Tag Archives: UCLA

Beating Vegas: Oregon’s Gettin’ Corny

Buffalo +16.5 at Army

Last week Buffalo lost to Minnesota in what was probably the most boring game of the week, with a final score of 17-7.  The Bulls just could not push forward against Minnesota in the trenches and it showed. Army is one of those one dimensional teams who’s one dimension is legit, but after getting punched in the mouth a few times last week, Buffalo should be up to the challenge.  The Bulls have legit talent on their defense such as middle linebacker Khalil Hodge and safety Ryan Williamson.  Last week Buffalo didn’t know what to expect from the Gophers quarterback, and it was too late to realize they should’ve just stacked eight-in-the-box.  This week they know Army will toss the ball maybe 4 times all game and they have the athletes to go up against this triple-option attack.  Last season Buffalo won this match-up against Army at home by 3 points, so the +16.5 looks beyond fishy.   I love salmon myself.

The Pick: Buffalo +16.5



Nebraska +14 at Oregon

Early in the season, Vegas likes to put lines up to fool the public because there really isn’t much to go on but the optics.  Oregon went out of the real college football world to beat up on FCS opponent Southern Utah to the ring of 77-21.  “Vanilla-Optics” folks see this as a return of the dominant Oregon teams we’ve been used to seeing in recent memory.  Keeping that in mind, Nebraska went out and had a high scoring nail-biter against the FBS bred  Arkansas State.   Seems like a “bad-win” for those that don’t know Arkansas State but this a team that won 8 games last year and is used to testing themselves early in the season (last year lost to Auburn in week two).  On paper Nebraska is just plain bigger on the offensive side of the ball when compared to Oregon defensive front and Nebraska’s 3-4 defensive scheme enhances the play of their talented linebackers Weber and Young – but the way to beat Oregon (and it always has been the way to beat Oregon) is by attacking them up the middle.  Nebraska nose-tackle Mick Stoltenberg is a beast in the making and should put pressure on the Ducks early.  Even if the Ducks score early and quick, the Cornhuskers will wear down and frustrate Oregon for the length of this game.  14 is just way too many points.

The Pick: Nebraska +14

Hawaii +23.5 at UCLA

Josh Rosen might’ve had the game we’ve all been waiting for him to have last week as the young man’s confidence matched his play.  Rosen led UCLA to a remarkable fourth quarter comeback against Texas A&M where he threw 4 touchdown passes to beat A&M 45-44.  Sure, we at “Beating Vegas” took the “L” against the spread but we like UCLA this year and it’s because of games like these. . .Hawaii has been busy this season with already 2 games (and with that 2 wins) under their belts.  Sure the wins come against UMass and Western Carolina but hey – you play the games that are on your schedule.  This week though, UCLA’s defense will prove to be too much – more so the UCLA secondary.  UCLA’s defensive front should have their way with Hawaii’s offensive line as well.  Rosen will continue to ride high after this win as well.

The Pick: UCLA -23.5

Four Game Teaser of the Week (ALL NFL): Rams +8; Cardinals +10.5, Chargers +15.5 and the over in the Titans/Raiders game at 38.5

Only If You Must: Sometimes you pick games because of  a “feeling.”  This week N’Western as a road favorite over Duke just seems like it’ll happen.  27-20 final score.  N’western has been recruiting great athletes the last few years and are the better coached team. Just do it: N’western -3.

Good Luck and Wager Wisely!

G.W. Gras

twitter @GeeSteelio

Beating Vegas: And Now It Really Begins

Utah State +27.5 at Wisconsin

Get used to Wisconsin being a fixture in this year’s Beating Vegas columns.  Wisconsin’s talent and schedule all point to a dominant season which should have them in the Big 10 Championship game and hopefully, for them, a playoff birth.    This is the kind of game that Wisconsin needed to jump start their season as Utah State has a pretty bleek-to-mediocre outlook for this season. Utah State’s offense will be uptempo but with a weak offensive line and a quarterback that only had 10 touchdown passes last season – this team is nothing more than “lunch” to the Wisconsin defense.  Utah’s secondary isn’t bad, but lets be honest – Wisconsin loves to pound the ball and throw the ball over the middle for modest gains.  This one should be over at halftime – which means, look at the first half spread of this game and go nuts with that too.

