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Giving Away Money: Week Five — Picks against the spread to enhance your filthy lucre

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Beat your man with these picks against the points

Las Vegas

Last Week: 9-8

Season: 31-23

What Went Right: Strong gains continued for the weekday games, where I’m presently riding a perfect season-long streak: 3-0 last week, including the 12 point Wazzu cover in the Coliseum; 8-0 on the season. What else? Tennessee and Arkansas really suck. The Chanticleers are awesome little spread-covering ‘dogs, etc.

What Went Wrong: The same thing that went wrong for a lot of people — there were a ton of backdoor covers (including Aggie playing trash ball with the starters in at 4:31 of the 4th; Mizzou, who I told you to avoid...for a reason.) And there were some ranked teams who simply didn’t show up on the road (side eyes to Mississippi State.) I lost four in the last five minutes, and it could have been as many as six. It happens, alas. But, this time I mean it: I’m done with you Texas.

This is a brutal week for folks looking for value. About 75% of the lines have a really iffy margin. For instance, Colorado -9 at home vs. UCLA on Friday night PACtion. Colorado is the better team at this point, but with a really young team, who knows which UCLA is going to show up. And, are the Buffs actually two scores better than any conference team? Northwestern (+14 1/2) can’t score — but they traditionally play the big boys really well at home. And, given Michigan’s penchant for terrible road play under Harbaugh, you can see a 21-7 strangulation game, right?

That throat-clearing aside, here are the most current odds. Let’s see if we can make you some money — and save you some as well.

Thursday:

UNC at Miami -18, 55 12

Friday:

Memphis at Tulane +14, 66 12

UCLA at Colorado -9, 55

Saturday:

Army at Buffalo -6, 53

Cincinnati at at Uconn -17, 61

CMU at Mich. State -28, 45

NIU at EMU -3, 47 12

Kent State at Ball State -7 12, 57

Rice at Wake Forest, -23 12, 67

ODU at ECU -6 12, 58

BGSU at Ga. Tech -25 12, 65

Temple at Boston College -14 12 , 54

Syracuse at Clemson -24, 61

USA at App. State -23, 64

Va. Tech at Duke -4, 48

ULM at Ga. State. +6.5, 58 12

UMass at Ohio -14, 70

Pitt at UCF -13 12 , 63 12

Sakerlina at Kentucky -2, 51

UVA at NCSU - 5.5

Indiana at Rutgers +18, 53

Nevada at AFA -7 12 , 66

Utah at Wazzu + 2 12 , 50

ASU at Ore. State +20, 62 12

BYU at Washington -17, 45

Toledo at Fresno -10, 62

WMU at Miami (OH) +3, 54

FSU -6 12 at Louisville -5.5

OSU at PSU +4, 65

Ark. State -3.5 at Ga. So. 53

Tenn. at UGA -31, 55

Liberty at UNM -8.5, 65

So. Miss at Auburn -27, 53

Iowa State at TCU -11, 49

ULL at ‘Bama -49 12 , 67

Baylor at Oklahoma -21, 65

UTEP at UTSA -11, 48

Purdue -4 at Nebraska 58

Texas at Kansas State +9, 48

WVU at TTU +3 12 , 74

La. Tech at No. Tex. -7, 63 12

UNCC at UAB -17, 57

Okie State -17 at Kansas 61

Marshall at WKU +5, 51

Florida at MSU -8, 53

Ole Miss at LSU -11.5, 58

Coastal at Troy -15, 59

FAU +3 at MTSU 68

USC -2 at Arizona 62

Boise State -17 at Wyo. 48

Hawaii -8.5 at SJSU 65

Stanford at ND -5, 51.5

Michigan at NW, +14.5, 50

Arkansas at TAMU -16.5, 59

Oregon at Cal +3.5, 60.5

Not with a 10’ Pole and Borrowed Money: Before we even get to what to take, let’s talk about what to avoid like the plague. See Ole Miss at LSU up there? In a rivalry game that means more to the Rebels than Da’ Coach O? Yeah. Stay away from that. But, feel free to take the under. Also, Baylor at Oklahoma. The Bears have played surprisingly decent defense, and the Sooners just don’t look right. Could be a blowout, could be a 38-28 kind of game. Feel free to stay away from Kentucky vs. South Carolina too. With all of the hype surrounding the Wildcats, and with the Gamecocks facing a must-win, this one is ripe for Kentucky to do Kentucky things. Look for USC to stack it up against Benny Snell and make an iffy UK passing game try and win one for Stoops. As noted above, avoid that Michigan at Northwestern line until we know what Michigan’s offense is going to look like on the road. Dad Pants tends to play it much closer to the vest away from Ann Arbor, but with a mobile QB and a three-deep running back group, he may decide to finally try to modern-up. That BYU - Washington three-score road differential looks out of whack too. You don’t expect many points will be scored there, so -17 is probably too much...-9 or -10 is probably about right. Let’s see how Okie Lite rebounds before loading up on them. And is Georgia Tech really four scores better than anyone in the country?

