St. Petersburg Bowl: Central Florida Vs. Rutgers, Preview, Picks

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I made some good points in my “Just Picks” newsletter about the St. Petersburg Bowl, presented by Beef ‘O’ Brady’s, and while I could easily find another way to say the same stuff, I think it would just be simpler for everyone if I just gave you the clip, I wanted to go with Rutgers and Tom Savage here, but I see a little problem with that pick and thus I’m going against a pretty good Rutgers team. Central Florida’s rushing attack is better, and they’ve out-rushed many opponents this year, and will probably out-rush the Scarlet Knights. In all four of Rutgers’ losses this year, they’ve been out-gained on the ground. That’s enough for me in what should be a very tight contest. Oh, and the game is being played in St. Petersburg, Florida. That’s just some of it. Here’s more.

I said that Rutgers has struggled when getting out-rushed, this is what I meant: They were out-rushed 5 times in the last 10 games – 3 of those games were straight up losses, and losses ATS as well. They were out-gained on the ground by Pittsburgh, Syracuse, and West Virginia, and all three of those teams got the win. Connecticut and Army also out-gained Rutgers, and while they beat Army fairly easily, UConn probably should have won that game.

I’ve liked Tom Savage all year, he’s done good things with his chances, and his fight has certainly impressed me – but match-ups are important, and I think the Florida Knights have a good chance to upset the Knights of Scarlet color.

Central Florida Knights (+3) vs. Rutgers Scarlet Knights

West Virginia Mountaineers vs Rutgers Scarlet Knights Pick

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West Virginia Mountaineers vs Rutgers Scarlet Knights Pick: This game has really moved around on me this week. I believe it opened up at even, and the line moved fast in betting favor of the Scarlet Knights, giving the home team 2.5 points when I picked my lines for the week on Monday Night. Since then, despite the high traffic of public bets on West Virginia, the line has moved in West Virginia’s favor, and now the Mountaineers are the underdog, +1.5 almost everywhere you look. 58% of the public bet is on WVU.

Rutgers has won 8 of their last 10, losing to Pittsburgh by a touchdown and getting routed by Syracuse, of all teams.But sometimes that’s what happens to young quarterbacks. Tom Savage has been great since taking over for the Scarlet Knights, and he’s been even more impressive at home. The only home games Rutgers lost all season were against Cincinnati and Pitt.

West Virginia has wan 6 of their last 8, getting beat by a field goal @ Cincinnati, and losing by 11 @ South Florida. The Mountaineers are 1-3 on the road this season. Their only road win was a beat down performed on the same Syracuse team Rutgers lost to a couple weeks ago. They are 4-6 ATS this season.

I like the home field advantage, I like the positive feel to the season thus far for the Knights. I like Tom Savage and the way he’s led his team. West Virginia is good, they’ll come to battle, but I like the home team.

West Virginia Mountaineers @ Rutgers Scarlet Knights (+2.5)

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.

College Football Betting: NCAA Week 11 2009 Review

I put together another winning Week in NCAA football, and it’s all starting to come together. This week I took games from Tuesday to Sunday, and I found a lot of winners in big conference match-ups, finishing 9-6 overall. What will a crazy Week 12 bring? Lets check out the review for Week 11 first. Here goes!

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Ohio Bobcats (+3) @ Buffalo Bulls: (WINNER) The Bobcats may have needed a late field goal to get the win, but they outplayed the Bulls – and that’s why they got the win. It’s always good to start out with a victory.

Toledo Rockets (+16) @ Central Michigan Chippewas: (Loss) This is what I get for picking against the Chipps. CMU put up 28 points in the 2nd quarter alone, tying the Rockets totals for the entire game. Toledo just couldn’t get it going, got some tough breaks, had a couple dropped balls, and just flat out couldn’t stop Dan LeFevour. The Chipps won by 28. That was 13 too many for me!

Bowling Green Falcons @ Miami (Ohio) Redhawks (+3) (Loss) This was tied at halftime, 14-14. That didn’t last too long into the second half as Bowling Green came out throwing, and defensively shutting down the Redhawks. 21 unanswered points later, the Falcons took me down, ousting Miami-Ohio 35-14. Sorry about this one.

South Florida Bulls @ Rutgers Scarlet Knights (+1): (WINNER) The Scarlet Knights dominated this game. Face it, with Tom Savage at quarterback, these Knights are very efficient, look how they’ve played since he became the starter. They are 7-1 with just a loss to Pittsburgh. They deserve more credit, until they get that, they have nice value.

