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|Date||Match Up||Rating||Score||Result||Profit||Lead Time||Analysis|
|09-19-19||Houston +5 v. Tulane||Top||31-38||Loss||-107||54 h 7 m||Show|
My 10* American Conference Crusher is on Houston at 8:00 ET.
The Houston Cougars and Tulane Green Wave meet Thursday in an American Athletic Conference game at Yulman Stadium in New Orleans. Houston has opened 1-2, losing at No. 4 Oklahoma on Sep 1 and at NRG Stadium last Friday to No. 20 Washington St. In between, the Cougars won 37-17 at home against Prairie View A&M. Thursday's game will be the FOURTH different stadium the team has played in over its first four games. Tulane is playing at home for the THIRD time in four weeks, opening with a 42-14 home win over FIU, losing at No. 10 Auburn 24-6 and then crushing Missouri St 58-6 at home last Saturday.
Houston's pass D was overwhelmed by Oklahoma's Hurts and Washington St's Gordon but Tulane QB Justin McMillan is completing a modest 55.2% for 424 yards (2 TDs / 2 INTs), while adding 154 yards rushing (3 TDs). FYI...Hurts and Gordon have completed almost 80% of their passes (21-2 TD-to-INT ratio) with Hurts rushing for 373 yards (9.8 YPC / 4 TDs). Houston QB King is not off to a great start but remember, he passed for 2,982 yards in 2018 (36-6 ratio) and added 674 yards rushing with 14 TDs. He's had a least one TD pass and one rush TD in each game this season, tying Tem Tebow's NCAA record of 14 straight games with at least one TD pass and one rush TD.
Let me note that Houston is 23-10 SU in AAC games since 2015, while Tulane has gone 10-22 in league games over the exact same time span.Houston has 'hung around' against two ranked teams, plus was plagued with costly penalties and noticeably wore down due to lack of depth in its 31-24 loss to Washington State last Friday. However, while getting better, Tulane is still a middle-of-pack AAC team. Meanwhile, Houston is a HIGHLY-PROFITABLE 13-1-1 ATS as an underdog since 2015. That's a 93% winning situation. Take the points.
|09-14-19||TCU v. Purdue +2.5||Top||34-13||Loss||-109||50 h 51 m||Show|
My 10* Game of the Week is on Purdue at 7:30 ET.
Purdue led Nevada 24-7 at the half in Reno and extended its lead to 17 points again at 34-17, late in the third quarter. However, the Boilermakers never scored again and lost 34-31 (as 11-point road favorites), on a 56-yard FG as time expired by a walk-on freshman placekicker. The 'killer' was five turnovers and the Boilermakers knew they had to correct that right away. Purdue hosted Vanderbilt last Saturday and its lone turnover was an interception thrown by QB Elijah Sindelar. However, the junior could be forgiven, as he was named the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week after completing 34-of-52 passes for a career-high 509 yards and five touchdowns. Sindelar became the 18th player to surpass 3,000 passing yards at Purdue and although he suffered a concussion late in the fourth quarter, he practiced Wednesday and is expected to play.
TCU opened its 2019 season with a 39-7 win over Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Aug 31 and then had last week off. Gary Patterson has had some career at TCU, taking over full-time in 2001 and going to 16 bowls the last 18 seasons. Eleven times his teams have won double digits in a single season, including the 2010 team going 13-0 after a Rose Bowl win over Wisconsin (TCU ended as the nation's 2nd-ranked team). The Horned Frogs did go 11-3 in 2017 but in 2016 went 6-7 after a bowl loss and in 2019 went 7-6, after a bowl win.
The Horned Frogs played two QBs in their season-opening win and graduate transfer Alex Delton and freshman Max Duggan are expected to split snaps once again. The duo completed 26 of 45 for 284 yards (1 TD / 0 INTs) and the running game ran for 200 yards (5.6 YPC). However, the opponent WAS Arkansas-Pine Bluff. TCU averaged just 23.5 PPG, after a four-year run of averaging 33.6, 31.0, 42.1 and 46.5. The defense only returns five starters but Patterson rarely fields a poor defensive team.
Still, Sindelar has thrown for 932 yards with nine TDs in his first two games and has one of the nation's best WRs in Rondale Moore, who caught 114 passes last season for 12 TDs. He already has 24 catches and two TDs after two games. Purdue has a HUGE edge at the QB position and with next week off (Big Ten play begins Sep 28), this is a "statement" game for Purdue's season. Take a note that in 2018, Purdue beat three ranked opponents at home ( #23 BC 30-13, 32 Ohio St 49-20 and #19 Iowa 38-360, for the first time since 1959. The small home dog 'barks' VERY 'loudly' in this one.
|09-14-19||Iowa -2 v. Iowa State||Top||18-17||Loss||-110||80 h 8 m||Show|
My 9* Cy-Hawk Rivalry is on Iowa at 4:00 ET.
Iowa State struggled in its season opener at home against Northern Iowa on Aug 31, before winning 29-26 in triple-overtime. The Cyclones were off last weekend, getting an extra week to prepare for its biggest non-conference rival, Iowa.ISU was happy for the extra week off to make necessary adjustments after its lackluster debut. "It’s really good to have an opportunity to step back and say, Is what we’re doing the right thing? Where do we need to get better? What are the things that might help our offense or might help our defense?" offensive coordinator Tom Manning told the Ames Tribune. Iowa comes to Ames 2-0 and ranked 19th in the latest AP poll, after opening with home wins over Miami-Ohio (38-14) and Rutgers (30-0).
The Hawkeyes have hardly been tested so far by Mia-O and Rutgers but it's good news that QB Nate Stanley, who came into the season with high expectations (52-16 TD-to-INT ratio the last two years), is living up to the hype with 488 passing yards, six TDs and no interceptions through the first two games. It's true that Iowa's first two opponents were hardly ranked opponents but Kirk Ferentz-coached teams always play excellent defense. Iowa has opened by allowing 185.0 YPG (4th), 113.5 passing YPG (8th), 71.5 rushing YPG (16th) and 7.0 PPG (8th). The Cyclones managed to survive Northern Iowa in Week 1 thanks in large part to the connection between QB Brock Purdy (30-41 for 278 yards with 2 TDs and 0 INTs) and wide receiver Deshaunte Jones, who finished with career highs of 14 catches for 126 yards. Purdy took over as ISU's starting QB on Oct 13 and led the Cyclones to a 7-1 finish, before losing 28-26 to Washington St in the Alamo Bowl.
Having last weekend off is an advantage for ISU but Iowa's Kirk Ferentz has figured out this rivalry with FOUR straight wins. Iowa QB Stanley, a senior, is trying to go out 4-0 against the Cyclones, after coming in as a backup his freshman year (a 42-3 win) and starting this rivalry game the last two years in 13-3 and 44-41 wins. Iowa is off next weekend and then hosts Middle Tenn St on Sep 28. A win here and the Hawkeyes should be 4-0 when it begins Big Ten play at Michigan on Oct 5. Bet on it!
|09-14-19||East Carolina v. Navy -7||Top||10-42||Win||100||80 h 50 m||Show|
My 9* Weekend Wipeout is on Navy at 3:30 ET.
|09-13-19||Washington State v. Houston +9.5||31-24||Win||100||54 h 49 m||Show|
My 8* Friday Night Lights Play is on Houston at 9:15 ET.
Mike Leach career ended at Texas Tech after the 2009 season, amid lots of controversy. He resurfaced in Pullman with Wash St but saw his second season (6-7 after a bowl loss), sandwiched around a pair of 3-9 seasons in his first and third years. However, Wash St entered the 2019 season off FOUR straight bowl appearances, with his Cougars finishing 11-2 in 2018 and 10th in the AP's final poll. Washington State lost QB Greg Minshew (70.7%, 4,779 yard, 38-9 ratio) to the NFL but its offense is in mid-season form after just two games, as Anthony Gordon (five pass attempts in 2018) has completed 81.1% of his passes for 884 yards with nine TDs and just one INT. WSU has scored 117 points (58.5 PPG ranks 5th) on 606.0 YPG (7th), although the team is averaging only 112.0 YPG on the ground (110th).
The Cougars travel to Houston Friday night to take on the 1-1 Houston Cougars at NRG Stadium (home of the NFL's Texans). The Cougars opened their season Sep 1 at Oklahoma and while they never threatened to win the game, they were able to cover as a 21 1/2-point underdog in the 18-point loss. However, Oklahoma ran up 686 total yards, as QB Jalen Hurts passed for 332 yards and three TDs, while adding 176 rushing yards and another three TDs. Last Saturday's 37-17 home win over Prairie View A&M was hardly impressive.
Will Houston have much luck slowing down Gordon and the WSU offense? No, but don't be too quick to dismiss Houston. UH is 3-0 at NRG Stadium (just five miles for the campus) since 2012, a 33-23 upset over Oklahoma in 2016. Even more noteworthy is the fact that Houston is 8-1 ATS as an underdog vs ranked teams since 2013 (that's an 89% winning situation). The LONE non-cover in that stretch came in last year's 70-14 beatdown by Army in Armed Forces Bowl when QB D’Eriq King was out with injury. King is a true dual-threat, who passed for 2,582 yards in 2018 (36-6 ratio) plus ran for 674 yards and 14 TDs. In a much 'friendlier' venue that Norman on Sep 1, don't be surprised if King out-shines Gordon, giving the 20th-ranked Cougars all they want. Upset alert? Maybe, but take the points!
|09-13-19||North Carolina v. Wake Forest -3||Top||18-24||Win||100||52 h 35 m||Show|
My 10* Non-Conference ACC Showdown is on Wake Forest at 6:00 ET
Mack Brown had a great six-year run at North Carolina from 1992-1997. He led the Tar Heels to six straight bowls and had three, 10-win seasons. That was a springboard to take the job at Texas. He won nine games in each of his first three years but then won double digits in NINE consecutive season (2001-09). His 2004 team won the BCS national championship by ending USC's 34-game winning streak, 41-38. The 2009 team lost the BCS national championship game 37-21 to Alabama. Brown would coach the Longhorns for four more seasons but the 'Horns went just 30-21 and Brown resigned after the 2013 season. Brown was named head coach at North Carolina in November of 2018 after a 5-year absence from coaching and 21 years after he left UNC for Texas. The Tar Heels upset South Carolina in Charlotte 24-20 as a 12 1/2-point dog on Aug 31 and then, after watching a 17-3 first-quarter lead evaporate (UNC trailed 25-20 with about 4 1/2 minutes left), pulled it together and scored a TD and added a two-point conversion with 1:01 remaining for a 28-25 victory.
North Carolina plays its first true road game of 2019 this Saturday, when it visits Winston-Salem to take on ACC rival Wake Forest. Under the current ACC two-division, 14-team alignment, the Tar Heels and Demon Deacons are scheduled to play each other just once every SEVEN years. The schools wanted more and were allowed to play this year in what will be considered a "non-conference" contest (odd arrangement). Dave Clawson got his first FBS head coaching jog at Bowling Green in 2009 and in his fifth season (2013), his Falcons upset a 13-0 Northern Illinois team in the MAC championship game. He used that win to get the job at Wake and after going 3-9 in each of his first two years, he's led Wake to three straight bowl games, winning all THREE! Wake opened with a 38-35 home win over Utah St and then won 41-21 at Rice last Saturday.
Both teams have QBs off to excellent starts. North Carolina freshman Sam Howell has passed for four scores and 519 yards while directing four-quarter comebacks in each of his first two contests. He's the first-ever first true freshman to start a season at QB for North Carolina. Eight different receivers have caught at least one pass through two games plus RB Javonte Williams has added 178 rushing yards on 6.4 YPC. Wake's Jamie Newman, who won a quarterback battle in training camp after starting the final four games a season ago, has completed 74.3% for 713 yards (that total leads the ACC) with six TDs and not a single INT. The running game chips in 189.5 YPG (4.1 YPC).
Kudos to Brown for his team's fast start but the Tar Heels have played at Charlotte (hardly a neutral site against the Gamecocks) plus at home vs Miami. This true road game at Wake will be a big test, against an offense averaging 39.5 PPG on 546.0 YPG (12th), including 356.5 YPG through the air (11th). The Carolina hype is running high, as it's been said that the people at Chapel Hill haven't already turned their attention to Roy Williams' basketball team.Wake owns some explosive playmakers and it just may be time to start talking hoops in Chapel Hill after this one.
|09-07-19||LSU v. Texas +7||Top||45-38||Push||0||30 h 6 m||Show|
My 9* play is on Texas at 7:00 ET.
2019's Week 1 saw just one top-25 matchup, as No. 16 Auburn pulled out a late 27-21 win over No. 11 Oregon in Arlington, Tx last Saturday night. The victory moved Auburn to the No. 10 spot in the new AP poll, while Oregon dropped to No. 16.. The two marquee matchups of Week 2 are No. 1 Clemson putting its 16-game winning streak on the line at home vs No. 12 Texas A7M and No. 6 LSU visiting No. 9 Texas. No one really expects A&M to upset Clemson, so in effect, the LSU/Texas game holds more drama and the winner will firmly establish itself as a top-10 team. LSU unveiled a new spread offense in its opener against Georgia Southern and rolled up 472 yards in a 55-3 rout. Texas did not face much of a challenge in its season opener either, easing past Louisiana Tech in Austin, 45-14.
LSU's senior QB Joe Burrow was 23-of-27 for 278 yards and five TDs last Saturday, as different players recorded at least one catch. Spreading the ball around is key to the team's new offensive system plus Burrow is trying to get the ball out quicker this season. So far, so good. He was not sacked in the opener. LSU always plays great defense and the out-manned Eagles were held to 98 total yards and just eight FDs. Texas QB Sam Ehlinger completed 28-of-38 passes for 276 yards and four touchdowns without an interception in the opener but LSU's secondary is one of the best in the country. Texas ran for 153 yards last week (5.1 YPC) but doing that again vs LSU's defensive front is HIGHLY unlikely. A concern for Texas is the Longhorns allowing 413 total yards against La Tech, including 340 through the air.
Ex-Saints aide Joe Brady had LSU's "new-look" passing game in mid-season form but should LSU really be favored hetr in Austin (and by about a TD!!)? The temperature in Austin likely will approach 100 degrees on Saturday and that opens the door for fatigue to play a role. Tom Herman has made quite a name for himself in his four years as a head coach in "big games." He is 10-6 SU as an underdog and a MONEY-MAKING 13-2-1 ATS. Take the points!
|09-07-19||BYU v. Tennessee -3||Top||29-26||Loss||-115||51 h 19 m||Show|
My 10* LEGEND Play is on Tennessee at 7:00 ET.
Phillip Fulmer took over as Tennessee's head coach during the 1992 season for Johnny Majors. He would go on to coach 16 full season at Knoxville, winning 10 or more games NINE times, while taking the Vols to a bowl game in 15 of 17 years (includes 1992, when he took over for Majors). His 1998 team won the national championship with a 13-0 record. However, he was let go (allowed to resign) in 2008 and the Vols have not reached double digits in wins in ANY of the last 10 seasons (high-mark was nine wins in 2015 and 2016). Jeremy Pruitt's first season ended 5-7 and then he began Year 2 with what many are calling "the worst defeat in program history!" The Vols hosted a Georgia St team which came in after closing 2018 with SEVEN straight losses and as a 25-point underdog, beat the Vols 38-30. Tennessee QB Jarrett Guarantano admitted he was "disgusted" following the eight-point loss, which is even a little deceptive given that the Volunteers scored a last-second TD.
BYU comes to Knoxville off a NINTH straight "Holy War" loss to Utah. The Cougars fell 30-12,as three BYU turnovers led directly to three Utah scores. BYU enters 2019 playing its 10th consecutive season as an Independent. The Cougars bounced back from an 'ugly' 4-9 finish in 2017 (school's first losing season since 2004) to finish 7-6 in 2018, after a 49-18 rout of Western Michigan in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl.Head coach Kalani Sitake enters his fourth season at BYU and the offense is led by sophomore QB Zach Wilson, who started the final seven games of 2018 (note: he was a perfect 18-for-18 for 307 yards with four TD passes in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl). Wilson rushed for 43 yards vs Utah, while achieving career highs in passing attempts (33) and completions (21). However, he threw for a modest 208 yards plus had two interceptions returned for TDs. BYU ran for only 92 yards and gained only 14 FDs. Defensively, BYU allowed 262 yards on the ground (5.5 YPC).
Technical trends surely don't favor the Vols, who are now 3-12 ATS over their last 15 home games. Meanwhile, BYU is 9-2 as a road dog since the beginning of 2016. However, I'm throwing out the tech trends here, as Tennessee had won 30 straight home games vs non-Power-5 conference schools prior to last week.QB Guarantano recorded the second 300-yard game of his career last Saturday finishing with 311 yards and a pair of TDs. Another postive was Tennessee committed just THREE penalties last week. It's just Week 2 but the Vols could be in a "Make or Break" seasonal mode in this one.
|09-07-19||Wyoming v. Texas State +7||23-14||Loss||-105||30 h 36 m||Show|
My 8* play is on Texas St at 7:00 ET.
The Wyoming Cowboys pulled a Week 1 shocker, upsetting Missouri 37-31 in Laramie as 15-point home dog. QB Sean Chambers threw for just 92 yards on 6 of 16 passing but led the Cowboys in rushing with 120 yards and a TD. RB Xazavian Valladay added 118 yards on the ground and also score a TD. A worry has to be a defense which allowed Missouri 537 total yards and 28 FDs. Winning the TO 'battle' 3-0 was a HUGE key for Wyoming.The Texas State Bobcats were manhandled 41-7 at Texas A&M to open their season and the team's lone score came on a 27-yard TD pass with only 36 seconds left in the game (giving them a push/ATS win).
Wyoming took full advantage of a rare home game (at 7,200 feet) against a bottom-rung SEC foe but the Cowboys hit the road this week in what sets up as a classic letdown spot. Texas State has a new head coach in Jake Spavital and 19 of 22 starters are back from the 2018 team. This is just the fourth meeting between the two schools and the home teams has won SU in each of the first three. The home dog 'barks' LOUDLY in this one!
|09-07-19||San Diego State v. UCLA -8||23-14||Loss||-110||27 h 52 m||Show|
My 7* play is on UCLA at 4:15 ET.
The San Diego State Aztecs opened their season with a victory but a 6-0 home win over Weber St as a 12-point favorite was hardly inspiring. UCLA had a "revenge" game with Cincy to open its 2019 season but fell, 24-14. Chip Kelly's first season at UCLA was an unqualified disaster (3-9) and a loss here almost guarantees an 0-3 start to 2019, as Oklahoma visits the Rose Bowl next Saturday. SDSU gained just 238 yards at home vs an FCS team (granted a nationally-ranked one) and the Aztecs have NEVER beaten the Bruins. The schools first met back in 1922 and the Bruins lead the series 21-0-1. Kelly has 19 starters back and this is a game he can and NEEDS to win. I'm laying the points.
|09-07-19||Vanderbilt v. Purdue -7||24-42||Win||100||44 h 20 m||Show|
My 8* Eye-Opener is on Purdue at 12:00 ET.
Vanderbilt had a tough season-opener on Aug 31, as No. 3 Georgia visited Nashville. The 'Dores fell behind 21-0 in the first 22 minutes against the Bulldogs and managed just a pair of Ryley Guay field FGs in a 30-6 loss. Yes, Vandy was out-gained 479-225 but the team's "D" was able to keep Georgia's potent offense from scoring a TD over the game's final 37 minutes. Purdue traveled to Reno, Nevada to open its season on Aug 31 (farthest the Boilermakers had traveled for s a season-opener since 2009 at Eugene, Oregon). Purdue led 24-7 at the half and extended its lead to 17 points again at 34-17, late in the third quarter. However, the Boilermakers never scored again and lost 34-31 (as 11-point road favorites). on a 56-yard FG as time expired by a walk-on freshman placekicker. The two schools will meet for the first time since 1942 when the Commodores travel to West Lafayette, Ind. on Saturday afternoon.
Vandy QB Riley Neal finished 14-of-25 for just 85 yards against a Georgia defense expected to be one of the best in the nation. Senior running back Ke'Shawn Vaughn, who rushed for 1,244 yards and 12 TDs in 2018, had 74 yards on 15 carries. Obviously, Purdue's defense will be an easier test but while Vandy did 'hold' Georgia to 30 points, the defense did allow 481 yards. Purdue's senior QB Elijah Sindelar completed 34-of-52 passes for 423 yards and four TDs but also threw two second-half interceptions that helped key the Wolf Pack's comeback. All-American wide receiver Rondale Moore had 11 receptions for 124 yards and a touchdown but also fumbled a punt that set up a Nevada field goal.
