Alex Turko (@aturko_23)
We all know the all too familiar term “trap game.” For some odd reason these “Seminole traps” have coincidentally always fallen on a Thursday night. Every Florida State fan shares the same uneasy feeling about playing on a Thursday. It could be that it just isn’t orthodox, or that we always have to play on the road since our university won’t allow us to host a Thursday night game, or it could be because we believe in some curse that looms over the program for these mid-week games.
I don’t believe in curses or magic so the reason I hate these games is simply because they never seem to end well for the Noles. Pick your poison of Thursday night heartbreaks: 1995 in our first ACC loss against Virginia, 2010 or 2012 against NC State or 2002 against Louisville in the pouring rain! Florida State was favored in all four of these losses.
Bobby Petrino will lead the 25th ranked Cardinals into Papa John’s stadium with aspirations of repeating the result from the 2002 upset of Bobby Bowden’s Seminoles. Petrino, an offensive guru, finally has his offense back at full strength with the return of star wide-out DeVante Parker, running back Michael Dyer, and starting quarterback Will Gardner.
Fisher claims Parker is a future 1st rounder and he strengthened the coach’s statements with 9 catches for 132 yards in his season debut last weekend against NC State. Dyer is best known for his phenomenal performance as an Auburn Tiger (transferred to Arkansas State then Louisville) against Oregon in the national title game in 2011. Dyer also seemed to hit his stride just in time for the biggest game of the year, rushing for 173 yards versus NC State.
The Cardinals defense has been tremendous against the run this season, an area FSU has struggled with offensively. A storyline to watch will be how Jimbo Fisher attacks this defense. He could come out guns blazing and spread the field against a less talented Louisville secondary. I’m hoping Fisher puts the ball in the hands of Jameis Winston and let him silence the crowd with his right arm.
Florida State will have to endure the initial surge from the hometown Cardinals, who are almost guaranteed to play over their head in an attempt to knock off the champs. I think they’ll take some blows in the early stages of the game, as the Cardinals will be throwing everything they have at the undefeated Noles. Playing turnover free football will be important for the Seminoles to keep the crowd out of the game and avoid the Thursday trap.
CJ Rooks (@cjrooks0415)
Rooks Report Week 9 (10/24/14)
Happy football weekend to everyone and thank you for reading another edition of the Rooks Report.
Last week was the first losing week of the year. To recap I went 3-6 and my only wins were Alabama, Jaguars and Vikings. My losses were Wake Forest, Tulsa, Arkansas, Rutgers, Washington and the Giants. I knew I was going to cool down at some point, but another week brings another opportunity. Some of you have wondered how I choose my games. I have a method that focuses specifically on line movement and I don’t think every game is good to bet on. If you want to be successful betting on sports think about quality of quantity. As always best of luck to everyone this weekend and any feedback you would like to give is always welcomed.
Record on the Year: 33-17 ATS
Ohio State Buckeyes @ Penn State Nittany Lions +14.5: Lets start this week with a team that nobody thinks stands a chance, but Penn State fans and me. I like the Nittany Lions in this position. They come into this game having lost two straight and now face an Ohio State team that has won four in a row and scored at least 50 points in those victories. I like Penn State because of their head coach James Franklin. Franklin made a name for himself having his team prepared in the underdog role and he did that in the SEC. I am not calling for the upset, but I like Penn State to keep it close. I still am a believer in Christian Hackenberg. If his offensive line gives him time he has the skills to pick apart this weak Ohio State secondary. This line will only continue to climb. Grab Penn State on Saturday +14.5
USC Trojans @ Utah Utes Pick Em: Yes, I know Cody Kessler just threw 7 touchdown passes last week against Colorado, but that won’t continue this week. Utah is not getting the best quarterback play either, but I like this team because of their defense. The only difficult defense USC has played was Stanford. Yes, they won, but only because Stanford imploded in the red zone. This Utah defense is for real and now they are coming home to their fans and that place will be rocking. I like the Utes. If you look closely at the line movement you will find something interesting too. According to one site the line opened USC favored 1.5, but it has since dropped down to a pick-em. The public and majority of bets are on USC because of their name and the big performance last week. I will go opposite and take Utah.
