Month: September 2016

Week 5 CFB Picks

7-4 last week. Only loss was the one with the highest units, so beware of the Wake pick this week.

PITTSBURGH (-16) over Marshall – 2u
PITTSBURGH-Marshall over 66 – 3u

I still love Pittsburgh, even after coming off a couple of tough road losses. They blew that one at UNC last week (still covered), but getting Marshall at home for a night game is a nice way to get a bounce back. I love watching the Panthers play offense and I’d expect them to rack up 50+ against Marshall’s dreadful D. The Herd get QB Chase Litton back this week. They’re 3-0 on overs this year.

PENN STATE (-2.5) over Minnesota – 2u

I’d consider Penn State a slightly better team to begin with. Add on top of that it’s Minnesota’s first road game after unimpressively beating three subpar teams at home to start the season and the myriad of injuries and suspensions that they have. The Nittany Lions got smoked last week against Michigan, which was really just another example of the difference between the top 4 teams in the league and the rest.

CLEMSON (+2) over Louisville – 3u

I am willing to die on the Louisville hill. If they go into Death Valley and win a night game, I will never bet against Lamar Jackson in any form or fashion ever again.

OKLAHOMA STATE (-2) over Texas – 2u

I still believe.

Wake Forest (+12) over NC STATE – 4u

Ridiculous line. I feel like I’m missing something. I didn’t have high expectations for either team heading into the year, but the Deacs are 4-0 with road wins at Duke and Indiana. Not exactly the elites of college football, but it’s certainly more impressive of an abbreviated resume over one with wins over William & Mary and Old Dominion and a loss at East Carolina.

SOUTH CAROLINA (+18) over Texas A&M – 2u

I’m heavily invested in the Aggies, but this game makes me nervous for some reason. South Carolina isn’t good by any standards, but they play ugly game after ugly game. We haven’t seen A&M play poorly yet, and I’ve got a feeling it’s this week while they look ahead to Tennessee next week.

Michigan State (-6.5) over INDIANA – 2u

MSU has beat IU seven straight times, by an average of 24.7 ppg. The over has hit 8 straight times, btw.

Season: 33-25-4 (56.9%)

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Week 4 CFB Picks

Bounce back week last week, ending up at 17-10 with the units. Don’t love the board this week, so only a few plays.

VIRGINIA TECH (-12.5) over East Carolina – 3u

About 75% of the spread action is on the Pirates. I get it. They beat NC State at home and nearly got South Carolina on the road. The only national game the Hokies played in, they got beat by 21 and the majority of the public was on them to cover as 11 point dogs. However, Va Tech is significantly better than both of the Power 5 teams ECU has played so far and it’s in Blacksburg. The Hokies have the #3 total defense in the country right now after only giving up 124 yards to BC in a 49-0 rout last week. They outgained Tennessee in that loss by 70 yards. The reason they lost was because they were -4 in turnovers. Not likely to happen again.

AKRON (+5.5) over Appalachian St. – 4u

I thought everyone would hop off the App St. train after Miami destroyed them, but I guess not. I lost two weeks ago riding the Zips at Wisconsin, but last week they bounced back and won by 27 at Marshall as 17-point dogs. Besides the obvious talent disparity of the two teams they played, the biggest difference for Akron was their ability to throw the ball last week, which I expected more from them up in Madison. The Mountaineers Pass D is vulnerable and I like the Zips for that reason.

Pittsburgh (+7) over NORTH CAROLINA – 2u

Panthers closed as 2.5 point dogs at Oklahoma State last week (lost by a TD) and are now getting 4.5 more points at UNC. This is an easy call for me given that I think OSU is better than UNC. The reason I liked the Panthers this year outside of their running game, was that I expected their defense to improve under Narduzzi in his second year. Hasn’t really happened yet (to say the least), but they’re still playing well regardless. Their defense is only gonna get better and they’re going to continue running the ball down people’s throats, including this Saturday.

MARSHALL-Louisville over 74.5 – 2u

Louisville might hit this number on their own.

