgained their 4 FBS opponents 6.1 yards per play to 5.7 yppl, which is really impressive given that those 4 teams would combine to outgain an average team by 0.9 yppl. Utah is particularly good offensively (6.1 yppl against teams that would allow just 5.0 yppl to an average team), which sets up a very good matchup against Stanford’s stingy defense (4.9 yppl allowed to teams that would combine to average 6.1 yppl against an average defense).
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While Stanford has only a very slight edge when Utah has the ball, the Cardinal have a solid advantage when they have possession, as their attack rates at 1.0 yppl better than average (6.6 yppl against teams that would allow 5.6 yppl) while Utah’s defense is just 0.2 yppl better than average. Utah is expected to run more plays and the Utes are at home and my math model projects a 397 yards to 396 yards advantage for them in this game. However, Stanford does have outstanding special teams and are certainly less likely to turn the ball over, which lead to me predicting a 7 point win for the Cardinal – although I would not be surprised if Utah won this game.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, October 12

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Maryland (-7 1/2) 27 Virginia 16SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Maryland will be without starting quarterback C.J. Brown, who was injured last week in the Terps' blowout loss to Florida State. That's bad news for the Terrapins, as Brown was having a great season, averaging 9.2 yards per pass play while adding 318 yards on 42 runs (7.6 yards per rushing play). Caleb Rowe takes over and that's a big drop even though Rowe has been better than average throwing the ball on his 70 career pass plays (6.2 yppp against teams that would allow 5.9 yppp to an average QB). Rowe is not a runner and Maryland's rushing attack from from about average to bad given that the Terrapins' running backs aren't very good. Despite all the negative adjustments to Maryland's offense, the Terps are still a better team than Virginia.
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Virginia does have a slightly better defense (0.9 yards per play better than average) than Maryland (0.6 yppl better than average) but Virginia's offense is dreadful (3.8 yppl in 4 games against FBS teams that would allow 5.2 yppl to an average team) and Maryland's attack is 0.3 yppl worse than average without Brown. My math model favors Maryland by 11 points even after adjusting for Brown being out and I don't mind bucking a Cavaliers team that is 3-13-1 ATS in their last 17 games against FBS competition.
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BYU (-7) 32 Georgia Tech 20SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Georgia Tech has stumbled to back-to-back losses to Virginia Tech and Miami after starting the season with 3 spread covering wins. The Yellow Jackets do apply to a 70-23-1 ATS road underdog bounce-back situation but I would have made BYU a Best Bet had it not been for that angle. Georgia Tech is only a few points better than an average team while BYU is nearly 14 points better than average. The Cougars know how to defend the option, having faced Air Force for years in conference play and BYU has a disciplined and dominating defense that's allowed just 3.8 yards per rushing play (to teams that would average 5.2 yprp against an average team). My math model gives BYU a 57.7% chance of covering based solely on the math but the situation favoring Georgia Tech kept me from making the Cougars a play.
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MICHIGAN STATE (-9 1/2) 33 Indiana 19SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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This is a good match up between a very good Indiana offense and an elite Michigan State defense and my math model favors the Spartans by 9 1/2 points - so their is no line value. However, Indiana applies to a very negative 34-100-1 ATS road underdog letdown situation that is based on the Hoosiers' 44-24 upset home over Penn State.
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Nebraska (-14) 35 PURDUE 23SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Nebraska is better without quarterback Taylor Martinez, who is expected to miss his 3rd consecutive game, and Purdue may be even worse offensively with freshman Danny Etling taking over at quarterback. Etling came off the bench last week and completed only 49% of his passes for 5.3 yards per pass play despite facing a bad Northern Illinois pass defense that would allow 7.2 yppp on the road to an average quarterback. Despite adjusting Nebraska's offense higher and Purdue's offense lower my math model still only favors the Cornhuskers by 12 1/2 points.
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TEXAS TECH (-14) 34 Iowa State 23SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Iowa State lost their season opener to FCS team Northern Iowa and the Cyclones appear to be underrated because of that loss and a 1-3 record. Northern Iowa is actually a good team that is a couple of points better than an average FBS team and Iowa State has been better than average in my line of scrimmage ratings in all 3 games since that loss. The Cyclones are 0.1 yppl worse than average offensively (5.4 yppl against teams that would allow 5.5 yppl to an average team) and 0.2 yppl better than average defensively (5.2 yppl allowed to teams that would average 5.4 yppl against an average team) after taking out the Hail Mary pass they gave up at the end of the first half against Texas last week, which I consider non predictive.
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Texas Tech has looked really good on the scoreboard (37-14 average score) but they’ve only been 0.6 yppl better than average from the line of scrimmage, rating at 0.1 yppl worse than average offensively (5.5 yppl against teams that would allow 5.6 yppl to an average team) and 0.7 yppl better than average defensively (4.6 yppl allowed to teams that would average 5.3 yppl). The Red Raiders are actually 7.6 points better than an average FBS team when factoring in their +9.5 play differential. However, that’s certainly not as good as their scoring makes them appear to be and my math model favors the Red Raiders by just 11 points in this game.
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TCU (-24 1/2) 30 Kansas 10SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Offensively challenged Kansas will certainly have trouble moving the ball against a very good TCU defense but the Horned Frogs may not be able to score enough to cover a big number. TCU is below average offensively (5.0 yards per play against FBS teams that would allow 5.2 yppl to an average team) while Kansas has allowed just 25.3 points per game and 5.2 yppl to a schedule of teams that would average 5.0 yppl against an average defensive team - so the Jayhawks are not bad defensively. The 54 points that Kansas gave up last week to Texas Tech is misleading given that they only allowed 5.8 yppl in that game (the -3 in fumbles hurt them). Kansas is the side in this one.
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ARMY (-7 1/2) 35 Eastern Michigan 24SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Eastern Michigan is a poor tackling team that can't stop teh run (6.7 yards per rushing play allowed to teams that would combine to average 4.4 yprp against an average team). That's a good match up for an Army offense that runs the ball 80% of the time. My math model gives Army a 54.6% chance of covering at -7 1/2 points and I'd consider Army a Strong Opinion at -7 points or less.
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BYU (-7) 32 Georgia Tech 20SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Georgia Tech has stumbled to back-to-back losses to Virginia Tech and Miami after starting the season with 3 spread covering wins. The Yellow Jackets do apply to a 70-23-1 ATS road underdog bounce-back situation but I would have made BYU a Best Bet had it not been for that angle. Georgia Tech is only a few points better than an average team while BYU is nearly 14 points better than average. The Cougars know how to defend the option, having faced Air Force for years in conference play and BYU has a disciplined and dominating defense that's allowed just 3.8 yards per rushing play (to teams that would average 5.2 yprp against an average team). My math model gives BYU a 57.7% chance of covering based solely on the math but the situation favoring Georgia Tech kept me from making the Cougars a play.
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Buffalo (-11) 28 WESTERN MICHIGAN 21SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Western Michigan will be without starting quarterback Tyler Van Tubbergen, which may not be a bad thing considering his 45% completion rate and 10 interceptions. I did adjust the Broncos' pass attack downwards because backup Zach Terrell, while having better stats overall, has had worse numbers when facing the opposing team's starting defense. Even after the adjustment, I still only get Buffalo by 9 points and Western Michigan applies to a 65-23-2 ATS situation that plays on home dogs off 3 or more spread losses against a road favorite off 2 or more spread wins.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, October 12

