Friday's Tip Sheet
October 31, 2018
By Brian Edwards
Editor's note: Brian Edwards went 3-0 in MACtion picks on Tuesday and Wednesday nights. Brian improved his Week 10 record to 4-0 by cashing with UCF last night. His guaranteed plays are on a 7-1 run (87.5%, +590!) since Oct. 13, so don't miss out on his next pay-if-it-wins-only selection!
**Pittsburgh at Virginia**
There’s a rare ACC showdown in Charlottesville on Friday night that will have conference-championship implications at 7:30 p.m. Eastern on ESPN2. As of Wednesday, most spots had Virginia (6-2 straight up, 7-1 against the spread) installed as a 7.5-point home favorite vs. Pitt with a total of 48. The Panthers were +245 on the money line (risk $100 to win $245).
UVA is 4-0 both SU and ATS at home this year. As a home favorite during Bronco Mendenhall’s three-year tenure, the Cavaliers have compiled a 5-3 spread record. Mendenhall has his team atop the ACC Coastal Division with a 4-1 record in league play. The Cavs own a one-half game lead over both Pitt and Virginia Tech, both of whom are 3-1 in ACC action.
UVA has won three straight games both SU and ATS, including last week’s 31-21 over UNC as a 7.5-point home ‘chalk.’ QB Bryce Perkins rushed for a team-best 112 yards and one TD on 21 carries, while junior RB Jordan Ellis ran 16 times for 64 yards.
Perkins completed 18-of-27 passes for 217 yards and three TDs with one interception. Olamide Zaccheaus brought down 10 catches for 108 yards, while Hasise Dubois had two receptions for 40 yards and one TD.
Perkins, the juco transfer who started his career at Arizona State, has completed 63.1 percent of his passes for 1,623 yards with a 15/8 touchdown-to-interception ratio. The dynamic signal caller has run for 575 rushing yards and six TDs. Ellis paces the Cavs in rushing yards (683) and has seven rushing scores and a 5.3 yards-per-carry average.
Zaccheaus has 56 receptions for 690 yards and six TDs, while Dubois has caught 32 balls for 360 yards and three TDs.
Mendenhall’s team took its defeats at Indiana (20-16) in Week 2 and at N.C. State (35-21) on Sept. 29.
Pittsburgh (4-4 SU, 4-4 ATS) is winless in three road assignments with a 1-2 spread record. Pat Narduzzi’s club has covered the spread in three consecutive contests, winning outright in two of those and taking the cash when it lost 19-14 at Notre Dame as a 21-point underdog.
Pitt is off a 54-45 win over Duke this past Saturday as a three-point home underdog. The Panthers trailed by a double-digit margin four separate times to the Blue Devils, but they pulled even at 42-42 with 2:33 left on a 48-yard field goal from Alex Kessman. Then with five ticks remaining, QB Kenny Pickett found Maurice Ffrench for a 25-yard game-winning scoring strike.
Pickett had a pair of TD passes without an interception, in addition to rushing for 76 yards and one TD on seven attempts. Senior RB Qadree Ollison ran for 149 yards and one TD on 18 carries, while V’Lique Carter rushed for 137 yards and two TDs on seven totes.
Pickett has completed 60.6 percent of his passes for 1,156 yards with an 8/5 TD-INT ratio. He’s run for 152 yards and three TDs. Allison has rushed for a team-high 795 yards and seven TDs with a 6.3 YPC average. Darrin Hall has run for 429 yards and four TDs while averaging 6.1 YPC.
Ffrench has 19 receptions for 294 yards and four TDs.
When these teams collided last year at Heinz Field, Pitt beat UVA for the third straight time. The Panthers won a 31-14 decision as one-point home favorites, while the 45 combined points dropped ‘under’ the 49-point tally.
Totals have been an overall wash (4-4) for the Cavs, with the ‘over’ going 2-2 in their four home contests. They’ve seen their games average combined scores of 47.0 PPG.
Totals have been an overall wash (4-4) for the Panthers, who have seen the ‘under’ go 2-1 in their road assignments. They’ve seen their games average combined scores of 60.6 PPG.
ESPN2 will have Friday night’s broadcast at 7:30 p.m. Eastern.
**Colorado at Arizona**
As of Wednesday, most books had Arizona (4-5 SU, 5-4 ATS) installed as a three-point home favorite with a total of 57.5 or 58. The Buffaloes were +140 on the money line (risk $100 to win $140).
Kevin Sumlin’s team improved to 3-3 in Pac-12 play and picked up its best win of the season by blasting Oregon 44-15 as a seven-point home underdog this past Saturday night. Sophomore running back J.J. Taylor erupted for 212 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 30 carries. Junior QB Khalil Tate, who had missed most of the past two games injured, returned to the starting lineup and completed 19-of-33 passes for 189 yards and three TDs with one interception.
WR Shun Brown had 10 receptions for 96 yards, while Shawn Poindexter had two catches for 30 yards and a pair of TDs. Josh Pollack buried three field goals from 32, 34 and 23 yards out.
UA dominated from start to finish, enjoying a 465-270 advantage in total offense and a 27-18 edge in first downs. The Wildcats are now on a 5-2 ATS run after starting the season with back-to-back defeats vs. BYU (28-23) and at Houston (45-18). Two of its three losses since then have come by five combined points, falling 31-30 at UCLA and 24-20 at home vs. USC. The only bad loss besides the one at Houston was a 42-10 loss at Utah when Tate was injured early in the first quarter and didn’t return.
Tate exploded on the scene last season with his legs, rushing for 1,411 yards and 12 TDs while averaging 9.2 yards per carry. He was considered by many to be a legit Heisman Trophy candidate coming into the 2018 campaign. Tate has improved throwing the ball, but his production on the ground has basically been non-existent.
