Sorry, for the second straight week, I’m scrambling. This time, because I’ve somehow lost an entire day. I just woke up and thought it was Friday. So, I’ll copy and past some picks I’ve made over the main site, and then we’ll see how they play out.
Let’s start by a few that we’re going to avoid:
Not with a 10’ Pole and Stolen Money
Texas +4 vs. Oklahoma State — Two coaches with a penchant for choking, a 91% chance this is a single digit game, AND just an OSU lean of -3.77 at 87%?
Not a chance.
Miami +7 1/2 at UNC — Do you trust Manny Diaz to be competitive on the road? Do you trust Mack Brown’s team to actually live up to their recruiting rankings? And then that hook? Woof. Sucker bet from hell...Vegas is going to make a killing here.
Fresno State -3 1/2 at Wyoming — Want the definition of a pick’em? Here you go. On a neutral field, FSU is favored by .4 points at 51%. On the road? Hell naw.
Alabama -17 at Mississippi State — And, as usual, Vegas has given you a sucker bet in Starkville, a place Alabama traditionally plays poorly.
Not only do any set of numbers get you to -17, but nothing about Saban’s history coming off a S/U loss is reassuring either: Sure, Alabama tends to win handily, but covers just 37.5% of the time. Need another trend? Alabama is sitting at .500 ATS this season.
There’s also the matter that this Bulldogs team does just enough stuff calculated to drive the Crimson Tide batty: They rush the passer, they nickel-and-dime teams up and down the field, they use the middle of the field. Alabama is already down another LB for this game, as well as Malachi Moore in the secondary for a half. JAD is likely to get picked on a good bit, as will Daniel Wright. Alabama is literally 100th in defensive drive efficiency for a reason.
All of that an awful combination against a team that will throw the ball 70 times a game to keep drives going.
I’ll go with the slimmest margin here, given UA’s penchant for playing like shit in Starkville, the personnel losses, and the fact I simply don’t like this team ATM. More importantly, the algorithm and performance metrics don’t like them.
Alabama -13.74, with just a 23% chance of covering. Nope. Nope. Nope.
Games We’re Riding
Aggie -9 at Mizzou — Hangovers and let downs are very common in college ball, particularly among flaky coaches with unsteady records. But, I’m going to take the numbers here and the trend: At A&M, Jimbo is a perfect 7-0 as a road favorite, and the numbers (and your eyes) tell you that Mizzou has the most putrid front seven in the SEC.
A&M should be able to sleepwalk through this one; even a conservative gameplan should get the cover. In fact, that should be the gameplan. Every team that has lined up and ran at Mizzou has ran over them. A&M is far more physical and should do the same.
Accounting for the miserable homefield in CoMo (just -3.17), Aggie gets it done. I will have to tease out the rest of the schedule, but this is a strong contender for Mortal Lock. We’ve seen Jimbo fall flat after big wins before, but weirdly, it’s not happened in College Station yet. Here’s trusting this isn’t the week it does.
A&M -17.93 at 96%.
Auburn +4 at Arkansas — Now this is one I do like.
Arkansas has been outstanding at home ATS under Sam Pittman, beginning with last year’s opening game vs. UGA. Overall Pittman is 10-4 ATS with the Hogs. Half of those games he did not cover? Alabama, Georgia.
The Hogs DL could use some help stopping the run, but this Auburn team is bound and determined not to lean on that this year — for whatever reason, letting Bo Pix wing it all over the yard. That’s where AU will get in trouble too. The UA LBs and DBs are very active in coverage and pick off a lot of passes. Two-game losing streak aside, Arkansas is still playing great team ball, and at home, they’ve been scary-good. A lot will depend on KJJ, of course. As he goes, so goes the offense. Fortunately, the defense has been giving him manageable fields. Roster deficiencies may keep this from being a full rout, but numbers say a touchdown-plus, and leaning closer to a two-score game: Arkansas -8.97 at 88%
Toledo -5 at Central Michigan -- Now this is another contender for mortal lock. In the Glass, TU would get almost 17 points; OTR, that drops to about -13 in Mount Pleasant. The discrepancy here that isn’t showing up in the spread is CMU’s lack of an OL. It’s hard to quantify. And the Chippewas simply cannot pass block to save their lives. That’s an issue when your offense relies on throwing the ball.
