Maryland Terrapins @ Duke Blue Devils (-4.5): I know Duke is Duke, and that this isn’t college hoops or Lacrosse, but they’ve impressed me so far this season. Playing tough against Virginia Tech, then beating up on NC State, you have to like that sequence moving forward. They easily could have ran with that close Va Tech game, and just came out sluggish against the Wolfpack, but no, they came out drilling NC State from the get go. At 3-3, they are much improved from the terrible Duke days. Thaddeus Lewis is a game breaking QB, and they do other things well to. Duke hasn’t beaten Maryland since 1999, but this is as good a year as any. You never know what you’re going to get with Maryland, a beat down by Rutgers, a loss to Middle Tennessee, an overtime win over James Madison, or an upset over Clemson – who will you get? I’m expecting Duke to draw that pathetic team with all those losses, lets hope it’s not the Maryland team that downed Clemson. I never though I’d see myself taking Duke as a favorite, lets hope that doesn’t backfire.
I have a full bill of DirecTV games this week (15!!!), so don’t feel hurt if I just say a few words about a couple of these. Ha. Well, no more precursors, I’m off to the meats and cheeses…
Pittsburgh Panthers (-15) at Syracuse Orange (12:00pm): Like I said in my NCAA Picks for Week 5, there is no easier place to play than Syracuse, and Pittsburgh will easily run on the Orange. Seems like a three touchdown win from my point of view.
Kent State Golden Flashes at Ball State Cardinals (-17.5) (12:00pm): The Cardinals are legit. I’ll be making a small play on them at home this weekend, and if the value stays right, probably for the duration of the college football season. When normally mediocre programs have solid teams, their value stays high for most of the season.
Maryland Terrapins (+12) at Clemson Tigers (12:00pm): The Terps play close games and the Tigers have disappointed me. Clemson hasn’t been able to throw the ball, and while Maryland has struggled as well, this game just looks like a close one to me. Close games call for bets on dogs larger than a touchdown. This one is at 12 right now, so it seems like good value.
Northern Illinois Huskies at Eastern Michigan Eagles (+7) (12:00pm): My knowledge isn’t extensive about either of these teams, but let me tell you what I like. I like that the Eagles are getting 7 points at home against an NIU team that isn’t very good at all. I also like that Eastern can, unlike NIU, pass the ball if they need to. With a little passing game to go with their running attack, the Eagles look like a nice 7 point dog at home. NIU has won 6 of the last 7 contests against the Eagles, but Eastern won the last one.
Mississippi Rebels (+22.5) at Florida Gators (12:30pm): I definitely like the Gators to pull this one out, but something about this game has me walking the dog. Mississippi is just 2-2, but with tough losses to Wake Forrest (28-30) and a good Vanderbilt team (17-23), and the fact that Florida is 3-0 without any close games on their schedule thus far, I just like what a 22.5 point dog brings to the table this week against the Gators.
Fresno State Bulldogs (-7) at UCLA Bruins (3:30pm): If nothing else, because the Bulldogs have more talent, with more experience, and a sense of toughness that UCLA just doesn’t have yet. After a tough loss to Wisconsin, the Bulldogs barely snuck past Toledo. This game will be easier, 28-7 wouldn’t surprise me in this one.
Colorado Buffaloes (+6) at Florida State Seminoles (3:30pm): There’s no question who has more talent in this game, the Noles are loaded with speed and athleticism. But this Buffaloes team can put their head down and get a yard when they need it most. I won’t be surprised at all when Colorado comes all the way into Florida to upset the 25th ranked Seminoles. Everybody is claiming Colorado’s win over West Virginia was because the Mounties are falling, I disagree, that win was because Colorado is good.
Marshall Thundering Herd at West Virginia Mountaineers (-14) (3:30pm): Marshall walks into this game with just one tough loss, playing in Wisconsin against a solid Badger team. That being said, I’m betting that Pat White finally takes a game over this week. The Mountaineers have been thrown around pretty good of late, losing bad to East Carolina (3-24) and getting ousted by Colorado (14-17) – but this game is in West Virginia, and I like the Mounties chances to get an easy win.
Cincinnati Bearcats (-10.5) at Akron Zips (3:30pm): This is a very tough one for me. Both teams look like solid value, and while starting quarterback Dustin Grutza is out for Cincinnati, Tony Pike was very accurate and productive in his first start against Miami of Ohio. Both teams are solid, but I’m betting on the Bearcats defense being a little much for the Zips, even on Akron’s home turf.
