NCAA DirecTV ESPN GamePlan: Week 13

Here are my picks from DirecTV’s college football schedule on Saturday, November 22, 2008. 

West Virginia Mountaineers @ Louisville Cardinals (+7): The Cardinals have lost 3 straight games, including a disturbing loss to the Syracuse Orange. But the played well most recently against Cincinnati, and this game is at home where they have played solid football historically. But really, why I’m taking the Cardinals, is because this is the Big East and I don’t think the Cards have a chance. That’s right. Since this is the Big East, you always go exactly opposite of what you expect to happen. Nothing would surprise me in this game. 

Army (+19) @ Rugters: Army has played better of late and though Rutgers has reeled off 4 straight wins against respectable competition (except Syracuse), I expect this game to be close. Army has played solid defense down the stretch, and come close to some solid teams, losing by just 3 at Buffalo and losing by 9 to Air Force. I’ll take the Knights. 

North Carolina State @ North Carolina (-10.5): The Tar Heels are very good at home, and the Wolfpack isn’t good on the road. I know this is an instate game, but I don’t see it being close. I’ll take the Heels. 

Clemson @ Virginia (+3): Clemson is still getting their preseason Top 10 lines and Virginia isn’t getting any respect for their turnaround. I know they’ve lost each of their last two games, but I have a feeling the Cavs come back and beat a Clemson team that has disappointed all season long. 

Tennessee @ Vanderbilt (-3): It’s true, the Commodores usually lose at home to good conference teams, but Tennessee isn’t that anymore. With the Vols having gained Bowl eligibility last week, I think they’ll play with a renewed sense of confidence. They got over the hump and don’t have that one thing to worry about anymore. Vandy should stomp the Vols. 

Florida Atlantic @ Arkansas State (-4): Arkansas State runs an efficient offense without many mistakes. For that, I like them over Florida Atlantic. The Indians have lost three straight while FAU has won 4 straight, but this is the game that turns the streak around. 

Stanford @ California (-9): Cal usually isn’t good toward the end of the season, but I can’t imagine them playing poorly at home against the Cardinal. They’ve lost two straight, but @ USC and @ Oregon State aren’t really games they should have won anyway, and both were closer than the final score. I expect the Bears to continue their undefeated home play, while the Cardinal continue to struggle on the road. 

Boston College @ Wake Forest (-2): I have to follow my rule here, take any unranked team favored over a ranked opponent. This is borderline because BC is ranked 25th, but the Demon Deacons have played really well at home (aside from a loss to Navy) and should right the Boston College ship. Ha. That’s right, the Eagles have been playing above themselves the last few weeks – that won’t continue at Wake. 

Louisiana Tech (-6) @ New Mexico State: Louisiana Tech is just that much better than New Mexico State… The Aggies haven’t been good at home, and L-Tech hasn’t been terrible on the road. This is the only play here. 

Idaho (+23.5) @ Hawaii: I hate betting on Idaho, but they are the play that makes sense here. This isn’t June Jones’ Hawaii team here, these Rainbow Warriors haven’t won a single game by 20 points or more. That’s an auto play on the Vandals in this one – as bad as they are.

DirecTV ESPN GamePlan Free Picks: Week 12

DirecTV has some games on their agenda these days, or at least on their plethora of channels – here they are. I’ve picked everyone, leaning one way or another and maybe even giving a reason or two why. Let the Week 12 begin!

Rutgers (+8) @ South Florida: What has Rutgers done for me lately? A lot more than what the South Florida Bulls have done, that’s for sure. as a touchdown underdog, I see the Scarlet Knights playing good enough football against a tough opponent to cover this game. The Knights had a disappointing start to the season, but things can change, and they certainly have with 3 straight wins including a win over Connecticut and a win over Pittsburgh.

Duke (+11.5) @ Clemson: Duke has been the better team all year long. I know that’s surprising, especially for me, a guy who can’t stand Duke doing anything good – but it’s true. They make far fewer mistakes, they play decent defense, and despite a 1-4 stretch of late, they will give Clemson trouble. The Tigers definitely have the talent over the Devils, but Duke is turning the corner and it will be those lack of mistakes that keeps them close.

Georgia (-8.5) @ Auburn: This may seem like a gimmie, but it’s not necessarily that way. The Bulldogs barely slipped by the Wildcats last week, and they were outscored by 39 at home against Florida two weeks ago. Close wins over LSU, Vanderbilt, and Tennessee are starting to lose a lot of their luster, no doubt about that. HOwever, Auburn’s inability to play well against anybody doesn’t excite me, and despite their knack for close games, I have a feeling this one will be a beatdown of Knowshon proportions.

