Gambling

2019 CFB Season Win Total Recap

First off, here’s all the plays before the season. If you’re new, all of the 3*-5* confidence picks are actual bets.

It was another great year for the win totals. 14-5-1 for +26*. Of the five losses, four of them were plus money bets. After starting this a couple of years ago, the bets have gone 38-17-6 (69%) for +58.3*.

While slightly less profitable than the 2017 season, this was the most successful year, top-to-bottom. The 2* picks were 19-10-1 for +16.4*. Anything above the 1* picks were a total of 33-15-2 (also 69%) for 42.4*.

Across the board for all 130 teams in the country, the result was 73-50-7 for +45*.

There are also four teams still alive in the conference championship games this weekend: Oregon (+300), Baylor (+1800), Boise (+110), and Louisiana (+1350). Five of the other six picks all would’ve been playing in the title if not for losing head-to-head games with teams that won their divisions.

Here’s the results for the actual bets:

Team O/U Total Price W L Result $
Arkansas under 5.5 -140 2 10 W +3
Baylor over 7.5 -115 11 1 W +3
FIU over 7.5 +105 6 6 L -4
Florida over 8.5 -135 10 2 W +4
GA Southern over 6.5 -120 7 5 W +3
Hawaii over 5.5 -130 9 4 W +3
Indiana under 6.5 -125 8 4 L -5
Notre Dame over 9 -120 10 2 W +3
Nebraska under 8.5 -110 5 7 W +3
New Mexico under 4.5 -130 2 10 W +4
Northwestern over 6.5 +110 3 9 L -3
Penn State over 8.5 -110 10 2 W +3
Rutgers under 3 -105 2 10 W +3
Temple over 6.5 -140 8 4 W +3
Tennessee under 6.5 +125 7 5 L -3
Tulane over 5.5 -150 6 6 W +3
Uconn under 2.5 -115 2 10 W +3
Virginia over 7.5 -140 9 3 W +3
VT over 8 -125 8 4 P 0
WVU over 5.5 +150 5 7 L -3
Total 14-5-1 +26

THE GOOD

Most of it was good, but Arkansas, Baylor, Hawaii, and Nebraska all cleared by 3.5 games and New Mexico by 2.5 games. The Nebraska play should’ve been 4* or 5* bet, but all of the hype around them got in my head a little and I couldn’t fully commit.

Rutgers and UConn both had extremely low totals, but also both won the games you thought they would win and never came all that close to winning anything else.

Penn State, Florida, and Notre Dame were also fairly easy for as high of totals as they were.

A win in the Commonwealth Cup would’ve been awesome for VT, but some pushes are better than others. The Hokies looked like a 6-6 team at the absolute best through four weeks before Hendon Hooker took over at QB.

THE BAD

Two of the five losses were both by a half of a game and both were plus-money, but losses are losses.

WVU was much closer to cashing than the market price suggested, but ultimately came up short. There were a couple of close losses, but more close wins. More disappointing was the 21-point loss they had at home against Texas Tech late in the year when they outgained the Red Raiders, but had four turnovers. Jarret Doege took over at QB in that game and things seemed to get better from there in the last few weeks.

Tennessee probably should’ve been a winner, but the Kentucky game was a killer. The Cats outgained them despite having a WR at QB, but had five trips into Vol territory result in 0 points. After losing at home to Georgia State and BYU, the Vols went 5-3 in conference play despite giving up more points against the SEC than they scored. They were outscored 112-30 by the three actually good SEC teams that they played.

THE UGLY

Northwestern was pretty bad. Only needed four more wins. I admittedly got swept up a bit in the Hunter Johnson hype, but more than anything it was a Pat Fitzgerald-respect pick with plus-money. Turns out Hunter Johnson and every Northwestern QB stinks and there was good reason I didn’t have to pay the juice on that one.

The under on Indiana lost by a couple. I figured they’d be 3-0 in the non-con and 0-4 against the typical Top 4 of the East. What I didn’t anticipate was their three crossover opponents – Nebraska, Purdue, and Northwestern – all finishing 3.5 games under their season total expectations. They still haven’t beaten a Big Ten team with a winning conference record since 2008. But there’s definitely something to be said for winning the games you’re supposed to win and they did that eight out of eight times.

I pretty much knew the FIU pick was over when they lost to WKU at home in Week 2. The Hilltoppers were better than expected this year, but that was one FIU really needed. They were 2-2 in close games, so it’s not like it was bad luck or anything. The Panthers were just really horrific on the road, going 0-5 and were only close once. They had to upset Miami late in the year just to get bowl eligible.

Here’s the 2* plays that went 19-10-1 for +16.4*:

2.png

Not gonna post the 1* because who really cares, but they went 40-35-5 for +2.6*. Can’t wait for next year.

2019 CFB Picks: Week 12

Well, it’s been a brutal 36 hours since I posted the plays on Twitter.

UNC forced overtime last night and then predictably lost by 7 in OT. Around the same time, it was announced that La Tech had three major suspensions for their game against Marshall tonight.

Bowl season can’t get here soon enough.

*313 UNC +4.5 – 3u
*313 UNC +165 – 0.5u

It’s probably always a good bet to grab points whenever the gaggle of mediocre ACC teams are playing each other. UNC has played seven ACC teams this year and six of them have been one-score games. Pitt has played five ACC teams and three of them have been one-score games. They both beat GT comfortably and Pitt lost by 16 to Virginia.

That also extends into the history of these two teams. They’ve played eight games this century and they’ve all been one-score games. UNC has won this matchup six straight years and covered five of those games.

UNC has played the tougher schedule this year, I actually think they’ve been playing better than Pitt, and I think they’ve got more motivation in this game. The Heels sit at 4-5 with three games left. Pitt already has their bowl bid wrapped up. While they still have an outside shot to win the Coastal, it’s unlikely and after winning it last year, I’m not sure they have a strong desire to be Clemson’s sacrificial lamb again.

Sam Howell is a big reason I like the Heels. He’s by far the best QB Pitt has faced since the Panthers saw Dillon Gabriel (not a huge fan). Gabriel threw for 338 and two scores. Howell’s really only played one bad game all year. Despite being a true freshman, he’s had some of his best games on the road and led a 16 play, 75-yard TD drive to nearly take down the defending national champs. Kid has stones and I trust him way more than Kenny Pickett on the other side

Pitt has the better D probably, but UNC is no slouch. They’ve only given up more than 25 on three occasions: App State, VT (in 6 OTs), and UVA. Common thread with those offenses: dual-threat QBs. Kenny Pickett is not that.

Not for nothing, it could be a weak crowd tonight with the Steelers playing on TNF.

*315 LT +4.5 – 2u
*315 LT +180 – 0.5u

Would not bet this at all now with this information dropping last night and the line moving as high as 7:

J’Mar Smith is obviously the starting QB and is very important. Redshirt freshman Aaron Allen is his backup and has thrown nine career passes. He was a pretty big recruit for them, but obviously probably won’t be able to fill Smith’s shoes.

Adrian Hardy is their leading receiver. Not as big of a deal because they have a ton of receivers.

James Jackson is their fourth-leading tackler and has forced three fumbles this year.

But I’ll still tell you why I liked La Tech before the news.

I’ve heard people reference Marshall playing a tougher schedule – which is true – but the Herd have had a tough time even pulling away from the weaker teams on their schedule.

A big part of that is Marshall’s inability to finish drives. Their yardage and efficiency numbers are okay, but they rank 83rd in third down conversions and 106th in red zone scoring. La Tech’s D has holes, but they’ve been pretty good at the bend-don’t-break style. They’re 7th in the country only allowing 64% scoring in the red zone.

On the other side, La Tech’s offense has been explosive both running and passing the ball and they’re averaging 52 PPG over their last four games. Marshall’s D has been solid against lesser offense, but has given up 52 to Cinci, 31 to FAU, and 31 to Ohio.

Team Rankings has LT 8.5 points better than Marshall over each of their last five games and would favor them by 5. Marshall’s 0-5 ATS at home this year,

320 K-State -14 – 1u

I thought maybe WVU would have a bowl push in them with some winnable games at the end of the year, but last week was clearly the most winnable with Texas Tech at home and the Mountaineers got their doors blown off. They haven’t scored 20 points in any of their last four games. Now they face a pretty solid defense in K-State that was even able to hold Oklahoma down until desperation time.

You can pick on the Wildcats’ run defense, but WVU is one of the worst rushing teams in the country.

335 Minnesota +3 – 2u
335 Minnesota +140 – 0.5u

I think if you’re looking for a letdown spot for Minnesota, the real opportunity is next week against Northwestern. Not that they’ll lose, but they may come out sluggish. I just don’t see it happening this week. It’s an evening game in Kinnick, it’s a huge game for division/conference/playoff races, and not many can rival PJ Fleck in motivational speeches.

I’m not going to lie, I leaned with Minny last week, but there was a part of me that did wonder if the Gophers could do it against a high-level opponent. Obviously they showed that they can do more than pick off bottom-feeders.

