Last Week: 7-3
Mortal Lock: 1-0
Nailed it: “Alabama has beaten Non-Con foes by an average MOV of 27.2. That sounds about right. Roll Tahd. Alabama 44 Miami 16” — I would note the final score here was 44-13.
Screwed the Pooch: “O doesn’t want to inherit Malzahn’s mantle of permanent hot seat. LSU 37 UCLA 31” — Consider that seat yours, Ed. This team has not improved a lick in 9 months.
Mortal Lock: “I don’t know that UL has the horses in a rebuilding year to play catchup for a full 60 minutes. And buddy, the Rebels aren’t letting their foot off the gas either. Ole Miss 48 Louisville 34” — Ole Miss 43 Luhvl 24
Moving along to Week 2, after a hopefully lucrative week for you all, we begin as always with games to avoid. You can’t make money if you don’t know the ones to steer clear of. So, we’re backing all the way off of these.
Not with a 10’ Pole and Stolen Money:
South Carolina +1 at ECU — Sean’s dad, Frank Beamer, had a disconcerting habit of playing poorly early in the season. So did Sean’s mentors at Oklahoma. Sakerlina is TBD, and we learned nothing about the Gamecocks from beating a 1-11 FCS team last week. USC is still starting a grad assistant at QB, and the program has all of the buzz of a dead fly. ECU was quite competitive OTR against a good App. State team, and I suspect they’re favored here for a reason. But I’m not throwing a red cent at this one, esp. if South Carolina remembers that, on paper at least, it has SEC players that should be able to body the Pirates.
Tulsa +13 1⁄2 at Okie Lite — There are few teams worse in the B12 at covering home spreads than Gundy’s underperforming Pokes. The Cowboys defense should be able to get this one taken care of, but man, that offense still looked gross last week. And, even after a home loss to UC Davis, you get the feeling the Golden Hurricane will be up for this intrastate rivalry — Tulsa has been very good ATS as an underdog the last few seasons. I suspect that trend continues, as does OkSt’s lack of covering, but like ECU-USC, you don’t want your wallet to get caught in the crossfire if OSU remembers it’s a real Power 5 team for 60 minutes.
Wyoming -7 at NIU — Talk about a trap game. This may be Craig Bohl’s best team in Laramie yet, but he’s traveling to face the Huskies who’ve been very good ATS underdogs and are coming off a SU victory on the road against Georgia Tech. Did we mention that the Cowboys host a MAC favorite next week, the dangerous as hell Ball State Cardinal? I’d give the talent edge to Wyo., but trend lines and trappiness suggest that NIU gets the cover. This is a weirdly intriguing game to watch though. Just don’t wager it.
Backdoor Cover Alert:
MTSU +20 at Virginia Tech — Fuente has had this habit of following up a big win with either a bed-wetting or a flat effort. He’s Tobacco Road Brian Kelly, in other words. The Red Raiders have two Top 50 RBs returning, bring back 19 starters, and inherited a Top 15 QB from the Quitter Hole. Did we mention that Stockstill has this disquieting habit of backdoor covers? As a road underdog the last two seasons, he’s gone 8-3...with four outright wins on the road. I’m not gonna put the Hokies on upset alert or anything, but MTSU will punch for 60 minutes, and that’s a bad combination for the ole’ point spread, especially after last week’s big win over No. 9 UNC and next week’s roadie to coal country rival, West Virginia.
Large Spreads Worth Your Time:
UAB +24 at UGA — Two very good defenses, and two offenses that struggled mightily. I don’t know that the Blazers can move the ball here at all. But I’m also fairly sure that UGA’s offense isn’t great either. The final score will reflect some fourth quarter spread-padding from Kirby too, god bless him. Just don’t be surprised if it’s ugly and close in the first half, like 14-3 or something. Georgia 37 UAB 10
NB: this applies only if JT Daniels starts.
Purdue -33 1⁄2 at UConn — Think “win one for the Edsall” will have much emotional resonance or matter on the scoreboard? Nah. Me either. UConn is still Uconn. Purdue 54 UConn 17
Go On Take The Money And Run:
Houston -8 at Rice — Rice has played very well at home...for Rice. But the offense just isn’t there against major programs. And if Tune limits his turnovers, this one won’t even be particularly close. The Battle for Houston winds up being a tasteful 3-4 score game with the Coogs never seriously in peril: Houston 30 Rice 16
NC State - 2 1⁄2 at Mississippi State — The right team is favored. Point blank. The ACC took it on the chin like Riley Reid last week, but 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. NCSU 34 Mississippi State 26
Pitt -3 at Tennessee — At the end of the day, Pitt is just a better, more stable program ATM than the Vols are. Narduzzi normally has his dudes super geeked out for these “vs. the world” road games, and his record there is a testament to it; he’s 10-4 as a road favorite. The passing game is very good, the defense will probably be better. And at the end of the day, I’ve seen the Vols play — they have nothing at QB. Pittsburgh 35 Tennessee 23
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. Bucks win, Ducks cover. Oregon 31 Ohio State 38
I heard you like underdogs?
Two off-the-radar dogs for your consideration.
First, nothing about Texas A&M’s performance last weeks should give you faith that they cover -17 1⁄2 in Boulder. They’ll win, sure. But probably only after playing like crap for a half and then hanging on for dear life. This is the Buffs’ biggest chance for a home statement in god knows how many years. They’ll just come up short. Aggies 38 Buffaloes 34
The second is the woebegone New Mexico State Aggies (+19). UNM is a much better team, but still is a bad team. And coaxing consistent efforts out of bad teams is nigh impossible; even less so against their archrivals from the south. NMSU shook off their slumber last week, learned how to defend the run, and then pieced together a few drives of their own that were respectable. And San Diego State is a far better team than the Lobos. NMSU 23 UNM 37
This Week’s Mortal Lock
Wisconsin -25 vs. Eastern Michigan — Man, poor EMU, they get to walk into Madison with the Badgers both riding all kinds of momentum and still needing to work on some things. That means, alas, they get UW’s undivided attention. Even worse, the Eagles have to try and score on the road in Big 10 with their B-tier MAC talent.
EMU is a decent little directional Michigan; though it is still well behind the true MAC contenders, and even its brethren in directionality. And, frankly, asking Coach English’s bunch to even get a touchdown here is probably too much...and they certainly aren’t covering 26. 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