Tag Archives: auburn

Beating Vegas: Ironclad Locks

Alabama -4.5 at Auburn

This scene is all-too-familiar.  It was just a couple of weeks ago that Auburn was a slight home underdog to the number one team in the nation, Georgia and came up not only covering, but winning. . . and winning BIG.  Once again the table is set up in a very similar fashion.  These two teams have offenses and defenses that are in the SEC’s top three and this will be the eighty-first meeting between these two teams, in a rivalry known as the “Iron Bowl.”  Whoever wins this game will get to play Georgia for the SEC title, which in turn helps to solidify a spot in the College Football Playoff.     Even looking at it by position: Quarterback, Running Back, Wide Receiver – they are pretty much even throughout.  Auburn has a history of being the home dog that ruins things for Alabama.  This year, there is added incentive as they not only can play the role of “spoiler” but also help themselves in getting closer to the title of “Champion.”

The Pick: Auburn +4.5

Florida Atlantic -21 at NC Charlotte

Well, well, well. . . we finally get to talk about a game that includes the name: Lane Kiffin.  Kiffin took the head coaching job at Florida Atlantic, in hopes to jump-start his career as the head guy.  Kiffin and the Owls had a rough go of things starting out the season 1-3 but now the Owls are winners of seven straight games and this is much do to them becoming the tenth-best rushing attack in college football.  Running back, Devin Singletary (possibly the best running back you never hear spoken of) has racked up 24 touchdowns, averages 6.6 yards a carry and is looking to add to his 1524 rushing yards.  Considering how the Charlotte 49ers are allowing nearly 200 yards a game on the ground at a 4.5 yard clip – it’s lunchtime for Singletary and this Owl offensive line.   Last week against this defense Southern Miss running back Ito Smith racked up 3 touchdowns and 153 yards.  Charlotte can run the ball pretty well, but have red-zone issues like very few do in college football.  Speaking of the red-zone, Kiffin’s Owls have a 95% success rate of scoring when they get in the twenty yard line while the 49ers ALLOW opponents to score 92.11% of the time.  Something else that may interest those looking to wager on the side of Florida Atlantic: Lane Kiffin isn’t shy when it comes to pouring it on, embarrassing opponents and proving a point.  You want that kind of coach when covering a three-touchdown-defecit.

The Pick: Florida Atlantic -21

Texas Tech +8.5 at Texas

Head coach Kliff Kingsbury is the cool-kid-in-school.  Even at a school where he is nearly twenty years older than most of the students – Kingsbury is still the king of cool.  Unfortunately for him, his good looks and charisma may be cooling off with the Texas Tech faithful.  The Red Raiders are currently 5-6  with all of their wins coming against below-average competition (sorry, Houston but it’s been a down-year for you guys and you know it).   When your defense allows a 65% completion percentage and 4.3 yards a carry, that just means the offense needs to carry all the weight.  For all that matters, the offense does try and it shows – the Red Raiders have the the 8th most passing yards in college football, along with fifth highest pass completion percentage at 68.9%.  Those numbers will be put to the test by a Texas Longhorns defense holding opponents to a 59% completion percentage and 3 yards per rush attempt.   Texas has shown improvement from the previous two seasons and have competed in games that last year would’ve been completely lob-sided.   Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger will get the start for the Longhorns and although he isn’t the most polished passer, he is a dual threat QB who should give the Red Raiders defense fits.  Texas Tech will struggle to get their offense off the ground in this one.  And for four quarters of football, this defense will get worn down and give up the big plays to the Longhorns.

The Pick: Texas -8.5

 

Good Luck and Wager Wisely!

