Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, October 26

Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, October 26

Alex Smart

Tulsa vs. Tulane    
Play: Tulane +3

QB Nick Montana, of Tulane has completed 102-of-183 passes for 1,116 yards and 10 touchdowns with four interceptions, but is still not 100% because of an injury and has been limited in practice. Thats why I did not list this selection as quality premium play. However, his backup Devin Powell, who made his first start of the season in the ECU victory, passed for 224 yards, completing 23-of-39 attempts for two touchdowns. He threw one interception. The second year pivot looked really good, and Im betting if he plays against a below average Tulsa D more success will be registered! Green Wave are 7-1 ATS in their last 8 home games.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, October 26

Eddie J

Northwestern vs Iowa
Pick: Northwestern

Northwestern will try to salvage their season when they play Iowa. Northwestern was a drive away from knocking off Ohio State and becoming kings of the Big Ten. Since then they have lost all 3 of their Big ten games and will be in desperation mode vs Iowa. Northwestern will get QB Kain Colter back and have had great success against Iowa. NW is 6-2 SU against Iowa L8 and 3-1 SU at Iowa L4. NW covered in all 4 wins. NW hasn't covered L5 games and is on the verge of going 0-4 in BIG Ten play. NW is a top 15 team in my opinion. NW will show it Saturday and win SU.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, October 26

Jeff Clement

Michigan State vs. Illinois
Play: Michigan State -10

Michigan State(6-1) vs. Illinois(3-3) is the free play of the week! Michigan State's defense has been outstanding only allowing 13.6 points per game which ranks 4th in the nation and shutout Purdue last week 14-0. They have only allowed a team to score over 20 points once this year so if they can score their 28.1 offensive average on Saturday they should cover this game. I predict Michigan St. will win 30-16. Illinois is 1-8 ATS against Michigan St. and Michigan St is 8-1 SU in last 9 games.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, October 26

AC Dinero

Fresno State vs. San Diego State
Play: San Diego State +9

Fresno St is the top choice as a BCS buster. If they are to lose a game, this is the prime candidate. The Bulldogs do own the edge in all the major statistics, but San Diego St has played much better after a rough start, winners of the last 3 games. The Aztecs are particularly good defending the run, one of the key elements when trying to upset a road favorite. After adding in the edge in the kicking game, San Diego St has an excellent chance in this game, a TD either way.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, October 26

Bryan Leonard

South Carolina at Missouri
Play: South Carolina +3

The Gamecocks have played the slightly tougher schedule and they are playing their third straight game on the road. But it's also their last road game of the season, and other than a year ending game against in-state rival Clemson the path looks to be smooth sailing with a win here. South Carolina is 14-10 ATS in the road dog role and in Steve Spurrier's coaching career he is 39-26-1 SU off an outright loss. The Gamecocks have out gained every opponent this year except Georgia, and have virtually identical numbers in all the key statistics despite Missouri playing a little easier schedule. A major reason for Missouri being favored here is turnovers. They have lost only 3 fumbles this year while the Gamecocks have lost 9. That's likely not a sustainable stat. South Carolina's defense is better than the stats show as they are only allowing 11.2 first downs per game on first and second down. That means they have the ability to limit big plays and make the offense work harder than the raw numbers show. 

While South Carolina is off a loss as a road favorite at Tennessee, Missouri is in a letdown spot this week. Two weeks ago Missouri as a 7 point road underdog shocked Georgia. Unfortunately starting QB James Franklin went down in that contest and is likely out for the entire season. In stepped highly touted QB Maty Mauk who not only didn't falter against Georgia, but he led the team to a victory last week against Florida. Teams have a tendency to pull together in the face of key injuries which is exactly what the Tigers did. But now after the back to back huge victories to put Missouri on the map a letdown is sure to occur.

Missouri is a very good team but the situation calls for the Gamecocks here. We get a terrific spot with at least a team of equal ability at a nice underdog price.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, October 26

Stephen Nover

Ohio St. -14.5

Trailing Alabama, Oregon and Florida State in the Top 25 poll, unbeaten Ohio State needs a signature victory.

The Buckeyes came out flat against Iowa last week trailing in the third quarter before winning, 34-24, at home.

Elite teams that were sloppy the week before rarely play subpar two weeks in a row. Look for Urban Meyer to have the Buckeyes fired up to run up a big score. They have the quarterback, Braxton Miller, and running back, Carlos Hyde, to accomplish that.

I like Penn State coach Bill O'Brien and his freshman quarterback, Christian Hackenberg. If they stay together they could become a college version of Bill Belichick and Tom Brady.

