Troy vs. UAB
Betting Pick: Under 63.5 -110 odds (August 30th 2014)
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I’m recommending a play on the Under between Troy & UAB on Saturday at 12 noon ET. These teams are obviously familiar with each other and I expect defenses to get the better of this meeting…at least relative to last year’s final scoring output of 65 combined points. We should note the contest was decided by a FG in OT, and with less than four minutes to go in regulation, was a 31-24 contest…just 55 points on the board. Corey Robinson did it all for the Trojans and he is gone from this year’s team. Robinson was arguably the top QB to ever play for Larry Blakeney. He’ll likely go with both of his top-2 QBs in this one. The problem is, neither has much experience. UAB has a new HC in Bill Clark who inherits a shaky offensive unit. Making matters even tougher, UAB’s top two QBs are gone from last season’s squad and Clark will have to chose from inexperienced replacements. I believe the defenses will be ahead of the offenses and their young signal callers and I’m recommending this game Under the total. Thanks & GL! Scott Spreitzer.
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Central Florida vs. Penn State
Prediction: Central Florida -2 -110 betting line (August 30th 2014)
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There’s no denying that UCF lost a couple of key pieces from last year’s dream season in starting quarterback Blake Bortles and leading rusher Storm Johnson, but there’s still a ton of talent coming back for the Knights. In fact, UCF has 15 returning starters and lost just 11 lettermen from last year’s squad. I look for this team to surprise a lot of people with how well they play without Bortles in 2014.
Penn State on the other hand will be transitioning to a new head coach in James Franklin, who replaces an outstanding coach in Bill O’Brien, who did a tremendous job of keeping the program on it’s feet after the Sandusky scandal. O’Brien really worked wonders with the Nittany Lions’ quarterbacks and that has me concerned with sophomore starter Christian Hackenberg being able to match last year’s numbers. Not only does Hackenberg lose his mentor in O’Brien, but he lost his favorite target in Allen Robinson, who had 97 receptions for 1,432 yards and 6 touchdowns. Penn State’s top returning receiver is tight end Jesse James, who had a mere 25 receptions for 333 yards and 3 touchdowns.
Even if the UCF offense struggles without Bortles, they should be very good defensively with 9 of 11 starters back. I look for the Knights to dominate this game on that side of the ball and cash in at least a 3-point win. Take UCF -2!
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Florida State vs. Oklahoma State
Betting Pick: Oklahoma State +18.5 point spread (August 30th 2014)
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Oklahoma State won 10 games last year, and many of those came against tough opposition in the Big 12 Conference. Their most impressive victory came against #3 ranked Baylor, in a 49-17 thrashing at home. None of their three losses came by more than 10 points, yet they are getting almost double that number in their season opener against Florida State.
The Seminoles are the defending national champions, but let’s not forget that they needed to come from behind to beat Auburn by a score of 34-31 in the Championship Game in January. They lost five key starters on offense to the NFL draft, but Jameis Winston is back, and Florida State is still loaded.
Winston put up video game type numbers in 2013, and many people expect him to match those stats this season. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Famous Jameis take a giant step back this year though. He seems to have a knack for finding trouble, and would appear to be a prime candidate for letting success go to his head.
With a less experienced receiving corps, it would also be no surprise to see Jumbo Fisher lean more on the run in this first game. At the end of the day, it’s an awful lot of points to cover against a quality team from one of the tougher conferences in the country.
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