Archive for September 2016

College Football Week 5 Picks

September 29, 2016

This week we have two games involving teams who have played mutual opponents and two games involving reverse line movement, both of which are angles that I love!

#7 Stanford at #10 Washington -3.5, 8:00 ESPN, Friday:

Sagarin has Stanford -4 as the fair spread, which is the largest single computer divergence on the card, while FPI thinks Huskies -3.5 is dead on. This is the only game on the slate where the computers disagree on the winner. On the flip side, Stanford is taking 62% of public bets, in spite of which the line has not moved. Tough call balancing the computers vs the sharp money, but we lean towards taking the points here with the hook on the wrong side of the Huskies. Neither team looked great last week and either could have easily lost to an inferior opponent but Stanford has the bigger game-changer in their corner in what should be a close one down to the wire.

#22 Texas at Oklahoma State -2.5, 11:00 ABC:

The ND and Cal losses last weekend really took the shine off of Texas in a hurry. FPI/ Sagarin average fair line is -6 for the home team, who wasn’t disgraced against a Baylor team last week that is probably a lot better than people think at this point in time. 58% of public bets are on Texas which has moved the hook to the right side of the Cowboys.

North Carolina at #12 Florida State -11.5, 2:30 ESPN:

FSU 45-Ole Miss 34. Ole Miss 45-Georgia 14. Georgia 33- UNC 24. So FSU wins by 51 via transitive property. Line looks fair according to the computers and betting trends show some sharp bettors on UNC, but we’ll lean towards the form lines here even as the favorite takes 70% of public spread bets. As noted opening weekend, UNC’s main weakness is its rushing D, and this Noles rushing attack is statistically even stronger than Georgia’s is.

#8 Wisconsin at #4 Michigan -10.5, 2:30 ABC:

This line appears to be begging you to take Wisconsin. Wisconsin is taking 62% of spread bets but causing no line movement, so the sharps are on the Wolverines, and this is a classic “fade the trendy dog” play. For support, the FPI/ Sagarin average spread is -13.5. This seems like a lot of points in what figures to be a defensive struggle but the feeling is that Michigan, being 4th nationally in scoring offense, will have a massive edge moving the ball, as Wisconsin ranks just 63rd and still has questions at QB. Wins over LSU and Michigan State by Wisconsin don’t look as impressive following last week’s results, as LSU lost to Auburn, and MSU’s claim to fame was weakened as Notre Dame suffered an embarrassing home loss to Duke.

#11 Tennessee -3.5 at #25 Georgia, 2:30 CBS:

The week’s largest spread divergence from the computers, with the FPI/Sagarin average spread at -9. The public agrees that this is a strange spread and has moved the line hook to the Vols’ side thanks to 76% support after Vegas opened it -3. Georgia seems very unbalanced offensively and Nick Chubb is listed as questionable. Tennessee seemed to really find its groove offensively in the second half against a far better Florida defense. It is never easy on the road in between the hedges but these two teams look to be headed in different directions currently.

Oklahoma -3.5 at #21 TCU, 4:00 FOX:

Spread opened -2 which is fair by the computers, but 70% of public money on the Sooners has driven the move. With the hook now on the wrong side of the line for Sooner supporters, this is the toughest call of the day. TCU’s strength is in its passing game and although Oklahoma’s secondary has struggled thus far (82nd in passing defense), they have the talent to be a top ten unit by the end of the season. TCU’s pass defense has been even worse against lesser competition (88th), which should allow Baker Mayfield to open up the OU passing game and as a result lead the Sooners to really do some damage on the ground thanks to the balance, which was a struggle in two losses to tougher opponents than this one.

#17 Michigan State -6.5 at Indiana, 7:00 BTN:

Sparty’s win at ND doesn’t look as impressive as it once did and they just took a clobbering at home while looking completely inept offensively in a 30-6 loss to Wisconsin. FPI/ Sagarin average has the fair spread at -3.5. We see reverse line movement as well with 74% of public bets on Sparty, as the line has actually moved towards IU from -8.5, indicating sharp money on the Hoosiers. It’s fair to wonder again whether this Spartan offense might just be bad, and while Indiana’s defense is certainly a step down from Wisconsin’s, it’s actually probably a bit better than Notre Dame’s is (41st vs 101st), which is a crazy statistic.

#3 Louisville -1.5 at #5 Clemson, 7:00 ABC:

The week’s largest line move as this opened Clemson -3.5, thanks to 61% of public spread bets on Louisville. Computers see this as a Pick’Em, so there appears to be some edge in taking the home team in the day’s biggest game. Louisville’s offense has been downright scary, but Clemson’s defense, despite losing a lot from last year’s squad, will be its toughest test yet and is being underestimated by many- the Tigers rank 3rd nationally in total defense and 5th in scoring defense coming into this. Clemson’s high-powered offense should be able to score more efficiently than Florida State did in their embarrassing loss to this opponent and in truth, if you had known you could get points on Clemson at home in this game before the season started, which side would you have been on?

Arizona State at USC -9.5, 7:30 FOX:

Tons of sharp money on the USC dumpster fire. Spread opened -7.5 and we see reverse line movement as it has risen 2 points despite 72% of public bets on ASU. That makes the Sun Devils the trendiest dog on the board, and that in combination with the RLM and USC in desperation mode all in play pointing to the home favorite covering here. The reality is that while 1-3, all of the Trojans’ losses have come against ranked opponents in improved efforts, and Arizona State’s 104th ranked scoring defense offers a chance to make a statement in a prime time home game.

