This week is very unusual for me. I usually don’t bet SEC, and I have two SEC picks. I usually don’t bet prime time games either since the lines are usually very efficient, but I couldn’t resist on one of them.
Texas A&M -28 at SMU ☆ – I was anticipating this one for at least a week now. The second the line opened at -28 I hopped on it. Soon after the line moved to 31 and now to 32. I wouldn’t be surprised if it gets close to 34 or 35 by kickoff. Texas A&M has covered by 18 points on average in their three games. SMU has missed by -24 in their past two games, causing June Jones to resign. I can’t foresee any reason why the post-Jones era would be any better though. After watching SMU lose 45-0 to Baylor and 43-6 to UNT (LOL), giving A&M only 4 touchdowns is such a steal. Don’t even bother giving SMU any points for home field advantage; you might as well give home field advantage to the Aggies. You’ll be able to count the amount of Pony fans at the game on one hand. The stadium will, however, be flooded with thousands Aggies living in DFW, excited to see Kenny Hill play, and lured by game tickets significantly cheaper than those at Kyle Field.
South Carolina -19 at Vanderbilt – Also was waiting a long time for this one. Do I need to say much here? South Carolina very good, Vanderbilt very, very, very bad. It feels like Groundhog Day as they keep playing home games and keep disappointing the home crowd. Vandy has a three game streak of missing the spread by 14 points or more. South Carolina appears to have gotten things together on defense a bit, and the offense still looks good. The raw power rating spread is 21, without factoring in Vandy’s slide. Glad I got in early, as the line is now up to 22 and moving up fast.
UMass +29 at Penn State – The spread is fair at about 30 by all measures, but I have a few reasons for taking this.
1) Penn State has no incentive to run up the score. At a 3 or 4 touchdown margin especially, they have no reason to keep Hackenberg or anyone else in. Run the clock, play backups, stay healthy for Northwestern.
2) UMass is doing pretty hot. Don’t discount these guys too much; they’ve been improving a lot. They almost beat Colorado and Vanderbilt, and fans are feeling very optimistic. In both games they were about a 17 point underdog and lost both games by 3 points.
3) Penn State even hasn’t scored 29 points yet. They scored 26, 21, and 13. I know, it’s UMass. But if UMass scores even 10 points in garbage time, that means that Penn State needs to put up 40 to cover.
Purdue +7.5 vs Southern Illinois – I kid you not, this is what the opening line was. I was expecting it to be the opposite. Basically, the game should be somewhere between pk to Purdue -2. My plan was to wait for them to release the line with Purdue as a huge favorite, and then take SIU Carbondale as big underdogs. Someone making the book must have been a huge Salukis fan, because this line was pretty wild. Within a few hours, the line moved from Purdue +7.5 to Purdue -3. I’m considering taking the middle here and betting the other way, so that I’d break even on any extreme score but win both bets anywhere in that 10.5 point middle area. For now though I’m hanging on and seeing how far up this Purdue line goes. Heck, I might just hold on to this bet with
Clemson +20.5 at Florida State – Ok, I get the logic, right? Last year FSU won 51-14. FSU returns more people than Clemson. It’s in Tallahassee. Therefore, FSU will win by more. But if you actually believe that FSU would have won every game against Clemson 51-14 last year you’re nuts, and we shouldn’t extrapolate based on that. Sagarin has this game handicapped at 6 to 8.5 points. I agree that seems low too. But the point is that 21 points is the absolute highest this line can go. You could make a case for the line to be 14 a lot easier than you could make a case for the line being 28. Heck, even Tomahawk Nation agrees this line is too big. Some are even betting against their own team on this one. Also worth noting that Florida State lost their starting nose guard, starting defensive tackle, and backup defensive tackle due to some bad apples at The Citadel.
NIU +14.5 at Arkansas – I feel like I’m trying to stop a moving train by betting against Arkansas, but man I really like NIU. Give me more than two touchdowns here, and I really like NIU. This is a fun game, because we have the teams that rank #3 and #6 in total rushing yards squaring off against each other. But they aren’t just two running teams. Arkansas looks like Bielema’s old Wisconsin team in the running game. That’s great, because NIU also has a top 10 rushing defense so far. It gave up 1.9 YPR to Northwestern and 3.2 to UNLV. The perfect thing to combat the Arkansas ground game. NIU on the other hand has a high run percentage, but its efficiency is low. It’s actually highly efficient in the air, often due to the fact that it lures defenders in against consecutive run plays. I have the game handicapped at -7.5 so this seems like a pretty good deal.
Still Considering These Bets:
Bowling Green (+28 or more) at Wisconsin – This thing has been on the move from 19.5 all the way up to 27. I get that Wisconsin is a better team, but Bowling Green isn’t bad either and they just beat Indiana. Sure Wisconsin will run all over them, but Bowling Green should have some kind of a response on offense too.
FIU (+28 or more) vs Louisville – Louisville’s offense struggled against Virginia, and more importantly gave up 21+ points to a team that had the worst offense in the ACC last year. Enter FIU, a team that we’re finding out might not be as bad as last year, in a non-conference matchup where Louisville has no real motivation to run up the score. Let’s see if this line gets above 28, it’s at 26.5 right now.
Bethune-Cookman (+35 or more) at UCF – I have to say UCF hasn’t looked that good recently. I have serious worries about Bethune-Cookman too after their lackluster win over Grambling. Line opened at 28.5, moved to 32.5 so I’m really tempted here. I have them handicapped at 26.5. Since I’m not too passionate about it yet though, I’ll wait and see if the lines move to sweeten the deal.
Houston Baptist (-28 or less) at Texas College – Here’s your possible FCS bonus pick #1. I’ve handicapped at 28 but I really like games where the disparity is large between a Division 1 FCS team and a Division 3 or NAIA team. Houston Baptist is an FCS bottomfeeder, it’s still orders of magnitude better than some underfunded independent football program. In last year’s game, HBU won 49-7. I assume the same result from the Huskies (I’m assuming that’s their mascot, based on the logo on their website) in this year’s game.
NC A&T (-28 or less) vs Chowan – Possible FCS pick #2, similar to the one above. NC A&T is really looking good this year. Their 47-13 victory over Alabama A&M is even more impressive after seeing them play UAB, and they almost upset Coastal Carolina (FCS #5) as 13 point underdogs. Chowan is an iffy Division 2 team, that recently got blown out 47-7 against Alderson-Brodus when they were 14 point favorites. Alderson-Brodus is spending its second year in Division 2, think of it like Old Dominion. To match power ratings and find an equivalent game, it’s essentially like Old Dominion beating Texas Tech in Norfolk. I like that image a little too much.