Free Pick for Betting The Insight Bowl Print
Wednesday, 27 December 2006 11:21
NCAAF Headline News

Free Pick for Betting The Insight Bowl

Looking for a free pick before betting? Texas Tech is going to throw the ball from the moment they walk into Sun Devil Stadium locker room. Quarterback Graham Harrell, he of the 36 passing TDs this season and 343 pass yards per game, will spread it out, run no-huddle, pay silent homage to the whiff of a running game, and send guys like WRs Joel Filani and Robert Johnson and RB Shannon Woods out into a million pass-route variants. They're going to pressure Minnesota's linebackers and secondary like it's never been pressured before.

Minnesota will seek to mix it up on offense behind QB Bryan Cupito, but will likely try and control the clock behind junior RB Amir Pinnix, who rushed for 1,093 yards and a 5.0 yards-per-carry average in 2006. Since Texas Tech was vulnerable against the run this year (their rush defense was 76th-best in the nation in terms of yards allowed per game), and since the Golden Gophers would be nutty to produce many offensive three-and-outs which would give Harrell & Co. that many more possessions, Glen Mason's Minnesota team is going to try and win time of possession by 15 minutes or more.

Who is the public betting on Friday?

And the thing is: if you know all this, certainly Texas Tech and Minnesota know it, too.

So the question becomes: whom do you pick when teams' styles contrast so completely? And whom do you pick when you have to assume that each coach pretty much has a lock on what the other guy's going to do?

I mean, it'll be a pretty big shock of the Gophers don't employ at least five defensive backs on nearly every snap, right? And if they don't try and blitz like crazy, to throw Harrell off? And if the Red Raiders don't pull their linebackers forward a bit, and make Cupito beat them, that would be kind of a surprise, too, yes? Any coach's first job, especially on defense, is try and take away what the opposing team does best. So as we try and pick this game, we have to decide: which squad is better equipped to do that?

Review the matchups on this game!

The Gophers haven't shown they can stop the pass yet this year. In their final three games of the regular season, they allowed over 300 yards passing, yet they won all three contests. For the season, they allowed nearly 254 pass yards per game, fifth-worst in all of Division I football, and that includes wins over Kent St., Temple and North Dakota St. Take out those three wimpy wins, and the passing defense number balloons to 285 yards per game (and the team is 3-6). Hoo. Mike Leach's scary pass offense at Texas Tech racked up 363 yards a game via the air, third-highest in the country. Surely, Mason and his charges will know what's coming. But will they be able to stop it?

I really don't think so. You can't just will yourself into staying with quick receivers, against an offensive line that gives its quarterback a ton of time.

Tech had its problems this year, too. Big 12 teams ran all over them, even in situations where the Raiders knew what was coming. Missouri hit them up for 160 yards. Colorado clocked them for 249. Texas created a huge comeback in Lubbock, and racked up 247 rushing yards. Oklahoma got them for 157, and in their season finale, Oklahoma St. amassed 221. While Minnesota definitely misses sophomore tailback Gary Russell, who was declared academically ineligible at the beginning of the season, Pinnix has been a good replacement, and the Raiders will get a healthy dose of him Friday.

For me, picking this game may come down to an unexpected source: the Minnesota passing game. Cupito will be without the nation's top tight end, Matt Spaeth, who will miss the Insight Bowl because of knee surgery. That means some of the Gophers' safer offensive explosiveness will be gone, which will limit Minnesota's ability to come back if and when Texas Tech begins racking up early points. Plus the bottom line is: Minnesota just isn't that good. They went 6-6 this year, including their 10-9 victory over I-AA North Dakota St.; the combined record of the I-A teams they beat this year was 22-38, and with three weeks left in the year, their record stood at 3-6 (and 2-6 against I-A teams, if you can call Kent St. and Temple I-A teams). Yes, finishing strong against Indiana, Michigan St. and a vastly disappointing Iowa squad got them a bowl appearance, but it doesn't win them many points with me. Meanwhile, Tech probably should've beaten Texas, and did topple an underrated Oklahoma St. team to give them a 4-4 record in the Big 12.

Is Texas Tech flawed? Absolutely. Would I be surprised to see Minnesota win time of possession in this game, and see the Gophers score a goodly number of points? Absolutely not. But Harrell and his 67% completion percentage move the ball like poop through a Christmas goose against good defenses, and this pass defense simply isn't good. It's young, and will probably be better in '07, but for now, I can't see them offering enough resistance to keep Harrell down. For this reason, I'm taking Texas Tech (-6.5) over Minnesota in the Insight Bowl.

by: Anthony White - theSpread.com - Email Us

More NCAA College Football Coverage from theSpread.com

 - NCAA College Football public betting chart
 - NCAA College Football teams
 - NCAA College Football standings
 - NCAA College Football schedule
 - NCAA College Football scoreboard
 - NCAA College Football injuries
 - NCAA College Football matchups
 - NCAA College Football stats
 - NCAA College Football odds
 - NCAA College Football news wire
 - NCAA College Football top stories
 - AccuScore NCAA College Football predictions
 - Expert NCAA College Football picks
 - NCAA College Football trends
 - Comments and discussion
 - Signup for theSpread.com daily newsletter
 - NCAA College Football Home

 

NCAAFB Team Pages

Top NCAAFB Public Bets

#1 236 USC 90%
#2 240 Oklahoma 85%
#3 256 Auburn 81%
#4 213 Northern Illinois 77%
#5 250 TCU 77%
#6 216 San Diego State 75%
#7 242 Arkansas 74%
#8 218 Western Kentucky 72%
#9 208 Air Force 70%
#10 226 Central Florida 70%
View All: NFL |  NBA |  NCAAF |  NCAAB |  MLB |  NHL

NCAAFB Futures

NCAA FOOTBALL TEAM BCS CHAMPIONSHIP ODDS CURRENT
ALABAMA 11/10
OREGON 17/10
FLORIDA STATE 6/1
OHIO STATE 8/1
MISSISSIPPI STATE 17/2
RUTGERS OFF
LSU OFF
STANFORD OFF
WISCONSIN OFF
OKLAHOMA STATE OFF
View All

Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Contact Us | Advertising | 888-99-SPREAD

THIS IS NOT A GAMBLING SITE – If you think you have a gambling problem click here.

Disclaimer: This site is for informational and entertainment purposes only. Individual users are responsible for the laws regarding accessing gambling information from their jurisdictions. Many countries around the world prohibit gambling, please check the laws in your location. Any use of this information that may violate any federal, state, local or international law is strictly prohibited.

Copyright: The information contained on TheSpread.com website is protected by international copyright and may not be reproduced, or redistributed in any way without expressed written consent.

About: TheSpread.com is the largest sports betting news site in the United States. We provide point spread news, odds, statistics and information to over 199 countries around the world each year. Our coverage includes all North American College and Professional Sports as well as entertainment, political and proposition wagering news.

©1999-2013 TheSpread.com