September 6th 2014 - Posted at 11:00 AM ET
There are 3 picks today, one of which was already released last night. Please scroll down to view them.
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On another note, it is always worth remembering that profiting from sports is a daily grind and no easy task. It is a marathon and not a race and there will be both ups and downs along the way. Those who are patient and disciplined will reap the rewards. Because much like even championship winning teams, SPS will inevitably suffer some losses but we win more often than not and will once again be at the very top by February! As such, the real value lies in long term success and results should only be evaluated at the end of the season.
Finally, although it does not affect SPS, we highly recommend that clients place their bets with a book that offers 'Reduced Juice'. Wagering at -105 vig/juice instead of -110 makes a huge difference over the course of a long season! It is the primary distinction between clients who profit big and those that profit small since the picks are the same for everyone.
Note: Experienced sports-bettors know the importance of shopping lines. We suggest that you shop for the best lines whenever possible since that half a point or so will at times decide the outcome and turn a win into a push or vice versa.
#1: Take Oregon Ducks at -12.5 spread against Michigan State Spartans risking 2%
This game is one of the marquee matchups on the card this afternoon as both teams are ranked in the 10 this season and this very game could already have implications on who is one step closer to making the 4 team tournament at the end of the season. This is a classic offense vs. defense matchup as Mark Dantonio's team travels to Autzen Stadium to take on the offensive powerhouse Oregon Ducks.
It's a well-known fact that the Oregon Ducks have had issues in the past when dealing extremely strong defensive teams. The high powered offense of the Ducks has been shut down multiple times, most notably by the Stanford Cardinal as they have been able to upset neutralize the offensive attack and upset the Ducks in two straight years. Many are expecting a defense like Pat Narduzzi's Spartan defense to do much of the same tonight.
We feel that many people are discounting the Ducks in this contest and expecting the Spartans to give Oregon all they can handle. The issue however is that Autzen Stadium is one of the loudest and toughest venues to play in all of the College Sports World. The Ducks have been nothing short of dominant in front of their home crowd and always seem to put on a show. We feel that with the Ducks having been shut down and upset by Stanford the last couple of years actually better prepare them for this contest. MSU hasn't been involved in a AP-Top10 regular season game since 1966 and this is a high-pressure situation for them.
Whatever Oregon has done in the past against really tough and athletic defenses has not worked. Because of that they are going to have to try something different in order to spread out this Spartan defense. While the Spartans always have a tough defensive front, they did lose 6 starters from last season and with this being only the second week of the season, they are surely less experienced at this point than they will be weeks from now. To have some inexperience on the defensive side and now facing one of if not the most lethal offensive units in the country, immediately gives an edge to the Ducks in this one. RB Langford and QB Cook among two other players took big hits last week and although they will play today, they'll be banged up and not at 100%.
Marcus Mariotta is a Heisman-trophy candidate and blew off the NFL to stay with Oregon for another year and contend for the National title! He was great last year, but is even better and even more experienced this season. Even in just the first game of the season he is showing his growth and maturity as he is no doubt the leader and field general of this team. He has shown his football IQ to make the right reads when necessary all while navigating through one of the more complex offenses in the country. Connor Cook is proving capable but he is still not on the same level as Mariotta nor does he have the same experience or confidence.
The Ducks know what it is like to face a defense like a Michigan State. The Spartans however have yet to see an offense quite like the Ducks and that's where we feel the difference lies. Oregon plays an up tempo, fast paced offense that is capable of stifling and confusing even the most experienced defenses. There is no team in the Big 10 that is quite like Oregon and that's what we feel will be the Spartans downfall in this contest. Oregon is simply too explosive on offense to contain for the full 4 quarters and we expect them to be able to wear down the Spartan defense and pull away in the second half. This is a statement game for the Ducks to show that they can beat a powerhouse defense. The betting public is high on Michigan State but they haven't been this big an underdog since 2008 and we feel there are good reasons for that! This is a game that we see them lose by double-digits!
Other notable facts to consider:
- Oregon is 5-1 ATS in their last six non-conference games.
- Oregon is 6-0 ATS after scoring 50+ points!
- MSU hasn't won a true road game against AP-Top5 since 1998 when Nick Saban was the coach!