Arizona State Sun Devils @ Washington Huskies +3.5: Here is another case of what have you done for me lately. Arizona State just blew out a decent Stanford team last week while the Huskies got whooped up in Oregon. On top of that Arizona State is going to get their starting quarterback back in Taylor Kelly. Why do I like Washington? It is the same reason as last week and the same reason I like Penn State this week. The home team is an underdog and the head coach is a genius in the underdog role. On top of that this Washington defense is very good and after that bleak showing last week I expect them to be ready to play. This line opened at 3.5 and has not moved with all the attention on the Sun Devils. I say go with Washington and grab the 3 with the hook before it drops.
Texas Longhorns +10 @ Kansas State Wildcats: I almost didn’t add this game, but I think Charlie Strong will get one big win for himself this year and he is running out of chances. Don’t be fooled by the close game against Iowa State last weekend. This Longhorn team was riding high after almost defeating Oklahoma. This line also tells a story too. Texas was a 2 touchdown dog against Baylor and Oklahoma and now goes on the road and is only getting 10 points. I think Vegas is screaming for you to take Kansas State after that huge upset win over the Sooners. Its tough to bet against Kansas State and the wizard Bill Snyder, but I like Charlie Strong and his Texas team to at least keep it close. Watch this line movement, you may want to grab Texas now before it drops again. Longhorns for the cover!
Alabama Crimson Tide @ Tennessee Volunteers +17.5: Well this game sure has set up nicely for Vegas. They knew after Alabama’s performance last weekend they could put any number they wanted to on the board and the Crimson Tide were going to get money. The line opened at 14.5 and has climbed to as high as 17.5 in some places. Volunteers head coach Butch Jones said that Justin Worley may not play, but if you read other reports apparently he is playing coy and there is no doubt Worley will suit up. I think Butch Jones has had this game circled ever since Lane Kiffin was named offensive coordinator for Alabama. This is Tennessee’s super bowl. They have had a demoralizing year and they need a confidence pick me up if they want to become bowl eligible this season. The youth of the Volunteers scares me, but I think they will be able to pass the ball on this young Alabama secondary. Once again I am getting sucked into a good head coach in an underdog role, Butch Jones. Grab the points here, but don’t watch this game unless you have the stomach for it. It is either going to be close or an Alabama blowout in the first quarter.
Chicago Bears +6 @ New England Patriots: Now onto the NFL. The Bears are not playing up to their potential and now they have a locker room feud. On top of that they get to go play a Patriot team that has been one of the hottest teams in the league after a loss to Kansas City. I think it is a perfect time for the Bears to rebound and get their season back on track. The Bears are loaded on offense and here we go again I like head coach Marc Trestman. He has got to get Jay Cutler to play better. We have seen glimpses of what this offense can be if it’s run correctly. Every week Bears fans have to be losing their mind and thinking what could be if Jay Cutler played better. Trust me he will this weekend. The Patriots are happy right now just getting the wins. New England is trying to get their defense back on track after losing Jerod Mayo for the year and just made a trade to try and fill that hole. This Patriot team is good, but a touchdown favorite over a talented Bears team is too much. The line opened at 7 and had dropped to 5.5 before it climbed back up to 6. That is smart money on the Bears. Grab the 6 while you can and watch out on Sunday for a close game. Maybe even an upset.
Philadelphia Eagles @ Arizona Cardinals -2.5: Philadelphia will of course be the popular play. They have turned into the public darling because of their high-powered offense. However, this is the game where you will find out if Nick Foles is a legitimate NFL quarterback. This Arizona defense is for real and they play even better at home. The secondary will be the test for Nick Foles. They will press the Eagles wide receivers and I think get the better of them. Arizona is the team that nobody is talking about and they are sitting at 5-1. The Eagles just blew out the New York Giants and will be feeling even better about themselves after the buy week. I say roll with the Cardinals and grab the 2.5 before it gets to that key number of 3
Miami Dolphins @ Jacksonville Jaguars +6: I bounced back and forth on this game because I don’t like to bet with emotion, but I think this line is way too high. The Jaguars were only a four-point dog last week against a talented Cleveland Browns team. Now all of a sudden the Dolphins are almost a touchdown favorite. I don’t think so. This line opened at 5 and is only going to get higher unless sharp money comes in this weekend. The public loves the Dolphins after their win last week against Chicago and expects them to handle the Jaguars with ease. Not so fast. Blake Bortles will need to limit the turnovers this week, but I expect another close game for Jacksonville. Miami is not that good of a team to be favored almost a touchdown on the road. Grab the Jaguars and the points.
