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November 19, 2016

Today's four football selections were all released on Friday.

#1: Take Texas Tech -3 spread (buy half a point) against Iowa State for 3% of the bankroll.

There is no question that the Texas Tech Red Raiders are the worst defensive team in the country and is the primary reason why they have only managed to win 4 games this season. That being said, they are also the highest scoring and most explosive offensive team in the country as well. Patrick Mahomes is one of the best and most dynamic quarterbacks in the country and if his team has actually been able to win games, should be in the conversation as a Heisman hopeful this season; that is just how good this kid is at the quarterback position.

The lack of defense by the Red Raiders has no doubt cast a shadow over just how efficient their offense has been this season. Nearly each and every game that tech has been involved in has been a shootout and it has been their inability to make that critical stop at the end of the game that has cost them. In this contest, we don't believe that will be a factor as Tech should have an advantage in nearly every facet, with the exception of defense. However, it closer than you would think.

Iowa State is simply not a good team. They are mediocre on both offense and defense and excel in no area on the field. We believe this is the area that Tech will be able to exploit. The Cyclones have only registered 15 total sacks on the season. Their inability to put pressure on opposing quarterbacks has hurt them and allowed their opponents to carve up their secondary this season. If they are not able to put pressure on Mahomes and allows his to stand in the pocket, the Red Raiders should be able to march up and down the field at near will, which will take a ton of pressure (for ones) off of their defense. All Kliff Kingsbury likely needs to do is gain a single extra possession in this contest in order to create separation on the scoreboard. We simply don't believe this Iowa State offense will have enough bullets in the chamber to hang with Mahomes in this contest.

While Texas Tech will undoubtedly give up a ton of points in this contest, as they have all season long, we believe their offense will be enough to help them pull away on the scoreboard. Texas Tech is arguably the best 4-win team in the country and with an outside shot of still becoming Bowl Eligible, we believe that will motivate them in this contest. This is a rather reasonable spread for a team that can put up a ton of points on the board. Even though they are on the road, we do believe they are a tier better than their opponents and should do enough to come away with a desperation win and cover.

#2: Take Wisconsin -28 spread against Purdue for 3% of the bankroll.

While at first glance it may seem like a daunting task to lay 4 touchdowns on the road in a conference game and in most circumstances, we would likely agree, however in this particular matchup we believe there is value in laying this number as the Wisconsin Badgers take on the Purdue Boilermakers.

This season Wisconsin has proven without a shadow of a doubt that they are in fact one of the best teams in the country. Despite having a somewhat one-dimensional offense, this is a team that has ground it out (no pun intended) all season long. They are extremely big on the offensive line which has paved the way for running back Corey Clement to have a sensational season. Clement is a power back with great vision who simply grabs the ball and plows through opposing defenses. Much like team such as LSU and Alabama, Wisconsin's opponents know what the team's game plan is coming in and yet they still don't have the means to stop it. Wisconsin has challenges opposing defenses to step up and in almost every instance, they have proven not up to the task.

While their offense has proven the ability to move the chains, their defense has really been what has carried this team this season. Next to Alabama and (perhaps) Michigan, Wisconsin has the very best defense in the country. They are physical, agile and most importantly, disciplined. It is incredibly difficult for teams to move the ball on the Badgers this season and we don't think that will be any different as in this contest.

Purdue has been a team that has underperformed all season long. Their offense is nearly no existent. David Blough is proving to be an asset under center and has certainly given this team as spark, but as much as an asset as he has been, he has also been a liability. Blough is a QB who loves to throw the deep ball and while Purdue has had success at times, they have also had numerous failures. Turnovers has really killed this team this season, especially in the latter part of the year. Since the end of September, the Boilermakers are a somewhat embarrassing -15 in turnover ratio and have turned the ball over 11 total times in their last three games. Against a Wisconsin team who has proven to be stout on the defensive end, this is simply a recipe for disaster and we don't expect this is an issue that they can clean up in just a weeks’ time.

While Purdue has undoubtedly lost the turnover battle this season, Wisconsin has actually been extremely protective of the football. Over the same span, they are +4 in turnover margin and have forced 7 turnovers in their last 3 games. Turnovers can make or break a game and given the way Purdue has been coughing up the football lately, this game could be over by halftime.

