Football season flew by. This is our last regular week of college football, then it’s Rivalry Week, then it’s conference championships, then it’s bowl season. Sad. Exciting, but sad. But no time for tears. They cloud my clairvoyance.
ATS Record (2017): 32-28
No. 24 Michigan at No. 5 Wisconsin (-7.5), Noon ET
This is one of the few really difficult games on Wisconsin’s schedule, and a matchup of two of the best defenses in college football. Depending on what stats you use, Wisconsin could be the #1 defense in the all of college football, and Michigan is certainly somewhere in the top ten, which leads me to believe that both of these teams will have trouble scoring, particularly when Michigan doesn’t have a serviceable quarterback and Wisconsin’s playbook was translated from Sumerian. I’m comfortable with a Wisconsin win, but I’m not sure enough points are going to be scored in this game to warrant a 7.5-point spread.
My pick: Michigan (+7.5) to cover.
Virginia at No. 3 Miami (-19.5), Noon ET
Miami gets one big blowout and now they’re nearly a 20-point favorite against Virginia. A big blowout would be understandable in this game, but it also would have been understandable when Miami faced Georgia Tech (25-24), Florida State (24-20), Syracuse (27-19), and UNC (24-19). The 2017 Hurricanes are the king of the closer-than-it-should-be game, and y’all want to throw out that proud tradition after one rivalry game?
My pick: Virginia (+19.5) to cover.
Texas at West Virginia (-3), Noon ET
West Virginia is a better team than Texas (they’re even tied for second in the Big 12, if you’ll believe that) and this is a home game in Morgantown for the Mountaineers. This is a pretty simple pick: Texas is going to have a hard time winning this game and three is a minimal spread for a West Virginia offense that’s 11th in the nation in scoring. Also, Will Grier is one of those names that’s going to come up a lot when the season ends and Heisman and NFL Draft watchlists start to appear.
My pick: West Virginia (-3) to cover.
SMU at No. 21 Memphis (-12.5), Noon ET
One of the axioms of college football betting is “take the points in a shootout” and SMU/Memphis is a recipe for a shootout. Both teams score points at a furious pace and have top-ten offenses, and neither team has a defense that approaches replacement level. The weather won’t be perfect (it’s forecast to be windy and rainy in Memphis) so the 75-point over might not be a great bet, but I’m confident that neither team is going to meaningfully stop the other.
My pick: SMU (+12.5) to cover.
No. 4 Oklahoma (-37) at Kansas, 3:30 PM ET
Now, you’re not supposed to bet on road favorites, it’s one of the things they tell you at sportswriter school, but of the many big lines on offer this week, this seems like the best one. Oklahoma is simultaneously trying to make the Playoff and win Baker Mayfield a Heisman, and doing it with one of the most points-hungry offenses I’ve seen on television. Now they’ll be doing it against Kansas, likely the most incompetent FBS team I’ve seen. Usually I’d be wary of a line this big, but Kansas is just incompetent enough, Oklahoma is just motivated enough, and betting huge lines is just fun enough to make it worth it for me.
My pick: Oklahoma (-37) to cover.
Purdue at Iowa (-8.5), 3:30 PM ET
All I’m asking you to do is delete your mental files on the Ohio State/Iowa game, and then look at this line. Already you’re nervous, because it’s an 8.5-point spread and the “Official Iowa Score” is 17-10; if you’re into advanced stats, you’re really nervous, because the Boilermakers and Hawkeyes are close in the metrics and some even have Purdue ahead.
It seems ridiculous that I need to convince myself that Purdue/Iowa will be a close, ugly game, but I guess that’s what hammering Ohio State will do for you.
My pick: Purdue (+8.5) to cover.
Texas A&M at Ole Miss (-3), 7:00 PM ET
Is there a reason Ole Miss is the favorite here? I understand that it’s a home game, and that Texas A&M has lost three straight SEC West games, but losing to Alabama (27-19), Auburn (42-27), and Mississippi State (35-14) is totally understandable. Ole Miss’s recent schedule includes a loss to Arkansas, a team that’s trying to fire its coach.
My pick: Texas A&M (+3) to cover.