G.W. Gras

Twitter @GeeSteelio

 

Beating Vegas: Familiar Faces

NC State -3 at Boston College

N.C. State has become the most talked about team here at Beating Vegas.  This is the FOURTH time they’ve been mentioned by me this year.  It’d be great to say we’ve hit each time with N.C. State but the truth is, they are 1-2 when they’ve been picked to cover the spread by Beating Vegas.  With that said:  Here we go again.  N.C. State was riding a six-game win streak until fate hit them with really tough back-to-back competition, losing to Notre Dame by twenty-one points and losing to Clemson by six points.  It doesn’t get much easier as their next two games are on the road against two pretty good defenses. The Boston College defense is allowing 25 points per game and are tied in the ACC with 13 interceptions.  Teams complete only 51% of their passes against them.  If there is a weakness it’s the rush attack which allows five-yards per rush.  It’s not good, but not terrible considering the attacks they have to face in the ACC. The Eagles ground attack is there only attack and will be one dimensional throughout this game.  N.C. State is averaging 32 points per game (8 more than B.C.) and has done it with a consistent balance that doesn’t turn over the ball often.  This spread is too low and that is because Vegas is banking on the public falling in love with an Eagles team that clobbered a Florida State team that is “all name and no game.”  N.C. State is a well coached team who does not over-look their opponents.

The Pick: N.C. State -3

 

Georgia -2.5 at Auburn

This is a game I had circled after week four of the college football season.  Auburn has been a favorite of mine to surprise folks this year.  Before we get into the numbers and the pick, a little Google-search shows that Georgia leads this series 57-55-8 in what is called “Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry” (okay I knew the last part but still. . .).  This match-up has been going on since 1892 and I wouldn’t say these are the biggest stakes to be had in the history of this rivalry – but, the stakes are definitely big enough.  Georgia is the current #1 team in the nation with Auburn being ranked 10th.   These teams run the ball well, defend the run well.  They both throw the ball “efficiently enough” to give their teams a good balance and they both hold opponents to a 55% completion percentage.  Publicly the early money-lean is going by way of the Georgia Bulldogs at 71% and this isn’t a surprise.  What to look at here is the balance these two teams have against each other AND the fact that Auburn is playing at home for the first time in THREE weeks.  Meanwhile, Georgia has to hit the road after beating a South Carolina team that was not an “easy-out.”  This game is going to have some moments, the final moment though will be the “War-Eagle” chant with the students of Auburn filling the field.

The Pick: Auburn +2.5

 

Oregon State +23.5 at Arizona

Yes, we blew it with Arizona last week as they decided to play one half of football when it was too late but – this is still a good team and Khalil Tate is still one of the more exciting players in football to watch this year.   Honestly,  this game has nothing to do with Arizona and everything to do with Oregon State.   Teams have had no problems running against the Beavers as this defense has allowed 4.7 yards a carry against them (by the way, when Bowl Season comes around, keep in mind that every team in the Pac-12 gives up more than 4 yards a carry outside of Oregon and Washington).  They are pretty good against the pass but let’s not be silly, Arizona is going to run the ball, run it again and run some mo’. Arizona’s rush attack has proven to be just as dangerous as Notre Dame’s, averaging seven yards a carry and closing in on 3000 total rushing yards for the season. Outside of UTEP and Northern Arizona though, the Wildcats haven’t blown out anybody by a margin this big.  This is one where you might want to take the Arizona Wildcats for some first half action, but watch out for Oregon State get some back door scores during mop-up-duty.

The Pick: Oregon State +23.5

Good Luck and Wager Wisely!

G.W. Gras

twitter @GeeSteelio

 

Beating Vegas: Gettin’ Green With the Irish

Between the NFL and college football picks, we broke dead even last week.  Wisconsin was really the biggest let down in not covering the spread last week and seeing them pretty much sleep-walk through games is going to be something to watch for as the season progresses. This week we’re trying to pack an extra punch so let’s go!

 

