I hope everyone is full, had a safe and happy holiday, and are thoroughly enjoying your Thanksgiving break. If you have to work? Well, it sucks to be you. I’m working too. So I feel your pain.
In thanks for all that I do for you throughout the year (and do so in utmost humility, I add), I ask only that you save me a plate of sides — but you can keep that hobo leftover turkey to yourselves. No, you didn’t brine it right. Yes, it’s drier than an 87-year-old nun. And don’t think you’re fooling anyone with that Honey Baked Ham either — I know damned good and well you don’t have a spiral slicer.
This is the busiest week out of the year for me and the spreadsheets. Every single team is playing; the games tend to be rivalries, which in turn means the spreads will be closer, which in turn means I have to go through a lot more dataset, which in turn means I have a lot more to write about.
But, the work’s already been done for the other site. So, you may as well benefit! Without further (or any) adieu, let’s give away some money.
As usual, we’ll start with a few toxic linesto steer clear of. All lines and movement are via DraftKings. Pdds and lines are subject to change, and T&Cs apply. (See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.)
Not With a 10’ Pole and Stolen Money
Iron Bowl — While -20 feels right (and I suspect the final is closer 27), the numbers are telling me that it’ll be closer than that, just -17ish for the Tide. And, it’s also in Jordan-Hare, where Alabama has an-almost 35-year history of playing like stone doofuses. I’m frankly gunshy of this team, for or against. They’ve beaten me down so many times this season, that when I see a Script A, I hear “My Name is Luca” ringing in my ears.
I don’t care if the higher ranked team has won over 80% of the time. And I don’t care if the favored team has covered over 70% of the time. When the improbable happens, at least of late, it has tended to happen in this godforsaken, imbecilic sty of vet school dropouts, tomato farming majors, and Ritalin-thieving, Oxy-addled, future CVS pharm techs.
You can’t hurt me anymore, Auburn Jesus.
Not if I won’t let you.
NMSU -6.5 vs. UMass — I say this without any hyperbole: this may be the worst Division 1 matchup I’ve ever seen. When I say “bad teams are bad for a reason,” I tend not to mean “....and have been bad for almost a century.”
Liberty -3.5 vs. Army is as much a tossup as tossups get — Liberty just 51% to even win S/U. I’m personally riding under 53 all day though. This game will be lucky to get in the 40s.
See also, UNLV +17.5 at AFA (expected +17.28); Cincinnati -14 at ECU (expected -14.07).
Pretty Danged Good Picks
Navy -12.5 at Temple — The Owls allow 5 YPC, and over 240 YPG rushing in conference — by far the worst in the AAC. The Middies average 5 YPC and over 230 YPG rushing in conference play, the best in the AAC. Woof.
Navy, big...at least for an option team, I mean.
Navy -24.19 at 98%
Iowa +1.5 at Nebraska — For about two months, I have been wondering when the Huskers were going to get someone. They’ve been damned close all season to knocking off a lot of big boys. But, at the end of the day, they just can’t get that final stop or punch it in one final time. The result is a 3-8 team, that could legitimately be 9-2 going into this game with just one more TD per contest — with one more FG per game, they would be going to a bowl.
So, against a meh Iowa team that plays dead on the road, is this the week that it happens for Scott Frost? They’re 7-4 ATS this season, but, you know what? The numbers don’t think they do it.
One more drive short for Nebraska, which is fitting for 2021.
Iowa -6.78 at 82.1%
Clemson -11 at Sakerlina (O/U 43) — I regret to inform you that Clemson seems to be decent again, or at least in comparison to the ACC...and especially next to Sakerlina for that matter.
While the spread itself is gross (and CU is just 52% CI to cover), the under on this one looks to be far better. USCe has gone under on 8 of their 11 games this season, and they’ve gone under 43 six times. The defense plays outstanding at home, but the offense moves about like a geezer’s bowels, which is to say not at all. And CU’s offensive struggles are well documented. Against every top-half defense they’ve faced this season, CU games have gone under.
I just don’t know where the points are going to come from here, even with TOs and flukes and special teams. These teams could play twice in a row and I don’t know that they’d score 43+ against one another total. But we can all laugh when DJU gets murdered with his best impression of marble statuary behind Clemson’s awful O-line.
Clemson 20 USC 13
Utah State -15.5 at UNM — We’re going against the grain a bit here. The Aggies wildly overperform vs. the spread this season, where they’re 7-4 and +6.9 points per contest over expected value. This one is “just” USU by -13.4 (71% to cover 15.5), but the Lobos haven’t covered a single game against a D1 team (1-10 ATS), and are the worst in the nation vs. the chalk.
Last week, we took a marginal number against UNM because of that very trend, so we shall do so again. Blake Anderson is a hoss. If he’s not at Wazzu or one of the Colorado schools by season’s end, quite a few ADs out west will have failed mightily.
USU 37 UNM 17
WVU -15.5 at Kansas — KU has been a decent play against teams that throw the ball around a lot and let them hang around. Where they’ve not been so hot is against teams that line up, dominate both LOS, and play bullyboy football. Unfortunately, this seems to be the latter case for KU.
It won’t be an aesthetically pleasing game, that’s for certain, but a desperate WVU team is playing for a bowl. It should show.
WVU -21.45, 92%
Minnesota +7 vs. Wisconsin — The Gophers just have not matched up well with the Badgers at all. They’ve lost 17 of 18, haven’t covered the number 6 of the last 7 years, and have just been stoned against the UW defense.
At just a TD, those are both great trends and a great line. Seems like a good move here.
UW -15.19, 88% (and if history informs us, this will likely be closer to 21+)
Duke +21 vs Miami — We love betting against the Blue Devils, because they have been so fundamentally terrible this year, especially against anyone with a pulse. The ‘Canes have a pulse, for sure. Winners of four of their last five, with two of those against ranked teams,
UM finally is showing signs of life. This one is to save Manny’s job.
Miami -28.82, 97%
UTSA -10 at North Texas — I’m proud of the ole’ Mean Green salvaging what looked to be a terrible season at first. But, despite their better play of late, they’ve been mostly getting it done against bad teams. Against good ones? They’re 1-3 ATS. This is the best one they’ll play all season. Same result.
UTSA -17.84, 88%
Notre Dame -20 at Stanford — The Cardinal are toast. They can’t even get up for The Game. The Irish, however, are trying to play for a berth in the CFP should one of the teams ahead of them fall (and that’s guaranteed for at least two teams). That means, no screwing around with bad teams. Show up. Handle your bid’ness.
They will, and the numbers don’t think it will be remotely close either.
Notre Dame -30.34, 99%
As Close To a Mortal Lock as 2021 Allows, Since Everyone is Stupid
This was almost Ohio State again (and, honestly, it may as well be. If Michigan keeps that game within 14 points, Harbaugh will get a raise and an extension. SPOILER: He won’t).
So, to the Buckeyes -8, add this one:
Mizz +13.5 at Arkansas — Beating a lame duck at home, who was hellbent on preserving his buyout was one thing. Trying to spring an upset OTR against the hardest working team in the SEC (and maybe America)? Quite another.
Arkansas’ offense leads the SEC in rushing; Mizzou is at the bottom stopping it. At home, Arkansas is playing out of their mind, +11.3 vs. expectations — and this wasn’t expected to be within single digits to begin with.
Whoo Pig Soieeeeee, back to reality for Eli (though help is on the way with this year’s class.)
Arkansas -20.29 at 91% to cover two TDs.
That’s it. Go forth lads and lasses to profit and a fat bank. You can also check out plenty more at our SuperGroup.