Dave’s Free Play, Tuesday 9/30/14

Now that the first month of the college football campaign, and the first casualty has just taken place (adios, Charlie Weis) it’s a good time to take a look at coaches on the hot seat. I’ve always felt it’s worth keeping an eye on those that fit this category. While not by any means being cut and dried, it’s not at all unusual to see some towel tossing being done by these teams. One more variable to factor into the weekly mix.  I’ll probably do a more extended rundown sometime soon, but here’s my current top five.

 

1. Brady Hoke, Michigan: This is getting pretty ugly. I’m not sure what happened here. I thought Hoke was dynamite at Ball State, and likewise at San Diego State. But it’s sure not working at Ann Arbor, and Hoke is looking like a lame duck right now. The Shane Morris concussion incident might accelerate the process.

2. Will Muschamp, Florida: The Gators are 2-1, and the only loss was at Alabama, so there’s still time for Muschamp to possibly get off the griddle. I’d say it’s fair to classify this Saturday’s game at Tennessee as a must win, or the wheels could absolutely fall off in Gainesville.

3. Norm Chow, Hawaii: Problems galore with this program that go way beyond the head coach. But Chow is 68, and the team is pretty bad. So are the crowds. How poor is the attendance? You can actually hear individual fans yelling out what they think will be the play call prior to the snaps. That’s not good. I would put the chances of Chow being back for 2015 at close to 0%.

4. Dana Holgorsen, West Virginia: The Mountaineers are better than they were last season, but 7-6 followed by 4-8 for a program used to winning much more than that sure isn’t good. In spite of what would be an enormous buyout with three years still to go on the contract beyond the current campaign, I don’t see Holgorsen lasting much longer if there aren’t more W’s.

5. Kevin Wilson, Indiana: Great win by the Hoosiers against Missouri a couple weeks back, but that’s more than offset with the bad loss to Bowling Green and last week’s thumping at the hands of Big 10 newcomer Maryland. It’s pretty much bowl or bust for Wilson and bust is the clear favorite right now.

Got a coach you believe is in trouble? Tweet me @davecokin and voice your view!

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No plays on Monday, though the lean on the Chiefs sure wasn’t wrong. But I definitely didn’t see that blowout coming, which is why it was just an opinion and not on the personal card. Nevertheless, another very good football week and a fourth straight positive month is in the books.

I’ll be putting up a new special within the next day or two, so if you’d like to take advantage of the six-week special, don’t procrastinate. For those interested in only paying a performance-based fee, I believe I’ve got as strong a net winners program as is available anywhere. Email me at cokin@cox.net for all the info.

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It’s MLB playoff time, so here’s a look at the play-in game between the Athletics and Royals.

09/30 5:05 PM  MLB  OAKLAND ATHLETICS  at  KANSAS CITY ROYALS

Take: UNDER 6.5 -115

This should be fun. The A’s are still playing in spite of a colossal September collapse. The Royals are still playing beyond game #162 for the first time in a generation.

The home field advantage here is definitely in play. This crowd is going to be insane. Kansas City baseball fans have been longing for a winner for what seems like an eternity and they’re going to be completely jacked up for this event. I would say the home field edge here is perhaps a dime more than it would normally be as far as the betting line is concerned.

The A’s are in on a free roll of sorts. They’ve basically been dismissed as legit World Series contenders by the talking heads who get the most attention. That could actually be a remedy for their recent ailments, as they’re sort of back to being that little engine that could once again, and that’s the role that seems to serve them best.

I’m think the Under is worth a look here. The A’s aren’t hitting anybody right now, and James Shields has plenty of playoff experience. It has to be noted that his post-season ledger isn’t exactly a thing of beauty, but there’s still enough there to at least assume he won’t succumb to big stage nerves.

Jon Lester was nothing short of spectacular last October for the Red Sox, and figures to be strong here. The Royals are not explosive, and need to make consistent contact to thrive as they lack power. Lester profiles as the type most likely to give them trouble, as he’s a power lefty.

I’m going to be really interested to see who Oakland starts behind the plate. It needs to be Geovany Soto, who isn’t as dangerous with the stick as Derek Norris, but is much better at limiting steals. That’s a big key in terms of containing an important aspect of the Kansas City offense.

The Oakland bullpen has not been good of late, but I really expect Lester to go deep here. The Royals really only need Shields to let it all hang out for six frames, as there’s no better late inning trifecta in the game than Herrera, Davis and Holland.

The A’s are not a small ball entry, but they need to try and manufacture runs here. The Royals play that way anyway, and the likelihood of a big inning against Lester is pretty low. I think we’re looking at a pitching duel and a close, low scoring game. I’ll make the Tuesday free play Under 6.5 between the A’s and Royals.

 

 

 

Dave’s Free Play, Monday 9/29/14

The curtain has come down on the 2014 MLB regular season, so time for me to chime in  with my award winners for the year. It looks to me like most of these are pretty clear cut, with only a couple of tough calls.

AL MVP: Mike Trout. No brainer. He’s the best position player in the game, and the Angels ended up with the best record in the majors.

NL MVP: Clayton Kershaw. This was heading toward being a great debate with advocates that pitchers shouldn’t be considered for the MVP stumping for Giancarlo Stanton. Unfortunately, the Marlins star went down with the scary injury. Regardless, Kershaw put together the best single season for a pitcher since Pedro Martinez about 15 years ago, and he’s the clear choice to me.

AL Cy Young: Corey Kluber. This one is tough, as a good argument can certainly be made for Felix Hernandez. But Kluber is my pick. He actually finished ahead of Kershaw in WAR, which is close to unbelievable. Kluber also had what I’d consider a below average defense for support and his consistency was phenomenal. It’s close to a coin flip here between Kluber and the King, but I’m siding with the Indians righty.

AL Rookie: Jose Abreu. No contest once Masahiro Tanaka went down, and when considering what the White Sox lineup looked like, Abreu’s numbers become even more impressive.

NL Rookie: Jacob deGrom. This looked like Billy Hamilton all the way at mid-season, but not anymore. deGrom went from a barely on the radar prospect to what appears to be a potential staff ace. As for Hamilton, he’s a blast to watch and his best years are still to come. But that .297 OBP is not good, and while he’s clearly dangerous on the bases, he also wasn’t automatic, getting nabbed 22 times trying to steal. I actually think this is fairly clear cut with deGrom on top.

AL Manager: Buck Showalter. Very easy choice here. I can’t see any argument.

NL Manager: Clint Hurdle. From this vantage point, the most difficult choice. Props to Matt Williams, who took the Nationals to the number one NL seed in the upcoming playoffs. Kudos to Don Mattingly, who had to manage what seems to at times be a fractured clubhouse and sure appears to be improving as an in-game skipper. But Hurdle, in spite of occasionally getting locked into “by the book” strategies that are outmoded, has been really good in Pittsburgh. Lots of good lineup adjustments throughout the campaign, and someone has to get some credit for the Josh Harrison breakout as well as the Edinson Volquez revival.