Middle Tennessee State (-2) @ Western Kentucky: MTSU has played tougher against better teams – they can score points, have a solid passing attack, and good leadership. Neither of these teams are good, don’t get it twisted, and between the two there is only one road win on the season. But the better team is MTSU, they are good enough to be favored on the road as a 3 win team, and that tells me a lot about Western Kentucky. I’m taking the Blue Raiders (that’s MTSU for those that don’t know their Mascot).

Toledo (+16) @ Western Michigan: Toledo has one good game against a decent team, and no I’m not talking about their win over Michigan – the Wolverines suck. I’m talking about a close loss at home against Central Michigan. Other than that, they’ve played terribly – especially on the road. Take away their win at Michgan and they’ve lost two straight on the road, to Norther Illinois and Akron, but 31 and 17 respectively. Western Michigan is better than that. But there’s this little thing called a let down game, and that’s what has me riding the Toledo Rockets in this one. Western Michigan sure can score the pigskin, but they allow a good amount of points as well. After upsetting Illinois (though it wasn’t much of an upset, but still a big win over a big name school) this game should be one in which they come out a little flat. I still like them to win, but Toledo at +16 will be my pick here.

California @ Oregon State (-3): I really want to go with the Bears here, because they have played decent teams lately where Oregon State has been subject to a four game stretch that started with the Washington schools (which are basically like playing your incoming freshmen in a scrimmage) and then Arizona State and UCLA (neither are worth much, though ASU gave the Beavers fits). They are 4-0 in their last 4, but haven’t played a good team since they lost to Utah on the 2nd of October. Cal beat Oregon two weeks ago, lost to USC last week – so they should be ready. Except that they haven’t beaten anybody on the road besides Washington State on September 9th. So, like I said, they haven’t beaten anybody on the road yet this season. The Beavers are undefeated at home, and that includes a game in which they dominated USC and barely won – and dominated Hawaii and destroyed them by 38. The Beave is a tough place to play and that’s what has me rocking the rude orange and black colors in this one.

North Carolina @ Maryland (+3): The Tar Heels have taken 5 of their last 6, and played well doing so. They stomped Georgia Tech last week, and basically doubled up Boston College three weeks ago. In their 5 recent wins, they took out Miami, Connecticut, and Notre Dame as well. But this should be a bit of a let down week for the Heels, a win gets them a tie for first place in their division, but they are walking into Maryland. The Terps are undefeated at home and as good as NC is, they aren’t far and above better than Maryland. The Terps have crushed some dreams this season, and are trying to find the way to the top of their own half of the ACC. In College football, the home field advantage can be the answer to your betting questions – this is one of those times.

New Mexico State (+17) @ Fresno State: This seems like a good bet. Despite Fresno killing their bettors, the public still seems to love them, just waiting for them to finally win their second game against the spread. Interesting. The Aggies have played close to teams all year long, sans a couple games against Nebraska and Boise State. The Aggies have played well on the road (despite losing to horrible Idaho) – they did beat Nevada – and UTEP. They’ve played tight with Hawaii, San Jose State, and New Mexico – and they have a short history of playing tight with better Fresno State clubs, winning 3 of their last 4 Bulldog games against the spread. What has Fresno done to be a 17 point favorite this season? Nothing is the answer. Take the Aggies.

Boise State @ Idaho (+36.5): Tough game for me, I don’t like it. This is on the road for Boise, but not really – you’d think most of that little forgotten state is rooting for the Broncos to go undefeated, and they definitely have all the firepower needed to beat the Vandals by 7 touchdowns or more. But they are undefeated, and Idaho would like nothing more than to crush their in-state rivals hearts. That won’t happen, don’t worry Bronco fans, and the fact that Boise State has covered 3 times in the last 4 years against the Vandals has me steering the way of the Bronco. Those spreads were all big, 34, 31, and 30 – all covers. But there there’s Idaho covering each of the last two games at Idaho – and never has the spread been as high as it is for this weekend’s tilt. That alone has me finding value with the stinking Vandals, a team I really can’t stand but have to pick here. There it is.

Oklahoma Stae @ Colorado (+18): Texas was only a 12 point favorite at Colorado this season. So can you see the inflation of this spread? I know the Buffs haven’t played well of late, losing to basicaly all the solid teams they’ve played – but they are at home, their only loss at home came to Texas, and while it was a 26 point loss, I have a feeling this one will be closer. The Buffaloes are always good at home, and this spread is about a touchdown bigger than it should be. Value has me taking Colorado.

