November 21, 2015 (11:00 AM ET)
Today's 4 college football picks were all released on Friday afternoon.
1) Take Tulsa at +13 spread against Navy for 3% of the bankroll.
The Navy Midshipmen have quietly built up an extremely impressive resume this season. They have been stout on the defensive end and their offense has been tough for opposing teams to stop. Keenan Reynolds is a force under center and just recently broke Montee Balls record for most rushing touchdowns in a career. It is quite an accomplishment, especially for Reynolds who plays for an armed forces team. That being said, we do believe that after such an elated and emotional accomplishment that that sets the Midshipmen up to come out just a bit flat in this contest and Tulsa is a team that you can't afford to sleep on.
We successfully backed the Golden Hurricane last week against Cincinnati stating that they were simply catching too many points and we believe the same applies to this contest. For their utter lack of defense, the Tulsa offense is extremely capable. They can run the football on the ground with Zack Langer or through the ball through to the air one of any of their capable receivers. The have the ability to put points on the board in a hurry and that makes them incredible dangerous, especially when grabbing double digits.
While the Navy defense has performed well, let’s not forget that this is still an Armed Forces team. They do not recruit the same ways that other schools do and instead have to mold the talent that they have on their team. They have shown their vulnerability both on the ground and through the air at times and that is something that we believe the Golden Hurricane can exploit. Navy has been gaining national attention and more importantly the attention of the betting public. Now that they have lured people in riding the hot hand that is Navy, this is precisely the time where the books pull the rugs out from under everyone. The time to bet on the Midshipmen has passed and many will realize that in this contest. While the Midshipmen may gain a comfortable lead in this contest, Tulsa will find a way to stay within this generous number and bury the public in the process.
2) Take Baylor at +1 spread against Oklahoma State for 3% of the bankroll.
The Baylor Bears had their bubbles busted last week suffering their first loss of the season against the Oklahoma Sooners. Not only did Baylor lose their first game of the season, but it was their first loss at home in 3 years! The Bears have a chance to atone for that loss and should be fired up in this contest as they have a chance to dash the hopes of another unbeaten team in the Oklahoma State Cowboys. After their loss to the Sooners, the Baylor players were optimistic that they would be able to bounce back and are extremely focused in on the Cowboys.
Mike Gundy's team has been one of the surprise teams this season; however the pressure of being undefeated may be catching up with the Cowboys. Last week against Iowa State, the Cowboys seemed out of sorts and their defense continued to give up score after score. The Cowboys managed to rally but they were lucky to escape Ames with a victory. If they happen to play as undisciplined in this contest, we don't believe they will be as fortunate. The Cowboys have somewhat snuck up of their competition this season, but now this team in on everybody's radar. We don't believe Baylor will overlook the Cowboys like TCU happened to do a few weeks prior.
Even though the Cowboys are undefeated this season, luck has somewhat been on their side. They have had to perform some dramatic late game comebacks one more than one occasion this season. They were trailing in games against Texas, Kansas State and West Virginia. They also needed a monstrous late game rally against Texas Tech to come away with the victory. While those performances were no doubt impressive, it is only a matter of time before their luck truly runs out. The loss of Seth Russell was a big blow to Baylor’s offense but freshman Jarrett Stidham has had time to adjust in what will be his third start. He should bounce back from a mediocre performance against the Sooners and be able to get the Bears offense on track against what has been an extremely porous Cowboys defense the last couple of weeks.
If Baylor manages to win out this season they still have a legitimate shot at making the 4 team playoff this season, but they cannot afford another loss. The Bears were co-favorites to finish first in the Big 12 this season (along with TCU) but they can ill afford to suffer another defeat. We expect the Bears offense to rally and the Cowboys luck will finally run out as Baylor comes away with an impressive win in Stillwater and hands Oklahoma State their first loss of the season.
3) Take Penn State at +4 spread (buy half a point) against Michigan for 3% of the bankroll.
A lot of people have been impressed with the Michigan Wolverines this season and part of that has been due to their dramatic transformation this season under head coach Jim Harbaugh. The fact that they rattled off three straight wins via shutout certainly threw the Wolverines into the spotlight and forced people to take notice. While Michigan had been thrust into the spotlight due to their defense, the Penn State Nittany Lions have quietly put together a solid season and has arguably an even better defensive unit that Big Blue. While Jake Ruddock has found his groove this season, he will be tested against a defense that is currently ranked 2nd in the nation against the pass this season giving up just an average of 155 yards per contest.
Defensive end Carl Nassib also may be the nation’s best defensive player. A former walk-on who never started a game in high school or college, entered the starting lineup against Temple and now leads the nation in sacks (15 ½), tackles for loss (19.5) and forced fumbles (six). He is currently tied for 16th on the NCAA single-season sack list. The Nittany Lions have also thrived on turnovers this season. Michigan has been good with ball security, losing five fumbles all season, but Penn State will certainly test that. The Nittany Lions have forced 17 fumbles and they have recovered 10, which ranks eighth nationally.
The Penn State offense may not be as prolific as team like Oklahoma or Baylor; however they have been impressive in their own right. Christian Hackenberg is a somewhat underrated quarterback and has all the tools needed to beat Michigan in this contest. At one point this season he tossed 12 consecutive touchdowns without an interception. The Penn State offense has done a bulk of their damage this season in chunck plays of 30 or more yards. Hackenberg has shown his ability and accuracy to air the ball out and if Michigan does not respect the deep ball, it could be a long day for the Wolverines.
Saturday will also be senior day and Penn State will honor its 19 seniors Saturday, a group that endured NCAA sanctions after the Jerry Sandusky scandal and chose to stay with the program when given the opportunity to leave. This will no doubt be an extremely emotional game for not only the players but also the fans in the stands and you can expect this team to feed off of that. This should be a closely contested contest and we wouldn't be surprised if the Nittany Lions pulled off the outright win. The points could prove to be valuable in this contest and is where we believe the value lies.
4) Take Missouri at +7 spread against Tennessee for 3% of the bankroll.
The Missouri Tigers have been dealing with a lot of off-the-field issues this season, but it has nothing to do with players getting into trouble. Head Coach Gary Pinkel recently announced that he has lymphoma and that he will retire at the end of the season. His kids came up big against BYU in their last contest as they outgained a very good Cougars team by nearly 150 yards. While the offense has struggled at time this season, the Missouri defense has been stout as they are limiting opponents to just over 14 points and 297 yards per contest.
The Tennessee Volunteers have severely underperformed this season and have fallen well short of the lofty expectations placed on them in the offseason. The Volunteers managed to grab their 6th win on the season last week which could leave them in a bit of a flat spot in this contest, knowing that they will likely get a Bowl invitation and also have their annual rivalry game with Vanderbilt on deck next week.
The Tigers are 5-5 on the season and need another win to become bowl eligible. While they haven't won many games this season, they have shown their ability to keep games close and we expect them to do the same in this contest. At the beginning of the season, Mizzou were listed as the favorites in this contest, however now they find themselves as significant underdogs at home. They have managed to beat the Volunteers in each of the last 3 meetings and should play them tough once against tin this contest.
This is a team that has been bonded by recent off-field events. With the boycott on campus last week and now with their coach announcing his retirement, we expect this team to put together another inspired effort. With this being their last home game of the season we expect them to leave everything on the field in this contest as they give their head coach one last victory at home. With a road game against Arkansas next week, the Tigers realize that this is likely their best shot to become bowl eligible. Even if they happen to fall short of their goal and grab the outright victory, we do believe that their defense will do enough to keep this game within a touchdown.
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