Season: 26-21-4 (55.3%)

NFL Futures Bonanza

Image result for russell wilson ciara

If you’ve read this blog for any significant amount of time, you know I’m a sucker for future bets. I like game lines as much as the next guy, but you’ve never really lived until you hit Mike Budenholzer for NBA Coach of the Year at +7500. I guarantee you I was happier than Budenholzer himself when that announcement broke. Electric moment.

Betting on the NFL week-to-week gets pretty difficult. There’s no other spreads out there that get worked as much an NFL line and I don’t find a ton of value in them. However, I’m here today to make a pick on every single category listed in the NFL Futures category on sportsbook.ag. They’re the most organized on the web and they probably put out more than anybody else.

QB Specials

Russell Wilson Passes for Over 4,500 Yards +800

Russell Wilson is now engaging in sexual intercourse again. And it’s with Ciara. That’s gotta give a man some newfound confidence. He threw for just over 4,000 a year ago, a career high. Each year of his career, he’s increased his number of pass attempts and yards. His 68% completion percentage and 34 passing TDs in 2015 were both career highs. Doug Baldwin, Jermaine Kearse, and Tyler Lockett are all back at WR and Jimmy Graham is back at TE after having an injury-shortened debut season with the Seahawks. At 8-to-1, it’s a pretty reasonable bet that Wilson will continue his upward trend and hit this mark in his fifth season.

Season Specials

Any Player to Have a 99 Yard Pass Play in Any Game +800

There have been 11 in the 50 seasons since the merger. At that rate, that means there’s a 22% chance that it happens in a season. But since the game has changed from the “3 yards and a cloud of dust” era, there’s been five in the past 14 seasons (36%). That ratio is a lot closer to 2 or 3-to-1, than it is the 8-to-1 that it’s listed at. In addition, we haven’t had one since 2011. Listen, there’s no real rhyme or reason why it’s going to happen this year, but it’s kinda like a volcano. You don’t know exactly when it’s going to erupt, but you know it’s supposed to erupt soon. And if you’re not buying any of that (don’t blame you), would you rather root for 99 yard touchdowns or not root for 99 yard touchdowns?

Most Interceptions

Earl Thomas +2500

The guy with the best odds is last year’s leader, Marcus Peters at +900. No one has led this category two years in a row since Everson Walls in ’81 and ’82. This category is kind of a crapshoot, but I promised you picks, so picks you’ll get. To narrow it down, I used a couple of factors. One, I wanted to pick a safety. I think corners are easier to avoid throwing at. Two, I wanted to pick a guy on a good team that would face more situations where teams are desperately passing at the end of games. So I landed on Thomas. He’s played every game in his six-year career and he has 21 career interceptions, reaching five in a single season on three separate occasions.

Most Sacks

Carlos Dunlap +2000

Dunlap is in his seventh season with the Bengals. He’s recorded 49 sacks over his first six years and after recording 4.5 sacks in his second season, he’s been climbing in numbers every year. He had 13.5 last season. I look for guys with durability and he hasn’t missed a game the past three seasons. You really can’t go wrong with the top three guys on the board – JJ Watt, Khalil Mack, and Von Miller – and they still have decent odds, but I prefer to take guys up in the four figure range.

Most Touchdowns

Eddie Lacy +4000

Big comeback year for Fat Eddie. He averaged 12 total touchdowns over his first two years before dipping to five a season ago, when he became Fat Eddie. After an offseason spent with that psycho P90X guy, he’s back in shape and had a good preseason. The underrated element of Lacy’s game has been his pass-catching. He’s caught 97 balls in his three seasons and scored six touchdowns off of them. I think another element that helps him out is Jordy Nelson coming back this year. That should ignite an often stagnant offense in 2015 and allow for more scoring opportunities for everyone.

Most Receiving Yards

Amari Cooper +3000

I also liked Keenan Allen at the same number, but for all of the balls that Allen catches, he only averages about 10-11 yards per catch and the Chargers added Travis Benjamin (big play guy) in the offseason. Cooper had 1,070 receiving yards last year in his rookie season and is by far the top option in the offense. He eclipsed the 1,000 yard mark and he only caught 72 balls (14.9 ypc). The reason I like him to go up in numbers this year is the fact that he was targeted 130 times. Drops were a problem for him often last year, but you’d expect him to rectify that this season. In addition, it’s another year with Derek Carr and you’d expect the chemistry to be even better.

