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Giving Away Money 2020: Week 11 picks against the spread to enhance your filthy lucre

Enjoy football while you have it — at this rate, we may not much longer :(

Las Vegas

Last Week: 15-7
2020 Season: 94-58
No Action: Games we selected that got Rona’d were Air Force at Army, UTSA at Rice, La Tech at No. Tex.
Mortal Lock of the Week: 11-0 (Two MLothW last week! Oklahoma smoked Kansas and SMU covered an -18 point road spread).
What Went Right? The underdog covers & S/U wins by Florida, Arkansas, Liberty and Notre Dame (told you Clemson doesn’t like to be hit in the mouth). We have been slaying the MACtion of late. 4-2 last week; 3-0 on Tuesday; 2-1 last night (But this week weren’t official, so we’ll leave those off.) Over on the Miami/NCSU game; Wolfpack covered (and almost got that upset too). BYU devoured Boise State, etc.
What Went Wrong? We had a really shaky start Saturday morning before rebound throughout the day — by the time of the afternoon games, we were just 6-4, including some disappoint efforts (for bettors) when Marshall and Coastal just missed larger spreads. Leach took his foot off Vandy’s neck in the second half up by four scores and let that awful team score and cover. Missed the ECU/Tulane totals by 1 12 points. But, we rebounded hard later throughout the day, finishing 9-1 (stupid Oregon State)

All in all, we are having a great year and are coming off a very good week in particular. This week we shall endeavor to do better and make you more money. To get there though, we must first know the games to avoid.

(And, please stick around for the poll at the end and leave some comments below; I have been kicking an idea around about making a little extra money off this project that occupies about 15-20 hours a week of my time. Vox ain’t buyin’ baby new shoes).

Not with a 10’ Pole and Stolen Money

TCU +3 at WVU — You know what you’re getting with the Mountaineers; the problem is you don’t know which Horned Frogs team appears from week to week, especially on the road. Should be a good slugfest though, if you want some defense. See also Baylor at TTU (PK, but Texas Tech should win that one, if you must bet, take the Raiders at home.)

Coastal -11 at Troy — These Trojans are actually a pretty good team, especially at home. I’m sure the Chanties win, but whether by 3 or by 23 is an open question. This is CC’s first of a brutal final month that includes a roadie to Troy, a roadie vs. the stout-ish defense of Texas State, and then home versus App. State and Liberty.

Utah -3 at UCLA — Never bet on the Utes away from Rice-Eccles, and never bet against Chip Kelly at home. Such success as the Bruins have had under him, has tended to come at home for this rebuilding team.

ULL -15 12 vs. South Alabama — Man, I do not like the way the Cajuns offense has looked lately. The Jags defense can have some success here. Probably too much to ask for an upset, but ULL needs to be careful.

ND -14 at BC — Coming off the biggest regular season win in Kelly’s tenure and it’s a road trip to a sectarian rival (and damned dangerous team in their own right) — Boston College. Nope. Nope. Nope.

Northwestern -2 12 at Purdue — The Boilers have more talent, but the Wildcats are road-tested and playing outstnading team defense. This is an elimination game for the Western Division crown. And I honestly don’t have a lean either way.

USC -14 12 at Arizona — We have no idea what either one of these teams can do, really. Slovis is legit, but I don’t like much else about the Trojans. And the Wildcats are rebuilding under disappointing Swagmaster, Kevin Sumlin. Let’s get some more data points, eh?

Photo by John Cordes/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Big Spreads Worth Your Time:

UCF -23 12 vs. Temple — Ghastly Temple defense travels to CFB’s serial abuser of sportsmanship — seriously, Heupel runs it up on garbage teams, and this Owls team is a garbage one versus one of the most outstanding offenses in football...on the road. Yikes. 61-27 Knights.

I do like that ridiculous over of 76 12 too. The UCF defense gives up a ton of points in the their own rights, while the Temple offense is good for 29-34 a game.

San Jose State -15 12 vs. UNLV — Even with the injury to Starkel last week, the Spartans hummed along on both sides of the ball. It’s not as explosive a team as it is with him, but it more than gets it done against a bad UNLV team on the road. 38-17 West Coast Sparty

Vanderbilt +16 12 at Kentucky — I simply don’t know how (or even if ) the Commodores can get points here. It won’t be pretty...neither of these are aesthetic masterpieces, but the superior and physical UK squad bullies the ‘Dores. The only anchor going down is attached to Derek Mason’s sinking ship. Kentucky 27 - Vanderbilt 0

Bet The House, Baby

Penn State -2 12 at Nebraska — Road Franklin, yes, I know. But Nubber is a hot mess on defense and the offense is still mistake prone winless Penn State finally gets on the right side of the W/L column and picks up a Dub. PSU 37-Nebraska 24

Wisconsin -4 12 at Michigan — I have no idea why this spread is not higher. Wisconsin appears to have passing game that works the second level, which is bad news for a Michigan linebackers remain among the worst in the Big 10. Throw in a redshirt freshman QB who is expected to be a savior, but who makes far too many errors, a stout Sconnie defense, and I don’t see how the Badgers don’t win this one. UM plays tougher than usual, this is their kind of preferred game, but it’s not enough. Wisco 27-Skunk Bears 17