Got some different choices? Follow me at Twitter (@davecokin) and please chime in!

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Okay 2-1 with my Sunday NFL sides. Lost the Jets, won the Vikings and a late add on the 49ers when the number got to -4 paid off. Ah yes, the value of a point or even a half point on display yet again. Excellent football week overall, and an okay profit for the fourth straight month is locked up.

Just a couple more days to sign up for the six-week special. I’ll come up with something new for October, but at what works out to $100 weekly for all my plays, this six-week deal is pretty solid. Also, feel free to inquire about what I believe is the most unique net winners program in the industry. Email me at cokin@cox.net for all the details.

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In spite of a very nice overall weekend, the two free plays were misfires. I don’t have a strong feel for tonight’s Patriots/Chiefs game, but there is a huge winning trend that comes into play here, so I’ll explain that and also will use it as the Monday comp.

09/29 05:30 PM NFL  (273) NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS  at  (274) KANSAS CITY CHIEFS

Take: (274) KANSAS CITY CHIEFS +3

I’m not sure what to make of the Patriots right now. Belichick and Brady are still there, and the Pats are 2-1 out of the gate. But there are some items of concern here, and it’s at least conceivable that there’s a bit of decline taking place on this roster. There’s just no getting around how inefficient the New England offense has been thus far. If this continues, the Pats are going to lose some games, and it’s certainly a possibility tonight.

Kansas City was about as phony as it gets for much of last season, and the consensus that they’d take a step or two backward this season looks like it’s going to be on target. The Chiefs look destined for a third place finish in the AFC West. I don’t think this is a terrible team, but they’re clearly not as good as the Broncos or Chargers, and if they go 1-3 against those two in divisional play, I’d consider it a victory of sorts.

Despite the poor offense, the Patriots are the better team here. But they’re up against what should be a fired up home crowd in what can be a very difficult venue for visitors. And there’s a significant trend in play here.

The angle in question teams that are dogs in Game Four after getting their first win of the season the prior outing. I think there’s a reasonable rationale here that takes this out of the complete fluke category. Getting that initial win after starting 0-2 is a major confidence boost for any team, and grabbing points with a team that’s at least gaining some momentum is not a terrible thing. In any event, backing underdogs in this scenario has been remarkably productive for several years, and it’s tough to argue with the success rate.

This is not a powerful opinion on my part. Belichick vs. Reid is still lopsided from my perspective and it’s really weird to see Tom Brady sitting at #28 in the NFL QB ratings. Maybe it’s a great spot to fade a team that’s no longer what it was, and there is that big winning trend to factor into the equation. But I’m not brimming with confidence on this call. Chiefs +3 is the choice, but this is definitely not top play material for me.

Dave’s Free Play, Sunday 9/28/14

Quick takes on some of Saturday’s college games:

Iowa got off to a slow start at Purdue, but the Hawkeyes tied it at halftime and owned the second half. Iowa ended up holding the Boilermakers to only 157 yards of total offense.

Penn State’s problems on offense continued as the Nittany Lions got bounced at home by Northwestern. They weren’t able to run the ball at all, and Penn State won’t many having to throw all the time.

Georgia hung on to outlast Tennessee 35-32 in a very exciting game. Todd Gurley ran wild again for the Bulldogs. Tennessee is definitely improving and could well be on the right side of an upset or two moving forward in SEC play.

Florida State is still perfect on the season, but the Seminoles are pretty obviously not the same team they were a season ago. The defense was again unimpressive in a 56-41 shootout win over NC State.

Texas A&M showed quick strike ability when they had to have it, but if not for a missed Arkansas FG late in regulation, there’s no OT and no win for the Aggies. Kenny Hill is the genuine article for A&M.

Stanford dominated Washington but once again the Cardinal had trouble finishing drives and also gave up a score off a turnover. Chris Peterson is still riverboat gambling with his new team, but the results weren’t positive for the Huskies in this game.

Vanderbilt was overwhelmed by Kentucky on the stat sheet, although the Commodores did manage to stay within the spread. Misleading final score as the Wildcats were dominant at the point of attack all day.

Nice road win for Colorado State as the Rams rallied in the final quarter to get the mild upset at Boston College.

Maryland caught some nice breaks to win last week, but they Terrapins were legit in a wire to wire win at Indiana. The Terrapins could make some Big 10 noise if they can avoid the injuries that have plagued them the last two seasons.

Pittsburgh fans weren’t happy with Paul Chryst last week when the Panthers got knocked off by Iowa. It’ll be worse here with a bad loss to MAC visitor Akron. The stunner here is that it wasn’t fluky, as the Zips were simply the better football team on this day.

Bowling Green hung on the beat UMass in a game where both teams went well over 600 yards in total offense. The final Minutemen TD created a potential middle for players who got the optimum numbers on each side that were available during the week.

Louisville punished Wake Forest on the stats, but the Cardinals could only win by 10 as their backup QB was unable to finish off drives.

Brady Hoke’s hot seat is now scalding. The beleaguered Michigan coach can’t have many answers at this point as the Wolverines were humiliated at home by Minnesota.

UAB was a staggering -6 in turnovers against Florida International, and that’s how the Golden Panthers garnered the big upset on the road. FOU had only nine first downs, but they scored 14 off turnovers en route to the shocker.

Temple was terrible in the first half at UConn but still managed to lead 7-3 at the break. The Owls blew it up in the second half and ended up routing the very limited Huskies.

California came out unfocused against Colorado and fell behind 28-14. The Bears then took the game over and appeared to be about ready to blow it open. But once again that Cal defense turned into a sieve. California got the win in 2OT, but the inability to get any late stops is becoming a a real concern for this team.

Texas pitched the shutout at Kansas, but there was nothing really impressive about what the Longhorns did here. This was closer than the final score indicates.

Florida Atlantic trailed virtually the entire game against UT-San Antonio. But the Owns got the last town scores, including a TD pass inside the final minute, to garner the exciting 41-37 win. FAU is a much different team with talented Jaquez Johnson back in the lineup after missing the first two games.

Ohio State bludgeoned Cincinnati. The Bearcats got a couple of late first half scores to make this interesting for a bit. But the Buckeyes were way too much, and ended up with some frighteningly lopsided stat advantages.

North Carolina has no defense at all. The Tar Heels can do some good things when they have the ball but are hopeless when it comes to stopping anything. Nice bounce back for Clemson off the demoralizing loss to Florida State.

Huge rally by Missouri to nip South Carolina. The Gamecocks appeared to be taking the game over she they went up 20-7 but the Tigers tot a couple of big plays on successive drives and engineered the mild upset.

UL Monroe jumped out to nice early lead against struggling Troy. The Trojans came back to actually take the lead, but the home team got a late field goal to escape with the win. Neither team could run the ball a lick in this game.

Duke flopped in a big spot at Miami. The Blue Devils were gaining lots of believers with their early play, but they got pretty well owned in this one by the ‘Canes. The game was still there for the taking in the fourth quarter with the margin only six, but I never got the sense at any point that Duke would get the win.

