Tag Archives: Louisville

Beating Vegas: College Rolls, NFL Starts

Last week: Killed it with Tulane, killed it with the UNC/Georgia over, pushed on Boston College and even nailed the under on the Stanford / Kansas State game.  Seriously, keep checking this column out every week. . .

 

Cincinnati -6.5 at Purdue

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Games like these are avoided by the casual college football watcher and for good reason.  Purdue might be the worst team in the Big Ten, while Cincinnati is better remembered as “the school Brian Kelly used to coach at.”  Purdue lacks a pass rush and has one of the weaker secondaries in the NCAA.  Cincy can answer for at least ONE of those weaknesses.  The Bearcats’ running game and offensive line is the back bone of this offensive attack.  Quarterback Gunner Kiel is one of those guys with the “physical” talents (and cool first name) that usually leaves fans unimpressed.  This year, Kiel will be working with a new crop of wide outs to test this weak Purdue secondary.  Purdue will try to run the ball but won’t have the speed to outrun Cincy on the outside.  The over / under is set at 64.5 because of the lack of defensive firepower but Vegas might be over-selling the value of these offenses.

The Pick: The Under at 64.5

Louisville -16 at Syracuse

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This line keeps going up and for good reason.  If the nation was sleeping on Louisville before this season started, the Cardinals definitely woke up the dormant masses last week by trouncing Charlotte 70-14.  Yes, it was Charlotte, but make no mistake this Cardinals team is legit.  After being up 56-0 in the first half the Cardinals took their foot off the throats of Charlotte. Quarterback Lamar Jackson scored 8 total touchdowns last week and made it look as if he was playing on “easy-mode.”  On the other side of things Syracuse is a team that just won 33-7 verse Colgate, but looking deeper at the numbers there is cause for concern.  Two of their three touchdowns came on a 43 yard pass and a 49 yard run – Louisville’s defense might give up a play like that once a game. . . to a good team.  Syracuse also had to settle for field goals four times during the game because their offense was stopped by Colgate. . . Louisville may be at Syracuse, but they’re going to be those disrespectful house guests that put their dirty feet on your kitchen table and spit on the floor.

The Pick: Louisville -16

Miami Dolphins -10.5 at Seattle Seahawks

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The NFL returns this week, and it does so with a very “bleh” opening weekend.  The Seahawks enter the season with high expectations as they should while the Dolphins tell themselves things will be different and they won’t be.   It’s becoming really easy to go “chalk” and take the Seahawks at home but how can you not when the Dolphins are traveling 3,300 miles to play a game against a team that got better on offense and is still a top five defense.  Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill is one of the more overrated starting quarterbacks in the league, who usually does his damage in “garbage time.”  Hopefully for him, when the game gets to that point, he’ll be already on the bench game planning for next week’s game.

The Pick: Seattle -10.5

 

Tulsa +29 at Ohio State

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Logic would say, take Ohio State and don’t worry – history would say “not so fast.”  So which way do we lean?  The logical way or the way of the historian?  Ohio State likes to line up these out of conference games and try to make quick work of their opposition.  They did that last week with a sixty-seven point blow out against Bowling Green and are looking to do that against Tulsa this week. Last season, Ohio State beat Western Michigan by 26 points and squeezed by Northern Illinois with a seven point victory.  Tulsa on the other hand is a bad team that can put up points.  Last year against Houston and Oklahoma they put up 24 and 38 points respectively in those losses.  Expect Tulsa to keep their starters in this one for all four quarters, which will give way to the “back door” points late in the game – or just keep up with the great Buckeyes for more than the Ohio State faithful will care to see.

The Pick: Tulsa +29

If you must: Take Clemson first half against Troy.   Right now the first half line is non-existent but the total game line is set at -36.  Lets guess that the first half is at 22.5 — you still take it.

4 Game Teaser: Louisville -2, Iowa -3, Tampa Bay Bucs +15 and Seahawks +1.5

 

Good luck and wager wisely!

 

G.W. Gras

twitter @GeeSteelio

 

 

Beating Vegas: Entry Seven

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: No excuses, most of us fell for that Utah trap.  Vegas won out on that one, getting about 75% of folks to take the road underdog in that won.  Although this weekly article is called “Beating Vegas” – you have to expect Vegas to swing back at you.  Even if it’s a low blow. . .

