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Saturday, 14 September 2013

College Football Week 3 Picks 2013 (September 12-14)

There is no doubt that the entire national attention for Week 3 is the rematch between the Texas A&M Aggies and the Alabama Crimson Tide with the winner having a big inside track to playing in the National Championship Game in January.

There are strong reasons to think either team could win this game- the Aggies have an Offense that will cause Alabama problems, while the Crimson Tide didn't set the world alight with their own Offensive display in their win in Week 1 against the Virginia Tech Hokies.

However, Nick Saban has an incredibly strong record in rematches and the gut feeling I have is that the Crimson Tide will be ready and able to overcome their trip to College Station, although I am not so sure they cover the spread. Whether the Aggies make it as one of my picks this week is yet to be decided...

Week 2 saw big wins for the Georgia Bulldogs who I said were not out of the National Championship Game if they could run the table despite the defeat to Clemson in Week 1- the Bulldogs have a decent schedule from here on out and I expect them to represent the SEC East in the Conference Title game in December... Win that and Georgia could be picked to play the National Championship Game next January.

It was the second positive week of the season as Week 2 concluded and I have been fortunate to miss the backdoor covers that blighted the picks I made last season, especially early in the season. Hopefully I can continue to miss those beats, even if two of the losses this season have come thanks to touchdowns scored i the last minute of games.

Akron Zips @ Michigan Wolverines Pick: The Michigan Wolverines picked up an important win over the Notre Dame Fighting Irish last week and that game wasn't as close as the final score suggested. They do look the team that could prevent the Ohio State Buckeyes playing in the National Championship Game and there are lots of positives for Brady Hoke to take out of their first two games.

Hoke has made it clear he doesn't expect a letdown for his team after such a positive result last weekend, and it is hard to see how they could blow this game against the Zips. Michigan should be able to move the chains all day and they have been decent in their position as a home favourite by improving to 10-5 against the spread in that position under Brady Hoke.

Akron could certainly scupper this pick with late scores, especially with the spread as big as it is, and they have an Offense that will feel they can put up points. However, I do think Michigan are going to score at will and I expect them to win this by 39 points or more.

Louisville Cardinals @ Kentucky Wildcats Pick: Teddy Bridgewater could easily be the Number 1 Pick in the NFL Draft next year, especially if Jacksonville Jaguars are in that position, and he has opened the season with the confidence of a player that knows what he can do on a football field.

Bridgewater has won his two starts against Kentucky and will look to complete a hat-trick with a strong Offense helping out. He should have time to carve up the Wildcats Defense and the Cardinals will play with the knowledge that this is as good an opportunity to show what they can do against a SEC team to compare with some of the other teams fighting for the chance to play in a big Bowl game.

Kentucky won easily last week, but were beaten by Western Kentucky to open the season and the Cardinals do look a lot more talented in almost all aspects of the game. The rivalry will likely make this a close, competitive game at first, but Louisville look too talented to not put up a lot of points and to clear this spread.

Tennessee Volunteers @ Oregon Ducks Pick: The Oregon Ducks haven't slowed down despite seeing Chip Kelly depart for the NFL and the internal appointment of Mark Helfrich has certainly helped in that regard.

While Tennessee are also unbeaten, they were fortunate to have as many turnovers as they did last week against Western Kentucky and were actually down on the stats that suggested the Hilltoppers could have won without the mistakes. Oregon are less likely to make those mistakes and they have such speed and score points so rapidly that this could be tough for Tennessee to keep up.

The Ducks will look to make a statement against an SEC team that others can match up against when it comes to the National Championship Game discussion. Tennessee are also 2-5 against the spread as the road underdog in the last couple of seasons and this could end in a similar manner to when Oregon visited Knoxville three years ago and end with a comfortable Ducks win.

Northern Illinois Huskies @ Idaho Vandals Pick: This looks a real mismatch in favour of the Northern Illinois Huskies, especially with a two week break to prepare for this game. Jordan Lynch is the best Quarter Back in the MAC Conference and he should have his way, be it through the air or on the ground, against the Vandals Defense.

Idaho have been blown out twice this season already and there was a concern that they may not be motivated to their full levels as an Independent like they are this season. Being heavily beaten by Wyoming and North Texas does not bode well against a talented team like the Huskies but they can at least enjoy being at home in this one.

