Keep on grinding out solid weeks. Ended up going 5-2, +4 units. Little upset about some money management but overall, have no reason to complain about how I’m doing halfway through the season. Below are my Week 8 College Football Picks. If you don’t see a game you’re interested in, please leave a comment and I will give you my thoughts.
Week 1: 5-3 +4.5u , Week 2: 6-2 +10 u, Week 3: 3-3, -.5u
Week 4: 5-2, +6.5u, Week 5: 4-2, +5.5u, Week 6: 7-2, +9u, Week 7: 5-2, +4.5u
Overall: 35-16 + 39.5* Units
68%, +5.6 units/wk
Will be adding plays up until Friday evening. Check back for more plays as they come.
2.5* Units, Tenn + 21 vs Bama- LOSS
3* Units, Auburn +7 vs Vandy – WIN
2.5* Units, Penn State +3 vs Iowa – WIN
2.5* Units, MTSU +19 vs Miss St. – LOSS
2* Units, UL-Monroe +3.5 vs WKU – WIN
2* Units, Rutgers -5 vs Temple – WIN
1.5* Units, Mich St +10 vs Michigan – WIN
1* Unit, Ball St – 3 vs Central Michigan – WIN
1* Units, UL-Lafayette -3.5 vs N. Texas - LOSS
2.5* Units, Tenn +21 vs Alabama
Bama is the best team in the country, no arguments. I think they also have the best coach in the country. But even teams such as Alabama and coaches such as Nick Saban don’t blow out every opponent. This is an SEC games. You don’t need to tell either team here to be motivated, but I think some outside factors begin to play a part in this game, which I will delve into later.
Bama solely wins games because they control the ball and absolutely smash teams on defense. They probably could have a prolific Offense if they want, but they honestly don’t. So how do you cover 3 TDs against Bama? I think it breaks down to a few things that you have to do.
1. Prevent Turnovers.
The Tennessee offense is so so weird. It’s like the super hot chick that you think is going to be an awesome time, but it turns out she likes to talk about politics and economics and is worse in bed than a blow-up doll. On paper, Tennessee should have one of the most prolific offenses in the nation. Bray has an absolute cannon, he has 2 NFL WR and an NFL TE, and a great OL and a set of good RBs…soooo…WTF?!
Honestly though, Bray has been putting up good stats this season. This is partly due to the fact he’s only been sacked 3 times this year. This ranks them 3rd in the nation. This can be a huge opportunity for the Vols. With Patterson and Hunter lining up on the outside, they will pose some issues I think. This is the best WR duo that Bama has seen and Mychal Rivera is a quality TE. Honestly, Bray has the firepower here, he needs to protect the ball and be patient though.
2. Convert 3rd downs.
Bama is clearly one of the best in the nation in at stopping teams on 3rd down. The important thing against Bama is sustaining some drives and wearing the defense down a bit. Vols are a bit banged up on the RB front, but Bray should be able to open up a bit of running lanes. This is a good OL. The key for UT is really the 1st down play. Getting in 2nd and long and 3rd and long will completely screw you against Bama, and cause exactly what I wrote about in the previous paragraph.
3. Stop their Run.
Bama is going to just pound the rock alllllll day. I expect them to run the ball 70% of the time here. Rumors are swirling about McCarrons meniscus. If it isn’t torn, it’s sore, and Bama is not going to want to put him at risk here. I bet he throws the ball less than 20 times, unless necessary. PLEASE LOAD THE BOX DOOLEY OR YOU DESERVE TO BE FIRED! If you can stop Bama from picking up 6ypc, you have a shot.
4. Score > 17.
Finally, I don’t see Bama scoring more than 40 really. Saban will not be airing out McCarron on the road and with him possibly being hurt. Bama will run for some scores, for sure, but Bray should be able to score here.
I think some other things play into this here. Dooley’s seat is on fire right now. He cannot get embarrassed here. If Bama runs the Vols out of the stadium, he mine as damn well run with them, because he is gone. He will pulling out every trick here to keep it close with Bama.
Also, Tennessee isn’t good, but they are not bad. I think the book has struggled to set Bama’s lines, as the public continue to absolutely blow out the opening lines Vegas sets. I think this line should have been set more around 16/17 and the book allowed the movement to dictate up or down to 2td’s or 3td’s. I think Bama wins by 2 TDs, but 3 is just a ton, and a very backdoorable number. I think this line is an overreaction to Bama smoking everyone and Tennessee losing to (perceived) decent Miss St.