And they showed that they can do it offensively through the air against a Top 10 defense, which is key heading into this week, I think. The Gophers run more than almost anybody else in the country, outside of option teams and a couple of select others. Now Iowa has to account more for the passing game after Tanner Morgan dropped a series of bombs on Penn State’s head to Rashod Bateman and Tyler Johnson.

I think that big play ability may be the deciding factor in this game. Iowa has lost three close, low-scoring games this year because they couldn’t make those types of plays against Michigan, Penn State, and Wisconsin. They finally made one on their last play against Wisconsin last week when it was too late. Before that 75-yarder to Tracy, Nate Stanley was averaging 4.9 YPA. The Minny defense ranks 11th in the country, only allowing 6.0 YPA on the year. Brandon Smith might be Iowa’s best WR and he’s likely still out.

*353 Wyoming +6 – 3u
*353 Wyoming +200 – 0.5u

Sean Chambers is still out at QB for Wyoming, but I think that might be a little overvalued in the marketplace. Tyler Vander Waal doesn’t have the running element that Chambers has, but is a comparable passer and started ten games last year. I’m not saying QB isn’t an important position for them, but they run it nearly 70% of the time. They’ve got four RBs that average at least 5.0 YPC.

The Utah State run defense is okay, but they do give up nearly 200 YPG on the ground and the pass defense is enough of a nightmare that even Vander Waal should be able to have a decent game.

Jordan Love is going to have to carry the Utah State offense. The Cowboy run defense is just too good, allowing less than 100 YPG on the ground and only 2.9 YPC. Love has had a good couple of weeks, but the passing game hasn’t been nearly as reliable as it was a year ago.

Wyoming has been battle-tested on the road. They won at Texas State in Week 2 and while 0-3 in trips to Boise, San Diego State, and Tulsa, they lost by a combined 10 points.

372 Auburn +3 – 2u
372 Auburn +130 – 0.5u

Maybe I’m the sucker here, but this line just smacked me in the face when I saw it. I don’t think there’s much separation between these two teams, if any.

The numbers slightly favor Georgia on each side of the ball, but Auburn’s by far played the more difficult schedule. Georgia has played two Top 30 teams all year: Florida on a neutral site and Notre Dame at home. Auburn has played four in the Top 30 and three of them were on the road, with the fourth being the neutral site game against Oregon.

Also the numbers are a little skewed for Georgia defensively. They shutout both Kentucky and Missouri (both at home), but Kentucky was starting a WR at QB in a monsoon and Missouri didn’t have Kelly Bryant at QB, instead giving Taylor Powell his first start of his career.

Georgia just hasn’t played a really good offense all year, while Auburn’s defense has had to prove much more and did so by holding the LSU juggernaut offense to 23 points.

Auburn also gets leading tackler Jeremiah Dinson back and stud defensive end Marlon Davidson, as well.

It’s hard to pound the table too much for either offense being better than the other. It’s probably a slight edge to Georgia, but again it’s come against an easier schedule. They’ve played two road games all year and it was against Vandy and Tennessee before the Vols kind of got the ship righted.

Last thing: pointing out that Bo Nix is a freshman isn’t really all that relevant anymore when it’s mid-November and he’s already played road games at LSU, Florida, Texas A&M, and played Oregon. He’s got plenty of experience now.

P.S. Auburn was also a FG underdog two years ago when they won 40-17. Not saying, just saying.

P.S.S. Auburn is 11-1-1 ATS and 8-5 SU their last 13 as a single-digit home dog.

*376 OK State -17 – 1u

I don’t totally trust the Pokes defense to play well enough, but I’ll still make the small play here.

I think if there’s one guarantee in this game it’s that Chuba Hubbard is going to have a field day. He’s the best RB in the country and he’s going up against one of the worst run defenses in the country.

Kansas is hard to predict, but it feels like a good situation for OSU. They had a string of difficult games, are coming off a bye week, and don’t have anything major to look forward to next week.

382 Baylor +10 – 1u
382 Baylor +310 – 0.5u

This is a principle play more than anything. The fact that it’s only one unit is a show of respect for the Sooners, but this is about seven points more than it should be if you’ve been watching OU lately.

The defense was hoping to get better under Alex Grinch. It looked like they might be early in the season, but it’s hard to see with their last two performances. They’ve given up 89 points combined to Kansas State and Iowa State, a couple of decent offenses, but certainly neither performance is acceptable if you want to be an elite team.

*388 Michigan -13.5 – 2u

I understand the recent history of this game, but MSU is trending really poorly as a program right now. They’ve got guys leaving the program mid-season left and right, the injury report is a mile long, they’re blowing 25 point home leads to Illinois, and the aging head coach is as defiant about the program’s flaws as ever.

I’d expect MSU to still play hard despite everything going on, but I just don’t know that they have the horses to make this a game. I referenced all the injuries and player transfers they have, but they also have lost leading tackler, second-leading sacker, and team captain Joe Bachie from the defense due to a PED suspension.

MSU has played a bit tougher of a Big Ten schedule so far, but consider that they’re 2-4 in the league with a -56 point differential. The Wolverines are 4-2 with a +79 differential. That’s a per game difference of 22.5 PPG between the two teams.

Even admitting MSU has played a tougher Big Ten schedule, look at the difference in performances in common opponents: UM 17 points better against Wisconsin, UM 20 points better against PSU (adjusting for home field), and UM 26 points better against Illinois (adjusting for home field).

Again I’ll reference Team Rankings power ratings for each team’s last five games, where they would have Michigan favored by 27.5 in this game, a full two touchdowns more than the current spread.

ATS: 57-49-1 (+1.4u)

ML: 17-27 (-1.9u)

 

 

 

2019 CFB Picks: Week 9

 

114 GEORGIA STATE (-1) over Troy – 2u

Saturday, 7:00 PM, ESPN+

The Panthers have quietly been one of the biggest surprises in college football this year. They had a win total set at 3.5 and they’re already 5-2 with wins over Tennessee, Army, and Arkansas State. The offense has made big strides, averaging 34.4 PPG. Dan Ellington has been a big part of that as the QB has averaged nearly 300 yards of offense.

I think a lot will be on Ellington’s shoulders Saturday. The Troy run defense has been great again. If the Trojans can limit RB Tra Barnett (no easy task), Ellington may be the best running option, in addition to taking advantage of Troy’s pass defense that’s second-worst in the country in YPG.

Troy’s been a disappointment so far this season after the departure of HC Neal Brown. They’re 3-3 with wins over FCS Campbell and two of the ten worst teams in the FBS. They’ve given up at least 42 in all three of their losses.

I like the home team in what could be a shootout.

119 Eastern Michigan (+4) over TOLEDO – 2u
119 EMU +160 – 0.5u

Saturday, 3:30 PM, ESPN+

Win or lose, watching an EMU game I bet on is always the worst 3.5 hours of my Saturday. It’s brutal, but I’ll sign up for it again.

Toledo is always tough in the Glass Bowl, but they’ve had an awful last couple of weeks and EMU is always a good bet as an underdog. They’re on a run of 18-5 ATS as an underdog with 10 SU wins in that stretch.

After beating WMU at home three weeks ago, the Rockets have gone 0-2 SU and ATS and have missed the spread number by 40 and 35 points the last two weeks.

Both QB situations are up in the air for these teams, but I think any way you slice it, it favors the Eagles. Mitchell Guadagni missed last week for Toledo and Carter Bradley was not good in his absence and now Bradley is questionable himself. It’s unclear if Guadagni will go, but the way Jason Candle was talking to the media this week, it sounded as if Guadagni would still be out.

Mike Glass was out last week for EMU and he’s questionable for this week, as well. Here’s the thing: even if he can go, EMU might be better off with backup Preston Hutchinson, whose stat line looked like this in his first career start against preseason division favorite WMU:

hutchinson

134 EAST CAROLINA (+2) over South Florida – 2u
134 ECU +115 – 0.5u

Saturday, 3:45 PM, ESPNU

I continue to like the trajectory of Mike Houston’s squad and it’s always good to bet against Charlie Strong.

The ECU progression on offense has been a bit slow, but appeared to take a decent jump after the bye week. They just put up 483 yards against UCF on the road. QB Holton Ahlers didn’t crack 200 passing yards in the first three weeks, but has done so in the past four games, and just went over 300 yards for the first time against the Knights. Demetrius Mauney is back at running back and the true freshman with high-major talent will continue to get better.

This is the second straight road game for USF. They just got beat up defending the option up in Annapolis and now they travel again to face a hungry team whose confidence continues to grow.

138 RUTGERS (+7.5) over Liberty – 1u

Saturday, Noon, BTN

I know Rutgers is garbage, but this seems a bit ridiculous. The Scarlet Knights have been so bad on offense, but Liberty is averaging six more points than them against FBS competition. When you look at raw numbers, the line makes a little bit of sense, but just consider that Liberty has played one borderline Top 50 team this year and Rutgers has played five of them. The essential differences in the schedule: Liberty has played Hampton, Maine, New Mexico, and Buffalo while Rutgers has played Michigan, Iowa, Minnesota, and Indiana.

