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SabertStxVii Week 8 College Football Picks

SabertStxVii Week 8 College Football Picks

Keep on grinding out solid weeks. Ended up going 5-2, +4 units. Little upset about some money management but overall, have no reason to complain about how I’m doing halfway through the season. Below are my Week 8 College Football Picks. If you don’t see a game you’re interested in, please leave a comment and I will give you my thoughts.

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, Week 7: 5-2, +4.5u

Overall: 35-16 + 39.5* Units

68%, +5.6 units/wk

Will be adding plays up until Friday evening. Check back for more plays as they come.

2.5* Units, Tenn + 21 vs Bama- LOSS

3* Units, Auburn +7 vs Vandy – WIN

2.5* Units, Penn State +3 vs Iowa – WIN

2.5* Units, MTSU +19 vs Miss St. – LOSS

2* Units, UL-Monroe +3.5 vs WKU – WIN

2* Units, Rutgers -5 vs Temple – WIN

1.5* Units, Mich St +10 vs Michigan – WIN

1* Unit, Ball St – 3 vs Central Michigan – WIN

1* Units, UL-Lafayette -3.5 vs N. Texas – LOSS

2.5* Units, Tenn +21 vs Alabama

Bama is the best team in the country, no arguments. I think they also have the best coach in the country. But even teams such as Alabama and coaches such as Nick Saban don’t blow out every opponent. This is an SEC games. You don’t need to tell either team here to be motivated, but I think some outside factors begin to play a part in this game, which I will delve into later.

Bama solely wins games because they control the ball and absolutely smash teams on defense. They probably could have a prolific Offense if they want, but they honestly don’t.  So how do you cover 3 TDs against Bama? I think it breaks down to a few things that you have to do.

1. Prevent Turnovers.

The Tennessee offense is so so weird. It’s like the super hot chick that you think is going to be an awesome time, but it turns out she likes to talk about politics and economics and is worse in bed than a blow-up doll. On paper, Tennessee should have one of the most prolific offenses in the nation. Bray has an absolute cannon, he has 2 NFL WR and an NFL TE, and a great OL and a set of good RBs…soooo…WTF?!

Honestly though, Bray has been putting up good stats this season. This is partly due to the fact he’s only been sacked 3 times this year.  This ranks them 3rd in the nation. This can be a huge opportunity for the Vols. With Patterson and Hunter lining up on the outside, they will pose some issues I think. This is the best WR duo that Bama has seen and Mychal Rivera is a quality TE. Honestly, Bray has the firepower here, he needs to protect the ball and be patient though.

2. Convert 3rd downs.

Bama is clearly one of the best in the nation in at stopping teams on 3rd down. The important thing against Bama is sustaining some drives and wearing the defense down a bit. Vols are a bit banged up on the RB front, but Bray should be able to open up a bit of running lanes. This is a good OL. The key for UT is really the 1st down play. Getting in 2nd and long and 3rd and long will completely screw you against Bama, and cause exactly what I wrote about in the previous paragraph.

3. Stop their Run.

Bama is going to just pound the rock alllllll day. I expect them to run the ball 70% of the time here. Rumors are swirling about McCarrons meniscus. If it isn’t torn, it’s sore, and Bama is not going to want to put him at risk here. I bet he throws the ball less than 20 times, unless necessary. PLEASE LOAD THE BOX DOOLEY OR YOU DESERVE TO BE FIRED! If you can stop Bama from picking up 6ypc, you have a shot.

4. Score > 17.

Finally, I don’t see Bama scoring more than 40 really. Saban will not be airing out McCarron on the road and with him possibly being hurt. Bama will run for some scores, for sure, but Bray should be able to score here.

Other Factors

I think some other things play into this here. Dooley’s seat is on fire right now. He cannot get embarrassed here. If Bama runs the Vols out of the stadium, he mine as damn well run with them, because he is gone. He will pulling out every trick here to keep it close with Bama.

Also, Tennessee isn’t good, but they are not bad. I think the book has struggled to set Bama’s lines, as the public continue to absolutely blow out the opening lines Vegas sets. I think this line should have been set more around 16/17 and the book allowed the movement to dictate up or down to 2td’s or 3td’s. I think Bama wins by 2 TDs, but 3 is just a ton, and a very backdoorable number. I think this line is an overreaction to Bama smoking everyone and Tennessee losing to (perceived) decent Miss St.

