I’m very surprised this line is so high. Both teams will be sky high for this matchup with bowl eligibiity at stake for each squad. Recent history indicates a close gamed as the last six meetings have all been one-score finals with the average victory margin being 5.3 points. I really like Colorado’s balanced attack with running back Philip Lindsey, who ranks No. 2 in the Pac-12 in yards from scrimmage, and quarterback Steven Montez, who has come on throwing for more than 300 yards during the past three games. Lindsay has scored 14 touchdowns and three Colorado receivers have more than 500 yards receiving. Utah is coming off a disappointing 33-30 road loss to Washington in which the Utes blew the game by allowing 10 points in the final 58 seconds. That dropped Utah’s record to 1-6 in Pac-12 games. The Utes have lost at home to Washington State, Stanford and Arizona State as a 10-point favorite. Colorado, on the other hand, has had two weeks to prepare for this game after a much needed bye last week. Utah last had a bye in September. So I’m expecting the Buffaloes to be the fresher team and certainly well prepared
Stephen Nover’s CFB Total of the Week
Old Dominion vs Middle Tennessee State
OVER 48.5 (-130)
Sparked by star running back Ray Lawry, Old Dominion has taken its offense up a notch scoring a combined 61 points during its last two games. Lawry has rushed for 278 yards and scored three touchdowns during this span. Middle Tennessee State can’t just key on Lawry either because the Monarchs have a balanced attack.
The Blue Raiders are going to get their share of points with Brent Stockstill back at quarterback. He’s facing an Old Dominion defense that yields nearly 31 points a game.
Stephen Nover’s CFB Underdog Special
Duke +11.5 (-110)
Duke needs to win to keep its bowl hopes alive. Wake Forest already is bowl eligible. The Blue Devils are 5-5 with four of their defeats coming by seven points or less. Duke stopped the bleeding with an impressive 43-20 win against Georgia Tech last week as a 6 1/2-point home ‘dog. This is the first time Duke hasn’t been favored in this series in five meetings. Only one of the last 10 games in the series has been decided by more than 11 points. That was Duke’s 41-21 victory against the Demon Deacons in 2014. Wake Forest has a strong offense. But Duke’s defense should keep them in this game. The Blue Devils are 25th in scoring defense surrendering more than 24 points just twice.
Stephen Nover’s NBA Game of the Week
Thunder -5 (-110)
Oklahoma City covered a 10-point spread when it defeated Dallas, 112-99, at home two weeks ago. The Thunder accomplished that without Carmelo Anthony and Steven Adams. Anthony averages 20 points a game and Adams is the Thunder’s second-leading rebounder and best big man. Both will be in action here. Yet the spread opened half of what it was in the first meeting. OK, Dallas is home and has been playing better. But the Mavericks can’t match the Thunder’s superstar trio of Russell Westbrook, Paul George and Anthony. Westbrook is averaging 34.5 points, 8.3 rebounds and 5.8 assists during his last four games versus Dallas. The Thunder are in angry mood, too. Just two days off their biggest win of the season, a 17-point victory against the Warriors at home, the Thunder lost 99-98 at home to the Pistons last night blowing a 15-point lead. Look for Oklahoma City to vent its frustration against the Mavericks, a team they have beaten seven of the last eight times. The Thunder have pounded lottery-bound teams like the Mavericks going 16-5 ATS the past 21 times when playing opponents with a winning percentage below .400.
Bucks / Jazz
Since their second game of the season, the Jazz have defeated just one team that has a record above .500. That was Portland and the Jazz won that game in overtime. I have to think the Bucks have become good enough to defeat the Jazz, who are minus their best player, rebounder and shot-blocker Rudy Gobert. Utah is 3-4 without Gobert. The victories have come against the Nets, Magic and Bulls. The Nets and Bulls are among the six-worst teams in the NBA and Orlando is playing its worst ball losing seven in a row. The Jazz now are forced to heavily rely on Rodney Hood, Derick Favors and Donovan Mitchell. These are role players. Contrast this with Milwaukee’s star power – Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kris Middleton, Malcolm Brodgon and Eric Bledsoe. I’d say those four player give Milwaukee the best four players in this matchup. Antetokonumpo is in the MVP arrgument scoring 29.7 points a game, while averaging 10.3 rebounds and nearly two blocks per game. He’s fully expected to play after sitting out Wednesday’s game against the Suns to rest a sore knee. Opponents are shooting 50.3 percent inside against the Jazz since Gobert has been out. That percentage was less than 47 percent when Gobert was in the lineup. Antetokounmpo ranks No. 2 in the NBA behind only LeBron James in baskets off drives to the lane at 60.3 percent.
