Tag Archives: College Football

Beating Vegas: Bowl Locks, Pt. 2

Potato Bowl (played in Boise, Idaho) on Dec. 22nd

CMU vs. Wyoming (even), total 46.5

Draft “experts” have Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen in the top three of quarterback prospects that are entering this year’s NFL draft.  Draft-guru, Mel Kiper Jr. has Allen as the number one quarterback. . . it’s just amazing that a guy who’s numbers this year are as follows: 1658 passing yards, 13 touchdowns and 6 interceptions.  Excuse me as I pick my jaw up from the floor. . . Playing out of the Mountain West Conference, he knew that his marquee games would come against teams from Power 5 Conferences. . .he was embarrassed by both Oregon and Iowa.   Allen suffered an injury in Wyoming’s win over Air Force on November 11th, but is going to play in the Potato Bowl.  Allen will be going up against a Central Michigan pass defense that is one of the best in all of college football.  This defensive unit holds the opposition to a completion percentage of 54.6% and is second, nationally, in the  interceptions category  with 19 (tied with Akron and Iowa).  Another impressive stat by this secondary is that they’ve only given up 13 touchdowns through the air this year.   Take a guess at which team these stats kind-of run neck-in-neck with. . . ?  Yup, Wyoming.  Wyoming has allowed only 10 touchdowns through the air, nabbed 16 interceptions and have held the passing yards against them to a total under 2000 yards this season.  The under in this game seems to be the play, and for the win, the Central Michigan Chippewas just have better players and really no pressure in this game.

The Pick: CMU and the Under

Armed Forces Bowl (played in Fort Worth, Texas) on Dec. 23rd

Army +6 vs. San Diego State, total 46

If you like watching teams that run the ball then this is the game for you.  Just good ol’ smash mouth football.  San Diego State attempts about twenty passes a game while Army attempts five. . . 5.  Yes, five.   Good thing Army runs the ball.  They freakin’ better. . . Army leads the nation with 4270 rushing yards, at a 6.1 yard clip.  Army’s offense is a marvel of college football tradition, as they run the triple-option-flexbone attack.  This is usually a problem for opposing defenses because they don’t see this very often, but San Diego State sees this formation when they go against their conference rival Air Force.  Adding into the mix are the formidable rushing attacks of UNLV, New Mexico and Colorado State – the San Diego Aztecs see their fair share of rushing attacks. San Diego State fares well against all of them.  They are seventh in the nation in fewest rushing yards allowed and their run defense allows only 3.5 yards a rush – just like Penn State and Georgia.   San Diego State’s rushing attack is led by the phenomenal Rashaad Penny.  Penny received AP All American College Football 1st Team Honors this week and still feels he needs to prove something to the world.  A large portion of fans think Penny was snubbed in the Heisman race, and that he was overshadowed by the likes of Penn State’s Saquan Barkley and Stamford’s Bryce Love.  Penny isn’t “on the fence” about playing in this bowl game and actually feels he needs to show the world one last time just how dominant of a runner he is.  He’ll be going up against an Army defense that allows five yards a rush (after calculating Penny’s 7.4 yards a carry, Penny has a smash-average-advantage of 6.2 yards per carry).  Army has had a nice season, but this one gets ugly with the Aztecs literally running away with this one.

