Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, October 26

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

Lee Williams

Colorado State vs. Hawaii    
Play: Hawaii +3

Rams head to Island after a big upset win over Wyoming.So not only are they primed to be a bit flat, they will face Hawaii team that has progressively gotten better during course of season.albeit not reflected in W/L record.Rainbow QB Schroeder has progressed considerably during season and gives Hawaii excellent chance at a SU win here against porous CSU defense.

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

Joseph D'Amico

Texas +2½

Texas comes in winning their L3 over KSU, ISU, and Oklahoma, posting just under 33 PPG. TCU plays well against inferior squads but falls short when facing quality foes. They are 1-3 ATS at home this season. The Horned Frogs are a mess going 2-7 ATS their L9, ranking over 95th in rushing, passing, and Total yards. Their backfield is subpar to say the least. No doubt, Longhorns RB, Jonathan Grey runs amok and allows Texas to win outright here. Take Texas.

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

King Creole

Bowling Green -4

Sharp players are already aware that this MAC series is one that's been dominated by the HOME team. The host in the Bowling Green / Toledo series has gone 6-1 ATS in the last 8 meetings. And for you Totals players, ALL six of those games have gone 'Under the Total'. There's a very good chance that the Falcons will be playing in the MAC Conference Championship game... given their current 3-0 SU record in conference play (tied with Buffalo). Their balanced offense (203 ypg rushing / 263 ypg passing) is ranked in the Top 30 in the country. And that's an offense that's 50 ypg HIGHER than Saturday's foe. In addition, we'll be laying a small number with a defense that's also 60 ypg better than the Rockets. BG's only two losses on the season (5-2 SU overall) were against a Big 10 opponent and a SEC opponent.

We'll also have a advantage at the QUARTERBACK position, as Matt Johnson (245 ypg passing / 9-2 TD-INT ratio / #34 in QB rankings) grades out much higher than Toledo's Terrance Owens (184 ypg passing / 5-6 TD-INT ratio / #105 in QB rankings). The Rockets come in off a draining double-OT win against Navy (final score 45-44) in which their defense was was torched for 414 yards. As mentioned in this week's Playbook newsletter, road teams playing WITHOUT rest off an overtime  win are GREAT 'play againsts' as of late. And Toledo has followed up each of their last 6 wins with a 1-5 ATS record. We also note that road underdogs of 10 < pts playing off a SU home favorite win in which they scored AND allowed 40 or more points have gone 1-9-1 ATS in the last 5 seasons. Despite a 4-3 SU record, Toledo is only +3.0 ppg on the season.

Like they need even MORE incentive, the host Falcons bring the ultimate 'extra' in motivation to Saturday's game. And that's the 'BIG R'... as in Revenge. And we're not talking single or double Revenge. But TRIPLE Revenge for Bowling Green... for losses in each of the of the last three seasons.

MAC Conference home favorites playing REVENGE and off a SU loss (BOWLING GREEN) have gone 12-2-2 ATS since 2003 versus any opponent off a SU win (Toledo).

Let's not forget the EXTRA rest for the host Falcons. Their last game was back on Oct. 12th... when they lost on the road (but COVERED the spread) against Mississippi State.
13-2 ATS since 2008: All conference home favorites of < 7 points playing with REST... and off a SU non-conference road loss (BOWLING GREEN).

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

JORDAN HAIMOWITZ

03 OCT 1-2
04 OCT 1-1
05 OCT 3-0
10 OCT 2-0
12 OCT 6-0
19 OCT 5-3
22 OCT 0-1
24 OCT 2-0
25 OCT 1-0
26 OCT

3* Louisville -20

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

Rob Vinciletti

Tennessee vs. Alabama    
Play: Alabama -28

Alabama has covered 6 of the last between these two teams. Nick Saban has encouraged the Tide fans to stay until the game is over. Today he will have his team give them a reason to stay as he will not let his team take their foot off the gas today. Alabama is rolling. They have allowed 16 points in the last 5 games, while scoring 31 or more in all but one. Today they fit a powerful system that plays on favorites of more than 3 touchdowns up to -31 in conference games that scored 35 or more last out. The Tide have covered 11 of the last 12 at home if they averaged more than 6 yards per play over the last month. Alabama is 4-0 ats in tune up games before playing LSU and they have covered 10 of 11 as a conference favorite of 21 or higher. Tennessee has lost to the spread 4 of the last 5 times as a dog of 17 or more. Roll tide roll here today.

