NCAAF

Beating Vegas: “Go Tigers! No, Not You – Them”

Last week Beating Vegas went 50/50 on College and NFL picks.  That’s just not going to cut it here, so let’s knock out these College Football picks first.  It’s usually around this time that the football programs start to show their true colors.

Auburn -19.5 at Missouri 

It’s the Auburn Tigers playing the Missouri Tigers.  Auburn confuses this match-up even more by having the “War Eagle” cry and having a bald eagle summoned on and off their home field.  Why couldn’t they be the Auburn War-Eagles?  That would’ve been ridiculous…but anyway. Auburn is a team, I projected to go over their pre-season over/under total of eight wins. They are so far, 2-1 and I’m liking my chances still, and I’m holding onto my prediction of them making the SEC title game as well. Last week’s 24-10 win was more of a self-inflicted comedy of errors on their part, rather than Mercer keeping up with Auburn, but none-the-less it showed that the offense is still a work in progress. Quarterback Jarrett Stidham seems to look good in the pocket but hasn’t “wowed” anybody yet. He’s throwing at a 70% completion rate but has two touchdowns, two interceptions and is averaging under eight yards a pass. The team is predicated on its run game led by Kamryn Pettway but he has even started off slow, averaging less than 4 yards a carry after averaging at least 6 yards per carry last year.  He should get off to a good start against Missouri though who has allowed the most rushing touchdowns in the SEC so far this season (nine). Interesting stat though recorded last year:  In the last five years, Missouri posts a record of 22-8 at home.  This isn’t a “blow your mind” type of stat but it’s worth noting especially since Auburn in the last five years is 10-11 playing as visitors.   Missouri just got embarrassed by Purdue and got handled by South Carolina but the truth is, those are two programs under a lot of peoples radar at the moment and they probably DID catch Missouri off guard.  This Missouri team has the ability to spread the ball around and they will take chances.  The spread has moved up a point in this game and public currently is all over Auburn.  Take the home underdog in a Prime Time game.

The Pick: Missouri +19.5

Arkansas State +5.5 at SMU

Arkansas State is a team that isn’t scared of much.  They don’t care that they are in the Sun Belt and choose to schedule Auburn (last year) or Nebraska (this year).  They feel they have a team that can swing with the heavyweights every year.  SMU has shown that they struggle against the pass when tested – as was displayed in their loss to TCU and their win against North Texas.  Arkansas State will look at 6000 empty seats during this SMU game and not feel intimidated by the home crowd.  This number may go up so it’s worth waiting another day or two, but even at 5.5, it’s too much to pass up.  SMU has a defensive front that’s inexperienced and that’ll go well for the work-in-progress offensive line Arkansas State brings to the table as their aggressive offense will be pushing the ball all day against the Mustangs.

The Pick: Arkansas State +5.5

Rutgers +11 at Nebraska

Both teams enter this contest with a 1-2 record.  But one of them is Rutgers.  Sure Rutgers put up a “decent” fight in the 30-14 loss against Washington, but let’s be honest.  Washington flew cross-country to play a team the entire nation has good reason to take lightly.  Afterwards, they lost to Eastern Michigan and blew out Morgan State.  Morgan State sounds more like a financial firm than a college that has a football team, so do what you want with that.  Nebraska has gone up against pretty impressive offensive attacks in Arkansas State (see above), Oregon and Northern Illinois – losing the last two respectively.  Some may see the Northern Illinois game as an “upset” but when Northern Illinois plays any team in a power five conference, the opposition is automatically put on “upset alert.”  This is a game where Nebraska can gain control early in front of their hometown and focus on what needs to be done. The spread has gone from 13 to 11 which is bizarre considering most of the action is going Nebraska’s way.  Expect a big game from Nebraska running back Trey Bryant, who is averaging 6.1 yards a carry so far this season.

The Pick: Nebraska -11

Only if you must: The over is 71 in the TCU at Oklahoma State game.  Both defenses either lose interest or get burned out, and both offenses can get hot quick.  This is the Big 12, it’s shootout city.  The spread itself has Oklahoma State as a -13.5 point favorite.  This is a game to watch for future reference.  If OK State blows out TCU, they might become what Baylor was a few years back – a team to ride 17-22 point first half covers throughout the year.

Good Luck and Wager Wisely!

G.W. Gras

twitter @GeeSteelio

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