CFB Picks: Week 8

This is the college football season from hell – in terms of weekly gambling, the rest has been delightful as always – but we’re going to keep chugging along. It’s been excellent fade material, after all.

Picks

Colorado State (-6.5) over NEW MEXICO – 3u

The Rams are clearly the much better team. If there’s a weakness to exploit, it’s the pass defense and the Lobos are obviously a heavy run team, so that becomes less of a concern. CSU has won 7 straight in the series, covering in 6 of those, all as the favorite.

Tulsa (-6) over UCONN – 3u

Another game for UConn that’s set up for a shootout and once again, I don’t think they can outscore the opponent. Hasn’t been a recipe for success for them.

Wake Forest (+7) over GEORGIA TECH – 3u

Apparently Wake takes a week off and everybody forgets they’re good. There’s a lot to like about the Deacs this week. They’re coming off a bye week, which is especially a good thing when you’re preparing for a triple option offense, both schematically and physically. It helps that they’re already one of the better defenses against the run in the country. Conversely, GT is coming off that physical game down in Miami that resulted in a heartbreaking loss.

NOTRE DAME (-3.5) over USC – 3u

USC has been playing with fire a lot and have been lucky to only get burned once so far. The Irish have been much more impressive week-to-week and they’ll take advantage of the Trojans’ carelessness with the ball. Like Wake, I like ND coming off of a bye.

UCLA (-7) over Oregon – 3u

I’ll just keep betting against Oregon.

ARKANSAS STATE (-13) over ULL – 2u

The Red Wolves are starting to show why they were among the favorites to win the Sun Belt this year. They’re pretty comfortable at home. Meanwhile, ULL is a very shaky 3-3.

Iowa (+1.5) over NORTHWESTERN – 2u

To put it simply, I think Iowa is better.

FAU (-3) over North Texas – 2u

North Texas is much improved, but you don’t just come in to Joey Freshwater’s house and steal a W. Especially when he’s got his next job to campaign for pretty soon. FAU’s pass defense should be able to slow down the Mean Green enough to get the W.

Kent State (+20) over OHIO – 2u

Ohio’s been shaky. Kent State has been kind of plucky and broke through with a big win over Miami this past week. Newfound confidence can go a long way in college football.

ARMY (-6) over Temple – 2u

Temple officially sucks.

Michigan (+10) over PENN STATE – 2u

I know the Michigan offense is downright painful to watch right now, but I can’t help but think that defense is at least going to keep them in it Happy Valley. Defense travels and what not.

FLORIDA STATE (-7) over Louisville – 2u

I can’t quit Florida State, even if it was like pulling teeth to get that cover over Duke. The offense has its issues still, but Louisville did just give up 45 at home to BC. That really happened.

Georgia Southern (+7) over UMASS – 2u

Ohhhhh baby, you gotta really love to gamble to bet on this game. Combined record of 0-11. I’m still holding out a sliver of hope that GSU can turn things around a bit. UMass is destined to stink forever.

HOUSTON (-2) over Memphis – 2u

Late add

Leans

Western Kentucky (-9.5) over OLD DOMINION

Marshall (-3) over MTSU

NEVADA (+5.5) over Air Force

GEORGIA STATE (+9.5) over Troy

SMU-Cinci  no line

MIAMI (OH) – Buffalo no line

TOLEDO-Akron no line

BGSU (+13.5) over Northern Illinois

WMU-EMU no line

MICHIGAN STATE (-7) over Indiana

CHARLOTTE (+7) over UAB

ECU (+5.5) over BYU

RUTGERS (+8) over Purdue

DUKE (-8) over Pitt

Syracuse (+14.5) over MIAMI (FL)

Central Michigan (-2.5) over BALL STATE

APP STATE – Coastal no line

WISCONSIN (-24) over Maryalnd

North Carolina (+22) over VIRGINIA TECH

Boston College (+7) over VIRGINIA

Wyoming (+14) over BOISE STATE

TCU (-37.5) over Kansas

UTSA (-21.5) over Rice

NAVY (+7) over UCF

MIZZOU (-14) over Idaho

Kentucky (+10.5) over MISSISSIPPI STATE

TULANE (+11.5) over South Florida

UNLV (-3) over Utah State

Southern Miss (+3) over LOUISIANA TECH

CAL (+1) over Arizona

MINNESOTA (-14.5) over Illinois

ALABAMA (-34) over Tennessee

Oklahoma State (-7) over TEXAS

West Virginia (-10) over BAYLOR

ARKANSAS-Auburn no line

USA-ULM no line

Oklahoma (-12.5) over KANSAS STATE

OLE MISS (+7) over LSU

TEXAS TECH (-5.5) over Iowa State

Arizona State (+10.5) over UTAH

WAZZU (-10.5) over Colorado

Fresno State (+10.5) over SDSU

Week 7: 17-21-2

 

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CFB Picks: Week 7

Another disaster last week. 3-7. Another one on me. We’ve hit a big time slump.

So like any good coach/manager would do, we gotta juggle the lineup. Bench the starters. Put the scrappy walk-on in for the first two minutes of the game just to send a message.

We’re down 40 at halftime? Wrong. It’s 0-0. Let’s just win the second half and build some momentum.

My version of that is scrapping the confidence point game. It never felt right, I just wanted to do something slightly different. But the truth is, I’m a unit guy through and through. So we’re back to the traditional units this week and we’re gonna win the second half.

MIAMI (FL) (-6.5) over Georgia Tech – 3u

There’s some cause for concern after the Canes had that dramatic win over Florida State last week. You worry about the hangover and the injuries that came from that game, but I also have faith in Mark Richt and I think Miami’s focused enough on their bigger goals this season to not overlook Georgia Tech. Mark Walton’s loss hurts, but it’s a deeper position for the Canes and they’ve survived with poor rushing performances from him the past couple weeks.

Tech  is off to a decent 3-1 start, but they’ve played a fairly average schedule with their best opponent so far being Tennessee (they lost). I think the Canes will do just fine against the option and virtually give them nothing in the pass game.

In a vacuum, I’d say the line is well short of what it should be, but you do have the hangover effect for Miami. FWIW, Canes won 35-21 in Atlanta last year.