Jeff Brohm's Purdue team returned just three offensive starters but last Saturday's performance on the road shows that they’re capable of putting points on the board. NINE defensive starters return, so expect Purdue to have much better success here at home, against a questionable Vandy offense. Purdue let a game slip away that it rightfully should’ve won last Saturday and here at home, should "get it right" vs Vandy, a team which has lost its last SEVEN road openers when playing a Power-5 school. Jeff Brohm was seen as a rising star at Western Ky (30-10 record, while leading the Hilltoppers to three straight bowl berths) but so far, he's finding the Big Ten much tougher. The SEC is of course a 'monster' but Vandy is VERY beatable. Lay it!
|09-06-19||Marshall +12 v. Boise State||7-14||Win||100||34 h 12 m||Show|
My 8* Friday Night Lights play is on Marshall at 9:00 ET.
I referred to Boise St last week as the “Gonzaga of College Football." After all, the Broncos began to ascend to prominence on the gridiron in the late ‘90s, about the same time the Bulldogs began 'making noise' on the hardwood. Twenty years later, the Broncos and Bulldogs keep winning. The Broncos went 10-3 in 2018 (bowl game vs Boston College was cancelled due to inclement weather) and the Broncos reached double digits in wins for the 16th time in the last 20 years. The Broncos opened their 2019 season with a trip to Tallahassee (moved from Jacksonville because of the hurricane situation) and after falling behind 31-13 by the late second quarter, staged a dramatic comeback.The BSU defense tightened (FSU never scored over the game's final 34 minutes and was held to just 68 yards in the second half), while freshman QB Hank Bachmeier, hailed as one of the best recruits in Boise State football history, gave every indication that he's "the real deal." Bachmeier threw for 407 yards (one TD / one INT) plus was greatly helped by a running game that ran 57 times (the second-most during Harsin's tenure as coach since 2014) for 214 yards. RB Robert Mahone had 142 yards (he ran for just 128 all last year and 115 in 2017) and two TDs.
The Broncos are back home Friday night to host Marshall. Doc Holliday's Thundering Herd have been 'bowling' in FIVE of the last six seasons and have won EACH bowl contest! Marshall 'tuned up' last Saturday with a 56-17 romp over VMI, an FCS school. Marshall amassed 620 yards of total offense, while limiting VMI to 257. The Herd had a balanced attack of 340 yards passing and 280 rushing with 35 FDs.QB Isaiah Green (18-28 for 233 yards) threw a career-high four TD passes and the running game averaged 6.1 YPC.
Marshall should NOT be overlooked, as the Herd are 8-2 ATS the last three seasons when playing as an underdog. As for Boise, that famed "blue carpet" has not produced the kind of results Boise St bettors would have liked. In fact, the Broncos check in at 16-35-1 the last 51 games as a home favorite. Take the points.
|08-31-19||Virginia Tech -4 v. Boston College||Top||28-35||Loss||-110||50 h 48 m||Show|
My 9* Conference Game of the Month (ACC) is on Va Tech at 4:00 ET.
Florida State's 5-7 finish in 2018 was the school's worst since 1975 and its sub-500 season ended FSU's remarkable streak of 36 straight bowl appearances. That over-shadowed what happened in Blacksburg. Yes, Va Tech's 6-6 regular season record extended the school's bowl streak to 26 in a row (now the longest active streak) but the Hokies' 35-31 loss to Cincinnati in the Military Bowl gave the school its first losing season since 1992. Tech opened 4-2 but a four-game losing streak meant the Hokies needed to win their last two regular season games to make a bowl (see above for that result). Tech opens 2019 with a conference game on the road, as the Hokies travel to Chestnut Hill to take on Boston College. The Eagles beat Va Tech in Blacksburg 31-21 on Nov 2, giving them a 7-2 record and a top-25 ranking. However, BC lost its final three regular season games, before the school's bowl game against Boise St was cut short after one quarter by severe weather. BC has won exactly SEVEN games in FIVE of head coach Steve Addazio's six seasons, earning a bowl bid each time.
Ryan Willis took over early last season at QB and threw for 2,716 yards and 24 TDs with nine interceptions in 12 games. The senior is primed for a big year. WRs Damon Hazelton (51 catches / 802 yards / 8 TDs) and Tre Turner (26 catches / 535 yards / 4 TDs) will be his top targets, while junior TE Dalton Keene (28 catches) could have a breakout season. The rushing game will be RB by committee but Fuente had outstanding offenses at Memphis and this year's Va Tech team has all of the makings of a dynamic offense. Defensive Coordinator Bud Foster has been at Va Tech 'forever,' and after a succession of top-10 defenses for more than two decades, it's hard to NOT see a bounce-back from Tech's defense in 2019 (Tech allowed 31 PPG and almost 440 YPG in 2018). Note: 10 of 11 starters are back.
Junior RB Dillon missed roughly a month last year due to an ankle injury but he still finished with 1,108 yards and 10 TDs (he gained 1,589 yards with 14 TDs as a freshman). Junior QB Anthony Brown (2,121 passing yards, / 20 TDs) is back and he he'll and operate behind a solid Boston College OL. The BC defense returns just three starters from a unit which allowed 25.7 PPG and just over 400 YPG.
Boston College will undoubtedly be looking up at Clemson in the ACC Atlantic Division and probably Syracuse, as well. That means the Eagles will be fighting with FSU (greatly improved in 2019) and NC St for a third-place finish and a bowl berth. Meanwhile, the ACC's Coastal Division is wide-open and Va Tech is as good a pick as any to win it. The Hokies had beaten the Eagles in three straight before last year's game, winning by an average of 26 points. However, after the Hokies led 14-7 at the half last season, BC scored 24 unanswered points in an eventual 31-21 victory. Va Tech has won 23-10 and 26-10 in in last two visits to BC. That sounds about right, here. Revenge works!
|08-31-19||Boise State v. Florida State -5.5||Top||36-31||Loss||-108||97 h 6 m||Show|
My NCAAF 10* August Game of the Month is on Florida St at 7:00 ET (note: game has been moved from Jacksonville to Tallahassee).
The Boise St Broncos went 10-3 in 2018 (bowl game vs BC was cancelled due to inclement weather) but the Broncos reached double digits in wins for the 16th time in the L20 years. The beat should go on at Boise this season, as the Broncos look to secure their 18th straight bowl berth. The Broncos open their 2019 season with a trip to Tallahassee(game moved from Jacksonville due to weather issues) where they will take on the Florida State Seminoles. Willie Taggart's 1st season in Tallahassee was an unqualified 'disaster,' as FSU's 5-7 finish was the school's worst s/1975. More notably, its bowl streak of 36 straight appearances came to an end. The Seminoles losing record was no fluke, as FSU lost FIVE games by 21 points or more, including a 59-10 loss to Clemson.
There is little doubt that Boise will again be "bowl-bound," as unlike in 2018 when the Broncos faced FOUR ranked teams, they may not face ANY in 2019. However, there are a ton of questions on the offensive side of the ball for Boise heading into 2019. 4-year starter Brett Rypien has finally graduated and left as the MWC’s all-time leading passer with 13,578 yards. The successor remained up in the air into fall camp, as five candidates who had attempted just 10 passes between them were competing in the spring. Hank Bachmeier has been hailed as one of the best recruits in Boise State history and just recently, head coach Bryan Harsin said Bachmeier will be the Broncos’ starting QB for their 2019 season opener. “Hank earned it,” Harsin said. “It wasn’t given to him. ... He made throws, he completed passes, he did things in the pocket and he made decisions out there that we want to see. And whether a freshman, senior, doesn’t matter, those are the things that we’re looking for at that position.” That said, Boise St lost its top-2 WRs from 2018 and early NFL draftee RB Alex Mattison (1,415 YR, 17 TDs) leaves a 'hole' in the backfield. No returning RB gained as much as 200 yards in 2018 (Harsin has talked about a "RB by committee"option) so Boise’s string of 10 straight years with a 1000-yard rusher might come to end.
FSU had QB questions coming into this season as well, but head coach Willie Taggart made the announcement last Sunday that James Blackman has won the starting job. Blackman beat out Wisconsin graduate transfer Alex Hornibrook and Louisville transfer Jordan Travis. Blackman has started 13 games, including 12 as a true freshman in 2017. He has thrown for 2,740 yards, 24 TDs & 12 INTs at FSU. In his only 2018 start, Blackman threw for 421 yards, four TDs and one interception in a 47-28 road loss to NC State. Taggert’s offense will have a different look this year with new O.C. Kendall Briles running the show. Briles’ features a fast-paced but simplified attack and expect Blackman to utilize an up-tempo attack, looking to keep the Broncos defense on its heels. Speaking of defense, EIGHT of FSU's top-10 tacklers are back and the unit has pledged to but last season's collapse (allowed 42.0 PPG its last five) in "the rear-view mirror."
I'm predicting a big "bounce-back" season for Taggert and FSU, as the Seminoles are loaded and athletic across the board. I expect the Boise D to be "on its heels," struggling in the heat and humidity of a "Hot August Night" in Florida (something the boys from Idaho can't simulate in practice). Yes, QB Hank Bachmeier is highly-touted but expect the true freshman to be in for a 'LONG' night against a highly-motivated and athletic FSU defense. I'm calling a two-TD 'cover' from FSU!
|08-31-19||Ole Miss +5 v. Memphis||10-15||Push||0||49 h 16 m||Show|
My 8* Eye-Opener is on Ole Miss at 12:00 ET.
Memphis football looked 'dead in the water' from 2009-13, going 12-50 (.194) in that five-year span. However, in Justin Fuente's third season at Memphis (2014), the Tigers would go 10-3, including a thrilling 55-48 (2 OT) victory over BYU in the Miami Beach Bowl. Fuente led the Tigers to a bowl berth again in 2015 but left to take the Va Tech job. Mike Norvell took over in 2016 and he's led the Tigers to three straight bowls but Memphis has lost each one. The Tigers are off a so-so 8-6 season and return 14 starters. The Ole Miss Rebels were just 5-7 last year and have won SIX or less games in each of the last three years, making the school's last bowl appearance back in 2015. That Sugar-Bowl winning team finished 10th in the final AP poll with a 10-3 record.
How quickly, things have fallen apart in Oxford. Matt Luke became the interim head coach at Ole Miss after Hugh Freeze was forced to resign back in June of 2017. After a late season push allowed Ole Miss to finish 6–6, the interim tag on November 26, 2017 and he became 37th head football coach in school history. However, last year's 5-7 record (1-7 in the SEC) has put some pressure on Luke. Luke sure didn't "stand pat," as he hired two successful former head coaches as his offensive and defensive coordinators. Rich Rodriguez (OC) and Mike MacIntyre (DC) are his new coordinators. When last seen, Rich-Rod’s spread option saw Arizona QB Khalil Tate create more than a few headlines and there was some Heisman-talk. Reports are that redshirt freshman Matt Corral (239 yards, 2 TDs) will thrive as Rich-Rod's QB and senior RB Scottie Phillips will get lots of work after he ran for 928 yards in his first season with the Rebels (JC transfer), While Rich-Rod's transition should go smoothly, Mike MacIntyre will have his hands full with the Rebels' defense. Ole Miss ranked 116th against the run and 111th against the pass in 2018. The Rebels are switching from a 4-3 to a 3-4 on defense and there is nowhere to go but up!
Norvell's Tigers have averaged 42.9, 45.5 and 38.8 PPG in his three seasons at Memphis and theTigers return QB Brady White (3,296 yards / 26-9 ratio). Leading rusher Darrell Henderson (1,909 yards, 22 TDs) and Tony Pollard (552, 6 TDs both decided to leave for the NFL but Patrick Taylor Jr. stuck around for his senior season. He ran for 1,122 yards, and 16 TDs. Memphis also returns three of its top-four receivers, including the outstanding Damonte Coxie, who caught 72 balls (1,174 yards and 7 TDs). The offense will again be prolific but the defense coughed up various big leads in 2018, finishing 105th in pass ranking and 76th in rush ranking (31.9 PPG).
OK, Ole Miss' defense stunk in 2018 but expect MacIntyre to make a difference. Ole Miss returns 11 of their 12 top-tacklers plus a probable top CB in Jaylon Jones, who missed 11 games due to a torn ACL. Ole Miss could really use a confidence boosting victory to set the tone for this season and the Rebels will likely have lots of support at the Liberty Bowl, which is just an hour or so from Oxford. Speaking of 'leaky' defenses, the Memphis D gave up 93 points in its losses in the AAC championship game loss (UCF) and the Birmingham Bowl loss (Wake Forest). Memphis also lost "big-time" at Missouri last season (an equally bad SEC defensive team, ala Ole Miss), 65-33! I'm taking the points!
|08-29-19||Utah -6.5 v. BYU||Top||30-12||Win||100||36 h 30 m||Show|
My 10* Rivalry Game of the Month is on Utah at 10:15 ET.
You know it's a bitter rivalry when the schools involved can't even agree on when the first game was played. Utah claims a lead of 61–34–4, while BYU claims Utah leads 58–31–4, as BYU does not count the six games between Utah and Brigham Young Academy in its records (played prior to 1922). Either way, Utah has a large lead in the overall series and dominated the rivalry prior to 1972 by going 41–8–4. Then, BYU dominated the series with a record of 19–2 from 1972 to 1992. However, since 1993, Utah is 18-7, including EIGHT straight wins.
Despite some key late-season injuries in 2018, Utah finished atop the South standings (6-3) for the 1st time since entering the Pac-12 in 2011, before losing a hard-fought 10-3 defensive battle to Washington in the Pac-12 champ game. The Utes would then lose 31-20 to Northwestern in the Holiday bowl to finish 9-5. However, at the Pac-12 media gathering in July, the Utes garnered 33 of the 35 1st-place votes in the South & edged the North’s Oregon (11 votes) & Washington (nine) with 12 votes as the projected conference title game winner. BYU enters 2019 playing its 10th consecutive season as an Independent. The Cougars bounced back from an 'ugly' 4-9 finish in 2017 (school's 1st losing season since 2004) to finish 7-6 in 2018, after a 49-18 rout of Western Michigan in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl.
QB Tyler Huntley and RB Zack Moss (an All-Pac 12 preseason choice) are both ready to go in 2019. They both missed LY's Pac-12 championship loss, as well as the Utes' bowl loss. Huntley is back after missing the L5 games of 2018 with a broken collarbone. When healthy, he is a dual threat at QB. As for Moss, he racked up 1,096 yards (6.1 YPC) & 11 TDs in just nine games, before a knee injury ended his season early. On the other side of the ball, Utah boasts one of the nation’s top DLs, led by Bradlee Anae, Leki Fotu and John Penisini. The talented secondary is led by preseason All-Pac 12 first-team selections Julian Blackmon and Jaylon Johnson.
Head coach Kalani Sitake enters his 4th season at BYU and the offense will be led by soph QB Zach Wilson, who started the final seven games of 2018 (note: he was a perfect 18-for-18 for 307 yards with four TDPs in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl). The team's rushing attack is a question mark, as LY's leading rusher Lopini Katoa ran for only 423 yards (5.6 YPC / 8 TDs). BYU played good defense last season, allowing a modest 21.4 PPG on 325.2 YPG and its strength this year will be a seconddary that returns CB Chris Wilcox plus safeties Dayan Ghanwoloku & Austin Lee (trio combined for 31 starts last season).
BYU blew a 27-7 lead with a minute left in the 3rd Q of LY's game, before suffering a painful 35-27 defeat in Salt Lake City. Revenge? With a visit to Tennessee up next and then back-to-back home games against USC and Washington, winning here will be even more important. That said, BYU has had played with revenge vs Utah for some time now, as Utah has won EIGHT straight in the series. Whittingham has quite a run at Utah since taking over for Urban Meyer after the 2004 season. He's led the Utes to 12 bowls the L14 years, winning 10. His teams have finished in the final AP poll FIVE times, including a No. 2 finish back in 2008, when the team capped a 13-0 season with a 31-17 Sugar Bowl win over Alabama. In 2014, 2015 & 2016, the Utes finished ranked after beginning the season unranked. This year's team may not be as special as the 2008 one (no way) but Utah is ranked 14th in the AP's preseason poll and it's well-deserved. Expect more 'pain' to come BYU's way in yet another "Holy War."
|08-24-19||Florida v. Miami-FL +7.5||Top||24-20||Win||100||130 h 39 m||Show|
My 10* Battle 4 Florida is on Miami-Fl at 7:00 ET.
The Gators fell apart under Jim McElwain, going 4-7 in 2017. To the rescue came Miss St head coach Dan Mullen, who had earlier served as Urban Meyer’s O.C. for two Florida national-title teams (2006 and 2008). Tim Tebow, flourished under Mullen, as did Miss St QBs Dak Prescott and Nick Fitzgerald. The Gators became relevant again in 2018, finishing 10-4 in 2018 after its 41-15 romp over Michigan in the Peach Bowl.
Mark Richt led Miami to a 9-4 record in his first season (2016). Much was expected of the 2017 team and Miami opened 9-0, including wins over then-No. 13 Va Tech (28-10) and then-No. 3 Notre Dame (41-8), to open November. Miami reached 10-0 with a win over UVa the following week and played its final regular season game at Pittsburgh, ranked No. 2 in the nation. The 'Canes lost 24-14 and then got crushed 38-3 by Clemson in the ACC title game. That Notre Dame win was supposed to be a watershed event but it instead became the apex of the Richt era. The 'Canes lost their final three games of the 2017 season (after that 10-0 start) and then went 7-6 in 2018, going 5-12 ATS over Richt's final 17 games as Miami's head coach. Manny Diaz was Miami's DC from 2016-18 and after Richt's retirement on December 30, 2018, Diaz was hired as head coach.
The “Mullen Magic” worked a year ago for Gator QB Feleipe Franks, who had disappointed for McElvain as a freshman in 2017. He had 24 TDPs and just six INTs, after a 9-8 ratio in 2017. He developed into a real SEC signal-caller last year under Mullen. The top-seven pass catchers return from 2018 and RB Lamical Perine needs 1,189 rushing yards to become the Gators’ first 3,000-yard career rusher since Earnest Graham at the end of the Steve Spurrier era. A worry could be replacing four multi-year starters along the OL. Retaining DC Todd Grantham was good news, as in wins against Florida State and Michigan to cap the 2018 season, the D forced five TOs, recorded 10 sacks, and held the Seminoles and Wolverines to a combined 7-for-30- on third downs. Seven starters return.
No one can blame Diaz' D for LY's 'collapse. Diaz is considered the mastermind behind the "Turnover Chain," a Cuban link chain with a charm in the shape of the school's iconic "U" logo. Despite the team's 7-6 record in 2018, Miami ranked No. 2 in total defense and ranked No. 1 in several other categories. In fact, Miami led the nation in “havoc rate” (total combined tackles for loss, passes defensed, and forced fumbles, divided by total plays) a year ago. Offense, or the lack thereof, is what held back the "U" a year ago. Miami ranked 105th in total offense and an embarrassing 113th in passing, as neither senior Malik Rosier nor red-shirt freshman N’Kosi Perry provided anything remotely like consistency at the QB spot. In fact, the most important Diaz hire might be new OC Dan Enos, a former Michigan State QB and onetime HC at Central Michigan, who was most recently the QB coach for Nick Saban’s Alabama staff. It turns out that Jarren Williams, who was highly recruited but couldn’t get in a game last year (he did get in one, playing garbage time against cupcake Savannah State, going 1 for 3 for 17 yards), has beaten out Perry and highly-touted Ohio St transfer, Tate Martell.
Diaz has made a bold choice and Williams gets tested right away vs Florida in Orlando (Gators are ranked No. 8 in the preseason coaches' poll). Not many expected Florida to return to the top-10 as quickly as it did a year ago and I'm one who believes the Gators are rated too high this early. These two rivals used to play annually but haven’t faced off since 2013 (Miami won 21-16) and not in an opener since 1987, when the 'Canes won 31-4. I guess Orlando is "closer to home" for Florida than it is for Miami but I want the points with the MUCH better defensive team.
|01-01-19||Washington v. Ohio State -6.5||Top||23-28||Loss||-112||485 h 56 m||Show|
My 10*LEGEND Play is on Ohio State at 5:00 ET.
Ohio St did not make the CFP's 'Final Four,' so Urban Meyer's last game as the Buckeyes' head coach will be the105th edition of the Rose Bowl from Pasadena, Ca. The year started with controversy for Meyer and the Ohio St program and Meyer announced that he would be stepping down as coach after the contest, primarily because of stress-related headaches stemming from a cyst on his brain. He leads the Buckeyes into this game with an 82-9 record which includes winning the 2014 national title during seven seasons at the school.
Washington opened the 2018 season ranked 6th in the AP's preseason poll but lost its first game, to then-No. 9 Auburn, 21-16.The Huskies would lose two more times before winning the Apple Cup game 28-15 at Washington St to clinch the Pac-12 North title on Nov 23rd. Washington then beat Utah 10-3 in the Pac-12 championship game on Dec 1, to clinch this Rose Bowl berth. The 10-3 Huskies are ranked 9th in both the AP poll and CFP standings. This marks the first time the Big Ten champion and Pac-12 champion have met in the Rose Bowl since the College Football Playoff began in 2014. Both schools are making their 15th Rose Bowl appearances but the schools have never previously met in Pasadena.
