Friday's Tip Sheet
November 23, 2017
By Brian Edwards
Editor's Note: Brian Edwards owns a 53-38 record (58.2%, +11.51 units) in college football this season. He has picks up for Friday's slate and don't miss out on any of his pay-if-they-win-only selections for Week 13, or just go ahead and get signed up for his bowl package!
**Missouri at Arkansas**
-- Missouri (6-5 straight up, 7-4 against the spread) is absolutely on fire. Barry Odom’s team took a 1-3 SU record and a 0-4 ATS mark into its open date following a 51-14 home loss to Auburn. Since then, however, the Tigers have covered the number in seven straight games. They covered as underdogs in losses at Kentucky (40-34) and at Georgia (53-28), and then proceeded to win five in a row by margins of 47, 40, 29, 33 and 28 points. During this seven-game ATS surge, junior quarterback Drew Lock has an amazing 28/4 touchdown-to-interception ratio.
-- Missouri bolted out to a 35-0 halftime lead at Vanderbilt last week, essentially placing a pad lock on covering as a 7.5-point road favorite in the game’s first 30 minutes. Odom’s team would prevail by a 45-17 count, with the 62 combined points dropping ‘under’ the closing 64.5-point total. This was a heartbreaker for those like me that were on the ‘over.’ That’s because the Commodores came up empty on a drive covering 78 yards late in the fourth quarter. On first and goal from the Missouri five-yard line, Kyle Shurmur threw an incomplete pass. Then he was sacked on second and goal for a three-yard loss, but an unsportsmanlike conduct call on the Tigers gave Vandy another first and goal at the four. The next play was a three-yard loss, but Missouri was offsides to create a third first-and-goal play from the 2-yard line. This time around, Shurmur was intercepted, but Terry Beckner Jr. appeared to be in the clear for a pick-six. With just one man to beat near midfield, a shoestring tackle was made to stop Beckner 47 yards short of a pick-six TD that would’ve cashed tickets for ‘over’ supporters. OUCH!
-- Lock completed 10-of-25 throws at Vandy for 235 yards and three TDs without an interception. Ish Witter rushed 16 times for 102 yards, while redshirt freshman TE Albert Okwuegbunam had five receptions for 116 yards and two TDs. Richaud Floyd had a 30-yard TD catch and also scored on a 74-yard punt return.
-- For the season, Lock has connected on 58.0 percent of his passes for 3,247 yards with a 38/10 TD-INT ratio. Witter has run for 822 yards and four TDs, averaging 6.2 yards per carry. True freshman RB Larry Rountree has rushed for 577 yards and six scores while averaging 5.9 YPC. Damarea Crockett had rushed for 481 yards and two TDs with a 6.9 YPC average, but he injured his shoulder at UGA and will miss a sixth consecutive game at Arkansas.
-- J’Mon Moore is Lock’s favorite target, hauling in 50 receptions for 857 yards and nine TDs. Emanuel Hall has 31 catches for 706 yards and six TDs, while Johnathon Johnson has 37 grabs for 615 yards and five TDs. Okwuegbunam has 20 receptions for 309 yards and nine TDs. Floyd is incredible on special teams, averaging 19.8 yards per punt return with two TDs. He also has 14 catches for 170 yards and two TDs.
-- Missouri is ranked 11th in the nation in total offense, 16th in passing yards and 14th in scoring with a 38.5 points-per-game average.
-- As of early Thursday, most books had Missouri installed as a 9 or 9.5-point favorite with a total of 70. The Razorbacks were +290 on the money line (risk $100 to win $290).
-- Missouri has compiled a 4-0 spread record with a pair of outright wins on the road this year. The Tigers are 2-0 ATS as road ‘chalk’ since Odom took over at the start of the 2016 campaign. Both of those covers as road favorites came this season.
-- Arkansas (4-7 SU, 3-7-1 ATS) is 2-3 SU and 1-3-1 ATS at home. The Razorbacks covered the spread in last week’s 28-21 home loss to Mississippi State as 14-point home underdogs. Austin Allen was playing in his second game since returning from a shoulder injury that caused him to miss four consecutive contests. Allen completed just 12-of-18 passes for 124 yards, and the offense generated just 221 yards. Nevertheless, Arkansas never trailed until 17 seconds were left and the Bulldogs scored the game-winning TD on a six-yard pass from Nick Fitzgerald to Deddrick Thomas.
-- Arkansas is 1-6 in SEC play, picking up its only win at Ole Miss when it rallied from a 24-point deficit to win 37-35 on a last-second field goal. The Razorbacks have gone 2-2 in four one-possession games. They’re 7-7 ATS in 14 spots as home underdogs during Bret Bielema’s five-year tenure
-- Arkansas is 29-33 on Bielema’s watch, limping to an 11-28 record in SEC games. This is why Bielema’s tenure is guaranteed to come to an end at some point on Sunday or Monday at the latest. Multiple reports indicate that the Razorbacks’ top target to hire as their next head coach is former offensive coordinator and current Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn. This potential hire undoubtedly hinges on the result of Saturday’s Iron Bowl. Malzahn won’t be leaving The Plains if his team wins the SEC West. Arkansas would be wise to make Washington State’s Mike Leach its next target, but it would probably need Washington to win the Apple Cup for that notion to become remotely possible. Perhaps West Virginia’s Dana Holgorsen would be interested? If not, Mike Norvell at Memphis is certainly someone who would accept an offer.
