September 29, 2017
There are two picks today.
#1: Take Miami -6 spread (buy the half point) against Duke risking 3% of the bankroll.
The Duke Blue Devils come into this contest undefeated, with a perfect 4-0 record on the season (as well as 4-0 ATS), which begs the question, why would the oddsmakers make them nearly a touchdown underdog at home, during the week, in a conference game? That is because the Blue Devils have yet to be tested this season. They hold victories over an underwhelming and downright terrible Baylor team and needed a come-from-behind victory to top a rebuilding North Carolina team who is starting a freshman quarterback. This will be by far the toughest test that the Blue Devils have had all season long.
The Hurricanes have been very good on offense this year as they come in ranked 6th in the nation in total offense, averaging 571 yards per game and scoring 46.5 points per game. They are 32nd in passing at 283 yards and 10th in rushing with just over 288 yards per game. Duke has been a team that has thrived on their defense this season and they will surely be tested in this one. Malik Rosier is starting to find his groove and the first start of his career came against these Duke Blue Devils a season ago where he tore them up for 255 yards through the air and 3 touchdowns in place of the injured Brad Kaaya. Rosier has seen this defense before and should be up to the task again tonight. On defense, the Hurricanes have been sound and come in ranked 72nd in total yards allowed at 389.5 and are 23rd against the run, giving up just 103 yards per while holding opponents to just 21.5 points per game.
Miami is coming off somewhat of a lackluster performance against the Toledo Rockets in a game which they were losing at halftime. After the break however, the Hurricanes turned on the jets and proceeded to blow the game wide open. Miami was rusty (as expected) since they had only played one other game up until that point due to Hurricane Irma, however, in the second half they showed just how scary a team they can be on offense. Mark Walton is a dynamic back and their ground game needs to be respected. That being said, when teams focus too much on containing Walton, Rosier has shown the ability to be able to find the passing lanes and shred the defensive secondary. It's that kind of balance that allows Miami to dictate the pace of their offense. Duke will be hard-pressed to slow Miami down in this contest.
The Miami defense may not have looked like anything special last weekend after getting shredded by Logan Woodside for over 300 yards through the air, however, Miami likely won't have to worry about that in this contest as Duke is not as proficient and offense as that of Toledo. Duke has more of a wear you down, grind it out style of offense and the speed and athleticism of the Miami defenders will be something that Daniel Jones will not be accustomed to seeing. Jones has the ability to tuck the ball and run, but if the Hurricanes can contain him in the pocket, we don't believe he has enough experience as a pure passer to beat them with his arm.
It's always an interesting contest when Miami and Duke square off, however, we believe the difference in pure talent is going to show in this matchup. Miami is the more talented team and now that they have a couple of games under their belt, we believe the rust is gone and the Hurricanes will come out of the gate firing in this contest. At the end of the day, the Duke defense won't be able to make enough stops while the offense won't have enough firepower to keep up on the scoreboard. Miami should win this one by double-digits which shows value on the road team.
#2: Take Washington State +6 spread against USC risking 3% of the bankroll.
The USC Trojans come into this contest undefeated and highly ranked on the season. They have also been highly touted by the media as a potential dark horse to break into the CFP this season, however, outside of their victory at home against Stanford, we believe the Trojans have underperformed this season and come into this matchup somewhat overrated. This is a team that struggled mightily against both Texas and California and neither of those teams are as balanced of offensively potent as the attack the Trojans defense will see tonight.
USC’s Sam Darnold was the QB everyone was talking about coming into this season. He was highly touted and labeled to be one of the top quarterbacks in the nation, however, on the field, he hasn't exactly lived up to all the hype. While he does have 9 touchdowns on the season, he has also thrown 7 interceptions. Darnold has thrown at least one interception in 9 of his last 10 games and should be tested tonight against an underrated Cougar front 7. The Trojans have been fortunate that the mistakes made by Darnold have not truly cost them this season, as teams have yet to make them pay, but we don't believe their luck is going to last forever and that could come back to bite them in this contest. Giving extra possessions to this Cougar offense will spell certain disaster for Trojans tonight.
A big reason for Darnold's struggles in the passing game is the fact that he is having to deal with a fairly new offensive line and a slew of young receivers. Injuries have started to pile up for the Trojans at the receiver position with the latest addition being Deontay Burnett. Burnett is 5th in the country in receptions and 7th in receiving yards. Even though he is listed as probable for this contest, the fact remains that he will be at less than 100% which could be an issue for the Trojans if Darnold tries forcing the football to him. The Trojans are already without their second-best receiver in Steven Mitchell who will not be available for this matchup. The depletion of receivers favors the corners on defense as experienced corners will be able disrupt the timing and potentially jump the rout of the less experienced receivers.
While it's Darnold who is receiving a bulk of the hype, Washington State also has one of the better QB’s in the country in Luke Falk. Falk is a 4th year senior and has a ton of in-game experience under his belt. He has also set Washington State records in passing yards and total offense earlier this season. On the year he is completing 76.9% of his passes for 1,378 yards and 14 touchdowns. He also has just a single interception on the year. Falk is an underrated quarterback and doesn't exactly get the praise that he deserves. He has all of the talent needed at the quarterback position and we wouldn't be surprised to see him as a value pick in the upcoming NFL draft and we see him playing on Sundays.
Cougars head coach, Mike Leach, is known for his high-flying offensive style which revolves around throwing the football, however, this season, the Cougars have found quite a bit of balance with their ground game. They have a trio of tailbacks who have shown the ability to gash opposing interiors which forces defenses to stay honest and also gives Falk the openings in the passing game needed to push the ball downfield.
This couldn't be a bigger game for the Cougars, playing in front of their home crowd, on a weekday and against a highly ranked team. USC has owned the series meetings between these two teams as of late, but we feel that given the inconsistencies that we have seen from the Trojans thus far, that they could be ripe for the pickings and susceptible to the upset tonight. USC may be the more well-known and talented team in this matchup, however, the Cougars are the ones who are playing better football at the moment and getting nearly a touchdown in a matchup where we believe they could win outright, is simply too much value to pass up on.
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