Senior QB Jake Browning is the school's all-time leader in career passing yardage (11,983) and TD passes (94) but he has battled consistency issues the last two seasons. He had 47 TD passes and just nine INTs as a sophomore but followed with a 19-5 ratio as a junior, before falling to a 16-10 ratio this season. Senior RB Myles Gaskin is the program's all-time leader with 5,202 rushing yards and he's had no "drop-off issues," as his 1,147 rushing yards this season marked his fourth straight 1,000-yard campaign. The Washington offense averages a modest 26.6 PPG (86th) but its defense checks in allowing 15.5 PPG (6th) on 301.8 YPG (12th).
Ohio State wins games with a flashy offense behind sophomore QB Dwayne Haskins Jr. Haskins completed 70.2 percent of his passes in his first season as a starter, throwing for 4,580 yards with 47 TD passes and only eight INTs. Dobbins has 1,029 yards and Weber 858, as the Ohio St rushing game averages 175.9 YPG. Ohio St enters averaging 43.5 PPG (7th) on 548.9 YPG (2nd). However, the defense is a worry, as outside of Ohio State's 25-6 win at Michigan St, the Buckeyes D allowed 38.8 PPG in five of its last six games.
Bottom line is that there are strong fundamental, technical and psychological advantages for Ohio State. The Buckeyes own a very well-balanced offense and while Washington has an excellent D, no one has stopped Ohio St all season. Meanwhile, Ohio State's recent defensive woes should not be exposed by Washington's below-average offense, led by Browning, who has been in a two-year free-fall (hard to call it a slump,anymore). Technically, Washington was just 4-9 ATS this season and is only 1-7 SU in their last eight bowl games when facing Power-5 opponents. teams. SIX of those losses have come by seven points or more plus the Huskies are only 2-7 ATS their last nine playing outside the Pac-12.
Moving to Urban Meyer, his teams have covered 10 of 13 bowl games dating to his days coaching Florida and Utah. Ohio State is 36-14-1 ATS when not laying seven or more points the last 12 years (line is hovering around that number and I was able to lay 6.5). Finally, there's a likely emotional edge with Meyer stepping down and the team must still be a little ticked off at being left out of the college championship playoff. Lay it!!
|01-01-19||LSU -7 v. Central Florida||40-32||Win||100||8 h 27 m||Show|
My 9* Fiesta Bowl Play is on LSU at 1:00 ET.
UCF tries to complete its second straight perfect season when it takes on No. 11 LSU (9-3) in the Fiesta Bowl on Jan 1 from Glendale, Az. The Knights ended last season 13-0 with a 34-27 victory over Auburn in the Peach Bowl and enter this game 12-0 and ranked 7th in the CFP standings and No. 8 in the AP poll (the school's best-ever ranking in either poll). It's deja vu all over again this season for UCF, as this trip to a New Year’s Day Six Bowl is no different than the feelings of resentment it felt toward the CFP selection committee for again being dismissed from the championship race and once again needing to prove itself against an SEC opponent (see last year vs Auburn). LSU was 7-1 and ranked No. 3 when it lost 29-0 at home vs No. 1 Alabama on Nov 3. The Tigers would end the season on a 1-3 ATS skid, the team's only cover coming as a three-point dog in a 74-72 (7-OT) loss at Texas A&M.
LSU junior QB Joe Burrow has thrown for 2,500 yards and 12 TDs but is completing just 57.4 percent of his passes. Senior RB Nick Brossette waited his turn behind Derrius Guice and Leonard Fournette for three years before getting his chance in 2018. He's run for 922 yards and 14 TDs. LSU averages 31.8 PPG (41st) and its defense is strong, allowing 20.9 PPG (24th) on 346.1 YPG (29th).
QB McKenzie Milton (2,663 yards with a 25-6 ratio plus 9 rushing TDs) suffered a serious knee injury early in UCF's regular-season finale but the Knights won that game and then overcame a 38-21 halftime deficit against Memphis in the AAC title game to win, 56-41. Freshman QB Darriel Mack Jr. Burrow, an Ohio State transfer, completed 19 of 27 passes for 348 yards with two TDs and zero INTs, while running for four scores. The UCF defense allows 425.5 YPG (86th) but just 21.2 PPG (25th).
22 UCF seniors are determined to leave with 26 straight wins but I believe the Knights are in a "bad spot" in this one. LSU is 'bowling' for the 19th straight season and coming off that seven-OT loss in its regular season finale, will be looking to avoid back-to-back losses for the first time since late 2015! This is the SEC vs the AAC and that's a no-brainer. I realize that UCF took down Auburn last year but that was with Milton. Yes, Mack was a star vs Memphis but the Tigers lost their bowl game to Wake Forest on Dec 22 (not exactly a FB powerhouse), allowing 37 points. When's the last time a school recorded back-to-back perfect seasons? Try Nebraska in 1994 and 1995! Lay it with LSU.
|01-01-19||Iowa v. Mississippi State -7||27-22||Loss||-100||8 h 32 m||Show|
My 9* Outback Bowl Play is on Miss St at 12:00 ET.
It will be warm Tuesday afternoon in Tampa (in the 80s), as a pair of 8-4 teams take the field at Raymond James Stadium for the Outback Bowl. Iowa enters unranked, while Miss St is 18th in both the AP poll and the final CFP standings. The Hawkeyes were 6-1 and ranked 18th when they lost 30-24 at Penn St on Oct 27, a defeat which began a three-game slide. The Bulldogs beat two ranked teams at home (Auburn and Texas A&M), while losing at LSU and Alabama (got outscored 43-3). Both teams own excellent defenses, Iowa ranks 10th in allowing 17.4 PPG) on 289.6 YPG (7th). Meanwhile, Miss St ranks first in both points allowed (12.0 per) and 268.4 YPG.
Junior QB Nate Stanley had 23 TD passes this season and threw for 2,638 yards. His 26 TD throws in 2017 gives him 49 TD passes in 2017-18, tying him with Chuck Long for the most over a two-year span in Iowa history. His top targets are a pair of draft-worthy TEs, Noah Fant and Mackey Award winner T.J. Hockenson. Fant has elected to skip the bowl game to begin preparing for the 2019 NFL Draft, while Hockenson has yet to announce whether he will turn pro but he will play here.Iowa averages a modest 389.7 YPG (79th) but scores a better than expected 31.5 PPG (42nd).
The Bulldogs are led by senior QB Nick Fitzgerald, who has thrown for 1,1615 yards with 15 TDs and seven INTs. He leads the team in rushing with 1,018 yards on 5.1 YPC with 12 rushing scores. Fitzgerald has been responsible for 99 total TDs in his career, owns the SEC record for most 100-yard rushing games by a quarterback (20) and is the only QB in conference history to run for more than 3,000 yards. Fitzgerald struggled the first six games this year (46.7% with 4 TDs and 7 INTs) but over his final five games, he completed 61% with 11 TDs without throwing a single INT! Expect Fitzgerald to be pumped for his final college game, as he missed LY’s TaxSlayer Bowl due to an ankle injury,
Iowa is 0-3 as an underdog this year and note that every one of Miss St's eight wins in 2018 have come by 14 points or more (average margin of victory 34.1 PPG). Helpful hint. SEC vs Big Ten in TY's bowl season. Aub 63-14 over Purdue and Florida 41-15 over Michigan.
|12-31-18||NC State v. Texas A&M -5||Top||13-52||Win||100||463 h 22 m||Show|
My 10* NCAAF Bowl Game of the Year is on Texas A&M at 7:30 ET.
Monday night's Gator Bowl features the ACC's 9-3 NC State Wolfpack going up against the SEC's 8-4 Texas A&M Aggies. It will be the first-ever meeting between the two schools. NC State's Dave Doeren is taking his Wolfpack team to its fifth straight bowl (3-1 SU & ATS), including impressive wins the last two, a 41-17 romp over Vandy in the 2016 Independence Bowl and a 52-31 shootout win over Arizona State in 2017 Sun Bowl. Jimbo Fisher will get a chance to win his first bowl game with Texas A&M, after going 5-2 SU & 4-3 ATS in bowls at FSU (includes guiding Florida State to the National Championship in 2013 34-31 over Auburn).
NC State QB Ryan Finley led the ACC in passing with 3,789 yards, more than 1,000 more than the next-closest QB (he has 24 TD passes and just nine INTs). WRs Kelvin Harmon (81 catches /1,186 yards) and Jakobi Meyers (89 catches / 1,028 yards) became the first pair of teammates in school history to each go over 1,000 yards in the same season. However, the NC State running game offers little support, averaging 143.8 YPG (98th). Defensively, the Wolfpack are strong, allowing 22.7 PPG (37th) on 380.2 YPG (55th).
Florida St QB Kellen Mond is not as prolific as Finely (2,967 yards) but owns a similar TD/INT ratio (23-8). However, Mond is supported by an excellent running game (203.8 YPG ranks 33rd), led by Trayveon Williams(1,524 yards / 6.0 YPC / 15 TDs). On the defensive side of the ball, Texas A&M is allowing 26.3 PPG (58th) but the Aggies actually allow less yards than NC State (354.7 YPG to rank 34th, including only 92.0 YPG on the ground, 2nd-best in the nation).
NC State opened 5-0 to reach No. 16 in the AP poll but a 41-7 loss on Oct 20 at Clemson, began a stretch of THREE losses in four games. The Wolfpack rebounded to win their final three games, but those victories came against 2-10 Louisville, 2-9 North Carolina and 3-9 East Carolina. Fisher remade the Aggies into a more physical team in his first year on the job and few will forget A&M's 74-72, seven-overtime triumph over LSU in their regular-season finale. Expect Fisher's 1st A&M team to end 2018 in a BIG way!
|12-31-18||Missouri v. Oklahoma State +10||33-38||Win||100||26 h 28 m||Show|
My 8* Las Vegas Insider (Liberty Bowl) is on Oklahoma St at 3:45 ET.
Missouri and Oklahoma State were rivals in the Big Eight and Big 12 conferences, before Missouri’s move to the SEC in 2012. The Tigers lead the all-time series 29-23, including a 41-31 win in the Cotton Bowl following the 2013 season. The two former conference rivals meet in Monday's Liberty Bowl in Memphis, Tn. The Tigers were 7-6 last season but enter this game 8-4. The Tigers opened 3-0, while averaging 43.7 PPG. However, a stretch of FOUR losses in five games followed, before Mizzou went 4-0 SU & ATS in Nov, averaging 39.8 PPG.
Oklahoma State entered 2018 off three consecutive 10-3 seasons and opened 3-0. However, the then-No. 16 Cowboys lost 41-17 at home to Texas Tech, as 14 1/2-point favorites. That loss began a 3-6 closing run by Oklahoma State, which left the Cowboys just 6-6 after a 31-24 season-ending loss at TCU. A loss here and it would be OSU's first losing season since Mike Gundy's first year in Stillwater. That 2005 team finished 4-7.
Missouri is led by QB Drew Lock, who passed for 3,125 yards with 25 TDs and just eight INTs. The running game is led Larry Rountree III (1,012 rushing yards & 10 TDs). The Tigers are averaging 36.9 PPG (19th) on 468.8 YPG (16th). The defense is better than average, allowing 24.4 PPG (45th) on 379.0 YPG (51st). Okla St also owns a quality QB, as Taylor Cornelius threw for 3,637 yards with 28 TDs and just 11 TDs. The offense is slightly better than Missouri's, averaging 38.4 PPG (14th) on 499.2 YPG (10th). However, OSU's weakness is on defense. The Cowboys gave up over 300 passing yards five times and also allowed more than 200 rushing on five occasions. OSU enters allowing 32.4 PPG, which ranks 97th.
Barry Odom's Missouri offense could be without a few weapons, as RB Damarea Crockett (ankle), WR Jalen Knox (concussion) and TE Albert Okwuegbunam (shoulder) were all were banged up at the end of the regular season. Let me also note that Lock was more efficient last season, when he had 44-13 ratio and threw for almost 4,000 yards. A closer look at Missouri's season reveals that the Tigers played the roll of 'bully,' running up big scores when they had fundamental edges. That's NOT the case here. It's also important to note that during OSU's 3-6 closing skid, the Cowboys beat then-No. 6 Texas 38-35 and then-No. 9 West Va 45-41 in Stillwater, while losing just 48-47 at then-No. 6 Oklahoma (as 21 1/2-point underdogs).
Missouri ended last year's regular season with six straight wins (and on a 7-1 ATS run) but flopped badly in the Texas Bowl against Texas, 33-16 (Mizzou had four TOs). OSU is more than capable of matching the Tigers score for score and I see another flop coming, here. Take the points!
|12-31-18||Virginia Tech +6 v. Cincinnati||31-35||Win||100||26 h 1 m||Show|
My 9* Military Bowl Play is on Va Tech at 12 noon ET.
A four-game losing streak left Va Tech 4-6 and needing to win its final two games to qualify for a bowl. The Hokies eked out a 34-31 OT win at home against Virginia and then beat Marshall 41-20 at home, a contest that was added late in the season as a replacement for one postponed by Hurricane Florence. 6-6 Va Tech now takes on Cincinnati in the Military bowl, making its 26th consecutive bowl appearance, the nation's longest active streak (note; it's the third-longest streak in NCAA history).
In contrast to Va Tech, Cincinnati has been one of the better stories of the CFB 2018 season, going from 4-8 in 2017, to 10-2 in Luke Fickell's second year as the school's head coach. The Bearcats are going for just their third 11-win season in the program's 131-year history and have an 8-9 all-time postseason record. Cincinnati returns to postseason play for the first time since the 2015 Hawaii Bowl and will play in its 18th bowl game all time, although its 10th in the last 13 seasons.
Redshirt freshman Desmond Ridder was named the AAC Rookie of the Year, as the QB is true dual-threat, completing 62.5 percent of his passes for 2,359 yards and 19 TDs while adding another 574 yards rushing along with five more scores. Michael Warren II, the Bearcats' first 1,000-yard rusher since 2012, gained 1,163 yards, along with a school-record 18 total TDs and a school-record tying 17 rushing scores. The offense averages 34.9 PPG (25th) on 458.2 YPG (24th). However, Cincy's best unit is its defense, which allows 16.1 PPG (6th) on 292.2 YPG (8th). The defense is led by All-AAC first team defensive end Cortez Broughton.
Va Tech's offense started to struggle after a season-ending injury to QB Josh Jackson. However, Ryan Willis became a serviceable replacement by year's end, passing for 2,497 yards and 22 TDs and just eight INTs (he had 332 yards passing in the finale vs Marshall to get the Hokies bowl-eligible). However, the difference between this and past Va Tech editions is on the defensive side of the ball. Veteran DC Bud Foster has had to force-feed a young unit that's allowed 30.7 PPG (85th) on 436.8 YPG (98th).
At first blush (and on paper), Cincinnati is the superior team. However, looking more closely at the Bearcats' 10-win season, let's note that the only Power-5 opponent they played was UCLA (Bruins endured their worst season in 55 years) plus Cincy lost to the two best AAC foes it faced (in OT at Temple & 38-13 at UCF). Tech endured a tough non-league schedule and then faced a combative ACC one. Note that Va Tech ended the year by beating Virginia & Marshall. In case you are unaware, Marshall won its bowl game 38-20 playing at USF on Dec 20 and Virginia beat SEC-rep South Carolina 28-0 in the Belk Bow (Dec 29). Va Tech opened the 2018 season with a Labor Day 24-7 win at Florida State (as a 7-point underdog). Don't be surprised if the Hokies win this one OUTRIGHT (at around a TD underdog), on the last day of 2018, as well!
|12-29-18||Arkansas State v. Nevada -1||Top||13-16||Win||100||32 h 36 m||Show|
My 10* Under the Radar Rout is on Nevada at 1:15 ET.
Arkansas State and Nevada were briefly conference-mates in the Big West Conference in the mid-90s and the two schools will meet for the first time since 1999 when they meet in the Arizona Bowl on Dec 29 at Arizona Stadium in Tucson, Az. This event is only in its fourth year but Nevada has fond memories after it won the inaugural Arizona Bowl over MWC rival Colorado State in 2015. The Wolf Pack return to the postseason for the first time since that game, after the program did a quick re-boot the past two seasons under head coach Jay Norvell. Arkansas State won five of its last six games (averaged 40.0 PPG in that span) with the lone loss coming against Louisiana 47-43, a defeat that cost the Red Wolves the West Division title and a spot in the Sun Belt championship game.
Arkansas State brings a four-game winning streak into this game. Senior QB Justice Hansen passed for 3,172 yards with 27 TDs, while being intercepted just SIX times (he was named the Sun Belt Player of the Year). The offense averages 464.8 YPG (20th) and 31.8 PPG (45th). Hansen ran for 399 yards, while adding six TDs. Defensively, Arkansas St allows 26.4 PPG (59th) on 376.8 YPG (48th).
Nevada QB Ty Gangi ranks 11th nationally in total offense (298.2 YPG) and completed 250-of-409 passes for 3,131 yards with 23 TDs and 11 INTs. He leads an offense averaging 32.3 PPG (40th) on 443.2 YPG (32nd). Nevada's defense owns similar numbers to Arkansas State's, allowing 28.1 PPG (71st) on 378.2 YPG (50th).
Red Wolves' QB Hansen does a few more things than Gangi, namely running. However, his TD pass total dropped from 37 to 27 this season. That said, Gangi has a more-accomplished group of WRs, led by McLane Mannix (17.5 YPC and 7 TDs) and Kaleb Fossum (68 catches). Arkansas State is in more familiar territory in the postseason, appearing in its eighth straight bowl but under head coach Blake Anderson, the Red Wolves have lost THREE of four. As for Nevada, it finished tied for second in the West Division of the MWC and had a four-game winning streak snapped in its regular-season finale by in-state rival UNLV, blowing a 23-0 first half lead in a 34-29 loss. Sure, the people in Reno are paying more attention these days to Nevada basketball (12-0 Wolf Pack are currently ranked No. 6) but on Saturday, the football team takes center stage and gets the "W."
|12-29-18||South Carolina -5 v. Virginia||0-28||Loss||-106||30 h 16 m||Show|
My 9* Bowl Eye-Opener is on South Carolina at 12:00 ET.
South Carolina and Virginia meet for the first time since 2003, and for the first time in a bowl game, when the two schools square off at the Belk Bowl in Charlotte, NC. The 7-5 Gamecocks finished in a tie for fourth in the SEC East, going 4-2 down the stretch, losing only at Florida (35-31) and Clemson (56-35). The 7-5 Cavaliers tied for third in the ACC Coastal Division but limp into this bowl game as losers of THREE of four, with their only win in that stretch against Liberty.
The Gamecocks will be missing WR Deebo Samuel in this game, who accounted for 123.2 all-purpose YPG in 2018 (scored 13 TDs). South Carolina is 'bowling' for a third straight year under head coach Will Muschamp. However, South Carolina lacked game-to-game consistency, with its only two-game win skein coming in narrow victories over non-bowl teams Ole Miss and Tennessee (by a combined seven points). The Gamecock offense averages 32.6 PPG (39th) on 440.8 YPG (35th). Junior QB Jake Bentley (63.9% with 27 TD passes and 12 INTs) started slow (7-6 TD/INT ratio in his first four starts) but picked up the pace over his last six contests after sitting out the win over Missouri with an injury, he completed 63.4%, while fashioning a 20-6 TD-INT ratio. The South Carolina D allows 27.2 PPG (67th) on 429.8 YPG (82nd).
Virginia QB Bryce Perkins, a junior college transfer, piled up 3,314 all-purpose yards while accounting for 31 TDs in his first season with the Cavaliers. He is a legitimate dual-threat, passing for 2,472 yards on 203-of-318 passing, while running for 842 yards and nine TDs on 197 carries. The offense averages 28.5 YPG (69th) on 382.2 YPG (85th) but the defense keeps them in most games, allowing 21.8 PPG (27th) on 337.2 YPG (24th).
The Cavaliers had some easy games on their schedule early in the season and converted them into wins but struggled down the stretch with conference losses to Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech and Pittsburgh. That said, it was a milestone year for the program, getting its first winning season since 2011 and returning to a bowl game for the second year in a row. The Gamecocks had five losses on the season and ALL of them came at the hands of ranked opponents; No. 2 Clemson, No. 6 Georgia, No. 10 Florida, No. 15 Kentucky, and No. 20 Texas A&M. South Carolina is 2-0 under coach Will Muschamp in bowl games, including last year’s 26-19 win over Michigan in the Outback Bowl. Make that 3-0, as the SEC rep is 6-0 S & 5-0-1 ATS since 2011 in this bowl. The Gamecocks are the play.
|12-28-18||Iowa State v. Washington State -3.5||Top||26-28||Loss||-100||393 h 59 m||Show|
My 10* "signature" LEGEND Play (1st of 2 this bowl season) is on Washington State at 9:00 ET.
