October 13, 2018
There are 3 picks today.
#1: Nebraska +4 spread (buy the half) against Northwestern for 3% of the bankoll.
Perception has a lot to do with this matchup. Northwestern is coming off a road win over Michigan State and prior to that matchup, nearly knocked off the Michigan Wolverines at home. They are back at home and now facing an 0-5 Nebraska team that hasn't quite lived up to the hype surrounding the arrival of Scott Frost in the offseason. The issue that we have with this matchup is that Nebraska is playing quite a bit better than an 0-5 team.
Arian Martinez is starting to come into his own at QB. He is 51-for-86 for 730 yard in his last 2 games, with over 400 of those coming against a tough Wisconsin defense. A big problem for the Huskers has been their deficiencies on the defensive side of the ball, however, they may not be overly threatened in this contest against a Northwestern team that is about as inconsistent as it gets on offense. The Wildcats will also be without their RB Jeremy Larkin in this contest, which really hurts them on offense. This is not the type of team that Northwestern wants to get into a shootout with.
At some point, Nebraska is going to get their first win of the season and this could be their best chance to do that. This line has dropped drastically since it opened, despite a heavy amount of the public backing Northwestern. That speaks volumes about how Vegas believes this matchup will play out. Even if Nebraska falls short of the outright win, we expect them to remain competitive and stay within this number.
#2: Memphis +6 spread (buy the half point) against Central Florida for 3% of the bankroll.
Central Florida currently owns the nation’s longest winning streak, at 18 straight games. They are once again clicking on offense, averaging over 45 points per game, with an average win margin of over 35 points. They are arguably the most potent offense in the country and have become a heavy public favorite nearly every time they step on the field.
In this matchup, they are a 'short' favorite over a Memphis team that they beat twice last season, and has already lost two games this season, most notably to a rather poor Tulane team. The betting public expects this to be another squash game for the Knights and for them to easily keep their winning streak alive...we are not so sure that will be the case.
Memphis is an incredibly underrated team and will be the toughest test to the Knights this season. The Tigers have just as potent of an offense and their homefield advantage has been a tough test for ranked teams to play in. Memphis is undefeated at home this season and is averaging over 55 points per game in this venue. Let's not forget that UCF has been fortunate to play most of their games at home this season. They have played 4 straight games at home and this is their first road game since Aug 30th! It will be interesting to see how they are able to handle the hostile environment.
The Knights have been so potent on offense that it has masked their inefficiencies on the defensive side of the ball, which we expect Memphis to exploit. UCF's run defense has been suspect this season, and that is one of the strengths of this Tigers team. Most teams have not been able to exploit that aspect due to them playing from behind and being forced to abandon the run. We don't think that will happen here. The total on this matchup has risen and has all the makings of a track meet. We expect both teams to be able to march up and down the field with relative ease in this matchup, and it will likely come down to which team holds the ball at the final possession. We believe the Tigers will give the Knights all they can handle in this contest, with an outright win certainly being a possibility.
#3: Missouri +28.5 spread against Alabama for 3% of the bankroll.
We are big fans of Nick Saban and Alabama. They are unquestionably the best team in college football and what they have been able to do on the field, both offensively and defensively has been nothing short of impressive. Tua Tagovailoa has been the best QB in college football and has been putting in impressive performances in just a single half of football. Alabama has not just been beating teams, they have been destroying them. Due to that, the oddsmakers have been inflating the lines on this team for the better part of the season and for good reason.
Missouri has no chance to upset Alabama at home today, however, they do have a good chance to cover this large number. The Missouri offense is one of the most explosive in the country and QB Drew Lock is arguably the best pure-passer in college football and they are a team that can put points up in bunches. We have seen Alabama shut every team down this season and we don't expect anything different in this contest. After Nick Saban called out his defense publicly this week, we expect the defense to come out looking for blood from the start. They will shut down Missouri, make no mistake about that. They will shut Lock and the offense down and gain a huge lead in the first half. It will be no different than any other game this season. This game will not be close.
That being said, where we believe the value with Missouri lies is in the second half of this game when Alabama is already up big. At some point, Saban is going to call off the dogs, as he always does. Tua will be removed from the game, possibly even earlier since he is nursing a knee sprain, and that is when we expect Missouri to get to work. Lock will not stop passing in this game and late in the second half is when Missouri is going to start to find success with their offense. They will likely score a couple of touchdowns in 'garbage' time which will chew into the Tide's lead and allow them to creep within this number. A backdoor cover is never 'sexy' and makes for a tough game to watch, however, it's about which team ultimately covers the spread and cashes the ticket. The value is not with teams expecting to stand toe to toe with the Tide, it's about who can score late, when the game is already out of reach, and Missouri certainly has the offense to do just that. IT won't be pretty, but Missouri finds a way to sneak within this number.
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