Dave’s Free Play, Sunday 9/20/15
Here’s a rundown of some of the more misleading scores from Saturday’s college action. Also included are a few observations from other games.
Wake Forest dominated Army on the stat sheet, but the Demon Deacons needed a late FG to escape with the win. Wake survived despite losing starting QB Wolford to an ankle injury. Check his status for next week.
Florida Atlantic crushed Buffalo on the stat sheet, but the Owls killed themselves with five turnovers (-4 net). Backup QB Driskel had to play this one for FAU and he’s a sharp dropoff from regular signal caller Johnson.
South Florida had a 240-114 ground game advantage against Maryland. But the Bulls lost one TD on a dropped pass, and another on what appeared to be an incorrectly called holding penalty. Both teams were totally undisciplined and awfully sloppy. Eleven turnovers in all, and a whopping 225 penalty yards.
Alabama ended up with a 215-92 rushing edge over Ole Miss, a margin that results in victory an overwhelming amount of the time. But the Rebels made the big stops and topped the Tide for the second straight season.
Iowa State should have beaten Toledo, as the Rockets weren’t sharp coming off the Arkansas upset. The Cyclones won the yardage and first downs by big margins. For those who laid the good number with Toledo, this was a miracle winner.
South Alabama stunned San Diego State on the road in one of the day’s big upsets. No fluke either, as the Jaguars were the better team throughout, and the Aztecs were lucky to even get this to OT.
New Mexico State was a really bad beat. UTEP needed two late TD’s just to get to OT and when they won 50-47, Aggies backers had to be sick.
Colorado was an overtime winner in the rivalry duel with Colorado State. I thought the Rams should have won this game, but there was a critical pick-six along the way and that turned out to be the biggest play of what was a really exciting game.
Cincinnati squeaked out a win against Miami Ohio, but the Bearcats were horrible. They coughed up six turnovers (-3 net) and that’s two very sloppy games in succession for Cincinnati.
Temple was the most fortunate winner on the entire board, although UMass easily covered the spread. The Owls preserved their unbeaten slate by getting two points on a blocked Minutemen extra point and then Temple drove the field for a late FG and the 25-23 victory. Poor UMass still can’t figure out how to close a game, an extension of last year’s problem.
Central Michigan owned massive stat edges against Syracuse but did themselves in with -3 net turnovers. The Chippewas moved the ball all day against the Orange defense but lost in OT, though they at least covered the number in the defeat.
Minnesota completely shut down Kent State, surrendering only eight first downs and 142 yards. The Flashes avoided the shutout with a third quarter fumble return for six. The fact the Gophers had to hang on for dear life to avoid the upset is a red flag regarding their offense.
Michigan State had a big lead against Air Force and coasted home. But had it not been for the Air Force mistakes on offense (-4 TO’s) this could have been much closer. Sparty was indeed flat off the big game win against Oregon.
Disappointing Saturday overall for me, with a net -1.65 result. I’m definitely not catching the right side of the luck results right now, but that’s why they call it gambling. The good news is that it was a manageable red figure, if one can call that good news. There were really only two games where I had the clearly wrong side, and only one of the winners was a real sweat. So the process is okay and that bodes well long term.
I’ll be on four NFL sides today and hopefully might find a baseball game or two that’s playable as well. Get everything I’ve got by subscribing to my service as everyone gets all the plays. No extras for added fees or anything like that. Email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org for all the info.
The two free college plays split. San Jose State once again came apart at the seams after halftime and losing QB Potter early certainly didn’t help. Middle Tennessee was a ridiculously easy winner as they completely outclassed Charlotte. I’m going the ugly dog route today in the NFL.
TITANS @ BROWNS
Take: BROWNS +2 (Southpoint)
Johnny Football gets the call at QB for Cleveland today as the Browns play host to the Titans and rookie sensation Marcus Mariota. The Titans have been commanding great attention from bettors all week and this number has moved substantially from the opener. I’m taking what will most certainly be the minority opinion in this game.
Mariota was brilliant last week as Tennessee obliterated Tampa Bay, and I was very pleased with that result. The Browns got smoked by the Jets and Johnny Manziel was pretty bad in the second half of the eventual romp.
One of the first “rules” I learned many (and I do mean many) years ago when I was on the other side of the counter has never changed. Simply stated, it’s important to forget the last thing you saw. Maybe not literally, but close enough. The masses tend to put far too much weight on the most recent result, and short term memory is not an asset when it comes to sports betting.
So here we have a classic example of that thought process. The Titans looked mighty study in overwhelming the Bucs on the road last Sunday. The Browns, well, they looked like the Browns. As a result, the books have been flooded with Tennessee wagers all week.
I will say that I thought the opening line on this game was a bad one, in that it guaranteed oodles of Titans cash. That’s not really ideal for the books. But from my perspective, this game has gone from one I had no interest in playing to a scrap where I feel I can’t pass it up at the current tag.
I have always liked playing against road favorites that won the prior week as road dogs, and Tennessee falls into that scenario here. I also don’t mind latching onto an underdog off a really bad game, particularly this early in the season where nothing has truly been established.
Of course, as with anything, there’s a caveat here. That would be the aforementioned Manziel, who I absolutely don’t have much faith in. Hopefully, his seemingly inevitable mistakes aren’t too costly. But regardless, there’s big bounce potential on the road team’s side today and now that I’m able to get a couple with the hosts, I’m playing. The Browns plus the available points are the pick.