The Iowa State and Washington State football programs have each been around for approximately 125 years, but they'll meet for the first time on Dec 28 in San Antonio at the Valero Alamo Bowl. The Cyclones opened 1-3 but they rallied behind freshman QB Brock Purdy. Purdy made his first career start Oct 13 in a game vs then-No. 6 West Va, with Iowa St winning, 30-14. He threw three TD passes against teh Mountaineers remained a steady force for the Cyclones in leading them to a 6-1 mark as a starter. Washington State was not just unranked in the preseason, the Cougars didn't even crack the "others receiving votes," list. However, graduate transfer QB Gardner Minshew turned in the most surprising performance of the season. He led the Cougars to a 10-1 record (No. 7 in the AP and No. 8 in the CFP rankings), before losing the Apple Cup 28-15 to Washington on Nov 23 (more on that later)..
One could make a strong case that this is the best Iowa State team in decades. The No. 25th-ranked Cyclones cracked the final regular season poll for the first time since 1976, and their third-place finish in the Big 12 is their best since 1978. Head coach Matt Campbell shared the Big 12 Coach of the Year award. RB David Montgomery has run for for 1092 yards and 12 TDs. Frosh QB Brock Purdy took over at mid-season after an injury first to starter Kyle Kempt and then the abrupt departure of backup Zeb Noland, who intends to transfer. Purdy completed 66% of his passes for 1,935 yards with 16 TDs and just 5 INTs while playing in only 9 games. The defense is top-notch, allowing 22.5 PPG (35th) on 351.0 YPG (37th).
Speaking of defense (not typically associated with a Mike Leach team), the Cougars' stop unit is just as good. WSU allows 23.1 PPG (38th) on 345.9 YPG (29th). That said, Washington St has gotten here on teh arm of graduate transfer, QB Gardner Minshew,. During the first 11 games, teams just couldn’t slow him down. The former East Carolina QB led the FBS with 4,477 passing yards, completed 70.6% and had a 36-9 TD-INT ratio. In two seasons at ECU he was good (3,487 YP, 24 TD & 11 INT. in 17 games), but NOT this good! WSU's average of 38.3 PPG ranks 15th in the nation.
While I acknowledged that this may be Iowa State's best team in decades, I do NOT believe this year's Ctyclone team is in the class of the Cougars. The snowy conditions played a big role in Washington State's loss to Washington last month, as Minshew didn't throw a TD pass for the first time this season and was held to 152 passing yards after passing for at least 319 in every other game. The team's 237 total yards against the Huskies was its worst offensive output since 2013.
Washington State was 10-1 and in the conversation for a potential berth in the College Football Playoff, before getting derailed by that snowstorm, getting shut down against rival Washington in the Apple Cup. However, Minshew won't have to deal with adverse weather conditions inside the Alamodome. What's more, the Cougars might have a pretty big chip on their shoulders after they were left out of a New Year's Six bowl, despite winning 10 games. Simply put, I believe Wash St is CLEARLY the better team, making this pointspread a 'cheap' lay!
|12-28-18||Auburn -3 v. Purdue||63-14||Win||100||30 h 59 m||Show|
My 9* Music City Bowl Play is a 9* on Auburn at 1;30 ET.
Former Louisville QB Jeff Brohm is a hot coaching commodity but Purdue's future appears secure after Brohm rebuffed his alma mater to stay in West Lafayette (Brohm received a raise after turning down the Cardinals and will reportedly make over $5 million per year). Brohm led Western Ky to three straight bowls (30-10 record), winning in 2014 and 2015 but did not coach in the team's 2016 game when he left to take the Purdue job. The Boilermakers are in back-to-back bowls, after a stretch of four losing seasons in a row from 2013-2016 when Purdue went 9-39. Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn took over the Tigers in 2013 and led them within a whisker of winning the national title, losing a thriller to Florida State, 34-31 in the final BCS national championship game. This marks Auburn's sixth straight bowl appearance but Malzahn is just 1-4 in his first five bowl games with the Tigers. Auburn opened the year No. 9 in the AP's preseason poll and beat then-No. 6 Washington in its season opener. However, the Tigers enter this game a disappointing 7-5.
Auburn QB Jarrett Stidham will play his final college game after declaring for the 2019 NFL Draft in early December. The Baylor transfer broke out as a sophomore in 2017 (66.5 completion percentage, 3,158 passing yards, 18 TDs and six INTs) but failed to maintain that level od success in 2018 (60.1 percent, 2,421 yards, 13 TDs and five INTs). Auburn will enter averaging 28.2 PPG (just 71st) on a modest 373.6 YPG (94th). However, Auburn's defense is first-rate, allowing 19.6 PPG (18th) on 363.6 YPG (44th).
5-9 freshman Rondale Moore is Purdue's bright shining star. The all-purpose threat set a school record for all-purpose yards in his first college game en route to finishing the regular season with 2,048 and winning the Paul Hornung Award as the most versatile player nationally. Moore enters bowl season with an FBS-best 103 receptions and a Big Ten-high 1,164 receiving yards (he also has 681 kick return yards and 203 yards rushing yards). Senior QB David Blough (school-record 66.6 completion percentage) had 3,521 passing yards with 25 TDs and just eight INTs. Purdue averages 31.9 PPG (44th) on 459.0 YPG (24th). However, the defense allowed 445.3 YPG (103rd) but did fare better in allowing 27.2 PPG, which ranked 68th.
This is the first all-time meeting between the two schools. Purdue opened 0-3, including a 20-19 home upset loss to Eastern Michigan, as 15-point favorites. The Boilermakers did run off four wins in a row after that, including a 30-13 home upset win over Boston College (Sep 22) and the team's signature win of 2018, a 49-20 blowout over then-unbeaten Ohio State on Oct 20 (Purdue was a 12-point underdog). However, Purdue was not able to maintain that momentum, losing THREE of its next four, before becoming bowl eligible with a 28-21 road win over rival Indiana for the Old Oaken Bucket.
Auburn began the season in the top-10 and optimistically had CFP aspirations. However, the year has been a major disappointment. The Tigers’ only quality wins in 2018 were a 21-16 victory over Washington in the opener and a near-miraculous, come-from-behind 28-24 home win over Texas A&M in early November. Still, I prefer this SEC team over its Big Ten opponent. Malzahn could "really use" a bowl win, atoning for last year's 34-27 upset loss to UCF (+10) in the Peach Bowl, as the Knights capped a perfect 13-0 season (note: UCF's winning streak now sits at 25 in a row). Go Tigers.
|12-27-18||Miami-FL -3 v. Wisconsin||Top||3-35||Loss||-105||77 h 57 m||Show|
My 10* PERFECT STORM is on Miami-Fl at 5:15 ET.
We don't often see two schools playing each other in back-to-back bowl seasons but that's the case Thursday at Yankee Stadium, as Miami-Fl and Wisconsin square off in this year's Pinstripe Bowl. Wisconsin won last year's Orange Bowl 34-24, as QB Alex Hornibrook passed for four TDs and the Badgers' outgoing senior class earned a record 45th win. The departure of those seniors saw Wisconsin, which opened the season No. 4 in the AP's preseason poll, take a huge backwards step in 2018. Wisconsin enters this bowl 7-5 (Badgers finsihed 13-1 last year and ranked 7th in the final AP poll). Miami opened No. 8 in the 2018 AP preseason but lost its first game, 33-17 to LSU. Five consecutive wins followed but an Oct 13 loss at UVa ('Canes were ranked 16th at the time), began a four-game slide. However, at 5-5, Miami was able to end the season with impressive back-to-back wins, 38-14 at Va Tech and 24-3 at home against then-No. 24 Pittsburgh.
Miami’s offense struggled on and off, as QB Malik Rosier fell out of favor and the team went back and forth between he and redshirt freshman N’Kosi Perry. the duo combined for 2,096 yards with19 TDs and 10 INTs. Miami owns a veteran OL vet offensive line, leading the way fro a team which averages 197.3 YPG (42nd). Seven Miami defensive players, led by A-A DE Gerald Willis III and MLB Shaq Quarterman, were named to the all-ACC teams. Miami comes in allowing 18.2 PPG (15th) on just 268.1 YPG (2nd).
I have never been much of a fan of Hornibrook and he was hampered by injuries this season (concussion problems kept him out of three full games). Hornibrook’s interception percentage climbed, but he threw just 13 TD passes (11 INTs), compared with a 25-15 ratio last season. However, RB Jonathan Taylor has been terrific, becoming the fourth Badger to win the Doak Walker Award, given annually to the nation's top running back (he joined Ron Dayne in 1999, Montee Ball in 2012 and Melvin Gordon in 2014). He is almost certain to get the 11 rushing yards needed to hit the 2,000-yard barrier for the season as he is averaging a nation-best 165.8 yards rushing per game. The Badgers defense had its moments but was far from the same dominant unit of a year ago, surrendering 81 points total in the last two games while allowing Minnesota to rush for 201 yards in the season finale.
Yes, this is Wisconsin's 17th straight bowl appearance but this year's team is way off recent editions. I noted Wisconsin's fall-off on the defensive side of the ball earlier but will add here that this year's team allowed 24.2 PPG, its highest total in almost10 years. Miami comes into this game with some momentum, recording impressive wins at Virginia Tech and against Pittsburgh to garner this bowl bid. Conversely, Wisconsin, which is just 3-9 ATS on the season, enters having lost FOUR of its last five against bowl-bound teams. Miami owns the better athletes and gets its revenge from LY's Orange Bowl.
|12-26-18||Minnesota v. Georgia Tech -5.5||34-10||Loss||-109||55 h 45 m||Show|
My 8* Las Vegas Insider is on Ga Tech at 5:15 ET.
Tech head coach Paul Johnson has decided to "hang ‘em up after this game." He's had quite a career. He led Georgia Southern (then an FCS school() to back-to-back national championships in 1999 and 2000, before moving on to Navy in 2002. His first team went 2-10 but FIVE straight bowl seasons followed. He left the Naval Academy prior to the team's 2007 bowl appearance to take over at Ga Tech at the start of the 2008 season. This Quick Lane Bowll appearance makes it NINE in his 11 years at Ga Tech. Johnson's counterpart is Minnesota's PJ Fleck, who became famous at Western Michigan in 2016 by leading the Broncos to a 13-1 season, which ended with a 24-16 Cotton Bowl loss to Wisconsin (New Year's Six bowl). He used that as a springboard to take his "Row the Boat:" mantra to Minnesota. So far, Fleck has disappointed, going 5-6 in 2017 and enters this game 6-6 in 2018 (note: he's also just 5-13 in the Big Ten his first two seasons). .
The Gophers own an average running game (163.8 YPG ranks 71st) plus the team had to deal with a mid-season injury to starting QB Zack Annexstad. Tanner Morgan (both are freshman) was effective enough that he stayed in the lineup after Annexstad returned to the roster. However, let's note the reality, that Minnesota QBs had 18 TDP and 14 INTs on the season (passing game has averaged 215.2 YPG to rank 81st) . The defense allows almost as much as the offense scores, yielding 27.9 PPG (offense averages 28.5 per). On a positive note, Minnesota won three of its final five games to become bowl eligible, including a 37-15 rout at Wisconsin (+12.5) in the Gophers' final regular season game, to beat the Badgers for the first time since 2003.
Johnson introduced the option to Annapolis and made the Midshipmen relevant in quick order. He made a seamless transition to the ACC with Georgia Tech and the league’s coaches could never quite figure out how to slow the Johnson option,. Case in point is that this year's team enters this bowl game with the nation's No. 1-ranked rushing offense (335.0 YPG). The Yellow Jackets reached their ninth bowl under Johnson thanks to a furious late-season hot streak, helping to erase a 1-3 start with SIX in their seven games (including victories over Virginia Tech, Miami and Virginia), before losing to powerhouse Georgia, 45-17 to end the year,.
The Minnesota rush D did hold six opponents under 100 yards on the ground but also allowed Maryland, Nebraska, and Illinois to each rush for more than 300 yards. Considering the Gophers draw the Yellow Jackets in their bowl matchup, those numbers are ominous. This is Minnesota's first bowl under Fleck but the Gophers had lost SEVEN of their previous nine bowl appearances. All FIVE of Georgia Tech's losses this year came against bowl-eligible teams and Johnson’s game management skills have always been called extraordinary. It's his "swan song" and I'll lay the points against Coach "Row the Boat!'
|12-22-18||Louisiana Tech v. Hawaii||31-14||Loss||-125||62 h 45 m||Show|
My 9* PERFECT STORM is on Hawaii at 10:30 ET.
Louisiana Tech is making its fifth consecutive bowl appearance and is looking for its fifth straight win in its fifth different bowl game but the Bulldogs limp into this game having lost THREE of their last four games, leaving them with a 7-5 record on the season. It's been reported that the Bulldogs were physically and mentally spent after getting destroyed 45-3 at SEC Mississippi State on Nov 3. QB J’Mar Smith passed for 2,873 yards but completed a modest 56.9% with 14 TDs and 9 INTs. The team's rushing game has averaged only 126.7 YPG (113th), so it doesn't give Smith too much cover. La Tech's defense is solid, allowing 23.8 PPG (40th) on 350.9 YPG (32nd)
Hawaii opened the season with three straight wins (averaged 48.3 PPG), including winning its first two games at Colorado St 43-34 (+17) and home to Navy, 59-41 (+13.5). The Rainbow Warriors would reach 6-1 but then the 'bottom fell out,' as Hawaii lost four in a row while allowing 48.8 PPG. With Hawaii staring at a six-game losing streak, the Rainbow Warriors won thrillers over UNLV and San Diego State to close the regular season with an 8-5 record. QB Cole McDonald threw for 3,790 yards with 35 TDs and was dominant in the regular season finale vs SDSU, passing for 452 yards, three TDs and no INTs in the 31-30 OT win. McDonald will have to bring his "A-game," as Hawaii's D allows 35.4 PPG (111th) on 438.7 YPG (101st).
Technical factors favor La Tech, as Skip Holtz is 4-0 SU in bowls with Tech and 17-6 as a dog since 2014. That said, this game is basically pick'em, meaning La Tech can't be expected to cover, without winning. Hawaii is 5-2 SU at home in 2018, losing to Nevada and 11-2 Utah St. Home cookin' gets the cash!
|12-22-18||Buffalo v. Troy +2||Top||32-42||Win||100||58 h 17 m||Show|
My 10* CFB Game of the Week is on Troy at 7:00 ET.
10-3 Buffalo and 9-3 Troy each went 7-1 during their respective conference regular seasons. However, only Buffalo (MAC) played in a conference title game, as Troy lost a tie-breaker with Appalachian St in the Sun Belt East. In retrospect, Buffalo would have preferred to "stay home," as the Bulls led NIU 29-10 in the final minute of the third quarter, only to go on to lose, 30-29. The teams meet in this year's Dollar General Bowl, for the first time-ever.
There is no doubt that Buffalo has skill players on the offensive side of the ball (34.8 PPG ranks 26th in the nation). QB Tyree Jackson has thrown for 2,857 yards with 27 TDs and just INTs. His two favorite targets are Anthony Johnson(52 catches / 11 TDs) and K.J. Osborn (49 / 6 TDs). Last year’s leading rusher, Emmanuel Reed, was pushed aside this season by a pair of freshmen, Kevin Marks and Jaret Patterson, who combined for 1,751 rushing yards and 25 rush TDs this season. Buffalo’s offensive line, which was allowed just 12 sacks in 13 game. The "D" was good enough, allowing 24.7 PPG (49th) on 349.4 YPG (31st).
Troy averages a more modest 29.8 PPG but it concedes just 21.2 (23rd) on 345.6 YPG (28th). BJ Smith had 100 rushing yards in five out of his last eight games (set a school record with five consecutive 100-yard rushing games), finishing with 1,093 yards and 12 TDs. QB Sawyer Smith has been up and down since taking over for injured starter Kaleb Barker at mid-season. However, the Trojans have a stable of talented receivers that allowed both Barker and Smith to throw for over 1,000 yards, just the second time that has happened in school history.
Can anyone really trust Buffalo QB Jackson? The month of November was not kind tothe junior, as he broke the 200-yard barrier just once while the Bulls posted a 2-2 record. In comparison, over the first nine games, the MAC Offensive Player of the Year averaged 247 yards while throwing 23 touchdowns and eight interceptions. Those numbers dropped to 158 yards per game with four touchdowns and three interceptions in four games in November, which culminated with the Bulls allowing a 29-10 lead to slip away in the MAC championship game defeat. Buffalo is playing in just its third bowl game, having lost 49-24 to SD State in 2013 and 38-20 to UConn in 2009. You really want to trust a team from the MAC? MAC schools are just 2-15 in bowls since Christmas Day 2015!
This game is being played in Mobile, roughly three hours from the Troy campus. The Trojans have won bowls the last two years and will take an overall 30-8 record the last three season into this contest. Note that Troy will also take a three-game bowl winning streak into this game, while averaging 42.0 PPG.
|12-21-18||Florida International +6 v. Toledo||35-32||Win||100||78 h 4 m||Show|
My 9* Bahamas Bowl play is on FIU at 12:30 ET.
This is the Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl at Thomas Robinson Stadium, featuring 8-4 Florida International up against 7-5 Toledo. FIU's regular season ended on a disappointing note, as its 28-25 loss to Marshall prevented the school from earning a spot in the C-USA title game but the Panthers still garnered a trip out of the country to face Toledo in this contest. It's FIU's second straight bowl berth under coach Butch Davis, who took over a program that last went to a bowl back in 2011 and had gone 17-43 (.283) in the five years prior to Davis' arrival. it marks just the fourth bowl appearance in the program's history. In contrast, Toledo has a much richer postseason tradition with eight bowl appearances in the last nine years and 18 overall. Friday's game marks the schools' second bowl meeting, with the Golden Panthers stunning the Rockets 34-32 on a last-second field goal in the 2010 Little Caesar's Bowl.
FIU quarterback James Morgan is a graduate transfer from Bowling Green and was named C-USA Newcomer of the Year, after setting a school single-season record with 26 TD passes (just seven INTs). He completed 65.3 percent of his passes for 2,727 yards.Toledo's QB situation is also noteworthy. A shoulder injury knocked QB Mitchell Guadagni out of action in late October, giving the job to backup and former Illinois soph QB Eli Peters. Peters’ passing numbers were decent-to-good, as he completed 55% for 1,573 yards with 15 TDs and 7 INTs but the problem is that Guadagni was better (58%, 13-3 TD/INT ratio.) and he was also the team’s leading rusher at the time of his initial injury.
FIU stumbled a bit at the finish with two losses in its last four games to fall into a second-place tie in the East Division of C-USA but the team's eight wins still equaled the school record for victories in a season. As for Toledo, the Rockets soared down the stretch to keep alive their bowl hopes, winning four of their last five contests (averaged 50.8 PPG in the wins) to extend their streak of winning seasons to nine.
Now here's the rub. The Rockets haven't won in the postseason since defeating Temple 32-17 in the 2015 Boca Raton Bowl plus despite Ohio U's 27-0 win over SD State on Wednesday, MAC schools are a mind-numbing 2-13 SU in bowl games since Christmas Day 2015. FIU is 14-6 ATS in its last 20 and 9-4 as an underdog since last season under Davis. The Golden Panthers are also 8-3 ATS in their last 11 following a SU loss. I still don't trust MAC schools in bowls (how could anyone?) and I believe the FIU defense is under-rated (24.7 PPG allowed ranks 47th and 386.7 YPG ranks 58th), giving them a legitimate shot at taking this one outright (a win sets a new single-season school record!). Take the points.
|12-20-18||Marshall v. South Florida +3||Top||38-20||Loss||-115||86 h 58 m||Show|
My 10* play is on USF at 8:00 ET.
Marshall and USF meet for the first time in Thursday's Gaspariila Bowl. 8-4 Marshall is a dominating 11-2 all-time in bowl games and enters having won its last six (HC Holliday is 5-0 SU & ATS). Meanwhile, USF's 7-5 record includes them opening the 2018 season 7-0 (garnering a ranking of 21 in the AP poll), then losing its last five regular season games.
The Herd may have won six straight bowls, but I think they’ll have their hands full with this hungry USF side.The Herd will have Tyler King and Brenden Knox in the backfield and they will present a formidable challenge for a Bulls' defense that allowed 39.6 PPG during its five-game slide. The Bulls rely on RB’s Jordan Cronkrite and Jonny Ford, who had nearly 1,800 combined yards rushing and 17 TDs between them. USF did not have No. 1 QB Blake Barnett in two of its last three games because of a shoulder injury and he may return. Chris Oladokun or Brett Kean would step in if Barnett can’t go.
Head coaches Doc Holliday (Marshall) and Charlie Strong (USF) coached alongside each other as Florida assistants and I believe Strong could REALLY use a win. Why can't he get that win, as he's playing at home. The Bulls are 21-6 SU at home the last four seasons.USF has a chance to erase its poor finish with a third straight bowl win and the school's SIXTH win in its last seven bowl appearances.
|12-19-18||Ohio v. San Diego State +3||27-0||Loss||-116||101 h 57 m||Show|
My 8* Frisco Bowl Situational Stunner is on SD State at 8:00 ET.