Finally, the super bowl factor needs to be accounted for now (I made up that name). This is the situation where you have Team A, that is very highly rated and huge favorite. Team B is a team that has underachieved, or seems to not have much reason to continue to play. Any team that plays Bama has this. They want to knock of the best team arguably over the past 5 years. That is an extra edge to consider as well.

I think if this game is at Bama, this line is pretty spot on, but its not. I am going with the home dog, playing a super bowl game against a SEC rival, with a coach that knows hes gotta get it done.

Final Score

Vols 24, Bama 38

Check back later for a 1h play – I think Tenn comes out of the gates well, and possibly even leading at halftime. Bama will adjust and take this one.

3* Units, Auburn +7 vs Vandy

The perception of Auburn right now doesn’t get worse. They just lost to Ole Miss (another team that still has pretty low perception to the public). Those of you that follow know how high I am on Ole Miss, so a loss here is not as bad as it seems.

Breaking it down even further, Auburn was in this game vs the Rebels. Two things swayed this game.  They were down 4 points in the 4th, and held Ole Miss to a 3 and out. Ole Miss shanked the hell out of a punt to their own 48 yard line, but they got to re-kick due to some stupid illegal substitution penalty or something.  Ole Miss then boomed a 70 yard punt. With 8 minutes left, Ole Miss was on their own 38 and had 3rd and 16. Bo Wallace dumped the ball off to Jeff Scott, and he was met 5 yards later by a linebacker who appeared to throw him down, but Scott rolled on the LB, popped back up and ran untouched to the end zone. Once Auburn is down 11, they have to throw to get back into it, and they suck at that.

So why do I think they cover vs Vandy? A few reasons. Pre-season, this game is nearly a no brainer. Obviously were not at that point, but Auburn is still very talented.  Moseley has started to figure some things out, Tre Mason is an absolute stud,  and McCaleb is right there with him, and the defense is not shabby, they just need to be off the field long enough to get a sip of water. I am willing to bet that Auburn gets some offense together here vs. Vandy and runs and runs and runs the ball. This will open up some passing lanes for Moseley who should feel more comfortable in this game in his second game as the starter.

When it breaks down, both teams have decent defenses and underperforming offenses. To tell you the truth, both teams suck in the Top 15 stats that determine winning and scoring. Both teams suck on 3rd down, suck in the red zone, suck everywhere, but what I saw of Auburn last week was enough.

The Auburn team was fighting last week, and they haven’t given up yet. If it wasn’t for 2 bad plays, they almost take Ole Miss down on the road. Chizik is in a situation similar to Dooley. He absolutely cannot lose here. His players don’t want to lose. No college player wants to lose.

In a low scoring game that the book has Vandy winning 26 to 19ish, a TD is just way too much to give here in a defensive battle with teams struggling to score. Think this is a low scoring game that could come down to the end. Auburn stays in it with defense, special teams, and running the ball.

Final Score

Auburn 24, Vandy 20

Stick around for maybe a ML play when the lines come out.

2.5* Units, Penn State +3 vs Iowa

PSU has historically been bad at Iowa. PSU has looked past the historical, now we should too. This is a new team. Penn State is a bad penalty and a missed (or 4) away from being undefeated. Sure some of their games haven’t been pretty, but they are getting the job done.

Iowa on the other hand has been up and down. They beat the Gophers pretty handily at home by handing the rock off to stud frosh Mark Weisman. Against Mich St., they took down the Spartans by stopping the Sparty’s one dimensional attack (Le’Veon Bell) and once again handed the ball off to Weisman.  They did not beat Mich St. with their offense, Mich St. lost to them with their offense. It was a big, tough win and they are still feeling it. Weisman is doubtful for the game against PSU, which is a big blow.

PSU is coming off of a bye. Gave them a chance to get their players healthy, and extra time to prepare. They will not be taking Iowa lightly after seeing them knock off Mich St.

PSU dominates the stats here. They are better in Yrds/Pass, 3rd Downs, Pass Yards, Compl %, Red Zone TDs, Sacks, you name it. I think PSU has played a tougher schedule and has fared better.

I think the wrong team is favored and I will gladly gobble up some free points. Iowa is a tough place to play, but I’m going with the team that’s on a tear, with something to prove, that is better and healthier.

Final Score

PSU 31, Iowa 20

2.5* Units, MTSU +19 vs St.

Really liked this play before MTSU best offensive player and soon to be NFL player Bennie Cunningham went down with a season ending knee injury. I still do like this though, for the motivational reasons.