I think the Knights have enough to keep it tight in what should be a low-scoring game.

149 Western Kentucky (+5.5) over MARSHALL – 2u
149 WKU +185 – 0.5u

Saturday, 2:30 PM, Facebook

I talk about WKU every week, so I’m not sure what else to say. It’ll probably be another low-scoring game. WKU’s points allowed against Group of 5 teams this year: 14, 13, 3, 8, 14. They’re a very disciplined team. They rank 6th in the nation in penalties per game and tied for 37th in giveaways per game. They get a Marshall team that’s coming off an emotional win at FAU and hasn’t shown the offensive explosiveness to challenge the Hilltopper D.

172 MIDDLE TENNESSEE (+2.5) over FIU – 2u
172 MTSU +115 – 0.5u

Saturday, 3:30 PM, NFL Network

4-3 against 2-5, but it’s another one where you have to consider the schedule. Both teams have played an FCS team, otherwise only two of the teams FIU has played are above the worst FBS team MTSU has played all year. FIU has feasted at home against horrible teams. MTSU has already played four road games. They lost to Duke at home, but otherwise it’s been smooth sailing. Based on the eye test, I really liked what I saw from MTSU last week on offense and they should continue to get better with Stockstill at the helm.

173 Florida Atlantic (-13.5) over OLD DOMINION – 2u

Saturday, 3:30 PM, ESPN+

This should probably be a TD more. FAU started with Ohio State and UCF, ever since they’ve averaged 37.4 PPG. Old Dominion hasn’t cracked 24 points in a game all year and they’ve averaged 16.1.

207 Notre Dame (-105) over MICHIGAN – 2u

Saturday, 7:30 PM, ABC

Go Irish. I’ve thought they were better from the jump and nothing has swayed my opinion. I’ll trust Ian Book over Shea Patterson.

ATS: 44-41-1 (-4.05u)

ML: 14-21 (+0.93u)

 

 

 

 

 

 

2019 CFB Picks: Week 8

7-12 ATS last week. 3-7 ML. It was a bad week, no two ways around it. We’re sticking with the system, but we’ve refined things. The system is still up, but it could be better and that’s the way it’ll be moving forward. All ATS picks are 1.5u this week and ML picks are still 0.5u.

317 Duke (+3) over VIRGINIA
317 Duke +140 ML

I think what you’ve started to see with the Virginia offense is that it’s pretty much all up to Bryce Perkins. Perkins is a good player, but it’s shown diminishing returns as the season has gone along. They haven’t eclipsed 350 total yards in a game since that comeback win over Florida State, where more than half of their yards came on the last three drives of the game.

UVA caught Notre Dame in a letdown spot and capitalized in the first half. Since then, their last six quarters of offense: five turnovers, five punts, two turnover on downs, one end of game, four field goals, and one missed field goal.

The Cavs haven’t been able to run all year. They’ve averaged 2.6 YPC on the season. Not helping that number is the 27 sacks they’ve given up (5.5 per game). I wouldn’t expect that to get much better against a Duke run defense that’s given up just 3.5 YPC.

Things won’t be that easy for the Duke offense either, however. The UVA defense has been nearly as good as the run offense has been bad. But they did just lose stud CB Bryce Hall. Hall was a defensive leader and a projected Top 10 pick in the draft.

Duke’s offense isn’t eye-popping, but after the opener with Alabama they’ve scored 45, 41, 45, 30, 41 the last five weeks.

333 Coastal Carolina (+6.5) over GEORGIA SOUTHERN
333 Coastal +200 ML

Full disclosure, I don’t think I’ve ever hit a bet on Coastal, including last week. But it’s been a few days and I’m ready to get hurt again.

But this really has more to do with GSU and the disappointing run they’ve been on. They haven’t had one single impressive performance in five games. A square might point to that narrow defeat at Minnesota, but they gained 198 yards. They kept in the game with a blocked FG TD, a fumble return TD, and two short scoring drives due to Minnesota turnovers. They’re coming off a bye, but their most recent performance was having to score a last second TD just to force OT against lowly South Alabama.

385 Old Dominion (+16.5) over UAB

This is a big weekend for UAB doing special things for children in hospitals, so admittedly it’s kind of a scummy pick. It’s big of me to not take the money line and merely cheer for a 14-point UAB win. The raw numbers don’t look great for ODU, but half their games have been road games against Virginia, VT, and Marshall. They’ve also played a home game against WKU, who just might win the C-USA.

A big reason to like ODU to cover here is their run defense. UAB is a run-first offense and ODU has given up just 3.3 YPC this year. Spencer Brown is still out at RB for the Blazers. Lucious has been a solid replacement, but he’s really only ran against the drecks of college football. Tyler Johnston has put up solid numbers at QB for UAB, but it’s come at somewhat of a cost. He’s thrown nine INTs already.

360 UTAH (-13.5) over Arizona State

I like Jayden Daniels in the long-term, but I just don’t think this is the game for him and I think ASU is going to really be counting on him to compete in this game. Daniels is a true freshman. He’s had four games that were decent to very good. Opponents in those games: Kent State, Sac State, Colorado, and Wazzu. Not a good defense to be found there.

He struggled against MSU and Cal. In fairness, they won both of those games, but they scored a combined 34 points. MSU and Cal are both half teams and both of their halves are the defense.

Utah is not a half team. Their offense ranks 7th in FPI and 13th in SP+ and they haven’t even been fully healthy this year. With Zack Moss back in the fold, the Utes are dangerous in Rice-Eccles.

414 NORTH TEXAS (-7.5) over MTSU

We’re going back to the Mean Green well. Last week was unfortunate with Mason Fine getting hurt. Turns out it was his non-throwing shoulder and he’s expected to play this week. I’m not sure what you hang your hat on with MTSU this week. They’ve played one good game all year against Marshall at home. They’re not really good at anything and they’re just 5-10 ATS their last 15 on the road.

344 IOWA (-17.5) over Purdue

I’m a Purdue guy so this hurts to take, but I have to take any personal bias out of it. I will mention that Jeff Brohm is 2-0 SU and ATS against Kirk Ferentz since he took over.

But that’s a small sample size and a bigger one is that Iowa has only given up 10.2 PPG this year. Purdue is occasionally explosive, but the only time they have been since Sindelar got hurt is at home against Maryland and the second half against Minnesota after they were already getting blown out at home. The Boilers can’t run the ball and it’s hard to see them throwing on an Iowa defense that knows they’re one-dimensional.

The defense is how Iowa covers this game, but the offense will have to do something. I think this might be a bounceback game for the Hawkeye offense. They’ve looked awful the last two weeks, but Purdue is not Michigan or Penn State defensively. They’re vulnerable and the Boilers don’t have nearly the pass-rush that UM or PSU had and that’s been the real problem for Iowa’s offense. I think they exorcise some demons here.

364 MIAMI (OH) (+2.5) over Northern Illinois
364 Miami OH +120 ML

I promise you this is never going to be fun, but this is the perfect time to bet on Miami. Their profile has been wrecked with games at OSU, Iowa, Cincinnati, and WMU. NIU stinks and shouldn’t be giving points on the road here. They’re coming off a great win at Ohio, but that sticks out as an outlier.

312 SYRACUSE (+3.5) over Pitt
312 Syracuse +145 ML

I hate Syracuse, but the system is the system. You can’t trust anything in the ACC Coastal division.

328 MARYLAND (+6.5) over Indiana
328 Maryland +180 ML

Last week looked really bad for Maryland, but they just have to stay out of their own way. They had a 50 yard bomb called back on their first drive last week. They also had a perfect wheel route dropped by Anthony McFarland in the first half. On top of that, Piggy threw a pick-6 right at the end of the half to put them down 30-14 at halftime when they probably should’ve been up 28-23.

If they can avoid big mistakes this week, they’ll compete. IU has built a resume off Rutgers, UConn, and Eastern Illinois. They played tight games with Ball State and an overrated Michigan State team. OSU boat raced them in Bloomington. Maryland should be able to run in this game.

324 GEORGIA STATE (+6) over Army
324 Georgia St +200 ML

Sad as it is to say, Army is still overrated and Georgia State is still undervalued. I don’t know what the total is here, but the over seems like a play.

ATS: 39-36-1 (-3.3u)

ML: 12-17 (+1.33u)

 

 

2019 CFB Picks: Week 7

11-6-1 ATS last week for +4.4u and 5-7 on money line picks for +1.15u.

1 unit on every spread pick and 0.5 units on every money line pick, with the exception of SJSU and Navy. Those are both full unit picks.

Thursday

8:00 PM

107 Syracuse (+4.5) over NC STATE
107 Syracuse +170 ML

I don’t really have anything profound to say other than trust the system. It’s a matchup of two teams who’ve been disappointing thus far and they’ve both been blown out on the road by mediocre teams, although I will say it’s happened twice to NC State.

