We had an average week in the column last week, at 4-2. Matt was totally buoyed by Jack’s 3-0 week. Both punters are on fire so far this year, so read on for even more free money!
Matt’s games (YTD 11-6):
Clemson vs. Florida State (+3.5 FSU; O/U 51):
I’m back to believing in Clemson football. Their offense seems to be improving, but I don’t know how many they will have to score to win this game. Bryan Breese will be back this week, and he’s one of the best playmakers in the country on the defensive side of the ball. Clemson beat the two teams that FSU also lost to (NCST and Wake Forest). I just think this game is too favorable for the Tigers defense, which is still one of the best units in the country. Florida State is a much improved team, and I’m sure the environment in Tallahassee will be crazy. I just can’t see them scoring enough to beat the Tigers. I like that Clemson won by more than a field goal, and I would lean into that game as well.
Pick: Clemson -3.5
Washington St. vs. Oregon St. (OSU -3.5; O/U 52.5):
A little PAC 12 after dark action here for my picks this week. Wazzu is one of my favorite teams to watch in the country this year, and the Cam Ward show is heading to Corvallis this weekend. If you haven’t seen his play yet this year, do yourself a favor and check out some drives on Saturday night. It’s a fun offense and a fun team. It is also a good crew. The USC game score is a bit misleading compared to last week; they were only slightly overshot (they were almost identical in yards per play), turned the ball over 0 times and their 4/13 of 3rd down and 11 penalty efforts killed the Cougs. It seems random and I bet they’ll be able to convert more of those records into points this week.
Meanwhile, the Beavers are coming off an incredible buzzer win over a really bad Stanford team. They are also reduced to a backup quarterback. I think the score from the Utah game 2 weeks ago is more indicative of what this Oregon State team is really about (Utah won 42-16). It’s a great team, but I think Wazzu is better. I predict the Cougs will win outright, but I’ll just take the points just in case there’s some late night madness.
Choice: Wazzu +3.5
Arkansas vs. BYU (pk; O/U 66):
Finally we head to Provo for a 2 team matchup which I think has been a bit disappointing so far. To be frank with this game, the total makes no sense to me. Against Power 5 opponents this year, BYU played 3 games and scored 26 against Baylor (took OT to get there), 20 at Oregon and 20 last week against Notre Dame. Jaren Hall hasn’t played well and they can’t put together a passing attack. Their receiving body is also banged up.
If we do the same exercise with Arkansas and their P5 opponents this year, they scored 44 at home against South Carolina (scored 3 TD’s in the 4e quarterback on workouts that began in Gamecock territory; pure chance), 21 at A&M, 26 against Alabama, and finally 17 at Starkville last week. KJ Jefferson missed last week, but all signs point to him playing this week. For me, it doesn’t matter. Both teams want to play a physical brand of football first, and that total is something like 10 points too high. Under all day.
Choose: Under 66
Jack’s Pick: YTD 12-4
Tulane vs. USF
I’ve been losing USF all year, and I see no reason to quit now. The fear they put in a disinterested Cincinnati seems to have affected that line, so now I get more free money. USF and Jeff Scott are bad. In contrast, Willie Fritz and Tulane continue to win games. Some of them are nail biters, sure, but Tulane is sidelining teams this year. Their defense is miserly. Fade the bulls, baby!
Pick: Tulane -12
Mississippi State vs. Kentucky
It’s another case of ‘good team versus mediocre team’. I don’t understand why Vegas keeps putting such tight lines for these games. Will Rodgers is one of the best QBs in the country, and the Bulldogs can legitimately play defense this year. Kentucky looked moribund on offense and Stoops struggled with major injury issues. Clanga rolls in this one.
The choice: MSST -7
Nebraska vs. Purdue
(Don’t hate me).
It’s a win-win for me. Purdue takes on every team closely, regardless of the opponent. Nebraska appears to have real leadership for the first time in 5 years. I bet Nebraska stays close, and then I make money. If they don’t and they blow themselves up, I win too because Nebraska is terrible.
Pick: Nebraska +14