Tag Archives: Boston College

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: NCAA Team Win Totals

It’s almost that time of year.

Okay let’s be honest, as soon as Vegas puts out their over/under for team win totals, you know that the time has come for football season.  Here are some teams that Beating Vegas just can’t avoid putting something on before the seasons kicks off.  We did extremely well last year so be smart and follow along.

Alabama Crimson Tide : 11 Wins

When factoring the total over/unders for a team you first look at the “easy” wins.  For as great as Bama is, and I’m truly not taking anything away from them, they do schedule some cupcakes.  Considering the SEC isn’t what it once was, that is disappointing.  Wins against Colorado State, Mercer and Fresno State should be an absolute “no contest.”  Vanderbilt (who we’ll get to later) will be a doormat in the SEC, Ole Miss is falling apart and Tennessee – well they are what they are: A team that just isn’t good enough to beat Bama.  The rest of the schedule is intriguing. Remember what I said about cupcakes?  Forget about that already – the Crimson Tide open the season in outer conference play against Florida State.  This is a monster game in week one because both of these teams are considered playoff-worthy and this game could determine their fates early.  Bama opens up as a 7 point favorite but they lost a lot of talent on that defense. Not saying they won’t be good, but not as dominant as last year.  Arkansas gets to play Bama after the Tide have games against Ole Miss and at Texas A&M and this offensive line might be able to push back on Bama more than they’re used to.  The games against LSU and Auburn are too close to call and this year it might be just too much for Bama to go nearly perfect. 11 is just a hard number. . . even for Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide this year.

The Pick: Under

Auburn Tigers: 8.5 Wins

Last year this Auburn team went 8-5, including a season opener where they lost to eventual National Champs Clemson, and losses to Alabama and Oklahoma to finish off the season (teams that finished #2 and #5 respectively).  The Auburn Tigers are expected to go with Baylor transfer Jarrett Stidham at QB, and if there is anything to say about Baylor QB’s it’s that they are usually athletic and are use to throwing the ball a lot. In Auburn’s system though, he’ll be asked to make reads that aren’t foreign to him and have a two-headed monster at running back this year with Kamryn Pettway and Kerryon Johnson.  Losing only three games with a squad that has eight returning starters on both side of the ball seems too easy.  They WILL go on the road and beat Clemson this year and after that the only two games that should pose a threat to them is their road game against LSU, and the season ending Iron Bowl, which they host this year against the Crimson Tide.

The Pick: Over

Boston College Eagles: 4 Wins

Boston College is a team I usually look at a lot during the season. Not because the team is exciting or moves me emotionally but because they are typically coached well defensively and are boring on offense.  So games tend to go under.  Last year though, this defense saw the emergence of the ACC as possibly being the best conference in college football (we can argue which is the best at a later time, folks) they got lit up Louisville, Florida State and Virginia Tech.  Give the Eagles credit though – they schedule themselves against all division one schools, no cup cakes, so to speak – with that being said no game is easy when you’re below average.  They can beat UConn (which is on a neutral site) and Central Michigan – maybe.

The Pick: Under

Wisconsin Badgers: 10.5 Wins

I was just speaking highly of how the ACC might be the best conference in college football, but the Big 10 may have something to say about that.  While the rest of the world shakes in their boots over an Urban Meyer coached Ohio State team, marvels at the insanity of Jim Harbaugh at Michigan or how the masses seemingly fell in love with Penn State again because of James Franklin’s renaissance in Happy Valley – Wisconsin goes under the radar.  But, why?  Wisconsin lost three games last year – all by 7 to the three teams mentioned. This year their schedule is a joke by all standards. Before playing Michigan at home November 18th, their toughest challenges are road games against BYU and Nebraska.  The only game they might lose is Michigan or if they’re caught sleep-walking, their end of the year road trip to Minnesota.  Either way, they’ll keep it interesting until the season wraps up.

