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Free Pick Saturday

#360 Oregon State +2.5 over Arizona State 6:30 PM CT

Oregon State has covered in six of the past eight in this series but has lost by double-digits each of the past two seasons. Jayden Daniels wound up not playing last week with a knee injury but after falling behind early the Sun Devils made a late charge behind Joey Yellen. Oregon State’s rise to respectability this season took a hit hosting Friday night TV action with a loss to Washington that was a far worse showing than the score revealed with the Beavers held to 119 yards. This is still the team second place in the Pac-12 North and winning this game is a must for a bowl bid with a finale at Oregon still ahead for the upstart Beavers. This line camping out at +2.5 to attract action on the road favorite looks favorable and the Beavers are worth a shot to get the job done today for a fourth Pac-12 win for the first time since 2013.

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Free Pick Saturday

#141 California +21 over Utah 9:00 PM

Purely on a numbers perspective this is an instance where an elite defense is getting three touchdowns in a game with one of the lowest totals of the season, at just 36.5. After early week expectations that he could miss this game, Utah quarterback Tyler Huntley is expected to play tonight but if his leg injury impacts him it could greatly affect the Utah offense with his ability to scramble and move in the pocket of great importance in this system. The injuries on California’s side are more significant, already down to backup quarterback Devon Modster, he left late in last week’s game to give way to freshman Spencer Brasch. Even at full strength, California wouldn’t project to score significantly in this game as the downgrade isn’t likely worth what has been a four-point swing in this price since it opened last Sunday. California has now allowed more than 24 points in any game this season including road games vs. Washington and Oregon while in Pac-12 play Utah has twice been held below 24 points as in reality one Bears score could be enough to cover in this contest.

A 3* Top Play is available from Nelly’s for $35 or you can get our Saturday and Sunday cards in our Half Price Weekend package.

Don’t miss Maximum’s 15* College Game of the Year tonight!

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Free Pick Saturday

#368 Washington +3 over Oregon 2:30 PM CT

Oregon won a thriller last season at home in this matchup, getting six in overtime for an upset of then #7 Washington. At 5-1 the Ducks looked headed for the Pac-12 title last season but they lost three of the next four. Washington only has two S/U wins and three ATS wins in the past 15 meetings since 2004 but the Huskies are a very serious threat this week to spoil any remaining national hopes for Oregon, while potentially opening back up the Pac-12 North race. Both teams won convincingly last week ahead of this big matchup that could again play a major role in the Pac-12 North race. Oregon had a closer game with Colorado than it looked Friday with a couple of a huge swing plays before halftime while Washington caught some turnover breaks to pull away in Tucson, but still is one of the best two-loss teams there is. The Ducks are often good for an occasional blowout to pad the stats but in closely-lined games Oregon is on a 5-13-1 ATS run since 2016 in games with a spread between +7 and -7. Mario Cristobal doesn’t have nearly the credentials of Chris Petersen who hasn’t been a home underdog since his first season at Washington in 2014 while the Huskies are 22-2 S/U at home since 2016. Had this line pushed to +3.5 it likely would have made our card but Washington is still worth a look as Saturday’s Free Play.

Nelly’s has a rare 3* top play today (53-35 run), Bobby Dalton has a 15* Best Bet, Point Train an early 6-unit Total, Big E has his next 20* Conference GOY, while Maximum has a big 8pack today!

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Free NCAA Pick Saturday

#347 Oregon State +6 over UCLA 8:00 PM CT

Oregon State has clearly made a lot of progress to close the gap in the Pac-12 but ultimately three competitive losses vs. quality teams still add up to 1-3. The Beavers made a great late rally hosting Stanford last week and this game will be another winnable opportunity vs. a struggling UCLA game off back-to-back close finishes to start the conference season. Surprisingly Oregon State has won two of the past four visits to the Rose Bowl while UCLA is on an 8-16 ATS run as a home favorite since 2014.

