Tag Archives: Texas

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: Hate Being Right

This year at “Beating Vegas” we’ve been telling you how good it feels to be on a roll. . . last week we fore-warned our faithful followers though.  We knew something had to give, we knew we’d be pushing our luck – but at least we warned you.  This week, we’re set to get back on track.  Focus has been re-calibrated, vision is clear and the picks are in.  Let’s start another six week winning streak. . .

 

Baylor -3 at Texas

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Unfortunately for us, and for Texas coach Charlie Strong, this isn’t as sexy as a match-up as we’d expect from these two schools.  Texas’ flame has certainly died down since their dramatic win over Notre Dame.  Even that win seems like an easy “w” at this point, with what we’ve seen out of Notre Dame this year. . . But Strong is now coaching for his job.  Texas is putting up 36 points a game, but also giving up 32 per contest.  Strong has gotten varying levels of consistency when it comes to the effort on his defense and that effort will be tested by Baylor’s offensive attack for all four quarters.  Baylor is currently where Oregon was in 2013.  The coach that built them up, Chip Kelly was gone and Mark Helfrich took over the team.  Helfrich used the blueprint he was given and it worked. . .until this year.  Baylor under coach Art Briles was one of the most exciting and high octane college football programs in the country.  Now with Briles getting shown the door (for reasons we won’t get into) Jim Grobe has become Baylor’s version of Mark Helfrich circa 2013.  Grobe is keeping this program moving in the same direction and hoping that the blueprint he was given will keep him around for  awhile.  Baylor is averaging 43 points per game and defensively allowing a Big 12 best, 17.2 points a game.  An issue Texas’ defense will see is that they already allow teams to complete passes at a clip of 65.4% and giving up a respectable 3.9 yards a carry on the ground.  This Baylor team runs at 5.7 yards a rush and forces the issue with the rush, going at it 50 times a game.  Quarterback Seth Russell has been throwing the ball at 57% this year and it should be smooth sailing for him to connect with the likes of wideout KD Cannon.  Baylor is still an offensive juggernaut in the NCAA and should be respected as one.

The Pick: Baylor -3

 

Nebraska +8.5 at Wisconsin

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Nobody respects Nebraska it seems.  Everyone respects Wisconsin though.  This line makes absolutely no sense though.  Looking at the numbers, Wisconsin’s formula is pretty simple: rely on your defense.  Opponents are averaging two touchdowns a game against them, they’ve allowed only four rushing touchdowns and four passing touchdowns against them all year. Nebraska’s defense is no slouch either, only giving up 17.7 points a game and leading the Big 10 in interceptions with 13.  The difference between these two teams is that Nebraska has an offense and a battle tested quarterback in Tommy Armstrong Jr.   Armstrong is a dual threat QB who has already accounted for 17 touchdowns on the year.  The Cornhuskers have an offense averaging 34 points per game and they do it in the air and on the ground.  I understand the love for the Badgers who kept it close with Ohio State and Michigan, but where’s the love for a team that has looked legit all season long, in Nebraska?

The Pick: Nebraska +8.5

 

Washington -10 at Utah

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Washington has looked great this year.  Quarterback Jake Browning has come out of nowhere and thrown for 1709 yards, 26 touchdowns and only 2 picks so far this year – making a name for himself in the Heisman running. . . coach Chris Peterson, is seemingly “doing it again” – and coaching up a school to national prominence.  Washington is a team some are already putting in their prediction as a top-4/playoff team.  That’s great, but can they play a team that plays some defense first? Washington’s explosive offensive machine will be tested by the defense of the Utes.  Utah was a team that last year, was the Pac-12 sweetheart until things went sour.  This year, they are playing host and looking to be the bad kind of host.  Utah is a tough place to play, as they have won their last five home games.  Utah is also a team that plays up to it’s competition.  When they played USC, UCLA and Cal this season – three teams with good offenses – the game stood within the ten point margin (losing to only Cal by five points) – so they’ve seen what good offenses can bring to the table.  Utah is usually coached very well and loves playing the role of underdog – this will be Washington’s toughest test yet.

The Pick: Utah +10

 

Four Game Teaser of the Week: Miami/N.D. over 46.5; Auburn/Ole Miss under 75.5; Tennessee -1.5; Boise State -1.5

Good Luck and Wager Wisely!

G.W. Gras

twitter @GeeSteelio

Beating Vegas: Entry Twelve

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: Consider yourself lucky to  have an even split in rivalry week, this week it doesn’t get much easier.   During championship week, the games are played at “neutral” destinations, and some teams are playing for their playoff lives.