Dave MathewsFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Red Sox vs. TigersFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
Play: Over 7.5FOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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The Red Sox and Tigers have two of the strongest offenses in the league. The last time they faced each other, Boston put up 20 runs on September 4. Anibal Sanchez is coming off a poor performance in his last start against Oakland, giving up five runs and three home runs in 4 1/3 innings. Now he has to pitch in Fenway Park for the first time. Jon Lester has given up 10 runs in his last three starts against the Tigers, who hit .265 against left-handers. Expect the power bats to show up for the Tigers.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, October 12

Nick Parsons

Montreal vs. Vancouver
Pick: Vancouver

The Habs are coming off a 4-1 win over the Oilers on Thursday.

The 'Nucks are coming off a 4-1 loss to the Sharks on Thursday.

I like Vancouver to bounce back in its final home contest before a lengthy seven game road trip over the next two weeks.

The Canadiens

Montreal is 2-2, coming off a convincing 4-1 win over the hapless Oilers.

A big blow to the Habs though will be the absence of captain Brian Gionta because of personal reasons: "We don't know when he's going to come back," coach Michel Therrien said last night. "He's an important part of our team. He's a good leader, but right now I don't know when he's going to come back."

The Canucks

San Jose has had Vancouver's number the last couple of years, but the 'Nucks haven't had any issues dispatching of every other opponent, having won their other three games by outscoring their foes 14-8.

