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Free NCAA Pick Saturday

#380 Texas Tech -3.5 over Kansas State 11:00 AM CT

Kansas State got in the win column last week but struggling against Kansas paints a significant gap between the Wildcats and the real contenders in the conference. Texas Tech has lost three in a row to reach a critical juncture in the season. The Red Raiders played right with Oklahoma early last week before failing to score in the final 27 minutes.

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Kansas State won 44-38 last season and has won five of the past six meetings but this is a season-defining game for the Red Raiders and perhaps the Kliff Kingsbury era as a loss this week likely means another losing season. The home team has won four of the last five meetings in this series and a lesser Texas Tech team was favored by five in the last Lubbock meeting two years ago, a 59-44 win for the Red Raiders.

Texas Tech out-gained West Virginia by 117 yards in the loss in mid-October and the Red Raiders have already played three of the top four teams tied on top of the Big XII standings to skew the numbers with Kansas State only playing two of those games so far and both of those games were at home despite getting out-gained by nearly 400 yards combined. Kansas State could have an edge in the running game in this matchup but that will be due to inept passing under Alek Delton who has taken over at quarterback.

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Kansas State has been out-gained in all five Big XII games, losing the yardage battle by 140 or more yards in each of the last five games and Kansas State has already played the two winless teams in the conference. Texas Tech is on an 11-4-1 ATS run at home and while Bill Snyder once held an amazing underdog track record has deteriorated and the Wildcats are just 3-5 ATS in the last eight instances as a road underdog.

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Free NCAA Football Pick Saturday

#223 James Madison +25.5 over North Carolina 2:30 PM CT

James Madison has posted 136 points in a 2-0 start for a squad that is currently #8 in the FCS polls. Last season the Dukes went 9-3 tying for the CAA title before losing a tough 44-38 FCS Playoff game against Colgate. Recall last season James Madison won at SMU in its lone game vs. the FBS level and also beat Albany soundly last season, the team that beat Buffalo earlier this season. The worst loss of last season came by 10 points vs. Richmond, the team that beat the ACC’s Virginia in Week 1 and James Madison will take its best shot at an ACC squad this week. In 2015 former North Carolina head coach Everett Withers was the head coach of James Madison before leaving to take that position at Texas State but current head coach Mike Houston has maintained a great offense so far this season and after being the head coach at The Citadel the past two seasons, getting a shot at one of the region’s FBS powers will be a big opportunity. North Carolina has split two big games to open the season, falling vs. Georgia and beating Atlanta in a pair of games that were both closer than the final scores. Two huge ACC games are on deck for the Tar Heels, facing Coastal contender Pittsburgh at home next week and then heading to Tallahassee on October 1 as this could be a flat spot on the schedule. This team lacks most of the key playmakers from last season’s 11-3 squad and this has often been a program with great talent but suspect focus and effort, featuring four S/U home favorite losses in four seasons under Larry Fedora. North Carolina scored the final 17 points in last week’s win for a misleading 25-point victory and quarterback Mitch Trubisky hasn’t been a big deep threat so far this season. Look for a motivated Dukes squad to put up a good fight this week as a heavy underdog.

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