Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 10:00 AM EST. Odds subject to change.
Old Dominion +13½ over Liberty
Williams Stadium – Lynchburg, VA
1:00 PM EST. We had this game circled a few weeks ago while watching Liberty cash tickets every week when we made a note that ODU would hold great value in this spot if Liberty continued to win, cash tickets, and curry public favor. The Flames have been sterling in all three aspects and thus we are presented with an opportunity to find equity in backing ODU.
First and foremost, the Flames are laying what we call an “underdog conducive number” of -13½. The number is designed to allure action on the chalk with the guise of an easy cover should Liberty win by two converted touchdowns. Seldom does the number fall anywhere near the actual price and on many occasions, we have seen underdogs priced in this range stage outright upsets. With that preface completed, we now bring it to your attention that the undefeated Flames (ranked #25 in the AP Top 25) has been quite a cash cow this season, as they have covered seven of their last nine overall.
The Monarchs recently lost outright to Coastal Carolina as a one-point choice after giving undefeated James Madison a scare in their stead the week prior. In addition to Liberty’s appeal as a profitable undefeated laying a captivating tag, there is also an element of zig-zagging going on here as well. You see, the market was heavily fading the Monarchs when they travelled to Harrisonburg to square off with the Dukes but James Madison narrowly escaped the clutches of Old Dominion with a 30-27 win. JMU was priced as a 19.5-point choice.
The market reacted to the strong showing by the Monarchs then zagged back on them in their follow-up a week too late, and paid for doing so, as Old Dominion then produced a ripped ticket against Coastal. Now the market is fading the Monarchs again after strongly getting behind them last week.
Liberty has yet to falter this season and with perennial doormat UMass and a disappointing 3-7 UTEP remaining on the dossier, the media is already putting the Flames potentially in a New Year’s Six Bowl should they win out and capture the Conference USA hardware, as expected. However, we have to point out here that despite a 4-5 record, ODU lost their previous four defeats by no more than a touchdown. Those losses include Coastal Carolina (as mentioned), at James Madison (presently undefeated), Wake Forest (an ACC team), and at Marshall. Old Dominion led at one point in each of those games and had in-game variances been kind to the Monarchs, they could easily be 8-1 as quick as they are 4-5 and then we’d be discussing ODU as a 7-point pooch here.
Though undefeated, Liberty required a goal-line stand against a then winless Sam Houston State in early October to remain unscathed and they were deadlocked at 35 with 2-7 Middle Tennessee State two weeks later heading into the fourth quarter before they escaped with a 42-35 win. Both of those games transpired in Lynchburg. There is no reason to suspect that Old Dominion cannot roll into town and raise a ruckus. The Monarchs are a battle tested bunch that have shown they can bring their A-game against a premium opponent. There is a reason why many College Football enthusiasts call “November the month to remember” because that is when the chaos unfolds and teams like Liberty get tripped up by unsuspected outfits like ODU. We have plenty of points to work with here.
Old Dominion +13½ -110 (Risking 2.20 units - To Win: 2.00)