ULL-Texas State under 58 – 3u

This is really all because of Texas State. They haven’t scored more than 14 points against anybody besides Houston Baptist and Monroe and the 27 against Monroe is the fewest anybody’s scored against them.

IOWA STATE-Kansas over 68 – 3u

Kansas is 5-0 on the overs largely due to them giving up a staggering 52 points per game. Iowa State is another team where you have to wonder about the hangover effect after pulling a massive upset over Oklahoma, but if anything I think that’s going to be defensively. You, me, and nine people in a retirement home could hang at least 40 on the Jayhawk D, but if you’re not careful KU is capable of doing the same thing.

KENT STATE (+11.5) over Miami (OH) – 2u

It’s hard to put a lot of faith in Kent State, but both teams are deep on the QB depth chart and that’s a bigger deal for Miami because their starting QB (Gus Ragland) is actually good.

 

AIR FORCE (-7.5) over UNLV – 2u

AFA has had a tough go the last few weeks, but I think this is the perfect spot for them to bust loose. They’ve had 3 of their last 4 on the road and the only home game was a close loss to SDSU. The stats don’t look as good for them when you line them up against UNLV’s, but they’ve played a much tougher schedule so far. The Rebels have been all over the map so far in terms of the consistency of their performance.

UTAH STATE (-2.5) over Wyoming – 2u

I guess I’m just a Utah State guy and I’ll go back to them this week. Wyoming is up to 3-2 now, but they’ve been feasting on some bad teams at home. At best, you could say that the Cowboys and Aggies are at the same level, but I think there’s more there to suggest USU has the edge and they’re only laying 2.5 at home. In case you haven’t been paying attention, Josh Allen still pretty much stinks. He finally had a decent game against Texas State, but they’re the worst team in the FBS.

UTEP (+24) over SOUTHERN MISS – 2u

Let’s see if Mike Price’s mojo magic can result in another close loss for the Miners.

ARKANSAS STATE (-19) over Coastal Carolina – 2u

Coastal hasn’t played a team in the top 100 yet and they’re 1-4. Arkansas State is a good team, that’s only gotten to play one game at home so far this season. It’s another one where the numbers don’t look great when you match the two teams up until you consider that the Red Wolves have been playing a much tougher schedule. I think it’s a perfect opportunity for them to come home and blow out an inferior team.

FRESNO STATE (-2) over New Mexico – 2u

Fresno is better than New Mexico and they’re only favored by 2 over New Mexico. So I’m gonna take Fresno.

TEMPLE (-9.5) over UConn – 2u

The Huskies have been getting murdered by average teams because they can’t stop a nose bleed. Almost as bad as Kansas, defensively. Overall, they’re one of the 5 to 10 worst teams in the FBS. Temple’s not great, but they’ve played two semi-decent games in a row. If it means anything to you, they’ve had one common opponent: ECU. Temple won on the road by 24 and UConn lost at home by 3.

 

Tulane (-13) over FIU – 2u

FIU might be the worst 3-2 team in the history of 3-2 teams. They’ve beat Charlotte, Rice, and Alcorn State by a combined 14 points. That’s two of the five worst teams in the FBS and Alcorn State. Credit for the wins, but they also just lost to depleted MTSU by 20. Meanwhile, the Green Wave is…making waves by having a little renaissance under Willie Fritz.

FLORIDA (-2.5) over Texas A&M – 2u

A&M hasn’t hit the road since that Week 1 meltdown at UCLA and the most impressive thing they did in their month at home was only lose to Alabama by 8 points.

I’ll take the team with maybe the worst uniform of all-time.

Image result for florida gators uniforms

Subtlety isn’t always a bad thing, Gainesville.

 

STANFORD (-10.5) over Oregon – 2u

I was obviously bullish on the Ducks this year, but everything has hit the skids with Justin Herbert out and it’s a very dark time to be an Oregon supporter. Working for Oregon in this game is that their run defense has been excellent and you’re gonna need it to slow down Bryce Love, but they’re gonna have to be damn near perfect because I just don’t see the UO offense able to put many points on the board.

ILLINOIS-Rutgers under 48 – 2u

Two roughly average defenses going against two of the worst offenses in football.

 

Florida State (-6.5) over DUKE – 2u

I will hop right back on the Seminole train, even if they ripped my heart out last weekend. It also helps that Duke did the same thing. I feel like it’s important to once again point out that FSU has played four top 25 teams so far this season. Based on “resume”, you’d be crazy to still call them a top 15 or even 25 team…buuuuuut I think they are.

Duke’s no walk in the park this week either, but James Blackman is getting better every week. The Blue Devils early season wins are starting to lose their luster a bit too. Northwestern, Baylor, and UNC have a combined 3-13 record and those 3 wins are against Nevada, Bowling Green, and Old Dominion. The only team they’ve played close to FSU’s caliber was Miami and they lost by 25 at home.

Michigan (-6.5) over INDIANA – 2u

I’ll be honest, I didn’t have a real opinion on this game, but a guy in my office is a Michigan fan and he was confident they were gonna win by two touchdowns. I’m open to anything right now.

ARIZONA STATE (+17) over Washington – 2u

I don’t like going against Washington, but ASU has played a really tough schedule over the past month and held up pretty well, beating Oregon and hanging with Stanford, Texas Tech, and SDSU. The defense is shaky at best, but they can score enough to hang with the Huskies.

USC (-12.5) over Utah – 1u

I guess it’s just kind of a feel thing. The injury report for the Trojans is basically the size of the roster, but I’d have to think a lot of the guys who sat out last week weren’t a necessity but more due to USC playing a glorified scrimmage with Oregon State.

Utah’s upside just isn’t as high with Troy Williams at QB. Additionally, their numbers look good defensively, but they haven’t played a team like USC that can challenge them with both the run and pass.

ARMY (-4.5) over Eastern Michigan – 1u

I don’t know, I thought EMU stunk in August and I think they stink now. Should be an interesting battle. EMU can’t run, but Army is terrible against the run. Running is the best thing Army does (obviously), but EMU’s strong against the run. I’ll just take the better team, playing at home.