West Virginia Mountaineers (+10) @ Cincinnati Bearcats: (WINNER) West Virginia battled all night with the Bearcats. Some will say that WVU had a late and seemingly meaningless score, ha, they played the Bearcats tough all game long, and were in it from start to finish, just like I said, 10 was too much.

Clemson Tigers (-7) @ NC State Wolf Pack: (WINNER) C.J. Spiller: best college football player I’ve seen this year. He almost outscored the Wolf Pack all by himself, throwing, rushing for, and catching a touchdown, Spiller was responsible for 3 TDs – the Pack scored just 23. If it was just C.J. versus the Pack, it would have been close, but Spiller got to use his teammates to help on Saturday, proving to be too much for N.C. State.

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (-10) @ Duke Blue Devils: (WINNER) The Yellow Jackets annihilated the Blue Devils, showing that while the Duke program is improving, they have a long way to go. GT just had too much power and swag, dominating this contest all the way through.

Michigan Wolverines (+10) @ Wisconsin Badgers: (Loss)The Wolverines weren’t looking so bad going into half, down just 21-17, but the Badgers did work in the second half, scoring 24 points to the Wolverines’ 7. One has to wonder how long Coach Rodriguez will have that job in Michigan. Maybe Notre Dame will hire him?

Kentucky Wildcats @ Vanderbilt Commodores (+3): (Loss) After being up 13-10 going into the half, the Commodores remembered how they collected those first 8 losses on the season, and sure enough, the managed to duplicate the feat and give up 14 points in the 2nd half while scoring none. When you pick teams that lose, sometimes they manage to show you exactly why they do so.

Arizona Wildcats (pk) @ California Golden Bears: (Loss) The Cats really ruined a chance for a big match-up further down the line, and a chance to really take their program up a notch when they just flat out didn’t make big plays against the Bears. Cal played like they wanted it more, if was definitely a tough one to stomach, despite the competitiveness of the game and the close score, I think this Arizona team should beat the Bears 8 of 10 times they play. This was one of those two…

Washington Huskies @ Oregon State Beavers (-11): (WINNER) I said the line wouldn’t matter here, and I was dead on, just like I wrote, the Beavers were the Huskies worst nightmare, further proving that while the Huskies can hang around against throwing teams, these running powerhouse’s just dominate the Dawgs.

UCLA Bruins (+18) @ Washington State Cougars: (WINNER) The Bruins did everything I thought they’d do, dominate the Cougars from snap to end game, and they did it a lot of ways. In my write up I said, “just because teh Bruins only average about 20 points a game doesn’t mean they won’t put up 30+” and I couldn’t have called it better. I also mentioned that if the game was “any closer than 35-10 I would be absolutely stunned”. Not stunned.

Miami Hurricanes @ North Carolina Tar Heels (+3.5): (WINNER) I really liked the Tar Heels chances with capitalizing on Miami mistakes, and just like I predicted, that became a huge part of this game. The Heels didn’t keep it as low scoring as I imagined, but that’s because they put up tons of points against the Canes. A nice upset on the road for a growing Tar Heel program.

Notre Dame Fighting Irish (+7.5) @ Pittsburgh Panthers: (WINNER) The Irish were outmatched and out-manned in this one, but they fought back late to get me the cover. An Irish loss, a cover for me – it couldn’t get much better. What did I learn from this game? If Charlie Weis has a job in football next season, he has Golden Tate to thank, because without that guy’s turbo button, I think the Irish wouldn’t have made a bowl game this year.

East Carolina Pirates @ Tulsa Hurricane (-5.5): (Loss)Tulsa not only lost, they got smacked around. Favored by 5 against an East Carolina team that couldn’t seem to muster an ounce of offense last week was too much for them. ECU’s defense scored more than Tulsa’s offense – never a good sign. Sunday NCAA loss for me.

South Florida Bulls vs Rutgers Scarlet Knights Free Pick

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South Florida Bulls @ Rutgers Scarlet Knights (+1)Free Pick: These teams are pretty dang equal. Both are 6-2, both have lost to just Cincinnati and Pittsburgh, and both have played consistent football all season long, on the road, at home, everywhere. Neither team stuns you with their offensive attack, and while South Florida is a little faster on defense, they are a little smaller as well. Face it, these two teams are equal. But 54% like the road favorites (though favored by just a point).

The advantage that I see for Rutgers is the way they’ve played since Tom Savage took over at quarterback. The freshman gun slinger has been very efficient, made very few costly errors, and turned into a young leader or this football team. Since he started under center, the Knights are 6-1 with their loss being a 24-17 against 12th ranked Pittsburgh. The Scarlet Knights don’t throw interceptions, they don’t fumble the ball, and they control the clock. Sounds like a good bet to me.