Miss St. is a good team, and people are finally realizing that. They have had the benefit of an easier first few games, but I still think they are talented. These teams both have played weak schedules. Miss St ranks 111th out of 120, and Middle Tenn ranks 115th out of 120. So atleast these teams are comparable.

I’m not going to get in the numbers too much here, but there are a few reasons why I like Middle Tennessee. Against similar schedules, Middle Tenn is has more yards per pass, are way better on 3rd downs, has better yards per carry, exact same pass yards per game, and a WAY better completion rate. Their offense is more efficient by the numbers.

On defense, Miss St. has been one of the “luckiest” teams in the country with regards to turnovers. Football Study Hall puts out a good report, and Miss St. is on top of that one. If Middle Tenn can protect the ball here, I think they easily cover this 3 score spread. Even without Cunningham, they will continue to pound the ball and pick up 3rd downs when necessary. Miss St. shouldn’t have much trouble scoring here either.

Finally, we have the superbowl effect again. Middle Tennesee getting the chance to knock off one of the best teams in the nation, again. They will get up for this game and have that to play for. St. will be thinking about their 7th hardest 2h schedule in the country with Bama, A&M, and LSU coming looming. They just want to come away with a win here and may even sit players late if up.

Final Score

St 38, MTSU 24

2* Units, UL-Monroe +3.5 vs WKU

Going against the grain on this one. WKU has won like 15 in a row against the spread or something stupid close to that. They do have some good wins, but not as many as WKU. This game reminds me of the Tuesday N. Texas vs ULL game. N Texas had a worse record and a little worse stats, but they have played a rather wreckless schedule agaist 2 Top 10 teams and 3 of the Top 25. ULL doesn’t really have a quality win yet.

Very similar here. ULM has played Auburn, Arky and Baylor. They took down Arky which we all remember, almost took down Auburn, and hung in there with powerful Baylor. I like them because they are well coached, led by a good QB, and don’t give up. They’ve been down in quite a few of their games and Kolton Browning just keeps coming at them. They are averaging 38 PPG, and against their quality 3 opponents, they’ve averaged 34 opponents. 2 of those games were on the road against SEC defense. This offense is legit.

WKU on the other hand has arguably 2 decent games. One against Bama where they got shut out, and the other against UK which they won in OT. The game against Bama is excusable. The UK game they put up 24 and took it to OT and scored a TD and went for 2 to win it. They get the job done, but they don’t totally impress me.

I am just high on ULM’s O, think they play decent enough D (ranked 36th) against WKUs average offense. You can’t tell me WKU’s D is anywhere near Auburn or Arkansas, no matter how bad those teams look this year. Vegas and the public have caught on and I think WKUs streak ATS ends.

Final Score

ULM 31, WKU 27

2* Units, Rutgers -5 vs Temple

Every single week I look at Rutgers and I can’t help it. Trust me, it’s scary. I get conflicting stories from my stats prediction and my correlation matrix.

Rutgers should probably win this game by double digits but they are playing in the road, against a decent team, blah blah. The stats have them winning and covering. The correlation tells a different story. Rutgers is similar to Alabama, and winning games with their defense, and not giving them away with their offense. They own the best turnover margin in the country, and they predict their QB barely allowing .5 sacks per game.

Why they cover vs Temple? Temple runs the ball a ton, and Rutgers has the second best Rushing Defense. I’ve watched Rutgers past few games and I am continually impressed with their defense. They are big, scary, fast players who are after the ball on every opportunity possible. Temple sucks at passing and I don’t se them being able to pass back in this one.

Rutgers can run the ball well and I love watching Jawan Jamison. He is shifty and should cut up this Temple D. Nova is also a decent passer, and it helps he is throwing to two monsters. When it comes down to it, I just don’t see Temple being able to come from behind against this defense.

Don’t love the spot on the road, but the better run team with the better passing game and the better defense…Rutger should cover 5 points here.

Final Score

Rutgers 31, Temple 17

1.5* Units, Mich St +10 vs Michigan

I’ve been down on this team since the beginning of the year, and my perception really hasn’t changed. Week 5 we saw OSU visit Michigan St. and was a 3 pt underdog. Michigan St. now travels to Michigan and is a 10 pt dog. So you’re telling me that in 2 weeks, there is a 13 point differential between OSU and Michigan? No chance – that spread will be within a TD when we see it at the end of the year.

Going to the big house is tough no doubt, but Michigan State is not inept. They have one of, if not the best RB in the country with Bell. This will slow the game down to begin with. Maxwell is not a good passer by any means, but they still have the 60th ranked passing offense. Michigan State is solid in the Red-Zone, they are just having trouble punching in the TDs.

