The magic number is 52.3 percent.
That’s the amount of games you have to pick correctly on average to make money betting on sports. Through two weeks this season, I am 17-5 against the spread. In other words, I’m outta here and headed to Vegas. It’s been great knowing you.
I’ll leave these as a parting gift:
Auburn at LSU (-7), 3:30 p.m.
So, we now all think Auburn quarterback Jeremy Johnson is terrible and LSU quarterback Brandon Harris is great. That’s exactly the opposite of what we all thought, and most of us (including me) said, in the preseason. Johnson has thrown some pretty awful passes. If Harris does turn out to have turned the corner, LSU will be in the SEC West mix until the end because Les Miles has big boy players at almost every other position. That being said, Miles’ game plans suggest he thinks it’s unmanly to lead by more than one score, so the LSU Tigers will win this but the Auburn Tigers will cover the points.
Ole Miss at Alabama (-7), 9:15 p.m.
The Rebels have averaged 817 points per game (actually it’s only 74.5) in wins against UT-Martin and Fresno State. The Crimson Tide is neither of those teams, but the Rebels have to score only a third of their average to be in the thick of this one. In lieu of actual analysis of this game, let’s take a moment to envision Ole Miss quarterback Chad Kelly (formerly of Clemson) being coached by Alabama coach Nick Saban for a day. Makes you smile, doesn’t it?
ATS: Ole Miss
Georgia Tech (-2.5) at Notre Dame, 3:30 p.m.
It surprises me that the Jackets are going to Notre Dame as the favorite, but I think it’s the right call. While Clemson and Florida State fans squawk at each other about whose dad could beat up whose, Georgia Tech looks like the best team in the ACC to me. Plus, the Irish have to replace injured quarterback Malik Zaire.
Straight: Georgia Tech
ATS: Georgia Tech
SMU at TCU (-37.5), 8 p.m.
Chad Morris hasn’t had to take these kind of lumps in a while, but that’s the deal for new coaches at rebuilding programs. The Mustangs will score against a Frogs defense thinned by injury, but they won’t score nearly as much as TCU.
Stanford at Southern Cal (-10), 8 p.m.
These are not Jim Harbaugh’s Cardinal. They didn’t even look like David Shaw’s Cardinal in a 16-6 loss to Northwestern in Week 1, but Stanford has a history of giving the Trojans fits.
Straight: Southern Cal
BYU at UCLA (-17), 10:30 p.m.
If BYU keeps this up, we’re all going to start calling it a Hail Moroni. The Cougars are 2-0 thanks to last-minute touchdown heaves by their quarterback in each game. (Moroni is the angel believed by Mormons to have visited Joseph Smith, the founder of the religion.) BYU won’t be close enough in this one for any last-minute heroics, but I bet they cover.
Utah (-14.5) at Fresno State, 10:30 p.m.
What if Fresno State gives Utah a game and it turns out that Ole Miss scored 73 points against a pretty good team last week? That would be scary if it happened. But it won’t.
Austin Peay at Vanderbilt (no line), 4 p.m.
There’s no chance. Is there? To be fair, Vanderbilt’s defense is a little better than it was a year ago. It’s probably not beat-an-SEC-team better, but surely it’s beat-Austin-Peay better.
Texas Tech at Arkansas (-11.5), 7 p.m.
Razorbacks quarterback Brandon Allen is the SEC’s leading passer. That’s probably why Arkansas lost to Toledo last week. What happened to the Hogs punishing run game? I’m guessing coach Bret Bielema demands its return Saturday night and that an angry Arkansas team will run over the Red Raiders.
Florida (-3) at Kentucky, 7:30 p.m.
The Wildcats last beat the Gators in 1986. Kentucky is coming off its first win in Columbia, S.C., since 1999, so maybe the Wildcats can get on a streak-breaking streak. This game will tell us a lot about how far along both teams are, and, by extension, how to view the Gamecocks’ loss to Kentucky.
Nebraska at Miami (-3.5), 3:30 p.m.
This would have been the biggest game in the country in 1984. Or 1995. Or even 2001. Now it’s more about which fan base is going to be cursing its coach come Saturday night. Mike Riley is 1-1 through two games at Nebraska, while Al Golden is 30-22 in five years at Miami. Riley has some wiggle room. If the Hurricanes lose at home as the favorite, the Fire Golden chorus will start.
Air Force at Michigan State (-26), 12 p.m.
The Spartans are coming off an emotional victory against Oregon and now have to settle down and stop the Falcons’ option attack. Air Force will take an early lead and cover, but there’s no real threat Michigan State loses this game.
Straight: Michigan State
ATS: Air Force
Northwestern at Duke (-3.5), 12:30 p.m.
Where has Northwestern been the past decade? Pat Fitzgerald, who is in his 10th season at the school and still probably gets carded when he buys a six-pack, has Northwestern 2-0 headed into a battle against another actual academic institution.