New York Jets vs. Oakland Raiders
Prediction: Oakland Raiders +3.5 (September 25th 2011)
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The Jets have had the luxury of playing their first two games at home and now they have to travel out west to take on the Raiders. Making the transition even more difficult is that the Jets have not left New York since the first week of preseason when it traveled to Houston as its other preseason road game came against the Giants in their own stadium. This is the first of three straight road games with games at the Ravens and Patriots on deck so there may be some lookahead involved.
Even of the Jets are not taking this game lightly, we are catching a good line in a good situation with the home team. Oakland is coming off a tough loss last week in Buffalo after winning its opener in Denver on Monday night. That marks this the first home game of the season for Oakland which is obviously just the opposite for the visiting team. It can be argued that the Raiders are a field goal away of having a chance to be 2-0 but the opposite holds true as well and that is where we can see the contrarian value come in.
Oakland will have to move the ball on offense and that will come down to the play of Darren McFadden. He is turning into one of the elite backs in the NFL and if he can get going against the Jets, it will open up the passing game for Jason Campbell who is capable of big games as the offense is getting difficult to contain. The Jets have allowed the shortest yards per drive through the first two weeks and they are yielding just one point per drive. It won’t be easy but getting New York in its first road game helps.
The Oakland defense was horrible last week against Buffalo and it has to tighten up quickly. The 25 first downs the Raiders allowed the Bills in the second half were the second-most first downs in the second half of an NFL game since 1991. They are also the only team since at least 1993 to allow five touchdowns on five drives in the second half. These are not good to swallow but remember teams are not always as bad as they looked the previous week and vice versa. And the Jets offense will not take full advantage.
To no surprise, the early betting percentages are all over the Jets yet we are not seeing a line movement at all with the exception of just a couple spots where the line has actually dropped but it comes with a lot of juice behind it. The Raiders are part of a superb long-tern situation also. Play against teams where the line is +3 to -3 after allowing six points or less last game going up against an opponent after a loss by three or less points. This situation is 26-5 ATS (83.9 percent) since 1983. 3* (414) Oakland Raiders. Get more week 3 NFL picks on September 25th from Matt Fargo at Touthouse.com
LSU vs. West Virginia
Prediction: West Virginia +6.5 (September 24th 2011)
West Virginia played LSU to a 6-point game on the road last season. That Mountaineer squad wasn’t nearly as explosive offensively as this year’s squad. Dana Holgorsen’s Oklahoma State offense took college football by storm last season, and I expect him to have a similar impact with the Mountaineers. LSU’s defense is top-notch, but West Virginia won’t give up its 18-game home winning streak in non-conference tilts without a fight. LSU will have to put some points on the board to cover this number, and that won’t be easy against a team that ranked No. 3 in the country in both total and scoring defense last season with 261.1 yards and 13.5 points allowed per game. The Mountain Men will force LSU’s Jarrett Lee to beat them through the air, and I don’t think he has it in him. Under Les Miles, LSU has never defeated an opponent ATS that is averaging 37 or more points per game. It is 0-8 ATS against these teams, losing to them by an average score of 29.0 to 26.1. Also, the Mountaineers are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games as an underdog and 6-1 ATS in their last 7 games as an underdog of 3.5-10.0 points. We’ll take the points as WVU keeps this one closer than the odds makers think.
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Florida State vs. Clemson
Prediction: Clemson -2.5 (September 24th 2011)
Florida State is battling some huge injuries offensively in this one, and I look for the Tigers to capitalize with a huge conference win that will put them in the front seat of the ACC Atlantic Division race. Florida State is expected to be without starting quarterback E.J. Manuel and could also be playing without two of their top receivers in Bert Reed and Willie Haulstead. On top of that starting corner Greg Reid could also be out for this game.
Florida State is still extremely strong on the defensive side of the ball, which will allow them to keep this game close, but I think they are going to really struggle to put up enough points to win this game. Clemson has the 8th ranked offense in the country in total yards, averaging just under 523 yards a game. They are balanced with the ability to beat you with both the run and the pass and are going to be able to put some points on the board. I don’t think the Tigers are going to blow FSU out by any means, but they are more than talented to beat Florida State by a field goal with the Seminoles playing without their starting quarterback.
Florida State is just 1-5 ATS in their last 6 conference games, while Clemson is 13-3 ATS in their last 16 games after accumulating more than 280 yards passing in their previous game. BET THE TIGERS TO WIN BY AT LEAST A FIELD GOAL!
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Indiana vs. North Texas
Prediction: Indiana -6 (September 24th 2011)
Indiana has a new Coach in Kevin Wilson bringing in a new no-huddle attack. He comes over from Oklahoma, where he was the offensive coordinator. The offense returns 7 starters, the defense 6. Sophomore QB Edward Wright-Baker (4 TDs, 1 INT) leads a good offense that is averaging 27 points and 247 yards passing. There is an outstanding target in 6-5 senior Damarlo Belcher, who had 101 yards on 4 catches in the opener. North Texas (0-3 SU/ATS) is off a tumultuous 3-9 SU, 6-6 ATS 2010 season, firing Coach Todd Dodge and offensive coordinator Mike Canales had to run the ship as interim coach. For 2011, new Coach Dan McCarney takes over (12 years as a head coach at Iowa State). Sophomore QB Derek Thompson leads and offense that is averaging 13 points and the defense is awful allowing 43.3 ppg. They looked terrible in the opener, a 41-16 loss at Florida International giving up 401 yards (208 rushing), down 31-7 at the half. Week 2 was worse, a 48-23 loss to Houston giving up 694 yards (503 passing). Play Indiana. Get more college football picks on September 24th from Jim Feist at Touthouse.com.