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  1. #8651  
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    Stanford Steve and The Bear: College football picks and betting nuggets for Week 3

    "Stanford Steve" Coughlin and Chris "The Bear" Fallica cover the college football season as only they can, offering their top picks, betting nuggets and totals worth wagering on.
    Records:
    The Bear (Last Week: 1-2, Season: 3-4)
    Stanford Steve (Last Week: 3-2, Season: 6-4)
    Note: All lines are from Caesars Sportsbook.

    The Plays


    Auburn Tigers at Penn State Nittany Lions (-5, 53)
    Stanford Steve: The White Out is back! Auburn comes in with two impressive wins over inferior opponents in new Coach Brian Harsin's first two home games in Jordan-Hare Stadium. This game is not in Jordan-Hare. I know QB Bo Nix has played in a couple Iron Bowls and road games in the SEC. But, this is a different deal in State College, and the idea of Nix in his new system in this environment makes me think the Penn State defense will have a major advantage when those two are going against each other. The Penn State offense hasn't been great to start the season, but I think the talent level is a lot higher than what Auburn has faced. I'll lay the points with the home team.
    Pick: Penn State -5 (Penn State 27, Auburn 19)

    Purdue Boilermakers at No. 12 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (-7, 58)
    Fallica: I might be taking the bait here with this number being north of seven points, but you've got me. Is there a bit of everyone getting super excited after that stand-alone Sunday night game in Tallahassee? What if it was just two average teams playing a fun OT game? The Irish OL has been unusually below average. Somehow ND is averaging 2.7 YPC!!! There have been injuries adding up, and Marcus' Freeman's defense has been disappointing. People have been expecting Jeff Brohm's team to take a step forward for a while now, and maybe this will be the year. Losing RB Zander Horvath hurts, but if QB Jack Plummer can stay healthy, this team will put up points in 2021.
    Pick: Purdue +7

    Boston College Eagles (-15.5, 57) at Temple Owls
    Stanford Steve: The news this week has not been good out of Chestnut Hill, as they have suffered serious injuries, most notably QB Phil Jurkovec. But when you talk to people in and around the BC program, they are very excited see what new QB Dennis Grosel, will bring to the table with his experience and energy. On the other side, you have Temple, who has not been impressive in any way, shape or form this year, which even includes a win over Akron. I think BC comes out with a focus around their new QB and takes care of the Owls.
    Pick: Boston College -15.5 (Boston College 34, Temple 10)

    No. 15 Virginia Tech Hokies at West Virginia Mountaineers (-3, 50.5)
    Fallica: The Mountaineers played pretty well in the season-opening loss at Maryland. They certainly had their chances. I'm a fan of RB Leddie Brown, and the defense has played better than I had expected after losing key starters at every level. The Hokies pulled off the season-opening upset of North Carolina, but my sense is that was more a product of UNC imploding in a hostile road environment than it was VT being a great team, as VT had 296 yards and averaged just three yards a carry.
    Pick: West Virginia -3

    Fresno State Bulldogs at No. 13 UCLA Bruins (-11.5, 63)
    Fallica: The immediate reaction by many, I'm sure is to take Fresno and the points. But UCLA has had a week off since the blowout win over LSU, and all the news of the USC head coaching change has probably taken the Bruins out of the news cycle some. I doubt Oregon would admit it, but I wonder if after grabbing a quick 14-0 lead and then a 21-6 lead, if the Ducks minds wandered to Columbus. That win will certainly move Fresno up in the minds of many, but Brittain Brown and Zach Charbonnet have run the ball at will, UCLA hasn't turned it over yet this season and the defense has allowed 5.8 yards per pass attempt. I'm laying the points here.
    Pick: UCLA -11.5

    Oklahoma State Cowboys at Boise State Broncos (-3.5 57.5)
    Stanford Steve: I have not liked what I have seen from the Cowboys in their first two games this year. I know they have had QB Spencer Sanders in only one of those games, but it has been far from what I have expected in a Mike Gundy offense. The Boise State offense has shown way more capability in their first two games as they have scored 85 points combined with the help of the defense and special teams. Broncos QB Hank Bachmeier has thrown for over 600 yards in those games while they have rushed for just over 100 yards in those two games. I anticipate a very balanced and dominant performance from the Broncos.
    Pick: Boise State -3.5 (Boise State 41, Oklahoma State 20)
    Fallica: Boise State did everything but win its season-opener at UCF and easily could be 2-0 right now. Oklahoma State has been an enigma. The Cowboys have made such strides defensively in the last couple of years, but the running game has disappeared, and the health of QB Spencer Sanders seems like its a weekly concern. It's a rare opportunity for the Broncos to get a Power Five team on their home field, and I think new head coach Andy Avalos' will have a solid game plan to keep that Oklahoma State offense in check and do enough offensively to get the win.
    Pick: Boise State -3.5