9:15 PM

106 TEXAS STATE (+3.5) over UL Monroe
106 Texas State +140 ML

Texas State is gonna get better this season as Jake Spavital develops the program. They’ve been pretty good at home this year. This is a nightmare scheduling spot for Monroe. They’re coming off a big game against Memphis, it’s a short week to prepare, they’re on the road, and they’ve got a potential look-ahead spot with App State on the horizon next week. Oh, and Texas State is coming off a bye.

Saturday

12:00 PM

158 TENNESSEE (+7) over Mississippi State
158 Tennessee +220 ML

The Vols have largely been dogshit this season, but for as much as you can like a team that lost by 29 at home, I liked Tennessee against Georgia. Kylin Hill could be a problem for them, but I found the offense so much more intriguing with Brian Maurer at QB.

12:30 PM

132 DUKE (-17.5) over Georgia Tech

Tech is really bad. Duke had a big turnover problem in the first half last week, but the second half showed once again how good they can be. They’ve murdered teams they’re clearly better than.

2:00 PM

142 EMU (-1) over Ball State

Feels like a minor “breakout” game for the Eagles. They started off with three straight road games and they played pretty well, including a win at Illinois. They’ve played like crap the last two weeks, but after 4 of 5 on the road, this feels like an opportunity. Ball State has been a surprise to start the season, but this is their third straight road game and they’re coming off the high of a big win at NIU last week. I feel like before this season, the line would’ve been around 7-10 points in EMU’s favor and then it opened as a pick’em.

3:30 PM

172 HOUSTON (+7.5) over Cincinnati
172 Houston +240 ML

Feels like a terrible spot for Cincinnati. They are coming off a huge win at Marshall and an even bigger win against UCF last week. Their social media squad was creating glorious shit-talking videos after the UCF win. They just got ranked. Now they have to go on the road against a Houston squad that flourished without D’Eriq King and is coming off a bye.

178 WISCONSIN (-10.5) over Michigan State

It may be like 14-3, but it’s just hard to envision MSU scoring enough to cover this game. If you’re biased toward Wisconsin, you’ll focus on the Michigan domination. If you’re biased against Wisconsin, you’ll focus on the Northwestern struggle. If you’re me, you’ll focus on Wisconsin only giving up 5.8 PPG through five games this year. They’ve pitched three shutouts. Yes, Michigan was their peak and Northwestern was also their low. Otherwise, they’re up 158-0.

With a Sparty offense that always seems to be searching for something and coming off a road game against Ohio State, I don’t think they’ll be up for the challenge in Madison. Only time that Chryst and Dantonio matched up, it was a 30-6 rout for the Badgers in East Lansing.

202 CLEMSON (-27) over Florida State

There’s just so much blowout potential around this game. To start, Clemson won 59-10 in Tallahassee last year. That’s a good place to start.

I’ve never seen anybody as good as Dabo at spinning things so much that he makes his juggernaut of a football team feel like they’re underdogs. It’s an elite skill. I can’t imagine  what he was drumming up in the bye week after they just snuck past UNC and everybody started throwing them out of the Top 5.

Since Willie Taggart came to FSU, the big issue for Florida State has been the O-line and now they have to go up against this nasty defensive front and Brent Venables has had two weeks to prepare.

148 ARIZONA STATE (pick) over Washington State

Sad to say, but Wazzu might just stink. They blew out a couple of horrible opponents to start the year, had to come back to win over a mediocre Houston squad, gave up a million in the second half and lost at home to dreadful UCLA, and then got drilled at Utah.

4:00 PM

181 San Jose State (+120 ML) over NEVADA

The Spartans love to air it out and they’ll be going against one of the worst pass defenses in college football.

176 VANDERBILT (-14.5) over UNLV

It’s been a tough start to the season for the Dores, with an 0-5 ATS record and 1-4 SU. But this feels like the perfect time for them to get rid of some frustrations against a 1-4 UNLV team that hasn’t cracked 20 points since the opener against Southern Utah.

5:00 PM

134 COASTAL CAROLINA (-4.5) over Georgia State

GSU has been a team of peaks and valleys so far and they’re coming off a big peak, upsetting Arkansas State last week. Coastal has been very solid to start the year, including that win over Kansas. The offense has been very efficient and they should be able to take advantage of a Panther run defense that gives up 6.0 YPC.

7:00 PM

189 North Texas (+3.5) over SOUTHERN MISS
189 North Texas +150 ML

I think it’s a big bounceback week for the Mean Green after a bye and that weird Houston loss when D’Eriq King abruptly quit the season before the game. This is a matchup they’ve owned since Seth Littrell took over. They’re 3-0 SU and ATS against USM with an average cover of 16.8 PPG.

192 WKU (+5) over Army
192 WKU +175 ML

WKU is suddenly a darkhorse candidate to win the C-USA. I didn’t remotely believe in them at the start of the year, but the defense appears to be legit. They’ve held conference foes to 14, 13, and 3 points so far. They’ve been very good in both phases of the game and obviously the run defense will be important against Army.

193 Charlotte (+5.5) over FIU
193 Charlotte +175 ML

Last week might have been a get right game for FIU, but Charlotte is coming off a bye after a disappointing performance against FAU. The 49er defense has looked questionable to say the least, but they’ve played road games at Clemson and App State. This won’t be as big of a challenge and I think the offense should be able to control the ball some against an FIU run defense that’s been poor.

7:30 PM

123 Navy (-105 ML) over TULSA

Navy just might be back to being top dog among the service academies and I’m not sure the market has caught up after the disappointment of last season. They’ve been +12.8 PPG against the spread this year and now they get a Tulsa team that has to be reeling after blowing a huge lead at SMU last week.

204 IOWA (+3.5) over Penn State
204 Iowa +155 ML

Just a disastrous offensive performance last week for the Hawkeyes at Michigan. A lot of blame was placed on Nate Stanley and while he did deserve quite a bit of it, that O-line deserved just as much. Penn State’s a tough defense to bounce back against, but there’s no way Iowa can be worse. Of course they also get to play this one at home in a night game.

I’ve been as high as anybody on the Nittany Lions from the start of the season, but they’ve played a pretty soft schedule so far. Pitt is decent, but otherwise this Iowa defense is miles better than anybody Penn State has seen.

Iowa is 14-6-1 ATS in their last 21 as a home dog. That stretches all the way back to 2000 when their coach was…Kirk Ferentz. They’ve been better than the number by an average of almost a TD per game.

8:00 PM

150 OREGON STATE (+14) over Utah

A lot of points for Utah to be laying against a team on the upswing that’s had two of its best weeks back-to-back than it has for years. Oregon State can move the ball both ways and they won’t quit until the bitter end. Could be one where we need a late one to sneak in the back door.

179 Florida (+13.5) over LSU

I’m not gonna lie, I’ll be scared. An LSU team that can pass is a scary proposition.

I gotta tell you though, I’m exhausted with the narrative around Florida. Before the season any time the “Who’s the preseason Top 10 team that won’t finish in the Top 25?” question was asked, every damn answer involved Florida. They beat Miami to open the year and it’s “both teams stink.” They win at Kentucky, losing their starting QB mid-game, and it was “lucky.” They beat Top 10 team Auburn at home and “outside of two big plays” it’s an even game, as if explosive plays aren’t a way to judge football teams.

Anyway, Go Gators. They’re 6-0 and have a more impressive resume than the team giving 13.5, but whatever.

10:30 PM

206 SAN DIEGO STATE (-3.5) over Wyoming

Sorry, still upset about Florida. Afraid this game might be like 9-6 or something.

11:00 PM

152 ARIZONA (+6.5) over Washington
152 Arizona +190 ML

Arizona feels sneaky kind of good. Washington feels sneaky kind of not good.

ATS: 32-24-1 (+2.9u)

ML: 9-10 (+2.85u)

 

 

 

2019 CFB Picks: Week 6

Tweeted out on Wednesday:

Thursday – 8 PM

306 ECU (+11.5) over Temple
306 ECU +330 ML

This game kicks off 15 minutes from when I’m typing this, so let’s hope it’s a winner. I think ECU should be a team that trends well as the season goes on, the further they get from the Montgomery Era and transition into the Houston Era. The lack of offensive production so far is concerning, but it’s a tough spot for Temple. They’re on the road in a short week and it’s sandwiched between a win over a Power 5 team and a tilt with Memphis next week.

I’ll be deleting all of this if I see it’s going poorly. (Editor’s note: WHAT A BACKDOOR!!!)

Saturday 

12:00 PM

324 ARMY (+3) over Tulane
324 Army +130 ML

You have a moral obligation to take Army as a home dog. It’s only the third time it’s happened in the last 3.5 years. The Knights are 8-3 ATS their last 11 as an underdog – no matter the location – with five straight up wins. These two have matched up a couple times over the last few years. Tulane won both, but they were both coin flip games.