Arkansas Razorbacks (+28) at Texas Longhorns (3:30pm): I don’t think Texas is this good. Arkansas was made to look like a fool last week against a very tough Alabama team, I just think they come out with a little fire this week in Texas. I still like the Longhorns to win, but Texas hasn’t played anybody to start the season, (Rice, UTEP, Florida International), so I’m betting on this conference game taking them a little longer to get going. 4 touchdowns is an awful lot for a team that hasn’t played anyone yet.
UAB Blazers at South Carolina Gamecocks (-24.5) (7:00pm): Honestly, I would stay away from this game if I didn’t have to bet every single DirecTV contest. Counting the NC State game to start the season, South Carolina hasn’t showed me that they should be favored against anyone by 3+ touchdowns. UAB is close, but boy, this is a tough one. I cap this game right around 21-24, but I must say, if the Gamecocks come to play they should barely irk out this spread. Still, if you don’t feel inclined to take every single game I picked, then leave this one alone.
Western Kentucky Hilltoppers (+21) at Kentucky Wildcats (7:00pm): Stand back! Because this is my train of thought. The Hilltoppers aren’t better than the Wildcats, but given a 21-0 head start I believe they have great value here. This is why – I generally trust the oddsmakers to put up a spread that is pretty close to what the final should be (not always, surely they miss from time to time, but usually). That being said, a couple weeks ago, a very good Alabama team got just 26 points, at home, against the Hilltoppers. This is why I’m taking WKU here – the Crimson Tide are at least two touchdowns better than the Wildcats. See that? That’s value hunting son! This line should be around 12-14, so 7 extra points to play with is nice.
Illinois Fighting Illini at Penn State Nittany Lions (-14.5) (8:00pm): Since opening weekend, Juice Williams has been very mediocre at best. He put up 5 touchdowns with just two interceptions against a very good Missouri team, but has followed up with just two touchdowns and 3 interceptions against the likes of Louisiana Lafayette and Eastern Illinois in games where the Illini didn’t dominate. I think Penn State is a couple touchdowns better than Illinois, as they have proven to be one of, if not the best team in the Big 10. They do a lot of things very well, and nothing is left out with them. I like Penn State as a two touchdown favorite at home.
Virginia Tech Hokies (+7) at Nebraska Cornhuskers (8:00pm): Nebraska’s opponents thus far; New Mexico State, San Jose State, Western Michigan… Va Tech’s opponents: East Carolina, Furman, Georgia Tech, North Carolina… Here it is, Va Tech is ready, Nebraska isn’t. This is where that marshmallow schedule to start the season hurts. Well, it doesn’t hurt me, Va Tech plus a touchdown against an overrated Cornhusker team, I like that, but it hurts the Cornhuskers.
New Mexico Lobos (-3) at New Mexico State Aggies (8:00pm): Make this six in a row for the Lobos. After beating Arizona they stumbled last week, but after such a high that kind of business is expected. Don’t sleep on them this week, though, against their instate rival they will be ready to play, even on the road. The Lobos are 5-0 against the Aggies since 2003, I like their shot at six straight.
After busting through the opening weekend by picking a few great upsets and getting slapped around a little by some teams I respected, Week 2 shouldn’t be quite as exciting right? Wrong – I’m out to win them all. Not as many games as last week, but check out my DirecTV ESPN GamePlan picks if you want some more action. All my games are on Saturday this time around, so no mid-week dancing for me. Enjoy all 7 of my picks! I’m feeling pretty good about these ones.
Connecticut Huskies (-6) @ Temple Owls: (12:00pm EST, 9-6-2008)
The Huskies learned how to win last season. Temple is improved, but they are still Temple. LIke a lot of teams, UCONN’s win last weak wasn’t indicative of how their season will play out. Sure, they won easily (against Hofstra) but they didn’t look good in all aspects of the game. They got a little taste of reality, and I like that. I like that they dealt with it, had a really down game, and still won 35-3. They play stout defense that will slap the Owls in the face at their hyped home opener. I like UCONN to dominate this game on both sides of the ball.
BYU Cougars (-9) @ Washington Huskies: (3:00pm EST, 9-6-2008)
The Huskies are a solid 1st half team – they are just brutal in the 2nd half of just about every game. Oregon was better than many people thought they were going to be, but they weren’t that good. The Huskies are a one-man attack (QB stud Jake Locker), and that doesn’t bode well for their chances against a good Cougar team. The Cougars come in winners of their last 10 games, and believe me, they’ve played tougher road games than they’ll play on Saturday. It wouldn’t stun me if the Cougars took this game by three touchdowns.