    Nebraska Cornhuskers at No. 3 Oklahoma Sooners (-22, 62)
    Stanford Steve: Points! Points! Points! That is the forecast for Norman, Oklahoma on Saturday around noon Eastern time. Both teams will contribute on the offensive side of the ball.
    Pick: Over 62 (Oklahoma 48, Nebraska 24)

    Florida State Seminoles at Wake Forest Demon Deacons (-5, 61.5)
    Fallica: I'm a bit surprised this number has come down. Not sure I'd want to be backing the 'Noles right now after blowing a double-digit lead vs. an FCS team and being shredded by Jack Coan in the opener. We all want to see McKenzie Milton do well, but in two games, he's averaging 4.8 yards per attempt. Jordan Travis is completing 41% of his passes, and three of his 22 passes have been picked off. The best quarterback on the field is Wake's Sam Hartman. Wake has an excellent running game and a coach in Dave Clawson that gets the best out of his team's talent, which is underrated. I like the Deacs to continue FSU's struggles.
    Pick: Wake Forest -5
    Stanford Steve: We have all seen how the Seminoles lost to Jacksonville State, and I have to wonder how they will rebound after two such brutal losses. Now, they have a trip to Winston Salem to play against one of the best-coached teams in the league in Wake Forest. The Deacs are more than capable to take advantage of the 'Noles weaknesses with QB Sam Hartman, who has thrown for more than 440 yards and 4 TDs in his first two games of the year. The expectation is the Demon Deacons, who are the better team, will play well and take care of business
    Pick: Wake Forest -5 (Wake Forest 38, Florida State 17)

    Arizona State Sun Devils (-4, 51) at BYU Cougars
    This is the third-straight Pac-12 game to start the year for BYU. I can't help but feel BYU will have a little bit of a hangover after snapping that losing streak vs. Utah. While ASU hasn't been great to start the year, I think the Sun Devils play their best game of the young season and get a solid road win.
    Pick: Arizona State -4

    Hawaii Rainbow Warriors vs. San Jose State Spartans (-6.5, 61)
    Fallica: The eventual MWC champs went to Hawaii last year and won by 11. RB Kairee Robinson and Tyler Nevens both had huge games, as QB Nick Starkel was just 11-23. The Spartans have been off since the 30-7 loss to USC (was 13-7 in 4th quarter), but I like Hawaii here. Both losses have come on the mainland to Pac-12 foes, and now they host a MWC opponent that probably won't have the offensive skill those teams did. Yes, Todd Graham's team will need to be better on defense vs. the SJSU running game, but grabbing seven points is certainly appealing.
    Pick: Hawaii +6.5

    The Bear's money-line parlay

    Last Week: -100
    Season: -200
    *Let the record show the last thing Clay Helton did as USC head coach was kill our ML parlay.
    $100 returns $60
    Louisiana Rajin' Cajuns -1300
    Michigan Wolverines -4500
    Eastern Michigan Eagles -1300
    Boston College Eagles -750
    Alabama Crimson Tide -750
    Iowa Hawkeyes -2000
    Ohio State Buckeyes -4000
    Baylor Bears -1000
    UCLA Bruins -450

    The Bear's underdogs to play on the money line

    Last Week: 1-3, -1.8 units
    Season: 5-5, +6.85 units
    Michigan State Spartans +210
    Purdue Boilermakers +245
    Duke Blue Devils +125
    Memphis Tigers +150
    Hawaii Rainbow Warriors +220
    East Carolina Pirates +320

