December 18, 2018

Vegas Confidential – An old friend returns and the Covers & Covers Not Edition

Vegas Confidential

Nic’s Picks – Week 11

Week 10 – (6-2)

Overall – (58-23)

Nic's Picks

Nic’s Picks – Week 7

Nic's Picks

Last Week – (6-2)

Total – (33-16)

After going 14-11 in my first 3 weeks of picks I have turned it on the last 3 going 19-5, bringing myself to a respectable 33-16 overall. I kind of feel like the Clemson offense, if you know what I mean. We are the halfway point of the season, week 7 as there are 14 weeks counting conference championship week, hard to believe isn’t it? In this week’s slate of games to pick I have 3 ranked vs ranked, 3 games featuring one ranked team and then the overrated bowl featuring two top ten preseason teams who are vastly underachieving, can you guess who that is? That is right, Stanford at Notre Dame, now on to the picks.

Nic’s Picks – Week 6

Nic's PicksEditor’s Note: Nic Mills is a senior PRTM major, student assistant with Clemson Athletic Communication, (formerly known as the Clemson Sports Information Department) and has a long family history of Clemson grads. Nic has also been an intern with The Mickey Plyler Show and Out of Bounds on 105.5 The Roar each weekday morning. You can follow Nic on Twitter @mrnicmills.

Week 5: (6-2)

Total: (27-14)

#3) Clemson (5-0) at Boston College (3-2), Friday, October 7th, 2016 ESPN 7:30 – Clemson games at Boston College are traditionally sloppy affairs and BC traditionally plays Clemson tough no matter the location. Clemson has won 41 consecutive games versus teams not ranked in either poll and that streak will continue here. Clemson won’t cover the 17 point spread and I will give you three reasons why. One is Clemson will be tired and not up to full speed after the emotional game against Louisville, plus it is a second short week in a three week span, two it is the Red Bandana game for BC meaning that it is the one game all season that will probably be a sell out for BC and three is BC’s defense is pretty salty. Clemson 27 – Boston College 10

Texas (2-2) vs #20) Oklahoma (2-2), Saturday, October 8th, 2016 FS1 12 – Well I guess we jumped the gun a little bit with Texas being back after that Notre Dame win, the Irish aren’t nearly the good win that we thought. Both teams come in with records of 2-2, one is coming off of a big win (OU) the other coming off of a big loss (Texas). Charlie Strong and Bob Stoops both need to win this game badly. Charlie Strong is taking over the defense but is one week enough to get the team playing well enough to win. Shane Buchele and the offense will score for the ‘horns it is just a matter of getting OU’s offense off the field as well. I thing Texas rallies behind Strong and they get another win in the Red River Rivalry and at least save Strong’s job for another week. Texas 34 – Oklahoma 27

#25) Virginia Tech (3-1) at #17) North Carolina (4-1), Saturday, October 8th, 2016 3:30 – If the Hokies and Heels get this game played I think I am picking the Hokies. North Carolina has a good offense and I expect them to get some points but I like what I am seeing from Jarod Evans and the Fuente offense in Blacksburg, plus they still have Bud Foster at D-coordinator. Virginia Tech 28 – North Carolina 24

#9) Tennessee (5-0) at #8) Texas A&M (5-0), Saturday, October 8th, 2016 CBS 3:30 – If you actually saw this being a top 10 showdown in College Station at the beginning of the season, impressive. I keep waiting on both of the teams to choke and neither has, yet. I think both of these teams lose twice, at least, and the Volunteers get started first this weekend. I have to go off of what I have seen and there is no way Tennessee will overcome the early deficit this week if they get off to another slow start. Texas A&M 34 – Tennessee 21

