In gambling, the many must lose in order that the few may win.George Bernard Shaw
If you are a regular follower of this weekly blog, congratulations; you are one of the winners! Last week went an astounding 4-1-1 and a blistering 7-4-1 start overall. That’s nearly 64% for you non math majors! Amazing? Absolutely. Awe inspiring? Well certainly. Unlikely to continue? Well, you got me there. But for now
Michigan State +10.5 at Wisconsin-I’m going to let everyone on in on a pretty big secret here. Michigan State is super good against the run and actually has a really good defense overall. So both teams like to play defense, neither has a prolific passer, and there is potential for a 25 mph wind in Madison on Saturday. I also think this number is a bit inflated because of the Spartans big loss to Ohio State and Wisconsins big win over Michigan. Sparty should be able to slow down the Badger rushing attack and keep this game close.
Penn State -3.5 at Iowa-Kinnick at night and the wave and the kids and all that. Got it. Now that I’ve addressed all the reasons I keep hearing everyone take the Hawks let’s look at some actual numbers and block out the noise for a moment. Penn State is undefeated with their closest game being 7 points to their in state rival. They rush for over 5 yards per carry, score an average of 47 points per game, hold opponents to 1.5 yards per carry on the ground, and have 25 sacks on the season. Iowa has given up 14 sacks on the season including 8 last week to Michigan, hasn’t run the ball well against teams with a strong rush defense, and isn’t getting the opponents qb nearly as much as anyone expected. These two have squared off five times since 2011; Iowa has only covered once in that span.
Nebraska +7.5 at Minnesota-If you tune in for this one (probably don’t) you are likely to hear two words mentioned more than once; rock fight. This game has high potential to have multiple turnovers, 3 yard passes, and punts. You also get the bonus of a 40 degree day with chances for rain and snow. If that forecast holds the under 49.5 might be worth a look as well. Nebraska has covered three of the last four in this series and getting a td plus the hook in this game is too much to pass up.
Tennessee +7 vs Mississippi State-Tennessee showed something last week in the first quarter and a half against Georgia and Wednesday they announced that Brian Maurer will start at qb again. His numbers weren’t great, or good, last week but he isn’t playing Georgia this week. The Mississippi State defense is not Georgia. The Bulldogs seem to be going the wrong direction as this year progresses grading worse overall nearly every game. I like the Volunteers here and I’m going to put a little on the moneyline at +220 as well. Getting better than 2/1 on my money for an SEC home game with two fairly evenly matched teams is a good value in my book.
USC +10.5 at Notre Dame-USC gets Kedon Slovis back this week and I am not ready to buy all of Notre Dame quite yet. Virginia destroyed the Irish through the air and USC should be able to exploit that weakness as well. Clay Helton is coaching for his job and one sure way to boost his value will be to beat Notre Dame and knock them out of the playoff race. While he might not have the horses to win that race they should be able to keep it under double digits.
Oklahoma -10.5 vs Texas-The Red River Rivalry, I mean Shootout, I mean Showdown is the biggest game of the weekend and with an over under of 75 points it’s a great way to start the day. Unfortunately this year won’t be as competitive as normal. Texas does not have the secondary to slow down the Sooners and Jalen Hurts. If you like the Oklahoma fight song tune in, it’s going to get played a lot. Louisiana Tech and West Virginia both threw for over 300 yards against the Longhorns. If they keep Hurts warm between innings he may throw for 500.