Tag Archives: roll tide

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: 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

 

Alabama and Clemson, Part Two

The Alabama Crimson Tide enter this championship game as a seven-point favorite over the Clemson Tigers.  It’s a rematch of last year’s National Championship game, which saw the Crimson Tide beat the Tigers 45-40.  Tigers’ quarterback Deshaun Watson had an amazing game against the Crimson Tide’s defense throwing for 405 yards and 4 touchdown passes.  His ability to weave and dodge pass rushers while keeping his eyes down the field became a hindrance to the Bama defense and Saban even admitted later that Watson gave them all they could handle.

Nick Saban’s focus will be on how to NOT get played by Watson for the second year in a row.

Speaking of Nick Saban, he pulled a pretty petty and surprising move before the championship game by “letting go” of his offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin.  Kiffin had accepted the head coaching job at Florida Atlantic and Saban believed that it was best for Kiffin and Alabama to split.  Kiffin has been nothing short of amazing as Bama’s offensive coordinator and for the first time in a long time, maybe it’s time for the general public to question the ego, and pettiness within that ego of Nick Saban.   Keep in mind, Alabama has had a true freshman quarterback in Jalen Hurts, who although has been commended for his extreme maturity to go along with his talent – has been comfortable in Kiffin’s offensive scheme.  Saban should be smart-enough to tell new offensive coordinator Steve Sarkasian “stick to the script,” in order to keep the familiarity within this offense.

Clemson’s defense has been good  this year allowing only 18.4 points per game.  They have held opponents to a 52% completion percentage and have nabbed 20 interceptions throughout the season. Their rushing defense has been equally as impressive allowing only 3.5 yards a carry.  That number will be challenged by an Alabama offense that charges ahead at 5.7 yards a carry which gives Bama the advantage in what I call a “clash average” of 4.6 yards a carry.

Alabama has had the best defense all year in college football allowing under 12 points a game and holding the opposition to two-yards a carry.  Clemson’s offense averages 40 yards a game (as does Alabama) but it’s the battle up-front where Clemson hasn’t seen power like this all year.

As the story was last year, Clemson will rely on Watson to keep the Tigers marching up and down the field for four quarters of football.  Saban-coached-defenses have issues with mobile quarterbacks as Watson proved last year, and as Cam Newton and Johnny Manziel proved in years prior.  This Crimson Tide defensive unit has NFL talent all around(about five or these kids are projected to go in the first two rounds of the NFL draft) and they also have proved to keep their emotions in check, never getting too high and never getting down on themselves.

Although this Bama defensive unit is stout, Clemson has on offense two players who are slated as the best in their respective positions come the NFL draft.  Aside from Deshaun Watson being the number one quarterback prospect by some “experts” — Mike Williams, is without a doubt the number one receiving talent in college today.   Williams brings to this championship game his 84 receptions, 10 touchdowns and 1171 yards on the season.

For Nick Saban, this is one of his best teams he’s coached at Alabama (that is saying A LOT).  On the other side of the ball is a coach in Dabo Swinney who has built up the Clemson program as one of the strongest in the nation.  Dabo has built a culture there and has been recruiting out of his mind, producing NFL talent on both sides of the ball.  The one thing that eludes him is a National Championship.  This time around, he gets a rematch against arguably the greatest coach of all-time in Saban.  For Saban, this is an opportunity to repeat as champion and further solidify his legendary status.

The motivation for both teams will be high, as it should be.

The over/under for this game is 51.  Take the over.  The 7 point spread favors the underdog, but Bama is just too strong and can wear out any team in college football, even one as talented as Clemson.

 

G.W. Gras

Twitter @GeeSteelio

Beating Vegas: Championship Weekend

The numbers have been checked for this year and Beating Vegas has a sixty-percent winning percentage for the college football regular season.  Those are pretty impressive numbers considering this is a free service for those who visit the NGSCSports.Com website. . .  Much like rivalry week (where we went 2-1), the weekend of conference championships can be tricky as well.  This week we gathered up the information to give you an edge in the conference championship games.  Oh, what is that Big 12, you still don’t have a conference championship game?  Yeah, we know. . . losers.

