September 5, 2015 (Posted at 11:00 AM ET)
Saturday's 3 picks were released on Friday at 2:00 PM ET.
We'll be back on the baseball diamond tomorrow.
Sports Profit System has a PROVEN track record of long-term success! That's why every single pick (win or lose) is 100% documented and transparent on the website and is also tracked, monitored and verified by Handicappers Watchdog. The KEY is to stay grounded and not get high or low with temporary streaks. Afterall, champions are crowned over the course of a season and not after the opening week. SPS has a history of topping handicapping charts and is confident of continuing that!
Those that remain patient will be glad they did. We're coming off 5 consecutive winning months including a big August and will be celebrating at the end of September too!
1) Take BYU at +7 spread against Nebraska risking 3% of the bankroll.
The Cougars play at a break-neck pace, comparable to that of the Oregon Ducks offense and big things are expected of BYU quarterback Taysom Hill this season. He was dynamic leading the Cougars to a 4-0 start last season before suffering a season ending leg injury. In four starts, Hill completed 66.7 percent of his passes and added another 460 yards and eight touchdowns on the ground. That performance had put him on the short-list of Heisman candidates entering the season. Having his season cut short and having to watch his team from the sidelines should be motivation enough for Hill to come back with a chip on his shoulder. For those who have not seen Hill play, he's a dynamic athlete who can be a handful for opposing defenses to contain. In 2013, Hill racked up an astonishing 259 yards on the ground against what was supposed be an extremely stout Texas Longhorn defense. If the Nebraska defense is not completely focused or is even slightly out of position, that could allow Hill to gash this defense on the ground.
Defensively, the Cougars struggled last year but should see a much needed rise in defensive efficiency. Head coach Bronco Mendenhall, a former defensive coordinator, will take over play-calling duties this season. This is a move that has historically paid dividends; especially at the collegiate level so we expect to see a much improved Cougars "D" take the field this season.
As for Nebraska, this is a team that is certainly in somewhat of a transitional period. Not only did they lose their coach Bo Pelini, they lost one of the most dynamic running backs in the country in Ameer Abdullah. Not only does this team have to learn under the tutelage of another coach and begin to adopt and adapt to his style and philosophies of coaching, (which will likely take some time to adjust to) but they also have to fill the huge void that Abdullah left behind.
There was also news that broke earlier this summer that new head coach Mike Riley has suspended 5 players for a violation of team rules. Riley kept the names of these players under wraps, but it was just recently announced that two of the players were named to the starting roster. Most notably, linebacker Michael Rose-Ivey, a junior who sat out last season with a knee injury after setting a Nebraska freshman record with 66 tackles in 2013 and senior Cornerback Jonathan Rose are among the players who will be missing from action. Redshirt freshman Luke Gifford will start at linebacker in place of Rose-Ivey and Sophomore Josh Kalu is set to replace Rose. These changes in personnel will no doubt impact the Cornhuskers' ability to slow down what should be an explosive Cougar offense.
This is an extremely tough test for the Huskers in the opening game of the season with so many things going against them. With Taysom Hill under center, BYU is a team that is capable of winning each and every time they step out on the field. The Cougars should challenge for the outright win, but even if they fall short we don't believe it will be by more than a TD.
2) Take Arizona State at +4 spread (buy half a point) against Texas A&M risking 3% of the bankroll.
The Arizona Sun Devils are coming off a 10 win season last year and came one win away from potentially playing in the 4 team playoff. They return 15 starters in total this season – six on offense and nine on defense are ranked as the #15 team in the country and are poised to make another impressive run this season.
Media analysts had picked unranked Texas A&M to finish sixth in the competitive SEC West, which is why we find it somewhat odds that they are favored in this contest, especially since it's not being played in College Station. They are not doubt explosive on the offensive side of the ball but they did lose some depth as they are returning only eight starters on both sides of the line. Their defense was lackluster last season and they did make a big move in bringing in John Chavis from LSU, however in the first year of a new scheme, we don't expect to see a huge improvement on the defensive end in the first game of the season.
