Week 4 Picks
Week 3 Recap (22-14) +5.0 units
I’ve always been one to ask for the bad news first so lets break down what went wrong last week. The Hawaii/Army game didn’t get over the total of 63 for me despite 35 first half points. The two teams went scoreless in the third quarter and I ended up begging for overtime to get the over. Notre Dame looked not great! They should have lost to Vanderbilt this week and I’m pretty sure Brandon Wimbush is bad. Those were two bad calls by me for sure in the early slate. I had two, two-unit plays in the afternoon slate that we couldn’t quite get to the window with. How in God’s name did USF not cover against Illinois? The Bulls outgained the Illini 620 yards to 380. For that reason I put two units on USF -9 in the second half and they barely (thankfully) covered that one making the game essentially a wash for me. It might be time for me to start taking LSU a little more seriously. Auburn couldn’t take care of business and dropped the game outright. Baylor looked about as bad as possible against the Daniel Jones-less Duke Blue Devils. Duke was really impressive without their starting QB. Ohio wasn’t able to stop Virginia and I think I need to adjust the Bobcats down even more than I did. I have them favored by 1.5 this week against Cincinnati while that game is available at Ohio +9. You won’t find me on the Bobcats until they prove they can stop someone.
Now lets get to the fun stuff! It was a really sold week for me thanks to some second half plays and some late night snacks on #PAC12AfterDark. Thursday and Friday nights both went very well with BC/Wake Forest over and Memphis -28 both cashing easily. Troy +11.5 also cashed easily as they won outright over Nebraska. Kent State/Penn State over and Vandy/Notre Dame unders were nice totals to cash in the early slate. I added UC Davis +30.5 against Stanford for .5 unit as well. UC Davis covered easily as Stanford was on sleep mode. BYU! This was definitely one of my best calls of the weekend as they knocked off Wisconsin in Madison as a +23 point underdog. The whole world was on Boise State and they even kicked off as a short favorite. My Oklahoma State ticket was really never in doubt and those who steamed the Smurfs were left wondering how Boise couldn’t block OSU’s punt defense. Florida covered the 20 point spread for my to get my second two-unit win of the day. North Texas beat SEC foe Arkansas very easily as +7 point underdogs. Texas-3 , New Mexico -6.5, and Washington/Utah under were 3 sweat free cashes to end the evening. I ended up adding San Diego St +5 and the over 48 in that game. The final score was 28-21 SDSU so you better believe I asked the bartender to put on CBS Sports Network at 1am while they were trying to clean up. It was worth it (for me) in the end. All in all it was a very successful week that could have gone horribly with 2 two-unit losses.
In the section below, I’ll provide my thoughts on some of the games I’ve picked each week. In the future, I’ll get this doc updated after I make a bet so everyone can get the best line possible.
(Lines are as of writing. If my pick is different than the current line I will try and explain in the breakdown) Current Record: 58-51 +0.87 units
Tulsa @ Temple -6.5 (o/u 54.5)
This game is a stand-alone game on ESPN in primetime that I didn’t bet. That alone is a minor miracle and I think I deserve a medal. Thank you for your time.
Florida Atlantic @ Central Florida -13.5 (o/u 76)
I had a really busy afternoon on Monday hitting totals when they were released. This is one that I jumped on right away at 69.5. By Tuesday it was up to 78 and while I considered playing back on the under to get a middle, I’m pretty happy with my over 69.5. FAU and UCF have the 44th and 14th rated offensive efficiency by according to S&P+. Points per play (PPP) is one of my favorite stats for college football because it really shows explosiveness which is a huge factor in this up tempo sport. Both of these offenses play as fast as anyone and UCF is number 1 in the country in PPP. These teams will get theirs so let’s see some points. I would still take this over at 76.
Pick: Over 69.5
Score: UCF 48 FAU 35
Washington St @ USC -4.5 (o/u 51)
USC has looked downright atrocious running the football and I don’t think the WSU defense is the place to get right. I make this line right at 4.5 but I think the Cougars are just the better football team right now. USC doesn’t have much of a home field advantage and I’m not expecting that to change on a Friday night in LA.
Pick: Washington St +4.5
Score: Washington St 23 USC 18
Georgia -14 @ Missouri (o/u 64.5)
I had both of these teams circled as ones with explosive offenses coming in to the season. Georgia is certainly living up to that expectation with number 7 offense in PPP. They also rank fourth in ESPN’s FPI for offensive efficiency. Match that Georgia offense with a Missouri defense that gave a billion yards to Purdue last week and it looks like the Bulldogs will be putting up some serious points. I expect Drew Lock and Mizzou to get a few touchdowns themselves though. Georgia has really struggled getting pressure on the QB and if you give Lock time to sit in the pocket he’ll pick anyone apart.
Pick: Over 64.5
Score: Georgia 45 Missouri 35
Nebraska @ Michigan -17.5 (o/u 50.5)
This game comes down to the numbers for me. I use my power ratings as well as 4 other sets of ratings to break down these games. All of these systems have this line at least Michigan -18. It’s typically going to be a play for me when all of the systems are in agreement. Adrian Martinez is likely going to suit up for the Cornhuskers in this one. But a true freshman QB on the road in The Big House? I’ll take the Maize and Blue.
Pick: Michigan -17
Score: Michigan 37 Nebraska 14
Kent State @ Ole Miss -28.5 (o/u 74.5)
This is another total that I hopped on as soon as it was released on Monday. I put two-units on this game at over 73 and it moved to 78 by the middle of the week. Some under money has come in and driven this thing back down to 74.5 where I would still take the over. Ole Miss has some amazing receivers as we discussed last week. Both of these teams are going to play very fast and Ole Miss has a defense that anyone can score on. I talked last week about #FlashFast and what Kent St is trying to do on offense. I think this is a dead nuts over as long as the thunderstorms hold off in Oxford.