Finally, the super bowl factor needs to be accounted for now (I made up that name). This is the situation where you have Team A, that is very highly rated and huge favorite. Team B is a team that has underachieved, or seems to not have much reason to continue to play. Any team that plays Bama has this. They want to knock of the best team arguably over the past 5 years. That is an extra edge to consider as well.
I think if this game is at Bama, this line is pretty spot on, but its not. I am going with the home dog, playing a super bowl game against a SEC rival, with a coach that knows hes gotta get it done.
Vols 24, Bama 38
Check back later for a 1h play – I think Tenn comes out of the gates well, and possibly even leading at halftime. Bama will adjust and take this one.
3* Units, Auburn +7 vs Vandy
The perception of Auburn right now doesn’t get worse. They just lost to Ole Miss (another team that still has pretty low perception to the public). Those of you that follow know how high I am on Ole Miss, so a loss here is not as bad as it seems.
Breaking it down even further, Auburn was in this game vs the Rebels. Two things swayed this game. They were down 4 points in the 4th, and held Ole Miss to a 3 and out. Ole Miss shanked the hell out of a punt to their own 48 yard line, but they got to re-kick due to some stupid illegal substitution penalty or something. Ole Miss then boomed a 70 yard punt. With 8 minutes left, Ole Miss was on their own 38 and had 3rd and 16. Bo Wallace dumped the ball off to Jeff Scott, and he was met 5 yards later by a linebacker who appeared to throw him down, but Scott rolled on the LB, popped back up and ran untouched to the end zone. Once Auburn is down 11, they have to throw to get back into it, and they suck at that.
So why do I think they cover vs Vandy? A few reasons. Pre-season, this game is nearly a no brainer. Obviously were not at that point, but Auburn is still very talented. Moseley has started to figure some things out, Tre Mason is an absolute stud, and McCaleb is right there with him, and the defense is not shabby, they just need to be off the field long enough to get a sip of water. I am willing to bet that Auburn gets some offense together here vs. Vandy and runs and runs and runs the ball. This will open up some passing lanes for Moseley who should feel more comfortable in this game in his second game as the starter.
When it breaks down, both teams have decent defenses and underperforming offenses. To tell you the truth, both teams suck in the Top 15 stats that determine winning and scoring. Both teams suck on 3rd down, suck in the red zone, suck everywhere, but what I saw of Auburn last week was enough.
The Auburn team was fighting last week, and they haven’t given up yet. If it wasn’t for 2 bad plays, they almost take Ole Miss down on the road. Chizik is in a situation similar to Dooley. He absolutely cannot lose here. His players don’t want to lose. No college player wants to lose.
In a low scoring game that the book has Vandy winning 26 to 19ish, a TD is just way too much to give here in a defensive battle with teams struggling to score. Think this is a low scoring game that could come down to the end. Auburn stays in it with defense, special teams, and running the ball.
Auburn 24, Vandy 20
Stick around for maybe a ML play when the lines come out.
2.5* Units, Penn State +3 vs Iowa
PSU has historically been bad at Iowa. PSU has looked past the historical, now we should too. This is a new team. Penn State is a bad penalty and a missed (or 4) away from being undefeated. Sure some of their games haven’t been pretty, but they are getting the job done.
Iowa on the other hand has been up and down. They beat the Gophers pretty handily at home by handing the rock off to stud frosh Mark Weisman. Against Mich St., they took down the Spartans by stopping the Sparty’s one dimensional attack (Le’Veon Bell) and once again handed the ball off to Weisman. They did not beat Mich St. with their offense, Mich St. lost to them with their offense. It was a big, tough win and they are still feeling it. Weisman is doubtful for the game against PSU, which is a big blow.
PSU is coming off of a bye. Gave them a chance to get their players healthy, and extra time to prepare. They will not be taking Iowa lightly after seeing them knock off Mich St.
PSU dominates the stats here. They are better in Yrds/Pass, 3rd Downs, Pass Yards, Compl %, Red Zone TDs, Sacks, you name it. I think PSU has played a tougher schedule and has fared better.
I think the wrong team is favored and I will gladly gobble up some free points. Iowa is a tough place to play, but I’m going with the team that’s on a tear, with something to prove, that is better and healthier.
PSU 31, Iowa 20
2.5* Units, MTSU +19 vs St.