-- The ‘over’ is 6-5 overall for the Tigers, 2-2 in their four road assignments. They’ve seen their games average combined scores of 69.1 points per game. However, the ‘under’ has cashed in three of their last four games.
-- The ‘over’ is 6-5 overall for the Hogs, 3-3 in their home contests. They’ve seen their games average combined scores of 62.4 PPG. This is the highest Arkansas total has seen this season by eight points. It has had three totals in the 60s (62, 61 & 60.5), watching the ‘over’ go 2-1 in those three outings.
-- These schools have met five times since 2003, with the ‘under’ cashing in each encounter. In the three meetings between these schools since Missouri joined the SEC, the home team has prevailed every time. The Tigers rallied in the second half in 2014 to win a 21-14 decision as two-point home underdogs. In ’15 at Arkansas, the Razorbacks won 28-3 and also took the cash as 15-point home ‘chalk.’ Then last season back in Columbia, Missouri won 28-24 as a 7.5-point home underdog. The Tigers trailed 24-7 at intermission, only to outscore the Hogs 21-0 in the second half. Arkansas enjoyed a 503-399 advantage in total offense, but Allen threw a pair of costly second-half interceptions. He completed 24-of-39 throws for 349 yards and one TD. Lock connected on 16-of-26 passes for 268 yards and one TD without a pick. Moore had six catches for 135 yards. This defeat, coupled with Arkansas blowing a 24-0 halftime lead over Virginia Tech at last year’s Belk Bowl to lose 35-24, is what started Bielema’s demise in the Ozarks.
-- Kickoff is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. Eastern on CBS.
**South Florida at Central Florida**
-- This game will decide the winner of the AAC’s East Division and determine a challenger for Memphis is next week’s AAC Championship Game. As of early Thursday, most books had UCF (10-0 SU, 6-3-1 ATS) installed as a 10-point favorite with a total of 63. The Bulls were +300 to win outright (risk $100 to win $300).
-- Both teams have had to listen to rumors of their respective coaches being linked to other jobs over the last two weeks. UCF’s second-year head coach Scott Frost is a Nebraska alum and his parents live in Lincoln. He is believed to be the Cornhuskers’ top choice to replace Mike Riley, who is going to be fired before the end of the weekend. Frost is also thought to be on Florida’s radar, as is USF’s Charlie Strong, who spent most of his years as an assistant coach at UF before scoring his first head-coaching gig at Louisville. Strong was the defensive coordinator for the Gators when they won two of their three national titles. Strong may also draw interest from Ole Miss in its coaching search.
-- When Frost took over in Orlando, UCF was coming off a dreadful 0-12 campaign. In his first year at the helm, Frost led the Knights to an 8-5 record and a bowl bid. And now in Year 2, he has a 19-5 overall record and is on the cusp of winning the division and perhaps a conference championship.
-- UCF is unbeaten in five home games with a 3-2 spread record. The Knights have won their home outings by margins of 44, 27, 42, 40 and 25 points. The only non-covers came when they were laying enormous numbers of 43.5 and 39.
-- UCF has become overpriced over the last month and change. This is evidenced by the Knights’ 1-3-1 spread record in their last five outings. This 10-point spread vs. USF is the lowest line for UCF since it won 31-21 at Navy on Oct. 21.
-- UCF is led by true sophomore QB McKenzie Milton, who has completed 69.6 percent of his passes for 2,928 yards with a 26/5 TD-INT ratio. Milton can make plays with his legs, too. He has rushed for 373 yards and five TDs while averaging 5.3 YPC. Sophomore RB Adrian Killins Jr. has rushed for a team-high 629 yards and eight TDs, averaging 7.5 YPC. The Knight have four other RBs who have run for at least 144 yards. Taj McGowan has eight rushing scores.
-- Milton’s favorite target is Tre’Quan Smith, who has 44 receptions for 850 yards and 11 TDs. Dredrick Snelson has 29 catches for 430 yards and three TDs.
--UCF won its 11 straight game last week when it went to Philadelphia and captured a 45-19 victory at Temple as a 13.5-point road favorite. The 64 combined points went ‘over’ the 59.5-point to hit for a second straight time for the Knights, who have seen the ‘over’ go 5-2 in their last seven contests. After falling behind 10-7 early in the second quarter, UCF went on a 38-3 run and coasted into the win column both SU and ATS. Milton threw for 208 yards and four TDs without an interception. True freshman RB Otis Anderson rushed for a team-best 58 yards on only five attempts, while Milton also scored on a four-yard TD run. Senior LB Shaqueem Griffin had one of UCF’s four interceptions.