#1) Alabama (5-0) at #16) Arkansas (4-1), Saturday, October 8th, 2016 ESPN 7 – This seems to be the sexy upset pick of the week, I know Roy Philpott called for it, but I’m not buying it. Yes I know that Brett Bielema has kept getting closer and closer to beating Saban each year but it just isn’t going to happen. ‘Bama’s defense is too good and the only way you are going to score on them is with a DW4 or LJ8 at QB. Arkansas runs the type of offense that Alabama is designed so perfectly to stop, plus the Tide actually have a play maker at QB instead of a game manager this year which makes them scary on offense. ‘Bama 34 – Arkansas 20

Georgia (3-2) at South Carolina (2-3), Saturday, October 8th, 2016 SEC Network 7:30 – So I’ve seen a couple South Carolina fans feeling frisky, saying they are going to upset Georgia this week. I guess seeing Georgia lose two in a row has given them some hope, guessing they forgot about the offense they have, that has scored 70 points all season long, what are they just magically going to learn how to score? They need to be able to score at least 28 because Georgia will put at least 27 on the board. Will Muschamp may have been the BMOC as a player, but I think time will show Kirby Smart is the better coach. Georgia 31 – South Carolina 17

#23) Florida State (3-2) at #10) Miami (4-0), Saturday, October 8th, 2016 ABC 8 – The Seminoles have no defense and that makes the offense feel extra pressure, knowing that they have to go out there and score 40 points just so they have a chance to win, it is tough. The ‘Canes have a six game losing streak right now to make sure ends, they are honoring “The U” plus they have a pretty good defense and QB even if they aren’t tested yet this season. Mark Richt has the Hurricanes on the right path and even though Hurricane Matthew is going through the area, the only Hurricane the ‘Noles need to be worrying about play football for the University of Miami. Miami 38 – FSU 24

Washington State (2-2) at #15) Stanford (3-1), Saturday, October 8th, 2016 ESPN 10:30 – So a Mike Leach coached team is coming off of a 280 yard rushing performance versus Oregon last week, just to give you an idea of how bad Oregon’s defense is. The Stanford offense still isn’t clicking and we know that Christian McCaffrey is a human being after last week. Stanford needs to win to keep pace in case Washington falters twice down the stretch but I don’t think they will, Wazzu nearly pulled the upset last year and this year they will get the job done. Wazzu 28 – Stanford 27

 

Weekly SUR Pick’em

Weekly SUR Pick'em
The SUR crew of Matt Wilczewski, Marty Coleman and Chris Cox pick the week’s featured games against the spread and share a million star lead pipe lock. Feel free to get rich…at your own expense.

Records:
Marty: 20-18; Locks – 1-2-1 Matt: 22-16; Locks – 1-3 Chris: 22-16; Locks – 2-2

#7 Stanford (+3) at #10 Washington
MC: Washington
MW: Washington
CC: Stanford

#8 Wisconsin (+10.5) at #4 Michigan
MC: Michigan
MW: Wisconsin
CC: Michigan

North Carolina (+11) at #12 Florida State
MC: FSU
MW: UNC
CC: UNC

#11 Tennessee (-3) at # 25 Georgia
MC: Tennessee
MW: Georgia
CC: Tennessee

#22 Texas (+2.5) at Oklahoma State
MC: Oklahoma State
MW: Oklahoma State
CC: Texas

#9 Texas A&M (-17.5) at South Carolina
MC: South Carolina
MW: Texas A&M
CC: Texas A&M

Oklahoma (-3.5) at #21 TCU
MC: Oklahoma
MW: TCU
CC: TCU

Missouri (+13) at LSU
MC: Mizzou
MW: Mizzou
CC: Mizzou

#3 Louisville (-2) at #5 Clemson
MC: Clemson 38-34
MW: Clemson 34-31
CC: Clemson (Louisville wins 35-34)

Gambling Lock of the Week
MC: Texas/Oklahoma State Over 71.5 – Texas has played 2 P5 teams and has given up 43 and 50 points and there are questions about Vance Bedford’s short term job stability. Oklahoma State is desperate for a win and while the Cowboys only scored 24 last week, they did have 492 total yards. They cash in this week.