The Vandals are just 2-6 against the spread as the home underdog over the last three seasons and the level of talent difference between the two teams doesn't bode well for them.  Northern Illinois are well rested and there is a real feeling they can get to another big Bowl Game having competed in the Orange Bowl last year and I just expect the Huskies to blow out the Vandals here.

Maryland Terrapins @ Connecticut Huskies Pick: The Maryland Terrapins look to have the edge in this game and I can't help feel that the Connecticut Huskies are being a touch over-rated from last season.

Defensively, there has been a sharp drop off of talent from a year ago and Connecticut could find it tough against a Maryland Offense that has a number of playmakers and should be able to score plenty of points all season.

It was a poor performance all around by Connecticut to lose to an FCS school in their first game of the season, especially considering they were over 16 points favourites to win that game. They gave up almost 400 yards in that loss, while the Offensive Line struggles could be exposed and stunt their own drives.

My biggest concern is that the Huskies are 15-3 against the spread as a home underdog in recent years, but Maryland should be able to win this by a Touchdown or more.

Kansas Jayhawks @ Rice Owls Pick: The Rice Owls may have lost their opening game at Texas A&M, but a replication of that level of performance should see them beat the Kansas Jayhawks with some room to spare.

Rice moved the ball very effectively on the ground in the game against the Aggies and I think that is an area they will cause Kansas some problems in this one, especially as the Jayhawks just aren't as talented as the Owls look.

Charlie Weis needs a couple of top recruiting classes to get this program back on track but at the moment Kansas don't look like they have a lot of talent to improve too much on their 1-11 season last year, even if they have already won their first game.

I am expecting Rice to be able to move the chains much more effectively than Kansas in this one and they should be able to pull away for the win and cover. The Jayhawks are 3-8 against the spread as the road underdog in the last two years, while Rice are 9-2 against the spread as the home favourite in recent years too.

UTEP Miners @ New Mexico State Aggies Pick: Both of these teams will be expected to move the chains easily enough in this one as both have an edge with their Offenses being slightly stronger than the Defense they face. I expect both teams to score well, but I also believe UTEP have the talent edge that could see them create one big play to turn the momentum in their favour.

The Miners might be able to create an extra turnover, make a critical stop on a fourth down play or just break a big play Offensively in the game that helps them cover the spread in this one and win their first game of the season.

UTEP have won 4 in a row against the Aggies in this series, winning on their last 2 visits to New Mexico State, while the Aggies are 6-11 against the spread as the home underdog. 

UTSA Roadrunners @ Arizona Wildcats Pick: The UTSA Roadrunners scored 28 points in the fourth quarter against the Oklahoma State Cowboys last week to secure a backdoor cover in that game, but they may struggle to replicate that effort at the Arizona Wildcats.

The Roadrunners would have been looking forward to the game against the Cowboys and they did put in a lot of effort in front of their own fans, but it can be a little more difficult on the road. They are also facing an Arizona Wildcats team that looks very powerful Offensively and one who will look to make a statement before their bye week and then a big game against Pac-12 rival Washington.

One concern is that the Wildcats didn't play that well as the home favourite last season, going 2-4 against the spread, but they can focus fully on this game and I expect they can score enough points to see off UTSA and cover the spread.

MY PICKS: Michigan Wolverines - 37 Points @ 1.92 Pinnacle (1 Unit)
Louisville Cardinals - 14 Points @ 1.92 Bet Victor (1 Unit)
Oregon Ducks - 28 Points @ 1.95 Pinnacle (1 Unit)
Northern Illinois Huskies - 28.5 Points @ 1.95 Pinnacle (1 Unit)
Maryland Terrapins - 6 Points @ 1.92 Paddy Power (1 Unit)
Rice Owls - 6.5 Points @ 1.95 Paddy Power (1 Unit)
UTEP Miners - 3.5 Points @ 1.95 Paddy Power (1 Unit)
Arizona Wildcats - 24.5 Points @ 2.00 Pinnacle (1 Unit)

Week 2: 6-2, + 3.55 Units (8 Units Staked, + 44.38% Yield)
Week 14-3, + 0.74 Units (7 Units Staked, + 10.57% Yield)

Season 2013: 10-5, + 4.29 Units (15 Units Staked, + 28.60% Yield)

Season 201254-59-1 - 7.11 Units (114 Units Staked, - 6.24% Yield)
Season 201163-36, + 23.25 Units (99 Units Staked, + 23.5% Yield)

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