By Michael Roth
After a 7-5 week four, I am now exactly 60% on the season (30-20) in CFB. I am also 13-7 in NFL this season; to get those picks follow me on twitter @mikerothou and look for my podcast where I not only break down these games but also every NFL game.
Thursday: North Carolina At Miami -18: Mark Richt is usually good going against teams coming off an upset, he’s 9-3 ATS in his career in those situations. North Carolina on the other hand, isn’t as much, they are 3-9 ATS coming off a SU win as an underdog. Miami dominated FIU, 17 garbage time points made last weeks contest much closer than what it should’ve appeared. N’Kosi Perry also could be starting for Miami, and I expect him to be an improvement over Malik Rosier, who has been an inconsistent QB for the Hurricanes.
Saturday: Syracuse At Clemson over 65: This game total opened higher than I wanted but this was one of those picks that schedule wise I have to make. Clemson is coming off back to back games against triple option offenses, their defense will be more tired for this game than they will be any point during the season. Clemson also decided to stop playing musical chairs at the quarterback position and picked the one with elite arm talent and the ability to make throws downfield (what a concept). Trevor Lawrence should be an improvement over Kelly Bryant, especially going against a Syracuse defense due for massive regression because they are 90’th in the nation in yards per play but 37’th in points per game allowed. Combine all these factors, and I’m still not worried about taking an over that looks high to the average fan.
West Virginia -3.5 At Texas Tech over 77: I know Texas Tech was so impressive against Oklahoma State, but I have no idea how this happened, the Red Raiders defense gave up 47 and 49 points to Ole Miss and Houston, I expect Will Grier and David Stills to connect for multiple touchdowns and for Texas Tech to compete for a while before eventually failing to keep up with the high powered Mountaineers offense.
Purdue -3.5 At Nebraska: Purdue took out 3 games of bad luck by out gaining opponents and losing on Boston College, blowing out the previously unbeaten Eagles. I expect Purdue to continue this solid play at Nebraska, one of few FBS teams without a win on the season.
Tennessee At Georgia under 53: Tennessee has been woeful offensively but their defense has shown some signs of life under new coach Jeremy Pruitt. If it wasn’t for turnovers the Florida game would’ve been much more competitive, also the Vols offense has been a little bit of a disaster. Georgia has scored 40+ in every game this season, but I think they will fall just short of that mark this week, and after getting up big running the ball to end another blowout win.
Texas At Kansas State under 48: I know this isn’t many points for a Big 12 game, but I still think it’s too many. Kansas State has a terrible offense, Bill Snyder has stated his frustration with his run game’s inability to convert on third and short opportunities. The passing game hasn’t been much better either, and it is why the Wildcats average 8 points per game against P5 opponents. Texas meanwhile has a solid defense, they have held TCU and USC to 30 combined points the past two weeks, and a principle play is in store from the Puntcast with an under in the 40’s and if you know who that’s for.
Southern Miss At Auburn -27: Auburn should be unbeaten, they were so unlucky to lose a home game to LSU, (S&P+ had Auburn at 83% win probability after the game) and I’m going to take advantage till it becomes clear they are a top 5-6 team in the nation. Auburn covered a big number against Arkansas just last week so I’m not worried about this being too many points for the Tigers offense to lay, take the Tigers.
Liberty +6.5 At New Mexico: I know Liberty has looked terrible after dropping 50 on everyone’s new favorite school in Old Dominion, but this line is such an overreaction. New Mexico was laying less than a touchdown against arguably the worst team in the nation in New Mexico State. New Mexico did take care of business and cover, but even with that game against NMSU, the Lobos offense is 126’th in yards per play offensively, I know Liberty’s 36’th ranking is skewed by the Old Dominion game, but that’s a huge advantage offensively for a team getting almost a touchdown.
Northern Illinois At Eastern Michigan under 48: I’m really not sure why this total is rising, but I guess I’ll take the extra points. Northern Illinois has been terrible on offense this season, they are second worst in the country in yards per play at 3.4! Eastern Michigan has put up 20, 20, and 28 points against FBS opponents this season.
Hawaii -12.5 At San Jose State: Hawaii is 6’th in the nation in yards per play offensively while San Jose State is last in the country, there is no way I’m not taking the 6’th ranked team giving up less than 2 touchdowns.
Virginia Tech At Duke under 51: These 2 teams have solid defenses and are starting backup QB’s, plus 4 of the last 5 matchups in this series have gone under.
Stanford At Notre Dame over 53: Both of these teams are finally starting the right QB, Stanford decided this midway through last year, while ND decided last week to start Ian Book. Stanford’s defense also looked very vulnerable last week, holding Justin Herbert to 2 incompletions in regulation, I’d expect Ian Book to continue to have success again this week.
South Carolina +1.5 At Kentucky: Kentucky was so impressive last week against Mississippi State, upsetting the Bulldogs and dominating defensively. I’m fading the Wildcats this week however because of a letdown spot, Kentucky has had success against South Carolina, winning the past 5 meetings. South Carolina is simply a more talented team, and while they are going on the road, I’m not worried with how an experienced Gamecocks teams reacts in a usually less hostile environment in Lexington.
Ohio State -3.5 At Penn State over 70: I believe bookmakers are putting name recognition to affect the total in this one, both Penn State and Ohio State have historically had solid defenses, but not this season. The Buckeyes and Nittany Lions have each scored 40+ every game, with each team averaging over 7 yards per play offensively, these aren’t your typical BIG 10 teams. I also think from a spread perspective that Ohio State is simply too talented for Penn State, this isn’t a knock on Penn State, they are a top 10 team, but I see a gap between them and the top 5 or 6 teams.
Oregon -3 At Cal: I’m taking Oregon because to me they are an unbeaten team, and should be treated like one. This line is near a touchdown in my opinion if they beat Stanford like they should’ve. Oregon is way undervalued this week because of their epic choke job. Justin Herbert is awesome and if he plays like he did against the Cardinal, the Cal defense will be in for a long night.