November 18, 2017
There are 5 picks today that were released on Friday.
#1: Take Central Florida -13 spread (buy the half point) against Temple for 3% of the bankroll.
While everyone in the country is talking about what the Miami Hurricanes have been doing this season after all they endured with Hurricane Irma and the jostling of their schedule, the Central Florida Knights have (arguably) been doing something just as impressive, yet they haven't necessarily gotten the recognition that they truly deserve.
The Knights started the season off with their matchups against both Georgia Tech and Maine being cancelled due to the Hurricane Irma. A secondary opponent (Austin Peay) was brought in to ensure the Knights would have 11 opponents on their schedule and despite all the shuffling and changes in their season, the Knights have done nothing but deliver. They are undefeated on the season and not only have they not lost a game, but they have been steamrolling their opponents in the process, winning their 9 games by an average of 28 points per contest.
The Temple Owls took a step back this season and struggled where most expected them to excel, however, they are a team on the rise as of late. Needing to win three of their last 4 games to become bowl eligible, the Owls managed to defeat both Navy and Cincinnati and come into this contest with a bit of momentum. That being said, we aren't buying too much into the newfound success of the Owls. This is a team that has struggled mightily on the offensive side of the ball at times this season and that is going to plague them in this contest. UCF is scoring an average of 41 points per game this season and we don't believe the Owls will have the firepower to keep up.
The Knights may be in a bit of a lookahead spot this afternoon with a big date with the USF Bulls on deck next week, however, this is a team that is on a mission at the moment. They are not a big enough program, or established enough to likely fall into the trap of underestimating an opponent. We have seen Temple struggle moving the ball, most notable against the South Florida where they were held to under 100 yards of offense. This could be a similar type of matchup as the Knights capable of shutting down the Owls offense and we expect them to run up the score. This one may be close in the early going, but the Knights will find their rhythm and create separation on the scoreboard. They should win this one convincingly by 2+ touchdowns.
#2: Take Navy +18 spread against Notre Dame for 3% of the bankroll.
The Notre Dame Fighting Irish are coming off an embarrassing performance in which they were blown out by the Miami Hurricanes. After being highly ranked and in talks about potential playing in the CFP, that loss was absolutely crushing to the Irish. While this is still a quality team, we believe their performance against Miami will have lingering effects against a talented Navy squad.
This is a big-time rivalry game in which the Fighting Irish have dominated in year's past, however, the Navy Midshipmen should not be overlooked. Navy has an extremely potent ground attack which is going to run directly into the teeth of this Notre Dame defense. The Irish themselves prefer to keep the ball on the ground and it's this type of style employed by both teams which is going to severely shorten the game. The game clock continues to run when teams keep the ball on the ground and the quicker the time goes, the harder it is for teams to create separation on the scoreboard.
Navy is a team that doesn't make a lot of mistakes with the football and has been great at limiting turnovers. They are a methodical team that picks up chunk yardage plays to keep the ball chains moving. Because of their style of play, and the fact that they don't often throw the ball, if they can remain ahead of the chains, it makes it incredibly difficult for opposing defenses to get off the field. If the Irish cannot gain tackles for loss on first and second down, the Midshipmen should be able to move the ball with relative ease, limiting the number of possessions the Irish receive.
Stylistically this is a bad matchup which limits the blowout ability by the Irish. While they should be motivated to regroup after last week's performance, these two teams typically play in close, hard fought battles and that’s what we expect in this contest this afternoon. Notre Dame may pick up the win, however, we believe it won't be by 3 touchdowns as the Midshipmen make some plays and keeps this contest closer than the oddsmakers expect.
#3: Take Ole Miss -2 spread (buy the half point) against Texas A&M for 3% of the bankroll.
This matchup should be one of the more entertaining on the card for those who are a fan of offense. All looked lost for the Ole Miss Rebels when Shea Patterson went down with an injury, however, Jordan Ta'Amu has stepped in and the offense seems to be firing on all cylinders. The Hawaii native has thrown for 368 yards or more in each start, including a season-best 418 against Louisiana on 28-of-36 passing with three touchdowns and an interception.
The Texas A&M Aggies have had a somewhat struggling season. Once again, they have failed to live up to expectations and now it appears that head coach, Kevin Sumlin, is on the hot seat and rumors are he will be fired at the end of the season. With all the distraction around College Station, this would be a tough matchup for the aggies not to give their full focus. The Rebels have the ability to shred what is already a suspect Aggies defense and that exactly what we believe they will do.
