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SabertStxVii Week 7 College Football Picks

SabertStxVii Week 7 College Football Picks

Once again, another solid week last week going 7-2 +9* units. A few things I was unhappy about, and a few things that didn’t go my way, but cannot complain. Below are my Week 7 College Football Picks.

Last week I finally had some games not go my way. What held me back from a perfect week was Air Force turning the ball over more last week than they had all season and Maryland chunking some extra points. It happens – things like this are nearly impossible to cap.

Week 1: 5-3 +4.5u , Week 2: 6-2 +10 u, Week 3: 3-3, -.5u

Week 4: 5-2, +6.5u, Week 5: 4-2, +5.5u, Week 6: 7-2, +9u

Overall: 30-14 + 35* Units

68%, +5.8 units/wk

This week is definitely going to be different for me. I got on a few games early, that I no longer see much value in for those following, so I will not be making those official plays. Beyond that, this is a weird week. There are quite a few teams that are all falling into the same scenario, which is always a warning sign to me that the books are possibly in for a big weekend.

There are atleast 5 teams that have a better record, and without the names on the uniforms, should win straight up. They are playing against a team that has underachieved so far this year, but could be poised for a big game. For my style of capping, this scenario is extremely hard because it is tough for me to get an edge of motivation.

This is the turning point of the season, so we will start to see what materializes for the rest of the year for certain teams. This will be a smaller week, but also a good chance to learn. I will post plays, but also games I am leaning, but what held me back from making it an official play. Key to keeping a good record and winning games is not forcing.

3.5* Units, Ole Miss – 5.5 vs. Auburn

2* Units, Tennessee +3 vs Miss St

1* Units, SC +3 vs LSU

2* Units, A&M -7.5 vs La Tech

1* Unit, Rutgers -7.5 vs Cuse

 2* Units, Florida -8.5 vs Vandy

 1* Unit, ASU – 22 vs Colorado #WINNING

3* Units, Ole Miss – 5.5 vs. Auburn

Finally, everyone is seeing what we have seen in Ole Miss all season. It is a new team, they are actually pretty good too. Freeze has done an amazing job, but it doesn’t stop quite yet.

The boys know this is a MUST win game for them. I’ve been saying it all season, and their goal is to make a bowl. They almost stole a game last weekend, and frankly should have won.

This is a powerful, quick offense that Auburn will struggle with. They have not seen an offense that will move this fast, and I think these Auburn boys have written it in. On offense, Auburn is struggling with a QB controversy of sorts, as well as injuries. The game plan is pretty easy against Auburn: load the box, stop McCalebb and get after Frazier to rattle him. Ole Miss D is super aggressive. This game could get out of hand.

The Ole Miss family does not easily forget the 2010 throttling they took from Cammy Cam and the National Champs. Ole Miss and the coaches realize this is a MUST win game, and not just win, but must show up game. They are going for a bowl and they are finally looking to get that first SEC win. The coaches will not let this one get away from them. Giving under 6 now, which is a key number, so play got bumped up a bit.

This one could get out of hand.

Final Score

Ole Miss 41, Auburn 17

2* Units, Tennessee +3 vs Miss St

This is a big game for Tennessee. Really could swing their season I think. Dooley knows he is on the hot seat and needs a statement win here. The team is coming off the bye week, which gave them time to stew from the tough loss at Georgia. They started out the year hot and have since come down to earth.

On the other end of the spectrum, Miss St. has beat up on some weak teamd and is sitting at undefeated. As weak as the Tennessee defense is, this will be the best/most talented defense Miss St. has seen. I expect them come out a bit flat here and be surprised. Miss St. has done what they need to do to win games, but have not blown out any team they’ve played really, including Troy and South Alabama.

The Tennessee offense is powerful.  They will be able to keep them in this game, and I think win it for them. The Tennessee WR create a matchup problem for everyone.  The Vols are better in some key stats that correlate with wins/points as well (Yards/Pass Atmt., 3rd Down Conv, Pass Yards, Compl. %, Red Zone O%).

I think Tenn needs this game more and comes out firing.

Final Score

Tennessee 34, Miss St. 31

1* Unit, SC +3 vs LSU

I know this seems to be a really public play but I think the book is in a bind here. If you favor SC, the public loads up on LSU as a home dog. They know the public is over SC after seeing LSU lose last weekend and SC dominate.

I like SC enough here to make it a play, but there are reasons why the play isn’t bigger, which I will go into. I think they win here because their defense is very solid and their offense can get it done with a few more playmakers they have. Ace Sanders, Lattimore and Shaw should be able to pick up 3rd downs and get scores here. LSU has to continue to grind the RBs and try to pass.