Rutgers (+19) at Wisconsin

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The Wisconsin Badgers defense averages 11.1 points a game.  That looks impressive at first but after looking at their schedule it’s easy to see that those numbers are blown up after beating down opponents like Miami Ohio, Troy and Hawaii (one might even want to throw terrible Purdue in there for good measure).  This year’s Wisconsin team has been tough to watch.  They are not as dominant this year running the ball – still above average, but just not what we’re used to seeing.  And they have to stick with the ground game, even through its struggles because quarterback Joel Stave just doesn’t have the tools to pose a serious threat against any opposing secondary.  Add to the fact that Wisconsin wide out Robert Wheelwright has a serious case of the “drops,” it’s an all out struggle at times.  Rutgers isn’t that much better.  They have a 3-4 record but have gone score for score with a talented Indiana offense in a 55-52 victory, and gave all Michigan State could handle in a 31-24 loss.  Getting destroyed last week by Ohio State didn’t surprise anybody, but getting whipped like that at home must’ve stung a bit. . . Rutgers has two running backs in Robert Martin and Josh Hicks who can bang in the trenches and help make it a “grinder” of a game.  Wisconsin has lost the right this season to be a near three-touchdown favorite against a team that puts up a fight like Rutgers.

The Pick: Rutgers +19

Boise St (-20) at UNLV

This is the first time those funky Broncos from Boise State have been written about here.  They’ve had an impressive season if you don’t look at their two losses, where they gave up 21 points in the fourth quarter to BYU and then got totally blindsided losing to Utah State 52-26.  Boise has the number one offense in the Mountain West Conference and it’s led by wide receiver Thomas Sperbeck who averages a notch under 20 yards per reception.  Although Boise State’s offense gets most of the attention (38 points per game) it’s their rush defense that will be a problem for UNLV.   The Running Rebels of UNLV’s ground game is formidable, averaging 4.7 yards a carry and 213 yards a game, but they will be tested by a Boise State defense that allows only 2.5 yards a rush.  What makes things worse for UNLV is that their passing attack is a work in progress, to say the least.  Quarterback Kurt Palandech has added a little spark to the aerial attack, but not enough for Boise to worry about, especially since they hold opponents to a 50% completion rate and have 14 interceptions on the year so far.

The Pick: Boise State -20

Air Force (-7) at Hawaii

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Here’s another match up out of the Mountain West conference.   Hawaii has been abysmal offensively averaging 17 points a game.  In true Rainbow Warrior fashion, Hawaii depends on a strong passing attack to move the ball.  The problem is, they are completing less than 50% of their passes and have a total of eight touchdowns to fourteen interceptions.  This leads them to fall behind quickly and abort a running game, that is pretty non-existent anyway.  Air Force is the polar opposite when it comes to offense.  They only attempt about 10 passes a game, but lead the Mountain West conference with a rushing attack that gets 333 yards a game.  That average puts them third in the nation – a spot behind Baylor and a spot above LSU – which shows how dominant this run game is.  The Air Force defense is strong against the pass and should only look stronger against this Hawaii air attack.  Air Force hasn’t won a road game so far this season and that will surely change this weekend.

The Pick: Air Force -7

Green Bay Packers (-2.5) at Denver Broncos

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Both teams are coming off of bye weeks and both teams are struggling offensively.  We all knew coming into the season that the Broncos would have some issues, but Green Bay’s struggles are just confusing.  Running back Eddie Lacy is about to lose his job to James Starks in Green Bay, and CJ Anderson has pretty much lost his starting job to Ronnie Hillman  in Denver.  Peyton Manning’s Broncos are 6-0 and it’s all due to the defense.  Manning has seven touchdowns to ten interceptions so far this year, and on the ground the Broncos are only averaging 85 yards a game.   Green Bay hasn’t been awful on the ground, just inconsistent – and their passing game isn’t bad at all – just not as explosive as we’re used to seeing.   For a team that hasn’t looked crisp in their last three games – coming back and playing arguably the best defense in the league won’t be an inviting task.  With all that being said – forget about the winner and the loser of this game – look at this over/under of 45.5 points.  Vegas is playing the odds that the names of Aaron Rodgers and Peyton Manning, under the lights of Sunday Night Football, will make casual fans want to see a shoot out.  Be smarter than the casual fan.

The Pick: The Under at 45.5

If you must:  Head coach, Bobby Petrino hasn’t gotten this Louisville offense where he’d like them to be and it’s an obvious work in progress.  On paper, it would seem that Louisville as a twelve point favorite is a slam dunk, but Wake Forest has a pretty good defense playing at home.  Wake takes a lot of shots through the air and this Louisville defense is letting opponents complete passes at a rate of 60%.  Wake Forest +12 won’t be fun to watch, but they should cover.

