All picks are 2 units except for the first…
COASTAL CAROLINA (-4.5) over UL-Monroe – 5 Units
I always hate when I love a side this much. I feel like I’m missing something so obvious. I’m scouring the internet looking for a reason the line feels so off.
There’s really only one possible reason the line is less than a touchdown here and that’s the uncertainty of the status on CC’s QB Kilton Anderson. Anderson missed the Troy game with a sprained ankle, but has had an extra week to recover with the bye. And this good news came through on Tuesday:
The other good news is that Anderson’s backup is pretty good. Bryce Carpenter is 27-34 on the year for 300 yards, 4 TDs, and 1 INT. He’s also carried 22 times for 135 yards. Carpenter can’t match the big plays that Anderson creates with his arm and he takes too many sacks, but obviously those numbers are still pretty impressive and they mostly came against Troy, one of the best teams in the league.
But once again, it looks like Anderson may be able to go.
As far as the number goes, every analytical measure I respect/look at has this line at least at 7.5 and as many 14. Even if you factor in the Anderson injury, I think you’re still looking at CC as the right side. The dropoff from him to Carpenter isn’t that severe.
But numbers are just a piece of the handicap. The biggest reason I really like this game is due to what I guess you’d call the logistical situations of the two teams.
UL-Monroe is playing their fifth road game in six weeks. I repeat: FIVE ROAD GAMES IN SIX WEEKS. They went to Mississippi in Week 2, Texas in Week 3, home for a week, Georgia in Week 5, Mississippi in Week 6, and now head to South Carolina for Week 7.
It really started to show the past couple of weeks. Georgia State beat them like a drum two weeks ago. GSU doesn’t beat anybody like a drum, especially when they’re 7.5 point dogs. Then last week, they were down 63-7 to Ole Miss just five minutes into the second half. Yes, Ole Miss is an SEC team – barely – but ULM was only three touchdown dogs in that one and they were down eight touchdowns 35 minutes into the game.
Coastal has also had a tough stretch with travel recently, only they’ve handled it much, much better. The Chanticleers had to evacuate Conway a few weeks ago when the hurricane hit. They were living out of hotels for three weeks. They couldn’t practice at home, yet they still won two of three games.
Now they’re settled back at home, which they were able to do during the bye week. They should be amped to play at home for just the second time this season. Their only other home performance was a 23-point win over UAB, a game in which they were dogs by nine points.
If you need anything more, CC has a Top 30 offense and Top 30 special teams when it comes to efficiency, according to S&P+. That efficiency only gets better offensively when they have scoring opportunities, where they rank 8th in the country in converting those opportunities.
Look at the flip side of that equation and UL-Monroe ranks dead last in the same category and nearly dead last – 126th – defensively.
The only thing I hate about this game is that it’s on ESPN+ and I’m finally gonna have to cave to those corporate monsters.
FIU (-2) over Middle Tennessee
MTSU is coming off two big wins and they were rather fortunate in both. The FAU win was a huge comeback that they pulled out by going for two at the end of regulation to win the game by one. Last week was a better performance, but Marshall was without their starting QB.
FIU is off a bye – as opposed to the second straight road trip for MTSU – and the Panthers have been a little more consistent from week-to-week. They’re also a much more balanced offense than the Blue Raiders. The FIU staff has had two weeks to prepare for the MTSU passing game and they’ve been really good defending on passing downs this year. They will be without one of their best pass rushers – Fermin Silva – but he’s a bit of a one-trick pony and the Panthers have several other guys who are capable.
Colorado (+7) over USC
Name me the game this year where USC has really looked impressive this year. Wazzu was a good win for them, but it was a one-sided effort. The defense didn’t show up.
Colorado hasn’t played an elite schedule by any stretch, but they’ve been consistent and have gained a lot of confidence over the first half of the season. JT Daniels may be the star of the future for SC, but Stevie Montez has been a stud for the Buffs this year and he’s got the best target in the country. Shame on me for thinking ASU could slow down Laviska last week.
Colorado has covered three straight against the Trojans.
CHARLOTTE (+9.5) over Western Kentucky
It’s truly a disgusting game, but that’s why I love the home dog here. WKU has been horrendous offensively and Mike Sanford said this week that starting QB Drew Eckels will remain out.
Charlotte is Charlotte, but they’ve been decent at home this year with wins over Old Dominion by 3 and Fordham by 24. They’re not horrendous defensively and when it comes to run defense they’re actually quite competent. I think that’ll be huge this week with WKU having QB troubles and probably hoping to rely more on the running game.
UCLA (+7.5) over CAL
Not a great time to be on the UCLA or Cal beat!