But this isn't their spot and Hackenberg isn't ready yet. This is just the Nittany Lions' second true road contest. They were hammered 44-24 at Indiana two games ago. The Hooisers gained close to 500 yards, throwing for 336 yards. This road venue and foe is far more difficult for Penn State.

The Nittany Lions have played a very easy schedule having beaten Syracuse, Eastern Michigan and Kent State. They are not battled tested enough to hang on the road with this caliber of opponent. Expect the Buckeyes to cover for the eighth time in the last 10 home meetings against the Nittany Lions.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, October 26

Dave Essler

Colorado +13

This one was simply an initial lean from my early-week thread and if it's going to move that much I am not leaving it off. I love to fade those Southwest/dry/hot weather teams this time of the year coming to Colorado, where it is none-of-the-above and the air is simply unbreathable for most of those kids.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, October 26

Carlos Salazar

Baylor -34.5

It's not often you can say a 34.5 point favorite is a bad line but when your team can score 69+ points it is (which Baylor has in five of its games). Carlos says this line should be more like 60 and that Baylor will cover the 34.5 with ease.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, October 26

Alex Smith Sports

Georgia Tech at Virginia
Pick: Over

The Yellow Jackets fly north to Va. to take on the Cavs in an ACC showdown that pits two smash-mouth clubs together. Geo Tech has dominated the ground game as usual with their Triple Option attack. Last week, they obliterated Syracuse 56-0 by running for 388 yards. Now, they face a Virginia team who have given up 125+ yards Last 3 games against teams who pass more than they rush. The Cavaliers should put up some points in this contest, but I like Georgia Tech to help push this game Over the posted total.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, October 26

Marc Lawrence

North Carolina St at Florida St
Prediction: North Carolina St

lthough they may not want to hear it in Nike Country, this might be a better gauge of who the real No. 2 in the first BCS poll released last Sunday should be: the Seminoles? FBS foes are 21-12 combined this season, while the Ducks? FBS opponents are just 18-24. To be honest, we are still trying to put our jaws back in place after watching the carnage in Death Valley last Saturday night, but give all the credit in the world to Jimbo Fisher, Jameis Winston and the entire FSU program. Just think what Fisher has overcome this season: the loss of six assistant coaches, having four NFL draft picks from the defensive line alone (and that doesn?t even include the other 1st-rounders, EJ Manuel and Xavier Rhodes, plus five others!) and a 5-9 record in ACC games away from Doak Campbell Stadium during his tenure. But for all the kudos, consider that after such a huge performance, a natural letdown is in order. Plus, the Wolfpack presents a dangerous dog off back-to-back losses with a week of rest, not to mention that they have covered seven of the last eight games in this series - including a confidence building 17-16 win last season as 17-point dog . Add to that State?s 7-2 ATS mark as conference dogs of 10 points or more, and a 14-3 SU and 12-2-2 ATS mark off a loss the last 5 years, including 9-1 SU and 8-0-2 ATS versus .500 or greater opponents, and you get the picture. So, even though FSU has covered their last four games before playing Miami, be aware that this is a premium spot to go against the Noles. Pack up the points in this meaty sandwich. We recommend a 1-unit play on NC State. Thank you and good luck as always.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, October 26

Matt Fargo

Boston College vs. North Carolina    
Play: Boston College +7

We won with North Carolina last Thursday night as it stayed within the number against Miami. It was a devastating outright loss for the Tar Heels however as they were up by 10 points in the fourth quarter but gave up the final 14 points including the game winning touchdown with just 16 seconds remaining. Recovering from that defeat will be difficult not to mention recovering from four straight losses on top of that. Against the Hurricanes, the defense played exceptional for three plus quarters as the only touchdown given up was on a blocked field goal return. But when it was all said and done, North Carolina allowed 556 yards and is now ranked 106th in the nation in total defense, allowing 456 ypg. On the other side, the offense produced against Miami but in five trips into the redzone, the Tar Heels walked away with just one touchdown, settling for three field goals and that other one that was blocked. Now they face the 3rd ranked redzone defense in the country so expect those struggles to continue. Boston College is 3-3 on the season following a loss at Clemson two weeks ago. The Eagles have dropped three of their last four games but with the exception of a loss at USC, they could not be more competitive. They led both Clemson and Florida St. so while it may be a case of both teams not taking Boston College too serious, the fact is the Eagles are not laying down for anyone. After a 2-10 season a year ago, the Eagles have already surpassed that win total and with a very favorable remaining schedule, they could make a run at a bowl game, the first since 2010. Two stats stand out for the Tar Heels and those are rushing offense and defense where they are ranked 114th and 101st respectively. Those will not win many games and considering North Carolina is 1-5, that is holding true. Boston College is better in both categories and it possesses the best player on the field in Andre Williams. The running back is the ACC's leading rusher and fifth overall in the nation, averaging 139.7 ypg. Williams, who has already rushed for more than 200 yards twice this season, will need 162 yards to reach the 1,000 mark for the season. My guess is that he gets it. Boston College is 5-1 ATS in its last six games following a loss while the Tar Heels are 0-4 ATS in their last four games following an ATS win. Don't be surprised to see the outright win here.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, October 26