Really liked this play before MTSU best offensive player and soon to be NFL player Bennie Cunningham went down with a season ending knee injury. I still do like this though, for the motivational reasons.
Miss St. is a good team, and people are finally realizing that. They have had the benefit of an easier first few games, but I still think they are talented. These teams both have played weak schedules. Miss St ranks 111th out of 120, and Middle Tenn ranks 115th out of 120. So atleast these teams are comparable.
I’m not going to get in the numbers too much here, but there are a few reasons why I like Middle Tennessee. Against similar schedules, Middle Tenn is has more yards per pass, are way better on 3rd downs, has better yards per carry, exact same pass yards per game, and a WAY better completion rate. Their offense is more efficient by the numbers.
On defense, Miss St. has been one of the “luckiest” teams in the country with regards to turnovers. Football Study Hall puts out a good report, and Miss St. is on top of that one. If Middle Tenn can protect the ball here, I think they easily cover this 3 score spread. Even without Cunningham, they will continue to pound the ball and pick up 3rd downs when necessary. Miss St. shouldn’t have much trouble scoring here either.
Finally, we have the superbowl effect again. Middle Tennesee getting the chance to knock off one of the best teams in the nation, again. They will get up for this game and have that to play for. St. will be thinking about their 7th hardest 2h schedule in the country with Bama, A&M, and LSU coming looming. They just want to come away with a win here and may even sit players late if up.
St 38, MTSU 24
2* Units, UL-Monroe +3.5 vs WKU
Going against the grain on this one. WKU has won like 15 in a row against the spread or something stupid close to that. They do have some good wins, but not as many as WKU. This game reminds me of the Tuesday N. Texas vs ULL game. N Texas had a worse record and a little worse stats, but they have played a rather wreckless schedule agaist 2 Top 10 teams and 3 of the Top 25. ULL doesn’t really have a quality win yet.
Very similar here. ULM has played Auburn, Arky and Baylor. They took down Arky which we all remember, almost took down Auburn, and hung in there with powerful Baylor. I like them because they are well coached, led by a good QB, and don’t give up. They’ve been down in quite a few of their games and Kolton Browning just keeps coming at them. They are averaging 38 PPG, and against their quality 3 opponents, they’ve averaged 34 opponents. 2 of those games were on the road against SEC defense. This offense is legit.
WKU on the other hand has arguably 2 decent games. One against Bama where they got shut out, and the other against UK which they won in OT. The game against Bama is excusable. The UK game they put up 24 and took it to OT and scored a TD and went for 2 to win it. They get the job done, but they don’t totally impress me.
I am just high on ULM’s O, think they play decent enough D (ranked 36th) against WKUs average offense. You can’t tell me WKU’s D is anywhere near Auburn or Arkansas, no matter how bad those teams look this year. Vegas and the public have caught on and I think WKUs streak ATS ends.
ULM 31, WKU 27
2* Units, Rutgers -5 vs Temple
Every single week I look at Rutgers and I can’t help it. Trust me, it’s scary. I get conflicting stories from my stats prediction and my correlation matrix.
Rutgers should probably win this game by double digits but they are playing in the road, against a decent team, blah blah. The stats have them winning and covering. The correlation tells a different story. Rutgers is similar to Alabama, and winning games with their defense, and not giving them away with their offense. They own the best turnover margin in the country, and they predict their QB barely allowing .5 sacks per game.
Why they cover vs Temple? Temple runs the ball a ton, and Rutgers has the second best Rushing Defense. I’ve watched Rutgers past few games and I am continually impressed with their defense. They are big, scary, fast players who are after the ball on every opportunity possible. Temple sucks at passing and I don’t se them being able to pass back in this one.
Rutgers can run the ball well and I love watching Jawan Jamison. He is shifty and should cut up this Temple D. Nova is also a decent passer, and it helps he is throwing to two monsters. When it comes down to it, I just don’t see Temple being able to come from behind against this defense.
Don’t love the spot on the road, but the better run team with the better passing game and the better defense…Rutger should cover 5 points here.
Rutgers 31, Temple 17
1.5* Units, Mich St +10 vs Michigan
I’ve been down on this team since the beginning of the year, and my perception really hasn’t changed. Week 5 we saw OSU visit Michigan St. and was a 3 pt underdog. Michigan St. now travels to Michigan and is a 10 pt dog. So you’re telling me that in 2 weeks, there is a 13 point differential between OSU and Michigan? No chance – that spread will be within a TD when we see it at the end of the year.
