Alright, Week Eight is upon us, and here’s the drill: One we like, one we love, an underdog to consider, one to steer clear of, a ginormous spread worth your time, and a mortal lock.
Our thanks to DraftKings sponsoring Roll ‘Bama Roll again. For more degenerate gambling, fantasy, and sportsbook posts, you can check all of those out at the SBNation DraftKings Supergroup hub. And for current odds, check those out here.
Not With A 10’ Pole And Stolen Money
Alabama -21 vs. Mississippi State
DYK: Since Saban arrived in 2007, Alabama is the very worst team in the country ATS coming off a loss? Yup. 7-12 (36.8%).
People will be talking about revenge games, matchups, etc. And while the Tide has owned Leach, they traditionally have not covered vs. the Bulldogs (this game usually being played after the LSU game.) And Alabama has been downright putrid covering the week before its bye. Now, add all three of those together — Opponent it traditionally doesn’t cover against, pre-bye game that they don’t traditionally cover, off a s/u loss that they don’t cover against. And mix it in with their team that has to unmuck its head in a hurry, and a dangerous opponent? Yuck.
All data point to an unsatisfying but decent win that won’t make anyone except the coaching staff happy. ‘Bama -9.81 to -12.33.
That said, Nick Saban does own the Air Raid, and Mike Leach has been historically terrible on the road. Still, I’m not touching this toxic matchup of a headcase coach vs a headcase team, even if all the numbers point to ‘State to cover.
One We Like:
So. Miss -2 at Texas State
The Bobcats are undefeated at home, including a W over App. State. They’re 3-0 ATS at home. They played Troy to within a FG on the road. And they’re 3-1 in the last month. This team has gotten a helluva lot better the last month. So, Spav may just hang on to that job after all (sorry, Alabama fans who wanted him for the OC).
Fortunately, they’re also more disciplined, have better ball security, the better defense, and a passing game that matches up well with So. Miss’s secondary. Those are trends and stats that are hard to ignore, esp. in this winnable game.
Fellas, the wrong team is favored! Take TSU -3.33
One We Love:
Texas -6 at Oklahoma State
The Pokes have been living dangerously all season, and it finally bit them last week. This week, the wheels may come falling off. Texas is in the Top 6 in every metric across the board — offense, defense, special teams (and still my bet for a dark horse playoff berth).
Since they’ve gotten healthy, the ‘Horns have been a damned tough out. And it’s just about time for Gundy to have that one Big Game Flop he racks up every year. This is probably it. Sanders is below 49% passing in B12 play, and that was before his injury. He may not even be able to go this week. You can’t even point to a stout OSU defense as an equalizer, because that has been rebuilt this season and is a positive liability against passing teams.
Good thing Sarkisian doesn’t love to throw the ball, right? /s
Underdog With Bite
BYU -7 at Liberty
In what looks to be a very strong week for underdogs, this one is supremely curious. Liberty doesn’t have the passing attack of the Cougars, but they are a damned physical team — especially at home. And they have the one thing that is custom-built to exploit BYU’s issues season-long issue of stopping teams right up them middle: They have a powerful running game.
Anyone else think the wrong team is favored here? The data do, I do, and 47.6 million Southern Baptists do. Even if BYU wins, getting a TD-plus to cover three time zones away seems a stretch.
Flames with the cover and sectarian win. Liberty -3.23.
Ginormous Spread Worth Your While
Oregon State -23.5 vs Colorado
This is actually the second-widest spread margin of the week. Finding Ginormous Spreads is getting harder and harder. And, no, we’re not going anywhere near Iowa +29.5 at Ohio State. Rather, we’ll stick with someone who’s made us a lot of money this year: the woebegone, positively assy Colorado Buffaloes.
Notwithstanding last week’s improbable Buffs’ win, not only are we gonna’ keep flogging CU, the data loves Oregon State to flog them on the field, as well. Karl Dorrell is proof that having money is not a sure sign of competence. The Beavers (alongside Purdue) may be the quietest 5-2 team in the country, and they’re outright dangerous in fog-shrouded firs of Corvallis.
Beavers give it to the Buffs -29.38, let’s call it something like 45-17
Syracuse +13 at Clemson
This has to be an artifact of perception and preseason ranking.
Cuse is a damned good team with a balanced offense and a nastier than you think defense. I’d like the outright upset more in Upstate New York, but like most of CU’s games against good teams, this one will come down to a TD.
Take the Orange +9.24.
And you can’t rule out DJU suddenly remembering that he’s DJU.
Texas A&M -3 at South Carolina
This poll is closed
Sure, the Aggies have finally found a quarterback to go with a defense that limits explosive plays and look dangerous
Nah, USC has a pretty salty defense and this team plays very hard for Beamer at home
Want some more of these? I crank the data every week, for every single game over at my companion site: (Almost) Giving Away Money. Check it out, and prosper.