South Florida might be the more talented team of the two, but they are known for their late season let-downs. Now, all they’ve done is lost to Cincinnati and Pittsburgh, so it’s not like they’ve crumbled to bad teams, and a win against West Virginia helped salvage the last few weeks, but this is a team that hasn’t played well down the stretch of their schedules over the years. B.J. Daniels, like Savage, took over at quarterback for start QB Matt Grothe when Grothe went down with a season ending injury. He’s played well, but the team hasn’t performed better like Rutgers has.

I think momentum is on Rutgers’ side. They are playing at home against an equal opponent. The value is with them.

Rutgers Scarlet Knights vs Army Black Knights Free Pick

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Rutgers Scarlet Knights @ Army Black Knights (+10): I like Rutgers, I picked them last week and they lost, but that’s not why I’m going against them here. The Black Knights play close games, and really, the final scores in their losses don’t completely show how well they’ve hung in with almost every single opponent this year. They were down just 1 going into the 4th quarter of their 19-35 loss to the Duke Blue Devils. They were tied at 13 midway through the 4th quarter in their 27-13 loss to a solid Temple team. They’ve played well against almsot everyone, are 3-4 on the season, and can really run with toughness. Two running teams, a Friday Night game on ESPN, I’ll take the 10-point home underdog, thanks.

Week 12 College Football Picks Review: 2007

A couple games under .500 this time around, this is how a half a point here, and a half a point there took me under the parallel bars.

LUCKY LESTER’S Free NCAA Football Pick Review

Free Picks: Week 12

West Virginia Mountaineers @ Cincinnati Bearcats (+6): win
(Line: Thursday, 2:00am EST: SBG Belmont)

They didn’t quite get the win, but my 6 points were just enough to cover and get me a much needed NCAA win to start off my week. The Mountaineers were too fast offensively for Cinci when it came right down to it, and with a win, they kept a fat chance open for a National Championship run if the right dominoes fall.

Pittsburgh Panthers @ Rutgers Scarlet Knights (-11.5): loss
(Line: Wednesday, 11:00pm EST: Belmont)

So, I was wrong about Pittsburgh. I thought they’d mail it in after a loss to Navy, but they’ve played pretty well late in the season, including a close loss to the Knights on Saturday. Rutgers didn’t dominate like I thought they would, something that has happened once or twice already this season.

Iowa State Cyclones @ Kansas Jayhawks (-26): win
(Line: Thursday, 4:00pm EST: WSEX)

“The Cyclones are one of the worst teams in college football, despite playing well in a big game or two this season (close game against Oklahoma and a win over Iowa come to mind) but they have also absolutely sucked against superb offenses (which the Jayhawks definitely have).” The Cyclones continued their trend, and the Jayhawks once again dominanted a lesser opponent. It will be interesting to see what happens when they play the Tigers this coming weekend.

Kentucky Wildcats (+7.5) @ Georgia Bulldogs: loss
(Line: Wednesday, 11:00pm EST: Belmont)

This half point loss wasn’t what I needed. I thought the Wildcats would have too much of a passing attack for the Bulldogs, but in the end, Georgia’s pressure off the edge put the Wildcats in one too many long yardage situations, and Georgia won by 8.

Duke Blue Devils (+6) @ Notre Dame: loss
(Line: Wednesday, 11:00pm EST: BodogLife)

The dream died, and in quite possibly the game that decided the worst team in college football, the Blue Devils once again stepped up to prove that they were the proud owners of that Burger King Paper Crown. The Irish won big, and let me tell you, that will be the last time that happens this season.

Five Free Dogs to Walk!

Maryland Terrapins (+7.5) @ Florida State Seminoles: loss (half point)
(Line: Thursday, 4:00pm EST: Belmont)

Oklahoma Sooners @ Texas Tech Red Raiders (+8.5): win
(Line: Thursday, 4:00pm EST: Bodog)

Tulane Green Wave (+2) @ Rice Owls: win
(Line: Thursday, 4:00pm EST: Belmont)

Northwestern Wildcats (+13.5) @ Illinois Fighting Illini: loss
(Line: Thursday, 4:00pm EST: Belmont)

Idaho Vandals (+34.5) @ Boise State Broncos: loss
(Line: Thursday, 4:00pm EST: Belmont)

Two half a point losses turned what could have been a 6-4 into a 4-6. There’s always next week! A 3-2 record with my elite picks made me feel a little better, but 7-8 overall isn’t much to be excited about.