Wisconsin has a methodical offense and it will likely take them some time to move down the field and put points on the board. That being said, their defense has been extraordinary and we believe Purdue will be able to do very little to counteract that. It may take Wisconsin all 4 quarters; however, we would be surprised if Purdue is able to put up more than 14 points in this contest. Wisconsin on the other hand should be able to find success against this rather leaky Purdue rush defense and score upwards of 40 plus points. Given that numerous high ranking teams lost last weekend, this could be Wisconsin's chance to pile up the style points and inch closer to the 4-team playoff. We don't expect that they will struggle too much with Purdue and unless there is a final touchdown in 'garbage' time, we see the Badgers easily covering this rather large number.

#3: Take Minnesota +3 spread (buy half a point) against Northwestern for 3% of the bankroll.

Northwestern had a bounce back performance last week coming away with a 45-17 victory over Purdue after losing back to back games against Ohio State and Wisconsin. There is no question that Northwestern is much improved on the season with Clayton Thorson proving to be capable under center. Justin Jackson has been dynamic in the backfield and Austin Carr and threat in the wide-open field, however this game complete stinks of "upset".

Northwestern was stellar last week coming away with a blowout victory while Minnesota suffered a defeat. Northwestern is just a single win away from becoming bowl eligible and many expect that they will undoubtedly get that victory in this contest; we don't believe that will happen. Minnesota is an extremely tough and underrated team, especially on their home field. There is no question that they realize what their opponents are fighting for and would like nothing more than to ruin their chances in this contest. Northwestern has a much "easier" matchup next week to gain eligibility against a struggling Illinois team, so we don't believe they will come into this contest with the utter desperation needed to pull out the victory.

This, on the other hand, should be an ultra-motivating position for the Gophers to be in as this is their final home game of the season. It's senior day in Minnesota and you can bet that the veteran players would like nothing more than to come away with a final victory on this field in front of their home fans. Senior day is an extremely emotional and motivating time in football and we expect the Gophers to use that motivation to their advantage in this contest.

This will be an interesting contest; however, we simply can't pass up getting a free field goal with a team who has been nothing short of exceptional on their home field over the last few seasons. Even if Northwestern manages to come away with the victory, we believe it will be less than convincing as Minnesota will fight to the final whistle and find a way to stay within this number, if not win this contest outright. 

#4: Take Tulsa +1 spread against Central Florida for 3% of the bankroll.

This contest features two teams with completely different styles, which should make for an interesting matchup. Central Florida has the 20th best defense in the nation (20.6) while the Golden Hurricane have the 12th best offense, averaging 42 points per contest. There is an old adage in football stating "defense wins championships" and while that is mostly true at the professional level, we have learned by know that those rules don't apply to the College Football landscape. In a matchup between offense and defense, unless you are the Alabama Crimson Tide, offense will win out most of the time.

The Central Florida Knights are undoubtedly a nice story this season. After going 0-12 last year, this is a team that has seemingly turned things around and are once against going Bowling. There really hasn't been this much hype and excitement surrounding UCF since Blake Bortles final season. That being said, this is a team that is still rebuilding and has shown flashes of inexperience this season. While they have been stout on the offensive side of the football this year, they have yet to play an offense as prolific (and balanced) as the Golden Hurricane's.

No matter who they have played this season, Tulsa has been able to put points on the board. They have three losses this season and those losses have come against some of the higher profile teams in the country. They have a two-point loss at Navy, who in all likelihood with be the AAC Champions this season. They also have a touchdown loss at Houston that ended in somewhat controversial fashion and Tulsa was stopped on the one yard line on what would have been the tying score. Then there is the loss at Ohio State. While Tulsa was completely blown out of that game, it is worth mentioning that they were within striking distance before a second half meltdown sealed their fate.

Even though it appears that Tulsa has struggled on the road this season, it has been against quality competition. Central Florida is in no way in the same class as the aforementioned teams. It's also worth mentioning that the Golden Hurricane's do hold convincing wins over Fresno State and Memphis on the road this season which only cements our belief that they can get the job done in this contest.

While this game is likely to be close in the early going, Tulsa simply has too much offense for the Knights to contain for a full 4 quarters. Central Florida has been a feel-good story this season, but their fairytale is about to get a cold slap of reality as the Golden Hurricane's win this game outright.

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