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Ivy League Play of the Week:
Intro: I love handicapping small college football, and I’ve been very successful at it. One fellow handicapper went so far to call me the “Billy Walters of 1-AA football handicapping”. The problem with 1-AA handicapping is that betting outlets are limited, so the lines move quickly. Fortunately, Ivy League football is offered by more books including Pinnacle, 5 Dimes and Olympic.
Every week I’ll post what I consider to be one of the top Ivy League plays of the week. We’ll begin with a matchup between Harvard and Brown:
BROWN +10’ over Harvard:
Great value here, as my numbers indicate this as a near “pick’em” game. Even allowing Harvard a few points as the home team, you’re getting a full TD overlay. Harvard got all they could handle for three quarters against Holy Cross last week before putting up 11 points in the final quarter for a 31-21 victory. That was the Crimson’s 12th consecutive win, which is the longest streak in Division 1-AA football and with Utah’s loss to TCU is now the 2nd longest in all of Division 1 (second only to the USC Trojans). This matchup was dead even last year, with Harvard prevailing 35-34 after falling behind 31-10.
Brown opened their season last week with an almost effortless 34-3 victory over lowly Georgetown. Bears return a ton of starters on both sides of the ball including 9 All Ivy Leaguers. Harvard has arguably the best running back in the league in Clifton Dawson, but Brown’s Nick Hartigan is no slouch at that position himself. Bears may have the edge in the passing game, though there are some questions at the QB position. Harvard’s biggest loss from last year is their QB, Ryan Fitzpatrick, who was one of the best in Ivy League history and was actually an 8th round NFL draft pick.
As noted above, these two teams played to a 1 point Harvard win last year. Despite their opening game win, its going to take some time for Harvard to get used to life after Fitzpatrick and I look for Brown to win outright here. Getting 10’ points is a very nice margin for error in what should be a tightly contested game.