Daily Bet: Rutgers (+7½) at South Florida

Florida in a pick-’em spot on the road at Texas A&M — Gators pitch a second-half shutout and rally for a 20-17 win.

Bengals-Ravens over 41½ points — Baltimore scores 44 all by itself.

Diamondbacks as a home underdog against the Dodgers — Arizona pulls out a 1-0 victory.

A’s as a road underdog at the Angels — Oakland rolls, 4-1.

Not to brag or anything, but right now, I’m hotter than Gisele Bundchen munching on a habanero pepper while standing barefoot on the Strip in the middle of July. OK, maybe not. Still, after four straight wins I’m once again on the brink of pushing my overall record 10 games over .500. Tonight, I’m relying on Rutgers to get me there. Why no play on tonight’s Bears-Packers clash, you ask? Because I don’t trust Chicago playing a road game on a short week against a desperate divisional rival, and I can’t lay points with the Packers after seeing how piss-poor their defense played against the 49ers (not to mention how the offense struggled to move the ball against San Francisco’s physical defense, which the Bears also have).

So instead, I’m focusing on this under-the-radar Big East contest, because of both the situation and line value. First, the situation: South Florida is six days removed from a stunning 32-31 come-from-behind victory over UNR in Reno, erasing an 11-point deficit with two touchdowns in the final three minutes (and costing me a bet on UNR). The prediction here is after going from Tampa Bay to Reno, playing an emotionally draining 60-minute game at high altitude, then flying back to Tampa Bay and having a short week of preparation, the Bulls aren’t going to be at their best. So asking them to cover more than a touchdown against a Big East rival that’s won six of its last seven games since last November is a tall order.

Granted, Rutgers hasn’t exactly been tested early on this season, beating outmanned Tulane 24-12 (as a 19-point road favorite) and Division I-AA Howard 26-0. But the Scarlet Knights—whose current 6-1 run began with last year’s 20-17 overtime victory over South Florida as a 2½-point underdog—have shown over the years that they can more than hold their own against the more athletic Bulls. Rutgers has won five of the last six meetings and is 5-for-5 against the number the last five years. Furthermore, the ’dog has cashed in six of the last seven in this rivalry, and South Florida is 0-8 ATS in its last eight Thursday-night contests.

Rating:★ ★ ★ ☆

Wednesday’s Result: A’s (+115) at Angels (Win)

Record: 45-36



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