Notre Dame -14 at North Carolina

Whenever Notre Dame is a double digit favorite it seems they kind of lag and never cover.  This year has been pretty different just for the fact that they are NOT playing to the level of their competition.  The Fighting Irish, are actually playing like a contender this season.  N.D. is currently 4-1 with their only loss being to Georgia by one point (and if you’ve seen Georgia lately, you know that losing to them by a single point is nothing to scoff at).  The Irish are tenth in the nation when it comes to rushing yards per game (301.4) and are third in the nation in yards per carry (7.1).  Leading the charge behind this offensive line is running back Josh Adams who is averaging a ridiculous 9 yards a carry at the moment.  Irish quarterback Brandon Winbush, isn’t trusted much to throw the ball, but his running ability is what keeps teams on notice as he is averaging 6.8 yards a carry.  This Notre Dame defense is allowing 18 points a game and is facing a Larry Fedora coached Tar Heels team that needs to act as if this is the first game of the season. The Tar Heels are 1-4 on the season and have an offense that is sputtering out brown oil from the sides of it’s engine. If that’s not bad enough their defense is allowing 33 points per game, allowing 11 touchdown passes (tied for most in the ACC) and allowing 5 yards a rush.  Last week against Georgia Tech, another team who’s offense is predicated off the rushing attack, they allowed two backs to go over 100 rushing yards and gave up a net of 403 yards on the ground.  Using the Beating Vegas “Smash Average” – Notre Dame should easily average about 5.95 yards a carry.  The Tar Heels’ last four losses are snowballing into bigger point differentials (5, 8, 10 then 26) and Fedora may have to chalk this season up as a try out for the younger guys on the depth chart.

The Pick: Notre Dame -14

New Mexico State +10.5 at Appalachian State

The last time Beating Vegas went against Appalachian State,  they beat Texas State but couldn’t cover the big number.  Now the Mountaineers have caught our eye again at Beating Vegas. . . Quarterback Taylor Lamb has continued to be efficient throwing 8 touchdowns with no interceptions so far this year but if you take away their game against poor ol’ Savannah State, the offense hasn’t really had a chance to take off.  They’ve played two “big boy” defenses in Georgia and Wake Forest, but even then when they played against Texas State (ahem, ahem) the offense could only muster up 20 points.  New Mexico State, has been airing it out all season long with senior quarterback Tyler Rogers.  Rogers looks like a totally different quarterback than he was last year – raising his completion percentage from 55% to 65% and has gone from a TD:Interception ratio of 4:3 to 3:1.  What’s been helping Rogers a lot is a healthy Larry Rose III who is averaging 5.6 yards a carry and is currently three yards short of 400 on the year.  Also, Appalachian State does not have a corner to stick with the 6’6″ wide-out Jaleel Scott, which will end up being a problem.   New Mexico State has the firepower to score, it’s all about how much they are willing to gamble.

The Pick: New Mexico State +10.5

Ole Miss +21.5 at Auburn

I remember a time, when Ole Miss was probably one of my favorite teams to watch.  From Bo Wallace, to Chad Kelly.  Robert Nkemdiche to LaQuan Treadwell – they were exciting, energetic and aggressive.  Nowadays, if you have a defense, they can’t score. . .and if you punch them in the face, they won’t stop you.  The Runnin’ Rebels are 2-2 on the season, beating up on the likes of South Alabama and Tenn-Martin to then getting the muzzle put on them by Cal and getting completely stomped and obliterated by Alabama.  Ole Miss is giving up 35 points per game and 5.3 yards a rush.  Sure they can air it out – but most of those numbers are a mirage thanks to those two early season cup-cake opponents.  Auburn is the real deal.  You can’t run on their defense, and you can’t pass against this defense.  They are 4-1 on the year losing 14-6 to a Clemson team that is still apparently as dangerous as they were last year, but in the last two weeks they have completely wiped the floor with Missouri and Mississippi State (who up to last week people were saying could be a surprise team to come out of the SEC – yeah, okay).  Ole Miss is a team the shoots themselves in the foot with penalties and will lose focus quickly.  The atmosphere and competition are too much for this Ole Miss team to overcome.

The Pick: Auburn -21.5

Four Game Teaser of the Week: Notre Dame -2; Marshall -3;  Kentucky +2 and Wisconsin +.5

 

Good Luck and Wager Wisely!

G.W. Gras

Twitter @GeeSteelio

 

Beating Vegas: “Go Tigers! No, Not You – Them”

Last week Beating Vegas went 50/50 on College and NFL picks.  That’s just not going to cut it here, so let’s knock out these College Football picks first.  It’s usually around this time that the football programs start to show their true colors.