Dorian Thompson-Robinson was injured last week late in a productive showing after a leg injury, replaced by sophomore Austin Burton who did give the Bruins a chance at tying field goal on the final drive. A big edge in the rushing potential certainly looks possible for the road underdog, averaging 5.3 yards per carry compared to only 2.7 for UCLA, 119th nationally. This line immediately fell from an opener of +8.5 to take it off our radar as a rated pick but the Beavers are still worth a look as Saturday’s free pick with another competitive effort in store.

Nelly’s has 2/3 offers in both NCAA & NFL action for this weekend – $25 each. We’ve won our NFL 2/3 three consecutive weeks, hitting 67% on the season in pro football while 7-1 in NFL 2* side plays!

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Friday NCAA Preview WSU vs. USC

Washington State at USC

Friday, Sep. 21 – preview courtesy of Point Train

Friday Night the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum will play host to Friday night football for the first time since the start of the new millennium as the upstart Cougars of Washington State travel into town to face a dejected USC Trojans squad looking to get back on track.

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Washington State will open conference play Friday night in the City of Angels at 7:30pm local time as they look to take down the Trojans of the University of Southern California. Mike Leach’s Cougars have started off the year strong, 3-0 entering a tough road test in week four. In order for the Cougars to return to Pullman with a double U they will need a plethora of things to go their way. For starters, East Carolina transfer quarterback Gardner Minshew will have to play well on the road. Minshew has played well in the first three weeks, passing for 1203 yards, as well as eight touchdowns compared to only three interceptions. Minshew, coupled with a lethal wide receiving core featuring Davontavean Martin who already has 290 yards receiving and three touchdowns, can cause major problems for a battered and bruised USC secondary.

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USC plays it’s second Pac-12 conference game of the season this Friday night as they play host the Washington State. The Men of Troy have not started out the season very well to say the least. Struggling offensively with true freshman quarterback JT Daniels, the Trojans have failed to break 20 points in two of their first three games to start the season. Clay Helton’s squad hopes to get back to their winning ways of week one and in order to accomplish this feat the Trojans will need better play from Daniels as well as everyone else really. Pac-12 conference football is a different animal than your week one non-conference UNLV, and the Trojans need to step it up this Friday or they will find them in a tough 0-2 hole in the Pac-12 South. It’s gut check time whether the Trojans like it or not, and they better figure something out quick.

Point Train has a special Guaranteed Profit Weekend going this week – already 1-0 with the Thursday night winner Point Train has been profitable so far this season in BOTH NCAA & NFL picks. Get all picks through Monday with a net profit or the fee is waived!

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Early Pac-12 Preview

Early Pac-12 Preview

This is a big season for the Pac-12 coming off a disastrous bowl campaign with only one win from nine postseason squads. That win came from Utah in a minor game as marquee game defeats from Stanford, Washington, USC, Washington State, and UCLA led to an ugly national storyline out West. The poor results led to a number of coaching changes with five of 12 programs making moves in the off-season.

Despite a few transition seasons underway the Pac-12 has a few teams that could make a run in the national picture. The balance of power is tilted north with Oregon, Washington, and Stanford considered threats for a championship but the depth in that division might make it difficult for a clear cut national playoff contender to emerge. The conference has just one touchdown over the past three College Football Playoffs but getting a team through this conference 10-0 might prove to be a challenge.

 

Pac-12 North

Washington: Following an appearance in the College Football Playoffs expectations remained sky high last season as Washington went through a mildly disappointing 10-3 season, falling short of the North division title and ending the season with a Fiesta Bowl loss to Penn State. For a program that went winless a decade ago a third straight double-digit win season looks possible in 2018. Washington returns Jake Browning at quarterback and Myles Gaskin at running back while a defense that allowed just 16.1 points per game last season returns nine starters. The schedule gets a major upgrade this season with an opener in Atlanta against Auburn that will determine whether or not the Huskies are a national threat. USC and Arizona are absent from the South draw and Stanford visits Seattle as the Pac-12 slate lines up favorably for the Huskies to finish on top.