Troy State (+16.5) @ LSU: I feel like punching myself for going this route – but that’s what my value chart has me picking. I would say DON’T BET ON THIS GAME!!! SO there you go. Troy has played solid football on the road, and LSU has too many close games against mediocre teams. On the other hand, you have to see that LSU’s 3 losses haven’t come to donkeys – Alabama, Florida, and Georgia are pretty legit folks – so they could come out and really run this score up. I have to pick this, so Troy is my pick, but I don’t recommend much of a play here.

Boston College @ Florida State (-6): The Eagles shut out Notre Dame last week, but that doesn’t tell me much. What tells me more is their road games this year, and how they haven’t looked that good. Throw out a 21-0 win over Kent State – thanks. They barely snuck by the Wolfpack of NC State and got hammered by the Tar Heels in Carolina. I’d say FSU is close to North Carolina’s level of talent, so I expect a two touchdown win by the Seminoles in this one.

NCAA DirecTV ESPN GamePlan Free Picks: Week 10

West Virginia Mountaineers @ Connecticut Huskies (+4): Tough call, I want to go with the Mountaineers, here hoping that they caught their stride and are ready to ride Pat White to numerous victories down the stretch, taking the Big East title as they go. The Public seems to think this, at least against UCONN this week anyway. I know the Huskies have quarterback questions heading into this game, but at home as a 4 point dog against a mediocre WV team that can definitely play up and down based on their opponent, I’ll take the Huskies. 

Miami Hurricanes @ Virginia Cavaliers (-2): This game is another tough one for me. I’d like to think that Miami’s athletes alone would give Virginia trouble, not in the same boat but maybe in the same ocean as USC earlier this season. But my gut has me going with the Cavs here. They do lots of things well and most importantly have been finding ways to win in the ACC. Aside from USC, the Cavaliers haven’t lost at home. Miami can play really well and really poor, you never quite know what you’re going to get with them. I know the Cavs will come to play here. 

Auburn Tigers @ Mississippi Rebels (-6): The Rebels have only lost to good teams. The Tigers aren’t good. I’ll take them by a touchdown over a lost Auburn team. 

Kentucky Wildcats @ Mississippi State Bulldogs (-2):  I like the Kentucky team that played close with Alabama, losing by three, and played another tight game with South Carolina the week after Bama. Since then the Wildcats have key players out for the year, some more out for this game, and numerous other’s that are questionable and or and playing hurt. I’ll take the Bulldogs against half of Kentucky’s squad. 

Florida State Seminoles (+2.5) @ Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets: I took the Seminoles, but I seem to be the only one doing so – there’s my warning. 8 “Covers Experts” are siding with the Yellow Jackets in this one, but I see a Seminole team, that despite the injuries has found a way to win over the last few weeks. I guess I rate that will higher than others do – we’ll see. 

Iowa State Cyclones (+30.5) @ Oklahoma State Cowboys: I don’t know. I see that Oklahoma State is nearly unbeatable, and if it weren’t for a Heismann front runner from Texas they’d probably be undefeated headed into this game with a pretty bad Iowa State group. But the Cyclones are known for playing good teams tough, and 30+ underdogs here look good to me. 

North Texas Mean Green (+17) @ Western Kentucky Hilltoppers: North Texas has yet to win and has lost only one game by less than 20 points. But I like the Mean Green to cover here. Despite losses and points and all that business, North Texas and Western Kentucky are pretty similar in talent and ability. This game should be closer than 17. 

Tulane @ Louisiana State (-26.5): LSU put up 38 on Georgia. Tulane has been beat by 27+ in two of the last three weeks, Rice and Army. Tulane has been battling injuries the last few weeks. On the other hand, most “experts” are taking Tulane in this one. I like a 31-0 shutout or something of that sort. On the other hand, LSU has only two wins by more than 26.5 all season long, North Texas and sub division stud App. State. Interesting. I’ll still take LSU.

DIRECTV – ESPN GamePlan Free NCAA Picks: Week 8

Wake Forest Demon Decons @ Maryland Terrapins (+2.5): I like Wake, but they are bound to lose one of these close games. Every single one of their games (except one) has been tight. Maryland likes to lose games their supposed to win, but an underdog at home in this one, I like the Terps.

Western Michigan (-1.5) @ Central Michigan: I like CMU QB Dan Lefevour, but I thin Western Michigan’s defense is a little better. Defense wins rivalry games, and it’s not like Western Michigan’s offensive production is a joke QB Tim Hiller already has 2046 passing yards and 23 touchdowns. But defensively I like the road team in this one.