Auburn -19.5 at Missouri

It’s the Auburn Tigers playing the Missouri Tigers.  Auburn confuses this match-up even more by having the “War Eagle” cry and having a bald eagle summoned on and off their home field.  Why couldn’t they be the Auburn War-Eagles?  That would’ve been ridiculous. . .but anyway. Auburn is a team, I projected to go over their pre-season over/under total of eight wins. They are so far, 2-1 and I’m liking my chances still, and I’m holding onto my prediction of them making the SEC title game as well. Last week’s 24-10 win was more of a self-inflicted comedy of errors on their part, rather than Mercer keeping up with Auburn, but none-the-less it showed that the offense is still a work in progress. Quarterback Jarrett Stidham seems to look good in the pocket but hasn’t “wow’ed” anybody yet. He’s throwing at a 70% completion rate but has two touchdown, two interceptions and is averaging below 8 yards a pass. The team is predicated on it’s run game led by Kamryn Pettway but he has even started off slow, averaging less than 4 yards a carry after averaging at least 6 yards per carry last year.  He should get off to a good start against Missouri though who has allowed the most rushing touchdowns in the SEC so far this season (9). Interesting stat though recorded last year:  In the last five years, Missouri post a record of 22-8 at home.  This isn’t a “blow your mind” type of stat but it’s worth noting especially since Auburn in the last five years is 10-11 playing as visitors.   Missouri just got embarrassed by Purdue and got handled by South Carolina but the truth is, those are two programs under a lot of peoples radar at the moment and they probably DID catch Missouri off guard.  This Missouri team has the ability to spread the ball around and they will take chances.  The spread has moved up a point in this game and public currently is all over Auburn.  Take the home underdog in a Prime Time game.

The Pick: Missouri +19.5

Arkansas State +5.5 at SMU

Arkansas State is a team that isn’t scared of much.  They don’t care that they are in the Sun Belt and choose to schedule Auburn (last year) or Nebraska (this year).  They feel they have a team that can swing with the heavy weights every year.  SMU has shown that they struggle against the pass, when tested – as was displayed in their loss to TCU and their win against North Texas.  Arkansas State will look at 6000 empty seats during this SMU game and not feel intimidated by the home crowd.  This number may go up so it’s worth waiting another day or two, but even at 5.5 its too much to pass up.  SMU has a defensive front that’s inexperienced and that’ll go well for the work-in-progress offensive line Arkansas State brings to the table as their aggressive offense will be pushing the ball all day against the Mustangs.

The Pick: Arkansas State +5.5

Rutgers +11 at Nebraska

Both teams enter this contest with a 1-2 record.  But one of them is Rutgers.  Sure Rutgers put up a “decent” fight in the 30-14 loss against Washington, but lets be honest.  Washington flew cross country to play a team the entire nation has good reason to take lightly.  Afterwards they lost to Eastern Michigan and blew out Morgan State.  Morgan State sounds more like a financial firm than a college that has a football team so do what you want with that.  Nebraska has gone up against pretty impressive offensive attacks in Arkansas State (see above), Oregon and Northern Illinois – losing the last two respectively.  Some may see the Northern Illinois game as an “upset” but when Northern Illinois plays any team in a power five conference, the opposition is automatically put on “upset alert.”  This is a game where Nebraska can gain control early in front of their home town and focus on what needs to be done. The spread has gone from 13 to 11 which is bizarre considering most of the action is going Nebraska’s way.  Expect a big game from Nebraska running back Trey Bryant, who is averaging 6.1 yards a carry so far this season.

The Pick: Nebraska -11

Only if you must: The over is 71 in the TCU at Oklahoma State game.  Both defenses either lose interest or get burned out, and both offenses can get hot quick.  This is the Big 12, it’s shoot out city.  The spread itself has Oklahoma State as a -13.5 point favorite.  This is a game to watch for future reference.  If OK State blows out TCU, they might become what Baylor was a few years back – a team to ride 17-22 point first half covers throughout the year.

Good Luck and Wager Wisely!

G.W. Gras

twitter @GeeSteelio

Beating Vegas: Rivalry Week

We were two-backdoor-points away from being perfect last week, thanks to Washington letting up late in the game against Arizona State – BUT – two out of three ain’t too shabby as we continue to beat Vegas this year.   Thanksgiving week brings us the beginning of the holidays, good food, family, friends and more importantly an entire week of football games.  Monday through Sunday we got something going on – but here at Beating Vegas, we’ll steer you into the right direction of which games to pay attention to. . .

