Last week: 6-6
What went right: For a .500 week, seemingly not very much. The Chants covered 2 1⁄2 on the road, UNC got the backdoor cover by half a point, TTU-ISU went way over 51, The Cougs mounted a furious comeback on The Farm and not only beat the +2 1⁄2 , but also won outright, etc. Still, with Week 7 (another .500 outing), it the worst of the season.
What went wrong: Take your pick: Mizzou being shutout at home for three quarters by Kentucky? Aggie pulling an Aggie and making Nick Fitzgerald look like Tua Tagovailoa? The Arkansas defense reverting to its September form? The Beeeees curb-stomping the Hokies? The less said about last week, the better. Shudder.
But, we’re going to rebound. I can feel it (hashtag gambler’s fallacy). And, if Tuesdays’ free money pick (Buffalo -8) was any indication, followed by last night’s 2-1 showing in more MACtion, then Week 10 is already a lot kinder. You’re up 3-1 on the week!
So, let’s win you some cash and save you some this week:
Not with a 10’ pole and your money: There are some absolutely fantastic games of great moment being played tomorrow. Texas -2 at West Virginia will largely pare down the Big 12 to three meaningful contenders. Texas is awful on the road, and Morgantown is beast of a road trip. Still, I simply don’t trust Dana Holgorsen’s team to look good two weeks in a row: and they looked great last week. Keep your wallet in your pocket. For perhaps the first time in SEC history, the SECCG Title Game participants will be decided as early as November third. The winner of UGA (-9.5) - Kentucky will be in Atlanta. If you love a defensive slobberknocker, this is your huckleberry. And while my heart says Wildcats, my head says mmmmmaybe Bulldogs? In either case, I don’t see a two-score game. The possibility that Stoops chokes all over the bluegrass is more than enough to make me lay off it. Man, I do hate Michigan laying 13.5 at home vs. the Nittany Lions. Penn State isn’t great and they play pretty buddy on the road, but I’m going to need to see proof that the Wolverines can outscore someone if they need to.
Big spreads, but you should buy in: Ignore Dabo’s “awww shucks” shtick: He knows how to gin up positive regard for a team with some flaws — it’s the Bobby Bowden method: beat the absolute stuffing out of the cellar of the ACC. Louisville qualifies as the very worst that the ACC has to offer. This one opened at Clemson - 37 1⁄2 . Take it: Clemson big, big, big over a Cards team that can’t do much right. Alabama opened at -14 1⁄2 over the Tigers. Feel free to buy a half point if the paranoiac in you wants to save a push: You won’t need it. Alabama has not scored more than 21 in Death Valley since 2002. But rarely has the matchup been this one-sided. And, make no mistake, it’s a bad matchup for the Tigers. Tide has their way and the Tigers can’t score. 41-10 may be about right, even though Tua finally has a pick. WOMP WOMP. Fresno State at -25: You’re welcome. Seriously, UNLV is not a very good team. And the Bulldogs have been spectacular on the road as well as at home. Finally, I don’t like Wisconsin and big numbers as a general rule. But Rutgers has simply given up. Badgers -27.5 vs. the Scarlet Knights is worth it. Finally, Nebraska+ 19.5 at Ohio State could be as much of a mortal lock as Purdue was a few weeks ago. The Huskers won’t win: The defense is deplorable. But the offense has been really good the last month. That’ll probably be enough to get a backdoor cover in a shootout.
Shoot ‘em up: Liberty and Umass (o/u 70 1⁄2 ) and Memphis - East Carolina (64 1⁄2 ) feature four of the worst defenses in football. If defense makes you cry, watch both of these. If you want a few extra bucks, then take the over on both. While it won’t be as aggressively as much a shootout as these others, Iowa-Purdue will go over 51, if for no reason other than the Boilermakers’ will make it so.
Underdogs with Soul: I do like Duke +10 on the road in Miami. This ‘Canes team is nothing special and this is the least daunting road trip in the ACC. We know Auburn is a tough out in Jordan Hare. But historical difficulty doesn’t really matter when they won’t be able to run on the Aggies and Kellen Mond has success on that secondary a la Tennessee. I like A&M +4 at Auburn. One day, I’m going to get one of these right: But, seriously, Ole Miss giving up 1 at home vs. South Carolina? That may be an incredibly entertainingstupidsane tilt. Rebels +1 over the Gamecocks. Hawaii will lose at home to the Utah State Aggies. Will they lose by 19.5? Probably not. That’s a tough road trip for everyone. Warriors +19.5 vs. Utah State.
MORTAL LOCK OF THE WEEK: Houston (-13 1/2) at SMU. The only thing slowing down the hyperfast Cougars team is the relativistic effects of time dilation. (Fancy, huh? Didn’t know we’d drop special relativity on you in a gambling article, did you?)