NCAAF Season: 17-13-1, +2.7 Units
NCAAF Week 4: 2-3-0, -1.3 Units
Georgia Tech (+7.5): Going to take my chances with Georgia Tech here in a game that before the season began I had lined at Miami -3. I realize the Canes are better than we all thought they’d be, and they’ve climbed all the way to #14 in the polls. That said I’m still a bit skeptical. Their three wins are over Florida A&M, Florida Atlantic, and an Appalachian State team that really just might not be as good as we all seemed to think they were. You could make the argument they still haven’t faced a real test yet this season. As far as the Yellow Jackets go despite what happened last week against Clemson I still think this is a pretty solid team, and off that loss they should be even hungrier to pull off the upset in this one. Plus we can’t look past the fact that Miami has what is the biggest game on their schedule on deck next week with Florida State coming to town. This is a spot where if the Canes are feeling a bit too good about themselves and are caught looking ahead to FSU, that not only could Ga Tech cover, they could win outright.
Virginia (+3.5): We’ve got a nice shot to fade Duke here in what could be a big time letdown spot. After a big upset win at Notre Dame last week the Blue Devils are in a prime “come back down to reality” spot and I think it happens here against UVA. It’s also encouraging that Virginia put up 569 yards in an impressive 49-35 win over a pretty solid Central Michigan team last week. QB Kevin Benkert is starting to get things together and he seems to have this Virginia offense on the right track after a bumpy start. While the Duke win against Notre Dame I don’t want to give them too much credit for it. Not that it isn’t impressive, but at this point I’ve got to admit I may have mis-evaluated Notre Dame more than any team in the nation. They just simply aren’t that good, especially on the defensive end. As weird as it is the Duke offense couldn’t really get anything going against the likes of Wake Forest and Northwestern, but then they explode against the Irish? Again as crazy as it sounds the ND game might be the fluke. Overall there’s enough here to me hit the small road dog.
UL Monroe (+32.5): UL Monroe is terrible, I’ll just get that part out of the way right now. There’s no point in denying it or trying to convince anyone otherwise, this is a really bad football team. I’m not making this play because I think they are good. Now that that’s taken care of, I’ll get into why I’m playing them here. Flat out I don’t Auburn should be laying this much to really anyone. There isn’t much firepower at all on this team, and in three of their 4 games this season the offense has really struggled. Plus we have the tried and true letdown angle in play here with Auburn off a nice home win over LSU last week and with a conference road game on deck next week at Miss State. Now Miss State is far from a powerhouse this year, but that’s a game I think Auburn is looking at more than a game against lowly UL Monroe. You guys know the angle by now, Team A is off a big win and now plays a terrible Team B in a game where they probably are just going through the motions and sleepwalking for most of the afternoon. Auburn will still win, but I think they are too lethargic and won’t care enough to cover this inflated number. It’s a plug your nose and hope for the best kind of play, but I really do think UL Monroe gets there.
Georgia (+3.5): This is your perfect buy low, sell high opportunity. Plays like this are never easy to make because the most recent thing in everyones memory is Tennessee’s comeback victory over Florida, and Georgia having their doors blown off by Ole Miss. The initial reaction is to assume Tennessee cruises to an easy win here, I’m not so sure it’ll be that easy though. Georgia QB Jacob Eason has had a struggles through 4 games so far this season, but lets not forget that the Dogs still have arguably the best RB duo in the nation with Nick Chubb and Sony Michel. As of now Chubb is questionable, but it seems like he’s going to play. If he does I expect the Dogs to get back to basics and work he and Michel on the ground to the tune of maybe 35-40 combined carries. I’ll be the first to admit that Georgia has been underwhelming through 4 games but I’m not ready to give up on them yet. Especially when I can get them at home getting more than a field goal.
NC State (-11): Wake Forest is 4-0 right now, and good for them, more power to them. They’ve run through September with an unblemished record, but I’m still nowhere near sold on them. This week they travel to Raleigh for their third road game in 4 weeks and take on NC State. To be frank this is a reality check type of game. A true humbling slap in the face type of game where if a team starts buying into their own hype and thinking they are good, they’ll be brought right back to earth. This is a Wake Forest team that only won 3 games last year, and that I only expected to win 5 this year, so seeing them 4-0 is needless to say surprising. With a run like this you have two options when evaluating them. Was I wrong and maybe this team is pretty decent? Or is it a fluke month and this is a team that’s caught some breaks and is playing way over their heads. With Wake Forest I strongly think it’s the ladder. Their running attack is decent, but their passing attack is one of the worst in the nation. They just don’t have the talent, the firepower, or the players at the skill positions that NC State does. I’ll happily lay the 11 here in a game I honestly think NC State wins by 3 TD’s or more, this one could get ugly.
