|Date||Match Up||Rating||Score||Result||Profit||Lead Time||Analysis|
|09-23-23||North Carolina v. Pittsburgh +7.5||Top||41-24||Loss||-112||11 h 23 m||Show|
The talent gap between these teams is a lot less than many realize. A few weeks ago, Pittsburgh might have been favored for this game. The Tar Heels are tough but the Panthers are better than their 1-2 record suggests. Speaking of Pittsburgh's 1-2 w/l mark, the Tar Heels are 0-6 ATS The past six times that they faced a team with a losing record. The Panthers gave the Tar Heels all that they could handle each of the past two meetings here. Both went to OT. Both were won by Pitt. In fact, the home team is 4-0 ATS the past four in the series. With the Tar Heels just 3-9 ATS the past 12 times that they were road favorites in the 9.5-12 range, grab the points with the home underdog Panthers. *ACC GOY
|09-23-23||Rutgers v. Michigan -24||7-31||Push||0||3 h 28 m||Show|
The line on Michigan should be higher. The Knights have fared well against lesser competition but this is a massive step up in class, one which they will not be ready for. Rutgers has been favored in its first three games. The Knights are just 5-10-1 ATS their last 16 as underdogs though. Once the Wolverines got rolling in last year's game, they outscored Rutgers by a 38-0 margin in the second half. The problem for the Knights is that they are ra running team and they are forced to abandon the run after they fall behind. Back to the line: the Wolverines are 5-2 ATS the past seven times that they were favored by 21.5 to 24 points. This has been a good role for them. They're also 14-6 ATS their last 20 conference games. Wolverines win big!
|09-22-23||Boise State v. San Diego State +7||Top||34-31||Win||100||37 h 27 m||Show|
Home field means a lot for both of these squads. The Broncos won 35-13 on the blue turf last year. However, the last time (2021) the teams played here at San Diego, the Aztecs won 27-16. Including those results, SDSU is 6-2 ATS when facing Boise in MWC play. The Broncos are loaded on offense but a little inexperienced on defense. Through three games, they're allowing 30.7 ppg. They got crushed in their only road game this season. In fact, they're only 1-2 overall. The Aztecs 13-5 SU L3 years at home, are 6-1 their last seven against teams with a losing record. Granted, the Broncos aren't a typical losing team. my point is that they haven't yet hit their stride though, their only win coming at home against North Dakota. Going through a tough scheduling stretch, the Aztecs know they need to step up and score an upset. This one should be close. Grab the points!
|09-21-23||Georgia State v. Coastal Carolina -6.5||Top||30-17||Loss||-110||11 h 35 m||Show|
The road team has enjoyed recent success in this series. That will change Thursday night though. The Chanticleers didn't just win last year's game, (at Georgia State) they dominated the Panthers. A 272-78 advantage on the ground and a 268-231 edge through the air. Time of possession was more than 40 mins for Coastal Carolina and less than 20 for Georgia State. This year's Chanticleers are even stronger on defense. Having already played at UCLA, the Chanticleers are battle-tested. They held their own for much of that game (1 point game in 4th quarter) and dominated their next two opponents. The Panthers haven't been tested yet. They've got an inexperienced offensive line and that will catch up with them against their first difficult opponent. Chanticleers are 10-1 SU and 7-2 ATS in September last few years. They're also 5-0 SU and 4-1 ATS on Thursday football. Superior defense, homefield and an advantage in the trenches leads to another big win for Coastal Carolina!
|09-16-23||Tennessee v. Florida +6.5||Top||16-29||Win||100||51 h 27 m||Show|
Tennessee is ranked No. 11 in the country at 2-0, while the Florida Gators enter at 1-1. Tennessee is off ht 30-13 win over FCS Opponent Austin Peay, not even coming close to covering the ridiculous 48-point spread.
Florida is also off a blowout win over an FCS Opponent, smashing McNeese State by a score of 49-7 as a 48.5-point favorite.
These teams met last year and the Vols managed the 38-33 shootout win at home, but now it's payback time for the Gators. That said, while I do think an outright win is possible, my official call will be to grab as many points as you can.
Tennessee is led by Joe Milton, who has 429 yards passing and 4:0 TD:INT so far. But the Vols looked poor defensively overall to a weak team, allowing 260 passing yards to Austin Peay.
Florida finished with 327 yards on the ground last week. QB Graham Mertz has two passing TD's so far. The Gators' defense has been great, so far allowing 191 YPG.
Milton has never lived up to expectations throughout his now six year career, and I think he'll struggle to cover this spread.
Grab the points, the play is Florida.
|09-15-23||Army v. UTSA -8.5||Top||37-29||Loss||-110||30 h 27 m||Show|
UTSA won this game by a score of 41-38 in OT last year, barely covering the two-point spread. Here we are a year later and the Roadrunners are much bigger favs, but not nearly big enough in my opinion.
Army lost 17-13 to Louisiana Monroe, and then followed it up with a 57-0 win over FCS Delaware State. The Black Knights though have more questions than answers still.
The Roadrunners started the year with a 17-14 loss to Houston, before then responding with the 20-13 win over Texas State in Week 2.
UTSA starting QB Frank Harris could be sidelined with injury in this one, but even if he is out I still like the home side to not only win this matchup, but to do so in blowout fashion. The Roadrunners looked sharp on defense last week, holding Texas State to just 242 yards of offense. The defense also looked great in the loss to Houston, and I believe the unit will be the difference-maker in this one.
It's "Next Man Up" for the Roadrunners, and I expect everyone else to help shoulder the load as well here.
Lay the points, the play is UTSA.
|09-09-23||Texas +7 v. Alabama||Top||34-24||Win||100||51 h 56 m||Show|
Texas beat Rice 37-10 in its opener last week. Last year the Longhorns went 8-5 overall, including just 2-2 on the road. Texas though is favored to win the Big 12 conference title this season. The Crimson Tide enter 1-0 as well after handling MTSU last week. Alabama is predicted to finish second to Georgia in the SEC this year. That said, Bama was 11-2 last year, including 7-0 at home. This is obviously a huge game, as this is the type of victory that will really help the resume at the end of the year when it comes to the CFP. I just think that Quinn Ewers will have some opportunities to keep his team competitive throughout. The defense will be better this year than last as well with the majority of the unit returning which finished second overall in the Big 12 last year. QB Jalen Milroe has big shoes to fill for the Tide. He had 242 yards and five TD's last week. The defense is once again a strength as well, but there's still some question marks surrounding this year's version of the Tide. I'm not calling for an outright upset, but I think this one "comes down to the wire." Grab the points and Texas.
|09-09-23||New Mexico State +10.5 v. Liberty||Top||17-33||Loss||-110||49 h 39 m||Show|
The Aggies are 1-1, while Liberty is 1-0. Last year New Mexico State was 7-6, while the Flames finished 8-5.
The Aggies are coming off a 58-21 win over Western Illinois, and I think they can carry that momentum over here. I'm not calling for an outright upset or anything, but everything points to a tight battle here in my opinion (they had 438 yards of offense in the second half alone!) Diego Pavia had 317 yards passing and two TD's.
Liberty managed the 34-24 win over Bowling Green, but I believe it'll have a much harder time containing the visiting side today. QB Kaidon Salter finished with 143 yards passing and two TD's.
The Flames had five INT's, but everything points to a much more competitive affair here between conference opponents.
New Mexico State won this game 49-14 last year. I'm not calling for the outright as I said, but I'm definitely grabbing the points!
|09-09-23||Western Michigan +24 v. Syracuse||7-48||Loss||-110||46 h 21 m||Show|
WMU enters 1-1, as does Syracuse. Cleary, I'm not calling for an outright upset or anything, but I do think the Orange will take the foot off the gas in the second half, leaving the back door open for the Broncos to comfortably sneak in through down the stretch.
WMU beat FCS St. Francis 35-17 in its opener, while Syracuse hammered FCS Colgate 65-0.
I just think the Broncos run game can chew up enough clock here to keep the visitors competitive late. Last week the unit posted 339 yards. QB Jack Salopek had 170 yards and a TD. Jalen Buckley stole the show though with 194 rushing yards. The defense also looked decent in conceding 280 yards.
Syrcause QB Garrett Schrader had 257 passing yards and four TD's. The defense looked good, but clearly the numbers on both sides of the field are "skewed."
With a game at Purdue next weekend, followed by Clemson, I say the home side gets caught "looking ahead" in the second half. Grab the points, the play is Western Michigan.
|09-09-23||Purdue v. Virginia Tech -3||Top||24-17||Loss||-105||43 h 27 m||Show|
Purdue got upset by Fresno State last weekend, and I think it'll struggle again here on the road in this difficult venue.
Virginia Tech beat ODU 36-17 and in my opinion, the Hokies are going to move to 2-0 after this contest.
But the Boilermakers were just a complete mess, losing the battle of the clock by 13 minutes, while going just 3 of 12 on third down. QB Hudson Card was inept, averaging just 3.6 yards on 30 attempts.
VT QB Grant Wells had three passing TDs and one running TD last week, and I believe he'll be a difference-maker this weekend.
Not only do I expect VT to win this game, but I believe it'll do so in blowout fashion.
|09-09-23||Utah v. Baylor +8.5||Top||20-13||Win||100||43 h 3 m||Show|
The Utah Utes are 1-0 after Week 1, while the Baylor Bears are 0-1.
The Bears were stunned by Texas State, while Utah pulled away for a victory over Miami.
Utah QB Cameron Rising did not play in last week's 24-11 home win. Bryson Barnes was adequate in filling in, finishing with 159 yards and a TD. The ground game managed only 105 rushing yards.
The defense looked good, and last year the unit allowed 24 points.
Baylor though will be pushing the pace of this one from the outset after the 42-31 ssetback to Texas State. QB Blake Shapen was inured, meaning that QB Sawyer Robertson will now get the start here. He'll be leaning heavily on the run game and Richard Reese, who averaged 4.9 YPC last season. Baylor's defense was also decent last year, ranked 80th overall in the country by allowing 26.6 PPG.
I think we'll see a much tighter game than what the oddsmakers are trying to lead us to believe. Grab the points, the play is Baylor.
|09-08-23||Illinois +3 v. Kansas||Top||23-34||Loss||-104||30 h 36 m||Show|
Both teams enter 1-0 SU and 0-1 ATS. Illinois is coming off a 30-28 win over Toledo, while Kansas defeated Missouri State 48-17. Illinois was a 7-point favorite, while the Jayhawks were 32.5-point favorites. Illinois had the nation's No. 1 defense last year, but the unit just conceded 28 to Toledo, but we can expect a more solid performance this time around. Illinois had a lot of turnover, but with that first game out of the way, combined with a win, I think they keep the momentum rolling here. Luke Altmyer finished with 211 yards and two TD's. Jalon Daniels sat out last week, but he's expected back in the lineup for the Jayhawks this week, but he'll need time to adjust. Defense is an issue for the Jayhawks, last year they allowed 35.5 PPG, worst in the Big 12. While I do think an outright win is possible, in the end I'm grabbing the points.
|09-04-23||Clemson v. Duke +13||Top||7-28||Win||100||31 h 30 m||Show|
Clemson didn't lose a single ACC game last year, bu it lost non-conference matchups vs. Notre Dame, South Carolina and then it also lost to Tennessee in the Orange Bowl.
Duke was no slouch either though last season, finishing 9-4, capped off with a win over UCF in the Military Bowl.
Clemson is a powerhouse and Cade Klubnik now has big shoes to fill. He has plenty of weapons though, but I just feel that Duke will be able to keep pace and stay competitive late.
I'm not calling for the outright upset, but with Mike Elko directing the show for Duke, I absolutely don't expect this to be a "cake walk" for the visiting side.
Riley Leonard is an exceptional and versatile QB and I think he'll be a difference-maker here on Monday night.
As stated above, no outright win, but this is a few too many points for Clemson to be covering out of the gate vs. such a talented conference oppoent.
Grab the points, the play is Duke.
|09-03-23||LSU -2 v. Florida State||Top||24-45||Loss||-107||30 h 53 m||Show|
I like No. 5 LSU to figure out a way to secure the win and cover here on the road at No. 8 Florida State. LSU went 10-4 last year, averaging 34.5 PPG, and allowing just 22.5.
The Seminoles finished 10-3 and averaged 36.1 PPG, while allowing 20.6.
This though is actually a revenge game after FSU won 24-23 as a 4-point dog on the road in the first game of the year last season.
LSU QB Jayden Daniels will prove to be just too much for this still strong FSU defensive unit.
Brian Kelly plays well a favorite and everything in my opinion points to a comfortable win and cover in this rvenge scenario.
Lay the short points, because the play is LSU.
|09-02-23||Middle Tennessee State +39.5 v. Alabama||7-56||Loss||-110||52 h 57 m||Show|
I believe Alabama will go up early, but then take the foot off the gas in the second half, and I look for MTSU to then comfortably sneak in through the back door down the stretch during garbage time. The Crimson Tide were 11-2 last year, while the Blue Raiders were 8-5. MTSU won the the Hawaii Bowl 35-23. It replaces Chase Cunningham under center, but Nick Vattiato is a worthy replacement. MTSU was good against the run, and I expect Alabama to run a lot today. Last year the Tide were 11-2, and they won the Sugar Bowl by beating K-State 45-20. But with only ten starters back from last year's team, it's going to be a transitional period for the Tide. Clearly I'm not calling for the outright upset, but the conditions are definitely correct for a solid underdog cover here in Week 1. Grab the points, the play is MTSU.
|09-02-23||Nevada v. USC -38||Top||14-66||Win||100||51 h 5 m||Show|
Last season Nevada went just 2-10, and while the Wolf Pack will assuredly be better this season, I still think they're in way over their heads here on the road in this difficult venue. Brendan Lewis is now the man under center for Nevada, coming over from Colorado, and he doesn't have a lot to work with. The defense was an absolute disaster last year, and it's once again expected to be the weakest point of the team this season. USC is off a rocking chair victory over San Jose State, winning but not covering. But now I for sure like USC to fire on all cylinders here over each drive, and to bury the Wolf Pack over the first three quarters, before making way for the backups and younger kids to get some valuable playing time. QB Caleb Williams had 278 yards and four TD's last week, and I expect him to be a difference-maker this weekend as well. Lay the points.
|09-02-23||Fresno State +3.5 v. Purdue||39-35||Win||100||45 h 6 m||Show|
Fresno State finished 10-4 last year, while Purdue was 8-6. Last year the Boilermakers lost their final two games of the season, iincluding a 63-7 loss to LSU in the Citrus Bowl. Fresno State on the other hand has won nine straight dating back to last season, including a 29-6 win over Washington State in the LA Bowl. Both teams will have to transition, as each has to replace a star QB. Ryan Walters has a more difficult job here taking over at Purdue for Jeff Brohm, hw is now in Louisville. Frenso State has everything in place to pull off the outright, but my official call will be to grab as many points as you can. The play is Fresno State.
