Instead of picking every game straight up this year, I thought I would go more Vegas-style and select certain games each week to pick against the spread. Last weeks record: 7-4. Season record: 22-17-2. Lock of the Week: 2-2.
Lock of the Week: Northern Illinois -2.5 at Ball State. The Huskies have won 9 of 10 and their only loss was a 1-point heartbreaker to Iowa. Ball State has been a covering machine, 7-2 in their last 9 against the spread. Something has to give this week and I think Northern Illinois takes advantage of a struggling Ball State defense...Northern Illinois 45, Ball State 31.
Huge, Gigantic, Titanic Pick 'em of the Week: Georgia pick 'em at South Carolina. I picked the Dawgs to not only win the SEC East, but play for the National Title this year. The offense is Championship caliber, but the D needs to come ready this week. Time to put my money where my mouth is...Georgia 27, South Carolina 24.
If at First You Don't Succeed Pick of the Week: West Virginia +6.5 at Texas. I have lost two weeks in a row with the Mountaineers, so the third time must be the charm. I found my problem in that the Mountaineers are way better at covering on the road. Plus how can you turn down giving Geno Smith 6.5 points before he has even threw a pass? I can't, especially since I don't think he needs them...West Virginia 45, Texas 41.
If You Like Field Goals Pick of the Week: Iowa State +10 at TCU. The Horned Frogs will be down their starting quarterback due to a DWI and will potentially be thin at RB. Both teams have struggled offensively, so this one now has the makings of a snoozer...TCU 15, Iowas State 12.
You Knew it was Coming Pick of the Week: Louisiana-Monroe -3 at Middle Tennessee. I don't care that Middle Tennessee upset Georgia Tech on the road last week. ULM is my team and I am riding them again. I picked the Warhawks to win the Sun Belt and you don't do that unless you dispatch of the Blue Raiders. ULM is road tested, so giving a few points is not a huge concern...Louisiana-Monroe 48, Middle Tennessee 28.
Utah State +6.5 at BYU. These two teams combined are allowing 24 points per game and the competition hasn't been relegated to cupcakes. The Aggies love to play on Friday nights and are 6-1-1 ATS in their last 8 Friday games. Plus I always like to evoke the transitive property - Utah State beat Utah who beat BYU, so that means Utah State would beat BYU. Exactly...Utah State 20, BYU 17.
Pittsburgh +2 at Syracuse. The Panthers have won 7 in a row against the Orange and look to make it one more before they both depart to the ACC. Pittsburgh is only slightly worse than Utah State on Friday nights at 6-2 ATS in their last 8 on Friday. While Syracuse can be good at home, I think Pittsburgh is still being penalized for a loss that they seem to have recovered from...Pittsburgh 31, Syracuse 21.
Connecticut +7.5 at Rutgers. Time to go against one of my darlings. Although the Rutgers offense is beginning to come around, this game will be about defense and 7.5 points is a lot when points are at a premium. Connecticut surprised Rutgers 40-22 a year ago and is 7-2-1 ATS in the last 10 vs the Scarlett Knights. I think Rutgers wins, but in a low scoring rock'em, sock'em variety...Rutgers 17, Connecticut 13.
Miami +13 at Notre Dame. Two teams who are better than we thought and somehow I keep getting that sour taste from the Kansas State game regarding the Hurricanes. I need something to wash it clean. I have gone against Miami two weeks in a row and have lost. In this game, I think Miami has enough offense to keep it close against an offensively challenged Irish...Notre Dame 26, Miami 20.
NC State +15 vs Florida State. I am living dangerously this week by taking away teams, but I will go with a home underdog here. Florida State is at the back end of a tough 3-game stretch and a huge nemesis looms in the Wolfpack. The 'Noles are 1-9-1 ATS in the last 11 meeting against NC State. They are only 6-4 straight up against the Wolfpack and are 0-4-1 in the last five ATS vs the team from Raleigh. While the Seminoles seem like a different animal this year, this is my numbers don't lie game of the week...Florida State 30, NC State 21.
Toledo -11 vs Central Michigan. Save a tremendous comeback win vs Iowa, Central is 0-9 ATS in their other games from the last 10. It seems Vegas has a misread on this team. They are also 1-9 ATS in their last 10 in the road. Oh, and Toledo is really good and has covered 6 of their last 8. I see blowout city coming...Toledo 45, Central Michigan 17.