Miami +2 12 at Virginia Tech — Why on god’s earth are the Hokies favored? That defense needs help in the worst kind of way. They have allow the second-most explosive plays in the ACC and were even pushed around for their lunch money by the Liberty Flames last week. Let’s not even get into whether Justin Fuente is a fraud (he is), or whether both dual-threat QBs will put on a show (they shall), and instead just follow the superior talent to the W. And that belongs to the ‘Canes...even on the road. Miami 38 — Virginia Tech 31

Miami v Florida International Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images

For Your Consideration

Florida State +9 12 at NC State — It’s been a bad week in Tallahassee. James Blackman entered the Quitter Hole. The Noles best LB and DE are out with injuries. And now a suspect ‘Noles secondary must travel to face the explosive Wolf Pack in Raleigh. Bad combination for a team that has been dead away from Doak. I expect the sharps to load up on the ‘Pack later tomorrow while this line is still manageable. We’ll be talking about the ‘Noles for all the wrong reasons on Sunday. NCSU 38-FSU21

South Carolina +10 at Ole Miss — Seen the Gamecock secondary? “Hot mess” is a charitable description for what has been a monumental waste of Joe Horn, Jr.’s career. The Rebs have so many ways to hurt you, and they’ll find all of them this week — even as that trashy defense gives up way too many freebies to a mediocre USCe offense. I also suspect, with firin’ rumors floating about in Columbia, that this team’s headspace is a lot worse than their terrible 2-4 record. Ole Miss 44 — USCe 28

FAU -8 at FIU — The Panthers have fallen off a ledge this year (on defense mainly), and no where is that more apparent than against the run — where FIU is dead last in every category of merit in the CUSA. Meanwhile, the FAU defense was left in great shape by LMFK and they are first in every rushing defensive stat. The other issue arises on offense. FAU’s passing game is simply terrible...only FIU’s is worse. If it comes to passing defenses, FAU’s is superior as well. So, both are middle of the pack rushing offenses who will try and lean on the ‘backs to win this one and minimize mistakes (neither turn it over much). But, given the talent disparity and how well the Owls play on defense, the result of this one looks to be written in the stars. FAU 28 — FIU 17

Texas State +10 at Georgia Southern — Hmmmm...a team with an iffy offense and a solid defense travels to play a run-first team with an elite rushing offense and an elite rushing defense? No brainer, right? It is. The Bobcats get a few scores, but not enough to prevent a two-score loss. Eagles roll. 38 — 24

Fresno State -10 at Utah StateGary Andersen has destroyed this team. He was so bad, he was fired just three games into the season. In his 24 month tenure, he went from inheriting an Aggies team that had a ranking of No. 11 to losing to a .500 Akron in a bowl game last year to being winless on the season — and they’ve not even been competitive. Unfortunately for USU, this one won’t be either. Maybe Utah State will play harder now? But coaching turnover is not a great recipe for picking up a win. Fresno 39 — USU 23

Iowa -3 12 at Minnesota — This is for the pig! The Hawkeyes will get the Gophers’ best shot, but IU has been very competitive in every game this season while the UMN defense has been a tire fire in the bottom of a diaper pail. I don’t trust the home team here to move the ball enough or get enough stops to keep Floyd of Rosedale from heading to Iowa City. Hawkeyes 31-Minnesota 21

Colorado v Colorado State Photo by Joe Mahoney/Getty Images

Mortal Lock of the Week:

Boise State -13 12 vs. Colorado State

The worst loss that Boise State has had in literally 20 years, occurred last week against the BYU juggernaut. This is a team that was embarrassed on the Smurf Turf...and that just doesn’t happen. And, it was flukish that it did happen too. BSU’s starting RB was out (he’s expected back this week), and after two injuries and the starter already out, the Broncos were playing 4th and 5th stringers. Still, for all that, true freshman Cade Fennegan had a very respectable game against the bad-ass Mormons (15/26 for 58%, 2 scores and just one INT).

That tells you 1. That Brian Harsin is a good coach and, and 2. He has developed depth all across the roster — he will find ways to motivate the team a find cure for what ails the Broncos this week. Fortunately, that palliative arrives with the very porous Colorado State secondary playing in Boise.

CSU are the worst in the Mountain in yards-per-attempt, and next-to-the-bottom in YPG allowed. That is a terrible combination. They do a decent job of limiting completions-against, but 64% allowed to Wyoming and Fresno ain’t great.

On offense, it’s not much better for the Rams. They are dead-last in the MWC in so many ground states: 3.06 YPC, YPG (118), touchdowns scored (2), explosive runs (1). The passing offense is serviceable, but just average. They don’t turn over the ball through the air, which may be the best you can say about it.

Look for BSU to try and get its running game back on track (and its run defense, for that matter — BYU went nuts last week), even as it efficiently carves CSU up for 60 minutes through the matter the starter. On the other side of the ledger, look for the Rams to take several deep shots — their scheme is relatively aggressive — and probably even score a few times. But this is a pissed off Boise squad playing at home against an inferior opponent with some kinks to work out and some rust to knock of. They will, and that’s bad news for Colorado State but good news for you. Boise State 38 — CSU 23

And now, a personal message.

I’m thinking about expanding these, covering all of the games, and putting them up on like a Patreon-server or website. The data analysis here takes a lot of time, I’ve won you a ton of money over the years, and web hosting isn’t free. And, honestly, the games that I pick each week for you aren’t all the games that I take every week — I’m about 73% there versus about 69% here. I’d probably charge a nominal amount, like a $1 per “issue. I would still keep this column; this would just be in addition to. So, lemme know with some democracy in the poll below and drop other suggestions in the comments. Row Tahd.


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