Keep your eyes on the Sedin brothers who have combined for 12 points over the first five games.

The Bottom Line

The Canucks have been sharp on the penalty-kill, killing off all 18 so far this year. Vancouver is the deeper team with the home ice advantage; consider laying the short price in this one.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, October 12

Matt Fargo

Kent State vs. Ball State
Pick: Kent State

We are catching a better than expected number with Kent St. for a few reasons. The Golden Flashes are off to a 2-4 start to the season which comes as a surprise after going 11-3 last year while going to its first bowl game since 1972. They did lose a few notable starters as well as head coach Darrell Hazell who went to Purdue but they were eying their second straight bowl game. After defeating Liberty in its opener, Kent St. has gone 1-4 over its last five games and it has been dominated in those losses which is a big reason for the size of this line. A big piece of the offense is back as Dri Archer looks to finally be back to 100 percent. Last week, the tailback displayed flashes of the brilliance, running back a kickoff 100 yards for a score, and catching a 66-yard touchdown pass. He was limited in rushing attempts but his role will be expanded this week. Ball St. is 5-1 and feasible could be at 6-0 if not for a meltdown against North Texas early in the season. The Cardinals are coming off a win at Virginia last week and even though it was a nonconference victory, it is going to be hard for the Cardinals not to feel a letdown after that as it was one of the biggest wins in school history, at least according to head coach Pete Lembo. "I'm not usually speechless, but I'm pretty darn close," Lembo said. "It's going to take a while for this one to really sink in. But this has to be the biggest win in the history of Ball State football in 90 years." That certainly confirms it. Of their five wins, Ball St. has outgained its opponent by 64 yards or fewer four times so while winning, it has not been as dominating as some of the final scores have looked. The key here is the Golden Flashes defense as they have struggled for the most part and had a horrible game last week against Northern Illinois. They do not have to stop the Cardinals offense but slow it down enough to allow the offense to keep up which it should be able to do. Ball St.'s defense has definitely been the weakness as it is 89th overall including 105th in rushing defense, allowing 208.2 ypg. That is a big reason we should see a heavy dose of Archer who had 176 total yards as well as a kickoff return for a touchdown in last year's meeting. The Golden Flashes are 5-1 ATS in their last six games following an ATS loss while the Cardinals are 2-5 ATS in their last seven games following a win of more than 20 points.

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Sean Murphy

Northwestern vs. Wisconsin
Pick: Wisconsin

Northwestern is in a tough spot this week, traveling to face the Badgers in a series that has been dominated by the home side over the years. I believe the oddsmakers have got it right this time around, installing Wisconsin as a considerable favorite.

While the Badgers were idle last week, Northwestern was involved in a barn-burner at home against Ohio State - a game the Wildcats ultimately lost by a 40-30 score. I simply don't like the progression, or lack thereof, we've seen from Northwestern this season. After winning its first two games handily against Cal and Syracuse, it has been rather unimpressive over a three-game stretch, posting an 0-3 ATS mark.

Wisconsin is a modest 3-2 SU to start the season, but it shouldn't be knocked for either of its two losses. Those came on the road against a pair of still underrated squads in Arizona State and Oregon State. It's certainly worth noting that the Badgers gave both opponents all they could handle, going 1-0-1 ATS and losing by just nine points combined.

The Badgers are getting it done in all facets of the game this season, averaging 7.7 yards per play on offense while giving up a stingy 4.2 yards per play defensively. While the Wildcats do pose a significant challenge, I believe home field will prove to be the difference for Wisconsin.

Note that the last time these two teams met was back in 2010, when the Badgers rolled to a 70-23 victory right here at home.

With back-to-back trips to Illinois and Iowa on deck, the Badgers must realize the importance of this game in the Big Ten picture. Northwestern gets a home game against Minnesota next, so I'm not sure they'll be able to match Wisky's sense of urgency on Saturday.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, October 12

Chip Chirimbes

Baylor vs. Kansas State    
Play: Kansas State +17½

Okay, I can see like everyone else that the Baylor Bears are averaging over 70 points per games and have score only 17 points in the fourth quarter. Those of course are impressive number against anyone but now they are involved in a Big-12 Conference game and that is a completely different animal. True the Bears are streaking against the spread but not only is the underdog 5-1 ATS in the last six meetings but the home team is 4-1 ATS in the last five. I'll take KANSAS STATE!

