Saturday, December 07, 2019
Virginia vs. Clemson (NCAAF) - 7:30 PM EST Premium Pick
Pick: Point Spread: 29/-115 Virginia Rating: 10* CFB Strongest Play On The Board (LOSS)
Don't under-estimate these Wahoos! Yes, Clemson & their 9 million-dollar-a-year HC Dabo Swinney may steal all the thunder & notoriety. However, the Tigers were proven more than human earlier when they had a close call with North Carolina winning 21-20. The odds-makers have adjusted this line to compensate for Clemson's 16-2-1 ATS run versus ACC opponents. Remember, the Purple & Orange average winning margin of +35 takes into account games against the patsies. Virginia is NO patsy. Their HC Bronco Mendenhall versus undefeated foes as a double-digit underdog is a perfect 5-0 ATS. This serves us nicely since defending champs are also a perfect 0-5 ATS in conference title games when facing an opponent coming off consecutive wins. The numbers don't lie as do many others we don't have to mention. Let's go to Bank Of America Stadium in Charlotte, NC to play the VIRGINIA CAVALIERS (buying to +30 1/2) as my CFB Strongest Play On The Board!
UL Lafayette vs. Appalachian State (NCAAF) - 12:00 PM EST Premium Pick
Pick: Point Spread: 7/-116 UL Lafayette Rating: 8* Mike's CFB Championship Saturday Earlybird Dependable (WIN)
Here's a rematch of an earlier October Wednesday affair that saw Appalachian State shutdown Louisiana 17-7 @ Cajun Field in Lafayette. Now we'll switch venues to the home of the Mountaineers (10-2) who have another chance @ setting a school record for wins in a season (set the current streak with 11 last year under Scott Satterfield) with a win here & in a bowl. There's many reasons why we're on the underdog here. Last year when these 2 met for the Sun Belt Championship (30-19 App. St.), the Rajun Cajuns' QB's threw 4 INT's & they ran for 218 YPG. This season, Louisiana has VASTLY improved rushing for 274 YPG, 6.6 YPC (5th in country) & have thrown just 3 INT's. ULL has also upped its offensive production scoring 38.8 PPG (11th) as Jr. QB Levi Lewis (20/3 TD/INT ratio, 65% completions, 2,450 passing yards) has 3 excellent RB's with Trey Ragas, Raymond Calais & Elijah Mitchell combining for 2,602 rushing yards & 27 TD's). To balance the attack, Lewis has Sr. WR Jarrod Jackson as a serious deep threat whose compiled 760 receiving yards & 7 TD's. Even though the home side has close to an equal offensive output under QB Zac Thomas, what's going to change this time around? My bottom line says Appalachian State is breaking in HC Eli Drinkwitz (whose been OC/QB's coach @ N.C. State the past 3 seasons) & you don't know how he'll adjust to the BIG time. In addition, missing from the first game will be the Mountaineers leading WR in Corey Sutton who was lost for the season to an ACL injury. Louisiana has built some serious momentum winning 6 straight coming in. HC Billy Napier (in his 2nd season) has been money when playing with conference revenge ( 7-1 ATS) as well as in the underdog role going 9-3 versus the number when getting 10 points or less. The dagger has the be how the home team in this series has fared. The past 7 meetings have seen 6 roadie covers. I'm ready! Let's go Kidd Brewer Stadium in Boone, NC to play the LOUISIANA RAJUN CAJUNS (we're buying to + 8 1/2) as my CFB Championship Saturday Earlybird Dependable!