Tate has completed 54.0 percent of his throws for 1,604 yards with a 14/5 touchdown-to-interception ratio. He has 53 rushing attempts for 139 yards and two TDs with a meager 2.6 YPC average.
Taylor is second in the Pac-12 in rushing yards with 1,034. He has six rushing scores and averages 6.2 YPC. Poindexter has 32 receptions for 582 yards six TDs, while Brown has 46 catches for 485 yards and four TDs.
Colorado (5-3 SU, 5-3 ATS) raced out to a 5-0 start with wins over Colorado St. (45-13 in Denver), at Nebraska (33-28), vs. New Hampshire (45-14), vs. UCLA (38-16) and vs. Arizona State (28-21). Since then, however, Mike MacIntyre’s club has lost three games in a row, including a stunning 41-34 overtime loss to Oregon State as a 24.5-point home ‘chalk.’
We should point out, however, that the Buffaloes have been without star Laviska Shenault. The sophomore WR was playing like a first-team All-American until being sidelined with turf toe that caused him to miss the losses at UW and vs. OSU. Shenault remains ‘questionable’ for Friday’s game in Tucson. Before the injury, he had 60 receptions for 780 yards and six TDs, in addition to rushing for 87 yards and five TDs on 15 attempts.
In last week’s improbable setback, Colorado led 24-3 at halftime and then extended its advantage to 31-3 on Travon McMillian’s 75-yard run to start the third quarter. The Beavers responded with 25 unanswered points to trim the deficit to 31-28 with 7:13 remaining. CU got a 34-yard FG from Evan Price to extend the lead to 34-28.
But with 29 seconds left, OSU’s Jake Luton found Trevon Bradford for a 10-yard scoring strike. However, the Beavers missed the PAT to force OT. Oregon State got the ball first in the extra session and scored on Jack Colletto’s one-yard TD run, and it got a stop to preserve the shocking victory.
Colorado junior QB Steven Montez connected on 24-of-39 passes for 319 yards and two TDs without an interception. He also rushed nine times for 66 yards, while McMillian finished with 132 rushing yards and one TD on 20 attempts. K.D. Nixon had 13 receptions for 198 yards and two TDs.
Montez has connected on 68.2 percent of his throws for 2,053 yards with a 14/4 TD-INT ratio. He is second on the Buffaloes in rushing yards with 226 and four TDs. WR K.D. Nixon has 46 catches for 560 yards and three TDs. McMillian, a grad transfer from Virginia Tech, has run for 778 yards and five TDs while averaging 5.3 YPC.
CU has lost two of its three road games outright, but it has produced a 2-1 spread record. As a road underdog since MacIntyre took over in 2013, Colorado is 13-12 ATS.
Arizona is 1-1 both SU and ATS as a home favorite this season. The Wildcats are 3-2 both SU and ATS in five home games, but they’ve been home underdogs in their last three outings at Arizona Stadium.
The road team is 6-0 ATS in the past six head-to-head encounters. The ‘over’ is on a 3-0 run to improve to 6-1 in the past seven meetings of this rivalry.
When these squads squared off in Boulder last season, Arizona captured a 45-42 win as a seven-point road underdog. Tate was nothing short of sensational, rushing for 327 yards and four TDs on merely 14 carries. He completed 12-of-13 passes for 154 yards and one TD without an interception.
In the losing effort, Montez threw for 251 yards and three TDs without an interception.
The ‘under’ is 7-2 overall for the Wildcats, 4-1 in their home games. They’ve seen their games average combined scores of 57.0 points per game.
The ‘under’ is 6-2 overall for the Buffaloes, 4-0 in their road assignments. They’ve seen their games average combined scores of 55.9 PPG.
Kickoff is scheduled for 10:30 p.m. Eastern on Fox Sports 1.
**B.E.’s Bonus Nuggets**
-- One day after reinstating D.J. Durkin as its head football coach, Maryland pulled a U-turn and decided to fire Durkin on Wednesday. The change of course started with major criticism from the media and multiple players walking out of a team meeting with Durkin on Tuesday, but the real tide turner came from Maryland Governor Larry Hogan. He released a statement Wednesday afternoon ripping the Board of Regents. Durkin and the BOR won a power struggle with the school president, who wanted Durkin out to begin with. OC Matt Canada will remain the interim head coach for the Terrapins, who host Michigan State this weekend.
-- Oregon QB Justin Herbert practiced Wednesday and was upgraded to ‘probable' for Saturday’s home game vs. UCLA. Herbert will continue to be monitored after sustaining a concussion in last week’s 44-15 loss at Arizona. Herbert has 2,069 passing yards and a 20/6 TD-INT ratio. His favorite target Dillon Mitchell remains in concussion protocol and is ‘questionable’ against the Bruins. Mitchell has 48 receptions for 677 yards and four TDs. The Ducks were 10-point home favorites, as of Wednesday night.
-- Washington star RB Myles Gaskin has missed back-to-back games due to a shoulder injury. The all-time leader in career rushing yards for the Huskies remains ‘questionable’ vs. Stanford, which has plenty of injuries as well. Two preseason All-Americans – RB Bryce Love and OG Nate Herbig – are ‘questionable’ for the Cardinal at UW.
-- After missing an extra point five minutes before to leave Buffalo leading only 48-42 as a seven-point home favorite in the fourth quarter of Tuesday’s MACtion showdown vs. Miami (OH), senior kicker Adam Mitcheson broke the school record for career field goals by burying his 45th with 3:54 remaining in a 51-42 victory for the Bulls. QB Tyree Jackson threw for 358 yards and three TDs without an interception, while Anthony Johnson hauled in eight receptions for 238 yards and three TDs.
Follow Brian Edwards' sports gambling opinions on Twitter at @vegasbedwards.
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