Rice +16.5 over Northwestern
Prefer the points with the Rice Owls who will be able to score some points against a Northwestern team that left it on the field last week in their win over Nebraska. The Wilcats have historically been a brutal 3-12 ATS home favorite including a 3-7 badge giving double-digits. LY’s Big 10 POY Dan Persa (NW QB) is injured again but Cat replacement Colter has been better than adequate. That said, Rice comes off their best outing of the year, a 41-37 upset of UTEP that saw the Owls roll to 671 yards of total offense. Northwestern is short-handed but needs to win here and home vs Minnesota to get Bowl eligible. This is a case with a poor favorite coming off the program’s biggest win in several years just looking to get out of Dodge with a win. Take the points.
Kentucky at Vanderbilt Under 44
Kentucky comes off its best effort of the year, a come-from-behind win over Ole Miss. The Wildcats average just 18 ppg on 280 ypg which drops to 8 ppg and 149 ypg on the road granted that includes maulings at LSU and South Carolina. The Cats will have touble moving the ball against a much improved Vandy team with a defense that flies to the ball. The Commodores can do some things on offense too now that they’ve settled on Jordan Rodgers (Aaron’s brother) at quarterback. Vandy is 16-6 Under in its L22 SEC games, and 10-3 in the L13 games where the posted opening total fell between 42 and 45. Kentucky’s best unit is its defense and points figure to tough to come buy on both sides. Play the Under.
Eastern Michigan -3 over Buffalo
The EMUs pretty much saw their Bowl hopes go up in smoke with a tough loss to Ball State. The Eagles are having a breakthrough season and should be able to dust themselves off and beat a struggling Buffalo team that is off a bye but the loser of six of seven. Eastern Mich does not breed confidence as a favorite but this is an improving program showing buy signs. In fact, Eastern Michigan was favored just twice in four years from 2007-2010. This year they’ve been favored 4X and are 3-1 SU but 0-4 ATS. Sure the Bulls have had the extra prep time but they’ve lost their L3 road games by a combined 92 points. A win here would be another major step for this program and the price is cheap enough. Play Eastern Michigan.
Navy +9 over SMU
We’re going to grab points again with a team with a high-powered offense fighting to become Bowl eligible vs a phony SMU outfit that doesn’t take care of the ball. The Middies have ambushed the Mustangs before winning 28-21 (-1) last year in Annapolis and 38-35 (-7) here in 2009. This is never a good matchup for the SMU as it comes in the middle of CUSA conference play and there is little time to prepare for Navy’s problematic option attack. Certainly SMU would like to win this game but they have bigger fish to fry next week with the unbeaten Houston Cougars on deck before their seaon finale vs Rice. Desperate and disciplined Midshipmen the way to go here. Take Navy.