Dave’s Free Play, Friday 11/21/14
Quick takes from the college football games already played this week:
Massachusetts was a popular betting choice against sliding Akron. But the Minutemen were without their top QB and the backup was not good at all. The Zips finally got their offense cranked up and dominated from start to finish in the easy 30-6 victory. As bad as it’s been for Akron, they can get to .500 with a win in their finale at Kent State.
Northern Illinois and Ohio ended up as a tossup with the Huskies getting the 21-14 win. NIU can win its MAC divisional race if they can get past Western Michigan next week. They’ll probably need to play a better game there than they did here. As for Ohio, the Bobcats will need to beat Miami Ohio next week to get to six wins.
Bowling Green is heading to the MAC title game in spite of dropping a 27-20 decision at Toledo. The Rockets nearly let this get away thanks to three turnovers, but managed to survive. Toledo is still in the mix to win a division title, with what ought to be an easy win at Eastern Michigan remaining.
Kansas State’s loss to Baylor eliminated the Wildcats from any realistic playoff consideration. But while other teams have had bad hangovers off that type of loss, Bill Snyder made sure it didn’t happen to his squad. The Wildcats faded a bit late, but held on for the 26-20 win over West Virginia. The Mountaineers have shown some improvement this season, but aside from the Baylor upset this team is still coming up short in the big games.
North Carolina played its best game of the season in a 45-20 rout at Duke. Huge win for Larry Fedora as the Tar Heels are now bowl eligible. Duke will also be bowling, but they will not be playing in a second straight ACC title game as the loss means Georgia Tech has clinched the Coastal Division.
Robert Lowe put on a show as Texas State looked like anything but a home dog in a decisive 45-27 win over Arkansas State. That’s six wins for the Bobcats, which equals last year’s total. But after getting shut out of the bowls, expect Texas State to be all out to get an important seventh win next week at Georgia State.
A bit of a bounce off the Tuesday/Wednesday 8-1 as I went 1-3 yesterday. Split a couple on the ice, but lost both college hoops plays. I know SMU outshot Indiana by a tremendous margin, but they committed way too many needless fouls and were -13 in turnovers. That’s gonna result in a definite most every time, and it sure did here. Plenty of good looking possibilities in college roundball tonight, and the free play below is going to make the card.
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The Anaheim Ducks earned a shootout win at Vancouver as the Thursday free play. I’ll take a look at one of tonight’s college hoop battles for the Friday comp.
11/21 4:00 PM CBB (529) TOLEDO at (530) OREGON
Take: (529) TOLEDO +7
Let’s get the bad news out of the way right off the bat. This is not an easy travel spot for Toledo. The Rockets played at VCU on Tuesday and have now had to endure the Atlantic to Pacific trip as they prep for this game with Oregon. So I know I’ve got that against me tonight. But hopefully there’s enough fuel in the tank of these Rockets to allow them to play their game tonight. If so, I think there’s a chance of an upset and I’d at least expect a competitive duel.
Toledo is expected to be one of the top MAC entries this season, and with good reason. They’ve got the core of last year’s 27-7 team back and as far as the power rankings are concerned, they’re the favorite to snare the MAC’s NCAA automatic come March Madness. Of course, winning a big non-conference game certainly wouldn’t hurt the Toledo resume, and that makes this a serious test for the Rockets.
Toledo gave Virginia Commonwealth a great game on Tuesday. Don’t be misled by the nine-point final margin. This was a one-point game inside three minutes, before VCU broke away with a 9-0 run. The narrow loss was a disappointment for sure, but Toledo should come out of that game loaded with confidence that they can compete with just about anyone.
Oregon is off to a 2-0 start but the win over Detroit was less dominating than the 83-66 final score. This was a three-point game midway through the second half. The Ducks broke it open after Juwan Howard Jr. picked up his fourth foul, and it got out of hand late. But the Titans certainly exposed some potential Oregon issues in this game, and I’ll be interested to see if a good offensive team like Toledo can exploit those potential soft spots tonight.
Oregon has a big game on deck as the Ducks are taking on Michigan on Monday in the star studded Legends Classic taking place at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. That’s a potential look ahead and that can be a factor in analyzing early season non-conference hookups.
My expectation is that the public money will be on Oregon tonight. That’s not a deal maker or breaker for me, but I’m never unhappy if square cash shows up on the chalk and I’m on the dog. I’m high on this Toledo squad and I’m expecting them to come up with a strong effort tonight. If the Rockets play to their potential, they can pull off an upset this evening. The number actually looks shaded a bit to the dog side, as I thought it might come a bit higher. Thus, it appears as though I might be siding with the house tonight by playing Toledo plus the points.