The Pick: Wisconsin -27.5

South Carolina +4.5  vs N.C. State (at Bank of America Stadium in North Carolina)

I remember, not too long ago, when the South Carolina Gamecocks were one of the more exciting teams to watch.  They still (in my opinion) have the coolest jerseys in college football (sorry Oregon) and have a loyal fan base, but these here, are the dog days for the Gamecocks.  N.C. State on the other hand has been “decent” and with a ton of upside.  N.C. State had the most heartbreaking loss of the season when they missed a field goal that would’ve beaten eventual National Champion Clemson and on top of that had a four point loss to Florida State and a three-point loss to Eastern Carolina.  With a bunch of starters returning this year, N.C. State should know how to put away teams for good this season – and South Carolina is a team that is usually looking to go to bed early.  N.C. State’s seasoned defensive front will dominate the South Carolina offensive line and control this game for the most part.

The Pick: N.C. State -4.5

Texas A&M +4.5 at UCLA

Head coaches Jim Mora of UCLA and Kevin Sumlin of Texas A&M are starting out the season on the “hot seat.”   They are both talented coaches who won’t stay unemployed for long but they are both at jobs they’d hate to lose.  They are both pretty good recruiters and pretty good offensive minds – but their teams are inconsistent.  Texas A&M was moving up charts last season until they hit a road block called the Crimson Tide which effectively turned out to be the beginning of a 2-5 run at the end of the season.  UCLA was mediocre to start last season but after quarterback Josh Rosen went down they became flat out bad and seemingly uninspired. This year Rosen is looking for NFL scouts to be looking for him and he has all the natural ability to make that leap.  This one will be a shoot-out and you’ve got to ride with the better quarterback in this one.  Bruins lost this game last year in overtime against the Aggies, in Texas but this year have the pleasure of being the home favorites. UCLA’s running game should be able to hit the outside of the Aggies’ front line which should be all the balance Rosen needs to pull this one out.  UCLA by a touchdown – late.

The Pick: UCLA -4.5

“Bonus Coverage*”

With NGSC’s very own Kyle Nash earning himself credentials with UCF and Josh Zimmer covering the University of Minnesota – it’s only right to shed light on these two games real quick.

Minnesota’s defense will dominate Buffalo this week and although twenty-four and half points seems to be a lot at first glance – this may be the only time they’ll be able to clearly overpower an opponent this year.  Oregon State and Purdue may seem like easy wins too in the future, but those will be played away from Minneapolis. . .

UCF has to fight off the stench coming all the way from the NFL, considering one of their most prized possessions, Blake Bortles is a lower case “t” away from spelling out the word “bust.”  They get to fight off that stench against the Golden Panthers of Florida International that have starters returning on offense that should put up a fight against UCF.  UCF’s head coach Scott Frost might be one to look out for AFTER this season, which means expect him to have another good season and eventually leave for a better job.  The over in this game is what I’m eyeing at 56.5.

*These are NOT LOCKS – just assumptions : )

Four Game Teaser of the Week: Texas -6.5; UNC Pk, Washington -15.5 and Wyoming +24.


Good Luck and Wager Wisely!

G.W. Gras

Twitter @GeeSteelio


Beating Vegas: Entry One

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.

