The Editor is back. Last week I produced a 5-1 ATS record in money games (3-0 in 2* picks), resulting in +6.9 units. Not a bad day at the office, even if I do say so myself. While I’ll leave the deep thinking to Gale Berg, I’ve got a few thoughts of my own after 3 weeks:
- The Big Ten looks bad – even worse than last year. Ohio State has joined the second tier, Penn State looks like UConn, and Michigan State looks like 2010 was a fluke. Indiana, Purdue, and Minnesota have all lost to non-AQ teams
- Wisconsin looks like the team to beat. The offense is phenomenal and the D has really played well the last two weeks. My 4-year fling with Russel Wilson hasn’t lost any of the heat
- Illinois continues to impress, and appears to be on track for a very profitable season from a gambling perspective. DC Vic Keonning might be the new Mark D’antonio in David Mason’s eyes
- I’m convinced that Warren Buffet proposed the Buffet Tax so he’s have less disposable income to throw at the Cornhuskers, who are now 0-3 ATS to start the season and 6-11 ATS since the beginning of last season.
This week, I’m taking on the general public head-t0-head. The picks:
2* STAR PICKS
Illinois -13 vs Western Michigan
What exactly does Vegas see in WMU head coach Bill Cubit? We’re continuously tempted with cover-able spreads for their Big Ten opponent, and the temptation turns into satisfaction once we take the bait. His Broncos are 2-8 ATS against Big Ten teams since he took over in 2005, including 0-6 ATS over the last 3 seasons. Heading to Champaign to challenge a very balanced Illini team seems a little too easy here. Vic Koenning’s defense has been phenomenal this season, allowing a minuscule 269 ypg and a ridiculous 63 ypg on the ground. It’s a perfect complement to the ultra-efficient Nathan Scheelhaase (71% completion rate). We also luck out with a 2:30pm start time and avoid the black hole 11:00am kickoff.
Nebraska -21.5 @ Wyoming
I loved this one at -23.5, and I love it even more at -21.5. This is an absolute mismatch - a top 15 team against a team in perhaps the least desirable locale for college football. So why is the line moving? Perhaps it’s the pedestrian efforts of Nebraska’s defense the last two weeks (giving up 29 and 38 points to Fresno State and Washington)? I’d argue the defense will play at it’s best with a chip on its shoulder. Is it the 7,000 ft altitude? Boise State and Texas haven’t really had issues with it the last few seasons. Maybe it’s because Wyoming HC Dave Christensen used to give Bo Pelini nightmares as Missouri’s OC? Wyoming isn’t Missouri, folks. I’d like to make a statement to the general public – keep throwing cash at Wyoming and get the line down to 20.5 so I can make the play of my life.
Michigan vs San Diego State U29 (1H)
Another note to the general public: Rich Rodriguez no longer coaches at Michigan. We no longer have to assume that every game will be Insert Team Here 49 Michigan 35. The Wolverines D is not yet a steel curtain but has been decent enough so far, giving up only 342 ypg. On the other side of the ball, it’s no longer “hike the ball to Denard and let him run”. Brady Hoke is actually trying to implement a real offense, and it hasn’t been without it’s growing pains, with Robinson only completing 49% of his passes. You know that Hoke will do everything he can to get his offense going early; if things aren’t cracking, he’ll stick to the plan at least for the 1st half. Don’t forget about the West-to-East effect either. Kickoff will be at 9am San Diego time, and it’s unlikely Lindley, Hillman and company come out on fire.
1* STAR PICKS
Ohio State -17 vs Colorado
Too many variables in play for me to make this a 2* pick. You’ve got Braxton Miller starting his first collegiate game, OSU is out of the polls for the first time since 2004, and as Gale and I have both alluded to, it just doesn’t feel like a profitable year for Ohio State. But Colorado at the ‘Shoe? In the words of Peter Griffin, “Come Oooon”. The Buckeye’s D is still one of the best in the land and it’s a place where third-tier AQ teams like Colorado don’t just show up and compete. The truth is, it might be better in the long run for OSU not to cover and this one to end up close. The general public will freak out and the spreads will continue to drop. Meanwhile, Miller will continue to improve, Fickell will start to figure things out, and the D will remain stout. Before you know it we’ll have OSU -7.5 at home vs Indiana and we’ll make another million betting against Indiana.
Iowa -17.5 vs UL-Monroe
Simply put, I don’t have the stomach for another 11am Iowa game. I made big plays on the Hawks each of the last two weeks. Both games contained an endless amount of drama, with a sure cover evaporating and a certain loss transforming into a win. I don’t need my Saturday to start like that again. I’m walking away from Kirk Ferentz for now with a hard-earned 1-1 record, we’ll see you again in Big Ten season sir.
North Texas +6.5 vs Indiana
Losing to Ball State week 1 was enough to turn me off from the Hoosiers until further notice. Call me when you prove you know how to be a head coach, Kevin Wilson.
Eastern Michigan +28.5 @ Penn State
Penn State’s quarterbacks are yet to throw a touchdown pass this season, and with stats like that I can’t consider laying more than 4 TDs. But I can see PSU’s D pitching a shutout, and with that said it’s hard to take the points too. I might talk myself into a play on the Under, but sitting at 45 there’s not much cushion. Probably best left alone.
Michigan St -22 vs Central Michigan
Another 11am game, another waste of time. As a pseudo Spartan fan and a D’antonio disciple, I have to admit I don’t feel good at all about Michigan State’s value this season. After their 11-2 season last year and the return of Kirk Cousins, Vegas expected a lot. But the offense has looked bad in 2 of their 3 games, and this week they’re without 3 starters on the line. An easy layoff.