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Eddie J

Rice at Tex San Antonio
Pick: Rice

3-2 Rice will take on 2-4 Texas-SA. Rice is coming off an inspiring win at Tulsa and has looked good in their 2 defeats this year. UTSA has lost by an average of 25 PPG in their 4 losses. Rice destroyed UTSA last year 34-14 outgaining the Roadrunners by 240 yards. The common matchup this year was Houston with both teams losing but Rice lost 31-26 and UTSA lost 59-28.Rice should get top RB Charles Ross back and should win fairly easy.

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Andy Iskoe

Oregon -13.5

This is a tough spot for the hosts who just lost a very competitive game at Stanford. But that was not all that surprising as Washington upset Stanford last season and clearly was able to match up well against the Cardinal. That should not be the case here as Oregon and its team speed and fast paced attack post a different set of problems that the Huskies have had trouble with in their recent meetings. The Ducks have won the last 9 games vs UW, going 8-1 ATS. All of the wins have been by at least 17 points including wins by 17, 24 and 24 points on this field. Oregon has yet to really be challenged this season and this is the smallest amount by which the Ducks have been favored this season (3-0-2 ATS). Much of the focus has been on the Oregon offense but the defense has also been outstanding, allowing under 12 ppg. If pressed, Oregon's starters will still be in the game in the second half. Oregon has generally been a quick starter. Washington is improved but still steps up even more in class this week.

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Charlie Scott

Missouri vs. Georgia
Play: Missouri +7

The Mizzou Tigers have been good to us at Charlie Scott Sports, and although the line has moved, I still feel the Tigers cash the money Today. While Georgia is very good, their dealing with key skill player injuries and their defense is bad. Georgia's defense doesn't tackle well and Can't stop the Pass. Well Missouri has the speed and athletes to play with Georgia and on Offense they Can Pass.

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Bob Balfe

Virginia Tech -7

Pittsburgh does not do well against good defenses. Their QB Tom Savage is a good player, but he is a gun slinger that throws silly interceptions. This Virginia Tech Defense is the best in the nation and will take advantage of his aggression. VTech is not the best offensive team, but this Pittsburgh team has been a major letdown on defense with the players that they have. The Panthers will find a way to hand this game to the Hokies. Take Virginia Tech.

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Harry Bondi

RICE (-1) over Texas San Antonio

Very quietly, the Rice Owls have been playing some decent football, dating all the way back to last year, particularly in conference play. The Owls enter on a two-game winning streak and overall Rice has won nine of its last 11 games, including six straight against teams from Conference USA. While Rice comes in with momentum, the depth-shy Roadrunners are starting to fade and this will be their seventh game in seven weeks. Larry Coker’s team covered three of its first four games of the season, but has lost its last two in blowout fashion, both straight-up and against the spread. Rice is 7-0 ATS the last three years when playing in a game in which it is between a 3-point dog and 3-point favorite, meaning it usually wins games when the talent-level is even. Last year, Rice dominated from start-to-finish in a 34-14 rout and we don’t see much of a difference for either team less than a year later. Owls roll.

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Jeff Scott Sports

4 UNIT PLAY

NORTHERN ILLINOIS -22 over Akron: The Huskies do have a weakness on defense, where they allow 477.8 ypg overall, 313.8 ypg through the air and 29.8 ppg, but have no fear as they are playing one of the worst offenses in the nation, coming in ranked 113th in total offense, 115th in rushing offense and 108th in scoring offense, averaging just 18.8 ppg. Last week vs a very beat up Ohio defense, the Zips were able to muster just 157 yards and 3 points in the game. The Zip defense is allowing 34.7 ppg on the year and they really don't have a defense that will stop this powerful NIU offense that averages 500+ yards and 42.2 ppg. The Zips had their two near wins, while the Huskies have had their two near losses and I expect them to be fully focused for this one. They still have thoughts of possibly making it back to a BCS bowl, so running up scores will be in their best interest here. NIU by at least 30 in this one.

3 UNIT PLAYS

MISSISSIPPI STATE -10 over Bowling Green: Not a good spot for the Falcons here. They come off playing an FC foe and 2 of the worst teams in CFB and now must travel to SEC land to take on a Bulldog teams that is off a 33 point loss to LSU and has a bye week on deck. Bowling Green has looked good inside the MAC in recent years, but in their last 4 road games vs BCS teams they have been outscored by 32, 13, 37, 45 & 44 points. One of those losses was a 42-10 defeat at Indiana this year, which is their only loss of the season. Mississippi State is 2-3 on the year, and they really need wins like this if they hope to go bowling this year. Mullen is 12-4 ATS as a home favorite and the Bulldogs have outscored their two non-conference foes at home bay a 113-14 count this year. Look for the Bulldogs to win this one close to 3 TD's.