While the outright win is clearly not out of the question, I will in the end recommend grabbing as many points as you can.
SDSU backed its way into the bowl season with three straight losses to UNLV, Fresno State and Hawaii, but the MWC school is still loaded with talent.
Ohio comes in off back-to-back wins over Buffalo and Akron.
The Bobcats rank eighth in the country in rushing offense with an average of over 262 yards per game.
But SDSU ranks fourth nationally in rush defense, allowing just 94.5 YPG, or 2.75 YPC. The Aztecs will have their hands full with the Bobcats’ AJ Ouellette, who had 1,142 rushing yards and 12 TDs this year.
The Aztecs got hit by the injury bug early, with QB Christian Chapman missing six games and RB Juwan Washington missing four. Both however are playing today and each has something to prove after a somewhat wasted campaign.
I think Ohio will be neutralized here though against SDSU’s strong run defense.
I’ll point out as well that SDSU has been money in the bank for bettors in this spot, going 7-1 ATS in its last eight as an underdog (including 3-1 ATS this season), while Ohio is a poor 2-5 ATS in its last seven after scoring 42 points or more in its last game.
In conclusion: Frank Solich has been a 'savior' for Ohio U (10th bowl in 14 seasons) but he is just 3-6 in bowl games with the Bobcats. Maybe more importantly, we've already seen two MAC schools lose this bowl season, Eastern Mich (Sat) and NIU (last night), as MAC schools are now 1-13 SU in bowl games since Christmas Day of 2015. Getting back to SDSU, the Aztecs (+14) lost 31-10 at Stanford back on Aug 30 (1st game of the season), as the favorite "got the cash." However, the underdog went a PERFECT 11-0 ATS over the Aztecs' next 11 games!
So let's get this straight. MAC schools are now 1-13 SU in bowl games since Christmas Day of 2015 and I can add that SDSU is 13-0-1 SU all-time vs MAC schools. Then we have the fact that the underdog is a PERFECT 11-0 ATS over the Aztecs' last 11 games! I'm NOT 'stepping in front of that train!'
|12-15-18||Middle Tennessee State +7 v. Appalachian State||Top||13-45||Loss||-103||267 h 35 m||Show|
The third pick of my Superstar Triple Play is on MTSU 10* (9:00 EST).
MTSU is 8-5 and App State finished 10-2. Regardless of that, I think the Blue Raiders are going to at the very least, take this one right down to the wire in the New Orleans Bowl.
Appalachian State beat Louisiana in the Sun Belt Title game to earn this spot. QB Zac Thomas had 75 yards passing, 59 yards rushing and two TDs.
MTSU fell to UAB in its conference championship game. QB Brent Stockstill had 362 yards passing with two TDs, while Zack Dobson posted 52 yards rushing.
I’ll point out though that MTSU is 4-1 ATS In is last five following an ATS loss, while App State is only 2-6 ATS in its last eight following a two weeks or longer break between games.
I think Stockstill is the difference and i look for the talented pivot to keep his underdog team in this one late. Grab the points.
|12-15-18||Eastern Michigan v. Georgia Southern +1||21-23||Win||100||263 h 5 m||Show|
The second pick of my Superstar Triple Play is on Georgia Southern 8* (5:30 EST).
The 9-3 Georgia Southern Eagles take on the 7-5 EMU Eagles in the Cramton Bowl and in my opinion, this one has “blowout” written all over it.
EMU finished on a three-game win streak and No. 2 in the MAC. Tyler Wiegers has 1,887 passing yards and an 11/3 TD/INT. Overall the Eagles have been weak defensively though, conceding 27.5 PPG.
Georgia Southern QB Shai Werts has 954 passing yards with ten TDs through the air, with another 822 yards on the ground and another 13 major scores. Like the counterparts, the Eagles have struggled defensively this season, conceding 31.1 PPG.
I’ll point out though that Georgia Southern is 4-0 ATS in its last four non-conference games, while EMU is just 2-5 ATS in its last seven when playing with two or more weeks of rest.
Georgia Southern finished in the top 10 in the FBS in rushing yards per game with almost 200 YPG. I have a hard time seeing EMU keeping pace down the stretch.
Play on Georgia Southern.
|12-15-18||Arizona State v. Fresno State -4.5||20-31||Win||100||261 h 5 m||Show|
The first pick of my Superstar Triple Play is on Fresno State 8* (3:30 EST).
I think the 11-2 Fresno State Bulldogs will run right over the 7-5 Arizona State Sun Devils.
Fresno State has won ten of its last 11 games and another victory would be the schools most in its history. QB Marcus McMaryion has 3,453 yards passing and an elite 25/3 TD/INT. Defensively the Bulldogs have been dominant as well, allowing only 13.7 PPG.
Arizona State won five of its final eight games of the regular season. QB Manny Wilkins has 2,896 passing yards and a sharp 19/4 TD/INT. Defensively the Sun Devils are allowing 25.1 PPG.
I’ll point out though that Fresno State is 8-2 ATS in its last ten non-conference games, while Arizona State is just 2-7 ARTS in its last nine bowl games.
Fresno State is on a mission for one last victory and it has the superior team on both sides of the ball. I have a hard time seeing ASU keeping pace down the stretch.
Lay the points.
|12-01-18||Northwestern v. Ohio State -14||24-45||Win||100||98 h 19 m||Show|
The third pick in my Superstar Triple Play is on Ohio State 9* (8:00 EST).
Clearly this is a mismatch, so the only question remains, will the Buckeyes come in a bit complacent and take this game for granted, or will they lay the hammer down from start to finish? In my opinion, it’s going to be the second scenario.
Northwestern averages only 23.7 PPG, but it allows only 134.7 rushing yards and just 238 passing yards. The Wildcats have some big wins this year vs. teams like Iowa and Purdue, but remember they also lost 39-34 at home to Akron.
QB Clayton Thorson has a 14/12 TD/INT, along with another eight rushing TDs.
Ohio State is not assured a spot in the Playoffs, so the only thing it can control here is a posting a resounding victory. Overall the Buckeyes rank second in the nation in offense with 544.1 YPG, while allowing 161.9 rushing yards per contest. QB Dwayne Haskins has a huge 42/7 TD/INT.
I’ll point out that Ohio State is 7-2 ATS in its last nine neutral site games, while Northwestern is just 1-5 ATS in its last six in this series.
For all the reasons listed above, lay the points.
|12-01-18||Fresno State +3 v. Boise State||19-16||Win||100||98 h 55 m||Show|
The first pick in my Superstar Triple Play is on Fresno State 8* (7:45 EST).
This is the Mountain West Conference Championship game from Albertsons Stadium on Saturday night.
Since the league went to a two-division format in 2013, these two teams have combined for seven championship appearances.
Last year these teams met in the Championship game as well and Fresno State will indeed be playing with “revenge” after falling 17-14 in that one.
The Bulldogs average 36.3 PPG and they concede 13.5. QB Marcus McMaryion had 317 yards passing and two TDs in last weeks win over San Jose State.
Boise State averages 37.0 PPG and it concedes 22.3. QB Brett Rypien is averaging over 300 passing yards per game this season.
I’ll point out though that the Bulldogs are 14-3 ATS in their last 17 vs. teams with winning records, while the Broncos are just 7-15 ATS in their last 22 home games. These teams met at this exact venue earlier this season and it was Boise State which came out on to top 24-17.
This is in fact a “double revenge” scenario. Grab the points.
|12-01-18||Clemson -26 v. Pittsburgh||42-10||Win||100||97 h 4 m||Show|
The second pick in my Superstar Triple Play is on Clemson 8* (8:00 EST).
Clearly this is a mismatch. So will the mighty Clemson Tigers keep the foot on the gas from start to finish and clobber the Pittsburgh Panthers into oblivion? I think the answer is a resounding: “yes!”
The Tigers are undefeated at 12-0 and a win today in the ACC Championship game secures them a berth in the Playoffs.
Overall the Tigers are out-scoring their opponents by an average of 31.7 PPG this year. Overall they average 45.7 points and concede just 14.0. QB Trevor Lawrence has a 22/4 TD/INT.
Pittsburgh is averaging only 27.8 PPG, while allowing 27.8 as well. Clearly that’s not a recipe for success most nights. RB Qadree Ollison has 1,134 rushing yards and ten TDs this season.
I’ll pint out as well that Pittsburgh is just 4-5 ATS in its last nine off a loss vs. a conference rival, while Clemson is 19-10 ATS in its last 29 after two or more SU victories.
I like the Tigers to dominate on both ends of the field. Lay the points.
|12-01-18||Georgia +13.5 v. Alabama||Top||28-35||Win||100||97 h 35 m||Show|
My 10* SEC Championship Game Winner is on Georgia (4:00 EST).
This is a rematch of last year’s College Football Playoff and I think that Georgia bettors will get a small amount of “revenge” tonight.
Alabama is 12-0 and it avenged its loss to the Tigers in the Iron Bowl last season with a 52-21 victory. Overall the Crimson Tide rolled up 500 yards of offense, with Tua Tagovailoa throwing for five TDs.
Tagovailoa has an insane 36/2 TD/INT on the year. Defensively the Tide are strong too obviously, having not allowed an opponent to gain 300 total yards in its last six contests.
Georgia won’t be going down without a fight. The Bulldogs are 11-1 and they have to win this game, or this will be the end of their season (other than the upcoming bowl of course, but a playoff spot out of the question and no SEC shot.)
The Dogs though come in on top form as well, having won five straight, including a 45-21 destruction of Georgia Tech last weekend. QB Jake Fromm had three first half TD passes. Fromm has a 24/5 TD/INT.
Georgia has the defense to compete today, allowing just 17.2 PPG.
I’ll point out as well that Georgia is 5-2 ATS in its last seven as an underdog of 10.5 points or more, and 6-0 ATS in its last six neutral site games, while the favorite is 0-5 in the last five meetings between these teams.
I’m not calling for the outright upset, but the stage is definitely set for a “nail biter.” Grab the points.
|12-01-18||Stanford -2.5 v. California||Top||23-13||Win||100||95 h 27 m||Show|
My 10* GAME OF YEAR is on Stanford (3:00 EST).
Stanford enters off a momentum building 48-17 home win over Oregon State, while Cal’s also off a big victory, holding on for an upset 15-14 road victory over USC. Note that Stanford won this matchup at home last year 17-14.
This is a make-up game from a couple of weeks ago because of the wildfires.
Stanford’ QB KJ Costello had 342 yards with four TD’s and an INT in its latest win over the Beavers. The Cardinal are averaging 28.3 PPG and they’re allowing 23.0.
Cal is averaging only 22.7 PPG, but it makes up for it on the defensive end by allowing just 21.1 PPG. The Bears’ defense has looked sharp of late, but I think the unit gets tested in a big way here against Costello and company.
I’ll point out as well that Cal is just 1-3-1 ATS in its last five home games and only 2-6 ATS in its last eight after posting less than 275 total yards in its previous game, while Stanford is a solid 36-15-1 ATS in its last 52 after posting more than 40 points in its previous game.
I have a hard time seeing the Bears’ offense keeping pace down the stretch. With an extra week off to prepare, I like Costello to find a way to get the job done.
Lay the points.
|12-01-18||Texas +7.5 v. Oklahoma||27-39||Loss||-105||90 h 17 m||Show|
My 9* Rivalry Rout is on Texas (12:00 EST).
It’s the Texas Longhorns and the Oklahoma Sooners in the Big 12 Championship Game from AT&T Stadium in Texas.
Texas beat Kansas last weekend to post its position in this contest. QB Sam Ehlinger wasn’t at his best last week, going for 314 yards, two TDs and no INTs. Over the Longhorns have been sharp defensively of late though, allowing only 20.3 PPG over their last three.
Texas though is the No. 1 offense in the country, averaging 50.2 PPG.
The Sooners are averaging 53.2 PPG over their last four games, but they’ve also conceded 47.3 in that span as well. Overall though Oklahoma is averaging 31.7 PPG this year and allowing 25.2. QB Kyler Murray had 364 yards, three TDs and one INT last weekend.
I’ll point out though that Oklahoma is just 2-9 ATS in its last 11 neutral site games and 0-3-1 ATS in its last four after scoring 40 or more points in its previous outing, while Texas is 5-1 ATS in its last six neutral site games and 13-5-2 ATS in its last 20 vs. teams with winning records.
The Longhorns are 6-0 ATS the last six in this series. Expect all of these strong trends to continue on Saturday afternoon.
Play on Texas.
|11-30-18||Northern Illinois +4 v. Buffalo||Top||30-29||Win||100||107 h 0 m||Show|
My 10* MAC Championship WINNER is on Northern Illinois.
Buffalo went 10-2 in the regular season and 7-1 in MAC action, while NIU went 7-5 with a 6-2 record in MAC conference play.
If recent history is any precedence though, then NIU has to be liking its chances today, because when these teams met last year, it was the Huskies that posted the 14-13 road win.
The Bulls averaged 35.2 PPG this year and they conceded 24.2. In the Bulls regular season finale they ran for 332 rushing yards in a 44-14 road win over Bowling Green. QB Tyree Jackson finished with a 25/11 TD/INT.
The NIU Huskies averaged only 19.9 PPG, while limiting opponents to 20.9 PPG. The offense revolves around RB Tre Harbison, who had 100 rushing yards in three out of his last four games.
I’ll point out as well that NIU is 8-4 ATS in its last 12 as an underdog, while Buffalo is just 1-3 ATS in its last four games played on a neutral field.
The Huskies took the foot off the gas a little early to end the regular season, but NIU has the defense to keep it in this one. I’m expecting an all out war.
Grab the points.
|11-24-18||Utah State +3 v. Boise State||Top||24-33||Loss||-114||112 h 4 m||Show|
My 10* LEGEND is on Utah State (10:15 EST).
To be the best, you have to beat the best. The 10-1 Utah State Aggies will look to dethrone the 9-2 Boise State Broncos.
The Aggies come in having won ten straight after a 29-24 win over Colorado State last weekend. QB Jordan Love has been exceptional so far this season with 25 TDs and four INTs.
But Utah State also has a pair of elite RBs in Gerold Bright and Darwin Thompson, who have combined for 1,670 yards rushing and 22 TDs.
The Aggies have been unstoppable offensively this year, averaging 500.1 yards of total offense, while posting 49.3 PPG (ranked No. 2 in the country!)
Boise State has won six straight, most recently a 45-14 victory over lowly New Mexico. QB Brett Rypien has been a standout with 3,270 yards, 28 TDs and seven INTs. On the season the Broncos are averaging 465 yards and 37.4 points per game.
I’ll point out though that Utah State is 5-1 ATS in its last six vs. the conference, while Boise State is only 6-15 ATS in its last 21 home games.
Finally note that the road team is in fact 7-2-2 ATS in the last 11 in this series as well.
I like the Aggies’ amazing offense to be just too much for the Broncos to keep up with down the stretch.
Lay the points.
|11-24-18||Notre Dame v. USC +11||24-17||Win||100||107 h 1 m||Show|
My 9* Rivalry Rout is on USC (8:00 EST).
No. 3 Notre Dame and USC collide at the LA Memorial Coliseum on Saturday night and while I’m not calling for an outright victory, I do expect a more competitive battle than what the oddsmakers are trying to lead us to believe.
Note that this is a revenge game after Notre Dame crushed USC 49-14 last year. Also note the Trojans are playing for their coaches job, as Clay Helton will be fired if he loses this one.
The Irish have their eyes on the prize and they come in averaging 454.9 YPG. On the defensive side they’re conceding just 321.4 YPG.
USC is 5-6 and will need to pull off an upset to become bowl eligible. The Trojans have nothing to lose and they’ll be especially motivated after falling to UCLA last weekend. Offensively USC is averaging just 138.1 YPG. Defensively the Trojans have been decent overall, allowing 211.5 YPG through the air and 168.8 YPG on the ground.
I’ll point out as well that Notre Dame is already just 1-3 ATS this year as a favorite in the 10.5 to 21 points range and only 2-3 ATS in its last five vs. teams with losing records, while USC is still 4-1 ATS in its last five after two or more SU losses.
For all the reasons listed above, play on USC.
|11-24-18||Arizona State v. Arizona +2||41-40||Win||100||103 h 32 m||Show|
This is a 9* play on Arizona (3:30 EST).
Arizona State looks primed for a letdown here in my opinion after its three-game win streak was snapped at Oregon last weekend.
Arizona has nothing to lose here and it’ll be eager to get back on track on seniors night after a blowout loss to high-flying Washington State.
After last week’s 31-29 loss at Oregon last Saturday, the Wildcats have now officially been eliminated from Pac 12 Championship Game contention. And with that sad fact weighing heavily, I do indeed expect a predictable letdown here from the visitors in this difficult road venue.
Besides, there’s no question that this one “means more” to Arizona, which still needs one more win to become bowl eligible. The home side will be risking life and limb today to try and secure a victory and I believe this will in fact be the difference maker in the end.
Additionally note that ASU is just 1-3 ATS in its last four as a road favorite, while Arizona is 4-2 ATS at home and a perfect 3-0 ATS this season off a loss vs. a conference rival.
For all the reasons listed above, play on Arizona.
|11-24-18||Michigan -3.5 v. Ohio State||39-62||Loss||-110||99 h 3 m||Show|
The first pick of my Superstar Triple Play is on Michigan 8* (12:00 EST).
The winner of this contest will compete in the Big 10 Title Game. Michigan enters off a 31-20 home win over Indiana, while Ohio State enters off an exhausting and improbable 52-51 OT road win over Maryland. Note that this is a big time revenge game as well for Michigan after Ohio State won this game 31-20 on the road last season.
In fact, Ohio State has won six in a row in this series. Overall the Wolverines are averaging only 26.6 PPG, but they make up for it on the other end by conceding just 13.5.
With a chance to avenge last year’s loss and to de-rail Ohio State’s National Title hopes, I think Michigan finally gets over the hump here. Overall the Buckeyes are averaging 41.6 PPG and conceding 24.6.
I’ll point out that the Buckeyes though are just 1-6 ATS in their last seven after scoring 40 points or more in their previous game, while Michigan is a solid 18-7-1 ATS in its last 26 following an ATS loss.
Defense wins the day. Play on Michigan.
|11-24-18||Florida -5 v. Florida State||41-14||Win||100||99 h 3 m||Show|
The second pick of my Superstar Triple Play is on Florida 8* (12:00 EST).
Florida comes in off a 63-10 home win over Idaho and I look for the Gators to lay the hammer down on both ends of the field this afternoon as well. FSU comes in off a much tighter than expected 21-20 home win over BC and I think it’ll predictably stumble here in the “step up” in competition.
Note that this is a revenge game as well for the Gators after the Seminoles took this matchup 38-22 last season.
Florida is averaging 33.9 PPG and it’s conceding just 21. QB Feleipe Franks had 274 yards passing and three TDs last week.
FSU is averaging only 22.6 PPG and it’s conceding 30.6. Clearly that’s not a recipe for long-term success. Deondre Francois has a poor 14/10 TD/INT.
Additionally note that FSU is a poor 3-9-2 ATS in its last 15 vs. teams with winning records, while Florida is 4-1 ATS in its last five following an ATS victory.
For all the reasons listed above, play on the Gators.
|11-24-18||Purdue -4 v. Indiana||28-21||Win||100||99 h 3 m||Show|
The third pick of my Superstar Triple Play is on Purdue 9* (12:00 EST).
Purdue enters off a 47-44 triple OT loss to Wisconsin, while Indiana fell 31-20 at Michigan.
If recent history is any precedence, though, then the Boilermakers have to be loving their chances for a bounce back here as last year they’d take this game 31-24.
Purdue is averaging 32.3 PPG and it’s conceding 27.8. QB David Blough has a sharp 22/7 TD/INT. The Boilermakers still need one more victory to become eligible.
Indiana is averaging 26.9 PPG and it’s conceding 30.1. Clearly that’s not a recipe for success.
QB Peyton Ramsey has a weak 18/12 TD/INT.
Note as well that Indiana is just 1-5 ATS in its last six following an ATS win, while the Boilermakers are interestingly 21-6 ATS in their last 27 after posing less than 100 yards rushing in their previous game.
Look for the desperate/hungry team to pull away down the stretch. Play on Purdue.
|11-23-18||Washington v. Washington State -3||Top||28-15||Loss||-106||86 h 27 m||Show|
My 10* Weekly Wipeout Winner is on Washington State (8:30 EST).
The winner of this game will play in the Pac 12 Championship game next weekend and in my opinion. home field advantage can not be overlooked as a very real deciding factor in this particular contest.
WSU comes in with a ton of momentum with seven straight victories. The Huskies have been playing well as well, with back-to-back wins over Stanford and Oregon State.
