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Archive for the ‘NCAAF’ Category

Hogs Lose Knile Davis

Friday, August 12th, 2011

By Ron Jumper

Throughout his football career, dating back to high school, Knile Davis has had some bad luck when it comes to injuries, particularly his ankle. The injury bug has bitten Davis again, as he looks most likely to miss the 2011 season. Davis had been getting a lot of love from the media and many considered him the top running back in the SEC. Without question, head coach Bobby Petrino and the Arkansas Razorbacks lost a talented young man.

Now that the dust has settled, how will this impact the Razorbacks 2011 campaign?

Running back was a position that Hog fans worried very little about because, not only did they have Knile Davis but Dennis Johnson and Ronnie Wingo have proven to be playmakers themselves. The concern was more along the offensive line, with left tackle being the most glaring weakness. Dennis Johnson has been a dynamic playmaker at different points in his career and Ronnie Wingo, a monster recruit coming out of Missouri, had a great spring that led to the coaches feeling he had finally reached his potential. Is Davis a stud? Obviously, but these two backs will be able to fill the void in terms of talent. More importantly, if the inexperienced line doesn’t create running lanes it really doesn’t matter who the running back is.

One thing to remember, back when Petrino was at Louisville he took them to the Orange Bowl despite losing highly touted running back Michael Bush to injury in the first game of the season. With the kind of talent and depth that Petrino has playing in his system, counting him out is simply a mistake.

Fantasy Spin:
Ronnie Wingo is the most likely to see the biggest increase in his workload, while also being likely to get the goalline carries that fantasy owners covet. At this point, Wingo is flying under the fantasy radar but he is a great value in what am I guessing will be the middle rounds of 120 drafts. Dennis Johnson will get touches but he doesn’t have the same upside as Wingo. If you don’t get the running back you want early in your draft, Wingo is a perfect low risk, high reward option.

Handicapping Spin:
The public sees this as a bigger detriment than it actually is, which could lead to better value for Hog backers. If the public perceives Arkansas as less talented, the spreads might be a little softer as opposed to being a public darling. The combination of breaking in a new QB and now losing Davis will scare away the average public bettor until the Hogs show they are still an elite team. Watch the lines closely, you might be able to get better value early in the season.

Free Bowl Picks 2010

Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010

By Ron Jumper

Everyone seems to get so much enjoyment out of bowl season, no matter who you are. For the coaches, it is a wonderful recruiting tool and an opportunity to get an extra month of practice in. For the players, they get all those nice gifts on the house (PS3, Xbox, etc.) and one last opportunity to showcase their talents on the national stage. For the universities, they cash in on a pretty hefty payday from whichever bowl they were selected to play in. For the local media of each team, they basically get a free vacation to wherever the game happens to be played at so they can “cover” the game. For the advertisers, they get one more chance to stick their logo on something and help give the bowl they are sponsoring a name that offers such great prestige and tradition (you know, like the Meinke Car Care Bowl). For the fans, because if there weren’t bowl games the men would have to actually make casual conversation with the rest of the family over the holidays instead of staring intently at the television. But most importantly…


During bowl season, college football bettors have daily action instead of patiently waiting for Saturday to roll back around. That doesn’t mean you should get action down on every bowl game, as several of these games you might as well flip a coin. Here are some basic tips to get you started:

Avoid Big Spreads
In most cases, just deciphering who is going to win the game during bowl season is tough enough and favorites have been miserable covering double digit spreads. Many times, the heavy underdog embraces the role which leads me to…

Which Team Cares More
Not every team is happy to just make a bowl, maybe they got snubbed and could care less about the game while their opponent is making a bowl appearance for the first time this century. This can also be impacted by the status of the coaching staff, as the head coach fighting for his job will probably get more out of his troops than the lame duck interim coach.

Location, Location, Location
Many bowls, for the purpose of selling tickets, are not above selecting a local team to participate in their game. Take into account which team had to travel further and how many fans will be accompanying them.

Conference Power Ratings
I always go through and chart every conference from best to worst. Then I chart every team within a conference from first to last. Now, I can go through matchups and, for example, see that the #2 SEC school is matched up against the #5 ACC school. In this example, we have a team higher in the standings from a tougher conference against a slightly above average team in a lesser conference so the edge clearly goes to the SEC #2.

Alright, time for picks!!!

Utah Utes (+17.5) covers vs. Boise State Broncos
The Utes aren’t all that great, but they ALWAYS show up in bowl games. Also, referring back to our basic rules, the Broncos don’t care about this game. They had national title aspirations and now have to settle for a third-tier bowl. I expect Utah to get out to an early lead and for Boise State to wake up just in time to win the game. Boise State 34-31

Toledo Rockets (-1.5) covers vs. Florida International Golden Panthers
Here we have a 6-6 Sun Belt school basically playing in an 8-4 MAC schools back yard. Toledo to Detroit is just a hop and a skip. The Rockets have a much more impressive resume, including a nice win at Purdue (relatively speaking…this is MAC vs. Sun Belt we are talking about) plus a 7-1 record in MAC play. Eric Page is a dynamic playmaker at wide receiver and in the return game for the Rockets. I like Toledo to win comfortably here. Toledo 31-20