Ole Miss needed four quarters to get rid of pesky Memphis in spite of the fact this was a lopsided contest. The Rebels weren’t sharp with Alabama on deck, but still managed to pull away late for the three-TD win.

UNLV was incredibly shorthanded due to injuries, but actually might have had a chance to shock San Diego State if not for a couple of critical turnovers.

Spectacular comeback by Washington State. This was 21-0 Utah and looked like a laugher. But it then became the Connor Halliday show and the Cougars completely took over the game. Bad loss for Utah, huge win for Washington State.

Texas State coughed up a 17-3 lead and ended up in OT at Tulsa when they could not get late stops. The Bobcats passed on a chance to try and win in the first OT and looked gassed on defense. But they got the key stop in the third OT and earned a well deserved road win.

Nebraska might be putting it together. The Cornhuskers demolished Illinois out the stat sheet and the scoreboard. No look ahead to Michigan State by the ‘Huskers, and that now becomes a true marquee event next Saturday.

Fortunate win for Nevada at San Jose State. The Wolf Pack were thoroughly outplayed and only covered thanks to fourth quarter pick six. San Jose could have won this, but did themselves in with the -3 turnovers.

All USC as they rebounded from the BC upset with a trouncing of Oregon State. The Trojans played great third down defense and eventually turned it into a rout.

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A very good Saturday here with a 7-3 college ledger plus the very unexpected winner on my A’s Under 88.5 future. Absolute shocker that a ticket with no shot to get cashed gets cashed. As for the colleges, business as usual. Missed with Syracuse and Cal, ended up with a push and a loss on San Diego State (played early at -17 and then again at -17.5 later). Everything else won and I’ve had all winning weeks in college so far.

My NFL card will be thin, with just two games as it currently stands. One of those will be posted here as the daily free play.

Offers available right now include the six-week special that can be purchased using the “buy now” tab on this page, or my exclusive net winners program that I’l submit is the best in the business for serious players. Email me at cokin@cox.net for all the info.

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Wrong side with Syracuse as the Saturday free play, which was unfortunate as it was such a good day for me overall. Let’s see about a better result with today’s NFL comp.

09/28 10:00 AM   NFL   (261) DETROIT LIONS  at  (262) NEW YORK JETS

Take: (262) NEW YORK JETS +1.5

I never really know how to bill a team like the Jets. One can argue that the fact they’re 1-2 when they could easily be 3-0 indicates they’re  a bad team. Or maybe they’re just underachievers. Either way, there is zero question in my mind that this team should be sporting a winning record right now. That’s kind of the rub here, as I’m asking a team that is entirely capable of screwing this up to play to its potential.

The Jets obliterated the Raiders every way except with the final score in Week One. They had Green Bay on the canvas in Week Two, with a huge lead, and they managed to lose that game. This past Monday, the Jets were clearly superior to Chicago, but botched it when it mattered most and ended up with the loss.

I’m hoping the Jets learned their lesson on Monday. This team is going to be solid if they play power football and don’t ask Geno Smith to do what he’s currently not capable of doing. The defense is strong, and there’s no reason I can see other than the coaching that this team can’t be a +.500 entry.

As for the Lions, I’m not convinced of anything. Good work in Week One, but that was against Giants team that is not nearly as dangerous as the one we’ve started to see the last couple of weeks. Detroit picked up its other win last week and they looked pretty good against the Packers. But it’s also true that Green Bay looked pretty bad in that game as well. The one Lions road test to date was a fairly substantial loss at Carolina.

There’s no mystery for me here. I have the Jets as the better team, and if they can for once not be their own worst enemy, there’s no reason they shouldn’t win this. I don’t agree with the line on the game, and feel it’s a public perception number off the Monday night loss and the Jets now being 1-2. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve got an open mind on the Lions and I might change my view of this team if they win here. But the setup seems right to me for the hosts, and for what it’s worth, the Jets will be the sharp side in this contest. I see the Jets as absolutely playable as long as they’re the dog.

Dave’s Free Play, Saturday 9/27/14

Quick takes from the five Thursday and Friday college games:

Texas Tech gave Oklahoma State a good battle. The Red Raiders did some positive things in this game, but really hurt themselves with critical penalties. The Cowboys weren’t as effective running the ball as I thought they might be, but did enough to get the win.

Appalachian State was no match for Georgia Southern. Big numbers all night long for the home team, and QB Kevin Ellison was the star of the show. The Eagles look like they’re going to enjoy life in the Sun Belt Conference.

UCLA got a 95-yard pick six just before halftime to open up a nice lead, and then proceeded to blow Arizona State away in a dominant second half. Brett Hundley had a monster game for the Bruins in what was by far their best performance of the season to date.

Fresno State trailed by ten at New Mexico but got a TD just before halftime and while they fell behind briefly in the second half, the Bulldogs ended up dominating. Someone will have to explain to me why Bob Davie punted on 4th and two from the Lobos 42 with about ten minutes left to play. Down 11 and not getting many stops, ya gotta go there, Coach.

Middle Tennessee sprinted to a 24-0 lead at Old Dominion and weren’t really threatened at any point, though the home team never gave up. Easy win by the Blue Raiders, and they owned the line of scrimmage both ways.

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Small profit here on Friday, although it could have been nicer if not for a weird CFL loser on Ottawa.

Saturday’s card will likely be all college football, as I see little to pique my interest in baseball. Ten plays set on the gridiron, including my first college double of the young season.

Subscribers to any any of my packages get all the plays, sent out as I make them myself. The two options worth considering are the six-week special that ends up costing just $100 per week, or my “net winners” program, which is purely performance based with what basically works out to about the strongest guarantee in this industry. Contact me via email at cokin@cox.net for info, or you can simply purchase the six-week deal via the “buy now” feature on this page.

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Today’s free play is on a college football game that was hit hard by a couple of syndicates earlier this week. The line has moved some but I still feel this is playable, and it’s on my Saturday personal card.

09/27 12:30 PM  CF   (165) NOTRE DAME  vs.  (166) SYRACUSE (East Rutherford, NJ)

Take: (166) SYRACUSE +9.5

I’m always on the lookout for what I feel are misleading results. These are games where the stat profile clearly points to one side having won the game, but the final score ends up getting flipped. It’s by no means an automatic that I’ll be on or against a team off one of these games the next week, but it’s definitely an attention getter as I start to break down that next contest.

Syracuse is off a game that fits this category. The Orange basically blew Maryland out on the stat sheet last week. But they sure didn’t do so on the scoreboard, as the Terrapins actually won the game easily. Syracuse put up some big numbers in the loss. Unfortunately, they either couldn’t finish off their drives, or made a mistake at the worst possible moment, and the result was a frustrating loss.

The Orange cannot afford to make those errors again today as they’re stepping up in class to face a good Notre Dame team. The Irish aren’t what I’d call under the radar, as that’s basically an impossibility for any Notre Dame team. QB Everett Golson has looked terrific in leading the Irish to three straight wins, and it looks to me as though a double digit win campaign is a definite possibility for Notre Dame.