The Pick: San Diego State -6

Dollar General Bowl (played in Mobile, Alabama) on Dec. 23rd

Appalachian State +7 vs. Toledo, Total 61.5

Appalachian State is a confusing squad.  They have an 8-4 record, co-champions of the Sun Belt conference and have an offense that scores 33 points per game.  Yet, they somehow manage to lose against teams like Louisiana-Monroe and UMass. . . This is football in the Sun Belt conference, I guess. . . Regardless of that, App State has put together an impressive season once again.  Senor quarterback Taylor Lamb has put up some impressive stats this year and is hoping to impress scouts one last time in this Dollar General Bowl.  Lamb has 27 touchdown passes and only 6 interceptions this year and in his entire four years as starting quarterback has stood at a 61% completion percentage.  The offensive line (three of gained made All-Sun-Belt-First-Team honors in front of Lamb has done a great job for him and his stable of running backs – most notably Jalen Moore who is 88 yards away from a 1000 yard season.  Those are the kind of things that don’t bode well for a below average Toledo rush defense that allows 4.7 yards a carry.  Toledo is giving up 25 points a game this year,  and although they are holding opposing quarterbacks to a completion percentage of 52.7% but they’ve had a tendency to give up the big plays. . . Toledo’s offense is a powerhouse though.  Quarterback Logan Woodside has thrown for over 3700 yards with 28 touchdown passes and his targets Dionte and Jon’Vea Johnson are a sweet receiving duo.   Appalachian State’s tough defense will definitely be pushed to their limits in this one.  App State is going to take their time on drives while Toledo might find themselves getting frustrated against this Mountaineer defense. . . Should be a good game, but look at this one as a chess match.

The Pick: The Under at 61.5

Good Luck and Wager Wisely!

G.W. Gras

Twitter @GeeSteelio


Beating Vegas: Bowl Locks, Part 1

The College Bowl Season is an exciting finale to the year for college football enthusiast.  Lets keep that part in mind: “for the enthusiast.”  Motivation becomes a factor for some teams that fell short of the playoff or had higher expectations at the start of the year.  Some teams take their opponents to lightly while other programs look at the bowl game as an opportunity to make a name for themselves.  The tricky part about Bowl Season is to not go and place a bet on every line.  You still need to be picky about how you side with – and throughout this bowl season, Beating Vegas will continue to provide you insight on how to get the edge.

(These are locks from games played between Dec. 16th to the 20th)

Camellia Bowl (played in Montgomery, Alabama) on December 16th

Arkansas State (-3.5) vs. Middle Tennessee, total 57

Arkansas State was mentioned in an early Beating Vegas article this season and it was mostly due to expectations set for quarterback Justice Hansen.  The senior took a big step forward in his final season completing 63.7% of his passes and throwing for 3600 yards and 34 touchdowns.  Hansen is a quarterback that has learned how to go through his progressions and it shows as he has three wide outs with over 600 yards receiving; and all through the depth chart you can see receptions by just about everyone.   The Arkansas State Red Wolves don’t run the ball much but when they do, it’s a modest 4.1 yards a carry.  That doesn’t bode well for Middle Tennessee State who actually stop the run decently but have struggled against the pass all year.  The Blue Raiders secondary has only put together four interceptions on the season.  The line is pretty dangerous but expect it to climb to about 5 by kickoff.  Middle Tennessee will be a better team than Arkansas State next season, but for all that matters, Arkansas State wins this by double digits.

The Pick: Arkansas State -3.5

Boca Raton Bowl (played in Boca Raton, Florida) on Dec. 19th

Akron +17 vs Florida Atlantic, total 61.5

This is a true-home-game for the Florida Atlantic Owls, but that is not the only reason they are a huge favorite in this game.  The Owls are riding a nine game winning streak and they’ve done it by riding the shoulders of running back Devin Singletary, who is a top five back in the nation, but you’ve never heard of him.  Singletary has run for 29 touchdowns and 1859 yards this season and he must be thinking “lunch-time” when he sees an Akron defense that is allowing five yards a carry.  Singletary and the Owls have a “smash average advantage” five and half yards a rush.  Akron is just a “nice story” this year.  They fought hard and got some close victories but were pretty much handled by better competition.  Florida Atlantic and head coach Lane Kiffin will be looking to bring a huge victory to the home crowd and breeze through this Akron team by maybe four touchdowns.