The difference in this game we believe is going to be on the defensive side. The Sun Devils return nine starters this season so they will be the much more seasoned unit on the field. An emphasis that this team had focused on entering the season is limiting big plays downfield. ASU gave up big plays in each of its three losses last season which ultimately cost them their chance at the 4 team playoff last season. They will certainly be tested by the A&M offense and they likely won't be able to fully contain them, but the defense should be much more in turn to their style of offense coming from a pass happy conference in the Pac-12.
Where the Sun Devils have excelled on the defensive side of the ball has been their ability to bring pressure on opposing quarterbacks. Todd Graham coaches will and all-out mentality and comes up with exotic blitz schemes to disrupt and put pressure on the passer. The Sun Devils have ranked in the top 20 nationally in sacks all three years under Graham. Graham is also a master at having his team prepared for the season opener. In his 9 year tenure he is an impressive 7-2 in season openers. His two losses were to Houston while he was at Rice and to East Carolina while he was at Tulsa and both came by just a combined three points.
ASU has been working on their 2 minute offense for the last couple of weeks and there is no question that they expect this to be a back and forth affair. We expect to see a lot of tempo and offense coming from both sides, but the advantage that ASU has on the defensive end should be the difference in this contest. ASU is the team that has more depth and versatility on both sides of the ball. They are a team on a mission this season and a win over an SEC team should motivate them to come out and give their all. We believe the oddsmakers may have gotten this one wrong as the Sun Devils win this one outright. Take the points for added insurance.
3) Take Alabama at -12 spread against Wisconsin risking 3% of the bankroll.
Alabama has been a perennial powerhouse of the college football world for years. Nick Saban is arguably the best coach in college football history and always does a masterful job at recruiting the country's best and most highly touted talent. Turnover and change is part of the college football world, but while most teams have to rebuild, Alabama is a team that simply “reloads” and we don’t expect anything different this season.
The Tide’s philosophy and style of play on the field has always been based around a hard-nosed and stout defense. They are big, they are fast and they are agile. This year’s Alabama defense is likely the very best in the country and even with so many question marks on the offensive side, the defense should carry them in this contest. Saban has also been a coach who is known to have his team both physically and mentally prepared for season openers. Over the last three seasons, Alabama has opened with neutral-site games against Michigan, Virginia Tech and West Virginia, winning those three games by an average of 20 points. Alabama is a very proud team and they don’t take likely to being defeated by another Power 5 conference. It was a Big 10 team who knocked the Tide from the 4 team playoff last season and we believe Saban will use this contest to get his revenge. He won’t allow his team to suffer another defeat at the hands of the Big 10.
Wisconsin is yet another team in the college football world that is currently going through a transitional period. For years the Badgers have been known as a power running team that prefers to wear down opposing defenses with their ground game. They have had mediocre QBs under center and have been able to get away with it because their running game was so good. They will likely have a hard time running the football against this Alabama defensive unit. The Badgers are also left with a huge hole in the offense with the departure of Melvin Gordon who ran for 2,587 yards in 2014. Those are extremely big shoes to fill and it will likely be some time before we see backup RB Corey Clement fill the hole that was left by Gordon. Alabama is arguably the county's best run stopping unit so if Wisconsin cannot run the football that is going to leave them extremely one-dimensional and force Joel Stave who is a career 55% passer to shoulder a bulk of the offense. If Stave is tasked with carrying this offense, he will likely be swallowed up by the Tide’s front 7.
Wisconsin also has a new head coach in Paul Chryst. While he may end up doing big things in Wisconsin, the team likely hasn't had enough time to adapt to the new style and philosophies that Chryst brings to the table and that will likely lead to struggles on the field. An Alabama defense is tough enough to penetrate without throwing in all of the variables of a new coaching style while trying to learn a new offense. There is no doubt that both teams come into this contest with question marks on the offensive side of the ball, however Alabama is the more talented team and their power running game is smash-mouth and methodical enough to consistently sustain drives and move the chains. Wisconsin should have a hard time scoring points in this contest and we expect Alabama to pull away in the second half and cover this number.
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