I feel like UCLA is about to go on a long run of covers. Since the bye week, they’ve looked a lot better. The Colorado score ended up being pretty ugly, but that was an even game for a long time in Boulder. The Bruins put together another respectable effort last week against Washington.
It can only get better for the offense as they go through the growing pains with DTR running the show. It’s a tough trip up to face the Bear defense, but Cal’s offense puts very little pressure on opponents. They’re inept and Wilcox can’t commit to one QB.
Georgia Southern (-17) over TEXAS STATE
Feels like it’s about to hit a breaking point at Texas State. HC Everett Withers is fighting with the media for simply doing their jobs. People are openly calling for the AD’s firing at the games.
And it’s become tradition for the Bobcats to throw in the towel under Withers. They’re 1-17 in the Sun Belt during his three years.
I don’t typically consider it to be good practice to take a favorite of 17 points, especially on the road, and especially on a short week.
However, I always like taking option teams on a short week (see: Georgia Tech/Louisville last week). It’s a tough system to prepare for as it is and now the staff has two less days to work with. And to make matters better for GSU, they’ll be going against an incompetent staff.
Louisville (+14) over BOSTON COLLEGE
It’s not gonna be fun, but the Cards do get a couple extra days of prep. They can’t possibly be worse than last week. And they’re either getting no AJ Dillon or a non-100% AJ Dillon for BC.
BC was getting a lot of buzz early in the season, but it was predicated on preseason expectations, blowouts over UMass and Holy Cross, and a road win at Wake Forest, who may be as bad as Louisville. Since then, they’ve been blown out by Purdue, had a shaky win over Temple, and then got down 28-3 to NC State before making it look a little better with some late scores.
CENTRAL MICHIGAN (pick) over Ball State
I’ll always believe in my boy John Bonamego, who was sounding fed up with some of his comments this past week.
Perfect timing. Ball State is CMU’s own personal slump buster. The Chips were a disappointing 3-4 before winning 50-9 in Muncie last year and rattling off five in a row. In 2016 the Chips were on a little two game slide before the Cards rolled into town.
CMU has actually been playing fairly decent and might’ve won last week if not for four turnovers. They’ve had bad turnover luck all year. I think things start to go their way this week. First time Ball State has been on the road in four weeks.
UTSA (+14) over Louisiana Tech
I’m gassed, but UTSA is a different team at home. They’ve won three straight and are starting to build confidence after opening with three Power 5 teams. Their strength is their run defense and they’ll need it this week against the multi-faceted Bulldog rushing attack. Should be a one-score game to the finish.
YTD: 29-27-1 (-2.7u)
Texas Tech (+7) over TCU
Seems like both starting QBs are going to end up playing and this line is too high for a TCU team that’s still overvalued, but I don’t trust Texas Tech to do shit.
ILLINOIS (+10.5) over Purdue
Maybe it’s the scared Purdue fan in me, but it’s an interesting spot. Illinois is coming off a dominant win at Rutgers and likely sees another opportunity for victory. Purdue was sizzling hot offensively the three weeks heading into the bye. Who knows if they can keep that going after the time off? It was also announced on Monday that they’d be playing in the primetime game on ABC next week against Ohio State at home. I would hope they aren’t dumb enough to overlook Illinois, but they are college kids.
Kent State (+11.5) over Miami OH
Feels like a letdown for Miami after last week and Kent is pesky and should only get better in year one under a new coaching staff.
Wisconsin (+7.5) over MICHIGAN
Feels like a trap, but it’s just hard for me to imagine anything other than someone winning this game 20-17.
NAVY (+7) over Temple
Navy has an underrated homefield advantage and I refuse to believe they continue to play this poorly. Ken Nia always seems to figure something out.
Baylor (+14.5) over TEXAS
Baylor already got jumped all over, so the value has kind of been washed away. But there’s always letdown potential.
LSU (+7.5) over Georgia
I watch an unhealthy amount of college football and I think I’ve only maybe seen 20 snaps combined of Alabama and Georgia so far. I guess I’ll watch this.
Hawaii (+12.5) over BYU
This line has been all over the place. Opened initially at 8, got up to 14.5, and now back down to 12.5. I liked BYU at 8, especially since Hawaii has logged a billion miles the past five weeks with their travel schedule. I wouldn’t actually take the Bows for that reason, but this has gotten pretty high for a team that really sucks at scoring.
Missouri (+28) over ALABAMA
I’m not a psycho, but there seems to be some value in the line, especially with the way Bama has treated second halves.
Minnesota (+29.5) over OHIO STATE
Duke (+3) over GEORGIA TECH
This just seems like quite the overreaction to the last game each team has played. I might actually take it later in the week.
NEVADA (+17.5) over Boise State
Boise has turned into a bit of a wildcard.