The Pick: Over

Vanderbilt Commodores: 6 Wins

Vegas has Vandy at 6 wins.  Honestly, I just can’t see it.  Some folks saw the improvement the offense made late last season as something that will continue into this season, but I don’t.  The offensive line is probably the worse in the SEC and they have a middle of the defense that will force their safety Ryan White to leave his average-at-best corner backs in one on one coverage.  In a game of spades, Vanderbilt is the annoying partner that says “Four and two possibles,” — count those possibles as losses.

The Pick: Under

Oregon Ducks: 8 Wins

Oregon ranked 117th in total defense last year and are now in the midst of going back to a 3-4 scheme (gathered that info from Lindy’s Sports).  Eight is a very tall number for a team that finished with four wins last year.  Vegas is betting on the public that is still in love with the gimmick offense that gets dressed in new garb every week.  Tough conference roads games against Stanford, UCLA and Washington will make it tough for them and home games against Nebraska, Washington State and California won’t be much welcomed at all.  Much like Vandy, I see the Ducks sliding right underneath their magic number, but it doesn’t matter if they miss 8 wins by 1 or 6 games, as long as it stays under (which it will) that’s all that matters.

The Pick: Under

Good Luck and Wager Wisely!

G.W. Gras

Twitter @GeeSteelio

 

3 College Football “Sleepers”

It’s easy to pick the big-boys out of the bunch: Alabama, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Clemson – blah, blah, blah.    The sport of college football needs those consistent power houses.  Although, they maintain a level for which others should strive to attain – the intrigue of a season is mostly determined by  teams we never saw coming.

The term “sleeper” is tough to define.  It could be a traditionally weaker school out of a big conference, or a non-BCS conference team that threatens to move up the National Top 25.  Here are three teams that people should expect some noise from in the upcoming season.

Boston College. . . Last Season 3-9 record (0-8 in ACC)

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Last season, the lack of an offense really derailed the Eagles.  B.C. lost five games by three or less points.  One of those losses was to a lowly Wake Forest team in a hard-to-watch 0-3 loss.  Anything resembling an offense could have (may have) changed the fortunes of this team but they had a pitiful pass attack which led defenses to stack the line against them routinely.  Boston College hopes things will be different with Kentucky graduate-transfer Patrick Towles at the quarterback position.  Patrick Towles is in no way the re-birth of Matt Ryan under center for the Eagles, but he is a quarterback who played in the SEC and has seen some of the faster defenses in recent history.  Aside from tough defensive assignments like Florida State, Clemson and Louisville – the schedule isn’t too harsh.  Even then, they lost to Florida State 14-0 and Louisville 17-14  last season so it wouldn’t be far fetched to say they can overcome those obstacles this year.  Running back John Hillman will be at full strength this season and he showed a lot of potential in 2014 running for over 800 yards and 13 touchdowns.  The defense has 8 returning starters which is good news for head coach Steve Addazio who needs a huge turn-around to keep his job this year.  It wouldn’t be shocking to see this team make some noise and come away with a big upset or two during the year.

Bowling Green. . . Last Season 10-4 record (7-1 in the MAC)

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How is a 10 win team considered a “sleeper” team?  Easy: they lost their stud quarterback Matt Johnson to the NFL.  With him, Johnson  takes his forty-six touchdown passes and sixty-seven percent completion percentage.  Also, Bowling Green comes out of the MAC conference, and let’s be honest, the only time folks look out for MAC conference is when they are the only thing to watch on Thursday nights and you’re trying to win some easy money against your bookie.  The MAC has a few high powered offenses (because very few of these teams play defense) and folks are counting Bowling Green out because of the absence of Matt Johnson – pump your breaks on that.  New head coach Mike Jinks comes out of the high-octane Texas Tech Red Raiders offense.  Under Jinks the team had their first 1,000 yard rusher since 1998 (jeez fellas. . .) and he has an experienced quarterback at his disposal in Jame Knapke.  Knapke got significant playing time in 2014 and filled in admirably.  At times he’s a bit of a hot head and gets ahead of himself, but now more mature and in an offense that’s all his own, all is not lost.  Also in front of Knapke  are  four returning offensive linemen in front of him so the protection should not be a problem. They have an opening game at Ohio State where they will lose by eighty-five points, but after that it’s all fair game in the MAC for Bowling Green and James Knapke.

