Tout Sheets: Top College Picks This Week

Posted: September 10, 2014 in General, NCAAF
Tags: , , , , , , ,

By W.G. Ramirez

As a new feature here, 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. Mid-week you can expect to see the top college releases, and on Fridays, I will do the same with NFL selections.

please refer to the disclaimer at the bottom of this article

THE GOLD SHEET (TGS)

CENTRAL MICHIGAN +6′ vs. Syracuse – Citing the Chippewas’ stellar power rushing game, TGS likes Central Michigan to get it done as the home pup against the Orange. As TGS points out, the ‘Cuse were outgained by Villanova in overtime, something we’re not used to saying until the college basketball season. I can see their point with this pick, especially since MAC-member Northern Illinois just knocked off Northwestern, and emotions are running high in the conference, but I’m not going to give it a stamp approval. After all, the Chippewas have failed to cover five of their last six non-conference plays and are mired in a 2-10 slide in September. I also notice that Syracuse has covered 14 of 16 against this conference. Here’s a thought for teaser lovers, the ‘Cuse down to a pick might make more sense.

ARKANSAS STATE +16′ at Miami-Florida – To the southeast we go, for a battle between an energized ‘Canes team that just found out it prominent university president is retiring and a Sun Belt beast that just played the SEC’s Tennessee very close last week. I can see this one taking place, as TGS points out Miami freshman quarterback Brad Kaaya is still making mistakes, having thrown two interceptions in each of Miami’s first two games. According to my sources in Miami, the ‘Canes should cover here because they can wear the Red Wolves down. And not only should Kaaya mature in this game, but Duke Johnson will finally show up. Apparently Miami head coach Al Golden speaks about Arkansas State as if it’s Notre Dame, leaving his players with the impression this is a must-win situation. You can argue the Red Wolves look like a decent play as they’ve covered five straight on the road dating back to last season, but they’re also a dismal 1-5 versus the books in September. Meanwhile, Miami is on a 5-2 spread streak in September games.

RUTGERS +3, 53 over Penn State – These two haven’t met since 1995, but the rivalry is renewed now that Rutgers is in the Big Ten, and makes its debut with this game. TGS notes how well quarterback Gary Nova has progressed for the Scarlet Knights. Nova, along with Penn State QB Christian Hackenberg has been the conference’s two best quarterbacks after the first two weeks of the season. Both undefeated, this makes for an enticing conference-opener. This honestly could come down to which team is holding the ball last, and I’m not so sure the side in this one is as safe as the total, which I like to go over the posted number. After all, Nova leads the Big Ten and ranks third nationally with a 208.9 passing efficiency percentage. The senior has thrown for 563 yards, six touchdowns and has misfired with just one interception. Meanwhile, Hackenberg sits atop the league with 386.5 passing yards per game, which ranks fourth nationally, and has completed 54 of his 83 passes while throwing four touchdowns and four picks. These two will put on a show, and I like the final to soar.

NEBRASKA -10′ at Fresno State – No surprise, really, as the Mountain West Conference’s favorite to win the West Division has been abysmal after the first two weeks of the season. In their season-opener the Bulldogs were trampled by Southern Cal, 52-13, and last week in Utah they were pounded by the Utes, 59-27. The scoring defense is what TGS points to in this one, given the Dawgs have allowed 56 points per game after two. Sure, this is Fresno’s home-opener, but I also have to question where this team’s defense has been, when the Mountain West Media Days I attended in July was all about the Year of the Defense. And make note, the league’s preseason Defensive Player of the Year was Fresno’s Derron Smith. The Cornhuskers will be much more focused in this one, after last week’s scare against McNeese State. If Nebraska blows out McNeese, I could see laying off this one. But the fact the Huskers got their early-season upset scare out of the way, they should be able to come in and victimize Fresno, which has failed to cover six of its last seven against non-conference foes.
POWER SWEEP (PS)

IDAHO -3 vs. Western Michigan – An improved Vandals team and travel is the reason PS likes Idaho to cover the field-goal spread in this game. Western Michigan has only played one game – a 43-34 loss at Purdue – and comes in after a bye week. That right there raises a red flag, as I don’t like to see teams taking Week 2 off. You spend the summer getting prepared for the season, get your campaign underway, play respectably against a Big Ten school and then cool off with a bye week? This could spell trouble when heading across the Mississippi – the first time traveling this far since 2008, when the Broncos visited Idaho last – another thing pointed out in PS. Looking back a bit, Western Michigan arrives on ATS slides of 6-14 against non-conference foes, 1-4 in the month of September and 2-8 overall. Idaho, meanwhile, has covered five of six against the MAC, but also has several betting numbers working against it, including being 7-19 ATS at home and overall. I’ll pass on this one.

