Last Week: 10-5
What Went Right: UCLA and UNC are still terrible, big road dogs USM and Syracuse, Boise on the road smothered the Cowboys, OM/LSU under, Cincy continues thrashing people, Purdue did read Scott Frost’s comments about them being beatable, Penn State covered +4, Notre Dame worked over Stanford as thoroughly as you’ll see between two Top 10s.
What Went Wrong: Big road dogs in the SEC covered — Arkansas, Vols, and most appallingly, ULL, in a game that should have been 80-0. Thanks, Second Team Defense! FSU had the worst possible outcome for gamblers: they were outplayed all game, scraped by with a road win and then didn’t cover — Willie can’t even do that one right. And Buffalo was in no way prepared to handle Army’s triple option. The Bulls never got off the mat.
Without preamble, here’s your Week Six lines. Let’s make some money, and (like Michigan / NW last week) let’s save you some as well.
Not with a 10’ Pole and Borrowed Money:
Indiana +26 at Ohio State. You can’t be terribly impressed with the Buckeyes secondary, which is bendy as-advertised (shocker). If this were in Bloomington, I’d probably take the Hoosiers to cover 26. I still may. I’ll let you know at game time. The only question is whether IU can get a few stops — they’ve not been particularly impressive in road play. Michigan -17 1⁄2 vs. Maryland. There’s that hook again on a Wolverine line. 34-17 seems about right, doesn’t it? But, if it’s 31-10, I don’t want to put you on the wrong side of that one. Kansas (+28 1⁄2 ) at West Virginia has a similar problem as Michigan. The ‘Eers could blast the Jayhawks, but KU’s secondary actually isn’t that bad — allowed 8 TDs, but have forced 8 picks. It’s also an 11:00 a.m. snoozer after an emotional roller coaster in Lubbock. This could be a 38-10 beating and you’ll be a unit poorer. Something tells me it’s closer than that, though. Still, not worth putting money on. Memphis is going to smoke UConn and their terrible secondary, and UM could win by 60. But, that half-point (-35 1/2 ) given the Tigers’ run-stopping issues should scare you away versus the run-first Huskies; let’s call this one 52-17. The other dirty secret is that this Tigers’ team is a much better running team than a passing one. And for all of UConn’s woes, they’ve been respectable defending the ground game. You couldn’t pay me to touch that ‘Barn-State game: Shades of 3-2 coming. Alabama -35 at Arkansas is also toxic. The Hogs’ defense has played pretty well the last two weeks, and we may actually get to see Tagovailoa some in the later quarters. But the offense is still woeful. My heart says something like 41-3, in Tagovailoa’s first true road start. But, I’m not quite ready to pull the trigger on that one. The under is enticing though. I’ll let you know if I get a feel later in the week.
Tulsa at Houston -18 1/2 , 71
Ga State at Troy -16, 55
MTSU at Marshall -6, 52
Ga. Tech at Louisville +4 1/2
USU at BYU -2 1⁄2, 55
USA at Ga. Sou. - 13 1⁄2
USF at UMass -14 1⁄2 , 71
Clemson at Wake +18, 62 1/2
ECU at Temple -11 1⁄2 , 55
NIU -3 at Ball State 51 1⁄2
Syracuse -4 1⁄2 at Pitt 59
SMU at UCF 24 1⁄2 , 73
ODU + 13 1⁄2 at FAU 65 1/2
IU at tOSU -26, 64 1⁄2
BC at NCSU -5, 60
LSU -3 at Florida 43 1⁄2
Mizzou -1 at South Carolina 64 1⁄2
Maryland at Michigan -17 1⁄2 , 48 1⁄2
Tulane at Cincy -7 1⁄2 , 51 1⁄2
Ohio - 13 1⁄2 at Kent State 71 1⁄2
Eastern + 4 1⁄2 at Western 58 1⁄2
Buffalo at Central + 7 1⁄2 , 50
Miami OH at Akron -3 1/2
ND at Va. Tech + 6, 51
Illinois at Rutgers +5 , 51 1⁄2
SDSU at Boise - 14, 51 1⁄2
ASU at Colorado -3, 65
Liberty -5 at NMSU
Stanford -5 vs. Utah 46 1⁄2
