Last week’s plays on Nebraska and Arizona split ATS, making this feature’s picks 5-1 ATS on the year. I was unable to get my third straight sweep of the board as Arizona stumbled late, but I am ready and prepared to get back to perfection with these two games on Saturday’s card:
Game #1: Cincinnati (-9) vs. Temple (+9); Total set at 53.5
This Big East game features a 6-2 SU Cincinnati team looking to solve their road woes against a 3-5 SU Temple team. Cincinnati is 0-2 SU on the road this year as back-to-back losses to Toledo and Louisville were strung together before last week’s home win vs. Syracuse. The Bearcats appear to be quite a different team away from home as turnovers and poor special teams play have plagued them in those two losses. If that happens again this week, the Temple Owls will no doubt look to take advantage and bleed the clock with their running attack.
However, there are two bigger things we can’t ignore in this game. One, this line opened with Cincinnati laying double-digits and despite getting the majority of the action (80% - plus) the line has crossed through that key number of 10 the other way. A move like that simply can’t be ignored. Second, Cincinnati has a huge game vs. Rutgers next week and could be looking past this Temple team that has lost three straight by at least 25 points and struggling to remain competitive. The Owls should show up in this one though, making the line move one I’ve got to side with.
Take Temple +9
Game #2: Texas A&M (+13.5) vs. Alabama (-13.5); Total set at 57
This is the marquee game of the weekend as #1 Alabama will be tested once again by a good SEC foe. The Crimson Tide are coming off that narrow escape from the Bayou vs. LSU last weekend and are now back at home to host “Johnny Football” and Texas A&M.
The Aggies sit in 2nd in the SEC West behind Alabama, but a loss here would knock them behind LSU and likely Mississippi State. Given the spread, chances are the Aggies lose, but that is not where my attention is.
This is the second highest total for an Alabama game all season and the lone game that was set higher was vs. Florida Atlantic when the Tide were laying 47.5 points. The total in that game was 58 and did manage to stay under. But LSU did show the nation a few weaknesses in Alabama’s defense last week and the Aggies offense if light years ahead of LSU’s. QB Johnny Manziel has made plays for the Aggies all season and is ho-hum demeanor means he won’t be overwhelmed by the moment. He has learned from past struggles against quality defenses (Florida, LSU) and will be able to score on the Tide. ‘Bama, will enjoy playing a weaker defense this week after seeing LSU’s smash-mouth core last week and should have no problem putting up points themselves.
Bettors are seeing this as a very high total for an Alabama game and not surprisingly are flocking to the over. I think it’s better to go the other way though as this number is this high for a reason and it’s just not the Aggies style to play a 20-17 type game.
Take the over.