    Bear Bytes


    Michigan State Spartans at No. 24 Miami Hurricanes
    In Miami's last 25 games as a favorite, the 'Canes are 14-11 on the field and 10-15 ATS.
    No. 15 Virginia Tech Hokies at West Virginia Mountaineers
    Since 2016, there have been 23 Top 20 teams which were underdogs to an unranked team. Those 23 teams went 7-16 outright.
    No. 8 Cincinnati Bearcats at Indiana Hoosiers
    Since 2015, there have been 24 Group of Five teams favored away from home vs. a Power Five team. Those 24 teams went 17-7 outright and 13-9-2 ATS.
    Purdue Boilermakers at No. 12 Notre Dame Fighting Irish
    Under Jeff Brohm, Purdue has been a road underdog seven times. The Boilermakers went 6-1 ATS with two outright wins.
    Florida State Seminoles at Wake Forest Demon Deacons
    Since 2017, FSU is 12-20 in ACC play and 10-20-2 ATS. Since 2018, FSU is 2-12 on the road. The 'Noles only two wins in that span have come over Steve Addazio and Bobby Petrino coached teams, and their average margin of defeat in those road games is 20.1 PPG. The Noles are 3-10-1 in those 14 games.
    Arizona State Sun Devils at BYU Cougars
    Under Herm Edwards, ASU is 5-12 ATS with five outright losses as a favorite.


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  2. #8652  
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    Week 3 college football best bets: Will Florida keep up with Alabama?

    Intro by Doug Kezirian
    Whenever Nick Saban and Alabama take the field, they seemingly are breaking or extending a record -- and Saturday will be just the latest case. The Crimson Tide are poised to become the largest road favorite over an AP top-15 team since 2000, laying 15.5 points against the No. 11 Florida Gators.
    "How much of this line is an overreaction to how dominant 'Bama was against Miami," pro bettor Jay Romano said to ESPN, referencing the Crimson Tide's 44-13 mauling in the season opener. "The Gators have a better defense than Miami. They're playing (at home) in The Swamp. They're familiar with this Alabama team and have been able to play with them the last couple years. And we haven't seen Bryce Young in a hostile environment."
    Alabama is favored for an 83rd straight game, which is the nation's longest active streak, and is 11-4 ATS in its last 15 games games as double-digit favorite. The public will ride the Tide and thus they will have to pay a tax to back Saban, who is 10-0 in his career against Dan Mullen.
    "You're never going to make a living betting against 'Bama. I don't care about the situation. However, having said that, where is the Florida money coming from other than the sharps? This line is likely going up," Romano said. "It's taking everything in me not to grab the 15.5 points."

    Every Wednesday during the season, betting analysts Doug Kezirian (4-9 overall, 2-6 last week), Bill Connelly (6-4, 3-2), Tyler Fulghum (2-1, 1-0), Joe Fortenbaugh (5-4, 1-3) and David M. Hale (2-5, 1-2) will provide their top plays across the college football landscape.
    Here are their best bets for Week 3 of the college football season.
    Note: Lines from Caesars Sportsbook as of Wednesday (unless otherwise indicated).

    Saturday's best bets


    No. 15 Virginia Tech Hokies at West Virginia Mountaineers (-3, 50.5), Noon ET

    Connelly: I'm just putting total trust in SP+ in this one. It had Virginia Tech a healthy 33rd to start the season -- certainly higher than most humans had them -- and the Hokies have looked fantastic thus far, actually rising to 22nd. WVU feasted on FCS newcomer Long Island last week but got outplayed significantly by Maryland in Week 1, and I'm honestly not really sure why the Mountaineers are favored. It should be pretty tight, and even the Tech-loving SP+ has it only a three-point game. But Tech should probably be the three-point favorite, not WVU.
    Pick: Virginia Tech +3


    Northern Illinois Huskies at No. 25 Michigan Wolverines (-27, 54), Noon ET

    Connelly: Time to put faith in ... Michigan? What could possibly go wrong? The Wolverines have looked legitimately strong in their first two games, and while those games were against WMU and Washington, they overachieved against the closing line by a combined 31 points. SP+ has had a stronger read on UM than the books so far and thinks this is more like a five-touchdown game, not four.
    NIU has done better than expected thanks to bursts -- two quick touchdowns in the first half against Georgia Tech in a one-point win and an out-of-nowhere four-touchdown binge to turn a 26-point deficit against Wyoming into a brief one-point lead -- but while that shows plenty of heart and opportunism, it probably isn't sustainable. UM should be able to avoid a binge and win comfortably.
    Pick: Michigan -27