|09-02-23||Arkansas State +36.5 v. Oklahoma||0-73||Loss||-110||45 h 6 m||Show|
Arkansas State was 3-9 last year, while Oklahoma was 6-6. The Red Wolves though feel they can take a big step forward this year with JT Shrout under center, who had 1,220 passing yards and 7:8 TD:INT with Colorado last year. I expect him to do much better in an easier conference this season. Last year they scored an average of 25, and allowed 31.4. Oklahoma averaged 32.9, but it conceded 29.6. The defense will once again be a weak point for the Sooners. Dillon Gabriel is a pretty mediocre QB in a tough conference for Oklahoma. And unfortunately for Gabriel, he lost several key offensive pieces to the NFL from last year's unit. Last year Akansas State played both Ohio State and Memphis and covered, and I expect the same here. This is too many points, so the play is indeed on Arkansas State.
|09-02-23||Utah State v. Iowa -23.5||14-24||Loss||-110||45 h 6 m||Show|
Utah State isn't expected to do very well this season, picked to finished eighth in the 2023 preseason Mountain West pools. Last year the Aggies were 6-7 and just 2-4 in road games. Iowa finished 8-5, including 4-3 at home. The Aggies do return QB Cooper Legas, but he lost several key players to last year's decent offensive unit. It'll take a step back here. Last year the defense was terrible due to injury. It's difficult to say where the unit is heading into this season. Cade McNamara is expected to rejuvinate this Hawkeyes offense. Last year he finished with 2,576 passing yards, 15 TD's and six INT's. Look for Iowa to keep the foot on the gas from start to finish and lay the points.
|09-01-23||Central Michigan +14 v. Michigan State||Top||7-31||Loss||-110||29 h 4 m||Show|
We have an interstate matchup here between two teams that are looking to take a big step forward this season. Both likely will, but I still think this is too many points for Michigan State to cover in Week 1. CMU was 4-8 overall last year. Head coach Jim McElwain once again has a tough non-conference schedule ahead of him this year, with upcoming games vs. No. 13 Notre Dame in Week 3 on the horizon with others. Bert Emmanuel is expected to be the starting QB for the Chips this year, and he's a true dual threat who will be able to exploit this poor MSU defense. The Chips weakness is on the defensive end as well, but they catch a break here in Week 1 facing this unproven MSU offense. The Spartans finished 5-7 and missed out on a bowl game. Noah Kim is the man under center to start, and last year he went 14 of 19 for 174 yards. MSU was ranked 82nd defensively, allowing an average of 237.9 YPG through the air. MSU's terrible defensive play will allow the Chips to comfortably sneak in through the back door down the stretch. Grab the points, the play is Central Michigan.
|08-31-23||Nebraska v. Minnesota -7||Top||10-13||Loss||-110||56 h 31 m||Show|
I think Nebraka is going to be a lot better this year, and I think that Minnesota is going to take a step back, but here in Week 1, I still think that the Gophers run game and re-worked defensive unit will be too much for Matt Rhule's team to handle down the stretch. QB Jeff Sims tranferred over from Georgia Tech for Nebraska and while he has plenty of talent, that chemistry will for sure take time to develop. The Gophers won this game 20-13 last year, but I'm expecting a bigger final discrepancy this time around. Minnesota does have a star in RB Sean Tyler as well. I see this one getting out of hand late, so lay the points on the Gophers.
|08-26-23||UMass v. New Mexico State -7.5||Top||41-30||Loss||-110||534 h 41 m||Show|
Here we go with another College Football season and I'll look to pick up right where I left off from last season. Jerry Kill and New Mexico State made their second bowl game since 2000 last year. Kill has a knack of turning programs around, and I see more progression this season. Here's a great opponent to hammer on early and work out some stuff. Last year Diego Pavia was a true dual threat QB, while the defense was the biggest surprise, finishing 30th overall in the country. New Mexico State is only ranked 122nd, and UMass is significantly lower than that. Look for the Aggies to keep the foot on the gas from start to finish and lay the points with New Mexico State.
|01-09-23||TCU v. Georgia -12.5||Top||7-65||Win||100||22 h 57 m||Show|
TCU seems like a pretty square dog to me. Including the semifinal win over Michigan, they have six wins by eight points or less. Give them credit for getting here, but the Horned Frogs are severely outclassed in this National Championship matchup with Georgia.
Against Michigan, the Horned Frogs needed two pick-sixes and a pair of turnovers at the goal line. And they still only won by six! They were outgained for the game 528-488.
While Georgia did trail almost the entire game against Ohio State, they actually did outgain the Buckeyes 533-467. And OSU is a much better team than TCU, who may not have its starting running back for this game.
The Bulldogs have not only won 10 straight times as a favorite of 10.5 to 21 points, but they have covered the spread in 9 of those 10 wins.
I think in a situation like this, it’s typically a good idea to fade the crowd and it’s pretty clear to me that vast majority of people are taking the points in this one. I think that’s a mistake. UGA wins big and repeats as National Champs. 10*
|12-30-22||Clemson -5.5 v. Tennessee||Top||14-31||Loss||-110||12 h 9 m||Show|
Our first New Year’s Six Bowl Game is a matchup of top 10 teams, but #6 Tennessee and #7 Clemson are in drastically different places heading into the Orange Bowl.
Tennessee’s season came crashing down with a 63-38 loss to South Carolina in the second to last game. Not only was that a humiliating result, but it cost the Volunteers a shot at the College Football Playoff. Adding injury to insult, QB Hendon Hooker suffered a season-ending injury. In addition to not having Hooker here, the Vols have seen their two top receivers opt out and they will be without offensive coordinator Alex Golesh, who is now the head coach at USF.
Clemson has some opt outs as well. But the big news for them is the switch at QB. Cade Klubnik is now the starter after an impressive ACC Championship Game performance where he completed 20 of 24 passes for 279 yards, sending DJ Uiagalelei packing. All of a sudden, an 11-2 season that was “disappointing” (by this program’s standard) has renewed enthusiasm.
Hooker’s replacement is Joe Milton and you can look for him to struggle against what remains an outstanding Clemson defense (even with the opt outs). Milton is simply not very accurate on deep balls and was only 11 of 21 for 147 yards against Vanderbilt.
I think Clemson is the team that “wants” this game more. The Tigers have covered 11 of their last 14 bowl appearances and are 20-7-1 ATS vs. Top 10 opponents under Dabo Swinney. Lay the points. 10*
|12-28-22||Central Florida v. Duke -3||Top||13-30||Win||100||6 h 29 m||Show|
The uncertain status of QB John Rhys Plumlee makes this handicap a bit difficult, but UCF is certainly not the play given the uncertainty and Duke is a team that really improved throughout 2022 and should be fired up to be here in the Military Bowl (played in Annapolis, MD).
The Blue Devils won five ACC games this year. That’s after winning none last year. This is the program’s first bowl since 2018, meaning the first for virtually every current player. On the other side, UCF had higher aspirations for the season than this game. The line move reflects the respective motivations.
Losing to Tulane in the AAC Championship Game cost the Knights a shot at playing in the Cotton Bowl. They come into the bowl on a three-game ATS losing streak. There was an outright loss to Navy and they only beat USF by 7.
All of Duke’s losses this year were by one score, so they could have finished better than 8-4 and even been in the ACC Title Game. The three conference losses were by a total of eight points.
Duke QB Riley Leonard accounted for the third most touchdowns in the entire FBS (31 - 20 passing + 11 rushing). This is an offense that can run the ball effectively. So can UCF, but Plumlee not being 100%/possibly out would hurt them. There’s no opt-outs for Duke, who will be at full strength and that should give them the edge over a possibly disinterested UCF team. 10*
|12-27-22||Utah State v. Memphis -7||Top||10-38||Win||100||8 h 45 m||Show|
This number is down to -7 and I think it’s time to hit Memphis, who should be favored by double digits here against Utah State in the First Responder Bowl, playing in Gerald J Ford Stadium (home of SMU) in Dallas, TX.
The venue is familiar to Memphis as this is where they played their last regular season game, which ended up being a 34-31 loss to SMU. That was one of three losses by a field goal or less for the Tigers, who went 0-4 in one-score games this season. That’s pretty unlucky.
Utah State was last seen suffering the worst beat of this, or any other, College Football season. They were on the verge of being Boise State outright, but then fell apart and ended up not even covering as 17-point underdogs. But close calls mostly went the Aggies way this season; they were 4-0 SU in one-score games.
Close game records aside; Memphis is the much better football team here. I’ve got Utah State rated as one of the very worst teams in a bowl this year. Memphis will be motivated to win as they want to avoid their first losing season since ‘13. As a favorite, the Tigers are 6-1 this year and are winning by an average of 20 points/game.
The Utah State offense is going to be without its two top running backs due to opt out and injury. They will struggle to move the ball while Memphis should have no problem cashing in against an Aggies’ defense that is 94th in points per drive allowed when opponents get inside the 40-yard line. Lay the points in this one. 10*
|12-23-22||Wake Forest -2 v. Missouri||Top||27-17||Win||100||17 h 1 m||Show|
Wake Forest finished the regular season on a 1-4 slide, its only win coming against slumping Syracuse. But I do expect the Demon Deacons to “show up” for the Gasparilla Bowl against Missouri. QB Sam Hartman is just one touchdown away from tying an ACC record.
Missouri picked up a nice win over Arkansas in its last regular season game, which they needed to become bowl eligible. My concern with the Tigers is that they only averaged 18 points/game outside of Columbia. Now some of that is due to facing the gauntlet of SEC defenses. But, home or road, Mizzou scored 24 or less eight times this year.
I like what I’m hearing from Wake head coach Dave Clawson, who has said he’s happy with the matchup and wants to beat a SEC team. Clawson always seems to get his team to exceed expectations every year. Receiver A.T. Perry not opting out of the bowl is another plus. He’s Hartman’s favorite option to throw to.
Missouri’s defense, which is the strength of the team, is dealing with some opt-outs. The two top defensive linemen won’t play and neither will safety Martuez Manuel.
On the offensive side of the ball, Mizzou has had to say goodbye to its playcaller (took another job) and receiver Lovett (led team in catches won’t play today either). In the end, look for Wake QB Hartman to be the difference for a Wake team that is on a 9-4 SU/ATS run in bowls. Lay it. 10*
|12-21-22||South Alabama -3.5 v. Western Kentucky||Top||23-44||Loss||-110||24 h 31 m||Show|
I’m going to lay the points here with South Alabama in the New Orleans Bowl. Since making the jump to the FBS level a decade ago, the Jaguars have never won in a bowl. They’ve only been to two, the last one coming in 2016 (a 45-21 loss to Air Force in the Arizona Bowl). Motivation always has to be part of your handicap in these early bowl games. USA should be motivated to win here.
Meanwhile, there’s an odd situation with Western Kentucky. Their QB Austin Reed, who was second in the country in passing yards (Penix of Washington #1), announced his intention to enter the transfer portal. But then there was an “about face” and Reed is back, set to start the bowl. Teammates are saying the right things, but it’s hardly ideal bowl prep.
The Sun Belt is already 3-0 in bowl games with Troy, Southern Miss and Marshall all victorious thus far. Conference USA is pretty weak and has already dropped two of three bowl matchups. The lone win was UAB against a MAC school (Miami OH). The MAC is the only conference I have rated lower than C-USA.
South Alabama was 2-10 SU three years ago and now has “flipped” that record, entering this game with a 10-2 record. Their defense is excellent, allowing just 19.4 points and 303.7 yards per game. This matchup is all about the Jaguars’ defense vs. the Hilltoppers’ offense.
Again, I’m playing the favorite here. USA’s only two losses this year were to Troy (Sun Belt Champs) and UCLA and they were by a combined five points! WKU also lost a close game to Troy and stayed within three at Indiana. But the Hoosiers aren’t a bowl team and the Hilltoppers also got blown out by North Texas and Auburn. USA’s motivation of trying to win their first bowl trumps all. 10*
|12-20-22||Eastern Michigan +4 v. San Jose State||Top||41-27||Win||100||18 h 43 m||Show|
The MAC representative has generally not fared well in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, claiming just three wins since 2011. Now it isn’t always MAC vs. Mountain West, but when it has been, the MWC is 5-3 straight up. But for this year’s matchup between Eastern Michigan and San Jose State, I like the MAC team getting points.
Part of that is motivation. Coach Chris Creighton has really done a pretty good job at turning this EMU program around. The Eagles had been a doormat for years prior to Creighton’s arrival, but this is will be their fifth bowl appearance in his nine seasons. The thing is, they’ve yet to win one. The program’s last bowl win came all the way back in 1987, in the California Raisin Bowl, against (you won’t believe this, San Jose State). It’s one of the longest bowl droughts in the FBS.
Off a poor finish to the regular season, where they failed to cover their last six games, don’t see where the motivation for SJSU comes from. This also figures to be the rare cold weather bowl game. Temperatures are expected to be in the 30’s, something the Spartans are not accustomed with.
Eastern Michigan won its final three regular season games (scoring 31 or more every time) to finish 8-4. QB Powell had 581 yards passing and a 6-0 TD-INT ratio the last two games. In its last two games away from home, the San Jose State defense allowed 35 and 43 points. EMU can run as well. I expect them to put up a good number of points here.
As for the San Jose State offense, it is led by QB Cordeiro, who ran hot and cold all year. Eastern Michigan was #2 against the pass in the MAC and won six of the seven games it didn’t allow 240+ pass yards. SJSU’s offensive line is bad, allowing too much pressure and there isn’t much of a ground game. 10*
|12-17-22||Rice +6.5 v. Southern Miss||Top||24-38||Loss||-110||20 h 38 m||Show|
Rice is a 5-7 team that only got to a bowl because there weren’t enough 6-win teams. For that reason, most will be writing off the Owls here in the Lending Tree Bowl vs. Southern Miss. But don’t discount the Owls’ motivation. This will be the program’s first bowl appearance since 2014. They will be out to win. So I’m taking the points.
Southern Miss is in a bowl for the first time since 2019. They won their final game (20-10 over LA Monroe) to get to 6-6. The Golden Eagles’ offense goes through RB Frank Gore Jr, who I concede could be a problem for a shaky Rice run defense (166.8 YPG allowed).
These teams are quite familiar with one another as they were rivals in Conference USA up until this season when USM bolted for the Sun Belt. Rice has actually beaten Southern Miss each of the last two seasons, 24-19 and 30-6, both times as a one-point underdog.
Half of Rice’s games this season were decided by seven points or less. The same was true of Southern Miss. With a low total, I think it just makes sense to take the points here.
Turnovers were the Owls’ bugaboo this year. Only Northwestern coughed it up more. As long as they can protect the football, I have no doubt that they can cover this number and possibly win outright. 10*
|12-16-22||Troy v. UTSA||Top||18-12||Loss||-110||23 h 8 m||Show|
This is the more “marquee” bowl on Friday as we’ve got Troy taking on UTSA in the Cure Bowl, played in Orlando, FL. You’ve got to think the Roadrunners want this one badly. They’ve gone 0-2 in bowls the last two years and are 0-3 all-time in bowls in program history.
