Liberty vs. Massachusetts odds, line: 2020 college football picks, Week 13 predictions from proven model

A battle between FBS Independents is on tap between the Liberty Flames and the Massachusetts Minutemen at noon ET on Friday at Williams Stadium. Liberty is 8-1 overall and 5-0 at home, while UMass is 0-3 overall with all three losses coming on the road. It’s the third season in a row that these programs have gone head-to-head.

Liberty covered comfortably as 23.5-point favorites a season ago in a 63-21 win, but UMass earned an outright upset as a 1.5-point underdog the season prior with a 62-59 win. This time around, the Flames are favored by 37.5 points in the latest Liberty vs. Massachusetts odds from William Hill Sportsbook and the over-under is set at 56.5. Before entering any Massachusetts vs. Liberty picks, you’ll want to see the college football predictions from the model at SportsLine.

The SportsLine Projection Model simulates every FBS college football game 10,000 times. Over the past four-plus years, the proprietary computer model has generated a stunning profit of over $3,600 for $100 players on its top-rated college football picks against the spread. It is also a sizzling 44-23 on all top-rated picks through 12 weeks of the 2020 college football schedule, returning over $1,200 in profit already. Anyone who has followed it has seen huge returns.

Now, the model has set its sights on Liberty vs. UMass. You can head to SportsLine to see its picks. Here are several college football odds for UMass vs. Liberty:

  • Liberty vs. Massachusetts spread: Liberty -37.5
  • Liberty vs. Massachusetts over-under: 56.5 points
  • Liberty vs. Massachusetts money line: Liberty -25000, Massachusetts +3000

What you need to know about Liberty

On Saturday, the Flames and the NC State Wolfpack were almost perfectly matched up, but Liberty suffered an agonizing 15-14 defeat. No one had a standout game offensively for Liberty, but the Flames got scores from WR Noah Frith and TE Jerome Jackson. The loss dropped Liberty out of the AP Top 25 but with two games left on the schedule, including a matchup matchup with No. 16 Coastal Carolina, there’s still a lot to play for.

Liberty can get to 10 wins for the first time in program history with two wins and could also get back into the rankings if it wins out, but that has to start with a dominant performance against UMass. The Flames racked up 730 yards of total offense in their win over the Minutemen a season ago and Malik Willis will look to put together a similarly dominant performance in 2020.

What you need to know about Massachusetts

Meanwhile, UMass suffered a tough 24-2 defeat to the Florida Atlantic Owls on Friday. QB Will Koch had a tough game, throwing one interception with only 3.05 yards per passing attempt. The Minutemen have scored just 12 points so far in 2020 but defensive lineman Avien Peah has been disruptive on the other side of the ball. He has six tackles for loss already in three games.

How to make Liberty vs. Massachusetts picks

The model

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Massachusetts education officials considering at-home MCAS testing in the spring during COVID pandemic

With the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System scheduled to be administered this winter and spring during the coronavirus pandemic, one teacher said it will be a “logistical nightmare” for districts that have been fully remote to administer the test.

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But Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Commissioner Jeffrey Riley on Tuesday said the tests are still on track to be administered, but that the department is considering options like limiting the amount of time for which students take the test or at-home testing this spring.

MCAS tests in January and February are coming up for students, including those who need to re-test to graduate and English language learners.

“When we think about the winter testing, as we’ve seen over the last few weeks, we acknowledge the number of students schools and districts affected by COVID has increased,” Riley said during a Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education meeting.

“We are continuing to look into the options available to us for the testing that is occurring in the winter. I am not announcing any changes today regarding the tests that are scheduled for January through March but we’ll monitor the situation closely and make a determination very soon if our approach to testing changes,” Riley continued.

Spring MCAS tests are slated to start in April.

“We are exploring a number of options including the potential for at-home testing which might, and I want to stress might, be available in certain limited cases and also how we may be able to relieve the burdens on students and schools in terms of the amount of time that each individual student spends on the test,” Riley said.

In the spring, when all schools were remote, Gov. Charlie Baker signed a bill that made Education Commissioner Jeff Riley waive the MCAS testing requirements for the 2019-20 school year. Many schools this fall have students back in classrooms at least part-time, but some of the state’s largest districts, like Boston, Worcester and Springfield, are still remote.