Michigan reminds me a bit of Ohio State honestly. Mobile QB, Good defense, not much else going on. I think OSU has the better mobile QB from the passing side. Michigan State played well against Braxton, I think they’ll do a decent job against Denard and force some turnovers.

When it comes down to it, 10 is just way to much to give in a rivalry game. I think this one stays close with Michigan pulling away at the end.

Final Score

Michigan 20, St. 17

1* Unit, Ball St – 3 vs Central Michigan

First of all, I despise the MAC. Okay, now that that is out of the way, I think that Central Michigan is in over their head here. Ball St. is getting it done on offense, and Central Michigan is giving it up on defense. I think this should have been atleast a touchdown spread.

I don’t think either team has a good defense, but I think that we will see Ball St. doing whatever they would like, and Central Michigan struggling to stay afloat. Ball St. is better on 3rd downs, better at running the ball, better at passing the ball, and has a better defense. When Central Michigan loses, they lose big. They have played some tough teams albeit (Mich St, Iowa, N Illy, Toledo, and option Navy), but that doesn’t change anything. I think the fact that Central Mich loses big is more applicable than Ball St. winning close games.

I think a FG here is a gift. Sorry in advanced, if I am forcing you to watch this terrible game; just gamecast it.

Final Score

Ball St. 41, CM 31

1* Units, UL-Lafayette -3.5 vs N. Texas

As typical for the weeknight plays with one game on, I will analyze broadly and granular to try and allow you to understand how I got to my decision, and allow you to best base your play. Almost positive that outside of Texas/Louisiana (if even there), only gamblers will be watching this game.

Why did the book set their line where it is? (UL-Laf -4)

Typically the first question I ask myself. This allows me to think as a public bettor, and try and put myself in the shoes of the bookmaker. At first glance, you see UL-Lafayette at 4-1 vs a 2-4 N. Texas team. ULLaf only loss comes at Okla St, while N Texas has taken losses from @LSU, @KSU, Troy, and @Houston. I think keeping the line above 3, but under 6/7, the book can get money on both sides on a nationally televised game.

My Analysis

I like UL-Laf here for a small amount. There are factors that can be brought up to support either side tonight I think that are things that I typically put more conviction into. Both teams are coming off of a bye, so if anything, that helps N. Texas a tiny bit. UL-Laf has been rolling, and would have loved to keep it going I’m sure, whereas N. Texas could use a break after getting smoked by Houston. Not much value to consider here though.

First, North Texas is not as bad as they look. They have played 2 Top 10 teams, An underrated Troy team, and a Houston team that has got its bearings together finally after a tough start to the season. They have ran pretty well against any of these teams with a multiple facet running attack.

On the contrary, UL-Laf schedule has been rather smooth, besides the game at Okla State and at Troy. They have a dual threat QB that will now see all of the snaps, Terrence Broadway, that can throw, but runs very well. This will be the toughest defense that ULL has faced, but I expect with the bye week, ULL will have some plays dialed up to get scores. They also recognize their redzone struggles vs Tulane and it will be a focus this week.

What ultimately led me to ULL, are some key stats I really like. They can move the ball here and pick up the clutch 3rd downs. If N Texas can’t pick up a big chunk of yards on 1st or 2nd down, I think they are in trouble. N Texas is one of the worst teams in the nation with picking up 3rd downs, even if you throw out their games against KSU and LSU. They struggle to throw the ball, and ULL is very good at getting behind the line of scrimmage. They will stack the box here, stop the rush and force 3rd and longs, which should force some mistakes.

On top of that, N Texas is equally bad in the redzone, getting a score just 70% of the time, and a TD just 55% of the time. Stats are not much better if you take out their 2 games against Top 10 teams. ULL knows this is a area they need to approve in, and they already are way better at it than N Texas.

In conclusion, I think the ULL offense will be on a good pace tonight, especially off the bye week. The dual threat QB gives them an edge that I like a lot in picking up big yards on the road. ULL takes over first place in the conference but N Texas looking to get back on track, in a huge home game for them on National TV. I’m going with the better team that has won some of the close ones this year for a small amount.

Final Score

ULL 31 N. Texas 24


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

31 Responses to “SabertStxVii Week 8 College Football Picks”

  1. Lonnie says:

    Congrats, another awesome week.