225 Alabama -4.0 (-110) William Hill vs 226 Auburn
Ken’s Game of the Year As much as I liked Auburn against Georgia two weeks ago, I just don’t get that same feeling in this game about the Tigers. I feel like Damien Harris & Bo Scarborough will be able to run the ball better than Kerryon Johnson.
Even though Bama is down 4 LB’s on the season they can still make big plays when the chips are down. The game in Starkville should have the Tide battle tested for another hostile environment but even though it’s a Bigger rivalry game, it is still inside the state line of Alabama. The Crimson Tide will not have to deal with cowbells ringing in their ears all night and should have a descent amount of support.
I’m looking for DL Raekwon Davis & Senior LB Rashaan Evans to set the tone for the Bama D. These two Saban disciples have combined for 11.5 sacks & 16.5 Tackles for loss. I feel like the Crimson Tide defense will get in Jarrett Stidham’s face enough to force some errant throws that will be tipped or picked off. Although QB Jalen Hurts is not the most accurate passer for Bama, I still feel like he avoids pressure better and can take off and run at any time. Alabama is a plus nine in turnovers while the Tigers have just three more takeaways than their opponents. Should be a heck of a game for awhile and then I feel like reality will set in on Au™burn as they fall at home to their hated rival. With a win I feel like Alabama will solidify a play-off spot, even with a close loss in the SEC Title game to Georgia.
I like Bama by 10 plus in this game!
Update 11/21 at 10:46 PM PST – Auburn LB’s Deshaun Davis ( ANKLE ) & Tre Williams are both still questionable for Saturday. Davis is the LEADING tackler on Auburn while despite missing 3 games this season Tre’ Williams is still the Tigers number 6 tackler.
EARLY SAT COLLEGE DOMINATOR
4% CONNECTICUT 5.0 (-102)
In truth the wrong team is favored in this AAC event. Yes, Connecticut is just 3-8 on the season, but so is Cincinnati. Yes, the Bearcats are at home and get a handicap favor in that category, but when it comes to motivation and passion on Saturday it will come from the Huskies seniors rather than the ‘Cats.
The Huskies have lost four straight but it is the Bearcats that have, in a visual and reality sense, laid down this season. The Bearcats have lost two straight and last week’s effort against East Carolina was evidence of the state of mind with this Cincinnati squad.
UConn fell by 23-points in their last game, an event at Fenway Park, against a good BC team. The 39-16 final wasn’t representative of what Randy Edsall’s players put forth. Edsall has the back of his players and visa-versa. The same can’t be said of what has been nothing short of a disappointing campaign for first-year coach Luke Fickell. The current player personnel at Fickell’s disposal just don’t fit the way he wants to scheme.
David Pindell gets another start behind center after Bryant Shirreffs was lost for the season with a concussion. The Huskies have surrendered an average of 39.4 points per game this season.
The Bearcats lost to a less talented and undermanned Pirates team a week ago by a 48-20 margin. Cincy allowed a ridiculous 464 yards passing and watching wide receiver Trevon Brown torch them for 270 yards receiving on nine catches. The performance was highlighted by a Bearcats team that was everything but organized.
UConn has defeated Tulsa, Temple and Holy Cross this season. The ‘Cats have victories over Peay, Miami of Ohio and Tulane, and have lost each and every home game in conference play this season.
Consider that the Bearcats scored a mere 20 points against a ECU defense that has allowed 45 per game this year versus a UConn team that may have lost four straight, but are on a 4-2 ATS run and recorded 400-plus yards of offense in events against bowl teams Central Florida and BC and the wrong team is favored in this event.
BIG TICKET NCAAF GAME ~ MONTH
5% BOSTON COLLEGE -3.0 (-108)
With or without QB Eric Dungy the Eagles are a value-play this Saturday. After a huge ACC win over the Clemson Tigers Dino Babers’ squad has done what has been expected and that is complete but fail in the late season due to lack of depth on the defensive side of the ball as well as fatigue. The latter due to the style of play the offense schemes and executes.
