Finally had a big breakout week, going 9-3 and making back a big chunk of my deficit. Over the last 2 weeks, I’ve gone 12-5 and cut out over 50% of the red ink in my ledger. I really like this card this week, and may once again have a lot of plays. Best of luck guys!
Virginia Cavaliers +14 -110
My first 5-star play of the entire season finds me backing a team that has yet to cover a game this year, but it’s in a fantastic spot and a really good match-up. I just don’t see how NC State should be laying 2 TD’s to anyone in this league right now, they just aren’t the kind of team that blows people out (their 3 wins over BCS-conference teams are by a combined 6 points) and are coming off an absolute heartbreaker of a loss to UNC where they blew a double digit 4th quarter lead over their arch-rivals and lost control of the ACC Atlantic. I have to wonder where their heads are at this week.
For NC State it’s been a season of close calls, and they don’t do the important things to extend leads like run the football well (2.83 yards per carry versus FBS schools ranks 114th nationally) or get ‘unexpected’ points (0 defensive of special teams scores versus FBS opponents). For a Virginia team that’s really struggled with turnovers and special teams play this season (-16 turnover margin) it’s important to feel they have a chance in the turnover battle, and an NC State team thats 78th nationally in TO margin in the hundreds in kick and punt returns isn’t very likely to exploit them.
Virginia is coming off a bye, and they spent a lot of time in the off week working on the execution issues that have plagued them this season. Their issues with consistency stem from the fact that they are a fairly young team and they have had a hard time finding a steady rotation at several key positions. I felt like in the last game they finally committed to the quarterback who gave them the best chance of winning in Alabama transfer Phillip Sims. I’m looking for Virginia to stick with Sims the rest of the way and I think it they should have some success throwing the ball against a State secondary that has drastically underachieved this year and actually rates as one of the worst teams against the pass in the ACC. The Cavs have outgained their last 4 opponents and if they take care of the football they should have success moving the ball.
Virginia has had a ton of breaks go against them, and I believe that this is a talented team with decent coachign that is still playing hard (last two losses by a single score) and this is a definite buy-low point. Last year they also struggled out the gate, going 0-3 ATS before the bye week only to rally the next week and upset GT as 7 point underdogs (and a 4-2 ATS finish). UVA was favored by 5 in this match-up last season, and though they lost that game a 19 point swing is pretty drastic. I’m an NC State fan, but also realistic here and this is a team that has overachieved and could easily be 3-5 and in the Atlantic cellar.
I realize that 14 is no longer widely available, I would take UVA as a 4-unit play down to +10 and a 3-unit play down to plus 7. Given the situation and match-up, this is an extremely losable game for the Wolfpack and getting more than a score just offers good value. I’ll be taking a shot at the moneyline as well. NC State 31 UVA 28
*** Maryland Terrapins +7 -110
I don’t care if it’s Ralph Friedgen is playing QB for Maryland, Georgia Tech should not be laying a TD on the road in the ACC right now to anyone with a good defense. Georgia Tech is in absolute defensive disarray right now, allowing 40+ points in 4 of their last 5 games and last week getting completely kept out of the endzone offensively against BYU. It’s a tough blow for Maryland for sure to lose their last scholarship QB, but I think it offers a bit of a strategic advantage this week in that a poorly drilled Georgia Tech defense has no idea what to expect from Maryland’s offense. Maryland has the 3rd ranked rushing defense in the country (only allowing 2.27 ypc) and I just don’t see how a Georgia Tech offense that’s struggling with consistency and in the beginning stages of a QB controversy is able to move the football. I get that people are wary to back Maryland without a quarterback, but it’s not like they had a great offense in the first place. The Terps will find a way to get the ball into the hands of Stefon Diggs here, and they’ll make enough plays to put up some points and cover the number. Georgia Tech is reeling, and it’s hard to see them pulling away here. I’ll be taking some ML here as well with the better team getting a full score at home. Terps 20, GT 13
*** Virginia Tech Hokies -2 -110
Not afraid to play the road chalk on Thursday night again, I think Miami is massively overvalued and is playing a team that’s a tough match-up for them. While VT is a couple of notches below what we’ve come to expect from Frank Beamer and company, they fit the same kind of profile (physical teams who like to run the ball with strong defensive fronts) of the teams that have given the Canes the most trouble (FSU, Kansas St and Notre Dame). Both teams are coming off a bye here so the short week isn’t too much of a distraction, and I don’t see how the Hokies can afford to look ahead to FSU next week as they are still chasing bowl eligibility and the ACC Coastal division leaders. Miami has one of the worst defensive fronts in all of major college football (5.3 ypc allowed this season, only 6 sacks vs FBS) so it looks like a good match-up for a Hokies line that really struggled early but has improved lately (4.5 ypc in last 3 games). I just see Miami getting whipped up front on both lines and the Hokies having good success moving the football here. I’m not a big trends guy, but a good one that Pez sent me is that Frank Beamer is 25-4 ATS in the month of November since 2004. Virginia Tech 36 – Miami 30
*** Texas Tech Red Raiders -2.5 -110
I played this one immediately on open, and got a fantastic price (I recommend playing this one up to -6.5). My numbers made Texas Tech -16.5 here, I just see the Longhorns as a team that’s reeling right now. Texas is having its annual crisis of consistency and is going to Lubbock for a really tough match-up. Texas Tech is a team that makes very few defensive mistakes (only 18 plays allowed of over 20 yards this year) and to beat them you have to be able to move the football consistently.
