Marshall Thundering Herd vs Ohio Bobcats: Little Caesars Bowl Pick

Marshall Thundering Herd vs Ohio Bobcats: Despite nearly 68% of the public betting on Ohio in this one, the line has actually moved in the Bobcats’ favor. Starting at 3.5 this game has actually come down to a more user-friendly 3 point spread for the favorites. Interesting, always.

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But Ohio has been solid this season. They are 9-4 straight up and against the spread, playing good football at home (4-2) but even better football on the road (5-1) which I think is always a nice thing to have on your side come the Bowl Season – because, in a way, these are all road games. Ohio came in winning 4 of their last 5 games, including a tough loss to end their non-bowl season (10-20 @ Central Michigan – a game they covered). In fact, the Bobcats have covered 4 straight and 8 of their last 10 contests. They’ve played well against solid competition, losing by just 10 to a very good Central Michigan team, and lost by only 11 to Tennessee. They might not score much, but they can play.

Marshall comes in losers in 5 of their last 8, and more recently 3 of their last 4 games. They’ve played their best football against bad teams, and it’s tough to see them coming out and being tough against the Bobcats. Marshall is 6-6 straight up, 6-5 ATS, but just 2-4 on the road this season. They give up 3 more points per game than they score, which is never something I like to have on the team I’m picking. These teams are fairly equal, but I have to take the one winning the intangibles – and that’s Ohio.

Marshall Thundering Herd vs Ohio Bobcats (-3)

Nevada Wolfpack vs Southern Methodist Mustangs: Hawaii Bowl Pick

Nevada Wolfpack vs Southern Methodist Mustangs: Hawaii Bowl Pick The Wolfpack are one of the Top 20 teams in the Nation, and they certainly don’t get recognized as one. Now that can either work for them or against them when the SMU Mustangs meet up with Nevada in the Hawaii Bowl. I just happen to think it works for them. This team came a couple scores away from ending Boise State’s undefeated season, and they are a driven bunch. With a running attack second to none, this team should find enough room to run SMU off the field.

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62% of the public bet is on the Wolfpack, but the line has actually moved down (at most books) from the 13 points the spread began at. The Wolfpack seem to be a heavy “expert pick” even with their two starting running backs doubtful for the game against SMU. SMU brings no new injuries or absences into the Hawaii Bowl.

The Mustangs have been beaten up by high powered offenses and the Wolfpack certainly have one of those. Nevada scored 31 points or more in every single one of their final 9 games, winning 8 in a row from the middle of the season onward, finishing the year with an 11 point loss to Boise State on the road. Prior to the Boise loss, Nevada has outscored San Jose State, Fresno State, and New Mexico State 177-41, and I don’t think it was that close.

SMU has lost 3 of their last 4 games ATS, and haven’t looked impressive against other bowling teams. I think Colin Kaepernick will make up for his absent running backs and lead the Wolfpack to a big win.

Nevada Wolfpack (-12) @ SMU Mustangs:

Clemson Tigers vs South Carolina Gamecocks NCAA Pick

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Clemson Tigers @ South Carolina Gamecocks (+3) NCAA Pick: Clemson has owned the Gamecocks over the last 7 years, winning 6 of their last 7 meetings, and covering 6 of the last 8 times these two have played. Whether it’s been on the road or at home, the Tigers have flexed their in-state muscle.

But I think this game will be different. It’s not what the Gamecocks have done, but who they’ve played – they are ready for a game against the Tigers. Over the last five weeks of games the Gamecocks have played Florida, Arkansas, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, and Alabama. Now Vandy might not have much to offer, and Tennessee hasn’t won but a handful of games, but those other three are legit, and two of those are probably the best two teams in the Nation. Clemson has one hell of a defensive line, and that has given opposing offenses trouble all year long, but I know South Carolina has seen that kind of defensive front a couple times this year, and that makes me think they’ll be ready for the Tigers.

Getting three points at home is another plus for me here. Getting two weeks to prepare for Clemson is just another bonus. One might say that Clemson finally getting their act together and winning 6 straight coming in is a sign of trouble for South Carolina – but I’d have it no other way. Winning streaks end – and I’m willing to take a South Carolina team that went toe-to-toe with Florida two weeks ago, even though they’ve lost 4 of their 5. They are 5-1 at home, and obviously play their best football there.

Nevada Wolf Pack vs Boise State Broncos Pick & Preview

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Nevada Wolf Pack (+12) @ Boise State Broncos Pick & Preview: As I imagined, this line has moved in my favor. You can get the Wolf Pack at +14, and those extra two points could be very big.

Am I saying that the Wolf Pack are going to come in and down the Broncos perfect season? Are they going to clear up the BCS small school picture with a single HUGE upset over Boise State in Boise? In Boise? Boy, that’s tougher to call, but in a game that is often close (or at least has been over the last 2 seasons) I think the Wolf Pack have one hell of a chance to put a wrinkle in time.