The Pick: Florida Atlantic -17

Las Vegas Bowl (played in. . .come on man) On Dec. 16th

Oregon -5 vs Boise State, total 63

Oregon lost coach Willie Taggart to Florida State (I still don’t get why Jimbo Fisher left the Florida State job for Texas A&M, but that’s neither here nor there at the moment) which leaves Mario Cristobal in as head coach.  Cristobal will have no issue on the sidelines, because he was the offensive coordinator under Taggart.  The players wanted Cristobal so there should be no feelings of abandonment by the team.  Cristobal’s one run as a head coach was at Florida International where he posted a 8-14 record in his final 22 games (Wikipedia).  He hasn’t been a head-coach since 2012 and now he has to be mindful of a bunch of young men who may be in Las Vegas for the first time in their lives.  The biggest question mark for Oregon comes in the form of running back Royce Freeman.  Freeman is their stud-senior back who has racked up over 1400 yards on the ground at a clip of 6 yards a carry.  Freeman practiced this week, but there is already talk of him maybe sitting out to prepare for the NFL draft.  Knowing that this is even a thought might have Freeman not trying to over-extend himself in this game. . . Starting quarterback Justin Herbert is back under center and although the pundits will say it’s a “different offense under Herbert” – they aren’t lying – but at the same time aren’t telling the whole story:  Freeman is the main cog to this offense.  Boise State on the other hand has their key players ready to roll and no coaching change on their sidelines.  Boise has a tough run defense, and in the Western Atlantic Conference, that says a lot. Boise State is holding the opposition to 3.5 yards a rush and holding offenses under a 60% completion percentage.  The Boise staff and players won’t be overcome by the Las Vegas mystique because they come here just about every other season to play UNLV.   Expect Oregon to jump out in front early, but Boise makes things happen in the second half.

The Pick: Boise State +5

I’ll see you guys next week with more LOCKS for this Bowl Season!

Good Luck and Wager Wisely

G.W. Gras

Twitter @GeeSteelio

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: Going Wild in Southern Cal

Arizona +7 at USC

The Arizona Wildcats go into the home of the USC Trojans this weekend and this is a battle between two quarterbacks who have been on a very different road in getting to this point of the season.  The Trojans’ quarterback Sam Darnold was the pre-season Heisman favorite, with a lot of NFL scouts touting him as the best signal caller in the nation, who was supposed to lead the Trojans to the playoff this year.  The Trojans are currently 7-2 with a middle of the pack defense and an offense, that although is putting up  33 points per game – was expected to do even better.  Darnold is having an okay season throwing 20 touchdowns and 10 interceptions (second most in the Pac-12).  The real answer to this offense’s success has been running back Ronald Jones who is 112 yards away from a thousand yard rushing season and is averaging 6.7 yards a carry.  Jones is the fifth best -statistical – rusher in the Pac-12 conference – one spot above him though is Arizona quarterback Khalil Tate.   Tate in just six games has accumulated 960 rushing yards and averaging nearly 14 yards a rush.  Coach Rich Rodriguez’ offense doesn’t look to throw the ball much but if they do Tate is netting a completion percentage of 68.7%.  The other ball carriers on this team average at least 5 yards a carry (all four of them).   The Wildcasts defense stepped up when they went against another highly touted Pac-12 quarterback in UCLA’s Josh Rosen and forced the quarterback to toss 3 interceptions.  Arizona is playing very well as a unit as Tate is proving to be right there with Bryce Love as the best players in the Pac-12 conference.  USC is playing with hurt pride and defending their undefeated home record this week.  Arizona’s wins have either come in blowouts or by thin margins while USC has proven to be mostly unreliable so far this year.