Iowa Hawkeyes (+3) covers vs. Missouri Tigers
I love taking teams that have a senior QB and an “Us Against The World” mentality. Everyone is saying what a disappointing season it was for Iowa and how this set the program back. While that is all well and good, senior QB Rick Stanzi will play terrific one last time. Consider Stanzi threw 25 touchdowns compared to only 4 interceptions. On the other side of the ball, I like Iowa’s talented defensive line, led by Adrian Clayborn, to wreak havoc. Most would consider this a major upset but I think they were a good team that suffered an unfortunate 3-game losing streak at the end of the season. My power ratings didn’t change that much. Iowa 27-24

Baylor Bears (-1) covers vs. Illinois Fighting Illini
Neither team player well down the stretch, but I like Baylor for two reasons: the game is being played in Houston and Robert Griffin is a beast. I could lie about it and pretend to look up a bunch of cool stats but that is the cold, hard truth. The team with the better record, better quarterback, and home field advantage is only a 1-point favorite? Yeah, I’ll go with Baylor. Baylor 34-24

Tennessee Volunteers (+1.5) covers vs. North Carolina Tar Heels
The Vols are not perceived as a good team, but they played very strong down the stretch winning their last 4 games and covering their last 5 spreads. Due to consecutive coaching changes, time was needed to transition to a new scheme. Not that they are a great team yet, but they are moving in the right direction where as the Tar Heels are a complete mess. I don’t expect them to show up here. Oh, did I mention this game was in Nashville? Tennessee 28-21

Florida Gators (-7.5) covers vs. Penn State Nittany Lions
Neither Florida nor Penn State had the season we are accustomed to, however there is a big difference between a 7-5 SEC school and a 7-5 Big Ten school. Sorry, facts are facts. Also, this will be Urban Meyer’s last game coaching Florida so I would anticipate a motivated bunch. With the game being played in Tampa, there should be just a few Gator fans. Florida 38-17

Texas A&M-Oklahoma State Free Pick

Thursday, September 30th, 2010

By Ron Jumper

My sincere apologies for disappearing for a couple of weeks but the combination of work, moving, and planning a wedding was just too much to overcome for me to make my regular blog posts. Unfortunately, all of the things I mentioned above trump posting picks and talking about fantasy football. To some, that may sound outrageous but it should make it much more obvious why you are not planning a wedding and would settle for…well you get the idea. Anyways, moving on to tonight’s game.

The consensus has been that these teams are both “unproven” and it is “unknown” what will happen in tonight’s game. I completely disagree and think it is all right there in front of you. Has either team beaten a powerhouse yet? No, but have they played identical schedules? Wrong again. Let me explain.

Texas A&M (3-0):
Stephen F. Austin 48-7
Louisiana Tech 48-16
Florida International 27-20

SFA is an FCS school and the other two teams are from a non-BCS conference and have a combined 1-6 record so far this season. While I will say FIU is better than their 0-3 record suggests, it still should not take a 21-point fourth quarter rally to escape from a 20-6 deficit at home. This reminds me of last season when the Aggies were undefeated and had been putting up cute offensive numbers but then got whipped by Arkansas 47-19.

Oklahoma State (3-0):
Washington State 65-17
Troy 41-38
Tulsa 65-28

While none of those three were ranked or are considered powerhouses, I can’t help but think it is much stronger schedule than that of the Aggies. Washington State is at the bottom of the Pac-10 but I have to think they are better than SFA. If the Aggies struggled so mightily against Florida International, what would fellow Sun Belt conference member Troy have done to them? As for Tulsa, if you remove the Oklahoma State game, their other 3 games compare similarly to A&M. Tulsa lost a 51-49 heartbreaker to East Carolina on the road (last-second Hail Mary) but beat the other two inferior opponents soundly. If A&M had gone on the road to ECU, I can’t say with certainty they win that game. However, the Cowboys pounded Tulsa 65-28.

All of that is way too much Team A vs. Team B so Team B should beat Team C. I realize that but Oklahoma State is at home and they have played a tougher schedule. It also doesn’t hurt that they have pounded that tougher schedule more than the Aggies have pounded a light schedule.

I learned a long time ago when both teams run similar styles, it is actually less likely an upset will occur. Some think because they do similar things they will pose matchup problems or be able to recognize what the other is doing, I completely disagree. What I have always found is when teams are built the same way, the better team wins and wins big because they are not going to get beat playing their own game with superior talent. In this instance, the better team is also at home.

Look at the playmakers for the Cowboys, Justin Blackmon leads the nation in receiving yards per game and in touchdown receptions (despite playing only 3 games to everyone else’s 4). Kendall Hunter is second in rushing yards per game and is actually the top running back (Michigan QB Denard Robinson leads the nation in rushing yards per game). If Hunter hadn’t only gotten 11 carries against Tulsa because the game got out of hand, he would likely have even better numbers to brag about. Lastly, Brandon Weeden has been fantastic . He isn’t the dual-option threat that Zac Robinson was but his arm has been more than enough so far.

Thursday Free Pick:
Oklahoma State -2.5


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