 

MARYLAND (+3) over Northwestern – 1u

Obviously, the Terps have had to resort to playing something by the name of “Bortenschlager” at QB, but I don’t think the defensive numbers are as bad as they might indicate when you consider a few of the offenses they’ve played. And buddy, that Northwestern offense is not very good.

CFB Picks: Week 6

It’s been a slow bleed the last few weeks, which just means we’re due to win big…hopefully.

Picks

10* FLORIDA STATE (+3) over Miami (FL)

I know I’m an idiot, but my brain refuses to believe that Florida State is going to start the season 1-3. I know they lost Francois, but it’s a team loaded with talent and had national championship aspirations. They absolutely have to have this game if they want to achieve any of their goals. They’re playing an instate rival. It’s at home. The NC State loss was ugly, but it’s clear that at least Vegas isn’t respecting winning on the road against a kinda sorta top 25 Wake Forest team.

Meanwhile, Miami is getting a ton of love for winning by 25 at Duke, despite only outgaining the Blue Devils by 60 yards. It was the second straight week that the final score for the Canes ended up looking better than the real story. They beat Toledo by 22 at home, but trailed by 6 at half.

So yeah, I’m gonna take the preseason top 5 team that’s won 7 straight in the series and is getting points at home.

9* Duke (+2.5) over VIRGINIA

At no point, be it preseason or after any of the first four weeks, would Virginia have been favored in this game. I just explained what I believe to be a misleading result for the Blue Devils last week. Virginia got a dumbfounding easy win over Boise State on the blue turf a couple of weeks ago.

But the rest of the resume leans heavily in favor of the Blue Devils. You can see that for yourself.

I think Duke is going to force UVA to be one-dimensional by shutting down the run game and I’ve got an overconfident Cav team scoring about 17 points in this one.

8* UTAH STATE (+8.5) over Colorado State

The Rams have blown out a couple of the worst teams in the country, but overall I thought their September was pretty underwhelming. There’s a lot of holes in that defense and I think the Aggies have a decent chance to win outright.

7* UNLV (+11) over San Diego State

I love the Aztecs, but they’ve been flirting with a loss lately and they have a lot of nicks to guys on defense. UNLV had that extremely embarrasing week 1 loss, but they’ve responded really well since then. The Rebel offense is top 10 in the country in both yards per carry and yards per pass attempt.

6* TEXAS (-3.5) over Kansas State

Texas football is not back, but they’re slowly inching their way there. I’m not sure what you’re hanging your hat on if you’re a K-State supporter. They’ve blown out an FCS team and the worst FBS team, they had a ho-hum W over winless Baylor, and they lost to Vanderbilt and only scored 7 points in the process.

Texas isn’t a solved puzzle, but it’s a game between two good defenses and they’re the only team in the equation that can run and pass offensively.

5* MICHIGAN (-10.5) over Michigan State

How is Michigan State going to score?

4* Marshall (-15) over CHARLOTTE

I put my faith in Charlotte a couple of weeks ago to cover against Georgia State a couple of weeks ago and how did they repay me? They lost 28-0 at home…to Georgia State. They’re the worst team in the FBS.

The Marshall gravy train has not hit the skids yet, so we’re gonna stay on it.

3* NEVADA (+4) over Hawaii

Sure, I’ll double down on Nevada. Not everybody has the guts to bet twice on one of the worst teams in football, but I do. Reasoning? Hawaii stinks, too.

2* BOSTON COLLEGE (+16.5) over Virginia Tech

I’m not exactly sure how BC is going to score points, but at least their pass defense is sick and they’re playing at home?

1* VANDY (+17.5) over Georgia

Georgia has destroyed their last two opponents, Vandy has gotten cooked their last two games…which means you have to take Vandy.

Leans

UAB (+12.5) over Louisiana Tech

FAU (-3.5) over OLD DOMINION

AUBURN (-21) over Ole Miss

Wazzu (+2.5) over OREGON

MTSU (-10) over FIU

Southern Miss (+13) over UTSA

UTAH (+6.5) over Stanford

Arkansas State (-7) over GEORGIA SOUTHERN

NC STATE (+4) over Louisville

BUFFALO (+7) over Western Michigan

OHIO (-12) over Central Michigan

NMSU (+11) over APP STATE

Wake Forest (+21.5) over CLEMSON

CINCINNATI (+17) over UCF

EAST CAROLINA (+3) over Temple

Picks W-L: 23-28-1 (45.1%)
Confidence Points: 125 (of 290)

Season Total Tracker: After Week 4

5*

TCU (over 7.5) beat Oklahoma State (over 9, 1*) 44-31

(TCU 4-0; OSU 3-1)

WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!

I gotta be honest, I was afraid the Frogs might get blown out.

I’m now wondering what the spread will be when they play Bama in the natty.  Could be double digits.

4*

Vanderbilt (under 6) loses to Alabama (over 11, 2*) 59-0

(Vandy 3-1; Bama 4-0)

I obviously counted this as a loss when trying to figure out Vandy’s record this year, so it’s really not that big of a deal that they did in fact lose.

On the other hand, here’s to hoping that this total embarrassment at home destroys all that confidence the Dores built up the past few weeks.

Oregon (over 8) loses to Arizona State (under 5, 1*) 37-35

(Oregon 3-1; ASU 2-2)

Buddy, this was not good. This was the kind of loss that would force the Ducks to run the table at home and take one on the road against UW, UCLA, or Stanford. That’s the bad news.

The good news is that it’s not clear if UCLA or Stanford is any good. Not to mention their stadiums get about as raucous as a funeral. It’s not time to panic, but the sphincter is getting tighter.

3*

Houston (over 8) loses to Texas Tech (under 5) 27-24

(Houston 2-1; Tech 3-0)

To recap:

  • This game hurts the Houston season win total bet
  • This game hurts the Texas Tech season win total bet
  • I made Houston -6 my best bet of the week
  • I put Houston in a money line parlay

Other than that, this game had zero impact on my gambling bankroll. Thanks for the five (5) turnovers, fellas!

Ohio (over 7.5) beats Eastern Michigan (under 4.5, 1*) 27-20

(Ohio 3-1; EMU 2-1)

I hate to jinx things, but the next four games on the schedule for the Bobcats: @UMass, CMU, @Bowling Green, Kent State. Could be a lot easier than I thought.