Free College Football Picks Week 12 – 2007

After a .500 mark in Week 11, the 12th week of the NCAA Football Season is starting down the path of success. I looked early and love some lines, but thinking they would move in my favor the closer we get to Saturday’s action, I waited some big games out. Some of my line movement predictions held true, and some stayed the same, but I think I have a nice card this weekend. Here they are, from favorites to dogs, big conference games, and little meaningless games that will prove to be big winners. Here are my free picks for week 12.

LUCKY LESTER’S Free NCAA Football Picks

Free Picks: Week 12

West Virginia Moutaineers @ Cincinnati Bearcats (+6):
(Line: Thursday, 2:00am EST: SBG Belmont)

I like the Bearcats to pull yet another Big East upset here. I think these teams are a lot closer than many people think, and that will show on Saturday. The Bearcats play well at home, and are just a flat out speedy team that will match up well with West Virginia.

Pittsburgh Panthers @ Rutgers Scarlet Knights (-11.5):
(Line: Wednesday, 11:00pm EST: Belmont)

Pittsburgh has really surprised me a few tiems this season, and beating an absolutely horrendous Syracuse team (20-17) a couple weeks ago wasn’t one of those times. The Panther’s win over Cincinnati is probably the most amazing thing I’ve encountered this season. See, I thin the Panthers are terrible – hence they lost to Navy, got beat by 30 at Virginia, and 3 of their 4 wins came against Navy, Grambling, and Eastern Michigan. I just think the Scarlet Knights are too good everywhere on the field for Pittsburgh to hang around. I know they’re young, and getting more mature late in the season, but that team will get embarrassed by their Big East foe from New Jersey.

Iowa State Cyclones @ Kansas Jayhawks (-26):
(Line: Thursday, 4:00pm EST: WSEX)

The Cyclones are one of the worst teams in college football, despite playing well in a big game or two this season (close game against Oklahoma and a win over Iowa come to mind) but they have also absolutely sucked against superb offense (which the Jayhawks definitely have). Todd Reesing (KU’s QB) has 26 TD passes and only 4 interceptions, and Kansas has been even more amazing at home this season, outscoring opponents 52-7, 62-0, 45-13, 55-3, 58-10, and 76-39. I know those opponents have been brutal, but what’s the difference between one of those terrible foes and the Cyclones? They are all bad. Look for Kansas to get their 11th win and easily stay undefeated.

Kentucky Wildcats (+7.5) @ Georgia Bulldogs:
(Line: Wednesday, 11:00pm EST: Belmont)

The Wildcats have been solid on the road, 2-1 SU, 2-1 ATS. They are, in my opinion, the more balanced team, and have more consistency all over the field. Kentucky has lost 3 of their last 5 games, but wins over LSU and at Vanderbilt have allowed the Wildcats to keep on keeping on. They’ve only lost two games by more than 8 points, and consistently press the offensive action until opposing defense crumble. The Wildcats have scored less than 23 points once all season long, while Georgia has been held under 26 points 4 times this season. I think this game is too much of a toss up to ignore the chance to get the Wildcats as more than a touchdown dogs. I think last week’s dumping of Auburn will actually work against the Bulldogs in this game.

Duke Blue Devils (+6) @ Notre Dame:
(Line: Wednesday, 11:00pm EST: BodogLife)

I never thought I’d be taking Duke to beat the Fighting Irish, but there’s not much fighting about these Irish kids. The whole team is crumbling, and the coaching staff is being questioned on every decision, recruiting blunder, and crushing loss. Think how terrible this loss would be for the Irish. A loss to the Duke Blue Devils is crushing for any program, but one as grand as the historic Notre Dame Fighting Irish? Two losses to military schools and a home loss to Duke – yes, this could be a mystical seasons for those anti-Irish guys.

Five Free Dogs to Walk!

Maryland Terrapins (+7.5) @ Florida State Seminoles:
(Line: Thursday, 4:00pm EST: Belmont)

Oklahoma Sooners @ Texas Tech Red Raiders (+8.5):
(Line: Thursday, 4:00pm EST: Bodog)

Tulane Green Wave (+2) @ Rice Owls:
(Line: Thursday, 4:00pm EST: Belmont)

Northwestern Wildcats (+13.5) @ Illinois Fighting Illini:
(Line: Thursday, 4:00pm EST: Belmont)

Idaho Vandals (+34.5) @ Boise State Broncos:
(Line: Thursday, 4:00pm EST: Belmont)