November 7, 2015 (11:00 AM ET)
Saturday's 3 picks were released yesterday.
SPS clients are 11-4 in their last 15 football picks and have profited from 8 of the first 9 Saturdays of the NCAA football season!
1: Take Cincinnati at +9 spread against Houston for 3% of the bankroll.
The Houston Cougars have been a team that has flown somewhat under the radar this season, but over recent weeks there is no doubt that they have caught the attention of the betting public. There is a lot to like about this team and we have been fans of them since the beginning of the season having successfully backed them on multiple occasions, however we feel that the value is no longer there with this team after their complete and utter drubbing of an SEC team (Vanderbilt) last week. Houston is one of just 2 teams this season (the other one being Baylor) that has beaten 6 teams this season by 21+ points, which shows just how "off" the odds makers were with this team. That being said, they (both the odds makers & Houston) find themselves in a difficult situation in this contest.
Because of how easily Houston has handled their opponents this season, the odds makers realize that they cannot continue to undervalue this team. They have essentially been handcuffed by the team’s success to instill them as moderate favorites in each and every contest no matter the opponent and that is what we believe has happened here. The Cincinnati Bearcats are not a team that can be taken lightly and as explosive as the Cougars offense has been this season, Cincinnati's has potentially been more electric. While everyone is busy talking about Houston and Greg Ward Jr, Cincinnati's Gunner Kiel is quietly showing why he will be a sleeper draft pick should he choose to enter the draft after this season. Kiel completed 15 of 15 passes for 319 yards and 5 touchdowns in Cincinnati's 52-7 rout of Central Florida. That performance happened to be the most completions without an incomplete pass by any FBS player over the last two decades! It's important to remember that Kiel had missed a couple of game this season due to injury and 2 of the Bearcats 3 losses came with him on the sidelines. The Bearcats boast a Top 10 offense is both offensive yards per game and scoring. If there is one team in the league that can go score for score with the Cougars, it's Cincinnati.
Houston is currently undefeated and no doubt has high hopes of finishing the season that way and potentially playing in a BCS Bowl this season. The road to the BCS however runs through the Memphis Tigers who conveniently the Cougars play next week. That is a huge matchup that will likely pave the way for a big bowl game this season for one team and for the loser, will likely plummet them back to reality. The Cougars could potentially get caught looking ahead and into the toughest part of their schedule coming up and if they do, the Bearcats have the offense to give them a reality check. Houston has no doubt been impressive this season and have outgained their opponents by an average of 198 yards per game, however it's worth noting that they have not played a team in the top 46 of the power ranking and only two teams this season who have cracked the top 100! Meanwhile the Bearcats have outgained their opponents by an average of 200 yards per game while playing 4 opponents in the top 46 and 5 in the top 100. Cincinnati has put on a more impressive showing against tougher competition! Home field advantage does give the Cougars an advantage in this contest, however that is where we believe it ends. This will be a back and forth, closely contested shootout and the team who holds the ball last likely wins it. We wouldn’t be surprised if the Bearcats pulled off the upset, but even if they don't they should keep this to a one score game.
2: Take Oklahoma State at +6 spread (buy half a point) against TCU for 3% of the bankroll.
The Oklahoma State Cowboys has been a team that has largely flown under the radar this season. They are arguably one of the best teams in the country that no one is talking about. While the TCU and Trevone Boykin have gotten a bulk of the media attention, the Cowboys offense, led by JW Walsh is just as explosive and has the offensive fire-power to take advantage of a suspect TCU defense and match the Horned Frogs score for score. On the other side of the ball, the Cowboys are actually the stronger defensive team as they rank 38th in total defense (357.0 ypg), while TCU ranks 57th (388.6 ypg). While there is not much separating these two defenses, this particular game between two offensive powerhouses could come down to which team gets that timely stop late in the game.
