Playing The Home Dog, A Thursday Tradition
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While the Packers-Seahawks game headlines tonight's football menu, you might want to keep an eye on this evening's college game.
Arizona travels to San Antonio tonight to take on the UTSA Roadrunners in the Alamodome. Bovada has the Wildcats favored, but perhaps by a lower number than most would expect: only 7½ points.
Now, before you brush off this one as a cakewalk for Arizona, you'd better think again. UTSA manhandled Houston, 27-7, last Friday as the favored Cougars opened their brand new stadium. I can't say this was a complete surprise, as I've paid considerable attention to Larry Coker's squad last season ... and even correctly picking them one week on this very website.
So that you know it's not just me talking, look at the Team Last 5 Games section of the Bovada data tool on the Home page. There you'll see the Roadrunners have won their last five games straight up and four of their last five against the spread.
UTSA is well-coached and full of experience from their offense, to their defense, and even to their special teams. In fact, no team in the BCS returns more starters than the Roadrunners, and they've quietly made their backers very happy going well back into last season.
There are a couple of other factors that should work in the favor of UTSA covering. First of all, injuries. The Wildcats come in a little banged up after last week's blowout win over UNLV. Then, there's a personal strategy at play here that I love using because it keeps working in college football.
The strategy is to always bet the home team ...
- When it's an underdog on Thursday nights, and
- When both teams played the previous Saturday.
The theory is based on the simple fact that the preparation week is simply too short for the road team to both travel and cover the number.
As well, factor in the point they'll have to do it in a hostile environment. Thursday night games have become just that, being that they're on national TV.
If you're not familiar with UTSA yet, it's time. Don't be fooled into thinking this number is too low and will be an easy cover for the tradition-rich Wildcats. There's a reason why they're only laying a little over a touchdown, and you'll find out why as the night goes on.
Hopefully, you'll be backing the home dog and cashing in. That's what I'll be doing.
My pick: UTSA +7½
Result: Arizona 26 UTSA 23 Roadrunners cover
Follow me on Twitter @SopranoSteve