    Purdue Boilermakers at Notre Dame Fighting Irish (-7, 58.5), 2:30 p.m. ET

    Kezirian: I respect situational spots probably more than most handicappers. It's hard to imagine a worse one than what both Florida State and Notre Dame faced last weekend, coming off a short week and overtime thriller. Neither covered, but at least Notre Dame escaped the upset bid. The Irish survived Toledo and now seem like a good buy-low opportunity. I trust Brian Kelly to get his team back on track. Purdue has handled its business in the first two games, but this is a step up in class compared to its first two opponents. I think the rivalry game brings out the best week of practice for the golden domers and we see a convincing win Saturday.
    Pick: Notre Dame -7
    Fortenbaugh: What does this game mean to Notre Dame? I ask because with several marquee matchups on the schedule, it's easy for the Purdue game to slip through the cracks, especially when you consider a Soldier Field showdown with Wisconsin is on deck for the Irish. For the Boilermakers, this game means everything, as evidenced by the fact that Purdue is 5-1 against the spread in its last six trips to South Bend. Additionally, Jeff Brohm's squad is 17-5 ATS over its last 22 games as an underdog. That Irish defense has been highly suspect through two games, allowing a grand total of 67 points while ranking 64th in opponent yards per play. Purdue should be able to move the ball in this one.
    Pick: Purdue +7


    No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide (-15.5, 58.5) at No. 11 Florida Gators, 3:30 p.m. ET

    Fortenbaugh: Led by quarterback Bryce Young, who is currently completing 70% of his passes with seven touchdowns and no interceptions, Alabama's offense shouldn't have an issue scoring on a Florida defense that has already surrendered 34 total points to Florida Atlantic and South Florida. I know 34 points may not seem like a lot, but it's Florida Atlantic and South Florida! The Gators are currently deploying a two-quarterback system featuring Emory Jones and Anthony Richardson, the latter of whom has put up huge ground numbers (11 carries, 275 yards, two touchdowns) and should pose problems for a Tide front seven that is already down linebacker Christopher Allen (foot) and could be without linebacker Will Anderson (knee). Florida's offensive pace should put this number over the top.
    Pick: Over 58.5


    Tulsa Golden Hurricane at No. 9 Ohio State Buckeyes (-26.5, 61), 3:30 p.m. ET

    Fulghum: Love this spot for Ohio State to bounce back in front of the home fans in a "get right" spot. C.J. Stroud and his bevy of wide receivers should light up the Tulsa secondary. After the loss to Oregon, the Buckeyes have a great opportunity and the incentive to go off and light up an inferior opponent.
    Pick: Ohio State first quarter -7


    Old Dominion Monarchs at Liberty Flames (-27.5, 54), 6 p.m. ET on ESPN3

    Fulghum: Liberty is 2-0 ATS so far this season and has one of the most explosive offenses in the nation led by QB Malik Willis and head coach Hugh Freeze. As a small school independent, the Flames are incentivized to run up the score as often as they can, and Freeze is more than happy to do so. The Liberty defense is also pretty stout, holding opponents to just 10.0 PPG this season
    Pick: Liberty -27.5


    Utah Utes (-7.5, 44.5) at San Diego State Aztecs, 7 p.m. ET

    Fortenbaugh: This is an excellent buy-low spot on the Utes, who are coming off a brutal Holy War performance against BYU in which Utah converted only 2-of-9 third-down opportunities, finished -2 in turnover differential and held the ball for just over 24 minutes in a nine-point loss despite closing as seven-point favorites. Take note that the Utes are 11-3 against the spread in the regular season when coming off a loss over the last five years. Don't expect much from an anemic San Diego State offense that is currently overvalued following wins against New Mexico State and Arizona -- two horrific programs.
    Pick: Utah -7.5


    No. 22 Auburn Tigers at No. 10 Penn State Nittany Lions (-6, 53), 7:30 p.m. ET on ABC

