Another week, another winning week for us over here at Big MQ Island as I went 3-2 with a whammy hit on Ohio State -26 to bring my record to 22-12-1 (6-1). The other hits were Iowa-Purdue U53 and Tampa Bay -3.5, though if you read this piece last week then you got a couple extra bonus winners. The losses were Tulsa-USF U50.5 (though my premise was right that the Hurricane would kick the shit out of the Bulls) and Lions-Falcons O55. Not a terrible surprise that an Atlanta team let me down, but alas, here we are.
I love a lot of these lines this week. Some just missed the cut, including Alabama -31 against Mississippi State. Nick Saban runs an excellent pattern-matching Cover 2, a variation that notoriously gives Mike Leach fits. The Pirate has lost that locker room, and something tells me Saban will give Leach his wish of “wanting to see if his system works in the SEC.”
Another great line is Appalachian State -31. The Mountaineers have won their three games this year by a combined 74 points, with their lone loss to a dangerous Marshall team. Meanwhile, UL-Monroe may be the worst team in the FBS. The Warhawks are 0-6 and have only lost one of those games by less than 24.
I also threw around Iowa State -28 against Kansas. The Jayhawks are 0-5 against the spread and overall. Their five losses have been by 41, 21, 40, 33, and 15. They’re still awful, even with Les Miles. They also rank 81st out of 101 teams in the country in rushing yards allowed, and have to deal with the FBS’s second-leading rusher in Breece Hall. Yikes.
Lastly, I threw around West Virginia -4 against Kansas State and Texas +3.5 at Oklahoma State. I have no reason for those two other than I don’t understand why an unranked Texas team is only 3.5-point dogs on the road at a top five opponent and unranked WVU is favored by more than a field goal against No. 16 K-State. Usually when you can’t wrap your head around lines, Vegas knows something. OK, enough bonus frill, let’s get to this week’s picks.
Packers -6.5 vs. Vikings
When is everyone going to learn? All offseason, I noticed mouth-breathers on Twitter discounting Aaron Rodgers, after they said he had a “down year.” That down year, by the way, was going 13-3, throwing for over 4,000 yards, and compiling a 26-4 touchdown-interception mark. Now, after he had one bad game with two picks in Tampa Bay – which, as an aside, who hasn’t made poor decisions in Central Florida at some point in their life – some dopes are writing him off again. So, the following week, all he did was just throw for 283 yards, four touchdowns, and no picks.
I know what you’re thinking, “Michael, the Vikings are coming off a bye and they’ve already seen Green Bay once this year.” That’s fair, I get it, byes scare me, too. But the Vikings are 3-4 ATS after byes under head coach Mike Zimmer, and what in God’s name have we seen from Minnesota this year to warrant any fear? They are 1-5 straight-up and ATS, and already lost to this Packers team at home by nine following a litany of garbage time points.
Meanwhile, the Packers are the inverse of their Midwestern off-the-charts-cholesterol rivals, sitting at 5-1 SU and ATS. Green Bay has the second-best ATS mark in the NFL at home since Rodgers became the full-time starter in 2008, going 77-25-2 at Lambeau Field. They’re also 10-1-0 ATS at home since the start of last year. I guess what I’m saying, is take the damn Pack.
Arkansas +12.5 vs. Texas A&M
The Razorbacks have been the surprise of the SEC so far in 2020. Picked by everyone to finish seventh out of seven in the SEC West, and eighth by some if they had the option, Arkansas is 2-2 with wins over the Mississippi schools. Head coach Sam Pittman hired a pair of elite coordinators in Dave Odom on defense and Kendal Briles on offense, and this team is built to hang.
The Aggies were blown out by Alabama, which is something that happens to most everyone, and their wins are by five over Vanderbilt, by three over Florida, and by 14 over Mississippi State.
Arkansas is 4-0 ATS this year, outpacing the number by 12.1 ppg. The last three times these two teams have played and five of the last six, the final score has been less than a touchdown. Giving Arkansas, a covering machine so far, a touchdown and a field goal and then some, especially after a bye? We’re going to be eating like Bret Bielema after this puppy, take the Hogs.
I think it’s safe to say I am a big proponent of using past results to be predictive of future results, and here is no different. Tulane is 5-0-1 on hitting the over this year, going over the number by an average of 13.8 ppg. Temple, on the other hand, is 2-0-1 on hitting the over, exceeding the mark by 10.8 on average.
The combined totals in Tulane’s six games this year, starting at the beginning of the season and working forward: 51, 51, 90, 80, 71, and 85. It’s safe to say offensive coordinator Will Hall’s offense is clicking as the year has gone on. Temple’s three totals are 60, 76, and 70.
These two can put points on the board early and often, and it wouldn’t be American to think otherwise. Points, Jackie, for all these people.
Tulsa -17 vs. East Carolina
Last week, I bet on the Hurricane to hit the under and missed by 4.5 points as their offense was too much on the day. I have learned my lesson and still want to roll with the land of Hanson. As a side note, I looked up famous things in Tulsa or famous people from Tulsa and the Hanson brothers were the best I could find. So if you’re from Tulsa, chances are you’ll never amount to anything.
Anyway, Tulsa the football team is 2-1 this year thanks in large part to a stout defense. They are 3-0 ATS, beating the spread by an average of 20 points per game, tops in the country among teams that have played multiple games. ECU, meanwhile, is 1-3 SU and 2-2 ATS, with their lone win coming against hapless USF. Their three losses are by 23 at home to UCF (whom Tulsa beat on the road by eight), at Georgia State by 20, and at home by four to Navy. Break out the Turnover Hat and take the Hurricane.
WHAMMY: Raiders-Browns O50.5
Thus far, I am 6-1 in Whammy multi-unit bets on the year, leading the pack. With that, I am going to take a page out of Cherokee Doc’s playbook and say that one thing that concerns me about this game is the weather will be in the 30s and 40s with rain and winds up to 26 mph. I don’t like that in overs, but this one is too juicy. This one is a Starburst commercial. This one is a fat ribeye from Hal’s in Buckhead. This one is the back of a portly Staten Island girl’s sweatpants running into the Stop and Shop on Richmond Avenue. That’s how damn JUICY this over is right now.
The Las Vegas Raiders are 5-0-1 on overs so far this year, good for second in the NFL behind the Saints. The Browns are 4-2 on overs, good for fourth. The Raiders are 3-0 on overs on the road in this young season, while the Browns are 3-0 on overs at home so far. Las Vegas’s last game ended in a 45-20 loss to Tampa Bay while Cleveland’s last game ended in a 37-34 win over Cincinnati, both games blowing past 50.5.
Not enough for you? OK. The Raiders have the 11th-best scoring offense in the league at 28.5 ppg and the second-worst scoring defense in the league at 32.8 ppg, good for an average of 61.3 total. The Browns have the 10th-best offense at 28.6, and the fourth-worst defense at 31.6, good for a total of 60.2.
No? Still wondering if you should take this one? How about the fact that the team who surpasses the over by the most points on average is the Cleveland Browns at +11.4. Who is second you may ask? The Las Vegas f***ing Raiders at +11.1. Frankly, at this point if you don’t take this over, then you don’t deserve money. Cue The Home Depot commercial music, because you have to get out the absolute hammer in this pick.