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Andy Iskoe

Tulane +3.5

Tulane has been a very pleasant surprise this season and at 5-2 is one win shy of becoming Bowl eligible for the first time since 2002. But their sights are set higher as the Green Wave is 3-0 in its half of Conference USA. Tulsa was expected to be down this season and that prophecy seems to have been accurate as the Golden Hurricane are 2-4 SU and 1-5 ATS, earning its lone cover in a 34-20 road win in its last game at weak UTEP. Both teams had last week off so each should be well rested and well prepared for this contest. Tulane has won and covered its last 3 games and is in its best position to end a lengthy losing streak to Tulsa which has won (and covered) all 8 meetings over the past decade. It should be noted that Tulsa was the far better team over this span with 7 winning seasons (and Bowl appearances) since 2005. But things have turned for both programs. Fundamentally Tulane holds most of the statistical edges in the matchup, including the key areas of turnovers and rushing defense. They have been the more efficient team.

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

Rocketman

Toledo @ Bowling Green
Play: Bowling Green -4

The Toledo Rockets travel to Bowling Green to take on the Falcons on Saturday afternoon. Toledo comes in with a 4-3 SU overall record this year while Bowling Green is now 5-2 SU on the season. All three of Toledo's losses have come on the road where they are 1-3 SU this season. Bowling Green is a perfect 4-0 SU at home this year where they are beating teams by an average of 35.2 points per game to only 8.7 points per game. Bowling Green defense is allowing only 17.1 points per game overall this year. Bowling Green is 5-1 ATS last 6 home games vs Toledo. Toledo is 0-7 ATS last 7 games following a bye week. Bowling Green is 8-2 ATS last 10 games against conference opponents. Bowling Green is 11-3 ATS last 14 games on artificial turf. The Favorite is 6-1 ATS last 7 meetings in this series and the home team is 12-2 ATS last 14 meetings between these two teams. We'll recommend a small play on Bowling Green today!

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

Charlie Scott

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

This was a wiseguy/sharp play with a better line earlier in the week and will be a popular play given out by Sports Services Today. Can't trust North Carolina as a Favorite 1-4 ATS this Season while a scrappy BC Team is 4-1 ATS. BC new Coach Addazio (from Temple) preaches the philosophy of his Teams Not beating themselves with TurnOvers and stupid mistakes, while that is exactly what North Carolina does. Keep in mind this is a bad sandwich spot for NC, the Tar Heals come off blowing a Thursday Night game with Miami in the final minute, Play BC Today, and then are At In State Rival NCST next week.

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

Nelly

Boston College + over North Carolina

The Tar Heels played commendably last Thursday in a big primetime opportunity looking to turn the season around but a late touchdown ruined the effort against Miami, leaving UNC at 1-5. Boston College has had two weeks to prepare for this game and the Eagles have played well against Florida State and Clemson in ACC losses and bowl hopes are definitely still alive. North Carolina has nearby rival NC State up next on the schedule and this is likely a problematic scheduling spot in between big games and following up a deflating defeat. Boston College rushes for 172 yards per game making the Eagles a dangerous underdog. North Carolina is allowing 31 points per game and this looks like a difficult spot.

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

Brad Diamond

Rutgers -6.5

RB Paul James (7.3 YPC) of Rutgers who suffered a lower leg injury against Arkansas is not available for Houston this Saturday. The youngster has put together 6 touches this season and will be sorely missed. However, the Scarlet Knights have had two weeks to prepare for this encounter. Rutgers is 4-2 SU with impressive wins over Arkansas and SMU, while giving Louisville a real battle before losing 24-10 on the road. Houston is 4-1 SU and 5-0 ATS this season, averaging 478 yards per game on offense with 6.16 yards play. The Cougars have not played the strong Rutgers schedule, but theyve had games against Southern, Temple, Rice, UTSA, Memphis and BYU. Last week, the Cougars scored 16 points that did not come from the offensive end. It was one great College Football game, but the strength of schedule issue showed up for BYU who in the end was a more difficult foe to upset.