    Kezirian: I am really pumped to watch this game. Not only is the "white out" atmosphere going to resonate, but I want to see a Big Ten school like Penn State deliver against an SEC school like Auburn. If you may recall, my favorite season win total play was Auburn under seven wins. This is a situation where I anticipated a loss, and that's because of Bo Nix's road woes. In 12 starts away from Jordan-Hare Stadium, he has never surpassed 300 passing yards and has only thrown three TD passes once. Plus, he's not exactly lights out on the plains.
    I expect Auburn to approach things very conservatively on offense and lean on its strong defense. Penn State has demonstrated a stout defense as well, so this should be a low-scoring battle most of the way. I am a bit concerned that one team may unravel in the second half, much like we saw with Iowa and Iowa State last weekend. So I'll ride with the first half under.
    Pick: First half under 26.5


    Stanford Cardinal (-11, 49) at Vanderbilt Commodores, 8 p.m. ET on ESPNU


    Kezirian: Perhaps people do change, contrary to what jaded daters will tell you. Stanford is now an offensive juggernaut and David Shaw is comfortable throwing the ball, especially when protecting a lead. Okay, that's a bit much, but Stanford did unveil a much different offense last week with its dominant win at USC. Tanner McKee took over the starting quarterback job and showed why he was such a top recruit. The QB turned down offers from high-profile programs like Florida and Auburn; he was the No. 3 pocket passer in the class of 2018, right behind Trevor Lawrence and J.T. Daniels, before taking two years off for his LDS mission. His 16-for-23 passing performance with two touchdowns against USC was no fluke.
    On the flip side, Vanderbilt is still abysmal. Yes, the Commodores rallied from a 14-0 deficit to pick up their first win last week, but it came against Colorado State. Both schools suffered convincing losses to FCS schools in their openers. Vandy should get smoked, even if it's consecutive road games for the Cardinal.
    Pick: Stanford -12
    Connelly: Pretty much what Doug said. SP+ isn't designed to account for things like "You played the first game with the wrong quarterback," but it still projects the Cardinal to win by 14.8. Any extra adjustment you give them for playing McKee makes this an even safer bet, and that's before we talk about the fact that Vandy's win over (a very bad) CSU came with the Commodores getting outgained by two yards per play. This should indeed be a blowout.
    Pick: Stanford -12


    Rice Owls at Texas Longhorns (-26, 52.5), 8 p.m. ET

    Connelly: Like Stanford, Texas might have begun the season with the wrong quarterback. Hudson Card was solid against Louisiana but overwhelmed against Arkansas, and Casey Thompson filled in and both steadied the ship and, evidently, won the starting job. He'll be the first-stringer against Rice.
    Again, as with the Stanford game, SP+ liked Texas to cover (it says UT by 32.9), even without any sort of "correct quarterback" adjustment. Rice games can be tricky since they can slow the tempo way down at times, but if Thompson's insertion means any sort of bonus points for the Horns, they should win by four-plus touchdowns.
    Pick: Texas -26


    No. 19 Arizona State Sun Devils (-3.5, 51.5) at No. 23 BYU Cougars, 10:15 p.m. ET on ESPN

    Fortenbaugh: This is a major flat spot for a BYU program that just defeated archrival Utah in the Holy War for the first time since 2009. Take note that everything broke right for the Cougars in that contest, from their performance on third down (11-for-19) to turnover differential (+2) to time of possession (35:26). Arizona State plays a nasty brand of defense in which the Sun Devils have allowed just 24 points through two contests while holding the opposition to a paltry 2.8 yards per play (third in the NCAA). Also note that ASU brings back 20 starters from a squad that went 3-0 against the spread on the road last season.
    Pick: Arizona State -3.5


    Fresno State Bulldogs at No. 13 UCLA Bruins (-11.5, 62.5), 10:45 p.m. ET

    Connelly: SP+ has had a strong read on UCLA as well, so let's ride that hot streak until it runs out. Fresno State has been one of the stronger teams in the Mountain West thus far and threw a scare into Oregon with a second-half charge, but UCLA rode a dynamite run game and aggressive defense to a blowout of Hawaii and a shockingly comfortable win over LSU. There's always a chance that Chip Kelly's Bruins spent their bye week reading the proverbial press clippings -- are clippings still a thing? -- and come out flat after their big win. If that's the case, or if their aggression is misplaced and takes some counterpunches, they could struggle for a while. But UCLA has shown just about as much raw upside as any team outside of Tuscaloosa or Athens, so let's ride that out until SP+'s faith actually proves misplaced. It says UCLA by 18.1, and that's good enough for me.
    Pick: UCLA -11.5