Miami (OHIO) Redhawks (+10) @ Bowling Green Falcons: The Falcons have allowed as many points per game as they’ve scored, and that’s never a good thing. These two teams have a nice history, and that usually ends up with Miami taking the game against the Falcons. I know Bowling Green is the better team, but in games like this things usually stay close.

Syracuse Orange (+24.5) @ South Florida Bulls: Syracuse has received my ire more than a few times, and early in the season they were a pretty safe bet against – but they have played better of late, and they are relatively healthy. They don’t score much, but their group of young defenders have proven to be resilient at least. South Florida isn’t a point machine, and they’ve played a lot of close games. I’ll take 3 touchdowns and a field goal plus a half point in this one.

Vanderbilt Vandals (+15) @ Georgia Bulldogs: This game was close in ’06 and close in ’07 and this Vanderbilt team is better than they’ve had in a long time. Georgia is a very good football team, but they aren’t a “blow you out” group by any means. They’ve had trouble playing close with their opponents, and a complete upset here wouldn’t surprise me. They only beat Tennessee by 12, Arizona State by 17 and South Carolina by 7 – Vandy is better than all three of those schools. Close game here, that’s my bet.

Army Black Knights @ Buffalo Bulls (-10.5): After barely losing to Central Michigan (2 points) and then getting ousted in overtime to Western Michigan last week, I think the Bulls are ready to come out and win an easy one. Buffalo is a solid team, that’s what has me taking them. I know Army has played some tough games, but Buffalo’s offense is more well rounded and Army has been played with the bounces in each of their last two contests. They’ll stumble a bit here and a good Bulls home team will win easily.

North Carolina Tar Heels (-4.5) @ Virginia Cavaliers: Talk about an up and down Cavs team, goodness. They lost by 45 at home to USC starting the season, and after a joke week they lost back to back games to Connecticut and Duke by a combined 13-76 score. Yikes. But, they fought back lately, beating Maryland 31-0 and East Carolina 35-20. Here’s the problem here, North Carolina plays too tough and though they lost something with Brandon Tate going down for the season, they still have enough talent to take the Cavs out on the road. North Carolina has played well on the road, handling Rutgers then beating Miami four weeks ago. This is a tough call, and not one of my favorite plays, but I like the Heels here.

Middle Tennessee State (+14.5) @ Louisville Cardinals: This one seems easy. Middle Tennessee State has played a lot of close games with a lot of good teams and Louisville just isn’t that solid right now. They’ve been playing better of late, but I’d say these teams are closer to even than two touchdowns apart – I like the Blue Raiders here.

Toledo Rockets @ Northern Illinois Huskies (-8.5): Toledo beat Michigan at the Big House last week… So what? Michigan is terrible, I’d take Northern Illinois over the Wolverines any day of the week and this game is at home. The Huskies have been good all year. I don’t see it, but most “experts” on a pretty prolific site have Toledo in this one. I’ll take the Huskies and be a renegade… Follow who you please.

Mississippi State @ Tennessee Volunteers (-7.5): I would stay right away from this game, but I’ll go with Tennessee to win their 6th straight against Mississippi State. They 7.5 isn’t too scary and while neither of these teams excite me, the Vols might have found a little better play from their quarterback position last week, and that’s what gives me the slight lean, oh, and the home field here.

Idaho Vandals @ Lousiana Tech (-20): Idaho played one relatively not so terrible game this year, and they still gave up gobs of points and lost. That was last game and thus people aren’t quite so against them right now, but they are terrible. You can do whatever you want to their defense, and I think the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs will.

DIRECTV – ESPN GamePlan Free NCAA Picks: Week 3

These are week 3’s televised games from DirecTV and ESPN’s GamePlan. The College football season is off and running, and if you want, you could watch and bet every single one of these games. I’m picking each one on their 10-game slate – I see some nice bets here, and some games to be careful with – here’s my analysis.

Temple Owls (+6.5) @ Buffalo Bulls (12:00pm EST): It’s amazing really, both the Temple freaking Owls and the Buffalo “not Bills” Bulls are good college football teams. However, Temple is the better of the two. They fought hard against a very solid Connecticut team only to watch the Huskies score a game winning overtime touchdown. Temple can really play defense, ask either of the teams they’ve plaid against – they gave up one score to Army, and just two field goals in regulation to Connecticut. Offensively, they can get it done from a lot of different places. I like the upset here, so Temple +6.5 seems as solid as it gets.