Christine Spelman, a graduation coach at Springfield High School of Science and Technology, told board members during a public comment period that administering MCAS is a logistical nightmare for districts that have only had remote education thus far this academic year.

Among the challenges, Spelman said, is transportation for students, finding teachers to proctor, and figuring out what will happen for regular remote classes for those teachers who are proctoring.

“This testing schedule is adding another layer of stress to an already extremely stressful time as we are in the thick of the second wave of the pandemic,” Spelman said.

Spelman asked if it was possible to put testing on hold and request a waiver once President-elect Joseph Biden is inaugurated.

“If that is the case, then why not postpone any testing until the new federal leaders are in office and why not postpone testing until all schools have had a chance to bring students back into their buildings,” Spelman said.

Riley has said this fall that

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The top storylines in Massachusetts men’s college basketball this season

Despite all that, college basketball is determined to play on. So, with that commitment, here are the top stories in Massachusetts for the 2020-21 season.

▪ Wynston Tabbs’s return from injury for Boston College.

Tabbs looked like one of the best freshmen in the ACC two seasons ago when he averaged 13.9 ppg in 15 games. He has many excellent attributes, including quickness, a willingness to defend, and fearlessness.

Then he hurt his knee, missing the last half of his freshman year and all of last season. He’s healthy now, and the Eagles need him to emerge as their go-to player on offense — a leader, both and off the court — and to combine with Jay Heath for a top-flight backcourt.

▪ BC’s multitude of transfers.

Jim Christian lost six players to graduation and transfers; inbound transfers will be a big factor in how successful this season will be. The most notable transfer is Makai Ashton-Langford, a 6-foot-3-inch guard. His brother, DeMarr Langford, is a freshman with the Eagles.

Ashton-Langford was a highly rated recruit in high school, but his two years at Providence were punctuated by inconsistency. If he could fulfill the potential and promise he had coming out of high school (Cushing, Brewster Academy), it would go a long way.

The other transfers are the graduate types, moving up to a higher level. They are Rich Kelly (Quinnipiac), Frederick Scott (Rider), and possibly James Karnik (Lehigh) but he still needs a waiver. It’s questionable how much they’ll be able to contribute. Fans shouldn’t expect much from that group.

Tre Mitchell (center) was the Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Year last season and will be a big focal point for UMass in 2020-21.
Tre Mitchell (center) was the Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Year last season and will be a big focal point for UMass in 2020-21. Jessica Hill/FR125654 AP via AP

▪ Tre Mitchell has the potential to be a great player for UMass.

The 6-9 sophomore had a great freshman season, averaging 17.7 ppg and 7.2 rpg. He improved as the season progressed, and he was named the Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Year.

This season, he’s regarded as the best player in the A-10 to start the season, and there’s opportunity for more than that if the Minutemen can put together a season that ends with an NCAA bid.

Dominant big men are getting rare, but Mitchell qualifies. Fans should expect a big season from him.

▪ Harvard’s season canceled

The pandemic claimed Ivy League basketball, and Harvard coach Tommy Amaker has said he encouraged his seniors to enter the transfer portal. There are only two, Rio Haskett and Danilo Djuricic, but both will be playing elsewhere next season. There’s always the possibility that underclassmen could follow them.

▪ Boston University defends its Patriot League title.

NCAA Tournament appearances don’t happen every year for a lot of schools, and last season’s cancellation was a big disappointment for BU after the Terriers won the Patriot League tournament.

Last season’s leading scorer, Max Mahoney, has graduated, but there are a lot of players back, notably guard Javante McCoy and forward Walter

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Education commissioner reverses course, says Massachusetts schools in red should stay open

Massachusetts school districts in the red zone should continue to offer in-person instruction so long as there is no coronavirus transmission in the buildings, said Education Commissioner Jeffrey Riley, reversing course on the state’s previous guidance.



a man wearing a suit and tie: Boston, MA 6/25/2020 Commissioner Jeffrey Riley (cq), with the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, speaks. Governor Charlie Baker (cq) holds a press availability in the Gardner Auditorium, of the State House, during the coronavirus pandemic. Plans for school reopening are disclosed. POOL (Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff) POOL PHOTO


© Provided by Boston Herald
Boston, MA 6/25/2020 Commissioner Jeffrey Riley (cq), with the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, speaks. Governor Charlie Baker (cq) holds a press availability in the Gardner Auditorium, of the State House, during the coronavirus pandemic. Plans for school reopening are disclosed. POOL (Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff) POOL PHOTO

Riley said during a Tuesday Joint Committee on Education hearing that schools “are encouraged to remain open even if their community is red.”