<p zoompage-fontsize="15" style="">NCAA Football: Florida International at Miami

Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

UNC at Miami -18: With Malik Rosier holding the clipboard, this is a different and better team that doesn’t shoot itself in the foot. It’s not a great homefield advantage, but UNC has been trucked on the road in both outings. ‘Canes get back into the AP rankings after another decisive beating of a bad team. They’ve looked really good in their last three outings. UM to cover.

So. Miss +27 at Auburn: Anyone familiar with Gus’ body of work knows that Auburn has tended to play poorly in its home games vs. midmajors. Southern Miss can actually play some defense too — better than Arkansas. With next week’s trip to State on the horizon for Auburn, this is a game that can be overlooked. For So. Miss., this would make their season. Golden Eagles to cover.

Alabama -48.5 vs. ULL: This is the worst team that Alabama will play this season, and I include Citadel in there. This may be the worst team Alabama has played since...what...Mercer? After last week’s defensive lapses and penalties and play-calling / running struggles, there are plenty of teachable moments to correct here. And there will be. If you want to parlay this one, under 67 seems easy money too. 62-3 seems about right.

Arkansas at Texas A&M -16.5 — It doesn’t matter how poorly the A&M secondary performed last week. It’s been solid against bad teams, and Arkansas is a bad team. I don’t know how the Hogs are going to keep up, even if there are defensive lapses and this one starts piling on points. Aggie needs a pick-me-up. Here it is. A&M by at least three scores.

Boise State -17 at Wyoming — The Broncos are just the better team. After getting physically whipped two weeks ago, it’s time to circle the wagons and destroy Boise State’s MWC schedule. These Cowboys have taken a huge step back this year and haven’t looked good against the pass. That’s bad news when BSU comes to town. Broncos will run it up if they can; they’ll cover in any event.

Syracuse +24 at Clemson — The Tigers’ secondary is just not very good, y’all...and there’s no depth. The defensive line will stymy any running plays. But the LBs and the secondary are going to be chasing 70 passing attempts against the nation’s fastest HUNH. It’s too much to ask for an outright road win, but hosting a feisty Orange team in this week of distractions sounds like a recipe for a tighter-than-expected game. Let’s call it a hunch-ish 42-21 Clemson win.

Purdue -4 at Nebraska — This is not a daunting road trip for the Boilermakers. And, given the state of the Huskers’ secondary, it could even be one they’re looking forward to. I have no idea why this spread isn’t higher. UNL has legitimately looked like a high school team at times — and not a good one either. Purdue is the nation’s best one-win team, no question. They’re also one of its least consistent. Still, Boilers and the points.

Stanford at Notre Dame -5 — Oh, look. Notre Dame can throw the ball again, and they’ve always been able to run. Stanford looked lost against a competent offense last week and relied on coaching malpractice and referees to gift them a 21-point swing. They’re not so lucky this week. The Tree are Michigan’s less-talented cousins, but the results will be the same. Irish by a touchdown at home.

FSU -6 12 at Louisville — The only ACC team more disappointingly dysfunctional than Florida State is Louisville. The Seminoles have actually played pretty good defense most of the season, though they can be exploited by good passing attacks and good front sevens. The Cards don’t have those, and their offense can be bullied up front. That’s good news for the more physical ‘Noles DL. Francois/Akers should be able to get a touchdown-plus road win for FSU.

Army at Buffalo -6 — You gotta ride the hot hand of Tyree Jackson and the Bulls. It helps if you’re facing a team that can’t defend the pass either. The triple option will be a handful for this undersized MAC team, but a 34-27 Bulls win gets the cover.

Tennessee at Georgia -31 12 If your defense is getting bullied by Florida, and you can’t move the ball against UTEP — at home no less — imagine going between the Hedges to face the nation’s second-most talented team. Oh, and this is Pruitt’s first road game as a coach. And he seems to be losing the locker room. This one is going to get super ugly. Kirby will show no mercy. 45-3 ‘Dawgs.

Cincinnati -17 at UConn — Have we mentioned how bad the Huskies are? And Edsall stormed out of his presser today, daring admins to fire him because the team is so bad?The Bearcats are quietly plugging along, winning games by very comfy margins. It’s a pretty decent club flying under the radar. This will be another such win. 38-14 Cincy.

FINALLY, Penn State +4 vs. the Buckeyes. Neither team has faced particularly great competition. But, in semi-competent outings the offenses struggled at times. The defenses for both are merely mediocre, though both have great pass rushes. The biggest question mark for the Nittie Kitties was the running game. By committee has worked out just fine for ‘State. The biggest questions for OSU are whether they can disguise the rest of their defensive weaknesses with the loss of Joey Bosa, and if Dwayne Haskins can keep up his torrid play on the road in the Big 10. Call it a hunch, but I don’t think they do enough. Penn State in a shootout, 38-35