Maryland (over 3.5) loses to UCF (over 7.5, 1*) 38-10

(Maryland 2-1; UCF 2-0)

It’s not the end of the world. UCF is good. However, if you’re looking for an easy Terp win on the schedule, it doesn’t exist. Okay, maybe at Rutgers. Even then, the injuries at QB are concerning.

2*

Florida State (over 10) loses to NC State (over 7.5, 1*) 27-21

(FSU 0-2; NC State 3-1)

Whenever you bet on a team to go 11-1 and they start off 0-2, it’s not great.

Virginia (under 5) beats Boise State (over 8.5, 1*) 42-23

UVA had won like 1 of their last 200 on the road, but of course they go in to Boise and thoroughly dump truck the Broncos. Still gonna be a tough road for the Hoos, but they’re doing too much winning by too many points for my taste.

 

CFB Picks: Week 5

It was a bloody Saturday. 4-8. Not a lot to say when your top 3 picks fail. I’d like to see Houston play TTU again and maybe not turn the ball over 5 times, but that’s not possible. I’d like to see USA try to stop Idaho from scoring a TD with 1:30 on the clock and 61 yards to go again, but that’s also not possible.

What is possible is that I officially cancel the parlay/teaser picks. I don’t like doing them. They’re losers. We’re all better off for it.

We are on to Week 5.

Picks

10* TENNESSEE (+7.5) over Georgia

First off, these two teams have played a one-possession game for six straight years. Maybe I’m wrong here, but I think a week ago this game would’ve been close to even. We’re still trying to figure out where everyone fits in the grand scheme of things. I think Georgia is a very good team, but I also think they played as well as they can play against MSU last week, who probably peaked two weeks ago.

On the other hand UT looked terrible against UMass on Saturday. I thought the Vols would roll them, but on second thought, it’s not at all surprising that they would put together a lackluster performance. They were facing a juiceless, terrible team right between games with Florida (a devastating loss) and Georgia.

I think the game really hinges on Quinten Dormady…which is admittedly kind of scary.

9* SMU (-18.5) over UConn

UConn is just bad at football and they haven’t been able to recapture that Edsall magic just yet. They weren’t able to stick with lowly ECU in a shootout at home, how are they gonna come close against a sneaky, kinda good SMU team on the road?

8* VIRGINIA TECH-Clemson under 52

They’re averaging a combined 82 points, but only giving up a combined 23 points per game. I’m of the belief that the defenses tend to win out in these situations.

7* ILLINOIS (+7) over Nebraska

I think it’s just time to accept that the 2017 Nebraska Cornhuskers football team isn’t any good, like at all. They’ve struggled to beat Arkansas State and Rutgers at home. They lost to NIU at home. They got roasted by Oregon in the first half and then the Ducks almost choked the game back to them. Tanner Lee stinks. Mike Riley stinks. Nebraska stinks.

Illinois might stink, though.

6* KENTUCKY (-13.5) over Eastern Michigan

The problem here is if the Kentucky offense can generate enough points. I’m not worried about the Cats having a hangover from last week, mainly because EMU has the same concern after their home loss to Ohio in OT. EMU plays gross football that allows them to keep a lot of games close, but they’re not actually good and physically they’re way outmatched in this one.

5* Miami (OH) (+24) over NOTRE DAME

This is the least sexy opponent on the Notre Dame schedule this year, which means they have a great chance to lose it outright. Miami shouldn’t be taken all that lightly and they tend to play low possession games where one or two plays can swing a game dramatically.

But the real reason I like this: Chuck Martin (Miami’s HC) was a long-time assistant on Brian Kelly’s staff, both at ND and Grand Valley. Kelly is an asshole through and through, but I don’t think even he would show up a long-time assistant. I’m basing this on pure conjecture, but I’m guessing Kelly scheduled this game to help Chuck out with exposure for his program and I don’t think he’s going to embarrass the Redhawks if he can help it.

4* LOUISIANA TECH (-13.5) over South Alabama

Both teams coming off tough losses, one of them is a lot better than the other. USA just fired their OC after the home loss to Idaho.

3* Marshall (+4.5) over CINCINNATI

I’m gonna keep milking the Marshall train for all it’s worth. Aside from liking the Herd in general, it’s a good spot for them. They’re coming off a bye week after playing three games that should have given them a lot of confidence. Meanwhile, the Bearcats just played Navy, which is never great for the health of a team.

2* Indiana (+17) over PENN STATE

Similar line of thinking here. Hoosiers are fresh off a bye after a solid first three weeks. Nittany Lions are fresh off a slobberknocker in Iowa City.

1* Nevada (+10.5) over FRESNO STATE

The power rankings have seemed to like Fresno for “only” losing to Washington and Alabama by a combined 63 points. Maybe they’re right, but I don’t think it’s any reason they should be giving 10.5 here. Nevada is off to a rough start under their new coaching staff, but they had similar expectations to the Bulldogs heading into the season. I don’t think their respective performances against top 20 and FCS teams is enough to tell you reality is this far from expectations.

Not Actually Betting, But Sides I’d Take With A Hypothetical Gun To My Head

KANSAS STATE (-15.5) over Baylor

Washington (-26.5) over OREGON STATE

Miami (-4.5) over DUKE

WAZZU (+3.5) over USC

UTEP (+24) over ARMY

SOUTHERN MISS (-8.5) over North Texas

TULSA (+4.5) over Navy

Coastal Carolina (+11) over ULM

Troy (+19) over LSU

NMSU (+16.5) over ARKANSAS

UTAH STATE (+3.5) over BYU

Picks W-L: 19-22-1 (46.3%)
Confidence Points: 101 (of 235)

Season Total Tracker: After Week 3

5*

TCU (over 7.5) beats SMU (under 5, 1*) 56-36

(TCU 3-0; SMU 2-1)

It was an unnerving start with SMU taking a 16-7 lead into the second quarter, but the Frogs pulled it together to avoid what would’ve been a disastrous loss and managed to still cover in the process.

Big 12 play starts now and it starts with maybe the toughest game possible: at Oklahoma State. However, I’d say the conference slate may be a little easier than you would’ve thought before the season. Outside of the two Oklahoma schools, there’s not another team currently in the top 25. Frogs just need to go 5-4 in the league to cash the ticket.