Going to the big house is tough no doubt, but Michigan State is not inept. They have one of, if not the best RB in the country with Bell. This will slow the game down to begin with. Maxwell is not a good passer by any means, but they still have the 60th ranked passing offense. Michigan State is solid in the Red-Zone, they are just having trouble punching in the TDs.
Michigan reminds me a bit of Ohio State honestly. Mobile QB, Good defense, not much else going on. I think OSU has the better mobile QB from the passing side. Michigan State played well against Braxton, I think they’ll do a decent job against Denard and force some turnovers.
When it comes down to it, 10 is just way to much to give in a rivalry game. I think this one stays close with Michigan pulling away at the end.
Michigan 20, St. 17
1* Unit, Ball St – 3 vs Central Michigan
First of all, I despise the MAC. Okay, now that that is out of the way, I think that Central Michigan is in over their head here. Ball St. is getting it done on offense, and Central Michigan is giving it up on defense. I think this should have been atleast a touchdown spread.
I don’t think either team has a good defense, but I think that we will see Ball St. doing whatever they would like, and Central Michigan struggling to stay afloat. Ball St. is better on 3rd downs, better at running the ball, better at passing the ball, and has a better defense. When Central Michigan loses, they lose big. They have played some tough teams albeit (Mich St, Iowa, N Illy, Toledo, and option Navy), but that doesn’t change anything. I think the fact that Central Mich loses big is more applicable than Ball St. winning close games.
I think a FG here is a gift. Sorry in advanced, if I am forcing you to watch this terrible game; just gamecast it.
Ball St. 41, CM 31
1* Units, UL-Lafayette -3.5 vs N. Texas
As typical for the weeknight plays with one game on, I will analyze broadly and granular to try and allow you to understand how I got to my decision, and allow you to best base your play. Almost positive that outside of Texas/Louisiana (if even there), only gamblers will be watching this game.
Why did the book set their line where it is? (UL-Laf -4)
Typically the first question I ask myself. This allows me to think as a public bettor, and try and put myself in the shoes of the bookmaker. At first glance, you see UL-Lafayette at 4-1 vs a 2-4 N. Texas team. ULLaf only loss comes at Okla St, while N Texas has taken losses from @LSU, @KSU, Troy, and @Houston. I think keeping the line above 3, but under 6/7, the book can get money on both sides on a nationally televised game.
I like UL-Laf here for a small amount. There are factors that can be brought up to support either side tonight I think that are things that I typically put more conviction into. Both teams are coming off of a bye, so if anything, that helps N. Texas a tiny bit. UL-Laf has been rolling, and would have loved to keep it going I’m sure, whereas N. Texas could use a break after getting smoked by Houston. Not much value to consider here though.
First, North Texas is not as bad as they look. They have played 2 Top 10 teams, An underrated Troy team, and a Houston team that has got its bearings together finally after a tough start to the season. They have ran pretty well against any of these teams with a multiple facet running attack.
On the contrary, UL-Laf schedule has been rather smooth, besides the game at Okla State and at Troy. They have a dual threat QB that will now see all of the snaps, Terrence Broadway, that can throw, but runs very well. This will be the toughest defense that ULL has faced, but I expect with the bye week, ULL will have some plays dialed up to get scores. They also recognize their redzone struggles vs Tulane and it will be a focus this week.
What ultimately led me to ULL, are some key stats I really like. They can move the ball here and pick up the clutch 3rd downs. If N Texas can’t pick up a big chunk of yards on 1st or 2nd down, I think they are in trouble. N Texas is one of the worst teams in the nation with picking up 3rd downs, even if you throw out their games against KSU and LSU. They struggle to throw the ball, and ULL is very good at getting behind the line of scrimmage. They will stack the box here, stop the rush and force 3rd and longs, which should force some mistakes.
On top of that, N Texas is equally bad in the redzone, getting a score just 70% of the time, and a TD just 55% of the time. Stats are not much better if you take out their 2 games against Top 10 teams. ULL knows this is a area they need to approve in, and they already are way better at it than N Texas.
In conclusion, I think the ULL offense will be on a good pace tonight, especially off the bye week. The dual threat QB gives them an edge that I like a lot in picking up big yards on the road. ULL takes over first place in the conference but N Texas looking to get back on track, in a huge home game for them on National TV. I’m going with the better team that has won some of the close ones this year for a small amount.
ULL 31 N. Texas 24
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