The Gambling Gods are fickle.
One week after drinking from the sweet chalice of undefeatedness, the Gods reminded me of my own mortality. I picked Clemson to cover a 7-point spread in a game against Wake Forest, but after the game went to overtime, I found myself rooting openly for the Deacs. If the Tigers weren’t going to cover against a team with no defense, I wanted them to lose outright. I backed Oregon and very nearly won on the most miraculous of front door covers, only to be reminded that nothing is a given until the clock hits 0:00.
The moral of the story, as ever, is that nobody knows anything. We’re all just fooling ourselves thinking otherwise.
That said, I’m back on the horse after another bumpy week, forging ahead, in hopes of recapturing the magic last season that buoyed my 63% winning percentage. Let’s give this another go, shall we?
Michigan -11 @ Iowa
My co-host, the esteemed Dan Rubenstein, tells me that I’m out of my mind for making this pick. In response, I made it my lock of the week.
Let’s get the obvious stuff out of the way from the Michigan side: It’s JJ McCarthy’s first road start in the Big Ten and the Wolverines struggled last week against the first decent team that they played all season. Is this a concern? Sure.
But let’s talk about Iowa. I’ll be kind and say that the Hawkeyes have a unique philosophy where scoring offensive points is not emphasized. College football fans have gotten used to seeing it, to the extent where bettors will chalk up the early season results as “Iowa being Iowa.”
I think this year is different. Surely, by now, you’ve seen the stats showing that the Hawkeyes might be the most aggressive Half Team we’ve ever seen. Their numbers on offense are among the very worst at the FBS level, yet their defense remains one of the five best units in college football.
We may be used to bad offenses in Iowa City, but this one is so bad that Kirk Ferentz can’t paper over it with a standout defense. I think this is a mismatch and that the Hawkeyes get run off their own field.
Bet Michigan -11
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Utah -10 vs. Oregon State
I love Utah in this matchup for two big reasons:
- There is an enormous mismatch in the trenches, particularly Utah’s offensive line against Oregon State’s defensive front. The Utes remain a physical team and I think we’ll see them blow Oregon State off the ball. Tavion Thomas is going to EAT.
- This is an obvious letdown spot for Oregon State just a week after its close home loss against USC.
Bet Utah -10
Kentucky +7 @ Ole Miss
These are two teams that I like a great deal, and though I think Ole Miss will win outright, this strikes me as a game that is very close.
Kentucky is good enough on defense to contain the Ole Miss rushing attack and put pressure on Jaxson Dart. If the game against Florida was any indication, the Cats can gameplan a way to pressure a young quarterback and render him ineffective.
Furthermore, Kentucky’s big issue on offense has been in the running game, and it’ll no doubt get better with the return of Christopher Rodriguez, who sat out the first four weeks on suspension.
Bet Kentucky +7