By: CJ Rooks (@CJRooks0415)
Happy football weekend to everyone and thank you for reading another edition of the Rooks Report.
I hope you had the chance to read the article last week because my picks finished with a 6-1 record! To recap the six wins were Duke, Purdue, Minnesota, Ole Miss, Oakland Raiders and the Jacksonville Jaguars. The only loss was the Auburn Tigers. I guess Mississippi State is for real this year. As always best of luck to everyone this weekend and any feedback you would like to give is always welcomed.
Record on the Year: 30-11 ATS
Syracuse Orangemen at Wake Forest Demon Deacons +6: I will start out this week with the least popular game in the ACC conference. Wake Forest is coming off a bye week and it could not have come at a better time. They were just crushed by a Florida State team, but now will come home facing a Syracuse team that is very injured and possibly overlooking the Demon Deacons. Wake Forest has not had much success this year on offense and that’s because they are starting a true freshmen at quarterback. However because of injuries, Syracuse is also starting a true freshman under center and he will be going on the road for the first time. This line opened up at 3.5 and has gone as high as 6. That is a lot of points for a freshmen quarterback to cover on the road in his first start. Syracuse is feeling good after only losing to the Seminoles by 17. This line is all public steam and they think Syracuse will just walk all over Wake Forest. I say go with the home dog and grab the 6 points.
South Florida Bulls at Tulsa Golden Hurricanes +2: So another game completely off the radar, but I cannot ignore the fact that South Florida is favored on the road. Vegas odds makers knew what they were doing with this line. South Florida played well last weekend against a very good East Carolina team and should go into Tulsa and easily defeat a team with a five game losing streak. I say wrong. There is no way you can back South Florida as a road favorite, but that is what the public is doing. The Bulls are being backed by over 80% according to one site. Once again I will go the other way and I also think that Tulsa might even end their losing streak. Grab Tulsa and the 2 points
Texas A&M Aggies at Alabama Crimson Tide -13.5: Okay back to a matchup that really matters. The Aggies come into this game riding a two game losing streak and are finally showing the team we expected them to be. Alabama comes into this game after playing the previous two on the road and narrowly escaping an upstart Arkansas program. It seems like the Aggies are on my card every weekend. I am going with the Tide this Saturday to easily cover this number. Nick Saban is mad and now the media is telling everyone that this team is not talented enough and the offense is not as good as originally thought. On top of that Alabama is 1-7 ATS in their last 8 games and we all know deep down Saban does not like the Aggies. This line opened 11.5 and has gone as high as 13.5. All the money is on Texas A&M, but the line still moves higher. That means smart money is on Alabama and so are we. Take the Tide -13.5 before it gets too high.
Georgia Bulldogs at Arkansas Razorbacks +3.5: Did you know that Bret Bielema and his Arkansas team have not won an SEC game since he became coach? That means he is 0-11 against the SEC. That is very bad and he needs a big win. He almost got it last weekend against Alabama and I think the Razorbacks are fuming that they didn’t. Georgia comes into this game riding high after demolishing an overrated Missouri team. The Razorbacks have a good defense with a really strong run game. Add in the fact that Georgia is playing back to back road games. This line may go higher if Todd Gurley plays, but I still like the Razorbacks. Wait until Saturday to grab this line just in case Gurley does play because you want to get the best number available. Take the Razorbacks and grab the points Saturday morning.
