Dragon’s record 8-2
How ya like me know? You better believe I am soaking in ever moment of a stellar opening weekend, 8-2 is the sort of thing legends are made of. College football is here and the Dragon is locked in. Remember this week and this feeling when I inevitably go 2-6 at some point this season. Alright enough talk, let’s gamble.
Pitt Panths +6.5 vs. Tennessee Vols:
Kenny Pickett now plays for the NFL team that the Panthers share a stadium with, but that does not mean Pat Narduzzi’s team is not capable of winning football games. The Panthers are going back to their bread and butter, running the ball and playing staunch defense. Last week in the the return of the Backyard Brawl the Pitt D was not up to Narduzzi’s standard but they can make those adjustments. Tennessee is quickly become a media darling and the money is following. The line opened at 3 and has grown to 6.5. That’s tasty enough for me to bite. Also of note here, this is the first time Pitt has welcomed a ranked SEC team to their house. Also the Vols are 4-11 ATS against ranked opponents. The Panthers are 4-1 ATS as a home dog of 6.5 or more.
Houston Cougars +3.5 vs. Texas Tech
This one feels funky to me and everything about it says stay away, but I can’t do that. Houston is ranked and on the road and a dog against Texas Tech. honestly really like the money line here at Houston +122. History tells us TT is 4-0 ATS when playing Houston the last four meetings. Meanwhile Texas Tech is 3-6 ATS and SU at home as a favorite against a ranked opponent. Something has to give and I’m rolling with the Cougars.
Houston +3.5 and +122 money line.
USC -7.5 vs. Stanford:
It may not seem that way, but over the last 15 years the outcome of a September matchup between the Trojans and the Cards has determined the Trojans season. Both teams took care of business last week against weak opponents. This week, Stanford has the opportunity to play the role of weak opponent. This USC is talented. Caleb Williams can throw a ball in the air and it’s chances are it will land in an All Conference players hands. Lincoln Riley is still putting his mark on the Trojans and there may be a few growing pains to come, but they will not be stalled against a Stanford team that struggles to generate pressure from it’s Dline and the secondary is simply less athletic than the Trojans receivers. Also Stanford has dropped 7 straight against FBS opponents and averaged 13.4 points in the process.
Miami vs. So. Miss Over 51.5
Dropping 70 on Bethune Cookman is not enough for me to declare The U is back. But it is enough for me to realize Mario Cristobal is embracing his Miami roots and unafraid to run the score up on someone. The spread for this one is resting at 26.5 which feels a bit too steep. But regardless I do think the O/U is far too low, if Miami gets rolling they are not going to take their foot off the gas.
Mississippi St. vs. Arizona Over 57.5
Arizona is still attempting to get their program on track and a solid opening week win over San Diego St. was nice. But that had more to do with subpar competition than Arizona building something. Mike Leach seems to have his QB’s doing Mike Leach things, Will Rogers threw for over 450 yards against Memphis last week. The Arizona secondary is not ready to stand up to the Air Raid. I also think the Wildcats offense will be successful enough to put points on the board, requiring the Bulldogs to keep airing it out. This game has over written all over it.
Florida -5.5 vs. Kentucky:
UK is a basketball school they also have a solid football program. Stoops has transformed the Wildcats into a respectable program. Meanwhile Billy Napier got his career as the Gators HC off on the right foot by knocking off a ranked Utah team. Anthony Richardson put his hand u up for breakout player of the year for the Gators last week. UL has won 2 of the last 4 meetings after dropping 31 in a row. They are also 4-0 against the spread in their last four meetings. I feel like I am allowing my recency bias to get the best of me here, but I really like the potential of the Gators at home in the Swamp.
Virginia +4.5 vs. Illinois
Coach Elliott passed his first test as the HC of the Hoos. He would have passed it with flying colors had it not been for a bad start to the second half that allowed Richmond to have a glimmer of hope. Credit to the Hoos for closing the door quickly getting the win to start the Elliott era off on the right foot. Now comes the first road test, and major test of Coach Elliott’s tenure. After a strong start to the year in a 30-6 romp over Wyoming in Week 0 Illinois came crashing down to earth giving up a fourth quarter lead and dropping a game on the road to Indiana. Before the season I had this game marked as a potential trouble spot and I’m changing my tune just yet. Illinois is running the ball well, lead back Chase Brown is averaging 6.4 yards per attempt. That’s not good new for the Hoos who are still seeking an identity on defense, and struggle at times to contain the Richmond backfield.
Illinois has a tendency to be sloppy with the ball, four turnovers and eight penalties allowed Indiana to knock them off last week. Unfortunately, the Hoos also are turnover prone with two last week, and fumble that was recovered by the offense. Virginia has to tighten up their ball security, this team is not talented enough to overcome self inflicted mistakes.
I wouldn’t bet this spread, it’s shifted between 3.5 and 4.5 all week. The over/under is enticing at 57.5. Feel like Vegas really nailed this one and I would advice staying away from that as well.
Enjoy the game and hopefully the Hoos can pull off a hard fought win.