4*

Vanderbilt (under 6) beats Kansas State (under 8, 1*) 14-7

(Vandy 3-0; K-State 2-1)

I think I’ve just gotta start rooting for the push. It would be a big win at this point. The next three games are daunting for the Dores (Bama, @ Florida, Georgia), which is followed up by what will be two tough road games. But after that the three game stretch of WKU, UK, and Mizzou all at home makes for some very winnable games. UK might be good, but the other two have been big disappointments.

Oregon (over 8) beats Wyoming (under 7.5, 1*) 49-13

(Oregon 3-0; Wyoming 1-2)

In Laramie, too. Outgained the Cowboys 558-183. Held former big-time NFL prospect Josh Allen to 10-25 passing for 66 yards. Jim Leavitt’s presence as DC has gone even better than expected.

3*

Notre Dame (over 8) beats Boston College (over 4) 49-20

(ND 2-1; BC 1-2)

It was an encouraging response for the Irish after the Georgia disappointment at home. It’s not exactly cause for celebration yet, though. This was a game they had to have just to stay in the hunt.

As for BC, at least they scored 20 points? They have to beat CMU next week or we’re cooked.

Ohio (over 7.5) beats Kansas (over 3, 1*) 42-30

(Ohio 2-1; KU 1-2)

It wasn’t really that close. The Bobcats had control from the start. Both of their QBs played well. It’s sad (for Kansas) that you expected Ohio to win this game, but it was important that the Bobcats at least split with the Jayhawks and Purdue.

South Carolina (over 5.5) loses to Kentucky (under 7, 1*) 23-13

(USC 2-1; UK 3-0)

Yikes. There’s still four wins out there for the Cocks, but it just got a little tougher.

2*

Florida (over 8.5) beats Tennessee (under 7.5, 1*) 26-20

(UF 1-1; Tenn 2-1)

It was hard to watch, man.

Mississippi State (under 5.5) beats LSU (under 9, 1*) 37-7

(MSU 3-0; LSU 2-1)

I’m for sure losing this one. BYU, UK, UMass, and Ole Miss still at home.

Nebraska (under 7) loses to NIU (over 6, 1*) 21-17

(Nebraska 1-2; NIU 2-1)

Special shoutout to Mike Riley. The Huskers now have to go 6-3 in league play just to push. They are in the Big Ten West, but they have to play Ohio State and Penn State from the East.

Purdue (over 2.5) beats Missouri (under 6.5, 1*) 35-3

(Purdue 2-1; Mizzou 1-2)

My only regret is not putting more on both. Purdue just needs one more win and it’s over. Missouri STINKS.

1*

Memphis (under 8.5) beats UCLA (over 7.5) 48-45

(Memphis 2-0; UCLA 2-1)

Jim Mora and Josh Rosen are a perfect fit together. They do just enough to make you believe and then they completely screw the pooch. Memphis might hit the over only playing 11 games this year, although they still have road games with UCF, Houston, and Tulsa and Navy at home won’t be a walk in the park.

Charlotte (under 4) loses to NC A&T 35-31

(Charlotte 0-3)

In the picks this week, I wrote about why this isn’t really all that bad of a loss, but it’s still a missed opportunity. Love the 49ers this week, though.

SDSU (over 9.5) beats Stanford (over 8.5, 2*) 20-17

(SDSU 3-0; Stanford 1-2)

Things are looking bleak for that Cardinal pick, but never count out David Shaw’s ability to win 9 games. Obviously, it was a huge win for the Aztecs, who are just a machine at this point. Their toughest road game left is this week at Air Force. If they win, I’m making the executive decision to put them on 12-0 watch.

CFB Picks: Week 4

5-4-1 last week, pushing the Texas Tech game. 27 (out of 47) in the confidence point rankings. The parlays and teasers continue to be a disaster, but also a reminder of why I stopped playing them.  I couldn’t narrow it down to 10 this week, so you get two extra picks free of charge, but don’t be afraid to donate on Venmo @mlparlays.

Picks

12* HOUSTON (-6) over Texas Tech

Going in to last week, I thought the Red Raiders might have turned a small corner with their defense and it looked like that may end up being the case as the game with Arizona State went on. They were up 18 points on three separate occasions. Then, the old TT defense was back, they let ASU tie it late in the game and they ended up giving up 500 yards to a team that’s really not that good.

I’m not sure how much we know about the Cougar offense at this point in the post-Greg Ward and Tom Herman era, but we do know that Kyle Allen will dink-and-dunk all over the place against a defense like TT’s. He’s completed a nation’s best of 84.3% of his passes. Pretty good.

What I know for sure is that UH is not gonna be giving up a 50-burger to the Red Raiders. They’ve given up 19 points through two games and have some NFL talent on that side of the ball. I’m just not seeing a path to victory for a Tech team that tends to really struggle away from Lubbock.

11* CHARLOTTE (+3.5) over Georgia State

You may be wondering why anyone would bother even looking at a matchup between two of the five worst teams in the FBS. The answer: it’s true that both of these teams are bad, but one of them is playing at home and that team is getting 3.5 big ones.

I’ll start with Georgia State. They lost at home to Tennessee State as 15-point favorites to start the season. They managed a whopping 10 points in the process. I’m not here to disparage TSU, but it’s a mediocre to slightly above average FCS program. The only other game for the Panthers was a 56-0 loss to Penn State. That’s expected, but that’s all the 49ers have played right now and I’m not sensing a ton of confidence off those two games.

Listen, Charlotte is a hard sell here. They’re not great. However, they did hang around with Eastern Michigan on the road, they at least managed to score (IN THE FIRST QUARTER) on Kansas State, and they were driving to take the lead late on NC A&T last week before a regrettable pick-six ended the rally. And, yeah, I know NC A&T, but the Aggies win 9 or 10 games every year and actually beat Kent State as well last year.

It’s a game of suck, for sure. I wouldn’t watch it if I could, but the 49ers are playing at home and I think they’ve at least had something to feel good about so far this season.