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He said such districts offering in-person or hybrid learning models should continue to remain open “until there is any evidence that there is transmission happening in a school.”

This backtracks on a previous Department of Elementary and Secondary Education guidance, released Aug. 11, which stated red zone districts, which are communities with an average daily case rate of more than eight per 100,000, should move to remote learning.

Riley said, “We are not seeing the spread take place, clustering take place in the schools as was initially feared.”

Riley also struck down suggestions that some districts had put forth regarding taking a week of remote learning following Thanksgiving break to mitigate any potential COVID-19 spread that may happen while gathering with family or traveling.

“We just said we did not think that was appropriate. We are trying to use the data to the greatest extent possible that we can, and we want to let the medical folks to weigh in and at this time we do not think that is the way to go,” said Riley.

Thomas Scott, executive director of the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents, also speaking during the hearing, said the association is asking for an expansion on the color-coded metrics provided by the state.

“I think if we simply follow the community positive rates at this point we may find ourselves in more conflict than we need to,” said Scott, saying schools don’t always reflect the community at large.

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On Recruiting Trail, Boston College Continues to Clean Up in Massachusetts

Yesterday, it was another Bay State recruiting win for Boston College as local wide receiver Ismael Zamor pledged to the Eagles. The Everett HS product is one of growing number of examples of Jeff Hafley and his staff setting a new foundation to dominate recruiting in Massachusetts. 

In year’s past, BC has been active locally. But the story was always the same. If the recruit was big enough to go nationally, the Eagles would more often than not lose that recruit to those powerhouse schools. This situation got worse when former defensive coordinator Don Brown left to go to Michigan. The Wolverines basically got first dibs on anyone in the area, and took players like Zak Zinter, Kalel Mullings and Mike Sainristill to the Big House. Even Michigan recruiting analysts bragged that the Wolverines owned Massachusetts. And it was hard to argue with that, Brown dominated the area. 

But the mood is shifting in local recruiting. Players like Matt Ragan and Ismael Zamor have all said the new coaching staff was part of the reason they committed to the Eagles. In fact in the past three months, BC has landed six local recruits from Massachusetts. Four of them had offers from the Wolverines. Linebacker Casey Phinney decommitted from Michigan when the local team made a push for him, instead choosing to play for Hafley. Tony Muse, from Lawrence Academy, chose to walk on at BC, even while holding an offer from the Wolverines. And a trio of Catholic Memorial ’23 recruits, two of which had Michigan offers, have already verballed to the Eagles. 

Since taking over the Eagles, there has only been one local recruit (TJ Guy) that Michigan stole that BC really wanted. The others the school didn’t push very hard for, or were not interested in. Tyler Martin never had a BC offer. Louis Hanson, they never made a huge push for, and were looking elsewhere at the position. 

The excitement that Jeff Hafley has created for his program is catching on locally. He is an engaging coach, that is producing a positive culture which is attractive to recruits. On top of that, he has surrounded himself with assistants who are connecting with these kids, and helping to support Hafley’s bigger picture. And the results on the field (minus last weekend), have only helped magnify his message. 

There are still going to be battles for local recruits. ’21 offensive lineman Drew Kendall’s destination is still shrouded in mystery, and there are some really big names coming in ’22 & ’23. But the stranglehold that Don Brown had on the area is gone. Michigan will not be raiding Massachusetts whenever they please. Boston College is going to not only be in on all of these recruits, they are going to win a lion’s share of the local recruits. Hafley’s message has resonated, and he is now dictating the terms in the area.

Former head coach Steve Addazio always talked about building a wall around Massachusetts. He never did,

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