Wash. at UCLA + 21, 50 1⁄2
No. Tex at UTEP + 28 1⁄2 , 65 1⁄2
Fresno -12 1⁄2 at Nevada 59
Wazzu - 17 at Oregon State
Cal - 2 1⁄2 at Arizona 57 1⁄2
UNM at UNLV -9 1⁄2 , 62 1⁄2
KU at WVU -28 1⁄2 , 61 1⁄2
Alabama -35 at Arkansas 57
NW at Michigan State +11, 44
UAB + 9 1⁄2 at La. Tech 57
A&M - 6 vs. Kentucky 46 1⁄2
Iowa State at Ok. State -10 54 1⁄2
Vandy + 26 1⁄2 at UGA 52
Iowa - 7 at Minnesota 40 1⁄2
ULM at Ole Miss -23
Auburn -3 1⁄2 at Miss. State 44
BGSU + 20 1⁄2 at Toledo
Navy at AFA +3 1⁄2
OU at Texas +8 60 1⁄2
UConn + 35 1⁄2 at Memphis
ULL - 3 1⁄2 at Tx. State
UTSA +2 1⁄2 at Rice
K. State + 4 1⁄2 at Baylor
FSU +13 at Miami 48 1/2
Wisconsin - 19 1⁄2 vs. Nebraska 56 1⁄2
CSU at SJSU + 2 1⁄2
Wyoming at Hawaii -3
Will the undefeated Weekday stretch continue:
Georgia Tech 4 1⁄2 — The Cardinals are 86th against the run, giving up 4.3 yards per carry and 186 yards-per game on the ground. Those numbers are going to go way up. Meanwhile, the Cards are 102nd in passing and 105th in rushing offense. They’ll find some easier sledding against the Jackets’ defense, but probably not enough to drive the field consistently to play catch up. Should be a low scoring one; Luhvl will make sure of that.
Saturday has some good stuff here:
Wyoming at Hawaii -3 — Why is this line so low? The Cowboys have fielded a respectable scoring defense, but three things to consider: 1. Where the Pokes have struggled is big plays against the pass, 2. that’s an 11:00 p.m. Laramie-time start, and 3. The Wyoming offense is damn-near lost this year. Warriors at home.
Liberty -5 1⁄2 vs NMSU — The Flames are simply the better team. They came through big for me last week vs. UNM, and the Aggies are worse than the Lobos — it was especially encouraging to see a defense that gives up nearly 8 yards a carry shut down UNM’s triple option: that’s a sign of good coaching and prep. The secondaries for both have put up really good numbers (esp. NMSU). But, the difference is that the Flames have one of the nation’s most wide-open passing attacks while the Aggies can’t score in a brothel. Tough road win for Liberty, but you like them by a touchdown. If it turns to a ground and pound, slight nod to NMSU, but this team simply isn’t built to run, not averaging 2.13 YPC.
Cal -2 1⁄2 at Arizona — The Bears have been reborn as a defense-first team, while Arizona is having all kinds of problems adjusting to Sumlin’s schemes. That’s sort of inherent going from the spread option to the air raid. Cal’s secondary vs. the Wildcats unsteady passing game will decide this one. The Bears squeeze out a low-scoring big win from the South.
Cincy -7 1⁄2 vs. Tulane — See that stuff about Cal? Apply it to the Queen City’s team. Luke Fickel saw the triple option every year at OSU. And, in the AAC, he sees Navy every season as well, and the Middies are in two weeks: it won’t sneak up on him. The Bearcats are 9th against the pass, 30th against the run, and have an excellent passing attack. Cincinnati keeps rolling (Disclosure: I did buy a half-point on this one. Just in case. I don’t think I’ll need it, but with a crucial roadie to Temple next week, I’m literally hedging my bet.)
Washington -21 at UCLA — The nation’s No. 1 defense against the 109th offense. I don’t care that it’s on the road. I don’t know how UCLA is going to score here, not unless the Huskies put it on the ground a bunch. Look for a lot of Myles Gaskins vs. the 100th-ranked rushing defense: Petersen will shorten the game in Pasadena, work out some last minute kinks, and then head to Seattle to prep for next week’s rivalry game against the Ducks.