Most Rushing Yards

Doug Martin +1500

It’s been boom or bust for the Muscle Hamster through his first four years in the league. He’s book-ended two seasons where he didn’t reach 500 rushing yards with two seasons where he eclipsed 1,400 yards. Health has been the key and there are no signs of trouble heading into the season. He’s got largely the same O-line in front of him again this year and in Year 2 of Jameis Winston you would expect increased production from the passing game, allowing for better running lanes for Martin.

Most Passing Yards

Russell Wilson +5000

Kind of an insane number when you think about the fact the leader the past three seasons hasn’t reached 5,000 yards and it’s only 8-to-1 for Wilson to reach 4,500. He’s a durable guy. If you’d like to diversify, I also like Blake Bortles at +2500.

Next Coach Fired

Gus Bradley +1300

I want to be behind the Jags. I really do. But Bradley has won 12 games in three seasons and the schedule sets up for a quick hook if the Jags feel it’s necessary. They open with the Packers, then they go across the country to play at San Diego before taking on the Ravens at home. Week 4 is against the Colts in London before a bye week. If they’re 1-3 or 0-4 at that point, I could see Shahid Khan pulling the trigger.

Make Playoffs

Seattle Seahawks – No – +300

This one’s hard because there’s not many with decent value that are in the “Yes” category. If you want to take one with a decent sized longshot, you’re better off just taking them to win their division. So I picked a “No”. I realize this goes against my Russell Wilson and Earl Thomas picks. Whatever. The defense only seems to be slipping. They keep losing guys because they can’t afford them after their rookie contracts. Bruce Irvin is now gone. Beastmode is gone from the offense now and their O-line is still questionable with their pass protection.

Super Bowl Winning Division

AFC South +1500

Longest odds of any division. This is a stupid bet no matter what division you pick. I could go into a long explanation with math and numbers and shit, but how about I just say don’t do it.

Offensive Rookie of the Year

Derrick Henry +1800

The answer is probably Ezekiel Elliott at +110, but we don’t pick favorites here. Just like the MVP, QBs and RBs are pretty much the only people that usually win these things. Dak is gonna be cannibalized by Zeke. Carson Wentz is probably gonna stink this year and possibly forever. I’ll take Henry for the Titans. He’s the backup to DeMarco Murray, who’s probably going to get hurt and/or stink, so Henry might get the head job.

Defensive Player of the Year

Kwon Alexander +15000

Dunlap is +10000 and Thomas is +6000 and I won’t give them again, so here, take my homer pick in Alexander. The Bucs have three players of the 50 guys with odds and Mike Smith takes over as DC. He may not be good as a HC, but he can coach a defense and there’s a chance the Bucs have an elite defense this year. Alexander had 93 tackles in 12 games as a rookie.

Coach of the Year

Bill O’Brien +4000

Big odds for O’Brien, which surprises me. If Brock Osweiler is good, couldn’t you see the Texans going like 12-4 with how shitty their division is? You’re right, he’s not good and Houston is perpetually 8-8. Whatever.

MVP

Eli Manning +3000

Image result for eli manning face

Super Bowl Possible Matchups

Giants vs. Steelers +9000

This is so stupid. I can’t believe people make actual bets on this.

Division Winners

NFC East – Giants +195

Whoops, took a favorite.

NFC North – Vikings +380

The Packers were not nearly good enough to be this big of favorites, regardless of who’s QB for the Vikings.

NFC South – Falcons +775

Panthers are definitely winning.

NFC West – Rams +1500

The Hard Knocks teams are always awesome, everyone knows that.

AFC East – Bills +800

I just want to root for T-Mobile and the Ryan brothers.

AFC North – Bengals +190

Do people forget how good Andy Dalton was before he got hurt last year?

AFC South – Titans +725

When the division is terrible, you take the one with the longest odds…unless they’re starting Carson Wentz and have a HC that literally everyone thinks shouldn’t be a head coach.