Oklahoma (-3.5): Maybe I’m stubborn but I’m not ready to give up on this Oklahoma team. Yes they’ve already got 2 losses, but those 2 losses came against 2 of the best teams in the nation at the hands of Houston and Ohio State. I still truly believe this is one of the more talented rosters in College Football, and that they’ll be a very dangerous team for the rest of the season. The fact that OU is laying over a FG here tells you oddsmakers certainly aren’t looking to throw in the towel on the Sooners either. How often do you see an unranked 1-2 team laying points on the road against a ranked team? Kind of raises an eyebrow doesn’t it? To some I’m sure it does, but to me you could argue this line should be 4.5 or 5. I’ll admit I still do think TCU is a solid team and I won’t beat them up too much for that home loss to Arkansas a few weeks ago. That said I still do feel there’s a clear talent gap here and that OU has the more complete, talented, and well rounded team. I hate to use the cliche “must win game” but this one really is just that for them. They’ve had 2 weeks to sit with that Ohio State loss as they are coming off a bye last week. This team should be very focused, very hungry, and very eager to show how good we all thought they’d be this season. I expect a big time effort from the Sooners here and think they’ll come away with the road win.
California (-2): Davis Webb and this California offense is just nuts right now. I’ll be the first to admit they can’t stop anyone on defense, but Sonny Dykes has really got that offense clicking. I faded Cal last week and come away with frankly what was a lucky cover with ASU. I played Cal as an 8 point dog in their win the week before against Texas and right now I feel I’ve got a pretty good read on this team. I won’t take anything from the Utes, they are 4-0 and are a very solid well rounded team. What I will say about them however is that I don’t think they have the firepower to hang with Cal, especially in Berkeley. Utah is a well built, but I think it’s fair to say they aren’t the kind of team to beat you in a shootout, and lets be honest, that’s all that Cal plays right now. It just is what is, if you play be prepared to put up 40 or more if you want to beat them, and in Texas case even doing that wasn’t enough. Right now Webb is putting up numbers that you’d have a tough time duplicating in a video game. The guy is averaging 459 passing yards per game, 4.5 TD passes per game, and doing it while completing 62.2% of his passes. I know Utah has a better defense than anything Webb has seen so far this year, but this is a case of just trying to slow them down, this is an offense you can’t stop. Even against good defenses Webb and company are going to get their yards and their points, it’s just inevitable. For me it’s that simple, Cal is going to get theirs and I don’t the Utes have the horses on the offensive side to keep up. Cal wins a 38-31 type of game.
Cincinnati (+5.5): I didn’t understand that USF/FSU line last week and I sure as hell don’t understand this one either. Clearly oddsmakers and myself don’t agree on how we rate this South Florida team. I don’t think they are awful or anything, but I felt that line last week was clearly off, and I feel it’s clearly off again this week. The Bulls beat Towson, Northern Illinois, and Syracuse and now they are world beaters? For gods sake that line last week against FSU got all the way down to 4 points? I don’t throw around the word “gift” very much but that was one of the worst lines I’ve seen in a while. The Noles did whatever they wanted last week putting up 647 yards of total offense and 55 points in a game where they honestly kind of slept walked through the 2nd half. USF was lucky to keep that game within 20, as the 55-35 score doesn’t indicate how lopsided that game truly was. Cincy I’ll admit hasn’t been great this year, and I’ll admit I was perhaps a bit higher on them pre-season than I should have been. That said there’s no way they should be 5.5 point home dogs in this one. I’m not ready to say Cincy is better than USF, but getting 5.5 at home is plenty good enough for me to get involved.
Clemson (+2): Louisville has been very impressive so far to start the season, and Lamar Jackson is rightfully your early season Heisman front runner. All that said there is some crazy over-reaction going on in this line. Before the season I had Clemson as a double digit favorite in this game, and now through just one month enough has changed for Louisville to be favored? Sure Clemson hasn’t been as impressive as most expected, but this team is still 4-0, still was nearly the best team in the nation last year, and still has one of the best rosters in the nation. They also have the advantage of being at home, playing at night, and having the disrespect chip on their shoulder. This is Clemson team that is 18-1 in their last 19 games, and nearly 19-0 if a few things went differently against Bama last year in the title game. Now all of the sudden the new flavor of the week in Louisville comes along and has a nice September and they can come into Clemson as a favorite? It just seems like quite the over-reaction in my book. To me this is a perfect reality check type game for Louisville and a remind everyone how good we are chance for Clemson. I think the Tigers take care of business and curb some of this seemingly never ending Louisville love affair.
USC (-10): This one sort of feels like the Wake Forest/NC State game. Arizona State has found their way to a 4-0 start, and good for them, more power to them. You’ve heard this before eh? The Sun Devils have their nice spiffy record, and I even cashed with them last week, but I’m still not fully sold. Aside from that win over Cal they really haven’t played anyone decent this year, that ends Saturday. Yes USC is only 1-3 but lets not pull the plug on them quite yet. They lost to Alabama, Stanford, and Utah, all three of which are losses that I can forgive. What impressed me about USC was them going for 466 yards of total offense on the road last week against a pretty solid Utah defense. That’s a game USC led in the 4th quarter, and you could very easily argue a game that they should’ve won. After this rough 1-3 start you can bet the Trojans will be licking their chops to get back home where they’ve still only played once this year. They know they need a win this week in the worst say to try and get their season back moving in the right direction. On the flip side ASU is due for a reality check, slap in the face type of game. For them I feel like it comes on Saturday.