College Football Picks - Free Weekly ATS Predictions
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With the exception of that slip against Auburn, the Tide have proven themselves to be the best team in college football this season. This does not diminish what Georgia has been able to accomplish in its highly impressive run to this title game, but I still believe the gap between these two SEC foes is wider than the current 4.5-point spread. Look for another strong showing by Alabama’s defense on Monday night to shutdown the Bulldogs’ running game in a SU win that covers ATS while also working to keep the total UNDER.
Both of these national powers come into this rubber match in top playing form even with Alabama’s slip against Auburn. Both teams are highly motivated in search of their second national title in three years in what should be another great postseason matchup. Given just how close these two teams do matchup against one another, I am going to take the three points and Clemson ATS as by “best bet” pick.
It is going to be a tall task for UCF to finish its amazing run this season undefeated, but it does have the talent on both sides of the ball to give the Tigers all they can handle in this matchup. I would give the Knights a big edge in motivation and momentum given everything they have accomplished coupled with Auburn’s questionable motivation coming off such a devastating loss in that conference title game.
The 9.5-point spread in this game has held steady since it was first released, but I think it will reach double digits figures by the time kickoff rolls around on New Year’s Day. Either way, I am rolling the dice that UCF finds a way to cash in ATS.
Both teams are coming off a disappointing loss that cost them a shot at a national title. You could give Miami the slight edge in light of its inherent home field advantage in this game, but Wisconsin fans travel well so there should be quite a bit of red and white in this crowd. I would definitely give the Badgers the edge when it comes to motivation as well as overall talent. My “best bet” pick would be to lay the 6.5 points and go with Wisconsin SU and ATS.
Louisville has the definite edge in this matchup with its top playmaker Jackson healthy and under center. The Bulldogs do come into this game with one of the stingier defenses in the nation with a points-allowed average of 20.4, but shutting down one of the most explosive duel threats in the country for all four quarters could be a tall task. As long as the spread stays less than seven points, I am confident that the Cardinals can come out on top in this one both SU and ATS.
I would normally jump all over a Mid Major with the Tigers’ credentials against a mid-level team from a Power 5 conference, but I have been equally impressed with what Iowa State brings the table in this game. Memphis also has the luxury of playing the Liberty Bowl in its home town, but that extra half-point on the current spread is another factor pushing me towards the Cyclones in this game.
This one should be a barnburner that racks up some serious points to take the total OVER the 66.5-point total, but my ‘best bet’ pick is Iowa State plus the 3.5 points in what could easily be a three-point game either way.
There was a reason why the Rockets opened as an eight-point favorite in this market. Very simply, Toledo has the more impressive resume and convincing body of work to back up their impressive record. Toledo’s two losses this season came at the Miami Hurricanes, a team that continued onto play for a College Football Playoff berth and at rival Ohio. Appalachian State has fallen to the likes of UL Monroe and Massachusetts, games that the Mountaineers were favored to win. There was a lot of hyperbole surrounding this football team as they came into the 2017 season with some of senior-laden talent this outfit featured. As such, some prognosticated that Appalachian State would do what is historically known to do and orchestrate another stunning upset to open the regular season. However, the Georgia Bulldogs would not fall prey and did their homework. Chances are Toledo has as well, swallow the points.
We are going to side with the public this one because very simply we are getting the better team at the better price. When comparing Stanford to TCU, we simply look at who these two outfits played and how they fared. The Cardinal owns two losses against the Pac-12 Champion, USC. The second contest was way too close for comfort for the Trojans as a field goal was required to settle the score. Outside of this, Stanford lost to Washington State in the notorious Pullman, Washington by once again a field goal. Stanford also fell at San Diego State earlier in the season by once more a field goal margin. Stanford could easily be a one-loss champion had a few bounces fell their way. The opposite is true with TCU. The Horned Frogs were dominated by Oklahoma not once but twice in their collisions this season and were also defeated at home by the Iowa State Cyclones. They say Stanford likes to fight teams in phone booths and given how atypically soft TCU is, the Frogs better buckle up.
Whenever we see the public smother a dog, we have said it before and we will say it again, we have to take a closer look. The market reactions simply boil down to Michigan State’s overachievement this season and the good form they have entered in. The Cougars seem like a risky option be that all of their three losses were blowouts and thus many fear getting buried by an underperforming Washington State outfit. However, Washington State has not had a ten-win season in 14 years. There is plenty of motivation here for the Cougars to show up and reach a benchmark they have not met in a decade. Thus, we will take advantage of a short-priced dog set up for a huge performance. Swallow the points.
Most of the general public saw Army survive against a 6-6 Navy team where a missed field goal attempt decided the winner of America’s Game. Against a perceived higher-quality opponent in SDSU, many may be quick to conclude that the Black Knights have little chance here. However, the outcome of the Army/Navy game does not suggest that by any means. The rivalry is one of the most potent in all of college football and thus all stats go out the window. San Diego State is the one that may come in flat to this contest. After all the Aztecs were aspiring to play in a New Year’s Six Bowl Game at one point this season. Army will enter with heightened motivation given what they have already achieved this campaign. This team could be every sense of the word, live dog. Take the points.
Utah State have made five bowl appearances dating back to 2011. New Mexico State has not been to a bowl game since the Kennedy Era. This in itself makes New Mexico State a tough option to back to the public eye. Over Utah State’s recent bowl appearances, they are 3-2 SU in these respective affairs. The two losses were decided by a combined three points. Furthermore, Utah State defeated recognizable names when it comes to mid-major teams, including Toledo and Northern Illinois. All of these considerations further inflate the consensus perception of Utah State. Nevertheless, we would urge all keen to back Utah State to think again as these conditions curate the possibility for an overlay. Not only can New Mexico State cover, they can likely win here. Thus, NM State may also be worth a look on the Money Line in addition to simply taking the points.