    I was just looking at the ULL game. I feel like the line should have been a little higher. Maybe NTexas being at home, playing a tougher schedule, keeps this under a td?

    Any thoughts on Oregon -9 and Georgia -28? Thanks.

    • SabertStxVii SabertStxVii says:


      Wanted to wait to respond till I got my post on tonights game up there. That is my play, obviously for a small amount. You are right on about your analysis.

      I think with ASU and Oregon opening in double digits, the only play for you, unless it gets back up there, is Oregon and at 9, there is some value in taking it under 10, but I think you can wait til later in the week. The line should hover around here. Few things too keep in mind about this game. Oregon should win I think, and probably by a decent amount. With that being said, they are travelling on the road, with a frosh QB, etc. against a hungry ASU team. I think if Oregon doesn’t give ASU chances, they take this one probably by double digits. This is not a game that Oregon will call off the dogs. Pounding good opponents is good for them, specially after getting ranked 3rd in BCS, every point matters. Will be a no play for me.

      Like Georgia at -28 as I think it ends up like 42-7, but what is tough about that line is a trash backdoor or flukey TD blows the cover. Also, this can be an overreaction to last weeks game. UGA should come out of the gates strong off the bye after getting trounced by the Cocks but just a very touchy line. UK is in a world of hurt,so can’t see them doing much at all here though. Think there are other better plays on the board, but don’t dislike this one.

  2. Pezgordo Pezgordo says:

    Another great week Sabert. I especially liked that Texas A & M jinx. LOL! Just kidding. La Tech didn’t know they were beat. Unreal finish.

    • SabertStxVii SabertStxVii says:

      Pez — never again will I tweet about a game before its over, especially a team that I’ve been betting on for the past year because their offense is so high tempo. Rookie move!

  3. Doug says:

    BOL as Always. After Tenn gave up a last seond TD well i should say 9 seconds last saturday, i may Neva wanna hear Rockytop again….Tenn is goind to give alot of points here, wheather they can muster a couple TD’s i surely dont know.
    LOVE your Auburn selection.

    • SabertStxVii SabertStxVii says:


      tough beat on UT huh. They definitely booched that game away. I am on them again this week, as the must win is even more pressure. The good thing about last week is if you bet with my unit money mgmt system, we knew wed be up even with that loss. Agree Tenn gives up points, but I think Bama O slightly overrated if you clog the box and make them throw. Think they can score 21ish.

      Thanks on Auburn — they are a firestorm but no reason at all to be a TD underdog to Vandy!

      Goodluck my friend. Write-ups to come soon.

  4. Tony says:

    Hello Saber, just found out about this site and it’s great. Can I ask you a question?

    When you posted your early picks on Monday and their units are those the games you played early or were those just opinions. I only ask because Monday you had Lafayette at 1 1/2 units but today at only 1 unit. Are your final plays just the ones you are playing?

    Thank You


    • SabertStxVii SabertStxVii says:

      Tony — thanks for stopping by, glad you like it.

      Good question, I should have been more clear. The plays I posted are plays I got on early in the week, but once I do the write up, I will post what I will play it at. A majority of the time, they will stay the same, and possibly even increase in value. Very rarely, do I completely buy back a play (lots of reasons for this: go with my instinct, line moves out of favor to buy back, etc.). Sometimes though, I will buy back some and/or buy more of a play. I will post a loss if I incur one, or a different line if I buy something at a different line.

      For example, Week 6 I got Ole Miss at +11 and +13.

      My advice, unless I highly suggest otherwise, is just wait til the write up. IF there is a specific game you like, comment in my thread and I will get an email and answer it. Check on weeknights probably at 6pm before games and I will have a write up if I’m on it, and my weekend plays will be up Thursday and Friday.

      I am just trying appeal to the majority of readers. In the past, I have been asked to post plays earlier due to people being busier later in the week, having restrictions of when they can put in plays, etc.

      Let me know if you have any more questions.

  5. marv martin says:

    great season so far. keep up the good work.
    i don’t bet until game days so no questions at this point.

  6. TSB42 says:

    What are you guys thoughts on the LSU and GA Tech games? I can see a somewhat let down spot for LSU, despite playing against A&M and I see a solid bounce back effort from Tech, in believing they are much better than the pitiful effort put forward against MTSU last time out. I have been on the fade BC train all year, which has been solid, and see a Tech effort covering and winning by at least 17-21. I see A&M as a solid team, but the way LSU manhandled USC last week showed the legitimate strengths of their team, and I see this game as a once a for all “Welcome to the SEC” game for A&M.