Play is small because Miles doesn’t lose 2 in a row. SC tends to booch themselves out of wins in the past, and playing at night in Death Valley is never easy.

Final Score

SC 20, LSU 16

2* Units, A&M -7.5 vs La Tech

Whenever I turn against a team that I’ve been riding, its always a sad, emotional departure. La Tech and I had a great relationship and I’ve rode them since middle of the year last year, as many of you probably know. This spot is interesting.

At the beginning of the year, with A&M’s initial trip to La Tech being squandered by the hurricane, I was on La Tech. I knew how much they were returning, and I had no idea Manziel would be willing this team to victories.

La Tech is out matched here. Yes they are home and yes this is a big game for them, but if you have been watching them this year, luck has been on their side. They have been gifted a lot of short fields. Their offense is powerful, and can score, but this is one of the first teams that they are playing that can score with them, if not better.

Ole Miss runs a fast style offense, similar to La Tech. If A&M didn’t turn the ball over a million times, they would have won more handily. The La Tech defense is aggressive and goes for a lot of turnovers but they are not good by any means.

Schedule difficulty is too much for me to look past here. A&M leads in a lot of key statistical categories for me too. The books caught on to La Tech, and I think this week when all of the public sees them undefeated and ranked, they lose. There is a chance that A&M is in rough shape from last week thinking about LSU at home next week, but if I was the coach, I would warm my players that LA Tech is no joke after they knocked off some BCS teams.

Final Score

A&M 48, La Tech 34

 2* Units, Florida -8.5 vs Vandy
Good teams and good coaches don’t crumble in let down spots. I believe both of these are true for Florida. It took me 6 weeks to put my finger on this Florida team, and I finally figured it out. It is the 2011 LSU team. Unreal, athletic defense. Mobile QB that can get it done if need be (LSU actually couldn’t really do that), a good RB and a coach that can coach this team to wins.

Like I’ve said since the pre-season, this is the best defense in the SEC. This Florida team has played 20, 8 and 41st scoring offense in the country and held them to 20, 17, and 6 respectively. They have a talent advantage in every single position match-up Vandy doesn’t score more than 17 here.

People’s doubts with Florida is their offense. Driskel is getting better game by game. He is a first year starter and has helped (with Gillislee and the D) take down 4 SEC teams already this season. He is mobile which opens up the passing lanes. If you watched the Vandy vs Mizzou game, Vandy loses that game if Franklin doesn’t get hurt. Mizzou was easily driving the field on them. I see Driskel being able to do that here with his arm and legs.

Finally, I was skeptical about Muschamp. He has coached this team to wins. Florida is the best adjusters coming out of halftime so far this season from any team I’ve seen. He knew he had LSU locked up and finished the game with 21 straight runs. Who does that? When it comes down to it, Florida has better talent, better coach, and is in the drivers seat to be the SEC East Champs. They win this one.

Final Score

Florida 27, Vandy 13

1* Unit, Rutgers -7.5 vs Cuse

This is a far superior team than Syracuse. Cuse, got some hype because they had a high scoring shootout vs Northwestern and hung in there with USC. They then only put up 28 on Stony Brook, 10 on a weak Minny defense, and 14 on Pitt, at home. Now they travel to face a ranked Rutgers team.

That Rutgers team is ranked 15th in total defense by yards, and 5th if by score. Granted, Rutgers wins have come against less than stellar offensive teams, with the best being Arky – not good. But, they do have a very athletic, talented defense. I’m not expecting Cuse to do much here, the one thing I worry about when I play Rutgers is their offense scoring. They had a tough matchup last week against UConn, but I think they get it together here and Nova utilizing the WR and the running game gets going. Don’t see them struggling on O.

Home team, ranked team, better coached, more talent, better defense. The O needs to step up soon for Rutgers.

Final Score

Rutgers 27, Syracuse 13

1* Unit, ASU – 22 vs Colorado

Like AZ St and even the under in this game.  Both teams coming off a bye here.

ASU should get offense production, especially against this Colorado D.

What I really like though, is this aggressive ASU front 7 vs Colorado’s offense. ASU is 3rd in sacks and 2nd in tackles for loss. Colorado allows almost the most sacks and TFL of any team in the country. They should get smothered here.

The argument against ASU are that they are on the road and they have a look ahead to Oregon. Trust me, 18-22 year old kids getting to play on ESPN, they will not be unmotivated for this game.

Don’t see Colorado doing anything here.

