College Football Picks - Free Weekly ATS Predictions
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I have been impressed with the consistent play of Virginia Tech this season under the new regime. The Hokies may not have the same level of overall talent that Clemson has, but they have enough playmakers to make this game interesting.
I went against Clemson last week in a lopsided rout of rival South Carolina and paid the price, but I still think it will have its hands full this Saturday night in Orlando. The Tigers hang on to win, but the final score will be closer than the current 10-point spread.
This game features a classic matchup between a shutdown defense trying to contain a high-scoring offense. Temple has played with better consistency down the stretch, but it is hard to ignore just how many points the Midshipmen have hung on their last four opponents.
I might be a bit old school with this pick, but I still believe that defenses win championships and that is why the Owls will be the champs of the AAC this season.
If it isn’t broke don’t try to attempt to fix it is the motto for this play. Wyoming beat this team at home, two weeks ago and even then they are still taking back a touchdown. San Diego State was absolutely obliterated on the road last week, much like Wyoming was in New Mexico. Despite all of this, the market will only afford San Diego State a field goal in the re-match. It is safe to conclude that beating the same team twice is a very difficult task to carry out in the same season. However, San Diego State may retain their Mountain West title but may only do so by incremental margins. Let us recall how the Aztecs lost in Wyoming. San Diego State landed a Hail Mary but failed to convert the two-point conversion that would have won the game for them outright. Had this occurred, we would be having an entirely different discussion right now but for what it’s worth the Cowboys would likely not be sitting in the position they are to capture a Mountain West title. Look for this one to be a twelve-round bout.
Let us not forget that the Cougars started off the season at 0-2. Things have drastically changed. Washington State has since bombarded the Pac-12. A win in Pullman for Wazoo puts them in position to play for a Rose Bowl bid, something that this team is not accustomed to partaking in. The Huskies have owned this rivalry series in recent years but they have not faced Washington State this good in any of these previous installments. As is said on a multitude of occasions, rivalry games are where upsets and shockers occur. When you throw in nearly a touchdown and home field advantage, the Cougars bode tremendous value. It is not unreasonable to believe that the Cougars cannot orchestrate a straight-up upset as this is their best chance to challenge the Purple and Gold since their last victory against the Huskies in 2012 in Pullman.
Six of the previous ten meetings have been settled by thirteen points or less. Over two touchdowns may be too much of a price to ask as both outfits believe in a run-first offensive philosophy complemented by solid defensive play. This game will undoubtedly be a match-up where possessions count and where one mistake will be the difference maker. This will be an old-fashioned smashmouth affair contrary to many of the high-flying and high-scoring outings you will see in the modern game. Thus the Under is also a great play in this market. Given the amount of points here, there has to be some scrutiny as the price may be inflated given Wisconsin’s ranking combined with the potential to vie for the Big Ten crown.
For UCF a win over their cross-Sunshine State foe would be a credential that would add to their list of achievements in 2016. When USF walloped UCF last year, they were was facing a team that was on the last gasp of a winless season. The Knights were likely demoralized and depleted to say the least. The same cannot be said for UCF in this situation as they have shown stark improvement in 2016. Despite USF’s imposing 9-2 record, the possibility of playing for The American Conference title and the presence of Quinton Flowers, the Bulls are spotting miniscule numbers when you consider last year’s result, home field advantage and the UFC team they are meeting on paper. Undoubtedly, USF like many other teams this week may be guilty of looking ahead to what may come to be for them in the weeks to come if they clear this last hurdle. If USF were to finish 11-2 with The American Conference Championship coming to Tampa they would have reasonable case to be considered for a New Year’s Six Bowl Game. UCF is playing for this game and the possibility of finishing with eight wins if they finish strong. This makes the Knights a strong candidate to be a live pooch and potential snare that could possibly destroy USF’s postseason objectives and ambitions.
Rivalry games are always unpredictable especially a prospective shootout with two teams on a losing streak. In this scenario, the points is always the academic approach. The Bears are a risk play as this is a Baylor team that was blown out at home last week, coming in to the affair flatlined. The Iowa State loss can certainly scare off Red Raider action as a 66-10 loss to the Cyclones would be classified as embarrassing to say the least. However, it is important to remember here that Texas Tech beat TCU on the road and was within in a field goal of beating Oklahoma State on the road as well. Baylor cannot say the same for the achievements. Baylor lost hideously in their four losses and Texas Tech simply couldn’t hold on. Had they done so they would have been heavily favored here and now. Texas Tech will look to rebound and keep this close under the number.