But I also think the Irish could end up in some close games, and this looks as though it could be one of those types. I’m not sold on the Notre Dame running game and I think Golson is only at his best in a balanced attack. If the Irish have to throw 35-40 times, it’s probably not a good thing.

That could be the case here, as I’m impressed with Syracuse’s rush defense. And that’s the key to today’s game from this vantage point. Syracuse needs to run it reasonable well and continue to limit the opposition in that area. The data says they’re entirely capable of doing exactly that, and if that’s the case we’ve got a game that could well go right down to the last possession.

I thought the early number on this game was considerably higher than it ought to have been. Apparently, some respected syndicates and pro bettors felt the same way as the Orange were hit pretty hard early in the week. The action has leveled off since but this number is still in the playable zone, albeit with the optimum price long gone.

Without going into complete detail, this game fits a defensive dog formula that I’ve played with success over the years. I also like the fact that we have what I call a misleading result from last week that dictates a play this week under the right conditions. I don’t think this is a great money line risk, but taking close to doubles with Syracuse is what I believe to be a decent gamble.

 

Dave’s Free Play, Friday 9/26/14

Back end of the college injury report, focusing on smaller conference schools. Note these are new listings this week, and for the most part the only players listed are starters.

Wyoming strong safety Jesse Sampson is doubtful Saturday and starting guard Sam Hardy is a question mark.

New Mexico will be without tackle Johnny Vizcaino tonight. WR Carlos Wiggins and QB Cole Gautsche are questionable, as is RB Teriyon Gipson.

Fresno State strong safety Shannon Edwards has a shoulder problem and is questionable tonight.

Nevada left tackle Austin Corbett is questionable and DT Rykeem Yates might be suspended for the San Jose State game.

San Jose State RB Tyler Ervin is questionable with a toe injury and the Spartans have announced that Joe Gray will get the start at QB.

UNLV is saddled with the lengthiest injury list in the nation this weekend. As many as nine starters are likely to sit out the San Diego State game. The Rebels had a mind boggling 31 players on their injury report this week.

Toledo RB Kareem Hunt and CB Jordan Martin are each questionable for Saturday.

Central Michigan should have both RB Thomas Rawls and WR Titus Davis back for the Toledo game.

Bowling Green wideout Gehrig Dieter will miss the UMass game. LB DJ Lynch, CB Darrell Hunter II, free safety Ryland Ward DT Zach Colvin are each questionable.

Akron RB Jawon Chisholm is questionable this week as is LB Justin March.

Middle Tennessee CB Khari Burke is questionable for tonight’s game at Old Dominion.

UTSA safety Nic Johnston will miss Saturday’s game with Florida Atlantic.

Rice LB James Radcliffe has a concussion and is questionable for the Rice game.

Southern Miss tackle Jerry Harris is listed as questionable for this weekend.

UTEP RB Jeremy Laufasa is done for the season with a knee injury. CB Ishmael Harrison might miss the Kansas State game with an arm injury.

Troy QB Brandon Silvers and LB Wayland Coleman-Dancer remain questionable for the UL Monroe game.

Idaho TE Justin Podrabsky and LB Marc Millan are each questionable for Saturday’s South Alabama game.

New Mexico State will be shorthanded for the LSU game. RB Larry Rose III, WR Jerrel Brown and DE Noah Brown are all expected to miss this weekend’s action.

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My college card has now expanded to eight plays on Saturday, and as usual, I’m enthused about the possibilities. Lots of good info received and factored into the ‘cap on these games. All my subscribers get all my plays. The six-week special can be purchased easily via the “buy now” feature on this page. For compete details on what I believe is the best net winners program around, shoot an email my way at cokin@cox.net.

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That Oakland collapse continued on Thursday night as the red hot Rangers scored the 2-1 win, putting the daily free play on the right side of the ledger.

09/26 05:05 PM  MLB  (975) OAKLAND ATHLETICS  at  (976) TEXAS RANGERS

Take: (976) TEXAS RANGERS +155

This is the part where I break down the game and give some reasons why I’m taking one side over the other. But since redundancy is something I’d rather avoid, I’ll just urge anyone interested in the analysis to scroll down to yesterday’s blog. It’s essentially the same reasoning. Once again, need to win is impacting the price and in the case of the reeling A’s, it’s just not justified. I’ll come right back with another comp play on the Rangers.

Dave’s Free Play, Thursday 9/25/14

Part One of the college injury update today. Note I’ve moved this from Tuesdays to Thursdays/Fridays as there’s simply more definitive information available. The Big Five leagues and the independents will be covered on Thursday and the rest of the conferences on Friday.

Auburn will be without talented DB Jermaine Whitehead again, but WR Sammie Coates is slated to return to action.

No word yet on LSU QB Anthony Jennings, so I’ll assume there’s a good chance it’s Brandon harris under center.

Arkansas LB Brooks Ellis is questionable with a concussion.

South Carolina guard Cody Waldrop is out on Saturday.

Missouri wideout Darius White will miss Saturday’s game with a groin injury, but DE Markus Golden is good to go after sitting out the Indiana game with a hamstring problem.

Tennessee will be minus WR’s Josh Smith and Von Pearson as they face Georgia.

Vanderbilt backup QB Patton Robinette’s availabolity is in question as he recovers from a concussion.

Michigan DB’s Jarrod Wilson and Raymon Taylor are still status unknown for Minnesota.

Maryland DL Quinton Jefferson is done for the season and LB Matt Robinson is questionable for this weekend.

Indiana kicker Aaron Del Grosso is questionable with a groin problem.

Rutgers TE Tyler Kroft is questionable Saturday, as is guard Chris Muller. Likewise DB Nadir Barnwell, and star RB Paul James is done for the rest of the season.

Iowa QB Jake Rudock is questionable Saturday, but backup CJ Beathard led last week’s comeback win at Pittsburgh.

Illinois wideout Geronimo Allison is questionable for the Nebraska game.

Minnesota QB Mitch Leidner has been banged up all season and he’s again listed as questionable for Saturday.

Florida State gets QB Jameis Winston back but might be without RB Mario Pender.

Louisville QB Will Gardner is being bothered by a knee and has not practiced. Freshman Reggie Bonnafon has been working with the first team.

Syracuse WR Ashton Broyld is out this weekend against Notre Dame and will probably miss the next game or two as well.

Boston College guard Bobby Verdaro is a question mark for this weekend’s game.

North Carolina guard Landon Turner is questionable with a knee injury.

Virginia Tech has a very lengthy injury list for the Western Michigan game. Notable question marks include CB Brandon Facyson, LB Chase Williams, DT Corey Marshall, DE Ken Ekanem and DT Luther Maddy.

Miami Florida kicker Matt Goudis is questionable with a back injury.

Duke has several question marks on the OL, although the only questionable starter is guard Lucas Patrick.