10* SOUTH ALABAMA (-4) over Idaho

I wasn’t alone in thinking Idaho was due for a dropoff this year after the flukiest season of all-time, the real question is how severe it would be. They opened by beating Sac State in what appears to be the most boring football game ever, excluding every NFL game played this season.

And for those who maybe don’t pay attention to the lower levels, you probably heard that UNLV was on the wrong side of the biggest upset ever in Week 1 by losing to Wagner? Well, Week 2 they went to Idaho and SMASHED the Vandals 44-16, piling up 550 yards along the way.

Idaho played better last week at Western Michigan (still lost), but in the words of Bill “Broken Record” Simmons, are we sure they’re good? There’s no real proof to support the Broncos yet.

As for the team I’m actually betting on here, heading into the season I liked USA to make a bowl this year. They were tuned up pretty good by Ole Miss and Oklahoma State the first two weeks, but at least they covered the first one and “hung” with the Pokes just as well as Pitt and Tulsa did, so that’s something?

I guess the concern would be that QB Cole Garvin’s status is up in the air, but I’m not sure it really matters that much. Backup Dallas Davis started 10 games last year and Garvin’s not what anyone would deem close to “irreplaceable”. He didn’t play in the Jags 45-0 win over Alabama A&M last week. But if it’s important to you that he plays, I’ve got good news: he’s looking for a cure.

Jags are locked in.

9* PURDUE-Michigan under 52

I’ve spent a lot of time and effort now talking about lower-tier C-USA and Sun Belt teams and I’ve gotta tell you, I’m gassed.

Luckily, you should probably already know about Michigan’s struggles on offense. They can’t finish drives, they just lost a starting WR, and their QB is still a poor man’s John Navarre. For all the (deserved) hype Jeff Brohm has gotten, Boiler DC Nick Holt might be the real star of the show. Mizzou had to really struggle to even gain 200 yards of total offense. The problem here might be their lack of a pass rush and that allowing the more athletic UM skill players to run free. But of course poor man’s John Navarre still has to throw it, so that’s tricky.

Purdue’s offense has been better than expected given their lack of returning WRs and their makeshift O-Line. However, I could see both of those issues rearing their ugly heads against an elite defense. The Boilers were able to carve up Mizzou with standard runs and a TON of borderline extended handoffs that were considered passes. That won’t work as well against all the speed on the Wolverine D.

8* TEXAS STATE (+14) over UTSA

UTSA is well-coached, really improved since Frank Wilson took over, and they had a nice win over a very bad Baylor team, but now we’re making them two touchdown favorites on the road all of a sudden?

TSU has their own little youth movement goin’ on in San Marcos. For starters, they got a win Week 1. Week 2, they lose at Colorado 37-3, but the score was far from indicative of how that game went. Turnovers killed the Bobcats in the third quarter, but they certainly didn’t get rolled. Last week they were within one yard of taking heavy Sun Belt favorite App State to OT. They outgained the Mountaineers by more than 100 yards.

7* Ohio (+2.5) over EASTERN MICHIGAN

EMU has had a nice start to the season, punctuated by their win at Rutgers…but here’s the thing: Rutgers still sucks.

I thought the Eagles had a pretty fluky year last year and have doubted them from the start. I’ve liked Ohio. I don’t think the Purdue loss is going to end up looking that bad for them and they rebounded from it by pasting Kansas.

It’s gonna be a low-scoring game, but I think the Bobcats will be able to run the ball with more consistency and they have a better ability to make plays on offense. I also like the fact that EMU beat them last year. Ohio’s always been the better program and I think they’ll have a little extra motivation to make sure the Eagles regress back to the mean.

6* KANSAS-West Virginia under 68.5

By far the best defense Kansas will have played to this point in the season. They’ve been better offensively so far, but I’d expect that to die down against the Mountaineers. First road game for WVU and I’d like to see how well their offense travels.

5* CAL (+17) over USC

The Trojans are coming off two huge wins at home over Stanford and Texas. They’re going away from the Coliseum for the first time this season and it’s a night game in Berkeley in front of what should be a great crowd. The Bears have already won at UNC and taken down Ole Miss at home. They have a defense now, thanks to new HC Justin Wilcox.

4* TCU (+13) over OKLAHOMA STATE

I like OSU and they’ve obviously been awesome, but they’ve also played three teams who are probably not going to turn out to be very good. TCU’s the first team they’ve played that has anything close to a defense and it’s a pretty good one. I think the line’s begging you to take the Pokes.

3* MICHIGAN STATE-Notre Dame under 54

Originally thought about taking MSU here until I really started looking at it. I don’t see the path for a lot of points. For starters, it’s a Michigan State game. All they want to do is run. On the other side, all Notre Dame might be able to do is run.

2* LOUISVILLE-Kent State over 56.5

I think Bobby Petrino is going to try and score as many points as possible after the Cardinals got embarrassed at Clemson, just to try and get the confidence level back up. And it’s not like Kent State will have many answers defensively. I think you’re going to get something out of the Flashes in terms of scoring. I don’t really think Louisville’s defense is anything to write home about and they haven’t pitched a shutout since September 2013. And in that game, the Cardinals scored 72 points.

1* Toledo (+13.5) over MIAMI (FL)

Toledo can score with anybody and at this point I think you’d have to consider them a heavy favorite to win the MAC. There’s a lot of question marks with Miami right now. Week 1 is Week 1, but they didn’t exactly light up Bethune Cookman. Also, Week 1 was three weeks ago and it’s the last time the Canes played, due to Irma. I’m not sure what to expect from them, but I’m inclined to take the side that’s been scoring a ton of points, winning football games, and in a rhythm.

Money Line Parlay of the Week

Nebraska, MTSU, Houston (+120)

Nebraska burned me here last week, so call it a double down if you will. If Mike Riley loses to NIU and Rutgers on back-to-back weeks at home, I’d suggest he leave Lincoln before the locals find him. Things are going poorly for MTSU right now, but Bowling Green is one of the worst teams in college football.

Teaser of the Week

Boise (-6), South Carolina (-3), Michigan State (+10.5) — (+190)

Boise gets Virginia at home on a Friday night. I think the Broncos are past their hangover week post-Wazzu and they roll UVA. Speaking of teams burning me last weekend, I had South Carolina tied up in both the parlay and teaser last week. I’m just gonna stick them here this week. Surely they can beat a LT team that got blasted by Mississippi St. at home, right? RIGHT?!