-- UCF’s most impressive scalps include a 40-13 home win over Memphis, a 38-10 win at Maryland, a 31-21 triumph at Navy and a 31-24 victory at SMU.
-- Griffin is the leader for the Knights on defense. A first-team All-AAC selection last year, he has recorded 47 tackles, three sacks, 4.5 tackles for loss, six QB hurries, two forced fumbles, one pass broken up, one interception and one fumble recovery that he returned 20 yards for a TD.
-- UCF is ranked fifth in the nation in total offense and first in scoring, averaging an FBS-high 48.2 PPG. The Knights are 11th in the country in passing yards and 32nd in rushing yards. They’re ranked 27th in the nation in scoring defense (20.5 PPG).
-- USF (9-1 SU, 4-6 ATS) has won all four of its road assignments, but it has managed only a 1-3 spread record. With that said, we should note that this is the Bulls’ first game as underdogs since facing FSU in Week 4 of the ’16 campaign. Not only has USF been favored in each game this season, but it has been a double-digit ‘chalk’ in all 10 games of this year and the last three of ’16.
-- Charlie Strong’s team played a cupcake schedule, which certainly isn’t a reflection upon him. He arrived to replace Willie Taggart, who went to Oregon after leading the Bulls to an 11-win season in ’16. Strong was relieved of his duties at Texas after three disappointing years. He didn’t make this year’s USF schedule. Nevertheless, USF won its first six games by margins of at least 14 points. The Bulls are mired in a 0-4 ATS slump, however.
-- USF took its first loss of the season at home against Houston on October 28. The Cougars came to Tampa and beat the Bulls, 28-24, as 10-point road underdogs. Strong’s bunch either led or was tied for the first 59 minutes 49 seconds, but Houston scored the game-winning TD on a D’Eriq King 20-yard TD run with 11 seconds remaining. Quinton Flowers threw for 325 yards and had a pair of TD runs in the losing effort. Marquez Valdes-Scantling had 10 receptions for 186 yards.
-- Flowers hasn’t been able to match his numbers from ’16 when he ran for 1,530 yards and 18 TDs with a 7.7 YPC average. He also threw for 2,812 yards with a 24/7 TD-INT ratio. This year as a senior, Flowers has completed 53.5 percent of his passes (down from 62.5%) for 2,097 yards with a 17/5 TD-INT ratio. He has run for 870 yards and nine TDs with a 5.4 YPC average. Darius Tice has rushed for 860 yards and 10 TDs while averaging 5.6 YPC. D’Ernest Johnson has run for 715 yards and seven TDs, with a 4.3 YPC average.
-- Valdes-Scantling has a team-best 48 receptions for 737 yards and five TDs. Tyre McCants has 21 catches for 371 yards and four TDs.
-- Since 2007, the Bulls have compiled a 19-9 spread record in 28 games as a road underdog. However, this is their first such spot since winning 22-17 at East Carolina as four-point ‘dogs late in the ’15 campaign.
-- The ‘over’ is 6-4 overall for the Knights, 4-1 in their home games. They’ve seen their games average combined scores of 68.7 PPG.
-- The ‘under’ is 7-3 overall for USF, 2-2 in its road assignments. The Bulls have seen their games average combined scores of 57.8 PPG.
-- ABC will have the telecast at 3:30 p.m. Eastern.
**B.E’s Bonus Nuggets**
-- Chip Kelly isn’t signing a contract with any school until at least Sunday because if he gets a new job before that team’s 2017 season is done, he won’t get a guaranteed $5 million payment from the San Francisco 49ers.
-- I’m not implying Jimbo Fisher will jump from FSU to Texas A&M or Auburn (if this job opens, which would potentially happen if Auburn loses the Iron Bowl and Gus Malzahn bolts for Arkansas. Then again, this Malzahn-to-the-Ozarks rumor, especially the part about him having input on the new AD, is probably just Jimmie Sexton’s nonsense noise to his media minions for the purpose of getting Malzahn an extension and more cash from AU.) But if he does, the buyout payment to FSU from Fisher or the school that hires him is only $8 million. You may have seen reports/tweets, etc. about Fisher’s buyout being north of $35 million, but that number only pertains to what the Seminoles would have to pay Fisher if they wanted to fire him before his contract is over.
-- Washington State owns a 14-5 spread record in its last 19 games as a road underdog. The Cougars were +9.5 as of Thursday for their Saturday game at Washington for the Apple Cup. A Washington State win puts it in the Pac-12 Championship Game, while a UW victory means Stanford would face USC to determine the league champ.
-- Stanford has been a home underdog just three times during David Shaw’s seven-year tenure, winning outright in each instance, including a 30-22 win over Washington two weeks ago. In fact, if we go back to the 2007 regular-season finale, Stanford has compiled an 8-0 spread record with seven outright victories in eight games as a home ‘dog.
Follow Brian Edwards' sports gambling opinions on Twitter at @vegasbedwards.
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5-0 Fridays, 9-3 Picks, 6-2 G-Plays
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