Before we get started this week, I’ve opened a post to everyone — it’s something that I spent almost three weeks working on.
Wondered why there aren’t many teams you can count s as locks to cover the spread this year? Why teams are all over the place from week-to-week, and even within games? Why underdogs are covering a lot more? Why turnovers have loomed even larger than usual? Why penalties have particularly had a direct bearing on performance? Why the state of QB play has been pretty rubbish despite completion percentage being up? Why games are lower scoring? Why handicapping under most systems this year has been dowright awful-to-erratic? Often just as erratic as the games?
Then, come back over here, and we’ll have some picks for you!
All done? Good. Let’s begin. Here are a handy half-dozen, as well as the most toxic line of the week to steer clear of.
Oklahoma State -3.5 at West Virginia — We’ve generally had decent results betting the ‘Eers at home. Morgantown is a house of horrors for visitors.
It’s Appalachia’s Jordan Hare: Teams play dumb, turn it over a lot, have a tough time scoring, and rankings don’t too much matter.
The Algorithm says the Pokes win a close one (-4.56, just 69%). I ordinarily wouldn’t bet either side of that. But again, hunch, I think OSU’s luck runs out tomorrow. It will be 29 degrees at kick, and the field is allegedly still a sloppy mess from the Nor’Easter. I think the negates the OSU talent advantage. Whiskey-fueled West By Damn will handle the rest, and we’re expressly repudiating our own numbers.
OSU has been blessed on the road with two miracles. Asking for a third is too much. WVU 23 OSU 21
Liberty +9.5 at Ole Miss — Oh, Hugh. Ole Miss has the QB that you wish you did, with the speed that you’d still have if you weren’t a cheater with Hyundai full of burner phones and Pole Assassins on speed dial. The burner phones aside, those are relevant, because the Flames have really struggled this season against elite speed and particularly mobile QBs. Matt Corral is going to add a billion votes to his Heisman resume....but the data are a little less enthusiastic than the trends and our lying eyes.
Liberty has still not covered a single spread away from home, and though the motivation is going to be there. I know the talent isn’t. Weirdly, normies are lining up like a MoFo for the Flames. Per Draftkings, 58% of the action in the last 24 hours has been on the Flames. I just don’t see it though — they do realize that this is still an FBS independent with a lot of three stars and an erratic Malik Willis who’s been awful on the road. It’s a cover: Ole Miss -15.02 at 86%. So...something like 41-26?
Stay away from that Memphis - SMU (-5.5) game. Memphis has one of the worst defenses in the country, but last week showed that SMU’s defense can still be had by lining up and whipping their ass. That’s where the Tigers are better equipped to play. They’re also quite good at home, particularly as underdogs: 3-0-1 the last three years. Just a 64% CI that SMU covers this, with adjusted metrics hitting right at -5.56 for SMU. And I’m still not convinced the Mustangs even win.
If it comes down to special teams, they won’t.
K State -24 at Kansas — The Wildcats have quietly (very, very quietly) assembled one of the more efficient offenses in the nation — 25th, when performance-adjusted. The defense is even better: 21st overall in efficiency, and 16th against explosive plays.
That means the Jayhawks, who are terrible at stopping drives (122nd), and even worse at driving the field (126th), are facing off against a team that does everything they are vulnerable too very well. Let’s say that the homefield won’t matter.
The numbers love this game; KSU is on a 12-game W streak in the series, and since Kleiman arrived, the average MOV is 27.33.
I believe the stats when they say KSU -28.08 or better at 98%.
Georgia -37.5 vs. Missouri — The Bulldogs are going to run over, around, and through this piss-poor Tigers team. We’re 3-1 betting against Mizzou, and until they show signs of life — which will only come with recruiting defensive linemen — they’ll keep getting slaughtered. This is one of the laughably largest algorithm picks I’ve seen the machine produce in 2021, and it absolutely makes sense when you look at how poorly MU has done against top teams over the last few years.
UGA -44.86 at 98.6%, let’s say it’s 54-10 and call it a day. Admit it. That score sounds right too, doesn’t it?
Pitt -21 at Duke — The hurting Panthers are going to do some filthy, unspeakable things to this Duke secondary that has been doused with kerosene against every competent passing attack it’s faced. Last week I jinxed it when I wondered aloud when Narduzzi would get his bad loss out of the way. Welp. 24 hours later, we found out.
Now, one of the nation’s most efficient offenses has no pressure on it, and Pitt can go back to doing what they’ve done most of the season: lighting bad teams up. This Duke team is a bad one.
Pitt is still playing for a shot at the Orange Bowl. Panthers -28.17, at 98%
Alabama -28 vs. LSU — When I was in law school, I had written the overall best brief in the moot court competition. As such, I was seeded first when it came time for the oral argument phase of the tourney. I tore through the lower ranks, then the Elite 8, and then the Final Four with vicious, hateful abandon. I ran up the score. I humiliated my opponents. I talked shit. I sneered in contempt. I mocked their intellect. I parodied their arguments. I derided their ancestry, defamed their gods, and smirked at their lifeless corpses before the bodies had even begun to cool.
After two or three rounds of the mental intimidation game, my decidedly non-genteel approach had earned its own name — Punitive Sodomy.
People were beaten before it began because they knew they were beaten, and it was going to be an hour-long ugly, humiliating affair. And I fell in love with that rush of degradation, that dopamine hit of power that comes only from raw intimidation.
Now apply that to the football field: That’s what Alabama is going to do to an LSU defense absent eight players, with a lame duck coach, against a rival who had last come into this building and supposed that they were its masters. That experience rankled, and last year’s 55-17 aside, Nick Saban still hasn’t gotten the revenge he wants for it: Under the lights, at home, in as hateful a manner as possible. That’s what is happening for a No. 2 Alabama team that needs style points.
The Tide will get those style points too, because the dogs aren’t getting called off and Nick Saban hates LSU: Alabama 54- LSU 16
(The algorithm, in case you wondered, is Alabama -29.61 at 98%. I think it will be worse though. And, when ‘croots come, and this is always a huge crootin’ week, Nicky Lou loves to put on a show.
As for the Finals of Oral Argument? I lost to my ex-wife — and if you think Punitive Sodomy is an actual thing, then you should have seen the financial hammering I took in the divorce settlement. Womp. Womp.)
That’s it. Go forth lads and lasses to profit and a fat bank. You can also check out plenty more at our SuperGroup.