Arizona at UCLA -13.5, 9:30 ESPN:

UCLA 17- BYU 14. BYU 18- Arizona 16. UCLA wins by 5 via transitive property. Computers see the fair spread around -12.5, and this line has risen from -10.5 off the strength of just 51% public support for the home team, so there is some sharp interest in a Bruin blowout. Still, Arizona wasn’t disgraced in an overtime loss to Washington and while the Wildcats are a bit banged up on offense, this seems like too many points for a UCLA team that has looked challenged offensively to this point (101st in Scoring Offense).

Picks For 2 Year Old Stakes Races at Arlington

September 9, 2016

7 (4:26) 7f Arlington Lassie

1 Royalty Princess (8-1): E 75 (5f turf) Lost ground in stretch when winning maiden wire to wire over turf, bullet work over the polytrack, 31% trainer turf to AW; intriguing at these odds.

2 Princess La Quinta (30-1): P 64 (5f turf) 5th on turf in maiden debut, quick turnaround and switch to AW.

3 Richiesdreamgirl (15-1): E 77 (5f) Extended through stretch when wiring maiden debut over this track two months ago, working well since and trainer Rivelli wins with 27% of runners off a similar layoff.

4 Sister Kan (15-1): S 75 (5.5f) Off board but gained late in debut here, adds blinkers, quick turnaround.

5 Lisa’s Premier (12-1): S 75 (5.5f) Off board and gave way late in debut here, quick turnaround.

6 Que Hansen (10-1): S 66 (5.5f) Far back in dirt debut, switches to AW for Maker barn.

7 Diadura (3-1): S 81 (5f) Closed ground winning maiden debut with field high figure over AW here, two straight bullet works since, BRIS Prime Power selection seems logical winner with added pace expected.

8 Hidenseeksally (30-1): E 75 (5f dirt) Broke maiden last out but took four tries to get there, switches to AW, will see more contested pace this time.

9 Spirituality (7-2): E 81 (6f dirt) Extended through stretch winning maiden debut, fig there competitive for win but came on dirt, enters off bullet work elsewhere and switches to AW with pedigree to suit surface, tough read.

10 Mo’s MVP (20-1): S 71 (5.5f) Well back in debut here but enters off bullet work, quick turnaround.

11 R Naja (8-1): S 76 (5.5f) Closed evenly when 2nd in debut over this track, quick turnaround.

12 Benner Island (5-1): P 74 (5.5f dirt) Came on late to win debut over dirt with slow fig, switches to AW with no works over it and although pedigree suits surface switch, draws widest of all.


1) Diadura (3-1)

2) Royalty Princess (8-1)

3) Richiesdreamgirl (15-1)

4) Spirituality (7-2)

8 (4:56) 7f Arlington Futurity

1 Ptolemy (20-1): E 63 (8f turf) 2nd over turf in debut with slow fig at longer distance, 28% trainer turf to AW, average works.

2 Brave Benny (10-1) E 81 (4.5f) Rough trip over dirt last out, but broke maiden here at a much shorter distance before that, only runner with a 5f bullet over the track since last start and he has two of them; live at a price.

3 Romeo O Romeo (6-1) E 81 (5.5f) Rated off pace and extended in stretch to win maiden bow over the Arlington polytrack, working well.

4 Seven Forty Seven (8-1) P 66 (6f dirt) Bad trip when well-beaten in debut over dirt, well bred grandson of Tiznow switches to AW, where he posted two 3f bullets in July over this track.

5 St. Louie Guy (10-1) E 85 (5.5f) Broke maiden last out here in 3rd try, has ascending figs over those efforts, including field high Bris Late Pace last out which should suit given expected pace as well as field high fig beyond 5f on AW, working very well here.

6 Stand And Cheer (12-1) E/P 84 (5.5f) Still a maiden in 4th try, beaten by three of these foes already but has been well supported at the windows previously and is working well.

7 Wellabled (5-2) E 92 (5f) BRIS Prime Power selection and heavy favorite here off his romping, extending 5f maiden debut win over this track; held lead and faded when 2nd on turf last out at 5.5f, was it the surface or the added distance that got him? Shows a 3f bullet work recently and trainer Rivelli is 29% turf to AW, but is far from a sure thing at these odds in a 12 horse field with so much other early speed; defensive use.

8 Birdsnest Party (15-1): P 76 (5.5f) Off board here in debut, beaten by two of these, did make up late ground though and working evenly since.

9 Star Empire (5-1): E/P 82 (6.5f) Undefeated in two career starts, only two time winner in the field was extending in both for 30% AW trainer Wesley Ward, now switches tracks from Keeneland without working here, but has experience advantage as the only entrant to have won on AW beyond 6f and should work out a nice stalking trip behind the speed. Top selection simply has the least question marks and boasts the strongest resume.

10 Oso Ready (10-1): E 87 (5.5f dirt) Won maiden debut over dirt with quick fig but lost ground in stretch, poor trainer dirt to AW record (0 for 15).

11 Maxus (30-1): P 66 (8f turf) Won maiden bow over turf with a slow fig at longer distance, 30% turf to AW trainer has longshot working evenly for cutback try.

12 En Hanse (12-1): P 73 (5.5f turf) 3rd in debut but lost ground late, switches to AW for Maker barn.


1) Star Empire 5-1

2) Wellabled 5-2

3) Brave Benny 10-1

4) St. Louie Guy 10-1