Overall, the Knights have a HUGE EDGE with QB Gary Nova who is 19th nationally in throwing TD passes. If the offensive line co-ordinates more effectively this week, he should have a big day. The Houston is ranked #96 allowing on average 444 yards per game and is quite vulnerable. The bottom line, the Cougs are coming off a heart breaking home loss, and must travel back east.

Earlier this season when Houston defeated Temple in Philadelphia they utilized 13 second half points, while holding the Owls scoreless the last 30 minutes. The difference was Temple looked tired in the 4th quarter. Here Rutgers is well rested and we fully expect coach Kyle Flood to have the Knights ready for a BIG WIN. So, we close with Houston 1-4 ATS in conference. Rutgers 38-27..

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

Bob Balfe

St. Louis Cardinals -110

What a great series this is turning into. Its almost impossible to pick the winner each night. Both teams are as evenly matched as it gets, but Peavy just doesn't seem to have what it takes to pitch in these big games. I think he is running out of gas this year. Take St. Louis at home.


Colorado State -3

Hawaii is not playing good football right now. This team is winless and just does not have the offense to compete this year. Colorado State in my opinion is on the rise and they have a decent offense as they are balanced running and throwing. This Rams Special Teams is pretty good also. Hawaii is just as bad as it gets right now and I don't see them winning more than maybe a game this year. Take Colorado State.

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

Dr Bob

Nebraska (-10½) 30 MINNESOTA 23

The question here is whether Nebraska’s defensive improvement over the last two games (4.2 yards per play allowed to teams that would average 5.0 yppl against an average team) is just variance or are they really better than their season rating of 0.7 yppl worse than average (5.9 yppl allowed to teams that would combine to average 5.2 yppl). If the last two games are just variance then the Cornhuskers are really not significantly better than Minnesota. The Gophers are 0.6 yppl worse than average on offense and 0.5 yppl worse than average on defense. That’s certainly not good but Nebraska’s offense, which is just 0.3 yppl better than average (6.3 yppl against teams that would allow 6.0 yppl) doesn’t make up for their bad defense. Actually, Nebraska’s overall compensated line of scrimmage rating is +1.1 points because they tend to run more plays than their opponents (+8.0 in play differential). However, Minnesota’s LOS rating is -10.9 points and this game is in Minnesota and the Gophers have a significant special teams advantage which makes Nebraska laying double-digits unreasonable. If Nebraska’s defense is better than their bad season rating then the line would be more reasonable but the Cornhuskers would have to have a better than average defense to justify the current line and two games of better than average defense is not enough evidence to suggest that that unit is suddenly better than average after being so bad for the first 4 games. I’ll lean with Minnesota plus the points.

Oklahoma State (-12½) 33 IOWA STATE 19

My math model only favors Oklahoma State by 11 points but the Cowboys are 35-10 ATS when favored by 5 to 24 points and the Cyclones might be lacking confidence after giving up 71 points to Baylor last week. Teams that allowed more than 60 points in their last game are just 51-82-2 ATS as underdogs. I’ll lean slightly with Oklahoma State.

Louisville (-20½) 33 SOUTH FLORIDA 13

This game really comes down to how much of a letdown Louisville will suffer after their dreams of an unbeaten season for crushed last week by Central Florida. Teams that start the season 5-0 or better tend to letdown following their first loss of the season, especially when facing a mediocre or bad team. In fact, teams that are coming off their first loss of the season after starting 5-0 or better are just 39-80-2 ATS when facing a team with a win percentage of less than .570, including Louisville’s 20-23 loss as a 10 ½ point favorite to U Conn after the Cardinals’ first loss last season (after a 9-0 start). If each team plays their normal game then Louisville would win by 25 points but I doubt the Cardinals will be in the proper emotional state to play their best.

