College Football: Week 12 Picks

Arkansas (-4) over Mississippi State: Arkansas is coming back home off huge road wins against Ole Miss and LSU. The Razorbacks played their best football at the end of the season last year, and I think they are doing the same now. I think they can put up points here and win by at least a touchdown.

Penn State (+3.5) over Michigan: Michigan is coming off a double overtime win over Indiana and have a huge game against Ohio State next weekend. Penn State had a bye week so they should be well prepared for this game. The Nittany Lions will win straight up with the Wolverines looking ahead to their game with the Buckeyes.

California (+10.5) over Stanford: Stanford’s College Football Playoff dreams were crushed last week when they lost to Oregon. Not much to play for her from the Cardinal perspective. California has greatly improved this season and I think they will bring a great effort against one of their biggest rivals.

SEC Games to Circle

It’s a slow time in the sports calendar, which makes it a perfect time to start preparing for football season. I looked through the conference schedules for the SEC, Big Ten, Big 12, ACC and Pac-12 to look for favorable situations to support teams and bad situations to fade teams. Games are at least two months away, and I wouldn’t automatically pick these games but it’s something that could be helpful down the road. I will post the other four conferences next week. For now, here are games you should keep an eye on in the SEC:

September 26- Missouri at Kentucky: Missouri has three favorable non-conference games before their first SEC game at Kentucky. The Tigers will likely be a favorite against an up-and-coming Wildcats team that needs to win these games if they want to make a bowl. Missouri plays South Carolina the week after. Last year the Tigers shockingly lost to Indiana the week before playing the Gamecocks in a classic “look ahead” situation. Missouri may be looking past Kentucky with bigger games on deck so possibly take Kentucky if they are an underdog in this game.

October 10- Georgia at Tennessee: Georgia is coming off a home game against Alabama. A trip to Knoxville is less than ideal the week after such a big contest for the Bulldogs. The Volunteers host Arkansas the week before and a have a bye the week after. Tennessee might end up being a favorite in this game and I would likely take them if the spread is a south of a field goal.

October 17- Alabama at Texas A&M: Alabama has had favorable conference schedules the last few seasons. However, things change in 2015 as they draw Georgia and Tennessee from the SEC East. They play the two SEC East foes in part of a four-week stretch that also includes games against Arkansas and Texas A&M. The game against Texas A&M is on the road and I can see the Crimson Tide slipping up here. The Aggies will have revenge on their mind after being trounced 59-0 against Alabama last season. Texas A&M also has a favorable early season schedule, and they don’t leave the state of Texas until the eighth week of the season. I don’t know if Alabama will lose this game but I can see them failing to cover the spread.

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College Football: Week 13 Picks

Washington State (+16) over Arizona State: Arizona State’s Playoff dreams were crushed last week at Oregon State. They return home to face Washington State and now they don’t even control their own destiny to win the Pac-12 South. The Sun Devils also have a rivalry game against Arizona next week, which makes the situation even tougher. Washington State won’t make a bowl this season but quarterback Luke Falk did a great job replacing the injured Connor Halliday in the Cougars’ win at Oregon State. Washington State also had a bye last week so they will be prepared and focused.

Arkansas (+3.5) over Ole Miss: I think Arkansas starts building a conference winning streak this week. Their running attack and offensive line can matchup with Ole Miss’ front seven. The Rebels might be looking ahead to next week’s game against Mississippi State where they can ruin their rivals’ Playoff chances. Ole Miss lost a heartbreaker to Mississippi State last season, which makes the look ahead ever more possible.

Virginia (+6) over Miami: I was very impressed with Miami’s play against Florida State but they lost in devastating fashion. Now they have to go on the road to Virginia with a let down seeming inevitable. Virginia is 4-6 so they still have a shot at a bowl game. The Cavaliers are coming off a bye so this is a great spot to back Virginia.