Not Actually Betting, But Sides I’d Take With A Hypothetical Gun To My Head

APPALACHIAN STATE (+4.5) over Wake Forest

Arkansas State (+6) over SMU

TENNESSEE (-26) over UMass

Washington (-10) over COLORADO

FLORIDA STATE (-10.5) over NC State

IOWA (+13) over Penn State

TROY (-15) over Akron

CENTRAL MICHIGAN (-2) over Miami (OH)

SOUTH CAROLINA (-8) over Louisiana Tech

BUFFALO (-3) over Florida Atlantic

Picks W-L: 15-14-1 (51.7%)
Confidence Points: 76 (of 157)
Parlays: 0-3 (-300)
Teasers: 0-3 (-300)

Season Total Tracker: After Week 2

5*

TCU (over 7.5) beats Arkansas (under 6.5, 1*) 28-7

I didn’t have big expectations for Arkansas heading into the season, but either way, a road win against an SEC team is never easy. But I appreciated the Frog D thoroughly dominating the Hog O and it was never a sweat.

HOWEVAH, one thing I was counting on this year was Kenny Hill being better at quarterback. It’s only two games, but…he still kinda sucks. The running game has been fruitful, but they still don’t have a go-to receiver. It’s hard to complain too much about a team that’s up 91-7 on the season and has another blowout looming, but still.

4*

Oregon (over 8) beats Nebraska (under 7, 2*) 42-35

I was ready to cash the ticket when the Ducks went into half 42-14. Pop the champagne, light the stogies, this puppy is already over. All I have to do now is hope they win the natty and cash that +10500 ticket.

Losing the second half 21-0 and nearly blowing the game entirely was less fun.

But a win’s a win and the show goes on. The offense still put up 1,000 yards. The defense still looks a hell of a lot better than last year. We’re still in the soft part of the schedule.

Vandy (under 6) beats Alabama A&M 42-0

Whatever. You expect that.

But if they beat K-State, I might start panicking a little bit.

3*

Georgia (over 8.5) beats Notre Dame (over 8) 20-19

Georgia is right on pace for 9 or 10 wins. Notre Dame loses a close game. Brian Kelly is being an unnecessary asshole. Pretty much par for the course.

If Notre Dame doesn’t beat BC this weekend, it’s over.

Central Michigan (over 6.5) beats Kansas (over 3, 1*) 45-27

I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t some real concern in the MLP household after it took the Chips 3 OTs to take care of Rhode Island at home. The same Rhode Island that has gone 16-74 since 2009.

But we are so back in Mount Pleasant. Shane Morris is throwing for 467 and 5 tuddies. We’ve got a vulnerable Syracuse team coming up this weekend.

Houston (over 8) beats Arizona (over 5.5, 1*) 19-16

The Cougs now have to go 9-2 in order to cash out due to the UTSA game being cancelled, so this is a nice place to start. The offense still looks like it can rack up the yards without Tom Herman, at least. Defense only gave up 16 points.

Illinois (under 3.5) beats Western Kentucky (under 9.5, 1*)

Seems preposterous…but is Illinois good? Could be our first loser of the season.

2*

Georgia Southern (over 5) loses to New Hampshire 22-12

I thought that Tyson Summers going away from the option in his first year last year was the problem. It appears now that maybe Tyson Summers is the problem.

MTSU (over 7) beats Syracuse (under 4.5, 1*) 30-23

After dropping game one in ugly fashion to Vandy at home, this is a big one. The Stockstill-James combo was back in full swing. This week will be tough at Minnesota, but after that it’s four of the worst teams in college football.

Ohio State (over 11) loses to Oklahoma (under 9.5, 1*) 31-16

This was unfortunate. Am I worried? No. The push is still gonna happen. Urban Meyer was put on this Earth to win football games at a minimum of a 92% clip.

1*

Baylor (over 7.5) loses to UTSA (over 6.5) 17-10

Nobody likes a guy who can’t laugh at himself and the Baylor over will go down as one of the worst predictions of all-time.

HUGE FOR THE UTSA OVER THOUGH!

Louisville (over 9.5) beats UNC (under 7) 47-35

I’m going to miss Lamar Jackson so much.

San Diego St. (over 9.5) beats Arizona State (under 5) 30-20

The Aztecs are a well-oiled machine.

 

CFB Picks: Week 3

Great start to the season so far if you’re looking to be an Average Joe. Both weeks have ended at 5-5. This week was a little better in terms of confidence points at least, grabbing 29 (out of 55). I should probably add the disclaimer that I’ve always been terrible with grading out the confidence/unit size thing.

Picks

10* WASHINGTON STATE (-18.5) over Oregon State

It wasn’t a thing of beauty, but the Cougs grinded one out over Boise despite a “constipated” offense. I would assume Luke Falk can go, but it didn’t appear to matter very much whether it was him or Hilinski running the show.

It also doesn’t matter because Oregon State is atrocious. They’re also especially bad against the pass, giving up 10.5 yards per attempt, which is “good” enough for 113th best in the country.

9* SOUTH CAROLINA (-6.5) over Kentucky

At this point, you’d have to consider South Carolina a legitimate contender to win the SEC East. UK hasn’t been all that impressive in wins over Southern Miss and EKU. Jake Bentley has given the Cocks their first formidable offense in a while and I don’t think UK has the firepower to keep up on the road.

 

8* TEXAS TECH (-7) over Arizona State

It’s hard to tell much off of one game, but the Red Raiders shut down a normally potent Eastern Washington team in Week 1. They’ve also had two weeks to prepare for the Aztecs, who were just soundly beat at home by SDSU and didn’t have high hopes heading into the season. It’ll likely be another massive shootout between these two, but I think TT is the more likely of the two to slow the other down.

7* CAL (+3.5) over Ole Miss

There were a lot of questions about Ole Miss heading into the year. What have we learned? Not much besides they’re not a total trainwreck, unlike Baylor who had similar questions. They’ve won relatively easy over two poor opponents, but nothing to signify the Rebels are anything above mediocre.