The Pick: Arizona +7

Rice +10.5 at UAB

It was only a few years ago that the University of Alabama-Birmingham ended their football program.  They figured it was costing them too much money to be competitive and decided to pull the plug.  2017 became the “the year the Blazers come back.”  Many figured it would remain to be a bottom dweller.  History proved it was never a good program anyway so after being dead for two years, they would definitely be a door-mat to anyone who stepped to them.  Funny how things turn out, huh?  Currently UAB is 5-3 and knocking on the door of becoming “bowl-eligible.”  The Blazers offense is predicated off of the success of their ground game and running back Spencer Brown who is averaging 5.6 yards a carry and has a total of 909 rushing yards so far this season.  Quarterback AJ  Erdely has been efficient as well, throwing nine touchdowns and only 2 interceptions but more impressive than that are his 10 rushing touchdowns this season.  This isn’t a surprising stat when you realize that UAB’s scoring percentage in the red zone is 87%, which ranks them higher than Penn State and Louisville’s red-zone attacks.  This will be key when going against a Rice red-zone defense that is allowing opponents to score 89% of the time. (And just to see the other side of things: UAB’s red zone defense 70% sandwiched between the likes of Ohio State and Alabama while Rice’s red-zone attack scores 71% of the time which knocks down the Owl’s chances of scoring to a 49% in the red-zone.) The Rice Owls have been on the wrong side of lob-sided scores all season and stand at 1-7 so far this year. The offense is ranked 229th in total yards, 251st in passing yards and 116th in rushing yards.

The Pick: UAB -10.5


Virginia Tech -2.5 at Miami

Here goes one that the “sharps” are big on.  Getting Va Tech under a field goal, while you can.  There are many reasons why.  First one, as we saw last week, Miami will just let any team hang with them.  Even teams they should blow out by a large amount like UNC or Duke.  Yes, we all saw that ridiculous touchdown that put the Seminoles away, but in truth – Florida State is in a down year, with injuries and inexperience stripping them of reinventing their dominant looking selves.  Miami is a good team.   A marginally good team.  They’ve been “bleh” against the spread and they are usually given too many points because they are such a large “public” favorite.  Virginia Tech has a quarterback in Josh Jackson who goes under the radar and it’s a crime.  Jackson is completing 62% of his passes with 17 touchdowns and only 4 interceptions. Behind his is a running back committee of Travon McMillian, DeShawn McClease and even Coleman Fox — they all are racking up over 4.5 yards per rush between them.  Miami is mediocre when it comes to stopping the rush (allowing 4.1 yards a carry) but are stingy when it comes to letting ball carriers get into the end-zone, allowing only 3 rushing touchdowns so far this year.  Miami pass defense has looked great this year, holding opposing quarterbacks to 50% completion percentage but look at the competition and you’ll see why.  The number is perfect where it’s at right now and if it goes up to 3, you shouldn’t hesitate to buy the half a point.  This will be a close one but in the end, Virginia Tech has the better pass defense, the better rush defense and the better quarterback.  Don’t fall for the hype.

The Pick: Virginia Tech -2.5

Four Team Teaser of the Week: Wisconsin -1.5; South Carolina +35.5; Purdue -2 and Baylor +4.5

Good Luck and Wager Wisely!

G.W. Gras

Twitter @GeeSteelio

Beating Vegas: North Kakalaka: Part 2

N.C. State +7.5 at Notre Dame

After N.C. State lost its opener this season to South Carolina, they have reeled off six wins in a row, including a win over reigning Heisman trophy winner Lamar Jackson and a win over the Seminoles at Florida State.  This is a team who returned all their senior starter in the front seven of their defense and returned 8 starters in key spots on their offense.  This is a senior laden team with a lot to play for.  Here at Beating Vegas we spoke about running back NyHeim Hines before and his 5.6 yards yards a carry is worth mentioning again.  Quarterback Ryan Finley is completing passes at a rate of 70% and has yet to thrown an interception this season.  The Wolfpack have the best rush defense in the ACC, holding to opponents to 3 yards a carry and only 91 yards a game.  .  . Enter the Notre Dame rushing attack. The Fighting Irish are 8th in the nation averaging 318 yards a game.  This is mainly due to running back Josh Adams who is still rocking out over 9 yards a carry, and dual threat quarterback Brandon Wimbush 6.2 yards a carry.  Throwing the ball, Wimbush is completing barely fifty percent of his passes, although he seems to make the big throws when needed. When calculating our “clash average” the fighting Irish will be hovering around 4.3 yards a carry – which is good, but will become a point of frustration for them, and if forced into third and longs, the advantage will go to the N.C. State defense.  Notre Dame has a great rush defense too but they’ve been able to inflate their numbers more, especially in the last three weeks.  We picked Notre Dame last week against a very over-rated USC team and won easily.  This week, we don’t think the Irish will lose. . .but N.C. State will keep it close. . .or just win straight up.