TEXAS A&M (-17) 46 Vanderbilt 29

My math model has been picking against Texas A&M with good success but this week the math is not picking against the Aggies this week against a Vanderbilt team that will be without starting quarterback. Commodores’ signal caller Austyn Carta-Samuels was injured in last week’s win over Georgia and is out for the season. Backup Patton Robinette did a decent job filling in but he’s certainly not the reason they won, as his 90 yards on 17 pass plays and 25 yards on 7 runs is not that impressive. Carta-Samuels was averaging 7.1 yards per pass play in 6 games against FBS opponents that would allow 6.1 yppp to an average quarterback and it’s unlikely that Robinette can come close to that efficiency. Robinette hasn’t been bad but he’s mostly settled for short passes (11.4 yards per completion) while Carta-Samuels was averaging 13.0 ypc. Vanderbilt figures to run the ball more, which is not a bad thing considering how bad A&M’s run defense is (6.2 yards per rushing play allowed) and the math model still projects the Commodores to average 7.6 yards per pass play against a vulnerable Aggies secondary with nobody capable of guarding Vandy’s star receiver Jordan Matthews. However, Texas A&M has scored 41 points or more in every game and should top that number against a mediocre Vanderbilt defense that is worse than the average defensive rating of the team’s the Aggies have faced this season. Overall, the math favors A&M by 17 ½ points, which is really no value at all, but the Aggies’ string of overs is likely to continue (A&M is 5-1 Over, including 3 straight).

Clemson (-16½) 38 MARYLAND 26

This game took a lot of work. Maryland was a very good team early in the season but the injuries have gotten to a point of absurdity. Starting quarterback C.J. Brown is out with concussion symptoms from a hit he took 3 weeks ago against Florida State and backup quarterback Caleb Rowe will be without the Terrapins’ top two receivers Stefon Diggs and Brandon Ross, who have combined to tally 1076 receiving yards at 9.7 yards per pass intended for them. Maryland has some decent talent at wide receiver but my calculations project a drop of 0.6 yards per pass play without Diggs and Ross. Rowe has actually proven to be a better passer than Brown, as he’s averaged 7.5 yards on 89 pass plays this season against teams that would allow just 5.5 yppp to an average quarterback, but those numbers certainly won’t be as good without his top 2 receivers. The rushing attack won’t be as good either without Brown’s scrambles (326 yards on 47 runs) and without top running back Brandon Ross, who has 458 yards at 5.0 ypr. The backup running backs actually aren’t much worse than Ross but I project a drop of 0.4 yards per rushing play without Brown and Ross on the field. Maryland’s offense is still not going to be that bad, as the Terrapins are 0.8 yards per play better than average for the season and are still +0.4 yppl with the injuries. Clemson’s defense is only 0.4 yppl better than average, so the Terrapins should still move the ball at a decent level at home (the math projects 375 yards at 5.7 yppl).

Maryland’s injuries aren’t just limited to the offensive side of the ball, as the Terrapins have played the last 4 games without their best cornerback Dexter McDougle, who is out for the year. McDougle is joined on the sidelines by starting safety Anthony Nixon, starting DB Jeremiah Johnson (out since week 2) and starting linebackers L.A. Goree and Yannick Cudjoe-Virgil, who both missed last week’s loss to Wake Forest and are out again. Goree was leading the team in tackles when he got hurt and Maryland’s defense, which was dominating the first 4 weeks of the season and still 0.3 yppl better than average overall, is now 0.4 yppl worse than average with their current available personnel. Clemson should be able to attack the weakened back 7 and I project 372 passing yards at 8.6 yards per pass play for Tajh Boyd and 557 total yards at 6.8 yppl for the Tigers in this game. Maryland still has better special teams and overall it appears as if the line has been over adjusted for the injuries, as my math model gives Maryland a 54% chance of covering at +16 ½ points and Clemson may suffer a letdown after their championship dreams were crushed last week by Florida State. I’d consider Maryland a Strong Opinion at +17 points or more.

VIRGINIA TECH (-13½) 26 Duke 17

Virginia Tech has my #2 rated defense (Michigan State is #1 barely) but the Hokies are offensively challenged (0.7 yards per play worse than average) and Duke has a good enough offense (0.7 yppl better than average) to put together a few scoring drives and stay within the number. My math model gives the Blue Devils a profitable 53.6% chance of covering at +13½ points.

OKLAHOMA (-6½) 33 Texas Tech 26

Texas Tech is a better team from the line of scrimmage, especially with Davis Webb now at quarterback for the Red Raiders. Webb has averaged 8.0 yards per pass play (against teams that would allow 6.4 yppp to an average quarterback) and the Red Raiders’ attack is 1.1 yards per play better than average with Webb under center while the Oklahoma defense is only 0.5 yppl better than average (4.8 yppl allowed to teams that would combine to average 5.3 yppl against an average team). Texas Tech also has an advantage when the Sooners have the ball, as Oklahoma has been only 0.3 yppl better than average offensively with Blake Bell at quarterback while the Red Raiders are 0.8 yppl better than average defensively (4.6 yppl allowed to teams that would combine to average 5.4 yppl against an average team). Overall, the math favors Oklahoma by just 3 points but Texas Tech applies to a very negative 14-57 ATS road letdown situation. I’ll pass this game.