    • SabertStxVii SabertStxVii says:

      TS — thanks for the comment.

      For the LSU A&M game, I am still analyzing this one. I think it is a shootout that comes down to the end. I think Manziel is slowed down, but not totally stopped. When we look at LSU we can’t look back one week or two weeks, gotta take the whole season into account. My stats have LSU winning this game, but my correlation Matrix have A&M winning. I think it comes down to the last 5 minutes with A&M and Manziel driving down the field for the win, possibly by a FG. We have to remember he is a freshman, and yes he hasn’t turned it over much, but he’s only seen one defense comparable to LSU, and that is Florida. I see LSU stopping Manziel similar to how they slowed Driskel. I think my play is A&M or nothing as I don’t see LSU winning by a TD.

      Tech game is interesting. Fading BC has been profitable, but GT is in a terrible spot. They have no defense at all. I think Rettig is decent and they’ve averaged 24 PPG. Thy will probably score more than their average against this bad D, meaning that GT needs to get near the 40s. May be tough as GT offense eats up clock.

      Best of luck.

  7. OpeningLine says:

    Tennessee will need to try and establish some sort of running game against the Tide, even if they have to pass to set up the run. The Vols ran over 200 yards, averaging 6.2ypc against Mississippi State last week, and that really helped keep them in the game. Otherwise, if the Vols are unable to get anything going on the ground, Alabama’s defensive ends will “tee off” on Bray. Tennessee’s O-Line has been solid, giving up only three sacks all year, but they haven’t seen a pass rush like the one Alabama will give them on Saturday.

    • SabertStxVii SabertStxVii says:

      You’re absolutely right here. I think with Bray and the WR being as good as they are, Bama won’t be able to load up the box as much as they would like (hence why the Tenn run game has been so solid this year). I think whoever is playing at RB, they need to pick up some good yards when they can.

      What I’m worried about most is Tenn and Bray forcing things and causing turnovers. This is what Bama feeds on, is short fields. Here is a breakdown of how many TD drives they’ve gotten from each distance:
      80+=3, 60-79=9, 40-59=6, 20-39=4, 0-19=5.

      The fact that they’ve started 5 TD drives from inside the 20 yard line is terrible, and 14 have started inside the 50! Pretty crazy numbers, so pinning Bama deep is not a bad move here. Hopefully Tennessee does that.

      • OpeningLine says:

        Exactly. I am leaning Tennessee +21 also, but Bray’s tendency to throw into tight windows is a huge concern. He’s gotten a little bit better this year, but as we saw last week, he still tries to press it when he should probably just check down.

        Also, like you said, that Tennessee run defense is a huge question mark. They are giving up just shy of 200 rushing yards per game. I remember watching the Georgia-Tennessee game, and the Vols got absolutely steamrolled on some of those long touchdown runs. Luckily they were able to get some turnovers and keep up enough offensive production to stay in the game, but they can’t let that happen against Alabama.

        • SabertStxVii SabertStxVii says:

          I agree. They CANNOT give up big plays to Bama, on offense or defense. You have to limit the turnovers, and do not allow Bama to have big plays. Bama struggles as we know to have long drives TDs — alot of long drives end up in FGs. Bama will punish them here for mistakes like that. Hopefully playing at home, some of these things become easier to handle than on the road.

  8. doogie says:

    Two games:
    1) I think LSU stops manziel and is able to score enough to cover -3 1/2 on the road. Please talk me out of making this a rather large play.
    2) Why is no one talking about this game??!! I see SC limping into the Swamp with feelings hurt and not being able to bounce right back. UF is on a mission now and can start to taste it (like LSU was LY)and should cover the 3 at home easier than LSU did last week. Their 2H D is awesome. Please share thoughts but most of all thanks a ton for sharing your winning plays!!
    GL to us this W/E

    • SabertStxVii SabertStxVii says:

      Doogie whats up man, no problem at all thanks for following.

      1. I think LSU stops Manziel similar to how they slowed down Driskel. Manziel is better than Driskel though. LSU will have to win this game on the ground, similar to how Florida beat A&M. I think this game comes down to the wire, but I have LSU winning by stats, and A&M winning by my correlation stats. My bet is this game comes down to last 5 minutes with Johnny a chance to drive down the field to win. Think in a toss up game, always better to find value elsewhere.