Make no mistake that Babers’ offense game-plans are solid. The objective to run 85-plus plays in a single college contest wears on opposing schools that are not accustomed to the up-tempo offense that the Cuse sport. However, what that tempo does to their own defense, as is, is brutal late in the season against top flight conference foes.
Also, there isn’t a lot of questions about Babers’ direction with the Syracuse program. They are headed north in nearly every important category that creates good teams. However, the coaching staff’s current player personal on the defensive side of the football lacks blue-chip talent and depth. This will change in the next couple of years but like last year the lack of depth has taken a toll on the team’s ability to get defensive stops.
Flashback to 2016 when the Orange gave up big points and yards at the end of the season. The same has happened in 2017. Two weeks ago the stop unit allowed 64 points and 734 yards to Wake Forest followed by a loss to Louisville that saw the defense allow 56 and 727.
The absence of quarterback Eric Dungey (foot) presents issues for the Syracuse defense. They are on the field longer without Dungy behind center sustaining drives.
There are those that don’t support the Eagles without Anthony Brown. This would be a mistake. Senior Darius Wade – starting in place of the injured Brown – did only throw for 55 yards passing on 15 attempts at Fenway against the UConn Huskies a week ago but that is all the offense had to do throw the football. Not only is Wade extremely capable the running game behind an offensive line that will wear down the Orange is in terrific form.
In truth the Eagles have two capable quarterbacks at their disposal for this contest at the Carrier Dome. Wade and freshman EJ Perry, a dual threat under center, who shared practice reps with Wade this week.
Note: Wake Forest put up 64 points on the Orange two weeks ago and Louisville followed with 56 last week. The injuries on offense for Syracuse trump the talent of their best two defensive players, who are healthy, linebackers Zaire Franklin and Paris Bennett, who are only human and can’t withstand the BC running attack for 80 plays on Saturday.
No Dungey on Saturday means that backup Zack Mahoney and/or Rex Culpepper will see action versus the Eagles. Neither were productive against a soft Louisville defense. Babers and his staff have are going against the grain with conservative offensive play calling avoiding either signal-caller putting the offense behind the chains and/or throwing picks. At least this is what they would like to see from the Dungy replacements. The problem is both QB’s threw two interceptions against a very beatable Cardinals secondary. The duo combined to go 13-of-34 for 138 yards and no touchdowns through the air. Boston College’s defensive is head and shoulders better than Louisville’s.
Behind the BC offensive line and Dillon’s ability to grind out yards while hitting a big gainer or….. six… the Eagles run away and hide from the Orange on Saturday. Boston College is on a near perfect 7-0-1 against the number run. Expect another big game from Dillon running the football and eventually the BC defense manhandling the Orange offensive backups.
FINN COLLEGE FOOTBALL BEST BET
4% NORTHWESTERN -16.5 (-106)
While the Illini have all but thrown in the towel this season the Wildcats are running hard. Northwestern has won six straight and sport a solid 8-1 ATS mark over their last nine events. The ‘Cats are off a ridiculous efficient 32-pt cover versus Minnesota in which they outgained the Gophers by a 2-1 margin.
Illini was outgained by over 400 yards last week against the Buckeyes. The Illinois offense had a total of just five first downs.
The coaching difference in this game is as significant as the talent comparison of the two rosters. Pat Fitzgerald can take the brain-heavy campus to the 10-win level for the second time in three seasons on Saturday.
Illinois has not exceeded 17 points in seven of its last eight contests while Northwestern has scored 31 or more points in three of its last four.
Justin Jackson has found his way into Big Ten history running the football and the ‘Cats defense is healthy and playing their best football.
The Illini have replaced Jeff George Jr. with quarterback Chayce Crouch but he was injured in the fourth quarter of last week’s loss to OSU. Crouch threw for a total of 16 yards on 4-of-14 passing. The Illini have struggled at the quarterback the entire season and have the youngest roster in the Big 10, and one of the youngest in all of college ball. Late in the game against Ohio State, Chayce Crouch landed hard on his shoulder, forcing freshman quarterback Cam Miller into action.
Regardless of who starts behind center for the Illini on Saturday this games ends in a NW rout. While it isn’t the same mismatch