I won’t dispute the fact that Troy has the edge defensively heading into this game. But my concern for the Trojans is whether or not they have enough offense to keep up with UTSA. My gut says “no.” UTSA averages 38.7 points/game, which is Top 12 in the country and #1 among Group of Five teams.
UTSA QB Frank Harris leads the charge with 3,865 yards passing this season and 9,158 in his career. Him sticking around to play in this game is a major reason why I’m putting my money on the Roadrunners.
Both teams won their respective conferences, Troy the Sun Belt and UTSA C-USA. Of the four combined losses, three were to ranked teams (at the time) and the other on a Hail Mary.
Troy is 10-2 ATS, tied for the best cover percentage in the FBS. But teams coming into the bowls with a ATS win percentage of .750 or higher are just 41% ATS over the last decade. I believe UTSA is the substantially better team, which is NOT reflected in the line. 10*
|12-16-22||Miami-OH +11 v. UAB||Top||20-24||Win||100||20 h 59 m||Show|
Double digit dogs in bowl games have been a valuable investment through the years. We’ve got one of those in our very first bowl game of the season as Miami takes on UAB in the Bahamas.
Now I wouldn’t be surprised if Miami ends up as a single digit dog by kickoff. That’s because on Thursday afternoon it was announced UAB stud RB DeWayne McBride is sitting this game out. UAB already was dealing with some upheaval as Trent Dilfer will be coming in as the next head coach. But it will be an interim (Bryant Vincent) coaching this game. Many of the players wanted Vincent to get the head coaching job on a permanent basis.
Both teams were 6-6 SU in the regular season. However, UAB didn’t cover the spread a single time away from home (0-6 ATS). McBride is a major loss as he led all of FBS in rushing yards (1,713) and touchdowns (19).
Miami is a perfect 3-0 ATS in bowls under Chuck Martin and this will be the first time since 2003-04 that the program has gone bowling in consecutive years. The RedHawks defeated North Texas in the Frisco Classic last year. They have covered four straight bowls.
I’d bet this one ASAP as I expect the line to go down. But, no matter the number, taking the points would be the right move. In fact, an outright upset wouldn’t shock me here. UAB is 0-3 ATS this season when playing with more than a week of rest. The Blazers’ defense has struggled against mobile QBs and Miami has one in Aveon Smith (with Brett Gabbert out). A double digit dog with a total this low is attractive. Take the points. 8*
|12-03-22||Purdue +17 v. Michigan||Top||22-43||Loss||-110||28 h 17 m||Show|
Since 2005, no double digit favorite has lost a Power 5 Conference Championship Game (22-0 SU, 13-9 ATS). So Michigan should feel pretty comfortable about its path to the College Football Playoff. Honestly, even if they lost this game, they’d probably still end up in the top four.
I don’t think the Wolverines will lose this game outright, but I also don’t think we’ll be getting a repeat of last year’s Big 10 Championship Game where they destroyed Iowa 42-3 as a 12-point favorite.
As is the case here, Michigan was off a win over Ohio State and staring at a playoff berth going into last year’s title game. But they were also looking to make a statement on a national level and weren’t guaranteed a top four spot as they are here.
Last year, most looked at the number and thought Iowa was getting too many points. No one is saying that about an 8-4 Purdue team that sort of lucked into the Big West title. But I look for the Boilermakers to be competitive in this spot. They are 7-6 SU vs. Top 25 opponents the last five years and have beaten Top 5 teams in the past. Also, teammates will rally around QB Aidan O’Connell, whose brother tragically passed away.
Unranked underdogs have fared well recently in Conference Championships, going 14-6 ATS when matched up with a Top 25 opponent. Michigan is dealing with the distraction of felony gun charges being brought against DT Smith. RB Blake Corum is officially done for the season. Too many points here. 10*
|12-03-22||Fresno State +3 v. Boise State||Top||28-16||Win||100||24 h 25 m||Show|
This is 1 of 5 regular season rematches this weekend. In case you were wondering, there’s been no real significant ATS edge for either team - the regular season winner or loser - in this situation. At least going back to 2005 there hasn’t been. That said, I do like Fresno State here to avenge a 40-20 regular season loss that took place right here on the blue turf.
The Bulldogs were 10.5-point underdogs when they came to Boise on October 8th. But some context must be provided. They were without QB Jake Haener and the drop off to the backup is significant. It was also FSU’s third straight road game and they’d been out East (UConn) the week prior.
Fresno State hasn’t lost since, winning seven in a row and scoring 30 or more in each of the last six games. Haener is now back. The team won comfortably, 30-0, last week at home over Wyoming.
Boise State has also gotten a lot better since 10/8, thanks to Dirk Koetter being elevated to offensive coordinator and a change at QB to Taylen Green. The Broncos are 6-1 the last 7 games with the only loss coming out of conference, by a field goal, to BYU. However, they have been shaky in the last two games, winning by only three at Wyoming and then getting a miracle cover last week vs. Utah State. It’s rare that you can say that a team won by 19 points and maybe should have lost outright. But that was the case for the Broncos last week.
The underdog has covered in 7 of the last 8 MWC Championship Games. Fresno State is 4-0 ATS all-time in MWC Champ Games, three of those covers coming against Boise. Eight of the last nine times these teams have played, the underdog has covered. Underdogs have won seven of the nine “Group of 5” title games outright the last two seasons. Take the points here. 10*
|12-02-22||North Texas +9 v. UTSA||Top||27-48||Loss||-117||24 h 51 m||Show|
Conference USA is up first on Conference Championship weekend as UTSA will HOST North Texas. These teams met in the regular season, here in the Alamodome, with UTSA winning 31-27. But North Texas still was able to cover as a 10-pt underdog. I like them to cover as an underdog again and possibly even win the game outright. The Mean Green are 9-3 ATS on the road since the start of last season.
There were three touchdowns scored in the final 2:36 of that previous meeting, two by UTSA, including the game winner with just 15 seconds left on the clock. So North Texas was THAT close to pulling the outright upset, despite being -19 in first downs (32-13) for the game. I don’t see that FD disparity repeating itself this time.
Now UTSA comes into this C-USA Title Game on a nine-game win streak overall. They have won all 10 games this season in which they were favored and done so by an average of 16.0 points/game. But that’s a little bit misleading. They had three blowouts over Texas Southern (FCS), La Tech and Rice. As a home favorite this season, UTSA is just 1-4 ATS.
Last week, the Roadrunners had to rally from way back to beat UTEP, 34-31. UTSA admittedly had nothing to play for in that game, but ended up having to score the last 20 points just to get the win. They fell behind 24-0 and got back in the game with a long INT return for TD.
Including the win over North Texas, UTSA has had a fair number of close calls this season. Five of their wins have come by six points or less, two of those requiring overtime. Unranked underdogs like North Texas are on a 14-6 ATS (70%) run in these conference title games. Give me the points here as underdogs that have failed to cover at least two in a row coming into conference title games (applies to North Texas) are on a 19-4 ATS run, covering the spread by an average of almost 11 points/game. 10*
|11-26-22||Coastal Carolina v. James Madison -14||Top||7-47||Win||100||26 h 49 m||Show|
Coastal Carolina is missing QB Grayson McCall and has the Sun Belt Championship on deck. So that is why the Chanticleers come in as two-touchdown underdogs at James Madison Saturday.
In its first season at the FBS level, JMU was not even eligible to win the Sun Belt nor go bowling. But that hasn’t stopped the Dukes from turning in a highly impressive 7-3 SU campaign and even earning a Top 25 ranking at one point. The only losses came to Louisville, Marshall and Georgia Southern, all in a row. QB Centeio missed the Marshall game due to injury and the offense turned it over five times while against Ga Southern, the Dukes had a 675-590 edge in total yards.
I fully expect JMU to treat this as their “bowl game.”
The Dukes’ defense is allowing just 82 rush yards per game and 2.6 yards per carry. They allow only 18.6 points/game at home. With a backup QB, Coastal Carolina is really going to struggle to move the ball here. The backup QB (Jarrett Guest) is a huge dropoff from McCall and attempted only 14 passes against Southern Miss.
Even if McCall were playing Saturday, I’d have the home team favored by a decent amount. They will want to show everyone just who the best team in the Sun Belt “really” is. Lay the points. 10*
|11-25-22||Florida +10 v. Florida State||Top||38-45||Win||100||12 h 32 m||Show|
Now seems like a good time to fade Florida State, who has won and covered four straight. But this 4-0 SU/ATS streak has come against Georgia Tech (terrible team), Miami (also terrible), Syracuse (sinking fast) and Louisiana (bad).
This just seems like a big number to lay in a rivalry game, especially since Florida should come in angry after outgaining Vanderbilt 445-283 last week, but losing on the scoreboard 31-24. The Gators previous four losses had all been to ranked teams and only one (Georgia) was by more than 10 points.
A mounting injury list is a tad bit worrisome for Billy Napier. It includes the Gators’ top two receivers. But I still say they stay within the number here. Look for a lot more designed runs for QB Anthony Richardson this week. Those were notably absent from last week’s playcalling, at least in the first half. By the way, Florida outgained Vandy 7.0 to 4.6 on a per play basis.
The SEC is a much stronger league than the ACC obviously and that’s another reason why FSU probably shouldn’t be favored by this many. Feels like it’s the top of the market on them.
FSU has not beaten Florida since 2017. The Gators are 4-0 ATS as underdogs this season, tied with Ole Miss for the best such mark among SEC schools. Equally as impressive is that UF has also covered each of its last three times off a SU loss. Take the points. 10*
|11-25-22||Tulane +1 v. Cincinnati||Top||27-24||Win||100||28 h 59 m||Show|
The winner of this game will finish first in the AAC and host next week’s Conference Championship Game (likely against UCF). This is a spot Cincinnati is pretty familiar with, Tulane not so much. But I expect the Green Wave to come in and get the job done Friday.
Both teams are 9-2 straight up. But from a pointspread perspective, it is clear who has been better. Tulane is 9-2 ATS while Cincinnati is 3-7 ATS.
The Bearcats do have a 32-game win streak here at historic Nippert Stadium that they can lean on. But they are nowhere close to the team that made the College Football Playoff a year ago. Prior to last week’s 23-3 win over hapless Temple, where the Bearcats were +4 in turnovers, they had gone six straight games without covering. That includes narrow wins over East Carolina, SMU and USF that were by a total of 10 points.
Two weeks ago, Tulane lost 38-31 at home to UCF. But that is the only blemish on the Green Wave’s resume over the last two months. They bounced back in a major way from that UCF loss, crushing SMU 59-24 last Thursday. This is a team that went to Kansas State and won back in September!
Cincy QB Ben Bryant is dealing with a foot injury and may not be able to go here. That seems pretty significant. Even if Bryant can go, I still expect Tulane to win handily. The Green Wave struggled with a mobile QB (Plumlee) vs. UCF. Cincy doesn’t have that element. 10*
|11-22-22||Ball State v. Miami-OH -3||Top||17-18||Loss||-110||10 h 9 m||Show|
Miami and Ball State are both looking to get bowl eligible tonight. Both are 5-6 and have struggled down the stretch. But Miami is off a win and (in my opinion) the team more likely to overcome a potential absence on Tuesday. Plus they are at home.
Ball State lost RB Carson Steele to a concussion last week vs. Ohio. Steele leads the MAC in rushing yards (1376) and is ninth nationally. He has accounted for nearly one-third of Ball State’s total yardage this season. He’d be a huge absence for this offense. But even if he can go, Steele would be facing the MAC’s #1 rush defense.
Miami won last week despite not having QB Brett Gabbert. Backup Aveon Smith accounted for three touchdowns (two rushing) against Northern Illinois and that was not the first time this season that the RedHawks prevailed with Smith under center. I’m far more confident in the Miami offense without Gabbert than I am Ball State without Steele
I think that the Miami defense will be the difference in this one. Over the last eight games, the RedHawks have allowed 24 points or less seven times. The lone exception was against Ohio, the top team in the MAC right now.
So lay the short number with the home team, who is 15-7 ATS its last 22 games in Oxford. 10*
|11-19-22||UNLV -11 v. Hawaii||Top||25-31||Loss||-105||28 h 33 m||Show|
UNLV is 4-6. That means they must win their last two games to go bowling for the first time since 2013. Facing Hawaii here and then hosting Nevada next week, the odds are in the Rebels’ favor. But can they cover a double digit spread on the road? I say “yes!”
Doug Brumfield is back at QB for UNLV. This is key. The team is 4-1 when he got hurt on 10/7 vs. San Jose State. They haven’t won since (five straight losses). But they are 2-0 ATS since Brumfield returned, losing a pair of one possession games to San Diego State and Fresno State.
Now it took a late FG for the Rebels to cover last week. They’ll hope to avoid being on the wrong side of such a scenario here. I think they’re fine. Hawaii, even against a weak schedule, is just 2-9 and losing by an average of 17 points/game.
Defensively, Hawaii is atrocious, whether you’re taking against the run or the pass. Brumfield and this UNLV offense should have its way.
Despite the perception of there being some sort of advantage on the island, Hawaii has the second worst home ATS record in the country over the last decade. This game means nothing to the Warriors, who have lost four straight and given up 96 points the last two weeks.
|11-19-22||Ohio State v. Maryland +27.5||Top||43-30||Win||100||20 h 21 m||Show|
This is a lookahead spot for Ohio State, who is laying four touchdowns with Michigan on deck. I know it’s hard to take a Maryland team you know won’t win, but I make this spread a full field goal lower.
The reason this spread is so large is because Maryland has really struggled the last two weeks, losing 23-10 to Wisconsin and 30-0 to Penn State. It’s now five straight ATS losses for the Terrapins and QB Tagovailoa hasn’t looked right.
But I’m willing to bet Tagovailoa and the Maryland offense can make enough plays this week to stay within a very generous number. The QB had been having a good season. His completion percentage is still at 68.3% with 2152 yards.
Over the last 12 years, Ohio State has covered only twice the week before facing Michigan.
The Buckeyes also just really haven’t faced anyone this season. Their two toughest games, Notre Dame and Penn State, saw them down at halftime. Not saying Maryland will ever be out in front in this game, but they’ll stay close enough. 10*
|11-19-22||Connecticut v. Army -10||Top||17-34||Win||100||18 h 33 m||Show|
So here’s a pointspread for you. Army, who is 3-6, is laying two scores to a 6-5 UConn team that has covered seven in a row. If that doesn’t set off “alarm bells” in your head, not much will.
This is a classic letdown spot for a UConn team - that against all odds - is now bowl eligible. That’s something NO ONE expected at the start of the season. The Huskies just stunned a ranked Liberty team 36-33 as a two touchdown home dog for their biggest win in YEARS. I can’t see them coming out with the same intensity for this regular season finale.