It’s gonna be a run-fest in West Point. That should favor Army. They’ve had a great run defense for years and held Michigan to 2.4 YPC in Ann Arbor. Tulane is more creative, but obviously don’t have near the talent. Of course Army also runs the ball more than anybody in the country and the Green Wave have been below-average in run defense efficiency.

355 Iowa (+3.5) over MICHIGAN
355 Iowa +145 ML

This feels like a potential breakout spot for Michigan, but based on what we’ve seen so far,  Iowa is the play. I’ve been a Wolverine doubter from the jump, but they’ve even been worse than I expected. I think the defenses are fairly even, but I do think the Hawkeyes have a better chance to run the ball successfully and I think they have the better QB.

373 TCU (+3.5) over IOWA STATE
373 TCU +145 ML

2-2 with an OT win over Northern Iowa seems like the worst-case outcome for ISU based on how they’ve played for the most part. There are two ways to look at that: either they are bound to get some good fortune soon or they have a hard time finishing things and this is how it will continue. Honestly, I don’t know what to think. They’re four games in and they just continue to have turnovers at the worst time, not convert fourth-and-shorts, miss kicks, get kicks blocked, etc.

It’s hard to ever bet against Gary Patterson and TCU. The offense has been fairly one-dimensional so far, but the passing game seems to be getting better. It’s important to remember Max Duggan is a true freshman. He’s had a slow start, but still has a 7-0 TD-INT ratio. He went 8-11 last week for a couple TDs and should only continue to grow. The run game continues to be dominant.

393 Utah State (+27.5) over LSU

LSU’s been good through four games, but they have shown that they can be a bit vulnerable defensively in the passing game. Jordan Love and Utah State have a lot more to prove in this game and USU will sling it. Obviously this game means much more to the Aggies and I’d expect them to battle until the end. With a matchup with Florida on the horizon, I’m not sure this game has the full attention of the Bayou Bengals.

12:30 PM

313 BC (+6.5) over LOUISVILLE
313 BC +195 ML

The market has dropped quite a bit on BC after the Kansas debacle. I think what we’ve learned since then is that BC isn’t as bad as it looked and Kansas wasn’t as good as it looked. It was an outlier game and a horrific night for the Eagles.

Louisville is improved, but I still think they’ve got a lot to prove in an expected close game. They beat EKU and WKU. They had a nice comeback against FSU, but then got roasted at the end of the game and lost by dougle-digits. They also have the 18-point home loss to Notre Dame. Just because they’re better than last year, doesn’t mean they should be giving nearly a TD to a fairly comparable team.

3:30 PM

318 WVU (+11) over Texas
318 WVU +325 ML

Kind of a weird game to predict, but they should be charged up in Morgantown. WVU had a shaky start, but have since blown out NC State and won on the road at Kansas. Texas is banged up in the secondary and they’ve got the Red River Shootout next week.

358 MINNESOTA (-14) over Illinois

Should be a bit of a revenge game for the Gophers after last year. Minnesota was inconsistent last year and they got blown out by the Illini around the same time they were crushing Wisconsin on the road and Purdue at home. You could consider it a letdown spot after last week’s big road win for the Gophers and next week’s battle against Nebraska, but I think PJ Fleck will have them ready.

366 NAVY (+3.5) over Air Force 
366 Navy +160 ML

The home team has won six straight in the series. Navy was in it the whole way with Memphis last week, despite Malcolm Perry being banged up for most of it. Perry’s status was questionable this week, but it looks like he’ll play. Based on performance this year alone, I’m not sure what would make you think AFA is much better than Navy, let alone 3.5 point road favorites.

372 BUFFALO (+3.5) over Ohio
372 Buffalo +140 ML

Buffalo has been much better at home and Ohio hasn’t proven anything so far this year. Should probably be a pick’em game, at most for the Bobcats.

382 GEORGIA STATE (+7.5) over Arkansas State
382 Georgia State +240 ML

It’s been an emotional season for Arkansas State and they’re coming off a massive road win at Troy. They’ve also got a big game with Louisiana coming up. Georgia State peaked with a win at Tennessee to start the season and has been floating since. However, they’ve played three of four games on the road and I think they’ll be inspired this week after a bye and with the game at home.

4:30 PM

343 Arizona (+4.5) over COLORADO
343 Arizona +180 ML

Idk, it’s what the system tells me to do. Colorado is coming off a bye. They had a big win over ASU and they’ve got Oregon on the horizon. Laviska is a maybe.

6:00 PM

336 CMU (+6) over EMU
336 CMU +190 ML

I can’t think of the last time EMU has won a game in convincing fashion. They beat Illinois and then needed a blocked punt returned for a TD to pull out a miracle win over Central Connecticut State. CMU has been scrappy and should improve the longer Jim McElwain is there.

7:00 PM

387 UMass (+26.5) over FIU

UMass is on a winning streak

7:30 PM

392 OHIO STATE (-20) over Michigan State

I’m not saying MSU won’t cover, but this is the ultimate square dog game where the only reasoning is “it’s too many points.” It seems like a lot until the game starts and you remember how bad the MSU offense is and OSU’s skill guys make you realize that MSU is no longer defending Arizona State and Northwestern.

8:00 PM

325 Pitt (+5) over DUKE
325 Pitt +160 ML

I think the Pitt defense is actually pretty good. Duke is coming off the high of that blowout win at VT, but it looks a lot better now than it probably will at the end of the season.

396 UTEP (-1.5) over UTSA

This is a horrendous game and I don’t recommend watching it. I’ll be glued to the screen.

10:30 PM

352 STANFORD (+16.5) over Washington

I refuse to believe Stanford is going to suck all season.

ATS: 21-18 (-1.5u)

ML: 4-3 (+1.7u)

 

 

2019 CFB Picks: Week 5

1-2 last week for -3.4 units. Far from the worst betting week of my life in terms of losses, but it was extremely aggravating. I’ve mentioned it before, but I pour hours into a numbers-based algorithm every week in CFB and CBB. Nearly every bet I make comes from the system, but I also typically leave out a good chunk of the bets the system tells me to make after I go through the games and look for key stats, injuries, etc.

It worked out pretty well last year, my first year of utilizing the algorithms, by far my best year of betting. But at times I got in my own way and that’s what I feel like I’m doing now. Because I was exhausted when I “handicapped” last week, I just passed on a lot of games because I didn’t have the energy to get too deep in it. I would’ve gone 12-7, instead of the 1-2 I ended up with.

We’re not doing that anymore. I hit 55% in CBB on 300 games last year, went +18.1 units, and from a behind-the-scenes view it was a mild disappointment from what could’ve been. 55% is basically the gold standard from professional sports bettors.

From now on, we’re letting it rip.  The Twitter ants can say whatever they want, we’ve got 19 games on the slate this week for a unit a pop. Throwing a half unit on all underdog money lines except USA. In full disclosure, I took four games out. Two for QB injuries, two for choosing not to bet against the best football teams in the country that can name their score.

Picks

Wazzu (+6) over UTAH

The Cougs blew a big lead last week after building a 32-point lead in the second half. They lost four fumbles in the second half and gave up a punt return TD. That doesn’t seem repeatable. The Utes getting ripped up in the passing game does. USC’s third-stringer tore them up, what is Anthony Gordon gonna do?

South Alabama (+16) over ULM

The status of Tra Minter feels like a big deal for the Jags, but they do trot a ton of guys out their at RB. Monroe has been sup-par against the running game. Love this game if Minter takes the field.

Hawaii (+2.5) over NEVADA

I don’t think Nevada is very good. Purdue appears to stink and it still took a 5-0 TO advantage for the Pack to beat them at home. They lost by 71 to Oregon. They’ve just been okay to beat some terrible opponents the past couple weeks.

Duke (+2.5) over VT

I liked VT heading into the season, but they just appear to not be very good. Duke’s defense appears to be pretty good. Quentin Harris is a dual-threat guy that I think will rip up a still very vulnerable VT defense.

Buffalo (-2.5) over MIAMI (OH)

Miami has played some stiff competition, but Buffalo’s offense has at least shown flashes and the defense has held up for the most part.

Arizona State (+5) over CAL

They’re pretty much the same team and I like taking the Sun Devils here after Cal had that thrilling win on the road over Ole Miss and has to play Oregon on the road next week. Arizona State has been a yo-yo through the first four weeks and I’d expect a strong effort after a disappointing loss last week.

UCLA (+6.5) over ARIZONA

It’s hard for me to buy in with UCLA, but Arizona has some serious flaws too and the Bruins should have some renewed confidence on offense after a strong fourth quarter last week.

UMASS (+7.5) over Akron

Akron has faced stiffer competition so far, but at the end of the day it’s an 0-4 SU, 0-4 ATS team laying 7.5 at another 0-4 SU, 0-4 ATS team. UMass stinks, but Akron isn’t much better.

USC (+10.5) over WASHINGTON

I’m not sure if third-stringer Matt Fink can keep it going after a strong showing against Utah, but UW might’ve showed their colors when they played Cal at home. Remember how much they were replacing this year. Every other game they’ve had a big talent advantage. USC can play with them.