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    Free Heber! Heber Carl Jentzsch, 85, President of the Church of Scientology International, is believed to be held in a Scientology prison (RPF). He has not been seen since 2005.
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    Joe Gavazzi’s CFB & NFL
    POINTSPREAD PROGNOSIS
    2021 Week #3 Edition

    Saturday, Sept 18th

    Joe Gavazzi’s DOG of the DAY! (1-1)
    San Diego State (+9-) 7:00 PM ET
    We take advantage of a mid-week line movement when money flowed in on the Utes due to San Diego State QB Brookshire (foot) downgraded to questionable. But you or I could hand off the ball to Aztec RB Bell, who is averaging 7.5 YPR. Some may look for the “bounce” after the Utes were upset by BYU in the “Holy War” last week, 26-17. But the Utes are historically just 2-5 ATS following a clash with BYU. All that aside, this selection is based on the well proven premise of “HOME DOG WITH BETTER DEFENSE”, and in this case, running game as well. The Utes love to run the ball at 191/6.8. That won’t play vs. an Aztec run defense allowing just 49/2.2, along with a front 7 that has 9 sacks in 2 games. When San Diego State has the ball, they will rely on their own strong ground game averaging 260/5.4. It should do business all day long against a Utah front that just allowed 219/4.8 to BYU last weekend. Last week at Arizona, the Aztecs played to an “OVER” in a 38-14 winning final. That dropped their record to 22-5 ATS UNDER of late, a strong indicator of how well the Aztecs have controlled recent games with their defense and running game.

    Joe Gavazzi’s STEAMROLLER of the Week (1-1)
    Oklahoma (-22) Noon ET
    30 years ago, people would have trampled each other getting to the betting window to say “Gimme’ Nebraska +22” in this hard-fought, historical rivalry. That is no longer the case this week as these once BIG 12 rivals, who have not played each other since 2010, have gone in opposite directions. Those who believe Nebraska flashed a “buy sign” in the last two weeks with victories over Fordham and the declining Buffalo program, by combined scores of 80-10, are sadly mistaken. Clearly they have forgotten Nebraska’s opening night journey to Illinois, a 30-22 loss against an Illinois team who has since lost to UTSA and UVA. The truth is that Nebraska still has HUGE ISSUES. Let’s begin with a defense that will be totally exposed by Oklahoma QB Rattler (77% C, 6/2) in his first two games. And the Sooners DL will feast on the Huskers OL which gave up 5 sacks to Illinois. Sooners are vying for a Top 4 berth in the CFP standings. And if last week’s rout over Western Carolina by a score of 76-0 on this field (covered by 24) is any indication, there will be no mercy.

    Joe Gavazzi’s THE HUNTER GETS CAPTURED BY THE GAME (1-1)
    Kent State (+22) 3:30 PM ET
    Historians may point to Iowa’s 2-0 ATS record as Big Home Chalk in 2018 and 2019 against Northern Iowa and Mid Tenn the last two times they defeated Iowa State. And yes, there were look aheads in those games (to Wisconsin and Michigan) unlike the fact that lowly Colorado State is on the horizon next week for the Hawkeyes. But the numbers simply don’t add up for an Iowa team, off to a 2-0 SU, ATS start, and now 8-0 SU, 7-1 ATS on the trot, against an invader like Kent State. Let’s begin with their false feelings of grandeur after last week’s 27-17 victory over Iowa State. The Hawkeyes were outrushed and outpassed for a combined 339-173 Iowa State advantage YET WON THE GAME BECAUSE OF A +4 NET TO MARGIN! The visiting Golden Flashes feature one of the most prolific offenses in the nation. Yes, there may be concerns that they scored just 10 points against a similarly staunch defense as Iowa in their 41-10 loss to the Aggies opening week. They followed that last week with a confidence-building 60-10 wipeout of VMI (covered by 41, +4 Net TOs) in amassing 698 total yards. With the coaching of 4th year leader Lewis and an offensive attack led by QB Crum, the offense returns virtually intact from a unit that averaged 50/607 LY. Have confidence that Kent gets the cover with the back door swinging wide open as Iowa has been celebrating their victory over State for the entire week and now goes from the role of Hunter to Hunted.