North Carolina (+4) vs Clemson (game to be played at Bank of America Stadium)

To get into the College Football Playoff, North Carolina would need a win against #1 ranked Clemson, and a ton of teams in front of them to completely fall apart.  First things first though for the Tar Heels, and that’s a chance to knock off the best team in the country, Clemson.  There are two things that separate the two teams, and only two things: 1. Clemson is undefeated while UNC has one loss to South Carolina; and 2. UNC’s one real weakness comes with their run defense.  The Tar Heels give up 208 yards a game on the ground to the opposition but at least have a pass defense that is formidable and they will have to be at their best against quarterback Deshaun Watson.  Watson throws at a 70% completion percentage and has thrown for 27 touchdowns on the year.  He is not in a class all by himself though.  UNC’s Marquise Williams throws at a 65% completion rate and is just as much a dual threat as Watson.  Week to week, Clemson looks like a team that plays down to the level of their competition and the next week they seem like they’re playing on a whole other level.  This week, they are playing against a tough and aggressive Tar Heels squad that knows even a bowl game after beating Clemson, won’t be as exciting as actually beating Clemson.

The Pick: North Carolina +4

 

Michigan State (-3) vs  Iowa (game to be played at Lucas Oil Stadium)

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The knocks against Iowa all year is that they haven’t “played anybody good” and the knock against Michigan State is that they haven’t played “up to their expectations.”  For whatever faults these teams possess, they did enough to find themselves in the Big 10 Championship Game.  It’s simple enough, whoever wins becomes Big 10 Champ and earns a birth in the college football playoff.  Michigan State has had a problem “putting teams away” and it’s quite baffling.  The only assumption one can make is that they take their opponents lightly and basically sleep walk during games.  There is NFL talent throughout the roster, most notably at quarterback with Connor Cook.   Cook is expected to be a first round pick in the upcoming draft and games like these is when he’ll need to shine the most.   He has 24 touchdowns to only 4 interceptions but his 57.6 completion percentage shows, he tends to be inconsistent at times.   Iowa’s defense has been good this year, but once again – considering the level of competition, it’s to be taken with a grain of salt.  They won by single digit margins against the two better offenses they faced in Indiana and Nebraska.  This Michigan State team knows that the talent in the Big 10 is on the rise, and with things not looking to get any easier with rivals Michigan and Ohio State in the near future, their time is now.

 

The Pick: Michigan State -3

 

Florida (+17) vs Alabama (game to be played in the Georgia Dome)

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The Florida Gator defense has been the talk of the town.  They allow only  15.5 points per game and have speed in their secondary that goes almost unmatched.  The Gator offense has been more reliant on their defense then themselves as they muster 25 points a game, but haven’t gone over the 30 point mark since that early win in October against Ole Miss.  Quarterback Will Grier’s suspension has really put his team in a bad position on the offensive side of things, as Treon Harris has minimalized the chance for the Gators to display a balanced offense.  Harris’ 53% completion percentage forces the Gators to stick to the ground.  Harris’ athleticism is over-rated as well, because as the team’s second leading rusher the QB is averaging less than three yards a carry. . . Honestly, as good as the Gators are on defense, the Crimson Tide are just better. They allow one fewer point than Florida does on defense and  running against ‘Bama has been nearly impossible as teams average 2.5 yards a carry and less than 80 yards a game against them.  This is the team that held LSU’s Leornard Fournette to  31 yards and less than 2 yards a carry in their 30-16 victory over the Tigers.  And unlike Florida, ‘Bama has a very balanced offense that gets it done through the air and also by ways of the ground with their running back, Heisman hopeful, Derrick Henry.   Most will see the big number and go with the team getting the points, but in truth, Alabama is primed for a big win going into the College Football playoff.  Florida will struggle getting first downs, let alone touchdowns, while Alabama will find a way.

The Pick: Alabama -17

 

If you must: When looking at the Baylor vs Texas line, the +21 going to the Longhorns is too juicy to pass up.  The Baylor Bears are going into this game with their third string quarterback and that’s the least of their woes.  This is a team that was destroying everything in it’s path and looking forward to a Championship run – that is all gone.  For the Longhorns though, this is their championship game.  They may not win, but they’ll put up a tough fight to not be blown out.

BONUS pick:  This one is just too easy to lay off of.  Take the Jets at -2 against their hometown rival New York Giants.  The Jets are a team that are becoming scarier and scarier as the playoffs approach.  At full health this is one of the tougher teams on both sides of the ball, and they seem to be rolling right now.  Fitzpatrick is the only wildcard here, but he has weapons around him – too many for the Giants to handle.  Eli will be under pressure the entire game and this is a secondary that is loving the opportunity to play against Odell Beckum Jr.  This one could get ugly and could be the easiest win of the week.

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Teaser of the Week: (Four Gamer) Bowling Green +1, Jets +10, Patriots +2.5, Michigan State +9

Good Luck and Wager Wisely!

G.W. Gras

twitter @GeeSteelio