This is one of the more fierce rivalries on Saturday’s slate so I do not expect Clemson to rollover the Gamecocks this time around despite a spread of more than three touchdowns. It was not all that long ago that South Carolina would walk away with state bragging rights on a regular basis so there is quite a bit of history between these two teams.
While I do not expect the Tigers to have all that much trouble pulling off the SU win, the Gamecocks have enough talent on the defensive side of the ball to keep things closer than 24 points.
Anytime you are betting on a bitter in-state rivalry, you have to be a bit leery about laying that many points on the home team. The Wolfpack have been trending downward since giving Clemson a scare in a seven-point loss in mid-October, but I would not be surprised to see them give North Carolina all it can handle this Friday afternoon.
What I do like about this matchup is both teams’ defense. They should both be able to dictate the pace of this game enough to keep the scoring UNDER the current 58-point total line.
Nebraska has lost their last two outright away from Lincoln. In the affairs leading up to this, Nebraska squeezed by Indiana by a score of 27-22, mirroring the tendency of a football team that can easily be ensnared when they are not playing in the affable surroundings of their own stadium. Iowa’s Kinnick Stadium will provide no solace or gratuities to the Cornhuskers. As mentioned previously an undefeated Michigan Wolverines could not escape Iowa City unscathed. The environment will be energized and the Hawkeyes will enter this match-up with less expectations and for all intent and purposes less anxiety and stress. Nebraska may very well enter this game tight with what may be on the line for them potentially. With Nebraska focused on playing next week in the Big Ten Championship potentially, it is very likely that the Huskers may get themselves caught up in a late-season trap game.
The Monarchs have won five of their seven victories at home and are just 2-3 when they are on the road. Old Dominion has beat up on demoralized opponents and perennial cupcakes to pad their record and the 7-3 mark they sport is a bit misleading. Florida Atlantic has come out on top in their last two outings after losing seven straight. In four of FAU’s losses, the margin of defeat was no more than one score. FAU will enter this game with nothing to lose and everything to prove hoping to atone for an upsetting campaign to say the least. A win against Old Dominion will give the Owls something to cheer about and given the fact these two contests previously were settled by five points combined, plenty of equity on FAU.
Neither team has been favorites of the betting public this season with losing records ATS. It is this kind of inconsistency from week to week that makes either team tough to bet on. The one constant over the past few weeks has been lower than expected scoring in relation to the closing total line.
I am banking on that trend carrying over in the first-ever meeting between these two teams with a “best bet” play on the UNDER 55.
Vanderbilt went toe-to-toe with a list of characters that include Florida and Auburn, teams that were ranked in the top-10 at the time they played either club. Vanderbilt’s much improved and every bit tenacious defense was up to the task of keeping the Dores in the game against strong conference opponents. In fact, the Vanderbilt defense was instrumental in helping the Dores notch wins against both Western Kentucky and Georgia on the road. Now, Vanderbilt gets the opportunity to take on Mississippi at home with post-season hopes still well alive. The Commodores will also be given with the luxury of being able let their defense push their ears back against a freshman quarterback. It is very likely, the numbers in this market reflect a true overreaction to what Mississippi achieved last week at College Station. This contest has all the makings for Vanderbilt to pull a fast one. They are at home, under the lights and likely playing with a chip on their shoulder as they are foaming at the mouth at the thought of a bowl berth. Do not be shocked if Vanderbilt pulls off an upset.
When UTSA is up against the public like they are here with A&M with an abundance of points they have proven to be a value play. Most takers here are playing on A&M’s perceived supremacy as a better football team combined with the aspect of home field advantage. In recent weeks, the Aggies defense was exposed allowing for UTSA to potentially play keep away as they always try to do. This strategy helped UTSA ravage Middle Tennessee State at home, a couple weeks ago. Look for UTSA to utilize similar strategy to keep this one within reach and reduce Aggie opportunities as much as possible. Arizona State hosted UTSA in an almost identical scenario and nevertheless had to resort to come-from-behind theatrics to get out of Tempe with a win. This situational play has yielded dividends before with UTSA, so there is no point in straying from it now.