Pick: Over 73
Score: Ole Miss 59 Kent St 28
Northern Illinois @ Florida St -10.5 (o/u 45)
This game is going to be so, so gross. Florida State has the worst offensive line I’ve seen in my whole life. They just can’t block anyone. Yes, the ‘Noles have a massive edge in talent over NIU but the important match up in this game is at the line of scrimmage. DE Sutton Smith of NIU is one of the best in the country and I think he’s going to feast on that FSU offensive line. FSU is 123rd in offensive efficiency and 23rd in defensive. NIU is 128th in offensive efficiency and 13th in defensive. You’ll probably have to Hold On To Your Butts™ but it’s going to be a bad game.
Pick: Under 45
Score: Florida State 17 Northern Illinois 0
UCONN @ Syracuse -27.5 (o/u 76)
UCONN has a HORRIFIC defense. They are almost as bad at tackling as Florida State is at blocking. They rank dead last in defensive efficiency on both FPI an S&P+, opponent’s points per play, and opponent’s yard per play. That is… really bad. They allowed 550 yards and 49 points to FCS Rhode Island last week. Now they step up in class to play a really good Syracuse team in the Carrier Dome. The Carrier Dome doesn’t have air conditioning and Carrier is an air conditioning company because that makes sense. Heat plays a big factor in overs because the defense gets tired; and this dome gets very hot and stuffy as the game goes on. I can’t imagine a tired UCONN defense. Syracuse plays very up-tempo on offense and they are efficient (37th) and explosive (39th). Their defense can be had by anyone not named Florida State so this one should be the highest scoring game of the weekend.
Pick: Over 76
Score: Syracuse 64 UCONN 35
Miami (OH) -7 @ Bowling Green (o/u 54.5)
Two putrid offenses (120th and 105th respectively) meet in Bowling Green, OH for a MAC football game. The game goes under. The End.
Pick: Under 54.5
Score: Miami (OH) 21 Bowling Green 10
Kansas @ Baylor -7 (o/u 56)
I played on Baylor and against Kansas in their respective games last week. I went 0-2 in those games so why not double down on this week. I make this game Baylor -14.5. The perception of Kansas has skyrocketed in the last two weeks after back-to-back wins versus FBS opponents for the first time since 2009. I’m certainly not high on Baylor but all of the power rating systems have this game higher than a touchdown for Bears so I have to roll with Baylor.
Pick: Baylor -7
Score: Baylor 27 Kansas 17
Mississippi State -9.5 @ Kentucky (o/u 56)
The common theme this week is trusting in the numbers. All 5 systems I use have this game over 10 and I’m very high personally on Mississippi State. Kentucky is a lot better than I thought they would be but they are facing the most talented team they’ll see all year outside of Georgia. Both defenses are solid so I wouldn’t mind taking a look at the under too.
Pick: Mississippi State -9.5
Score: Mississippi State 29 Kentucky 14
Coastal Carolina @ Louisiana -4 (o/u 64.5)
This is one of the bigger discrepancies I have between my lines and the Vegas line. I make this game Coastal -1.5 so I played the Chanticleers +3 when the line came out. After doing some more research I’ve found that there is even more value on the over. Coastal ranks 8th in offensive efficiency and 127th in defensive according to FPI. Louisiana comes in at 37th on offense and 118 on defense. Louisiana’s defense ranks second to last in PPP allowed and Coast’s ranks 101st. Louisiana’s offense isn’t anything to write home about but they’ll have to keep up with Coastal to keep this thing close. Clearly odds makers think that will happen as they’ve installed the Ragin’ Cajun’s a short favorite.
Pick: Coastal Carolina +3, Over 63
Score: Coastal Carolina 38 Louisiana 35
UNLV @ Arkansas St -7.5 (o/u 67)
In this game I’m going to step out of my lane and take the under 70. The line has moved down a field goal since I grabbed it but I think it’s still good. UNLV loves to run the ball and I haven’t been impressed with Arkansas State’s passing attack that was supposed to be so explosive. I still like both of these offenses long term, I just think this one is too high.
Pick: Under 70
Score: Arkansas State 34 UNLV 28
Stanford -2 @ Oregon (o/u 56)
I’m one of the lowest people out there on Stanford. I don’t think their offense is creative enough and their defense gets way too much credit. Because of this, my power rating has Oregon favored by about a field goal so I jumped on the Ducks -1.5 at the open on Sunday. The Cardinal quickly took money and became the favorite. I think this game comes down to the home field advantage that Oregon is going to get in Eugene for a night game. We’ll see if Stanford opens up the playbook at all but I don’t know if they really have anything outside of hand offs to Bryce Love and jump balls to JJ Arcega-Whiteside. Justin Herbert missed this game last year so you know he’s chomping at the bit to play this one.
Pick: Oregon -1.5
Score: Oregon 28 Stanford 27
Wisconsin -3 @ Iowa (o/u 43.5)
The big game in the Big Ten this weekend is in Iowa City. Everyone knows Iowa’s reputation when they play highly ranked opponents in Kinneck Stadium at night. That, coupled with Wisconsin’s loss to BYU last week has this line way out of wack. I think it’s an over reaction to last weeks action as I have the Badgers -7.5. I’m going to roll with Wisconsin in this one and trust my preseason numbers. If this game was played in Week 1 the line would have been over a touchdown.
Pick: Wisconsin -3
Score: Wisconsin 21 Iowa 14