Tease of the Week: (4 gamer) Iowa -5, Western Kentucky -11, Arkansas State -6.5 and TCU -2

Good Luck and Wager Wisely

G.W. Gras

twitter @GeeSteelio

Beating Vegas: Entry Three

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: Looks like your boy “The Heartthrob” underestimated the speed and athleticism of Michigan, as Jim Harbaugh made me feel downright foolish for believing BYU would cover the spread. . .  The Jets entered the game against the Eagles with Chris Ivory and Eric Decker on the bench – this is a team that cannot afford to lose what they have on offense, at any cost.  The pick of Ohio University was an easy one at +10.  It looks like Vegas caught wind of my pick and by kickoff the spread dropped to +7. . .

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Louisville (+4.5) at N.C. State

Louisville enters this game with a 1-3 record including a season opening loss at the now disappointing Auburn Tigers as well as back to back three point losses at home.  Coach Bobby Petrino is one of the best in college football, but this may be a “down” year for Louisville in terms of talent.   The N.C. State Wolfpack can be a “sneaky” team in the ACC Conference this year and Louisville is their first real test of the season.   While Louisville is 1-3, they have actually played real competition this year while N.C. State has been facing some lowly opponents.  While this rhetoric usually means something favoring the team facing better competition, the truth is, N.C. State is slated for a 9 or 10 win season and this game against Louisville brings them half way there.   Running backs Matthew Dayes and Shadrach Thorton are both averaging at least six yards a carry while quarterback Jacoby Brisset’s completion percentage is  a decimal point below eighty.  Louisville is a shade below mediocre defensively which is perfect for a team like N.C. State who doesn’t get greedy on offense, but more or less takes what opposing defenses are giving them.  Expect the final score to be somewhere along the lines of 27-20 or 23-17. . .

The Pick:  N.C. State -4.5

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Texas Longhorns (+15) at TCU Horned Frogs

Although the line is at fifteen, the number we are concerned about for all entertainment purposes is the over/under which is set at 71.   The Big 12 is the spot for high flying offenses and terrible defenses.  Remember, once upon a time, coach Gary Patterson, coached TCU and they were one of the best defensive teams in the nation?  This was a team putting out NFL talent from the defensive side of the ball but once this team moved to the Big 12, he converted to the Church of Offense.  TCU gives up 28 points per game and Texas gives up 35 per contest.  While TCU was expected to be able to rack up points against anybody this year, Texas’ offense has been surprisingly effective the last two weeks.  They lost by one point (at home) to a pretty potent Cal offense and last week put up 27 against an Oklahoma State team many thought would put them away early.   TCU may actually cover this spread and win with a final score of 55-27 when it’s all said and done.

The Pick:  The “over” at 71

Army (+24) at Penn State

With all due respect to our military forces, the Black Knights of Army are just a pitiful football team.  Any team that loses to Fordham and then UConn in back to back weeks, should ask to leave Division I football.  . . Not that Penn State has looked fantastic in their 3-1 start this season but this is the kind of game that Penn State should have wrapped up by the end of the first half.   Expect Penn State to open it up early with the running attack of Akeel Lynch and  Saquon Barkley  – which will open things up for Hackenberg.  Christian Hackenberg has been mostly disappointing since last season, but take into consideration what is around him.  If UConn’s quarterback Bryant Shirreffs was able to throw for 270 yards on 19 of 25 passing, Hackenberg should easily be able to use this game to inflate his stat for the season.  Army doesn’t have the speed or size to contend with Penn State, who is actually one of the tougher teams Army will face this year.   In true Penn State fashion, they’ll make you worry but they should have complete control of this game and win 38-7.

The Pick: Penn State -24

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Detroit Lions (+10) at Seattle Seahawks

Here’s a situation where you don’t want to over-think things.  Seattle is at home against a Detroit Lions team that is sloppy on offense and has taken a step down, defensively.   If Russell Wilson is able to display talents that are above adequate, then this should be an easy victory for Seattle.  Seattle has the secondary to take care of Calvin Johnson because they have the physical presence of Kam Chancellor back in the swing of things and Matthew Stafford’s offensive line will have no answer for the blitz packages that Seattle has to offer.  Throw in the crowd noise, under the Monday Night Football lights in Seattle and the fact that the Lions ground game has not taken off – this one could be over quickly.   Bottom line – Seattle will win the battle in the trenches and because of that will the field position battle, making things easier for their vanilla offense to take shots against this Detroit defense.

The Pick: Seattle -10

If You Must:  Take the Green Bay Packers -8.5 points going into San Fran.  The 49ers fan base has already had it, Colin Kapernick looks lost and the Packers are making it all look easy on the offensive side of the ball.

NFL Football Tease of the Week:  (three gamer) Green Bay Packers +1.5, Arizona Cardinals +3 and Seattle Seahawks PK.

Good Luck and Wager Wisely.

G.W. Gras

Twitter @GeeSteelio