AFC West – Raiders +280

The video is Chris Berman being obnoxious (himself) for two seconds.

AFC Champion

Texans +1800

NFC Champion

Redskins +2000

Super Bowl Champion

Bengals +2000

Boy, that got repetitive.

 

CFB Championship and Heisman Picks

Image result for dalvin cook

Champion Picks

Favorites (Top 8)

Florida State +850

Almost an overwhelming amount of talent coming back. They get Clemson at home. Francois could be the next big thing at QB. Jimbo Fisher has won a title and then got to the semifinals a year later. They’ve got depth just about everywhere.

Second Tier (40-1 or less)

Stanford +3500

Washington is getting a ton of buzz there in the Pac-12 North this season and yet you can practically lock in the Cardinal for double digit wins every year. Kevin Hogan is gone, but Keller Chryst could be just as good this season.

Darkhorse (70-1 or less)

Texas A&M +6500

I professed my love for the Aggies in the SEC write-up already. A lot of this depends on Trevor Knight and him not sucking.

Super Darkhorse (75-1 or more)

Oklahoma State +10000

The schedule is scary, but I think they’re a Top 15 team with Top 30 type odds.

Heisman Picks

Favorites (Top 6)

Dalvin Cook +1200

The best team’s best player who is gonna put up insane numbers if he stays healthy.

Second Tier (40-1 or less)

Nick Chubb +3500

The SEC East stinks and there’s a good chance that Georgia reaches the SEC Title game with just one game to win to make the playoff. If the Bulldogs reach those heights, it’s gonna be on the back of Nick Chubb running for a million yards.

Darkhorse (70-1 or less)

Bo Scarbrough +5000

Alabama RBs are never a bad bet for the Heisman, especially with the comparisons Scarbrough is getting. With a name like that, he’s destined for big things.

Super Darkhorse (75-1 or more)

Saquon Barkley +8000

There’s a chance Penn State has a big year. If they do, their offense will be carried by Barkley. He basically played 9.25 games last year and still ran for over 1,000 yards (5.9 ypc). He even managed to put up 7.8 ypc on San Diego State last year before getting hurt after 8 carries.

CFB Season Win Totals: Big 12

Image result for gary patterson screaming

I’m picking every over/under season win total for the Power 5 schools in college football, as well as quite a few others from around the country. I didn’t write all this shit in a day, so the odds are probably not the current ones. Also, there’s a good chance I missed an injury or suspension or twelve. It’s a lot of teams to keep track of and I’m currently putting in 60 hour weeks. Don’t @ me.

Huge shoutout to Phil Steele and a variety of websites on the line making their #content available for all of us to consume. If you don’t use Phil to help you with gambling on college football, you’re lost, pal.

Also, at the bottom of each of these, I’ll give my best bet for the conference champion. It’s not based on who I actually think will win, just my best perceived value. So again, don’t @ me.

Oklahoma – over 10 (even) – 1*

It seems like every other team in the country that’s around 9 or 10 wins for their total is getting more action on the over, besides the Sooners. However, it’s not like they are losing a ton of talent, considering how good they were a season ago. They actually have more experience returning than the likes of Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State, Notre Dame, Stanford, TCU, or Houston. Their schedule is tough, but rates out about the same as their one from last year.

I think most of it stems from their lack of success under Bob Stoops when he has a team in the preseason Top 5. The highest they’ve finished the last four times they’ve started in the Top 5 is #15. They went 8-4 in ’14 and three losses were a combined 8 points. They went 10-2 in ’12. They went 9-3 in 2011. Of the nine losses in those three seasons, six of them were by a score or less. It’s not like the teams shit the bed. It’s an overplayed narrative that’s a lazy way to dismiss a team.

The 2016 team (the one we’re actually evaluating) is absolutely loaded. The biggest concern that you would have is if Baker Mayfield goes down, they could be in some real trouble.

The schedule isn’t very forgiving, but they only have four true road games and those four are TCU, Texas Tech, Iowa State, and West Virginia. That’s pretty favorable. The non-con is difficult, playing Houston in the Texans stadium and Ohio State at home.