Rutgers Scarlet Knights +21.5 at Ohio State Buckeyes: This game screams public to me so much. Ohio State has played very well recently and is now coming off a bye week and playing against a Rutgers team who the media has deemed overrated. This line was at 19.5 yesterday and is now at 21.5. That is a huge spike and way too many points. Add in the fact that Rutgers knows it’s an underdog and they are using that for motivation. This team believes they can win in Columbus on Saturday and are not afraid. Take Rutgers and the 21.5 before it drops any lower.
Washington Huskies +21 at Oregon Ducks: So Oregon easily defeated an overrated UCLA team last week and all of a sudden they are penciled back into the playoffs. I don’t think so. The king of the underdogs himself, Chris Petersen, is the head coach of the Washington Huskies. The same Chris Petersen that was at Boise State. Petersen has his defense playing very well and the offense will put up points against Oregon. I don’t think they pull the upset, but I do like the Huskies to keep it close. My opinion on Mariota is still wavering, but he can’t beat a team by himself. Oregon is riding high after a blowout win over a rival and will overlook an upstart Huskies program. Grab the Huskies +21 before it drops.
Minnesota Vikings +6 at Buffalo Bills: This line in my opinion is a huge overreaction to how the Vikings have played the past two weeks. They were blown out against Green Bay and were dominated by a Lions team that has a really good defense. Buffalo is being praised as new team with Kyle Orton as the quarterback. I think Orton is playing well, but this is a lot of points. Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer lit a fire under his team after last weekend’s loss and said he will start pulling players off the field for not playing well. Zimmer is a great coach and I am telling you he is motivating his team. This line opened at 4 and has climbed as high as 6 and that is all public pushing it. Grab the 6 before it begins to drop because I think it will. Teddy Bridgewater is a good quarterback and he will showcase that again on Sunday. I like the Vikings to keep it close.
New York Giants +6.5 at Dallas Cowboys: Well look at what we have here. The Dallas Cowboys who beat the defending super bowl champs are now all of sudden the best team in the NFL. I do not agree at all. I will admit the Cowboys are playing well, but this is classic case of what have you done for me lately. The Giants were just blown out against the Eagles last weekend and everybody tuned in to see it. The defense actually played decent in the game forcing two turnovers, but the offense was abysmal and scored zero points. Now they go into this game a big underdog. This line opened at -3.5 before and now its 6.5 and even 7 in some places. That is all public opinion and I like the Giants to bounce back and make this game exciting. Grab the Giants and 6.5 before it drops any lowers.
Cleveland Browns at Jacksonville Jaguars +6: Now to save the best for last. If you read my article last week you would know I called for the Raiders and the Jags to get their first win. Man was I close. I hope you put more on the spread to offset the loss if you took the money lines, but they both almost pulled it off. The Browns just blew out the Steelers and are now being talked about as a possible playoff team. The Jaguars come into this game hungry for their first win and should of won last weekend. The offense sputtered out after going up 7-0 and still came close at the end if not for a fumble by Cecil Shorts and a blocked field goal. The Browns are getting all the love in this one and are being backed strongly by the public. The line opened at 4 and has climbed to 6 already. I think Jags keep it close and maybe, just maybe get a home win for this very supportive fan base. Grab the Jags and the 6 points before it drops any lower.
CJ Rooks (@cjrooks0415)
Rooks Report Week 7 (10/09/14)
Happy football weekend to everyone and thank you for reading another edition of the Rooks Report.
Last week was not a spectacular week, but we still finished with a 5-3 record! The 5 wins were the Gators, Mississippi State Bulldogs, TCU, Clemson Tigers, and St. Louis Rams. Brutal collapses by Stanford, Texas Longhorns and the Tennessee Titans. For a moment on Saturday I was dreaming of an undefeated record. I can dare to dream I guess. As always, best of luck to everyone this weekend and any feedback you would like to give is always welcomed.
Record on the Year: 24-10
Duke Blue Devils+3 @Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets: Let’s begin this week with two teams that are a little off the radar. Georgia Tech comes into this matchup with an undefeated record of 5-0 and a 10 game winning streak against Duke. Duke is coming off a bye week after suffering a miserable loss to the Hurricanes. I like this game mostly because of the line movement. Most places opened up Georgia Tech favored 5, but that line has come crashing down to 3. So we have an undefeated team, at home, 10 straight victories over the opponent, and the line drops. That should scream to betters out there that something is wrong. On top of that both head coaches are taking shots at one another. Give me the Blue Devils and grab the 3 points.