Army has scored only 16 points the last two weeks while losing to Air Force and Troy. But on the bright side, the defense surrendered only 23 total points in those two games. The Cadets have allowed 17 or less three of the last four games.
If you’re worried about laying points, look back to the last time that Army was favored. That was four weeks ago against LA Monroe here in West Point. They won 48-24.
UConn was -166 in total yards last week and has gotten two wins against backup QBs this season. The other two wins were against UMass (worst FBS team) and Central Connecticut State (FCS team). Trust me - you’re going to want to LAY the points here. 10*
|11-18-22||South Florida +14 v. Tulsa||Top||42-48||Win||100||9 h 7 m||Show|
These are two of the bottom feeders in the AAC. In fact, USF is at the very bottom with an 0-6 record in conference play and 1-9 overall. Last week, they made a coaching change, firing Jeff Scott after a pretty awful run. I thought the Bulls had a somewhat inspired effort for interim Daniel Da Prato against SMU even though they didn’t cover the spread.
They would have covered if not for going for two (down 18). The Bulls are now 3-7 ATS, which is not good, but that’s the same record Tulsa has at the betting window. And USF obviously isn’t the team laying two touchdowns here.
USF was tied with SMU at the half 17-17 last Saturday. Like I said earlier, that’s encouraging as a coaching change typically leads to a short-term spark. The thing with Tulsa is that I don’t see where any spark comes from. They can’t get bowl eligible. They are 1-4 ATS as a favorite in 2022.
The Golden Hurricane have not gotten much going offensively the last two games. Part of that is an injury to QB Davis Brin, who returned only to leave again last week. The Tulsa offense couldn’t even gain 200 yards against Memphis.
This is a hold your nose situation, but I just don’t think Tulsa should be laying this many points to ANYBODY at this point of the season. The Golden Hurricane are 0-5 ATS their last five games with four double digit losses. 8*
|11-17-22||SMU v. Tulane -3.5||Top||24-59||Win||100||11 h 34 m||Show|
This is a big game for Tulane. Not only is it their home finale, being played in front of a national TV audience no less, but the Green Wave are off a tough 38-31 loss here to UCF last week. To get a shot at revenge (at UCF) and a place in the AAC Champ Game, Tulane is going to have to win the last two games. I like their chances tonight and will be laying the short number.
Revenge must also be considered when handicapping this matchup. Tulane has lost to SMU seven straight times, but four of the last six losses have been by four points or less. It was a blowout in the Metroplex last season, but that was a much worse Tulane team (that finished 2-10 SU).
This is Willie Fritz’s best team yet, one that is ranked in the Top 25 of the CFP Rankings. It was an unusually poor defensive effort that cost the Green Wave last week, not to mention falling behind 10-0 just four minutes into the game did not help. I expect a better effort on the defensive side of the ball here, from a group that is still only allowing 18.7 points/game at home. I think this Tulane defense can also limit explosive plays from Tanner Mordecai and the SMU offense.
SMU has won three in a row straight up and covered the number in four straight. But two of those three SU wins came against the bottom-feeders of the AAC (Tulsa, USF). The Mustangs’ defense is a liability coming into this matchup as it has given up 32.6 points/game for the season and 40.0 the L3 weeks.
Even with the loss last week, Tulane has an excellent home record under Fritz, including 4-1 SU/ATS in finales. Overall, they are 26-10 ATS L36 home games. Two road games in six days is not a great spot for SMU, who was tied at the half last week vs. USF. 10*
|11-12-22||Texas A&M v. Auburn -1||Top||10-13||Win||100||23 h 32 m||Show|
These two SEC programs are in very different places right now. Auburn just made a coaching change and certainly seems to be reinvigorated by interim boss Carnell “Cadillac” Williams. Texas A&M was supposed to contend for a national title this year. They are now 3-6 and look to be playing out the string.
Now Auburn shares that same 3-6 record. But they showed me something by coming back from an early three touchdown deficit to force overtime last Saturday in Starkville. Keep in mind Williams was on a short week and wasn’t even named coach until Monday. It’s amazing his team got to overtime against a team like Mississippi State.
The Tigers can put up points. They’ve averaged more than 31 the L3 games. Texas A&M can’t do anything offensively. They’ve been better recently, but have used three different quarterbacks and have yet to score more than 28 points in any game.
The A&M roster is severely depleted right now due to injuries and suspensions. This is the program’s first five-game losing streak since 1980. I am just not sure how much they care. Auburn is also on a five-game slide, but Williams seems to have them reinvigorated and being at home this week, it’s looking like “War Eagle.”
Auburn has covered seven of the last eight times they’ve been home chalk of 3.5 points or less. 10*
|11-12-22||North Texas v. UAB -5.5||Top||21-41||Win||100||18 h 45 m||Show|
Ok. So UAB didn’t work out last week. But now QB Dylan Hopkins is set to return and I love the Blazers in this spot hosting North Texas.
With North Texas on a 6-0 ATS win streak, they have become overvalued. Conversely, UAB is on a 0-4 ATS losing skid and is approaching peak value. Before last week’s 2OT loss to UTSA, the Blazers were 11-0 ATS at home off a loss.
UAB had the 553-494 edge in total yards vs. UTSA. The return of Hopkins just makes the offense even more dynamic.
With LSU on deck, UAB MUST win this game to have a shot at bowl eligibility. North Texas already has its six wins, most of them coming against bad teams.
Key here will be UAB’s ability to run the ball. On the road, North Texas is giving up 214 rush yards per game and 5.1 yards per carry. 10*
|11-12-22||Notre Dame v. Navy +17||Top||35-32||Win||100||15 h 28 m||Show|
Coming off a giant win over Clemson, this looks to be a classic letdown spot for Notre Dame, who is back in the CFP Top 25. While the Fighting Irish are 9-1 SU the L10 games vs. Navy, they are just 5-5 ATS.
A service academy getting this many points is typically an attractive option as they will look to control the clock and thus it’s difficult for the favorite to build any kind of margin. The numbers bear this out as Army, Navy & Air Force are a combined 40-22-2 ATS when getting 14 or more points from the oddsmakers. Furthermore, the total for this game is only 42. So getting more than two touchdowns feels like a real nice luxury to have.
Yes, the Irish did just beat Clemson by three touchdowns. But as a double digit favorite, Marcus Freeman’s team is 0-4 ATS with outright losses to both Marshall and Stanford. They also failed to cover against UNLV and Cal.
By a variety of metrics, Navy’s defense is pretty strong against the run. Those metrics include yards per rush, line yards and stuff rate. Conversely, ND’s defense is a lot weaker against the run than the pass. We know what Navy will look to do on offense here.
Notre Dame will almost certainly win this game. But look for it to be closer than the experts think. 10*
|11-11-22||East Carolina +5 v. Cincinnati||Top||25-27||Win||100||9 h 28 m||Show|
East Carolina will come into historic Nippert Stadium (where Cincinnati has won 31 straight) on a three-game win streak and off a bye. Last time out they snapped a four-game Friday night losing streak with a 27-24 upset of BYU. It was the Pirates’ second straight win as a dog, having previously upended UCF 34-13 as a six-point home dog.
Now ECU looks for its first win at Cincy since 2001. They’ve lost 10 of 11 overall to the Bearcats including four straight. It was a 35-13 final last year in Greenville. But that was of course to a Cincinnati team that went on to become the first “Group of Five” team to ever make the College Football Playoff.
This year has seen the Bearcats have real problems covering the spread. They are just 1-5-1 ATS the last seven games after failing to cover Saturday vs. Navy. They came in as 18.5-point favorites but won just 20-10.
The Bearcats’ three games prior to that were all decided by four points or less. One of those saw them favored by 27 at home vs. a terrible South Florida team. Due to being one of the most penalized teams in the country, it’s been very difficult for Cincy to win by any kind of margin this year.
At this point of the season, I simply believe that East Carolina is the better football team here. They are certainly more than capable of ending Cincy’s long home win streak. QB Holton Ahlers has completed over 70 percent of his pass attempts for 2,632 yards.
|11-10-22||Georgia Southern +3.5 v. UL-Lafayette||Top||17-36||Loss||-110||10 h 38 m||Show|
It has been a disappointing season for Louisiana, who was 13-1 in 2021. It’s not like a dropoff wasn’t expected. Billy Napier hightailed it for Florida and they had to replace their QB and four starters along the offensive line. But a 4-5 SU record through nine games is certainly NOT what the Ragin Cajuns were expecting.
Meanwhile, Georgia Southern has already exceeded last year’s win total (3) and now has its eyes on bowl eligibility for first year head coach Clay Helton. There has been a radical transformation on offense with Helton jettisoning the triple option for an “Air Raid” and the result has been 36.2 points/game.
Both teams are coming off losses, though Louisiana is in worse shape having dropped five of seven overall. Georgia Southern looked to have South Alabama beat (were up 21-7 in the first quarter) but gave up two touchdowns in the fourth to lose 38-31. They only trailed for the final 5:50 of the game.
Louisiana also fell apart late in last week’s loss, getting outscored 16-0 by Troy in the fourth quarter to lose 23-17.
So we’ve got two teams off disappointing losses, but Georgia Southern is clearly more enthusiastic about where it’s at right now. I’m taking the points here as I think the Louisiana defense is going to struggle at slowing down the Eagles’ offense. Except for one game vs. Arkansas State, the Ragin Cajuns have not gone over 24 points since September. Take the points. 10*
|11-09-22||Buffalo v. Central Michigan -1||Top||27-31||Win||100||9 h 14 m||Show|
Buffalo had a five game win streak (SU and ATS) snapped last week in Athens as they fell to Ohio 45-24 as a 2.5-point road favorite. While it was a nice run, the Bulls are a team that has had some good luck go their way, whether you’re opposing quarterbacks being out or turnovers.
Central Michigan picked up a much needed win last week, beating Northern Illinois 35-22 as a 4.5-point road underdog. The Chippewas still have a chance to go bowling, but that would require winning out. They must get better at protecting the football though. Each of the last two games have seen CMU turn it over four times.
I believe the home team will be able to control the trenches in this game. RB Lew Nicholls III returned last week but it was actually backup QB Jase Bauer that led the way with 109 yards rushing. On the defensive side, CMU has been one of the best teams at stopping the run. Buffalo’s defense is 89th nationally in yards allowed.
Not only did Central Michigan’s offensive line pave the way for 245 rushing yards last week against Northern Illinois, but they also did not give up a single sack.
CMU is 5-0 ATS the last five times it has been off a game with 200-plus yards rushing. Buffalo is 1-7-1 ATS off its previous nine SU losses. 10*
|11-08-22||Ball State +11.5 v. Toledo||Top||21-28||Win||100||10 h 5 m||Show|
The last two games for Toledo have seen wild comebacks, one go their way and one not go their way. Three Saturdays ago, they were up 27-10 on Buffalo heading into the fourth quarter. They ended up losing that game 34-27 due to six turnovers. The following week, with a backup QB, they came from behind to defeat Eastern Michigan 27-24.
There is uncertainty over who is going to be the starting QB for the Rockets tonight. Dequan Finn, who got injured at the end of the Buffalo game and is in the running for MAC Offensive Player of the Year, is questionable. Backup Tucker Gleason threw three touchdowns last week vs. EMU.
Regardless of who is playing quarterback, Toledo is clearly capable of putting points on the board. But tonight they run into a Ball State defense that has held four straight opponents to 21 points or fewer. The Cardinals picked up a huge 27-20 win last Tuesday at Kent State as seven-point underdogs. That sets this game up as likely to decide who represents the MAC West in the Conference Championship.
Ball State is 3-2 in conference play, one game behind Toledo, who is rightly considered the class of the conference. But I think this spread is too high given the uncertainty at QB. Even if Finn does return, there has to be some concern over how effective he can be.
The area where I expect Ball State to be effective on offense is running the ball. If you remove a game vs. Central Michigan, this Toledo defense has poor numbers against the run. Four opponents have run for 200+ yards on them, including the likes of UMass and San Diego State. The Cardinals are also much better than the Rockets when it comes to not turning the football over. You’re going to want to take the points in this edition of Tuesday night MAC-tion. 9*
|11-05-22||Wake Forest v. NC State +3||Top||21-30||Win||100||12 h 45 m||Show|
Wake Forest and NC State are both Top 25 teams that come into Saturday sporting identical 6-2 straight up records. But at the betting window, it’s been a different story for these ACC rivals. Wake Forest is 6-2 ATS while NC State is 2-6 ATS.
Two Thursdays ago, NC State found itself down 21-3 at home to sorry Virginia Tech. But thanks to a QB change, the Wolfpack rallied for the 22-21 win. MJ Morris was the spark, coming in and throwing for three touchdowns. Morris completed 69% of his passes for 265 yards in the second half alone vs. Va Tech. With Devin Leary out for the season, NC State looks to have found its answer at QB1.
Wake Forest is coming off an awful 48-21 loss at Louisville where they turned the ball over eight times, including six in the third quarter alone. The Demon Deacons’ only previous loss was in double overtime to Clemson, but I am skeptical of this team. The offense remains one-dimensional (can’t run the ball) and I believe that the NC State defense can slow down QB Sam Hartman.
NC State should not be an underdog in this game. They have won 15 straight at home, which is the sixth-longest home win streak in the nation currently. Wake Forest hasn’t won here in Raleigh since 2018.
The Wolfpack are undervalued right now due to a five-game ATS losing skid and not having Leary. But Morris looks to be the real deal and you should take the points here. 10*
|11-05-22||Tennessee v. Georgia -8||Top||13-27||Win||100||17 h 6 m||Show|
Tennessee is the definition of a “public underdog” this week. I will look to take advantage of that perception and fade the undefeated Volunteers in this spot as they visit fellow unbeaten, and reigning national champion, Georgia.
We all know that Tennessee’s offense has been great in 2022. But when they faced Georgia last year, things did not go so well. QB Hendon Hooker averaged just 6.6 yards per attempt (he’s averaging 10.6 YPA this season, for a frame of reference) and the Vols lost 41-17.
Georgia did lose a great deal of production to the NFL, but they remain quite strong on the defensive side of the ball. They are fourth nationally in success rate and fifth in EPA. Opposing offenses average only 4.6 yards per play against them.
Look for Kirby Smart and the Georgia coaching staff to slow the tempo of this game way down. The Bulldogs are already bottom 25 in the country in tempo. They will look to play “keep away” from the Tennessee offense.
The last time a top-two team was an underdog of at least eight points was Notre Dame in the 2020 ACC Championship Game. The Fighting Irish lost by 24 to Clemson. Georgia makes a statement here. 8*
|11-05-22||Central Florida v. Memphis +3.5||Top||35-28||Loss||-115||18 h 3 m||Show|
UCF has definitely had Memphis’ number through the years, winning 14 of the 16 all-time matchups. But the last time the Golden Knights paid a visit to the Liberty Bowl, which was 2020, they lost an insane 50-49 game. For Memphis, that ended a 13-game losing streak to UCF!