The Aggies pass defense has been a liability this season, although they have been much better as of late. That being said, this is arguably the best passing offense they will have seen this season. An issue for the Rebels this season has been their production on the ground. They are only averaging 135 rushing this season, but a matchup against a leaky Texas A&M run defense may be just what they need to create some semblance of balance.
The Rebels defense has been nothing to write home about, and the Aggies will likely be able to put points on the board in this contest. That being said, the Rebels will have the advantage of playing at home and can become bowl eligible with a victory tonight. We expect this to be a back and forth contest that could come down to the final possession. In front of their home crowd, expect the Rebels to lead a late drive to come away with the win and cover and put the final nail in Sumlin's coffin.
#4: Take Arizona +3 spread (buy the half point) against Oregon for 3% of the bankroll.
Getting healthy in the offseason has seriously improved the Arizona Wildcats by leaps and bounds this season, however the team's primary transformation began in October with Khalil Tate replacing Brandon Dawkins at quarterback. The Wildcats ran off a 5-1 record with Tate under center and he has turned himself into a legitimate Heisman contender. Arizona's Tate has wowed the nation with his explosive running ability, filling highlight reels in just over a month of action. Thus far, no opponent has been able to slow him for an entire game, even USC, which limited Tate for a half, gave up 161 yards to the sophomore. The Ducks will certainly have their hands full in this contest.
While the Wildcats had improved with their switch at quarterback, Oregon's fate flipped similarly due to a quarterback change, though with the opposite effect. Former Arizona commit Braxton Burmeister replaced Justin Herbert on Sept. 30 when Herbert sustained a collarbone injury, and the Ducks went 1-4 thereafter. Herbert looks ready to return to the lineup this week; however, it is unclear exactly how effective he is going to be in his first game back and that could be a wildcard against an opportunistic Arizona defense.
Arizona has thrived in the realm of creating turnovers in defensive coordinator Marcel Yates' second year. The Wildcats rank No. 16 nationally with 21 takeaways, including a Pac-12-best 16 interceptions. It's a tough defense against which to throw, especially for a quarterback returning from almost two months on the sidelines.
The return of Justin Herbert bolsters Oregon's chances for the remainder of the season. Without him in the lineup tonight, the Ducks could very well have been looking at another blowout loss, with all four during the October-November slide coming by at least 17 points. Instead, we expect a high-scoring matchup in this contest. Oregon’s run defense will be put to the test by Khalil Tate and the multi-dimensional backfield of Nick Wilson, J.J. Taylor, and Zach Green. A Ducks lineup at full strength can keep up on the scoreboard, but we don't believe it will be enough as Arizona manages to pull off the outright victory.
#5: Take Wake Forest -1 spread (buy the half point) against NC State for 3% of the bankroll.
This is an interesting matchup as there is no question that NC State has been the team who has gotten more media exposure and we believe that has skewed the perception on this matchup. This is going to be a nationally televised game and will be a chance for the casual fans to see Wake Forest QB, John Wofford. Wolford is an underrated quarterback in his final year and has led this team to score 106 points in their last two conference games. Wolford has thrown for at least 330 yards in the last three games to go with 10 touchdowns. He has also been huge on the ground this season leading the team with 10 rushing touchdowns. As good as Wofford has been, running back Matt Colburn can’t be ignored, as his numbers have jumped in the last three games with 491 rushing yards.
There has been a lot of talk about the NC State defense, and rightfully so. They have one of the best front 7's in college football, however, it’s worth mentioning that they still give up a ton of yards. They are allowing opponents 383 yards per game and 240 of them through the air. They excel at stopping the run, but have been vulnerable against the pass which should allow Wofford to shine in this matchup. The Wolfpack managed to win last season's meeting 33-16, but this is a different Wake forest team this season and there is no doubt they will have revenge in mind tonight.
Ryan Finley leads the attack for the Wolfpack and as good as he has been at running this offense, has struggled as of late. He had been very conservative with the football, failing to toss an interception until a couple of weeks ago. Since then however, he has seemed hesitant in the pocket and his decision making has been questionable at time. He has shown an ability to try and force passes in the later part of the season and that has produced and above average amount of turnovers for Finley. If the Demon Deacons defense can create pressure on Finley in the pocket, we wouldn't be surprised to see his questionable decision making continue.
The Wolfpack have no chance of making the ACC Title game with both Clemson and Miami having locked up their spots, so there isn't much left for the Pack to play for. They are the perceived "better" team; however, we believe the motivational edge will side with Wake Forest. NC State struggled with Boston College last week, narrowly walking away with a 3-point victory, scoring only 17 points. That is not going to cut it against a much-improved Wake Forest team. This will be a close matchup, but we believe Wofford and company will make a big play in the second half to capture the lead and come away with a big-time victory.
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