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: 43-29-2. Lock of the Week: 6-2.
Lock of the Week: Ball State -3.5 at Army. The Cardinals are playing like MAC contenders and are 11-3 ATS in their last 14 games. Army stays in games because of their unique style, but also struggles to come from behind. This is a better Ball State team than the one that beat Army 48-21 a year ago...Ball State 48, Army 21.
Closer Than You Think Game of the Week: Mississippi State +24 at Alabama. The Bulldogs come in with an equivalent unblemished record, but nobody thinks they are going to hang with the Crimson Tide. Not so fast...Mississippi State is 10-2 ATS in their last 12 games on grass and Alabama is just 2-6 in their last 8 on grass. The grass game also favors the under, which makes a blowout win harder. The Bulldogs lead the FBS in turnover margin and Alabama is due for one or two that keep the game close for a while...Alabama 27, Mississippi State 14.
Old Standby Pick of the Week: Louisiana-Monroe -22 vs South Alabama. ULM got back on my winning side last week, bringing them to 6-1 ATS for me this year. This week, they face off against an over-matched South Alabama team, but one that plays decent defense that makes 22 points a little scary. The Jaguars have covered their last 5 road trips, including two against NC State and one against Mississippi State. ULM needs to give them a welcome to the Sun Belt game this week...Louisiana-Monroe 43, South Alabama 10.
I Get How Many Points? Game of the Week: Colorado +45.5 at Oregon. This game will not be close. It could end up 70-0. There are just so many variables though, and that is why Oregon is 0-5 ATS in their last 5 games where they were favored by over 30 points. The Ducks called off the dogs last week and will likely do so again this week. Just in time for a Colorado cover...Oregon 57, Colorado 14.
Bonus MAC 4-pack of the Week: Northern Illinois -8 at Western Michigan. The Huskies are starting to look like the best team in the MAC and the Broncos are not on par with the MAC elite, as evidenced by their 0-3 record against Toledo, Ball State and Kent State by a combined 43 points. Northern Illinois is 9-1-1 ATS in the last 11 meeting between the two and has won their last 4 games by an average of 28.75 points...Northern Illinois 34, Western Michigan 17.
Kent State +13.5 at Rutgers. The MAC has been a thorn in the side of the Big East all season and this one is another opportunity for an upper tier MAC team to show it can play with the big boys. The Scarlett Knights defense is stifling, but Kent State's is rounding into form as well. I don't see an upset here, but I will take the points in a fairly low-scoring affair...Rutgers 20, Kent State 13.
Toledo -7.5 at Buffalo. Another one of the upper-division MAC teams takes on a lower-division team. The Rockets are coming off an upset of Cincinnati and all the spread trends favor them in this match-up. Buffalo struggles to score at times and if they fall behind, it can get out of hand...Toledo 31, Buffalo 17.
Akron +7 at Central Michigan. A team that is 2-5 and has only covered 4 of their past 27 games is giving away 7 points. I will take them even though Akron is 1-7. The Zips have covered 4 times this year and have been playing better than the Chippewas as of late...Central Michigan 38, Akron 35.
Nevada -3.5 at Air Force. The Falcons are 3-9 ATS in their last 12 home games and get a visit from Nevada who is 4-0 on the road. The Wolfpack will be looking to get back on track after stubbing their toe at home against San Diego State last week and Stefphon Jefferson and Cody Fajardo are a match-up nightmare for Air Force...Nevada 42, Air Force 21.
NC State +7.5 at North Carolina. The underdog is 12-2 ATS in the last 14 meetings and NC State has won 5 straight overall in this rivalry. The Wolfpack are also playing to stay in the hunt for a Division title, something the Tar Heels are ineligible for this season. It also seems like every NC State game comes down to the last play...NC State 24, North Carolina 23.
Baylor +2.5 at Iowa State. The Cyclone defense showed some chinks last week, and their star linebackers can be negated by Baylor's spread passing attack. I don't see how Iowa State can keep up in this one once Nick Florence gets cooking...Baylor 45, Iowa State 24.