The Pick: N.C. State +7.5

Mississippi State PK at Texas A&M

Remember a few weeks ago, how the pundits on ESPN said that Mississippi State could possibly pose a threat to win the SEC? . . . that was adorable. After the Bulldogs slaughtered LSU 37-7, the world thought they were legit.  Until they found out that LSU wasn’t very legit and oh yeah, the Bulldogs got pummeled by above average competition in Georgia and Auburn by a combined score of 80-13.  Mississippi State rebounded with back to back wins against BYU and Kentucky.  Mississippi State’s offense is averaging 33.7 points per game and most of that is due to a ground attack averaging 5.1 yards a rush.  Texas A&M and head coach Kevin Sumlin are kind of where they are every year: an average team with a head coach that’s on the perennial “hot-seat.”  A&M is 5-2 on the season so far and one of those losses were an 8 point loss to Alabama.  Now, if you lose to Alabama by 8 points, that’s like moral-victory-heaven.  This Aggies offense has four backs that have at least 70 carries this year, all averaging over four yards a carry.  The advantage here, aside from coming off a bye-week and being at home; is that the Aggie’s defense against the run is allowing only 3.9 yards a carry.  A&M has the athletes on their defense that will give Bulldogs quarterback Nick Fitzgerald some fits as well.  The Bulldogs are a lot of hype against inferior competition, while A&M is usually a punching bag for the media.  A&M at home, off a bye and being the better team – makes this one easy.  Expect the line to go up to at least 2 points with A&M being the favorite.

The Pick: Texas A&M Pick


Miami -20.5 at UNC

There is a heavy lean on “The U” this week and for good reason.  This UNC team is a dumpster fire.  The UNC Tarheels rank second to last in total offense and dead last in total defense in the AAC.  They have lost in blowout fashion to Georgia Tech, Notre Dame and Virginia Tech in their last four weeks and this number of “20.5” was cleared all three times.  Miami has proven to be a very “blue-collar” 6-0.  Not blowing out their opponents, but edging out good competition and looking strong when they finish.  Miami is 3-3 ATS so far this year while UNC is 1-7.  Publicly the Hurricanes are the third most bet on team so far with this spread.  Vegas has about 85% of their plays going that way. At the start of the year UNC put up 35 and 30 against Cal and Louisville respectively but in the last five weeks they haven’t scored over seventeen points in a game.  Meanwhile, against good competition, the Canes have averaged victories by a four point margin (yes we’re counting Syracuse as “good”).  Against inferior competition like Duke and Toledo, they’ve looked like world beaters though.  Usually, I would go against the public in a game like this, but considering the competition that the U has seen in the last three weeks, this should seem like a walk-through-practice.  Expect a close cover here in the world of 41-17.

The Pick: Miami -20.5

Four Game Teaser of the Week: Georgia Tech +26.5; Virginia Tech -3.5; Texas +4.5 and Georgia -2.5

