October 21, 2017
There are 3 picks today.
#1: Take Ole Miss +7 spread against LSU for 3% of the bankroll.
No team has experienced a bigger turnaround over the last couple of weeks than the LSU Tigers. Just last month, everyone in the country was asking the question of "what is wrong with the Tigers?" after their shocking loss to the Troy Trojans. Many had already written the Tigers off this season and were calling for the firing of head coach Ed Orgeron. Fast forward to the last two weeks and the Tigers responded by defeated the Florida Gators (on the road) and then knocking off the highly ranked Auburn Tigers at home in Baton Rouge.
The perception has certainly changed on these Tigers, and while it has certainly been an inspirational turnaround, we are still not completely sold that this is a great Tigers team. LSU still has a mediocre offensive attack and have also taken a step back on the defensive side of the football. There are holes in their game and now being the favorites, laying a touchdown on the road, that may be too tall of a task for the Tigers to overcome.
The Ole Miss Rebels are not a top-tiered team and o have their issues on the defensive side of the ball, however, this is not a team that can be slept on or overlooked. They have an extremely potent offensive attack led by quarterback Shea Patterson. Patterson is one of the top QBs in all the SEC this season and he has a talented group of receivers at his disposal which will test the somewhat suspect LSU secondary.
The Tigers are also heading into a bye week after this contest and then have a huge matchup with the #1 ranked Alabama Crimson Tide on deck. Given how well the Tigers have been playing, it would be somewhat easy for them to come into this contest against an unassuming Ole Miss Rebel team. If they are not fully focused on the task at hand, they will be fortunate to leave the stadium with a victory, let alone a victory by more than a touchdown. LSU may indeed find a way to win this contest, however, we believe it will be an entertaining matchup and the Rebels will give the Tigers absolutely all they can handle. The points have value and are likely to come into play.
#2: Take Michigan +9 spread against Penn State for 3% of the bankroll.
There is no question that the Penn State Nittany Lions are a quality team. They are undefeated on the season, ranked #2 in the country, are the reigning Big 10 champions and boast the front-runner for the Heisman Trophy in Saquon Barkley. It is expected to be a "White Out" in Happy Valley tonight, with 110,000 fans wearing all white and this is a revenge match for the Nittany Lions after Michigan destroyed them, 49-10 a season ago. On the surface it would seem that this matchup lines up perfectly for Penn State to get their revenge and give some payback to Big Blue, especially given Michigan's struggles on the offensive side of the football, however, when things seem almost 'too easy' in the world of sports betting, they almost never are.
Michigan still boasts the Big 10's top defensive unit and while their struggles on offense have been high profile, we have seen flashes of brilliance with John O'Korn under center. Michigan's struggles have become so much of a talking point, that we wouldn't be surprised if they finally flipped the script and we see an offensive explosion in this contest tonight. Penn State has been in some dogfights recently, most notable against the Iowa Hawkeyes, who play a similar style of defense to that of the Wolverines. The Michigan defense should be able to keep things close, which will give their offense a chance to steal this game late.
It should not be discounted exactly how bad the Wolverines defeated the Nittany Lions a season ago. This is a matchup that does favor the Wolverines, at least on the defensive side of the football. They have been extremely consistent on defense and even managed to hold Barkley to under 60 yards rushing a season ago. When the Nittany Lions faced off against Northwester, the Wildcats had the perfect game plan to slow the offense of Penn State. They focused their entire defensive efforts on not allowing Barkley to get his hands on the football. They sold out and decided that they were not going to let Barkley beat them and for much of the game that decision worked. Into the 4th quarter, Barkley had just 1 rushing yard. Unfortunately, the Northwestern offense couldn't capitalize and Penn State's Trace McSorley simply carved up the secondary both on the ground and through the air. If Jim Harbaugh employs a similar game plan, we expect his Wolverines to have similar success in containing Barkley and should have much more success son the offensive side of the ball.
At the end of the day, this should be a highly entertaining contest. Even if Penn State does manage to get their manner of revenge, we believe it will be by the thinnest of margins. We wouldn't be shocked if Michigan was able to pull off the upset, but even if they don't, their defense should be able to keep things close enough to where the points come into play.
#3: Take USC +4 spread (buy the half point) against Notre Dame for 3% of the bankroll.
The turnover problems of Sam Darnold have been highly publicized this season and are certainly a deciding factor when the oddsmakers had set the line in this matchup. Darnold has been a turnover machine this season, yet somehow, they Trojans are still 6-1 on the season. A big reason for that is because this USC team is one of the more complete in the country. They have an extremely potent offense, both on the ground and through the air and when they get into rhythm, they are extremely difficult to stop. On the defensive side of the football, they are just as impressive and find creative ways to create pressure and make opposing quarterbacks uncomfortable in the pocket.
The Fighting Irish have been impressive this season and come into this contest having won 4 straight. Their lone setback on the season came against the Georgia Bulldogs, which now appear to be a shoe-in to challenge for the SEC Championship this season. Unlike their opponents, the Irish are somewhat of a one-dimensional team as they prefer to attack on the ground. They are currently 5th in the nation in rushing attack and QB Brandon Wimbush has done a great job at the QB position in making plays happen downfield. Having two weeks to prepare for this rivalry matchup, there is no question that the Irish will be prepared.
The issue that we have with this matchup is that despite all their turnovers, the Trojans are still finding ways to win football games. Darnold is the consensus top QB in the country and the likely #1 pick in the upcoming NFL draft. He has shown his ability to remain cool under pressure and has made big play after big play when the game is on the line. It may not be pretty, but the Trojans have shown the heart and mental toughness to stay competitive, even when things are not going their way. We have not seen that type of play from the Irish this season, so it will be interesting to see how Wimbush responds when the pressure starts to mount.
This will likely be a closely contested rivalry matchup with both teams having their share of success at different moments in this game. When all is said and done however, we expect Darnold to come up big in the closing moments and make the plays necessary to lead his team once again to victory. Even if Trojans fail to secure the outright victory, we believe they will fall short by the narrowest of margins in which the points will surely come into play.
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