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Texas beat Oakland 3-0 on Friday night, and we expect another win by the Rangers on Saturday afternoon. Texas will start Yu Darvish who projects to have a fantastic outing against Oakland’s lineup based on my numbers. Darvish is slated to give up just 2.0 earned runs with a terrific 2.93 ERA and an excellent 1.08 WHIP in this game. Darvish also projects to have a tremendous 11.1 strikeout rate over 9 innings pitched, and a strong 4.1 strikeout/walk ratio today. Oakland’s offense comes into this game in poor current form; the Athletics have gone 0-4 SU in their past four games while only scoring 8 total runs (2.0 runs). Overall, Oakland is 33-46 at home this year, averaging only 3.6 runs per game (29th in MLB) with a .235 batting average (28th in MLB).
Oakland will send Raul Alcantara to the mound today. My numbers project a poor outing for the right-hander against the Texas lineup. Alcantara projects to give up 2.4 earned runs with a poor 4.15 ERA in this game. Alcantara also projects to have a weak 6.4 strikeout rate over 9 innings pitched against the Rangers. In three starts this season, Alcantara has been hit hard. In 14.1 innings of work, Alcantara has allowed 9 earned runs on 17 runs while earning a horrendous 5.65 ERA. At home, Alcantara has given up 7 earned runs on 12 hits in just 8.2 innings of work for an atrocious 7.27 ERA and 1.62 WHIP. We’ll back Texas with Darvish on the mound in this game on Saturday afternoon.
10* Play RANGERS (-).
Wake Forest comes into this game with a perfect 3-0 SU record, including a solid 24-14 win at Duke two weeks ago. The Demon Deacons have a pretty good defensive team that returned seven starters from last year when they held opponents to just 24.6 points on 364 yards per game. In three games so far this season, Wake Forest is only giving up 12.7 points per game on 3.9 yards per play versus offenses that average 24.7 points per game on 4.5 yards per play. Overall, Wake Forest returned 16 players from last year’s team, and they are in the third year under head coach Dave Clawson. Wake Forest plays ball control offense; they average 47.3 rushes per game while running for 206.7 yards per game. Quarterback Kendall Hinton will not play after getting hurt last week, but John Wolford has started 22 games for Wake Forest over the last two seasons, so he has plenty of experience. The Demon Deacons’ ability to run the ball gives them a nice matchup edge in this game.
Indiana is 2-0 SU on the season, and they come into this game off a bye. But getting a week of rest this early in the season for a timing offense is not a good thing, especially since they are playing a good defensive team. The Hoosiers won 31-24 at Wake Forest last season as a +3.5 point underdog, but now they are laying -7.5 points into a team that is significantly better this season. Indiana’s offense is averaging 32 points per game on 6.2 yards per play, but they faced a pair of defenses that allow an average of 26.8 points per game on 5.6 yards per play. The Hoosiers will now face a Wake Forest defense that allows -14.1 points and -1.7 yards per rush less per game than the defenses Indiana has faced. We expect a close game throughout, so we’ll take the points with Wake Forest on Saturday afternoon.
9* Play WAKE FOREST (+).
Oklahoma State is in a poor scheduling and situational spot for this game at Baylor on Saturday night. The Cowboys come into this game with a 2-1 SU record, but they could very well be 3-0 on the season. Oklahoma State opened with an easy 61-7 romp over FCS Southeastern Louisiana, and then they lost on a controversial last play to Central Michigan; the play never should have counted. Oklahoma State was supposed to be flat last week off that disappointing loss, but the Cowboys out-lasted Pittsburgh in a 45-38 shootout. The Cowboys led by 14 points twice in that game, but it was tied when Oklahoma State scored the game-winning touchdown with just 1:35 left to play in the game. That’s back-to-back emotionally draining games for Oklahoma State, and it’s highly unlikely they’ll have much in reserve for this game. The Cowboys will also be making their first road trip of the season, so that is another negative factor working against them.
Baylor’s summer distraction of losing head coach Art Briles due to sanctions from inappropriate actions have yet to be an issue. The Bears are 3-0 SU on the season while out-scoring their inferior opposition by a combined score of 133-20. Baylor is averaging 44.3 points per game on 6.2 yards per play. Oklahoma State’s defense is giving up 25 points per game on 5.4 yards per play, but their opponents have only averaged 28 points per game on 5.4 yards per play. The Cowboys’ defense is taking a monumental step-up in offensive class against Baylor, so expect them to struggle mightily in this game. Oklahoma State gave up 290 rushing yards on 5.4 yards per rush last week. Baylor’s offense is running for 282 yards per game on 5.6 yards per rush, so expect them to control this game on the ground. The Bears have out-rushed the Cowboys 304-8 and 317-116 the past two years, winning by +31 points combined. This is simply a terrible spot and a bad matchup for Oklahoma State, so we’ll lay the points with the Bears on Saturday night.
10* Play BAYLOR (-).
East Carolina is 2-1 SU on the season, but they’ve played three mediocre teams. The Pirates own wins against FCS Western Carolina and North Carolina State; both of those games came on their home field. Last week, East Carolina lost 20-15 at a terrible South Carolina team despite out-gaining them by 207 yards (519-312). East Carolina’s offense is averaging 33.3 points per game on 6.9 yards per play versus defenses that allow 30.8 points per game on 6.8 yards per play. The Pirates will now face a Virginia Tech defense that only gives up 19.3 points per game on 3.3 yards per play. That’s -14 points per game less, and a whopping -3.5 yards per play less than the defenses that East Carolina has faced so far this season.
Virginia Tech also comes into this game with a 2-1 SU record, but their loss was against a good Tennessee team. The Hokies have won their two home games by a combined score of 85-13. Virginia Tech is averaging 36.3 points per game on 5.6 yards per play versus defenses that only give up 25.2 points per game on 4.9 yards per play. East Carolina’s defense has only given up 19 points per game, but they have allowed their opponents to gain 6.2 yards per play. Those numbers do not line up, and that means the Pirates have been extremely lucky in the points against department. Virginia Tech’s running game averages 205 yards per game; the Pirates give up 160 yards per game on 5.1 yards per game. This game is a complete mismatch, so we’ll lay the points with the Hokies at home on Saturday afternoon.
9* Play VIRGINIA TECH (-).