MW: Michigan ML/Washington ML(-103) – Sticking with a moneyline parlay after finally finding the win column last week. Michigan gets a banged up Wisconsin team coming in off a major road win and Washington welcomes in Stanford, hot off their late game win at UCLA. Tough spot for both Wisconsin and Stanford to handle back to back tough road matchups.

CC: Texas A&M -17.5 versus South Carolina. This line opening at 13.5 was practically giving away money. I still feel good about the line where it’s at now given that the Gamecocks are only averaging 14 points per game while the Aggies are averaging 43. Texas A&M will also be the most talented opponent the Gamecocks have faced this season by a long shot.

Nic’s Picks – Week 5

Nic's Picks

Week 4 – (7-1)

Total – (21-12)

Week four was a good week, my only blemish was picking the Razorbacks to upset the Aggies in Fort Worth. This week is crazy with more tough picks to make, as there are 3 top 10 matchups and 4 total ranked matchups (as said by the AP). Clemson is hosting Gameday for the 4th time in the last four seasons and 5th time ever, the Tigers are 3-1 in the previous four. The 3 vs 5 matchup is tied for the highest matchup in Death Valley history, unless you want to go by the Coaches poll in which it is a 3 vs 4 matchup which is the highest, but I prefer the AP. Now on to the picks:

#7) Stanford (3-0) at #10) Washington (4-0), Friday, September 30th, 9pm, ESPN – The first of the three top 10 showdowns this weekend takes place on Friday night. It is a big one as the Huskies have risen to national relevance under Chris Petersen, can they slow down Christian McCaffrey enough to get the win and take control of the Pac12 North. McCaffrey had a streak of 8 straight 200 plus all-purpose yard games end in the Cardinal win over UCLA but he still had a solid day. I have seen a few Stanford games and outside of McCaffrey they don’t really impress me so I am taking the Huskies to defend their home turf. Washington 27 – Stanford 20

#14) Miami (3-0) at Georgia Tech (3-1), Saturday, October 1st, 12pm, ESPN2 – Mark Richt makes his first trip back to Atlanta to face the Yellow Jackets, a team he went 13-2 against as Georgia’s head coach. Does Richt truly have GT’s number, or did he have superior athletes while at Georgia? I am going to go with it was a combination of the two, Brent Venables also has their number as he has held that vaunted rushing attack to under 100 yards in consecutive years, Miami will look to duplicate Clemson’s defensive game plan. Kaya and the offense keep rolling, heading into the showdown with Florida State on October 8th. Miami 34 – Georgia Tech 17

#22) Texas (2-1) at Oklahoma State (2-2), Saturday, October 1st, 12pm, ABC – The Longhorns look to have shaken off their let down loss at California in their bye week and get back to form before the Red River Rivalry. Oklahoma State is off to a bumpy, inconsistent start to the season and is hoping to find some consistency on the right side of the win/loss column, I’ve got Shane Buchele coming up big through the air in this one. Texas 45 – Okey State 35

#11) Tennessee (4-0) at #25) Georgia (3-1), Saturday, October 1st, 3:30pm, CBS – The Volunteers finally got the ‘gator off their back this past weekend and now look to make Kirby Smarts first season in Athens get even rockier. The Bulldogs had a good season opening win over North Carolina but have since won twice by 3 total points and then lost by 31 in Oxford, MS. I expect this one to look more like last week for Georgia even at home as I believe that win for Tennessee may have been the one to help them over the edge. Tennessee 41 – Georgia 28

North Carolina (3-1) at #12) Florida State (3-1), Saturday, October 1st, 3:30pm, ESPN – The ‘Noles offense appeared to be on point down in Tampa, the defense may still have some question marks, especially without Derwin James. North Carolina, now 23rd in the Coaches poll but still unranked according to the AP may be hitting their stride offensively as Trubisky had his best performance yet in the ‘Heels comeback win over Pitt last week. I expect a high scoring affair as North Carolina doesn’t have a defense and FSU’s is still MIA as well. Florida State 38 – North Carolina 34