Jake Browning and the Huskies have three losses this year, so they won’t be going to the Football Championship. They still have a shot at the Rose Bowl if they can win out, but I think they’ll fall flat against a surging WSU team which plays with triple revenge, having fallen to Browning three times already.
The Cougars now have the best offense in the Pac 12, averaging 40.5 PPG. No other team in the conference is putting up more than 35.5.
WSU most recently obliterated Arizona 69-28, with QB Gardner Minshew throwing for seven TD passes.
So far Minshew has 36 TDs and just seven INTs.
Note as well that Washington State is 6-1 ATS in its last seven vs. teams with winning records, while Washington is just 1-7 ATS in its last eight on the road.
For all the reasons listed above, play on WSU.
|11-23-18||Oklahoma v. West Virginia +1.5||59-56||Loss||-109||86 h 58 m||Show|
My 9* Big 12 DECIDER is on West Virginia (8:00 EST).
Oklahoma comes in having won five in a row. The Sooners have already punched their ticket to the Big 12 Championship game, so a win or loss today means nothing in that regard.
The Mountaineers though need to win this game, plus have Texas lose this weekend, and if that happens, then WVU will be playing Oklahoma next week as well.
Oklahoma won last week, but it wasn’t pretty in the 55-40 victory over lowly Kansas.
In fact note that the Sooners have dropped to seventh in scoring in the Big 12. The offense is amazing behind QB Kyler Murray, but clearly the Mountaineers are going to have their opportunities on that side of the ball as well.
WVU is out to atone for a 45-41 setback to Oklahoma State, a rare poor defensive effort. QB Will Grier was sharp though, finishing with 364 yards and two TDs.
Note that WVU is 4-1 ATS in its last five at home and 3-0-1 ATS in its last four vs. teams with winning records, while Oklahoma is just 2-6 ATS in its last eight on the road and only 1-5 ATS in its last six against teams with winning records.
For all the reasons listed above, play on WVU.
|11-17-18||Cincinnati +7.5 v. Central Florida||Top||13-38||Loss||-109||126 h 25 m||Show|
My 10* GAME OF THE MONTH is on Cincinnati (8:00 EST).
This is a big game for both teams. The Bearcats are 9-1 and the UCF Knights are 9-0.
Cincinnati has won four of its last five on the road and QB Desmond Ridder has 1,897 passing yards and a sharp 15/5 TD/INT. Note that Ridder has two or more TD passes in six of his last eight games. The ground game is averaging whopping 235.8 YPG, led by Michael Warren II with 1,082 yard and 17 TDs.
Overall the Bearcats are allowing just 14.9 points and 279.8 YPG.
The Knights’ McKenzie Milton has 2,309 yards passing and a 21/5 TD/INT. Overall the ground game is averaging 271.4 YPG and the defense is conceding 21.8.
I think the Bearcats will have their chances today. They’re already 3-1 ATS this year as an underdog. UFC though is just 4-6 ATS in its last ten against teams with winning records.
UCF may ultimately win this one outright, but I look for Ridder and company to take this one down to the wire.
Grab the points.
|11-17-18||Tulsa +5 v. Navy||29-37||Loss||-108||122 h 51 m||Show|
The first pick of my Superstar Triple Play is on (8*) Tulsa (3:30 EST).
Neither team has anything to play for now except pride as each sits at just 2-8. Note though that Tulsa plays with revenge here after the Midshipmen beat the Golden Hurricane 31-21.
Tulsa fell flat 47-21 to Memphis last weekend. Corey Taylor II is the focal point of the offense and he so far has 748 rushing yards and seven TD’s on the ground. Defense has been the weak point for Tulsa all season.
Navy has struggled with offensive consistency of late. The Midshipmen rank last in the country in passing with only 64.7 YPG average, while ranking third in the country in rushing with 295.7 YPG.
Defensively the mids are in fact pretty poor as well, ranked 105th in yards allowed and 95th against the run.
Additionally note that Tulsa is 8-4 ATS in its last 12 off a loss against a conference rival, while Navy is just 4-5 ATS in its last nine in the same position.
I’m grabbing the points and expecting a very competitive battle.
|11-17-18||West Virginia -5.5 v. Oklahoma State||41-45||Loss||-107||122 h 51 m||Show|
The second pick of my Superstar Triple Play is on (8*) WVU (3:30 EST).
Oklahoma State comes in off a near upset over Oklahoma and I think it’ll suffer a predictable letdown here. In fact the Cowboys have now lost two in a row.
And that’s bad news facing a surging WVU team which has won its last three over TCU, Texas and Baylor.
West Virginia QB Will Grier so far has 2,961 yards, 31 TDs and eight INTs. Grier has thrown for 300-plus yards over three straight starts, most recently going for 343 with three TDs and an INT against the Horned Frogs.
Oklahoma State came up just short 48-47 last week and I think it’s primed for a letdown. QB Taylor Cornelius had 501 passing yards and three TDs, but the defense was a disaster show, allowing 702 yards to the Sooners.
Note that WVU is 4-0-1 ATS in its last five following a win of more than 20 points, while Oklahoma State is just 2-6 ATS in its last eight after an ATS victory.
For all the reasons listed above, lay the points.
|11-17-18||Louisiana Tech v. Southern Miss +2.5||Top||20-21||Win||100||122 h 51 m||Show|
The third pick of my Superstar Triple Play is on (9*) Southern Miss (3:30 EST).
Southern Miss comes in off a a near upset of UAB and I think it’ll carry that momentum over here.
Louisiana Tech enters off a victory over lowly Rice, but I think the Bulldogs come up short here.
Bulldogs’ QB J’Mar Smith had 314 yards with one TD and two INTs last week. But Louisiana Tech is going to have its hands full with this Golden Eagles team which just pushed the mighty Blazers to OT.
QB Tate Whatley and the offense managed 23 points last week and note that Southern Miss is 7-2 ATS in its last nine conference home games as a favorite in the +1.5 to +3.5 points range.
I think the Southern Miss defense is the difference maker, but in the end I’ll recommend grabbing the points.
Play on Southern Miss.
|11-17-18||USC v. UCLA +3.5||27-34||Win||100||102 h 56 m||Show|
My 9* play in on UCLA (3:30 EST).
I don’t think that the home field advantage can be overlooked as a very real deciding factor in this particular matchup.
USC enters off a 15-14 home loss to Cal, and I think it suffers a predictable letdown here after that upset. UCLA enters off a tight 31-28 road loss to ASU on Saturday.
USC is averaging 26.9 PPG and it’s conceding 26.6. QB JT Daniels has 1,986 passing yards with 11 TDs and eight iNTs.
UCLA won’t be playing in a bowl, but it won’t be going down without a fight in the first season of the Chip Kelly ear. Last week the Bruins were edged 480-439, and they come into this one averaging 21.9 points, while allowing 33.3.
I’l point out that USC is just 2-4 ATS in its last six off a loss against a conference rival and only 7-8 ATS in its last 15 on the road, while UCLA is 9-6 ATS in its last 15 off a loss against a conference rival and 6-4 ATS in its last ten after two or more SU losses.
For all the reasons listed above, play on UCLA.
|11-16-18||Memphis -8 v. SMU||Top||28-18||Win||100||104 h 42 m||Show|
My 10* AAC West Showdown is on Memphis (9:00 EST).
Memphis is 6-4 and bowl eligible, while SMU is 5-5 and needing one more win to punch its ticket. The Tigers won’t be satisfied with simply making a bowl game though and they’ll love nothing more than to prolong the Mustangs chances for another week. When the smoke clears at the end of this one, I’m expecting a decisive Memphis win.
The Tigers have won two straight, but they’ll be cautious here as they’ve lost three of their last four away from friendly confines. QB Brady White so far has 2,512 passing yards and a sharp 22/3 TD/INT. Overall Memphis is allowing 30.5 PPG.
SMU has won two in a row and three of its last four at home, but with the step up in competition, I believe the Mustangs predictably stumble here. William Brown and Ben Hicks have combined for 23 TD passes and five INTs. The Mustangs are even worse defensively than Memphis though, allowing 36.8 PPG.
I’ll point out as well that Memphis is 4-0 ATS in its last four conference games and that the favorite is 4-0 ATS the last four in this series.
The Tigers have scored more than 30 points five straight games and I look for that trend to carry over here.
For all the reasons listed above, lay the points.
|11-15-18||Florida Atlantic +3 v. North Texas||Top||38-41||Push||0||80 h 11 m||Show|
My 10* Weekly Wipeout Winner is on Florida Atlantic (9:30 EST).
FAU enters off a 34-15 drubbing of WKU and I think it carries that momentum over here. The Mean Green though enter off a tough 34-31 loss against ODU last weekend and I believe it’ll stumble again here as well.
If recent history is any precedence, then FAU has to be liking its chances for another big victory tonight, because when these teams met last year it was FAU that posted the 69-31 home win.
FAU has in fact won two in a row. The Owls don’t really rely on QB Chris Robison, who has an admittedly poor 8/10 TD/INT. He was very sharp last week though by completing 17 of 21 for 231 yards. But the FAU offense revolves around RB Devin Singletary, who already has 1,169 rushing yards to go along with 20 TD’s.
Overall the Owls are averaging 31.1 PPG and they’re conceding 31.3.
North Texas is averaging 37.2 PPG and it’s allowing 20.3, but last week it looked poor in the road loss to ODU. QB Mason Fine had 240 yards and two TDs and he still has an amazing 23/2 TD/INT on the year, but after last week’s collapse, I think the hungry Owls will have their opportunities today to pull off the outright upset.
Note that FAU is 8-5 ATS in its last 13 off a win against a conference rival, while UNT is just 3-5 ATS as a favorite this year and already 0-2 ATS off a loss against a conference rival.
For all the reasons listed above, grab the points.
|11-14-18||Miami-OH +7 v. Northern Illinois||Top||13-7||Win||100||55 h 47 m||Show|
My 10* MAC GAME OF THE YEAR is on Miami Ohio (8:00 EST).
I’m not calling for an outright upset, but I believe this is going to be decided by whichever of these hungry teams has its hands on the ball last.
NIU is rolling after back to back wins over Toledo and Akron, while Miami Ohio kept its bowl hopes alive with an impressive victory over Ohio last Wednesday.
The Redhawks have no time to dwell on that win though as they have to keep the foot on the gas if they want to reach the promised land. Special teams came up big for Miami Ohio last week, as it would block a punt in the end zone for a TD. The defense also posted a second half fourth quarter safety.
NIU is getting great play from RB Tre Harbison, who had 21 carries for 139 yards last week. QB Marcus Childers though hasn’t been spectacular and I think he’ll struggle against this aggressive and improving Miami Ohio defense.
Note as well that Miami Ohio is already 3-0 ATS tho shear off a win against a conference rival, while NIU is still only 3-6 ATS in its last nine as a favourite in the 3.5 to ten points range.
The Redhawks look vastly improved defensively last week and another effort like that could have them scoring the outright upset tonight. That said, in a contest which I envision being decided late, I’ll grab the points.
|11-10-18||California +5 v. USC||Top||15-14||Win||100||130 h 32 m||Show|
My 10* LEGEND is on California (10:30 EST).
Both teams need one more win to become bowl eligible. Suffice it to say, I’m expecting a war to the end in this one.
Cal will be hungry here to get back on track after it fell 19-13 to WSU this past weekend. A bright spot in the setback was the play of QB Chase Garbers, who had 127 yards, one TD, one INT and another 67 yards on the ground. Cal is averaging 23.6 PPG and it’s allowing only 21.9.
USC looks poised for a classic letdown here in my opinion after it broke its two game slide last time out with a 38-21 win over Oregon State. Aca-Cedric Ware had 205 rushing yards and three TDs.
Overall the Trojans are averaging 28.3 PPG and they’re conceding 27.9.
I’ll point out as well that Cal is 7-2 ATS in its last nine after scoring 14 points or less in a conference loss in its last outing, while USC is only 2-6 ATS In its last eight after scoring 37 points or more in a conference contest in its previous outing.
Ultimately I think the Golden Bears’ elite defense keeps them in this one late and as stated off the top, I’m expecting a competitive battle until the final moments.
Grab as many points as you can, play on Cal.
|11-10-18||Oregon v. Utah -3.5||Top||25-32||Win||100||122 h 56 m||Show|
My 10* Weekend Wipeout Winner is on Utah (5:30 EST).
Both teams enter at 6-3, but I don’t think that the home field advantage can be overlooked as a very real deciding factor once it’s all said and done.
The Ducks broke their two-game slide with a 42-21 win over UCLA last time out, punching their sixth win of the year and eligibility. Oregon was actually out gained by UCLA 496-492, but the Ducks would benefit from recovering three turnovers.
Overall Oregon is averaging 37.2 PPG and it’s led by QB Justin Herbert, who has 22 TDs and six INTs. The Ducks’ defensively allow 27.6 PPG.
The Utes average 30.3 PPG and they concede only 19.1. RB Zack Moss has 11 TD’s on the year while averaging over 121 YPG.
The Ducks bounced back after consecutive losses on the road, but I think they’ll struggle again here in this difficult venue. Utah lost starting QB Tyler Huntley last time out, but behind Moss and a 17th ranked defensive unit, I believe the home side finds a way to get the job done at the end of the night.
Lay the points.
|11-10-18||Virginia Tech v. Pittsburgh -2.5||22-52||Win||100||99 h 9 m||Show|
My 8* ACC (Coastal) Showdown is on Pittsburgh at 3;30 ET.
What has happened in Blacksburg in 2018. The Hokies opened 2-0 and were ranked 13th when they lost 49-35 at Old Dominion (as a 4-TD fave), allowing the Monarchs to run up 632 yards (Frank Beamer must be steaming somewhere). Va Tech is 4-4 overall (3-2 in the ACC Coastal) and has allowed 43.5 PPG in those four losses. In contrast, Pitt has won three of four (5-4 overall but 4-1 in ACC play) and now leads the ACC Coastal, after the team's 23-13 (at +7.5) upset at Virginia.
A number of final thoughts. Pitt who has covered 10 of the last 11 meetings with Va Tech, including seven outright upsets (note: Pitt is the small favorite here). The home team is 11-2 ATS in the last 13 meetings and note that the Panthers have won their last four ACC home games (Miami last year plus Ga Tech, Duke and Syra this year). Pitt ran for 254 yards in the upset of Virginia (Hall had 229) and the Panthers (averaging 230,8 YPG on the ground on the season) will go up against a Va Tech rush D that has allowed 219 or more rush yards in each of the team's last three games.
I’m expecting a rout from start to finish. Lay the points.
|11-10-18||Washington State -6 v. Colorado||31-7||Win||100||99 h 7 m||Show|
My 9* PERFECT STORM is on Washington St at 3:30 ET.
Wash St fell out of the Ap top-25 after losing the Holiday Bowl 42-17 to Mich St. The Cougars were picked fifth in the Pac-12 North by some and naturally were unranked. However, the Cougars entered the poll at No. 25 after opening 5-1 and after back-to-back wins over ranked opponents Oregon and Stanford (plus last week's squeaker over Cal), Wash St is ranked No. 10. As for the Buffs, Colorado opened 5-0 to reach No. 19 in the AP poll but in a repeat of last year, have collapsed. Colorado jumped out to a 3-0 start in 2017, only to go 2-7 in Pac-12 play. The team welcomes Wash St to Boulder on a four-game slide, allowing 41 and 42 points in its last two games.
Colorado blew a 31-3 lead against Oregon St in its most recent home game, before losing 41-34 in OT. Then in last week's game at Tucson, as Arizona finished with a 566-383 yardage edge in the Wildcats' 42-34 win. The Cougars control their own destiny in the Pac-12 North and could still possiibly be in the mix for a CFP berth. Meanwhile, the Buffs are 'in the tank.' I'll back the Cougars. In last year's meeting (in Pullman), Wash St won 28-0, out-gaining the Buffs 406-174. Note that Wash St enters a PERFECT 4-0 ATS on the road in 2018. Make that 5-0, here!
|11-10-18||Ohio State v. Michigan State +3.5||26-6||Loss||-108||119 h 3 m||Show|
My 9* Champs Classic play is on Michigan State (7:00 EST).
While MSU lost some players to the NBA in the offseason, Tom Izzo still has plenty of talent in center Nick Ward (12.4 PPG, 7.1 boards) and point guard Cassius Winston (12.6 PPG, 6.9 assists).
Last year the Spartans dominated teams on the boards by over 14 per game discrepancy. They also led the country in field goal percentage offense at 49.6.
KU always has a lot of talent, but it comes in with a young group this year. Point guard Devon Dotson averaged 28.5 PPG and 5.3 assists and Providence Day School. The Jayhawks averaged 81.4 PPG last season, but the defense was nothing to write home about by allowing 71.9.
I’ll point out as well that Kansas is just 8-17 ATS in its last 25 vs. the Big Ten, while Michigan State has always fared well in this match-up, going 6-2 ATS in its last eight in this series.
The Spartans boast the more experienced line-up and on Opening Night, I believe that will be the difference. Grab the points.
|11-09-18||Fresno State v. Boise State +3||Top||17-24||Win||100||106 h 33 m||Show|
My 10* GAME OF THE WEEK is on Boise State (10:15 EST).
Fresno State is 8-1 overall and 5-0 MWC play with a one-game lead over SDSU, who it hosts next weekend. Can anyone say “look-ahead/letdown” spot?! The Bulldogs come in off seven straight wins, most recently destroying UNLV 48-3 on the road last Saturday.
Boise State is 7-2 and 4-1 in MWC action and it’s still in the mix as well, sitting one game back of No. 18 Utah State for the Mountain Division lead. The Broncos come in on top form as well, winners of four straight, they’ll now look to pull off the slight upset and play spoiler.
The Bulldogs look strong on both sides of the ball, as they’ve given up just three TDs and 36 points in MWC play.
Boist State QB Brett Rypien had 214 yards and a TD in last week’s win over BYU. So far he has 24 TD passes this year. The Broncos are also among the best in the nation defensively, with 12 fumbles recovered thus far.
I’ll point out as well that Boise State is 4-2 ATS in its last six after three or more consecutive SU wins, while Fresno State is just 1-4 ATS in its last five after five or more SU victories.
This one has “upset” written all over it. Grab the points.
|11-07-18||Ohio v. Miami-OH +3.5||Top||28-30||Win||100||54 h 15 m||Show|
This is a 10* MAC ATTACK on Miami Ohio (7:00 EST).
Ohio has won four straight and I think it’s going to suffer a letdown here against the hungry RedHawks, who enter having lost two in a row.
The Bobcats most recently enter off a 52-14 win over Ball State and a 59-14 road victory over WMU as a three-point underdog. AJ Ouellette and Maleek Irons combined for 188 yards rushing and three TDs in last week’s victory.
And while Miami Ohio has had to endure injuries this year, it’s not going down without a fight today as it still looks to become eligible. While the defense struggled in last week’s loss to the high-powered Bulls, the offense was firing on all cylinders once again and I expect the unit to bring the same intensity in this important/crucial game as well.
I’ll point out as well that the RedHawks are 12-7 ATS in their last 19 following a conference game (including 4-0 ATS this year) and 12-6 ATS in their last 18 as an underdog, while Ohio is just 1-3 ATS in its last four as a road fav in the 3.5 to 7.5 points range.
Grab the points and expect a “nail-biter.” Play on Miami Ohio.
|11-03-18||California +10.5 v. Washington State||Top||13-19||Win||100||130 h 36 m||Show|
My 10* Weekend Wipeout Winner is on California (10:45 EST).
After four straight wins, I think that WSU comes in a big complacent vs. its lowly opponent, enough of a letdown anyways to let the hungry visitors sneak in through the back door down the stretch.
WSU had a one-half game lead over Washington and it’ll be difficult not to get caught “looking ahead” to The Apple Cup.
Cal’s on the edge of eligibility as well and it’ll be eager to pull off the upset. The Golden Bears haven’t been to a bowl game since losing to Air Force in the 2015 Armed Forces Bowl.
But the Golden Bears are poised for a return after last week’s 12-10 upset of then No. 12 Washington last Saturday. QB Chase Garbers returned two games ago and since then he’s gone 33 of 49 for 387 yards, three TDs and zero INTs.
It won’t be easy obviously facing Mike Leach’s “Air Raid” offense, but after a slim 41-38 win at Stanford last Saturday, I do indeed feel that this sets up as a classic “letdown” spot
Not surprisingly, Cougars’ QB Gardner Minshew leads the nation in passing yards and is fifth in TD passes.
I’ll point out though that Washington State is just 4-7 ATS in its last 11 after a three games or more unbeaten streak, while Cal is 4-1 ATS in its last five off a win against a conference rival and 14-9 ATS in its last 23 as an underdog.
For all the reasons listed above, grab the points.
|11-03-18||Stanford v. Washington -9||23-27||Loss||-110||128 h 52 m||Show|
My 8* PERFECT STORM is on Washington (9:00 EST).
Sanford comes in off a 41-38 home loss to WSU, while Washington fell 12-10 at Cal.