    Joe Gavazzi’s FAUX or FO’ REAL Game of the Week (0-2)
    Fresno State (+11-) 10:45 PM ET
    UCLA has had two weeks to bask in their 2-0 SU, ATS press clippings, including their win on this field two weeks ago, 38-27 vs. LSU. That’s not quite as impressive as it might seem based on the fact that LSU could not bounce last week putting up just 306 yards as 39 point chalk vs. lowly McNeese. Meanwhile Hawaii, their 1st victim, was failing miserably at Oregon State being “200 Clubbed” by the Beavers for 558 yards, while being outrushed 256-88. Bottom line: not ready to believe the Bruins are FO’ REAL. Fresno is clearly another story. The Bulldogs enter at 2-1 SU, 3-0 ATS led by QB Haener (74% C, 4/0) and a solid defense that has allowed just 246 YPG. Granted, the combined 108-10 wipe outs of U. Conn and Cal Poly were simply stat builders. The real indicator came two weeks ago when they traveled to Oregon (you remember them, the team who just upset Ohio State as 14 point dog), outgained the Ducks 373-358, and lost by only 7, despite committing 3 turnovers. That game definitely makes them FO’ REAL.

    Joe Gavazzi’s THIS B. U. D. (BIG UGLY DOG) is for you! (0-2)
    Northern Illinois (+27) Noon ET
    After defeating a better MAC opponent than this (Western Michigan 47-14 in Wk #1), and beating up on Washington (31-10, 342-50 overland) who could only manage 7 points Wk #1 vs. Montana, this is a spot where Michigan could be looking dead ahead at their 9 game BIG 10 slate to follow. That would be a mistake against a Northern Illinois team who is a totally different animal from last season. After going 0-5 SU in 2020, the Huskies have parlayed the addition of Michigan State transfer QB Lombardi (this will be his Super Bowl), and the fact that 3rd year HC Hammock sacrificed last season by playing his younger players. That tandem of events has paid off handsomely in the opening weeks. A 22-21 upset (as +19) over Georgia Tech was followed, as predicted on these pages, by a flat 1st half against Wyoming who led them 42-16. This edition of the “never give up” Huskies then scored 27 straight points to finish with a “200 Club” offensive performance in outrushing and outpassing the Cowboys by 82 yards in overcoming 3 turnovers. Yet all the linemaker sees is the 2-0 SU, ATS start by Michigan. This B.U.D.s for you!

    Joe Gavazzi’s WTF (Wrong Team Favored) Game of the Week (1-1)
    Memphis (+3) 4:00 PM ET
    Bad situational spot for a Miss State team who, in their opener, trailed LA Tech by 20 in the 4th only to storm back for a 35-34 win as -23. The 24-10 win vs. NC State last week was far easier on the scoreboard than in reality as they were outgained 335-316 but profited from a +3 Net TO margin. Now thinking highly of themselves, they travel to play a highly-motivated regional rival, Memphis, but with one eye ahead to their next 3 games in which they face LSU, Texas A&M and Alabama. As a result, they are a classic WTF fade. After a 42-17 win vs. Nicholls, Memphis proved their offensive explosiveness to build an almost insurmountable lead vs. Arkansas State before surviving a 55-50 win (no cover) against the Red Wolves. The explosive Tigers rushed and passed for at least 263 yards in amassing 680 total yards. The loss of 4 year starter QB Brady White is a distant memory. Frosh QB Seth Henigan has beaten out AZ transfer QB Gunnell. He was spectacular in each of the first two games including 5 TDP vs. Arkansas State last week. Both the defense and offense figure to improve meaningfully under the direction of 2nd year HC Silverfield, who directed the team to an 8-3 SU mark last year.

    Joe Gavazzi’s PERCEPTION/REALITY Game of the Week (0-2)