UAB (-3) over WKU

The line stinks to high heaven, but we’ll take it anyway. UAB lost a lot from last year and a slow start to this season against Alabama State led to some belief that the attrition was taking its toll. But they’ve looked great the last two weeks. I don’t think WKU is awful, but still, I would’ve thought this would be closer to a TD spread.

Iowa State (-3) over BAYLOR

The scores/results of the Cyclones the first two weeks weren’t really indicative of what happened for the most part in terms of game control, efficiencies, etc. That showed last week when they laid waste to Monroe. It’s tough to get a feel for Baylor. They’ve played three awful opponents. They dominated the first two and then eked out a win over Rice last week.

OKLAHOMA STATE (-4) over Kansas State

I’ll be honest, this one scares me, but we’re gonna let it ride. K-State is coming off a bye week and their last game was a road win at Mississippi State. They’ve looked great through three games. But Oklahoma State is also really good and they’ve had to play three of their first four on the road. I like that it’s a night game in Stillwater.

Louisiana Tech (-8.5) over RICE

Rice has been scrappy the first few weeks, but that’s about it. La Tech should be able to air it out against a Rice Pass D that’s been ripped to shreds.

OLD DOMINION (-3) over East Carolina

You like ODU because they’ve given both Virginia and VT games their past couple of games. You’re nervous about ODU because they might be in a letdown spot here.

Penn State (-6.5) over MARYLAND

Another game that makes me nervous. Maryland’s offense was great at home the first two weeks, although the level of competition isn’t nearly what they’ll face on Friday night. Penn State’s defense appears to be one of the best in the league and may shut down Maryland’s run game. The Nittany Lion offense does make me nervous, though. They have been pretty shaky the past couple games.

Wake Forest (-6.5) over BOSTON COLLEGE

BC’s defense stinks, specifically against the pass and that’ll be a problem against Wake, who’s been one of the most efficient through the air in the country.

AUBURN (-10) over Mississippi State

I was wrong about the MSU game last week when I picked against them, but watching the game, I felt like I was more off on Kentucky than the Bulldogs. Auburn’s shown themselves to be a Top 10 team in the country and they should have a better chance at slowing down Kylin Hill.

OKLAHOMA (-27) over Texas Tech

Big number, but the Sooner offense appears to be just as potent with Jalen Hurts running the show. The Red Raider defense does appear to be at least decent, but this is a different level. Alan Bowman is out at QB for Tech, which means Jett Duffey is likely taking over. Duffey is more of a dual threat, but the Sooners should be used to it. They’ve already faced D’Eriq King and DTR.

TCU (-15) over Kansas

A poor showing from the Frogs last week, but I think this is a good matchup for them to get back on track. This is all about the run game. Kansas has been great running the football, but TCU has given up just 1.9 YPC. QB Carter Stanley has been pretty good the past couple weeks, though. Kansas has been okay against the run, but did give up 151 to AJ Dillon. TCU wants to run it down people’s throats and has done so.

ATS: 10-10-2 (-3.7u)

In The System, But Left Out 

Houston +7.5

I do feel like the line has gotten out of control, but there’s just no telling what Houston is without D’Eriq King.

UNC +27

I’m not betting against Clemson. They’re 12-4 ATS their last 16.

Ole Miss +38

I’m also not betting against Alabama.  Ole Miss has improved their defense, but they might not hit double digits against this defense, even if its not highly regarded for Alabama standards.

Ark State +7

Logan Bonner is out at QB1 for Arkansas State. He’s been strong in the first four games with a 10-1 TD-INT ratio and the backups have rarely played.

 

2019 CFB Picks: Week 4

A 6-1-1 week last week basically got us back to even after a horrific Week 2. As much as I love the slate this week from a viewership standpoint, I hate it is a bettor. There’s not a lot of great spots, but I tried to give a few thoughts on the bigger games of the week.

Picks

STANFORD (+10.5) over Oregon – 2u
Stanford/Oregon under 58 – 1u

I just can’t pass it up. I hate it, but it must be done. Stanford stock might be at an all-time low since 2009 and we’re buying. It’s equally as much of a sell on Oregon as anything. The Ducks are as untrustworthy on the road as anybody. They’re 4-11-1 ATS their last 16 on the road. and 4-12 SU. I’d like to believe in Oregon, but no way can you take them here with how little they’ve proven away from Autzen Stadium. Mario Cristobal seems like a fine guy, but the way he handled the end of that Auburn game is a prime example of  why it’s hard to trust him.

Last week, I discredited David Shaw coming off a loss as part of my justification for taking UCF. That turned out to be correct. What I like here is Stanford as a home dog. They’re 9-0 ATS and 8-1 SU in their last nine games as a home dog. Shaw himself is 4-0 ATS and SU and has covered by an average of 17 PPG.

Kentucky (+6) over MISSISSIPPI STATE – 2u

In short: I don’t think Mississippi State is very good, with or without Tommy Stevens. I’m not sure Kentucky has proven much yet either, but I think they’re fairly even teams and the line is about three points off. And that’s assuming Tommy Stevens will play and at 100%, which seems optimistic at the moment.

I didn’t think it was a huge deal that UK lost Terry Wilson at QB. Sawyer Smith showed some real flashes in his first start last week, but the obvious flaw was 3 INTs. I’d expect him to be better this week, especially against a weaker D than he played last week against Florida.

The Kentucky defense has been fairly solid so far. Stevens won’t be at full strength for the Bulldogs if he plays. I think MSU will need to rely on the run game and that’s where the Cats should succeed on defense. They gave up 2.4 YPC last week until a last minute end-around gave the Gators a 76 yard touchdown.

Cats are 5-2 ATS and 5-2 SU in their last seven as a road dog of a TD or less with a +11.4 average ATS margin.

ATS: 9-8-2 (-0.3u)

Leans / Thoughts On Other Games

USC (+3.5) over Utah

This is always a tricky one. Utah should win, but USC still has the talent on the perimeter if Slovis can get the ball out to his weapons.

Cal (+2.5) over OLE MISS

Just a couple of years ago, the total on this game probably would’ve been in the 70s. Now, it’s 41.5. That’s wild. I feel like Cal has grown much more accustomed to this style of play, but this game kicks off at 9 AM local time for them.

Michigan (+3.5) over WISCONSIN

I hope I’m wrong about this one. But, compared to the preseason line, the spread on this game has swung so much based on how they’ve played against mediocre-to-bad teams. The Badgers have gone 110-0 against their opponents, but USF is on an epic slide and CMU is one of the worst teams in CFB. Michigan was just okay against MTSU and went to double OT against Army.

Army’s a tricky opponent and I don’t think you can make a big difference in evaluation on the Wolverines just because they struggled against a unique opponent.

The Badgers clearly have looked better so far, but it feels like the market has overreacted to games that are fairly meaningless.

NORTHWESTERN (+9) over Michigan State

This is the biggest rat line I’ve seen in a while. NW doesn’t deserve to be this big of a dog based on recent history, but the offense has looked horrendous. MSU has at least shown flashes on offense this year.

Washington (-6.5) over BYU

If you’re just comparing lines, the USC -4 line in the same situation compared to the Huskies only being favored by 6.5 at BYU is sketchy. That essentially suggests that UW would only be favored by 2.5 over USC on a neutral and I’d take the Huskies for 5 units in that situation. But on the flip side, it feels like Vegas is starting to adjust to the Cougars and UW really hasn’t proven much so far.

Louisville (+6.5) over FLORIDA STATE

I think the teams have been pretty comparable so far, if not favoring the Cards as a better team. However, this feels like a game where FSU exercises some demons for me and Louisville hasn’t had a road game yet.

Auburn (+3.5) over TEXAS A&M

Have you heard it’s Bo Nix’s first true road game as a true freshman QB? It’s a factor, but an uncappable one. A&M is on their backup RB. This game has been unpredictable the last few years.

PITT (+11) over UCF

I can’t trust Pat Narduzzi as far as I can throw him, but the Pitt D has had a good showing so far. I’m not actually about to bet against Taylor Gabriel and this UCF O though.

Illinois (+13.5) over NEBRASKA

My gut instinct was to take the Illini and my numbers supported it, but it’s hard to trust that defense against an offense that could be very explosive.

GEORGIA (-14.5) over Notre Dame

I’m a supporter of the Irish long-term this season against their schedule, but this is setting up against them. Their D is relatively weak up the middle and they have to go against one of the best running games in the country and it’s a rare night game in Athens.

Louisiana (+3.5) over OHIO

I think the Cajuns have been better through three weeks and I think they can run all over the Bobcats. They’ve also been great as a road dog of less than a touchdown. However, I can’t fully commit with their recent performances against mobile QBs. Nathan Rourke might be able to put Ohio on his back here.