Dave Price

Colorado +14

Arizona snapped a two-game losing streak with a 35-24 home win over Utah, but now it's back on the road where it is 0-2 SU and ATS in its last two. The Wildcats are just 2-11 in their last 13 conference road games, which is why I feel they are being overvalued here. Colorado is 0-3 SU and ATS in Pac-12 play, but those losses came to Oregon State, Oregon and Arizona State - teams that are 18-3 combined. The Buffaloes enjoyed a confidence-boosting 43-10 win over Charleston Southern last week, and I believe it will be able to carry the momentum into this contest. The Buffs will be lacking no motivation as they look to avenge last season's 56-31 loss at Arizona. Something tells me this one will go much differently. Colorado upset the Wildcats 48-29 as a double-digit home dog in 2011, and I think we could see history repeat itself Saturday. The Wildcats have been an awful play when laying this large of a number. In fact, they are just 9-22 ATS since 1992 when listed as a favorite of 10.5 to 21 points. The interesting thing about this trend is that they've won these games by only 9.6 points on average. That's nearly a point less than the lowest number we're looking at in this set. Clearly, Arizona hasn't proven it can be trusted as big chalk. Take the points.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, October 26

Teddy Covers

Texas Tech vs. Oklahoma
Pick: Oklahoma

Here in Las Vegas, professional bettors are laughing at Texas Tech’s Top 10 national ranking.  Just like last week, when the betting markets told everybody that Florida State was the ‘right side’ against Clemson, this week, the markets are saying that the Red Raiders great start is more about schedule as it is about talent. 

Make no mistake about it.  Kliff Kingsbury’s squad has been feasting on the weak.  Their only win all year against an opponent with a winning record came against 4-3 Texas State from the Sun Belt Conference.  Texas Tech has beaten nothing but weaklings in Big 12 play: Iowa State, Kansas, West Virginia and TCU; teams that are a combined 2-12 SU in conference this year.  The meat of their schedule starts this week at Oklahoma, with matchups against Oklahoma State, Baylor and Texas still to come.  I’m not expecting this squad to have a similar level of success over the back half of the campaign.

I’m not going to be able to make any sort of a case for Oklahoma based on statistics, because Texas Tech has such good numbers against their weak foes, while the Sooners have already stepped up in class several times this season.  But it’s surely worth noting that Bob Stoops stop unit has held six of their first seven foes to 21 points or less.  It’s also worth noting that this team is 61-4 SU in their last 65 home games dating back to 2003; taking care of business in Norman.

And against common opponents, you can clearly see the defensive differences between these two squads.  West Virginia had 27 points, 23 first downs and 437 yards of offense against Texas Tech.  Against Oklahoma, the Mountaineers managed only a single touchdown.  TCU gained 401 yards and 23 first downs against the Red Raiders.  Against the Sooners, TCU had ten first downs and 210 total yards; 75 of which came on a garbage time TD drive in the last two minutes with the outcome already decided.  There’s a legitimate class difference between these two stop units that simply isn’t reflected enough in this pointspread.

Oklahoma played a bad game against Texas and survived their ‘hangover’ contest in a lethargic performance at Kansas last Saturday.  Now, returning home to face a team they blasted 41-20 last year, to go along with recent 45-7 and 65-21 home wins over the Red Raiders, I’m perfectly willing to ask the Sooners to win this one by a TD or more.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, October 26