UCF won last year at “The Bounce House” 24-7 as a two-point dog. They come into this year’s meeting off a thrilling 25-21 win over Cincinnati, ending their own long losing streak to the Bearcats. But that win came with a cost. Starter John Rhys Plumleee was knocked out of that game with a concussion. Backup Mikey Keene may have engineered a game-winning drive, but he’s a pretty clear downgrade from Plumlee.
Even though they have lost three in a row, this is a great spot to take the points with Memphis, who is coming off a bye. Two of those three losses were by a total of three points, one of them a four overtime game. The other was a blown lead late against Houston that involved an onside kick. There probably is also no shame in losing by 10 at Tulane, who is #19 in the initial CFP rankings.
Tigers QB Seth Henigan has a 15-5 TD-INT ratio and has played well this season.
No matter who ends up playing QB for UCF here, give me the points. Memphis is a perfect 6-0 ATS as a dog going back to 2017. 10*
|11-05-22||UTSA v. UAB +1||Top||44-38||Loss||-110||18 h 18 m||Show|
UAB and UTSA are the last two C-USA Champions. UTSA won the conference last season and along the way picked up a crazy 34-31 win (at home) over UAB with the game-winning touchdown coming in the final minute on a tipped pass. Previous to that, the Roadrunners had lost four straight times to the Blazers. They have never won here in Birmingham.
Heading into November, UTSA is sitting pretty atop the C-USA standings. They are the only team without a conference loss. UAB is just 2-3 in league play as a number of extenuating circumstances have gone against them.
With QB Dylan Hopkins sidelined with a concussion, UAB has lost two in a row. They still should have beaten Western Kentucky (lost 20-17) and then outgained Florida Atlantic in a 24-17 defeat. Yet they could very well go off as a favorite here, just as they have been for every game this season.
Hopkins is questionable for Saturday, which would mean Jacob Zeno under center again. That combined with the fact UTSA is coming off a bye will lead many to believe the Roadrunners are the “right” side here. I disagree. UAB’s offense should be able to move the ball effectively, no matter who the QB is. I like RB DeWayne McBride (#1 in the nation in yards per game) a lot. The Blazers’ defense will be the best UTSA has seen this season, besides Texas.
UAB is a very unfortunate 0-4 in one-score games this season. No team in the country has fallen further short of their postgame expected win total. UTSA on the other hand is 3-1 in one-score games including 31-27 over North Texas two weeks ago. I think this is a get right game for UAB, who is a perfect 11-0 ATS at home when off a loss. 10*
|11-04-22||Oregon State +4.5 v. Washington||Top||21-24||Win||100||13 h 49 m||Show|
Oregon State comes into Friday night ranked #23 in the country, but is a short underdog on the road to unranked Washington. Last season, the Beavers snapped a nine-game losing streak to the Huskies, winning 27-24 as 2.5-point favorites. Now they go for their first win in Seattle since 2008.
OSU opened 2022 with three straight wins and covers. But then they fell to both USC and Utah. No shame there as those are two of the 15 best teams in America. Since then, the Beavers have rallied for a second three-game win streak, albeit against Stanford, Washington State and Colorado.
Washington opened the season at 4-0 and was ranked in Top 25. They are also now 6-2 with the losses coming on the road to UCLA and Arizona State. The Huskies have been favored in every game. QB Michael Penix Jr leads the country in passing yards, but is likely to encounter some resistance here as OSU’s defense gives up only 230.6 passing yards/game.
Oregon State’s offense is #1 in the conference in yards per pass attempt and #3 in rushing. I don’t think they’ll have much trouble moving the ball against a Washington defense that has allowed three of its last four opponents to score 39 or more.
Weather could be an issue here. But look for OSU to stop turning the ball over so much. They were -8 in TO’s in their two losses. Washington has forced just one turnover in its last four games. Take the points in a game where I've got the two teams rated pretty evenly. 10*
|10-29-22||Missouri +3.5 v. South Carolina||Top||23-10||Win||100||18 h 10 m||Show|
South Carolina is now ranked after wins against Kentucky and Texas A&M. Kentucky did not have its starting quarterback and A&M got itself into an early 17-0 hole. But even after being up three scores just a couple minutes into the game, the Gamecocks could not pull away last week. They were outgained by more than 100 yards.
Missouri should have won at Florida and Auburn. They stayed within four points of Georgia. Last week saw them finally break back into the win column, beating Vanderbilt 17-14. As 14-point favorites in that game, the TIgers obviously didn’t cover. But now we’re getting them as underdogs.
There’s a lot to like about the Mizzou defense. Over the previous five games, they’ve allowed less than 100 points. No one has scored more than 26.
The last three times these teams played, Missouri has gone 3-0 SU and ATS. They went off as the favorite each time. This will be the first time South Carolina has been favored over Missouri since 2016.
An obvious letdown spot for the Gamecocks after their first ever win over Texas A&M. They are 1-5 ATS L6 and 0-3 L3 as a ranked team. Missouri is better than its record and its defense can keep SC (just 286 yards last week) in check. Grab the points.
|10-29-22||Oregon v. California +17.5||Top||42-24||Loss||-110||18 h 40 m||Show|
California has been very good as an underdog under Justin Wilcox. The Bears have covered 17 of the 20 times they’ve gotten 7 points or more from the oddsmakers. Overall, Wilcox boasts a 23-9-1 ATS record when catching points. He’s won 13 of those games outright, covered four straight times as a home dog and three straight times as a double digit dog.
His team covered last week as a dog, only losing by 7 to Washington. That was also here in Berkeley. Earlier in the day, Oregon posted its signature win of the season, holding off UCLA 45-30 in Eugene. Does that result make this a bit of a letdown spot for the Ducks? Probably.
Cal has lost three straight and four of five. But only one of those losses was by greater than seven points.
Oregon’s pass defense also isn’t great. You may not have noticed with all the points the offense has put up. But I expect Cal to put a decent number of points on the board. In two previous road games, the Ducks allowed a combined 63 points. They lost their last trip into Berkeley (back in 2020).
The Cal defense is not bad! They held Washington without a touchdown for two-and-a-half quarters last week. Grab the points.
|10-29-22||Charlotte +16.5 v. Rice||Top||56-23||Win||100||16 h 11 m||Show|
Rice had a 5-game ATS win streak snapped last week. They still won the game, 42-41 at Louisiana Tech, but were 2.5-point favorites. It was the first time all season that the Owls were favored to defeat a FBS opponent. Yet surprisingly, they come into this game with Charlotte sporting a 4-3 SU record.
Now the Owls are favored again, only this time by three scores. If you can’t remember the last time Rice was a favorite of this size, let me help you out. It was last year against Texas Southern. They were -34 and only won 48-34. Before that, it was the 2018 season opener against Prairie View A&M. They were -19 and won just 31-28. It’s been a very long time since a Rice team was a favorite of this size over a non-FCS team.
So who is Rice playing this week? That would be Charlotte, who is coming off a loss to FIU that got their head coach fired. The 49ers were actually a double digit favorite last week (-14) but turned it over five times in the 34-15 loss. You can’t say a lot of positive things about this Charlotte team. But they do bring the element of surprise with a new head coach into this game.
Recently, we’ve seen several schools turn in inspired efforts following a coaching change. Arizona State, Georgia Tech, Colorado and WIsconsin all won their first games. All but Wisconsin were underdogs.
But at the end of the day, this is a clear fade on Rice. They shouldn’t be favored by this many points against anybody. Not even Charlotte.
|10-29-22||Notre Dame +2 v. Syracuse||Top||41-24||Win||100||14 h 11 m||Show|
This is a rough spot for Syracuse, who last week suffered their first loss of the season (at Clemson) and also probably saw their ACC Championship hopes go out the window as well.
The Orange had been favored in five of their first six games. But still it was a surprise to see them 6-0 and ranked #14 in the country heading into Death Valley last week It was a close game they ended up losing 27-21, but it seems pertinent to mention that ‘Cuse got outgained 450-291 and was -10 in first downs. If not for four Clemson turnovers, it probably wouldn’t have been much of a game.
Notre Dame started the year ranked in the Top 5. However, three losses have them out of the Top 25 entirely. The Fighting Irish are the only team in the country to lose two different games as a double digit favorite (Marshall, Stanford). Their other loss came in the opener at Ohio State. Nothing wrong with that one. The Irish even led 10-7 at the half in Columbus. It was a four-point game late into the fourth quarter.
In terms of margin of victory, last week was Notre Dame’s biggest win of the season. They beat UNLV 44-21. But they didn't cover the 26-point spread. Now as an underdog though, they are worth backing. The Fighting Irish are 12-3 ATS the last 15 games against Top 25 opponents, including 2-0 this season. Wins over North Carolina and BYU were more impressive than they look, just judging from the final score.
This will be the first time these teams have played since 2003. I expect ND to run the ball effectively. Since the start of 2020, no team in the country has a better ATS road record than the Fighting Irish, who are 8-2. They have covered each of the last three times as a road underdog. 10*
|10-29-22||TCU v. West Virginia +7.5||Top||41-31||Loss||-110||14 h 11 m||Show|
TCU lucked out with Kansas State having to use three different quarterbacks last week. At home, the Horned Frogs battled back from a 28-10 deficit to get the win and cover as 3.5-point chalk. But this is going to be the sixth straight Saturday TCU has been on the field. Four of the previous five have been close. Can they stay undefeated? Possibly. But I don’t like them laying this many points in Morgantown.
West Virginia, the last time they played in Morgantown, beat Baylor 43-40. That’s the only time they’ve played at Neyland Stadium since mid-September. This will be the first Saturday game in Morgantown since 9/17. Things got bad in a 38-10 loss last week at Texas Tech. But I believe that sets us up to get a great value here on the Mountaineers.
I know that the WVU defense isn’t great. But TCU’s offense is coming off a stretch of five games where they had to come from behind to win three different times. They are just the second team since 1996 to come back from a 17-point deficit in consecutive weeks against Top 25 opponents.
Plus, I’ve got to mention all the backup quarterbacks the Horned Frogs have gotten to face. Each of their last four games have seen the opponents’ starting QB get injured!
Sonny Dykes has traditionally not fared well when his teams are ranked, on the road and facing an unranked opponent. He is only 1-10 ATS in that spot. West Virginia is on a 4-1 ATS run vs. Top 25 teams. TCU has also lost the last four meetings to WVU and failed to cover six straight.
|10-28-22||East Carolina v. BYU -3||27-24||Loss||-110||11 h 0 m||Show|
This is a tough trip for East Carolina, heading West for a non-conference game. The last two weeks have seen the Pirates win a 4 OT game over Memphis and then clobber Central Florida. This will be the Pirates’ ninth straight game without a bye. How much are they going to have left in the tank?
BYU, on the other hand, is desperate for a win. They have lost four of their six games and just got embarrassed 41-14 at Liberty. They have failed to cover the spread in six consecutive contests.
By virtue of being an independent, BYU plays a tough schedule. So far they have faced Baylor, Oregon, Notre Dame and Arkansas. ECU has played only one P5 team and that resulted in a one-point home loss to NC State.
Because of Hurricane Ian rescheduling a game vs. USF, East Carolina has only had to play one true road game thus far. They lost it, 24-9 at Tulane. Don’t discount the high altitude at Provo as being a major factor tonight, in addition to this being a much further trip West than usual for the Pirates.
Friday night would also seem to be an advantage for the home team. BYU is 5-0 ATS its last five Friday night contests while East Carolina is 1-9 ATS its previous 10. Lay the short number with the desperate home team. The Cougars need this one if they are to become bowl eligible. 10*
|10-22-22||Mississippi State +21.5 v. Alabama||Top||6-30||Loss||-110||10 h 42 m||Show|
You’ve all heard how much trouble Mississippi State has had scoring on Alabama in the past. Over the last 10 meetings, the Bulldogs have been held to single digits (9 pts or less) eight different times by the Crimson Tide defense. The most points MSU scored in any of those games was 24.
But this isn’t the same Mississippi State offense nor is it the same Alabama defense. The Crimson Tide are wounded right now after losing 52-49 at Tennessee last week. MSU comes in averaging 35.4 points per game.
The Bulldogs also arrive in Tuscaloosa off a loss, 23-13 at Kentucky last week. But in each of the previous three games, they had scored 40 or more. In all five wins this season, they’ve scored at least 39. The two losses have been a different story, but with a generous spread this week, we’re not likely to need a 40-point effort to cover.
Alabama has already been in three games that came down to the final possession, all of them decided by four points or less. Then there’s this stat: Nine of Bama’s last 15 SEC games have been decided by single digits. That’s after the previous 53 saw just 9 such games.
Saban is being overvalued off a loss here because of what he has done in the past. These teams are a closer than the spread would indicate. I’ve got the underdog comfortably staying within three touchdowns. 10*
|10-22-22||Cincinnati v. SMU +3.5||Top||29-27||Win||100||49 h 0 m||Show|
Cincinnati is 5-1 all-time vs. SMU and has won all three meetings here in Dallas. With those six games averaging just 53 points, the Under is a perfect 6-0.
Because of injuries, this could be another low-scoring affair between these teams. But despite being off a bye, Cincinnati, who became the first ever “Group of Five” team to make the College Football Playoff last January, is far more banged up than SMU is entering Saturday.
QB Bryant is dealing with a concussion and may not play. WR Scott is also injured. RB Corey Kiner missed the last game and on the defensive side, LB Pace was “dinged up” after facing USF.
Now after a season-opening loss at Arkansas, the Bearcats have climbed back into the Top 25 with five consecutive victories. But while four of those have come by double-digits, they’ve been far from dominant.
In each of the last two games, the Cincy defense has needed a fourth down stop, deep in their own territory, to hold on for the victory. Against USF, who isn’t a good team, the Bearcats were actually trailing in the 4th quarter as a 26.5-point favorite. They were also able to pull away late against Indiana and Miami OH, the latter playing with a backup QB, in games that were closer than the final scores indicated.
Meanwhile, SMU suffered the ultimate “backdoor cover” last Friday against Navy, allowing a TD with just nine seconds left. The Mustangs still won mind you, 40-34, but as 12.5-point favorites it marked the fifth straight game where they failed to cover.
The fact Cincinnati is off a bye means less with SMU having an extra day to prepare as well.
The Bearcats have been very lucky so far in that their opponents are a FBS-worst 1 for 11 on fourth down attempts. SMU’s opponents are 11 of 18 on 4th down attempts. That “luck” is probably due to change.
Remember that Cincinnati lost three defensive backs from last year’s CFP squad to the NFL. SMU QB Mordecai is 11th in the FBS in passing yards and should exploit this secondary with or without WR Rice (missed practice on Wednesday).
