"Johnny Football" Leads Texas A&M vs. LSU
"Johnny Football" Leads Texas A&M vs. LSU
By Wayne Root:
I'm really looking forward to Saturday's college football game matching quarterback Johnny Manziel of Texas A&M (already nicknamed "Johnny Football" just weeks into his freshman season) against the vaunted defense of the LSU Tigers in a matchup that will be nationally televised by ESPN.
Manziel has been quite a story. But, the media may be overestimating the impact he's going to have against a team like LSU. This isn't Louisiana Tech, or Ole Miss, or SMU. The Aggies are hosting LSU on the same field where they already lost a 20-17 defensive struggle against Florida.
Manziel's stats in College Station against Florida:
17 rushes for 60 yards on the ground
0 points in the second half
He was accurate, but didn't accumulate much yardage in the air. And, quarterbacks like this often have misleadingly accurate passing lines because they just take off and run if they don't see an open receiver. You can see that Manziel took off and ran quite a bit! Those 17 rushes only accounted for 60 yards...which is very low for a scrambler who runs to daylight.
Bottom line...Manziel had one good half against Florida...but then couldn't convert a single third down in the second half once the Gators made some defensive adjustments.
LSU may not be as good overall as Florida (having lost to the Gators in the Swamp). But, their defense won't take a back seat to anybody outside of Alabama. Can Manziel lead the Aggies to victory against a defense that has studied a lot of game film and knows his tendencies?
I'm known as THE KING OF UPSETS because I understand what it takes for an underdog to spring a big surprise on an unsuspecting foe. Texas A&M opened at +2 to start the week, but is now +3 or +3.5 because respected bettors here in Las Vegas are taking the favorite. The line is moving AWAY from the underdog, which means I'd better be ready to make a very strong case for the Aggies if I want to call for a SHOCKER.
In Texas A&M's favor:
They're playing at home in front of a fantastic crowd
They only lost to Florida by 3, which looks better now than it did at the time
The team believes in Manziel and will bring peak intensity
LSU is in a letdown spot after a big home win over South Carolina
LSU didn't travel well when they visited Florida
There are definitely some components there that would normally trigger an upset call from me. I always want a fired up and talented underdog...and I always want to go against favorites who may not be at peak intensity or who have weaknesses that can be exploited.
Not in Texas A&M's favor:
Manziel has been such a one-man team that an injury to him would be devastating
LSU plays very tough, physical defense
Manziel is less of a threat if you can contain his run
LSU contains everybody's run!
There's a true danger here that Manziel will try to do too much and will get knocked out of the game. And, even if that doesn't happen...he may not be that difficult for a great defense to contain. He gets to be "Johnny Football" against bad or undersized defenses. He turns into an undersized, inexperienced freshman himself when matched up against good defenses.
This is certainly a game I'll be watching closely in the early TV window because there's true SHOCK THE SYSTEM potential down the road with either team against #1 Alabama. Today's winner (or loser for that matter) will likely be in a price range against the Crimson Tide that will get my attention. I need to see if either of these teams is up to the task of hanging with #1, or even taking down #1 if Alabama comes in flat.
To get my official plays for Saturday, including my College Rivalry Game of the Year, you have to log in for service here at the website. Or, call my handicapping office at 1-877-766-8946. I have a variety of programs designed for various bankrolls. You're sure to find one that suits your individual needs. Talk to one of my representatives in the office if you have any questions.
A guy like "Johnny Football" appeals to me because I know exactly what he's going through. I started out in this industry very young as "The Handicapping Kid" back on the East Coast. Then, I moved out West and became "Handicapper to the Stars." You've heard me called "The King of Upsets" and "The King of Las Vegas" through the years as I built on my reputation as the industry leader. I'm currently the only handicapper with a star on the Vegas "Walk of Fame." Maybe I'll be on "Johnny Football" Saturday. Maybe I've got a spot circled later on the schedule for him.
I can tell you this. I have a spot on the schedule Saturday circled for YOU in college football that deserves your utmost attention. That means it's time to go to W.A.R. alongside WAYNE ALLYN ROOT!
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