Cal opened the season with a major win over UNC on the road. They might’ve had a bit of a hangover performance with Weber State, but I’m not too worried about that. Their pass defense was great against the Heels and that will serve them well against the Ole Miss attack. Things should be lively in Berkeley with a 7:30 local time kickoff and a resurgence in the program.

6* SAN DIEGO STATE (+10) over Stanford

I’m not selling on Stanford yet, but SDSU continues to be a good team this year and it’s a tough team for the Cardinal to play coming off of USC week. The Aztec front has kept up their strong run defense, giving up just 1.5 ypc against Arizona State. Meanwhile, Stanford hasn’t been as strong through two games, giving up over 5 ypc. Both teams are run heavy, so those numbers will obviously have a big impact.

5* UTEP (+20) over Arizona

Does UTEP suck? Yes, they do. However, I’m still pretty sure Arizona isn’t good and they’ve been vulnerable in games like these in the past. Similar to the preposterous-ness that was Oregon State being favored over anybody last week, it doesn’t make sense for Arizona to be laying nearly three touchdowns on the road.

4* LSU (-6.5) over MISSISSIPPI STATE

Once again, the run game will be crucial in this one. And once again, the team I’m on has been much better than the opponent AGAINST the run. The Bulldogs have looked good early, but it’s come against schedule fluffers.

3* TCU (-18) over SMU

SMU ended up beating North Texas by quite a bit, but they actually were matched by the Mean Green in total yardage. I don’t see the Stangs having any shot at shutting the TCU offense down. Meanwhile, the Horned Frogs have given up 7 points through two games.

2* UCF (+2) over Georgia Tech    CANCELLED

I’d feel better about it, but it’s hard to gauge how much the hurricane is going to affect preparation/mindset.

2* Illinois (+17) over SOUTH FLORIDA

I’m not sure this game is even going to happen. But if it does, USF has been pretty disappointing thus far in the season with lackluster performances against bad football teams. Meanwhile, the Illini are fresh off a dominating defensive performance against Western Kentucky, holding the Hilltoppers to 7 points.

1* Clemson (-3) over LOUISVILLE

Lamar Jackson is the ultimate X-factor, but the defensive front for Clemson is incredible and there’s some holes on that Cardinal O-line, mainly at center. Kelly Bryant has shown a lot of pose and capability through two weeks. I know the game was close last year, but I don’t see 5 Tiger turnovers happening again.

Money Line Parlay of the Week

Nebraska, Western Kentucky, South Carolina (+120)

Huskers have been a little shaky to start the year, but I don’t think NIU can score enough to stick with them. WKU was embarrassed at Illinois, but the same was true for Louisiana Tech at home against Mississippi State. I’ve got more faith in the Hilltopper D.

Teaser of the Week

South Carolina (pick), Texas Tech (-0.5), Cal (+10) – (+165)

Only 6.5 this week.

Not Actually Betting, But Sides I’d Take With A Hypothetical Gun To My Head

New Mexico (+16) over BOISE STATE

Coastal Carolina (-2) over UAB

Clemson (-3) over LOUISVILLE

Central Michigan (+10.5) over SYRACUSE

WESTERN KENTUCKY (-7) over Louisiana Tech

OHIO STATE (-29.5) over Army

WYOMING (+14) over Oregon

Purdue (+8) over MISSOURI

 

Picks W-L: 10-10 (50.0%)
Confidence Points: 49 (of 110)
Parlays: 0-2 (-200)
Teasers: 0-2 (-200)

Season Total Tracker: After Week 1

Last year I picked the Power 5 totals before the season – after spending an embarrassing amount of hours doing research and writing them – and then never spoke of them again. That was pretty dumb.

This year, I’m gonna pick a few of the outcomes from the recent week of games that affected the totals the most. This will obviously have a slant toward my picks – given that they’re broken down by the confidence I placed in them – but I’ll still touch on major results for the 112 teams I didn’t bet on.

5*

TCU (over 7.5) beats Jackson State 63-0

The Frogs are the only one in this group, so I guess get used to a lot of Kenny Trill talk. Not much to say this week. Anytime you’ve got heavy stakes on a team winning at least 8 games, I guess it’s nice to see that they can roll over a team that went 3-8 in the SWAC last year.

4*

Vandy (under 6) beats MTSU (over 7, 2*) 28-6

This was always a toss-up game and one that Vandy was favored in, so it’s not time to panic yet. It was a little unsettling how dominant their defense was against a pretty good offense, however. Also not great: Kyle Shurmur being very competent at QB.

Oregon (over 8) beats Southern Utah 77-21

Similar to the TCU result, but at least SUU is a decent FCS program. Maybe the biggest news out of the week is that Vegas respects Oregon enough to have them giving 14 points to Nebraska this weekend. Other good news: upcoming road opponents Wyoming and Arizona State both looked worse than what was probably expected.

3*

Maryland (over 3.5) beats Texas (over 8, 1*) 51-41

HUUUUUUUUUGE

Boston College (over 4) beats Northern Illinois (over 6, 1*) 23-20

It wasn’t the prettiest thing, but it’s a win on the road against a not-terrible team. Still 4 to 6 games left on the schedule they’ll have at least a 50ish% chance of winning.

South Carolina (over 5.5) beats NC State (over 7.5, 1*) 35-28

Big one for the Gamecocks. The +100000 national championship bid is still alive.

2*

Florida (over 8.5) loses to Michigan (under 9, 1*) 33-17

It wasn’t a huge deal that they lost, but it was the fact their offense once again looks absolutely terrible and that there’s no real QB again.

Florida State (over 10) loses to Alabama (over 11) 24-7

I didn’t expect them to win, but reallllllly coulda done without Francois being lost for the season.

Texas A&M (over 7) loses to UCLA (over 7.5, 1*) 45-44

Blowing a 34-point lead is never an ideal way to start the season. Never ideal.

1*

Baylor (over 7.5) loses to Liberty 48-45

LIBERTY! Credit to me for having the guts to bet on a program in complete shambles.

Georgia Tech (under 6.5) loses to Tennessee (under 7.5) 42-41

I guess in a head-to-head under match here, it’s always better to have the team with a higher total win. I think they both might suck.

Cal (under 3.5) beats UNC (under 7) 35-30

This, on the other hand, was not good.