November 28, 2015 (11:00 AM ET)
Saturday's 4 college football picks were released a day in advance, at 2:00 PM ET on Friday!
1) Take Michigan at PK spread against Ohio State for 3% of the bankroll.
Rivalry Week is upon us and there is arguably no bigger rivalry in college sports than Ohio State vs Michigan and this year provides an intriguing matchup. This game is precisely why Jim Harbaugh made the decision to come and coach the Michigan Wolverines, it was for this game right here and a chance to go up against Uraban Meyer.
Many had projected that it would take Harbaugh a couple of seaosns to turn around the recent landscape of Michigan football, but he has seemingly done so in his innaguaral season which is ioncredbily impressive. What has made the Wolverines so successful this year has been that they know exactly what kind of football team they are. They run the ball and they play stellar lights out defense. Harbaugh is a master at getting top level production from his quarterbacks. Look at Andrew Luck at Stanford, Colin Kaepernick in San Francisco and now Jake Ruddock at Michigan. This is a football team who knows who they are an what they are capable of doing on the field, which makes its difficult for opposing teams to come into the Big House and compete.
There is no question that Ohio State is a solid football team. They are the defending National Champions and had looked like they were heading for a chance to repeat this season before Michigan State handed them their first loss of the season last week. The loss to the Spartans was not real surprise as Ohio State hadn't really loooked like the team we had saw during their championship run last season. There was inconsistencies with both the offense and the defense. Unlike Michigan, the Buckeyes seemed to be a team that was still searching for their identity. While they continued to pick up wins, they were by many standards less than impressive.
This is a squad that is also going through quite a bit of controversy recently. After their bubbles were burst last week, both Jones and Elliot declared that they would not be returning to Ohio State next year. Elliot was also extremely vocal calling out the coaching staff for their lack of allowing the running back to make a difference in the ballgame. There is no question that tensions are high and the Buckeyes seemingly are acting more like a bunch of individuals than that of a cohesive team. That will hurt them in this contest with Michigan.
There also has to be a question of the players motivation in this contest. While this is no doubt a big rivalry game, with Ohio State's perfect season coming to an end and with all of the dissention in the locker room, one would have to question that in a closely contested game, who will step up and be a leader for the Buckeyes. There seems to be more finger pointing than actual leadership and players taking responsibility. Both of these teams are fairly even when it comes to talent, but all of the intangibles seem to reside with the Wolverines. With this being such an important game while also being played in the BIg House, we believe Michigan will do enough to pick up the victory.
2) Take Florida at +3 spread (buy half a point) against Florida State for 3% of bankroll.
We believe its somewhat perplexing that the oddsmakers would list the Flordia Gators as the underdogs in this contest. Public perception may not be high on the Gators as they are not a 'flashy' on the offensive side of the ball as the Seminoles, but they are 10-1 on the season, with only a fake field goal in Tiger Stadium preventing them from being undefeated. Since that loss in Death Vally, the Gators are 4-0 and have allowed just a total of 38 points in four games. While the Seminoles are essentially out of the running for anything significant this Bowl Season, the Gators actually retain an outside chance of making the College Football Playoff. With a win over the Noles and a victory in the SEC title game, likely against Alabama, the Gators might just sneak in as one of the 4 teams to play for a NAtional Title.
The reality is that this Florida team has been disappointing on offense for most of the season, especially after Treon Harris became the full-time starter. With that being said, this Gators team just keeps finding a way to win football games and are getting it done on the defensive end. Florida State will also be playing with their 2nd string QB Shawn MacGuire in this contest and we have all seen what the Gators defense can do to opposing quarterbacks this season, look and see what they did to Ole Miss' Chad Kelley when he visited the Swamp. The Gators defense should be able to have a field day with MacGuire while their offense should do just enough to edge out a win.
A Florida win doesn't have to be 'pretty' they have been finding ways to grind out 'ugly' wins all season long, but at the end of the day winning ugly is still winning, and style points do not matter, especially in rivalry games. The fact that the odds makers are giving the Gators points in the Swamp is a mistake and we expect the Gators to take advantage.
3) Take Minnesota at +3 spread (buy half a point) against Wisconsin for 3% of bankroll.
The Minnesota Golden Gophers entire seaosn is on the line for this game as they currently have just 5 wins on the season. This is the classic "win & you're in" situation for Minnesota and we expect them to use that as motivation in this contest.
The Wisconsin Badgers have had their own share of struggles this season and it culminated last week in a somewhat head-scratching loss at home against the NOrthwestern Wildcats. It was the first time in a long time that the Badgers actually finished the game with negative rushing yards! For a team that plays a power-style of football, that is an extremely alarming statistic. The Badger fans even went so far as to boo their team from the stands in disapproval of how their team had perfromed. Wisconsin should probably consider themselves lucky that this game is being played on the road this week.
The Badgers come into this rivalry for the Paul Bunyan Axe having won 11 straight against the Gophers and while that certainly is an impressive statistic, we also don't believe that sits too well with Minnesota. Seeing blood in the water and knowing that WIsconsin is vulnerable at the moment, we expect to see an all out effort from the Gophers in this one. While they haven't been picking up the wins, they have gone 4-1 ATS in the last 5 meetings with Wisconsin. They have also a thorn in the sides of many teams in the Big 10 this seaosn, especially when seeking revenge from a previous loss as they are a perfect 9-0 in their last 9 games when seeking conference revenge.
Minnesota has a stellar defense and they are an extremely tough team at home. We expect the crowd to be expeically loud and rowdy in this contest as they attempt to cheer their team towards Bowl Elegibility. This will likely be a closely contested game, but we expect the Gophers to come up with the big plays needed at the end and walk away with the outright vicotry in this contest. Even if they fall short of their goal, we don't believe WIsconsin will win by more than a late FG. The value is with the points in this one.
4) Take Mississippi State at +1 spread against Ole Miss for 3% of the bankroll.
Many experts had expected a down season for the Mississippi State Bulldogs this season as they lost a ton of talent in the offseason, however they have certainly exceeded expectation this season and a big reason for that has been due to the play of their quarterback, Dak Prescott. Prescott is quietly making a strong case for himself in the Heisman race and is coming off an exceptional performance where he threw for over 500 yards in a win over Arkansas last week. Prescott's evolution as a passer was certainly unexpected as he had always been a run-first style of quarterback, but his passing skills have certainly elevated which makes him extremely dangerous under center.
The Ole Miss Rebels have had quite an up and down season this year. Coach Hugh Freeze became the first coach since 1998 to beat LSU, Auburn, and Alabama all in the same season which is an incredibly impressive feat. That being said his Rebels also lost to Arkansas, Memphis, and got absolutely crushed by Florida to put them at 8-3 on the season. Even with their 3 losses on the season, the Rebels still have hopes of playing in the SEC title game but will need Auburn to upset the Crimson Tide for that to happen.
That is where we believe there will be an issue. The Auburn / Alabama game goes off early in the afternoon, before the Rebels take the field. The players and coaching staff will know the results of that game before they get ready to play and that could be a determining factor in this game. If we are correct and Alabama get past the Auburn Tigers, Ole Miss will be eliminated from the SEC Title game which would be a severely deflating blow prior to a game.
The bulldogs are not a team that you can sleep on. Prior to their loss to the Crimson Tide they had won 5 straight and 5-2 ATS in their last 7 home games. The home team has also managed to cover the spread in 4 straight Egg Bowls. Assuming Alabama defeats Auburn, the Bulldogs should be able to take advantage of the emotionally deflated Rebels.
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