      2. No idea why no one is talking about it. Probably because there are a few other big SEC games and this is a tough one to read. Agreed that Florida is one of the best 2h teams at adjusting i’ve seen this year. This line is basically saying that these teams are rather even, with the homefield giving Florida the edge. Florida survived a tough spot last week going to Vandy (and covering) but coming home this should be a huge game. Here are my issues: SC has a better offense, Florida has a better defense. SC offense should struggle here to score more than 20, if Florida can contain them on special teams that is. If Lattimore isn’t playing, thats another blow to SC. On the contrary, Florida struggles on offense. Gillislee is awesome, but he could get beat up here against this aggressive SC DL.

      Both games I could see a FG either way but if I play one, I take Florida for motivation reasons and I think they win by 6ish.

      Goodluck this weekend!

  9. TReid says:

    Congrats on a great season so far, and love your card this week. I see value in everyone of those picks, but I especially like the dogs between 3 & 7pts. I’m playing 2 of them on the ML. Was going to unload on La Monroe because the line is backwards, but then I did some digging and W. Ken is 15-0 ATS in the last 15 and 16-1 since the start of 2011. Pretty difficult to put up a sizeable amount against that trend.

    This leads me to a couple questions…How much stock do you put into situational trends in your capping? I have a tough time leaning with the historic trends and angles, and at times I think touts especially lean on some of them much too heavily when they seemingly have little relevance to the current teams on the field. I put a lot more stock in trends based on there relevance. How do you decide when trends are important to the outcome of a game?

    • SabertStxVii SabertStxVii says:

      Thanks TReid, i’ve been happy with how things have gone so far obviously!

      I think the dogs have some value in a lot of different spots, but I always struggle with the ML. I think I will end up playing the Auburn one for a sprinkle, but need to analyze value once it comes out.

      Great question with regard to capping. I tout (not literally) myself as a situation capper. With that being said, I like to think I adapt as the season goes on to different situations. The way I operate my plays is I have a model based off of lots of things, but primarily yards, to compare Team A vs Team B and predict a final score. I also have a correlation matrix that compares stats that I have found contribute to winning and scoring for Team A and Team B.

      With that being said, the stats are always the basis of my play, but I adjust for things up or down depending. I am NOT a big believer in historical trends at all. My primary job is within Finance industry and I am a big believer that past performance is not indicative of future results. There are so many variables with football that I do not see trends being overly useful. I think it is very easy for someone to see a trend and then put way to much weight into it. I also think its very useful to find a trend that relates to anything (Ex: Notre Dame, playing outside, with a black QB and a white head coach, on the 3rd Saturday of the month, are undefeated against the spread). Do we think the book takes into account shit like that? Probably not, so I don’t like to think about it.

      So instead of playing trends, I play situations. I do this by trying to put myself in the shoes of football players. For example, do players get stuck looking ahead to the next game? Rarely. Players are prepared for the week ahead, they go out, they are motivated and Do coaches? Yes. They bench players early to not get injured, they don’t show their full playbook, etc. I adjust for that.

      Early in the year, I play the returning starters, new coaches, new players, situations a lot. Depending on how much of the previous season team is in tact, I look at the stats and adjust accordingly. Later in the year, I believe the books are starting to get the lines much more accurate, so I play situations and motivations way more. For example, you will see my playing the “super bowl” trend. I look at travel schedules, similar opponents, match-ups, bowl implications, and off field situations to adjust scores that my stats predict.

      Sorry for rambling, feel free to ask follow-up questions if you’d like. Thanks for the question and goodluck this weekend!

      • TReid says:

        Thanks for detailed reply. I believe we are all in it together against the books, so any helpful information just sharpens the knife a little more and is much appreciated. Great site you guys have put together and it is a nice resource for information to flow back an forth.

        I typically only make 1-2 ML plays/week, and only if I feel the wrong team is favored from 3.5 – 7 pts. I play the side as well, and it has been profitable up to this point. If Auburn can avoid T/O, they will win outright. Everything about the LA-Mon/WKY game screams LA-Mon, but the 15-0 ATS streak is impressive for WKY.

        GL this week and thanks for the information!

  10. Lonnie says:

    I have a question unrelated to this week’s games. I wasn’t sure how to reach you, so sorry to put this in your weekly column. And sorry if this is a noob kind of question.

    Reverse line movement and the term sharps. I always read about this, It seems whenever a team is favored, for example, -9 and it gets bet down to -7, the day of the game, or hours before, people always say the sharps are on it. How do we know that? People always seem to get really worried regarding this. Oregon tonight has moved from -10 to as low as -7, and it fluctuated all day today. Are the so called sharps pounding ASU? Do they already have ASU at -10 and looking for a middle?