Air Force Falcons. . . Last Season 8-6 (6-2 record in Mountain West)

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Last season Air Force had a one dimensional offense but nobody could really stop it, so they kept on doing what they do best: run the ball.  The Falcons’ ground game rushed for 4187 yards at a 5.5 yard clip.  They ran the ball 764 times – which was by far the most in the nation and this year they return with a two back set that is set to wreck havoc.  Timothy McVey (yes, that name makes me uncomfortable too) and Jacobi Owens will be a handful for the defenses on their schedule.  Oh, and their schedule – should pretty much be a breeze.   Navy isn’t as strong as last year, Boise isn’t what they used to be and they don’t play San Diego State (the team that beat them by three points in the Mountain West Championship game last year).  The Air Force defense has nine returning starters and they pretty much set up a different blitz package every time they lined up last season.  Now with a little more experience and bad competition this defense is set to have a huge impact.  Air Force is a team that could very well find themselves in the Top 25 when it’s all said and done – that is, if folks look passed their weak schedule. . .

If it wasn’t for their schedule Syracuse would’ve been a fourth team to keep an eye out for.   Quarterback Eric Dungey is an exciting player to watch and as stated in Lindy’s Sports “The hurry up spread is coming to Syracuse” which would fit Dungey’s skill set perfectly.  The only issue is, Notre Dame, Clemson, Boston College, Florida State, Louisville – you get the picture. . .

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G.W. Gras

Twitter @GeeSteelio

 

 

 

Beating Vegas: Entry Five

Every week during the football season, “The Heartthrob” G.W. Gras will be giving out his college and professional football “best bets” against the spread.  The wise guys in Vegas live comfortably – it’s time we all get on their level.

Judging Last Week: After two failed weeks in a row, it’s safe to say we’re jumping off of the N.C. State bandwagon.  Baylor and Ole Miss cleaned up easily against their 40 plus point spreads, proving to not be scared of those big numbers when you’re Goliath, and the opposition is David.  .  .

Eastern Michigan (+29) at Toledo

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The Toledo Rockets are everyone’s “Cinderella” team this year.  The small school from the MAC Conference who finds themselves undefeated and in the Top 25.  Toledo stands at 5-0, and in all truth could be 6-0 if their season opener against Stony Brook wasn’t postponed.  Toledo’s rushing attack is first in the MAC with 197 yards per game and second in the MAC with 5.0 yards a carry.  The backfield carries are split evenly between Terry Swanson and Damion Jones-Moore who average 6.5 and 5.5 yards a rush, respectively. Toledo’s defense has also been stout this year allowing only 11.8 points per game, which is spearheaded by a rush defense allowing less than three yards a carry.  Toledo was the team that exposed an over-rated Arkansas, early in the season with a 16-12 victory and is proving to be ahead of the class in the MAC.   Eastern Michigan hasn’t had quite the fortunes of Toledo, and are holding a 1-5 record and will definitely lose this match up.  Of course, if you’re here it’s not about if you lose the game, it’s by how much.   Eastern Michigan’s run defense is prime pickings for this Toledo attack, but the Eagles have their own star-back.  Darius Jackson is averaging 5.7 yards a carry and has amassed 585 rushing yards so far this season.  His backup Shaq Vann is averaging one more yard per carry.   Eastern Michigan is actually right there with Toledo in average points and yards in a game and as an offense are actually more balanced than Toledo.

The Pick: Eastern Michigan +29

Texas Tech (-31) at Kansas

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Sophomore quarterback Patrick Mahommes has been leading the nations number one pass offense and has given the Texas Tech Red Raiders the offense that coach Kliff Kingsbury has been wanting to see.  Mahomme has thrown 19 touchdown passes and over 2200 yards so far this year.  Their defense makes the offense play “catch-up” on the scoreboard week to week, but when your opposition is Kansas. . . there is not much to be worried about.  Kansas was the whipping boy in last week’s column and that trend may very well continue as they are proving to be one of the worse programs in the nation.  The Kansas Jayhawks rank at the bottom of the Big 12 in total defense and total offense and are showing no improvements on either side of the ball.  This is a team that will go win-less this year and they’ll look terribly doing so.

