As always, we shall endeavor to give you a handy half-dozen games for Week Ten, in what was a surprisingly stinky week of FG-type spreads. But, there you have it: 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.
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Not With A 10’ Pole And Stolen Money
There are a lot to choose from here this week. I’ll give you a few for free, just because I’m nice:
FIU +24 at No. Texas — Both of these teams are red hot, and the number is too close to justify it (-24.32). Second-half FIU has done a remarkable job righting the ship. This was legitimately the worst team in the country after 4 weeks. They’re now 4-4. Ditto the Mean Green. UNT got their TOs cleaned up and have now won 3 of 4, smacked around WKU on the road, and damn near got UTSA OTR too. Sitting at 5-4, 4th place in CUSA (exactly where we predicted them to be in the preseason). I lean UNT, but again, that number...This could be something like 52-28, and you’d be poorer for it.
Clemson -3.5 at Notre Dame — Whoever can figure out how to run on the other one first figures to win this game. That’s probably Clemson. Wouldn’t bet my life on it, and neither would the data (CU -3.04)
Baylor +3.5 at Oklahoma — BU should technically be the better play here, esp. with OU’s ground defense. But they turn the ball over too much. And, when OU wins the TO battle, they are 5-0. It really is that simple. Not to mention, these are two QBs who can gack up mistakes in droves. But precisely who will make the most is up in the air, because Baylor has one of the filthiest secondaries in the country in forcing ducks. Bets based solely on an average amount of TOs and Turnover luck, as well home field, are bad plays.
One We Like:
Air Force -7 at Army
You expect a few things out of service academies: hang on to the ball, stop the run, play tough as hell. Army does none of those well. They allow 5.45 YPC (126th), are -7 in TOM (112th), and have lost at home by DD on three occasions. They’re also 2-5-1 ATS. Bad year for the Black Knights. Still, the Falcons will get their best shot in West Point. And, yes, this game is ridiculously early for them (9:00 a.m. body time). But Air Force is the better team and should probably play like it...but not by nearly the amount you think.
AFA -12.13 to -14.44. I lean to the lower end of that, BTW. Pride makes it closer than it should be. Something like 20-10.
One We Love:
Mississippi State -12.5 vs. Auburn
Is Auburn going to play better without Harsin? Who knows. But at their best, they still turn it over too much, they’re on their 5th QB of the year — another freshman, Leach is very good ATS at home, and one-dimensional running teams have a tough hill to climb against this State front. Did I mention the whole “Mississippi State forces a lot of turnovers and Auburn is the worst in the country in turnover margin”-thing? Because that seems important to. I expect the ‘Barn to come shot out of a cannon for Carnell early. But, yeah...they still have to play the game.
I like this one a good deal. CLANGA -15.76 to -17.11
Underdog With Bite
Tennessee +8.5 at UGA
The Vols and Alabama were the only teams that could really move the ball and score on UGA last year. In 2022, it’s a worse UGA defense, a Vols defense that is Top 5 in TOM, Hyatt is a terror, the Dawgs are turning it over a bunch, Nolan is now out for the year, and Honky McCrackerson is going to have to throw a bunch to match scores in spurts.
I don’t expect UGA will get caught in the mismatches Alabama did, but one does worry about the offense. Hyatt vs. Brock Bowers will be appointment viewing.
UGA -4.54 to -6.88: Dawgs win, Vols cover. But personally, I think one of two things happen here: Either Tennessee just whips their ass, or UGA wins a squeaker. Not really seeing an in between here. I suppose UGA could also rout the Vols, but again, nothing in the data sets really indicate that.
Ginormous Spread Worth Your While
We only have three “ginormous” games this week, so we’ll take the best of the bunch:
Oregon -31.5 at Colorado
Bo Nix for Heisman is a real-ass thing Oregon is trying to make happen. I doubt it will, but this is a great one to pad his stats. Seriously, how bad is the Pac 12 when Bo Nix is one of the top two signal callers?
Ducks hammer the gas. -33.7 to -37.04. It also helps that the Ducks are 6-2 ATS, while CU is 2-6, including 1-4 at home.
Tulsa +7 vs. Tulane
The Green Wave are 7-1 ATS for a reason. Veteran smart QB play, highly efficient running game, nasty defense. They are also a very solid road team, underperforming expected values by a mere -.3 points. That’s the sign of good coaching.
As an aside, I think I said this on Twitter, but Auburn could do a lot worse than paying Willie Fritz $5 million a year and giving him that big job he’s earned. It won’t be super exciting, no. But it will be hard-nosed, fundamentally sound football that overachieves, punches above its weight class and competes on a weekly basis. For decades, that was Auburn’s MO. If they actually give a shit about righting the ship they’d do something like that. But one suspects instead they’ll go for splash and try to compete in an arms race they cannot win against Georgia and Alabama.
Anyway, Tulsa plays above its head at home, but likely not by this much. And it’s not fared well vs. teams are defense and RTDB-oriented.
Tulane -10.15 to -13.56
Auburn’s next head coach will be...
This poll is closed
A well-respected guy from the G5 who’s earned a shot (Willie Fritz etc.)
A splash hire with a thin CV (Deion etc.)
A lateral hire from a hot, in-demand coach at a major conference program (think Kiffin).
A well-respected guy from a Power Conference who’s overachieved (Leipold etc.)
A formerly disgraced coach on the rebound (Clay Helton, etc.)
Assistant Waterboy at East Popcorn State because no one is touching this toxic mess.
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.