Couple that with Toledo’s superior secondary, MAC-leading 13 TOs forced, and second-most sacks, and you get a recipe for a harassing road win. Both teams have disappointed a bit this season, but in the case of CMU, they’ve been a thermonuclear dud.
I ratcheted the number down a bit, to just 10 points, before I ran the numbers. But this is a matchup game, and the Rockets should take it: it’s a bad fit for the home team...allegedly. Toledo -10 at 96%.
South Carolina -18 1/2 vs. Vanderbilt — I have to confess, I’m a bit iffy here, particularly given how damned bad Vanderbilt it. But USCe is dead-on putrid as well.
IF Vandy can hang on to the ball, they’ll put up more of a tussle than I think people expect. I’ve not gotten anything that exceeds -17 yet, nor anything that dips below -14.5. If it were a two-score spread, I’d feel pretty comfortable with USC here. But I think Vanderbilt can move the chains just enough, and USCe’s offense is just bad enough on 3rd down, to make this a low-scoring, ugly game.
It’s a bit of a risk, given how much the ‘Dores have turned it over, but almost-three touchdowns is too much for South Carolina, even at home: Vanderbilt is the call +16.64 (83% CI underdog cover).
UTSA -17 vs. Rice — The metrics spit out the lowest spread at UTSA -19.23 (87%) and the greatest at -22.38, but there are numbers, then there are numbers.
I’ve seen both of these teams play a few times, and there’s a reason the Owls are in the Bottom 20 in every meaningful category. The Roadrunners front four is going to be problematic for a Rice team that already can’t score, and is dead-last in the CUSA in sacks allowed, negative plays allowed, drive efficiency, TOM, drive efficiency defense, explosive plays allowed, explosive plays generated. So, UTSA’s passing game is going to give the undersized Owls fits as well.
Especially at home.
And that matters, because we love trends here, and UTSA has gone 7-1 ATS at home since last October, is 5-1 this season ATS, and is perfect this season at home ATS.
UTSA by 19-20 at 87%.
Farmageddon (ISU -6 at KSU) — Okay, I have a feeling we’re about to get screwed again here. ISU has done that quite frequently in 2021.
The data likes ISU here by 12 points (CI, 86%). But I’m not sure that I like the Cyclones that much. I’m still going to take it, because it’s a one-score contest, and where this will be won is where ISU does excel: explosive passing plays.
KSU will sell out for Breece, and they may even have success stopping him. But their secondary remains a liability, and I’m not sure the Wildcats have the horses to play from behind.
I am side-eyeing the disappointing Cyclones even as I take them in this one. Campbell has been a pretty good favorite road cover in Ames (62% ATS). When both teams had poor talent, this game was always within single digits. But as the talent disparity has become drastic, and as Purdy and Hall emerged, so too has ISU’s advantage grown. We’ll lean on talent.
Liberty -33 at ULM — ULM has been pretty competitive at home under Bowden... for ULM...at times, I mean.
By all accounts, this should be a romp (ULM by 37-41). The only thing that concerns me is that Hugh is a big friend of the Bowden family. You don’t want to bet on him running it up too much, but is something like 42-7 obscene? I don’t think so.
Hugh hasn’t quite been our cover stud this year; he’s “just” 4-2 ATS (and was 11-1 last season), but those two blown covers were against a fairly solid UAB team and a pretty danged good Syracuse defense. Fortunately, neither apply here.
Depending on whether you think family friendships matter between the lines is up to you. I’ll take it, but the final is likely not going to be much worse than 5-6 scores.
If Liberty does what Coastal did last week (get off the bus, hold on to the ball, win the LOS), this is an easy cover. If Bad Malik shows up...well.
Flames -36.09 at 98%.
No idea how many that was — 7-8, probably? Once again, for the third straight week, I do know that we didn’t get any game that had a confidence interval reaching 99%, thus no true Mortal Lock: Vegas has done their job really well in October and the end of September.
Sorry this is late again. I’ll try to get my ish together next week a little better. The rest of them are over here. Have a good day today today — may you remain virile; may your children remain honors students; and may your loved ones be an object of desire for miles around.
We’ll have the morning schedule, viewing guide, and thread up around 10ish. I have to go swing by and pick up my Kroger order that I arranged at 8:00...because I thought it was Friday when I placed it last night. But, we shall return — not quite MacArthur in the Philippines or anything, but the sentiment stands.