Final Score

ASU 41, Colorado 10


For analysis, commentary, plays and randomness, follow @mtsabert on twitter.

16 Responses to “SabertStxVii Week 7 College Football Picks”

  1. Lonnie says:

    Saber, excellent so far. Great work. At what number would you play Miss up to? I also got Alabama when it came out at -18 and Florida at -7.

    Thoughts on SMU @ Tulane?


    • SabertStxVii SabertStxVii says:


      Thanks – am on a good run this year, important to stay patient and continue to pick the spots. I see value in playing Ole Miss up to 7. If its at 6 or 6.5 I think I’ll be hovering around 1.5/2 units (I may upgrade the play down the road I’m guessing). If it gets to 7, I play it for 1 unit. If the Rebs win, I see it at about a 35% chance they win by more than 7. If it dips below 6 again, I will definitely add to the play for my post. Keep in mind, I got this at 2.5, so what I am posting is just where I see value from here on out.

      Great snag on Bama and Florida at 18 and 7. I got Bama at 17.5 and Florida at 8.5 I believe. I got Bama for 2.5 units at 17.5 which I thought was tons of value. I just don’t see Mizzou scoring more than 10 or 14 without James Franklin especially, coming off a tough loss. Bama should smoke them. I don’t see value laying over 3 TDs on the road though.

      With regards to SMU and Temple, I may be finally jumping off the fade Temple train. Temple has been put in a tough spot on defense because of how poorly the O is playing. The O can’t pick up 1st downs/has terrible 3rd down conversion percentage. The D has been on the field way too long and they have been exposed. I am not saying they are good, but what I am saying is if Ryan Griffin plays and is healthy, he can possibly get them a few scores. It may not be worth it for me to lay points on SMU, a team that struggles on O themselves against not the best teams. Tulane could be trying to get the first win, with a QB that has played for 4 years, at home.

  2. Lonnie says:

    Also, just curious, how many units are you playing Bama?

  3. Nick says:

    Hey Sabert,

    I’m a beginning capper as of this season, and I’ve been following The Saturday Edge and the newsletter tips, and they’ve been very educational. In your post you mentioned your capping style. I was wondering what is the capping style you use?


    • SabertStxVii SabertStxVii says:

      Nick — thanks for commenting and I’m glad you have found things helpful, that is one of our goals.

      I use a baseline system in CFB as the first step in developing my plays. In football, to achieve success, everything is based off of yards. To score you need first downs, to get first downs, you need to pick up yards. To stop a team from beating you, you need to stop them from scoring, and to do that, you need to limit their yards (or cause turnovers). The amount you score FGs and TDs is based off of how many yards you pick up. A lot of things play into these factors of course.

      What I do is compare lots of team stats of Team A’s offense (by yards) vs. Team B’s defense (by yards). For example, rush yards per TD, pass yards per TD, RY/1stD, PY/1stD…stats such as this. This gives me an average of what Team A’s offense would do if the game played out 100% statistically (to my stats of course). From there, I make adjustments up or down for certain factors. I have ran correlation analysis over the past 5 years on all 120 teams as to what statistical categories effects a team winning and scoring points. If a team is significantly better in one category, I adjust them up a certain percentage, depending on how big the discrepancy is.

      What I ultimately do is predict a score. I backtest that score. Basically I attest to the best and worst case scenario with each team, and get multiple score outputs. From there, I determine my spread, and adjust accordingly. What I adjust by are soft factors that are extremely tough to put a value too, and I think this is where the human opinion comes into it.

      What you will notice if you read much or any of what I write is I play on a unit system. There are many people that will say that there is no value in this and flat betting is the way to deliver you the most alpha. Both opinions have tons of warrant, but I’ve been successful on the unit system for years. Currently I am 30-14 +35 units on the year. If I was flat betting, I would be only up 16 units. My hit % gets much better as my unit size rises as well.

      My primary career is in wealth management. What makes investing in Apple different than Google? I read their 10-k’s (stats), listen to the Exec Team speak (coaches), hear from people that work there (players), and finally, I try to decipher if the market has under- or over- valued the company. If I feel much more conviction about the future for Apple versus Google, without getting too deep in finance, I would allocate more money towards Apple than Google; its common sense. It is ridiculous how close (the math behind) allocating a portfolio and breaking a company down parallels a football game. The same carries true for my handicapping. I have certain factors that will add or subtract unit value from a play. These are things that I have found to be important, or factors/trends I like to bet on.

