Last Week: 8-1, including both underdogs
Mortal Lock: 2-0
Nailed It: “Oregon +14 1⁄2 at Ohio State — I think Ohio State should blow the doors off the Ducks. If this were last year, I’d project just that too. But the structural issues with the Buckeyes defense are still there, and they’re still ripe for the plucking. Speed. Speed. Speed.”
Screwed the Pooch: “The ‘Pack are a quality team that rush the passer well, throw the ball well, and have a balanced attack — none of those apply to the Bulldogs in 2021. Too many turnovers again doom CLANGA.” — And no one has any idea why NCSU didn’t even get off the bus. This is not a good MSU team.
Mortal Lock: “Just be glad Paul Chryst is the sort to win a fairly easy throttling but rarely really reaching for those 50 points. 38 points or so? Sure. Wisconsin 38 EMU 6” — Final Wisconsin 34 - EMU 7
We had an outstanding week folks, between here at RBR and (Almost) Giving Away Money, we went 16-3 on the week. That’s enough to buy baby doll that Baconator she’s been eyeballing for a month. So, we’re back yet again with more ways to win you some easy cash, or at least just provide you with a reason to watch UConn or Virginia football (which I did, by the way...and I still regret it).
But, to get there, we first have to know which game (or games) are just begging you to throw your cash into a hole and burn it — sort of like owning a boat, but with fewer bikinis and equal nausea.
I don’t like a lot of spreads this week, TBH. There are a bunch of stay-away games. And data suggests we’re going to have a weird week, but caviar emperor or whatever it is them lawyer folks say.
Not with a 10’ Pole and Stolen Money:
Western Michigan +15 at Pitt — The Broncos don’t suck at all. Pitt is still Pitt, with their disquieting habit of no-shows at home. For WMU, this may be their best chance at a quality win against a bowl-bound P5 team in a long while. The Panthers will get WMU’s best effort, and it could even be enough to win outright if the cards break right. At the same time, if Pitt shows up, they should have a workmanlike 14-17 point victory. I don’t trust it either way. And neither should you.
Cincinnati -3 1⁄2 at Indiana — I don’t even know if the right team is favored here. IU is going to have a tough time throwing against one of (if not the) best pair of corners in the country, sure. No, the problem comes on the other side of the field, where it has been many moons turns since the Bearcats won one of these games and the fact that the passing game hasn’t been nearly as efficient as it ought to be. At the end of the day, IU has won bigger games more recently, has played in bigger games more recently (including just two weeks ago), they do have one of the fastest teams in the country, it is still a team with Big 10 athletes, and the Hoosiers are at home. Smells trappish. Steer clear.
Eastern Michigan -17 (now up to -21!) at UMass — The Eagles should not be favored by anyone over three scores. It’s a team with 2-3 star talent that is coached well above their talent level. (I have serious dude crush on the work that Chris Creighton has done — Do you know what it takes to finish .500 or above at EMU — which he has done three times, and has taken EMU to all three bowl games in the last 50 years? Unreal. This is an all-time Bottom 10 program. that has had five 20-game losing streaks). But, as we saw last week against UMass, the Minutemen are feisty at home. Sure, it could have been the rivalry with BC percolating to the surface: Catholics versus Communists. But occasionally UMass puts up a struggle far more than is seemly for wagering purposes. I think EMU wins by 13-14ish, so I’m not putting my ducats on it. And if you plan on doing so, why don’t you just Venmo me that wasted cash instead.
Go On Take The Money and Run:
Alabama -14 1⁄2 at Florida: You know who’s absolutely terrible covering DD home spreads? Alabama. You know who’s great at getting it together, concentrating, and covering road spreads? Alabama. Florida is going to try to win this game on the ground — they have had to resort to just that sort of tactic too, owing to their issues at QB. Emory Jones is straight garbage; that kid is a pick-six machine waiting to happen. Anthony Richardson isn’t much better, but he is just a running dude. For that reason, Florida has rang up almost 800 yards on the ground in its two soup can contests to date. But that plays right into an Alabama front, and Henry MFin To’oto’o, that surrender less than 3 YPC and fewer than 80 YPG. When Jones / Richardson have to throw, the fireworks begin. Also, UF’s front has played two trash teams and has still allowed 100+ YPG on the ground, while also giving up the 3rd most YPA in the SEC through the air — And they’ve only forced one TO. After almost two weeks of deserved ass-chewings, Alabama comes out focused and then smacks around the toothless lizards: Alabama 39 Florida 17
Wake Forest -5 1⁄2 vs Florida State — For the life of me, I can’t figure this one out. I guess the world-renowned Tallahassee
floozies ladies distracted gamblers from the fact that this Seminoles team absolutely cannot play defense to save their life...particularly through the air (seriously, everyone on the field during JSU’s hail mary should have been benched, and everyone on the defensive staff fired.) It also overlooks that the Demon Deacons are just the better team. The more experienced team. The more experienced coaching staff. And at home. And force a lot of turnovers. And don’t turn it over much themselves. This line plunged from -7 1⁄2 to -5 1⁄2 in one day. I’m buying it now, before the smart people with money show up and move the line back up. Wake Forest 31 FSU 23
Northwestern -3 at Duke — There is not a whole lot to break down in this game. The Nerd Schools are struggling this season, but at least the Wildcats field some semblance of a D1 program; the Blue Devils do not. The same issues as last season has emerged for Dookie — an inflammable secondary, an offense that is prone to stalling out for whole quarters at a time (when it’s not turning the ball over), and a bad offensive line. Northwestern can throw the ball well this season, where it has struggled is consistently finding running room on the ground. The generous Blue Devil front should be a cure for what ails NU, but this game won’t be pretty to watch by any stretch. Northwestern 27 Duke 18
YUGE Spread Worth A Look
Texas Tech -21 vs. FIU — This FIU team is not as bad as its record appears — Texas State is turning into a quality little .500-ish team. But nor is it a good one. That said, it’s not like I particularly like what this Red Raiders team has devolved into, nor rumors that Matt Wells has completely lost this team (I have no idea how he survives the season), but the players do play for one thing: themselves. They did it last week against an outstanding FCS team, the reigning FCS Champions in fact — the SFA Lumberjacks (please note: there are no lumberjacks in Texas). SFA would at least be a bowl team in the FBS, and that’s the calibre of team TTU hasn’t beaten a lot lately. After their desultory showing at Houston, it showed us all something, I think. And that kind of win is what sets up seasons to rebound. I’m not sure it necessarily happens, but I think the momentum carries over against an overpowered and not-very-good C-USA squad with a struggling offense and a suspect secondary. Texas Tech 36 FIU 10
I Heard You Like Underdogs?