MARYLAND -3′ vs. West Virginia – Renewal of a strong rivalry that has generally been dominated by the Mountaineers. But according to PS, it’s taking the Terps because it can’t forget how bad Maryland put a whooping on West Virginia last season in a heavy rain. PS also notes the Terps having the better defense, and thinks they should pull away for a double-digit win given this one is at home. The home team has won seven of the last 10 meetings, while the road team has covered five of the last eight. I’m not fond of the half-point hanging on the field-goal line, and would much rather lay 2′ or 3, but do think Maryland is the team to play if you invest on this game. Though West Virginia hung with Alabama in the opener, it might be a little too overconfident after a blowout win against Towson last week. This week it goes up against the 25th-ranked defense in the nation and won’t be moving the ball as well as it did last week.

CENTRAL MICHIGAN +6′ vs. Syracuse – Just as TGS did, I see PS is doing the same in this showdown at Kelly/Shorts Stadium in Mount Pleasant, Michigan. PS notes how Syracuse quarterback Terrel Hunt lost his cool last week against Villanova, and was ejected after throwing a punch in the game. Prior to that, he completed 10-of-17 passes for 94 yards. Make note that Hunt is a dual-threat QB for the Orange, and has plenty of experience after completing 61.2 percent of his passes for 1,638 yards and 10 touchdowns against eight interceptions in leading the Cuse to a 7-6 finish in 2013. Again, I’m passing on either side of this one, but would strongly consider teasing the Orange in this one.

ARMY +28 at Stanford – PS says this could be a letdown for Stanford, while the Black Knights have the capability of shortening things and keeping things closer than four TDs. The Cardinal took a major hit last week against Southern Cal, in a tight, 13-10 setback. Whether or not Stanford will be 100 percent focused on this game, though it is in on a 15-6 ATS run in September and has covered four of five after failing to cash the previous week. Meanwhile, Army has failed to cover 17 of its last 25 and is mired in a 5-16 ATS slide on the road. I’m not so sure I’m ready to play a big underdog in this game, even as big as this number as is, since the Cardinal may be looking to avenge last week’s loss.

TCU -13′ vs. Minnesota – Minnesota checks into Fort Worth on a slew of betting streaks, including a 6-1 ATS run on a natural surface, 5-1 against winning teams and also on the road, 8-3 when facing non-Big Ten teams and 7-2 overall. On the flipside, the Horned Frogs come in with jumbled betting streaks, having covered nine consecutive games after a bye week, but also mired in a 3-9 ATS slide at home. PS sweep notes the Gophers’ second-half collapse in last week’s 35-24 win over Middle Tennessee State, and the fact this is a ‘bye’ sandwich for the Frogs, who had last week off, and will enjoy another off week next weekend.

TEXAS ST +10 vs. Navy – This is PS’s vaunted Dog of the Week, noting that Texas State is in after a 65-0 win over Arkansas Pine Bluff in the season-opener, and a bye week last Saturday, giving the Bobcats extra time to prepare for the Middies. Meanwhile, Navy will play with a suitcase in hand for the third straight week. PS says this is the Middies’ biggest road favorite role in seven years and might be a trap. I might have to agree here, as the Bobcats – albeit after just one game – has the seventh-best defense overall, behind the likes of Florida, Baylor, TCU, Pittsburgh, Indiana and Stanford. To its credit, Navy has covered five of six overall dating back to last season, but the Bobcats are also in on ATS win streaks of 4-0 against non-conference foes and 4-1 in September. I can see this one, and don’t mind a small play on the Bobcats.

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