      A unit for me is typically about 1% of my bankroll. The most I will play on any single game is 5 units, and that is if all the stars aligned per se. This helps to limit my loss in any one game. I never unload on certain games, or have “GAMES OF THE YEAR”, which I think helps manage my bankroll. Even plays I absolutely love, I limit the maximum size I will bet. I have had one 4.5* game this season, Ole Miss -17.5 vs Tulane. The only thing I didn’t like about Ole Miss was: they weren’t home, and Tulane was playing a new QB, where you never know if a player given their first opportunity makes the most of it.

      Overall, I have a list of things that help me decide unit value (homefield, motivation, coaching, stats, etc.). It has been successful for me since I’ve really started handicapping CFB so I will stick with it until I feel like I am using value with this strategy. Let me know if you have more questions along the way as you get deeper in the process, I’d be glad to give my advice if needed.

      • Nick says:

        Hey Sabert,

        Thank you for the detailed reply. And congratulations on your success so far! Sorry for the delayed response. I wasn’t sure where to follow up so I’m just going to go ahead and put it here. It was interesting to hear capping compared to financial analysis especially since, although I don’t know anything about it, am really interested in it. I also like the more analytical approach to capping. I’m really interested to hear some more detailed explanations of how to go about creating a statistical outcome of the game like you do with yards. Well, interested in the rest of what you said too, but basics first, I guess. If at all possible, could you point me to where I could find some info on that or if you ever have some free time help me understand how to do it? I was thinking I could practice on some old stats and see how it turns out with respect to the actual final scores.

        Thanks again

    • Pezgordo Pezgordo says:

      Sabert, awesome info. I really enjoyed reading it. As an advocate of (more or less) “flat” betting, I would like to point out that my typical wager unit is 2% of my bankroll. Therefore, if you had been wagering 2% per game instead of 1% to 5% you would still be up about 32 units on the year. So not a big difference.

      On the other hand as we have discussed, I will increase my wagers another 1/2 unit (1%) if the lines moves in my favor as it did this past weekend w/ Ole Miss for example, or for whatever reason I feel more confident than usual in a side or total.

      Now with that being said, your unit system is obviously working for you and that is the most important thing. I also understand your “philosophy” about larger wagers for games/stocks that “appear” to have a larger edge.

      But since we can only approximate what that edge is, I tend to keep my wagers closer to the 2% unit with less variation.

      In the end I guess our “units” vs “flat” betting strategies aren’t really that different, except with the overall variation we are both willing to take.

      Loved the info,


  4. Bobbyjones2 says:

    Impressive record. You see value in Stanford getting 8?

    • SabertStxVii SabertStxVii says:


      Thanks for the comment/compliment. Been a good season so far and hoping to keep things rolling.

      What we have here is 2 good defenses vs 2 subpar offenses.

      Unfortunately, I just don’t see much value on Stanford here. Their one player that I liked with the ability to stretch the field will not be playing. I have not been overly impressed with Nunes. Of course we saw how he fared in his first ever hostile road game. If he thought that was hostile in Washington, this is going to be absurd. Gameday is in South Bend, the players are jacked, and this will be the best defense Stanford has faced.

      With that being said, the weakness to ND is their secondary. If you think Stanford can get in the 20s here, then this line has value. While both defenses are good, I think ND is better. ND D has not faced a strong offensive opponent in my mind, so I that is part of the reason why I don’t see value on them either here. I do see them getting scores here. Expecting like a 27-17 final with alot of standard deviation on both teams, so not much value from my standpoint.

  5. SpartanDawg says:

    What’s your read on the AZst-Colorado game?

  6. Bobbyjones2 says:


    Appreciate your input.

    Good luck on your plays.

  7. Falcon says:

    Just off the top of your head… do you like any of these dogs to win SU.
    Mia Fla
    Oregon St
    Utah St

    congrats on a good season so far and thanks in advance

    • SabertStxVii SabertStxVii says:

      I think Maryland can win straight up, although Sims at QB for another week he may be figuring it out.

      OSU should have a chance to win straight up. Neither team can score, and BYU QB Nelson is banged up. One hard hit and their to their 3rd stringer.

      Minnesota can. Revenge game after getting smacked at Iowa. It’s their homecoming.

      In oder:
      OSU or Maryland


  8. Falcon says:

    thanks for the comments.. i played texas and oregon st moneyline.

  9. Drewtopia says:

    I’m ready to outfit my family in Ole Miss gear thanks to your guidance, and I’m a Florida alum! Keep the wisdom coming my friend.


  10. Falcon says:

    Saber, wound up playing all 7 of them, went 4-3 and added your 2 for tonight… SCar and Tenn both ML..


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