College Football:

Cal -6.5 at Texas


Going into Texas used to be a scary situation for visiting teams.  The only thing scary there now-a-days is the job security for people atthe university.  Texas has just fired their athletic director Steve Patterson, who’s reign of (not even) two years has been abysmal.  This happens a week after head coach Charlie Strong ripped away the play calling responsibilities from his offensive coordinator.  Charlie Strong is a good coach, but he needs a good four or five years to get things where the boosters want it.  With that being said, Cal has one of the better quarterbacks in the nation in Jared Goff.  Goff is a big quarterback with a strong arm and throws at a completion percentage of seventy-three.  Cal’s defense has held the offenses of Grambling State and San Diego State to scores of 14 and 7 respectively.  Those are both below average offenses and the Texas Longhorns are pretty much that – below average.  The Longhorns defense isn’t much better allowing 494 total yards per game.   Cal might start slow in the hostile environment, but not slow enough to win this game by at least 16 points.

Take Cal at -6.5

Florida -3 at Kentucky


Some people think Kentucky will make strides this year to be a better team.  Getting off to a 2-0 start is a good look for the Wildcats, but considering the wins come against a team they should beat in Louisiana-Lafayette and a South Carolina Gamecocks team that is in a predictable “down” season, nobody should be planning a parade in Kentucky.  Kentucky’s success comes from running the ball behind Stanley “Boom” Johnson and Jojo Kemp – who average 10 and 7 yards a rush, respectively.  The yards on the ground won’t come as easy against this Florida defense though.  In playing against similar competition as Kentucky has (New Mexico and Eastern Carolina) – the Gators defense has allowed a little over a yard a carry.  Kentucky’s offensive line will get worn down by Florida’s strength and the speed on Florida’s offense will be too much for Kentucky to handle.   Florida sends Kentucky right back down to reality with a win here.

Take Florida -3



New England Patriots at the Buffalo Bills


Currently this game is a “pick ’em” and that seems about right.    Rex Ryan has at his disposal a defense that has the potential to be as good as his early Jets’ defenses and even some of his vicious Ravens’ defenses.  When Rex was looking for a new job this off-season, I’m sure folks in New England thought they were rid of the perpetual “thorn in their side,” but it didn’t work out that way.   In his last four meetings against the Patriots he came away with a 30-27 over-time win and three loses – all of which were decided by 3, 2 and 1 point differentials.   Considering how bad the Jets were last year, that says something.  Besides the great defense he’s got this year, he has legit weapons on offense as well.  With all that being said, “the Patriots are the Patriots.”  You can never count them out, even with very questionable depth on the defensive side of the ball, Bill Belichick always seems to ‘scheme’ correctly.  It will be chess match, but this is one, where the Bills take the king with the rook.

Take the Bills.

Dallas Cowboys +5 at the Philadelphia Eagles

Both teams had odd week-ones.  It looked like the Cowboys were doing everything in their power to give the Giants opportunities to get the win; while the Eagles had all the momentum late in the game against Atlanta and didn’t continue to ride it.  At the end of it all, the Cowboys won in dazzling theatrical fashion and the Eagles shrugged their shoulders at losing to the Falcons.   Romo is without a doubt, one of the most under appreciated quarterbacks in NFL history and his “haters” are turned up after his Sunday Night Football performance.  The Eagles defense had no answer for Julio Jones on Monday night, but with Dez Bryant out of the game with a broken foot, that should calm down the likes of corner back Byron Maxwell.  In the second half of Monday night’s contest, Sam Bradford looked locked in and the Eagles offense looked as good as advertised.  The Eagles fans will resemble the likes of an ugly riot come game-time and this Cowboys defense at the end of the day, just does not have the talent to keep up with the weapons that will be coming at them at a rapid fire pace.

Take the Eagles -5


If you must: Browns +1 – Titans play a better defense and Haden will not look like fool two weeks in a row.  Vegas knows the average Joe, wants to believe Mariota can put up Oregon numbers in the pros.  Watch the struggles this week.

College Football Tease of the Week: Four Gamer;  Cal +5.5, UCLA -5, Arkansas +.5 and Florida +9

Good Luck and wager wisely.

G.W. Gras

Twitter @GeeSteelio