Texas has decent offensive splits, but when you consider they’ve only played one top 40 team in total defense this season (#19 Oklahoma) who held them to 289 yards and 2 offensive scores (most of which came in garbage time) you realize that it’s a bit of a misleading statistical identity. What we do know is that this is a defense that’s really struggling, as they’ve allowed 50, 63, 48 and 36 to the top 40 teams in total offense they’ve faced. Texas Tech has an offense that can both run and throw the ball well (ranks #10 in total offense), and teams with good balance are really tearing up this defense. I feel like Texas Tech isn’t a fluke, their a good team who got rolled by a freight train last weekend. For a Texas team going the wrong way (and a seat heating up for Mack) it’s going to be very tough to hang close on the road this week. Tech 38, Texas 22.
*** Boston College-Wake Forest Over 52 -110
After a couple of weeks backing off the Boston College over train due to tough defensive match-ups, its time to hop back on. Boston College is an excellent over team against defenses that are not top 25 caliber, because they throw the ball a ton and actually have a couple of pretty good playmakers in the passing game. Wake Forest has struggled offensively but I look for them to be improved this week now that they have their most critical offensive play maker back (Campanaro) going against a really porous BC defenses.
Both these defenses are really poor in some stats that I consider key in getting overs; they both rank in the bottom 10 nationally of red zone trips allowed per game, they both rank below 100th nationally in 3rd down percentage conversions allowed, and neither team is in the top half nationally in forcing turnovers. In short these are two teams who don’t do a good job at getting the other team off the field, and they both let their opponents into the red zone often. This total is kept lower due to Wake’s offensive struggles, but matching up against a porous BC defense is a pretty good cure. Wake 34, BC 31.
*** San Jose St Spartans -19 -108
My numbers have Idaho as the worst team in the country, and they just look like a team in complete disarray. Their coming off a bye week that was anything but healing, as the Vandals fired coach Robb Akey and kicked their starting QB off the team. The firing of the coach was seen as a a divisive move, with a player getting suspended after tweeting about the motives of the Athletic Director. Now they have to play a pretty good San Jose State team that needs a win to go ahead and lock up bowl eligibility.
It just looks like a situation for Idaho to go ahead and pack it up on the season, they’ve lost their last 2 by 83 points and their last loss completely eliminated them from bowl consideration. San Jose State is pretty explosive offensively (top 20 in plays over 10 and 20 yards) with a passing attack that should exploit an awful Idaho secondary. They should have plenty of space to operate against a Idaho defense that allows 73% of Red Zone possesions to go for TD’s (114th) and ranks 118th nationally in plays allowed that go for 20+ yards. San Jose has won 4 games by more than 10 points against FBS teams, and each of those teams would be double digit favorites in my opinion at Idaho. I just see a total mismatch here and expect this one to be over early. Would play this one at anything under -21. SJS 47, Idaho 10.
*** Duke Blue Devils +13.5 -110
Taking the home dog with an offensive pulse here in a game that should see plenty of points. Knew Duke was in trouble last week, it was a bad match-up in an awful spot for them, but this week finds them going against a Clemson defense that’s prone to giving up big plays (Tigers 109th in plays allowed over 20 yards) which gives them a good chance to move the ball consistently. Had to wait to make this play as the health of QB Renfree was in question, but he practiced yesterday and looks good to go for the weekend.
This line is a little funny, in that just last week Clemson was actually laying less on the road to a Wake Forest team that Duke beat in Winston-Salem. Clemson does get a little extra rest this week but they find themselves on the road for the second straight week going against a Duke team that is 5-0 SU and ATS at home. Obviously this is a huge step up in opposition from Memphis and FIU , but it’s nice to back a team in prime time thats playing well at home. Two weeks ago Duke was catching DD at home to a team with a very similar profile to Clemson in North Carolina and beat them outright after covering wire to wire.
Both these teams are playing very well and are a combined 14-5 ATS, but overall Clemson has really struggled with stopping decent offenses from moving the ball. By my numbers, these are two very similarly ranked defenses and the offensive edge isn’t enough to expect Clemson to cover as DD chalk on the road again. For a Duke team that still has their sights set on making it to Charlotte in December, this week offers a great chance to put the beat down in Tallahassee behind them and face forwards. I’m expecting a tight game, but Clemson is also the kind of team who could leave the backdoor open if we need it. Clemson 37, Duke 31.
*** Texas-San Antonio Roadrunners +32 -108
Think there’s some value fading Louisiana Tech this week, I feel like their overpriced on these big numbers with a really weak defense that’s going to give up a lot of yards and points. You have to take UTSA’s numbers with a grain of salt since their in a transition year and have played more FCS games than normal, but they’ve played a couple of pretty good WAC teams (2 of which, SJS and Utah State, I’d argue are better than LT) and stayed within this number even with their backup QB.
This week UTSA get’s their starting QB back (Eric Souza, 58.7% completions 11-1 TD/INT ratio) so should be able to move the ball against an LT defense that’s far from top shelf (28 points allowed in every game but 2 this season). Louisiana Tech has what originally looked like an impressive collection of OOC scalps in Virginia, Illinois and Houston (combined ATS: 5-18-1) but those are three of the biggest underachievers in the country this year. Aside from the absolutely hapless Idaho (covered in the San Jose St write-up) LT hasn’t covered this number all season. If we aren’t covering this game late Louisiana Tech has the kind of defense to leave the backdoor wide open (over 500 yards allowed per game this year). I’ll take more than 4 scores against an overrated opponent with little to play for here. LT 44, UTSA 27