September 30, 2017
There are five picks today.
#1: Take Tulsa +9 spread (buy the half point) against Navy risking 3% of the bankroll.
Navy is a team that plays very sound fundamental football utilizing the Triple-Option to near perfection. Their style of ground attack is extremely efficient at moving the chains and they often finish drives off in the end zone. Their true strength is their ability to protect the football while also dominating the time of possession. Navy is not known as a quick strike offense and needs to sustain and complete drives in order to put points on the board. Normally the Triple Option is tough for teams to prepare for, especially in just a week's time, however this won't be Tulsa's first look at the Triple-Option this season having just faced off against New Mexico a week ago which could give them an advantage in slowing down the rushing attack.
Tulsa is not known as a strong defensive team, but having already seen the Triple-Option this season will give them an added advantage of knowing the offensive scheme. On offense, Tulsa can be a dominating force both on the ground and through the air. Their offense was held in check last week against the Lobos and with Navy having somewhat questionable playmakers on the defensive side of the ball, Chad President and D'Angelo Brewer should bounce back this week and be able to move the ball on Navy this afternoon with relative ease.
The oddsmakers have a fairly high total set on this matchup, which means they expect points to be scored and we believe the scoring will be by both teams in this contest which will turn this matchup into a shootout. While we don't think that Tulsa will be able to completely shut down the ground game of Navy, we do expect them to make things difficult for the Midshipmen. Playing at home will be an advantage for Tulsa and while they may not win this game outright, a late score will allow them to stay within this number.
#2: Take Baylor +14.5 spread against Kansas State risking 3% of the bankroll.
The Kansas State Wildcats are coming off a bye week off a somewhat surprise loss to the Vanderbilt Commodores and many experts are expecting Kansas State to come out of the gate firing in this contest and run over what has been a very disappointing Baylor team. While there is no question that Kansas State will have been stewing about their most recent performance, the Wildcats offense is not built to blow teams out. Jesse Ertz is a fine quarterback, but he is more of a runner than he is a typical pocket passer and if Baylor can find success in slowing down the ground game, it makes Kansas State a very one-dimensional team.
The Baylor Bears have had a disappointing season thus far, however, we don't believe they are as bad as they have looked in the early part of the season. Baylor is trying to rebuild not only their team, but their entire culture and that takes time, but they have improved in each of their contests which culminated in their most recent effort where they not only hung with, but had an opportunity to knock off Baker Mayfield and the Oklahoma Sooners. It was an impressive performance for Baylor and even though they lost that contest, their performance did give head coach Matt Rhule something to build on. The Baylor players confidence must be at an all-time high coming into this contest and given the way that Kansas State looked in their last performance, they should have another opportunity to not only compete but possibly win this one outright.
This Baylor team still has the ability to strike quickly and move the chains. If they can find balance on the offensive side of the ball with both the ground and passing game, they should be able to keep this Kansas State offense off-balance enough to put points on the board. Even if Kansas State has some early success and gains a big lead in this contest, laying more than 2 touchdowns is always an incredibly risky proposition, especially against a quick strike offense that has shown their ability to narrow the gap on the scoreboard. We expect Baylor to continue to grow and find their identity and their momentum from a week ago carries over into this contest as they find a way to keep things closer than the oddsmakers expect.
#3: Take Tennessee +10 spread (buy the half point) against Georgia risking 3% of the bankroll.
This is a matchup where we believe that public perception has a heavy influence on the way this game is viewed. The Tennessee Volunteers have had a rough start to the season and currently all eyes are on head coach Butch Jones as his time with the program is likely drawing to a close. The stock on Tennessee is unquestionably low at the moment and in this contest, they will be facing one of the hottest teams in the country in the Georgia Bulldogs.
After last week's beatdown of the Mississippi State Bulldogs, the Georgia Bulldogs are now the "IT" team in college football. Everyone has been talking about how impressive Georgia is and how they could be a CFP playoff team and could be a team that could potentially challenge Alabama for the SEC crown. That is a huge amount of pressure to be placed on a very young team and the fact that everyone is talking about how good this team is, just gives the impression that they are due for somewhat of a letdown in this contest. If there was a situation on the card where Vegas and the oddsmakers would bury the public, this would be the matchup.