TCU – over 8.5 (-140) – 1*

The offense is obviously the big question mark with only three starters back and having to replace Trevone Boykin, Josh Doctson, and Aaron Green. They were in a similar spot under Gary Patterson back in 2011 when they also only had three guys back and were replacing Andy Dalton. They averaged 40.8 ppg and went 10-2. I’m not saying that means they’ll for sure do it again, but it’s nice to have the precedent. Kenny Trill Hill is taking over at QB and I think he’ll fit perfectly in this offense. They’re also reloading at wide receiver. The O-line only has 46 starts coming back, but I’m not sure Patterson has ever had O-line that wasn’t good.

The defense has 8 starters coming back from last season and basically 11 if you consider the three guys that were out last year, but started in ’14. They’re capable of averaging under 20 ppg allowed.

I’d expect them to start off 4-0 before they take on the Sooners at home. They’ll face Baylor and Texas on the road.

Baylor – under 8.5 (-110) – 1*

The Bears obviously lost their head coach and subsequently about 1,000 transfers (actual number: 14) over the summer. The transfers only include 3 probably starters and none of them started last year, though. The real issue is depth now and in the future. 7 of their best 9 recruits were a part of those 14 transfers.

On offense, their stable of running backs and QB Seth Russell are back. However, WR Corey Coleman and 144 career starts worth of O-linemen are not. Also gone is both of their backup QBs from last year – Jarrett Stidham and Chris Robinson – who were a part of those transfers. Robinson was actually a WR, but Stidham leaving could be a big deal given how good he was when he stepped in for Russell while he was injured.

They return five starters from a pretty average defense. Their D-linemen were probably the best unit on that side of the ball and they’re replacing all of those guys. Both parts of the projected 2-deep at NT were also a part of the hoard of transfers. They should be solid on the back end, but they’re probably not going to get a ton of help in the form of a pass rush.

The non-con schedule is cake. They get Oklahoma State and TCU at home, but will travel to Texas and Oklahoma and face Tech in Arlington. They close the season at West Virginia, which could be the deciding game on this total.

Texas – over 7 (-165) – 1*

They’ve got 15 starters back, Charlie Strong is in his third year now, they can’t possibly be worse at quarterback. Overall, they’re just a solid team all around with enough talent to be great. They went 5-7 last year, including three by a combined 7 points. Of the three teams listed above them, they get Oklahoma on a neutral site and the other two at home. They do play Notre Dame and Cal again, but they get the Irish at home and Cal isn’t expected to be nearly as good this year, even though the game is on the road. Charlie Strong is too good of a coach to have another 7 loss season.

Oklahoma State – over 8.5 (-105) – 3*

The Cowboys went 10-2 last year and return 17 starters from a season ago. The total here is largely dictated by the schedule. They play OU, TCU, and Baylor all on the road after doing the opposite in ’15. However, I think the rest of the schedule is pretty easy. The toughest non-con is Pitt at home. I’m high on the Panthers, but that’s still advantage to the Cowboys with the game being in Stillwater. Their offense is almost all back and they add in Barry Sanders Jr. from Stanford. Emmanuel Ogbah will be tough to replace on D, but they do return their top 4 tacklers. The Cowboys might be dogs three times this season, but I think they can match up with every team on the schedule.

West Virginia – under 7.5 (-110) – 2*

Holgorsen is on the hot seat. They only have 4 starters back on D and I’m guessing they give up 30+ after giving up 24.6 ppg a year ago. The offense has been pretty consistent under Holgorsen, but they’re losing 1,500 yard rusher Wendell Smallwood this year. I only find two given wins on the schedule: Youngstown State and Kansas.

Kansas State – over 5.5 (-110) – 1*

There’s nothing sexy about this team (unless you’re into special teams) and I can’t tell you how they’re gonna do it, but Bill Snyder was put on this earth to win football games with inferior talent.