RUTGERS (+8) over Boston College

This probably would’ve been a play, but is now a complete stay-away with McLane Carter out at QB for Rutgers. BC just got rocked at home by Kansas, but Arthur Sitkowski is one of the worst Power 5 QBs I’ve ever seen and he’ll get the start for the Scarlet Knights.

SMU (+9.5) over TCU

I really wanted to take the Stangs here, but their history against TCU scared me off. They’ve actually covered the spread their last two trips to Fort Worth, but they’ve been much bigger spreads. TCU is just 2-14 ATS their last 16 ATS as home favorites and I think the Frogs have an inflated status after crushing a damaged Purdue team, but the talent disparity is big here.

West Virginia (-4) over KANSAS

I’m still of the belief that Kansas pretty much sucks and that game last week was more of an indictment of Boston College. I think WVU is still much more talented, despite the amount of replacements they had to make this year.

Baylor (-26.5) over RICE

I like Baylor a lot this week, but it’s just not in my nature to lay 26.5 on the road.

2019 CFB Picks: Week 3

Last week was brutal. I could sit here and make excuses or complain about the teams I backed, but it’s all on me. It sucks to start the year in a hole, but I suppose you can’t win all the time.

PICKS

TEMPLE (+7) over Maryland – 2u
Temple/Maryland under 67 – 1u

Could be walking in to the lion’s den here, but I can’t help it. The Terps have looked awesome so far, but this wouldn’t be the first time they’ve looked good in the first two weeks and not been able to sustain success.

In 2016, they opened with a 39 point win and followed it up with a 41-14 Week 2 victory at FIU as 10 point favorites. Week 3 they needed 2 OTs to win and didn’t cover the -10 against an eventual 6-6 UCF team.

In 2017, they won 51-41 at Texas as 17.5 point dogs. Week 2 they beat Towson by 46 as 25.5 point favorites. Week 3 they lost by 28 at home to UCF as 4.5 point favorites.

Last year, they beat Texas as 13.5 point dogs and then won by 31 the next week at Bowling Green as 15 point favorites. Week 3 they lost to this Temple team by 21 as 15.5 point favorites.

Now, this is a new regime with Mike Locksley and the Terps have looked especially good, covering by 48 and 42 points the first two weeks. Josh Jackson has been a big upgrade at QB. There are shades of 2016 Louisville with their start.

But again, Temple beat the hell out of Maryland in College Park last year, only allowing 195 yards of total offense and limiting the running game. As big of an upgrade as Jackson has been, the Terps running wild on Syracuse last week was the bigger reason for their 63 points.

If you look at Maryland last year, the rush offense dictated almost everything. Six times they had over 6.0 yards per carry in a game and in the other six games they averaged less than 4.5. When they had over 6.0 they averaged 44.5 PPG and in the other six games they averaged 12.5 PPG.

Temple had a pretty good run defense last year and held the Terps to 4.3 YPC in their win. They’re only expected to be better this year with most of their front seven back and one of the best LB groups at the Group of 5 level. They also brought in NIU’s defensive coordinator, where they gave up less than 3.0 YPC the last two years. Bucknell’s terrible, but I guess it’s worth noting that the Owls only gave up 0.8 YPC against Bucknell in the opening week with a long run of 7.

If you like ATS trends, Temple is 11-3 ATS in their last 14 games as a home underdog with six straight up victories. Their average scoring margin ATS in those 14 games is +10.2. Rod Carey is the new HC here, but even he is 10-4 ATS in his last 14 games as an underdog regardless of venue.

Maryland is just 4-12 ATS in their last 16 road games.

For whatever it’s worth this early in the season, Temple is coming off a bye.

Air Force (+4) over COLORADO – 2u

I’m guessing the handicap for many that are on Air Force start with the letdown, look-ahead sandwich that the Buffs find themselves in. They’re coming off that dramatic win in a big game over Nebraska last week and they start Pac-12 play next week with a road game at Arizona State.

It’s certainly a factor for me, especially when first-time head coach Mel Tucker is the one who has to get his team ready. Tucker is an impressive guy, but it’s still his first time going through this.

But I like this one more for who the Buffs have to play. Air Force – like the other service academies – are a tough team to prepare for regardless of the situation.

Colorado has been decent defending the run and they were good last year, but the triple option is a different animal. Tucker’s defenses at Georgia did well in their annual game against Tech’s option, but obviously Colorado doesn’t have near the athletes that he had in his time at Georgia.

Heading in to this one, I wanted to look at a pretty specific trend: Air Force as a road dog in August/September. The reason for September is that it’s the only time they don’t play a league team or a fellow academy.

The Falcons are 19-5 ATS in that situation in their last 20. Four of those losses are to conference foes or another academy. Congrats to 2009 Minnesota for bucking the trend.

Navy and Army have also been on similar trends, pointing to the fact that teams unfamiliar with the option tend to struggle.

Like Temple, Air Force is also on a bye. Their ATS trend on the road after a bye: 11-2 in their last 13. Several of those have been in September and again, the only people who covered against them were a conference foe and a fellow service academy.

UCF (-8) over Stanford – 2u

We’ve already lost some value here, but it just feels like this is UCF’s Super Bowl of sorts. They’ve been bitching, moaning, and complaining for more Power 5 teams to come play them in Orlando and now they have another opportunity. Pittsburgh did last year and the Knights beat them by 31. With a 3:30 EST kick on ESPN, I expect a big performance from UCF.

So far, UCF has looked about the same that they have the past couple of years when they’ve gone 25-1. With Darriel Mack back in the mix, the offense should be even more explosive.

Stanford feels like they’re going in the opposite direction. They won an extremely sloppy, close game at home against Northwestern and then got eviscerated by USC’s backup QB in LA. KJ Costello was also out, but the 45 allowed to USC’s unheralded backup doesn’t speak well to their hopes against UCF’s explosive offense.

Costello is back this week, but he’s now without his two starting OTs. His LT – Walker Little – was considered one of the best in college football.

UCF has been very good at home. Against their fellow FBS teams, they’ve been 8-2 ATS at home since this reign of dominance started a couple years ago. They’re 10-0 SU and they’ve won every game by at least a TD.

Stanford has been a mess on the road early in the season lately. They’re just 1-5 ATS and 1-5 SU in their last six. They’ve been off by an average of  a -15.8 ATS margin. They’re now playing their second straight road game and it’s about as far from Palo Alto as you can get in the Continental 48.

David Shaw has a reputation as a coach that gets his team to bounce back from losses, but some of those numbers were built up early in his tenure. They’ve lost 12 games the last three years and 10 of those have been part of back-to-back losses.

Louisville (-10) over Western Kentucky – 2u

No big trends or specific matchups with this one, I just think Louisville is trending up and they should be able to handle this one comfortably. WKU had a bounce back last week after the loss to Central Arkansas, but I’m afraid to say that my FIU Panthers might just suck.

I thought maybe the reaction was overblown after Louisville hung with Notre Dame for a while, but I thought it was more of an overreaction to Notre Dame than Louisville. The Cardinals did look to be very improved and they quietly kept that going last week.

The Cards were hanging tough with the Irish on opening night until three straight fumbles on possessions kind of derailed the whole thing.

Last week, they beat Eastern Kentucky 42-0. I know what you’re thinking, but EKU is a solid FCS team that competed on the road with both Marshall and Bowling Green last year. And don’t forget, last year at this time Louisville was having a hell of a time with Indiana State a week before struggling with this WKU team.

Against EKU, the Cards were dominant defensively, never allowing the Colonels inside the red zone. The offense had its ups and downs in the first half, but scored touchdowns on all four of their second half possessions and the defense forced punts on every possession. For a team that just needs to keep building confidence, that should help them this week.

Buffalo/Liberty under 55.5 – 2u
Buffalo (-5.5) over LIBERTY – 1u

The Bulls might’ve played the closest 45-13 game in the history of football last week with Penn State. As someone who has some investments in the Nittany Lions, that game was not comfortable, nor very encouraging. Buffalo outgained PSU by more than 70 yards and controlled the clock. And it wasn’t just Buffalo piling on a bunch of meaningless yards at the end of the game. They went for several long drives in the first half.

Turnovers, special teams, and a couple of costly penalties were the key. Buffalo had a fumble in the first half that gave Penn State a short field and a quick touchdown. It was the only points the supposedly high-octane Nittany Lions would have in the first half. A pick-six in the second half started the “rout” for PSU.

Here’s why I like Buffalo this week: Liberty isn’t Penn State.

The most noteworthy report from the Flames so far this season has been tracking which type of medical furniture Hugh Freeze is going to use to draw attention to himself on a week-to-week basis. Freeze is back to practice this week on a golf cart.

I had high hopes for the Flames this year – specifically the offense – but they’ve been lifeless so far. They got shutout by Syracuse a week before Syracuse gave up a 63 spot to Maryland. They could only muster 14 against a Lafayette team that is known for shootouts.

Now Liberty will be matched up with this Buffalo team that is playing a bit of a different style this year on offense after all their pass-game power left last year. The Bulls have preferred the running game and ball control, throwing the ball less than 30% of the time.

