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Giving Away Money 2021: Week 8 picks against the spread to enhance your filthy lucre

Sticking it to your man like a rubber cement jimmy hat.

Las Vegas

Howdy, folks! This is the second of two GAM this week. If you missed Part One yesterday, which had the Coastal game (along with Alabama and takeaways from Week 7), it’s over here. I shot you five picks and one to steer clear of.

Today, I’m going to drop 5 more and another to steer clear of.

It’s been a hurried, harried few weeks. So I am without my normal time to spiffy this up. But, really, it’s what’s inside that counts — at least that’s what Callie Sue Eady told me in 7th grade when she friend-zoned my ass so hard, that a worse man would still be bitter.

I mean, all I wanted to do was go to the skating rink with you on a Friday Night, and have a couple’s skate; maybe get a quick smooch and feel my heart flutter as Berlin’s “You Take My Breath Away” blared over the PA and the house lights dimmed. Maybe you’d wear my jacket on Monday. Maybe I’d go to bed smelling the apple-rich scent of your Salon Selectives on my shoulder — falling asleep with a smile on my face, reliving every moment that you confessed your love to me, as your eyes brimmed with tears of joy.

Maybe then my brother wouldn’t have found the love letter I wrote you the next day, in a moment of blinding pain, and staple it to the announcement board of the Lauderdale County High School hallway. And maybe then I wouldn’t have been so horrified that I didn’t ask anyone out again for the rest of the year.

But, no. None of that happened. Instead, I had to sit alone at the losers’ table, staring at my sad-ass waxy-blue Pepsi cup, as the slowly-spinning lights from the disco globe throbbed in time with my broken heart. And worse? I had to watch you skate with f’n Anthony, of all people. Anthony. Really? Hate that guy. I’m glad Melita married him.

Wait. Where was I?

Let’s begin with one to steer clear of. All lines are current as of this writing according to DraftKings sportsbook:

Back all the way off of Penn State -23 1/2 vs. Illinois. Yes, the Illini are bad. Yes, PSU tends to cover against bad teams at home. But the Lions had a bye this past week, and next week travel to the ‘Shoe to face the Buckeyes in a battle of Top 10s. Both may have a loss, but this would give PSU the tiebreaker in the B1G-East and hang the first B1G L on the Buckeyes. It’s a playoff elimination game, in short.What I’m saying is that there is absolutely no way in hell that Penn State was worried about Illinois, nor has necessarily put much prep time into it. Can PSU cover that? Pretty easily. Will they? Don’t even chance it.
If you insist, the numbers are favorable though: PSU -27.96 at 95.4%. Should be a romp on paper. But in no way am I going to trust that — not with the Franklin/USC stuff percolating, not with next week’s big game, not with flaky Franklin. Nope.

Navy +27 1/2 vs. Cincinnati — I’ve doubted you too long here, Bearcats. Your spreads have been ridiculous and you keep covering. Distractions don’t matter. Press hasn’t affected your play. While the Mids have rebounded into some form of competent competitiveness against bad teams, they’ve still gotten smoked by elite talent.
The numbers say this one won’t even remotely be close, that UC could cover the spread even if you added another TD to the line.
There’s no way that I can try and make the numbers not work. I tried (I always try to find a reason to bet against a team covering out of an abundance of caution.) And I have failed.

This is going to be your Mortal Lock. Even rigging all the numbers against UC, the lowest I’ve gotten is -33.9, at 99.4%; at the high end, it’s -38.85 at 99.1%. The last game we saw measurables this favorable, Coastal was a -34 favorite at ULM: Final 52-6. I doubt this will be that lopsided. But I don’t know how Navy scores, or more relevantly, can derail Ridder’s Heisman train.

I’m sorry I doubted you, Luke. Take my money, Cincinnati, UC 38 - Navy 3

ISU -7 vs. Oklahoma State — We’re going to ride the numbers here, and say that OSU’s unsteady passing game versus ISU’s lockdown corners that prevent kill-shots will be the difference. OSU is going to have a hard time moving the ball, and the short fields in Ames and ISU’s far superior Special Teams play will be the difference.

Numbers say: ISU by 9.12 at 83%. Sure, sounds fine to me. Let’s call for a defensive snuggle struggle though. ISU 27 OSU 17

Louisiana Tech v Western Kentucky
This is some Rule 34 stuff, right here.
Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

WKU -15 at FIU — The Panthers secondary has gotten people hanged at the Hague before: it’s a war crime even by C-USA standards.

The team they face Saturday leads the conference in pass attempts, passing yards, passing scores, passing completions, and completion percentage.

It’s a bad matchup. That’s the long and short of it. WKU -20.49 at 96%

Rice +23 at UAB — Food should not play football. UAB -27.44, MOE +/- 2.32 points (95%). Take it.

Mississippi State -20 1/2 at Vandy — Way, way too many against the ‘Dores on the road. This State team is pretty damned bad. Mike Leach’s job is held together by one NC State no-show. Vandy has also been a pretty decent underdog cover this year.

Numbers say State wins by two scores; not three touchdowns. Vandy +20 1/2, 90% (actual numbers: State -13.45 at 90%).

Okay, that wraps it up for this week with 10 more and 2 to avoid. There are more over here. I usually cover between 24-30 games; ones that hit a cover probability of 80%. From there, I do more poking around and run more numbers. The algorithm rules all.


Because, like most people, I’m a terrible hunch gambler. But machines don’t have rooting interests, and formulas don’t care how cool someone’s uniform is.

(And, hey, call me, Callie!)

Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See for details.