Beating Vegas: Marshall Matters

Marshall -3 at Middle Tennessee State

Last week we saw two huge favorites fall victim to the “Friday Night Schedule.”  Of course we’re talking about Clemson losing to Syracuse and Washington State losing to Cal.  This week Marshall rolls into the state of Tennessee a little bit banged up on defense and that may be why the spread is only at three.  Marshall’s offensive line has been stout in pass protection, so much in fact that their quarterback, Chase Litton, has only been sacked three times this year.  Last week, Old Dominion’s defense was able to get to Litton and it was the first time he’s been sacked in his last 125 pass attempts.  Wide receiver Tyre Brady made a name for himself this season when he netted 248 receiving yards in a losing effort to N.C. State. Middle Tennessee State’s rush defense is only allowing 3.5 yards a carry and after calculating the smash average (3.8) it gives a slight edge to the Blue Raiders of Tennessee.  Looking further into the defense though, they give up 63.5% of completions to the opposition which is right in the wheel-house of Litton.  There is a six point advantage leaning towards Marshall when it comes to points per game.  Middle Tennessee has a tendency to give up the sack and toss interceptions in the passing game and that trend will probably continue considering Marshall’s Herd holds the opposition to a completion percentage of 53%.  Marshall is 5-2 ATS in their last seven games they’ve played on a Friday night, so expect the favorites to shine this time around.

The Pick: Marshall -3

Iowa -1.5 at Northwestern

Here is a game where the line means absolutely nothing because we’re looking at the over/under number of 47.  These two teams are consistently recruiting against each other, with Pat Fitzgerald actually getting the best of Iowa’s Kirk Ferentz in recent years.  Both teams are “scrappy,” and usually play the role of a heroic underdog, but in this scenario it’s more of a dog-fight.  One can’t imagine Northwestern getting too cute with an aerial attack against this Iowa defense, and they’ll lean on running back Justin Jackson and his 4.7 yards a carry most of the way.  Iowa, surprisingly has a better passing attack than ground game this season, and quarterback Nate Stanley, has proven to be efficient, if not flashy with his 15 TD, two Int and 57% completion percentage stat line.  These are two teams trying to step their game up in a Big 10 conference that has four heavy weight names at the moment.  It will be a sloppy, hard nosed game.  Boring though.

The Pick: The UNDER at 47

Kansas +39 at TCU

Yes, you read that right +39.   Hard to argue points against that spread though.  Kansas has been one of the worst teams in college football for the last few years.  My mentality has always been – if all else fails: bet against the Jayhawks.  And why not? The Kansas Jayhawks are ranked second-to-last nationally with a defense that allows 44.8 points a game. The passing defense?  It allows a completion percentage of 67.3% and has allowed 16 touchdown passes. The rush defense?  Allows 4.5 yards per rush and has allowed 17 touchdowns.  Yikes.  The TCU Horned Frogs are just what you’d expect from a team that is among the creme de la creme of the Big 12 – high powered offense that likes to run up the score when they can.  Quarterback Kenny Hill is completing nearly 70% of his passes and is licking his chomps waiting to feast on this Jayhawk secondary.  Last week, we rolled with a 35 point favorite in UCF when they went up against lowly Eastern Carolina (which we covered. . .easily), but this is the Big 12.  Defenses show up when they want to and fade in and out of games at the blink of an eye.  Kansas,led by running back Khalil Herbert (7.4 yards a carry) will score some “meaningless” points.  I mean, its 40 points.  Come on.

The Pick: Kansas +39

Four Game Teaser of the Week: West Va -2.5; LSU/ Mississippi Under 71; UAB +4.5; SMU +4.5

Good Luck and Wager Wisely!

G.W. Gras

twitter @GeeSteelio

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