Good Luck and Wager Wisely

G.W. Gras

twitter @GeeSteelio

Beating Vegas: Marshall Matters

Marshall -3 at Middle Tennessee State

Last week we saw two huge favorites fall victim to the “Friday Night Schedule.”  Of course we’re talking about Clemson losing to Syracuse and Washington State losing to Cal.  This week Marshall rolls into the state of Tennessee a little bit banged up on defense and that may be why the spread is only at 3.  Marshall’s offensive line has been stout in pass protection, so much in fact that their quarterback, Chase Litton, has only been sacked 3 times this year.  Last week, Old Dominion’s defense was able to get to  Litton and it was the first time he’s been sacked in his last 125 pass attempts.  Wide receiver Tyre Brady made a name for himself this season when he netted 248 receiving yards in a losing effort to N.C. State. Middle Tennessee State’s rush defense is only allowing 3.5 yards a carry and after calculating the smash average (3.8) it gives a slight edge to the Blue Raiders of Tennessee.  Looking further into the defense though, they give up 63.5% of completions to the opposition which is right in the wheel-house of Litton.  There is a 6 point advantage leaning towards Marshall when it comes to points per game.  Middle Tennessee has a tendency to give up the sack and toss interceptions in the passing game and that trend will probably continue considering Marshall’s Herd hold the opposition to a completion percentage of 53%.  Marshall is 5-2 ATS in their last seven games they’ve played on a Friday night, so expect the favorites to shine this time around.

The Pick: Marshall -3

Iowa -1.5 at Northwestern

Here is a game where the line means absolutely nothing because we’re looking at the over/under number of 47.  These two teams are consistently recruiting against each other, with Pat Fitzgerald actually getting the best of Iowa’s Kirk Ferentz in recent years.  Both teams are “scrappy,” and usually play the role of a heroic underdog, but in this scenario it’s more of a dog-fight.  One can’t imagine Northwestern getting too cute with an aerial attack against this Iowa defense, and they’ll lean on running back Justin Jackson and his 4.7 yards a carry most of the way.  Iowa, surprisingly has a better passing attack than ground game this season, and quarterback Nate Stanley, has proven to be efficient, if not flashy with his 15 TD, 2 Int and 57% completion percentage, stat line would indicate.  These are two teams trying to step their game up in a Big 10 conference that has 4 heavy weight names at the moment.  It will be a sloppy, hard nosed game.  Boring though.

The Pick: The UNDER at 47

Kansas +39 at TCU

Yes, you read that right +39.   Hard to argue points against that spread though.  Kansas has been one of the worse teams in college football for the last few years.  My mentality has always been – if all else fails: bet against the Jayhawks.  And why not? The Kansas Jayhawks are ranked second-to-last nationally with a defense that allows 44.8 points a game. The passing defense?  Allows a completion percentage of 67.3% and has allowed 16 touchdown passes. The rush defense?  Allows 4.5 yards per rush and has allowed 17 touchdowns.  Yikes.  The TCU Horned Frogs are just what you’d expect from a team that is among the creme de la creme of the Big 12 – high powered offense that likes to run up the score when they can.  Quarterback Kenny Hill is completing nearly 70% of his passes and is licking his chomps waiting to feast on this Jayhawk secondary.  Last week, we rolled with a 35 point favorite in UCF when they went up against lowly Eastern Carolina (which we covered. . .easily), but this is the Big 12.  Defenses show up when they want to and fade in and out of games at the blink of an eye.  Kansas,led by running back Khalil Herbert (7.4 yards a carry) will score some “meaningless” points.  I mean, its 40 points.  Come on.

The Pick: Kansas +39

Four Game Teaser of the Week: West Va -2.5; LSU/ Mississippi Under 71; UAB +4.5; SMU +4.5

Good Luck and Wager Wisely!

G.W. Gras

twitter @GeeSteelio




Beating Vegas: North Kakalaka and . . .

Eastern Carolina +35 at UCF

Man, oh man.  This game pits the best of the American Athletic Conference against it’s absolute worst.  Funny thing is, Eastern Carolina isn’t a terrible football school.  This is just a really, really, really bad time for them.  How bad?  Like the worst defense in college football-bad. The Pirates are giving up 47.8 points a game and allowing 600 yards a contest.  The defense is very generous though, they’ll let opposing offenses run or pass against them at will.  Very nice of them.  It doesn’t get easier for Eastern Carolina as right now, one of the hotter teams in the nation UCF are waiting to pounce on them. UCF is number one in scoring offense this year at 47.5 points per game.  The Knights are completing 70% of their passes and are averaging 5.8 yards a carry (which is ironically what Eastern Carolina allows per carry).  UCF is also looking to show off new “space themed jerseys” to honor NASA that look amazing that night.  With a lot of big programs already at one-loss, and this UCF team looking like one of it’s best ever so far.  The Knights will be looking to run up the score when they can because every little bit will count when Bowl Season comes along.