Stanford: Stanford lost five times last season but David Shaw is now 73-22 in seven seasons with last season’s 9-5 mark the second worst record for the Cardinal in that span. The Cardinal has not cracked the College Football Playoff yet but this year’s team has that potential. K.J. Costello and an elite receiving corps will surround Heisman candidate Bryce Love as this should be a very effective offense even if not among the nation’s most prolific offensive teams. Stanford actually had its worst defensive numbers under Shaw last season and that unit has question marks for 2018 as well. The biggest hurdle for Stanford is the schedule however with two very tough non-conference games plus road games vs. the two chief division threats while drawing South division favorite USC. Stanford has a team capable of beating anyone but running the table looks unlikely with the path ahead.

Oregon: Oregon rebounded to win seven games last season after the stunning 4-8 2016 season but after just one season Willie Taggert left the program for Florida State. Offensive coordinator Mario Cristobal steps in as it won’t be a complete transition and Cristobal has head coaching experience. The Ducks have decent returning experience and if Justin Herbert can stay healthy they have the makings of a high quality offensive team. Oregon actually had its best defensive numbers in several years last season but a down Pac-12 was a factor. Oregon will play an extremely light non-conference schedule as a strong start should be expected and this is a sleeper in the North as both Stanford and Washington visit Eugene while Oregon avoids USC from the South. If things break right Oregon could be back in the national spotlight again.

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California: A 5-7 season doesn’t generally earn a lot of praise but first year head coach Justin Wilcox inherited an inexperienced team and turned in a pair of prominent non-conference wins last September. A 3-0 start fizzled with a 2-7 Pac-12 mark but the Bears were very competitive in most games and this team could take a big stride forward in 2018. 18 starters are back to top the conference in experience but the statistics from last season offer some concern as the Bears were ultimately out-gained by 45 yards per game on average. The challenge for Cal will be that the three North powers all visit Berkeley as a tough home slate is waiting and this team won just once on the road last season.

Washington State: Mike Leach has revitalized his career at Washington State with the Cougars going from being one of the nation’s worst power conference teams to three straight bowl bids while Washington State has often been in the Pac-12 North race into November. The 2018 season presents an impossible challenge however with Luke Falk graduating and the sad death of Tyler Hilinski leaving the team with inexperience at quarterback and only 10 returning starters. Washington State has one of the most difficult South draws and while they nab five home games in Pac-12 play it is a difficult set of games. Making a fourth straight bowl game would be a great accomplishment for Leach and the Cougars given the circumstances.

Oregon State: There is nowhere to go but up for Oregon State with Jonathan Smith taking over a Beavers team that didn’t win a FBS game last season. After an awkward coaching departure the Beavers did produce a few competitive games down the stretch and improving on awful turnover luck from last season could lead to improvement. The Beavers are likely still the clear bottom team in the conference and they have to open the season at Ohio State but there are a few decent opportunities ahead in Corvallis as signs of progress look possible. With a couple of legacy pieces back on the staff there should be renewed enthusiasm for the program and in a Pac-12 that wasn’t very good last season and has several programs in transition, the opportunity to close the gap may be there.

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Pac-12 South

USC: USC has 21 wins the past two seasons under Clay Helton but a playoff invitation was expected of this powerhouse program that featured one of the top quarterbacks in the nation. Sam Darnold is off to the NFL and while a few other key players also depart from last season’s 11-win squad, there is solid returning experience to make the Trojans the clear favorite in the Pac-12 South. USC has taken on a daunting schedule in recent years and two heavyweight non-conference games are again ahead while the conference slate features five road games including playing at Stanford. Avoiding Washington is a plus however and the Trojans won’t likely need to be perfect to win this division.

Arizona: Off the field allegations opened the door for Arizona to make a coaching change after last season even with a comeback bowl season for Rich Rodriguez. The Wildcats nabbed Kevin Sumlin to provide credibility in the transition and this is a team that can compete immediately. Khalil Tate was one of the most exciting players in the conference last season and Arizona draws an ideal conference schedule with five home dates while avoiding both Washington and Stanford. The defense has nine returning starters even if it was a unit that allowed 471 yards per game last season as Arizona is likely to be back in the postseason and lurks as a serious threat in this division should USC falter.