Florida +24 vs Alabama (at the Georgia Dome)

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You gotta know where I’m going here, right?  Although we are all sure that if Bama somehow lost to the Gators in the SEC Championship game they’d still be in the College Football Playoff – we know this is a rivalry and Saban wants to enforce his will.  Statistically, one could make the argument that Florida’s defense is better than Alabama’s – but look at Florida’s losses this year:  Florida State and Arkansas forced some serious rush attacks against Florida who lost those games 31-13 and 31-10 respectively; and their loss against Tennessee saw them give up 35 points in the second half.  .  .Sure they won a 16-10 thriller against LSU, but the difference between LSU and those other teams is that there is absolutely zero threat of a pass play coming out of that offensive system. . . Auburn was able to cover the spread last week against Bama because they have the one thing Bama struggles to have an answer for : a mobile quarterback – that won’t be an issue this week.  In the SEC, Florida’s offense is fourth from last; they struggle to pass and although some think they run the ball exceptionally well, they are pretty much just “good” at it.  There is no need to get into specifics with Bama’s stats because they execute everything on both sides of the ball above average.   Bama is 8-3 against the spread this year and didn’t cover the number last week against Auburn when the line moved up to 20.5 so expect a cover here as the Crimson Tide continue their dominant 2016.

The Pick: Alabama -24

San Diego State -6  at Wyoming

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Nobody is more surprised than Wyoming that they are in the WAC championship game, but the truth is their offense has been a force to be reckoned with all season long.  Their running back Brian Hill has totaled 1674 yards this season at a clip of 5.5 yards a carry.  Wyoming’s quarterback Josh Allen has found a favorite target in senior wide-out Tanner Gentry who has 11 touchdowns this year coupled with 1132 receiving yards.  With an offense that puts up 38 points a game, wins should be coming easy, but that’s not the case when your defense gives up 35.5 points per contest. . . San Diego State’s strength on offense is their rushing attack that racks up 6.1 yards a carry; it also happens to be their strength on defense which only allows 3.3 yards a carry.  Wyoming held another good rushing team, UNLV in check earlier this season.  Last time these two teams played, San Diego State gave up two 30 yard touchdown plays against Wyoming – this isn’t something that happens to a defense which usually only yields 200 passing yards against them a game.  Expect San Diego State to control this game at the line of scrimmage (especially after calculating what we, at Beating Vegas call the “clash average” which was overwhelming pointing the favor of the Aztecs at 7 yards per carry- Wyoming is just happy to be here.

The Pick: San Diego State -6

 

Penn State +3 vs Wisconsin (at Lucas Oil Field in Indiana)

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There is an old rule that most intelligent gamblers go by: never bet on or against your favorite team.  I’ll be transparent here and let you all know : I am a Penn State fan and have been, for the better part of 20 years now, and as a fan – it’s great to see where this program is at (and heading) after the disgrace that became this university. . . With that being said, this year’s Big Ten title game is a “classic” black and blue styled game.  Both teams are playing this game for the sake of Big 10 champion and not much else afterwards as it seems the college playoff committee has decided that Ohio State is in the playoff regardless, and these two are on the outside looking in.  Both teams run the ball well, both teams stop the run well – but for Wisconsin who allow an amazing 3.3 yards a rush – they are going up against the Big 10 Conference offensive player of the year in Penn State’s running back Saquon Barkley.  Barkley has run for over 1200 yards and has come up with 17 total touchdowns on the season.  Barkley struggled early in the season against two good rushing defenses though in Minnesota  and Michigan (averaging 3.2 and 3.9 yards in those games, respectively).   Wisconsin has the edge on defense, but when your offense can only muster about 13 points a game anyway, the wins come ugly.  NOT saying Wisconsin will win this contest – but what Beating Vegas is telling you is to watch this be a low scoring affair.

The Pick: The Under at 47

Four Game Teaser of the Week:  Clemson -1;  Redskins +14.5;  Alabama -12;  San Diego State/Wyoming over at 51

 

Good Luck and Wager Wisely!

G.W. Gras

twitter @GeeSteelio

Beating Vegas: Entry Sixteen

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: 50/50 weeks give you the thrill of the “highs and lows” but ultimately do nothing for you, so we’ll get back to being our typical selves at over 50% this week.