ALABAMA (-28) 42 Tennessee 9

Alabama is starting to roll as the Tide’s young defense has really come together after getting torched by Johnny Manziel in their 49-42 week 3 win. Since then the Tide have allowed an average of 3.2 points in 5 games and no more than 7 points in any one game (and that came on a fake field goal by Kentucky). My math model adjusts for the Texas A&M outlier and the math favors Alabama by 33 points in this game. I have situations favoring both sides in this game, but they stronger angles apply to Bama, who I think has a good chance to cover their 4th straight SEC game.

Baylor (-35) 53 KANSAS 14

Baylor’s offense is still rating off the charts with 65 points per game on 717 yards at 9.1 yards per play (against teams that would allow 5.7 yppl to an average team) but the Bears have regressed a bit the last couple of weeks, averaging JUST 7.8 yppl. My math model favors Baylor by 40 ½ points if they play at the level they’ve played at so far this season. I still expect the Bears to continue to regress a bit offensively but I’m not eager to fade them.

MISSOURI (-2½) 32 South Carolina 29 Strong Opinion Over (52½)
Missouri was underrated before the season started (I already won my 2-Star play on Missouri over 6 wins for the season) and they remained underrated until this week after upsetting Georgia and Florida in consecutive weeks. I wrote last week that Maty Mauk replacing James Franklin at quarterback would not be an issue and Mauk led the Tigers to 500 yards at 6.8 yards per play and 36 points against one of the best defensive teams in the nation in last week’s upset of Florida. Missouri’s offense is now 1.2 yards per play better than average for the season (6.9 yppl against teams that would allow 5.7 yppl to an average team) and they should move the ball pretty well against a disappointing South Carolina defense that is good (0.9 yppl better than average) but not nearly as good as they were last year when star Jadeveon Clowney cared.

South Carolina’s offense is just as good as Missouri’s attack, as they Gamecocks have averaged 6.7 yppl against teams that would allow 5.5 yppl this season. That unit is only slightly worse (+1.1 yppl) when backup quarterback Dylan Thompson is in the game and Thompson and injured starter Connor Shaw were pretty interchangeable last year as well. Missouri’s defense is 0.7 yppl better than average, which is only a bit worse than South Carolina’s defense. These teams are extremely similar on both sides of the ball and my math model favors the Tigers by 2 ½ points overall. I don’t see any value on the side, but both offenses are better than the opposing defense and the projected total plays in this game is slightly higher than the national average for plays in a game. With that being the case I don’t see any justification for the total on this game to be lower than the national average of 55.8 total points. In fact, my math model projects 61 total points and the over/under is posted at 52 ½ points. I’ll consider the Over a Strong Opinion at 54 points or less.

OREGON (-23½) 48 Ucla 19

Oregon applies to a number of very strong momentum situations this week, including a 70-18 ATS situation and a 207-111-3 ATS situation. UCLA is a good team but the Bruins will be without leading rusher Jordan James and now have 3 freshman starting on the offensive line after another injury to a starter. After the adjustments my math model favors Oregon by 23 ½ points, so the line is fair and the situations are strongly in favor of the Ducks to make another statement against a good team like they did in winning at Washington 45-24 a couple of weeks ago. I’ll consider Oregon a Strong Opinion at -24 points or less.

AUBURN (-23½) 37 Florida Atlantic 18

Auburn has been underrated all season but their 45-41 win at Texas A&M has probably changed that and now the Tigers are in a letdown spot as a huge favorite hosting a non-division opponent after an upset win over a ranked conference opponent. The Tigers actually apply to a 21-57-4 ATS non-conference home favorite letdown situation and Florida Atlantic’s solid defense (5.4 yards per play allowed to teams that would combine to average 5.6 yppl against an average team) make the Owls anything but a pushover. FAU is already 5-0 ATS as a double-digit underdog this season and my math model favors Auburn by just 21 ½ points. I will lean with FAU plus the points.