Note that this is a “revenge” game for Washington after Stanford posted the 30-22 home win over the Huskies last year.
Stanford comes in averaging 26.5 PPG and allowing 23.2. QB KJ Costello had 323 passing yards and four TDs but it still wasn’t enough last week. RB Bryce Love has been dealing with an ankle injury all year and he had just 71 rushing yards.
Washington is averaging 26.6 PPG and it’s conceding just 15.2. That’s eighth overall in the country. QB Jake Browning was benched and then put back in the game last week, he’d finish with 148 yards, a TD and an INT. Overall he has 2,049 passing yards and a 12/8 TD/INT.
The Huskies have given up just 25 points total the last weeks though and I think the home side’s defensive unit will be the difference maker again here today as well.
Additionally note that Washington is 4-1 ATS in its last five home games against teams with winning road records, while Stanford is just 1-4 ATS in its last five against games with winning records.
The Cardinal have lost three of their last four and I think they stumble again here in this difficult venue. Lay the points.
|11-03-18||Alabama v. LSU +14||29-0||Loss||-109||127 h 53 m||Show|
My 9* Rivalry Rout is on LSU (8:00 EST).
I don’t think that home field advantage can be overlooked in this big game.
It’s No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 4 LSU from Tiger Stadium on Saturday night and in my opinion, this one’s going to end much closer than what the oddsmakers would like us to believe.
Alabama enters off a 58-21 win over Tennessee, while LSU pulled away for a convincing 19-3 victory over Mississippi State.
To say this is a “revenge” game would be a bit of an understatement as well, as Alabama has won seven straight in the series, including a 24-10 home win last November.
The Crimson Tide are averaging 54.1 PPG and they’re conceding 15.9. QB Tua Tagovailoa had four TD passes last week and he so far has an amazing 25/0 TD/INT ratio.
LSU is averaging 30.4 PPG, but it’s conceding just 15.1. LSU relies primarily on its strong run game to generate offense.
Note though that LSU is 10-1 ATS in its last 11 against the conference, while Alabama is interestingly just 1-4 ATS in its last five when allowing 275 total yards or less in its previous game.
I’m not calling for the outright upset, but I’m expecting a competitive battle until the end. Grab the points.
|11-03-18||Syracuse -4 v. Wake Forest||41-24||Win||100||119 h 54 m||Show|
My 9* Eye-Opener is on Syracuse (12:00 EST).
The Orange come in off a 51-41 home win over NC State and I expect them to carry that momentum over here.
Wake Forest enters off a 56-35 destruction of Louisville, but I believe it’ll have its hands full against this surging Syracuse offense.
Note as well that this is a revenge game for the Orange after Wake Forest recorded the 64-43 road victory last year.
Syracuse comes in averaging 43.6 PPG and conceding 28.6. QB Eric Dungey had 411 yards and three TDs last week. So far he has 1,844 yards and a strong 13/4 TD/INT.
Wake Forest gave up 532 total yards and 35 points to a weak Cardinals offend last week. So far the Demon Deacons are averaging 33.4 PPG and conceding 36.8. RB Matt Colburn had 243 yards and three TDs last week.
Note though that the Demon Deacons are just 1-5 ATS in their last six at home and 0-5 ATS in their last five vs. teams with winning records, wile Syracuse is 7-0-1 ATS in its last eight following a SU win and 4-1 ATS in its last five after scoring more than 40 points in its previous game.
After scoring 51 points against an elite Wolfpack offense, I have a hard time seeing the Demon Deacons slowing down this juggernaut. Lay the points.
|11-02-18||Pittsburgh +7.5 v. Virginia||Top||23-13||Win||100||103 h 13 m||Show|
My 10* GAME OF THE WEEK is on Pittsburgh (7:30 EST).
Pittsburgh comes in off a shootout victory over Duke and I look for the Panthers to carry that offensive momentum over here against Virginia, which comes in contented off three straight victories.
The Panthers most recently pulled away for a 54-45 win over the Blue Devils. V’Lique Carter had 137 yards rushing and two TD’s, while Qadree Ollison had 149 yards and a TD as well.
The Cavs enter off the 31-21 victory over UNC, but this is s spot in which Virginia has done terribly in for bettors over the years, going just 7-12 ATS in its last 19 after playing a conference game. Note that the Cavs are also just 3-4 ATS in their last seven off a win against a conference rival.
Pittsburgh on the other hand has excelled in this spot by going 10-3 ATS in its last 13 against teams with winning records and 11-6 ATS in its last 17 as an underdog.
I’m not calling for the outright upset, but I think it goes right down to the wire.
Grab the points.
|11-01-18||Ohio v. Western Michigan -2||Top||59-14||Loss||-104||80 h 16 m||Show|
My 10* Oddsmaker's Error is on Western Michigan at 7:00 ET.
WMU's 51-24 home loss last week to Toledo ended the Broncos' six-game winning streak and dropped them one game back of Northern Illinois in the race for the MAC's West title. However, WMU still controls its own destiny, Win here at home vs Ohio plus Nov 13 at Ball St (currently a 3-6 team) and the Broncos will host Northern Illinois on Nov 20 with the winner qualifying for the MAC championship game.
First things first, let's talk Ohio U. The Bobacats are 5-3, including 3-1 in the MAC East, one game back of 4-0 Buffalo. However, the Bobcats have back-to-back road games here at WMU and then against the school's long-time rival, Miami-Ohio. After that, it's a home date with Buffalo, which is arguably the MAC's best team (7-1 overall). Note that Ohio is just 1-3 away from home, allowing an average of 33.3 PPG in its three losses, with its lone win coming 27-26 at Kent (go-ahead score came with about 1 1/2 minutes left), which is just 1-7 overall (0-4 in MAC play).
I’ll point out that Ohio is just 1-4 ATS in its last five road games against teams with a winning home record, while WMU is 8-3 ATS in its last 11 after posting more than 280 passing yards in its previous game.
Bottom line is that oddsmaker' overreacted to WMU's shocking 51-24 home loss last week to Toledo and bettors have piled on. Almost ALL the money is on Ohio but I expect a comfortable Western Michigan win.
|10-27-18||Texas v. Oklahoma State +3||Top||35-38||Win||100||127 h 36 m||Show|
My 10* LEGEND is on Oklahoma State (8:00 EST).
While I obviously believe the outright win isn’t out of the question in this one, I will in the end recommend grabbing as many points as you can in a contest which I envision being decided by whichever team has its hands on the ball last.
Texas held on for a 23-17 road win over Baylor last time out and I think the Longhorns finally have a letdown here in this difficult venue and after five straight victories. QB Sam Ehlinger so far has 1,534 yards passing with an 11/2 TD/INT, while completing 65.7 percent of his passes, while RB Keontay Ingram so far has 403 yards rushing. Overall Texas is averaging 30.7 PPG.
Oklahoma State is the “hungrier” team here no doubt after losing three of its last four, most recently a 31-12 setback to K-State.
Cowboys’ QB Taylor Cornelius though is a difference maker, as he already has 2,009 passing yards and a decent 16/8 TD/INT. Overall OKS is averaging 493 total yards of offense per game, along with 39.4 PPG.
I’ll point out as well that Texas is just 3-5 ATS in its last eight after two or more consecutive SU victories and just 3-4 ATS in its last seven as a road favorite, while Oklahoma State is 5-3 ATS in its last eight off a loss against a conference rival and 5-2 ATS in its last seven as an underdog.
As stated off the top,while I do in fact believe the outright win is very possible, I will in the end recommend grabbing as many points as you can.
Play on Oklahoma State.
|10-27-18||Boise State v. Air Force +10||48-38||Push||0||125 h 27 m||Show|
My 9* Under The Radar Rout is on Air Force (7:00 EST).
I’m not calling for an outright upset, but I do definitely think that the stage is set for a much tighter battle than what the oddsmakers would like us to believe.
Boise State comes in complacent after back-to-back victories, while Air Force comes in having gone 2-1 in its last three, most recently holding on for a win over UNLV.
BSU QB Brett Rypien is still 0-2 in his last two trips to Falcon Stadium, including a 27-20 setback in November 2016.
The Air Force offense is being overlooked here in my opinion. Its still ranked just 106th in the nation, but last week QB Isaiah Sanders had four TD’s and the offense rolled up 572 yards. Sanders had 217 yards passing with a TD, along with 173 yards rushing and three more scores on the ground.
I’ll point out as well that Boise State is just 3-5 ATS in it last eight as a favorite in the 3.5 to ten points range and only 5-10 ATS in its last 15 after two or more SU victories, while Air Force is 4-1 ATS in its last five as an underdog in the 3.5 to ten points range and 5-3 ATS in its last eight off a win against a conference rival.
Grab the points.
|10-27-18||Kentucky v. Missouri -6.5||15-14||Loss||-110||103 h 8 m||Show|
My 8* Unranked vs Ranked Money-Maker is on Missouri at 4:00 ET.
It's been a great start to the season for Kentucky, Mark Stoops' sixth year at Lexington. His teams went 12-24 (4-20 in the SEC) in his first three but he led the Wildcats to bowl games in each of the last two (Kentucky lost both bowls, finishing 7-6 each season). So, this year's 6-1 start (4-1 in the SEC!), is quite notable, as is the school's AP ranking of No. 12. Kentucky entered the top-25 back on Sep 23, for the first time since the 2007 season. Kentucky is allowing 12.8 PPG (second-best among all FBS schools) but the offense is a concern, as the Wildcats have gained just 178 yards (in a 20-14 OT loss at A&M) and 298 yards (in a 14-7 home win over Vandy) over the last two weeks
Meanwhile, Missouri snapped a four-game slide with last week's 65-33 win over Memphis. The Tigers had opened the season 3-0 and while they are just 4-3 overall, note that the team is averaging an impressive 49.0 PPG in its wins. Sure, Kentucky's D presents a formidable challenge but Barry Odom's team owns an outstanding offense (501.1 YPG & 38.6 PPG) plus has a great chance for an eight-win season with a victory here. Florida is up next but the Tigers finish with games against Vandy, Tennessee and Arkanasas. Those three schools are-currently 8-15 overall, including 1-11 in SEC play. However, first things first. Missouri enters this contest on an 11-4 ATS run in its last 15 regular season games, including 4-0 ATS at home here in 2018. There's a reason the 4-3 team is favored over the 6-1 team, ranked No. 12 in the nation. Lay it with Missouri.
|10-27-18||Georgia -7 v. Florida||Top||36-17||Win||100||122 h 58 m||Show|
My 10* Rivalry Rout is on Georgia (3:30 EST).
A couple of 6-1 teams collide from EverBank Field in Jacksonville Florida on Saturday afternoon.
The Gators have won five in a row and they moved to 4-1 in conference play after a 37-27 victory over Vanderbilt. QB Feleipe Franks has 1,406 yards with 15 TDs and five INTs, while only completing 56.6 percent of his passes. Overall Florida is averaging 34.4 PPG.
The Bulldogs come in off their first loss of the year, a 36-16 setback to LSU. Georgia though has had its bye week to filter and process the loss and I think the extra time off will prove to be very beneficial for the Bulldogs.
With their first loss out of the way and with a full week to process and refocus, it could in fact be the best thing that could have happened for Georgia this season. So far QB Jake Fromm has 1,409 yards passing with a 13/4 TD/INT. Overall the Bulldogs are averaging 39 PPG.
I’ll point out though that Florida is just 1-5 ATS in its last six as an underdog in the 3.5 to ten points range and only 2-3 ATS in its last five games played on a neutral field, while Georgia is 5-3 ATS in it slast eight as a favorite in the 3.5 to ten points range and 6-1 ATS in its last seven games played on a neutral field.
For all the reasons listed above, play on Georgia.
|10-27-18||Wisconsin v. Northwestern +6||17-31||Win||100||118 h 29 m||Show|
My 8* EYE-OPENER is on Northwestern (12:00 EST).
Northwestern won’t be going down without a fight today. The Wildcats come on on a three game win steak, most recently taking care of business in what could have been a trap game against lowly Rutgers last week.
Wisconsin comes in off a 49-20 beatdown of Illinois.
Northwestern’s defense will keep it in this one, it comes in conceding just 24.6 PPG. QB Clayton Thorson has been good as well with 1,900 passing yards and nine TDs to go along with another two rushing TDs. He does have seven INT’s and overall the offense is averaging just 24.3 PPG.
Wisconsin is allowing 20.0 PPG and it’s averaging 33.0. RB Jon Taylor has 1,109 yards rushing with eight TDs.
But note that the Badgers are just 2-4 ATS in their last six as a favorite, while Northwestern is 10-5 ATS in its last 15 off a win against a conference rival and 9-3 ATS in its last 12 as an underdog.
I think Northwestern takes this one down to the wire. Grab the points.
|10-26-18||Miami-FL -3.5 v. Boston College||Top||14-27||Loss||-104||102 h 58 m||Show|
My 10* ACC Game Of The Month is on Miami Florida (7:00 EST).
Miami Florida comes in off a stunning loss to Virginia and suffice it to say, I think the Hurricanes take out their frustrations on the Eagles.
Last week Miami fell 16-13 on the road and it’ll now try to steamroll a BC side which comes in off a satisfying 38-20 victory over Louisville last Saturday.
The Hurricanes are making a permanent move back to QB Malik Rosier, after freshman K’Kosi Perry completely underwhelmed last week. Perry was just 3 of 6 for 20 yards with two INT’s. Rosier would come in in the second half and throw for 170 yards and an INT.
Miami’s offense has plenty of issues, but the senior Rosier should bring back some steady calm to a unit which desperately needs it. The Hurricanes defense though remains one of the best in the country, among the leaders in almost every defensive category.
BC’s offense revolves around its running attack, which averages 226.9 YPG. Last week RB David Bailey and Ben Glines combined to run for 219 yards and two TDs. But BC struggles are on the offensive side of the ball, while the defense remains a strength of the team.
I’ll point out though that Miami is 21-15 ATS in its last 26 after giving up less than 20 points in its previous game, while the road team is 4-1 ATS in the last five in this series overall as well.
I think the change of QB for Miami will in fact prove to be a good move andI look for the Hurricanes superior defense to then deliver the knock out blow.
Lay the points, play on Miami.
|10-25-18||Toledo v. Western Michigan -5.5||Top||51-24||Loss||-110||79 h 54 m||Show|
My 10* MAC Attack is on Western Michigan at 7:00 ET.
No upsets here in my opinion, as I look for the first place WMU Broncos to find a way to get the job done on Thursday night.
Toledo comes to town off a 31-17 home loss to Buffalo, while Western Michigan enters off a 35-10 road win over CMU in its previous action.
Note that this is a “revenge” game as well for the Broncos after the Rockets scored the 37-10 home win in the series last season.
Toledo is averaging 39.3 PPG and it gave up 326 passing yards to Buffalo last weekend. QB Eli Peters has a 6/2 TD/INT. Note that the defense is allowing 34.3 PPG.
WMU is averaging 36.4 PPG and it’s conceding 28.4. QB Jon Wassink already has 1,980 passing yards with a strong 16/6 TD/INT.
I’ll point out as well that the Broncos are 4-1 ATS in their last five following a SU win over more than 20 points, while Toledo is just 1-4 ATS in its last five against teams with winning records.
In conclusion, this year's Toledo team hardly looks bowl-bound. The Rockets have been to 11 bowls since 2001 and to SEVEN in the previous eight seasons. However, last year's 11-3 record seems as 'far away,' as Toledo lost its second straight and dropped to 3-4 (1-2 MAC) on the season. Toledo was outgained by Buffalo 463-to-295 in yards, while committing four turnovers in the 31-17 loss. Toledo has struggled on the road this season going 0-2, while allowing 77 points, and will 'limp' into this game 0-4 ATS in its last four overall (also checks in at 0-3 ATS to begin MAC play).
Meanwhile, Tim Lester's second season at Toledo is going well. He had a tough act to follow (P.J. Fleck led WMU to a 13-1 season and a New Years' Six bowl game in 2016) but 2017's 6-6 record is a thing of the past. The Broncos opened 2018 with back-to-back losses (to Syracuse and at Michigan) but enter this contest on a six-game winning streak (4-0 start in MAC play) in which the team has averaged 41.0 PPG. WMU's balanced offense (249.4 YPG passing and 220.2 YPG rushing) will allow the Broncos to win this game with "room to spare!'
|10-21-18||Nevada v. Hawaii -3.5||Top||40-22||Loss||-105||130 h 1 m||Show|
My 10* ABSOLUTE BLOWOUT on Hawaii (11:55 EST).
Nevada is 3-4 overall and 1-2 in Mountain West play. It most recently lost its second straight, most recently a 31-27 setback to Boise State.
The Wolfpack were out gained by a whopping 506-386 margin. QB Ty Gangi was just 24 of 42 for 204 yards, two TDs and an INT.
Overall Nevada is averaging 31.6 PPG and conceding 33.6.
Hawaii on the other hand is 6-2, including 3-0 in Conference action. The Warriors come in off a 49-23 non-conference loss to BYU this past Saturday (I had the Cougars in that one!) WR John Ursua had 89 yards and a TD. QB Cole McDonald has 26 TDs and three INTs on the year.
Overall Hawaii is averaging 36.5 PPG and it’s conceding 32.
I think Nevada is overmatched on both sides of the ball today. The Wolfpack also come in with zero momentum and they’ve been struggling away from friendly confines as well.
The Warriors can smell the blood in the water in my opinion (note as well that Hawaii is 7-2 ATS in its last nine after allowing 48 points or more in its previous contest.)
Lay the points and expect a rout.
|10-20-18||Akron -4 v. Kent State||24-23||Loss||-108||122 h 32 m||Show|
The second pick of my Superstar Triple Play is on Akron 8* (3:30 EST).
Akron comes in hungry after dropping its third straight, most recently a 24-6 setback at Buffalo last weekend. A date against hapless Kent State is just what the doctor ordered for the Zips to get back on track though, as the Golden Flashes come in having lost five straight.
And if recent history is any precedence, then Akron has to be liking its chances today as it’s taken three straight in the series, including a 24-14 victory last season.
Akron is averaging 23.2 PPG and it’s conceding only 26.4. QB Kato Nelson struggled in last week’s loss, going just 12 of 29 for 115 yards and an INT. Overall though he has 980 yards passing, seven TDs and six INTs.
Kent is averaging only 23 PPG and it’s conceding a whopping 36.6. QB Woody Barrett has 1,560 passing yards, to go along with seven TDs and eight INTs.
Akron has its issues, but this a big opportunity which I believe it will make the most of. I’ll point out as well that Kent State is just 1-5 ATS in its last six after allowing more than 450 total yards in its previous game, while Akron is 6-2 ATS in its last eight following an ATS loss.
For all the reasons listed above, lay the points.
|10-20-18||SMU v. Tulane -7||27-23||Loss||-102||122 h 32 m||Show|
The third pick of my Superstar Triple Play is on Tulane (8*) (3:30 EST)
This is an important game. Houston is going to likely win the conference, but the victor of this contest will be solidly in the second position.
To say this is a “revenge” game for Tulane though would be a bit of an understatement, as SMU has won six of the last seven in the series.
SMU has had a week of to ponder its 48-20 beatdown at the hands of UFC. Overall the Mustangs are allowing 39.7 PPG.
Last week Tulane fell 37-21 to Cincinnati (who has since cracked the Top 25). Overall the Green Wave are averaging 379 YPG.
I’ll point out though that SMU is just 1-3 ATS in its last four following its bye, while Tulane is 7-2 ATS in its last nine after allowing 36 points or more in its previous contest.
Despite some of the QB issues that Tulane is going through, I think the Green Wave finds a way to get the job done at home in this crucial contest.
Lay the points.
|10-20-18||Eastern Michigan v. Ball State +3||42-20||Loss||-109||121 h 2 m||Show|
The first pick of my Superstar Triple Play is on Ball State 8* (3:00 EST).
Ball State is 3-4 overall and 2-1 in the MAC West. The Cardinals though come in with plenty of momentum as they look to move back to .500, most recently rallying from a 13-point fourth-quarter deficit to knock off CMU last weekend 24-23.
EMU held on for a 28-26 win last weekend, nearly squandering a 28-3 half-time lead, struggling after QB Mike Glass left with injury.
If Glass can’t play today (and if he does, one has to wonder about his health?!), then Tyler Wiegers would fill in. Last week he was 11 of 15 for 83 yards and he’s been decent with five TDs and just one INT this season.
Ball State still needs three more wins for bowl eligibility, so the home side will clearly have the “foot on the gas” from start to finish here as it looks to take advantage of this EMU team that’s dealing with some pretty major QB issues at the moment.
Ball State has a solid receiving corps, led by Riley Neal, who has 40 catches for 546 yards.
The Cardinals are averaging a very respectable 441.4 yards of offense a game, thanks in part to them running nearly 85 play on offense per contest.
I’ll point out as well that Ball State is interestingly 6-1 ATS in its last seven after allowing fewer than 170 passing yards in its previous game, while EMU is a horrible 9-23 ATS in its last 32 following a SU victory.
