We are back after a 10-4 week to bring me to 23-15 on the season. I am now above 60% in both CFB and the NFL. To get my NFL picks, follow me on twitter (@mikerothou) and listen to my podcast where I not only break down these college games in depth but I also cover every NFL game this week.
Friday: Penn State At Illinois +28: I know I went against Penn State last week and it burned me, but this is simply too many points for a competent Illinois team. The fighting Illini are 7-1 as home dogs of 18 or more points and Lovie Smith has covered every game as Illinois head coach when he gets 27 or more points (3-0).
Washington State At USC over 52: USC refuses to run the ball, and for good reason. The Trojans had negative rushing yards against Texas, gaining -5 yards on 16 carries. You would imagine USC would want to sling it all across the field, getting the ball to their more talented playmakers. Combine that with a Mike Leach offense that’s averaged 43 points per game, I expect a high scoring competitive game in #PAC12afterdark action.
Saturday: Akron At Iowa State over 46: Uh am I missing something here? Why is this total in the mid 40’s and going DOWN since opening. I looked up the weather to see if that had an effect on the total, and Ames, Iowa isn’t supposed to have rain the entire weekend. So why am I so appalled at this line? Akron is averaging 40 points per game this season, while Iowa State has only scored 30 points in 2 games, but they have plenty of explosive receivers. I can’t believe this line opened so low and would advise hammering the over.
Nevada At Toledo under 69.5: While both of these teams prefer offense over defense, this line seems a tad high. Each of these teams have played one legit opponent and their offenses got shut down. I am worried that this game gets a little crazy at the end, but I think relying on 70 combined points to get an over seems risky.
Texas A&M +27 At Alabama: I know betting against Alabama seems really silly, and you might be right, but this line is too much value to pass up. Texas A&M battled against the second ranked team in the nation, granted this was at home and Clemson doesn’t compare to Bama right now, but 27 points is awesome value.
South Carolina -2 At Vanderbilt: I have loved Vandy’s value the past two weeks, and they have proven me right so far, going 3-0 ATS thus far. I expect that trend to end this weekend. South Carolina has a much better roster than Vandy, and Kyle Shurmur has gotten a little bit too much love, as he isn’t significantly better than Jake Bentley. This is also a classic letdown spot for Vandy, following this team for years under Derek Mason, this is the exact type of game to lay a total egg at home against a slightly better team to open up conference play.
TCU -3.5 At Texas: This is my favorite play of the week, I was so impressed with the Horned Frogs effort against a super talented Ohio State squad. I was very impressed with the offensive weapons that Gary Patterson has, and this begins with Shawn Robinson and Darius Anderson. Texas meanwhile starts Sam Ehlinger at QB, who isn’t the long term answer in Austin, and I expect a talented TCU defense to give him trouble all game. Also, Texas beating USC doesn’t mean they are back, USC hasn’t impressed anybody this year.
Louisiana Tech At LSU under 50.5: This is a classic letdown spot for LSU, however letdowns typically affect the worse part of the team, and for LSU this is their offense. Joe Burrow hasn’t been good, but because he hasn’t been terrible everyone acts like he’s amazing. Burrow struggled with the Tigers first cupcake game of the season, and I would not expect him to make a bunch of big plays to push this total over. Taking a under and having LSU’s defense is also a great position to be in, the Tigers have given up 38 points in 3 games, I’d be shocked if Louisiana Tech goes above 14 points, and that would require LSU to put up 37 to go over this total, I’ll take my chances of that not happening.
Mississippi State At Kentucky under 55.5: I got burned on a Mississippi State under last week, but I felt like it was the right play. The Bulldogs kept their foot on the gas pedal for longer than I expected and got a couple touchdowns right before half, and even with that happening, there had to be two touchdowns in the final eight min to push the game over. Despite the last game going over, Mississippi State’s defense dominated, and I expect that to happen again in this contest. Kentucky might struggle to keep QB Terry Wilson comfortable in the pocket, he’s going to have to continue to make plays if Kentucky wants to stay in this game, but even a close game could still see this total stay under.
New Mexico State At UTEP under 49: When two winless teams play each other this far into the season, you must take the under, those are the rules.
Wisconsin -3 At Iowa: I know Wisconsin hasn’t been impressive this season, but come on, this line seems really tight. Iowa has arguably the best statistical defense in the country thus far, but their competition level hasn’t been high. Wisconsin will give Iowa challenges they haven’t seen this year, Jonathan Taylor is more talented than any individual player the Hawkeyes have seen so far, while the Badgers up front are one of the few teams that have a significant advantage over Iowa. I like Wisconsin to win an ugly, classic Big 10 West game.