Wyoming will not tip-toe in this fixture by any means. The Cowboys have already reached new plateaus, qualifying for a bowl game a rare event in the city of Laramie. The accolades do not end there, if the Cowboys were able to win out, they could finish with 10 wins yet another benchmark Wyoming desperately seeks. As enchanting as the Aztecs may be, San Diego State’s sole defeat on the year is an eye sore to put it mildly. As an 18.5 point road favorite, the Aztecs were routed, losing 42-24 to a marginal opponent in South Alabama. Sure, the Aztecs may have the shiny new CFP ranking beside their name plus six wins since their one loss but Wyoming is honing this event as inspiration to reinforce their emergence on both the conference and national landscape. The Cowboys can score at will when they get their offense going. Given the fact they are undefeated at home entering in an almost identical situation like they did against the Broncos earlier this year, do not be surprised if they once again pull an ace out of their sleeve.
This is an obvious must-win game for the Cardinals to keep their postseason plans intact, but Houston still poses some problems covering such a wide spread on the road. Both teams know how to put points on the board which should be able to test the limits of this total line.
I am looking for a high scoring affair that does go OVER 68.5 points, but I am going to lay the 14 points on the road with a “best bet” play on Louisville to turn things up a notch or two to cover.
This game is a mismatch on paper which should translate to a mismatch on the field. Pitt will not only struggle to score points on offense, it does not have the means to keep the Tigers from going up and down the field at will on the other side of the ball.
After watching the way that Miami manhandled the Panthers last week, I feel confident that Clemson can put up some really big numbers this week to cover that three-touchdown spread.
Boise State is likely still reeling from the fact that they may probably have surrendered any prospect of a New Year’s Six Bowl berth or maybe even accolades of a great margin. In fact, the Broncos are more than likely a favorite susceptible to let-downs both against the spread and straight up in any contest they step in to because their psychological state remains nebulous. This team allowed a 31 point pooch to hang around at home last week, escaping by a margin of just 14 points. Perhaps the steam may have been let out from Boise State as their expectations are often much higher than what they have produced even if they only have one loss on the year. If the Rainbow Warriors win out they may be afforded a chance to host a bowl game, especially if they can sell their case with a win over Boise State. Hawaii has looked terrible at times this year and nothing speaks louder in to this than the recent thrashing they suffered at the Aztecs, last week. Nonetheless while Boise State’s motivation and resolve in question, now is a great time to take Hawaii and fade a public favorite in what may be a game that is far closer than forecasted.
Oklahoma State is spotting nearly two touchdowns to a very potent offense in Texas Tech. This is rather unsettling news for Pokes players as Oklahoma State has surrendered 30 or more points to the opposition in 6 of their last 8 games. The Cowboys like the Red Raiders approach a live or die by the offense approach to their game. Oklahoma State tries to outduel opponents and banks on their talent to shoulder the Cowboys to victory.
This strategy may work against teams like Iowa State, Kansas State or even Pitt but it has ensnared Oklahoma State against teams with potent offenses such as Baylor. Last year, 123 points were scored between both teams in their annual clash. Oklahoma State fell behind by 17 and then they came back by virtue of accommodations provided by Texas Tech. Nevertheless, this is a new year but the same precept remains this game will be all-offense, no defense thus the points and the Over are the play here.
Oklahoma had problems putting away Iowa State, imagine what Baylor can do if the water gets warm for one of the nation’s most prolific offense. The numbers here mirror a classic case of an overreaction. Baylor with points alone is alluring. When you throw in over two touchdowns against a suspect defense and it’s a must-play. The lighter vig suggests there may be a wrench in the works to captivate takers but again, in a shootout the points are usually the move no questions asked. The Sooners and the Bears have the faculties to generate over 100 points and 1,000 yards which means this game can go anyway. If this be the case, the Bears offer more upside as they have won in Norman before and did so last year in Stillwater. Baylor is not afraid of hostile environments and thus the points here are a true treat.