Interesting Stat from Week 0: Three favorites that lost competitive games in the opening week went -8 in Turnover Margin; two were favorites at home, one s/u lost at home.
Ignore last year’s VU defenestration on Oahu. That game was 7-0 UH going into the second, and 10-7 late in the second. It was still just a manageable 21-10 at halftime. Vandy’s superior running game took over in the second half. The Dores do not roll 4-deep back there this year, and do not appear to have a 1000-yard rusher waiting in the wings.
It screams “trap” in other words. Hawaii +16.84
What on Earth?
UMass doesn’t have many personnel losses, but the ones they do have are big ones, including the best player at every level of the defense — and right up the middle of the field too. That is a bad combo vs. a ground and pound team with a road trip in the desert
That ground and pound team, NMSU? They went away from their identity, threw three interceptions despite averaging 7.8 YPC and going 7 of 9 in 3rd down conversions on the ground. In turn, they surrendered 21 points off those turnovers, and straight up lost. Worst part? UMass came into the game with a secondary that was supposed to be good. Spoiler: It was.
That is how you get fired...even at New Mexico State. Jerry Kill is going to want that one back.
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Half a dozen games to go through today, and it will be how I do this all year: 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.
There are a lot of larger lines this week, moreso than usual, owing to the season-opening paycheck slaughters. The games won’t always lack the competitive fire to get your wagerin’ juices flowing.
Not with a 10’ Pole and Stolen Money:
Liberty -10 vs. BGSU: One of Loeffler’s problems at Bowling Green has been consistency. Which version of the Falcons do we get? Who knows. What will Liberty even look like under Chadwell? Again, who knows. I do know that when Rev. Burnerphone went to the ‘Barn, it was propitious timing: Liberty has to practically be rebuilt from the ground up. This one is way too close to call without data points for 2023. UL -9.66
One We Like:
Fresno +3.5 at Purdue: If this were last year, it would be a tossup, esp. since Tedford is so ridiculously good ATS as a road dog. But, you don’t lose Haehner, most of your OL, 2/3rds of your receiving corps, travel across two time zones to play a 9:00 a.m. game against a B1G team and get better. Purdue’s already wide-open offense got even moreso with Graham Harrell’s hiring at OC. New staff or not, there are too many weapons here for the Boilers. Purdue -7.65. Nice line here.
One We Love:
UCF -34.5 vs. Kent State (open -33.5) — Sometimes, what doesn’t show up speaks volumes. In the case of the Flash, it’s damn near the whole team. KSU returns exactly zero starters on the offense. The OL? Five career starts. The defense? Just four starters, including just three career starts on the DL. The head coach? Gone — off to join Coach Prime’s circus in Boulder. The special teams unit? One of America’s worst. The new head coach? A career position guy.
The secondary figures to be decent, but 1. that’s about it, and 2. that’s not very helpful in Tampa, in August, vs. Gus Malzahn’s veer option. I’m not sure the Knights will even have throw. Hell, he may not TBH. Not when JRP returns, along with 14 other starters, including the entire OL with 126 career starts, its top four running backs. And, on the other side of the ball, the front seven is in great shape. The secondary is a little thin, but has quality.
This is shaping up to be a massacre, in short. Likely the first of many for Kent State. Might they be our Colorado this year, the team you always bet against? Early odds suggest so. UCF -38.13
An Underdog With Bite:
There aren’t a whole lot of good underdogs this week. There are a whole lot of FCS paycheck slaughters, mismatches, and obligatory “We gotta’ play a Group of 5 team so we can sell season ticket packages” (I’m not naming any names here. But they may rhyme with Alabama, Michigan, Oklahoma, UCLA, USC, and a dozen more.)
So, we’ll take LSU -2.5 at FSU.
It appears from the data as though the wrong team is favored.The dirtiest secret in America that LSU was closer to a 7-5 team last year than not (thanks, Bill O’Brien and Pete Golding). Jayden Daniel is a running QB with some YOLO shots and legs. And FSU is decidedly not garbage (though there are a few questions in the secondary, this is definitely the passing game you want to try and answer them in). Biggest game for FSU in a long, long while. Talkin’ Bout The Noles...to cover as a ‘dog and win S/U. FSU -1.56
Ginormous Spread Worth Your Time:
Texas A&M -38 vs. UNM: The very worst offense in the country (and one of its worst defenses), with a new coaching staff vs. a team that should finally have one of both — and the coaching to finally avail itself of it. The new-look Aggies could be scary indeed...if Jimbo lets the competent staff actually do their jobs. Big number, but I don’t know that New Mexico can stop the A&M rushing attack, or generate any points against that speed.
Rice +35 at Texas: Say what you want about Sark as a head coach; he knows how to keep boosters happy at home. He’s a spread-covering machine when he doesn’t have to hop on the Big Steel Bird, and has been at all three stops. So despite this being a big number, the algo is spitting out an even bigger number (Texas -39.07). Horns Up: Quinn Ewers Heisman campaign gets off to a jolly good start; Arch gets some gimmes, one of the nation’s deepest RB rooms tees off, and Food has no answers for the Shorties’ team speed on defense...or anywhere else for that matter.
This is going to be a massacre. Texas -39.07
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LSU -2.5 at Florida State?
This poll is closed
Talkin’ ‘Bout the ‘Noles