Welcome back! What else can I say? I am on the ultimate heater right now. I went 3-2 last week and that was the worst week that I’ve had in seven weeks. I’m now 24-9 since week two (73%).
Let’s get to the picks!
Temple -3 (vs. Cincinnati)
This is the classic let down spot for Cincinnati. They are ranked in the top 25 for the first time in who knows how long, and they’re on the road. How many time per year do we see a team get hot, become a ranked team, and then lose? Damn near every week.
Temple is coming off of a battle against a good Boston College team, followed by a dominating win over East Carolina, and then an impressive win over Navy. Temple is getting hot at the right time, lead by a great defense.
The stats may suggest that Cincinatti is the clear favorite, and ESPN FPI says Cincinnati has a 60% of winning outright, but this is a pure spot pick. These games happen almost weekly, and Temple is a good football team.
To top it off, the game is a noon kickoff, usually a nightmare for the road “favorite” (They’re a favorite because they’re ranked – not considering the spread).
Always be wary when a ranked team is playing a non-ranked team and the non-ranked team is favored. It’s usually a bad spot for the ranked team.
Temple wins this one easily.
Auburn -3.5 (@ Ole Miss)
Before I give any of my own reasoning, there is value in -3.5, as ESPN FPI says Auburn has a 64% chance of winning. Those numbers suggest that maybe -6 should be the real number, but Vegas isn’t stupid, they know Auburn has been struggling. They know where the money will come in from.
Auburn’s offense has really struggled this season. With that being said, is there a better slump-buster than Ole Miss? Ole Miss is giving up 500 yards per game. Teams are scoring at will against them. Good teams have all scored more than 45 against Ole Miss.
Auburn’s struggles have stemmed from their lack of a running game, a usual staple of Gus Malzahn’s offenses. This will not be the case on Saturday. Auburn will finally be able to move the ball, and that will kickstart the entire team.
While Auburn has struggled, their defense is still dominating, only giving up 16 points per game. They beat a good Washington team and they lost by one to a top 5 LSU team.
Ole Miss does put up a lot of points, but they have struggled when they have faced big boy defenses. They were held to 7 against Bama, and 16 against LSU. Auburn will keep them contained too.
This is a do or die game for Auburn’s season. There’s no way they lose this game. I think Auburn wins BIG.
Cal -6.5 (@ Oregon State)
I’m going to keep this short because I love my Beavs. I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, but they just aren’t good. I don’t care that Cal’s season has started to spiral out of control. I don’t care that the Beavs have the best running back in the country with Jermar Jefferson.
They just aren’t a good football team, and this line is an overreaction to Cal’s recent performances. This line should be Cal -13.5, given Oregon State’s defense, and Cal’s defense that has the ability to shut down Jermar Jefferson.
I’d be happy to lose this bet. GO BEAVS.
Alabama @ Tennessee OVER 57
If Tua Tagovailoa is playing, this line is 15 points too low. If he isn’t playing, the first team offense will have a chip on their shoulder, trying prove that they can be dominant without their star QB who is getting all of the national attention.
It’s as simple as that. Bama is -29, so Vegas thinks the score will be 42-14-ish. I think Bama scores more than 42 with either QB.
Oregon +2.5 (@ Washington State)
By the eye test, Oregon is the far superior team. They have the athletes on defense to slow down Wazzu’s air raid offense. Oregon has also been extremely physical on both sides of the ball. Oregon, under new coach Mario Cristobal, has improved their offensive and defensive lines dramatically. A lack of physicality has been their downfall in recent seasons. They dominated Stanford physically. They played physically against Washington.
Oregon and Wazzu have almost identical points per game, points allowed per game, total yards gained, and total yards allowed. It’s actually bizarre. The only difference, Oregon has played Stanford, Washington, and Cal, but Wazzu has only played Utah and USC.
This just seems like a game where the home crowd is insanely hyped to have College Game Day in town after 15 years of flying Old Crimson every single Saturday on different campuses, the home team is amped up, and then the game starts and Oregon comes out quick and it’s 14-0 before Wazzu even knows what is happening. This kind of game happens every year.
Both teams control their own destiny in the Pac-12 North, but Oregon has fewer distractions this week, on top of their advantage in the trenches.
Edited at end of week: I finished 4-1 this week. I am now 28-10 on the season.