    Also, when a large portion of the public are on a team and the line moves the other way, what is the reason for this? Does this ever play into one’s handicapping?

    Thanks for your time. Good luck this week.

    • SabertStxVii SabertStxVii says:

      Lonnie — no problem at all. If you ever have a question feel free to just ask on here, I don’t mind. Also, no question is a noob question; its probably a question we’ve all either asked or wondered about at some point. I would first reccommend reading this article from Todd Fuhrman who worked at Ceasars for a number of years and now works at Don Best:

      In this day and age, information can be found so efficiently, so the term sharp has become more loosely defined. Anyone can be a sharp with the access we have for information. But there are certainly people out there that work in syndicates, get inside information, or just have a better analysis of games.

      Sharps are mysterious. In some situations, exactly what you said will happen. The Sharps will unload on a line at a certain spot all at once, possibly like what happened tonight. In some situations, Sharps will bet lets so 100 on a game to move the line down a point, then unload 10,000 on the other side, where they really wanted the line. Its very, very tough to tell. has a sportsbook spy, but I sometime question the accuratenes, and its tough to tell if its Sharp-Money ( ).

      When I handicap, I always try and put myself in the shoes of the book first, knowing they always end up winning overall. Why did they set the line where it is? What side is the public side that they “want” people to bet on? This will help you determine which side is public. Now, with that being said, the public side these days is not bad.

      To be honest, I do look at it sometimes, but it will never change my play. I get nervous sometimes when “everyone” is on the same side of me, but you should just trust your abilities before you change plays because of Sharp v Public money. The Sharps lose alot too and aren’t always right.

  11. SpartanDawg says:

    What’s your read on the Clemson-VaTech game? I’m confused as the why the line is only -8. VaTech is pretty weak this year, with an overrated qb, young receiving core and average defense. Plus they’ve struggled on the road this year. Clemson on the other hand has one of the more explosive offenses in the country. Is there any way VaTech stays in this game?

    • SabertStxVii SabertStxVii says:

      Really weird spot here Spartan. VaTech is weak this year, but this line is only -8 is because VaTech has vastly underperformed what they are supposed to do. Going on the road vs Clemson, I like Clemson here, but I’m not going to play it for a few reasons.

      Va Tech was down 20 last week to a weak Duke defense, and came back and crushed them. That is scary, because Clemson’s D is not that great either. Also, that could be the momentum they need to get things rolling here. Beamer is good on the road historically.

      When I break it down, I could see VaTech scoring 10, or surprising Clemson. Tough for me to call either way, but I lean Clemson giving just over a TD at home, but wouldn’t be surprised if this doesn’t hit.

  12. kiel says:

    Any reason you know of or can think of as to why Rutgers has gone down to -4?

    Would really like to play them, but I am concerned they don’t score enough points to cover.

    • SabertStxVii SabertStxVii says:

      No idea why they have dropped honestly. I think their offense can get it done. Nova has played well, they have good WR, and a stud RB. I think Temple struggles to move the ball in this one and I think Rutgers does actually get a few scores here.

      Throw out Temple’s game against a FCS opponent and they’re averaging 23 points a game. Now they’re going up against the best rushing D in the nation, and a bunch of freaks in general on defense. I just don’t see how they get going in this one as long as Rutgers protects the ball, which they generally have been doing.

  13. The Kid says:

    Following you for weeks, and you are amazing…keep rockin…

    Any thoughts on tonight’s game? I love ‘Cuse at -4 in their home dome…should I chance the wager?

    • SabertStxVii SabertStxVii says:

      Thanks alot, glad you’ve been following; hope the success continues.

      This is such a weird game to me. Cuse is continuing to be favored and I don’t really get it. Both of these teams really struggle to score. One would think that Syracuse would play better in the dome but they are only averaging 27 there, and they are playing a better defense here than what they have seen at home.

      UConn on the contary sucks on offense too. They just really can’t get it done. Syracuse is not a terrible on the defensive side of the ball, and at home for a Natl V game, I can see them getting some extra motivation for this game.

      I don’t normally suggest this, but my only play would probably be the under, but I hate total bets so take that for what its worth. I see like a 20-10 type of ugly game. But…with Nassib at QB, turnovers could easily change things here.

      I’m staying off it. Big day tomorrow.

  14. Lonnie says:

    Another great week. Thanks for all your work.


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