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Giving Away Money 2020: Week 13 picks against the spread to enhance your filthy lucre

We are wounded, but not yet slain...

Las Vegas

Last Week: 7-4
2020 Record: 120-72
Mortal Lock Of the Week: 16-1. Damn you, Michigan.

What Went Right: Some big spreads like Cincy, Liberty. Went 2-0 in MACtion, etc.
What Went Wrong: Was anything cheesier than LSU playing starters until the very last second and scoring with only 8 A&M players on the field — the rest of the roster having headed to the sideline since the game was over? 20-7 is like a sympathy handie after prom: it’s not doing anything for you, and in fact makes striking out all the more pitiful. And, at least others had the decency to outright lose if they weren’t going to cover. Looking at you SMU and Northwestern.

Just a few more weeks left, folks. Let’s make ‘em count. And we begin with ones to steer clear of:

Not With A 10’ Pole and Stolen Money:

Oklahoma -21 12 vs. Baylor — Modeling suggests OU wins this game by 26 points. But, the Sooners have been in the middle of a full-blown crisis with all of their COVID cases. This game will be played, but we don’t know who’s starting, who’s ill, who’s quarantined, or how the layoff will affect the roster that does show up. Based on that, I can’t recommend taking this one. And the Sooners were one of the hottest teams in the country the last two months too. If you feel froggy, you can jump. Imma’ pass though.

For Your Consideration:

Underdogs With Bite:

BYU -10 at Coastal Carolina — Depending on how you feel about Houston or Boise State, this may be the first truly competitive game the Cougars have played all season. But was can say it is absolutely the best defense BYU has faced since a really ugly 27-20 home win over UTSA. In fact, it is the best defense that BYU has faced. Period. They haven’t left their LDS enclave much this year, but when they have, there’s not been much drop-off in performance. This is an outstanding G5 team they are facing — one that gives up just about 310 YPG and has choked the life out of other very good teams, notably ULL and App. State. Ten points is just too much here for me. I think BYU wins by a score, but two on the road against this defense that swarms the ball and gets interceptions in droves, is a bridge too far. BYU 27 Coastal 23

Colorado State +7 12 at San Diego State — This ain’t the Aztecs of years past. It’s a bit weaker on defense, a bit less solid up front, with a bit less physical of a running game, it’s a bit shakier in the secondary, and a bit more reliant on the passing game — where it is decidely not in its element. For all the bagging we do on the Rams, they have rebounded pretty well after a ghastly start. This could be an outright upset, and no one should be surprised; but it will be closer than expected, no matter the case. CSU 27 SDSU 31

NCAA Football: Oregon State at California Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports

Oregon State -11 12 at Utah — Speaking of closer than expected, what about this Beavers team in 2020 has suggested that they are this bad? Especially against a turnover prone Utes team that is giving up gobs of scores in the air...and winless for a reason? Like SDSU, this ain’t the Utes of years past either. And, like the CSU game, an outright road upset probably isn’t in the offing, but 1. it could happen, and 2. Oregon State has shown a helluva lot more than Utah; so two touchdowns is far too many points to lay. OSU 24 Utah 30

Ever get the feeling the wrong team is favored? Looking at you, UCLA +3 at Arizona State. The Bruins have looked competent this season, and at times downright (dare we say it) good. Factor in the very long layoffs for ASU (they’ve just played one game), the more snap-experienced Bruins, and I see an outright road W for Chip Kelly. UCLA 27 — ASU 24

Ridiculously Large Spread We’re Taking Nonetheless

Alabama -29 at LSU — This game is apt to get ugly early, get ugly often, and stay ugly for about 48-50 minutes. There’s absolutely no way that Alabama is not going to truck this ghastly Tigers squad — not with Auburn behind them and not after listening to a year of Orgeron running his mushmouth, and frankly not as bad as LSU is. It has no defensive line, it has one boom or bust corner, it has trash safeties, it has two awful quarterbacks, it has a pedestrian running game, its best WR opted out, it has a buffoon head coach, it has an even worse DC, it has an OL coach calling Joe Brady’s plays with predictable results, it has no heart and no pride and no leadership. And, for all that, it hasn’t been competitive against teams with a pulse. It’s facing the best one in the nation, despite trying to duck them. Don’t think Nick Saban forgot that or forgot you showing your ass on our field last year. For once, I think he lets the dogs off the leash a bit longer than usual. This is also a closing argument on the recruiting trail. The Tide will make it count. F’ LSU. Alabama BIGLY. 59-10 and it could be far worse.

Wyoming -17 at New Mexico — Absolutely everything about the winless Lobos effort last week should have made you queasy. And that’s against the woeful Utah State Aggies. This week, they get to host the far better Cowboys team that is unafraid to lay big numbers of overmatched opponents. They’ll do it again this week. Wyoming 45 — UNM 17

For Your Consideration:

USCe +11 12 at Kentucky — The Wildcats have only been competitive against the Conference’s betters in half of their quarters, but they played well against trash teams and especially ones that give the ball away a lot. This USC squad is as garbage as they come, and they love coughing it up, especially on the road. I suspect the Gamecocks aren’t playing for pride so much as they are playing to just get this year over with. It’s almost done, fellas! Touchdown Terry has a decent day, the defense has a decent day, and the Wildcats close out the season on a high note, 30-13 Kitties.

Mizzou -2 12 vs. Arkansas — This is the definition of toss-up. Both defenses have been very solid this year, and after Mizzou went with Connor Bazelak under center, the Tigers have stopped turning it over quite so much. With Arkansas’ Rakeem Boyd opting out this last game, the Hogs are left with by-committee rushing to win a tough game. That hurts. A lot. They are are also left with hoping that Feliepe Franks has a good outing and that Eli Drinkwitz doesn’t suddenly remember that he has two very good running backs. I don’t think all of those happen, or at least enough of them, for UA to get the road win. This will be a hateful slobberknocker though. Enjoy! Mizzou 24 Arkansas 16

Tennessee +17 vs. Florida — Cousin’ Eddie’s still trying to get his dude a Heisman. But the Vawls may not be the ones to test it out on. UT has allowed just three passing scores to teams with a winning record (wanna’ gues who threw them?), has picked off two passes, and limited those opponents to 6.7 YPA. On defense, Gata has already allowed 10 rushing scores, and against a Vols attack that will see Pruitt load up on Eric Gray, that may prove problematic. There’s also the matter that Florida has yet to cover a road spread this year. Sometimes you gotta ride trends. I don’t think UF is any danger of losing this one. But against a desperate team that plays much better at home and does some things that can cause problems for UF, it may be just enough to get the underdog cover. Florida 34 Tennessee 21

NCAA Football: College Football Playoff Semifinal-Cotton Bowl-Notre Dame vs Clemson Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Mortal Lock of The Week

Clemson -22 at Virginia Tech. Hey! Who wants to see Justin Fuente get fired?! Dabo may not want to, but this game could do it. The Hokies defense is simply miserable to behold. CU may have soft corners, but Tech is soft everywhere. And CU’s defense may show chinks in the armor here and there, but they don’t give up many yards or many points. That’s just absolutely a brutal combination for a reeling Tech squad to face...especially for a one-loss Clemson team that can’t lose any ground in the CFP chase to a one-loss A&M or a potential one-loss SEC Champion / Runner-up.

But, hey, at least Enter Sandman at Lane Stadium is still cool...even if that album is trash (don’t @ me).

Clemson 45 Virginia Tech 17

Want some more of this, only with a lot more boring math? Gotchya’ covered over here.