After getting smoked by Florida Atlantic for the second time this season in the Conference USA Championship, the Mean Green come in with an exceptionally low stock. However, takers beware. This is a football team that can still finish with ten wins on the season. By UNT’s standards this would be an exceptional season and their offense can certainly generate enough firepower to give the Green a chance at victory. Troy is a household name at this point when it concerns mid-major clubs and that is what is likely driving this market combined with the fact the Trojans secured a piece of the Sun Belt Conference title. Nevertheless, Troy could have easily loss at Arkansas State given the fact the Red Wolves made terrific mistakes in the red zone. Moreover, Troy won the Sun Belt by virtue of a coin toss as they had to split the title with another big dog in the conference Appalachian State. The number is one that we like to see underdogs hover at. North Texas can pull the upset in The Big Easy.
What this market assessment boils down to is bowl experience. Western Kentucky had won the Conference USA for two years in a row and earned successive bowl bids to a game of its choosing as a result; Georgia State has never played in a bowl game before. This difference is driving the public’s perspective and vantage of this contest. Though the records are similar, these two programs are headed in opposite directions.
Last year, Georgia State couldn’t even qualify for a bowl game. At one point this year, the Panthers were the favorite to win the Sun Belt given the fact they were playing at a stellar level in conference play. Though State lost the conference race down the backstretch they have nevertheless shown they are going to be in the mix on a perennial basis moving forward. Western Kentucky is still trying to find out how to move on since Jeff Brohm left for Purdue. Look for a spirited Panthers team to take the fight to a Western Kentucky bunch prone to come in flat due to stark contrasts in campaign outcomes when compared to a year ago.
The Demon Deacons have had success in postseason bowls lately, while the Aggies have been a bettor’s nightmare in most of their bowl game appearances over the past several years. These two teams do matchup rather well against one another on paper, but I would give the slight edge to Texas A&M as the more battle-tested side in this pairing. Wake Forest will be playing in the friendly confines of Bank of America Stadium in its home state, but I am still going to take the Aggies and the three points in what could easily be a three-point game either way.
The big storyline in this bowl game will be Virginia Tech’s shutdown defense against one of the most prolific offenses in Division IA this season. It will be a battle of wills, but I am going to lean towards the Cowboys in this one both SU and ATS. They are a bit more battle tested coming out of the Big 12 in a game that the Hokies could find themselves struggling to keep pace on the scoreboard. Virginia Tech’s defense was exposed a bit against the better teams it faced this season and that will be the case in this game.
These teams matchup extremely well against one another in what should be a close, hard-fought battle for all four quarters. While defense should dictate play for both teams, I am giving Houston the slight edge on the other side of the ball behind King at quarterback. He provided a spark on offense that led to a few big wins down the stretch and I like the Cougars’ chances to finish the year strong with one more victory both SU and ATS.
Oregon will have to endure the news that their Head Coach Willie Taggart is moving onto Florida State. How that affects preparation for this bowl game remains to be seen. The fact remains there is no mid-major team in all of the history of college football that is primed to rumble with heavyweight teams like the Boise State Broncos. Their history speaks volumes as to what they are capable of. Whether it be the dramatic Fiesta Bowl win over Oklahoma or their victories over Virginia Tech and Georgia in high-profile kick-off games, the Broncos have a penchant for games of this nature. This makes them a very dangerous team to sleep on and one that should not be overlooked. We have a prime opportunity to fade the public and snag inflated points on a premium outfit. Boise State gets our call.
Situationally, this scenario sets up ideally to back the Trojans. Ohio State’s psyche heading into this game remains in question. After all, the Buckeyes were stiff-armed out of the playoff and this game may seem like a pale consolation prize. The opposite is the case for USC. The Trojans were one of the most highly touted teams in the beginning of the 2017 season and failed to live up to the hype. Some had dared to call Southern California National Champion material and penciled in their quarterback Sam Darnold as a consensus Heisman Trophy winner. Whilst the perception of this outfit was inflated, this is the opportune scenario for USC to at least justify some of that hype. Typically, we would expect to pay a hefty price to back the Men of Troy in a bowl game of this magnitude. However, given the fact Ohio State has been gaining a lot of national attention as of late the Trojans may offer tremendous value for the first time in a long time in any bowl game.
The talk of the town is how will Georgia handle the test of stopping Baker Mayfield? The better question is how will Oklahoma handle the Bulldog defense? The Big 12 Conference is an offense-oriented one that emphasizes air raid attacks. Look no further than the cast of characters in this ensemble: OU, Oklahoma State, West Virginia, Texas Tech, Baylor, and Iowa State. The environment is conducive for explosive offensive operations. However, the Dawgs have the antidote. The Bulldogs stand among the best in the country at running the football and it is a great complement to their brutal and physical defense. You also have the coaching factor. Dawgs Head Coach Kirby Smart has been games of this magnitude before with Alabama as their Defensive Coordinator. Sooners Head Coach Lincoln Riley is navigating his first College Football Playoff in a highly influential role. These narratives will make the difference. Glory, Glory to Ole Georgia.
If there was ever a time for a changing of the guard in this rivalry it would be now. The Black Knights overall are the better team and have a more convincing body of work this season as to relevance and quality. However, Navy holds a huge emotional edge in this contest because they know if they win they keep the trophy for yet another year. In spite of some of the let-downs this team has faced this year, Navy has a chance to take away what it classes as its biggest victory. This game is basically the equivalent of the Super Bowl for both squads. Sure, Navy was at one point ranked in the top-25 and even emerged as a favorite to win the American Athletic Conference. Whilst those days are dead and gone, hope remains abreast in this rivalry. Look for Navy to come out with a fantastic performance in unexpected fashion.