Miami Ohio vs. Central Michigan (NCAAF) - 12:00 PM EST Premium Pick
Pick: Money Line: -240 Central Michigan Rating: 9* MAC-Daddy Better Defense Wins Play (LOSS)
If you've been following this game in recent years, you'll know the domination by the MAC West Division representative has won it SU 9 of the last 13. The REAL story HAS to be the job 1st-year HC Jim McElwain (previously @ Colorado State & Florida for 3-year stints) has done turning around a 1-11 team into an 8-4 team playing for the championship. While both defenses are ranked close in total "D" (59th to 41st), the edge goes to Central Michigan, the 2nd-ranked defense in the MAC. The big reason Miami (Ohio) is here was because of their "D" that was 3rd in total defense in the MAC & 2nd in scoring "D" giving up 22.5 PPG. In this matchup, look for the Red Hawks' "D" to tire since their offense can't stay on the field to finish drives as witnessed by finishing the regular season ranked 117th out of 130 in 3rd-down conversions. This coincides with their 121st ranking in total offense. The major concern today has to be the status of their current QB in Freshman Brett Gabbert (yes, he's the brother of Blaine with the TB Buccaneers). Gabbert remains probable after leaving the game @ Ball State (41-27 loss) with an undisclosed injury last week. They were out-scored 27-0 in the second half of that game. My bottom line says look for DC Robb Akey (under McElwain @ Florida) to load the box & dare Miami (Ohio) to beat them down the field. In the numbers reveal a BIG gap in yards per point with CMU raking 28th & the Red Hawks ranking way down the ladder @ 83rd. The odds-makers have also under-estimated the Chippewas since they're 8-1-1- versus the number of late. In 5 of their last 7, their offense has been clicking scoring 41 or more points. The reason for their success has to be an excellent ground & pound theme featuring RB's Jonathan Ward (1,056 rushing yards, 6.4 YPC & 15 TD's) and Kobe Lewis (953 yards on the ground, 5.6 YPC & 11 TD's). Their QB Quentin Dormady (transfer from Tennessee) has stepped up nicely off an early-season injury to put up a nice 5/1 TD/INT ratio to close out the regular season. If CMU plays fundamental football, there's no way they lose this game! Let's trek to the dome @ Ford Field (home of the Detroit Lions) for the MAC Championship to play the CENTRAL MICHIGAN CHIPPEWAS for the "W" as my MAC-Daddy Better Defense Wins Play!
UAB vs. Florida Atlantic (NCAAF) - 1:30 PM EST Premium Pick
Pick: Point Spread: 8.5/-110 UAB Rating: 9* Mike's CFB Public Missed Perception Play (LOSS)
While the mushes are SUPER eager to pull the lever down with HC Lane Kiffen with his Owls playing on the home field for the Conference USA Championship, we will be going the OTHER way! There's way too much talk about Kiffen leaving for Ole Miss this week INSTEAD of concentrating solely on this game. On the flip side of the coin, we have HC Bill Clark (in his 4th season) whose done an excellent job to say the least going 34-17 SU coming in @ a program who was shut down for the 2016 & 2017 seasons! This institution knows this venue very well as they beat FAU 31-28 in 14' as 4 1/2-point dogs as well as pasting Northern Illinois 37-13 in last year's Boca Raton Bowl. My bottom line says this team has shown guts. When the chips were on the line for the division, they won the decider with a 20-14 win over Louisiana Tech @ Legion Field 2 weeks ago. Whether Tyler Johnson comes back or Clark decides to go with Dylan Hopkins @ QB, their offense has averaged 25 PPG which is comfortable taking into account considering 3rd-year DC David Reeves' pressure 3-4 defensive scheme has paid dividends holding opponents to 19 PPG & are ranked 5th in the country in total defense. The Owls rank a distant 62nd in that category. Let's crunch a few numbers! Florida Atlantic has struggled of late as home chalk of 10 or less going just 1-4 ATS. UAB has continued to be under-valued by pretty much everyone as they've had many return-window visits with an outstanding 23-11-2 spread mark since the program was re-instated. The dagger for us looks the Blazers coming off a SU/ATS road favorite win as they've come back the following week to go 5-0 ATS. Yes, Kiffen & Co. may get a few scores here & there but too few & far between to comfortably win by double-digits. That's exactly where we'll be playing it & going! Let's cruise down to FAU Stadium in Boca Raton, FL to play the UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA-BIRMINGHAM BLAZERS (buying to a key + 10 1/2) as my CFB Public Missed Perception Play!
