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October 22, 2016

Last week, SPS had a perfect 4-0 sweep on Saturday to continue its successful college football season! This week, we don't see as much value and are wagering on only two teams.

Take Northwestern -1 spread (buy half a point) against Indiana for 3% of the bankroll.

The Northwestern Wildcats started the season off slow, but have really turned things around and have been firing on all cylinders the last couple of weeks. Not typically known as a high scoring, offensive minded team, the Wildcats offense has been lighting up the scoreboard and have exploded for 38 and 54 points respectively in their last two contests. What has been most impressive however, has not been the fact that they suddenly found their offense, but the fact that they have done so on the road, in conference play against some quality competition downing both Iowa and Michigan State.

The Wildcats are getting production from their skill players, which has been instrumental in their most recent performances. QB Clayton Thorson is playing at a high level and is coming off a 281 yard, three touchdown performance against Michigan State. RB Justin Jackson is pacing a potent Wildcats ground attack and is a big reason why Thorson is having success in the passing game. Jackson could be in for another big day against an Indiana defense that’s allowed an average of 187.4 rushing yards per game over its last five. That includes a season-worst 290 to Ohio State before it gave up 152 in their loss to Nebraska. The run has been able to set up the pass and the balance that Northwestern is playing with has been extremely difficult for opposing defenses to adjust to. Finally, senior receiver Austin Carr has been a dynamic playmaker in the passing game and is his team’s most reliable receiver. Carr has at least 73 receiving yards in each game this year and more than 100 yards in three of his last four. He has also caught at least one touchdown in all but one of Northwestern's games this season. Carr could be a difference maker in this contest going up against a somewhat suspect Indiana secondary.

As for Indiana, there is currently a QB controversy brewing in Bloomington as many are calling for QB Richard Lagow's benching. Lagow has been questionable with his decision making this season and has made critical mistakes in key situation multiple times this season. He comes into this contest with 9 interceptions on the season and against a Wildcat defense that has been fairly stout against the pass, mistakes and turnovers could be a deciding factor in this game for the Hoosiers.

Many have been high on Indiana this season, especially considering that they played both Ohio State and Nebraska tougher than expected. That being said, Indiana has been prone to fall apart in ball games and after playing two tough games against undefeated opponents and coming up short, this is simply a bad situation for the Hoosiers to find themselves in, now playing a Big 10 team who are currently playing their best football of the season. For those who believe motivation will be a factor, we don't feel that Northwestern will have any issues with that at the moment. After starting the season losing back to back games against a MAC and FCS school, the Wildcats realize that they can't take anything for granted. Their frustrating start to the season has seemingly only added to their motivation and is a big reason why they are finding success at this point in the season. The Wildcats have a chance to potentially contend in the Big 10 West if they continue to play solid football. This is going to be another disappointing outing for the Hoosiers as the Wildcats do enough on their home field to extend their winning streak and come away with the victory.

Take Kansas State -2 spread (buy half a point) against Texas for 3% of the bankroll.

The Texas Longhorns are a young team and have seemed to find their QB of the future in freshman Shane Beuchelle, however make no mistake about it, this team is very raw and has a way to go before they will contend for a Big 12 title. By now it's safe to say that Charlie Strong will no longer be employed by the state of Texas come the end of the season and at some point, we believe he is simply going to pack it in and stop trying. His team's defense is an absolute mess. He has fired coordinators, switched positions and even took over the defensive play calling duties himself and nothing has seemed to work. Texas simply cannot stop opposing offenses; it really is that simple. They are giving up an average of 34 points on the year and that number gets even worse when they take to the road as they are giving up a near national worse, 48 points on the highway!

The Longhorns managed to stop the bleeding (temporarily) in their most recent victory over Iowa St, however, it wasn't without concern as the Longhorns were actually trailing the game at the half before a second half outburst allowed them to pull away. we believe things will regress back to the norm in this contest as they take on a Kansas State team that, not only have their struggled with, but are also coming off of a loss. It's a well-known fact that Bill Snyder's team is one of the most dangerous in the country when coming off a loss as they are 34-13-1 ATS at home after a defeat. That mark also rises to 17-4 ATS when their opponent is coming off of a win themselves. Kansas State was blown off the field in their last contest against the Oklahoma Sooners, but we expect a bounce back performance in this contest against a struggling Texas squad.

The main difference between these two teams is obviously their play on the defensive side of the ball. Kansas State sports one of the best defenses in the Big 12 and we expect that to be the difference in this contest. Kansas State owns a +7 turnover margin heading into this matchup. The defense has been able to create opportunities and have made teams pay for turning the ball over. Meanwhile, Texas has had issues securing the football and comes into this matchup with a -3 turnover differential. Their offense has consistently put the ball on the ground and if you rule out the four turnovers by the Sooners, the Texas defense has only forced 2 turnovers this season. Texas' inability to force teams into mistakes has been yet another reason for their struggles and against a team like Kansas State who rarely makes mistakes, we believe it is going to be tough for the Longhorns to gain the upper hand in this contest.

Wildcats QB Jesse Ertz was knocked out of the game versus Oklahoma and was a big reason for the Wildcats struggles on offense in that contest. Ertz is expected to start this game versus Texas and his ability to not only make plays with his arm, but more importantly his legs will be key in this contest. As good as QB Shane Beuchelle has been this season, he is still a freshman and has shown his struggles on the road. The K-State defense has been extremely stout against the run, giving up just 90 rushing yards per game to opposing offenses. If they can once against contain the Texas running backs, that is going to put an exorbitant amount of pressure on Beuchelle to make plays in the passing game and that is where we believe mistakes are going to be made. If Kansas State can force Texas to be a one-dimensional team, that is only going to add to the numerous advantages that we believe they already have.

This is simply a bad matchup and bad situational spot for the Longhorns to be in. While this game will likely be closely contested, we don't believe the porous Texas defense can contain Kansas St for a full 60 minutes. Kansas State will wear down the Texas defensive line with their ground game in the second half and pull away for the win and cover.

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