Virginia could sit QB Greyson Lambert Saturday against Kent State. He’s currently questionable with an ankle.

Colorado LB Addison Gillam has a concussion and his status is unknown for the Cal game.

Washington RB Jesse Callier is done for the season with an Achilles tendon injury.

Oregon State WR Victor Bolden is now expected to miss the USC game with a finger injury.

California starting safety Stefan McClure is questionable with a calf injury.

Notre Dame wideout Amir Carlisle is not expected to play against Syracuse.

Navy LB James Britton is out on Saturday and his backup Daniel Gonzales is questionable.

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Another MLB split for me on Wednesday, so no change in the bottom line as far as that goes. I don’t much like anything in football tonight, but have already played seven for Saturday, including the first 2x play of the current college campaign.

Sign up for my six-week special by using the “buy now” feature on this page, or email me at cokin@cox.net for info my unique net winners program which is strictly based on performance. Either way, all the plays are included and there are never requests for extra funds for supposedly higher levels.

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The Wednesday free play missed as the Royals rallied from an early deficit but for once their pen failed to protect the lead. I’ll go the home dog route tonight.

09/25 05:05 PM   MLB  (919) OAKLAND ATHLETICS  at  (920) TEXAS RANGERS

Take: (920) TEXAS RANGERS +134

The A’s are still in good shape to make the post-season, but they’re anything but a playoff caliber baseball team right now. This team has succumbed to the pressure of what turned into high expectations and the Oakland free fall has been pretty close to unbelievable.

I listened to some post-game comments from A’s skipper Bob Melvin following the latest loss to the Angels, and let’s say he didn’t sound like the most confident guy around., Melvin was talking about the fact that the A’s will be back to 0-0 once the post-season starts, and that’s an old song I’ve heard in the past. But it’s only seemingly sung by coaches or managers whose teams are limping badly into the playoffs, regardless of the sport.

The Athletics have continued to be priced with respect throughout this massive tumble, and that’s the case again tonight. I just can’t see it based on their current form. On the flip side, the suddenly youthful Texas Rangers have caught fire since Ron Washington departed the scene, and I’m sure they’d like to finish the campaign on a high note as well.

Jason Hammel vs. Colby Lewis is the matchup on the mound. Hammel really scuffled after betting dealt west from the Cubs, but he’s been much better lately. Lewis is a back end of the rotation starter who is generally pretty hittable, but is also capable of the occasional big effort. Hammel has to rate the edge as far as this aspect goes.

But beyond that, it’s tough to find much that screams Oakland here. The Rangers are clearly not just playing out the string, and are in fact a red hot baseball team right now. It’s obviously a much bigger game to the visitors, but I cannot justify them as this much chalk. I prefer backing the rolling Rangers to spring the surprise as home dogs.

 

 

 

 

 

Dave’s Free Play, Wednesday 9/24/14

It’s Wise Guy Wednesday, featuring a rundown of where the pro dough is heading thus far for the upcoming week of college action. Comments included are from contacts here in Nevada, as well as offshore and from major stateside shops where this still isn’t quite legal.

Early money has shown on 107 UCLA but the consensus seems to be that this is a false move and there will be substantial push on Arizona State on game day.

The betting public is down on 116 Michigan but the Wolverines are drawing serious dollars. This game opened as low as -7, so the train has left the station if you’re angling to play the favorite.

Square/sharp battle looming in the Big 12 with the pros backing big dog 120 Iowa State. The public is very reluctant to play against monster offenses like Baylor, so this line move is all sharp.

Pros and Joes alike seem to like 124 Virginia this week. Or rather, they simply don’t like poor Kent State. One of my east coast guys told me he has yet to write even one wager on the Golden Flashes.

Good sized move in 130 Pittsburgh, but my info is that it’s not important money. More likely, it’s players who won fading Akron last week and are trying to beat the Zips again this week.

Nothing much happening yet on 135 Northwestern, but a couple of my contacts believe the Wildcats will get syndicate action between now and Saturday.

Lots of action on surging 144 Boston College, but it’s not sharp cash. My contact back in New England said he’s totally lopsided on the Eagles, which is not surprising.

When a MAC dog gets hit early it’s almost invariably sharp, and that’s the case this week with 145 Miami Ohio.

Substantial dollars showed up early on 149 UTEP as a huge underdog against Kansas State. The continued push on the Miners appears to be public followers.

154 Massachusetts was a red hot item yesterday, and Bowling Green has dropped from a -11 open all the way to -4.5.

It’s an ugly game for sure, but the wise guys appear to be siding mostly with 160 Southern Miss as a home dog against Rice.

161 Missouri is already drawing some sharp cash, and the consensus is that the flow on the Tigers will increase as we get closer to game day. My offshore contact feels this will be a major pro play.

The line move toward 177 Tennessee looks sharp but it’s actually not, say my sources. In other words, don’t be shocked to see this price reverse course on Friday or Saturday.

180 Miami Florida got bumped on Tuesday, which came as a bit of a surprise as Duke was drawing the early money. The opinions offered to me are that this number has peaked and will go back toward the opening -5 eventually.

Bettors are not fearing the return of Jameis Winston, as 182 NC State is a very popular play this week. I got split opinions as to what this number does heading into Saturday, but if you’re asking me, I think it goes back up a bit.

Marquee teams as big chalk don’t usually draw the pros, but that’s not the case this week with 186 Ohio State.

194 UL Monroe was apparently a big release from a well respected service, and that side got bombed on Tuesday.

There’s invariably one game each week where one of my back east guys I’ve known forever starts ranting on, and this week it’s 196 Utah. He didn’t like the opener and was convinced he’d get all chalk wagers, and as usual, he’s right. The Utes are real popular this week.

Looks like some sharp dollars are showing on 198 Air Force in the home dog role against Boise State.

And finally, a predictable move on 205 Nevada. The Wolf Pack are an extremely popular play this week. But it could get bought back a bit by numbers crunchers if it gets past -6.

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Splitsville for me on Tuesday with the Rays getting there, and the Indians getting smoked. The latter was not a particularly smart play on my part. The Indians walked off the field looking like a beaten team on Monday and I should have avoided them yesterday. Live and learn, which one should never stop trying to do if the aim is to keep producing winners.

My first three in college are set and have been sent out and I’m already on a pair of baseball plays for Wednesday. One of those will be the free play below.

My six-week special is still available via the “buy now” tab you can find on this page. There’s been a good deal of interest in my “net winners” program, probably because it’s a damn good package where my fee is solely based on performance. I don’t think it’s feasible for anyone playing below nickels. But if you’re in that range or higher, drop me a line at cokin@cox.net for complete details.

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The Rays were held in check for seven frames by Clay Buchholz. But a Yoenis Cespedes misplay on a catchable ball that would have ended the eighth with Tampa Bay still scoreless ended up opening the floodgates, so a nice result with the free play on the Rays. Here’s the comp for Wednesday.