- Michigan State is 1-4 ATS their last 5 games against the Pac-12.
#2: Take Tulsa Golden Hurricane at +25 spread against Oklahoma Sooners risking 2%
The Oklahoma Sooners have a short distance to travel but will open up their first road game of the season in Tulsa this afternoon against in-state rivals. A lot of people have high hopes for Oklahoma this year, as they could potentially be one of the four teams that could make it to the playoff game for the National Championship at the end of the season. The Sooners are perennial powerhouses and always do a great job recruiting, ensuring that they have a quality team loaded with playmakers each and every season. This is why they have always been a popular team to back, no matter what the spread is. The lines-makers know that and take advantage of that way of thinking as they often inflate the line a couple of extra points on purpose because they realize that many will pay a steep price to back a team like Oklahoma. We believe that is the case here.
The Tulsa Golden Hurricanes are not a team that the Sooners should take lightly and we have the feeling that they may end up doing just that. Tulsa has a high-powered offense that has the ability to put points on the board and that is especially true at home. Known in the past as a predominately running team, this season they are starting to incorporate a much more dynamic pass game to their repertoire behind the arm of Dane Evans. This has allowed them to become a much more balanced team. Evans looked great last week against Tulane, going 31 of 53 through the airs for 438 yards with 4 TD passes. He also has several reliable targets at the receiver position that the Sooner defenders need to be aware of. Keevan Lucas had a monster game last week, hauling in 13 passes for 233 yards with a pair of scores. His TD's were on passes of 43 and 84 yards. He is not only a deep ball threat but is a nightmare in the open field for defenders and can be a game changer. Joshua Atkinson also contributed while Keyarris Garrett had five grabs for 87 yards.
Let's not forget that while Oklahoma looked impressive last week in their opener, that was at home in Norman and against Louisiana Tech. Even though Tulsa is a mid-major school, they are a better team than the Bulldogs and should be able to put up more of a fight, especially on their home field. Also, an easy, blowout victory is not always a good thing for a team, especially a team ranked in the top 5 in the country. Not much is learned from those types of easy victories. Tulsa on the other hand had to go into double overtime to get their win last week and while some will see that as a bad thing, we believe it tested their mental strength and showed they are tenacious and resillient.
This is also an in-state rivalry game. While it isn't much of a rivalry for the Sooners, it is to 'little brother' Tulsa. This is the Hurricanes chance to make a name for themselves by taking on one of the very best teams in the country. For them, this is their Super bowl, their chance to go out and show the world that they can hang with the best the country has to offer. Chances are they more than likely won't win this game, but it will not be for lack of motivation and their desire and effort should see them cover the spread. For the sooners on the other hand, this is not a big game and they will if anything look ahead to hosting the Volunteers next week.
When these two teams met last season, Oklahoma was 24 point favorites, but that game was being played in Norman. In that game, Tulsa managed to stay within striking distance and with this game now being played on their home turf, we expect them to do the same once again. The weather is supposed to be somewhat suspect this afternoon as well which could cause some precipitation fall on the field. If it does indeed rain during this game, it will cause both teams to take a more conservative approach will strengthens the likelihood of the game being somewhat close. While we can't guarantee what the weather will necessarily be like, it does have to be taken into consideration.
What this ultimately boils down to is that even if Oklahoma does dominate this game, everyone saw what happened last week when Coach Bob Stoops called off the beating, pulled out the starters and allowed Louisiana Tech to score two touchdowns in the 4th quarter to blow the cover for OU backers. The Sooners have a long history of letting up in the final quarter of a game and has cost their backers in the past. We do expect this game to be closer than the line suggests, but again, even if it is not there is always the chance of Tulsa getting the backdoor cover. Oklahoma has a date set up with Tennessee next week so if they have a big enough lead late in the game; expect Coach Stoops to pull his starters to avoid injuries. Take the generous points with the determined underdog in this one.
Other notable facts to consider:
- Tulsa is 8-2 ATS off a home conference win
- Tulsa is 9-6 in last 15 games as home dogs.
- Sooners have not won a game by 24 points on the road in their last dozen tries!