Finally, Luke Fickell is just 7-12-1 on the road vs. fellow AAC teams. That includes 3-10 ATS as a favorite. Take the points. 10*
|10-21-22||Tulsa v. Temple +13.5||Top||27-16||Win||100||11 h 0 m||Show|
Temple was flat out embarrassed last Thursday night, losing at UCF by a score of 70-13. To say that was a shockingly bad performance by the Owls defense might be the understatement of the century. Consider that in the first five games, they’d surrendered less than 15 points/game! Luckily for this week, Temple faces a far less potent offense.
Tulsa also got its doors blown off in its last game, losing at Navy 53-21. It was the third straight loss for the Golden Hurricane, whose only FBS win this season has been by three points over Northern Illinois.
The Tulsa defense lost a lot from a season ago, namely nine starters and the coordinator. So it’s not a surprise to see them struggling on that side of the ball. As for Temple, I’m expecting a big bounce back from their previously stout defensive unit, which had been Top 15 in the country in yards per play allowed.
Now, led by QB EJ Warner (the son of Kurt), the Temple offense has been shaky to say the least. But Tulsa would have scored far fewer points themselves this season if not for tremendous red zone efficiency. Moving forward, the Golden Hurricane probably won’t be able to continue scoring TDs inside the 20 at the same rate they have been.
I just don’t think that Tulsa is the kind of team that can cover a spread like this on the road. They are 0-3 ATS as favorites vs. FBS teams this season with two outright losses. Temple has the better ATS record on Friday nights through the years and is being undervalued in this spot because of the blowout loss it suffered last week. Take the points. 9*
|10-15-22||USC v. Utah -3.5||Top||42-43||Loss||-105||10 h 3 m||Show|
Going back to 2015, there have been 15 times where a team is 6-0 SU or better and getting points from a team with two or more losses. Those 15 teams have gone just 3-12 straight up. USC qualifies for the situation this week and, based on that history, I’m fading the Trojans in Salt Lake City.
Utah has taken two tough losses, to Florida and UCLA. Both were games where the Utes were favored on the road. At home though, they’ve lost just once in the last 12 tries. This is still a very good football team and obviously one you should respect, based on them being favored here.
USC has played a pretty light schedule so far with the only road games coming at Stanford and Oregon State. They were held to only 17 points and 359 total yards by Oregon State and were probably lucky to win that game. Even last week at the Coliseum, the 30-14 final over Washington State was a tad bit misleading. It was a three-point game deep into the third quarter but Wazzu’s special teams really betrayed them in that game.
Tough to win at Rice-Eccles at night and I just don’t see Utah losing for a third time as a favorite. Turnovers were a real killer against UCLA, but I don’t see that being a problem here. The Utes also have a great secondary, something a team needs to beat USC.
USC is just 3-12 ATS its last 15 games as a road underdog. That's the third worst in the FBS since 2015. Lay the points in this one. 9*
|10-15-22||Clemson v. Florida State +3.5||Top||34-28||Loss||-110||58 h 40 m||Show|
Clemson is #5 in the country while FSU is unranked, but this smells like an outright upset to me.
Florida State was 4-0 before losing to Wake Forest and NC State the last two weeks. The Seminoles actually owned the edge in yards per play in both games they lost and should have beaten NC State last week. A terrible decision by QB Travis to throw the ball into the end zone, while down two and in field goal range, resulted in an interception and cost the team the game.
Though Clemson is ranked #5 in the country and a perennial power, this doesn’t feel like the same Tigers’ team we saw during all those runs to the College Football Playoff. Remember they needed overtime to win at Wake Forest. It was a one-score game with NC State two weeks ago.
This sets up as a real “fade the public” type game as the majority of bets are on Clemson, but the number has come down (as of Thursday). Regardless of any further line movement, I’m backing the underdog here.
FSU definitely should have won on the road last week. The chance to end a six-game losing streak to Clemson should have the ‘Noles extra fired up for this Saturday night home game. The defense has been every bit as good as Clemson’s this year while the offense is averaging a full yard per play more than the Tigers. Take the points. 10*
|10-15-22||Oklahoma State +4 v. TCU||Top||40-43||Win||100||53 h 26 m||Show|
The Big 12’s two remaining unbeatens collide Saturday afternoon in Fort Worth as #15 TCU plays host to #7 Oklahoma State. My view is that the better team is getting points.
Now TCU is playing at home and we have to respect that. But OSU has covered six straight conference road games and beat the Horned Frogs last season by a score of 63-17 (in Stillwater).
Both teams were involved in close games last week. Oklahoma State ended up beating an aggressive Texas Tech team 41-31 while TCU outlasted Kansas on the road, 38-31. There’s probably going to be a lot of points scored in this one. But look for the Pokes to score more. The TCU defense has been pretty bad when it comes to allowing explosive plays and OSU QB Sanders is completing over 50% of his pass attempts of 20+ yards.
This is a tougher spot for TCU, who goes from playing on the road (where ESPN College Gameday was present) to now playing its first ranked vs. ranked home game in five years. OSU is more accustomed to these games as they were on the cusp of the CFP last year and have averaged nine wins per season over the last decade for head coach Mike Gundy.
I don’t think TCU should be the favorite here, even with homefield advantage. OK State is the better team and has gone 16-2 SU over its last 18 games with the two losses coming by a combined eight points. Gotta take the points here. 10*
|10-15-22||Kansas v. Oklahoma -8.5||Top||42-52||Win||100||50 h 57 m||Show|
How the mighty have fallen! Oklahoma has lost three in a row for the first time since 1998 and they are 0-3 ATS in those three games, missing the spread by a combined 99 points! Rarely do we see a three-game stretch like that where the oddsmakers got it so wrong.
So it may be surprising to some that OU is favored here over a Kansas team that was unbeaten going into last Saturday. But here me out, who would have ever thought the Sooners would be a single digit favorite in Norman against a team they’ve beaten 17 straight times? Oh, by the way, the Jayhawks just lost their starting QB.
All of those 17 straight victories have been by double digits. The last seven times these teams have met, Oklahoma has been favored by at least 32 points.
Now this is a better Kansas team than usual. But losing QB Daniels is a massive blow to their season. The Jayhawks’ defense also isn’t very good, having allowed a total of 148 points the last five games.
Oklahoma expects to have its starting QB Dillon Gabriel back on the field Saturday. That’s a big plus as the offense clearly struggled without him. I think this is a “get right” game for the Sooners and will lay the points. 10*
|10-14-22||Navy +12.5 v. SMU||Top||34-40||Win||100||10 h 27 m||Show|
Navy is on a 3-0 ATS win streak coming into Friday, all of the covers coming as underdogs. Twice during that stretch, the Midshipmen have won outright. As a 17.5-point dog, they won at East Carolina 23-20. The following week saw them lose 13-10 at Air Force, but they got the cash as 14-point dogs. Last week saw the Middies double their season point total with a 53-21 beatdown of Tulsa in Annapolis.
That was Navy’s highest scoring game since 2018. Now they head to SMU to face a Mustangs team that has lost three in a row and failed to cover four in a row.
SMU was outscored 31-6 in the second half by Central Florida last week. Before that, there were losses to TCU and Maryland. As if things weren’t already bad enough, two players have decided to sit out the remainder of the 2022 season with the intention of hitting the transfer portal.
These offenses are very different. We know what Navy likes to do as they are #1 in the country in rushing attempts per game. SMU prefers to “air it out” and leads the country in passing yards.
I believe the key to this game will be Navy’s ability to keep the ball away from the SMU offense. The Mustangs defense has been unable to stop the run during the losing streak, giving up close to 200 rush yards per game. So how do you think they’ll fare against Navy? Too many points to pass up tonight. 10*
|10-13-22||Baylor -3 v. West Virginia||Top||40-43||Loss||-110||11 h 2 m||Show|
There are five Big 12 teams currently ranked in the Top 25. Baylor isn’t one of them, but they should be and I like the Bears laying a short number Thursday night in Morgantown.
Thus far, Baylor has taken a couple of tough losses at home, to BYU (overtime) and Oklahoma State. Those teams are a lot better than West Virginia, who may not even end up in a bowl this year as the Mountaineers are a solid candidate to finish last in the conference.
The WVU defense has allowed 38 or more points to three of the four FBS teams that they’ve faced. They’ve allowed 43.7 points/game in the three losses. Virginia Tech, a horrible offensive team, was the only FBS offense that the Mountaineers have been able to keep in check.
Baylor’s offense has been pretty good thus far, averaging 37.4 points/game. QB Shapen should have plenty of success through the air tonight against a bad WVU pass defense. Before running into OK State, the Bears’ defense had been getting the job done and I expect them to play well tonight. Baylor is 20-4-2 ATS off an ATS loss. 9*
This is a big game for Baylor, who has yet to win in Morgantown (0-5 all-time). But there’s a first time for everything and considering the state of West Virginia football right now, this seems like an obvious time for the Bears to get their first ever win here. WVU will also be without its leading rusher due to a concussion.
|10-13-22||Temple +23.5 v. Central Florida||Top||13-70||Loss||-110||11 h 2 m||Show|
You probably don't know this, but Temple has been surprisingly strong on the defensive side of the ball. They rank Top 10 in the country in yards per play allowed! I believe the defense will keep the Owls in this game vs. UCF until the very end, so take the points.
If you only looked at the final score of Temple’s last game, you’d just assume they were dominated by Memphis as it ended up being a 24-3 loss. However, that’s not the case. The Owls shut Memphis out for more than a half with the first points allowed being a TD late in the third quarter. Two of Memphis’ TD drives began in Temple territory.
So as long as Temple’s offense takes better care of the football this week, count on them not giving up many points to UCF. For the season, they are allowing just 16.8 points/game and the most they’ve allowed to any one opponent is 30. With that kind of defense, it’s pretty crazy that we are getting more than three touchdowns here.
Now Temple’s offense is obviously not very good. But UCF was certainly struggling for a while there against SMU last week. The Golden Knights had just 10 points going into halftime before they caught fire coming out of the break. Despite winning 41-19, total yards were basically even in that game and SMU finished with seven more first downs.
UCF is not just 0-4 ATS following their previous four ATS wins, but they are also 0-5 ATS following a straight up win by 20 or more points. This is a good spot to fade them against what has been a surprisingly excellent defense. 10*
|10-12-22||UL-Lafayette v. Marshall -10||Top||23-13||Loss||-110||29 h 34 m||Show|
It’s an interesting Sun Belt matchup that we’ve got midweek as underachieving Louisiana travels to face a Marshall team that’s 0-3 ATS since their upset of Notre Dame. I’m going to lay the points with the Thundering Herd.
Louisiana has lost three in a row, two of them as favorites. They were 11.5 point favorites in a 33-21 loss at Rice where the offense gained only 275 yards. The following week saw the Ragin Cajuns go to LA Monroe and lose as 9.5-point favorites, 21-17, this time getting outgained by 65 yards. Two Saturdays ago, the Cajuns did cover, as 8.5-point underdogs, but they still lost 20-17 at home to South Alabama.
Now it’s back on the road facing a Marshall team that has an 83-10 scoring edge at home. Now both previous visitors to Huntington were FCS teams. But the Thundering Herd did beat Notre Dame. Louisiana has topped 24 points in only one game this season. Marshall has allowed more than 21 just once.
This is a big revenge game for Marshall, who lost to Louisiana in the New Orleans Bowl last year, 36-21. This is a much worse Louisana team now though as Billy Napier left for Florida (the NO Bowl was the first game without him) and they had to replace half their starters, including QB, four OL and three LB.
This is Marshall’s first year in the Sun Belt and they desperately want that first conference win after losing outright to Troy two games ago. The Herd have an excellent defense, one that shouldn’t give up many points to an anemic Louisiana offensive attack. The betting market seems to like the home team big and so do I. 10* Marshall
|10-08-22||Oregon State v. Stanford +5||Top||28-27||Win||100||14 h 15 m||Show|
With Colorado State pulling an outright upset last night, there are only three teams left in College Football without an ATS win. Two reside out in the Pac 12. One of them is Stanford. I am taking the Cardinal plus the points at home in this late Saturday matchup.
Oregon State QB Chance Nolan is questionable to play here. The way he’s turned the ball over the last two games, perhaps the Beavers feel they’d be better off without him. In the losses to USC and Utah, OSU finished -8 in the turnover battle. Tough to win when that happens.
But when you’re Oregon State, it’s tough to win on the road, whether you are turning the ball over or not. The Beavers aren’t just 0-3 ATS as road chalk the last three seasons, they’ve lost all three games outright! And they are just 2-8 SU their L10 road games overall after getting beat 42-16 at Utah last week.
Stanford should not be confused with either USC or Utah, the two teams that beat OSU, but the Beavers aren’t USC, Washington and Oregon, who are the three teams that beat the Cardinal. That’s especially true if the road team has to turn to a backup QB.
Eventually Stanford has to cover a spread, right? Going back to last year, it’s an inexplicable 0-10 ATS run. They are also due for some better turnover luck and sure enough here comes a team that’s given it away eight times in the last two games. Weird things happen in “Pac 12 After Dark” and I give the home team an excellent shot at pulling the outright upset here. 9*
|10-08-22||South Carolina +6 v. Kentucky||Top||24-14||Win||100||11 h 4 m||Show|
Kentucky has a big question mark at quarterback as Will Levis (foot) is listed as a game-time decision. Regardless if Levis plays, I am taking South Carolina plus the points here.
The last time we saw Levis, he was coughing up two key fumbles in the red zone last week against Ole Miss. The Wildcats ended up suffering their first loss and the SEC schedule will only get tougher from here on out.
South Carolina seems revitalized after two straight 50+ point efforts. Granted, the competition was not tantamount to what they’ll face in the SEC. But the Gamecocks now have a lot of confidence heading into Lexington and are the healthier of these two teams.
Kentucky is not exactly the most impressive 4-1 team in the country to begin with and certainly not the 13th best team in the country. They had to come from behind to win at Florida, couldn’t shake Northern Illinois and even wins over Miami OH and Youngstown State weren’t as dominant as the final scores indicate. Now they may be without their starting QB.
The way this line has been bet certainly tells me that Levis probably isn’t going to play. Either way, take the points with an improving South Carolina outfit. Don’t forget about their QB Spencer Rattler. When not facing Georgia, the Gamecocks have scored at least 30 in every game this season. 10*
|10-08-22||Tennessee v. LSU +3||Top||40-13||Loss||-110||17 h 14 m||Show|
Tennessee arrives in Baton Rouge ranked #8 in the country and fresh off a bye. But the 4-0 Volunteers are about to face their toughest test to date in the form of a LSU team that is a missed extra point away from being 5-0.
Since losing the opener to Florida State, Brian Kelly has really turned the Tigers around. Now should they have won last week at Auburn? Probably not! But picking up a big road win like that can do wonders for a team.
QB Daniels is ready to go this week for LSU as is a defense that should offer plenty of resistance to Tennessee’s high-powered offense. Remember that the last time we saw the Vols, they barely escaped Florida, at home. It was a 38-33 final and UT gave up almost 600 yards.