    Florida International (+21) 7:00 PM ET
    Simply not impressed with TTRR under 3rd year HC Wells who has posted a pair of 4 win seasons. Last year, in the role of Big Chalk, they beat Houston Baptist by 2 and Kansas by 3. The showing to date has been anything but inspiring. In WK #1, they took advantage of a +3 Net TO margin to storm from behind and beat Houston by 17. Last week’s 28-22 win vs. SFA (as -32) saw them lose the stats 375-363. With the BIG 12 slate ahead, including Texas, WVU and TCU in the next 3 weeks, it will be hard to focus on this visitor. The real reason for this Perception/Reality play however is on a Florida Intl team who perhaps suffered more from the impact of COVID than any other team. With only 8 returning starters in 2020, they additionally had 45 players miss up to 55 days due to the virus. That winless record dropped their power rating tremendously setting up, what I believe to be, one of the “Hidden Gems” of the 2021 season. A confidence-building opening day win over Long Island, 48-10, gave them great promise when they entertained Texas State last week, a team who had won only 4 road games in the previous 6 years. My selection on Florida Intl was a highly disappointing Penthouse Picks loss. They led virtually the entire game, held a 400-336 yardage advantage, but suffered a -3 Net TO margin (there’s that statistic again), and lost 23-17 in overtime. With their reality much better than their perception, we gladly step in with these Cats as Big Dog against a Red Raider team who continues to underperform and will be clearly looking ahead.

    JOE GAVAZZI’S WEEKLY NFL SELECTIONS

    Sunday, Sept 12th

    Joe Gavazzi’s NFL LONE RANGER Game of the Week (1-0)
    Minnesota Vikings (+3-) 4:05 PM ET
    The Lone Ranger kicked off his NFL Season with the Saints stunning upset of Green Bay, 38-3. This selection is even more contrary making it every bit as strong. When Young Blood Sports gave out “Arizona (money line) +134”, I thought it was a ballsy call considering the Tennessee pedigree. Final score: Arizona 38-13 as 3 point pup. Off that huge road victory, everybody and their dog named hairy will be lining up on the Cards at home laying this miniscule number, and why not! Today they are being visited by a quickly eroding Minnesota Vikings team who was outrushed badly 149-67 by Cincinnati in the Vikings 24-27 road loss. Remember at mid-season last year, when our once favorite NFL money machine, Vikings HC Zimmer, stood 68-38 ATS? Well, his Vikings are now on a 0-8 ATS slide and his marks of 30-15 ATS/loss and 47-27 ATS non-div are quickly eroding. Why would anybody join you and I and the Lone Ranger in betting the Vikings today? They wouldn’t … unless they wanted to catch this winning contrary ticket.

    Joe Gavazzi’s NFL CRUSHER of the Week (0-1)
    Denver Broncos (-6) 1:00 PM ET
    Jags crumbled like burnt toast in the opener behind new HC Meyer and rookie QB Lawrence. Against a Houston team who is projected to win only 5 games (lowest in the NFL), the Jags were never in the game losing 37-21 and being outrushed 160-76. Denver HC Fangio extended his mark to 14-7 ATS vs. non-div foes when he proved his selection of QB Bridgewater, now 37-14 ATS, TRGS, to be the perfect complement to his top rated defense. The 14 point win at NYG came with an overland advantage of 165/5.9 to 60/3.0. Note that in NFL games where the line is 6 or less, the team who wins outright has a 90% chance to beat the spread (see “Keep on Trackin’”). Jags fall to 0-17 SU and the Broncos get the money.

    Joe Gavazzi’s NFL OVER/UNDER Game of the Week (0-1)
    OVER (55) LA Chargers 4:25 PM ET
    Total has moved from 51 to 55 on early money seeing the same thing as this bureau. Cowboys had a 58/18 pass/run ratio against Tampa Bay in putting up 29/451. LAC had a 47/29 ratio and put up 334 PY in their win at Washington. With quality passers QB Prescott (Dallas) and QB Herbert (LAC), why not another shoot out for each of these teams. Dallas DL miseries add fuel to this fire.
    Free Heber! Heber Carl Jentzsch, 85, President of the Church of Scientology International, is believed to be held in a Scientology prison (RPF). He has not been seen since 2005.
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    Free Heber! Heber Carl Jentzsch, 85, President of the Church of Scientology International, is believed to be held in a Scientology prison (RPF). He has not been seen since 2005.
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    Northcoast's Power Sweep September Five Star Game of the Month is on Boise State -3.5 over Oklahoma State at 9 PM EST.

    Power Sweep - /drive.google.com/file/d/147M4-oZxo1b6zpVmIdQJlTL_igynqqPb/view
    Free Heber! Heber Carl Jentzsch, 85, President of the Church of Scientology International, is believed to be held in a Scientology prison (RPF). He has not been seen since 2005.
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