Liberty is much more prone to throw, but it hasn’t gotten them very far. They’re only averaging 5.6 YPA through the air and even when they do complete, it hasn’t been for many big plays.

VIRGINIA (-7 (-120)) over Florida State – 2u

Florida State has gotten off to a couple of decent starts, but holy hell have they not been able to maintain. You can see glimpses of greatness, but it hasn’t lasted for a full 60 minutes.

I went through this last year with the Seminoles as I clang to any shred of evidence that they were eventually going to be good and maybe make a run at the season total over. They were never good and they still aren’t.

Sure, they played a good half against Boise, but Boise was also playing with a true freshman QB in his first start. On the other side of the country and dealing with a last-minute venue and time change, no less. After settling down, Hank Bachmeier lit them up in the second half. The Broncos could only muster 14 against Marshall at home the next week.

Last week, UL Monroe gave the Noles 44 in Tallahassee, with 37 of that coming after halftime. The same ULM team who only scored 31 against Grambling State and could only combine for 31 last year in road games at Texas A&M and Ole Miss.

Virginia isn’t an elite offense, but they’ve got plenty to put up some points against a defense that has fallen apart in two straight second halves.

The FSU offense looks improved, but they’ve been pretty reliant on big plays to generate points. We’ll see if they can take the offense on the road with them to Charlottesville. The Noles have only averaged 20 PPG in their ten road games the past couple years.

The Virginia defense has looked steady as a rock, although Pitt and William & Mary aren’t exactly elite offenses. Still, the Cavs held Pitt to just 3.7 yards per play at Pitt. They allowed just 71 yards of total offense in the first three quarters against W&M.

YTD: 3-7 (-10.2u)

LEANS

K-State +8

Penn State -17

BYU +4

Purdue +2.5

EMU +7.5

SMU -17.5

WMU -8.5

Ball State +2.5

Army -17

Marshall -5.5 and the under 49.5

 

 

 

2019 CFB Picks: Week 2

PICKS

All picks are for two units.

YTD: 3-2-1 (+0.8u)

Western Michigan (+16.5) over MICHIGAN STATE

We could have shades of Utah State/MSU again this year. Remember Jordan Love and the Aggies took the Spartans down to the very last drive in last year’s season opener.

There are pretty high expectations for WMU this year and they could be the best team in the MAC. QB Jon Wassink leads the way. It was only Monmouth, but Wassink went 20-25, 368 yards, 5 TDs, and 0 INTs last week. The Broncos scored on every possession they didn’t take a knee in the game. Obviously, the MSU defense is a much bigger test, but this is an offense that put up 42 points last year against a pretty good Syracuse defense.

WMU has ten starters back on defense and they should be able to keep the Broncos in the game if the offense struggles. Michigan State’s offense last year was horrendous and things didn’t look much better last week against Tulsa. The Spartans only managed 303 yards and 19 points by the offense.

GEORGIA TECH (-6) over South Florida

I – like many others – was expecting a pretty rough season for Georgia Tech as they try to transition away from the Paul Johnson era. And I still am, but holy hell is the ship sinking fast in South Florida.

After starting 7-0 last year, they are now on a seven game losing streak and they’ve lost those games by an average of 23.4 PPG. After waiting eight months to get the bad taste out of their mouth from last season they had Wisconsin coming to their place, in the humidity, for a home night game and they got steamrolled to the tune of a 49-0 beatdown. They couldn’t run. They couldn’t pass. And they certainly couldn’t stop the run.

Wisconsin’s a good team, but I think I’d much prefer a home game with the Badgers over an opening night road game at the defending national champs. Sure, the Jackets lost by 38, but they nearly doubled USF’s opening week yardage. The run defense was problematic to say the least, but on the flip side they made Heisman favorite Trevor Lawrence look downright average.

UNLV (pick) over Arkansas State

The two matched up at ASU last year, a 27-20 win for the Red Wolves largely due to an unspeakably bad passing day for Armani Rogers. But the Rebels did run wild during the game. After that loss, Rogers was out for months and the season fell apart for UNLV.

Rogers is back again this year and ran wild again in Week 1 with the rest of the backfield. They rattled off 7.4 YPC and 7 TDs against Southern Utah before folding up shop in the fourth quarter.

A good run game is typically the way to beat the Red Wolves. They gave up a lot of big plays against the run last year and were towards the bottom of the country in rushing efficiency.

Arkansas State lost a close one at home to SMU last week, but it wasn’t really as close as it appeared. SMU outgained them by 100 yards and had five of their drives inside the redzone result in a total of nine points. If the Mustangs converted better when close, it could’ve been a blowout.

FIU (-7.5) over Western Kentucky

Listen, Central Arkansas isn’t a horrible FCS team. They were projected to finish second in a fairly decent Southland conference. But that’s still a pretty bad home loss to start the Tyson Helton era, who I’ve spoken my doubts about on a number of occasions. Now they have to go on the road against a really experienced FIU team.

FIU didn’t fare much better last week on the road against a Tulane squad that could be a dark horse of sorts in the American this year. But after a shaky first game, I’m expecting a big bounceback for QB James Morgan against a WKU pass defense that gave up 404 yards on just 29 attempts (13.9 YPA) against CAU.

HAWAII (-6.5) over Oregon State

I still haven’t found a real reason to believe in the Beavs. Some seemed encouraged by their effort against Okie State last week, but at the end of the day they didn’t even cover a double-digit spread at home. They were never within the number the entire second half against a bad defense and a freshman QB in his first live action.

The defense doesn’t appear to have improved much and the Warriors aren’t exactly the team to get things sorted out against. Remember the tear that Hawaii was on at the beginning of last season until Cole McDonald hurt his foot midway through the season and the schedule got much more difficult. Hawaii put up 45 against Arizona despite six turnovers, which I’m fairly confident won’t happen again. The Beavs still haven’t held an opponent under 34 since Week 2 of last year when they held mighty Southern Utah to 25.

Offensively, Oregon State was much better last week, but Oklahoma State’s defense was terrible last year and had massive question marks coming into the season. It was a tough trip for the Pokes up to Corvallis for a night game on the road to open the season. I’m not here to argue the merits of the Hawaii defense, but I think it’s still a tougher situation for the Beaver offense to have to travel to the islands than a night home game.

I don’t think the bye week is a big advantage for Hawaii this early in the season, but the extra week of prep can’t hurt.

Leans / Thoughts on Other Games

TEXAS (+6.5) over LSU

I’m much more of a pro-LSU guy than a pro-Texas guy, but Tom Herman’s record as an underdog speaks for itself. With a week of lead-up and everyone taking about this game, picking LSU, it only gives the Longhorns motivation. The atmosphere in Austin has greatly improved the last few years and it should be rocking at night with Gameday in town.

MICHIGAN (-22) over Army

I haven’t bet on any team more than Army the past few years, but I hate the spot here. I’m not sure they can move the ball much at all on the Wolverines.

COLORADO (+4) over Nebraska

This may end up being the best game of the weekend as it turns into a shootout. Nebraska looked bad last weekend on offense, but I doubt that lasts for long. Not sure how much of a home atmosphere this is going to be for the Buffs with Husker nation expected to show up in droves.

Texas A&M (+17) over CLEMSON

Jimbo always plays Dabo tough, as the Aggies did last year. 17 seems like a hell of a lot, but every time it seems that way with Clemson, they seem to cover. A&M never seems to be the same on the road.

Nevada (+24) over OREGON

I’d typically like the Pack here, but you have the confluence of them maybe still riding a high after that dramatic comeback win over Purdue and Oregon looking to take their frustration out on somebody after giving away the Auburn game.

PENN STATE (-30.5) over Buffalo

Death, taxes, Penn State laying waste to inferior opponents at Beaver Stadium.

RICE (+19) over Wake Forest

Rice/Army is one of those games where you can’t quite tell which team the game says more about. Is Army a lot worse that we thought or is Rice looking to make a big jump in Year 2 under Mike Bloomgren? I don’t know, but this is one to keep an eye on Friday night.

West Virginia (+14) over MISSOURI

Seems like a lot of points, but Missouri will be looking to take some frustration out and WVU’s offense is still quite a work in progress.

NORTH CAROLINA (+5) over Miami (FL)

There was nothing fluky about the Heels’ victory over USC last week. I really want to take them this week, but I’m nervous about that Miami front seven getting after Sam Howell.

Tulane (+17.5) over AUBURN

I wanted to love it, but then I thought the Auburn front might just totally shut down the Green Wave running game.

UCF (-10.5) over FAU

Honestly should probably be a pick, but I just can’t shake pulling for the Lane Train.

Wyoming (-7) over TEXAS STATE

I think the Cowboys are like three touchdowns better than Texas State. I’m a little worried about the hangover effect from the game with Missouri, but much more worried about the Wyoming offense still not being able to throw the ball. I just can’t lay a touchdown with an offense that has shown its plenty willing to let their defense do all the work and win 17-14.