LSU -4 at Texas A&M

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Thanksgiving Day ain’t just for the big boys.  While the NFL gets all the attention on Turkey Day, the SEC is not to be ignored.  Slating LSU against Texas A&M worked out to be a good game that should garner some attention on the holiday.  LSU is quite possibly the best four loss team in the country.  All four losses come to ranked teams and they loss those games by 2, 5, 10 and 6 points.  Their brand of football is an SEC standard – of dominating the line of scrimmage.  This is exemplified by their offensive line that pushes the ball at 6.2 yards a carry and a defensive front that limits the opposition to 3.4 yards a carry.  Usually a team that is so one dimensional on offense can get out-played by an athletic defense – but their one dimension is so good, it really doesn’t factor in.  Texas A&M looked like a “sleeper team” in the SEC (if their is such a thing) but the pressure got to them and they’ve been on a downward spiral.  Before last week’s lack-luster 23-10 win over UTSA, they lost three of their last four. Team’s that beat LSU usually have a good run defense – A&M’s is “decent” when at it’s best, allowing 4.1 yards a carry (working out a “clash-average” of 5.15 yards in the favor of LSU (yes, “Clash-Average” is something I made up, and it seems to help make sense of things).  LSU is coming off a tough loss to a good opponent and is playing with a lot of fire, A&M as of late,  plays as if they’re scared of their ow shadow.

The Pick: LSU -4

Auburn +17.5 at Alabama

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Keeping it with the SEC, here is a rivalry that is downright ugly.   The “Iron Bowl” has seen these two teams slug it out 80 times. Alabama leads searies 44–35–1, and currently is on a two game winning streak against Auburn.   Bama is by far the team to beat in the country and it really is going to take some kind of effort to beat them. . . They are number one in the SEC in total defense allowing 11.4 points a game and number one in total offense, scoring 40.3 points a game.  They are annoyingly good at everything they do.  Auburn is kinda-sorta the lower case version of Bama this year – and although Auburn fans will find that extremely offensive – it’s not a bad thing.  Auburn is scoring 34 points a game and allowing 14 — Auburn’s rush defense is allowing 3.4 yards a rush – which is great to see (Bama’s defense allows 2.2) and when it comes to pass defense, they are pretty much neck and neck – and you’d be splitting hairs to give the advantage to Alabama.  This is a rivalry game and Auburn knows what’s at stake for Bama if they lose.  17.5 might be too much even if Auburn, wasn’t good this year – but the “Baby Bama Tigers” will give Saban and his Crimson Tide fits in this one.

The Pick: Auburn +17.5

Purdue +20 at Indiana

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Oh Indiana, it’s pretty obvious what you are.  You’re a team that’s good enough to beat the bad teams and lose to the good ones.   It’s pretty black and white when you look at their wins and losses. . . BUT aside from all that, they need one more win to make it to some useless bowl game that will generate money for the university and will probably be played in front of a crowd of hundreds. . . BUT luckily for them, the last team on their schedule this season is an awful Purdue squad.  Isn’t it fitting that we talk about Purdue, and it’s Thanksgiving week?  . . . Okay. .  . Well the Purdue Boilermakers are dead last in total defense in the Big 10 allowing 39.4 points a game, that says a lot considering they are in a conference with such abominations as Rutgers, Illinois and Maryland. Purdue throws the ball a lot and leads the Big 10 in passing yards, mostly because they play from behind and only average 3.4 yards a carry.  They’re 23 touchdown passes are matched by their 23 interceptions on the year. . .Indiana’s offense is very similar and for the same reasons, except this is a team that has shown a lot of fight the last two weeks.  They were leading late against Penn State but let up, and had Michigan sweat out a 20-10 victory against them last week.  They are feeling confident, even in their losses and although 20 is a big number, Indiana is a team that can’t stop a nose bleed and when they do try to stop their nose from bleeding they end up poking out their eyes.