Akron Zips (+5) @ Syracuse Orange: (3:30pm EST, 9-6-2008)
Syracuse has some talent, but the Zips can play the game. Akron can throw the all around pretty well with Chris Jacquemain at quarterback. They struggled a bit in the 2nd half against Wisconsin, but the Badgers are a very talented team. I think Akron will find plenty of open places in that Syracuse secondary. The Orange don’t have a rushing attack like Wisconsin does, so they won’t be able to bully the Zips like the Badgers did.
Central Michigan Chippewas @ Georgia Bulldogs (-23.5): (3:30pm EST, 9-6-2008)
The Bulldogs are 4 scores better than the Chippewas. They gave up 21 points last week, and I’m willing to bet they don’t give up half that many this week against Central Michigan. Mathew Stafford looked solid against Georgia Southern, but everyone expected that. The Bulldogs basically did whatever they wanted including take it easy late against their instate opponent. They will obliterated Central Michigan. The Bulldogs were up 38-7 to start the 4th quarter, but Southern scored two 4th quarter touchdowns to bring the game within 24 points. Because of that the Bulldogs lost a few points in the polls as USC went ballistic against Virginia, beating them 52-7, and took the #1 spot this week. I’m guessing the Bulldogs do some scoring in this one and try to get that top spot back in USC’s bye.
Oregon State Beavers (+17) @ Penn State Nittany Lions (3:30pm EST, 8-30-2008)
OSU sure didn’t look very good in their opening game of the season, but they are a better team than that so I’ll take them again. A glutton for punnishment? Maybe, but I like to believe in what I see, and I see a solid team in Beaverville. Offensively they have a lot of playmakers and a quarterback that can deliver the ball. I will take that and 17 points over any Penn State team. The Nittany Lions are overrated, and the Beavers are a good enough team to show everyone exactly that. An upset here wouldn’t stun me.
West Virginia Moutaineers (-7.5) @ East Carolina Pirates: (10:00pm EST, 8-30-2008)
West Virginia allowed 21 points last week to college football’s version of nobody, while the East Carolina Pirates played some damn good football against the likes of the Hokies. East Carolina upset #17 Virginia Tech last week at home, and they’re looking to go 2-0 after facing two ranked teams back to back. Not gonna happen. The Pirates are a good club, don’t get me wrong, but VaTech was the most overrated team in the Top 25. The Mountaineers have something East Carolina has yet to see, an offense that can score on any defense in the nation. East Carolina won’t win a track meet with WV, and that’s what they’ll have to do to win. Remember, West Virginia held Villanova to one score through three quarters last week. Those 2 touchdowns brought this line down from double digits, I’d bet. I’ll take Pat White and his boys.
Maryland Terrapins (-12.5) @ Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders: The Terrapins had a really tough week and their starting quarterback didn’t play well. It won’t always be like that for a very good Maryland team. Luckily for you, and me, that first game is lodged in the minds of bettors and oddsmakers everywhere. Yhatzee for us! Maryland has great talent at receiver, a very tough defense, and a quarterback in Jordan Steffy that’s made a name for himself through his perseverance. I really like their chances against a very mediocre Blue Raider group.
These picks are good ones. Roll with them. Bet ’em. And reap those benefits.
Week 3 went well for Old Lucky Lester. I managed a 3-2 winning score in my free picks, and went 3-1-1 with my pay picks. That brings my pay picks to 7-2-1 over the last 2 weeks, and from the feel of it, this college football pick ’em is getting easier and easier.
LUCKY LESTER’S Free NCAA Football Picks
West Virginia Mountaineers (-16.5) @ Maryland Terrapins: (win)
West Virginia just covered the spread in this one, but just covered is a Win, and last time I checked, this game, like any other, is measured by wins and losses. An early win set me up for a nice week.
Cincinnati Bearcats (-9) @ Miami (Ohio): (win)
The Bearcats covered nicely, giving me my second Big East win in as many chances in Week 3. I tell ya, watch out for these teams, they are better than many give them credit for.
UCLA Bruins (-13.5) @ Utah Utes: (loss)
“UCLA hasn’t been as dominant as I’d like them to have been thus far, but they are winning football games by a solid margin. The people who know college football best think the Bruins should be rated about 10 spots higher than they are.” (Me) Apparently the Bruins shouldn’t be rated 10 spots higher than they are, more like 10 spots lower, or not rated at all. Utah stuck it too and overly confident team from Southern California. I bet they liked that out there on the banks of that big ass salty lake.