North Carolina State Wolfpack @ Clemson Tigers (-17.5) (12:00pm EST): The Tigers have really struggled to start the season. First they lost bad to an underrated Alabama team on opening night, and then they mess around with Citadel before blowing them out in the 2nd half. The ACC sure hasn’t looked very good. The Tigers were supposed to be the class of the conference, and already they’ve accrued a loss. But that’s alright here. NC State is bad. And, get ready for this, they are in the ACC too. Clemson gets back on track as James Davis and CJ Spiller go nuts on the Wolfpack.

UAB Blazers (+30.5) @ Tennessee Volunteers (12:30pm EST): The Blazers have a pretty darn good offense, and Tennessee doesn’t have the type of O to put up 50 points – not without a lot of help and a lot of quick scores from their opponent anyway – the first I don’t see them getting and the 2nd, well, that’d be good for UAB as well. The way I see it, Tennessee has a very low chance of outscoring the Blazers by more than 4 touchdowns. At 0-2, UAB has still put up 56 points over two games. Lesser competition? You bet – but don’t pretend they can’t put up points on the Vols. UCLA did, and do you really think the Bruins are that much better just because of a coaching change? Take the underdog.

Penn State Nittany Lions (-27) @ Syracuse Orange (3:30pm EST): This isn’t just a “see what the Lions did to Oregon State last week” kind of pick, this is a “even if the Lions would have lost to Oregon State I still would be taking them -4 touchdowns against the Orange” type of pick. Believe that. Penn State is too tough and Syracuse can’t play a 2-3 zone in this one, so they are SOL. Take the road favorites to score at will. The Lions are better in every aspect of the game, they are probably better in class, with women, and at softball – this shouldn’t be close.

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (+7) @ Virginia Tech Hokies (3:30pm EST): I know that everyone’s expecting VaTech to just “come around” here in a few minutes, but I’m not buying their 24-7 win over Furman as a turn of the proverbial corner. Georgia Tech can run the ball and play defense. They did up Boston College late in the game last week and came away with a win, and the Hokies haven’t shown me anything to make me believe that the Jackets can’t do the same in Hokieville. I’m taking the points in this ACC match-up.

Arkansas Razorbacks @ Texas Longhorns (-24) (3:30pm EST): I can’t see the Razorbacks staying close against the Longhorns. Darren McFadden and Felix Jones were super-talents and basically the entire Razorback offense last season. D-Mac is starting for the Raiders and Felix is being electric with the ball when he gets a chance for the Cowboys. That won’t help the Sas hang in this contests. Texas has too many things going right for them right now, and Arkansas just doesn’t have the talent to stick with the Horns.

Western Kentucky Hilltoppers (+28) @ Alabama Crimson Tide (7:00pm EST): I said last week that I don’t like the Crimson Tide as a favorite anywhere near four touchdowns – that holds true, even against lowly Western Kentucky. Right now 72% of the public is riding the Tide, and that’s just going to make a lot of pissed off people. The Tide can really beat some good teams, but they beat the good teams and the mediocre teams by the same margin, just about two scores. Why? They have a good coach that knows when to hold-em, that’s why. Don’t take the chances you don’t have to, don’t show the entire offense if you don’t need it. I like ‘Bama by 17 here, but WK covers.

Middle Tennessee State (+17) @ Kentucky Wildcats (7:00pm EST):  I want the underdogs all the way in this one. Kentucky isn’t a bad club, but Middle Tennessee is much better than advertised. They have a solid quarterback in Joe Craddock, and defensively they can play ball. They lost to a tough Troy team in wek 1 – yes, a tough Troy team, then upset Maryland 24-14 in Week 2. I like their chances at an upset here, but I like their chances at covering a lot better. Take the dogs!

Bowling Green Falcons (+17) @ Boise State Broncos (8:00pm EST): The Falcons got their behinds handed to them last week against Minnesota, but I think they’ll be back against Boise State. I like when a team gets a little reality check before a big game. This is big for the Falcons – and Boise is no pushover. They are tough at home – but I think this will be a close game. Closer than 17. I’ll take the dog again.

Utah Utes (-24) @ Utah State Aggies (8:00pm EST): Utah is more like Oregon than UNLV – and the Aggies lost to them both. I know it doesn’t work like this, but Utah beat UNLV by 21, and the Aggies lost to UNLV by 10 – that’s 31 – ha. Utah is a very good team that could make a run at undefeated. It’s time for them to rub that in their instate rival’s face. I’ll take the Utes here.