 

The Pick: Indiana -20

Four Game Teaser of the Week: (by the way, thanks UTAH for ruing it last week): Redskins +19; Air Force +21.5; Wisconsin -2.5 and USC -4.5

Good Luck and Wager Wisely!

G.W. Gras

twitter @GeeSteelio

Cam Newton: More Than Just a Road to the Super Bowl

At 26 years of age, Cam Newton has come into his prime in his professional football career.  When he was drafted as the first overall pick in the 2011 draft, the Carolina Panthers were hoping they cashed in on their “franchise quarterback” and they definitely did.  This season is a special season for Cam Newton though.  In all areas of life, Cam has certainly come of age, professionally and personally.

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This season Cam has established himself as the NFL’s most valuable and entertaining player in the league.  During this campaign he has led the Carolina Panthers to their second ever Super Bowl appearance and he has also witnessed the birth of his first child, a son he named “Chosen.”  This is a fairy tale like season for Cam and the Panthers but the road to getting here has had many ups and downs for Newton.

After being recruited by the University of Florida as a five-star recruit, he won the role of back up quarterback job behind Tim Tebow and when he got his chance to start the 2008 season, he suffered an ankle injury that sidelined him (medical redshirt).  In that same year Cam was arrested for the purchase of another student’s stolen laptop computer.  Cam didn’t make himself look  innocent in the situation considering he tossed the computer out of his window in his attempt to not get caught with it.  After that, Cam found himself at Blinn University, a junior college where he led Blinn to the Junior College National Championship and put himself back into the focus of the recruiting plans for division one schools.  This is when the University of Auburn stepped in to win the services of Cam Newton.

Once at Auburn, he lit the world on fire.  He was destroying SEC defenses week to week.  The most memorable performance of his  was being down 24-0 to the mighty Alabama Crimson Tide defense, and he willed a comeback victory to seal the SEC Championship.  Even then, when things seemed to be approaching an undeniable climax, there was a cloud that hovered over Newton’s head.  Talk came about that his father was trying to talk Mississippi State into “buying” his son’s services for a certain price (rumored over $120,000).  In a weird turn of events Cam Newton was suspended for the National Championship Game by the NCAA but soon after called off the suspension.  .  . Cam won the Heisman Trophy (beating out Andrew Luck) and won the National Championship with Auburn.

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Cam had a ridiculous start to his professional career, breaking 9 rookie records and earning himself a Pro Bowl bid.   It was at that Pro Bowl though, where players and NFL personnel alike were turned off by Cam Newton’s pri-madonna like ways.  This was only assumed to an even greater scale in his second season, where the sophomore jinx was evident and Cam appeared more like an isolated brat on the sidelines then the man-child the NFL wanted him to represent.

The following three seasons showed a maturity in Cam Newton though.  He helped lead the Panthers to three straight playoff appearances and instead of relying purely on his athletic ability to win games, he put in the work and became better as a quarterback.  This season was the apex of him putting together his abilities as a quarterback and one of the NFL’s most gifted athletes.

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He has embodied what the NFL’s future should become.  A leader with a grin from ear to ear that can light up a stadium.  A player who can entertain the fans with gestures (whether to cheers or jeers) but at the same time will bear down and sacrifice his own body if needed just to get that extra yard.  The NFL playing field has become Cam’s personal playground and keeping that “playground” mentality as a focus for his brand, the younger fans are captivated by him.  That captivation is a product of what  he’s doing on the field or even how he engages with the kids in the stands and how he embraces every moment with open arms.

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Cam Newton has taken on a lot of criticism, some was deserved and some wasn’t.  He has made it easy for him to be hated and at the same time made himself out to be loved.  Cam has taken his game to the next level and raised the bar for the future of the NFL.  Now he is set to play against the best defense in the NFL with the Denver Broncos and set to go against another quarterback who in his prime, raised the bar for the future of quarterbacks in the league in Peyton Manning.  Everything about these two quarterbacks is different – except for the fact they both possess commercial appeal to sell anything from pizza to yogurt.  This is a shining moment for Cam Newton to continue his path to football immortality and more importantly to do it his way.

G.W. Gras

twitter @GeeSteelio