Boston College Eagles @ Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (-7): (loss)
I was completely tricked in this one. The Jackets played poorly right off the bat, and they never got on track. Surely, BC was ready for everything the Yellow Jackets do offensively, and GT just couldn’t move the ball. Matt Ryan did was he does, and the Eagles are looking good at top the ACC.
Florida State Seminoles (+6**) @ Colorado Buffaloes: (win)
Well, what can I say, the Seminoles won easily against the Buffs. FSU may be in a lull, but, talentwise, the Buffs just can’t hang with the Noles. This game was a gimmie, I hope you won big like I did, here.
**The wrong character was used for the spread. When the pick was made the point spread was actually -6 and not +6. It doesn’t really matter though because I won anyways. The error was discussed over at theRXforum.com.
Here’s my Week 3 Elite Picks for NCAA College Football. 2 big winners in a row…
Arkansas Razorbacks (+3) @ Alabama Crimson Tide (push)
Tennessee Volunteers @ Florida Gators (-8): (win)
Duke Blue Devils @ Northwestern Wildcats (-16.5) (loss)
Louisiana Tech Bulldogs (+33.5) @ California Golden Bears (win)
USC Trojans (-10) @ Nebraska Cornhuskers (win)
Week 3 is ready to roar, and if the first two weeks are any indication of my ’07 season, this week is going to be full of wins. These are my free picks for Week 3, and I have to be honest, I feel pretty good about this week’s college match-ups. The ACC will try to fight back, but only in some games will they succeed. Week 3 is always a dandy, as the truth that has been waiting in the distance starts to force its way to the front porch.
LUCKY LESTER’S Free NCAA Football Picks
West Virginia Mountaineers (-16.5) @ Maryland Terrapins:
9/13/07 7:45pm EST
West Virginia is a bad team to face as your first true test of the season. After playing two games against low level competition, the Terps are well rested, but they aren’t ready for a tandem like Pat White and Steve Slaton. I’m not sure if you can get ready for something like that, but Florida International and Villanova isn’t the way to do it. Look for the Mountaineers to get off to a solid start before busting down the flood gates in the 2nd half. The ACC has been getting killed against solid teams. I have a feeling that trend will continue here.
Cincinnati Bearcats (-9) @ Miami (Ohio): 9/15/07 12:00pm EST
I love the Big East, and the Bearcats are the reason why. They showed me something last week against a pretty good Oregon State team. The Bearcats make 4 very good teams in the Big East, with WVU, Rutgers, and Louisville, this conference is no longer one of the weaker groups in college football. In fact, I’d rank the Big East above the Big 10 and definitely the ACC. I might even go as far as the Big 12 if it weren’t for Oklahoma’s chances to win it all. Either way, the Bearcats are forcing themselves into the equation, so much so that I see another statement game out of Cinci.
UCLA Bruins (-13.5) @ Utah Utes: 9/15/07 5:00pm EST
UCLA hasn’t been as dominant as I’d like them to have been thus far, but they are winning football games by a solid margin. The people who know college football best think the Bruins should be rated about 10 spots higher than they are. Utah goes for their 3rd straight loss, after dropping back to back games against Oregon State and Air Force. Honestly, this game may come down to that half point, but I like my chances with an improved UCLA squad that seems to be playing with a little urgency. I don’t think we’ve seen the best from them, yet.
Boston College Eagles @ Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (-7):
9/15/07 8:00pm EST
The Eagles have put away their opponents rather easily on the scoreboard, but I’m not sure, after watching game film, that those games were as easy as they seemed. On the other hand, I know Georgia Tech has been a force in their two wins. It should be interesting, as neither team has had much competition thus far, but my money is on Georgia Tech. The Jackets have one of the best defenses in all of the land, and a stud back in Mr. Choice. He’ll have to run hard to get to the century mark against Boston College, a team that has outrushed their opponents by a total of 228 yards in the first two games, but I think he can do it. I also believe that Taylor Bennett will find open targets in a Yellow Jackets win. This will be the best game of his career thus far.
Florida State Seminoles (+6) @ Colorado Buffaloes:
9/15/07 10:00pm EST
I know the Seminoles have been a big disappointment over the last couple of years, and they struggled for a good portion of last weeks game against UAB, but look closer, and you’ll see a Seminole team that may have just figured it out last week. Nobody questions the athletic talent at FSU, so you have to think the confidence is coming. Well, the Seminoles went down 17-3, but instead of fading away, they busted tail back and finished the game on a 31-7 run to win easily. FSU just has to harness their defensive aggression, and they’ll win this one easily.