The Pick: UCF -35

N.C. State -12 at Pittsburgh

Pitt is just having a run of bad luck.  And now, after losing to Syracuse last week, you can just tell this is a team that’s gotten in it’s own head. When you’re only wins come against Youngstown State and Rice people start to look at you differently.  Then when you barely look competitive against good teams, those same people know exactly what you are.  And this season, it’s just “not that good.”  The former USC Trojan Max Browne is somehow making a 70% completion percentage on the season look less than spectacular and with no real playmakers on this offense its no wonder why they are number 169 when ranked among college offensive yards for the year.  While Pitt is having a season to forget, N.C. State is having one to remember.  The Wolfpack quarterback Ryan Finley has 10 touchdowns with zero interceptions so far this year and has a junior running back in Nyheim Hines who is averaging 5.3 yards a carry.   N.C. State is a very good road team and in their last 6 road games they have gone 5-1 against the spread and there is no reason to believe that that trend will come to an end.

The Pick: N.C. State -12

Colorado -11 at Oregon State

It’s been a tough go for the Oregon State Beavers this season.  Now that head coach Gary Anderson has parted ways with the university, this bad situation has gotten even worse.  Anderson ripped the university and even admitted in text messages that were leaked that he hired the wrong people, when it came to his staff. Yikes. The Beavers are 1-5,  pretty much losing in blow out fashion, and their only win is a sad 3 point victory against the doormat we call Portland State.  They are ranked 183rd in passing yards and 184th in rushing yards and defensively they are dead last in the Pac-12.  Colorado comes into this game on a three game losing streak, one of those losses comes at a blowout to Washington.  Their last two losses have been by 4 points and 3 points (to UCLA and Arizona respectively).  Colorado running back Philip Lindsay’s stat line for this season is impressive: 810 rushing yards, 5.4 yards a carry and 8 rushing touchdowns. Considering that the Beavers already allow 4.8 yards a carry and have allowed 16 rushing touchdowns already this should be, literally a walk in the park for Lindsay.  Colorado quarterback Steven Montez has lost some confidence after throwing 3 picks to Washington’s tough defense in the Buffaloe’s blow out loss.  He’s been slowly picking up the pieces and hopefully last week’s 3 touchdown performance will turn things around.  Colorado has three targets in Shay Fields, Devin Ross and and Bryce Bobo who are all threats in the passing game and looked at often.  All three wideouts have over 20 receptions and 300 yards so far this year.  Oregon State is giving up nearly 70% completion percentage to opposing QB’s and if Montez’ focus is in the right place – it should be a breeze throwing another 3 touchdowns. Colorado is a team playing to get to that 6-win mark.  It’s been a disappointing season for them and playing against a bad team who’s coach just quit on them might be the right kind of recipe for Colorado to get back on track.

The Pick: Colorado -6

Four Game Teaser of the Week: Michigan / Indiana Under 59.5; Colorado State -12.5; Ohio State -12.5 and Georgia -18

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: Trust the Better Quarterback

Kurt Cobain once uttered the lyrics “all apologies.”  And those same words are the ones I repeat to all of our loyal “Beating Vegas” faithful.  Last week’s mishaps will not happen again.  Let’s get it.

