Alright here we go. The Football board is popping and I’m feeling the love from all of the LRA community. Last week was a solid week going 4-3 and bringing me to 22-28 on the season. Vegas has me right where they want me fighting to get to .500.
Notre Dame -3.5 vs. UNC
The Irish still have something to play for this season and are eyeing an outside shot at the playoff or at least a New Years Day game. Carolina on the other hand can only call this season a disappointment and nearing disaster. I also have it on good info from inside Tar Heel nation (yes I have sources everywhere) that the UNC players see themselves as just playing out the string at this point. This game has all the indicators for a thrashing. ND -3.5
Georgia vs. Florida Over 50
The Cocktail Party is one of my favorite games of the year. Mainly because few things are more SEC, more southern, more college football, more trashy than banging around Jacksonville Florida on the water for the day to watch these teams go at it. On the field the Gators defense got demolished by LSU’s rushing attack, who promptly fired their coach, last time we saw them. UGA is now coming to town with a far better ground game, a stronger more dominating offensive line, and a defense that would scare the Jaguars. I don’t see Florida putting up a ton of points, but they will find the end zone and I think the Bulldogs defense is good for at least one TD and one short field that leads to an easy TD. Over 50.
Cincinnati -26.5 vs. Tulane
Real big number here. I’m actually a little surprised by it after Cincinnati had a bit of a scare against Navy last week. The Bearcats offense is not as explosive as they’d like to be but they can put up points. They also have a solid defense that creates turnovers. Tulane is awful. I feel bad for a program that wasn’t even able to play or practice at home for the first two weeks of the season due to Hurricane Ida, but they are a bad team and their starting quarterback is under concussion protocol. Cinci -26.5
Michigan vs. Michigan St. Under 51
Both teams enter this one undefeated, and it has the makings of a B1G classic. To me that means low scoring, physical and something fluky happens that swings the game. Michigan runs the ball as well as anyone in the country 11th in attempts and yards per attempt. They also dominate the clock and slowly choke the life out of opponents (100th in the country in tempo). Sparty started the season out high flying, but then remembered their Blue collar roots and are back to a ground based attack. This is a beat up up affair and stays under 51.
Kentucky +1 vs. Mississippi St.
I like this Kentucky program. Stoops has taken them from a doormat to a respectable contender in the SEC East. They are physical on defense (ranked 20th nationally) and they run the ball well controlling the clock. You’d think a Mike Leach coach team would be bombing points in from above, but the Air Raid has been slow to take off in the SEC. The Bulldogs rank 63rd in scoring offense and 79th in yards per play. In addition UK has four one-score victories this year. The Wildcats love a rock fight and they are built to endure it. UK +1
SMU +1 vs. Houston
This one sets up as a bettors delight with a talented ranked team going on the road, and somehow entering the game as a dog to a home team getting the edge because of homefield advantage. This one will be a defensive struggle and SMU picking up the win by finding just enough big plays. SMU +1.
Arizona St. -15.5 vs. Washington St.
The Sun Devils are surprisingly good against the spread. But this has more to do with the fact that Washington St has fallen apart due to a coaching change mid-season and a laundry list of outside distractions. It also does not help that WSU is not a good team. Arizona St. -15.
Ohio St,. -18.5 vs. Penn. St.
Penn St. played the ugliest game I have ever seen last week. I honestly don’t care if they bounce back or not. Perhaps even more disturbing was James Franklin’s midweek interview where he reffered to Illinois as their upcoming opponent (they aren’t) and how he looked forward to coaching in the Big House this weekend (that’s in Ann Arbor, OSU plays in The Shoe). It feels like Franklin is spending more time hiring new agents and eying real estate in SoCal than coaching PSU. Meanwhile after a choke job against Oregon early in the year, OSU has quietly transformed into a juggernaut. Their defense flies to the ball, they have a ton of young talented players and they are getting after it. The offense seems to be settling down and finding their groove now that they don’t feel the pressure to score on every drive because the defense cannot hold their own. Big game at home OSU -18.5
Virginia +2.5 vs. BYU Over 64.5
Over the last five years no two schools have performed better against the spread than Virginia and BYU. Something has to give here. BYU is not as good as we thought they were at the start of the season. Their defense makes stops but gives up chunks of yards at a time. They have a steady offense capable of putting up points but is more consistent than explosive. Enter Virginia Bronco is going home and I’m sure he’ll have plenty of emotions, but outside of the Virginia staff, most of whom spent time in Provo previously, the game is just another week for the majority of the players. Brennan Armstrong has been phenomenal this season. Even I have to admit that, he’s found a gear that I did not think he has. Between that and Anae being fearless enough to let him sling it 50+ times a game the Hoos have a chance to run and gun with most teams, especially if their defense is average which BYU’s is. I think Virginia covers the 2.5 and I love the over 64.5. Unless the game is after the Hoos offense bedtime, I expect them to find the end zone a lot, and the defense will do their job of letting another team hang around far too long.
Virginia +2.5 Over 64.5