OHIO STATE (-14½) 36 Penn State 16

Penn State’s defense is the best the Buckeyes have faced this season, as the Nittany Lions have allowed just 4.9 yards per play to teams that would combine to average 6.0 yppl against an average stop unit. However, Ohio State has an equally good offense that has averaged 6.5 yppl against teams that would combine to allow 5.5 yppl to an average team and Penn State has had some trouble against the two best offensive teams that they faced – allowing 7.9 yppl and 34 points to Central Florida and 6.4 yppl and 44 points to Indiana. Ohio State is nothing special on defense (0.3 yppl better than average) but the Nittany Lions’ decent 5.7 yppl this season has come against teams that would combine to allow 6.4 yppl to an average attack – so the Buckeyes have the edge with Penn State has the ball too. Overall the math favors Ohio State by 15 ½ points and Penn State applies to a negative 24-81-1 ATS situation. I like the Buckeyes here.

Stanford (-3½) 28 OREGON STATE 24

Oregon State is one of the strongest situational play of the week, as the Beavers apply to numerous positive situations, including a 71-22-3 ATS situation and a 160-66-2 ATS situation that combine to go 13-2 ATS when both apply to the same game. I advise passing on this game despite the strong technical support for Oregon State, as the math model gives Stanford a 55.1% chance of covering based solely on the math. That’s about the same percentage chance that the situational analysis favoring Oregon State has of covering based on the years of research I’ve done on how well situations predict going forward.

Oregon State is certainly a good team, as the Beavers rate at 1.1 yards per play better than average offensively and 0.5 yppl better than average defensively after throwing out their 46-49 opening day loss to Eastern Washington, which has proven to be an aberration. Stanford is known for their defense, which is justified given their great play so far this season (4.9 yppl allowed to teams that would combine to average 6.1 yppl against an average team). In fact, Stanford’s defense is 0.1 yppl better than the Oregon State offense. What the Cardinal don’t get enough credit for is an extremely efficient offense that has averaged 6.5 yppl this season against teams that would allow just 5.4 yppl to an average team. That’s actually just as good as Oregon State’s offensive rating and Stanford has a much better defense and special teams. Oregon State will need those situations to work for them to beat Stanford. I’ll pass on this game given that the math is favoring Stanford and the situations are favoring Oregon State.

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EZWINNERS

Texas Longhorns +2.5

A lot of expects wrote of the Longhorns early this season, but Texas is a team that appears to have hit its stride heading into this game against TCU. The Longhorns are coming off of a huge win over Oklahoma last week as an almost two touchdown underdog. The Horns are riding a three game winning streak in which they have scored thirty or more points in all three games. TCU is at the opposite end of the spectrum as they come into this game at just 3-4 straight up. The Horned Frogs defense that is ranked 19th in the nation has been able to keep TCU in every game so far this season, but the offense has not been able to keep up their end of the bargin. The Horned Frogs offense has nine turnovers in their last two games and they rank just 111th in the nation in total offense. The strength of the Longhorn defense is rushing the passer and their run defense is also improving. Texas will be seeking revenge for last years 20-13 home loss to the Horned Frogs and I expect them to get it. Texas now controls their own destiny to win the Big 12 and I think they continue to roll. Take the points.

Nebraska Cornhuskers -10

Nebraska comes into this game with Minnesota rested and in a great position in the Big Ten Legends Division race sitting just a half game behind Michigan State. The Huskers should also receive a boost with the return of quarterback Tyler Martinez from a toe injury for the first time since mid September. The Gophers defense is vulnerable against the run which should lead to a big day for Huskers running back Ameer Abdullah. The 5'9" 190 pound workhorse running back has rushed for almost 500 yards in the last three games at almost a nine yards per carry average. Minnesota is a very one dimensional offensive team that must be able to run the ball to be successful. The Huskers defense should be able to shutdown the Gophers running game and make things difficult for a Minnesota offense that is just 119th in the nation in passing yards. Nebraska has won sixteen in a row in the series and I expect that to continue. Minnesota is just 2-8 against the spread in their last ten regular season games as an underdog. Lay the points.