Georgia/ Missouri Over 64: The Tigers have one of the more potent offenses in the SEC, while Georgia checks in with a very porous defense that has allowed 32.6 ppg and 403.8 ypg on the year. Defensively the Tigers have big problems vs the pass, ranking 114th in the nation in that category and will have even more problems this week vs a Georgia pass offense that ranks 17th in the nation, putting up 315.7 ypg through the air. Both offenses are high powered and balanced, while both teams struggle big time vs the pass, meaning this should be another one of those wild, high scoring SEC games that we have been seeing this year. 70+ in this one.

UCLA -25 Over California: The UCLA Bruins have one of the most potent offenses in the nation, averaging 561.8 ypg and 48 ppg. They are also one of the more balanced offenses in the nation as they average 302 ypg through the air and 259.8 ypg on the ground. This is a tough offense for even a halfway good defense to defend, but they will not be taking on a halfway decent defense this week. They will be taking on a piss poor defense. The Cal Bears come in with the 123 ranked defense overall, allowing 526 ypg and they are 124th in points allowed, allowing 45 ppg. The Bears are also a very balanced defense, ranking 118th vs the pass and 113th vs the run. Really hard to see UCLA not putting up 50+ in this one with ease. Cal offense is 17th in the nation and 4th in passing, but they can't run the ball (105th) and they average just 27.8 ppg, which is 77th in the nation. The UCLA defense is much better than the call defense and that is where the biggest edge in this game comes from. The Bruins have allowed 351 ypg and just 20.2 ppg on the year and they are good vs the pass, ranking 28th in that category allowing just 204.8 ypg and that is impressive as teams need to pass vs this team to keep up with them. Cal will not be able to stop this team in this game, while the Bruin defense will keep the bears offense under wraps, which should lead to at least a 4 TD win for a Bruins team that has revenge for a 26 point road loss at Cal Last year.

COLORADO STATE -3.5 over San Jose State: Just like the UCLA game, this is a big revenge spot for a Colorado State squad that is playing very well right now. The Rams took a 14 point loss to Colorado in their opener, but since then they have reeled of 4 straight spread wins and are 2-2 over that stretch. The two losses were at Tulsa by 3 and at Alabama by 25, in a game in which they were outgained by just 59 yards. San Jose State comes in at 2-3 on the year and really haven't played all that well of late losing 3 of their last 4, with all 3 losses coming by at least 19 points. Their lone win over that stretch was last week in a game they won by 10 points at a very bad Hawaii team. This is the second year of the Jim McElwain era at CSU and the improvements are starting to show. The Rams do have revenge for a 20 point loss to the Spartans last year and they are 20-5 ATS with revenge after scoring 35+ points. Very nice trend indeed. Rams by at least a TD here.

2 UNIT PLAYS

New Mexico/ Wyoming Over 69: Just because a team runs the ball all the time doesn't mean they will always bee low scoring games. The Lobos have put up 108 points in their last 2 games and they did just about all of it running as they ran the ball 115 times and threw it just 8 times in the two games. The Lobos averaged 9.1 ypc in their last 2 games and will now be taking on a Wyoming squad that has one of the worst run defenses in the nation, allowing 236 ypg and 4.9 ypc. Offensively the Cowboys will be hard to stop by a defense that is just dreadful this year. This game should easily hit the 70 point mark.

Oregon -13 over WASHINGTON: The Ducks are rolling and are a team that does love to pile it on. I say that this team is the best team in the nation. They have an unstoppable offense and a very underrated defense, making them a very complete team that is more than capable of knocking off ANY team in the nation and yes that means you Alabama as well. The Huskies are an improved team this year and they have a solid home field advantage, but still overall they are just not at the level of the Ducks just yet. Oregon by 17+ here.

1 UNIT PLAY

Georgia Tech/ BYU Under 53: Both teams run the ball a ton and that should keep the clock moving. The Tech defense has been solid this year allowing just 120.8 ypg on the ground, while BYU has allowed just 132.6 ypg on the ground. Two power ground games vs two defenses that stop the run very well and are solid overall should lead to a low scoring game in this one.

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