#8) Wisconsin (4-0) at #4) Michigan (4-0), Saturday, October 1st, 3:30pm, ABC – The second of the top 10 showdowns this weekend and it is an epic one. The Badgers look to sweep the state of Michigan in back to back weekends. The Wolverines looks to prove that they are for real. Wisconsin has without a doubt been challenged more through four games than Michigan has but I don’t think it matters here. Michigan takes care of business in the Big House, but it is close. Michigan 24 – Wisconsin 20

#9) Texas A&M (4-0) at South Carolina (2-2), Saturday, October 1st, 7pm, SEC Network – The Gamecocks continue to struggle like most people predicted for this season, at 2-2 I reexamined the remainder of their schedule and I think 4-8 is about right. Yes a couple weeks ago I said that 7 wins was possible and now I am saying it is 4. This week is a loss, as the Aggies proved me wrong in their 45-24 defeat of Arkansas last week, I was expecting a collapse and it didn’t happen and won’t happen this week either. Texas A&M 35 – South Carolina 17

#3) Louisville (4-0) at #5) Clemson (4-0), Saturday, October 1st, 8pm, ABC – And finally the game we have all been waiting for, Louisville at Clemson. Lamar Jackson, the Sophomore QB for the Cardinals has stolen the spotlight that was all about Deshaun Watson in the pre-season and made it be all about him. Louisville as a team has come in and stolen the spotlight from Clemson, the preseason darlings. Well Clemson hasn’t lost yet, they haven’t been as impressive as they were expected to be offensively but the defense has been as dominant as ever. Through 4 games the Clemson offense has scored the exact same as last season, last season it was the 5th game of the season before the offense took off. Deshaun and company looked impressive in the first half at GT but the coaches even admitted that the play calling and offense became a little conservative in the second half. Part of me thinks Clemson comes out and makes a statement in this game and wins by 10+ points, another part still has flash backs to 2013 Florida State game and knows that is possible as well. At the end of the day I think it will be a good back and forth game that lives up to the hype surrounding it and the home team comes out on top. Clemson 45 – Louisville 41

 

Vegas Confidential – Clemson/Louisville & Points to Ponder

Vegas Confidential

This is a game that you should enjoy watching without worrying about a bet. No real history between the teams and not many trends.

Weekly SUR Pick’em + Lock of Week

Weekly SUR Pick'em
The SUR crew of Matt Wilczewski, Marty Coleman and Chris Cox pick the week’s featured games against the spread and share a million star lead pipe lock. Feel free to get rich…at your own expense.

Records:

Marty: 9-18; Locks – 1-1-1

Matt: 16-11; Locks – 0-3

Chris: 16-11; Locks – 1-2

#5 Clemson (-9.5) at Georgia Tech
MC: Clemson (39-19)
MW: Clemson (34-17)
CC: Clemson (34-24)

Oklahoma State (+8.5) at #21 Baylor
MC: Baylor
MW: Oklahoma State
CC: Oklahoma State

#9 Wisconsin (+5.5) at #12 Michigan State
MC: Wisconsin
MW: Wisconsin
CC: Michigan State

#16 Georgia (+7) at #19 Ole Miss
MC: Ole Miss
MW: Ole Miss
CC: Georgia

#23 Florida at #15 Tennessee (-6.5)
MC: Tennessee
MW: Florida
CC: Tennessee

Pittsburgh (+7) at North Carolina
MC: Pittsburgh
MW: North Carolina
CC: Pittsburgh

#20 LSU (-3.5) at Auburn
MC: Auburn
MW: Auburn
CC: Auburn

South Carolina (+2.5) at Kentucky
MC: Kentucky
MW: Kentucky
CC: South Carolina

#7 Stanford (-3) at UCLA
MC: Stanford
MW: UCLA
CC: UCLA

#24 Arkansas (+6) at #17 Texas A&M
MC: Texas A&M
MW: Arkansas
CC: Texas A&M

Florida State (-3) at South Florida
MC: Florida State
MW: Florida State
CC: Florida State

Gambling Lock of the Week
MC: Houston/Texas State (Under 65) – Houston, known as a high flying offense, has been under in all 3 games this season, while Texas State racked up 3 points against Arkansas last week. This game, on the road in San Marcos, Texas, is sandwiched between 2 conference games for the Cougars and they’ll take their foot off the gas in the second half.