That wasn’t Tennessee’s first close call either. They only won at Pitt by seven and needed OT to do so. This is by no means an impervious outfit coming out of Knoxville, despite the presence of QB Hendon Hooker.
Here in Baton Rouge, LSU has already beaten a very good Mississippi State team. That’s a better win than anything on Tennessee’s resume. The Vols don’t come here to Baton Rouge often (last visit was 2010) and haven’t beaten LSU in more than 15 years. LSU is 4-0 SU/ATS L4 hosting the SEC East. 8*
|10-01-22||Troy +5.5 v. Western Kentucky||Top||34-27||Win||100||21 h 54 m||Show|
Western Kentucky is 3-1 but it has not been a challenging schedule for the Hilltoppers. They’ve beaten FIU and Hawaii, who are probably the two worst FBS teams in the country, plus a FCS team in Austin Peay. Austin Peay may be the “best” win of the three, even though it was 73-0 last week against FIU.
Yes, WKU probably should have beaten Indiana too, but instead lost that game in overtime. Because of that close call and the 73-0 win last week, I think we’ve got some nice value to go against the Hilltoppers this week.
Troy is 3-0 ATS as an underdog thus far, going against Ole Miss, Appalachian State and Marshall. After losing the way they did against App State (hail mary), it would have been easy for the Trojans to fold the following week against Marshall. But instead they took the game outright, 16-7, as a three-point dog.
The Trojans were by no means dominated by Ole Miss, only getting outgained by 87 yards. There may be a unique advantage for them in this matchup. Backup QB Jarret Doege transferred from WKU right before the start of the season. Doege should certainly be able to share some intel with his new teammates.
Defensively, Troy has a clear edge here. They just held Marshall (who upset Notre Dame, remember) to not just 7 points, but 174 total yards. Indiana put up 484 yards on the WKU defense, which also benefited from 10 turnovers in the first two games. Troy’s offense has averaged 437 yards/game the L3 weeks. 10*
|10-01-22||Texas A&M v. Mississippi State -3.5||Top||24-42||Win||100||19 h 49 m||Show|
So there are several reasons to like Mississippi State in this game. Let’s go through them!
One is that the situation is really against Texas A&M, who just played a down to the wire game against Arkansas and has #2 Alabama on deck. Mississippi State played Bowling Green last week and won easily, 45-14.
The Alabama game is huge for A&M as they beat the Crimson Tide last season and there has been a lot of chatter coming from both coaches, recruiting-related and otherwise, all offseason.
Last year, Mississippi State also faced A&M in an “Arkansas-Alabama sandwich.” They upset the Aggies 26-22 in College Station as seven-point underdogs with QB Will Rogers (no, not me) completing 46 of 59 passes for 408 yards and three touchdowns. Rogers also did not throw an interception in that game.
A&M has been outgained in three straight games with the offense never scoring more than 17 points. Remember last week they needed a defensive score (and a missed field goal) for the win. Even worse for the Aggies offense is that they have lost WR Smith to an injury. I just don’t see how they keep pace with a Mississippi State offense that has scored 39 or more points three times. The Bulldogs also led LSU on the road 13-0 before collapsing in the second half. They desperately will want to avoid an 0-2 start to SEC play. Lay the points at home. 9*
|10-01-22||Wake Forest v. Florida State -6.5||Top||31-21||Loss||-110||96 h 47 m||Show|
This is a Top 25 matchup but oddsmakers clearly believe #23 Florida State is better than #22 Wake Forest. So do I.
From 2012-18, FSU defeated Wake seven straight times. But they’ve lost the last two head to head meetings, both in Winston-Salem, including 35-14 last year. There have been some “lean” years in Tallahassee - by Seminoles’ standards - but early returns in 2022 have been promising for coach Mike Norvell.
The ‘Noles are 4-0, which is their best start since 2015 . This is also the first game that they’ll play as a ranked team in four years. Both the offense and defense are in the top 35 nationally in scoring. QB Jordan Travis threw for a career-high 321 yards (with just 16 completions!) in last week’s 44-14 win over Boston College.
While FSU remains unbeaten, Wake Forest is off its first loss of the season. It was a wild one for the Demon Deacons, a 51-45 double overtime loss at home to #5 Clemson. Their defense obviously got torched. Coming off a loss like that, WF is “ripe for the picking.”
Wake Forest has not won here in Tallahassee since 2008. Their defense is a major concern, not just because of the Clemson game last week. The week before, the Deacons allowed Liberty to 36 points and that honestly could have been a loss as they were outgained and needed Liberty to miss a 2-point try in the final 70 seconds. FSU should roll here. 10*
|09-24-22||Stanford +14 v. Washington||Top||22-40||Loss||-110||55 h 45 m||Show|
This is a massive letdown spot for #18 Washington, who beat Michigan State 39-28 last week to move into the polls. The Huskies were an unranked favorite over a Top 25 team in that game. They are one of just five schools to be 3-0 ATS and favored in every game.
Now they’re laying double digits to a conference rival.
Following a loss to USC, Stanford had last week off. Going back to last year, the Cardinal haven’t covered a spread in nine consecutive games, tying them with Colorado State for the longest streak in the nation. But a bye week coupled with the fact they played USC tougher than you might think, have me believing they will stay inside the number this week.
Stanford is 5-1 straight up vs. Washington when the Huskies are ranked in the Top 25. I know that QB Michael Penix Jr (transfer from Indiana) has been a difference-maker for UW, but this spread seems too high after a marquee win like the one the team had last week. I’m not THAT sold on the Huskies just yet.
As for Stanford, after a bye, they figure to go “all out” in this game as they look to avoid an 0-2 start in Pac 12 play. The spread is up to two touchdowns and I just do not see the favorite winning by that kind of margin. Washington is only 2-9 ATS its last 11 conference games and 3-7 ATS the last 10 times it has been off a straight up win. 10*
|09-24-22||Maryland +17.5 v. Michigan||Top||27-34||Win||100||45 h 4 m||Show|
Few are going to give Maryland any shot of pulling the upset Saturday in Ann Arbor, even though the Terrapins come in at 3-0. It has not been a good run against Michigan the last several years with the Terps both losing and failing to cover each of the last six meetings.
Maryland did have a nice win last week (at home) against SMU. So it’s not like they haven’t played anyone. The same cannot be said for Michigan who has faced three of the worst teams in the country, Colorado State, Hawaii and Connecticut. Give the Wolverines credit for winning those three games by a combined score of 166-17. But they were also favored to win the three games by 132 points. All three lines were -31 or higher with the last two averaging -50.5!
I know that Maryland was a bit lucky to get the win last week over SMU. But I think they’ve got the goods to stay within 17 this week. QB Taulia Tagovailoa is completing 77 percent of his passes and has accounted for seven touchdowns. This will quite obviously be the best offense Michigan has faced thus far.
So let’s see how Michigan does once they actually “get punched in the mouth.” My view is that the weak non-conference slate did wonders for “stat-padding.” However, the team is likely now overconfident as they hit the Big 10 slate. The Wolverines are just 3-7 ATS their last 10 games vs. a team with a winning record. 10*
|09-23-22||Boise State v. UTEP +16.5||Top||10-27||Win||100||11 h 0 m||Show|
UTEP isn’t going to get a lot of love from bettors here, especially with the Miners coming in at 0-4 ATS. But the Boise State team that comes to El Paso Friday night just isn’t as strong as we’re used to seeing. In their only “real” test thus far, the Broncos got run off the field in an embarrassing first half showing at Oregon State, a game they’d go on to lose 34-17.
Now Boise has bounced back with a couple of wins, over New Mexico and Tenn Martin, but that doesn’t convince me they are worthy of laying double digits on the road. The Broncos are 0-2-1 ATS in 2022 and pushed two weeks ago with a similar spread at New Mexico. I realize that UTEP just lost to New Mexico - by 17 - last week. But they turned it over SEVEN times in that game, one of them an INT that was returned for a TD.
The UTEP defense has not been bad the last two games, giving up 313 total yards to New Mexico State and just 299 to New Mexico. Yes, those are two bad teams, but Boise State’s offense just isn’t what it used to be. Broncos QB Hank Bachmeier has been inconsistent and was shaken up in last week’s game. On other side of the ball, two starters in the Boise secondary also got hurt last week. So there may be hope for a couple of big plays in the passing game from this UTEP offense after all.
Boise State’s offense seems content to play “slower” compared to years’ past, so I do not see them running away with this game. For the record, the Broncos are 2-10 ATS following a straight up win, 0-5 if that win was by more than 20 points. Also, they could be looking ahead to next week’s game at San Diego State
For UTEP, this game will be treated as “their Super Bowl.” It’s a rare national TV game (CBS Sports) on a Friday night against a fairly marquee opponent. I had success with an "ugly dog" last Friday (Wyoming), so grab those points again. 9*
|09-17-22||San Diego State +21.5 v. Utah||Top||7-35||Loss||-110||25 h 37 m||Show|
Utah is out for revenge Saturday night in Salt Lake City, facing a San Diego State team that defeated them, 33-31 as eight-point underdogs, last season. The Utes are much bigger favorites this time, but I think the Aztecs keep it close.
The bloom is off the rose a bit for SDSU as they lost 38-20 at home to Arizona in the opener. But they came back to beat Idaho State 38-7 last week. A well-coached team like this, that can run the football effectively, should be able to control the clock and stay within the generous number.
Let’s not forget Utah lost to Florida. Florida is obviously much better than SDSU, but the Utes defense did allow 451 yards in that game.
I think that the revenge angle has inflated this line. Utah is also just 2-11 ATS in the month of September, not to mention 1-4 ATS following a straight up win of more than 20 points and 2-7 ATS its last nine non-conference games.
And this is a spot where San Diego State typically steps it up. They are 5-1 ATS their last six games vs. Top 25 teams. Going back to 2016, they sport a 13-5 record vs. the number when catching points. 10*
|09-17-22||Oklahoma v. Nebraska +11||Top||49-14||Loss||-110||27 h 52 m||Show|
The second Scott Frost was fired, bettors started piling on Nebraska, who is a home dog for this Noon ET matchup against #6 Oklahoma. I agree with the line move and will be taking the points.
Nebraska may be 0-3 ATS, 1-2 SU, but Frost is gone and the Cornhuskers have actually been pretty good as an underdog in recent years (12-8-1 ATS). Last year, they easily covered as 22-point dogs in Norman, losing by just seven points to OU.
The Sooners did win 33-3 last week, but that’s a little misleading when you consider they were down 3-0 to Kent State with under a minute to go in the first half. Just because they were able to pile it on in the second half there doesn’t mean they can do the same here.
Interim coach Mickey Joseph should have the Blackshirts fired up and ready to go Saturday morning. I just can’t see the home team being blown out here and remember no team has lost more close games the last few seasons than Nebraska has. All we are asking for here is for them to keep it close.
The offense seems just fine in Lincoln, averaging 36 points/game. Oklahoma has yet to face a good offense this year. I also wouldn’t be so certain that the Sooners can make it three straight games without a turnover. Grab the points. 9*
|09-16-22||Air Force v. Wyoming +16.5||Top||14-17||Win||100||11 h 15 m||Show|
Air Force is probably the best team in the Mountain West right now. Going back to last season, the Falcons own the nation’s third longest active win streak at six in a row. They have also covered the spread in all six of those games. But Wyoming has always been a tough opponent and I’m liking the points in this Friday night matchup.
First off, Air Force hasn’t won here in Laramie since 2012. They’ve lost three times here since that last win and conference openers also seem to be a problem for the Falcons. They’re just 2-9 SU in MWC openers the last 11 seasons. They’ve also lost their first road game of the season each of the last three years.
Nobody runs the ball better than Air Force, but the past shows that the Wyoming defense has been fairly adept at slowing down the triple option. The last two years, Air Force has averaged just 186.5 rush yards vs. Wyoming. That still sounds like a lot, however, not when compared to what the Falcons usually rush for.
Wyoming is also 2-0, by the way. I know that an OT win over Tulsa and beating FCS Northern Colorado isn’t going to really impress anybody. But the fact they put up an average of 36.5 points in those two wins is encouraging. The Cowboys should have scored more than 33 last week, but settled for four field goals.
The last 14 encounters between these Mt West rivals have seen an average of just over 42 points/game scored. That’s not very many. So, in what historically has been a low-scoring game, grabbing the points seems like the better option, especially with AF’s past struggles here in Laramie. 10*
|09-10-22||Virginia +4.5 v. Illinois||Top||3-24||Loss||-110||31 h 15 m||Show|
Even though Illinois is at home, coming off a loss to Indiana, they probably should not be favored here.
Now the Fighting Illini’s season did get off to a great start as they blew out Wyoming 38-6 here in Champaign. But the last second loss to Indiana last week took the wind out of their sales pretty quick. It’s a game the Illini probably should have won, but four turnovers cost them dearly.
Virginia has the best offense that Brett Bielema’s team has seen yet. The Cavaliers are led by Brennan Armstrong, a dual threat QB that can beat you with his arm or his legs. Illinois’ defense will have all sorts of problems trying to contain Armstrong, who has his top three receivers back from last year.
It wasn’t the most impressive final score as Virginia beat Richmond last week 34-17. But the offense had over 500 yards and scored 28 points by halftime. They simply took their foot off the gas in the second half, probably not wanting to show Illinois much.
These teams met last year and Virginia won 42-14 with Armstrong throwing for 400 yards. The line was -10.5 (in favor of Virginia) for that game. I just don’t see how it could be so different here. 10*
|09-09-22||Boise State v. New Mexico +17||Top||31-14||Push||0||14 h 33 m||Show|
Boise State turned in a truly horrible first half performance last week in Corvallis and as a result, found themselves down 24-0 going into the break. Winning the second half 17-10 was of little consequence as the Broncos ended up going down 34-17 at the hands of Oregon State. Based on that performance, I think the number is too high this week in New Mexico.
Not much is expected in Albuquerque this year. But the Lobos did start 2022 with a big 41-0 win over Maine. Now while everyone realizes that’s a FCS opponent, New Mexico did hold the Bears to 118 total yards and just 2.5 per play. UNM gained 437 yards in the game and six per play.
After just one game, there’s already some question as to who will be under center for Boise. Hank Bachmeier threw two first half interceptions last week and thus got benched for Taylen Green, who came in and threw for 155 yards. As of press time, Bachmeier is still listed as QB1. But this uncertainty about the position can’t be good for the offense.
New Mexico’s offense is all about running the ball. Look for them to control the clock, making it difficult for Boise State to pull away. Honestly, based on what we saw last week, there’s no reason to believe the Broncos will run away with this game.
A Friday night home game is a big deal for New Mexico and I’m expecting an inspired effort where they keep the game close. The Lobos seem like they’re a better football team compared to last year. The Broncos are now just 7-7 straight up their last 14 games. 9*
|09-09-22||Louisville +5.5 v. Central Florida||Top||20-14||Win||100||54 h 29 m||Show|
What a letdown Louisville was last week. The Cardinals lost 31-7 at Syracuse in a completely misleading final. I say that not just as “sour grapes” after a bad bet, but knowing full well Louisville came away with seven points on five drives inside the Orange 40-yard line.
