September 24, 2016
There are two picks on Saturday.
Bad beats are unfortunately part of the game and last night was a perfect example of that. Being on the correct side doesn't always bring winners, sometimes they turn into 'losses' right at the end and you miss the cover by just one point! Which is why looking at the big picture and evaluating results long-term (when luck tends to cancel itself out) is extremely important.
1: Take Marshall +28.5 spread against Louisville for 3% of the bankroll.
Talk about hype, there is no player and no team that has more momentum and hype behind them at the moment than the Louisville Cardinals. The Cardinals have arguably the best player in college football at the helm in Lamar Jackson and with him driving the team, Louisville has not only beaten but completely steamrolled the competition, scoring 60+ points in each of their games this season! They are coming off of what can only be considered as their most impressive win this season in a complete and utter destruction of the highly touted Florida State Seminoles. Jackson shredded the Seminoles' defense enroute to putting impressive numbers both on the ground and through the air. It was a masterful performance by the Cardinals and one that has certainly caught national attention.
The Cardinals are quickly being considered for a potential spot in the CFP this season and given the way they have played thus far, is warranted. That being said, this week they find themselves in a fairly interesting scheduling spot. There's no question that they were motivated last week against an opponent that carries the name-weight and reputation of Florida State. Motivation for that game was easy. This week however, they could not only find themselves in a bit of letdown after their big win, but they also have another tough challenge awaiting them next week when they have to travel to Death Valley and take on the undefeated and highly ranked Clemson Tigers. Louisville could also get caught looking ahead to that matchup next week and that could make things tough on them to cover this big number on the road.
Marshall certainly isn't the dominant force in their conference as they have been in years past, however this is still a quality program that has shown their ability to defend their home field. They are 140-27 at home dating back to 1990 and during that time they have only been listed as an underdog of more than 6 points, ten total times! of those 10 times when listed as underdogs, they are a perfect 9-0-1 ATS! While this is likely their toughest test on their home field in quite some time, we believe they are catching Louisville at an ideal spot. The Cardinals will come into this matchup looking to continue their impressive run, however at some point they are going to take their foot off the gas in order to keep their players healthy for their huge showdown next week. If Louisville builds a lead, we'll look for them to try and coast through the remainder of the game. If that is the case, that will be Marshall's opportunity to put some points on the board and stay within this number. Louisville is no doubt the better team and will most likely come away with a big victory, however we don't believe it will be by more than 4 TDs. Marshall will put up a fight on their home field and find a way to cover this generous number.
2: Take Texas State +35 spread (buy half a point) against Houston for 3% of the bankroll.
The Houston Cougars have certainly been living up to the hype thus far this season as there are already talks about them potentially being one of the 4 teams to make the CFP this season, if they can close the season undefeated. They showed just how tough of an all-around team they are in their most recent contest against the Cincinnati Bearcats. Down 16-12 in the 4th quarter, Houston rallied the troops and scored 28 straight points, including two interceptions for TD to come away with a 40-16 blowout victory. It was an impressive comeback for the Cougars, however these type of physical matchups have already taken a toll on the team, with numerous players currently nursing nagging injuries, including their Heisman candidate QB, Greg Ward Jr. and star RB Duke Catalon.
The public perception is undoubtedly high on the Cougars this season and rightfully so as they are a quality program, however, this is a dangerous spot for Houston as there is a high probability that they come out flat in this contest. The Cougars are coming off a physical, come from behind win over a team that many thought could potentially upset them this season and next week they have a meeting with UConn, the team that handed Houston their lone loss and ruined their perfect season last year. You can bet that Houston will be prepared for that contest as a big reason for their loss was due to Greg Ward Jr being on the sidelines.
While Texas State is not a household name in the world of college football, there are some things that we have seen that show a lot of promise and potential. They opened up the season with an impressive performance against the Ohio Bobcats on the road. They took a major step up in competition last week and were dominated on the road 42-3 against the Arkansas Razorbacks. That being said, we believe they will have a better showing in this contest. The offense led by Tyler Jones has shown its ability to be explosive at times, especially in their victory over Ohio. For this contest, they are hosting the #6 ranked team in the country which will be the biggest game that has been played in this stadium. While we don't think that Texas has much of a chance of winning, we do believe they have the ability to surprise some people.
There are games to get excited for and test yourself and there are games like these for Houston, which we believe doesn't garner much interest. HC Tom Herman’s main objective in this contest should be getting in, scoring some points and getting out of the game injury free as quickly as possible. With both Greg Ward and RB Duke Catalon nursing nagging injuries heading into this contest, we wouldn't be surprised to see them leave the action early in order to give them some much needed rest to heal. We expect Herman to pull his starters at some point in this contest and that should open up the door for Texas State.
Even though this is a mismatch on paper and Houston is more than capable of running up the score in this one, 5 touchdowns is an extremely difficult margin to win by, especially for a team that may be looking to "coast" in this contest. Texas State should be able to score some points on this defense that will likely be less and less physical as this game wears on. Houston U will almost certainly pick up the win, but Texas State will find a way to keep things within this number and will be the ones who cover the spread.
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