USC -3.5 at Washington State

Hmmmm. . . An undefeated, ranked home dog going up against a team that the public loves, that may be a “little” bit over-rated.  Interesting.  The number ten ranked Washington State Cougars are sixth in the nation in passing yards per game, airing it out at 432.5 yards per contest.  They are 4-0 so far this year and have been an offensive juggernaut thanks to their pass attack.  Quarterback Luke Falk is throwing at a 77% completion rate and has 14 touchdown passes to one interception.  All of this sounds great until you see who they have played this year:  Montana State, Oregon State, Nevada and Boise State – who they only beat by 3 points.  They are starting their Pac-12 conference play against a team that the masses either love to hate, or hate to see underachieve: The USC Trojans. The Trojans are ranked sixth nationally and have accumulated a 4-0 record as well but against better competition, and that’s not even up for debate (Western Michigan, Stanford, Cal and Texas).  While the whole world is in love with quarterback Sam Darnold, the two running backs of Southern Cal, Ronald Jones and Stephen Carr are who defenses should be wary of.  Jones is averaging 5.5 yards a carry, with Carr averaging 6.3.  The Cougars run defense has “held” opponents to 3.5 yards a carry – but once again – look at who they’ve played. A “number stat” to pay attention to is this: Washington State is just 1-8 SU and 3-6 ATS in its last nine games as a home underdog (according to OddsShark).   The half point, is something I’d buy an entire point with, but that’s just me.

The Pick: USC -3.5

Northwestern +14.5 at Wisconsin

Wisconsin has made short work of their early season competition as expected, even destroying BYU last week 40-6.  Wisconsin is a team that many expect little to no slip ups during the season, which should get them to the Big 10 Championship game, but now, they start conference play.  The Northwestern Wildcats are 2-1 including a beat-down they received courtesy of Duke, and pulling out 14 points in the fourth to beat the lowly Nevada Wolfpack.  The Wisconsin Badgers have always been able to run the ball, and that doesn’t change this year with running back Jonathan Taylor averaging 8.3 yards a carry, but a steady leadership from quarterback Alex Hornibrook has been an unexpected surprise.  Hornibrook has completed 70% of his passes and is averaging 10 yards a pass.   Northwestern’s defense is already allowing over 400 yards a game and on the ground they are allowing 4.1 yards a carry.  When using the Beating Vegas “Clash Average” – Wisconsin has an advantage at getting 4.85 yards per carry against Northwestern, which should give Hornibrook more than enough to work with. When looking at the numbers Northwestern is a passing attack yielding very few results (102 pass attempts, 5 touchdown passes).  Wisconsin may start out slow, but by the second half the Badgers assert their authority.

The Pick: Wisconsin -14.5

Oklahoma State -9.5 at Texas Tech

This is a rivalry that goes back to 1935, and they have consistently played each other every seasons since 1996.  Who’s been fairing the best you ask?  Well, in their last 8 meetings, the Oklahoma State Cowboys have found themselves getting the better of the Texas Tech Red Raiders by an average score of 49 to 28 (the spread is 9.5 so I’m sure you can guess where I’m leaning. . .).   The over/under for this game is set at 81 total points and the average over the last eight games has been 77.75 points.  This is going to be a long game with a lot of big plays, but it’s all about who will make the defensive stops when needed.  The answer to that question is almost never Texas Tech.  Quarterback Nic Shimonek has filled in well at the quarterback spot for the Red Raiders, but he is still no Pat Mahomes.  The Cowboys on the other hand have Mason Rudolf who is not only trying to get his team into the Big 12 title game, but he is also building himself up quite the draft profile when it’s his time to go pro.  The big difference here lies in the pass defense, where the Cowboys hold  opposing quarterbacks to a completion percentage of 58.5% while the Red Raiders allow a completion percentage of 63.6%.  That may seem like splitting hairs, but that’s the difference of extending a drive, getting the extra yard for a first and keeping your defense rested.  The Cowboys goals of winning the Big 12 and making the college football playoff are still alive and well.  After losing last week to TCU, expect this Cowboys team to cover this spread but keep you on your toes while they achieve that.

The Pick: Oklahoma State -9.5

Four Game Teaser of the Week: NC State PK, Wisconsin -2.5; SMU-5 and Oregon -1.5


Good Luck and Wager Wisely!

G.W. Gras

twitter @GeeSteelio