Florida Atlantic Owls +23.5

Auburn is coming off of a huge road win over Texas A&M last week in a 45-41 shootout with Johnny Football. After the game the Tigers players looked as if they had just won the BCS National Championship. I don't believe the Tigers are done celebrating that win a doubt that a 2-5 FAU will get their full attention. FAU is coming off its bye week following losses in three of its previous four games. Don't let the straight up record fool you as FAU could easily be 5-2 straight up as they have lost three games by a total of 12 points. This Owls team also knows how to cover the spread on the road as they have covered as a road dog in eleven straight games. They have also covered the spread visiting SEC powerhouses Alabama and Georgia last year and against this same Auburn team in 2011. The FAU defense has been playing well lately holding their last three opponents to a season low in yards. On the offensive side of the ball Jacquez Johnson is a dual threat quarterback that can make plays and that is the kind of player that you want when playing on a big dog because the back door is always open. Take the points.

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Billy Wins

Oregon -23.5

This is a simple call for us….Oregon all day. Oregon is going to roll over UCLA and its going to get ugly by half. OREGON is 7-0 ATS vs. good offensive teams – scoring 31 or more points/game over the L2 seasons. OREGON is 8-1 ATS after gaining 300 or more rushing yards last game over the L2 seasons. Oregon has now won 9 straight, including 8 out of 9 ATS. The only game which Oregon did not cover ATS was when they were a 40 pt favorite vs Washington State and only won 62-38. The Ducks have scored 55 points or more in each of their four home games this season. The Ducks are also an amazing 11-1-1 ATS in the second of back to back contest in Eugene, and 5-1 ATS in game 8.

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Carlos Salazar

Kansas vs. Baylor
Play: 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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Dave Cokin

Utah vs USC
Take Utah +6

If you watched Utah play last Saturday, it might very well scare you away from playing them this Saturday. The Utes were dominated at Arizona by a middle of the road Wildcats squad, and now they have to hit the road again to visit USC.

I’m not going to let the bad game at Arizona get me off the Utes here. This kind of figured to be a rough spot. Utah was off a series of crazy games. The run started with the wild OT loss to Oregon State, the rivalry win over BYU, an intense Thursday night slugfest with UCLA and culminating with the thrilling upset of an unbeaten Stanford squad. The gas tank figured to be low going down to the desert, and it played out according to the script.

I’ll hope that Utah has its energy level restored here in what is a very big game for them. A win here would have them in great shape to get back to a bowl after being home for the holidays last season. A loss drops the Utes to 4-4 and would make that goal much tougher to accomplish.

Utah will have Travis Wilson back under center today, although his effectiveness has to be a question mark. Wilson has hand issues and that’s concern for a guy who is turnover prone already. USC defenses the run pretty well, so I need for Wilson to not make the critical errors that can blow this play up.

If what I just wrote sounds like a tepid endorsement for Utah, that’s an accurate assessment. This is far more about going against USC. The Trojans have some obvious physical shortcomings right now, and I’m also banking on them not being mentally sharp today.

First, the injury situation. USC is beat up with cluster injuries at receiver, and the tight end situation is really bad. For a team that needs to run the football, that’s a problem. There are also issues at linebacker, in the secondary, and the placekicking is also a major concern.

I’m also very skeptical about how much USC cares at this point. They got the expected adrenaline boost when the detested Lane Kiffin was sent packing. The players really like interim HC Ed Orgeron and responded with a sensational half of football against Arizona. But they were dead in the water by the end of the game and followed that up with a game effort in a loss to Notre Dame.

Utah is conference opponent for the Trojans, but let’s just say they don’t qualify as a true rival. USC also has a Thursday national TV date on deck with Oregon State. So take a look at this quartet of games. The Orgeron debut, rivalry clash with the Irish, home vs. Utah, big Thursday game at Corvallis. Which one is least exciting for the players? It’s pretty clearly this one against Utah. For a team that has had loads of problems with focus the last few seasons, that’s an intangible that matters.

Lastly, there’s the coaching. Kyle Whittingham is solid as a rock. He’s entrenched at Utah and if he’s not an elite coach, he’s pretty close. Ed Orgeron is a great recruiter, but he has never drawn high marks for his in game abilities. Oregeron has also been a disaster against winning teams. Lifetime, he stands 1-24 when facing a +.500 opponent. Plus, it’s not unrealistic to suspect the reality of the chaotic coaching situation has started to set in for the USC players.