Advantage Sports

Boston College vs North Carolina
Pick: Boston College

When your coach calls his team's prior game "The most important game of our season" (I may be paraphrasing here) and they blow a 4th quarter lead to lose on their home field, it sets up a real letdown situation when you have to get off the mat as a conference favorite in your next game... that is the situation facing Larry Fedora and his UNC Tar Heels off the bitter defeat to Miami-Florida last week on national TV. BC has gone toe to toe in ACC play with the beasts of the conference in Florida State and Clemson and held their own, plus covered the number in both.The Golden Eagles have covered three in a row and has the best running back on the field in Andre Williams, not to mention solid and consistent senior quarterback Chase Rettig. Mr. Rettig has been at BC so long that an acquaintance said "He has been at BC longer than John Belushi was at Faber College in Animal House"... regardless, UNC has some cluster injuries on defense and their own quarterback Bryn Renner has been dealing with a fairly severe ankle injury for the past few weeks, yet still competing. The Hells really lost more than many expected when their own running back Gio Bernard went off to the Bengals and NFL paydays. UNC has lost four in a row straight up and has likely cashed in their chips for 2013 with little chance of a major bowl, if they even get an invite while BC can take a huge step toward bowl eligibility with a win here. BC sits at 3-3, but one win was against FCS Villanova. The schedule the rest of the way has some tricky spots with Va. Tech coming up at home next, but winnable games after that against New Mexico State, Maryland, Syracuse and NC State. In terms of current form, BC is playing better and with a new toughness under Steve Addazio. Getting over a TD against a fading conference foe is always a good situational play. I have to wonder about the Tar Heels mindset after blowing that 10 point, 4th quarter lead in their coaches self-described team's biggest game, while BC has had the pleasure of a week off prior to this one. A solid "TAKE" with the Eagles, and look at a ML play on them as well at +210 or better.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, October 26

Jim Feist

Troy vs. Western Kentucky    
Play: Western Kentucky -10

Troy is 2-3 its last 5 games and is at the end of a brutal scheduling spot, playing its 5th road game in 6 weeks. The Trojans are 7-18-2 ATS in their last 27 conference games. Troy has all kinds of trouble on defense giving up 33.7 ppg (107th in the nation). The Trojans are 2-8-1 ATS in their last 11 games following a S.U. win. Western Kentucky has great balance on offense, averaging over 200 yards rushing and passing. They've won 3 of 4 games and the Hilltoppers are 21-8 ATS in their last 29 games overall. And the Troy Trojans are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 meetings. Play Western Kentucky.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, October 26

Jimmy Boyd

Texas +2½

The wrong team appears to be favored in this matchup between the Longhorns and Horned Frogs. TCU has been a major disappointment this season, posting a 3-4 overall record and losing two of their last three games. The Longhorns on the other hand come into this game with a 4-2 overall record, have have won three consecutive games. Texas is undefeated in Big 12 play, and they are coming off a 16-point win over an Oklahoma team that defeated TCU by three points. The Longhorns are also coming off a bye week, giving them extra time to prepare for this matchup.

Texas is averaging 33 points per game this season. Their ground attack has been hard to stop, rushing for 203 yards per game on 4.8 yards per carry. They are not a one-sided team on offense though. The Longhorns are also completing over 60% of their pass attempts for another 254 yards of offense. They have outpaced the Horned Frogs by 127 yards of offense per game this season. Defensively they could stand to improve, but they face a TCU team that is averaging 3.9 yards per carry and completing a mere 57.6% of their pass attempts. If not for a 38 point performance against SE Louisiana, and a 48 point performance against SMU the Horned Frogs would average a mere 18.2 points per game this season.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, October 26

Kyle Hunter

Stanford vs. Oregon State    
Play: Oregon State +4½

The Oregon State Beavers have a great passing attack, and that is the weakness of the Stanford defense. Brandin Cooks may be the best wide receiver in the country and this should be a huge game for him. Sean Mannion has thrown 29 TD's and just 3 INT's so far this year. The Beavers have a very good home field advantage in Corvallis. Stanford is coming off to consecutive huge games in a row. Can they give max effort for a third straight game? I like the value on the home dog here. Take Oregon State.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, October 26

Chip Chirimbes

UCLA vs. Oregon    
Play: UCLA +24

Last week UCLA found out what it's like to play with the 'big boys' as Stanford dominated the Bruins in an easy victory. Meanwhile, The Ducks were destroying Washington State who score two meaningless touchdowns in the final three minutes. Oregon has won the last four meetings and has scored 55 or more points in six of it's seven games. Last weeks loss was a learning experience for the Bruins and they will use that big-game knowledge to keep this close. Take UCLA!

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, October 26

Jeff Alexander

Texas +2½

Texas has rebounded from a poor start. It's 3-0 in Big 12 play and has its sights set on a conference championship. The Longhorns enter this contest full of confidence after putting the hurt on rival Oklahoma. They also enter this game fully prepared following a bye. Lastly, they enter this matchup with revenge on the mind after losing 20-13 at home to the Horned Frogs last season. Texas is the no-doubt more talented team, and it has plenty to play for. The Horned Frogs are 1-7 ATS in their last 8 home games. Bet Texas.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, October 26

Ray Monohan

Houston +7

I don’t know why many think Rutgers is a pretty good team. Their pass defense is awful and look who is coming to town, Houston. The Cougars have a better defense than they have had in years and have one blemish on their record, a one point loss to BYU. They are a perfect 7-0 ATS and were off last week to prepare for this road game (full disclosure so was Rutgers). Houston can win this one easily and with that offense they should keep it close to the final possess either way.

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