Vanderbilt (+30) over Mississippi State: Mississippi State is overvalued here. I think the Sportsbooks have an inflated point spread assuming that Mississippi State will try to run up the score to impress the Playoff committee. The reality is Mississippi State hasn’t really looked impressive recently and they just want to win and be healthy for the Egg Bowl in Week 14. The Bulldogs are still in the top four so they still control their own destiny. Vanderbilt is showing signs of life and had a bye last week to prepare for this one.

Pool Plays

Kansas State (+2) over West Virginia- Thursday night

North Carolina (+6) over Duke- Thursday night

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College Football: Week 12 Picks

I have seven picks in Week 12 of college football. I previewed the important games earlier in this week before the lines were released. I ended up picking six of those games so you can read my analysis there. Here are my picks and pool plays for Week 12:

South Carolina (+7) over Florida: This is the one game I didn’t preview earlier in the week because it has no impact on the College Football Playoff. South Carolina has blown three fourth quarter leads this year but I think they make sure to play 60 minutes in Gainesville. Florida doesn’t have the offense to be a touchdown favorite here and I think the Gamecocks win straight up.

Georgia (-2) over Auburn

Stanford (-7.5) over Utah

Alabama (-8) over Mississippi State

Arkansas (-2) over LSU

Florida State (-3) over Miami

Maryland (+12) over Michigan State

Pool Plays

Penn State (-11) over Temple

Ohio State (-14) over Minnesota

Iowa (-3.5) over Illinois

Nebraska (+6.5) over Wisconsin

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College Football: Week 6 Picks

Here are my picks and pool plays for Friday and Saturday in college football:

Mississippi State (-2) over Texas A&M: Texas A&M is overvalued and were lucky to beat Arkansas on Saturday. I think the Aggies defense will have trouble with Dak Prescott and the Bulldogs offense. Mississippi State had a bye last week to refocus after an emotional win at LSU.

Stanford (-1) over Notre Dame: Two years ago Stanford pushed Notre Dame to the brink before falling just short in South Bend. I think revenge can be a factor in this game. Everett Golson has had a great start to the season but the Cardinal have a history of slowing down mobile quarterbacks. Stanford’s only loss was against USC where they statistically dominated the game. Notre Dame has taken care of business but this year’s Michigan team, Purdue and Syracuse aren’t very good this season.

LSU (+7.5) over Auburn: I’ve been picking against Auburn a lot this season and will do it at least one more time. They failed to cover the spread in the last two games despite winning outright. Les Miles’ teams are always better with less expectations and when no one believes in them. I think that is the case in this game and I can see LSU upsetting Auburn.

Utah (+13) over UCLA: UCLA started the season slowly and then bursted out for 62 points and 580 yards last Thursday against Arizona State. The Bruins scored twice on interceptions and also returned a kickoff for a touchdown. The Bruins have a tough scheduling situation with Oregon at home next week. Utah may have been looking ahead to this game when they blew a fourth quarter lead to Washington State at home. I think the Utes offense gets back on track and they cover in Pasadena.

Pool Plays

Syracuse (+3) over Louisville- Friday Night

Purdue (+8.5) over Illinois

Ohio State (-8.5) over Maryland

Florida (+3) over Tennessee

Iowa State (+17) over Oklahoma State

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SEC Win Total and Standings Preview

Best bets

Florida over 7.5 wins (-140): Things can only go up for Florida after finishing 4-8 last season and having a roster filled with injured players. Quarterback Jeff Driskel is healthy and I think he will play up to his potential this season. Will Muschamp knows he is on the hot seat and you can always count on his defense to play well. Look for sophomore cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III to be a household name by the end of the season. Florida’s schedule is challenging with cross-division conference games at Alabama and home against LSU. They make the trip at the end of the season to Tallahassee to play Florida State. I think they will win one of the two games against Georgia and South Carolina. I also think they will beat LSU. Great programs rebound after a disappointing season and I think Florida will win nine games. Continue reading