The Pick: Texas Tech -31

Boston College (+16.5) at Clemson

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The spread seems to be just where it needs to be because the Clemson Tigers average 35 points a game while the B.C. Eagles average 20.  Boston College has the best defense in the ACC, letting opponents only average 7.2 points per game.  Is that stat smoke and mirrors?  Yes and no.  See, the Eagles opened up the season with wins against the likes of Maine and Howard at a combined score of 100-3.  They held  Florida’s offense to 14 points in a shut out loss and held Duke to 9 points in a 9-7 loss.  Even those losses are somewhat statements for the defense, but losing 3-0 to Wake Forest last week – that just confuses things.  Boston College is a team that can’t throw the ball at all  and seemingly can’t help themselves from losing.  Clemson has their eyes set week to week on getting closer to a playoff birth.  Their offense has looked prolific against lesser opponents but in wins against Louisville and Notre Dame, their defense looked “steady” at least.  Quarterback Deshaun Watson has been more of a game manager than a gunslinger, which is his best option with this offense.  There is so much speed and talent around him, Watson defers to take what the defense gives him and lets his play-makers do the work.  Clemson has a steady defense itself and put the clamps down on a good rushing attack in Georgia Tech last week.  Boston College’s rush game is more straight up the gut, then Georgia Tech’s but it’s hard to believe a team that struggled against Duke and Wake Forest defensive fronts will do much better against Clemson.  The Boston defense is good, but Clemson is a team that is ‘feeling themselves’ right now and they capitalize well off of other team’s mistakes.  The home crowd will be unbearable.

The Pick: Clemson -16.5

Cincinnati Bengals (-3.5) at Buffalo Bills

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While writing this, it is currently Tuesday, October 13th and the spread is in favor of the visiting Bengals at three and half points, but you better believe this line will jump up at least, one and half more points.  The reason being,  Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor has a reported MCL sprain and will “miss some time.”  This means a worse possible scenario for the Bills who are now forced to start former first-round pick E.J. Manuel.  In 2014 Pro Football Focus graded Manuel simply as a “poor” starting quarterback.  His completion percentage hovers at around 58% and has the reaction time of a dead-man in the pocket.   This week Manuel will be going against a Cincinnati Bengals team that might be one of the best in the NFL today.  The Bengals defense gives up, on average, twenty points a game and this Buffalo Bills offense is one that is one-dimensional and currently, terrible at that one dimension – running the ball.  It is very unlikely neither Lesean McCoy or Karlos Williams will be active for this game, leaving the likes of Anthony “Boobie” Dixon who had a disgusting seven carries for nineteen yards against the Titans on Sunday. . . Sure this Bills defense is tough, but they have shown as of late that their secondary needs a lot of help from it’s front seven.  Andy Dalton has looked the best he’s ever looked, and having a huge comeback win against Seattle last week, has certainly boosted the Red Rocket’s confidence.  The Bills defense will be gassed because this offense will not sustain long drives, let alone put up points against this Bengals team.

The Pick: Bengals -3.5

If You Must: The New England Patriots seem almost unbeatable.  This “chip on their shoulder” is legit and they are looking to embarrass teams they face.  The Patriots have always had their way with the Colts and that will not change this time around.  The Colts are 3-2 and riding a three game winning streak in which they struggled to get by three of the leagues worst teams.  Patriots as a -8 favorite is a slam-dunk.

Teaser of the Week: (Four Gamer) – Bengals +8.5, Patriots: +4, Panthers/Seahawks Under 53 and Michigan +3.5

Good Luck and Wager Wisely

G.W. Gras

Twitter @GeeSteelio