There is no question that TCU has the offensive chops to put points up on any team; however their play on the road has been their one weak area this season and something that we believe the Cowboys can capitalize on in this contest. TCU was far from impressive in their 23-17 win at Minnesota, who happens to be just 1-3 in Big Ten play this season. They were unbelievably fortunate to escape with a win down in Lubbock where a tipped pass on the last play of the game saw them come away with a victory. They also had to come back from an 18 point halftime deficit and were on the receiving end of a Kansas State, letdown to come out of Manhattan with the victory. They also only led Iowa State 24-21 at the half in their last game on the highway. Oklahoma State is without question the best team they will have faced on the road this season and we wouldn’t be shocked if the Cowboys pulled off the upset if the Horned Frogs continue to play the way they have on the road.
With Oklahoma State being an offensive powerhouse, that doesn't bode well for TCU as they are just going 6-30 ATS when giving up more than 20 points on the record, including going a dreadful 1-14 ATS their last fifteen! It's certainly worth mentioning that Mike Gundy's team is 19-3 straight up at home when playing as an undefeated and in those 22 home games, the Cowboys have scored more than 20 points in each and every contest. It’s also hard to ignore that the home team has dominated this series, winning each of the last 3 and it's important to remember that this is huge revenge game for the Pokes as last season’s meeting was a completely one sided affair as TCU came away with a 42-9 victory! That 31 point defeat is no doubt etched in these players and coaches minds and would like nothing more than to pay back the favor and knock the Horned Frogs from the ranks of the unbeatens.
This could be a contest where the game is decided by the final possession which means the points could prove to be extremely valuable. Even if the Cowboys fail to pull off the upset, we believe they will certainly put a score into the Horned Frogs and make them work for the victory and the points will come into play.
3: Take Colorado at +17 spread (buy half a point) against Stanford for 3% of the bankroll.
The Stanford Cardinal has been one of the hottest teams in the country this season. After suffering a head scratching loss in their first game of the season on the road against Northwestern, the Cardinal has looked like one of the 4 best teams in the country. They have a potential Heisman candidate in Christian McCaffrey and Kevin Hogan is one again playing like the Top 25 killing QB that he was a couple seasons ago. Having said that, the rumors have been swirling that if they can somehow run the table, including their season finale against Notre Dame that the Cardinal could potentially find themselves as one of the final 4 teams in this year’s playoffs. You have to believe that those thoughts have already creeped into the minds of the players. That being said, it puts Stanford in a very interesting position in this contest having to go up against a much improved Colorado Buffaloes team, when they have a date with their old rivals, the Oregon Ducks on deck.
Stanford is coming off an underwhelming performance and survived a near upset at the hands of the Washington State cougars in their last contest. WSU, a team that has not been known for their run defense, managed to lay the blueprint in how to shutdown McCaffrey and we expect the Buffaloes to follow that plan. Colorado should come into this game with a good amount of confidence as they have been one of the more improved team this season having taken both Oregon and UCLA to the wire this season. They have an extremely balanced offense that ranks 44th in the nation in passing yards per game under Sefo Liuau and 38th in the nation in rushing yards per game with Phillip Lindsay and Christian Powell in the backfield. The Buffaloes have proven that they are not a team to sleep on this season.
Stanford will likely have received a wakeup call in their last game against the Cougars while the Buffs could be facing just a bit of a hangover after just falling short against UCLA. We wouldn't be surprised if the Cardinal return to form, while Colorado is a bit "off", however this is a lot of points to lay on the road. At this point in the season, Stanford does not have to impress anybody to gain recognition. Their opening game loss has been long forgotten and their upcoming slate of game will dictate their future. Right now David Shaw has to be thinking about simply winning games and coming out of them unscathed and injury free. Even if Stanford dominates in the trenches and builds a big league, Colorado is now playing with a sense of pride and likely won't just roll over and accept defeat; they will want to keep things at least respectable on the scoreboard. Whether they do it by being competitive throughout or whether it be a meaningless score in garbage time, Colorado will find a way to stay within this generous number at home.
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