Navy Midshipmen vs Notre Dame Fighting Irish Free Pick

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Navy Midshipmen @ Notre Dame Fighting Irish (-11) Free Pick: I normally don’t think much of Notre Dame’s chances to cover double digit spreads. They play heaps of close games, are greatly overrated, and spend way too much time throwing the ball, which, if you’ve noticed, is a good way not to cover spreads against lesser teams. Now, Navy is a run-centered team, they hardly ever throw the ball and use the ground and pound style to shorten the game and get tough yards. That’s good for covering double digit spreads as well.

However, I’m taking Notre Dame. They are the better team, and have a passing attack unlike anything Navy has had to go against this season. But the main reason I’m taking the Irish here is that Navy’s starting quarterback, Ricky Dobbs, though listed as probable for Saturday’s contest against the Irish, will not be 100%. In Navy’s last game, Dobbs went down early and couldn’t finish the game, giving way to Dayne Crist (who played well) in their loss to Temple. Without Dobbs at 100%, the chances of Navy pulling the upset definitely dwindle.

Throughout their 6 wins so far this season, only against Washington State and Nevada did the Irish win by double digits. That’s amazing, I know, especially when you consider their prolific offense and elite talent, but they haven’t been able to stop many people. I think their defense steps up against Navy, and their offense pours it on.

Illinois Fighting Illini vs Minnesota Golden Gophers NCAA Pick

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Illinois Illini (+7) @ Minnesota Golden Gophers NCAA Pick: Once again, I love these late season games where 2-6 teams that have struggled but are still better than 5-4 teams finally get a chance to try and make things right. I’m a strong believer that when Illinois travels to Minnesota to play the Gophers, that’s exactly the type of game they’ll be playing.

Illinois has stunk this year, no doubt about it. But despite their stinking, they had lost 3 games by two touchdowns or less before beating the piss out of Michigan last week, 38-13. That was their second straight win against the spread, and probably the first game they played up to their talent level. They’ve certainly had a pretty tough schedule to start the season, about as tough as Big 10 opening schedules go – playing Missouri, Penn State, Ohio State, Michigan State, a talented Indiana team, and Purdue – then Michigan. I’m not crazy about the Big 10, but aside from also playing Iowa, that’s about as tough a schedule as a Big 10 team can have.

Minnesota just got done beating Michigan State at home last week, and they’ve played pretty good football in Minnesota. They are 3-2, but a close loss to Wisconsin was a good showing, and it was a 21-21 tie with Cal until the Bears broke the tie with 7 minutes left in the 4th. So, they’re comfortable on the road.

The road team has won 3 of the last 4 meetings between these two schools. Despite the fact that Minnesota has covered in 4 of the last 5 and won outright in all four of those games, I’m taking Illinois to continue playing good football. They have the talent…

Kansas Jayhawks vs Kansas State Wildcats Prediction

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Kansas Jayhawks (-3) @ Kansas State Wildcats Prediction: The Jayhawks are the better team. I truly believe that, and that’s really the key to this pick for me. Besides that, I don’t see them losing four straight. They’ve just lost three straight, two of which were to pretty dang good teams in Oklahoma and Texas Tech. The Jayhawks have lost 5 straight games against the spread. Kansas State has played pretty well over the last 3 weeks, beating the piss out of Texas A&M before beating Colorado, and then losing by just 12 to Oklahoma when they were a 28 point underdog. But I see things evening out, because in the end, Kansas is the better team.

The Jayhawks have owned this series over the last 5 years, winning 4 of 5 games and covering at the same rate. The Jayhawks have been greatly out-rushed by the Wildcats over the last three years, but that hasn’t seemed to bother them. Defensively they capitalize on mistakes, and the Wildcat passing game is prone to those exact things.

64% of the gambling public agrees with me, they’re taking Kansas. Not the greatest feeling when you’re betting on a team that has lost 5 straight against the spread yet they’re still getting public love, but it is what it is. Star Kansas QB, Todd Reesing was benched in the 4th quarter of a close game last week at Texas Tech. But he’ll be back in the line-up this week, and I think that benching improves the entire team. They seem to love their QB, and I expect them to have better effort to help him stay in the game.

Oregon Ducks vs Stanford Cardinal NCAA Pick & Preview

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Oregon Ducks @ Stanford Cardinal (+5.5) NCAA Pick & Preview: Stanford is one of the best teams in the Nation that nobody knows about. What does that mean to you? It means they are a great bet. They’ve had a couple tough losses over the last three games, going just 1-2 during that stretch. But this spread is not right. First of all, it’s even better (for Stanford side) now than it was when I made the pick. The Cardinal are now getting a full touchdown at home. They are a physical team that matches up well with Oregon, and the Ducks are just coming off a huge emotional high after upsetting the Trojans (though it was hardly an upset, they’re better than USC).

Regardless, the value is in Stanford’s corner. Andrew Luck is a very good quarterback that nobody knows. The Cardinal have a very physical offense line that should give Oregon’s defense lots of trouble. Both these teams run the ball very well, Stanford doesn’t have as many big plays, but they get first downs, shorten games, and end up on top more often than not. Like I said, they’ve struggled a bit over their last few games, but this is a good team that has a lot to prove as big home dogs to the Ducks.

The Cardinal are undefeated at home this season, and seem to really flourish with their home crowd behind them. Oregon is good, no doubt, but expect a let down a week after the SC win. Oregon has won 7 straight games against Stanford, and a lot of those weren’t close. All these things will weigh in, and I think that favors Stanford here.

Washington Huskies vs UCLA Bruins Free NCAA Pick

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Washington Huskies (+4.5) @ UCLA Bruins Free NCAA Pick: The public actually slightly likes Washington in this one, and that kind of surprises me, but I’m proud of them, maybe they see what I see. I see that UCLA has a pretty good defense, but they can’t get anything working on offense. They have quarterbacks that can’t seem to step into any throws, and a rushing attack that doesn’t produce much. They’ve been out-rushed in each of their last 5 games, all losses. Washington can play with any team that can’t efficiently run the ball, or won’t commit to running the ball early and often, and in all those cases they are a good bet to cover.

Both teams are 3-5 coming into this game, and a loss here, for either team, makes a bowl game improbably if not impossible. The Huskies have some things working against them: away from that very loud home crowd, they are just 1-7 ATS in their last 8. Also, the Huskies are just 2-10 ATS in their last 12 games against UCLA. But the Bruins have some bad shine as well, they are just 9-26-1 ATS in their last 36 games against teams with losing records. They have trouble beating up on, or just beating in general, teams that they are supposed to beat.

The Huskies have a long list of injuries that includes one of their best defensive players (LB, E.J. Savannah) and their best player on the team (QB, Jake Locker), but Jake is expected to play, but E.J. is not. Most of the players are listed as questionable, but from what I here are expected to be okay by game time. Washington hasn’t played since October 24th, after getting last week off, and should be well prepared for the Bruins.