Michigan State Spartans @ Purdue Boilermakers +21: I am so sick of hearing how good Michigan State is. All the talk about how they should be a top 5 team if they didn’t lose to Oregon. Who have they played though? They played Oregon and got beat by double digits, and then beat a Nebraska team that hasn’t showed up in a big game since Bo Pelini has been the coach. The Spartans almost gave that game away getting to comfortable with a big lead. Purdue has a new starting quarterback by the name of Austin Appleby. Last weekend Appleby led the Boilermakers to their first Big 10 win since 2012. I am not calling for an upset here, but I like Purdue to keep it close. Michigan State has played 4 of its 5 games at home and now has to take a trip to play against a Purdue team that always plays them tough. Grab the points while you can and take Purdue +21.
Northwestern Wildcats @ Minnesota Golden Gophers -4: Another Big 10 game on the card. This is unheard of. So Northwestern just came off big wins at Penn State and at home vs Wisconsin. Now they are going back on the road to Minnesota who is just coming off a bye week. The public is in love with Northwestern and can’t believe they are getting points with this team again. As you know we don’t like going with the public and we will take the Golden Gophers in this one. The line opened Minnesota -2.5 and has climbed to -4 even with the public backing Northwestern. Smart money is on Minnesota and so are we. Grab the 4 before it gets too high.
Auburn Tigers -3 @ Mississippi State Bulldogs: Okay back to a game that really matters in college football. Auburn is coming into this game off a huge blowout win over LSU. What I think is more impressive than the Tigers offense is their defense. The Tigers will need that defense to slow down Dak Prescott. I told you last week to watch out for Mr. Prescott. He will put up big numbers again, but I think Auburn is just too talented and will get out of Mississippi with the win. The Tigers have one thing on their mind and that’s a national championship. In a matchup like this I also like Gus Malzahn to use every trick he has in the bag. Mississippi State is feeling really good about themselves after dismantling Texas A&M, but I think A&M is overrated anyway. Take Auburn -3 while you can still grab it. Don’t watch this game though, unless you like to sweat a lot.
Ole Miss Rebels +2 @ Texas A&M Aggies: Yes, I know what happened last weekend with Ole Miss. They had a huge upset win over Alabama and Texas A&M was blown out. Kevin Sumlin will have his team ready, and no way will they lose 2 in a row. I say wrong. This Ole Miss Defense is legit and they will stifle Kenny Hill. I like Hills potential, but not now. He is too inconsistent with his throws and we saw last week what happens when he plays a tough defense. I am concerned about Ole Miss and how they will come back to earth after such a big win; however I like Hugh Freeze as a coach and he will get his team on track. The public loves A&M and this line is coming down. Grab the 2 points while you can and roll with Ole Miss.
San Diego Chargers @ Oakland Raiders +7: So San Diego is the talk of the NFL. Phillip Rivers is putting together a MVP type season and the defense is playing really well and shut out the Jets last week. Why am I picking the Raiders then? I am taking Oakland because they are the team nobody will want to bet on. They are winless and just fired their head coach. So the public will love the Chargers. I think the Raiders will play hard because they now have a new coach they want to impress. This game will either be close in the 4th quarter or a complete blowout. I am even going to go one step further and call for the outright upset. Sprinkle a little on the Oakland money line too. Raiders get their first win of the year!
Jacksonville Jaguars +Whatever @ Tennessee Titans: There is no line on this game yet because of the uncertainty with Jake Locker. I don’t care what the line is you take the Jaguars. Gus Bradley and this team are starving for a win and the Titans are realing after a brutal collapse last week against the Browns. Storm Johnson will get his chance to shine against Tennessee and will showcase that he is a talented back. Also Blake Bortles is a better quarterback than whoever the Titans have. The Jaguar defense finally woke up last week against Pittsburgh. Take the Jaguars whenever this line comes out. If you have extra put some on the money line also. The Jags will get their first win on the season!