Even though QB Malik Cunningham did not play great against Syracuse, the offense still averaged 6.2 yards per play. What happened is they were undone by three costly turnovers.
Central Florida faced a FCS school in its opening game, so we really can’t make “heads or tails” of the Golden Knights just yet. But we do know they lost three of last year’s starters along the defensive line. Louisville should be able to run the ball more effectively and hold up in the face of pressure better than they did in Week 1.
Louisville won this matchup last year, 41-34 as a seven-point dog. It came down to the wire with a pick-six on the final play deciding things. I’m not saying they’ll be able to beat the Cardinals again, but all the Golden Knights need is to stay within a score. I think they do that here.
Cunningham should have a bounce back game (he had 384 yards in this game last year) and we’re getting a ton of value with Louisville being off a loss. The Cardinals are 10-4-1 ATS off a loss. 9*
|09-03-22||Kent State v. Washington -22.5||Top||20-45||Win||100||23 h 22 m||Show|
Washington should run away with a victory in their opening game in what promises to be a bounce back season under new coach Kalen DeBoer.
DeBoer did a great job leading Fresno State to a 10-3 record last season. He’s got more talent to work with in Seattle and brought in Michael Penix (transfer from Indiana) to play quarterback.
The Huskies’ defense has experience and there shouldn’t be much of a learning curve under the new co-coordinators DeBoer brought with him from Frenso.
DeBoer will certainly want to make a “statement” in his first game. With a FCS opponent on deck, there’s really no reason to hold back or “hide” anything. Kent State is going to be in a lot of trouble in this late Saturday matchup.
The Golden Flashes have made it to a bowl two of the last three seasons, but there are heavy losses on offense with the QB, both WRs and four offensive linemen having to be replaced. This is a giant mismatch on the Week 1 card.
|09-03-22||Louisville -4 v. Syracuse||Top||7-31||Loss||-110||21 h 52 m||Show|
Louisville and Syracuse each have a head coach on the proverbial hot seat. Scott Satterfield went 8-5 his first year at Louisville, but is just 10-14 since. Dino Babers is still hanging on at Syracuse despite a 29-43 record over six years. A win here is desperately needed for both Satterfield and Babers. Only one can get it though.
Satterfield’s overall results may not be up to snuff. But Syracuse is a team he’s handled all three seasons. The Cardinals have beaten the Orange three straight years, outscoring them 127-37 along the way. The last two years it’s been 71-3.
The Louisville offense should be excellent this year with QB Malik Cunningham back. I think they have the potential to put up 40 points per game. What about the defense? Seven starters are back and eight transfers were brought in. So the Cardinals will be stronger on that side of the ball.
Cunningham has killed the Orange defense in the past with nine touchdown passes in two games. He’s a threat to run (1031 yards last year) and with Syracuse breaking in an entirely new starting D-line, I don’t like their chances against the senior L’ville QB this time either. The third time will not be the charm.
Given the series history, which includes eight straight covers by the team that is favored, you’ve got to like Louisville here. Cunningham is the difference maker with Cuse QB Shrader remains a question mark. 10*
|09-03-22||Bowling Green v. UCLA -23.5||Top||17-45||Win||100||15 h 24 m||Show|
Chip Kelly is only 18-25 in his four years at UCLA. But it was finally a winning season last year at 8-4. With Dorian Thompson-Robinson back for another year, the Bruins’ offense should be explosive and I see them routing Bowling Green in the opener.
Scott Loeffler is just 7-22 in his three years at Bowling Green with four of the wins coming last year. The Falcons do bring back one of the more experienced offenses in the country, however this group was only able to put up 21 points per game in ‘21. They still don’t have enough to keep up with DTR and the Bruins.
The defensive side of the ball was BG’s strength last season. But it still struggled to stop the run and will have to deal with Zach Charbonnet, who had 1153 yards and 13 touchdowns last season.
UCLA averaged 37 points per game last year. Against FBS teams, BG scored more than 26 once.
It’s a big number to lay in the opener. But Kelly is all-too-aware of what’s going on at USC and doesn’t want to lose the headlines in Los Angeles. UCLA has a very easy non-conference schedule and will want to start like they did last year when they blew out Hawaii 44-10 in the first game. Won’t be close at the Rose Bowl. 9*
|09-02-22||Western Michigan v. Michigan State -22||Top||13-35||Push||0||76 h 36 m||Show|
Michigan State probably won’t match 2021’s 11-2 SU record, but they’ll have an excellent defense and should easily overwhelm an inexperienced Western Michigan team in the opener.
Sparty won all six of its home games last year, one of them over a Michigan team that made the CFP Playoff. The six wins were by an average of 13 points and while I need a bigger margin of victory Friday, this Western Michigan team is one of the weaker opponents to visit in East Lansing in quite some time.
The Broncos lose QB Kaleb Eleby and his production will be almost impossible to replace even though the team went a disappointing 8-5 with him at the helm last year. WMU was actually favored in all eight MAC games in 2021. This year, they figure to take some lumps early on.
The offensive line is young and will struggle to protect new QB Salopek, a freshman, against what is likely to be a ferocious Spartans’ pass rush.
MSU covered 10 of 13 games last season and will win here by at least four scores. Last time these teams played it was 51-17 Sparty. Lay the number. 8*
|09-01-22||West Virginia v. Pittsburgh -7.5||Top||31-38||Loss||-105||52 h 49 m||Show|
It’s nice to see this rivalry being revived. This is the first “Backyard Brawl” since 2011 when WVU prevailed 21-20 in Morgantown. The Mountaineers have actually won seven of the last ten meetings, as well as four of the last five, but obviously little of that matters now as more than a decade has passed since the programs last met on the football field.
Pitt’s players, coaching staff and fans should care though. It’s an important game to start the season, not just because of the rivalry, but also because the Panthers have high hopes for ‘22. While they do lose QB Pickett, OC Whipple and top WR Addison, the three top running backs all return and Slovis has transferred from USC to replace Pickett. This Pitt team will again be a force in the ACC, a conference they won last season.
West Virginia hasn’t won more than six games in any of the previous three seasons and figures to be near the bottom of the Big 12 again this year. The defensive side of the ball lost a lot, particularly at linebacker and in the secondary. There’s just 11 returning starters total and the Mountaineers lost their QB, top RB and top WR from a season ago.
With this being a rivalry game, it’s only natural to “think upset,” but I just can’t see WVU hanging with this Pitt team. The Panthers have a decisive edge on defense. Transfer JT Daniels may be in for a long night in his first game in a Mountaineer uniform. The home team is very strong along the defensive line and in the back end.
Pitt is not only 16-4 SU its last 20 games as a favorite, but they’ve covered 13 times. They are 6-2 ATS last eight tries as a favorite of 3.5 to 10 points. WVU is 2-8 SU/3-7 ATS L10 road games. Lay the number. 9* Pitt
|08-27-22||Nevada v. New Mexico State +8.5||Top||23-12||Loss||-110||15 h 40 m||Show|
No matter where you look, you will not find a College Football team with less experience than Nevada. I believe this will be a major detriment for the Wolf Pack, who are laying points in the season opener.
The Wolf Pack went 8-4 last year in the regular season with three of the losses coming by two points. But then they were rolled in the bowl game, 52-24 by Western Michigan, and their coach Mike Norvell left for rival Colorado State. First year coach Ken Wilson is stepping into a tough situation in Reno as QB Strong is gone as are the top SEVEN receivers from last year. Only six starters are back.
New Mexico State is again pegged to be one of the worst teams in College Football. They also have a new coach, Jerry Kill, who had previous success at Northern Illinois and Minnesota. While the Aggies are underdogs here, I think the players and coaching staff view this as a very winnable game and will want to get the Kill-era off to a strong start. At home, getting points against such an experienced team, they are the play.
Last year’s NMSU team was a little bit better than you might realize as they led both San Diego State and Utah State at the half. Kill did a nice job in the transfer portal, adding a number of talented players.
Nevada lost its starting right tackle to a season-ending injury and he was the lone returnee along the offensive line. Wilson has never been a head coach at this level and I just can’t see this Wolf Pack team winning by double digits tonight. 8*
|01-10-22||Georgia v. Alabama +3||Top||33-18||Loss||-110||177 h 19 m||Show|
Neither SEC team had much difficulty winning on New Year’s Eve. Alabama beat Cincinnati 27-6 in one semifinal. Georgia beat Michigan 34-11 in the second semifinal. Now it’s a rematch of the SEC Championship Game, only this time a much bigger prize is on the line - the National Championship.
Alabama beat Georgia in the SEC Championship Game, 41-24 as a six-point underdog. The Crimson Tide are again underdogs here, although the line is obviously shorter. But it’s hard for me to shake what happened back on December 4th. I expect the Tide to win again here and give Nick Saban his seventh National Championship since coming to Tuscaloosa (and third in the past five years).
Bama’s offense is simply way better than any other that Georgia has faced this year. The Tide account for nearly one-third of the points allowed by the Bulldogs’ defense this season.
The SEC Championship is the only time Alabama has been an underdog in many, many years. It’s a little surprising that the oddsmakers don’t have them favored for this rematch. They have dominated Georgia, winning the previous seven matchups. The last time Bama lost to Georgia was Saban’s first season here, which was 2007, the last season where the Tide weren’t ranked #1 at some point.
Georgia has not covered the spread in back-to-back games since starting the year out at 5-1 ATS. Alabama is clearly a “psychological hurdle” for them and one they are unlikely to clear on the 10th. Take the points with ALABAMA.
|01-04-22||LSU +5 v. Kansas State||Top||20-42||Loss||-110||34 h 26 m||Show|
We’ve seen a pretty substantial line move here due to the fact LSU lost its QB (transfer portal) and two of its top defensive players (opt outs). The Tigers will also have an interim coach after Ed Oregeron was dismissed in favor of Brian Kelly. But even so, LSU has more talent than Kansas State and I’ll gladly grab the points in the Texas Bowl.
Kansas State is 7-5 but lost its last two games in pretty feeble fashion. They went down 20-10 to Baylor and 22-17 to Texas. The Wildcats are also dealing with turnover on the coaching staff as they’ll have a new offensive coordinator for Tuesday’s game. Also, QB Skyler Thompson suffered a lower leg injury late in the year. Can’t count on him being the same, even if he does decide to play here.
Kansas State’s best win this year was probably … West Virginia? They won just two games away from home and one of them was by a single point. The other was at Kansas. The offense has averaged less than 300 yards in its last three games.
It will be interesting to see if LSU elects to start Garrett Nussmeier, a decision that would cost the QB his redshirt season. Regardless, I expect the Tigers that do suit up to really play hard as they look to impress the incoming coaching staff. If LSU had its full complement of players, they would win this game in blowout fashion. Even down a few, they should still keep it close at the very worst. Take LSU plus the points
|01-01-22||Utah +4.5 v. Ohio State||Top||45-48||Win||100||100 h 3 m||Show|
Utah won't be rolling over here. The Utes have won six straight and all signs point to a possible big upset here as well. Most recently Utah beat Oregon 38-10 in the PAC 12 Championship, while Ohio State enters off a 42-27 loss to Michigan as a 6.5-point favorite.
Utah has lost its last two bowl games, putting an added motivation incentive here. Overall the Utes averaged 35.1 PPG, while allowing 20.9. QB Cameron Rising had 2,279 yards, 18 TD's and only five INT's.
With their nine-game win streak in the rear-view mirror, I believe the Buckeyes are ripe for the picking tonight. Ohio State and CJ Stroud average 45.5 PPG, while allowing 20.9.
The Utes have won of the best running games in the country, averaging more than 200 yards per game. The Buckeyes have been great defensively (again) all season, but note that they're just 2-7 ATS in their last nine off a SU/ATS loss in which it conceded 40 or more points in.
This one comes down to the wire, so let's grab the points! Utah 10* GAME OF MONTH.
|12-30-21||Pittsburgh +3 v. Michigan State||21-31||Loss||-108||10 h 24 m||Show|
I absolutely believe that this one favors the 11-2 Pittsburgh Panthers. Michigan State is only the "home" team on paper.
The Panthers were 5-0 on the road this year, while MSU was just 4-2. The Panthers won the the ACC title, while the Spartans finished in third in the Big Ten East.
Pittsburgh is led by QB Kenny Pickett, who had 4,319 passing yards, 42 touchdowns and seven interceptions. The Panthers average 40.2 PPG, while allowing 24.4. Pickett is gone for the draft, but I don't expect much of a drop off here with Nick Patti, who completed 85.7 percent of his passes for 140 yards.
The Spartans are led by Payton Thorne, who had 2,886 passing yards, 24 touchdowns and nine interceptions. MSU averages 31 PPG, while allowing 26.6. MSU will be without star RB Kenneth Walker III though.
Both teams were great in stopping the run, but the Panthers finished with 51 sacks this season, which was second in the nation.
Look for Pittsburgh to grind out a win here. 8* BOWL PLAY on Pittsburgh.
|12-29-21||Oregon v. Oklahoma -6.5||32-47||Win||100||12 h 28 m||Show|
You won’t know the players (and coaches) without a program in this one. Both teams are off disappointing ends to their years, losing head coaches to other institutions, and key players to the NFL draft, not to mention demoralizing losses. Oregon may also be affected by covid. The Ducks looked very poor against Utah (twice), and will have a long way to come back to make this game competitive. The Ducks run game and QB. Brown’s effectiveness took a real hit in their last games. Losing their best defensive player is troubling. The Ducks’ offense is very young. It will be tough to adjust to the changes.
The Sooners have lost key defensive pieces as well. Young QB Caleb Williams had a tough time of late but spent a lot of time on his back; he was pressured mercilessly in his last two games. The Ducks do not pressure the QB particularly well, and will be without their best pass rusher. Look for Williams to bounce back and step it out on the National stage. The Sooners have the benefit of a very experienced “guest” head coach, which may be of some motivation. I am on the Sooners to win and cover. Don’t delay on this one!
|12-28-21||West Virginia +5 v. Minnesota||6-18||Loss||-110||39 h 55 m||Show|
This one is going to be close. I mean, I expect this one to be decided by whichever team has its hands on the ball last. THAT close!
WVU is gunning for its third straight win. It most recently beat Kansas by a score of 34-28 as 15.5-point favorites.
The Gophers finished 8-4, while WVU was 6-6. Minnesota beat Wisconsin 23-13 as 7-point dogs in their finale.
Minnesota averages 26.5 PPG, while WVU averages 23.3.
The Gophers have the upper-hand defensively, conceding 18.3, while the Mountaineers allow 26.5.
I like Jarret Doege to test this Minnesota secondary and to at the very least, have his team competitive until the final moments. 8* BOWL play ON WVU.