Texas Tech – under 6.5 (-105) – 1*

They’ve got the offense to keep up with just about anybody, but they’ve given up 40+ the past two years and they lose 4 of their top 6 tacklers and they lost DB Nigel Bethel over the summer, who had 11 PBUs last year. I’ve got them for three wins and six maybes and three of those maybes are on the road and two of the others are Texas and Baylor, who they haven’t had much recent success again, although they did sneak one out in the last game of the season at Texas last year.

Iowa State – over 3.5 (-110) – 1*

New HC Matt Campbell comes in from Toledo. They return 13 starters from a 3-9 team. They only have 25 career starts coming back on the O-line, but Campbell – and the OL coach he brought with him – worked miracles with his line last year at Toledo. If they’re going to reach this number, it’s going to come down to the last five weeks when they have four games at home and a road game at Kansas.

Kansas – over 1.5 (-110) – 2*

Such an absurdly low number. Yeah, they were 0-12 last year. Yeah, they were outscored by an average of 30 ppg. However, last year they lost to South Dakota St. in Week 1 by three points. SDSU was a Top 10 FCS team last year and this year the Jayhawks trade-in Rhode Island. Rhode Island wasn’t in the Top 90 of Phil Steele’s FCS Power Poll last year. That’s a W. Then, you’ve just got 11 shots at another W. If they don’t beat Ohio in Week 2 at home, things could get dicey until they play Iowa State at home on Nov. 12.

Best Bet for Conference Champion

Baylor +950

I mean, I don’t love the Bears this year, but they still have a chance to be really good and they’re a distant fifth in the odds. If they hold court at home, they just have to beat either Texas or Oklahoma on the road and they’ll be in a great position. The winner of the Big 12 pretty much always has one loss. Obviously I’m high on Okie State (+650), but with the schedule and worse odds than Baylor, I’ve gotta go with the Bears.

CFB Season Win Totals: ACC

Image result for dabo swinney screams at punter

I’m picking every over/under season win total for the Power 5 schools in college football, as well as quite a few others from around the country. I didn’t write all this shit in a day, so the odds are probably not the current ones. Also, there’s a good chance I missed an injury or suspension or twelve. It’s a lot of teams to keep track of and I’m currently putting in 60 hour weeks. Don’t @ me.

Huge shoutout to Phil Steele and a variety of websites on the line making their #content available for all of us to consume. If you don’t use Phil to help you with gambling on college football, you’re lost, pal.

Also, at the bottom of each of these, I’ll give my best bet for the conference champion. It’s not based on who I actually think will win, just my best perceived value. So again, don’t @ me.

Atlantic

Clemson – over 10.5 (-135) – 1*

Absolutely loaded on offense and will probably be back over 40 ppg again. The defense only has 4 starters back, but they have a ton of talent and a lot of the guys stepping have plenty of experience. They’ve got 11 guys coming back that made All-ACC. The season will come down to four games: at Auburn, Louisville, at Boston College, and at Florida State.

Florida State – over 10 (-115) – 1*

Basically everyone back on offense. Everett Golson is gone, but Sean Maguire is back after starting about half the season and Deondre Francois is a RFr. who actually beat out Maguire in camp. They’ll score a ton of points. Every defensive unit is Top 25 in the country. They only gave up 17.5 ppg last season. They’ve also got the best recruiting class in the country coming in. The schedule is fairly difficult, but they’ve got the talent to win it all.

Louisville – under 9 (-105) – 1*

A lot of people are high on Louisville. They’ve got 17 starters coming back. Their offense got much better as the year went on last season and should see improvement with QB Lamar Jackson in his second year after playing most of his true freshman year. I just see them as another year away from contending for the conference. They’re playing at Marshall and Houston out of conference, they play at Clemson, and they have to play the Seminoles early in the year. I don’t love many teams that have question marks with both lines.  I’m not betting on them to contend this season, but it wouldn’t surprise me either.

NC State – under 6 (-110) – 1*

They’ve got a great shot at being 3-0 heading into conference, but the conference slate isn’t very forgiving. They might only be favored in one or two games and they’ve got Notre Dame at home thrown in there. They lose QB Jacoby Brissett and 100 career starts on the O-line. The defense will be solid, but they might need to be exceptional to beat any of the powerhouses of the conference.