The Texas Bowl:

Texas Tech (+7) vs LSU

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For a decent amount of time during the season, LSU was one of the more intriguing teams in college football.  Most of that was due to their running back Leonard Fournette who thrashed college football for over 1700 rushing yards this season.  Fournette was a Heisman hopeful (and favorite) until he played against formidable defenses that realized they can stack as many defenders in the box to stop the run because the LSU passing attack was pretty much non-existent.   That’s not entirely quarterback Brandon Harris’ fault though – the LSU offense is  built off and dominated by their rushing attack.  Texas Tech has a high octane offense that averages 46.6 points per game (second to only Baylor in the Pac-12) but defensively they give up 42.6 points a game, and let opponents rush for an average of 5.6 yards a carry.  This is “lunch-time” for this LSU rushing attack.  LSU’s defense may have difficulty at first against the passing attack of Texas Tech, but the Red Raiders’ offensive line will have the task and a half of dealing with the LSU pass rush.  Bottom line is, Texas Tech is fun to look at, but their offense has struggled against defenses that have the talent to go against them, like Oklahoma and Baylor.  LSU is playing for a coach they love, who was  given a new life at LSU.  Tech has their hands full.

The Pick: LSU -7

The Holiday Bowl:

Wisconsin (+3) vs USC

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Looking at the numbers it would appear that Wisconsin’s defense is stellar: They allow a Big 10 best, 3.2 yards a carry and their pass defense has opponents completing less than 50% of their passes with only six touchdowns allowed paired with eleven interceptions.  Those are impressive numbers until they throw The Big Tahiry into the conversation – BUT (Get it?  No?  Let’s move on. . .).  Wisconsin’s defensive stats look good BUT, they didn’t really get tested by any stellar offenses this year.  Nebraska is a team you never know what you get week to week and they put up 21 against them, in what was probably their best offensive threat on the schedule.  USC’s offense is a balanced attack that has averaged 35 points a game this season, paired with a defense which equally as balanced.  USC has been tested on the field and off the field this season and this bowl game means something to them.  Wisconsin probably has the worst starting quarterback in all of the bowl games in Joel Stave and their rushing attack is not what it’s been in the last few years.  Wisconsin’s reputation is the only reason why this spread isn’t higher – USC is trying to re-establish their reputation and they have the talent to do it.

The Pick: USC -3

Cotton Bowl:

Michigan State (+10) vs Alabama

The Alabama Crimson Tide are a well oiled machine.  The architect of this machine is head coach Nick Saban, who like many great architects make sure things look aesthetically fine and are built strong enough to withstand whatever disasters are thrown in it’s way.  Alabama’s offense led by Heisman winner, running back Derrick Henry, plays just as tough as their defense which only allows 14.4 points per game.  Although Henry is their “bell-cow” running back, the offense plays versatile enough to keep any defense they play on their toes.  Michigan State is led by potential first round draft pick, quarterback Connor Cook.  Cook is a confident leader who’s touchdown to interception ratio is an impressive 24/5 but most would say it has been an otherwise disappointing season for Cook, individually.  Cook has yet to have “that moment” where scouts can say “okay he’s the kind of guy to take an NFL franchise to the next level” – if there was any moment, it’s now – against Alabama’s defense.   The truth is, Michigan State wouldn’t even be in this position if not for a freak blocked punt/score at the end of that bizarre Michigan game, and they have been underwhelming all year long.   Another fun fact, Saban hasn’t lost to a coach who once coached under him. . . so, yeah. . . there’s that.  Sorry Mark Dantonio.

The Pick: Alabama -10

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If you must: The Outback Bowl features a match up where Tennessee is the 8.5 point favorite over Northwestern.  Some games are hard to explain and this is one of them.  Tennessee was expected to finish in a better spot this year, although the team is improving under coach Butch Jones – the Volunteer faithful are just annoyed with its snail like approach to improving.  Their is so much talent on that Volunteer roster that it makes one wonder why they haven’t made that jump yet.  Northwestern is one of the peskiest teams to play against or figure out and it seems the bigger the opponent is, the harder they play.  Taking Northwestern with the points is an interesting play, especially when getting more than a touchdown.

 

Teaser of the Week: (Four Gamer) Baylor/UNC Over at 57.5; Florida/Michigan Under at 51; Steelers +2 and Buccaneers +22.5

 

Good Luck and Wager Wisely!

G.W. Gras

twitter @GeeSteelio