All wagers at -110 odds unless otherwise noted. My picks are in bold, with that team’s spread attached. Visit Odds Shark for updated lines throughout each game week.
Season record: 15-21.
I had a disastrous, 5-11 Week 2 that included a 1-5 record in wagers decided by a single score, and a push on Iowa State, despite the Cyclones taking Iowa to overtime. If you take an underdog and the games goes to overtime, you’re likely going to lose, but you likely had the right side.
I took Week 3 off after Hurricane Irma, since I did not have power. I wish I could have posted a column, since I had a nice personal week with Southern Miss, Vanderbilt, Oklahoma State, Florida, and Mississippi State. Thoughts and prayers to those impacted by Harvey, Irma, and Maria. It’s been a rough few weeks for the southeastern United States.
There are some dangerous road tests this week, with 13 ranked teams leaving home, many who will be favored by less than three scores. Somebody will get upset.
1. Temple at USF -19: The Bulls’ offense is high-powered, and Temple’s offense really struggles to score. I don’t think the Owls can keep up. There is no look-ahead spot here, as USF plays East Carolina next week.
2. Utah at Arizona +3.5: Arizona at home in the underdog role is a friendly situation. The Wildcats should score enough to threaten with an upset.
3. TCU at Oklahoma State Under 71.5: I considered taking Oklahoma State and laying the 11 points here, but the better play in my opinion is to take the under. TCU’s defense is salty, and after watching the Arkansas game, it seems clear that Gary Patterson does not trust QB Kenny Hill to throw the ball down the field.
4. Mississippi State at Georgia -4.5: Notre Dame ran for 937 combined yards on Temple and Boston College. But against Georgia, the Irish were held to just 55 yards. Mississippi State is not a team that can throw as well without the threat of play-action. The time to bet Mississippi State was Week 3 in Starkville.
5. West Virginia -21 at Kansas: West Virginia does not have a lookahead situation, with a bye week on deck. I expect the Mountaineers to hit some more big plays through the air.
6. Alabama -18.5 at Vanderbilt: Alabama laying less than three touchdowns, in a road environment that’s not exactly intimidating, against a putrid offense? Seems like a recipe for a win.
7. NC State +13 at Florida State: NC State has an excellent defensive line and an experienced QB. FSU is starting true freshman James Blackman at QB, and while I like Blackman, he has been on campus less than three months. This wager is more about believing NC State is undervalued after some bad luck against South Carolina than it is about doubting Florida State.
8. Oklahoma -27 at Baylor: The Sooners have a bye next week. Baylor simply cannot score enough to hang.
9. Old Dominion at Virginia Tech Over 52 points: I considered playing Virginia Tech, but with Clemson on deck, this is potentially a lookahead spot. The Hokies put 64 on East Carolina last week.
10 and 11. UCF +3.5 at Maryland AND Over 59.5: UCF can really score. Maryland’s defense is not that good, but its offense should be able to score some in a high-paced game.
12. Oregon at Arizona State +14.5: This is just a lot of points at home for an Arizona State team that can score a good bit. We saw Oregon fail to fully put away Nebraska in Week 2.
13. Stanford at UCLA Under 58: So far, UCLA games have featured an average of 87 points. But consider that two of the contests were against high-powered offenses that emphasize tempo (Texas A&M and Memphis). Stanford does not. I look for a physical, slow, grinding game.
14. Ohio +2.5 at Eastern Michigan: EMU’s defense is better against the pass than the run, and that suits the Bobcats just fine.
15. USC at Cal +17.5: Cal has looked very competent so far, while USC just played an extremely physical battle against Texas. The Trojans are banged up and could be resting players.
16. Penn State at Iowa +13: Penn State lives on the big play. Iowa’s defense traditionally prevents the big play fairly well. Tight end Mike Gesicki does scare me against Iowa’s two-deep shell coverages, but 13 points in Kinnick is a lot.
17. Florida -2 at Kentucky: Florida’s rush defense is starting to show some cracks (opposing running backs have rushed for 411 yards on 71 carries). But Kentucky’s rushing offense is 114th nationally in success rate. That does not sound like a team ready to take advantage. I think Florida controls both lines of scrimmage.
18. Auburn -18 at Missouri: Auburn’s defense is excellent, and Auburn’s had some of the worst turnover luck in the country. Vegas is begging people to take Missouri in this spot, but I won’t bite.
19. Rutgers +13 at Nebraska: Rutgers is playing solid run defense so far this year, which could force Nebraska to chuck it around more. That could be good for the Scarlett Knights as the Cornhuskers lead the nation in interceptions thrown.
20. UTSA -12 at Texas State: UTSA is going to go to a bowl game this year under Frank Wilson. They are the superior team, coming off playing an FCS school and with a bye week on deck, so this is a prime spot for the Roadrunners to flex.
21. Bowling Green +7.5 at MTSU: MTSU could be without QB Brent Stockstill and top receiver Richie James. With C-USA play beginning next week, it might make sense to hold them out, if they are at all questionable.