Tennessee is a desperate team at the moment and historically this rivalry has been played very closely. The underdogs have covered in 7 straight meetings and the winner has been decided in the 4th quarter (or overtime) in each of those matchups. Strange things happen when paying in Rocky Top and we wouldn't be surprised to see the very best Tennessee team that we have seen all season long. The strength of the Georgia offense runs through their ground game. Their ability to run the football has opened up the passing game for young QB Jake Fromm, however, with Butch Jones knowing this team extremely well, we wouldn't be surprised if Jones' game plan was to shut down Chubb and Michel and force Fromm to beat them through the air.
On paper and given recent performances by both teams, this matchup has the appearance of Georgia coming away with a fairly 'easy' victory, however, we don't see it playing out that way. Coming into hostile territory after a huge win against a desperate team has all of the makings of a closely contest game. We believe Georgia will come back to earth a bit in this contest and while they may do enough to exact some revenge and leave Tennessee with a victory, we feel it will be a hard-fought win that is decided in the final few possessions in which case the points could prove to be valuable.
#4: Take New Mexico +3 spread against Air Force risking 3% of the bankroll.
These two teams are extremely similar which make this matchup so interesting. Both Air Force and New Mexico like to employ the Triple-Option ground game and are a run-first style of offense. Both teams will look to establish the run and try to dominate the time of possessions. While these teams are similar, there are factors that lead us to believe that the wrong team is favored in this contest.
New Mexico is of course playing at home in this contest, which will give them a clear advantage in terms of fan support and motivation. The Lobos are also the more dynamic team on offense and should receive in upgrade under center as Lamar Jordan is set to return to the QB position tonight. Jordan has been out since taking a heavy hit against Boise State and having him under center is certainly an upgrade to the offensive playbook. Jordan adds a different element to the passing game, which the previous two quarterbacks lacked. He is dangerous both on the ground and through the air which could prove to be problematic for the Falcons if they get caught looking into the backfield and trying to sell out on the run.
The Lobos will also have the edge on the defensive side of the ball. They have been extremely solid against the run, which is what the Air Force Falcons specialize at. New Mexico is allowing just an average of 97 yards per game on the ground and if Air Force cannot get anything going on the ground, it is going to be incredibly difficult for them to move the football.
Air Force has played the tougher schedule this season with matchups against both Michigan and San Diego State, however, we don't believe that will have any bearing on this matchup. New Mexico has managed to defeat Air Force in each of the two previous meetings and we don't believe this one will be any different. This should be a closely contested match, however, it's our feeling that the Lobos simply have more ways to win this game than the Falcons do. This one could be decided in the final possession which makes the points extremely valuable.
#5: Take Cincinnati -3 spread against Marshall risking 3% of the bankroll.
The Cincinnati Bearcats are not the team that they once were a few seasons ago and are unquestionably in the midst of a rebuilding period. That being said, this is not a team that can be taken lightly. They have a veteran (junior) QB under center in Hayden Moore who has proven more than capable of running the offense and putting up big numbers. While it may not seem like the Bearcats have been making much noise this season, it's important to remember that they have played their last 3 games on the road. This will be their first home game since the end of August and we believe that will make a lot of differnece as we should see a much more cohesive Cincinnati team in this contest.
The MArshall Thundering Herd are also not the powerhouse C-USA team as they have been known as in years past. This is a team that has numerous issues on both sides of the ball and those issues have been magnified when this team has taken to the road. Marshall hasn't won a road game since October of 2015 and with a pass defense that is ranked 85th in the country, we don't see that changing tonight, especially against Hayden Moor who has shown his ability to torch opposing defenses through the air.
The Marshall ground game has proven to be problematic for teams this season and while they may have some success against the Cincinnati defense in the early part of the game, it is only a matter of time before the Bearcats make adjustments and their ability to move the ball through the air creats some seperation on the scoreboard. In Cincinnati's first game back at home, expect them to come out in this game firing and should win this one by a touchdown or more.
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