First of all, let me give some credit to the Broncos. They are one hell of a team, and they can really move with any team in the Nation on both sides of the ball. They showed early in the season what they can do to an elite rushing attack like Oregon, and they’ve proved all season long that they know how to win, even when things don’t go there way. Boise can run the ball – they’ve out-rushed all but two opponents all season long, and they have one of the most accurate and efficient passers in all of college football, the stud lefty Kellen Moore. Moore has 33 touchdowns to just 3 interceptions, and will almost certainly eclipse the 3000 yard mark in this game. Boise is grand.

But Nevada is coming in on one heck of a run. They’ve won 8 straight, covered six of those games, and out-rushed their opponents in every game, by 200 or more yards in 6 games. They can really run the ball. They have a great quarterback to their own right, a rushing and throwing elite athlete in Colin Kaepernick. Nevada has been getting closer and closer, and I think they give the Broncos a game in Boise.

Rutgers Scarlet Knights vs Louisville Cardinals Free Pick

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Rutgers Scarlet Knights @ Louisville Cardinals Free Pick: Tom Savage, the Rutgers Knights’ starting quarterback, easily had his worst performance of his career – but I’m not willing to think that’s going to be his new norm. The kid has all the intangibles to lead his team to victory on any given day, as he’s shown by winning all but two of the games he has started in his young career. He had 10 touchdowns and just 2 interceptions while completing around 60% of his passes prior to last game’s stinker against Syracuse. I first and foremost like him to bounce back.

Louisville isn’t good, not even mediocre. They have beaten just 4 teams this year, all of those teams unimpressive. They’ve played a couple close games, but without the talent and confidence, the Cardinals have really taken a hit this season. One thing they have going for themselves is a basically blank injury list. But if nobody’s injured on a team that has been pretty nonexistent all year long, is that a good thing? Maybe if the back-ups got a little taste they would show something?

The short of it is this, usually, when solid teams play their worst game of the season, they come back the next time out and play well. This is the boat that Rutgers is in, coming off a stinker against Syracuse, the Knights should be ready to win. That’s sports. That’s just the way it usually is.

Illinois Fighting Illini vs Cincinnati Bearcats CFB Pick

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Illinois Fighting Illini (+18) @ Cincinnati Bearcats CFB Pick: Just as I imagined, this spread moved in my favor – but I’m thinking I don’t need those extra points – though 20 would be nice (and the spread is currently at 20.5 in 90% of the sports books) I just see this game being closer. The Illini have some elite players, and they were certainly expected to perform better than they did this season, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that they have the athletes to make this a game.

Illinois has covered in three of their last four games, winning two of their last 3. They’ve played their best football of the season over the last 4 games, and Juice Williams and company are finally getting on track. A little late for a post season performance, sure, but this game is Illinois’ season, and it would put a nice finishing touch on a tough season if they could hand the Bearcats their first loss of the season.

Cincinnati has played quite a few close games lately. Against West Virginia, Connecticut, and Fresno State, they finished on top by a single score or less. They still have a quarterback dilemma (thought two stud quarterbacks seems like a good problem to have) and the questions surrounding who is going to play and when might still be sitting around for this solid team.

The Bearcats have a lot to look forward too, and sometimes, often times, teams in that situation get caught looking forward. If Illinois can hold the ball, keep it in their hands with some big conversions, I think they keep this game very close.

Texas Longhorns vs Texas A&M Aggies Week 13 Free Pick

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Texas Longhorns (-22.5) @ Texas A&M Aggies Week 13 Free Pick: Like I said in my newsletter, Texas has won their last 5 games by at least 25 points. Why not make it 6?” Listen, there are lots of reason, historical reasons, rivalry reasons, to like the Aggies here, and so far the spread has resembled that sediment. The spread has shot down a very important 1.5 points since I made my selection, all the way down to 21, a nice 3-touchdown number. That scares me a little, the books obviously wanted some more money coming in on the road favorites – but I can’t be worried too much about what the books want.

Lets look at some reasons why my pick is scary. One – this spread has rarely been this big, only twice in the last ten seasons. Two – it’s a rivalry game. It may be a rivalry recently dominated by the Longhorns, but 7 of the last 10 doesn’t look as good when you see that the Aggies have upset Texas twice in the last three seasons. Also, the Aggies covered three straight going into last years’ game.

But that’s history, maybe not ancient history, but history nonetheless. The Longhorns probably haven’t played many games up to their par this season, but don’t look past their lat 5 wins by at least 27 points. Sure, they started off the season slow in terms of dominant wins, but five in a row in the high twenties or more? I have to like their chances to continue the run. Plus, the Aggies have been destroyed by “good” teams, OK State, Arkansas, and Oklahoma (none as good as Texas) all won their games by 27+ points over the Aggies. The Longhorns shall be #4.