Baylor vs. Oklahoma (NCAAF) - 12:00 PM EST Premium Pick
Pick: Money Line: -300 Oklahoma Rating: 10* Mike's Championship Perfect Storm Headliner Moneyliner (WIN)
With Baylor holding all the cards in their earlier meeting since Boomer Schooner WR CeeDee Lamb was out of the lineup, QB/Alabama grad transfer Jalen Hurts & Co. made the necessary adjustments & took what the Bears' defense gave them. Despite digging an early 28-3 hole & 31-10 halftime deficit, HC Lincoln Riley made the necessary adjustments & ruled the game the rest of the way. After the dust cleared, Oklahoma not only controlled the clock in time of possession 41:11 to 18:49, but out-scored Baylor 24-0 in the final stanzas to stage the largest comeback win school history. Look for OU to follow those blueprints to continue to rake havoc despite a defense ranked 39th in total "D" (new DC Alex Grinch's unit continues to be under-valued since Oklahoma's actually 26th) & take what is given throughout. Hurts & Co. can score in droves (44.3 PPG-5th in country) & lead the nation in total yards of offense per game with 564.3 yards. My bottom line says the Sooners will ALSO not be handing turnovers left & right that led to 14 quick points the 1st time around. The X-Factor no doubt is 6'2" Jr. WR Lamb (whose in the lineup this time) who 20.7 yards per reception & 14 TD's remain a matchup problem. I'm ALSO concerned how a Baylor team (making their 1st appearance in this title game) reacts after the BIG rumor of HC Matt Rhule bolting for a better job. Numbers CLEARLY show that Oklahoma (11-2 ATS of late as single-digit chalk) is a proven commodity in Big 12 Haymakers going 9-1 SU & 7-2-1 ATS in this decider! Futhermore, there's been 49 times conference opponents have met for Round 2 the past 21 years. In those meetings where the chalk won SU & is still favored the second time, that favorite has come back to play lights-out turning in a dependable 19-2 ML record! The dagger for us HAS to be the favorite ALSO being a ML window-cashing 9-0 SU the past 9 championships. Are you ready? These SAME Sooners show better the NE Patriots-like numbers when coming off a SU/ATS road favorite win. in that role, they've gone a stupified & perfect storm 64-0 SU! There you have it as we go to AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX to play the OKLAHOMA SOONERS as my Championship Perfect Storm Headliner Moneyliner!
NOTES: I was very disappointed on the game prep done by Virginia HC Bronco Mendenhall & his coaching staff. It seemed from the get-go that they didn't have a clue how to solve the Clemson defense. HC Dabo Swinney NEVER took his foot off the gas in pummeling the Wahoos even in the 2nd half. In the end, it was another win for the mushes (they've been pretty lucky the past month) as we went under .500 for the week & split the 10 Stars. Moving on, it's Army-Navy @ Lincoln Financial Field in Philly this Saturday @ 3 PM that always concludes the CFB regular season. The CFB 4-Team Playoff (semi-Final Round) & bowls have been announced. It's #1 L.S.U. (13-0) taking on Oklahoma (12-1) in the Peach Bowl from Atlanta on Saturday, December 28th @ 4 PM. The other semi-final pits #2 Ohio State (13-0) versus #3 Clemson (13-0) in the Fiesta Bowl from Glendale, Arizona @ 8 PM immediately following game 1. The National Championship will have to wait until January 13 (16 days later) when both winners meet for all the marbles @ 8 PM from New Orleans. Some notable bowl games of interest are: Penn State (10-2) hooking up with Memphis (12-1) in the Cotton Bowl Dec. 28th & 4 New Year's Day tilts with Michigan (9-3) clashing with Alabama (10-2) in the Citrus Bowl, Minnesota (10-2) locking up with Auburn (9-3) in the Outback Bowl, Oregon (11-2) meeting with Wisconsin (10-3) in the Rose Bowl & Georgia (11-2) battling with Baylor (11-2) in the Sugar Bowl. I always love the bowls as teams are better defined & @ fuller strength after the break with personnel (playing or holding out) & most injuries healed. Thanks to all of the subscribers & those who know what's to come for the bowls.
Mike Handzelek's 2019 CFB Week 15 Record: 2-3 for 40%?
Mike Handzelek's 2019-20 CFB Overall Seasonal Record: 36-32 for a sub-par 53%