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October 7, 2017

There are 3 college picks today. Please scroll down to view them all.

In addition, SPS has released an early NFL play for Sunday!

#1:Take Northwestern +14 spread against Penn State risking 3% of the bankroll.

This is an incredibly dangerous spot for the Nittany Lions. Not only is this an earlier game than they are used to playing, but this is also a tough scheduling spot for them. Yes, they have a bye week coming up after this contest, but they have a big-time showdown with the (thus far) undefeated Michigan Wolverines on deck. It would be easy for the defending Big 10 champions, who are undefeated on the season and have the front-runner for the Heisman Trophy on the team, to come into this matchup a bit overconfident against a very unassuming Northwestern team. If they do that, it would be a huge mistake.

The Northwestern Wildcats are not a flashy team. They are not undefeated, they do not have a flashy offense or Heisman candidate. This is a team that is very easy to look over and not think too much about. That being said, Pat Fitzgerald's team has proven repeatedly that they should not be taken lightly. Northwestern has 10 outright victories as double-digit underdogs under coach Fitzgerald and a bulk of those wins have come over the last 3 seasons! While not flashy, this is a team that plays fundamentally sound football both on offense and on defense. They have a veteran QB under center in Clayton Thorsen and a dynamic playmaker in the backfield in RB Justin Jackson. Their defense has also proven capable to limiting big plays, which is something that the Nittany Lions have thrived on.

This is also just Penn State's second road game of the season and it is a conference tilt. In their first conference road game of the season, they were nearly upset against a very unassuming but fundamentally strong Iowa Hawkeyes team. It was a close, low scoring battle in which Penn State scored the game winning touchdown as time expired. It was a tough, hard-fought Big 10 battle and we wouldn't be surprised if this matchup turned into a very similar style of contest.

It's also important to take notice that the Nittany Lions have not done well in road conference games in recent history. Yes, they have managed to win 11 straight conference games, dating back to last season, however, not all their wins have been pretty. They are averaging just 21 points per game in road conference games dating back to a year ago. They are laying two touchdowns in a road game, against a conference rival this afternoon and that doesn't leave a lot of room for error. The Nittany Lions have been one of the hottest teams in the country dating back to last season, however, this is simply too many points to lay in a less than favorable spot. Penn State will likely win, but Northwestern will put a scare in them and go on to cover this hefty number.


#2: Take Miami -2 spread (buy the half point) against Florida state risking 3% of the bankroll.

This should be one of the marquee matchups on the card this weekend as the Miami Hurricanes travel to Tallahassee to take on their in-state (and bitter) rivals, the Florida State Seminoles. Over the better part of a decade, Florida State has owned this rivalry, going a perfect 7-0 under head coach Jimbo Fisher. These two teams have battled in some epic contests with the last 3 meetings being decided by a combined 10 points and we expect another hard-fought matchup in this contest.

What is different about this year's matchup is that during much of this series, it has been Florida State who has been the premier team. They have been atop the ACC and National Title contenders, while the Hurricanes were the ones who were still looking to get back to prominence. The Hurricanes had always been close, but they were always just a few steps behind the Seminoles. Things have changed this season however, at least it appears that they have.

The Seminoles have had a tough start to the season, having lost their star QB in the first game of the season. Their offensive line is not what is once was and has struggled against solid defensive fronts. Due to the issues of the line, it has made things difficult for the Noles to get any kind of rushing attack on the ground going and that has put even more pressure on James Blackman in the pocket. We have seen Florida State struggle against strong defensive fronts already this season, struggling mightily against Alabama and NC State and then once again last week against Wake Forrest. The Miami front 7 is just as good (if not better) than some of the aforementioned teams. They will create havoc in the backfield and should be able to control the line of scrimmage.

Miami should also have the motivational edge in this contest. It has been 7 seasons since they have tasted success against the Seminoles and last year's contest was arguably the most heartbreaking, suffering a 1-point loss due to a missed extra point. If there was a time to change their fortunes in this series, it would be in this game against a mentally defeated and injured Florida State team. While the Seminoles will undoubtedly be desperate to change their fortunes as well, this is a tall task against a very good Miami team. They will likely put forth an inspired effort and keep this game close for a while, however, the injuries to the team along with the talent of Miami will simply be too much to overcome as the Hurricanes will pull away late in the second half and finally notch a win over their heated rivals.


#3: Take SMU +7 spread against Houston risking 3% of the bankroll.

The Houston Cougars will need to be on upset alert tonight as they host a very underrated SMU Mustangs team. Do not let the 1-4 record for SMU fool you too much into thinking this is the same old SMU that has struggled in recent years. These Mustangs are not about to roll over and let teams walk over them from the start. New head coach Chad Morris does have a lot of rebuilding to do with the program, but one noticeable difference with this year's team is the competitiveness has stepped up from a year ago. SMU's problem has been their ability to play for all 4 quarters. They have shown the ability to get off to a fast start, holding a lead against Baylor, TCU, and East Carolina, before fading the second half of the matchup. The Mustangs have the offense to remain competitive and are a dangerous team, even when playing from behind.

As for Houston, they are not the highly ranked program that they were a season ago. Greg Ward Jr is gone. Head coach Tom Herman is gone. What is left is a shell of the former Cougars' self. They are a program that is rebuilding and still trying to figure out their new identity. Their ground game is not as dynamic as year's past and they have struggled in the passing game. They have shown weakness in back to back weeks, getting rolled at home by Texas Tech and struggled against a pretty poor Temple team. That leaves them prime for the upset against an SMU team that is desperate for a victory.

Let's not forget that SMU had managed to beat a much better Houston Cougars team a season ago. SMU was not as good as they are this season and Houston has taken a step back this year. This has all of the makings of a closely contested contest and both teams are capable of pulling out a victory. In what should be a back and forth contest, getting a full touchdown has a ton of value which is too good to pass up. The points will likely come into play in this one.

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