MW: Parlay: Ole Miss(-285)+ AZ St(-190)= +106 odds. Well, I figured I’d change it up since I seemingly can’t win through spreads or over/unders. Moneyline parlay here at plus odds with Ole Miss and Arizona State. Georgia narrowly survived at Missouri, and I honestly haven’t been overly impressed with them as of yet. They’ll get a pissed off Ole Miss team as their firmest competition thus far and I like the Rebs here. I’ll pair that with a fade of the Cal Bears, fresh off a big home win against previously unbeaten Texas.

CC: FSU -3 versus USF. Everyone is going to be down on the Seminoles after they received a thorough shellacking at the hands on Louisville last weekend. That game reminded me a lot of the 51-14 FSU/Clemson game from a few years ago where everything just snowballed out of control. The Noles still have one of the most talented teams in the country and they’ll bounce back with a comfortable win over on the road just like the Tigers did in ‘13. (Def. Maryland by 13)

Nic’s Picks – Week 4

Nic's Picks
Week 3 – (5-3)/Season – (14-11)

Three weeks have passed and I sit at an…eh…56% winning clip, helped by my picks in week 3. My best pick of the week was picking Ohio State to win 45-28. (The actual score was, 45-24 pretty solid if I say so myself.) A close second was Houston beating Cincy 40-16. Thanks to a fourth quarter meltdown by the Bearcats, I predicted 38-17. Much like Florida State fans, I do not want to discuss taking FSU to beat Louisville. Now onto my picks for week 4, do I have Clemson breaking the curse in Bobby Dodd? You bet they will.

#5) Clemson (3-0) at Georgia Tech (3-0), Thursday, September 22, 7:30pm, ESPN – The Tigers lone Thursday night game of the 2016 regular season is upon us. Clemson has won their last 5 Thursday night contests dating back to the ’09 game in Atlanta. The Tigers did not play on Thursday in 2010 or 2011 and then beat Wake Forest in 2012 and 2014, NC State in 2013, Georgia Tech in 2013, and Louisville in 2015. Only two of those five have been in convincing fashion, and that Louisville game caused Clemson area doctors to see an influx of patients complaining of chest pain. Clemson does not need to do anything special to win on Thursday, just play Clemson football. Watson and the offense found their groove against the fierce SC State defense. Clemson’s defense just needs to play their assignments to win, which can be easier said than done. Brent Venables has done a masterful job coaching against GT since he got to Clemson, and he will do so again this season. Clemson battles the energy of a Thursday night crowd hoping to see an upset in the first half before pulling away in the second half. Clemson 38 – Georgia Tech 20

#11) Wisconsin (3-0) at #8) Michigan State (2-0), Saturday, September 24, 12pm, Big Ten Network – Struggling with mid-level teams seems to be a common theme this season around the country (not just in Clemson) as the Badgers struggled to knock off Georgia State 23-17 on Saturday. Meanwhile the Spartans went into Irish country and secured a New Era Pinstripe Bowl bid for the Fighting Brian Kelly’s. Did Georgia State wake Wisconsin up or did they show that the Badgers are not as good as we thought? Will the Spartans have a hangover from the big win in Week 3? At the end of this season I don’t think either will be ranked this high, but for now Wisconsin knocks off the Spartans after having a close call by Georgia State. Wisconsin 27 – Michigan State 23