Nebraska at Wisconsin - 19 1⁄2 — This is the first road game for Nubber all year, and the first for Frost as a Huskers. The Badgers are 18th in rushing; the Cornhuskers are 96th against the run. And, against teams with a pulse, UNL hasn’t been able to move the ball with its primary identity: full tilt spread option football. Wisconsin needs the taste of that BYU game out of its mouth. They’ll get it.
Illinois -5 at Rutgers — This is just one of my gambling shorthands on the season, and it’s 3-1 so far: Until proven otherwise, all Rutgers teams shall be wagered against. And I’ll certainly do so with this one-score spread. The Illini aren’t that bad. Ugly and boring and bad? Sure. Can’t beat Rutgers-in-New-Jersey-by-a-touchdown? Nah. Not that bad.
Syracuse - 4 1⁄2 at Pitt — Have you seen the Panthers secondary? Mercy, in games vs. Penn State and UNC, they may as well not have even been on the same field. I suspect the Orange take out some of last week’s frustrations on Pitt...unless there’s a Bama Effect that Clemson has of which I’m unaware. This is a better basketball series than football.
Risky, but I’m taking a chance here:
Aggies -6 vs. Kentucky — I love Kentucky. Kentucky can run the ball and stop the run. They’re also the second best team in the country against the pass. That’s a great formula for win at the Hate Barn. The A&M secondary is an absolute mess, but can UK actually win a game where they have to throw 35-38 times? I don’t think so, but they’ll need to. One thing Aggie can do is shut down running attacks, and they’ve seen better backs than Ole Reliable Benny Snell. And, while Kellen Mond isn’t going to win by dropping back and flinging it all night, A&M will stress the stingy secondary on RPOs and exploit the weaker LBs — the ‘Cats haven’t been meaningfully tested in the air yet. It just seems a tough spot for the Wildcats on the road against the most athletic team they’ll see until UGA. Let’s say 27-17 A&M with quite a few turnovers and big momentum-changing plays.
Tulsa at Houston over 71 — Four of the Cougars five outings have gone over 73 points. Houston has the nation’s worst secondary, so a Golden Hurricane passing offense that has struggled at times will get on the board a few times. But on defense, they’ll be helpless. This will likely be a rout, and on national television, likely a high scoring one too — something like 51-24.
Eastern + 4 1⁄2 at Western — The wrong team seems favored here. The Eagles have played some outstanding ball at times. And, if they can shut out Rondale Moore, that’s better than anything that the Broncos have. Tough rivalry game, and probably low-scoring to boot. But, I like English’s club on the road straight up 23-17.
Notre Dame -6 vs. Virginia Tech — Night game in Blacksburg, you say? For all the talk about a vaunted defense, the Hokies are just 84th in QBR and have surrendered 11 passing touchdowns already. Even if VT can shut down the run, and it may with some recent OL injuries in South Bend, it will struggle against the Irish passing attack. And, on offense, it’s a Hokies team that looks to win on the ground. And ND has an outstanding front four. It’s tough road win for the Irish, but they’ll cover. That adrenaline from the Stanford rivalry is never really shelved — which is good; ND will need it.
Old Dominion + 13 1⁄2 at FAU — The Owls will score, to be sure. But nothing they’ve put on the field defensively engenders much confidence that they can slow down the nation’s No. 7 passing attack. Feel free to take the over on this one as well, if you’d like a nice parlay. I’m thisssss close to calling for the outright win by the Monarchs; I’ll take covering a two-touchdown road spread. Disclosure: I also bought a half-point on this one...just in case.
BONUS: LSU - 3 at Florida — LOL. J/K. I’m not touching this game and you shouldn’t either, despite the fact Mullen has tended to matchup well against the Tigers. It will probably be a pretty terrible game, and I have a hunch that the one thing that UF struggles with, stopping interior running, is the one thing that LSU can’t do very well with its line woes. Burrows is a sub-50% passer, and in the Swamp, counted on for some must-make passes, the luck runs out, right? Surely, I mean? Florida’s special teams wins this one 12-10