Colorado: After the 10-win breakthrough in 2016 Colorado fell to just 5-7 last season needing to replace most of the key players from the South division championship team. This year’s team again is light on experience but the Buffaloes have a fairly attractive conference slate ahead as getting back to postseason eligibility is within reach. Colorado won just twice in a down season for the Pac-12 last year but most defeats were in tight games and the defense is likely to post improved numbers in 2018 after taking a big step back last season. Mike MacIntyre has the opportunity to stabilize the Buffaloes into a steady bowl performer in the years to come.

Utah: Utah has declined in win count the past two seasons but last year’s squad was likely better than the 7-6 record indicated. The Utes shuffled through two quarterbacks and had much better statistics that the record suggests, out-gaining foes by 75 yards per game but losing four single-score results in Pac-12 play. Utah will play five conference road games while pulling all three of the North contenders as Utah has a difficult path ahead. This was a bowl team and the lone bowl victor from the Pac-12 last season even with a 3-6 conference record and Kyle Whittingham has provided consistent success in Salt Lake City in now his 14th season.

Arizona State: Arizona State made one of the more curious coaching hires in recent years luring former NFL head coach Herm Edwards out of the TV studio. While Edwards hasn’t been on the sidelines in a decade he is a well known football mind that will resonate with players in a talent rich recruiting base. Unlike most new head coaches Edwards takes over a team that was pretty successful with Todd Graham leading the Sun Devils to a bowl game in five of the past six seasons and the Sun Devils won six Pac-12 games last season. The offense should remain productive but Edwards will have work to do rebuilding the Sun Devils on defense. Relative to its South division peers Arizona State has a more difficult schedule pulling the top three North teams and featuring five Pac-12 road games.

UCLA: Chip Kelly returns to the college coaching ranks at UCLA but instant success seems unlikely with a dramatic scheme change and the loss of quarterback Josh Rosen. The Bruins couldn’t maintain Jim Mora’s early success with back-to-back losing seasons but injuries played a significant role in the failure to meet expectations. UCLA has a tough non-conference schedule to open the season and while the Bruins get five Pac-12 home games they are all difficult games as there are not many sure-wins ahead on this schedule particularly for a program that has gone 1-11 on the road the past two years. The first year for Kelly might be a challenge resembling his failed season up the coast with the 49ers.

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Free NCAA Pick Thursday

#548 USC -4.5 over Oregon 8:00 PM CT

Coming off heavy personnel losses after last year’s Final Four result Oregon has fallen to 17-8 this season in a mediocre Pac-12. It may appear that the Ducks are back on track with wins in five of the last six but the past four wins have come against the four worst teams in the conference with three of four wins at home. The last road game for Oregon featured a 35-point loss to Stanford and the Ducks have just three road wins on the season.

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This is a critical juncture for USC having dropped three games in a row but they faced arguably the Pac-12’s best three teams on the road in succession and two of three games were decided by three or fewer points. USC has won the last five home games and they won 75-70 at Oregon about a month ago led by a big edge on the offensive glass.

Oregon has faced the second weakest schedule in Pac-12 yet USC bests the Ducks in both offensive and defensive efficiency in league play by a substantial margin. Oregon could have some inside scoring opportunities in this matchup but the season is on the line for a USC team headed for the NCAA Tournament bubble, currently considered right on the cut line. The only two major conference home losses for the Trojans came against elite defensive teams, something the Ducks certainly are not.

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Nelly’s is 14-3 in college basketball picks in the first two weeks of February. We are 17-5 overall this month while 25 games above .500 since December 3. Get tonight’s 2-for-1 NCAA offer with our 2-for-1 picks collectively 28-11-1 this season going 2-0 nine times and 0-2 once or consider joining for the rest of February for just $99.00.

The Big E won 20* and 10* picks last night, now riding a 43-25 run with a strong start to February at 14-7. Get his 15* Game of the Month tonight for just $15.94 pay after you win. Bobby Dalton has also won seven consecutive 10* Best Bets and he has a 10* in one of tonight’s college TV games for $24.99!