09/24 04:05 PM   MLB   (973) KANSAS CITY ROYALS  at  (974) CLEVELAND INDIANS

Take: (973) KANSAS CITY ROYALS +103

I don’t think there’s any such thing as a before the fact easy winner. I avoid that terminology in promoting games as I think it’s inane. Easy winners after the fact? Yeah, sure. And I also believe there are what amounts to easy decisions, although it should be noted they definitely don’t always work out that way.

Tonight’s Royals/Indians hookup falls into that easy decision category for me. It’s over for the Indians. They really needed to get that Monday evening win following the resumption of the suspended game. But it didn’t happen and what I saw last night was a beaten Cleveland team that knows it’s finished for this season.

On the flip side, the Royals clinch a playoff berth with a win tonight, and they’re still very much in the hunt to win the AL Central and avoid that dreaded play-in game. The Royals were really energized on Tuesday night, and I would be stunned if we don’t see more of the same tonight. Make no mistake, I’m not the only one who noticed this as Indians analyst Rick Manning was talking about how KC had a “spring in its step” last night, and that was while the game was still scoreless.

The pitching matchup tonight is Jason Vargas vs. Trevor Bauer, but I’m not sure that matters much. This one is all about the intangibles, which heavily favor the visitors tonight. I’m a little surprised to see a plus sign next to KC as this is written, but I’m sure not complaining. I’m on the Royals to collect another win tonight.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dave’s Free Play, Tuesday 9/23/14

The Cleveland Indians, barring a miracle, will miss the post-season this time around. But after making it to the wild card play-in game last year, and at least fashioning another decent campaign in 2014, this team looks to be in great shape for 2015.

One of the things I key on in assessing potential baseball futures, particularly for Over/Under Wins props, is how set the rotation will be. In the case of the Indians, they’re going to head into next season with what could be a spectacular, and at the very least rock solid grouping.

Corey Kluber has emerged as a legit ace. Danny Salazar is still figuring things out, but he’s a potential 1A. Carlos Carrasco always had the big arm, and is now putting all the pieces together. Trevor Bauer might never live up to the pre-draft hype, but if he’s slotted as a fourth starter, things could be a lot worse. Lefty TJ House doesn’t have great stuff, but he’s already starting to earn that crafty southpaw tag.

Carrasco really fascinates me. He is definitely turning the corner, and it’s really appearing as though the temp move to the bullpen was what turned the trick. Carrasco went from being a pitcher more concerned with finding a way to get through six innings instead of relying on his best stuff and just getting guys out. Now he’s really going after hitters, and with his array, Carrasco has a real chance to be right there as an elite power pitcher.

The bullpen has an anchor in Cody Allen, who might be ready to step forward as an elite closer, and he’s got some decent arms to set up in the late innings. There’s probably a need for a second southpaw, but Nick Hagadone is another guy who has gone from flop to success and he’ll likely be a solid contributor again next season.

As far as the position players are concerned, there’s a lot to like. Michael Brantley is now a star. Carlos Santana might never be a huge BA guy, but he’s a BB machine with loads of power. Jason Kipnis should be more productive next season with better health, and the fact he gutted it out for the entire season is impressive. Lonnie Chisenhall is yet another dude who has shed the bust label and his best offensive days are still to come. Yan Gomes is now one of the best young catchers in the game.

The big addition to the everyday lineup figures to be Francisco Lindor. I’m not sure about Lindor offensively just yet, but this kid has a great glove and will be a huge plus for what was a poor defensive infield this season. The Indians need to forget any thoughts about service time, get Lindor into the lineup on opening day, and just let him figure it out with the stick. His defense makes him an immediate asset.

The AL Central will be there for the taking next season. The Tigers are going to have rotation questions with Max Scherzer likely gone. The Royals are heading to the post season thanks to their phenomenal bullpen, but they’re probably going to lose James Shields and that lack of power is still going to be an issue. The Twins have some electrifying prospects, and the White Sox are starting to rebuild, but those two will remain long shots for at least another season.

The 2014 season isn’t done yet, but it’s never too early to look ahead to 2015. Based on what I’m seeing now, I’ll be expecting an O/U in the 85 neighborhood for Cleveland. I think they’re a team that will have an excellent chance to crack 90, and I’ll be waiting to fire on the Over once those numbers get posted next March. As for division, league and World Series wagers, I’ll wait to see what the oddsmakers offer, but there’s definitely a possibility I’ll be taking some chances with the Tribe.

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Monday night was not good for me, as I went down with the Jets. The officiating certainly contributed to the Green Slime’s demise, but they had their chances to win this football game and let it get away. The stat profile from the game indicates the Jets should have won, but the bottom line is all that counts.

Nothing played yet in college, but that will change on Tuesday, as I’m likely going to fire early on four or five games. Those will be sent out to my subscribers right away, as I don’t wait till game day to get these plays out. The idea is to obtain the best value, and playing early has alway been the way to go for me. Sign up for my six-week special, which works out to just $100 per week, using the “buy now” feature on this page. For info on what I feel is the best net winners program in the industry, email me at cokin@cox.net.

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The brutal Braves got zeroed again last night, so the free play on the Pirates was a winner. I’ll go against another team just playing out the string tonight.

09/23 04:10 PM   MLB  (923) TAMPA BAY RAYS  at  (924) BOSTON RED SOX

Take: (923) TAMPA BAY RAYS -120

This season pretty much ended early for the both the Rays and Red Sox. Tampa Bay dug itself a massive hole with a terrible start to the campaign, and while they did have a nice mid-season surge, they were never really contenders. As for Boston, they had a 2013 where almost everything went right. Solid, low investment players enjoyed big years and that particular edition of the Red Sox had some of the best team chemistry I’ve ever seen in any sport. I don’t think there’s any question the Boston Marathon tragedy brought the entire region together and that extended to the baseball team.

Unfortunately for Red Sox Nation (and yes, I’m a born and bred New Englander and a die hard Sox fan), the team had a huge World Series hangover and really never got anything going. From a future perspective, I really like what Ben Cherington the front office has done this summer, and with some excellent young talent making its way through the system, the future is bright for the Red Sox, perhaps as soon as next season.

But for the present, including this final week, the Red Sox are not a team I want to back. Tonight’s pitching matchup clearly favors the Rays. Alex Cobb was a little off last start, but that was off the near no-hit bid. He should rebound with his normal performance tonight, and that ought to be enough to contain a pretty soft Boston lineup. Clay Buchholz throws for the Red Sox, and while there’s been the intermittent good outing, Buchholz has mostly been serving up really hittable stuff.

The game means nothing in the standings, but the Rays always seem to come to play. That’s especially true when they face the Red Sox. There’s no love lost between these teams, and Tampa Bay always plays this opponent with a major chip on its shoulder. I see that being the case again tonight, and with the better pitcher on the mound in Cobb, laying 6/5 with the Rays seems perfectly reasonable to me.