Pittsburgh Panthers vs West Virginia Mountaineers Pick, Preview

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Pittsburgh Panthers (-1) @ West Virginia Mountaineers Pick, Preview: This is another game that scares me a little bit. The speed of the Mountaineers’ offense could give the Panthers defense a few fits, and this is a bit of a trap game for the Panthers, they just beat up on the Irish a couple weeks ago, and West Virginia is coming off a close loss to #5 Cincinnati – but not much about what the Mounties have done excites me.

West Virginia has beaten Connecticut – yep, that’s their best win. Their schedule wasn’t flashy, they didn’t have many tough match-ups on there, but Cincinnati, Auburn, and Connecticut are the 3 I would rank above the others – and they lost two of those games. And honestly, I’m giving their win over Connecticut up for what it was, a very tough-luck stretch for the Huskies.

The Mountaineers’ scoring is down, their defense has lost some of the athletes that helped them dominate the Big East. I think Pittsburgh has too much power for the Mountaineers. Up front, West Virginia can be moved around. The Panthers have a strong overall attack that opposing defenses can’t cheat against. I think that puts a mediocre Mountaineers team in tough spot this weekend.

Pittsburgh is undefeated against the Big East, and they are 4-2 ATS in those games. They find a way to win, and while the betting value isn’t on them in this one, I’m going against value and for the team that knows how to win.

Alabama Crimson Tide vs Auburn Tigers CFB Free Pick

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Alabama Crimson Tide (-12) @ Auburn Tigers CFB Free Pick: Lucky for you, this game is down to 10 at most books. 10 is much happier than 12, let me tell you what. I would love to make the change to 10, but picks are picks, and when mine came out on Tuesday Morning, the Tide were 12 point favorites, and I still liked them there.

It might not be the Tide that I like as much as the Tigers that I have absolutely no respect for. The Tigers have lost 4 of their last 6, their normal late season slide that never ends until they’re in some turd bowl floating like the rest of the brown trout. Yeah, I said it. Not impressed. The Tigers even lost to a stumbling Georgia team last week.

Now Auburn has beaten Alabama 6 of the last 7 times, a complete domination of the Crimson Tide, without doubt – but, there’s that one time, last year, when Alabama got good again, the Crimson Tide pulled out a 36-0 win over their rivals. Now Alabama hasn’t beaten Auburn in Auburn since 2001 – but that means about as much to me as the way the moons are aligning for the pre-game barbecue. Meaningless.

This Alabama team is very, very good. Up front they can beat and batter anyone, and I think we’ll all see that when they play Florida coming up here. The Tide have been out-rushed a total of zero times this season. Zero. Now that’s consistency. They’ve been out-passed just 3 times – now that’s a balanced attack – sure, but even more it’s one hell of a defense. Auburn scores lots of points, but not this time, they might max out around 10.

Clemson Tigers vs NC State Wolf Pack Free NCAA Pick

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Clemson Tigers (-7) @ NC State Wolf Pack Free NCAA Pick: As I expected, the spread value has moved away from Clemson, not surprising considering the Tigers’ talent and their success of late. It’s now at 8, but I got the Tigers at 7. Thus far, 65% of the public likes Clemson, and I imagine even more of them liked the Tigers as just a touchdown favorites. And get ready, because there’s more than a few methods to my Tiger-on-the-road pick where they are a paltry 1-3 so far this season.

Clemson has lost one pathetic game, getting beat by the Terps in Maryland 21-24. Aside from that, they’ve played pretty solid football against everyone. They’ve beaten Boston College, FSU, Miami, and Wake, those last 3 during their current 4 game winning streak. The Tigers had trouble against the heavy rushing teams they’ve faced this year, TCU, Georgia Tech, and Nebraska – all out-rushed the Tigers and did a solid job stopping the run.

That is not NC State’s offense. They give the ball to their talented QB, Russell Wilson, and they throw the rock. They’ve done so for over 2,500 yards this season, and Wilson has 24 touchdowns through the first 9 games. Clemson has turned to C.J. Spiller and the Tiger rushing attack, and they’ve reaped the benefits of one of the best runners in all the land. Defensively, they do a good job limiting opposing rushing attacks, and put pressure on opposing passers without having to blitz too often.

Lastly, and possibly most important, the Wolf Pack’s injury report has more patients than a high priced Hollywood rehab clinic. Already 10 players have been listed as “out for the season” – they have one more guy that is questionable, and another WR out indefinitely. If they can piece together a roster to stop C.J. Spiller and produce consistent touchdowns against the Tigers’ defense, they deserve to beat my pick.