College And NFL Plays For the Weekend
Well, we are not certain we can duplicate our success from last week, when we hit all six games, but we’re trying hard. Let’s take a look at what we have this time around:
COLORADO STATE at WYOMING
Colorado State can get bowl-eligible by winning three of its next four games. And that may well happen, because those opponents are Wyoming, UNLV, New Mexico and Fresno State. But first-year coach Mike Bobo has NOT been successful from a continuity standpoint after the departure of Jim McElwain. Things got a little out of hand last week for QB Nick Stevens, who threw three interceptions, and the Rams have allowed just under five yards per carry, which each of the last five opponents topping the 200-mark. That is not necessarily a great potion against Wyoming and its running game that is led by Brian Hill, who has 1262 yards already. Sure, the Cowboys are allowing 5.4 ypc and CSU is more of a “ground-and-pound” team this year, but the home squad has a lot of points to play with, and the Rams have not shown us they are a team of achievers. We’re “taking.”
NORTH CAROLINA STATE at BOSTON COLLEGE
We’d have to buck a little history here, because Boston College has beaten the Wolfpack the last five times they have played them at home. But the Eagles are just so anemic, having scored an average of just eight points in their conference games, and in just four of their games have they even topped 100 passing yards. There’s no getting around the fact that BC is double-tough against any run game, yielding just 1.9 yards per carry. But that has not resulted in much in the way of covering efforts (2-5 ATS). Maybe it’s going to be Troy Flutie (49%) making the start at quarterback. Or perhaps freshman walk-on John Fadule (8 for 20 last week). But neither of them is likely to win any shootouts with NC State’s Jacoby Brissett, the Florida transfer who has been intercepted only once in 223 attempts. We’ll lay the small number.
UTAH at WASHINGTON
The Huskies, buoyed by last week’s 49-3 win over Arizona, have been a tough nut to crack for a number of capable rushing squads, so there shouldn’t be a whole lot of shock and awe about facing off against Devontae Booker (966 yards, nine TD’s). At the same time, Jake Browning, who had four TD passes last week, won’t necessarily have smooth sailing against this Utah secondary, which permitted only Jared Goff to go over the 200-yard mark against them (but not until they intercepted him five times). U-Dub has played seven of its eight games under the total (with an extended string of 17 out of 22), and it is a surprise for some that they have returned such defensive talent after losing so many top-shelf people, including rookie of the year candidate Marcus Peters, to the NFL. Go “under” here.
ST. LOUIS at MINNESOTA
For those of you who like to watch offenses that are built around running backs (like we used to see in the NFL), this will be the game you want to keep your eye on. It’s the “duel” between Adrian Peterson of the Vikings, known in most circles as the best in the business, and the Rams’ Todd Gurley, who is being hailed by some writers already as the top back in the NFL. Gurley has rushed for 566 yards in his four starts, and no one in the league has ever done that. So which defense is more likely to stop the other? Well, the Rams have allowed 3.7 yards per carry, compared with 4.4 for the Vikes. However, Teddy Bridgewater is a preferable alternative to Nick Foles, even if he gets sacked more. And Stefon Diggs, a rookie sleeper, is giving the passing game some spark. Minnesota has covered six straight games, and Peterson is going to find an extra gear with the “heir apparent” coming to town. We’re on the home team.
GREEN BAY at CAROLINA
This is the second straight week where the Packers are laying points on the road against an undefeated opponent, and general principles would dictate that you’ve got to be “on the take.” Further consideration must be given to the fact that the Panthers have won eleven straight regular season games. Carolina is solid in so many areas, and their secondary, led by cornerback Josh Norman, has yielded just 5.4 yards an attempt. But there are indeed some limitations for this team offensively. And you have to imagine that after having just 77 yards of passing against the Broncos, Aaron Rodgers is going have an extra degree of focus here. With all due respect, the Panthers aren’t the “shutdown” unit the Broncos are. Yes, they have taken some #1 receivers out of the game, but Rodgers, especially with Davante Adams back, has multiple places he can go. And perhaps James Starks and Eddie Lacy will be in a little better shape this week. Note Carolina’s 35% success rate on third down and Cam Newton’s 54% completion rate. We’re laying the points.
TENNESSEE at NEW ORLEANS
Line: Saints -7.5 / Total 48
The Saints may have been left for dead by some but they are right there in the wild card race, after winning three straight – two of them as an underdog. They have scored 110 points in those games, and Drew Brees tied an NFL record with seven touchdown passes last week against the Giants. But you knew that already. We’re not all that confident that Dick LeBeau’s blitzes and coverages are going to confound Brees as they might younger quarterbacks, and the Titans have dropped a bit in the defensive drive stats. Marcus Mariota is quite likely to be back at the helm for Tennessee, but aside from that turnover-fueled win over Tampa Bay in the opener, he’s got all losses, along with five interceptions in his last three starts. The fact is, the Titans have won three games since the beginning of last season, and two of those were over rookie quarterbacks. Ken Whisenhunt was shown the door, but the well-worn Mike Mularkey, who steps in on an interim basis, is hardly the kind of guy they are going to rally around. We can lay this number.
(Charles Jay is a gaming professional, content specialist and sports handicapper. He offers his special commentary in the 2015 Sports Betting Guide –http://2015sportsbettingguide.com/)