Dave’s Free Play, Monday 9/22/14

If you ever have a few minutes of down time and want to amuse yourself, I have a suggestion. Just zero in on someone who had a screw up of some type, even a minor one, head to Twitter and read what’s being said about the individual.

Bear in mind I’m only talking about items that would decidedly fall into the dust-up category. I’m not referring to anything serious, just molehills that are being turned into mountains.

Sunday’s Twitter star is Rams tight end Jared Cook (@jaredcook89) who had an imperfect moment on the sidelines. Cook had dropped what was a sure TD pass from QB Austin Davis. The Rams had to settle for a field goal in a game that was getting away from them against Dallas (the Cowboys rallied from a 21-0 deficit to win 34-31), and Cook was apparently pretty upset with himself. Cook got up from his seat on the bench and as he was walking down the sideline, Davis appeared to want to give him some encouragement. Cook evidently wasn’t in the mood to talk to anyone, and shoved Davis out of the way.  He was then surrounded by some teammates and after what looked to be a second or two of some yelling, the incident was over. Except that it wasn’t.

It’s 2014 and pretty much everything under the sun is now a taped highlight. Naturally, the Cook moment blew up and he started getting ripped. Cook eventually addressed the situation on his Twitter home page, and issued a substantial apology. For me, that’s case closed. This was a very minor incident, and hardly an isolated one, although you’d never know it from the outpouring of hate Tweets that are now being directed at Cook.

All I can say to those spewing venom toward Cook is the following. One, you probably never played sports or at the very least, have forgotten about your own experiences. Sometimes it’s more verbal than physical, but it absolutely takes place virtually everyday, whether in an actual game or during practice. This was not that big a deal.

Beyond that, it’s just typical Twitter. Imperfect people who can’t wait to rip into a mistake that gets made by someone else. And again, it’s important to note that this wasn’t a criminal action that might warrant the hatred to some extent. This was a really trivial lapse in judgment by Jared Cook, and suddenly he’s today’s worst person in the world of sports.

It’s really ridiculous. I’m a Twitter fan, as it’s a great avenue for me to promote myself while interacting with others, and it’s also a phenomenal source of breaking information that can be very useful.

But I have started blocking those I find to be consistently negative, or who are simply trying to pick a verbal fight. If you look at the Cook apology tweets and then read the accompanying comments from people who’ve never met the guy and know zero about him, you’ll know exactly what I mean. And if Jared Cook didn’t know about these types previously, it’s fair to assume that he does now.

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2-2 Sunday, with 1-2 on the gridiron and a winner with the Astros on the diamond. 9-6 overall in football this week, with a couple tough beats on Utah State and the aforementioned Rams. No beefs with those numbers though, and the college card for the upcoming week appears to have some really prime spots.

I’ve still got my six-week special available, which can be purchased easily via the “buy now” tab on this page. For serious players who only want to pay based on performance, I have an attractive net winners program. Contact me at cokin@cox.net for complete details.

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A split on the Sunday free plays, as Collin McHugh delivered yet again for the Astros, but my Jaguars call was about as awful as it gets. Back to baseball for tonight’s comp.

09/22 04:10 PM   MLB   (951) PITTSBURGH PIRATES  at  (952) ATLANTA BRAVES

Take: (951) PITTSBURGH PIRATES -142

Regular readers of this blog are already aware I rarely get involved with big chalk in baseball. I’m big on obtaining value and there’s generally none to be had playing large favorites. But this is the final week of the regular season, and what works for the first 155 or so games of the schedule can pretty much be tossed out as far as the final seven or so are concerned.

This game is a good example. Turn back the clock just a week or two, and there’s no chance I’d even consider the Bucs at this price, especially on the road. But on Monday, September 22, the Pirates are now the only side I can consider tonight.

This is simply on the teams and their current situations and form. Pittsburgh is in great shape to at least make it to the one-game playoff, probably against the Giants. The Braves are toast. They’ve hit the skids in a huge way, and following next Sunday, it’s vacation time for that team.

One can make a case that the mental vacation is already underway for the Braves. They’re looking as though the season has already concluded, and in fact, I would probably argue that under the present conditions, they actually now have what amounts to a home field disadvantage.

The Pirates could, I suppose, let down just a bit after virtually assuring themselves of at least a game #163. But I see this as a team with major momentum right now, and I don’t envision them suddenly going into relax mode. I think they want to stay hot and hopefully carry the surge right into October.

Liriano vs. Harang is pretty close on paper. The Pirates lefty has been very good lately, although he’s always capable of losing the strike zone and getting hit. No knocks here on Harang, who has had a much better than could have been expected season for Atlanta, and he’s still pitching good ball right now.

But this is all about the way these teams are playing now and what’s at stake for the two clubs. That’s all Pirates, which makes the price on this game justifiable if not ideal. I’ll side with the scorching hot Pirates to knock down another win tonight.

 

 

 

Dave’s Free Play, Sunday 9/21/14

Quick takes from some of Saturday’s college games:

Iowa backup QB CJ Beathard put together a strong second half in relief of Jake Rudockas the Hawkeyes rallied to knock off Pittsburgh. Iowa did a very good job of limiting Panthers stud RB James Connor and won the game in spite of losing the stats by a significant margin.

Georgia Tech had a nice comeback that concluded with field goal at the gun as they got the mild upset over Virginia Tech. Michael Brewer had a very poor game at QB for the Hokies, and the home team’s defense failed badly when it mattered most.

Old Dominion busted a load of parlays with the 45-42 win at Rice. The Monarchs got a monster game from QB Taylor Heinicke and kicker Ricky Segers was the hero with the game winning three as time expired.  Rice had rallied from a 21-point deficit tote the game with one minute remaining but ODU hit a big play and nailed their first ever CUSA win.

Duke did in Tulane with lots of offense and a pair of pick sixes to boot. The Blue Devils are looking like legit contenders in the wide open ACC Coastal Division.

Maryland was outgained by 220 yards at Syracuse, and gave up a whopping 370 yards on the ground, but managed to win the game without much trouble. An 88 yard interception for six late in the third quarter was huge for the Terrapins.

Colorado managed to hold off Hawaii by just enough to cover the spot. WR Nelson Spruce had a tremendous game for the Buffs. This was the first time in 51 games that Colorado dod not allow a touchdown by its opponent, but it wasn’t an easy win.

East Carolina absolutely destroyed North Carolina. The Pirates finished with nearly 800 yards of offense in again crushing the Tar Heels . ECU has won the last two meetings by a combined 125-76.

Louisville rolled past Florida International by a 34-3 count, but the Cardinals ended up with a pitiful 12 net rushing yards. Louisville appears to have a decent defense, but the offense isn’t especially good right now, and I’d classify this as a somewhat misleading score.

Michigan’s troubles continued as they lost at home to Utah, 26-10. The Wolverines defense wasn’t bad, but the offensive turnovers were very damaging. Brady Hoke is definitely on the hot seat at Ann Arbor.

Rutgers bounced back from the tough loss to Penn State with a nice win at Navy. Justin Goodwin rushed for more than 100 yards in relief on an injured Paul James and Gary Nova avoided the big mistakes that did him in a week ago.

