December 30, 2017
There are two picks today.
#1: Take Louisville -7 spread against Mississippi State for 3% of the bankroll.
This is going to be a tough matchup for the Bulldogs. Not only will they be without their mastermind of a head coach in Dan Mullen, but they will also be without the services of their star quarterback Nick Fitzgerald who was lost to a season ending injury. Without two key pieces of their offense, they are going to have a hard time keeping up with the like of former Heisman winner Lamar Jackson.
While the Bulldogs do have a formidable defense, they have not seen any quarterback this season with the talent that Jackson has. He has proven that he is just as deadly with his arm this season as he was with his legs a year ago. While the Bulldogs may have success early in the matchup, it is only a matter of time before Jackson find his rhythm and begins to pick apart the secondary. The oddsmakers have listed this matchup with a total in the 60s, which means they are expecting points to be scored and we believe the bulk of the points will be scored by Louisville, which should help them in covering this touchdown spread.
While Louisville’s defense has been somewhat suspect this season, the return of Jaire Alexander from injury sparked a strong defensive effort over the last three games of the season. During that span, Louisville gave up only an average of 16 points per game. With freshman Keytaon Thompson now stepping in for Fitzgerald, we wouldn't be surprised to see him struggle against this defense, which will make putting points on the board extremely difficult this afternoon.
After being spanked by LSU in their bowl game a season ago, we expect Jackson and company to play with a chip on their shoulder as they have a chance to avenge that loss against another team from the SEC. Jackson finished third in the Heisman voting this year and we expect to see his full array of talents on display in this contest. This one will be close in the early going; however, Louisville should pull away in the second half leading to a comfortable double-digit victory.
#2: Take Memphis -3 spread (buy the half point) against Iowa State for 3% of the bankroll.
The Memphis Tigers came up just short in the AAC Championship game against undefeated UCF and narrowly missed out on playing in a New Year's Six Bowl game. That being said, they do find themselves in an interesting matchup against a much-improved Iowa State team who holds some notable wins this season over the likes of TCU and CFP team, Oklahoma. This will surely be a great test for the Tigers who boast on of the most prolific offenses in the country.
Tigers' quarterback Riley Ferguson is one of the most underrated quarterbacks in the country and boasts one of the most impressive stat lines in the nation with 3,971 yards passing and 36 TDs this season. He threw for 471 yards and four scores in the AAC Championship game against a decent UCF defense and should have no trouble moving the ball in this contest. Ferguson's favorite target is fellow senior Anthony Miller, who hauled in 92 catches for 1,407 yards and 17 TDs which is the second-most yards and TD catches in the country. Miller became Memphis' third consensus All-American and heads into his final college game with 36 career TDs and 3,535 career yards. With this being his final game of his collegiate career, we expect a big day from Miller in this contest.
Iowa State may have had an impressive run early in the season, however they did fade down the stretch, losing 3 of their last 4 games. They have also struggled at times against offensively explosive teams and needed some miraculous plays to topple both TCU and Oklahoma. Memphis is a team that always has their foot on the gas and is arguably the most dangerous quick-strike offense in the country. Over the course of 4 quarters, we believe it is going to be tough for the cyclones to keep pace on the scoreboard. This game should be a shootout given the total the oddsmakers have set and if that is indeed the case, that gives the Tigers the advantage. This should be one of the more entertaining bowl games on the card, but the Memphis offense should do enough to come away with the win and cover.
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