#3: Take San Jose State Spartans at +33 spread against Auburn Tigers risking 2%
The San Jose State Spartans will travel to face the #5 Auburn Tigers in a non-conference battle on Saturday night. This game kicks off at 7:00 pm EST from Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn, Alabama and will be televised nationally.
The reason we have decided to release this selection early is mainly due to the fact that we believe this number has probably reached its max. Laying 33 points in a football game is a huge undertaking and tough to cover. After Auburn's destruction of SEC rival Arkansas last week, the public is jumping all over the Tigers in this one, thinking that this will be a complete and total rout. While that may be the case, that still doesn't necessarily mean that they will cover. San Jose State is a team that can put points on the board themselves and while they will more than likely not win this game, it is more than reasonable to believe they can keep this within 5 touchdowns.
Auburn is fresh off a national championship game appearance last season and opened their season with a 45-21 win at home over Arkansas. The fact that the Tigers won in such convincing fashion last week has actually benefit us in this particular spot because Vegas has made Auburn backers pay a premium price! Let's not forget that before a fortunate INT in the second half, the Tigers found themselves in a 21-21 tie at halftime. They should be careful to not look past the Spartans in this one because SJSU is a team that is capable of moving the ball on offense.
San Jose State opened up their season with a rock solid 42-10 destruction of FCS school, North Dakota! In that game, the Spartans managed to pick up 23 first downs, converted 7 of 11 third-downs and finished the game with 406 total yards. QB Blake Jurich absolutely picked apart the North Dakota defense, completing 22 of 25 passes for 250 yards with 3 TD passes and added an additional 20 yards on the ground with a score. WR Tyler Winston had a huge game as well by grabbing 10 passes for 96 yards and a pair of touchdowns while Hansell Wilson caught four balls for 85 yards. The SJSU defense also played well as North Dakota finished with just 12 first downs, 4 of 12 on third down and 244 yards of total offense, a bulk of which came late in the 4th quarter after the starters had already been pulled.
Auburn is not North Dakota, there is no question about that. But motivation to blow out a team does come into play a bit in this one. The Tigers were pumped up in their opener as it was the very first game of the season and they no doubt wanted to show the world that they hadn't lost a step and deserved to be in the championship game last season. Thefore they went out and proved that against a fellow SEC opponent. In this particular matchup however, they may be a bit more complacent and think they can win this easily. It is those kind of assumptions that come back to bite a team. For San Jose State, this is THEIR national championship game! This is a matchup where they will get to test their skills against one of the best teams and go out and leave everything on the field; they have nothing to lose! Teams typically play up (or down) to the level of competition that they are facing, we expect the Spartans to elevate their game for this contest while Auburn might play a bit more lax and down to the perceived level of the Spartans. It should still be enough to get them the win but may well cost them the cover when laying this many points!
This is also somewhat of a poor scheduling spot for the Tigers. They have to play SJSU which is a team that is fairly unassuming and easy to overlook, before a big game against Kansas State on the road in their following contest. It isn't uncommon for college kids to peek ahead and have their mind somewhat preoccupied by the next game. The Spartans aren't the team that they were a couple of seasons ago and won't lay down for anyone. We aren't going to come out and say that we believe the Spartans can pull off the upset, because we don't, in fact we would be surprised if that were to happen, but we do believe they will find a way to keep this game closer than most expect. At some point, Auburn is going to grab a big enough lead where they eventually "call off the dogs" and take their foot off the gas pedal. It could be at 21 points, 28 points or it could be at 35 points, but that is the danger of laying this many points in a game! Even at a score of 43-13, when the Tigers are in no danger of losing, they are in danger of not covering the spread and may in fact take it easy in the final few minutes to avoid injuries for the important upcoming game. If the Spartans can put a few scores on the board, we feel that it is going to be tough for Auburn to cover this huge number.
This is a line that we like and feel has probably reached its maximum and may only go down from here. We felt it is best to release this play early in order to take advantage of the inflated spread and get what is hopefully the best number possible prior to game time.
Other notable facts to consider:
- SJSU is 8-2 ATS in their last 10 games following a win!
- SJSU is 11-4 ATS in their last 15 games against a team with a winning record.
- SJSU is 18-7 ATS in their last 25 road games.
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