John Wolford put together a strong game as Wake Forest nipped Army. The Cadets piled up big yards on the ground, but their inability to do anything through the air proved costly. Army was a very hot play, so this ended up being a good game for the house.

Alabama annihilated Florida much worse than the 42-21 score would indicate. The Gators were able to hang in thanks to some Tide mistakes, but this was a mismatch. One more nail in the coaching coffin for beleaguered Florida coach Bill Muschamp.

Virginia-BYU turned into a wild shootout with the Cougars protecting their perfect slate via the 41-33 victory. The Cavaliers won the yards by a 519-332 count, and owned possession for more than 40 minutes, but couldn’t get the road upset. But it’s looking like Virginia could be a factor in the ACC moving forward.

Illinois was in trouble against Texas State but one has to wonder what might have happened if not for a lengthy weather delay. The visitors were in control before the stoppage and Illinois seemed to really benefit from the long break. Still, giving up this many points to what is not a strong offense is another red flag for the Illini.

Indiana scored a big upset at Missouri as D’Angelo Roberts scored very late to get the Hoosiers to the winner’s circle. The win was legit, as Indiana battled the Tigers on even terms throughout. Indiana will have to guard against a letdown next week as they host Maryland.

Wyoming picked up its second last minute win in the last three weeks as they snuck past a game Florida Atlantic squad, 20-19. Wyoming forced a turnover deep in their own territory with just two minutes remaining and QB Colby Kirkegaard connected with Dominic Rufran on a crossing pattern that got misplayed by the Owls and cost FAU the small upset.

Washington ended up defeating Georgia State 45-14, but the Huskies were trailing 14-0 in the third quarter. The stats tell the story as this was a much closer game than that lopsided score indicates.

Mississipi State nearly suffered a disastrous melt against LSU, but the Bulldogs held on for the 34-29 upset. But this was not as close as the final tally, and most impressive was the commanding 302-89 ground game edge for the winners. Mississippi State looks poised for a big season.

Southern Mississippi escaped with a 21-20 win over Appalachian State. Crazy ending here as the Mountaineers scored at the end of regulation but got their extra point blocked. App State missed three field goals as well. The Mountaineers should have won this game and absolutely should have gone for the win at the gun rather than trying for overtime. Maybe the worst coaching decision of the day.

Gunner Kiel threw another four TD passes for Cincinnati, but the Bearcats had a much tougher time than anticipated with upset minded Miami Ohio. Call this a moral victory for the underdog Redhawks.

Ball State got through the back door to get inside the number as they lost at Toledo, 34-23. The Rockets had a chance to then front door a spread win but chose to run out the clock deep in Ball State territory.

Utah State got a game winning field goal try at the regulation gun blocked and then lost in OT at Arkansas State. The Aggies should have won this game as they were the better team and were also +3 net turnovers. But the kicking game hurt as did a critical fourth down penalty that led to an earlier Arkansas State touchdown.

South Carolina needed to rally for the 48-34 win at Vanderbilt. This was not a good performance by the Gamecocks, and head coach Steve Spurrier called it one of the worst wins he’s ever had. South Carolina will need to step it up against upcoming tougher opposition or their season will be a disappointment.

Oklahoma freshman RB Samaje Penne is going to be a real problem for upcoming Sooner opponents. Penne was dominant as Oklahoma pulled away at West Virginia in a game that was tied at halftime.

Clemson flat out blew it in Tallahassee. The Tigers made some glaring blunders at crunch time en route to the overtime loss to Florida State. The Seminoles weren’t at all sharp minus Jameis Winston, and were very fortunate to maintain their winning streak. This has to be a devastating loss for Clemson as they appeared to have the game locked up and gave it away.

Another big game for Ameer Abdullah as Nebraska outlasted Miam 41-31. The Cornhuskers star RB rambled for 229 yards in the win. Miami was extremely undisciplined throughout and the ‘Canes were whistled for five personal fouls in the second half alone.

New Mexico won its rivalry battle with New Mexico State, with a late Lamar Jordan TD pass lifting the Lobos to the 38-35 victory. A crucial face guarding penalty on the Aggies in that final Lobos drive might well have cost New Mexico State the win.

Arizona had the comeback of the day as the Wildcats scored an incredible 36 points in the fourth quarter to beat California. ‘Zona sion the game on a final play Hail Mary and needed a remarkable number of things to fall their way to get this win. Cal will have to dig deep to put this one in the rear view mirror. They appeared totally stunned at the conclusion of this remarkable game.

Oregon barely escaped getting shocked at Washington State. This turned out to be a dynamite QB duel between Heisman contender Marcus Mariota and Washington State’s Connor Halladay. Oregon got the 38-31 lead by WSU coach Mike Leach was thrilled with his team’s performance in defeat.

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I enjoyed a 7-4 football Saturday, with one of the losses being that tough OT deal with Utah State. Add in the Kansas State cover on Thursday and it was an 8-4 college card. I gave back a half-unit trying to middle the Clemson/FSU game, but it was worth the gamble with the +17/-9.5 pairing. Baseball produced one easy win and one narrow loss. Good enough day and it’s on to Sunday’s NFL.

Available now, my six-week special, which can be purchases via the “buy now” feature that’s on this page. Also, what I feel is as good a net winner program as anyone has, and I’ll be happy to provide complete details via email. Get in touch with me at cokin@cox.net. Serious players only, please.

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The college free plays split with Clemson getting there easily and Utah State missing as the dreaded dog in OT, which is never a positive scenario. My NFL free play for this week was in yesterday’s blog. Here’s one on the diamond for today.

09/21 11:10 AM   MLB  (925) SEATTLE MARINERS  at  (926) HOUSTON ASTROS

Take: (926) HOUSTON ASTROS +123

My personal AL MVP this year is probably Collin McHugh. Obviously, I’m not talking about the real award. Burt as far as my plays are concerned, I ought find out if there’s a Collin McHugh “fathead” and if so, should put it up in a very visible location.

McHigh has been a money machine for me. I’ve played him in each of his last eight starts, and have failed to get to the winner’s circle only once. McHugh has been no fluke, either. His control has been impeccable, and this guy had worked a nifty game plan virtually ever start. He is keeping his okay but nothing special fastball off the plate and is getting loads of swings and misses with his offspeed offerings. Command has been the key and McHugh, over the past couple months, has simply been one of the best pitchers in the game.

Hisashi Iwakuma provides the opposition today, so this is clearly no soft touch for the Astros. Even though Iwakuma has not been at his best of late, he’s a top quality starter and this is obviously a very big game for the Mariners.

But there’s no way I’m getting off the McHugh express, and I also like the fact I’m getting a good piece with the improving Astros as they bring down the curtain on the home portion of their 2014 schedule. I’m not biting the hand that’s been feeding me, and in fact I’m just going to keep dancing with McHugh till the music stops. The Astros at plus money are the free play for the day.