#19) Florida (3-0) at #14) Tennessee (3-0), Saturday, September 24, 3:30pm, CBS – The Volunteers come into this game having lost 11 straight against the Gators. Tim Tebow was a Junior in high school the last time Tennessee beat Florida…that ends this season though. I have not been impressed with Tennessee so far this season, but I have not been impressed with Clemson either and I still keep believing in them. Dobbs isn’t the best QB, but he is experienced and he will have a hungry fan base behind him that will forgive the slow start if the team can get this alligator off their back. The Gators will be going with Appleby, a transfer from Purdue, I believe? So, I’m taking Tennessee to break the streak. They all have to end at some point, right? Tennessee 28 – Florida 21

Pittsburgh (2-1) at North Carolina (2-1), Saturday, September 24, 3:30pm, ESPNU – If you like offense, this game should have plenty of it as neither team has any defense. Coming into this season I expected Pitt’s winning formula to be good defense, and pound the rock offense. Well, giving up 39 and 45 points the last two game says maybe that isn’t the case. North Carolina just gave up 28 points to FCS James Madison so…yeah. The home team gets the win in a good ol’ fashioned ACC shootout, Big 12 style. North Carolina 48 – Pittsburgh 44

Penn State (2-1) at #4) Michigan (3-0), Saturday, September 24, 3:30pm, ABC – The Buffaloes of Colorado nearly had Harbaugh and company on the ropes this past weekend. In the end the “Fighting Khaki Pants” pulled away for a comfortable 17-point victory. I expect Penn State to give Michigan a better fight than Colorado, but at the end of the day it is in the Big House. Michigan and Ohio State are in a class of their own in the B1G. Michigan 41 – Penn State 27

South Carolina (2-1) at Kentucky (1-2), Saturday, September 24, 7:30pm, SEC Network – Congratulations South Carolina, I picked against you and you proved me wrong. You gave up over 500 yards, were outgained by over 200, gave up an NCAA record for receptions to a single receiver, and still managed to win the game. That is impressive. Kentucky may be 1-2, and they may have been demolished by Florida in week 2, but in the other two games they scored 35 and 62 points. They showed that while they may not have a defense, they can score. For Kentucky, this may be their only chance for a conference win not named Vanderbilt, and it is at home. I expect them to come out firing, and be able to score more points than South Carolina. I trust their offense to get the key score more than South Carolina’s defense to get the key stop. Kentucky 34 – South Carolina 27

#7) Stanford (2-0) at UCLA (2-1), Saturday, September 24, 8pm, ABC – Apparently Christian McCaffery gets to play at 8 ET on ABC every week so that the Heisman voters will actually get to see him play. Hey, I’m not complaining. He is a terrific player to watch, but I do find that interesting. (Maybe I am complaining?) The Bruins have somewhat bounced back from a week one overtime loss to Texas A&M, but are looking for a signature win. Stanford could be that signature win, but it’s not going to happen. Rosen is more likely to make costly mistakes than McCaffery, so I’m going with Stanford. Stanford 38 – UCLA 28

#17) Arkansas (3-0) vs #10) Texas A&M (3-0), Saturday, September 24, 9pm ESPN – This is a conference game being played at a neutral site. That doesn’t make a lick of sense to me. Why do you want to give up your home field advantage to play at a neutral site? I mean, I get that Jerry’s World is a nice facility, but I still wouldn’t want to unless you were trying to establish a cool yearly neutral site rivalry like Georgia-Florida and Texas-Oklahoma. I know Jerry Jones is a huge Razorback, but this just seems like a cheap attempt to make up for neither team playing Texas anymore. Anyway about the game, the Aggies have reached the Top 10. Everyone knows that means it will soon be time for them to start melting away into mediocrity again, and another quarterback transfer or get arrested or check into rehab or get arrested. I like Kevin Sumlin, but until he proves he can coach the Aggies to a full season of success, I won’t buy the early hype. The fighting Bielema’s go into Arlington and still one from the Aggies, and become the next token SEC team to crack the Top 10 and help boost Bama’s strength of schedule. Arkansas 28 – Texas A&M 24

Vegas Confidential

While the Tigers tangle with the South Carolina State Bulldogs, we look to other areas of the country for games worth taking a peek at.