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Giving Away Money: ‘Bama Bye Week Blues as the Big 10 takes center stage

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We are wounded but not yet slain. Picks against the spread to enhance your filthy lucre.

Tennessee v Alabama Photo by Marvin Gentry/Getty Images

So, it’s been...a week.

After having my 17th migraine in 52 days (I have to keep a diary of them), being chased to the hospital twice, and being included in migraine research at Vanderbilt, I was placed on the most evil medicine known to man. Topomax.

Did I have another headache? Nope. But I did lose an entire week. I was lethargic, clumsy, and zonked out. Worse, I was in a fugue state for days. I was sitting around zoning out for hours at a time. On Wednesday, I regained consciousness and found that I had dragged a recliner into the kitchen, and four hours of my day were gone. The trunk was open, with a bunch of groceries in the back, and two melting quarts of ice cream pooling in the floor.

I literally had to back through Instagram and texts to see what I had done and said throughout the week. I immediately locked up all the guns, knives, drugs, car keys, and dangerous cleaners. Why? Because accidental suicide is a side effect. Delightful. Needless to say, I stopped taking it, and then spent a day and a half letting it get out of my system.

After that? XFinity pushed an “update” to my system — that killed my internet access for a day and a half, and resulted in having to completely rewire the substation from the pole, and go through the wall in four rooms and replace equipment...twice. (BTW, that whole Comcast insurance for wiring etc? Buy it. This would have been $6800 otherwise).

Last night around 9:00 was the first time since Saturday that things aren’t a hot mess. All this is to say that here’s today’s GAM, and it’s a bit late, and it’s a bit truncated.

I’ve divided these into roughly four categories: Ones to steer clear of; ones where the confidence interval exceeds 80% but isn’t in that sweet 85%+ category, the really solid ones (greater than 85%), and then ones that are below 80% or am actively rejecting the algorithm.

But first, cheerleaders.

USC v Notre Dame Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

Fan service

Here are 10 picks for you for on this ‘Bama Bye Week. All lines and movement are via DraftKings. And, as always, odds and lines are subject to change, and T&Cs apply. (See for details.)

Stay Well Away:

UF +14.5 vs. UGA — This game is always an ugly, sloppy, penalty-ridden derpfest. I suspect UGA smokes them. But, at the same time, despite its limitations, this is still the best offense that UGA has faced all season (sitting at a grand damned 72nd in efficiency), and for all that, the Gators still can’t throw the ball. It may honestly be the SECCG or playoffs before UGA faces a quarterback that scares anyone. And the Vols game will be the first time UGA faces a passing attack that is average-or-better. I don’t trust this Georgia team and I don’t trust Dan Mullen.

Syracuse -7.5 vs BC — Syracuse has played every ACC game this season at or under a TD on either side of the ledger. The composite is spitting out 23-17, Orange. And honestly, would that score surprise you?

Ariz. State -17 vs. Wazzu — Want to know a dirty secret? Before Rolo decided to show his ass in Pullman, he was building something nice. Take the passing attack we’ve come to expect from WSU, but add an increasingly competent defense. Next year was likely the breakthrough. Fortunately for the Cougs they still seem to be carrying on that play, despite losing their HC. Data spits out just a 14.5-15.6-point Sun Devils win, with a composite 32-17 score. That feels right too.

The Numbers Love You (>85%):

Ga. State -6.5 at Ga. So. — Bad, bad defense for the Eagles dooms them here, even if this is a rivalry. Only the road trip to Statesboro keeps this from being really ugly. GSU by 10-13 at 91%

Wake -16 1/2 vs Duke — Devils are gonna have a hard time not turning the ball over. OL vs. DL is a huge mismatch for the Deacs. Numbers say this is a blowout (>24 at 97%)

Okie State -29 vs. KU — Want the secret to blowing Kansas out? Run right at them and play defense. Guess what OSU does better than probably anyone else in the B12? Numbers say Okie Light by 37-38 at 99%. That’s hard to pass up. Kansas may not score. Seriously. The Mooks and Sharps are all over this too. 93% of the action at DraftKings has been lining up for the Cowboys.

Minnesota -7 at Northwestern — For the life of me, I can’t figure out why NW isn’t a bigger underdog. Even being at home, there’s no set of numbers that gets this to less than 13 points. So, we’ll take exactly that. Minnesota by 13 (and 7+ at 92%).

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 16 Michigan State at Michigan
We live in a world where Michigan-Michigan State is a Top 10 game. Did we wake up in 1986?
Photo by Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Not Great, But Still Pretty Good Picks (<85%)

UCLA +6.5 at Utah — If this were in the Rose Bowl, I’d take the Bruins. But in Rice-Eccles, the Utes are a spread-covering, defensive machine. UCLA has struggled mightily away from home, and against Utah in particular. Utes take it by 9-11 at 84%.

UTEP +11 at FAU — C-USA’s two best defenses, and the numbers suggest a close W for the Owls. FAU is projected to win by 5-6, which is a nice cushion for the Miners (CI 87% to cover +11). UTEP is bowl eligible. What a world we’re living in. Dana Dimel (UTEP) and Sonny Dykes (SMU), two long-time Texans, are working wonders with their second chances.

FIU +21.5 at Marshall — The Thundering Herd will kick the hell out of FIU. But FIU’s passing game is just good enough to get the backdoor squeaker. Numbers say: Marshall by 18-19 but not 22 or more (83%)

Defying Data And Common Sense (<80%):

ULM +27 at App. State — Numbers say ASU by 25-27. But the Warhawks are very bad on the road (haven’t covered yet). So this is more a trend thing than anything else. ASU is at 78% to cover -27. I’ll take it for ASU. The Coastal Hangover scares me though. I’d expect a very conservative gameplan — RTDB, play defense. Something like 38-9.

SMU (PK) at Houston — The data like the Cougars more than I do. I hate their turnover-prone offense (If you’ve not seen Tune play over the last two years, the guy is like D’Eriq King...but dumber). And this may be the first straight-up passing team UH has faced since TTU ran them off the field. CI is very low (64% for an SMU win), but that also means that there’s just a 36% confidence in UH winning. In a Pick’em, that’s good enough for me. Another hunch (and another dirty secret: SMU has played pretty decent defense this year).

Pitt -9 vs. Miami — Pitt should take this one by low double-digits (-10.1 to -11.7), with a composite 31-20 score. Miami has played a lot better the last month, and that is likely why the CI here is exactly 80%. Pitt fans are also holding their breath, waiting for the one Narduzzi home stinker. Will it be today against ole Big East nemesis Miami? (Nah. Pitt is 7-1 ATS this year).

That’s it. Go forth lads and lasses. You can also check out plenty more at our SuperGroup. A lot of teams are off this week in anticipation of the Tuesday MACtion rolling around, but there’s plenty of action to be had.

I’ll have the schedule up for you by the time the 11:00 games roll around. Take our poll too . I’m curious what you think about about the OTHER big game of the day.


According to DraftKings, OSU is sitting at -20.5 vs. Penn State, with 65% of the money working the Buckeyes’ side. Does Ohio State cover that?

This poll is closed

  • 44%
    Yep. That offense is a machine and Franklin is a clown on the road
    (59 votes)
  • 55%
    Nope. Buckeyes haven’t played anyone with a pulse since Labor Day...and they lost that game.
    (75 votes)
134 votes total Vote Now