With four weeks of action of this year’s college football season in the books, we now have enough tape on every major team to separate the pretenders from the contenders.
All of our hard work at Doc’s Sports Services has already led to a very profitable start, but in our 41st season of professionally handicapping the games, the best is yet to come.
Each and every week of the season, we dig deep into the numbers of just about every matchup on the slate in order to narrow things down to our three strongest selections for GamingToday. Doc’s earned its reputation as one of the premier companies in the sports gaming industry by gaining a thorough understanding of college football and especially the Big Ten.
This concentration on our “home conference” has been paying major dividends for over 40 years. We firmly believe in the betting strategy of wagering on what you know best and will always stand by the claim that no one else in the business has better insight into Big Ten football than we do.
It was the second-straight clean sweep for our top three plays after going with North Carolina over East Carolina, South Carolina over Missouri and once again riding Notre Dame to victory by the slimmest of margins in its 13-6 win over Michigan as a 6½-point home favorite.
When you look at the Big Ten it is no real surprise that Ohio State is a perfect 4-0 since it has yet to really play anyone, but you have to be impressed with both Minnesota’s and Northwestern’s perfect start as these three teams are the only undefeated ones left in the conference.
Overall, the Big Ten is 33-13 straight-up on the year but a very pedestrian 23-23 against the spread. Wisconsin is a costly 0-4 ATS and both Michigan and Michigan State are 1-3. That may all change with conference play getting underway this weekend.
Here are this week’s selections with opening lines provided by 5Dimes.
Minnesota +7 at Iowa: The Gophers are off last week’s 17-10 upset of Syracuse as 3-point underdogs at home. Second-year head coach Jerry Kill has done an excellent job at revitalizing this program and is way ahead of schedule in turning things around. The strength of this team lies in a defense giving-up an average of just 16.8 ppg. Minnesota has also established a good balance on offense with an average of 222.3 passing yards to go along with 183.9 a game on the ground.
Iowa has stumbled to a 2-2 SU (1-3 ATS) record after a 9-6 loss to Iowa State in Week 2 as 3½-point home favorites and last Saturday’s embarrassing 32-31 loss to Central Michigan as a 14½-point chalk at home. While the Hawkeyes have a great QB in James Vandenberg, their running game lacks any real punch. Overall, they have struggled to put points on the board with an average of just 20.5 ppg. Iowa still has a very good shot at winning this game SU by a couple of points, but it will not cover the 7. MINNESOTA.
Ohio State at Michigan St.: While 5Dimes had not released a total at press time, it should end up being around 44. Given that both of these Big Ten heavyweights lead with their defense, the total should never get even close to that number. Ohio State is off to a 4-0 SU start (1-3 ATS) and ran it up against the likes of Miami (Ohio), Central Florida and UAB. New head coach Urban Meyer still has some work to do on offense when the level of competition starts to get tougher. He has done a great job of putting together a solid defensive front and secondary in his short time on the job.
Michigan State is pretty much in the same boat. Its offense is ranked 104th in the nation in scoring with an average of just 21 points a game. Against stiffer competition such as Boise State and Notre Dame, the Spartans managed a total of 20 points. The reason that the Spartans are 3-1 SU (1-3 ATS) and still ranked 20th in the latest AP Poll is a defense that is giving-up just 11.8 ppg. Three of the last four meetings have stayed “under” the total including last year’s 10-7 victory by the Spartans. UNDER.
Wisconsin +13½ at Nebraska: The Huskers’ welcome to the Big Ten party last season consisted of a 48-17 beatdown at the hands of Wisconsin as a 9½-point road underdog. Nebraska went on to finish 5-3 SU in conference play so the Badgers are simply the first of three games where the revenge factor will weigh heavily in the outcome. This year’s team is currently 3-1 both SU and ATS and ranked No. 22 in the latest AP Poll. Mistakes led to their demise in last year’s loss with three Taylor Martinez interceptions returned for scores. Do not expect the same performance from the much improved QB.
Wisconsin came into this season ranked No. 12 based solely on last year’s stellar performance. Though the first few weeks of this season, we have quickly realized that the mass exodus of talent from that squad has left the Badgers a mere shell of their former selves. UW now has a freshman starting at QB and a defense that has been decimated even further though injuries. Saturday night’s game has the makings of a rout the other way. NEBRASKA.
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