Early Saturday Value Plays: Can Air Force Put a Scare in Michigan?

Willie Bee

Friday, September 15, 2017 1:38 PM UTC

Friday, Sep. 15, 2017 1:38 PM UTC

Nothing like a cold Bloody Mary to begin our Saturdays, and nothing like finding value on the college football odds in the early contests to add to our bankrolls.

Talk about a huge step up in competition. Two weeks after a lopsided win over an FCS school, the Air Force Falcons need to find a higher gear for a matchup with perennial powerhouse Michigan. As one might expect, the Wolverines are double-digit chalk for the 12 PM (ET) kickoff carried by BTN. BetOnline is selling Michigan at -23½, that spread down a touch from the -26 it was sitting on earlier this week. Most shops have 48 for the total, that number sliding down from when it first went out in the low-to-mid 50s.

The Falcons ran all over VMI for a 62-0 decision in Week 1, limiting the Keydets to less than 100 yards of offense while piling up nearly 650 on their side of the box score. Troy Calhoun emptied his bench with 16 different backs toting the pigskin in the full-blown option attack. Coming off their fine performance over Florida, Michigan suffered a bit of a hangover in Week 2 with a 36-14 victory vs. Cincinnati, the Wolverines favored by 31 on the NCAA football odds.

Michigan has beaten Air Force both times before, each game in Ann Arbor with the most recent five years ago when the Falcons almost pulled off an outright upset with a similar spread. I like the value on Air Force plus the points.

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 Cowboys & Panthers Should Light Up Scoreboard

This is an interesting matchup on so many levels, and certainly proved to be a year ago when the Oklahoma State Cowboys scored late to beat the Pittsburgh Panthers in Stillwater. This year’s battle takes place in Iron City, ESPN televising the noon (ET) boot at Heinz Field where the No. 9 Cowboys are favored by 13½ with 63½ for the total.

Oklahoma State is carrying about 10 extra points compared to last season, but has already shown the ability to cover large spreads with home wins over Tulsa and South Alabama. Mike Gundy has another explosive offense that is again under the direction of Mason Rudolph whose favorite target is preseason All-America receiver James Washington. Pitt struggled to beat Youngstown State, then fell behind early at Penn State a week ago and never caught up. Though he’s listed as probable, QB Max Browne does need to be monitored this week due to a slight concussion.

The Cowboys should get the win, but I’m hesitant to lay the points. The value here from where I’m sitting is the total, which is why I’m adding the ‘over’ to my free college football picks.

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Fading The Aggies Is Usually A Wise Choice

We’ll keep this one short and sweet, unlike our Saturday morning Bloody Mary’s which we like tangy and tall. The Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns head west to College Station for what is an 11 AM kick local time at Kyle Field against the Texas A&M Aggies. Tune to SEC Network for coverage, and prepare to lay 24 on the Aggies if you dare.

Yes, A&M did cash as short ‘dogs in that debacle at UCLA two weeks ago, but the Ags needed to hump it late to get past Nichols State last Saturday. They’re unsettled at QB and disorganized on the sidelines, which is why I’m settling on organizing a play on the visitors plus the points.

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Free College Football Picks: Air Force +23½, OK State-Pitt Over 63½, UL-Lafayette +24
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