In the end, I think these two teams are very close from a power ratings perspective. That means it’s hardly a shocker if USC wins by a decent margin playing at home. But I see too many potential negatives on the Trojans side for that to be an expectation. I’d much rather grab what I can from the oddsmakers and back Utah in this spot.

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

Big Kat Sports

Texas +2.5 over TCU

For all the bad mouthing that Mack Brown and the Texas football program has taken this season, the Longhorns are undefeated in Big 12 play and have the inside track on a BCS Bowl bid. TCU QB Casey Pachall is expected to see his first action since being injured in Week 2 but Trevone Boykin, who has played both during Pachall's injury and suspension last year is expected to start and see playing time throughout the game. You know what they say, "When you have 2 QB's, you actually have 0 QB's" and this is a situation that TCU will be putting themselves in this weekend. The key to the Longhorns revived season may be a move that Mack Brown made a few weeks back. DC Manny Diaz was fired and replaced with Greg Robinson and in the three games since he's taken over, the D has recorded 13 sacks and held their opponents to 3.6 yards per carry. The Texas defense returned 9 starters and it was just a matter of time before they righted the ship, and now it all seems to be going in the right direction for the Longhorns. Take Texas +2.5 in a game that we see them winning outright over TCU

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

John Ryan

Penn State vs. Ohio State    
Play: Penn State +16½

The simulator shows a high probability that PSU will lose this game by fewer than 16 points. PSU is coming of one of the best wins in recent years defeating Michigan 43-40 at home as one point dogs. Of course, we now know, Michigan was a vastly over rated club this season, but given the 'hell' that the PSU University and football program has endured, this win was a resurrection of the program's character and strength.  I also believe that this team is getting better with each passing game and now they had added confidence they can play with the elite teams in the nation. They truly have nothing to lose today at the Horse Shoe and can play loose and free. Statistically, there is not much difference between these two teams on paper. In fact, the SOS has been slightly greater for the PSU schedule this season. PSU ranks 35th in the nation averaging 33.3 PPG, 43rd averaging 441 yards=per=game, and 13th in red zone scoring at 92%. OSU ranks 11th averaging 40 PPG, 21st averaging 477 yards-per-game, and 16th in red zone scoring at 91%. On defense PSU ranks 39th allowing 23.7 PPG, 14th allowing 336 yards-per-game, and 55th in red zone allowance at 82%. OSU ranks 35th allowing 23.2 PPG, 39th allowing 375 yards-per-game, and 43rd in red zone allowance at 81%. OSU has a stout ground attack, but I feel that PSU has the defensive front to contain this power game. PSU ranks 10th allowing just 3.1 yards-per-rush and are equally as stingy ranking 39th allowing 6.7 yards-per-attempt. I strongly believe Penn State is going to test Ohio State big time and it may come down to the fourth quarter for Ohio State to escape with a win.

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

Don Best Consensus

North Texas at So Mississippi
Pick: North Texas

Southern Miss has not won a football game since 2010. Not winning is one thing, not even staying competitive and covering games is another. SOMIS are 1-7 ATS in their last 8 conference games. Southern Miss scores an average of 12.5ppg and they allow 40.2ppg. North Texas is off to a great start in CUSA play, dropping a close one @Tulane then beating MTSU and LT. Senior QB Derek Thompson is a leader and a baller, completing 67% of his passes on the season. The Golden Eagles simply do not have enough players to remain competitive.

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

Chris Jordan

My free winner is on the UNLV Rebels, taking the points in Reno, where coach Bobby Hauck is facing the biggest game of his career. The Rebels have played at a much higher level this season, and are on pace to hit the postseason with another two wins. UNR is having a down year, I realize that, and I also know the Wolfpack is always up for this game, but this line is far too big.

Since Caleb Herring has taken over the quarterback spot, the Rebels have been a much better team, and their offense will show that today. After losing in Fresno last week, UNLV is going to be fired up for this intrastate clash for the Fremont Cannon.

The Rebels have weapons in every facet of the game, including a defense that know how to play, albeit that gives up points. UNLV can step up at the corners, and can play dangesouly with its secondary.

If UNR gets too cocky with its passing game, I wouldn't be surprised to the Rebels score some points from the defensive end.

This one comes down to the last team holding the ball.

4♦ UNLV

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