For all the reason listed above, play on Ball State.
|10-20-18||Michigan -7 v. Michigan State||21-7||Win||100||119 h 37 m||Show|
My 9* Rivalry Rout is on Michigan (12:00 EST).
Michigan State traveled to Ann Arbor last year and scored the 14-10 upset victory. Suffice it to say, it’s payback time!
Michigan looks to avenge that setback and it comes into this one on top form, having posted six straight victories after an Opening season loss to Notre Dame.
Michigan State on the other hand looks poised for a classic “letdown” here in my opinion after a big win over Penn State last weekend.
Last week the Wolverines won 38-13 at home over Wisconsin. QB Shea Patterson had 124 passing yards, along with a season-high 90 yards rushing with a TD. RB Karan Higdon had 100 yards rushing as well.
The difference maker today for me though is the Wolverines’ defensive unit, which limited Wisconsin QB Alex Hornibrook to 100 passing yards, one TD and two INT’s. Wisconsin came into that game averaging 30.3 points and 447.3 YPG.
MSU QB Brian Lewerke managed a TD pass to Felton Davis with 19 seconds left on the clock to score the 21-17 victory over the Nittany Lions last weekend. But it wasn’t pretty, as Lewerke finished with a 22.8 QB rating and he was sacked three times, while the offensive line would additionally give up seven tackles for a loss.
I’ll point out as well that Michigan State is just 1-4 ATS in its last five following an ATS victory and only 1-4 ATS in its last five at home, while Michigan is 4-1 ATS in its last against the conference.
For all the reasons listed above, play on Michigan.
|10-18-18||Stanford -2.5 v. Arizona State||Top||20-13||Win||100||80 h 35 m||Show|
My 10* PAC-12 GAME OF MONTH is on Stanford (9:00 EST).
Stanford comes into this one hungry and rested. The Cardinal are off their bye and they’re looking to halt a two-game slide, most recently falling to Notre Dame and Utah.
Arizona State is just 1-3 in its last four, most recently falling to Colorado.
Stanford has to be feeling more confident this week though because RB Bryce Love, who has missed the last two games with a small injury, is back and ready to go. Love already has 327 yards through four games.
With Love in the line-up, Stanford is an entirely different team and I have a hard time seeing ASU’s porous defensive front slowing him down at all.
ASU also comes in off its bye, but instead of rest leading to success, I think the opposite will be true for the Sun Devils. QB Manny Wilkins was injured in the loss to Colorado, but he’s also been given the green light today.
I’ll point out though that Arizona State is just 1-2 ATS in its last three following its bye-week and only 2-4 ATS in its last six when the line in the game is set between +3 and -3, while Stanford is 2-1 ATS in its last three following its bye and 6-3 ATS in its last nine when the line in the game is set between +3 and -3.
The Cardinal have upcoming games against Washington and Washington State, so they can ill afford another loss.
Stanford’s recent slide is directly attributable to Love’s absence, but now that he’s back though I’m expecting a complete “180.”
Lay the points.
|10-13-18||Colorado v. USC -7||Top||20-31||Win||100||128 h 21 m||Show|
My 10* LEGEND is on USC (10:30 EST).
Colorado enters off a 28-21 home win over Arizona State, while USC got the better of Arizona 24-20 on the road as well.
If recent history is any precedence, then the Trojans have to be liking their chances today, because when these teams met last year USC would post the convincing 38-24 road victory.
I think Colorado comes in complacent after it’s 5-0 start. Overall the Buffs are averaging 37.8 PPG, while holding the opposition to just 18.4. QB Steven Montez had 328 passing with two TDs in last week’s win over Colorado State.
USC is averaging 24.6 PPG and its conceding 26.2. QB JT Daniels had 197 passing yards last week, while RB Aca’Cedric Ware had 173 rushing yards.
After two poor performances on the defensive side of the ball to Texas and Washington State, the Trojans limited Arizona to just 98 rushing yards last week.
I’ll point out as well that Colorado is just 2-4 ATS in its last six as an underdog in the 3.5 to ten points range and only 5-6 ATS in its last 11 against teams with winning records, while USC is 9-5 ATS in its last 14 off a win against a conference rival.
I like USC’s improved defensive play to carry over here and I’m finally expecting the Buffs to stumble. Lay the points.
|10-13-18||Hawaii v. BYU -14.5||23-49||Win||100||128 h 5 m||Show|
Writeup: My 8* Bailout is on BYU (10:15 EST).
After three straight victories, I think the Warriors are going to finally stumble here at the national level.
The Warriors are 6-1 and the currently lead the West Division of the Mountain West Conference.
Hawaii though has won its last two games by a combined seven points. Last week it had to hold on for a much tougher than expected 17-13 win over Wyoming. QB Chevan Cordeiro was 19 of 29 for 148 with two TD’s and an INT.
BYU will be eager to get back on track here after back-to-back losses, most recently a 45-20 home loss to Utah State. QB Tanner Mangum was 27 of 46 for 270 yards with two TD’s and an INT. You’ll also want to keep your eyes on WR Dylan Collie, who had eight catches for 68 yards and a TD last week, but who had 1,300 yards receiving and nine TD’s with Hawaii before transferring last season.
BYU is deep, as four players have at least ten receptions and seven different players have a TD catch.
I’ll point out as well that the Cougars are 15-8 ATS in their last 23 non-conference games, while Hawaii is just 5-6 ATS in its last 11 in the same position.
For all the reason listed above, play on BYU.
|10-13-18||Western Kentucky v. Charlotte +9.5||14-40||Win||100||121 h 23 m||Show|
The first pick of my Superstar Triple Play is on Charlotte 8* (3:30 EST).
While I’m not predicting an outright upset, I do think the home side will keep this one a lot more competitive than what the oddsmakers are trying to lead us to believe.
Both teams come in off their bye week. WKU most recently lost 20-17 at home to Marshall, while Charlotte lost 28-7 to UAB in its latest action. This is a revenge game for the 49ers after the Hilltoppers took the only other game ever played between the schools, a 45-14 home win last October 14th.
WKU is averaging 18.6 PPG and it’s conceding 25. QB Drew Ecklels has 514 yards with three TD’s so far, while Davis Shanley has 412 yards and a TD.
Charlotte was out gained 330-271 by UAB in its loss two weeks ago. It did however own a convincing 33:37 to 26:26 time of possession advantage. Two costly turnovers proved to be too much to overcome.
The 49ers average 21.8 PPG and they concede 31.4. QB Chris Reynolds had 1,062 yards with six TDs and two INTs, while RB Benny LeMay has 414 yards with three scores on the ground.
I’ll point out though that WKU is a poor 1-6 ATS in its last seven as a favorite in the 3.5 to ten points range and only 1-3 ATS in its last four off a loss against a conference rival, while Charlotte is 5-3 ATS in its last eight as an underdog in the 3.5 to ten points range and 6-2 ATS in its last eight off a loss against a conference rival.
I think the week off helps Charlotte in this home situation. Grab the points.
|10-13-18||Marshall -3.5 v. Old Dominion||42-20||Win||100||121 h 23 m||Show|
The second pick of my Superstar Triple Play is on Marshall 8* (3:30 EST).
Marshall enters off a 34-24 home loss to MTSU, while ODU was smashed 52-33 at FAU last weekend.
If recent history is any precedence though, then the Herd have to be liking their chances this afternoon because when these schools met last year it was Marshall which posted the convincing 35-3 win at home.
Marshall is averaging 26.2 PPG and it’s conceding 26.4. Last week QB Alex Thomson had 173 passing yards with two TD’s and one INT. RB Tyler King though had a big day with 165 rushing yards. WR Tyre Brady has 427 receiving yards and five TDs.
Marshall’s lone conference win was a tight 20-17 road victory at WKU.
ODU is averaging 28.7 PPG and it’s conceding 38.7. RB Jeremy Cox was poor last week with 13 yards on eight carries. QB Blake LaRussa had 383 yards, two TDs and two INTs.
The Monarchs defense was terrible though, allowing 52 points on 605 total yards against FAU and I think Thomson and Brady will have their opportunities as well.
Additionally note that Marshall is still 8-5 ATS in its last 13 on the road, while ODU is a poor 5-10 ATS in its last 15 as an underdog and just 4-5 ATS in its last nine after two or more consecutive SU losses.
For all the reasons listed above, play on Marshall.
|10-13-18||Washington -3.5 v. Oregon||27-30||Loss||-100||121 h 22 m||Show|
The third pick of my Superstar Triple Play is on Washington 8* (3:30 EST).
I like the No. 7 Washington Huskies to pull away down the stretch in Oregon to take on the No. 17 Ducks.
Washington enters off a potentially dangerous victory over UCLA last week, avoiding the “trap” and at least securing a solid 31-24 outright road win.
Oregon had its bye week, but before that it got the better of Cal 42-24 on the road on September 29th.
If recent history is any precedence, then Washington has to be liking it chances this afternoon, because when these teams played last year the Huskies would smash the Ducks 38-3.
Washington is averaging 29.2 PPG and it’s conceding only 13.7. Last week QB Jake Browning had 265 passing yards with one TD and one INT. Overall he has 1,508 passing yards and a 9/5 TD/INT.
Oregon is averaging 45.6 PPG and it’s conceding 24.4. QB Justin Herbert had 225 yards and two TDs in the victory over Cal on Sept. 29th.
I’ll point out though that Washington is 10-4 ATS in its last 14 off a win against a conference rival, while Oregon is just 2-8 ATS in its last ten as an underdog.
For all the reasons listed above, play on Washington.
|10-13-18||Nebraska +5.5 v. Northwestern||31-34||Win||100||118 h 55 m||Show|
My 9* Eye Opener is on Nebraska (12:00 EST).
Nebraska will need to run the table to earn a bowl bid and while that obviously isn’t going to happen, I still believe that Scott Frost will have his troops ready to play as they look to get off the schneid and break the 0-5 slide.
In fact the Huskers have lost nine straight dating back to last year.
Note that that slide started with a loss to these very Wildcats.
With a chance to avenge that setback and to finally punch one into the win column, I’m expecting this contest to come right down to the wire.
Besides, Northwestern is primed for a letdown here after last week’s upset win over MSU, a victory which snapped a three-game skid of its own.
Last week Nebraska fell 41-24 to Wisconsin. The defense has been the major issue to this point, allowing 39.2 PPG so far. QB Adrian Martinez though is starting to trend in the correct direction and I think that progression gets carried over.
Northwestern enters off the shocking 29-19 win over MSU last weekend. The run game was once again a disaster though, posting just eight positive yards. QB Clayton Throson had a mixed back with 373 yards and three TDs, but also two INTs. Overall he has a weak 6/5 TD/INT.
These teams are evenly matched in my estimation. But I’m banking on all of the external motivating factors working in favor of the visitors to be the difference here.
Grab the points.
|10-13-18||Florida v. Vanderbilt +7.5||37-27||Loss||-129||118 h 54 m||Show|
My 10* Situational Stunner is on Vanderbilt (12:00 EST).
I think the No. 14 ranked Gators come in a bit complacent here and get caught looking past the hungry Commodores. I’m not calling for an outright upset, but I do definitely expect a much tighter than expected battle.
Vandy has played a very difficult schedule to open the campaign, with two Top 10 opponents in Georgia and Notre Dame. Next week the Commodores are at No. 18 Kentucky.
The Gators come in content after back-to-back wins over ranked foes, most recently knocking off LSU 27-10. QB Feleipe Franke was just 17 of 27 though for 161 yards, one TD and one INT. Overall the Gators are averaging 34 PPG and conceding 14.8.
The Commodores were humbled by Georgia 41-13 last week. QB Kyle Shurmur was only 14 of 28 for 169 yards, no TD’s or INT’s. The Commodores though would run for 138 yards. Overall though Shurmur owns a respectable 9/4 TD/INT. Overally Vandy averages 25.2 PPG and it concedes just 24.
I’ll point out as well that Florida is still just 1-3 ATS in its last four as a road favorite an interestingly, 0-6 ATS in games played on turf, while Vandy 3-0 ATS in its last three as home dog in the 3.5 to seven points range.
For all the reasons listed above, grab the points.
|10-06-18||California v. Arizona -1.5||17-24||Win||100||130 h 48 m||Show|
My 9* Situational Stunner is on Arizona (10:00 EST).
I don’t think that the home field advantage can be overlooked as a very real deciding factor in this particular matchup.
Arizona QB Khalil Tate has struggled somewhat this year, but I think he’ll have his opportunities tonight against the Golden Bears.
Cal looks ripe for the picking here after its first loss of the season in a 42-24 home defeat to No. 19 Oregon. The Golden Bears would go on to commit five turnovers in the setback. Cal utilizes a two QB system, but both Mcillwain and Garbers struggled against the Ducks defensive pressure. In all they combined for two fumbles and four INT’s.
Overall Cal comes in averaging 28.5 PPG, while conceding 25.
The Wildcats are averaging 31.6 PPG and conceding 28.4. Tate was 16 of 33 for 232 yards, two TD’s and one INT in last week’s 24-20 loss to USC. RB JJ Taylor remains a standout with 527 yards rushing and three TD’s so far (5.9 YPC.)
I’ll point out as well that Cal is just 5-7 ATS in its last 12 on the road, while Arizona is 4-1 ATS in its last five home games after scoring 21 points or less in its previous contest.
I like Tate to bounce back here. Play on Arizona.
|10-06-18||Notre Dame -5 v. Virginia Tech||45-23||Win||100||128 h 10 m||Show|
The third pick of my Superstar Triple Play is on Notre Dame 8* (8:00 EST).
Notre Dame is undefeated so far this season and I think the Irish carry over that momentum over at least one more game. Last week ND defeated a good Stanford team.
Virginia Tech is 3-1, its lone loss was a big upset to ODU.
In the victory over the Cardinal, ND QB Ian Book was 24 of 33 for 278 yards, four TD’s and no INT’s. WR Miles Boykin had 11 catches for 144 yards.
The Hokies were a 6.5 point underdog in Duke last week, but they ended leaving with a 31-14 outright victory. QB Ryan Willis had 332 yards and three TD’s.
Note though that the VT defense is suspect, especially after allowing 632 yards of offense to the Monarchs just two weeks ago.
I’ll point out as well that the Hokies are 0-5 ATS in their last five after allowing more than 250 passing yards in their previous game, while ND is 7-2 ATS in its last nine following a three games or more unbeaten streak.
VT is still without starting QB Josh Jackson to injury. I think his backup is going to struggle against this focused and talented Notre Dame defense though. Lay the points with confidence.
|10-06-18||Kentucky v. Texas A&M -5||Top||14-20||Win||100||127 h 49 m||Show|
My 10* ODDSMAKERS ERROR is on Texas A&M (7:00 EST).
Kentucky comes in off back-to-back wins and I think it’ll get caught complacent after victories over then No. 14 Mississippi State and last week’s 24-10 effort over South Carolina.
Texas A&M bounced back last week from a loss to Alabama by beating Arkansas 24-17.
Kentucky comes in ranked as the No. 13 team in the country after starting the year 5-0. The defense has been the biggest difference this season Mark Stoops’ team. However, I think that unit is going to be tested by the Aggies up-tempo offense today in this difficult road venue.
Texas A&M might have two losses already, but it’s been against Alabama and Clemson (and note that in the setback to the Tigers, it came down to final moments.) In last week’s win RB Trayveon Williams was a stand out with 152 rushing yards and two TD’s.
I’ll point out as well that Kentucky is just 2-6 ATS in its last eight after an ATS win and only 4-9 ATS in its last 13 played on grass, while Texas A&M is 4-0 ATS in its last four against teams with winning records and 6-2-1 in its last nine following a SU victory.
I think Kentucky will indeed finally come up short in College Station. The Wildcats aren’t running the table this year and I look for the perfect start to come to an end here.
I’m laying the points.
|10-06-18||Northern Illinois -3.5 v. Ball State||24-16||Win||100||123 h 50 m||Show|
The second pick of my Superstar Triple Play is on Northern Illinois 8* (3:00 EST).
NIU will look to keep the foot on the gas here after a 2-0 start in the West Division of the MAC. Ball State ended a three-game skid with a win over lowly Kent State last weekend.
NIU took out EMU 26-23 last week. The Huskies’ defense is limiting teams to just 348.6 YPG though, which ranks 41st nationally. The offense leaves everything to desire, but NIU catches a break this week facing Ball State.
Last week the Cardinals hammered Kent State 52-24, but the Flashes are just terrible defensively. So far Ball State’s numbers are skewed because of a dominant offensive performance against an FCS opponent to start the year.
I’ll point out as well that Ball State is just 1-5 ATS in its last six against teams with losing records, while NIU is 19-7-1 ATS in its last 27 road games against teams with losing home records.
I think the Huskies’ tough defensive play is the difference in this one. Lay the points.
|10-06-18||Boston College +4 v. NC State||Top||23-28||Loss||-102||120 h 23 m||Show|
My 10* GAME OF THE MONTH is on Boston College (12:30 EST).
Boston College bounced back from its first loss of the year to secure a convincing 45-35 win over Temple at home last Saturday, which was a potential “trap” for the Eagles. With that “land-mine” out of the way, I think BC will at the very least, keep this one competitive down to the final moments.
NC State comes in a tiny bit complacent, still unbeaten after hammering Virginia 35-21 at home last weekend.
Note that this is a revenge game as well for Boston College after NC State won 17-14 on the road in the last matchup on November 11th, 2017.
BC is averaging 43.2 PPG and it’s conceding just 26.8. QB Anthony Brown has 861 passing yards with 12 TD’s and four INT’s. RB AJ Dillon has 652 yards rushing with six TD’s.
NC State is averaging 34.3 PPG and it’s conceding 15.3. QB Ryan Finley has 1,313 yards with eight TD’s and one INT. RB Reggie Gallaspy II has 220 yards and five scores.
I’ll point out though that BC is 8-4 ATS in its last 12 on the road, while NC State is only 2-4 ATS in its last six off a win against a conference rival.
I think the Eagles’ high-flying offense finally tests this NC State Wolfpack defense. Look for this one to be decided by whichever of these teams has its hands on the ball last and grab the points.
|10-06-18||Syracuse -5.5 v. Pittsburgh||37-44||Loss||-106||120 h 10 m||Show|
The first pick of my Superstar Triple Play is on Syracuse 8* (12:20 EST)
Syracuse enters off a 27-23 loss to No. 3 Clemson, while Pitt returns home after a humbling 45-14 beatdown loss to No. 13 UCF last Saturday.
The Orange average 44.2 PPG and they concede 21.4. Last week Syracuse took the loss despite allowing only one turnover, while forcing three. QB Eric Dungey so far has 1,013 yards with nine TD’s and two INT’s, while Moe Neal has 367 yards on the ground and two scores.
The Panthers average 22.4 PPG and they concede 32. QB Kenny Pickett has 743 years, five TD’s and four INT’s (he also has 111 rushing yards and two more scores.) Qadree Oillison has 404 yards on the ground with four more scores.
I’ll point out though that Pitt is just 1-4-1 ATS in its last six after allowing more than 280 yards passing in its previous game, while Syracuse is 3-1 ATS in its last four as a favorite in the 3.5 to ten points range.
The Orange gave Clemson everything it could handle and I have a hard time seeing the Panthers keeping pace down the stretch. Lay the points.
|10-05-18||Utah State +2.5 v. BYU||Top||45-20||Win||100||107 h 38 m||Show|
My 10* RIVALRY ROUT is on Utah State (9:00 EST).
Utah State comes in fresh off its bye and while the outright win is obviously not out of the question, I will in the end recommend grabbing the handful of points. In their previous game the Aggies posted a 42-32 home victory over Air Force.
BYU returns home dejected after its listless 35-7 road loss to Washington.
If recent history is any precedence, then Utah State has to be loving its chances here today, as note that it would destroy BYU 40-24 at home in last year’s matchup.
Note that Utah State also managed to score 31 points against a strong Michigan State team in Week 1. QB Jordan Love had 356 passing yards and two TD’s in the win over the Falcons two weeks ago.
The Aggies also feature a strong run game with Darwin Thompson and Gerold Bright combining for over 550 yards already.
Utah State’s defense has also been decent. Overall the Aggies are averaging 51.5 PPG and allowing 23.8.
BYU is averaging 21.4 PPG and it’s conceding just 20.6. Its two-game win skein came to an end in last week’s setback to No. 11 Washington. QB Tanner Mangum was 18 of 21 for 160 yards. He has 772 passing yards and a weak 3/2 TD/INT.
RB Squally Canada so far has 335 rushing yards and five TD’s to lead the offensive side of things for BYU.
The Cougars outstanding defensive play has led to victories over Arizona and Wisconsin already this season, but I think the unit will stumble here against this high-octane Aggies unit, which comes in rested as well.
I’ll point out as well that BYU is just 2-7 ATS in its last nine at home, while Utah State is 4-1 ATS in its last five on the road.
For all the reasons listed above, play on the Aggies.
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