Matt and Jack both had incredible weeks last week, and Matt especially is feeling it. Saturday is an intriguing slate of games, but from a purely gambling perspective, here are a few of the best plays:
Matt’s plays (YTD 7-3):
Wake Forest coming down to the wire with Clemson last week was probably my favorite game of the year so far. I am a Demon Deacon bandwagon fan and, I think QB Sam Hartman and HC Dave Clawson run the most unique and fun offense in the country. This is team is back to the form they had last year, and they can score on anyone.
Florida State has been one of the best storylines in college football through the first month of the season, and they may be on their way to national relevance in the not too distant future. With that said, this is game one of a crucial 3 game stretch for the Noles (@ NCST, and home against Clemson the next 2 weeks following Wake), and I think it puts them in a very difficult spot. You have to believe the team is thinking ahead and dreaming about what the season will look like if they win 2 or 3 games in that stretch. Wake will be firing after last week’s close loss to Clemson, and they are still gunning for a spot in the ACC championship game. All that considered, I’ll take the Deacons to stay inside the number, and I think they have a chance to win outright. I’m looking at the over here too.
Pick: Wake Forest +7
UAB vs. Rice (Rice +10; O/U 51.5):
Rice is a perennial dumpster fire of a team, but they have shown some real improvement this year. Luke McCaffery finally made the move to wide receiver for them, and he is dynamic for them. Bill Clark retired for UAB last year and is a legend down there. His teams typically play tough D but have not been a great offensive side.
I don’t have much more in depth analysis about either of these teams, but to me, 10 points is just glaring. I simply don’t think UAB will be that much better of a team on the field than Rice, so I’ll bet on the Owls to keep it inside of double digits at home.
Pick: Rice +10
Arizona St. vs. USC (USC-25; O/U 60.5):
The Herm Edwards era is over, and I fully expect the Sun Devils to crash and burn from here on out. Their offense is a mess and lacks O-line play and explosiveness from the skill positions. Herm was able to field some stingy defenses during his tenure, but that does not seem to be the case this year. They’ve given up over 30 in each of their last 3 games including to Eastern Michigan in Herm’s last game.
USC survived last week and will feel they are still well within the hunt of the playoff. The offense looked unstoppable until last week, and I think they will be looking to make a statement back at home against the Sun Devils. Honestly, my prediction is carnage for the Trojans. I think they can name their number in a get right game following the scrap in Corvallis. There are several angles you could play with that prediction, but I think the safest is to play the 1st half. USC’s offense will roll early and jump out to a lead. I’m betting it’s a safe play that they will be up by more than 2 touchdowns at halftime.
Pick: USC first half -14.5
I said last week that I would continue to fade the Buffs until they gave me a reason not to. Owen McCown was fun, but he was far from a reason not to. CU is 0-4 ATS this year, and I’ll take the Wildcats to make that 0-5.
Jack’s picks (YTD 6-4)
Duke vs. Virginia
Virginia has really regressed on offense without Bronco Mendenhall and Robert Anae to guide that side of the ball. Brennan Armstrong went from one of the most exciting players in the country to an average QB that has to run for his life. Defensively, under new head coach Tony Elliot, they have not the strides needed to compensate.
Duke, under fellow 1st year head coach Mike Elko, is a different story. They have transformed into a semi-complete team! And they’re kind of fun! Were we all so lucky. Elko has the defense playing fast and solid, and the offense does just enough to keep them around. I expect Duke to roll.
The pick: Duke -2
UTSA vs. MTSU
Classic let down spot here. UTSA is one of the most talented teams in the conference, with an experienced head coach. They have been tested hard in the non-conference, and they are starting to get a bit healthier.
MTSU is coming off of a stunning upset of Miami. This upset was completed thanks to three scoring plays over 50 yards. Explosive plays like that are some of the hardest to replicate week over week, and it’s harder to be motivated for UTSA than it is for Miami. Take the Roadrunners, meep meep.
The pick: UTSA -4
UTEP vs. Charlotte
This game is absolutely disgusting. UTEP, under former KSU assistant Dana Dimel, is content to grind games into dust. Charlotte has had QB health issues all year, with no depth anywhere else on the roster. Please do not watch this game, but bet on UTEP to be the better team. Watch out for some potential weird hurricane weather shenanigans in this game as well.
The pick: UTEP money line (pick em)
Let’s hope the column stays in the plus column!