Every week I will highlight the top plays from two of the most highly rated tout sheets – The Gold Sheet and Power Sweep – breaking down the plays for you, and whether or not I agree with their selections. By Thursday night, you can expect to see the top college releases, and will follow in the same manner with NFL selections.
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THE GOLD SHEET (TGS)
COLORADO -7 vs. Hawaii – TGS notes that Hawai’i is traveling to the mainland without power running back Joey Iosefa, and could run into some trouble against a physical Pac 12 team like the Buffaloes. And even though the Warriors have covered five straight against Pac 12 foes dating back to the 2012 campaign, I would like to think this is a solid spot for Colorado because not only is coach Norm Chow’s bunch coming to the mainland, but moving from tropical weather to high altitude will be hard-pressed for those big island boys. I agree here and will lay the chalk.
ALABAMA -14′ vs. Florida – Awfully big number to lay against the Gators, but TGS points out that Florida needed three overtimes to fend off Kentucky, which had lost 27 straight in the series. With this one being played in Tuscaloosa, I wouldn’t mind laying this number, especially with quarterback Blake Sims throwing against Florida’s highly suspect defensive secondary. Alabama, which has covered six of seven when hosting SEC foes, also has running backs T.J. Yeldon and Derrick Henry, who both will be rested since they’ve had only 16 total carries in the past two games. They can help balance things out when Sims isn’t aiming for wideout Amari Cooper. I also agree here and will lay the points.
NORTHERN ILLINOIS +13′ at Arkansas – It’s very tough to gauge this Northern Illinois team, which has won 17 straight road games, including last week’s visit here in Las Vegas. TGS notes the Huskies have covered 14 of their last 16 during this 17-game run, but I’d be concerned about this team traveling for a third consecutive week. Sure, the first one was in the state of Illinois, but it was still on the road. Then they came to Vegas, and now they’re headed to Fayetteville? I am actually stunned whichever editor contributed to this one picked NIU to win outright, as it could be poised for a beatdown. I’d either lay the points or stay away from this game.
WEST VIRGINIA +7 vs. Oklahoma – TGS notes the lines are beginning to inflate when it comes to the Sooners, and the past two years they’ve been able to pull away for the win and cover against the Mountaineers. This one is in hostile territory, yes. And the Mountaineers do have a power rushing game that could keep Oklahoma’s offense to limited time of possession. But don’t discount The Sooners’ stout defense, which ranks 19th in the nation overall, allowing just 295.3 yards per game. Both have a bye week on deck, so there is no look-ahead to worry about. If I were going to play this one, it would have to be on a two-team teaser, and either side would be safe since I think Oklahoma pulls out the win.
POWER SWEEP (PS)
WISCONSIN -27 vs. Bowling Green – PS notes that even though Bowling Green pulled out a 45-42 win over another Big Ten foe last week, knocking off Indiana, the Falcons did so against a horrendous defense and that quarterback James Knapke won’t have as easy a time this week at Camp Randall, in Madison, against a much better Wisconsin team. The Badgers do a very good job of rotating players, and while they have some big boys up there, they’re also fast and athletic. I don’t know if I’d lay this many points, but I also don’t know if I want to take this number since Wisconsin has won its last six games following a bye week by an average of 34.3 points. I’ll stay away from this one.
COLORADO -7 vs. Hawaii – Well you already know how I feel about this one, based on TGS’ pick, but let’s talk about why PS like the Buffs. According to the tout sheet, Hawaii arrives in Boulder after a close 27-24 win over Northern Iowa in a game the Warriors led 24-10 entering the fourth quarter. On the other hand, Colorado is in after a 38-24 loss to Arizona State. Hence, the Buffaloes could be out to avenge last week’s Pac 12 setback. PS also makes note that Hawaii has given two Pac 12 team all they can handle, but those games were in Honolulu and the Warriors now have to travel to Boulder, where Colorado was 3-0 ATS when laying chalk last season.
ARKANSAS -13′ vs. Northern Illinois – So while TGS likes Northern Illinois to win outright, PS says the Razorbacks are one of its best bets. The sheet points out that NIU is 1-9 all-time versus the SEC, with the win coming against No. 21 Alabama in 2003. The Huskies’ average loss in those 10 games: a rather high 17 points per game – a number that would sure cover the point spread in this game. PS points out that after snapping their 10-game losing streak two weeks back, the Razorbacks ran roughshod over Texas Tech last week – in Lubbock, Texas – with a 49-28 shellacking. To repeat, I’d either stay away from this game, or lay the points with the SEC entry.
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