Boston College – over 6.5 (-110) – 2*

Their offense can’t possibly be worse. Chances are they won’t have to start four QBs this year. Patrick Towles transferred from Kentucky. I think he stinks, but he’s better than anyone who played here last year. They’ve got 8 offensive starters back after two straight years with only two. The defense should be very good again after only giving up 17.2 ppg last season. I wouldn’t expect that number with DC Don Brown at Michigan now, but 7 starters from that side are back. The schedule is pretty easy. They’ve got a really good chance to win all four non-con games. They have to travel to FSU and VT, but they get Louisville and Clemson at home and they play the Tigers on a Friday night.

Wake Forest – under 5.5 (-110) – 1*

I’ve got them at 4-8 or 5-7. Their schedule leaves them open to make it to .500, but they’re 2-14 in the ACC under Dave Clawson and the Deacs haven’t averaged 20 ppg since 2011 so…

Syracuse – under 4 (-110) – 2*

I like new HC Dino Babers, but I think it’ll take him at least a year or two to get the guys he needs. At best they’re 2-2 in non-con. Phil Steele thinks they’re going to put up over 30 ppg, but I don’t really see that. The schedule is the 10th most difficult in the country.

Coastal

Miami (FL) – over 8 (-150) – 1*

Their offense should be among the best in the conference. Brad Kaaya is one of the best QBs in the country. There’s no real weak spot on that side of the ball. They were supposed to have 6 starters back on D, but two guys just got kicked off the team – DE Al-Quadin Muhammad  and LB Jermaine Grace – and those two were 2 of their top 3 tacklers last year. The defense may not be up to the offense’s form, but they’ve essentially got three games (although at App St. could get interesting) and a bye week to tune things up.

North Carolina – over 8.5 – 1*

The offense put up over 40 ppg last year and the natural reaction to losing the starting QB who put up big numbers last year is to  expect a drop-off, but I don’t think that’s the case here. Mitch Trubisky takes over with some experience under his belt and has shown he’s very capable. The rest of the unit is among the best in the country. The concern to me is the Front 7 on D, but they’ve got talent and Gene Chizik is here as DC for Year 2. They improved by 14 ppg in his first season. There’s a lot of toss-up games on the schedule, but none that they aren’t capable of winning.

Virginia Tech – under 7 (+105) – 1*

I don’t have a great feel for the Hokies, but I do expect a drop-off in a new system offensively. The defense should stay pretty steady with DC Bud Foster staying on staff. The benefit of the schedule is that they don’t play Clemson, Florida State, or Louisville. However, I only feel comfortable giving them one guaranteed win in conference and that’s Virginia at home. They play Tennessee in Bristol and at Notre Dame out of conference. Looks like a third straight 6-6 season to me.

Pittsburgh – over 7.5 (-105) – 3*

Love the Panthers this year. Peterman is back at QB after a very solid 11 starts to finish the season last year. Ollison is back at RB after an 1,100 yard season and I’m not sure exactly how much you can expect from James Conner after his battle with Lymphoma, but he’s a big-time talent if he can give them anything. The defense is in their second year of Pat Narduzzi influence and they made a jump of 18 sacks in the first year and 8 starters are back this season. They’ve got some tough road games this year, but I think they’re good enough to win 10 games.

Georgia Tech – under 6.5 (even) – 1*

Their line is a bit of a question mark and they need to be really good for their running game. The defense is pretty average. Paul Johnson might start feeling the heat if they get a new AD in there soon. 6-6.

Duke – under 5.5 (-110) – 1*

They’ve got six true road games and I don’t see them winning any of those. That means they have to be perfect at home and that includes games with VT and UNC.

Virginia – under 4.5 (-110) – 2*

Six true road games and they’ll most likely be dogs in four home games. No thanks with a brand new staff.

Best Bet for Conference Champion

Pittsburgh +2000

No surprise here. The conference schedule isn’t setup the way I’d prefer, but I think it’s a pretty open division in the Coastal and I’m a big believer in Narduzzi. They lost all four of their regular season losses by 7 or less. 16 starters back, experienced QB, good lines on both sides of the ball, won 5 games on the road last season.