Central Michigan +21 at LSU — Fresh off of losing RB John Emery for the year (OUT: Illiteracy), and getting mauled by UCLA, comes a very experienced Chippewas team that loves to throw the ball; that can force turnovers; and that is coached by a guy intimately familiar with Death Valley. Jim McElwain will have them focused. An outright win is likely too much to ask for, but given the still-systemic defensive issues in Baton Rouge, and the fact CMU will fight for 60 minutes, I do like them to cover. Who knows, with LSU opening SEC play against the Dread Pirate, the Tigers could be distracted too? CMU has already been on the road in the SEC once this year. This shouldn’t faze them. What does concern you is that OL, which was way, way out of its depth. That said, they’re not gonna win. But Fire Up, Chip as they get the late backdoor underdog cover. CMU 23 LSU 38
Arkansas State +17 1⁄2 at Washington — I really like what Butch Jones is doing in Jonesboro. The Red Wolves are far more competitive than they have been of-late, given the distractions around Coach Blake. Last week, they almost beat Memphis and were in position to do so on the final drive. They solidly handled an FCS playoff team the week before. If it’s possible, the offense looks even better. Washington will try to line up and maul ASU, but the Red Wolves are respectable on the interior. To win this game, the Huskies are going to need to throw the ball, and that is where ASU has struggled. They will likely struggle again there, and they will get scored on. But I’m not sure that UW has seen the offensive schemes they’ll see this weekend. The AAC just balls at a different sort of speed, tempo and wide-open play that even the P12 doesn’t come close to. I think UW will get scored on too, and that ASU won’t stop at all. They’ll throw until the final down. That should be enough for a double-digit win for UW, but a nice late cover for the Red Wolves. That hook may loom large. Washington 42 Ark. State 26
NIU +27 at Michigan — One thing that NIU has done very well the last three seasons is cover as underdogs, and particularly on the road. Thomas Hammock’s team has vastly improved from Year 1 to Year 3, and looks like a fringe bowl team now. You can forgive the Wolverines for not getting up for this one, especially with Big 10 play beginning next week. I suspect UM plays it close to the vest, out-talents the Huskies, works on the running game that has been spotty this season, and then tries to get everyone off the field healthy. With the way that OSU looks this season, hey why not the Wolverines, eh? (Besides lot of reasons, that’s why). That said, four touchdowns is too much for this hangover game. Michigan 42 NIU 17
Penn State -6 vs. Auburn:
Let’s take stock of the ‘Barn’s opponents to-date, shall we? An undermanned HBCU team on probation that last had a winning season 8 years ago, and a Bottom-3 Akron team that is in the bottom five in literally every category in the country. Every single one.
The worst thing that could have possibly happened was for Mountain Time Malzahn to give the dirt merchants false hope. And, false hope they have (they’re even ignoring that Bo Pix had his usual 50% game against ASU, FFS...or that the offense struggled and it was just 20-0 at half. Don’t think I didn’t see that, Barn).
Meanwhile, Penn State trots out one of the nation’s filthiest, fastest, most active defenses that has already gone to Madison and beaten then-No. 13 Wisconsin. For an encore, they came home, and shut down the Top 10 offense of the reigning MAC champions, the Ball State Cardinal. The Lions covered both times. At home, PSU is almost automatic in that regard, especially against bad and average teams. And gaudy stats aside, Auburn is just such an average team wearing the skinsuit of a wannabe Top 25.
The step-up in speed will affect the Lions, sure. But the learning curve for this Auburn team which hasn’t played a meaningful snap since last Thanksgiving, is going to be appalling. PSU is the closest thing to an SEC defense that the B1G trots out. That’s not a surprise, given that James Franklin made Vandy a 9-game winner (still amazes me, frankly). And he has beaten much better Auburn teams with much worse talent. The Lions are going to be geeked; the Tigers out of their depth, especially since the ‘Barn needs to rely on the ground game so heavily.
Let’s just hope it doesn’t devolve into a one-score game late, because then you don’t like James’ chances of closing it out — he’s sort of a choker. But I don’t think it will. Bo Nix will ensure that. Penn State 30 Auburn 16
Want some more of these? I drop another dozen or so every week on AGAM, including this week’s Ohio at UL-L game. In the meanwhile, please take this quiz.
I’m geniunely interested in how this turns out.
Does Penn State cover -6 hosting Auburn?
Yep, Auburn has played literally no one.
Push, but still a PSU win.
Nope. Auburn puts up a ferocious fight and loses a close one. Then we have to listen to the "SEC is overrated" takes for the next three months. Thanks, Auburn.
Nope. Auburn springs the upset. James Franklin and big games are toxic.