G.W. Gras

Senior Writer for The Bears Brawl and Lead Host of The Bears Brawl Podcast.

Here at Beating Vegas, we have been red hot, going 7-0 with our locks for the last two weeks.  Let’s see if we can keep this hot streak going.

 

Liberty +18.5 at Virginia Cavaliers
Over / Under 55

At some point during this season somebody needs to step up in the ACC Coastal division – and so far – by the slightest of margins – it’s the Virginia Cavaliers.

Virginia doesn’t do anything exceptionally well – they just get it done. Their best look is on defense where they are holding opponents to 3.4 yards a carry. Through the air, they are holding opponents to a 56.8% completion percentage – and what is even better is that they only allow 193 passing yards a game. This is second best in the ACC behind Clemson’s number of 128.5.

That pass defense will need to keep their head on a swivel because Liberty quarterback “Buckshot” Calvert is completing 61% of his passes, with 23 touchdowns and only 3 interceptions on the season. The passing game is averaging 300 yards a game and have a 1000 yard receiver in Antonio Gandy-Golden.

The running game of the Liberty Flames is handled by the running back tandem of Frankie Hickson and Joshua Mack, both have over 600 yards rushing and are averaging 5.3 and 6 yards per carry respectively.

The Flames have some gaudy offensive numbers but that’s mostly due to the fact that as an independent, they have elected to give themselves one of the easiest schedules in college football. Out of their six wins, the most impressive is an 18 point victory over a 5-5 Buffalo team. . .They had back to back shootouts against Maine and Rutgers, winning the first and losing the second. . . and lets not forget beating New Mexico State by seven points. Oh, and lets not fail to mention they play New Mexico State AGAIN at the end of their schedule.

Virginia can’t afford any kind of slip ups at this point of the season and will be looking to tighten things up against a team like Liberty who won’t be able to move the ball passed the fifty yard line too many times this Saturday.

You’re looking at a 31-10 win here, which is just enough. But don’t be surprised if it ends up being 45-7.

The Pick: Virginia -18.5

 

 

Minnesota Gophers -12 at Northwestern Wildcats
Over / Under 38

Can we all just admit at this point we’re tired of the Northwestern Wildcats?

Every year we hear about the “grit” and the “toughness.” — but what about the “boredom” 
“predictability” and “lack of explosion?”

The Gophers are coming off of their first loss of the season at Iowa. That’s a respectable team and stadium to lose an away game to and its a tough break for one of the better stories in college football this year, but all is not lost.

Head coach PJ Fleck still has his Gophers in a prime spot to play in the Big 10 Championship game and losing to a Northwestern team, who hasn’t notched a single conference win under their belt – is not on his mind.

Fleck has proven to be a great motivator this season and he will surely be on his team to not be down on themselves.

Source: Steven Branscombe/Getty Images North America)

The Gophers’ passing attack is led by Tanner Morgan, who is completing 68% of his passes for 10.8 yards an attempt. He’ll be licking his chops going against this Northwestern defense that allows a 62% completion percentage to the opposition.

Northwestern can stop the run pretty well, but they’ll be on the field all day long due to this inept offense. The Wildcats are left to being a one dimensional offense, running the ball – because they complete less than 50% of their passes.

The Wildcats’ best conference games came in close losses to two other Big Ten cellar-dwellers in Purdue and Nebraska.

The spread could be 14 and I wouldn’t hesitate.

The Pick: Minnesota -12

Coastal Carolina +5.5 at Louisiana Monroe
Over / Under 64

The Chanticleers of Coastal Carolina have to win out in order to get to six wins, which would put them into a bowl game and before ending the season at home against Texas State, they’ll have to go into Louisiana to take on the Warhawks.

The Chanticleers pass defense is their weak link, allowing a completion percentage of 71% to the opposition. but even then – they are only allowing 18.5 completions a game and just about 200 yards passing. On the ground, the defense is pretty average, allowing 4.4 yards a carry.

Source: Robert H. Levey/Getty Images North America

The Warhawks can only dream of having a run defense like that. Louisiana-Monroe is allowing 5.7 yards a carry and have allowed over 2500 rushing yards on the season. Coastal Carolina’s lead rusher CJ Marable is averaging 4.9 yards a carry – which works out in the favor of Coastal Carolina after calculating a SMASH average gives Marable an average of 5.1 yards a rush.

The Warhawks have two players in running back  Josh Johnson and quarterback Caleb Evans who are averaging 6.3 and 5.5 yards respectively (5.35 and 4.9 SMASH averages).

On paper – the percentages tell you that Coastal Carolina is the better passing team, but in truth, they pass the ball in a very minute vacuum. Louisiana Monroe, is willing to throw the ball more and looking at the numbers you would figure that would work in their favor.

The Chanticleers faced a better passing attack AND a better rush defense last week in Arkansas State and ended up losing by 1.

The Pick: Coastal Carolina +5.5

San Jose State Spartans -3.5 at UNLV Running Rebels
Over /Under 65

The San Jose State Spartans have a passing attack led by quarterback Josh Love, that the nation should be watching a lot closer.

Love is leading the 10th best passing attack in college football, in terms of passing yards, and at 6’2” 205, he will be getting some looks in later rounds, come draft time.

Source: George Frey/Getty Images North America

The Spartans are a four win team, that could’ve very easily been a six win team but lost by 3 to Nevada and 2 to Hawaii, last week.

Josh Love will be seeing one of the better pass defenses in the Mountain West Conference, in UNLV. Keep in mind, the Running Rebels are the fourth best in that category allowing a completion percentage of 57.8%. . . Welcome to the Mountain West folks!

When playing against better passing attacks, UNLV has lost to the tune of scores like 38-13, 56-27 and 21-7.

San Jose State rush defense, which allows 4.7 on the ground is the only thing that will be tested because UNLV is just awful in the passing game and averages 4.4 yards on the ground.

If UNLV wasn’t so abysmal on offense, taking the home-dog with the hook would be enticing but. . ..

The Pick: San Jose State -3.5