Tag Archives: Toledo

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: Conference Championships

American Athletic Conference Championship

(at Spectrum Stadium in Orlando Florida)

Memphis +7 vs Central Florida

Both of these teams had completely different weeks prior to the American Athletic Conference Championship game.  The Memphis Tigers were on the winning side of a 70-13 blowout against the lowly Pirates of Eastern Carolina, while the UCF Knights had to sweat out a 49-42 shootout win over the Bulls of South Florida.   Statistically the Knights look pretty good against the pass (opposing completion percentage of 53% and 17 interceptions) but against a quarterback like South Florida’s Quintin Flowers, they gave up 503 yards through the air and four touchdown passes (the dynamic Flowers also ran for 100 yards and rushed for a touchdown).  Memphis quarterback Riley Ferguson may not be the dual threat that Flowers is (very few  in college football are) but his season resume includes 3500 passing yards, a 62% completion percentage and 32 passing touchdowns. The one loss, blemish or glitch on this years schedule for Riley and the Tigers was their 40-13 loss at the  hands of UCF.  In that game Riley threw three interceptions.  On paper it looks like it’s all Riley’s fault, but the UCF defense just schemed perfectly against the Tigers and the Memphis wide-outs struggled to get separation.  Expect Memphis to not let this game get out of control early like they did in the first meeting – expect the Tigers to balance the offense more and rely on running back Darrell Henderson, who  is averaging 9 yards a carry this season and although he was held to less than 50 yards last time he played the Knights, one would have to consider how the running game had to be abandoned in their last meeting.   This game has the same feel as the SMU game where UCF squeaked out a 24-17 victory.  The public money will be heavy on a UCF team with Scott Frost trying to lead a team to an undefeated season. Some books have the early line at 7.5 already.  Expect this line to keep swinging in the favor of UCF, wait it out and take Memphis with the points (wouldn’t hurt to by a half either. . .).

The Pick: Memphis +7

 

ACC Conference Championship

(at Bank Of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina)

Miami +8.5 vs Clemson

Okay, here’s the skinny on Miami: If you take away their blow-out win against Notre Dame, their schedule shows a bunch of close wins against average to below average teams in the ACC.   Look at Clemson’s schedule and you see a loss to a Syracuse team that caught them off-guard and then a bunch of double digit victories (the only teams they beat by a single digit was against a good N.C. State team (7) and a very good Auburn team (8)).  I put that out there because looking at the numbers, one would say ‘the stats have this as a dead even match-up’ but there is a reason why Vegas has Clemson as almost a 10 point favorite.  Truth is, in that game against Pitt, the real Mark Richt showed up on the sidelines for Miami.  He got nervous when things weren’t going well and benched his quarterback Malik Rosier – the guy who got them where they were. Chris Hummer of 247Sports said it best: “Rosier wasn’t playing well up that point. Far from it, completing 12-of-30 passes for just 129 yards. But to insert a player who’d thrown five passes all season into a critical junction of a 17-7 game is baffling. No matter how poorly Rosier was playing, you have to ride with the guy who’s led the Hurricanes through countless rocky stretches this season. In fact, Rosier’s navigated Miami through six one-possession fourth quarter games this year.” This is “Not-So-Big-Game-Richt” folks – we’ve seen this before. For all the hype Miami’s “turnover chain” gets, the Clemson Tigers – statistically have a better defense.  Better coach.  And still, the better players.  The line is 8.5 for the Joe Schmoes who will take “the U”  in hopes of bringing back those glory days.  Not gonna happen.  Clemson wins – and by double digits.

The Pick: Clemson -8.5

MAC Conference Championship

(at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan)

Akron +21 vs Toledo

The MAC Conference is one of the favorites of the sports-gambler.  Why?  Because late in the season this is the conference that tries to give games everyday in the week.  Here we have a seven-win Akron team going up against a Toledo team that is 10-2.  Toledo’s two losses came in blowout fashion 52-30 at Miami and 38-10 at Ohio.   This is one of the more balanced and efficient offenses in college football. . . in conferences that are not part of the “Big 5.”  Logan Woodside is finishing up his senior year with some attention grabbing numbers: 65% completion percentage, 24 touchdowns, 3 interceptions and averaging 10 yards per pass. As if those numbers weren’t enough – Woodside is helped out by a ground attack averaging 5.2 yards a carry.  This doesn’t bode well for an Akron rush defense that allows 4.9 yards a carry – giving Toledo a smash-average-advantage of 5.05 – virtually meaning this run attack will not be bothered one bit. Akron leads the MAC conference in the interceptions category with seventeen, but that could be due to teams taking there chances against a defense that lets opponents complete 61% of their passes.  Toledo’s defense is pretty average – and average in the MAC conference is usually good enough to secure some W’s.  The one real weakness for Toledo is their rush defense, but there isn’t much to worry about considering Akron averages 3.3 yards a carry – worse in the MAC.

The Pick: Toledo -21

Good Luck and Wager Wisely!

G.W. Gras

Twitter @GeeSteelio

Beating Vegas: Entry Five

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

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

Eastern Michigan (+29) at Toledo

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

The Pick: Eastern Michigan +29

Texas Tech (-31) at Kansas

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

The Pick: Texas Tech -31

Boston College (+16.5) at Clemson

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

The Pick: Clemson -16.5

Cincinnati Bengals (-3.5) at Buffalo Bills

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

The Pick: Bengals -3.5

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

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

Good Luck and Wager Wisely

G.W. Gras

Twitter @GeeSteelio